Diversions and Distractions

96253C6D-DB0C-4D9A-A314-4198B8066B76When you read this post, you’ll probably think I’ve gone off the deep end, or that I’m extremely cynical. You may say I’m a skeptic, maybe even paranoid. And some of you might suggest that I’m hawking a crazy conspiracy theory.

But consider this. So far there have been 12 pipe bombs delivered or mailed to some very high powered Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters, and Eric Holder. Some of those bombs were sent to Trump critic and former CIA Director John Brennan, the liberal billionaire donor George Soros, and outspoken anti-Trump actor Robert De Niro.

The good news is that none of the pipe bombs detonated and no one has been injured. The FBI confirmed that these were “live” bombs (i.e., not fakes), but there are questions, based upon the way they were constructed, about whether or not they would actually function (i.e., detonate).

Now consider this. The stories of these attempted bombings have dominated the news over the past three days. The bombings have essentially pushed some other very disturbing stories off the news:

  • The brutal, barbaric murder of Saudi journalist, Washington Post columnist, and permanent U.S. resident, Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, which was likely sanctioned by Jared Kushner’s good buddy Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • While Congress is in recess, Mitch McConnell is pushing through young, very conservative judges to fill lifetime federal judgeship appointments without any hearings or input from Democratic senators.
  • Trump insists on using his personal, unsecured iPhone (the one he tweets from and from which he talks to close confidants, including Fox News personalities) even after he’s been told that Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies are certainly listening in.
  • GOP candidates are falsely claiming that only they will save the pre-existing conditions provisions from Obamacare even though they have consistently voted to kill Obamacare, including protections related to pre-existing conditions.
  • Republican politicians in red states continue, less than two weeks before the midterm elections, to play all kinds of dirty tricks designed to suppress the votes of primarily minority voters. And in Texas, a number of voters who attempted to vote the straight Democratic ticket saw their votes for Senator going to Republican Ted Cruz.FBFD46AA-29F6-4ADA-A287-6889DAA48A8A

So why am I bringing up these items that would otherwise be making headlines but aren’t because of these pipe bombs? Well, might it be possible that we are dealing with a real life “Wag the Dog” scenario? (If you’re not familiar with “Wag the Dog,” click here.)

Could Republican political operatives — with or without Trump’s knowledge — be behind these “bombs” in order to distract us from other, more important issues? Could these apparently poorly made and possibly incapable of detonating bombs merely be a way of diverting attention away from all of the other awful things that Donald Trump and his administration are doing just below the radar?

Yes, I know…I’m nuts. But is it any more inconceivable that Republican operatives are behind these bomb attempts than, for example, Trump’s claim that there are “unknown Middle Easterners” traveling with the group of Central American migrants moving north through Mexico toward the U.S.? Or Mike Pence’s statement that “It’s inconceivable there are not people of Middle Eastern descent” in the migrant caravan?

Seriously, as crazy as it sounds, nothing would surprise me anymore.

Gods and Ghosts and Angels and Aliens

5AB8C8F1-E5E9-4DB7-8CFF-2CF30E83D251A blogger who I follow, like, and respect, Paula Light, over Light Motifs II, responded to this question yesterday in her Share Your World post: “What, in your opinion, makes people believe absurd conspiracy theories?”

Paula answered that it’s fear that makes people believe in conspiracy theories. She said, “People are scared of the unknown, of things they can’t control ~ natural disasters, crime, death, etc. ~ so they latch onto comforting explanations. Without this comfort, many people would not be able to function because life is fucking terrifying.”

Okay, I can understand latching on to “comforting explanations” and how a belief in God and in those comforting explanations that various religions offer can help people cope. I’m not sure I get the link between comforting explanations and absurd conspiracy theories, but that’s okay.

