Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Their Own Reality

I saw a cartoon in the local rag - a very conservative paper -  that held the following images/captions:

Iranian nuclear cloud/a mountain of debt/Uncle Sam saying a "Will work for work" sign/ISIS/Russia with a tank/China with a computer...and then Obama saying global warming is the greatest threat.  It was implicit that Obama was nuts for thinking global warming was our gravest threat because of these other issues.


The Iranian deal prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon - a weapon the Bush Administration's policies put them on a clear path to acquiring (even Chris Wallace at Fox gets that).  The real opposition to the Iranian deal is not that it gives Iran a nuclear weapon, but that it doesn't end the Iranian regime.  The Neo-Cons were hoping the threat of a nuclear Iran might prompt a military response and overthrow of the regime.

So, no.  Iranian nukes are not a threat.

The deficit has been falling for several years now, despite the inability of Democrats to implement their preferred reduction strategy of raising taxes on the very wealthy.  The deficit was a byproduct of Bush's unpaid-for wars, his reckless tax cuts and the Great Recession.

So, no.  The deficit is not a rising threat.

Unemployment in the United States is lower now than it has been than it EVER was under Reagan.  While wages have not caught up, unemployment has fallen precipitously from the heights of the Great Recession.  Soon, we should start to see some rising wages.

So, no.  Unemployment is not a threat.

ISIS is a regional problem that is exporting - to a certain degree - its misery via the refugee crisis.  But ISIS exists within the framework of a crumbling Syria and a destabilized Iraq (thanks, Cheney!).  ISIS presents almost no threat to the United States, beyond the regional instability is creates.  Normally this would manifest itself in rising oil prices.  That isn't happening.

So, no. ISIS is not a threat.

Russia is teetering on the edge of insolvency.  Its offensives in Ukraine have stalled.  Putin saw his popularity skyrocket when he invaded Crimea, but it has been falling to earth recently as conditions worsen in Russia.

So, no.  Russia is not a threat.

China's economy is also reeling, as their markets are struggling to reconcile market forces with state sponsored cronyism.  The Chinese regime has bought legitimacy by sustaining 8% growth.  That is no longer possible.  And the environmental damage wrought by this growth is outraging middle class Chinese.

So, no.  China is not a threat.

But for millions of Americans who get their news from Fox and Glenn Beck and the WSJ editorial page, or even for those who tune into the more sensational nightly news from the major networks, the world seems on the precipice of disaster.

But really, it's not.

Except, you know, climate change.  In fact, the refugee crisis in Europe has its roots in drought and famine in Syria, Libya, Egypt and Saharan Africa.  Ask Californians about the climate these days.

It is this rank lack of perspective and faulty information that creates the Trump voter who "wants to make America great again."  America is actually doing pretty damned good at the moment, except for climate issues (although we are making progress there) and the gun culture that leads to indiscriminate slaughter (no progress there).

Fear may get you viewers and clicks, but it creates a woefully ignorant electorate.

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