ELECTION vs. CIRCUS

ELECTION:
An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office.
Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the executive and judiciary, and for regional and local government. This process is also used in many other private and business organizations, from clubs to voluntary associations and corporations.
The global use of elections as a tool for selecting representatives in modern representative democracies is in contrast with the practice in the democratic archetype, ancient Athens, where the elections were considered an oligarchic institution and most political offices were filled using sortition, also known as allotment, by which officeholders were chosen by lot.
Electoral reform describes the process of introducing fair electoral systems where they are not in place or improving the fairness or effectiveness of existing systems. Psephology is the study of results and other statistics relating to elections (especially with a view to predicting future results). Election is the fact of electing, or being elected.
To elect means “to select or make a decision”, and so sometimes other forms of ballot such as referendums are referred to as elections, especially in the United States.

CIRCUS:
A circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, dancers, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists, and unicyclists as well as other object manipulation and stunt-oriented artists. The term circus also describes the performance which has followed various formats through its 250-year modern history. Although not the inventor of the medium, Philip Astley is credited as the father of the modern circus. In 1768, Astley, a skilled equestrian, began performing exhibitions of trick horse riding in an open field called Ha’Penny Hatch on the south side of the Thames River.[1] In 1770, he hired acrobats, tightrope walkers, jugglers and a clown to fill in the pauses between the equestrian demonstrations and thus chanced on the format which was later named a “circus”. Performances developed significantly over the next fifty years, with large-scale theatrical battle reenactments becoming a significant feature. The traditional format, in which a ringmaster introduces a variety of choreographed acts set to music, developed in the latter part of the 19th century and remained the dominant format until the 1970s.
As styles of performance have developed since the time of Astley, so too have the types of venues where these circuses have performed. The earliest modern circuses were performed in open-air structures with limited covered seating. From the late 18th to late 19th century, custom-made circus buildings (often wooden) were built with various types of seating, a center ring, and sometimes a stage. The traditional large tents commonly known as “big tops” were introduced in the mid-19th century as touring circuses superseded static venues. These tents eventually became the most common venue. Contemporary circuses perform in a variety of venues including tents, theatres and casinos. Many circus performances are still held in a ring, usually 13 m (42 ft) in diameter. This dimension was adopted by Astley in the late 18th century as the minimum diameter that enabled an acrobatic horse rider to stand upright on a cantering horse to perform their tricks.
Contemporary circus has been credited with a revival of the circus tradition since the late 1970s, when a number of groups began to experiment with new circus formats and aesthetics, typically avoiding the use of animals to focus exclusively on human artistry. Circuses within the movement have tended to favor a theatrical approach, combining character-driven circus acts with original music in a broad variety of styles to convey complex themes or stories. Contemporary circus continues to develop new variations on the circus tradition while absorbing new skills, techniques, and stylistic influences from other performing arts.

from: WIKIPEDIA

Fox News Viewers Were Paid to Watch CNN for One Month

by B Kean

Can you guess what happened to their political views?


It could be called magic. I prefer to compare it to a rescue mission. Paid to stop watching Fox News for one month, the diehard and the Foxified after only one week could feel their brains defrosting thanks to CNN.


Real information was entering and as if a sump pump had kicked on automatically thanks to the detection of increasing pressure, the rancid swamp of Fox-News propaganda and lies was slowly being removed. What the test’s organizers say was only in three days, the stunted brains of the Republican viewers were being unrestricted, freed even, and views were changing.


The treatment group, returned to the fold of the sane, was being repatriated.


The Fox viewers were nearly all very conservative and strong Republicans, the study explained. “Of 763 qualifying participants, we then randomized 40 percent to treatment group. To change the slant of their media diet, we offered treatment group participants $15 per hour to watch 7 hours of CNN per week, during Sept. 2020, prioritizing the hours at which participants indicated they typically watched Fox News (CNN for 30 Days).”

WHAT? Let’s read that last paragraph again……


I have long been aware of the evil of Fox. Having resided in Russia for the past two and half decades, the unmistakable power of incessant media lying was something I had to deal with on a daily basis.
Arguments with smart friends, colleagues, girlfriends, wives, taxi drivers and so many more Russians filled much of my first fifteen years or so. The fights were not really differences of opinion as they were the Russians regurgitating propaganda when I was relying on a commonly-held set of facts.


I stopped arguing, and in many ways caring, at around my sixteenth year of life in Russia. I realized that they were so far collectively gone that there was nothing I could say, show, share, or do that would ever sway them — the state propaganda was their psychological crack and no one was in need of my intervention.


I recently wrote about how so many intellectuals throughout the world are mourning the loss of a free press in Russia since the outset of the war. There really never was a free press in Russia. There was never really a great need for it. Even many who left recently (estimated to be around 200,000) to protest Putin have very skewed versions of world history and Russia’s role in it. The thing that separates them from those who remain is just the degree of the craziness of their chosen conspiracy theory.


Just a few years after Fox News was launched as an alternative news source that would strive to be the middle of the road to CNN’s “leftist leanings,” a tragic, but magical event for Roger Ailes, transpired: 9/11. The rawness of that day blinded many of us in the U.S. to reason and we willfully let emotions replace facts.

WHAT….HELLO??????


I returned home for Christmas 2001 and I was shocked at how the news was being reported. It was like people tore the rearview mirrors out of their cars and with eyes staring straight floored it backward convinced they were moving forward. We were collectively returning to the simplest common denominator: all Muslims are evil and must be punished. Any voice that offered any opinion more nuanced was a traitor. Americans were behaving themselves exactly like Russians.


