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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 07:34 PM
Original message
The Use of Lies and Propaganda by the Conservative Elite to Maintain their Wealth and Power
I could have just as well replaced conservative elite with Bush/Cheney administration in the title of this post, and the point would have been virtually identical. The Bush/Cheney administration is in fact the perfect representative for the conservative elite in the United States. But since the issue is much larger than the Bush/Cheney administration, and since they are not running in the 2008 election (assuming we have one), I think it makes more sense at this time to speak more broadly of the conservative elite in our country as a whole (which includes all the Republican presidential candidates with the exception of Ron Paul), rather than limit the discussion to the Bush/Cheney administration.

Six months ago I posted an essay on DU titled The Five Pillars of George W. Bushs Republican Party. The five pillars that I discussed in that post were:
 The economic royalists
 The militarists
 The propagandists and destroyers of our First Amendment rights
 The crooks
 The gullible

This post is, in part, a refinement of the concepts that I used in my previous post, with emphasis on how lies and propaganda are used to further conservative elitist goals. I noted at the time that there is a good deal of overlap between the five pillars, with many people participating in more than one of them.

However, it may be more useful to look at this in terms of goals, methods, and tools rather than simply as five pillars: The term economic royalist represents the goals of the conservative elites, which is the accumulation of wealth and power for themselves. The next three pillars that I listed represent methods. These include stealing and bribing their way to electoral victory, lying and propagandizing about their intentions and the intentions of their political opponents, invading and occupying other countries, and conducting a War on Terror where every means, no matter how hideous or evil, is considered justified in the cause of winning their so-called war. And last but not least, the gullible make up a large part of the base which they need to maintain their power.


THE GOAL OF THE CONSERVATIVE ELITES

Since the main goal of the conservative elite agenda in our country is to accumulate ever more wealth and power, an understanding of how they do this starts with a review of income inequality in our country over the past several decades:


A brief review our last centurys history of income inequality in the United States

Under the Reagan/Bush/Quail administrations of the 1980s and early 1990s, as with the current Bush/Cheney administration, income inequality in the United States increased tremendously. To put this in historical perspective we need to consider the following, described in economist Paul Krugmans new book, The Conscience of a liberal.

1) Prior to the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt great income disparity existed in our country, with the top 1% of individuals accounting for 17% of annual income and the top 10% accounting for 44% of annual income. (And thats not even counting income from capital gains, which create even greater income inequality.)

2) FDR, after ascending to the presidency in 1932, initiated a wide range of policies collectively referred to as the New Deal which had the effect of substantially reversing income inequality for the first time in U.S. history. These policies included: Progressive taxation; labor protection laws; and several policies to provide a social safety net for Americans and otherwise reduce income inequality, including the Social Security Act of 1935, the GI Bill of Rights, and the development of several policies to facilitate job creation.

3) FDRs New Deal was so successful that it lasted for several decades, despite tremendous opposition from the conservative elites whose wealth had been reduced.

4) Beginning in the 1980s, right wing conservatives began to have success in dismantling the New Deal, such that today we have income inequality in our country that equals that seen in the pre-New Deal days.

Krugman describes how this has all translated into median family income levels, as shown in this chart, beginning in 1947, when accurate statistics on this issue first became available: Median family income rose steadily (in 2005 dollars) from $22,499 in 1947 to more than double that, $47,173 in 1980. Then, for the next 25 years, except for some moderate growth during the Clinton years, there was almost no growth in median income at all, which rose only to $56,194 by 2005 (85% of that growth accounted for during the Clinton years).

The stagnation of median family income during this period of time was accompanied by a tremendous rise in the wealth of a tiny proportion of our population. This is vividly described by Jack Rasmus, who points out that More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90 million middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations.

The consequences have been devastating for the middle and working class and the poor: Today, 46 million Americans are without health insurance, which results in thousands of premature deaths every year, including thousands of infants; approximately 7 million Americans who want jobs are unemployed; 12% of American households lack adequate food; approximately 3 million Americans are homeless in any given year; and 37 million Americans are in poverty, while the poverty rate continues to rise under George W. Bushs administration.


