Truth but Nothing
David Lee Beowülf
The Truth Will Set You Free!
Back in January, I was home for a week with the flu (I had headaches in my shoulders!) and with little energy to do much else, I spent some time in front of the television. Ugh! There were a few good moments, though; for example, I saw a great movie called Crazy Horse, starring Victor Mature as the Indian who beat Custer. It was awesome! Boy, match that with Charlton Heston in The Savage and you’d never know that Hollywood had an anti-Indian bias back in the 1950s… or did they…? I also got to watch The Howie Mandel Show .
Howie Mandel’s talk show is quite interesting (so is the new Donnie and Marie), as he has good guests and asks them good questions. Has the show been canceled yet for lack of bad taste? I don’t know. Anyway, Howie had as a guest Anthony Robbins, the 6’7″ big-teeth “personal power” dude. You know, the guy who was asked to visit the White House to teach fire-walking to the Clintons (no lie!).
Well, Howie and Tony start talking and it turns out that President Clinton gives Tony a call every now and then for “pep talks.” In fact, Tony mentioned, Bill had called him “…just the other night…” Now, this was January, at the height of the impeachment circus, mind you, and here’s Bill Clinton calling Tony Robbins for some “personal power.” Howie asked Tony “what should he [i.e., Bill Clinton] do?”
“He should tell the truth,” Tony stated quite confidently. He then went on to say “…whenever we lie, we get in trouble, because, after all, we’re lying to ourselves.”
Bravo Tony Robbins! But it depends what you mean by “get in trouble…”
About a year ago, the The New Republic magazine, a liberal journal my mom’s subscribed to for as long as I’ve been alive and which I’ve read for at least 25 years, became the laughingstock of the publishing world after it was discovered that one of their $45,000-a-year writers, a 25-year-old named Stephen Glass, had faked a story. The story in question told of a computer hackers conference where ‘talent scouts” were recruiting the top hackers for security work in the world’s top companies.
“Show me the money!” one of the hackers was reported shouting when approached by a talent scout. Apparently, companies were so worried about losing valuable data that they’d rather hire hackers as security consultants at huge salaries than risk a attack. Aiee! I was really upset when I read this! Hey, I do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay and here are these thieving bastards being treated like royalty by pussy-run companies! Argh!
Then, a week or so later, Wired on-line magazine, who absolutely could not resist following up, discovered that a) the hacker conference didn’t exist, and b) neither did anything else in the story! Chuck Lane, editor of The New Republic — who had been fooled — nipped the problem in the bud and fired Stephen Glass immediately and issued a big apology. And not only that, but he revealed that all of Glass’s articles from the past couple of years were not to be trusted! Whew! That meant the one I’d read about the Young Republican’s convention turning into Tailhook was a falsehood. (Glass had reported that these church-going young men, now turned loose in a hotel, were helping themselves to the women and doing all sorts of nasty things. I couldn’t believe it! I thought, here are these guys who should damn well know better… Turns out the whole thing was made up!)
In the weeks following, I’d say most of the letters to The New Republic were either congratulatory concerning Chuck Lane’s quick action or they condemned Stephen Glass to a nasty journalistic hell. One of the letters, however, went against the grain and chastised the entire literary world for not realizing that the whole thing was a “joke.”
That was a different take, and one that’s important, because Stephen Glass may have been playing a joke on “us,” but the joke had no punchline, and it didn’t stop. This wasn’t a joke, it was a for-real assault on the truth. See, The New Republic is a respected magazine that’s been around since W.W.I. Its contributors include men and women of letters, elected officials, and other “important” types. Its readers include, naturally, the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches of government, and a few thousand Establishment potentates, “liberal” and “conservative” alike. The opinions of TNR are echoed throughout the hallowed halls of the liberal establishment. And if there’s one thing those fiercely pro-Clinton folks don’t have, it’s a sense of humor. Hence, they take whatever’s in TNR to be deadly serious — most of the time; there have been a few wisecracks, but mostly it’s mean-spirited and important Ivy League liberal claptrap; it ain’t The Onion .
“What is Truth?”
Every day the newspapers report new revelations into the truth. One day it’s a Nobel Prize winner in literature whose accounts of Central American life turned out to be fabrications, then the next, someone’s written a book describing how Margaret Mead made up everything in Coming of Age in Samoa just because it would satisfy her belief in a professor’s theories, then it turns out that the report in Nature did not show that Thomas Jefferson fathered Sally Hemmings’ child ( Nature , January 7, 1999), or it’s Stephen Glass, or it’s cold fusion, or it’s fake stock reports, or it’s Ted Turner and poison gas or the Cold War, etc.
Is there something behind these lies? Of course there is! But They are so good at concealing themselves, that They will never get caught. There’s a great part of C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength where one of the principal characters, who’s been hired by Them to “rehabilitate” history in the local newspaper gets a lecture from his superior on truth in print:
“…it’s the educated reader who can be gulled… When did you meet a workman who believes the papers? He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results… He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated people, the people who read the highbrow weeklies [e.g., The New Republic ], don’t need reconditioning. They’re all right already. They’ll believe anything.”
Consider this: the March 3, 1999 New York Post ran a “bombshell” cover story describing a new book that would detail how Israel used tapes of President Clinton’s “phone sex” and other conversations with Monica Lewinsky for blackmail purposes. Now, one of the radical fundamentalist Web sites I regularly visit had a thread about Monica’s involvement in Israeli espionage about six months ago. I naturally didn’t bother surfing further since it was too stupid to even consider believing. Monica a spy? For whom and why? What’s there to spy on, anyway: who’s over for coffee? And around the same time, this huge list of people who’d crossed the Clintons’ path and soon after died mysteriously was making the rounds of the radical “right” Websites. Again, ha-ha, funny joke. While I’d like to believe that Bill and Hillary are part of some Guild of Assassins, I just didn’t see how… how, well, leaving a trail of corpses is just too sloppy for someone who can get himself elected President, regardless of how he conducts his “personal” life. So I tuned out this nonsense.
