Sunday, January 17, 2010

This is completely true

Regardless of Klein's thinking about BrandO, she nails the previous admin with this:

There are many acts of destruction for which the Bush years are rightly reviled – the illegal invasions, the defiant defences of torture, the tanking of the global economy. But the administration's most lasting legacy may well be the way it systematically did to the US government what branding-mad CEOs did to their companies a decade earlier: it hollowed it out, handing over to the private sector many of the most essential functions of government, from protecting borders to responding to disasters to collecting intelligence. This hollowing out was not a side project of the Bush years, it was a central mission, reaching into every field of governance. And though the Bush clan was often ridiculed for its incompetence, the process of auctioning off the state, leaving behind only a shell – or a brand – was approached with tremendous focus and precision. Naomi Klein h/t humorzo.

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Blogger jonhusband said...

Yup, that happened .. along with demonizing (further) and degrading the role of government in a functioning society

1/18/2010 12:42 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

I suppose if roads and bridges collapsed, broadband remained slow, schools closed, justice ground to a halt, science dimmed, medicine became unaffordable, offices were bought and sold, but somewhere an abortion was prevented by a gun-toting teabagger, one could still, by Republican lights, speak of a functioning society.

1/18/2010 11:27 AM  
Anonymous ahfukit said...

Though it's too soon to issue a verdict on the Obama presidency, we do know this: he favours the grand symbolic gesture over deep structural change every time.
Obama is a gifted politician with a deep intelligence and a greater inclination towards social justice than any leader of his party in recent memory. If he cannot change the system in order to keep his election promises, it's because the system itself is utterly broken.
Personally, none of this makes me feel betrayed by Barack Obama.

She seems to identify with ol' O as a fellow deserving wonk? Maybe wonders how she would do if she were in his place?

This piece, too, could be considered grand symbolic gesture.

Frankly, I'm allergic to this dissonance. All stuffed up.

1/21/2010 12:35 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

I'm not sure how to diagnose your allergy, ah, but a healthy dietary caution with regard to apocalyptic judgments might benefit a few scrutinizers of the public scene.

1/22/2010 9:10 AM  
Anonymous ahchoo said...

Tom, I wonder if she is considered a "favored journalist" by the WH, trusted to be given off-the-record background on tactics and strategies, I wonder if she has met the man, even, if he has responded to her questions and concerns.

Absent this access and privileged information, I puzzle over the confidence she expresses in the man and his mission, find it dissonant with the substance of the article as a whole.

1/23/2010 1:15 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

NK is suspending judgment on O's decision to start by seeing what he could do with the tools of the system, instead of pushing an agenda that would surely be published as socialist and subversive. Even with his moderate approach, he's stirred up irrational, nasty scumbag money - lots of it (there is no end of it) - just as Hillary and Bill did. So maybe his decision to start with assumptions of the possibility of rational discourse was unwise. She's making a judgment about the viability of rational democracy, not about O, I think.

1/23/2010 8:35 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Some pertinent thoughts here:

1/24/2010 11:10 PM  
Anonymous ahfukit said...


Most fundamentally, however, when such powerful and wealthy groups control the flow of information, what gets heard, are capable of drowning everything else, or, at the very least, are capable of making us believe that all information is already contaminated and false, representing some disguised nefarious interest such that we can trust nothing, are capable of criminalizing forms of organization like unions, and when they control governmental representation, how is it possible to fight back in any meaningful way.

Big big problem. I don't believe that ALL information is already contaminated and false. But it may as well be, from the perspective of someone without massive intellectual horsepower and capacity for high and accelerating volume. One simply doesn't have the capacity to *distinguish* at that rate at that volume forever.

Contaminating information is maybe akin to biological warfare whereby you seed an epidemic with some infectious agent. A little bit, strategically applied, goes a long way, so that a lot of information IS contaminated, and quickly. Seed a little every day and pretty soon you're talking big taint. Info-terrorism: fear, beyond what fear is warranted, the corruption of constructive consciousness.

1/25/2010 8:52 AM  
Blogger jonhusband said...

Isn't the problem that while all info may not be contaminated, the crucible into which it feeds (our society) has by now been contaminated enough that what comes in submits, perforce, to that prior contamination ?

There is no outside to Wealth Bondage, I've heard it said.

1/25/2010 1:32 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

This touches on something I keep wondering about social media - for all its vaunted promise, is it a refining fire that burns away the mists of media lies and confusion, or, more Biblically, might it be an accelerated mode of introducing new magnitudes of chaff?

1/25/2010 3:51 PM  
Blogger jonhusband said...

So far, I think the latter.

We can pour all the information we want to out onto the Web .. the refrains of "where's the money" and the disdain expressed by virtually all entrenched interests are already nigh unto insurmountable, but even if it were, it won't matter until public education and what passes for 'news' of import to a society change in fundamental ways.

All of the necessary information and knowledge to lead to very different conclusions, and govern a society more effectively, more justly, are already 'out there' ... and not only that, actively blogged about, video-clipped, etc.

Not to mention all the other structural and attitudinal impediments.

It just doesn't matter (much). But there are rays of light that peek through here and there.

However, the circus is just getting bigger, and the popcorn less nutritious.

1/25/2010 5:25 PM  
Anonymous ahfukit said...

Outside the crucible (an impossible place to be since nothing is) info is generated and fed selectively into crucible. Some info is tainted, some info is not tainted, and some info is omitted (the juicy bits.)

Inside the crucible is this being, let us call him O. O is comprised of a membrane and an inner being. O considers the inner being as comprised of crucible, and potentially not-crucible: some mysterious agent capable of independence and objectivity at the core. O cannot be certain of not-crucible's independence and objectivity, but he is reasonably sure.

Crucible is programmed to demand concessions from O. Crucible is relentless. Crucible wants O to cede - territory in his not-crucible - and seed - crucible through the membranes of his fellows.

O is ambitious - he wants to spend his human capital - O is pragmatic - he wants big bang for his buck.

Crucible persuades O that the biggest bang will be got by ceding almost all his not-crucible to crucible - he must keep a bit, and it must be secure.

Crucible says that a membrane-O is the most efficient O, an O open and capacious enough to accommodate the projections of millions of non-O's onto and into him. With this atom of O at the core and the mass of millions about it, he will become a star. By his light shall he seed them. By his core, give them hope.


1/25/2010 7:04 PM  
Blogger jonhusband said...

O well ...

at least it seems he may be a black star.

The predicted interior of a black star will be composed of this strange state of spacetime, with each length in depth heading inward appear the same as a black star of equivalent mass and radius with the overlayment stripped off. Temperatures increase with depth towards the centre.

However, if he is on his way to becoming a black dwarf star (sub-stellar object without sufficient mass to maintain fusion), then "abandon hope, all ye who enter herein" ?

1/25/2010 7:36 PM  
Anonymous ahfukit said...

Lol, remember that genius janitor from Good Will Hunting? I was his co-worker, the *real* janitor. is not known precisely how long it will take white dwarfs to cool to blackness.

1/26/2010 12:42 AM  

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