I started taking a different approach to Facebook. Until recently I used it to stay connected with family and friends I already know. But what about the possibility of making new friends, connecting to new people? What about connecting with ideas and people I’ve never met before? It never occurred to me, until one day recently it did. So I ask myself, why wouldn’t I do that? My old friends of course are great. But do I have to stick only to the opinions, beliefs, and interests only of people I’ve for some reason met in person at some point or another in life?
Lately I’ve changed my opinion. What I do, some, now, is, I’ll see a conversation on Facebook that I think is interesting, where interesting people have thoughtful conversation. So I’ve started liking comments, and when I like something, then I consider sending a friend-request. I don’t do it all the time. I don’t do it much. But lately I’ve started connecting to a few new people in this way. It’s turned out to be interesting, because it increases my access to conversations I’m interested in.
I want to share an example. I’m interested in the foreign policy of the United States, mostly because I find American foreign policy of the 21st century to be wrong-headed almost in its entirety. Our approach (serial regime change war) in the Middle East and in Ukraine, and overall with regard to our relation with Russia, in total our US policy is disturbing to say the least. Misguided, willfully dangerous, and gravely criminal, I think more reasonably well describes it.
One troubling aspect that goes along with our policies, is our habit not only of mischaracterizing other countries, and their leaders, but, a habit we seem happy to extend habitually to demonizing others. Demonization of any other nation seems to be a root driver of American policy, or, perhaps more accurately, it is the root driver of American story-telling (propaganda) in support of its policy. Russia, is one of the prime recipients of such story-telling.
Crimea! We say.
But this is the fault of the United States. It was our policy to foment an anti-Russia coup d’etat in Kiev. And yes we spent a lot of money and a lot of time investing in groups of people to implement that coup. One cannot forget (and I repeat the obvious again): when the US put an anti-Russia government in power in Kiev (Feb 2014), it realized the neocon/liberal interventionist dream of a completely unbounded NATO expansion. Nuland/Clinton/Obama made a claim for space, extending US military (NATO) control all the way to the Black Sea through Sevastopol.
This is madness beyond any measure and surpasses anything imagined by Kubrick in 1964’s Dr. Strangelove. The Russian reaction to the US claim was both inevitable and predictable, yet evidently unforeseen by US policy makers who seem to make policy as if imagining only one chess move at a time. Clowns, but dangerous.
This brings us to fake news.
We hear a lot about Russia, in the New York Times, as on all regular news channels, the media outlets that, we’re told, are not fake. So, among my new Facebook connections, I see the following conversation, which leads me to ask,
I ran across an article that sums up why I am as uncomfortable with what the “liberals” and “progressives” now as I have been for decades with the right. I sense that I am not alone in not fitting into any US political party or faction.Don Harder I hear you. I think because my values lean left, the American left’s hypocrisy, war mongering and corruption bothers me far more than the nonsense from the right, which I simply just expect. But I also think the left party in power today is more dangerous because when they are, there’s no one on the ground fighting them. Bush’s 2 wars saw a million people in the mall protesting and Obama’s 7 wars saw apologists. Bush 1 couldn’t pass NAFTA, it took a democrat to do it.Stan Jacox Part of the problem is cultural as the society views it as a polar realm of right or left when that model faded decades ago. The polar opposites are top and bottom which is more dramatically distinct from each other yet few people see which side of that divide they really are on, when any objective observer would nail which they were 100% of the time. Working poor inner city minorities have a GREAT in common with rural poor or middle class whites and nothing in common with the elites of the parties they identify with.
Joy Ringrose A constant barrage of media propaganda has blurred the lines between left and right. Major leftist parties are now corporate sponsored, but people still cling to them because the media present them (the 2 evils) as the only alternatives. In the confusion mavericks are now being elected. Or, as in the case of Corbyn, there could be a real alternative to the corporatocracy. Marine Le Pen is an interesting example. Thought to front a far-right party, Sarkozy and Hollande are now saying that she is far left. Things are going full circle as capitalism fails, and the future looks unstable, as the same thing happened before WW2, but now we have nukes.
Stan Jacox I used to live in two worlds, my business was in the SF Bay area but my main home was in a rural community on the mountains 150 miles to the east. I found the core life values of both the upper middle class and semi-wealthy liberals in the wealthier suburbs of Marin County and the lower middle class rural who lived from the land and their animals or logging really were similar, once the language differences were pealed away, if either group, the very conservative identifying rural people and the uber liberals of Marin got together as individuals (they never did or they would have seen how their cores were compatible) and how much they got along and could empathize with each other when labels were stripped away. I was a captain in the rural fire department, the largest land mass all volunteer fire department in the US, which was about as conservative rural American as one could imagine, part of the week and the other part mingling with entertainment household names and musicians and if if you put them in a room and did not mention politics, just direct interaction on a personal level, they would be nodding their heads to the same human scale problems and worries, doubts and joys. It was remarkably easy to fit in with both worlds because they really were the same people, just with different labels and fears.
Don Harder One of my favorite thing about living in Russia is I live in a society that hasn’t been bombarded with a concerted effort to separate people into groups using identity/wedge issues. There is no walking on egg shells here and no one is triggered by the wrong words or positions. This also results in people who are more readily able to approach a subject objectively without isolating themselves by hiding in an echo chamber feeding their confirmation biases.
I’ve had to unsubscribe from nearly all the US political sites I had been following as they simply adhere to a one-sided view that parrots the latest position written by some obscure PR rep or NGO. This just isn’t an issue in Russia.
Don HarderWell, if Putin is a dictator, then so is Obama/Trump/Bush; in the US it just rotates more often. But the US gov has way more impact on the lives of not only it’s own citizens, but people around the world than Putin ever will. You being a libertarian would probably find life quite surprisingly free here.Dave Ray Adam if you don’t mind I’d like to see where you found that quote of Putin saying he wants to “cleanse Russia of homosexuality”. Since I know for a fact that nothing even remotely close to that has ever come out of Putin’s mouth I’m gonna assume you pulled it straight outta your bottom (no gay pun intended). And please, spare us the copout response of “well he might as well have said it with all the anti-gay rhetoric coming from there”. You knowest not of what thou speaketh.
Dave Ray Every article that came up from Adam’s Google tip used exactly the same language, I mean they were verbatim carbon copies, as if a press release were handed to them and they faithfully reproduced it.
Dave Ray Ah, I found this deeper in one if the articles, which apparently is where the headlines came from.
“Putin noted with pride that Russia saw more births than deaths last year for the first time in two decades. Population growth is vital for Russia’s development and “anything that gets in the way of that we should clean up,” he said.
From this we get the frantic headlines “Putin Wants to Cleanse Russia of Homosexuality!” hahaha.
It’s all good. I’m sure Adam and everyone else in this thread are smart people. Peace.
Adam Michael I mean he claims there to cleanse things that cause less births, and yet your state disallows evidence of children being homosexual because it causes dips in the birth rate.
Sounds like someone put 2+ 2 together
Don Harder Sounds like someone is creating propaganda my friend. The idea that Russia is somehow disallowing evidence is just another stretch manufactured. What does that even mean? Disallows who? Where?
Adam Michael Oh, I don’t disagree. I was just saying something I remembered, and then someone told me I was making it up, when clearly I wasn’t. Maybe the headlines are a little misleading.
Is it not illegal for “gay propoganda” to be seen by children in russia? What is Putin calling “gay propoganda”…?
Adam Michael “A law penalizing “the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors” came into force in St. Petersburg in March”
https://sputniknews.com/trend/gaypropaganda/Then the rationale for this law is stated “to increase birth rates”. Putin says “cleanse things that dont help birth rates”. It’s the tiniest 2 + 2 ever to get what he really wanted to say, and that was reported by the US media. Misleading, yes, but I think the idea is true.
Dave Ray No you weren’t making it up that some news sources decided to publish stories with the headline “Putin Wants to Cleanse Homosexuality from Russia”, but that headline itself is made up so you were repeating a made up story. We can split hairs about intended meanings or whatever but the fact is those words never came out of his mouth.
Dave Ray I know gay and lesbian people here in St. Petersburg and not once have they complained about discrimination or whatnot. They lead totally normal lives. In fact one of the largest and most popular dance clubs in the city is a gay club.
Stan Jacox You’ve got 3 guys here, living in St Petersburg who are telling you that you have been sold a bill of goods. The law was a copy of one already on the books here regarding adults promoting sex to children. The same law and almost identical wording was the model for it passed by Thatcher in England and the one that the law of the land in Switzerland. The law was passed by politicians who were trying to shore up support that was slipping with elderly rural The Communist Party was getting a larger share of that voter block.
The facts are these 1, no one has been arrested under this law. 2, no one cares what life style you have, they don’t ask . 3, Gay and LBGT are not identity politics here, every day, turn on any TV channel, and news program, sports or the arts and gays are well represented, and no one cares other than if they are entertaining, skilled, smart or whatever they might be as individuals. The society is not polarized like in the US with factions, friends often have no idea what religion another person is or what what political philosophy they espouse but they will know a great deal about the character of the person and their family. It is a different society and if you are polite and well spoken you can introduce yourself and say anything you sincerely believe to anyone and even if they did share it in common the biggest rise you might get out of them is “oh, that is an interesting point, I never thought about it that way” that is it. Hell, I have been going to bars, pubs and clubs for since the early 90s and never seen a fight. Opinions are accepted as just what something thinks but has cause to judge the person. In that respect, socializing and meeting people of widely differing backgrounds is normal and enjoyable here, there is incredible degrees of personal freedom. I am from the San Francisco Bay Area and Russia makes that feel like a repression prison. Every time I go back to the States I have to self censor and am careful about speaking about anything until I know what their priorities are or else it can be dangerous. The US is a VERY uptight judgemental place and very much intent on placing limits on you based on your groupings or beliefs. You really need to spend some time away from the US, not as a tourist but as an expat for 6-12 months before you see just how oppressive the control freaks are. Everyone judges based on identity politics and what group that assign you to. And you will also see that you are fed intense propaganda every second of the day, like nowhere else I have seen in my 87 countries traveled so far.
Stan Jacox As a side note, the simple fact is that Russians value people more than identities. In 1991, the country was formed, In 1992 one of the first laws passed was codifying the legality of gay sex. That was even before there was a law regarding owning private property. There is still no law assuring the right in the US and it could never pass on a federal level. Hell, the ERA could not even pass in the US but equal rights for woman and men is a key part of the constitution of Russia. You should read the Russian constitution, the rights specified far more beneficial to people, like the right to housing, and family leave, or more provisions for privacy, the right for free education, medical care and much more. You might never believe western press again if you came here for a visit of a few weeks or months.