FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jonesing for Real Change

Every now and then something interesting or at least enraging scrolls by on my FB feed. Today it came thanks to Mike Harris a former leader of Canada’s Green Party:

VAN JONES VERY INTERESTING ANALYSIS:

In politics, when a new media came along, whoever mastered it won. So FDR mastered radio and against all odds became president. Kennedy mastered television and beat Nixon. Obama mastered political engagement and fundraising using the Internet. And Trump mastered reality TV and Twitter. What is reality TV? “a lot of dumb people being mean to each other” says Van. It’s cheap TV to produce, but the masses watch it. It has set new standards. And so while the media and elites were apoplectic with many of Trump’s statements a significant portion of the US public had become used to them.Van says you can’t just listen to NPR and eat Kale. You have to understand where people are at.”

My first thoughts were not particularly productive involving as they did increasingly incredulous repetitions of the phrase “NPR and kale?” So let’s go with my second thought: post hoc ergo propter hoc. I.e. The logical fallacy “after therefore because.” The demographic data from the election shows otherwise. Trump’s ‘win’ came from the usual Republican suspects. Wealthy white Americans, older white Americans, rural white Americans, voter suppression, the vast numbers of disenchanted voters, and as with W the Electoral College. The idea that blue collar and ‘rust belt’ America switched to Trump as a result of his ‘populist’ pose is disproved by the data.

Political events in Europe over the last few years offers a much better understanding of what is now happening In Western politics. After years of being sold out by pseudo left politicians and parties citizens are seeking genuine change. Neoliberal economics, austerity, inequality, massive bankster fraud, regulatory capture, wildly excessive executive compensation, U.S. imperialism, pollution, and climate change have come together to mobilize those who’d rather be otherwise more pleasantly engaged. For the last quarter century this meant the rise in “personal empowerment” and disengagement from politics. A trend that coincided pretty much exactly with Bill Cllnton’s declaration that “The era of big government is over.” That trend has begun to reverse.

Corbyn, Podemos, Syriza, even Sanders, all have arisen as a result of the abject failure of the last forty years of economic orthodoxy. In addition to the electorates personal experience of this failure what has added potency to this desire for change is the increasingly naked failure of the U.S. as a society. (police shootings, infrastructure collapse, 8 million added to the poverty rolls during Obama’s Presidency, real unemployment rate of 20%, U6, perpetual war and endlessly rising military spending, bail out of the banks, climate change denial.) This failure taken together with the relentless drumbeat of “terror-terror-terror” and the humanitarian catastrophe we used to call the Middle East has shaken the electorates confidence. To this has been added the existential threat of climate change and the very real danger this represents to their children’s future. These conclusions are however very different from the analysis presented to us by the mainstream media and mainstream politicians.

Overwhelmingly the majority of citizens in the West now view the current system of finance, fossil fuels and militarism as the greatest threat to our safety and prosperity. The difficulty now is as it has been for some time, how to mobilize this large majority to vote. Three times as many citizens in the U.S. did not vote as voted for either candidate. In the U.S. this problem is compounded by the enormous efforts dedicated to voter suppression and the floodgates of money that ‘Citizens United’ has unleashed further polluting America’s erstwhile democracy. While we are on the subject the U.S. Supreme Court will be a bar to imperative changes for decades to come. It is no stretch to write the U.S. off at this point as a failed democracy. I am of course far from the first to make this point.

In the face of these easily culled facts for anyone to boil this down to winning the reality TV battle and getting beyond kale straddles just barely the border between facile and offensive. To be fair in comparison to the Dems, Maddow and Colbert’s “Russia Every Day and in Every Way’ this qualifies as deep thinking. What it does not qualify as is the kind of thinking that will be required if we are going to overcome the great challenges our times. I.e. The Oligarchs, military spending, climate change and pollution. That last one has been overshadowed so far this century. If we lose the oceans or the bees that will change in a hurry.

Perhaps God’s final attempt at levity is that he sends us this person to send us the following message. Douglas Adams at least would have appreciated that the “so long and thanks for all the fish” scientist is named Professor Worm.

N.B. Professor Boris Worm of Dalhousie University projects the end of ALL commercial fisheries by 2047.

More articles by:
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail