Why, hello there, o sweet blog o' mine! Been a while, so I thought I would pop in here and post!
To quote the legendary, one and only, Eli Cross, "Lots has been happening" since I last posted here. I have been doing most of my writing over at ProblematicPeople.com--which is run by two very swell people, Wooly and Mr. Bumblebee--, as well as at over at this rad new site AkkadianTimes.com. You can find my ProblematicPeople.com entries over here and my AkkadianTimes.com entries over here. I am not the only writer on either site, both of which are filled to the brim with talented writers, so I highly recommend you give both a look-see.
In the grand scheme of things, Donald Trump has defied all odds and won the Electoral College vote, which allowed him to become President despite not having won the popular vote. In the interests of disclosure, I am not a fan of President Trump, who is a good friend of Sinn Fein/IRA and who assaulted Jessica Drake. That being said, I am not going completely apeshit insane over the fact that Donald Trump is now President Trump. Yes, Stephen Bannon is his consigliere and yes these SA-types Richard Spencer and Millenial Woes have been parading around claiming President Trump's victory as their own, even though then-President-Elect Trump denounced Spencer and specifically declared in his inaugural address the following:
- When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
- whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
It is strange that there are some who take President Trump's words about grabbing pussies to be an absolute gospel truth reflection of what he really thinks--and then proceed to swiftly dismiss his condemnations of prejudice as being something he said for political reasons. But that is the thing with people on all sides in 2017. They believe what they want to believe and reject what they do not want to hear. This is nothing new. This is also a major impediment. Allow me to explain.
There are people, you see, who think that the presence of Bannon in the Trump White House and the fact that Richard Spencer and Millennial Woes and the boyosphere support President Trump automatically translates into the setting up of tonnes of Auschwitzes all across the Western world in very short order. In this entry over at AkkadianTimes.com, I explained that, despite the rhetorical similarities, there are massive infrastructural and economic differences between Hitler's Third Reich and the Alt Right of 2017. Permit me to briefly expand on that explanation.
One of the significant differences between the Third Reich and the Alt Right of 2017 is that the latter are basically the Joseph Goebbels and Juli Streicher of 2017, i.e. speechifyers with extreme ideas but not technocrats with training and experience in setting up massive infrastructure out of nothing. The Alt-Right Race Realist boyosphere of 2017, in other words, lacks anything remotely resembling Reinhard Heydrich's Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA, "National Security Central Office") a collection of highly trained and dedicated lawyers and doctoral degree holders who were able to translate Hitler, Goebbels and Streicher's words into an ever-evolving, ever self-sophisticating massive scale murder machine, from the clumsiness and crudity of the 1941 Einsatzgruppen to the Death Camps of Auschwitz, Sobibor, Majdanek and Belzec. Without an RSHA-equivalent, the alt-right will be limited to the brutish, crude tortures and murders of the SA. Do NOT misunderstand me. I am NOT saying that skinheads, Klansmen and other alt-right types do not pose a significant and murderous threat of violence on the streets. I AM saying that the skinheads, Klansmen and the rest of the alt-right lack any evidence of a capacity to carry out a systematic international extermination operation of the kind carried out by the superbly well-oiled, high-on-the-learning curve RSHA. The skinheads, Klansmen and the rest of the alt right most closely resemble the SA of the Third Reich--except it is known that there were over half a million SA in 1934 and they had at least a nominal national command structure under Chief of Staff Ernst Röhm, whereas the skinheads, Klansmen and the rest of the alt-right are fractious and not even united under a nominal national leadership.
The previous paragraph is a summary of what I said at length at the aforementioned other two websites. Now, here is the point I want to expand on. Of the US federal civil service, Blacks/Africans comprise 17% (and 27% of the lowest level functionaries.) Hispanics comprise 7% of the federal civil service. Asian-Americans comprise nearly 5% of the federal civil service. If we add these percentages up, "non-whites" comprise nearly thirty percent of the federal civil service, and the percentage of the alt-right's racial enemies would increase once the percentages of Jews and Muslims are added in. So, if Bannon were to get Congress to pass a Law For the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which would remove Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews and Muslims, the federal civil service would lose thirty percent of its effectives/dispositif overnight. This would come close to a Newt Gingrich/Ted Cruz-style government shutdown. Fans of Deadliest Catch will remember that Cruz's 2013 tantrum cost the fleet much of their season and their revenues. Now, factor in the federal civil service workers who work for Social Security, Veteran's Benefits, NOAA (which runs the National Weather Service and flies modified P-3 Orions to track hurricanes), NASA, and the US Department of Agriculture, which provides subsidies to farmers.