Eventually, the dust would settle and the likes of The New York Times would apologize for their flawed reporting on, most infamously, the “yellowcake and nuclear rods.” This investigative piece by Judith Miller was cited by many as the moment when they believed it was okay to pre-emptively invade Iraq.
Eventually, CNN and other news organizations would stop the propaganda and return to reporting — this never took place on the right.


Fox hides bad news

NO, IS THIS TRUE?


The treatment group of the study in question, otherwise called “switchers,” revealed some very interesting insights after just a week or so:


Switchers were five percentage points more likely to believe that people suffer from long Covid, for example, and six points more likely to believe that many foreign countries did a better job than the U.S. of controlling the virus. They were seven points more likely to support voting by mail. And they were 10 points less likely to believe that supporters of then-candidate Joe Biden were happy when police officers get shot, 11 points less likely to say it’s more important for the president to focus on containing violent protesters than on the coronavirus, and 13 points less likely to agree that if Biden were elected, “we’ll see many more police get shot by Black Lives Matter activists (Watched CNN Instead).”


As the authors of the report point out, boycotting right-wing media by members of the Left is not a wise decision. Some Foxified conservatives can be reached and the spell cast by the lies of Fox News broken.


One clear takeaway by the treatment group was that if a story showed Trump in a negative light, then Fox would just ignore it.


This mode of political influence, where partisan media can simply ignore stories that are inconvenient, is a potentially powerful challenge to democratic accountability. It’s also probably not symmetrical. Even media outlets that skew liberal in their coverage generally don’t shy away from covering the Covid death toll or the rise in inflation (Watched CNN Instead).


This voluntary choice to avoid anything that could be perceived as negative for the political figure of choice is 100% propaganda. This is exactly what Russia does unapologetically with Putin. Such so-called reporting, which is more like proselytizing, paves the way for the irrationality of personality cults.


Putin is god-like in many homes in Russia and the more outlandish the lie, the more it will be believed. The more atrocious the truth, the less likely the followers will ever believe it. The crazier the shit that Trump put out, the more the Foxified were going to believe it.


The establishment of Fox News in the late 1990s forever changed both media and politics in America, transforming the formerly staid world of television news into the series of political shout fests we know and love-hate today. More than a quarter-century after its founding, however, the question persists: Does watching Fox News actually change voters’ minds (Watched CNN Instead)?


So many of us are shocked by what has happened in Russia. While Republicans refuse the rally around the flag moment despite the unparalleled leadership that Biden demonstrates in his response to Putin’s murderous campaign, Fox News, and especially Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, continue to put out bald-faced lies about President Biden. Carlson regularly offers open and veiled praise for Putin.
We are moving ever closer to the end of our democracy and along with it, there is a good chance we will lose our freedom of expression, too. Russia is an example of what happens when stupid defeats smart. Fox News needs to be brought to the task. It’s ruining our nation and taking with it the free world; it’s empowering the Putins.


This study proves once and for all that Fox is a terrorist organization hell-bent on ending our democracy. Will anyone be shocked when we lose our press freedoms?

Sadly, I don’t know anymore.

by umair haque

I’m Tired of Being Polite to Toxic, Dumb Bastards — And You Should Be, Too

From War to Climate Change, None of This Is OK — So Why Do We Pretend It Is?

Well, take a hard look at the world out there. Right about now, I can sum it up for you like this: it’s the dumb bastards versus the rest of us. This is a frightful, horrid decade. We have a choice of apocalyptic futures ahead, like some kind of buffet cooked up by the devil and Ed Sheeran in hell. Would you like climate change and ecological collapse? Not tasty enough? Let’s add a side of World War!!

Ah, still hungry, good sir? Why not try a dash of fascism on top? I see you’re a tough customer. Let’s add mass extinction of life on earth for an especially outrageous dessert. Please leave us a nice review on Yelp!!

FACTS MATTER — MASK-UP. VAX-UP. BOOST.by PE Hamilton

10:15 a.m. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/coronaviruss-deaths-united-states-each-day-2020-n1177936


It will take a generation of grad students and journalists to flesh out the full extent of the criminality of the Trump administration and the damage done to our institutions.


The failed January coup by MAGA mobs and the right-wing revisionism that has followed have substantiated the fact that the Republican Party has been, and continues to be, the biggest internal threat to American democracy since the Civil War.


In a 2018 essay ”The Constitution of Knowledge,” Jonathan Rauch describes the information ecosystem in democracies that winnows out nonsense. “We let alt-truth talk but we don’t let it write textbooks, receive tenure, bypass peer review…or dominate the front pages.”


That has changed.


For the foreseeable future, Trumpism will remain a threat to “ourselves and our Posterity” because of its success in sidestepping those constraints.


An extensive body of fiction — a new national mythology — has been created by an unholy alliance between corporate right-wing media and a professional Republican political class that has elevated party over principle; their political futures over facts.


Standard definitions and standards of proof have been scrapped. A growing segment of the public — driven by passion and immune to evidence and rational discourse — has created a post-Enlightenment wasteland in which anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection can distort the public record.
There is a neurological disorder in the body politic that prevents many Americans from connecting the dots that map out the footprints of these load-bearing lies.


This blog is a digest — occasionally a soapbox — the goal of which is to connect some of those dots.
I am a writer and a freelance photographer of a certain age. Politics is not my primary interest in life but the overwhelming corruption of Trumpism is impossible to ignore and will continue to have negative consequences for our children and grandchildren.


Sound ideas — not money or coercion — -should shape the ongoing public discussion of who we are as a people and where we should be headed.

To whatever extent shared words and pictures can be countervailing forces for a better future, it is my heartfelt hope that these will contribute to that end.