« Foundations Offer Asset Protection for Criminals? | Main | Nike's New Cause Related Marketing Campaign »

March 09, 2005

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Harry

Do you remember Hillary Clinton's comment about the vast right wing conspiracy? At the time, it seemed both disingenuous and petulant. There have been policy factories around for close to a hundred years. The shuffling between think tanks, top positions in the financial world and politics has been going on as long. Of course all these people share a consensus. Her feelings were hurt because they went after her and her husband -- even though they were very good at making rich people richer and expanding the scope of the national security state. Those hurt feeling haven't kept her from voting for the very worst right wing policies, however.

John Kerry's one moment of genuine outrage came when he said no one expected Bush to "fuck up" the invasion of Iraq so badly. He, too, is a staunch supporter of the neoliberal security state.

Maybe the liberal funders have to get over their distaste for "loony" left politicians, whose voting records are much more in line with their ideals, help the Greens present a viable threat to both parties and get over their reluctance to hit back hard at the employers of shills like Horowitz and Limbaugh. Cretins, young and old, behave better when there is a chance of real consequence for their misdeeds.

phil

If money buys marketing of ideas, and the effort is successful, and the public moves right, then the politicians who don't lead must follow. How do we awaken the public? Who will provide careers to those who do? And allow the scope of activity to go beyond ponderous papers to marketing, satire, art, polemic, and the scurrilous modes pioneered by Coulter, Horotwitz, Limbaugh and O'Reilly. We cannot rise above the muck, but we can follow better models. No dirtier a fighter has even written a political screed than Jonathan Swift, the good Dean of St Patricks. Ford Foundation or Soros might do well to identify those who are skilled in the Noble Trade.

Harry

The progressive ideas are already popular. A majority of the country wants them. There is no need to market them. There is a need to get the people colluding to balk them out of office.

phil

How unhappy is the majority of the public, then, that favors a more progressive agenda? Do they see the disconnect?

Harry

People are inclined to be suspicious, generally. The humiliation of touting someone who subsequently makes you look like an idiot reinforces that. Did you know quite a few conservatives liked and like Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich? For everyone else, it's hard to differentiate between two evils when there's so little on which to hang a commitment.

Strategic questions cannot be the only questions. I think that the Democratic party had an absolute moral obligation to run against the Patriot Act and the war, to present an alternative to these disasters, even if it had been perfectly clear that these oppositions would lead to resounding defeat. It's bad going down to defeat for what you believe, but it must be really sorry to betray all your convictions and get whipped anyway. The election of 2004 should have been a pivotal moment in American history, but turned out to be one that yielded nothing but bathos. It was not a turning point because the Dems were too scared to turn. It's funny because the "get out the vote" thing was so extreme on campuses etc but it was actually a good year for apathy because Kerry refused to articulate any convictions. Everyone kept saying "this is the most important election of my lifetime." But it was barely an election at all. If you voted for Bush or you voted for Kerry, all you did was ratify the politics of the Bush administration.

The party bosses blew it, they still don't get why they did and it's likely they never will. The one thing they do get is importance of narrowing choices and balking anything that might threaten their gigs. They're interested in enforcing their market share and bring the corporate logic of people who will go on to further spectacular failures on the strenght of their connections. The reactionary right and the crackpot liberty of contract people will increase their market share because the game is no longer democracy and they're significantly better at the new game than their nominal opposition. If people want to break that, they have to take some risks and a few bloody noses.

Phil

Bush or Bush Lite? The marketers go from company to company, party to party, the memes change, the system seeks cash the way the roots of a weed seek water. Sonehow giving seems an alterative, not only conceptually but practically, the ideas that spread on the strength of their own power, in the wilderness of the net, could they not be picked up and amplified by the more progressive foundations, given a home, cleaned up a little, and made a part of the dialogue? The ideas now being enacted into law were once considered right wing craziness. Why can't we fight back from the grassroots up with our own livelier wits, connected, not only horizontally, but vertically up through, for example, the foundations and out into the world of white papers, talking points, and punditry? What is it, other than comfort and lethargy that keeps the big liberal foundatons as detached and as serene as the Titanic?

brian

Big liberal foundations seem to be a large part of the problem here. They are part of the political class, the careerists. And rejigging the template that has garnered so much success for the socalled right seems misgudied. Better to toss left and right out - there's no diff now - and position 'the cause' as the people versus the political class. Or something along those lines. The vertical as opposed to the horizontal is a good visual, Phil. And with that you start at the bottom. Take the lowest of the low and move them up a notch. Own the homeless issue. The mentally ill. Radicalize the bums. Bus bums to the evangelical churches in the suburbs. And so on.

But before action there probably has to be a recasting of the political model. Something with visual merit. Left/right. I mean how old is that? Where did that come from, the French Revolution? Does America really desire be derivative of the French?

So the current notion is that the new model comes from psychology - the nurturing mother/strict father. Won't work. Way too academic. It needs to rise from the land. From the physicality of the place. Striking the imagination but borne of the soil. That sort of nonsense.

America is going to face some real challenges in the next few years. The rest of us out here in the world see what's coming. The midlife crisis of the American nation is underway and the rest of us Old World types are just sitting back saying 'okay we just have to wait it out.' And it is going to hit in a flash. It will all be gone. The wealth, the advantage, the power, the status - and then the real test of character will begin.

