2014.04.24- the festival of fake

I remember some late night TV show chat, with Robin Williams, I think. There was something about a conversation he had with a German who was wondering why there were so few German comedians. Williams said “it’s simple… you guys killed all the funny people in Germany“. That’s a little grim, but he had a point.

Shift a bit from that thought, and ask why is there so much bullshit in politics? A good answer in contemporary American politics is probably because the honest people are mostly weeded out and eliminated before ever getting to be allowed as a choice on a ballot, never mind elected to office.

That’s a tad broad, but I think it’s a valid point.

The standard cliché at this point would be to go off into a long dissertation about politicians in general and saying they’re all liars and manipulative bandits and scoundrels. There’s a kind of simplistic mode of useless that’s a kind of neat opposite to what I mentioned before about having a kind of permanent false pseudo-positive “it’s all good!” attitude. That would, of course, be the kind of thing people call “cynical”, which is a distortion of that word, as I wrote some months ago. As I said then, the word “cynic” comes from the ancient Greek Cynics, who, at least as I understand it, were people who critically examined things seeking the truth. Instead the word gets applied to a kind of rotten kind of “everything and everybody sucks!” permanent mindset.

People get themselves so stuck in these, which really goes right along with Bipolar Political Disorder in being worse than useless.

The thing on my mind right now is kind of a hard item to crack open and expose to fresh air and light, and I’m not quite sure how to put it. It isn’t just about politics and the broad problem of politicians as liars and madmen and crooks as a general idea. It involves the people, you know, we, the people, citizens, who are wound up in it themselves, in some twisted dance of mutual deception and confusion, some complex shared delusions. It’s hard to not mention, again, the old children’s story of The Emperor’s New Clothes as a relevant metaphor or analogy (for probably about the twentieth time or something, I know).

A couple of days ago I caught a cable TV news show segment, actually a good piece of actual journalism (wow!), which examined one incredibly strange phenomenon in American politics. I think it’s bizarre. Worse, it has very real and problematic effects.

The story was one I’ve mentioned myself here more than once. It’s about the common popularity of notions some people have lodged in their heads about Ronald Reagan that really amounts to a kind of mythology, an image and set of ideas that people have about Reagan and his presidency that are very different from the historical record of actual reality, even completely contradicting it.

These days, there’s a weird variation on that kind of problem concerning the current president. With Barack Obama as president, we have an opposing pair of episodes of splits between reality and what people carry around in their heads. This, I’ve also written about before.

We have the confusion of the reality warp of the bunch revolving around an image of Obama the cartoon villain president, worst president ever, with all kinds of nonsense having little to no relationship to reality. There are still people who maintain an image of what they wanted to think and believe about Obama before his election, and continue holding on to it, all they want to believe and think about Obama as the president over the past five years, often with little to no connection to the actual reality.

The symptoms of Bipolar Political Disorder wrapped up in all that are burying us in quite a nasty pile of diversions and confusion.

 

Right now, the topic of international affairs, of foreign policy, is front and center, and in a very ugly way. The last few days have included a trip by Obama around Asia, which included a trip to South Korea. There, Obama gave a speech to a large crowd of US army troops there, part of the huge and seemingly permanent establishment of the US military there for over sixty years and counting, there more than a decade before the president was born. I only caught a couple of minutes, and bailed. What I did catch included Obama belching out the standard expected rhetoric. From one report:

He said real strength comes from having an open participatory democracy, open markets and a society free to speak out against its government.

“We don’t use our military might to impose these things on others, but we will not hesitate to use our military might to defend our allies and our way of life,” Obama said to cheers from the uniformed troops who filled a field house at Yongsan Garrison, headquarters for U.S. forces in South Korea.

Much of the world, including quite a few of us here in America, are less and less impressed by this kind of pompous posing. The bit about defending “our way of life” is practically straight from the mouth of Dick Cheney and the other neocons. What the fuck does that actually mean? It’s not about actually defending the country. Fewer and fewer people are likely to believe the bit about not using the US military to impose anything on others.

 

So, in the meantime, the drama in Ukraine continues. With that, the flow of sheer bullshit continues.

Adding to all the rest of the string of events and posturing chatter of insane political theater, now Vice President Biden has made a trek to Kiev, doing his part for the show along with Obama and Kerry and the rest in the government here. Biden was there, apparently, to make an appearance and statement of support for the new coup government of Ukraine. That isn’t surprising, considering that the bunch there is apparently the cast of characters wanted by at least some people in the US government, at least the “interim” unelected Prime Minister, known to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland by the nickname “Yats”.

