“FAKE NEWS”

You heard it here first, folks.

A couple of years ago I published my book, AM I IN YOUR PLAY OR ARE YOU IN MINE. Then about a year ago, I started this blog to further explore these same themes. Both of them anticipated this current explosion of “fake news”.

I was planning to draw this blog to a close, but events keep forcing me to write one more blog. In my book”see my book“, I have the following quotes in the intro:

“You are surrounded by authors who would script your life (and mind) to their liking.”

“Who you are, is being scripted by others.”

“Everyone is seeking to make you a character in their play.”

“Without the awareness of this, you will be the character in many, many plays, but never in your own.”

The loss of your own identity and authenticity is the risk in today’s voracious world of writing narratives they (your authors) want you to believe and live in.

“Fake news” is the current euphemism made now famous by Pres. Trump that encapsulates all of the above.  The media would have you believe what they say or show (in order to control the narrative) is the very truth.  Inside the narrative there is no there there.  It is merely a fabrication to control your thoughts and behavior.  You are the marionette and they are the strings and voice.

Putting ideas into a narrative is a much more persuasive form of indoctrinating than merely positing ideas and issues.  A news story that seems based in reality with a protagonist that lives out a piece of theater enacting a parable that reflects a political view is far more persuasive and invasive.

Washington is now the battleground of warring narratives.  It always has been.  But now the vehicles for narration abound.  Not just speeches, posters, interviews…but newspapers, magazines, network tv, cable tv, Facebook, blogs, texting, ads, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, endless outlets and spaces for fiction and fabrication.  Who can tell the truth of any of it?

You can know it’s phony; you may know it’s false, but it still gets in your head.  The merchants of lies have become so good at it, so pervasive, it is hard, perhaps futile to resist.  Perhaps only the outrageous anger and attacks of POTUS himself can take on and illuminate the onslaught of false narratives…. fake news.  I, for one, am thankful that he is using the bully pulpit to badger and defeat the poobahs who promote false narratives, false scripts that seek to forward their agendas. As Steve Bannon said,  “If you think these people are going to give up easily, think again.”  It will take all the effort and voices of the Trump administration to wrest the ink from fake news. And it will take all your clear vision as well.

But we have to guard that they too don’t answer fake news with other fake news.  Politicians and actors have great affinity. That’s why Hollywood and Washington have always had such an easy alliance. Politicians are actors and seek the stage that is Washington. Hollywood and DC both love drama more than facts. POTUS was an actor on television. Reagan was an actor in Hollywood. They love writing the play, being in the play. They all seek the limelight. When the facts get in the way of a good script…let the facts be damned.

So.. it is we who have to keep our sanity and clarity.  It is we who have to seek the facts. We have to be diligent in our wariness of scripts seeking to persuade us that they are reality. We have to learn to see the difference.

Reading this blog and my book is a start.

 

 

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Play the Trump card

This blog has sustained the search for personal Authenticity for many months now. Further it has shown how difficult that is in the face of cultural efforts to mold you into some corporate or political self that is not you. Scriptwriters abound who wish to dictate your persona. But much of that is dwarfed by the scope and scale of “scripting” by the New World Order of the Democratic Party and the Clinton machine.

That reprise is preamble to a blog post about this election that we are all besieged by. Americans live in the naive belief that their freedoms can never be taken away.  They believe that some form of political coup is impossible in a country that so cherishes a history of openness and freedom. That coup is in progress and this election may well be the final chapter.

The Clinton machine and her Uber Left Party believe in the absolute opposite of personal freedom and authenticity. They believe in social engineering. They believe that a central government knows how best to control and engineer people into a liberal mold within which people should exist and behave. The pursuit of individual authenticity is impossible.  They hold in disdain the public’s capacity for authentic and personal actions.  (see the hacked emails that reveal their disdain for religion, for public vs private positions on the issues, for the “deplorables”) Authenticity within the Left can only be found in adherence to its social engineering principles of conformity and dependence.

