Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Episode 93: Can Something Else Happen?

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(This episode is part of the series The Powell Movement.)

What a long stretch I've taken with Lewis Powell, Jr. and his Confidential Memorandum to his neighbor, the Memo that allowed the very wealthy to shake the country, resulting in the tectonic aftermath we see today. Not that the movement or the shaking has stopped…. So, now that we know what happened, here I ask, in this Episode 93: Can Something Else Happen?

In this episode, I read two pieces of listener feedback, one from thefuturefarm, the other from a listener whose name F#c&Book is keeping secret. I also read from: Nancy MacLean's book Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America; Jane Mayers' book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right; and an October 8, 2015, Bloomberg article entitled "This Man Is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America." I also play the voice of George Monbiot from his October 28, 2017, interview with Chuck Mertz on This Is Hell, and of D. L. Myers intoning the stinger for the Powell Movement.

Musically, I play three pieces from Podington Bear: first, "Small Bummer;" then "Moda;" and finally, "Camp." I open with KMFDM backing Henry Giroux, and close with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0, attribution, share-alike and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Episode 92: Forget The Bathtub

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(This episode is part of the series The Powell Movement.)

There are lots of reporters and speculators mulling over the surprise result of our last presidential election, aren't there? As I've said before, though, this should have been what to expect, if in the last election, then in the next. As money exerts its muscle in its attempt to get its way, the people's choices will matter less and less. What was it that Grover Nordquist said about how small he wants government to get?

Along with the noise about what could have caused this outcome, though, precious few in the commercial media are focusing on signal and the well-connected, well-funded players like Cambridge Analytica. That's what this Episode 92: Forget The Bathtub, tries to do.

In this episode, I read from: a Buzzfeed article; a bit from Max Barry's novel Lexicon; a New Scientist article; the abstract to Michal Kosinski's research on that topic; a Telegraph article; a Motherboard article you really must check out; a definition from my computer's dictionary; and a New York Times article. I quoted: Paul Ford, from an On The Media interview; and Alexander Nix from his Concordia Summit speech. D. L. Myers read from the Powell Memo itself.

Music-wise, I played: two from et, first "A Song of Sadness," then "Joy & Emptiness"; and Podington Bear's "Intermezzo". I opened with KMFDM backing Henry Giroux, and am celebrating the recent season with the Vince Guaraldi Trio doing "Skating."

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 share-alike, attribution, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Episode 91: Refining Mining Into Tragic Magic

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(This episode is part of the series The Powell Movement.)

I am constantly amazed at how people bend themselves into cognitive dissonance pretzels rather than admit that there are psychological pressures at work on all of us, so much so that maybe we should make ourselves aware of the pressures that prove most effective on ourselves. You know, to see when we are being snookered.

That's roughly the thrust of this Episode 91: Refining Mining Into Tragic Magic. This is an introduction to the concept that the technology used to determine ad targets and what best moves them may have gone too far, especially when used in political concerns.

In this episode, I read from: Nir Eyal's Hooked; a New York Times Magazine article entitled "How Companies Learn Your Secrets"; a Paste Magazine article, "Hillary Clinton's Super PAC, Taking a Page from Vladimir Putin, Spends $1 Million on Online Trolls"; and a New York Times article called "Fake Russian Facebook Accounts Bought $100,000 in Political Ads".

I play a bit of audio from: the movie Top Secret; President Ronald Reagan, correcting David Brinkley's pronunciation during his last interview as president; Mark Zuckerberg, trying to reassure everyone that he wasn't evil; and an On The Media episode titled "Trust Issues." D. L. Myers, of course, voices the memo itself.

I play two from Jahzzar, first "Twin", and then "Downtown Serenade". KMFDM backs a new intro from Henry Giroux. I close with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Episode 90: Triple Threat

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(This episode is part of the series The Powell Movement. Sort of.)

Not all of what Lewis Powell suggested has turned into canon by those that follow his memo. Powell was a learned man of his times that eschewed, I suspect, the majority of what the boob tube offers. Therefore, he grossly underestimated what a vast amount of cash could do toward buying the medium that he strongly suggested should be merely watched and criticized. Then again, who could have predicted what that same money, injected directly into the election process, could have done to morph the news medium Powell warned should be watched so closely?

This morphing is the topic of Episode 90: Triple Threat, the rise of the money-media-election complex.

In this episode, I read from Greg Mitchell's book Campaign of the Century, documenting Upton Sinclair's 1934 run for Governor of California; and from Robert McChesney and John Nichols' book Dollarocracy. Audio-wise, I play Senator Al Franken waiting for a potential campaign donor to answer, singing as he does a little ditty he shared with Terri Gross on a Fresh Air interview; and from Counterspin, Jeanine Jackson telling the woeful story of Les Moonves' shocking honesty about what actually motivates national network news. D. L. Myers, of course, read from the memo itself.

