Wednesday, October 26, 2016

After 2016 - Will the Democrats Welcome the Billionaires?

Preparing for the Next Republican Post Mortem
Not a problem. They can just "freshen up" their last post mortem.

Photographing cadaver in posing stand
post mortem. 
MeanMesa understands that millions of previously confused hill billies and bigots all across the nation have enjoyed what, no doubt, seemed to be a "moment of clarity" during the twisted, self-destructive campaign of The Donald. Of course this wasn't actually any type of traditional "moment of clarity" as we think of it. Instead, this "moment of clarity" for all these frustrated, rally attending hot heads was little more than a welcome "vacation" from the painful, everyday confusion of fundamentally not "fitting in" with any of the more normal processes surrounding him.

In fact, as we observed the faces filling the carnival mood of a Trump rally, we saw little "human elation" -- even months ago when the poll numbers still looked somewhat positive. Rather than elation, we saw the muffled hysteria a narcotic addict expresses after having a dose of his "medicine." These somewhat more animated than usual faces were showing relief from what had previously been  the truly tragic sensation one inevitably encounters when as he finally realizes that he is not really any part of what's going on around him.

While The Donald was available to focus all these confused aspects in his crowd of supporters, all sorts of things which had not previously risen even to the level of groaning, grumbling, late night beer hall chatter suddenly -- at least for them -- seemed not only much clearer, but also, somehow, refreshingly important. Happily, for the dazed Trumpkins, what had been no more than rambling chatter suddenly became much more like a chorus chanting relevant lyrics as it was sung by "kindred spirits" through an eerily gigantic, media microphone.

At the first sign of a developing "ratings opportunity" in the early stages of The Donald's chaotic campaign, the salivating network executives frantically ordered their media minions to throw as much gasoline on the fire as possible. Even though the most ardent Trumpkins seldom strayed far from FOX and Breitbart, the alphabet execs were banking that vast numbers of the previously uninterested might become at least slightly more "interested" in the blather of the industrial networks, thus boosting their ratings.

Well, now the festival seems to be running out of steam. It looks increasingly likely that the Grand Old Party's effort has fallen even farther from the Oval Office this time than in the last two elections. Even the "death grip"of  GOP control of the Congress also seems to be faltering.

There's No Need to be "Generous in Victory."
There weren't any street side memorials for the death of the last polio virus.

All the "rain drops" in this perfect storm will inevitably plot the path to another repeat of the now utterly forgotten Republican "post mortem" study constructed in the ashes of the Romney defeat four years ago. Oh sure, the GOP's "usual suspects" can brush off their tattered ash cloths and hair shirts for another performance of the maudlin, heart felt, mea culpa, but these actors will still be just that: actors.

The real story will be unfolding high in the atmosphere above the painfully scripted, televised Passion Play of the GOP's rapidly approaching, next post mortem. In country clubs all across the Confederacy the GOP's billionaires will be doing their own groaning. The prospects for "hitting it big" with their billionaire Santa's Wish List from their wholly owned Congress have suddenly grown more than a "little frayed."

Millions of the voters who had gradually grown to accept a government paralyzed by well paid obstructionists seem to have awakened from their slumber. However, no matter how hopeful that development might seem at the moment, it's only "awakened." The possibility that the power of the Congress might be redirected to goals favored by the voters remains a mere sliver of a chance -- and one with an unavoidably long term journey ahead.

It's much more likely that this "awakening" will only result in "louder complaining" in the mean time.

Although MeanMesa isn't convinced that the Russians had that much to do with this, MeanMesa is convinced that Bill Clinton is performing the still alive version of "turning over in his grave" while dancing an uncontrollable "happy song."

So, Where Do the Billionaires Go For Their "Favors," Now?
Spend a few days calming yourselves down, then call the Democrats.
You might say "too bad," but remember, billionaires are really, really flexible.
If there's money to be made, they'll...uh...rise to the occasion,
and, it turns out, Democrats are really, really flexible, too.

Just remember, we're not electing Elizabeth Warren. Soon to be President Hillary, on the other hand, has had plenty of experience threading her way through the labyrinth of interests in Wall Street's back alleys.

It would be quite premature to say that billionaire money in politics has become a thing of the past, or that these "plutocratic dollars" are now understood to be carrying some deadly strain of virulent germs.  At the same point, however, it would not be so difficult to say that the influence of billionaires, themselves, becomes toxic -- if not out rightly radioactive -- when they begin to manage "their investments" in Congressional bribery and political campaigns.

Even though Democratic politicians such as Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren may understand this very clearly, President Hillary is still, most likely, tempted to "dance" with the prospect. This was the tune when Bill was President, and the prospect of returning to those halcyon days will almost certainly be front and center in the mind of Mrs. President this time around.

These billionaires have watched the Party -- and the Congress -- they purchased and controlled with their precious dollars "break loose of the reins" and self-destruct. Aggravating their predicament even more, in one the speeches they paid Hillary to deliver, she has already threatened to "unleash the regulators" if they could not find a way to "adequately" regulate themselves.

Where did all the money go? A quick look
at the US economy since Reagan.
[data source]
Although no one has too clear a picture of precisely what Hillary may have meant by "regulation," it almost certainly includes some provision to avoid wrecking the entire planetary economy again. If she wishes to tackle an even bigger problem, she can attempt to "walk back" the consistent redistribution of national wealth which has been flowing into the pockets of the billionaires every year since the Reagan era.

Happily, more or less normal Democratic Party leadership can approach the "walk back" issue at a rate slow enough to avoid the equivalent of an "oligarchs versus everyone else" style civil war. Bill Clinton was remarkably effective at this, and he will, presumably, be sitting in the room next to the Oval Office.

Still, we have to remember the chilling words of Senator Bernie Sanders as he surveyed the wreckage of the Bush W. catastrophe. "Not everyone had a hard time during the George W. Bush Presidency. The top 400 income earners saw their personal wealth increase by $600 Billion dollars." For the mathematically challenged that is 1. 5/8 of a Trillion dollars, and 2. one and one half Billion dollars over eight years to each one if the money were divided evenly.

Sanders' observation illuminates the continuing ambitions of the billionaire class. They invested heavily with their purchase of the Republican Party and their generous indulgence in Republican politics to position themselves to reap this George W. Bush windfall. After ignominiously dumping the wreckage of the GOP, MeanMesa has no doubt whatsoever that these same "oligarch-wanna-be's" will be wrapping themselves -- and their money -- around President Hillary Clinton as soon as she takes a seat in the Oval Office.

The "final solution" as to whom will be controlling Congress becomes even more interesting at this point.

Hillary won't be able to accomplish much "regulating" with a hostile House of Representatives, but , on the other hand, there won't be many "gifts" for these plutocrats if they can't cozy up to Democrats if they wind up in command.

MeanMesa considers the prospect of a "major sea change" to be over optimistic. The curve of the top money class [chart above] will almost certainly continue to rise regardless. The static curve of everyone else, currently bumping along the bottom of the chart, is probably going to fall through the Earth to China.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Oooops! We've Been Fooled Again

Relax. Everything's Going Just About As Expected
Feels suspiciously good, doesn't it?

