Despite the best efforts of the Mainstream Media to fill its 24/7 cycle with such pressing stories such as a New Jersey governor who’s still not running for President and Nancy Grace having a nipple slip on Dancing With The Stars, the news of an ongoing student-powered occupation and protest against Wall Street has trickled into their coverage.
The Occupy Wall Street protest has been going on since September 17th and the only angle of coverage from the MSM has been righteously defending their lack of coverage of it by dissing the youth and idealism of the participants.
Throughout last week, a growing protest movement took hold. No, no, not the Occupy Wall Street protests themselves, but the complaints of Occupy Wall Street protesters that the mainstream media was ignoring their cause.
Last Wednesday, five days into the protest, Keith Olbermann asked on his cable news show, “Why isn’t any major news outlet covering this? If that’s a Tea Party protest in front of Wall Street about Ben Bernanke putting stimulus funds into it, it’s the lead story on every network newscast.”
This, of course, gave journalists at several “major news outlets” a great opening to go ahead and cover the Occupy Wall Street protests using their favorite self-reflexive method: covering the (non) coverage.
And their verdict? No foul. Columnists at well-regarded news outlets who chose to respond concluded that there were plenty of great reasons not to cover Occupy Wall Street. In delineating those reasons throughout this week, they got to write at length about the protestors’ quirks and shortcomings, making their defense of non-coverage of a protest read a lot like colorful coverage of a protest.
As pointed out in this Atlantic article, when a handful of lunatics with teabags hanging from their hats show up in a park with misspelled signs, it’s wall to wall coverage across the MSM but hundreds of young people occupying Wall Street? That’s not news.
At least, it’s not news that benefits the media’s corporate ownership and shareholders as the “agenda” of the tea bag decorated wacko crowd does. So…it’s not news that’s fit to print.
The problem for the media is that the story isn’t cooperating and going away. So, going by the playbook, the same MSM that helped promote and elevate a tiny minority of ignorant people financed by corporate interests into controlling the US House of Representatives, has tried to discount the Wall Street protest by attacking and ridiculing those protesting.
Whether this is reflective of corporate loyalty on the parts of some in the media or the ignorance that being in a bubble and removed from the lives of real people nurtures, there may be a far bigger story behind what is going on and what will follow.
To a less biased observer than the American Media in general (fortunately, there still are some insightful and professional journalists out there), the pattern of Americans giving up on their democracy to solve their problems would be pretty apparent.
There are more “independents” today and smaller percentages of self-identified Democrats and Republicans than ever before. Disapproval ratings of Congress are at record lows, around 87%. The astroturf Tea Party did attract many disaffected people. The “government is bad” drumbeat by the GOP is resonating louder. People are participating in more protests as their government aids or merely observes attacks on the working class, public employees and unions. The Citizens United ruling and the faceless Superpacs pouring millions into even state elections has engendered even greater futility about elections in the minds of the public.
The goal of the corporate interests, in cutting government’s hamstring to cripple it or simply buying it out in a hostile takeover has become terribly transparent to many Americans.
In the 1980’s, when the US government financed the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, as brilliant as many in the military and government were, they were wholly blind to the blowback that would result, in the form of having funded and trained Osama Bin Laden and essentially helped create Al Qaeda. In the long run, the US may have been far better off to allow events to unfold in Afghanistan without our involvement, the Soviet Union would likely have faced the same results they did (and which we are now suffering…without a superpower backing our adversaries) and Al Qaeda may have never been brought into existence. How different might today be if that was the path chosen?
Blowback is the most troubling, haunting and dangerous aspect of any battle. The term refers to the unintended consequences that result later down the line from an action. Blowback can sometimes be completely unexpected, very hard to predict even for those keen on doing so, let alone in cases when those in power are so focused on obtaining their goals, they’ll believe only what validates what they want.
The Iraq War is another sad but prime example. Neocons collaborated and planned during the Clinton Administration how they would “liberate” Iraq when they could re-take power and all nature of rosy scenarios were envisioned. Blowback often occurs because of self-delusion and the ignorance that comes from projecting one’s own sensibility on those one attacks instead of having the ability to genuinely empathize with them.
The corporate war on Americans for control of our economy and government is like any other war. One force is advancing and putting a population under siege, fighting battle after battle to take the ground that used to belong to the people they attack. They invest their formidable resources on becoming victorious and claiming the spoils and give little thought to the one issue that can undermine any victory in the long run.
What the wealthy and corporate executives are incapable of, both intellectually and emotionally, is truly understanding those who they attack and what their attacks are generating in those people.
As the reverse is true for many in the majority of Americans, it is hard for many to fully comprehend and understand how the wealthy can be so destructive and mercenary in their greed. One can only guess that like their fellow millionaire conservatives in the Bush Admin, they just believe that their war on Americans will end up paying for itself and once they have won the war, they will be greeted with flowers and candy.
What they may be failing to recognize, what the blowback may be from their war on Americans, might be similar to what is happening in a number of other countries around the world right now. Once a population begins accepting that their power in their society has been usurped, once they recognize that their democracy can no longer function to serve them and solve their problems, they don’t just shrug their shoulders and call it a day, as the wealthy seem to think.
They stop looking to elections and politicians to solve their problems and come together with other citizens to take their destiny in their own hands.
This is not to say it leads to violent revolution but as we’ve seen in The Arab Spring, oppression of the majority by an elite minority and blocking their ability to use their collective will through the system to change things, can lead to popular uprisings that take back a nation and society from the elite.
