Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

We got what we thought we wanted.

by geezer in Paris Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 04:37:22 AM EST

Could it happen here?
from the diaries, with small format edit. -- Jérôme.

This is an updated version of an old post of mine from KOS, that I reread today. It's still an important question, --and flamebait. Still, here it is, for those who want to take a swing. Better forum here. perhaps I will get some real thought- though there were some good responses on KOS when I first opened this door.

No matter how he was elected, G.W. Bush was for years a very popular president by a ratio of better than two to one. Reflecting us, (and their bottom line), the media uncritically slurped up his pronouncements, and passed them on to us,---because we liked it. We were somehow satisfied.

He was dealing in near-complete reality morphing, and there was plenty of evidence to support that fact, even early on in his first term but, for years, we loved it. And him.

Why?


It is important, perhaps vital to arrive at some understanding as to who Bush really is and why we allowed him such a blank check- and do it soon. Perhaps the next two years of acrimony and subpoenas will help. But here we need to do it without vitriol, without venting rage. There are other times and places for that. Like in front of the White House, with burning tires and good, strong signs. Daily.
But we must realize that it will do little good to get rid of him, -even impeach him- if the internal desires that put him in place, and have kept him there- the popular needs that he fulfilled- remain uninspected, hidden.

Because another leader like him will likely be installed in a few years.
And lest we be tempted to take refuge in the illusion that he is an isolated case, it seems to me that he's another Reagan, folks, but without the professional sweetness that Ron could turn on so effectively at will. Remember, Ronnie was the guy who doubled a national debt in four years that had taken over two centuries to create---and we reelected him! We loved him, and his 4 by 5 memory cards, his naps during cabinet meetings and daily intel briefings. We chose to ignore those dear little popup mines- designed to cut the legs off of children attending the new rural schools that the evil Daniel Ortega was building- and his psychopathic dingbat Oliver North. John Poindexter still runs free, you know.

 Reagan was about as competent in the last half of his administration as Dubya is now. And still, we loved them, we turned a blind eye to an array of evil almost beyond description. And still the Dems appear poised to  escape from their duty into the Sea of Expediency, for a pleasant cruise, to last till '08.
Why is that, fellow citizens? What is there about THEM?  

Is Dubya primarily a puppet, just competent enough to shmooze and pander?

Is he a sincere man desperately out of his depth, driven to prayer and deductive doctrinal thinking by his lack of the mental horsepower to cope with the job?

Is he a superficial bullshitter who has as his only talent the ability to don a patriarchal, patronizing face and flimflam that rather large body of citizens who want someone to tell them how to think, how to label the world?

Is he a borderline religious zealot who, when it suits him,  takes his direction from God- provided God agrees?

Is he a born-again Neocon, acting as the front man for a delusional dream of empire flogged by Cheny and Rumsfeld?

Is he just another Machiavellian pol whose real objective all along has been to steal Arab oil for the coming peak oil crisis, and appease Israel and squash the Iranian oil-euro bourse at the same time?

Could it be that he is the ideal guilt displacement object- the man who acts, and then trots out the excuses for the slimy things that we are tempted to revel in but dare not admit to ourselves- atavistic urges that leak out of the dark side of our nature, that conflict with the kinder, more rational side of who we are?

Whatever the truth here, we got what we wanted.

So-- what, exactly, was that?

Display:
But we must realize that it will do little good to get rid of him, -even impeach him- if the internal desires that put him in place, and have kept him there- the popular needs that he fulfilled- remain uninspected, hidden.
Didn't the same thing happen with Watergate? When Nixon resigned, everyone gave each other a pat on the back, said "check and balances worked, all is well", and went on about their business as if nothing had happened. I see the same thing happening with Bush, except that it's possible that checks and balances won't even have worked (except for the term limits constitutional amendment). And that worries me.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 26th, 2006 at 04:56:51 PM EST
When Nixon resigned, everyone gave each other a pat on the back, said "check and balances worked, all is well", and went on about their business as if nothing had happened.

