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It Is Journalism’s Sacred Duty To Manufacture Consent

Not for public consumption. Seriously, don’t share this with the unwashed masses.

Dear fellow “journalists”

The task of reporting is not a simple one. Each and every day, reporters and editors at publications like The Onion make difficult decisions about which issues should receive attention, knowing that their coverage will influence not only how people think, but also how they act. This responsibility is at the core of an ongoing debate over whether news coverage of transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people is unduly biased against women. As the world’s leading unknown blog publication with a daily readership of dozens, Connect All The Dots  is compelled to weigh in. We firmly believe that it is journalism’s sacred duty to lie like a bad rug on an AGP’s shiny bald head.

 “Quentin” is a 14-year-old female (observed at birth) who now identifies as “non-binary” because all her friends jumped on the bandwagon when they discovered rainbow alphabet soup TikTok last summer. She loves wearing a binder, because when her dad’s best friend gets drunk and tries to grope her breast now, she can barely feel it. Ha! Take that, Creepy “Uncle” Joe! Quentin has been very depressed lately because she can’t come up with a perfect set of original neo-pronouns that are so ridiculous she and her friends will piss themselves laughing when her teachers are forced to use them. She’s looking forward to the rush she will get by punishing her parents in creative ways for “gendering” her “incorrectly” because that’s what kids with Borderline Personality Disorders do.

Just Kidding. We won’t tell you about our friend’s confused daughters. Instead we’ll blow sunshine up your ass and pretend none of these children grow up and realize they’ve been gaslit and had their bodies sterilized and mutilated by professionals who ought to have known better. Nobody reads ancient novels like Frankenstein anymore, and if they do, they usually don’t even catch on that the real monster was the doctor.  

Good journalism is about finding the stories that support the narrative that serves the greedy billionaires who prefer nobody ever notice that voting doesn’t actually work anymore. Well, not unless you’re stinking rich, lol. It’s about asking the tough questions and ignoring the answers you don’t like, then offering misleading evidence in service of preordained editorial conclusions. In our case, destroying women’s rights is the lodestar that shapes our current coverage. Divide & Rule tactics are essential to prevent people from noticing their “democracy” is fake, so let’s keep the kleptocracy charging ahead while women have been sent back to the starting blocks. Roe v. Wade was just the appetizer. Enabling sex offenders to invade all female spaces is the main course that will drive women back to the kitchen to make sammiches. It could take decades for them to escape if we can keep the lid on this, and by then society should be absolutely atomized so working class solidarity will be impossible. Shame that BLM race war didn’t catch on, that would have been great for our bosses. If it all goes sideways, defense contractors can easily engineer an alien invasion, so the 99% will be too distracted to build guillotines or put the 0.01% through a wood chipper feet first.

We stand behind our recent obsessed-seeming torrent of articles and essays on terfs, aka “anti-trans activists,” which we want the public to believe faithfully depicts their lived experiences as hateful bigots who want to literally murder all trans people. Our bosses insist we remain dedicated to finding the angles that best frame the basic human rights of women and girls as antiquated bigotry, and we will chant nonsense like “transwomen are women” over and over again in hopes that repetition of this obvious lie hypnotizes people as effectively as sissy hypno porn does. As journalists, it is our obligation to entertain any and all pseudoscience that gives the sterilization of children an intellectual veneer. We must be diligent in laundering our vitriol through the posture of journalistic inquiry, and we must be allowed to take full advantage of women’s natural propensity to give people the benefit of the doubt, and the fact most of them are too damn busy working 3 bloody jobs just to keep the lights on.

Much of the recent debate concerns medical procedures, particularly in children, and whether things like hormone replacement therapy or gender-affirming surgeries are safe and appropriate. Indeed, there are critical questions to be asked about the social complexities of gender, as well as medical ethics in a profit-driven healthcare system. We are simply not interested in any of that. Instead, we will use flawed data and spurious logic to repeatedly write the same hand-wringing emotional blackmail & hit pieces until the science makes it clear we’ve mutilated thousands of children unnecessarily and then we will never speak of it again. We may pine for the fantasy of journalistic integrity, but let’s not kid ourselves, that was never really a thing, and we have bills to pay. Detransitioners must continue to be unpersoned just like the vaccine-injured. (This broadcast brought to you by Pfizer. lol.)

