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Under the yoke of the corporate state all aspects of our lives are being systematically undermined.  That includes economic security, education, the environment, our humanity.  The State has been fully captured by the moneyed elite, turning its power into a self-serving tool.  Finally, as the consequences of a process that has been in the works since the 1970s (with the Powell Memo being an important landmark), have started to be felt by a larger and larger segment of the fast-dwindling middle class, people have begun to object, and demand changes.

That is good sign since it begins to address the call to "wake up" by those who have been paying attention all along.  But still, there remains a huge gulf between a general understanding about the true nature of the system, and the reality of it.  Bridging that gulf, I (and others) argue, is the last remaining challenge we face before we can truly begin to turn things around.

Let me, at this point, put forward a very blunt statement describing what I believe to be the true nature of the system, and the challenges we face, and then I'll provide reference material which I hope will back up my claim:

Corporatist interests have taken over the levers of power, almost completely.  Because of it, the system has turned predatory and increasingly oppressive, and the pace of oppression and political dysfunction is going to continue to accelerate with each passing day.  The entire political system is highly compromised, and thus, incapable of it alone addressing the dysfunction caused by the corporate state takeover.  Therefore no common sense solutions to the very serious challenges we face (as the result of the country having turned into a virtual Oligarchy) are going to be forthcoming from the ruling elite, which is comprised of the political establishment, which now mainly serves the interests of their corporatist paymasters.

Until and unless people finally unite in solidarity and gain sufficient strength (by becoming highly organized, strategic, and persistent) to force the system to reform (do the right thing), things are going to get progressively worst with each passing day.

Let me acknowledge that I fully understand and appreciate the fact that many people reading this don't agree with that statement; of may just partially agree with some of it.  And, of course, that is as valid a position as any.  But be that as it may, here I'm going to argue that my position is the right one (when it comes to understanding the true nature of the system), and I will put forward reference material to back up my conclusions.  Now, let me clarify that I'm not looking for people to accept my premises, prima facie; I'm more interested in reaching those who still thing that the current system is viable, and capable of addressing the very serious challenges we face, and try to encourage them to, number one, reconsider their position, and number two, engage in further in-depth examination of the true nature of the system, a exercise which will hopefully help them change their minds.

I think that at some level what I'm talking about is literacy about the true nature of the system.  Again, I'm fine if others argue that I have reached an erroneous conclusion... I'm more interested in debating the merits of our respective positions.

With that in mind, I call attention to a recent thruthout article by Henry A. Giroux: "The Spectacle of Illiteracy and the Crisis of Democracy"

Think of the forces at work in the larger culture that work overtime to situate us within a privatized world of fantasy, spectacle and resentment that is entirely removed from larger social problems and public concerns. For instance, corporate culture, with its unrelenting commercials, carpet-bombs our audio and visual fields with the message that the only viable way to define ourselves is to shop and consume in an orgy of private pursuits. Popular culture traps us in the privatized universe of celebrity culture, urging us to define ourselves through the often empty and trivialized and highly individualized interests of celebrities. Pharmaceutical companies urge us to deal with our problems, largely produced by economic and political forces out of our control, by taking a drug, one that will both chill us out and increase their profit margins. (This has now become an educational measure applied increasingly and indiscriminately to children in our schools.) Pop psychologists urge us to simply think positively, give each other hugs and pull ourselves up by the bootstraps while also insisting that those who confront reality and its mix of complex social issues are, as Chris Hedges points out, defeatists, a negative force that inhibits “our inner essence and power.” [3] There is also the culture of militarization, which permeates all aspects of our lives — from our classrooms and the screen culture of reality television to the barrage of violent video games and the blood letting in sports such as popular wrestling — endlessly at work in developing modes of masculinity that celebrate toughness, violence, cruelty, moral indifference and misogyny.

All of these forces, whose educational influence should never be underestimated, constitute a new type of illiteracy, a kind of civic illiteracy in which it becomes increasingly impossible to connect the everyday problems that people face with larger social forces — thus depoliticizing their own sense of agency and making politics itself an empty gesture. Is it any wonder that politics is now mediated through a spectacle of anger, violence, humiliation and rage that mimics the likes of The Jerry Springer Show? It is not that we have become a society of the spectacle — though that is partly true — but that we have fallen prey to a new kind of illiteracy in which the distinction between illusion and reality is lost, just as the ability to experience our feelings of discontent and our fears of uncertainty are reduced to private troubles, paralyzing us in a sea of resentment waiting to be manipulated by extremists extending from religious fanatics to right-wing radio hosts.

The emphasis is mine

And of course, when one talks about reality, one cannot avoid to mention Chris Hedges, as Giroux does above.  And one of the best summaries I've seen about the true nature of the system can be found in the "Reality Assert Itself" series of Chris Hedges interviews by Paul Jay, from The Real News Network.  These (video) interviews provide a great summary: We Must Grasp Reality to Build Effective Resistance, The Liberal Elite has Betrayed the People They Claim to Defend, As a Socialist, I Have No Voice in the Mainstream.

Finally, keeping focused on the subject of illusion, of what I consider to be a widespread inaccurate understanding about the true nature of the system, I highly recommend people watch this recent Moyers & Company segment where Bill Moyers interviews chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, Mark Leibovich, about his new book This Town (how money rules Washington, DC).

Here's a segment of the interview which I found very telling:
MARK LEIBOVICH: I think ultimately it says that this is not-- well, first of all, it's a very cautious culture. And I think cowardice is rewarded at every step of the way.


MARK LEIBOVICH: It's rewarded in Congress. You everything about the Congressional system, whether it's leadership, whether it's how money is raised, is going to reward cowardice. The true mavericks are going to be punished in some ways. If you are going-- if you want to build a career outside of office when you're done, when you're voted out as a lobbyist, as a consultant, as many of them do, you are absolutely in-- you are absolutely encouraged not anger too many people. Not--

BILL MOYERS: Not take a big stand?

MARK LEIBOVICH: Not take a big stand, right. No truth is going to be told here by-- based on any sort of cowardly go along, get along way. And I think that there are many ways in which the money, the system is financed-- the politics are financed the way the media works, that will not under any circumstances reward someone who takes a stand.

I argue that right there in that statement is the ultimate reason why real solutions to the problems we face are not going to come from Washington.

We are going to have to figure out a way to bring about those solutions, but we must first understand the true nature of the system.

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Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues.  Their tactics include casting aspersions (attack on the reputation or integrity), and ad hominems, where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people.  They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies.  A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption."  Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll.  Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them.  And talking about trolls, visit my "Trolls gone wild! diary to read about how they do their thing, and to see them in action!
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