That isn't how I see it. Methinks Nixon's resignation ultimately led to Carter's election, but facing the worsening crisis of the end seventies, people got fed up with reality and gave up, turning to fantasy (Star Wars, disco and pop music, makeup, supply-side economics), and elected Reagan.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Dec 26th, 2006 at 05:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A while ago, Santorum made an analogy with The Lord of The Rings on the subject of the War on Terror. When I read that, it came to me that the "conservative" movement, as a whole, was engaged in a sort of role playing game, only using reality as a platform...

Happyness is not virtue's reward but virtue itself Spinoza
by caribeyandino on Tue Dec 26th, 2006 at 10:07:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Watergate entailed a long list of serious crimes; only the most superficial were ever investigated, let alone prosecuted.  

The underlying structure that made the abuses possible was left in place.  Not an accident, I think.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 05:05:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose I am referring to Ford's words "Our long national nightmare is over".

When the same words are uttered about Bush, I won't believe them either unless the Democrats set about undoing Bush's damage, which they won't because the imperial presidency is very convenient, if only you hold it.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 06:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too. I see no real resolution coming down the road, and the reality of torture and vast deception as a tacitly accepted national policy coming. It worries me a lot.
I want to look beyond the surface to the layer where we are vulnerable to the kinds of appeals that can sell a lump like GWB to us as chief decider and role model.

It's not them. It's us.
We bought the package, again, --and have for a long time been willing to buy into little mechanisms that help us to hide, to forget.
Anybody remember the bombing of Cambodia? A million dead, perhaps more, and all the while our pres. was standing in front of the cameras and lying to us, saying --"Cambodia is not a combatant in this conflict,  and we would never attack  a non-combatant."
More bombs dumped on cambodia than on all of Europe in WWII.
The French press, and others told the story, over and over, --but we hid somewhere. Where exactly was that?  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 11:54:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have heard that question before. When I was living in Sweden, I often heard (about Reagan) "how can Americans elect such a dimwit?". Some considered that it was an irrelevant mistake, an accident of history and that it wouldn't happen again. Well they didn't know about Dubya. And the most appalling is that a majority of Americans still consider him for having been a "good president"...  

This quote from G.Soros book "The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror" might be a part of the explanation :


The chapter "What is Wrong with America" could be considered by some to be harsh. Soros reaches the conclusion that the US has become a "feel good" society where citizens don't want to deal with difficult issues or complex questions.

He attributes this unwillingness to confront difficult issues to a political process driven by the principles of consumerism. It is this combination whereby people are coaxed into settling for simple answers to difficult questions. "It's almost as if people are clamoring to be deceived," he says. And, later: "The American public has shown a remarkable indifference to being deceived."

This is a key criticism because it focuses the responsibility for the distortion of truth on the public in their "begging to be deceived". Consider the following Soros quote (my bold type):

The entire construct of open society is based on the assumption that the truth matters. The ultimate truth is beyond our reach, but the closer we get to reality, the better. In dealing with nature, the truth is paramount. In human affairs, there is a shortcut to success. We can impose our will on other humans directly [without] going to the trouble of pursuing the truth.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HL16Ak01.html

To be fair I must say that Europeans can elect assholes and dimwits too. The latest I have in mind is Berlusconi. But it seems that the US takes the price anyway, or is it just a cultural aspect that differs ?. When I see the current debate in France and the speeches made by the duo Sego/Sarko, I must say that we are not very far from the Reagan level... But it seems that there is here a gag reflex somewhere. We can use Le Pen as a scarecrow, but we would never elect him as President. And if it by mistake happened, the country would probably fall immediately into civil unrest , with new elections as a result...

So why can a Dubya figure can be reelected ? Because there is no free access to "unbiased information" except maybe for the Internet...


 "The media merely [serve] the market," says Soros, but the role of a free and independent press is one of the cornerstones of US democracy. Like other cornerstones, it has been so badly eroded that the entire edifice is in jeopardy. Some of the other cornerstones of US democracy are free public education and libraries, and the division of powers among the three main branches of government.

And probably the worst problem of all is that the legislative branch that is supposed to keep the executive in check has been bought off. The legislators are completely co-opted by the Washington money and power game. Getting re-elected is what the vast majority live for."

by oldfrog on Tue Dec 26th, 2006 at 09:48:40 PM EST
"'The media merely [serve] the market,' says Soros...."

