Saturday, May 11, 2019

Everybody’s Realizing It Now: The Political Establishment Is Not Willing To Give The Public The Things The Vast Majority Of Americans Want And That We Could Easily Have

Just so readers are not too surprised: Before we get to the end of this article we are going to discuss listening to WBAI, New York's Pacifica Radio station (New York City's only truly listener-supported public radio station), as a source of information. .  WBAI as a resource for information is connected to the other things of importance we are about to discuss.

 . . .  First, we'll to talk about libraries, as a way of leading into a major  topic.  There's something that everybody now seems to be realizing-  It's how, over and over gain, on issue after issue, the American public is being denied what huge majorities of American want and what sensibly ought to be afforded to everyone.

Say, for instance, libraries . .  
New York City Councilman Steve Levin said in City Council hearings (@ 1:24) that about 95% of his constituents opposed the sale of the second biggest library in Brooklyn that was in his district and that it was the number one issue when he ran for reelection.  Nevertheless, Levin voted to sell and shrink the library eliminating most of its books and worked energetically behind the scenes to push the deal through.

The City Council followed suit, voting to approve the shrink-and-sink deal putting the recently expanded, fully upgraded library into the hands of a developer planning to build a luxury tower at the site, even though it meant the destruction, at huge public cost, of Brooklyn’s destination downtown library. . . Thus eliminated, Brooklyn’s downtown would no longer be graced with the Business Library, the Career Library, the Education Library and the federal depository library.  The City Council voted to eliminate the library even though libraries are one of the public's top priorities, ranked the “third highest budget concern” of all the city’s community boards and the “top priority” of Brooklyn’s community boards and ranked a top concern by citizens in the City Comptroller’s “People's Budget.” 

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (now wanting to run for president) also approved the selling of the library.  He did his best to push it through even though when he ran for office he said about this and other NYC libraries in jeopardy of sale:
It’s public land and public facilities and public value under threat. . . and once again we see, lurking right behind the curtain, real estate developers who are very anxious to get their hands on these valuable properties
During that run for office de Blasio was the recipient of funds provided through the development team to which he would ultimately hand off the library in what was investigated as a pay-to-play deal where de Blasio was also criticized for not taking the best bid.  (The sale was going to be a loss for the public no matter what, because the library was sold to be torn down for less than its tear down value.)

The selling, shrinking and elimination of New York City’s libraries and their books and librarians, all of which are easily affordable, is another example of what I mentioned at the outset: An overall pattern that everybody now seems to be recognizing where, over and over again, the public very sensibly wants and could have something, but the political establishment refuses to furnish it and delivers dross or the opposite instead.

The disappointing experience we had with New York City elected officials respecting libraries may be why when Citizens Defending Libraries participated in producing a forum about Voter Disenfranchisement (how voting is being suppressed, neutralized and the will of the electorate thwarted) it zeroed in and posted the following as grist for discussion:  
The re-enfranchisement of all U.S. citizens voting should also be fought on multiple other fronts. Evidence that electeds don’t follow the popular will is ample, with the majority of Americans wanting but not getting:

        • medicare for all; •  protection of women’s reproductive rights; •  stricter gun control laws; • stricter regulations on and breaking up of the big banks; • more environmental regulation; • equal pay for women; • easier, less restrictive immigration; • less surveillance of American citizens; • less military spending and a pull back from the U.S.’s endless and ceaseless military interventions (wars); • net neutrality; • continued support for traditional public schools, and free college; • more restrictions on money in politics.   
Full disclosure: I am a co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries and I worked to set up that forum.

More recently, Columbia law Professor Tim Wu (author of The Master Switch,” “The Attention  Merchants,” and The Curse of Bigness) wrote an op-op in the New York Times that included the following list of things he observed the public wants, but is not getting:
About 75 percent of Americans favor higher taxes for the ultrawealthy. The idea of a federal law that would guarantee paid maternity leave attracts 67 percent support. Eighty-three percent favor strong net neutrality rules for broadband, and more than 60 percent want stronger privacy laws. Seventy-one percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada, and 92 percent want Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. The list goes on.
See- Opinion: The Oppression of the Supermajority- The defining political fact of our time is not polarization. It’s the thwarting of a largely unified public.  By Tim Wu, March 5, 2019

