The Jester and the Opposition

In our recent article, ‘What Can Be Said?’, we put out a call for suggestions on political topics. One of the interesting questions that came back was:

“What was the intended roll of the official opposition in a democratic government? What have they evolved into and how can we turn it back? Would such a change have a positive impact on how we view politicians?”

An interesting line of inquiry to be sure. The first thing to clarify here is that the focus is on the Opposition, not on any specific party or political-leaning. Still, it wasn’t until I heard another interesting quote that the motivation for this article really took hold. That second quote was this:

“The role of the Jester was to speak truth to power.”

That bit really got me thinking. Before modern democracy, in the ages of monarchs, was the Jester the original opposition party?

Well, they may have more in common than we would assume, and perhaps sadly, each have become increasingly wrapped up in the intended or surface-level role of the other.

Let’s start with the court Jester. On the surface, the role here is simple. Juggle, tell jokes, wear some bells on your head, and never pass up an opportunity to slip on an errant banana peel. In short, the role of the Jester was moreover to lighten the mood in the court, to provide a sense of levity.

In so doing however, a skilled Jester could surface some contentious truths—pointing out oversight or flaws in plans, checking assumptions, and with a pointed laugh, helping those in power consider alternative perspectives.

This was no easy job of course, and if ever the Jester tread too far off the path of entertainment and into the realm of politics, it was doubtless no rare occurrence that a jingle-belled head would be the starring role in a very aurally-pleasing beheading.

So, what about the Opposition party in a democracy? Here, we find things rather opposite. The surface level role is a bit more complicated—and overtly aimed at speaking harsh truths to power and keeping a balance on the perspectives of those making decisions. The opposition is meant as a constant check against groupthink, and to prevent one particular perspective from dominating political discourse to the detriment of open debate, consideration, and decision making.

Sadly, in this day and age the Opposition (on both sides of the spectrum, and in most every democratic nation) is taking what to the Jester might be considered the safer route. Rather than speaking truth, checking assumptions, or facilitating difficult dialogue, contemporary Opposition parties seem fixated only on their own survival.

Less interested in viable alternatives or reasonable debate, they have reduced themselves in most cases to a clownish side-show—calling names, sharing whacky photos of Majority party members, questioning sexual identify, faithfulness, or anything else to take away from the perceived legitimacy and humanity of those in power, hopefully veering the voters towards their own ill-defined cause in the next electoral cycle.

It is rarely, if ever, about improving the current cycle—only about ensuring that it is not their heads on the chopping block the next time the voters cast their ballots. Truth, reason, and virtue are tossed to the wayside in favour of insults and gripes, and nothing is ever accomplished short of an occasionally comedic soundbite.

It is a sad and telling reversal of fortunes. On both ends of the political spectrum, Opposition parties have acted to obstruct any progress—even progress they should be ideologically in support of—in order to later gloat that their opponents have accomplished nothing. Then, they bask in the wild glow of their own buffoonery—illuminated by the burning of the nation’s former high aspirations.

In the end, the clown role of the jester has won out, and we are treated to a shocking display of histrionic slapstick, while true (Read: Corporate) power rolls on unchecked.

Getting back to the original question then, what would it take to turn this trend around, and would it improve the way we view politicians? Well, the answer should be apparent enough. To serve their true role, politicians in Opposition parties would need first courage, then clarity. The courage to speak up even if it risks putting them in a vulnerable position—the courage to speak truth even at cost. Truth then, is the other matter, and for this they would need clarity. Truth is a relative thing to most, but to hold true to honest values and virtues is incumbent upon anyone who seeks to change a nation for the better. Do away with the name-calling and infighting, and remember the shared values that should make any nation great.

If this were to finally unfold, perhaps politicians would once again be viewed as defenders of society, as builders of nations and keepers of values.

Sadly, until this occurs, politicians on all sides will be viewed less as the tools to honest debate and growth, but continually as the hapless jesters they are; bumbling about mindlessly, and taking turns tripping over the awkward elephant in the room—that they have no true politics, only prices.

-Brad OH Inc.

