Richard Heinberg has a new essay online that does a pretty good job of addressing a very basic fundamental problem that has extremely broad effects and repercussions, titled Two Realities. The “two realities” he speaks of are a break between physical reality and what he labels “political reality”. From part of Heinberg’s essay:
In the contest between physical and political realities, it is political reality that must yield. Attempts to meet somewhere in the middle amount simply to reducing delusional thinking from absurd, world-annihilating levels to pathetic, self-immobilizing levels.
Our only hope of minimizing human suffering and wholesale ecosystem mayhem this century lies in coming to grips with the very limits that political realists spend their time seeking to hide and ignore. Their successful efforts at managing the public’s perceptions and beliefs have imperiled everything worth caring about. Soon the misled mass of humanity will be grappling with consequences of attitudes and actions that were insane from the get-go, yet cheered, rationalized, and normalized by nearly every respected public figure. Delusional expectations are about to crash upon the shoals of hard truth.
As we know from history, whole societies can descend into systemically delusional thinking. In the United States, with belief in climate change having become a matter of political affiliation, and with business pages of newspapers hailing each shred of ersatz evidence of economic “recovery” (i.e., return to GDP growth), we appear already to be far along that path.
One of the things I’ve commented about more than once is a kind of taking a step back to ask myself what I’ve been doing, here, writing my little notes in this space. (Some say not so little, but never mind.) What I’ve realized for some time is that I’ve mostly shoved aside many things, many topics, items, events, whatever, that I find interesting, to focus on bigger picture topics that I think are much more important in the larger view, for everybody, never mind me. What goes along with this, a major component to what I find myself looking at, is how many problems we have that share a common characteristic of people dancing around some way or another of replacing reality with some sort of faux-reality substitute. Heinberg articulates the problem very nicely, and the general problem applies today to all kinds of subject areas and circumstances. In short form, one way to put it is that too many people substitute reality with believing what they want to believe.
It doesn’t just cause problems from going off on some strange path avoiding the actual reality of some thing at hand. It really makes a hell of a tangled mess as a result of ending up, as a consequence of this kind of thing, with assorted different competing alternate realities, eventually ending up with the kind of thing we have fouling the works now in all kinds of things- it gets to a point of people just not knowing what’s what, in anything. In all too many things, too many people are lost and confused seemingly because they can’t simply understand anything as it is, but have to serve a compulsion to check what someone has called tribal dogma, to make sure of what they’re supposed to think it is.
Right now, I’m thinking about one particular element of physical reality as I think about the still going work not far away on a broken water main (after midnight as I type this bit right now). That was just around the corner from the site of another broken water main back in the deep freeze of winter. There was what looked like another one in the general area, just a day or two ago. This kind of thing seems to be more frequent. [People yap about “infrastructure” these days, but somehow, it seems as if more than a few people think this just means roads.]
This is one example where allowing political reality to act as if it supersedes actual physical reality is going to cause us more and bigger problems if we don’t stop that nonsense. Try to tell that to a lot of Americans now, and it’s more likely than not that they’ll start yapping at you about how the political reality just won’t allow that. But of course, never mind that nagging physical reality, they might tell you, if you only support and vote for <insert politician and/or political party they promote>, everything will be great.
This sort of game of political “reality” superseding actual physical reality is obviously bad in all sorts of ways, but part of the problem is that it seems apparent that way too many people aren’t grasping the obvious in this, or, possibly worse and more plausible, sometimes do grasp the obvious, but allow the “political reality” to dominate, which is the tragedy of this problem. (There’s the metaphor I’ve pointed out so many times before found in the old children’s story of The Emperor’s New Clothes.)
For that matter, there’s the added problem of what we might call “corporate reality”, too, that propagates itself in one way by constant saturation of people’s minds by advertising as a substitute faux pseudo-reality, but that’s another whole messy and ugly topic of its own. Even worse, the general public psyche of the country as of 2014 is arguably confusion and delusions from an ugly hybrid blend of political reality and corporate reality.
I imagine it almost seems like a cliché to some people to cite George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, but it’s really old news, nothing like some sage wisdom and insight from me to point out that one common element of both of these stories is the mass public confusion and distraction and misdirection. The variation on the theme in Brave New World includes the ease of keeping people distracted in that particular possible future with vacuous entertainment and amusements. Look around right now. It isn’t really fiction at this point.
