Crony’s Triangulating Fog:
Grifters, greed and the gullible Americans
By Brad Parker
Part I - A Tempestuous Bamboozle
Creeping across the heartland on velvet feet it came. Silent, maleficent and grinning it entwined the body politic - first to the right and then to the left. Decade upon decade it imperceptibly seduced the callow crowds, here and then there, a few at a time, building to a crescendo in the year 2000. Poised to render all in its path mere puppets in a tempestuous bamboozle, it had finally struck with all of its might. But by then the stupefied masses simply embraced the needle of narcotics like any willing junkie. The dope of greed and over-consumption had already done its job. Without alarm or notice, the grifters slithered from room-to-room, city-to-city, unseen as they sucked the nation dry. Comatose, the governed and the government were bound in a blanket of malignant fog. Thus begins the strange, sordid saga of the silent overthrow of both major American political parties over the last four decades. It is perhaps the greatest swindle ever perpetrated on the suckers born every minute - us, the gullible Americans. This is the story of Crony’s Triangulating Fog.
Our cast of characters, or perpetrators, is a small gang of big time swindlers. They are out to reverse the new order of the ages - Novus Ordo Seclorum - on the original Great Seal of the Republic of the United States of America. They are unhappy with the New Deal, Great Society and Liberal Ideal that took hold in America from 1932 to the present. Their strategy is fear. Their tactic is advertising. Their target is the government, local to federal. Their accomplices are the American people - in their somnambulant apathy. Their goal is the absolute control of money - all money. To a great extent their laconic racket has been successful. However, as in most plots, successes have bred complacency, inefficiency and now border on collapse. Our scam artists are known as Crony - crony corporate interests, aided and abetted by the lobbyists and politicians who represent them. Their names are probably unfamiliar to you. So, for our tale of willfulness and woe the only names to remember are - Lynde and Harry Bradley. First though, let us examine the background of this crime of the century.
Crony has one goal in mind - the marketplace: dominate and control the entire marketplace, if possible. Left to their own devices, it is a natural corporate objective to monopolize the market because it is the only way to sustain ever-expanding profit margins. Unfettered markets with no government regulation always consolidate power to fewer and fewer players over time. This is greed at work on the macro economic level. The current Healthcare system is but one glaring example of the Crony theology at work. Post World War II and through the late 60’s, this market consolidation was working well for the new American corporate giants - Crony. Then, beginning with the Civil Rights movement in the late 50’s, followed by the Peace movement of the 60’s and culminating in the Women’s Liberation, Farm Worker’s and Environmental movements of the late 60’s, the pressure to reform American governance began to erode public confidence and compliance with corporate objectives. It was during this time that Crony support was thrown to the Republicans, almost exclusively; in an attempt to maintain the hegemony of profits at all cost. It almost worked with Nixon but the counter culture kept gaining strength with its vision of Peace, Love and Understanding. Crony strategists needed a new plan to regain control of the markets and that is when the Triangulating Fog was first imagined. Here is how the fog works.
First, Crony bought up the Republican Party and forced all of the Liberal Republicans to the curb. Next, they began in earnest to “message” the new paradigm - “government is not the solution to the problem - government is the problem.” Neo-con Messiah, Ronnie Reagan was the perfect messenger. As a former actor and advertising pitchman, he had just the right tenor to convince the gullible Americans to privatize the government. By privatizing the government, the Neo-Cons - new conservatives organized around corporate hegemony - could shrink it down to a manageable size and loot the taxpayers on a regular basis, legally, and with the pliable assistance of the Congress, White House and the Supremes. Reagan was the man for the job but the job was not getting done because of the Democratically controlled Congress. So, the Crony corporatists hatched another plan: buy the Democratic Party. With both parties Carny-barking the same business friendly campaign ads the public would be triangulated into only one possible choice - profits before people - while believing it was the other way around. Thus, the charade of a choice would create a fog cloaking the true objectives of the men behind the curtain. The search for a smooth undetectable method to bribe the Democrats became Crony’s focused rumination.