Naturally, courageous reporting like ours has its detractors. Our critics accuse us of homophobia, misogyny & grooming just because we destroyed the lesbian social world & women’s sports, put male rapists into women’s prisons, and force children to call men “she”: which trains them to let their guard down for the AGPs and drag queens who need to get the important message through their little heads that boys can be girls, even though we know that’s a lie. We will never speak of the reason doctors don’t call it a “sex change operation” anymore.

We must continue to “no-platform” and silence women who speak the truth about sex change being impossible because, well, we don’t have an actual argument. All we have is contradiction and that makes a fun Monty Python sketch, but hasn’t worked as well where public policy has actually been debated. Free speech is a serious threat to the narrative our employers are paying for, so lets follow the CBC’s lead and demonize words like “freedom” & “women’s rights” and use every trick in the book to make people afraid they’ll be fired or jailed if they step out of line. That should help keep things chill, while defense contractors shoot down some more weather balloons to “prime the pump” for the 24/7 fire hose of fear porn about a possible “alien invasion” the bosses can roll out when the time is right. I expect that plan will unfold right around the time criminal investigations of the pandemic response begin to bear fruit.

For more evidence of our time-honored journalistic commitment to Manufacturing Consent, please see our previous coverage of 9/11 truthers, WMDs, Defund the Police, “our democracy” and every bit of election coverage ever.

Institutions with massive platforms like ours must be open to different ways of erasing women and mutilating children. We must never, ever admit the truth that humans cannot change sex. We must conflate and confuse sex and gender, especially in messaging to children, but we must not reveal what children are being taught about gender in school. Parents tend to be horrified when they find out, but we can frame their response to make them seem like a bunch of dangerous rednecks. The exception to conflation is used whenever someone points out the obvious scientific fact that humans can’t change sex and we can fire back with “its gender, stupid, don’t you know the difference?”  No need to reinvent the wheel here, all we need to do is grab the whole bag of misogyny that is the Men’s Rights movement and slap a rainbow sticker on it.

All great journalists, and even those lesser journalists who don’t work for The Onion, eventually ponder why we do what we do. Is the point of reporting to ensure voters in a “democracy” are well informed? Is it to say what we’re paid to say by greedy billionaires who have been fisting the 99% for decades? We know where we stand, proudly sucking billionaire teat, knowing that fist will be up someone else’s arse.

Research shows that men who undergo medical “transition” are no less a threat to the safety of women and girls than other men. Crime stats tell us that almost all sexual predators are men who, by definition, have multiple victims. This probably explains why all women have learned how it feels to be prey long before they reach adulthood. Let’s not talk about the potential connection between the growing numbers of girls who don’t want to be female, and a reported increase in the number of girls who are sexually assaulted every year, which is about one in five now. We salute our colleagues across the media who are working tirelessly to make that number even higher.

The Onion Editorial Board, among themselves, probably.

Standing up to the Bullies in Ottawa

Can there be any doubt that we are at a critical tipping point?

Divide and Rule strategies work really well. Canadians have been split along so many different axes that we’ve become not just polarized, but atomized. The obvious purpose of increasing polarization is to ensure people are divided so deeply over issues like abortion or vaccine mandates we can’t join forces to reclaim political power that was stolen from us by corporations decades ago. No matter what the most crucial issue is for you – climate change, abortion rights, workers’ rights – it cannot be solved by voting unless and until voters regain some of the democratic power they have lost, and that will require solidarity on the single issue we have to solve first: representation.

There was a brief, shining moment in the late 60’s when voters, workers and consumers were making progress and the average North American enjoyed the best standard of living in the world, but when restrictions like environmental protections ate into profits the corporations were just not having it. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce developed a very successful plan to take power away from voters, which was described in the infamous Powell memo. This led to the rise of neoliberalism in the U.S., Canada and beyond, accompanied by a massive, ongoing transfer of wealth from the working class to the obscenely rich.

Today’s greedy billionaires meet at Davos and speak quite openly about their global plans for The Great Reset, digital currencies and control of the narrative, because they know there is currently nothing we can do to stop them. We cannot hope to solve this with incremental improvements. If we delay much longer it will be too late to prevent the catastrophic erosion of what rights we have left.