Biden carried right on with all the ridiculous pomp and bluster of the theatrics that have been going for some time now. I really hope anyone reading here has been keeping an eye on the events, and all the chatter, as it has actually been happening. I’ve been passing along plenty of links to pages around the web, that cover what really has been happening, and it’s often substantially different from the noise coming from the cast of characters of our own government here in the US, from Obama, Kerry, and the rest, obediently passed along by the infotainment news media that are regarded as the standard sources of news. It’s complicated further by things like Fox News and the like taking their usual party line, which is warping things, but often making sure to follow the Roger Ailes agenda.

Biden’s part of the show is being consistent with the reality warp so far. The stuff is thick and tangled. There was a declaration about the United States never accepting what keeps being called the illegal annexation or occupation or invasion of Crimea. The annexation of Crimea by Russia saw the autonomous region of Crimea return to being part of Russia as it had been until 1954. That happened after a referendum vote by the people in Crimea that was reported universally as having the result of a huge turnout, way more than any American election in recent history, and a vast majority of the voters choosing to separate from Ukraine, and ask to rejoin Russia. That followed the decision by the parliament in Crimea to do so, and then put it to a vote of the population.

That happened following the national government of Ukraine in Kiev being upended, the elected leader being forced out and into exile, fleeing the country, and replaced in a coup d’état, a junta, a putsch, replaced by an unelected Prime Minister (Yatsenyuk, AKA “Yats” to his pals or puppetmasters here). The overthrown elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, is, by virtually all accounts, a corrupt bastard, a real live kleptocrat, but an actual democratically elected leader, and one friendly with Russia, which matters for a bunch of people in the place we’re talking about, as they want good continued relations with Russia. This is a place with a long intertwined history with Russia.

All this came amidst all the righteous bluster and lecturing from Obama and company about the democracy and self-determination for the Ukrainian people, continuing in even more strident manner after the people in Crimea actually exercised democracy and self-determination, and utterly rejected the new anti-Russian US puppet government coup in Kiev. That part of the story alone is another of a long line of international sagas where events turn out in a way that show that words like freedom and democracy and self-determination for some nation elsewhere in the world are actually defined by the people in the US government as being a condition where the government in the place is obedient to the US government, or at least, shall we say, mostly cooperative.

It’s a pretty good indicator of something stinky to look back at just one piece of this.

As the whole drama was happening in Crimea, eventually coming to the vote result and following annexation by Russia, TV news correspondents there on the scene in the place were reporting that there were definitely some people not happy about the idea of becoming part of Russia again, but that by all signs around them, a vast majority of the people there around them in Crimea were looking at the events in Kiev, rejecting the coup government, and essentially saying “fuck that, fuck them, we want to be part of Russia!”. But when things went back to the TV studio talking heads, the narrative was constant, parroting the official US government line about Russian invasion and seizure of Crimea and all that jazz. As that was happening and I caught bits of this kind of thing, I kept imagining the people on scene hearing feeds back from the network going out to viewers and wondering if these people heard anything they said.

The differences between actual reality and what we keep being told by our government and the farce of infotainment news media are noticeable. Some people are indeed noticing, others are not. At this point, the massive flow of nonsense and full on propaganda here has been so incessant, and overwhelming actual fact so badly, that the official narratives about Russian aggression and invasion, and the coup and installation of a puppet government as “the Ukrainian people rising up for freedom and democracy” seems to have become a kind of public meme. It’s the kind of thing that becomes what some people will chatter about as something “everybody knows”, when, in actual fact, nobody “knows” it, because it’s just bullshit, major confusion or just fiction.

Meanwhile, as it has been for some weeks now, the biggest drama is continuing in the eastern parts of Ukraine, where people who are basically either culturally Russian, or simply literally regard themselves as Russians who live inside Ukraine’s borders, have been looking at the coup in Kiev and the installation of a puppet government fundamentally hostile to Russia, and rejecting it all forcefully. The coup government in Kiev, kind of predictably, are calling these pro-Russian separatists “terrorists”.

Along with this came the recent hoax of a supposed local notice for Jews to register with a local government taken over by the separatists revolting against the national government coup, which was almost immediately recognized as a hoax. The US government went along with this fraud, with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt making public statements on CNN insisting this “Jewish registration” hoax was “the real deal”, and John Kerry making indignant pronouncements about it. The whole thing looks to be such a blatant game of deception to divert attention from US government support of a bunch that includes actual neo-Nazis that nobody paying any serious attention could be fooled by it.

Other news reports from the area have been about the Ukrainian army being ordered in to confront the separatists in eastern Ukraine, people who according to the coup government are Ukrainian citizens, with reports of armed combat confrontations with dead and wounded. This started happening almost immediately following the visit of US CIA director Brennan to Kiev to consult with the coup government, which cannot reasonably be regarded as random coincidence.

This prompts the question, what business does the American CIA director have there, in a country thousands of miles away, on the Russian border?

