I first expressed my doubts about Elizabeth Warren in September when I noticed that she was coming up with a lot of populist rhetoric but I couldn’t fine much extensive coverage of her positions on the issues or what she intended to do if she obtained office. This was described in greater detail in How sincere is Elizabeth Warren? which includes more explanation about how she has been following many of the same patterns as other candidates and possibly cutting back room deals without attempting to truly reform the system or educate the public about how they could be more involved.
Since then things haven’t gotten any better. As far as I can tell the best thing that Elizabeth Warren has going for her is that she is being attacked by Karl Rove and some to the most corrupt people on Wall Street and they are even worse.
This shouldn’t be good enough!
I know that there have been a lot of good stories about her; and I like many of them too; but after a closer look I get the impression that it is mostly fluff without much if any details to inform us about what she is planning to do.
One of the latest articles about her is the following, which indicates that she wants to lock up the primary contest by making sure that no one else is even on the ballot due to the rules that are made by political insiders.
According to the rhetoric Elizabeth Warren is the consumer advocate that is being attacked by Wall Street and their cronies but the closer I look the more problems I see. The biggest problems, as I indicated in the previous Blog about Elizabeth Warren I indicated that the biggest problem with her isn’t what she is doing but what she isn’t doing that she should be. She claims that she wants to stand up for the consumers; yet she doesn’t do the things that would have the most effect in advancing that goal; instead she comes up with an enormous amount of rhetoric that sounds good but has little content. As I indicated there was very little information on her web page to outline her plan, fortunately it seems to have improved some but not as much as I would prefer, and this seems to have happened after she responded to criticism, according to the article cited in the Boston Globe, not because she took the initiative on her own from the beginning.
By preventing others from even getting on the primary ballot they’re ensuring that the vast majority of the public has no say in who either of the nominees are and that other contenders will not have an opportunity to present different points of view for the public to consider before they make their decisions. This effectively means that the establishment will be choosing the potential candidates for the public without any input from them although a small number of the most attentive had some say their views will almost certainly not be passed on to many others unless either it agrees with the establishment or they spread the word to a small number of people on their own without any help from the Mass Media.
As I indicated before she would clearly be better than Scott Brown but she seems to have been chosen by the corporate media despite the fact that she claims to be standing up to the corporations and their corruption. She has also been a close ally of Barack Obama and has hesitated to criticize him, although at times when the pressure built up I suspect that she may have provided some token amount of criticism. Part of the problem may be that she has to work within a system that only provides coverage for people that they feel won’t go out of line. If the corporate media thinks that someone will address issues that might challenge some of the most powerful special interests then they won’t provide them much if any coverage. This may mean that if she did address some of the most important issues then she wouldn’t get any coverage at all. However this shouldn’t be considered an excuse and it should be an indicator of how much work needs to be to reform the whole system to ensure that the most sincere candidates actually get coverage. This would basically indicate that anyone who tries to address the most important issues would be totally blackballed unless they have an enormous amount of grass roots support so large that the Mass Media can’t ignore them.
That may be the situation that we’re in.
Elizabeth Warren didn’t rise at the grass roots level.
She rose from within the establishment even though they were constantly claiming that she was challenging the establishment. This may seem like a contradiction but that would imply that the entire establishment is unified which it isn’t. She rose within the more moderate segment of the establishment while the more conservative segment has been criticizing her.
I suspect that her position on the issues may have been carefully crafted to create the impression that she has attempted to address them in the most effective manner possible without challenging the best interest of the establishment that enabled he to rise to her current status as the front-runner. A reasonable amount of skepticism to this assumption is appropriate and understandable; however I think a closer look at her positions and the methods that have been used by pollsters, political scientists and political psychologists may indicate that this is a strong possibility if not probability. I’ll take a closer look at some of that hers and in a couple other links which I hope will help understand how to reform the system so that we can stop jumping from one political representative pretending to stand up for the people to another and convert to a system where the majority of the public gets a better education on the issues and can sort through the details on their own and make decisions based on their own best interests not the manipulation tactics of the powerful.
She has stood up for the health care reform bill that was passed by Obama despite the fact that it didn’t address many of the most important problems with health care as I indicated in my recent post about how Santorum etal (including Obama) endorse Health Care Waste and Fraud. The Obama health care plan hasn’t done much to address the most important issues involved including changing the fact that an enormous amount of costs including advertising and lobbying are passed on to the consumer without the influence that should go along with it. The segment that she provided on her web page on this subject is only a few paragraphs long and starts with an emotional appeal about her fathers heart attack; she isn’t offering a thorough description about how she would change things for the better. Instead she is providing the usual implied request, elect me and I’ll figure it out for you.
She has provided a timid opposition to SOPA and PIPA on her Facebook page without addressing the fact that the current system does more to protect a powerful bureaucracy as I indicated in a Blog about Copyright Buraucracy and followed up with Stop SOPA and PIPA Blog. Her issues page isn’t any better it talks about getting tough on the “knock offs” without saying anything about getting tough on sweatshop labor so that local workers won’t have to compete with virtual slave; nor does she mention the fact that by shipping jobs overseas they ensure that shipping costs will rise and the quality of merchandise manufactured in sweat shops will be lower, which is part of a plan, intentional or not for planned obsolescence which forces consumers to buy things over and over again. The “intellectual property” issue has done a lot to drive up the cost of education and ensure that it is much more difficult for lower and middle class people to access the educational material they need to get a good education and keep up with the issues that they need to make important political decisions as voters. The issues page on her web site isn’t much better; it doesn’t say anything about the fact that we rely on property taxes to finance the schools and that this ensures that the inequality will be preserved. By ensuring that this system is used to finance the schools it ensures that people with wealthy citizens can provide adequate funding for their schools while those without much money have few funds; this might be more reasonable if the majority of the working class was making a fair wage that reflected the work that they do but they’re not. Instead the people that control the system force the working class to compete with sweat shop workers overseas while the corporations have very little if any sincere competition now that they have merged into a small number of oligarchies.
Her position on foreign policy looks like the typical position that goes along, mostly, if not entirely, with the Democratic party line; the problem is that it fails to challenge an enormous amount of propaganda designed to support the perception of “American exceptionalism” that presents the US as the leader of the free world and the only ones that can be trusted to pass judgment over the rest of the world without much if any scrutiny. This view is supported by an enormous amount of propaganda but the facts about the behavior of the US in its foreign policy activities fails to support this if people take a closer look at them.
One of the most blatant example is the current potential crisis with Iran; her position on Iran is a single paragraph that echos the political line of the establishment without discussing an enormous amount of history behind our relationship with Iran. This history goes back at least to 1953 when the CIA overthrew a government that had much more popular support than the Shah that they installed; the fact that the Shah tortured his own people with no objections from the government; the fact that the original opposition to the Shah was the more moderate students who couldn’t keep power long partially because they had no support from the US or anyone else and the fundamentalists took over; the fact that the US supported both sides in the Iran/Iraq war leading to thousands if not millions of deaths; the fact that their current leader wasn’t elected until after the Bush administration put them on his “Axis of Evil” even though a more moderate president attempted to help them gain information on Al-Qaeda after 9/11. To put it bluntly a major part of the reason they’re trying to get nuclear weapons and posing a threat to the US is because the US won’t stop meddling in their affairs.
By keeping other lower profile candidates from having access to the ballot or participating in the discussion they avoid any review of many different facts that don’t support the current establishment. Whether or not my assessment of the situation in Iran or any other country is accurate, isn’t the main issue; the more important thing is that the public isn’t being informed of an enormous amount of information that doesn’t support the current political establishment.
Her position on the environment seems to be better than many of her other positions; she calls for more renewable energy and there is some call for more efficiency as well; however this may not be good enough considering how much damage is being done to the environment and the inevitable long term impact it will have one way or another. Whether the current assumptions about climate change are accurate or not, this is a much more serious issue than the establishment acknowledges. The damage from carbon dioxide poisoning, pollution of the water, de-forestization and many other issues are real and need an enormous amount of attention, not just safe political band-aids. We need much more attention drawn to efficiency and conservation.
