Archives for posts with tag: Orwell

Your humble correspondent and his amazingly tolerant spouse spent last weekend with family, preparing for all manner of family-altering events. In the course of that, we were exposed to Cable “News” of various flavors (we don’t typically watch that kind of crap at chez Blunt and Cranky) on family members’ TeeVees, as they keep those channels on during waking hours. This was a depressingly revelatory experience, and it explained a lot about how America has would up so close to becoming a Dystopia on the order of Brave New World, 1984, or one of such.

What this writer saw was a load of propaganda, innuendo, speculation, dissimulation, distraction, obfuscation, panic-mongering, manipulation, and outright lies: call it 90+% of the programming. Any actual news appeared at random and infrequently. This, whether one was subjected to Fox, CNN, or MSNBC. The vast majority of airtime was swallowed up by “panel discussions”, “analysis”, and members of the the Punditocracy doing their Pundit thing.

So this morning, listening to the Beeb on the car radio, all one heard was the Brit Flavor of the same programming. Perhaps a bit more news there, but not by a lot. And it brought home the pervasiveness of the phenomenon: we are getting the same sort of near-as-no-matter brainwashing as described by Huxley or Orwell. Big Brother may not be watching us 24/7/365 yet, but He is most certainly doing His very best to control our thinking. And having great success at it, too.

Ebola? Be afraid, shun the infected!
A mass shooting? Be afraid, buy more guns and hide!
Terrorists? Be afraid, elect authoritarians!
People of Color in our country? Be afraid, vote to take away their rights!

On and on, on nearly every topic (except the occasional cat video), fear was the product being sold. And a neo-Fascist, authoritarian approach was the lone solution being presented as the “only way” to be “safe”.

America has gone down this road before: the “Redskins”, the “Yellow Peril”, and the “Red Scare” are just a few examples of how the powers that be use the media to manipulate us, mislead us, and bit by bit, enslave us. By pitting us against the “Other” du jour, we are led down a twisted road to a Dystopian nation, in which we will all be at risk of being “Othered” if we don’t stay in line.

One bright spot: our President doesn’t watch cable news: http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/jay-carney-president-obama-is-various-reader-of-print-does-not-watch-cable-news_b243577 One very dark spot: this is presented as a very unusual and possibly negative thing. By, of course, cable news:

STELTER: Is it true the president doesn’t watch any cable news?

CARNEY: It is true, which doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get news, in a real time basis. He does. He’s a voracious consumer of the printed word, even the electronic printed word, and but he doesn’t — he doesn’t watch cable news. I have spent, you know, countless hours with him on Air Force One, especially, in the conference room where we always had the TV on, and it was never in any of the trips I ever took with him, tuned in to cable news.

So hey, cool, the Prexy isn’t getting the full brainwash treatment. Yay. He’s not peddling as much fear and loathing as most DC Politicos. But of course, most people don’t like him much, so who cares what he has to say?

I know most people don’t like Obama; after all, I heard it on CNN this weekend…

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Mr. Blunt and Cranky grew up in the sort of town where one could see “retired” men spending a lot of time going from store to store on a daily basis. Until the state created its own lottery, thus effectively ending the illegal numbers racket, after which these men seemed much less active. Just getting older and slowing down, no doubt.

A key lesson learned from one of these oh-no-not-a-gangster-not-at-all gentlemen, overheard while he was talking with another of his ilk: “You are looking for good will. There is no good will for people like them: there is only advantage”. Words to ponder, and words many Americans have evidently never heard.

As we have seen over the past few years, the “Republican” party has abandoned any small remaining shred of goodwill, of comity, of cooperation, of respect, or any of the virtues that allow people of divergent backgrounds to live together in reasonable peace and relative harmony. They do not care about anyone else’s viewpoint and indeed, wish to stifle and suppress such viewpoints. If possible, they’d dearly love to imprison or deport anyone who does not march in lockstep with them, 24/7/365.  Good will? They have no use for it.

Within the past ten days, a few examples of this attitude and how it hurts the rest of us:

Number A: Michigan “Republicans” just rammed through a union-busting bill in a lame-duck session. Why? Because in January a few Democrats will replace a few Repubs, and they will lose the ability to do such partisan s***. For right now, they have complete control and are using it for their own greedy, power-hungry benefit.

Letter 2: Michigan’s “Republican” governor has just been granted emergency powers that are not subject to the approval of those governed. He can take over cities, school districts, etc. and do whatever he likes to whoever and whatever he likes. Or give the job to a crony of his. Either way, he and his party have complete control and are using it for their own greedy, power-hungry benefit.

Thirdly: “No worries”, you say, “we can recall the b***ards”. Ummm…no…you see, the “Republicans” of Michigan just passed a law that makes it incredibly difficult to recall an elected official. This makes it easier to have complete control and use it for their own greedy, power-hungry benefit.

