Now that the government shakedown is over, you will be treated to a week’s worth of blame game as the equally duplicitous Democrats and Republicans try to spin the news and their favor. Right there to oblige this theatrics of the absurd will be our vacuous corporate media where they will rile the passions of their “core demographic” by presenting news through a partisan prism. Not even Japan has as many Kabuki dancers as the politico-media complex in the District of Caligula. Thankfully, we have independent journalists and non-corporate voices to bring sanity to the derangement of our politics. Without further ado, here is your Daily Ghion Water.
More Kings, Less Puppets
Obama made it crystal clear in ways that no white president could that what Dr. King in 1963 called America’s unpaid “promissory note” and “bad check” to black America would remain un-cashed. This was all too sadly consistent with Obama’s preposterous 2007 campaign claim (at a commemoration of the King-led 1965 Selma Voting Rights March) to believe that blacks had already come “90 percent” of the way to equality in the U.S.
Completing the “triple evils” hat trick, Obama—the self-appointed chief-executioner atop the special forces global war on (of) terror kill list—embraced and expanded upon the vast criminal and worldwide spying and killing operation he inherited from Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and George W. Bush. He tamped down Bush’s failed ground wars only to ramp up and inflate the role of unaccountable special force and drone attacks in the spirit of his dashing and reckless imperial role model John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Obama’s drone program, Noam Chomsky noted in early 2015, was “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times.” It “target[ed] people suspected of perhaps intending to harm us some day, and any unfortunates who happen to be nearby,” Chomsky wrote. [from Truthdig]
About Cancerous Capitalism
Capitalism—left to its own devices — bends towards inequality. The terrible polarity of wealth I witness in Seattle is merely a microcosm of an economic order that is not optimized. The Emerald City is hardly alone in its display of astonishing inequality. Nationally, the top one percent controls nearly 40% of the United States’s wealth and globally, eight men now own the same amount of wealth as 3.6 billion people.
Concentrated capital is not a new feature of a profit-driven economy. At the beginning of capitalism’s ascent in the mid-19th-century, the American economist Henry George saw similar patterns developing. He noticed that, paradoxically, “the deepest poverty, the hardest struggle for existence” can be found not in pre-capitalist states, but “wherever material progress is most advanced…where population is densest, wealth greatest, and production and exchange most highly developed.” [from Civic Skunk Works]
Federal Bureau of Insidiousness
The news of the FBI failing to preserve months of text messages is just one of a series of recent controversies that continue to tarnish the public’s perception as well as the reputation of the FBI and the equal application of the rule of law. As one parody account on Twitter put it: “Welcome to the FBI, a place where you can delete [five] months of incriminating text messages, and then lead an ‘obstruction of justice’ investigation into the President of the United States!” [from Disobedient Media]
Both “Upstarts” and “Weirder and Darker” follow the structural conventions of PR/propaganda, not journalism. Both assemble a set of events (and, I presume, quotes) that are factually accurate and opinions that seem reasonable, that have been cherry-picked to fit a pre-determined narrative. All evidence inconsistent with that narrative has been excluded; including evidence published by Stone’s colleagues at Bloomberg. That narrative presents a simple good guys versus bad guys type fight (heroic innovators fighting corrupt defenders of the taxi industry status quo, responsible Board members saving their company from a CEO who “was unable or unwilling to right himself”) that misrepresents the actual complexity of events and conflicting interests.
These narratives are designed to force readers to respond on a purely emotional level and to see the triumph of the good guys as the only legitimate outcome. These narratives are constructed so that the narrator and his attempts to emotionally manipulate readers towards specific conclusions remain largely invisible. Absolutely no independently verifiable data relative to the battle is presented (e.g. Stone’s complete refusal to present any Uber financial/economic data) that readers might use to pose questions that could undermine the story lines. They are structured as a complete package that will eliminate the need for further investigation, not the starting point for further discussion. [from Naked Capitalism]
To Know Trump is to…
I try to be a strong believer in the principles of universal empathy and compassion. Even if you find a person completely intolerable, you ought to try to see where they’re coming from and be charitable in your judgments. Writer Viet Thanh Nguyen says he tries to “feel for [Trump] as a human being,” because this is part of being a good person. Yet I find this nearly impossible. Not only was Trump never even sympathetic as a child (he was a rich bully from the start), but his entire character seems reducible to a series of appetites: for power, money, fame, attention, sex, dessert. He almost never laughs and he is unpleasant to everyone. [from Current Affairs]
These Stubborn Things Called Facts
But there is also a different use of dramatic license that creeps into the story. These deal with the reasons the Post wanted the story in the first place. Throughout the film Bradlee is portrayed as some kind of crusader for both truth and the right to free speech for the press. Later in the film, to further this angle, the script fabricates another scene. Towards the end, when Graham is deciding whether or not to print the documents—her lawyers have advised her not to—she walks in to talk to Robert McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense. This scene was manufactured—there is no evidence for it in any book on the case. And it is fabricated for two apparent reasons. First, to somehow convey that Graham was surprised at what had happened in Vietnam under McNamara’s direction, and second, to show McNamara trying to talk Graham out of printing the Pentagon Papers. [from Consortium News]
Talent Trumps Doubt
This Day in History
1932 – Franklin D. Roosevelt enters the presidential race. 76 years later, another presidential candidate would enter the race, get elected and then save Wall Street by transferring wealth from the people to the plutocrats who kneecapped our economy. History is politics by other means.
Quote of the Day
“Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.” ~ Victor Pinchuk
Profiled on This Day
There is a common theme between the quote of the day, the YouTube clip and the feature picture. I want to focus on art and the people who love to create instead of focusing on politics that only serves to divide us. I’m going to write an article later on today where I mention a local bead maker who designs his jewelry at Starbucks by my job where he works as a barista. Before he starts his shift and during his breaks, he gets out his container of beads and weaves beautiful artwork that he sells online. We all have gifts like this, imagine if we pursued our talents and empowered one another instead of raging against the machine of politics? Something to ponder. Stay tuned for that feature story that is coming up this afternoon, but in the meantime, this day is dedicated to all artists and creators—most of whom toil in anonymity—who do their part to turn the ugliness of the world into beautiful art that feeds our souls. #Pain2Paint
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