My grandfather never spoke of World War II. For the most part, no one ever asked either. Then, one day, I asked him about it and he answered every question with extreme patience, a level voice, enough love to spare me things that would have severely disturbed me, and still enough love to not spare me things that are truly important to understand despite their horrific nature. At that time, I didn't understand the importance of very particular things. My grandfather had Nazi flags, all of his various medals, a pistol pulled from a dead Nazi, news papers, and propaganda books. He let me look through all of these things, and answered my questions about those as well. Some of the most shocking bits were things I had previously been told were not true. For example, in the news papers from Nazi Germany there were ads for products from the United States. This paper was from a point when there were supposed to be sanctions in place to isolate the Nazi empire.
What this told me is that history can be altered. If history that still lives in some minds can be altered, then what else can be altered?
My other grandfather always told me: "Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see."
During Obama's presidency quite a few documents were de-classified that told us a lot about the history of the USA that was previously just the sort of talk one would expect out of the tin-foil hat wearing segment of the USA's population. The Gulf of Tonkin was a false flag. Operation Mockingbird and MK Ultra were real things.
It would seem that history is altered and rewritten constantly and consistently, and oddly people refuse to learn that what had previously been "true" is now "false".
There are other things that people just seem not to know. People are largely not told about the near genocidal war America faught in the Phillipines. People are never told that America had a forced registration of German Americans in the lead up to WWII. People are not completely aware of the treatment of Japanese in internment camps in the USA during WWII. People are largely unaware of the US use of chemical weapons and depleted Uranium in Iraq.
It would seem that my grandfather was quite wise in advising that I believe none of what I hear and only half of what I see, because the "truth" is changing all the time. It would seem that my other grandfather who fought in WWII for the USA was wise beyond anything I could imagine. These two men tried to tell me something that was painful and difficult for them to learn through their lives: nearly nothing is what it seems to be.
Many Americans are aware of yellow journalism and other practices in the nation's past. It would seem that nothing has actually changed. So much of the mainstream media, the sidestream media (the type of stories the litter social media), and the alternative media (which is largely reprints of the mainstream and sidestream) is just propaganda. Much of it isn't quite as blatant as Russian propaganda on RT, but it's still bad. Quite a few "news" stories are completely false. Try and follow the sources and you will often find that there is no source for many stories. Read critically and see if anyone's name is actually used as a source. You will see things like "people close to the matter have said" or "some close to the intelligence community" and sometimes you will even see "a source who chose to remain nameless". This would be fine if what was then provided was corroborated somewhere by someone who actually has a leg to stand on, but that never normally happens.
We are innundated with information all hours of the day. We have dings and pings from email, text messages, news apps. Every where we go there is a glowing screen that invites us to consume ever more information. At all times, the actions we take are tracked and recorded. Even if one were to choose to not own a smart phone, a tablet, a smart watch, he/she would still not be able to opt out. Anyone who has "okay Google" or "hey Siri" enabled is carrying a passive listening device. People tag you on Facebook even if you do not have a profile. People have created their own intelligence dossiers voluntarily. The same devices that offer up news and media 24/7 are the same devices that provide information on us. People can sit there and claim that I am paranoid, but the surveillance state was revealed to us by Snowden corroborated by the US government and Wikileaks. It could be false, but it is the nature of power to seek more power. It is likely that this surveillance is real.
The future that we are seeing is one that is grim. A government with total information awareness, dossiers on all citizens, and a legal code so complex that any citizen could be at any time arrested. Any poltical enemy could be expeditiously done away with.
Bush and Obama concentrated power into the hands of the government, and the left became apoplectic at the election of Donald Trump. Today, he was sworn into office and the left started protests and riots. They scream about the election of this president as if this were new. These are the same people who "got shivers" when Obama spoke, and threw their principles away so long as it was Obama doing something. Now, the very powers that Obama used to kill US citizens without trial, they fear Trump using.
Yes, President Trump has near complete executive authority. He has a surveillance state that can offer up any information on anyone at any time. He has legal precedent to kill any US citizen at any time. Yes, the US government has a history of being duplicitous, untrustworthy, war-mongering, and criminal. Yes, the media appears to be in bed with government and spreading propaganda at all times. The majority of the American public was a willing participant the entire time. Those who spoke out against all of this, throughout US history, were considered paranoid and insane. Those who were not maligned were just ignored. Forgotten is Eisenhower's warning about the military industrial complex. Forgotten is Smedly Butler's warning that war is a racket. Forgotten are the words of Woodrow Wilson who warned of bankers' control over the entirety of society, the purpose of the educational system to indoctrinate and institutionalize, the death of individual liberty, the rise of war for profit, and the purchase of politicians. The public was warned, and the public ignored the warnings.
The left must now deal with what they wrought. The incessant whining and crying about micro-agressions should have been signal that the war for civil liberties was won. It was time to focus on the principals with which leftist movements were founded: peace, co-existence, self-ownership. Instead, the left wanted to talk about economic inequality, global warming, and bath rooms. This is why the left must now deal with a government with absolute power, a president they don't like, and a right wing that doesn't just disagree with the left, but reviles the left.
The right is no less guilty of focusing on those issues presented by a media controlled by the state. A constant focus on religious issues, bath rooms, and cultural issues has robbed the nation of free markets, of sound economic policy, and even of the fruit its labor.
Not everything is as it seems. We can only hope that the current movement against the media continues. We can only hope that people believe none of what they hear and only half of what they see. We can only hope that people begin to learn from history. We can only hope that whiny little babies who claim to be "triggered" grow the fuck up and realize that the world is harsh bitch who won't take their shit. We can only hope that critical thinking becomes a normative behavior.
Let us face a new year and a new administration with eyes open.