“Really?” you may be asking. In America where people usually respond to periods of collapse in our society by just building a more comfortable surround-sound system in their home in which to escape?
Yes. It’s already happening on Wall Street, in Wisconsin, in Ohio and in many parts of this nation…even though the MSM isn’t exactly predisposed to show that to the American public and put the pieces together.
As economic insecurity and inequity touch more and more Americans, as the expectation that their children’s lives will be better than theirs fades, as faith in our democratic system dries up…when the pain and oppression becomes too much and there is no legitimate system or hope for changing the way things are…people will indeed eventually take to the streets, even in America.
The wealthy think that fully owning our government will give them total power. They don’t understand that locking off democracy as a relief valve for a population will instead build up a powerful pressure that will eventually explode against them and their society which they’ve carved in their image.
And this is not a situation unique to the US, here are some excerpts from an interesting article about this as a global phenomena, from yesterday’s New York Times:
As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe
Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.
Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.
They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.
Economics have been one driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending breeding widespread malaise. Alienation runs especially deep in Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence.
But even in India and Israel, where growth remains robust, protesters say they so distrust their country’s political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change.
The rising disillusionment comes 20 years after what was celebrated as democratic capitalism’s final victory over communism and dictatorship.
In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, a consensus emerged that liberal economics combined with democratic institutions represented the only path forward. That consensus, championed by scholars like Francis Fukuyama in his book “The End of History and the Last Man,” has been shaken if not broken by a seemingly endless succession of crises — the Asian financial collapse of 1997, the Internet bubble that burst in 2000, the subprime crisis of 2007-8 and the continuing European and American debt crisis — and the seeming inability of policy makers to deal with them or cushion their people from the shocks.
Frustrated voters are not agitating for a dictator to take over. But they say they do not know where to turn at a time when political choices of the cold war era seem hollow. “Even when capitalism fell into its worst crisis since the 1920s there was no viable alternative vision,” said the British left-wing author Owen Jones.
(apologies to journalist Nicholas Kulish and the NYT for such a long excerpt, I had to restrain myself from posting this brilliant article in full. Please click on the link above and read the whole intriguing article…after you’ve finished this one of course!)
What we may be on the brink of is the blowback from the corrupt system that capitalism has evolved into. As the old saying goes, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. With no real rival anymore, capitalism has become an absolute power and is absolutely corrupted.
It is as bad if not worse in this nation to say “Capitalism is bad” than to say “America is bad”. Capitalism has become a political party, a life philosophy and even a religion (check out The Family). It has usurped and corrupted many of the most important social values of America in one way or another.
Corporations now are actually openly called “people” and afforded the same rights as human beings…yet can evade taxes, steal the life savings of Americans, strip workers of pensions and jobs, financially destroy communities, poison actual people, even try to take away the few safety nets that protect those they have left jobless, ill and destitute…and be legally entitled to do so as long as it is profitable for them.
Perhaps the real outrage isn’t so much that corporations have become people but that people have become corporations. The people who run these corporations exhibit no more conscience or empathy than the inhuman entity that they operate.
It would behoove corporations to have a limit to their greed and need to corrupt democracy, settling for owning 60% of America’s wealth instead of 100%. However, corporate greed is insatiable. As a person (as the fantastic documentary, “The Corporation” presented), corporations are sociopaths. They have no sympathy for the lives of any others, just focused like a laser on their own gratification.
A news story from yesterday enlightens on this:
New Study, Old News: Stock Traders Are Psychopaths
The hubbub is just starting to pick up after NZZ Online’s report yesterday on a University of St. Gallen study that shows stock market traders display similarities to certified psychopaths. The study, authored by MBA students Pascal Scherrer and Thomas Noll, compares decisions made by 27 equity, derivative and forex traders in a computer simulation against an existing study of 24 psychopaths in high-security hospitals in Germany. Not only do the traders match their counterparts, but, as Der Speigel succinctly puts it, the “stockbrokers’ behavior is more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths.”
The traders, according to Noll, were fixated on gaining more than their competitors in the computer simulation – to the extent that they “spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents.” He compared the behavior to bashing a neighbor’s fancy car with a baseball bat in order to make your own car the nicest in the neighborhood.
Sound like any Republican members of The House to you?
Actions have consequences and not always those that are anticipated. As the wealthy’s Class Warfare savagely continues against the majority of Americans to take from them the equity they have and the democracy they were given, history indicates that there will eventually be a powerful pushback if not an uprising, politically or literally.
Though the prospect of the wealthy being run out of the country on a rail…without their wealth is attractive, it is late but not too late to use our democracy to effect change.
There’s still time to repair and protect our society and democracy. Voting out the corporate and sociopathic members of Congress and keeping corporate control out of the White House could help turn things around in 2012.
It will be a massive war though, with millions, possibly over a billion in corporate spending to fool voters into handing our democracy over to them. We must fight this in a peaceful and democratic way while at the same time, supporting and participating alongside our fellow citizens such as those occupying Wall Street, those fighting the anti-union assaults in WI and OH and other states and all others who have had enough of being attacked and are getting out there in the streets to make a real difference (tweeting and blogging is helpful but nothing beats meeting up with other concerned people and coming together as human beings to protest for the rights we share).
As for the wealthy, I have this wisdom to share…be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
And the blowback along with it.