This one, by necessity, is going to be a note that bounces around quite a bit. This is unavoidable, sometimes, as there is so much going on, in such a swirling mass of complex confusion, and frankly, the unfortunate reality of a lot of things is a problem that I’ve made plain so many times I couldn’t count. That has generally come in the form of me mentioning something and moving on by saying “but that’s a whole subject in itself”, written as I’m thinking something to the effect that the item at hand could be a 400 page book by somebody, and they would still be leaving out a hell of a lot, and probably oversimplifying quite a few things.
Just that last issue is something you can probably ponder for yourself, simply by thinking back trying to recall how many times you might have been reading a book covering topics you know fairly well already, read something summarized in a paragraph or two, and thought about how distilled that is, and how much more there is to it, perhaps even thinking to yourself that this bit could be another whole book of its own.
I don’t think it needs much explanation to point out that, just to name one subject, this kind of thing is very true in a broad subject I talked about earlier, the subject of the period of American history when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. I mean, consider all that falls into that. There was the Great Depression and how we got there, what happened, how things proceeded through that long epic of trouble. There was the sweeping madness that took hold of Europe over that same time period, with the awful epic of the battle between the paired opposition forces of the different forms of insanity in political form as fascism and communism, and then the epic tragedy of World War II.
That’s just talking about old history, never mind current events.
So, the bouncing around will commence. Bear with me.
There’s a little experiment I’ve been doing that you can do yourself. You might not even need to do it, as you’ve already noticed it. Now and then, as I can, I’ll switch on a TV and select CNN. What I’ve found, recently, has been almost comically predictable. What I’ve found is that almost invariably, it seems, like maybe 9 times out of 10, anyway, is that as CNN pops up on screen, the topic at that very moment is “ISIS! ISIS! ISIS!”. I turned on a radio for midday news and the public radio program Here and Now was almost a half hour into the hour program, and the subject of the moment was… you guess.
All that noise is just one aspect of what we can examine related to Roosevelt’s famous quote saying we have nothing to fear but fear itself, said in a different context, about the massive economic trauma of the Depression, but something that applies to quite a lot in general, right here, right now.
In the course of dealing with the Depression era, Roosevelt did more than acting, decisively and effectively, to get ahold of the severe problems in banking and finance that had turned everything into a dysfunctional disaster. Part of his efforts to deal with the circumstances the country found itself in was to form the WPA.
Not only did Roosevelt step up and act to do something to improve the awful paralyzed state of the American economy, in the process he created a way of doing this that actually put people to work, productively working doing good useful work, and being able to actually earn a living wage for themselves and their families doing it. Loads of major good work got done, the results of that work generally still around, and benefitting Americans today.
The present day American political psyche is so deeply twisted these days that there are an amazing number of people who seem to believe the nonsense fed to them, for years, telling them that FDR was really a terrible socialist dictator who ruined America with tyrannical overreach and creating big overblown Big Gummint taking all their money in taxes to give “Free Shit” to lazy communist bums. [Look around on the web, you can find people actually using “Free Shit” as a regular term, complete with the capitalization.] This seems popular among some people who don’t know how much better their lives have been, and are, because of Franklin Roosevelt being president during their parents or grandparents lives. Let’s just say people take things for granted.
The general public American political psyche is so deeply twisted these days that this is just one problem among many, with the whole mess being almost impenetrable, with some people. I’ll have to skip what could be a whole large batch of repetition of what would be the same stuff as I’ve said about a billion times in notes here.
There’s still the whole strange phenomenon that surrounds Ronald Reagan, with people carrying around this sort of dreamy mythology in their heads about Reagan as president that replaces the historical reality of his two terms as president, and it definitely seems to get worse over time, as the real story recedes further into the past and memories get fuzzy, while the replacement mythology gets hammered into people’s heads.
As I’ve written recently (so I won’t review it all), there’s a slight twist on replacement of actual reality that’s not from decades ago, but recent events and the present, surrounding the current president. Raise any topic involving President Obama, and we have the collection of raw fiction and warping of actual reality among some factions, what I’ve called the cartoon villain Obama narrative (the secret Kenyan Muslim Far Left radical, etc.) that has little or no connection to fact and reality, and the flipside of the notions maintained by people wanting to believe about Obama what they regard as good, despite the evidence piling up over several years indicating that there is the Obama of speeches, and then there is the reality of his apparent intentions and actions.
It’s another whole related old subject to raise, to talk about the political madness that often revolves around the increasingly absurd game of bipolar political disorder, of Left or Right, Liberal or Conservative, with those bits of lingo increasingly confused and meaningless, and sports teams rivalry of Republican party or Democratic party (or “Democrat party” <sic>). In the bizarre madness of that game, the Team R and Team D players just squabble about the details and rhetorical barking about being the American Empire meddling in and manipulating everything everywhere in the world, just making more and more of a mess, and avoiding dealing with the responsibility and tasks of dealing with their actual jobs in governance of the United States of America.
The farcical “news media” plays along- again, I refer you to the amazing absurdity of CNN, for at least a week or so at this point, essentially becoming something we could rename “The ISIS Channel”. Fox News does much of the same, with the continuous narrative undercurrent that somehow everything must be a problem caused by various supposed misdeeds and flaws of Obama and Democrats in general, “The Left”, and “Liberals” (and/or “Progressives), and switching over to MSNBC is all op/ed talk shows where people rationalize whatever Obama and other Democrats do, with any problems being due to Republicans and The Right and their nasty misbehavior, which often has a solid basis in reality, more than Fox News, but still often seriously confused, selective, and suffering problems of presumptions and misdirected attention.
It’s a hell of a mess, and it’s no wonder so many people are profoundly confused.
