Monday, September 5, 2016

The hoaX Files: Connecting the Dots from OJ to Agent Mulder to Hillary & Trump

The development of our cerebral cortex has been the greatest achievement of the evolutionary processes. Big deal. While allowing us the thrills of intellect or the pangs of self-consciousness, it is all too often overruled by our inner, instinctive brain - the one that tells us to react, not reflect, to run, rather than ruminate.  - The X- Files, Mulder, S3, ep 12,'War of the Corprophages'

The moment of cortical ascendancy in human evolution, of which agent Mulder speaks, became clearly and unambiguously evident about 40,000 years ago, when humans created the earliest known cave paintings.

The most spectacular extent cave paintings known to the modern world are located in France's Chauvet Cave, depicting the powerful animal inhabitants of the artists' world. In some instances, the creators ingeniously integrated the natural contours of the stone walls to create ingenious 3-D effects so that they would not be mere images, but also illusions, likely used in their culture's religious rites. These monuments to human technical innovation and mythological booga-booga were re-discovered by modern humans in late 1994, after eons of waiting in darkness.

It turns out that 1994 itself was a critical year in humankind's pursuit of illusion, in its eternal quest to alter and transcend reality. And due to an unexplained and uncanny temporal disturbance, seemingly random threads of the timeline have become tangled, weaving together in the timeline the Incredible Year of 1994 with the Futuristic Year of 2016.  

Creepy Old OJ Simpson, for instance, famously suspected of murdering his erstwhile trophy wife on June 12, 1994, has returned, channeled by cuddly thespian Cuba Gooding Jr, via a popular docu-drama mini-series and an actual documentary film both shown on cable TV this year, with news outlets covering the families of OJ's alleged victims voicing their outrage, and media talking-heads re-trying the case.

The Simpson case, of course, was itself a huge cultural landmark, a milestone in America's cultural transformation into the vast tabloid infotainment amusement park we enjoy today. 

The self-destruction of a C-list celebrity, elevated by cable news to a level of importance at least equal to the fall of the Berlin Wall, played out in slow motion for more than a year. And got boffo ratings. And, thanks to OJ's attorney Robert Kardashian and his family of narcissistic self-promoters, a pivotal moment in the evolution of so-called Reality TV.

Going further, Lili Anolik, writing in Vanity Fair, makes a convincing argument that the OJ Case is a kind of Rosetta Stone to decoding the zeitgeist of our current moment: 

Via OJ, Robert Kardashian stepped into the limelight, ultimately to reflect it onto his ex-wife Kris, who was by then married to an ex-Olympian gliding through time on the last vestiges of his own fame

Fast forward to 2016 and the word Kardashian is universally known, thanks to relentless self-promotion and Reality TV.

Reality TV is of course filled with the unreal. The Kardashian matriarch, Kris Jenner, is 61 but in photographs she appears 10 years younger and proportionally more pneumatic . It is uncertain whose present physical form owes more to the the futuristic surgical techniques of the 21st Century: Kris, or her ex-Olympian ex-husband, who is now a woman named Caitlyn. 

Reality TV and everything associated with it is inescapable here in the Futuristic 21st Century. The Kardashian Family, once known only for their association with two retired athletes from the 1970's, are now A-List celebrities, and one of them has even begotten children with one of the biggest pop musicians of our era, Kanye West (he who fearlessly called out George W. Bush's passive racism).

From its humble beginnings as MTV's The Real World in 1992, the essence of the Reality TV experience is to blur the boundaries between real and artificial, to make trivial events seem monumental, to distort, to conflate, to exaggerate, even to fabricate. And of course, to distract. To create, in short, a peculiar type of illusion.  

Reality TV is a genre inhabited by persons using their real names who purportedly behave naturally, without rehearsals and without scripts, supposedly going about their business as though they did not know cameras were recording them, even though they frequently speak directly to the camera.

Logically, viewers should know that the presence of cameras and a production crew, not to mention contracts, sponsors and monetary incentives, would alter the behavior of the supposedly real subjects of the program so as to make null and void any pretense of 'reality.' And logically, the public scandal of the fake cohabitation staged by estranged spouses Jon & Kate Gosselin should have been sufficient to end any pretense, but as of this writing, the Gosselins are still being broadcast. 

And yet millions upon millions of viewers, not to mention untold thousands of newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and internet news sites, by virtue of some unspoken mutual agreement, pretend that the supposedly real lives of Reality TV are in some way more real than the lives of Captain James T. Kirk and Agent Dana Skully.  

A few months after TV news covered, in real time, police chasing OJ's Ford Bronco at low speed, another news story involving crime, estranged spouses and race relations played out, in real time, across America's 24-hr. cable news networks:

For the better part of week in late October 1994, TV audiences breathlessly waited for the safe return or discovery of two kidnapped children, one aged 3 years and one 14 months.

CNN, and every other news outlet, breathlessly told the tale: a 23-year-old mother and her two children, driving a 1990 Mazda Protege, had been the victim of a car-jacking by an unknown African-American male. The mother had been released from the car, but a week into the story, the whereabouts of the kidnapper and the children were still unknown.

On national TV, the mother tearfully pleaded for any and all assistance with the safe return of her offspring, and the tape was replayed continuously on CNN and the like. The story was gripping for many reasons, not the least of which being that the children's mother was young, white, and mildly pretty in 'good girl' kind of way.

Additionally, there was the widespread fear of mysterious child-abductors, an American belief which had arisen during the 1980's based on sensationalist 'news' stories and 'missing child' photos which adorned milk cartons during this period. 

Finally, there was the ubiquitous and seemingly unkillable specter of American racism, still inflamed in in the aftermath of the 1992 LA riots and by the ongoing the OJ Simpson murder investigation. 

And so it was that many Americans found themselves nervously glancing at small cars and African-American men on the chance that the missing children might be found and the kidnapper brought to justice.

The collective experience, anxiety and vigilance, and sympathy for the children's mother, took an unexpected turn on November 3, 1994.

On that day, Susan Smith, of Union, South Carolina, confessed that she had strapped her two children into their car seats, put her Mazda into gear, released the brake and watched as her car, with the children still in the back seat, plunged into the depths of the lake.

Ms. Smith had committed filicide and had created a hoax in to conceal her crime. Police had doubted her story from the start, but hoped that if she were unaware of their suspicions, she might give them the clues needed to locate the children and solve the crime.

TV had brought Ms. Smith's image into millions of American homes, its cathode warmth creating a kind of artificial intimacy.  Viewers within a broad set of demographics had unconsciously allowed Ms. Smith to become their proxy, a symbolic victim to the mythology of black criminality and of the invisible, nameless anxieties of working class America.

With the police playing along, the news media took Ms. Smith's story at face value, becoming  unknowing accomplices in the hoax.

A child-killer and the news media, with help from the police, had exploited American paranoia over missing children, and the America's inherent racism to create a national, collective experience.

But the the narrative was false, and the collective experience, a mere illusion. And beneath the hoax, a more sinister reality lurked.

At the time of Susan Smith's hoax, another media phenomenon, blending fantasy with verisimilitude, and TV crossing over to the internet, was in ascent. Right around the middle of 1994, the fanlore site Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade (GATB) was created, to honor the ginger-haired female lead of Fox TV network's new hit scifi show The X-Files

The X-Files had premiered the previous fall. The opening credit sequence was a clever mix of blurry UFO photos and weird, indistinct images, along with chilling phrases such as 'Government Denies Knowledge' crossing the screen, similar to the In Search Of style paranormal 'documentary' program.

The first episode featured an opening blurb stating that the story was"inspired by actual documented accounts", and every episode began with the names of actual real-life towns typed on the screen, ala cable news.

The show's two talented stars, David Duchovny and the aforementioned Gillian Anderson, playing a Mutt & Jeff pair of FBI agents, typically conversed in semi-monotones ala Joe Friday. The show was a brilliant fusion of imaginative scifi and the 'procedural' crime drama.

Running throughout the X-Files's long broadcast run was the recurrent theme of governmental agencies and operatives hiding facts and employing deception against Our Heroes and the Public.  The 2nd episode, for instance, titled 'Deep Throat', featured a mysterious, ambiguous, high-level government informant and Our Heroes getting roughed up by creepy NSA goons.

Shortly after the Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade was formed,, the first fan-fiction X-Files site, was also created. The fan experience of real time interactivity and connectivity served to blur the boundary between the fictional universe and reality, just like the show's opening credit sequence.

Like OJ, The X-Files also came back in 2016, via a shark-jumping 6 episode mini-series in which Our Heroes trafficked in unflattering depictions of transgendered persons and classic American hate-mongering stereotypes of Muslims.  

America's love affair with Islamophobia is itself something of a 1990's Nostalgia Party.

On July 23, 1990, it was discovered by US intelligence that the Muslim Boogie Man Saddam Hussein had massed troops on the border of Kuwait, with the likely intent of annexing the tiny nation of oil-rich plutocrats.

Thus began the multi-media electronic cacophony which lead to Gulf War I. Having learned the art of controlling journalists, the Pentagon, prior the Baghdad Blitz, carpet-bombed the USA with lurid descriptions of Iraqi atrocities and video of America's super-high-tech wonder weapons.

