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A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.


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June 2, 2016

I Am Getting Ready To Knock Heads

What the Hillary Hardliners and the Bernie Fanatics and the
Trump Buttheads all have in common

I’m watching the unfolding drama of the presidential race with a growing sense of horror, but probably not for the reasons that you think. The good thing about this current round is that everyone has an opinion at this point about national politics. It is almost impossible to not follow the developments of the coming November national election, which indeed has, as usual, been degraded into a fantasy sports contest brought to you live, but first we have two years of pregame highlights. At least most everyone is paying attention.

What horrifies me, first off, is that most people I know or communicate with have unthinkingly fallen into one or another camp, either pro-Trump or anti-Trump. These are the two choices that the Corporate Media has manufactured for us while almost no one seems aware of this framing that they have unquestioningly absorbed. Because the stupid selfish elites and their Corporate Media have guided all of us into this mental pit and because hardly any of us question the process, it is almost for sure that Donald Trump will be installed into the White House and this nation will collapse around us.

How’s that for a happy beginning? As I write this it’s been a lovely early morning, overly warm for Spring but quite pleasant. Just wanted to let you know that no matter how bad the future looks and how much I rant about it I rarely if ever indulge in the luxury of despair.

Bernie Sanders Outside The Albany Public Library Addressing The Thousands Of Supporters Who Couldn’t Get Inside The Washington Avenue Armory This Past April
Bernie Sanders Outside The Albany Public Library Addressing The Thousands Of Supporters Who Couldn’t Get Inside The Washington Avenue Armory This Past April

On that overwhelmingly dominant social media site and collector of salable information Spacebook I have a group of “friends” who are fanatic Bernie Sanders supporters and another group of “friends” who are hardline Hillary Clinton supporters. There’s another group of “friends” equally as large who detest everybody in politics equally and want the current political system overturned, these folks are not a cohesive group like the other two. I also have a few “friends” who support Trump, I don’t mind hearing what nonsense they have to say and I don’t hesitate to call BS on them.

So there is no ambiguity here, I consider Donald Trump to be a snotty stupid rich boy, a narcissistic TV actor, a political dilettante who like all spoiled brats demands to be the center of attention and little else. He is quite clever but not very smart. In contrast to his promoted TV image, he is lazy and so ineffectual that he clearly does not have the attention span necessary to to be president twenty four seven. As a result he will leave actual governing to a bunch of corrupt manipulators who will make the handlers who surrounded both that idiot aristocrat Dubya Bush and senile Ronnie Reagan seem almost benign by comparison.

Almost no one understands that the reason Trump is inside their heads is because the Corporate Media put him there. Starting well more than a year ago I began hearing my fellow Baby Boomers, most of whom watch television obsessively, start talking about Trump as if he were somebody important to watch. Naturally I dismissed this as more of the empty media nonsense that members of my generation have always gabbled about and quickly forget.

Donald Trump In Albany: Make America Hate Again
Donald Trump In Albany: Make America Hate Again

Then around the middle of this past Autumn I noticed that the Corporate Media was giving us a constant diet of Trump. Every time I stepped out of my house or logged on to Spacebook people talked about the nonstop TV crap devoted to him, and every time I was forced to listen to National Public Radio (NPR) I was also forced to listen to items about Trump. For months going well into this year the two local daily newspapers, the Hearst-owned Times Union and the independent but extreme rad righty Daily Gazette put Trump on the front pages of both their online and dead tree editions every single day. Every single day.

Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World

This oversaturation was so grossly obvious that some people started to notice, so as winter turned to spring the Corporate Media began allowing Trump to put on displays of feuding with some of their shills. Famously a TV presenter named Megyn Kelly was chosen by Rupert Murdoch’s FOX to be the recipient of a carefully scripted dispute, and Trump of course threatened several so-called “liberal” Corporatist outfits like the New York Times and Washington Post with retribution. The Corporate Media proclaimed all across itself that Trump was defying the “liberal” media.