Professor Wu offered his analysis of why that is.  While he acknowledged that we are supposed to have checks and balances to get thoughtful government rather than mob rule, he noted:                       
    . . . In our era, it is primarily Congress that prevents popular laws from being passed or getting serious consideration. (Holding an occasional hearing does not count as “doing something.”) Entire categories of public policy options are effectively off-limits because of the combined influence of industry groups and donor interests. There is no principled defense of this state of affairs — and indeed, no one attempts to offer such a justification. Instead, legislative stagnation is cynically defended by those who benefit from it with an unconvincing invocation of the rigors of our system of checks and balances.
Tim Wu with his list is following also in the footsteps of film maker and political critic Michael Moore (also a library defender) who included a segment in his film “Fahrenheit 11/9" released last fall (pre-election) intended to bring home the realization of how much more to the left the American public is than what the political establishment is providing.

To quote what is included about this 38 minutes into the film:
There seems to be a misunderstanding about who the real America is. Let me share with you a fact that has never been stated in the press or reported on the nightly news, or even spoken amongst ourselves. The United States of America is a leftist country.

That's right.  We are one rocking, shit-kicking, gay-loving, gun-rejecting, race-mixing, pot-smoking, tree-hugging, hip-hopping, anywhere breast-feeding, quince-cooking, left-leaning liberal nation. Here are the facts.
    The vast majority of Americans are pro-choice.
    [Slide: 71% pro-choice (NBC News/Wall Street Journal, 2018)]
    They want equal pay for women,
    [Slide: 82% Equal pay for women (YouGov, 2013)]
    stronger environmental laws,
    [Slide: 74% stronger environmental laws (Gallup, 2018)]
    legalized marijuana,
    [Slide: 61% legalized marijuana (Pew, 2018)]
    a raise in the minimum wage,
    [Slide: 61% raise the minimum wage (National Restaurant Association Poll, 2018)]
    Medicare for all,
    [Slide: 70% medicare for all (Reuters, 2018)]
    tuition-free college,
    [Slide: 60% tuition-free public college (Reuters, 2018)]
    free child care,
    [Slide: 59% free child care (Gallup, 2016)]
    support for labor unions,
    [Slide: 62% Approve of labor unions (Gallup, 2018)]
    a cut in the military budget,
    [Slide: 61% a cut in the military budget (University of Maryland, 2016)]
     break up the big banks.
    [Slide: 58% Break up the big banks (Progressive Change Institute, 2015)]
    Most Americans don't even own a gun.
    [Slide: 78% Don’t own a gun (Harvard University, 2016)]
    And 75% believe that immigration is good for the U. S.
    [Slide: 75% Immigration is good for the U.S. (Gallup, 2018)]
    And on and on and on.   
  . . . . Those crazy motherfuckers have won. . .  If America is us and we're the majority, why is it that we do not hold a single seat of power? Not the White House, not the Senate, not the House, not the Supreme Court.
To go one better that Moore in terms of showing how power and money supersedes what people want, most gun owners and even a majority of the members of the National Rifle Association (plus those who live in households with guns) want more sensible and restrictive gun laws than we have, laws which those leading the NRA seek to fend off.

Moore makes the point in his film that the Democrats are missing the boat by not representing the people.  Even more harshly critical of the Democrats as a corporately captured party masquerading as “opposition” is comedian and media watchdog Jimmy Dore who points out that those in charge of the Democratic party like Nancy Pelosi are actually making it their job to tell the public along with all registered Democrats that they can’t have what the majority of Americans want, an effort to marginalize the most important issues. . .  And they tell those wanting to work through the Democratic party that they shouldn’t even be working for those things!

