Archive for June, 2007
The retail giant Best Buy has some problems. Some are specific to the corporation, some are indicative of wider issues. These are accurate statements as of September 2006, although I greatly doubt much has changed subsequently. Until America forces places like this to change they will not.
Customers are seen as things to be exploited. The first thing salesmen are taught to do is to strike up a friendship with a customer. Small talk, “break down the wall”. In total this process is called being a “smart friend”. Of course this is not done out of friendliness, but in order to more easily profit from the customer. A comfortable, happy customer more easily parts with large amonts of money and buys items that have high margins. Literally the only way a salesman can take some other process with the customer is if that process is also successful, and even then it’s treated with considerable skepticism by management.
Margin sales: salesmen are taught two contradictory things: they are taught simultaneously to listen to the customer and fit their needs and yet to sell them items that have high margin despite their needs. This is not done to such an extent that it becomes totally obvious and enrages the customer (usually). So for example within a class of items, such as budget computers, there will be some computers that are more profitable to the company: these are the focus of sales regardless of whether that computer is actually better for the customer. Usually this was brand-oriented: in Best Buy for example in recent years there was an explosion in house brands, but never sold under the Best Buy label (there is no Best Buy label, just several house brands). The Dynex brand for example is a common Best Buy brand that has very high margin because Best Buy owns the company that makes the product. Some Dynex product has a much higher rate of defection than non-Dynex product: that doesn’t matter to management unless the rate of return of the product is so high that it is more profitable to sell another brand.
Another contradiction: salesmen are taught to establish trust while simultaneously engaging in practices that no trustworthy person would do. This leaves salesmen with three possibilities: they are either intentionally ignorant about what they are doing, or they are actually ignorant of what they are doing, which is fueled by a high turnover rate for salesmen (last known figure was a mean average of 4 months at the job), or they become pathological or cynical concerning what they are doing. This is a form of abuse of the salesman himself, since he is being forced to abuse customers.
Because there is such a degree of abuse among salesmen, salesmen begin abusing other people than customers. For example there was an incident of sexual misconduct at a company bowling party, justified through drunkenness. Male associates are frequently sexist and objectifying of women. Drinking is the most common social activity off-hours for many salesmen, and a few become alcoholics before the age of 21. The company doesn’t care about this, it just tells the person to make sure not to come to work drunk.
Best Buy used to heavily discount their open box (opened and returned) merchandise. In recent years they have raised the price to just under regular price (5% for low-margin items, 10% or 15% for high-margin items) and taught salesmen pitches to use to sell the product, such as “it’s just like new”. The fact that open box merchandise has a much higher rate of return than fresh product is of course never mentioned.
Historically the most common criticism of Best Buy surrounds the salesman-pushing of the Performance Service Plan (PSP), a kind of insurance policy with high margin for expensive items. Best Buy corporate management has responded to this criticism by broadening the range of items salesmen push, with a focus on high-margin accessories (I used to joke that the smaller the item, the higher the margin). There’s a propaganda term for this broad focus, called “the complete solution”. In the last few years there is another category of high-margin items salesmen push, Services. Magazine subscriptions, computer maintainance and repair plans, Television installation, cell phone contracts, and the like. These are ideal for the company because they do not involve product, hence take up no inventory space or cost, and they have the highest rate of margin of any class of item.
It’s fairly disgusting when I hear the constant ridicule of salesmen by the general public, cartoonists, or whoever else. Salesmen (at Best Buy and I certainly assume elsewhere) are in a constant battle with management concerning ethics and practices. Cartoonists portray the salesman as evil and callous. A rare few are and are shunned by the other salesmen. Most do what they do because the alternative is that they lose their job. But instead of portraying the management standing behind the salesman, or portraying the corporate bosses standing behind the management, or portraying the stockholders and corporate system standing behind the corporate bosses, they always fucking portray the evil manipulative salesman. Penny Arcade and PvP are a couple web comics which have completely fallen prey to this. Penny Arcade sees cashiers as an even lower form of lifeform, since they call them “register biscuits” while salesmen as far as I am aware are not denigrated by name form. How kind of the little shits at Penny Arcade to show such restraint.
Each higher level’s purpose in the corporate hierarchy is to control, corrupt, and propagandize the level below them, and the lower level’s purpose is to act as best they can while controlling the level below them (workers controlling consumers) and being deluged through their very job description itself with this propaganda and attempted control. Only in corporations is everyone a victim. The CEO is a victim of shareholders and of a law that requires him to maximize profits at any cost. Management is a victim of the CEO. Workers are victims of management. And shareholders are victims of consumer demand – the snake consumes it’s own tail.
The manager-worker propaganda is well-known. The CEO-manager propaganda somewhat. The worker-customer propaganda is reasonably well-known. The shareholder-CEO machination is becoming more well-known. But what about the little known link between consumer and shareholder?