To pull off the purchase of the Democratic Party machine, Crony needed to craft an ideology that the cowering Liberals in the Democratic Party would swallow. So, they funded a little known group of mostly Southern Democrats who said they knew the way. These fine fellows, led by Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, formed the Third Way Foundation, which in turn spun off the Progressive Policy Institute and then the Democratic Leadership Council - the DLC, home of the Blue Dog Democrats. One of the most sizable contributions to get this ball rolling came from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Boy’s contrivance, along with other charlatans and gangs loosely aligned in the Crony corporate cartels, pumped money into these astro-turf Democratic think tanks, just as they had the Republican ivory towers, with one goal in mind - control the government and the legislation. The premise presented to the agitated voters was that these were the new Progressives who would make the Democratic Party more palatable to business and then use that new relationship to bring about social change. Of course, these New Democrats were neither Progressive, new or interested in social change. They were in it for the big bucks. They were Crony in Liberal clothing. Hos and Pimps as an organizing archetype had graduated from the streets to the suites. Now, the warm entrapping fog was beginning to work in earnest.
Let us look at this shell game from another angle. In order to steal the government from the citizens, you have to get the citizens to go along with the theft. That is how the grift works. Every flimflam man worth his salt knows that. The mark does the work. Here is the setup: finance the campaigns of select members of both parties, Democratic and Republican, then, finance think tanks that support these candidates and provide them with position papers and expert analysis. Most importantly, make sure that the candidates and organizations all fulfill the same pernicious mandate - privatize the American government at every level, in the name of the People. The privatization scam will seem to come from both sides of the political spectrum. The grift will appear to be a grassroots effort. The fog will set in disguising the outrageous theft of the assets of the nation that are held in public trust. Oh man, these crooks are organized!
Part II - Appearances Are Deceptive
At the center of our plot is advertising. Advertising is the principal tool in the Crony box of tactics. We tend to think of advertising as benign radio, print, Internet or television commercials for any number of products and services that we can ignore. However, advertising agencies realized many years ago that any information pumped through any media outlet could become an advertisement for any of a number of purposes beyond the product on display. Focus groups and demographic studies can then be used to sharpen and disguise the message and the source of the advertising funding at the same time. Finally, the Massage - messaging, propaganda or programmed disinformation - can then be consumed through any medium without the consumer becoming aware of its true purpose - Lie, lie big and lie all the time. Advertising theory now dominates Mass Media information in all of its categories. Politicians were successfully sold this bill of goods as the most reliable means to their end of - Permanent Incumbency. Hence, the Ad Men take-over of political campaigns in the 60’s.
Over time, Ad men and advertising agencies morphed into campaign consultants. They knew that the outcome of the consumption of information could be influenced, or polluted if you will, by the carefully disguised introduction of strategic themes. If you have enough money and clever creative staff, almost any result can be achieved. All that is necessary to succeed, as every artful dodger knows, is a gullible and greedy mark; Pavlovian dogs conditioned to accept less as more. The preconditioned pigeon or target of the crime can then be persuaded to participate by activating their weaknesses. Fear of the “others” is at the top of the list. This primal fear, shared by every human, is ginned up by politicians, talking heads on radio and TV and in editorials throughout print and Internet media. Fox news is the most obvious purveyor of this type of fear product. Eventually, the message in the information became imperceptible: hidden in the all-encompassing environment of advertising - an Orwellian twist on McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Massage.” The same fear-inducing memes were embedded in political policy advertising and woven into campaign slogans, speeches, movies, religious broadcasts and mass media outlet’s infotainment shows. Crony made sure that the context of the advertising - messages, news, policy and opinion - always said that all government is bad and all private, free and unregulated enterprise is good. Both Republicans and Democrats joined in the merry spewing of the fog over the timorous and twitching crowd.
Next, the deception required that front groups on both sides of every issue propagate false paradigms promoting the virtues of private versus public social structures. Charter schools and voucher education are the most insidious of these types of deceits. For-Profit Healthcare Insurance is another. These front groups then play upon deep-seated fears and prejudices at the heart of gullible working class and poor Americans. Most importantly - every tactic is aimed at inducing White (European) American Male queasiness and rage at the rapidly changing demographic makeup of the heartland of America. It is the new and improved Huey Long populism Redux, George Wallace’s ghost and Sarah Palin on steroids. Conservative Infotainment outlets are poking a sharp stick into this fear every day. Rally the People, while you pick their pockets - the old Three Card Monte, evil and effective.