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‘Politics’ is Not a Dirty Word

Another day, another tragedy. Presently, it’s the Las Vegas massacre on my mind, or the recent terrorist attack in Edmonton. But depending when you’re reading this, I have sorry little doubt there will be some fresh new event to use for context. Nothing will be different if we use another example, so it doesn’t really matter anyways. Inevitably, you will be told that “this isn’t the time to get political.”

“Let’s not politicize this.”

“Can’t we just have a day to grieve?”

There are a million ways to say it, but it always boils down to the same idea—“Let’s not go using the government to solve problems…that’s not what they’re for.”

It happens after all the most political events. We are told not to get political, not to examine issues and causes. Just be sad.

Pray…if that’s your thing.

Just…don’t try to do anything about it.

They can’t afford real change. They won’t.

But ‘politics’ is not a dirty word, and must not be treated as such if there is ever to be any real progress in this sad world of ours. To turn any political discussion into a taboo subject is to actively waste the opportunity for learning and growth. Further, to claim that political discourse over a tragedy is disrespectful to the victims is not only unhelpful, it’s pigheadedly ignorant.

If we want to prevent tragedy, we must learn from those that occur, and improve our society to prevent future occurrences. That’s what politics is. Anything else—any claim of respect, or timing, or taboo is obstruction of politics. It isn’t kind-hearted, or even well-intentioned. It’s intellectual dishonesty, and in any such instance, you can be damn sure someone is being well paid to convince you that scoffing at the chance to fix things is somehow the moral high ground.

Yes, this is about informed gun control policies.

At least today.

It could also be about systemic racism.

Or police brutality.

Or climate change.

Or money in politics.

Or dozens of other important debates which have been put off for far too long.

These aren’t inappropriate subjects, and they are absolutely the business of politicians and citizens alike. What they are not, is the business of corporations and lobbyists, and yet those are the only ones who seem effective at turning it into their business—specifically, profit.

Shame on them, and shame on anyone who resorts to such hair-brained, nihilistic diversions as ‘let’s not make this political’.

Avoiding civil discourse creates a gap in our understandings, and feeds the ever-widening divide in our nation, and our world. It is uncouth to discuss who you vote for. It’s provocative to talk about the ecosystem during a hurricane. It begins to feel anti-social to make any attempt to discuss our world, when it should be incumbent upon every citizen to do so.

Sadly, when this happens, it usually quickly devolves into attacks like ‘snowflake’, ‘libtard’, ‘hack’, or ‘radical’. This inevitably kills any drive towards honest engagement, and prevents us from truly exploring our values and examining the facts to dream up a better world.

The truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, just about everything is political—especially if it has the potential to affect another living thing without their direct consent. That may seem like a heavy qualification, but there’s an easy litmus test to use for those of you too jaded to do your own research.

Is a great deal of money being spent to convince you something is none of your business?

If so, it’s probably directly affecting to you, your family, and the world you live in.

So, talk about it.

Scream if need be.

If that fails, act.

Make them hear you.

Leave them no choice.

You still have power—never forget that.

 

-Brad OH Inc.

 

Juggalos, Nazis, and the Bi-Polar Face of the American People

Today, we have a special treat for all our readers. Head on over to our friends GonzoToday to read our exclusive article on last weekend’s ‘Juggalo March on Washington’!

-Click Here for the Article-

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Juggalos Vs. Nazis’

This Saturday, Sept. 16th, 2017, the Juggalos will march on Washington, DC. The Juggalos are marching in protest of the FBI decision to label them as a gang. It’s a particularly obnoxious decision from the Feds, and a dangerous precedent—to call a particular musical fanbase a criminal organization is a pretty slippery slope. But, all of that has been covered by us in the past. For more details on the situation and its significance, see the article here.

With only six days remaining until the march, you’d think there would be few surprises left to share, but a simultaneous group of protesters from Trump’s heinous ‘alt-right’ crowd have decided to show up in DC that same day, demonstrating to protect the purity of their blood, or ‘freedom’, or whatever other God-forsaken rally-cry their committee settles on.

