If the right hand doesn’t get you the left hand will

Isn’t it great that in America we have a robust democracy where each political party represents a clear coalition and is responsive to the will of its voters?

Oh, wait.

At a Friday event commemorating the 20th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) hosted by the George W Bush Institute, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke glowingly of the president who instituted the program in 2003. “I’ll just say this honestly, that the Bush family, it’s because of their humanity, their faith, their generosity of spirit, their compassion,” said Pelosi. “Once again, it’s an honor to be associated with President Bush in this.”

According to the way-back machine, 20 years ago George W. Bush was also preparing to launch the invasion of Iraq, which would inflict unfathomable death and destruction upon our world which continues to unfold to this day. Historians in the future will not use “humanity, faith, generosity of spirit and compassion” to describe Bush’s behavior, but Nancy’s praise offers an unintended view into the “supposed” venomous partisanship that bedevils our fair republic.

It’s possible that public opinion plays some role in the functioning of a democracy, but no one has been able to explain what that role is. Instead, they will talk about voting as the way the public is able to express themselves. However, it’s an obvious fact that voting does not change the course the US government. I mean, just look around at the actions of the US government, under Republican or Democratic rule and compare their behavior to opinion polling and see that there is a vast chasm.

Now that monarchies have been reduced to a ceremonial function we are left with autocracy, democracy and oligarchy, usually in that specific historical sequence. In America we celebrate our “wonderful” system of representative democracy even as we are way closer to an oligarchy. It appears that democracies are easy to subvert with money and power. And by oligarchy I mean the relentlessly advancing, immoral rule by the rich, whose predatory governance benefits only themselves.

To understand how we got here it imperative to focus on the function that our political parties play in this transformation from representative democracy to oligarchy, and not be fooled by the cultural wars both Republicans and Democrats utilize to divide and rule for their true constituents. The reality is that our political system has increasingly consolidated into a one-party state controlled by a unified corporate media.

Just as an example of the malign dynamic: Both Democrats and Republicans are braying for a conflict with China, in addition to advocating total war against Russia.

I know.

Do you think there might be a backstory to this belligerence towards China that they’re not talking about?

US corporations, with the cover of both political parties, betrayed American workers by moving their manufacturing and production to China. In other words, Republicans and Democrats aided and abetted a massive theft from American workers. $50 trillion to be precise. So who is actually responsible for the rise of China? Western corporations are responsible. If Americans want to blame someone, blame them. Only now our political class, with their corporate media cheerleaders are busy advocating war with China. These same corporate mandarins and other elites are unhappy with China because China will not allow them to take control over their markets, financial system and currency as they have in America.

What’s amazing is that even a few years ago US elites imagined that globalization was unstoppable and they were the “masters of the universe”. We would all bow down before their techno-futurist imaginings of our shared global future. And it was to be too a clear validation that it was they who were on the “right side of history”, in stark contrast to those “others” (Russia, China and Iran) who stood unmasked as history’s autocrats. 

Who says that history doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Meanwhile, another train in the US has derailed

It’s ironic that the party that claims to be the party of workers-the Democrats-is AWOL leaving the field open for Trump and other faux-populist Republicans to grandstand. Last week, ahead of either President Joe Biden or Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Donald Trump paid a visit to East Palestine, Ohio, and denounced the administration for its response to the catastrophic train derailment that devastated that community earlier this month. The Democratic Party has been trending away from representing working-class Americans since Carter but the election of Donald Trump sent this into overdrive. Many commentators ask. “What happened to the Democrats? Why do they support war, why are they aligned with big business, why are they openly disdainful of the working class while embracing Identity Politics?”

The problem, in a nutshell, is that the modern Democratic Party has come to worship markets as the solution to governance, aping Republicans. We can’t have government doing anything positive for Americans, after all. Even after Covid the Biden Administration let broader social programs enacted during the pandemic, like universal free school lunch and an expanded child tax credit, expire before they had time to take root.

What’s fascinating is that Republicans have been forced by their base to adopt a certain amount of populist rhetoric since Trump’s rise. Meanwhile, none of the conditions that led to Trump’s surprise win have abated. Even on the conservative side there is a growing sense that all of these corporations are against us — not only are they trying to screw us over on the woke stuff, but generally, they just don’t care about ordinary people.

Gee, you think?

Unfortunately, both political parties are treacherous, nothing more than delivery systems for the oligarchs, where the Democrats and Republicans are payed handsomely to reliably deliver voters.

I hate to be a drag but absent a calamitous event or authentic revolt I don’t think that our oligarch owners and their Republican and Democrat sock-puppets will change course. All they know how to do is double down.

Update: I repeat myself but you can’t make this shit up.

