Friday, November 3, 2017

Cognitive Dissonance


 They’ve been screaming ‘Russians!’ ever since email leaks showed that the fix was already in. The DNC’s defense in court was that they didn’t owe anyone a fair primary process. They didn’t even try to deny it.

Those I’ve run into, online and off, who deny that the primaries were rigged, don’t even bother trying to refute the facts because they know they have nothing to support their position. Instead, they attack your credibility.  They try to gaslight you into thinking you're imagining things, that what happened didn't really happen. They’ll outright lie about it, and insult your intelligence.

In a similar vein, I came across George Orwell's essay on the Spanish Civil War, within which was this:

"And stranger yet, at any moment the situation can suddenly reverse itself and yesterday’s proved-to-the-hilt atrocity story can become a ridiculous lie, merely because the political landscape has changed."

It appears that the same thing is happening with regard to last years' Democratic primaries. There's not even an attempt to present actual evidence because they know there isn't any.  Instead, they pesent an appeal to authority, which they know is a false narrative, by insisting that this one time the intelligence community is telling the truth, in spite of their record of lying and obfuscating, even duriing Congressional testimony. Those good folks at the CIA wouldn't lie, would they? 

I even had one online "friend" who just yesterday admitted he doesn't trust the intel community to be truthful.  Yet in a remarkable display of cognitive dissonance, he also insisted that he wouldn't trust a former CIA whistle blower who spent time in prison for exposing the hidden torture programs that agency committed, telling us not to trust the intel community's veracity.

But they show no hard evidence to back up their claims, and still people believe them, because they can't stand the idea that their faux-progressive hero is corrupt.

One by one the elements of the false narrative are being knocked down.  There was no Russian involvement in the Wisconsin hacking of voter databases.  Forensic analysis of the emails released by Wiileaks show that it was an inside job, not hack from overseas somewhere.  And now the former imterim chair of the DNC admits the primaries were rigged even before Hillary announced her candidacy.

But excuses and denials are made for the corporate elitists who actually run the Democratic Party,  while those who support the establishment status quo continue with their ad hominem attacks, their gaslighting and their outrageous lies.

And that's a crying shame.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Obama's Real Legacy

A few months ago, a pastor wrote an op-ed critical of people who claimed embarrassment over having had Barack Obama as President for 8 years.  He reminded his readers that Obama was the most genteel President of, oh, let's say the past 50 years or so at least.  The way he presented himself in public, clearly loved his family, and refused to lower himself to the level of his detractors is, in my view, the stuff of legend in this day and age.  You can read it here if you wish:

Pastor: When White Folks Say Obama Was an “Embarrassment”, Here’s Your Response

The pastor nails the coffin shut on the idea that people were embarrassed by this man when he changes tone and states unequivocally that they were not embarrassed at all, that they felt threatened by his skin coloration.  He did this by comparing their supposed embarrassment to their total acceptance of the racist, misogynistic, thoroughly narcissistic and politically incompetent Donald Trump.  In my view that's true, as demonstrated by the vitriol that was and still is hurled Obama's way, much of it of a blatantly racist nature.  Those who refer to him, his wife, and/or his children as monkeys, gorillas, watermelon eaters (I never understood that one even when my deceased uncle would say it), and so on, are demonstrating their own racism, no matter how much they deny it.

As for me, I was disappointed in Trump's election at least as much as I was in Obama's emergent corporatism. 

I voted for Obama in 2008, based on his demeanor and his message of hope and change.  I was delighted when, in his first month in office, he smiled broadly as he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law.  I was ecstatic when he bailed out the auto industry with a requirement that all money lent to a company had to be paid back before execs could be given their exorbitant bonuses. And I cheered with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which was touted as making health care, as the title says, affordable. 

When I became disabled, I discovered that those who spoke against the ACA were largely correct.  It made basic health care affordable for many people, and it helped those who were previously priced out of the insurance marketplace get insurance.  But the cost was a continuation, even an exacerbation, of the high deductibles and co-pays associated with the insurance industry for many years. This rendered people still unable to afford care they needed, contrary to the propaganda supporting the Act.

One might ask why this would be so.  The answer is simple.  The Act was written largely by the insurance and hospital industries to benefit themselves, not We the People.  And President Obama signed off on it, again with a smile on his face. 

Obama spent far too long seeking compromise with the Republicans in Congress, in spite of their proclamation that they would make sure he only served one term in office.  They failed in that goal, obviously; but they kept right on blocking his actions.

Finally we get to the capper of President Obama's time in office.  The season ender, you might say.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, described by many as NAFTA on steroids.  You might recall that after NAFTA passed, many American jobs were shipped overseas, to places where pay and environmental policies took a clear and distinct back seat to the needs of the people.  And Obama defended that treaty as an improvement of trade policy. 

Then there's the icing on the cake, so to speak.  Yes, many new jobs were created under Obama's administration.  He did prevent another Great Depression form being birthed out of the Great Recession that G.W. Bush's economic policies led us to.  But the pay levels of those jobs were not even close to in line with the ones that we lost during the downturn and before.  You know the ones.  The manufacturing jobs that are now being done by underpaid and overworked peons in China, India and Mexico.

That is President Obama's real legacy.  Not that he was the first black President, but what he did while in the office.

But that pastor is still right about those deluded folks who claim to be embarrassed by Obama's 8 years in office.  They are bigots, and many of them don't even recognize that as a fact.

© 2017 by Don Rice Jr.