I’m thinking that’s about enough with the bird metaphors of late, but the same general issue still hangs around, not any better. I’m talking about the phenomenon of groupthink. Reality becomes superseded by conforming to what’s held to be true and valid by your group, your bunch, flock, herd, tribe, however you might like to put it.
It strikes me as significant to hear some morning radio news, and find a story about some official ceremony in Afghanistan, involving the US military present there, still there in the “war” that was never declared a war, after 13 years. The ceremony, it’s reported, is to officially end “US combat operations” involvement, and hand off to whatever there is of Afghan officialdom.
By coincidence, just within the last week or so, I found myself sitting in front of a television for a few minutes, idly channel-grazing, and coming across a movie on one of the cable networks. The movie was the 1998 film Rambo III. Oddly enough, I had this same experience not long ago, sometime in the past few months. I only watched a few minutes each time, just enough to recall that I had seen some portion in the past and there were better things to do than sit in front of the TV anyway. It was enough to remember the basic story. I mentioned this movie in a note here after I encountered it randomly a while back.
This thing was the third round of a movie featuring the main character of John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam combat vet, after Hollywood movie executives decided that movies with this character attracted enough money to turn it into a “franchise”. This time around, in the late eighties, the plot was to have Rambo go off to Afghanistan. Why? Hero character Rambo was assigned the mission to go help the poor oppressed underdogs the Mujahidin in Afghanistan, in their struggle against all odds to defend themselves and their families and homes against the evil invaders of the Soviet Union. I vaguely remember the last time I stumbled across this movie, somewhere in the middle, and sticking around long enough to watch a few minutes of a scene where Rambo is sitting around a camp with some of the Mujahidin bunch having some sort of strategy session. One of the elders/commanders delivers a soliloquy, complete with melancholy emotional musical score underlying it, as he tells Rambo an emotional tale, of the poor humble people, simply wanting to live in peace in their homes with their children, under attack by the evil Soviet invaders, fighting the good fight. Rambo and America are here to help! This is the band of loosely organized guerilla fighters that, according to then President Reagan and his people, were “freedom fighters”, who desperately needed America’s help.
The Mujahidin, if that word seems familiar but you can’t quite place it, would be basically the loose band of characters who were in Afghanistan organized and commanded by a Saudi rich-kid called Osama bin Laden.
It was about 13 years later before the same bunch were suddenly the evil enemies of America who attacked us on 9-11 because they hate our freedoms and must be defeated in the oxymoronically named War on Terror (presumably to be fought until Terror sits down at a table somewhere and signs a surrender or treaty agreement).
In a slightly similar scenario, back around the same period, we had things like Reagan official Donald Rumsfield going to pose for photos among meetings with America’s good buddy, friend, and ally Saddam Hussein, some years before Donald Rumsfield became Secretary of Defense leading the war to save the world and stabilize the middle east and liberate Iraq and bring the freedom and democracy, to depose the evil villain Saddam Hussein.
Thinking about all this, which, by the way, I think I’m repeating, having said all this in some previous note, it makes me think about George Orwell’s 1984, and the bit about “but we’ve always been at war with Eastasia“.
At some point, you have to ask the question; do we ever learn?
That involves another question- are we, perhaps, sometimes being told lies? And from there… why?
Right now, anybody paying attention here will know, if for no other reason than the fact I’ve been writing about it so much, and relaying links to piles of factual articles and general commentary from a variety of sources, about the situation that has been happening in Ukraine, and the associated international political madness. I would hope that people would know about it without me passing anything along and pointing things out, but that runs into severe problems. Basically, what passes for news here, as I’ve been saying, has degenerated into raw propaganda, consisting of a mix of various methods of distortion of reality, or just plain blatant outright lying.
Again, this is old news to anybody paying attention, so I’ll try to not turn this into a full rehash of the whole messy story. It’s a puzzle why the US government would take any interest in Ukraine at all. From everything I can gather about it, the place is an economic basket case, and as described by people who know the region well, the realm of politics and government is a cesspool snakepit of corruption and misconduct, a power struggle among thugs and thieves. From everything available, the apparent conclusion is that players in the US government of the neocon variety only cared about anything there because they saw some squabbling there offering a way to take advantage and manipulate circumstances and people to get a different set of corrupt bastards in power, who would be, shall we say, more cooperative with the EU, NATO, and, by association and domination, the US neocons. Why? It looks to be fairly simple, and ugly. In simplest form, it’s just part of the ongoing neocon quest to achieve world domination. In this case, the machinations and manipulations (and lying for diversions) are to work toward every nation on Russia’s European borders separated economically from Russia, and associated with NATO (under the domination of the US) militarily, to just surround Russia, and make the message clear… we rule the world, so stay out of everything, or there will be ‘consequences’!
I had not paid any attention to Ukraine, neither did I care, until the news broke about the infamous “fuck the EU!” comment from a leaked recorded phone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, an outburst that turned out to be from Nuland’s annoyance with European government leaders not getting with the program and agreeing with her choices for people to take power in Ukraine following the coup d’etat overthrowing an elected president… that had not yet happened.