To the fools in the anti-Trump camp the Corporate Media reassured them that these disputes effectively finished Trump as a viable candidate and that they wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore. But at the same time these disputes convinced the fools in the pro-Trump camp that Donald Trump is a strong leader firmly in command of the media. Neither side has noticed that they are watching a made-for-TV movie special designed to take the place of thinking for both slack-jawed audiences.

Of course if the Corporate Media hammered Trump nonstop the way they have always hammered Hillary Clinton, or if they totally ignored him except for an occasional burst of negative invective like they do with Bernie Sanders, then no one would be following Trump. No one except a fringe group of Klansmen and unreconstructed Confederates would talk about him. Everyone else would dismiss him as an occasional joke.

Hillary Clinton At Cohoes High School, Flanked by Congressman Paul Tonko And Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Hillary Clinton At Cohoes High School, Flanked by
Congressman Paul Tonko And Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Meanwhile the Hillary Hardliners and the Bernie Fanatics have been increasingly at each other’s throats, neither side in the least bit aware that they have been manipulated into fighting. I’m particular appalled at how a constant diet of obvious disinformation, much of which originates on sketchy websites hosted by public relations “consultants,” is fueling this dissent. These ephemeral lies are easily debunked by anybody who pays attention to their sources, but coupled with the constant flood of Corporate Media disinformation these lies linger inside of empty heads and work very well to keep the two sides clawing at each other’s eyes.

The Hillary Hardliners don’t see that they are merely reflecting and even repeating verbatim the astonishingly false anti-Bernie Corporate Media line, that he is unqualified to hold office and has no practical positions. Meanwhile the Bernie Fanatics don’t seem to have the slightest idea that their hatred of Hillary mostly reflects nearly three decades of mindless Hillary bashing by the same lying Corporate Media. The legitimate criticisms of both candidates have ended up peripheral to the framing that has been handed to both sides, and indeed these otherwise constructive criticisms have been absorbed and locked into that framing.

Seriously, I want to grab the Hillary Hardliners and the Bernie Fanatics by the scruffs of their necks and start slamming their heads together. What the hell is wrong with you people, can’t you see how easy you are to manipulate? Why the goddam hell are all of you unwilling to examine the conduits through which you acquired your information, that these tainted media sources are the dictators of what you think are your own thoughts?

Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton: The Responsible, Competent Elders

Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton:
The Responsible, Competent Elders

The Trump-centric framing is so pervasive that the Hillary Hardliners are saying that Trump and Bernie are no different from each other, and the Bernie Fanatics are saying there’s no difference between Hillary and Trump! Both of these attitudes are mind boggling absurdities, yet I hear them repeated over and over. Comparing the rival candidate’s flaws to flawed beyond redemption Donald Trump seems natural to both camps because that is what they have been told to think about by the Corporate Media, and the vast majority in both camps don’t have enough awareness to come up with something original.

One of the scariest and most pervasive lies circulating among the anti-Trump people is the notion that Trump supporters are inherently stupid people, This notion is reinforced by a media barrage that extends not only across the Corporate Media but is consistently seeded into social media by paid consultants. This notion reassures the anti-Trump people that they are somehow superior and “more educated” that the pro-Trump people, while at the same time reinforcing the belief among the working class core of the pro-Trump people that the anti-Trump people are smug elites.

I grew up in a working class household and for much of my adult life I have lived among the middle classes. I can assure you that the working classes and the middle classes have the same overall level of intelligence. Some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known worked for a living and regularly got their hands dirty, while some of the dumbest people I’ve ever met have had multiple college degrees. I’m here to tell you that both the working classes and the middle classes are equally liable to be bamboozled and manipulated by the Corporate Media, both are equally stupid in that way.

Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton: The Responsible, Competent Elders

From Carol Simpson, 1988: Still True Today

But there has been a game-changing shift in focus by the Corporate Media. In the last two decades of the 20th Century and into the beginning of this one, the Corporate Media concentrated on influencing primarily the thinking of the middle classes. Many if not most working class people felt this neglect by the media acutely, they tended to see themselves as poormouth outsiders in a land of rich persons, that is, a land of relatively wealthier middle class people who did not hesitate to sneer at them.

