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Fake News & Propaganda

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#1
Fake News, Part 1: Origins and evolution
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Published on Feb 7, 2018
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BAKU - Amid all the media outlets about fake news, it is easy to get carried away with sensationalist stories that are designed to inflame passions. However, fake news is not a recent phenomenon. In fact, it is as old as civilization and it has its roots in the mainstream distribution of the printing press.

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#2
Fake News, Part 2: Mass communication
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Published on Feb 14, 2018
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BAKU - As technologies progressed in the 20th century, new devices and platforms of communication entered the mainstream. The media transformed from partisan propaganda to a business model to close-enough impartial reporting. This transition, however, also presented governments with new instruments to shape yellow journalism to deliberately mislead audiences.

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#4
"Their Objective Is To Create Fear..."


by Tyler Durden
Mon, 02/19/2018 - 21:30


Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

The Social Justice trend has appeared in recent years, and has rapidly gained momentum.



It appeared first on college campuses, where students accused a professor or, indeed, another student, of making a statement or using a word that was deemed socially unacceptable. The premise by the accuser was that a campus must be a safe space, where people should not be exposed to comments that may possibly make anyone feel demeaned or uncomfortable.

The accusers have earned the name “snowflakes,” as they tend to melt down at the slightest provocation. However, the Social Justice trend has given snowflakes considerable power, a power that’s often used recklessly.

Importantly, whether the offensive comment is correct or incorrect is not an issue. The “offense” is that the speaker has stated something that should not ever be mentioned, as it might upset the listener in some way. The “justice” that takes place is that one or more people file a formal complaint with a person or body that holds power over the speaker and demand that he be punished for his “wrongdoing.”

This has led to teachers and professors being warned, suspended, or fired from their positions, based merely on the existence of a complaint. In addition, “offending” students have been warned, suspended, or expelled, again, without what might be regarded as due process.

A related form of Social Justice is the vigilantism seeking to destroy those who are prominent. Former Miss Americas demanded that the entire board of the Miss America Pageant be dismissed for making disparaging remarks about pageant contestants. Several have been forced to resign in disgrace.

And, of course, we’re seeing the rise of complaints against actors, politicians, and other prominent individuals regarding alleged sexual denigration of women, even if it’s merely verbal. In each case, witnesses are “bravely coming forward,” en masse, although they often were silent for decades (if, indeed, the individual incidents ever occurred at all).

Whether a given individual has actually committed a crime or not seems immaterial in the new Social Justice trend. The focus is on vehement condemnation of an individual, usually by a host of others. Importantly, regardless of what process is used to prosecute (or persecute) those accused, a general assumption of the Social Justice trend is that, once someone is accused, he’s guilty and punishment must take place.

But, in fact, this trend is not new. Rabid groups of accusers appear throughout history, generally during times of existing social tension.

The Salem Witch Trials: 1692-1693
In 1692, several young girls claimed to be possessed by witches and group hysteria ensued. Some 150 men, women and children were ultimately accused and nineteen were hanged. Governor William Phips ordered that an end be put to the show trials in 1693. In the process, his wife was accused of being a witch.

The Nazi Sondergerichte: 1933-1945
In Nazi Germany, kangaroo courts were held for those deemed to have committed “political crimes,” resulting in 12,000 deaths. Germans were encouraged to report on each other. (If your neighbor annoyed you, a good recompense was to report him as being disloyal.) The persecution only ended when Nazi Germany was defeated.

The Great Soviet Purge: 1936-1938
Joseph Stalin ran many successful purges against clergymen, wealthy peasants, and oppositionists, but the foremost of them was the Great Purge, which included anyone with a perceived stain on his record. Denunciation was encouraged. The purge was highly successful and, although the show trials ended in 1938, the threat of accusation remained until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Red Scare – McCarthyism: 1947-1956
US Senator McCarthy accused countless people in Hollywood of being communists. Thousands lost their jobs. McCarthyism ended when he accused the Protestant Church as being a communist support group. He also attacked the US Army as having communists within it. The Army lashed back, exposing McCarthy as cruel, manipulative, and reckless and the public fervor against communists subsided.

The Spanish Inquisition: 1478-1834
The Spanish Inquisition lasted for over 350 years. It was originally conceived by King Ferdinand II as a way to expose and punish heretics and suppress religious dissent.

It was preceded by the French Inquisition and spread to other countries in Europe. At its height, it investigated, prosecuted, and sometimes burned alive some 150,000 people. The last execution was in 1826 – for teaching deist principles (deism, not Christianity, was the predominant religious belief of America’s founding fathers).

Crimes committed included blasphemy, witchcraft, immorality, and behavior unbecoming to a woman. (A woman’s role was seen as being limited to raising a family.) False denunciations were frequent and defendants were only rarely acquitted. The auto-da-fé, or public punishment, including groups of people being burned alive, provided an effective demonstration and satisfied the public’s desire for spectacle.

The inquisition finally ended when King Ferdinand VII and others came to regard the church’s power as being a threat to the government’s power and abolished it.

Others that used the Social Justice approach to great effect were China, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Egypt (as recently as 2014), and Turkey (as recently as 2016).

And there are many more examples, far too numerous to mention.

In 1970, Monty Python did a series of sketches in which Michael Palin plays a cleric, saying, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”

And, of course, this is true. The Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the McCarthy hearings, and the present Social Justice trend, are so over-the-top that their very existence is clearly absurd.

However, historically, whether it be a political leader like Stalin or Hitler, or a religious organisation, like the Catholic Church, or the present-day, self-styled “Social Justice Warriors,” such campaigns begin through the desire for power over others. What they have in common is that anyone can be targeted, group accusations carry greater weight than individual accusations, and the punishment invariably exceeds the level of the offense, if, indeed, there is any unlawful offense at all.

The objective is to create fear. The initiative begins with finger-pointing and mild punishment, such as the loss of a job. But it evolves into a circus that often grows to include more serious punishment, sometimes including execution.

Vigilantism grows out of troubled periods when frustrations and resentment run high. Because it’s emotionally driven, not logic-driven, it almost invariably morphs into irrational victimisation… and is always destructive in nature.

* * *

Fortunately, there are practical ways to escape the fallout of dangerous groupthink. Doug Casey has turned it into an art form. Find out more in Doug’s special report, Getting Out of Dodge.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-19/their-objective-create-fear
 

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#6
Fake News, Part 3: Post-truth politics
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Published on Feb 23, 2018
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BAKU - Fake news, propaganda and questions about the credibility of information continue to cloud political and cultural developments that are shaping our world. Although fake news has always existed in one form or another, the current hype serves as a red herring that hides the deep political dysfunction in societies in the post-truth environment.

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#7
America's Troll Farm Media


by Tyler Durden
Mon, 03/12/2018 - 22:05


Authored by Gerald Sussman via CounterPunch.org,

Despite all the smoke and mirrors, most Americans seem to see where the stenographers of corporate capitalism are taking us. A recent Gallup poll found that while 84% of Americans see media as “critical” or “very important” to democracy, only 28% see the corporatist mainstream news media (MSM) as actually supporting democracy. They’re right on both counts of course. The quality of a democracy is only as good as the information people have to make informed judgements about public policy and politicians.




Even as the mainstream news media continue to lose street cred, they persist in a rumor-saturated full court press against the “Trump-Putin presidency,” which only further exposes their lack of professionalism and increasing vulgarity. MSM management and their boardroom bosses have long understood that as long as they spice up their “nothing burger” news, ratings and advertising rates will keep them in business and please their commercial and government clients. Tabloid journalism, which can describe most American mainstream media these days, even when wrapped up as “all the news that’s fit to print,” is in constant search of sensation, scandal, gossip, and profit – and only occasionally in public-oriented investigative integrity.

What else does the citizenry have to say? A mere 18% have “a lot” of trust in the MSM, while 74% see them as “biased” (Pew Research, July 2016). A study by the Harvard-Harris polling organization in May 2017 confirmed this, finding that 65 percent of Americans consider the so-called “free press” biased, obsessed with scandal, and full of “fake news” and therefore cannot be trusted. Among the concurring are a majority of both Democrats (53%) and Independents (60%) as well as 80% of Republicans. Amongst the “informed public,” trust in American institutions in general, that is, the government, business, NGOs, and the MSM, is going through the worst crisis in recorded history, according to the marketing firm Edelman in 2018. The US is the lowest rated of the 28 countries surveyed by the firm on this measure. This is not consistent with the image of a serious “democracy.”

On the MSM coverage of national politics, Americans are equally skeptical. A June 2017 Rasmussen survey of likely American voters indicated that 50% think most reporters are prejudiced against the president, and only 4% believe most reporters are biased in Trump’s favor. Although this is weighted by the 76% of Republicans who support this view, the study also found that 51% of independent voters and even 24% of Democrats also agree. Aided by the billions of dollars of free, almost all negative, publicity the MSM provided, with apparent reverse effect during the presidential campaign, Trump’s standing is also supported by the 47 million American shock troops that faithfully follow him on Twitter.

On January 27, 2018, the Washington Post editorial board issued this statement: “A foreign power interfered in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. law enforcement is trying to get to the bottom of that story. Congress should be doing everything possible to make sure the investigation can take place.” Obviously referring to Russia, the Post’s declaration, as the late investigative journalist Robert Parry and many other independent and respected writers have pointed out, was and remains without a shred of evidence. It’s WMD time all over again, only this time the propaganda is being trumpeted mainly by the Democrats. It would better serve the cause of democracy to investigate the Post for its covert coalition and collusion with the deep state and the Clinton (right) wing of the Democratic Party. The Post and the rest of their pack have constructed a wicked Russia foil in order to undermine Moscow’s presumed ally Trump and boost bigger Pentagon budgets. It’s an extremely dangerous game that is headed toward military confrontation and massive annihilation by the yahoos in government and the liberal media.

But it’s not a new game, because despite their “free press” claims, American major news media have long been instruments of state propaganda. In the 1970s, Carl Bernstein exposed the fact that the overseas branches of US MSM had long served as eyes and ears of the CIA’s “Operation Mockingbird,” and it’s very likely than many amongst their ranks remain agency assets. Back then, Philip Graham, publisher of the Post, ran the agency’s media industry operations, a fact not mentioned in the currently showing eponymous film. During the GW Bush presidency, the Pentagon recruited over 75 military generals to spread propaganda in the mass media, fed in camera by leaders at the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department, and the White House. Their responsibilities included their employment as “objective” foreign policy and war analysts for major network and cable news channels, many of them concurrently receiving pay by military contracting firms. The Pentagon referred to the on-air military propagandists as “surrogates” and “message force multipliers.”

The Russians are Coming
In February 2018, former CIA director John Brennan, the man who fed the Russian “hacking” story to the House Intelligence Committee, became a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC and MSNBC in what has become standard revolving door practice between government and the corporate world. Brennan was a well-known advocate for the CIA’s rendition and torture program, spying on its critics, and its use of drone bombings and assassinations in the Middle East. And he certainly knows something about hacking, as he was forced to admit, after first lying about it, that his CIA hacked the computers of Senate staffers who were investigating the agency’s role in torturing prisoners. A man the MSM apparently regard as having impeccable credentials for truth telling.