A key moment in the US government's propaganda campaign was testimony before Congress by a beautiful 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah, who stated that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital, and leave the babies to die.

After 5 months of such public relations, American minds were sufficiently conditioned to believe the war would be both justified and glorious, US bombers began their onslaught on January 17, 1991. By the end of the following month, the Iraqis had fled Kuwait.

In 1992, a year after the victorious end of Gulf War I, it was revealed that Nayirah had never witnessed the events she described, that her testimony had been false, based on second-hand accounts which were exaggerations at best.

Like most wars, Gulf War I was premised on a concoction of lies, half-truths, and facts taken out of context. It was classic. Hitler invaded Poland in response to a manufactured incident, and LBJ escalated Vietnam because of a non-existent attack.

Gulf War I, however, represented a major innovation for modern war propaganda because the Pentagon had brilliantly planned for the management and control of journalists in degree heretofore undreamt of.

In addition to their success in preventing reporters' access to anything that might undermine or contradict the Official Pentagon Version of events, the War Department Department of Defense fed the media copious video footage of futuristic missiles and 'smart bombs' purportedly hitting their targets, as well as images from night vision goggles, and clips of the dreaded Iraqi Scud Missile hitting targets inside Israel.

Best of all for the Pentagon, was the coverage by CNN, at that time still the USA's only all-news channel. With 24 hours to fill, the war, with its dramatic footage, super-high-tech wonder weapons and important press conferences, was a godsend for the network.

Namby-pamby intellectuals said that the news media covered the war as though it were an action movie, a video game, or a Tom Clancy novel, but that was exactly the point. The Pentagon and most of the Federal Government liked it that way, Wall Street like it that way, and apparently plenty of Americans liked it that way.

In retrospect, it was another crucial step toward Reality TV, and toward of world where illusion is increasingly indistinguishable from fact.

The idea that some illusions might be indistinguishable from reality is a durable and versatile theme within the realms of science fiction and fantasy.

The first Star Trek adventure, a pilot film titled 'The Cage' (1964), put a 23rd century starship crew at the mercy of big-headed aliens with the power of illusion:

'It was a perfect illusion. They had us seeing just what we wanted to see, human beings who'd survived with dignity and bravery, everything entirely logical... Now let's be sure we understand the danger of this. The inhabitants of this planet can read our minds. They can create illusions out of a person's own thoughts, memories, and experiences, even out of a person's own desires. Illusions just as real and solid as this table top and just as impossible to ignore'. -Dr. Boyce

'It doesn't matter what you call this, you'll feel it. That's what matters. You'll feel every moment of whatever happens to you.' -Vina

Nineteen-ninety four, the year of Susan Smith and OJ's Bronco, was of course a very big year for Star Trek, perhaps the biggest year ever for the franchise. The longest-running and arguably the best Trek television series of all, The Next Generation, was wrapping up its glorious 7-year run with a two-hour TV movie, while the highly-respected Deep Space Nine series enjoyed its second season...and in the fall, the boffo theatrical film Generations featured the long-awaited meeting of the toupee-wearing Captain Kirk and the proudly-bald Captain Jean-Luc Picard

The 1990's Star Trek TV series and films featured numerous stories about a recreational facility called the Holodeck. This facility was essentially a room, roughly the size of a two-car garage, which enabled those who utilized it to experience a completely artificial reality, as plausible or fantastic as the user desired.

The Holodeck could be programmed for any setting factual or imaginary. As the name suggests, it utilized visual holograms, but also myriad other technologies, such as force fields and hypersonics, to create a tangible experience indistinguishable from the real thing.

Here in the Futuristic World of the 21st Century, the staff of The Flapdoodle Files, like most other North Americans, live most of our lives within a kind of multimedia hologram.

That is to say, many of our waking hours are spent directly viewing, listening or interacting with some kind of  mass media, such as a smartphone, newspaper, book, computer, ipod, car radio, etc.

And besides the direct experience of media, there is the indirect effect of it.

Consider: how many of your waking hours are spent in recalling or contemplating content from mass media? How often did you take action because of some kind of content from the  media?

A thought experiment: Look back into your memory of the last 24 hours and try to recall every time you took action due to 'content' you received via some kind of mass media.

Did you ever buy your boss a greeting card because your car radio said it was Bosses Day? Did you ever fill your gas tank up or buy any supplies because the Weather App on your smart phone predicted a snowstorm? Did you alter any of your food choices because of dietary information you received via TV, the radio, a magazine or the 'Net?

How often do you contemplate Global Warming, AKA Climate Change? Or cancer? Where did you get most of your information regarding these topics?

Or more simply: prior to this epistle, was the word Kardashian known to you?

Because outside of the context of a mass-media society, the word is useless, like the Kardashians themselves. 

These examples, and myriad others, demonstrate that the current state of being in North America, as well as many other places on the globe, is a state wherein actual actual first-hand eye-witness experiences of life are seamlessly blended with 'content' (i.e., 'facts' and 'entertainment') derived via mass media, and that even the most personal aspects of consciousness, such as the Inner Monlogue, are heavily influenced by the ambient noise of our multi-media lifestyle.

Those who study intelligence generally think that one of the differences between humans and the rest of the animals on Planet Earth is that humans have a much greater capacity to absorb, retain and manipulate abstract symbols, such as words, letters and mathematical symbols.

We know that humans have created expressive media since for at least 40,000 years and it follows that since the time of the cave paintings, that our media have altered human thinking and consciousness.

Due to the explosion of electronic and portable media in the last 100 years, there has never been a previous time when so many of the waking hours were spent in direct and indirect exposure to mass media.

The consciousness of the modern industrialized human has absorbed and integrated so many sounds, images, memories and thoughts from mass media that it is as if the mind is floating in a perpetual hologram, a hybrid reality where the synthetic and the natural are seamlessly blended.

Let us look backward, at some of the events which foreshadow our present hologram world...

In late August 1835, the first of a series of 6 articles appeared in a New York newspaper, detailing the discovery of quasi-anthropomorphic beings on the moon. The discovery was allegedly made via the seemingly plausible technology of super-powerful telescope, and for a few weeks vast numbers of Americans, both educated and illiterate, lived in a reality inhabited by intelligent moon-men and moon-maidens.

It was of course, all an elaborate hoax. Technology increased the speed and dispersal of information, but it also increased the power of the makers of illusion.

On Halloween of 1938, Orson Welles demonstrated the illusion-making power of mass electronic communications, with his  frighteningly realistic dramatization of HG Wells' seminal scifi novel, The War of the Worlds. Anticipating the mockumentary style of The X-Files, Welles deliberately integrated faux newscasts into his version, hoping to mess with America's sense of reality.

About 2,000 letters of complaint were later sent to CBS Radio and the FCC from persons who were misled into believing in an actual Martian invasion, and some claimed to have witnessed scenes of mass panic.

As Susan Smith would do in 1994, Welles had created a successful broadcast hoax. (Perhaps fittingly, the success of the hoax itself appears to be have been greatly exaggerated over time, thus perhaps, an illusion within the illusion.)

Three years after Welles' imaginary Martian attack, Japanese airplanes bombed the US colony of Hawaii and America entered WW2.

And then two years after the end of War of the World 2, on June 24, 1947, with the US military still up to its neck in top secret weapons, aeronautics, and rocket research, pilot Kenneth Arnold famously saw unidentified flying discs over the Washington Cascades.

And in a seemingly-related incident, on July 8, 1947, a press officer from Roswell Army Air Field issued the statement that personnel had recovered a crashed 'flying disc.' Later that same day however, General Roger Ramey held a press conference and claimed that the supposed flying disc was actually just a weather balloon.

A few weeks after the Roswell incident, perhaps coincidentally, on July 26, the National Security Act officially became effective. This legislation euphemistically rechristened the War Department as the 'Department of Defense,' and created the CIA.

The original CIA incorporated hundreds of former Nazi spies and technicians, whose knowledge and prowess were so badly coveted by the USA that their war crimes as servants of the Third Reich were carefully concealed. Google 'Operation Paperclip' if you doubt this.

In 1994, radio bloviator Rush Limbaugh liberally applied the term Femi-Nazi to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was coincidentally born on October 26, 1947

Rush Limbaugh had boffo ratings in 1994, at least on radio. His thinly-veiled racism, overt misogyny, and his appeals to the lowest impulses of jingoistic militarism struck a cord with a certain demographic which by this time was feeling significant economic pain due to America's permanent working-class post-industrial recession

Limbaugh's stratospheric popularity, coinciding with the Democrats' huge losses in the mid-term elections inspired the punditocracy to christen 1994 as the Year of the Angry White Male. Hillary Clinton, whose husband publicly referred to her as a co-president, seemed a perfect target for Limbaugh's rhetorical scud missiles.

Here in the Futuristic 21st Century, Ms. Clinton would serve as Secretary of State, and thus would find herself directing the CIA. For instance, in 2011, in advance of the NATO bombing of Libya, Ms. Clinton's State Department ordered CIA agents to help destabilize the sovereign nation. Libya, like the CIA, had once served as a haven for escaped Nazis, thus making Rush Limbaugh's Femi-Nazi slur seem distortedly prophetic. 

