2014.12.18 baffle and dazzle

You know the old line- “if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bullshit!”. There’s a lot of attempting to dazzle and baffle flying around, and most of it consists of the latter idea of baffling with bullshit. There’s a certain kind of perversity in the fact that in a time of year that is meant to be a positive time of reflection and contemplation and sharing of a sense of goodwill, we’re in a period here that is remarkably full of an absolute barrage of confusion, general madness, and cluttered chaos.

Right now, I’m writing following a Big News surprise, when seemingly out of nowhere, it was announced by the White House that the United States government would begin talks to start a beginning of a process of “normalizing relations” and re-establish some sort of diplomatic connection with the government of Cuba, a tiny island nation something like 100 miles away from the United States.

I suspected what might happen, and from what I could gather, taking peeks at the continuous infotainment “news” flow yesterday, exactly what I suspected would happen, did happen.

To put it one way, it became the new CNN “the one thing happening in the world” feature.

Anyway, the point is that what followed this announcement was completely and obviously predictable, and people are sucked right into it. One predictable aspect is the immediate launch into bipolar political squabbling, between “Obama’s great breakthrough historical development!” and “Obama does another terrible thing!”. Meanwhile, guess what? The infotainment pseudo-news latches on to all this, general public attention is diverted on to this new Big Story (complete with the idiotic political dodgeball squabbling), and all sorts of other things, vitally important things, are shoved aside and ignored.

Skimming around the news, I came across a chunk of opinion writing from NBC talking head Chuck Todd offering notions of Obama, I don’t know, springing into action and countering the notions of a “lame duck President”, including “action on immigration” and “historic normalizing of relations with Cuba“, Obama “getting stuff done“, and including a notion of lower gasoline prices “supercharging the economic recovery“. There’s quite a lot to dig into here, much of it about the regular diversions and distractions in this and other political games chatter (that includes all the Fox News and general Republicanista “counterargument” games about the same stuff). As I pointed out just recently, just trying to point out the reality that the supposed “economic recovery” is not at all what it’s cracked up to be triggers all kinds of irrational angry noises from some people.

What’s carefully avoided by some people is what could be, or is, happening between the drop in crude oil selling prices, the high cost business enterprises of extracting crude from tight-oil deposits in shale rock (and, for that matter, similar stories involving extracting natural gas), and all the matters of finance involved in all that. Many people carefully tiptoe around attracting any attention to that. Instead, the narratives steer to simplistic notions that dropping gasoline prices means some likely economic wonder because consumers spend less money on gas pumped into their SUV or pickup trucks. (So get out there and consume, consumer, just in time for the Christmas retail commerce ritual!)

Meanwhile, this ties into the international geopolitik madness, as some people here in American politics seem to react with some sort of air of triumphant glee to news stories suggesting that the Russian economic scene is looking bad and in increasing bad shape, the currency exchange rate dropping, people talking about a Russian economic free fall or collapse. For a start, this begs the question of why people would seem to be so happy, sort of smugly satisfied by such reports?

The sudden appearance of reports of economic dramas in Russia come with talk about reasons for circumstances and events being due to the diving crude oil prices, given that Russia is, the last I looked, the highest-rate oil producing nation in the world (although that also gets into statements about this topic varying depending on who’s talking about it, based on how they deal with statistics and what counts as “oil”), and the infamous “economic sanctions“.

In the Washington alternate reality universe and the chatter that surrounds the games there, some seem to react with glee as all this being a triumph of the empire in defeating the nasty Russians and evil villain Vladimir Putin. The question is; why?

As anybody paying attention to the reality of the Ukraine drama should understand, obviously, by now, the notions and narratives of “Russian aggression” and all the associated noise about Putin and Russia being on some grand plan to revive the Soviet empire and take over Europe (or at least eastern Europe) is complete fucking nonsense, just pure fiction, perpetuated by blatant lying and more subtle selective reporting. (An example of the latter, reporting on Russian military in Crimea as all the drama was happening in Ukraine with the coup in Kiev, taking about the supposed “Russian invasion”, omitting the basic relevant fact that the Russian military had been in Crimea with a naval base there the whole time.)

There’s something somewhere between unfortunate and tragic in the fact that, among the political persons of America, there are very few not playing along with this awful farce of lying and pretense, and two of them are now former congressional representatives, no longer in government; Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. It’s not just unfortunate that these two are no longer part of government, while being among the few seeing, and calling, the Ukrainian farce and all that surrounds it as things actually are, and telling the truth, but also that in the overall picture of American politics of the present, these two are regarded by too many people as some sort of oddball eccentrics, radicals, misfit weirdoes.

Basically, in all the absurd political games, people seem remarkably oblivious to the way they’re all being played like puppets by the neocon gang. You can sit back and watch the Brand R and Brand D loyalists alike argue about who’s better at playing the “leader of the whole world” world domination empire games.

