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View From the Terrible Tower

by Robert Schoch

By: DI Editor, Dusty Schoch

June 26, 2012

With the political poles chattering and crucial elections looming I am writing to sound the alarm of potential pending doom and disaster — A disaster which will come full circle if we again elect the wrong president (Sorry, we didn’t actually elect Bush; he was crowned king by fiat of the Supremes chorusing in 5/4 Republican harmony to corporate sponsors in the Con law case of Gore v Bush).


But to what “tower” do I refer?  It’s the terrible tyrannical tower which will determine whether we respond to disaster with a plea for deliverance or …  greater disaster.  I promise you – errant government is not like wild fires; electing more nitwitted neocons to “back-fire”–fix the disasters of former neocons won’t work. Now back to the tower: Don’t sneak-peak  the end of my essay – I buried my lead for a good cause:  I want to take you on a stroll through American History before pointing you to the tower where America’s history and fate will be determined.


This essay was provoked by today’s headlines showing Obama and Romney presently running even in the polls. The article rang true when it said that polls are often misleading because (as Dukakis in 1988) 9th-inning flukes and other things often reverse the tides of presidential elections. The op/ed writer today said that next to “flukes”, campaign contributions today are the prime determinant of election outcome.  I agree and because of that am sounding this alarm that all beware of the sinister and potentially catastrophic co-workings of (1) the money (campaign contributions) and (2) what “the terrible tower” does with the money.


History lessons abound with caveats we’ve ignored and have gotten us Americans to the brink of national industrial, moral and financial bankruptcy.  People want to blame Obama for heading the glue crew that’s failed to put Humpty Dumpty (Uncle Sam) back together and on global Wall Street.  Most voters (and all Republican voters) are blind to the fact that Bush converted America from a beloved defender to a loathed aggressor nation, and while his corporate consorts were exporting America’s industry to China, his military subordinates were exporting our cash reserves (and the wealth of our grandchildren) to the Middle East to secure corporate control of diminishing oil reserves.


But the whole world knows that. The question is why (polls indicate) half of America is not SORELY aware of this…to the extent that 50 percent of us are presently undecided as to whether we’ll put America back in the hands of another corporate-controlled Republican imperialist.


Relevant history lessons include 3 modern and one ancient philosopher/writers and…prophets (predictors of American and world evolution).  The three—generally contemporary–modern thinkers I write of are George Orwell (author of Nineteen Eighty Four),  Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), Marshall McLuhan (“Understanding Media”). The ancient author, who wrote about “the tower” is, I believe, the one who got it “all right”, and is, therefore the one we need to study more closely and …. before the next election….heed, in order to rescue ourselves from pending disaster.


Long stories short – Orwell (English) in his “1984” warned us that there would come a day when the governments of our nation states would have seized sufficient power to become absolutely corrupt and despotic, and that as a result, all individuality and personal freedoms would be extinguished by the “Big Brother” rulers’ “Big Lies” and myriad forms of mind control designed to stifle our treasured individualized selves.  This really hasn’t happened, at least as Orwell envisioned.  Perhaps Huxley came closer to our evolved reality as he presaged a time when industrialization would transport America into an era where capitalistic/materialistic and pleasure-seeking people would become so narcissistically wrapped up in achieving fame, fun and fungibles that they would entirely lose sight of and empathy with anything outside their accreting fortunes and egos…like their environment or the rights of others (creatures and countries) to remain free and viable.   Looking to my right and my left today, I see no one screaming in protest that we have in the past ten years criminally invaded and occupied two sovereign foreign countries. Four of eight Americans today know who the Kardashians are (commercially-synthesized cyborg celebrities)  but have no idea how many hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals we have killed in the past decade (FYI, over a half million!).


Among the modern thinkers, I believe Marshall McLuhan takes the prize for predicting how a cabal of corporate bullies managed to machinate our national devolution from defender nation to international bully, and from prosperous democracy to impoverished corporate plutonomy.  Corporations clearly run all the shows that the American people now watch. Corporations have now acquired such plenary—absolutely corrupting power—that they’ve enabled presidents  to so sack and stack a Supreme Court bench that the Court has redefined Corporations as “people”…American citizens, having the right to elect leaders by direct means of money and might…because they can take their money and control our media.


