If we can convince you that smoking is good and get you to eat for breakfast what we want you to, then we can definitely get you to support this.

Take a good look at the picture below.

Edward Bernays Image

He’s going to factor heavily in this post (and more importantly, what YOU can do to protect your pocketbook).

{Continued below the fold}

So to start off, for those who don’t know, the above image is one Edward Bernays.

Edward Bernays was an interesting character in the last century.

You may not know it, but he actually was one of the most influential people for most of the century…all of it done behind the scenes, of course.

Not only did he convince women that it was okay to smoke (in a very devious way at that), but he got people to change what they ate for breakfast…and got us involved in a little something known later as World War 1, along with the second round of the Banana Wars throughout Latin America in the second half of that century.

What’s even more incredible is that this was all done by someone who had successfully parlayed his degree in agriculture (no, this is not a typo) into a little thing called “public relations”, more commonly referred to as propaganda later on. Utilizing the ideas put forth by his uncle Sigmund Freud may have played a part in his success.

Throughout his career, his formula went a little something like this:

  • Get approached by someone with deep pockets who had a financial incentive in getting the public to use a good, service or to support a policy.
  • Focus on something which would engender social acceptance of that good, service or policy.
  • Typically, this involved coming up with a solution that would mitigate/eliminate any “anxiety” caused by the public not embracing it.
  • Collect his paycheck and move on to his next client.

Well, you may be saying to yourself thanks for the history lesson, KG. Now, what does this have to do with Michigan or even Michigan politics?

Let me fast-forward to just a few days ago and the self inflicted fiscal crisis at DPS.

You’ve probably read the pieces posted here regarding the Michigan Senate’s $715-million plan to bailout (yet again) of DPS, followed by the Michigan House’s $500-million version a few days ago.

The latter addressed the Detroit Federation of Teachers “sickout”/”lockout” which shut down the district for two days, by including poison-pill provisions which caused House democrats to throw a hissy fit (Exhibit “A”: Rep. Gay Dagnogo) and cheesed off DFT members even more.

Now to get everyone up to speed on what’s happening right now, here’s a quick rundown of the latest problems with DPS from last week.

DPS “Transition Manager” and glaring hoplophobe, former Judge Steven Rhodes, was on this weekend’s “Off the Record”/ OTR Overtime in where Tim Skubick, Paul Egan and Chad Livengood’s line of questioning figuratively beat the Judge like a government mule and clearly demonstrated how clueless he really is.

IMHO, This was actually one of Skubick’s better shows.

Judge Rhodes expertly displayed verbal gymnastics on how his upcoming closed to the public meetings with DPS officials next week, doesn’t actually clash with his claims of transparency in running things at DPS, was just the tip of the iceberg.

The other problem was a report released by Michigan State Treasurer Nick Khouri stating that unless the Michigan Senate’s plan was passed, DPS would run out of funding on June 30 of this year. Treasurer Khouri also highlighted where the monies from the Michigan Senate’s plan would go as part of the “OldCo” / “NewCo” (their terminology for splitting up DPS into two separate school districts). It’s a good read. It contained a lot of items that DPS, if it were properly managed, should’ve addressed literally decades ago.

Sadly, there was no mention in the memo or attached spreadsheets on where the remainder of the funding would come from to pay off the remainder of DPS’s $3.5-billion in debt.

But there was one ray of hope last week in all of this, if you could call it that.

Michigan State Representative Peter Lucido introduced a package of bills on Wednesday ( HB-5644 & HB-5645), which will float a $515-million bond for Detroit Public Schools under two conditions. First, the matter will need to go before a statewide vote in November. Second, if Michigan Voters did approve of the measure, Detroit residents would be responsible for paying off the interest, but not the principal.

It’ll be interesting to see where these bills go.

So exactly what does this all have to do with that Bernays character?

Let me leave everyone with a final and very relevant quote:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” – Edward Bernays “Propaganda” (1928)

Anyone reading this should be able to recognize where I am going with it.

Don’t permit yourselves be fooled by manufactured crises and especially don’t allow yourselves to be duped by solutions (which are anything but) promulgated by officials which are put out there just to make everyone feel better in the end, but without actually fixing anything.

Just shut it down and move on.


This couldn’t come soon enough.

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