Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Promoting Self-Alienation

Now that the Democrats have managed to loose a senate seat which they had held since the mid-Fifties, the corporate-bagging press will go into over drive trying to convince us that this was a renunciation of "gub'mint run health care" and a vindication of the neo-liberal agenda of plunder capitalism.

In chipster opinion this is not true. Although there is no question that Brown is the latest corporate enterprise water-boy, that was not why he won. His campaign was very careful not to be overly specific as to why he opposed the pending health care bill -- thus leaving it up to every individual voter to fill the blanks with his or her own reasons.

In our opinion Coakley was defeated by a defection of progressives. It is also our sense that, putting slogans and labels aside, most voters of whatever self-described hue, sent a message of dissatisfaction with an economic policy that has simply shovelled money at banks and a health care bill which they correctly understand will simply shovel money at insurance companies. With respect to health care, the majority of Americans are in basic agreement, and the corporate-bagging press will do whatever it can to distort and bury that fact.

They will do so because the primary function of the press in the corporate plunder-state is to atomize social consciousness by ballyhooing false issues and mis-reporting those issues which are of true political concern.

Just as a man who does not know himself cannot act for himself in his best interests, so too a society that has been prevented from forming its own natural social consciousness cannot coalesce around correct and socially beneficial policies. It cannot do so because it literally cannot recognize itself. It has become self-alienated and, thus, dysfunctional.

The role of the press in stunting and misshaping social consciousness is critical, and nowhere do we see this malevolent function better illustrated than in the so-called "health care debate." From Fox News to the New York Times, the press has consistently misrepresented or misinformed people as to what their own dissatisfaction with the bill really is.

Over and over again, the news reports state that people are against Obama's plan to "reform health care". That is true, but the implication that they are against it because they do not want change or because they think the current system is dandy is false.

Over and over again, the corporate-owned press formulates questions and massages answers so as to imply that the People are against "Big Gub'mint," want to be left alone to make their choices in a free market and to pay through nose for health care denied. The press assiduously propagandizes this pseudo-libertarian canard which corporations then use to fig-leaf their massive, government assisted plunder of the public.

By spreading disinformation in this way, the press makes everyone one of us, who is in fact progressive, feel abandoned and alone. We feel our situation is helpless because we are a minority. Once that divisive idea takes hold the masters of corporate plunder rule.

Let us begin with some hard facts. As of Obama's election numerous polls showed that a strong majority of Americans wanted health care reform to include a national, government-run medicare-for-all type of program or, at least, a strong public option [ Here ]

Such results presented Big Med, and its foghorns in the press with a problem. And so over the past 12 months there has been a relentless, corporate sponsored campaign of misrepresentation, distortion and outright smear against health care reform -- a campaign brought into millions of living rooms by the very media conglomerates that now purport to report on the "significance" of Brown's senate seat victory. They would have us believe that people are against "Obamacare" because they more concerned about the economy and the deficit.

On the day following the election, a New York Times "demographic" reported that Coakley won in denser urban areas among people with higher levels of education (i.e., more employed) whereas Brown won in less populated areas where unemployment was high. Quoth the Times:

"Mr. Brown’s campaign resonated with independents who were anxious about the economy, an important factor in these places, which have the state's highest unemployment rates."

This then got translated into a "dissatisfaction with the economy, taxes and governmental spending." Aha! So we are to believe that the ghost of Ronnie rides through New England yelling "The Deficits are coming! The Deficits are coming!" and that this is what got unemployed independents all upset.

So are we then to believe that unemployed people are angry with the government for spending more money on unemployment benefits? No one in an an area suffering severe unemployment wants less government spending. They want more government spending: on unemployment benefits, on work programs, on stimulating trickledown. The kind of spending they do object to is giving a trillion dollars to banks while they have trouble getting by on $60.00 a week "benefits". Unless these unemployed are clinically insane, the New York Times lies.

Undeterred the Times continues to massage our brains with a pundit piece by Adam Nagourney who -- after several paragraphs of politics as football gets to the point and says

"Most ominously, independent voters — who embraced Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign and are an increasingly critical constituency — seemed to have fled to Mr. Brown in Massachusetts, as they did to Republicans in races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey last November."
Well that's kind of obvious isn't it, given that Brown won. They real question is "why". So why did they flee to Brown? Nagourney says,

" Terry McAuliffe says: "We have to keep our focus on job creation. Everything we have to do is related to job creation. We have to do a much better job on the message. People are confused on what this health care bill is going to do.”

Well that's what McAuliffe says. But he's one of the ones that brought us the fiasco of Obamacare(not). What do the Independents say? Having shifted from "independents" to "McAuliffe" Nagourney doesn't say.

