Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thank$ Be To Terror

Yesterday I singled out the New York Times's David Brooks as the worst kind of neocon hack, using psychobabble to try and soothe the reading public into overcoming those "sickly inhibitions" which get in the way of civilian embrace of Permawar.

But if truth be told, Brooks is only a sickly pale guppy compared to the ravenous shark named CNN. Brooks only burbles out two columns a week when he isn't adopting an avuncular persona for folksy "debates" on PBS with Mark Shields. CNN, on the other hand, has been manically churning the fetid propaganda waters non-stop, resulting in a bloody maelstrom in which fear begets more fear, profits beget more profits.

As Farron Cousins of Ring of Fire explains, it's all about the ratings.  Like any shark worth its endless rows of teeth, CNN is nothing if not a bona fide eating machine:

Cousins didn't need to tell me to stop watching CNN. (Except for the first GOP debate, I've never watched Fox.)  I shut CNN off of my own volition a week ago because the war porn made me feel so sickly. MSNBC is a little better, because it does occasionally interrupt the war porn to cover other news. I have no idea how CNN will tear itself away from the bombs and death when it hosts the next Republican debate. On second thought, what is a Republican debate but bombs and death, xenophobia and paranoia? What are Donald Trump and Marco Rubio but political porn stars?

What is CNN but a subsidiary of the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and the State Department? Thanks to what the late Sheldon Wolin called Inverted Totalitarianism, the USA doesn't need the equivalent of a state-owned Pravda, because the government and the corporate media are essentially one and the same outfit. CNN feeds the war machine, and the war machine feeds CNN. It's a totally voluntary, totally corrupt arrangement.

They're all doing their military Keynesian part: Pentagon spending fuels CNN's profits, and CNN's propaganda begets more military profits, and more military profits beget more weapons manufacturing and more weapons sales beget more war and death and more catastrophes beget more fear and the overcoming of those sickly inhibitions.

From Reuters (h/t Robert Sadin):  

The U.S. government is working hard to ensure quicker processing of U.S. foreign arms sales, which surged 36 percent to $46.6 billion in fiscal 2015 and look set to remain strong in coming years, a top Pentagon official said.
"Projections are still strong," Vice Admiral Joe Rixey, who heads the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.
He said the agency was trying to sort out the impact of a much stronger-than-expected fourth quarter as it finalized its forecast for arms sales in fiscal 2016, which began Oct. 1.
The fight against Islamic State militants and other armed conflicts around the globe were fueling demand for U.S. missile defense equipment, helicopters and munitions, Rixey said, a shift from 10 years ago when the focus was on fighter jets.
"It's worldwide. The demand signal is coming in Europe, in the Pacific and in Centcom," he said, referring to the U.S. Central Command region, which includes the Middle East and Afghanistan.
CNN is also forecast to enjoy a stronger than expected fourth quarter, what with all that extra ad revenue generated by all those excess military profits and excess Trumpian xenophobia. People always switch on the boob tube whenever they're frightened to death, and then the boob tube makes sure that they become even more frightened to death. The endless propaganda feedback loop is as perpetual as war itself.

The  civil rights anthem of the Military-Industrial Complex: We Shall Overcome.... your sickly inhibitions.

So how about we overcome their propaganda and boycott the war profiteers as a form of protest? Don't spend money on any of the products and services you've seen advertised on CNN before you shut it off. These include most pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter pain killers, breakfast cereals, sugar and corn and toxic cleaning products which necessitate the pharmaceuticals, and anything manufactured by Koch Industries.

Let's give peace a chance. Let's also give them a piece of our minds as we take a million tiny but painful Piranha-like bites out of their tender, overstuffed shark-flesh.  


Meredith NYC said...

Re CNN....I also deplore how after each police shooting death of a black person, CNN has this obnoxious defender of the cops no matter the evidence, the videos, etc, in their pundit panel. He is aggressive and interrupts others and won’t admit any cop fault, even after this latest indictment of the cop for 1st degree murder. He’s the one that’s outraged. And also the lawyer who got Zimmerman off in the Trayvon killing is there as well. Then they have their black woman lawyer, assigned the pundit role of the opposite side, defending the victims. Perfect polarization. They'd call it presenting all sides.

The interesting question is how has 24 hour cable news affected coverage and commentary of everything—war, terrorism, and the election campaigns? They’ve got to fill all this time, and mostly they’re not going to do it by keeping things in perspective. They dramatize and magnify conflict.

Just imagine if we still only had ½ hour of network news with Cronkite and a few others on every night and that’s it? I often wonder, what would the coverage be like? That was a different world.

