Article 43

 

Friday, September 06, 2019

Legalized Extortion

image: Uninsured

“Our deductible is so high, we practically pay for all of our medical expenses out of pocket.” Her family of four pays premiums of $1,200 a month for coverage with an annual deductible of $12,700.
- Wendy Kaplan, 50

“Obamacare, which should more correctly be called by its secret Corporate name, Baucus-care, makes 30 million people buy private health insurance, a near-worthless middleman racket that produces nothing, but is an exquisite parasite that does intrude to the max between doctor and patient for the sole purpose of extracting profit. And taxpayers have to pay for all those who can’t.”
- Op-Ed News - July 2012

No matter how worthless and expensive it may be with high deductables, copays and premiums - it may be cheaper to have insurance than not.

But, it’s NOT A GOOD THING.

Is the restaurant owner who pays the mob for PROTECTION, better off paying them or not?  Sure he won’t get his legs cut off - or business burned down - that’s why he pays.

I kinda pay the insurance company for protection too. 

On the surface it seems they protect me from heartless, price-gouging doctors.

What do I mean?

Doctors make deals with insurance companies to be IN-NETWORK - meaning they charge the insurance companies a lot less than they do everyone else.

Patients make deals with the same insurance companies for access to these in-network doctors’ prices.

Regardless how watered down and useless insurance coverage may be - just by paying these crooks middlemen, and going to an in-network doctor - you get the bargained for price, even if the insurance company pays nothing (THANKS TO big, fat yearly DEDUCTABLES) - ever - for a claim.

Then there was the day I though I had pneumonia. 

Lucky me only had to pay the in-network price for the doctor who treated my flu, but it got worse and I though I was dying, so decided to go a hospital.

Until I called the insurance company to get an idea how much it’ll cost me.

The agent said unless the hospital says it’s a “life threatening emergency,” they’ll deny all claims.

An emergency room visit, x-rays, tests, etc - can cost thousands - and if they don’t find anything that’ll kill me right away - means I gotta pay them lots of money.

If I were to roll the dice and take a chance - make sure to drive to the hospital myself - because an ambulance is considered TRANSPORTATION - a charge that may not be covered at all. 

So much for having one of the signs of an impending hear attack, and told to call 911 immediately.

I’m TOO AFRAID TO TAKE THE CHANCE.

The charge just to walk in a hospital is astronomical.

If I don’t have a heart attack now, I certainly will when the hospital bill comes in.

Even with an in-network discount.

This is worse than legalized extortion. At least if I pay the mob not to burn down my business - they won’t.

I wish our doctors would wise up and give discounts to us instead of the insurance companies screwing us all.

So, what else happened during those two months I spent on the couch coughing my brains out you ask?

The city almost took away my house because I was too sick to get out of bed to cut the grass.

$250/day fine because they said it was getting to high.

Looks like I’m not the only one getting hit with fines for that.... while our roads and bridges are COLLAPSING.

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The Grass Gestapo Is Out of Control: 30K in Fines and Potential Foreclosure for a Too-Long Lawn

By Dagney Talbert
The Organic Prepper
August 12, 2019

A few weeks ago, I noticed a woman standing in my neighbor’s yard doing something I thought was pretty damn strange: she was measuring blades of grass with a tape measure.

Then I noticed the city truck parked on the street.

Turns out, the woman was with codes compliance or whatever they call it, apparently, her job is to drive around looking for reasons to harass and extort people for things like tall grass.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/06/19 •
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Thursday, September 05, 2019

Thailand Fights Fake News

image: fake news

West’s “Fake News” Begins to Backfire

By Joseph Thomas
New Eastern Outlook
September 4, 2019

Western special interests have used the term “fake news” as a pretext for widening censorship, particularly across US-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as across Googles various platforms.

In a move of political judo, many nations are citing the threat of “fake news” to in turn deal with media platforms, often funded and supported by the US and Europe, operating within their borders and often targeting sitting governments to either coerce or unseat them in pursuit of Western interests.

A recent example of this is in Thailand where the government has announced plans for measures to combat what is being called “fake news.”

A Bangkok Post article titled, ”DIGITAL ECONOMY AND SOCIETY MINISTRY” outlines fake news crackdown, would report:

The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE) is seeking to counter fake information shared online through the Line app because urgent issues could potentially incite mass public misunderstanding.