Recently, however, on-line “zine” Slate , in an editorial by quite well-established journalist Michael Kinsley (former editor of The New Republic , coincidentally!), mentioned that there are 23 murders loosely associated with Bill Clinton — though Kinsley is of the mind that these accusations are pretty much hogwash. And did any of you read up on the Oliver North-Contra-Clinton-Cocaine connection pertaining to the use of the Mena, Arkansas airport when Clinton was Governor of Arkansas? I did a while ago, and again, put it aside: I would very much like to believe that Bill Clinton was a crack dealer, but come on! Now the story makes it to The Wall Street Journal ‘s editorial page (March 3, 1999). Uh-oh, the whacko literature is becoming mainstream. Next thing you know an ex-pro wrestler will be elected to high office.
Maybe there’s some truth behind all this paranoid conspiracy talk and the Clinton Administration…
It Depends What You Mean By “Truth”
If Bill the Clinton is so ruthless about his enemies and even worse with his fair-weather friends — like the 23 people Kinsely mentioned — isn’t it odd that George Stinking Octopus and Webster Hubble are still alive? How about Dick Morris? These folks, if they’re to fit the “Clinton Pattern,” should have died in tragic plane crashes, like Ron Brown. Web Hubble could have been killed in a prison riot (easy to arrange), Boy George could’ve been mugged after a late-night class at Columbia University (again, easily feasible), and Dick Morris could be hit by a bus in Manhattan (a no-brainer, right?), anyone for a car accident in Virginia or Tennessee?
And what about Monica? She’s a rich little jet-setter, isn’t she? What would prevent her and her globe-trotting, opera gossip-spreading mom from going down (snicker!) on a European-bound airplane? It wouldn’t be unusual that they’d be traveling to, say, England or Germany to catch an opera. And, hey, wasn’t Flight 800 was just a test for something way more important…
Instead, Clinton gets impeached (which I believe was a good thing), his “personal” life trashed (another good thing — builds character, which he definitely needs), but ultimately survives a Senate trial and remains President (which, you may be surprised, I believe is a good thing, too). If the Clintons were really behind all sorts of Kansas City-Mafia style hits and other unscrupulous activity, why didn’t it come out earlier? And why didn’t all sorts of things like TravelGate, FileGate, BillGates, Treason and all the other “-Gates” come out in the impeachment proceedings and trial?
What is the Law?
The impeachment apparently focused on perjury. Or did it focus on sex? If one reads objectively (assuming people on either side are capable of doing so) it’s pretty clear that the impeachment was based on perjury. Lying to a Grand Jury, i.e., perjury, is a crime; it’s a black and white issue. The president said he “…didn’t have a sexual relationship with that woman.” OK, so you didn’t have a sexual relationship with “that woman.” That woman happened to be Monica Lewinsky. And the whole world found out just what the president said wasn’t a sexual relationship really was , courtesy of the Starr Report, didn’t we. OK, so the president goes on international television and says “…I had a relationship with Monica Lewinsky that was inappropriate…” not “sexual” but “inappropriate.”
Did the president lie? Of course he did. He lied like a rug. It doesn’t take a village to understand that he lied (is “misleading” the same things as lying? you decide). However, the legal question of whether or not he lied to a Grand Jury and thus is guilty of perjury is a completely different story. As in “…it depends what you mean by ‘is’…”
Legally, “misleading” probably isn’t lying.
See, the law isn’t about “truth,” it’s about the law . One may think “these are just technicalities,” and that’s right. A technicality prevented (in my opinion) the President from being convicted of perjury which I, in my limited legal knowledge, am not at all sure he committed. “Technicalities” are darned important. Murderers go free because of technicalities. Innocent men don’t go to jail because of technicalities, too. Jesus was crucified on charges arising from legal technicalities!
Join the Truth Spies!
I think the best way to be on your guard for the truth is to constantly study history and read spy novels. History is made by men (and sometimes women) who do nothing else but distort the truth. History is written by the winners, remember that. If the winners are “nice” enough, the losers get to live under subjugation and in such a case, might just get to write some of their own history. But I only know of such a thing happening in the 20th century.
It’s important to remember that a good leader will lie when appropriate and a great leader will lie all the time. Lie to your allies, because tomorrow they might be your enemies. Lie to your enemies because it’s cheaper than attacking them full-on. Also, don’t forget that everyone, especially persons of political consequence, has enemies. And better still, remember that revenge is a dish best served cold.
Read spy novels and thrillers to get a feel for how the machinery works. For instance, let’s go full circle and think about Monica, the Israeli mole. Hmmm, she managed to distract the press for an entire year, that’s got to have been worth something to someone… How about the Clinton body count? Well, once upon a time, some frustrated king said to himself “…will someone rid me of this troublesome priest?” or something like that, and a couple of drunken knights overheard him and decided to do the old king a favor. If we move up to 1970, a “knight” named G. Gordon Liddy came up with a few bright ideas to help out his “king,” one of them being to assassinate columnist Jack Anderson — without even being asked! Bill Clinton might remark in James Carville’s presence, “I’d like Vince Foster to stay away from Hillary.” Jim might go down the line to Craig Livingstone and say nothing more than “Craig, Vince Foster’s become a pain in the president’s ass.” Craig would find his cronies, get them drunk and say, “let’s go protect the president’s assets…”
Look forward, but keep your memory razor-sharp.