Yes, it has been a long time. My last note here was way back in the late part of last year. It seems odd to talk about it as being “last year”, but here we are. It’s been such a long time, since the last note, we’ve passed through what many people here in the US just collectively call “the holidays”, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Given the fact that we’re now already into June and the beginning of summer, it’s a little unusual to talk about these holidays, but it’s worth a minute. These holidays are important. They really mean something, together they all form a period of something positive and healthy that we really need. Taken together, it’s a general period of a little reflection, appreciation and gratitude, generosity, love and general goodwill, assessment of the year coming to a close and looking forward into the next. Unfortunately, in all these holidays, I have to say that far too many people clearly appear to have badly lost the plot.
Even daring to say such a thing can be a slight problem. One little issue that’s likely to arise about all kinds of different situations is something I run across from time to time. Point out some problem, and there’s a good chance that somebody will object to that. I don’t mean the problem. I mean the fact that you addressed the problem, because, according to them, you’re guilty of being “negative”. It’s a profoundly weird and dysfunctional thing. In this kind of thinking, it’s not the problem at hand that’s a problem, it’s that you acknowledged and dared to mention the problem, as if everything would be just fine otherwise… or something. Never mind the reality that the first step in solving a problem, or at least dealing with it in some positive way, if something can’t really exactly be solved, is to see, recognize, acknowledge, and define the problem. The kind of superficial dismissal of something problematic seems to also arrive as a team with another attitude I regard as a little stupid, which is to respond to any acknowledgement of a problem with criticism scolding somebody for articulating a problem and then failing to immediately present some neat simple solution.
It should be pretty obviously apparent that Christmas has been deeply warped and twisted by a lot of people, and that’s probably an entire essay of its own. One part of it that I will note is the whole phenomenon of the holiday being turned into a whole Christmas season, that is not about the whole period of Christian religious tradition covering Advent and going through the whole 12 days of Christmas celebration. No, I’m talking about the Christmas “season” as it has been gradually warped into an extended period of retail commerce involving people redefined as consumers, doing their consumer duty of consumers consuming. That, of course, has also gradually and insidiously turned into something that has increasingly ruined the Thanksgiving holiday as that has been consumed by the growth of the following day into a bizarre ritual that has come to be known as Black Friday.
Mentioning this can prompt thoughts about the way that the tradition of giving gifts becomes some notion of “the time when I get all the stuff I want”, but there’s another slightly more subtle aberration. This is the way that many people seem to have an underlying motivation, in their retail consumer project, of going all out to put on a good show of generous gift giving, not as a gesture of love and goodwill, but to put on some sort of demonstration of superiority that displays their personal level of wealth and prosperity. It gets more strange and complex as that then leads into something else that’s easy to see and recognize, that being a fairly common habit of people going and doing their shopping for all this and paying for it, not with the money they have on hand for this, but with the magic of debt.
This takes us far outside the bounds of the whole Christmas season subject, and into something much larger and problematic, one main reason why I’m writing about this now, months after Christmas. We’re looking at a much bigger subject, which I’ll just generally describe as a pervasive problem of pretending you’re much more wealthy and prosperous than you really are. To be clear about this, I’m talking about much more than behavior and attitude on an individual personal level, or family households, but, rather, something that extends to businesses, government, a society and culture as a whole.
That’s a big one. That’s one hell of a subject to bite into. Plus, it’s even more challenging considering that, first, it’s a tough one to tackle without somebody thinking you’re indulging in pompous self-righteous scolding, whether it might be wagging your finger at people for “materialism” or not “living within your means”, or, if the focus turns to government debts, all kinds of deranged and irrational political squabbling. Along with that comes another severe source of complication, which is that it seems almost inevitable that it’s not possible to raise any topic of this importance and magnitude without somebody, maybe a whole mob of people, managing to literally misunderstand every fucking thing you say. How that happens is a whole massive subject of its own, which is part of the larger subject of coming to the end of a year and entering the new by doing a review and assessment of where we are and where we might be headed.
Even that basic healthy idea gets lost in the noise, and just one symptom of how badly that task is botched shows up every year when you can look around and find an array of “end of year reviews” that consist of an accounting of famous celebrity personages who have died in the past year, along with assorted other celebrity news gossip and other various kinds of general trivial idiocy. Diversions galore. Enjoy, consumers! Just stay distracted, and keep consuming!
Winding back to sometime in early 2009, if I remember right, President Barack Obama made some statement early in his new term as President about how the Wall Street banks that had been “bailed out” (another lingering mega-scale problem topic) should reciprocate by, as Obama put it, getting the flow of credit to consumers going again, and going more. Not money flowing to people, but pumping up the “flow” of signing people up for more and more debt. This is not a subtle distinction.
