The world is locked into a 1984 mode, in which the mass of people – the sheeple – are ruthlessly manipulated by the controlling elite into patterns of behavior and thought that are designed to keep them usefully productive or, failing that, then at least quiescent.

The main tool for this is, of course, the mainstream media, which keep the sheeple’s addled minds focused on drivel and trivia, thereby preventing any possibility that they might ask the wrong questions and reach the wrong conclusions.

This week has seen multiple examples of this process at work. The entire world has remained focused on the fate of a Malaysian airliner, so that supposedly intelligent people engage their peers in endless, but useless, speculation as to what might have happened to this plane and its hapless passengers, where it might have ended up (or down) and whodunit (and why). There is no objective justification for the number of person-hours expended on this affair, other than that it provides distraction and entertainment for the masses. The fact that many lives (deaths) are involved makes it a more gruesome – and hence media-attractive – subject but in no way justifies the blanket coverage awarded it around the world.

The supposed justification for being concerned is not that we, as individuals or as a nation, can do anything about it, because whatever was done is done. Rather, we are enticed by speculative balloons, such as that the plane was hijacked by, or for, terrorists with the intent of executing another 9/11-style attack. Since the global sheeple are thoroughly brainwashed about 9/11 and the evil al-Qaida terrorists who staged the attack – except for the couple of billion who are brainwashed to believe that the Mossad or CIA or whoever did it to give Muslims a bad name – these vague ideas are enough to generate not merely general interest but direct and even personal concern.

“They” are coming to get me… What is it that people could or should be focusing on, which is not trivial but serious? One obvious candidate is Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its bullying of Ukraine. Here, the Western media have stuck to the line (or reverted to the old Cold War mode) that Russia is a very powerful country, Putin is in the Hitler or Stalin league, and what is happening is on a par either with the events of 1914 – which most sheeple are vaguely acquainted with and hence worried about – or, better, with the 1938-39 sequence, with which they are better acquainted and therefore more worried.

The possibility – nay, probability – that Putin has pushed Russia into a deep swamp from which it cannot emerge in a healthy state is not on the agenda. The crisis provides an(other) opportunity for the Obama administration’s legions of critics to bash Obama and Co. for their cack-handed management of yet another foreign- policy issue. But the basic fact is that no American president could have stopped Russia operating in its own “backyard” if it was determined to do so – which it is.

And the idea that Putin is not being tough and devilishly clever, but actually displaying gross stupidity – that this is a “lose-lose” situation for everyone involved – is anathema to both the pro and anti-Obama camps, which together comprise the American mainstream media.

The myth that Russia is strong, indeed a great power, is unquestioningly perpetuated – when in fact Russia is a kleptocracy in which the current ruling clique has been enabled to retain and expand its power thanks to the global commodity boom that has been a boon to a country with nothing to sell but raw materials. Said ruling clique has been much more efficient than the previous (Yeltsin-era) one in running the country and has been no less assiduous on sending its ill-gotten gains from looting the country into safe havens in countries where the rule of law is still respected, at least for very rich people.

This corrupt, backward and dying country – more Russians die every day than are born, although Putin has managed to improve the birthrate – has now decided to (re)impose its will on one of the few countries in Europe that makes it look reasonably well run and law abiding, namely Ukraine. It has begun by seizing Crimea, which has no water sources or electricity supplies of its own, and will thus be sucked into the Ukrainian swamp, where it will be forced to expend resources it cannot afford in pursuit of goals that are not achievable.

Meanwhile, in China – the true source of Russian, Iranian and all other emerging-market prosperity over the past decade – the cracks in the financial system are rapidly multiplying. Companies that produce real things, such as coal, steel and houses – but that expanded much too fast by playing a dangerous game of borrowing against paper holdings of commodities such as copper and iron – are beginning to go bust, and the state is unwilling and/or unable to bail them out. The Chinese currency – the supposed successor to the American dollar, in the view of many – is now depreciating.

This is genuinely important because it means that the global economy is undergoing a fundamental change for the worse, which will affect far more people than all the terrorist attacks in history and will have a greater impact on both the US and Russia than the Crimean crisis and the Cuban crisis combined. If you have time to spare from following the fate of the Malaysian plane, you can read an excellent analysis on what’s happening in China from Morgan Stanley – hardly a hotbed of fringe lunatics – at the Zero Hedge blog. Believe me, you’ll be sorry you did.

www.pinchaslandau.com

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