“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” -Mark Twain
Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know. – M. K. Hubbert
The lunacy infecting American government is still going, arguably worse than ever, and it’s being obediently reinforced and propagated by what passes for a free press these days. We’re supposed to be getting some help from that free press, are we not? It keeps looking like a full-on press from some people to get a war going, even while that has a serious possibility to turn into World War III. That probably sounds melodramatic and even paranoid to many people, which is, in itself, an indicator of how bad this is. We have a situation that’s probably a perfect example of the old saying about people who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.
Like, for example, it appears that some people managed to learn absolutely nothing from the theatrics that got a war going invading Iraq, because of the (not) imminent (non) threat of Saddam Hussein and his (imaginary) weapons of mass destruction.
As it has been for a while now, the current set of events and circumstances features the ongoing circus of insanity revolving around Ukraine, a place in eastern Europe sharing a border with Russia along with a long interwoven history, thousands of miles from the United States of America, with no real relevance to anything involving the US, except by people in our government here in the US making it their business. Note that I said “their” business, not our business. The evidence piles up to show that it’s a case of they, and to those guys, phrases like “we the people” are just quaint little bits of theater used to dress up the show of pretending to democratically choose people in positions of power.
I caught a little bit of a TV news group discussion segment that really captured how useless those kinds of things are. The scene was typical, involving a host and a group of people who are regarded as much more important than they really are, this one discussing foreign policy. That being what it usually is, in this kind of show, one of the standard assumptions, a basic premise, was in place. That assumed premise basically says, there’s something happening somewhere in the world… what’s the president doing about it?
One part of it was about Syria and the situation surrounding the chemical weapons attack there about a half year ago. They chattered about Obama and how he handled it, framing the conversation in terms of what was a better choice, military action, launching more acts of war somewhere in the world, or diplomatic solutions. I soon realized, even though it was never clearly stated, just sort of implied, assumed, that the entire topic was based on the premise that Assad and the Syrian army had attacked civilians in a suburb of Damascus with chemical weapons. This was happening after months of reports that have shown pretty clearly that this was not what really happened.
The only question in that part of the chat was, then, how did Obama deal with that, or how should he have dealt with that? There seems to be little recognition and discussion of whether everything in the world is somehow part of the job responsibilities for the President of the United States.
It was as if it was a conversation taking place in, and talking about, some alternate reality, where nobody involved had ever been aware of the reports soon after the event, and reinforced more recently by more investigation. Those said that not only was it extremely doubtful that Assad and his army had anything to do with it, but that it was looking more and more certain that the whole horrific incident was committed by people who were staging something, to draw the US military into attacking Syria and possibly forcing Assad from power for them, thanks to Obama and his “red line” pronouncement.
Much of this kind of discussion, regular events in TV news (in lieu of actual news reporting researched and confirmed and accurate true facts), revolves around this kind of basic assumption, as a foundation of conversation, of something that’s distorted, incomplete, or just plain terribly wrong. That’s bad enough by itself, but then when it’s added to a presumption that there has to be some sort of action about anything and everything, and that action includes launching wars, this is a real problem.
That TV chat moved into the subject of the current Ukraine drama, and, given what I’ve just described, it should be an easy guess how that went. Instead of the messy and complicated truth, the basic assumption on any of these “news” chatfests parrots the same simplistic nonsense that poor Ukraine was just sitting there minding its own business when mean old evil Putin and Russian invaded and took them over because they wanted freedom and democracy.
Every now and then I find myself referring to a quote from James Howard Kunstler, that says when societies get badly stressed, delusional thinking increases, and we’re there now. A result of that unfortunate state of affairs is that I find myself frequently repeating many things, for a simple reason that relates to all of them, in all the various subjects. Things need to be repeated, in the hope that something will get through to somebody here and there, because the problems they’re about still persist, and are even getting worse, and part of that is probably mostly because people are fed the same repeating fiction and nonsense, day after day, over and over and over.
The “Ukraine Crisis” is just the latest.
I know I’ve tried to do my bit in offering a summary of that situation here in recent notes, I don’t know, maybe about a half dozen times by now, along with loads of links to news stories and articles.
