‘I’ve read some articles by journalists who do not condone Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but insists that our reporting in the west is equally propagandized as the Russian media. I’m not even talking about social media and the profusion of conspiracy and opinion trolls. The Counterpunch Website and main stream journalists like John Pilger point out that Ukrainian nationalists – Putin’s Neo Nazis – have infiltrated the Ukrainian army as well as civic life in much of Ukraine for the past dozen years. He also claims that Russian speaking people of the Crimea, the Donbass and Donesk regions would choose Russia over Ukraine if a referendum were held.’
‘No doubt, our view about the whole conflict is shaped by our mainstream media which is a lot more diversified than the Russian media. We still have choices of news sources, TV channels and print media that the other side does not offer anymore.’
‘Control the media and you control the message. And the lie becomes the truth.’
‘From Orban to Putin, from Xi to Trump. All of them aliens from Populus Nationalism in the constellation of Hubris.’
‘And enough hate and blame to fill hell’s ante chambers. Putin the Destroyer doesn’t build anything; he just tears down and destroys: his neighbours and ultimately his own country and people. His dreams of empire are not only futile and destructive but will ultimately fail as they did with the Czars, the USSR and now with Putin’s own expansionist ambitions.’
‘The Chinese on the other hand are builders. They have a much longer view in world affairs and their aim is to ultimately rule the planet, economically, militarily and politically. Their Belt and Road Initiative is one of their long reaching investment policies that is already circling the globe and has made dependents of over 70 countries, from Myanmar to Sri Lanka, from the South Pacific to the Caribbean and Africa.’
‘What about the Americans? They invented social media and much of the electronic gadgetry that rule our lives today. Smart phones and earbuds are not just mere accessories, they are appendixes without which we cannot function. What the Russians and Chinese have done is co-opt those inventions and communication platforms to spread and sow their conspiracies, lies and nationalist propaganda which have been absorbed by purveyors of hate, misogyny and misinformation which culminated in the election of Trump. What really scares me is how half of the US population believed the lies and falsehoods and championed a narcissistic sociopath and had him elected to the highest office in the world.’
‘Unfathomable but it happened and it just may happen again. Putin would like nothing more than the West and America to destroy itself, it’s democratic institutions, its social fabric and ultimately its status as the most successful nation ever.’
‘But America is more than a nation, it’s a construct made up of liberty, democracy and freedom, all of which is now being repressed, restricted and denied by fascist legislators and politicized courts and judges.’
‘There isn’t a lot of good news out there these days,’ Camp mused. ‘Inflation, disintegration, stagnation, wars, heat waves, famines and the inexorable deterioration of a livable and sustainable environment. I think we’re in for a nasty reality check.’
‘On a path to collective suicide as Antonio Gutierrez warned just the other day.’
‘Still, we have to aim for a better future for our children,’ I insisted, ‘the outlook was equally bleak in the 13thcentury or even during the 2nd world war and look where we are today: living like kings with cradle to grave healthcare, sophisticated education institutions, grocery and liquor stores full of fantastic choices, unlimited transportation options and mobility, cities and homes with automated infra structure and climate systems and amazing toys, entertainment and diversification to while away our leisure time.’
‘Yes, we do live the best of lives in the best of times, at least here in Gibsons, British Columbia but maybe not so much in the Gaza, in Kabul or Aleppo and hundreds of other places subject to violence, repression and lacking all of the above.’
We looked around for our sunny, young server who appeared just like magic with two frothy brews.
‘How are you coping with inflation?’ Camp wanted to know from Vicky.
‘I’ve moved in with my mom since my boyfriend couldn’t deal with fatherhood and responsibility. Mom looks after my son when I’m working and together, we do ok.’
‘Oh, I didn’t know you’re, eh, single again,’ Camp said clumsily.
‘I’m not single, just not married, not engaged, betrothed or dependent,’ she laughed.
‘Of course, I tell a different story to the tax authorities or to prospective suiters.’
‘You’d make a good politician,’ I said.
‘We’re all just trying to make the best of what we got,’ she said.