During the first decade of this current century, two things happened to change this focus by the Corporate Media. First, starting about 2005 the internet became pervasive enough to become an effective rival to the Corporate Media, thus seriously blunting the propaganda effectiveness of the former information monopoly. Competition in a truly open marketplace does that. The second is after the 2008 economic collapse it became evident that the middle classes were shrinking irrevocably and that the working classes had become the largest growing economic group, a trend that is still happening today.

What happened is that the shrinking middle classes started using the internet more than the working classes, who continued to get the bulk of their information from the Corporate Media. By the beginning of this decade the owners of the Corporate Media appear to have realized that they had lost the shrinking middle classes and that the expanding working classes are a growing market. So they shifted their focus and changed their political propaganda targets from the middle classes to the working classes.

Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton: The Responsible, Competent Elders

Zephyr Teachout, Currently Running For Congress In The NY 19th District

This media class shift was starkly illustrated during the much watched 2014 Democratic Primary for governor in New York State. Unknown Zephyr Teachout ran a campaign almost completely on social media, spending only a quarter of million dollars on traditional campaign media while incumbent Andrew Cuomo enriched the media consultants with at least $14 million and had only a token presence on the internet. Ms. Teachout managed an astonishing 33.08 percent of the vote with her bargain basement campaign against Cuomo’s 59.9 percent.

What was really astonishing was that as the social equality candidate (the true conservative, that is) Ms. Teachout won in solidly middle class and well to do upscale election districts, while the rich man’s Corporatist candidate Cuomo won overwhelmingly in poor, working class and ethnic districts, which was enough to keep him in office. This paradoxical result happened because the economically comfortable middle classes got most of their campaign information primarily from the internet, while the poor, the working class and the ethnic neighborhoods continued to get the bulk of their information from TV.

Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton: The Responsible, Competent Elders

I see this daily in my neighborhood. Many of the middle class people that I know have stopped watching TV altogether, even the middle class older Baby Boomers who still obsessively watch TV are increasingly turning their heads toward social media. At the same time when I walk into the living rooms of my working class neighbors I see that big flatscreen TV is on almost constantly. It’s like a member of the family, always there and always talking and always demanding attention.

It has become very clear to me that the persons who run the Corporate Media were paying close attention. I strongly suspect that the 2014 Democratic Primary campaign in New York only confirmed for them what they had already figured out. The Corporate Media, which had already lost the shrinking middle classes, decided that their sphere of greatest influence was through that big screen TV constantly blaring and blathering inside working class homes.

Sanders Canvassers Talk To A Skeptical Clinton Supporter In Iowa

Sanders Canvassers Talk To A Skeptical Clinton Supporter In Iowa

There is a sure-fire way to defeat Donald Trump at the polls but I am not confident that this venerable and obvious method will be used in the general election. Big time campaign strategists are starting to relearn that the most effective way to get people to actually go to the polling booths and vote for their candidate is to send canvassers door to door to talk to the voters and make a personal connection. When the campaign advertising consists of real persons actually talking to the potential voter rather than unreal images on the TV then voter turnout rises dramatically in favor of the candidate made real.

Hell, I know that. Years ago I worked as a dissident Democratic committeeman in my neighborhood trying to get decent people installed in our local offices instead of reelecting the moribund kleptocrats. I was just one of many people around Albany doing the same thing, talking to my neighbors all year round, not just two days before election day. Most of my neighbors were actually pleased that there was a guy living up the street who cared enough about the neighborhood to get them to do something positive about it, even if dragging some of them to the polls was like dragging a dog to the vet.

So I keep reading that sudden barrages of TV ads, radio ads, and postal mailers have at most a temporary effect on people. Studies conducted in local elections have consistently shown that media barrages have no statistically noticeable lasting effect on voting results. Again, I’ve seen that here in Albany over and over, the local Corporate Media would pull out all of their techniques to influence local elections but that would have little or no effect on how us voters would actually vote.

TV Ad For Hillary Clinton

TV Ad For Hillary Clinton

Supposedly the opposite is true when we are talking about national races or statewide races in large states like New York, that voters prefer to get their information from sources like TV or the internet. But I would challenge that assumption, I think that if presidential or gubernatorial candidates sent canvassers door to door then voters would respond enthusiastically. Look at the miserable turnout for national elections that we have in this country, obviously a large number of people don’t take any of it seriously.