Come on. Don't hurt me! I'm TRYING to smile!
 Everything REALLY IS okay, isn't it?
As it is with most Americans by this time in the 2016 election, MeanMesa is "full to the gunwales" with the constant babble which has been so cosmetically embellished and proffered up as "relevant political discourse." In fact what's being offered in such copious, mind numbing amounts doesn't even rise to the quality of having anything to do with even something so fleetingly relevant as the "burning question of the day."

An alien, unfamiliar with the intricacies of what's unfolding in this process, would most likely conclude that there actually wasn't a "burning question of the day" at all! When that observant space traveler returned to his home world, he would report that all the humans -- even though their planet is teetering at the juncture of huge, extinction grade difficulties -- are desperately "threading the needle" with a frenetic spat over ancient biblical sexual piety while being driven nearly crazy by a frantic, widespread, bizarre, un-examined malaise about the "way things are going."

Well, before anyone among this blog's treasured visitors slips into an undeserved episode of painful self-recrimination it's clearly time to "scrape the spoiled parts" off the crust of this election debacle.

Large parts of the old democracy still seem to be somewhat functional. Most of the heavy weights among the political players from before remain in power, and most of these heavy weights are still driven by the same motives which were driving them a year ago.

To their credit, many of the citizens in the electorate are utterly despondent.

All of this is practically screaming at MeanMesa, "It's time for another chapter of the grand conspiracy theory!" The first chapter was posted a few days ago: Is Bill Clinton the "Brain" Behind Donald Trump?  

In any event this means a comforting visit to the blog's "fictional history" section is totally in order. Enjoy!

MeanMesa Fiction
 A Conspiracy Tale 

The Story of Bill and Donald
A 2016 Election update

The cell phone on Donald Trump's secret number buzzes quietly. Only a single person in the entire world has the number. It's Bill calling. The septuagenarian quickly surveys those in the room, making a mental note of possible future eye witnesses. He then quickly stumbles in a confused retreat to his hotel room closet as innocuously as possible, pulling arm loads of suits on hangers in front of the door to further muffle any of the conversation in case someone outside is trying to eavesdrop on his words.

Bill Clinton: "Hi, Donald. It's Bill."

Donald Trump: "I know. You're the only one with this number."

Bill Clinton: "I'm just calling to check on how you're doing. Things are going pretty well, but I know this has to be tough on you. Are you holding up okay?"

Donald Trump: "God! It is getting nasty. I never expected that these people would be so damned savage! They seem to be coming from all sides now. I know that we talked about this before we began, but...damn...this is brutal!"

Bill Clinton: "Well, just hang in there. The whole mess is going to get packed up in a couple of weeks. Hill's going to be President, and you can fire up that Trump network you've always wanted. The Face Book thing seemed to work out pretty well."

Donald Trump: "Even Melania is getting freaked out. Of course I haven't told her anything about the plan, so she's just kind of stuck out there with all this media rolling in on us. I don't think she suspects that we're scheming the game. I guess a lot of this is not really surprising her."

Bill Clinton: "Well, I can't imagine that you need any advice from me on how to handle the women." He chuckles. "You're likely to pull 30 or 40 million votes in November. All of those Trump voters are going to turn into a ready made audience on the first day you're broadcasting -- plus the paranoia about rigging the election should set you up nicely with lots of passion among your viewers. You know that the network is going to be selling commercials -- and your brand, too -- like whores in a lumber camp. When things get discouraging, just remember how good it's going to feel to be sitting up there in the executive office of Trump News or whatever you're planning to call it."

Donald Trump: "I know, I know. I've even been thinking about hiring Hannity and O'Reilly right out from under Murdoch. I am so tired of that old bastard. I'd love to leave him stranded with all the rest of those losers he's got under contract. Plus, if either of them ever cross me, I would be able to just fire their asses. What could be better than that?"

Bill Clinton: "You've got a good eye for spotting business opportunities, Donald. You grabbed a hold of this Trump network idea and ran with it. The best part is that this idea is almost certainly going to work! If you can get half of your voters to tune in to that thing every day, you'll have better ratings than FOX. The Trump network can finally leave the old fascist and his Arab billionaire Prince in the dust bin of history, to use an old Reagan phrase."

Donald Trump: "Don't cut yourself short, Bill. You were the one who spotted 40 million voters who were so disgruntled with the status quo that even a guy like me could draw 'em in! Plus, even though everybody knew that there was no love lost between you and the Republican Party after the thing with Monica, no one thought anyone could ever actually do anything about it. Now look at 'em. They're wrecked. Even the old banksters and billionaires are spinning in their shoes."

Bill Clinton: "Yeah. This thing was just sitting there like a over ripe peach, waiting for a couple of guys with the know how to pluck that baby off the tree. Things might be looking a little dismal for you right now, Donald, but just wait -- payday's coming in November!"

Donald Trump: "Have you got any tips for these last couple of weeks, Bill?"

Bill Clinton: "Just keep going with the racist stuff. Your crowd's gobblin' up that stuff like hungry vultures. The rigged election thing is also working even better than I thought it would. Just remember, every time you get those hill billies and bigots fired up enough to beat down a protester, you're solidifying your new network's viewer base. Just try to picture Rupert Murdoch turning out the lights and locking the door at NEWSCORP."

Donald Trump: "Thanks, Bill. I'm feeling better about this."

Bill Clinton: "Are you ready to hit it hard for another couple of weeks, Donald?"

Donald Trump: "Let's get it done. Give my love to Hillary."

Bill Clinton: "I sure will. Remember to just give me a call -- anytime -- if this stuff starts to get you down again."

Donald Trump: "Thanks again. I'll call you if I need you."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Media's Myth of "Radicalization On Line"

The "Two Stories"
It's clearly time to start thinking about the "other one."
That is, the inevitable "media version" 
and the only slightly more difficult to comprehend, "actual version"

The "media" version of terrorism reporting:

The reportage of a terrorist act is dependably represented as "something basically incomprehensible." The network "news narrative" confronts this immediately with a series of quite "palatable, alternative conclusions" intended to produce a delightful, although cynically artificial, "comprehensible" sensation in the media consumer.

This effort is usually approached from two central themes, although there are more "waiting in the wings" should the narrative start growing "incomprehensible" again.

The first "theme" is almost always "mental illness." The terrorist perpetrator's entire life history is scrutinized for evidence of some hidden, lingering craziness which can be used to "explain" what he just did. The viewer, calmed by this wonderful revelation, is immediately more relaxed and satisfied. Whatever the "terrorist" act might have been, the man who performed it was simply not in his right mind.

This opens the possibility for this viewer to "extend" the network's logic just a tad, arriving at an even more calming, reassuring and even more comfortably "comprehensible" conclusion that people around the world really like the United States, and only insane people -- such as this particular terrorist -- would fail to do so.

The second "theme" is "on line radicalization" --  that is the suggestion this individual was, in fact, absolutely, unquestionably, indisputably "normal" prior to the evening that he first linked his desk top computer to a "radical, Islamic web site." Of course, to be fair, we have to, also alternatively, include a completely tax deductible, First Amendment, "radical, dirty shirt, Alabama preacher's web site."

This "theme" offers the industrial media many advantages similar to those noted in the "first theme."