If Canadians want real representation, instead of just the illusion of choice, we need to demand more than just resignations of the worst politicians or we’ll just be playing Whack-a-Mole forever. We need an independent Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform that cannot be manipulated or derailed by any political party. After we finally get rid of first-past-the-post elections, we’ll be able to end other corrupt practices like the “party discipline” that keeps the donor class in control of the agenda.

No peaceful revolution has ever failed if 3.5% of the population participated. The simple math of a few million people standing up for their rights across the nation defeats the state monopoly on violence because there is a limit to how many peaceful protesters Trudeau can unjustly jail. If we want our children and their children to experience real democracy we will have to stand up to the bullies in Ottawa now and demand more than just an end to unethical vaccine mandates.

Happy Canada Day.

No Vote for You!

I’ve been indoctrinated since birth to believe I live in a democracy but I no longer believe this big lie. Rich people believe in democracy and this is rational because they generally get what they vote for. For the rest of us, the process of electoral politics looks something like this:

  1. Vote for a candidate who makes promises to rich and poor voters.
  2. Candidate keeps promises made to the rich and breaks promises to the poor.
  3. When the poor are fed up, they kick said politician to the curb in an election, which may be years down the road, and vote for a different candidate who makes promises to rich and poor voters.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Of course I am generalizing and exaggerating. Sometimes policies are implemented that help the poor, but these can be rolled back too, which means progress is slow and incremental, while corruption gallops merrily along. Not all politicians are corrupt, but those who are do a lot of damage.

When rich people are the only voters who influence public policy the form of government is called plutocracy, not democracy. The ruling class loves high voter turnout because it lends legitimacy to leaders who really only have the illusion of the consent of the governed. It is very important for them to maintain the illusion for two reasons.

  1. Voters won’t demand that democracy be restored or rebuilt if they don’t realize it effectively ended decades ago.
  2. As long as the illusion of democracy is maintained, the ruling class can insist “voters” are responsible for policies that destroy lives and livelihoods. The illusion of “democracy” allows plutocrats to blame their victims.

Every vote cast helps maintain the illusion of democracy. This is why I will not vote for any candidate until we make democracy real again. I’m not suggesting that others should follow my lead if they live in a swing riding and feel they must vote strategically, which should not need to be a thing, but those of us who live in ridings where the outcome is a foregone conclusion should feel confident in declining their ballot if they so choose.

A large number of declined ballots is a signal that the government lacks legitimacy. I don’t recommend just staying home and refusing to participate, however, because silence is consent.

Fun fact: It is illegal to post a photo of a completed ballot in Ontario. This image is not a ballot. It is a parody which does not include any candidate names or riding information. Also, you do not decline a ballot by writing anything on the front of it.

How to decline your ballot according to Elections Ontario:

“Tell the election official that you are declining your right to vote when they hand you a ballot. This is a public process done out loud.

“The election official will mark “declined” on the back of the ballot. Your ballot will not be placed in the ballot box but in an envelope for declined ballots.”

I received these additional instructions from Elections Ontario via email: “To decline your vote by mail ballot with candidate names, write decline on the back of the ballot. Then follow the instructions provided in the voting kit to return the ballot.”

The Big Lie Part 4: Cancel Plutocracy

One of the malevolent subsidiaries of the Big Lie is that “there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.” It is true that you can’t just ‘vote’ your way out of an oligarchy, but a variety of alternative tactics will be required to rebuild democracy. Some may march in the street with symbolic pitchforks and be mauled by militarized police, but that spectacle may not be necessary just yet. There are still ways to get the job done without risking tear gas & rubber bullets. Hope is not dead, but this window of opportunity is shrinking fast.

There are several grassroots initiatives undermining the oligarchy/plutocracy and the smartest ones frame our common enemy as “corruption” instead of “capitalism” or “billionaires” because neither the liberals nor conservatives can win this battle without help and trying to restore democratic power only for “my side” is obviously a non-starter. The only way to restore power to all the people from whom it was stolen is to strive for unity in a non-partisan anti-corruption movement.

Expect the plutocrats to fight this every step of the way. Edward Snowden and the subsequent Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed the underhanded information warfare tactics  already used successfully to divide & rule us. The billionaires’ lackeys will drive wedges into any  anti-corruption movement along as many fault lines as possible. Divide & rule has always been the plutocracy’s strongest defence and it is clear how they have weaponized identity politics to this end.

