Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 16, 2021

U.S. Focus On Narratives Will Let It Collide With Reality

The impeachment narrative circus is leaving the town and the real world work can now begin:

With the distraction of the impeachment trial of his predecessor now over, President Biden will quickly press for passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan before moving on to an even bigger agenda in Congress that includes infrastructure, immigration, criminal justice reform, climate change and health care.

Without the spectacle of a constitutional clash, the new president “takes center stage now in a way that the first few weeks didn’t allow,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who served as communications director for former President Barack Obama. She said the end of the trial means that “2021 can finally start.”

"Wait!" screams the narrative industry. That does not fit our business model. The 'left' side of the media is set up to beat up Trump every damned minute and the 'right' side is there to constantly condemn the 'left' for beating up Trump. Over the last five years that system produced record ratings for everyone.

Wolf Blitzer @wolfblitzer - 16:11 UTC · Feb 15, 2021

The Trump trial is over but local, state & federal investigations continue. There might be a 9/11-type commission. News organizations continue to investigate. And @realBobWoodward is working on a book on Trump’s final days in office. Bottom line: we are going to learn a lot more.

"I hear you," responds Nancy Pelosi. And what better way to hide that Biden will pursue the same policies as Trump (but sprinkled with some LBGTQWERTY quackery) than to extend the narrative circus:

Congress will move to establish an independent commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, including facts “relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced on Monday.
Calls have grown for a bipartisan, independent investigation into the law enforcement and administrative failures that led to the first breach of the Capitol complex in two centuries, particularly after the Senate acquitted former President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial on a charge of inciting the rioters. For some lawmakers, such a commission offers the last major opportunity to hold Mr. Trump accountable.

Yes Nancy, lets investigate this and other such question: Why was Capitol police chief’s request for National Guard denied ahead of riot? Republicans ask Nancy Pelosi.

Keeping the eyes on Trump is of course the best way to guarantee that Republicans will continue to stick to his narrative and that he will come back:

Though the 2024 primary is still far off — who knows what will happen with Trump three months from now, let alone in three years? — he currently swamps any potential rival. Fifty-three percent of Republicans said they would vote for Trump if the primary were held today.

All the other Republican hopefuls are polling in the low single digits, besides Mike Pence, who received 12 percent. Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Mitt Romney, Kristi Noem, Larry Hogan, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Tim Scott and Rick Scott all polled below 5%. Only Donald Trump Jr. and Nikki Haley punched through at 6%.

Further investigating the Mardi Gras invasion of the Capitol will also help to push for new 'domestic terrorism' laws. Where those will be pointed at is already evident:

Thomas B. Harvey @tbh4justice 17:56 UTC · Feb 15, 2021

FBI arrests BLM protester, claiming his social media posts show he is “on a path to radicalization”. A judge determined he is dangerous bc of these posts and held him with no bond. This is where we’re headed if we accept this domestic terrorism frame:

The FBI warned about far-right attacks. Agents arrested a leftist ex-soldier.

Welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism where every rant you ever posted that does not fit the official narrative can (and will) be used against you:

This clearly represents a quite different magnitude of ‘control’ – and when allied with the West’s counter-insurgency techniques of ‘terrorist’ narrative disruption, honed during the ‘Great War on Terrorism’ – is a formidable tool for curbing dissent domestically, as well as externally.

Yet it has a fundamental weakness.

Quite simply, that being so invested, so immersed, in one particular ‘reality’, others’ ‘truths’ then will not – cannot – be heard. They do not stand out proud above the endless flat plain of consensual discourse. They cannot penetrate the hardened shell of a prevailing narrative bubble, or claim the attention of élites so invested in managing their own version of reality.

The ‘Big Weakness’? The élites come to believe their own narratives – forgetting that the narrative was conceived as an illusion, one among others, created to capture the imagination within their society (not others’).
Examples are legion, but the Biden Administration’s perception that time was frozen – from the moment of Obama’s departure from office – and somehow defrosted on 20 January, just in time for Biden to pick up on that earlier era (as if time was uninterrupted), marks one example of a belief in one’s own meme. Whilst the EU’s unfeigned amazement – and anger – at being described ‘as an unreliable partner’ by FM Lavrov in Moscow, is just another example of how élites have become remote from the real world and captive to their own self-perception.

“America is back” to lead, and ‘to set the rules of the road’ for the rest of the world, may be intended to radiate U.S. strength, but rather, it suggests a tenuous grasp of the realities facing the U.S.: America’s relations with Europe and Asia were growing increasingly distant well before Biden entered the White House – and, therefore, from before Trump’s (purposefully disruptive) term, too.

Why then is the U.S. so consistently in denial about this?

The U.S. - or at least its 'élites' - need a wake-up call that pulls them out of their narrative world and brings them back into reality.

The alternative is a violent collision with the realities that others -domestic as well as foreign- perceive.

Posted by b on February 16, 2021 at 19:08 UTC | Permalink

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@ Grieved | Feb 17 2021 23:46 utc | 100 who is in Texas with all the power outages.

I read the same about the Nat Gas issue.....never enough money when its about profit but done right when public like Tacoma Public Utilities that have provided power and water since 1893

Stay safe

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 18 2021 3:24 utc | 101

I too, am a vet; ( US Army 66'69)
Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 17 2021 3:35 utc | 42
Oh, I thought he was someone who cared for sick animals, but I guess the world isn't that rosy.
Posted by: Norwegian | Feb 17 2021 6:21 utc | 47

Whereas I thought Vetin was a unique and kind of cool name.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Feb 18 2021 3:34 utc | 102

@ vetinLA | Feb 17 2021 3:35 utc | 42... that was a nice post... thanks and i hope you stick around..

Posted by: james | Feb 18 2021 4:24 utc | 103

Lots of surprises in this day and age, but my biggest surprise today was to read the post by Grieved (#100) and see that he lives in Texas. He seems like a laid-back, level-headed Ivy League sort, so what's he doing in Texas of all places? :0)

Posted by: Jim | Feb 18 2021 5:08 utc | 104

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17 2021 23:46 utc | 100

My impression is that Texas is the most surprising state in the union. For example, floods of size expected to be exceeded at most once per 500 years occur in every decade, And each time a shock: why all those urban subdivision built on floodplains of Houston are flooded?

It is not exactly unique to Texas. Japanese invented the word "tsunami", the most famous Japanese painting shows a "giant wave", and then they were mega-surprised by a tsunami. But unlike hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, huge tsunamis hit Japan relatively rarely.

As a linguistic tidbit, Polish and Ukrainian word for February (Luty) means "ferocious, merciless", basically, the month of blizzards and such.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 18 2021 6:11 utc | 105

@ stephen t johnson

I think I do end up agreeing with you.

- BLM riots, physically damaging but politically inconsequential
- Capital Siege, physically not damaging but politically consequential

I do think you are putting too much kudos onto Trump for being a mastermind couper, considering if he was at least half-serious about his attempt, things would have gone differently, imagine if the Capitol mob did end up being out of control and started attacking the politicians.

The Democrats did respond with the mobilization of 20,000 Nasty Girls, I do think this is an overreaction, but hey, democrats need to flex and a re-run but well-thought-out Capital Siege can mess things up badly.

Posted by: Smith | Feb 18 2021 8:18 utc | 106

Jim | Feb 18 2021 5:08 utc | 104

Texans can surprise you, they are not all JR Ewing oilmen or drunk cowboys. Fantastic music scene in Austin and a great deal of extremely talented musicians hail from there.

they are quite proud of their state as well. Here in Europe if you ask someone from the other 49 states where they are from, they will respond with America or United States. Ask someone from Texas and they will say Texas! Try it sometime.

I will admit that my jaw dropped a bit when I read that grieved said he was in Texas.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 18 2021 9:09 utc | 107

Jim @ 104

Lots of surprises in this day and age, but my biggest surprise today was to read the post by Grieved (#100) and see that he lives in Texas

dan of steele @ 107

I will admit that my jaw dropped a bit when I read that grieved said he was in Texas

Well, you guys should pay more attention, 'cause over the months and years Grieved has mentioned the fact that he lives in Texas(west Texas, I believe) at least several times. Not that I understand why such a revelation would be so shocking(is there some prejudice inherit in there?).

Which brings me to my point...

that more commenters should talk more about their own backyards rather than extrapolating so much from secondhand information about places and cultures thousands of miles away. Yes, the internet is a useful way to travel, soon to be the only way to travel, but on-the-spot reporting is nonpareil.

My understanding in this age of covid is that Texas is one of the more open states. I'd love to hear more about the ramifications of that, and also about Texas being on the vanguard of an ostensible secessionist movement. What's up with that? And not to mention the recent Supreme Court refusal to hear the Texas lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in four battleground states.

And now we have an unprecedented blackout in an energy rich state...

...seems to be a lot going on down there.

Posted by: john | Feb 18 2021 11:05 utc | 108

Oriental Voice | Feb 17 2021 18:25 utc | 92

A prior knowledge of the other person, makes sense of a long conversation. Point taken.

It also makes sense that Karmala will progessively be given the reins of power.

I doubt Uranium was one of the topics as the conversation would have been recorded.

There is also the faint possibility that the whole "Biden" dementia, is a double bluff. With that reputation he can do almost anything, or sign anything, with no piercing questions asked. Useful situation. Trumps tweets enabled a similar mass confusion which he could then exploit, at least at the beginning. (By introduce "crazy" as a policy, which would be amplified by the Democrats?)