It instantly introduces a very appealing possibility for "placing the blame." For the biblical lunatics attempting to digest this "news story" in a manner which comports with the Old Testament [not to mention, of course, also comporting with the original Vatican "fatwa" introduced in the famous Crusades "Holy Lands real estate" speech of Pope Urban II, ca. 1095 AD -  read it here FORDHAM], the details of the still smoldering violent event being reported need not be "tested for relativity" beyond the fact that it was either not a Christian who committed it, or, at least, not a good Christian.

For media consumers anxious to "go even farther" than simply placing the blame or just lamenting everything existing about the modern Middle East, this "second theme" offers a wonderfully superficial, effortless "response" to the horrible act which has just occurred.

An effortless response? Of course. 

Blame the Internet.

More specifically, these media consumers can not only blame the Internet, but they can proceed to demand that the US government "do something" about these "radicalizing Islamic web sites," but, of course, only while doing absolutely nothing about the "radicalizing, dirty shirt preachers' web sites."

In this way the US media can "do its job."

Wait. What "job" would that be?

That "job" would be two fold:

1. To explain absolutely everything without ever introducing so much as a whisper of the possibility that the United States started this cycle of terror or that the news media had grown to rely on it almost explicitly for the "sacred network viewership ratings." and,

2. To offer a response -- i.e. such as censoring the Internet -- which is guaranteed to be absolutely ineffective at suppressing terrorist acts, but also which would, over time, serve to diminish the interest of those viewers currently hypnotized by the "ratings generating" network terrorism narratives. The industrial "news" business, understandably, "likes things just the way they are.

The "actual" version of terrorism reporting:

It doesn't require a "stretch of the imagination" to speculate some far more realistic causes of terrorist acts. In the past of many of these terrorists is a direct experience. Perhaps this was something like someone's eight year old cousin who was killed while she was running from a bombing attack which had just killed her mother. Maybe it was a long time neighbor who was shot and killed in the middle of a street fight.

Perhaps these events were communicated as a "second hand" account over an Internet site. Maybe this terrorist's brother had worked in an automotive garage for years -- until it was blown to smithereens by the 34th bomb among fifty other bombs which were dropped on the 128th day of an "air war" which saw fifty bombs dropped daily.

Domestic terrorists were not "radicalized" by a few visits to an Internet site. The process was of a much longer duration.

Yet, thanks to the domestic media's "antiseptic" version describing the causes of this horrible process, the target of the "blame" which instigated each one of these domestic murder and mayhem events must be directed at something conveniently close and conveniently deplorable -- the Internet. After months of continuing attacks by the USAF, we wonder why this shallow denial and delusion hasn't accomplished the military objective so carefully crafted by the same media.

The "Mad Hatter" atmosphere seems to be sickeningly self-sustaining. Pretending to be "blameless victims" while pretending to conduct violent war fare -- inflamed for the media by vengeful, righteous anger -- to neutralize everyone who might have a good reason to hate us has essentially no possibility of success.

The Media and the Bomber, Slicer, Shooter or Ax Man
"If it bleeds, it leads!"
For the viewer at home there will be five seconds
 of deep, insightful analysis following the video.

So, why exactly is the US domestic media absolutely refusing to say anything about why some terrorist suddenly careens into an insane terrorism episode?

The answer is unsettling. That kind of reporting can no longer interest the media audience which might have, at one time, actually felt engaged with such a topic. It shouldn't be too difficult to find someone who will offer up the idea that "No, it's always been pretty much like that."

It hasn't.

To place a little foundation under such a proposition we should look at a few examples of the US being "attacked." When the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk in May, 1915, 128 Americans were among the 1200 lost. When Pearl Harbor was flattened in December, 1941, 2,400 Americans were killed and around 1,200 were wounded. There are plenty of examples.

However, the point is that when this news was brought to the American citizens at home, the country responded. Importantly, these attacks and most others in the period were military attacks, not acts of terrorism. Nonetheless, prior to the shaky "truce" which finally ended the Cold War with the Soviets Americans were quite intolerant of foreign powers raiding, threatening or killing their citizen peers.

In modern times the American military, at least theoretically, is so powerful that modern adversaries have, understandably, switched to asymmetric tactics -- tactics which focus on terrorist attacks instead of military action. The advanced military may create a "realm of terror" on those unable to resist, but the asymmetric tactics of the otherwise militarily inferior -- coupled with the raw avarice of the American media -- can go far to create its own "realm of terror" in the domestic American psyche.

Further, what we see now is a continuation of the cycle, one which began long before the terrorism began. See, people quietly living -- wherever they may be -- their lives do not spontaneously reach a mental state in which they are prepared to sacrifice themselves to "make a media point." There is a long, disturbing series of events which had to occur first.

If the terrorism is occurring here in the US, we can be quite certain that in the past someone from the US started the cycle. Even the US is "hard to hate" in the absence of some pretty direct incitement. For example freedom loving, free enterprise Westerners have been "harvesting" everything not "bolted down" in the Middle East region for centuries with predictable results -- including the current terrorism.

The British Lancet reports that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens -- more than enough of them Sunni -- were killed in the Bush W. "oil war." [Johns_Hopkins_Bloomberg_School] Rest assured, this is more than enough to "get things started."

Everything MUST be Suffocated Into Inane Simplicity
Neither the media's reporting nor the media audience's understanding are exceptions.
The "nothing is real" idea? "Now THERE is something REALLY comfortable!"

MeanMesa watches the now road weary explanation which not only inevitably follows each, utterly amateurish "lone wolf" terrorist effort but is also then repeated ad nauseum for the next dozen "news cycles." Not surprisingly, at least for the producers in the brain locked domestic media, extracting the maximum fear value will necessarily consume a healthy number of echoing, media repeats.

Think of it as a delightful serendipity -- an unexpected opportunity to take a few days off from the drudgery of actual reporting. Just kidding. There's clearly very little drudgery going on in network media reporting.

We really need to acknowledge that these terrorist acts do not materialize from absolutely nothing or even some momentary, frustrated whimsy. There is a story behind each one. The perpetrator of such an act was doing something, thinking something and feeling something which ultimately led up to the violent, anti-social act. Although in most cases the life of the terrorist ends, there was also some sort of life before the days or hours of actually acting like a terrorist -- important moments which led to the state from which finally committing to the act seemed to make sense. 

The decision to undertake a course of action which will cause harm or death to others and almost inevitably mark the end of one's life is the product of acting on some profound conclusions. Of course the precise motivations behind various terrorist acts are almost certainly widely varied, but yet, certain commonalities are almost always present. 

Since committing a terrorist act is unavoidably a "media oriented" affair, these widely varied possible motivations become a central part of the story. Too often any probing hypothetical questioning which might suggest the nature of this commonality in motives is missing. Instead, the domestic media is inclined to adopt the "ratings driven" banal rather than taking the risk of even so much as cautious speculation. 

Naturally, whenever the domestic corporate media finds an avenue of investigation to be "too risky," MeanMesa is always eager to "take the plunge." There is a narrative behind the development of these terrible motivations.

In fact, with respect to these motives it can be asserted here that there are usually at least two readily definable "points of departure" for such a venture. Because all that MeanMesa "has to go on" comes from media reporting, these "points of departure" must be detected from within the "flavor" of that reporting. Hopefully, we can make some more substantial headway from what is routinely reported. These "points of departure" lead directly to the "two stories" mentioned earlier.

