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Posts Tagged ‘Fake news’

Realism & Restraint The Campaign to Lie America Into World War II

Posted by M. C. on December 7, 2019

Home/Articles/Realism & Restraint/The Campaign to Lie America Into World War II

Before Pearl Harbor, there was an elaborate British influence operation of forged documents, fake news, and manipulation.

A World War II era poster showing portraits of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill with the title “Liberators of The World”. The poster also shows the flags of the Allies, and the sinking of the Japanese battleship Haruna. (Photo by David J. & Janice L. Frent/Corbis via Getty Images)

Seventy-eight years ago, on December 6, 1941, the United States was at peace with world. The next morning, local time, the Empire of Japan bombed the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Four days later, Nazi Germany issued a declaration of war against the United States. The American people were now unalterably involved in a global conflict that would take the lives of over 400,000 of their native sons.

But before Japan opened this door to war, the United States had been the target of an elaborate, covert influence campaign meant to push public opinion, by hook or by crook, into supporting intervention on the side of the British. Conducted by the United Kingdom’s MI6 intelligence service, it involved sometimes witting (and often unwitting) collaboration with the highest echelons of the U.S. government and media establishment.

In the early summer of 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill dispatched intelligence agent William Stephenson to North America to establish the innocuous-sounding British Security Coordination (BSC). The Canadian-born Stephenson was a World War I flying ace and wealthy industrialist who had been a close Churchill confidant for several years. Adopting the codename “Intrepid” during his operations, spymaster Stephenson served as the main inspiration for James Bond (whose creator, Ian Fleming, worked with the BSC).

The BSC’s base of operations was the 35th floor of Rockefeller Center in New York City, which it occupied rent-free. The influence campaign began in April 1941, employing hundreds of agents, including well-placed individuals in front groups, the government, and polling organizations.

Intrepid had his work cut out for him.

Entering 1941, upwards of 80 percent of Americans opposed U.S. intervention in the war in Europe, a sentiment expressed through the America First Committee. Founded in September 1940 by a group of Yale students (including Gerald Ford, Sargent Shriver, and future Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart), at its peak the organization had 800,000 dues paying members and 450 local chapters spread across the country.

“The America First Committee was taking the position that we should not be involved in foreign wars, as we were in World War I,” John V. Denson, a distinguished scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and former circuit judge in Alabama, told The American Conservative. “There was a great deal of criticism of [Woodrow] Wilson taking us into World War I, so there was strong sentiment that we were tricked into that war and therefore that we needed to stay out of European wars. That was the America First position. We didn’t want England or anyone else dragging us into another war.”

This meant that a primary goal of the BSC was to disparage and harass those Americans opposed to entering World War II. But it couldn’t do this in the open. The Fight for Freedom Committee was (like the BSC) established in April 1941 and also headquartered at Rockefeller Center. There it announced that the United States ought to accept “the fact that we are at war, whether declared or undeclared.”

In September 1941, when North Dakota Senator Gerald Nye, an anti-interventionist and scourge of the armaments industry, gave a speech in Boston, Fight for Freedom demonstrators booed and heckled him while handing out 25,000 pamphlets labeling him an “appeaser and Nazi-lover.” Similarly, when New York Congressman Hamilton Fish III, an irritable thorn in Franklin Roosevelt’s side, held a rally in Milwaukee, a Fight for Freedom member interrupted his speech to hand him a placard: “Der Fuhrer thanks you for your loyalty.” Reporters, alerted ahead of time, made sure photos of the scene were reprinted nationwide.

When Charles Lindbergh, the aviator and the America First Committee’s most popular speaker, addressed a rally at Madison Square Garden in October 1941, Fight for Freedom attempted to sow confusion by printing duplicate tickets. Lindbergh still successfully spoke to over 20,000 supporters, not including an agent provocateur who tried to cause a stir by yelling, “Hang Roosevelt!” (In actuality, it would be Lindbergh’s infamous September 11 remarks in Des Moines that would do more to damage the non-interventionist cause than any of the BSC-orchestrated hijinks.)

A 1945 study by BSC historians described their efforts: “Personalities were discredited, their unsavory pasts were dug up, their utterances were printed and reprinted…. Little by little, a sense of guilt crept through the cities and across the states. The campaign took hold.”

The rest here

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Attacking The Source: The Establishment Loyalist’s Favorite Online Tactic – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on December 4, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/11/28/attacking-the-source-the-establishment-loyalists-favorite-online-tactic/

If you’re skeptical of western power structures and you’ve ever engaged in online political debate for any length of time, the following has definitely happened to you.

You find yourself going back and forth with one of those high-confidence, low-information establishment types who’s promulgating a dubious mainstream narrative, whether that be about politics, war, Julian Assange, or whatever. At some point they make an assertion which you know to be false–publicly available information invalidates the claim they’re making.

