“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” – George Orwell
Here we are, already, into Autumn, well past Labor Day, the American national holiday that, like maybe a few different holidays here, has become somewhat different from the original intent, with this one in particular having assumed a role as a kind of unofficial marker to indicate the end of summer. Over the course of this past summer, a lot has been happening that brings up ideas of people going crazy from the heat, but the heat is not exactly plausible as an explanation for any of the crazy that abounds. It also is not as if it all started with this summer’s heat. Now, we are well into Autumn, with all that goes with it, at least in some latitudes, a significant shift that is a good time for some reflection. Whether or not people do that is another matter.
Observing and reflecting now and then, it continually amazes me to try to get to grips with what seems like an endless list of items that make me wonder how this state of affairs could come to be. One kind of overall issue, let’s call it a macro-level item encompassing many things, is the way that even as we live in what many people are calling an Information Age, so many people are oblivious to so much that really matters, while drowning themselves in “information” that consists of monumental piles of bullshit.
It has been very clear that great heaping loads of insanity swirling around have revolved around politics making people crazy, hand in hand with severe problems with what we get presented as news. All that is not a new issue, and has actually been a dominant subject in my writing here, sadly, for quite a long time now, as it seems to be more and more difficult to get away from it. It’s like some nasty spreading toxic fungus. The extra ugly twist of absurdity, of course, is that lately, there is all sorts of noisy outrage and posing of all sorts about “Fake News” and “propaganda”, that is, itself, a different kind of reality warp, where various parties in the noisy fray are themselves adding to the reality distortion, with many genuine sources of honest and reasonably thorough journalism dismissed and even blatantly censored. It is a real mess.
At the end of this installment, there will be quite a long list of links to various articles, just skimming what has been happening, having had quite a stretch of time since my last note.
Sorting out what has happened to American news is quite a subject. One glaring example and sad item is observing the death of Ed Schultz this summer. After he died, there was a brief clip I saw from MSNBC reporting his death, saying that the people at MSNBC were very sad about the death of their former colleague, after Schultz had hosted what was apparently a very popular show on that network in primetime for years. They failed to mention that MSNBC had fired him, cancelling his show, and never mind why that happened. As far as I can tell, this mainly centered on a couple of items, such as his insistence on telling viewers what a bad idea the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership was (is), or reporting on the candidacy to be elected President of Bernie Sanders, activities that did not please the masters of NBC and the Democratic party.
This was not the first time for this kind of action at MSNBC, which includes, something like 15 years ago, that network heaving Phil Donohue overboard, despite his long history in television and popularity as a host of an MSNBC show, because he was against the idea of the US military being sent to attack and invade another country on the other side of the world.
Another thing not mentioned in the brief report about the death of ED Schultz on MSNBC was that he did anything at all after they tossed him aside, and that at the time, he had been working on the RT America network, among other Americans working there is a strange kind of exile from the usual corporate “news” media because they believed in the practice of actual journalism and reporting facts and truth. Mention RT to some people, and you can expect an onslaught of hysteria about “Russian propaganda!”, apparently never having listened to an interview with Ed Schultz where he talked about how he was micro-managed at MSNBC, comparing his experience there with working at RT, where, he said, he had total editorial freedom.
Elsewhere, the South America TeleSUR network has found itself it the crosshairs of targeting to be purged from the consciousness of the American public, apparently thanks to more games of “sanctions” against Venezuela. As far as I know, the American government is still operating under some official declaration under President Obama declaring a “national emergency” based on the supposed “threat to national security” posed by Venezuela, when the only “threat” I can make out is no threat at all, but simply another case of the government of some country refusing to follow orders from Washington DC.
In one of his recent essays Dmitry Orlov summed up quite a lot of the current ongoing absurd melodramas in this:
Can truth be said to exist? Most of us certainly like to think that it does, and, furthermore, that we actually know something about it. We tend to prioritize knowledge over ignorance, and bridle at the idea that some of what we consider to be knowledge may be false rather than true. This seems justified: compared to false knowledge, it is certainly true that ignorance is bliss. But there are few avenues of escape that are open to us when we are confronted with the notion that most of what we know for sure “just ain’t so.”
The most common avenue of escape, and also the least valid, is to indulge in a bit of ad hominem fallacy by claiming that the challenge to your treasured certainties is the wrong kind of challenge because it comes from the wrong sort of person. For example, these days, it doesn’t take much to run afoul of certain people, and to get them to label you as a “fascist racist misogynist homophobe.” Nor does it take much to cause certain other people to label you a “libtard.” And both of these groups would be only too happy to declare you to be “Putin’s troll” the moment you try to say anything vaguely positive about Russia.
This was helpful, saving me some more typing, with Orlov articulating very succinctly one of the items I have been trying for some time to get across to anybody who might actually be paying attention- that just one of the major problems involved in the ongoing disease of bipolar political disorder is the way that people consumed by that disorder show increasing evidence of avoiding getting any clear objective grasp on anything as it is. They just look for some indication that somebody, something, some idea, some story, is from “their side” or “the other side”, is for or against “their side” or “the other side”. You can watch that playing out every day now.
I caught a bit of a discussion on the radio recently where the general theme was “the death of investigative journalism”, which cracks open a mighty can of worms.
The actual reality is that investigative journalism is not dead, but it has gone into a strange place, in that this kind of thing has effectively disappeared from what people might call the “mainstream” news media, and has been exiled to what might be called “alternative media”. If anybody reads this and asks “well, where might that be?”, I have been loading these notes here with vast numbers of often in depth stories on a variety of subjects, for several years now.
Not long ago, among all the noise on the web, I found a simple gem. Somebody had posted an item that, paraphrased from memory, laid out “Journalism 101: If somebody says it’s raining, and somebody else says it isn’t, your job is not to quote them both, your job is to look out the window and find out what’s happening!“.
It amazes me how badly that has been forgotten and ignored in what gets passed off as “news” now.
Instead, we get an ugly, stupid, and toxic brew of blended propaganda, vacuous entertainment, and stenography. Even worse, as genuine journalism news gets shoved off into the margins, it often ends up being dismissed as “Fake News” and “conspiracy theory”.
Lately the situation has become even more appalling, as assorted players controlling parts of the WWW seem to have happily all jumped on a bandwagon of outright blatant censorship of anything not deemed by someone to be, shall we say, approved narratives, and the whole thing has a rancid aroma to it, especially as some of it seems to have an awfully coordinated sense to it. Naturally, it’s all rationalized under appearances of justification, of “policy violations”, or “protections” against the increasingly popular label of “Hate Speech”, or “Fake News”; never mind exactly who defines those.
One item I came across presented a story about “the women protecting Facebook from Fake News”, a subtle manipulation.
What? Are you objecting to censorship? Are you a sexist misogynist supporter of Fake News and Hate Speech of hating hate?
Oh, no, Facebook, I am fully supportive of your inclusive policy of diversity in empowerment of women in the fight against Hate Speech and Fake News! Please by all means, continue your noble and righteous efforts to protect me from That Which Must Not Be Seen!
[That also raises a passing thought in my mind. I wonder, for a moment, how many people might have wailed in righteous indignation that if you failed to support Hillary Clinton in her quest for the presidency, you were a misogynist sexist… and then, later, mocked Jill Stein as someone not to be taken seriously as a candidate.]
The recent wave of open, overt, blatant censorship comes with a not so subtle hint, in plain sight. It comes with pronouncements of justifications, always very carefully avoiding the word “censorship”, that some person, group, organization, is being banned, purged, silenced, squelched, because, you see, they are bad people doing dastardly deeds, and we’re protecting you, in our righteous goodness. Disturbing numbers of people go along with it, and it’s fine if person X is squashed and hidden away, because you don’t like them.
It absolutely amazes me to see how many otherwise intelligent and sensible people apparently see no problem with that.
This phenomenon of what’s presented openly as a righteous and noble campaign to protect us from the purported evils of “Fake News and propaganda” has been going for a while now, and the early stages of that found presentations of things like “blacklists” of supposed sources of Fake News and propaganda that blended assorted media sources of real falsehoods and deception, gross idiocy, and obviously fictional satirical parody, with genuine news including the kind of honest and objective and in-depth investigative journalism I was talking about earlier.
Just sorting out what propaganda the American public (and people in some other parts of the world where things are controlled from here) are actually subjected to, by supposedly “legit” and “real” news, is quite a mammoth chore.
One of the many recent items has been a reappearance of noises about how, if that evil Assad in Syria attacks civilians with chemical weapons, Syria must be attacked… for humanitarian goodness, of course. Several times now, over a period of several years, we have had instances of this kind of noise appearing, followed (surprise, surprise) by reports of Assad attacking people with chemical weapons, which, every time, turns out to be a concocted pile of fiction and reality distortion, but you never find that out unless you carefully pay attention to sources of actual objective journalism.
All sorts of questions about “how did that happen?”, when it comes to the matter of relations between the US government and the rest of the world, keep coming back to what is a fairly simple explanation… the neocon cult, the “neoconservatives”. There, you can find loads of tragic irony in seeing that in a period where all kinds of things are mocked and dismissed as “conspiracy theory”, we have this ongoing problem f domination of the US government by what is one of the most glaring examples of real live conspiracy in modern times. This is not even hidden at all, although it must be said that this bunch have become less open and overt than they were when they organized formally and openly under the banner of Project for The New American Century.
With all the continuing insane squabbling of the bipolar political disorder, the reality of the neocon cult gets lost in the noise, including an ugly mix of confusion, willful ignorance, and maybe full on delusions about alliances with the neocons dominating the national government. In the broad ranging squabbling about the question of “how could we end up with Donald Trump as President of the United States?”, one factor that seem apparent is that at least some of the people who supported Trump through the whole circus of the Republican party selection process, and then the election, did so at least partially because they had a notion that Trump would rein in the neocon faction, in the Republican party and the government. That idea should have been swept aside in the minds of any of those people by now, with the most obvious evidence being the appointment of neocon featured player John Bolton as National Security Advisor, a job that in itself can be a little suspicious with anyone, never mind one of the worst of the neocons.
This certainly is not a new item here, but we still continue on, amid all the political insanity, with masses of people somehow being blind to the fun and games of the neocon megalomaniacs, playing out blatantly, in plain sight, for so many years that it seems to be that people are blind to it all simply because they think this is “normal” now. Some of that, it should be obvious by now, and I have certainly pointed it out enough here, is the problem of many people thinking that the neocon club is exclusively Republican party politicians.
Writing here and observing recent and current events, it actually seems a bit more like observing recurrent events, where new events and situations just churn up new instances of, to put it simply, the same old stuff. The epidemic of bipolar political disorder keeps rolling along, completely warping the minds of anybody afflicted with it, where all that matters is unfailing loyalty to “your side” in opposition to “The Other Side”. This keeps bringing displays of all kinds of deluded and irrational lunacy, including shocking numbers of people who, as a result of this phenomenon, somehow avoid the recognition of the obvious, of Hillary Clinton being a loyal member of the neocon club, as well as being other things not recognized by so many people who simply hang on to the “but she’s not a Republican!” arguments. That still clearly has a hold on many people, I see it all the time, even after years of Mrs. Clinton openly displaying her conformity and loyal adherence to the neocons and their megalomania. There is nothing hidden; as a Senator, as a candidate for President, as Secretary of State, her enthusiastic support for attacking and invading Iraq, attacking and overthrowing the government of Libya, overthrowing the government of Syria, overthrowing the government of Ukraine, with all the variations among all this in terms of overt military invasion, more carefully managed military warfare action, pretense about “The War on Terror”, or more subtle and covert activity in “regime change” games, anywhere you find a government not following orders from the neocons in power in Washington DC.
I will save myself some typing and include this short summary from James Kunstler of a story I have repeatedly tried to get across to people here, regarding what happened in Ukraine and Crimea.