  And perhaps not coincidentally, 1947 was also the year in which the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists initiated the Doomsday Clock, meant to show the temporal proximity of nuclear war at any given moment, based on political conditions.

Better still, it was in April 1947 when multimillionaire Bernard Baruch coined the term Cold War, in a speech before the government of South Carolina, which would later be obliged to imprison child-killer Susan Smith.

And in 1947, the National Security Council was created. One of its directives described the paramount aim of American foreign policy as “a world substantially made over in our own image”.

Back in 1947, the Air Force thought that the Roswell story had died, once they released the cover story about weather balloons. But it had simply gone underground, and by the 1970's it had re-emerged and become interwoven with other UFO folklore.

The UFO theory was sufficiently irksome to the Pentagon that in 1994, the year of Susan Smith and OJ, the Air Force released a report (almost 1000 pages long) which attempted to debunk it.

If the 1994 government explanation is to be believed, the Roswell wreckage was indeed from a balloon, but one with a different purpose than was stated in the July, 1947 press conference. The balloon was not a weather prediction device, but was instead designed to pick up evidence of Soviet A-Bomb tests. 

By the Air Force's own testimony, they released a small quantity of disinformation ('weather balloon') so as to conceal the fact that they were trying to spy on the USSR. 

Disinformation, as a word, seems to have been coined in the 1950's, which is extremely appropriate. In 1954 , for example, when the American CIA desired to replace Guatemala's democratically-elected President Jacobo Arbenz, they created bogus radio news broadcasts, ala Orson Welles' Martian Invasion, describing "imaginary uprisings and defections and plots to poison wells and conscript children...Two months later, Arbenz was gone, replaced by a CIA picked stooge named Castillo Armas." 

The CIA tried to duplicate the Guatemalan success many times since, usually with unsatisfactory results. One of their biggest boners was the infamous Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961), wherein a group of Cuban exiles, given arms and aircraft by the US, attempted an invasion and overthrow of Fidel Castro. The US planes were painted to resemble the Cuban air force.

A year later, President Kennedy's Joint Chiefs of staff came up with an even more ambitious Cuban ploy: they proposed a series of False Flag terrorist attacks against American targets, for which the Communist Regime in Cuba would be blamed. JFK vetoed the idea, and it was lost to history until the National Archives released the documents in April, 2001.

The Kennedy era seems to have been rich with plots and counterplots, ridiculous and occasionally sublime, and the hit 1991 film JFK brought some of these schemes to the attention of a mass audience.

Like the Roswell Alien Conspiracy theory, JFK eventually created sufficient public pressure so that many of the previously-sealed records of the Kennedy Administration and the assassination were finally released to the public, beginning in 1992.

The records actually inspired more questions than they answered. For the first half of the 1990's, many Conspiracy Theories emerged from the shadows and gained a measure of mainstream acceptability. 

Shadowy government operatives had been part of the UFO mythology since at least the 1960's, and in the wake of JFK-mania it seemed natural for Conspiracy Buffs of various stripes to begin to converge and share information. To compound matters, by the mid-1990's, the commercialization of the Internet was kicking into high gear with AOL, Prodigy and other services allowing the public to bypass the stodgy gatekeepers of TV, radio, and print.

One durable Conspiracy Theory, serving as a kind of book end to the Roswell Alien Crash Legend, held that the USA never actually landed an astronaut on the moon, but rather, NASA just faked it. 

Inspired by this possibility, filmakers created Capicorn One, a low-budget 1977 thriller about NASA and the CIA faking a Mars expedition. The film starred OJ Simpson, of all people. 

In 1994, of course, OJ inadvertently exposed a real-life conspiracy. Prior to working the OJ case, The Juice's arch-nemises, LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman, had blabbed to a reporter about his affiliation with a Ring of Rogue Cops, whose misdeeds included brutality against African-Americans as well sabotaging the careers of women & minority police officers.

The revelations concerning Furhman's racism and rogue behavior no doubt hurt the DA's case against OJ, and Fuhrman eventually left LA for the white-supremacist-friendly fields of rural Idaho. But most of America forgot about the story, which foreshadowed the epidemic of police racism and brutality unfolding with sickening regularity across our media today.

Fans of the The X-Files were amenable to Conspiracy Theories. The first few seasons of the program walked a delicate tightrope, with tantalizing hints suggesting insidious secret government plots which many fans believed to be based on real-life. 

But eventually those plotlines abandoned any political themes, relegating itself solely to the realms of the paranormal and scifi, aliens and genetic mutants displacing the real monsters of the military-industrial complex. Perhaps it was not wholly coincidental that once the show was neutered, ratings began to gradually taper off.

But even during the excellent first season, the mythology of the 1947 Roswell UFO Crash was infused into the X-Files DNA. 'Deep Throat,' the 2nd episode, concerns itself with a mysterious disease afflicting air force officers at a base where fantastic flying vehicles, made from reverse-engineered UFO technology. 

The mysterious ailment of course was a rather obvious allusion to Gulf War Syndrome, the existence of which Uncle Sam still officially denied in 1993. (In 1994, however, Uncle Sam threw up his hands and started providing medical benefits those afflicted.)

The X-Files wasn't the only TV program to milk Roswell. On July 31, 1994, just a month and half after OJ's Bronco ride, the cable network Showtime broadcast an emponymous docu-drama starring ex-FBI Special Agent Kyle McLaughlin and the versatile Martin Sheen.  
And later in 1994, London film-maker Ray Santilli first released about a minute & 1/2 of grainy B/W video purporting to show an Alien Autopsy conducted after the UFO crash in 1947. (In 1995, Santilli released a longer version of the video, which was eventually broadcast on Fox network, hosted by Jonathan Frakes of Star Trek:The Next Generation. It didn't fool anyone, not even the people who wanted to believe it.)

The idea of the US military trying to reverse-engineer recovered UFO tech is intriguing, because the institution does indeed seek to create fantastic flying vehicles, but so far, none have demonstrated the capabilities shown on the X-Files or described in UFO literature.

An example of this is the F-35, an Air Force fighter plane in development since 1996. Designed for short-take off and for vertical landing capability, and to be four times more effective than legacy fighters in air-to-air combat, eight times more effective in air-to-ground combat, and three times more effective in reconnaissance, the plane has become a minor political scandal.

The development of the F35 is estimated to cost roughly a trillion dollars, and as of yet the plane does not perform as advertised. If the US military were reverse-engineering extraterrestrial UFO technology supposedly in their possession since 1947, they should be doing better than this.

A 2015 report by the US Marines found that it "did not demonstrate that [the F35 was] operationally effective or suitable for use in any type of limited combat operation, or that it was ready for real-world operational deployments."

The planned location of the main F35 base is in Vermont, and, not surprisingly, a Vermont Senator named Bernie Sanders is the F35's most famous champion in Congress. Also unsurprisingly, Lockheed-Martin, maker of the plane, has been based in Vermont since 1996.  

Senator Bernie Sanders was a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Sanders called himself a 'Democratic Socialist,' apparently wanting to distance himself from the Party of Clinton.  

Classically, socialism involves the redistribution of wealth away from those persons less needy into the hands of those more needy. Yet the F35, by virtue of its truly astronomical cost, footed mostly by working-class taxpayers, represents a transfer of wealth into the coffers of a financial leviathan.

Sanders' support for the F35 boondoggle is not an anomaly. When it comes to voting in favor of military expenditures, in times of war or peace, Bernie's reliability is legendary.

Although his surrogates tirelessly point out that the Vermont Senator voted against George Bush's disastrous Iraq Invasion in 2003, Sanders had supported Bill Clinton's Iraq Liberation Act in 1998, the conveniently forgotten ideological father of Gulf War II, and in 1999 he supported the US bombing of Kosovo, which killed about 600 civilians and which is not fondly remembered by the locals who survived it

(Curiously, the Boogie Man of Kosovo, the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, was recently acquitted of his alleged war crimes from 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica. Exoneration )

Indeed, Bernie Sanders has consistently resisted the temptation to resist any of the USA's multiple 21st Century wars, stalwartly voting in favor of every bill appropriating funds for each subsequent patriotic bloodbath. A cynic might think that Sanders only gives lip-service for peace, all the while loyally supporting his true masters, the Gods of War.

A cynic might look at Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, during which Sanders promised to smash ISIS.

ISIS of course is the Terror Dujour, an amalgamation of forces which has arisen and evolved in the flaming ruins of Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, after those nations experienced either 'liberation' (i.e. bombing & ground troops) or 'humanitarian intervention; (i.e. bombing and covert forces) at the hands of the USA.

In Washington DC and over the broadcast airwaves, it is taken as a fact that ISIS is a threat to all persons living in the USA, despite the fact that the organization possesses no air force, no navy,  no ICBM's and no nukes.

Many commentators, politicians, and militarists have said that ISIS is an 'existential threat' to the USA, but have no specified what this means. Does ISIS have a plan to bombard us with treatises by Heidegger and Beauvoir, or copies of 'No Exit'?

