Accountability

Roseburg, OR and Manipulation

Reading time – 65 seconds  .  .  .

President Obama went to Roseburg, OR to express condolences to the families, friends and their fellow citizens for their losses due to the murderous campus rampage of a killer at their community college. He went to meet privately with families of victims and the surviving victims to let them know of his care and to say that he and the American people were holding those hurting people in our hearts. In light of that, who could voice a complaint?

It turned out that hundreds of people found something to complain about. They came with “OBAMA GO HOME” signs. They came with their disdain and their loaded guns to greet him at the airport. They came with the message that he can’t take their guns. Other than their flagrant disrespect for a man bringing condolences to grieving people, they also came with their perfect ignorance.

The NRA has done a masterful job of propagandizing* gun rights, using the last 7 years to make people believe that President Obama is going to take their guns from them. That would be reasonable if not for the fact (and this is an ACTUAL fact) that President Obama has never spoken a word publicly that could remotely be understood to believe that he wants to do anything of the sort.

He has spoken repeatedly about sensible gun safety laws, like universal background checks so that Crazy Pete down the block can’t legally buy an AK-47 assault rifle. He’s never suggest that you should not be able to own a gun.

He has spoken repeatedly about keeping guns out of the hands of convicted violent felons. Unless that describes you, that sensible proposal would never affect you.

There is no perfect American solution for preventing all gun deaths. There are many solutions for preventing some of them. Should you find yourself a potential target of an angry young white guy who can’t get a date and who is carrying a lifetime of rage and an assault rifle with a huge clip of bullets, that moment might change your mind about access to guns and a partial solution will look pretty good to you.

The one thing that the NRA is supremely good at is propaganda. They wrap themselves up in red, white and blue, proclaim all sorts of sanctimonious, nonsensical blather about rights that has nothing to do with our Constitution and its spokesmen use that to inflame unknowing patriotic people to hate the government. They get people tied up six different ways from Sunday with a proud “Don’t tread on me” appeal to their, “You can’t tell me what to do!” passion and incite them threaten violence upon others.

The NRA has convinced well meaning, independent minded people that the government not only oppresses them now, but that their guns are their only defense against a tyrannical government. The massive sale of firearms and ammunition to citizens that comes of that phony threat creates lots of profit for the firearms industry and they pass some of their millions to their lobbyist, the NRA, to twist the arms of our legislators to their violence enabling desires. That is to say, the NRA’s self-serving manipulation creates a false and impassioned us-them conflict, all for the unnamed purpose of greed.

The downside to that is the sad and tragic list of Americans, over 406,000 since 2001, dead by gun violence.

The good news for the Roseburg protesters is that our Constitution gives people the right to protest (another ACTUAL fact). The bad news is that they have been grievously manipulated to believe that the Constitution is intended to allow everyone – even the crazy and the violent felons – the right to own and use any weapon they want, leaving us all at risk.

Do you believe that a partial solution is a good idea? Then support, campaign and vote for legislators who have the same good sense as you.

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*Josef Goebbels, Hitler’s diabolically brilliant chief of propaganda, created a road map for manipulation of public opinion, his Principles of Propaganda. Here are a few that you may find rather similar to the NRA’s actions:

6. To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium.

14 Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.

16. Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.

18. Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Vice

Reading time – 67 seconds  .  .  .

Happy Columbus Day, as we celebrate some guy who found an island over 500 years ago and we have no clue about the reason we remember and celebrate, a reason which has been lost for over 100 years. It’s just another day off work for some. So, the message today is, “Who cares?” Read on.

The vices of the rich and great are mistaken for errors,
and those of the poor and lowly for crimes.
– Marguerite Gardiner (Lady Blessington)*

And so we jail young black men for possession of a small amount of marijuana, but we allow government torturers to go unindicted.

Banking swindlers foreclosed fraudulently on the home mortgages of millions of Americans, forcing them onto the street and nobody went to jail for fraud or conspiracy. At the same time our legislators cut funds for food stamps that took food from the mouths of millions of kids, as those legislators congratulated themselves on their fiscal prudence. None was held to account for the empty stomachs of poor kids.

Goldman Sachs aggressively and fraudulently sold collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) to its clients, while at the same time dumping their own holdings because they knew those CDOs were worthless. No one went to jail for their SEC violations, fraud or conspiracy. They just got a slap on the wrist. Gotta wonder if the absence of Goldman asses in federal prison has something to do with the revolving door between Goldman and the FED.

Adding the $600 billion given to the Pentagon annually to the hundreds of billions thrown at the NSA and the rest, our annual defense spending is about $1.5 trillion, which supports our state of perpetual war, often on the wrong side of other peoples’ conflicts. That’s very profitable for the war matériel manufacturers, for so-called contractors (read: mercenaries) and others. It’s homicidal for people underneath our drone-launched rockets. Clearly, the profiteers care more about their profits than the lives of those they kill, yet no one is held to account.

Our leaders lied us into wars (think: Viet Nam and Iraq), nothing good came of it for the people of those countries or for the US, monstrous bad things happened and none of our leaders has been held accountable for the lying that resulted in millions slaughtered. Then a guy in New York got busted for selling cigarettes illegally, cops strangled him to death and no one called paramedics or attempted to resuscitate him. They just got put on administrative leave for a while. Makes me wonder: Black lives matter, but to whom?

We keep our privately run prisons full of people guilty of not much (sometimes guilty of nothing at all) because it’s profitable for our prison industry and helpful to “tough on crime” politicians. At the same time, the rich and powerful torturers, defrauders and even murderers go free.

Sadly, accountability is applied in inverse proportion to wealth and power.

So, many of the rich and powerful get away with their vice, largely because the laws are made by the rich and powerful; the rest of us are subject to the law. It’s that way in most places, so in this respect, America isn’t exceptional.

But we could be.

So, who cares? If we don’t care enough, things are certain to get worse.

*Thanks to MG for the quote.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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