Instead he forges ahead down this irrelevant path and tells what politco consultant Joe Trippi has to say. Trippi says,

"I think there’s been a misreading of where the public is at: having a health care debate when so many people were focused on their jobs,” and “The failure to understand how anti-establishment the country has become is a big part of the problem,”

So there we have it. The same old Republican Anti-Gubmint Mantra, brought to you straight from the establishment's mouth courtesy Adama Nagourny of the New York Times giving us all the bullshit fit to print.

But what the Times has not told us is what a single Independent had to say. The Times tells us Independents are angry but instead of reporting on what they say, it serves up pixie dust excuses from the culprits at large.

Underlying these misrepresentations is a more the more fundamental obfuscation which Nagourney pedals by presenting a trichotomy between "delivering on health care" versus "creating jobs" versus the need for "financial reform".

Nagourney presents these issues as mutually exclusive alternatives when in fact each of them is an aspect of the same underlying problem of inequitable wealth distribution which, today, is a polite way of referring to the outright corporate plunder of public assets and of people's declining real income.

True "financial reform" might begin simply enough with putting a cap on usury. The traditional 7% on which the U.S. thrived for years has been replaced by interests rates of 16% to 27% plus hidden interests under assorted "penalties and fees" This is a massive shovel-up of wealth. But usury is never mentioned. Why? Because "financial reform" while it is certainly needed has very little impact on delivering health care. We could easily and consistently have both.

Nor is health care anything at odds with "creating jobs". Over two years ago, even GM was demanding health care reform. The "solution" adopted disgracefully under the Truman Administration of shifting the health care burden from government to industry was now bankrupting industry. No Japanese or German corporation has to shoulder the cost of providing health care to its workers. That burden was a major impetus for GM to shift production offshore where it can unload the costs of benefits. True health care reform is not a counterpoint to job creation it is in fact in fact a key component of a strategy of repatriating jobs back to the United State. There is no dichotomy whatsoever, and once again the Times lies.

In yet another article in the same issue, Nagourney again drives home his (or at least McAulliffe's) message

"Still, some Democrats are wondering if Mr. Obama would be in a better position now if he had embraced a less ambitious health care proposal, as some aides urged, permitting him to pivot more quickly on the economy."

"Less ambitious"?? What could possibly be less ambitious than not providing single payer, or a public option, or a cap on premiums or a repeal of anti-trust exemptions?

It doesn't take much imagination to figure out that what the New York Times is reporting as news is really the anti-health care agenda of party strategists. Fine, but this does not tell us what the voters were thinking and it keeps us from knowing what we as a public really want.

The Times is not the only culprit. The Rassumussen Report informs us that 52% of Brown voters say health care reform was the most important issue in determining their vote and that 61% of Brown voters say deficit reduction is more important than health care reform.

Someone over at Rassmussen's is not asking questions correctly. It is not possible to have two contradictory "most important" answers.

The illogic then gets further confused with "46% of Coakley voters say health care legislation is more important than deficit reduction." In other words, and without inverting the way we ask and answer things, 54% of Coakley voters think that deficit reduction is most important.

What can be unravelled from this platter of polling spaghetti is that a majority (50-60%) of both sides think debt reduction is "most important". At the same time, the voters themselves do not pit this against health care. The voters don't see any incompatibility and both sides evidently want health care and debt reduction.

What this means is that by "debt reduction" the voters are thinking about something else other than the cost of health care. Trillion dollar TARP hanouts to Big Bank and Goldman Sachs??? Could that be it?

Rassmussen forges on to create disparity where none in fact exists, reporting that: "86% of Coakley voters say it’s better to pass the bill before Congress rather than nothing at all; whereas 88% of Brown voters say it’s better to pass nothing at all"

Again the poll doesn't tell use *why* the voters are dissatisfied with the proposed health care bill. But putting that aside, the supposed difference between the two camps is less a question of opposition than a willingness of one side to accept half a loaf. There's a big difference between saying:

It's better to pass nothing at all.

and saying,

I am opposed to messing with our health care system at all,

The second statement implies satisfaction with the statu quo. The word "better" in the first statement implies that something does need to be done, but that the bill either doesn't address what needs to be done or makes it worse rather than better.

In fact no one in their right mind accepts the present health (not) care delivery system. Does any one think people would anser "Yes" to:

are you happy with the prosepct of rising premiums?

are you happy with the prospect of declaring bankruptcy?

do you like the donut hole in drug coverage?

are you happy with the thought that if you get sick you can't get coverage at all, no matter what you pay?

do you think the government should prohibit itself from negotiating lower prices on drugs?

