Sunday, February 25, 2018

TWO-FACED
Months of corporate media BS put in perspective in less than five minutes.

(The Real News)

Our sham of an election process, the regular running of a sensationalized horse race, which should be called the running of the bull, is just an expensive dog and pony show used to prove which horse's ass can most quickly and effectively serve its corporate masters. It's so rigged and seemingly pointless that the largest voting block is no shows.

Civic-minded government hopefuls are so regularly marginalized they are seldom noticed. The idea that someone wishes to be elected in order to improve society and serve the public sounds quaint these days, quite ludicrous even. When a Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell speaks do they even remotely engender the notion they consider themselves public servants? If you think they do, you should think again.

A genuine investigation into manipulating public opinion and influencing our elections would result in a lot of businessmen and government officials going to jail. If there were investigations into abuses of power used to force international cooperation or punish the uncooperative, than countless leaders on both sides of the aisle, and their corporate string pullers would be lined up in striped prison suits.
 
Instead the media makes billions by getting a gullible public to pay attention to a "Russian's stole the election" fairy tale, which helps justify sanctions that serve our fossil fuel industry and creates tensions that serve the interests of our Military Industrial Complex.

    Maximizing business profits at the expense of public welfare has been a primary function of the U.S. government since the beginning. The military has been the strong arm of big business since its inception.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
Smedley D. Butler
from War is a Racket, by America's Most Decorated Soldier

THE SMEDLEY BUTLER SOCIETY
War is a Racket

 That was old news, then Reagan made it much worse, and the rise of Neoconservatism sealed the deal. A George W. Bush was an inevitable catastrophe, the "W" stands for longest war in our nation's history, with no end in sight.

Here's some comic spin on disaster capitalism you might enjoy:

Media owned by warlords, govt owned by big money, shock doctrine
(Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp)

p.s. There's really very little genuine evidence Russia did anything to mess with our elections remotely comparable to the obvious meddling of our own media and corrupt election processes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

HORSING AROUND

I think we should try F-bombs before tossing off any real ones.

Mueller Indictments Are A F**king Joke & It's Dangerous
(Redacted Tonight...
 is a comedy show written and performed by Americans, in America covering American news.)

* * * * *

MSNBC BS. Fuck them, go Jill Stein!
(Jill Stein interviewed about her name's appearance in the Mueller Indictments)


This was a rare dip into mainstream media for me. WOW! Tragic! I think the funniest bit is that after disgorging that grotesque circle jerk MSNBC has the nutsack to invite me to subscribe to more of the same. 

* * * * *

And now for something more serious.

(Counter Punch.org)

"The Democrats’ choice to blame external forces, e.g. Russian meddling, for their electoral loss in 2016 ignores evidence of that none-of-the-above is the people’s choice. The largest voting bloc in the 2016 election was eligible voters who chose not to vote. In contrast to the received wisdom in political consultant circles, choosing not to vote is a political act. The U.S. has the lowest voter turnout in the ‘developed’ world for a reason."

* * * * *
(The Intercept.com)

"In the wake of last week’s indictments alleging that 13 Russian nationals and entities created fake social media accounts and sponsored political events to sow political discord in the U.S., something of a consensus has arisen in the political and media class (with some notable exceptions) that these actions not only constitute an “act of war” against the U.S., but one so grave that it is tantamount to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Indeed, that Russia’s alleged “meddling” is comparable to the two most devastating attacks in U.S. history has, overnight, become a virtual cliché."


YEARNING FOR LEARNING

(Eva-Maria Swidler at Truth-Out.org)
"As the social services we could expect the state to provide vanished one by one in the wake of elimination of welfare as we know it, radicalism seems to have been in retreat, circling the wagons to protect liberal concepts, institutions and processes that were previously subject to sometimes withering critiques. Emma Goldman's slogan "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal" used to be found on T shirts and bumperstickers; now those who used to scoff at electoral politics pour their efforts into undoing gerrymandered districts or fighting voter ID laws. Net neutrality campaigns, defending such no-brainer basics as anti-monopolism and free speech, absorb activists who might otherwise have been paying attention to the Congressional January re-authorization of another 6 years of the government surveillance of Americans. Providing immigrants with housing and legal support has far too often displaced the analysis of and resistance to the foreign policy that brings immigrants to our shores.

Without challenging the importance of defending our shrinking services and rights, I believe that we should wonder and worry: are our larger visions at risk of being eclipsed or even bankrupted by the immediate daily, weekly or monthly struggles we are engaged in to defend the most minimal standards? What happens to our thoughts and our conversations when we are preoccupied defending the very institutions and systems that we recently categorized as bourgeois liberalism? Are we maintaining our deeper and more radical critiques, essential to offering real alternatives to capitalism?"

* * * * *

Why the Right Wing Is So Interested in Narrowing Down Education into 'Skills'
The politics behind the push to expand vocational education.
(Alternet.org)

"In the latest episode of the Have You Heard podcast, AlterNet education contributor Jennifer Berkshire and co-host Jack Schneider explore the push to limit higher education for working-class and poor students to vocational skills."
HOME INVASION

Homer Simpson famously said, "To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems."

He could have easily substituted the word technology, for alcohol, but it wouldn't have been as funny.