Indeed. And there is a vast difference between being
sold what you want to have, and being
told what you want to hear.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 12:54:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The media merely serve the marketers.  

Not quite the same thing.

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 05:08:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The media serve many masters and interests, including the marketers. All of them share an interest in maximising viewership, which therefore weighs heavily in the trade-offs. Viewers, unfortunately, seem to have little appetite for truth -- in part because untruth makes it hard to recognise.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 02:53:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's basically right. The way I see it, the media, itself, is effectively indifferent to the marketing it presents. Think of a television being aware of its content. It's not. But it is aware of certain marketable attributes which it has direct control over-- color, tone, saturation, volume, etc. It doesn't want to deal with certain content that doesn't behave well in its frame. If it has such content, it does what it can to jettison it or modify to meet what it considers acceptable standards. As a consequence policy discussion of any depth is necessarily truncated. Sound bites and image frames are the order of the day for candidates. Policy discussion of almost any length get shown the door. Pervesely, (a winning )war is more marketable than boring old Social Security discussions from a viewership perspective. In Presidential politics, in many ways, it's the good looking charmers who'll win the election cycles, their platform can be recycled styrofoam and it won't matter--because they'll look and act the part of an appealing candidate which--from the media frame perspective-- is really much more important.

On television, the Democrats I think suffer a serious disadvantage because of their actual experience with ruling as a majority party--they know something about both policy and the subtle art of political compromise neither of which make good televsion. Republicans know neither, but have mastered the sound bite and the "One of the People" personas in the form of Bush or even Limbaugh. It's not that their ideas are smart or even practical as policy matters, but that they are easily spoken and digested by an increasingly spoon fed American public (and increasingly anti-intellectual  American public, I fear)...Thus, yes, their are politic hacks who get paid very well to manipulate the media and to sell their candidate exactly like a toothpaste or hair gel is sold. The media is only complicit to the extent that it inevitably strives for the optimum viewership; which increasingly means dumbing down the content. Hence stupid candidates win, smart candidates lose, and we invade Iraq against the will of most people in this country and the world. There's certainly some rightward bias in the system as well based on corporate ownership, etc. But--except in the case of Fox News or certain obviously tilted news programs --  I'd wager the bulk of the problem is entire media/advertising market system. It drives everything to the lowest common denominator.

by delicatemonster (delicatemons@delicatemonster.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 10:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The press does merely serve the market.  Note the increasingly-liberal tone cable news and the papers have taken since the midterms and as Bush's approvals hit new lows.  They pander to whatever view is generally held by the public.  When Bush was popular, the media propped him up.  Now that he's becoming more and more unpopular, -- and, for the first time, he's starting to hurt once-nearly-invincible figures like St. McCain and Rudy Mussolini -- the press is eating him alive.

Best example: Chris Matthews.  During Bush's popular time, Matthews declared, "We are all neocons now."  Today Matthews is pushing the "Get the Hell Out" line on Iraq every night and showering praise on the potential Democratic presidential candidates.

And it's making a difference.  Barack Obama is now beating every Republican in the polls, as is, if I'm not mistaken, Edwards (who is, for the first time, impressing me without having to run to the smooth, Deep-South "thang").

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 11:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're telling me the press doesn't have editorial lines or serve the interests of their owners?

Why did Clear Channel come up with a list of "1000 un-American songs" in the days after 9-11? By popular demand?

The press as much responds to opinion as creates opinion.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 11:13:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm not saying they lack editorial lines.

I am saying that they must, however, respond to market forces.  The owners' interests are served by earning more profit.  It just so happens that, in the case of (say) Murdoch, the conservative line was a money-maker for several years, and he was thus able to serve his ideological interests along with his microeconomic interest.  The problem for Murdoch is that this is no longer much of a money-maker, and we see that reflected in Fox's fall in the ratings.  In contrast, Keith Olbermann -- who, of course, takes a more liberal line (not that "more liberal" tells you much when compared to the extremism at Fox) -- is enjoying huge gains over at MSNBC, as is, I think, Matthews.