Piotr Berman | Feb 17 2021 18:48 utc | 96
Are we really sure that Biden wasn't the one hit on the head with an empty fire extinguisher?

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 18 2021 12:07 utc | 109

Jim @ 104

First comment here just to correct you. At most people from 48 states say they're from the USA. We Alaskans say we're from Alaska as well, not from America or the US, and I bet the Hawaiians don't, either.

Posted by: Akilliy | Feb 18 2021 12:40 utc | 110

Grieved | Feb 17 2021 23:46 utc | 100

Texas is a hotbed of secessionist aspirations & libertarian capitalism. The failure of Texas to cope is no surprise except to those who live there and preach against the Federal government, extol free markets that have never worked for anyone but the rich, yell about individual liberty and the right to shoot your neighbor with your military assault rifle. Don't mess with Texas. It's a right wing shit hole and Texans like it! The rich Texans, that is. Ordinary Texans can freeze in the dark and eat dirt because there is no public interest in Texas, there's only private enterprise and rich ass-holes telling the non-rich they're lazy. There's some bright spots in the ideological darkness, but over all Texas is where Trumpsters have their Alamo moment. Take a hard look, Grieved. Go left young man, before you freeze to death.

Posted by: jadan | Feb 18 2021 13:27 utc | 111

Grieved being in Texas is +1 in Texas favor, imo.

Has anyone else noticed the eerie similarity between Trumps attorney Michael van der Veen and Saul Goodman?

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Feb 18 2021 14:28 utc | 112

Smith @Feb18 8:18 #106

@ stephen t johnson

I think I do end up agreeing with you.

- BLM riots, physically damaging but politically inconsequential
- Capital Siege, physically not damaging but politically consequential

This is an oversimplification.

To gage physical damage from BLM riots with a Capital riot yardstick is a contrived measure. On the Left, they would say that the riot damage from the "mostly peaceful" demonstrations was minor compared to the injustice addressed.

Both were politically consequential.

To gain real insight requires digging deeper. For example, use of Antifa to 1) discredit BLM and 2) "documenting" (LOL) a Capital Riot that wouldn't have happened if the Capital Police had been adequately prepared.

The riots on both sides deepened the partisan divide. Cui bono?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 18 2021 15:44 utc | 113

I agree, Tannenhauser @ 112, and living in a neighboring state, the snow being still with us here as well, we get our share of the good and bad conditions. But they are all having it far worse.

There are people in Alamogordo who sheltered my wayward son, a complete stranger, in past blizzard conditions. Texas has people like that, I'd guess many more than the rowdies. It's the way of the world.

Snow and privation gives time for reflection. I wish them all warmth! And especially, as my sister would say from sunnier climes, WARM to Grieved and loved ones!!

Posted by: juliania | Feb 18 2021 17:08 utc | 114

@ Jim | Feb 18 2021 5:08 utc | 104...grieved probably lives in austin texas area where all the cool texans are, lol... maybe he was even friends with willie, lolol!

Posted by: james | Feb 18 2021 17:16 utc | 115

funny thing is i always figured grieved was from texas! i don't know if he said it before, but texas has a wide variety of people in it.. lyle lovett is from texas.. it can't be all that bad... i know watching easy rider as a kid, i figured where they shot dennis hopper - that was texas right?? i guess they have a lot of red necks and christian fundys and of course it is home to the famous moron ranch where gw lives... i hope they come out of this well... i doubt they are going to change their politics as a result... maybe i am wrong..

Posted by: james | Feb 18 2021 17:19 utc | 116


There's so much shit in Texas, you're bound to step in some

...except in the frozen Winter :)

Posted by: john | Feb 18 2021 17:38 utc | 117

The stratification of thought here regarding the 20 million or so people who live in Texas is appalling. It's zero-sum thinking if we call some of the people in the country bad, based purely on state lines. What foolishness, what inaccurate thinking.

Do we want to give the divide-and-rule mechanism fuel by turning on people through labels? There's only one class war, between only two classes. All the rest is division by the rich class to weaken the poor class.

What matters now is what the people of Texas come up with for a fix for this neoliberal corruption. If they do. Or if they get fooled by scapegoating and zero-sum stratification instead of solidarity for the public good.

Whatever arises in Texas over the weeks and months to come will be, for me, a harbinger of what the US people may decide about their country at large.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 19 2021 0:42 utc | 118

Texas: I'm no fan of the government in Texas, but I have spent a good deal of time in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and I met many good people there, and they took good care of me at times. I'm willing to criticize the culture (to a point), and the political class there, but not the people. They are my fellow citizens, and we would do far better to empathize or think of what we might provide than to indulge snark and spite. They are the victims here, whether or not some of them have been dumb about it.