The use of lies and propaganda to transfer more wealth to the already wealthy

How did they do this? I noted above that the transfer of wealth to the wealthy came about largely through a reversal of FDRs New Deal policies, beginning with the Reagan presidency and accelerating under Bush/Cheney rule. In addition, this is done through direct subsidies to wealthy corporations and deregulation meaning among other things the relaxing or reversal of laws and regulations that protected worker health and safety and limited the right of corporations to pollute our environment. But how were they able to make these things acceptable enough to the American people that they would tolerate it? The answer of course is lies and propaganda.

Perhaps the biggest lie was trickle down economics the wholly unsubstantiated theory that the creation of policies that increase the wealth of the wealthy will cause a wave of economic prosperity that will lift all boats and cause everyone to prosper in the long run. A simple look at the stagnation of median family income and the rising ranks of the poor in our country, concurrent with the accumulation of great fortunes by a tiny percent of our population, reveals that theory for the sham that it is.

Another trick is simply to provide names for bills which do the exact opposite of what the name implies. For example, pass a bill whose main feature is to deregulate pollution controls on corporations, and name it the Clear Skies Initiative. Or, in the name of tax relief, pass laws that reduce taxes almost entirely on the wealthy while driving our country into bankruptcy and creating the need to starve social programs which benefit the good majority of Americans.

Al Gore, in his book The Assault on Reason, describes the basic mode of operation of these conservative elites. Borrowing the term Economic Royalist from FDRs 1934 Democratic Convention speech, Gore describes this group as those:

who are primarily interested in eliminating as much of their own taxation as possible and removing all inconvenient regulatory obstacles. Their ideology which they and Bush believe with almost religious fervor is based on several key elements:

First, there is no such thing as the public interest; that phrase represents a dangerous fiction created as an excuse to impose unfair burdens on the wealthy and powerful.

Second, laws and regulations are also bad except when they can be used on behalf of this group, which turns out to be often. It follows, therefore, that whenever laws must be enforced and regulations administered, it is important to assign those responsibilities to individuals who reliably serve the narrow and specific interests of this small group

What members of this coalition seem to spend much of their time and energy worrying about is the impact of government policy on the behavior of poor people. They are deeply concerned, for example, that government programs to provide health care, housing, social insurance, and other financial support will adversely affect work incentives.


THE METHODS OF THE CONSERVATIVE ELITES

Since the methods that conservative elites use to maintain and increase their power would be repugnant to most people if they understood the truth behind the methods, those methods must be disguised as something that people can accept:


Legalized bribery disguised as campaign contributions

Bribery has been defined as a crime implying a sum or gift given that alters the behavior of the person in ways not consistent with the duties of that person. Since bribery of public officials usually requires a great deal of money, those who bribe public officials are almost always powerful and wealthy individuals or corporations in other words, the conservative elite.

Bribery is technically illegal in our country.

However, largely due to the influence of the conservative elite, bribery of public officials by corporations is legal, as long as two fictions are maintained. The first fiction involves a practice called money bundling. That is where a corporation collects small donations of up to $2,000 from a large number of its employees and presents it as a package to a public official whose actions it wants to influence. This practice prevents technical violation of the McCain-Feingold cap of $2,000 on individual contributions, even though the good majority of individuals who contribute the money would never do so except for their felt need to please the corporate owners on whom their jobs depend. George Bush made good use of this practice in his presidential runs by awarding the designation of Bush Pioneers to those elites who contributed $100,000 and Bush Rangers to those who contributed $200,000.

The other fiction that must be maintained is that the money doesnt influence the actions of the public official in the performance of his/her public duties. For example, the oil and gas industry contributed over $180 million to Congressional candidates since 1990, including many millions for the 2006 election. During this time, the 2005 energy bill gave out billions of dollars in tax breaks to the oil and gas industry, provided exemptions from the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, and relaxed regulations against the consolidation of utility companies. In order for that to be legal were supposed to believe that the contributions had no role in influencing Congressional votes on the energy bill.


Stealing elections disguised as free market efficiency and preventing voter fraud

In 2000: After George Bushs brother, the governor of Florida, illegally disenfranchised tens of thousands of African Americans from the presidential election on the grounds that they were close computer matches to felons; after a Republican orchestrated riot in Miami-Dade County stopped the vote counting there; and after various other types of election fraud as well, five Republican Supreme Court Justices stopped the manual recount of the votes in Florida on grounds that had no Constitutional justification whatsoever, thereby declaring George W. Bush our 43rd President.