It’s really ignorant to be against consumerism. I hear this a lot. “If only we didn’t want stuff!” Stuff is actually NICE a lot of the time. I have some lamps, speakers, a desk, a computer, books… this is all stuff. All useful, good stuff which I gained by being a consumer. It’s not consumerism that’s the problem, it’s the manner in which consumerism is carried out. It’s the system. It’s ingrained abuse, control, propaganda, and unwarranted hierarchy. That system has to be ended. We shouldn’t have to be in a constant war in order to act ethically toward the people around us… society itself and it’s institutions should encourage that behavior. Any system that doesn’t should be destroyed in the name of liberation, freedom, and justice.
Feminism has made an error. It says it wants gender equality. That’s an error because equality is tenuous, as the entire history of humanity shows, and equality is also just another position of power relations (a balance of relations).
Feminism is better off taking the position that gender power relations should be annihilated. There simply should be no power relations at all based on gender, “equal” or otherwise. In other words, there needs to be a breakdown of gender identity, such that the world is no longer divided into “men” and “women”, sharply defined, whereby logical groups can be established and therefore power relations established.
The problem, for those espousing “equality” between the sexes, is that there has to be a lot of effort put into attaining and then continuous effort in maintaining that equality. It’s bound to go wrong, probably within just a few decades.
Louis Farrakhan in his appearance on The Donahue Show in 1990 http://tinyurl.com/2858ul introduced the idea that tolerance should be destroyed in America. Instead, he proposed that we should love. Many white people in the audience were outraged at this notion – they cleared prefer tolerance to love, at least where blacks are concerned. Many black people in the audience were very happy with the idea. I wonder how many of the people outraged by this idea consider themselves to not be racist. Many of them expressed tremendous outrage at the words of Don Imus, showing in their great volume how non-racist they indeed are.
17 years after this appearance, it’s clear that there is still only tolerance (if that) in America and not love. And then people have the idiocy to wonder why America still “struggles mightily” with racism and race relations. You didn’t listen to Farrakhan and you paid, and will continue to pay, the price. Well done, America. Well done. There’s no need to struggle with racism unless you’re a racist. For racists, the only sensible struggle is one that can work.
Puritarianism doesn’t want to cleanse America of smoking, of racism, of sexism, of drunk driving… it simply wants to make it appear to the world that it wants it. Hence the shouting about Don Imus… what better way to express outrage? How many of these people never shout about the annihilation of social programs which actually severely hurts black people, but present a Don Imus and they go crazy with indignation.
Just as with Farrakhan’s message, my message that this flavor of American is completely hypocritical, monstrous, and impotent will fall on intentionally deaf ears. And in 2024 America will be “struggling mightily” with racism and claiming to be wondering why.
We denounced Don Imus! Isn’t that the way to defeat racism?? Wah… we don’t understand!!!
We humiliated Michael Richards! Isn’t that the path to defeating racism?
We mock Mel Gibson! Isn’t that…
Say what you will about bigots: at least they admit they’re racists. Bigots can actually become non-racist with help. Hypocrits on the other hand will, to their dying breath, deny their racism.
Racist, at Decibel level 100: “MEL GIBSON IS A HORRIBLE PERSON!!!!”
The really horrible thing about racist hypocrits, besides their obvious racism, is that they make bigots like Mel Gibson look good, by begging the comparison. Acts like Gibson’s, Richards’s, and Imus’s, are another kind of Outing, coming out of the closet. The difference between homosexuality and racism and hence the difference in attitude of mainstream society toward those two kinds of outings is obvious: mainstream society is heterosexual and hence is not threatened by clear displays of homosexuality. Since mainstream society is racist and in the closet they are threatened by clear displays of racism, and hence those displays must be oppressed. The underlying racism, however, carries on receiving no objection at all.
The real crime according to the monsters that dominate American society is that Don Imus reminds America of itself -he held up a mirror. America doesn’t like what it sees, but of course instead of changing the image it kills the holder of the mirror. It works the same way every time. For now.
It worked the same way in the Salem Witch trials and burnings. Perhaps we should burn Michael Richards at the stake, or burn a R into his forehead. You know, in order to terrorize Americans into avoiding all such displays of racism in the future.
Yeah, that’s the way to end racism in America. Why bother reading what I have to say when Americans obviously have everything under control? Why bother ending racism when it’s so much easier to pretend to?
Hypocrit: “What’s 2024 going to look like in America?”
NO. What’s 2024 going to be in America? That’s the real question – since if you’re successful in your oppression America will certainly look completely non-racist in 2024. The sterile, clean, pure, facade of a thing that you want to make America into, where noone ever says racist things or appears racist but they live racist. What better way, after all, to perpetuate racism?
Olbermann: “Imus only got a suspension! WHY DOES HE STILL HAVE A JOB??!!!”