If the Russia “hacking” story has no legs, the more interesting piece of news is the organized efforts of the Democrats and some Republicans to bring down Trump and turn over the White House to theocrat Mike Pence. Mainstream pundits and reporters are churning out unsubstantiated speculations about Russia and Trump by the hour. A number of Democrats, military brass, and mercenary journalist (and former country club caddy) Thomas Friedman have characterized alleged Russian intervention as a new “Pearl Harbor” or “9/11,” thereby building a case for war and for treason against the president. There’s no downside to making even the most absurd claims about Russia and Trump, no penalty for fabrications, misrepresentations, or getting facts wrong. If they were honest, their ledes might read: “This fictional news report is loosely based on a true story.” Or: “Any resemblance in this story to real people and events is merely coincidental.”

There’s room in the inferno for the Democrats’ deep state allies. Starting in mid-2015, Peter Strzok, the FBI’s H. Clinton personal email scandal investigator before taking the lead in the probe of Russian election interference, sent emails to his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which clearly revealed that both of them were actively working for the Clinton campaign to undermine Trump in any way possible. The pair also exchanged references to a “secret society” that was operating within the Department of Justice and the FBI to block a Trump victory. Until their exposure, Strzok had been Robert Mueller’s right hand man on the Trump-Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, two years later, the hunt for the smoking Kalashnikov continues. The best the MSM have come up with is that a St. Petersburg outfit called Internet Research Agency (IRA) placed $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to the $81 million Facebook ad spending by the Trump and Clinton campaigns), some of the Russian ads actually directed against Trump. As Jeffrey St. Clair pointed out in the pages of CounterPunch, in the key states where Clinton lost the election, the traditional Democrat strongholds of Michigan ($832 spent on token IRA buy ads), Pennsylvania ($300), and Wisconsin ($1,979), all but $54 of this amount was spent beforethe party primaries even started.

Facebook’s vice president for advertising Rob Goldman said that in fact most of the total Russian ad buys occurred after the presidential election. “We shared that fact,” he tweeted, “but very few [news] outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative” about Trump’s election victory. Winning the election for Trump was simply not the Russian objective, Goldman says. Alex Stamos, Facebook chief security officer, concurred. The ads, he said, were more about sowing discord, with messages about guns, immigrants, and racial strife, than on pushing a particular candidate. Think about all the blockbuster American (and British) movies that portray Russians as sinister, violent, and criminal. For starters, remember über-teutonic Ivan Drago, Sgt. Yushin, the many sadistic “Russian” mafia nogoodniks, along with the Cold War-for-children cartoon characters, Boris Badanov and Natasha Fatale? Among the many Russophobic films and TV shows over the decades: The Americans, Air Force One, The Peacemaker, The Saint, Rambo III, Red Dawn, Red Heat, the James Bond flicks, and the 2018 Oscar for documentaries, Icarus. Soviet and Russia-era films, not well tutored in ethnic caricatures, have no comparable stereotypical American counterparts.

There are a few signs of life in mainstream journalism. New York Times correspondent Scott Shane was one of the few journalists who happened to notice that the US intelligence agency (the CIA, NSA, and FBI) report of January 6, 2017 on Russian “hacking” actually offered no evidence. “Instead,” he said, “the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’” It took the mainstream media 6 months before they acknowledged that the Obama administration claim that 17 intelligence agencies backed the hacking claim was false, the real number was only 3, and even the NSA had only “moderate confidence” in the finding. Last January, the NSA made a significant alteration in its mission statement: it removed the words “honesty” and the pledge to be truthful from its list of priorities.

Even if there were genuine evidence that Russian officials had hacked the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta emails, as originally claimed by the intelligence agencies, one should put this in context of the long history of the CIA’s efforts to overthrow many democratically elected leaders who had the temerity to stand up to the superpower. These would include Allende, Arbenz, Mossadeq, Lumumba, Chavez, Goulart, Ortega, and others. The list of US interventions in foreign elections just since 1948 (Italy) is voluminous. Do the mainstream media suffer amnesia about Victoria Nuland and John McCain’s presence in the Maidan, egging on the coup against Yanukovych or her infamous leaked phone call to the US ambassador in Kiev in which she dictated the ousted president’s successors? And is it reasonable to expect Russia to be passive about a hostile NATO putting troops along its borders and reacting to efforts to install an anti-Russian regime next door in the Ukraine? In this recent historical context, US accusations of Russian political interference smack of complete hypocrisy.

A study by Carnegie Mellon professor Dov Levin found that between 1946 and 2000 alone, the US intervened in foreign elections 81 times, which does not include its invasions, blockades, sanctions, assassination attempts, and other regime change initiatives. “The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries,” he wrote. In 1996, the US intervened in the Russian election to prevent the Communist Party from returning to power. Have the MSM also forgotten the lies the government and the CIA told about Saddam Hussein’s WMD and connections to terrorist movements? Or that, thanks to Edward Snowden’s exposés, we know that Obama’s NSA bugged the phones of 35 foreign political leaders?

If the MSM are still confused, perhaps they should listen to former CIA director James Woolsey. Interviewed by Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Woolsey was asked directly whether the US ever interfered with other countries’ elections. He initially said, “probably, but it was for the good of the system in order to avoid the communists from taking over.” Ingraham followed up with the question, “We don’t do that now?” To this Woolsey responded, “nyum, nyum, nyum, nyum, nyum, only for a very good cause,” a rather frank admission that merely amused Ingraham, who failed to follow up with this obvious statement of US double standards. After leaving the CIA, Woolsey became chairman of Freedom House, a right-wing government-supported private NGO that putatively supports human rights causes and has been active in regime change operations around the world – far more actively than merely doing Facebook postings.

William Binney, formerly with NSA as a high-level intelligence operative, subsequently becoming a whistleblower on the agency’s illegal surveillance operations, called the alleged Russian attacks on the DNC “a charade.” Speaking to Daniel Bernstein at Consortium News, Binney said that had any bulk transmissions come from across the Atlantic, the NSA would have known about it, as they tap every communication from abroad. The data from “Guccifer 2.0,” was a download “not a transfer across the Web,” which “won’t manage such high speed.” The intelligence agencies “have been playing games with us. There is no factual evidence to back up any charge of hacking here.” It was likely no more than a USB transfer, he said.

Is there any hope for the mainstream media to change? It would take a revolution to get the MSM to become more democratic. A Harvard Shorenstein Center report found that media coverage of the 2016 US party conventions contained almost no discussion of policy issues and instead concentrated on polling data, scandals, campaign tactics, and Trump and Russia bashing. Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS, spoke for the media establishment: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS …. The money’s rolling in …. It’s a terrible thing to say. But bring it on, Donald.”

As Walter Cronkite would say, “And that’s the way it is.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-12/americas-troll-farm-media
 

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#8
1984 Is Not The Future


by Tyler Durden
Sat, 03/17/2018 - 19:00




Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

The Guardian ran an article yesterday by one of its editors, David Shariatmadari, that both proves and disproves its own theme at the same time: “An Information Apocalypse Is Coming”. Now, I don’t fancy the term apocalypse in a setting like this, it feels too much like going for a cheap thrill, but since he used it, why not.

My first reaction to the headline, and the article, is: what do you mean it’s ‘coming’? Don’t you think we have such an apocalypse already, that we’re living it, we’re smack in the middle of such a thing? If you don’t think so, would that have anything to do with you working at a major newspaper? Or with your views of the world, political and other, that shape how you experience ‘information’?

Shariatmadari starts out convincingly and honestly enough with a description of a speech that JFK was supposed to give in Dallas right after he was murdered, a speech that has been ‘resurrected’ using technology that enables one to make it seem like he did deliver it.

An Information Apocalypse Is Coming. How Can We Protect Ourselves?

“In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason, or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality, and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.”
John F Kennedy’s last speech reads like a warning from history, as relevant today as it was when it was delivered in 1963 at the Dallas Trade Mart. His rich, Boston Brahmin accent reassures us even as he delivers the uncomfortable message. The contrast between his eloquence and the swagger of Donald Trump is almost painful to hear.
Yes, Kennedy’s words are lofty ones, and they do possess at least some predictive qualities. But history does play a part too. Would we have read the same in them that we do now, had Kennedy not been shot right before he could deliver them? Hard to tell.

What’s more, not long before JFK was elected president America had been in the tight and severe grip of J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist campaign, in which lots of reality was replaced with rhetoric, something Kennedy undoubtedly had in mind while writing the speech. JFK was not just addressing future threats, he was talking about the past as well.


But the writer slips into a much bigger faux pas right after: injecting Trump into the picture. It’s fine if someone doesn’t like Trump, but naming him there and then, in an article about ‘information apocalypse’, also means confusing objectivity with regards to your topic with subjectivity concerning your political ideas. While the Kennedy speech item relates to -advancing(?)- technology, a valid part of the apocalypse, mentioning Trump has nothing to do with that apocalypse, at least not objectively. Back to David Shariatmadari:

The problem is, Kennedy never spoke these words. He was killed before he made it to the Trade Mart. You can only hear them now thanks to audio technology developed by a British company, CereProc. Fragments of his voice have been taken from other speeches and public appearances, spliced and put back together, with neural networks employed to mimic his natural intonation. The result is pretty convincing, although there’s a machine-like ring to some of the syllables, a synthetic stutter. Enough to recognise, if you already know, that this is a feat of technology, not oratory.

We like to think of innovation as morally neutral. We empower scientists and engineers to range freely in the hope they might discover things that save labour and lives. The ends to which these are put aren’t the responsibility of the researchers. The agile robots produced by Boston Dynamics might look like they could cheerfully pin you up against a wall and snap your neck, but do we really want to close off this avenue of research? After all, they might equally be capable of performing life-saving surgery. The methods used to resurrect JFK can also help people with illnesses such as motor neurone disease – like the late Stephen Hawking – that affect their ability to speak.
It’s certainly true that we are so ‘geared’ towards progress, we ‘conveniently’ forget and ignore that every next step carries its own shadow side, every yin comes with its yang. ‘Progress’ and ‘innovation’ – and related terms- ring so positive in our eyes and ears it borders on -wilful- blindness. That blindness is set to play a major role in our future, and in our acceptance as gospel of a lot of ‘information’.

“Dual use” of technology is not a new problem. Nuclear physics gave us both energy and bombs. What is new is the democratisation of advanced IT, the fact that anyone with a computer can now engage in the weaponisation of information; 2016 was the year we woke up to the power of fake news, with internet conspiracy theories and lies used to bolster the case for both Brexit and Donald Trump.
Ouch! See, he does it again. This is not an objective discourse on ‘information disinformation’, but a way to make people think -through a method he’s supposed to be exposing- that ‘fake news’ led to Brexit and Trump. That’s a political view, not a neutral one. Yes, there are many voices out there who connect ‘fake news’ directly to things they don’t like, but that’s just a trap.

And as I said, it may have to do with the fact that the writer works for a major newspaper, which of course he wants to, and wishes to, see as some kind of beacon against fake news, but if he lets his own personal views slip into an objective treatment of a topic this easily, it automatically becomes self-defeating.

There is no proof that Trump and Brexit’s success are down to fake news more than their opposite sides, ‘fake news’ is everywhere, and that very much includes the Guardian. The coverage of the UK government accusations against Russia in the poisoning case proves that more than ever.

You can be anti-Trump, anti-Brexit and anti-Putin all you want, but they don’t define fake news or an information apocalypse, any more than ‘commies’ did in the days of Hoover and McCarthy.

