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"Eleven" (Millie Bobby Brown) enters the sensory-deprivation tank in order to use her "powers" to listen to a Soviet agent in 1983 America.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – I have a bad feeling about all of the anti-Russia rhetoric in the media right now. A writer I admire over at The Secret Sun is feeling the same way. In fact, before I even hopped over there the other day I suspected it would have to do with the growing Russophobia inside the Beltway and within certain quarters of the mainstream media, as it were. A battle is already taking place behind the scenes. What side will reign victorious remains to be seen.

With Donald Trump’s impending inauguration this week and accusations of the billionaire bully allegedly receiving assistance from Russian operatives in the recent presidential election, well, you can already tell big things are in store for all of us in 2017.

It's had me thinking a lot about the Cold War era and how the seemingly inevitible World War III is not far off, that events are in motion - Ukraine, Syria, Russia, Philippines, North Korea, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, China ... - that lead me to wonder if a global conflagration is closer than we think. Of course we pray that this does not come to pass, but with an incoming president who would don a garish military uniform if he could, is eager to show off America's military might, which brings to mind those military marches on newsreels from Moscow's Red Square in the old days.

Everything old is new again, comrade.

And perhaps its this "disturbance" in the ether that everyone seems to be feeling that is leading to the dreams I've been having lately. Last night, I was at odds with a young Frenchman. There was something decidedly strange about this man. And, I have to say that the 1987 INXS album KICK played a role in this dream as well. As I recall, I had a taped copy of Kick on cassette, and on the flipside was U2's The Joshua Tree, another album from '87. In fact, the Irish quartet is back on the road this year in support of a 30th anniversary Joshua Tree tour.

Several songs from the Kick album have made it into Dust Devil Dreams posts. As the late Michael Hutchence sings on "Need You Tonight" - "All you got is this moment / Twenty-first century's yesterday ..." Hutchence, the more I learn, was to something, and was seemingly taken out by dark forces in 1997.

And what is interesting, is that one of those INXS-related posts sync with Private Joker (Matthew Modine, also in Stranger Things) in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, which was released in 1987 as well - 30 years ago.

Rewatching Stranger Things, the psychological horror show set in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in November 1983 (note "Supernatural, perhaps"), I am struck by how that particular month and year is the focus of the program, particularly as “El” is shown using her powers of telekinesis against a Soviet agent. It's while El is in this alternate realm, leading to the "upside down" (note "Land shark (Trumpsidedown)") Or, as wisecracking Stranger Things kid character "Dustin" says, talking of the "upside down" or "vale of shadows," "The vale of shadows is an echo or a dark reflection of our world. A place of decay and death. A place of monsters. It's right next to you and you don't even see it." Curiously, growing up, I knew of a home in Michigan owned by a family named "Hawkins," and they named the summer home "Snikwah," which is Hawkins in reverse.

Meanwhile, we have the pro-Trumpers and toxic alt-right figures, like Alex Jones (below), promoting the presidency of an unhinged, amoral, man-child and bully who, regardless of whether he's palsy-walsy with Putin, will very soon have his finger on the proverbial nuclear button. And US News & World Report is saying the "hacked election" is Putin's "war on information." Or, to put it another way - an INFOWAR

Every single one of us, the devil inside ... 

And then there is an episode of The Americans, about a Soviet spy couple living as regular “Americans” in Washington in the early-to-mid 1980’s. One episode, set in November 1983, focuses on the family watching The Day After, about a nuclear attack, with a focus on victims in the Kansas City area. I remember watching it and my mother chiding me for doing so because she felt it would scare me. If anything, it informed my growing sense that the arms race, and President Reagan’s recently announced plans for “Star Wars” (S.D.I.), - "Guns in the sky" - was utterly insane. We should be finding common ground with the Russians, because, as the Sting song wonders, "if the Russians love their children too?"

Watchng the nuclear apocalypse unfold in The Day After in an episode of The Americans. (FX)

Well, they do. As we transition into the decidedly fascistic Trump era, there will be voices among the neoliberal “wonk” and “think tank” class who will push for going “toe-to-toe with the Rooskies,” to quote Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove, a film that was scheduled to be screened in American theaters just about the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, something I noted in "November 22, 1963 'spawned a monster.'" That event, of course, took place exactly 20 years before the events featured in Stranger Things and the actual airing of The Day After.

In a book I'm reading now, Mary's Mosaic, it suggests that socialite Mary Pinchot Meyer played a role in helping JFK see the world differently, and our place in it, by (allegedly) giving him LSD. Meyer would be murdered less than a year after JFK, in what is still an unsolved mystery. If this book is right, JFk and Khrushchev were working behind the scenes to have the US and Soviets work together, rather than be enemies. It would seem that some things never change, as tensions rise dramatically in 2017, as they did back in 1983, particularly after the Soviets shot down KAL 007 over Sakhalin Island, killing 269 people on September 1, 1983, including U.S. Rep. Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), a noted far-right congressman, linked to the John Birch Society, a radical right group which was at its height during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.

Yes, 1983 was a most dangerous year. And it appears that 2017 is shaping up to echo that synchromystic time, 34 years ago. That said, let's not forget that 2017 also marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution of 1917, something we will be analyzing further here at Red Dirt Report in coming weeks and months.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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