And, briefly, since we are on the topic of agriculture, lots of people are whinging about how anti-Russian Senators McCain and Graham "caved" in to approve pro-Russian Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, discounting the possibility that McCain and Graham could have done this expecting Tillerson to screw up, thus giving them something over which to whinge against the Administration. What almost no one seems to have noticed is Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik introducing a bill that would facilitate Upstate New York farms hiring foreign workers. This, however, comes as no surprise to those who watch Upstate New York instead of the CNN. Representative Stefanik has also actively taken measures to protect NAFTA, upon which many Plattsburgh jobs depend. You will not hear Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus or Madonna tell you this. Of course, you will not hear Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus or Madonna calling for the expulsion and shunning of convicted felon Mark Wahlberg from Hollywood when Wahlberg was caught beating up Blacks and Vietnamese while President Trump has merely uttered words...highly disagreeable words, to be sure, but still words compared to the violence for which Wahlberg is now a felon for life.
I could be in the minority--a very small minority, at that--but I happen to believe that a violent convicted felon of a racist like Mark Wahlberg is worse than a Presidential candidate who just uttered extremely disagreeable words.
Streep/Gaga/Cyrus/Madonna's selective outrage over President Trump and their silence on convicted racist felon Mark Wahlberg is part of the environment of what is called "fake news" today. The thing is, "fake news" is nothing new. William Randolph Hearst ran a gory story about how the Spanish sunk the USS Maine, triggering the Spanish-American War, and setting the precedent for Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Paul Wolfowitz. For thems who be slow or historically illiterate, the Spanish-American War occurred at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century. I have not verified this personally, but I am fairly certain that this was some time before Breitbart's came into existence. Hearst ran a fake news story as the investigator Admiral Hyman Rickover later pointed out.
A regular part of a journalist's day during the Vietnam War was the Five O'Clock Follies, wherein REMFs came out and told a press that could not tell an infantryman from a base-dwelling artilleryman, even if shown pictures of both in their Class Alpha Uniforms, "We are winning the war!" Again, I am not 100% sure, but I have a feeling that the Vietnam War ended sometimes before Breitbart.
In Hazardous Duty, his memoir on war-reporting during the 1990's, the late warrior-philosopher Colonel David Hackworth reported that the late and unlamented Orianna Falluci and the CNN during Desert Storm, as well as Christiane "Ms. Death" Ammanpour in the 1994 Haiti operation and in the FRY both parked their asses in comfy five-star hotels over twelve miles (i.e., well outside of G-5 range) and browbeat lesser-tenured stringers to come back with stories--but only stories that fit what Falluci and Ms. Death wanted to sell...erm, I mean "tell." Again, I am not certain, but I feel that the last of these conflicts, the one in the FRY, predates the setting up of Breitbart by some time.
And here is a story from the 12, January 2017 Economist that somehow managed to escape Streep/Gaga/Cyrus/Madonna's rigid and rigourous filter for "fake news" of any kind. Ceylonese/Sri Lankans are protesting the fact that China is grabbing up exclusive rights to large parts of their public spaces, forcing mom-and-pop candy vendors away from their core markets (and their nearby homes) into more desolate stretches. What is relevant is the report that former President Mahinda Rajapaska is a leader in the anti-Chinese protests. This is relevant because President Rajapaska is the one who first lured the Chinese onto Ceylon/Sri Lanka with lucrative contracts promising lots of concessions. The Economist describes the former President's talk of "Chinese colonisation" as "the height of hypocrisy." The former President's use of the term "Chinese colonisation"--which was openly invited to Ceylonese/Sri Lankan shores when said former President was the sitting President--constitutes fake news. The only thing is, don't count on Don Anderson of the CNN or Valley Girl Megyn Kelly or those ever vigilant monitors of fake news Streep/Gaga/Cyrus/Madonna (who condemn President Trump's racist utterances while going Harpo Marx on convicted felon Mark Wahlberg's racist assaults) to notice this, since they only selectively care about "fake news."
So, fake news. There. Now, what to do about it? Simple. Remain skeptical. The thing is, one can remain skeptical very easily. Contrary to popular mythology, one does not have to become a Full-Patch member of Atheism Plus and one does not have to become an English YouTubes Atheist who moonlights as a Ronnie and Reggie Kray impersonator to remain skeptical. I do not know how many American police constables are Full Patch Atheism Plus members, but I do know that there is a common American law enforcement proverb. That proverb is "In God We Trust. All Others, We Run Through NCIC." Long story short, you can exercise basic, functional skepticism without adhering to either Atheism (or any of its warring factions) or the constellation of religions. One good way to exercise basic, functional skepticism is to read neuroscientist Dr. Daniel J. Levitin's superb, user-friendly A Field Guide To Lies: Critical Thinking In The Information Age.
Another way to exercise basic, functional skepticism is to understand the difference between what is news and what is not news. Morning show/TMZ bozos peter-principled to the nightly news such as Don Anderson on the CNN and Valley Girl Megyn Kelly are in the NOT news category. So are editorials. Let me give a few video examples of what I mean.
1) In the NEWS category:
2) In the NOT NEWS category
If you can clearly differentiate the videos in the second category from, those of real news in the first, you have the capacity to exercise, basic, functional skepticism, irrespective of your atheist/religious alliances.