I haven’t had time to think much about the announced troops withdrawal from Afghanistan. The commentaries I have seen have all complained it is either too much or not enough. The Washington Post says the plan is going over well in Europe, though.
Meanwhile — Robert Greenwald writes about the way the Koch brothers use money to plant falsehoods in our collective brains and thereby manipulate public opinion. You know the story — they pay “experts” in the think tanks they support to crank out “authoritative” arguments for the crackpot ideas the Kochs want to put over on the public. And these crackpot ideas become conventional wisdom in media, repeated over and over without critical evaluation, and soon most Americans have been properly indoctrinated into believing whatever the Kochs want us to believe.
Now, this isn’t new, and it isn’t just the Koch brothers. In fact, the Koch brothers are relatively new to the propaganda biz. The Heritage Foundation, for example, was founded in 1973 with money from Richard Mellon Scaife and Joseph Coors.
The Koch boys are just adding to a propaganda-catapulting infrastructure built by the previous generation.
The right-wing echo chamber became so effective that sometime in the 1980s genuinely progressive ideas were shouted out of mass media and the nation’s public political discourse. For many years the only opinions expressed in mass media were degrees of conservatism (this includes the media figures frequently called upon to represent liberals, but who were actually moderate conservatives). It was only because of the Web that a few lonely voices — once again, I salute the pioneering site Media Whores Online — were able to find a national audience and begin to push back.
But reading through the comments to Greenwald’s post revealed that few of them grasped what he was talking about. One couldn’t see the difference between what the Koch brothers are doing and lobbying. Most of the comments amount to bickering over the status of Social Security, the particular issue that Greenwald uses to illustrate Koch brother influence. They aren’t seeing the bigger picture and its implications.
It occurs to me that this is something like a corporation that is “too big to fail,” because if it fails the entire economy will go down with it. Likewise, the VRWC is a conspiracy so immense, or complex, to grasp. Or, apparently, many people lack the mental capacity to grasp it. And at this point, if it were to fail, entire worlds of views and beliefs that people have constructed around themselves would fail, also. Which is why it won’t fail.
And people laughed when Hillary said this years ago.
I knew it was true.
Yes, the wealthy have put a lot of time, money, and effort into this.
Time? They’ve got plenty of it as they wait for their trust fund checks to come.
Money? Plenty of it – most of it inherited. And more of it with every tax cut!
And effort? Well, they hire some credible sounding schlubs who do the real work at the Think Tanks, guaranteeing them good paying jobs for life, to expand and propel the propaganda.
But, the single greatest thing they did was invest in right-wing talk radio. Long before Rush, they had people on the AM dial, and then FM, when that became viable.
For a country that lives in cars and is on the road a good part of the time, turning Americans into Conservative pod-people was easy once you got them to tune it to their talkers. And what else is there to do in a car? Listen to a song you’re heard ten thousand times, or listen to an “entertainer” talking about the news of the day?
The investments have paid off, as people constantly vote against their own best interests, and quote Rush, or Glenn, or Sean, or some other well-pain yammering yahoo, while they’re doing it.
The Think Tanks aren’t for the masses. They are for the MSM. They provide cover for moving the Overton window further and further right. And if someone in the MSM actually gets off their lazy ass and looks around, they can always quote from a “credible” “source” that will tell them what the rich righties want them to hear.
If we ever went back to anything like the near 90% tax rate on top earners, the Scaife’s, the Coors’, and the Koch’s would have less money to spend on destroying the country they claim they love. The money going out to pay for propaganda, whether through Think Tanks or astro-turfed groups, or bribing politicians through lobbying groups, would have to be spent on tax lawyers trying to figure out loopholes in the tax structrure.
And this is why they fight so vehemently against tax increases – there’d be less money to propagandize against tax increases. So, a tax increase = less propaganda.
And so, the myth that tax cuts create jobs, continues to be spread far and wide. Our compliant and complicit MSM will go along. And our race to the bottom goes on.
Years from now, historians will marvel that the nation with the greatest, strongest, and most educated middle class in history, sacrificed their country and their way of life all for the sake of the richest families in the nation.
They will see a nation that was on top of the world, and is then, at best a 3rd World Nation – maybe on its way to 4th World Status.
