1. Who are you?
Bluto: “I'm so mean, I had a dream of beatin myself up. I broke my nose, I broke my hand, I wrestled myself to the ground and then, I choked myself to death and broke the choke, and woke up. Aaaarrrrrrgh…I'm mean. You know what I mean?”
Popeye: “I yam what I yam and that’s what I yam…I yam Popeye the Sailor Man…And I got a lotta muscle and I only gots one eye…And I'll never hurt nobodys and I'll never tell a lie…Me top to me bottom and me bottom to me top…That's the way it is 'til the day that I drop”
2. Why bother?
Regular readers of this blog know that I write predominantly about three subjects: illiterate economic policy, hegemonic foreign policy, and the complicity of the press with both – sometimes all three in the same piece. The latter, because they are linked: the monetary system feeds the war machine…and the press are either too dumb, or too spineless to challenge either.
Last week I wrote a piece entitled ‘Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right’:
On the surface it was a piece about how the media in general, and the FT in particular, is colluding with a phoney narrative – by slavishly covering Trump’s insult war with CNN, but ignoring CNN’s promotion of stories that even its own executives believe to be ‘bullshit’ …in pursuit of ‘ratings’...AKA Advertising revenue. I have received a number of thought-provoking responses to that piece. Here are a couple of the most telling and challenging remarks:
From ‘Tsotsi’ via the comments section:
“There is, however, a problem: the agony or angst of knowing, versus the impotence to do anything about it. We are surrounded by fools who neither know nor care they do not know. The idiocracy is nearly complete. Which is driving me insane. ‘Those the Gods wish to destroy, they first drive insane'”
And from ‘D’ via email:
(Why do you write about)…essentially the pent up frustrations and petty grievances of small men, and the pathetic voyeurism, which entices one to look, like passing a car-crash. Why should I care what Trump tweets at this stage? Why should I care what CNN or Fox or the FT print? The FT pays Summers for his column for crying out loud! Don't we already know that they are biased?
…it’s the people that demand this rubbish, they WANT it, they really do. The FT gives them that, they want the bias. Too much truth spoils the party. The people are the problem…”
I get it. As Tsotsi says: We are governed by dangerous fools and it is incredibly frustrating not knowing what to do about it.
And as ‘D’ truthfully reminds me, not for the first time, people do WANT this stuff on some level. We do get the politicians we deserve, and the fact that I believe I deserve better changes nothing…so why bother?
Here are my thoughts:
On a deeper level the CNN garbage is just one symptom of a far bigger danger that I perceive. I have written previously about how the last three presidents have arrived at the White House promising to cease being the world’s cop, to stop the incessant tampering with how others choose to live, to pursue a non-interventionist foreign policy - only to reverse this stance quickly and disastrously, albeit reluctantly in the case of President Obama:
The constellation of forces that we face currently, includes a number of factors that I believe are leading us into a war - ostensibly a Middle-Eastern war – but in essence a war with Russia:
(i) We have an American President who is loathed by a western establishment already shaken by a ‘backlash’ in elections and referenda across Europe. A backlash that a compliant media eagerly labels as ‘populism’…out of a desire to a) invalidate the motives of the opposition, b) to avoid responsibility for the consequences of their own policies…and c) frankly, because most of them are not terribly bright
(ii) Despite his macho posturing, Trump is a weak character. He covets appreciation, and is obsessed with what he perceives as ‘unfair criticism’. He is right about much of the criticism…but that is not the point…there is a far bigger danger: Trump is being ‘played’ by forces that Eisenhower described as ‘the military-industrial complex’. Call them neo-conservatives; call them the deep state; call them George for all I care: The vested interests that owned Bush, the vested interests that Obama referred to as ‘The Blob’…have effectively taken control of US Foreign policy. You want signs?
a) Trump has given control of US military strikes to a group of generals who are vehemently anti-Russia.
b) The one military guy he appointed who was not a raving Russophobe, Michael Flynn, was quickly taken down for doing what all transitional National Security Advisors do – begin talking to key foreign officials. The guy who pulled the plug on Flynn was Vice-President Mike Pence, a fully paid up ideologue and Russophobe. Go figure.
In short: When you have a president who is ‘surrounded’ and desperate for approval…who only gets it when he plays rough overseas…what do you think you’re going to get?
(iii) The neo-conservative philosophy known as ‘the Wolfowitz doctrine’ is still in play – surround and subdue Russia:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defence strategy and requires that we endeavour to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power” – Paul Wolfowitz, US Deputy Secretary of Defence, 2001-2005
(iv) The CIA has a long history of false flag operations, which are employed in service of the larger objective of regime change. The 2011 Assad ‘chemical weapons attack’, has been thoroughly debunked by a number of independent scientists with the ‘balls’ to show and tell. One of these is Dr Postol of MIT, who has similarly debunked the latest attack:
(v) Putin is having none of it, and will have none of it. I do not believe that the Trump Administration understands the nature of the guy they are dealing with, and are making little attempt to understand what makes him ‘tick’. Any advice Trump receives from the CIA or his generals will be based on the agenda of the Wolfowitz doctrine mentioned above. Putin knows this.
(vi) The media is continuing to suppress any alternative narrative to the one being accompanied by war drums. E.G1: The chorus of howls that has met Oliver Stone’s interviews with Putin would be laughable were it not a sign of just how blinkered the media is. E.G2: The latest article on Syria by Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize winner, has been firmly ‘blanked’ by the US media. Fortunately, it was published in Germany:
3. So…what can you do?
“Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together"
Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 1961
“I’ve stoods enough, I can’t stands no more…(bursts open can of spinach and showers it down in one gulp)…da dadla dat dada, da dadla dat dada, da dadla dadla dadla dadla, dadla dat dada…boing…biff-bang-wallop…arf arf arf”
Popeye the Sailor Man, a long while back
I can tell you the reason why I bother, and why I keep banging on about this stuff. In a nutshell:
Because there are bad guys out there who promote warfare and the perpetual threat of warfare…for power and for profit. And there are good guys who see through it. And there are people who can’t or won’t tell the difference. In order to maintain control, the war pedlars require the slumber of the people who can’t tell the difference (the masses), and the complicity of the people who won’t (the press). A citizenship that is ‘awake’ is anathema and antidote.
So I’m encouraging the good guys to talk more and eat lots of spinach.
To anyone else who has ‘stoods enough’ - a piece of advice: welcome challenge from the ‘awake'…but don’t expect thanks from the sleepy or agreement from the complicit. JFDI.