Why does Olbermann only care about American deaths, not Iraqis?
Why does the left in America praise Olbermann?
The answers are not pleasant, but they need to be acknowledged. Or maybe not. Whether Americans can “handle the truth” will determine that.
Perhaps I need a T branded into my forehead.
Perhaps Olbermann needs to lose his job. Chomsky can fill it – or Lakoff – or Goodman – or, you know, someone actually on the left. Someone who’s not a racist.
Here’s a quote from axeman014 talking about Indianapolis, Indiana on Dennis Kucinich’s website, http://kucinich.us/node/3485
“I’m from North East Indy. I feel very alienated in this conservative state. Indiana is the northern most southern state. Most people I have come in contact with in Indy seem to lack intense or enthusiastic political beliefs, and not many have meaningful interests or convictions. It seems to be a town void of thought.”
Someone needs to invent a Brain-dar (like Radar) and walk across Indiana to see if they get any reading at all.
At least Hoosiers don’t have to worry about zombies.
The smirk and sneer are trademarks of Neocon culture. Very distinctive – you’ll almost never see a CEO or other business leader sneer or smirk in public.
The point of CEOs is to keep the profit rolling, and to increase the profit. They’d be happy to sneer if it helped, but sneering makes people angry. Angry people do things like boycott product or publicize problems with the company.
Why then do the Neocons, who supposedly are far-rightists similar to a CEO, act so very differently? It’s as if it takes a monumental effort for them to not show some sign of obvious disdain for the world around them.
I’m not sure George W. Bush has managed to give a press conference without some act of obvious condescension.
Justice Roberts during his confirmation hearing (I think that’s what it was) gave the trademarked sneer.
For people who would ostensibly like to run their government like a business, they sure don’t act like it.
CEOs don’t sneer because it makes people angry. Neocons do sneer because it makes people angry.
The Neocons go out of their way to make people angry, for obvious reasons according to my stated understanding of them.
CEOs are all smiles, genuine smiles, when the money is flowing. They are happy – and according to them they should be.
Billions upon billions are flowing from taxpayers into private contractors in alliance with the Neocons. The Neocons have been wildly successful by any business measure. Yet the condescension, smirks, and sneers have only grown deeper and more frequent with every additional blow to the American people.
CEOs want to distract you from the problems they cause. They want to minimize the effect on you. They want to draw as little attention to themselves as possible. CEOs don’t shoot their hunting partners in the face. CEOs don’t say “go fuck yourself”.
What’s the point of saying that? CEOs just want to get with the business of rape. Why antagonize the victim?
The American taxpayers are a cash cow that keep on giving to private firms and contractors – but they only keep on giving (to such a large extent) while the Neocons are in control. Why do the Neocons go out of their way to antagonize the very people enabling them to keep milking the cow?
There are other theories besides my own to account for Neocon peculiarities:
One theory states that the Neocons are authoritarians, and this whole process of condescension, smirking, sneering, abusing, etc. is about beating down the American people into submission, into a lack of resistance, which the Neocons can then follow up with a one-party national system, fascism, and even more abuse. In other words, they believe the Neocons want to knock Rocky out instead of making him explode. The process by which one knocks out Rocky appears nearly identical to the process by which one beats Rocky to a pulp, except near the end.
My argument against this theory examines the Neocon progression. Does someone whose goal is a knockout get progressively more violent over time, almost linearly? Furthermore, does someone with that goal begin operating in secret, and then at a certain point behave so foolishly as to draw vast amounts of attention to themselves?
The Reagan administration, for example, shared some aspects of the Bush II administration but it lacked all of its extremes. There was no sneering. There were more moderate tax cuts. There was less military spending, and no global military goals. There was much less crazy legislation, and nothing like the various eliminations of civil liberties Bush II has presented. There was much less secrecy inside the executive branch.
Someone who wants Rocky to be knocked out doesn’t care about Rocky’s status. He just keeps pounding and pounding until finally Rocky goes down. That is the way of the CEO who literally cares about nothing else than his profits. The CEO smiles even more broadly after Rocky is laying on the ground.
Someone who wants Rocky to explode carefully monitors Rocky’s status, and when Rocky is beaten to a certain point he changes tactics. Now he starts taunting Rocky, trash talking, mocking him, trying to enrage him without doing further physical damage. Of course since he can’t give the game away he needs to keep punching, but his punches become softer, less threatening. Rocky meanwhile is beaten into such a state that he barely notices the physical change. This is the do-or-die point for the Neocons according to my theory… Rocky needs to respond or the jig is up. By “the jig is up” I mean either Rocky is finished off and knocked out or the fighter needs to be stopped from throwing additional punches (such as by the referee stopping the fight). The referee is, ostensibly, congress and the judiciary.