The brief against Russia also contains vague accusations of “aggression.” It is hard to discern what is meant by that — though it apparently warms the heart of American war hawks and their paymasters in the warfare industries. They allege that Russia “stole” Crimea from Ukraine. Consider: Crimea had been a province of Russia since the 1700s. Ukraine itself was a province of the USSR when Nikita Khrushchev put Crimea under Ukraine’s administrative control in 1956, a relationship which became obviously problematic after the breakup of the soviet mega-state in 1990 — and became even more of a problem when the US State Department and our CIA stage-managed a coup against the Russia-leaning Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Crimea is the site of Russia’s only warm water naval bases. Do you suppose that even an experienced American CIA analyst might understand that Russia would under no circumstances give up those assets? Please, grow up.
Kunstler still leaves out part of the story, that I have been reminding people about repeatedly here. One element is that the Russian navy, if you also include the era of the Soviet Union, has apparently had a naval base on the shores of Crimea for a couple centuries (never mentioned in the repeated blurbs about “Russian invasion”), and Crimea is, in plain simple fact, a part of Russia again after the people in Crimea responded to the overthrow of an elected President of Ukraine in a coup d’etat by voting in over a 90% majority to split from Ukraine and become part of Russia again.
This is an example, again, of an item, a whole subject, that has been featured repeated item in my notes here, and, once again, continues to be a repeating item simply because literally almost every single day, “news” items keep bringing up complete nonsense and more subtle reality distortions that make it necessary to keep trying to bring facts, reality, and reason into the picture.
Paul Craig Roberts recently addressed this horror show of a pervasive and chronic problem, mentioning things like the following:
Wherever we look in these times, we see evidence-free accusations established as absolute facts: Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” “Iranian nukes,” “Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the Trump/Putin conspiracy that stole the 2016 US presidential election, Syrian use of poison gas. Not a scrap of evidence exists for any of these accusations, but the truth of the accusations is established in many minds worldwide.
It has been a main theme here for some time to try to address the problem of a profoundly misled and confused populace revolving around the problem I call bipolar political disorder, with masses of people manipulated by a complex combination of factors into throwing away any sense of what’s right, what’s true, in favor of assessing anything and everything in terms of the bipolar political madness and how something, in their view, aligns with “their side” versus ‘the other side”. In that, anybody fighting to stay free of the twin swirling vortexes of the bipolar political insanity, if they are not part of what somebody sees as their irrational angry mob, is seen by that angry mob as part of the opposing other irrational angry mob.
That definitely includes all kinds of bizarre lunacy regarding how so many people regard Mrs. Clinton.
This is probably a good place to insert an observation that I may or may not have said before. Many people are prone to see things, especially complex topics and situations, as a simple case of a fight between The Good Guys and The Bad Guys, and you need to just choose The Right Side. What so many people can miss, and, obviously, these days, are missing completely, with serious repercussions, is that sometimes in the course of human events, you can have some raging conflict that is a battle between slightly different Bad Guys. This is not really especially subtle sometimes.
Missing this simple fact warps the minds of so many people still squabbling over the 2016 presidential election circus. As incredible and astonishing as it is to witness, still, there are just masses of people squabbling with each other about Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton and their supposed merits and flaws, with much of this being incredibly bizarre at times as people, depending on their chosen “side”, maintain assorted notions about each of these people, the supposed merits and accomplishments of “their” choice, and the supposed flaws of “the other”, that seem to frequently have little or no relationship to the reality of either of those two people, two of the most obscenely bad choices to be President of the United States in American history.
People caught up in that still refuse to see the fairly obvious about Mrs. Clinton, including her neocon alliances, despite all that is in plain sight. For example, her appointment while Secretary of State of Victoria Nuland, wife of neocon main player Robert Kagan and former employee of Vice President Cheney, to the lengthy job title of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, where she was clearly involved to some degree that might be hard to determine exactly in the blatant coup that overthrew the elected president of Ukraine. That just happened to be followed by new people taking control of the Ukrainian government who were coincidentally exactly who Nuland wanted. By the way, one item I had not known until now is that Victoria Nuland is now shown as the CEO of an organization called The Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which has a distinct aroma of similarity to the defunct Project for The New American Century, the neocon club co-founded by her husband, which I suspect was abandoned at least formally because if the bad PR “optics”, as some people like to say, of a name that was maybe a little too openly “plans for world domination”.
Anyplace the US government could manipulate things or even overtly and openly send in the US military to attack, to destroy a government not playing along with the neocons, and destroy the country in the process, Mrs. Clinton has been right there to support it or even get directly involved.
Some people with blinders on, looking at Mrs. Clinton, trying to rationalize and justify their advocacy of her, when it really comes down to “but she’s not a Republican!”, can be seen online with snarky sarcastic comments like “but Hillary’s emails!”, as if the ugly story of the email communications revealed between her and associates was a joke, to be mocked and dismissed as “conspiracy theory” and propaganda from Right-Wing morons. That blindness completely ignores the ugliness on more than one front, including serious matters of what Mrs. Clinton (who many people still insist on deferentially referring to and addressing as “Madam Secretary” or “Secretary Clinton”) was up to and wanted hidden as Secretary of State, and the gross manipulation of the primary election process with the Democratic party management to ensure that she, and only she, could be the presidential candidate with a D attached to her name, presumed to be the next President.
Similar sarcastic comments about “Benghazi!” as another joke dismissal of “Right Wing propaganda witch hunts” ignore what has been quietly ignored by “both sides” of the R/D cabal is the rumblings asserting that after the bombing campaign and fall of the Libyan government with Clinton as Secretary of State, the diplomatic consulate in Benghazi was allegedly then being used as a way station for the next step of “regime change” destruction, funneling weaponry to terrorist groups in Syria attacking the Syrian government and taking over.
It still seems incomprehensibly bizarre that even now, instead of recognizing all the various kinds of appalling misbehavior from Mrs. Clinton and pals, revealed in email communications that were kept hidden away from public scrutiny by Mrs. Clinton’s private email system, people turn on the messenger, howling that Julian Assange and Wikileaks is some Russian government operation “attacking our democracy”, regarding it as absolute fact that “Russian hackers” grabbed the emails involved, despite the lack of evidence and the stated opinions of people like former NSA wizard William Binney and others formerly involved in US intelligence that the evidence available makes the most likely conclusion that they were copied “in house”, on site, to a USB connected storage device, presumably by somebody inside who was disgusted by what they saw happening, and wanted the truth known to the American people.
