Taking some time to look around and review things sometimes leaves me with a feeling like being in some community where the locals have been held in rapt attention to a visit of a touring circus, and all its strange entertainment distractions, except the circus never leaves, and people never get back to real lives. How can that be a healthy thing? That vague thought almost immediately brings to mind the decades old book, more relevant than ever, “Amusing Ourselves To Death”, by Neil Postman.
It’s as if, for a mass of people, actual reality has been replaced by a kind of twisted entertainment simulacrum of faux-reality, a substitute for the real thing, for an assortment of reasons that are not always entirely clear.
Sometimes the circus is too real, and there’s nothing funny at all about the clowns.
Congressional hearings have often been circus acts, some more awful than others. The McCarthy witchhunts of the fifties are probably the worst obvious example that pops into people’s minds. Maybe there’s nothing that obviously malevolent now, but there’s plenty in the circus that’s destructive and useless, and badly at odds with reasonable and rational airing of information and thinking in the process of governance in a properly functioning representative democracy. They seem to generally be a grand ugly show of dishonesty, pompous arrogance, and general idiocy.
One recent ugly example of this kind of farce replacing proper airing of truth and reason for the functioning of representative democracy, was a Senate hearing featuring Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, with the text on the bottom of the screen on C-Span describing the session as a hearing on “Ukraine-Russia Conflict”. Just that, alone, was grossly deceptive? What “Ukraine-Russia conflict?”. Part of the problem is that, thanks to a steady stream of things like this very event, people have been trained to think that there is some sort of war going between the nations of Ukraine and Russia, part of people trying very hard to actually start one to cover their own misdeeds and schemes… people like Victoria Nuland, among others.
I happened across this on C-Span, spent maybe less than a minute to see what it was, and moved on. I was not about to waste time on that, once I realized who was the star of the show and generally what was going on, and later commentary (such as the Steve Lendman piece I linked) made it clear that it was exactly what I would have predicted with absolute certainly, a theatrical performance of blatant lying.
It was, reportedly, just another round of the same fictional narratives from Victoria Nuland, the very same top ranking official of the US State Department responsible for relations with the part of the world including Ukraine and Russia who supported and engineered the overthrow of democratically elected government in Ukraine to be replaced by a puppet government manipulated by the Washington neocons.
If you haven’t been following the saga, this is the very same Victoria Nuland whose resume includes being foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney during the Bush/Cheney regime. She’s also married to neocon kingpin Robert Kagan, one of the founders of the neocon organization Project for the New American Century, an organization of neocon madmen whose whole purpose was based around a belief that they, controlling the US government, should naturally rule all the world, and that so much as a whiff of a sign that any other nation on Earth might not be completely submissive and obedient to their rule must be stomped immediately. That organization is officially defunct, including the website they had online for years opening spelling out their aims and plans for complete world domination, but it isn’t as if the people involved have gone away and their minds have changed.
Reporter/writer Eric Zuesse, who has been following the whole ugly saga, like an actual honest journalist doing their work, posted an online report about something else he apparently just recently noticed, that I happened to catch by chance on C-Span about a month ago. There, in another congressional hearing piece of theater, ancient old neocon Zbigniew Brzezinski appeared and told his own tales of nonsense about the supposed Russian grand scheme for European conquest and world domination, with no sign of any evidence of any such thing in actual reality.
I vaguely remember watching that farce for some time, enough to recall that there was more than one witness. I’m not sure, from memory, if that particular episode included Victoria Nuland, although I do recall a different televised hearing with her, doing the same basic thing, speaking about the Ukrainian situation and lying her ass off, painting a picture, just like Brzezinski, consisting almost entirely of pure fiction.
These two, among others in Washington, lay out fiction and lies about a Ukraine where the people rose up in revolution for freedom and democracy and under attack by evil bully neighboring Russia seeking to conquer them on their way to conquest and domination of all of Europe. The same lying fictional nonsense is pumped out consistently throughout Washington officialdom, from congressional hearings to policy papers about “defense and national security”, and it’s all simply passed along obediently by what still pretends to be a free press.
What we’re never likely to hear in any of these kinds of theatrical performances in congressional hearing rooms is anyone speaking truth, about the US government support for the overthrow of an elected government in a European nation on Russia’s border, with a long relationship and history with Russia.
We won’t hear about that taking place after the elected president of the country backed out of signing a new economic agreement with the European Union, after reportedly reviewing analysis of the agreement that told him it would essentially turn his country into a vassal state and debtor nation, when, by all accounts, Ukraine was an economic basket case already.
We won’t hear about the violence in the public square in Kiev that saw people dying by gunfire from mysterious snipers that killed both protesters and police, except to hear the narrative that these kiillings were committed by the police under the orders of the overthrown Yanukovych, ignoring the shootings of police by snipers and asking why the police would be shot by the president’s orders.