“I’ve got them now!” you think to yourself, if you’re new to this sort of thing. Then you share a link to an article or video which makes a well-sourced, independently verifiable case for the point you are trying to make.

Then, the inevitable happens.

“LMAO! That outlet!” they scoff in response. “That outlet is propaganda/fake news/conspiracy theory trash!”

Or something to that effect. You’ll encounter this tactic over and over and over again if you continually engage in online political discourse with people who don’t agree with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re literally just linking to an interview featuring some public figure saying a thing you’d claimed they said. It doesn’t matter if you’re linking to a WikiLeaks publication of a verified authentic document. Unless you’re linking to CNN/Fox News (whichever fits the preferred ideology of the establishment loyalist you’re debating), they’ll bleat “fake news!” or “propaganda!” or “Russia!” as though that in and of itself magically invalidates the point you’re trying to make.

And of course it doesn’t. What they are doing is called attacking the source, also known as an ad hominem, and it’s a very basic logical fallacy.

Most people are familiar with the term “ad hominem”, but they usually think about it in terms of merely hurling verbal insults at people. What it actually means is attacking the source of the argument rather than attacking the argument itself in a way that avoids dealing with the question of whether or not the argument itself is true. It’s a logical fallacy because it’s used to deliberately obfuscate the goal of a logical conclusion to the debate.

“An ad hominem is more than just an insult,” explains David Ferrer for The Quad. “It’s an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion. Verbally attacking people proves nothing about the truth or falsity of their claims.”

This can take the form of saying “Claim X is false because the person making it is an idiot.” But it can also take the form of “Claim X is false because the person making it is a propagandist,” or “Claim X is false because the person making it is a conspiracy theorist.”

Someone being an idiot, a propagandist or a conspiracy theorist is irrelevant to the question of whether or not what they’re saying is true. In my last article debunking a spin job on the OPCW scandal by the narrative management firm Bellingcat, I pointed out that Bellingcat is funded by imperialist regime change operations like the National Endowment for Democracy, which was worth highlighting because it shows the readers where that organization is coming from. But if I’d left my argument there it would still be an ad hominem attack, because it wouldn’t address whether or not what Bellingcat wrote about the OPCW scandal is true. It would be a logical fallacy; proving that they are propagandists doesn’t prove that what they are saying in this particular instance is false.

What I had to do in order to actually refute Bellingcat’s spin job was show that they were making a bad argument using bad logic, which I did by highlighting the way they used pedantic wordplay to make it seem as though the explosive leaks which have been emerging from the OPCW’s investigation of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria were insignificant. I had to show how Bellingcat actually never came anywhere close to addressing the actual concerns about a leaked internal OPCW email, such as extremely low chlorinated organic chemical levels on the scene and patients’ symptoms not matching up with chlorine gas poisoning, as well as the fact that the OPCW investigators plainly don’t feel as though their concerns were met since they’re blowing the whistle on the organisation now.

And, for the record, Bellingcat’s lead trainer/researcher guy responded to my arguments by saying I’m a conspiracy theorist. I personally count that as a win.

The correct response to someone who attacks the outlet or individual you’re citing instead of attacking the actual argument being made is, “You’re attacking the source instead of the argument. That’s a logical fallacy, and it’s only ever employed by people who can’t attack the argument.”

The demand that you only ever use mainstream establishment media when arguing against establishment narratives is itself an inherently contradictory position, because establishment media by their very nature do not report facts against the establishment. It’s saying “You’re only allowed to criticise establishment power using outlets which never criticize establishment power.”

Good luck finding a compilation of Trump’s dangerous escalations against Moscow like the one I wrote the other day anywhere in the mainstream media, for example. Neither mainstream liberals nor mainstream conservatives are interested in promoting that narrative, so it simply doesn’t exist in the mainstream information bubble. Every item I listed in that article is independently verifiable and sourced from separate mainstream media reports, yet if you share that article in a debate with an establishment loyalist and they know who I am, nine times out of ten they’ll say something like “LOL Caitlin Johnstone?? She’s nuts!” With “nuts” of course meaning “Says things my TV doesn’t say”.

It’s possible to just click on all the hyperlinks in my article and share them separately to make your point, but you can also simply point out that they are committing a logical fallacy, and that they are doing so because they can’t actually attack the argument.

This will make them very upset, because for the last few years establishment loyalists have been told that it is perfectly normal and acceptable to attack the source instead of the argument. The mass hysteria about “fake news” and “Russian propaganda” has left consumers of mainstream media with the unquestioned assumption that if they ever so much as glance at an RT article their faces will begin to melt like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. They’ve been trained to believe that it’s perfectly logical and acceptable to simply shriek “propaganda!” at a rational argument or well-sourced article which invalidates their position, or even to proactively go around calling people Russian agents who dissent from mainstream western power-serving narratives.

