Monday, October 18, 2010

The "Big Lie"... How it works and what it is for

The big lie kicks in: before and after
Americans for Prosperity, the rightwing campaign funded in part by the energy billionaires the Koch brothers, is working with the Tea Party movement to increase its impact through the use of new media and social networking. The Guardian
Rupert Murdoch has declared his dissatisfaction with Barack Obama and the Democratic party, saying that two $1m donations by News Corp were intended to encourage change in Washington. Financial Times

Shortly before leaving for the US to report on the midterm elections, a respected colleague told me that: “Obama’s problem is that he is trying to govern a nation where half the population is insane.” Gideon Rachman - Financial Times
David Seaton's News Links
Today lets look at the "big lie": the art of calling black white and white black and making it stick, how it works and why it works.

I will cut directly to the chase: to me it is obvious that the Tea Party has been evoked, like a political poltergeist, from the shadowy bourne, of the American earth by people like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch in order to terrorize moderate Republicans and keep them from moving to the center and cooperating with president Obama in a time of national emergency.

How bad are things?

Maybe even a bit worse than we think they are.

For example, if we consider the mortgage foreclosure fiasco as the possible tip of an iceberg of massive fraud and generalized, quite unbelievable, negligence throughout the system, something like a metastasis  of  an Enron on steroids, we may be looking at future meltdowns that could make the consequences of Lehman Brother's collapse look as tame as Paris Hilton's prison stay.

I would venture to say that people like the Koch brothers and Murdoch have much better information as to the potential and immanent blowback of all of this and its possible effects on their positions, both  financial and political, than we do.

They obviously are moved to take drastic steps, steps that put the entire system in jeopardy. Therefore, whether us lesser folk have any real inkling of what's going on, by their behavior we may know that something is going on: just as the Chinese detect the coming of an earthquake by monitoring the restlessness of farm animals and songbirds; the way granny knows its going to rain, because her hip hurts. Something is cooking.

In any one of a dozen national emergencies of the nature I suspect (or might not even dream of) that may be developing or might already be upon us, the natural reaction of the citizenry would be to demand, as in wartime, or any other great national emergency, that their elected representatives work together in a bipartisan fashion to clean up the mess and to put in place regulations and regulators to make sure it never happens again and to punish those responsible severely "pour encourager les autres". 

And, who knows, then,  perhaps in  the cheery glow of new found kameradschaft and moderate bi-partisanship, they might set themselves to reform campaign financing, the infrastructure and even work on climate change and fossil fuel energy dependence.

From a certain point of view this kind of constructive or reconstructive harmony must be avoided at all costs.

So we here we come to the big lie.

What I call the "Tea-Fox-Koch-Murdoch-Beck-Limbaugh-Party" are using classic techniques, nothing new here

To get into the mood and to understand better what the Murdochs and the Kochs are up to and what  techniques they are using to achieve their ends, let us look at what the OSS had to say during WWII about the recognized master of the big lie:
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it. "Hitler as His Associates Know Him" - OSS report on Hitler, p.51
Sounds familiar doesn't it. Now let us hear the "master's voice" as he himself describes in some greater detail how the big lie works:
(...) In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.— Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X
Let us move directly to a concrete example of how this "philosophy" is being put into practice today.

Why are the "Tea-Fox-Koch-Murdoch-Beck-Limbaugh-Party" so afraid of Barack Obama?

Because he is a radical socialist-communist-extremist, right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

They are afraid of him for precisely the reason he "disappoints" his progressive base: They are terrified of him because he is a born centrist, reaching out eagerly for members of the Republican opposition in order to "cut a deal" or "split the difference".

That has been his message from the beginning. To refresh your memory:
I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.  Senator Barack Obama - Keynote speech, Democratic convention - 2004
Despite all of President Obama's unearthly and unbearable lightness of being, that speech still has them terrified. The more he appears manifestly mild mannered and generaly ineffectual, the louder they cry "Marxist!" and "radical!"... and worse.

That idea of inclusiveness, the mildness, the desire to negotiate and split the difference, not radical, leftist, extremism, is what has Murdoch and the Kochs frantic and frothing at the mouth.


Because, under the new rules of globalization, much of the world's economic power and especially the cash, has escaped from state control, regulation and supervision. As the recent euro crisis showed, elected officials of powerful and wealthy countries found themselves suddenly at the mercy of the "markets" and the rating agencies, themselves made up of human beings, whose power, unlike the law makers of a democratic states, is in no way derived from the consent of the governed... and there are people... not many people, but very, very rich people, who are extremely comfortable with that.. and why shouldn't they be?

Now it happens that there is only one state in the whole world that is still, for the moment at least, potentially powerful enough to be able to bring this situation under some sort of control at home and abroad, and this state is in theory a democracy that is elected by its citizens to serve them.

That state is, of course, the United States of America.

Now, for the state apparatus of the United States of America to bring the situation under control in America and to a great extent around the world, all the branches of the state, executive, legislative and judiciary would have to be in nearly total alignment, as they were during World War Two.

