As I take a few minutes to peck out another note coming to the end of the year, I spend a second to ponder the possible question: is this here corner of the web a “political blog”? No. Oh hell no. The problem there is that it’s the condition of things as they are in recent events and circumstances that it’s almost impossible to avoid the awful mix of lying, foolishness, and outright lunacy fouling everything in the realm of politics and government, and, maybe more to the point, fouling and confusing damned near anything, regardless of whether politics is even relevant.
Part of what makes it even worse, of course, is what we’re served up for “news” these days here in the United States of America, something I’ve certainly mentioned quite frequently in the past year. It’s incredibly bad, and seems to be getting steadily worse.
The Monday installment of James Howard Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation blog bring the year to a close included this, summing up a pretty good picture of things at the moment:
One of the hallmarks of an imploding culture is that people lose a sense of consequence. Things just seem to happen and unhappen, and nobody really cares about chains of decision and event. Anything goes and nothing matters.
One reason this is happening to us is that we allowed reality to be divorced from truth. Karl Rove wasn’t kidding back in the Bush-2 days when he quipped that “we create our own reality.” The part old Karl left out is that there’s a price for doing that. In the short run, it allows you to pretend that you have superpowers and can act in defiance of the way things really are. In the longer run, your view of the world comports so poorly with the facts of the world that things stop working.
The tragedy of Barack Obama is that he continued the basic Karl Rove doctrine only without bragging about it. I don’t know whether Mr. Obama was a hostage, an empty suit, or a fool, but he broadened and deepened the acquiescence to lying about just about everything. Did criminal misconduct run rampant in banking for years? Oh, never mind. Is the US economy actually contracting instead of recovering? We’ll just make up better numbers. Did US officials act like Nazi war criminals in torturing prisoners? Well, yeah, but so what? Did the State Department and the CIA scuttle the elected Ukrainian government in order to start an unnecessary new conflict with Russia? Maybe so, but who cares? Was the Affordable Care Act a swindle in the service of insurance and pharmaceutical racketeering? Oh, we’ll read the bill after we pass it. Shale oil will make us “energy independent.” (Not.)
Has anyone noticed the way these incongruities percolate into the public attention and then get dismissed, like daydreams, with no resolution.
I have. Other people have. How many have not is a serious question. A great many, from the looks of it. I notice, by the way, one thing that Kunstler left out of the items he listed, which is discovering in much more certain terms that our own government here, in “the land of the free”, is, and has been for a long time, spying on everyone, a total-surveillance police state to go along with the military world empire and corrupt plutocracy. Now, spelling all that out that plainly doesn’t sound great. So people don’t.
The bipolar political disorder doesn’t help any, to put it gently, and makes things much worse. The thing about using that phrase “bipolar political disorder” is that if you haven’t read or heard it before, it doesn’t really need much (if any) explanation.
We’ve all had a while to get used to the phenomenon of people being programmed and confused by Brand R politicians in conjunction with Fox News, the AM radio barking, and all that, with part of the alternate reality being a mostly fictional image of a straw man version of Obama. These days, I’m noticing more often, and just more, the ugly phenomenon of a different kind of thing, some twisted inverse of the above, where people attaching nametags like “Liberal” and “progressive” and “Left” to themselves manage to get themselves into a mode where they have their own image of Obama that has some semblance of reality, but is also suffering from a reality warp involving what they would like to believe about Obama as president, more than the actual reality of things.
I encountered it in one episode just recently, when saying that Obama has not “fixed the economy”, and for that matter nobody has “fixed the economy”. Some people go apeshit, and you find comments like what I found in the following text-blurbs of online comments, like “partisan and ignorant” or a real classic, which if I remember right went something like “typical GOP… ignore the facts and hate on the Black Man!…”. This shit might be hilarious if the whole scene were not so serious.
Basically, we have the realm of politics where the bipolar political disorder generates dual “sides” each holding their own different reality distortion images of the current president, specifically, and a whole range of general events and circumstances, squabbling with each other, avoiding the actual reality of damned near everything. Being simplistic is at the core of all that. That’s a pretty general statement that I can make with certainty, while risking the irony of people thinking that saying this is simplistic.