Dore recently provided his own list of things that “people want and that we know we can have. . What everybody else gets to have in other countries” (and we are, he comments, the “richest country in the world?”)
    •    70% of Americans are for medicare for all
    •    63% are for a $15 minimum wage
    •    66% are for tuition free college
    •    81% support a Green New Deal
    •    59% (almost 6 out of ten Americans support a 70% top marginal tax rate.
    •    72% of American support expanding social security
    •    62% of American want to legalize marijuana
    •    65% want to reform our incarceration system
    •    63% want same sex marriage freedom
    •    69% seven out of ten, want to keep Roe vs. Wade
    •    75% think that immigration is good.
    •    83% want net neutrality
    •    61% want to stop climate change
    •    77% want campaign finance reform (which is not what the Democrats want, just repeal Citizens United)
    •    Almost six out of ten American want to break up the big banks
    •    64% want a guaranteed jobs program
    •    76% Want to tax the rich
    •    67% want to tax big corporations more
    •    Eight, almost nine out of ten Americans want to use the military only as a last resort
Listen to Jimmy Dore Show, April 18, 2019 (“Warmongers Exposed” starting at 27 minutes in.) You can also catch the Jimmy Dore Radio Show on WBAI radio.

Dore points out that the only place these things like Medicare For All are “not mainstream” is inside the beltway and “cable news green rooms.”  This goes to show, says Dore, that we live in an oligarchy where democracy has already been stolen from the public– hacked by Wall Street, Big Oil and Big Pharma.  And we blame the Russians? asks Dore.

It’s not just democracy that's being stolen from us: Our ability to communicate sensibly with each other has been sabotaged.  Wanting to make his points in his film Michael Moore proclaims that we are a leftist country. .  . a  left-leaning liberal nation.”  But does that language of Moore's ceding “the center” to others who are further right truly make sense?  Consider this tweet from Ralph Nader:
They call Bernie Sanders, Senator from conservative Vermont, a leftist. All his major proposals to improve our economy’s fairness and productivity have healthy majority support. Doesn’t that make him a centrist? -R
In response to that Nader tweet  Dr. Victoria Dooley (@DrDooleyMD) posted this image helpfully encouraging a reorientation of perspective.

Dore’s observations about how the will of the majority is thwarted and ignored by both Republicans and Democrats emphasizes the need to extricate voters from the entrapment of the current duopoly structure.  One of the quickest exits would come through reformed voting laws like the implementation of instant run off voting.  (That's something you sometimes hear more about from Dore on WBAI.)

The disconnect between what the public wants and what the political establishment delivers is part of what Lawrence Lessig wrote about in his book “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It” which observes, based on studies that if there are things that the public wants and things that moneyed interests want, the outcome is almost always determined by the moneyed interests to the extent that the two don’t coincide.  Lessig also points out that this obeisance to the money comes about without there having to be strict bilateral quid-pro-quo exchanges, which, with blinders, is the only thing the Supreme Court wants to look at when it come to reining in the influence of money in politics.  (General expectations setting up perimeters of what is conduct acceptable to those in power also work well in regulating the media.)

As a populace, we are so used to being told what we can’t have and what is too expensive to be possible that we have to be careful about regurgitating falsehoods that limit what we think is possible to achieve.  On April 18th, Bill Hartung, Director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy, gave an important, lucidly convincing address about Pentagon and military spending for Brooklyn For Peace ("How the Pentagon Robs Our City!), which is currently running a “Move The Money” campaign with a resolution (No. 747-2019) introduced for passage in the New York City Council.

Hartung pointed out that the Pentagon and military budget is about 57% of the nation’s discretionary budget (that's basically all those portions of the budget not funded, like Social security, by their own revenue streams).  He pointed out that just the increase in the military spending in the last two years since Trump came in is as much as Russia spends on its entire military budget.  He pointed out all sorts of other problems with the spending including the lack of an audit and accountability, revolving door conflicts of interest and lobbying.   (I like to refer now not to the spending of the “Military-Industrial Complex,” but to the spending of the “Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex,” which includes even more unknowable black box spending.  It’s not clear how close the unknown figures, if known, would be to those Hartung used.)  Hartung also made a good case for how useless, and unnecessary most of this spending is.

Hartung pointed out, quite obviously, how, in addition to taxing the wealthy more heavily, this spending on the military could be shifted over to pay for many things, subways and infrastructure included.  But I think Hartung made a mistake when he said it would be important to consider such a shift in spending to pay for Medicare For All, and that’s because Medicare For All pays for itself, providing far better national health care at the same time.  After that it probably even frees up some money in addition as well.  (For a clear understanding of this, one has to think, not just in terms of the funds shunted through government for health care, but in terms of the ultimate total cost that recipients are shelling out for health care.)

