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Belmont Club

The Government as Agitator

July 15th, 2013 - 10:18 am

One of the collateral indicators of the decline in legitimacy is the reemergence of the cult of personality. Salena Zito observes: “Sometimes things fall apart right in plain sight but no one sees it unraveling until too late.” The “administration scandals … a still painfully slow economy” are only part of the problem. The more fundamental difficulty is that the institutions of democracy are falling apart:

Another problem for Democrats is that they have allowed Obama to build a separate machine with Organizing for Action (OFA), his leftover campaign apparatus, modeled on former presidential candidate Howard Dean’s Democracy for America.

The trouble with such candidate machines is that they fundamentally are not party organs; their supporters back the individual candidates who founded them, not the party.

The dirty little secret, which no Democrat ever admits on the record, is that the OFA exists essentially because the party is no longer working. So OFA has taken over the party and refashioned it from the ground up around Obama.

This will have a devastating impact on the party because it has enabled OFA to act as a predator, while the party has failed to groom its own partisan bench for the future.

This partly explains why the Man can agitate against his own office. It is part of the process of acquiring personal power at the expense of institutional legitimacy. The Democratic Party is no longer about the Democratic Party. It’s about Barack Obama and the Clintons. In this respect, party politics resembles the movie industry of the star-system era without the benefit of the box office to bring market discipline to the system. Their stranglehold of the media means the stars get top billing — and they are never retireable. David Francis of the Fiscal Times makes a similar argument, but from another point of view:

The Democratic Party has a surprisingly short bench, meaning that it has few rising stars to replace figures like Obama and Clinton once they retire from the main political stage.

As soon as he entered the Senate, it was obvious that Barack Obama would one day be the face of the Democratic Party. His rise to power was faster than expected, but it was not unexpected.

This rise delayed Hilary Clinton’s time in the sun: she had been pegged as a national party leader as soon as her husband left the White House. She’s poised to take her place as the fact of the party in the upcoming presidential campaign.

But look beyond the current party stalwarts. There are few names that the general public would recognize. And there don’t appear to be many rising stars at the state level.

And it’s not just a problem for Democrats. The Republican Party is also built along the lines of superstars. The photogenic men matter most. Rational policy is a distant second. My pamphlet Storming the Castle points out that in early days of government a congressman or senator rarely served more than one term. Today, they mostly die in office or leave only when they decide to retire. Once upon a time government and politicians were separate entities. Today, le eh-tat sest moy.

To underscore how far things have gone — and to return to the connection with the just-concluded Zimmerman trial — Foreign Policy noted in a little noticed article, lost in the uproar of the past weeks, that the federal government has lifted the ban on broadcasting propaganda at American citizens:

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It’s viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran; self-immolation in Tibet; human trafficking across Asia; and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq.

The restriction of these broadcasts was due to the Smith-Mundt Act, a long standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. In the 70s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they “should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics.” Fulbright’s amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky who argued that such “propaganda” should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. “from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.”

Well, the ban’s been lifted.

In a way lifting the ban on propaganda makes sense. For years politicians have been devaluing the worth of American citizenship to the point where it appears to offer no meaningful protection against drone strikes, surveillance, job poaching, or anything else. Why should they be spared from propaganda? Recall that the increasing use of police power is the consequence of a decline in legitimacy. Therefore we would expect that with less legitimacy there would be more surveillance, more cops, more propaganda. And that is exactly what one sees. Coercion and propaganda are being substituted for consent.

Things have consequently become less about constitutional government than about the glorification of personalities. “American” as an identity is going extinct because it is a constitutional identity. Reduce the value of the one and you reduce the value of the other. The drone strikes, the growing legal equivalence between citizens and terrorists, unfettered immigration, unlimited surveillance, and a court system that everyone is encouraged to despise, not in the least by those who run the system themselves, are merely nails in its coffin. The narrative is simple: the system is for chumps. It’s Who Sent You that matters. In other words, the only thing that appears to count any more is who your feudal master is. That is why nobody seems to care about re-establishing faith in the justice system anymore. “Destroy it and deliver the pieces over to us” is more like it.

Justice has come full circle, as Mark Steyn observes. It is no longer the king’s justice so much as the expression of the king’s caprice. In that universe, Zimmerman and Martin are just ham sandwiches and the Narrative simply the sauce that makes the medicine go down.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of
information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In, a novel at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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THE ELEPHANT AND THE JACKAL

If the jury had convicted Zimmerman there would have been no protests, no arson, no looting of liquor stores. We all know that and understand that. We also know and understand that the people who do the looting and firebombing can stick their fingers in the eye of the law abiding public only so many times before the law abiders decide to take the law into their own hands. The elephant allows the ants to bite his ankles only for so long before he stomps on them. And when the stomping begins the country will have changed for the better.