Also, local news is on many more hours too---and they fill their time by reporting and amplifying any local crime they can find. There are also many more crime shows pretending to be documentaries, following up on this trend. This is how technology affects news and public opinion, with a constant diet of crime news. How about MSNBC’S weekend series Sex Slaves in the place and especially Lock up Raw about the inmates of our vast incarceration complex. This may itself contribute to the public’s perception of crime threat and the worsening of racial tensions. the article Meet the Time Commenters....quite a few comments asked where you were in the lineup. Indeed! Nice replies from you.
Btw, where was that article in the paper---what section? I almost missed it. Only found it from a comment to the public editor’s recent column on comments.

I enjoyed reading about Socrates, Rima, Larry Eisenberg and many more. And tons of comments re the commenters. Larry put in a good word for poetry that rhymes. Nice distraction that we all need from the horrific news of the day!

Ken Wallace said...

I've often wondered about ISIS. Isn't it the perfect enemy - almost too perfect? It simply escalates atrocities to the point of begging to be fought, begging for massive intervention. Maybe that's the intent! Just maybe these guys are propped up by the global arms industry to insure ongoing profits. The dupes that think it's religious fervor that drives them might want to check the strings rising above them. Nah, that's nuts - right?

Pearl said...

It's much pleasanter reading the Canadian news in the Toronto Star where the emphasis is on the new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who is concentrating on
working out the plans for receiving refugees, meeting the Queen and attending an important Climate meeting of the world's nations. The hysteria of ISIS activities is acknowledged but more muted and current issues are highlighted in a more meaningful way. It is too early to tell how the new Prime Minister will work out, but so
far the atmosphere is much more sane and covering more than the horrors constantly on view in detail in the US press. I haven't seen any major objections to welcoming the refugees here although there are conflicts between different ethnic groups but to a much lesser extent than in the U.S. Of course it is a smaller country but more civilized in many ways especially in regard to health care.
I have given up on watching CNN which is the only main U.S. TV station available on my computer-tv coverage set up. Gives me heart palpitations.

annenigma said...

I'm pretty certain the NYT won't publish my comment to their article 'U.S. Military Suspends Members Over Kunduz Hospital Strike' so here it is:

They bombed the hell out of that MSF hospital over the course of an hour because they were angry, or should I say MAD, that they were once again losing a battle in Afghanistan after 14 years. They took out their frustrations on this organization of humanitarian doctors who treat 'the enemy'. The military brass simply did not care how many good lives were lost, they wanted that hospital out of the way, off their battlefield.

The fact is, these Generals and other medal monkeys who pride themselves on being winners get desperate when the whole world sees, year after year, that they are losers.

They think if they can just kill enough people they will win. At that desperate point, they don't even care how they win as long as they do, or can lie to the President that they're winning.

They aren't fooling anyone - except, apparently, President Peace Prize. What a tragedy.

Meredith NYC said...

Pearl..... thanks, info from Canada is welcome. I for one am always interested to hear how saner civilizations deal with issues that throw the US into hostile extremism and stupidity.

Sometimes Canada just over the border, seems like another planet. It’s a pleasure to read how any country has reactions more muted, meaningful and sane, as you say.

Re Trudeau and refugee plans--- are any Canadian conservatives overreacting like our rw radicals? Do you have 24/7 cable news like msnbc, cnn, fox, etc?

Now other Repubs are actually criticizing Trump, and using the word fascism to describe Trump's statements muslim data bases and other religions and nationalities. Msnbc Chris Hayes has a segment now titled ‘using the F-word.’

Also I wonder, does your public TV have to get funding from corporations?

And since Canada’s had health care for all since the 60s, how have you found using the system, and paying for it? Does the govt regulate insurance and drug costs?

Cirze said...

I only watch "RT" everyday for on-the-spot news coverage. It's fabulous.

And Link TV and FSTV (Free Speech TV) for longer essay-type programs.

They never disappoint and are not saying anything nice about the military owners of all the other major news sources.

I think your readers will happily change to them after a viewing or two.

I'm watching an interview with Ted Rall right now on FSTV's "Pirate TV."

He's explaining what happened to Ed Snowden.

And it rocks.

Anonymous said...

Meredith: Things are much saner here in Canada since the Liberals won handily which indicates how angry voters were with the Harper regime which tried to imitate the worst aspects of American life for over 9 years.
Since the taxes cover the medical costs there is no need for private insurance agencies to exist regarding the medical arrangements. Doctor salaries are negotiated with the government and the physicians, and medicine is purchased in bulk easing the costs considerably, All prescribed acceptable medications for seniors are free except for a deductible each year which is moderate.
Today I went down to our Wellness Center to sign up for our flu shots tomorrow. I had my government health card which automatically covers the costs of the doctor and supplies, and waving it at the Wellness Center Head of Staff, I told her what it meant to me knowing how citizens in the U.S.are struggling.

We had our Donald Trump here in Mayor Ford of Toronto to keep things lively and who is still battling a serious cancer situation. But his party lost so we are safe.