But it isn’t logical, and it isn’t acceptable. The best way to oppose their favorite logically fallacious tactic is to call it like it is, and let them deal with the cognitive dissonance that that brings up for them.

Of course some nuance is needed here. Remember that alternative media is just like anything else: there’s good and bad, even within the same outlet, so make sure what you’re sharing is solid and not just some schmuck making a baseless claim. You can’t just post a link to some Youtuber making an unsubstantiated assertion and then accuse the person you’re debating of attacking the source when they dismiss it. That which has been presented without evidence may be dismissed without evidence, and if the link you’re citing consists of nothing other than unproven assertions by someone they’ve got no reason to take at their word, they can rightly dismiss it.

If however the claims in the link you’re citing are logically coherent arguments or well-documented facts presented in a way that people can independently fact-check, it doesn’t matter if you’re citing CNN or Sputnik. The only advantage to using CNN when possible would be that it allows you to skip the part where they perform the online equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears and humming.

Don’t allow those who are still sleeping bully those who are not into silence. Insist on facts, evidence, and intellectually honest arguments, and if they refuse to provide them call it what it is: an admission that they have lost the debate.

__________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemitthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Epstein cover-up is final nail in the coffin for any last shred of credibility in mainstream media – NaturalNews.com

Posted by M. C. on November 14, 2019

Thank you Project Veritas

https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-11-12-epstein-cover-final-nail-in-the-coffin-credibility-mainstream-media.html

Epstein cover-up is final nail in the coffin for any last shred of credibility in mainstream media

Image: Epstein cover-up is final nail in the coffin for any last shred of credibility in mainstream media

(Natural News) With ABC News’ Amy Robach now admitting on camera that her fake news network buried the Jeffrey Epstein story to protect the Clintons, we are witnessing the final nail in the coffin for any last shred of credibility in mainstream media.

The media long ago abandoned any remaining pillar of journalism in their effort to accomplish two things:

1) Protect the Clintons at all costs.

2) Destroy Trump and his supporters at all costs.

Those two things have driven the media’s entire narrative for at least the last five years (and probably longer).

Now, thanks to a real whistleblower inside ABC News who handed off video to Project Veritas, the whole world can see that ABC News — just like NBC, NYT, WashPost, CNN, MSNBC, etc. — is nothing but an extension of the dishonest, deeply corrupt Democrat party and its war on truth.

It’s not just the news cartels that are waging war on truth, either: It’s also the tech giants. With their malicious, politically-motivated censorship and de-platforming efforts well under way, the tech giants are working to silence all pro-Trump voices while magnifying the bizarre conspiracy theories of Adam Schiff (or the insane anti-science biological subjectivism of the transgender movement).

Watch my new video report below to learn the truth about the fake news networks and the complete abandonment of truth, journalism and ethics across the entire “mainstream” media.

(To subscribe to my channel, click the link below to watch the video on the Brighteon website, then click the SUBSCRIBE button below the video to subscribe.)

https://www.brighteon.com/233e1fda-d98f-4825-86cd-9f93797b8d6c

Watch more videos from my channel at this Brighteon.com link.

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How Facebook Has Become The Strategic Media Mouthpiece For The Global Elite – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on November 12, 2019

And it wasn’t until a week later that I realized that Variety Magazine reported that Facebook Watch, which is Facebook’s media platform, had reached a multi-million dollar deal with CNN, Fox News, ABC, and large media outlets.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/11/11/how-facebook-has-become-the-strategic-media-mouthpiece-for-the-global-elite/

In Brief

  • The Facts:Facebook has made deals with mainstream media outlets to pay for their news content, further turning Facebook from a neutral social media platform into a conglomerate that supports a political bias and the agenda of the global elite.
  • Reflect On:What can conscious media outlets do to overcome growing censorship and mainstream bias from the big tech companies and ensure that you continue to get neutral, agenda-free news coverage and commentary on the issues of the day?

It’s not clear whether Facebook was truly conceived by an innocent genius with noble intent, but one fact has become abundantly clear: Facebook is now a mouthpiece and tool for the proliferation of mainstream perception. This is specifically designed to enrich the global elite and continue to disenfranchise ordinary citizens and any attempts to bring important truths to light that would threaten the elite. And, of course, Mark Zuckerberg is now a ‘junior partner’ in this global elite.

The episode of the Jimmy Dore show found in the video below, which is worth watching to get the full context of the discussion, introduces whistleblower Vikram Kumar, a former promoter of third-party videos on Facebook. Dore brings interesting insights into Facebook’s latest strategies in terms of controlling the news commentary. He explains how Facebook is proliferating the establishment’s narrative while limiting and blocking alternative voices which, of course, Facebook characterizes as ‘Fake News’. Here, Kumar discusses Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in Congress to this effect:

Returning Media To The Global Elite’s Control

The process of bringing fundamentally liberating technologies like social media under control has been a difficult process, but the global elite seems to feel they are getting a handle on it. Since the big media giants Google, Facebook, Youtube and others are now strictly following the global elite playbook, with special algorithms and thinly-veiled censorship strategies, the process of promoting the elite agenda while suppressing dissenting voices is in full swing.