Let's "Get Specific" Without Too Many "Specifics"
There will be no "comprehensive list" of terrorists. 
We want to look for commonalities we can detect in the media's treatment.

Just as there are two interesting "narratives" of the events leading to these terrorist "decisions," there are also almost always two versions of what the motivations might have been. One of these versions serves the corporate interests of the media, but understanding the alternative version might possibly be useful in reducing the number of such attacks. Speculating on the details of both will be a tempting undertaking if it can lead to a better understanding of the factors driving the phenomenon. 

Whether we like it or not, as citizens we have "a dog in this fight." However, MeanMesa suspects that the "dog fight" we see on our televisions is actually one choreographed by the industrial media and scripted to guarantee the maximum fear generating impact -- and ratings. The corporate media, certainly FOX, but also the remainder of the now heavily soiled alphabet networks, have intentionally reduced the American audience to a state of utterly unjustifiable terror and dread to promote "viewership."

He seemed like such a nice boy. 
By this means the painfully low, "low information" citizens have been convinced that there is an "Arab terrorist" lurking in every shadow even though the actual number of citizen injuries and deaths remains minuscule compared to the daily body count resulting from police shootings, air pollution, bad water and car wrecks. Historically, the rampaging, domestic, "biblical lunatics" still firmly occupy "first place" in causing civilian deaths by violent acts of terrorism.

Wait! Is the camera running? [image]
The actual terrorists -- mostly located in places beyond the US borders -- do their part to complete this mystical horror. When the conflict was in its beginning even before 9/11, the terrorists took great pains to advertise the idea that they were completely prepared to blow themselves into pieces for the cause. Both the terrorist leaders and the domestic US media knew that this "degree of dedication" would be viewed as horrifying anathema to US domestic media consumers. It was.

With the rise of ISIL the latest crop of terrorists have eagerly begun video taped decapitations and the immolation of captured prisoners locked in cages to further embellish their suicidal program of bombing civilians. Importantly, all these activities have been so tightly integrated into the Western media's narrative that all possibilities of more careful consideration have been "thrown to the wind."

We understand that the domestic media is so blindly manipulated by these ratings seekers as to be utterly useless. However, manipulated is one thing -- complicit is another. In this case the "ball" is bouncing back and forth between the terrorists and the media as if it were in a giant, grisly, pin ball machine.

The point of this post is precisely this. 

Even when some "terrorist" inflicts his inevitable "terror" on another handful of people in our country, his silent partner is the US domestic media. The terrorist and the media are inextricably bound to each other as partners in the same criminal affair, and each is totally dependent on the other, counting on the constant, willing and eager participation and assistance from a perpetual accomplice.

The minority of Americans interpreting these acts through the lens of the Old Testament add the entertaining and saucy  "flames of righteous desperation" to the mix. When this "desperation" is absorbed by the US political system, finally arriving at the place we presently occupy is inevitable.

US Media: The Next Voice You'll Hear Will Be Progressive

So, Will Rachel Maddow Replace Chick Todd?
NBC may still have a "survival instinct" if it awakes in time.

Plenty of strikingly unusual things have been "laid bare" since The Donald converted what was left of the Fourth Estate into a quivering whore with way too much make up. Now, even though MeanMesa, perpetually an unabashed political junkie of the first water, was dutifully disgusted at the outset with the wild, repeating, media dalliance with the "glitz appeal" of this grotesque "non-candidate," the presumption around here [Short Current Essays' Galactic Head Quarters] was that millions of US voters would be blindly "feasting" on the endless pablum of this embarrassing media indulgence in a truly unsettling way as the "alphabet networks" loaded more and more billions of dollars worth of free coverage to his Presidential reality show.

Still, even given the abysmally low, political quality of these media extravaganzas, the voters' comprehension of what is transpiring around them has -- surprisingly -- surpassed the very "low bar" with which MeanMesa typically measures our national efforts at democracy. Further, it's not just the voters who have surprised these old bones -- it is also the networks' media consumers who are also behaving quite surprisingly, in this case, with an unexpected and encouraging new realization of "having seen the light."

The Sleeper Awakes, HG Wells [image_YouTUBE]
Following the traditional, utterly useless media coverage of previous election after dismal, tedious election, in every repetition another mind numbing stream of gaseous, superficial, carnival euphemisms masquerading as "political discourse," this year seems to have brought something quite remarkable and different. The 2016 political media world has, apparently, awakened all those heretofore credulous, comatose television watchers to glimpse a much clearer realization of just what these networks have been doing!

Yes, all these citizens in the electorate had become passive and sponge-like, abused to the point that they would grudgingly accept practically anything that came their way from the politics industry. However, a good number of these citizens have finally now noticed what went on in the first few months of Trump's campaign. Remember how it was? The network news editors lined up like prostitutes at the lumber camp bar on pay day, continuously obsessed with the prospect of publicizing another dump truck full of The Donald's meaningless ramblings.

Well, there was a message to be delivered, and it was not anything which could be found in Donald Trump's confused "word salad" string of talking points. The message wasn't about Donald Trump. 

The message was about the media.

After decades the networks' spell seems to have been broken -- the tattered veil had been lifted. After watching the ugly saga of sausage being made for The Donald, a shockingly painless conclusion suddenly became as "plain as day." 

Believing the media was a dangerous mistake. 

This wasn't anything particularly new to political junkies such as MeanMesa, but this revelatory and auspicious moment was clear evidence that this new understanding of the media was no longer merely dancing in an isolated tavern for political junkies. No, it was "loose" on the streets, and voters who had, before this, long since ceased being interested in politics were, once again, truly taking notice.

Of course we find ourselves in a predictably awkward juncture in the immediate sense. With the US media finally revealed as the soiled charlatan which could only be made to look relevant with sparkly, white toothed "news actors" and plenty of cosmetics, all these voters are now seeking out sources with more dignity and rational credibility.

American Political Discourse Rises From the Dead
If you haven't sampled some progressive media, give it a try.
Don't be embarrassed. Welcome aboard!

Exhuming the Fairness Doctrine [gif.source]
At the time of this posting right wing broadcast media is overwhelming the tiny voices of progressives on the air waves by around 200 to 300 per cent. This means that every time Thom Hartmann airs a single hour of The Thom Hartmann Show, 200 or 300 hours of right wing radio broadcasts are also aired. It's been this way for decades. 

Ronald Reagan obliterated the broadcast Fairness Doctrine in 1987. That law required broadcasters using the public air waves to attempt to mix and balance their broadcast content. The Doctrine had been law since 1949.

Once that troublesome irritant had been permanently VETOed, things began roaring down hill almost immediately. It is quite safe to say that we are either at "the bottom" of the hill or damned close to it. The trillions of dollars worth of free political news coverage of the non-news worthy Trump turns out to be the "straw that broke this camel's back."

The industrial media's total abandonment of any fealty to "broadcasting for the public good" has been egregious, arrogant and infuriating. The billionaires are now unquestionably in charge of what's left of the old, traditional networks, but their "return on investment" may not be as impressive as they thought.

"It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," he said of the presidential race.

Moonves called the campaign for president a "circus" full of "bomb throwing," and he hopes it continues. 

2/29/16: Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS, Columbia Broadcasting System.