To achieve this leftist goal, certain steps had to precede it.  First, one must take over the education system.  That has been done.  Teacher’s unions control the public schools.  The unions support the Democratic Party thus the DP controls the schools.  They teach the kindergartners and elementary students the feel good processes of protecting the environment, diversity of people, classmates with two dads or two moms, etc.  The pupils are defenseless.  The indoctrination gets more subtle and specific in later grades as political correct thinking is imbedded, and history is told by Howard Zinn.  By college these students are so fragile they cannot cope.  They have been infantilized.  They recoil from bad words, and must be warned of “micro-aggressions”.  The repeated evidence at college campuses wherein speakers who threaten to speak of ideas anathema to their liberal biases are banned from campus.  Their professors and administrators are enablers.  Is free speech a touchstone of American freedom?  Have the colleges eradicated that among their students?  Yes.  Their job is done. The education of the new world order is complete.  And in the future they promise to keep giving it for free.  How else do you control and indoctrinate your young?

Next, like any true revolutionary group, you must seize the radio and tv stations so you control the news.  You already know that has been accomplished.  The Left controls 90% of all forms of media.  Never has that been made more clear than by this very election cycle.

A robust economy of middle class earners is anathema to controlling a society.  Dependency is essential.  Food stamps are preferable to a good income.  All eyes and needs should be looking to the government for solution and filling.  Proof that this has been accomplished among the young was evident in millennial love for Uber Left Socialist Bernie Sanders.  They are the first complete generation of leftist zombies who have been sold the Kool-Aid that mommy and daddy government knows best.  They have gone from helicopter parents to helicopter government.  The nanny state is their Nirvana.  Once again college education has done its job.

Healthcare.  How better to create the need for the nanny state than to teach the young that their very health and welfare, their escape from death and disease will come from the generous hand of government.  Universal healthcare is the ultimate umbilical.

Having a needy electorate is important.  But some of that electorate will self-succeed and prove independent in spite of the nanny state.  Thus you need ever more needy recruits.  Thus open borders.  Almost all new immigrants vote democratic.  It’s the party that enables them, welcomes them, gives them things and seeks to keep them dependent as long as possible in order to capture their vote.  Immigrants are the endless procession of new and Democratic voters.

(A moment here to trumpet the one visionary who has seen the coup coming and even make the case that is has already occurred.  Dennis Miller is listed as a comedian by the press as a way of diminishing him.  He is the finest social satirist since Swift.  He is hilariously funny if you can keep up with his speed, and deeply incisive in his thought and analysis.  Catch him as you can on Fox or on tour.)

I could go on, but I think you get it by now.  The Republican Party used to be the polar opposite, believing in the individual, self-assertion, hard work and private success.  But that party is in shambles.  Mostly due to protecting itself in a suicidal attempt to guard its turf and power.  Along came Trump.

I am no apologist for Trump.  He maddens me as he does most other anti-left voters.  As of this day, he has even jettisoned his party stalwarts.  He is closer to an independent than Stein and Johnson.  But like it or not, he is your only hope to keeping the coup from being complete in 20 some days.  As maddening and erratic as he is, he only need accomplish a few basic things, if elected, to blunt the past and invigorate a better future.

He need not build the wall.  All he has to do is enforce the laws we have, and give power to those who attend to that.  End sanctuary cities and pay attention to the details of immigration.  Learn from the mistakes of Europe on refugees and slow up on this  process and proceed more cautiously.  Common sense, not zeal, commands this simple equation.

Repatriate all the corporate money overseas.  Bring it back by lowering the tax rate and demand that half of it be spent on job production and not kept on corporate balance sheets.  It will explode the economy into productivity.

Make constitutionalist appointments to the Supreme Court.

Continue his attack on the media until they recognize their  historical role of keeping EVERYBODY honest and their feet to the fire.

If he does no more than this, which he could do in the first hundred days, he will have been a success.  Its all domestic.  As for his overseas adventures, he can be held in check.  He will find tougher slogging when he tries to lower the deficit, curb spending, fix healthcare and social security.  Fix the tax code.  Reduce the national debt.

It’s the simple first 100 days of the above agenda that warrants DJT’s election.  He need do no more to end and reverse the coup and its attendant tentacles.  Just his continuous and ongoing attack on political correctness will get this country back on track. We need his madness in this quagmire.  Gentleness won’t do.  Nice cannot prevail.  Belligerence is in order.  The pillars of the coup are in deep granite.  A mighty push is in order.  Delicacy is not sufficient.  Brashness is called for.  We can settle down later.  The foundations of this near coup must be shaken.  The gentility of all those candidates left behind and rued by many was not up to the task at hand.  Riding roughshod over the coup is necessary before it becomes a coup de grace.