Take the high road, you won't regret it. We have and have had similart issues here in California, and it was not because the public demanded it or even went along with it, we were not allowed a say.

Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 19 2021 1:45 utc | 119

Grieved @ 118

The stratification of thought here regarding the 20 million or so people who live in Texas is appalling

Agreed, Grieved, though, whereas stratification has a kind of scientific timbre to it, I see simple, homegrown, anti-intellectual ignorance.

In our new age of covid induced tyranny, it seems Texas has mounted significant resistance. In this era of electoral despotism, it seems Texas has mounted the greatest challenge.

Also, in lieu of all the pygmy punditry, I guess I have to clarify my quote @ 117, from the song Dallas, written and performed by the great Texas bluesman, Johnny Winter. One of a long line of great Texas bluesmen who've carved out their own sub-category in a style of music that in 100 years has migrated from the delta to Chicago to England to the rest of the world, leaving in its wake an elation and empathy that pretty much transcends that of any other cultural phenomenon.

Posted by: john | Feb 19 2021 10:30 utc | 120


Former Texas Governor, Ann Richards, proclaimed October 3, 1991, as Stevie Ray Vaughan Day, and the city of Austin erected a statue in his honor.

A national treasure!

Posted by: john | Feb 19 2021 10:56 utc | 121

@Grieved | Feb 19 2021 0:42 utc | 118

Please forgive them for they know not what they do...

[And...they probably drive *electric* Teslas and think smugly they are actually saving the planet] (7 min)

Posted by: gm | Feb 19 2021 11:04 utc | 122

john | Feb 19 2021 10:56 utc | 121

my favorite is "Tin pan alley", about 9 minutes long as I recall. someone described his playing as spiritual, that might be the best way to put it.

my jaw drop was not meant to be dismissive of Texans, I have known many in my life and just about all of them have been pretty cool. it is just that Grieved writes more like one them pointy head intellectuals, and no offense intended to either Grieved or the pointy head intellectuals.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 19 2021 11:26 utc | 123

A "fair and balanced" Texas deepfreeze power outage news round-up and local analysis, from JP Sears (who evidently *lives* in Texas),

Complete with a "fair and balanced" broadside at *all* the blame-shifting Texas/national politicians and corrupt weasels: (7:40 min)

Posted by: gm | Feb 19 2021 14:34 utc | 124

Soon to be cancelled Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary opines Covid [mostly]natural herd immunity will be here this April.

Posted by: gm | Feb 19 2021 16:21 utc | 125

JB | Feb 16 2021 22:04 utc | 16

What an incredibly stupid story that is! It's not just the rulers, it's not just the arms companies, it's not just the shareholders, not just the representatives that are mad but the whole damned set up! Including a large part of the population!!

Thanks for drawing that to my attention, without I never would have guessed just how bloody stupid, cretinous that whole scene is!

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 21 2021 20:35 utc | 126

karlof1 | Feb 16 2021 22:11 utc | 17

The Stasi demanded family and neighbors spy on each other and that was deemed Unamerican then; so to ask Americans to spy on their family and neighbors now must be equally Unamerican, insidious and incompatible with Freedom, Justice, and the American Way!

You obviously don't understand that when the Russian, Chinese, Syrians Iranians, etc., etc., do something it is BAD, BAD, BAD, ORWELLIAN! When we democratic peace- and freedom-loving people do the exact same thing, it is GOOD, PATRIOTIC, RIGHT, COMMENDABLE!! (Simple, really. They are evil and we are good.)

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 21 2021 20:49 utc | 127

dan of steele | Feb 16 2021 23:22 utc | 21

now, to add some balance. Black people need to get their shit together. Bad things happen to many of them because they are doing stupid stuff. The gangsta culture is not at all helpful.

I don't know, but I wonder, how far the low IQ and criminal behaviour that is shown by Blacks in America, is due to higher levels of lead in their environment? Lead is well known as a nerve-poison and to degrade the intelligence, particularly of young children, I understand that tetraethyl lead is still used (to bump up the octane number) in gasoline sold in the US. Since lead in gasoline was banned in the UK, the rate of criminality has steadily declined for the last thirty years. (You would never guess that from the headlines in the MSM but that is a fact.)

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 21 2021 21:04 utc | 128

vk | Feb 17 2021 12:47 utc | 59

Washington’s Energetic Generals and the Emphasis on Preparation for Nuclear War

But this does not prevent Strike Group admirals holding forth about their missions of provocation in the South China Sea that appear intended to push China to react.

China did react: I think it was Wang yi said (words to the effect of) "The US warships in the SCS are an irritant and an unnecessary provocation, but they are not militarily significant."

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 21 2021 22:04 utc | 129

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