I might be as guilty as anybody in taking a good metaphor and wearing it out, but bear with me. In the last note I wrote here, I was using the analogy of the optical distortions of funhouse mirrors in trying to get a handle on how many people have notions in their heads about what’s what that are, to put it mildly, often based on some bad information, that isn’t just complete bullshit, but the only “information” they have.
There was a comment on one of my pages here recently where somebody used the phrase “truth-tellers” referring to people writing articles I had included as links. I thought… yeah. There we go. Truth tellers. A neat and simple phrase, for what should be a simple straightforward thing.
How is this such a rare and noteworthy thing?
Flipping through TV channels for a little bit on Sunday, I found myself encountering an interview on CBC television (part of the cable offerings around here) with main CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge talking with Hillary Clinton, a person with no public official position now. I listened to a bit of that and left it in disgust, and grazing onward, came to CNN, where the Sunday afternoon programming presented as “news” featured CNN talking head Fareed Zakaria, who apparently is supposed to be the voice of authority on all things international. Maybe it was just sheer random coincidence of timing, but in both cases, back to back on television in the same chink of time, there were two people, Clinton and Zakaria, yapping on and on about the same running memes, official Washington narratives, of “Russian aggression” and, in particular, going on and on about Vladimir Putin and what a horrible evil megalomaniac monster he is supposed to be.
It’s the same fictional manipulative shit. How is The West and America and Europe to stop the madman Putin and his evil march toward conquest and domination of Europe? What goes on in his mind of madness? Never mind the actual reality, and that the only problems involving Putin revolve around him having a hell of a pile of trouble literally landing right on his doorstep, started and then pushed along by other parties.
So, here we are, with people walking around with notions about “that madman Putin, and his menacing aggression in Europe, what shall we do to stop his evil schemes?!”, joining delusions about “economic recovery” and “America’s energy boom!”.
If you check in on CNN for your news infotainment now and then, you may have noticed a new development that had me gawking at a TV screen in stunned disbelief recently, somehow managing to shock me, even after so much evidence of the wretched uselessness of CNN in recent years. They still manage to get worse and worse. How is this even possible? The thing I’m referring to now is seeing a promotional self-advertising spot on CNN for CNN, promoting some new programmed idiocy where, I swear to God, I’m not making this up, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, the talking head infotainment celebrities of CNN are apparently going to all join together in a TV studio to play a game show for your entertainment.
It all brings to mind a quote I found attributed to Mark Twain, saying “it’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled“.
The tragedy of what’s been happening in Ukraine, and the associated political lunacy from governments that really have no business being involved, carries a twist. That is, that for months now, here in the United States, people firmly planted in both camps of the political binary/bipolar absurdity have bought into the same nonsense, the same raw blatant outright lying and more subtle manipulations of deception.
[Like one example; “look at the Russians in Crimea! See the Russian invasion of Crimea!“… not bothering to tell us that the Russian navy has had a base there as long as there has been a Russian navy, and that they remained there by agreement with the Ukrainian government following the collapse and dissolution of the USSR, and the allowed number of military personnel were, by all reports I’ve ever seen, never exceeded, during the alleged “invasion”. Later, it was all moot as Crimea became part of Russia again, as it had been until 1954, because the people of Crimea voted over 90% for that.]
Members of Club R and Club D fall all over themselves arguing about who’s better or failing at dealing with “Russian aggression”, the public eats it up, unaware of even the most basic facts of reality about what has happened. It’s not just in the US, either, as, for example, the supposedly “Left” and “Liberal” paper The Guardian in England churns out a stream of propaganda, both in the news articles and punditry, completely locked in obedient repetitions of the Washington neocon narratives, right along with the “Conservative” media.
In the economic/financial dramas, it’s truly bizarre to see truth-tellers like Paul Craig Roberts and David Stockman rejected outright by some people because, the party lines make these people “Republicans”, “The Right”, “Conservatives”, especially given the fact that both men were in high-level positions in the executive branch under President Ronald Reagan. All kinds of assumptions kick in given that information, to be sure, on “both sides” of the bipolar wackiness.
What you find when you actually pay attention to both of these two is that a lot of their critical commentary about current events revolves around the madness of financial and economic and political distortions of plutocracy, with their criticisms of current President Barack Obama being either a complete puppet of Wall Street madness and corruption or willing accomplice.
Stockman argues for a kind of “super Glass-Steagall” renovation of the repealed Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933 and the breakup of the monstrous Wall Street “too big to fail” mega-banks and dealing with the assortment of madness and outrageous misconduct in banking and finance and corporate business, while President Obama parades around a token theatrical show of “financial reform” (AKA Dodd-Frank) and argues that renewing the Glass-Steagall act would be counterproductive and unnecessary, irrelevant to our problems. He also has presided over a cleanup of the fraud and misconduct in finance and banking that has amounted to, basically, nothing. It hasn’t happened, other than a few token gestures and fines levied on institutions, not the people responsible, that, for those organizations, probably amount to an unexpected petty cash expense.
