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Thursday, April 30, 2015

A telling juxtaposition

Memeorandum -- no doubt unintentionally -- has offered readers an intriguing juxtaposition of headlines.

May I suggest that the ludicrous fear-fantasies of the right would have much less credibility (even among tater-brained Red Staters) if real life did not continually offer up headlines like this one in the NYT?

If our government -- particularly those agencies of government most concerned with national security -- behaved better, then the Illuminati-spotting ninnies among us would be far fewer in number.

Mind you, I have no sympathy for the fools who believe in this kind of nonsense...
So in response to the fact that some of Texas's dumbest citizens emerged from their doomsday prepper shelters long enough to harangue a colonel about their belief that martial law is coming to their state, Governor Abbott issued an order to the National Guard to monitor the movements of the U.S. military just to make sure they aren't herding citizens into re-education camps or dropping Islamic State infiltrators into Galveston. I guess we're safe from that, for the moment anyway.
For more than four decades, right-wing freakazoids have been screeching the same message: "The Great Gun Round-Up is scheduled to take place any day now! The law is already on the books! It's a done deal!" I wish that the people who sound these alarms would read that famous story about the boy and the wolf. It was written by a guy named Aesop. Greek fella.

That said....

Far fewer people would buy into nonsense if real-world politics weren't so damned outlandish. There's a reason why Lily Tomlin once said "No matter how paranoid you get, you can't keep up."

Everyone with any sense who has made a serious study of the matter knows that a faction of the CIA assassinated President Kennedy and then stymied any attempt to investigate what really happened. Everyone with any sense knows that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was bullshit. Everyone with any sense knows that there was a lot more to Watergate than the official investigation revealed. Everyone with any sense knows that a whole lot of freaky shit has gone down in the years since.

Are those conspiratards in Texas risible? Sure. As Robert Anton Wilson once pointed out, the problem with most conspiracy theorists is that they have no standards of evidence. They've become so addicted to the rush they get from their paranoid fantasias that they have transcended such mundane concerns as the acquisition of proof. That's the reason why they sound so crazy.

And yet: Suppose that, fifteen years ago, I had told you that the CIA and the APA would soon conspire to come up the best way to torture captives. You would have called me crazy.
The CIA and APA started cooperating in torturing people a lot earlier than 15 years ago. Donald Ewen Cameron was APA President almost half a century before that. (I know you know that, Joe; this is just for some of your readers who might not.)

That said, I like the idea in your last sentence a lot.

If we'd told people in 1995 that within 10 years, most people in advanced countries would voluntarily carry microwave tracker devices allowing communications intelligence agencies such as the NSA to pinpoint their whereabouts 24 hours a day...

If we'd told people in 2000 that within 10 years, the majority of people in advanced countries, too lazy to make their own websites, would post loads of private information online to the website of a company set up by the CIA, just to 'keep in touch with their friends'...

...that the US military would become the biggest developer of computer role-playing games...

...that snuff videos 'qualified' by Israeli Rita Katz's SITE would become mainstream...

...that 'shit on other people' culture such as Blurred Lines, Game of Thrones, Fifty Shades and 'lulz' would become mainstream with very little left-wing or feminist objection...

...that a web 'advertising' company set up by the CIA would send camera vans along most streets in the advanced world, taking photographs of everyone's house, as well as spying on practically all phones and computers...

...we'd have been called crazy.

So what else is part of the landscape now that isn't talked about?

And how are things likely to be in 10 years time?

It's precisely those very down-to-earth and sensible questions that right-wing shit about gun round-ups, and vile spook-initiated lies about Sandy Hook being a hoax, for example, serve to prevent the widespread asking of.
Here's a statistic that surprises even me: the number of mobile phones in use is 6.8 billion. That's 97% the size of the world's population.

(Of course, some people own more than one, so the proportion of people who own at least one would, on this figure, be lower than 97%, but still. And some people are babies, so the ratio of mobile phones to people who aren't babies must be a lot higher than 1:1)

I am reminded of a New Labour politician's parable of the pistachios. Adopting the Thatcherite line that unemployment was the fault of the unemployed, and that the biggest social problem connected with unemployment was getting hold of the small percentage of individuals who were successfully workshy and forcing them to work, she compared the government's task with cracking open those last few pistachios in the pack - the ones without obvious cracks and which can't be opened using a thumbnail.
Oh man, b.....Your last comment made me think, what if in 10 years "work" were mandatory? The hourly wages even now are a joke, and prison slave work includes some pretty sophisticated labor, which drives those industries not using prison labor out of business. (Not that prisoners are being trained for work, since next to no one hires ex-cons.) Prison labor will probably lead to "mandatory" work "programs" for ex-cons, which everyone will approve of, and that will be the start.

I don't know what kind of feminists and lefties *you* hang out with, but complaining and shaming people for "appropriating" other cultures is nonstop. They're (we're!) going to ruin Halloween.
I had lunch with a Texan yesterday. When I asked him about Jade Helm 2015 he said "come back Rick Perry, all is forgiven". Iced tea shot from my nose.
Interesting prognosis, pzee. A few years ago a wise man told me that before too long everything that is not expressly forbidden will be expressly required.
Just like you say the riots might have made the difference in the evidence coming out, the right wing freak-a-zoid warnings might make the difference in postponing the gun confiscation.
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