[Fis] Disinformation and the two forms of truth

Howard Bloom howlbloom at aol.com
Thu Dec 24 02:30:33 CET 2020

What have welearned from the Trump  era?

Which truth istrue?

What lessons have we learned from the Trump era?

Lesson number one: truth counts.

If you repeata claim often enough, it becomes a truth. Especially  when it becomes abadge of identity for a group.  That’swhat’s happened in the cult of Donald trump and in the Trump supporters’ highoctane cousin, the cult of QAnon.

Accordingto the Trump supporters, Covid is a conspiracy, A hoax by democrats to attack DonaldTrump.  What’s worse, covid is  a bioweapon launched by child-raping Satanistsfrom a vast globalist conspiracy that includes George Soros, the Clintons, and NancyPelosi.

                      According to the Trumpsupporters, Masks make you sick.   Theyare an attempt to steal your liberty.[i]

                      According to the Trumpsupporters, lockdowns are an attempt to turn us into our own jailers.  Lockdowns are preparation for a totalitariancommunist new world order.

                      According to the Trumpsupporters, vaccines are an attempt by Bill Gates to insert microchips into ourbloodstream to track our every move.

                      According to the Trumpsupporters, all of this is preparation for the great reset, the new, global,totalitarian, communist world order.

                      What’s more, according tothe Trump supporters, Donald Trump won the November 3rd election in alandslide.  But democrats rigged theelection,  jiggered the dominion voting machines,and slipped over seven million fraudulent and illegal votes into the system,producing a phony win for Joe Biden. According to the Trump supporters, the democrats have stolen theelection.

                      According to the Trumpsupporters,  this means a Biden administrationwill be illegitimate.  Biden will be aphony president.

                      Also according to the Trumpsupporters,  Biden, his brother James,and his son hunter have made a ton of money being on the take for the Chineseand the Ukrainians.

                      Topping it all off, accordingto the Trump supporters, only one man can save us from the satanic new worldorder.  Only one man was sent by god toliberate us.  His name is Donald Trump.

All of thisis false.

                      But millions of Trumpersbelieve in it passionately.  It hasbecome their truth.  Their hard and fastreality.  Their faith, their catechism,and their creed.  Anything else, theysay, is a lie.  Anything else is Orwelliannewspeak straight out of the novel 1984. It’s fake news from the fake media and from radical left wing communist conspirators.

How do themembers of the Trump tribe know that all of these bizarre allegations aretrue?  Because people they know and trustagree with them. Fox News, OAN, Newsmax, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, theWashington Times, and a host of other media outlets agree with them. To membersof the Trump tribe these fantasies are truths and anyone who presents evidenceagainst them is a liar.

Collectiveagreement on a truth is a powerful truth in itself.  It is social glue.  It welds a group together.  It makes a group strong against rival groups.  It can even propel a group like the Trumpsupporters to the top of the pecking order.  The national pecking order. As it did in 2016when Donald Trump lost the popular  votebut won in the electoral college. 

But collectiveagreement, consensual validation, is not enough—

Collective agreement canestablish a shared reality in the collective mind. but then the pictures of theinvisible world in that collective mind have to pass the test of reality.

How do they do that?  How do you determine whose truth is correct?


                      For example, America’sCovid crisis began in February 2020. That month, Donald Trump predicted that Covid would disappear in April“with the heat.”  Two weeks later, hesaid, “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”[ii]  On March 31, he said “It’s going to go away,hopefully at the end of the month.” On March 25th, he said, by Easter “you'llhave packed churches all over our country."[iii] InApril, he said, “it did go away. It will go away.”[iv]  On September 4th, he said, ““We’re roundingthe corner. We’re rounding the corner on the virus,”[v]  And on September 4th he said that aside fromthe elderly, “It affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.”  In fact, according to the Washington Post,Trump said the coronavirus would disappear over 40 times by October 31st.

