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Attack of the Think Tanks

Think Tanks as Enablers of Neoliberal governance in the USA and neoliberal Coup d'état in other countries

News Neoliberalism Recommended Books Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neoliberal rationality Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
Fake fiscal conservatism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Invisible Hand Hypothesys: The Theory of Self-regulation of the Markets Corporatism Mayberry Machiavellians Super Imperialism
Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists Audatioues Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Wall Street Propaganda Machine Chicago School of Market Fundamentalism and Milton Friedman Supply Side or Trickle down economics Numbers racket
American Exceptionalism Support of Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure The Iron Law of Oligarchy  Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush Regime
A grand old cult Small government smoke screen Free Markets Newspeak "Starving the beast" bait and switcht Neoconservatism NGOs as brain trust of color revolutions
Techno-fundamentalism Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure The Great Transformation Greenspan as the Chairman of Financial Politburo Greenspan humor Foreign Agents Registration Act
Support of Predatory National Security State Neo Trotskyism aka Neoconservatism Tea Party and right wing rage History of Casino Capitalism Financial Humor Etc

Propaganda in the United States comes from both the government and private entities of various kinds. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions and incite action. Propaganda can be disseminated through any medium, including radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.

Neoliberals (and by  extension neoconservatives, as neoliberals with the gun)  took an important page from Bolsheviks doctrine: organized party should have a core of "professional revolutionaries" which should be supported by research organizations. this is how neoliberal invented the consent of the "think tank"

Later the same trick was used with color revolution, when NGO became organizing center to the uprising against the current regime (if the regime was too timid to suppress them on early stage).

The story behind neoliberal think tanks such as Heritage foundation  and AEI is really fascinating (Where Conservative Ideas Come From - The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 26, 2016

Stahl’s chief object of inquiry is the American Enterprise Institute, or AEI. Founded in 1938 by a group of businessmen devoted to unwinding the New Deal, its true history began five years later, when its headquarters moved from New York to Washington. Inside the Beltway, AEI staffers portrayed themselves as nonpartisan scholars eager to assist lawmakers from both parties. That stance became increasingly difficult to maintain as the conservative movement grew in strength, and in the 1970s AEI was reborn as a champion of the right in the battle for ideas.

Success bred imitators, and AEI soon found itself outflanked by an upstart known as the Heritage Foundation. More concerned with passing legislation than posing as researchers, Heritage became the dominant think tank in Reagan’s Washington. These nimble practitioners of war-by-briefing-books made AEI seem musty and academic by comparison. AEI revived itself by shifting toward the middle, but it never regained its former centrality. It had changed too much, and so had conservatism.

These think tanks are very powerful propaganda units, a real "propaganda tanks".  Their function is to produce “reports” and “papers” that offer the neoliberal solid justification of the current anti-labor policies and  instill in the minds of the US population the necessity of extending and maintaining the global neoliberal empire  led by the USA (i.e producing talking points, publishing papers on the subject and giving interview).  Neocons engaged in this activity are often called national security parasites. Robert Kagan  and Max Boot are nice examples of this specie. They ensure that the propaganda war is being won by the neoliberals.   

There is no formal regulation of think tanks. Anyone can set one up. "According to US academic Dr James McCann, who compiles an annual think tank ranking, there are 6,305 such bodies in the world. He lists 285 in the UK, giving it the most after the US and China ... BBC News
 

I think there are too many in the western elites (the ones that actually own the MSM and give it its marching orders, the BBC and CBC public news services then have to goosestep to the same tune or else be shut down for producing too much cognitive dissonance) who think they won the propaganda war against the USSR. Even though they had actual leverage points back then, neoliberal propaganda might still collapse from its own internal rot like happened with Marxist propaganda in the USSR. If the gap with reality became too wide, no amount of efforts can fix that. 

But today these elites and their storm troopers have nothing to worry about. they still dominate  and even with Trump election comnitue to dominate TV and airwaves.

Think tanks are the most important part of neoliberal propaganda machine. They act like script writers, composing and writing the dialogue that the donors want to be the American public to be brainwashed with.  Communist propaganda machine worked the same way and organizations that created untrue ideas, talking points which made their leaders ideas, and plans seem good to the population.

This international ensemble of neoliberal think tanks is essentially a reimplementation of the idea of Comintern ( Communist International - Wikipedia)  ;-). Such a Neoliberalism International...  Some of them have a world Institute in the name similar to "Institute of Marxism-Leninism" in the USSR.  Brookings Institution, CATO, Heritage are just reuse of this idea. Adding the word ‘institute/institution’ or 'foundation' to the name of  ‘think-tank’ is a measure devised to give the patina of legitimacy to what is simply a regional headquarters of casino capitalism  propaganda machine.

This huge propaganda machine of "professional revolutionaries"  is not that distinct from the way Bolshevik Party emerged in  the part -- a close circle of people mainly from intelligencia and paid by the party to be able to devote all their time to revolutionary activities.  It is instrumental in hiding the truth about the real essence  of neoliberalism from "common folk". The ridiculously high levels of money that are pumped into this propaganda machine by financial oligarchy ensure that the so called shmucks never awaken

In general both the Republican party and  Democratic Party in the USA are not so much a party as propaganda machines. For example, many European observers consider the US republican party to be a cult in a sense that members of the USA Republican political party, have political, economic, and scientific views that  are completly unscientific but were created inside of corporate think tanks and promoted to ensure the success and staying power of neoliberalism as a social system.  Media groups like Fox news, MSN NBC, CNN, etc repeat these phrases and ideas on their news broadcasts until they became imprinted is listeners minds.  

 


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[Jul 05, 2016] Fact freepolitics

September 22, 2012 | stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com

Chris Skidmore, one of the authors of Britannia Unchained, says:

People aren't interested in looking at medians and graphs. We have a duty to try and broaden that message outside of the think tank zone.

I don't know what to make of this. It could be that Skidmore is recommending that politicians use social science in the way Paul Krugman urges economists to use maths - you base your policy upon it, but then find a way of advocating the policy in more populist language.

Sadly, though, it is not at all obvious that Britannia Unchained's authors are using this reasonable approach. They seem instead to have skipped the science and evidence and gone straight to the populism.

This suggests an unkinder interpretation - that Skidmore thinks formal science has no place in politics. What matters is what sells, not what's right.

The problem here is that there is no strong obstacle to this descent into post-modern politics. The anti-scientific culture of our mainstream media means they will not call politicians out on their abuse of facts, unless the abuser is not in their tribe - as Jonathan complained in noting the press's reaction to Britannia Unchained.

But does this matter? In one sense, maybe not. Expert support and empirical evidence does not guarantee that a policy will be a success - though I suspect it improves the odds.

Instead, what worries me is that this threatens to further corrode the standard of political discourse.Fact-free politics need not be the sole preserve of the right; some of my readers will have the name of Richard Murphy in their minds. And if we go down this road, we'll end up with one tribe thinking the poor are all scroungers and the other thinking our economic problem can be solved by a crackdown on tax dodging. And the two tribes will just be throwing insults at each other. And there's a few of us who think this would be dull.

BenSix | September 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

I don't think that's what Skidmore's saying but nor do I think that what he's saying is any less silly. He replies to charges of slipshod research and laziness by saying...

"...it's a 116-page book, there's 433 footnotes to it."

I see this a lot: the implicit claim that the merit of work can be judged by the amount of references that it contains. Yet that says nothing about the quality of its research or interpretation. I could argue that I'm God and add 433 footnotes that reference self-published blogposts in which I proclaim that I'm a deity but it wouldn't make it a work of scholarship.

Chris | September 22, 2012 at 10:05 PM

"Fact-free politics need not be the sole preserve of the right"

They need not be, but they are.

Blissex | September 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Continuing my previous comment on voter hypocrisy, yes there are many voters who consider politics a spectator sport, a source of entertainment, just like news.

But my impression is that "fact free" politics is really a cover for an unwillingness to discuss the available facts, because they are unpleasant, as they relate to nasty self interest and distributional issues.

Politics thus may be fact free because the facts cannot be be discussed in a politically correct way, and therefore dog whistling abounds.

It is not a question of tribes, but of interests, even if these interests relate fairly directly to culture and in particular theology (most "culture" is the corrupted legacy of some dead theologian).

