05/20 Open Thread: They're Manipulating our Minds

-

Brain Image

Today I'd like to talk about an "article" titled and sub-titled as follows:

Invisible Manipulators of Your Mind

"The behavioral techniques that are being employed by governments and private corporations do not appeal to our reason."
The New York Review of Books - Tamsin Shaw

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/invisible-manipulators-of-your-mind

This is a review of Michael Lewis’s The Undoing Project from the New York Review of Books, do which I don't subscribe and hence the link via pocket.

It is relatively content heavy, sufficiently heavy that I read through it twice and went back over some bits of it more than that. It is a slow read, but very worthwhile, IMHO, and not at all susceptible to a agood quality fair use abstraction. Propaganda and narrative control as means of manipulating thoughts and opinions are as old as the hills, and even older than many. Socrates was railing against sophistry over 400 years before the dawn of the present era. Now, after Bernays and all that psychology based manipulation, sociology is also being brought into play as a tool of deceiving and misdirecting everything and everyone. Make no mistake about it, all this trickery and gaming is never for our own good, not yours, mine or anyone else's. Deception is never good, regardless of what the deceiver believes the motive to be.

The review is about a book linked to the work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, two psychologists who allegedly founded a new behavioral science. They contended that when we fall into mental errors we do so in a predictable manner which is subject to systematic analysis. Using data from numerous surveys, they laid the foundatin for "social psychology" and "behavioral economics" which they laid out in a book called Thinking, Fast and Slow . The first of these is described as instinctive, intuitive, and emotion based, as well as subject to predictable categories of errors, known or identified as "biases and heuristics" which are used to identify, understand, and, in the end, manipulate our erroneous thinking. Along the way, we learn that this erroneous thinking is erroneous because it violates "expected utility theory—a fundamental assumption of economic theory that holds that decision-makers reason instrumentally about how to maximize their gains." If anything in my thinking is somehow at odds with the non-empirical and even anti-empirical pseudo-science of econ, I'm all for it and PS - I'm not overly into maximizing my gains either. The fact that people are now learning how to intervene in my thought processes so as to make me more like a fictive doofus living out his life according to the precepts of econ is positively scary. The use of the word "utility" by economists sets my teeth on edge, for they have not a clue how to define or measure such a thing.

Should that seem harsh, consider that we are not all businessmen, nor even "decision makers", not even when making decisions. We are not all "trying to maximize our gain" (and especially not our economic gain, and certainly not 24 hours per day. There is something wrong with a worldview that thinks we should be. The reviewer gives some examples of some biases or heuristics that could well be sub-optimal in some occasions, but all they are is classic risk aversion. In the context of being bad because they deviate from how "decision makers" try to maximize their gain, they are simply examples of contextual blindness. Most of the populace cannot gamble a few hundred thousand, or a few hundred, or even a few bucks, depending on the gamble. Real people, playing with their own money, their own food budget, their own future, and their own survival need to be a bit more risk averse than average professional "decision makers".

The review, after some introductory material, is divided into 3 parts, and I've now reached the end of part one. Part two opens as follows:

But in spite of revealing these deep flaws in our thinking, Lewis supplies a consistently redemptive narrative, insisting that this new psychological knowledge permits us to compensate for human irrationality in ways that can improve human well-being. The field of behavioral economics, a subject pioneered by Richard Thaler and rooted in the work of Kahneman and Tversky, has taken up the task of figuring out how to turn us into better versions of ourselves. If the availability heuristic encourages people to ensure against very unlikely occurrences, “nudges” such as providing vivid reminders of more likely bad outcomes can be used to make their judgments of probability more realistic.

This is the scary part, for here enters Plato and his fucking "benevolent" dictator, the Philosopher King, in the guise of "Libertarian Paternalism", whereby those who know our weaknesses and failings manipulate and redirect our decision making all for our own good, mind you. Here we leave the realm of theory. This shit is already in play, and manipulations are being done, all for our own good, by those wiser and more rational minds. Examples are given. We also learn that

Frank Babetski, a CIA Directorate of Intelligence analyst who also holds the Analytical Tradecraft chair at the Sherman Kent School of Intelligence Analysis at the CIAUniversity, has called Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow a “must read” for intelligence officers.

And that

In 2007, and again in 2008, Kahneman gave a masterclass in “Thinking About Thinking” to, among others, Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon), Larry Page (Google), Sergey Brin (Google), Nathan Myhrvold (Microsoft), Sean Parker (Facebook), Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla), Evan Williams (Twitter), and Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia).

