17 06 2018

In 2014, a pair of highly respected political scientists at Princeton and Northwestern Universities jointly researched and published a study on the influence of the extremely wealthy in American politics, which confirmed what a great many of us political activists knew in our guts: the United States is an oligarchy, a country whose political process is controlled by, and largely benefits, the wealthiest Americans, be they flesh-and-blood or corporate persons, or whether they are American or Saudi citizens. It was kind of a “duh” moment for most of us. It’s been obvious for decades that corporate capture of our government is fairly, or should I say unfairly, all-encompassing.  It takes money to win elections, and the corporate sector’s ability to accumulate money, and use the power of that money to change the laws and enable them to accumulate even more money and exert even more influence just keeps growing, like the balance on your credit card debt. As I said last month, accumulating money tends to be extremely addictive.

Another way the corporations have sought to consolidate their hold on the country is through ownership of our news media. All those big corporations that advertise on TV? Those ads are like the brand on a cow, telling the world “we own and control this station.”

And then, there’s the “brands” they advertise. Brands of cars, or beer, or whatever, are a little different from brands on cows. The difference is, the cow brand is seared onto the cow, while the product brand is seared into your mind, if you are exposed to it often enough. But I digress….  When the news sources most readily available to the average citizen spout nothing but approval for the corporate agenda even though they may report critically on some of the effects of the corporate agenda, but never question the validity of that agenda, it becomes difficult for those average citizens to imagine that there might be any more equitable alternatives. You know, like what the US says North Korea does to its people.

I discovered an example of concealed corporate propaganda while researching this story. One of the articles that showed up near the top of the list when I did a search on “Princeton oligarchy study” was on Vox, claiming to rebut the Princeton study. I read the Vox story carefully, and noted that it seemed to kind of nibble around the edges of what the Princeton-Northwestern study had claimed, seemed to use its statistics somewhat disingenuously, and it ignored the voluminous real-world evidence that corroborates the Princeton statistical study. I recalled that Vox is part of the same media conglomerate that puts out Daily Kos. This conglomerate, with its many faces, is widely regarded as the voice of the corporate Democratic Party, and one of those “reliable sources” frequently recommended by those who caution us against the kind of “fake news” that does question the validity of corporatism and/or advocate serious alternatives, like cooperative democratic socialism, AKA The Green Party, among others. That Vox should be so eager to rebut the reality of American oligarchy only emphasizes what I have to say in this post.

Consider this timeline: the 2014 Princeton study basically confirmed the 2011 Occupy Movement’s basic complaint, and Occupy’s energy and insight led to the 2016 rise of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and the biggest surge of interest in The Green Party since the Nader campaign. The American stage was seemingly set for a serious discussion of wealth and power.

Instead, the “oligarchs” the corporate media began to focus on were Russian ones, who allegedly have such great faith in, and deep control over, Donald Trump and American politics that they picked him out years ago and carefully shepherded him into the Presidency so that he could work their will on this country, to our detriment and their aggrandizement. Furthermore, they are such media wizards that they overcame the DNC’s billion-dollar budget for a fraction of that cost and with a fraction of the media exposure the Democrats purchased, and are such criminal masterminds that two years of investigation have yet to do more than nibble at the edges of their well-buried infiltration of our political process. This happened while Obama and the Democrats were in power, and in charge of all levels of national security, yet somehow the Russiagaters never demand that the Obama administration be held to account for this gross breach of American sovereignty. Suppose Roosevelt had ignored the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the event to which these alleged “hacks” have been compared?

To Democrats’ shrill cries that their secrets had been exposed by the Russians-(-“What secrets?”  “Never mind, just hate the Russians for it!”) Obama responded by using the unprecedented authority Congress had given him in the 2013 and newly passed 2017 National Defense Authorization Acts to launch a “counterpropaganda campaign” in this country’s media–to “counter” “Russian propaganda” and its “American allies,” like the anti-fracking/pipelines/fossil fuels movement, Black Lives Matter, and online anti-corporate news sites. It didn’t matter that in these cases, as in all the others, the links to Russia were anywhere from non-existent to tenuous to inconsequential.  Since then, there has been a loud torrent of media attention on Russia-related claims and a mere whispering stream of quiet qualifications, discreditings, and rebuttals. For their part, the pro-Russiagate movement has a big, loud echo chamber in which they do their best to discredit, disqualify, or rebut anybody who disputes their “narrative.”

” How can you just stand there and make excuses for the 21st-century equivalent of Pearl Harbor?” Emotional appeals, repeatedly and insistently delivered, are the essence of propaganda. I don’t see this coming from Russia, but I certainly see plenty of it from the DNC/NSA crowd.

This came from a magazine closely aligned with the DNC–reads like a description of “Russiagate” to me.It was the last straw, I cancelled my subscription.

The totally inappropriate Pearl Harbor meme is just one of the avalanche of largely baseless accusations that have dominated the corporate news landscape over the last couple of years, since Sanders raised an only slightly toned-down version of The Green Party’s structural critique of the corporate system to a new level of national prominence. Those who really wield power in this country have no wish to be exposed. They are doing all they can to distract us so they can keep on vampirzing us and the planet, trusting that their wealth will enable them to shield themselves from the cataclysmic social and meteorological destruction they are setting in motion.  It is our duty, if we value our lives, to remain as undistracted as we can. The power of our combined, concentrated attention, and the co-operation so engendered, is the only hope we have.

music: Buffy Ste. Marie, “Priests of the Golden Bull



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