So, What Comes Next?
Those who think that the networks are about to re-create themselves,
please join the line forming behind the dumpster.

If anyone has been waiting for a media "rags to riches" story, you've come to the right place. After the despicable sell out to birth the Donald Trump "movement," American media consumers will be searching for an alternative. They won't pause at MSNBC for any longer than it will take to find out where Rachel Maddow has moved.

The alphabet networks won't change because they can't. They are now no more than pitiful waifs being driven by shockingly single minded corporate oligarchs demanding high enough ratings to successfully sell toothpaste commercials for cash. American media consumers may fiddle away a few more weeks or months trying to convince themselves that "it wasn't as bad as all that," but as they gradually sober up, it looks very much like they're going to develop a refreshing new appetite for fact based media which will actually inform them about what's happening.

Happily, the "new news" market they seek is already well established as a minuscule presence buried below the surface of the brain fever infested swamps of ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and FOX. Many of these listeners and viewers will soon discover that the major media markets in their large urban communities have been entirely co-opted by the sold out toothpaste sellers for years.

They will discover that any entity broadcasting a progressive message has been quietly transformed into an "all sports," "all tel-evangelical" or "all business" alternative. If the curiosity of these new truth seekers is piqued, they will also discover that these new "alternately themed content" broadcast offerings have generated painfully unrewarding ratings for those who directed these changes.

At this point yet another very smelly elephant is entering the room.

These recently slaughtered progressive media options have not been slaughtered to improve station ratings. They have been slaughtered at the well financed behest of the billionaires' think tanks. They have been censored.

If we were describing the changes make to a sleepy, family owned, 100 KW AM station in Beaver Falls, it would be one thing. We're not. We are describing huge, popular radio and television broadcasters in cities such as Boston, New York and San Francisco. All across the country massive cities with populations in the millions have become right wing broadcast infested wastelands.

Residents in these places have no choices in the broadcast content they are able to receive. It will be stridently right wing -- day and night, or it will be silence.

Big Players On the Horizon
Probably so big that they will change our idea of "big."
That won't be all that is new, either.

At some point, perhaps a few decades ago, the Democrats slept through the effective end of the Party's presence in the domestic media. Since then all "news" originating from the Democratic Party, its politicians or its spokesmen gradually became a "curious dalliance," evoking a few seconds of the evening "news" as an aside.

This was the state of American journalism at the beginning of what Donald Trump was preparing to "do" to it. Now, after The Donald actually has done this to it, it is in tatters. Neither the billionaires nor the progressives have any thought of being able to effectively "use" the domestic media in any manner which could be "persuasive" to the disgusted, exhausted men and women in the electorate.

The Democrats have already been speaking about creating a network of their own to counter FOX -- and largely the other industrial networks, too. MeanMesa has posted about this: Will the Democrats Finally De-fang FOX?/MeanMesa.

However, not to be left out of the fray -- the tempestuous, democracy wrecking scrap between two openly opposing networks -- the Republicans are, most likely, going to wind up with their own network after Trump loses this election next month.

Trump, once the polls began to paint him as The Wreck of the Ancient Mariner, has, predictably, begun to blame the "liberal media." This is not a shocking development. Republican politicians have been doing the same thing for a long time when their Presidential campaigns become a death march.

What's different is that Trump has collected millions of illiterate hill billies and bigots, and this "scum of the earth" actually believes what he has said about the "liberal media." They are prepared to consider his now essential inevitable election failure as evidence that the process was "rigged" -- his words. They are also, most likely, quite prepared to become irrationally violent about it.

Not a problem. The pundits are now reporting that The Donald, staggering out of the ashes of his election disaster, will start his own network, too. There is little reason to expect The Donald's "new news" network to be even as committed to democratic principles and the good of the nation as, say, Murdoch's FOX. In fact The Donald's network will probably make FOX look like a collection of shows that were too "lefty" for PBS or NPR.

Within two or three years our divided nation will be even more divided, and by "divided" MeanMesa is saying permanently divided.

Nonetheless, the media consumers are awakening. Both the new Democratic Party network and the maniacal "Trump Truth" are going to have to work extra hours to remain salable and consumable to their respective audiences -- both now already cutting their consumption and consuming what they haven't cut with historical levels of skepticism -- network skepticism.

Perhaps the days of the dithering rube utterly packed with right wing blather are ending -- at least for the many Americans who are currently in the process of realizing what the industrial networks, think tanks, corporatists and oligarchs have been trying to do to them.

What To Expect

Let's just give it a little time. MeanMesa feels quite confident that the previously befuddled media consumers in the American market place are about to correct this current monopolistic gamble by the uber rich. Broadcasting businesses and broadcasting equipment is among the most "fickle girlfriend" there is. The same electrons, nuts and bolts that are presently broadcasting endless, rancid hate propaganda today can be broadcasting content that is radically different as soon as tomorrow.

Watch this blog.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Transforming a "Debate" Into "Not a Debate"

"Escaping the surly bonds of .... actually debating."
Just do whatever you like. The cameras are running.
[This will get things started. Colbert and the Ghost of Lincoln LATE SHOW]

Obscured behind decades of "retrofitted definitions," we Americans have completely abandoned the actual meaning of "a debate" in favor of something else which bears painfully little resemblance to the real thing. This has now gone on long enough that most of us sincerely question even the proposition that there is, actually, such a ting as a debate.

We like the insinuation accompanying the word far more than anything actually associated with the process. In the fantasy version two adversaries blather about for a few minutes, making points, making mistakes and revealing the deepest, most fundamental qualities of themselves. 

So, if we're all frozen in front of our televisions while shopping for a new President, what could possibly be better than that?

Lincoln Douglas Debates
 - 1858
We seem to be enthralled with the frantically wishful, although embarrassingly cloudy, expectation that one of these modern "speech fests" is really going to show us what we  really need to know about these candidates. By "debate" time we have heard just about everything that either candidate hopes might persuade us to change our minds or reinforce our previous decision. The voices on the stage will almost certainly not be saying anything appreciably different from what each one has already said before. Too risky.

The perennial problem arises from the fact that each of these candidates secretly presumes that the voters don't trust them much. Of course this uncomfortable presumption on the candidates' part turns out to be quite well founded.

Just A Wee Bit About "Debates"

The idea of a debate has a very specific definition. What was touted as a "debate" between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was far -- very far -- removed from anything particularly similar to a debate.

In order to "flesh this out" just a little, we'll need to use the MeanMesa Time Machine. Relax. A journey in this ultra modern device will seem just like a few minutes sitting in your easy chair. We'll have to set the target date in the 1950's, decades ago, when MeanMesa was a mere sprout sitting in what was, at the time, called a "speech class" in a mid-western, public, junior high school.

In the 1950's everyone in junior high was required to be enrolled in one of these "speech classes."

Well, one of the items taught in these "speech classes" was debate. The definition of what was meant by a debate and the instructions concerning how one was to be conducted were carefully presented to the attending students.

The basic idea was fairly simple. The teacher would provide a list of possible topics to be debated. Each of these would be presented as an argument -- a proposition. Examples of such debate topics, if taught in more modern times, might be something like these:

  • The United States should use its military to remove Syrian dictator Assad from power.
  • A federal law should make every buyer submit to a back ground check before purchasing a fire arm.
  • The electoral college should be abandoned in favor of simple majority elections.