“Cheney joining University of Virginia politics center as professor” [The Hill]. “Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is set to join the University of Virginia as a professor at its Center for Politics. ‘With democracy under fire in this country and elsewhere around the world, Liz Cheney serves as a model of political courage and leadership,’ the center’s director, Larry Sabato, said in a statement. ‘Liz will send a compelling message to students about integrity. She’s a true profile in courage, and she was willing to pay the price for her principles — and democracy itself.’ Cheney will participate in university-wide lectures, serve as a guest lecturer in student seminars, contribute to the department’s research, and participate in university and community events, the center said.”

“Democracy under fire”, to be saved by Liz Cheney?

Jesus wept.

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Sacrifice Zone

Is it just me or are America’s priorities seriously fucked-up?

While our feral elite blather on about freedom, democracy, rule based international order, etc., the American people are discovering that they live in a sacrifice zone.

On Monday, President Biden, who has barely mentioned the rail disaster, decided to visit Ukraine instead of East Palestine. During an appearance on Fox News that same day, Mayor Trent Conaway said the president’s visit overseas was the “biggest slap in the face” as his town continues to suffer following a freight train crash carrying hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride. Despite state officials’ claims that air and water in the area remain safe, thousands of fish have died in polluted local waterways and people in the vicinity of the derailment have reported headaches, eye irritation, and other symptoms.

The brutal reality is that a billion dollar rail corporation can cause a chemical disaster and poison 3 states with impunity. Notably, Norfolk Southern announced a $10 billion stock buyback program last March. The company has routinely raised its dividend, rewarding shareholders while refusing to invest in safety upgrades or basic benefits such as paid sick leave. Norfolk Southern, which reported record-breaking operating revenues of $12.7 billion in 2022, originally offered to donate just $25,000 to help affected residents—an amount equivalent to about $5 per person—but recently announced the creation of a $1 million charitable fund instead.

To add insult to injury Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw failed to show up for a town hall meeting, citing “not feeling safe” as his reason for absence. Maybe he didn’t feel safe because of the bright red, pad-locked plastic cages blocking the water fountains with “danger” written on them in seven different languages?  

The juxtaposition couldn’t be clearer with President Biden flying into Kiev to pledge billions more while residents in East Palestine, Ohio were left to suffer. Meanwhile, Secretary Buttigieg and the Transportation Department signaled to the railroads that this type of incident will be tolerated. Here’s what The Boot said when asked about the disaster. “While this horrible situation has gotten a particularly high amount of attention, there are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing.”

So suck it up losers, a little collateral damage is just the cost of doing business, and our elite have other priorities. They could not give a damn how many people fall sick and even die. Their only concern is protecting profits from any challenge from working-class Americans. Besides, they made it clear what our nations priorities are when Biden and Congress joined forces with rail companies last November to end a rail worker strike over such issues. They forced the railroad workers union to concede in their strike demands, rewarding the exact rail corporations like Norfolk Southern. Despite obvious issues, as pointed out here by Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, “The massive reduction in the workforce, attendance policies that encourage people to come to work when they’re sick or exhausted, lack of access to [paid] leave, the stress that is constantly put on workers because of how lean the workforce has become, it creates a negative culture in terms of safety.”

Railroad workers have been warning about the conditions that resulted in the derailment for years. They include the impact of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) and similar attendance schemes, endless cost-cutting by the railroads, a massive reduction in the size of the nationwide workforce, and a relaxation of inspection and maintenance. These have made the trains ticking time bombs. I wonder if there’s a connection between PSR that the unions were so concerned with and the derailment?

Just spitballing here, but maybe this sort of corporate malfeasance ought to have political consequences?

And, that didn’t take long.

“Trump visits East Palestine in wake of train derailment” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump plans to visit the town of East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailment led to the release of toxic chemicals, next week. Trump posted on Truth Social in response to a report that he was planning to make the trip that the residents of East Palestine are “Great people who need help, NOW!”

Paraphrasing Lambert at Naked Capitalism–These fuckers keep asking for my vote.

On February 19th there was an anti-war demonstration in Washington involving left and right leaning groups uneasily united against America’s endless wars. Since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $4.7 trillion waging wars.

It seems obvious that the anti-war forces need to make the connection between the worsening conditions at home with the enormous expenditures abroad on war and destruction. What most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with propping up a military industrial complex and the aristocratic-financial owners. In America the reality is environmental destruction, economic injustice and inequality. Rentier capitalism. Corruption. Steadily escalating police militarization. Soaring incarceration. Increasing internet censorship. And all while wealth and resources are taken from the people and poured toward global power agendas which do not benefit them, and which in fact impoverish them and endanger them as the empire’s “great power competition” against Russia and China threatens their lives with nuclear brinkmanship.

Going further–the political moment seems ripe for a red/blue convergence to end the American empire and heal our nations sacrifice zones.

