Welcome to another installment of the blog notes few people read. This is not a complaint, really. I would like to think that when I write some essay here that I am not simply shouting into the void. I am not, on the other hand, thinking that this is going to be some vastly popular media phenomenon or something. What bothers me is to see how much scattered random noise does attract mass attention, and the nature of so much of that chaos.
The ongoing spectacle is sad, at the least, seeing how much of the noise consists of assorted stupid and frequently malevolent squabbling that, more often than not, involves political polemics. If you do read here regularly, or even occasionally, you know all about the raging epidemic of bipolar political disorder lunacy, and how much of what I’m talking about falls right into the pair of bipolar traps. This madness is virtually unavoidable, if you try to pay any attention to news, especially national and international news, or any kind of general commentary on the web, especially in “social media” world, which is now some kind of vast Petri dish of the stuff.
One minor item in that bringing some amount of, let’s say, bemusement, is reading and hearing people talking about the “two sides” in terms of “political spectrum”, apparently never stopping to think that two bipolar switch-flip positions does not make a “spectrum”, but then it appears that “spectrum” is just one of many words that people like to casually toss out there and use without really understanding the meaning of the word.
Tightly coupled with all of that, the problems found in all of that squabbling madness are severely compounded by a phenomenon that was captured perfectly in an article that popped up just days ago from Reuters about a survey conducted by Pew. The subject was something immensely huge and important, that should be incredibly obvious by this point in time, and yet seems to be mostly unrecognized. Vast numbers of Americans evidently have serious difficulty recognizing fact.
I think it is very important to be very clear and specific about what this is about. This is not about whether or not somebody can tell if a statement of fact is actually correct, true, accurate; this is about a question of people actually being able to recognize something as a statement of fact, or something else.
The temptation might be to describe this situation as “unbelievable”, but to me this is not unbelievable. It clarifies explicitly something I have been thinking for some time, because I see it often.
It has has gone beyond shocking, at this point, because of how frequent this is, to find people spouting off about some supposed “fact” that consists of them just doing parrot repetition of somebody’s opinion, or, on the other hand, reacting to a statement of fact with something like “oh, that’s just your opinion!”, when the item at hand is not an opinion, it’s a matter of fact.
I will insert something here, that should be obvious, which is that usually my notes here contain a mix of opinions and facts, with opinions on matters of fact that I generally try to include along with some links for reference. I write here with the assumption that people reading these notes are smart and objective enough to sort that out.
It should come as no surprise when I say that my observations show that this kind of problem coincides so often with cases of the bipolar political disorder that I think it is fair to say that the two problems are inextricably linked. For the people caught in the web of bipolar political disorder, if something is somehow in support of your side and against the other side, it’s “fact”, if the opposite is the case, its “opinion”. That is, of course, a generalization, but one that seems to hold true very often. The very same kind of thing enters into the matter of people regarding something as “Fake News” or “legit news”.
This is a profound problem. This kind of thing needs to stop, right now.
I came across an article from NPR that presented “news” as “Former U.S. Diplomat Warns China Is Emulating Russian Political Interference“. This is completely mind-blowing, and maybe not in the way you might immediately think, at a glance. This is a great example of complicated problems with news and public information and awareness now. This is the woman who, while the top ranking US diplomat responsible for relations with a particular region in the world, actively supported the overthrow of the elected head of state of a nation in that region, and very likely actively covertly directing the coup d’etat that overthrew that elected head of state, who was replaced in power by exactly the bunch of people she wanted. In case you have missed all that, this is talking about what happened in the eastern European country of Ukraine.
Would that qualify as “influencing the politics of another country”? But instead of recognizing the blatant hypocrisy and irony at levels completely off the charts, most likely large masses of people will give this article a vague glance for about five seconds and start bouncing off the walls howling “OMG, first it was Russians, now the Chinese are coming to Destroy Our Democracy!”.
The very last paragraph of that NPR story says:
Nuland herself is believed to have been the target of Russian political interference in in the West in 2014, when a phone call in which she spoke disparagingly about European allies was leaked in the middle of the political crisis in Ukraine between the former Moscow-backed government and the pro-Western opposition. The U.S. immediately accused Russia of recording and leaking the call.
That particular episode, from a little over four years ago now, is old news that I have been over here many times, in discussing not only the Ukraine story, but how badly misinformed people are about it thanks to the ridiculous propaganda presented as news about it. The “disparagingly” bit included the infamous “fuck the EU!” comment from Victoria Nuland (remember that?), reported widely as a terrible faux pas of bad manners for a person with the job title of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, while completely ignoring the content of the conversation between her and the US ambassador to Ukraine, discussing their choices for new leadership of the Ukrainian government o take power after the coup d’etat overthrowing the elected Ukrainian President, that had not yet happened.