At this stage, it is now almost two years since the 2016 election, and people are still squabbling about it. They are not just squabbling about it, much of the squabbling is so irrational that I find it difficult to regard it as anything other than an epidemic of mass insanity.
I think it is not unreasonable to say that the election of Donald Trump as President might be one of the worst things to ever happen in the government affairs of the United States. Many people would jump on a bandwagon of agreeing with that, while completely missing that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, instead, that would have been one of the worst things to ever happen in the government affairs of the United States. One of the unfortunate effects of the election of Donald Trump as President is that so many people cannot comprehend how it could even be possible for Hillary Clinton to lose to him, failing to see the obvious… she is just that supremely awful.
The combination of that with a massive dose of bipolar political disorder results in the ongoing bizarre state of affairs where people who really should be smarter than this hang on to the idea that there is only one possible explanation: … the election was stolen from Our Hillary (It’s Her Turn!) by Russian agents! How could there be any other explanation?!
The problems with all that should be extremely obvious.
One is that this silly delusion of “Russian meddling is the only possible explanation!” has so many people who are blind loyalists to “their” political party completely ignoring the reality of not just how bad Mrs. Clinton is, has been, and undoubtedly always will be, but the damage done to that party as a result of her power grab.
With people hanging on to the narrative of “Russian meddling and attack on our democracy!”, we have the appalling and incredible situation of people completely ignoring anything revealed by the massive batch of email communications involved. We have this bizarre kind of contradiction and cognitive dissonance among people; they shout that “Russian agents sabotaged Our Hillary!”, by the contention that the collection and revelation of Mrs. Clinton’s emails was a Russian plot to sabotage her candidacy for President by making her look bad before the election, while, somehow, completely dismissing and ignoring everything contained in those emails, which, in simplest form, made Hillary Clinton look very bad indeed, in an assortment of ways, by actually revealing the truth about her. It is just completely astounding, that people can hold this notion in their heads that essentially goes like: it’s the fault of the evil Russians and their agents that Hillary lost, because she would have won if it had not been revealed how bad she actually is!, while, somehow, incredibly, not seeing anything wrong with that thought.
What was in those emails is a massive, overwhelming, pile to sort through, something I certainly don’t have the time to tackle. That alone is an indicator of things, that, judging from various summaries of people who have waded through the pile, to sort through it all could have a whole full time staff of people devoted to the task of reading through it all and compiling all the wrongdoing and misbehavior.
There should be all kinds of questions and investigation of the nature and activities of the Clinton Foundation, and the matter of things like, shall we say, international contributions and their sources in relation to Mrs. Clinton and her roles as a US senator, then presidential candidate with the possibility of becoming President, then Secretary of State, then once again a presidential candidate operating on what appears to have been a clear presumption that, of course, she would become President following the 2016 election.
It is grossly obvious that there was “collusion to influence elections”, in the form of Mrs. Clinton and associates and the people in control of the Democratic party to sabotage and undermine Bernie Sanders and ensure that Mrs. Clinton would be the Democratic party candidate, regardless of what the peasants want.
In the ongoing mob insanity surrounding this whole epic, the whole insane narrative of “Trump’s Russian collusion with The Evil Putin and the Russian enemy to steal the election and destroy America!” has, as just one unfortunate effect, putting people regarding themselves as unquestioning Democratic party loyalists in the bizarre position of total alliance with the neocon cult and their quest for world domination, with their declarations of Russia (and Vladimir Putin, specifically) as The Evil Enemy, just one entry of many on the neocon Enemies List of any and all nations on Earth having a government that refuses to obediently follow their orders.
This is a shocking epidemic of mob insanity that show no signs of letting up, as people afflicted with it, horrified and traumatized by the horror show of President Donald Trump, latch on to “Trump’s Russian Collusion” as “the way we will destroy Trump and get rid of him!”.
More spreading vines of lunacy branch off, as we have scenarios such as supposedly serious people, even including one former high ranking official in government I can think of, seriously writing editorial pieces published in supposedly serious and legitimate news media, asserting that, paraphrasing the essence here, Russian collusion attacked our democracy and sabotaged the election, and therefore, according to this, the 2016 presidential election should be declared null and void. Aside from the fundamental problem that there provision for any such thing in the constitution, never mind the ridiculous absurdity of the rationalization for such an action, it remained unclear what, exactly, the next step would be. Do they think that the election should just be done over? Do they think that there should be just some declaration (by whom?) that Hillary Clinton is now the official winner of the election, followed by the inauguration of President Clinton for what would now be approximately a two year term? I have no idea.
Trying to sort things out now is one bizarre episode after another, with all kinds of tangled threads leading into more bizarre episodes and twists.
Many people have the idea that President Trump must be impeached and removed from office, seemingly with no forethought about then having President Pence. One ongoing web “meme” goes something like “impeach Trump, impeach Pence, keep impeaching!”, like that is going to happen, but then that also includes a whole subculture of people who seem to be operating under the notion that an election is invalid if the result of the election is that somebody is elected to public office who you did not want. That, of course, is not how elections work.
Part of the twists lead into the whole matter of the complex and questionable matter of permanently entrenched establishment of unelected governmental power players that get named as “the Deep State” (or “shadow government” or “permanent state”), with lots of very credible and realistic assertions that Mrs. Clinton was clearly the favored choice of that world, with Mr. Trump clearly not being their choice, being seen as a “loose cannon” who would oppose them. That gets us into the reality of the Trump presidency, which seems to bring examples of a different case of mass blindness among people who regard themselves as unquestioning Republican party loyalists, and “Trump supporters”, who ignore all the signs of President Trump completely submitting to the neocon club, and what President Eisenhower warned the country about almost 58 years ago as “the military-industrial complex”, and so on.
Raise anything about this, though, and you will be declared by some people to be some sort of Right-Wing whacky conspiracy theory nutball.