Toss out the word “capitalism”, and it’s not exactly a great insight to point out that you’re going to immediately encounter a storm of furious noisy squabbling about politics. I think James Howard Kunstler summed things up pretty concisely when he pointed out something basic that tends to get lost. “Capitalism” is not a political system, it’s not some kind of ideology or “belief system”. In simplest terms, capitalism is about capital, about a collection of surplus wealth that can then be routed into funding some new activity. Someone else (I forget where I read it) offered a great observation, which is that, speaking realistically, these days what generally gets called “capitalism” should really be more accurately described as “creditism”, or a variation on that term that came to mind after I saw that, which is a little more to the point, “debtism”.
Getting into this cracks open all kinds of gigantic cans of worms. It opens up a gigantic subject consisting of a huge, complex, interwoven array of complex subjects, especially considering that once you open up the subject of “The Economy”, you end up essentially tapping into subjects involving nearly all of human life, activity, and civilization.
That’s a bit tricky.
It gets down to fundamental basics of what money is, currency, everything about banking and finance starting right from the current systems of money itself being “created” by being imagined into being by a central bank, which in the United States of America now means the Federal Reserve Bank, which is not the government, not the US Department of the Treasury, but rather a mysterious consortium of private banks. Then it goes into and through the banking system, and on from there into the strange and murky world of “finance”, with all the strangeness of concepts and practices like “leverage” and fractional reserve banking, and creation on endless piles of new debt, piled on new debt, and so on, with expectations all throughout of returns of repayments that also include accrued interest on original debts, expectations of dividends, and so on and so on.
At this point, in trying to read and sort things out for myself, I keep coming across people now and then talking about the world of finance being an increasing portion of what collectively called the American economy, and it’s not just in the US. Just finance, as a thing unto itself, essentially, just shuffling things around in the above systems and processes and making the appearance of money magically turning into a larger pile of money, while, magically, massive piles of debt accumulate elsewhere, and people suddenly think “hey, where did all this come from?”, and it’s a big incomprehensible mystery. As complex as it all is, there really are some very basic fundamental questions, although we also have the problem of it being easy to be simplistic about it all. There’s all this debt we hear about, in all areas, all levels, with numbers involved of astronomical magnitude, but at least occasionally, people will blink and start to wake and wonder, wait a minute, we have all this debt, people talking about everybody everywhere owing incomprehensible amounts of debt, people, businesses, governments and entire nations… debt owed to whom, exactly?
As I just said, given our general situation, it is very easy and tempting to get simplistic about what’s what in the broad world of the economy, and the more massive the problems and their complexity, the worse this gets, with the door opening into a whole realm of problems and confusion in politics. That brings us a whole other set of massive problems, including the broad problem I keep talking about and describing as bipolar political disorder.
It isn’t actually all a political problem, but it becomes a political problem, that becomes worse with passing time, especially considering that if you hold your nose and dive into looking at the political dramas, you will find almost nobody involved really dealing with the actual problems, and not even seeing and acknowledging what the actual problems really are. Red herrings and straw men abound.
The staggering and truly incomprehensible mix of contrived financial concoctions known as financial derivatives are still around, as present and pervasive as ever, from what I can gather, and arguably, according to people who know, and are honest and candid about the subject, even worse than ever. I’m still not sure how many people have much, if any, awareness of that tangled mess of artificially concocted financial gibberish, and what it has done, including the basic fact that it was all that stuff imploding that was the essence of the so-called financial crisis of 2008, leading to the TARP program that’s generally referred to as “the bank bailouts”.
Aside from the whole subject of political and governmental avoidance of the actual problems, trying to get some kind of a handle on understanding that gigantic clusterfuck fiasco has to eventually lead to an understanding of a basic issue in the whole mess, how it came into existence. In essence, it gets right down to the whole phenomenon of “finance” becoming a dominant part of “The Economy” as an entire world unto itself, apart from the real practical purpose of funding useful activity and work, and becoming a whole contrived system of artifice to create illusions of economic growth, and “profits” to skim, where they don’t really exist.
This is a problem.
As all this continues to completely derange the real economy, of things of actual value, work getting done, and people getting paid a decent living for their work, getting a grip on all of this continues to run into obstacles, part of them being all that comes with the running epidemic of bipolar political disorder.
A few months back there was a brief little online episode that stuck in my memory as people exercised the idea that if you say that the rate of unemployment here in the US is really much higher than the officially declared percentage number that comes from Washington in regularly scheduled reports, this can only be explained as you being an Obama-Hater.
Just a few days ago, there was a ridiculous episode after a friend had posted a link online about a fairly good article taking about the ugly phenomenon of what it called anti-intellectualism and the dumbing down of America, and in a spectacular display of obtuse behavior, somebody, to make this short, essentially got their knickers in a righteous twist because they somehow managed to get the idea lodged in their head that I must be one of the awful Liberals behaving terribly in attacking her tribe, identifying herself as “Conservative”. That silly and amazing exchange would take a bit too much time and space to dissect, but it was, in a twisted kind of way, perfect, as an example of a performance in the fine art of somehow failing to understand a single thing being said and then taking it further by dishing up statements that might almost make some sort of sense if you consider the possibility that they’re addressing some invisible being about something entirely different. When I say this farce was “perfect”, I mean that in terms of it being a perfect encapsulated short show of somebody so thoroughly entangled in the dysfunctional tribal behavior of bipolar political disorder that actual comprehension, thought, and communication is replaced by items acting as some kind of trigger mechanism that fires off some batch of preprogrammed exclamations.
