The Scars of a Leader: Injured in the Line of Duty

Adolph Hitler: Why Payback was a Bitch

Sadly, the world hadn't grasped the whole "people who use nerve gas are so evil you can bomb them with impunity" concept because reaction was generally negative during Hitler's subsequent bombing of Britain.

With WWI days away from ending, Corporal Hitler was struck blind when the British dropped nerve gas on his position.  Unlike many others, he was able to recover.

George W. Bush: Menaced by Snack Food

During his presidency, George W. Bush got a shiner eating a pretzel. I really feel like I should say that again, but since you're reading, I'll simply suggest that you read that first sentence over and over, like a mantra, until the reality sinks in:

During his presidency, George W. Bush got a shiner eating a pretzel.


In the aftermath, there was a news conference in which a doctor talked about a nerve that runs near the throat. He showed a diagram. He explained that if you swallow something like a pretzel in exactly the wrong way, you can put pressure on this nerve and it will trigger a fainting reaction. It's call vasovagal syncope and it happens all the time.

It does? Well, vasovagal syncope does. In fact, this mechanism is the most common cause of simple fainting. It's most common in young, healthy, people and rarely presents for the first time in older people. President Bush is in really great physical condition, so the conditions that tend to make it occur in younger people might actually apply to him.

The problem is that is doesn't happen to people who are lounging around watching a football game. The etiology that a doctor would look for in diagnosing vasovagal syncope begins with a sudden stress — like a scare. The sudden physical reactions caused by a rapid and pronounced activation of the sympathetic nervous system sets the body up for the effect to happen. This is why you are supposed to tell people to sit down to prepare for a shock. Sometimes they do actually faint — more often than you'd guess.

Swallowing-related? That's gotta be rare. Seriously, occurrences of this phenomenon must happen less often than occurrences of things that don't ever happen.

Let me explain.

Consider the number of food-swallowing-events that have occured in your lifetime — not only to you but to people in your vicinity. It's a huge number. Just eating in a restaurant expands the total number of events more than you could imagine. If vasovagal syncope occured due to bad swallowing at all, don't you think it probable that &mdash at this point in your life &mdash it would have happened to you or someone near you? I've never heard of it happening.

You've heard about waiting 30 minutes after you eat to go swimming — to avoid cramps. Ever see that happen to someone? I don't think so, because it never has and never will. And yet, I've been told about it a million times. Everybody knows about "you'd better be sitting down for this," even if they don't realize that sitting someone down for bad news is a real precaution. No one has ever said,"Whoa, you'd better chew your food or eat sitting down!"

Ask an ER doctor about vasovagal syncope. ER Doctors know to have people seated when they are told bad news.

Know what else has never happened? An alien abduction. Despite this fact, I can fill a lecture hall with people who claim to have been abducted. I don't think I could fill a barstool with people who claim the swallowing/fainting has happened to them — or even anyone they know. This fainting trigger is even more rare than impossible events! That's pretty fucking rare!

OK, maybe not. Then how about this? If this had ever happened anywhere in the US, then in the weeks after the Bush incident, talk shows would feature guest panels with people — or at least the one person in human history besides George W. Bush — who'd had this happen. After a tearful story of scarfing chips and then waking up confused and alone, a doctor would come out and tell the audience how to chew and swallow to prevent yourself from being the next fainting victim. Next on Oprah!

But it wasn't "next on Oprah" because it wasn't next on anything. It didn't happen.

It's Orwellian. If Bush announces a "Calendar re-set" that calls for a 20-year roll back in calendar year, I'm gonna freak out.

They could also have had a doctor come out and say that if you swallow certain things, like a fifth of Johnny Walker Red, you might pass out and hit your face on the coffee table, but most people don't need a Whitehouse press conference to clue them into that.

There's an American Born Every Minute

Bush swears that he no longer drinks, so were he to confess to passing out drunk, it would lower his standing amoung the dozen or so Americans who bother to think anymore. Aparently, staging a little media circus to disseminate an insultingly dubious tale seemed like a better plan. If it were me, I would be afraid of being viewed as dishonest. But George W. Bush knew something that I only just recently figured out.

People don't want to think he's lying.

Bush could claim to have been abducted by aliens, and anyone who dared go on "The O'Reilley Factor" with a skeptical position is going to be painted as an unsympathetic asshole looking to smear the President when he's weak — and while there a war on! Shame on you!

Some Iraq War supporters &mdash and when I say "some," I mean way too fucking many — claim that the lack of factual support for the pro-war stance is evidence that Bush knows things he hasn't told the public. Actually, I have to agree with that. One of those things is,"The American people are gullible suckers."

The Emperor has no clothes, but citizens can no longer distiguish between clothing and nudity. At this point, I'm forced to conclude that anyone in the world can instantly see Bush as a liar — unless they just don't want to.

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