Here is evidence of vote switching fraud in national elections from 2002 to 2006; here is evidence of widespread election fraud in 2004; here is evidence of widespread election fraud in 2006; and we learned earlier this year that the Bush administration fired their federal attorneys for either refusing to investigate non-existent election fraud by Democrats or for pursuing too aggressively cases of election fraud perpetrated by Republicans. In fact, the main purpose behind the whole U.S. attorney firing scandal appears to have been the stealing of elections.

Why all this election fraud with so little investigation or even publicizing by our conservative corporate news media?

With respect to the 2000 election, we were told that the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of African Americans who were close computer matches of felons had to be done in order to stop voter fraud. To justify the stopping of the hand counting of votes that would have awarded Al Gore the presidency in 2000, we were told that the hand counting of votes was not reliable. For example, Mary Matalin explained (i.e. lied) on the Chris Matthews show that simply holding a cardboard ballot in ones hands could produce marks which indicated the presence of an attempted vote.

With regard to the potential for electronic mediated election fraud, most conservative elites say that it is ok to have our votes counted by computers using secret vote counting code, with no means of determining whether or not the vote count is accurate. After all, these are private companies that supply the machines that count our votes. Therefore, it would be interfering with the free market to insist that the government conduct investigations or exert controls to ensure that the vote counting is accurate. Furthermore, machines are much more efficient at counting votes than are humans or so goes the logic of the conservative elites.


Propaganda disguised as news

Largely because of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which relaxed monopoly restrictions on news media ownership, control of the news media in the United States has become much more concentrated in the hands of smaller and smaller numbers of extremely wealthy people and corporations.

As a result, to a large extent what now passes for news or serious journalism is instead more akin to propaganda with the purpose of delivering a message favored by the wealthy corporations and individuals who own our news media. Eric Alterman described this phenomenon in a recent article in The Nation. With respect to the so-called mainstream news media:

Its members consistently defer to conservative Republican Presidents with a history of deliberate deception, allowing them to define their terms Its members invite Republican Congressmen, known to be not merely unreliable but delusional, to lie about Democratic Congressmen. When challenged, they reply that they cannot be bothered to discern the truth

And to compound the problem, George Bush has made sure that the news we receive gets twisted in a variety of ways. In order control the news that Americans receive he has denied our First Amendment rights through the use of so-called First Amendment zones to prevent protesters from being heard, by denying access to journalists who criticize him, by threatening to jail reporters who criticize his administration, and by paying shills (with taxpayer dollars) to write government propaganda disguised as news.


Militant nationalism disguised as patriotism

War is a prime method that the Bush administration has used to funnel tens of billions of dollars to its cronies. Antonia Juhzs, in her book, The Bush Agenda Invading the World, One Economy at a Time, explains that war with Iraq provided a bonanza of opportunities for Bush and Cheneys already wealthy corporate friends and supporters. Juhasz explodes the myth that George Bush didnt have a well thought out plan for post-conflict Iraq:

There was at least one clear plan an economic plan the blueprint for which was ready and in Bush administration hands at least two months prior to the invasion. The 107-page three-year contract between the Bush administration and Bearing Point, Inc. of McLean, Virginia, lays out the presidents economic agenda in Iraq. In return for $250 million, Bearing Point provided technical assistance to the U.S. Agency for International Development on the restructuring of the Iraqi economy to meet Bush administration goals

Bearing Point wrote the framework to restructure Iraq from a state-controlled economy to one that guarantees free markets, free trade and private property among other goals to recommend changes to laws that impede private sector development, trade and investment undertaking a mass privatization of Iraqs state-owned industries.

Bearing Points Draft Statement of Work, Stimulating Economic Recovery, Reform and Sustained Growth in Iraq, was completed on February 21, 2003. While it was not available to the public, I was made aware of the document

The extent to which the Bearing Point contract sets out to transform the Iraqi economy is astonishing. The company specifies changes in every sector of the Iraqi economy It even specifies propaganda tools to sell these policies to the Iraqi public.

Thus explains why George Bush and Dick Cheney lied us into war with Iraq. And its interesting to note that purposeful ignoring of relevant sections of our National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) played a crucial role not only in the Bush/Cheney plan to justify the Iraq War (by noting claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium {i.e., yellowcake} in Africa are highly dubious.), but threatens to do the same for the purpose of providing a justification for war with Iran as well.

