Saturday, October 3, 2015

I'm Confused.


Could someone out there please tell me what’s really happening in our world?

Put differently, who can you truly believe?  Remember that 1957 movie with Andy Griffith, A Face in the Crowd, in which he played a beloved TV personality who one day unknowingly let his true feelings toward his adoring fans leak out across a live mike to a stunned the nation?   Well that’s sort of how I feel after this week, though I doubt I’ll ever find resolution in the form of hearing the truth from the lips of the many who so confuse me.


Let’s start with Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s situation.  She’s been up to her eyeballs spinning out explanations over her private email server and the September 11, 2012 Benghazi tragedy, but was thrown a lifeline this week by the (now less likely) next Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy when he boasted on Fox News that the House’s Benghazi investigations were put together to cripple her presidential bid.  I doubt many were shocked to learn politics played a part in the investigation, but I’d bet the ranch virtually all were amazed at the public admission by its claimed architect.


On the side of the more classic form of political behavior, we have Vladimir Putin’s brilliant performance this week in his interview by iconic American television talk show host and journalist, Charlie Rose.   Putin and President Obama have been butting heads (to say the least) all week before the UN and the World over Russia’s decision to provide aggressive boots on the ground support to the Syria regime.  Putin acquitted himself quite well on the Rose show with a masterful command of body language, gestures, and unassuming answers, taking care as he did all week to wrap his intentions in the blanket claim of Russia engaging in Syria for the high purpose of fighting worldwide terrorism in the form of ISIS.


Then, as his nation’s first subsequent military act in Syria, Russia bombed the hell out of anti-Assad government forces having nothing to do with ISIS.  All of which goes to show how very adept Putin is at manipulating his image and the media while doing whatever he damn well pleases.  He gives credence to the quip often credited to Will Rogers that a sure fire way to tell if a politician is lying is to watch if his lips are moving.


I’m not even going to talk about the monumental betrayal of trust and fraud perpetrated upon the world of car owners by Volkswagen.  German industry will reel from that for quite some time.


Then we have the latest rage circulating in Greece. Newly re-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tripras came to New York City this week, along with practically every other world leader, for the opening of the new United Nations session.  He appeared on a video taped interview conducted by former President Clinton (still only one of those) as part of his Clinton Global Initiative.  The interview lasted a little over a half-hour, but what quickly circulated around Greece was a one-minute doctored version of the interview intended to make the Prime Minister look an inarticulate fool unable to speak or understand English.

I couldn’t think of something more ridiculous for his opponents to have done than that. When the doctored tape is compared with the real one, the Prime Minister emerges as a quite different sort of person, with an exceptional command of a language he just recently began to learn.  Whether or not one believes what he said is quite a different issue, but the obvious misrepresentation of his appearance gives unintended credence to his performance.


And the saddest news to me personally came in the form of Pope Francis’s clandestine meeting in Washington with Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I do not know what the thinking was behind holding that meeting, but it most certainly changed the thinking of many who learned of it.


These are troubling times for those desperately looking for someone or something to believe in.  Or, at the very least, to tell them the truth. I’m beginning to get a better understanding of why so many have flocked to Donald Trump, and that realization frightens me.


Hope to see you next week at Bouchercon in Raleigh, where I expect you to help me take my mind off all of this.


Jeff—Saturday

25 comments:

  1. Yes, it is a strange world. Don't know what to make of the finagling with the video of Tsipras.

    One important show trial is that of Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, who was grilled for five hours by a GOP group who would not let her finish her sentences and who slammed her for providing health care for low-income people. Slides were doctored; information was distorted. She was made to be a villain for providing health services, which are all legal and reimbursable by the federal government.

    It was so outrageous that the Congressional people leading that inquisition were caught lying about so-called evidence.

    I agree about the pope meeting with Kim Davis. This led liberal commentators and gay spokespeople to be disappointed and very angry. They felt so betrayed. I'm rather irked that he met with a group of nuns who are suing the Obama administration over the ACA's requirement that employers have to provide contraception in their health insurance plans for employees.

    Many people feel there is a public persona but that the church itself has not changed its basic tenets, which is true. The pope knows how to speak to suffering people and give them hope -- but the doctrines have not changed, which is so.

    No, no, anything but Trump. He excudes bigotry, ignorance - and need I say it -- stupidity. The whole cast of GOP characters knows what buttons to push to whip up their own base and get big donor dollars from their rich supporters.

    I take the election period as it is, no expectations, except that it will be fraught with hassles, distortions, lies and fights for the big donors. Where are principles? Plans to help people here who need it?

    I'm not discouraged, just don't look to the politicians or to the pope for answers.

    The Vatican by the way today denied that the pope agrees with Kim Davis, although he told her to stay strong and praised conscientious objectors.

    I'd certainly agree with conscientious objectors if they were furthering civil liberties and human rights, opposing bigotry, as the Civil Rights Movement did, as the Resistance did in WWII, like people who wouldn't go to war. But not to defend bigotry and denial of rights to some human beings.

    There's my op-ed for the day.

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    1. A much appreciated op-ed too. The sad thing is, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

      And for those quick to disagree with my metaphor by saying there is light but on the front of a locomotive bearing down on us, I say, "Don't bother." This time the locomotive is running lights out, like our Presidential candidates.