Now, obviously, at least if you’ve been reading things here in this space in recent years, I’ve been hammering on the idea of bipolar political disorder for a long time. So hang in there if it’s repetitive. But here we are in the here and now, well into 2016, including the whole election dog and pony show at the circus, and it’s as bad as ever.
I’m vaguely remembering some short story I read a long time ago about “Flatlanders”, some mind bender thought exercise science fiction about beings whose entire existence and consciousness is within a 2-dimensional plane, and are unable to perceive or even conceive of anything outside that 2-dimensional plane, in three dimensions. I think that might be reasonably relevant as a kind of metaphor for what we’re seeing around us in the absurdly simplistic tribalism of bipolar political disorder. In this case, it’s a little different in that the people caught within their world find themselves in a 1-dimensional world, a linear scale with labels reading “Left” at one end and “Right” on the other. It’s apparent that a lot of people even find that a little too subtle and ambiguous for them, preferring a more neat switch flip binary/bipolar pair of boxes. Even when you look at some people who shy away from locking themselves in one of those paired boxes, they still seem locked into the 1-dimensional scale of reference, as they define themselves as “centrist”, maybe, or think something about seeing a problem with both “Left” and “Right” as neat tribal groups and sets of notions, but then seem to do some mental process of bisecting a line between those two and marking a place there for themselves. They’re still just as caught up in the whole idea, instead of just sweeping all that simplistic silliness aside and just looking at events, situations, and ideas as they are, and maybe thinking for themselves, and paying attention to people who are doing the same.
One piece of the ridiculously delayed end of year review and look forward into the new idea is that when we got to the holiday sequence and end of the year, the public realm was dominated by the 2016 presidential election showbiz, and it still is now, although it has moved along and changed in the meantime, bringing us back to the present, when we are still five months away from the actual election. It seems as if it has already been dragging on for years, which is not actually an exaggeration, since it actually has been dragging on for years. The circus practically began as soon as the 2012 election was done.
One piece of the circus performance was the ridiculous dance that went on for a long time with people immediately taking up the assumption of Hillary “it’s my turn!” Clinton as the 2016 candidate of Brand D, with the extended dance of coy pretense from Mrs. Clinton where she put on a show of telling people that she didn’t know if she would seek election, she’s thinking about it, oh, who knows, I might, if the people really demand it. Yeah… right. Bullshit. What was really funny, if you can call it that, was the recent episode where Clinton was interviewed by one of the TV networks and she made statements about how Bernie Sanders was out of the picture and it was time for Brand D loyalists to stop playing around with their silliness and get behind her, because Donald Trump… because she will be the D nominee, she IS the Team D candidate, it has already determined, already decided. I think it’s clear that she probably unintentionally let slip a larger bit of truth there, in that it was already determined a few years ago. People voting in primary elections and caucuses were just a huge extended theatrical show maintaining the pretense of “democracy”, and the appearance of this old guy from Brooklyn via Vermont was an unexpected inconvenience complicating the plan.
This “election cycle” circus has brought us a strange and epic tale, as the power cartel of Brand R and Brand D thrash away and self destruct. It’s more than a little weird to watch the crazed circus as it is at the present moment, where we’re all being told on a daily basis that, even though the party conventions are still to come this summer, and the election is about five months away, the election simply will be Donald Trump (Team R) versus Hillary Clinton (Team D). One strange element of this is that Trump has been declared the Team R candidate, despite what the Team R power structure wanted, while on the other hand, Clinton has been declared to be the Team D candidate, because she was determined by the Team D power structure, despite whatever the people might want. Peasants. How dare we? It’s been determined!
This is a freakshow almost beyond comprehension and belief, this idea that the American citizenry is being presented with a fait accompli of the November election being a “choice” between Donald Trump, Brand R, or Hillary Clinton, Brand D. But it can’t be repeated enough- this is not the situation yet, regardless of how much this notion is shoved into the public’s faces as simply the way things are. Neither is actually the official nominee of the respective political parties, and maybe more to the point, those parties are not the only option, despite the incessant noise telling everyone that they are.
The subject of these two characters, who and what they are, and how things have come to this, having these two monsters presented as our choice to be President of the United States, as “democracy”, is almost too much to tackle without writing an entire book, really. The task of even doing a short summary is almost too much, in the difficulty of trying to figure out where to start, and where to wrap it up.
There’s a huge chunk of material to sort out just narrowing things down to the bizarre scene of the way people who have lined up as supporters of either of these two show so much evidence of being lost in a set of delusions and deceptions and wishful thinking basing their support on what they would like to believe about their favorite, and how vastly different the reality of the character involved actually is.