Similarly when Hartung suggested that shifting money away from the military would be important `to pay for’ a Green New Deal, he obscures the extent to which a Green New Deal would only involve a shift in the way we are currently spending our money, not necessarily the expenditure of more money.   To the extent that it is merely a shift we would not be spending more in order to not pollute and poison the planet with the green house gases that cause climate chaos.  Especially so, when our withdrawal of subsidies from fossil fuels and, our decreased expenditures on those fossil fuels, would be coming at the moment when we are a tipping point in terms the nominal direct costs (vs. true total costs) of those fossil fuels vs. renewables.  Finally, there is all the money to be saved for everyone, including by the government, by avoiding all the indirect exogenous costs of fossil fuels: We would all save tremendously when costly climate disasters are averted or when their effects are at least lessened.  But Senate leader Charles Schumer is apparently loath to see any understanding of this be elucidated: He is resisting holding Town Halls on the subject of the Green New Deal (which the press would then have to pay attention to).

Cutting Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex spending could certainly free up phenomenal amounts of money to spend on all sorts of public goods, but if Hartung went astray in his impulse to quickly cite two of the more popular and essential things Americans want as examples of where the Pentagon money might be redirected, and if he mistakenly surmises that those things would otherwise be unaffordable, he can be forgiven.  That gets us to our second major topic for consideration here: The political establishment only gets away with denying the public these things that the public could have if it is aided and abetted by a complicit press.  We have a press owned by corporate conglomerates that exaggerate the costs and underestimate the benefits of such public goods.

For example, when a Koch funded study reached a conclusion (a conclusion the Koch’s certainly didn’t want the study group they funded to reach) that Medicare For All would save the American public $2.1 trillion (in actuality, probably more would be saved), the corporate press went into overdrive to misrepresent and ignore the math and report something quite the opposite.  See the reporting of this press misbehavior by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting which was included in Counterspin, a program they broadcast on WBAI: Reporting on Medicare for All Makes Media Forget How Math Works, Justin Anderson, July 31, 2018.

Similarly, in New York City, we got reporting telling us that New Yorkers had to suffer the huge loss of selling public libraries for less than they were worth because otherwise New Yorkers couldn’t be expected to be able to afford libraries at all.  How very little we were spending on libraries in the overall scheme of things, especially given their benefit, went more or less unreported.  The New York Times ran a front page article about how great it was to be selling off libraries and schools ignoring information Citizens Defending Libraries gave them to the contrary.

Think back for a moment-- Remember all those supermajority poll results?  Think where the polls on all these things would be if the press did its job, instead of aligning with the corporations and the political establishment to stonewall and deny.  The polls would be shifting a lot further.  Those things the public wants and is told it can't have would be even more popular.  One area where polls would shift is where the public would now be positioned on the subject of Democratic Socialism which the public, especially young people are increasingly in favor of.  See: Libraries As A Threat To The “Perspective” That Virtually Everything Should Be Dictated And Run By The Forces of Market Capitalism, August 31, 2018.

There's still another reason to keep those all supermajority poll results in mind (including where the polls could shift to with a little help from less biased news coverage): When you find people selling you the idea that ours is an extremely divided nation (that's a common meme for the press now harps on these days), you can scoff and reject the notion that such divisions explain almost everything as a lot of tripe.  As a nation we have much more in common than we are being told.  That's true no matter how much our differences are being stoked, and it's true no matter how much the extreme right and its hateful passions, in particular, are being stoked these days. (Listening to "On Contact" on WBAI, you may have just heard Matt Taibbi explain to host Chris Hedges how American journalism is now engaged in purposefully stoking hate between citizens.)

The buttressing by the press of the political establishment’s unwillingness to represent the public on issue after issue of major importance leaves these huge supermajorities of our populace unspoken for and lacking information vital to the conduct of our democracy.  Plus, let’s once again reiterate: The supermajorities these polls record would certainly swell mightily if there was a decent flow of information out to these audiences.