As Orwell warned us in 1984, the corporate-sponsored (thereby controlled) media tell us big lies so often and so loudly that the majority of us can no longer see the truth….because as Huxley predicted (of America), our hedonism and self-servicing narcissism would one day make of independently-reasoning men, media-malleable sheep. Sheep stupid enough to believe bin Laden was an agent of Saddam Hussein; Sheep stupid enough to believe Saddam had anything to do with 9/11.   Sheep stupid enough to believe that Obama was born in Kenya. Stupid enough to believe America’s financial meltdown is the fault of the president who inherited the White House after Bush  sold it to Halliburton and China.


Before I point to the tower…and the tale of truth that could actually save us–if anything can– with its wise and prophetic view of where America stands teetering today….I’ll write a little more about the money part of the present disaster…the powerful money that has resulted in the fulfillment of Marshall McLuhan’s prophesy that one day in America and the world the MEDIA WILL BECOME THE MESSAGE.  Today, it is estimated that over three billion dollars will be raised by the corporate and fat-cat superpaks to control America’s perception of—and votes for–the men running for public office. THINK ABOUT THAT FIGURE!  Dividing 3 billion by America’s population shows that, on Television and Radio, corporations and fat cats will spend enough money that otherwise could drop $1,000 into the pockets of each and every living American, and $3,000 into the saving accounts of the average American family.  But instead, under the new corporate-lobbied laws, that $1,000 per citizen fortune will be dedicated to molding American opinion in tune with the agendas (e.g. Romney is smart. “Fracking is safe.”) corporations are marketing to us on commercial media ads.


Well, isn’t that what Orwell, Huxley and–more specifically–McLuhan were all warning us about…big lies…propaganda…molding our thinking to the eventual point the media has become the message? Yes, yes and  yes. But now I’ll reveal how: Now I’ll point to the
“terrible tower” …and the infinitely-prescient writer who envisioned it and whose identity must remain anonymous.  The precursor to our terrible tower was named Babel. Open your Bibles to Genesis 11 but don’t think Judeo-Christian  or Mosaic prophesy….Just think…human history and sage prophesy.


Warning to you the reader (and me the writer):  The odious  and inadvertently-evil builders of the terrible tower I have in sight and mind today were mostly innocent…just like the ambitious architects and builders of the Biblical Tower of Babel.  While those ancient builders were so busy trying to project their stones, mortar and influence into heavenly realms where, logically and ecologically no being without feathers belongs, they had their minds so much on their “selves”, they lost sight of—and touch with– one another…and their shared planet.   When they got to the sky-scraping floors, they suddenly realized that they had lost the ability to communicate with one another. The only thing they had in common was the arrogant edifice they were building, and without concern for one another, the tower was just that—an arrogant sty in the eye of heaven.   In the ancient parable, man’s Creator made it impossible for him to speak to his fellow humans…and as a result, the tower came crumbling down to earth, as did America under George Bush.  Unfortunately you can’t keep a bad thing down. The tower, I am loathe to report, has…risen! Sadly and to our detriment, its present embodiment is more terrible than ever.   Under the shadowy influence of that terrible tower, people in America and the rest of the world are in regards to one another, becoming babbling idiots.  Even the 100 sectors of America’s Wall Street Revolution have no unifying mantra or agenda.  We are all speaking as with different tongues, and as a result are heading towards cultural, political, ecological and economic Armageddon.


Here’s the buried lead…finally.  What is today’s “terrible tower”? It is a tower that never existed in the days of Lincoln and Jefferson or even the Roosevelts.   These leaders were elected because we met and came to know them on the covers and in the coverage of newspapers and on the parchments posted in our city squares, right there in the hearts of our cities, at sea level where we belong…together.  In these papers and parchments were published the words of non-partisan journalists whom we had, through time and testing, grown to trust, as purveyors, distillers and disseminators of political truths. Today we sit at home and stare at images delivered to us now serially at light speed in a language Orwell termed “double speak” (truth and falsity in the same statement) in which it is impossible for us to discern truth from lies. The messages are all partisan “newspeak” and emanate from one party or another, all according to either the corporate fat-cat (Republican, a.k.a. “conservative”) or the working class Democrat (a.k.a. “liberal”) agendas.  The very idea of adversity between the parties is itself a double-speak lie, because in today’s reality, both Republicans and Democrats are merely corporate proxies. If you are a free-thinking independent such as I, your thoughts in transit in this media are labeled “liberal”.   We stare at these messages from the sinister towers empowering our televisions, our Ipods, our “virally-spreading” e-mails from god/knows/who/or/where and most recently our Twittering, FaceBook and YouTubing friends who for the most part are really not our friends, but really just others who make—and take–little vampire-lie  “bytes” of us while the only thing we have in common is our watching and ….obeying (by “forwarding”)… signals from the same …terrible tower.