Its hard to understand how anyone could fall for this a second time (or a first time for that matter). Undoubtedly, the fear of being accused of being unpatriotic, as Republicans do whenever Democrats question their war motives, provides a major motivation to even Democrats to fall in line behind Bush war plans.


UP IS DOWN AND DOWN IS UP

You can get a pretty good idea of the truth by just translating everything the conservative elites say into the opposite. Yet, by slavishly and shameless sticking to their ridiculous messages, repeated a million times, they manage to convince a lot of people thats why I refer to much of their base as the gullible.

They have actually convinced a good many people, for example, that it is us liberals who are the elite, rather than them. Never mind that Republicans, until recently, had control of all three branches of government plus the news media. Never mind that wealth was one of the strongest predictors of voting for George Bush in 2000 and 2004. Liberals are elites because. well, because conservative elites say we are.

They twist the word patriotism to make it mean support for the Bush/Cheney war agenda, or the war agenda of whatever conservative elite happens to be in power at the time. If patriotism is a virtue then it means concern for our fellow Americans or for the progressive ideals on which our country was founded. If it means what conservative elites imply it to mean, then there is no virtue attached to it, and its just plain evil.

With regard to the culture of life that George Bush and other conservative elites so often claim to live by, George Lakoff pretty well nailed that in his book, Whose Freedom The Battle over Americas Most Important Idea:

So-called pro-life conservatives are typically in favor of the death penalty They favor conservative policies that result in American having the highest infant mortality rate in the industrialized world These deaths are a result of conservative policies against prenatal and postnatal care, universal child health insurance, Medicaid

If they were really pro-life they would support programs for pre- and postnatal care, health care for all children, programs to feed and house the hungry and homeless, antipollution programs, and safe food programs. Instead, they let strict father morality dominate over issues of life that the poor are responsible for their own poverty and that they and their innocent children should suffer for it, and that government should not interfere with corporate profits through public health regulations for clean air and water.

And Lakoff also pretty well nailed their ideology concerning freedom:

The focus of (George Bushs) presidency is defending and spreading freedom. Yet, progressives see in Bushs policies not freedom but outrages against freedom. They are indeed outrages against the traditional American ideal of freedom It is not the American ideal of freedom to invade countries that dont threaten us, to torture people and defend the practice, to jail people indefinitely without due process, and to spy on our own citizens without warrant.

In short, the success of the whole conservative elitist agenda depends upon making Americans believe that up is down and down is up. Once the smokescreen is cleared, their whole ideology is revealed for what it is just an excuse to expand their wealth and power and do whatever they want, at the expense of everyone else.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. Do you know Nomi Prins? Your OP sounds similar. -- Great post btw!
Edited on Sat Dec-08-07 07:44 PM by Breeze54
Nomi Prins, author of Jacked: How Conservatives are Picking Your Pocket (Whether You Voted for Them or Not)

http://www.nomiprins.com /

"Yes, the Dems took back Congress, but there's a ton of damage they need to deal with, lots of which is in JACKED
- which shows how the conservative agenda affected your walletand not just your money...."

&

K&R'd
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 12:25 PM
Original message
Thank you -- No, I haven't heard of her
"Yes, the Dems took back Congress, but there's a ton of damage they need to deal with."

She sure got that right!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
24. Thank you -- No, I haven't heard of her
"Yes, the Dems took back Congress, but there's a ton of damage they need to deal with."

She sure got that right!
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Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. Hey, it worked
in late 18th Century France!

Oh, wait...
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Prophet 451 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. bookmark for morning n/t
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
4. Most important rule for compliant media is never discuss wealth disparity except
Edited on Sat Dec-08-07 10:53 PM by McCamy Taylor
as an isolated statistic. So, for instance, a recent report revealed that the rate of teenaged pregnancy has risen for the first time since 1991. The AP article immediately blames this on abstinence only sex ed, even though it admits that teens know how to use condoms.

http://www.star-telegram.com/national_news/story/344841...

In a troubling reversal, the nation's teen birthrate rose for the first time since 1991, surprising government health officials and reviving the bitter debate about abstinence-only sex education.

The birthrate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. On Wednesday, government statisticians said it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

snip

At the same time, some research suggests that teens are using condoms far more often than they did 15 years ago.