(my emphasis)

Among other things this crew was taught about "priming", including the use of subliminal messaging as a means to influence unconscious choices and decisions. Get the picture?

We are here seemingly stepping beyond "propaganda" techniques into the realm of actual brainwashing techniques. But, of course, for our own good and only by persons who have only our best interests in mind. Amazon, for example, has informed its shareholders that it spews something like 70,000 "nudges" to alter peoples thought processes per week. Facebook experimented with emotional priming by manipulating users' news feeds without asking or telling anybody, and when caught defended its behavior by saying it was covered by the users' agreement to its terms of service. Trump's team allegedly used these kinds of techniques in its election campaign, and, of curse, there are the claims made by Cambridge Analytica. We are told that the Pentagon and other agencies are working on a ‘counter radicalization’ program of some sort, whatever that may mean. It seems that this shit is becoming all pervasive, if it already hasn't, and that is a scary thing.

This part of the article/review, if nothing else, really needs to be read, and read carefully, though I would recommend reading it all, or at least up to part three. Part three deals with criticisms of the underlying theory and science, as well as with the odious concept that our better, wiser and more rational, are pout their steering our thinking and manipulating our minds. The link, again, is: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/invisible-manipulators-of-your-mind

I'll close with something Caitlin said the other day

The problems our species now faces are the result of elite sociopathic manipulators using media to exploit human cognitive glitches which enable them to control the fate of the whole. Any analysis of our plight which doesn't account for this is a flawed, power-serving analysis.

-

It is an open thread, have at it

-

be well and have a good one

-

Title Image is :Brain Image"

-

It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours
.

-

Share
up
27 users have voted.

Comments

enhydra lutris's picture

When I found out at 5:53, I couldn't force it to go, so I had to make another one and publish it. Soon there will be two and I will kill the original.

everybody be well and have a good one.

up
13 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

we've got 5 years to figure it out
which is less than 7

up
2 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

enhydra lutris's picture

according to Barr, the Feebs managed to break into the Pensacola shooter's iPhone and found evidence of ties to AQ. This means one of 3 things:

1) Apple finally broke down and helped the Feebs hack an iPhone and no doubt will routinely do so again and again

2) The Feebs now have the capability to crack everybody's iPhones without Apple's assistance

3) The Feebs are simply making shit up again. This is one instance in which I think that this is, oddly enough, the least likely scenario. They really have no discernible goal and nothing to gain from such a hoax, except to maybe con the gullible into unlocking their own phones for them on the theory that they will do so anyway.

be well and have a good one

up
11 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lookout's picture

Brainwashed indeed...on many levels, in many ways.

Speaking of which I need to wash clothes today. I've been finding pleasure in the mundane things...and amazement at the current whirl of currency funneling ever faster to the elites.

Heard an interesting discussion last night suggesting mask and social distancing are as effective as the more draconian lockdown. Will find and post soon.

All the best. Everyone have a nice day.

up
11 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

enhydra lutris's picture

@Lookout

point is to minimize infections, and the viral load in the infected in cases where infection occurs, and to do so across the entire population. That means that one needs to be concerned with the relative effectiveness of each scenario both as an individual, and from a "herd" perspective.

Lockdown is pretty much just enforced extreme social distancing. It also allows those with private quarters to dispense with the mask except when needed. In isolation conditions, one need only worry about intrusive vectors, deliveries and visitors, which can be prosessed or more o less distanced in one's secure environment.

Wear a full hazmat suit and roam the countryside, town, village and whatever, never touching anything or anybody and keeping a 25 foot safety zone about you at all times is at least equally safe so long as you eat, drink, excrete and the like at home and decontaminate your suit when entering your abode.

From there to mask, shorts, go-aheads and a t-shirt, maintaining a more of less 4 to 6 foot variable safety zone is a spectrum. That includes things like sanitizing surfaces before contacting them, or sanitizing your contact points after touching them. And, of course, a real mask versus pulling your t-shirt up to cover your nose, or using a bandanna, also alters the risk factors.

