• Insider
    Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock

    The Future Of Truth

    How to find trustworthy sources of information
    by charleshughsmith

    Saturday, December 10, 2016, 1:55 AM

Executive Summary

  • Uniquely, the next president will not rely on the mainstream media to get his messages out
  • Future candidates no longer need the mainstream platform to raise campaign funds
  • The current “fake news” witchhunt is threadbare and already being debunked
  • How to identify truth from fiction (in any media outlet) & stay well-informed

If you have not yet read Part 1: Breaking Free From The Captured Media available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we examined the transition from a corporate mainstream media serving a captive audience to the wide-open democracy of the Internet-enabled independent media.

How will this structural transition affect the political and social spheres going forward? How can you improve your ability to identify trustworthy information in the current landscape of controlled mass media & wildly fragmented alternative voices?

A President Who Is Not Beholden to the Mainstream Media

In a historically unprecedented show of homogeneity, the mainstream media unanimously endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign. In essence, the MSM covered Trump only when his success forced them to, and when his gaffes and provocative comments made good copy.

Regardless of your views of the two candidates, this media-wide bias in favor of one candidate was remarkable.

Despite this media-wide endorsement, Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College and the election. In my view, this is the first time in recent U.S. history where a unanimous endorsement of a candidate by the national media failed to persuade the overwhelming majority of voters. While many will blame the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for the defeat, or point to the Democratic candidate’s weaknesses, the reality remains that weak candidates with heavy media backing have won in the past.

In my view, the mainstream media’s failure to persuade the citizenry cannot be pinned solely on the losing party or candidate. It reflects a profound erosion of the MSM’s influence and trustworthiness.

Back when the mainstream media held a monopolistic lock on print, broadcast and radio content and distribution, presidents who were viewed unfavorably by the media had little recourse to being criticized, ridiculed or diminished.

The national media, centered in New York and Washington D.C., has typically been unsparing of political outsiders such as Jimmy Carter. If we use this simple filter—political insider or outsider—the media’s unanimous support for consummate insider Hillary Clinton and its homogeneous rejection of outsider Donald Trump makes perfect sense.

But just as the media landscape is unlike the past, Trump is unlike previous presidents.

Though he is apparently far from tech-savvy, Trump is media-savvy, and he evidently understands he doesn’t need the cooperation or approval of the mainstream media to lead. His use of Twitter suggests he will bypass the mainstream media and speak directly to the citizenry. It’s easy to imagine him utilizing YouTube videos in the same way he currently uses Twitter.

We may well see a presidency that relies on the Internet distribution channels far more than on traditional press conferences designed for the mainstream media channels.

This leaves the mainstream media that uniformly disapproves of him (for any number of reasons) in a curious dilemma: if they refuse to cover Trump adequately, or cover him with their existing bias in full force, they will likely see their access to the Trump White House limited. Eventually this lack of access will erode their credibility—after all, what value is a media that is chasing Twitter, YouTube and an independent media that thrives in those channels?

But if they attempt to cover his administration in a less biased fashion, they will be discrediting their previous bias and alienating the audience who reckoned Trump was only getting what he deserved from the liberal media.

Put another way: in a media environment in which the President speaks directly to the people via New Media, and a wide spectrum of commentary, opinion and analysis is free on the web, what’s the mainstream media’s value proposition? What value are they adding that’s worth paying for?

To date, their value proposition appears to be offering an echo-chamber for the status quo opponents of Trump. If they settle on this value proposition, we can expect the mainstream media to shrink as it loses all but the most ardent Trump opponents, i.e. residents of those counties won by Hillary (blue).

But the independent media is not limited to pro-Trump sites. The mainstream media will be competing with left-wing and progressive media outlets such as CounterPunch.org (which I subscribe to).

If the President bypasses the media gatekeepers and communicates directly with the citizenry, the mainstream media will have to establish its relevancy in open competition with independent media outlets that do not have the high legacy cost structure and overhead of traditional media companies.

Bernie Sanders’ $234 million from Individuals

In the view of many media watchers, myself included, the mainstream media was visibly biased against Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. In the past, such a disadvantage would have been insurmountable without big-money contributors willing to fund a costly advertising campaign.

Bernie Sanders raised a phenomenal $234 million from small donors, and collected a mere $6 million from political action committee (super-PACs). Hillary Clinton raised $1.3 billion, largely from Super-PACs and Democratic Party fundraising committees. (Source)

This suggests the mainstream media’s support is no longer a critical factor in raising enormous sums from small donors. It seems the media’s role as political gatekeeper has been crushed, as both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump raised large sums from small donors and non-party sources despite the media’s unsubtle bias against them.

The Frenzy over “Fake News” and Democracy

The mainstream media is currently in a frenzied paroxysm over “fake news,” which is being portrayed as foreign-inspired and thus a threat to democracy. This has it exactly backward: attempting to manage the “news” to support the ruling elite’s narratives threatens democracy, as voters are deprived of the context and information needed to make informed decisions.