And they would laugh out loud – except that this will still be the nation with the most arms in the world; a strong military built and sustained to defend a way of life that
Evidently The Guardian uses the same high quality commenting group that supplies Yahoo.
But on topic: This ties back to the earlier article you did on the corporate use of NCLB to get their hands on public school funding. The movement of “business” toward skimming from savings and public funds rather than producing anything is upsetting. I saw a poster on Lolcats depicting a Boston Terrier relaxing in a plastic tub with the tagline: “I’z in yur bucket withholding mah productivitee!” These champions of Galtian entreprenurial greatness are seeking to fill their buckets at spigots on the public’s funding of social compact functions. Evidently we must all be reduced to serfdom before the ideal market society can arrive.
Likewise, the VRWC is a conspiracy so immense, or complex, to grasp. Or, apparently, many people lack the mental capacity to grasp it. And at this point, if it were to fail, entire worlds of views and beliefs that people have constructed around themselves would fail, also. Which is why it won’t fail.
That’s why those of us who are older, and remember, pre-Reagan, a time when there really was no VRWC, and who remember the successes of liberalism are a threat. In my more paranoid moments, because the VRWC is too big to fail, it must destroy all competition. That means anyone who was sentient before it appeared. Sort of like those who remember the world before the Matrix was turned on.
Moonbat — following up on what you just said — Michael Barone has an article at the Wall Street Journal that apparently (most of it is behind a firewall) makes fun of liberals for our “nostalgia” for the good old days of more equal income distribution.
Come to think of it, not being able to read the entire article may be a blessing in disguise.
“And at this point, if it were to fail, entire worlds of views and beliefs that people have constructed around themselves would fail, also. Which is why it won’t fail”
I’d like to disagree, but… Maybe if they over reach (like taking over SSI and Medicare) the American public could wake up. Its gonna be up to the folks between 40 and 55 years old, we will be the ones who get screwed the most. The election of President Obama shows that there are some cracks in the wall of propaganda. I really believe the people in the progressive think tanks are much more intelligent than the wing-nut welfare recipients that pollute the right-wing, problem is as your post points out, they seem to have all the cash and most of the media in their pocket at the moment.
Reminds me of that great prophet, Ray Bradbury:
“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word `intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar.”
“People want to be happy, isn’t that right? Haven’t you heard it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren’t they? Don’t we keep them moving, don’t we give them fun? That’s all we live for, isn’t it? For pleasure, for titillation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these.”
“If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war.”
“The public stopped reading of its own accord. ”
“It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”
I wonder what it would be like to have a true Socialist viewpoint espoused, or even a strong progressive voice. An Angry Voice that calls capitalism for what it is. We get to hear the Libertarian/Anarchist voice, why not the extreme left? If you read the Leftist Revolutionaries, they talk a lot about awakening the masses, and I think the unintentional use of the Buddhist term is correct. Awaken to the reality of the situation that the mass number of people in this country are constantly being screwed by our political and financial overlords. I think the Righties see this as the last gasp of the FDR New Deal socialism (even though it is nothing of the sort) and are going for the gold ring. Medicare, Social Security, collective bargaining. If you think we were a banana republic before, wait five years.
Yes, where are those strong Socialist voices to balance all this?
The right-wing echo chamber became so effective that sometime in the 1980s genuinely progressive ideas were shouted out of mass media and the nation’s public political discourse.
Can we credit Reagan with his”welfare queen” campaign? If I remember correctly the welfare queen women drove a Cadillac (code ?) and was collecting benefits under 7 different aliases, but what is strange is that for the amount of money that this women managed to scam that it would become so great as to have the President of the United States even be concerned about it.. In the big picture it was a pittance, and didn’t even come close in scale to the majority of government contractor scams running at that time.
“I really believe the people in the progressive think tanks……..”
Me too, but crazy with a sledge hammer trumps intelligent with good ideas any day.
Maha, I started reading Barone, but the log in or subscribe stopped me.
The righties are always fuming over Keynesian economics, but if you look at the past 10 years, the “Keynesian” funding of weapons makers and mercenaries has been a boon to the economy. Sadly, building bridges and highways are lasting treasures while bombs and bullets are one hit wonders.