One of the biggest issues to remedy was the lack of viewership that traditional mainstream media was getting from young people, which is really the target market not only for advertisers but the social engineering wing of the global elite as well. Here’s how Kumar describes it:

As you know, young people, they don’t watch cable… the viewership of Fox News, CNN, and ABC are dying off, they’re getting older and older, and so what Facebook is, is access to young people, right, and so they viewed small anti-establishment media outlets such as yourself as an existential threat to their next generation of revenue.

Tech companies view media companies extremely valuably, you could go back to 1996, there was that merger between Microsoft, General Electric and NBC to create MSNBC.com. A lot of people don’t know that the ‘MS’ in MSNBC stands for Microsoft, and the reason why media companies and tech companies are so intertwined with each other is ’cause you can influence young people so much when you have the distribution network of something like Facebook, and with Facebook Watch, and their media platform, and their deal with CNN, Fox News, and ABC, they’re able to indoctrinate the next generation of young people. And so they want to take viewership away from shows like yours, and put those young people that haven’t been paying attention with cable news back into the pockets of companies like Fox News, ABC, and CNN.

Every media company wants some of that Facebook Watch dough. And so the companies that have coverage that Facebook doesn’t like are out of there, and new companies that have coverage that Facebook likes are back into the deal. And so Facebook is already taking steps to craft the political landscape in the framing that they find positively. And so you get that whole thing where Facebook shuts down over 800 political pages and accounts, and even legitimate political pages that expose things like police brutality… you’re already seeing a coordinated effort from the establishment media and tech companies to kind of craft the narrative for young people.

This is how that Variety Magazine article Kumar talked about characterizes the deal between Facebook and Mainstream Media:

After going through the fake-news wringer, Facebook is shelling out money on original news content. The strategy is partly aimed at driving up viewing on its Facebook Watch platform — but it also is supposed to demonstrate the social-media giant’s commitment to funding trustworthy journalism.

A corporate conglomerate now giving itself the authority to judge what is and isn’t trustworthy journalism. What could possibly go wrong?…

The Takeaway

Conscious media outlets, like us here at Collective Evolution, are in the crosshairs of the recent efforts on the part of Facebook and other large media conglomerates to selectively control the proliferation of information. Our best hope in these times is that the awakening community makes deliberate choices in terms of which sources to tune in to. While the global elite may have the power, the wealth, and the technology, they are still pushing an agenda, which to discerning minds looks and sounds very different from the unbiased truth.

Our hope is that a growing number of people are seeing through the agenda of the global elite enough to be motivated to ensure that conscious media survives, and then thrives. One of the future goals of our Conscious Media Movement campaign is to strengthen an alliance between ourselves and other conscious media outlets and work together to find ways we can amplify the voice of truth and neutrality.

One of the first steps we are taking in our CMM campaign is to fund an Investigative Journalism team to join our efforts here at CE. To help support this, click here. 

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C.S. Lewis Describes How To Combat Fake News | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 4, 2019

Lewis implicitly acknowledges the power of consumer sovereignty when he suggests that his readers begin their battle against Cleon by canceling the subscription to his newspaper. While few readers today likely have a literal newspaper subscription, we all subscribe to Cleons in one way or another, even if just on a mental level…

Shut it off and shake off the wool.

https://mises.org/wire/cs-lewis-describes-how-combat-fake-news?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=8cb3cdee0b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-8cb3cdee0b-228343965

In 1945, the great English author and medieval scholar, C.S. Lewis, penned an incisive essay in The Spectator called “ After Priggery—What? ” that discussed the dissolution of priggery as a prominent vice in British society. The absence of priggery is in itself no bad thing, but Lewis warns that the vacuum created by the absence of priggery cannot be sustained. In the absence of a replacement virtue, another vice shall come to fill the void. Lewis identifies this vice as an excess of toleration, specifically regarding what is tolerated in the public discourse. Unfortunately, the state of contemporary discourse demonstrates that rather than heeding Lewis’ advice, our society has instead done the exact opposite.

According to Lewis, British society had “sunk below” priggery in its open toleration of a journalist Lewis identifies with the pseudonym Cleon. This Cleon serves as a stand-in for mendacious muck-raking journalists and media personalities who purposefully lie and stir up trouble. In a priggish society, Lewis argues, a fellow such as Cleon would be regarded as being on the same social level as a prostitute, or perhaps even lower. Yet, in Lewis’s time, even those who hold Cleon to be a horrid liar will still meet with “him on perfectly friendly terms over a lunch table.”