Keeping that from happening, paralyzing the political system so that unity is entirely unthinkable except around "supporting our troops" to defend the "homeland" against the threat of "terrorism" is what the Tea Party movement and every move of Fox and Kochs is about.
The acceptance of policies that counteract our interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st century. In the US blue-collar workers angrily demand that they be left without healthcare, and insist that millionaires pay less tax.  George Monbiot - Guardian
I think we have just solved George Monbiot's mystery.

As I said at the beginning of this piece,  the Tea Party has been created in order to terrorize moderate Republicans and keep any of them from moving to the center and cooperating with president Obama in a time of national emergency.

Just to see how effective this strategy is, lets look at the following four year old quote from certainly the best known and perhaps the most respected of Republican moderates, John McCain,
“People want us to do what we’ve forgotten, which is put aside philosophical differences, which are important, and legislate and get things done.”
What happened since then? This from Vanity Fair:
“The senator owes his victory to the pressure he received from conservatives and Tea Partiers,” the conservative guru Richard Viguerie declared after the primary. “To receive that support, he had to give up his maverick positions that have sometimes given aid and comfort to the liberals. I’m sure Senator McCain knows very well that he would not have won if he had continued his reputation as the Democrats’ favorite Republican.”
So that is what it is really all about: it is about not legislating and not getting things done... to paralyze the government of the United States of America at a critical time in its history. To prevent the system from flushing itself out and regenerating itself. To cut the wires of the burglar alarms to be able to sack the house in peace.

The danger is impossible to exaggerate, because, in any normal country in the world if democratic politics become impossible and the state is paralyzed, sooner or later you have either a coup d' etat or a civil war... or both, and not necessarily in that order. How long America's incomparable mechanisms of infotainment alienation can fend off that law of gravity remains to be seen. DS


Bob Della Valle said...

Mr. Seaton: Of all your postings, today's piece on the big lie has hit me the hardest. I have been trying to figure out the tea party movement. You have parted the clouds so to speak. The quote from Gideon Rachman says it all.

Harry Haller said...

The way he tries to establish the whole Wilson-Versailles-III Reich is as ridiculous as it's poisonous. I feel sorry for so many Americans, the level of confusion within the country is huge.

walt said...

Excellent analysis. Still, one quesstion: the rule of law lies at the heart of civilization. By contrast, the Big Lie would suggest that there's nothing worse for oligarchies or plutocracies than continuity and reason. Are these plutocrats blind to their ultimate self-interest? Or do they somehow think that any abridgement of their power and wealth is intolerable?

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Where the big lie comes in, is that although, in fact, America's entry into World War One probably did lead directly to World War Two... This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with Barack Obama.

bailey said...

I think America's become a Kleptocracy. The Fed is going to devalue our dollar even more, while creating no jobs, benefiting no one, other than the 6 private banks, who produce nothing but fiat currency and more debt.

De industrialization has killed us, we gave all our jobs to China and India, we shouldn't have done that, but we did.

Germany has cut their military by 80B halved their military, created austerity measures that the people can live with and manufacture more than ever!.
The Italians well, interestingly enough, they owe money to NO ONE. They own one, two or three homes outright, have more money than debt, and their gov't owes nothing to the global banks. NADA. Italy will change, it will not have it so easy, change is imminent, but for now, NADA.

France, well, we see what's happening, it's called solidarity and I find it re assuring. The strikers get about 80% of the people behind them eventually and Sarko's rating is at an all time low. For a reason. Yes, there's a lotta thugs out there, but listen, I had an apartment with two terraces in 1999 and watched the WTO from my top floor pad in Seattle as it crawled up from downtown after gassing my father and sister, two innocent bystanders and ended up on Capital Hill, a clusterfuck to be sure, but that's manifestations, modern style.

The UK, well, we just saw what they had to do, they're still in a world of hurt, they manufacture too little and have way too much debt, Ireland, oi, bad, v. bad.

N. America, other than having a mortgage crisis that has 4 layers of fraud, (AMAZING) and just watch after the elections and see if Obama doesn't pass that bill he just put on the sideline that allows banks to simply TAKE THE HOUSE without a proper mortgage contract, without knowing, let alone caring, who owns the loan.

Look at this and concentrate on our debt clock. J. F. Christ.

I know many international economists, what do they know but theories based on the past, pertaining little to this random, chaotic global climate....and Spain, well, your host country had wealth for too short a time, and simply can't boast the same label; MADE IN ITALY/GERMANY/or FRANCE.

I have issues with the tea party, they can appear crazy, religious, extreme, but they're mad enough to march and I wish the STEWART/COLBERT rally weren't offering a chance to laugh at what isn't funny at all.

Dawn Powell said "Satire is as we really are" I agree, people shouldn't be laughing, they should be getting as mad as those tea parties, they should be reading up on the FED, catching up on some financial wisdom and understanding exactly why their 401k's are going to be worth less, much less, and why the FED should be abolished.

And yes, I'm thinking Libertarian these days, at least Ron Paul's consistent, he's been consistent all along and he DOES NOT BELIEVE IN WAR, most importantly, for me at least.