The class members would be divided into pairs, and each pair would select a topic from this list. At this time the teacher of this "speech class" would assign "supporting" and "opposing" sides of the up coming debate to each member of the debate pair. It didn't matter if this assignment went directly against the personal sentiments of the young debater receiving the assignment. The task was to take the assigned position, argue its advantages and benefits and defend it from the counter argument presenting by the other debater.

Naturally, the "structure" of the debate was established as soon as the participants had been selected. There would be a strict time schedule for opening statements, counter arguments and the subsequent responses. When these allocated time periods had been consumed, each of these parts ended. An unfinished thought or an incomplete rebuttal were cause for a serious impact on one's grade.

Part of this "debate assignment" would be to research every possible side of the chosen question. Each debater was to be graded on how well prepared he or she was when the debate was held. Additionally, an important part of this research was to retrieve some information which could be presented during the debate in a way which might catch one's opponent "off guard," signifying, of course, that this preparation was inadequate.

To "win" the debate in this "speech class" a young debater needed to accomplish two important things. Of course, a good grade was still quite possible when a debater did not prevail [win the debate] as long as even the losing debater did a good job.

First, the presentation of this particular side of the debate argument had to be persuasive. The other members of the class served as the audience. Following the debate the teacher would poll these class members to see if the presentations during the debate had persuaded them to adopt a changed position on the debate topic or, one the other hand, had reinforced their previous stance on the question.

Second, the teacher would grade each participant's conduct of the debate. Were positions presented clearly? Did the debaters fumble when suddenly confronted by an unexpected fact from the opposing side? Was the research done sufficiently?

The stated goals of these debate assignments were obvious. Students were to be taught to be "quick on their feet," well organized, focused on the question, able to competently respond to counter arguments and fluent in their presentation.

It may be no more than one of MeanMesa's "senior moments," but it truly seems that the students who had received this "debate" education became noticeably better with their communication skills.

Why What Went On at Hofstra University
 Was Not a Debate

A quick review of the debate process as it was taught all those decades back immediately reveals the fundamental differences between a "traditional debate" and the Presidential Debate which just occurred between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump. 

The "debate moderator" was not posing debate topic style arguments. Instead, each of the "topics" amounted to little more than an invitation to deliver an unchallenged political speech. In fact, these "topics" were painfully over generalized. Each one of them seemed to be intentionally inciting the debate participants to revert to talking points already presented in the respective primary campaigns. 

The repeated failure of candidates to quit speaking when the debate's scheduled time allotment had been consumed -- and the repeated failure of the debate moderator to insist that this discipline was to be followed -- further disrupted the intense focus the junior high teacher would have demanded. The result was a confused, "folksy, tit for tat, chit chat" atmosphere which failed to illuminate the candidates' most important differences.

This "non-debate" behavior was painfully obvious in Mr. Trump's continued interruptions during periods allotted for Ms. Clinton's responses to his last "fact free" ranting.

This troubling "informality" eliminated the possibility of the debaters' successfully refuting untruths. Surely, at least Ms. Clinton must have prepared herself for this obligation. In the end factual refutations meant nothing. It became a "cat fight" -- precisely what Mr. Trump desperately needed, but also precisely not what the American electorate needed.

MeanMesa could not even watch more than a few minutes of the disaster. It seems that the thing's disclaimer should read:

"No ideas or false assertions were harmed in any way during the preparation of this prime time presentation."

MeanMesa shudders to think that 80 million human beings wasted ninety minutes watching this. That unsettling fact approaches the definition of a "war crime."

The "Missing Topics"
Darn. Do there have to be "found" topics first?

The "topic selection" announced a week prior to the "debate" would never have "met the test" in that old junior high school class. As mentioned before, these did not qualify as debate topics. These were craven invitations to effortlessly disgorge talking points and generalities and evoke more of the "cat fight" comments voters were already quite tired of hearing.

Here is the press release which was intended to offer the debaters "an opportunity to prepare" for Lester Holt's "piercing and insightful debate topics." [Visit the site  here.] Heh, heh. MeanMesa supposes that this "preparation" was, indeed, grueling. This is at best infuriating if not out rightly treasonous.

Commission on Presidential Debates
Moderator Announces Topics for First Presidential Debate
Sep 19, 2016

Lester Holt, moderator of the first 2016 presidential debate, has selected the topics for that debate.

Subject to possible changes because of news developments, the topics for the September 26 debate are as follows, not necessarily to be brought up in this order:

America's Direction
Achieving Prosperity
Securing America

Now, the official story line here is that "hard driving, tough reporting" Lester Holt conducted a very long, arduous, ruthless search of all the possible "debate topics" existing in the entire universe in order to come up with these three. This must have been an exhausting effort, indeed -- after all, it was a dire case of "slim pickin's" right from the get go, right?

About the closest Mr. Holt came to posing an actual debate question concerned the "first use" policy for starting a nuclear attack. Even this "best effort" was reduced to the political and ideological issues of making such a decision -- an irritating collapse into essentially a "yes or no" question..

To drive this beleaguered lament home to the blog's visitors, MeanMesa has prepared a few, sample debate topics which might have had some relevance to the idea and which might have actually revealed some material differences between the candidates who were debating.

The United States should deploy THADD anti-ballistic missiles to protect Seoul from the nuclear lunatic they sponsor in the North. 
Russia and China are both warning that this deployment will be considered a reduction in the deferment credibility of their existing strategic thermonuclear arsenals.

The US and its Asian allies should force China to abandon the military bases the PRC has been building on fake islands in the Indian Ocean. 
The US Navy has currently deployed roughly 60% of its fleet of war ships to the seas around China. The Chinese are deploying the China Navy in the same place to protect the new islands they have built there.

The US should send ground troops back into Iraq. 
The government of Iraq has suggested that additional US ground forces will be required to retake Mosul from ISIL. Most of the captured city is now intensely booby trapped.

The United States should spend roughly $3 trillion tax dollars to bring domestic infrastructure back to a serviceable condition. 
This includes fixing Flint's water and building levees to protect Cedar Rapids which just flooded again, but lots, lots more.

Of course there are literally dozens of additional topics such as these. But none of these were even so much as mentioned in the "debate." Did someone in charge conclude that American voters weren't interested in hearing what these candidates thought about these topics?

How We Discern Truth in What We Hear

Americans have adopted a very unlikely method of discerning truthful discourse in televised talk shows. Not long ago US networks apparently felt "duty bound" to broadcast an easily forgettable "news" show called the McLaughlin Group.

The broadcast content of this particular show was somewhat unique. During the broadcast the "members" of the McLaughlin Group would argue about contemporary events. When MeanMesa uses the term "argue," it may well be an understatement. Now that similar behavior has become the daily fare offered by the FOX Network, the phenomenon is no longer so shocking. 

The "discussion" would become heated to the degree that continuing to watch any particular episode quickly became the equivalent of televised self-flagellation. Well before the show ended, this arguing and yelling had become very loud and much more personal that one might expect from traditional discourse.

MeanMesa always wondered what there was about such a show which might make it so popular.

However, after considering this question for a time MeanMesa reached an interesting conclusion.