Everyone should think carefully about technology and addictive behavior. Both the psychological and environmental impacts are increasingly alarming.

Here are some examples from the very tiny tip of the iceberg.

___________________________________________

Teens with problematic habits may have an imbalance of GABA to GIX ratios.
(Psychology Today.com)

"To identify the severity of smartphone or internet addiction, the South Korean researchers used a standardized smartphone-internet addiction questionnaire. The questions were designed to elucidate the extent that excessive screen time affects someone's daily activities, face-to-face social connectedness, productivity, sleeping patterns, and feelings.

"The higher the score, the more severe the addiction," Dr. Seo said in a statement. Notably, Seo et al. found that smartphone-addicted teenagers had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia severity, and impulsivity."

* * * * *

It's Time For a Serious Talk About the Science of Tech "Addiction"
(Wired.com)

"Last came the turncoats. Former employees and executives from companies like Facebook worried openly to the media about the monsters they helped create. Tristan Harris, a former product manager at Google and founder of the nonprofit "Time Well Spent" spoke with this publication's editor in chief about how Apple, Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram—you know, everyone—design products to steal our time and attention."

* * * * *

This Is Not a Tech Detox
(Wired.com)

"You write that your “stomach churns” whenever you read about how tech leaders don’t let their kids use the products they make—Steve Jobs, for instance, famously restricted his kids’ use of gadgets, and you write that it reminds you of “a drug dealer who doesn’t touch the stuff he deals.” How does that color your perception of our relationships with these devices?"

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention
(The Guardian.com)

"There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”

* * * * *

Computers, phones, and other digital devices increasingly are made to be thrown away—which is bad for both consumers and the environment.
(The Atlantic.com)

"And so people replace things: smartphones, tablets, phablets, laptops, LEDs, LCDs, DVD players, portable music players. Whether from breakdown, slow-down, or just the availability of a newer model, people discard electronics at the slightest inconvenience. It’s not just laziness or a lust for the future, either; the economics of gadgets encourages disposal. In some cases, for example, buying a new printer is cheaper than buying a set of new ink cartridges.

The increase in consumption of electronics has two major adverse ecological effects. First, it significantly increases mining and procurement for the materials needed for production of gadgets. And second, discarded devices produce large quantities of electronic waste. That waste could be reduced through reuse, repair, or resale. Whether it ever will be is an open question."

* * * * *

A smiling, talking fridge might seem fun. But what happens when it has said all it has to say?
(Huffington Post.com)

“Premature obsolescence is an ongoing issue,” he said. “Devices can be difficult to repair or sometimes need upgrading to keep up with new operating systems, leading to extra purchases of new devices.”



MOURNING IN 'MURIKA

or

THE STATE OF THE ONION

(The Onion.com video)

I happened to catch a few minutes of NPR during a discussion of Trump's "State of the Union" speech. As usual I found NPR's political analysis appalling. That a Trump speech was being considered seriously, and not simply a spewing of rhetoric by an obnoxious figurehead reading BS prepared by his sociopathic handlers was disappointing, yet sadly not surprising.

More honest appraisals on the state of the union require a trip outside the corporately-owed propaganda machine. For example:

Max Blumenthal, Phyllis Bennis, and Norman Solomon discuss President Trump's State of the Union. Rather than deliver a serious address, they say Trump offered a simplistic narrative designed to galvanize extremism.
(The Real News.com)

"MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, yeah. I agree with all of the comments by Phyllis and Norman. I sort of regret agreeing to this because I had to watch that, and I now feel like I'm 20 years older. I mean, I'm very glad to be here, but that was one of the most atrocious State of the Unions I've seen. Trump's delivery was lethargic and lugubrious. It was basically a reality show with Trump narrating the heroic stories of various American archetypes held together with a Kulturkampf, with a culture-war demagoguery on nativism like we've seen from no other president, and Norman's right. It's been normalized under Trump. I've heard a lot of pundits say that Trump's speech was surprisingly normal."

* * * * *

David North, Chairman of the World Socialist Web Site’s International Editorial Board, discusses the capitalist crisis in the United States.
(On Contact video with Chris Hedges)

* * * * *

Trump’s State of Delusion
(WSWS.org)



"Amidst the nauseating spectacle of Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, perhaps the most remarkable feature was the inability of the ruling class—not only Trump, but also the Democratic opposition and the media commentary—to deal seriously with any of the myriad crises engulfing American and world capitalism.

The State of the Union address was, as originally conceived, intended as an occasion for the president to outline to Congress and the American people the overall economic, social and geo-political situation facing the country. However, over the past four decades, and particularly since the Reagan White House, the event has become an increasingly hollow charade, full of bombast and empty boasting, incapable of acknowledging the mounting crisis of American capitalism."

Friday, February 2, 2018

SEEING RED

The U.S. has perfected perception management and perpetrates it relentlessly on its citizens. The powers that be in this fair country thrive on fear and conflict. Things will continue to degenerate until catastrophic change or a cultural awakening occur. I for one think we are sound sleepers.

"The partisan fight over Rep. Devin Nunes' memo is consuming Washington and even leading prominent liberals to question if Nunes is a Russian agent. Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen of Princeton University says Russiagate has now become "much more than McCarthyism."
(The Real News.com)