Another incredible and frankly nauseating element of the circus is watching a recurring event where people, depending on their “side”, either proclaim “but we must support Hillary… because Trump!” or “but we must support Trump… because Hillary!”. This incredible situation is right at the core of P. J. O’Rourke’s satirical “endorsement”.
Again, it’s hard to choose where to start, and where to leave off.
Just to pluck out one small item in the nonstop insanity of the “Reality” TV freakshow of The Donald and his epic show to end all shows, one recent item involved Trump speaking to a crowd and saying that there is no drought in California. That alone is just staggering. Now, elsewhere, related to that, I saw an article on the Forbes website that was a bizarre attempt at rationalizing this bit of severe delusion by essentially saying that The Donald was just being a bit simplistic to pander to a mob who likes, wants, and demands simplistic, and he was actually much more nuanced, and really saying that, oh, sure, technically California is in an extended drought, but there’s really plenty of water for California, but, you see, it’s actually just a market and management problem.
This is just one perfect little snapshot glimpse of the massive delusion and deceptions infecting American politics and governance and “the media”.
We’re now talking about a long running feast of insanity that has actually been around for years, now. I don’t know how many years, several years ago, I came across an episode of Fox News insanity where Fox noisemaker Sean Hannity did a live on-location show from the San Joaquin valley of California, a semi-arid region of central California that is regarded as a “breadbasket” region of farming in America. The missing underlying reality is that this region is that despite the fundamental situation that the region has long been a major farming area despite the fact that it is a semi arid region that gets nowhere near the amount of rainfall needed to support this activity, and has only become so in modern times as a result of massive irrigation projects bringing in mass quantities of water from far away.
The problems are not just there. Astounding masses of people seem remarkably oblivious to the basic reality that California in general, at least expansive portions of it, are just massively overpopulated by humans relative to the actual supply of water needed for that population, and has just grown and grown and grown, since roughly the middle part of the 20th century, despite this basic reality.
I’m consciously trying to rein in the range of focus here, but this little snapshot of lunacy is just a tiny slice of the pervasive delusions and determined avoidance of any rational grasp of physical reality that dominates politics and government. It isn’t just Trump.
That, then, opens up a batch of difficult subjects, and, along the way, it’s hard to avoid the gravitational pull of what I already mentioned, that being the disturbing tendency showing itself among “both sides” of this scenario to think of “their” candidate as being something very different than the reality of the pair we’re looking at, which, of course, takes us right back to the problem of the people who see everything in terms of these “two sides”.
I’ve said many times before that I have become more and more of a believer in the idea that, unlike the aphorism “history repeats”, history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.
The case of Donald Trump is a massive task of dissection and analysis, but one overall view of this story is the disturbing, almost uncanny, way that it prompts some serious recollection and reflection on European history of the early to mid 20th century. I’m just one of many people noticing a disturbing similarity of The Donald to Benito Mussolini, just without the silly paramilitary uniform, replaced by a business suit and the ridiculous hair. I mean, for god’s sake, it’s often physically visible in Trump’s facial expressions and mannerisms, aside from everything he actually says. Add in what he actually does say, and it’s hard to avoid thinking of Trump as something like Mussolini MkII, as the 21st century American incarnation.
One recent item popping up in the circus was a flurry of items about Mrs. Clinton giving a speech where she went all out on the theme of what a horrific nightmare President Donald Trump would be in the area of “foreign policy” and relations with the rest of the world (which, these days in the empire, apparently basically means domination or war everywhere). The staggering irony is that essentially she’s right, what’s missing is that President Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a horrific nightmare in the area of “foreign policy” and relations with the rest of the world, just a slightly different kind.
As the wife of a former president, as a senator from New York, as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has basically pushed reliably for any war and any “regime change” anywhere possible.
I think it was a clear, concise, and simple little glimpse of Hillary Clinton when a brief moment of video appeared, when Mrs. Clinton sat down for a TV “news” interview performance, and, when she was asked about the brutal death of deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, looked positively gleeful, I would say, exclaimed “we came, we saw, he died!“, and had a good laugh.
I think there is widespread agreement that Gaddafi was a particular kind of a walking bag of crazy of the kind that can be found in dictators, and it would be hard to be, shall we say, sympathetic. However, even if we all simply accept the narrative that says he was a very bad man, and had to go, even setting aside the question of who decides that latter bit, this is fairly grim and sobering, especially given the horrendously brutal end, which was itself something new and unusual in history, in the way it was all captured on video and spread throughout the world via digital video on the WWW.
I think it’s a fair question, and I’m definitely not alone in this thought, to consider if Mrs. Clinton’s smiling happy laughter, as if she was celebrating her success in lighthearted happy small talk at a dinner party, about this, might be an unconscious revelation of a profound sociopath. That might be lost on masses of people who just simply accepted the premise that the Libyan dictator was a terrible evil man, so he deserved whatever bad end he came to, never mind what might (or might not) be necessary to put an end to very bad things.
