Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Way Through The Fog

There are conflicting accounts and speculations on the Walpin IG matter. I have a rule of thumb for piercing the darkness in such things: assume everyone involved is lying, at least somewhat.

You'd be surprised how revealing that can be. So take as a starting point that everyone - Walpin, Obama, Eiser, the Americorps board, KJ - is shading something. How Senators Grassley and McAskill might be lying escapes me at present, because they are in the question-asking side of things, but we shouldn't rule out that possibility and extend them infinite trust just because they say they are reformers either.

And don't forget the various media figures and organizations involved. Assume that all of them are leaving out key parts of the story as well, and reframing and redescribing what they do report. The critics and defenders of Obama both. View them all with more than suspicion.

When I reviewed the material through this prism, it looked quite different.

And Obama looks very, very, bad under this assumption, no matter how the threads get untangled.


Boethius said...

Wow, AVI. So you always think both parties are lying? As I see it, Walpin is telling the truth. I base this on the fact that he has stood up for principle and ended up losing for it. He refused to resign because President Obama was perpetrating an unjust act upon him. Walpin has seemingly loss big time. And now that he is fired they are still maligning him.

When I analyze situations like this, I always consider who has stood up for what they believe to be true and just and who has lost the most in regards to jobs, reputation, etc. I always tend to believe those who appear to be the loser of the situation. I think they are the ones who are telling the truth.

But, then again, I have always been a sap for the underdog.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I don't think it, I assume it and then follow the chain of reasoning. This technique often puts things in sharp relief, because a) it highlights what everyone's actions are, independent of what they are saying, b) reveals where the would be lying, if they were lying, and c) puts the degree of possible lying into perspective. On that last, for example, you can often see who might be hiding something embarrassing but not criminal.

It's not foolproof - nothing is until those voice-detectors that tell when we're lying come on line - but it is often illuminating.

In this case, the possibilities for lying on Walpin's part are that he didn't do his job correctly, drinks too much, or is going senile. If any of these are true, they explain his behavior, but they don't explain the behavior of everyone else very well. Thus, someone else's lie runs deeper that Walpin's.