The Debate And The Election

This post first appeared at Government Cheese (Chronicling the collapse of democracy)

The way I look at the election and in particular this debate is, “how the fuck is Trump even or ahead in the polls, and how does the voting public see things?” Not, “how do I see things?” How in the world does the voting public see their lives under Dems and Biden as worse than Trump?

So you look at the information environment that regular people are in. And you try to see what they see.

I know what the public saw in the first 15 minutes of the debate – which is all that matters. Impressions are set and no one cares after that.

I am of the belief that you have to vote for Biden anyway because of the existential threat of Trump or at this point any Republican. (I wavered because of Gaza but am still there.) And I was shaken by what I saw, wondering even if Biden can even stay alive until November, never mind another 4 years. And the brain was not functioning. I see no future in a Biden vote. No hope for more of what we saw that last four years, only a Harris ascension quite soon. But I still will vote Biden – only because of Trump.

Will the debate change things? The right-wing-dominated information environment regular people live in already had Biden as old and demented, so all that happened is that was confirmed. For people outside of that information environment, Trump is clearly understood as extremely dangerous, and that was confirmed if you could stomach even watching him which I could not and did not except for a bit.

Anyway what matters now is are the polls going to change? I think maybe not. I think enough people already had it in their mind that Biden is too old but Trump is too dangerous.

If we can change the information environment America could come back. At this point that means overcoming Murdoch, Sinclair, private equity, billionaires etc. Musk and his cohorts did not buy Twitter to make a profit.

Easier Than Governing

This post originally appeared at Government Cheese: Chronicling the collapse of democracy

Modern society is complex, vast, complicated. Governing modern society is hard. Getting it right requires a lot of hard work doing the managing, measuring, forecasting, planning, consulting, regulating, making & enforcing rules and all that boring hippie crap. Getting the details right is difficult. All of it means attending endless meetings. The skills needed take decades to master. And it all requires dedication and commitment.

Instead Of Doing The Actual Work

US Republicans and UK Tories have found a way around doing the actual, difficult work: Just don’t do it! Problem solved!

“Conservatives” espouse “The magic of the market.” Instead of governing, why not simply “unleash” the “market” to do everything.

Kill off the rules and regulations. Fire the enforcers. Skip the planning. Cancel the meetings. Demonize the “experts.” Turn it all over to “the magic of the market.”

Above all else, nurture the “market.” Allow any entity calling itself a “corporation” to engage in any scheme that can be imagined.

So Many Good Things

Protect people from disease? The market will do that.
Protect people from fraud? The market will do that.
Make sure the food is safe? The market will do that.
Maintain and improve the standard of living? The market will do that.
Provide shelter? The market will do that.

The Invisible Hand Will Do The Work

After you have dismantled the entire governing process (“the Deep State”) you can just sit back and party while everything is taken care of by an invisible hand engaging in creative destruction. The Lord will work in mysterious ways. Disruption is the key.

It’s magic!

Cash Bonus

This approach comes with a huge bonus. “The Market” rewards those who “unleash” it.

And Here We Are

And here we are. Infrastructure falling apart. Health care systems in shambles. Education systems not educating. Etc. Etc. Etc. Everywhere you look everything in society is falling apart.

Don’t forget the big one: The planet’s climate is disintegrating and could very well wipe out society itself.

The Magic of the Market at work!

Capitalism And Privatization

On the benefits of privatization – turning public assets over to the “private sector”:

Capitalism – “the private sector” – does not invest in the pubic interest. That is not what it is for. It exists to enrich the few “owners,” and even that only in the short term.

Everything else is propaganda to convince the public to let them get away with that.

Why I Don’t Have Time For Republicans – Any Of Them

This morning Ann Coulter circulated a piece saying that the Britt fiasco was the result of Republicans using “DEI” to find a SOTU spokesperson, and this is what happens when you put a female there for quota reasons instead of a white male. Because OF COURSE no one would ever put anyone other than a white make anywhere important.

I’m just so sick of this vile stuff.