So, here we are. Cuba!

Never mind the whole thing about finally having an official report acknowledging that our government tortures people.

One very basic item stares us in the face about that, that just boggles my mind- the idea around that, with the recent Senate report that basically only tells people what has been known for some time, there is now a state of affairs in which there is some sort of “debate” about this, that, is, not that there has been torture, committed by people acting in our name, in authority and power in our government, but rather a “debate” about merits or flaws of torturing people. How twisted and deranged is this, that there’s even a question of some sort of “debate” about something like this?

Never mind the whole ugly epic of our own government playing puppeteer to overthrow an elected president in a nation thousands of miles away (and right on Russia’s border, with a long interwoven history with Russia), installing actual literal Nazis in positions of government power there, in a European nation, for the first time since World War II, and then having the astonishing gall to launch an endless propaganda campaign telling us (and the rest of the world) that the Russians are causing trouble there, and all kinds of astounding aggressive provocations directed at Russia.

It’s important to emphasize and repeat something extremely important. The recent authorizations of “lethal aid”, of military aid to the new coup/junta government that took control of the Ukrainian government, comes down to a fairly simple thing, and this is something that is not what we keep being fed here, by government spokesman talking heads, politicians, and the farce of news propaganda. The support for the Ukrainian military is support for what the Ukrainian military under the new coup regime is actually doing, which is relentlessly attacking the Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country, mostly Russian-Ukrainians, who rejected the new gang who took control of their national government. That’s the whole thing, in complete form. It isn’t a “Ukraine-Russia war”, there isn’t any “Russian aggression” happening.

It’s just staggering to hear virtually everything coming from the main US news media about what’s happening there, including regular stories about “peace talks” or some new cease-fire, especially when much of it chatters about Russian participation (or demands for Russia to put a stop to the violence, which is indescribably absurd to anybody paying attention to what has actually been happening over this past year). The only requirement for peace and an end to the battling is incredibly simple- for the gang in charge of the Ukrainian government now to, quite simply, stop attacking the Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country, and leave them alone.

Instead of people knowing what’s happening (which should completely outrage people, I would think), most people here in the US have bought into the narratives tossed out from the Washington officialdom, and the pathetic news agencies relaying it seemingly without question (or even complicit in the whole charade), of “the Ukrainian people rising up to choose freedom and democracy and facing the evil aggression of their Russian neighbor invading Ukraine and grabbing Crimea”. This fiction still plays, even though, for example, as I’ve covered before, even sources playing along with the nonsense narratives just summarized, like the US TV networks, or the BBC, reported when the events were happening that nearly everyone in Crimea absolutely rejected the gang taking control in Kiev in coup d’etat, and when the Crimean parliament set up a referendum vote (you know, like a democratic process of self-determination), something like 80% of Crimeans turned out to vote, and around 90% of the voters chose to separate from Ukraine and ask Russia to take Crimea into Russia.

As I’ve pointed out recently, hardly any of the Washington moves in all this have gotten any attention, and what attention the story has gotten completely fails to illuminate the American public about what this actually is.

Part of the astonishing misbehavior in Washington is for these recent items zipping through Congress almost unnoticed, and certainly not publicized as being what they are, is the demands made about Russia leaving Crimea, which is unbelievably absurd, arrogant and outrageous beyond belief, considering that Crimea now IS Russia, and, to repeat the basic fact, it’s now Russia because a massive majority of the people actually living in Crimea demanded that.

Now, we hear about the change in Washington, that after over 50 years, somebody decided that it might be reasonable to have some sort of communication and diplomatic relationship with a small island nation only 100 miles or so from the United States, whether the people in Washington like their government or not, but even with that, the talk is about this only in terms of sanctions and isolation failing to change the government in Cuba (gee, ya think?), but by opening things up, change can come about in other ways. In other words, it still seems perfectly normal, acceptable, even an obvious right thing, to act in terms of the people in Washington controlling what sort of government there is in other countries.

When are people going to start seeing the problems with these things?


Oil Plunge Sets Stage for Energy Defaults: Credit Markets – Bloomberg

The Archdruid Report: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Did Wall Street Need to Win the Derivatives Budget Fight to Hedge Against Oil Plunge? | naked capitalism

Brooksley Born’s Derivatives Warning Was Ignored – Again. | THE ONENESS of HUMANITY


Washington Seeks an Excuse to Wage a Nuclear War on Russia? “We’re Close to the Precipice. Will the Public Remain Silent?” | Global Research

Dennis Kucinich: Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking – Truthdig

William Pfaff: America Didn’t Just Prosecute Torturers, We Executed Them – Truthdig


oftwominds-Charles Hugh Smith: Here’s What’s Wrong with Corporate America–and the U.S. Economy


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