ISIS famously makes youtube videos of decapitations and other grisly forms of executions performed on captured enemies. While such conduct is detestable, it should be noted that the USA's pals in Saudi Arabia beheaded 157 people in 2015, and that death by the USA's favorite tactic, aerial bombardment, is not necessarily more merciful than what ISIS dishes out.

And it is aerial bombardment which seems to be Sanders' preferred tactic against ISIS, despite the fact that ISIS was born and nurtured in Iraq, a nation the USA has been bombing for approximately 25 years.

If Bernie Sanders and other American Liberals had wanted to bomb ISIS out of existence, they would have to drop a lot of bombs. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama dropped over 23 thousand bombs on the worlds Muslims in 2015, and, as of this writing, none of the TV talking heads or US politicians have retracted their claims that ISIS is an existential threat.

The F35 and aerial bombs are not the only airborne weapons in the arsenal of the hypothetical Sanders presidency. Killer Drones, such as the famous Reaper, which have been the trademark foreign policy instrument of the Obama Presidency, would have continued to ply the skies of the Greater Middle East and Africa if Sanders had won the presidency.

The first Killer Drone, the MQ-1 Predator, named after a 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger scifi film, took its maiden flight on July 3, 1994. Ostensibly developed for reconnaissance, after 9/11 the crafts were fitted with weapons. 

While the Bush administration pioneered the use of armed drones, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama as killed more than ten times as many Muslims 'suspected terrorists' as Bush, including, at the best guess, about 3000 persons outside of 'declared' war zones. 

The Killer Drone itself seems to occupy a space where reality may be in doubt. The US government, to the extent that it talks about them, represents them as a nearly flawless delivery system of Death For Our Enemies, playing to the Tom Clancy fantasies of Gulf War I, the fantasy of the Smart-Bombs and Patriot Missiles. 

The Official Story is that on every Terror Tuesday, the Nobel-Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama meets with wise and humanitarian intelligence and military officials, and carefully and mercifully determines which of the world's many millions of Muslims suspected terrorists shall be swiftly put to eternal rest with surgical precision. The first Obama drone strike occurred on January 23, 2009. 

Under this scenario, the Killer Drone represents the zenith of America's flawless technological superiority and its exceptional morality. The drone is merely a fully automated cousin to the cinematic superhero Iron Man, reluctantly killing only as a last resort. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the boffo cinematic premiere of Robert Downey Jr.'s alter-ego (2008) occurred just as the number of drone assassinations began to accelerate.

The justification for Killer Drones seems to hinge upon a set of assumptions, which might be loosely summarized as follows

1. The world is full of bad guys who will kill Americans if not first eliminated. 
2. The US government is capable of determining, in advance, who these bad guys are. 
3. Using drones to kill the bad guys prevents US personnel from having to do the job, and therefore avoiding the risk of injury or death. 
4. Drones are accurate, hardly ever killing civilians.
5. To kill with a drone is more humane than by beheading. 

As is the case with most assumptions, it is seemingly impossible for the media or politicians to challenge them.

The US government wants its citizens to think that drone assassinations are akin to the classic Star Trek episode, 'A Taste of Armageddon,' wherein a technologically advanced society uses super-advanced computers and disintegration chambers to what wage what it believes to be a safe, sterile, long-distance war. The inhabitants of the planet held captive by the illusion that permanent war is necessary, logical, and painless. 

But from some journalists, human rights groups and eye-witnesses, there is a different view of the Killer Drone. This view holds that the drone, firing its missiles into structures or locations where US intelligence might believe or claim terrorists lurk, often hits innocent persons, maiming or killing women, children, elderly and disabled persons.  

In support of this alternative point of view are thousands of eye-witnesses, and hundreds of surviving victims of drones, with all manner of injuries to show. 

Another fact in support of this alternative view is the curious definition of the term 'militant' which has been adopted by the US military and intelligence complex. According to their definition, any military-aged male who might be in the proximity of a drone strike is classified as a militant, including the 16-year-old US citizen Abdulrahman Awlaki. Cynics say that this definition is used so as to avoid confronting the reality that drone strikes kill innocent teenagers.

The counting of innocent persons killed by drone strikes, which the US government prefers to call 'collateral damage,' is a highly contested topic.  Unofficial estimates range from as low as 10 'collaterals' to every 1 bad guy, to as high as 42 to 1. The US government of course says such figures are wildly exaggerated but provides poor evidence for its claims, citing security reasons.

If one is to seriously contemplate the notion that these are not mere euphemisms but instead real human beings being killed, then one must consider several facts.

The first fact is that the designation of the alleged terrorist, the 'target' of the strike, comes from US intelligence, the same community that has delivered a lengthy and spectacular set of devastating and tragic failures in the last 15 years, some of which are as follows:

  • Failure to prevent 9/11
  • Allowing Osama Bin Laden to flee at the Battle of Tora Bora
  • Non-existent WMD's in Iraq
  • Predicting that Iraqis will greet US troops as liberators 
  • Failure to predict the Arab Spring
  • Failure to predict anarchy in Libya following bombing raids and the killing of Colonel Gaddafi
  • Failure to predict the rise of ISIS
  • Failure to predict Russian forces moving into Crimea
No doubt US intel is occasionally correct, but they seem have a special aptitude for fatal errors. From the get-go, the effectiveness of any single drone strike should be at best doubtful, since the target is designated by the espionage equivalent of the Keystone Kops.

Additionally, the actual operation of the drone is via remote control, with the operator often as far as 8000 miles away, viewing a Reality Show which looks like this:

It seems extraordinary that a drone pilot would be able to discern who might be inside, behind, under, or near the pick up truck: good guy, bad guy, or neutral, child or grown up?

The facts seem to undermine Official Story of a merciful robotic savior...

...but instead suggest that the drone is an emblem of faceless, relentless, senseless airborne death, resembling the despised Nazi V1 Buzz-Bomb, from the 2nd World War.

If elected, Hillary Clinton would use this weapon, just as the Nazis used the in this manner also, Hillary would be living up to the pejorative Femi-Nazi label.

The Buzz-Bomb, for all its potency as a terror-weapon, did not destroy the British Will to Fight, and there is no evidence that the drone has any deterrence effect against the billions of Radical Muslim Jihadi Terrorists allegedly plotting our destruction.

One might even suppose that to persons residing in the territories where Drones Run Wild might come to believe the drone to be a cruel, cowardly and ultimately stupid weapon, and that the drone strike might even inspire a certain persons to take up arms against the nation which launches the drone strikes. 

To extend the logic, one might even suppose that the relentless aerial bombings, drone strikes, and other bits of violence that the US looses upon the Muslim world might possibly have the effect of inspiring more fighters, rather than passifying those regions.

So it is that two cornerstones of Democratic foreign policy, drones and aerial bombing, are more likely to incite continued war rather than bring an end.

This is of course, completely consistent with the past 15 years of US foreign policy, which has been to bomb smaller, weaker nations, sometimes sending ground troops but sometimes not, sometimes maintaining garrisons afterwords but sometimes not, and always, without fail, moving the victim nation toward chaos.

This strategy, implemented by George Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq, had been criticized by candidate Obama prior to his inauguration in 2009.  Curiously, however, President Obama chose to carry-over George Bush's Defense Secretary Robert Gates, perhaps because he saw value in his ability to prolong unwinnable wars.

“The most significant aspect of what President Obama has done, regarding drones and regarding the so-called targeted killing program around the world, is that Obama has codified assassination as a central official component of American foreign policy.” [And he] has implemented policies that a Republican probably would not have been able to implement, certainly not with the support that Obama has received from so many self-identified liberals” -Jeremy Scahill

By the end of 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize Winning President had escalated the unsuccessful Afghanistan War, and in spring of 2011 started his own unwinnable war by bombing Libya and throwing Col. Qaddaffi to be torn apart by the mob. 

In fairness, blame for the Libyan fiasco does not belong only Mr. Obama, but in fact should be shared with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who as a Senator and a cabinet member seems never to have met a war she didn't like. Ms. Clinton happens to have emerged as the Democratic candidate for president, here in the year 2016.

Ms. Clinton's profile was high back in 1994, not just as First Lady for Bill Clinton, but as the driving force of proposed legislation for national health care insurance. Both Hillary and the proposed National Health Insurance were thoroughly demonized by Right Wing media throughout the year, until finally on November 8, the Democratic Party lost enough seats so that passage of the plan was officially recognized as impossible.  

Besides being the public face of a failed health care proposal, Ms. Clinton was famous in 1994 for being, as her husband called her, a 'co-president,' meaning, that she now shares the Bill Clinton Presidential Legacy.

If this is so, let us reflect upon 3 more memories from Clinton Presidency.

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 took effect on September 13 of that year, a little more than month before Susan Smith would try to blame the murder of her children on an anonymous black man.

 The law imposed radical new minimum sentences on numerous offenses, penalizing crack more harshly than other forms of cocaine, and eventually swelling the US prison population to its present state.
As of this writing, the U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population, but has 23% of the world’s prisoners.  The total number of people under correctional supervision in the U.S.—over seven million—is greater than were in Stalin’s Gulag at its height.

