Information overload

It’s good that there’s so much discussion of “fake news,” but the problem is that the discussion isn’t focusing on the problem: a lack of discernment and desire to find truth.  Partisans of every stripe grasp onto every little rumor, leaping to conclusions as recklessly as one would leap over the Grand Canyon.  Meanwhile, there isn’t a single major news outlet that hasn’t sold its political soul to one faction or another.  We’ve developed two hermetically sealed echo chambers in this country and neither has the pursuit of truth as its top priority.  We’re told (incorrectly) the First Amendment has exceptions to defend people from being “uncomfortable” or “triggered.”  This is merely suppression of opposing ideas.  I’m concerned this is the first step in our cultural cold war becoming a hot one.  People are no longer “of a different opinion;” rather, they’re evil opponents.  Hostility is projected, received and internalized.  With all the careless talk about impeachment, or obstruction of Trump’s initiatives (which still have a sizable backing in the nation’s heartland), the ability of our political processes to address the issues is coming apart.

What happens after that step is likely going to be very ugly.  What are you doing to prepare?

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Know your place, peasants!

I checked back on the We the People petition regarding Hillary’s damning ‘exoneration’ by the FBI.  Not only had the petition picked up another 25,000 signatures since I’d last looked, it also had a ‘formal response:’

know your place peasant

So let’s take a look at the Terms of Participation.  The relevant clause would seem to be:

“To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition.”

Get that?  It’s not improper for the President to suggest Clinton’s unauthorized personal server was “not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered” while the investigation was ongoing.  But it would be improper to respond to the concerns and outrage of tens of thousands of Americans who believe Lady Justice was kneecapped once again when it comes to the Clintons.

They couldn’t even be bothered to re-summarize the reasons given for not indicting (and remember, the case is now closed, so how could there be “influence” by doing so?).

A more transparent administration would simply have posted a graphic of an upraised middle finger, accompanied by the caption “You’re not the boss of me!”  After all, that’s pretty much the way they approach everything else they do.

It’s worth noting the Declaration of Independence carefully lays out the many ways in which that generation tried to petition Parliament and the King for the redress of grievances.  Given the response by the We the People team, it can safely be assumed petitioning this government for redress of grievances (and miscarriages of justice) is about as much a waste of time.

Ultimately, though, you can only hide from an aggrieved people for so long…

Democrats with bylines

That’s what Glenn Reynolds and his Instapundit team frequently call the mainstream press.  The observation is spot on.  While these outlets may ‘compete’ for ratings share, they collude just as much when it comes to messaging.  Think I exaggerate?

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The above is but a sample; many others used the same theme.  It would seem a certainty that some variant of the old “Journolist” system is still in place.  Rather than just take “everybody’s” word for it that Trump’s speech was “dark,” read it for yourself.  I still think he’s a very flawed candidate, but in this instance I agree with his diagnosis of things.  It’s very telling that the current President can scold us for eight years about how racist and otherwise evil our nation still is (even after deigning to elect him!) and nobody in the press calls it a dark vision of America.  Yet Trump points out how free trade and unrestricted illegal immigration has and continues to destroy the middle class, and suddenly he’s the gloom-meister?

The Democrats open their preordained coronation of Her Hillariness as their nominee this week (sorry Bernie supporters – you were cast in the role of controlled opposition from the start!).  The simple fact is that our mass propaganda media apparatus has been prepping the American public, not just for a woman president, but specifically for Hillary for decades:

 Beginning with an episode in the ‘90s featuring President Hillary Clinton, audiences have been treated to Hillary-inspired female presidents and politicians, fictional TV characters endorsing the real-life former FLOTUS, and children’s books singing her praises. Pro-Hillary propaganda has been saturating the entertainment world.

It must be particularly galling to these would-be queen-makers that after so much time and trouble, their candidate still has a very real chance of losing to Trump of all people.  In the new digital age, the old guard media gatekeepers aren’t the only purveyors of information.  Here’s a tip, establishment: she’s that bad a candidate.  There’s simply not enough lipstick to make the pig less piglike to the public.

But that doesn’t mean Hillary’s sycophants and longtime allies in the corporate press won’t try.  Especially during her long-awaited coronation this week.