Association is not causality. It is just as likely that the same force that has lead to abstinence only sex ed---i.e the Bush administration---has also lead to societal factors--namely poverty and wealth disparity-- that favor an increase in unsafe sex practices that lead to teenage pregnancy. Abstinence only sex ed becomes a convenient scapegoat, because the programs have been proven to be ineffective in other studies.

Check out this report about the confirmed link between poverty/income disparity and teenage pregnancy in Canada:

http://www.genderandhealth.ca/en/modules/poverty/povert...

Throughout the developed world, teenage pregnancy is more common among young people who have been disadvantaged in childhood and have low expectations of education or the job market. The literature shows that youth living in poverty have a teen pregnancy rate which is five times the average <1>. Socio-economic circumstances seem to play a major role in rates of teen pregnancy. There may be a growing lost generation of young people who see no reason not to get pregnant. For some disadvantaged youth, particularly for girls whose self esteem tends to drop as they mature, sexuality may be all they have to value. Lack of opportunity and hope for the future, have been identified as a driving force behind high rates of teen pregnancy in Canada.


This literature is well studied. Recently, when infant mortality began to rise, AP chose to ignore rises in poverty and income disparity as a cause, too. The mainstream media would much rather point fingers at the medical establishment--blaming OB-Gyns for performing too many C-sections for increased infant mortality rates or public health educators for doing a poor job for the rise in teen pregnancy.

However, both infant mortality and teenage pregnancy are directly tied to poverty.

The elite and the press that serves them is careful to make sure that the public does not understand that poverty leads to infant death, teenage pregnancy, suicide, domestic violence and a host of social ills. Much easier to let the public believe that poverty simply means that some kids won't be getting stockings full of video games for Christmas. Middle America can live with that. They can not live with the image of a battered, brutalized child living in a broken home plagued by violence that is caused by our society's callousness.

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Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #4
19. An interesting point
Like how Faux News always relates anything bad to "terrorism".
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
25. And ... When I was in teen and college years, Clinton was in office.
You could go to planned parenthood (16) and get birth control for free or you could pay the $15.00 if you had money. It wasn't required, but most of us had $15.00 to spare to pay for the birth control.. In college the school teamed up with the Clinic and offered free gyno exams and free birth control. The other day I read that the birth control costs were going up, and it would cost young people more money.. shoot the cost when I was taking it was $20.00 per month (I think it would be $30.00 now)... That means $240.00 to keep myself from getting pregnant and that was with Insurance. If you don't have insurance you must pay the price they ask.. When I didn't have insurance that was $50.00 a month. Someone who is poor is not going to be able to afford the back-up.. And seriously, it is one of the most prescribed prescriptions for young women. They know they are going to get the money they ask. They know its inconvenient to have to pay for a gynecologist every year just to get your prescription. These are costs young and poor cannot afford.

#1. It should be more affordable.
#2. A yearly exam by a gynecologist and a general practitioner should be the right to be had by every single woman. Its a way to education and preventative care for more than just pregnancy and STD's. It has caught many pre-cancerous situations with a few of my friends.. and they were all young.. I'm only 28... Having access to these things now helps prevent ovarian cancers and uterin problems. I hate hearing and have said, I cannot afford it, so I hope its all ok. Its absolutely disgusting.. And you don't think his daughters don't get their regular exams and Birth control, provided by us of course.
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Union Thug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
27. If you dare bring up income disparity you are immediately slapped
down as promoting 'class war,' and dismissed as a crazy-eyed, left-wing extremist.

Well, it is class war, but working people are chastised for even mentioning it, while the rich are given a free pass to continue waging it.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
29. No question that infant mortality is closely tied to poverty
Closely related to that, it's also caused by the cutting of social programs which provide access to prenatal care.

It's so sad that our news media doesn't talk more about these things.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
5. It is very important to remember that all acts are by people, individuals, identifiable actors
In the sense that all actions are done by persons, there really is no "conservative elites" just like there really is no "government" per se, only people acting in roles, corporate, business, of government.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 01:14 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. The people get together and plot. Like "Project for a New American Century"
The Federalists have made it quite clear what they want. So have the NeoCons. The world's elite get together every year to plot out what is going to happen.

