"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
—Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)
(Swans - May 6, 2013) WHEN THE SUSPECTS in the Boston Marathon attack -- the brothers Tsarnaev -- were apprehended by the local, state, and federal authorities (one dead, one captured but badly wounded), Bostonians gathered in the streets with joy and relief, applauding the police forces for a job well done, in spite of the lockdown of the city and the tremendous costs to the economy. Yet, it did not take long for the pundits to appear on the TV channels, especially the usual crop of Islamophobes like Glenn Beck, John Bolton, Erik Rush, Pamela Geller, and many others to point to Muslim foreign jihadists and Muslim countries. The two suspects could not have been acting alone. Then came a fury of theories both on TV and in writing. The photos had been photoshopped. They were two special forces individuals. A columnist for a well-known Web magazine suggested that the two suspects had possibly been entrapped by the FBI -- perhaps, perhaps not -- but it's an old tradition of the FBI... (What is so neat about this kind of conspiracy is that you do not have to bring any proof, you simply have to plant the seed of doubt.) So, if the FBI was capable of entrapping those two loners -- remember, double jeopardy, either they did and they and the government were evil or they did not and they were incompetent -- then the next step becomes obvious to the irrational mind: It had to be a false flag operation directed and organized by the government, justified to increase government power. Ron Paul, his son, and other politicians once again spoke about the risks to our civil liberties the US republic was facing in the name of security, particularly under the Obama administration.
RECALL THE mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last December 2012 -- 20 kids and 6 adults killed by a 20-year-old kid who first killed his mother and eventually committed suicide. Plenty of conspiracies ran wild; even the Israelis, it was said, were involved (the Israelis are always involved in everything, right?). But the most outrageous was that it had been orchestrated by the Obama administration -- a false flag operation -- because it wanted to implement a secret plan to take away guns from the American citizenry (a plan that did not exist). Imagine President Obama sitting in the Oval Office and telling his aides "Okay, boys, let have Adam Lanza [the killer] kill his mother and as many kids as possible, and make sure he kills himself or you kill him...then we will put our secret plan in action..." You know what? There are enough nuts out there who believe those absurdities. Take a look at a compilation the magazine Mother Jones put together regarding all the conspiracies allegedly orchestrated by Obama and other wild accusations. It's mind-boggling.
WE ARE ALL REMINDED, of course, of 9/11 and how an entire conspiracy industry (TV, radio talk shows, and the thousands and thousands of Web sites and mailing lists) spent countless time and energy to callously demonstrate that the attacks were an inside job, a false flag operation orchestrated by Georges W. Bush, no less. One has to wonder how to be rational with people who keep rationalizing the irrational. I tried for a while and quickly let it go. It was a lost cause. In 2006, Manuel García, Jr. wrote a three-part series as an accomplished engineer and physicist (now retired) that, besides explaining the mindset of conspiracy theorists, dug deeply into the physics, the thermodynamics, and the causes of the collapse of the Trade Center's building #7. It was a compelling report that added to many others. His brought science to the fore -- well researched, extremely thoughtful. The feedback was utterly dismissive on the part of the conspiracists. Actually, Manuel gave them even more ammunition to peddle their senselessness.
AT SOME POINT why bother explaining reality. Do people understand, thinking of the Boston Marathon massacre, the difference between jihad #1 (the one against the Soviet Union, fully financed by the CIA and Saudi Arabia), jihad #2 (a top-down organization under bin Laden, responsible for various attacks including 9/11, now pretty much decimated), and jihad #3 (bottom-down, home-grown, individual lone wolves or stray dogs who get radicalized mostly on the Internet and through local imams)? How do the FBI and other intelligence agencies find the tens of thousands of needles hidden within the hundreds of thousands of haystacks worldwide, taking into account the laws of the land (e.g., 1st and 2nd amendments in the U.S.)?
I READ THAT entrapment by the FBI is about instilling fear in the public so that the government will be able to justify ever more powers (cf. Jeffrey St. Clair). I'd be glad to see the FBI attempt to entrap me. After all, I oppose many policies of the US government and I am anti-violent -- that should be cause enough!
YOU CANNOT SEPARATE VIOLENCE from guns, especially assault weapons that are not made for hunting but for killing other human beings. The NRA, gun manufacturers, and lobbyists are correct. Guns do not kill, people do, but it just happens that 99% of the time, the killers use a gun to do the killing. So, background checks would be slight progress if it ever passes Congress but it will make little difference as long as assault weapons are available on the street. Recently, a 19-year-old kid in France killed 3 people and seriously wounded a fourth one with a Kalashnikov (AK-47). Where did he buy this deadly weapon? On the Internet. So long as you can buy those assault weapons more or less freely, background checks will be of little use. No new laws will make any difference. It's the culture that needs to be addressed...
OOPS, NEED TO GO. Murphy's Law has struck again, an occurrence that has become a recurrence for the past 18 months. Today, little Aida (our younger dog) just managed to snap an outside faucet with her leash, the only faucet that is not controlled by a shut-off valve. Water started gushing out, emptying the tank. I rushed to shut a main valve near the house. It would not work. So I walked up to the water tank (I barely walk) and was able to shut the valve. No more gushing water; no more water to the house. I called everybody possible in the valley. No one was around or willing to come. Finally, a plumber from Ukiah said he would come in the afternoon. I'm waiting. Meantime, the dogs have disappeared yet once again. F**k**g tired of it all.
. . . . .
C'est la vie...
And so it goes...
La vie, friends, is a cheap commodity, but worth maintaining when one can.the life line won't hurt you much, but it'll make a heck of a difference for Swans.
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