Consider this quote:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/owen-jones-workingclass-toryism-is-dying-and-its-taking-the-party-with-it-7851880.html
"When I was at university, a one-time very senior Tory figure put it succinctly at an off-the-record gathering: the Conservative Party, he explained, was a "coalition of privileged interests. Its main purpose is to defend that privilege. And the way it wins elections is by giving just enough to just enough other people"."

Are Richard Murphy's posts really that fact free? A lot of the left seem to rely a lot on his "insights" (especially the PCS trade union).

SR819 | September 24, 2012 at 02:28 PM

But my impression is that "fact free" politics is really a cover for an unwillingness to discuss the available facts, because they are unpleasant, as they relate to nasty self interest and distributional issues.

[Apr 05, 2015] Do not Underestimate the Power of Microfoundations

Apr 04, 2015 | Economist's View

Darryl FKA Ron -> pgl...

At the risk of oversimplifying might it not be as simple as stronger leanings towards IS-LM and kind are indicative of a bias towards full employment and stronger leanings towards DSGE, microfoundations, and kind are indicative of a bias towards low inflation?

IN general I consider over-simplification a fault, if and only if, it is a rigidly adhered to final position. This is to say that over-simplification is always a good starting point and never a good ending point. If in the end your problem was simple to begin with, then the simplified answer would not be OVER-simplified anyway. It is just as bad to over-complicate a simple problem as it is to over-simplify a complex problem. It is easier to build complexity on top of a simple foundation than it is to extract simplicity from a complex foundation.

A lot of the Chicago School initiative into microfoundations and DSGE may have been motivated by a desire to bind Keynes in a NAIRU straight-jacket. Even though economic policy making is largely done just one step at a time then that is still one step too much if it might violate rentier interests.

Darryl FKA Ron -> Barry...

There are two possible (but unlikely) schools of (generously attributed to as) thought for which internal consistency might take precedence over external consistency. One such school wants to consider what would be best in a perfect world full of perfect people and then just assume that is best for the real world just to let the chips fall where they may according to the faults and imperfections of the real world. The second such school is the one whose eyes just glaze over mesmerized by how over their heads they are and remain affraid to ask any question lest they appear stupid.

A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned.

Richard H. Serlin

Consistency sounds so good, Oh, of course we want consistency, who wouldn't?! But consistent in what way? What exactly do you mean? Consistent with reality, or consistent with people all being superhumans? Which concept is usually more useful, or more useful for the task at hand?

Essentially, they want models that are consistent with only certain things, and often because this makes their preferred ideology look far better. They want models, typically, that are consistent with everyone in the world having perfect expertise in every subject there is, from finance to medicine to engineering, perfect public information, and perfect self-discipline, and usually on top, frictionless and perfectly complete markets, often perfectly competitive too.

But a big thing to note is that perfectly consistent people means a level of perfection in expertise, public information, self-discipline, and "rationality", that's extremely at odds with how people actually are. And as a result, this can make the model extremely misleading if it's interpreted very literally (as so often it is, especially by freshwater economists), or taken as The Truth, as Paul Krugman puts it.

You get things like the equity premium "puzzle", which involves why people don't invest more in stocks when the risk-adjusted return appears to usually be so abnormally good, and this "puzzle" can only be answered with "consistency", that people are all perfectly expert in finance, with perfect information, so they must have some mysterious hidden good reason. It can't be at all that it's because 65% of people answered incorrectly when asked how many reindeer would remain if Santa had to lay off 25% of his eight reindeer (http://richardhserlin.blogspot.com/2013/12/surveys-showing-massive-ignorance-and.html).

Yes, these perfect optimizer consistency models can give useful insights, and help to see what is best, what we can do better, and they can, in some cases, be good as approximations. But to say they should be used only, and interpreted literally, is, well, inconsistent with optimal, rational behavior -- of the economist using them.

Richard H. Serlin -> Richard H. Serlin...
Of course, unless the economist using them is doing so to mislead people into supporting his libertarian/plutocratic ideology.
Darryl FKA Ron -> Richard H. Serlin...
A big YEP to each the long and short of it.

dilbert dogbert

As an old broken down mech engineer, I wonder why all the pissing and moaning about micro foundations vs aggregation. In strength of materials equations that aggregate properties work quite well within the boundaries of the questions to be answered. We all know that at the level of crystals, materials have much complexity. Even within crystals there is deeper complexities down to the molecular levels. However, the addition of quantum mechanics adds no usable information about what materials to build a bridge with.

