2014.09.14 all the news that’s not

It’s been a long time since I realized that many topics that interest me (and might interest some other people) keep getting shoved aside, for slightly more urgent subjects. A large part of this really comes down to how much there is going on that is big news, and yet, when you skim the news… it isn’t. What most people get for news day to day is missing so much.

Right now, probabilities are high that turning to CNN will have an endless stream that goes “ISIS ISIS ISIS!”, or another running item, babbling endlessly about bad personal behavior of some NFL football player, or even “in depth” endless babbling about the “controversy” about how the NFL management handled this, on and on and on.

Some things do manage to sneak through, like what seems to have rather suddenly become a disturbingly regular event now, of blasts of monsoon rain causing massive flash flooding in desert regions of the southwestern United States, an astonishing state of affairs. This seems to have become a regular rather suddenly, as I just said, dramatic enough in frequency and intensity that it seems to be to be a shockingly obvious clue smacking us over the head, but in the meantime, way too many people still hang on to the delusion that any idea of the state of the Earth’s climate and weather patterns turning severely troublesome is some sort of political “Liberal Left Wing” conspiracy.

Closer to home, here in the Great Lakes region, just days ago we had a full day of torrential rain. It rained virtually the entire day, and most of that was very heavy downpour. In the immediate area where I was, and via television news and online photos, I was seeing all kinds of flooded areas, collected water in places where I had never seen water collecting into pools of standing water like this, ever, in an area where I’ve lived most of my life.

This is part of what is now becoming regular; either massive extended blasts of heavy weather (rain, this part of the year), or opposite dramatic extremes, like the state of California continuing to have a very long running condition of severe drought.

Talking about all that is not a popular subject, of course. Some people will just resist the subject or even reject it outright (with ways of attempting to rationalize the rejection that have been covered before, often making it a political game rather than a matter of physical reality), or resist it as being too negative, an unhappy topic, yet they’ll sit in front of a TV belching out the TV infotainment programming babbling and raging nonstop about the new bogeyman coming to get us all if the Empire does not strike in a renewed program of permanent war without declaring war.

I turned on a radio to sample a bit of news from a slightly different source, the noon news on CBC Radio from Canada. Right off the bat, it led off with chatter about Canadian government business and what’s happening in that realm about the ISIS bogeyman, and Iraq, and Ukraine, and other “issues” fed to them and led by the American neocons.

We’ll be coming back to that (or I will, anyway, I’m hoping you hang in there and stay with this), as, like many topics, it leads to many topics tied together. In the meantime, first, one item of the category of all the news that’s not was something that happened to occur, ironically, on September 11, the date that got assigned by an act of token theatrics by an earlier Session of Congress as an official government holiday, “Patriot Day”. That’s still another subject of its own, how that date acquired the name “Patriot Day”, while having no apparent link to any patriots, and even begging for questions about what the people responsible for that think of as being a patriot.

What happened in the Senate on that day was a vote, actually a vote on cloture, a senate procedure in the strange dysfunctional rituals of the Senate to vote on whether to vote on something. The bizarre twist underlying whatever other twists are in play, of course, is that this procedure of voting on the decision to vote comes before a vote on an item that requires a majority affirmative vote to pass the item, but to get to a vote, they have to vote to conduct a vote, and to proceed to the vote on an item on the Senate floor requires more than a majority voting in favor of conducting a vote, 60 senators out of the 100 members of the Senate.

A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections. (S.J.Res. 19)

The actual item at hand could not come to a vote on the Senate floor, and this vote to not end “debate” and move to a vote prevented a vote on what can be informally called the Udall Amendment, proposing an amendment to the constitution for the first time in quite a while to address the problems in functioning government that were seemingly cemented in place by the “Citizens United” Supreme Court case decision.

Cloture on S.J.Res. 19: A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures …

The general idea of the constitutional amendment is (was?) to allow Congress to regulate and limit the sheer quantity of advertising for election and political matters (choosing people for elected office and other matters of governance). The arguments opposing this proposed amendment basically conform to the same notions as the actual Supreme Court decision that prompted all this, that any restrictions on the money-fueled bombardment of advertizing is “an unconstitutional restriction on the right to Free Speech”, which is obvious specious nonsense, in a word, pure bullshit. Limits on that don’t restrict anyone’s “free speech”, or an even more bizarre and problematic notion, a corporation’s “free speech” (the bizarre extra layer being the notion of “corporate personhood” that is a nonsensical concept in itself).

Again… bullshit. Everybody would be just as free to speak as ever. The only difference, the key difference, is that you might not be able to throw more money than anyone else into buying more advertising time and space in media than anyone else so that people become saturated and bombarded with your “speech” than anyone else unable to match that, effectively making it so that your “free speech” obliterates all else.

So that proposed amendment went down, or, I should say, seems to have simply been stalled, by that vote to not vote, with a minority of votes able to stop a vote on something that, from what I can tell, has support of the citizens of the United States. Consider some polling of Americans about this-

Poll: Large majority opposes Supreme Court’s decision on campaign financing

Yet, right now, fixing this problem on a basic constitutional level is stopped, thanks to the votes of a minority of senators overruling the majority of senators (never mind the people), which begs for examination of who those senators are, and, not to put too fine a point on this, who owns and controls them.