The current drama surrounding events on the other side of the world in Ukraine rolls on, and the alternate reality pseudo-reality blasts forth from the US government and an almost entirely compliant “news media” playing along with the twisted game. The saga of Ukraine was already obscured by severe reality warp before the ugly tragedy of a crash of a commercial airliner taking around 300 people with it.
Right now, browsing most US news media reveals the official narrative that basically says “of course Russia (and/or Putin, personally) is responsible for shooting down this plane” (with all the emotional plays on the civilians killed), even while people say “we still don’t know who did it”. Ponder that for a while… we don’t know who did this… we know for a certainty that Russia is responsible”. It should be obvious that this is a farce on the face of it, but many people buy into it.
Check out assorted news pieces like the kind of two-minute news summary at the top of the hour that is a regular feature in radio and TV broadcasting, and you’ll hear phrasing about “Russian invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea” casually tossed out as if this is old obvious information known to all, even while both parts of that are complete fictional nonsense. This is repeated so often that it demands repeating the actual reality (and I’ve provided loads of links in recent months about this).
The supposed “Russian invasion” was the presence of the Russian military in and around the Russian naval base on the Black Sea coast in Crimea where the Russian navy has been for a couple of centuries (if you include the Soviet era), for the base itself and for the security of the base, with a number of military personnel within the limits allowed by agreement between the Russian and Ukrainian governments to continue that Russian naval base since the dissolution of the USSR. By all reports I’ve ever seen, even among news media pretty much just repeating the official US government narrative, that limit was never exceeded, even while it’s pretty easy to understand how the Russians would have seen a threat to the base security when a coup in Kiev overthrew an elected Ukrainian president friendly with Russia, replaced by a cast of characters aggressively and openly hostile to Russia.
Crimea was an autonomous (or semi-autonomous) region that had been part of Russia until 1954, when Ukraine and Russia were both part of the USSR, and Khrushchev made Crimea part of Ukraine (which probably seemed like something of little consequence at the time). After the coup in Kiev, the Crimean parliament, and then an overwhelming vote of the people in Crimea, rejected the new coup/putsch/junta “interim government” that took over in Kiev, and declared themselves separate from Ukraine because of this, and asked the Russian government to once again make Crimea part of Russia. And, of course, a perverse twist to that is that all that was rejected by the US government as “illegitimate”, even as the same people in Washington (Kerry, Obama, at al) were making pompous rhetorical pronouncements about “people’s right to self-determination and democracy” (and, of course, fully supporting the “interim government” that had ousted a democratically elected leader by coup d’etat).
All the fiction about “Russian invasion” and “aggression” and “seizure of Crimea” is, as I said, treated as old established fact, and now with the ugly tragedy of the downing of the airliner, that just serves as the foundation for more propaganda noise getting in the way of sorting out what actually happened.
One bizarre twist is that one item that is recalled by some people, but largely ignored in the propaganda noise. In 1988, a US naval warship was in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Iran, and accidently shot down an Iranian airliner, an A300 Airbus, another very large aircraft, with the result of that being another enormous death toll, 290 people dead.
Besides the obvious tragic irony of some similarity, and the willful ignorance of that ugly episode in the current “news” and political posing, there are twists that bring up Orwell’s 1984 and the kind of reality warp found in that story, as in “we’ve always been at war with Eastasia!“.
First, the US Navy warship, the USS Vincennes, was in the area, and reportedly in the middle of a real live live-fire shooting skirmish with Iranian gunboats, because the US government had the US Navy supporting “friend and ally” Iraq under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, in the war between them and Iran. That was around three years before it became “enemy of America and Freedom” Iraq and Saddam Hussein.
The firing of a missile that blew the Iranian airliner out of the sky was reportedly fired in a tragic mistake by the Vincennes crew because they believed that the plane they had on radar was an Iranian F-14 fighter coming to attack them to support the Iranian gunboats. In case that slipped by without a thought, take note of that: the US Navy crew on the trigger thought it was a F-14, an American made fighter plane, belonging to “enemy” Iran, which brings up the obvious, that, at some point previous to this, “enemy” Iran was “friend and ally” Iran.