Somebody online posted a digital graphic composed from a list published on the web showing all the attempted and successful cases of the US government trying to overthrow the government of another nation in the world, with Ukraine being just a recent case in a long list. All that is a terribly long and appalling saga, including the batch of megalomaniacs who fall under the labels of “neoconservative” or “neoliberal” trying to justify and rationalize their lust for total world domination, trying to paint it all as noble and necessary, bringing endless conflict and warfare, death and destruction, misery and suffering.
All that seems to be just one of the repeating themes I mention here when I occasionally point out how I find myself repeating some of the same things about the same ongoing problems, just because they keep going, on and on. People here in the United States have become absolutely ensnared by training, like Pavlov’s dogs, to respond to various triggers to get them to respond predictably and aggressively to anything and everything promoting warfare and everything associated with it, as “patriotism”, all about “national security” and “defending our freedom” and “bringing democracy to the world” and the newer trope of “The War On Terror”. Of course, when I say “newer” on that latter bit, that one, this vaguely defined “war”, is already old enough to be getting a driving license. There are young people reaching adulthood who will have no memory at all of a time when that was not in action.
Just one aspect of this lunacy turned extra crazy recently when President Donald Trump announced that he was directing the Department of Defense to get to work on creating a new branch of military forces, a “Space Force”. This one could be a whole large subject of its own here later. It should be pointed out that when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration agency of the US government was created by President Dwight Eisenhower, who, of course, was former General Eisenhower, a five star general and commander of Allied forces in Europe in World War II, he was very insistent that NASA should be, absolutely, explicitly, a civilian agency, not a part of the US military, to make it clear that the new activity and ambitions regarding spaceflight were not to be some sort of program to simply extend conflict and warfare to higher altitudes.
What, exactly, is really going through the mind of the current President on this subject is a mystery, although it sounds like the kind of concept that would spring from the mind of some 12 year old boy who spends every available hour playing video games.
One obvious item that comes to mind about this idea is “just think of all the lucrative new business to be had for the war supplies business!”. With all the noisy political squabbling going on, somehow the entire massive glaring subject of endless warfare and jingoism and massive military expense gets skirted. That keeps going, the gigantic elephant in the room, despite all the monumental problems. The war supplies business has absorbed an incomprehensible amount of the wealth of the nation, plus more, really, when you consider the massive debt of the US government.
The government is, viewed in objective reality, massively bankrupt, and that gets into a baffling subject area, with the whole thing operating on what seems to be theoretical money created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve Bank, and how the funding of the US Treasury actually works, how the currency actually works, how endless Treasury bonds are sold internationally, and all that. Getting into all that is a realm that I think is probably difficult for most people, wondering how, exactly, the currency works in the realm of international transactions and how entities in nations around the world are dealing with transactions in US dollars. I confess to major ignorance and confusion in that department, and I am hardly alone in this.
Anyway… in all the chaotic confusion of currency, banking and finance and government finances, international commerce, there are questions to be asked, that are sometimes asked by various people, but often buried out of sight in the “mainstream” domain, like, what happens if various international players, such as the Chinese government for example, decide to “dump” US Treasury bonds, selling them all off in a big burst, and what happens if the “market” decides nobody wants to buy a continuous stream of Treasury bonds, aside from the ones already out there?
In all this, and the whole massive and confusing world of finance, banking, government finances and policies, “private sector” international banking and commerce, and debt in general, the questions of who owes whom on what debts seems effectively incomprehensible at this point.
One aspect of this broad overwhelming subject area is the whole concept of “the petrodollar”, and the US dollar as “the world’s reserve currency”, and how all that works. That gets us back into the old subject I have not written about for a while, the oil matter, and right back into “foreign policy”, the whole neocon/neoliberal quagmire of manipulative megalomania, and military affairs and outright warfare.
In all the endless war games and the war advocacy propaganda coming from Washington and the national corporate “news” media, a possibly not so subtle characteristic running through it to notice is how often some sort of “enemy of America and democracy and freedom and human rights” is declared when it also just happens to be that a particular national government (usually referred to in the propaganda jargon as a “regime”) is either not a part of the banking system and US currency transactions, or is making noises about separating from it. Doing such things then brings any such nations and governments into the crosshairs, followed by “sanctions” and “condemnation of the international community”, possibly then followed by action in “bringing them freedom and democracy” in the form of explosives raining down on them from the sky.
