Politics is entertainment.
It is a heavily scripted, tightly choreographed, star-studded, ratings-driven, mass-marketed, costly exercise in how to sell a product—in this case, a presidential candidate—to dazzled consumers who will choose image over substance almost every time.
This year’s presidential election, much like every other election in recent years, is what historian Daniel Boorstin referred to as a “pseudo-event”: manufactured, contrived, confected and devoid of any intrinsic value save the value of being advertised. It is the end result of a culture that is moving away from substance toward sensationalism in an era of mass media.
As author Noam Chomsky rightly observed, “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.” In other words, we’re being sold a carefully crafted product by a monied elite who are masters in the art of making the public believe that they need exactly what is being sold to them, whether it’s the latest high-tech gadget, the hottest toy, or the most charismatic politician.
Reporters and pundits covering the presidential campaign of Donald Trump have been torn between two conflicting narratives: The first is that Trump is a reckless amateur and, as president with his finger on the nuclear button, he would bring the world to the brink of catastrophe. The second is that Trump is a cat’s paw for Russian President Vladimir Putin and, as president, he would, advertently or inadvertently, work to implement Moscow’s agenda for world domination.
The first narrative is a familiar one. Past Republican presidential candidates—Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan—have all had to fight off accusations that, if elected, they would waste no time before launching World War III. The second narrative however is somewhat unusual. It is not often that Republicans are accused of acting as witting or unwitting tools of the Kremlin—at least not by so-called liberals.
For it is liberal media outlets that are the most enthusiastic purveyors of this tale of Putin, the manipulative mastermind, and Trump, his would-be hand puppet. Most of these stories depict Trump as a buffoonish narcissist, easily susceptible to the empty flattery doled out by a predatory Putin. In a story titled “Putin’s Puppet,” Franklin Foer in Slate claimed that Putin “has a plan for destroying the West—and that plan looks a lot like Donald Trump.”
Dennis Kucinich: Bernie Sanders Should Consider Withdrawing His Hillary Clinton Endorsement
Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who in 2004 and 2008 sought the Democratic presidential nomination, says that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) should consider withdrawing Sanders’ endorsement of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton given new revelations of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) unfair treatment of Sanders in the party’s 2016 presidential nomination contest.
Boos and Jeers from Home State Delegation Greet Debbie Wasserman Schultz
It was a rowdy scene at the Democratic National Convention this morning when Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) addressed her home state of Florida’s delegation to the convention. Wasserman Schultz over the weekend announced her resignation as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after DNC emails made public by Wikileaks confirmed what many people had already suspected — high level leadership in the Democratic Party sought to help Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) win the Democratic nomination in her close contest against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Like the F-35, US Latest and Most Expensive Aircraft Carrier Doesn't Work
Why does the US spend more on its military than the next largest several countries combined? One reason is that the military budget has far less to do with protecting the United States than it does to further enriching well-connected military contractors. Politicians are under pressure to push weapons systems, that in turn produce "jobs" for their districts. Remember, the disastrous F-35 fighter is built in 45 states and several foreign countries. This doesn't happen by accident.
Intervention Fail: ISIS Makes Bloody Gains in Post 'Liberation' Afghanistan
Shortly after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 1996 (their rise to power itself a result of the 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan), we began to hear endless stories of the horrors of this student movement turned governing power. They ruled by Sharia law, they treated women badly, they even blew up ancient statues!
Five Minutes Five Issues: Convention Infomercial, ISIS War, Clinton Foundation, VP Pence, Medical Marijuana
A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues posted on Thursday. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.