The obvious objection to this analysis is that sending out canvassers across the entire nation must be expensive, but guess what. The cost of buying TV ads is so prohibitively expensive that hiring people to knock on doors across the nation, which runs into many millions of dollars, is actually a fraction of the cost of buying equivalent media time. Look at the 2012 presidential campaigns, both Barack Obama and loser Willard “Mitt” Romney are each known to have spent well more than a billion dollars, where did that money go?

It turns out that the vast majority of campaign donations, reportedly in some cases as much as 90%, ends up in the pockets of a swarm of hangers-on known as media consultants. Now, if their work was effective it would be money well spent, but if TV ads don’t work very well as compared to canvassing then you have to wonder why candidates continue to campaign that way almost exclusively. There might be several reasons why, other than fear of doing things differently.

Advertising Spending In 2015 Only: Note How Little Trump Spent

Advertising Spending In 2015 Only: Note How Little Trump Spent

Basically those several reasons come down to this. There is a system in place that collects donations primarily from billionaires and corporations and a set of Consultant Corporations distributes that money to other corporations. This ensures Corporate control of candidates. For a candidate to go outside that system means that candidate is bucking Corporate control which of course is unacceptable to corporate bottom lines.

A clear example is Bernie Sanders who raised all of his money from small donors and as far as is known not one penny from any corporations. While his campaign has indeed given much of that money to corporate outfits, most notably saturating Iowa and Nevada with TV ads prior to the caucuses there (both of which he lost!) The fact that he raised his money in the wrong way from the wrong people caused him to be pointedly marginalized by the Corporate Media. Clearly the Corporate Media is trying to send a message to future candidates, we will ignore you and ruin you if you don’t play our expensive money game by our rules.

Some days before the New York Democratic Primary this past April, I answered my door to find a Sanders canvasser. I assured him that I was already in his corner, and after a bit of conversation discovered that he was not a local guy and was not familiar with Albany politics. He behaved like a pro, similar to the Working Families Party canvassers imported from downstate that I’ve encountered some past years during certain local campaigns.

I was delighted, no serious presidential candidate had ever sent someone to ring my doorbell to ask for my vote in the national Primaries. I was also pleased to see that Mr. Sanders was spending his campaign donations on the most effective method of generating votes. And the results proved that effectiveness, despite almost every elected official in and around Albany endorsing his rival, Bernie won the City of Albany and the surrounding municipalities.

On Washington Avenue, Some Of The Disappointed People Who Didn’t Get Inside To See Bernie Sanders, Shortly Before The Candidate Appeared Behind Them

On Washington Avenue, Some Of The Disappointed People Who Didn’t Get Inside To See Bernie Sanders, Shortly Before The Candidate Appeared Behind Them

The other technique that Mr. Sanders has used to great effect is holding rallies shortly before the actual Primary voting day, relying on the personal touch. For hours I stood in a line wrapped completely around the Washington Avenue Armory and down Lark Street hoping to get inside to hear Bernie speak, but just as I got as far as the library next door the fire marshals declared the Armory filled. There were well more than four thousand people inside and at least that many still standing in line outside.

And then, all of a sudden there was Bernie at a hastily set up mic standing in front of the library doors. He gave us outsiders a good ten minute speech before he went inside to start the rally, which I understand is something he does regularly. He didn’t say anything that we hadn’t heard from him before, but it sure made me feel it was worth my while to stand in line.

In stark contrast, Hillary Clinton had shown up a few days earlier and held a rally at a high school auditorium in Cohoes, a town north of Albany. I understand the auditorium was big enough to accommodate the parade of local elected officials and the audience of Hillary Hardliners. Prolific blogger of multiple blogs Roger Green tried to get me to attend, but I resisted because going just seemed too much of a depressing chore.

