Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Bernie making waves

Presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday released a plan to protect independent news outlets and journalists from the effects of widespread media consolidation.
Sanders, decrying the mega-mergers he says have led to a handful of large corporations acting as gatekeepers for the information most Americans receive, calls for concrete steps “to rebuild and protect a diverse and truly independent press so that real journalists can do the critical jobs that they love” in an editorial for the Columbia Journalism Review.
"Today, after decades of consolidation and deregulation, just a small handful of companies control almost everything you watch, read, and download," Sanders writes. "Given that reality, we should not want even more of the free press to be put under the control of a handful of corporations and 'benevolent' billionaires who can use their media empires to punish their critics and shield themselves from scrutiny."
Going for the throat. Who controls the narrative controls the world.

As an aside, "who controls the narrative controls the world," used to apply to American soft power. Over the past several decades the US has managed to shrink its formerly awesome soft power considerably through endless war and imperial arrogance.

The Hill
Sanders releases media plan: Press shouldn't be controlled by corporations, 'benevolent' billionaires
Zack Budryk
Bernie Sanders recently released his plan for implementing the Green New Deal. These include such comprehensive goals as transitioning to 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030 and decarbonizing the entire economy by 2050 (full details here).
To get there, Sanders plans a number of ambitious projects, including massive and job-creating infrastucture spending and "declaring climate change a national emergency." The implications of the latter are not entirely spelled out. A number of candidates have proposals that "declare a national emergency" regarding climate change, but not in the same sense that George W. Bush, for example, may have meant had he declared the 9/11 attacks a national emergency (he didn't, but he could have).
That kind of national emergency, a Bush-Cheney kind, implies an exercise of presidential power that approaches martial law, something that most pro-climate Democrats don't contemplate. Does the Sanders plan contemplate a stronger-than-rhetorical response to climate change? It's not clear yet from Sanders camp messaging.
We aren't there yet, but when climate change becomes front page news we will be and people will be demanding that a national emergency be declared, as coastal cities are threatened by rising sea level, for example.

Down with Tyranny
Bernie Sanders' GND Plan Will Nationalize Power Generation in the U.S.

See also
The continued inability of America’s liberal democratic establishment to address the ills besetting the country—climate change, unregulated global capitalism, mounting social inequality, a bloated military, endless foreign wars, out-of-control deficits and gun violence—means the inevitable snuffing out of our anemic democracy. Overwhelmed by the multiple crises, the liberal elites have jettisoned genuine political life and retreated into self-defeating moral crusades in a vain and futile attempt to deflect attention away from the looming social, political, economic and environmental catastrophes.
These faux moral crusades, now the language of the left and the right, have bifurcated the country into warring factions. Opponents are demonized as evil. Adherents to the cause are on the side of the angels. Nuance and ambiguity are banished. Facts are manipulated or discarded. Truth is replaced by slogans. Conspiracy theories, however bizarre, are incredulously embraced to expose the perfidiousness of the enemy. Politics is defined by antagonistic political personalities spewing vitriol. The intellectual and moral sterility, along with the inability to halt the forces of societal destruction, provides fertile soil for extremists, neofascists and demagogues who thrive in periods of paralysis and cultural degeneracy.
Liberals and the left have wasted the last two years attacking Donald Trump as a Russian asset and look set to waste the next two years attacking him as a racist. They desperately seek scapegoats to explain the election of Trump as president, no different from a right wing that tars its Democratic Party enemies as America-hating socialists and that blames Muslims, immigrants and poor people of color for our national debacle. These are competing cartoon visions of the world. They foster a self-created universe of villains and superheroes that exacerbates the mounting polarization and rage.
“Bourgeois society seems everywhere to have used up its store of constructive ideas,” Christopher Lasch wrote in 1979 in “The Culture of Narcissism.” “It has lost both the capacity and the will to confront the difficulties that threaten to overwhelm it. The political crisis of capitalism reflects a general crisis of western culture, which reveals itself in a pervasive despair of understanding the course of modern history or of subjecting it to rational direction. Liberalism, the political theory of the ascendant bourgeoisie, long ago lost the capacity to explain events in the world of the welfare state and the multinational corporation; nothing has taken its place. Politically bankrupt, liberalism is intellectually bankrupt as well.”...
The Curse of Moral Purity
Chris Hedges

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