The third theory of the Neocons is easier to defeat: they are incompetent monstrous fools out of control and drunk on power. That theory likes “Bush as frat boy”, “Cheney as evil overlord”, “Wolfowitz as naive idealist”. This theory loves to paint the American war in Iraq as a “mistake” instead of as successful in its goal of generating regional instability.
The first thing any propagandist does is propagandizes himself. That DOES NOT MEAN the propagandist believes his own propaganda. Rush Limbaugh does not believe in the concept “feminazis”, but the term is useful for him. He believes he believes in the concept, he just actually doesn’t believe in it.
Many supposed “experts” on the American war in Iraq talk about “regime change” as the American goal in Iraq. Actually, regime change was the pretext in Iraq… the actual goal in Iraq was to foment regional instability, with the long-term idea of weakening and controlling the entire region. America (its government) is the Snake who wants to poison and weaken the Middle East.
Wow. Tom Hayden in his recent appearance on The Colbert Show makes a common error. He says we should pull out of Iraq because the war is lost. That’s the kind of response a warmonger would have. Someone for peace should say we should pull out of Iraq because we have no right to be there in the first place. We should have pulled out on Day 1 of the invasion. This kind of stupid answer seems to justify war as long as we win.
It was the people who protested against the war before it began that I respect, not the dogpilers writing their books and making their announcements in 2007.
I don’t agree with the people who say “everything’s already been done”, one outcome of which is “everything is already known”. These people follow that up with “the truth no longer matters”, since all truth is already known. All that remains is entertainment, manipulation, and deception. Or, “truth”.
It’s this very concept that has led to a high degree of willful ignorance in modern society. It’s not that people are stupid, it’s that they want to be stupid. If they no longer desired that they would have to give up on “the truth no longer matters” and change their entire worldview. Truth is a lot of hard work. “Truth” is easy because you just creatively extrapolate from your desires, as Rush Limbaugh illustrates clearly. Truth requires scholarship. “Truth” requires art.
People think that the only objection to truth is when people don’t believe it to be true. That’s completely wrong. The common objection to truth in modern society is that truth is inferior to “truth”. Hence the equivalent of 1+1=2 is inferior to Rush Limbaugh’s “truth” for listeners of Rush Limbaugh, because his words make them happy while “1+1=2” does nothing for them. Others prefer Al Franken. “To each his own”.
Truth doesn’t care who says it. However, truth needs someone to say it. Furthermore, it needs many people to believe it. A society of 1+1=3 has many terrible repercussions that are eliminated when that society follows 1+1=2, but if 1+1=3 makes people happy (according to them) then the person saying 1+1=2 may be very lonely and desperate. Desperate because he knows how much better society would be if 1+1=2 was believed and followed.
Take a male sexist, for example. It makes him very happy to hear “women are pathetic” but he doesn’t actually believe that women are pathetic. (Male sexists hate and fear women) But his happiness may cause him to say “women are pathetic”. In other words, he is pursuing “truth” instead of truth.
Another name for “truth” is propaganda. This is often thought to be the domain of mass media or governments, but in fact every human who uses “truth” is using propaganda. When that woman-hater says “women are pathetic” he is propagandizing. If some human who hears him believes he is saying truth instead of “truth” that person may be inclined to believe the truth that women are pathetic. If some human hears him who also hates women that person may be inclined to further the “truth” that women are pathetic. This is exactly how any propaganda works.
Propaganda itself needs to be legislated against. Again, one of the effects of propaganda: whenever a human believes that “truth” is truth he is vulnerable for that “truth” becoming his actual truth.
One example of this: how many of you believe that pit bulls are a horrible species of dog that cause large numbers of injuries to humans? The vast majority of humans who actually believe that are a classic case of “truth” becoming truth. This has horrible repercussions, such as people believing that “pit bulls should be killed off”.
I’m becoming very tired of the mantra of “freedom of speech” trumping everything. These people are directly permitting propaganda in society… they can be blamed for propaganda.
Propaganda is not speech, no more than a stabbing is social relations. Propaganda harms society’s reality, as well as the reality of individuals.
Any American should be able to call another American on something they say. It then needs to be shown to be true or it needs to stop being presented as truth. It would be fine for Rush Limbaugh to add a disclaimer that says that what he says isn’t true, it’s just propaganda designed to make his listeners happy.
The Bush Administration would long since have been sent to jail if propaganda was outlawed in America. But, see, the Bushies are just exerting their “freedom of speech”. We can’t take that away!
Speech should only be free so long as it is not abused.
My understanding of the Neoconservatives is controversial to say the least. It’s becoming more clear to me that I’m correct, and it’s thus fairly critical that my position be addressed since it has serious implications. Watching these will help…
It’s controversial really in only one respect: I believe that the Neocons did not abandon their Trotskyist roots. From this belief derives a completely different understanding of what the Neocons are all about. My belief accounts for more reality, for more facts than the standard line. It accounts for everything.