Here is something that is hard to believe. This is a group that gets together regularly and decides what colors you will be painting your house, your interior, choosing for your carpet, drapes, car, clothing, kids toys etc. They have been doing this forever. A couple of decades ago when everything was rose and blue-gray, it was because this group declared that it was going to be rose and blue-gray. This allows manufacturers to coordinate production. Paint can be made in advance. No worry that some freaky new shade will be all the rage, and no one will be ready for it. Remember avocado and mustard of the early seventies? Who in their right mind would have chosen that combo? The color Mafia, that is who.

If a group like that can tell you what color you are going to paint your life, how can you doubt that other groups will try to tell you what to think? Most of us believe that the choices we make in our consumer goods--especially the aesthetic choices--reflect our true souls.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. WRONG: "The world's elite get together every year ..." People get together.
My point is that there are specific individual actors and they are identifiable. Who gets together with whom? How can you back up a statement like this, "The world's elite get together every year to plot out what is going to happen"? Maybe, you have the guest list? If a statement is about specific persons, places, times, etc., it is meaningful.

Generalities are useful, but they only go so far. We are left with ambiguity, and that can be overcome with names, places, who does what.
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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 02:25 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Both the overview and the details are needed.
Time for change did a great job of providing an important segment of the overview. Omitted was the fact that monopoly capitalism must expand into new territories in order to survive, and that explains a lot that needs explaining. But you are right that it also helps to identify the hirelings who do that work and plan the plots. There is a lot of research on that, ranging way back to Prouty http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST / to John Perkins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic... .
But it is a bit hard to get all the major players and games into something shorter than an encyclopedia.

For your own research you might want to look for a 40 year old book called "Millionaires and Managers" by a Soviet researcher that detailed the interlocking directorates that made it possible for the various "independent" corporations of that era to function in a coordinated way when it came to promoting their version of the common interest. Actually, I just discovered you can get it as a torrent (PDF) file at http://www.mininova.org/tor/968179 and there are several more at http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbw.cgi?Gw=menshikov+%...

If you want the details on how things work, that is a great resource, although many names have since changed.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #8
26. Very important points
I found both of Perkins' books to be real eye openers with respect to the terrible things that are being done in the name of "free markets", or whatever you want to call it.

Another one is Antonia Juhazs' book, which I reference in the OP with respect to our reasons for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

And right now I'm reading Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine -- The Rise of Disaster Capitalism", which I think provides an excellent illumination of many of the horrors that have been perpetrated over the past few decades in the name of progress and "free markets".
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vssmith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. World Economic Forum (WEF) held annually in Davos Switzerland
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vssmith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. Price fixing
"Price fixing is an agreement between business competitors to sell the same product or service at the same price." (Wikipedia)
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #7
37. The identity of the individual players is irrelevant. It is their ROLES as CEO's and ...
government functionaries that is significant. If the oil company executives get together and decide to raise gasoline prices, then it matters not whether their names are Smith, Jones, Higgens, or Pierce. We are going to pay more for gas because of their roles as oil company executives.

As for knowing the individuals who get together every year, just find out who currently heads the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, the Federal Reserve, OPEC, etc., etc.

There are some individuals who "run the world" whom we won't know about because they go to great lengths to keep their identities secret. The make up of Cheney's secret task force on energy is one such group. Knowing who was in the group would make a difference? How? One significant decision they made we can guess at, namely, get Iraq's oil.

It is their positions within these organizations that gives them the ability to rip off Americans (and others) and therefore the rules have to be spelled out in laws and treaties to prevent ANYONE who holds such positions from acting contrary to the public interest.

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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 05:55 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. Thank you. When we start talking about a civil society flaws
then there can be geniune discussions.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. It is true that all acts are done by individuals
Edited on Sun Dec-09-07 09:05 AM by Time for change
Do you feel that mhy OP implied otherwise?

On the other hand, I often find it useful to talk about groups of people, especially when they share common interests and attitudes. Certain groups of people share common characteristics, motivations, and actions, and it often makes sense to discuss them as a group IMO, whether or not they act together to achieve their goals.

And it is also true that people with common goals and beliefs often work together to achieve their goals. In the case of the group I refer to as the "conservative elite", it seems that they work and plan together a great deal, as evidenced by the similarity of their talking points, among other things. Though I didn't go into that issue in my OP.
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rockybelt Donating Member (938 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #5
15. True
but what else are you going to call them, ass-holes?
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leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 07:58 AM
Response to Original message
10. Imperialism et al is a bipartisan project
Liberal regular folks would do well to recognize their leaders' complicity in these acts.

