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• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

August 27, 2013

Help, We're Surrounded By Sneaky Foreigners!

It's tough being American. We're so honest and we live in a world of deceit, as former CIA Director Richard Helms pointed out back in the seventies:

RICHARD HELMS: We discovered there were some Eastern Europeans who could defeat the polygraph at any time. Americans are not very good at it, because we are raised to tell the truth and when we lie it is easy to tell are lying. But we find a lot of Europeans and Asiatics can handle that polygraph without a blip

It's also tough to be Israeli, because they're very very honest too despite being surrounded by liars, as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak explained in 2001:

Barak shook his head—in bewilderment and sadness—at what he regards as Palestinian, and especially Arafat’s, mendacity:
They are products of a culture in which to tell a lie…creates no dissonance. They don’t suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category. There is only that which serves your purpose and that which doesn’t. They see themselves as emissaries of a national movement for whom everything is permissible. There is no such thing as “the truth.”

Speaking of Arab society, Barak recalls: “The deputy director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation once told me that there are societies in which lie detector tests don’t work, societies in which lies do not create cognitive dissonance."

Iranians in particular lie constantly, as Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland wrote in 2007:

Fooling foreigners and adversaries is an ancient Persian art form. Saying exactly what you mean is a crude and dangerous way to talk, or to negotiate.

Ask anyone who's dealt with us—Native Americans, Africans, Palestinians—and they'll tell you: they may have had their disagreements with U.S. or Israeli policies, but one thing they never encountered was dishonesty.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at August 27, 2013 06:43 PM

Now I know why Israel/USA like the status is so so comfortable to be living in that delusional world of never having told lies or having been dishonest!!

Posted by: rupa shah at August 27, 2013 08:00 PM

I believe Richard Helms was referring specifically to "the poltroons insisting that George Washington loved Our Kampf!"

Posted by: bobs at August 27, 2013 09:09 PM

"Trust none as brother. Make no friend.
Create no intimates - it is worthless." -- Instructions of Amenemhat I, previously vizier, who took the throne in a coup.

Posted by: Lewis at August 27, 2013 10:54 PM

Oh god you clipped out the funniest part:

"Chairman STOKES - I am advised that the CIA used polygraph tests on all its employees.
Mr. HELMS - It works very well with Americans."

Posted by: Lewis at August 27, 2013 11:02 PM

Damn, Jon, Lewis is right. I have to wonder if you are some sneaky foreigner, leaving out the funniest part so you could milk another post out of it later, rather than straightforwardly laying it all out there like an honest American.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at August 28, 2013 01:00 PM

Donald Johnson-- My dad was a lawyer. So the right of discovery was a big part of my formative years.

Posted by: Lewis at August 28, 2013 11:36 PM

This charity queen who begs money for so may things should not have plots to donate. How and when he bought that plot?

Posted by: LAMBERT at August 29, 2013 06:41 AM

Hi Jon,

Funny and good post as usual, but I'm just writing to point out that the spam lowlife are starting to dominate your comments section. Perhaps add some form of verification?

Also, more frequent posts would not be amiss.

Regards, Faheem

Posted by: Faheem at August 30, 2013 12:44 PM

I love the spambots, but they do tend to get a little repetitive.

Posted by: EqMCSquared at August 31, 2013 11:46 PM