American Facts - The Eleventh Commandment

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." Dwight D. Eisenhower

In 'Immortality' Milan Kundera speculates on the eleventh commandment, the big one Moses didn't bring down with him. Gawd must have known her creation was incapable of so hard a command, ten were enough, 'Thou shalt not lie' impossible.

But suppose for a moment the eleventh commandment....nah, impossible for what would the politicians ever say, honest politics would pose so hard a problem that talking heads would spin out of control, honest reporting would be the death of contemporary dialogue. And so it goes, a managed narrative has become the norm, the forms it takes are outlined below. Lies and facts interweave.

Bull S...: Imagine that the most prevalent detail of American politics today is BS. Harry Frankfurt defines it thus, "It is .... this lack of connection to a concern with truth - this indifference to how things really are - that I regard as of the essence of bullshit." Listen carefully to the political ads and then fact check. Ironically, the considered swing states are doing well financially as money pours in with lies galore, created with no connection to things on the ground.

Respect: When did America lose a trait essential for a democracy? Today even the office of the President has lost the respect of the right wing politicians and their followers in America. Imagine questioning a president's credentials rather than considering the state of the American economy or the American family? The loss in 2008 brought forth an even larger adversarial contingent than Clinton's win. Money manages the American mind today, and whenever it feels threatened it pays heavily to create a narrative of a lost America.

Do Nothing: It used to be America was the 'can do' nation, today it is the can't because that would cost money. FDR built the nation, Eisenhower built the nation, JFK built the nation, our history is full of national endeavors to create, build, and do better. What happened that the only spending now is done for the war machine? America crumbles as republicans and many democrats worry about a deficit that only became a deficit after 2008.

Debt: The magic of debt talk is the party which created most of the debt accuses the other party of creating what its own policies did. Lowered taxes are helping to destroy America's education, research, industrial and infrastructure bases, but who cares. I got mine. Now even babies look out from the TV and goo-goo ga-ga over a solvable problem. But please note those same babies are not given the promise given seniors of no changes to so called 'entitlement' programs. Odd huh.

Politicization / Polarization: The economy has improved greatly since 2008 but polarization is so strong that saying that is not allowed either by governors or media. Improvement does not fit the narrative of a lost America, the narrative is essential as it forms a bond among ideologues who are often at odds with each other over economic or social issues.

Media / PACs: Our SCOTUS let loose the loonies. A soap box for every crazy, an electorate bombarded with nonsense, and a platform for hatred and disagreement. Seriously do people really believe the nonsense on Fox or anything from Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, or Savage? Seriously. They used to be called sophists, today money pays them well for sophistry works.

Media Equivalence: Rarely will a talking head take note of a political untruth on MSM, only the comics present the reality of the lies, distortions presented as commentary, the rest of the MSM sit and reason that in order to appear reasonable, they must acknowledge unreason as reason. Equivalency has replaced truth as a journalism trait.

Neo-Straw-Manning: Today there is no requirement you analyze an opponent's political values, accomplishments, or policies, all that is necessary is that you go into your own mind, pick among your fears and biases and then attribute them to the other. If you doubt that, consider Dinesh D'Souza's Obama, a person who doesn't exist but has a book and movie. Fiction as truth.

TV and Social Media: It is difficult to know what the youth of America read today as a kind of inane narcissism seems to inflict so many. Texting has replaced speech, and personal web pages on everyday activities occupy all time. Every opinion has equal worth no matter how silly, ask a teacher if you doubt that fact. Mindless cacophony, with the addition of mindless TV and sports as the goals of life. Life lived through a smart phone.

Racism Returns: Hidden in birtherism, welfare comments, food stamp notice, and voter registration changes since 2008 is something Americans pretend does not exist. It is the elephant in the room that must be denied at any cost. Check only the shenanigans at the RNC this year or the signs at tea party events. They mean well, they're just misunderstood. Sure they do.

A Changing Past: America is always on the brink of losing something or another. One wonders what history is being taught when the past, thankfully in so many area, is past. H. L. Mencken wrote, "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." Chicken Little was here.

Single Issue Voter: What's with these people. Do they select spouses based on their cute nose? Given divorce rates, maybe. Recently there are ads for energy voters? It is often asked why voters vote against their own interests? The answer is a narrative of anti something. The 'something' coincides with the single issue voter and thus ends thought.

Joe McCarthy Returns: Can anyone really consider seriously a congressman who thinks there are communists in our representative body? Do any of them know any history? Geography? When stupid people are elected to congress the results are obvious.

Loss Of Religious Values: My mom, who had nothing, would help anyone, she grew up in the great depression and knew hardship. Americans today have lost that value. Consider in the mid fifties, "generosity was voted the most conspicuous American characteristic, followed by friendliness, understanding, piety, love of freedom, and progressivism. The American faults listed were petty: shallowness, egotism, extravagance, preoccupation with money, and selfishness."* Today those values have been reversed. The power of money.

Fundamentals: Republicans are metaphysicians, while democrats are a mixed lot, a few pragmatists remain but most only hold in their heads the idea that their position grants them special province. None seem to realize they too suck at the teat of government while acting like government is a bad mother. The latest slogan is trickle down government. Do mirrors exist in Washington. See our first president's quote below.

Americans Today: Show me the Money. In money we trust. For the love of money is a root of all kinds.... Americans now look at America as a place to rob, pillage, and buy cheap. And that isn't just for those who can, it is for many who can't. Paradox you say. Not hardly. Consider that a presidential candidate has money in foreign countries and tax havens. Nah, you say. In a recent review of Barlett and Steele's new book on the betrayal of the American dream,** a reviewer notes that Americans want cheap, Americans don't care that Corporations ship jobs overseas, or Walmart pays food stamp wages, they only care for cheap. Look only at the invasion of foreign cars, Chinese made, and the support call that ends up going to India. And finally I ask, how many Americans support a fair wage or buy made in America. As Pogo - another comic truth - once said and it can be repeated today, we have met the enemy and he may be us.

"The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts." Washington's Address here.

*William Manchester in "The Glory and the Dream" quoting George Gallup's Institute of public opinion.

** American Dream.

The start of the machine that rules the American mind today.

"There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve, then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tiny blasts of tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us." Pogo


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