It will take a four year tantrum of the Trump variety to stamp out the roots of this near complete coup of American and personal freedom.  Trump tantrums are not a pretty sight.  They do not sit well with the delicate.  But nothing less will suffice.  The tap root of the coup is deep.  It has been long in coming.  It will not wither easily. Tectonic trembling must occur to rediscover our old bedrock.  A slightly crazy man is in order this time.  We need a stubborn mule that kicks.  We need a firestorm.  Exorcisms and purification rites are not pretty.   We can get back to  civility after the coup is crushed.

Vote on November 8 and PLAY THE TRUMP CARD !!

 

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Summation 1

Between the approx. 60+ blog posts here, and the references to my book,”see my book” I think the issues herein have been given a clear and thorough examination. Thus it seems to me it is a time to wrap these topics up and conclude this particular blog. A new theme for the future is in order. But to wind this theme up, I would like to write this one final post on the issues themselves, and then use the next five to ten posts to do a summation of the threads we have examined here.

This last post on the idea of life as theater and all that surrounds are scripts by others, could not be complete without observing this most recent example.

Donald Trump was in San Diego on Friday May 27. His tour of speaking engagements have been haunted by demonstrators and some mayhem. The local San Diego paper, the Union Tribune, wrote this front page headline on that day. “SOME ARRESTS AT RALLIES MAY BE SCRIPTED” Then the article that follows begins, “If arrests are made at today’s Donald Trump rally, watch carefully. What looks like chaos may be choreography. Getting arrested can be a powerful demonstration of commitment….some are the results of advance negotiations. Police and protestors often confer before marches and rallies, discussing everything from the time and location of the protest to….how and when people will be arrested. They come to us and say, “These individuals are going to do this, and we understand when they do this you are going to arrest them”, said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “A lot of times, they designate a person or persons to be arrested.”

Life as Theater, dear readers. Scripted events for television digestion. As we already know, many if not most of these demonstrators are paid. They are “actors” for hire. Street Theater as political advertisements. There are “aggregators” who will hire and perform a demonstration of your desired object complete with posters from either side of the political spectrum.

The regular readers of this blog can see and understand the simulacrum, the reality that isn’t, at work here. We can see the script. We know the reasons why. That is why I think it time to move to some concluding blogs. The lessons are learned. The readers educated. But I couldn’t help but post this one last narrative that so aptly demonstrates what we have been talking of for these now many months in these now many postings. Thank you for reading.

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Trump and the Icahn Playbook

Donald Trump has commonly invoked the name Carl Icahn among those he admires in the business world. Let’s take a look at the Icahn playbook which may give us an insight into the Trump playbook if he should be elected POTUS.

Icahn has made himself a vast financial fortune in a variety of ways, but his most popular one currently is this:

He looks for a valuable corporation that has fallen on torpid times. A once thriving entity is now beset by lethargy, poor productivity, poor shareholder value, lack of innovation and lack of leadership. He buys a substantial position in the company’s stock and via that position get himself and/or his surrogate(s) on the Board. Once in that role they advocate for changes that they feel would improve shareholder value, which coincidentally now includes themselves.

Commonly he asks for management changes either in policy or persons or both. The corporation that Icahn commonly targets is one that once had importance, productivity, innovation and brand. In most cases, it has now become a personal vehicle for the status and aggrandizement of management itself. Large salaries, generous stock options, sinecures, self-serving committees, golden parachutes, a vast comfort zone for management. Corporations in practice are owned by the shareholders. Management is chosen to serve the best interests of the shareholders. As corporations age, most of them forget that original allegiance and purpose. Enter Mr. Icahn.

I would suggest that this is exactly the problem with Washington today. It is a management team that was originally created to guide the government apparatus for the good purposes and outcomes for its shareholders, namely us! We the citizens are the shareholders of America, and those elected to serve are there at our convenience and concurrence. .

The voters of the center and right are looking for someone to enact a hostile takeover of the now vested interests of those we sent to serve, and who no longer do. Suddenly, and to the surprise of the Republican party, the establishment is being threatened with either performing in the best interests of the shareholders or get out. Their response is one of panic, shock and fear. They are rightly in fear. Their hold on their fiefdom is in jeopardy. It never was theirs, but they have forgotten that. That they serve, not own has been forgotten.