The terrible tower to and about which I refer and rant is the broadcasting tower,  my friends—the instantly-gratifying Babeling Tower that today can make a mental mouse’s message roar like a prophetic lion’s. Any little agoraphobic nerd on the planet can now, with a little effort and skill with computer technology, launch any lie he can conjure up into the orbital clouds of cyberspace and “go viral” with any lascivious thing he wants to say about the sitting president of the United States. Corporations can now invest billions of dollars directly in TV ads designed to stream half-truths and out-of-context lies before our eyes on a 24/365 basis until a sizable number of us are Tea-party tricked into viewing a native-born American president, who was previously president of Harvard Law Review, as a Kenyan-born Islamic terrorist.
This is insanity.

So what makes the media broadcasting tower of today more “terrible” than the tower in the time of ancient Babel?  It’s the difference between ignorance and arrogance.  It took the Babel Tower builders a lot of time and talent to build a stone and mortar structure sky-scraping tall way back then; so, apart from the egoistic arrogance and environmental insult, the tower of ancient Babel was offensive mainly to diety and comparatively innocuous within its own cultural context. The media broadcast towers of today, on the latter hand are, functionally, arrogance compounded by ignorance.  Just as bottom-line dollars sustain the soulless cyborg vivacity of corporations today that will continue fracking our water and air, warming the planet,  MSG/ing and transfatting our food and arteries so long as their stock manages to accrete  dollars on Wall Street,  the terrible towers of broadcast media will continue to telegraph, cell-phone, e-mail, radio, televise, twitter and satellite bounce, blog and otherwise transmit to every corner of the universe any ignorant nonsense and lie contrived by anyone living or dubbed “human” by Supreme Court edict so long as said imbecilic cyborg has the  dollars to purchase the “air time”.


If a candidate for elective office in Lincoln’s day received either criticism or praise in the media, the source of that information bore the authenticity associated with a journalist who had established his literary prowess and journalistic skills by earning his position on the staff of a trusted periodical journal. Moreover, maintaining one’s position as a journalist required rigorous adherence to extraordinarily high ethical standards imposed by traditional (old-school) journalistic institutions.  Today, if NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman makes a mistake, you can bet your life it was not the product of ignorance, partisan bias or dollar-driven allegiance to some corporate patron. By contrast, if you hear or view something from the tower of an oxymoronically-named “Fox News” broadcast, you can bet your life it is all three. Fox News is the arch villain in the terrible media tower, for the universally-known reason that its founder, Rupert Murdoch—just for the bucks—has with greed and mendacity aforethought, intentionally skewed (demolished) the line between “opining” and “news reporting” in broadcast journalism. It is doubtful that people regularly watching “Fox Media” programming will ever again be capable of recognizing the difference. Murdoch has proved to the world that wholly dollar-driven and unscrupulous utilization of the terrible tower can and does enable arrogance to beget ignorance. We can only hope that this maniacal media mogul’s recent scandal (with phone tapping) will begin the easing and eventually the loss of his 60-billion dollar grip on the broadcast media which—more than any other on earth—accounts for the terrible in the broadcast tower.


My ultimate warning is this: In your search for  “truth” in news and politics, try this:


(1)   Turn off your  T.V., radio and  Ipod/Phone. If it’s digital it’s dubious.    Stanch the artesian flood of fabricated falsities in your tower-tainted emails. Delete–don’t “forward” them. If you receive a “conservative” forward in the e-mail, run their key words through the Urban Legends gauntlet ( and discover how many of them are total fabrications.

(2)   Form your own thoughts and tell them, phone them,  email them to your friends. You can Google just about any reliable newspaper articles in the world now. If you want to know who owns the newspapers or broadcast systems you are auditing, all this information is available on Wikipedia. And yes—despite what Fox News says—Wikipedia is the most accessible and reliable source of current information on earth. Wiki invites us all to police their truth and amend their mistakes. Donate to Wiki and Public Radio; they belong to you.

(3)  Go down to your town squares, attend public meetings and talk to one another eye-to-eye about what you have learned in the still-reliable mainstream media by which we elected Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and Roosevelt(s).   That would include non-partisan journals like the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, the still free (not corporate controlled) Public Radio stations, the occasional network TV broadcasts of candidates’ debates which cost the candidates nothing, and last but not least, the people and media institutions (including blogs) you personally know and trust, including your good old High Point Enterprise and yours (always) truly.


Dusty Schoch

June 25, 2012

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