By now you might have seen today’s headlines about the incoming NRA president and former Iran/Contra scandal villain Oliver North. He claimed that school shootings were in part made worse by an epidemic of drugged kids who have been prescribed Ritalin.
His claim, without mentioning any kind of supporting evidence, isn’t just more unfounded fearmongering from a group who uniformly throws science to the dustbin when it’s counter to their objectives. It’s also copying a tried and true method of distraction used whenever things go wrong. Why? Because it’s exactly like the silly links that are pushed by the (generally anti-science) vaccine fearing crowd who are convinced that such things lead to autism.
Meanwhile, people who study this stuff say Ritalin leads to mostly calmer behavior in children. But North doesn’t seem to care. He has a new bogey man that will be argued about for years to come as a surrogate for gun control. Just like vaccines leading to Autism.
Does it matter at all that there’s no such link? That North grabbed this idea out of thin air? Nope, not a whisker. That’s the beauty of the Republican voter these days. They are usually too uninformed and disinterested to look this stuff up – or they do – on partisan and non academic sources, so now Ritalin is responsible for the violence and if we can just solve that problem there won’t be any more school shootings.
President Trump asked Bill Gates about forming a commission to investigate the link between vaccines and autism. Gates told him there is no link and that’s a “dead end”.
So one of the richest men in the world, and one who’s committed to donating the lion’s share of his vast wealth to charity, is forced to counsel the president that the people whispering conspiracy theories in his ear are full of crapola. Proof that disinformation reaches the highest levels, even if in this case, that happens to be our own Mr. Bean, President Trump.
I’m not an authority on autism or vaccines, but let’s face it: I’m going to trust the opinion of Bill Gates, the worlds most respected philanthropist, over that of the politicians who scorn academia like our hapless leader – who also had to ask the Gates to explain the difference between HIV and HPV – twice.
Once again, conservatives have willfully chosen to believe their politicians over academics and believe fake news and fake information. So now a whole army of innocently, stupid people are afraid to vaccinate because, you know, autism.
Oh, and we should hurry to fix the REAL problem we have in this country causing all the violence – Ritalin – before school shootings become horrific and commonplace!
The death toll is now at 50 in the new Palestinian protests. Many shot by Israeli snipers tasked with defending the border wall from breach. What did we gain from all of this? a big fat nothing.
But what did we lose? Well, let’s see – we certainly lost the respect from the world, who collectively turned their backs on this predictable situation. Well, not everyone to be fair. I think Guatemala and Paraguay both followed us into this dark and stupid adventure, but pretty much everyone else called it collective nonsense and refused to be part of it.
We also haven’t done Israel any favors. There’s nothing to be gained by them – no financial or geopolitical advantages to speak of. Perhaps those on the right consider a TON of bad press a win for Israel as bodies of stone throwing teenagers are carried away by makeshift ambulances in front of the camera? Oh, sure, the hawks are happy, but only because they enjoy poking the bear. Not because they actually gained anything either.
Meanwhile America is determined to self immolate. After pulling out of the Paris agreement, then announcing the breaking of America’s word in the Iran accord, we now have followed up with a third gut punch by stirring up the Middle East hornet’s nest and adding more blood to the feud.
We also gave up our impartiality with this reckless maneuver. The Palestinians will now never allow the US to mediate peace. But to be fair, Trump had already thumbed his nose at the Palestinians anyway having previously named Jared Kushner as Middle East peace head honcho – a questionable choice given that he’s Jewish. Full disclosure – I’m a Jew as well. But let’s be real: it’s hard to imagine a Jew successfully mediating between Jews and Muslims. Predictably things have not improved with this move.
So the peace the process has been shot and left for dead by the Trump clan and the world once again think’s we’re run by drunken monkeys. You can disagree with me, and call this ‘winning’ if you want, but the middle east is a mess and no one trusts America to lead in a responsible way. I’m not sure how much more winning we can take. To me, this is just poor American leadership. An adventure with no purpose, no goal and no definable winners.