Posts Tagged ‘Public Opinion’

American Circus

January 12, 2014

Propaganda & Poverty Go Together Well: No Isegoria, Plenty of Propaganda.

Athenians, as they built up their superlative direct democracy, starting with Solon, attached extreme importance to isegoria (or isogeria), the equality of every citizen in addressing the National Assembly. That ought to have been daunting: Athens did not have the Internet.

Imprinting the weak and meek to do their job, with enthusiasm, without any whining, and go around the mighty, eyes down, praising the great, is how plutocrats want them. In the USA, it’s a total success. Who would have thought, in a country that used to be rebellious, and where the event of May 1, long ago, started the workers’ May First tradition, worldwide… except where it originated. What better symbol of the subjugation of the citizens of the USA?

Here is what taxes are used for:

Plutocratic Salaries Tell The Rabble What Values Are Worthy

Plutocratic Salaries Tell The Rabble What Values Are Worthy

[These are the highest paid state employee in every state.] Sport apes are paid fortunes. The brother of Michelle Obama is paid about 20 times the family income, just to coach ball to youngsters.

More than 41 of the 50 states’ highest paid public employees are sport trainers. Either state university’s football (27), state basketball (13) or state hockey (1) programs. The remaining 10 hyper wealthy public paid propagandists are either college presidents, medical school/law school deans or a plastic surgeon in the medical school (Nevada).

Tapping a ball for a college can earn more than 4 million dollar a year in salary in the USA. But then, 50 million USA citizens go without health care. (Obama will change that by fining the poor he can catch, thanks to the IRS, CIA, NSA, or whatever secret organization at his disposal, and the money will go directly to his gorilla of a hyper wealthy, ball jerking brother in law. All Americans respect this very much, and I just made 100 millions dedicated enemies, writing this, and it will be called “racist”. Well, I welcome their hatred, as FDR said.)

This indifference to isegoria is why and how Obamacare was, and could be, planned in secret, behind closed doors. That indifference has been imprinted too.

This indifference to public debate is also how and why the minimum salary, in the USA, over the last few decades, went down, from $22 an hour to around $8. (I am using constant 2014 dollars.)

That’s a diminution of two-thirds. Much had to do with the Progressives being unwilling to progress (and focusing instead on not calling greedy apes… greedy apes).

Paul Krugman in the “War Over Poverty”, observes that “Suddenly, or so it seems, progressives have stopped apologizing for their efforts on behalf of the poor, and have started trumpeting them instead. And conservatives find themselves on the defensive.”

Let’s hope that sticks. It would represent a change of mood. One of the reason that the holocaust of the Jews happened was the weak, meek, pleading, reasonable, subservient attitude of Jews, when Hitler rolled around.

Compare with France during the Dreyfus Affair:  a full intellectual civil war was conducted with unrelenting ferocity on the part of intellectual progressives, against the “Jew” haters. Zola made it so that he went to jail, for about a year. And came out as a winner (although he died of carbon monoxide poisoning soon after, in an accident).

Progressive intellectuals fight for truth. French intellectuals, during the Dreyfus Affair, knew all too well that, if they did not fight for innocent Jews, their friends, acquaintances, and fellow citizens, and if they did not fight for veracity, equity and justice, other innocents would soon be attacked.

So how come the situation of the poor has evolved the way it did in the USA? It was done insensibly, just as the inception of slavery, after 1620, in violation of European and English law, was done insensibly.

Surely the powerful, supposedly “liberal” media in the USA could have denounced the increasing push towards making the poor, poorer? Governor Brown in California, thanks to new taxes on the rich, sees the coffers of the state filling up 20% higher than expected, and the highest budget ever (109 billion dollars). Surely he will reverse the school cuts? No word on that yet.

One of the causes of the increasing inequality in the USA is simply that those who control public opinion in the USA, are, in general, very wealthy, or sympathetic to wealth.

Thus is carefully nurtured a strong pro-plutocratic bias in the media.

Thanks to all these media owners, managers, pundits, and celebrities. All of them extravagantly rich.

