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Nothing matters

politicalwords

When John Mellencamp (then still under the “John Cougar” label) in 1980 released an album called “Nothin’ Matters and What if it Did”, he did at least have the advantage of appending a phrase that saved the idea from complete nihilism.

No such luck a few decades later.

Sometime probably in early 2013 an animated gif image, consisting only of rotating letters, was designed to say “lol nothing matters.”

An advocate soon responded, “So try responding to someone with the "lol nothing matters" gif the next time you are in an internet fight. You will automatically win so hard your opponent will probably disable all of their social media accounts and move to a remote mountaintop."

And there it might have stopped but, in the nihilistic spirit of the age, it did not. It was in fact widely used as an image in commenting - on all manner of subjects - but then it forked into new, curious and eerie meanings.

A writer in Slate reported about the indifference of many people to checking whether purported facts were actually truthful (the article was discussing a professional fact-checker). One subject concerned the false report that weapons of mass destruction were stockpiled in Iraq before the American invasion there. A correction on that report was issued, but for students inclined initially to believe in the WMD report, the correction only caused them to defend the idea more fiercely.

The resulting thesis was that “the internet divides us, that facts will make us dumber, and that debunking doesn’t work. These ideas, and the buzzwords that came with them—filter bubbles, selective exposure, and the backfire effect—would be cited, again and again, as seismic forces pushing us to rival islands of belief.” In other words, “nothing matters” next to one’s belief. The article concluded with the suggestions that the concern may be overstated; but by how much remained unclear.

The “nothing matters” idea was picked up by Donald Trump, on more than one occasion. Back in 2004, speaking on the Larry King show, he answered a question on coping with stress by saying, “I try and tell myself it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.”

The theme popped up in his presidency, an arena where nearly everything said and eon is cloaked in a mantle of significance. In september 2018 he said “We’ll see what happens with Iran. … I will always be available, but it doesn’t matter one way or the other.” In October 2018, he answered a question about the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court appointment of Brett Kavanaugh by saying, “It doesn’t matter. We won.”

Tim O’Brien, who wrote the book “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald,” suggested the slip into the concept is natural for him: “He profoundly believes nothing matters because he usually isn’t the victim of his own mistakes,”

A headline over a Michelle Goldberg column [New York Times, August 28, 2018] said: “Motto for the Trump Age: Lol, nothing matters.” The context for the piece was a recitation of the problems of the Trump Administration, noting that very little effective blowback to those issues had materialized. So endless scandals and legal issues are reported: Does any of it matter?

Or, put another way, “The watchwords of Trump-era politics are “LOL nothing matters.” If you’re in a jam, you just lie about it.”

What does matter?
 

Derangement syndrome

politicalwords

The current usage is in the form of “Trump derangement syndrome”, meant to suggest a person who has come unhinged by the subject of Donald Trump.

But it cannot be properly understood without acknowledgement of its predecessor conditions: Obama Derangement Syndrome, Bush Derangement Syndrome, Clinton Derangement Syndrome - all in-currency usages in their day, and all meant to connote something similar but with interchangeable subjects and objects. (Trump, Obama and Bush all have separate pages on Wikipedia, as an indication of their common usage.) The DS coinage seems to have started with Clinton; earlier strong objections seem to have been described differently.

(The popularization of the term has been pegged to columnist Charles Krauthammer, who launched the Bush-era use of it in 2003.)

Are we doomed to become deranged by anyone sitting in the White House? Or is any criticism of that person doomed to be dismissed as the product of insanity?

That seems to be the common usage. One web site said called Trump DS “a[n] illness that hard left liberals, anti-trump conservatives, and progressives have. These are very hateful people who cannot have reasonable arguments or conversations about common sense issues." (Sounds like a calm, objective, fair-minded point of view, right?)

Columnist E.J. Dionne counters, liberals “are told that their apprehension about the threat he poses to our constitutional democracy is not a form of vigilance but a disease.”

(Dionne also proposes “Trump Rearrangement Syndrome: A disorder common among Republicans who were once very critical of #Trump but now disown everything they said (or pretend they never said it) to curry favor with him & his core supporters.)

Does “derangement syndrome” - which sounds so scientific - actually have a meaning other than as an insult meant to be lobbed across the political aisle?