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  2. The biggest difference today (from years gone by) is that today the politicians (and everyone else) have a much more difficult time avoiding the scrutiny of the public. The smallest difference today is that the public still doesn't seem to give a damn. :-(

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    1. And almost all of that one could lay at the feet of a 24/7 news cycle desperate for ratings.

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  3. Here is something to appreciate, even if it is off-topic. It is a wonderful development:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hearing-echoes-of-the-past-jews-are-on-the-frontline-of-the-european-immigrant-crisis_560d6c3fe4b076812701104b

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  4. I believe that the Benghazi investigation has not taken longer and cost more money than Watergate. Results to date? We're still waiting for any.

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  5. It does seem that the Pope's clandestine meeting with Davis may have been a little overstated by her supporters. According to the Vatican they shook hands as he left the area - along with a lot of other people. The meeting with his gay student did take place, however.
    Politically correct? Probably not. But then he's not a politician. Maybe that's the point.

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    1. Michael, I fervently pray that Pope Francis was not aware of the person he was meeting. Having said that, I have no doubt that whoever did invite her knew precisely who she was and may even have appreciated the consequences of the meeting.

      The lawyer for Kim Davis is forcefully taking issue with the Vatican's side of the story. The news media seems reluctant to wade in very deeply into it--for I think obvious reasons--but unless Davis and her lawyer are willing to drop it, I see this as a story far too rich in intrigues to simply fade away.

      It may even send Dan Brown back to his keyboard.

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  6. Benghazi? At least something happened there even if it had nothing to do with HC. How about the email scandal that's still going on and nothing happened?

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    1. Congress is not about deliberating for the good of the people, but about campaigning for the next Presidential election.

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  7. Also, the Vatican has stated that the Pope had no idea who she was when they shook hands. It seems to have been totally blown out of proportion to which I give a sigh of relief!

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    1. I want to give that same sigh of relief, Sonia, but for sure someone involved in bringing her together with the Pope knew precisely who she was...to the point of surreptitiously bringing her into the residence and forbidding her or her lawyer from mentioning their interaction until he'd left the country. It is the mystery of it all that to me is drawing the most attention.

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  8. As has been said above, there is a lot of evidence that the Pope had no idea who Kim Davis was. It is likely that she was invited in by someone in the Vatican Embassy, perhaps someone there who disagrees with Francis's new directions. Francis certainly has enemies within the Church. I hate to disagree about the Pope not been a politician, Michael. But he must be. In the words of my grandfather (spoken with a soft Italian accent): "There are always politics. If there are only two people in a room something else could be happening. But if there are three, there are politics."

    No one is saying anything here about Putin. I don't know what to say, except that he scares every cell in my body. And what I am most afraid of is that the American right wing will play into his hands and convince the electorate that we need a war monger for our next President. I wish I still believed in the power of prayer.

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    1. Sounds to me, Sis, that you should beat Dan Brown to the keyboard. How's this: The Davis invite was arranged by the KGB to take American media attention off Putin's push into Syria, and fire up support for his buddy Trump.

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  9. It doesn't look good and as a human being I have a need to do something, but I don't know what. I keep doing all the daily things I do, watch the world get more bizarre and dysfunctional, and gawk as if I were seeing a horrible accident. How can I (we) change it?

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    1. One brings about change by not giving up and organizing to hold the extremists accountable for their actions. Low voter turnout brought on by disillusionment or disgust is the ally of the dark side.

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  10. You forgot to mention the crazed lunatic who gunned down more innocents on a college campus or those other college innocents (international students) who were killed in Seattle with a freak accident with a 'duck boat'. It has been a week to shake one's head in wonder no matter what your political or religious beliefs. But we did have a bright spot yesterday: your latest book from Amazon was delivered to our front door and is in the suitcase, soon to be heading to Greece!

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  11. Aha, glad I could contribute in some small way, J&J, toward adding sunshine to your lives amid this very overcast week. :) Safe travels, my friends.

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  12. The pope is a politician. He is. He knows what to say and to whom to say it. The Catholic Church is in decline in Western Europe and the U.S. and the pope, a politician, knows what to say publicly and what not to say to try to win adherents back into the fold. He is very smart and knows exactly what to say. Naive he is not.

    Apparently, the meeting with the pope was first raised on Sept. 14 by Archbishop Vigano with Kim Davis' attorneys, who by the way belong to Liberty Counsel, a right-wing group with quite an agenda at its website; among its positions are opposition to same-sex marriage.

    And, as some gay commentators have said in the last few days, the church's doctrines have not changed.

    This is borne out by the news on Saturday, Oct. 3. A priest who works at the Vatican was summarily fired when he "came out" as gay with his partner. That was it: Fired. End of story. The Vatican issued a statement asserting their position.



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    1. I can assure you, KD, that more than one mystery novel and movie of the week will be inspired by this episode.

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  13. Yes! I hear that Kim Davis already has book deal. I, for one, won't put that on my reading list. But she is calculating how to make money from her bigoted actions
    and notoriety.

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    1. It is the way of the publishing world.

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  14. FYI A very positive review of your latest book is at Kittling Books: got an "A." Also, a discussion of book covers in an earlier book.

    I must put the new one on that huge TBR list and hope the library gets it soon.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy D, I'd completely missed that though I'm a big fan of Cathy and her Kittlng Books.

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