Wednesday, February 19, 2020

I try not to deal in conspiracy theories. For one, one can get so deep into a conspiracy theory that makes complete sense at first brush apart from one small flaw that will spin into all sorts of nutty to explain away that flaw. One of the reasons scientific progress happens is because old theories become ridiculous before new information. Before the heliocentric model was accepted across the board, the wackiness needed to keep the geocentric model running was almost comical.

The other problem with conspiracy theories is that it assumes way too much of human ability. Especially tales of governmental shenanigans. It happens, sure. The Gulf of Tonkin affair or the destruction of the Maine at the beginning of the Spanish-American War are two very convincing points in the argument that government’s lie to its citizens. At the same time, neither lasted more than five years, if that, before the truth came out. People cannot keep secrets, we like stories too much and we especially like having knowledge that others might not.

Take the moon landing, for example, or more specifically the idea that it was “faked” an all filmed in a studio. The argument goes the astronauts didn’t leave a shadow or that the planted American flag moved as if blown by wind. Since the moon landing happened, though, the plethora of scientists and engineers were able to easily explain every single objection with increasing aggravation. I’ve heard Buzz Aldrin will knock you out if you ask him if it was faked.

But the real problem is how many people would be required to keep a secret. I read somewhere that if the moon landing was truly faked it would require nearly 100,000 people – from the astronauts to the folks who cleaned the offices – to keep this information to themselves for going on six decades. I don’t care how into you are into the Hidden World, I for one find that extremely hard to swallow.

Another aspect of conspiracy theories that make them so enticing for some people is that excuses regular old human behavior. If a dark, sinister group is behind this tragedy or that one, it has to mean human beings aren’t as lazy and stupid as we often can be. Nine-eleven “truthers” fit into this category. I don’t really care about their misunderstanding of the physics involved so much as their apparent unwillingness to admit the United States government spends that much money on defense – more than the next six or so countries, depending on how you figure it – and still be that goddamn incompetent.

We like the idea that Someone is in charge and they’re Supposed to be in charge because how the World works. This may be a human thing but I’m almost confident it’s an all-American stroke. It’s partly why Donald Trump is president and partly why Michael Bloomberg is getting so much stroke despite not being on the ballot in most states or, until tonight, not taking part in a debate. He’s a billionaire and we think that’s who should be running things. The rich and powerful have replaced divine right in the hearts of men, it seems.

With that all said – and hopefully I’ve secured my cynical bonafides – I’m starting to have difficulty accepting that Donald Trump is actually in charge of anything. Bear with me here, because I am about to get a bit down the rabbit hole. It’s to my own chagrin, trust me, but let’s ride this pony and see where it goes.

I think we can all agree that there are certain forces that have certain ideas of the direction of this country and have enough swing to make things happen. I don’t think they’re organized, either as a group or as individuals. Hopefully that’s what keeps this from being too much a conspiracy theory. There’s the Family and Opus Dei who’re pushing one way while at the same time against each other. There’s the Military-Industrial Complex with a vested interest in increased defense spending and Corporate America’s dislike of regulations and other such hurdle between then and more profit. There are Banking Concerns gambling with ephemeral money that have an outsized effect on people who can’t come close to playing that game.

Like I said, there’s absolutely no evidence any of these concerns are organized or work together in any way, shape or form. At the same time, I don’t think it’s beyond the pale to say they do indeed exist and do indeed have a massive effect on the shaping and molding of American society. We like to pretend otherwise, but until the ’60s or so abortion wasn’t that big a deal and certainly wasn’t a third rail until religious concerns saw it could be a voting wedge. We’ve been on permanent war footing since World War Two and people are definitely making a buck on that. Just some examples and, again, I don’t think they’re too far out.

Presidents are a tricky thing. They have enormous amount of power while, at the same time, have enormous amount of stumbling blocks to curtail that power. After 9/11, George W. Bush got incredible amounts of discretionary power when it comes to reigning war on just whoever, but that was as much due to Congress being on the same page as anything else. Since FDR, the office of president has become more and more powerful, and as I noted in the “Boiling Frog Moment“, that power adds up. Obama’s drone program wouldn’t exist without Junior’s war powers, which wouldn’t have as much pull if Clinton put so much effort into foreign control, and so on and so forth.

The thing about Donald Trump is that he’s not very smart and thinks he’s a genius merely because he was born rich into a society that makes it incredibly hard for someone born into great wealth to loose said wealth despite how incompetent and stupid he is. People, especially his followers, ignore the fact that Trump’s been in the public eye since the early ’80s and he’d already had to file for bankruptcy twice. Indeed, the only reason anyone not affected by the real estate world of Manhattan was because someone told him the best way to make shit-tons of money was the become a celebrity. Thus, the publication of Art Of The Deal in 1987 and him being the face of class and sophistication until he was caught screwing around on his first wife with his second wife.

People wonder if he’s “sundowning” or what have you, but he’s never been that sharp nor has he ever been able to think on his feet or take any sort of pushback when challenged. We want to pretend that his current goonery is caused by age or drug use when the true and solid fact is he didn’t have to be smart or competent to be successful and rich because people born into wealth have that particular leg up. Furthermore, we live in a country where the least among us will slit their neighbor’s throat to maintain that status quo.

I’ve said a number of times that I don’t take “Never Trumpers” complaints about the president seriously at all. He’s not doing a thing, policy-wise, that Jeb Bush or Scott Walker wouldn’t have done in his position, he’s just a vulgar slob and a two-bit celebrity. What he’s doing that pisses them off is he’s being allowed to rip the mask off the American government and expose it for the venal, uncaring entity, controlled by and for the elite few that it’s always been while the rest of us can eat shit and die quietly. And it’s entirely possible that the Democrats will nominate someone just as crooked and greedy and protected in Bloomberg but has, so far, managed to hide his crude, thuggish instincts to the rest of the world outside of the Big Apple.

Ah, well. Just cynicism and a bad mood, so pay little attention to the above gibberish. The News is discouraging and the weather is foul, promising more rain. I’m out of medicine and I am not sanguine that the State of Mississippi is going to help me out one bit. The “Left” seems more intent on tearing each other down and keeping anyone but their Precious from the nomination more than actually riding the country of the foul poltroons who will make it impossible to come back if left unchecked.

I need a nap and a good book.

One thought on “Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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