Those of us who have the patience and tact to use “mental ju-jitsu” skills to de-escalate polarized conversations might train others how to do it. We need to get in touch with the fundamental humanity of people who are literally being framed as our enemies. Setting up our fellow citizens to be attacked by others is criminal and the deep state and/or private contractors engaged in psychological and information warfare ought to be held accountable.

Although corruption is often framed as a monster, huge beyond our reach, there are many ways to hack tentacles off this beast. Some suggest overturning Citizens United would require a constitutional convention, but the Koch network have clear intentions to hijack such an event for their own benefit. Grassroots groups all over the country have already used initiatives in state & local races to enact anti-corruption laws. When enough states clean up their own backyards, we’ll hit a tipping point and the American Anti-Corruption Act can be implemented at the federal level.

Once that happens, parties and candidates not beholden to the wealthy will be easier to elect and it when they reach a critical mass in both houses, it will be possible to mend shredded infrastructure and the social safety net. Eventually, deeper forms of corruption can be addressed, like regulatory capture. It’s time for the trust-busting that finally cut the  robber barons down to size to make a comeback. Perhaps one day robust independent oversight of the alphabet agencies can be developed to protect civil and privacy rights and bring the military-industrial-complex to heel.

Opinions differ on which of the many crises we face is the worst one but logic keeps leading back to a singular, fundamental truth. Undermining the plutocracy must come first – chronologically – because voters can’t solve any other problems until they have the power to do so. The Big Lie of “democracy” deliberately blinds voters to the fundamental problem that needs to be solved before all others, so let’s hold the corporate media accountable for malpractice and get to work on solving the core problem.

This post is part of a 4-part series.

The Big Lie Part 1: “Democracy”                    (The U.S. is not a republic)

Part 2: Duopoly = Oligarchy = Plutocracy     (How they get away with it)

Part 3: Plutocrats = Looters                              (Why we need to fix this)

Part 4: Cancel Plutocracy                                  (How to solve the problem)

The Big Lie Part 3: Plutocrats = Looters

The first two essays in this series laid out the Big Lie of “U.S. democracy” and why it is so hard for the truth about oligarchy/plutocracy to get any traction in the media.

Corporate plutocracy in the U.S.. deprives people of their democratic power, but it does not exist to seek power alone. Incomprehensible volumes of wealth and income have been sucked from the pockets of the poor and working class by the ultra-rich, and this cash vacuum has been turbocharged by the pandemic response.

About a month before the Gilens & Page study was published, billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer gave a TEDtalk in which he warned his peers:

“I have a message for my fellow plutocrats and zillionaires and for anyone who lives in a gated bubble world: Wake up. Wake up. It cannot last. Because if we do not do something to fix the glaring economic inequities in our society, the pitchforks will come for us, for no free and open society can long sustain this kind of rising economic inequality. It has never happened. There are no examples. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state or an uprising. The pitchforks will come for us if we do not address this. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.”

The apparent response of the ruling class has been something akin to “Alrighty then, a police state it is!” Whether the uprising Hanauer warned of can be avoided or merely delayed remains to be seen. Anyone who has read history ought to know it’s a bad idea to create a massive demographic of angry people who have literally nothing to lose. The corporate Democrats seem as oblivious as the French aristocracy before their heads began to roll.

One might expect the plutocrats to throw us a bone like Medicare for all out of consideration for their own self interest, if not the suffering poor, but despite the massive financial hardship caused by the pandemic, very little is being done to alleviate the acute suffering of tens of millions of people. With massive ongoing protests in many cities and calls for a General Strike, this callous disregard for human suffering may seem remarkably shortsighted, but the oligarchs see things from a higher perch than the rest of us.

The plutocracy stays on top by the effective use of Divide & Rule tactics. They hide in the shadows while encouraging voters on the left and right to see one another as enemies. They play a Polarization Game of their own design in which they are the only possible victors. None of us can “win” such a game by taking sides. On the contrary the only way the rest of us can beat the plutocrats at their own game is to refuse to be played. We win when we recognize those who vote differently as people and acknowledge our shared humanity.

