Easter Sunday has come and passed, a beautiful Spring day here. The week of the Christian calendar of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter was marred by the fire at the cathedral Notre-Dame in Paris. That was a terrible event, deeply sad to see, watching the live news video. However, I was a tad bemused, let’s say, to see some online items around on the web, with people posting the little digital graphic image mini-poster many people are mistakenly now calling “memes“, lamenting the loss of Notre-Dame. It is not lost. It is just badly dinged up. The damage is serious, but this is a place that is almost a millennium old, took nearly a century to build, as I understand it, and the wooden structure that was destroyed, the roof and spire, were themselves a 19th century rework project. The building is damaged. It is not destroyed. It might be a good lesson in perspective, especially here in a culture where people think that buildings 40 or 50 years old are due to be demolished and replaced with a new building.
There was a lot more in the news over the past couple of weeks, obviously.
The wretched state of news, as a large number of Americans get it (AKA “the mainstream news” that they believe is the only “real” and “legit” news), is a long running subject, and this matters. That is essential. It affects so much. I think that at this point, the United States today is more thoroughly inundated with propaganda than any culture in history, given the mass saturation bombardment of “media” in all its forms today. The irony is that so many people do not realize this, having not so much as a glimmer of a thought of consideration of the idea. I think it would be reasonable to guess that a very large number of people in the US would even laugh and mock the suggestion that the American population is bombarded with propaganda, actually demonstrating how effective it is. The propaganda, from outright lying to subtle misdirections and careful management of what gets attention, is so pervasive, so normal, that many people think it’s comical and idiotic to even suggest such things, that anyone claiming all this must be some paranoid deluded lunatic.
That’s a problem.
To generalize a bit, I think a lot of that phenomenon is easy to see, and many people are actually on to this. So many people will just get their news from, shall we say, the usual sources, what you might call the “mainstream media”, although using that term will trigger all kinds of assumptions in some people. It is an old subject, at this point, but with the “deregulation” of news media, and the mass absorption of ownership of media of all kinds into a relatively small number of corporations, and even, incredibly, legal changes at the federal government level actually allowing the government to pump out propaganda, we are not in a good state of affairs in this department. Extra twists come from people buying into the idea of a set of operations being the “real” news, “legit” news, just because of a combination of being long established and riding on laurels and reputations from, once upon a time, actually doing real journalism.
Added in to the mix, we have seen things like mysterious “sources” that are deeply suspicious in themselves compiling “blacklists” of loads of sources that might be called “alternative news” that are labeled in these kinds of things as “propaganda” and “Fake News”. There is great irony and stimulus for further confusion found in mixes of listings that are clearly complete bullshit, ranging from obvious parody, to really bad “parody”, where people just put false stories on some website that they think are “parody”, but lacking any humor and the kind of insight into truth you can get from good parody and satire, to sheer bullshit of the tabloid level, to very good, genuine, real journalism actually dealing with hard facts and detail.
It is a very bad state of affairs when so much of what people regard as genuine trustworthy news is loaded with propaganda, and genuine journalism is mocked as a joke or even declared outright as propaganda and false. One last factor is especially tragic and sad and aggravating, which is the way so many people seem to fall into the propaganda traps based on what has become a sadly naïve delusion, that we can’t have propaganda here in the United States, because we have our Free Press, guaranteed by the constitution!
Somehow, this notion still lingers, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Just one factor in this might be to notice that the constitution of the United States has been hammered to death by people supposedly sworn to protect and uphold it.
One big news item over the past couple of weeks was the news of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been isolated for several years trapped there under asylum, by a group of grim men who, as far as I know, have not been identified in terms of who they are working for. He had been granted political asylum by Ecuador, then, suddenly, that was just cancelled, null and void, while coincidentally, a new government leader in Ecuador just happens to have arranged a multibillion dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund, which cracks open a subject of its own.
Why Assange was dragged from his sanctuary is reported as being about a legal offense in Britain of a bail violation, which was based on arrest by British police for extradition to Sweden, based on investigation of accusations of some kind of unclear alleged sexual misbehavior, when any criminal charges in Sweden had been dropped as being unjustified long ago. The whole bail violation issue, obviously, should be null and void, irrelevant.
Some things should be very obvious to anybody with any sense. The reasons some people in positions of government power want Assange in a jail cell have nothing to do with some details of violations of British legal proceedings or alleged crimes that were found to be unsubstantiated long ago. One thing that is disturbing, and obvious evidence of how deeply people swallow propaganda, is finding that people I know, very smart people, parrot themes of “Assange is a bad man, he is a very bad man”, even seeing one person writing directly in communication to me declaring that Julian Assange is a sexual predator.
