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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

America, the Halluci-Nation

Remember the old Saturday Night Live character Emily Letella? She seems to have commandeered our political discourse. Half the country has mired itself in dubious battle with hallucinations. Here is a quick, top-of-my-head list of examples:

1. Many conservatives still believe that Susan Fluke wanted the gummint to pay for her orgasms. In fact, she was talking about private insurance, and about the non-contraceptive medical issues which may lead a doctor to prescribe birth control pills.

2. Many believe that "Obamacare" is socialized medicine. In fact, liberals such as myself opposed Obamacare precisely because it is not socialized health insurance.

3. Many believe that Obama raised taxes. In fact, he lowered them.

4. Many believe that Obama instituted TARP. In fact, W did.

5. Many believe that the financial stimulus package was a failed jobs creation program. In fact, the lion's share of that package went to tax cuts -- which did not work.

6. Many were convinced -- and remain convinced -- that the big economic problem facing us is and was inflation. What inflation? We have oodles of serious problems, but...inflation? Why did so many intelligent people fixate on that, against all evidence and common sense?

7. Many still believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

8. Many have accepted the new propaganda line that Osama Bin Laden worked with Iran.

9. Many accept Glenn Beck's absurd argument that Hitler was a left-winger, a suggestion that would have outraged Hitler himself. Back in the 1930s, all the American supporters of fascism -- McCormick, Hearst, the Klan, the Bund, etc. -- were on the right.

10. Many believe that the financial crisis of 2008 was created by too much regulation, not by Wall Street's immunity from the rule of law.

11. Many believe that Obama has declared "war on religion."

12. Many agree with Rick Santorum's surreal claim that JFK had, in his famous speech, called for religious people to be banned from the political sector.

13. Many accepted Rick Perry's surreal assertion that "our kids...can't pray in school." Of course they can. Anyone can pray anywhere they like.

14. Many believe that there is a war on Christmas. Still.

15. Many believe that tax rates were lower under Reagan. In fact, they were much, much higher.

16. Many believe that Reagan balanced the budget. In fact, the national debt skyrocketed under Reagan; there was more red ink during his administrations than under all previous presidents combined.

17. Many believe that there is some sort of conspiratorial alliance between atheists and Islamic jihadists. How can one discuss anything with someone who accepts such an absurdity?

18. Many still believe that Obama is a Muslim.

19. Many still believe that Obama is not a natural born citizen.

20. Many believe that "sharia law" is a real threat in the United States.

21. Many believe that voter registration fraud is a genuine problem. This superb Rolling Stone piece gives the facts.

22. Many still believe that everyone incarcerated at Gitmo was guilty of terrorism. In fact, the real terrorists were taken elsewhere.

23. Many still believe that massive layoffs resulted from Obama's "regulatory uncertainty." What the hell...? Lack of demand, and nothing else, caused the soft rebound.

24. Many believe that Canada, the U.K., France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries suffer from hellishly inefficient health care systems. Which just happen to give people healthier lives for less money.

25. Many believe that financial predators like Mitt Romney are "job creators."

I could go on, but that will do for now. Half this country has turned into Willy Wonka, living in a world of pure imagination. Better movie metaphor: They've turned into Jimmy Stewart's character in Harvey. It isn't easy to have a civilized discussion with someone who insists that you treat his imaginary friend as real.

Speaking of gullibility: Some of you may recall Wilfredo Saurin, international con artist and subject of several previous Cannonfire exposes. (See here and here.) We also took a look at his hilariously colorful conster pals, including cult leader Queen Legaspi and Dr. Hans Kempe, the man who cured cancer.

Well, Saurin's still at it. Not long ago, using one of his many aliases -- Yohannes Riyadi -- he managed to convince British MP Lord James of Blackheath that he (Saurin/Riyadi) is the richest man in the world, with over $15 trillion dollars to his name. Saurin/Riyadi, as head of something called Foundation X, wanted to help the U.K. weather its current financial storm with a massive loan.

Almost needless to say, many internet sensation-seekers have accepted this claim at face value. After all, if a British Member of Parliament believes it, then it must be real. Right?

What they don't tell you, of course, is that Saurin printed up his own financial instruments on an inkjet printer. Actually, it may have been Legaspi who did the actual printing. The point is that the bonds are fakes.

Then again, how real is "real"? All paper money is, in a sense, a mutually agreed-upon hallucination. I wonder what would happen if Britain paid off its debts with pseudocash printed on an inkjet printer...?
You need to see Harvey again. Harvey was real; he just didn't appear to anyone except Elwood P. Dowd until the end. I was with you on everything right up to that point. Now you need a new metaphor.
Well, CK, the pooka question has, as you know, always been controversial. I'm still not inclined to trust the reports of people who claim to have had interactions with invisible creatures.

Although I still love Bernadette.
Who does this say more about?

The Moron-American segment of the population or the print and broadcast media hacks who allow this crap to go unchallenged?
Yes I saw the story about Lord Blackheath in the guardian. Given the structure of their reporting it seems they bought the story too. Silly really. 15 tr is a lot of money. Its about equivalent to 1yrs production in the US.

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