The whole thing is a hell of a mess, a complex farce. It’s not something neatly split into Good Guys and Bad Guys, either, as it is being presented to us here. For a start, by all accounts, the now deposed and exiled Yanukovych was, as I already said, a corrupt kleptocrat, seen by many as just a gangster, but he was actually a democratically elected character. He was replaced by a cast of characters who are hardly Good Guys, but the evidence is clear that the cast of characters have the characteristic that is the only one that really matters to the characters in power in our own government in the US, which is being anti-Russian.

Visits like the ones by Biden and Brennan, the current Vice President of the United States and the director of the CIA, should prompt the obvious question; what are these guys doing there? Why are they even getting involved?

Kerry has been lecturing the Russians all along to stay out of the affairs of Ukraine, Russia’s neighbor with a long intertwined history, even as Kerry and the US government have gotten very involved; Kerry has been doing this, and then alternating between telling Russia to stay out of Ukraine’s affairs, and then lecturing Russia demanding that they get involved in Ukraine’s affairs. First it was demanding that Russia intervene and somehow force Crimea to not vote to separate themselves from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. More recently it has been to demand that Russia stop and control those Ukrainian-Russian separatists. Part of the recent news about the saga has been various reports that the Russian government has basically just stopped answering the phone or returning calls from Obama or any of the US government. It seems apparent that they’re just simply fed up.

I just did a quick TV check of the Sunday TV infotainment bullshit sessions. There’s nothing surprising in finding more of the usual chatter about this situation, and diversions into others, all based on the subject of US government “foreign policy”. The basic premise just never even seems to be questioned, the idea that “US foreign policy” is all about controlling everything everywhere on the planet. A few minutes (as much as I could stand) of one conversation was about “Obama’s foreign policy test”, with the premise being a discussion of a topic framed as: how Obama is dealing with Putin’s invasion and seizure of Crimea and now his designs on conquest of more of Ukraine and maybe more of Europe.

It’s no wonder that the Russians have basically stopped answering the phone. Their thoughts at this point are probably something like “fuck it, this is useless, these people are impossible”.

George Orwell could not have written the scenario better.

All this is just one scene in world drama. Despite all the noise for over a decade about the nonsensically named “War On Terror”, and the bogeyman of al Qaeda, it turns out that in places like Libya and Syria, the US government is just fine with supporting those violent lunatics when they’re doing something that suits the US government in terms of controlling other parts of the world, just as what happened several decades ago in Afghanistan, when, according to our government (including mythical retired movie actor hero Reagan), bin Laden and al Qaeda were “freedom fighters”.

See Orwell’s 1984… “but we’ve always been at war with Eastasia!“.

It’s astonishing, but no longer surprising. It’s just amazing, disturbing, and just plain outrageous, watching the ridiculous show being performed by people who are supposed to be our servants and representatives. It’s nonstop distraction, being performed by people who genuinely are fools, or manipulative bastards playing us all for fools. It’s hard to tell which, and I suppose it’s probably some combination of both.

Part of Biden’s routine was to continue the circus of pretending that a magical “shale revolution” has made the United States newly free of any energy resource problems, and that this will enable the US government to play around with affairs in nations elsewhere, in this case, Ukraine, and be a natural gas exporter to Ukraine and the rest of Europe. As should be clear by now, this is deluded fiction, but people have been sold that nonsense just as intensely, and for far longer, than the current “Russian invasion and aggression” meme trying to get a war started, for a little more distraction and diversion and misdirection of attention.

This just fits right in with all the other fraud and fakery and distraction, like regularly announcing “economic recovery” news. That’s complicated by the Republican party politics having to snipe at anything that might look good for Obama or Democratic party, selling the idea that if only they were in power in the White House and both chambers of Congress, endless prosperity would be right around the corner, thanks to even further reductions in any taxes on wealthy people and corporations. Those guys are like Lucy promising Charlie Brown that, really, honest, this time she’ll hold the football still for him. Of course, they also have to play that game while trying to not doing anything to ruin their investment portfolios.

The same frauds and out of control insanity reigns in banking and finance, while the phantasms of Wall Street keep maintaining the illusions of “recovery” with stock market trading statistics that aid in painting an image about the economy, with less and less relevance to reality.

Honesty and sanity are pretty scarce in positions of power and influence right now.

 

Moving Closer To War — Paul Craig Roberts

Ukraine: From Crisis to Catastrophe

Biden Offers Strong Support to Ukraine and Issues a Sharp Rebuke to Russia

NYT Retracts Russian-Photo Scoop

D.C. Insider: There’s a Shadow Govt. Running the Country, and It’s Not Up for Re-Election

Is America Preparing For The Wrong War? – The Automatic Earth

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