It is interesting to see how many people see the whole Wikileaks operation as some dastardly organization of foreign espionage, but never think of what is apparently just one part of the whole crazy world of spy versus spy games humans play of the trickery of “neutralizing” some “undesirable” character by means of some sexual scandal, whether real or some contrived fiction of false accusations.
The propaganda mind games are so pervasive and effective that even otherwise intelligent people will respond to any suggestion that Wikileaks is doing all of us a public service, by doing what our “free press” is supposed to be doing, revealing reality and truth of bad things done by people in positions of power and responsibility hidden away under the cover of “official secrecy”, by howling something to the effect of “oh, so you’re defending a Russian spy and rapist?!”.
There is a saying going around now that is fantastically relevant to more than one story of our time, that if revealing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you might be ruled by criminals.
Go back through recent history. Army intelligence person Bradley Manning gathers up evidence of what were simply appalling war crimes in Iraq, in a war that was defined by the Nuremberg trials as “a crime against peace”, starting a war attacking another country, passing it along to Wikileaks to show to the world. Manning was tortured and jailed for a long military prison sentence, although commuted by President Obama, and is now back in jail, apparently because the now “she”, “Chelsea” Manning, refuses to offer up false testimony saying that Julian Assange helped Bradley Manning in directly obtaining the digital files involved, to concoct a false case to imprison Assange for espionage.
The people involved in the horrific crimes in Iraq? That was quickly swept aside, with, as far as I can tell, some token punishments for Army personnel directly involved.
NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the information that the US government was, simply put, spying on everyone, in a total surveillance operation of all electronic communications in the US, a gross violation of the fourth amendment of the constitution, for one thing. The response? Was there widespread universal outrage across the nation about this? No, we mostly got people quietly accepting the noise about “traitor” Snowden and his betrayal of America and our National Security secrets, after all, it’s all just really about keeping us safe and fighting the War on Terror!
I was listening to an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in the last week or two with Rogan and his guest, friend and fellow comedian Tom Papa. Papa made some interesting comments about how we have a broad situation of people avoiding getting together and figuring out and solving problems that we all face, instead preferring to look for some groups of “others” to blame as the cause of everything. This is exactly what I have been saying for a long time now, particularly in the ugly mental malfunctions of bipolar political disorder.
Another big news item, obviously, was the fanfare of the release, sort of, of the “redacted version” of the Mueller report that so many people have been waiting for. The bipolar political disorder rages strong in response.
What I see, every day, is the howling and even raging of people still unable to come to terms with the idea that, somehow, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, a man whose flaws and general spectacular unsuitability for the office are too much to go into here, a topic that can, and certainly will be, the subject of many long books. I think I can offer a reasonable general explanation.
- Years of bombardment of programming the American people with the idea that our government is a “two-party system”, coming from, unsurprisingly, people in the parties now completely dominating our government, telling us, there is R and there is D and there can be no other. That, of course, is nonsense, and not only is there absolutely nothing in the founding documents and structure of the US federal government giving any power to political parties, or even mentioning them, this notion ignores statements by “founding fathers” men like George Washington and John Adams (off the top of my head, maybe others) specifically worrying about and warning against the idea of political parties gaining power and dominating government, usurping the control and will of the people.
- With that in place, and anyone not part of the R/D club dismissed and mocked in all kinds of ways, we arrived at the 2016 presidential election presented with Trump (R) and Clinton (D), with the latter, we should remember, being there after what we now know was all kinds of underhanded activity between the Clinton camp and the Democratic party (translation for Fox News viewers, this is the organization you know as “the Democrat party”), to ensure that Hillary Clinton, and only Hillary Clinton, could and would be the team D nominee. This, by the way, is one of the many ugly truths we discovered about Hillary Clinton thanks to the Wikileaks email reveal.
- Given these circumstances, the election happened, and Donald Trump, for god’s sake, became the new President, and large numbers of people were shocked and traumatized to such a severe degree that when the question was posed asking, how could anybody lose the election to that guy, they simply could not even register in their minds the simplest, Occam’s Razor answer: because Hillary Clinton is just that fucking bad.
It does get more complicated.
Given the above, there were plenty of people who, given the belief that these two awful people were their only choice, thought, gawd, Trump is bad, but I sure as hell cannot vote for Hillary Clinton. There were also people who, naively and foolishly, in my opinion, thought that Trump could actually be good. I think those people had to be out of their minds, but that brings us to one item, the idea that Trump won because people who voted for Trump are racist Nazi fascist sexist bigot morons. One of the manifestations of bipolar political disorder is an inability to even talk to people perceived to be of the evil other side, but I can tell you that personal observation and communication with people who actually voted for Trump reveal people doing so who I know to not be racist evil fascist morons, misguided and foolish as I think they were in this.
