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Kyle Broom
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> In the United States, the two-party system works as a way to manufacture an artificial group identity, akin to an ethnic or national one or an allegiance to a sports team. Part of the identity seems to consist in allegiance to certain conclusions on a range of hot button political issues. On those issues political party affiliation does seem to result in rigidly held belief and loyalty in the voting booth. Allegiance to the group identity forged by political party affiliation renders Americans blind to the essential similarities between the agendas of the two parties, similarities that can be expected to be exactly the ones that run counter to public interest.

Jason Stanley, How Propaganda Works
via +Jason Gordon

// Yes, yes, Trump is an awful human being. Clinton is wildly more stable and competent. The clear majority of the public will not dispute this fact anymore. Clinton will win in an historic landslide, and (almost) nothing can stop it now. Calm down.

The claim is not that the two are indistinguishable, but that the differences between the parties reflect a coherent and unified political agenda at work. Trump and Clinton are two sides of the same political coin. The reason we accept the politics of people like Clinton is because we're afraid of people like Trump, and both sides know how to use this to their advantage. Trump would not break this cycle even if he won. Clinton winning in a landslide will ensure this strategy remains in tact for the foreseeable future. For better or worse, it is super-effective.

The trick should be familiar by now: the media scares the public over some infrequent but easy to sensationalize story, and this ongoing fear keeps the public at a low simmer, ready to jump at this or that boogeyman, ready to galvanize behind whatever cause you feed it. Persistent and perpetual fear is a primary tool for controlling the public. Whenever something you read in the news frightens you, that emotion you feel is a product of this control. We are seeing the logic of the War on Terror used for everyday electoral politics.

The political class eats this terror narrative up like candy: that racist/tribalist/religious sects stir up grassroots fear and suffering, and the global politics of corporate nationalism must swoop in to restore peace and justice. This is how we justify wars overseas, and now this is how we justify our political candidates at home. Notice that there are no narratives whereby state capitalism swoops in to save black lives at home or brown lives overseas, because in both cases state capitalism is the source of this terror, and we have no choice but to vote it into power. So our enemy is presented in the media as being the white nationalist male gun nuts among us, as if they aren't also symptoms and victims of this systemic abuse and control.

This is how the War on Terror works: our enemies are fabricated and sensationalized so that we ignore our real enemies, waste our resources, and fight among ourselves. The chaos leaves a small class of economic elites with overwhelming political control, which they use to perpetuate this totalizing machine while taking everything for themselves. This election is a terrorist election. Trump and Clinton are both terrorists. The American people are being terrorized for political control. It is genuinely terrifying.

What scares me most is seeing my friends and colleagues who otherwise appear so level-headed and sensible become so compromised by this propaganda, feeding directly into this machine. Seeing friends rally in support behind Clinton, especially during the primaries, feels like seeing friends rally in support of the Iraq War over a decade ago: a clearly bad decision driven by a completely odd sense of nationalist patriotism and misplaced self-righteous duty. Considerably more of my friends support Clinton today than supported the Iraq war in college.

Again, this is terrifying. If you've been supporting Clinton, you're the vanguard of this trend. You are literally voting to keep this terrorist system in place. What terrifies me most is that I don't know if it's possible to explain this to any of the Clinton supporters in my network and have them understand.

Yes, Trump with nukes is scary. But Trump has less chance of starting a global nuclear war than North Korea. I'm positive you're not an "NK HAS NUKES" single-issue voter, because no such person exists. Again, relax. There are a lot of stupid racist people in this world, but they are slightly outnumbered by the competent, well-meaning people. And both groups are radically outnumbered by the people who just don't give a shit and drag everything to a crawl. That's a good thing. Calm down.

The more real and everyday threats faced by human lives relate directly to the state and corporate systems that inform our everyday active population control. The failure of the justice system in the united states, whereby crime and punishment is institutionally racialized, is a source of tremendous and unnecessary suffering. The military industrial complex that feeds the world's perpetual wars is a daily threat to human lives all over the globe. Corporations have corrupted governance to keep wages stagnant, health care and college expensive, and infrastructure on the brink of collapse. These are not scary hypotheticals, they are immediate and daily threats to human lives. Clinton is a representative of these systems, and has shown every intention of keeping them in tact, even helping them grow.

I've criticized Clinton's views on race, economics, and war in the past, but let me be clear that my views here have nothing to do with Clinton, and I have no interest in attacking her, even on policy. Her and Trump are both puppets on stage for our entertainment while the actual machinery of politics continues to grind away at bodies. Nothing that happens this election will change our circumstances. In fact, this election has demonstrated nothing so clearly as the complete and total control that the media has on US politics.

So. If you've spent any time whatsoever worried about a Trump presidency, you now have clear, first hand experience of how propaganda works. Please take a moment to reflect on your experience and behavior. Consider these truths:

- The chances of Trump winning were always very small
- The extreme fear you experienced in reaction to Trump was radically disproportionate with the actual threat he presented.
- This sensationalized fear occupied the entire national political conversation for over full year, and will continue doing so for at least several months into the future.

What role did you play in this propaganda environment? How seriously did you take it? What emotions did it stir up, and what behavior did it provoke in you? How strongly did it compel you to identify with this or that group or movement or cause? To speak out on this or that issue? To engage others on these issues? How do you feel about yourself, having done these things? Did it go the way you had hoped?

This election season has been one of the most expensive, well-orchestrated, and extraordinary propaganda events in history. The outcome was always predictable, but the path is completely absurd and will be studied for a long time to come.

If we're going to fix this broken machine, we might as well start learning from it now.

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+Alexandra Spector, +Jon Lawhead and I went on a hike last night in the Hollywood Hills. Nearly 750' of elevation in 3/4 mile. Steep enough to be quite dangerous at night, so definitely fun. The tree at the top was the only one to survive a 2007 wildfire that burned through 817 acres in and around Griffith Park. People left notes between the stones of a small village of cairns in the area around the tree. Somewhat invasively to their authors, we are sharing a selection of them with you. #Goldilocks

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"The rise of digital film led to a lengthy debate regarding the philosophical implications of reality in filmmaking. While some whole-heartedly embraced the new medium, many felt that traditional celluloid captures and reproduces an instance of physical reality that digital sensors are incapable of replacing. In fact, since the dawn of cinema, or even art, for that matter, humans have debated over the nature of what is real and what is representation. Kyle Broom’s surreal thriller Tabloid Vivant walks in between these notions, embracing both old and new ideals in an avant-garde extravaganza that dares to question the terrifying limits of art."

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