Trump has no dog in that fight. Neither he nor Icahn care a hoot about entrenched management. Start to innovate. Start to pare waste from the budget. Start to promote the creative and the smart, the best and the brightest even if they are first year senators or reps. Start to balance your budget. Start to create new jobs. Seek out synergies. Cooperate for the good of the shareholders. Begin to do all these things or get out.

This is all the Trump/Icahn playbook asks. They don’t pretend to have every answer for every problem, but their goal is to get management to find those people or Trump/Icahn will find them themselves. The incumbent management is on notice. Perform or get out of the way. That is the Trump threat! That is what is creating all the panic and fear. My God, someone is actually challenging them to do their job. Once that is the mission, the timid and thwarted, the bright but intimidated will step out of the shadows. Too long have freshman senators and reps been told that if you want to prosper in Washington, get committee appointments and chairmanships, learn to play ball with the old guard, the repeating incumbents. Fresh ideas are not welcome. Showing allegiances are.

This freshening is the very liberty that a Trump/Icahn approach will unloose. This is the very anathema to entrenched management. This is all we ask as shareholders in America. Serve our needs, not yours. Serve your country. not your office. Get things done, or we’ll find someone else who can get things done. Such a simple reminder of how the Republic should work is all that is being demanded by the supporters of DJT. So far, management, Democratic and Republican, has made a mess out of things, here and in the world. On careful scrutiny there is absolutely no component, division or department of government that has acted in the best interests of the country as a whole. They have all served their own or their favorite’s personal interests. All politics in Washington has become local politics. They serve the Hill, not America. They pretend to serve America; they say they serve the American people, but they don’t. They serve their own best interests. (And that is often the best interests of all the corporate PACs as well). They have created a simulacrum of government, not a real and functioning government.

The real has been forgotten. The shareholders have been forgotten. It is a shareholder rebellion; the shareholders are demanding the kind of change that they see only corporate raiders and vigilantes being able to impose. The entrenched management in Washington is not going to give up their parvenus and sinecures easily. It took the guillotine in France. Fortunately here, it will be the bloodless vote that will seek to rid us of the sullen and the self-satisfied.

His critics say Trump doesn’t know anything about government. Maybe at this juncture that is a plus. He does know business. He does know corporate governess. He does know how to assemble management, promote the able, disenfranchise the merely hangers-on. Either a player in a role gets that role done, or someone else gets the chair. Private industry standards imposed on public service scares the bejesus out of the establishment. That’s the panic in Washington. That’s the panic the public wants. America no longer wants the Bushes or the Clintons. Out with old that has ceased functioning, and in the with the new! Let the chips fall where they may. Once we’ve cleared the old wood, then send out the call to all, the new and talented. Come to Washington. Come and help us make things work. Come and help us make things right. Demand and help us serve the shareholders of America. And these shareholder benefits must accrue to all Americans, rich, poor, black, white, Chicano. Every American should prosper from a properly serving management team in Washington. That’s all we ask.

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Trump…..the Authentic Candidate?

Since this is a blog about authenticity, a virtue that my book”see my book” advocates, let’s apply our theses to the upcoming elections. As we have noted earlier, authenticity is one of the most absent personal virtues of a politician. Almost by definition, a politician is one who caters to what he or she thinks their constituency wants to hear. Thus they forsake authenticity for expediency. By this definition, Hillary Clinton is the least authentic candidate within either party.

At the other end, of all the candidates, of either party, the one who gathers voters and supporters for his non-political, “tell it like it is” spontaneity is Donald Trump. This definition should make him necessarily “authentic”. He is perceived as “what you see is what you get”. He seems without subterfuge or deceit. Those virtues are the very definition of authenticity. But is this the full and sufficient test? Let’s explore.

There is no doubt that on first blush, D. J. Trump is authentic in that he commonly speaks first and thinks later. And that first thought is often brash, unfettered, and unadjusted for unintended consequences. It comes from the gut or heart whichever you prefer. That kind of unfiltered spontaneous speech is commonly seen as authentic and real. And there is no necessary reason to doubt that. Sincerity is a kind of honesty.

