Friday, March 21, 2008

Uh, whoops…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cultural dementia

I was deeply dismayed for many reasons when I first heard the story that Obama campaign operatives had told the Canadians that Obama’s NAFTA stance was “just politics,” just for show. But guess what: the story was just that—a story, with no basis in reality. One more lie among many.

It turns out that, in fact, the actual NAFTA conversation that took place with the Canadians involved not Obama’s, but Clinton’s operatives.

And yet, the story about Obama and the Canadians has entered the realm of received wisdom, even though it is pure fabrication!

Has the Clinton campaign morphed into its own bogeyman, and become their own “vast [whatever]-wing conspiracy”? Is the press so willing to promulgate lies, and simply not bother to correct them (regardless of where fault might fall for the original untruth) that lies are given equal standing with truth?

How can there be a functional democracy when the air is filled with nothing but lies? On what basis can a rational person reach their conclusions and make their choices, if there is no way to distinguish truth from lies?

Being faced with innumerable falsehoods is at least partially the cause of the veritable chaos we find ourselves in, as we try to sort truth from fiction, because with so many lies and new ones being spewed every day, there’s simply not enough time or attention to get to the bottom of all of them.

This, then, is what the Bush administration meant when they claimed that they would “make their own reality”—and they have indeed done just that. What we didn’t realize then was that the reality they intended to make was one in which a steady onslaught of lies meant there was simply no way to discern what’s true and what’s not, and that when this is the case, one is free to say anything at all. Because there is no feasible way in which to sort the bits of truth from the chaff of lies.

Analogously, if crime ramps up beyond a certain point, no amount of policing can restore civil order. In the realm of ideas, this is what has come to pass, and it presages the death of rational discourse.

Clinton has behaved abominably in her responses to such lies: instead of disavowing the falsehoods, she basically smiles and shrugs them off as if to say “believe what you want,” whether about Obama’s supposed secret confabs with the Canadians, or his supposed Muslim beliefs, or his supposed refusal to swear his oath of office on anything but a Koran, or his supposed lack of a “record” as a Senator, etc.: all lies, but no one is denouncing them as the lies that they are. And so, they become truth.

Lies are truth.

Truth is irrelevant.



[h/t: Mark Kleiman at Reality Based Community]

Saturday, March 08, 2008

One more betrayal (in a long series)…

Now we learn that the Chinese are poisoning us by implanting lead in our dental work:
“In the U.S., four cases of lead poisoning have been linked to Chinese dental fixtures. A laboratory test revealed that some contained 210 times the acceptable amount of the toxic metal.”
So far, they’re known to be deliberately poisoning:
• pharmaceuticals and OTC drugs
• vitamins
• pottery
• toys and teething rings
• lunchboxes and backpacks and bibs
• cosmetics
• toothpaste
• food
• dental crowns and dentures
The only question I have is: Are there any remaining routes of poison administration that they can exploit?

Dentists who have utilized the cut-rate Chinese crowns and dentures should be identified if they did not pass their cost-savings through this practice on to their patients. If patients and insurance companies were billed at the “usual and customary” rates for these procedures, they were ripped off, and the rest of us need to be protected from such corner-cutting practitioners.

Meanwhile, it appears that all of us need to ascertain the origin of every single product we consume or expose ourselves to, or have implanted within us: where did that pacemaker come from? the hip or knee replacement? the cardiac stent? mouthwash? saline solution? cutlery? contrast media for imaging tests? hypodermic needles? glassware? bubble bath? sutures? plastic food containers? The list is endless.

We have grown accustomed to the safety of many things, but should now we know that EVERYTHING from China is poisoned until proven otherwise.

For now the safest course appears to be:
1. Buy nothing at all other than the essentials.

2. Buy nothing from China, if at all possible.

3. Buy nothing from “dollar” stores, and nothing generic, and nothing that’s likely to be counterfeit.

4. Make what you can (e.g., simple toys, curtains, food from scratch) and withdraw from the culture of consumption.

5. Tell your doctor and dentist that you expect them to use top quality materials on you, and specifically, that you demand they use nothing from China in or on your body.
Generations have gotten by quite nicely without the quantity of goods we now consider somehow essential. Kids and adults had far fewer toys, but enjoyed their bikes and the public library and making up their own games. And always, we need to remember that for every dollar we spend, we are sacrificing our time, because time really is money.

Image modified from:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Votes for sale—cheap!

What is one to make of the fact that the Clinton and Obama campaigns have been donating money to the campaigns of the superdelegates, whose votes will in all likelihood determine the outcome of the Democratic Party's nominating process?

This is how they use our campaign contributions?

This is legal?

This is democracy in America?

No, in actuality, this is a mockery. We have completely lost our way.