Telephone – Inter-tube style & John McCain

The younger you are, the less likely that you played a parlor game called Telephone, as iPods, gaming devices, PCs, and other technologies crowd out attention spans, and finger control becomes more important than a well-chosen phrase, or a decent memory.

Telephone, for those who forgot, or never knew, was a game in which people sit in a circle. Someone turns to the person next to him or her, and repeats a phrase. The second person repeats it to the third, and so forth. By the time the message gets back to the start, the message, in Python-esque, is Something Completely Different. Compared to Grand Theft Auto, it might seem lame, even boring, but it drives home several points about human nature and our frailties: a. By mistake or design, any fact can easily be twisted out of shape, into Something Completely Different. b. If you want to know what to original message was, go to the source. c. Humans err. Online, humans err at Warp Factor VI. d. Even when an online lie is found out to be a lie, it is harder to kill off than a many headed Hydra.

This is not a new phenomenon. One of the world’s best observers and reporters on human nature, particularly AMERICAN human nature, was Samuel Clemens, aka, Mark Twain. (1835-1910). Some schools tried to ban his works, including Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, because he used language that while normal at the turn of last century, could be offensive today, mainly the word “nigger.” Where those idiots succeeded, they denied their children some of the best American writing and human nature insights that could be learned by children of all ages, even those in their 50s.

Clemens noted, in a way that only he could, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Keeping in mind Clemen’s insight, and the way stories change over time, the Game of Telephone, Intertube Style, is being played out right now, with hilarious, maddening, saddening consequences. Three Examples – Wes Clark, Barack Obama, Dick Cheney.

Dick Cheney
With a particularly accurate first name, our VP never saw an enemy he didn’t want to attack, he never ignored the slightest war-profiteering, and he never met a lie that he would not use, if it would benefit his nefarious plans or personal profits. So it was little surprise that he has repeated several lies directed at Iran, and recently claimed that a Chinese-Cuban consortium was drilling for oil off of Florida’s coast.

Considering how many commercial flights pass over Florida’s coastal waters, the 24/7 satellite coverage, and the huge investment in men, money, equipment, and barges, necessary to drill off-shore, (ignoring the pipeline needed to ship any discovered oil), arational thinker would have laughed off Cheney’s commentary.

It took Cheney’s press secretary five days before he withdrew his comments. Five days seems to have been long enough.

After the VP’s office withdrew those words, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and many GOP senatwhores, congresscritters and candidates, continued to press the China-drilling story. Faux News made repeated references to China, wondering why they can drill offshore, but we can’t. Even today, that false story has legs, and several anti-Obama e-mails mention his stance on oil drilling vs. Chinese theft of our oil.

Barack Obama

His problems with the intertube fallacies are so bad, so constant and consistent, that he created an official rumor debunking site, called Fight The Smears.

If only John Kerry had used the intertubes this way, he probably would have been elected president, and our nation would have been spared four years of misunderestimating the depths which President Bush would reach.

Despite this debunking effort, these rumors still persist: he’s a secret muslim, anti-christian, born in Kenya, a member of a secret terrorist cult, was named Barack Saddam Muhammed Hussein Obama, and eats small children raw, with chopsticks.

Recently, the Washington Post researched these e-mail and intertube rumors and found that the vast majority of them were penned by, or spread by Andy Martin, a prolific make believe artist on Free Republic. Media Matters, a apolitical media watch group, knows Martin well.

Wes Clark

For years, the MSM has had a mantra that never was pierced by a serious question, or reviewed in a serious way. “John McCain is a war hero and great leader.” No one bothered, or could be bothered to research the story behind the story. It was a conventional, unimpeachable fact, according to every newspaper, journalist, and sTalking head on cable news.

Wes Clark mentioned that getting shot down in one’s warplane does not a leader make. His exact words:

“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president…”

“[McCain] has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn’t a wartime squadron.”

Straightforward, clear, concise and to the point. Except, you’d have thought that World War III erupted, from the reaction of MSM outlets. CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and many papers excoriated Wes Clark for attacking McCain’s military service. Karl Rove desrcibed Clark’s words as so vile, that it reflected badly on a losing campaign, left grasping at straws (Obama’s).

