Monday, January 22, 2018

Stop Believing in Memes, Tweets, and Hashtags (Trendy Nonsense)

Being up-to-the-moment with the news and the latest political bullshit doesn't make you well-informed, it makes you less so.  Click to enlarge (but you know how it ends).

One tactic that has been honed over the years and polished to near-perfection in this social media era, is the way people, organizations, and political parties can distract the American people with shiny trinkets, in the form of "breaking stories" that evaporate within a news cycle or two.  And a lot of people still watch television and television news and believe this nonsense, as if it was some spontaneous event that "just happened" instead of some carefully orchestrated scheme to distract you from what is really going on.

We saw this during the last election with the "dossier" on Donald Trump, which may contain some real information (which does not seem to be very incriminating) and a whole lot of admitted bullshit.   But if you are a Democratic True Believer, it is a "smoking gun" that will put the Donald in jail.

On the Right, is a whole host of these things, dating way back to Whitewater and President Clinton.   We started a perpetual investigation there and came up with.... lying about getting a blowjob in the White House.   Not much "there" there was there?

And Hillary - Oh boy do they love to do this shit with Hillary.   Secret e-mails that were erased and will reveal all!  Hashtag release the e-mails!   It will all come crumbling down.   But what is revealed is not scandal or high crimes and misdemeanors, but mendacity, and we all hate the smell of mendacity.

Now it continues.  The "Russia Probe" keeps ambling along without finding out much in the way of smoking guns, other than some small-time players doing stupid things.   And quite frankly, I doubt we will find out much or much will change.  That is the nature of the game - to keep the investigations going on forever, until you find a blowjob in the White House.

The Republicans are of course, worried about this - not that anyone will find anything.   Hell no.  Since Iran-Contra, all  you have to do is "come clean" and have some underlings fall on their swords and it all blows over in a news cycle or two.   Nixon resigned too quickly, in retrospect.

But what the GOP  hates is this perpetual investigation which is as sore as an ingrown hair.   So they are spinning it around 180 degrees.   Donald didn't collude with the Russians!   No, Hillary did by paying for part of this "dossier" which was originally financed by the GOP.   Hey, let's not get into details here, all you need do is Tweet "Hillary Colluded" and the masses fall into line.

The latest gag - left over from the election - is to allege that the FBI under Obama was "wiretapping" Trump or otherwise abusing power.   And then there is this whole tempest-in-a-teapot as to whether Republicans were "outed" as part of this Russian probe.   What is the whole point of this?   Distraction, of course.  Look over here!  Shiny, shiny!   Hashtag, release the memo!

Is there any merit to any of this?   Who gives a fuck, really?   No, really.  It is just political Kabuki theater designed to distract and entertain and give the hard-core fans something to root for and another conspiracy to blog about.   Keep them externalizing some more, so they don't notice their bank accounts being drained and their taxes not going down (and the deficit going up).  Eat your media kibble - snap it all up!  Yum! Yum!  Media kibble is de-licious!

Or maybe it is just poison for your brain.   I have a better idea.   Walk away from memes and hashtags and tweets and conspiracy theories, and whatever "narrative" or "talking points" the parties want you to barf up at the next cocktail party.    It just isn't doing you any good, personally.   You are not going to solve the Kennedy assassination, and you are not going to solve the Russian investigation with all of your amateur part-time "sleuthing", either.

When I was a teen, the big thing on television was Watergate - the mess that started all this tit-for-tat investigations, bombshells disclosures, and newscycle-worthy stories.   The hearings were covered live, all day long, much to the dismay of daily soap opera viewers.   And the real story was sort of lost on the American people.   A bunch of college Republicans who liked to play "dirty tricks" during elections (including elections for the head of the college Republicans) got caught doing the same thing on a larger scale.

And these dirty tricks were stupid stunts the media fell for.  Putting out a racist letter on the opponent's letterhead.   The media eats it up, and for one "news cycle" they report the "controversy" because even back then, it sold ad space for the new 1974 Mercury Cougar.   Graaaawl!  At the sign of the cat!

But what it boiled down to, was Nixon was worried the Democrats had "the dirt" on him, and the dirt was that Nixon had a slush fund of cash from Howard Hughes in his office safe.   So they sent "G" Gordon Liddy and some disaffected Cuban expatriates to break into the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate hotel and rather clumsily try to tap the phones.

The whole thing was idiotic, as Nixon was winning and did win, in a landslide.   No one wanted McGovern, regardless of whether Nixon did dirty tricks or not.   But the Democrats smelled blood in the water, and years and years of investigating yielded.... well, maybe that Nixon tried to cover up the whole affair, but not that he was directly involved in it.   Today, this would be laughed at.   But Nixon resigned in disgrace and Republicans have wanted revenge ever since.

And they got it, it would seem, with the Bill Clinton Whitewater investigation which... after years of investigation revealed only that he got a blowjob in the White House and tried to cover it up, so Hillary wouldn't find out.   Big freaking deal.   But I guess revenge is sweet.   And maybe this wasn't enough "payback" for both Watergate and Iran-Contra.   So we move on to investigations of Obama and then Hillary.   And sadly, permanent investigations of the opposing party in power are now a permanent part of the political landscape.   Everything needs an investigative committee and a special prosecutor or a blue-ribbon panel, all announced with great fanfare and then sort of petering out without much happening later on.   What ever did happen to the voter fraud panel?   I mean, I too, want to find out how Trump stole all those votes!

Being a political junky or a news junky never pays off in your personal life.   It can cost you jobs, it can cost you relationships, it can cost you clients, customers, and friends.   I had a saying when we had our law practice, "If the client is a Republican, we are Republicans, if the client is a Democrat, we are Democrats!"   Because getting business and serving the clients was more important than trying to change someone's opinion or argue with them - because you aren't going to change their opinion one whit, and arguing with them is never any fun.   And besides, all these high-falutin' opinions really mean nothing - other than what lever or button you push in the polling booth, or better yet, who you make your political donation check out to, and for how much.

Besides, I see both sides of the equation.  Yes, Republicans are right about some things.  We need more personal accountability and self-reliance in this country.   We need less political correctness and feeling sorry for ourselves.   But that doesn't mean they are right about everything.  And Democrats are right that we should look out for our less-fortunate citizens, but that doesn't mean handing them all our dough.   The idea that people shouldn't exploit the poor through shitty deals has merit - but Republicans dismiss that as "unnecessary regulations" because the payday loan people - who are, for the record, shitbag people who deserve to burn in hell - donate a lot of money to their campaigns.  And hey, Democrats have just as many shitty donors as well.   Neither side has a moral high ground, if you ask me.

But political dogma gets in the way of getting things done.  It is a sad freaking day in America when Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, is the rational voice in the room.   But that is where politics have taken us today.  The "old school" politicians who made compromises and got shit done are being shouted down by a new generation of "my way or the highway" legislators on both sides of the aisle, who want to hold the government hostage until their radical agendas are enacted.  There are no winners here - we are all losers.  No good guys, either - well mostly bad guys, it seems.

The only conclusion I can reach is to worry more about my own life - my own spending, saving, budgeting balancing, health, welfare, and whatnot.  These political matters and investigations will carry on without my intervention (and indeed, I have no impact on them whatsoever).   Whether I have an opinion or not matters in the least - other than the second Tuesday in November.

So pardon me if I am not breathlessly waiting for a memo to be released - a memo that probably contains nothing really that "bombshell" significant.   And by the way, why does it matter now?   It is not like Obama is still in office, right?   Oh, right, deep state.   Gotcha!  (Wink! Nod! Makes creepy pyramid symbol with hands).

Sorry, but I have better things to do with my time!