But let’s go a step deeper. I believe there are people in this world, that I have met, and so have you, that simply have a sincere “gift of gab”, a genuine garrulous persona that draws us toward them, but with sometimes no clear adherence to truth or precision. They don’t knowingly lie or deceive; they seem to have too good a nature to do that, but they can’t always be trusted to be telling the truth. They seem to wish no harm. They just engage you, and everybody feels good. These types are often good at sales. They are natural salespeople. They believe everything they say about their product. They are sincere. But that belief and sincerity may not be accurate. They do not examine their product into its finest parts. Their “spiel” may contain actual falsehoods. But by that unintended falsehood they meant no harm. That is their saving grace. They have a good heart. They believe what they say is true, because their belief comes from the heart.

I believe this profile captures the gist of Trump. He is authentic to himself. He believes what he says, but he has not examined it in depth, and there may be undetected falsehoods in those depths. That is where this kind of authentic self may be a bit oblique to the truth of things. In its most basic sense, authenticity is truthful. There can be no deception either intended or inadvertent to true authenticity. To this extent, then, I think Trump is authentic on the first more superficial level, but less than authentic on the more demanding level or definition.

Even though such a person may be selling you snake oil, there is a certain innocence to it. There is an automatic forgiveness in us because we sense this inadvertent confusion. We humor them. We take the good, and sort out the superfluous and mistaken. There are no lies, just mistakes.

Anyone with a practiced manner, no matter how sincere and truthful, risks the image of playing to the listener. Kasich is a good example. He may be the other most authentic. But his practiced speeches and their content, make him suspect. He never gets traction.

Trump is capitalizing on his propensity to make social and conversational spontaneous gaffes. He does not seek to hide his foibles. In this day and current mood, that is the obverse of political correctness, the curse of America’s forgotten. He gains traction for the very lack of cant and rhetoric. He is the right person at the right time. A personality type whose time has come.

I think Trump passes the first filters of authenticity. He may not be my or many people’s first choice. But he is the first choice of many others, and if that gets him elected, his naïve authenticity could be effective in shattering the foundations of a sclerotic Washington, D.C. He is not afraid of change. He is not afraid to trust his gut. He is not afraid of his own authenticity. If elected he needs to be surrounded with other talents that will fill and support his limitations. I think his instincts are keen, authentic and well-intended, and with a well chosen cabinet, VP and other key appointments, we could have a refreshing and effective re-creation of our political structure, lead by his fearlessness and adjudicated by talented others….. with immediate and overdue results.

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America 2.0 / Trump and Beyond

America is in despair over the direction of the country.  Vast numbers of voters are looking for the person to answer those perceived needs.  With the very best intentions, however, they are faced with several flawed candidates: Sanders, Trump and Carson.  Each reflects the concerns and outrage that disaffected voters are looking to cure.  But is it a search too early?

America is tired of the professional politician…….the person who runs for and wins class president, and then the local municipals, and then state and finally federal office.  They learn how to campaign and how to function within the game of political survival.  It’s become an inbred breed prone to caricature.

The voters are looking beyond the professional politician to cure the DC malaise.  Can any of these three be elected, and if elected govern?  Without deciding here who gets what, I conjecture that these three are only the beginning of a longer and hopeful trend.  In the founding of the republic our political leaders came from all walks of life.  There was no incubator of politics to hatch them.  We may be on our way to replicating that.  Maybe now and in the new future, someone comes out of commerce, medicine or science to serve in Washington for a term or two then moves on.  They are there to serve and execute, not to seek endless re-elections and create a fiefdom till cushy retirement.

There was a brief time in more recent history when this was tried.  JFK tried to bring to Washington “the best and the brightest”.  It was to some extent hype, but it did bring businessmen, McNamara for example, and other non bureaucrats to JFK’s administration.  It began with high hope for freshness and execution.  It probably did not last long enough to prove its mettle.  We may see this tried again not at the behest of the president-elect but the voters themselves.

Will the voters first bring in a Trump, for example. Then as subsequent elections, state and national, proceed in successive years, they again vote out the incumbent “professionals” that accomplish little but feathering their own nests, and elect men and women who vow to accomplish something and then leave, and let others come with yet new ideas and goals.

