Wednesday, 13 January 2021

The Overton window is an elevator,
not a sliding door.

It occurs to me only now that the latest twit for twat shines a light on what has become the traditional enablement of corporate power by the state, two apparently independent sectors of influence nearly indistinguishable from one another in terms of systemic economics.
 
So this latest disagreement among posers of free speech could be analogous to things the hoarding money mongers whine about, as if. That is, whenever some policy that equals a windfall to industries that donate huge portions of their money to the people who pushed for the policy, yet they act to the public as if it hurts their bottom lines.
 
The social media age has, right down to the term social media age, created a complexity for complexities' sake circumstance in which thoughtful wonks of reputed good faith can debate and legislate, or not, human and corporate agency. At the same time, this leaves an expiring breathing room for outrage at the universal untouchability of monopolistic control, which edges closer to what is "problematic".
 
For those unacquainted with the why of my reference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently replied to a question about Dumpster Fire's ban from Twitter, calling "problematic" private industries' taking decisions that belong to the state. That's an interesting take from the head of government that, with their Network Enforcement Act passed only a few years ago, legally obliges the operators of large social media to intervene independently if they discover obvious illegal activity on their platforms. Failure to act could result in a fine of 50 million euros.

What you might recall amidst all the yahoo about fake news is that the affected networks found unworkable the compromise to the drafted legislation that would force them to establish an intermediary body with the responsibility of differentiating between the varying levels of perceivable illegality among the content in question, deciding what should be purged and stored, within when and for how long determined by law, and of course to have to coordinate constantly with government appointees so that they can review each issue's lawfulness. The pesky bureaucracy of it all!
 
Ah, the expense of being a monopoly.

Coincidentally, social media woke up in bed with untold opposition on constitutional grounds, on multiple fronts. Not that that helped the cause. And yet the curve of their bottom lines is trending only stronger y-wardly.
 
When it comes to bagging worms, this might be a good example of why it is said that the German CDU is more in line with the Democratic Party in the US. Neither shies away from creating solutions to the wrong problems, least of all understood by their more conservative critics (ostensibly at least) except that they understand they just don't like regulations. This should not lead one to think that the allegedly lefter leaning SPD is any different. It would be more accurate to say that the US Democratic Party is closer to the current German coalition, both CDU and SPD...
 
And that is where we run out of room to talk, let alone time to quantify the countless individual social and economic positions taken together and apart once you include both American parties. The reason "left" and "right" are no longer viable terminology is that politics has evolved into levels of fascism, the symptoms of which we have successfully identified with the Dumpster Fire and his minion outgrowth brandishing the scary threat of violence.
 
The smaller symptoms we can deal with, which include everything from the brute force we can only sigh about, or sign our children up for, but don't quite fear the same, and the crony capitalism we are comfortable with, as long as the best of the press can provide a table showing how a few more of the least of us is doing better because of it. We are reminded that the largesse of the latter, if there is any, is restrained by financial responsibility, yet the former somehow remains the only part of the budget forever unfettered by austerity.

If the world's biggest influencers are too big send to their room without internet, should we feed them?
 
And this is the point, really. The little people should worry more about what little ability they have to choose not to use social media platforms before whether or not they can be banned from using them. I mean not so much the little people, say, like you and me who are aware of our weakness. I mean more the "Facebook as public utility" types, whom I suggest remove their nose from the rear of the brave new world long enough to smell anything but.

I don't much care for the proposal for the monster's crackin' new outfit.
 
Even now that Craven Piece No. 45 has had his YooToobs tied for the next 7 days for being a danger to the community, the Office of the US President enjoys unrivaled access to the consciousness of every person on the planet. Yet it takes everything for this particular manifestation to muster any semblance of composure when forced to go on "real television" to communicate directly with the world. Now imagine your average Joe Plummer forced to go cold turkey. Could you survive being cut off from Big Data?

First they came for the teller and I didn't speak out because I already found online banking more convenient. And why not? Now more than ever we can thank God, if that's His real name, for our ability to make use of our corporate benefactors' infrastructure (always the result of our blood, sweat, & taxes) and not having to touch anyone.
 
And here we are. And here I am.
 
I hate repeating myself because, being aware of this, I'll always frame it as such (as just now) in an attempt to justify the framing as a reiteration of a long-standing point. That's right, circular self-justification. It's my writing schtick. But in this case I need to repeat how I watched Walgreens pop up on every corner in Chicago, followed by the proverbial lagging economic indicator that was every space between the corners going out of business.
 
It was during this period, the roaring 90s of "it's the economy, stupid", that this reality writ small could be read in the free weekly, which came in the form of an article or two that kinda sorta lamented Scenes' (bookstore/cafe) slow suffocation and death once Starbucks opened a few doors down, on the corner of all places. It should be no surprise how it's come that Big Consumer have managed to brand themselves, sometimes aware of the irony, "What're y'gonna do?!"

Maybe this is why politicians earn sympathy. The awareness that none of us is worthy of anything but what we got.