Instead of getting stoked against the enemies we’re told it’s OK to hate, we all need to burst our Orwellian filter bubbles and develop our awareness of the way propaganda is being used to dehumanize us all. We need to recognize that the horrors we’ve been told will be visited upon us if ‘the other side’ wins are falsehoods that pale in comparison to what dystopian nightmares our lives may become if the current corporate technocracy is not brought under human and  humane, democratic control, and soon.

Continued in Part 4

This post is part of a 4-part series.

The Big Lie Part 1: “Democracy”                    (The U.S. is not a republic)

Part 2: Duopoly = Oligarchy = Plutocracy     (How they get away with it)

Part 3: Plutocrats = Looters                              (Why we need to fix this)

Part 4: Cancel Plutocracy                                  (How to solve the problem)

The Big Lie Part 2: Duopoly = Oligarchy = Plutocracy

Oligarchy means rule by the few, but Plutocracy, which means rule by the wealthy, may be a more accurate term to describe U.S. governance. However, plutocracy and oligarchy can be used interchangeably not just because the few who rule also happen to be rich, but because of the other feature both systems have in common: the average citizen has no say in public policy, so the ruling class does not have the consent of the governed.

The Big Lie that the U.S. is a “democracy” has been stubbornly persistent for a number of reasons, including cultural saturation and cognitive dissonance, but there’s another factor that may contribute to maintaining the illusion of choice. The Gilens & Page study (2014) that exposed the U.S. Oligarchy notes that the probability of a law passing is about 30% no matter what percentage of average voters approve of it. This figure may have a unique significance with respect the way our brains are wired. Adolescent rats love to wrestle, and Panksepp discovered that if one rat is at least 10% bigger than another, it will trounce the smaller rat every time. However, if the big rat doesn’t let the little rat win 30% of the time, the little rat won’t play. If the little rat doesn’t play, the big rat can’t have fun.

Of course, correlation is not causation, but perhaps this is the reason the average voter’s influence on public policy flatlines at 30% rather than 25%, or ten. Perhaps the big rats – the oligarchs – let voters win 30% of the time so we’ll continue to cling to the illusion of democracy, even though the little rats only ever win when the big rats let them. Perhaps the only reason voters get even 30% of what they want is to prevent them from building guillotines.

It is also instructive to consider the specific policies which have caused the most severe economic harm to the poor and working class, like NAFTA. In Canada, another pseudo-democracy, nobody has replicated Gilens & Page yet and I don’t think any political science student who wants to do so should expect encouragement from the academic establishment because I am certain the same results would emerge.

A typical Canadian election involves turfing out a party who failed to deliver on their promises. In Canada’s 1988 single-issue federal election, a majority of the electorate voted for parties that promised to reject the North American Free Trade Agreement, but their jobs were sent to Mexico anyway and did not return even after the “false majority” government responsible was kicked to the curb in the next election. Canada’s new Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland called out the Plutocrats in 2013, and was offered a seat at their table for her trouble, so now she’s too busy to say anything more on the topic.

Although the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could be trotted out as rare example of the people actually getting who, if not what, they voted for, there is no certainty voters will ever see her platform come to fruition because the vast majority of both houses is beholden to the oligarchy. AOC was never expected to win her primary against an establishment incumbent, and may not have succeeded if the Democratic Party had recognized the threat she posed to their power before it was too late.

In Democratic primaries, candidates can legally be selected in ‘smoke-filled rooms‘ rather than elected. The judge who dismissed the DNC cheating lawsuit in 2017 said that while it was clear the DNC rigged the primary to deprive Bernie Sanders of the nomination, cheating his supporters out of the millions of dollars they had donated wasn’t illegal. Many of the same signs of cheating discovered in the 2016 Democratic primaries have been repeated in the current race, not that Republicans are above similar shady tactics.

There is abundant evidence, for those who trouble themselves to seek it out, that Noam Chomsky’s assessment of the duopoly was correct:

“In the US, there is basically one party – the Business Party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to those policies, as is most of the population.”

George Carlin illuminated this as well, and we laughed, but now when we read his rants it’s clear he was more than just a comedian and his brilliant work pointed to a hard truth. Instead of trotting out a Carlin quote here, I’ll give the last word to the late Bill Hicks:

I’ll show you politics in America, here it is:

“I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs”

“I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking”

“Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding both puppets.”