This is why the likes of Oprah Winfrey make billions:  it’s not about the market working its wonders. After all, Ms. Big Chest’s career was decided by higher ups, just as higher ups bought the plutophile Huffington Post to make it more than way, earning Ms. Huffington one cool billion in the process…

These avalanches of wealth bring to the fore preachers of the grandeur of whatever it is that has nothing to do with the war on poverty. Those who interface with the Public are made hyper rich so that they will have solidarity with the hyper rich who paid them, or pay them, or endow them with power. Hyper rich media talking heads are like living adverts for the plutocracy and all the Dark values it stands on.

This is why Oprah Winfrey knows how to make the USA cry about that fact she could not buy in Zurich that 45,000 dollar bag, or the entire store, instantaneously, as she wanted, or not.

Or this is why Oprah Winfrey made the world cry because the employees of Hermes Paris insulted her by opening the store after hour, just for her, at her strident request, with a je ne sais quoi of intolerable Gallic insolence.

The Oprah opera is carefully tuned to make all Americans feel the pain of plutocrats. Especially when the plutocrats are confronted to the lowest salaried employees they can find, as Oprah was in Zurich and Paris.

That same effect, the total molding of public opinion by the owners of a country, is characteristic of all and any banana republics. It makes it unlikely that a civilized debate will get society out of the plutocratic comfort zone. Thus, insensibly, inequality and poverty augment.

That is, as long as the poor do not use the only remedy that works in a case like that: violence. That is why the French Revolution of 1789 had to use violence (and so did the American Revolution, a bit earlier: the only way to release Pennsylvania from Lord Penn’s grip, was the hard way, he was not going to be talked into it).

Pay attention to this: plutocracy can buy the People. The case of Rome show an alarming point: welfare programs can comfort plutocratization.

We The People get paid, just like prostitutes get paid. With a difference: prostitutes, generally, have a choice, but We The People seized at the throat by plutocracy, do not.

In Rome, the method of paying the People with panem, circenses et alimenti (bread, entertainment, food stamps) was inaugurated. Even the wondrous public baths could be accessed with one of the lowest domination coins, and distributions of money by potentates occurred.

To be elected, a would-be politician organized games (Cicero spurned the method, and could not afford it anyway, but he was Rome’s most gifted orator).

In the USA, something similar is already going on. Consider the link provided by John Rogers, a commenter on this site. Public money is used to organize the games, and the management is paid directly from the public purse, when not indirectly through the plutocratic university system.

Robinson, the elder brother of Michelle Obama, got a six-year contract with a base salary of $750,000 at Oregon State, the Oregonian reported in 2008. By sheer coincidence Obama, his brother in law, was elected president.

The same wonderful sort of coincidence had made Michelle Obama a director of companies, and a highly paid hospital administrator, in charge of community outreach (same as Oprah Winfrey!), just when her husband became USA senator.

Oregon State is a public university. This is just about guys playing with a ball instead of studying. It works well: Robinson himself, a 6 foot six basket ball player, went to Princeton University to play ball. After he had done that, he was given a MBA, and became a big time investment banker.

The prime qualifications for that is to be a unknowing brute with no wisdom or ethics whatsoever. Throwing balls through hoops in a way of education helps that way. Probably one’s brain is all messed up from all the shocks. Next, one can smoke pot for years, like Obama’s Choom Gang, and one is dumb enough to spend one’s life being obeying orders from the white masters.

So Robinson made ten million dollars a year or so, following a career similar, but much more modest than Paulson ( a football player, who, once his brain got scrambled enough, became head of Goldman Sachs, and later, as Secretary of the Treasury under Bush, established the economic policy of Barack Obama, namely the rescue of banks, no strings attached!)

Paulson bought for himself an island, with seven villages on it. Somewhere in the USA. Obscene maniacs such as these would now have to pay 75% tax in France. Under President Eisenhower, it was 93%. Now, thanks to Obama’s 90,000 pages tax codes, they pay around nothing.

In general, all over the USA, the public purse is used to pay extravagantly for sport figures, and thus make children understand that being a brute is what pays. It works. At least, for plutocrats. For the poor too: they are getting poorer every year, and have been imprinted to be happy that way.

Conclusion: Nearly all of the USA’s culture, the media, and all what people obsess about, has been organized to create a society that is inimical to the poor, and thus, increasingly, to itself.

It’s going to take more than fighting the Republican party to get out of this circus.
What is needed is a radical change of philosophy.

