Tuesday, October 31, 2017 2:46 PM
Happy Halloween (2017Oct31)
In a few minutes, we will have arrived at November 1st, 2017, as I predicted—less than a year from inauguration, and the first indictments of our President’s circle of co-cronies have been unsealed. Information included in those legal issuances leads us to expect much more to come—and that right soon (if I may reference “The Shawshank Redemption”).
Yesterday Chief of Staff Kelly demonstrated more concern for the Confederacy of the old South than for any practical solutions to a nuclear North Korea—or the sudden loss of our military ally in Africa, Chad.
Rachel Maddow recently speculated that Trump’s spurious addition of the nation of Chad to his third attempt at a Muslim ban—had angered Chad, which until then had been supplying military patrols to three of its neighbors. This included Niger, where four US Special Forces would be ambushed and killed less than a week later—by extremists who have historically rushed to fill the void whenever the Chadians withdraw their seasoned troops. What bothers me most about Rachel’s theory is that no one else has brought it up since. I hate when that happens—then I’m left between being lied to by the media—or—being a conspiracy theorist.
The drug lobbyists recently convinced Republicans to block the DEA from being able to track prescription opioid suppliers—an important step in monitoring the commerce of opioids—which the DEA is now denied. Then, Trump announced two things last week—one, that he would not allow funding to fight the opioid crisis (unless it was swiped from Obamacare funding) and two, that we should remember Nancy Regan—and ‘Just Say No’ to opioid addiction. Trump made no mention of the 90% of addictions that begin with doctor-prescribed opioids—or the reluctance of big Pharma to put the speed-brakes on their opioid ‘gravy train’.
But the above is a mere sprinkling of the mountains of misbehavior demonstrating the ethically vacuous character of our current politics. The nature of our present governance catches one torn between wonder at the pols’ perfidy and awe at the voters’ lack of informed self-interest. The reason the Russian encroachment on our public discourse fails to elicit much fury is that we throw so much bullshit at each other, the Russian bullshit hides amidst the noise of what’s already there.
And honestly, the Russians have only taken the Republican’s tactics to their most extreme. That’s why they worked so well—and that’s partially why the Republicans are so slow to condemn them for it.
I wanted to entitle this post “Fuck You, Putin!”, because we seem finally to accept that those fuckers attacked us. And yet, to be fair,
the Russian people are fine people—though under the thumb of a murdering gangster. Twitter, Facebook, and Google reps are being heard in Congress today as that august body tries to determine the best way we Americans may protect ourselves from online disinformation.
One person said it best—‘Awareness is key.’ Now that we know that Trump’s support was partially a foreign attack upon our way of life, it makes a little more sense that we could elect such a disgrace. I hope the next time some candidate tells Americans his or her political opponent is running a child-sex-slave-ring out of a Midwest pizza-parlor, we’ll apply a little judgement.
I know—Putin will remind us all that the USA was surveilling everybody—even heads of state—even their own citizens—not so long ago. But we had a hero who exposed the whole thing—and America reformed itself. When Russian heroes try to pull off something like that—they end up with plutonium in their tea, or a bullet in the head. It’s not about us being perfect, Vlad—it’s about us being still willing to try. You shove your face in your dystopian sand, if you want you, but we still have hope over here.
‘Awareness is key.’ Just as democracy relies on a free exchange of ideas (hence the protections for free speech and a free press) Online content must include a free exchange of sources. I don’t want to go look up the true author of some quote-meme—and I don’t want to have to assume that they’re all false attributions, either. Online media needs to lump its memes in with the rest of their literature—making plagiarism and inaccurate attribution things that are regularly sifted for, to weed out psy-ops—or just plain ignorance-based—dis-information.
And don’t be fooled by the ‘Freedom of Speech’ ploy—it doesn’t protect against incitement or treason. If everything online can be completely false, why should a sane person waste time with it? We’re not talking about ending open-sourced coding here—or muzzling honest dissent—we’re just talking about some standards being adopted. Cyberland is unreliable enough, with actual code-hackers and such—there’s no need to allow purposefully fake news to pass by unchallenged in social media or other public cyberspaces.