So, arguably, a good mask, halfway "proper" attire, seriously maintained social distancing, including extra safety zones around anybody coughing or anything, should be pretty much as good as quarantine IFF one properly handles and deals with possible contamination vectors one encounters. Even home quarantine is subject to those conditions. I have two specific sets of neighbors who manage to see to it that one or more Fed-Ex, UPS, or Amazon trucks hits our court daily. How they process those deliveries will have a lot to do with their risk and safety, and that may leave them no safer than those who go out and pick up stuff via some order-and-pick-up vendor, again depending upon how they process what they get.

be well and have a good one.

up
10 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

magiamma's picture

et al

Thanks for this. Excellent. So glad I do not engage with facecrook, tv, goog maps, etc. So it's evolved. Of course. The fine art of manipulation. From the article...

After September 11, for instance, fear of terrorism was undoubtedly disproportionate to the probability of its occurrence relative to car crashes and other causes of death that were not flashing across our TV screens night and day. We find it hard to tune out information that should, strictly speaking, not be of high relevance to our judgment.

this new psychological knowledge permits us to compensate for human irrationality in ways that can improve human well-being. The field of behavioral economics, a subject pioneered by Richard Thaler and rooted in the work of Kahneman and Tversky, has taken up the task of figuring out how to turn us into better versions of ourselves.

(Obama subsequently created a Social and Behavioral Sciences Team). He devised “choice architectures” or “nudges” that would work with the intuitive apparatus people have in order to guide their choices.

but merely frame choices or provide incentives that tend to make people “better off, as judged by themselves.” Their claim is that this form of influence, albeit often unconscious, is not manipulative or coercive because the possibility of a person choosing differently is not closed down. Lewis

the same behavioral science can be used quite deliberately for the purposes of deception and manipulation, though this has been one of its most important applications.

Thanks again. Take good care and have a good one.

up
15 users have voted.

Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

enhydra lutris's picture

@magiamma

stops to analyze it. TV is a monstrous source of constant 24/7 manipulation, along many different paths, and may be the greatest threat so our rationality even invented.

be well and have a good one.

up
8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris That is as true for propaganda as it is for developing viral immunities. If you turn off TV and other tools of persuasion, you can not possibly understand mass political communications.

Fortunately, no political messaging is nearly as toxic as the Covid virus, even though elites have been working on developing ever more potent strains of persuasion for at least 2,500 years. It matters not how many "Master's classes" these clowns attend, they're still no more effective at persuasion than the orators in the Athenian public colloseums. Actually, less so.

up
8 users have voted.

@enhydra lutris That is as true for propaganda as it is for developing viral immunities. If you turn off TV and other tools of persuasion, you can not possibly understand mass political communications.

Fortunately, no political messaging is nearly as toxic as diseases, even though elites have been working on developing ever more potent strains of persuasion for at least 2,500 years. It matters not how many "Masters classes" these clowns attend, they're still no more effective at persuasion than the orators in the Athenian public colloseums. Actually, less so.

up
2 users have voted.

and having a car to drive that was obnoxiously loud? And you made a point to gas it when you drove past your school superintendent's home? Or the preacher's home?
When I hear one now, all I can think of is some driver's penis deficit.
And that, my friend, is the sure sign of old age.
Must get to work. Will hear yet another tale of "special reasons" to file for divorce.
It will have nothing to do with the lover you have in your computer, which is a great place for them, ya know, (eliminates the need for bathing regularly) and your spouse doesn't know...just the feebs.

up
10 users have voted.

@on the cusp
residence making a racket with a loud car. When someone does it deliberately now on this very same road I think to myself "What an asshole!".

up
10 users have voted.

I don't want Trump to win, but I do want the establishment Dems to lose due to their cheating and undemocratic practices in the primary. And I will do whatever I can to help that happen.

enhydra lutris's picture

@entrepreneur

ear of the beholder, as it were.

be well and have a good one

up
8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

@on the cusp

never had any such car, or any car at all, as a teen. Later on, it was mostly "sensible" cars for me, thanks to impecunity. There were kids with those cars, but we had very aggressive cops of various types and stripes all over town and country day and night, so caution was advised. Those of my friends who could manage cars generally were more into stealth mode. My fave was the buddy with a used police cruiser painted a nice "little-old-lady" tourquoise and white two tone. Damned thing would fly. Left many a hot-rodder wannabe sitting at a light in total bewilderment.