Perhaps Susan Smith might appreciate the fact that, intentionally or not, the law also greatly exacerbated the already disproportional representation of African-American's in the US prison system. There are now more Black men under correctional supervision—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than there were slaves in 1850.

Universally recognized today as a Bad Idea of truly stupendous proportions, the bill had received bipartisan support in Congress and was mostly hailed as a long-awaited remedy to the perceived increase of violent crime in the 1980's.

Another legacy of 1994, taking effect on January 1 of that year, was the North American Free Trade Agreement, AKA NAFTA.

The prior year, NAFTA had been marketed to the American public as a kind of economic viagra, but is now universally recognized today as having facilitated the outsourcing of an estimated 1 million US jobs. 

And on June 15, 1994, two days before OJ & the Bronco, Bill Clinton unveiled a proposed Welfare Reform bill, which sought to impose a two-year limit on cash benefits and require recipients to find work themselves or take a government job, purportedly with the intent of reducing teen pregnancy and eradicating 'the culture of dependency.' The bill became law in 1996, and is now widely disparaged for removing much of the social safety net and in effect criminalizing the poor. 

The Clinton's health care initiative, going down in flames at the same point in time as the disastrous Crime Bill, NAFTA and Welfare Reform became ascendant make 1994 a landmark political year in the transformation of the Democratic Party. From this moment onward, anyone with eyes could see that the institution would no longer offer anything of the slightest value to the working class, but instead settled into its role of simply being Somewhat Less Awful Than the Republican Party.  

And yet despite Ms. Clinton's strong association with a series of dreadful policy initiatives,there seems to be some enthusiasm in certain portions of the electorate, or perhaps certain portions of the electorate seem to want to convince themselves that they are enthusiastic, for a Hillary presidency.

The idea behind such enthusiasm seems to be that by having a woman as the chief executive of the institutions which collectively impoverish the majority of workers and which bring industrial-scale death to the Greater Middle East is an improvement over having a man as such.

 We suppose that it can be said that Hillary is a feminist, since she apparently has two X chromosomes. But it is a curious sort of feminism, that incorporates her slut-shaming of Monica Lewinski, and her support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied women the right to marry other women. 

(Of course, in 2013, Hillary finally came around and decided that she could support same-sex marriage. Being one of the last few national figures to abandon the doctrine of Sexual Apartheid, history should remember her as the George Wallace of Heterosexuality.) 

Feminist or not, there exist women who fervently support Hillary. It is similar to the logic behind the 2012 Obama campaign, except substituting the identity politics of gender for the identity politics of race. 

Back in 1994, while the talking heads of TV news where bashing Hillary and getting neck-deep in OJ speculation, the cable network A&E produced an episode of its Biography series titled 'Donald Trump: The Art of the Deal,' first telecast on July 21.

  The program represented yet another milestone of that fateful year, a moment when millions of mostly working-class viewers devoted an hour of their lives to the cathode-ray glorification of a self-promoting plutocrat. 

Ten years later, NBC would give Mr. Trump an ongoing Reality TV series, titled The Apprentice, the ratings of which were simply boffo.

The premise of The Apprentice was that a group of contestants would compete to earn a high-paying & prestigious job in one of the Donald Trump's companies. Nielsens showed that millions of working-class Americans were eager to consume the fantasy of a supposedly ordinary person suddenly propelled to the glitzy world of big-time capitalism. Understandable, in an economy where traditional white-collar career paths were rapidly vanishing or being off-shored.

Trump portrays himself as a self-made financial genius, but his empire started with ample seed money from his millionaire father, and at least 4 of his companies so far have filed for bankruptcy. He claims to have a net worth of $8.7 billion, while Forbes Magazine and other sources estimate it at closer to $4 billion. And several investigative journalists conclude that he is merely a Millionaire, that his reputation as a billionaire is simply an illusion. 


 Anyone with an ounce of street smarts or who has ever read a real book should be able to recognize that Trump is a con man. Yet inexplicably, certain persons find him credible. From 2005 until 2010, he operated the for-profit Trump University, for which students paid as much as $30,000 in hopes of learning the secrets of being a successful capitalist.

Likewise, Trump was able to best his Republican rivals though the grueling 2016 primary season and he is, amazingly, the nominee for that party. The Talking Heads and Pundits say that much of Trump's support comes from economically disenfranchised males with inclinations toward racism. If 1994 was the Year of the Angry White Male, then 2016 is the Year of the Gullible Angry White Male.

There is considerable speculation regarding Trump's motivations as a candidate. Some say he is in the race with the intent of scaring voters toward Hillary Clinton, with whom he has been chummy in the past. Some say he simply entered the race to advance his 'brand,' to give credence to his ongoing and future scams.

Based on his public speaking and performance in televised interviews, not to mention one of the most bizarre political coifs of the last 100 years, an educated person is forced to conclude that either Trump is extremely stupid, bigoted, mean and petty, or else a brilliant performance artist spoofing a plutocratic stereotype as if he were one of Sacha Baron Cohen's characters .

Earlier this year, for instance, Trump was all deja vu for the mid-1990's, publicly speculating that the father of rival Republican candidate Ted Cruz might in fact have been a member of the conspiracy which killed JFK, thus bringing us back again to Conspiracy Days of Agent Mulder.

In such instances, the observer cannot be certain whether Trump has finally succumbed to a full-blown dementia or if he has instead perfected a form of politics which is so ridiculous that ridicule is redundant. 

The simple broadcasting of a Trump speech instantly transforms CNN into The Daily Show. A form of politics more absurd than any satirist could imagine, and which therefore is impervious to satire. 

The Trump Candidacy has caused consternation among not just Democrats/Liberals but also some Republicans/Conservatives, who fear his ideological ugliness and apparent stupidity may backfire, pushing potential voters away from the Republican Party. 
A slew of media articles in 2016 by so-called Moderate Right-Wingers such as David Brooks, ostensibly condemning the candidate and predicting dire consequences if the Trump Presidency comes to fruition, contribute to the surreal atmosphere surrounding the campaign.

Numerous pundits have expressed alarm because The Donald has made statements implying he might use nuclear weapons in some if not all the USA's Wars of Empire   'Humanitarian Interventions.'  

Disturbing as such statements are, they also point out the illogic of Amerca's ubiquitous War on Terror

If ISIS, or the Islamic Boogie Man of the Moment, is in fact a real threat to the very existence of the USA, then ought-en it be fought all out, no holds barred, rather than a Vietnamesque 'limited war'? 

Shouldn't there be scrap-metal drives, reinstatement of the draft, and rationing of gasoline? Shouldn't our sisters & mothers be volunteering at the USO and shouldn't the Big Three automakers be impressed into the service of making B-29's Predator Drones? If we are the Defender of Civilization Against the Barbarians and God is On Our Side shouldn't we drop the A-bomb on ISIS just like Truman dropped the bomb on Tojo?

Unless of course, ISIS isn't quite so dangerous as the talking heads from the Pentagon Reality Show might want us to believe...

In fairness to the punditocracy, it is reasonable to fear what a wildcard like Trump might do, given the power to order bombing raids on sovereign nations or drone attacks on so-called enemies. But so far, the discussion has avoided any mention of the fact that the so-called reasonable pundits were mostly silent during the long days when George W. Bush and Barack Obama normalized water-boarding, bombing raids on Doctors Without Borders, and drone assassinations of 16-year-olds as appropriate for the POTUS.  

Moderates favor a Hillary Clinton presidency, a return to the comforting Orwellian euphemisms of the 1994, when austerity and oppression were made palatable by liberal Kumbayah.  

For 1994 was without a doubt a year of prodigious advances in the power of media to transform the awful in the good.  The biggest film of that fateful year was Forest Gump, a saccharine whitewash of the Vietnam era, told from a the point of view of an obedient and dull-witted witness to history.

This fictional film which, via digital film technology, blended actual historical footage with Tom Hanks doing his best Gomer Pyle impersonation, was completely in step with a year in which reality itself was being redefined, and America had come to see itself as the victim of the Vietnam War, rather than the aggressor. 

The phenomenal success of Forest Gump is not due merely to the timeless appeal of treacle, but also the fantasy of the titular character's ability to stumble into material prosperity. American wages, adjusted for inflation, had been falling since the late 1970's, and the two-income household had become the norm, simply by virtue of necessity.  This is also the fantasy of Donald Trump's The Apprentice: an ordinary schmuck stumbling into prosperity.

Similarly, the fantasy of Trump's billions likely contributes to his political appeal. 

The presidential 2012 election cost at least $7 billion. One study estimates that it costs about $1.7 million dollars to win a seat in the House, and $10.5 million to win a Senate seat. 

And it is the sheer gargantuan massiveness of these financial resources which contradict any pretenses of democracy in the system.

No thinking American can realistically expect elected officials to vote or take any action contrary to the wishes of the plutocratic corporate campaign donor class. This is why, when Americans wanted a national health insurance, what they got instead was a byzantine legislative scheme to lock in corporate health care profits under the guise of 'Affordable Care Act.'