This has garnered a surprising turn in the coverage of the event as a whole, with many media outlets suddenly considering the day less about the first amendment protected and the rather reasonable right to listen to music without being considered a criminal, and more of a super-event deemed: Juggalos vs. Nazis!

Now, one of the most impressive swerves caused by this is the stunning about-face of liberal media, suddenly clamouring to the side of the Juggalos. While it’s true that even most mainstream media outlets have been on board with the Clown’s regarding the gang designation, by and large, ICP and the Juggalos have been consistent media whipping boys for the better parts of their careers.

Previously, the majority of the liberal-media has slathered at the mouth for the chance to write about how trashy, ignorant, and deplorable the Juggalos are. Viewing them as little more than sub-human white-trash, Juggalos have been the long-standing ‘bye’ in the PC world—nothing said about Juggalos is rude or out-of-line…they’re just Juggalos, after all.

Interesting then, that after more than 25 years of their message, these very media outlets are finally starting to hear what ICP—and the Juggalos—have been saying all along.

Fuck racism.

Fuck hate.

They said it back in 1992, with ‘Your Rebel Flag’, and they said it in 2015, with ‘Confederate Flag’. In fact, the steadfast stance against bigotry and judgement has been among the defining ideas behind ICP’s music for the entirety of their careers.

But hey, if a clash with dangerously misled, knuckle-dragging Nazi’s is what it takes for people to see it, I guess we can work with that. But it’s about time…because this is a pretty important distinction to draw, and a train that the liberal-media has taken far too long to catch.

As trashy, poor, and odd as Juggalos may often be, it is essential—in times like this more than ever—to recognize the humanity within all people. Despite their circumstances, which are—as the press is quick to note—quite similar to those of the average ‘Trumpet-blower’—the Juggalos as a group have defined themselves by their hardline stance against bigotry and hatred, and by speaking out for human-rights and equality whenever they’re given a platform.

That’s just the sort of mindset the left so often claims to promote. So, it’s long overdue then, that they stop ridiculing Juggalos over differences in musical predilections, and start celebrating them for the wildly diverse, yet fiercely noble morality the group and its followers avow. Better late than never though, we know we’re a hard concept to grasp. Still, this Saturday, it will be the Juggalos on the frontlines—defending the first amendment, the right to enjoy what you want, and potentially, taking an inadvertent stand against the malignant hate and intolerance sweeping the United States.

Maybe…just maybe, some of these former naysayers will be willing to take that stand with them. If so, then hop on in, and welcome to the carnival…clowns.

-Brad OH Inc.

Three Political Figures You Should Know More About

Today, we’ll be looking at a few lesser-known figures from history. This isn’t the usual in-depth study so often provided here at Brad OH Inc., but rather a cursory glance at a few names who’ve played a unique role in the American political system and left their own individual mark. Some have fought for justice, others only for themselves.

So get to know these names, and if anything about them strikes you, learn more. History, after all, is so often a reflection of the past, and as it has often been said, if we fail to learn, we are doomed to repeat.

For each subject, click their names to learn more.

#1- Edward Bernays:

Edward Bernays was the nephew of legendary psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, and the driving force behind the revolution of public relations and propaganda in the 1920’s and beyond. Dubbed the ‘father of public relations’, Bernays was the very picture of a lying fiend who might have walked straight out of ‘Mad Men’.

A talented and well-learned man, Bernays chose not to pursue agriculture (his original study) or true journalism (his original passion). Instead, he used his talents to form a theory on how to ‘Crystalize Public Opinion’—a method of using cheap psychological tricks and word-associations to sell people on just about any hair-brained scheme imaginable. Notable successes include convincing Women to smoke more cigarettes by rebranding them as ‘Torches of Freedom’, normalizing techniques such as market placement in ads, and a curious effort to increase the sales of Dixie Cups by convincing the American public that only disposable cups were sanitary.

His legacy is still felt in our current world of media manipulation, truth for a price, and the ongoing mindset of the ‘people’ as a herd who need the control of the elite.

…Sounds familiar.