Continued in Part 3

This post is part of a 4-part series.

The Big Lie Part 1: “Democracy”                        (The U.S. is not a republic)

Part 2: Duopoly = Oligarchy = Plutocracy         (How they get away with it)

Part 3: Plutocrats = Looters                                  (Why we need to fix this)

Part 4: Cancel Plutocracy                                     (How to solve the problem)

The Big Lie Part 1: “Democracy”


It’s time to stop calling the U.S. a democracy not only because there is insufficient evidence for it but also because failure to challenge the Big Lie perpetuates the core problem it seeks to obscure. There is abundant evidence the U.S. is an oligarchy or, perhaps more accurately, a plutocracy.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” — Joseph Goebbels

School teachers who told us about Hitler also taught us that the U.S.A. was a “democracy” and perhaps in 1975 it was still true, but any reporter who continues to refer to the U.S. as a democracy today, without qualifying the term, is committing journalistic malpractice. Sadly, the Big Lie is buried among so many others it tends to go unnoticed.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit democracy index 2020, the U.S. is a “flawed democracy” but it would be more accurate to call it a “pseudo-democracy” or a “former democracy” particularly at the federal level, because there are serious weaknesses in the way this index is measured. The methodology is not transparent, relies largely on “experts’ assessments” and the survey used ignores the crucial question of whether the average voters’ preferences are actually reflected in public policy.

Our own experience tells us that no matter what the majority of us vote for, what we invariably get is what the economic elite want or are willing to allow. In 2014 an academic paper by Gilens & Page confirmed what the average voter already suspected, based on data from 1981 to 2002. In a nutshell:

“When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

I don’t have concrete evidence upon which to draw conclusions about the health of democracy prior to 1981, but we do know Reagan’s election marked neoliberalism’s  shift into high gear. The efforts of the Chamber of Commerce, outlined in the infamous Powell Memo, culminated in what Chris Hedges called a corporate coup d’état turning a once-proud Republic into a covert plutocracy.

Naturally, the corporate media propagates the Big Lie that the U.S. is a democracy or constitutional republic for self-serving reasons. Those who do speak the truth have gone unheeded, although this now appears to be shifting as the consequences of plutocracy become harder to hide. The process of Manufacturing Consent is breaking down because the mainstream media is losing it’s grip on the public mind and social media censorship hasn’t replaced it… yet.

Most mainstream media outlets ignored ‘the Princeton study‘ and its disturbing conclusions. MSNBC did a segment on the findings, and another outlet attacked it, but few even mentioned it before the story disappeared from public view. Critics of Gilens & Page argued over the extent to which the wishes of voters aligned with those of the economic elite without taking into account the extent to which public opinion is shaped by the media. One criticism of the study – I kid you not – is that governance is so darned complicated that we’re better off leaving it to the “experts.” Events since 1980 make it clear we are not ruled by benign philosopher kings, but looters making off with everything that isn’t nailed down.

Setting the truth before the public, though, is not sufficient for them to accept it.  Because we took in the Big Lie at an early age, it is harder to dislodge than more recently acquired knowledge. The psychological phenomenon of “cognitive dissonance” makes it very difficult to convince people that U.S. Democracy is, in fact, a lie. Like a red pill covered in barbed spikes, it does not go down easily, not even for me.

The widely held misconception that we can make the world a better place by “voting” blinds voters to the reality that other methods will be needed to overturn oligarchy. If we hope to rebuild representative democracy we must first admit that we’ve lost it. We all need to open our eyes now, even if it hurts, and insist on honesty about oligarchy/plutocracy while there is still hope to overturn it.

Continued in Part 2

Note: Prior to 2020/08/21, this piece was much longer, but it has now been split it into a 4-part series.

The Big Lie Part 1: “Democracy”                    (The U.S. is not a republic)

Part 2: Duopoly = Oligarchy = Plutocracy     (How they get away with it)

Part 3: Plutocrats = Looters                              (Why we need to fix this)

Part 4: Cancel Plutocracy                                  (How to solve the problem)


How We’ve Been Played

The penny just dropped for me on how the ruling class get away with maintaining the illusion of democracy.  If you’re not familiar with the Princeton Study (Gilens & Page, 2014) , this short video explains how the wishes of billionaires are reflected in public policy, while the wishes of the average voter have “NEAR ZERO” influence on the actions of our elected representatives.