Lewis pulls no punches in his assessment of Cleon’s danger to society, claiming that Cleon has sold his intellectual virginity, that “he gives his patrons a baser pleasure” than a prostitute, and that “he infects them with more dangerous diseases.” To Lewis, Cleon’s vile work “is poisoning the whole nation.”

Lewis is careful to explicitly argue against the idea that such danger necessitates government regulation of speech, noting the danger such laws would pose to freedom and questioning whether such a course of action would even be effective. Instead, Lewis goes on to propose that Cleon be socially shunned, not, Lewis is careful to note, because we are morally better than Cleon, but rather because there is one area in which our moral superiority stands in clear contrast to his own vice. And that is that while Cleon is poisoning the country with his lies and sensationalism, we are not.

Unfortunately, our society has, for a variety of causes, taken part of Lewis’ message to heart, while ignoring this important aspect of moral humility and as a result brought about the rebirth of priggery. The result is a Frankenstein’s monster of vice.

People have taken with great zeal to calling for the social ostracization of contemporary Cleons, while at the same time, thanks to social media, it has never been easier for individuals to become full-on Cleons in their own right. In effect, we have the worst of both worlds; widespread self-righteous priggery against those we disagree with while at the same time tolerating and even praising the Cleons in our own camp. The result is an infection of hatred and divisiveness spreading throughout the body politic worse than a venereal disease.

Traditional and social media are full of Cleons on all sides, with seemingly endless hordes of followers ready to do battle in the comments. Such persons thrive on the oxygen provided by these views, clicks, and comments, yet, many of us cannot bring ourselves to avert our eyes.

Some of us may even find ourselves taking perverse pleasure in reading and following Cleons just so that we may smugly observe how terrible they are and how much better we are. Sometimes we find ourselves rooting for “our side’s” Cleons, knowing full well that they are agents of mendacity and then seeking justification for our indulgence in the base pleasure they provide on the flimsy grounds that such tactics are sadly necessary in these troubled times.

Given the current deluge of Cleons, it is not uncommon to hear politicians gripe about how “there ought to be a law” whenever their feelings are hurt by the press or even random people on Twitter and we see increasing pressure for censorship on social media platforms. However, Libertarians, who are no strangers to the abuses of Cleon’s duplicitous contemporary descendants, know that at the end of the day it is consumer preference that ultimately decides who succeeds and who fails in the market. And it is because of this consumer sovereignty that hope for a return to civil coexistence is not entirely lost.

Lewis implicitly acknowledges the power of consumer sovereignty when he suggests that his readers begin their battle against Cleon by canceling the subscription to his newspaper. While few readers today likely have a literal newspaper subscription, we all subscribe to Cleons in one way or another, even if just on a mental level. Canceling such subscriptions, to Cleons on all sides, is something that each and every one of us is capable of, even though some particularly pleasurable ones may be harder to kick to the curb than others. Doing so has the two-fold benefit of denying Cleons the oxygen of attention on which they depend while simultaneously denying us the opportunity to indulge in the delectable temptation to engage in priggish self-righteousness.

There can be no doubt that today’s Cleons contribute to our current state of social disharmony. This disharmony poses a great threat to liberty as the lack of social trust in turn leads not only to people trusting more and more in the power of the state, but also a greater urgency to control the powerful state as a shield and later as a sword against one’s enemies. Expelling the Cleons from not only our news feeds but from our minds as well will not only play small part in helping to promote the conditions that allow for social peace, but will also allow us to expel a source of vice that inevitably makes our own lives more miserable.

 

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sheeple

 

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Of Two Minds – Welcome to the USSR: the United States of Suppression and Repression

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2019

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogoct19/US-suppression-repression10-19.html?fullweb=1

Charles Hugh Smith

We’re all against “fake news,” right? Until your content is deemed “fake news” in a “fake news” indictment without any evidence, trial or recourse.

When propaganda is cleverly engineered, people don’t even recognize it as propaganda: welcome to the USSR, the United States of Suppression and Repression. The propaganda in the U.S. has reached such a high state that the majority of people accept it as “pravda” (truth), even as their limbic system’s BS detector is sensing there is a great disturbance in the Force.

Inflation is a good example. The official (i.e. propaganda) inflation rate is increasingly detached from the real-world declines in the purchasing power of the bottom 80%, yet the jabbering talking heads on TV repeat the “low inflation” story with such conviction that the dissonance between the “official narrative” and the real world must be “our fault”–a classic technique of brainwashing.

To give some examples: healthcare is over 18% of the nation’s GDP, yet it makes up only 8.7% of the Consumer price Index. Hundreds of thousands of families have to declare bankruptcy as a result of crushing healthcare bills, but on the CPI components chart, it’s a tiny little sliver just a bit more than recreation (5.7%).