#2- Huey ‘The Kingfish’ Long:

Known colloquially as ‘The Kingfish’, Huey Long was the Governor of Louisiana and an outspoken populist and supporter of social programs. Likely best known for his 1934 ‘Share Our Wealth’ plan, Long was a passionate opponent of the federal reserve and big banking at large, calling for higher taxes on the rich, and a fair shake for the rest of Americans. A reasonable and virtuous position, no doubt, it should come as no surprise to any history buff that the Kingfish was promptly shot down in the street upon announcing a bid for the Presidency.

To date, the poor are yet to get a fair shake, social programs are still reviled as communist, and the rich and banking cartels continue to pillage the wealth and potential of the world.

Alas for The Kingfish…

#3- Roger Stone:

Roger Stone is a vile and egomaniacal political lobbyist with a portrait of Richard Nixon tattooed on his back.

Honestly, you probably don’t need to know much more than that.

Stone has worked behind the scenes in political fiascos ranging from Watergate to the election of the potentially-porcine President Trump.  As a lobbyist or political agent, Stone’s role is to spew as much vitriol, distrust, flat-out lies and disinformation as possible to muscle his clients into their desired position. To his credit (depending on definitions of course), he is fantastic at this…and was among the key figures behind the incredible smoke and mirrors act that was the 2016 Republican Primary election.

Motivated by legacy and influence alone, Stone is a man who defines himself by winning and losing, and doesn’t give the slightest damn about exactly what the game is, as long as the prize includes a pat on his head and some old, cigar smoking man telling him that he’s valuable.

With a legacy including the heavy use of smear campaigns, the establishment of pay-for-play political access, countless programs of disinformation, and the general subversion of the Democratic process, we consider it a matter of little to no personal bias to send a big ‘fuck you’ to Mr. Stone.

 

For good or ill, each of these people have left their own indelible mark on the nation, and world. Some did what they did according to their own sense of righteousness, some for money, and some just to be able to say they did it. Learn these names, and others my friends, for there are many types of people out there, and many ways to change the world.

Which will you choose?

-Brad OH Inc.

A Lament for Henry Wallace

purelyspeculationOver the past year, we’ve written a lot about Bernie Sanders, the former Presidential Candidate and self-avowed ‘Democratic Socialist’ who showed America that their policies may yet be guided by decency and virtue as opposed to greed and the dark lust for power. Bernie failed to gain the nomination, and as we look around now, we can see that the forces of decency are certainly in peril. But let us remember that there are and have been men and women throughout history who will fight the good fight. We needed them then, and we certainly need them in the years to come.

In the past too have we needed such brave and selfless leaders, and today we look back at just such a man from one of the most infamously precarious times in the history of the nation, if not the world. That man is Henry A. Wallace.

In these present days of uncertainty, many are the men and women who will appeal—with righteous indignation and furious intention—to higher powers or political extremes. Sadly, it is far fewer who are willing to be that example in the face of adversity and defiance.

Henry A. Wallace was just such a man.

Throughout his political career, he made an unending effort to turn the political tides towards decency and good sense—even when such qualities were considered subversive, if not outright treacherous.

Wallace served as VP under FDR during WWII, and was an outspoken supporter of New Deal Liberalism, as well as a more cordial approach to dealing with the potential threat of the Soviet Union. He was staunchly opposed to the atomic bomb, but eventually found himself thrown off the democratic ticket and disastrously replaced by Henry Truman. How much of the imperialist decline and wanton destruction to come may have been prevented had Wallace taken the presidency rather than Truman?

Undeterred, Wallace continued as a force of decency and moral rationality, founding the Progressive Party in 1946 as an effort to combat the hardline policies Truman was enacting against the Soviet Union. These efforts, if successful, may have warded off much of the violence and dissolution of the Cold War to come (Link).

Throughout his life, Wallace was driven by a steadfast compulsion towards rationality and good judgement, favouring fairness and open dialogue to judgement and oppression. He was fanatically anti-racist in a time when racism was considered the accepted norm, and a staunch anti-imperialist even as the USA became the world’s most imperialist nation.

