"Elections are run by the public relations industry. Its primary task is commercial advertising, which is designed to undermine markets by creating uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices - the exact opposite of how markets are supposed to work, but certainly familiar to anyone who has watched television.
"It's only natural that when enlisted to run elections, the industry would adopt the same procedures in the interests of the paymasters, who certainly don't want to see informed citizens making rational choices."
-----Noam Chomsky, Because We Say So, 2015
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Too Many Law Students, Too Few Legal Jobs
Law schools have been able to raise tuition while producing twice as many graduates as the job market has been able to absorb.
China, Japan and Europe Are Flashing Economic Warning Signs
World leaders need to come up with credible policies quickly to energize the sputtering global economy.
Monday, August 24, 2015
The return to economic fundamentalism and libertarian anti-socialism has meant great progress for many and enormous regression for most. That is textbook free market unregulated capitalism, though a post war move to government investment in some aspects of life not producing private profit gave a social democratic appearance of change for a minority when there really was substantially none for the majority. But the neo-liberal attack on anything remotely smacking of humanity, common sense or market control has brought this globally dominant system producing humanity’s goods and services to a point of crisis never before experienced. Even a social democratic revival may not be enough to avoid cataclysmic situations that have resulted from the unleashing of private greed as prime motivator for anything and everything that happens in life, or reaches the market, which under the domain of capital is the same thing.
The sharpened divisions among people accepting the lie of an individually competitive system for themselves while their rulers enjoy the most caring, sharing, near communist social welfare services imaginable, has led to situations that bring the contradictions of capital’s privately controlled markets into what should be a clearer perspective. The national immigration surge of the past twenty or so years has been joined by one of increasing gentrification, with both bringing profits to some, losses to most, and dangerous divisions to society that threaten to tear the social fabric to shreds before anyone notices that even with all the past patching there wasn’t much there to begin with.
The economic programs that bring austerity, downscaling and immigration are the same ones that bring luxury, upscaling and gentrification. Gentrimigrant Immification?
Millions of bodies entering the country as cheap labor are extremely profitable for capital and some of its professional servant class but represent loss to those no longer holding the jobs they take and bearing the social expense of working the newcomers into society. Likewise, the high earning people who move into neighborhoods and communities being gentrified are immigrants with a profound affect on these communities, bringing business, wealth, higher real estate values and profits to many while the original dwellers and inhabitants are either pushed out of housing when prices become too high or remain but are forced into second class status and no longer able to afford to shop in their own communities.
Foreign immigration on the one hand, leading to greater profits that also create loss, and internal immigration on the other, leading to greater profits that also create loss. That the economics are the same is slowly dawning on more people, but the divisions and ugliness among groups forced into competition while others enjoy cooperative profit making could cause far more pain and bitterness before it is seen for what it is: capitalist free market private profit seeking which always brings happiness to some, unhappiness to others and misery to more than should be tolerable any longer.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
In a political field of republican assholes who represent billionaires and love Israel, Donald Trump stands out because he is an asshole who is a billionaire and loves Israel. He is also outspoken in ways unfamiliar to his more conventional opponents who must always be suck-ups to wealth and power while he is the wealth and power they suck-up to, under normal circumstances. But the reaction to him by what passes for established intelligentsia tells us more about where we are as a nation than the near imbecile candidates themselves. Treating this campaign as something different because the field is overrun with assholes, only one of them seeming unique, means that the critics have somehow missed all campaigns and debates for the entire television age.
What passes for standard political gibberish has enthralled America’s mind managers and consciousness controllers to bring out the smallest vote of any alleged democracy, with few noticing that there has never been a president actually voted in by a majority of the electorate, but only by a majority – sometimes – of those who show up to vote. The combination of those who do not vote at all and those who do not vote for the winner is the real majority, all the time, and that shameful performance is overlooked, not understood, or kept from the public’s awareness in order to insure belief in the mythology of a national democracy.
The Trump TV personality phenomenon is hardly anything new, with people of even less intellectual and political grasp all over the spectrum and in both wings of the ruling party running for and serving in high political offices. But his great wealth and tv star status have made him a bigger personality, if a lesser brainiac, than say a Ross Perot who was also very rich but motivated by much less ego and much more sincerity. Interestingly, Perot loomed large in getting Bill Clinton into the white house and the Trumpeter is thought by many to be a plot to get Hillary in if/when he runs as an independent. But whatever his ultimate aims beyond satisfying an elephantine ego even greater than that of the other elephantine assholes, his impact is already beyond the understanding of his critics from the lib-con bi-partisan establishment.
They hate him for his outspoken behavior flaws that are embarrassing to their positions as ruling class servants since he speaks openly about the political power of money, what he can buy and sell, including some of the assholes he is running against, and in so doing threatens to upset the political economic clergy of America’s capital religion. Democracy? Sure, if you can buy it, and that’s what he’s openly doing while at the same time criticizing the process. Contradictions? We’ve got ‘em, big time.
In return for his outspoken confrontation of certain systemic flaws which he thrives on but is willing to admit are social weaknesses, the con-lib establishment anxiously picks at his individualistic problems regarding often meaningless gossip items of the type that make him famous rather than any meaningful policy position he may represent which hardly threatens any aspect of the political economic system. Except, of course, to treat it is a sham purchasable by the rich, which he acknowledges while others play dumb, since they grovel before those rich in order to maintain their political jobs and campaigns.
Trump doesn’t do the usual word mincing and focus group editing of his remarks before stating his feelings, which he believes are shared by “america” and in which belief he is closer to the truth than his puppets-for-wealth-and-israel opponents. He acts as ego puppeteer in chief and excites more people than are manipulated into being turned off by his rudeness, overstatements and identity politics gaffs. But while servants of mind management react in shock, he maintains high ratings in the polls. This, of course, is because the political and media servants are brilliant and most Americans are too stupid to understand the subtleties, nuances and levels of bullshit those servants help reinforce.
At the same time that Trump pleases americans who are disgusted with political life in general – tiny minorities express support for congress and slightly larger ones for the president – his shoot-from-the-mouth style also appeals to many of the propeller beanie caucus that offer fair game for those passing as slightly more intelligent. That would be those who only wear their beanies in private and never in public. Lost in the lowest common denominator politics of major media and major politics is the great disgust of so many americans with what passes for their alleged democracy and finally having someone speak plainly and openly, even if often brainlessly sounding like so many others. The situation is so dreadful that this is seen as a refreshing change.
At the same time on the other democratic side of usually asshole campaigns another candidate who causes fits among established power is running in the primary against her highness billary and doing so on a left-populist platform reviving past social democratic policies to counter the unrestrained capitalism which is destroying much more than our own economy in an orgy of creating fabulous wealth for a minority and appalling problems for the majority. Bernie Sanders even calls himself a socialist and while the hopeless right tends to see any government or public activity as socialism, Sanders goes further than any of the other toadies on his side of the spectrum regarding economic policies. He is calling for higher wages for workers, higher taxes on wealth and generally sounding like a free market fundamentalist’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, this does not yet hold true for his foreign policy stance that mostly echoes the assholes on Israel with slightly less reliance on provoking nuclear war. What does this say about the country at a time of much greater economic and social stress, even if consciousness control keeps telling us things are getting better every day? Perhaps the smug manipulators and the unfortunates who think themselves the only ones who understand will see that the public is only as ignorant as it is kept, and they are among that public as long as they agree that what the people want they cannot have because the only realistic outcome of any election is for the rich to get what they want.
Which viewpoint is stupid, anti-democratic and most likely to vote for an asshole representing the rich?