Op Ed: So long as the media continues to sell division, instead of unity and consent, whom actually wins the Presidential nomination and ultimately the election is moot. Since the time of Eisenhower, the media has only given the American public a spoonful of reporting and then only with respect to the media vetted Republican or Democratic positions. Those positions have been handed over, generally speaking, with a bag full of low number, non sequential bills which we call advertising. But, as they say, the times are a changing. Now in a Möbius-strip-like twist, neither the far right nor the far left media have much sway over a new generation getting ready to take the helm.
The irony here is that we have people running for President whom may potentially die in office. Trump in his 70s, Sanders would be almost 80 if elected, and all of the age wherein they would have been the parents of the grandparents of the millennial generation!
As a Generation X writer, I find it most intriguing that no one else really seems to have caught onto what is happening out there. The Gen X part of me knows that the Game is on. The writer part of me knows that there is an extremely sophisticated disinformation architecture afoot. With respect to the Game, what we know is that for the first time since the Civil War, we have a polarized nation virtually split down the middle. In the same way that brother fought against brother in the Civil War, we are seeing families devastated by the acrimony and political rhetoric. Moreover, though, the Game has allowed for the setting of the stage of our next financial crisis.
U.S. companies are on pace to break another record for share repurchases in 2019, using a combination of cash and debt to push the total to close to $1 trillion. For the first time since the financial crisis, companies have given back more to shareholders than they are making in cash net of capital expenditures and interest payments, or free cash flow, according to Goldman Sachs calculations.
Let me put this in layman’s terms. Hedge funds now have access to an endless stream of money at less than two percent interest. The Federal Reserve’s Repo Market has issued out nearly SIX AND A HALF TRILLION DOLLARS IN LOANS since September, 2019. That is almost a third of all loans made during the entire 2008 financial crisis! Thus, when a company buys back its stock, the prices of its shares climb which then allows for a higher shareholder dividend. Only problem with this is that those numbers you continue to watch climb on Wall Street are all artificially inflated.
The disinformation architecture is, by far, that which the American public need be most aware of. First, what is disinformation? It may mean many things to different people. In a nutshell, though, it is the use of social media — as well as mainstream avenues — to pursue an agenda in which opponents are damaged due to no reason of their own. Many use the term trolling-as-a-service. That is different, though, in that this is a targeted approach to an individual or a cause. It’s moniker probably follows suit from Software-as-a-Service or SaaS. All are tools, though, within the disinformation architecture. Time magazine laid out the framework fairly well in an article last year,
In the fall of 2014, soon after he moved to St. Petersburg from his hometown in Siberia, Vitaly Bespalov, an aspiring journalist, came across a series of online job listings for a “content manager.” They looked too good to be true. The pay was 45,000 rubles per month – around $700 at the time – well above the starting salary in his field. “There were no requirements,” he recalls. “No job descriptions.” And no mention of the informal title that came with the position: Internet troll.
After a short interview with a company manager, Bespalov began clocking in every morning at 55 Savushkina Street in St. Petersburg, the home of Russia’s now-infamous troll factory, otherwise known as the Internet Research Agency.
The daily grind was simple: create fake accounts on social media and use them to post comments online as the bosses instructed. The broader effort of the factory, however, was a state-of-the-art propaganda campaign. And over the next few years, it set out to interfere in the course of a U.S. presidential election, according to an indictment handed down on Friday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Whether or not the Republicans are right or the Democrats are right is immaterial. The reality is that at those levels of politics, only the corporate agenda whom finances the most money matters. Concepts such as helping the homeless or cracking down on crime are all phrases on the Talking Points Memos handed out. And I laugh in that many hate Trump and what he has — or has not — done. Did anyone really believe that after the Clinton and Bush Dynasties simply electing an African American was going to make it all right?! I mean — and let’s not bullshit here for a minute — President Obama was about as conservative as they came. There were ten times more air strikes in the covert war on terror during President Barack Obama’s presidency than under his predecessor, George W. Bush. Moreover, though, WaPo’s editor, David Swerdlick, had this to say a few months ago,
Given the political climate, it’s no surprise to see the party’s base clamoring for something dramatic. But the contrast between Obama’s steady approach and the seeming radicalism of his Democratic heirs can’t just be chalked up to changing times. It’s because the former president, going back at least to his 2004 Senate race, hasn’t really occupied the left side of the ideological spectrum. He wasn’t a Republican, obviously: He never professed a desire to starve the federal government, and he opposed the Iraq War, which the GOP overwhelmingly supported. But to the dismay of many on the left, and to the continuing disbelief of many on the right, Obama never dramatically departed from the approach of presidents who came before him.