Phil

Your comment has such gravitas that I did not recognize you, BMO. You look good in a suit and tie. Actually, I agree that righ and left are increasing two wings of one bird, and it isn't the eagle of freedom. Busing the homeless to a suburban church would be a good move, since it would reduce the time the parishioners need to do their duty. Or we could have a dumpster rotation or fellowship program to build cross class alliances based on shared personal experience.

brian

The bums in the dumpsters and the bums in the pews have much in common. Looking for some sustenance. It seems to me there used to be a section called the bleachers where bums of all stripe and class could get together for a cheap beer and a laugh, to commiserate while watching the game.

Yes, the suit and tie. Thanks for the compliment. It sometimes feels good to dump the overalls and safety boots.

Perhaps if we looked at class horizontally - hand in hand, side by side - and politics vertically - the Us and Them - calored not red and blue, or black and white, but what? - we might get a better frame within which to work. A better ball park. Left and right fields both have foul lines, where it seems most of the balls are being pulled, out of play. Center field, as it is, in the nature of these things, is a larger area in which to play. The fences are deeper.

brian

The bums in the dumpsters and the bums in the pews have much in common. Looking for some sustenance. It seems to me there used to be a section called the bleachers where bums of all stripe and class could get together for a cheap beer and a laugh, to commiserate while watching the game.

Yes, the suit and tie. Thanks for the compliment. It sometimes feels good to dump the overalls and safety boots.

Perhaps if we looked at class horizontally - hand in hand, side by side - and politics vertically - the Us and Them - calored not red and blue, or black and white, but what? - we might get a better frame within which to work. A better ball park. Left and right fields both have foul lines, where it seems most of the balls are being pulled, out of play. Center field, as it is, in the nature of these things, is a larger area in which to play. The fences are deeper.

Phil

If left and right in power are one big committee, muddling through, who are we? A focus group to be tested to market sound bites, purchased with corporate money, to give us the illusion of choice and representation?

brian

Pretty much. With regard to the political I have variously and at different stages in my life felt like an employee of the state, a convict on a day release progrmamme, or member of a television game show audience.

The merger of marketing and politics, corporatism and state is so complete, the worrying aspects barely register notice. Which begs, yeah, who are we?

Barnacles on the ship of state.

Phil

Maybe the poor are the barnacles? True philanthropy would pry them lose? The ship would sail better and faster, and the passengers, delighted, would throw scaps overboard, so even the barnacles would be better off? I'll bet if we developed such an idea with scholarly footnotes we could find a place inside a Think Tank, not barnacles, but officers with gold braid.

brian

I was thinking the barnacles might be any citizens not of a class or group - except as barnalces, of course - not alone the poor, individuals below the water line or outside, not wealth bondage, but outside the political mechanism, this ship of state. By choice or exclusion. They are seen by the shipmasters to add no value. Pity.

The USS American Ship of State is currently a combo cruise ship/aircraft carrier -just a yardarm short of a fascist cruiser (classical least pejorative sense: amalgam of corporation and the state), something analagous to socialism on its way to communism. The passengers on any of these ships - when the iceberg or torpedo hits - is either lost at sea, man overboard, or a drowning soul.

Or a barnacle. Never on board.

Left, right. Steerage, first class. The People, the Corporation. Either way, leeward or starboard, the state and its travel agents - the parties and the think tanks - completely disregard the chum of individuals, those that belong to no group, those that cannot be brokered. The socalled zombies, sleepwalkers, artists, the free radicals.

It will take events of a catastrophic nature to awaken these august dead. Philanthropists might be wise be to do a little snorkelling, minimium. Or climb the mast and have a look at the horizon. Or, slip a barnacle">http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjan99/barnac.html">barnacle in the think tank, and observe. Climbing back on shore, chased or aided by the dead, the rocks may be covered in barnacles.

And the phils, the owners of the tanks, what would they observe, with barnacles in the tanks? More spectacle.

Living">http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjan99/barnac.html">Living fixed on one spot has it's disadvantages. It is more difficult to find a partner to mate. The barnacle has overcome the problem in a really spectacular way. From it's shell the male barnacle projects a penis so huge it is many times the size of the owner. It is simply breathtaking to see how the organ finds it's way between the neighbors searching for the ideal partner.

phil

Decorum, BMO, is what prevents free thought and free speech from challening the underpinnings of current discourse. Your rudeness, Sir, is uncalled for! Why, why, that barnacle with the thrumming organ is not for polite discussion, Sir. Back into the sea with you. We are trying to run a moral enterprise here. The band is playing a polka. Captain is at prayers. Be gone!

Charity Shill

I remember someone saying America has two parties, the evil party and the stupid party.

The funny thing is, activists I've mentioned this to, both on the left and on the right, agreed.

They all thought they were part of the stupid party, the other guys were evil.

This sounds like a chorus from the same song book.

Phil

Well put Charity Shill. Thank you for elevating the level of the conversation.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

About

Wealth Bondage Premium Content

  • Castle by the Sea
    Provided as a professional courtesy at no extra charge to those with net worth of $25 million or more and/or family income of $500,000 a year or more, and to their Serving Professionals of all genders.