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Shine a light

I blog to cope with the deluge of propaganda, and to deal with the alienation that comes with attempts to stay sane in an increasingly insane world. Like Diogenes, who searched for an honest man, I search for the truth in a world of lies.

When much of what the media prints is fake news to serve an oligarchic regime, and a censorship consortium consisting of the press, Big Tech, and U.S. spy services calls facts “disinformation,” it’s hard to keep things straight in a labyrinth of lies. It seems that we are now living in a society openly based on lies or even the repudiation of the concept of truth, increasingly backed by the threat of violence and terrorism. The truth of the matter is that fact don’t matter anymore. The word “narrative” has replaced the older term “party line” that was used in the USSR, but the meaning is similar. Furthermore, if you believe the lies and repeat them you are a valued member of the party or tribe. Conversely, if you reject a lie because it is simply obviously counter-factual, then you are not “just” wrong, you are the enemy.

An example of the extreme censorship is the explosive article that Seymour Hersh had to publish on Substack because none of the legacy media would touch it. The New York Times and Washington Post have so far ignored the Hersh report. Indeed, western media have stubbornly refused to investigate this urgent story. How damning is that? This is an explosive story in more ways than one and indeed in more ways than we can perhaps even calculate at this stage. The systematic media censorship and exposure of propaganda functioning is itself a huge scandal that will grow further.

The lies and silencing are part of a mass-formation phenomenon that rises as a function of suppressed panic over America’s wobbling empire and business model, especially among the managerial class and the “experts” who are supposedly in charge. The more the management and expertise fails, the more desperately they seek to control every lever of daily life.

Matt Taibbi writes: “In a remarkably short time since the end of the Obama presidency, the U.S. government has funded an elaborate network of NGOs and think-tanks whose researchers call themselves independent “disinformation experts.” They describe their posture as defensive — merely “tracking” or “countering” foreign disinformation — but in truth they aggressively court both the domestic news media and platforms like Twitter, often becoming both the sources for news stories and/or the referring authorities for censorship requests.

The end result has been relentless censorship of, and mountains of (often deceptive) state-sponsored propaganda about, legitimate American political activity. In the Twitter Files we see correspondence from state agencies and state-sponsored research entities describing everything from support of the Free Palestine movement to opposition to vaccine passports as illicit foreign propaganda.”

Remember the “Matrix”? Morpheus defines it as “the wool that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.” Those who have become red-pilled, then, are likewise persons who recognize that the wool has been pulled over their eyes. They see things as they really are and not as the government nor as prevailing opinions would have us believe.

I took the red pill and have broken from the prevailing worldview which most people share. I see the “system” for what it is, and recognize that it does not have my best interests at heart. I realize that everything that I’ve learned since elementary school has been based upon the same underlying set of falsehoods. I guess I’ve always been anti-establishment in my thinking and for support for political dissidents, but since I was discharged from the military I’ve become more and more distrustful of my own government and its complicit media. I have come to see the wizard behind the curtain who uses illusions, sleight-of-hand and artful flourishes to deceive the gullible masses.

I blog to exacerbate public distrust in the institutions that manufacture our consent, spreading public awareness of the fact that everything we’ve been taught to believe about our nation, our government and our world is a lie. 

That’s just me, what about you? Will you help me shine a light?

Update: What gives me hope is that trust in the corporate media is plunging to historic lows.

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Disconnect

I have never witnessed such a disconnect between the narrative promulgated by the corporate media and reality. I know I’ve talked about this before but every day brings a new example.

These types of disruptive narratives are far more common than is acknowledged. One aspect to this infowar revolution has been the inversion of the western media business model: Its revenue no longer derives from readers who buy or subscribe​,​ and who want, and expect​,​ reality.  

At the national level, it is government and its agencies which now pay millions for their narratives to be put forth.  There is no standing apart from this discourse; there is no thinking outside of the dominant narrative as the Twitter Files have revealed. And now thanks to the Columbia Journalism Review, and Jeff Gerth’s four-part series, we know a lot more about the “real disinformation”, especially the way in which the national security state, in league with their corporate media pals whipped up a new Cold War with Russia. Russia-gate seriously fucked-up the function of media, and media’s understanding of its function, beyond repair. Over the past seven years mainstream American media have come to see and embrace their task as the conveyance of official propaganda.

And it works​. People repeat narrated realties. They embrace tribal-narrated messages. Ideology has replaced reality. This has become a big problem since intelligence, after all, is an ongoing attentiveness to reality, which is inconsistent with willfulness and fantasy.

So arguments no longer revolve around truth. They are judged by their fidelity to the tenets of tribal messaging. You are either with the narrative or against it. Remaining loyal to ​team blue or red becomes the highest morality. That loyalty requires each member to avoid raising controversial issues, questioning weak arguments, or calling a halt to wishful thinking. And to further reinforce conviction in the rightness of the narrative,​ the other team must be marginalized and mercilessly ridiculed to make them seem stupid or crazy.

