The factual problem with facts

From Washington’s Voz

For some reason, probably due to the times we live, I have heard many times recently that one is entitled to his own opinion, but not her own facts. However, this seems to be a case in which repeating it doesn’t make it true.

Just this past week the country has seen a few examples of people trying to create or hide facts in order to generate a suitable version of “reality” to justify their own opinions.

On Wednesday, President Bush went on prime time television to explain to the American people why Iraq is a disaster and what he plans to do to turn it around.

Not only he didn’t do this, but he insisted on creating his own reality, in which Iraqis are still throwing flowers at us, and it’s only our lack of faith what makes us delude into believing those are actually rocket propelled grenades.

It’s now an established fact that Saddam Hussein didn’t have anything to do with the terrorist attacks of September 11, but why should something as stubborn as a mere fact interfere with the ability of Mr. Bush to use 9/11 yet again to justify the unjustifiable? Bush went on to mention the 9/11 tragedy five times, and to alude to it many more times.

A similar situation is now happening with Social security. There are statistics out there and they show something. But those statistics become vastly irrelevant for the politicians that try to create a separate universe where things go their way without opposition, and reality conforms to our preconceptions.

Critics of any proposal always say the other side is distorting the facts. But that’s impossible, because the facts are, per their very nature, no subject to being distorted. You can have an interpretation of the facts as misleading as you feel inclined, but you can’t change the facts.

O so you would think.
The Labor Department decided to hide and if possible disappear a study that contradicted the foregoing conclussions of the Administration that the Central American countries were models of compliance with the International Labor Organization standards.

The researchers went there, checked the facts on the ground and concluded that if those countries were in compliance they did not want to visit those who weren’t.

Solution from the Bush Administration? Declaring the report biased and inaccurate, taking it out of the public eye for as long as possible, and moving forward with their CAFTA agreement based on the continuous and significant improvements in labor standards made by the Central American nations.

Should we mention the fixing of intelligence and the Downing Street memo on this breath?

So, the Bush administration has decided that they know better about everything, and they also have the Terminator’s approach to some things: “take them to the people” … but process them first.

One wonders if they have told the International Labor Rights Fund what the conclusion of the study should have been, before they came with that “disappointing” report.


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