Over the next few days, the actual words used by General Clark morphed into something completely different, and were twisted into something unrecognizable. With an orchestrated attack that arch-enemies Gen. Patton and Gen. Rommel would have admired, Clark became a 12 hour target, an anti-American, anti-soldier, anti-service to your country, jerk.

Simply for telling the truth. I will admit that Wes Clark committed one error, just not the one of which he was accused.

He did not go far enough.

“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president…”

Wes Clark spoke the truth, an unpleasant one for Senator McCain. Being shot down meant only that he was shot down. That does nothing for someone’s leadership skills. The real problem, one that has been hinted at by several observers and witnesses, is that John McCain suffers from a serious mental imbalance.

The real question we should be asking is not how dare we question his service to his country (no one does) but, what the hell happened in Viet Nam? Any person who is tortured, abused, kept locked in prison for years, comes out a different person than when they went in. PTSD is a permanent, disabling and recurring problem. If you have ever dealt with someone who suffers from it, and you later learn of the diagnosis, the most common reaction is “Oh, that explains it.”

PTSD is not limited to soldiers. Jewish Concentration camp guests, Chinese who survived the Great Leap backward or the Cultural Revulsion, Americans starving during the Great Depression and many others suffered, and continue to suffer from it. The symptoms include
# Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep.
# Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger.
# Having difficulty concentrating.
# Feeling constantly “on guard” or like danger is lurking around every corner.
# Being “jumpy” or easily startled.

John McCain’s bad temper is no secret. He blows his cool, he swears, he loses it. Many people have tempers and lose them, too. Unfortunately, the degree to which he loses his cool is measurably worse than the rest of us. In fact, people closest to him in the Senate worry about his sanity, especially when he blows up.

We should not be attacking Wes Clark for raising the issue. Instead, we should be looking into what exactly is wrong with John McCain. If he has a chance of serving as our nation’s president, we should be aware just how fragile his sanity and control are. We’ve had one madman in the White House, luckily he was too lazy, incompetent, and relied on people like Condi Rice and Karen Hughes, to do too much damage.

Do we really want someone who is unstable, mentally ill and incapable of dealing with stress sitting in the White House?


  1. pollchecker

    I remember that game…and apparently so do the lie and cheat Republican disinformationalists….OBVIOUSLY…since they are at it again with all the smears and false inuendos. Must admit though, Obama is handling it very well.

    Do we really want someone who is unstable, mentally ill and incapable of dealing with stress sitting in the White House?

    What are you talking about Rob? We already have someone like that sitting in the WH! (har,har)

    BTW, this should apply to the VP as well on both sides!
    McCain is old and Obama is black…need I say more?

  2. Rob Kezelis

    you don’t suggest that the color of one’s skin increases the chance of getting lead poisoning, do you? In present day America?

  3. bryan mcclellan

    Great clarity Rob, it has long been my opinion that politicians and those who seek positions of power no matter how small should have to undergo the rigors of psychoanalysis by truly independent individuals, and the record of their fitness should be made public.

    I really don’t view this as an invasion of privacy, but as a buffer to protect the public from the likes of this current administration and the tactic of misinformation.

    I would go as far as prescribing lie detector tests but with the current atmosphere I doubt there is a machine in existence that could hold up to the likes of Rove or Herr Dich.

    Did I just create a slippery slope?

  4. akhajawall

    Dear American Voters, reporters, media. professionals, political parties, and our hon. Presidential Nominees,

    Subject: Presidential Temperament

    Please talk about and “Compare And Contrast” the ” Presidential Temperament” of our Presidential presumptive nominees. I will also request and plead to the nominees themselves [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama ].
    Our nation has been applying this yard and stick tor the appointments and confirmation process of our Supreme Court Justices nominees.
    Our Greatgrand Nation Foundations are as under:
    Family, friends, fellows, faith, funds, fun, with fairness & freedom And without fear, favor, and failure.
    It will be disgrace and shameful if the nominees and media will not look into this critical and crucial aspect under current challenging times and circumstances within our country and all around the Globe.

    America wake up and the discuss the ” Presidential Temperament” of our presumptive presidential nominee’s [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama].

    Yours sincerely,
    COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret].
    Disabled American Veteran
    Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas, Nevada

  5. Carl Nemo

    Thanks A.M. Khajawall (Colonel ret.) for your thoughts concerning this issue.