The elephant, that silent beast
Seeks only peace and quiet
The jackal on the other hand
Seeks only loot and riot
But elephants while phlegmatic
Will stand still for an hour
When roused to act the jackals quail
To feel the awful power
Of free men who obey the law\
But see the law betray them
Then fiercely take a flensing knife
To jackals and then flay them
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This all reminds of the point made so strongly in the Gulag Archipelago of the inversion that results when the government, those who are charged with enforcing the law, are breaking it; they are now the criminals.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Corruption scales differently than other things. Money can corrupt more than just about anything especially when its regarding money that you have never earned but find an opportunity to take without heavy consequences attaching.

My take on the subject may earn me a tin foil crown but I don't care. Here it is.

Once upon a time there used to be moral constraints upon what our so-called leaders could do without being thrown out of office and disgraced. This didn't mean that they couldn't violate them, they just had to be discrete enough to keep it under the radar. But corruption, like an untreated infection in a prostitutes crotch, grows if no efforts are made to stop it.

What evolved was a political culture whereby the players had the equivalent of political MAD (mutually assured destruction). You burn me and I have the documentation to burn you. Don't accuse me of immoral/criminal acts unless you want yours to be exposed as well. And so the system rotted. The less than totally corrupt still felt more loyalty to the "club" of very important and politically connected people than they did to the little peasants they claimed to represent. And it all fell down from there. It was, and is, a death spiral.

And when corruption became the norm rather than the aberration they started coming out of the closet so to speak. You may not be filthy rich when you go in to the Federal Legislature, but you will be when you come out (if you ever do). Our "public servants" do things that would have resulted in them being impeached and/or arrested in times of yore, but its just SOP today. If peasants complain just what exactly are they going to do? The game is stacked, the yokels won't be allowed to win. The great ones laugh at their naivete about how things work.

I do not predict a happy ending for our current political class. But few of them seem to sense that. A common delusion for the terminally corrupt is that the party never ends.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (88)
All Comments   (88)
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Time to scour the Shire--or in this case the Republic.

Those who destroy the law beg to perish without the law.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just occurred to me today -- with the entire Machinery of the State, from the Resident on down, engaged in crushing the hapless Zimmerman, they've given the green light for any and all outrages to be committed against the Hated Honkys.

E.g.: a friend of ours, a white, chubby, 50-something fellow named Howie, was waiting for his bus in Brooklyn this Sunday morning (8:30), when a black man approached him. The guy cursed him, called him racist names, said, "You Don't Belong Here!!" and then cold-cocked him. Hit him so hard he put poor Howie on the sidewalk, stunned.

Howie told us he lay there, shocked and hurt, and the black guy walked away: then at 40 paces, turned back and said some more filthy, racist things. They were the only two people on the street that early in the morning. "I was just waiting for the bus," Howie said, bewildered. He's still quite shaken about it.

Stay safe out there, people. Eyes open, and steer clear of anyone who looks the least bit sketchy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fFIR1oX0jNg#at=41

Jim Rogers ... and 55 seconds of your time...

For what's what with the long legged macdaddy....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The most amazing conjuring trick which is at this moment fully in progress is that the same government which pretends to be promoting the welfare of the US black population is in the process of betraying that population by doubling at a stroke the population and domestic influence of hispanic citizens.

Well, if you think about abortion in the U.S. for more than a few seconds, you will realize that since the Supreme Court of the US ruled in Roe-v-Wade, abortion has ended the life of tens of millions of black babies, who if allowed to live, would have made the black population of the United States more like 20 or 25 percent. Instead has been steadily shrinking in proportion to other ethnic groups.

So the government and Majority Party ("Democrat") that pretends to care so much about blacks, after all has been the primary force behind first reducing the power and influence of the black population within the US by promoting the abortion of black fetuses, and simultaneously allowing, encouraging, and enforcing the entitlement of a rival group to receive the benefits which had been for decades used as bait and influence the black population: unlimited welfare, food stamps, free or low-cost health care, and political influence.

Just how stupid ARE we so-called citizens?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
MF...

The reason for the exploding voter base of 'Black' voters is the notion of the One Drop of Blood....

Adjusted for DNA...

The nation is actually replacing Blacks with mulattoes...

No one more so than Barry.

Dang if all of his cronies are mulatto -- NOT Black.