That would be, as I’ve pointed out often, Victoria Nuland, former advisor to VP Dick Cheney, wife of neocon main character and cofounder of Project for the New American Century, Robert Kagan, part of the group whose basic philosophy and goals have been, quite simply, to control the world.
Ask people about Ukraine, and it’s probably almost guaranteed that most people here in the US will rattle off the fiction and nonsense we’ve been fed, about what we’re supposed to think, about “Russian invasion of Ukraine”, “Russia’s illegal seizure of Crimea”, and the supposed imminent threat of “Russian aggression”. It’s a disgustingly effective cover for the maneuvering to not just overthrow a democratically elected government leader in another nation thousands of miles away (and on Russia’s border, with a long history shared by the two countries), and even worse, help to install actual fascist neo-Nazis (or, simply, Nazis, period) into government power. The “invasion” of Crimea was the Russian military there associated with their Black Sea naval base in Crimea, where they’ve been (with agreement with Ukraine since the breakup of the USSR) for a couple of centuries, the “illegal annexation” being the result of an actual democratic election called for by the Crimean parliament, with something like 8 or 9 out of 10 Crimean voters choosing to reject the coup that took power in Kiev, and ask to become part of Russia again, as it had been until 1954… this is just part of the old news about the whole saga that is much different from the outright propaganda fed by the State Department, White House, and what passes for news media.
Sorry, again, for the repetition, to the people who already know about it all, but people are still lost in the fog of lying and confusion generated by politicians. For some of those people, far too many, the kind of lockstep obedience to what they see as their own tribal affiliations and loyalties, between what they see as “their side” and the “other side”, make it much more difficult to get past the noisy propaganda and see what’s happening as it is.
In a couple of the articles linked above, you can find that not everybody is locked into the twisted knots of combinations of party dogma and cliches and raw lying that afflicts so much of American politics. You find, for example, that among other people, a pair of former congressmen, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, both understand very well the reality in Ukraine and outside influences at work, contrary to the bullshit propagated about it by the neocon cult and their associates, including, unfortunately, the current president. Name those two men to many Americans, and you’re likely to immediately get all kinds of reflex programmed chatter about them, based on notions of Kucinich being some “radical leftist” and Ron Paul being “radical right-wing” and so on. There they are, both seeing and speaking the truth, and in virtual completely agreement.
How about that? This is utterly baffling to people afflicted with what I’ve been calling Bipolar Political Disorder.
Incidentally, this might sound completely trivial and a pointless diversion, but here’s a short side item. Half listening on and off to mid-day radio news, I just found myself hearing a “news” segment about “what’s happening in Social Media over the weekend”, with a few minutes of yapping about, well, just ridiculous pointless fooling around. How about that “information highway”, eh?
[It just occurred to me that we used to hear that phrase a lot, “information highway”, but that term pretty much disappeared. In a very real sense, the forms of communication carried via the internet genuinely does form a kind of information highway, a great tool, but this also cracks open the door to the subject of how much sheer bullshit there is to sort through, along with the general frivolous stupidity that pollutes so much of it.]
Other things happened in “social media” over the weekend, and it was pretty sad. It was a fine example of the problem of bipolar political disorder.
There were two different items on hand, actually, both “shares” posted on a Facebook page. One was a link to an article suggesting that President Obama could be “the comeback kid”, meaning, essentially, that now that he’s getting into the last half of his second term, and given the results of the congressional mid-term elections, which will be putting both chambers of Congress under the majority domination of the Brand R tribe, he might get some sort of burst of life and, somehow, become what he was supposed to have been when he became president.
I expressed suitable skepticism.
There were objections, in social media world, from people who seem sadly unable, for whatever reasons, to grasp and/or accept that what they hoped Obama would be is not what we got, and seem to believe that he is what they thought he was, despite all evidence of almost six years telling them otherwise.
In another item (a “share”, from the same guy), there was a one liner from Andy Borowitz, a writer of satire, who made a bit of a satirical joke to make a point about something very serious. The key here is that part of that was using, as a point of reference, the idea that President Obama has “fixed the economy”, with it being necessary, for the one liner to work, to assume as general accepted common knowledge that Obama has fixed the economy.
I called bullshit, simply put, for the basic reason that the idea that the economy is “fixed” is deluded nonsense, never mind arguing a question of whether or not Obama deserves credit for the thing that hasn’t really happened.
That got interesting reactions.
The details of what was wrong with this notion of “Obama fixed the economy” is a subject for another note.
In the meantime, here’s something.
After my initial comment (which, from memory, I think was “let’s see what happens if he fixes the economy”), one guy pretty much went apeshit. One comment was that my comment I just quoted was “partisan” (and “ignorant”, too!), later in the string of comments, another participant (it was on his page, his “share”) offered an explanation that basically said, about me, he’s much further to the left than Obama, so he thinks Obama is right-wing… and later, others opined that I was “…typical Republican… typical GOP… Conservative…“.