In this kind of thing, the bipolar political madness creates and maintains all sorts of absurdities, with “both sides” of our supposed “two party system” often, almost universally, these days, joining together, despite their theatrics of diametric fierce contentious opposition, in unison to continually pound war drums and divert as much as possible of the wealth of the nation to the war supplies business.
I may have talked about this before, but there is deep irony in the fact that the military forces of the USA are under the Department of Defense, which was called the War Department until after World War II, the last time the United States military was fighting a war to defend the United States of America. Since then, since the name change, people in power and control seem to have completely lost the plot about what is actually required and done for the purposes of guarding and protecting the country.
I mostly try to avoid full-out political polemics, especially the activity, if you can call it that, of spending countless hours watching television talking head pundits, something quite a few people seem to do. I did recently come across an item online making me aware of an episode of Rachel Maddow’s nightly hour on MSNBC. I did, once upon a time, have some amount of respect for Maddow, but that has deteriorated badly. She seems to have degenerated into something similar to the Fox News Channel noise in terms of irrational absurdity and generally just being a propaganda mouthpiece.
The item that was astonishing in its absurdity was Rachel Maddow delivering a monologue regarding the meeting awhile back with President Trump and the leader of the North Korean government, surely an all time standout event in terms of a governmental leadership international summit of comically bad hair.
But I digress.
The specific issue Maddow had was with some sort of informal agreement between the two men, wherein, it was reported, Trump and Kim-Jong Whatzit came to an agreement that it would be a reasonable thing for North Korea to ratchet back on its quest to have nuclear bombs along with missiles to make them land on some other country, in return for a gesture by the United States to stop conducting regular annual war games simulating fighting a war with North Korea for practice.
This made Rachel Maddow quite upset and indignant, it seems. What? Trump tried to defuse the chronic state of being on the edge of war in Korea? How dare he? The thing that seemed outrageous and absurd was the idea that Trump would cease the regular war games exercise, which she described, incredibly, as a pillar of U.S. National security strategy.
A pillar of national security strategy? Seriously? Now, to be clear and fair on this, it was not actually an unreasonable statement in the sense that there are obviously people in government who do regard all that as “a pillar of U.S. National security strategy”, and this has been the case for decades (nearly seven decades, as she pointed out) but the stunning aspect of this is that Rachel Maddow never even questioned that whole long running phenomenon, and asked the obvious question. What, and how, is that whole endless game, annually, poking and prodding at North Korea in conducting massively expensive simulation runs practicing war with North Korea, related in any way to the security of the United States of America?
It seems apparent that this is one of those questions you are simply not supposed to ask, if you conform to the long running usual militaristic jingoism that is the expected mindset for anything involving military affairs and “foreign policy”, and Rachel Maddow has evidently decided that it is perfectly reasonable to join with the warmonger crowd, just as long as this opposes Trump. Evidently, in her mind, these days, “oppose Trump” is the prime directive, however absurd it might become.
Oh, and also, naturally, it seems, from what I gather about Maddow’s nightly show these days, this is all another egregious example of Russia and Putin manipulating the traitor/Russian puppet/Russian agent Trump to take control of the world. Apparently, as examined on an episode of the Jimmy Dore Show on the web, Maddow went through her reasoning saying that Russia apparently has, what was it, something like ten miles of border with North Korea (is there anything even there?). So, then, this is some vital interest to Russia (which is questionable anyway, but if so, automatically becomes pure evil), and Putin, it was said, thinks it would be a good thing for there not to be a nuclear war and for the Korean peninsula to not be on the verge of a massive war for the first time in most people’s lifetimes. The nerve! Can’t you see what an evil villain that guy is?
This has become another running theme, so please forgive repetition, but as the absurd spectacle continues of Donald Trump as President, many people have completely lost their minds as a result of this, and anything that falls under the heading of “opposing Trump” becomes vital and even sacrosanct, no matter how insane it might be.
On the other hand, another item came up recently. Somebody on the web relayed a story from some other random unknown internet stranger. Said stranger was at a gas station, and somebody came up to comment on his bumper sticker that, apparently, was not supportive of Trump. The other stranger addressed the owner of the sticker and said “you know what we like about Trump?… he pisses off liberal faggots like you!… we don’t care what he fucks up as long as he keeps doing that!”.
Insanity and mind boggling stupidity abounds.
There is much more, but let’s take a break.
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