The bubble

The best way to make communists is to put the Americans into a place where there were no Communists before. (Norodom [Prince] Sihanouk of Cambodia)

“Whoever has the Americans as allies does not need enemies” (Madame Nhu, wife of assassinated South Vietnamese leader.)

Americans often feel snubbed when they learn that they are not liked abroad. From a typical dis-informed viewpoint, we Yanks imagine we have been giving foreign aid and rebuilding places, sending food to places where they have earthquakes and tsunamis and are also busy liberating slaves. All we get in return in disrespect.

“So screw the world,” is the attitude that naturally follows.

Photos like this are not staged. No sireee ... not staged. No way.
Photos like this are not staged. No sireee … not staged. No way.
What Americans do not know, of course, is that we live in a huge disinformation enterprise known as the United States Mainstream Media (MSM). Even so, if it were only “news” given to us, its range would be limited. But it also extends to entertainment media. It repeats the message and helps us in the illusion that our foreign policy is all about do-goodiness. In movies and on TV, our terrorists (called “Special Forces,” Seals” and “Green Berets”) are big burly men with guns protecting children from thugs. They even hand out candy. Our military adventures are designed to “rescue” people and install democracy rather than merely keep the path clear for control of resources by America’s giant corporations. Getting hold of those resources usually involves removal of democratic governments and installation of thugs and terror regimes.

It’s simply failure to communicate. The rest of the world is very well-informed about who we are and what we do. American tourists are readily accepted (so long as we are not boorish and overbearing, like the guy our daughter told us about – wearing a cowboy hat, he stood up in a British pub and sang the Star Spangled Banner). But it is the typical American ignorance of the behavior of our CIA and special forces, our military, “our” corporations’ that creates a gulf between us and people abroad. They don’t like “us” for good reason, and we don’t know about it because we never see that face of “us.” We only see what we are meant to see, and so live in what is often referred to abroad as the American bubble.

It’s merely ignorance, easily remedied by expanded knowledge.

16 thoughts on “The bubble

  1. If it were only that easy….. True believers are not so easy to change.

    “Affect-based beliefs by virtue of their lack of coherence with the conceptual framework might
    be immune to threats posed by conflicting information. Any new information is likely to be distorted, and if it is accurately comprehended, it will have little influence on an affect-based belief.” “USA!, USA!, USA !!!!!!”

    Is there any USA left? Seriously, I dunno’.


  2. I only bring that up because of an interview I did yesterday with a U of M grad student working on a paper on “collaboration” relating to public forest issues in the region. I could not break through two belief-barriers in our conversation: 1) This is not collaboration, it’s a parallel built to demonize opposition, and quash any reform. A principle constituent element of collaboration is shared goals (none exist between banking/home builders/real estate/timber industry/Chamber/Bullock/Tester supporters and advocates for NREPA, for example), and 2) advocates who frequently (whatever that means) force the powers that be to enact anti-environmental legislation/deregulation (a little like Hamas causes Zionists to commit genocide). Never occurs that this is the payoff for millions in campaign cash, and this is what oligarchs do until heads roll inside the castle walls.

    After 35 years of defending homeland commons from neoliberal imperialists and their local flunkies, precious little “knowledge” has penetrated the myth-based oligarchical structure that remains intact in the region and around the globe. Paul Bunyan lives.

    Open to suggestions. Will work for food.


    1. Paul Bunyan doesn’t live here in the NW.

      Not with a 75% reduction in timber harvest numbers.

      “A study of national forest litigation over a 20-year period found that the U.S. Forest Service has been more willing to settle cases in recent years.

      Lawsuits over the management of national forests have persisted despite a steep decline in logging, based on a 20-year litigation study.

      An average of 56 cases a year were filed against the U.S. Forest Service between 1989 and 2008, according to the State Univerity of New York study, which was funded by the agency.

      In that time, annual timber harvest levels in national forests have dropped roughly 75 percent, from 12 billion board feet to fewer than 3 billion board feet, according to Forest Service data.”


  3. Paul Bunyan lives in the subconscious of everybody who gets a plaid shirt for Christmas. Camo might have replaced the actual fashion, but it lives on, and on, and on…

    So much for the vaunted “non-declining” even flow theory, right Swede? Did you also know that the Forest Service has no timber sale accounting system, none? Those statistics might also indicate that the biggest and best trees, in the most accessable locations were cut without proper consideration of the consequences further up the road.

    Those peak production years, decades actually, cannot be sustained now with dead (pecker-pole) lodgepole, which is pretty much what’s left. Lawsuits do not stop the feller bunchers and bulldozers, but may slow the rate of clearcutting and old growth destruction for a while. It will take centuries to grow anything back that resembles the old growth that’s been turned into stud lumber and chips already. At (Northern Rockies) yield rates between 20 and 50 cubic feet per acre per year, it could take even longer. With global warming, they may be cutting for the last time — ever.

    Before long, however, it will all be passed to states, which already have in place regulatory mechanisms to transfer it to private/corporate/foreign hands. It’s in the works, and being implemented slowly. “Boiling the frog.”

    “Enclosure,” look it up. It’s what always happens. Ask any Native American.


    1. POEVON. My new word for the day, especially applies to Swede, who knows the price of everything.

      Swede, you said over at 4&20 that corporations sustain our middle class. Question for you: do we still have a middle class? I’m not seeing it.


    2. You realize that trees have a life cycle, right?

      They start as saplings grow into adulthood and eventually die. When a forest is left to its natural cycles it becomes overgrown and eventually a fire hazard, quicker with disease and aliments.

      So nature harvests its own with fire and thats a good thing for the non-plaid wearers. Except the irony is that everything dies on the forest floor. You forgot to hug the shrubs, the streams, the wildflowers, and their inhabitants.


      1. You realize that forests evolved into what they are/were without any influence of humans, right? And mature, old-growth forests are not “overgrown”. That’s kind of like saying you are “overgrown” because you grew up.

        And the real irony is that everything is born on the forest floor. Go hug some soil someday.


        1. In a way that’s like saying a ear of corn once grew in the wild and then someone started to mass produce them. Which means we can improve on nature, we manage for efficiency, we can prevent catastrophic forest fires, and selective harvest.

          But hey, you’d prefer to stumble onto that rare and random corn plant and gaze at it’s existence.


          1. Actually, I helped develop the seed stock for Painted Mountain corn 25 years ago. And the last time I ever saw a selective harvest in a forest was when a forester selected a forest and harvested it.


          2. This is typical of you Swede, to take everything to the edge and then beyond reason. Unregulated markets are useful in some areas, so Swede thinks we should have “free” markets everywhere all the time for everything! Un-tariffed trade among equal trading partners is useful, so Swede thinks we should have “free” trade all the time for everything! And agriculture has advanced commodities like corn and wheat to their position as major food staples, so Swede thinks that we should replace all natural growth with managed crops!

            You live in one of two area all the time, Swede – nothing, or all. That’s the definition if extremism.


  4. Regarding the middle class it seems to me that progressives and/or the Dems positions themselves as a savior of the middle class when in reality the ultimate goal would be their destruction. Middle classes tend to be more self sufficient, or call it an independent voting class that swings both ways.

    Taxing corporations into leaving, extreme regulations, lawsuits barring natural resource development, deficit spending, paying people not to work, open borders, all suck the life out of middles.

    When I said no corps=no middle class I was referring to 3rd world countries which have little or no corporations and capitalism, the two intertwine.

    I often wonder if all this “down with corporations” is reminiscing the days of the Copper Kings. Where sole proprietorships ruled with no regard of its workers, no participation in the success of the company, you worked till you died with no pension. Hence, no Middle Class.

    Found this, our neighbor to the north rules.


    1. As usual Swede, you’ve grasping at the tail of an elephant and talking like it is a snake. Just a couple of things that annoy:

      1) American politics has little if any bearing on American public policy. It’s a diversion. So for me to counter your statement about progressives and Dems is a waste of intellectual effort. America has only one political party, the money party, with two right wings. I do note that you reflexively bark political parties when not reminded to avoid that. That is training, indoctrination. You are supposed to spend your idle hours worrying about elections, even as we know the same money backs all the candidates that are allowed to thrive.

      2) Large projects requires large amounts of capital. The corporation as envisioned in its infancy was nothing more than a means of raising the capital necessary to accomplish large projects. We created them, and we should control them. When they are no longer useful, they should be put to death. But because of money in politics, corporations have morphed into our masters, are given unlimited life, and treated as actual sentient beings.

      3) Taxing corporations is the price they pay for our allowing them to exist. They do not pass taxes onto customers if economics works as you say it does – that is, if they have maximized their revenue in the marketplace, and cannot arbitrarily increase it to pay their taxes. If that is not the case, Econ101 as you know it is deeply flawed.

      4) The only way to sustain a middle class is to prevent extremes of wealth and poverty. That requires progressive taxation and steep taxation of estates to prevent aristocracy, plutocracy, and rule by wealth. If we have extremes of wealth and poverty, we cannot have democratic rule. Large pockets of private wealth invariably capture the political system, yielding what we have, oligarchy.


  5. Au contraire, Mr. Swede. Think BIG hug. Hugging naturally-functioning forest ecosystems and bioregions accounts for all living things that depend on nature’s scheme.

    Tree farms, however technologically advanced, (the utilitarian dream of most plaid-shirts) are not nearly an adequate substitute for what has provided sustainable populations of the remnants of the diversity of life we find in national parks, wilderness areas and fragmented parts of the forest that haven’t already been converted — permanently — from ecosystems into subsidized timber-mining operations. Uncompetetive tree farms do not make Montana unique in any way. Shouldn’t the market make these 19th Century relics of the industial revolution die eventually? But no, you want the government to save them as a “cultural exception” to the rule of “free-market” competition. What other cultural exceptions should we accept? Subsidized grazing, mining, hydro-generation, oil and gas, and huckleberry picking too? Did I leave any exception out?


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