It does, as it turns out.

This traces back to a physical therapist from New Zealand named Robin McKenzie (1931-2013), who researched and helped treat pain in the spine and the limbs. He developed a school of thought on treatment in that area, called the McKenzie Method, which has some popularity in the field.

He organized his varieties of condition and appropriate treatment in three categories, all classified as “syndromes.” One of them related to tissue deformities (dysfunction syndrome), and concerns posture (postural syndrome) coming from such actions as slouching, and then there’s derangement syndrome, the most common of the three.

It refers to “pain which is caused by a disturbance in the normal resting position of the affected joint surfaces. This syndrome is classified in two groups: Irreducible derangement … No strategy is capable to produce a permanent change in symptoms. [And] Reducible derangement: Shows one direction of repeated movement which decreases or centralizes referred symptoms = preferred direction; shows also an opposite repeated movement characterized by production or increase or distal movement of the symptoms. The treatment includes: examination of the patient’s symptomatic and mechanical response to repeated movements or sustained positions because the chosen treatment depends on the clinically induced directional preference.”

Read through that carefully again, and ponder whether Dr. McKenzie might in fact have found something that might be usefully adapted for use in American politics ...
 

Income share agreement

politicalwords

No, it’s not another term for “marriage,” though that does offer an indication of just how involved this can get.

The use of “share” and “agreement” give the phrase an uplifting, almost cheery, sound, but the underlying consideration here is debt - the mountains of nearly unpayable debt many college students face. After mortgages (which most of the time are a manageable and ordinary part of middle-class living), the largest mass of debt in the United States is higher education debt, more than $1.5 trillion. In many cases that debt is in such large amounts that final payoffs of them seem unseeably far into the future.

This is a new development. During my college days in the 1970s, I took out a couple of student loans, but they were modest in size, and I paid them off without difficulty in four or five years. The amounts were small, because the costs were too. Finances were not a reason, in those days, a person could not go to college (at least, some decent college) if they chose to.

Conditions have changed. The situation is not good for anyone involved, but especially for those buried under all this debt. One theoretical advantage in a search for solutions is that, increasingly, student debt is not scattered among endless numbers of private lenders but under the umbrella of the federal government; the advantage is not that the federal government is any better as a lender but that it is just one unit to deal with,k and susceptible to congressional action.

One approach for dealing with it, a method that seems to be gaining in popularity, is the “income share agreement,” which is a variation on how a loan will be repaid. Instead of imposing a set amount due every month (depending presumably in part on the size of the loan), the ISA is more flexible: It would vary in size depending on he income the former student receives once employed. A law student who goes to work for a top white-shoe firm might kick in more, while one who works as a public defender might pay less. An in-demand physician would may more dollars per month than, say, an elementary school teacher.

The idea has some appeal (which is about 40 years old), as a way of matching ability to pay with liability. But the story could get more complicated. The debt size in many cases is so enormous that it might not plausibly be repaid in a working lifetime - and what then? (The law is very hard on discharging student loans, albeit not impossible under some conditions.)

That’s only one of the questions.

There’s a financial-structural question, which is beginning to arise as private lenders gradually move back into the business. As writer Malcolm Harris put it, “If you can convince investors you’re going to be rich for the rest of your life, why spend your college years poor? I.S.A.s bridge the gap. It’s hard to think up a better advertisement for free-market capitalism. But I.S.A.s are premised on the idea of discriminating among individuals. Once the high-achieving poor and working-class students have been nabbed by I.S.A.s, the default rate for federal loans starts to rise, which means the interest rates for these loans have to go up to compensate. A two-tiered borrowing system emerges, and the public half degrades.”[https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/11/opinion/sunday/student-loans.html]

This leads to developments that could even “reshape childhood,” encouraging K-12 students to redraw their K-12 learning and activities to suit not only college admissions offices but also lenders - to persuade that they’d be a good lending risk.

The ongoing steps where this might lead - not least in the discouraging of students even thinking about entering much-needed but less-profitable careers - could take a dark path.