It is difficult to interpret this sudden obsession with “fake news” (except of course for the “fake news” the MSM itself swallows whole) as anything but a panicked response to the MSM’s visible loss of control of the narratives.

As noted in Part 1, this obsession implicitly assumes the American public is incapable of discerning the difference between click-bait/ “fake news” and legitimate sources and narratives. In other words, without us as gatekeepers, the MSM is saying, you will be lost in a sea of fake news.

It was certainly easier to maintain a homogeneous narrative when there were three networks, PBS and a handful of dominant print/radio news sources. But was democracy served by a media which rubberstamped the expansion of the Vietnam War?

Less is demanded of the citizenry when the “news” is centrally managed. The filtering and packaging has been done by the media, leaving an easily digestible narrative that can be passively accepted as the normative context of life not just in the U.S. but in the rest of the world.

But as the world’s complexity has intruded on these simplistic homogeneous narratives, they no longer make sense. The holes are too gaping, the asymmetries too obvious, and the media’s “expert opinions” more strident and less persuasive.

Many “experts” are emerging to declare the world’s populist movements as dangerous to democracy, as populism inevitably leads to autocracy. But this claim is remarkably ignorant of American populist movements, which never threatened democracy or led to autocracy. Rather, they challenged the ruling elite’s dominance and socially harmful asymmetries in wealth and power.

Autocracy is the consequence of a citizenry which lacks a diversity of information and opinion, and the critical thinking needed to sort out who benefits from whatever narrative is being pushed.

In an era of competing narratives, sources and opinions, much more is demanded of the citizenry. Passive acceptance of the dominant narratives will no longer do. More work is required of an engaged citizenry, but this work is what makes democracy resilient to autocracy.

What Can We Do to Filter Out “Fake News” in Both MSM and Alternative Media?

Chris recently wrote a comprehensive review of propaganda, which includes “fake news” as well as many other forms of persuasion. How To Protect Yourself From Persuasion & Propaganda. If you haven’t read it, read it now.

Cui bono (to whose benefit?) offers a sound starting point. Who benefits from our acceptance of a narrative? Who has skin in the game and who is getting off the hook?

We can also benefit from the understanding that the profusion of competing narratives reflects not just competing vested interests but a competition between conceptual frameworks and explanations of a rapidly changing era. This is the consequence of dominant narratives losing their explanatory value. We seek other explanations that may do a better job of explaining what we see happening around us.

This is a chaotic, Darwinian selection process that is immune to central planning and centralized management. The mainstream media has faithfully promoted a neoliberal, neoconservative, Keynesian narrative that has either failed or failed to produce the expected results. No wonder trust in the MSM has declined sharply in the past few years (see the Gallup chart in Part 1). Why trust a centralized institution that has parroted policies and narratives that haven’t produced the widespread security and prosperity that its proponents promised?

The mainstream media’s “experts” who decry populism refuse to examine why populism is on the rise: the mainstream political, financial and social institutions have failed to deliver what they promised, implicitly or explicitly. This failure is driving a search for new ways to understand our world, and this is a positive dynamic. The process is messy and fraught with bad ideas, fake news, hidden agendas, propaganda, and here and there, powerful new ideas and narratives.

Those who embrace this critical-thinking search will benefit, those who resist will end up sputtering on the ash heap of history.

~ Charles Hugh Smith

Related content
» More

58 Comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 2:51am

    #1

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    CIA claims Russia intervened--cui bono?

    So the CIA is claiming that it has evidence that Russian hackers stole Podesta's emails etc. to dissuade voters from voting for Hillary.  

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/world/2016/12/09/cia-says-russia-favored-trump/WNrHBPKLpKMFdOhqKV1pvN/story.html     CIA: Russia intervened to help Trump win
     
    But  this narrative overlook two factors:
    1. did anyone actually decide to NOT vote for Hillary because of the Podesta emails? I suspect the answer is "very few." The electorate was so polarized, nobody I know who voted for Hillary was influenced in the least by the emails. The same could be said of Trump voters.
    2. Whatever was damaging in the Podesta emails (relatively little IMO) was self-inflicted.  Who is foolish enough in the digital age to reckon whatever they write (as a person in power) will remain private? 
     
    In other words, this is the usual misdirection and propaganda: if Podesta hadn't written anything damaging, then who would have cared if his email was hacked? And if nobody was influenced by the emails, then how can the CIA claim Russia influenced the election? Where is the evidence for this?
     
    Who benefits from this "breaking news"? Notice the headline doesn't read "Russia intervened in US election," it reads "Russia intervened to help Trump win." Really? based on what evidence?
     
    This story reeks of political spin.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 8:52am

    #2

    Swampmama3

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 28 2009

    Posts: 39

    0

    A wiser populace

    I think venues like Facebook have taught us what click-bait looks like.  There is so much advertising out there in our faces on the 'net that we've learned what someone 'selling' to us looks like almost intuitively.  There are a lot of lazy, biased minds, but many of us are more savy than we used to be at sorting what the media tries to tell us into triage piles. 