It's rather striking.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
iis it your Dreyfus affair?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In my time as a boy in Chicago, the police were friendlier and, even if corrupt, the corruption mostly involved people other than ordinary citizens. I moved to Los Angeles almost 60 years ago and encountered the militarized LAPD of Chief Parker. They were so organized because they were a far smaller force than Chicago or New York and they were incorruptible. Those days are gone but the militaristic style has remained and infuriates the law abiding citizen when it is encountered.

Last weekend we were at a brunch and a young woman joined us and left her dog in her car with water and the windows down. We were at brunch an hour and found three sheriff's cars at her car when we walked her back. The sheriff was rude and actually told us we were lucky he was there as the other people around might have attacked us ! The young woman made a mistake to leave her dog in the car but the dog was unharmed and a citation might have impressed her mistake on her memory. Instead, we had a circus that took two hours and further diminished my declining respect for law enforcement. You would have thought it was drive-by shooting.

I fear this attitude feeds the minority community's paranoia.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
FYI, your friend was wrong and the dog should have been placed in protective custody. Dogs can not regulate their body temps by sweating so just rolling down the windows and leaving water was not good enough. The dog may not in fact be 'undamaged' as heat injuries often result in brain damage and each additional incident will worsen the damage. Shameful.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
WHICH says a lot about our current sad state.

So many people are willingly being used as tools, and the absolute bast*ds who use those pawns as human sacrifice. They don't care about those they claim to champion and couldn't give a fig about the consequences.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If "THEY" can turn Zimmerman into a public enemy figure, THEY can turn on any one.

Say, if the target is our blog host, I wonder if THEY will invent a new term - "White Asian" .....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is a phrase in the article that bears highlighting "...and a court system that everyone is encouraged to despise..." Review of the past 50 years or so shows that the Left has attacked one institution after another. One of the two most important was the independent press that was viewed by the Founders as a watchdog on government for the people.

The second was the education system. Intelligent, well informed people will not be easily "led" by those who would seek power. It was necessary to dumb down the people and indoctrinate them into the wonderful world of big government.

A third institution is the family, once a bulwark against many evils. The Left knew that they had to diminish this institution in their grand scheme to change America into the Utopia of big government which dictates what individuals may or may not do.

Now that the Left has succeeded in attacking those institutions, plus religious faith, the next institution appears to be the courts, the so-called justice system. When people have faith in the courts, they will not be inclined to take matters into their own hands but rather rely on the system. Once that is no longer the case, chaos will be the rule. That plays into the hands of the Left who need chaos or issues that demand action as the Left will act in a way to benefit their goals.

What happens when chaos erupts when the court system fails? More police presence to control actions of the citizens and a further move to disarm private citizens so they will be like sheep, able to be herded by the powers that be.

We need to look at the big picture to see what is happening in this particular case. If chaos benefits the big government Left, is it not possible the powers that be knew that Zimmerman would not be found guilty and the mobs, acting true to form, would take to the streets which would hopefully foment the chaos the Left benefits from?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The long-legged mackdaddy has a deep street game.

Civil disorder is greatly desired because it would provide the suitable pretext for his police state.

The Wan figures that he can win a bullet contest.

It's NOT a co-incidence that Federal ammo purchases are disrupting the market.

That particular gambit is a detour around the Second Amendment.

The final goal is the replication of the Hugo Chavez perpetual presidency.

By his acts, you must see that he has no intention of leaving the Pink House.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
blert-

Instead of Pink House try Red or Black House.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That may be. But choosing (and may be succeeding to achieve) such goal one should be aware that he will leave it eventually and the form of such departure is not pleasant. Seldom "leaders of all people" has Stalin's dubious luxury of dying in his own bed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
sorry for typo: should be ...have Stalin's...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The declining quantity in every case is our old pal “legitimacy.”
...Yes, and also a decline in quality, experienced as a broad sense of tackiness, of the omnipresence of fourth-rate experts/appointees/finger-waggers permanently out of their depth, everywhere. The grandiosity that accompanies Obama on his travels -- the aircraft carriers, F-16's, fleets of limos, sniper teams on safari and secret service on brothel duty, entire hotels occupied by less-than-vital staffers, and so on -- simply underscores the Ruritanian feebleness of our first cardboard president.

Does any of it point to the future? Maybe. We're not likely to hear any grand exhortations from the opposition on the scale of 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?'; much less the crack of an assassin's weapon. More likely, we'll see Obama on a balcony, a haranguing Gadhaffi all in white, swooning media and bag carriers all around. Maybe someone will toss him a bunch of bananas to celebrate the birth of the new republic, the installation by acclaim of our first Maximum Leader and President for Life.
Not feudal, then, but definitely A Very Bad Thing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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