                      But Covid did notdisappear at Easter.  It did notdisappear over the summer.  And it didnot go away like a miracle.  It  got worse. Today it is killing 3,500 people a day, more than 9/11 or Pearl Harbor.  Donald Trump’s truths were wrong.  And the consequences were deadly.  In fact, they were criminal.  They amounted to negligent homicide.

Today Covid haskilled a total of over 315,000 people in the United States alone.  That’s more people than died in seven of thebiggest wars of the twentieth century combined. Yes, Covid has killed more than died in World War I, the Korean War, theViet Nam War, Operation Desert Storm, the Bosnian war, the second Iraq War, andthe War in Afghanistan combined.  

Donald Trump’sclaims that covid would go away were a powerful form of social glue.  But they were poisonously wrong.

                      Then there’s the claimthat Donald Trump would make America great again.  That claim, too, has been a powerful socialglue.  But it has failed the realitytest.  Rather than becoming great again,under Trump America’s greatness is disappearing. 

We have lost the mighty forcethat allowed us to face down the Axis of Evil. The Axis of Evil is the alliance between Russia, China, Iran, Syria,North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba.  Thefist of global might with which we kept the axis of evil in check was NATO andthe western alliance.  We led thisawesome alliance up until 2016.  And theworld looked up to us.  We were known asthe leaders of the free world.

Then Donald Trump turned theWestern Alliance and Neto into a shambles. And today, our Western allies laugh at us.  Why?  Theylaugh at us for Donald Trump’s clearly phony tweets.  They laugh at us for His behavior at internationalmeetings as the boor and the clown, the sixth grader who deliberately disruptsthe class in order to get attention.  Andthey laugh at us for Trump’s suggestions like injecting bleach to kill thecoronavirus that causes covid. 

Our allies have another, moreconcrete reason to despise us and to distrust any attempt at leadership we maymake.  Donald Trump’s attempt to flee theCovid crisis rather than lead our way out of it has had a simple, highlyvisible consequence.  Our policies havecaused the death of more Americans from Covid than the Covid deaths of England,France, Germany, Spain, and Italy combined. Yes, more Americans have been killed by Donald Trump’s bumbling thanhave died in all the nations of western Europe.  

Yet Trump supporters claim thattheir Donald was the first to shut down air travel between the USA and Chinaand that in the process Trump saved millions of lives.  Those millions are hypothetical.  But Trump’s real victims are in body bags andcoffins.  They are not hypothetical.  And, again, we have more deaths than anyother nation in the world.

Our allies see  what we don’t.  They see just how ghastly Donald Trump’sjudgements have been.  And they no longerwant to follow our lead.  They do notwant to follow us into folly.  To repeat,they no longer look up to us as the leader of the free world.

That’s measuring a shared reality, a consensual view ofthe invisible world, against reality itself. Covid denialism has been great social glue.  That makes it a social truth.  But it has failed the objective reality test.

           Thenthere’s yet another reality test.  Areality test for the claim that Donald Trump would make America greatagain.  In fact thanks to Donald trump,our greatness is not just in decline, it is in a nose dive.

                      We’vejust discovered that in March, The Russians pulled off what may be the biggestgovernmental computer hack in history.   The Cozy Bear team of the Kremlin’s foreignintelligence service, the SVR, has created backdoors into the computers ofvital government agencies from the Pentagon and the Department of HomelandSecurity to the Commerce Department, the United States Treasury, the PostalService, the National Institutes of Health, and scariest of all, the agencythat handles our nuclear weapons. The Russians have apparently also breachedthe computers of thousands of American companies.  Explains former National Security Agency generalcounsel Glenn Gerstell, "It's as if you wake up one morning and suddenlyrealize that a burglar has been going in and out of your house for the last sixmonths,"  When Richard  Blumenthal, the democratic senator fromConnecticut, was given a top secret briefing on the details of the Russiancyber-assault  he said, "Russia'scyberattack left me deeply alarmed, in fact downright scared."  