To comprehend how we got to this era of disconnect it’s useful to go to the way back machine. The Reagan Administration, created an office of Public Diplomacy and brought C.I.A. tactics to bear domestically to reshape the way Americans perceived the world. Writing for Consortium News, investigative journalist Robert Parry revealed  the existence of a C.I.A. perception management program begun during the Reagan administration. It had the aim of selling false stories to the American people to further the interests of the national security state. “In that sense, propaganda in pursuit of foreign policy goals would trump the democratic ideal of an informed electorate. The point would be not to honestly inform the American people about events around the world but to manage their perceptions by ramping up fear in some cases and defusing outrage in others depending on the U.S. government’s needs.” The ultimate outcome was articulated by CIA Directer William Casey: We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false”

Perversely, Casey’s outcome has come to pass for America’s elites as well. They have become consumers of the very same propaganda they’re foisting on the rest of us. The point here is that this methodology for the American ruling class has become mandatory. It is as self-destructive for those individuals who try to move beyond it​,​ as it is to question its core tenets. In the process, the American ruling class, led by the neocons, has become overtly hostile to empiricism and truth.

It’s no wonder the United States is in such a mess economically, socially and morally when unabashed delusion is our national pastime. And rather than a corrective to corporate media, social media has only intensified the disconnect as Americans find comfort in their own tribal narratives.

Update: Seymour Hersh has moved to Substack where he just confirmed that it was the US who destroyed the Nord Stream pipelines.

What a surprise.

Whodunnit? – Facts Related to The Sabotage Attack On The Nord Stream Pipelines

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Because markets, go die

I’ve always liked this formulation of neoliberalism because of its succinctness, but it’s useful to tease out the implications. Because markets describes how neoliberalism organizes all human activity through the competition of a market system that’s directed by a neoliberal state. Obamacare is a great example of this dynamic. Go die is the ultimate fate of the losers who cannot compete. You know the teachers, nurses, small farmers, laid-off manufacturing workers and demonized government employees. The savage inequality that’s developed under neoliberalism is not a bug but a feature.

Instead of a collective and cooperative vision of humanity neoliberalism is all about individualism and selfishness. Margaret Thatcher articulated the essence of its value system–“there is no society, only individuals and their families”.

Neoliberalism mandates endless competition. The best person wins (meritocracy)–as opposed to the logic that founded human societies–cooperation, the ability to work collectively in a social and political setting. To organize this competition neoliberalism is predicated on the worship of markets. All forms of human activities, governance included, are to be directed by markets. Going further, neoliberalism has financialized the US economy, originally as a way to reinvigorate capitalism but now as a means unto itself.

I originally meant to focus on the domestic effects of neoliberalism but it occurred to me that this distinction might also apply to the American empire as well, where the worship of markets and financialization have hollowed out the manufacturing base and left the supply-chain dangerously exposed. I’m pretty sure the mandarins ensconced in the national security state never envisioned such an outcome, although it makes sense that a system of governance–neoliberalism–with its laser like focus on the financial short term, would get itself in such a predicament.

Perhaps this outcome is true of all empires, but anyway, here we are.

Washington cannot yield on dollar primacy, the ultimate signifier for American power, and now decline. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is hostage to its financial hegemony in a way that is rarely fully understood. To wit, the US maintains its empire through financial means–the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Dollars that the US Treasury allows banks to print at will.

The U.S. created its hegemony through demanding that oil (and other commodities) be priced in dollars, and by facilitating a frenetic financialization of asset markets in the U.S. It is this demand for dollars which alone has allowed the U.S. to fund its government deficit, and its defense budget for nothing. This financial juggernaut has become the chief locus of US power projection. Indeed, after the several western debacles centered on regime-change by military shock-and-awe, even the W. Bush coterie of neo-cons, by 2006, had conceded that a weaponized financial system was the only means to ‘secure the American Empire’.

Unfortunately for the neocons, a financial economy is no match for an economy that produces things–like weapons and ammunition. The US/NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine has demonstrated to the rest of the world the evident weakness of the hyper-financialized western model desperately searching the cupboard for munitions while Russian production continues unabated. Even worse, the blowback from the US financial and kinetic proxy war against Russia  has precipitated a strong move away from the dollar and US debt.

Don’t take my word for it. The RAND Corporation, a highly influential elite national security think tank funded directly by the Pentagon, has published a landmark report stating that prolonging the proxy war is actively harming the US and its allies and warning Washington that it should avoid “a protracted conflict” in Ukraine. The report starts by stating that the fighting represents “the most significant interstate conflict in decades, and its evolution will have major consequences” for Washington, which includes US “interests” being actively harmed.

Whoops. 

I began this post with the idea of provoking thoughts on the sadistic system of neoliberalism, following Lambert at Naked Capitalism’s maxim–“Because markets. Go die”. But it’s becoming blindingly clear that the American empire is also headed for the boneyard. The geniuses that run US foreign policy bet it all on black, in that our weaponized financial system was the ultimate doomsday weapon that would crush all in its path. Except, that’s not how it turned out. It seems that this financial colossus has feet of clay.

There’s a historical vignette that’s pertinent to our story. In the run up to WWI British strategists were concerned about England’s economic performance in the coming conflict with Germany. Heterodox economist Michael Hudson says that reason was that the Germans operated an industrial economy that was productive while Britain maintained a financial economy that was largely extractive. Ultimately Britain and the Entente powers prevailed thanks to the abundant resources of England’s colonial empire and the timely intervention of the US military and banks.

It seems that industrial warfare never went anywhere and that a nations manufacturing ability is the key component, something US planners should have realized. War fighting is a messy, complicated, resource intensive activity. The conflict in Ukraine is exposing the limitations of the vaunted US military with its trillion dollar budget, but it’s also exposing the Wall Street/Washington financial wonder-weapon in the process.

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I want my country back

I get accused of being a Russian agent or Putin fan but I just want my country back from the fucking neocons. I really have no feelings about Russia except that they are a country we need to get along with because a nuclear exchange between us will end life on earth. Duck and cover won’t cut it.

My real concern is with America. I understand what is at stake with the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. I know the corporate media is lying when they endlessly repeat the phrase “Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression”. I know that the American war party is responsible for pushing Russia to the decision that it made last February. That it is the war party that expanded NATO despite the promises, that arms Ukraine, that encourages the fanatics driving that country, that blocks all routes to a peaceful settlement, that encourages Kiev to squander the lives of its people.

The proxy conflict is just the latest in a series of disastrous foreign misadventures, brought to you by the bipartisan war party. I can’t remember when we weren’t at war. Can you?

What can we do? Voting doesn’t make much difference if both parties are complicit. The executive branch, since the Cold War, has amassed enormous power through endless war. The judiciary has proven to be in thrall to the national security state, as is the corporate media, who never saw a war they couldn’t enthusiastically support. The whole thing is predicated on fear, in scaring the hell out of the American public with endless villains.

Since the United States is now approaching a $1 trillion “war” budget for 2023, more than half  will likely go to private firms. The top five contractors alone — Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman — will split between $150 billion and $200 billion in Pentagon contracts. Meanwhile, they’ll pay their CEOs, on average, more than $20 million a year and engage in billions of dollars in stock buybacks designed to boost their share prices. The arms merchants and their congressional sock-puppets justify the enormous expenditure by telling the public that the spending is making Americans “safe”. 

Except it isn’t making us safer, just poorer and bereft of any sort of moral credibility, “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”. An America of war all the time everywhere has brought us tent cities and full jails, open borders, disappeared manufacturing, poverty, opiates, misery and corruption. Instead of social programs and infrastructure, there’s austerity and war. An America with $100 billion to pour down the Ukrainian rathole but none to spend at home. A deep malaise that defines American society–the rage, despair and widespread feelings of betrayal and loss are overwhelming. The American empire is to blame, even if few can articulate it.

I can only see one way that the power of this internal enemy can be broken – complete and utter defeat. Defeat that cannot be ignored, cannot be explained away, defeat too big and too obvious for the obedient mass media to bury. And this is why I want Russia to succeed in the proxy war against the US and NATO. It’s because I see this as the opportunity for the humiliating defeat that will shatter the power of the internal enemy. As I stated last week–“the end of the American empire will require a disaster so profound that there’s no escaping accountability for the neocons and their fellow travelers among the elite political and media class.”

Unfortunately, the disaster may happen without any American noticing or acknowledging. I’m afraid that our society is no longer secular. We now live in a world of dogma, where believeing what you should believe, takes precedence over believing what is.

Update: Uber neocon, Michael McFaul has a new screed–“There are no innocent Russians”–where he exhorts Russian citizens to rise up against Putin and overthrow the Russian war party.

Talk about projection.

Caitlin Johnstone has the appropriate reply. “If the logic that “there are no innocent Russians” because the Russian people have a moral obligation to overthrow their warmongering government were evenly applied, it would also apply to Americans. Even more so, really, since their government is vastly more warlike than Moscow.

Putin would have to work very, very hard to catch up to the staggering body count of the US empire just in the 21st century. If Russians have a moral obligation to overthrow their government, then so do Americans. They have an obligation to topple the US empire, tear down the military-industrial complex, get rid of the false two-party system whose “two” parties support every war the empire architects call for, and create a peaceful country.”

