Posts from the ‘politics’ Category

What is true?

I never said he stole money.

Well, the truth of the matter is, “I NEVER said he stole money.”

No, wait, I meant, “I never SAID he stole money.”

But really, I said, “I never said HE stole money.”

And so on.

Changing the word that gets the emphasis, the meaning of the sentence changes. It can change six times.

What did the person hearing it perceive? Perception is reality.

Suppose the hearer was a reporter with a bias against whomever said it. How would it be reported?Fake News

Before publishing their story, would the reporter have taken the time to investigate what happened to cause the subject to use the above six words?

If you’re old enough to remember Watergate, you remember Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post would not publish anything Woodward and Bernstein wrote without two corroborating sources.

Now, suppose you heard someone of importance use the above six words with NO emphasis on any particular one.

And suppose you had a personal bias against the “he” who may have stolen. We all hear what we want or expect to hear. Those six words would delight our senses and confirm our suspicions.

What is the truth?Truth

Can reality be relative to the perceptions of the hearer?

What about the speaker?

Whom do you trust to tell you the truth?

Recently I shared an item on Facebook from a friend. It was a link to a website and featured a headline expressing surprise that in light of what appears to be a popular tax cut, the opposing party announced plans to tout a tax increase in their efforts to gain influence in  congress in the 2018 midterms. It quickly provoked a comment from a real life friend of mine questioning the source. I asked why that would be important if the information turned out to be true?

To be fair, it has been my contention for over sixty years that all news outlets and media are biased. As polarized as the country is now, it’s hard to find a middle of the road source of information (notice I avoided the word, “news?”)

If you listen to or read readily available (notice I didn’t say “main stream?) information, you can rely on two things:

  1. It will be biased.
  2. Regardless of the bias, it will conform to the age old motto of news media, “Never let the truth interfere with a good story.”

Good stories sell.

Choose your poison.

Are we any closer to the truth?

In court, it’s long been commonly accepted that eyewitness accounts are unreliable.  When there are more than two, they seldom agree. Now, with the advances in video technology, is video tape trustworthy? I recently heard even the Zapruder film had been altered.

Can we trust online fact checkers?

My friends on the left like Snopes while my friends on the right prefer FactCheck. They both cite major funding sources as their reason not to trust.

What about a situation in which someone you trust throws you a curve? An old friend sent out and email to his list of friends.  I quickly identified it as a joke. It was masquerading as a newspaper article. Some recipients thought it was factual and replied with concerns for a professional who had supposedly been caught in a dalliance with a patient. He reports to his own amazement about half of the recipients thought it factual–despite the inherent absurdity.

Is the truth relative?

I’ve always appreciated the axiom that “perception is reality.” If how we perceive information is in fact what we interpret as truth, then whether or not something is in fact true, is like beauty.

It’s in the eye of the beholder–no matter the source.


[NOTE: Special thanks to my good friend Art Hoffman for suggesting this topic.]


Desert Nomadic Values and Religion—Guest Blogger, Andre Le Gallo

99755-guest2bblog-2 My guest blogger this week is author and retired CIA officer, Andre Le Gallo.

He studied the Middle East at The School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins and lived in Muslim countries. We have reviewed all three of his books on the Middle East: The Caliphate, Satan’s Spy, and The Red Cell.

Readers of this column know we don’t follow the news. However, it was hard to miss exposure to Bill Maher’s recent comment about terrorism when he referenced so many bad apples demanded an examination of the orchard(at the 3:13 point in the video). Killing in the name of religion isn’t good for anyone. Christianity and Judaism can both be

Andre Le Gallo

Andre Le Gallo

criticized for imposition of outdated traditions on their members today although we’re not aware that either endorse homicide or human sacrifice in the 21st Century. There is definitely a need to be selective about which of the ancient values to observe today.

Therefore, it seems relevant to hear from a man who has earned the right to speak on the topic.

Welcome, Andre!


The discussions on Islam generally miss the point that it is not, strictly speaking, a religion any more than the iPhone is just a means to call your mother. Unlike Christian religions which focus on the individual’s belief in and relationship to God, Islam is a complete package governing every aspect of life on earth.

Islam set itself up as a new and improved version of the two previous monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity, whose prophets Islam folded into its own traditions. Islam acknowledged the previous two religions as foundation stones but also claimed that they had been superseded by the latest revelations. If Judaism was the 1.0 version and Christianity the 2.0 version, then Islam was supposed to be the new and improved 3.0 version. The other two were obsolete and no longer supported by God.

It is noteworthy that the Prophet was not only a religious leader; he was also a warrior, a merchant, an administrator, a judge, and a diplomat. An Islamic Republic is a state governed ultimately by “experts” who claim to represent God’s will. Governing with and through man-made laws is not part of the Islamist vision. In his book, What Went Wrong, Bernard Lewis recounts how early Muslim diplomats to Europe felt nothing but pity for countries that had to rely on their constitutions and statutes, all written by men, when they had Holy Law direct from God. Unlike Christianity’s now well-established principle separating religion from government, as in “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”, Islam draws no separation between the two. This is not to say that Christianity’s path was without martyrdom, usually caused by others unlike the current Muslim experience, and violence. However, it evolved through the Reformation and the Enlightenment two hundred years later. Since the Islamists’ credo is that their religion’s core value is the eternal truth of the revelations contained in the Quran, the path to changes and adjustments, other than to cut out all changes to Islam’s original values, faces an internal roadblock.

Islam’s true believers are not content with simply worshiping Allah and leaving others to worship in their own way. Their intent is to spread their beliefs to all walks of life from justice to finances to equal rights for all.

A set of values compatible with seventh century desert nomads is irreconcilable with Western democracies of the 21st century.

Le Gallo's books are available on Amazon.

Le Gallo’s books are available on Amazon.

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