But, when working at the scale of the most advanced computer chips quantum mechanics is required. WTF! I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories.

Poor economists, doomed to argue, forever, over how many micro foundations can dance on the head of a pin.

RGC -> dilbert dogbert...

Endless discussions about how quantum effects aggregate to produce a material suitable for bridge building crowd out discussions about where and when to build bridges. And if plutocrats fund the endless discussions, we get the prominent economists we have today.

Darryl FKA Ron -> dilbert dogbert...

"...I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories..."

[I guess it depends upon what your acceptable confidence interval on reliability is. Most important difference that controls all the domain differences between physical science and economics is that underlying physical sciences there is a deterministic methodology for which probable error is merely a function of the inaccuracy in input metrics WHEREAS economics models are incomplete probabilistic estimating models with no ability to provide a complete system model in a full range of circumstances.

YOu can design and build a bridge to your load and span requirements with alternative models for various designs with confidence and highly effective accuracy repeatedly. No ecomomic theory, model, or combination of models and theories was ever intended to be used as the blueprint for building an economy from the foundation up.

With all the formal trappings of economics the only effective usage is to decide what should be done in a given set of predetermined circumstance to reach some modest desired effect. Even that modest goal is exposed to all kinds of risks inherent in assumptions, incomplete information, externalities, and so on that can produce errors of uncertain potential bounds.

Nonetheless, well done economics can greatly reduce the risks encountered in the random walk of economics policy making. So much so is this true, that the bigger questions in macro-economics policy making is what one is willing to risk and for whom.

The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for.]

Darryl FKA Ron -> Peter K....

unless you have a model which maps the real world fairly closely like quantum mechanics.

[You set a bar too high. Macro models at best will tell you what to do to move the economy in the direction that you seek to go. They do not even ocme close to the notion of a theory of everything that you have in physics, even the theory of every little thing that is provided by quantum mechanics. Physics is an empty metaphor for economics. Step one is to forgo physics envy in pursuit of understanding suitable applications and domain constraints for economics models.

THe point is to reach a decision and to understand cause and effect directions. All precision is in the past and present. The future is both imprecise and all that there is that is available to change.

For the most part an ounce of common sense and some simple narrative models are all that are essential for making those policy decisions in and of themselves. HOWEVER, nation states are not ruled by economist philosopher kings and in the process of concensus decision making by (little r)republican governments then human language is a very imprecise vehicle for communicating logic and reason with respect to the management of complex systems. OTOH, mathematics has given us a universal language for communicating logic and reason that is understood the same by everyone that really understands that language at all. Hence mathematical models were born for the economists to write down their own thinking in clear precise terms and check their own work first and then share it with others so equipped to understand the language of mathematics. Krugman has said as much many times and so has any and every economist worth their salt.]

likbez -> Syaloch...

=== quote ===
I agree with Pgl and PeterK. Certain commenters like Darryl seem convinced that the Chicago School (if not all of econ) is driven by sinister, class-based motives to come up justifications for favoring the power elite over the masses. But based on what I've read, it seems pretty obvious that the microfoundation guys just got caught up in their fancy math and their desire to produce more elegant, internally consistent models and lost sight of the fact that their models didn't track reality.
== End of Quote ===
That's completely wrong line of thinking, IMHO.

Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR.
With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities.

To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell.

Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys.

But the key problem with neoliberalism is that the cure is worse then disease. And here mathematical masturbations are very handy as a smoke screen to hide this simple fact.

likbez -> likbez...

Here is how Rubin's neoliberal boy Larry explained the situation to Elizabeth Warren:

"Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want.

But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."

Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance

Syaloch -> likbez...

Yeah, case in point.

Think Tanks The Rich Get Richer by Michael Dolny

Think Tank Spectrum, 1998-99

Much like in the global economy, in the world of the think tanks that dominate the mass media, the rich have gotten richer.

There has been little shuffling at the top of the most cited think-tank list, based on references to the group in major papers and broadcast transcripts in the Nexis database. Once again, the Brookings Institution led the way, with close to 3,000 citations among major newspapers and television and radio transcripts.

While the Heritage Foundation once rivaled Brookings in prominence, Washington's premier centrist think tank has separated itself from the rest of the pack, more than doubling the frequency of the next most prominent think tank, the Cato Institute. The Heritage Foundation has fallen to third place.

While this survey reveals that media show a greater reliance on think tanks than at the time of the last survey two years ago, the constituencies representing a center/right debate have further cemented their positions as media-friendly analysts. In the survey of 1997, conservative or right-leaning think tanks received 53 percent of all citations, 32 percent of citations went to centrist think tanks, and only 16 percent of the citations went to progressive or left-leaning think tanks. The percentages for progressive or left-leaning think tanks have declined slightly since then.

Human thought processes, that were created inside of corporate think tanks.

These think tanks along with Fox news and Rush radio, have placed 100's of ideas and phrases, into the brains of US republicans. And they are all untrue, unreal, and/ or fantasys.

The following are a few examples of (untrue) phrases, that were created inside of think tanks, and repeated by Fox news and Rush radio, that have become the actual political, economic, and scientific thought processes inside of US republican brains. All of the phrases created by theses think tanks, are designed to lower taxes and increase profits for, Americas rich and large corporations.

The following is one example of a (scientific) untrue belief, that was created inside of a corporate think tank, that has become a thought process of US republicans.

1. Fox news and Rush radio say the following "Global warming is not happening, and global warming is a hoax and a lie, created by the worlds political left."

Even though 97% of climate scientists state "global warming is happening" , these Fox news and Rush radio propaganda group victims still believe "global warming is not happening." The victims of this propaganda group also believe that, the scientists who say "global warming is happening" are lying and involved in a conspiracy plot started by the worlds political left

I have spoken to many members of this propaganda group/ cult, who believe that global warming is not happening. And even though I tell them 10x "97% of climate scientists say "global warming is happening, and I can show you proof", they refuse to believe it. Once these US republicans get into this propaganda group/ cult they only trust information from Fox news and Rush radio.

Note: These think tanks created the lie "global warming is not happening", to increase the profits of large corporations like Exxon Mobile.

2. tax cuts for Americas rich, increase government revenues

(While all respected economists, even US republican economists state, "tax cuts for Americas rich do (not) increase government revenues.")


The above think tank created lie effects the propaganda group/ cult victims, in the same way as the think tank phrase "global warming is not happening."

And I have also told these victims of this propaganda group, that "all respected economists state, tax cuts for the rich do not increase government revenues", and just like with global warming, these propaganda group victims do not believe it. They only believe information from Fox news and Rush radio. They believe any information (not) from Fox news or Rush radio are lies from a conspiracy plot created by the worlds political left.

The following are a few more examples of (economic) think tank phrases, that are lies and untrue, according to respected economists, but still victims of this propaganda group believe them as true.

These are only a few examples there are 100's more.

1.) tax cuts for Americas rich, and large corporations create jobs (economists say this is un-true, b/c small business creates most new US jobs, and also large US corporations are moving many US jobs to China for cheaper labor.)

2.) tax cuts for Americas rich stimulate the economy (economists say this is un-true, and it stimulates Chinas economy, thats were Americas rich create jobs to get cheap labor.)

3.) large US corporations are forced to pay too much money in taxes (While GE corp and many other large US corporations have a -0- % tax rate, and these same corporations get billions in tax refunds, these corporations tax rate is actually (negative) billions of dollars.)

4.) Americas rich are forced to pay too much money in taxes (While Warren Buffet has a 17% tax rate, and Americans who make $60,000 a year have a 30% tax rate, Americas rich have around 1/2 less the tax rate as regular Americans.)

5.) the death tax effects everyone (reality: it only effects the top 2% of richest americans.)

6.) the flat/fair tax is the best idea for all Americans (While the flat tax is actually a huge tax cut for the rich, and a huge tax increase for everyone else. source: Citizens for Tax Justice.)

