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Paula Gordon Headshot

Hired DistrActivists

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Nancy Pelosi wants to talk about jobs. All the media wants to hear about is a soon-to-be former Congressman whose self-absorption and bad judgement are remarkable even by current congressional standards.

"Distraction from distraction by distraction" in the words of T.S. Eliot.

For example, answer me this: who's bankrolling the Palin Parade?* And why?

For the "why" part, my bet is that she's not running for president.** She's merely one of the sock-puppets of the oligarchs, puppets whose assigned task is to rouse the rabble, to "distract by distraction," to throw sand in the gears, to confuse by obfuscation, to baffle with (I use the word in its technical sense) bullshit.***

I understand the rabble who've become unhinged by sustained overdoses of febrile Fox and irresponsible talk radio. I don't understand professional journalists, with all the resources at their command, being so easily suckered. Are they stupid or craven? Which is more important to America: jobs or Weiner's weenie? Palin or economic suicide?

Republicans in Congress are manifestly the thralls of Grover Norquist. They are enthralled by his "shrink government sufficiently to drown it in a bathtub" rhetoric. Such nonsense will bring the world to its knees and, by the way, impoverish what's left of America's diminishing middle class. Such dire threats are the means by which Republicans hope to extort from their saner cohorts benefits to themselves and those whose hands control these puppets.

By their actions and their pronouncements, these people are fervently intent on one objective: destroy the people's government. A government which can be drowned by those reckless enough to do so is not a government. It is a joke. It is insane. It has happened before. And it is always a disaster. I inquire of these zealots the identity of any civilization which has survived without government. Perhaps they detest civilization (it does have its challenges). If so, I would like to know their recommended alternative. I doubt than any of us will find it palatable.

Call the Palin's walkabout what it is: a modern update of entertaining us to death while the bad guys take over. She's running a seductive sideshow advancing mega-wealth's agenda. But why are nominal news operations panting behind her tawdry glitz, and failing News 101? FOLLOW THE MONEY! Is it that corporate media doesn't want to know whose footing her bills? Or knows all too well? And we all knows whose tune the piper plays.

It is absolutely essential that we provide our duly elected president the political muscle to push back. Crashing our government by refusing to raise the debt limit is simply unacceptable. So too is negotiating away the common decency of taking care of each other.

As Jim Brown said to his buddy Richard Pryor, "So what you gonna do?"

President Obama must have a groundswell behind him -- that's us, everyday citizens -- if we are to defy the arrogant forces who really do want to take everything away from us. That's why they sent Palin out, to generate the counter-groundswell, to build on the reign of bullshit (technically) delivered daily by Republicans, Fox, talk radio and other small and self-serving souls. The President must also have a Congress that is not owned by wealth and directed by lobbyist, a Congress that actually represents, you guessed it, us.

It's up to us to demonstrate that we are genuinely alarmed by Republicans who threaten our well-being, that we will do what is legal and honorable and necessary to revitalize an authentic American dream.

Even political hacks, bought and paid for by corporate funders, respond to pressure from home. There really are more of us than of them -- many more, despite what the media misrepresents. Barack Obama's good but to be great he must have us. And we must resist force-fed, cynical distractions!

Why insist on putting my money on the sovereign American people? Our woes are real. And this time, they are demonstrably a direct result of Hoover/Reagan economics, poised yet again to enrich the rich and pauperized the rest. I insist on being hopeful that real people really can govern ourselves and not become chattel to oligarchs.

Real people in America have been mightily abused before. And we refused to give up. We learned how to push back against tyranny -- successfully -- in the American Revolution, in the Abolitionist Movement, in the Civil Rights Movement... in all those times in American history when oligarchs and kleptocrats (foreign and native) have sought to diminish our lives. First, understand the political context -- use knowledge and information rather than (technical) bullshit. Which takes me back to my original question: Who's the piper's paymaster?

My guess is that the puppeteers for Palin's Punch & Judy Show are John Birch and Sons (AKA the Koch family) et al. If not they, surely this diversion is directed by some of their soul-less kin. Subjugating the many to enrich the few has been America's constant shadow. That constancy scarcely excuses the media's failure to examine-by-reporting what's happening this time around.

Under the First Amendment, the press has special privileges because the press has special responsibilities.

So, I ask again: "Who's paying and why?" And I say again: "Distraction. Don't do it."


*-- Yes, there's the eponymous SarahPac (Ms. Palin's stock answer to where the money's coming from) which is part of the puzzle, but leaves a lot to the imagination and does not address other sources of funding.

** -- She still can't answer basic questions intelligibly and, if disaster struck and she were actually elected, she wouldn't stick around anyway because someone would offer her more money.

*** -- In the July edition of Harper's Magazine philosopher Harry Frankfort is quoted in the context of an article on "The language of work" written by Mark Kingwell:

This is why, Frankfurt argues, bullshit is far more threatening, and politically evil, than lying. The bullshitter "does not reject the authority of truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are."