The standard line is this: the Neocons were Trotskyists in the 1960s who abandoned the left and became conservatives in the 1970s, forming right-wing think tanks, manipulating the White House during the 8 years of the Reagan Administration and the 12 years of the Bush white houses.
There are some problems with that theory. The most critical is that throughout the Neocon years capitalism was highly respected, and with the fall of the Soviet Union capitalism was top dog. The corporate world was getting massive profits. Everything was joyful for the corporate elite.
But at this time of massive joy for the right in America, the Bush II Administration went bonkers, well beyond anything they had done under Reagan or Bush I. They never would have dreamed of things like the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, or destroying Habeas Corpus under Reagan or Bush I, so what changed?
The standard line has a response for this: what changed was 9/11, fear in America, and the manipulation of that fear into what they wanted to do all along… quest for world domination, execute a totalitarian state, and all the rest.
I’ve taken a clear look, free from all propaganda on all sides, at the actual emotions of Americans following 9/11. I did this intentionally. I completely agree that there was fear and rage for the first six months or so following 9/11, and a lot of successful manipulation occurred by the Bush Administration by means of this. But Americans returned to normal after that period, with one minor exception: they became more despondent. They knew on an emotional level if not always on an intellectual level what the government was doing, and they recognized the terrible repercussions it would have.
So the standard line made one critical error: they believe that there is a continuing culture of 9/11-fueled fear in America.
Because things were relatively normal emotionally in America, the argument that the Bush Administration successfully prosecuted the Iraq war and all the rest by means of fearful Americans is false. So then, what’s actually going on?
People who are joyful want to maintain their status. It doesn’t make sense for capitalism, at such a good time for itself, to push things to the limit. If capitalists want one thing it’s for nothing to stop their profits. Why then try to foment a revolution?
Why install the Patriot Act? Why implement the Military Commissions Act? Why remove Habeas Corpus? Why continue to lie, manipulate, deceive, and invent totally new and monstrous ways to run the executive branch of the US government, at the very moment of capitalism’s peak? Why seem to know no bounds of ambition?
The standard line is again wrong: it says that these people believe themselves to be untouchable. That they see 9/11 as their justification for everything. They they see themselves as the saviors of the world.
It’s all wrong. I have a different view, one that is much more reasonable and much better fits the facts.
The New Left of the 1960s, which included the Trotskyists who would later become the Neoconservatives, saw themselves following the collapse of the New Left in the 1970s as a terrible failure. They blamed themselves, and they blamed the world. Their overriding reason for this failure was in their approach: they naively believed they could change the world. According to them, the world was too entrenched, too fatalistic, too lazy, too weak, too cowardly, to respond to their revolutionary talk. The world had failed, but they had failed to understand the pathetic world. Their mistake was in believing the world to be noble.
They would, they solemnly declared, not make the same mistake again. So they became something mistakenly called cynical. In fact they became an absolute horror, something the world has never seen before. They have the darkest view of humanity that any political force has ever had. They believe humanity to be doomed. Not by some outside force, but by their fundamentally flawed inner selves.
The Neocons want the same thing they’ve always wanted: socialist revolution. But since their view of humanity radically changed after the 1960s, the approach they needed to take radically changed as well.
Instead of the straightforward optimistic upbeat strident approach of the 1960s, those who are called the Neoconservatives went underground. They, like the spies they essentially are, set up right-wing manipulation machines, created the far-right and horribly abusive neoliberal global economic model, and implemented a military policy so extreme that the domestic US budget was gutted to fuel it, probably irreperably harming the educational system, health care system, and all other domestic programs.
So… what’s the point of all of this? Think about it. What’s the point of the constant escalation of abuse of Americans… that would actually destroy a fundamental principle of human rights from 1215? Why do it?
These are people who believe that optimism is unwarranted. That humans are simply incapable of responding positively to what’s in their best interests to pursue, that is to say a socialist revolution. But… there is another way to achieve socialist revolution besides that implemented by the 1960s optimists.
In 1976 the movie Rocky was released. This was a mere three years after the first of the right-wing think tanks was formed in America. Rocky shows a man beaten horribly in the boxing ring. He takes blow after blow after bloody blow. He can barely see due to the swelling. He is in tatters. Yet just when all seems lost, when it seems that even he must fall, he EXPLODES in a flurry of violence and aggression.
So, there is indeed another way to achieve socialist revolution. Simply beat up the American people to such a degree that they too will explode in violence and aggression. Then they will either die or achieve success.
Everything the Neocons have done has been with this goal in mind. They began with manipulation of the media and political discussion in America with the right-wing think tanks. Then they brought in the Christian right to the political fold, and executed many manipulations and anti-populist policies under the Reagan years. After that failed to rise America, the Bush II years saw much more dramatic attempts. And here we are today.
