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Tag Archives: White House

How the military and Hollywood partner up to forward narratives

Look, I’m a sucker for many of these films. Top Gun for instance is still one of my favorite movies ever. I grew up with F-14s screaming over my head and the whine of a Tomcat banking before landing is a memory which sits (pleasantly) deep in my grey matter. The Hunt for Red October? Another classic. Red Dawn? Just great. But even as a kid I kind of wondered about how it was that the military and the Hollywood studios worked together. Now we know a little more about that relationship.

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Stockman on possible government “shutdown”: “The TSA will keep groping you. The NSA will keep spying on you. The DEA will keep arresting you.” (Video)

Sad but true. A government “shutdown” doesn’t mean anything. The national parks will be closed because they are high profile and people like them. They’ll probably rope off the World War 2 Memorial on the Mall too for the same reason. Other than that? The government doesn’t “shut down.” It never shuts down. It just keeps on spending money.

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Top Secret Service official urged release of unflattering information about congressman (Chairman of the committee which oversees Secret Service)

This isn’t surprising. And it begs the question – What other agencies are sitting on “embarrassing information” about other members of Congress and other government officials? The FBI had files and files on Kennedy, and likely every other president since. I imagine they still have files going on lots of elected officials, likewise the NSA, the Secret Service, and who knows what other alphabet soup agencies.

But it’s one thing to have a file. (Still not cool, but let’s be real.) It’s another to leak such information to undermine the chairman of the committee which polices your agency.

Let’s see if any heads roll on this one. Given the recent track history of this administration on similar matters I won’t hold my breath.

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How the American government is trying to control what you think

People in Washington DC are very concerned with “narratives” and “optics.” Such things drive the place in many respects.(Second only to money, and the 2 are entwined.) How do people think about stories? How do stories look in the eyes of the public. Spin. Bull. Propaganda.

Propaganda. It’s on the rise in this country, though it is not a new phenomenon. But now, the Obama administration is positioning psychologists and behavioral economists in government agencies in an effort to “nudge” the American public toward policies of which the administration – and the larger government apparatus approve. This is a new level of propaganda, more subtle. Potentially, much more dangerous.

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If Pope Francis Wants to Help the Poor, He Should Embrace Capitalism

As we have said before, many times, we are against crony capitalism and for capitalism not because “we just want to keep what’s ours.” Not because we feel some slavish devotion to an ethos of greed. (As some might call self interest.)  But because the voluntary exchange of goods and services, capitalism, is the economic vehicle which raises more out of poverty and provides the most opportunity for everyday people. Where one can do business without the government or the local lord or mafia boss taking all the profits people can build wealth. They can then in turn invest this wealth. Which then in turn creates new jobs and new wealth creation and so on.

Where people can’t do business in an honest way wealth aggregates with cronies and eventually the broader economic system stagnates. Contracts aren’t respected. Investment wains. Jobs aren’t created or disappear. The everyday person is worse off. This is the reality of big government, and it creates poverty.

To deny this seemingly obvious reality (at least to us) is to condemn many people to lives of economic despair and social marginalization. We know the Pope doesn’t want that.

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Is Walker’s Withdrawal From The Presidential Race About Him or About Us?

More about us.

We have had some bones to pick with Governor Walker in the past. He seemed to us to be too close to some corporate interests (see our 8/11/15 story), which made us worry that he was too comfortable with crony capitalism.  But we also admired the way he fought some other special interests, most notably public sector unions. He was determined, courageous, and effective. We also admired the way he made his way in life without a college degree.

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Volkswagen “Cheating” Fine Is 20 Times Higher Than GM’s For ‘Killing 174 People’

Yesterday we asked whether the EPA (or some other regulatory agency) would have gone after GM like the EPA is going after VW, had GM done what VW is alleged to have done. We argued that it likely wouldn’t have. In the back of our minds was the recent GM ignition switch scandal which the US government didn’t seem very concerned about. Well, actually the government was concerned, but not for the public. The Obama administration didn’t want to make a big stink because GM, Government Motors, was a chosen “winner.” The administration had bailed out the Detroit based company for political reasons and it didn’t want to be embarrassed by a high profile example of incompetence. So what if over 150 people died?

Not only that. The government has protected GM from plaintiffs who can’t sue because the ignition switch issue occurred under the “old” GM.

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Saudi Arabia Elected Chair of UN Human Rights Council Panel

When I think “champion of human rights” I always think of Saudi Arabia. What with the public beheadings and women not being allowed to drive cars and all. Oh, and being gay is punishable by death too.

We wonder if Pope Francis will address the issue of the Saudis at the head of Human Rights Council panel when he speaks at the UN later this week? Sadly, he probably won’t.

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Gallup Poll: 75% in U.S. See Widespread Government Corruption

And the other 25% of the people polled were apparently legally blind.

One does get the sense that we as a country are teetering a little too much toward modified banana republic status. I wouldn’t say that we are completely there yet, but it seems the government and its cronies have steadily worked toward achieving such a status over the last couple of decades.

To be fair I think this number reflects Americans becoming more aware of the real nature of government. Government is not some benevolent force. It’s not your ally. It is there in a very real sense to distribute money from your pocket to those who are in and around the government apparatus. That’s the harsh reality. But at least more people are coming to see this.

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Do GOP voters just actually want big government?

I think the answer is that for a majority of GOP voters this is probably true. There is no real call to reduce the size of our massive military from the average GOP voter. Indeed if anything there is a call to expand it. There is no real call for reforming Social Security. There is no real call to reform Medicare (which is a total actuarial disaster). There is no real call for drug law reform. There is no real call for curtailing the government violations of the the 4th Amendment under the Patriot Act. There is no widespread call for an end to the Federal Reserve.

Most Republicans, with the exception of a large and I think still growing minority, don’t actually want to make the government smaller. They just want to change the style of government.

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Obama’s Legacy? Household Income Falls, Poverty Rate Ticks Up: “In 2014, real median household income was 6.5 percent lower than in 2007”

But we’re almost at full employment so that’s good right? Ha!

The truth is times remain hard for quite a good number of Americans. The Crash and subsequent recession hobbled many households. Many more people are on welfare and on food stamps than before the Crash. Many older people have just checked out of the workforce altogether. Many students are saddled in school debt. Many families in the suburbs remain quietly desperate.

But the crony class has boomed. Life is good (for many) in Washington DC and in New York, the 2 main nodes of cronyism in the USA.

The real economy has been regulated into stagnation.The government is too large. It must be cut. The economy needs fresh air. Time to turn the page on this self defeating economic policy, this era of expanded centralization and red tape. Time to get positive in every sense.

And just to be clear – this malaise didn’t start with Obama. He just took it to the next level.

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