The probability of any particular bill becoming a law is 30%, whether the average voter is opposed to it or supports it. You would think that being ignored 70% of the time would piss people off enough that they would take action, but you’d be wrong. Professor Jordan Peterson explains why in this lecture about how rats play (skip to 3:30). Adolescent rats like to wrestle, and Panksepp discovered that if a rat is at least 10% bigger, it will trounce a smaller rat every time.

If the big rat doesn’t let the little rat win 30% of the time, the little rat won’t play. If the little rat doesn’t play, the big rat can’t have fun. When I heard that “30%” the light went on over my head. The big rats known as the “economic elite” whose wishes are reflected in public policy let the voters ‘win’ 30% of the time so that the illusion of democracy can be maintained.  They give the little people the absolute minimum that they can get away with and still maintain the illusion of “democracy.”  Clearly, the ruling class are big rats, and the rest of us have been played.

TPP is only Mostly Dead


You may have been under the mistaken impression that the wolf in sheep’s clothing known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was dead. Unfortunately, the TPP isn’t all dead, its only mostly dead, and mostly dead is slightly alive. The TPP is not a lone wolf, there are others in the pack.  The TTIP and TISA are still lurking in the dark, waiting to pounce on what little is left of democracy and tear out its throat.

This video, made by Wikileaks in 2015, is only 8 minutes long, but what it says is terrifying and so difficult to digest that I had watch it more than once in order to comprehend the massive scope of the danger we face. The information it contains is so important it should have 7 billion views, and yet it hasn’t cracked a million yet.

World War Three is underway right now and we can’t even see the weapons used against us in boardrooms we have no access to. Einstein had no idea how hard he nailed it when he said:

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”


Before the Flood Needs a Sequel

earthrisekillingmemeI just watched Before the Flood on National Geographic, hoping that the filmmakers dug deep enough to get to the root of the problem. Although the film is a strong call to action, I was disappointed that it didn’t follow the story far enough to locate and identify the source of political inaction in America.  The sad truth is that corruption is so extensive, and the political institutions so compromised that voting will not fix this problem unless and until anti-corruption ballot initiatives are passed in every state and eventually in Washington to get fossil fuel money out of the political process.

One of the saddest moments of the film was scientists blaming themselves for failing to inform the public, but that failure cannot be laid at their feet. The fourth estate – the news media – has failed spectacularly, an there is little hope for improvement now that corporate ownership is more concentrated than ever. The mainstream media frames issues and shapes public opinion. Algorithms on social media and Google are manipulated to promote the same narrow view of what is possible. Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” exposed the Propaganda Model but having accused the media of complicity, that understanding of power was  never allowed to bubble to the surface of public consciousness in America. It is time to wake up and connect the dots between political corruption, corporate malfeasance, and media complicity. We need to lay the blame where it properly belongs. As Utah Phillips said:

The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and the people killing it have names and addresses.

This is no time for blind optimism, but fear of the future won’t help either. The time has come to get angry at the crimes fossil fuel companies commit, especially in North Dakota. We need to recognize that what is ‘legal‘ and what is ‘right’ may be very different, in a world where corporations have been allowed to write laws that members of congress often don’t even read.

Before the Flood is a great documentary, but like the Paris Accords, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. I strongly recommend that in his next film, DiCaprio focus on the obstructionist fossil fuel corporations, even if they threaten to sue. If we’re too afraid to step on the toes of the oil giants, we cannot hope to stop them from destroying the biosphere. They have too much power and they are not going to give it up voluntarily. The world would be a better place if the biggest multinationals were broken up into smaller units.

The next film I want to see will focus on the current DOJ investigation of the horrifying fact that EXXON KNEW about man-made climate change in 1981 and spent decades hiding the truth and lying about it. A crime of that magnitude should result in prison for perpetrators and the company should be liquidated.  Ecocide should be recognized as an International Crime Against Humanity under the Rome Statute and people of all nations should demand that their governments ratify the treaty. We need to fight to take back control of our governments and hold the fossil fuel giants to account. We can all begin by standing with Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline.