Truth is found inside your political party – NOT!

China confirms first aircraft carrier

How do you know who is telling the truth and who is lying?  A long time ago, I realized I was totally unfit to serve on a jury, although I have been on one, because I can’t tell the truth from a lie.  How would you like to have been on the Casey Anthony jury?  It was easy to find her guilty in the media, but probably not so simple sitting there day after day listening to the testimony.   Discriminating between truth and falsehood  is a problem that plagued me during my career any time  I was a supervisor or manager.  A regular and recurring problem for anyone managing people is sorting out disputes between individuals or groups of employees.  It is rare to find clear, conclusive and undeniable proof of one claim over another, in the end the manager is faced with a “she said, he said” case.  Those cases are my downfall, any good argument always sucks me in, just as moments later is antithesis does the same.  Tell me a juicy tale about someone’s corrupt and immoral behavior and I can see it and even remember times when it should have been obvious to me; and then the other person will tell me a tale about you and off I go into the fiction of that story, believing every detail.   And that is just on a person level.

Worse and even more confusing for me are the really important and major events in the world; in one way or another we have to try and sort out the truth.   Lately for example, unable to escape totally, I listen to reports and discussions on the current budget/debt-ceiling debates in Congress.  I cannot discern even the most basic truth; is there a crisis? Will it impact the world economy?  Do we need a debt ceiling? Is this political gamesmanship at its ugliest?

That is the foundation and then there is the partisan rhetoric.  Are the republicans just trying to make certain Obama gains no victory and is therefore defeat-able?  Is that really their top priority?  Or are they truly the most principled of the two parties and defending those principles with integrity.  Are they just trying to force the country to deal with its out-of-control and unreasonable spending?  Is this really just a spending problem and not a revenue problem?

On the other side of isle, is the president sincere?  Is Obama trying to put the republicans in a bad light to weaken their position in the next election?  Does Obama and his party really beleive cuts in social service programs would cause serious harm to the poor and old?  Do we need to increase government revenues?  Should the rich (rich of course has a very flexible definition, if you make $20k a year $50k is rich; if you make $60k, $200k is rich; and if you make $300k it probably takes several million in income to be rich) be the only ones to pay higher taxes?  Do the democrats really believe the republicans want to protect the rich and impoverish further the poor, old and minorities?

And from the middle of the isle and the confused average citizen, neither rich or poor (but old) don’t we need to reform our income tax system? Why not a national sales tax or a equal flat tax with no deductions? How about a balanced budget; if the states , counties and cities all have to have balance their budgets and individual families are encouraged to live within their means, why shouldn’t the federal government do the same?   One could think of thousands of questions – but no there are scientific, objective or factual answers (in case you had not noticed economics is not a science, but a field of study with schools of thought or theories, but no proof of what works and what does not work).  All we have are opinions; and as I said that is where I get confused.  Who is telling the truth or more significantly who knows the truth?  At the moment, my answer to both sides of that question would be no one.

And just to show this is not a political discussion meant to trick you into voting for me in the next election – consider that ship at the top of the page.  The American press is reporting a dramatic increase in Chinese war preparedness and aggressiveness as illustrated by the new aircraft carrier China is building.  Clearly to our media, China is building up its navy to take more control over the seas in Asia.

China is in minor confrontations with the Philippines, Vietnam and Korea over the uses and control over activities of the South China Sea and the Pacific.   Those disagreements appear in the Chinese press that I see almost daily, China characterizes each of those countries as being overly aggressive.   But China is not tying the new aircraft carrier to those issues.  China’s version of the aircraft carrier is quite different; just as with its major investment and advances in the technology of underwater exploration, China says it needs better technology and equipment to carry out its peaceful, but legitimate goals of peaceful economic growth.

Most of us probably think the question of which version of this story is true is easier to decide than the debt-ceiling questions.   I am not so certain.  Aircraft carriers are just like the debates in Congress, the truth in any story depends on your party.  Does it?  Of course not we will have to work harder to find the truth than just listening to political speeches or media talking heads.


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