Then there’s education, which includes the $1.4 trillion borrowed by student debt-serfs–which is only part of the tsunami of cash gushing into the coffers of the higher-education cartel. Yet education & communication (which presumably includes the Internet / mobile telephone service cartel’s soaring prices) is another tiny sliver of the CPI, just 6.6%, a bit more than fun-and-games recreation.

As for housing costs, former Soviet apparatchiks must be high-fiving the Federal agencies for their inventive confusion of reality with magical made-up “statistics.” To estimate housing costs, the federal agency in charge of ginning up a low inflation number asks homeowners to guess what their house would rent for, were it being rented–what’s known as equivalent rent.

Wait a minute–don’t we have actual sales data for houses, and actual rent data? Yes we do, but those are verboten because they reflect skyrocketing inflation in housing costs, which is not allowed. So we use some fake guessing-game numbers, and the corporate media dutifully delivers the “pravda” that inflation is 1.6% annually–basically signal noise, while in the real world (as measured by the Chapwood Index) is running between 9% and 13% annually. How the Chapwood Index is calculated)

As the dissonance between the real world experienced by the citizenry and what they’re told is “pravda” by the media reaches extremes, the media is forced to double-down on the propaganda, shouting down, marginalizing, discrediting, demonetizing and suppressing dissenters via character assassination, following the old Soviet script to a tee.

(Clearly, the CIA’s agitprop sector mastered the Soviet templates and has been applying what they learned to the domestic populace. By all means, start by brainwashing the home audience so they don’t catch on that the “news” is a Truman Show simulation.)

In 2014, Peter Pomerantsev, a British journalist born in the Soviet Union, published Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia which drew on his years working in Russian television to describe a society in giddy, hysterical flight from enlightenment empiricism. He wrote of how state-controlled Russian broadcasting “became ever more twisted, the need to incite panic and fear ever more urgent; rationality was tuned out, and Kremlin-friendly cults and hatemongers were put on prime time.”

Now, he’s written a penetrating follow-up, This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality that is partly an effort to make sense of how the disorienting phenomena he observed in Russia went global. The child of exiled Soviet dissidents, Pomerantsev juxtaposes his family’s story — unfolding at a time when ideas, art and information seemed to challenge tyranny — with a present in which truth scarcely appears to matter.

“During glasnost, it seemed that the truth would set everybody free,” he writes. “Facts seemed possessed of power; dictators seemed so afraid of facts that they suppressed them. But something has gone drastically wrong: We have access to more information and evidence than ever, but facts seem to have lost their power.”

(source)

“Facts” are a funny thing when the data sources and massaging of that data are all purposefully opaque. Again, inflation is a lived-world example of how “official facts” are clearly massaged to support an essential narrative–that inflation is so low it’s basically signal noise, while in the real world it has impoverished the bottom 95% to a startling (but unmentionable) degree.

This is the reality as inflation has eaten up wages’ purchasing power: Families Go Deep in Debt to Stay in the Middle Class Wages stalled but costs haven’t, so people increasingly rent or finance what their parents might have owned outright Median household income in the U.S. was $61,372 at the end of 2017, according to the Census Bureau. When inflation is taken into account, that is just above the 1999 level.

We’re all against “fake news,” right? Until your content is deemed “fake news” in a “fake news” indictment without any evidence, trial or recourse. This is what happened to this site in the bogus PropOrNot propaganda campaign of 2016, in which every alternative-media website that questioned the “approved narratives” was labeled “fake news” in a classic propaganda trick of labeling dissenters as propagandists to misdirect the citizenry from the actual propaganda (PropOrNot), which by the way was heavily promoted on page one by Jeff Bezos’ propaganda mouthpiece, The washington Post. (Who’s your daddy, WP “journalists”?)

Meanwhile, back in reality, the primary source of data here on oftwominds.com is 1) the Federal Reserve data base (FRED) 2) IRS data and 3) content and charts posted by the cream of the U.S. corporate media Foreign Affairs, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Fake news, indeed. Those individuals who support the “approved narratives” and orthodoxies win gold stars, and so virtue-signaling is now the nation’s most passionate hobby. (Shades of the Stasi…)

In the wake of the 1976 Church Committee revelations on the institutional lawlessness and corruption of the FBI and CIA, the idea that former CIA propagandists and spy masters would be on TV as “commentators” would have been laughed off as a bad joke. Yet here are Clapper, Brennan et al, the “most likely to lie, obfuscate, rendition and propagandize” individuals in the nation welcomed as “experts” who we should all accept as trustworthy Big Brother. (Ahem)

What if every employee in the corporate media who was paid (or coerced) by the FBI, NSA, CIA etc. had to wear a large colorful badge that read, “owned by the FBI/CIA”? Would that change our view of the validity of the “approved narratives”?

