Monday, April 04, 2011

Is there a plot to strip-mine the country?

Today, Riverdaughter (after a too-long absence) posted a piece about the state of research science in the United States today:
Meanwhile, the applied scientists will become commodities who do tedious, boring stuff because they’ll all be forced to work for contracting companies that specialize in doing one thing and one thing only. No more collaboration, no more crowdsourcing. Just a bunch of bitter researchers who wonder for the 82nd time if this is the payment they can expect for studying P-chem, three years of calculus and molecular biology. I hear this is how they do things in India where CROs hire PhDs in synthetic chemistry to do the hands on stuff in the lab that used to be relegated to the BS chemists here. That’s what we are looking forward to in the US. The academic scientists will look like complete suckers and the applied scientists who spent most of their adult years studying for challenging careers now reduced to technicians.

Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts. I give it less than a decade before future scientists all over the world become plumbers, electricians and morticians.
Back in the '60s, it was understood that a massive investment in science and "pure" research was fundamental to the future of America. Today, that investment stinks too much of socialism. As a result, this country soon shall be no longer a first-world nation.

The people running the show seem fine with that. Moreover, they have used all of the propaganda apparat at their disposal to convince Americans to root for their own undoing. The turkeys keep voting for Thanksgiving.

A couple of quotes from Matt Taibi's Griftopia deserve your attention:
The fact that a goofball like Michele Bachmann has a few dumb ideas doesn't mean much, in the scheme of things. What is meaningful is the fact that this belief in total deregulation and pure capitalism is still the political mainstream not just in the Tea Party, not even just among Republicans, but pretty much everywhere on the American political spectrum to the right of Bernie Sanders. Getting ordinary Americans to emotionally identify in this way with the political wishes of their bankers and credit card lenders and mortgagers is no small feat, but it happens—with a little help.
The same giant military-industrial complex that once dotted the horizon of the American states with smokestacks and telephone poles as far as the eye could see has now been expertly and painstakingly refitted for a monstrous new mission: sucking up whatever savings remains in the pockets of the actual people still living between the coasts, the little hidden nest eggs of the men and women who built the country and fought its wars, plus whatever pennies and nickels their aimless and doomed Gen-X offspring might have managed to accumulate in preparation for the gleaming future implicitly promised them, but already abandoned and rejected as unfeasible in reality by the people who run this country.
Which leaves us with these questions:

1. Has there indeed been a conscious decision by the owners of America to strip the property of all its remaining assets and then move elsewhere?

2. Where would they go? (Probably Switzerland or Monaco or some other place most teabaggers would consider "socialist" hell-holes.)

3. What happens to America the day after it all goes to hell? The situation would be revolutionary. But, as I've said many times, after decades of propaganda demonizing any and all New Deal solutions (and a new New Deal is the only thing that can save us), the only revolution likely to succeed in this country is a fascist revolution.

Which brings us to...

Conspiracy theory. I've argued elsewhere, on numerous occasions, that conspiracy paranoia is ruining this country. That paranoia is the gasoline that fuels the teabaggers' propaganda engines.

Matt Taibbi has also decried that phenomenon. His previous book, The Great Derangement, has a lot of fun at the expense of the conspira-loons, especially the Jesusmaniacs and the "controlled demolition" cranks.

On this humble blog, I recently had it out with an especially obnoxious variety of 9/11 conspiracy kook. I speak here of the "no planes, no victims" sub-subculture, a form of insanity previously unfamiliar to me. These wackos actually believe that no jets hit the twin towers, that all the video evidence was doctored, that all the witnesses were actors, and all the "victims" were never killed because the whole event was a massive insurance scam. The next logical step, I suppose, would be to argue that the twin towers are, in fact, still standing. (These toons are so alienated and so socially maladroit that they can't even comprehend how nutty their theory sounds to normal people.)

Conspiracy-crazed clowns are ruining this nation.

And yet...and yet...

In the passages quoted above, Taibbi decries the "military-industrial complex" in a fashion that would get a thumbs-up from any first-generation JFK assassination researcher. It's impossible to interpret those paragraphs from Griftopia in any way that would allow Taibbi to escape the "conspiracy theorist" label.

We've been trained, I think, to frame the issue incorrectly: "Conspiracy" versus "no conspiracy." Wrong.

As I've said on previous occasions, it's really a question of left-wing conspiracy research versus right-wing conspiracy lunacy. Sorry, but after a couple of decades of trying to figure this shit out, I've found that the political test is the only one that works. (And even that test doesn't always work.)

With guys like Alex Jones, the final equations always come down to this: New Deal = socialism, socialism = evil; Ayn Rand = salvation. That's why the right-wing conspiracy loons are so dangerous. Jones pretends to hate the Bush clan, but his world-view differs little from Dubya's.

In the end, the "radical" right-wing conspiracists -- the 9/11 clowns, the birthers, the Illuminati-spotters, the teabaggers, the George Noory aficionados, the kooks who study dollar bills for secret messages -- always end up doing the work of America's owners. They consider themselves outsiders. Radicals. Rebels. Yet they are nothing more than toadies for what George Carlin called the "big club," the club that neither you nor I will ever be allowed to join.

I oppose most of the popular conspiracy theories. Nevertheless, I think that a conspiracy (of sorts) does exist. It controls both the mainstream news and the samizdat. It controls the Republican party, far too much of the Democratic party, and those haughty pseudo-hipsters who claim that they've transcended conventional politics because both parties are full of shit.

Do you think you've found a radically different path? Don't fool yourself. All of the alternate routes still head in the same direction. The main highways, the side streets, the back alleys, the lonely country lanes, the fire roads, the scary shortcuts and the disused dirt trails all take you to a dark and hellish place called Ayn-ville.

The end of the road is the end of America.
"As a result, this country soon shall be no longer a first-world nation."
"Soon no longer" should be replaced by "is."
Well argued. No one else is writing about these themes anymore. We all get hung up on the word conspiracy (of which there are legion -- just watch the oil/gas/coal lobbyists in action in DC or any state cap in the country). It used to be called power elite research. In my old age, I'm convinced that most things we call conspiracy, in common usage, are actions exercised in stealth by a combo of public/private actors at the behest of either powerful bureaucrats or corporate leaders.
Speaking of conspiracy, there's an important election in Wisconsin tomorrow for State Supreme Court Justice which will test the strength of the pro-labor, anti-Gov. Walker support. Here's an interesting article about the mysterious funding of ads running for the pro-Walker candidate: Group Called "Citizens for a Strong America" Operates out of a UPS Mail Drop but Runs Expensive Ads in Supreme Court Race?

If you're interested here's a web site run by the pro-labor cheeseheads:

The nutball conspiracies are some of the distractions provided by the real conspirators--the ones looting the country as if it were a company to be raided by Wall Street vultures.

Some people can be distracted by bread and circuses. Those who can't, may be distracted by useless churning of useless theories.

Carolyn Kay
IMO, one of the prime difficulties of the left-wing conspiracy theories are they're not easily translated into easy to digest slogans or concepts. The argument that the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition is a lot easier to convey in 3-5 minutes than, say, describing an amorphous inter-relationship between intelligence agencies, terrorist organizations and the international drug and arms trades. Another good example would be Wall Street over the past few years: make a criminal conspiracy convoluted enough and you can act it out in broad daylight.
Hoarseface, you said simply what I tried, at too-great length, to say. Thanks.
The right wins the sound byte contest every time because their voters lack critical thinking skills. What galls me is those on our side who want to persuade them with logic and reason. If republican voters were either, they would be FDR Democrats.
Glad I could be of some use! Go figure, it's one of the few comments I've left which weren't composed while drinking.
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