Be well and have a good one

up
12 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris My Dad sold half his herd of cattle to buy my brother a Dodge Super B, and me a Mustang Mach 1.
He said if we got a speeding ticket, he would not pay it.
It was our family obligation to outrun the cops.
We did.
One of the hapless highway patrolmen that never caught us is now a judge.
He recently regaled the courtroom with stories about how, no matter what the cops tried to do, they could not catch us.
My personalized plates were "SIS". My brother's was "SOLONG.
We popped off the hub caps off my car as soon as Dad bought it.
My Dad kept them.
They travelled with him until he died.
I should hang them on the wall.
* The other realization of being old is that time you school your white hot lover about what to expect from cataract surgery, from first hand experience, of course.

up
7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@on the cusp

6 cylinder Plymouth Club Coupe. Never owned a seriously hot car, though I baby sat a Sunbeam Tiger for an extended period while it's owner had to be absent. I had to take it out and put it through its paces from time to time to keep it copacetic. Sadly, I was in Berkeley at the time without any place remotely suitable to really opening it up and absolutely no place around where one could lose the heat, they'd box you in in nothing flat, because there were lots of them, with radios.

Sounds like you had a lot of fun.

up
5 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris that cars all look alike. He mentioned SUV's just being so ugly and boring.
I told him to find me something. He was at home, doing a search online for a cool car, and I was at home doing the same.
About midnight, virtually at the precise time I found "it", my phone rang. He had found the exact same car at the same dealership. He said for me to get up early, let's go get it.
I did a test drive with the young salesman with me.
I told him to just hold on tight.
I went from 0 to 140 mps in 1/4 mile, with some pedal to spare.
The brakes worked well, too.
2008 Nissan 350Z convertible. Jet black.
I sometimes pull out my driveway, gas it, just to make sure it works, ya know?
I let off the gas when I reach 100 mph, because I am a sensible person with lots of responsibilities.
The cops all know me. Like, in 4 counties.
They have, from time to time, asked me if they could take it for a spin.
Of course, I let them.
I seldom drive it, because it is a coffin on wheels.
But when I do...

up
6 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@on the cusp

buddy's cop car now and then, and I'm sure that I got the Tiger there once or twice. 85 and 90, I think I still recall ok, and I'm pretty sure my new truck will get there, but not around here.

be well and have a good one

up
4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris let off the gas, and coast the next mile or so to my office.
It all depends on my mood.
The day my brother got diagnosed with cancer, and he told me always wanted a Corvette before he died, I left my office, found him one. Bought it.
My test drive on that bad bastard was 140 mph, although, I think that was likely top out, while my little coffin on wheels would exceed 160 top out. I would need to go on a tack to see.
Hitting a bump or slight dip in the road will send it flying through the air.
I do not drive it in rain, or windy weather.
The last car my dad drove was the Nissan 350Z.
He thought it was awesome. He had not driven in years.

up
4 users have voted.

@enhydra lutris
My grandfather gave it to me for High School graduation. My Dad and my Uncle were bugging him to stop driving and he didn't have much money so ...

loved that car and we abused the Hell out of it. Stick shift with overdrive.
Re noise: just shut off the ignition, floor the throttle and turn the ignition back on. Be careful not to turn it to "start", no starter interlocks in those days.
Just a flathead six but the tires made a satisfying squeal when you revved it up and popped the clutch. I thin the 4.50 rear ratio that came with the overdrive had something to do with it.

up
4 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@on the cusp

A buddy had an old Volvo with windshield wiper sprayers he could turn sideways, so whenever we stopped at a light we could shoot wiper fluid into the car next to us.

Didn't do it too often: only for cars with cute girls or rich old schmucks in Porsches.

Problem was only the Porsches would chase us afterwards.

Wink

up
13 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

enhydra lutris's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

old Volvos.

be well and have a good one

up
7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@Not Henry Kissinger @Not Henry Kissinger @Not Henry Kissinger The man who is now our DA asked to take my car for a spin, and he put a dent in it.
Later, he was given a Porche. His 16th b'day gift.
To pay back, I got the keys to it, took it for a spin, threw the keys back to his Dad, told him he had wasted a lot of money.
My car would outrun that one on a bad gas day.
That man had to get his son out of jail 3 times.
Dad never had to do that for me, except that once, when I got arrested for getting into a damn fist fight.
It had nothing to do with driving.

up
7 users have voted.

@on the cusp
She'll slice your liver and feed it to you.

up
2 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

@The Voice In the Wilderness Most of the time, we are two-steppin' sweeties.
But, of course, in those moments, we throw things and ball our fists, shoot, blah blah blah...
I am old enough to recognize I am the stereotype!
LOL!

up
3 users have voted.