We certainly won’t hear about the neo-Nazi contingent that was ushered into positions of government power, who, from the looks of things, could be taking more, as the new regime’s war against other Ukrainians goes badly.
We certainly won’t hear anything like the truth about that ugliness, which began in earnest just after, by coincidence that can’t be random chance, a quiet visit, that then came to light, by US official John Brennan to Kiev to the new junta in charge.
We’ll probably continue to hear jingoistic squawking about military supplies of “defensive weapons” to the new Ukrainian junta, maybe even US military personnel, despite the presence of actual Nazis in the new regime, or, for that matter, US law forbidding aid to foreign governments instituted by a coup d’etat, even though the reality is that the only need for any weapons or any other military help is in their campaign to wipe out other Ukrainians in the east.
We’ll probably just keep hearing that the poor underdog Ukrainians are under attack by the Russians and their proxy forces of “pro-Russian separatists”, diverting attention and confusing Americans about what’s actually happening. For a start, the “pro-Russian” term misleads people, as we’re talking about people in a region where, apparently, most of the population essentially IS Russian, and Ukrainian, both, Ukrainian citizens who are ethnically/culturally Russian, fighting like hell to defend themselves from attack by the Ukrainian military and paramilitary neo-Nazi units, ever since the seizure of power by people who fundamentally hate Russia and Russians, and are relentlessly dedicated to wiping out any traces of Russian people and culture in Ukraine.
And, of course, we’ll just hear about “Russia’s invasion and seizure” or even just “Putin’s invasion and seizure” of Crimea, ignoring, first, that Crimea was part of Russia before 1954, second, that the culture is apparently and unsurprisingly predominantly Russian, third, that the Crimean parliament, governing Crimea as a semi-autonomous region before the coup, rejected the coup, and over 90% of Crimean voters rejected the coup that took power, and formally asked the Russian government to take them in, annex Crimea back into Russia, and that the presence of Russian military that was said to be “invasion” was a naval base that has been there since the late 18th century.
I know I’ve been over this before, but it bears repeating, especially since I never know who might read and not know the actual story that has been playing our over the past year or so. This is the problem, especially because of what I’m now talking about. The halls of American national government, now, have apparently become places where truth and rational grasp of reality are becoming more and more scarce and unwelcome.
The circus acts of congressional hearings keeping presenting increasingly bizarre scenes of utter amazement to any sane conscious American (or any other humans around the world) paying any attention to both them and actual reality. The horror show related to Ukraine is just one particular circus act, albeit pretty horrific all by itself, in more than one way, on multiple levels.
I saw an online article mentioning a hearing featuring a congressional character who has popped up before and gotten my attention, Rep. Don Young of Alaska. His comments,
Young had first grabbed my attention a few years ago with an amazing combination of idiocy, arrogance, and neglect of his job, in a hearing of the House Natural Resources committee. In that farce, witness Douglas Brinkley was appearing before the committee in a session on the subject of allowing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. Discussion of that was hardly possible.
The scene before me was Rep. Young berating Brinkley in a ridiculous rant for daring to mention, earlier, Young’s absence in the hearing earlier, instead of, you know, being there doing his job. Along the way, he actually got Brinkley’s name wrong, inexplicably referring to Brinkley as “Doctor Rice”, and when this was pointed out, he said, I kid you not, “I’ll call you anything I want to call you when you sit in that chair. You just be quiet”. After all that, the committee chair Doc Hastings rambled on at Brinkley about “respect for the committee members”. I forget how much time was taken up by all that. From memory, I’m thinking it was probably close to 20 minutes altogether.
The punch line is that shortly after that scene, Brinkley raised a point of fact about something that Rep. Don Young had said at some previous time, that was wrong, and Brinkley wanted to have corrected, since these hearings go into the public record, and, incredibly, either outrageously or hilariously, Young was gone from the hearing again. That’s right, he apparently had only shown up for work at the hearing long enough to deliver a petulant hissy fit about some private citizen, taking time out of his own life and schedule to appear before the committee, daring to mention his highness not being present for a committee meeting.
Meanwhile, the subject of drilling for oil in the ANWR preserve, and why this would even be considered, was almost forgotten.
[I’ll let you go read Young’s latest idiocy if you like, but that’s just more circus distraction.]
The lack of any sign of honest realistic grasp of our situation in the hydrocarbon deposit resources of oil and natural gas is another huge subject, one I’ve certainly been giving a lot of attention while wondering how long the delusions, wishful thinking, and dishonesty will continue in that department.
I went and read James Howard Kunstler’s Monday installment of Clusterfuck Nation, and it was not much of a surprise to see that his theme of the week was about the distance between reality and officialdom, even titling the week’s essay “truthinesslessness“. He happened to focus specifically on the subject area of economic and financial delusions and dishonesty, but the general problem pervades just about any subject of importance.