Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Power of Myth is the Power of Propaganda

Corporate Media Try to Scare Obama Into Betraying Progressives

By Norman Solomon, AlterNet. Posted November 20, 2008.

Bill Clinton's alleged lurch to the left in '92 is being used to push Obama to the right. Problem is, it never happened.

It's been 16 years since a Democrat moved into the White House. Now, the fog of memory and the spin of media are teaming up to explain that Barack Obama must hew to "the center" if he knows what's good for his presidency.

"Many political observers," the San Francisco Chronicle reported days ago, say that Obama "must tack toward the political mainstream to avoid miscalculations made by President Bill Clinton, who veered left and fired up the 1994 Republican backlash." This storyline provides a kind of political morality play: The new president tried to govern from the left, and Democrats lost control of Congress just two years later.

But, if facts matter, the narrative is a real head-scratcher.

During the 1992 election year, Clinton had campaigned for the White House under the mantra "Putting People First." But as economic analyst Doug Henwood was to comment, President-elect Clinton swiftly morphed into the champion of an austerity plan that could have been called "Putting Bondholders First."

From the outset, President Clinton made clear his commitments to the corporate centers of economic power by choosing such officials as Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, trade representative Mickey Kantor and Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

Soon after becoming president, Clinton abandoned his few initial stances that might qualify as "left." He quickly deserted his brief position for gay rights in the military. Under fire for his nomination of progressive law professor Lani Guinier to be assistant attorney general for civil rights, Clinton tossed her overboard.

In sharp contrast, the new president fought like hell for the corporate-beloved trade agreement known as NAFTA. And he spread his wings as a deficit hawk, while his campaign's pledges of "public investment" fell to earth with paltry line items. Less than five months into his presidency, Newsweek lauded Clinton's "shift to the right" and urged him to show "the backbone" to stay there.

But none of that has stopped the media's clucking about the Clinton administration's early "lurch to the left." The myth never died, though it was quickly ripe for debunking.

In real time, one of the most astute debunkers was Barbara Ehrenreich. As the only writer from the left with a regular column in a major U.S. newsmagazine (she later got the boot), Ehrenreich wrote a Time piece in mid-June 1993 that directly addressed the nascent mythology. The incoming president's leftward lurch was "a neat parable," she noted, "but it never happened."

Ehrenreich added: "The lurch to the left is like the ‘stab in the back' invented by right-wing Germans after World War One: an instant myth designed to discredit all one's political enemies in one fell swoop. ... Maybe it's been so long that we've forgotten what ‘left' is and how to tell it from right. At the simplest, most ecumenical level, to be on the left means to take the side of the underdog, whoever that may be: the meek, the poor and, generally speaking, the ‘least among us,' as a well-known representative of the left position put it a couple of millenniums ago."

More than 15 years after Barbara Ehrenreich wrote those words, the tall tale of President Clinton's lurch to the left is still in the air. Warning Democratic politicians against being "liberal" or moving "left" remains a time-honored -- even compulsive -- media ritual. But as Barack Obama fills key economic posts in his administration, the left-leery and corporate-friendly press is likely to be quite content.

The Power of Myth is the Power of Propaganda
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Posted by: knowbuddhaU on Nov 22, 2008 11:10 AM
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"The process goes from dream, to vision, to reality," Joseph Campbell taught. And therein lies one of our greatest human frailties.

Our dreams, our very beings, are open to hijacking by visions: images, narratives, and myths all have great power to jack our psyches around like leaves in the wind. Or into a shredder.

That's how these words right here are working right now. My intentions are materializing not just my reality, o reader my Reader: my intentions are materializing our shared awareness of this right here:

Our shared becoming.

Myths are the engines of propaganda; the power of myth is the power to become reality at will; by sheer will power, as we say.

Take a close look at these words right here: what do you see? only words, no spaces? No.

It's going like this: spaceWORDspace, right?

Listen closely to these unspoken words: what do you hear, only words? No.

It's going like this: silenceWORDsilence, right?

The spaces and silences BETWEEN unite only apparently separate "things." Things--and 'thinks' Alan Watts reminds us in podcasts at ;-} --only appear to be separate upon our analysis of them.

So how are these words right here working right now? How are words visions used by propagandists to jack whole nations to hell, and stick us with the bill?

Into the inchoate ocean of my intentions, I am dipping these words like cups; over to you I am passing them; as your intentions pass your eyes over them, they self-empty into *your* ocean of inchoate intentions, as rain falling into the body of water from which it first arose. The friction we feel, between our divine vessels and the divine flow, is our shared Being, being aware of our shared Becoming.

The human psyche is not a tabula rasa. The awareness arising from the flow flowing through us is not the same as the awareness arising from the crow outside.

Our psyches are structured from having the flow flowing through us forever, having the shape of the grave and constant experiences of being human.

"Evidence will appear, in the course of our natural history of the gods, of the gods themselves as supernormal sign stimuli; of the ritual forms deriving from their supernatural inspiration acting as catalysts to convert men into gods; and of civilization--this new environment of man that has grown from his own interior and has pressed back the bounds of nature as far as the moon--as a distil­late of ritual, and consequently of the gods: that is to say, as an organization of supernormal sign stimuli playing on a set of IRMs [Innate Releasing Mechanisms, i.e., our psychic icons, our "buttons"] ....[A] history of the super­normal sign stimuli that have released--to our own fright, joy, and amazement--the deepest secrets of our being. Indeed, the depths of the mystery of our subject--which are the depths not only of man but of the living world--have not been plumbed" [Campbell (1968) Primitive mythology].

That's what the APA has been up to at our black sites: weaponizing mythical symbols and narratives into psycho-religio monstrosities.

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." Goering was right.

Who can deny Goering's method was used in the last election? Gore Vidal is right: "We imported fascism."

We are being myth-jacked to hell with weapons-grade propaganda, and then stuck with the bill, aka disaster capitalism. Klein is right, too.

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