When it comes to the environment she also indicates that one of the reasons we need to protest the environment is to protect “economic growth in the tourism industry,” and perhaps other industries as well, which sounds quite good. However as I explained in the semi-secret fundamentals of economics the top priority of the economy should be the quality of life not to maximize the amount of transactions that people make so that the corporations can take a cut out of it whether it improves the quality of life or not. In order to maximize the protection of the environment it will be necessary to real in the current run away economy that wastes an enormous amount for the benefit of profits regardless of what it does to improve the quality of life or to the environment. I don’t get the impression that Elizabeth Warren will do much more than she has to change this and even if she does the rest of the establishment will block her; she could at least speak out more on it even before getting elected to draw attention to it but she is doing no more than necessary to win, as far as I can tell.
As I indicated in the previous blog about Elizabeth Warren I have serious doubts about her claim that she wants to reform the campaign finance system, her position on her web site on the issue is only a couple paragraphs and she’s indicating with her actions that she doesn’t mean it, she even sites her fund-raising abilities as an asset. Previously I cited many articles that indicated that while she was calling for reform she was also joining in the money race to compete the old fashioned way, Donors from afar buoying Warren is one of the latest of these articles; the following is an excerpt from that article:
A closer look at the details of the fundraising race could be spun to indicate that either candidate has the higher ground at times; but they’re both participating in a race to collect money in a system that ensure that the amount of political influence tou have is directly related to how much money you give.
This is, as they often say, “All the democracy you can buy,” which isn’t real democracy at all.
Many of her supporters that can afford to donate a little may do so when it shouldn’t be necessary; by donating to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign many people will have that much less money to donate to causes that actually benefits society.
The political establishment seems to have decided that since political campaigns are getting so expensive and people at the grass roots level are demanding real change that perhaps they can charge those that can afford it for that change and then they may only give them as much change as they feel they need to.
This wouldn’t be the first time they did that; Obama and many other candidates have collected an enormous amount of money from the middle class who were willing to donate then when getting into office his promises about “putting on a pair of comfortable shoes” were forgotten. Of course he is making more promises now and they seem to make him more legitimate due to the extremes of his opposition but once it is no longer an election year he will be under no further obligation and Elizabeth Warren can wait a few years before she starts restoring her promises. These promises date back to the one Bill Clinton made with Newt Gingrich then they both reneged; and of course her ally Obama has already indicated that he is joining in the Super-PAC race.
In Political Psychologist Are Suppressing Democracy, I discussed how pollsters have been studying the beliefs of people and how political advert5sing can help manipulate those beliefs. It seems to me that this research has almost certainly been used to help develop Elizabeth Warren’s official campaign positions. The positions that she takes seem to be designed to appease the public without providing a true challenge to the most powerful special interests. In fact the campaign for Elizabeth Warren seems to be one of the most effective political campaigns in a long time when it comes to manipulating the public. Part of the reason for this is because they have such a horrendous opposition and it is much easier to seem like a credible candidate by comparison, especially when you look at the current Republican Presidential candidates and many of the 2010 Tea Party candidates. In order to make Elizabeth Warren seem like such a great candidate the public had to be dumbed down by complacency and an enormously shallow culture that includes an increasingly shallow saturation of shows like Jerry Springer, Nancy Grace, the Simpsons and more while more rational shows like All in the Family and MASH have come to a complete halt and for the past twenty years or so Channel One (review of Roy Fox’s study “Harvesting Minds”) and additional marketing to children have been reducing the quality of education for many young people and interfering with their ability to sort through the facts that they need to while participating in a democratic system.
If you take a close look at Elizabeth Warren while she speaks it is clear that she has learned to be a good public speaker with lots of hand gestures and facial expressions that are designed to appeal to emotions. This enables her to seem much more attractive without doing as much as she might have to do otherwise to address the issues. A reasonable amount of this activity would be understandable and even desirable. There have been many academic sources that have explained many issues in an incredibly boring manner that puts the audience to sleep so they aren’t paying any attention to what the speaker is saying. When this happens the quality of the presentation is irrelevant if no one is paying attention. However when it goes to the other extreme then the audience likes the speaker so much that they may not take much time to sort through the details and realize that they’ve just been listening to an enormous amount of fluff.
Elizabeth Warren does actually seem like a great candidate!
However the closer I look at many issues the clearer it is that this isn’t because she does much to address the issues; it is because of theatrics and the fact that her opposition, including Scott Brown and the Republican Party is so bad.