All this is probably puzzling to both the club R and Fox News zombies railing about “anti-business commie Obama” and club D loyalists who think “Obama is our guy, fixing the economy and standing up for Main Street against Wall Street“, or… something.
I still haven’t gotten around to turning my attention to the person I mentioned in a previous note, somebody with a deep and broad knowledge of history and a generally attentive and thinking person when it comes to what’s happening in the world, who, somehow, has apparently managed to be sucked in by the dominant narratives being pumped out about the Ukrainian situation. I’ve certainly been covering that here, for most of the past year or so, with loads of links to articles covering things as they actually are, and, where things have not been very clear, with unanswered questions hanging in the air amongst all the bullshit flying around, at least have been asking the right questions. The question is, can I get him to go wading through all that, many pages of stuff, or will he dismiss it, saying it’s all too long, he’s too busy, whatever?
Elsewhere, truth tellers working in different areas come up again, doing their best to address the oil situation, and the general situation with finite resources of hydrocarbon deposits. One of those is Richard Heinberg, who, I would hope, is familiar already to anybody reading. If not, Heinberg’s book “The Party’s Over” is probably as good a place to start as any in getting your head around the oil situation, where we are, how we got here, and where we’re going.
Another teller of truth in the oil and energy realm is Robert Hirsch. Yes, that Robert Hirsch, lead man on the study written up as a paper informally known as “the Hirsch report”, written up and submitted to the US federal government around a decade ago, and shoved in a back room and buried like the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He also pops up again talking about the recent and current state of crude oil prices and what that does, and what it suggests.
Hirsch and Heinberg are both great examples of what a reader called truth-tellers, who are not only telling us what we need to know and understand, and needed to know and understand a long time ago, but continue to be mostly ignored. Ask around among the populace, and you’ll probably have a tough time finding people who have any idea who these people are, but they will be able to rattle off all kinds of names of assorted vacuous “celebrity” persons, and if they regard themselves as well informed and in touch with current events, able to recognize and name all sorts of various liars and high volume bullshit nozzles pumping out self serving nonsense (or serving some profoundly questionable masters).
In this case, these guys are talking about the broad and fairly complex problem that can be summarized under the subject heading of “peak oil”, but as I’ve said here many times before, as soon as you use that term, you’re almost guaranteed a burst of confused chatter of nonsense from people who most need to understand what’s what in that department, because they have all kinds of nonsense channeled into their heads, about the general subject of oil, and specifically about that phrase. If they have heard it, many people have this bunch of nonsense in their heads that they think is understanding what the term means, that’s completely wrong, some vague notion that it’s some kind of doomsday prophecy tinfoil-hat fear mongering whatzit that says “the oil will be all gone soon!“, instead of understanding the more subtle and complex actual meaning of being a shorthand term for transitioning into diminishing returns in oil supply.
I think it’s a pretty reasonable guess to say that much of those notions come from some TV reality warp, or some noisy PR propaganda nonsense foisted on the public via some article on the web or some supposedly serious “news” medium from people who are either profoundly confused and misinformed themselves, or maybe deliberately deceptive to suit their own purposes.
That’s a problem in a few areas. The funhouse mirror reality warp. Which, really, when you simplify it down, ends up taking up so much time and space for me here, and for all kinds of people who do their best to serve as “truth tellers” and/or to relay the word along from them. It is, I know, and unfortunately, a tad repetitive, but by necessity. That in itself is repetitive, talking about trying to get through the secondary layers of problems caused by all the various kinds of metaphorical funhouse mirrors. With that comes all the problems of the component to all this where people just willingly buy into some nonsensical narrative that prompt me to compare things to the story The Emperor’s New Clothes so often that somebody might think I’m getting some kind of kickback payment every time I mention it.
I’ve been trying to maintain a length limit here of around 2000 words, so as not to be accused of being “long winded” (which, apparently, is these days regarded as a terrible offense much worse than being chronic and incessant fucking liar), and I’m about there as I type, but there’s another truth-teller to mention, as he has posted his latest regular Thursday essay. That would be John Michael Greer and his Archdruid Report blog, the edition titled What Progress Means, which actually requires reading earlier notes, particularly the one immediately preceding it, for context. But, then, Greer himself and the name of his blog is likely to turn off some people, and cause them to disregard everything he says as the rambling of some interwebz weirdo. As Greer himself finds himself regularly pointing out, even regular readers of his essays seem to miss the point sometimes, being locked into whatever they have banging around their heads in previous assumptions.
In this new note, Greer really does a fine job of addressing a general subject that I might talk about myself, as what he’s talking about is something that has been on my mind for years. That will be something for another time.