Of course I've been paying attention to events, but there's such a level of chaos on so many fronts it's hard to know what's worth the time to explore more and what's just "entertainment."
1) Propaganda. We are immersed in propaganda, sales pitches, and false narratives from the media, politicians, commercial interests and others all the time. We know this, don't we? As a rule, the truth of things beyond our immediate reference point is rarely knowable to most of us. Yes, even science and scholarly research can produce false and misleading information.
Thus, it is always wise to be skeptical about what we are told by authority or somebody trying to sell us something. Not all of it is false, but much of everything we're told is framed to make us believe certain things in certain ways that may not have anything to do with reality.
The Russia Thing has been all about propaganda and the effective use of propaganda for political objectives. There's been an effort to blame-cast Russian propaganda for electing Trump -- which to me has always been simply stupid. Incomprehensibly stupid.
There was Russian propaganda at play, but there was lots and lots of other propaganda coming from many, many sources during the election campaign and afterwards. We used to joke about the Macedonian teenagers spreading false stories about Hillary on Facebook and Twitter and various websites. Yes? So? Apparently there were whole troll farms running internet propaganda campaigns from many locations in and out of the USofA, a good deal of it automated, and yes, they were effective among those particularly vulnerable to what they see, read, and hear on the internet.
I think far too much has been made of anti-Hillary, pro-Trump propaganda, however.Trump won the presidency not because the American people elected him -- far from it -- but because the Electoral College elected him based on 70,000-80,000 unverifiable votes in three states. The voters chose Hillary by more than 3,000,000 votes overall, so it's simply false to say that a majority of the American People elected Trump. They didn't.
The propaganda of the campaign was effective in disparaging Hillary mostly among those already so inclined. There was no comprehensive or comparable propaganda effort to disparage Trump. That may seem strange given how over the top some of the denunciations of Trump have been since the election, but consider this:
Media gave him and still gives him nearly limitless coverage for anything he says or does or for pretty much anything anyone else says about him. The circus sells. So, they cover it obsessively. The internet has come to set the standard narrative about things such as Trump, and media falls into line. If Trump is trending, which he always is, the media covers him and everyone -- pretty much -- around him. It's a goon show and they love it. Can't get enough of it. It doesn't really matter what kind of coverage he gets, positive or negative, so long as he gets coverage. If that ever stopped, on the other hand...
There has never been any comparable level of coverage for Hillary or Democrats in general, something that once was noted regularly.
What this means is that Rs and now Trump are able to sell their product almost without impediment whereas in so many cases, Ds can't even come up with a product to sell. But even if they did, their sales technique, indeed, their product itself, wouldn't differ much from that of the Rs. The propaganda and the lies would be nearly indistinguishable. What foreign interests and internet meme generators, fake news purveyors, and what have you do or don't do don't really matter all that much -- they are all part of the game being played. Our rulers lie to us. All. The. Time. Some do it more subtly that others, but they all do it.
That Russian and other foreign and domestic interests exploited these characteristics of American politics to sow discord and "influence the election" should be taken for granted. That one or another campaign was entangled with these interests and activities should be seen as the way the game is played.
What should be clear by now, though, is that Americans are way too vulnerable to these tactics and too many of them lack the tools and skill to sort through the garbage. They believe what they believe and whoever/whatever confirms it. Thus, propaganda is more effective than it should be.
2) Gunz. The nightmare continues. I was impressed by the size of the crowds at Saturday's marches for Our Lives. Sadly, however, we know that marches per se, no matter their size, are routinely ignored by Our Rulers, simply because they can and they want to stick it to the Rabble one more time.
On top of the issue of school massacres, there is obviously still a problem with police executions and murders, street mayhem and murder in various cities, and the ridiculous and deadly insanity of the gun lobby's constant demands for more gunz no matter what.
The thing of it is, despite the absolute number of gunz in private hands, fewer and fewer Americans own them. Ponder: something like half the gunz are in the hands of 3% or so of the population. Only 30% or so of households have a gun, and the number is declining. The rest -- apparently -- are in private arsenals like the one maintained by the Las Vegas mass murderer, or... well, something is going on with those arsenals.
There are always so many gunz available in the black market. There are always so many gunz available on the legal market too. Dude in Florida could walk in to his neighborhood gun shop and buy anything he wanted as long as he had the bucks -- which he did somehow -- and could pass the so called "background check" which didn't pick up any of his sketchier behavior and threats. No problem. It's a puzzlement that all of the reports and calls and tips and so on about him were apparently ignored by layers of authorities who were informed and chose to do nothing. If he were Muslim or black or some other disfavored minority, who knows, he might have been tortured on the rack and thrown in the hole for the rest of his life, but apparently, he was a favored minority.
There is some dispute over whether he is an ethnic Hispanic. He was apparently adopted by a Hispanic family and was given a Hispanic name, but that he is not ethnically Hispanic. Most reports say he's "white." Beyond that, it's a muddle.
But despite being a double orphan, he had plenty of money to buy gunz and he did. This happens with some frequency among the mass murder contingent.
I think we can admit that gunz are far easier to get than they need to be, and that the failure of Our Rulers to do anything about it -- except make it easier -- represents policy. A policy of bloodshed as a corrective for the Rabble, keeping them in fear and thus relatively tame. It's not pleasant, but it works.
Thus the kids must fail in their crusade, and they must be seen to fail. We'll see. Even if/when they manage to expel the electeds who insist on the policy of practically unlimited gun access and periodic mass murder, there is more than a little suspicion that the policy won't change much. Because it is effective in keeping the Rabble in its place, fearful, powerless and under control.
3) Another bimbo eruption. Oh dear. The Storm(y) has hit. Of course no one is shocked -- least of all I imagine Melania. But trying to take out Trump over this sort of thing -- no matter how many women come forth (up to 27 at last count) -- seems somewhat silly. I think Clinton showed that you don't get rid of a president because of his sex life. You just don't. It's ridiculous. But here we are, going through nearly the same thing with Trump as with Clinton, and it's deja vu all over again.
The entertainment value is high, of course, other people's sex lives being endlessly entertaining, but that's about all it is. (Personally, it all makes me kind of ill; I really don't want to know and don't much care.)
But entertainment in these cases always has a purpose. The purpose is to keep you 'n' me distracted while something else, much more important to Our Rulers, is taking place.
What's important to Our Rulers are the policies being enacted: tax cuts, regulatory relief, theft of public resources and wealth, wars and aggression against designated and ever changing enemies, that kind of thing.
That's going on at an accelerated pace no matter the dazzling show.
There's much more of course.
I've started a whole bunch of seeds, and have more to start during the next week or so. My health is better but not fully up to par. Will probably be starting physical therapy soon. Ms Ché is getting her BFA in Creative Writing in May and then starting the MFA program in August. She will not be the oldest graduate, but close to it. And she's having the time of her life!
In the midst of all the hoo-hah, there's always something else again.
I may take another long break over the next several months.
We'll see how things settle out.