In what passes for news on that Crisis (as in a Newspeak Crisis, as distinct from a crisis), there is usually little to nothing mentioned about how there was no “Russian threat” or “Russian aggression” until the democratically elected leader of national government in Ukraine was forced out of the country by rioting neo-Nazi goons charging in to join US government approved technocrats (or, we might argue, force themselves into power with those guys) in coup d’état, putsch, junta, to take over.
Key phrases programmed into people’s heads include “Russian invasion”, when it turns out the Russian navy has been in their Black Sea coast base in Crimea for a couple of centuries.
Right now, the big US news attention is on increasing violence and trouble in places in eastern Ukraine where the people wanting to stay close to Russia, maybe even split from Ukraine and rejoin Russia (as much of that territory had been in the past), are being attacked by the Ukrainian army under orders of the junta government that has taken over in Ukraine, complete with propaganda about the Russian separatists being “terrorists”.
Even that looks to be messy and complicated. It’s turning out to be that, when ordered to attack people who, at this point, are still Ukrainians (although the whole question of identity of being Ukrainians, or “Russian-Ukrainians” who want to be Russians since the coup in Kiev, is a complicated issue at this point), many of the people of the Ukrainian army and police forces are not exactly happy about this, and are either refusing to attack those people, or just mingling with or surrendering to the locals rebelling there.
One of the most recent news items was a dog and pony show of President Obama standing at a lectern outside the White House, alongside Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, to make imperious pronouncements, and admonitions about “new sanctions” based on a new trigger issue, that being warning Russia that if Russia interferes with the coming elections in Ukraine, there will be more costs and consequences and blah blah blah.
That’s amazing. If Russia interferes in matters of Ukrainian government? Apparently it was alright for Assistant Secretary of State Nuland to be picking the new leaders of the Ukrainian government with the US Ambassador to the country, while there was an elected government in place there. It’s not supposed to be alright for the Russians to be concerned about this happening in the country next door.
As events pile up almost too fast to keep track, even if you’re really trying to pay attention, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland popped up in an amazing appearance before a congressional committee.
I just caught a TV news glimpse, but what I did catch included a demonstration of staggering audacity, as a stern looking Nuland made a statement of admonition directed toward the Russian government to “do the right thing” in Ukraine. This, for review, was the very same Victoria Nuland caught in a phone conversation months ago with the US Ambassador to Ukraine, before the coup in Kiev, when the two of them were discussing the plans for their picks to rule the national government in Ukraine (including the infamous “fuck the EU!” comment from Nuland because the leaders of EU member countries were not getting with the program of the US plan). Let’s recall again that this same Victoria Nuland is married to longtime devoted neocon Robert Kagan, part of the cult dedicated to domination of the world by the US government (with, we should all keep in mind, no say about any of it by the people of the United States).
The scene with Obama and Merkel, all by itself, was more than a little absurd, prompting me to think about the revelations not long ago that the NSA is apparently keeping surveillance going on damned near everybody, including Angela Merkel, the leader of national government of Germany.
A prime question to ask about the whole “Ukrainian Crisis” insanity is: why, exactly, is Washington so extremely interested in government affairs in Ukraine?
What, exactly, is the purpose, meddling with a place thousands of miles away, with virtually no relevance to the United States, and right on Russia’s border, with a long running history and relationship to Russia?
I happened to catch just a minute or two of a press conference of Secretary of Defense Hagel. I think I probably caught the essential part, which was that Hagel was talking about conversation with others in similar roles in government in NATO member nations.
Hagel was expounding on the notion that all of the NATO member countries have a sudden new urgent need to jack up their levels of spending their nation’s money on more and more “defense” hardware and activities, you know, because of the new threat to European peace and security from the new “aggression” from the Soviet… er… Russia.
That right there should be a big clue about what’s going on.
It has the smell of the neocon lunatics pushing for a new Cold War perpetual drama that includes cranking up the expensive war machine, with a suspicion of what likely goes with that, oh, don’t worry, our Defense Industry here in the US will be glad to help you by selling you lots of new and improved war machinery, along with, we (the US government) will gladly help keep you safe and secure from the mean old Russians rolling across Europe, if you play ball and do everything we tell you!