The article also makes mention of the Thai government’s plans to approach tech-giants like Facebook, Line and Google, urging each to establish offices in Thailand for the specific purpose of confronting “fake-news”

Facebook and Google already have a well-oiled process of identifying and removing content both platforms deem “fake news” or coordinated, “disingenuous behaviour,” but this is a process that focuses solely on deleting narratives from their networks that challenge US interests. Both platforms, as well as Twitter, are more than happy to otherwise allow false narratives aimed at governments around the world to flourish with impunity.

The offices the Thai government seeks to establish are described as a shortcut for the Thai government to contact these foreign tech companies and spur them into action. However, similar arrangements have already been tried with mixed results and ultimately, with large foreign tech-giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter enjoying net influence over Thailand’s information space at the Thai government’s and the Thai peoples expense.

Genuine Cooperation and Non-Interference Requires Thai Leverage

China doesn’t need Google. Google needs China. And because of this leverage, China is able to bend Google to conform to its conditions while operating within China. At any time China can remove what little of Googles business remains there because of this fact.

For smaller nations like Thailand, tech-giants like Google face little to no competition. They are able to exert influence over Thailand’s information space with virtual impunity. The Thai government may “ask for cooperation, but lacking any indigenous alternative, requests for cooperation lack the sufficient leverage necessary to receive it in full.

Thailand’s latest plans will likely backfire if not linked to serious efforts to establish Thai versions of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms operated by foreign tech giants currently dominating Thailand’s information space.

Such efforts have been hinted at.  In 2017 there were talks between the Thai and Russian governments regarding Russian assistance to develop local Thai alternatives to US-based social media platforms.

So far, no tangible progress has been made. But should concrete plans be rolled out alongside requests that foreign tech giants concede control of Thai information space to the Thai government, the threat of local alternatives displacing foreign social media platforms just as they did in China or Russia could give Bangkok the leverage it needs to have its requests met.

The Wests Surreal Hypocrisy

In the wake of Thailand’s announcement to fight “fake news,” Western media platforms began decrying the proposed plans.

The Diplomats article, “Fake News” and Thailand’s “Information Wars,” would attempt to claim: 

dentifying what is considered “fake news” has become a political weapon for authoritarian consolidation after the 2014 military coup. The regime has relentlessly accused its critics of spreading false information while claiming that it is the only official source of true facts.

The author, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, appears entirely unaware the term “fake news” was first coined in the West specifically for this purpose and the tech-giants Thailand proposes to lean on to enforce its own definition of “fake news” have already scoured their networks of tens of thousands of accounts in a politically-motivated censorship campaign propped up by claims of fighting “fake news.”
Janjira also complains that the Thai governments proposal puts first and foremost US-backed political parties like Future Forward at risk. She never mentions Future Forward is a political proxy of foreign interests and glosses over its links to political parties guilty of mass murder, street violence and terrorism. She also attempts to imply US designs for primacy over Asia is a threat imagined by Thailand’s current government and its supporters despite a half century of US policy papers, US-led wars and standing armies placed in the region proving just how real this threat is.

If a campaign aimed at confronting “fake news” was ever really needed, it is for parties like Future Forward, the foreign special interests it works for and the networks of violence and terrorism it works with.

As Asia Rises, Western Influence in Physical and Information Space will Wane

Thailand is not alone. Other nations across Southeast Asia have already passed laws regarding what they define as “fake news,” much of which targets US-funded media platforms seeking to influence regional public perception, policy and economic decisions.

Reuters in its article, Thailand asks tech firms to set up centers against ԓfake news in Southeast Asia,ђ would note:

Other Southeast Asian governments have also recently made efforts to exert more control over online content and taken a tough stance against misinformation.

Singapore passed an anti-fake news bill in May, forcing online media platforms to correct or remove content the government considers to be false.

Vietnam said its cybersecurity law, which was passed last year and banned posting anti-government information online, would guard against fake news.

Whether or not Thailand’s current plans succeed, what is certain is that the balance of power in the region is shifting. Nations once powerless to compete against US economic, political, military and information supremacy are now moving individually and in unison to chip away at US hegemony in the region.