University of Chicago economist Gary Becker said in one study that “Economists have long emphasized that it is difficult to borrow funds to invest in human capital because such capital cannot be offered as collateral and courts have frowned on contracts which even indirectly suggest involuntary servitude.”[https://www.nber.org/chapters/c13571.pdf; referenced in Harris’ New York Times opinion piece, May 11, 2019.] But under enough financial pressure - we’re talking about really big money here, past the trillion-dollar mark - how long will courts continue to look at it that way?

Which takes us back to “share” and “agreement,” and the question of how such a fine-sounding concept can turn into something so dark.
 

Derangement syndrome

politicalwords

The current usage is in the form of “Trump derangement syndrome”, meant to suggest a person who has come unhinged by the subject of Donald Trump.

But it cannot be properly understood without acknowledgement of its predecessor conditions: Obama Derangement Syndrome, Bush Derangement Syndrome, Clinton Derangement Syndrome - all in-currency usages in their day, and all meant to connote something similar but with interchangeable subjects and objects. (Trump, Obama and Bush all have separate pages on Wikipedia, as an indication of their common usage.) The DS coinage seems to have started with Clinton; earlier strong objections seem to have been described differently.

(The popularization of the term has been pegged to columnist Charles Krauthammer, who launched the Bush-era use of it in 2003.)

Are we doomed to become deranged by anyone sitting in the White House? Or is any criticism of that person doomed to be dismissed as the product of insanity?

That seems to be the common usage. One conservative web site called Trump DS “a[n] illness that hard left liberals, anti-trump conservatives, and progressives have. These are very hateful people who cannot have reasonable arguments or conversations about common sense issues.” (Sounds like a calm, objective, fair-minded point of view, right?)

Columnist E.J. Dionne counters, liberals “are told that their apprehension about the threat he poses to our constitutional democracy is not a form of vigilance but a disease.”

(Dionne also proposes “Trump Rearrangement Syndrome: A disorder common among Republicans who were once very critical of #Trump but now disown everything they said (or pretend they never said it) to curry favor with him & his core supporters.)

Does “derangement syndrome” - which sounds so scientific - actually have a meaning other than as an insult meant to be lobbed across the political aisle?

It does, as it turns out.

This traces back to a physical therapist from New Zealand named Robin McKenzie (1931-2013), who researched and helped treat pain in the spine and the limbs. He developed a school of thought on treatment in that area, called the McKenzie Method, which has some popularity in the field.

He organized his varieties of condition and appropriate treatment in three categories, all classified as “syndromes.” One of them related to tissue deformities (dysfunction syndrome), and concerns posture (postural syndrome) coming from such actions as slouching, and then there’s derangement syndrome, the most common of the three.

It refers to “pain which is caused by a disturbance in the normal resting position of the affected joint surfaces. This syndrome is classified in two groups: Irreducible derangement … No strategy is capable to produce a permanent change in symptoms. [And] Reducible derangement: Shows one direction of repeated movement which decreases or centralizes referred symptoms = preferred direction; shows also an opposite repeated movement characterized by production or increase or distal movement of the symptoms. The treatment includes: examination of the patient’s symptomatic and mechanical response to repeated movements or sustained positions because the chosen treatment depends on the clinically induced directional preference.”

Read through that carefully again, and ponder whether Dr. McKenzie might in fact have found something that might be usefully adapted for use in American politics ...
 

Voter fraud

politicalwords

After the 2016 general election, a large number of elected officials - Republican primarily - expressed an interest in checking into voter fraud, a subject the incoming president said he planned to pursue. One of them was the secretary of state in Oregon, Dennis Richardson. In September 2017, having reviewed voting cases around the state, in an election in which two million votes were cast, he said his office had identified 56 voter fraud cases cases to the state’s attorney general’s office.

In April 2019, after reviewing the cases, that office said it had obtained guilty pleas in 10 cases, involving people registered in three parties (including both Democratic and Republican) and none at all. The 10 were charged with felonies initially, but those charges were negotiated down to lesser offenses. (Some of the others remain formally under investigation, though most simply never led to charges.)

Most of the cases had to do with voting both in Oregon and Washington state. One person was “was suffering from kidney infections which impacted his cognition” - he was confused. Another was a woman who filled out a ballot for an elderly parent in Washington, and then her own proper ballot back in Oregon. Another was an Oregon student living in Colorado, and forgot that he had already voted in one state when he cast a ballot in another.

