Cable television service in Connecticut had a glitch, and people freaked out and called the 911 emergency services number. Oh my God. It’s a television entertainment crisis!
If the cable TV service has a problem, that, people notice.
An editorial in the New York Times popped up; Welcome to the Age of Denial. The writer of the piece, Adam Frank, puts his finger on just one of the serious problems on hand, the disturbing ignorance of scientific understanding of the universe and our planet. The denial is much more wide and deep than just that.
I keep thinking of a quote from James Kunstler when I stop and ponder the question what the fuck is wrong with people? As Kunstler said somewhere:
When societies get badly stressed, delusional thinking increases. We are now in that situation.
Consider some of the sampling of online noise: What Keeps America Up At Night
This is what occupies people’s attention?
The Onion nails it right on the head, with a bit of satire about CNN and the major news headline of Miley Cyrus providing cable television entertainment, that would actually be spot-on accurate, not a piece of fictional satire, if people involved actually told the truth.
“We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal.” – Carl Bernstein -1992
Right now, the news is full of the latest big “crisis” drama, the saber rattling and war drum pounding about Syria. The US “news media” infotainment machine is cranked up with lots of chatter about a new war adventure being a foregone conclusion.
This whole episode reeks of the rancid odor of theater to manipulate the citizenry like dancing puppets and get a good massive scale distraction going.
The topper here is that according to a new Reuters poll, 9% of Americans support the idea of military action in Syria. From Reuters:
About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.
Americans Strongly Oppose U.S. Intervention In Syria’s Civil War and Believe Washington Should Stay Out of the Conflict EVEN IF Reports That Syria’s Government Used Deadly Chemicals to Attack Civilians Are Confirmed
Notice how a couple of the links in the following linked page point to pages from The Onion, a satire website. It’s a major clue about the state of things that satire can essentially just report things as they are and work as satirical absurdity.
Just as a side note, for anybody who would have preferred John McCain as president in the 2008 election, it seems that a month can’t pass without McCain wanting to have a war somewhere on the planet.
While war cheerleaders rattle on about “resolve” and all that noise, ignore all the tough-guy strutting and posing and consider the following for a while.
Let all that sink in and contemplate that for a while, and consider the end results of years of attitudes about privatization of everything and short term corporate management think about “cost reductions” and “cost efficiencies” and the wonders of “market forces”.
This is really important.
We get an entire nation where everything is connected to and controlled by computers running dodgy operating systems (more and more often coming from Microsoft) and every computer then connected to the internet so that they’re essentially connected to every fucking computer on the planet with an internet connection.
It’s hard not to get a bit sarcastic and ask “gee, what could possibly go wrong?”.
Back to Syria and the latest “crisis” drama. Everybody get yer jingo on!
So, what’s happening here? How about what’s not happening?
Suddenly, we’re not hearing about what events and subjects?
What we are missing is, say, anything about what was revealed about the misconduct of our own government by the materials passed on to Wikileaks by Army Private Bradley Manning.
What we have had fed to us is all kinds of distractions about him, when that story has been in the spotlight, all kinds of pointless and irrelevant garbage; oh, look, he’s a troubled young man, with strange personal issues of sexual and gender, all that, as if it’s relevant. Never mind that noise. What about what was in all that material?
Suddenly the subject of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the egregious misbehavior of our government against us, virtually everyone, are shoved off to the side.
Before the Syrian drama diversions, we were bombarded with “news” telling us that maybe he’s a spy for the Chinese, then maybe he’s a spy for Russia. At some point there were even nuggets of idiot distraction like “look! he has a hot girlfriend!“.
We’re supposed to all be distracted from the fact that we’ve been informed that our own government has everybody and everything in electronic communications under total surveillance and all filed away and recorded.
There’s nothing like a good war frenzy to distract people, and this is a very old trick, just as grotesque as ever, every time it happens. All kinds of things disappear from the attention span of the easily distracted. If war chants don’t work, whip out a new digital pocket gizmo to play with, and a new batch of television absurdities of “reality” TV and talent show competitions.