Viewers of the yelling members appearing on the McLaughlin Group were interpreting the emotional chaos of the show as evidence that the members were so emotionally engaged that they were unable to lie while expressing their opinions so vehemently.

This idea clearly "caught on" with the broadcast "designers" at FOX. Now, many media consumers specifically reserve "granting belief" to what they encounter on television to speakers with this same vehement tone.

There it is. A complete explanation of Donald Trump's voters.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016 - Making Oligarchy Painless

[A note from MeanMesa: This post title needs a little fixing -- a quick do over to get things started on the right foot. Of course MeanMesa doesn't expect the approaching oligarchy to be painless. To move toward a tiny bit more realism, the following title is, most likely, more appropriate:

"2016 - Making the Start of Our New Oligarchy Relatively Painless - 
At Least For the Time Being."

Now, having restored some semblance of literary relevance, we can proceed with another great post which meets Short Current Essays standards . Enjoy.]

 Remember, the Billionaires Are In Charge
Are they simply well 
paid pleasure puppets or 
network "news anchors,"
calling the tune?[image]
The "passionately embraced and insightful political discourse" currently choking the American media atmosphere amounts to what's left of the cheap cosmetics on a not particularly classy lady standing drunk on a pretty dark corner in a rainstorm.

Things are looking pretty dismal in the US political contest underway. Everything portrayed as "important" seems mysteriously banal. Surely, something must definitely be going on here, but the unavoidable conclusion is a suspicion that what we are seeing is quite removed from what is actually happening.

The gaseous culpability behind a mystery such as this -- at least in these modern times -- almost always rushes headlong to the feet of the billionaires. Armed with their "public opinion managing think tanks," these emboldened, in bred, trust fund trolls are now creeping from their gated country clubs out into the light as they pursue their ultimate obsession: a permanent, dynastic oligarchy.

A very faint "bright spot" in this careening descent into the "new state of things" is not buried any deeper than a very peculiar feature of these billionaires with their monetary wet dream of calling the shots after these last few details of replacing democracy have been "settled."

They're tremendous cowards.

They already own so much stuff that they instantly become embarrassingly nervous at the very first prospect of actually losing even the tiniest part of their dynastic fortunes. Their typical life experience has never included what the rest of us would consider "ups and downs." This constant fear might drive them to take chance and make mistakes, but their ten digit asset accounts actually give the little darlings plenty of leeway.

Standing this close to total victory, we can anticipate some pretty crazy behavior on their part. They are, typically, quite clumsy in the assertion of their power. They may have learned about patience and risk taking in their childhood "guillotine classes," but the "carousel's ring" is desperately shiny and almost within their reach at this moment.

With this little detail now handled so nicely, we can lurch right into the "meat of the issue." The final steps to accomplish this transformation is certain to be practically "hiccup-free" thanks to the fact that around 88% of "interested, informed, democracy loving" Americans have any no idea what an oligarchy is.

No idea at all.

No idea how life will change after we "complete the shift."

No idea how depressingly permanent this gut wrenching change 
will prove to be in a half a dozen decades. 
Think of it as a never ending tooth ache.

However, this is not a problem. The billionaires currently own around 88% of everything, so perhaps the numbers, in a sense, go together.

The Extremely Unusual 2016 Election

What's missing, and what's been added.

MeanMesa is constantly amazed as the "puppet show" rambles forward. In every corner the "political discourse" has become a predictable lament focused on the failing and foibles of one side or the other. The narrative has become tiresome and pointless. Regardless of the channel setting, the passionate accounts shared with the citizens continue to paint the comfortably reassuring meme of simply another, more or less normal, clash of mysteriously legitimate political campaigns.

MeanMesa is unable to discern anything recognizable as an actual "political campaign" mired in the media soup at this point. All the faces and words "networky" enough to reach New Mexico's high desert amount to endless flow of painfully tiresome, over scripted, castrated groans of dancing puppets -- dancing puppets with painfully obvious puppet strings which are far too visible to be ignored.

There's no reason to be overly "discrete" when revealing the personal specifics of this experience. MeanMesa will vote for Hillary Clinton. Bill's plan to scare the daylights out of this old voter has been highly effective. As is the case with most Americans who will also vote for Hillary Clinton, the most compelling reason, of course, is Donald Trump. That was Bill's plan to accomplish the election of his un-electable wife.

It seems to be working. The sold out networks -- also quite predictably -- are now reporting that the election margins are "closing." MeanMesa doubts this, but there isn't much reason to lose sleep over the prospect. Most likely it is simply another cheap tactic to "juice up" the contest so the campaigns, frightened by these inauthentic numbers, will spend even more on advertising.

Among the ranks of these contemporary, bumbling politicians, no one seems to know anything. Both campaigns are fiercely amateurish.

The industrial US media has infrequently insinuated that Hillary has actually proposed actual policy proposals about a few things here and there -- perhaps 5% of the minimum policy a normal, healthy campaign might have proposed. Of course there is little opportunity to particularly explore any of these "campaign ideas." Decades ago the Democrats completely lost their presence in the network media flow. The entire party -- and, certainly, including Hillary Clinton -- has become disturbingly invisible.

[Continuing with the theme of not being "overly discrete," MeanMesa is more than willing to share the media consumed here in the Galactic Head Quarters.

Stephanie Miller
Thom Hartmann
Rachel Maddow
Randi Rhodes

None of these sources are difficult or expensive to access. MeanMesa's enduring infatuation with Randi Rhodes has prompted the expenditure of $10 per month for her pod cast -- even though parts of it are available by subscribing on YouTube. Blog visitors are encouraged to seek out these sources. You will continually feel more and more "inner peace" the further you get from the toxic corporate media, but don't confuse "inner peace" with anything similar to hopeful reassurance.]

This is a crushingly gloomy vision.

Unsurprisingly, this election will be completed with essentially no expression of citizen opinion with respect to the future course of the country. It is a chilling case of "The Platitudes Win!" Thanks to the useless domestic US media, anything that isn't "a platitude" isn't reported. It is buried beneath thirty impenetrable layers of wet wool. The American political "audience" has become so codependent and so hopelessly stricken with ADHD that everything of interest must be reduced to a 140 word Tweet before it becomes considered to be digestible.

The New Paradigm Explains Everything!
The explanation is just as painfully distasteful as the question it explains.

The old paradigm rests on the equally old idea that elections in a modern democracy have something to do with the concerns and aspirations of the electorate. This time around such a presumption leads only to an incomprehensible, obsolete model of events with only the most tedious, flimsy "connections" to the reality of what is unfolding.

The billionaires' think tanks have been working diligently to deliver an electorate which is savagely alienated and disgusted. Citizens are alienated by the infuriating ineffectiveness of the current government. Few of what had previously been the "middle class" continue to expect that anything Washington might do will alter conditions of life in the country in any positive way. The carefully orchestrated effort to disgust voters has succeeded. There are dangerously few voters still retaining some tattered hope that the government might yet be saved.

This "dangerously few" number diminishes even more when the current candidates are added to the question. MeanMesa estimates that no more than 30% of the electorate expects any noticeable improvement in "American life" as an outcome from electing either one of them.

So. Is all this the result of a "groundswell" of irritation so intense that it has just finally "boiled to the surface?"

No, this is a "Swiss watch" of masterful, carefully planned, political manipulation -- a quite expensive one. Groundswells seldom have sponsors, designers or benefactors. This groundswell has all three.