This broad pervasive problem is something I’ve been talking about for some time. I think that there’s a pretty decent case example in what became the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, pretty much universally called by the nickname “Obamacare” now, which is essentially just a recycling of an old “health insurance reform” plan from Republican politicians and “Conservative thinktank” organizations. It’s pretty bizarre to consider that alongside the “opposing sides” of Brand R and associates and loyalists shrieking about that very thing being “Obama’s socialist takeover of healthcare”, with the extra irony of shouting that it must be repealed and replaced with a Republican plan, and others proudly proclaiming this as the president’s great achievement of “healthcare reform” that would be great and wonderful and seen and accepted as fine and wonderful if not for the opposition and sabotage of the Republicanistas. Pick a subject area, and this kind of bipolar reality warp scrambles everything.
That, again, definitely includes the insanity surrounding the Ukraine drama, with the whole bipolar game of “Right/R/Conservative” cliché-bound tribe arguing with “Left/D/Liberal” cliché-bound tribe about whether Obama is managing his supposed job as ruler of the world showing the world who’s boss, with seemingly no awareness of even a question about what might be wrong with that, and no questions at all of the giant sack of nonsense channeled into people’s heads as “news” about what has happened and is happening. Casually ask a random sampling of people about what they think is happening, and you’ll almost certainly get a bunch of responses that show people simply carrying around notions as “common knowledge” that are complete nonsense, most of it pure fiction, some of it carefully crafted reality distortion with tiny bits of truth in there, carefully selected and woven into a deceptive narrative by the neocon cultists. Good luck, in any such sampling, of finding people who actually understand the general story of what happened there, and is happening now, either on the scene in eastern Europe, or in the lunacy surrounding it.
I’ve been writing about that mess for months on a regular basis (it’s hard to avoid), so I won’t go through another review of it now, but maybe one snippet of a clue for the general populace (the US, and Europe) was the fairly simple beginning point of the revelation of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland having a phone chat with the US ambassador to Ukraine, discussing who would take control of the Ukrainian government in Kiev following the overthrow of the elected president that had not yet happened, complete with the angry exclamation of “fuck the EU!” by Nuland, expressing frustration that European government leaders were not fully compliant with the US plans for the upcoming new leadership in the nation of Ukraine. Couple that with the understanding that Victoria Nuland was foreign policy advisor to Vice President Cheney, and her husband is Robert Kagan, neocon main player and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, an organization whose whole essence was ambition to make the United States of America an empire ruling the world.
That, alone, should be enough to get people awake. People will recall that story, maybe, about the “fuck the EU!” comment, complete with the awkwardness of how to report this statement without actually repeating the statement. The problem is, it was reported, and people probably remember it this way, if at all, about a high ranking diplomat saying a rude offensive thing that offended the European Union members, just a social faux pas. Nothing about planning the organization in the overthrow of another nation’s government in a coup d’etat on Russia’s border.
One thing about this whole epic of megalomaniac lunacy is that, personally, I have no interest in Ukraine, and knew little about it a year ago. I also have no interest in the internal politics and government of the Russian Federation. Yet, here we are, with these being some primary topic, even as the extra twist in the works is that most of the American population has only vague notions about them that match up with the reality very little, or completely contrary to reality. There seems to be a general state of this kind of problem in many subject areas.
So this circles right back around, over and over, to the dysfunctional illness infecting the American political realm, where reality itself, whether it’s a political and governmental issue or not, ends up sucked into the bipolar force field of people being pushed into selecting one of two club memberships, complete with a list of instructions about what to believe, think, and say about anything, even going so far in this nonsense as to simplistically and idiotically label entire states of the union, as “Red State” or “Blue State”. What we’re served up as news is no help at all, unless you actually go to the time and trouble to shove aside the popular main “news” organizations that seem to have been completyely hijacked, and look further, to find actual journalism being practiced, competently and honestly.
This really needs to stop. It will, eventually, because it must. How that happens is a good question. I hope that 2015 will be the year when lights come on, people snap out of various forms of programmed hypnosis, and wake up, and then, maybe things will be possible.