Follow the Money: Campaign Finance Reform

“The love you share with your friends is your truest love.” - Jeff Einstein
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Fearless in Sun Valley. Titans of freedom on the job…

By Jeff Einstein

Everyone tells us to follow the money. If we really want to know who the power brokers are, we need to follow the money fearlessly, see where it ends up and speak truth to power. Right?

Not even close. At least not in the Carrollean world of campaign finance reform, a classic misdirect from the political and media elite who want us to believe that who can buy influence is somehow more important than the influence being sold.

Since when is where the money comes from more important than where it winds up? It ain’t like the campaign dollars terminate in the pockets of crooked politicians. Some undoubtedly do, but most campaign dollars buy media these days. So no matter where the dollars come from, they almost always end up in the very deep pockets of the same global media dealers. The presidential election battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was a battle between a scandal-plagued congenital liar and a billionaire reality-TV buffoon: a spectacular, personality-driven TV drama worth billions to the captains of media, but ruinous to what little remains of our democracy. That’s show biz.

Follow the money and we end up at the Annual Allenco Sun Valley Conference, where media and entertainment titans parrot meaningless platitudes like freedom of the press, transparency and the digital divide while they collude in broad daylight on everything but.

Follow the money and we end up in a Rocky Mountain spa full of media and technology giants with immense bankrolls and reams of common interest — all closed to the press, or at least any press not bankrolled by the by the media and technology giants in the room. Apparently, there’s a reason why those in the room prefer the focus outside the room to remain on where the money comes from instead of where the money always seems to wind up: in the pockets of the guys currently in the room.

This is what happens when we entrust our most valued institutions to television and other screen technologies:

  • “Stay tuned,” replaces education.
  • “Stay tuned,” replaces the dinner table.
  • “Stay tuned,” replaces an informed citizenry with sedated mobs.
  • Justice is not only not blind but is increasingly tribal and always for sale.
  • Democracy is reduced to fast food, antacid and toilet paper commercials.
  • The scoundrels on Wall Street, the scoundrels in Washington, D.C. and the scoundrels in academia are all the same scoundrels at different stages of their careers.

 

 

 

 

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Too Big to Fail — Conspiracy by Fiat

“Just as freedom is first and foremost a spiritual yearning, addiction and Fascism are first and foremost crises of spirit.” - Jeff Einstein
AllenCo-Conspirators arrive in Sun Valley to decide the fate (and price tag) of the free world...
AllenCo-Conspirators arrive in Sun Valley to decide the fate (and price tag) of the free world…

Each medium comes with inherent biases. The printing press, for instance, promotes linear thinking and reason. Electronic media promote distraction and emotion. Excerpted from my essay, The Rise of Fascism in a Brave New Digital World

Despite the self-serving commercial myths of those who profit most from digital media, the true bias of digital technology is neither personal empowerment nor freedom. The true bias of digital technology is the efficient and accelerated consolidation of institutional power and wealth among those institutions — corporations and government agencies alike — already far too powerful and far too wealthy. The real bias of digital technology benefits most those massive corporations and government agencies that singly and together already manage and manipulate terabytes of data each and every day.

The result is more conspiracy by fiat than design. Big government agencies and their big corporate counterparts all emerge bigger, wealthier and more powerful as the primary bias of digital technology to consolidate additional power and wealth among those already too powerful and too wealthy asserts itself each and every time they sit down to negotiate with each other. Conspiracy by design is simply no longer necessary when conspiracy by fiat satisfies the same ends and — conveniently — offers plausible deniability to everyone and accountability to no one.

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
— Benito Mussolini

What we call government regulation these days is in fact corporatism at work, little more than a tool-driven marriage of convenience among incestuous alumni of the same Ivy League MBA programs. Witness the fact that the financial institutions deemed too big to fail back in 2008 are — for the most part — twice the size and only half as accountable today, not in spite but precisely because of government regulation. Contrary to what the ruling elite of the Brave New Digital World tell us time and again, too big to fail isn’t the unfortunate result of our failure to plan. Too big to fail is the plan.