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Gradually, then all at once

Empire’s decline gradually, then all at once. This is the dynamic underpinning collapse: slow at first, then suddenly.

Presently, the proxy war in Ukraine is signaling a last ditch effort, the outcome of which will determine whether the US can reverse its declining unipolar hegemony or if a multipolar-world-order is inevitable. These unprecedented stakes explain why such an astronomical sum of taxpayer funds has already been expended and the unprecedented propaganda campaign.

I’m sure that the purpose of the proxy war is to spread peace, democracy and freedom. At least I’m sure that’s what the average American believes. Americans are just so accustomed to being told the US and its allies are pure good and its enemies are pure evil that anything outside this basic arrangement is dismissed as Russian disinformation.

However, for the clear eyed analyst, it’s becoming blindingly obvious that geopolitical considerations are in play–the US is fighting in Ukraine to preserve its post-Cold War global hegemony. The true reason for this proxy war is to forestall a possible alliance between Germany (EU), Russia and China. 

This Congressional report helps illuminate American policies. “From a U.S. perspective on grand strategy and geopolitics, it can be noted that most of the world’s people, resources, and
economic activity are located not in the Western Hemisphere, but in the other hemisphere, particularly Eurasia. In response to this basic feature of world geography, U.S. policymakers for the last several decades have chosen to pursue, as a key element of U.S. national strategy, a goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia. Although U.S. policymakers do not often state explicitly in public the goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia, U.S. military operations in recent decades—both wartime operations and day-to-day operations—appear to have been carried out in no small part in support of this goal.” “Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress”. This 2022 National Defense Strategy also makes clear that the United States sees the subjugation of Russia as a critical stepping stone toward the conflict with China.

That’s correct. The US is not content to just fight Russia. Oh no. The US is determined to fight China too. And, let’s not forget Iran. The last gasp of American imperialism is more and more directly targeting Russia, China and Iran, which the US sees as impediments to its domination of the world island. US strategists have long regarded the domination of the Eurasian landmass, with its vast natural resources, as the key to this goal. None of this is new or even controversial. The only reason the corporate media can pretend the conflict in Ukraine is the result of Russian aggression and the sheer evil of Vladimir Putin is due to the historical ignorance the American people.

As an anti-imperialist, I’m horrified that we are ruled by psychopaths and surrounded by propagandized sheeple who mouth patriotic platitudes. I mean, what the fuck?–one of our congressional critters wants to display a bust of Zelensky in the capital.

But I’m also fascinated by the American way of empire, where instead of having a dedicated cadre of foreign service professionals to manage it we have instead  outsourced and privatized the process largely because neoliberal and neoconservative ideologues don’t believe in government.

It’s darkly humorous.

Maybe the empire got outsourced too?

Counting on the American political class to plot a course forward ignores both that oligarchs and corporations run the country, and that these are the same people who thought that outsourcing core manufacturing to China and deregulating Wall Street were great ideas that have worked out well. While there is no telling how much of the administration’s position is geopolitical posturing, there is also no hiding what a mess the political class has made of the US.

This dysfunctionality has been apparent in the ongoing war on terror disasters–Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc. Unfortunately, the can keeps getting kicked down the road because protecting the fragile psychology of our feral elite and their corporate media cheerleaders takes precedence over accountability. So what I’m saying is that end of the American empire will require a disaster so profound that there’s no escaping accountability for the neocons and their fellow travelers among the elite political and media class. This disaster is staring us in the face. As I write this, the Ukrainian frontlines are crumbling just as the US propaganda narrative is crumbling. What’s left is the looming prospect that the Russians are essentially on the verge of prevailing.

How will our political and media class deal with another foreign policy disaster? Once the propaganda spell is broken reality is sure to intervene. The Ukraine gambit is probably the most poorly-planned foreign policy debacle of all-time leading to the greatest strategic disaster in American history. This suppressed reality is why the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is so fraught with danger, as our feral elite are determined to do anything to escape long overdue accountability.

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I’m not crazy and neither are you

The latest revelations have confirmed what I’ve long suspected–I’m not crazy and neither are you.

Power is controlling what happens. Real power is controlling what people think about what happens. Our elite do this by exerting massive amounts of influence over the corporate media, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, think tanks, NGOs, and other organs of narrative manipulation.

The Twitter Files illustrate just how much effort our feral elite put into this narrative manipulation. These revelations are as significant as the Pentagon Papers, yet the corporate media has so far been able to minimize the damage from their revelations. There’s a reason for the frantic cover-up. What they show is the close involvement of Federal law enforcement, intelligence agencies and their corporate media handmaidens in curtailing and blocking Administration/Democrat-threatening lines of thought, such as interest in the Hunter Biden laptop or hostility to vaccine mandates. 