People often express confusion about why the Bush II Administration is so incompetent. There’s an easy reason: they don’t really want to succeed. Too much success and they’ll actually destroy the will of the American people (they believe). Too much success and Rocky will be knocked out instead of exploding. It’s much more valuable for their goals to make the American people believe they are super-effective rather than be effective. It makes more sense to turn Iraq into a total mess rather than take the country over… which makes the American people angrier? It makes more sense for Bush to sneer at the American people than to soberly go about his duties… which makes the American people angrier? It makes more sense for Tony Snow to act like a total prick than to be respectful, etc.
I give the American people a kind of credit: they haven’t fallen for the trap. There hasn’t been even a hint at a violent socialist revolution. Thankfully, the American people have merely turned against the Neocons themselves (finally!). Fuck – it only took three and a half decades.
Part of the American inaction and seeming stupidity about the Neocons is that they just can’t figure these guys out. That’s for good reason – there has never been a political movement even remotely similar before. The Rocky Syndrome is unique in human history as far as I am aware.
So – that’s the Neoconservatives. The true version. Just to clear up one point: there is no conspiracy. The Neoconservatives believe themselves to be on the right, just like Bush believes himself to be a spiritual cowboy. Neither is actually true.
You might say: wait a second, how is this different from the Neocons actually being on the right, given that they implement rightist policies?
It’s completely different: corporations for example are actually on the right. That is to say, they are effective rightist agents. Corporations don’t want a socialist uprising, they don’t want to do insane things like eliminate Habeas Corpus unless they can be confident it’s not going to cause problems. The reason the elite in the US has turned against the Neocons is just that… the Neocons make corporations uneasy… the Neocons make the right uneasy.
But again – the calculation is not simple. Corporations are greedy after all, and the Neocons pursuing rightist monstrosities has made more than one CEO grin. The Neocons hope that the corporations’ greed gets the best of them in the end.
This whole Neocon project has energized non-violent socialist agents like Chomsky, Zinn, and all the rest. After all, it’s not that difficult to funnel violent socialist tendencies into non-violent socialist action.
This entire thing is tragically absurd. Welcome to your reality. The true motto of the Neocons: we take a swing at you, hoping you take a swing back at us.
That’s pretty much it. If you see any flaws in my understanding point them out. The solution of course is to permanently expel the Neocons from power. They should probably be jailed as well.
If you’re one of the roughly one-third of democrats who support Hillary Clinton, or one of the over half of democrats who support Clinton or Obama, or one of the 98% of democrats supporting someone else besides this candidate, you should reconsider. Both of those “liberals” are very similar to the average Republican, despite the flowery rhetoric. Prior to the rise of a viable 3rd party, which won’t happen in ’08, we need to support the best candidate. This election it’s clear that Dennis Kucinich is that candidate.
Covert operations are continuously ongoing and are the primary means by which the US government gains war-related intelligence. Again, the primary purpose and overwhelming purpose of torture is to terrorize the populace that self-identifies with the actual people being tortured (who are not, unlike what the Bush Administration claims, often terrorists or “evil-doers”). The US government doesn’t mind when it seizes a random Arab-Iraqi citizen for torture, as long as the media doesn’t acknowledge it. It counts on the tormented family to spread the terrible news in the community, fueling a kind of underground fear that any fascist government thrives on. As long as the media continues to be “properly” controlled, there’s no reason that behavior can’t be transported to other countries, including the U.S. Create enough fear and it no longer even matters if the media does report it, but we’ll know before that happens because “security forces” will be patrolling throughout America.
I keep having to repeat the purpose of torture because even respected public figures like Seymour Hersh don’t acknowledge it… I have never ever heard the purpose of torture spoken even by anti-war dissidents or by anti-torture advocates… all they say is “torture doesn’t work”, as if the debate was about whether or not torture works. YES, it doesn’t fucking work (usually), but that’s not even the point of torture. Until we start addressing the real issue the torture debate will go nowhere.
In serious fascist regimes that torture people they follow-up the torture by killing the tortured, and then leave the bodies to be found by the populace. Again – the point is to terrorize – granted, killing someone is terrifying but when you show the public the terrible pain someone goes through prior to death it multiplies the terror. And hey, if they happen to gain some intelligence before killing the guy then that’s a nice bonus, but it’s quite rare.
If you wonder why the propaganda of “intelligence gathering” exists as the ostensible motivation for torture, it should be obvious. Every citizen who is convinced that torture “protects us from the enemy” is one citizen that isn’t objecting to torture. Every citizen who is convinced that torture doesn’t protect us from the enemy but who thinks that the government’s motive is to do so thinks their best course of action is to argue against that motivation – not understanding that it makes little difference at all even if they win the argument.
(An unfortunate truth: torture can make us safer, but not because of intelligence gained. If we can torture so many people in such terrible fashion that our enemies, instead of multiplying are cowed, are terrified into inaction, then indeed we will be safer. Of course, at that point the world will become a Fascist state, which is the only way to maintain that terror and the inaction of our enemies.)
Now, you might say: wait a second, if torture is a conspiracy to terrorize the self-identifying populace why hasn’t the secret come to light? The easy answer is: there is no conspiracy. Just like George Bush really does believe himself to be a spiritual cowboy, the torturers at Abu-Ghraib and everywhere else in the world really do believe the point of torture is to collect information – they try very hard to collect information! Torturers are under the thrall of “torture as information collection” propaganda more than anyone else is, just like George Bush is more propagandized about his nature as a spiritual cowboy than is anyone else.
There’s a pragmatic value to this deception of the torturers themselves – since it’s so incredibly difficult to collect valuable information from prisoners torturers believe they have to go to extreme lengths in their torture… and when once again they fail they have to get even more extreme… in the case of American torturers who try to be civilized they get more and more psychological – more and more eager to control the mind of the tortured. This sort of ego-driving of the torturer really allows the propaganda to sink in – he only gets an ego-boost and has success if the tortured yields valuable information – he therefore becomes convinced that this purpose, which has the potential to give him such a happy rush of pleasure and a possible raise in pay, is the real purpose of the torture. You see… he gets nothing, no ego-boost, no raise in pay, if he believes that the purpose of torture is to terrorize the self-identifying populace. All he gets then is the pain of acknowledging his self-delusion. All he gets then is shame at what he has done. All he gets then is the truth.
You might say: wait a second, then there’s still a conspiracy – it’s just a conspiracy to delude the torturers. No, no, no. THERE IS NO CONSPIRACY.
Why do you think people go to work at organizations they know are Fascist? Millions of Americans after all work at Corporations, and they often seem fairly happy about it. Why do you think the leaders of Western civilization in the 1920s and 1930s, the highly civilized people of the nation of Germany, quickly descended into barbarism and Fascism? Were they transformed? Or are you willing to admit the truth: that they weren’t willing to pay the costs required of dissidents and resisters?
Truth actually has a cost. For the torturer, the cost of self-realization means he can no longer justify his job. He loses his identity – he loses his job – he becomes lost. For George Bush, the cost of self-realization, of believing he is a Ivy League flunkie instead of a heralded cowboy, is that he no longer can convince other people of sharing in the cowboy-belief and hence becomes less popular, quite probably not being electable as President of the United States of America.
The Neoconservatives were the first to truly appreciate this. Liberals still don’t get it. When someone says something, some new “truth”, neoconservatives analyze whether or not they can use that “truth” to benefit themselves. Maybe it’s a friend of Bush talking to him about how noble cowboys are. Maybe it’s a soon-to-be-torturer hearing about how torturers can “save America from the terrorists” by collecting information. Regardless of whether the “truth” is the truth, the “truth” is FUNCTIONAL. “Truths” can be used, and precisely because they aren’t the truth they can give a kind of competitive advantage, especially when stupid liberals aren’t able to respond because they don’t understand what’s going on.
What liberals need to understand is that the enemy is “truth”, and the ally is truth. Truth has to be imposed on society. It cannot be assumed that truth will be accepted… there must be a war against “truth”.
What we need to do is make sure that “truth” is expensive, and truth is cheap. The only reason that there is a war in the first place is that postmodernism made “truth” cheap.
Stop calling Bush a moron. Stop underestimating “truth”. Do that and you create horrors, of which the many US-run or supported torture centers around the world are merely one.
Destroy “truth” with truth. Make sure you’re willing to pay for truth to be victorious.
It won’t be cheap.
Michael Moore’s new film is impressive. It’s a lot more focused than many of his other movies, and more funny. Several times when Moore tells non-Americans about the American health care system they laugh. Ouch.
At least America has better health care than Slovenia. Barely.
Here’s an edited version of a writing of mine originally produced on 2-28-05:
One of my nightmares is when I have to besiege the corporate offices, with several automatic weapons, just to get a simple transaction that should be fully within my RIGHTS to occur. Then the cops are called and I go down in a blaze of no glory.
Meanwhile, some minion inside chuckles and keeps the account running.
The papers then say how I’m some psycho who snapped. Some people are just bad apples. Its good the cops were there to take care of the problem. Just another videogame player led to that logical conclusion.
Hopefully the company will have to pay to get my organstains washed off their parking lot. Too bad I think that taxpayers would end up footing that bill.
Outcome: Profit +1. The stockholders do adore.
The way things are going, at some point morality will have to be legislated. That is to say, for there to continue to be some. Lets just hope the companies don’t start controlling the legislation…
This is, after all, merely a logical outcome of treating human beings as bundles of money with the only morality being to transfer as much of that money from the bundle to the company as possible.