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The Addiction Algorithm

“Captain Kangaroo, the Children’s Television Workshop and Sesame Street taught generations of kids their 2+2s and ABCs, but what they really did was teach them how to watch TV and set the stage for 24/7 cable news.” - Jeff Einstein

ian bremmer art

Our lives in the digital 21st century are ruled by tens of thousands of digital algorithms. But here’s the one that matters most:

Chemical destiny minus meaningful ritual = addiction.

Here’s how it works, step by step:

  • We are wired for addiction by virtue of the simple fact that our brains are chemically motivated to pursue pleasure and avoid pain.
  • All of our time is spent in relationships with various people and things.
  • The rituals we build around each of the relationships in our lives dictate how, where and with whom we spend almost all of our time and money.
  • There are two kinds of ritual: meaningful (those that contribute to and promote our physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing), and self-serving (those that contribute to and promote our obsessions and addictions).
  • Over the past two generations, the institutions (family, meaningful labor, education and organized religion) that once championed meaningful ritual, moderation and common sense in our lives have been obliterated, marginalized or co-opted by a deliberate, corporatist onslaught of digital narcotics.
  • We all became hopelessly addicted to an endless supply of digital narcotics as the meaningful rituals in our lives were replaced by the rituals of our digital obsessions and addictions. By the early 21st century, addiction became the default social condition, the rule rather than the exception.

We now live in a Brave New Digital World, a society ruled and controlled by a state-sanctioned meta-addicti0n to all things media and all things digital. Like the citizens of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, we are undone in the digital 21st century less by the things we fear, and more by the things we love and invite into our homes and lives. In the end, our meta-addiction to all things media and all things digital steals our time and money and freedom — just like any other addiction to any other narcotic…

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True Entitlement is Top-Down

“What we call digital accountability is just another euphemism for no one home but us chickens when the shit hits the fan.” - Jeff Einstein

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By Jeff Einstein

We speak of the need to trim entitlement costs from programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps. We describe the effort to do so as a political third rail. But the current discussion about entitlement programs is a classic misdirect. What we call entitlements are in fact table scraps, what’s left over after the media/digital elite and their minions at all levels of government devour everything else. The truth is that true entitlement always begins and endures at the very top as an artifact of elitism and a tool of class warfare…

True and enduring entitlement begins and ends not with Food Stamps, but at the top in the hallowed halls of Congress, where Republicans and Democrats alike stop selling influence as career politicians with an 85% incumbency rate, only to start buying it as highly paid lobbyists.

True and enduring entitlement begins and ends not with Social Security, but at the top in the ivory towers of academia, where shameless administrators sit atop billion-dollar endowments and sports programs, and engorge themselves at the expense of middle-class parents whose children emerge with a lifetime of debt and few career prospects. All while students and tenured faculty champion diversity of everything except thought, and attack freedom of speech in tribal defense of some presumed and privileged right not to suffer the ignominious insult (real or perceived) of systemic micro-aggression and cultural appropriation.

True and enduring entitlement begins and ends not with Medicare, but at the top in the opulent cabins of private jets and convoys of armored Cadillac Escalades en route to global warming conferences.

True and enduring entitlement begins not with Medicaid, but at the top where the cult of celebrity deigns to inveigh against social injustice and income inequality while walking the red carpets of televised award ceremonies too numerous to count.

At the end of the day, the entitled scoundrels in high-tech, media and Wall Street, the entitled scoundrels in Washington, D.C. and the entitled scoundrels in academia are all the same entitled scoundrels at different stages of their careers…

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Addiction as Chemical Destiny

“I've had layovers in airports that lasted longer than most of my corporate jobs.” - Jeff Einstein

CHEMICAL DESTINY minus MEANINGFUL RITUAL = addiction.

Over the past two decades I have come to believe that addiction is chemical destiny by virtue of the simple fact that our brains are wired to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Couple that with the quasi-sober understanding that we now live a time when the supply of affordable (and legitimate) narcotics — analog and digital alike — is suddenly universal and utterly relentless.