I can hardly claim to know with certainty what any and all intentions are and have been in all this circus of madness, but Hagel’s PR performance was just one of an overwhelming series of events and statements that just reek. That was just one piece of a larger messy story of propaganda, reality massively distorted, as the State Department and other parties try to weave a narrative that confuses nearly everything involved, to cover their dangerous lunacy and sheer stupidity. That media show was one piece of this, cranking up (or trying hard, anyway) fear and hysteria about what’s supposed to be some renewed Cold War threat of the nasty evil menacing Empire of the Russian Bear, despite the fact that there was no trouble at all in the region in this respect, before recent events, and even with everything that has been happening, the Russians seem to have stayed remarkably steady and restrained about it all, all things considered.
All the recent events have been remarkably warped by the news infotainment media being fed lying and nonsense by the government.
Characters in the State Department and elsewhere government figured they could be what at least they thought was clever, and take advantage of some serious unhappiness among some Ukrainians with a rotten leader, but at least a democratically elected leader, to manipulate things into a little “regime change” in a nation on Russia’s border, and install a puppet government subservient to the US (albeit with some show of doing it by proxy by manipulated and coerced European governments). That backfired, very badly, extraordinarily badly, and the bullshit to try to cover the mess began and has continued nonstop.
Part of the trouble is that people are so busy and even overwhelmed with their own daily affairs that they don’t pay any attention to the wider world. They might be only catching bits of TV news, maybe a paper or web news, and only getting the infotainment media faux news that shovels outright propaganda or simple honest (but inexcusable) misunderstanding at them.
It’s worse with a simple state of things where an unbelievable number of Americans, mainly of older age ranges, actually seem to think that Russia is still the Soviet Union, and a communist country. Given all of these kinds of problems, it’s not hard to understand how so many Americans are carrying around vague notions of what has been happening that are borderline delusional they’re so far off from reality. For example, the idea that Russia suddenly invaded Ukraine and took over a naval base in Crimea, the Black Sea coastal naval base where the Russian navy has been for a couple of centuries (including the USSR era when it was the Soviet navy, while Ukraine was a member republic of the USSR).
All this is made more complicated by our little Bipolar Political Disorder problem.
A few days ago I sat down to watch an hour of TV entertainment, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (which is great). The first guest was CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, who is well known and has been around for years with a reputation of being a serious reporter of world events.
The interview segment started off with Ferguson joking about Amanpour being a fellow member of the showbiz entertainment community. Amanpour objected to that, responding to that seriously, basically saying, oh, no, in her experience the TV news people take their job as journalists seeking and reporting the truth very seriously, even at the risk of their own safety.
That made the next few minutes even worse. The two of them got into an actual serious about the subject of happenings in Ukraine. That was pretty disappointing, but it probably should not have been surprising. It essentially just ended up being a repetition of all the standard narrative of the US government and compliant media, the infotainment machine that Ferguson referred to, with Amanpour’s objections. It even (unsurprisingly) included one of the running memes of nonsense, the theme of “Putin is like Hitler… Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia in 1938, Putin annexed Crimea, same thing…“, making an appearance of being a studied historical reference that offers us lessons from the past about present events, when this is a seriously flawed notion that takes some explanation to sort out, to reveal as mostly nonsense, not a good analogy at all.
In Ferguson’s case, this was somewhat understandable, because this is what people are being dosed with, daily, to absolute saturation levels, until it becomes a pervasive “common knowledge”. Which, of course, is what propaganda is and does. In the case of Christiane Amanpour, it’s inexcusable.
The Ukraine clusterfuck of lying and manipulation is just one of the ongoing problems we have with serious reality distortion. In other news just in recent days, there were news stories about new official government reports about unemployment statistics. That alone is a classic and ongoing saga of a divorce between officialdom, “news”, and actual reality.
I’ve been over this before. The same story repeats.
Sometimes it’s the official report of unemployment as a percentage supposedly improving microscopically, sometimes not, with any decrease in that number hailed by some as part of “recovery” (unless it’s Republican politicians or Fox News or that whole cult).
Other people, like those just mentioned, will chatter that it’s false “recovery”, but then they’ll babble nonsense about “discouraged workers leaving the workforce and giving up looking for work”, which is just stark idiocy. The whole thing revolves around counting statistics about people filing weekly claims for unemployment insurance. As far as I know, it seems like pretty much every program for this includes checking some box on a form to say something like “I was unemployed during this week and was trying to find paid employment”.