I have studied the “conservative movement” long enough to understand what it is about, and their goals. I have documented the backgrounds, training, methods and funding of right-wing operatives and how they develop their propaganda and for what purposes.

I do listen to them and read their stuff, to see what they’re up to. I used to have a gig with Media Matters where I’d do a roundup of what their outlets were saying, every morning, with an analysis of the reasons they were saying it, and how that furthered their objectives. That newsletter was circulated to progressive groups and elsewhere. I had to look at things like pictures of decapitated black kids, or drawings of big-nosed greedy Jews. That was a cesspit of the worst of humanity and it left me scarred.

So excuse me for avoiding them and not approving of giving them even wider platforms and bestowing legitimacy.

A Way To Understand What Went Wrong With The US

Society wants cars/antibiotics/furniture/houses/etc but doesn’t want to make them ourselves through our government.

In order to accomplish functions like these that government wants accomplished but doesn’t want to do itself, government “contracts out” those functions. Corporations are those contracts. Corporations facilitate aggregation and manage of resources (huge sums, labor, etc) that are beyond the scope of individuals. We “contract out” through corporate charters to get these things done for us.

When You Look At It This Way

When you look at it this way — that government is the way all of society’s functions are managed(of course it is) and that corporations & the “private sector” are just “contracting out” some government functions — it gives people a way to take back the power in their own thinking. Who is the boss of who? How should corporations be regulated? Who should be regulating them? Etc.

Where Things Went Wrong

Here is where we went wrong. Executives at corporations are allowed to use corporate funds to influence society and pay politicians to allow things that enrich those executives personally.

Everything else we see happening flows from that.

A Game As Old As Wealth

This post originated at Imagine Democracy. If you follow all the links, it pieces together.

Over at sister-site Government Cheese, a discussion of capitalism, propaganda and how a few wealthy people keep things under control

Capitalism literally means that the people with wealth make the investment decisions for society & get the return on investment, and the broad public don’t.

All the rest is just propaganda. Capitalism has nothing to do with “markets” or “freedom” or any of the rest.

It’s really so simple. It’s how a few people maintain control of society for their own benefit and it’s been this way for thousands of year, under different labels. It’s what a monarchy is. The King and his buddies control the wealth. “WE should have this and you should not and here’s why.”

It’s why the United States was such a breakthrough. WE THE PEOPLE will decide what’s best for us, not you. Government of, by and for THE PEOPLE. Not the elites, the wealthy, the aristocrats, the priesthood, the monarchy, the warlord, whatever label put on the ruling wealthy. A country run for the benefit of the people in the country. Whatever label we put on that – democracy, socialism, whatever.

That’s all. All the rest is just propaganda.

Read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in the context of the monarchies of Europe just salivating waiting for “the Union” – the experiment in democracy – fail so they can get the world back where they want it.

Capitalism Parts 1 and 2

This post first appeared at Government Cheese – Chronicling the collapse of democracy.

Capitalism: Maintain a “reserve army of the unemployed” to keep wages low. Keep public services (the things government does to make people’s lives better) and taxes at the top down and keep the people from organizing (democracy) to protect themselves.

Capitalism part 2: As life gets worse, bathe the masses in propaganda and point them at “the other” for blame.

Austerity breeds fascism.

Mirror Propaganda

Since forever I’ve had a category at Seeing the Forest named “The STF Rule.” “When right-wingers are accusing others of something it is usually a cover for something THEY are doing.” Republicans do what they accuse.

I just learned the name for this is “Mirror Propaganda.”

From the UK’S Open Democracy, ‘Anti-trans activists are using ‘mirror propaganda’. Here’s how to spot it‘,

There is a name for this mechanism of power: ‘mirror propaganda’. Mirror propaganda means doing to your enemies what you are falsely accusing them of doing to you.

[…]

The invention of mirror propaganda has been attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, and so far the earliest identified deployments of it are by Goebbels and Himmler in 1940s Germany, targeting Jewish people.

More recently, Alison Des Forges and Jean-Pierre Cretien identified mirror propaganda as a significant factor in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when hundreds of thousands of Tutsi men, women and children were killed.