But more to the point, there should be questions about how that even came to be, while Hillary was Secretary of State of the United States of America. There was no attack on the USA by Libya, no defense of the nation necessary, and the US military was attacking Libya, another little exercise in “regime change” as Washington’s “foreign policy”, even though there was, as has happened before, a lot of theatrical dancing around to present the narrative that it wasn’t the empire of the US going off and attacking yet another country thousands of miles away, but, rather, just the US pitching in its share for peace and freedom and democracy and humanitarianism as part of a “coalition”, namely, NATO.
Why? If you look beyond the obvious, that Libya was under Gaddafi as a ruling total dictator, a picture emerges, that even as there was quite a lot that was oppressive and nasty for people living under it, Libya was, in the broader area commonly referred to as “the middle east” (even though Libya is north Africa, along the southern coast of the Mediterranean), a relatively peaceful, stable country that was said to have a high standard of living for its citizens compared to elsewhere in the region. That certainly changed, and the resulting “regime change” simply threw the place into a being a failed state in chaos and death and destruction with a constant state of chaotic civil war among various factions of violent lunatics struggling to grab control. In short, it added to the list of places where the Washington neocon cult brought chaos and mayhem.
So, why did this, Libya, specifically, come to be? One not so widely publicized item is it has been reported that Gaddafi was making plans and moves to move Libya to some new regional African currency, backed by a gold standard, and change to doing transactions of oil sales of Libyan oil exports in this new currency, and not in US dollars. How about that.
Line that up following the package of the whole Iraq war narrative for justification of attacking another country, throwing it into chaos and mayhem, with the fiction about “weapons of mass destruction” and imminent threats of “mushroom clouds”, and the obscured story that Saddam Hussein was trying to change the process of selling Iraqi oil exports in a currency other than US dollars.
That is beginning to drift away from the specific story of Mrs. Clinton, although, of course, she fully supported that war exercise while she was a senator.
These are just individual items in a list. It all comes back to a running subject of the whole neocon cult completely dominating Washington, the “neoconservatives”. Hillary Clinton is a devoted part of the club.
The organization known as the Project for the New American Century is an old subject, here. As I’ve pointed out before, I was surprised to find, a couple of years ago, that the organization no longer existed, apparently having quietly disbanded officially, even though nothing has changed at all in terms of the people involved and what they think and actively do. I discovered this when I went to look at their website, and found that it was gone. The good thing is that it can still be seen thanks to the fact that it was archived.
While it was publically visible to the whole world, and the reason I had gone looking to the defunct site, this little club had a whole array of formal position papers and statements about what they determined should be US government policy. You can go look at the stuff yourself, but the broad summary can be summed up concisely. In essence, it was a manifesto declaring that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, along with the whole Soviet dominated Eastern Bloc Warsaw Pact, the USA was now the world’s sole superpower, this was history determining “the winner”, and that this meant the United States was the rightful ruler of the entire planet, and, furthermore, any nation in the world that in any way presented any objection or obstacle to Washington’s rule of the world was to be treated as a threat, to “national security” and “American interests”.
This explains so much.
It might be obvious by now that the title slapped on this note, “simple things”, has more than a little irony to it, as we wade through a whole tangled mass of extremely complicated things, but, in this case, the neocons and their disbanded PNAC (which, again, informally has gone nowhere), it actually is incredibly simple, blatant, incredibly obvious. They spelled it all out on a website, for god’s sake.
One of the founders of Project for the New American Century was Robert Kagan. His wife is Victoria Nuland, still in the job where she was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the position in the State Department titled Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs. It seems very probable that Victoria Nuland would become Secretary of State in Hillary Clinton became president.
You should know about Victoria Nuland by now, but it seems to me that a very large part of the American citizenry do not.
This takes us right back to the Ukraine situation. I’ve been trying to point all that out for a long time now, so I won’t fully rehash the whole thing.
It’s really hard to not do an extensive review of the whole saga, even though I’ve passed along, here, and elsewhere, countless dozens of links to various sources of actual journalism and analysis of what has been happening. The alternate reality pile of sheer nonsense and raw blatant lying about the whole saga has absolutely pervaded and polluted public consciousness. In a word, propaganda.
How deeply and directly involved Victoria Nuland may be involved, it’s absolutely clear that all along, Nuland has fully supported the early 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine that overthrew the elected president and replaced him with a puppet government intended to make Ukraine a vassal state under the control of the Washington neocons. It just happened to be that the deposed leader, who was evidently a corrupt bastard, but a corrupt bastard who was actually a democratically elected corrupt bastard, also happened to be, to keep this short and simple, in favor of continued relations with Russia, the next door neighbor with a long history with Ukraine (which was part of Russia, historically… Kiev was once the Russian capital).
I first smelled the aroma of something rotten back when news reports were relaying stories of big trouble in Kiev, and suddenly we had the story of the recorded phone call between Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine and her infamous “fuck the EU!” comment. The thing that was quietly pushed aside into the background was the fact that this comment came in the middle of a conversation between the two where they were discussing who should be installed at the helm of the new order in Ukraine, before the coup the that overthrew the current president at the time had happened. The character chosen by Nuland, nicknamed “Yats” in her comments, was, in fact, installed as “Prime Minister”, taking control of the Ukrainian government replacing an elected President.
For basic context of the broader situation, you can get a fairly clear picture of Ukraine overall from a survey done in early 2014, right around the time of the coup. It shows, pretty clearly, what we could summarize as a very divided country, as much of a simplistic cliché as that might seem. That had included Crimea, a semi-autonomous region within Ukraine that had been part of Russia until 1954, when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union and Soviet Premier Khrushchev handed Crimea over to Ukraine as some political maneuver. When the USSR disintegrated, and Soviet republic Ukraine became a newly separate nation, Crimea was then part of Ukraine. Evidently a huge part of the Crimean population considers themselves and their land much more Russian than Ukrainian, something that was shown when the Crimean parliament called for a voter referendum shortly after the coup in Kiev, to vote on a proposition to declare Crimea separate from Ukraine, and formally request the Russian government to adopt and annex Crimea as part of Russia, again, as it had been until 60 years before, and over 90% of the voters, in a voter turnout of over 90%, voted for that.
Following events, it was easy to understand why. Along with what I already just said, and shown by the survey report above, Ukraine has been divided culturally and politically, roughly east and west portions. Boiled down in the most simple form (and understanding that it’s not absolutely simple and clear cut like the way we hear stupid oversimplifications here in the US about “Red States and Blue States”), the western and north/northwestern regions of Ukraine hold a large bunch of people who might simply be referred to as “Ukrainian nationalists”, who dislike or even absolute hate Russia, Russians, and all things Russian. This basically tends to then manifest itself in various ways, including having a large part of the population who, unsurprisingly, reject anything about Russia, in any form, and want to see themselves as western European, even insisting on exclusive primacy of the “Ukrainian” language, even though the reading I’ve done of people who know the region well say that, in reality, “Ukrainian” is simply a kind of dialect and mutation of Russian, maybe something comparable to the mix of languages in informal use by some people in the southwestern US that people call “Spanglish”.
It’s much more grim and malevolent than that, though, as part of that culture turns out to include very nasty characters who, quite simply, either “neo-Nazis” or simply Nazis, with a history and lingering culture that traces right back to the period of European fascism and World War II and Nazi Germany, when many people supported Nazi Germany, at a time when Ukraine was part of the USSR and Germany was attacking the USSR. Some went so far as to go and join them, putting on German Army uniforms and acting as guards in Nazi concentration camps in the regions near Ukraine (southern/eastern Germany and Poland), to free up German soldiers to go fight Russia on the Eastern Front.
This bunch were and are thoroughly wound up in the coup that happened in the Spring of 2014, supported by the neocons in Washington. Victoria Nuland and Senator John McCain went to visit the new gang in Kiev, happily even posing for photos with them, including leaders of the neo-Nazi fascist factions who were and are involved.
In the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, including Crimea, it’s much more of a Russian culture, including many people who voted for the overthrown president, and seen by the bunch just mentioned as some kind of cultural corruption and pollution to be eradicated, either beaten into submission, driven out of Ukraine and into Russia as refugees, or simply destroyed.
When the coup in Kiev happened, people in Crimea and the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine became seriously concerned, to say the least. It would be safe to say for certain that many of them were terrified, outraged, or both. It wasn’t just that many of them had voted for the president who had been overthrown in a coup d’etat (that Washington was praising as the Ukrainian people bravely rising up against repression and tyranny for freedom and democracy), it was what came with it, the certainty that this new gang in Kiev would be coming after them.
The people in Crimea wanted nothing to do with it, and voted to bail out and ask Russia to take them in.
People in the east in the “Donbass” region raised hell about the overthrow of what they considered their chosen elected president, and almost immediately, the new junta in control in the Ukrainian capital declared the people in that region “terrorists”, and sent the Ukrainian military to attack them. That has mostly continued, although there have been small interruptions as a result of diplomatic talks and accords that are another whole messy and disgusting story. It was an interesting coincidence that the people in those eastern regions of Ukraine, declared “terrorists” despite no evidence to justify that term, for simply declaring that they did not recognize this gang overthrowing an elected president and declaring themselves as the new government, came under fierce military attack just after a secret visit to Kiev by CIA Director John Brennan that was revealed a short time later.
Then there is the Russian naval base on the Black Sea coast of Crimea, where there has been a Russian naval base for around two centuries, that became a Soviet naval base during the Soviet Union era, and then went back to a Russian naval base when the USSR disintegrated and Ukraine became a separate country, after centuries of being a part of Russia, under a long term lease agreement with Ukraine. When the trouble started in Kiev, and the elected president with friendly relations with Russia was driven out by the coup by people who were virulently hostile to Russia, it was clearly obvious that the Russians quickly acted to go into defense alert mode, not about to even accept any notions the junta in Kiev might have had about trying to take over the only Russian naval base on the Black Sea, a body of water with a large stretch of Russian coastline.
So, what happened then? Starting immediately, and continuing ever since, we’ve been hearing these endless declarations about “Russia invaded and seized Ukraine”. It has been so constant, so relentless, so pervasive, that an astounding number of people here in the United States have simply accepted this blatant lying as a normal accepted unquestioned matter of fact, the kind of thing that “everybody knows”, despite being complete fiction and nonsense. The Russian naval base that has been there apparently as long as there has been a Russian navy and obviously considered vital to the Russians for their security and defense is supposedly “invasion of Crimea”, and something like 90% or so of the voting population of Crimea desperately asking Russia to make them part of Russia again, and the Russians obliging, is supposed to be regarded as “Russian seizure of Crimea”.
It’s as if George Orwell wrote this as fiction as part of 1984, and another scene of the story has gone on in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, where people had the unmitigated gall to refuse to accept as legitimate government the gang who overthrew the elected president they had overwhelmingly voted for (even if he was a corrupt bastard, he was replaced by different corrupt bastards). There, as the new junta in Kiev launched intense attacks on the civilians in the east, driving thousands of people into Russia fleeing for their lives, we kept being steadily fed declarations here saying that what was happening there was “Russian invasion” and that the new freedom loving government of the people in Kiev was bravely fighting off invasion from the big bad Russians led by the evil Bond villain Putin as part of his scheme to recreate the Soviet Union and then take over Europe.
It’s staggering insanity. And right there in the middle of it, by the way, is den mother of the project, Victoria Nuland, wife of Project for the New American Century and neocon luminary Robert Kagan, Hillary Clinton protégé and likely new Secretary of State if Clinton gets the presidency.
The facts that, first, it does take a while to explain the scenario about the Ukraine tragedy and general lunacy and massive deceptions, and second, that I’ve been repeating these summaries for some time now, can, I’ve found once or twice, get people missing the point entirely and say things like “why do you keep talking about Ukraine?” or “what’s with all this about Ukraine, do you have a lot of Ukrainians where you live or something?”, baffled by the attention given to this saga. It’s not really about Ukraine, in the sense that it’s about a bigger picture much larger than the specific show of events in Ukraine and everything surrounding events for about the past two and a half years or so.
Paul Craig Roberts summed up the picture of the moment concisely, and dead accurately, in an item that popped up before me today-
First of all the US does not have a media. It has a ministry of propaganda. The media in the US is a function of the military security complex and of neoconservatives, and their ideology is world hegemony. That means American control of the entire world includes Russia and China. The neoconservative ideology says that history chose America to be the empire to rule the world. That is why they say that the United States is an indispensable country, and that the American people are the exceptional people. So, what you have here is the same ideology as Adolf Hitler. No one else matters.
There are the efforts of neoconservatives to destabilize Russia. This is the reason for Georgia and Ukraine. This is the reason for military activities on the part of the US and NATO on the Russia’s borders. This is an effort in part to destabilize the Russian government, but the neoconservatives are preparing to take this all away to war.
There are reasons behind this desire for war, for example the military industrial complex needs to be fed with the government’s budget, because it entirely dependent on budget for its profit. So it needs an enemy and in the Cold War it had a great enemy. So they see here an effort to recreate the Cold War. They become part of the pressure against Russia.
Washington uses fear in Europe: Oh look, Russians are going to attack you, we have to protect you! This creates more fear on the part of those countries and they fall into this muddle.
We also have a neoliberal part of the American establishment. They think if they put enough pressure on Russia, Moscow will submit and agree to being some sort of vassal state.
They have the view that “if we can force Russia to use its resources to build up its military, the domestic economy of Russia will suffer”
All of these things are conducted, all of them are dangerous because they all lead to war, but the most dangerous is this neoconservative ideology. Their doctrine states clearly that the principle goal of US foreign policy is to prevent the rise of Russia.
This is what we’re looking at here.
In short, the nation of Ukraine is almost incidental, in a way.
I’m not really very interested in Ukraine. I barely knew anything about the place until about two and a half years ago and glimpses of events, and especially, the way they were being reported in what people regard as “mainstream news”, attracted my attention in a way that might be best described as setting off my bullshit detectors in red alert mode.
I don’t really care about the place, in general. I only do care in a couple of aspects, one being that just as a human being, it’s hard to not have some sense of empathy and concern for other humans stuck living there in what looks like a set of hellish circumstances wanting nothing to do with any of the madness and mayhem around them. The other is the way the place has been seized (an appropriate use of the word, here) by the neocon cult as something they view as an opportunity for their lunatic games of world manipulation.
These people really are genuine fucking psychopaths, with the perverse twist of presenting themselves as The Good Guys Bringing The Freedom and Democracy.
Washington’s real enemy is peace.
Contemplate that for a while.
In every bit of involvement in national politics, from being an occupant of the White House while her husband was president and getting involved at every opportunity, to being a US senator, to being Secretary of State, even to the period after that before beginning her second official campaign for the presidency, when she was just a private citizen with absolutely no official position, but putting herself in public view and spouting, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton has, by all available evidence, basically never come across a war, possible war, or “regime change” coup d’etat that she didn’t like and fully and aggressively support.