Under Donald Trump, our multi-billion dollar cyberdefense operations were so asleep at the wheel that they had to be notifiedabout the invasion by a private company, Milpitas, California’s, FireEye.[vi]  This is the form of warfare without bulletsthe Russians call active measures.  Andin this bulletless war, the Russians are winning.  Big time. 

Like Covid, Donald Trump is in denial about Russia.  He calls the entire Russia investigation of2016 a hoax.  And he cowers and simpersin front of Vladimir Putin, looking for Putin’s approval like a little boy.  The idea that the Russia thing is a hoax hasproven a powerful social glue.  But ithas failed the reality test.

                      Thenthere’s China.  Donald Trump says in hismailings begging for your money and mine that he “puts AMERICA FIRST and isTOUGH on China, Biden,” the Trump mailers go on to say, “is WEAK on China andwill allow their COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT to COMPROMISE the United States.”[vii]But Donald Trump’s alleged toughness is a pitiful weakness.  Despite the Covid crisis, China’s economy is  growing again while ours is still a wreck.  Why? The Chinese were in denial about Covid in December of 2019, then they admittedthey had a coronavirus problem in January.[viii] They went into drastic lockdown.  People were locked in their homes in Wuhan ortaken away and locked in mass quarantine centers.[ix]  According to the BBC, “Meituan,” a Chinesefood delivery service, even adapted its food delivery app so riders andcustomers didn't have to meet face-to-face.[x] TheChinese stomped the coronavirus back into the hole it came from.    Now the Chinese are going to clubs andattending concerts again.  They areworking, making things, and buying things. Their economy is running at full steam ahead.  Ours is not. And ours is not because of covid-denial.

But that’s not all. Under George Bush in 2005, we began negotiations with seven pacific rimcountries for a joint trade deal.  UnderBarack Obama the number of countries expanded to twelve, twelve countriesresponsible for 40% of the world’s trade. The new deal was designed to sustain our status as the leading power inthe Pacific.  The new trade deal was theheart of Obama’s pivot to Asia. It was designed to pull all of our Asian alliestogether in a single bloc to face off with China.[xi]  An alliance in which we would be the leader.  The alliance took eight years to puttogether.  Then Donald Trump entered theWhite House and trashed the TPP.  Now theChinese have put together a new Pacific trade agreement of their own, the RegionalComprehensive Economic Partnership, the RCP. The new agreement includes fifteen countries—three more than ourabandoned TPP.  And the RegionalComprehensive Economic Partnership excludes the United States.  Meanwhile, our Trans Pacific Partnershipagreement partners have held the TPP together on their own.  Without us. And China is now asking to join. If they join, they will dominate. And our TPP will be turned against us. But even if the Chinese are turned down for membership, the  Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnershipgives China the dominant role that we had angled to hold onto.  And it’s made us far less of a power in thePacific.  Or, as one writer put it,“forget it, Jake, it’s China’s town.”

China, in fact, is working slowly but steadily to becomethe central force around which the entire world turns.  It is working inch by inch to become theworld’s leading superpower.  And Beijingis doing a  good job of  making us a has been.

China is moving forward on its belt and road initiative,a string of ports and high speed railways uniting 138 nations[xii] “including65% of the world's population and 40% of the global gross domestic product.”[xiii]China has bought up ports all over the world, at least 36 ports,[xiv]ports in south America,[xv]Europe, Africa, Asia, and even the United States.. Beijing calls its system ofports surrounding the Indian ocean its string of pearls.[xvi]  And strings of pearls can be used tochoke.  Meanwhile, the Pakistanis havejust announced a military alliance with China to face off against the unitedstates and India.[xvii]  And  the Pakistanis have fenced off an entire port,the port of Gwadar,[xviii]apparently for China’s military use. Pakistan is the only Islamic nation withnuclear weapons.  So there are now fournuclear nations in the axis of evil. 