We may, however, look back on it as a kind of phoney war, when photoshopping and video manipulation were still easily detectable. That window is closing fast. A program developed at Stanford University allows users to convincingly put words into politicians’ mouths. Celebrities can be inserted into porn videos. Quite soon it will be all but impossible for ordinary people to tell what’s real and what’s not.
That is am almost bewildering line. Does the writer really think ‘ordinary people’ can today tell apart what’s real and what’s not? If his paper had honestly covered his country’s, and his government’s, involvement in the wars all over the Middle East and North Africa over the past decades, would his readers still be supportive of the politicians that today inhabit Westminster?

Or does the paper prefer supporting the incumbents over Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, because it owes its reputation and position and revenues to supporting the likes of Theresa May and Tony Blair? Yeah, I know, with a critical view, yada yada, but when has the Guardian labeled any UK politician a war criminal? Much easier to go after Farage, isn’t it? The question is: what part of this is fake, and what is not?

What will the effects of this be? When a public figure claims the racist or sexist audio of them is simply fake, will we believe them? How will political campaigns work when millions of voters have the power to engage in dirty tricks? What about health messages on the dangers of diesel or the safety of vaccines? Will vested interests or conspiracy theorists attempt to manipulate them?
This appears to make sense, but it does not really. We are way past that. ‘Ordinary people’ have already lost their capacity to tell truth from fiction. Newspapers and TV stations have long disseminated the views of their owners, it’s just that they now have -newfound- competition from a million other sources: the blessings of social media.





The core issue here is that 1984 is not some point in the future, as we for some reason prefer to think. We are living 1984. Perhaps the fact that we are now 34 years past it should give us a clue about that? People tend to think that perhaps Orwell was right, but his predictions were way early. Were they, though?

Also: Orwell may not have foreseen the blessings and trappings of social media, but he did foresee how governments and their media sympathizers would react to them: with more disinformation.

Unable to trust what they see or hear, will people retreat into lives of non-engagement, ceding the public sphere to the already powerful or the unscrupulous? The potential for an “information apocalypse” is beginning to be taken seriously.
This is a full-blown time warp. If it is true that people only now take the potential for an “information apocalypse” seriously, they are so far behind the curve ball that one must question the role of the media in that. Why didn’t people know about that potential when it was an actual issue? Why did nobody tell them?

The problem is we have no idea what a world in which all words and images are suspect will look like, so it’s hard to come up with solutions.
Yes, we do have an idea about that, because we see it around us 24/7. Maybe not with images as fully fabricated as the JFK speech, but the essence is manipulation itself, not the means by which it’s delivered.

Perhaps not very much will change – perhaps we will develop a sixth sense for bullshit and propaganda, in the same way that it has become easy to distinguish sales calls from genuine inquiries, and scam emails with fake bank logos from the real thing.

David, we ARE all bullshitters, we all lie all the time, for a myriad of reasons, to look better, to feel better, to seem better, to get rich, to get laid. It’s who we are. We lie to ourselves most of all. A sixth sense against bullshit and propaganda is the very last thing we will ever develop, because it would force us to face our own bullshit.

But there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to defend ourselves from the onslaught, and society could start to change in unpredictable ways as a result. Like the generation JFK was addressing in his speech, we are on the cusp of a new and scary age. Rhetoric and reality, the plausible and the possible, are becoming difficult to separate. We await a figure of Kennedy’s stature to help us find a way through. Until then, we must at the very least face up to the scale of the coming challenge.
We are not 'on the cusp of a new and scary age', we are smack in the middle of it. We haven’t been able to separate rhetoric and reality, the plausible and the possible, for ages. What’s different from 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, is that now we are faced with an information overload so severe that this in itself makes us less capable of separating chaff from wheat.

So yes, that perhaps is new. But bullshit and propaganda are not. And labeling Trump and Brexit the main threats misses your own topic by miles. You could make an equally valid point that they are the results of many years of bullshit and propaganda by old-style politics and old-style media.

Maybe they’re what happens when ‘ordinary people’ switch off from an overload of bullshit and propaganda forced upon them by people and institutions they grew up to trust. And then feel they were betrayed by. A sixth sense after all.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-17/1984-not-future
 

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#9
Information Tyranny Starts Today (how to remain grounded in reality)
FullSpectrumSurvival


Published on Mar 17, 2018
If you like this video - share it on facebook, twitter, email and use social media to fight against it.

Tyranny for your thoughts is already here. In many ways, the old ways of the past are dead. People in general no longer know what is right and what is wrong, how to deal with pain and suffering, what to do in the event of a true emergency or even what they themselves are thinking.

All of this is being done for them and any environment that speaks against that is being censored or all together demolished.

Let's talk about what we can do to fight this by remaining grounded in reality and taking care of the necessities of life (food, water, shelter, protection).
 

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#12
Brave New World Revisited And The Disease Of Over-Organization


by Tyler Durden
Wed, 04/04/2018 - 23:20




Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking or thinking I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.
– John Adams letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 15, 1817​

Brave New World Revisited is one of the few books I’ve read in my life that I continue to think about on a regular basis.

In terms of understanding where humanity stands at present and what we need to do to get out of the mess we’ve created, it’s one of the more important pieces of non-fiction you can find.

I recently felt the need to reread the book for some unknown reason, and I’m glad I did. The choices we make as a species about how we reorganize human affairs in the decades to come will determine the future of human freedom on this planet. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited offers an abundance of wisdom for us to consider as we move forward.

Huxley was deeply concerned with the importance of individual human freedom and the forces relentlessly trying to stifle it. Here’s a brief description of how Huxley viewed our species:

In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual. We reproduce our kind by bringing the father’s genes into contact with the mother’s. These hereditary factors may be combined in an almost infinite number of ways. Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature…
Biologically speaking, man is a moderately gregarious, not a completely social animal — a creature more like a wolf, let us say, or an elephant, than like a bee or an ant. In their original form human societies bore no resemblance to the hive or the ant heap; they were merely packs. Civilization is, among other things, the process by which primitive packs are transformed into an analogue, crude and mechanical, of the social insects’ organic communities. At the present time the pressures of over-population and technological change are accelerating this process. The termitary has come to seem a realizable and even, in some eyes, a desirable ideal. Needless to say, the ideal will never in fact be realized. A great gulf separates the social insect from the not too gregarious, big-brained mammal; and even though the mammal should do his best to imitate the insect, the gulf would remain. However hard they try, men cannot create a social organism, they can only create an organization. In the process of trying to create an organism they will merely create a totalitarian despotism.

It’s that very last line which is key, and forms the basis of most of Huxley’s most dystopian concerns. If you agree with his assessment (as I do), that human beings are “moderately gregarious” at a species level, and biologically unique at the individual level, any ethical conclusion about how human civilizations should be structured must promote and protect the value of human freedom at its core.

While this may be obvious to many of you, Huxley accurately warns readers of the nontrivial numbers of dedicated ideologues and authoritarian types who disagree and actively work to turn the human being into a mere cog in a large machine of their particular fantasy. The best terms to describe such types and their worldview are: collectivists and collectivism. These sorts insist that the rights of the individual are subservient to the whole, with the whole typically being some artificial construct that happens to be most opportunistic or appealing at any given moment. Collectivism can emerge on the right or the left of the political spectrum — it knows no political party. The key calling card of the collectivist is that he or she wishes to force individuals into a structure of conformity that fits their particular worldview.

As Mr. William Whyte has shown in his remarkable book, The Organization Man, a new Social Ethic is replacing our traditional ethical system — the system in which the individual is primary. The key words in this Social Ethic are “adjustment,” “adaptation,” “socially orientated behavior,” “belongingness,” “acquisition of social skills,” “team work,” “group living,” “group loyalty,” “group dynamics,” “group thinking,” “group creativity.” Its basic assumption is that the social whole has greater worth and significance than its individual parts, that inborn biological differences should be sacrificed to cultural uniformity, that the rights of the collectivity take precedence over what the eighteenth century called the Rights of Man…This ideal man is the man who displays “dynamic conformity” (delicious phrase!) and an intense loyalty to the group, an unflagging desire to subordinate himself, to belong. And the ideal man must have an ideal wife, highly gregarious, infinitely adaptable and not merely resigned to the fact that her husband’s first loyalty is to the Corporation, but actively loyal on her own account.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t view ourselves as interconnected consciousness on a planetary level — I think we should. The key is this must emerge from an individual understanding of consciousness and not some topdown mandate from some collectivist control-freak dictator enforced via violence and coercion.

But here’s where it starts to get really interesting. Since humans aren’t naturally collectivist animals like ants or bees, those who desire to turn us into such creatures must construct an artificial paradigm and then resort to intense and systematic propaganda to keep it going. This is precisely why Huxley devotes so much of his book to the mind-control techniques of his time and the ones he imagines will exist in the not too distant future.

Here’s one passage that really stuck with me:

In their propaganda today’s dictators rely for the most part on repetition, suppression and rationalization — the repetition of catchwords which they wish to be accepted as true, the suppression of facts which they wish to be ignored, the arousal and rationalization of passions which may be used in the interests of the Party or the State. As the art and science of manipulation come to be better understood, the dictators of the future will doubtless learn to combine these techniques with the non-stop distractions which, in the West, are now threatening to drown in a sea of irrelevance the rational propaganda essential to the maintenance of individual liberty and the survival of democratic institutions.

Sound familiar?

Russia, Russia, Russia.
Stormy Daniels, Stormy Daniels, Stormy Daniels.



Huxley also spent a great deal of time discussing how completely filled with propaganda all of our human societies are, and that it’s not always totally insidious. After all, the use of persuasion and the innate susceptibility for humans beings to be persuaded is in fact part of our social makeup. He notes:

Huxley notes:

Suffice it to say that all the intellectual materials for a sound education in the proper use of language — an education on every level from the kindergarten to the postgraduate school — are now available. Such an education in the art of distinguishing between the proper and the improper use of symbols could be inaugurated immediately. Indeed it might have been inaugurated at any time during the last thirty or forty years. And yet children are nowhere taught, in any systematic way, to distinguish true from false, or meaningful from meaningless, statements. Why is this so? Because their elders, even in the democratic countries, do not want them to be given this kind of education. In this context the brief, sad history of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis is highly significant. The Institute was founded in 1937, when Nazi propaganda was at its noisiest and most effective, by Mr. Filene, the New England philanthropist. Under its auspices analyses of non-rational propaganda were made and several texts for the instruction of high school and university students were prepared. Then came the war — a total war on all the fronts, the mental no less than the physical. With all the Allied governments engaging in “psychological warfare,” an insistence upon the desirability of analyzing propaganda seemed a bit tactless. The Institute was closed in 1941. But even before the outbreak of hostilities, there were many persons to whom its activities seemed profoundly objectionable. Certain educators, for example, disapproved of the teaching of propaganda analysis on the grounds that it would make adolescents unduly cynical. Nor was it welcomed by the military authorities, who were afraid that recruits might start to analyze the utterances of drill sergeants. And then there were the clergymen and the advertisers. The clergymen were against propaganda analysis as tending to undermine belief and diminish churchgoing; the advertisers objected on the grounds that it might undermine brand loyalty and reduce sales.
That’s simply fascinating and shows there’s a institutional bias against providing people with the tools needed in order to identify mind-control and propaganda. Dominant institutions may not agree on much, but they agree that people shouldn’t be critical thinkers. This is precisely why my wife and I are determined to teach our children to question everything they’re told, including by us (I’m quite certain I’ll live to regret writing that some day).

Huxley’s observation reminds me of that classic George Carlin quote:

There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got… because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now… the real owners. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

Indeed it is.