Fourth Item: Michigan “Republicans” rewrote their concealed carry policies to allow people to carry guns into schools and other such places. Never mind what the cops think, the legislators want the cash that the gun lobby is bribing them with. In other words, again, they have complete control and are using it for their own greedy, power-hungry benefit.

That’s just part of what these partisans have done in just a few days, in just one state. Get the picture, folks? 

You. Can. Not. Negotiate. With. These. People.  “Republicans” don’t believe in compromise: to them it is profanity. They openly say things like “bipartisanship means coming around to the Republican point of view”.   They are not like you or I; they don’t give a happy monkey fart about your point of view, and they are after each and every bit of power, wealth, and control they can get. 

You can go to the well of “mutual understanding and cooperation” and drop in a bucket as many times as you wish, and you’ll always come up dry. So stop, okay, just stop pretending that they are reasonable people.

These people do not understand good will: for them there is only advantage.

Monday – the only way to solve the problem.

Mr. B & C

Yes, Mr. Blunt and Cranky is mixquoting Orwell’s Animal Farm. And even though the analogy might not seem apt on the surface, it is a good fit when you dig a bit deeper.

Our corporations have, over recent decades, amassed wealth and rights that are far above those of the citizens of the United States. They can avoid taxation, regulation, and prosecution.

The average American can avoid none of these. We bear an ever- increasing burden while our benefits are reduced. Our lawmakers spend their time pleasing their corporate paymasters and turn a deaf ear to our protests and petitions.

The idea of corporate personhood has been  so distorted as to be unrecognizeable. As politics has become monetized, those with more money have become “more equal” than those of us with less.

One does not need a degree in history to see where our society is going to wind up. Whenever wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of the few,and the lives of the masses become desperate, revolutionary movements form and nations fall apart.

Tomorrow: what will happen if our institutions don’t get a clue.

Mr. B & C

As Mister Blunt and Cranky kvetched yesterday, lying in politics has hit a new high (or low) with the current GOP ticket: these two a**holes have even less respect for the truth than did Nixon, ferchrissakes.  So he thought it would be good to explain three often-used lying techniques so that you can more easily filter through the B.S.

Newspeak: The term is from George Orwell, but the tool is one that post-Ford Repubs (especially the Rovians and Atwaters) have honed to a fine edge and used with ever-increasing frequency and effectiveness of late.  It involves taking existing words and making them mean (or generate an emotion) that is contrary to the original meaning and intent; or, making new words up completely. Examples:

  • Instead of “Democratic Party”, say “Democrat Party”, emphasizing the syllable “Rat” to add a negative association to a formerly neutral word.
  • Take a market-based private-sector health-care system and call it “Socialist”, thus misrepresenting the nature and essence of the program.
  • Add an adjective to a noun and do so consistently: e.g. “Failed Stimulus”, whether the adjective fits or not.

Loud and Often: State a lie as if it were the truth, and do so consistently, at high volume (shout other speakers down if they try to state an alternative case) and as frequently as possible. Examples:

  • Once again, “Failed Stimulus” – that is a lie, but because this phrase has been used so much and so loudly, people are starting to believe  the lie.
  • The “Obama Deficit” – It is actually a combined Bush/Obama deficit, but because this phrase has been used so much and so loudly, people are starting to believe the lie.
  • “Failure” – In fact, Obama, like all Prexies, has a mixed record, but you’d never know it from the lie-driven media coverage.

Selectivity: State a partial truth, or an individual fact that is true. Leave out context or additional facts that would expose the liar as, well, lying. Examples:

  • “You didn’t build that” – removed from a poorly-constructed sentence and used to convey a message that is      absolutely opposite of what the full statement meant.
  • “Bain Capital Created 100,000 jobs” –  Fails to mention the tens of thousands of other jobs that were cut, or sent overseas; the companies that went bankrupt; or the fact that many of the jobs were at minimum wage or below, and part-time at that.
  • “I worked three jobs to go to college” – Paul Ryan had a paper route, mowed lawns, and shoveled snow, like lots of kids: most of us would not call that “working three jobs”. In fact, he was a child of wealth and never knew want or financial uncertainty. He was sufficiently affluent that he could bank the Social Security Benefits he received as a teenager and use them to pay for much of his college education.

The Crankster is not saying that Dems, Whigs, Tories, Commies, and other parties do not use the same techniques: of course they do. But, as opposed to the occasional fib or whopper that most politicos employ when they see an opportunity or advantage, the modern Republican party is unique in that it has made lying a central part of its communication strategy.

Later this week  –  a few examples of just how deep the layers of bulls*** have become.

Mr. B & C