Susan Benesch, director of the Dangerous Speech Project at Harvard University, has also identified mirror propaganda as one of the main techniques for inciting genocide.

Googling around, I see it’s also called “Accusation in a mirror.”

Citing Wikipedia is bad, but there’s this.

Check Yourself For Confirmation Bias

I think we should all be aware that confirmation bias is a real thing.

The US has done terrible things. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was illegal aggressive warfare, with its “run up” of propaganda lies to justify what Bush did. Vietnam, wow … CIA overthrowing elected governments and installing horrific, murderous dictatorships.

And what we did with Russia after the Soviet Union fell led to Putin and the oligarchs running things.

So a lot of us trained ourselves to see through the propaganda lies that come from the DC/military/corporate-rule crowd. There really is no reason to trust anything they say

Now, remember when Russia had troops massed on Ukraine’s border, and many of us saw the US warnings about an impending invasion as the US engaging in another drumbeat for war? A lot of people were talking about this almost as if the US had troops there and was lying about it. Meanwhile Russia was assisting this view by saying they were only conducting exercises and would be pulling back soon, the US was lying to stir things up, etc, etc.

It turned out that was all wrong. Russia really was massing troops for an invasion of Ukraine.

So Be Careful

So let’s be careful and try to apply logic to what we’re seeing instead of looking for things that confirm our own US-centric view of the world. Past performance is not an indicator of future returns. Those were not US troops on Ukraine’s border and the warnings about impending invasion were correct, not US military/industrial propaganda this time. (For once.) This time it wasn’t about US politics or actions at all, even though we are so used to seeing things that way.

For all the past bad acts by Western countries, is it logical to think of NATO as “aggressive” or “expanding” when the countries joining are all applying to join? Is it logical to think of NATO as “threatening” Russia? NATO has not invaded any of these countries to force them in. It is an organization that exists for the member countries to protect each other from aggression by other countries.

And we all know that the West is not going to invade Russia. So where is the logic of thinking of NATO as threatening, or encircling, or expanding? Those are propaganda words, intending to evoke images in the brain instead of logic. Encircling? I mean, look at a map of Russia! Again, no one is going to be sending tanks into Russia. Get real.

Many of the countries -IN- NATO have done terrible things. NATO itself, as an organization, has not. Meanwhile today’s Russia is the kind of country we all despise and fear the US is becoming – a fascist, white nationalist kleptocracy subjecting its people to constant Fox-News-like nonsense distracting the public from reality and justifying how the few at the top are siphoning off all the wealth. Russia has been invading, bombing countries, Syria, Chechnya, Georgia, attacking civilians and destroying their cities. Not NATO.

I’m saying we should look at every situation fresh, and apply logic and reason. Fighting past battles can make us blind to what is happening.

Especially as US/Wall Street domination of the world recedes.

Hypnotizing Us Into The Biggest Slumber Mankind Has Ever Seen

“We live in a kingdom of bullshit.”

Is the climate crisis real? Is Covid real? Is Trump’s coup attempt real? Is inequality real?

Does anyone care about and of these?

Frm Mr. Robot:

Mr. Robot | Christian Slater) "REALITY" Speech Scene (S01E10) from MAKING THE CUT on Vimeo.

Is any of it real? I mean, look at this. Look at it! A world built on fantasy. Synthetic emotions in the form of pills. Psychological warfare in the form of advertising. Mind-altering chemicals in the form of… food! Brainwashing seminars in the form of media. Controlled isolated bubbles in the form of social networks.

Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century. We turned it off, took out the batteries, snacked on a bag of GMOs while we tossed the remnants in the ever-expanding Dumpster of the human condition. We live in branded houses trademarked by corporations built on bipolar numbers jumping up and down on digital displays, hypnotizing us into the biggest slumber mankind has ever seen.

You have to dig pretty deep, kiddo, before you can find anything real. We live in a kingdom of bullshit. A kingdom you’ve lived in for far too long. So don’t tell me about not being real. I’m no less real than the fucking beef patty in your Big Mac.