Going back to Huxley, it’s amazing how prescient he was about the future of the U.S. and indeed much of the Western world. He observed:

At this point we find ourselves confronted by a very disquieting question: Do we really wish to act upon our knowledge? Does a majority of the population think it worth while to take a good deal of trouble, in order to halt and, if possible, reverse the current drift toward totalitarian control of everything? In the United States and America is the prophetic image of the rest of the urban-industrial world as it will be a few years from now — recent public opinion polls have revealed that an actual majority of young people in their teens, the voters of tomorrow, have no faith in democratic institutions, see no objection to the censorship of unpopular ideas, do not believe that government of the people by the people is possible and would be perfectly content, if they can continue to live in the style to which the boom has accustomed them, to be ruled, from above, by an oligarchy of assorted experts. That so many of the well-fed young television-watchers in the world’s most powerful democracy should be so completely indifferent to the idea of self-government, so blankly uninterested in freedom of thought and the right to dissent, is distressing, but not too surprising. “Free as a bird,” we say, and envy the winged creatures for their power of unrestricted movement in all the three dimensions. But, alas, we forget the dodo. Any bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded. Something analogous is true of human beings. If the bread is supplied regularly and copiously three times a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone — or at least by bread and circuses alone.

It’s important to recall that this was written in 1958. Huxley astutely noted that the youth of post WW2 America, too young to recall the horrors of the war, but old enough to appreciate the material benefits which followed total victory, had no real interest in self-government or freedom of thought. Fat on bread and expecting good times to continue indefinitely, the American public had very quickly become a people perfectly primed for those obsessed with turning humans into malleable cogs in a gigantic machine. This machine would eventually evolve into the imperial oligarchy we have today.

Huxley also noted the following about the media environment:

Mass communication, in a word, is neither good nor bad; it is simply a force and, like any other force, it can be used either well or ill. Used in one way, the press, the radio and the cinema are indispensable to the survival of democracy. Used in another way, they are among the most powerful weapons in the dictator’s armory. In the field of mass communications as in almost every other field of enterprise, technological progress has hurt the Little Man and helped the Big Man. As lately as fifty years ago, every democratic country could boast of a great number of small journals and local newspapers. Thousands of country editors expressed thousands of independent opinions. Somewhere or other almost anybody could get almost anything printed. Today the press is still legally free; but most of the little papers have disappeared. The cost of wood-pulp, of modern printing machinery and of syndicated news is too high for the Little Man. In the totalitarian East there is political censorship, and the media of mass communication are controlled by the State. In the democratic West there is economic censorship and the media of mass communication are controlled by members of the Power Elite. Censorship by rising costs and the concentration of communication power in the hands of a few big concerns is less objectionable than State ownership and government propaganda; but certainly it is not something of which a Jeffersonian democrat could possibly approve.

The advent of the internet and social media leveled this playing field considerably, a development which freaked out the establishment and resulted in hysterical calls to censor the web in the name of fighting “fake news.”

Finally, while reading Brave New World Revisited can leave you with a sense of despair, I see many reasons for optimism. First, we should remember that the reason freedom and the individual human spirit is so difficult to eradicate in the long-term is precisely because the collectivist model goes against the actual nature of our species. This is why so much time and effort must be placed on propaganda and mind-control. Collectivists need to manipulate and brainwash us into accepting such unnatural and oppressive environments such as the type most of humanity live under to the present day.

This means we can certainly change things and shift toward a different paradigm for human affairs. As most of you know by know, I believe this model must be rooted in the concept of decentralization. Huxley seems to agree:

Take the right to vote. In principle, it is a great privilege. In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty. Therefore, if you wish to avoid dictatorship by referendum, break up modern society’s merely functional collectives into self-governing, voluntarily cooperating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Government.
Over-population and over-organization have produced the modern metropolis, in which a fully human life of multiple personal relationships has become almost impossible. Therefore, if you wish to avoid the spiritual impoverishment of individuals and whole societies, leave the metropolis and revive the small country community, or alternately humanize the metropolis by creating within its network of mechanical organization the urban equivalents of small country communities, in which individuals can meet and cooperate as complete persons, not as the mere embodiments of specialized functions.

Humanity finds itself at a significant crossroads. The forces of over-organization and centralization remain dominant, but are increasingly on the run as the economic and political paradigm created in their image begins to fracture. As Huxley noted, over-organization is a disease, yet the varied proponents of the status quo will argue for more control and more centralization as a cure to a problem of their own making. In contrast, what we need to do is move in precisely the opposite direction.

It’s become clear to me that the gigantic, bureaucratic nation-state model of counties as varied as the U.S., China and Russia make little sense in their current forms if we care at all about human freedom. Huxley observed that freedom flourishes best at a far more local level of governance and I completely agree. When you attempt to make blanket, centralized political decisions for hundreds of millions, or even billions of people, everyone ends up unhappy and collectively powerless. Significant amounts of coercion and oppression are then needed to enforce such centralized decisions that typically end up benefiting only the handful of people who are able to game the system and get what they want.

Huxley noted:

Self-government is in inverse ratio to numbers. The larger the constituency, the less the value of any particular vote. When he is merely one of millions, the individual elector feels himself to be impotent, a negligible quantity. The candidates he has voted into office are far away, at the top of the pyramid of power. Theoretically they are the servants of the people; but in fact it is the servants who give orders and the people, far off at the base of the great pyramid, who must obey. Increasing population and advancing technology have resulted in an increase in the number and complexity of organizations, an increase in the amount of power concentrated in the hands of officials and a corresponding decrease in the amount of control exercised by electors, coupled with a decrease in the public’s regard for democratic procedures. Already weakened by the vast impersonal forces at work in the modern world, democratic institutions are now being undermined from within by the politicians and their propagandists.

For additional thoughts on this topic, see my 2017 four-part series: “Decentralize or Die.”

Notes:
This is the second post I’ve written on Brave New World Revisited. See the first one here:
Brave New World Revisited…Key Excerpts and My Summary (2014)
Read the entire book online here: Brave New World Revisited [1958]

* * *

If you liked this article and enjoy my work, consider becoming a monthly Patron, or visit our Support Page to show your appreciation for independent content creators.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-04/brave-new-world-revisited-and-disease-over-organization
 

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#13
Department of Homeland Security is compiling a database of journalists and influencers for 'media monitoring'

  • The Department of Homeland Security posted a contract request seeking a company to help with 'media monitoring services'
  • The department said it wants to monitor more than 290,000 news sources including online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications
  • DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton tweeted that it was a normal process to monitor current events


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5589469/Department-Homeland-Security-compiling-database-journalists-influencers-monitoring.html#ixzz5C0rLEUst
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
 

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#14
Department of Homeland Security is compiling a database of journalists and influencers for 'media monitoring'

  • The Department of Homeland Security posted a contract request seeking a company to help with 'media monitoring services'
  • The department said it wants to monitor more than 290,000 news sources including online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications
  • DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton tweeted that it was a normal process to monitor current events


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5589469/Department-Homeland-Security-compiling-database-journalists-influencers-monitoring.html#ixzz5C0rLEUst
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Good, we'll know where they are when the Day of the Rope cometh!
 

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#15
RED FLAG: Homeland Security Hiring “Media Monitoring Services” to Compile Journalist and Media Influencer Database


by TDB
Fri, 04/06/2018 - 22:22



Via The Daily Bell

On April 3rd the Department of Homeland Security posted an ad to FedBizOpps.gov (Federal Business Opportunities). That is the government’s website where they post contractor work.

DHS is looking for “Media Monitoring Services.”

They want a database with built-in search and alert features. The DHS is looking for something that they can search to see which publications, journalists, and social media influencers are talking about the DHS, and what they are saying.

0.2 SCOPE
The contractor shall provide NPPD/OUS with traditional and social media monitoring and communications solutions.​
0.3 OBJECTIVE
Services shall enable NPPD/OUS to monitor traditional news sources as well as social media, identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event. Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers.​

The DHS wants the ultimate surveillance dashboard where they can know real time anything anyone is saying about them around the world.

Ability to track global online sources for coverage relevant to Washington and the six media hubs:​
  • Ability to track > 290,000 global news sources
  • Ability to track online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications, local sources, national/international outlets, traditional news sources, and social media

They want to monitor worldwide media that has any mention of the Department of Homeland Security, or any specific event that they are interested in.

They make repeated mention of social media. This is not just journalists the DHS will monitor, it is any conversation on social media which mentions the DHS.

  • Overview of search results in terms of online articles and social media conversations

They literally want the name of every Facebook and Twitter user that mentions the DHS. They will also have the ability to zero-in on everyone discussing a mass shooting or terrorist attack.

  • Ability to analyze the media coverage in terms of content, volume, sentiment, geographical spread, top publications, media channels, reach, AVE, top posters, influencers, languages, momentum, circulation.

The DHS will have the breakdown of who supports them, and who doesn’t. They will know who is gaining traction with their message, and who is not. They will know what locations support the DHS, and which regions are full of dissidents.

  • Ability to build media lists based on beat, location, outlet type/size, and journalist role

They are making a naughty and nice list.

  • For each influencer found, present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer

The DHS will profile any journalist that has been critical of the agency.

But they will also have access to any influencers who could spin the DHS in a positive light.

This is all on the official government website. No conspiracy theory, no secret sources. They said it openly.

This can be viewed two ways, and will likely be utilized in both.

The DHS will chill free speech since journalists and media outlets now know they will be closely watched for mentioning the Department of Homeland Security.

The DHS will spread pr0-DHS propaganda through social media influencers and friendly news sources.

This absolutely goes contrary to the First Amendment, to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Media will be profiled and monitored based on their coverage of the Department of Homeland security. Journalists now know that if they criticize the DHS, they will come under the scrutiny.

They are watching you. They know what you say about them. They know where you live, who you work for, and how to contact you.

The message is clear. Watch who you criticize.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:

How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim 3 Specific Freedoms.

This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It’s not as hard as you think…
Identify. Plan. Execute.

Yes, deliver THE DAILY BELL to my inbox!

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...ia-monitoring-services-compile-journalist-and
 

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#17
Finding the Needle of Truth in the Haystack of Lies

-- Published: Tuesday, 10 April 2018

By Larry LaBorde

What is truth? I suppose that question has caused more than one person to sit and think for a while. In today’s society we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. The great libraries of the world cannot compare with the data available from a single smart phone. But with so much data how do we determine truth.

I read the other day about an internet service that could help with a bad internet profile. For an example, if a picture got out over the internet that was less than flattering and was causing great concern they offered a service to fix the problem. This service would flood the internet with good pictures of you and good stories so that when your name was searched the bad picture was hiding in a sea of other pictures. The bad picture could not be removed but it could be hidden within hundreds of other pictures.

As another example, much has been written about 9-11 in New York. I am sure that the real story is out there somewhere in the open but I am pretty much equally sure that hundreds of false stories have been planted to confuse or dilute the truth. I still have questions about building 7 that are unanswered.

With accusations of “fake news” and MSM (main street media) bias in reporting the news who knows what is truth anymore? We are constantly bombarded with 24/7 news stories. The financial press talks for hours on end trying to explain why the markets went up or down yesterday. They knit together cause and effect stories on how this report from the BLS or the Fed or the President’s latest tweet caused the market to react one way or another. To listen to their reasoning we have become a nation of schizophrenic investors buying and selling every few minutes based on the latest headline story. Perhaps with robotic trading algos buying and selling massive blocks of stocks at the speed of light for a few pennies the markets have become exactly that.