Of course not. In fact back in October 2005 the Harris Poll found that large majorities of the U.S. adult public supported each of the following healthcare policies:,

1. Medicare (health insurance for the elderly and disabled). Fully 96 percent of adults support Medicare,

2. Birth control/contraception is supported by 93 percent of all adults,

3. Condom use to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is supported by 92 percent of adults,

4. Medicaid (health insurance for people with very low incomes) is supported by 91 percent of all adults,

5. Sex education in high schools is supported by 87 percent of the public,

6. Funding of international HIV prevention and treatment programs is supported by 87 percent of the public,

7. Universal health insurance is favored by 75 percent of all adults,

8. Embryonic stem cell research is favored by 70 percent of all adults

9. Funding of international birth control programs is supported by 70 percent of the public,

10. Withdrawal of life support systems/food for those in a vegetative state is supported by 68 percent of the public,

Of course the poll did its best to garbage up the results by polling irrelevant and undeterminative differences between religious and non religious segments of the populations. Although there were material variations on questions 5, 8 and 9, on all others religious affiliation made no difference.

Thus from 2005 to 2009 the American public overwhelminglgy supported Medicare and wanted universal health coverage. Does any one think they meant coverage you won't be allowed to buy, can't afford and that will be pulled out from under you when you need it most? No. Most people don't think that way. "I want everyone to be covered" means "I want everyone to have health care" Only pollsters and pundits twist it into something absurd.

And they do so, so that the public will not know itself and will in fact think itself to be crazy when it is not.

The supine and opportunistic Democrat Party is quick to join in the deception. What must be understood by everyone is that the Democrat party does not want real health care reform; not the blue dog democrat and not the red cats either. None of them, and certainly not Obama.

Had the Democratic Party truly wanted health reform, it would have shaped the debate rather than whining in mock helplessness that it was powerless to overcome the "opposition". What vile nonsense!

No policy takes shape or place without propaganda. This is a political truth that has been known from the earliest days of civilization. As Aristotle said, Man has the capacity for articulate language and it is this ability through which he decides "what is just or unjust and expedient or inexpedient." (Politics, Bk I)

To decide what is just or expedient, through language, requires argumentation which entails stating a case and convincing others. When done broadly and to that audience which is society itself, we call this propaganda. No political change takes place without propaganda.

Who does not know this?

But the Democratic Party has consistently and without interruption refused to do the spade work for its avowed political agenda. Instead it piously blathers intentions and then falls back with a resigned and hopeless air, whimpering "we tried....but..." It is a vile and venal farce the American people should no longer tolerate.

This disgraceful farce has been going on for far too long, beginning with Reagan's "L-word" bashing, which the Democrats took with a smile while asking for more, like Herr Prof. Ratt turned into circus clown.

Respected Professor Turned Clown

The only thing progressive about the party was how they went from blathering mealy-mouth nonsense to outright farces. Take the Clintons. What kind of political moron would announce a policy change of allowing gays in the military by issuing a quiet executive order on Friday afternoon? The way to have accomplished that goal would have been to build up a groundswell of support from key social and political elments, and then, with flags a fluttering and the podium crowded with a phalanx of big names, announce the next step in America's March toward... blah, blah and blah. Instead, Clinton gave us his rendition of "Strangers in the Night." Of course it blew up in his face. And for the same reason Hilary's Health Initiative a few years later.

Because they consistently fail to propagandize an ideology Democrats just as consistently end up whining that they have to vote billions for defence because they can't afford to be perceived as weak on defence. (Note the tautology.) They whine that they have to vote away the Bill of Rights, because they can't be perceived to be "weak on terrorism". Nor, as it turns out, weak on any other issue that might run counter to the interests of the Big Bank, Big Corp, Big Pharma and Big Weapon.

Why can't they run the risk the of being perceived as weak on anything except the progressive agenda itself? Why do they refuse to do the spade work of propaganda? Because they have no ideology other than craven opportunism, since we know they are not love smitten with the Blue Angel.

The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans believe in their prostitution whereas the Democrats know its wrong. This is why, over the long haul the Republicans will consistently win and the Democrats will consistently take selzer water in the face. And happily too so long as they can retain their congressional and (when out of office) corporate benefits.

The majority of people in this country wanted real health care reform, even including single payer and certainly a strong, effective public option. That majority would have been even greater if the Democratic Party had fought for what it says it wanted to deliver.

Now comes the corporate-bagging press which will mis-report Brown's electoral upset as a victory for tea-baggers and every other dumb plumber and Fox News Yahoo slurping a beer at the pub. What they will not report is that had Democrats not lost progressive support Coakley would have won.

If courage begin in the heart, defeat begins in the mind. and so the press will continue to twist and blurr because it is essential that the public not come to know itself or its strength.

Progressives defeated Coakley and should continue to wreak punishment on the Democratic Party. Only when these quislings are run from office can a new and real opposition move in. This will take time and at least two electoral cycles. But although the hour is late, it must be done.

©WCG, 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow. thanks.