Donald Trump Walks On Stage At The So-Called Times Union Center In Albany 

Donald Trump Walks On Stage At The So-Called Times Union Center In Albany

On the same day as Mr. Sanders appeared at the Armory, Donald Trump held one his signature rallies at the so-called Times Union Center. Various media outlets claimed that the crowd was 20,000 or more, but since the maximum capacity of the arena is 17.500 this is clearly a lie. Years ago I attended Hillary Clinton’s official announcement that she was running for senator at that place, with the stage set up on one end the maximum capacity of the arena was 11,000.

The Wife was curious to see Trump, I declined and told her to take pictures. The photos show that the stage was set up, and unlike at that Hillary rally years ago the arena was not packed to capacity, there were a lot of empty seats. So I would say that about as many people showed up to see Trump that day as showed up to see Bernie at the Armory, maybe 8000 or at most 9000 people.

But one thing about those 8 or 9000 people at the Trump rally. The Wife started chatting with some of the people around her and discovered that a fair number of the attendees were like her, curious to see the show but having no intention of voting for Trump. Meanwhile I can report that every single person that I encountered in that line waiting to see Bernie Sanders was either one of his enthusiastic supporters or leaning in his direction.

Protestors Outside The Trump Rally In Albany Add To The Spectacle

Protestors Outside The Trump Rally In Albany Add To The Spectacle

Trump’s strategy with the big rallies is to use them as spectacles, as an extension of his TV persona. His supporters know him as a flickering image in their living rooms, but all of a sudden here is in our own town, a real person. This has proven to be effective reinforcement, entertaining spectacle plus contact with the candidate, not to mention stroking an egocentric brat in the way that he wants.

It’s starting to look like Hillary Clinton is going to get the Democratic nomination, edging out Mr. Sanders. Independent polls consistently show Mr. Sanders handily beating Trump, the reason appears to be primarily his rejection of Trump’s radical Corporatism in favor of true conservatism. But I would say Mr. Sanders’ use of canvassers and his holding of local rallies have worked around the negative machinations of the Corporate Media rather well to get that kind of result in the polls.

But Ms. Clinton barely leads Trump in the polls, single digits according to the latest surveys. She carries almost 3 decades of Corporate Media pounding, negatives and disinformation so outrageously vile that uninformed people seriously think she is about to be indicted for some crime any day now. Of course if you ask any of these people what she is going to be indicted for not a single one of them can give an answer. I’ve been asking them.

Bernie Sanders Hustling Into The Side Door Of The Armory In Albany

Bernie Sanders Hustling Into The Side Door Of The Armory In Albany

Assuming that Ms. Clinton gets the nod from the Democratic Party, it looks like she will run a traditional distant media driven campaign, not leaning heavily on using canvassers or holding local rallies. So far Trump has shown no inclination to use canvassers but he may very well continue to hold local rallies. This alone will put Ms. Clinton at a disadvantage in the general election.

The Corporate Media will continue to campaign for Trump, and it is very likely that Trump, who reportedly is broke, will do what is necessary to attract billionaire sponsors. Also consider how many states are practicing voter suppression and using easily hackable electronic voting machines with proprietary software. You can see why I think that a close election will fall in Trump’s favor, or rather be guided in his favor much like the 2000 presidential election was guided toward Dubya Bush.

And thus the federal government will finally be irrevocably discredited and the Constitution effectively overthrown, which is the ultimate goal of the elites. But today is a beautiful sunny Spring day, not too hot with cool breezes. I really should get up and go outside, we may not have too many more days like this.


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Comments:
If you are having difficulties posting a comment, please email Daniel Van Riper. We are experimenting with our spam filters, and we do not want to exclude any legitimate commenters, just spammers!


Posted by:Roger Green
Posted on:06/03/2016
Comments:
I have STOPPED having any conversation with the pro-Hillary people when they scream at Bernie to quit. I ignore the Bernie people who say "we're gonna win the nomination."

Unfortunately, the reality IS that =Trump is toxic, I've NEVER voted against a candidate. (I didn't like Nixon, but I did like McGovern, e.g.) And this year, I probably will.


Posted by:GH
Posted on:06/09/2016
Comments:
Yep, pretty much....although I actually kind of like Hillary.


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