Sunday, March 21, 2010

The state of mind of the mind of the state

A couple of clowns who look like minor characters in a low-budget comedy movie:

managed to pull a prank on ACORN (formerly one of the most effective groups around for politically mobilizing people of ordinary means) that triggered the established powers coming down on them like a ton of bricks, including the House passing an unconstitutional bill of attainder directed against them. They are now on the verge of bankruptcy:
Acorn’s contributions have dried up, its national staff has been cut by more than three-quarters, services for the poor have been suspended, and chapters have closed or reorganized under other names, even though a district attorney found that Acorn employees in Brooklyn did nothing illegal and a federal judge ruled that Congress acted unconstitutionally in cutting off funding as punishment.
The NYT's public editor does not quite apologize for their key role in the ratfucking of ACORN, but does go so far as to call the story "fascinating".

But the good news is, Congress is probably going to pass a Health Care Reform Bill! That requires the citizenry to purchase the products of a corrupt and useless industry! The sad thing is that the passage of this deeply flawed bill actually is good news within the degraded state of our polity.

I've been thinking lately about social cognition or "the mind of society" -- how societies think. How government, media and other institutions form an infrastructure for cognition and decision-making for society as a whole. This is an enormous topic, but for the purposes of this post the answer is "not very well".


TGGP said...

ACORN had been happily ratfucking themselves, the founder's brother embezzled a huge amount of money and the organization tried to cover up that fact. Much of their money came from government grants, so I am happy they are dying. I only wish the legislation proposed for them which was inadvertently worded vaguely enough to apply to military contractors had been enacted.

The existing institutions don't work very well, and trying to put the right people in charge doesn't have a good track record. What's needed is more competition.

Anonymous said...

... so does that ring a bell?


hoyhoy said...

I'm amazed at how much the wingnuts pretend to care about ACORN. Isn't Blackwater/Xe's daily allowance for strippers and blow equal to ACORN's yearly budget? And what about the massive inflation tax we all pay to keep Wall Street operating in the way it's accustomed to being run? The amount of attention ACORN has received from Fox News is absurd.

If Glenn Beck truly were concerned about the misuse of federal tax dollars, shouldn't he be spending the majority of his time railing against Wall Street banks laundering billions of them through AIG?

Also, what about the carried interest rule that hedge funds have been using for years to avoid paying taxes? Surely, this has to be of greater significance than ACORN in terms of the magnitude of federal deficit spending.

Charlie Brooker recently reported that "In terms of raw drama, the fair and balanced newsmen of dystopian future sci-fi satirical shouty porn sledgehammer channel Fox News wins out every time." And, he's right. The conservative agenda being sold there is influential in the same way that devil was influential in the Spanish inquisition. The whole ridiculous charade merely serves to regiment the proletariat into a debate about non-issues that could be more aptly framed as "do I want the red or blue corporate monopolist team to enslave me to the banks?"

TGGP said...

I don't watch Beck, but he apparently does go after Wall Street quite often. He can't be taken seriously though because he was for the bailout before he was against it.

hoyhoy said...

I conflate ACORNgate with Beck because he has been their most vocal opponent. And, why? Because they register the disenfranchised to vote?

Rarely do you ever hear him or anyone on the right mount an effective Taibi-like takedown of investment banks. Beck will mention some Wall Street criticism in passing, but non-issues such as ACORNgate are daily fodder for Fox.