Monday, June 27, 2011


If you control the question, you control the debate. Think about all of the problems confronting the world: climate change, droughts, floods, food shortages and spiraling prices, refugees, the economy, environmental degradation and ad infinitum. Yet, what are we talking about? Deficits, taxes, who’s running for president, who’s the best dancer, singer and a variety of other topics that divert our attention for the crises at hand. Enter Wall Street, the symbol of power and money who are controlling the national and international debates on policy. Wall Street, and by definition, the right wing, have managed to control the questions. How do they do that? Here are a few examples.
  • Create a Straw Man – Wall Street has done a great job at diverting attention to credit ratings at the expense of other key issues. By scaring the nation with talk of reducing credit rating (done by members who are employed by multi-national corporations), they have managed to take the ‘heat’ off of global warming and climate change.
  • Focus on the Numbers, Not the real Issues – The questions they raise are over amounts and not the substance. The issue is not how much Medicare or SS costs, the real question is how do we best care for an aging population? By forcing upon billions in costs rather than the needs of the population, they have people crunching numbers rather than coming up with solutions.
  • Question the Premise – Science is wrong, there is no climate change! Big business has poured millions into trying to reduce the credibility of anyone that opposes their goals.
  • You’re Not Worthy – It is fairly easy to make people think that they are undeserving of a social safety net. If they had worked harder they could have been wealthy, also, rather than suck off the public dole, regardless of the fact that the people contributed payroll deductions for such programs.
  • Make Absurd Demands – Rather than argue about the issue, Wall Street has been expert about asking for outrageous demands about the economy, regulations, budgets and cuts that have kept the debate on the demands and not the substance of the issue. This tactic keeps debate on the lines, rather than what’s behind the lines.
  • Scare the People – Threats of an oil shortage, loss of jobs, bad credit rating, inability to make loans, stifling regulations being bad for business, higher taxes will be bad for business, etc., are subtle threats that keep the public at bay for fear that dramatic actions will even make things worse. Oddly enough, even with soaring profits, this gambit is still very effective.
  • Welcome to Our Show – Remember the Roman Coliseum that kept the masses happy and entertained? The goal is to divert attention from the real problems. A few clowns in a presidential race keep the media occupied. Ads that promise new drilling, fracking, coal, bio-fuels, all electric vehicles and more give people a false hope that solutions are just around the corner. All the while, people are told that any interference will slow these plans down and thus the suffering will persist. In the meantime and behind the scenes, millions are being spent to gut environmental regulations, to lobby for free access to drill anywhere and to eliminate barriers to greater profit.
Yes, there are groups that are trying to expose these tactics but they must compete with the billions of dollars that Wall Street spends to hide the truth and to divert attention. Given that the media loves a good show, they unfortunately fall prey to covering the glitz at the expense of the gore. Since Wall Street is framing all of the questions, they have managed to control the debates.

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