But it was what Paula wrote next that got my attention. She wrote:

“And for the atheists who like to mock those who believe in the supernatural, I have news for you: you also believe in bullshit, just different bullshit. Consider this. At any moment, you could die and die horribly, but you don’t think about that because you wouldn’t be able to get through the day. And what’s more, every time you leave the house, you trust that crazy medicated (or unmedicated!) other humans in their monster vehicles are going to obey the traffic laws. These are the same people who believe in gods and ghosts and angels and aliens. But you believe they’ll stop at the red lights. That’s nuts! But you believe it or you couldn’t leave the house.”

I’m sorry, Paula, but I have no idea what point you were trying to make with your tales about dying horribly or getting killed by a crazy, medicated or unmedicated driver who runs a red light. What does any of that have to do with absurd conspiracy theories or being an atheist?

I am an atheist, so let me explain something to those who don’t really know what an atheist is. Atheists don’t hate God or hate people who choose to believe in God. Also, being an atheist does not mean that we don’t believe in anything. We believe in a lot of things and a lot of different things.

Please understand that there is no “good book” that atheists embrace, no common mythology that atheists accept, no specific dogma to which atheists adhere. There is but one thing that all atheists have in common, and that is that we don’t believe that God exists. We believe that God is a human construct, and serves as that “comfortable explanation” that a lot of people use to help get them through their lives.

And personally speaking, I bear no ill will toward those who choose to believe in God. Well, except for those “believers” who tell me that I can’t be a moral person if I don’t believe in God, that I can’t distinguish between good and evil or right and wrong, and that I’m condemned to eternal damnation in hell — which I also don’t believe exists — if I don’t accept Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior.

I bear a lot of ill will toward those who tell me such things.

Share Your World — Kitchens and Conspiracies

SYW

It’s Monday and that means another Share Your World prompt from Melanie. Here goes.

What’s the biggest screw up in the kitchen that you were responsible for?

My wife wanted to get new cabinets and appliances for our kitchen. She particularly wanted soft-close drawers. We got estimates and I determined that replacing the cabinets and appliances was way too expensive. So I made the decision to paint the cabinets, install a new backsplash, and buy a new refrigerator, which ended up costing about 30% of what all new cabinets and appliances would have cost us. But now, everytime she sees someone with soft-close cabinet drawers on HGTV shows like “Property Brothers” or “Love It or List It,” she says, under her breath, “soft-close drawers” and gives me a dirty look. So much for “happy wife, happy life.”BFBAEA9E-5C13-4703-B8F2-49E44F284962

What, in your opinion, makes people believe absurd conspiracy theories?

Ignorance, gullibility, and laziness. And Donald Trump and Fox News.

In 40 years what will people be nostalgic for?

The headline in the paper read “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN.” In 40 years, people will be nostalgic for a planet that can sustain human life.7EE5F3A6-128E-4998-A4C6-74DBB4414F05.jpeg

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Meat sandwiched inside of bread is a sandwich. A hot dog is meat inside a bun. It’s handheld, it eats and chews like a sandwich, and there are two independent sides. So yes, a hot dog is a sandwich.

What wonderful thing happened to you this week that you’d like to share?

The Red Sox beat the Yankees in the ALDS. That was a wonderful thing. Go Sox!5C2CDC28-0081-4BAA-AAB3-43FE6F822573

FFfAW — Dropping Out

img_2171Laura sat in her car growing impatient. She hated her new job. She hated this commute to the mainland from the island where she and Jonathan bought a house five years ago. She hated having to wait in a long line of vehicles for the ferry that was almost always running late.

Jonathan said it was their chance to get away from the hustle bustle of the city. He could work from home — telecommuting, he called it — and she could work on her novel. It would be peaceful and serene, he told her.

And for a while it was. But then Jonathan started to change. He grew restless. He got angry at politicians and at the government. He started believing all these conspiracy theories. He started acting paranoid and went out and bought a handgun and a rifle. He started talking about living off grid. They were starting to argue a lot.

A month ago she woke up and saw a note on the kitchen table. It simply said, “I’m dropping out.”

(174 words)


Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers from Priceless Joy. Photo credit: Ted Strutz.