@on the cusp
And returned there in retirement. He told me once:
"If you ask a Texan for the shirt of his back, he may very likely give it to you. If you demand it, he may very likely shoot you." That about sums it up. My friend was a Vietnam Veteran. He was a C.O. and served as a corpsman. He told me "I just don't want to kill anyone."
I told him, " I respect your feelings. I may not be as moral as you, because if someone is shooting at me with automatic weapons, I want one of my own to shoot back." I don't doubt that Doug was braver than me. It doesn't take courage to shoot back. It takes courage to NOT shoot back.

up
4 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

@on the cusp
Our small company was bought out by a multi-billion dollar Texas company. The following story was in a national paper: The CFO's secretary got a jury summons. He said she couldn't go because he needed her at work and he would fire her if she didn't come to work. She did answer the summons and told the judge. The judge immediately sent armed marshals to seize him and drag him into court. "You don't threaten my jurors!" I asked my boss who was a VP (small company,remember) if he knew the CEO. He answered, "Yes, I knew he was mean, I didn't know he was stupid as well." CFO got the last laugh. She wasn't fired but "re-assigned" to a less prestigious position. Still I can just see that CFO bringing brought in in handcuffs (according to the newspaper).

up
4 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

Whew, a lot to try and digest! I know I got lost in the weeds. I think on some level we "intuit" through experience what the authors and scientists are speaking about. We don't "think right" anymore. Meaning...we have no basis to make choices that are good for us.

Along with the manipulation the authors speak of, all our lives from birth we are like fish. We live in a river of capitalism and our water contains everything we exist on. Rather than nourishing us, this river exists to accrue wealth and power to the few. The least it can provide while extracting the most from us, the better for capitalism. Somehow, we've given our consent to this just by being born.

Capitalism sees us only as labor or consumer. Capitalism hates labor, it's needs and wants and sense of entitlement, when the only reason labor exists is to make the few money. One capitalists labor is another capitalists consumer. While the consumer should be held in esteem, they are tainted by also being labor, so any respect for the consumer is shallow. Tie this to government, the enforcer and enabler of capitalism and it becomes clearer we have less and less choice, and have less ability to recognize it. There is no truth in capitalism, except for that which we discover on our own.

While the scientists and authors of the articles seem to have insight how we are being manipulated, a lot of us experienced it in its rawest form in the manipulations of the tobacco industry. A major industry of multi billions of dollars. One that produced an addictive product that caused cancer and only trace benefit to the consumer. Allowed, subsidized and protected by our government all in the name of our having "choice".

up
11 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@Snode

of the great manipulations:

all in the name of our having "choice".

Very often the choice isn't really much of a choice at all and/or is ephemeral and/or pointless and more, but they still use that phantom to drive behaviors and the acceptance of behaviors. Today's examples including "We can't tell people to (stay home, wear masks, maintain distance between themselves, etc."), or "it's up to the states, etc.", but real choice? Not so much.

be well and have a good one.

up
7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

earthling1's picture

we have been brainwashed into accepting as POTUS a man who cannot string together enough words to form a complete sentence vs a candidate that speaks in incomplete sentences shows the job has been completed.
Could we possibly have two more flawed people to chose from?
Tiny Tim or Homer Simpson shine above these two clowns.
Thanks for the OT, EL.

up
13 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

enhydra lutris's picture

@earthling1

Thanks for reading.

be well and have a good one.

up
4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

I have to wonder what kind of conversations Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Nathan Myhrvold, Sean Parker, Elon Musk, Evan Williams and Jimmy Wales had around the dinner table with their children after reading that book. You’d think there’d be the makings of a screenplay there of the outlier child who plots a revolution with the other family members of these titans against their families own self interest.

Makes me think about thinking, and how valued my thoughts actually are. Who knew? Maybe I should think of ways to increase my capital using the very thoughts I have that these masters of the universe would like to manipulate? Hmmm.....Food for thought?

Great OT this morning EL.

up
9 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

enhydra lutris's picture

@Anja Geitz

that you conjure up there.

Your thoughts are worth tons. All of those folks gather up all the data on them that they can get and sell them to many bidders who no doubt figure that you represent some minimum number of potential targets once they deduce the details from the evidence. They probably don't even care that you think that they are all probably assholes to some degree either.

be well and have a good one

up
7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

@enhydra lutris

Oh, I’m pretty sure they revel in our disgust for them. Like Hannibal Lecter who actually got off on making Clarice divulge her vulnerability.

up
6 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Creosote.'s picture

@Anja Geitz

Someone recently told me that Gates was planning to leave his children "nothing" -- as if that act were somehow admirable.

up
2 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@Creosote.  
Childlessness = never having felt maternal love and protective instinct for one’s own flesh and blood = a reason sometimes alluded to by opposition politicians for doubting Merkel really cares about ordinary Germans or understands their concern for the future their kids / the nation / the continent / posterity will be facing.

