Time for some lingo. Some jargon. The acronym SNAFU is an old one, but for anybody who never knew what it actually means, it is not a word, it is an acronym of the phrase “situation normal, all fucked up“. We’re in a period where that one is suitable to use a lot.
I read a new installment of Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation blog where he discusses something I had never heard of before, a concept called The Overton Window, that, I think, explains quite a lot happening now.
Go read both of those essays. They are not long. That, in itself, is something that becomes a point of contention, in a time when a lot of people think of communication as being something meant to be a blip crammed into a 140 character maximum Twitter belch, a mobile phone text message (I’m sorry, a TXT MSG), and people are told that they should craft a ready prepared 30 second “elevator speech” to have on hand ready to burp out.
A phrase that came into my head while I was thinking about what to say here is “normalized malfunction“. Letting my mind go all free-range pondering things, this fairly strange idea actually starts ringing with the resonance of truth a little bit. Maybe more than a little bit.
As the circus of the 2016 Presidential show raged on, I came across a quote from C. S. Lewis that had a fantastic resonance, so relevant to that farce that it was as if he wrote it while specifically observing this circus.
“I feel a strong desire to tell you – and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me – which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.”
-C. S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity” (Beyond Personality or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity, Two Notes)
We are now over a half year past the 2016 election, and the installation of President Donald Trump. That, of course, all followed what seems to be the norm, now, of Presidential election “campaign cycles” that have extended to the point that they seem almost endless and continuous, a permanent circus that comes to town and never leaves.
The original slang lingo acronym of “SNAFU” sort of transformed over time into becoming used frequently as an actual word, “snafu”, with people who don’t know the origin often using it as a term to describe an incident, some kind of mistake, or accident. It is, for sure, a little odd to be discussing the true meaning of an informal bit of slang lingo, but right now there is a slightly strange feeling in thinking about this misunderstanding of that particular bit of slang, in a time when it really does have, let’s say, a bit of resonance, when we have quite a pile of circumstances where “all fucked up” really has settled into being a bizarre kind of normal.
Amid the daily freakshow of the Trump presidency as it bounces off the walls, a strange episode appeared in news stories recently as a collection of characters from Club D made some public proclamations about their organization. That announced to the general public that, according to these people, more or less the exact bunch who made sure that Hillary “It’s Her Turn!” Clinton was the Brand D selection for President, shoving the clearly more popular (and honest) Bernie Sanders off into the corner, the Democratic party is just fine. They are doing the right things, we were told, they are the Good Guys, they have done serious self examination and come to a conclusion about where they went wrong. The problem, they say, is a “messaging” problem, they just have to communicated the “message” to the American people properly and effectively.
It still, by all appearances, anyway, is completely lost on these people that they forced in their choice of candidate, Hillary Clinton, and she was so incredibly awful that she could actually lose the election, and the office of President that she and her associates seemed to think was just naturally hers, just waiting for the formalities in early November 2016, to a character as obviously noxious and unsuitable as Donald Trump.
“Clueless” is an overused word these days, but here, it fits precisely.
This is just a new episode in something that has been pretty disturbing to watch, going for quite a while now, as the Democratic party, broadly speaking, has seemed to be following some weird ambition to be as corrupt and psychotic as the Republican party. As I have been watching this, it has been a very unpleasant thing to notice some of the irony. Despite the tendency of a lot of Club D loyalists to view themselves as generally brighter and more enlightened than the Club R cult, it has been hard to not notice the way that an awfully large number of them, or at least the most vocal among them, have gone down some rabbit hole of lunacy with blinders on in locking themselves into an insular little world of only regarding as valid information or thought that seems to come from their club, not “the Other Side”, actually becoming as bad in this sort of thing as the people who have spent years soaking in Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and the other barking idiocy imitating him on AM radio until their entire consciousness has been warped.
In all that, we now have a large crowd of people who have bought into the idea that Mrs. It’s Her Turn somehow only lost the election because of “Russian meddling”, with maybe just tiny ridiculous token gesture of responsibility such as the recent Brand D dog and pony show that claimed that there was maybe a little bit of culpability in perhaps being flawed in terms of campaign strategy.
A big problem there, as I have been saying, repeatedly, for a long time, is that people freaked out by the Brand R cult in general, and especially by Donald Trump, have so profoundly lost their grip on reality and reason that they latched on desperately to delusions that Hillary C was not only acceptable, but even great.
That brings with it an awful load of irony, where people repulsed by the whole neocon cult of megalomania also hold the badly mistaken notion that the whole neocon cult is exclusively “a Republican thing”, and are completely blind to all the obvious evidence that Hillary Clinton is a firmly embedded and committed member of the neocon cult herself, as much as any member of Club R. This is really old news, and, yet, the people lost in the sort of problem I’m talking about seem to generally manage to completely avoid any realization and acknowledgement of that, a fairly scary blind spot.
I will repeat and emphasize, all this is very old news. Her Presumed Majesty Hillary was, for one example, right on board with the idea of attacking and invading Iraq, something that managed to be acceptable to way too many Americans at the time given the obvious grotesque evil of Saddam Hussein. What was slightly more subtle, and missed by more than a few, was the way this fit in with the general neocon agenda that saw any country with a government not following orders from their clique in Washington as an enemy to be either brought to heel or destroyed.
More recently, there was the ugly saga of Ukraine, where an elected president friendly to Russia was overthrown in a coup d’etat evidently largely engineered by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, a neocon married to one of the head neocons (Robert Kagan) and an appointee of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to be replaced by a bunch under the control of the Washington neocons.
I have been over that story exhaustively here in the past, so I won’t rehash it all again, but after the neocon plans for Ukraine went awry, as pretty much of their schemes do, all sorts of smokescreen narratives of sheer bullshit poured forth, including the nonsense about Russian invasions and Putin’s seizure of Crimea that had little to no relationship with truth and reality.
Just recently, I found myself in a conversation where something came up about Ukraine because somebody knew someone from there. The people I was talking with knew little about the place, and there was a comment of something about not knowing much other than the Russians invading the place. I tried to sort that out as briefly as possible, considering what a complicated and messy story it is; the coup, the way that the people in Crimea and eastern Ukraine wanted no part of the new gang that had overthrown their government, the vote in Crimea where well over 90% of voters in a referendum chose to separate from Ukraine and become part of Russia again, as it had been until about 60 years before, about the armed revolt of people in eastern Ukraine responding to the new regime in Kiev sending the Ukrainian military to attack them.
It’s an awful bit of ongoing madness, as I have been talking about for a few years now, and the level of sketchy superficial “information” about world events that so many people have in their heads, fed by people simply lying to them, set up the scenario we have had going for a while. That would be the notions that the supposed aims of world domination by Vladimir Putin and those evil Russians extended out to grab control of American democracy to destroy Our Hillary and install Donald Trump as a dupe puppet agent of Putin and Russia. That took hold of enough people, to a such an extent that loads of people bought into the idea that, after revelations from Wikileaks showing us what Hillary Clinton had been up to and what she was really all about, it was a case of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange really being a Russian agent on a mission of “Russian meddling” and “Russia hacking our election”. It’s nearly impossible to get any news without being bombarded by “Russian meddling in the election” narratives.
One consequence of all this insanity is that masses of people horrified by the appalling spectacle of the Trump presidency have proved to be perfectly willing to latch on to bullshit narratives about “the evil Putin and Russia stole the election from Our Hillary!” and “Trump is a Russian agent!” as some kind of path to remove Trump from office. One element of the ways all this splits into various complications of confusion and delusions is the way that people locked into all this insanity seem to think that “dump Trump!” is a road to fix everything, never seeming to fully consider, for one thing, what it might mean if we then ended up with President Mike Pence. It’s as if a lot of people seem to think that they can just sort of impeach and remove everybody in the line of succession with “R” after their name, and everything will then be grand, or even that the entire 2016 election will be voided and then it will be Her Turn, after all, for Our Hillary.
Another part of this bizarre episode of American government and political lunacy is the way that there is this strange set of delusions about all kinds of bad things being entirely due to Trump, looking at events and situations that existed long before Trump arrived on the scene and began his surrealistically bizarre term in the White House. The idea that if we could just get rid of Trump, everything would be just grand, is just one of the pieces of grand delusions infecting and affecting the American body politic, a delusion forming an ugly counterpart to those infecting people who, somehow, incredibly, not only believe there is some redeeming value in Trump as President, but even that he’s great.
How that could be is probably a study in psychology that would keep somebody busy for a very long time to sort it out. For that matter, Donald Trump himself might be a case study to keep somebody busy for a while, or it might be relatively simple. I heard somebody talking about Trump recently in a webcast who summed him up fairly well, as selfish to the level of a malignant narcissism, a nonstop source of inanity, and so consistently saying things that have little to no connection with the truth that many people just assume that nothing he says is to be taken seriously. Looking at the first two sentences of the paragraph, much the same could be said about the continued devotion of many people to Mrs. Clinton, and Hillary Clinton herself.
All of this winds together in terrible knots of craziness forming what is a very unique period of American history.
With all the wretched and amazing faults of Donald Trump, magnified by Trump as President, we have the very strange situation where people desperate to rid the nation of him are latching on to the notion of “Trump the traitorous Russian agent!”. That mode of thinking has people not only wound up in all kinds of nonsense and outright fiction, but has the tragic irony of people thinking of themselves as D members, “The Left”, “Liberal”, aligning themselves with the neocon cult and what many people are now calling the Deep State.
This is especially appalling and unbelievable, with the added twist that if you look at Trump objectively, it seems that probably the one and only real positive possibility in Trump becoming President of the United States was the chance that Trump might somehow manage to slightly neutralize and disarm the powers of the neocons and the Deep State players, yet people desperate to get rid of Trump are targeting that area of possibility as his major fault, to the point of regarding any such possibility as outright treason.
Another round of nonsensical “Russian sanctions” has been a recent big news item, and I heard a passing snippet of a radio news story about it where some talking head who I did not identify was babbling about justifying this new act of Congress, including something about Russia being a “supporter of Rogue Nations“. I am not sure that many people hear and read a phrase like that and stop to really consider what “rogue nations” actually means. In actual real terms, almost invariably when some Washington character talks about a “rogue nation”, the effective definition of the phrase is “some country with a government that does not follow orders from Washington”.
A good example for clarity might be this. From what I know, Saddam Hussein always was an evil bastard, about as bad as it gets. Yet, for years, he was officially regarded as “friend and ally of the US”, until he started becoming somewhat troublesome about sticking with Washington’s plans and orders, and then suddenly Saddam and Iraq became a whole different ballgame.
Despite the ongoing hysterics about Russia and Russians and specifically about Vladimir Putin, the actual reality shows little to support the notions of Russia and the evil dictator Putin out to take over the world, when the reality involved looks much more like it’s about the refusal of Putin and the Russian government to comply with orders from the Washington neocons, especially in the specific cases of no playing along with the neocon schemes to overthrow governments and take control in Syria and Ukraine.
All of this truly is a condition of SNAFU.
It was interesting that just before comng back to this to finish up what has become a long essay, I was reading and came across a new article from Robert Parry on the Consortiumnews website that addressed this whole topic I’ve just been writing about, to go along with all the other links below.