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Berning Up The Vegas Strip
It's a cool yet sunny Autumn morning, but my mind is still bemused with eerie images from the first round of Democratic presidential "debates" beamed live to the world from the only fitting venue for this sort of garish entertainment... a Las Vegas casino.
I'm not sure I witnessed a political debate or anything resembling what these two words imply. But what I am sure I did witness was a production spectacle that radiated with the peculiarities of MTV, Oprah, The Hollywood Squares and Ed Sullivan when The Beatles arrived, all merged like some freakish scene from A Clockwork Orange.
Accompanied by thudding rock music, the raucous audience reacted as if to a blinking applause sign complete with axiomatic commercial breaks and preceded by the voice of a Don Pardo soundalike. The camera quickly drew back above a cheering throng awash in a glow of royal blue, while heavy electric guitar faded into the telegenic world of corporate advertising.
Oh yeah baby! This is the shit! God bless American polipropagandatics! And Ohhh!!... The over-the-top stage construction, with its huge red and white plastic letters and icons that mirrored the brightly backlit cartoon corporate logos of McDonald's and Walmart jutting from a highlighted sheen of brushed blue aluminum contoured walls, made me cringe.
The sensation passed through me into my favorite antique rocking chair with a screech. The scene resembled some bizarre medical nightmare: an operating room where Surgeons General with creepy grins and nationalistic fervor burning in their eyes, costumed in camouflage polyester scrubs, perform emergency agitprop procedures on a dying nation, while John Philip Sousa thunders in the background.
It was a Stanley Kubrick moment and in forcing myself to watch like an unwilling voyeur peering into a carnival tent of the absurd, I felt an innate veil of psychic protection luckily propping my ruminative eyes wide shut. The buffoonery and delusion of the display was at once hilarious and frightening, like laughin' and cryin' as Joni Mitchell said... the same release.
What I and no doubt anyone who was paying attention could not help noticing is the prodigious measure of attention that Bernie Sanders is garnering through the mainstream media, that mendacious vehicle for
mass transmission of disinformation, owned and controlled by an autocratic corporatocracy made up primarily of Israeli and American fascists, an odious web of a global banking cabal, Saudi oligarchs, and
Jewish and non-Jewish organized crime syndicate business partners and collaborators who weave their investment capital into anything that promises profitable returns and social control.
On the surface it would seem that Sanders would not be the ideal candidate for the Democratic Party or for the US ruling elite with his much touted "democratic-socialist" agenda of funding so many public
infrastructure programs including massive college education subsidies, raising the income taxes on the corporations and the oligarchy who own the very cameras of the medium that is enhancing his image, cutting Pentagon and defense spending, and restructuring the banking system that finances the government he wants to use to accomplish all of this. Now it must be stated that the implementation of public programs does not necessarily translate into the societal practice of real socialism in any way. If it did, then we would have to conclude that FDR and LBJ who introduced the New Deal and the Great Society programs respectively, were also socialists or Democratic-Socialists.
Of course this could not be any further from the truth. Though Bernie Sanders' grassroots progressive and disenfranchised Democratic support seems to have thrust him onto the national stage to play in the world
series of US politics and into the spotlight alongside Hillary Clinton, something feels very off. I could sense it the longer I endured. My assessment is that he would not be sharing the mainstream political
stage at this level of the game if something else was not happening behind the curtains of the villainous manipulators of public perception.
Wondering why this delusive publicity apparatus dotes on Hillary Clinton is a needless exertion of mental energy, since it is an obvious and foregone conclusion as to why she receives the daily spotlight. With her family political history and her damning performance as a senator and secretary of state, her billionaire connections and financial backing from long time Clinton family friend Hollywood mogul Haim
Saban, her tenacious and unequivocal support for Israel which she persistently cites ad nauseum, and the fact that she is an unrelenting war monger which she doesn't even feel the need to keep secret, makes her the obvious choice as the Democratic candidate to represent the interests of the power regime. A natural born liar, she fits hand in glove with the Democratic party modus operandi. Toss in the Democratic party's reputation of being the "bankers' party" (which she only has intentions of stroking and coddling), and she's the archetypal president-in-waiting for our despotic government handlers.