Patrice Ayme

Vlad The Liar

September 13, 2013

Abstract: Vlad, Russia’s dictator, eggs on Assad, Syria’s butcher, with much more than huge lies. For comic relief, see instead the Daily Show on Vlad the Insulter.

***

Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize Laureate and writer, once resident in Auschwitz, went around for years, wondering aloud how the Holocaust could have happened, how incomprehensible it all was. (In my book, “Holocaust” does not mean just 4.5 to 6 million Jews assassinated, but 80 millions killed, including more than 20 millions in 5,000 Nazi “camps”, summer 2013, latest recount).

The Holocaust was the product of public opinion. Goebbels used to joke:“We have a total democracy”. And Hitler laughed:“The old protest against us, but the youth belongs to us”. Hitler was right. In April 1945, American GIs sometimes recruited German school mistresses to call back to order their 14 year old pupils, armed with heavy weapons, shooting at GIs in the middle of Germany.

Now we have a real life contemporary example of the idiocy, madness and cowardice of crowds: watch all the bleating selfish ones lining up behind the closest dictator they can find. As Stalin and Hitler are passed expiration dates, they cling to Vladimir Putin, the dictator for life of Russia.

Putin, the ex-head of the KGB, preaches about peace, while doing war. That’s exactly what Hitler did continually in the 1930s to seduce all Americans, and most Europeans, while grabbing the pie. Most of  Hitler’s discourses were about “peaceand defending minorities. Most Americans believed him.

A dictator talking about peace all the time makes those who talks about human rights sound like war-thirsty bullies.

The New York Public Relation firm Ketchum was asked to write something and present it to the New York Times. Putin gave at least 50 million dollars to Ketchum recently. Yes, Hitler used to do this too, paying Randolph Hearst, and many other newspaper owners, to improve the image of the Reich. It worked.

Putin pontificates that a U.S. strike on ASSad chemical facilities “would constitute an act of aggression,” he wrote in the September 11 New York Times. It would “result in more innocent victims,” “further destabilize the Middle East,” and endanger “the entire system of international law and order.”

Putin, confusing the USA with the French Republic, deplores that “military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States.” Citing Russia as a model of wisdom, he posits: “We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.”

How perverse. A lecture on nonviolence from ASSad’s chief arms supplier. This is an example of Hitler’s Big Lie technique. Let’s check Putin against the facts.

1. Chemical weapons attacks.

There have been at least 34 chemical weapons attack by Assad’s forces. Assad’s army has an entire fourth branch devoted to chemical warfare (“Unit 450“). Spezialized heavy machinery is required to make the neurotoxin through mixing, shortly before use.

In one of the attacks, last April, journalists from the French newspaper Le Monde were among those gazed. They were able to bring back to France samples of Sarin.

Here is Putin, lying through his teeth: “there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.”

That’s, simply insane, there is every reason to believe Putin takes Americans for fools. First, Israel can defend itself (Israel conducted seven air raids over Syria, so far this year, 2013, to prevent weapons going to Hezbollah; one raid was conducted just outside the main chemical weapon facility). The neurotoxin rockets were short range, fired from Assad’s positions, the people gazed were secular, and why would rebels gas themselves and their own children massively?

In any event, Putin supplies no evidence for his claim. An investigative report published Tuesday by Human Rights Watch thoroughly refutes him:

“Our investigation finds that the August 21 attacks were likely chemical weapons attacks using a surface-to-surface rocket system of approximately 330mm in diameter—likely  Syrian-produced—and a Soviet-era 140mm surface-to-surface rocket system to deliver a nerve agent. … The evidence concerning the type of rockets and launchers used in these attacks strongly suggests that these are weapon systems known and documented to be only in the possession of, and used by, Syrian government armed forces. Human Rights Watch and arms experts monitoring the use of weaponry in Syria have not documented Syrian opposition forces to be in the possession of the 140mm and 330mm rockets used in the attack, or their associated launchers. …

The scale and coordinated nature of the two attacks; against opposition-held areas; the presence of government-controlled potential launching sites within range of the targets; the pattern of other recent alleged chemical weapon attacks against opposition-held areas using the same 330mm rocket delivery system; and the documented possession of the 140mm and 330mm rocket systems able to deliver chemical weapons in the government arsenal—all point towards Syrian government responsibility for the attacks. Human Rights Watch has investigated alternative claims that opposition forces themselves were responsible for the August 21 attacks, and has found such claims lacking in credibility and inconsistent with the evidence found at the scene.”