Another indicator of the fact that she isn’t trying to make it easier for people to research on her is the fact that she seems to be putting out mainly videos or interviews without putting out the transcripts to go along with them or providing links to all of them so that people can do their own reseach. This may seem trivial to many people but for the small percentage of people that do try to research it is very important since it helps people understand her positions much easier and then some of these people can help explain things to others. By declining to put these in the most organized fashion possible they make it harder for the public to get this information in a manner they can understand it and the public has to rely more on their leaders to interpret things for them and decide where the emphasis should be.
There is a famous variation of a biblical quote that seems to apply, “by their deeds ye shall know them;” and if Elizabeth Warren was sincere about helping the public understand the issues as well as they can so that they can participate in democracy in the most effective way possible she would do her part to make this easier for them. Instead she is providing an enormous amount of fluff to make herself appear good without adequate review of the issues.
A Girl Who Soared But Longed to Belong is the latest of her puff pieces which involves an enormous amount of emotional appeal about how she grew up but it does nothing to explain her position oon the issues; instead it just appears that she is trying to win a popularity contests. If this biographical information was in addition to a good presentation of her on the issues I wouldn’t object but it is instead of a good presentation of her positions on the issues. Anyone who sorts through all the articles on her in the Boston Globe will find an enormous amount of fluff and discussion of fiancés but even less on the issues than she provides on the web sites.
Ironically one of the people who made the case in a more effective way is Rush Limbaugh in a round about way.
That’s right, Rush Limbaugh!
Of course to be fair in order to make him seem reasonable I had to take him out of context; if you want to preserve a positive image of Rush don’t follow the source at the end of the following excerpt and scrutinize it:
Rush was actually somewhat close with this description, if you stop there. Business owners really did screw a bunch of people along the way by destroying the environment, using sweat shop labor, price fixing, using anti competitive tactics, shipping jobs overseas and doing many other things that are against the best interest of the majority of the people that contribute to society. If they weren’t taking things to such an extreme they wouldn’t be illegitimate at all but they do so they’re at least partially illegitimate.
Of course neither Rush Limbaugh or Elizabeth Warren do their best to address these issues and compared to the demagoguery of Rush Limbaugh that you’ll find on his radio or if you review the whole transcript of his show Elizabeth Warren seems to far more reasonable; but it shouldn’t be good enough to be more reasonable than a clown like Rush Limbaugh.
The insanity of the Republican Party is part of what makes her seem so good. As I indicated before the political establishment has done an enormous amount of research into studying polls and learning how to manipulate people; this might raise the question about why they’re not doing a better job in the Republican Party. The simplest and the most likely answer to this might be the possibility that the political establishment isn’t unified and some segments are extremely authoritarian and they’re unwilling to listen to the political psychologists that I indicated are studying the electorate. Another faction may be controlled by a more rational segment of the political establishment that realizes that we can’t keep going in this manner without serious consequences. This faction may be represented by the political pundits at MSNBC and the Democratic Party both of which also receive an enormous amount of funding from Wall Street.
They may want to bring in enough reform to satisfy the public and only enough.
This won’t be unprecedented; when the Vietnam war was clearly going bad John Kerry came in from the more moderate faction of the political establishment and rose to a leadership position but once he joined the Senate he was part of the establishment. A lesser known example of this may be Melville B. Nimmer who also stood up for free speech during the same era and used his leadership position to become the most noted copyright lawyer restricting access to educational material for many people that couldn’t afford it; he passed his own position as the most authoritative source on copyright law to his son who now does his part to enforce an system that is even more draconian than it was thirty years ago.
This may seem like a conspiracy theory; however that isn’t exactly what is going on, although it may be part of it. When they shroud some of their activities in secrecy this part would fit the description of a conspiracy; however the vast majority of the issues that I have discussed here aren’t secret at all. This is mostly a cultural, sociology, political and psychology issue. Many of the details are available to the public but most of the public doesn’t have the access to the education they need to understand how they’re being manipulated.
Allowing the establishment to control how much reform we may, or may not have, shouldn’t be good enough. We should educate the public and enable them to control the system themselves not relying on the experts appointed by the establishment. This should involve Election Reform controlled by the public, or something similar to it and perhaps at some point a Truth and Education Commission, of some sort, that exposes all the manipulation that has been taking place in the past.