Monday, February 29, 2016

Deception in Politics

Someone asked the other day if I thought candidate Trump was deceitful. When I thought about it I found him far less deceitful than, say … Mitch McConnell the Senate Majority Leader. When Trump says he’ll build a wall along the border and make Mexico pay for it he’s not being deceptive. He’s making an outrageous claim but it’s out there for everyone to hear and judge. He’s being forthright. Besides it’s a campaign speech that few believe. When McConnell says: “The American people will be heard before the next Supreme Court Justice is determined” … he is being deceptive. Without actually saying so, his statement falsely assumes that Justices are somehow elected to the Supreme Court by the American people. He makes it sound like it would be undemocratic to do otherwise. McConnell is appealing to a sentiment (representative government) where it doesn’t apply (the Supreme Court). Trump’s appeals to a sentiment where it does apply (immigration issues). What he says may be outrageous and undoable but his message is overt whereas McConnell’s message is delivered in a more covert manner. Makes Trump sound like the honest one here. Theatrical and extreme … but honest. McConnell on the other hand sounds duplicitous to me. He is speaking as an elected official about his duties as Senator (approving Supreme Court nominees).

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Change of Narrative

I’ve heard that a winning strategy in politics is never change the candidate to fit the narrative (national debate) but change the narrative to fit the candidate instead. So I predict that over the next few months we won’t see much of a change in Jeb Bush. However, we will see him bring out his credentials as member of a military family (his father was a war hero and his brother was commander-in-chief during wartime), which helps foster the illusion that he is – and always has been – a military leader himself. Next, we are going to hear heck of a lot more about threats to national security from places like the Middle East, Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea – bolstering the narrative that we’re a country under siege. Since fear usually trumps domestic issues, I don’t even believe the selection of the next Supreme Court justice will compare.

Monday, February 8, 2016

OJ Simpson

 Masters of illusion

It didn’t take much to persuade a jury that OJ Simpson was innocent by creating the illusion that the LAPD were capable of framing him. Defense attorneys were relying on sensational events in the recent past to pull this off. The LAPD were already being demonized for police brutality in the Rodney King case. Made it easy to create the illusion that they were capable of similar malfeasance in the OJ Simpson case – even though individual instances of brutality do not compare with the kind of massive departmental conspiracy required to frame a celebrity for murder. Attorneys successfully created an illusion of conspiracy by invoking the jury’s memory for brutality.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The case against Hussein

 Masters of Illusion

It was easy for George W. Bush to create an illusion that bringing down Saddam Hussein would help defeat Al Qaeda. The U.S. had just experienced an unprecedented attack by foreign terrorists on American soil. Illusions are easy to create around sensational events. People are more susceptible to suggestion. Bush never actually claimed that Saddam Hussein had either direction or control of 9/11– he didn’t have to. He implied a link and relied on his listeners to do the rest, which they did in record numbers. A Washington Post survey found that over two-thirds (69%) of Americans actually believe that Bush said Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks of September 11. He created the illusion through an unspoken agreement with his audience.