Politics in the Land of the Bizarre

We are at a difficult time in the United States. We are crashing into the shoals of reality. American Exceptionalism, and reality are coming to a head. We are finding out what it means to be part of a multi-polar world. One where we are not the dominant force. One that we are withdrawing from.

The United States is still an Empire. One that is in decline. This is creating quite a bit of anxiety, since Americans benefit from this state of affairs. Whether it is something people understand, or not, does not matter, Things like the dollar being the coin of international commerce. Or for that matter English being the Lingua franca of science and commerce, helps Americans both in the US and abroad

However, as the decline accelerates, our politics have become polarized and dysfunctional. Our system of government needs compromise to function. My way or the highway paralyzes the government and makes planning for a soft landing from imperial status, or diverting the landing altogether, anywhere from difficult to impossible. It is opening fissures in society that are becoming as wide as chasms.

American politics have not just become polarized, but they have become strange. There is a certain sub-group of the voting public, no matter what party they nominally support, that have openly embraced fantasies. This is why they are easy to manipulate by the purveyors of fake news.

Fake news are designed to push narratives, that at times have a small grain of truth. Those behind them also use human psychology in masterful ways to push what seems believable. For example, for those on the far right of the political spectrum, the deep state has become a constant. For the left side of the spectrum it is far more about feelings, and full psychological manipulation. For both it is about confirmation bias.

In the end both sides read what they want to believe and distrust any authorities. It does not matter if these are scientists, or the government, or the courts. For that matter, one of the most distrusted bodies by all sides is the mainstream media, which fake news providers say are in the pockets of moneyed interests, or the government. The reason why some of this works is that there is a grain of truth in all this. Major media is owned by very powerful interests. However, this is not the whole story. This major media is not in the pocket of the government. Authoritarians, among them the president, seek to discredit it because journalists question them. It is part of a campaign to destroy institutions. The media is an institution protected by the Constitution.

Then there is science. Suffice to say, without modern science, our highly technological way of life would be impossible.

However, you cannot implicitly trust scientists, and some do research influenced by who pays for the research. Two major examples for this were scientists who worked for the lead and cigarette industries. These days there are some working on behalf of the fossil fuel industry, or special interests working to preserve that industry. For the most part, science is self correcting. We saw it with lead, and cigarettes. At present the vast majority of climate scientists acknowledges the reality of climate science.

However, and this is where things get bizarre. The same people who doubt scientists who tell you that climate change is real, or that GMOs are not as harmful as they believe they are, implicitly take anything that Andrew Wakefield said about vaccines and autism like it was mana from heaven. For that matter, they also believe anything coming out of Joseph Mercola. I suppose that their credentials are sufficient, since they are not accepted by mainstream scientists and people who believe in conspiracies think they are somehow heroes. They are not. They are peddlers of dangerous fake science. Wakefield is single handedly responsible for the return of preventable childhood diseases, such as measles, which are not harmless.

This embrace of anti-science is dangerous. It could very well set the way for a pandemic. This is how high the stakes are. But well educated middle class anti-vaxers could care less.

9.11 Truthers, Crisis Actors and Mass shootings

If nothing else, a few survivors would remember. By now, at least one of these workers would have come forwards. It takes more than five to do the job.

There is a version of this theory that has some feasibility, but still requires a lot for it to happen. At least from the point of view of operational security it could happen. This is, the government knew, and let it happen. By the government, I mean the President, maybe the Vice-President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor (as well as the guy or gal who wrote the August 6th PTB, “Bin Ladin Determined to strike the United States.” That is containable. Anything above four or five people is a security nightmare.

To be clear, I am not saying that the government did it. Even if there are things the government has done over the course of the years that lends some credibility to this. Who can forget the Tuskegee experiment, or spraying of American cities in the 1950s?. For that matter, who can forget Operation Mockingbird, that the Church Commission uncovered? Actually, many Americans have forgotten all this. The mistrust is not coming from “but they have done this in the past,” but purely out of American paranoia and fantasy thinking.

