Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Bag of Smashed Chips

News is like cheaply made clothes, sometimes - it's flashy and new for a week, then starts to fade alarmingly, and before you know it, there's a hole in your trousers at the knees.  So it is with the Orlando shooting and the uses certain people tried to make of it.  I was fully intending to write a long expose of the uses which the campaign of Donald Trump was trying to make of the shooting (although I wasn't really looking forward to the task; there are a lot of weeds yet to chop down in the backyard and I'm tired).  But events have taken a turn which seems to have resolved a great deal of what I was going to say.

It is well known that the campaign of Donald Trump has made the scapegoating of minorities and immigrants of color a central feature of its strategy for winning the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.  In this, Trump has mirrored many European leaders, who, faced with the inevitable loss of the wealth and power of their respective nations, have sought to blame that loss on a supposed overwhelming influx of supposedly savage, half-human invaders commonly known as "immigrants" and "refugees."  It is well-known that Europe and the United States created that flood of immigrants and refugees by smashing the home countries of those refugees into bits and digesting those bits for food. 

(To channel an old, rather dumb sci-fi TV series, "They say there's no devil, Jim, but there is...right out of hell!  I saw it!...It destroys planets, chops them into rubble...")

A central feature of that smashing has been the use of scapegoating to justify the smashing and the resultant inhumane treatment of the smashed populations.  A central feature of that scapegoating has been the portrayal of the target populations as fanatically, destructively insane people controlled by some ideologically insane organization which wants to attack the West solely because it "hates our freedoms!!!", and which we must therefore smash and attack first.  Thus we have forced the populations we want to smash and loot to serve as mirrors reflecting back to our eyes a Doomsday Machine which the West is actually guilty of being.  But to perpetuate the lie we have told ourselves about ourselves and about the populations we have decided to target, we have invented bogeymen which are supposed to represent the populations we have targeted.  Thus ISIS has come into being, just as Al-Qaeda came into being, and has served the same purpose for us that we caused Al-Qaeda to serve until Al-Qaeda outlived its usefulness.

ISIS was used as a justification for attempting to smash Syria - but a funny thing happened along the way.  A large number of Syrians, Libyans and North Africans became refugees and fled to the countries of Europe to escape the smashing, and to be fed some of the crumbs of the loot which Europe and the United States had stolen from them at gunpoint.  Europe - pure as the wind-driven snow and special, oh, so special - could not tolerate having dark-skinned, unchurched refugees in their midst, so a number of rather inexplicable incidents started to occur in Europe over the last year and a half - none of which made any strategic or tactical sense, and all of which were blamed on "ISIS agents masquerading as refugees."  (See this and this for a catalogue of some of these incidents.)

As I said, these incidents made no tactical or strategic sense if they were actually perpetrated by Muslims trying to destroy the West, for the same reason that if you are actually trying to kill a bear, it makes no sense to do nothing more than hit him across the snout with a hickory switch.  All that does is make the bear mad at you.  But these incidents made perfect sense if their purpose was to rouse Europe and the United States into taking drastic steps toward fascism - steps like trying ever harder to find some justification for invading Syria and any other Muslim or African country they could get their hands on, and closing their borders to refugees in order to "protect themselves" from further attack.

So in the wake of supposed Muslim attacks by "ISIS", a bunch of European nations closed their borders to immigrants (especially dark-skinned immigrants) and refugees, and the United States followed suit - especially in Southern states.  And a few incidents occurred right here in the USA in order to add momentum to the push by certain elements in this country to preserve a pure "American paradise" that did not have to share its ill-gotten gains with the people it had robbed at gunpoint and smashed.

But another funny thing started to happen.  An increasing number of people began to view all the supposed attacks by ISIS as false-flag operations, self-wounding operations carried out by well-placed Americans in order to gain sympathy for their narcissistic agenda.  (I have spent several months looking at Uncle Sam as a narcissistic personality, but really, the more I think about it, there is also more than a hint of borderline personality disorder at work in the mainstream American psyche.)  Now things are at the point where whenever a supposed "ISIS attack" is publicized by the American mainstream media, it is met by a growing and deafening chorus of skeptics like me who are shouting "False Flag!"  And mainstream media outlets - which at first ignored us, then made light of us - are now having to take time to answer us seriously.  (See this for instance.)  But that is not helping them, because the fact that they must now take serious time for serious answers means that people are now having to seriously consider our arguments.  The fact that we must now be taken seriously means that we have won a victory.

The result of that is that many of the associations between Omar Mateen and ISIS which were made by the mainstream media in the first few days after the Orlando nightclub shooting have been carefully and quietly scrubbed from the ongoing narrative of that shooting.  To associate that incident with ISIS is to give one's credibility the kiss of death. 

And Donald Trump - who has become the American embodiment of all the right-wing, racist intolerance which has revived in Europe - has found that the Orlando shooting has not helped him.  Rather, his insane remarks in the wake of the shooting have actually hurt him.  (See this, this and this.)

Meanwhile, this weekend we are seeing in Britain the sort of consequences which begin to unfold when a bunch of people who think they are All That And A Bag Of Chips cut themselves off from the rest of the world.  What if that sort of people wins control of the United States this November?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A June Commentary on the Flux of Election-Year Events

I noticed this week that someone posted a recent comment on my post, "The Breakup of Pathological Spaces."  I also noticed two other things: first, that my site traffic has recently gone through the roof, and second, that my commenter made a few violations of my comment policy.  The first violation was in posting anonymously.  (Normally, I don't publish anonymous comments.  Google ID or equivalent is required.)  The second was in throwing some profanity into his (her?) comment.  I only publish comments that are written in family-friendly language.  Call me old-fashioned, or a "prude", but I have my reasons, and no one has been able to talk me out of them.

However, when someone puts up a spirited disagreement with one of my posts, I am strongly tempted to give them a hearing, even if they violate my policies.  So I have decided to reproduce Mr. (Mrs.?  Ms.?) Anonymous' comment below (with some minor edits):

"A rather foolish contortion of NPD to fit your "America so evil" narrative. On another note, calling what happened in Orlando a false flag is disgraceful to us gays (yes I am gay, and a liberty-lover just the same), I really should be commenting on that post but alas its to the same end. How can you honestly imply American culture is at-large more narcissistic, more sociopathic than the self-righteous dogmatism of Islam, which could [care] less about the freedoms of women, gays, any free thinking person, of freedom of spirit and heart? Sure the power elites ripping the world to shreds are sociopathic slime, but western individualism is not simply narcissism. Collectivism is at the heart of all governmental evil in this world. Baffles me to think people are still defending muslims who hide their immorality, sadism and vitriol behind their [garbage] religion, playing the victim at every corner until they're in every corner of western civilization because of the white man's pathological on..."

(Here Blogger cut off the rest of the comment.  Anonymous, whoever you are, if you want to finish your thought, feel free to submit the rest of what you wanted to say - subject to my comment policy, of course!)

But for now, I have a few answers to the comment from Anonymous.  As to the assertion I have made that mainstream American culture is increasingly narcissistic and sociopathic, just look at how widely the ideals of selfishness are preached nowadays - through the mouths of entire political parties (Republicans and parties to the right of them); through mainstream American evangelicalism which venerates predatory capitalism, American exceptionalism and white supremacy; and  a "press" which is no longer free, but wholly owned by a handful of sick rich people (Rupert Murdoch being one of them) who want to reproduce their disease in as much of their audience as possible.  (Ever heard of Ayn Rand?)

As for the assertion that calling Orlando a false flag is disrespectful to the victims, there are people who for years have called 9/11 a false flag, yet these people meant no disrespect to those victims.  False flag operations do hurt people - that I acknowledge.  Yet the attempt to investigate the question of why a thing happened must rest on a truthful examination of facts, because it is the body of facts which determines why things happen and who the perpetrators are.  Asking "Why" is not disrespectful to the victims, nor is it disrespectful to pay careful attention to who benefits from a thing that has happened or what use (political and otherwise) is being made of that thing.  Your statement about being disgraceful is a non sequitur.

Lastly, regarding Islam, let me tell you something.  I am a Biblical Christian, and not a Muslim.  I will never convert to Islam.  However, I think that Islam has been set up as a convenient scapegoat for decades, complete with its convenient stereotype of the typical Muslim as some emotional, crazed, violent fanatic who goes around killing people solely because he "hates their freedoms!!!!!"  You are a self-professed homosexual, and yet it is ironic that you are spouting the same sort of stereotyped cliches that the American Religious Right spouted after 9/11.  (Here are two books to check out: The Blood of the Moon, and Islam Unveiled.  The latter book must have set a world speed record for being written and published within a few short months after the 9/11 attacks.  (It was published on January 1, 2002!)  Rather odd, considering that for a long time, the typical time to publish a book from the finishing of the author's manuscript was two years.)

A closer look at the reality of Islam in the world today - if you actually care to take a look - will reveal a much more diverse body of practitioners than you may have realized.  You will understand that there are divisions within Islam that are very similar in many ways to the denominations of Christianity.  You would also have discovered a host of Islamic countries where the values of community and hospitality are so deeply ingrained in the culture that Western visitors are blown away by the kindnesses they receive.  (Check out some bicycle touring blogs if you don't believe me - like "To Catch A Rainbow (Somewhere In Iran)", "Iran Alborz Mountains", and TravellingTwo.)

Anonymous, you've been living in a toxic bubble of American propaganda for too long.  Step away from the Kool-Aid, please...

For the rest of my readers, my next blog post will describe the ways in which the campaign of Donald Trump has been using the Orlando mass shooting.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Reichstagsbrand II

Image taken from The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches, Heinrich Hoffmann, 1858
So there was another mass shooting this weekend, and as usual, I found out about it several hours after it happened, since I have no TV.  And once again, an Arab with ties to ISIS is being blamed for the massacre.  And once again, I am inclined to think that this was a false flag attack.  For one thing, the alleged assailant is no longer alive to stand trial or to defend himself.  (How convenient!)  For another thing, the alleged assailant proclaimed his allegiance to ISIS just before the attack, and as I have written previously, ISIS has served the United States well as a conveniently manufactured bogeyman (just as Al-Qaeda did before ISIS).  Indeed, there are too many similarities between this attack and previous highly questionable "terror attacks" that have taken place within the last two years. 

For those who think that all Arabs - or all Muslims - are incredibly emotional, fanatic, and stupid, consider this.  Any sane person does not pick a fight with an opponent unless there is a good strategy for winning.  Senseless, high-drama "terror attacks" perpetrated by the Muslim world do not fall into the category of a good strategy for winning.  Rather, those who perpetrate such attacks merely strengthen the hand of their adversaries.  If the Muslim world was actually trying to pick a fight with the West (or especially, with the red-white-and blue Cowboy on a White Horse), surely they would use a smarter strategy than this.

So who benefits from such terror attacks?  Is it not the same people who have worked tirelessly in Europe to demonize immigrants and refugees, in order to exclude them and loot their countries?  And who now is the chief spokesman and proponent of pushing the United States to do the same thing?  The spokesman I am thinking of has indeed gone into full loose cannon mode over the last 24 hours.  He has made himself the point man for a group of people who have long been used to supremacy and a unipolar world which they regarded as their oyster.  Now that such a world is slipping from their grasp, they are full of rage and terror.  Such emotions can move people to do some really creepy things.