Loss of legitimacy

Americans increasingly are dissatisfied with the results of power centralizing both in government and in business:

The poll… indicates that the public’s trust in government is at an all-time low.

Just 13% of Americans say the government can be trusted to do what is right always or most of the time, with just over three-quarters saying only some of the time and one in 10 saying they never trust the government, according to the poll.

“The number who trust the government all or most of the time has sunk so low that it is hard to remember that there was ever a time when Americans routinely trusted the government,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said…

The survey indicates that skepticism doesn’t stop at the White House and Capitol Hill: Only 17% of Americans believe that big business can be trusted to do what is right always or most of the time.

Distant, consolidated power in any form or function is less connected to, and thus less responsive to the people.  That is why the Constitution expressly gives the Federal Goverment few and defined powers, reserving the remainder to “the States, or to the People.”  We have ignored that arrangement, and the concept of sovereign States as bullworks against Federal encroachment, to our deep and lasting detriment.

Big Business has amassed significant power over the past two decades or so for two reasons: the tendency of the public to look only at the price tag on shelves, ignoring the hidden costs that often are involved with “everyday low prices” (i.e. offshoring of American jobs, corner-cutting on safety and environmental practices, etc), combined with significant regulatory lobbying by industry leaders that make it increasingly difficult for legitimate competition to gain traction.  The combination of Big Business with the force of Big Government is extremely dangerous to individual liberty.

I’d like to believe such poll results show the jig is up: that American are realizing they aren’t ‘free’ just because they can choose between 30 different types of toothpaste at the supermarket (made by a handful of powerful companies, of course).  They’re not ‘free’ just because we can vote, either — especially when the integrity of the process is questionable, and the collection of ‘representatives’ routinely disregard the public’s position on important issues… like whether borders are still important enough to be enforced!

I’ve watched these “trust in government” poll results head steadily downward my entire adult life.  One has to wonder at what point the citizenry just decides “this isn’t working anymore” and chooses to stop playing along.  Several recent lurches between House Elephant and House Donkey seem to prove the point that just changing the party in power isn’t the answer.   Something is systemically wrong with our social order, and people are realizing it.

I don’t think it’s oversimplifying to boil it down to a handful of factors:

1)  Few candidates for office (elected or appointed) are consistently more civic-minded than they are self-interested.  At the same time, we’ve forgotten the principle that human beings are inherently fallible and corruptable, so should always be limited in the power they wield.

2)  A public that has jettisoned what was once a broad consensus on right and wrong, embracing instead a “50 shades of gray” worldview.  A nation that once had bi-partisan certainty what Nixon did 40 years ago was wrong now tends to give “their team” far too much benefit of the doubt.  If you believe it’d be wrong for ‘the other guy’ to do it, why do you tolerate it in your own associates?

3)  A Constitution that was designed to separate powers, but did not build in enough solid provisions to prevent ever-less-enlightened generations from selling out their birthright.  As Benjamin Franklin is said to have told a passerby in Philadelphia, the Constitutional Convention had produced a “republic… if you can keep it.”  Apocryphal or not, the tale makes a valid point.  We were given the power as individuals to prevent the consolidations that have occured.  But nothing can force us to remain vigilant and wary about principles well before the approach of danger.

4) An aversion to accountability.  From individual relationships to official capacities, our society has lost much of the will to confront and correct behavior.  This is exacerbated by the aforementioned “50 shades of gray” view, as well as today’s preference for spin over substance.  “With great power comes great responsibility,” the saying goes.  Which begs the question why MANY people still hold their positions of power (both in government AND in business), much less why they aren’t in some cases warming a prison cell somewhere.

The key for the immediate future hinges on whether thoughtful Americans accept the need to resume the individual and local responsibilities that attend to liberty, or whether they go all-in on the idea of letting others take care of them (in return for being handed the keys of power).  Closely related to this is the issue of whether those who see what is wrong (i.e. the loss of equal protection under the law, and the unprecedented lattitude the Executive has asserted to ignore enforcement of laws he disagrees with) will speak out, regardless what ad hominem attacks (“Racist!” “Nativist!”) are hurled their way.

Which will it be?