The image is of a bloodless, dissembling, power-for-power’s-sake, global-capital-and-US-military-empire-serving, kick-the-can-down-the-road technocrat. No vision — which in the postwar NATO scheme of things is a feature, not a bug. “Germans must be prevented from having a vision! Too dangerous! Hitler had a vision, did he not? No, Germans must be conditioned to keep their heads down and focus on comfort and consumption.”

up
2 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

I have to confess that I posted a “review” for some essential products Amazon was “selling”, informing Amazon that I have a large following on Instagram, Facebook, and Tittwer, and plan to use all platforms to inform my readers where they can buy life saving products during a pandemic that are not 10x the cost that Amazon is charging. Items such as rubbing alcohol and sanitizer can be purchased at a Target, Costco, Walmart for less than $20 per unit which Amazon is unconscionably price gouging.

Of course, Amazon will never post my review and the only person likely to read it is the hapless person screening them. But who knows, maybe it’ll get passed on to someone who deserves being irritated. At any rate, it made me feel a little better after I raged about it in my mind for a few futile minutes.

What a world we live in, eh?

up
11 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

enhydra lutris's picture

@Anja Geitz

almost certainly charge more - a far cry from its inception when it was low-balling everything n order to capture all the markets and drive all the brick and mortar types out of business.

up
11 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

smiley7's picture

Your good essay reminded me of a theme, i'd forgotten. Cheers for jogging my memory.

Cars, loved fast cars, still do; guess i took the foot off that metal twenty years ago, fun to read others recalling their experiences.

Climate change raining here and cold again, very unusual.

Wonder if any TPTB would care to invest in education with their new-found toys of manipulation?

As always, thanks for string the mind and feeding the soul.

up
6 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@smiley7

something about putting your foot in it. There was a person I never met who used to arrive at the corner of University and San Pablo at pretty much some particular long forgotten hour every weekday morning in an old fastback V-8 Hudson Hornet, while I would roll up in my 1952 V-8 DeSoto Fluid Drive. We had many a ponderous duel from the stoplight there, the majority of which I won, which I attribute to the magic properties of ye olde fluid drive.

be well and have a good one.

up
6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

smiley7's picture

@enhydra lutris @enhydra lutris

and, what do you think, can we educate with the latest 'interweb' tools?"

PS: should have added, we're still here...why, i don't know

up
4 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

@smiley7

up
4 users have voted.

smoking tires and other body parts

up
7 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS

Never had too much respect for GTOs. A kid I went to HS with got one, the package with 3 twos, and couldn't keep it tuned for more than a week. Meanwhile, another buddy with a '56 Police Interceptor could also shut him down in his very 'spensive ride. Now road runners, they were a different animal.

be well and have a good one

up
5 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Dawn's Meta's picture

Late teens and early twenties, used to rally as a Seat of Pants (SOP) navigator (pencil and paper). We drove a Plymouth Valient, red, four speed every Friday night with other yahoos in the whole area. Halloween rallies were the most fun: at checkpoints, stop and go into the haunted house, where the navigators were the ones who put their hands in the toilet full of ugh ( really peeled grapes and soup). Lots of fun until the oil shortage.

In my forties I had a red Jeep 4x4 classic. I drove that thing every where and cross country at least twice. Once up to 11,000 feet on Engineer Peak in the Colorado Rockies. I had to have someone else drive while I walked behind, scared me so bad out there high up in the open. Lots of grand adventures, and cool places were seen from that Jeep. It's the one I miss.
Thanks for the open thread and all the great comments.

up
4 users have voted.

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

enhydra lutris's picture

@Dawn's Meta
me, but somehow it just never happened. The Jeep sounds like fun of its kind too. I've driven across country more than once, but never twice in the same car iirc (then again, maybe one particular PU did go twice).

I'm sure that scary mountain roads would produce a whole thread of its own. The highest paved public road in CA, Rock Creek Road in the Eastern Sierras, only goes up to 10,293 feet, but it's not nearly as hairy as a lot of much lower elevation roads. The research station on White Mountain is at 12,470, but the last few thousand feet are gravel and I don't recall it a being very scary either.

be well and have a good one.

up
2 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --