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What’s really scary about the Trump phenom

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Donald Trump calling Ted Cruz an “anchor baby” was pretty hilarious,  but the charge hasn’t stuck because unlike Obama, Cruz’s skin is much lighter.

Like most of other inflammatory comments from Trump, Americans seem to fall into three camps regarding the mogul’s quotable quotes and candidacy. They either love it, hate it, or laugh it off. What most don’t realize is that win or lose, Trump’s candidacy marks the end of American politics as a democratic experiment, and the beginning of it as a business.

The Supreme Court decision that gave corporations real citizenship–“Citizens United”–marked the beginning of the end of the democracy. Individuals literally lost power to entities known as the Corporation. For two-hundred-plus years, an experiment that started as companies colonized a new continent (for the Europeans) seemed to have gotten better and better. It began by giving companies “personhood”–literally treating them as a person, so it can have its own assets, debts, even criminal offenses. But what seemed for a long time like a clever legal tactic has been taken almost to its logical conclusion. Conservative justices decided that corporations have freedom of speech like the rest of us, so they can spend as much as they want, and without public disclosure, to advocate their positions, to campaign for or against candidates (through various legal contortions). The only thing corporations lack now is a vote in the booth, but who needs that when you can buy elections?

But while some liberal groups have been sounding the alarm on Citizens United, the battle has moved well beyond that line. It is hard to imagine now a time when news anchors don’t promote TV shows or movies, or when news networks happily lose hundreds of millions of dollars or more every year. But it was so for decades, more than a century, even. Only in the mid-2000s, did Fox News start promoting its shows and other entertainment lines in the heretofore sanctity of the newsroom. Quickly, other networks fell in line because moguls were no longer satisfied with the cachets of journalism, but demand profits from every line of business, including the newsroom.

Like good ol’ capitalists, they didn’t stop there. Businesspeople like Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina realized that they could make more money and gain more influence, even if for a limited time only, by running for office. Win or lose, they would have a glorious few months to mine their 15 seconds of fame.

No one, though, has as much experience in self-promotion than Donald Trump. So here he is, badmouthing anyone who dares to pose a risk to his new business. In the world of reality TV, it is the best and only way to survive. As the long-time “star” of such a show, Trump knows exactly how to play the game.

Many people worry what a Trump nomination would mean for the country and its standing in the world. Worry not. Even if he loses, more businesspeople will run, and eventually one and more will win. If there’s one sector bigger than public education that money power loves to get its hands on, it’s the American body politics. Regulation, taxation, riches of an unprecedented scale are waiting to be be plundered.

Written by Gnostradamus

Thu, 2/18/16 at 1312

People who make you feel great don’t always do the job

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Everyone in the world seems to have caught the Klinsmann effect, praising U.S. soccer to the heavens. Although the end was heart-pounding, the U.S. coach got off easy because of Tim Howard’s heroics. The world would’ve looked at U.S. soccer much differently if we had lost by a cricket score to Belgium.

Klinsmann did not have a Plan B. And if you only have one plan, then you need to back up that plan and back up the backup. Instead, we played the whole tournament without a target man, except for the first 17 minutes.

Yet he still has the job, while people are lambasting Landon Donovan for his critique of the coach’s tactics. If you take away Altidore’s appearance, the United States drew two, lost two. 0-2-2 is the Klinsmann legacy.

Written by Gnostradamus

Fri, 7/4/14 at 2013

Papering over a Reactionary Supreme Court

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To the shock of most commentators, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court yesterday to uphold almost the entire Affordable Care Act. Had he not done so, the Court’s historically low public confidence of 25% would have plummeted even further. Many pundits claim that Roberts saved the Court from becoming an overtly partisan operator, but it seems to have escaped almost everyone that four of the nine Justices threw away their legal training and attempted to axe the entire health care reform because they dislike, perhaps on a political level more than anything else, President Obama’s policy.

In the past, the Court has struck down laws in their entirely only when the essence is unconstitutional. While the individual mandate was a prominent part of the ACA, it was only a means to fund it, a tool of implementation. Without it, the reforms could still be carried out. Yet the Court was about to throw everything back at Obama; it was as if they would tear up the entire criminal code because one sentence for criminals was excessive.

The ACA is a set of reforms that illustrate the schizophrenic politics of many Americans. Most of its parts are strongly supported by the majority of Americans, who nevertheless want to see the totality destroyed. At least they do so on largely political grounds. Four of the five conservatives on the Court are no better, and probably far worse, judging from their latest opinions.

Written by Gnostradamus

Fri, 6/29/12 at 0913

Who will be the first Fox News presidential candidate?

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The manuscript of a new book on Sarah Palin by an ex-aide has stirred up a media mini-circus. But lost in the hoopla is the revelation that conservatives like Palin considered Fox News their media “surrogates”. Though unsurprising, the news is still disturbing. Coming on the heels of the network’s doctoring of news coverage on a presidential hopeful, the events have raised questions about who its anointed king is in the 2012 presidential election (only a romantic would think it could be a queen).

The leaked draft came from Frank Bailey, who was once in the inner circle of advisers to the former Alaskan governor. According to The Daily Caller, a murky conservative website, Baily calls himself a “Fox News conservative“. We will leave the reader to interpret that phrase.

More disturbingly, Bailey wrote that Palin’s team used what they called “Fox News surrogates” to destroy the reputations of anyone incurring Palin’s wrath.

Although the Fox News conservative was not even close to publishing the disparaging book on Palin, it has been well-known for sometime now that the hierarchies at Fox and the GOP are not very fond of the former governor as presidential material. What is new is the Fox attack on Ron Paul, a darling of the Tea Party movement, itself a creation of the media conglomerate.

Fox was caught faking footage, showing Ron Paul being booed after winning a straw poll at the CPAC convention, an annual conservatives’ mecca. In reality, attendees cheered wildly for the libertarian. Fox pulled the same trick it had done so often in the past, using footage from other events. In this case the clip came from last year’s convention, when Mitt Romney’s supporters had packed the room.

Ron Paul is a libertarian, who unlike Fox subscribes to the anti-government doctrine on both social and economic issues. He would not be as entertaining as the likes of Republican stalwarts on abortion, gay rights, and other cornerstones of the conservative movement, because he truly detests governmental interference in all aspects of society.

In other words, Ron Paul is not a Fox News conservative, and that is probably why the media conglomerate has set out to discredit him in the run-up to the 2012 election. Two are down; who will Fox allow to stand? Who is the Fox News Conservative among the presidential hopefuls?

Written by Gnostradamus

Mon, 2/21/11 at 2114

Posted in media, politics

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