7.) free trade creates better paying american jobs (reality: in 2001, economists estimated that 3/4 of American workers lost about 12% of their current wages because of free trade deals.)

8.) raising the minimum wage kills jobs and hurts low-income workers (reality: economists say this cant be proven, because states with high min. wages actually create more jobs.)

9.) higher wages mean higher prices (reality: the US department of agriculture did a huge study on this and found this un-true)

10.) low wages are offset by low prices (reality: economists say this does not happen.)

11.) free markets -not regulation- will keep intrest rates low (reality: economists say this is un-true)

12.) "free" trade laws make trade actually free (reality: these laws only give billions of dollars to Americas rich)

13.) we dont need policies that increase wages because wages are already growing (reality: When republicans said this, American workers wages just decreased by 0.6 %.

It seems that any untrue or unreal think tank created phrase, is believed by US republicans.

This US republican (propaganda group) media says, and repeats 10,000's of untrue, false, and untrue fantasy phrases about economics, science, US democrats, liberal organizations, and US democrats laws each year.

And because of the fact, their are millions of US republicans, this propaganda group/ cult, says and repeats millions and millions of lies and untrue things each year in America.

I challenge any forum member to post/ list any group of people, who have said more lies than US republicans, in a 15 year period.

I believe chances are, there has never been a group of people, in the history of all mankind, that has said and repeated as many lies and un-true things as US republicans, said and repeated in the last 15 years. But increased population and better media systems may be the reason for this, but maybe not?

Responding to the Conservative Propaganda Machine

So now you've seen the power of conservative propaganda for setting America's agenda. This week we saw the annihilation of progressive ideas by the most sophisticated, deeply funded, and precisely orchestrated public relations system ever concocted.

And they are preparing to take things up a notch now that they've won. The gears are well greased and the engine is humming. Prospects are slim for President Obama and the remaining progressives in Congress. If we don't act now, 2012 will mark the end of the progressive rise to power in American politics.

Now is the time to respond with force.

We have to rally together and stop the message machine that aligns corporate wealth with the American story. The stakes are too high for us to ignore this threat any longer. Our enemy is not a party. It is a system designed to manipulate public perceptions about what it means to be American. And it is unraveling the tapestry of our culture and destroying our democracy.

I've watched the progressive leadership closely in the last five years as they have repeatedly underestimated this oppositional force and overlooked its fundamental threat to America's future. They have invested nearly all their time and money in candidates and policies, naively thinking that rational discourse would save the day despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Very little has been done to build the 21st Century communication infrastructure we need to counter the vast network of think tanks, media outlets, and cultural myths that preserve the status quo.

To give you a sense of exactly what we're up against, consider how the Tea Party Movement came into being:

  1. A group of billionaires organized by Koch Industries came together and designed the initiative;
  2. Spokespeople were planted in the mainstream media to suggest that it was time for a revolution reminiscent of the founding days of our country;
  3. A massive media platform including Fox News and conservative radio spread the meme to every corner of the country;
  4. Seed funding was provided to organize the first rallies, all the while painting it as a "grassroots movement";
  5. Narratives that had been planted by conservative think tanks throughout the last forty years were evoked as "traditional values";
  6. Real concerns by people suffering under corporate corruption were tapped to evoke strong anger and fear;
  7. People came out in droves to support Tea Party candidates who were actually in cahoots with their corporate benefactors.

All of the investments have paid off. The Democratic majority in Congress is gone. President Obama has been put on the defensive. And local initiatives across the country have advanced conservative policies into law at the city, county, and state level.

Put simply, we're getting our asses kicked.

Now more than ever, we need effective governance in the various sectors, including both public and private to save our country from collapse. Yet what we have is a deep collusion between wealthy corporatists and a significant cabal in government. Their collusion is profoundly anti-democratic and even anti-market (as demonstrated by the devastating impacts of their policies on financial markets in 2008). So what we're getting is a group of financiers who set up communication systems to manipulate public perception and drive boom-crash cycles in the economy to siphon all forms of wealth into their coffers.

We can't let this happen any longer. Now is the time to act.