This failure of the press, the huge hole that it leaves, that imbalance with so many people unserved, is the main reason why I, along with my wife Carolyn McIntyre (another co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries), have gone on the local station board of WBAI, a Pacifica Foundation public radio station.  The proper mission of a truly public radio station is to fill such voids concerning matters vitally affecting the public by providing accurate, objective, comprehensive news and information that corporate media interests routinely intercept and bury.  There are, as we see, huge audiences out there needing to be served.  Furthermore, these issues fended of by the political establishment and mainstream press are interrelated.  Understanding how the dots connect helps us realize that we are, all of us in the huge supermajorities, in the same boat.

From what we witness now, it’s clear that privately owned corporate media can’t be expected to step into this role notwithstanding that the airwaves they broadcast over have been entrusted to them by the public.  Nor do I see the WNYC radio station in New York assuming such a stature. . . . WBAI is the only true listener supported station in New York City.  WNYC, while it calls itself a public listener supported radio station, is only about 30% listener supported.  That meager 30% is easily outweighed by all the rest of the money coming from corporate sponsorship and the large and related donations from wealthy individuals connected thereto.  You can see the influence of that money reflected in the increasingly corporate sounding content WNYC broadcasts. Those broadcasts are increasingly hard to differentiate from the product of the corporate media itself.

WBAI has been doing the work of addressing issues in New York City like the selling off and diminishment of libraries.  By contrast, WNYC, put on its board the head of one New York City’s most controversial (and "most controversial" in that area is a high bar) real estate developers, rewriting facts and history with praise for the developer’s destructive developments in a press release about the appointment, running inaccurate laudatory on-air commercials (so-called “sponsorship spots”) for the developer (“working to create vibrant communities throughout New York City”), and including that developer head and WNYC board member (Maryanne Gilmartin, president of Forest City Ratner) in an bizarre image burnishing puff piece about how she gets a good night’s sleep.

The developer, Forest City Ratner, even has connections to the selling off of city libraries.  And recently, the Chairman of the developer, Bruce Ratner, has literally shacked up with Linda Johnson the president of the Brooklyn Public Library who, when she started, vowed before her library board that the library real estate deals were her top priority.  Meanwhile, WNYC was taking substantial amounts of money from the Revson Foundation, very involved in dispensing money to encourage the new program of selling off libraries.

Such connections continue.  Laura Walker, the president of WNYC, was at the same time on the board of the Saint Ann’s School, a private school in Brooklyn Heights, which, somewhat behind the scenes, was getting a huge windfall (through being able to sell its own real estate development rights) from the sale of that central destination Brooklyn library we began by talking about.  When Ms. Walker was asked in September of 2015 by a member of the public at a WNYC Community Advisory Board meeting about the poor quality of WNYC's local coverage on matters such as real estate, including the lack of coverage respecting the libraries, Ms. Walker responded that she was meeting the very next day to get funding for WNYC coverage respecting the libraries.  Was Ms. Walker meeting with representatives of the Revson Foundation which is dispensing money to promote the library sales?  That would seem to be the logical conclusion about who she was meeting with.  And should Ms. Walker have been doing so if Ms. Walker's Saint Ann’s School was a principal beneficiary of the sale of the downtown central library?

These questions have never been satisfactorily answered except that September 14, 2017, two years after I inquired about Ms. Walker's 2015 meeting to get money for library coverage, Ms. Walker, after a fair amount of followup, belated responded:
I can assure you again that our coverage of public libraries is not, and would never be, at all affected by our funders, our board members or anything else.  There is a strict editorial wall.  I wouldn’t allow any interference, and neither would our news department.
Ms. Walker did not, thereafter, respond to my request for certain elaborations.

In the most recently filed IRS 990 form (2017's) Ms. Walker's total annual compensation as president was disclosed as $954,582, including all items beyond her basic $831,211 take home.  The last time before that when I was checking for the previously available 990 figures (back in April of 2018) Ms. Walker's total annual compensation as president was $888,110.  That means that, together with another $200,000 that Ms. Walker was taking home annually for being on the board of the commercial Tribune Media Company (another conflict of interest?), Ms. Walker was bringing home well over a very comfortable for her (uncomfortable for us?) $1 million a year.  A million dollars a year is more than half of WBAI's annual operating budget.  . . .  That helps explain why, when I did a rough calculation, I estimated that every listener dollar donated to WBAI goes about 62 times as far as a listener dollar donated to WNYC.  And those listener dollars falling into the WNYC pit then have to compete with the larger influence of all the corporate dollars.