Thailand will eventually develop its own alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, Google and others which will not only be a benefit to Thai national security, but also to the Thai economy. Much of Thailand’s nearly 70 million strong population is online (including 46 million on Facebook alone) and keeping the money generated by their online activity inside Thailand’s borders can only be a positive thing.

It’s not a matter of if but of when US-based tech giants lose their grip on information space abroad. The only question that remains is how much damage they’ll be able to do in each respective country, including Thailand, before that grip loosens.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/05/19 •
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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Another GM Bloodbath

image: GM

End of GM in Ohio town as Trump fails to bring back midwest jobs
Closing of Chevrolet plant is latest blow in a slow, painful decline in Lordstown an area that has suffered more than most from the outsourcing of jobs overseas

By Adam Gabbat
The Guardian
August 23, 2019

For years, the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, employed 8,000 workers in the Mahoning valley.

In a rust belt region that has become synonymous with industrial decline, following the closure of its once mighty steel mills in the 1970s, the presence of the Chevrolet factory in Lordstown, and its well-paid manufacturing jobs, was particularly important.

Then, late last year, GM abruptly shut the plant. The company had already scaled back workers at the Lordstown plant, and this closure saw 1,500 workers, the last of the once huge workforce, out of their jobs.

“I think it’s devastating,” said Mark Sweetwood, the managing editor of the Vindicator newspaper, which serves the Mahoning valley.

“I think it was the last holdout of our industrial age.”

The news was just the latest blow in a slow, painful decline in this area. The rust belt was a boom area at the start of the last century, but has suffered more than most from the outsourcing of jobs overseas. Stories of places like Lordstown abound in the midwest, and the angst and anger here is something DONALD TRUMP was able to tap into in 2016 and that helped propel him into the White House.

The closing of the Lordstown factory came after GM said it would cut 14,700 jobs across four plants in the midwest and Canada. That announcement, in November 2018, was in stark contrast to Trump’s election PLEDGE to bring back auto jobs to the region.

Today the plant, which looms behind a “Welcome to Lordstown” sign at the entry to the village, stands as a testament to the hollowness of that promise. In mid-August it was possible to drive into the complex, where huge parking lots once full of new cars, but now completely empty, with brown weeds growing from cracks in the concrete - stretch as far as the eye can see.

On one side of the factory was a huge sign declaring: “Lordstown, home of the Cruze”. The plant was clad in dull yellow corrugated metal panels, adding to a sense of gloom on a grey, drizzly day.

Lordstown is a small place, essentially a village with a gas station. Warren, five miles north, is more what one would traditionally think of as a town, with a main street, businesses and an impressive 19th-century county courthouse. Away from the pretty town center, however, some of the narrow roads are lined with abandoned homes, while buildings are in varying states of disrepair.

Its a far cry from the golden years of the 20th century, when the Mahoning valley was colloquially known as Steel valley as the steel industry boomed.

“You could walk up and get a job.” All my family worked in the steel mills. Everybody worked in the steel mills. You could go to any of those places any day and get a job, said Patricia Galgozy, who has lived in the area for over 80 years.

Galgozy is the executive director of the Turnbull Art Gallery, in downtown Warren. The Foo Fighters rock star Dave Grohl, who was born in the town, recently attended a show there, and large framed photographs of him adorn the walls. The gallery, a non-profit, was in good shape, but Galgozy has seen how the area has changed.

“I see that impact constantly,” Galgozy said. “People can’t find jobs, in my own family. You cannot find jobs around here many times. It does concern me. It makes me sad.”

Despite that, Galgozy says she is positive about the future.

“It doesn’t mean the quality of life doesnt stay with us,” she said. “I see that we’re fighters. We step up and say what can we do.”

The Lordstown plant manufactured the Chevrolet Cruze, a cost-friendly compact car. It ceased production, with little warning, in March. Some workers were given the option to transfer to other GM plants, either by commuting or leaving the Mahoning valley entirely.

There is a chance that people could be employed at the factory again, with Workhorse, a small company which manufactures ԓhigh performance battery-electric vehicles, linked with buying the Lordstown plant. But Workhorse is beset by its own problems. The company recorded sales of just $6,000 in the second quarter of this year and lost $36.9m.

