“Don’t say gay” playing out EXACTLY how Governor DeSantis intended it to as the Soviet Florida keeps rolling on

Don’t buy the whiny victimization, angry press conferences or indignant tweets from Ron DeSantis and his acolytes. The bottom line is this, the conversation nationally over HB 1557, aka “The Don’t Say Gay Bill,” is playing out EXACTLY how the Governor wants it. In a one party state like the Soviet Union, where DeSantis is determined to crush any dissent be it by protesters, corporations, local governments or whomever, he’s in control and has scripted the battle.

Florida’s reputation which has already suffered through the years, partly due to the buffoonery of the Florida GOP but also due to some very clear media bias against the state has sunk even lower during the discussions of this legislation. And this is EXACTLY how the Governor gamed it out.

The Governor loves the likes of HBO’s John Oliver spending long segments mocking him and the Florida Legislature, because it gives DeSantis, a performative artist, unequaled in modern US politics, the ability to play the victim. He loves The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post and other “elite” publications or networks coming after him and the state. He can then spin it with appearances on FOX News, OANN, and on the pages of The Daily Caller, TownHall and other right-wing website.

He relishes Disney’s newfound voice because he can attack large corporations as “woke.” This is because despite his rhetoric, DeSantis isn’t a conservative but actually someone who believes in using government to enforce his own social preferences, which isn’t terribly different than Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Putin’s Russia is an orthodox religious state whose economy is basically a combination of crony capitalism and socialism.

It also takes critical attention off two other equally onerous pieces of legislation the Governor will sign – 1) The Stop Woke Act, which effectively puts Florida’s Legislature into every workplace in the state, almost inevitably curtailing needed conversations about race, gender identity and ethnicity. For a Governor that constantly talks about Communism as an evil, this legislation reads like the most perfect piece of Stalinism to me (Stalin’s attempts to whitewash identity in the Soviet Union by Russifying everyone even though he was actually Georgian and eliminating religious distinctions is what led directly to the current conflict in Ukraine we are witnessing). 2) The assault on reproductive freedom in this state which puts the state, not women or their doctors in control of a process to get a life-saving medical procedure done after a certain period and makes it more difficult in general to get access to critical reproductive health.

DeSantis is playing this perfectly and unfortunately for those of us in Florida trying to fight him on a daily basis, he’s winning – he controls the narrative and much like Vladimir Putin’s shameless courting via propaganda of the global south and anti-western imperialist forces during his invasion of Ukraine (this requires another full length piece on which I am working), DeSantis knows his base, knows the media, and ultimately controls the spin cycle.

One comment

  1. Patrick Joseph Fowler · ·

    Totalitarian Capitalism
    Monopoly, Monopsony and Oligarchy with no alternative

    Monopoly has to do with dominance in selling in a market. Monopsony has to do with dominance in buying in a market. A major corporation can be, and often is, both. An oligarchy is a political economic system dominated by a minority of the population. Oligarchs can be members of government or civilians with dominating power over government policy. In our case financiers and corporate executives form the oligarchy deciding how government is financed and what policies will be promulgated that impact the whole political economic system. A business oligarchy is interested in non-economic issues only to the extent that such issues might affect their interests. One of their interests is to distract the public from their work to concentrate wealth, income and power in the hands of the wealthiest few. Funding social conflict is an investment in distraction. Control of media and popular culture are crucial to this strategy. Think carefully about who controls media, including the internet and entertainment outlets. While business competition shrinks, competition among the people increases.

    Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, and partner with Ronald Reagan in support of Neo-Liberal politics and Anglo Capitalism, said – “there is no alternative” (TINA). TINA went viral as the slogan of global Neo-Liberalism. In totalitarianism, no real opposition to the dominant ideology is tolerated. No opposition political parties are allowed. There is a high degree of control over public and private life. In the USA, between the 1880s and the late 1940s, alternatives to capitalism were openly discussed. Populists, socialists, anarchists, communists and labor activists all provided alternatives to the prevailing political economic system. With the post war re-ascendance of corporate power, we saw the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act, the second Red Scare and McCartheyism, the destruction of radical unionism, and the increasing unacceptability of any opposition to capitalist control of society. One political party is a capitalist, bigot coalition and the other is a capitalist identity coalition. “Third” parties are almost impossible to form. The two “major” parties have been written into state and federal law. A new party is not the only route to opposition, however, there is presently no form of organized countervailing influence to capitalism itself.

    In the past 50 years large corporations in partnership with government at all levels have:
    Created and benefitted from changes in the supply chain, changes that have made the chain fragile,
    participated in mergers and mega-mergers, reducing competition,
    gone shopping globally for the cheapest labor supply and fewest labor and environmental regulations,
    bought their own stock to artificially increase the stock price and corporate valuation,
    Increased executive compensation beyond any reasonable value to the company,
    Transferred priority from domestic production of goods to financial services,
    Reduced taxes on top incomes, wealth and corporations to support business growth.

    A relevant aside, capitalism is destroying the earth as a habitable planet.

    Capitalism is essentially an autocratic ideology with control of work and compensation in the hands of the boss or chief executive. Employees do as they are told or lose their jobs. Wage earners have seen little increase in compensation over the past 50 years and have lost value in pensions and health benefits. Tax cuts have reduced public goods that at one time assisted in providing some equity in the economic system. Public schools are failing, community hospitals disappear, public health is unable to perform its basic preventive functions. Infrastructure continues to wear out. Inflation makes it all worse. Prices go up while corporations report record profits and executives see improved compensation packages. Reports of corporations absorbing costs to maintain reasonable price levels are unheard of.

    We are experiencing a new form of totalitarianism. It is one with full prisons but constant reminders of the freedoms we enjoy. It offers overwhelming numbers of types of toothpaste and “extreme” experiences. To the shock of most other cultures, a person here can say almost anything. People here can do almost anything too. We kill one another at a rate unknown in the rest of the industrialized world. We are not just free; we are childlike in our demands for what we want and think we should have. Marketing campaigns, advertising and sales pitches are professionally and often psychologically designed to shape our thinking about ourselves and the things we can have. In a consumer culture it is necessary to create needs for services and goods, based on created status needs and well as actual utility. We no longer know the difference between wants and needs. We have been taught to need the system that we serve in order to be the people we think we should be. As we were warned against in Brave New World, we support the totalitarian system we have been taught to want.

    If you question these conclusions just try to organize an inclusive group to oppose the further concentration of power of capitalists. Do that and you will have broken the bounds of the total control of their ideology. Shunning and ostracism will quickly follow. Most will disagree, because of their dreams. Many may agree, but will see such a move as extreme and impractical. The few who follow will have been so socialized in individualism and identity that they will find it impossible to agree on shared interests and goals. Only the most committed and thick skinned will maintain their commitment to the opposite of capitalism, a society that values the common good and popular democracy over individual dominance. A society that prioritizes the health and welfare of the earth and all of its people.


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