And if that were not enough to dispel the notion of the presidential election as a legitimate plebiscite, there is the convenient truth of the Electoral College, hiding in plain sight. Still infamous from the 2000 debacle, it's very existence is evidence that the system was never intended to be truly democratic, but rather to bestow an air of legitimacy upon on the system by which aristocrats and militarists jockey for the position of Front Man.

The election is essentially an impossibly long series of ceremonial combat rituals, played out across the media over the course of two impossibly long years like an intellectually perverted version of Pro Wrestling. And like spectator sports, voters come to psychically identify with candidates, feeling triumph when 'their' candidate wins, and righteous persecution when 'their' candidate loses.

The impulse to vanquish the other, to take vengeance for past humiliations or to spare themselves the agony of defeat was no doubt alive and well in the nation of Rwanda in 1994.  From April 7 to mid-July 1994, an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 people were slaughtered, most of them belonging to the ethnic group known as the Tutsi, and most of the butchers belonging to the Hutu ethnic group.

The Hutus and Tutsis had a long history of rivalry and conflict, of victory, of being vanquished, of humiliation, of cruelty, and all the other fruits of human aggression. In fact the rivalry and antagonism between the two groups is largely, if not 100%, the product of 19th century European colonial rulers.

The Europeans had sussed-out that that by instigating rivalry between indigenous tribes and clans, they could manipulate the native populations of a region to fight each other, successfully preventing them from unifying to repel their foreign overlords.

And so the Germans, and later the Belgians, did exactly this to the Hutu and Tutsi, sowing and fertilizing the seeds of conflict, successfully instigating a series of aggressions and retributions, so that both groups had enough respective grievances to make Frank Costanza green with envy.

The hard-hitting 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, starring Iron Man's pal Don Cheadle, succinctly summarized it:

The political system of the US effectively divides the voting majority into two groups, Republicans and Democrats. Rank and file members sincerely believe in the moral and political superiority of their own respective party and that the other party is variously clinically deluded and/or treasonous. 

So it is that the US election process herds the American population into artificially created groups and instigates these groups to compete with each other, to engage in a form of mass symbolic warfare.

Ostensibly, this symbolic warfare satisfies the primitive need for some kind of ritualistic process by which the peasants view head of state as legitimate, a need common to all human societies since the days of booga-booga, 40,000 years ago. 

But the symbolic war also divides stakeholders of common interests against each other. In fact, most of the persons who will vote in November are decisively working class, which in America means they live closer to the abyss of poverty and homelessness than they care to acknowledge. On average their economic prospects, Democrat & Republican alike, are even dimmer than even the dim prospects of 1994.

But thanks to the American Mainstream Media's staggering success at targeting specific demographics, roughly half of working Americans believe that Donald Trump is a menace of Hitlerian magnitude and must be stopped no matter what the moral costs, while the other half believes that Hillary Clinton is a menace of Stalinistic magnitude and must therefore be stopped no matter what.

Thus the presidential election channels the political energies and resources of the working classes away from changing or reforming the actual system of government, but instead toward a two-year series of noisy but ultimately meaningless rituals of symbolic combat.  Better yet, it creates and stokes resentment and mistrust between these two artificially created subgroups of the working class, which also prevents them from ever unifying to reform or restructure the system of governance. 

Just as the Belgians ruled Rwanda by dividing those who might have resisted them, the militarized plutocracy which governs America divides those who might otherwise resist them.

The 2016 election is noteworthy in that by the selection of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive opponents, the system has come as close as conceivable to selecting the two most despised persons in America to compete for Top Dog. 

Outwardly, this seems counterintuitive, since one function of the election is to emboss the seal of legitimacy upon the Head of State.

But there is in fact a genius is that the selection of two truly hateworthy candidates. Each has sufficient repellent and odious qualities to convinces masses of the electorate that this candidate "must be stopped at all costs." Once this mindset is adopted, it justifies support of a candidate just slightly less repellent and odious.

Stopping Trump At All Costs

Stopping Hillary At All Costs

When the citizen casts his vote, he believes he is this to be a translation of his will, however small by comparison, into the vastness of the collective political mind. And perhaps, in an atomized kind of way, he is correct. The odds say that the candidate who gets the plurality of the popular vote will likely become POTUS, except in instances such as 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000.

But the sword has two edges.

In the primitive depths of the human mind, the act of voting is akin to casting a mystic spell or praying to a god. It is a silent, magic utterance. But like mystic spells and prayers, the act has no real effect on the external world, but is instead a powerful tool for brainwashing oneself.

The culmination of two years' worth of propaganda capped off with arcane internal rationalizations, the magical act of voting locks the mind into the belief that this year's Hillary or this year's Trump is morally justifiable. This predisposes the voter toward rationalizing the misdeeds perpetrated by their preferred candidate. 

When Obama 'surged' in Afghanistan, and launched the bombing on Libya in March 2011, every 'peace voter' & every liberal became an accomplice to the killing. Like the characters in film noir, the accomplice believes he is trapped by his earlier decision, and so rationalizes the evil that ensues. 

(An eerily prescient Ted Rall cartoon from 2009)

Even though the presidential election is not a valid plebiscite, it has tremendous value as a marketing tool. The object is to condition the mind of the public to accept a sovereign whose behavior would otherwise be morally unacceptable. 

Most of the great totalitarian regimes of the last 100 years offered their populations various types of elections, mostly restricted to meaningless, inconsequential choices, akin to the consumer's choice between Coke & Pepsi.  

Most citizens of the USA will be restricted to just two presidential candidates, and in those states where other parties, such as the Greens, are on the ballots, most of the voters dare not vote for any 'Third Party' because they fear they will 'waste' their vote, lest they unwittingly assist a Boogeyman candidate to win.

As of this writing, the presumptive Republican and Democrat nominees are both millionaires, and both rose to their respective fortunes with a heavy assist from family members.

Both were born in the immediate aftermath of WW2, 1946 and 1947 respectively.

Both have been in unfaithful marriages. 

Both say they will kill Muslims 'terrorists' with drones and aerial bombardment. Neither has promised to the withdraw US military from from any the current deployments in more than 100 nations.

US Military Presence

Donald Trump's Islamaphobia, Xenophobia, Misogyny, and Racism are obvious.

Hillary's racism must be inferred. As Bill Clinton's co-president, she instigated a slew of racist law enforcement practices, as well reduction of welfare benefits and the off-shoring of living wage jobs...a set of policies which disproportionately hurt non-white families more than whites. She also called African-American juvenile delinquents 'super-predators.'

And as Secretary of State, she presided over a foreign policy of bombing and killing focused mostly on nations where the majority are black or brown. 

Trump has a history of using the American system of crony capitalism to enrich himself at the expense of others, in particular, the working-class schmucks who dumped hundreds of millions of dollars into his empire via their own foolish gambling at Trump's casinos, and perhaps more egregiously, the chumps who spent $30K to attend his bogus 'university' scam. 

Hillary has a history of using her role in the rigged political system of the USA to enable rich people like herself and Trump become even richer.

Trump has held forth in the limelight long enough for Americans to know that he has poor social skills and is capable of saying supremely idiotic things. But since he has never held public office, there is only speculation as to what he might actually do.

Hillary has been either a 'co-president,' a senator, or a cabinet member for most of the past 23 years. It is reasonable to assume that if she became president, she would continue to make war, oppress the working classes, and to assist the upward transfer of wealth at every opportunity, just as she has done throughout her career. 

In the minds of liberals, moderates, and the intelligentsia of the USA, Trump is a boogeyman who must be stopped at all costs. 

In the minds of America's Right Wing, and in the minds of disenfranchised working-class white males and fundamentalist Christians,  Hillary is a boogeyman boogeyperson who must be stopped at all costs.

The impending threat of a boogeyperson who must be stopped at all costs justifies voting for someone who is slightly less awful. On the internet, this is called LEV, for Lesser Evil Voting.

The interesting things about LEV is that so long as a voter believes one candidate is So Awful That He Must Be Stopped At All Costs, the voter feels morally justified in voting for another, Slightly Less awful Candidate. This is especially true in American presidential politics, where the political spectrum allows only two flavors, Democrat and Republican.

The LEV mentality is of incalculable benefit to tyrannical and oppressive political regimes because it compels the populace to justify horrendous actions, such as drone-killings, aggressive war, austerity, mass surveillance, off-shoring of jobs, etc. 

As long as the population can be made to believe in boogeymen, and as long as the boogeyman can be sufficiently frightening, there is no bottom limit.

A historical example: the Nazi party was not universally beloved by Germans of the 1930's. Despite the maniacal rallies captured by Leni Riefenstahl,  most of Hitler's support in the general population was conditional, the result of common people trying to think pragmatically. This was the portion of the population targeted by Joseph Goebbels and others for their great Anti-Bolshevist campaign.

The Lesser Evil of Nazism

Believing Communism to be so terrible and frightening that it must be stopped at all costs, Germans who had misgivings about Hitler were willing to tolerate him because they believed he could keep the Reds at bay.