Matt Taibbi has a new article that describes the incestuous relationship. “Fact is, news consumers don’t know about the cozy partnership between big government and big media. If and when they think about such things, readers, viewers and social media consumers view news-gathering organizations as the natural enemies of politicians and bureaucrats — a relationship not unlike that of a cat to a mouse. In the movies, the medium that most exposes the inner workings of newspapers and broadcasting companies, reporters and their editors are invariably depicted as cynical, hard-charging outsiders dying to score Pulitzers and promotions by publishing blockbuster exposes about politicians on the take and priests on the make.”

He then makes a key point, one that I welcomed. “Sometime in the last decade, many people — I was one — began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?

I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality — I wasn’t sure until this week — I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.”

The back story of the Twitter Files is Trump’s surprise election which basically drove our feral elite around the bend. Russia-gate was the key element in the accelerated bludgeoning of the mass mind. It was eagerly taken up by the rest of the Democratic Party, the #McResistance media and powerful factions in the national security state. The documents lay out the scheme. You can see how the Russian cyber-threat was essentially conjured into being, with political and media pressure serving to massively hype something Twitter believed was negligible and uncoordinated to massive dimensions.

It’s only gotten worse.

My feel is that 2022 was the year political, economical and military issues discussed in the main stream media parted from the objective reality more than they have done at any previous time in my life. For example, the corporate media has completely rewritten the vast majority of their own reporting about Ukraine, reversing everything they spent the last eight years saying the minute Russia invaded back in February, engaging in one of the most brazen examples of the exact type of propaganda George Orwell’s 1984 was designed to warn about: Remember–“we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.”

I sometimes look into a mirror and think ‘well, maybe it’s just you. But it is not just me. Other analysts have come to similar conclusion. But, basically few to none of these dissident voices gets quoted in main stream media, nor are they afforded a venue to publish on these issues. No matter how true we already know many of these things to be, the Twitter Files have been vital in providing definitive proof and showing exactly how all of this was done.

This dynamic is the pleasure and pain of being an apostate. Once you see behind the curtain there’s a certain satisfaction from knowing the truth, unfortunately, there’s a tremendous cost to pay. As Terence McKenna says: “The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.”

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Thinking for yourself

It’s illuminating that so many of the professional/managerial/class (PMC’s) are vilifying self research and critical thinking.  Mention that you’re looking into something yourself or making up your own mind, rather than believing the conventional wisdom approved by the corporate media, and you can be sure to be denounced as a communist, right-wing extremist, anti-vaxxer, or Putin apologist.

This is new. Not long ago it was still fashionable to pay respect to thinking for yourself and examining evidence, even though the unstated rule was that if you did so you had to come up with the same results as the talking heads on corporate media. Before that, I remember when the same pundits were insisting that liberal democracy was superior to all other systems because it thrives on free inquiry and the clash of competing ideas.

The reason that we’ve come to this point is complicated but it involves the psychological revolution of the early twentieth century. Edward Bernays took the ideas he gleaned from his service in the Creel Commission and put them to work in the field of advertising, more or less inventing modern public relations in the process. Bernays believed that most human beings are incapable of independent thought and will inevitably believe whatever they’re told, provided that the tellers use Freudian methods to tap into the psyches of their audience. 

However, the reality is that advertising, PR and propaganda have only a limited effect and are not a magic bullet for the powers that be. Trump’s surprising victory has demonstrated the diminishing returns of such policies. There were many other consequences, and one of them was an increasing nervousness on the part of elites and managerial classes alike about their ability to keep the masses in line. By 2016, decades of impoverishment, immiseration, and malign neglect inflicted on the poor and the working classes were already becoming apparent–the masses were becoming hostile and suspicious toward their supposed betters.  To the elites who were paying attention, again, it was becoming painfully clear that this could get much worse, and potentially imperil the survival of them and their PMC apparatchik’s.

That is to say, most people in this country understand that the authorities are lying to them. They have come to realize that the corporate media is nothing but propaganda disguised as dispassionate reporting. The increasingly strident attempts to bully people into believing what they’re told, when what they’re told is all too often an obvious pack of lies, has had the usual effect of such maneuvers–more and more people assume as a matter of course that the authorities are lying to them, even when the authorities happen to be telling some approximation of the truth.

Our feral elite is frantically trying to manage all of this as the Twitter Files showing that prior to Musk’s takeover, Twitter was basically a national security state propaganda operation. Recent Taibbi drops reveal that the heads of the FBI, DHS, and the Director of National Intelligence were regularly conferring with Twitter’s former chief censor, Yoel Roth, during the run-up to the 2020 election. It reached the point that Twitter was a de facto FBI subsidiary.

So much for the First Amendment. I’m convinced, as are many of you, that the so-called deep state is heavily involved in “guiding” the country, has been for decades, with the best of intentions, of course.