    To keep it simple, Senator McCain is a very angry, highly emotional, loose cannon on deck while Senator Obama seems so cool that you feel the need to check his pulse… :))

    When it comes to the possibility of nuclear war, I’d prefer the one that needs a pulse check than one that says launch…NOW!

    I’ve been trying to warn folks for some time that John McCain is as phony as a “blue three dollar bill” and simply doesn’t have the “right stuff” to lead this nation anywhere; ie., either to war, or the local SBUX for a cup of joe…! I understand he didn’t do all that well at orienteering and navigation at the academy. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his naval academy class and shouldn’t have been cleared to fly any of Sam’s aircraft…period!

    Here’s my premier link that will give folks a rundown concerning this presidential wannabe…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. pollchecker

    Rob — every single young African American man I know under the age of 30, EXPECTS Senator Obama to be shot. And that’s more than I can count on both hands.

    I just think that the VP (which could be the possible POTUS) should be treated the same as we treat the nominee for POTUS.

  7. pollchecker

    McCain Flips At Legit Question

    Yesterday, John McCain was asked basically the same question by a brave reporter at ABC News. The reporter, not falling for the hysterics and mock-outrage of the McCain camp over General Wesley Clark’s comments simply asked what John McCain’s experiences in Vietnam did to prepare him to lead the largest military on the face of the earth.

    McCain’s response?

    “Please,” he said, recoiling back in his seat in distaste at the very question.

    Uh uh. That’s not good enough. You would assume that given all the whining over General Clark’s legitimate point, that John McCain had some obvious answer to the question. Instead, he refused to answer the question, and let Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham come to his defense, babbling to the reporter about character, but not a word about qualifications.

    In the past 28 years, military experience has not been important in deciding POTUS! All of a sudden it is? PLEASE! This is just more propaganda from the cheat and let Republican Disinformationalists.

    And… 2004 we had the choice of someone with no experience who had messed up everything he touched in respect to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Osama Bin Laden aka GW and a man with extensive military background and govt service aka John Kerry. Why wasn’t military and govt experience important then?

    IT WASN’T! IT ISN’T! AND… is ONLY IMPORTANT NOW because it’s the ONLY ISSUE that McCain has!

    I am so sick of their hypocrisy.

  8. pollchecker

    Sure is ESPECIALLY when you read stuff like this!

    When the AP takes sides

    Check this out!

    In March, at a conference of the nation’s newspaper editors, two of the Associated Press’ top political reporters greeted John McCain with a box of Dunkin’ Donuts. One of the reporters was careful to get McCain his favorite kind — “Oh, yes, with sprinkles!” he said — and then passed McCain a cup. “A little coffee with a little cream and a little sugar,” the AP’s Liz Sidoti said.

    Shortly thereafter, at the same conference, AP Chairman Dean Singleton quizzed Barack Obama about whether he would send more troops to Afghanistan, where “Obama bin Laden is still at large.” In other words, the AP gives McCain tasty treats, and confuses Obama’s name with the 9/11 mastermind.

    Since then, I can’t help but notice that the AP hasn’t exactly been neutral. A month ago, the AP ran an article about the “people who might complicate Obama’s campaign,” including Tony Rezko and Jeremiah Wright. The piece not only read like a slam job, it actually resembled an RNC oppo dump, which for all I know, it was.

    Two weeks ago, the same reporter who made sure McCain had coffee to go with his donuts wrote a scathing, 900-word reprimand of Obama’s decision to bypass the public financing system in the general election. It was filled with errors of fact and judgment, and ignored the fact that McCain has illegally played fast and loose with the public-financing system this year.

    I need an ACLU lawyer that will help me sue these SOBs who masquerade as journalists but are nothing but disinformationalists.

  9. DejaVuAllOver

    You’ve earned your keep once again, Rob. Great piece. And nice analogy about lead-poisoning! This modern-day Rome is indeed sick and it looks like the disease is systemic. But I don’t need no doctor, ’cause I know what’s ailin’ me…. as Ray Charles so eloquently sang it.

    Many Thanks, once again.

  10. Carl Nemo

    Rob Kezelis…IMHO this is the finest editorial you’ve ever written…! Good stuff and succinctly spot-on concerning imagined media based “truths”…?! : |

    Carl Nemo **==