Archive for June, 2016

F. Y. P.

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

It seems fairly clear that cheating, lying and stealing have prevailed to ensure that the Clintons receive the nomination of the Democratic Party. There will be no takeover of the party by the forces of justice. It can’t be saved and it probably isn’t worth saving. 

We took our best shot, and we had a hell of a leader, but we knew at the outset that the party is owned by our enemies, like most of the earth’s assets, and is populated by political pawns currying favor with the owners in the interest of personal advantage.

The Democratic Party is an institution so thoroughly discredited that there’s no real prospect of reform. Taking it over would be like taking control of a racketeering outfit. Once you subtract the corrupt practices, there’s nothing left.

We and Sanders have no duty to make good on any pledge he might have made. The conduct of Democrats has been so egregious that any capitulation to them would be an offense in itself. So grievous has been the Democrats’ affront to our movement for social justice and common decency that an endorsement of their nominee would be a betrayal.

One pledge Sanders made is worth repeating: “I’ll do everything I can to see that Donald Trump doesn’t become president.” Supporting the Democratic nominee doesn’t fall conveniently into that category. She’s the most unpopular candidate offered to the public in living memory. She seems to be depending on large numbers of people “holding their noses” to cast a ballot for her. Her acolytes include veterans of the anti-war movement, who must swallow her enthusiasm for violent engagements from Yugoslavia to Libya and beyond. They include advocates from the civil rights and anti-poverty movement, who must swallow her multimillion dollar fees from longtime oppressors in finance and business. They include labor activists, who must swallow her support for destructive trade agreements. They include feminists who must swallow her defense of the sexual predator, her husband, and his prowling among the female staff in Little Rock and Washington for victims, all later smeared by her as liars and whores. If her victory requires Democrats to vote in violation of principle, it’s hard to make the case that she is the best bet to beat Trump. She’s depending on the capacity of these folks to overcome conscience and support longtime enemies. Could be risky.

Will they call us spoilers? Yeah, they will. So let’s start the discussion now of what we’ll be spoiling. It’s time to acknowledge that the potential for damage to the nation from a Clinton presidency is at least equal to the potential from a Trump presidency. She ascends to office with friends and allies in some of the most corrupt regimes since Caligula ruled Rome, from Goldman Sachs to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Trump comes with an unruly mob of aggrieved workers. We can deal with his crowd. Her crowd will crush us.

Our delegates are preparing to expend resources for the convention. For what purpose? To gain a plank in the platform? For a chance to express a vice presidential preference? Sanders could choose to save these resources for an independent run.

It’s late for an independent run, but early enough to make a statement to Democrats. Wouldn’t it be sweet to tell them to shove their stinking party? Accuse them of being Republicans. Repudiate them before they have a chance to call us losers, which they will. At this point, we can claim victory and exit stage left. We shouldn’t do it without Sanders, but if he deserts us, we have no better choice. Also, in case you’re wondering, the “Y. P.” in the title stands for “You People.”

Mad Dogs and Imbeciles

Monday, June 27th, 2016

The referendum results rescinding UK membership in  the European Union are being characterized in the mass media as madness spurred by racist feelings toward immigrants. Prices will rise for the average Brit, the news-mongers tell us, jobs will evaporate, and storm troopers will  rule. What the commentators never mention is how much this decision  will cost the people who sign the reporters’  and editors’ paychecks and write their scripts.  

The “race” against whom this referendum was directed is the minuscule segment of diversely colored humanity that controls all the world’s assets, including the mass media. Rich peoples’ investment in the rigged economy of Europe–rigged to enrich the owners at the expense of the people–is devalued ever so slightly by  this move, and they don’t give up a penny without a fight.  In the media, they fight by hurling epithets at the British majority.

In the USA, when rich people lost about a tenth of their assets in the 2008 crash, they blackmailed Congress into a transfer of billions from us to them. In a world that runs on credit, they reminded us that the money spigot can be turned off at any time, and our leaders capitulated. They’re teaching that same lesson in London and Edinburgh today, delivering  reinforcement on TV screens and in newspapers throughout the profit-motivated world. They are demanding capitulation.