The recurring chatter about “discouraged workers giving up” and so on, simply counting fewer people as part of the statistical “workforce”, is clearly and completely obviously a simple matter of no longer even counting people if they have exhausted all available unemployment insurance, and are not officially declaring themselves as “looking for work”. Incredibly, people go on TV news and give speeches and seriously suggest that if people who are unemployed have been shoved overboard a second time, essentially, no longer even having the pathetic pittance of unemployment insurance payments, that they then completely give up and stop looking for work. Every time I witness this I marvel at it, wondering, are these people genuinely this fucking stupid, or do they think all of us are this fucking stupid?
The Ukraine insanity and fog of unreality obscuring and confusing extremely serious actual reality has been the main theme of my last few notes here on the theme of fakery, pretense, outright lying, all the different ways reality can be distorted, but that drama is just one of many.
I keep coming back to the Ukraine dramas for reasons that should be obvious by now. Events keep rolling along, not just on the scene there, thousands of miles away, but the psychosis about the circumstances, from people who should not even be getting involved.
There is, of course, much more, like the almost bizarre maintenance of a narrative of unreality concerning unemployment, with that being just one facet of the maintenance of almost bizarre pretense and lying and general unreality about just about anything under the subject heading of “the economy”.
It might almost sound like a cliché, but we have on our hands, right here and now, circumstances and events that are like the fictional warning tales of Orwell and Huxley. It features our government, and a compliant “news media” (instead of a functional free press), in what looks more and more like a cooperative program to keep everybody distracted and thoroughly confused and misinformed. The obvious question might be “why?”, but the most likely answer is also just as obvious, which is about keeping people distracted from more immediate and closer problems, right here, right now.
Whipping up a good war fever, about some proclaimed threat from an outside bogeyman enemy, always works as a distraction and diversion, a lesson we should all have learned from history. We still have the ongoing repercussions of the Orwellian named “Patriot Act” as a perfect example of something, and it has been some time now since Edward Snowden’s revelations of just how bad the police state has become, here in “The Land of the Free”, which have turned out to be, in truth, arguably even worse than the imagination of any paranoid “tinfoil hat” nutter. The phrase “truth is stranger than fiction” has a certain resonance here.
I flipped on a TV to see what was happening on CNN, and it was more pseudo-news coverage of “the Ukrainian Crisis” which just continued the latest events skewed and distorted and featuring just plain lying. In the short period I watched, one bit of “reporting” was talking head Jake Tapper with studio guest Michael Hayden, former Bush era NSA director, who then became the CIA director. Why would anybody believe a word this man says?
That follows right in step with all the rest of the nonsense and reality warp propaganda about not just the Ukrainian situation. It’s a broadly similar routine about other things, such as economic/financial matters, including mass unemployment as I mentioned, stock market games as an indication of a “recovering” economy, and all the rest of the delusions and continuing uncorrected malfunctions and frauds. The entire subject of energy matters is the same kind of thing, with a parade of characters spewing warped nonsense, with the presentation of PR shills like Daniel Yergin.
As I’ve said before, an extra twist to all this is that serious misunderstanding of the general situation in hydrocarbons resources factor into a lot of the recent delusional thinking about the Ukraine situation, in ridiculous notions that the US is going to start exporting natural gas, in the form of LNG, to Europe, because the US, they think, has become “the new Saudi Arabia”, in natural gas and petroleum. I’ve been over all that about a million times.
The Ukraine situation might arguably be the biggest and worst immediate problem with a particular characteristic to it, and by biggest and worst, I do not mean that Russia is some menacing threat to world peace. Actually, it’s becoming more unavoidable to face up to the biggest threat to the world being the domination of American government by the neocon lunatics and their lying and megalomania. The thing is, people manage to ignore it, at least right here. I think that elsewhere in the world, this is not going unnoticed by people.
The bigger picture general problem, with the “Ukraine Crisis” narrative being just one item, is a running problem of pretense, falsehood, circuses of infotainment distractions, raw lying and more subtle manipulations, confusion, misinformation, and even serious honest to god full on delusions. I’ve written loads of pages here over several years about this kind of thing under the subject of energy issues, but that’s just one portion of the large set of complex matters we have to deal with, and are not dealing with, because of this epic epidemic of unreality.
[Notice that the page above is from August 2008, and the propaganda push trying to do what the article is talking about is underway right now.]