All of those, and the others, were offenses - these were voters who broke the law, and shouldn’t have, and they’ve been fined. But none of them represent any kind of grand conspiracy, and their numbers were so very low - 10 voters, ultimately possibly a few more - out of two million votes cast, that they do not represent a significant threat to the election regime in Oregon.

That’s more or less the norm in the United States: A few people who screw up, but hardly any cases of messing with the system in such a way as to try to influence the outcome of elections.

It’s not that voter fraud, of one sort or another, doesn’t or hasn’t ever occurred. The Robert Caro volume Means of Ascent about Lyndon Johnson contains a few hundred pages about how Johnson stole - not too strong a word - the 1948 Democratic Senate primary in Texas, through all sorts of means including the mass fabricating of votes. It is one of the most extreme cases of voter fraud - though ordinary voters generally had little to do with it - in American history.

The most striking recent case was in North Carolina, a well-publicized case in that state’s 9th congressional district, aimed specifically at electing one candidate, Republican Mark Harris. Months of investigations followed, along with an eventual order to hold a new election. During one hearing, a news report said, “State investigators established their theory of the case — that a Republican operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, directed a coordinated scheme to unlawfully collect, falsely witness, and otherwise tamper with absentee ballots — and workers who say they had assisted him in the scheme delivered damning testimony describing their activities.”[https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/2/21/18231981/north-carolina-election-fraud-new-nc-9-election] That case involved hundreds of fraudulent votes, evidently enough to change the outcome of the election.

But both of those cases (historical and recent), and all of the other small numbers of organized vote-tampering cases, involve political activists (sometimes though not always involving candidates) who subvert the actions of the voting public. The voting public is not the problem - not more than a flyspeck, at least.

“Voter fraud”, then, seems a misnumber. “Political activist fraud”, as uncommon as it, too, is, may be a more appropriate way to express what’s going on.
 

Coup

politicalwords

One of the older print books in my household collection - old enough that I bought the paperback new for 75 cents - is called Coup d’Etat: A Practical Handbook, a Brilliant Guide for Taking Over a Nation.” It’s a manual for a do-it-yourselfer: Here’s how to forcibly take over a country - preferably a less-technically developed one.

The author, Edward Luttwak, is a serious researcher on military and other history, and has written among other things a highly-regarded study of the strategy the Roman Empire used to grow itself, as well as a guide to military strategy used in armed forces training. Coup d’Etat was an unusual case. Opinion writer David Frum called it “that astounding thing: a great work of political science that is also a hilarious satire.” And it sort of is: Serious, factual and well-researched (he includes detailed lists of recent coups, successful and failed, referenced in the body of the book).

If on the surface it seems almost like an invitation to anarchy, the introduction (written by another writer) makes the case that “this book is as much a matter for the prevention of the coup as for initiating one.”

(It was not, by the way, the first book on the subject. There was at least one other as well, Technique of the Coup d’Etat, by Curzio Malaparte.)

Overthrows along the lines of what we might consider a coup go back to the days of ancient empires, but the modern form of the coup, in Luttwak;’s telling, is a modern thing, made possible in the last couple hundred years or so by modern governmental bureaucracy and by modern communications and transportation. He comes up with this definition: “A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.” (The term means in English a blow against the state.) It does not have to be violent (though it might be), and it need not rely on support from the constituency (though it might obtain that).

That gives the sense that a coup is a long shot, that a number of elements have to fall into place to make it work, and Luttwak seems to make that case; his basic list of coups and attempted coups from 1945 to 1967 includes about as many failures as successes. He suggests that coups are much more likely to succeed when a set of preconditions are in place, such as “economic backwardness,” political independence (no close entangling alliances) of the target country, and a basic unity of the country (it’s not likely to fall into pieces under pressure). It also depends on the standing, non-political, parts of the government not being strong enough to push back against an illegal change in leadership. They work best, then, in developing countries where institutions and economies are not large and stable. (They also may be on the decline; 2018 was only the second year a century - 2007 was the first - to report no coup attempts internationally.)