It has been noticed by at least a few people that Obama continues (as in many things) the Bush II way of things, which includes the way that serious problems getting our own house in order manages to keep being shoved away by distractions that keep popping up, strangely, of sudden new “Terror Threats” and some sort of new or renewed War saga somewhere thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet.
Even if you narrow the focus to the new “ISIS/ISIL/IS” bogeyman of Terror Threat, that is just an amazing knot of confusion and nonsense. It makes the bits of Orwell’s 1984 about “we’ve always been at war with Eastasia” seem straightforward and simple.
I often mention all kinds of different items coming from sampling TV, as examples of the morass of misdirection and confusion that people can suffer from exposure to the stuff. I happened across something that was really staggering. One cable TV network was showing the movie Rambo III. This is a film I’ve never seen, I have never been interested in seeing, and I am still not interested in watching. I happened across it, and just for curiosity, I ended up watching bits of it. As I watched a few minutes, and gradually got a handle of what it was all about, I was amazed, actually a little startled.
The basic story was this. The movie hero Rambo was in Afghanistan. He was there joining up for his mission with a bunch of Afghan locals known as the mujahidin, a rag-tag small group of guerilla fighter underdogs who had their fight going with evil foreign invader oppressors, fighting their noble fight against all odds against the mighty military of the foreign invaders, fighting to defend their homes and women and children and the good and innocent. There was a whole scene I caught in one of the bits I watched, as a man who was evidently some sort of elder leader/commander explained their noble and brave fight of the Good Fight to Rambo, as Hollywood soundtrack music of heart-tugging melancholy wafted along underneath the dialog.
These guys, Rambo’s allies, these brave underdogs fighting the forces of evil to defend the women and children and innocent and downtrodden, the mujahidin, were a collection of forces that, in later years, we all have come to know as The Taliban and their helper allies from elsewhere, a group under the command of a Saudi Arabian rich kid called Osama bin Laden and his merry men known as al Qaeda.
If you think I’m kidding, watch the movie.
A TV program guide said Rambo III was from 1988, late in the Reagan presidency, which supported the real life characters (not fictional) I just mentioned as “freedom fighters”, because they were fighting the nasty Soviets. This, you might remember, was supposed to be a wonderful thing, in the thinking of the neocon cult in Washington, going back to Zbigniew Brzezinski advising President Carter, because they thought it would be “the Soviet Vietnam”, absorbing the money and resources and attention in an endless bog of a conflict. Now, of course, we’re now at 13 years and counting of the US military operations of “The War on Terror” in Afghanistan, which we’re told is “fighting the War on Terror” to “defend our freedom”, fighting the same cast of characters portrayed as the brave and noble underdog freedom fighters fighting to defend their women, children, homes, and all that is good, but are now the evil terrorists who threaten our freedom and national security, and we’re helping the Afghan people because that bunch are the killers and oppressors of women and children and goodness, and we’re helping the people of Afghanistan in a humanitarian mission to bring them the freedom and democracy and safety and security.
We’ve always been at war with Eastasia!
But now, we have the current clusterfuck in the middle east. By the way, I just stopped and turned on CNN. Yep. ISIS!
We’re hearing constantly now about “the war on ISIS” (or ISIL or IS), with a new war launched on that gang, in Iraq, and in Syria, but it’s not really a war, but it is a war, but not really… Even that item is a mess, a question, as there isn’t actually a declaration of war, of course, as there has not been a declaration of war by Congress since December 1941 (ending in 1945), and Congress has left, abandoning their jobs for a couple of months to go devote themselves full time to what might arguably be their real jobs, gathering sponsorship selling themselves and our government to the highest bidders and trying to convince people to elect them again to the jobs they don’t do.
The ISIS gang is in Iraq and Syria, claiming territory over both countries to establish their own little domain. They’re said to be a huge problem in Iraq, of course, where there was no such activity before the US decided to invade and overthrow the government there, turning that place from an awful dictatorship to an awful place of chaos, with the addition of opening up the place to exactly the kinds of psychos who were supposed to be the enemy of “The War on Terror”.
Even worse, it’s reported that the ISIS bunch were, much like al Qaeda, something that got going with US support and training, because somebody in Washington thought they would be useful as pawns to attack somebody the Washington neocons saw as an enemy. In this case, it was to be “rebel opposition” in Syria, because the neocons decided that Assad must be overthrown as head of the Syrian government. Now that this has gone haywire like every other Washington neocon plan for “regime change”, the same cult of lunatics now argues about arming and supporting some other “Syrian rebel” group, to both attack the Syrian government of Assad and the apparently rogue “Syrian rebel” group ISIS. If it isn’t insanely absurd enough, there has even been chatter in the news about the Washington bunch asking the very Syrian government it’s trying to overthrow for cooperation and even aid in attacking the ISIS bunch, along with possible cooperation from the Iranian government, even as the same Washington crowd at other moments will still squawk about their enemies Syria and Iran (and meanwhile, nobody outside of that cult can quite figure out what sort of great menacing threat either is to the nation).
President Obama, this past week, went to the United Nations and stood up literally before the whole world and offered up all kinds of proclamations that were full of ridiculously false righteousness.
I’ll save myself some typing here-
There wasn’t just the astonishing dishonest, hubris, and possibly genuine delusion about the middle east. There was more of the disgusting dishonesty in describing events in and related to Ukraine as Russian aggression and invasion and so on, including the narrative of describing an overwhelming majority vote of the people of Crimea in rejecting the US-backed coup taking over the Ukrainian government and formally asking to rejoin Russia, becoming part of Russia again as Crimea was until 1954.
What a farce this is.