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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Media Hacks And Political Mayhem

Corporate media is now fully engaged in exploiting the news-worthiness of the Russian hack of the US presidential elections. To hear them tell it, we should all be concerned about the atrocity of a foreign power's manipulation of our sacred electoral process. They want to now manufacture outrage toward Putin and his interests, and in the process expunge themselves - the Media that is - of any complicity in what is essentially a circus of economic corruption. If Putin and his forces were able to drown the the prospects of a Clinton presidency through the power of speech, vulgar as it was... and always is... they were in fact only executing that same strategy that powerful imperialist forces have used to determine the political fate of many individuals and nations. I remember as a boy growing up in Jamaica, how the US Government of the time painted Fidel Castro of Cuba as the devil incarnate in order to foil any alliance between progressive movements in Jamaica and our neighbors ninety miles away. In an ideologically bipolar world this kind of operation remains a fact of life. What's that old cliche... what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

We live in a world where power is measured in dollars and cents. An abundance of the one sets up the proliferation of the other. The US Supreme Court has ruled that "money is speech", so those with the most dollars are able then to rule through the drowning out of the voices of those without great wealth. Ultimately corporate media is driven... in all things, by its profit motif. Those who own and operate the media complexes that muscle their way into our attention, have no more noble an aspiration than to maximize their profit potential. They know that it takes money to make money... to wield power... and they are committed to the making of money by any means necessary.

To accomplish their goal, programmers must attract and hold our attention. The formula for doing so is a rather uncomplicated one... present more and more of the stuff that their core audience loves to see and hear. Those who want truth and esthetically uplifting content will generally not be satisfied with the content on our most dominant networks. These networks feed at the very bottom of Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs'They tap into the insecurities that drive those still focused on their own survival in a dog eat dog world, and cultivate their fears with an unrelenting persistence. This is the allure of a Donald Trump... this is what explains his perch at the pinnacle of American power. Trumpism is an appeal to the fears that drive the insecurities which provide fuel for the engines of a morally bankrupt society. The roots of that moral bankruptcy runs deep in American history and culture.

A culture of insecurity has become the desired environment for those who seek to profit from an audience still preoccupied with issues of its own basic survival. Through well honed "dog whistles", groups are turned against groups. The crass political banter that passes as "discussion" on daily news programs are real representations of this dynamic. The most basic of our human concerns are exploited through the grossest of our individual instincts. Our need to procreate physically and economically, and our anxieties about our ultimate decline become the triggers that get us to act out against each other in the cultural and political arena. Sex and violence... Self-propagation and death... These are the triggers constantly being fingered to keep us on the edge of our existential seats. They grab and fondle the  genitalia of the socially and economically vulnerable in order to keep them distracted from the real issues that affect their lives. This grossly aggressive indulgence greases the ball and socket that enables the long arm of our crass economic and political culture.

From cartoons to fake reality shows, every dramatic medium is utilized to cultivate mindsets that then become the agencies of the mayhem that we witness all too often in our society. Our preoccupation with the underlying insecurities in our psyches is what explains the phenomenal rise of politicians who continue to ride the angst of a declining middle class to the very heights of social, economic, and political power.

By generalizing about immigrants as rapists and murderers,  and those with different religious convictions as terrorists, these charlatans tap into and exploit the most basic fears of the group they see as their ticket to the the top of the political hill. The whores in corporate media then partner with their political counterparts in the enterprise of  hate-mongering to maximize their audience share... and therefore their profit margins. It is time for us to tune them out. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Trumpism... The New Great Hope Of The Prison-Industrial Complex

Since the 1970s the prison population in the USA has grown by leaps and bounds. According to the International Centre for Prison Studies:
“No country incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than the United States at 716 per 100,000 people”. 
This fact stands out in light of our claim to being the “beacon of Freedom”. It is necessary that we ask why… Why do we lock away our people at such an outrageous rate? Unsurprisingly the answer to this question may lie at the very heart of our socio-economic ideal. At the very core of this issue is a version of capitalism …expressed as unbridled, rapacious greed.
Vicky Pelaez writes the following in an article titled “The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?” :
“There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.” 
Addressing the same issue, Andy Kroll writes the following in an article titled “This Is How Private Prison Companies Make Millions Even When Crime Rates Fall” published in Mother Jones magazine, Sept 2013:
“We are living in boom times for the private prison industry. The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest owner of private prisons, has seen its revenue climb by more than 500 percent in the last two decades. And CCA wants to get much, much bigger: Last year, the company made an offer to 48 governors to buy and operate their state-funded prisons. But what made CCA’s pitch to those governors so audacious and shocking was that it included a so-called occupancy requirement, a clause demanding the state keep those newly privatized prisons at least 90 percent full at all times, regardless of whether crime was rising or falling.
Occupancy requirements, as it turns out, are common practice within the private prison industry. A new report by In the Public Interest, an anti-privatization group, reviewed 62 contracts for private prisons operating around the country at the local and state level. In the Public Interest found that 41 of those contracts included occupancy requirements mandating that local or state government keep those facilities between 80 and 100 percent full. In other words, whether crime is rising or falling, the state must keep those beds full.”

Paying The Piper... Calling The Tune
It has been reported that the Trump Campaign received significant contributions from those who hope to boost their profits from the mass incarceration that is a stain on America's conscience. Well they have made their investment in Trump, and now they are looking forward to reaping the benefits. They have paid the piper, and now they are calling the tune to which they hope he will march. How, you ask, will they halt the trend of locking up people for profit that Hillary Clinton promised would be reversed under her Presidency? For the answer to that question look no further than  the new vigor that now characterizes immigration enforcement laws. 
There are by conservative estimates now over 11 million undocumented persons living in the US. For decades the focus has been on acting mainly against those with criminal histories. By all indications that will now change. Enforcement will now target everyone of those living in the shadows. Those who have invested in locking up people for profit must be smiling... all the way to the bank.