Swerdlick notes that, unlike contemporary Democrats, such as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Julian Castro, the “former president was skeptical of sweeping change, bullish on markets, sanguine about the use of military force, high on individual responsibility and faithful to a set of old-school personal values.”
We’ve discovered we can sell hate, and the more vituperative the rhetoric, the better. This also serves larger political purposes. — Matt Tiabbi
President Trump, by all accounts, is the Dictator in Chief he always sought to be. And it takes a lot for me to say that even though I am a staunch Libertarian. Trump, by all logical accounts, is not only unhinged, he now realizes like a child, his temper tantrums will be rewarded. How in the fuck people honestly believe that they are a participatory citizenry by tuning in to the rhetoric on Fox or MSNBC or CNN are dishing out is beyond me. Does anyone seriously believe that powerful people would allow truly dangerous ideas to be broadcast on TV? The news today is a reality show where you’re part of the cast: America vs. America, on every channel.
As opposed to the Edward R Murrow’s of yesteryear, we are now witnessing the first, large scale propagandizing reminiscent in Germany’s Enabling Act of 1933. While I am not going as far to say that Trump and Hitler are on equal footing, I am walking the line in saying when the media becomes a weapon of EITHER party; when legislation and the checks and balances may be circumvented by edict, the citizens lose in the end.
The reality is that the issues which matter the most — the real economy, the loss of life due to lack of insurance and the inability to force National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) members to pay what they owe — have all become an Orwellian concept of our national inability to conquer societal issues. We have gone from a singular and binary belief that America is capable of solving problems at the local level and adopted this irrational belief that only the federal bureaucracy can save us. We have become so desensitized to problems right in front of us — ahem, the homeless crisis in California — that we wave the flag and cook the apple pie while pondering bullshit such as peace in the Middle East.
You see, no matter how many times President Trump invites Kanye West to the Oval Office, the fact of the matter is that deaths are still ongoing at the Mississippi State Penitentiary known as Parchman Farm — another death twelve hours ago to be fucking precise! No amount of insane trillion dollar insurance plan is ever going to ensure that all Americans have health care which is what Sanders and the rest of the left wing lunatics are proposing. The US government could never pay for it, let alone properly manage it.
If you think the next four years are going to get better, I highly suggest a reading of the Stalinist purges,
Trump’s acolytes in the Senate are actively pushing for purges. After the acquittal vote, Rand Paul outed the whistle-blower on the Senate floor. Senate Judiciary chair Lindsey Graham, who voted against calling witnesses at Trump’s trial, has repeatedly demanded that those who informed on Trump’s malfeasance be subpoenaed and forced to testify. Over the coming days and weeks, this administration will almost certainly take vengeance against those who testified, spoke out, or voted against Trump over the past few months.
And the final harsh reality is that there is not a SINGLE US PRESIDENT has ever been elected by the people. All have been elected based upon the Electoral College. So, why, at the end of the day, people get all pissed off about whom is President is truly beyond me. Think locally to act globally. What I mean is that if people began bringing pressure upon their elected Congressional representatives, we could probably change things in a meaningful way. Honestly, though, we won’t. And that speaks very distopian about our success, as a species, going forward.
We have become an oligarchy, plain and simple. What you think or believe is ultimately controlled by how much media you consume. The isms we digest, daily, have long ago played out in our insignificant brains by way of comparison to quantum computing.
So, while the rest of you are out there honestly believing that the pulling of the lever — or soon to be yet another failed app — will bring you solace after the elections, I will be comfortably numb with a death grip on a bottle of Scotch. Hope boarded that bus or plane, long ago, and left Terra Firma, the Third Rock from the Sun. And if you do happen to vote this year, PLEASE spare me proselytizing on how that makes your candidate such a better one than the other. The reality is that you have bought into a false bill of goods because, once again, only the Electoral College elects the President.