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Chomsky and First World non-democracy

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/17/chomsky_the_u_s_behaves_nothing_like_a_democracy/

"So the major domestic issue in the United States for the public is jobs. Polls show that very clearly. For the very wealthy and the financial institutions, the major issue is the deficit. Well, what about policy? There’s now a sequester in the United States, a sharp cutback in funds. Is that because of jobs or is it because of the deficit? Well, the deficit."

"The Wall Street Journal has been appalled by the disappearance of democracy in Europe." [As the people vote out existing governments, yet economic policies remain the same.]

"The one view is that the minimum wage ought to be indexed to the cost of living and high enough to prevent falling below the poverty line. Eighty percent of the public support that and forty percent of the wealthy. What’s the minimum wage? Going down, way below these levels."

"It’s the same with laws that facilitate union activity: strongly supported by the public; opposed by the very wealthy – disappearing." [I wonder if he overstates public support on this one. He might on universal health care as well, where polls depend a lot on how you phrase the question.]

"For 35 years there have been polls on ‘what do you think taxes ought to be?’ Large majorities have held that the corporations and the wealthy should pay higher taxes. They’ve steadily been going down through this period."

All those are about capitalist corruption of democracy, but he also talks about (with unsourced quotes, though I recognize the sentiment) 'liberal' contempt for the masses and direct involvement by them. (Alon Levy had similar things to say recently about urban planning and the wish for an 'our side' Robert Moses.)

"recent polls pretty consistently reveal that Republicans are preferred to Democrats on most issues and crucially on the issues in which the public opposes the policies of the Republicans and favors the policies of the Democrats. One striking example of this is that majorities say that they favor the Republicans on tax policy, while the same majorities oppose those policies."

"The role of the PR industry in elections is explicitly to undermine the school-child version of democracy. What you learn in school is that democracies are based on informed voters making rational decisions. All you have to do is take a look at an electoral campaign run by the PR industry and see that the purpose is to create uninformed voters who will make irrational decisions. For the PR industry that’s a very easy transition from their primary function. Their primary function is commercial advertising. Commercial advertising is designed to undermine markets. If you took an economics course you learned that markets are based on informed consumers making rational choices. If you turn on the TV set, you see that ads are designed to create irrational, uninformed consumers making irrational choices. The whole purpose is to undermine markets in the technical sense."

"after Obama’s election in 2008, a couple of months later the advertising industry had its annual conference. Every year they award a prize for the best marketing campaign of the year. That year they awarded it to Obama. He beat out Apple computer"

"So the jihadi efforts didn’t work. Then he said one drone attack has turned the entire village into people who hate America and want to destroy it. They killed a man who everybody knew and they could have easily apprehended if they’d wanted."

***

Then talks a lot about nuclear war risks, then of the US destruction of North Korean dams in the Korean War, that "devastated 75% of the controlled water supply for North Korea’s rice production"

"In early November, Iran agreed to attend. A couple of days later, Obama canceled the conference." [on nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East]

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Damien Sullivan
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