Diction, Eloquence, ISIS and The Big Lie

Growing up in the 60’s, and the brave new era of TV, I can remember with great fondness some of the eloquent, important speeches given by US Presidents. To an Englishman, the accent, and diction were fascinating. One of my favorites was this speech by Vice President Agnew about the Vietnam riots. I can remember distinctly hearing it, add to that the Robert Kennedy impromptu speech after the death of Martin Luther King.

That’s partly why I’m so disappointed with the current crop of GOP Presidential candidates. The way they say things, their speech patterns are disappointing. More importantly, in the last 10-years it’s what they say that infuriates me. GOP candidates seem to just make sh*t up. It’s like it’s the 1950’s and there is no way to fact check anything. Carly (desperately wants to be somebody) Fiorina is reported as recently saying

“Somebody once asked me, ‘What’s the difference between business and politics?'” Fiorina said at the event, which was hosted by the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. “And here’s the difference: Politics is a fact-free zone. People just say things.”

I don’t know when this phenomenon of just making sh*t up first started, but I just had a discussion about ISIS and how President Obama caused ISIS. I didn’t have this to hand, and it took me 30-mins to find it, but next time someone blames the President for ISIS, ask them to listen to the following about Vice President Dick Cheney, and remind them that President Obama was elected on a promise to bring the troops home and that he did.

It’s from This American Life, Episode #303 David and Goliath. This is excatly the technique discussed by Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, Vol.1 Chapter X. effectively a lie, so big, that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so much. In 1951, the US Army made a semi-documentary film called the Big Lie to heighten fear of Russia. You can watch it here[YouTube]..

What Cheney, then Vice President of the United States, and President Bush, by implication did was create a Big Lie as justification for the invasion of Iraq and to this day, despite numerous evidence to the contrary, Cheney maintains the Big Lie that ultimately gave us ISIS.

Yes, President Obamas’ withdrawal from Iraq left the country open for ISIS to thrive, it is worth noting though that the President campaigned and was elected on the basis of withdrawal, Cheney just made sh*t up and profited from it.

Update: 4:04pm added links for the US Army “The Big Lie”.

What kind of country do you want?

It’s fascinating to watch, and participate in the change in America. Sometimes it starts to look like a distinctly 2nd rate country. I’ve met reasonable people who are out of work through no fault of their own, who can’t afford to see a Dr or a Dentist unless its a life threatening emergency. Period. Then I hear from Oli in the UK that he’s finally gone to the dentist and had his teeth fixed, two fillings, and a root canal, total price to him, 49 UKP or about $60.

In this weeks This American Life they ask the question, what kind of country? They cover a number of angles as always, again the most interesting is saved until the end. The question is should you pay more tax and does cutting services actually save money? It’s more a question of trust I think, and people seem intrinsically not to trust the government. Which is weird given they deliver so much.

If asked would I pay an extra $200 to keep the existing services going, or pay $300 to cut loads of services and just pay the annual bill for street lighting, I’d go with the $200, not because it was cheaper, but because I believe honestly in the commons. You’ll be surprised what a lot of people were willing to pay. This American Life, Episode 459 (mp3).