Trying to not get pulled off in too many different directions here, a real challenge, all things considered, this might be a good place to mention the recent circus (still going, as I write), of the drama surrounding the nomination of President Trump of his choice for a new Supreme Court justice, revolving around all kinds of squabbling about accusations of serious misbehavior as a young man. Completely lost, in all this, was the matter of him being quoted as saying in the past that programs of US government spy agencies keeping everyone under constant universal surveillance was in his opinion perfectly compatible with the fourth amendment of the constitution. That should be causing mass outrage across the nation, considering the position he is being considered for, and yet, this seems to be almost completely ignored.
(Insert- checking the news, I see that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed and sworn in as the newest Supreme Court justice. Unbelievable.)
The “investigation” of Trump and “Russian collusion” continues, under Robert Mueller, former head of the FBI, former head of the CIA, where, people seem to forget, he was just fine with things like sitting in front of congressional committees and the American people and telling them about supposed “evidence” of Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” justifying the virtuous righteous goodness of attacking and invading and destroying another country on the other side of the world, or telling them that there was no police state surveillance of everyone, only the righteous public service of protecting us from The Terrorists… you know, lying his ass off. Yet, somehow, in all the madness I have been talking about here, he seems to be regarded as some kind of righteous hero fighting the good fight to save us from the evil Trump (and, of course, his evil puppetmaster Putin and his quest to destroy America and take over the world).
In a similar story, the death of Senator John McCain this summer brought an array of displays that I found astonishing, that were all about people who declare themselves as dedicated Democratic party loyalists and “Liberal” and “Left” falling over themselves to declare what a sad loss it was of a man they described in all sorts of terms revering him as a noble righteous man of principle. The reason, it seems, was simply down to “he opposed Trump!”.
The reality of John McCain was much more complicated than you get from bursts of clichéd rhetoric, a real mix of good and bad. In one of his more decent moments, he actually introduced a bill into the Senate that would, as I understand it, restore at least some of the basic aspects of The Banking Act of 1933 (AKA “Glass-Steagall”), that was repealed by an act of Congress written and shuffled through by Republican lawmakers and happily signed into law by President Bill Clinton. That new bill disappeared under the waves, you read and hear virtually nothing about it. You may have never even heard about this.
On the other hand, we had McCain the fiercely dedicated neocon warmonger, who, coincidentally, often found himself aligned in agreement with Hillary Clinton whenever there was some warmongering to be done.
In a new interview with Dmitry Orlov, Orlov does a good job describing the broader picture while in the context of discussing the ongoing neocon nuttery involving Syria:
Basically, what the US does in Syria [is] similar to what it does everywhere else: it generates activity. It generates activity in order to be in a position to order more weapons systems, more munitions, to basically chew through war materiel, because that’s what the contractors require, and those contractors, military contractors, finance various congressional campaigns. That’s the entire political ecosystem, and what happens on the ground is sort of a sideshow.
That might be one of the best simple and clear summaries of what has been a long running problem for us here in the United States, that, unfortunately, obviously becomes a much more direct problem elsewhere in the world where people and places become victims caught in the endless war games of the neocons controlling Washington.
This has become no massive and blatant that it all seems to have become normalized, so that astonishing numbers of people never even seem to consider it all in anything vaguely near a realistic healthy perspective. This is not new, and it seems to get worse and worse. All people need to do it start tossing out the rhetorical clichés that are so familiar now, about “national security”, “defending our freedom”, with the addition in the 21st century of “The War on Terror”, with nonsense like “fighting the terrorists over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here”. If all that fails to get the desired effects, maybe start launching accusations of failing to “support Our Troops”.
Just this, alone, is a subject for many long books. One of the terrible obvious absurdities staring us all in the face about all that is that even as you hear the rhetorical noises about “national security” and “defending our freedom” and “maintaining a strong national defense”, people never seem to stop and consider something incredibly basic- just how much of the US military is not here, guarding and protecting the country, ready to defend it from attack, but rather scattered all across the planet, thousands of miles away, where the actual reality that keeps playing out is our military forces being used to attack other people and places on the other side of the world.
Even putting aside what should be so obviously wrong about all that just in simple terms of what is right and wrong, and putting aside how the rest of the world is looking at the United States now as a result, we have the situation of the US government being massively bankrupt now, by any rational examination, with a constantly increasing national debt measured in double digit numbers of trillions of dollars, largely fed by this ongoing fixation on what has become a euphemism, “defense spending”, to constantly feed the war supplies business.
How that is even possible gets into strange territory, the way that this debt can be accumulated, the nature of money in the United States, and the “funding” coming from the sale of US Treasury bonds in the world as the US Dollar is used as the world’s “reserve currency” for international transactions. Looking at this should bring up widespread attention and discussion of one of the elephant in the room factors in US military war activity- watch what happens if the government of another nation in the world starts talking about getting away from the US dollar. Immediately, they go on the “enemies list”, and, well, we all know the rest. Actually, incredible as this is, it appears that millions of Americans do not notice what happens next in the routine, as they buy into all the propaganda about the countries involved and their “evil regime”, with “sanctions”, and if that fails to keep them compliant, moving on to maybe a little “regime change” (always for “humanitarian” reasons or “defending our freedom” or “fighting The War On Terror”).
Adding even more of a twist of terrible absurdity, look at all the military activity in distant places of the world that, when you look at it, involves going after some nation for their crime of trying to get away from the US dollar as a worldwide reserve currency, to perpetuate the system that allows the massive debt financing of those very activities.
Good luck getting that straightened out, even with a former president warning us about it nearly six decades ago. People buy into all the jingoism, all the relentless militarism and war propaganda, and the idea that it’s all “Patriotism”. One of the ongoing circus acts is this continuing virtue-signalling game of people howling about the NFL players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.
The actual point of protest involved is shoved aside, being buried, instead, in a barrage of noise that that screams- they’re disrespecting the special song! Which then mutates into- they’re disrespecting our flag– which then mutates into- they’re disrespecting our troops defending our freedom– or, a slight variation, they’re disrespecting our troops who gave us our freedom!