So with numbers, connections and relationships like these gunking up WNYC's operations, what are we to expect from WNYC in terms of reporting that will represent or serve the public on the issue of libraries or other important matters? . .  

. .   In terms of the job that is not being done, the vast supermajorities of the public that are not being served by so much of the mainstream corporate media, including WNYC, with respect to the issues that those majorities care about, should we consider that problem and, by contrast, the reason that WBAI is such a critical resource, is best exemplified by WNYC's failure to properly report and explain why our libraries shouldn't be sold and shrunk?  Or is it better exemplified by the inexcusably abysmal reporting by WNYC/National Public Radio as they now help lay out the propaganda groundwork for more military spending and military actions by the U.S. against Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, et al?  Or, in fact, aren't all of these things connected, all one of a piece, examples together with much else of an overall crisis where the public is being systemically denied the things that the vast majorities of our population want and very rationally ought to be allowed have?
NOTE: This article was written before Cecile Richards appeared on Democracy Now (carried on WBAI every morning at 8:00 AM) to publicize her involvement with launching a newly formed group she is calling itself “Supermajority” thus adulterating the term and concept of  what a“supermajority” is.  See: Supermajority: Cecile Richards Teams With Alicia Garza & Ai-jen Poo to Mobilize Women Voters in 2020, May 8, 2019.  Richards is using the term “supermajority” to describe a woman’s identity political group, women being a majority of the population (slightly more than 50%).  Ms. Richards says the “super” part of the group’s name is based on the fact that she thinks “women have superpowers.”  If they do, they don’t necessarily use them dependably, just because they are women: There was discussion on the show about how more white women (though perhaps not a majority) voted for Trump than for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.  The adoption of the name “supermajority” for the group’s formation will likely make it more difficult going forward to search for information about the existence of political supermajorities that are clearly and dependably issue-based.
ADDENDUM (added 6/11/2019): One more list!  After this article was written and posted, Chris Hedges interviewed Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins on his “On Contact” radio show (on WBAI and earlier episodes of the show were mentioned in the article as first written). In the course of that interview Hedges presented another list of things that Americans want, could have, but are not being allowed to have by those dominating politics and government in the United States.

Hedges observes that his sampling from his list below is an example of how the positions that are taken by the Green Party are, in fact, in almost all cases, majoritarian positions.

Here is that list, that begins at 10 minutes into the interview:
•    82% of the Americans think wealthy people have too much power and influence.
•    69% think large businesses have too much power and influence in Washington.
•    78% of likely voters support stronger rules and enforcement and regulation of the financial industry.       
•    48% think economic inequality is very big while another 34% think economic inequality is moderately big.  (48%+34%= 82%)
•    59% of registered voters and 51% of registered Republicans favor raising the minimum that low wage worker can make and still be eligible for earned income tax credit from $14,820 to $18,000.
•    96% of American, including 96% of Republicans believe that money in politics is responsible for the dysfunction of the American system.
•    76% believe wealthy American should pay higher taxes.
•    59% favor raising the federal minimum wage to at least $12 an hour.
•    61%, including 42% of Republicans approve of labor unions.
•    60% of Americans believe it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care.
•    60% of registered voters favor expanding medicare to provide health insurance to every single citizen.
•    59% favor free early childhood education.
•    76% are concerned about climate disruption.
•    84% support requiring background checks for all gun owners.
•    58% of American believe that abortions should be legal.
“And yet,” notes Hedges, “from both of the parties (except maybe abortion), none of these majoritarian issues are being addressed.

And that’s the problem of American politics,” says Hawkins, “political preferences don’t translate into public policy, because the political system responds to the donors, not the voters.”


