My usual listening/reading experience is:
Walking dogs – Audiobook (fiction, sometimes fact)
Running – Podcast (fact, usually history)
Car – Podcast (different to running)
Bed – Book (fiction)
In-between times – phone, Guardian, sometimes Twitter
Maybe I am overdoing it.
I should rationalise. Cut down.
Given these complications, I carry with me a jumble of fact and fiction. Occasionally my dreams are mixed-up, Bosch-like, at other times this variety helps maintain my balance.
I sometimes pick-up obscure facts, at others, I carry fictional narratives into my self-talk.
I am sure I’m not alone.
It is these two Podcasts that have left me unstuck.
To the extent that I question whether I am being radicalised, whether the content is taking me too far down the warren that is American Alt-Right, not that I am entirely certain what Alt-Right is, just, that it isn’t good. It would have been considered treyf when I was a child.
Here it is.
I will start with Ukraine and my take-home messages.
We, that is, you, me, the West have been given a narrative of the war in Ukraine that tells a story of Russian aggression towards Ukraine. It is an ancient story, good (Ukraine) versus bad (Russia).
Perhaps, given the complicated nature or the shear muchness of our everyday lives we seek simplicity, when offered a solution that is a 1000 pages long or a one-page summary we will almost always opt for the side of A-4.
And so, the war.
Cooper’s interpretation (and apologies if I have this wrong, you can always listen yourself if you have a few hours spare) is that the war relates to NATO expansion fuelled by US weapons manufacturers influencing US politicians. It is a business. The more war, the more bombs dropped, and missiles fired the greater the profits, to the extent that the $x Billion support packages provided by America are actually loans based upon Imperial domination. All of which threatens Russia and its borders.
Did you know that prior to the Russian annexation of Crimea it was used as a peaceful Russian naval base (paying $97 Million/year to Ukraine for rent). The narrative at the time was to expel the Russians, removing their access to a warm water port (one that doesn’t freeze in the winter) and disabling their naval capability.
Is all this true? I am not sure. I have Googled and investigated many of the facts and yes, what I can access does appear to be accurate, although, the frustration is, it’s difficult to determine whether the sources I have accessed are themselves Alt-Right.
OK, maybe this is true. Maybe it hasn’t been Russian aggression solely, rather, US and the ‘West’s’ move to expand NATO, sell ballistic weapons and limit Russia’s sphere of influence (access to trade, etc.)
This I guess is potential. It is understandable and, I don’t think my writing this will place me on a CIA watch-list. (Although writing ‘CIA watch-list’ might).
It is important to remember that underneath the billion-dollar profits (made by Western arms manufacturers) there are people, predominantly Ukrainians, many of whom have lost everything – their lives, homes, and livelihoods. And the rest of the world although perhaps most significantly Africa where grain supplies have been disrupted. (In the UK we worry about our cost-of living crisis, we aren’t facing starvation).
None of them asked for any of this and none of them will benefit.
And now, Epstein.
Jeffrey Epstein, for those of you unfamiliar with his story was an American paedophile, rapist, and sex-trafficker. Those facts are certain. As to his day-job, whether he was a businessman, financier, or philanthropist is less clear. He died, supposedly by his own hand in an American Prison (the three video cameras malfunctioned, the two guards feel asleep on watch).
The sub-story that Cooper tells is one of a privileged upper class, although that is perhaps not the term as these guys don’t drive around in Rolls’ Royce’s and live in stately homes, they fly from A to B in helicopters, private jets and live on their own islands, they are the uber-rich, the multi-billionaires who have proliferated in the last-half of the 20th and early 21st century. Not all of them are exceedingly wealthy, it should be stated, some are just powerful – leaders of nations, politicians, royalty and so on.
The common theme, being, many of them were friends of Epstein.
Some of them are more obvious than others – Bills Clinton and Gates, Les Wexner, Trump, Prince Andrew, Ghislaine Maxwell. These are the ones in the headlines who spent greater of less time on one of Epstein’s private islands (he had two in the American Virgin Islands) (yes, like a Bond villain) – his jet was called the ‘Lolita Express’
Much of this is so fanciful that you imagine it is made-up.
(Last night’s running Podcast – ‘Jesus the history’ with Dominic Sandbrook and Tom Holland argued that many of the gospels had to be true as the stories are so fanciful no one would make them up.)
The details, in the most are available via Google.
Cooper quotes instances of child abuse in Belgium, the US and the UK where important people have quashed, derailed, or influenced investigations.
You know about Jimmy Saville. What about Cyril Smith, or the Kincora Boys Home or Marc Dutrox in Belgium?
He, Cooper, suggests a cabal of unimaginably rich men who pay their way through corruption and vice, who use people, particularly young women for their entertainment and return to their day jobs of defrauding nation-states.
Surely none of this is true.
And yet, Robert Maxwell (Ghislaine’s dad) was likely an Israeli agent, likely murdered by the Mossad, he may have been a double or triple agent. When he died, he took with him half the Mirror’s pension-pot of his thousands of employees. And Bill Clinton has been accused of three, perhaps four accounts of rape, all disputed except Monica Lewinski and, I don’t need to tell you about Trump.
It is a nefarious never-world, one controlled by distorted values and unimaginable privilege.
This doesn’t mean that every very very rich man is caught-up in fraud or sexual abuse, just, that some are. And some manage to pay their way out of their troubles – non-disclosure agreements and the like.
Am I paranoid?
Am I slipping towards the Right?
I wonder whether I should even post this as it suggests I have been taken in.
I tried to investigate Darryl Cooper and found nothing.
If you search, on Google of Duck Duck Go, you won’t find much. He has his Podcast, Martyrmade and another he runs with Jocko Willinck, former US Navy SEAL and all-in action man.
Jocko has a Wikipedia page, Cooper doesn’t. there is so little about him, he must actively wipe the page.
You can find a series of Tweets he released after Biden’s election on the likelihood of the presidential vote having been corrupted (used by Trump as evidence to support his allegations), but little else.
He reveals he worked for the US Department of Defence in a previous job.
It is said about the Kabbalah that one should not commence study unless you are into your middle-age, when you have a sense of yourself and the world that can withstand the corrupting influence of knowing too much.
I am at my middle age, and I don’t intend to reach into Kabbalah although it feels I have gone too far already.
And yet, I want to understand, I want to know what I should be thinking, not what people want me to think.
It is difficult.
At times too much.
On a more concrete note.
Yesterday we had our Christmas/Channukah dinner.
The dining room warmed-up to the extent it tipped our tortoise out of hibernation.
He emerged bleary-eyed.
I fed him some tomato and cucumber.
Remember Plato’s Allegory of the Cave?
For Yoda (tortoise) his Cave (tortoise table) is the world, dependent upon the heat generated by my central heating (dependent upon Russian and Qatari gas prices).
I worry I shouldn’t have fed him (hibernation begins on an empty stomach) and yet, he appeared hungry.
Have a good week.