There were people who sincerely believed things Trump said that made them believe he would actually, being outside the Washington establishment, reign in the warmongering neocon cult and what President Eisenhower warned us about decades before as “the military-industrial complex”, while seeing the obvious, that Hillary Clinton certainly would not.
There is a whole large subject in this department, that could be summarized in terms of just one area where the reality of Hillary Clinton differs severely from the public relations sales marketing image of Hillary Clinton, summarized by saying that essentially, Hillary Clinton is Dick Cheney in a blonde wig and a woman’s pantsuit, while mouthing the platitudes like “fighting for working Americans and women and children”, because she calculates what she believes will make her most popular at that moment, regardless of clearly not giving a flying fuck about anybody or anything except that which will bring the most power and glory to Hillary Clinton. (The test of this, by the way, is simple, although it might take some time, which is, ignore anything Mrs. Clinton has ever said in self promotion TV interviews and speeches, and focus exclusively on what she has actually done.)
There is a whole silly side item in “you’re against Hillary because you’re a sexist misogynist bigot with your sexist hating hater hate of hating hate!”. If you encounter that argument, just ask the person involved “so what about Jill Stein, then?”. That could be interesting.
Unable to get to terms with the reality of what happened also produced the next bit, and back around to the Mueller investigation circus. In short- Hillary could only have possibly lost… because Russians! GAH!
That branches off into a dizzying array of twists and turns of lunacy.
One, of course… Hillary lost because Russians posted stuff on Facebook! This is so comical it just floors me in its monumental stupidity, but becomes not so funny at all when I see that really smart and otherwise sensible people actually believe this idiocy. The usual line is something along the lines of “Russians posing as Americans posted posts on Facebook to foment discord” and so on, with the twist being how many people pushing this idea will then turn around and post, daily, maybe many times every day, post assorted items on Facebook devoted to pushing the bipolar political disorder notions of what’s neatly defined as “their” side’s clichés about the evils of the neatly defined “other side”.
No… Russia attacked our democracy by posting stuff on Facebook!
A large part of the hopes of some people for the Mueller investigation was, in essence… Trump’s people talked to Russians! Mueller will find proof that Trump’s people talked to Russians! Just you watch!
The obvious sensible thing would be- well, alright, so, what if Trump’s people, or even Trump himself, has talked to Russians? People will go apeshit over this. The narrative that will then follow is obvious- “because the enemy Russia!”. Let’s get back to that later.
Now, obviously, you know all the arguments there; that the evil dictator Putin and his evil henchmen sought to destroy America and our democracy by installing their agent Trump, alternately, at various times, both alleged to be a scheming agent working with Putin for some sort of covert benefit in exchange for destroying America from within, or unwitting lackey, or even blackmail victim.
That brings up the whole infamous “Steele Dossier”, which, in actual reality, turned out to be a pile of complete horseshit, concocted with the Clinton organization, hiring some former British spy to go gather “dirt” on Trump, with the added irony of supposedly gathering “dirt” on Trump to use against Trump in the election by getting information from Russia. Would that be… um… “colluding with Russia to influence our election”?
Maybe more to the point is that the infamous Steel Dossier, which had all kinds of people chattering about how Trump was Putin’s secret puppet because video of Russian prostitutes pissed on Trump in a Russian hotel, or whatever they thought, was a complete pile of bullshit, something that various people have pulled apart in detail, with one summary you can read in short form here in this link.
One big item, in the minds of people in this kind of delirium, is back to Assange and Wikileaks. You know, the idea that Assange and Wikileaks is a covert Russian intelligence operation, with Wikileaks “hacking the DNC”, or Russian agent hackers hacking the DNC and releasing “Our Hillary’s secrets to attack our democracy and install Russian puppet Trump”.
The Mueller report, according to some summary commentary, supposedly verifies the whole “Russian attacked our democracy” narrative including “hacking Hillary’s email”, with, supposedly, some mysterious “Russian hacker” called “Guccifer 2.0” hacking American servers and delivering the goods to Wikileaks. Somebody doing actual journalism analyzed this stuff and reported on it. The general gist of this is that Wikileaks had the emails in question, and had announced they were releasing them, before what was reported by the Mueller investigation as Guccifer email contact with Wikileaks telling them basically “I got some stuff”, which this character then sent to Wikileaks (who thought this might be additional material to combine with what they already had), and turned out to basically be a packet of digital rubbish.