Welcome to the USSR: the United States of Suppression and Repression, where your views are welcome as long as they parrot “approved narratives” and the corporate-state’s orthodoxies. “Facts” are only welcome if they lend credence to the “approved narratives” and orthodoxies.

For example, corporate earnings are rising. Never mind estimates were slashed, that was buried in footnotes a month ago. What matters is Corporate America will once again “beat estimates” by a penny, or a nickel, or gasp, oh the wonderment, by a dime, on earnings that were slashed by a dollar when “nobody was looking.” Meanwhile, back in reality, the bottom 95% have been losing ground for two decades. But don’t say anything, you’ll be guilty of “fake news.”

 

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Of Two Minds – Prying Open the Overton Window

Posted by M. C. on October 22, 2019

This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.

That describes the U.S. and indeed the entire global economy to a tee. All the “approved solutions” are retreads from 90 years ago: fiscal stimulus (now called MMT), lowering interest rates via central bank manipulation (now called QE), increasing social welfare (now called Universal Basic Income, UBI)–all “solutions” from the early 1930s, when the global economic system fell into its last Great Crisis…

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogoct19/overton-window10-19.html?fullweb=1

Charles Hugh Smith

If you’re truly interested in finding solutions to humanity’s pressing problems, then start helping us pry open the Overton Window.

The Overton Window describes the spectrum of concepts, policies and approaches that can be publicly discussed without being ridiculed or marginalized as “too radical,” “unworkable,” “crazy,” etc. The narrower the Overton Window, the greater the impoverishment of public dialog and the fewer the solutions available.

Those holding power in a socio-economic-political system that’s unraveling devote their remaining energy to closing the Overton Window so that only “approved” narratives and policies that support the status quo are “allowed” into the public sphere.

Everything outside this narrow band of status-quo-supportive narratives is immediately disparaged as “fake news,” “Kremlin talking points,” or other highly charged accusations designed to close the Overton Window–a process Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman called manufacturing consent: if no “outside” ideas are allowed, people accept the status quo as “all there is and all there can possibly be.”

This narrow Overton Window benefits those in power who are “legally looting” the system.

There is another source of a narrow Overton Window: the cultural, social and political elites have no new ideas and so they cling to doing more of what’s failed, relying on the past successes of now-failing strategies to cement their power.

Michael Grant described how this failure of imagination and devotion to the past leads inevitably to decline and collapse in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a short book I have been recommending since 2009:

There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.

This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.

This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.

That describes the U.S. and indeed the entire global economy to a tee. All the “approved solutions” are retreads from 90 years ago: fiscal stimulus (now called MMT), lowering interest rates via central bank manipulation (now called QE), increasing social welfare (now called Universal Basic Income, UBI)–all “solutions” from the early 1930s, when the global economic system fell into its last Great Crisis…

The most important job of the alternative media is to pry open the Overton Window so new solutions become possible. We have been trained to believe that technology is our savior, and that “new solutions” arise only from technology. But the reality is that technology itself won’t solve economic-social-political problems; it can at best enable new solutions…

For my part, I’ve proposed a labor-backed currency that is unlike any other system for creating and distributing “money.” I describe this system in my book A radically beneficial World, and in an essay The Architecture of a Labor-Backed Cryptocurrency System, the Largent (June 2016)–scroll to the bottom of the page to read it.

In the three years since the publication of the book and essay, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the potential for privately issued ‘paper’ money that is “backed” by transactions of goods and services. The advent of private-sector (i.e. non-state) blockchain currencies such as bitcoin has cracked open the Overton Window to a refreshing degree, but blockchain cryptocurrencies are only one of many potential systems of “money” that would better serve humanity that the doomed-to-implode fiat currencies issued by elites-dominated governments and central banks.

Technology is enabling new solutions, but only if we can conceptualize those solutions and pry open the Overton Window to let them into the public sphere.

If you’re truly interested in finding solutions to humanity’s pressing problems, then start helping us pry open the Overton Window. Those who dogmatically demand we all agree with their 1930s “solutions” and who marginalize any and all new ideas that threaten the status quo power structure are the problem, not the solution.

Prying open the Overton Window is the point of my new book Will You Be Richer or Poorer? Profit, Power and A.I. in a Traumatized World.

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Of Two Minds – It’s Not Just the News That’s Fake–Everything’s Fake

Posted by M. C. on July 26, 2019

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly19/everything-fake7-19.html

Charles Hugh Smith

That we fall for the fakes and cons is understandable, given that’s all we have left in the public sphere.

What do we mean when we say corporate media is fake? We mean it’s a carefully crafted con, a set of narratives, cherry-picked data and heavily massaged statistics (the unemployment rate, etc.) designed to instill the reader’s confidence in a narrative that serves the interests not of the citizenry but of a select few pillaging the citizenry.

