As America passes half a million dead by even conservative estimates, we need to examine how we got here, how this tragedy could have taken place, and how the wealthy and the powerful and the GOP created the perfect conditions for such a disaster.

We need to begin with Richard Nixon, whose tarnished, disgraceful presidency left the Republican Party in tatters in the 1970's and many in the GOP wondering whether they would ever recover.

If they were to come back, it would take a new plan and a new strategy.

William E. Simon was Nixon's Treasury Secretary and he believed the survival of the GOP and capitalism depended on an aggressive new strategy to create a "powerful counterintelligentsia" that could twist reality in their favor.

It inspired a deadly new trend.

The Right heeded Simon's call, and with the power and financing of America's wealthiest business owners, spawned think-tanks, financed skeptics of science and experts, and began constructing a media-fueled Right Wing alternative reality that suited their interests and needs.

This alternate reality was particularly useful for energy companies, who in the 1980's were told they were creating a climate crisis.

Instead of changing course, they paid people to skew the consensus, blur reality, and give them cover to continue profiting.

Even while the energy companies and the GOP knew climate change was real, the political strategy was to lampoon it, inspire conspiracy theories, distrust in science.

It was a bad-faith movement, all in favor of profit over the lives and wellbeing of the people.

Of course, any conversation about the alternate reality of the Right would be incomplete with mentioning the influence of Roger Ailes, Fox News, and the media ecosystem that intentionally spreads these bad-faith narratives to serve political and economic ends.

Ailes had been Richard Nixon's media advisor and believed if a Right Wing media had been thriving, Nixon would've survived Watergate and the GOP would've continued to consolidate power.

So, he created that media for just those very purposes. To twist reality.

The relationship between the wealthy and powerful and the GOP in creating this "counterintelligentsia" had another moment in 2010 as billionaires like the Koch Brothers, long investing in alternative realities to suit their economic needs, carried out a takeover of the GOP.

Taking advantage of anger over the Housing Collapse and racist fears of the first Black president, the Kochs funded, trained, and grew the "Tea Party Movement" to dismantle government, cut their taxes and regulation, and drive the Right further into libertarianism.

The Kochs and Fox News, both members of the planned counterintelligentsia, promoted the constructed, artificial Tea Party as a real, organic movement, both for political and economic purposes.

It was an alternate reality that could entrap more and more people.

Donald Trump was a result of the constructed alternate reality and the counterintelligentsia. His presidency and failure/unwillingness to address the pandemic are consequences of the intentional demolition of objective reality, science, and politics as a means of public good

The resulting splinter of reality in 2020, with Americans living in that intentional counterintelligentsia-powered world, made the pandemic deadlier and the focus of continued battles over experts, science, and what reality was and is.

The tragedy was preventable.

To watch medicine and science become so politicized was only another front in the continued plan of the counterintelligentsia

Because science didn't conform to economic and political whims, it was discarded, attacked, undermined. The system created massively tragic results.

Bizarre alternative reality moments like the hawking of hydroxychloroquine as a magic cure, a snake-oil that might fix everything and just open the economy, is only further proof of how this tailored, alternate reality combats science with intentional alternatives.

In a bizarre echo from the past, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education for Trump, took a page out of the Koch playbook and flooded conspiracy theories and artificially constructed "movements" with cash to push her economic interests.

"Reopen" rallies took place that undermined the science and narrative that the pandemic was real, a replay of the Tea Party Movement that had been constructed to change reality in 2010.

It was the wealthy, once more, shifting reality for their own purposes.

In this type of environment, conspiracy theories surge, leading to incidents like the Coup Attempt of January 6th, violence, further distrust in science, experts, and institutions.

It is an intentional disruption and manipulation that furthers the goals of the wealthy.

It did not have to be this way. The Right could have reconsidered their positions, recalibrated, accepted science and reality and charted a new course.

That reality has been attacked and destroyed like this, that so many have died and suffered, is an an indictment.

The sad truth is that, unless we fight against this, unless we expose the counterintellgentsia for what it is, what it has done, and what it continues to do, this tragedy will only be one in a long, long line.

We have to do better and we have to learn from this.


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More from @JYSexton

24 Feb
America is awash in conspiracy theories that threaten our safety because of unaddressed white supremacy and a culture that makes us feel powerless, alienated, and keeps us in the dark about the political and economic forces controlling our lives.

Awful tragedies and terrorist attacks in our recent history have been inspired by conspiracy theories and a culture that hides the actual machinations of power that dominate our lives, using simplified, weaponized explanations to redirect anger and cement control.

2. Image
This modern moment, both in terms of how our cruel, unequal economy works, and how our govt has been dismantled, has its roots in the 1980's, when figures like Reagan and Thatcher radically changed our cultures to make the wealthy and powerful even more wealthy and powerful

3/ Image
Read 14 tweets
23 Feb
Today is the premiere of something I’m really proud of: the first episode of the Muckrake Podcast’s A Certain Route To Failure documentary series.

We’re diving deep into how we’ve reached this point of crisis in the America.…
This is the story of how our politics were coopted by the wealthy and powerful, how our economy was perverted into a hypercapitalistic state, our communities destroyed, the GOP into a fascist movement, and how we reached this moment where it feels like there’s no alternative.
We begin in 1979 with Jimmy Carter’s “Malaise Speech,” which warned that America was on “a certain route to failure” unless it changed course. Unfortunately, the Right undermined his message and radically reconfigured our politics and economy while promoting greed and consumption
Read 4 tweets
21 Feb
Sharing videos of someone like Don Jr. is just reveling in someone else’s mental unwellness, contributes to a toxic culture of spectacle, and actually increases his ability to poison disclose and enlarges his communication ability.

It’s a lose-lose situation, all the way around.
These social media channels thrive and profit off damaging anti-discourse, incentivize divisive, dangerous behavior, and work to couple these outrageous characters like Don Jr, MTG, and Boebert and the outrage they produce.

The only way to get past this is opt-out.
The Trump Presidency needs to be a lesson. This moment of political and societal crisis didn’t just happen. We have to learn from it, get better, and make choices that’ll fix this.

Continuing to wallow in spectacle and feeding these damaging profit structures only makes it worse
Read 6 tweets
20 Feb
The sad but disturbing truth is that what we’re seeing in Texas, this senseless awful tragedy, isn’t an aberration or a freak accident.

The wealthy and powerful have spent decades dismantling government as a public good, and it’s only going to get worse.…
The problem of our time is that we are living in the awful consequences of one terrible, self-serving decision by the wealthy and powerful after another.

Climate catastrophe, crumbling infrastructure, political instability and impotence. All of it a glaring, bleeding consequence
With Ted Cruz and his disgusting decision to leave constituents to die, we see the true nature of what our politics has become. An apparatus of the wealthy and the powerful to become wealthier and more powerful while leaving people to suffer and die.
Read 5 tweets
19 Feb
What was so disturbing about Ted Cruz leaving his constituents to freeze to death while he escaped to a luxury resort is that he revealed who he really is and how our government is full of self-serving actors who don't care if we live or die.…
This isn't a pretty truth, but our political system has been co-opted by individuals serving the whims of the powerful and wealthy who are only worried about their power and enrichment.

Cruz made the mistake of behaving authentically, and according to his own ethics.
Cruz isn't a senator to help people, improve the world, or serve his constituents.

He's there to make money and build his brand. His leaving Texans to freeze and starve to death wasn't surprising, but it was revealing.

This is who he is and what our government has become.
Read 8 tweets
17 Feb
I've been thinking a lot about Twitter, social media, and how we need better means of communication for larger, more complex, nuanced, and actionable ideas so that we might change things.

So. I'm starting a substack. I hope you'll subscribe and join me.…
What I hope to do is find a place where I can take the writing and research I've used for my threads and dives into history and current events and really expand on them.

Not to mention, a place where a freer exchange of ideas can take place to make the world better.
I want very badly to fight back against the mythologies that keep us prisoner, while also highlighting actual means of changing this world.

This Substack account will be used for that, as well as a place where I can give behind-the-scenes looks at what I'm finding in my research
Read 6 tweets

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