While thinking about the irony in that tragic episode about a navy crew using an American made missile to shoot down what they thought was an American made fighter plane, consider some of the chattering about the current situation. Part of the noise substituting for journalists reporting on verified facts is that chatter that basically says: it’s clearly the Russians responsible! this had to be a Russian made Buk anti-aircraft missile!, among other things. Every time I hear that, I think, well, in that region, just about anything and everything in any kind of military weaponry or systems is going to be Russian made, for God’s sake. But that fact isn’t part of the narrative.
Quite a lot doesn’t manage to make it into the narrative. One part of the whole larger story is the batch of people that are being called “pro-Russian separatists” (and called “terrorists” by the new puppet government by coup in Kiev). As has been pointed out by some people (lost in the noise), the people in those areas of eastern Ukraine are predominantly not just “pro Russian”, they are, very literally, simply Russian. You might call them culturally Russian, or ethnically Russian, but, with the history of the region, including the seven decades or so of the Soviet Union, which included Russia and Ukraine, evidently a large number of people there are Russians who happen to live within Ukraine, especially in the eastern region where the trouble is, and, naturally, Crimea (see above).
Let’s consider it this way with a hypothetical scenario. Imagine that late last year, there was a national government in Ukraine with a democratically elected leader friendly and close to the US government. People unhappy with that started protesting, even rioting, and then the Russian government saw this as an opportunity for a little “regime change”, encouraging and supporting a coup that forced out the elected leader and brought in a new bunch in power who were hostile to the US and essentially a puppet government under US domination. If part of the Ukranian citizenry refused to accept this, and declared themselves separate from Ukraine in some new little self-proclaimed city-state zones, and fought back when they were attacked by the new Ukrainian government, the US government and news media would be most likely referring to them as “Freedom Fighters”. End of hypothetical, back to reality.
As it is, in reality, these people referred to as separatists, or rebels, are referred to invariably, cosnistently, by the new US supported coup government in Kiev as “terrorists”, despite the fact that, even in US news media happily relaying the US government propaganda, there has been nothing to indicate anything about the kind of random death and destruction terrorists do. By all indications I can see, there is nothing to indicate that those people are doing much of anything except staying in their own home territory and demanding that the new Ukrainian government leave them alone. The response of the new coup/junta/putsch government backed by the US government has been to attack those areas with the Ukrainian military, including, significantly, air attacks.
It’s important to keep in mind that not only are many of the people in these contested areas literally Russians, but, living in Ukraine, they are also Ukrainians. This is immportant considering the Kiev coup government ordering the Ukrainian military to attack and destroy them. By reports from outside the US propaganda news, since the beginning of this ugly situation, many of the Ukrainian military are simply bailing out, defecting (to use one word), or going into the region in question and immediately surrendering, wanting no part of attacking people they see as fellow Ukranian people.
One aspect of that to consider, that I think about even though it’s ignored in the US news, is that the result of that means the rebels/separatists in Eastern Ukraine finding themselves with Ukranian military hardware, and along with that, something obvious that’s a glaring omission in US news and government proclamations. Many of these people are going to be former Ukranian military, whether recent defections/surrenders or people who were in the military before all this started happening. This is an obvious subject to think about when the US government or news media starts chattering that the only way the rebels in the east could have any military hardware and weaponry and training to know how to use it is if it all was provided by the Russian military.
Incidently, here’s something addressing the piece of video that has been saturating American TV news, on endless loop, supposedly showing a Russian Buk missile launcher rolling across the border from Ukraine to Russia with a missing missile:
According to this, the scene shown in the video is far from the Russian border inside Ukraine in an area firmly under the control of the new Ukranian government.
As we continue to hear all the incessant propaganda here of Russia, and, specifically, Putin, as the bogeymen Bad Guys in that part of the world, as I’ve said before, and some voices of reality and reason have been saying, we aren’t hearing about the fact that there is a real live civil war happening in Ukraine that directly stems from the overthrow of an elected government with US government cheerleading and support, before and after (and ongoing). We aren’t usually, through the usual suspects main news media conduits anyway, hearing about the attacks by the new coup Ukrainian government on Ukranians in eastern Ukraine, and that what appears to be a significant part of that is collections of the neo-Nazi characters wrapped up in the coup who are doing the deeds, reportedly because they are happy to do hellish things when the regular Ukrainian soldiers want no part of it.
It’s enough to give you a headache to try to get an honest clear view of what might have happened in this plane crash, and the situation in general there, all the way up to the geopolitical scale as the US noise machine news and government proclamations make it more obscure and confused.