Once upon a time in America, no adult could survive without a finely tuned BS detector. Herman Melville masterfully captured America’s culture of cons and con artists in his 1857 classic The Confidence-Man, which I discussed in The Con in Confidence (October 4, 2006).

An essential component of the American ethos is: don’t be a chump. Don’t fall for the con. And if you do, it’s your own fault. America in 1857 was a simmering stew of con artists, flim-flammers and grifters exploiting the naive, the trusting and the credulous, and that remains the case in 2019.

We now inhabit a world where virtually everything is a con. That “organic” produce from some other country–did anyone test the soil the produce grew in? It could be loaded with heavy metals and be certified “organic” because no pesticides were used during production. Are there any nutrients left in the soil or has it been depleted? What’s in the water used to irrigate the crops?

The point of the con in offshored “organic” is the higher prices fetched. This is why it’s critical to ask of every narrative, story, product and data set: cui bono, to whose benefit?

The employment/unemployment statistics are obviously a con...

“Healthy choice” snacks: fake:

Social media privacy: fake:…

Democracy: fake:

Prosperity: fake:

Melville understood that we want to be conned: we want to believe the elixir will make our aches and pains go away, that the new face in politics will clear out the rot of corruption, that rising prices for everything means we’re getting richer and so on.

Orson Welles’ weird and wonderful documentary F for Fake reminds us that a successful fake is essentially identical with the real thing: so the S&P 500 hitting 3,000 means we’re all getting more prosperous, right?

Despite all the craftsmanship, though, fake is still fake. And today virtually everything is fake, a con designed to trick or distract the marks (us) from the looting, plundering and predation of those running the con for their own self-interest…

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Haaretz.Com

Posted by M. C. on July 8, 2019

We are sock puppets.

https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-th-u-s-ambassador-to-israel-s-flimsy-cardboard-wall-1.7449319

Zehava Galon

The coupling between the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government has created some iconic, unforgettable pictures. But none can compete with the messianic radiance on the face of the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, when he was breaking down a fake wall with a sledgehammer in the tunnels under Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood.

That picture was more powerful than a thousand conferences in Bahrain. I’ve met tourists who’ve come down with Jerusalem Syndrome; they weren’t dangerous, but no one thought to make them an ambassador.

In response to the criticism, Friedman tweeted: “Fake News: ‘Friedman uses sledgehammer to destroy wall under Palestinian homes.’ Real News: ‘Friedman uses sledgehammer to break ceremonial cardboard wall to open once-in-a-century archeological discovery.’”

With someone else, a cardboard wall with photographers waiting behind it would have raised suspicions that this path had been opened before – but not with Friedman. Maybe he didn’t know that the place had already been inaugurated a year ago, and maybe it wasn’t important to him.

In any case, this engineered picture, planned down to the last detail, is the problem. The sledgehammer that Friedman hoisted didn’t blaze a path to any archaeological discovery, it just hammered another nail into the coffin of Donald Trump’s “deal of the century.”

The small hammer ceremony was only meant to produce a ridiculous video, and it’s another small gamble with the blood of the people who live here. But the U.S. administration doesn’t think that way. In an interview with the Walla news website, U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt said: “Not dealing with history, or in some cases falsifying history, has never helped the peace process.” This was for peace, idiots…

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Fake News does more for real journalism than “real journalism” | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on June 14, 2019

https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/fake-news-does-more-for-real-journalism-than-real-journalism/

By Joe Jarvis

All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus. Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo.

Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns.

That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.

-Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications under Obama

“Real journalism” is propaganda from Washington DC.

The news simply quotes the politicians, believes the names of bills will become reality, and buys hook, line, and sinker what the spy-masters in the Pentagon tell them.

And here we are again, being sold a justification for yet another war in the middle east.

The US government claims that Iran attacked a Japanese shipping vessel with mines. Iran claims this is a lie.

I’m not going to pretend I know the truth, even though my initial reaction is always suspicion. Much like the reports that Assad attacked his people with chemical weapons in Syria, it is hard to see what Iran would gain from attacking the vessel.

The events just seem too perfect, justifying what America already wanted: to go to war.

It doesn’t even have to be an American-orchestrated false flag. It could simply be a misrepresentation, like the Gulf of Tonkin incidents which escalated the Vietnam War.

The US said that North Vietnam attacked its ship, but the truth was that the American ship fired the first “warning shots.” In the end, the American ship sustained one bullet hole and no casualties, while four North Vietnamese soldiers were killed.

But most Americans would never even hear about the Gulf of Tonkin if it wasn’t for fake news sites like Babylon Bee.

The headline reads: John Bolton: ‘When Has The Government Ever Lied About Attacks On Ships In A Gulf Somewhere Just To Provoke War?’

Then it offers a fake quote from Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton: Read the rest of this entry »

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