It is an obvious classic case of Straw Man diversions, and mobs of people fall right into it in the grip of the bipolar political disorder, falling into line with whatever they see as “correct thinking” to fit in with their family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, never thinking about the simplest things and seeing any of the absurdity of the kind of train of non-thought I just outlined, shouting the loudest about things like “freedom” while looking ready to burn people at the stake for failing to assume the designated body position and performing the worship ritual… you know, because America and Freedom!
Of course, as obvious as this should be right now, often the reality in all kinds of absurd situations now in present day America is that many people seem to think the concept of “freedom” means, “I can do whatever I want, and you can do whatever I want“.
It would be nice if some more of the American citizenry contemplated that honestly and clearly for a while, along with many other items.
A big chunk of the political absurdity now includes noise revolving around “our intelligence community”, which, right off the bat, includes a strange item, on the face of it, of this notion and new habit of always referring to the intelligence “community”. That is a new bit of lingo. It seems fairly obvious as a subtle and insidious form of thought manipulation.
It strikes me as especially strange now to see some of the attitudes around all that.
One featured saga involving the repetition of that phrase revolves around the assertions telling everybody that some sort of unanimous conclusion of “our intelligence community” says that “all 17 intelligence agencies” agree that “Russia hacked our election!” (stealing the Presidency from Our Hillary to install the Russian agent puppet Trump so Putin can destroy Our Democracy and take over the world!). Looking into that past these rhetorical sound bites, it turns out that the reality is evidently a case of a few selected people, in a couple spy agencies, have made assertions, with basically no evidence, of “Russian hacking”, which goes back to the alleged “hacking” of Hillary Clinton’s email communications.
As a reminder, people pushing this nonsense also tend to ignore the actual information contained in the contentious “Hillary emails”, including the actual subversion of democracy, as just one serious issue of many, and ignore all that has been said about former people in the “intelligence community” (e.g., William Binney, among others) who have plainly said that the “Russian hacking” story does not fit facts of reality.
In the larger context, it is absolutely incredible, in the literal sense of the word, that people are doing all this grandstanding about “our intelligence community”, completely forgetting all the blatant lying of “our intelligence community”, such as the case of “the intelligence community”, in a case with remarkable resonance of familiarity, coming to the certain conclusions of Saddam Hussein and his “weapons of mass destruction”, leading to the attack, invasion, and destruction of another country that had not attacked the United States. Not only is it well known now that this was complete fiction, perpetuated by the neocon cult determined to attack Iraq, but that this fiction was an older case of “intelligence reports” that were concocted by a few people in influential positions creating “conclusions” not based in facts of reality, but instead generating reports that were what some people wanted.
People seem to have forgotten, or maybe never quite registered, all the lying from “the intelligence community” and government power about “our intelligence community” not turning the United States into a total surveillance police state, why, no, nothing like that at all, we’re only watching the terrorists to keep us all safe from Terror!
On that subject, of course, when Edward Snowden revealed all the lies, gross misconduct, and blatant disregard of the principles of government in the United States, the fourth amendment of the constitution in the Bill of Rights in particular, he was reviled and condemned as “traitor!”, who should be captured and put on trial for espionage and treason, for daring to reveal the truth to the American people. This has even come from people, including one I know who comes to mind (someone I have mentioned in the past, let’s call him Mr. X), who, in the past, have sworn an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I have no explanation for how that disgusting behavior can happen, although some level of cognitive dissonance and delusion seems like a start.
If you encounter that kind of thing, it is probably pretty certain that the same people holding those notions in their head are also doing what I have seen from some people, shouting that Julian Assange of Wikileaks should be rounded up and put on trial here in the US and convicted (in a “fair trial”, of course) of espionage and treason. That would be Julian Assange, an Australian, living in political sanctuary in the London embassy of Ecuador, legally regarded as the territory of Ecuador. Aside from that obvious point, there is that matter that Wikileaks is essentially doing what should be being done as investigative journalism by an actual functioning free press here in the United States, and, not a trivial point, as far as I can gather, nothing released and reported by Wikileaks has ever, ever, been found to be inaccurate or false.
But, then, that takes us back into the state of American news. Paul Craig Roberts addressed this recently, writing about the saga of Dan Rather and CBS News reporting on the story of President George W. Bush and his military service during the Vietnam war era in the Texas National Guard, reported to be not exactly all it was cracked up to be. If you recall, that story was “controversial”, regarded as a huge scandal, with the end result of CBS retracting the story, then regarded as “discredited”, with public performances of contrition and shame from Rather and CBS News, even though it was a true correct story, apparently. Evidently, the story was not wrong. People in positions of power just didn’t like it. The noise resulting from all that not only wrecked the general reputation of Dan Rather, after decades in news broadcasting, but also fed more propaganda about “that lefty liberal news bias” from Fox News and others, pumping out their own daily propaganda.
Now, people are storming with torches and pitchforks, including pretty much calling for the head of Assange on a platter, howling “he sabotaged Our Hillary to steal the election for Trump!“, always leaving out the missing second part “… by revealing the truth about her!“.
Meanwhile, the Russiamania frenzy that some people call by the stupid name “Russiagate” (because everything is a something-gate now) bounces off the walls, with the “Russia investigation”. Incredibly, with all that frenzy and noise, what seems to be completely off the scope of vision for people going nuts about this is the fairly substantial allegations by various people doing more rational and objective research that the history of Mr. Trump’s business affairs allegedly includes major and long running examples of business financing for Mr. Trump’s enterprises coming from Russian businessmen who, arguably more correctly, might be referred to and gangsters, essentially money laundering for organized crime. It seems to be that this is much more likely to be a “Russian problem” based in reality.
In all the noise about “The Russia Investigation” that has so many people transfixed, and obsessed, that seems to be barely a glimmer of an issue. That is just inexplicably strange.
If anybody involved in that circus did actually get serious about investigation of those kinds of allegations, which seem very credible from where I sit, there would probably still be all kinds of confusion and diversions around a theme of “Putin’s oligarchs”. That would necessarily get into all kinds of messiness about the story of what happened as the former Soviet Union fell apart, after a little over seven decades of communist government and all the hellish dysfunction, oppression, misery, and violence that went with it, and was replaced by the new Russian Federation.