As for other issues, look up information about them as I am not an expert in some areas of interest, but regardless, there are struggles for many people depending on work situations, etc. which react to changes in world markets,etc. which create problems, but far from the excesses found in my birth country.

If Jay wants to chime in, he is much more knowledgeable than I about how the fortunes of this country may hold up down the line. But I am happy here with 3 grand daughters in and out of college at low tuition costs with better possibilities for good jobs in the future. There is also a feeling of safety here despite the horrendous events in the world and despite the loss of my favorite Social Democratic Party (NDP) in the election (the creators of the health care system), we have some strong progressive thinkers among the population to balance things out.

There is more of a connection with England and European nations which adds a deeper understanding all around and yes we have the equivalent of Republicans here, but they are not as wealthy and corrupt and better regulated with stronger financial and bank regulations.
Others may not agree with me but when I compare the differences between living in Canada or the U.S. I prefer my present location. However my youngest grand daughter is planning to go to a prestigious U.S.University for her PH.D. as she has a world vision of her future and I think she represents the younger generation of Americans who share global concerns as well. We have some very interesting discussions together.

Pearl said...

It is Pearl not anonymous (they should remove that button) answering your questions, Meredith.

Jay–Ottawa said...

As Pearl says, average citizens of Canada have it much better than average citizens of the US when it comes to universal medical care. Taxes pay the big, bankrupting bills of doctors, treatments and hospitals; however, long term care, as in nursing homes, is borne by individuals and families, not the province you belong to. For the past few years, provinces have been cutting corners in every sector, telling local administrators to do more with less funding. Pretty soon there won't be any more corners left to cut; the system will have been clipped until it's perfectly round.

I do a little volunteer work in palliative care at the local hospital. Even volunteers have begun to feel the pinch. Their professional coordinators have been cut back. The few left are told to work "faster, smarter." In 2015 there was less money to orient new volunteers interested in palliative care. By orientation I mean four days of training by professionals in the specialty. The orientation never happened. Just learned today that there is now no money at all set aside to train volunteers in palliative care. The training session we were all waiting for, for more than a year, to restock our ranks is completely off the table.

After doctors give up on cancer patients, the end is near and fairly predictable because the descent of the dying is uniformly steady, somewhat. For other afflictions, predictions of that sort are much more difficult, if not impossible. Terminally ill cancer patients who, according the doctors' predictions, have less than three months left to live may stay in the hospital to the end IF the family is exhausted or without resources (i.e., no family members to care for the patient at home).

However, a new rule just come down to hospitals in my province (Quebec, right across the river from Ottawa, but still part of the NCR––National Capital Region) says that doctor predictions of a demise beyond three months requires the patient to go back home as soon as stabilized OR pay the cost of the entire stay in the hospital right up to the day of death. The new ruling has got a few unfortunate families scrambling to care for terminally-ill relatives at home, or turf them onto welfare. Conveniently, a new law (full of protection clauses) is about to go into effect in Quebec allowing physician-assisted death, a first in Canada.

Today I heard for the first time of an angle to protect spouses from bankruptcy: "administrative divorce." This is all a carryover from the Harper years. But the new PM is Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party. Should we expect a reversal of Harper policies? Will Trudeau roll back the endless corner cutting in health care? I doubt it. The Conservatives and the Liberals have been doing things over the years that sure look like privatization is the coming thing, bit by bit. Why do I say that? The troubling changes I described above are being administered in Quebec by an established Liberal Party. As with governments everywhere else, there is less money to go around, and public health looks like another service that can, at least in part, be shifted back on private shoulders.

As for the war business, last I heard, Trudeau was not going to jump into Syria.

As for the elephant on the couch, in Ottawa as well as other cities around the country and the world, there will be a massive demonstration this Sunday (29 Nov 15) demanding the leaders meeting in Paris get serious about global warming. I intend to be there beside many other Canadians.

Meredith said...

Thank you Pearl and Jay for your extremely interesting details.

Pearl said...

Thanks Jay for adding your knowledge. I had a feeling about cutbacks in the medical care system as you listed, from things my PSW (personal care worker) told me and things I heard on the grapevine. The NDP was the only party calling for increased coverage for vital medical needs during the election but they too, had they gotten in may not have been able to follow through. As for costs being added on to the older population, this is a problem in other countries as well as the increasing means of keeping people alive longer via medication and new machinery and surgical improvements is creating a backlog of people who would normally not live so long. I am an example of this and can only hope that the physician assisted death law goes into effect soon and I am going to list this information in my living will.

I think that Justin Trudeau will be active about environmental problems as this is an issue he feels strongly about and I commend you for joining the demonstration in Ottawa. If the planet collapses everything else will not matter anymore.

By the way, Obamacare news keeps getting worse and worse as many of us predicted and costs are rising rapidly. This is an issue that Bernie Sanders has spoken strongly about which may have some effect. It is obvious that Hillary will throw out a have assed plan to mollify the public and her financial supporters.