Many people in today’s society sneer at the old Roman practice of “bread and circuses” to entertain the masses of yesterday but what of EBT (electronic benefit transfer or modern food stamps) cards and the NFL of today? They are nothing really but modern day bread and gladiators to keep us fed and amused. The search for truth is hard for everyone and requires quiet reflection and study. In short, it is difficult to find in this all too short time on earth with everything and yet nothing competing for our attention.

Maybe it is time that we tune out the day to day static and look for the long term trends. To slow down and seek out the real truths that ultimately drive our society and our lives. But where do we find such truths?

There is a reason the Bible is the world’s best selling book. Try reading King Solomon’s wisdom in the short book of Ecclesiastes where he says there is nothing new under the sun as human nature remains the same throughout time. Read the book of Proverbs where King Solomon talks about how to live a proper life. Read the Ten Commandments in the 20th chapter of the book of Exodus which is the basis of western law. (Karl Marx and socialist around the world must have missed the last one that says “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife or property.) Surely there is truth in the Bible.

What about more modern writers? In the book, “The Fourth Turning” authors Strauss and Howe talk about how history advances in cycles like a stretched slinky. Always advancing but still circling around in cycles of about 80 years or 4 generations. Martin Armstrong writes about cycles based on pi.

Richard Maybury writes about the two laws that he feels that have defined common law: 1. Do all you have agreed to do. 2. Do not encroach on other persons or their property. Pretty simple!

George Washington wrote his rules of civility at a young age as his guiding principles.

C.S. Lewis wrote children’s stories with great truths woven into them. My favorite is the truth that we must strive for goodness against our base human nature and our biggest battles in life are those within ourselves where we are fighting our own shortcomings.

Miguel Ruiz wrote “The Four Agreements” back in 1997 and it has become a best setter ever since. My favorite is #2.

I advise everyone to stop worrying about the day to day static and to study, read and pray to find their own truth. Turn off the mindless stories of the day that will not matter next week or next month. Most of it is propaganda anyway by people trying to influence your opinion on some topic or other. Sit back and ask yourself what do you believe and why? Does it ring true? Write it down and read it again next year and the year after that. You will never find real truth in a newspaper or on CNN (or even on Fox News). Listen to your grandparent’s wisdom if they are still around. Those little nuggets of wisdom like: Don’t spend more than you earn or always save for a rainy day or family, friends and health are your greatest wealth or always be polite to others are lessons learned from a lifetime of living.

Everyone should know deep down in their heart that continued government borrowing with no intention of ever paying it back can only end badly. Of course no one knows how bad or when it will end but that it will end and it will end badly.

Find your few needles of truth in this modern world’s haystack of lies and hold onto them tightly.

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Peter Marshall

“Those who do not read are uninformed, those who only read newspapers are mis-informed.” Thomas Jefferson

Larry LaBorde sells precious metals through Silver Trading Company LLC. Since 2001, Silver Trading Company has offered high volume sales of gold, silver, platinum and palladium to serious investors around the world. It also offers guidance about storage options for metals. Please visit Silver Trading Company’s website at www.SilverTrading.net.

http://news.goldseek.com/GoldSeek/1523362380.php
 

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#18
AS WAR DRUMS BEAT FOR SYRIA, REMEMBER, LIES AND PROPAGANDA STARTED NEARLY EVERY WAR IN US HISTORY

by TDB
Sat, 04/14/2018 - 10:45


Via The Daily Bell

War is one of the most primitive and senseless manifestations of the human experience, so naturally, most sane people with families, ambitions and kind hearts want nothing to do with such things. Unfortunately, as we are seeing with the Syrian escalation, governments thrive on war, as it gives them a pressing excuse to grab more power and take extrajudicial measures—both at home and abroad.

To get around the obstacle of public opinion, governments have an extensive history of lying their way into war. This is hard to believe for people who think that government has their best interest in mind, but it is something that rulers have been doing since the beginning of time.

In the modern United States, people are led to believe that the establishment accidentally flounders its way into war with the good intentions of protecting the country from harm or liberating an ally in distress.

This strategy of deception was illustrated by the Nazi propagandist Herman Goering, who famously said:

“Of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”​

Of course, the Nazi regime is notorious for their brutality and deceit, so this admission is not as stunning as it would be from an American general, but make no mistake that these are the types of thoughts that American generals and politicians have—they are just not brazen enough to say it out loud.

Believe it or not, using deceptive tactics to sway public opinion in favor of war is actually an official part of the US military’s playbook. According to Wikileaks, the U.S. Army’s publication “Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces” recommends funding terrorists for regime change operations and using false flag attacks to destabilize regimes that were unfriendly to western interests.

This is nothing new though, this is a part of American history, as nearly every war that the U.S. has ever been involved in was built upon lies. Below are some of the most well-documented examples of wars that were started because of lies and government propaganda.

Spanish-American War – 1898
In January 1898, President William McKinley ordered the USS Maine to port in Havana, Cuba, despite years of conflict between Cuban rebels and the Spanish government. The move was intended to be a show of force against the Spanish government, in line with the Monroe doctrine, to establish U.S. dominance in the Western hemisphere.

At 9:40 p.m., on February 15, 1898, The USS Maine exploded with a crew of 354 men on board, killing 266. While the Spanish government insisted the explosion was caused by a fire in a coal bunker that ignited the forward magazines, politicians in the U.S. were quick to blame Spain because they wanted an excuse to wage a war of conquest for territory in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Although President McKinley had previously voiced his opposition to a military conflict, on April 25, the U.S. declared war on Spain.

The “Ten-Week War” resulted in not only the defeat of the last remnants of the Spanish empire but in a new era of U.S. “expansionism” as the United States took control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine islands.

In 1976, a team of naval explosive experts examined the evidence and corroborated Spanish claims that the USS Maine’s sinking was caused by an internal explosion from ammunition being stored on board.

World War 1 – 1915
The first world war was opposed by most Americans from the start, as they rightly saw it as a power struggle between European aristocrats that they had no business in. This was a problem for the British military, led by Winston Churchill, as they were desperate to get the United States behind them in the war.

The U.S. did finally enter the war in 1915, when a U.S. ship called the Lusitania was sent through hostile waters as bait, filled with more than a thousand civilians and an unusually large amount of ammunition. The ship was hit by a German torpedo and exploded instantly due to all of the ammunition onboard, killing more than half of the passengers and crew.

A week before the sinking of Lusitania, Churchill wrote to Walter Runciman, the President of the Board of Trade, stating that it is “most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany.”

After investigating the tragedy, former British naval intelligence officer Patrick Beesly said, “unless and until fresh information comes to light, I am reluctantly driven to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy deliberately to put Lusitania at risk in the hope that even an abortive attack on her would bring the United States into the war. Such a conspiracy could not have been put into effect without Winston Churchill’s express permission and approval.”

In addition to this treacherous military maneuver, there was a relentless campaign in the U.S. to dehumanize Germans and to paint them as monsters. In some propaganda that was peddled to U.S. citizens, German soldiers were depicted killing babies and sometimes eating them. There were even false reports of crucifixions.

World War 2 – 1941
The history books suggest that Pearl Harbor was an unprovoked attack, killing thousands of Americans and “forcing” the government to enter a war that was extremely unpopular at the time. However, the U.S. government was enacting strict sanctions on both Japan and Germany, hoping that either country would make the first move and give them an excuse to enter the war. Not only was the attack provoked, but President Roosevelt and the U.S. military knew the attack was coming and moved their most expensive aircraft to other locations while leaving thousands of people as sacrificial pawns.

The history books also sell the war against the Nazis as a humanitarian war to save people from the Holocaust, but the U.S. denied safe passage to Jewish refugees, and UK intelligence even planned to blow up refugee ships, in a plot called Operation Embarrass.

Many American businesses and politicians worked very closely with the Nazis even after the two countries were at war with each other. The Holocaust had already claimed the lives of millions of German people by that point, and a police state had long since been established, so whoever was doing business with the Nazis knew exactly who they were getting involved with.

Prior to the Americans getting involved in the war, there were corners of the political arena that were actually big supporters of the Nazi party—both for business purposes and common interests such as eugenics.

The most prominent American politician to work with the Nazis was actually George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush. There is no doubt that he was funding and working with the Nazis because his company’s assets were seized in 1942 by the United States government under the “trading with the enemy” act. He worked at the head of a financial firm called Brown Brothers Harriman, which acted as a U.S. base for the Nazi business interests.

Brown Brothers Harriman was one of the biggest international investment firms in the 1930s and they sent millions of dollars in gold overseas to rebuild the German army and fund the Nazi party. This racket was finally exposed on July 30, 1942, when the New York Herald Tribune posted an article titled, “Hitler’s Angel Has three million dollars in US Bank.” This article raised suspicion about the bank being a “secret nest” for Nazi elites and eventually sparked the investigation that took down the operation.

Korean War – 1950
The propaganda of war has led many to believe that the North Korean government launched an unprovoked attack on South Korea, on behalf of the larger communist powers of Russia and China. Yet, once again, this was another case where the U.S. was propping up one dictator to fight another, in an attempt to gain control of an entire continent—all the while, lying to the people back home about the true motivations for war.

As historian Mark E. Caprio, professor of history at Rikkyo University in Tokyo points out:

“On February 8, 1949, the South Korean president met with Ambassador John Muccio and Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall in Seoul. Here the Korean president listed the following as justifications for initiating a war with the North: the South Korean military could easily be increased by 100,000 if it drew from the 150,000 to 200,000 Koreans who had recently fought with the Japanese or the Nationalist Chinese. Moreover, the morale of the South Korean military was greater than that of the North Koreans. If war broke out he expected mass defections from the enemy. Finally, the United Nations’ recognition of South Korea legitimized its rule over the entire peninsula (as stipulated in its constitution). Thus, he concluded, there was “nothing [to be] gained by waiting.”​

Vietnam War – 1964
Information released in 2005 by the National Security Agency showed that the Gulf of Tonkin incident on August 1964 was deliberately falsified to make it appear that North Vietnamese gunboats attacked an American destroyer patrolling in international waters when in reality, they did not. This was the event that the U.S. military used as an excuse to go to war in Vietnam and it was surrounded by mystery and controversy until decades later when the official facts were released.

It has now been 45 years since the U.S. withdrew the last of its combat troops from Vietnam and the last prisoners of war that were held in North Vietnam returned to U.S. soil. According to estimates, more than 2 million civilians, 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters, 250,000 South Vietnamese fighters, and nearly 58,000 U.S. military members were killed in Vietnam during the war—all because of lies that were used to create propaganda that made American fear for their safety.

Libya – 1984 (then 2015)
Former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky admitted that the Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Libyan Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, which broadcast fake terrorist transmissions that were recorded by Mossad and used to frame Gaddafi as a terrorist supporter. President Reagan bombed Libya immediately after the false reports, but this was not the first or last time the U.S. would involve itself in Libya.

As The Free Thought Project has reported, 3,000 emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released by the State Department contained damning evidence of Western nations using NATO as a tool to overthrow Gaddafi.

The NATO overthrow was not for the protection of the people, but instead, it was to thwart Gaddafi’s attempt to create a gold-backed African currency to compete with the Western central banking monopoly. As per usual, the U.S. and its Western counterparts left the country to its own devices after slashing the once-thriving nation to the ground.

“Today there is no government of Libya. It’s simply mobs that patrol the streets and kill one another,” Virginia State Senator Richard Black told RT of the mess left behind.

Despite certain issues in Libya before the coup, “Libyans had an incredibly high standard of living, the highest in Africa,” international lawyer Francis Boyle told RT. “When I first went to Libya in 1986, I was amazed by the empowerment of women. What I saw in Libya was that women could do anything they wanted to do.”