I got the distinct feeling while watching the candidates volley on stage that Webb, O'Malley, and Chaffee were there only as corpus filler to augment the visual impression across the stage for the audience in atten-
dance and especially for the millions of viewers at home. The exhibition endeavored to yield the appearance that this was a political clash and tug of war among five equally matched candidates, each with strongly held views and policy intentions. In this pursuit it failed miserably and was easily seen for what it was: a showcase for Clinton and Sanders, with Sanders performing his sheepdogging function unbeknownst to his
venerating audience. When the question of Clinton's dreaded emails came up, his insistence that it was time to drop the issue as everyone was tired of hearing about it and there are more important issues to deal
with should have been a dead giveaway that he had just run interference for Clinton like a linebacker blocking a tackle even though the wide receiver had no intention of catching the ball anyway.
This was all about selling not only Clinton, but the entire Democratic party from president right down to the mayor of a small Vermont town. And Sanders is playing his part well in running interference for and polishing up Clinton's image while pretending to oppose her and increasing the flock of new Democratic voters ten fold. And when she is nominated, he will be rewarded, possibly as the choice for vice-president. And if not, after she is elected, he will no longer be the Senator from Vermont, for he will no doubt be granted an office—and not just any office. His role as best supporting actor in a political drama will be rewarded with one of the many key posts close to the new Clinton White House. The game is afoot. This is how it's played.
There is one overtly neglected truth that is of paramount importance to keep in the front of your mind if you have any intention of viewing what are euphemistically called "debates." It is the fact that these are exactly
what they are not... debates. Five individuals, one by one, parroting answers to questions put to them by another singular individual playing moderator is not in any way shape or form a debate. Dictionary.com
defines the word thus: 1) a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints. 2) a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers. The Oxford Dictionary expands on the meaning:
1) a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward. 2)
an argument about a particular subject, especially one in which many people are involved. The operative words here are discussion and argument, that is, face-to-face encounters, you know... "having it out" between candidates, without a moderator. Candidates engaging in this context would allow for it to be called a debate, which I would enjoy watching except I doubt the intellectual prowess for this level of discussion and argument is present in any of the candidates from either party.
The first honest face-to-face debates between two candidates occurred in 1858, a series of seven contests between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas for the office of senator of Illinois. These were true
face-to-face debates, with no moderator. Debates continued to occur even as radio became commonplace. But radio is a very different medium than television. Media theorist Marshall McCluhan referred to
it as a "hot" medium in that it is aural, not visual, and in being so, engages a listener's imaginative and intellectual faculties into the experience. Television creates a completely different effect in the
human psyche, he said. It is a "cool" medium, where a subtle detachment occurs as the visual experience bypasses the imaginative and intellectual faculties of the viewer.
Historian J.N. Druckman observed that television primes its audience to rely more on their perceptions of candidate image... confidence, attire, facial and body expressions, even their physical attractiveness. All of
this has more of an insidious influence on a viewing population than what would normally be readily observed on the street.
With John Kennedy and Richard Nixon appearing on the first televised events of this kind in 1960, the idea of real face-to-face debates came to an end, and the present model of two or more candidates merely an-swering scripted queries presented by famous talking heads with too much makeup began.
These presentations have veered precipitously downhill since those black and white years. The perception by the audience then was of two candidates standing on opposite sides of an unadorned stage behind wooden podiums and backed by a nondescript curtain.
With an absence of commercial advertising, a panel of credible journalists posed inquiries that had at least some substance concerning the issues of import for those times. But today's absurd and ostentatious
displays of pop culture theatrics have succeeded in reducing televised political discourse to the level of a mindless and crudely contrived sitcom.
The art of statesmanship didn't merely die. It was allowed to be publically beaten to death to the maniacal cheers of a sleeping mob.
Article Copyright 2015-2017 by David Kraus
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David Kraus is a respected composer and guitarist in classical, jazz, world fusion, and film. He is also a teacher and scholar whose knowledge well surpasses the realms of music and art, although these would be enough. Having spent a considerable length of time in India and Nepal opened up a world for him not only creatively and culturally, but deeply affected his concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.
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You can read more about David's music at: www.davidkrausguitarist.com
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