Assange and Wikileaks have said all along that not only did they not hack the servers involved, and neither did Russian hackers or any other hackers via the internet, but that it came from someone they would not identify, for ridiculously obvious reasons, who had direct access. The technical basis of support for that claim came from various people who thought the “internet hacking” narrative smelled funny, and in particular, former NSA Technical Director William Binney has clearly explained in many different places, including this video interview, that he investigated based on information he was given about the transfer of files in the supposed “hack”, and found that it was technically impossible for the data to have been transferred via an internet connection across the Atlantic in the kind of data rates told to him, but that the data transfer rates, on the other hand, were completely consistent with the speeds involved in communication through a USB port, as you would use to transfer data to a USB thumbdrive flash drive or external portable hard disk drive. (If you are in a hurry, go straight to 20 minutes into the video.)
The simple obvious story that has much more ring of truth to it in everything I see is that somebody within the general realm of The World of Hillary was just appalled and disgusted by what they saw around them, and thought, people must know about this. If you wonder why, the mass of emails holds the answer, and people have covered all that.
The broad general summary of what so many people failing to grasp the reality of the 2016 election and Mrs. Clinton is that people howl, in general summary, “Russians agents including Wikileaks hacked and attacked our democracy to steal Hillary’s emails and throw the election to Trump!”, and there is always a glaring ridiculous omission in this, which is in asking a simple question. How would this turn people against Clinton and make them vote for “Russia’s Trump”? Because in those emails, people discovered the revelation of vast evidence of the reality of Hillary Clinton that was severely in contradiction to the public relations sales image of Hillary Clinton. People found out who and what she really is.
This is still bizarre, to me, to try to grasp this- that the horrible crime, in the minds of people locked into this, was that people found the truth about Hillary Clinton. Jesus God almighty, do people really not understand what is wrong with this thinking?
But, I understand, there is a large chunk of the American population, horrified by the raging dumpster fire that is the presidency of Donald Trump, who basically stammer, stunned and bewildered, “but… but… we had to have Hillary! she was the not-Trump! she was the not-Trump! GAAAAAH!”. Regarding that, it is also hard to get through to people suffering from this to understand something that seems impossibly crazy and incomprehensible to them- that if we had gotten President Hillary Clinton, instead, that would have been a horror show, just a slightly different one, and, in some respects, possibly even worse.
A glaring reality that many people either cannot see or cannot face is the fact, a clear set of facts, really, that Hillary Clinton is a loyal member of the neocon cult, for just one item of the list of things wrong with her. There can be some confusion in the lingo, as she might be called a “neoliberal” in some case, not a “neoconservative”, with part of this seeming to revolve around the idea that the neocons, some mistakenly believe, is strictly an R-only club, which is not the reality. In short form, the “neoliberal” is essentially the same thing, except, in their propaganda, the idea of the US as a military empire controlling the entire world and launching warfare (or maybe starting with more subtle “sanctions”) is all, you know, for humanitarian reasons. (Basically, just selling the propaganda to a different audience.)
I have written much about the reality of what happened in Ukraine about 5 years ago, and you can browse back through notes here in this blog and read about all that. I repeated the general story many times, for the simple reason that the propaganda narrative here in this country is so grotesquely false, and endlessly repeated. I included loads of assorted news links about all that, examples of real journalism, covering it extensively. But I cannot make anybody go read it.
You might think you know all about it, “Russian invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s forcible seizure of Crimea”, subtly repeated in offhand fashion, often in that exact phrasing, in “news” here, so often, so consistently, that people buy it as fact, when that whole narrative is complete bullshit… but that narrative fits the whole neocon agenda and propaganda that holds any government in the world creating an obstacle to their rule of the planet as an enemy. The short version of the reality was that after an elected president in Ukraine decided to not sign some economic agreement Washington wanted, there was a not so subtle overthrow (more “regime change” games) and replacement by exactly the gang the neocons wanted, with the key central player Victoria Nuland… former employee of VP Dick Cheney, wife of neocon pundit and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century Robert Kagan, in her position of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, appointed by… Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
I could write about various aspects of this for some time. For a study, go back to the war lust for attacking and invading a country that had not attacked the United States, Iraq. Mrs. Clinton was all for it. Later, when it was completely obvious how wrong it was, what a mistake on so many levels, she disavowed it. Darn it, mistakes were made, oh well, gosh, we’re only human.
The not really so subtle reality of Hillary Clinton is something I have watched for years, it struck me long ago. I found that any time I watched her, speaking in public, if asked a question in some setting in front of TV cameras, with or without a live audience, I get, and have always gotten, an almost palpable sense, of watching the wheels turn in her head to quickly calculate her response to try to ensure that it would be the statement that would be most popular in that given context and time and place, revealing to me what I realized was very likely the only real genuine principle in the being of Hillary Clinton- whatever will further the ambitions of power and glory for Hillary Clinton.