Iraq – 1990
At the onset of Operation Desert Storm in 1990, a public relations firm by the name of Hill and Knowlton spent millions of dollars on the U.S. government’s behalf, constructing news pieces that would sell the war to the American public. One of the most moving hoaxes to come from this push to war was the testimony of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah.

In a videotaped testimony that was later distributed to the media, she claimed that Iraqi soldiers killed babies in incubators at a hospital.

I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital, While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where… babies were in incubators,” Nayirah said. “They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.”

Sounds horrible, right? Well, luckily it never happened. This was a fabricated event designed to dehumanize the Iraqi people in the eyes of the American public. The whole thing was exposed when journalists discovered that the witness, Nayirah was actually the daughter of a U.S. ambassador, who was being coaxed by military psychological operations specialists.

In addition to this false testimony, the U.S. government also showed Saudi Arabia fake satellite images that depicted Iraqi troops massing on their border.

Iraq – 2003-Present
Emails that were declassified in 2015 paint a much different picture of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq than they led the public to believe. A memo drafted by the U.S. embassy in London revealed how the Bush administration used “spies” in the British Labor Party to help shape British public opinion in favor of the war, prior to U.S. invasion.

In the weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration inundated American airwaves with assertions ranging from Saddam Hussein’s connections to Al-Qaeda, to Colin Powell’s ‘badly flawed’ claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

After invading a sovereign foreign nation, President George W. Bush blatantly lied to the American public and when news came to light that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, he simply accused anyone who criticized him of attempting to “revise history.”

During his presidency, while giving a speech about that very issue, Bush said, “This nation acted to a threat from the dictator of Iraq. Now there are some who would like to rewrite history—revisionist historians is what I like to call them.

War on Terror – 2001-Present
Now the United States military and its allies are exporting their wars of terror across the globe, in the name of fighting terrorism, and most of these wars are also justified with propaganda and lies.

In the early days of the “War on Terror,” the Macedonian government was caught staging a fake terror attack in an attempt to get funding from western forces. Six innocent Pakistani immigrants were accused of being terrorists and killed in the incident.

In 2001, U.S. media spent weeks circulating the idea that anthrax attacks were being carried out by Arabs connected with Afghanistan, when in reality it was a government scientist behind the attacks.

In 2005, former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested that the U.S. should create a false terrorist organization to give the military an excuse to attack places where they believed real terrorists might be hiding:

“Our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization,” Yoo said. “It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”

In 2005, Israeli soldiers admitted to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians to justify using violent force against protesters. Israel also has a deep history of using lies and false attacks to justify military action.

In an incident that came to be known as The Lavon Affair in 1954, undercover Israeli agents set off bombs against U.S. and British targets, hoping that the attack would be blamed on local rebels. Luckily, they were caught and the plot was exposed.

This long track record of deception is important to consider as the U.S. military is beating the war drum again, this time in Syria, where there has also been a long list of false attacks at the hands of western powers.

Starting all the way back in 1957, politicians in the U.S. and UK developed a plot to train Islamic extremists to carry out false flag attacks to push for regime change in Syria. Now, decades later, history is repeating itself in the same part of the world, as regime change in Syria is back on the agenda, and the western powers are following the same playbook.

It is now known that the rebel groups who would eventually become ISIS were funded by U.S. forces in the present day Syrian civil war. Also, the previous gas attacks that were blamed on Assad were never proven to be connected with his government. In fact, the official story of these attacks is highly contested.

Theodore Postol, a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), made a statement after an alleged gas attack last year, saying that he does not believe the Assad regime was responsible for the attacks, and that it is possible the evidence was tampered with.

Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh said high-level American sources told him that the Turkish government carried out the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government. Soon after, Turkish government officials were recorded discussing plans to carry out similar attacks and blame it on the Assad regime.

As TFTP pointed out in an article yesterday, regardless of who is actually responsible for the attack, an intervention from the U.S. military will just lead to more death and destruction.

Given that the U.S. government has such a reputation for mass murder and human rights violations, we should always be extremely suspicious whenever anyone in power claims to be doing something noble, especially when military force is involved.

To learn more, check out “Shadow Ring,” the hard-hitting documentary about the history of war propaganda.


About the Author
John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. John just won a 3-year-long battle with cancer, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments consider subscribing to his podcast to support.

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#19
On Contact: The Destruction of an Independent Press with Mark Crispin Miller
RT America



Published on Apr 16, 2018
Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies at New York University, discusses the destruction of an independent press in the United States.

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#20
British Propaganda And Disinformation: An Imperial & Colonial Tradition

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 04/17/2018 - 05:00


Authored by Wayne Madsen via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

When it comes to creating bogus news stories and advancing false narratives, the British intelligence services have few peers. In fact, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6) has led the way for its American “cousins” and Britain’s Commonwealth partners – from Canada and Australia to India and Malaysia – in the dark art of spreading falsehoods as truths. Recently, the world has witnessed such MI-6 subterfuge in news stories alleging that Russia carried out a novichok nerve agent attack against a Russian émigré and his daughter in Salisbury, England. This propaganda barrage was quickly followed by yet another – the latest in a series of similar fabrications – alleging the Syrian government attacked civilians in Douma, outside of Damascus, with chemical weapons.




It should come as no surprise that American news networks rely on British correspondents stationed in northern Syria and Beirut as their primary sources. MI-6 has historically relied on non-official cover (NOC) agents masquerading primarily as journalists, but also humanitarian aid workers, Church of England clerics, international bankers, and hotel managers, to carry out propaganda tasks. These NOCs are situated in positions where they can promulgate British government disinformation to unsuspecting actual journalists and diplomats.

For decades, a little-known section of the British Foreign Office – the Information Research Department (IRD) – carried out propaganda campaigns using the international media as its platform on behalf of MI-6. Years before Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir became targets for Western destabilization and “regime change.” IRD and its associates at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and in the newsrooms and editorial offices of Fleet Street broadsheets, tabloids, wire services, and magazines, particularly “The Daily Telegraph,” “The Times,” “Financial Times,” Reuters, “The Guardian,” and “The Economist,” ran media smear campaigns against a number of leaders considered to be leftists, communists, or FTs (fellow travelers).

These leaders included Indonesia’s President Sukarno, North Korean leader (and grandfather of Pyongyang’s present leader) Kim Il-Sung, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Cyprus’s Archbishop Makarios, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Chile’s Salvador Allende, British Guiana’s Cheddi Jagan, Grenada’s Maurice Bishop, Jamaica’s Michael Manley, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Guinea’s Sekou Toure, Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara, Australia’s Gough Whitlam, New Zealand’s David Lange, Cambodia’s Norodom Sihanouk, Malta’s Dom Mintoff, Vanuatu’s Father Walter Lini, and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah.

After the Cold War, this same propaganda operation took aim at Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Somalia’s Mohamad Farrah Aidid, and Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Today, it is Assad’s, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s, and Catalonian independence leader Carles Puigdemont’s turn to be in the Anglo-American state propaganda gunsights. Even Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, long a darling of the Western media and such propaganda moguls as George Soros, is now being targeted for Western visa bans and sanctions over the situation with Muslim Rohingya insurgents in Rakhine State.

Through IRD-MI-6-Central Intelligence Agency joint propaganda operations, many British journalists received payments, knowingly or unknowingly, from the CIA via a front in London called Forum World Features (FWF), owned by John Hay Whitney, publisher of the “New York Herald Tribune” and a former US ambassador to London. It is not a stretch to believe that similar and even more formal relationships exist today between US and British intelligence and so-called British “journalists” reporting from such war zones as Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Gaza Strip, as well as from much-ballyhooed nerve agent attack locations as Salisbury, England.

No sooner had recent news reports started to emerge from Douma about a Syrian chlorine gas and sarin agent attack that killed between 40 to 70 civilians, British reporters in the Middle East and London began echoing verbatim statements from the Syrian “White Helmets” and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In actuality, the White Helmets – claimed by Western media to be civilian defense first-responders but are Islamist activists connected to jihadist radical groups funded by Saudi Arabia – are believed to have staged the chemical attack in Douma by entering the municipality’s hospital and dowsing patients with buckets of water, video cameras at the ready. The White Helmets distributed their videos to the global news media, with the BBC and Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News providing a British imprimatur to the propaganda campaign asserting that Assad carried out another “barrel bomb” chemical attack against “his own people.” And, as always, the MI-6 financed Syrian

Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-Assad news front claimed to be operated by a Syrian expatriate and British national named Rami Abdel Rahman from his clothing shop in Coventry, England, began providing second-sourcing for the White Helmet’s chemical attack claims.

With President Trump bringing more and more neo-conservatives, discredited from their massive anti-Iraq propaganda operations during the Bush-Cheney era, into his own administration, the world is witnessing the prolongation of the “Trump Doctrine.”

The Trump Doctrine can best be explained as follows: A nation will be subject to a US military attack depending on whether Trump is facing a severe political or sex scandal at home.

Such was the case in April 2017, when Trump ordered a cruise missile attack on the joint Syrian-Russian airbase at Shayrat, Syria. Trump was still reeling from the resignation of his National Security Adviser, Lt. General Michael Flynn, in February over the mixing of his private consulting business with his official White House duties. Trump needed a diversion and the false accusation that Assad used sarin gas on the village of Khan Sheikoun on April 4, 2017, provided the necessary pabulum for the war-hungry media.

The most recent cruise missile attack was to divert the public’s attention away from Trump’s personal attorney being raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a sex scandal involving Trump and a porn actress, and a “tell-all” book by Trump’s fired FBI director, James Comey.

Although these two scandals provided opportunities for the neo-cons to test Trump with false flag operations in Syria, they were not the first time such actions had been carried out. In 2013, the Syrian government was blamed for a similar chemical attack on civilians in Ghouta. That year, Syrian rebels, supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, admitted to the Associated Press reporter on the ground in Syria that they had been given banned chemical weapons by Saudi Arabia, but that the weapons canisters exploded after improper handling by the rebels. Immediately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian rebel organizations operating out of Turkey claimed that Assad had used chemical-laden barrel bombs on “his own people.” However, Turkish, American, and Lebanese sources confirmed that it was the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that had badly bungled a false flag sarin nerve agent attack on Ghouta.

Few Western media outlets were concerned about a March 19, 2013, sarin nerve agent by the Bashair al-Nasr Brigade rebel group linked to the US- and British-backed Free Syrian Army. The rebels used a "Bashair-3” unguided projectile, containing the deadly sarin agent, on civilians in Khan al-Assal, outside Aleppo. At least 27 civilians were killed, and scores of others injured in the attack. The Syrian Kurds also reported the use of chemical weapons on them during the same time frame by Syrian rebel groups backed by the United States, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. The usual propaganda operations – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Doctors Without Borders, the BBC, CNN, and Sky News – were all silent about these attacks.

In 2013, April 2017, and April 2018, the Western media echo chamber blared out all the same talking points: “Assad killing his own people,” “Syrian weapons of mass destruction,” and the “mass murder of women and children.” Western news networks featured videos of dead women and children, while paid propagandists, known as “contributors” to corporate news networks – all having links to the military-intelligence complex – demanded action be taken against Assad.

