Sunday, January 31, 2016

Occupying The Narrative Keeps Peace Candidates On Mute, Ensures War Spending Will Roll On

Jill Stein at a fundraiser in Portland, Maine October 30, 2015.
You will not see photos of Stein with a cute baby in corporate media, so I am sharing one here. 
The American Herald Tribune published David Swanson's interview with Green Party leader and presidential candidate Jill Stein this week. In it Swanson makes the audacious claim that, since Stein's platform most closely reflects the priorities of people rather than those of corporations, she has a better chance of winning than do candidates who kiss the ring of Pentagon contractors. Because a majority of people would actually vote for the platform Stein campaigns on.

But my inbox is clogged with letters and op-eds from people who should know better who are "feeling the Bern." Liberals are again hopelessly hoping for change from the Democratic Party. Why in the face of so much evidence to the contrary do they continue to be duped?

I think it's because they still get most of their information from corporate "news" -- a zone which blacks out any reference to non-corporate sponsored candidates.

In life under corporate government, it's all about hogging the narrative. Making sure people never hear from candidates who respond intelligently to what people really want.

Because people want the military budget to stop gobbling up over half the federal budget every year. They want to stop supporting 800+ military bases around the planet. The want the wars for oil and the resulting refugee crisis and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to cease.
"Refugee crisis: Pregnant woman and children among 40 victims after boat sinks off Turkish coast"  Jan. 30, 2016
People don't want the future inhabitants of the White House to have a blank check for waging war on "terror" with no geographic or temporal boundaries.

People want student debt canceled, and free university education like other rich countries have. Stein has an interesting strategy here. She told Swanson:
"I have yet to find a young person in debt who doesn't become a missionary for our campaign the minute they learn that we will cancel their debt...43 million young people – that is a plurality of the vote. In a three-way race, that's enough to win the vote."
People want universal health care like other rich countries have. Stein retired from practice as a medical doctor to promote the kind of environmental policies that human health needs dictate.

Also on board: Dr. Margaret Flowers, a Green Party candidate for the Senate in Maryland and a vigorous activist on behalf of a single payer health care system. (Actually, click here to read the article.)

People want the government to respond to climate crisis rather than continuing to pump out carbon and other pollutants at the taxpayers' expense.

People want to have a say in whether or not to live under corporate global government instead of having it shoved down their throats by fast tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal through Congress.
From Black Agenda Report "Ethnic Cleansing: The Ultimate Environmental Racism" by Glen Ford
People want clean food and water, and real information in order to know if they are poisoning their own children unwittingly.

People want police accountability and an end to extrajudicial killing by guns at home and air strikes abroad.

People want the government to help poor families fleeing the murderous policies engendered in Central America by CAFTA and torturers trained at the taxpayer-supported School of the Americas. People don't want migrant children handed over to human traffickers after being housed in concentration camp-like conditions for weeks or months on end.

But even more than all these things, people want to believe in something. Anything that might pull us back from the precipice. Don't think corporate media doesn't recognize this. It's very important to manage this profound need of mobs in times of crisis.

That's why the demagogue with the bad hair appeals to so many frightened working class voters. They see enormous structural problems with our system as it stands, but they also have a compelling need to blame it on someone else. It couldn't be their fault, because they feel like victims themselves. They've lost faith in corporate government and most corporate media. Only "news" outlets that broadcast scapegoats appeal to them now.

Their news feed will make sure they never hear of Dr. Jill Stein or Dr. Margaret Flowers. How about yours?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

On #SuperBowl Sunday & Every Day, Occupying The Narrative Keeps Warmongers In Power Over U.S.

It is depressingly predictable how the public conversation in the U.S. becomes mired in the cesspool that is electoral politics every four years. Really, the cycle never ends nowadays, but it ramps up considerably in the months leading to an election that will make very little difference how we are governed. 

Corporate government puts on this show for you the same way corporate media puts on Super Bowl Sunday: to keep you firmly rooted in the belief that dichotomy dominates über alles, that said dichotomy is not false, and that you must develop a fervent adherence to one side or the other in order to function as a citizen.

One of the minor elements of this depressing phenomenon is that you will be roundly scourged if you do not signal that you adhere to the side deemed correct by your fellow citizens. Thus, if you are female, you must support the female candidate. Or, if you have socialist tendencies, you must support the candidate who spouts socialist rhetoric (but who is meanwhile voting in the Senate on behalf of the Boeing Corporation). 

And, you are expected to spend lots and lots of keystrokes vilifying the opposition. For instance, you must pay immediate and copious attention when a former candidate who was a terrifyingly bad joke endorses the current candidate who is a terrifyingly bad joke. You are expected to spend lots of your mental time thinking about this and calling both of them insulting names. You must do this in order to fit in with the crowd.

Occupying the public narrative with this kind of inconsequential nonsense drowns out real concerns, real issues and real suffering inflicted by corporate government.

Corporate media is good at drowning out even the minimal sounds of dissent issuing from the body politic these days. There is little room for actual discussion amid the roar of the gladiator games.

Activist Bruce Gagnon recently had this paragraph censored from his op ed reporting back on his trip to join the resistance to expansion of U.S. military presence in both Okinawa and South Korea's Jeju Island:
The Pentagon today has more than 800 military bases scattered around the world. It's well known that due to the rapes, drinking and violence toward the host people, U.S. troops are not wanted in most of these places. 
Gagnon's local paper, The Times Record, regularly runs laudatory articles about General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works where the nuclear-equipped destroyers and other warships that will dock at Jeju Island are built. The paper's editor was afraid to anger people (or most likely, advertisers) by appearing to dishonor "the troops" with Gagnon's entirely true statement. The paper does not appear to care about or even notice the suffering of women and girls raped and otherwise assaulted in the vicinity of U.S. military bases. And it doesn't want you to notice their suffering either.

Corporate media wants you to notice a candidate's bad hair. It wants you to ignore voting records and concentrate on empty promises. The fact that liberal and progressive voters are enamored of a Zionist candidate who has voted to bomb civilians in oil-rich countries leads some to wonder if they are ignorant of the facts or just not very bright. 

A cogent essay on the effect of the occupation of public narrative by David Masciota  in Slate ran with a provocative, name-calling headline and photos of the three leading candidates to have D after their names. I suspect an editor played a key role in nudging Masciota's observations back toward the Punch & Judy Show direction. But it's actually a great essay, reading in part:
Given that morality and legality seem to have no influence over American foreign policy, the end of empire will likely emerge out of fiscal anxiety and insolvency. It might be fun to blow up the world, but eventually, we just won’t have the money for it. If liberals are satisfied with that eventual outcome, and if they have the patience to sit through years of unnecessary death and destruction while the cash register slowly empties, they can continue to ignore America’s military presence around the world, and they can continue to act as if bomb craters and dead bodies amount to just one more issue for consideration alongside tax rates, standardized testing, and gay marriage.
This week Senate Speaker McConnell introduced an Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIS. The new authorization would leave the 2001 AUMF in place (as the 14 year occupation of Afghanistan shows no signs of ending), would not limit ground troops, and would not not limit the length of time or the geographic area for military action. Sound like World War III in the making? Hardly anyone noticed.

How much evidence do taxpayers need that the "war on terror" is never-ending and, in fact, designed to be that way? How many more bombs will they fund to kill innocent civilians in 2016 and beyond? Congressional switchboard to weigh in on the proposed AUMF with those alleged to represent you: (202) 224-3121.

But wait -- which team do you think will win the Super Bowl?