However, it’s not working

Now that the corporate-bureaucratic system has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and the parade of officially approved experts marching past the cameras of the mass media has become a clown show earning more contempt than approval, the unraveling of the current state of political affairs is approaching. It’s simply a matter of when the system runs into a crisis it can’t meet without the support of the populace, and the self-anointed masters of the world discover to their horror that the help in question will not be forthcoming.

None of this is new. Civilizations fall, according to Arnold Toynbee, when the formerly creative minority stops being creative and sinks into a rut. In Toynbee’s terms, it “changes from a creative minority to a dominant minority, and it settles for maintaining control over the society by force, fraud and surveillance because it no longer has the ability to inspire confidence and loyalty by coming up with effective responses to the challenges faced by society”. 

You know that your society is run by a dominant minority when, no matter what the problem is, the people in power always insist on the same solutions. You also know that your society is run by a dominant minority when the same problems come up over and over again, because they’re never actually solved–they’re just swept under the rug in a frantic effort to insist that the same old solutions really will work.

The maniacal demand that people stop thinking for themselves or doing their own research is thus the endpoint of a long slow process and the beginning of a far more dramatic one. 

Look around: the tectonic plates of geo-politics and geo-finance are shifting–away from an increasingly flailing US. These are structural issues over which the tools of mass consciousness ultimately have but limited sway.

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Provoked

Now we know, thanks to former German Chancellor Merkel that the Minsk Agreement was nothing but a stalling tactic to allow NATO to militarize Ukraine as an anti-Russian proxy and fortify it for an inevitable war. She recently publicly stated that the Minsk agreements, which were broken by Ukrainian and NATO, were never intended to be honored. They were simply designed to buy time to build Ukrainian forces to attack the ethnic Russians in the Donbas and perhaps Russia itself.

So much for the “unprovoked” invasion meme. Merkel confirmed exactly what Russia said was the reason for the invasion. This interview, which has hardly been mentioned by the neocons and their corporate media flunkies, is amazing and has reconfirmed that the EU was full collaborator with the U.S. project – not just to cripple Russia financially, but to have her bleed on the battlefield too.

So much for the endlessly repeated narrative of “unprovoked Russian invasion”.

On a recent interview with the Useful Idiots podcast, Noam Chomsky stated that the only reason we hear the word “unprovoked” every time anyone mentions Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the mainstream news media is because it absolutely was provoked, and they know it.

“Right now if you’re a respectable writer and you want to write in the main journals, you talk about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, you have to call it ‘the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s a very interesting phrase; it was never used before. You look back, you look at Iraq, which was totally unprovoked, nobody ever called it ‘the unprovoked invasion of Iraq.’ In fact I don’t know if the term was ever used — if it was it was very marginal. Now you look it up on Google, and hundreds of thousands of hits. Every article that comes out has to talk about the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Why? Because they know perfectly well it was provoked,” Chomsky said. “That doesn’t justify it, but it was massively provoked. Top US diplomats have been talking about this for 30 years, even the head of the CIA.”

It’s become more than obvious that Biden was brought to power by the national security state to launch a war against Russia. Biden was up to his neck in the US-led coup in Ukraine in 2014, was subsequently appointed to be the American prefect in Ukraine; and began preparing for war the day he entered office. From 2014 forward the US was arming, supplying, and training Ukrainian militias, including significant contingents of self-described Nazis, to fight in the civil war that the US instigated.

Essentially, the conflict was largely a US concoction aimed at using proxies to weaken Russia in order to achieve its broader geopolitical goals. These latest attacks confirm that the United States is committed to resolving this crisis through the use of military force. That means a negotiated settlement is not only out-of-the-question, but is seen as anathema to Washington’s strategic objectives.

The reason why the US provoked a war with Russia is first and foremost that the poor policy choices of the US political leadership over the last five decades ended American economic and political dominance somewhere around 2008. Starting in the 1970s, market fundamentalist ideology became the American tool of choice for extracting wealth from poor and working people and nations around the globe. The political class, acting at the behest of industrialists and Wall Street, believed the fantasy that “American exceptionalism” and not imperialist looting, had made rich Americans rich. 

And now that these fantasies have turned to be just that our feral elite have been left with war as the only means to maintain primacy. Going further, it’s obvious that while the Cold War against the Soviet Union ended, the “Cold War” against the “enemies” of the United States did not. Furthermore, there’s abundant evidence that the U.S. establishment is willing to risk nuclear winter—in other words, mutual annihilation—to hold onto economic primacy.

Our amazing Technicolor propaganda system is the primary reason the US elite have been able to initiate a new “Cold War”, but next week we’ll discuss how and why this regime is breaking down and becoming increasingly ineffective.

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