'Here, the choice must be made between Bolshevism on the one side, meaning destruction and anarchy, and authority, meaning order and construction, on the other side.'   -Joseph Goebbels.

Indeed, a serious and reasonable German could, based on the information available to him, believe that the Nazi Party was his only hope to avoid falling under the reign of Stalin.

Stalin was indeed a monster, but now we know also that Hitler was too.

Fundamental to the mastery of politics is the ability to exploit a crisis.

In the minds of most serious and reasonable Americans, the Donald Trump candidacy is a crisis. He is believed to be an idiot at best, and serious and reasonable Americans fear what might happen if Trump commanded the USA's vast nuclear and conventional arsenal, which has been steadily growing in size and potency since the events of 1947.

The serious and reasonable Americans, at least those whose opinions are published and broadcast, do not seem to worry much about what Hillary would do with the most deadly arsenal ever acquired. 

This despite Hillary's perfect, unbroken record of supporting every military action by the USA in the past 23 years, including the disastrous bombing of Libya and the throwing of Col. Qaddafi to the mob to be gruesomely murdered: 'We came, we saw, he died,' said Mrs. Clinton.

A Feminist Reflects

Besides Creating the Corpse of Col. Qaddafi, Mrs. Clinton claims to be instrumental in the extrajudicial killing of Osama Bin Laden, which happened just a few months earlier, in May 2011. Despite initial reports that Bin Laden was resisting the paid assassins US Special Forces sent to capture the accused 9/11 mastermind, the military has admitted that Bin Laden was killed pre-emptively. The alleged terrorist Super-Villian was in effect, given a summary execution without benefit of any due process whatsoever.

Hillary Kills Bin Laden

If US intelligence is to be believed, Bin Laden was the OJ of 2001, creating the most gruesome Reality TV ever, with incineration of 3000 or so persons broadcast live just as the new season was starting. 

Critical minds who have actually studied the verifiable facts of 9/11, OBL, and Al Qaeda tend to have some skepticism regarding the Official Story (this topic will be revisited in a later edition of The Flapdoodle Files). Here is an insteresting quote from former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, speaking to the House of Commons:

"The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the 'devil' only in order to drive the 'TV watcher' to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US and the lobbyists for the US war on terrorism are only interested in making money." (emphasis mine)

Where Did 'Al Qaeda' Come From? 

The September 11 Attack seems to prove that a majority of the population, if shown a violent crime and told that a Muslim Boogy-Man did it, will support vengeance multiplied a hundred-fold and Wars Without End. If OJ was the coming-of-age for Reality TV, 9/11 was the weaponization of it. 
The execution of Osama Bin Laden in 2011 did not raise many eyebrows from liberalsThe allegation by the American intelligence community that he was guilty for 9/11 was almost universally assumed to fact. 

Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart, did pogo-dances of jubilation, despite their previous hand-ringing and finger-wagging over George Bush's cowboy tactics a few short years earlier

But then, when it became apparent that extrajudicial assassination had come home, it was somewhat less popular.

American People began to react in horror to the increasing frequency of American Police videographed by cell phones in the act of executing black American 'suspects.'

The First Black American President seems himself to be unwilling to propose concrete steps to address the problem, but instead has chosen to utter platitudes, relying as ever on the tendency of white liberals to conflate him with the late Martin Luther King.

And so on July 6, 2016, a sniper in Dallas, Texas, began shooting at police officers. The officers were containing a Black Lives Matter march. The sniper was Micah Xavier Johnson, who had been drummed out of the US Army two years earlier, aged 23, for misconduct. One of the Oscar-nominated movies of that year was the combat-porn American Sniper, which went boffo at the box office.

After the cops were able to regroup, Johnson was eventually contained in a parking garage, away from any more potential victims. It was there that he gained the distinction of being the first person executed on US soil via a robot drone which, however, looked more like toy army tank than Johnny Sokko's Flying Robot. 

  A similar incident occurred on July 7, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the assailant this time killing 3 police officers.

To most White Americans, the exposure of the Fuhrman Tapes, which gad revealed ongoing brutality against people of color, fabrication of evidence, and other systemic abuses within the LAPD, was a mere sideshow to the Great OJ Case in 1994.

Yet to those constituencies oppressed by the police, the Furman Tapes represented crimes against thousands of persons, while OJ's alleged victims were limited to two.

The phosphorescence of TV, brightening and warming the hearth with the psuedo-reality, inevitably distorts. In the case of OJ, White America saw just what it wanted to see, a black criminal, coddled by law enforcement, aided by a slick black attorney, making a mockery of the whole criminal justice system.

Twenty-two years later, White America still mostly sees just what it wants to see, but the glowing screen of the now-ubiquitous smart-phone reveals something different. Almost every week, new bona fide video of the police needlessly killing, injuring or brutalizing a person of color emerges.

Sickening Statistics

Dallas sniper Micah Johnson's attack on police came on the heels of two black men, both unarmed, being killed by police. One was in Minnesota, the other in Louisiana.

Two Men

Micah Johnson's Commander in Chief was Barack Obama, the first Black President of the USA. Part of White America wanted to see the Obama Presidency as evidence that racism in America was finally dying, while the other part of White America wanted to see it as evidence that another Black Criminal was making a mockery of the system.

The White Americans who consider Obama to be an example of black criminality think he coddles Muslim terrorists, like the man who used a truck and gunfire to kill 84 people in France on July 13, 2016. Most of those White Americans are not aware that the US Air Force, with Obama as Commander in Chief, killed 85 civilians a few days later. Accidentally of course.

Terrorists & the Air Force

The Liberals of White America, for their part, also seem mostly unaware of the July 19 ‘accidental’ airstrike on innocent people. Perhaps because this knowledge, like so many other facts, would interfere with their preference to conflate the eloquent and dignified First Commander in Chief with the eloquent and dignified Martin Luther King. 

On May 13, 1994, less than a month before OJ Simpson allegedly murdered his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman, the Fox network broadcast 'The Erlenmeyer Flask,' concluding the X-Files' X-ellent first season. In that episode, the cryptic government informant, 'Deep Throat,' is murdered by another cryptic figure that viewers must presume to be an agent of the US government.

Probably not quite knowing it, show-runner Chris Carter was foreshadowing The X-Files' eventual drift away from political relevancy and into the weeds of technobabble and paranormal gobbelty-gook.

We can see in retrospect that Carter's self-censorship was completely in step with American politics and media, since by 1994, the possibilities opened up by collapse of the Soviet Empire (1989-91) and the popular rejection of the Muslim-bombing President George Herbert Walker Bush (1992) had mostly been either piddled away or altogether inverted so as to reinforce the military-plutocratic status quo.

When the X-Files returned in 2016, new possibilities were again mostly piddled away or inverted. Despite being in the pleasurable company of our old friends and despite the novelty of Mulder Mulling Middle Age, Chris Carter once again got us quickly lost in the weeds. 

Mulder's Main Maguffin for 2016 involved some kind of mumbo jumbo about Extraterrestrial DNA and some kind of horrendous mass contagion. 

The contamination of the human race with unwelcome alien DNA is a particularly irksome problem, since DNA replicates itself, perpetuates itself, like a bad Top 40 Hit. Bad Top 40 songs which infect your internal monologue are popularly called 'song viruses.'

The American Presidential Election is full of a similar kind of mental contagion, flying through the air, which upon impact with your cerebrum & then try their best to infect your whole brain. Many of them are successful, the result of a lifetime of being conditioned into the belief that the election is a legitimate and fundamental plebiscite, representing both crisis and opportunity.  

The American Mainstream Media work in concert with the Local and Federal Government to create a superficially coherent Reality TV Show of Liberals & Conservatives, Democrats & Republicans, Libertarians, Teapartiers, Soccer Moms, etc. Certain political philosophies are labelled Leftist, Radical, Anarchist or some other dangerous-sounding appellation so as to designate their ideas as essentially unthinkable to respectable persons.  

Most of the political terminology bandied about the airwaves and blogosphere is now almost completely meaningless. More often than not, political terminology stops one from thinking, to regress instead into a kind of TV show world of stereotypical good guys and bad guys.

The fantasy of Agent Mulder, an independent-minded, ethical, dogged, truth-seeking civil servant was powerful in 1994 and in 2016 he returned to bring boffo ratings to Rupert Murdoch's Fox Network.

Such hero fantasies tend to be extremely durable and universal, dating back to prehistoric legends such as Gilgamesh and Beowulf.

The historical reality is that of all the humans living through all of the ages in all of the lands, the overwhelmingly vast majority have not lived under a democratic government, but were instead dominated (and often oppressed) by some form of dictatorship.

Traditionally, most of the kings & queens of the world claimed to have been appointed by the mankind's various gods, and elaborate pageants and rituals were created to demonstrate the authenticity of this arrangement.

The formation of the USA, coming a few hundred years too late for such a claim, required a somewhat different mythology so the pageant and ritual of the Presidential Election was created. Most of the time, the ritual seems to be convince sufficient numbers of the legitimacy of the government.

On paper, the USA is governed by Congress, POTUS, & SCOTUS, but in reality all three of these institutions simply do the bidding of deep and only half-concealed alliance of the super-rich and militarists.  A Plutocrat-Pentagon Dicatorship, hiding in plain sight.