Clear Channel was looking for ratings when it ran the 1,000 unAmerican songs gig.  It was capitalizing on the post-9/11 mentality the public was stuck in.  As we all know, this was done by many people shortly after 9/11 and all the way up to the 2004 election.  I haven't the slightest idea as to which songs were on the CC program, but I suspect the company would be far less likely to get away with it today.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 02:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Things like "A day in the life" by The Beatles were among the 1000 unamerican songs, as well as many others that I have no clue why were unamerican. The whole thing was insane. To think that knowing about the list (I don't think many people did) would not turn people off from Clear Channel's radio stations gives me the creeps. Meantime, you couldn't escape Lee Greenwood wherever you tuned.

Now, are you also going to say talk radio just mirrors the audience's opinions and doesn't create them?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 02:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lee Greenwood.  Yes.  I was a fan of that song until I discovered what a little Nazi he was (or had become after 9/11).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 28th, 2006 at 10:31:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should note that I was a fan of the music to the song, not the unbelievably cheesy lyrics.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 28th, 2006 at 10:31:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm relieved.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 05:59:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose this means you're right, however:
While rumors initially floated that the list was a corporate mandate, or a cruel hoax, the radio conglomerate insists that a program director created and distributed the list to its 1,100 stations, including KIIS-FM in Los Angeles and Z100-FM in New York.

"Given the environment, a Clear Channel program director took it upon himself to identify a number of songs that certain markets or individuals may find insensitive today," the company said in a statement. "This was not a mandate, nor was the list generated out of the corporate radio offices. It was a grassroots effort that was apparently circulated among program directors."

Not all Clear Channel stations are paying attention to the list. For instance, New York's Z100 has been playing many of the tunes, while Q104 has noted that "inappropriate" songs like "New York, New York" and "Imagine" were some of the most requested of the week.



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 02:53:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the answer is part and parcel of our highly accelerated consumer culture. We don't elect Presidents based principally on 'platforms' or 'issues'--we elect them based on Marketability. An entire industry has been given birth concurrent with the rise of the corporation--PR firms now tailor political 'personas' as much as the advertising agencies tailor logos. The process is called brandng and Naomi Klein has much to say about it's power. The 'branding' question is how well does a presidential image sell to the American public, how well does the individual politician control that image?

It's a game of expensive smoke and incredibly costly mirrors, and the fundamentals are in inverse relation to their costs. What I mean is, a person gets elected on such nuanced hackery as would you have a beer with this man? Does he sound like your Uncle or your Dad or that third semester prof you couldn't stomach?

That's why almost any politician is never called on a direct lie by the media. Everyone in media understands the game of 'forming' the image, so, to an extent, almost everyone is being deceitful at one level or another. Even spinning a war in such an environment becomes less a matter of murder and more a matter of how well it sells (I remember Andy Card on the Iraqi invasion, said something like... you don't introduce a new product in August). It's packaging. That's why such abortions as Ronald Reagan and Bush light the fire of the American Right's eye. They understand their objective as a sales job, not as a policy push. Democrats in some cases still suffer the illusion that there is more potential room for actual information in the political process--that mistake destroyed Al Gore (along with his nebbish button image down, natch).

I don't know how to correct this outside of wholesale electoral reform, and maybe the Green idea of Instant Voter Runoff so alternates to the image hackery of the major parties can be diluted.

by delicatemonster (delicatemons@delicatemonster.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 03:44:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, oldfrog. Nice response.
 My reasons for posting this were truly to solicit opinions, not to flog one of my own. But I do have one.
This comment should be a diary, so I will expand upon it there. But I agree with you.

 

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 11:07:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a good account as far as it goes.  I think your argument would be stronger if you acknowledged, however, the existence and role of elites in the US.  

These are the people who shape the media and feed the approved narrative to the proles.  They LOVED Reagan; they love "he said / she said" "journalism;" they propagate the meme that the market works magic and government is a zero sum - or negative sum game; and they are disappointed that their boy Dubya hasn't worked out that well.  

They will still be in place when Dubya is toast - and they are working on arranging the next fratboy to rule us.  And they hated Clinton and started working to remove him the day he swore the oath of office.