I tune up things a bit with Podington Bear's appropriately named song "Dole It Out." I open with KMFDM's "Attak", today backing Henry Giroux, and close with Mistle Thrush's "It's All Like Today."

As with all my episodes, I'm releasing this under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ad Nauseam

Hey, Dear Listerners,

I felt you need some explanation as to the delay putting out Episode 90. Bottom line, I'm not feeling well. I mean I'm not feeling well enough to walk to the bathroom (most of the time) without serious doses of mind-warping medication to get me there without prolonging the bathroom experience into one best not described.

Something has embuggered my inner ear to the point where up is down, right is left, and trying to ignore these signals that conflict so obviously with my eyeballs only results in what lubbers must call sea sickness (though I, a 15-year professional mariner, still doubt such silly notions exist in the physical world).

(Then again, I just realized each half of the word "nausea" can refer to the oceans; "nau-tical" for the first part. Hmmmm.)

Anyhoo, the almost finished episode sits, as producers of such stuff say, In The Can just waiting for me to muster enough internally consistent equilibrium to finish and post it. And I'm sure once the third specialist squeezes me in for a look-see I might even get a diagnosis of what even happened, something I've yet to get at all since this began almost a month ago.

The worst part about all of this?! Look at this post's title. I spent months wracking my brains for a decent, clever, catchy title for the Attack Ads! Podcast, and there is was all along. Duh.

Well, that's about all the screen time I can muster, even with multi-minute breaks avoiding the screen itself (which appears to be extremely nausea inducing). I'll get back to fighting the good fight once I can, I promise. Thanks very much for your patience.

-Jim
You Ad A-{blech!}-er.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Episode 89: Gamers Gonna Game

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Podcasting is not an up-to-date pursuit. Some listeners arrive when the sound files are freshly minted; others years later. For that reason, it's best not to confuse later listeners with DailyExcitement!™ from the past now long forgotten. And since the closing topic for The Powell Movement is now quite a bit in the DailyExcitement!™ infotainment engorgement trough, I thought I would back up a bit, and discuss here in Episode 89: Gamers Gonna Game, a topic crucial to understanding the process by which the Powell Movementeers have gained such prominence.

I quoted nothing, really, only just kinda sorta noted facts presented in the entertaining Mary Pilon book, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game (Bloomsbury, 2015).

I also cut the closing segment very short. The body of the episode was recorded about a week and a half before the release date of Tuesday, October 17, 2017, simply to give me more time to visit with the out-of-town guests I mention in the show. Half-way through that visit, though, I fell ill with an as-of-yet undiagnosed embuggerance that left me bedridden for days on end, unable even, in one memorable case, to make it to the specialist that maybe had a chance of knowing enough for a diagnosis. (Pro-tip: when you're stuck in a waiting room, vomit loudly. You'll get whisked to more private places in no time!) I am feeling "better", meaning I can leave my bed; but I stumble about rather than walk, and type slowly so as not to anger the Annoyed Festerance making the opposite of eating all too common.

I did play: KMFDM backing Noam Chomsky mentioning the memo (thanks again, Kevin!); D. L. Myers intoning the series title; and Mistle Thrush at the close.

Just like the rest, this episode is being released under a Creative Commons 4.0, attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Now, if you'll excuse me, time once again for bed.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Episode 88: One of the Most Dangerous Pleasures

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It may be that I've been doing this Powell Movement research too long. No matter what I read, what I hear, I can't help but place it in a Powell Memo frame, isolating those parts of whatever I'm hearing or reading at the moment that fail to pass the basic memo awareness tests. That's my chief gripe in this Episode 88: One of the Most Dangerous Pleasures. I take issue with an author who seems——perhaps deliberately, perhaps not——to ignore the Powell Movementeers in his reading of recent history.

In this episode, I quote: Barry Lynn's article printed in the Washington Post concerning his own firing; another Washington Post article on the topic; Daniel Drezner's book The Ideas Industry; and Jane Mayer's book Dark Money. I play the D. L. Myers stinger for the Powell Movement series, and a quote from President Ronald Reagan.

Music-wise, I play a Jahzzar tune, "sketch sos". I open with KMFDM this time backing Noam Chomsky mentioning the Powell Memo by name. (By the way, finders credit goes to listener Kevin for pointing me toward that Chomsky audio. Thanks again, Kevin!) I once again close the show with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.