Can this incipient process transform America?  Can we replace the professional politician who plays at seeming to govern, with real people who go to Washington and come together to get things done for the sake of the country and not the party and vested interests?  That evolution may take several elections.  And in that process we may also get even better candidates.  But right now, we have only a few who seem to be willing to stand outside the Washington Beltway and promise to serve the greater public.  It may be a rough early ride, but the impetus and direction is a healthy one.  The current and old system seems obsolete and sclerotic.  The new is energized but rough around the edges. 

Maybe we have to tolerate the first stumbling steps of non-political newcomers.  Maybe if you don’t know the “rules” of Washington and political parties, a group of fresh minds can coalesce around simple and sensible goals that are then passed into functioning laws forthwith.  We need some practical alacrity.  There is too much “perceived” process that is assumed to be incumbent upon politicians and the political process.  Enough of all that!  Let’s get beyond the simulacrum of governing and get to actually real governing with real ends in mind.  Current politicians love “the process”.  All the time it takes is only a favor to them.  In business, taking all that time is often fatal.  The moment passes and you are obsolete.  If what you try doesn’t work, trash it and try something else.  Get on with it.

The population is not looking for mistake free, perfect government.  We want well intended effort and action.  Change the tax code, build the pipelines, fix the banks, fix the roads, get government out of the way of the people, stop the Medicare and SS fraud (and all the other fraudulence) that steals money from the people.  Just do it!  Get it done!  Act on it!  Cooperate for the good of all!  If the first choice doesn’t fix it, enhance it or try something else.

Sometimes you have to send someone into the game who doesn’t know the rules, or chooses not to obey the rules, in order to freshen the process.  Science does it all the time.  Outside the box is often where the solution lies.  Politics, Washington needs that injection of outsiders.  We have a few now.  More to come I hope.  The current crop have ample time to hone their ideas, their message and their style.  This is the beginning of a new source pool.  I am hopeful.

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SEMIOTIC RUPTURE

It’s time to take this blog to its origins for a moment.  As the latest political season is upon us, authenticity becomes ever more an issue.  Critical theory and semiotics is the basis of this blog.  Semiotics is the study of words and meaning.  It is a deep and extensive linguistic study; we can only touch upon it here.

It begins with the study of the word and its object.  Often known as the signifier and the signified.  When simple and concrete, it is not very sophisticated.  Teaching the child the words “mama”, “papa”, apple, orange while pointing to its object is simple and direct.  When the object is no longer in the room, the signifier gets more complicated.  Equally when the signified is an abstract idea, the signifier becomes ever more elastic.  You can already see how the vastness opens before us.

Our world has become vastly more complicated and abstract.  Words struggle to capture things accurately.  So…many of the topics in the news today suffer within this context.  The Iran nuclear deal is a complete semiotic swamp.  Objectively, it doesn’t exist.  It can’t exist.  There are a thousand Iran nuke agreements.  One for every participant and scribe.  There are thousands more for every interpreter and critic.  There are only Iran nuke simulacra.  There is no original.

The same is true of Clinton’s emails.  The same is true of who and what Isis is.  It is the same for who and what Congress is.  They are ephemeral figments.  All truth and accuracy is lost or veiled.  Any connection to truth is lost or evasive.  The signifier no longer accurately describes the signified.  The connection between word and object has been ruptured.  Sometimes that is the sorry result of poor articulation; sometimes it is the very purpose.

The candidates themselves are also prone to this very rupture.  Authenticity is the accurate pairing of signifiers that define and represent the signified.  I believe that that is what is drawing people to Sanders and Trump.  They believe, at least so far, what you see is what you get.  A refreshing authenticity.  You can decide later whether you can live with that particular authenticity, but at least you feel it is honest.  Hilary is probably the least authentic candidate in that her semiotic rupture is the widest and most damning.  Lack of “trust” could be defined as the rupture between signifier and signified.

This topic gets only deeper and more complex.  Today I leave the above as food for thought.  We can come back around.  But for the reader to grasp this fundamental semantic idea is to have a fresh view of what we feel haunts us everyday as we try to relate to our political climate.  Semiotic authenticity or lack of same explains our current political malaise and doubt.  I hope it adds an arrow to your quiver.  I hope it illuminates the political haze.

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