Seriously, that’s it.
On this subject, anybody who might still hold the wishful thinking that President Donald Trump, on the other hand, was going to reign in the neocons, ought to be disabused of that notion by now, with his appointment of John Bolton, and the more recent addition of Elliot Abrams, another neocon, former Assistant Secretary of State, part of the “Iran-Contra” horror show, convicted of deceiving Congress (pardoned by President George H. W. Bush… surprise), and later a player in the Iraq War part 2.
Paul Craig Roberts had some interesting things to say that I think nail things on the head. To quote from his notes:
Someone should speak to the Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, and put him in touch with reality. According to a RT news report, Siluanov has called for restoring economic and political ties between Moscow and Washington.
Ties between the US and Russia were intentionally wrecked on purpose by the US military/security complex and its congressional and media vassals in order to provide the military/security complex with an enemy big enough to justify the $1,000 billion annual budget of the complex.
What does Siluanov think Russiagate was about other than to prevent Trump from normalizing relations with Russia?
The last president who tried to rein in the military/security complex was John F. Kennedy, and he was assassinated. On Trump they used Russiagate instead of bullets, and it proved almost as effective.
If Russian government officials continue to be victims of their dreams to be America’s partner, they and their country are headed to destruction. The Putin government’s toleration of a Fifth Column financed by Washington that is operating within Russia against the Russian government and Russian sovereignty indicates that the Russian government can’t get its mind around the fact that the neoconservatives intend to reestablish a unipolar world.
This is one tricky bit of ugly reality that is hard, if not impossible, to grasp for people who have the belief that all they have to do is press the D button in any election, whomever it actually is, and we’ll get the Good Guys. In the bizarre world of Trump, where reality and truth are fleeting and rare, this was one instance where, incredibly, there was a chance of something positive that he might do, to actually restore sanity in relations to Russia, against the wishes of the neocon warmonger lunatics, who, you have to understand, is a club that very much does include Mrs. Clinton. Nope.
So, at this point, despite everything I’m talking about (and there is so much more), some people will still be freaking out about Russia, Russians, Putin. Here’s something to recall.
Do you remember the circus of the 2012 “Presidential debates”? President Barack Obama versus Willard Romney. At one point, Romney made some statement about how in his view, the greatest geopolitical foe/threat was Russia. If you remember that, you might also remember how he was ridiculed for this, and rightly so, including the President politely reminding Mr. Romney that the Cold War was over, the Soviet Union was gone, and the Russian Federation was a friend and ally with good relations with the USA. Suddenly not long afterward, suddenly, inexplicably, it was “the enemy Russia!”. Why? What changed? It was the same government, doing the same. I thought this was very strange and suspicious, and it became apparent that the problem was that in Syria, President Bashir al-Assad refused to allow the construction of a natural gas pipeline from south of Syria (Qatar, if I remember right) through Syria. Suddenly, Assad was the evil dictator Assad… “Assad must go!”… time for some righteous “humanitarian” Freedom and Democracy Regime Change. The snag was, Putin and the Russian government made it clear that Syria was an ally and friendly relationship and they were not going to just sit back and watch while the Syrian government was overthrown and the country likely destroyed in another temper tantrum of the neocons not getting their way.
How about that?
Then came the coup overthrowing the Ukrainian government, a place that included the territory of Crimea, which had been part of Russia until 60 years previous, and when the people in Crimea, who were completely against the coup, and were literally coming under attack from the new gang in Kiev as a result, voted in a referendum to separate from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, so they did become Russia again… including the Russian naval base in Crimea on the Black Sea, their only Black Sea naval base (with Russia coastline on the Black Sea… that’s where Sochi is) that had been there about 200 years. (Suddenly, our news propaganda became “Russian invasion! Putin’s forced seizure of Crimea! Look at the Russian Aggression! See the Russian Aggression?”) Oh yeah… and among all the noise that followed, recall, perhaps, the pronouncements that European nations needed to step up and start shoveling out some cash for more military equipment and armaments from the US war supplies business, you know, to stave off that “Russian aggression!”.
Ever since then, I have been watching as Putin and Russians have become the enemy/villain du jour in virtually any fucking thing, including… Hillary Clinton loses the election, the candidate absolutely not just favored, but practically demanded by the whole neocon cult and the whole world of what some simply refer to as “the Deep State”, the people permanently entrenched in the government, unelected, unaccountable, who really run things, so… suddenly… look what Russia did!