Trump, now being advised by the notorious neocon war hawk John Bolton, the new National Security Adviser, began referring to Assad as an “animal” and a “monster.” Bolton, along with Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby, helped craft similar language against Saddam Hussein prior to the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq. It was not coincidental that Trump – at the urging of Bolton and other neocons – gave a full pardon to Libby on the very same day he ordered the cruise missile attack on Damascus and other targets in Syria. Libby was convicted in 2005 of perjury and illegally disclosing national security information.

The world is being asked to take, at face value, the word of patented liars like Trump, Bolton, and other neocons who are now busy joining the Trump administration at breakneck speed.

The corporate media unabashedly acts as though it never lied about the reasons given by the United States and Britain for going to war in Iraq and Libya. Why should anyone believe them now?

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...nd-disinformation-imperial-colonial-tradition
 

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#21
"Once Upon A Time; Long, Long Ago, Truth Was Important..."

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 04/17/2018 - 23:55


Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

I wonder how many people, not just Americans but those in other countries, have come to the conclusion that the United States today is a less free and less aware society than the societies in the dystopian novels of the 20th century or in movies such as The Matrix and V for Vendetta.



Just as people in the dystopian novels had no idea of their real situation, few Americans do either.


What are we to make of the extraordinary war crimes committed by the United States in the 21st century that have destroyed in whole or part seven countries, resulting in millions of dead, maimed, orphaned, and displaced peoples? Consider, for example, the latest Washington war crime, the illegal attack on Syria. Instead of protesting this illegality, the American media egged it on, cheering impending death and destruction.

During the entirety of the 21st century, Israel, Washington’s only ally—as contrasted with the European, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese vassal states of Washington’s empire—has continued with Washington’s support, protection, and encouragement the genocide of the Palestinian people. Essentially, all that is left of Palestine is a ghetto concentration camp known as Gaza which is routinely bombed by Israel using weapons and money supplied by Washington. When a bombing of Gaza is announced, God’s Chosen People take their lawn chairs and picnics up on a hill overlooking Gaza and applaud as the Israeli military murders women and children. This is America’s only ally.

The crimes committed by the US and Israel are horrific, but meet with little opposition. In contrast, an alleged attack in which 70 Syrians are alleged to have died sets in motion the wheels of war. It makes no sense whatsoever. Israel routinely bombs Syrian targets, killing Syrians, and the US arms and supports the “rebels” that the Obama regime sent to overthrow Assad, resulting in large numbers of dead Syrians. Why all of a sudden do 70 Syrians matter to Washington?

According to the Washington authorities, or to the presstitutes’ reports of their statements, two or three alleged Syrian chemical weapons facilities were destroyed by Washington’s missile attack.

Before...


After...


Think about this for a minute. If Washington bombed or sent missiles into chemical weapons facilities, a vast cloud of lethal gas would have been released. The civilian casualties would be many times higher than the claimed 70 victims of Assad’s alleged and unsubstantiated chemical attack used as the pretext for the Trump regime’s war crime against Syria. There is no evidence whatsoever of these casualties.

Had there been casualties, Washington’s attack would obviously be a far greater crime than the chemical attack that Washington used as cover for its own crime. Yet the American presstitutes are crowing over the lesson that America has taught Syria and Russia. Apparently, the American media consists of such immoral or moronic hirelings that the presstitutes are unable to comprehend that an attack by Washington on Syrian chemical weapons plants, if such actually existed, is the equivalent of an attack on Syria with chemical weapons.

As I wrote yesterday, when I was a Wall Street Journal editor, if Washington had just announced that it had bombed the chemical weapons facilities of another country in punishment for that country’s alleged use of a chemical weapon, the Journal’s reporters were sufficiently intelligent to ask where are the victims of Washington’s chemical attack on that country?

Are there thousands of dead people from the chemical gas released by Washington’s attack? Are the hospitals of the country over-filed with the injured and dying?



If a reporter had brought to us a story that was nothing but a Washington press release claiming obviously impossible happenings, we would have told him to go look again and ask the obvious questions. Today the NY Times and Washington Post put the unsubstantiated report on the front page.

Today reporters no longer have to check sources, because there is no longer journalism in America. When the Clinton regime in compliance with the Deep State that made the Clintons super-rich permitted 90% of the independent and diverse US media to be concentrated in the hands of six political companies, that was the end of journalism in America. All we have now is a propaganda ministry that lies for a living. Anyone in American journalism who tells the truth is either immediately fired or in the case of Tucker Carlson at Fox News is set upon by outside presstitutes in an effort to force Fox to replace him. I wonder how long before some woman pops up and claims Tucker Carlson sexually harassed her.

As far as I can tell, the United States is now a police state in which all information is controlled and the population is trained to believe the propaganda or be accused of lack of patriotism and consorting with terrorists and Russians.



https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-17/once-upon-time-long-long-ago-truth-was-important
 

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#22
How The Guardian Fulfills George Orwell's Prediction Of 'Newspeak'


by Tyler Durden
Fri, 04/20/2018 - 02:00



Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

On Sunday April 15th, Britain’s Guardian bannered "OPCW inspectors set to investigate site of Douma chemical attack” and pretended that there was no question that a chemical attack in Douma Syria on April 7th had actually occurred, and the article then went further along that same propaganda-line, to accuse Syria’s Government of having perpetrated it. This ‘news’ story opened [and clarificatory comments from me will added in brackets]:

UN chemical weapons investigators were set on Sunday to begin examining the scene of a chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, which had prompted the joint US, French and British strikes against military installations and chemical weapons facilities near the capital, Damascus.


The arrival of the delegation from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) came as the Syrian military announced that it had “purified” [no source provided, but this — from 7 March 2018 is the only source that existed prior to the April 14th missiles-invasion of Syria, and its meaning is very different: the region of eastern Ghouta, of which Douma is a part, after a two-month campaign that killed nearly 2,000 civilians [no source provided as regards either the number, or that all of them were ‘civilians’ and that none of them were jihadists or “terrorists"], following years of siege.

The propaganda-article continued directly:

“Units of our brave armed forces, and auxiliary and allied forces, completed the purification of eastern Ghouta, including all its towns and villages, of armed terrorist organisations,” the general command statement said.

No source was provided for that, but this sentence is a sly mind-manipulation, because here is what the Syrian Government’s General Command had actually said: "Statement of the Army General Command declaring Eastern Ghouta clear of terrorism” as headlined by the Syrian Government itself.

In other words: the Guardian’s ‘journalist’ had substituted the word “clear” by the word “purify” and did this after having already asserted but not documented, that the Government had just completed “a two-month campaign that killed nearly 2,000 civilians.”


When the Syrian Government announces that an area has been “cleared of terrorists (or of terrorism),” the US-allied propagandist uses the word “purify,” such as “purified the region of eastern Ghouta” or "the purification of eastern Ghouta, including all its towns and villages, of armed terrorist organisations.”

But by the time that the reader gets there to “purification … of armed terrorist organisations," the reader has already been indoctrinated to believe that Syria’s Government is trying to “purify” land, or perpetrate some type of ethnic-cleansing.
Later, the article asserts that,

"The OPCW mission will arrive in Douma eight days after the chemical attack, and days after the area fell to the control of Russian military and Syrian government forces. That delay, along with the possibility of the tampering of evidence by the forces accused of perpetrating the attack, raises doubts about what the OPCW’s inspectors might be able to discover.”​

However, a fierce debate is being waged over whether this was not any real “chemical attack” but instead a staged event by the jihadists in order to draw Trump back into invading Syria. In other words: any journalistic reference yet, at this time, to the event as “the chemical attack” instead of as “the alleged chemical attack" is garbage, just as, prior to the guilty-verdict in a murder trial, no journalistic reference may legitimately be made to the defendant as “the murderer,” instead of as “the defendant." That is lynch-mob ‘journalism’, which Joseph Goebbels championed.

The Joseph-Goebbels-following ‘journalist’ has thus opened by implying that the Russia-allied Syrian Government is trying to crush a democratic revolution, instead of the truth, that the US-allied Governments are trying to overthrow and replace the Russia-allied Syrian Government.



It’s a big difference, between the lie, and the truth.

Another story in the April 15th Guardian was "Pressure grows on Russia to stop protecting Assad as US, UK and France press for inquiry into chemical weapons stockpiles” and this one pretended that the issue is for “Russia to stop protecting Assad,” who is the democratically elected and popular President of Syria, and not to stop the invasion of Syria since 2011 by US and Saudi backed foreign jihadists to overthrow him.

Furthermore, as regards “press for inquiry into chemical weapons stockpiles,” the real and urgent issue right now is to allow the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into Douma to hold an independent and authoritative investigation into the evidence there. Russia pressed for it at the U.N. Security Council and the US and its allies blocked it there. But the OPCW went anyway — even after the US-allied invasion on April 14th — and this courageous resistance by them against the US dictatorship can only be considered heroic.

That type of ‘news’-reporting is virtually universal in The West, among the US and its allied governments, which refer to themselves as ‘democracies’ and refer to any Government that they wish to overthrow and replace by their own selected dictator, as ‘dictatorships’, such as these regimes had referred to Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Syria forever, and Ukraine in 2014.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-19/how-guardian-fulfills-george-orwells-prediction-newspeak
 

searcher

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#23
Deep Fakes Versus Deep State: What to Do When You Can’t Tell What’s Real

by TDB
Thu, 05/03/2018 - 12:51


by Joe Jarvis Via The Daily Bell

The arms race has started: deep fakes versus tech that exposes them. The only problem is that the technology that will supposedly tell us what is real and what is not… was created by DARPA.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is the government agency responsible for the developing things like killer robots, artificial intelligence, swarms of tiny drones, and even experiments with mind reading technology. And those are just the projects we know about.

“Deep fakes” usually refer to videos that have been altered to make it look like someone said or did something they did not. For instance, celebrities heads have been realistically attached to porn star bodies, so that it looks like the celebrity is starring in a porn film. Videos have also been created of politicians saying ridiculous things.

But don’t worry! The U.S. government is here to save the day:

The U.S. Department of Defense is fighting back. After testing projects like driverless cars and early iterations of Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, years ahead of their release to the public, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is now taking on fake news…​
“We have a mission within DARPA to invest in breakthrough technologies that prevent strategic surprise,” said David Doermann, program manager of DARPA’s new media forensics project called MediFor, “and essentially guarantee national security.”​
Doermann’s team of researchers is working to create an automated tool to detect manipulations and then provide detailed information about how a photo, video or audio file was altered.​
“If our adversaries are able to generate material that can spread quickly, they can generate all of this in a disinformation campaign,” Doermann warned, emphasizing that people should always be skeptical that anything they are exposed to online could be challenged in one way or another for reality.​


Problem: Deep Fakes. What can we believe? Which videos are real?

Proposed Solution: DARPA tells us what is real and what is fake.

Now the question: What if DARPA tells us real stuff is fake? Or fake stuff is real? Will we ever know?

All this does is put more power in the hands of government to shape the way we see the world. The deep state would love to monopolize the technology that can analyze these videos and images and inform the public. DARPA can create their own disinformation campaigns.

The University of Maryland’s team of researchers working with DARPA developed this indication tool to flag problem spots in the video. The tool detects light levels and the direction from which the light is coming, using arrows to point out the differences and prove that the original videos where shot at different times. The indicator turns red, marking a literal red flag when the content is suspicious.​
Automated tools like these have been in development for about 20 months, and will continue to be finessed through 2020, said Doermann. DARPA then hopes to work directly with Silicon Valley tech companies to implement the analytics on their platforms, identifying questionable online content in a matter of seconds.​
“Really, today, nothing [online] is authentic,” said Doermann, noting that further uses for the automation could include the FBI and military, as well as court evidence, and insurance and fraud companies.​
What do you think? Can you trust the technology they create, or could they manipulate the technology itself to output information that supports their own propaganda goals?

