Saturday, December 10, 2016

It's Not "Intel." It's Lies

"No one was injured during the incident."

The fact contained in that quote, from this story in the New York Daily News. is about the only good thing that can otherwise be said about the overarmed idiot who invaded a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor because of a lie about the parlor serving as a front for a child-hooker ring in which Hillary Clinton was involved (I can't believe I just typed that, but I had no choice; that's actually why this happened).

Two facts, then, based entirely on a lie.  Of course, the overarmed idiot didn't call it a lie.  After all, if he did so, he'd be admitting that he was an overarmed idiot.  Instead, like all gun-toting half-wits, he decided to give a paramilitary gloss to his nearly-tragic misadventure.  You know what he told the press?

"[T]he intel on this wasn't 100 percent."

No kidding, Sherlock.  And here's another fact:  no one with any authority to do so deputized you to investigate or avenge the lie.  You did that entirely on your own, based on rubbing one brain cell against another after reading something on the Internet that tickled your fancy about Clinton being the source of all evil in America.  Without consulting with any law enforcement officials, without making a single credible attempt to verify what you call the "intel on this," you put innocent people in harm's way.  (You also put yourself in harm's way but, frankly, at this point I'm not 100% certain I give a damn about that.)

And this leads us to a third fact:  you came this close to being a public menace and a national tragedy based upon a lie.

Not "intel."  Not "fake news."  A lie.  An easily falsifiable, baldface, libelous lie.

And all of this happened because of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, which took the concept of relativity as it relates to subjectivity, and pretended that it could be applied to objective reality.  Nothing exists unless Trump says it exists--and he's allowed to change his mind about what exists on a day to day basis.  One day, he's a climate-change denier; the next day, he's rushing to Scotland to save his golf courses from rising tides.  And then, the day after that, when he needs money from the oil industry and votes from coal-mining states, he's a denier again.

And once the white nationalists saw that this could work for them, they joined in, helping Trump to create a "reality" that neither the Democrats nor what's left of the mainstream media had either the will or the wit to successfully contradict.  Even about facts staring people in the faces.  (And climate change is very much one of those facts).

The truth is, this isn't particularly new,  During the second Bush Administration, one of its lesser lights offered a lecture to the effect that the United States was now an "empire" that can "create its own reality."  We all know how that worked out.  An unsustainable war based upon a non-existent threat (oh, I'm sorry, I keep forgetting:  a lie).  A lie that nearly destroyed this country--and, instead, put a short-term dent in the plans of the would-be emperors.

Well, they're back, just in time to try and hijack the fruits of Barack Obama's labors.  And they've acquired enough practical power to pull it off and claim credit for all of it, even as they dismantle it for the benefit of their contributors.  And, when it comes to hiding their dirty work, they've devolved below reality creating.  They're now trying to sell a world without facts.  Any facts. Except the ones they need us to believe in.  Today.  And, maybe tomorrow, something that will be equally true--or false.

It's easy to blame this state of affairs on the Internet, a medium that allows everyone to publish and consume the information they want without ever being upset by aspects of reality that offend them. Except that those aspects exist.  And sometimes, they can be lethal.  Especially when a man who thinks we don't believe to need in facts is about to control the nuclear codes.

Reality isn't relative.  Not after a certain point that matters to all of us.  Reality exists, whether we want it to or not.  All we need to do is not be afraid to face it, and know how to do it, and help others learn how to do it.  Before it's too late.  Before the next person who decides to act on the "intel" isn't lucky enough, and the rest of us aren't lucky enough, to be stopped in time.

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