Hal 9000: Good Morning, Dave.

The term fake news isn’t new.  But it wasn’t a term you heard very often until the past election.  Suddenly it was everywhere.  It was originally intended to describe social media and internet posts and stories that were either outright lies or grossly misleading.  During the election, new sites were constantly emerging on the internet devoted solely or in part to these types of stories.

There were a number of reasons these sites became prolific.  Some were purely partisan political sites that went beyond “slanted” stories or “spin” to promote a candidate or disparage an opponent.  Many were run by current or past members of the Republican elite.  These were not a well-coordinated force, but they were some of the first.

Others were simply profit making endeavors, preying on the public’s fascination with outlandish stories and their need to see people in high places brought low – especially if those people had different political views than they do.  The lure of profit simply by having someone click on a web site link was irresistible to many.  Kids in Macedonia financed their record collections.  Marketing experts in the US got richer.

And then there was the Russian government sponsored campaign. Continue reading

The Iron Mask of the Mind

There’s something about this election that baffles me.

It has always seemed to me that climate change is the most important challenge we face now or will face any time in the near future.  I’m hardly alone in that thought, of course.

Bernie Sanders said it outright and was mocked by many on the right.

If we continue on our current path we will, according to scientists, make large portions of our earth uninhabitable in the future.

But if we truly believe our scientists (as we progressive Democrats say we do), if we really believe that we are about to face massive population shifts, droughts, sea level rise requiring the abandonment of huge portions of the world’s coastlines, why are we talking about almost everything BUT climate change in this election?  If the US military has climate change as “significant threat to national security”(1), why is it that the US House and Senate can’t even admit it exists? Continue reading

How We Got To This Point – Part II

“America is great because she is good,” according to a quote generally attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville.  “If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Hillary Clinton alluded to these words in her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.  “And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get:  that America is great – because America is good”

Before Hillary, Bill Clinton quoted them almost verbatim in 1994, and before him Dwight Eisenhower used the line in a 1952 speech.  Continue reading