Isn’t it time to turn corporations from amoral into moral? *Besides* forcing the market to continuously adjust for their latest machinations, I mean. Moving corporations from forced morality into unforced morality. From the CEO saying “We are as moral as the market makes us be” to “We are as moral as we can be”.
I know. I know. Its tough to imagine a CEO ever saying something like that. That its so tough to imagine is indicative of the problem.
There has previously been a false definition of asceticism. It was defined as rejection of the world. In fact, asceticism is the ascetic’s rejection of the world of the ascetic. Note that regardless of the type of ascetic, the only true way to cure asceticism is for the ascetic to live in a world which he accepts. This *can* be done through drugs, in the same way that a cocaine addict can achieve “happiness”. Yes, our wonderful medical practioners really are as cynical as drug pushers. Take your pills!
Monks are old school. Nowadays asceticism has branched into several different types.
The mentally ill – mental illness is tied to your environment. Prisoners go to jail sane and leave jail not so sane. Likewise with any other torture victim. Mental illness is arguably the most extreme method of rejecting the world.
The virgin – the most intimate relationship with most environments is sexual – the virgin disavows intimacy and thus maintains a distance from his world. This is arguably a more extreme form than mental illness.
The nerd – note the overlap between several of these types. The nerd is a kind of walking social critic, far less subtle than the virgin.
The addict – the addict is nothing other than a despairing ascetic – he uses his addiction to replace his painful emotions.
The loser – once you reject your world, losing becomes the new Win.
The philosopher – he takes the next step with his asceticism – forming a new world for himself.
Those are the only “pure ascetics” as far as I am aware. Then there are the semi-ascetics:
The flamer/dandy – rejects part of his world.
The goth – likewise.
The freak – likewise.
The punk – likewise.
The geek – a nerd without the balls.
ALL of these types amount to a kind of public criticism of the ascetic’s world. This makes it extremely easy to see how much dissent there is in society… simply track the percentage of humans who are ascetics.
Note one more thing about all of these types, however… most are individualistic. Few of them have strong group identities, although many do group in like-types.
More so than ever before, asceticism is very culturally powerful. So powerful that political ascetics like Chomsky become popular.
The future is looking more and more interesting.
What isn’t usually understood about corporations, even considering this film, is that corporations exploit *everything*. They are complete pragmatists… they have no ethical consideration. They only *appear* to have ethical consideration in order for people to like them and continue buying their products and services… everything “good” about a corporation above and beyond its ability to maximize profits is nothing more than a PR move.
A lot of people today are “corporate activists”, which means they attempt to modify the practices of corporations. This is a bad idea if you address the corporation directly. The only good move is to create new laws that reform the corporation. The reason is that IF you are a traditional corporate activist such as an environmentalist interacting with corporations you are doing volunteer work to benefit corporations. You are being paid by your organization (if that), which in turn is being funded by taxpayers. The only sensible thing is working through legislators and the courts to change the laws, and making sure those laws are being fully executed against corporations.
Corporations love to exploit environmentalists. What they do is adjust their policies based on the degree of public awareness of an issue. So environmentalists do the work and the effort of achieving public awareness, lets say of some negative corporate activity, then the corporation modifies their practice, making sure through compliant media and sometimes the environmentalists themselves! that the public is very much aware of the modification. Then “everyone is happy”… everyone except the taxpayer who paid the environmentalists to benefit the corporation!
Don’t think the environmentalists are going to talk out against this: they love the media attention just as much as the corporations do.
Think about your actions and make sure you are not subsidizing the faux morality of corporations, no matter which proxy is in vogue at the moment.
We need to get the economics right, and make sure that corporations are paying for their own improvement. It doesn’t matter if this cuts into corporate profits.
Environmentalists, Congress, Corporations, the White House… who looks out for *taxpayer* interests nowadays?
Why, when a corporation changes its policy, isn’t it fined for use of the old policy?
I’m reminded of the FBI mantra: “Everything is OK now. We screwed up in the past, but everything is fixed.” The implication is that you don’t need to take any action against us for our *past* monstrosities, because they are gone now. But all that really happens is that the organization tries to become more secretive and do the same things, or has to blast the public with information about whatever good it does in order for them to respond positively and essentially PAY for the good. And guess what: if that public awareness fades so too will the “goodness” of the corporation.
What needs to take place in all secretive organizations is a fundmental shift so that they become actual good institutions, rather than bad institutions having to be continually forced into some form of quasi-decency.
We need to compel that shift. We need to punish any institution that abuses the public and prevent them from changing only if they receive sufficient PR.
We need to reject all institutions that do not have morality and ethics as part of their own fundamental interests, motives, and actions.
No, everything is NOT ok now. One of the major challenges of the 21st century is to create that change.