Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Opposition Research" to Discredit Occupy Wall Street

$850,000 will allow you to purchase the services of a firm that will put it's skills to work discrediting the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Clark, Lytle, Geduldig, & Cranford will conduct a nationwide survey as well as local surveys in eight key states to provide a context for the campaign. Effectively, they will look for information that would help them to determine which messages will be most effective at discrediting the movement.

They will do opposition research. That is to say, they will conduct research on the leaders and financiers of OWS. Actually, what this means is that they will dig up dirt on its leaders and financers. They will monitor social media - for example, the Occupy Wall Street Facebook site - to acquire strategic intelligence on what OWS is planning and will likely do next in order to plan, in advance, an effective response to those actions.

They will perform coalition planning - a search for political allies that can add their strength to the opposition.

And they will prepare and place the political messages that will fulfill the final objective of discrediting OWS and, in doing so, help to secure the political and economic fortunes of those who purchase these services.

All for the bargain price of $850,000.

(See, Lobbying firm's memo spells out plan to undermine Occupy Wall Street. The article contains a link to a PDF of the memo itself.)

Ultimately, Clark, Lytle, Geduldig, & Cranford almost certainly hopes to get more than $850,000. Hopefully, from their point of view, this arrangement could open the door to future contracts worth a lot more money. This may even be a loss leader - an initial contact that will actually cost the company money, but which might establish a relationship that will be profitable in the long run.

Now, what kind of people get this kind of help? What segment of the population has $850,000 to put into such an effort - and has the kind of money that would make it worthwhile to establish a long-term, more profitable relationship? I don't have that kind of money - nor do I have control over that kind of money by leading a business or well funded (read: "serves the interests of those who have money") organization.

We hear it said that we need to give the rich more money so that they can create more jobs.

What we do not hear about is the fact that these are among the types of jobs they are creating.

The short version of the story is that those who have money create those jobs that serve the interests of people who have money.

This proposal is just an example of the types of jobs the rich create. They hire political manipulators to do research and plan strategies that aim to maintain or increase their economic and political power. They hire people to report things like, "Our surveys and focus groups tell us that if we can get people to fear for their jobs, we can get them to vote for candidates who will put more money and more political power into your pockets, the pockets of our customers. The way we can get them to fear for their jobs is to get these stories we created reported in the media, and here is our contact list of media people who can be convinced to make these claims."

Where does this message that tax cuts create jobs come from, anyway? We had massive tax under the Bush Administration. Where are the jobs? The Republican presidential candidates tell us that President Obama's economic strategy failed. However, a substantial part of Obama's strategy involved maintaining or adding to the Bush tax cuts, which his administration extended to January 2013. Where are the jobs?

However, the surveys and focus groups continue to show, "We can enhance our economic and political status if we continue to spread this message."

In fact, they are right. This research strictly follows the principles of the Scientific Method. It's practitioners observe, hypothesize, and conduct experiments to continually refine their skills on how to manipulate the public. They then sell these skills to the highest bidders - the people with the most money to spend.

The scientific method is a powerful tool. We see this in the success it has brought to those who use it in the industry of political manipulation. The result of their success over the past 30 years is that the wealthiest people - the people who can pay companies to use this method to their benefit - now have twice the wealth they used to have. The rest of us, who do not have the money to spare for these types of activities, are treading water. And the poorer are becoming both more numerous and worse off.

The rich pay this kind of money for these kinds of services because it is an investment. $850,000 spent requires an expectation of more than $850,000 return on the investment for manipulating the political process. The rich get richer.

The better an organization is at successful manipulation, the more money they get. They get that money from the people who have money to give. The people who have money to give, in turn, are for that manipulation that best serves their interests.

When 1% of the population controls half the money and the other 99% control the other half, then half of the economic activity serves the interests of 1% of the population, and the other half of the economy serves the interests of the other 99%. Since the other 99% have to spend significantly more on food, medical care, and shelter, their ability to contribute to these types of political manipulations is much smaller. They may have half the overall wealth, but they have significantly less than half of the disposable wealth. And it isn't governed by common mind that can direct its use without dispute.

Let's be clear - this memo is not a fluke event. It is not even news. This is business as usual. We are talking about huge amounts of money going into "opposition research" and similar projects paid for by those who have the money to invest in these projects. Countless organizations just like this are sending out countless proposals to the top 1% every day saying, "This is how we can serve you." Of course, they are going to send their our proposals to those with money to spend. Of course they are going to offer goods and services that the people with money to spent want.

If, instead, we get the money to people who are hungry and sick, one of the effects we can expect is to see fewer $850,000 proposals to deliver "opposition research" to the top 1%, and more $850,000 proposals on how to deliver food to the hungry and medicine to the sick. The jobs that are created are the jobs that serve the interests of those for the sake of whom the money is being spent.


Trazodone Uprising said...

"The short version of the story is that those who have money create those jobs that serve the interests of people who have money."

Exactly. Common sense.

mojo.rhythm said...

We are now seeing what is obvious: the violence of a totalitarian state is no longer necessary to dominate, subjugate and manipulate the governed population. The dirty deed is now done with disinformation and ultra-sophisticated propaganda.