The billionaires are making their move. The very last element of the old democracy which continued to block their efforts was the ballot box. However, after injecting a few hundred million dollars into state elections anywhere they could, the previously potent ballot box is, now, dangerously handicapped.

It is a two pronged effort. The voters had to be alienated and disgusted to a point where voter turn out was even lower than it has been traditionally. Voters who had "skin in the game" compelling enough to drive them to the polls were met with six hour wait times, the corpse of the old voting rights act after it had been thoroughly eviscerated by an obedient Supreme Court, crudely fashioned "identity" requirements, mass voter registration purges and every other possible, criminal disincentive.

There is no way to predict what voting statistics for the 2016 election will be. If the billionaires' think tanks have done their job, it will be dismal. Once the election has been completed, it will, most likely, be terrifying.

The Interesting Conclusion of Ibil ka Dum
Everything old is new again, except
there's nothing new under the sun.

Ibil ka Dum, 14th Century
Islamic Historian [image - YouTube]
Ibin ka Dum was a 14th Century Islamic historian. He documented an exquisitely interesting pattern of the origin, development and demise of an entire series of ancient cultures in the Middle East. [Note: It wasn't the "Middle East" until much, much later.] MeanMesa thinks this pattern that he observed paints a very modern picture. Although the stakes have evolved through the centuries [grown even larger], we are still in the cycle.

[Watch the YouTube video - 11 minutes. It explains everything. Then, come back to MeanMesa for the remainder of the post. Pre-Islamic history of the Middle East]

Now, we must seek the similarities between our current dilemma and the historic, repeating sequence of events our historian noticed.

The stages in Ibil ka Dum's "sequence" were both laconic and chillingly prescient.


The list of civilizations observed by Ibil ka Dum to have progressed in this manner is impressive.

Akkadians [Sargon the Great]
Ammorites [founded Babylon]
Babylonians [Hammurabi]
resurgent Sumerians and resurgent Babylonians
Chaldeans [hanging gardens of Babylon and Nebuchad'Nezzar] 
Persians and Medes [Zoroaster]
Macedonia [Alexander]
Seleucids [Alexander's generals]

The period of all these changes is so long that only the highlights are mentioned here. While this ancient historian recounted this repetitive sequence of the events of ancient, pre-Islamic cultures in the Middle East, it offers a compelling resonance with the events of our most immediate, modern times. However, few souls beyond the inebriated bumblers in the odorous mob of mindless hill billies and bigots in the Trump minority consider the prospect of the United States being "conquered" by a rambunctious assault by nomadic tribesmen to be particularly likely.

Assyrian Soldier Beheading
 an Edamite ca: 650 BC

In each of the cases in Ibil ka Dum's list of repeating examples the power controlling an established civilization was over thrown by "wild" nomadic tribesmen from a near by region. Once the fighting ended, the cycle began. The initial "conquest" phase was pretty violent and destructive. With the nomads in charge a "consolidation" of all the remaining pieces was the next step.

The "new blood" of the conquerors, for a time, energized the "consolidated" citizenry of the "new" culture to undertake a territorial expansion. But over time the new, energetic blood of those who had now recently conquered, consolidated and expanded began to degenerate -- to become "soft from city living." By this point in the cycle the next near by nomads already had their eyes set on the next cycle of, you guessed it, conquest.

Still, MeanMesa offered "similarity" and "resonance" between this ancient tale and our modern events. So, without sinking too far into the details let's make an important distinction right away.

Let's replace the ancient idea of conquering an established culture, ripping apart everything there and taking over as the "new boss" with a modern version of the same process. In this case the degenerate "city dwellers" are replaced by the degenerate citizens in both various modern democracies and in various, more or less free, modern national economies. However, these modern day conquerors have no interest at all in the unilateral destruction of everything of value. Instead, their efforts are entirely focused on essentially maintaining the degenerative process while continuously extracting wealth from their new possession.

Rather than immediately becoming notably raucous, ancient city conquering, "party animals" celebrating their sudden, newly acquired wealth, these modern conquerors are much more inclined to adopt the character of the quiet and patient parasite. They intend to take possession, over time, of everything previously owned by those they conquered while allowing the "conquered democracies" and the "conquered economies" to continue to exist, appearing -- at least for a time until such an arrangement begins to divert too much of the conquered gold to the effort of maintaining such an artificial ruse -- unchanged in their "surface" appearance.

The Modern "Degenerates"
It's going to be much neater without the pillaging, plundering
 and all the messy wreckage of those old city walls.

By this time everyone already knows the nature of the next modern conqueror. The traditional Republicans, although somewhat confused by their nomination of such a shady candidate, are  still confident enough that the looting festival begun in the Reagan era will continue. The Democrats are still somewhat shell shocked that their candidate was so unpopular when she was nominated, but Democratic voters are quite aware of Ms. Clinton's close connections with oligarchic interests such as Goldman-Sachs, WalMart and others.

But, what should we have expected? We are in the final phase of our conversion to the oligarchic style of national government. It was inevitable that, at least by this point, the billionaires and corporatists would, very predictably, begin choosing Presidents comfortably sympathetic with their interests. To accomplish this it is completely understandable that the nominated candidates from both parties would both offer administrations committed to this "comfortable sympathy."

Nonetheless, we need not feel that the US voter is the sole victim in this global take over scheme. Yes, the US is a literal "treasure trove" of national wealth which offers the billionaires many remaining years of successful "hollowing out" before they've finished. But a quick review of oligarchic advances all across the world reveals that these happy go lucky, opportunistic billionaires are devouring every "democracy" and every otherwise relatively functional "national economy" which can boast of as much as two dimes to rub together.

Other countries may not offer the same stupendous wealth to serve as sustenance for these suddenly revealed oligarchic dynasties, but the other economies around the world, while perhaps offering less to loot, are significantly easier and cheaper to "conquer."

The Russian Federation is an autocratic oligarchy. The Peoples Republic of China, while not even pretending to be a democracy, is unquestionably an oligarchy. The prosperous nations in the EU -- meaning those which are not currently bankrupt -- qualify as "ripe picking" for the respective oligarchs. The oil soaked monarchs, theocrats and autocrats lurking about in the Middle East [Because this is significantly later than the world observed by Ibil ka Dum, we can call it that.] are either oligarchs or are having violent, religion flavored dreams of becoming oligarchs. The African and South American states, already enjoying a tradition of frequent government take overs, aren't faring much better.

It's probably important to understand that as the oligarchs succeed in taking control of an ever growing number of countries, the prospects for ever removing them decrease rapidly.

In terms of "degeneracy" -- as noted by Ibil ka Dum -- the citizens of the democracies have very successfully "filled the bill." With the now nearly unilateral failure of the public education experiment American voters have no idea about most of what was taught in high school civics classes half a century ago. Normally, when US voters would hear a Presidential candidate proclaiming that he intended to do what -- in those days -- everyone knew would have to be done by Congress, that entire campaign would have ground to a halt.

However, with more modern, "civics free" voters such a claim seems eerily acceptable. Adding to the "new understanding" is the fact that Congress never actually does anything anyway, making the gravity of such a campaign gaffe curiously gaseous. 

Don't forget to vote in November.