Meanwhile, China has completed its BeiDou satellitenavigation system,[xix]the system it calls its digital silk road. The BeiDou system is designed to put America’s Gps out of business.   America’s Gps satellites are 27 years oldand are built with technology that is now antique.[xx]  The Chinese BeiDou satellite chain is farmore precise than Gps.  130[xxi] nationsnow use the BeiDou system more than they use America’s Gps.  In other words, China is inching toward apossible chokehold on the communications and wi fi systems of 130 of the world’s195 nations.

Then there’s China’s plan to own the solar system by2049.  If the Chinese own space, theywill own the earth.  What indications arethere that China can achieve what Xi Jinping calls China’s space dream?  Just look at the Chang-e 5 spacecraft thatbrought back the first samples of rock from the moon on Thursday December 17th.  Meanwhile, NASA is putting its chips on arocket called the Space Launch System. The Space Launch System was supposed to fly in 2016,[xxii]is still being assembled, and is too expensive to fly.  Fortunately, we have Elon Musk, who has flowna prototype of his hundred-passenger space liner the Starship, and who intendsto use the Starship not just to build the first human city on mars and to helpbuild a human outpost on the moon, but for what’s called point to pointtravel.  Point to point travel meansgoing twelve thousand miles from city to city. From, let’s say, London to Singapore. But not traveling from city to city in the usual thirteen Hours.  Doing it in an hour or less.  In other words, Elon Musk is single handedlybuilding our answer to China’s belt and road. He is building highways in the sky.

What’s the value of these highways?  When we sent up our first humans to space in1961, we did it in answer to Russia’s launch of the very first satellite, Sputnik. We wanted to prove that we weresuperior to Russia.  We had no practicalgoals in mind.  And practical goals inspace looked impossible.  But in 1962, America’smonopoly telephone company AT&T launched the first commercialcommunications satellite, Telstar.  Andsince then, using the inhospitable emptiness of space has become a third of atrillion dollar a year business.  That’swhat a space economy can do.  It can takethe dust and rock of the moon and of asteroids and mine them for everythingfrom platinum to the raw material for concrete. Concrete to build the new homes that will house life and humans inspace.  

China’s new trade agreements and its belt and road aredesigned to make china what it was before 1800: the greatest exporting nationon earth.  And the center around whichthe world turns.  How do we beat thatcompetition?  By building the new silkroads of space.

There are two tests of the value of a sharedperception.  Of a shared reality.   Test number one is whether it provides asocial glue.  Test number two is whetherit helps advance the group in its struggle with other human groups and in itsstruggle with the natural world.  DonaldTrump’s ideas have proven to be great social glue.  They have passed truth test number one withflying colors.  But Donald Trump’s ideas havefailed truth test number two—the ability to advance our group among competinggroups and to confront the natural world. Natural world facts like a mass onslaught from something too small tosee, a virus.  We are losing greatness tochina.  We are losing the cyber war toRussia.  And we are losing our war withthe coronavirus.   We are killing 3,500 Americans a day withTrump’s approach to covid.  What doesthat tell you about the Trump cult’s sense of reality?







[vii]C:\Users\ZK\Dropbox\newpara\donald trump\biden will allow chinese communists toprevail 12-17-2020.docx
















-----Original Message-----
From: Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es>
To: 'fis' <fis at listas.unizar.es>
Sent: Wed, Dec 23, 2020 2:21 pm
Subject: [Fis] Season Greetings/Merry Christmas

  Dear FIS Colleagues, Herewith the customary Nativity Scene of El Pilar Basilica in Zaragoza. 
 This strange year everything has been different, although we have kept our discussion business almost as usual, 
 and seemingly nobody from our community has been seriously affected. Let us hope we all will continue with good health. 
 The IS4SI Virtual Meeting will take place on September 12-19. See https://sites.google.com/view/is4si2021
 The FIS New Year Lecture will be announced soon--on an exciting theme. 
 There are also good prospects for organizing a couple more discussion sessions next year. Enjoy the Festivities: Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, 圣诞快乐 .
Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group

pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es
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