I’m no expert on the history there, but there was plenty available back when things were happening indicating that the transition of things over there back then was very messy, indeed, with all kinds of “privatization” involving resources and wealth gobbled up by a bunch of questionable characters who might have been called “entrepreneurs” by some, “oligarchs” by others, and simply “gangster criminals” by many others. All that went coincidentally with the rise to power of Boris Yeltsin, who appears to have been a complete drunken buffoon, who also appears to have had the full support of Washington power players (up to and including President Bill Clinton) who not only saw him as a sufficiently pliable character to get what they wanted, but, it seems, were fine with all kinds of “election meddling” in another country to get their boy in power.
From what I can tell, it seems clear that anything in Russian government and politics is a messy and nasty game. Now, with all the madness I’ve been talking about, loads of noise flies around about “Putin’s oligarchs”. The ironic factor is that when you pay attention to people with some objective credibility about Russian recent and current affairs, it looks like, in reality, when Putin came to power, he did quite a bit to rein in that gangster oligarchy and restore some measure of rule of law. At the same time, though, some people contend that it’s a case where Putin and his allied oligarchs just did a power grab so it was a particular gang of oligarchs getting control, and it’s hard from out here to sort out what’s true.
I would certainly not want to live in Russia for probably a list of reasons, including the state of government and politics over there, an ugly affair from the looks of things from a distance, but trying to do what seems increasingly rare these days, trying to look at things from the perspective of being n somebody else’s shoes, it sure looks like if you are a Russian living in Russia, it would certainly seem like things were a lot better since Putin became head of state there, with one of the major changes being the gangster oligarchy gradually cleaned up.
One somewhat obscured item I noticed is that there is some character called Bill Browder, an American described in some places as a “major investor” in Russia who definitely appears, from what I see, to have been one of the people who were hugely involved in the wave of what was supposed major investment in Russia after the collapse of the USSR that in reality looks like it basically amounted to the looting of that country by a combination of Russians of questionable character, ethics, and “business practices” and “foreign investors”. Now, it seems, this same Bill Browder appears now and then as one of the people presented as both an authority on the terrible evil of The Dictator Putin and his government, and a victim of the same, the great investor who became a victim persecuted by the evil Putin and his minions and “Putin’s oligarchs”.
With the political madness including the current Russiamania, he seems to have been adopted to play a theatrical role, along with others, as alleged example of the victims of the evil dictator Putin and the Russian government, neglecting what is probably a tangled and complicated story of how he could have come to a situation of “clashing with the Russian government”, as it appears that Browder is one of a cast of characters who, from the Russian perspective, are probably viewed in a way somewhat similar to the “Carpetbaggers” who rolled into the American southeast after the Civil War.
Stepping back to get some perspective on that should present a picture, muddled and confusing as it might be to sort out in detail, of the chaos of the collapse of the Soviet Union and reformation into the new Russian Federation bringing in a batch of financier types who people like to refer to as “investors” and “entrepreneurs” who swept in to loot the country and play no small role in creating a kind of horrendous political oligarchy in that country. You might expect reasonably bright and aware people here in the United States to see something similar in American politics and government being seized and dominated by our own oligarchy class, with the general broad looting of the United States financially also being part of the picture.
It should have been headline news, that continued to get major attention ever since, but mostly the American public seem to have ignored or never become aware of a study from Princeton University (written about in one article or another) that found the situation of American government is not the democracy we keep hearing about, but a complete oligarchy where the people have little to no control or influence on law and policy. My own observations suggest that very few people even know anything about that, and I have never, as I recall, seen or heard any mention in any of what is generally regarded as the “legit news”.
I suppose some people would dismiss the study as “Fake News” from those whacky Conspiracy Theorists at Princeton.
Instead of focusing on that as a serious alarm, we continue to have the same political madness whirling around, including what keeps coming up here because it is just incessant- people shocked, traumatized, and completely bewildered by the election of Donald Trump hang on to the endlessly and relentlessly repeated notions that the only possible reason for this was “Russian hackers working for Putin hacked our democracy to sabotage Our Hillary and install the Russian agent Trump!”.
It gets tiresome to repeat the points, but becomes necessary over and over as that kind of madness rolls on unabated, that the core of the supposed “hacking” and “attack on our democracy” revolves around “Russian hacking of Hillary’s emails” allegations. This is disregarding everything about that such as Wikileaks statements that while they will not reveal sources (for obvious reasons), the source of the emails involved was not the Russian government, or any government, statements from former high ranking UK diplomat Craig Murray claiming that he had personally met with the individual relaying the emails, and statements from people qualified to examine the situation such as former NSA official William Binney (and other past intelligence agency people) saying that just from a technical perspective, the claims of computer network hacking do not fit reality, and that the transfer of the mass of email data involved appears to have fit with the copying of data directly from a computer system via a USB port to a flash drive USB “thumb drive” or portable hard disk drive, suggesting the source to be someone within the organizations involved who was disgusted by what they saw happening among Mrs. Clinton, her associates, and the Democratic party management.
All of the latter part above makes perfect sense, if anybody simply applies the basic simple examination and reasoning referred to as Occam’s Razor, especially when you take an objective look at anything about what was revealed in the Clinton emails, including the clear blatant manipulations and subterfuge to undermine and sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders to make sure that Mrs. Clinton was the party candidate.
Instead, mobs of people cling to the former narratives, regardless of evidence and reason, explaining the election of Trump as only being possible for a pair of narratives. The first, the whole “we got Trump because Russia and their agents sabotaged our democracy to install the Russian puppet/agent Trump!”, and the second piece, essentially “we got Trump because racist morons white supremacist fascist Nazis!”. I was reminded of something hearing a comment in a podcast discussion I listened to recently, in a context, it should be added, where open and rational discussion is the norm, instead of the noise and clichés of the bipolar political madness is so prevalent and dominant. The comment was about something that is not some new revelation, that a lot of people liked Bernie Sanders a lot, during the endless circus of the campaign leading to the 2016 election, and when he was successfully squashed into surrender and submission by the Clinton camp and the Democratic party establishment, and we arrived at the election being told Clinton or Trump, those are your choices, decided to vote for Trump, because voting for Hillary Clinton was just not something they could do.
