Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Collected Insanity

I just watched an interesting video off Youtube from Jerry Kroth Ph.D.  He was a  professor at Santa Clara University who taught psychotherapy and research methods when he was teaching there.  I think he has since retired.  What he said and his takeaway on politics rather mirrors my own.  For the longest time I've heard the phrase:  We are a Plutocracy, not a Democracy for a while now.  A Plutocracy is a government by the wealthy, whereas a Democracy is a government by the majority.

I'll post the video or a link to the video  below, if you wish to watch it, but that's part of the video.  It's more or less broken up into three parts or he makes three main points.  It deals with propaganda, but also the media, the spin on things, but also why things are the way they are.  Like I said, I think along the lines of how he explains things too, but I'm sure others might think he's another nutty blowhard or conspiracy theory nut or liberal professor--your mileage may vary.

With all the recent presidential candidates bloviating along with the pundits and the talking heads and what have you about who is going to be best one to run the country, Kroth maintains, it really doesn't matter due to the fact that we are a plutocracy.   I don't agree with him totally on this because I don't want a president that is like Ted Cruz who stated he would  carpet bomb ISIS, not without a very good reason.  How do you carpet bomb a philosophy, an ideal, or concept?  World War III can come later, not soon as far as I'm concerned.  We used to have a phrase at work: It can always get worse, and it usually did there.

At any rate, Kroth maintains that we are a plutocracy, which I've heard for a while now.  Before he gets to his main points, however, he sets it all up with a discussion about propaganda, the news and how it is reported and spun these these days.  Whenever I hear someone from the right mention something about the "liberal media", I always have this knee jerk reaction (sure there are a few liberal slanted media firms, but I don't think they all are).  Why?  Because they are conglomerates run by the wealthy--they tell us what they want to.  Granted you can go to Fox News and hear things filtered through a right winged spin or you can pick MSNBC to hear the liberal take on the matters.   But I don't think all media is run by some mass conspiracy liberal cabal.  They all have their slant, and they all want to do one thing, sell goods.
At any rate how did we get here?  That was one of my questions.  How did we turn into a plutocracy?  What can we do to reverse things?  That is another one of my questions, as it just doesn't seem to be fixable or too big to fix.  So what is this plutocracy thing? 

Oh by the way, check out Carly Fiorina here on the campaign trail.  She's standing beside a pickup truck full of corn on the cob.  She's wearing a checked shirt with her sleeves rolled up.  I bet she's ready to do some chicken plucking.   Whew wee, I bet she's just like us farmers and likes to chicken pluck and slop the hogs.  I bet she's just like all us other chicken pluckers.  Wrong.  (By the way, that doesn't leave any of the other candidates out of the picture either.)  Why?

Net worth.  Net worth is what you are worth, minus all your bills and what you owe or your liabilities.  So that would be your house, minus what you owe on it, plus your savings, stocks and whatever, minus your bills like college bills, medical bills, credit card bill, all the bills.  You total up  your assets, minus all your liabilities, and that's your net worth.  The average American's net worth today is around $90,000.  That's an average, give or take.  That's it!

So do you know what the average Congressman's net worth is?  $7.8 million.  That's 86 times greater than the average American.  The average Senator is $14. million net worth.  That's a lot of beans.  Scroll back up and look at those 21 candidates running for president.  Carly Fiorina's net worth is $51. million.  Hillary Clinton's net worth is $45. million.  Jeb Bush is worth around $22. million.  All of those candidates on average have a net worth around $13. million, with the exception of Lindsey Graham or Mark Rubio--they is the po'boys of the group.  They only got around a million, but they are propped up (at least in their running campaign) by rich guys with high net worth.

It's a big club, but you ain't in it.  So you see these people are pretty well off.  Plus they make the bottom 1%.  Not many chicken pluckers in that bunch let's be honest.  They might eat chicken from time to time, but that's about it.  And they all have nice houses, some more than one.  So we are a country run by big money.  That's about it.  In the video Kroth goes into greater detail, and it's worth a watch if you are so included.   Here's a link. 


At 7:56 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

The problem with political systems of all types always has been that anyone who can become head of state (whether elected by the few, the many, or him/herself) is precisely the type of person who shouldn’t be allowed to be one.

As I'm sure you remember from history classes, as long ago as Hellenistic times Aristotle figured that efforts to escape this trap just led to an endless cycle: the three “legitimate” types of government always would degenerate into “perverse” forms. Monarchy perverts into tyranny, which is overthrown by an aristocracy; the aristocracy then perverts into oligarchy, which is replaced by a constitutional republic (polity); a constitutional republic perverts into democracy, and back around again. “Perversion” consists of the ruling person, minority, or majority ceasing to govern for each and all, and instead trampling the rest of the people for its own factional benefit.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Our history class didn't cover Aristotle or that I remember anyway, but as you describe it, sounds cyclical like one of those snake eating its tail things. At any rate that makes a lot more sense to me than an Illuminati of wealthy people controlling things.

One thing for sure is our world has gotten more and more complex as we spin along, and I wish the news was a bit more attentive to global news events and less on human interest stories or gossip as Kroth pointed out at the beginning of his video lecture. He also mentions a news story that was not covered very much at all about how the US shot down a Iranian airplane 655 (it was an accident, though it's easy to see why another country could view it as an act of terrorism, by us). Though lately I'll watch a bit of local news and then switch over to PBS coverage.

I watched a segment on PBS Charlie Rose the other night whose guest was Charlie Bremmer who spoke current world events and the complexity. He is the president and founder of the Eurasia group, which is a watchdog and a risk assessment group on geopolitical developments around the globe. He was interesting to listen to and smart.

Here's a short segment on that, but I think the full interview can be seen on Hulu:

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

Yeah I tend to avoid the american news as much as I can. I usually read up on events via the BBC. It is not free of slant when it comes to UK specific news. But they do a fine job covering actual world events and do it with little slant. Yeah there's some human interest stuff on there, but mostly it's solid reporting.

As for "rule by the people", yeah that is a dream we are leaving in the dust behind us. Although you could argue that the electoral collage made that a dream a long time ago.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I tend to agree Roman. I just think that things have gotten so big and complex (and no it didn't happen overnight or just with Obama) that it is hard to figure out how or if it can be reversed--no less throw in apathy, polarization, rigid thinking, and anything else one might like to say. I listen to the BBC on NPR and sometimes catch it off PBS.

I guess the best thing is to concentrate on your own personal affairs and try and keep them the best you can.


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