Chris Hedges: Bradley Manning and the Gangster State
I might add that this is just a tiny sample of what’s happening, and I haven’t even touched the subject of the recent ugly trend of government attack on anyone who dares to disturb the empire by practicing the profession of actual journalism informing the people of what their government is doing.
Too many Americans are trying as hard as they can to pretend that our nation and government has not become a nasty mess of plutocracy, military empire, and police state, even as the evidence of all that has been right out in the open, staring us in the face, even clubbing us directly over the head (for some people, quite literally) for a long time now.
William K. Black does a great public service in sorting through the lunacy and misconduct in finance and banking and “the markets” in his New Economic Perspectives blog. The August 21, 2013 piece titled “Think Global, Act Local: the SacBee Needs to Write about its U.S. Attorney” provides us with just a tiny glimpse of the problems we have in not just the problems in finance and banking themselves, but the serious lack of broad public understanding of the problems or any serious control and correction of rule of law in that realm.
One excerpt pretty neatly summarizes part of the problems:
One of the principal reasons that the elite bank fraudsters can now become wealthy through fraud with de facto immunity from prosecution is the bizarre cult that has arisen that claims that this is the first Virgin banking crisis in world history. The cult claims that “accounting control fraud” (the leading cause of the second phase of the S&L debacle and the Enron-era crisis) miraculously ceased to exist during this crisis. This dogma is particularly bizarre because the lenders that made the endemically fraudulent loans and extorted appraisal fraud by blacklisting honest appraisers followed the same fraud “recipe” as the accounting control frauds followed in prior epidemics of accounting control fraud. The Virgin Crisis Cult also claims that it was the evil, working class home buyers who used brilliant financial stratagems to defraud the poor, honest, but financially illiterate senior bankers making $2.5 million annually (because of their financial expertise and brilliance). I have just explained how Obama’s FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) came to proclaim this Tea Party creed that blames the crisis on rapacious working class minorities ravaging virginal banks with the encouragement of the evil federal government.
(This is the sequel to Birth of a Nation, with the valiant Tea Party cast as the “valiant” KKK.)
It’s hard to believe that so many Americans still seriously seem to think that the kind of thing Black is talking about there is really what happened, but it does seem to be the case, that millions of Americans have bought into the nonsense narrative of the insanely stupid notions that Black describes pretty neatly as the idea of Virgin Banking Crisis. That’s the story they’ve been sold for about a half a decade now.
In Black’s article, the subject of the Dodd-Frank Act comes up, mainly talking about the failure of actually implementing any of it. We’ve had that circus dog and pony show of “reform” legislation soaking up the attention given to it over the past few years, avoiding the sort of big pink elephant in the room issue, keeping public attention from the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933, and the consequences of that.
In the House, bill HR129 is a simple bill that restores the Glass-Steagall separation from customer deposit banking and the risky casino games of “investment” banking. This is actually another try at the same bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2011, and then ignored. In the Senate, another bill is trying to do the same thing. You can read a bit of background on all this.
There is a tiny bit of attention being given to the Senate bill now, but you really have to be paying attention on your own to catch the stuff. Neither bill is getting much, if any, attention in the TV news infotainment and among the American citizenry, who mostly seem to have completely and unconsciously accepted being moved from being citizens to being “consumers“.
As we move through late August approaching Labor Day, crude oil prices are now up to around $109/barrel for West Texas Intermediate and Brent is up to about $114, moving up a bit from where they’ve been hanging around in the range between $100 and $110. You can pretty much bet the farm that any news chatter about this that might arise will involve vague sputtering about “uncertainty in the Middle East”. That’s such a cliché now it’s almost funny, and that has been banging around recently given the turmoil of government in Egypt for months, and gaining extra energy from the news chatter that the US government is making noises about more war adventures getting involved in a civil war in Syria.
Good luck finding anything in the news about the certainty of Hubbert’s curve, and where we are in the arc of that story. Silence. Crickets.
As I’ve been talking about for many months, if you try to gauge and assess a general public consensus about the broad subject of “fossil fuels”, a remarkably few Americans are really giving it the serious attention the situation demands. Even when some people do give it a passing glance, too many people are completely willing to buy into the assorted fantasy delusions being presented by a bombardment of hype selling them ideas of the United States of America becoming “energy independent” and some kind of new Saudi Arabia king of the world of petroleum, and hydrocarbons in general, when you add in all the insanely deluded hype about natural gas.
We’re already seeing unavoidable indicators of the reality of the supposed miracles of tight oil and natural gas deposits locked in shale formation, and the processes of hydraulic fracturing.
Here we are, well along the path into diminishing returns in petroleum, and natural gas, and there is virtually no general public awareness and consensus of this, and how we’ve set things up to function, and the need for the changes we need to make as quickly as possible.
What hardly anyone wants to face is the “solution” that is conceptually as simple as it gets. We need to use less.
In practical terms, this then translates to the need to waste much less, and this does not just mean making more efficient machinery, it means not wasting energy in what we’re doing and how we do things. We’ve had decades of insane gluttony of the finite energy resources of the planet, as if nobody can grasp the understanding that the collected underground hydrocarbon resources of the Earth are a large one-time windfall, a kind of inheritance of collected energy of ancient sunlight from eons ago, and this stuff is not a perpetual eternal fountain of some kind. It’s a relatively quick transient burst, especially the way we’ve blown through the stuff over the past century or so, and especially over the past 60 years or so.
We still see the same games played out on Wall Street, in banking and finance, and corporate management, with the circus played out on CNBC and all the “business news” media, and the pretense is cracking around the edges, even as the players involved intensify the hype. The games of phantasms of debt played into pretend “wealth” still seem to be working for the people working them, even as it all heads for a nasty collision with reality.
Here in America people are being grossly and blatantly manipulated with this whole ongoing divide and conquer tactic of herding people into opposing pens labeled Left and Right, with the added absurdity of how nonsensical and confused most of that is.
An anonymous/pseudonymous comment I found at the bottom of a webpage in reader comments summed up a lot rather neatly:
I think part of the reason the public is apathetic is that the powers that be have done a remarkably good job of dividing the public on social issues.
Liberals support Obama despite his right wing economic and foreign policy because “If I don’t vote for him, abortion will be outlawed.” Conservatives vote that way even as their jobs are being off shored because, “If I don’t support a Republican, gay marriage will be the law of the land.”
The press does a great job keeping these issues at the top of the news. I think the public will eventually sort things out and we will see wide spread protests. The overwhelming lack of support for yet another war in Western Asia (Syria) shows we the public can get it right. Eventually.
As I wrap this up, a quick check of TV cable news noise reveals that the war drum pounding continues, pushing all else aside, and the general theme is selling the whole insane idea to the public. I’m not hearing anything there about the reports that what might possibly have happened was not just that the Syrian rebels were actually responsible, but that it was, according to some anyway, very possibly an accident resulting from those people having chemical weapons handed to them and not knowing how to handle the stuff.
More to the point, what seems to be getting lost in the frenzy of noise is that whomever might be responsible and what exactly happened, the idea of the United States going off around the world launching attacks on other countries is so completely, outrageously unacceptable it’s obscene that it’s being not only considered, but treated as if it’s mandatory or something.
All of the matters I’m looking at here are things that are nothing new, including the kind of sleepwalking oblivion to all of them we have happening.
Maybe people need a real smack in the face, reading this:
We’re way past due to face that our government is in the grip of this insane and malevolent neocon notion of worldwide military empire. We’re way past due to face the simple physical reality of the finite physical reality of the world, and, among many other things, adjust and rebuild to function within the reality of the diminishing returns of hydrocarbon deposits and Hubbert’s curve. We’re way past due to correct the insanity and frauds of playing casino games and swindles based on phantasms of debt piled on debt piled on debt, and recall the concept of an economy based on trading value for value in things and work of actual value.
What will it take to wake people up?