Such statements were initially made by French Intelligence. French Intelligence was right in 2003 about Saddam having no WMDs.

President Bashar Assad’s regime ‘has committed MANY CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY’ which have resulted in ‘a lost generation of children and young people’ in Syria, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said on UN TV, September 13, 1013.

2. Russian Intervention.

From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future,” Putin claims. “We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.”

A lie. Russia has benn violating International Law by supporting militarily criminals against humanity. Here’s a brief review of Putin’s massive support for dictator Bashar al-Assad. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, During 2008–12 Russia supplied 71 per cent of Syria’s imports of major weapons.”

Human Rights First reports, “In January, 2012, Russia signed a $550 million contract to provide the Assad regime with attack jets capable of hitting civilian targets on the ground.” Then Russia tried “to send four repaired Mi-25 attack helicopters to Syria in June 2012.”

Human Rights Watch sent Syria’s Russian arms supplier a list of human rights abuses perpetrated by Assad using Russian weapons. Human Rights Watch urged Russia to stop sending missiles, fighter jets, and ammunition to Syria, but nothing changed. The Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Russian think tank, reports that last year, Russia and its contractors supplied Assad’s surface-to-air missile systems, repaired “at least four Syrian Mi-25 helicopters,” and apparently upgraded Syrian tanks.

The Finnish Institute of International Affairs reported that Russia provided Assad with “20 modernized Mi-25 combat helicopters,” belying Russia’s claims that its arms deliveries were unrelated to the civil war. In June, HRW noted that:

“Russia has continued to send arms to al-Assad—and not only defensive weapons, as Moscow repeatedly claimed. A recently leaked document reported on by the Washington Post shows the Syrian government requesting 20,000 Kalashnikovs and 20,000,000 bullets as recently as March. And a Russian arms manufacturer just claimed that a contract has been signed to deliver at least 10 fighter jets.”

In July, the United Nations’ Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria reported a “shipment by the Russian Federation of S-300 missile batteries” to Assad. This week, the commission added that “pre-conflict arms deals between Moscow and Damascus continue to be honored.” Human Rights First notes that “Russian officials said they will not halt arms sales to the Assad regime so long as such sales are not prohibited by the U.N. Security Council.” Russia itself has vetoed that prohibition at the UNSC.

3. “We need to use the United Nations Security Council,” Putin brazenly asserted.

“Preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos.” However, here’s the U.S.A. account of Russia’s behavior, depicted by U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power:

“Since 2011, Russia and China have vetoed three separate Security Council resolutions condemning the Syrian regime’s violence or promoting a political solution to the conflict. This year alone, Russia has blocked at least three statements expressing humanitarian concern and calling for humanitarian access to besieged cities in Syria. And in the past two months, Russia has blocked two resolutions condemning the generic use of chemical weapons and two press statements expressing concern about their use.”

As the pro-inaction Times admits: “From the start of the war two and a half years ago, Russia has been Syria’s strongest backer, using its veto repeatedly to block any meaningful action at the Security Council.” The Finnish report says:

“When the al-Assad regime resorted to the use of military force to suppress growing political unrest in the country, Moscow fiercely resisted initiatives by the Arab and Western countries to adopt the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions condemning the government forces and suggesting the possibility of introducing non-military sanctions against Syria (including an arms embargo). Moscow vetoed the draft UNSC resolutions three times …”

This is confirmed by the report from the Human Rights Watch monitor in Syria:

“We have tried again and again to convince Moscow to play a constructive role to resolve the Syrian crisis—to use its influence with al-Assad to stop the attacks on civilians; to work with the moderate parts of the opposition; to assist with aid delivery to thousands of displaced people in opposition-controlled areas; and to support international efforts to bring war criminals on both sides to justice. … Moscow consistently refused, for example, to support a U.N. Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Syria.”

That’s how Putin behaves. Why? That’s pretty transparent: to insure the safety of Earth’s largest dictatorship, attack is of the essence. Forcing the West to play defense in its core, on the shores of the Mediterranean, is pretty good offense.

***

Patrice Ayme