We now live in a Brave New Digital World, a world where addiction is the default condition, the rule rather than exception. In the world of default addiction, meaningful rituals (those that improve the quality of our spiritual, physical, social and emotional lives) have been replaced in large measure by self-serving rituals of convenience (those designed to protect and promote the interests of our many addictions), and those who profit from them.

To sum things up: we live in a society with functionally limitless access to a bottomless supply of affordable narcotics at a time when we’ve already lost or sacrificed our institutional ability to resist. Of course, our actual resistance is rarely as strong in fact as we expect it to be in fantasy. Likewise, the actual narcotics almost always net stronger in fact than we imagined them in fantasy.

Meanwhile, the meaningful rituals (the lifestyle rituals designed and codified  our spiritual, physical, social and/or emotional wellbeing) designed specifically to improve the quality of our lives are being crowded out, obliterated by the incessant demands of self-serving rituals (those built to protect and cater to our obsessive compulsive behaviors and addictions).

Each self-serving ritual devoted to our obsessive-compulsive behaviors and addictions is time devoted away from the quality of life.

The quality of life, however, is decided by the quantity and quality of the rituals we invite into our lives. Because ritual is how we manage our lives. Ritual dictates how, where and with whom we spend almost all of our time.

Self-serving rituals are those we devote to our obsessive compulsive behaviors and addictions. They dominate our lives in early 21st century America and consume almost all our time: a 2015 report from the USC Marshall School of Business concludes that the average American now consumes 15.5 hours of media per day.

Meaningful ritual — ritual designed and employed to enhance our spiritual, social, physical and emotional wellbeing — stands between us and wholesale surrender to our chemical destiny as addicts.

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My Dinner with Andre re A Brave New Digital World

“I’ve had layovers in airports that lasted longer than most of my corporate jobs.” - Jeff Einstein

From My Dinner with Andre, 1981:

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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Nature vs. Nurture…

“Efficiency may be a waste of time.” - Jeff Einstein

Nature vs. Nurture: a false dichotomy…

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

 

 

 

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Not Your Daddy’s Fascism Part 1

“Efficiency may be a waste of time.” - Jeff Einstein

Powered by tens of thousands of massive server farms and billions of microchips, this ain’t your daddy’s Fascism…

Not Your Daddy’s Fascism
Video Transcript:

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” — Benito Mussolini

Secular Fascism debuted early in the 20th century with the first marriage of corporate electronic media and state power. (We called it radio.)

But this ain’t your daddy’s Fascism. The new Fascism is hip, stylish, immensely entertaining and powered by thousands of server farms and billions of microchips.

I call it eFascism and define it simply as the religion of the state in 21st-century digital America. — Jeff Einstein

Under eFascism we are enslaved and controlled not by the Orwellian things we fear and loathe, but by the Huxleyan things we love and welcome into our lives.

For most of us, Big Brother isn’t some stranger who kicks our doors down and invades our homes under cover of darkness. Far more often we invite him like an honored guest into our living rooms and dining rooms and bedrooms and kitchens.

Remember, secular Fascism is the invention and natural bias of electronic media. — Jeff Einstein

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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Digital Technology, Addiction and Kids

“All addictions, regardless of the narcotic, leave us spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially impoverished.” - Jeff Einstein

Here’s the generic pdf version of Digital Technology, Addiction & Kids, my live presentation to educators and parents. Total runtime for the live presentation is about 90 minutes. Nothing like it anywhere else…

 

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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The Age of Fascism

“True entitlement always begins at the top.” - Jeff Einstein

There’s a reason why secular Fascism emerged in the early 20th century with the arrival of radio…

The Age of Fascism
Video Transcript:

The printing press…

  • PROMOTED linear thought and reason,
  • DESTROYED Western theocracies, and
  • GAVE RISE to nation states, the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason and the American, French and Industrial Revolutions.

Electronic media…

  • PROMOTE raw emotion, tribalism and corporatism over reason, unity and democracy.
  • CAME OF AGE with radio in the early 20th century as the galvanizing force behind…

THE AGE OF FASCISM

It ain’t your daddy’s Fascism and it’s just getting started. — Jeff Einstein

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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