You may have noticed that the mass media in the USA have suppressed all discussion of the reasons Brits actually give for wanting to leave the economic union. Typically, people on the street don’t attribute their dissatisfaction to racism, but to underemployment, low wages, corruption, and the breakdown of social institutions. They blame their leaders and their media, who have uniformly cautioned them not to leave the EU, overriding these powerful forces by a 52 to 48 percent plurality.  The media were so frightened of this outcome that they censored discussion of the merits of withdrawal, but the censors failed to persuade.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that rich people favor union when it unifies bankers and traders, but not when it unifies workers and common people. The European Union establishes uniform protocols for the conduct of international business, a pursuit open almost exclusively to the rich and super-rich, and the protocols are in every respect written to their advantage. The common people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, noticing that their own quality of life has been in steep decline, have now voted to repeal those protocols, and the rich are enraged.

Nobody can predict whether the rich will make good on their veiled threat to crash the world economy if UK voters don’t reverse their decision and compensate traders for their modest losses. It might be profitable, at this stage, for the owners to note that they are vastly outnumbered and that their property rights are nothing but words on paper.

The Terror Industry

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

The embedded mass media have been spinning the massacre at an Orlando nightclub as terrorism, motivated either by Islamic fanaticism or bigotry toward homosexual men or maybe both.  Never mind that the killer was a frequent patron of the establishment he attacked and was known to have a hot temper. He was a Muslim of Afghan nationality, and he told some of his victims he was angry at the USA, and that was enough for the embedded mass media to assign him a political motive and put a scare into their audience. Why the rush to judgment?

Because terror sells. We have reorganized our daily lives–travel, school, business, workplace practice–to stem the risk of terrorism, even though by most estimates it’s killed only an average eight Americans per year since 2002. An entire industry has arisen to deal with the threat, so that there are now as many people involved in the prevention of terrorism as there are terrorists. Hundreds of people are imprisoned without trial to prevent terrorism. Tens  of thousands of people are forbidden to board a commercial airliner. Each and every one of us has to disrobe, at least partially, to enter a public building. If we took comparable measures to eliminate medical errors, we could save 10,000 lives per year. But the risk of medical malpractice, unlike terrorism, isn’t covered with much enthusiasm at NPR and CNN.

That’s because terrorism is drama, and drama attracts attention, and attention is what the mass media want most from you.  If they can get your attention, they can bombard you with advertising, which will motivate you buy stuff, especially stuff like drugs, food and drink that have the power to distract you from the fear elicited in you by the risk of terrorism.

It’s funny that most people are not embarrassed to be terrorized. Beginning in 1942, the Nazi government of Germany launched frequent bombing raids on London and other English cities, but  the people weren’t terrorized. They took shelter during the raids, but they went about their normal activities the rest of the time. They were no stronger or smarter or healthier than people of today,  but they were harder to frighten. Why?

Because in 1942 the word from the authorities was to keep a stiff upper lip and maintain your composure.  Today’s authorities inundate us with an endless flow of terrorizing rhetoric, and we find it hard to resist. Cowardice has become a virtue, and terror, a sacrament. Lucky thing, too, because our modernized rules of engagement now employ tactics like torture and robotic attack, once considered acts of supreme cowardice.

It’s not just the mass media that feed the terror industry. Government officials are direct beneficiaries of a terrorized people. They are privileged in the interest of security to conduct government business in secret, to spend obscene sums and to place themselves above the law. We give them the unfettered right to name our enemies and allies, and we encourage them to punish those among us who resist or defy them. Corrupt officials feed corrupt media with information likely to  satisfy their audiences, and the media dutifully suppress information that could disrupt the sanctioned stream.

The terror industry has resources even more powerful than the risk of violence, which is largely fictitious and presented as such hour after hour on television and in movies. The real-life risk of poverty terrorizes us to the point of panic. The terror industry keeps us ever aware that our jobs are temporary and our income altogether conditional. We have jobless and homeless people not because of a shortage of jobs or places to live but so that people with jobs and homes will stay worried enough to work cheaply and pay exorbitantly for whatever social insurance they can cobble together.

How strong is the terror industry? Strong enough to prompt us to abandon common sense. Take the case of the Orlando killings. We know perfectly well that violence directed at nightclub patrons is commonplace and is almost always a matter of revenge magnified by alcohol. Violent man gets treated rudely by some other patron or the bartender or the bouncer and breaks a chair over somebody or burns the place down or shoots someone. Unlike terrorism, this sort of violence actually happens, and there’s every reason to believe it happened in Orlando, but we are willing to believe the killer had complex political motives because NPR and Clinton and Trump say so.  We might want to shop around for ways to resist this sort of indoctrination or at least teach our children to resist. It’s weakness to be terrorized, and we can’t afford weakness right now.