Otherwise, the fairy tale is just perpetuated.
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #10
17. that is correct.
i've said the same thing hundreds of times here. in general, du doesn't get it yet.
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IsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #10
21. There is definitely a good cop, and a bad cop, aspect to all of this. People seem to forget that it...
was Bill Clinton, in combination with a Republican congress, that helped dismantle the safety net of public welfare and signed the NAFTA agreement.

And to be honest about it, I believe HRC, if elected, will be instrumental in dismantling our social security system, using the cost of the Iraq war as the reason.

I could be wrong. I just have a bad gut feeling about it.

From my observations of the past, it seems that Republican administrations threaten these kinds of things, and then they occur under Democratic administrations.

Social Security has been cut extensively from what it was 30 years ago. The age that you can get it, the dependent status and their elgibility requirments, the cost of living increases, etc... This program is but a shadow of what it once was.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #10
22. That is true
It is most common in the Republican Party, but it also exists among independents and in the Democratic Party. That's why I referred in this post to the "conservative elite" rather than "Republican elite".
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Whisp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-10-07 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #22
49. perhaps using 'the ruling elite' or something similar might make
it clearer. by you using 'conservative elite', I initially got the message that the 'liberal elite' of this kind do not exist - and we all know they do.

great OP, and thanks.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-10-07 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #49
50. Thank you -- my rationale is like this:
If a "liberal" argued for national policies that served to increase the wealth of the rich at the expense of the poor, then I don't think that that person would really be a liberal. He or she might be a Democrat, in the sense of having membership in the Democratic Party, but not a liberal.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
12. Speaking of lies and propaganda, here's NBC deciding to air a
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #12
31. Our corporate news media is a major part of the problem
It gives them a way to spread their message in a way that sounds superficially "unbiased". Too many people fall for it, and that's why we're in Iraq and may be heading for WW III.

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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
13. Outstanding post
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pberq Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
18. Propaganda disguised as news
How true.

Yesterday I heard a piece on NPR's All Things Considered that fits that description.

It was about the recent revelation on Iran's nuclear program being ended four years ago. The reporter did an interview with John Bolton that lasted at least 10 minutes, without any other point of view presented. All we heard was nonstop propaganda from Mr. Bolton, with softball questions from the reporter.
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Union Thug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #18
28. This, and the broader, subtle social engineering perpetrated
by a media/madison avenue machine that provides a convenient, largely unattainable template for our lives. Consume. Work. Consume. Work. Consumption will provide meaning. You can all be rich and/or famous. And so many people believe it. Until, to paraphrase Palahniuk, one day they wake up to the fact that they never will be either - and they become very pissed off about it.

But there is a default template for that, as well. Worry not, deeply indebted ones; have faith in the good lord, there will be pie in the sky when you die, so don't worry so much about the injustices of this world. God has a special place for you in the great scheme of things, and your inability to get traction in this world will be rewarded in the next. The rich are rich and the poor are poor by divine decree.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #18
36. Softball questions
That's what so many "journalists" did with Bush during both elections. That's one major reason why we had to be stuck with that collossal jerk for 8 years (or more), and a major reason why we went to war in Iraq. If we go to war against Iran, you can be sure that our corporate media will play a major role in helping BushCo provide the justification for it.
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DeanDem10 Donating Member (128 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #18
39. NPR
NPR is National Propaganda Radio. Frequently right (or rather wrong-_wing think tanks are the so-called experts used by NPR. PBS is worse. For example, pro-surge "experts" outnumbered opponents 5 - 1. Experts are usually male and either government insiders or conservative. When NPR "balances" conservatives the radio network often uses "centrist" journalists as the "balance."

And money talks. Anti-environment anti-pension, anti-health insurance corporations are giving in increasing amounts to Brookings.

Here's a neat way to check who funds the various thinktanks:

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=SourceWatch

The biggest fact-checker used by the public is FactCheck.org, at the Annenberg Center, funded in part by the Annenberg Foundation. Walter Annenberg was a conservative mogul and benefactor to Ronald Reagan. Over a period of a year the stories "fact checked" were of disproportionate importance when comparing "errors" of Democrats v. Republicans. In other words, if the biggest lies of the decade --or Century-- are coming from the GOP and this site tries to make errors an equal opportunity experience, it seriously misleads.

