Get Used to It

“I was confused, then I got used to it.” James Tate

We truly live in a post-truth, bizarro world, in which everything is backwards from the way it appears. Language, loyalties, and labels get turned around, and everything is confused with everything else. This is what documentary maker Adam Curtis called “hypernormalisation”.

It’s a good thing I’m a surrealist poet, or I wouldn’t be able to make any sense or non-sense out of the confused headlines erupting from P.R. Barnum’s Two-Party Circus.

Clown-in-chief Donald Trump is daring his two greatest rivals to fight with each other. He says he’ll give them huge clown-balloon boxing gloves, Red. With the letters A G A M embossed in raised thread on the knuckles.

You don’t think he has any self-interest in having them tear each other down? This does point out a dilemma the dam Dem leadership have put themselves in. By forcing their party to the right, they have alienated their own strongest element, the active, younger, progressive wing. And instead of impeaching and uniting against Trump, they have backed into internecine warfare that will only strengthen the party if they listen to their own majority. Which is unlikely, ’cause the Democrats ain’t democratic no more.

Another headline, from NYT shouts: “Barr Threatens to Refuse to Testify Before Congress This Week” while the HuffPost headline on the same story calls it a “snub”. In both cases, this language seems like a strange way for serious journalists to talk about an historic constitutional crisis. A “threat to refuse” sounds more like a couple arguing over who’s doing the dishes that night. A “snub” sounds like Congress invited Barr to a party. I would like to see what happens when the House tries to enforce a subpoena on Barr. William Barr might want to practice a little yoga. The position he will need to take in order to handcuff himself will be difficult to achieve if he doesn’t get into better shape. Or maybe he’s hoping a medical emergency will keep him from testifying.

I can only wonder what “threatening to refuse” really means. Not quite a refusal, exactly. This week. Because who knows what it will mean next week. If you wonder why I call this two-party circus a “circus”, maybe you’re beginning to get the idea. Funhouse mirrors. Confetti cannons and smoke bombs. And I can only wonder what’s being hidden by all the smoke and noisy threats.

But if Barr and Mueller do testify, as law and custom and the US Constitution say they should (sad “if”, eh?) then things could get really interesting. I’ve commented before on the relationship between them, and have remained curious about Mueller’s position on Trump. His report walks a pretty careful line in order to not directly accuse the president, despite detailing any number of crimes Donny has committed. The Atlantic digs into the long friendship between Mueller and Barr.

Outside the noisy circus, beyond the clown show in Congress, in the world all of us really live in, we see again the tragedy of mass shootings at synagogues and murder and mayhem and war around the world. I won’t bother with the links here. Those headlines are everywhere. Not to mention the environmental crisis. Which none of the headlines today do.

But if it’s too depressing to look at the news from Earth, we can always look upward to space. I am in favor of using our space budget to protect the planet from the inevitable future asteroid impact. It will come, and we might be able to avert it. This is a long-time interest of mine, so I’m actually glad to see this simulation in process.

Asteroids have been in the headlines lately, with the Japanese impact on an asteroid a few days ago.

The conspiracy-minded might ask if we are being prepared for some important news, or if we are being distracted from more pressing issues.

From the side, I can only wish the headlines and the simulations and our government circus were directed toward the life-or-death crisis we are already in the midst of right here, the impact on this Earth of climate change and ecological catastrophe.

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