Wallace was both practically, and metaphorically the antithesis of McCarthyism. Not only did he fight against it in practice, he represented the polar opposite of ideals. Where McCarthy pushed for labelling, hysteria, and rule by fear, Wallace encouraged sound judgement, tolerance, and foresight.

Needless to say, this stance, and Wallace himself, was not without fault. There are few people indeed who can make the best of judgements at all times, particularity without the best sources of information. In 1952, Wallace published ‘Where I was Wrong’, reflecting on his soft stance towards Stalin’s regime, offering apologies for some of his positions, and recanting any sympathies in light of the war-crimes he learned Stalin had committed. To err is human, but to own that error, apologize directly, and make amends is sufficient in itself to cast even the most talented and noble of people from the sullied echelons of public-esteem.

So, dear readers, let us take a moment to lament the failures and rejection of our friend Henry A. Wallace. Though flawed and moreover disgraced, he was a man led by noble ambitions, and ever loyal to the truth of his beliefs. This is not the mould for political success by any means, and it is a rare thing for a political figure to be so recklessly unconcerned with reputation. To focus instead on decency and virtue is the trait which perhaps will forever segregate the likes of Wallace and Sanders from the highest offices of the American political process, but we can all pray to see more of their kind soon.

Indeed, such people—in all walks of life—are the best hope we have.

-Brad OH Inc.

What Does America Have in Common with the WWE?

purelyspeculationOn March 23rd, 2001, the former World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) accomplished one of it’s greatest ambitions. It bought out its main competitor, World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

This was probably the greatest mistake they ever made.

With no significant competition left, the WWE lost any impetus to improve its product. With no legitimate runner-up, they were left to rest on their laurels rather than fighting to be the best. The quality of the product quickly diminished as the company focussed on preventing any upstart organizations from gaining traction, rather than working to continually improve their own product.

The company’s new focus soon became buying out other organizations and swallowing up emerging talent without any plans to utilize them effectively. They would eviscerate the potential competitors, without ever building on their own brand.

As a result, the WWE never again reached the same level of success or quality they had achieved during their long battle for ratings with the WCW, famously known as the ‘Monday Night Wars’.

In a lot of ways, this is eerily similar to the slow degradation of America after becoming the world’s leading superpower at the end of World War 2.

The following decades saw the nation engaging in a ‘Cold War’ with the Soviet Union—a long and precipitous crusade to invade and exploit weaker nations and spread ‘American Influence’, all while keeping the scary Communists away from valuable resources.

The entirety of the Cold War was—if one removes themselves from the wanton death and destruction—almost a comical mirror of the theatrical pantomimes so common in the wrestling world. It was the classic scenario of two main-eventers competing to see who could intimidate the other more. As the classic scene goes, the two big guys take turns landing finishing moves on hapless jobbers, staring nails through their true opponent without ever directly confronting them. The lower card workers are decimated, and the main eventers perceive their reputation to be bolstered by the damage done.

During this period of macho-posturing and international abuse, America was far more focussed on keeping other nations down than they were on improving themselves.  Military expenditures exploded, and infrastructure crumbled. This trend has continued into the present day, and America now is known more for its foreign meddling and military misuses than it is for the great beacon of freedom it still half-heartedly claims to be.

No longer were the old values of social-cohesion, public growth, quality education and accessible opportunity the hallmarks of American society—all were swept away under an authoritarian wave of bomb building and resource chasing.

Becoming a Superpower caused a huge shift in national identity. With it, America moved from the nation of freedom and growth to a nation of maintenance and control. The American Dream was accomplished, and the rot of its underlying idealism begun. Being a Superpower is among the worst and most damaging things to happen to America—and the resulting decay of values, social responsibility, and cultural identity is apt testament to that.

In the end, the downfall of the WWE and that of the United States both serve to teach us the same crucial lesson.

There is a very significant moral difference between competing to be on top by seeking to be the best, and defending your place at the top by actively damaging those below you.

If we focus on keeping others down rather than enriching ourselves, everyone loses, and in the end, someone is bound to topple the lame-duck façade your once proud empire has become—whether from outside, or from within.

-Brad OH Inc.