But to be clear: A coup is not the same as opposition. A coup is an abrupt, generally unexpected, wrenching of the power of a state from whoever was legitimately installed to lead it. Luttwak refers to using the tools of the state to aggressively change its leadership, but that’s not the same as changing leadership using legitimate procedures. The rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, for example, wasn’t quite a coup despite all of the activities of Brownshirts and others in the street; he was handed high office in that country according to constitutional procedures, at least at first.

The charge of one side or another fomenting a “coup” turns up periodically in recent American politics. On unusual occasions there were rumblings to effect from the left, about Republican efforts to kick out President Barack Obama (or, before that, Bill Clinton). As determined as some of those efforts were, none rose to the level of a coup; even the impeachment effort against Clinton was undertaken

Former television personality Bill O’Reilly wrote, for example, about what he described as a coup attempt targeting President Donald Trump: [https://bernardgoldberg.com/an-american-coup-detat/] “The story of our time is the coup d’état that is being planned in this country. Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? In most countries, coup d’états happen when the military tries to overthrow the government. The United States military would never do that… but the national media certainly would.” News organizations, in other words, were trying to engineer a coup.

But even if you assume they were trying that, the description misuses the word “coup.” There is no forcible overthrow here; the governmental system of elections and succession remained in place, and O’Reilly wasn’t really trying to contend that it hadn’t. He was comparing criticism by news organizations to a violent military overthrow of the government, but the two things are wholly different; the most news organizations could do would be to influence the opinions of various sectors of the public.

A coup is not criticism or opposition. It is an illegitimate seizure of political power.

On that basis, it might be worth reviewing what the Russian government was trying to accomplish in the American elections of 2016. That did not involve direct seizure of the governmental levers of power. But, as a quiet, well-placed attempt to grab power, it comes close to meeting the definition of coup. Whether successful or not, being a subject for further review.
 

People of means

politicalwords
Howard Schultz, founder and CEO at Starbucks for many years and in 2019 a prospective candidate for the presidency, has made billions of dollars in income and was reported to have a net worth of $3.4 billion. He has objected, however, to the label “billionaire.”

In February 2019, he was quoted in an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin: “The moniker billionaire now has become the catchphrase. I would re-phrase that and I would say that people of means have been able to leverage their wealth and their interests in ways that are unfair. And I think that speaks to the inequality, but it also directly speaks to the special interests that are paid for by people of wealth and corporations that are looking for influence. And they have such unbelievable influence on the politicians who are steeped in the ideology of both parties.”

Up until then, of course, the word “billionaire” had been widely accepted in common usage (where accurate, in referring to people with a net worth of $1 billion or more) and had not been in dispute. The pushback occurred solely because it was people with such extravagant wealth were no longer being viewed, widely, nearly so favorably.

Someday before long, we're going to be witness to the first trillionaires - which, considering the immense slice of global wealth such a person would hold, would be a scary prospect for many people. (Remember, there was no such thing as a billionaire until just about a century ago, when in September 1916 a gaggle of newspaper reports declared that stock and other holdings had boosted John D. Rockefeller above mere millionaire status; some other estimates give the first-B status to automaker Henry Ford around 1925.)

As a presidential prospect, he understandably wanted to try some reframing.

That may not be especially easy.

In one of its weekly reader contests, the news magazine The Week asked, “Please come up with a catchier term to describe billionaires who’d rather not be called billionaires.”

Third place: “The fun percent.” Second place: “The gilt-ridden.” First place: “The affluence burdened.”

You can try to change the words, but the underlying facts remain.
 

Death tax

politicalwords

“Economists tend to see the estate tax as one of the most economically harmful taxes per dollar of revenue raised. By raising the estate tax threshold and ultimately repealing the estate tax outright, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would remove an impediment to economic growth.” - Jared Walczak, senior policy analyst, Tax Foundation

We support the total abolition of inheritance taxes. - Idaho Republican Party platform

Frank Luntz, in his book Words that Matter: “Sure, some object that the term ‘death tax’ is inflammatory, but think about it. What was the event that triggered its collection? You pay a sales tax when you are involved with a sale. You pay an income tax when you earn income. And when you die – if you’ve been financially successful – and forgotten to hire really smart and expensive accountants – you may also pay a tax. So what else would you call that, if not a death tax?”