John C. Malone, conservative media mogul owns the production company that does both the McLaughlin Report AND the Jim Lehrer News Hour.

Pew is funded largely by the heirs of the Sun Oil Fortune.

The more you look beneath the surface the worse it gets.... PBS and NPR are watered-down jokes--only former shells of this distant pasts. Newt got hold of them and the R-Cons have never looked back.

The truth is, though, that the minute companies like Mobil and ADM sponsored entire broadcasts, PBS was on the skids. Ditto NPR with all its corporate donors.

NPR pretends that Story Corp is a substitute for news. It feeds America's inasatiable belief that every Tom, Dick and Harry is the news, and thus Americans continue to be uninformed, disinformed and easily manipulated.

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beltanefauve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #39
44. Welcome to DU!
You've summed up what NPR is really all about beautifully.
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DeanDem10 Donating Member (128 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-10-07 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #44
48. Thanks...
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
20. Conservatives want to rule by the iron law of oligarcy in the U.S.
...According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered as elected oligarchies. In these systems, actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an 'acceptable' and 'respectable' political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. <MORE>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligarchy
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FreeStateDemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
23. More people need to read this post
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
30. So what's yer point?
:spray: :yourock:
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
32. If the American public has not learned from history, they will be doomed to repeat it.
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
33. "The gullible" are the most infuriating/disheartening of the lot.
How the Republicans ever convinced the poor and minorities to vote for them--against their very obvious self-interest--is beyond me.

I suppose some idiots people will vote for "Guns, Gays, and God" issues before they'll vote themselves a living wage, health care, or equality.

Now, the question is, how do we show these people that they're voting against their own self-interest?

:shrug:
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WileEcoyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Well they've done it to you too
Even Bill Maher won't cop to the fact that 9/11 was an inside job. The idea of going public would shoot his career. Or he'd end up dead.

And there are several other ways the power structure F's with all of us. Just because you are a Progressive/liberal/fill in the blank(s) does not exempt you from being manipulated against your own will.

Divide and conquer.

The "Let's you and him have a fight".

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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #34
43. Well, I'd like to think I'm more skeptical than your average FAUX viewer.
But no one's immune to propaganda in a system without an alternative. It's only a matter of degree.

I do agree with you in regards to division and the "team sports" aspects of politics. It's not red vs. blue, it's a fight for a real alternative to the status quo.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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WileEcoyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. Ages ago in college a chick gave me the book
"Games People Play" by some guy named Eric Siegel i think. A huge paperback success circa 1973 - 74 0r so but with limited real value. Kind of a "Pulp Non Fiction" if you will. About twenty pages are good the rest bullshit. Typical for the day.

But it showed the process of how wicked people get two of their adversaries to tear each other apart. After they've exhausted themselves the SOB has won the game.

A lot of very intelligent people fall for the game. They get exposed to an "enemy" either fake (like Liberals) or real but exaggerated like Islamic Fundamentalists. Then these "enemies" appear everywhere. AM radio, Fox, CNN. MSNBC everywhere dude!

Right now the GOP is confronted with a real problem. They "need" to demonize Latinos in order to woo the support of the Whites who are stupid (not ME!), but then their bosses in industry want to keep wages low low low.

What's a poor republican to do?

But make no mistake. These people in the shadow government are splitting the Democratic Party up as much as possible too.

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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. Games People Play -- highly recommended! (nt)
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #33
38. The most important thing we can do IMO is take back our news media
The near monopoly on national news by our corporate news media has to end.
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #38
42. I couldn't agree more. (nt)
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Kat45 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-10-07 02:11 AM
Response to Reply #38
47. Absolutely. We also have to be sure to have net neutrality.
At least we have a source of news outside of the mainstream media, though of course a source without anywhere near the reach of the MSM. This is an important source, and we must not let the corps/powers that be eviscerate it by imposing fees that will shut out the non-corp, non-MSM sources of information.
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Wiregrass Willie Donating Member (436 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
35. An excellent post n/t
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roxnev Donating Member (194 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
40. 90% tax bracket
We need it back, the more millionaires the bigger the elite population gets
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DeanDem10 Donating Member (128 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
41. Thank you!
Thank you for this post.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-11-07 12:23 AM
Response to Original message
51. Nothing really different there
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