Obviously, if you were a member of the Crony cartel that wanted to control the American government you would not advertise the fact that an assets theft was your true objective. Whenever you did advertise your grand plan for reigning in the government, you would claim that you were acting in the public interest. If you were in on the con then only you and your associates would ever know the truth behind the lie and its real purpose. At least that was the plan with our gaggle of casino racketeers, grazing in the halls of political power. Then unexpectedly, along came the true modern Progressive movement with the power of the Internet and the whole gerrymandered contraption began to disassemble and founder. That friends, is where we are today. The fog is clearing, revealing both sides of the political aisle in Congress to be in league with Crony and not the people. So, Crony, ever the resourceful extortionist, has decided, in a panic, to plump up the fog to an even greater thickness.
Barack Obama was swept into office on a monumental wave of fear surrounding the neo-liberal financial swindles caving the global economy, disgust at the George Bush neo-con policies of imperial war with homeland neglect and the possibility that we could at long last - look forward to believing in the hope for change. A soft Left turn was underway. What was the response from our privatizing pals at the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation? Pugnacious Crony fought back. They switched sides once again, and started funding Freedom Works and the Americans for Prosperity astro-turf groups, among others. These are the folks that brought us the Tea Party, Bagger, Deather, Birther and No Government Healthcare outrages of the summer of 2009. Once again, Crony ginned up the gullible Americans through racial, social and economic fear baiting and set them loose on the new Democratic Federal government. Add in a dash of true Populist Rage borrowed from the Progressive Left and a dollop of Wall Street bashing, turn up the heat with Palin parties and voila - you have a perfect gumbo that looks like the people want to throw out the government - from the grassroots on the Right and the Left! But wait - who is that we see leering at us from the edge the curtain?
Appearances are deceptive. Recall where our conversation began - the one constant behind all of this apparent “political” theory and commotion eructed by the corporate ad men is a much more craven economic animus - recapture the markets that they just destroyed. As you can see, Crony is neither Left nor Right on the political spectrum. Political parties and politicians are only the shills trapped in the fog covering the cannibalizing objective - control the government, downsize the government and privatize the government. Reap the harvest of the working-class citizens taxes for Private Interests. Pillage the land for Profit. To this ignoble end, politics, mass media, even religion are mere tools for the false advertising employed to fool the manageable marks. The Bradley Foundation is only one of numerous organizations and individuals who are riding the grift train in America. This is no penny ante grift either, sisters and brothers. These scam artists are out to get everything we hold sacred, from the Constitution to your family’s fortune and future.
So, there it is fellow suckers. Crony bought the Republicans, then the Democrats and now pimps the fakeroots. Everyone is triangulated and down in the new Foggy Bottom. Government as the “problem” is the product of a very successful advertising campaign. All sides of the political spectrum have bought into the fog. Remember - Dick Cheney thought he had triangulated the fiscally conservative Republicans to go along with his imperial war machine. Before that, Bill Clinton thought he had triangulated social liberals into going along with his let us help the business people finance our New Democrats machine. In fact, they were both tools of a larger more insidious triangulation by the Crony corporatists to monopolize the American and then global markets and harvest all wealth into the bank accounts of the chuckling elite. Americans, behavior-modified to trust advertising, swimming in the dead pool of propaganda environmentally disguised as benign advertising and Infotainment, continue to cop to the Triangulating Fog Machine’s all sizzle no steak obfuscation. The only question left to ask, now that the confidence game is more widely known, is - will they keep buying it like a beaten dog or wake up and demand their money and government back? Stay tuned.
The LTO book tour continues with stops in Santa Barbara, Davis, Benicia, and Sacramento. Please join me at one of these Left Turn Only book signing and discussion events this February. Ahjamu Makalani will be joining me for the NorCal swing. We’ll be discussing the Power of the Positive Progressive Proposal including “How to Renovate the Democratic Party” and “Progressive Economic Principles.”
~ Many thanks to Jeeni del Rio Criscenzo for the SRO at UCSD and to Paul Burke, Dana Dean and Shirley Hunley for the NorCal events. Also, thanks to Lois Hamilton and Jon Williams for the PDASB gig!If you would like us to come to your hood let me know and we’ll see what we can hook up…
I hope to see you on the road with LTO!
Left Turn Only
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