Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Mass Confusion

I have always prided myself on being a moderate with an open mind. 

In the last couple of days I've had my eyes opened, too. 

Don't worry, I am in no danger of switching sides, politically, and turning into a Ford/Scheer/Trump supporter. Not going to happen. But... the last two days, the media has been caught in two rather large lies. 

The first concerns the Amazon fires. Now, again, let me be absolutely clear. I believe unequivocally that the fires were set, against Brazilian laws that are no longer enforced. I believe it is a global tragedy that the Amazon is burning. It's an irreplaceable and sickening loss for the planet, and it threatens numerous tribes with what may as well be called genocide.

But the Amazon is NOT responsible for 20% of the world's oxygen. Here's a link. It's National Geographic; I think you can trust them. The same information My links there span the political spectrum. 

This was, as some of those links assert and I distinctly remember,  reported as fact almost everywhere last week. I started to write a blog where I included that 20% figure. It was so depressing and terrifying that I stopped. 

The first place I saw the received wisdom contradicted--was a climate change denialist site called ClimateDepot. Of course Breitbart picked it up within seconds--it so perfectly fit the right-wing, anti-science agenda, after all. I snickered at it, knowing it was bullshit--I'd read at least twenty times that the Amazon was the Earth's lungs and responsible for a fifth of the oxygen on the globe.

Turns out it's not bullshit. The Amazon contributes essentially zero net oxygen to the planet. (Go on, read the links if you don't believe me. I didn't believe me, so I don't blame you. In fact, we could burn all greenery on the globe to cinders and, while literally EVERYTHING else would be CATASTROPHICALLY affected...the oxygen supply would barely budge. 

So why report that? Why insist that Amazonia contributes 20% of the oxygen on earth, everywhere, a claim that has no scientific basis in fact? Why report -- and I'm guilty of spreading this one myself, on Facebook -- that this is a historically bad season for fire in the Amazon when there are actually fewer fires than normal?

Again, I am NOT suggesting for one second that fire in the Amazon is in any way acceptable.  But....why make stuff up?

While I was still pondering that, I read that Deutsche Bank had the financial scoop on one Donald J. Trump, to wit: he had paid very little income tax, and he had taken out loans with Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin as co-signers.  Both claims are bad, the second one criminal. And they fit with what I know of Trump...that he's been denied money by every bank in America, and that he's entirely too close to Putin. 

I was laughing in the face of Trump supporters on Breitbart. Finally, a smoking gun. Trump threatened to sue. Of course he did. 

That's two big lies exposed in two days. And listen, when there are two big lies exposed in two days, I can't help wondering what else are we being lied to about?

Longtime readers know I have long respected John Michael Greer, the former Archdruid who has, I have said, done more to shape my adult mind than anyone besides Eva.  Greer calls Trump 'Orange Julius", after Caesar (it fits, doesn't it?) and can't exactly be called a Trump supporter...but he's more of a supporter than I would like. He was one of very few to call 2016 properly, a full year before it happened, and explained in various blog entries why it happened. Trump, says Greer, is a symptom of a society in decline. Sooner or later a strongman shows up and claims "I alone can fix it". Couple that with politicians who have, over the last forty years, enacted more and more policies to further immiserate the poor and elevate the rich, and eventually the working class revolts in one way or another. You can't deny the Democrat urbanites in the U.S. have sneered for decades at the "deplorables"..."just not our kind". 
Greer believes in the Deep State, though he calls it by another name: the BAU, for "business as usual". The BAU is fiercely protective of the status quo. Free trade, which enriches corporations abd thus their elite shareholders, is to preserved at all costs. The working class must be kept in line. 
 Viewed through this lens, Donald Trump is a threat. 

We know Hillary was a warhawk. Trump, for all his bellicose boorish blundering, has been downright dovish in comparison. War has long been seen as a way to enrich American corporations, who build the weapons and then rebuild the wreckage when they're used. It was virtually assured that Herself (sorry, I want a woman president, just not that one) would assume her rightful place, and I have to admit, shamefully, to a lot of schadenfreude when she didn't. Arrogance is distasteful, and I have rarely seen a person so entitled. 
The thing I can say for Hillary is that she was the Establishment's candidate. And the Establishment is still--you can hear them every day--spinning its wheels and grinding its teeth wondering how it lost control of the narrative.

Without invoking some crazy conspiracy, is it not possible the Establishment has co-opted the media?

Again, and again, and again, I don't like Donald Trump. At all. I don't like that he values loyalty (to him, natch) over the law. I don't like that he has, at the very least, empowered racism in America such as has not been since since the sixties. I don't like the way he bilks the American taxpayer for millions of dollars, I don't like his asinine tweets rife with typos, and I don't like his colossal ego. I hate that I watched him brag about sexually assaulting women. 

It's fair to say that there is NOTHING I like about Donald Trump, the same as there is NOTHING I like about Doug Ford. 

That's dangerous. Because I'm very likely to believe anything bad said about either. They call it TDS: Trump Derangement Syndrome. 

I'm going to be paying closer attention to what's going on. Because if there's a game afoot, I don't want to be played. It's getting harder and harder to figure out what's true, and if sources I have always trusted are making shit up, I'm going to have to dig deeper.

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