If there is one thing our political betters have mastered it's the ability to brand themselves in spite of themselves by selectively highlighting some of their positions over others. The current demagogue is no exception. He very effectively tapped into the reality that the working class had been sold out by way of bipartisan policy without having to get too specific beyond promising to get them better trade deals. The only reason this didn't sell across the board was down to his clear bias against black people.
 
Not that any of us who are only bigoted on a liminal level cannot cite his association with (or love from) one or another person who happens to be black to deny this reality. Again, politicians are masters of getting people to deny reality. I guess this is their ultimate purpose, which is the original point of the paragraph: They maneuver among realities, drawing attention to some over others, sometimes successfully only to a select audience.

The big difference now is that the media stopped playing along right about the point it became clear in 2016 who would be the nominee. The subsequent four years' press coverage laid a foundation for the eventual claim that the world was being stolen from the poor assemblage of MAGAheads.
 
The last time this happened so clearly was a brief period only after they'd managed to get the permanent war they wanted, with all the accoutrements, when it was "uncovered" what that had entailed & "confirmed" that there had been no ground beneath their footing. Dubya's Turd Blossom Inc. were a true turd in the priNtn't'fYT media, who had played as central a role to their definitely illegal by any standards project as FOX had done. Then, all that passed like corpses in the water under the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Is it passe for me to mention the ones between the Tigris and Euphrates? How about the "justified" multitudes in and around the Hindu Kush? What a difference a seamless transition makes. Or not.
 
Having refused to accept the opposite in a binary set just because it is against something that disgusts me, I've been on about what's wrong with Dem Party policy for the same amount of time. Think of it as the reverse of the "but wouldn't you want someone in office who is at least responsive to your concerns?" (leaving aside for the moment that my answer is that they are not). By focusing my effort on pointing out the corruption of the DNC (to use one convenient scapegoat), I am concentrating on arguing with someone I hope would be responsive to my concerns. This is usually met with a "Yeah, but..." Which almost justifies the effort.
 
To the object of the but: It is no less confounding to me that someone could view the available candidates and come to the conclusion that the current president is an acceptable alternative. Either then or now. Leaving aside the white supremacist angle, only by way of the aforementioned media coverage, a media that we all know is driven against our interest, can one come to understand how the largest of his base sticks with him. It's a matter of self-evidence without needing any. But regarding those who have the ability to discern, beyond the apparent trolls who will troll to the death, it's a head scratcher.
 
I am probably overestimating the discernment, and underestimating the affront this sentence is to their sensibilities. Remember, the story goes: they were emboldened in their rejection of Bubba's even worse half, not just if by selective misogyny (an analysis equally convenient) but by being dismissed as "deplorables", unworthy of redemption.
 
As if on cue, the wonks took to the press to point out that NAFTA and GLBA had been necessary reforms, in spite of any evidence. That language sound familiar? Evidence is for the weak. What they meant was that those were inevitable and as bipartisan as any legislation. But they underpinned their arguments by slagging off anyone who lost their job or house as derelict in the duty of getting with the program. Retraining and what not. Maybe not deplorable, but somewhere between unfortunate and pathetic.
 
Now, it'd be a stretch for me to say that the targets of the deplorables comment were reading this wonky apologia, or that the aspersion itself was not strictly meant as a dog whistle for those of us who fear the extreme jingoists we've known from the old days, a folk who have grown up and raised more of the same, but if we bookend that with the most recent declaration as to how special and loved they are by their leader, well, the self-denying white supremacy could amount to little more than that which adds drool to their ire. Somebody loves them.
 
Anyway, putrid actors in both the public and private spheres have managed to grift attaboys out of their "standing up" to the MAGAverse. Namely, all we good people can make common cause with the likes of those who have sold us into illegal wars and made us bust our own unions into tiny gravel, over which both will be driving their Musks until they finish building their tower.
 
Those who continue to enable His Holy MAGAdom, on the greater evil hand, have backed themselves into a corner that has become their only refuge from the idiot masses that would literally hang them if they dare otherwise. This is analogous to using the tech until it owns you. Did you not see that coming, fellas?
 
Politicians have been allowed to lie to the lowly for so long that we find the most odious symptom yet of our creeping fascist corporate state was not only able to co-opt the language of both anti-war and pro working class to help obfuscate his way to victory last time — and during his term outdo his nemesis in wealth distribution, deportation and droning, actual brag-worthy accomplishments, records broken that his nemesis predecessor (that African usurper to his American birthright) had set. His secret droning was hardly reported compared to the 24/7 coverage of his countless misdeeds.
 
But more recently he repackaged what had four years ago begun as a sly reminder of DNC malfeasance versus Bernie Sanders to suggest their outright theft of democracy in order to steal the same again, thereby "linguistically programming" his legion, which includes an unusual assortment of one issue voters, MAGAest of whom will, in spite of all their warm working class catch phrasing, maintain the view that anything that suggests a more empathic approach than their leader must amount to a communist takeover.
 
Some folks just wanna be kissed while they're being fucked. This would seem to be common among people of many political stripes. Or, more broadly, two. Maybe this will unite us.
 
Pointing this out in the wrong company makes me the asshole. Especially now is never the time.