That’s just one thing shuffled off in the shadows while people are distracted and diverted.

While the crazed chattering about “ISIS! ISIS ISIS!” continues, with the war drum hammering as “foreign policy debate”, sampling the media most people rely on for news reveals not just distractions and diversions and misdirection of people’s attention, but “information” that ranges from being warped and distorted to being just outright and plainly false. Even checking C-Span, which some people might turn to because they’re a little more active about trying to be informed, seeing C-Span programming as more of a raw source with some depth to it, the nonsense and lying flows.

On one C-Span channel, I turned to that just in time to hear somebody saying something about “Assad violating the red line concerning use of chemical weapons”, something that keeps appearing as chatter continues about the US military getting into war mode in Syria, despite the fact that it has been months since people actually investigating all that like actual journalists found that Assad and the Syrian military were not involved, and it was evidently some sort of “false flag” attack by people who wanted Assad out of power, and saw Obama’s “red line” ultimatum/threat as a trap to suck the US into attacking and deposing Assad for them.

Seymour M. Hersh · The Red Line and the Rat Line: Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels · LRB 17 April 2014

In a vaguely similar way, anything about the running dramas of Ukraine and the geopolitical circus is badly distorted or blatantly false. Back to C-Span, I switched from one of their channels, with that false Syria reference tossed out as long-accepted fact, to the other, where apparently NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was just finishing a speech to an audience in Brussels, which, judging from what I caught, and previous statements from this guy, presumably went on and on about the supposed necessity and urgency for pumping up and expanding NATO more, in the face of “renewed threats”.

Part of that narrative of nonsense has, obviously, included a great deal about Ukraine, with the propaganda hammering the neocon war drums about a fictional “Russian threat”, keeping up the cover diverting people from noticing the US neocon manipulations of “regime change” in an overthrow of elected government in Ukraine.

Perfecting ‘Regime Change’ in Ukraine

For people digging past the noise being blasted at us continuously, the subtle distortions and omissions and distractions and outright blatant lying, there is plenty of accumulated factual information, including lots of past statements from various players in the neocon cult, to figure out the general broad plan. Part of the goal is clearly to line the entire European border of Russia with nations that are tied to European Union (and by extension, US) economic arrangements, banking, and finance, and/or NATO military forces (again under domination of the US neocons controlling our government), and basically proclaiming a message to Russia: stay there in your little corner, shut up, and stay out of the way of us ruling the rest of the world as an empire!

People relying on what passes for the regular news now in the US are still getting the distorted or fictional narrative memes about the Ukrainian situation, and people stuck in that zone are almost certain to have ideas about what’s been happening that almost entirely different from the reality.

This isn’t news to anybody who might be familiar with my notes here in the past months. The average American probably has no idea about the US involvement in the coup in Kiev, and manipulations of the new coup government, or the military campaign of the new coup government attacking Russian-Ukrainians who wanted no part of the new gang taking control in Kiev. All that has been sold to the American public as, somehow (even though the narratives make no sense) being all about “Russian aggression”, as if Russia just suddenly decided to take over Ukraine.

Basically, everything is looking more and more like the more problematic things become, the more the people who should be getting to grips with problems and informing people clearly about what we’re dealing with are, instead, creating more and more confusion and diversion.

While flipping TV channels to get a sampling of what’s passing for news today, beginning the week, turning to CNBC brought another absurdity that was no surprise. As the talking heads yapped, there was some viewer poll running, asking the question “will America ever become energy independent?”. The last I saw, the results were showing 53% answering “yes” and 47% saying “no”, indicating that over half the respoindents were operating from naïve uninformed raw optimism or pure delusion.

I know a lot of people would simply dismiss that as “cynical” (misusing the word), but I find it hard to believe that many, if any, of the poll responses were from people who thought “energy independence” was possible based on the only realistic route, which would be a massive reduction in energy resource consumption. This is another old subject for me, with the state of things right now being a continuation of the very same situation as I’ve been talking about for several years now: not only the state of diminishing returns in underground hydrocarbon resources, meaning oil and natural gas, but the state of public consciousness about the subject, which is almost entirely either ignorance, or confused delusions based on the nonsense pumped out at them about “shale oil boom” and ‘coming American energy independence” and notions of “Saudi America” coming from the wonders of fracking.

Anybody watching crude oil benchmark market prices will be aware that the standards of West Texas Intermediate and Brent have been lower lately, the last I looked being about $5 apart in between $90 and $100 per barrel, a bit lower than what has been normal recently. That begs questions that won’t be asked in the news related to issues that have been a regular subject for many knowledgable people, the people I look to for information on the subject, like Gail Tverberg, Richard Heinberg, and Steve Ludlum, to name a few. Ludlum, on his Economic Undertow blog, has been talking about this using the illustration of what he calls “the triangle of doom“, a dramatic (and rightfully so) illustration of the problem. If prices are too high, economic problems come from the burden of the costs. If the price gets too low, the increasing expenses of diminishing-returns oil extraction means, at some point, the selling price won’t support the costs involved, and if that goes down enough, your “shale miracle” of fracking shale for “tight oil” deposits (often called by the misnomer of “shale oil”) grinds to a halt, most likely.

There’s quite a lot missing from the news, at least for people who are just absorbing what’s fed to them passively.

 

 

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