Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #575 - Responding to a shock event

Drumpf - from Doonesbury - Gary Trudeau
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #575 - Responding to a shock event

Hi Mom,

Here's a post going around Facebook. Gone viral. (see below in gold-ish color.)

Here's the thing. In magic, we call this idea "misdirection."

It's how Houdini brought an elephant on stage and made it disappear. After showing the audience the elephant, he caused a HUGE DISTRACTION, which misdirected the audience's attention, and then he has the elephant just walk off the stage. Soon after, bringing the audience's focus back to the main event, he shows that the elephant has vanished.

According to COUNTER PUNCH (link below), this is what the Immigration ban misdirection allowed Trump to do - 

The Observer’s John Schindler explained in an op-ed that during the hysteria over the Muslim Travel Ban, “accomplished what may have been its actual purpose—distracting everyone from the White House’s far more consequential changes to the National Security Council.”  

Those changes included removing the he Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the National Security Council, and adding Trump’s Chief Council Steve Bannon to the Committee. 

This provides Bannon and General Michael Flynn, two wholly unqualified persons whose hiring have no congressional oversight, significant authority over the National Security Council.

It's not really possible to be quite as sneaky in our modern world with digital, telecommunications and social media as it was to be sneaky in Lincoln's time.

But it is interesting to consider how the Trump administration will attempt to manipulate public hysteria of people who get their information in sound bites, "tweets," and many of whom often do NOT drill deeper.

Here's some deeper drilling. Check out these links and the viral message below.

Here's some relevant links

SNOPES - post verified -

WBUR - RADIO BOSTON - about the post

COUNTER PUNCH - also about post

Learn what a 'shock event' is-

From Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College:

"I don't like to talk about politics on Facebook-- political history is my job, after all, and you are my friends-- but there is an important non-partisan point to make today.

What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night's ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries-- is creating what is known as a "shock event."

Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.

When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.

Last night's Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.

My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one's interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won't like.

I don't know what Bannon is up to-- although I have some guesses-- but because I know Bannon's ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle-- and my friends range pretty widely-- who will benefit from whatever it is.

If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have been tricked into accepting their real goal.

But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.

A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union.

If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln's strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power.

Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting that Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it."


Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 577 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1702.01 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.

magic and misdirection...

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