So while it is true that the majority of Americans couldn't tell you for sure if Reagan was President before Carter or after, and who exactly fought on which side during WWII, we have arrived at this sorry juncture because the road was well-paved and carefully by our elites.  I find the media/Elite retreat from truth and empiricism - supposedly a characteristic of post-modern eggheads - the most chilling and Orwellian aspect of it all.  Go read Vonnegut on the 1972 Republican Convention, in Wampeters and Grandfalooons.   It was all there even then.

by cambridgemac on Tue Dec 26th, 2006 at 11:28:40 PM EST
And just why did the elites hate Clinton? I could never figure that one out.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 08:07:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, he wasn't one of them.  He actually grew up poor, and clawed his way up.  That couldn't have helped.

He also had the temerity to be a Democrat, and to defeat Bush the Elder.

He ran a sane fiscal policy.

I'm sure there are more reasons why, but in the end they don't matter that much.  The vileness of the elites really needs no explanation or understanding.

by Zwackus on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 08:30:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But he was the best Republican president we had in the twentieth century. Maybe you're right; he just wasn't their boy.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 08:45:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with all the above, but I was trying to get beyond the perhaps over-simple approach of blaming some group or other. People have the power to seduce based first on the non-understanding of their victims of the process, and second, that the process entails the existence of handles on the human psyche that are readily available to anyone who knows how to grab them. We got seduced. Most people don't know that, or how it happened.
It is possible to, by understanding your own nature, make the handles a lot less easily grasped by the likes of Carl Rove, et al. You aquire a crap detector by understanding your own tendency to lie --to yourself.
It aint really the elites. It's us.
We give them the power to manage us by being blind to our own susceptibilities.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 11:17:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and i see no reason to doubt it.

would that being rich made all so aware, and ready to speak out!

gwb is a perfect reflection in parody's mirror of a whole parallel universe that exists in the southern states, especially texas, which has to be experienced to be believed.

 lazy monotheism has wedded with a truculent, prideful ignorance, to produce a b-movie 'good ole boy' smiling sociopath.

ole cowboy ronnie's myth redux, without the horses...

his leadership proved that even hopelessly dumb idiots can become president, with the right wealth and connections, and that struck a mighty resonant chord in so many hearts, with their fond parental hopes, even with only disposable plastic spoons instead of silver to suck on.

gwb is the ultimate reassurance to those who fear and block change.

he is denial-on-a-stick, paraded for all to see, for us as a lesson on his values and where they can lead you,

for those who place faith in him a lesson in how whitebread capitalism is just the new boss, be grateful for your job at the weapon factory, keep your head down, take your meds, join the gun club, wonder why did those kids act out like at columbine, suck porn and go to megachurch to holler along with the other demented 'saved' souls who hate fags and libruls and commies.

yeehah

stupid rules, and we'll all go to hayavunnnn

little thinking that their saviour was a 'raghead' peacenik who only got pissed off at capitalists making money off of peoples' faith...

rome had nero and caligula, america has bush and cheney.

one gave us good plumbing and straight roads, the other jazz, blues, rock and movies.

plus ca change...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 05:33:11 AM EST
Some Interesting Graphs:

http://junkcharts.typepad.com/junk_charts/2006/11/index.html

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 06:16:19 AM EST
Thank for the link, this is a great, great blog.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 08:03:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The choice of any American President, and the marketing of that President before, during and after his term, is not a matter of meritocracy or a choice of the voters.

It is more like a coronation well before any voting occurs of a few princes, of both parties. Princes who will each honor and preserve the interests of the financial elites of the nation should they be elected.

It isn't that the President finally selected is the nation's leader; it is more that the President is selected for his ability to lead the nation where the elites wish it to go -- sometimes they see the nation is ripe for thievery and harvesting the proles, and so a Reagan or Bush is pushed into office.  Sometimes the see that the nation needs to feel as if it is back in honest hands, so a Carter or JFK is permitted a term. In neither case is it the will of the people actually being expressed, only played to.

In a process that will cost up to a billion dollars during this coming 2008 election season, one prince or another will be declared unelectable well ahead of time, or even driven from serious public consideration by the media, in a guided choice that the voting public is asked to go along with -- or rather, that one half of the voting public is asked to go along with, since over half of American voters -- don't ever vote.

As contrast to this system, look at what is not possible -- a populist leader arising "from the streets" and being swept into power by the support and votes of the people. He or she would die before they ever got close to the halls of power. Small plane accident. Outright assassination. Something will happen.