To live under some form of dictatorship is nothing to feel ashamed or depressed about, since that is the fate of the overwhelming majority of the human family.

To believe that a dictatorship is actually a democracy might be a pleasant delusion, if one can sustain it. But that delusion comes with a price. 

Firstly, it reduces all debate regarding the many problems of an industrial civilization into a massive popularity contest, ala the reality game show American Idol. Ideas and issues are replaced by personalities.

Secondly, electoral politics nullify most of the alternatives and possibilities open at a particular moment in time by making them invisible. 

Most notably, the possibility that the USA might withdraw its forces from any of its hundreds of battlefields is obviously taboo to any major candidate. Even the So-Called Socialist Bernie Sanders didn't dare propose this alternative. Single Payer National Health Insurance, AKA Medicare For All, has also been removed from the Visible Spectrum of Political Possibility, along with countless other possibilities.

Thirdly, electoral politics pushes the minds of voters through a series of cattle-chutes which effectively eliminate all but two candidates, creating a crisis:

The voter thinks it is his duty to vote and that if he does not vote, he will have no right to complain after the election.

Moreover, as in most elections of the last 50 years, there will be at least one candidate who appears so Vile & Loathsome that one can believe that the candidate must be stopped at all costs.

It is at this point that a voter can be made to 'willingly' vote for a candidate who does not represent his interests, and who goes against the voter's own principles, so long as this candidate appears to be Slightly Less Awful than the alternative.

 It also promotes a world-view where the only possibilities are as follows:

1) Vile & Loathsome
2) Slightly Less Awful

This is the mindset necessary for Americans to believe that children must be blown up by drones, that torture is necessary, that all of the future must be spent fighting unwinnable wars, that contaminated public water supplies in low income communities are unavoidable, that all of our jobs must someday be off-shored, that it is necessary to infuse predatory banks with $13 trillion in taxpayer money so that these respectable institutions can continue the important job of foreclosing on working people. 

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two of the most reviled people in America. Chances are good that you at least one of them disgusts you, if not both.

Many of the Reasonable People in America aren't keen on Hillary but they have already determined that she is the Lesser of Two Evils.

Science Fiction is often the study of dystopia, and as the dystopia of 21st Century USA becomes increasingly obvious, perhaps furture historians will call our time 'the Lesser Evil Voting era.'

We will soon conclude this little trip through time and space together, after one more brief Thought Experiment:

Assume that you were 12 or older in 1994 and that you had a passable knowledge of current events in that amazing year.

Assume that you possess the ability, via transtemporal telepathy or astral projection or somesuch, to revisit your own mind as it existed in 1994. (Who knows? You might actually possess such an won't know unless you try!)

Think back to the glowing screen of mass media phosphorescence, to OJ, to Agent Mulder, to Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, and to Susan Smith. Think to back drinking Snapple, Zima,or Sam Adams, to the crackle of a dial-up internet modem, to wearing pleated pants and poofy-hair, and shopping at big box stores...

Once you have achieved a sucessful mind-link to Your 1994 Self, make the following statements to Your 1994 Self:

  • Between 2001 and 2016, about half a million people will be killed, over 7 million people made refugees, and over $4 trillion will be spent on a series of wars which will accomplish nothing.
  • By 2008, it will be normal for your neighbors to lose your house if they have a major illness.
  • By 2008, the federal government have the ability to eavesdrop on all of your phone calls and internet use any time it wants without even having to tell you after the fact.
  • In the 21st Century, USA will be the only developed nation where maternal mortality and infant mortality rates rise:

  • And finally, explain to your 1994 self how voting for either Trump or Hillary will help solve any of these problems.

The February 1990 edition National Lampoon magazine, subtitled the 'Conspiracy' issue, ran a satiric feature entitled 'Donald Trump's Demonic Plot to Take over North America.' (Spy magazine, in 1988, had previously spoofed Trump's presidential ambitions.)

Actual Page of National Lampoon from 1990!

As of this writing, there remains a distinct possibility that Mr. Trump will indeed become president, making that magazine evidence of a prophecy come true. Conversely, the social construct known collectively as reality, will once again shift, becoming ever more indistinguishable from satire


Politics and governance are composed mostly of illusion but unfortunately are they carry the capacity for violence. Within the Reality TV pantomime of the US presidential election, there are occasional moments when the violence is acknowledged.
At the Democratic National Convention of 2016, Khizr Khan, whose son Humayun Khan had been killed in Irag in 2004, shilled for Hillary.  Back in 2003, Hillary had voted to send the young Khan (and thousands of others to the Iraq) where he was killed. 

Mr. Kahn, like his son, was Muslim. A Muslim celebrating another Muslim who killed Muslims, and who died at the hands of other Muslims. In the spotlight of Reality TV. For a moment. 

And so the Democratic Convention was all about war in 2016, drowning out the Code Pink members who yelled 'No More War!' with the maniacal chant of 'USA! USA! USA!' 

(Where's Leni Riefenstahl when we need her?)

In an educated nation, Donald Trump would not be nominated for anything

In a compassionate nation, Hillary Clinton could not be elected dog catcher. 

The sheer absurdity of the Trump campaign, combined with the sheer awfulness of a Hillary presidency, seems to have awakened at least a portion of the electorate to the true nature of the election...that it is just another disgusting Reality Show.

Nineteen-ninety-four was a year of potential, squandered, by a complicated political system which, by design, eliminated possibilities. The possibilities were eliminated by rendering them invisible. 

But the same is true of virtually any year, just as each moment contains possibilities undreamt of.  Therein lies the frustration, but also the hope. Because when we start to see through the illusion, when are no longer fooled by hologram, possibilities start to open up.

Captain James T. Kirk, whose cinematic death was celebrated in 1994, once faced certain doom on planet Theta Kiokis II, in the classic episode 'Spectre of the Gun.' The captain and his landing party appeared to be trapped with no escape until [spoiler alert!!!], Mr. Spock determined that since the rules of logic had been flagrantly violated, the whole thing had to be an illusion.  

And so the only route of escape was via the mind, through the complete rejection of the world of false appearances.  

At the core of every US Presidential Election is a logical fallacy known as the False Dilemma.  The False Dilemma exists when only two choices are presented yet more exist, or a spectrum of possible choices exists beyond the two choices.  False dilemmas are usually characterized by “either this or that” language, but can also be characterized by omissions of choices.  

The illogic of the 2016 Presidential Election is so obvious and unpleasant that many voters, usually in the thrall of the conditioned, binary thinking of the binary system of Republicans Vs. Democrats, are almost ready to reject the whole absurd Reality Show:

'The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be pushed through whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The fracking industry, fossil fuel industry and animal agriculture industry will ravage the ecosystem whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The predatory financial institutions on Wall Street will trash the economy and loot the U.S. Treasury on the way to another economic collapse whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Poor, unarmed people of color will be gunned down in the streets of our cities whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The system of neoslavery in our prisons, where we keep poor men and poor women of color in cages because we have taken from them the possibility of employment, education and dignity, will be maintained whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Millions of undocumented people will be deported whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Austerity programs will cut or abolish public services, further decay the infrastructure and curtail social programs whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Money will replace the vote whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. And half the country, which now lives in poverty, will remain in misery whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president.
This is not speculation. We know this because there has been total continuity on every issue, from trade agreements to war to mass deportations, between the Bush administration and the administration of Barack Obama...' -Chris Hedges, "The 1 Percent's Useful Idiots."

The disdisillusionment may bring about a sense of loss, but this too is an illusion. Whatever choice the system might have allowed its citizens had long since become meaningless.  

Rather, loss of the illusion reveals more meaningful choices:
  • Do you turn your mind away from the questions of governance and follow other pursuits? (If so, what pursuits and to what ends? Etc.)
  • Do you try to reform the system by building up 'third' parties, such as the Greens, Libertarians, Socialists? 
  • Do you devote your energies to the creation of another system of governance? (If so, by what means, according to what philosophy and with whom do you make your alliances? Etc.)
  • Do you throw in with the Democrats and/or Republicans to exploit the masses for profit? (There are limitless possibilities if you go this route.)
  • Do you write-in your dog's name on your November ballot? (This is especially satisfying if your dog's name happens to be 'Your Mom.')
The point is, in the Theater of the Absurd, one should not be following the rules one learned in a junior high civics class.  

In truth, we were trapped inside this massive residential Holodeck, this meta-scale Reality Show, even before 1994. But as the absurdity becomes increasingly obvious, we see that the Angry White Men and Femi-Nazis are straining. The complexity of their systems and their need for power and resources expand even beyond their own control, and eventually they will collapse.

It is for that eventuality that we must learn to see past the illusions and distortions. The surreal images will eventually flicker and fade. It is then that the values of another reality, such as creativity, fairness, and compassion, might become visible. Perhaps they are sometimes visible even now, as art, story and song, or at least in the dreams of dreamers

Art, stories, songs and dreams...things very necessary during the next 4 years. Because no matter who is president, the politics will be awful.

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