  1. I've been reading an author, James A. Tyner, on "population geography," who gets onto the salience of death/mortality as a matter of human awareness and as a spur to culture and a search for "solutions" if not meaning, and he succeeds this by discussing life processes in which humans distinguish themselves by planning, abstraction and use-value in the tool-wielding occupations....I get to wonder if he gets to mentioning consolation.
    I read "Everybody's realizing...the Things the Vast Majority of American's Want..."--suave technology, with fully staffed and book-lined public libraries, countervailing democratic institutions, social amelioration, etc,etc, all being sacrificed by delusional actors willing to see the voting "supermajority" reduced to a vulnerable precariat ala Central America, Brazil, China...
    Nixon, Reagan, 'Poppy' Bush went beyond where Trump has vis a vis rogue diplomacy as presidential candidates and Robert Mueller is in the family lineage and way with Kennedy era C.I.A. honchos Richard Bissell and Charles Cabell, purveyors of a behemoth diplomacy which did not aim at the consolation of the world's reserve labor forces, and can it be imagined that they were personally warm human or social beings, either, and not rather seekers of redundant reassurance in the exersize of cartesian rationality in an abject work environment? In which, O Christ, you die, "buying it," whatever luck you had at dating, social advancement or having fun, outside of a disconsolate home environment, to which all the arts of human existence that ever were, turned themselves in charity, being 'careful for nothing,' and for the loss of which arts, as though for "poverty of great men," "we must answer as criminals charged with a capital crime." Augustine City of God II.21 quoting Cicero.

  2. That was a great piece. I've been harping on about this for more than a decade now. It was in 2010 that, for some reason, I got curious to look at polling data for myself. I looked at all the sources of polling over decades. And I was shocked how far left the majority was. That has been true for a long time. The leftward trend has been continuous. Yet there is almost no talk about it.

    I'm a GenXer, although on the younger end, if old enough to remember once having heard Ronald Reagan speak in person (my cub scout troop was invited to sit in the front row). I grew up with the religious right's rhetoric about a Moral Majority. The Moral Majority organization lasted Reagan's entire administration and year after, but the majority claim persisted. The political and media elite have always treated the religious right as if it held privileged status, never to be questioned.

    The interesting thing is that Paul Weyrich, at the launching of the Moral Majority organization in 1980, publicly admitted to a cheering crowd that the religious right was not a majority and would never win any elections without voter suppression. How is it that the corporate media and corporatist politicians have ignored that? It's not like any of this data is a secret. And it does show up in occasional news reporting, only to quickly disappear again, but almost never framed in a way to convey its significance.

    I'm not one prone to ideological dogmatism and extremism, but the MSM and two-party system always gave me the sense that I must be radically far left because I never heard my views given voice. Then, after looking at the data for myself, I realized on most major issues I was somewhere near the center of majority public opinion. Yet how can a supermajority be on the 'left'? Shouldn't a supermajority of public opinion, almost by definition, be the center of the political spectrum?

    It is irritating, frustrating, and demoralizing. The right-wing elite push a narrative of a few people on the far right fringe being victims of "cancel culture." Yet no one talks about the hundreds of millions of Americans on the political 'left' who have been so canceled as to not only be silenced but treated as if they don't exist. Even the simplest of truths have no political power to enforce political will until they gain public awareness and so become a social fact.

    The American public never acts like a supermajority because they don't realize that they are. That was the necessity of the Wirthlin effect in controlling social identity through manipulated symbolic issues and ideological labels. But I suppose this is nothing new. The suppression of democracy has been the common theme running through all of American history. An aging Thomas Jefferson privately stated that the republican experiment of governance had been a failure basically because the founders had dismissed democracy, but he believed that republicanism lived on in the spirit of the people.

    1. If you're interested, besides some older posts, I've recently written about this topic:

  3. I noticed at the end of your post you quoted Chris Hedges: “And yet from both of the parties (except maybe abortion), none of these majoritarian issues are being addressed.” Is even that true?

    Religious right Paul Weyrich stated that issues like abortion were never that significant. He tried to organize the religious right around the culture war issues, but failed. It was only until racial segregation in Bible schools was overturned by the Supreme Court that the religious right became a political force.

    Up through the 1970s, most Christians, including most conservative evangelicals, were fine with ensuring women had access to safe abortions. The debate was rather limited at the time, but divided along two lines. Many first wave feminists and Catholics (or at least the Vatican) were anti-choice, whereas second wave feminists and Protestants were pro-choice.

    It required massive funding and propaganda campaigns to create the culture wars as political wedge. That was a large purpose for creating the Shadow Network of the CNP, Heritage Foundation, etc. Much of it had to do with gaining control of government but more important gaining control of the American mind.

  4. I left another comment. But it didn't show up. I assume it was put into moderation. Could you check for it? Thanks, Ben