However, my dear geezer in Paris, I must challenge your entire premise that we American got what we wanted in Bush. Twice.

No sir. We got raped twice.  The two-to-one approval rating you speak of was in the fever following 9/11, when the fondest wishes of the economic elites was rammed through good and proper and the cover stories were holding. It was not so in either election.

He did not win in 2000 and he did not win in 2004; he was inserted into office so the ultra-wealthy could clear cut the American middle class and make this into a third world country.

And that little project's proceeding nicely.

Frames exist within larger frames. Draw a larger frame around your opponent's frame; he will appear wrong or insufficient. This is how wizards play.

by Antifa (antifa@bellsouth.net) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 07:03:14 AM EST
Quote:
It isn't that the President finally selected is the nation's leader; it is more that the President is selected for his ability to lead the nation where the elites wish it to go -
---
I agree.I am new to this "democracy thing" but that's how it looks to me too...

Quote:
As contrast to this system, look at what is not possible -- a populist leader arising "from the streets" and being swept into power by the support and votes of the people. He or she would die before they ever got close to the halls of power.
---
Looks like that!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 09:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of selected, Bill Wyatts experiences in the 2004 election is illuminating. He ran in the republican presidential primaries against Bush. He lost (though he got 10% in Oklahoma), but more interesting was his attempts (mostly in vain) at getting on the primary ballot. In most states the primary was cancelled as there was no (legitimate) candidate against Bush.

I followed his blog at the time, but it looks like it is gone now.

This article from 2004 pretty much sums it up Unknown takes on Bush in Republican primaries.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 28th, 2006 at 10:24:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the conventional progressive wisdom, and widely supported. My view is different. I think it's us. We give them the power to "manage" us- to push our buttons by trotting out these seductive puppets- by not knowing our own susceptibilities.


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 11:22:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two points:
1.Six media companies control 90% of the US market (excluding some big city newspapers): Viacom, GE, Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, Bartlesman.

They all represent big business status quo thinking and GE is a major military supplier. How much alternative information do you think they permit?

2. There is a tendency for people to support their leaders. Some because of a misunderstanding of what patriotism means and some because of the need to be told what to do. In addition the US political process has now become one solely based upon personality not on issues. So people continue to support Bush because they like his "affect" (or his manufactured image) even when they don't like his policies. In fact many who support him don't even know what his policies are.

This is nothing new, even de Tocqueville commented on it. The question he asked and then answered was why does the US get such mediocre elected officials while in other countries the elite goes into public service. His answer was that the elite in the US turn to making money instead.

Let's face it the last president of culture, intelligence and selflessness was FDR. (Kennedy was rich and preppy but not especially cultured.)

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 09:39:37 AM EST
quote:
In fact many who support him don't even know what his policies are.
---
Yap...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 09:51:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, all true if viewed from one perspective.
First, we do not have to be helpless pawns of media bullshit. The truth exists, but somehow the process of finding it (and separating it from what we want to believe) has gotten lost for many people.
Second-- if we do not even know his policies, --why do we support him? "Affect"? Sheesh!
It's easy to say "All those others are easily manipulated simpletons", or that we need better policy generation mechanisms, but the problems are not the "other", or bad policy, but ---us. No crap detector-

We fail to see our own, as well as theirs.


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 11:33:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would you want to be concerned with something you cannot affect much  or understand very well?  Like public policy.

Every year or two, you get a chance to smack those guys you don't like one good one. Take that, you (Jackass) (Elephant). Bush isn't much, but that other guy is worse.

There are too many things to vote for. School Boards, and Waste Disposal District Officers and bonds and initiatives and city and county and state and national...who can makes sense of it all.

Why bother ? What difference does it make ? If it has to be done, I guess I can cut the sample ballot out of the newspaper.

Anyway, I'm busy, there's the job, the spouse, the house, the yard, the car, the kids, the club, my friends, my hobby, TV shows, and, of course, shopping.

An analytical concern for policy is not a normal way of thinking. You guys are weird. Get a life.

Joe Sicspak

by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 02:19:33 PM EST
Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed- interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing sprit- crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing you last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? — Irvine Welsh in Trainspotting


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 02:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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