The consequences of the GM closure are serious. Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development estimates that the plant shutting down will have a negative impact of $8bn in the region. It doesn’t help that other big employers have also recently left the area.

“We also lost Allegiance Airlines in 2018. So we lost our airport and the hospital shut down in 2018 as well,” Sweetwood said.

For longtime residents, the end of the GM era is all too familiar. When the US steel industry collapsed in the late 1970s, the area was decimated. As mills closed in nearby Youngstown and elsewhere, people left the area. The population of Youngstown has halved since 1970, while Warren has lost almost a third of its residents.

The impact is going to hurt everybody in the community, little by little,Ӕ said Al Tate, an 86-year-old who sells fruit and vegetables at the Warren farmers market.

Three of Tate’s brothers lost their jobs when the mills closed in the late 1970s. Two of them left to find work, and never returned.

“Others did the best they can, trying to make it,” Tate said. He said people who have lost their jobs at GM now face difficult choices.

“They’re hurt now and they’re going to hurt worse later after their [unemployment] benefits stop,” Tate said.

“If you ain’t got nothing coming in, you’ve got nothing to spend. If you’ve never had to live week-to-week, from month-to-month, its hard to understand.”

SOURCE

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GM now has more workers in China than UAW employees in the U.S.

By Stephen Gandel
Moneywatch
August 30, 2019

President Donald Trump on Friday disdainfully labeled General Motors as “one of the smallest car manufacturers” in Detroit, reprising his call that the automaker move jobs back to the U.S. Something else he might not be happy with: GM is also one of the largest car makers in China.

In fact, GM now employs more workers in China than it does members of the United Auto Workers in the U.S. According to its website, the company now has about 58,000 workers in China that’s about 20% more than its domestic UAW workforce, which has dwindled in recent years.

General Motors, which was once the Giant of Detroit, is now one of the smallest auto manufacturers there. They moved major plants to China, BEFORE I CAME INTO OFFICE. This was done despite the saving help given them by the USA. Now they should start moving back to America again?
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2019

Mr. Trump’s tweet appears to have come in response to an ARTICLE FROM BLOOMBERG with a headline describing GM as Detroit’s smallest automaker. The article said it was a “dubious distinction for a company that’s been criticized by ‘America First’ President Donald Trump.”

In response, Trump tweeted, “General Motors, which was once the Giant of Detroit, is now one of the smallest auto manufacturers there. . . . Now they should start moving back to America again?”

In fact, GM is not among the smallest auto manufacturers in Detroit, or anything close to it. Bollinger Motors, for instance, has 17 employees, not including its three dogs, Charlie, Henry and Paco (Paco, according to his bio on Bollinger’s website, likes tennis balls.)

GM has a total of 49,000 UAW workers, including temporary employees. That’s about 2,000 more than Fiat Chrysler, while Ford has roughly 55,000 UAW employees in the U.S.

Still, GM’s domestic workforce has been shrinking for years, a trend that has continued since President Trump took office. At the end of 2016, GM employed 54,096 UAW workers in the U.S.

Kristin Dziczek of the Center for Automaker Research notes that the drop isn’t because GM is moving jobs overseas, but rather because it’s selling fewer cars. Since 2016, GM’s U.S. market share has shrunk from 14% to 11%.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Trump has tangled with GM over its shrinkage in the U.S. He has repeatedly criticized the company since it announced plans earlier this year to close all or a portion of three of its plants, including a facility OUTSIDE OF LORDSTOWN, OHIO.

Nor is the president the only politician who has criticized GM for seemingly moving jobs overseas. In a video aimed at UAW workers late last year, former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden questioned why GM was investing in China and Mexico at the same time it was laying off U.S. workers. “Make those investments here, build those vehicles in the U.S. and retain the existing workforce for those jobs,” Biden said.

GM is one of the largest car manufacturers in China. But nearly all of the vehicles it makes there are sold in China. GM only makes one car, the Buick Envision, in China that it sells in the U.S.

Overall, U.S. car exports to China had been rising for the past few years, but dropped to nearly 164,000 in 2018, from roughly 262,000 the previous year. Dziczek blamed the sales drop on the growing U.S. trade war with China.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/29/19 •
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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Fleeing America Redux 4

image: nothing to lose

The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.
- James Baldwin

Did you see 60 MINUTES LAST WEEK ?