But this isn’t just about Hillary “it’s my turn!” Clinton. Clinton is just one character in this bizarre theater, given her ambition to be President of the United States, and the potentially tragic fact that many people seriously think she should have the position. She’s just one player in the game, but potentially in a position to cause damage at a level and magnitude almost beyond comprehension.
The Ukraine saga is a prime case of the whole neocon megalomaniac psychosis.
Just yesterday, I found myself reading a particularly horrifying piece published on the web, that, while it’s extremely noteworthy, is not at all unusual. Stuff like it is all over the place.
It was published under the title The Political Message Behind NATO’s War Game in Poland, with the subtitle “They’re exercising in June 2016 because the Kremlin invaded and annexed Crimea in February 2014“.
There it is again. It’s an incessant meme planted in people’s heads, continuously, at every possible opportunity, for over two years now. And, of course, we’ve now been over that. We’ve been over that a lot. The only truth in that meme is that, in fact, Russia did annex Crimea, but that act is invariably included in the deluge of propaganda being presented as Russia seizing Crimea, completely ignoring the actual practice of democracy and self-determination in Crimea, something that, ironically, the Washington crowd kept saying that they wanted, where a nearly unanimous consensus was to ask, practically beg, Russia to annex Crimea to save themselves from the looming threat from the gang who took control in Kiev.
This awful little op-ed piece of madness proceeded to talk about NATO military war games, obviously under Washington control, lurking around Russia, clearly and obviously directed at Russia, and how this exercise was intended to show that big meanie Vladimir Putin that they could go and attack and capture a piece of Russia any time they like. The attitude and intent being, we’ll show him and those Russians and make them behave!
Gee, what could possibly go wrong?
This follows all kinds of events that have been proceeding over the past couple of years or so. One item off the top of my head was a story quite a while back talking about NATO military exercises or display of some kind complete with a photo showing a military convoy in Estonia, on a road right at the edge of a riverbank, rolling along the river with Russia, the riverbank on the other side of the river, visible in the view something like 200 feet or so away.
Just within recent weeks, we’ve seen episodes that somehow escape notice as what they are. There was a story of a US Navy destroyer cruising around the Baltic Sea, and the news reports were basically consisting of military and government officials sounding alarms with righteous indignation after a Russian military warplane did an up close flyby, presented as another example of Russian aggression and dangerous unprofessionalism, complete with declarations from high ranking officialdom that maybe the Navy should shoot them down if this happens again. Consider the basic scene, of a US Naval warship tootling around in the Baltic Sea, thousands of miles from the United States, at a distance from Russia covered by a few minutes of flight time of a cruise missile. If we want to talk about “messages”, consider the simple idea of the military force of another nation, encountering a warship from a nation that has been relentlessly hostile in recent times, within attack range of their country, and the basic idea of defense. It doesn’t take genius to look at this objectively and honestly and find a simple “message”, that of the Russians indicating simply and clearly, we know you’re here, you’re way too close, what the hell are you people doing here, and if you have any kinds of ideas of anything hostile, we know you’re here, and we can deal with you very quickly.
There was another similar story, this time a US military aircraft on “routine flight” around the Baltic Sea.
It isn’t just Russia, for that matter. Another incident involved a US military surveillance spy plane flying around a Chinese island just off the southern coast of China, a part of a province of China, with the righteous squawking and sounding of alarms of danger coming from Washington about dangerous and aggressive unprofessionalism of Chinese fighter pilots doing a close encounter with the US military aircraft flying around China.
It should be completely obvious that the glaring clear attitude at work is that of a military empire, telling the rest of the world, we rule the world, we do what we want, where we want, when we want, and shut up and like it.
The idea that these incidents are gross examples of Russian or Chinese “aggression” is idiotically absurd, something that should be obvious given a few seconds of considering a hypothetical scenario where the circumstances are reversed, if events like these occurred where a military warship or aircraft of another nation was looming around the coastline of the United States.
People seem to have been so thoroughly trained, conditioned by years of jingoistic propaganda, to think that there’s no reason to even consider that there might possibly be anything wrong with US military forces skirting the fringes of other countries thousands of miles away. Along with that comes the amazing unquestioning acceptance of the idea that if the country in question responds to the arrival of military forces from a nation thousands of miles away from them with a defensive response, that they are guilty of “aggression”, and obviously committing acts of provocation against the nation who sent the military forces thousands of miles to their doorstep.
Serious, how insane is this?
So here we are, the neocons in control of our government more than ever, still carrying forward this insane cult agenda that holds a principle that any nation and government anywhere on Earth that fails to obey Washington’s orders, or even questions them, is a threat, to be neutralized any way possible.
Notice the whole episode, running for years now, about “regime change” in Syria, another place with a government that just won’t submit to Washington. One standard meme response about that is often something about “Assad the evil dictator who gasses his own people!”, except, he didn’t.
That’s an entire episode of its own of lunatics and their determined plans for total world domination while lying their asses off to the American people, and the rest of the world.