This leads to a more realistic and rational view of “how could Trump have been elected?!”, given that he was so obviously an incredibly poor choice to be President of the United States, which, in simplest form, basically amounts to: because Hillary Clinton was just that bad!
One of the many items so many people seem unable to think through is that phenomenon, which seems to be more common than some people seem to realize, of people liking Sanders but then voting for Trump when they were told their only choice was Clinton or Trump. It wasn’t, in fact, but more about that in a moment. What many people never seem to think through is that if they think Trump was elected by backwards yahoo racist morons white supremacist fascist Nazi “deplorables”, how do they resolve that with previously being a supporter of Bernie Sanders?
All of this is old news, a repeating story, but all needing review as much as possible these days, not just because of the madness swirling around of various narratives of nonsense and sheer propaganda, but in the general context here, of trying to sort out the question of how me managed to arrive at the current state of affairs in so many things. In that broad subject, there are many things to examine and consider that are outside the realm of politics, but, of course, one of our problems is the way that damned near anything now gets turned into some political argument with everything framed as a pair of opposing sides, with so many people caught in that dualistic pair of swirling vortexes, and seemingly willing to abandon reality and reason to fit in with “their side”.
It is worth a reminder that part of the ugly story of the undermining of Sanders and nomination of Clinton involves the party establishment clearly not only predetermining the choice of Clinton, but a large amount of annoyance that Bernie Sanders was “not really a Democrat”, having previously been elected to the Senate as an independent candidate, but decided that he could only have a chance of becoming President by getting the Democratic party nomination. The message was clear to Bernie Sanders: if you’re not part of the club, you are not getting in!
When the election came around, people continued to be bombarded with the old relentless message: it’s our Two Party System, there is R, there is D, there can be no other! That was applied aggressively to the other candidates that were available, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, who were relentlessly mocked, ridiculed, and dismissed, mainly by people who are part of the duopoly/cabal of the supposed “Two Party System”. Never mind that the only “two party system” is a product of the domination of power by the two parties involved, and that long ago, people involved in the design and founding of the new government of the United States of America like John Adams and George Washington dreaded the possibility that political parties could gain power over the government and usurp the people… exactly what we have now.
So there we had it… you can have Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump! Nobody else! Look what happened.
We all continue to suffer from the mob psychosis of the political lunacy, including the people who somehow still believe that Mr. Trump was a good choice as President, with the “opposition”, including so many people pompously calling themselves “The Resistance”. Many of them are just chattering away about how you must all simply vote D, vote for anybody with a D attached to their name, just vote for the party, with a main theme apparently still being, as it was in the farce of Hillary Clinton, “because we’re not Republicans!”. In that idiocy, “because we’re not Republicans!” seems to be regarded as not only good enough, but all the reason anyone needs to simply bang through a ballot hitting anything you see with D. Raise suggestions of any problems with that, and in that mindset, you are likely to immediately incur the wrath of the mob raging that if you don’t play along, somehow it’s all your fault if we get Republicans and all the corruption and lunacy that goes with that package. Maybe you’re a Republican Right Wing propagandist! No, maybe you’re even a Russian agent!
There are still so many people howling and raging about “how did we end up with Trump?!”, while still, somehow, being completely oblivious to the obvious clues, including what I have just been describing. In recent noise on the web, I have come across items like people writing commentaries arguing that people must vote, and vote D, because if we just eliminate the Republican party, then everything will be just fine! Elsewhere, in a somewhat broadly related theme, I came across something presented as serious commentary from serious people saying that we already have a “centrist” party, you know, to represent the sensible centrist middle of regular Americans tired of the squabbles of “radical” politics, the Democratic party (basically the Republican party auxiliary), the sensible adult bipartisans, who will just keep everything as it has been for decades, because that’s working so well!
Many things are completely lost on these people, such as something I have already pointed out more than once in recent times, cases like people like former congressmen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich finding themselves in remarkable agreement on many things, very important things, even as people have mocked and dismissed them as individually being either “radical far Right” or “radical far Left” eccentric nutballs.
It is very much a related topic to observe how many people in that general mindset completely miss the clues to be derived from the anecdotal items about people saying they liked Bernie Sanders, and might have voted for him in the November 2016 election, if he had not be eliminated as an option, and ended up voting for Trump, not only because Mrs. Clinton was so repulsive to them, for a long list of reasons, but because they desperately hoped that Trump would be some better option, by not being a standard party-line establishment career politician.
The tragic naiveté of that is a large topic by itself, but one aspect of the saga of President Trump is that many of those people saw him as somebody who would get control of the imperial warmonger neocon cult, which, by now, has been thoroughly shown to be not how things worked out. The most recent case of the moment would be news that the President wants to nullify US adherence to some nuclear arms treaty, with “credit” for this move said to be due to longtime dedicated neocon John Bolton, who now occupies a place at the side of the President as “National Security Advisor”.
For anybody who thinks “well, of course, that’s why we need to get rid of Republicans!”, it requires another reminder of, as just one piece of evidence, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s appointment of neocon princess Victoria Nuland, wife of a longtime neocon main figure, former employee of Vice President Dick Cheney (another main member of the neocon club), to the position of being the highest ranking US diplomat for the area of the world that includes Russia, and her role in the coup d’etat overthrowing an elected president in Ukraine.
Writing this in bits and pieces over days as I am, every time I come back to continue, some new bit of madness has arisen, and more likely than not, a whole batch of it has come forth. So, for now… enough.
The problem links section (becoming a regular new addition here; news stories and articles with serious problems up to and including being evidently outright false)… to put it in more blunt terms, The Department of Seriously Flawed and Questionable “News” and Outright Bullshit. In other words, read with scrutiny and skepticism. The tricky part is that sometimes, bits of fact and truth are actually in there somewhere. –