Crisis actors are more recent, but they appear like everywhere. Whenever there is a mass incident immediately it becomes a false flag. What are crisis actors? When I used to be in EMS, these were volunteers who came to lets say a stadium. We had a moulage artist make them as gory as possible, and they were given cue cards. These cards were used by EMS and Fire crews to find out what ailed our patients. Good moulage made them fairly realistic. Though I admit, there was something missing to these exercises. My first mass casualty exercise didn’t even have moulage artists, but there were cue cards a-plenty.

After I became a Medic, and trained the next generations, they became more realistic and all that. Granted, nothing can prepare you for the screams and moans of a real incident. But that is what real crisis actors do. They help prepare EMS and fire crews, as we train as we treat, and treat as we train, to paraphrase the army.

And from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of you.

Antisemitism

What he has done is donate to civil society organizations in both the United States and Europe. In other words, he has donated money to pro democracy organizations. Somehow this means that he controls the government, never mind that neither Al Gore or Hillary Clinton won their contests. Or for that matter a multitude of other candidates. I guess he controls the government by losing elections. I know, weird. Oh did I mention that he, a Jew, who has donated to Palestinian civil society groups, is banned from Israel? I thought that is quite relevant.

In recent years antisemitism has become even more pervasive. It does not matter if this includes the New World Order, or Jews control the banks… or really old ones. I will not be surprised to find blood libel one of these days.

Racism

This is far more of a problem on the corners of the right than on the fantasies of the left. However, during the 2016 cycle there was plenty of otherizing of minorities, in particular of Muslims and Jews by all sides. There was also a lot of open racism. Whether it was Donald Trumps statements about Mexicans, or many of his fans and African Americans. There were plenty of dog whistles, that were not limited just to the far right. This disease is deeper, partly due to identity politics.

Americans Live Outside of History.

This is one reason for the shock and surprise of many Bernie Sanders activists. They act as if an American political party has never before stolen an election. Granted, Democrats were not this blatant in the recent past. However, 1968 comes to mind. One reform out of that anti democratic mess was the primary system. The same system rigged this time around.

There is more. Republicans have been this blatant in the recent past. Gerrymandering also means that both parties get safe seats. But Americans act with all kinds of shock and surprise. Hey, at least boxes of ballots did not float down the river, this time. It has literally happened in American history. Nor did bosses enforce the vote among their members, oh wait, that did happen in 2016 in Nevada, and New York in the late 1800s. Machine politics were (and are) ugly.

So who benefits? The power elite, that is who. While people fight as to whether this or that is happening, they consolidate power. Also, some people decide that it is not worth it, and they leave any involvement, including voting.

This also means that we are repeating history. For example, if you have heard of the wildcat teacher strike in West Virginia, you might be puzzled. Well, apart of the low pay, what they are doing is repeating history. They are reinventing the wheel. They are doing the same exact thing as rail workers did in 1919 to get better pay.

We are seeing other shadows rise and take form. It is as if we were watching ghosts of labor rise whips like. For example, the Fight for $15 is part of the same dynamic. It is as if were reinventing the wheel instead of taking guidance from those who came before us.

Those who benefit are those in charge. After all, if we have to rediscover how to organize (and die in the process), they can keep digging their heels and preventing permanent change.

Now let me be clear. Conspiracies do exist in the real world. We may be seeing one take form in the White House as I type. Governments do manipulate elections in foreign countries, not just the United States. But do yourself a favor, use your head and question yourself and what you read. Just because a story sounds like it fits your preconceptions, does not mean it is real.

Also, the Jews do not control the world, and minorities are not terrible things to fear. Be careful of what you consume, and if you read a story that sounds too good to be true, try to find it somewhere else.

Oh and keep engaged and try to follow your local government, Read city budgets, they are illuminating. Oh and C-SPAN is your friend. Chiefly, just because it is on Facebook, does not mean it is real. Incidentally, I am paraphrasing a billboard in Mexico City. They expect Russians this year, and none is in denial.

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.