One part of the VRWC that we are seeing very often now are paid professional right-wing bloggers who pollute left-leaning web sites (HuffingtonPost, etc). I think a few have wandered in here too, but Maha quickly bans them. They apparently use pretty sophisticated search technology. All you’ve got to do is post an article with hot-button words like “climatologists,” “social security” or “Obama” and the paid-wingnut bloggers will be drawn to you like flies to feces.
Sometimes you can take their comments, cut & paste into Google, and surprise – you find the exact word-for-word comment on numerous liberal blogs. I got 9,630,000 hits with the following phrase (feel free to try it – great fun to see numerous people taking credit for this Koch Brothers paid-for talking point):
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the people responsible for the American Thanksgiving tradition. Contrary to popular opinion, the Pilgrims didn’t wear buckles on their shoes or hats. They weren’t teetotalers, either. They smoked tobacco and drank beer. And, most importantly, their first harvest festival and subsequent “thanksgivings” weren’t held to thank the local natives for saving their lives.
Hillary Clinton supported her hubbie’s NAFTA and is still a free trader. She and Obama are both with the Corporates on that. The Korean deal of Obama’s is another job killer.
She voted for the Iraq War. What’s for the Corporate/Zionist military complex not to like?
Oh, dear, a Glen Beck TV ad, on your site?
There is no such thing as too big to fail. It’s like ‘unthinkable’ thoughts that have been thought and acted upon; too-big failures _happen_.
What’s more, the failure to admit the possibility of too-big failure _guarantees_ too-big failure. This is, of course, ‘unthinkable’, or in other words unthought.
The collapse can be temporarily delayed at the cost of worsening it; and it comes not from the obvious big mess-ups, but from some tiny little glitch normally too puny to matter; but which this time cascades.
And nobody saw it coming. Nobody in charge, that is; everyone else did years before.
Most troubling to FSU’s provost, whose office had to sign off on the contract, were terms that allowed Koch to stop funding the program if faculty hired with its money were not complying with its goals. Traditionally, donations to universities come with few strings attached and are irrevocable, meaning they can’t be withdrawn at will….
End of St Pete Times quote
My take – be afraid…. be very afraid
It’s blatantly clear that for the last three decades a slow, insidious take-over of this country by a would-be, or perhaps already existing American aristocracy has been building and, I fear, has finally come to fruition.
Until and unless the American people take to the streets (how about an American Spring) it can’t be stopped. We staged a Revolution once (basically in opposition to taxation-without-representation) and we can do it again.
The Tea Party, launched and backed by the economic aristocracy, it’s rank-and-file clueless dupes, has become a major player on the political scene which would indicate that a true Party of the People, should we take to the streets, could also become a major player. Until we do so, I am without hope that the juggernaut launched by the aristocracy three decades ago can be stopped.
Well, the rich (aristocrats) here now have ‘representation, without taxation,’ and the best government money can buy.
And nothing will happen until people turn off FOX and Rush, and stop watching ‘Dancing With Someone You Might Have Heard Of If You Google Hard Enough.’ Until then, it’s ‘America’s Idle.’
I’m grateful to see you writing about this maha. I think the understanding of this could be a cornerstone.
You are so correct that they have constructed their own set of facts and history and reality its self. We can accept their reality or we can set about creating our own.
If one looks around you will see that nearly every political or social conversation that takes place in nearly all media, including the truly liberal media, is about right wing agenda and framing and talking points.
I think it is important for us to separate ourselves from that and start discussing our own ideas and visions for the future. Let them talk to themselves if they want to. It really is time to move forward.
My vision is set on putting every effort forward into as nearly free energy as possible. That reduces household costs enormously.
Next my vision would include a nation full of homes that was are nearly completely sustainable as possible. For example using waste as compost to grow food. The ability to use our technology for good and in accordance with nature to provide abundance.
Now I am sure all this sounds very airy fairy to your typical rightie and maybe even people on the left.
The fact is that should this dream be imagined into reality it would be the rugged individualism that the right claims to so love. Not dependent on some overriding authority for your sustainability of life. I’m telling you, the real thing is the only thing that will turn their head.