Are you concerned about the future of America? Would you like to finally see the American people have a stronger footing than large corporations in our politics? Then you should invest wisely in the infrastructure that is capable of elevating progressive ideas so they dominate public discourse. Stop dumping all your money and time into reactionary campaigns to save progressive policy from the conservative hammer. Break out of the election cycle mold and build for the long haul. And start being strategically proactive by targeting the source of power our opposition holds – the Conservative Worldview.

When I was a fellow of the now defunct Rockridge Institute I saw the potential for decisive strategic action that reframes political debate. It was painful to watch progressive philanthropists turn their backs on this foundational work and pour all their money into the 2008 campaign. What would have happened if they had instead pooled a few million dollars to invest in the design of a communication framework that brings coherence to the progressive vision? How might this year's election have been different if progressives across the country were taught how to deconstruct conservative stories and challenge them in a manner that fundamentally weakens their influence?

It's getting late in the game and our side is way behind. Our only chance for a comeback is to respond directly to the conservative propaganda machine. Right now we don't have adequate capacity for getting our messages out to the public. And we rely too heavily on outdated tactics that repeatedly fail in the face of such a powerful opposition.

We have to be smart. We have to be organized. And we have to be strategic. It's now or never.

Are you with me?

How the Right-Wing Fascist Machine Disseminates Propaganda

MyFDL

1:29 am in Uncategorized by Barefoot Accountant

I just watched Robert Greenwald's film clip, Koch Brothers Exposed, and was blown totally away at the operation of a brilliant propaganda machine, making that of Hitler and Goebbels in comparision appear infantile and primitive. This is a propaganda machine well thought out, organized, and orchestrated.

First, the Koch Brothers and other corporatist interests fund millions of dollars to these right-wing think tanks of economists and political scientists, as the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Mercatus Center, Reagan Foundation, et al, to write the script that these donors want to disseminate to the general public. These think tanks are sort of like screenwriters or script writers, composing and writing the dialogue that the donors want published to the American public.

Then attractive economists and political scientists of these organizations make guest appearances on the media, such as Fox Business, or the Kudlow Report, Neil Cavuto's Your World, and Fox News, reading the carefully crafted orchestrated scripts in an effort to get the word out.

The next step then is that the media mouthpieces, such as Lawrence Kudlow, Britt Hume, Gretchen Carlson, et al, start repeating this script as if it's gospel since it emanated out from these so-called think tanks. This is the important segment missing in the Hitler-Goebbels propaganda strategy. These supposed news reporters and journalists add a touch of credibility and veracity and objectivity to the propaganda. Robert Greenwald and Bernie Sanders refer to this phenomenon as the "echo chamber".

Lastly, our politicians then repeat almost word-for-word what has been said over and over by the think tanks and the media personalities on talk shows such as "Hardball" (which in my opinion should now be renamed "Softball"): e.g., last night Kay Bailey Hutchison just repeated their script on raising the Social Security age to Chris Matthews, who then exclaimed in his sycophant manner that she should run for President of the United States. Gosh.

For those of you interested in seeing this excellent clip by the Brave New Foundation on the "Echo Chamber", please see, Counter the Koch Billions. Protect Social Security. Will you help Senator Sanders expose the Koch Echo Chamber? Video Transcript.

For Cenk Uygur's interview of Robert Greenwald, the producer of this very important clip, please see, Social distortion. Does the GOP suffer from social insecurity? Cenk Uygur June 22 2011 video transcript.

Please get involved and organized now; tomorrow may be too late: the rich and multinational corporations are kicking our ass.

Strangely, CATO missed the AZ, IN, and MS budget crises

CATO was making much hay a few days ago about budget problems in California, New York, and New Jersey, which can be explained, respectively, by the Governor's veto of an Assembly-passed budget a few months ago, the decline in tax revenues from financial services firms and continuing loss of upstate industry, and underfunded pension obligations whose origins date back to Christie's cocaine-inspired budgets of the mid-1990s.

Strangely (via Dr. Black), they missed the crises in a few other states, most especially including the state governed by Republic hero Mitch Daniels:

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has warned residents that most of the state's services -- including its parks, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and state-regulated casinos -- would be shuttered unless a budget is passed today.
Closing down the casinos? Now that is extreme.

Mitch Daniels, doing for my old home state

Posted by Ken Houghton at 11:29 AM Comments (12)