KEVIN MALLORY was a down on his luck former clandestine case officer for the CIA when he was approached by a man the Department of Justice believes was a Chinese spy. Officials say Mallory was a prime target for recruitment. He was out of work, three months behind on his mortgage, and thousands of dollars in debt. But as we first reported in December and as the Chinese would discover, Kevin Mallory wasn’t exactly James Bond. The Department of Justice agreed to show us how they caught Mr. Mallory and why they believe his recruitment by China is part of a massive clandestine campaign to steal not just national security secrets from the U.S. government, but industrial and technological secrets from American companies.

They found him on LinkedIn.

I’ve been ASKING MYSELF for years what I would do if a headhunter from another country offered me a job.

If given a choice - living IN A TENT under some bridge, shunned like a diseased leper by society and government just for being UNLUCKY - or invited to live in another country with renewed hopes of a happy RETIREMENT - would you move?

If the question were as simple as that - who wouldn’t?

I hear people living in Scandanavian countries are the HAPPIEST ON EARTH.

What if a foreign headhunter asks you to betray your country in return for a life of luxury where he lives?

That’s a big test.

Although I feel BETRAYED since writing President Obama and VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN about the LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED a few years ago, I don’t think I’d ever sell out my country.

But then again, I’ve never been more horrified by what IT’S BECOME and WHAT I’VE BECOME, or more frightened of winding up hungry and homeless. 

DESPERATE people do desperate things, and people who have nothing, have nothing to loose.

Imagine now you’re way behind on your mortgage. Your family, FRIENDS and society - all left you to ROT AND DIE while calling you a LAZY BUM for not having a job.

My tears can fill an ocean from all the crying I’ve done.

In walks Mr Li Hope - the headhunter from our political enemy. All he wants in return for helping you get your life back are the THINGS YOU LEARNED working years for the telephone company.

And maybe a little more.

He’s offering a paid move and generous signon bonus.

Posted by Elvis on 08/27/19 •
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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Curse of Moral Purity

image: moral purity

The Curse of Moral Purity

By Chris Hedges
Truthdig
August 26, 2019

The continued inability of America’s liberal democratic establishment to address the ills besetting the country - climate change, unregulated global capitalism, mounting social inequality, a bloated military, endless foreign wars, out-of-control deficits and gun violence - means the inevitable snuffing out of our anemic democracy. Overwhelmed by the multiple crises, the liberal elites have jettisoned genuine political life and retreated into self-defeating moral crusades in a vain and futile attempt to deflect attention away from the looming social, political, economic and environmental catastrophes.

These faux moral crusades, now the language of the left and the right, have bifurcated the country into warring factions. Opponents are demonized as evil. Adherents to the cause are on the side of the angels. Nuance and ambiguity are banished. Facts are manipulated or discarded. Truth is replaced by slogans. Conspiracy theories, however bizarre, are incredulously embraced to expose the perfidiousness of the enemy. Politics is defined by antagonistic political personalities spewing vitriol. The intellectual and moral sterility, along with the inability to halt the forces of societal destruction, provides fertile soil for extremists, neofascists and demagogues who thrive in periods of paralysis and cultural degeneracy.

Liberals and the left have wasted the last two years attacking Donald Trump as a Russian asset and look set to waste the next two years attacking him as a racist. They desperately seek scapegoats to explain the election of Trump as president, no different from a right wing that tars its Democratic Party enemies as America-hating socialists and that blames Muslims, immigrants and poor people of color for our national debacle. These are competing cartoon visions of the world. They foster a self-created universe of villains and superheroes that exacerbates the mounting polarization and rage.

“Bourgeois society seems everywhere to have used up its store of constructive ideas,” CHRISTOPHER LASCH wrote in 1979 in “The Culture of Narcissism.” It has lost both the capacity and the will to confront the difficulties that threaten to overwhelm it. The political crisis of capitalism reflects a general crisis of western culture, which reveals itself in a pervasive despair of understanding the course of modern history or of subjecting it to rational direction. Liberalism, the political theory of the ascendant bourgeoisie, long ago lost the capacity to explain events in the world of the welfare state and the multinational corporation; nothing has taken its place. Politically bankrupt, liberalism is intellectually bankrupt as well.

The online magazine Slate recently published a TRANSCRIPTOF A TOWN HALL MEETING between Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, and the Times staff. It was a fascinating windowinto the hubris and cluelessness of the paper, the ruling elites’ primary news organ, which has spent the last two years shredding its credibility by hyping the investigation by Robert Mueller and the conspiracy theory that Trump was a Russian asset. Here is Baquet on the newspapers reporting on Trump:

Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. Im going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.

The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, “Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.” And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. Were a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, thats become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we writeabout race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think thats what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.

Baquet asserts that the journalistic campaign to incriminate Trump as a Russian agent sputtered out and a new campaignread moral crusade - arose six or seven weeks ago to focus on Trump’s racism. Trump’s racism, of course, did not begin six or seven weeks ago. It is the paper that switched narratives six or seven weeks ago, from one moral crusade to another.

This is not journalism. It is moral purity masquerading as journalism. And it will, like the “Russiagate” conspiracy, be useless to blunt Trumps support, explain and cope with our innumerable crises or heal the growing divide.

The problem that the paper, along with the Democratic Party and its liberal allies, faces is that it is captive to its corporate sponsors who orchestrated our grotesque income inequality, deindustrialization, out-of-control military machine, neutered media and muzzled scholarship. The paper, therefore, rather than turn on its corporate advertisers and elitist readers, first blamed Russia and now blames white supremacists. The longer such demagoguery continues on the left and the right, the more the country will be torn asunder.

Hannah Arendt in “The Origins of Totalitarianism” pointed out that ideologies are attractive in times of crisis because they reduce and simplify reality to a single idea. While the right wing blames the decline on darker races, the liberal elites blame the decline on Russia or racists. It is the ideology, not experience or fact, that is used to explain all historical happenings, [to provide] the total explanation of the past, the total knowledge of the present, and the reliable prediction of the future, she wrote.

All ideologies demand an impossible consistency. This is achieved by a constant mutation and distortion of reality until it becomes, as the Mueller investigation did, absurdist theater. The result for believers, Arendt wrote, is disorientation, heightened fear and paranoia.

These types of collective self-delusions have always existed in American society, as the historian Richard Hofstadter pointed out. Such self-delusions, he wrote, are “made up of certain preoccupations and fantasies: the megalomaniac view of oneself as the Elect, wholly good, abominably persecuted, yet assured of ultimate triumph; the attribution of gigantic and demonic powers to the adversary.”

But these self-delusions have usually been confined to the fringes of society, such as, for example, a left wing that made political pilgrimages to the Soviet Union, blissfully ignoring its government’s slaughter of millions of its own citizens, the gulags and the famines, and a right wing that celebrated fascist dictatorships in Spain and later Latin America, overlooking the mass executions, state terror and death squads there.

Collective self-delusions, however, have now been mainstreamed. They are trumpeted by media platforms across the political spectrum and by the political establishment. They are the fodder of Fox News and Breitbart as well as MSNBC and CNN. Jake Tapper and Rachel Maddow, as MATT TAIBBI HAS POINTED OUT, are liberal versions of Sean Hannity.

RICHARD RORTY, with uncanny prescience, wrote in his 1998 book Achieving Our Country:

Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a WEIMER-like period, one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. Edward Luttwak, for example, has suggested that fascism may be the American future. The point of his book The Endangered American DreamӔ is that members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workersthemselves desperately afraid of being downsizedחare not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking for a strongman to vote forsomeone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodern professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewisג novel It CanӒt Happen Here may then be played out. For once such a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic.

One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words ԓnigger and ԓkike will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.

The rupture of social bonds, caused by the breakdown of society, income inequality, social stagnation and the disempowerment of the working class, is expressed in innumerable dark pathologies. A fractured public carries out self-destructive behaviors, out-of-control gun violence, opioid addiction, and sexual sadism - in an attempt to cope with dislocation, impotence and pain. Moral crusades are an expression of this cultural sickness. They are emblematic of a society in deep distress, unable to cope rationally with the problems besetting it. These crusades always make things worse, for once they are exposed as ineffectual they invariably breed a frightening fanaticism.

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Posted by Elvis on 08/26/19 •
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