The Silver Lining
Maybe it’s a good thing to shake people’s trust in everything they see online. Seriously, what if it is better to know that nothing you see online, in videos, or in pictures is necessarily true?

The sex tape, the hot mic, the leaked photo, the admission of guilt caught on film. Maybe these things were never representing an accurate picture of other people anyway. And maybe the fact that these things can all be faked so easily is freeing.

When you explore the internet, you are entering a fantasy world. If you want truth, look with your own two eyes. Go outside, walk around, interact with people who live near you, who actually have an effect on your life.

Tour the local farm and brewery. Meet the owners, ask them questions, face to face.

I know this isn’t a solution to worldwide problems. I know it only goes so far in a world of global trade and intercontinental business. But maybe that is the point.

The pendulum swings. We have the ability to follow worldwide trends and headlines. We can weigh in on wars and uprisings thousands of miles away. But maybe it is time to bring the focus back to what we can control–that is, our lives and our immediate surroundings.

Here’s how the current top-down approach works:
Do you think Assad should be removed from power? What will that mean for Turkey’s power in the region, and will Russian tensions with the U.S. only escalate? Where does this place Iran and Israel, and should the U.S. intervene if… blah, blah, blah.

Guess what, you could be the most informed person in the world on these issues, and your opinion won’t make the slightest difference in these matters.

I’m not saying you should be uninformed, but how can we really be about things so far from us? Did Assad gas his own people, did the U.S. backed al-Qaeda affiliated forces gas these civilians or was no one gassed at all?

I don’t know.

The best case scenario is that I put in the effort to become ultra-informed. Then I get lucky enough to have the choice to vote between two candidates in a swing district who will react radically different to international crises.

And even then, does my vote really count among hundreds of thousands? Is my informed vote going to be the deciding one among countless uninformed votes?

And as informed as I am, that doesn’t even necessarily mean I am right in what I think should be done. Nor do I have all the relevant information. Nor can I, or anyone else, foresee all the possible unintended consequences of whatever action I think, or the politician thinks, should be taken.

So I spend time learning about the Syria crisis on the off chance that I have a meaningful choice for which I can cast my inconsequential vote for a proxy to represent what I believe to be my interests in that one area.

Then I hope that proxy will get elected, keep his promises, and have the wherewithal to actually do something along the lines of my opinion on the matter.

And my Representative is just one of many. He or she must repeat the process of learning about the crisis, hoping for a meanignful choice of legislation, and then hoping their vote actually matters when it comes down to it.

And then implimentations has to go according to plan…

Here’s how a bottom-up system works:
I ran a race to raise money for a private charity that supports foster kids in my county. The director and some of the kids were at the race. I’ve been to the thrift store the charity owns. I’ve donated items and bought others.

That is more important than anything I could do to change the trajectory in Syria.

My point isn’t to be uninformed or apathetic about global or national politics. The point is that we really have little to no effect on the outcome of these things.

But we can put pressure on a mayor or police chief. We can support local causes and patronize the businesses that we like. I can focus on the people that I actually interact with on a daily basis.

I cannot hold the deep state accountable, and with any luck, most of us will never run into one of its agents. But I am going to have to deal with the local cops, the tax collector, and town by-laws.

Isn’t it more important to start by making sure these institutions are not corrupt? There’s actually a shot of our efforts mattering. And we don’t have to wonder if the videos are real, or if the events were staged. We can witness them first hand, or hear first-hand accounts from our neighbors.

Many people have been convinced that a top down system of control is necessary, proper, or inevitable. But this is the self fulfilling prophecy. We are distracted by the things which we cannot affect, and let go of the things which we can actually control.

So the best solution I see is to care less about whether that video was deep faked and to care less about the information controlled by the deep state.

If individuals build a foundation of truth, peace, and prosperity in their actual physical day to day lives, this will reverberate to the highest structures of society.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:
How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim 3 Specific Freedoms.
This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It’s not as hard as you think…
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https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...p-state-what-do-when-you-cant-tell-whats-real
 

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#25
May You Live In Stupid, Corrupt, And Yet Fascinating Times...


by Tyler Durden
Wed, 05/30/2018 - 22:20


Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

In the old days, America’s top spies would complete their tenures at the CIA or one of the other Washington puzzle palaces and segue to more ordinary pursuits. Some wrote their memoirs. One ran for president. Another died a few months after surrendering his post. But today’s national-security establishment retiree has a different game plan. After so many years of brawling in the shadows, he yearns for a second, lucrative career in the public eye. He takes a crash course in speaking in soundbites, refreshes his wardrobe and signs a TV news contract. Then, several times a week, waits for a network limousine to shuttle him to the broadcast news studios where, after a light dusting of foundation and a spritz of hairspray, he takes a supporting role in the anchors’ nighttime shows.
Politico: The Spies Who Came in to the TV Studio
May you live in stupid, corrupt and yet fascinating times.
– Me, paraphrasing a Chinese curse​


I’ve been away the past couple of weeks taking a break with my family. I paid attention to the news, but from a distance. As usual, there’s plenty to talk about.

In the last 24 hours alone, we’ve seen political chaos erupt in Italy and hordes of pundits simultaneously lose their minds over the murder of a prominent Russian journalist that never happened. Such is the world we live in. Stupid, corrupt, yet fascinating.

Of all the things I could’ve written about, you may be surprised by today’s selection. It’s a clip many of you probably saw where Richard Stengel (who was Time Magazine’s managing editor from 2006-2013) admits he approves of government propagandizing its own citizens during a Council on Foreign Relations forum. Here’s the clip.

It remains amusing how mainstream journalists continue to blame the public for not believing them, rather than admitting they themselves created this environment of deep distrust by acting as salespeople for the status quo versus challenging the powerful like they’re supposed to.

The fact someone who spent pretty much his entire career in journalism, including a lengthy period at the top of Time magazine, is a public advocate of government propaganda tells you all you need to know about the debased state of the so-called “trustworthy” media in modern America.

Moreover, Mr. Stengel doesn’t just theoretically believe state propaganda’s a good idea, he’s so completely devoted to the concept he took a job with the U.S. State Department which he admits was nicknamed the “chief propagandist job.” If our nation’s esteemed media properties are being run by men and women with this sort of a mindset (they are), what does it say about the overall state of the press today?

Someone who genuinely accepts and performs the role of speaking truth to power would never want to serve as chief propagandist for the government, nor would a government ever want to hire such a person. The fact Mr. Stengel so seamlessly slithers through the revolving door between government and media says so much about how things work today.

Of course, Stengel’s not the only one. David Frum started out in journalism and later transitioned to government to become primary cheerleader for the Iraq war as George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter. Naturally, being so spectacularly wrong about one of the biggest foreign policy disasters in U.S. history didn’t impede the man’s career one bit. He easily transitioned back to media, currently finding himself senior editor of The Atlantic magazine. Failing your way to the top is a very real thing in this country.

But that’s ancient history. One might assume the press’ embarrassing performance in covering and forecasting the 2016 election would’ve led to introspection from the masters of the media universe, but one would be wrong. In fact, NBC recently went ahead and hired ex-CIA head John Brennan as a “senior national security and intelligence analyst,” while CNN scooped up former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden in addition to ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the government-media-complex iceberg.

As was noted in a February article by Jack Shafer published in Politico:

Former CIA Director John Brennan (2013-17) is the latest superspook to be reborn as a TV newsie. He just cashed in at NBC News as a “senior national security and intelligence analyst” and served his first expert views on last Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press. The Brennan acquisition seeks to elevate NBC to spook parity with CNN, which employs former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director Michael Hayden in a similar capacity. Other, lesser-known national security veterans thrive under TV’s grow lights. Almost too numerous to list, they include Chuck Rosenberg, former acting DEA administrator, chief of staff for FBI Director James B. Comey, and counselor to former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III; Frank Figliuzzi, former chief of FBI counterintelligence; Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser under Bush, at NBC; and Fran Townsend, homeland security adviser under Bush, at CBS News. CNN’s bulging roster also includes former FBI agent Asha Rangappa; former FBI agent James Gagliano; Obama’s former deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken; former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers; senior adviser to the National Security Council during the Obama administration Samantha Vinograd; retired CIA operations officer Steven L. Hall; and Philip Mudd, also retired from the CIA.
And CNN is still adding to its bench. Last Saturday, former Comey aide Josh Campbell wrote a New York Times op-ed on why he was leaving the FBI on principle. By Monday, the network was announcing his new position as a “law enforcement analyst.”

They don’t even hide this stuff and refer to it by secret spook names like Operation Mockingbird anymore. They do it right in your face.

If anything, the media’s gotten worse since its total failure during the 2016 election and shows no sign of even wanting to improve. Much like the status quo in general, the mass media is fully committed to propagating a culture of stupidity and corruption.

And these are the people who lecture us about fake news.

* * *

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https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-30/may-you-live-stupid-corrupt-and-yet-fascinating-times
 

Uglytruth

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#27
Not any more. No one is watching the news, buying the papers, reading the magazine articles.............

All this experts crap has been loosing sense JFK, nam, savings and loan, clinton #1, Oklahoma city, 911, bank bail out, zero interest, 8 years of rope a dope kenyan obama, bernie cheated by the killinton machine, Haiti, sharpton / jackson are MIA, feds, fbi, election tampering, fake news.
 

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#28
France’s "Fake News" Law Will Be Used To Silence Critics, Win Elections


by Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/05/2018 - 08:43


Submitted by Intellihub

There is arguably one main reason a law would be put into place to stifle so-called "fake news" and that is so the real purveyors of fake news, like CNN, can continue to push theirs according to critics of what is happening right now in France.

The people at the top of the pyramid who are actually running the entire show appear to have it all figured out: in a world where down is up and up is down fake news appears almost everywhere but the real fact of the matter is that most of it comes from mainstream sources, like CNN. So I have to ask: Will the new laws be used to crackdown on sources like CNN that publish garbage or will the powers-that-be let agencies like CNN roll with whatever smut they like while other smaller outlets get targeted over "fake news"? Will the powers-that-be use the law as a weapon to remove controversial reports?

French AFP reports:

France is the latest country attempting to fight the scourge of fake news with legislation — but opponents say the law won’t work and could even be used to silence critics.
The draft law, designed to stop what the government calls “manipulation of information” in the run-up to elections, will be debated in parliament Thursday with a view to it being put into action during next year’s European parliamentary polls.
The idea for the bill came straight from President Emmanuel Macron, who was himself targeted during his 2017 campaign by online rumors that he was gay and had a secret bank account in the Bahamas.
Under the law, French authorities would be able to immediately halt the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections.​


Absent some dramatic last minute reversal, it looks like French information will soon be fully controlled. The question is how long until this Orwellian trend is adopted in America as the "establishment" tightens its restraints on the general populace.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...aw-will-be-used-silence-critics-win-elections
 

the_shootist

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#29
Not any more. No one is watching the news, buying the papers, reading the magazine articles.............

All this experts crap has been loosing sense JFK, nam, savings and loan, clinton #1, Oklahoma city, 911, bank bail out, zero interest, 8 years of rope a dope kenyan obama, bernie cheated by the killinton machine, Haiti, sharpton / jackson are MIA, feds, fbi, election tampering, fake news.
Anyone who can still sit and watch 'the news' with a straight face after all that, simply can't be saved!