The short answer is, an “inheritance tax” or an “estate tax,” because that is what is actually taxed. Death is not taxed, nor do 99 American deaths (or more) out of 100. Luntz’ statement here ranks high among the most dishonest pieces of political gobbledygook ever - quite an achievement.

“Death tax” suggests that a tax will be imposed on anyone who dies. It does not.
That’s true most simply because the dead person isn’t around anymore to pay it – the heirs do.

This is also dishonest because it is actually so limited in scope.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that “Only the estates of the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans — roughly 2 out of every 1,000 people who die — owe any estate tax.” And it’s not as though all of that inheritance is seized: “Among the few estates nationwide that owe any estate tax in 2017, the effective tax rate — that is, the share of the estate’s value paid in taxes — is less than 17 percent, on average, according to the Tax Policy Center.”

Luntz makes a passing feint at this with his reference to “financially successful,” but the fact is that if you’re not inheriting about $5.5 million, you don’t pay this tax at all. Are you not a millionaire? This tax does not apply to you. It applies only to the wealthy.

And even then, only in some cases. Note another of Luntz’ passing phases the one about “eally smart and expensive accountants.” Many people who would quality for paying the tax do not because they’ve apportioned their wealth in creative enough ways to avoiding it – and the tax code is larded with such loopholes.

The argument is often made about small businesses and especially farms that family members would like to pass on to children. Decades of desperate searches by anti-estate tax advocates have come up dry in finding instances. But then, these are areas where political compromises and levels can be had. The $5.5 million cutoff level, for example, is somewhat arbitrary, and efforts have already been made in the law to allow for keeping family businesses in the family. If need be, more can be done.

Some apologists for the tax like Walczak try to make the argument that the tax somehow constrains the economy. What it does is concentrate wealth into ever fewer hands, and concentrate it in the ranks of those who did nothing to generate it: The heirs are not business founders or economy expanders. There’s no social interest in pouring ever more money into their ranks. There’s a considerable social benefit to restraining it.
 

Deep state

politicalwords

On January 2, 2018, Virginia Senator Mark Warner released a tweet saying, “Slandering the Department of Justice’s career law enforcement and intel professionals as the 'deep state' — whatever that actually means — is dangerous and unpresidential.”

It was only one of the more recent uses of the phrase, but one of the first to include the cautionary comment “whatever that actually means.”

As with "The Swamp", Warner’s implicit question here is sound and almost impossible to answer.

Warner’s tweet came a few hours after President Donald Trump, in one of his many tweets, referred to the “Deep State Justice Dept”. His former presidential campaign opponent Evan McMullin prompted tweeted that “Saying nothing of the fact that the 'Deep State Justice Department' is run by Trump’s own appointees, his effort to use its power to punish his political rivals and protect him from law enforcement is an abuse of power.”

So again, what is the Deep State?

The Deep State Twitter handle defines it as “typically influential members of government agencies or the military to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.” Meaning … the Trump Administration?
Radio talker Rush Limbaugh has called it “embeds in the deep state at the Pentagon, State Department, various intelligence agencies.” (That has an ominous ring, no doubt intentionally: These people are embeds reporting back and responsible to, who exactly? That’s left unsaid.)

Writing in Politico, Michael Crowley argued that “The Deep State is real,” noted that “Political scientists and foreign policy experts have used the term deep state for years to describe individuals and institutions who exercise power independent of—and sometimes over—civilian political leaders.” For decades the concept, if not the exact phrase, was more commonplace on the left than on the right.

In fact, he said, “Tufts University international law professor Michael J. Glennon’s 2014 book, National Security and Double Government. Glennon observed that Obama had campaigned against Bush-era surveillance and security policies in 2008 but acquiesced to many of them as president—suggesting a national-security apparatus that holds sway even over the elected leaders notionally in charge of it.”

There is something here: Institutions like individual people do tend to fight back when they’re assaulted, and that Trump Administration has seen a good deal of that dynamic. But remember that government, even the federal government and even its institutional agencies, aren’t monochrome, and the people in them might devil George W. Bush in one administration, Barack Obama in another and Donald Trump in a third. It’s part of the normal dynamic, not a matter of “embeds” or conspiracies.

Whether that’s right or wrong can depend on where you sit, ideologically. But there’s nothing “deep” about it.