    Our household unplugged from television about ten years ago.  The kids were just old enough to ask "Mommy, what's 'erectile dysfunction'?" and we decided that we didn't need that kind of advertising in front of them.  Since then, the TV only gets used for watching DVDs and for video games.   All our media comes into the house through the internet. 

    If the MSM on TV is so biased, I can surely see how people who watch TV all the time would have a different outlook on things than we do.  I think that by consuming internet rather than TV media, we have much more control of what we see than people who consume TV programming.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 12:54pm

    #3

    bobwise32952

    Status: Member

    Joined: Jan 19 2010

    Posts: 9

    0

    Disappointing Article

    Your subtitle promises some advice on discerning real news from bogus news, but after reading parts I and II, you offer only one principle ("Who benefits?") and advise me to read another article! Per your discussion, it would be nice if we really had hundreds of competing, independent sources of news, but what they are producing is more accurately described as "commentary." We still rely on mainstream media for reporting events on the ground- even though they are doing less and less of this. The exception might be a blogger on or near the scene of a news event- who could be producing fake news, for all us readers know.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 2:58pm

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    I understand your disappointment

    Bobwise, I understand your disappointment, but honestly, Chris's piece on propaganda covered a lot of ground on discerning the intent and techniques of various "news" stories and "commentary." The first step to developing critical thinking filters is to understand the techniques being deployed. The second step IMO is to figure out who benefits from this particular spin, i.e. what's the intent of the content.

    I could have easily written 10,000 words on the topic. Yes, local "news" such as weather and fires are still covered by conventional media, and international news is covered by stringers or bureaus of conventional media. Perhaps we have to separate "news" from "analysis" from "commentary."  "News" is "he said this, she did that, this happened."  Analysis tries to make sense of trends that are apparent in the news longer-term--for example, why did Trump win? Is the economy actually healthy or not? "Commentary" is opinion that establishes a point of view and defends it or attacks other POVs.

    The point of both Chris's piece and my series is that all three of these news flows are constantly being spun to support specific agendas and narratives. Now we are being told some of these news flows are false/ misleading and their intent is to disrupt democracy.

    I would counter that censorship is not helpful to democracy--rather, it is the death of democracy. It's all too obvious in the WaPo case that the narrative being pushed is: any criticism of Hillary or questions about her health, foundation, etc., are BY DEFINITION Russian propaganda.

    The Internet is a new medium and it demands a lot of its users. How we develop the skills to sort the wheat from the chaff is an ongoing process that is still in development. The primary point I hoped to make was there is a battle not just for political spin going on but for the ideas that actually help explain this era's major trends. It is this Darwinian battle of ideas and concepts that matters, and in this sphere, the conventional media has no advantage over those with a grasp of the data, as collected and presented by government agencies as part of their duty to the citizenry.

    People who present data-based analysis include Mish, Gail Tverberg, Chris, myself and many others. My fear is that under the excuse of "eliminating Russian propaganda" the status quo will restrict everyone who is inconveniently challenging the status quo narratives with data-based analysis.

    I should also add that the subtitle wasn't mine, it was added in the editing process. Perhaps it over-promised more practical tips than I provided. I apologize for the lack of clarity.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 4:33pm

    #5
    sand_kitty

    sand_kitty

    Status: Member

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2005

    0

    Greatly Appreciate Charles and Chris tackling this subject

    I found the context offered in these 3 articles VERY helpful.  (CHS Part 1, 2 and Chris')   They explain where we, as a people, are at with regard to our media.  This is very pertinent to me as it relates to the way that new memes propagate through a society.

    I lived most of my life in Santa Cruz and would take my dog on walks along the deserted windy beaches on early winter mornings all bundled up in coats and hat. 

    Large flocks of seagulls would sleep on the sand, all standing motionless on one leg facing into the wind.  As the occasional person would walk by, a few skittish ones along the edges might react a bit, flapping their wings and squawking.  If the perceived threat grew, the few skittish ones on the edges would actually take flight.  Most of the time though, the core section of the flock would sit motionless.  The skittish ones would circle back around, land and the group would become quiet again.

    When people and dogs approached too closely, the skittish ones would raise alarm and their close neighbors might start to take up the cries.  Sometimes the alarm would suddenly propagate and the entire flock would rouse squawking and noisily take flight en mass. 

    Some critical level of alarm would be reached.  Suddenly, the group consensus would shift:  "No more sleeping.  We must fly.  Right Now!"

    Mixing metaphors badly, a hundredth-monkey point was reached.

    The "opinion-makers" in the op-ed pages are losing their hold.  "Sleep.  Sleep.  We are reputable and authoritative.  We will tell you what is true.  Sleep."

     

     

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 5:01pm

    kelvinator

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 25 2008

    Posts: 200

    0

    ~100,000 in a Few States Out of ~130,000,000? Pullease!

    [quote=charleshughsmith]

    1. did anyone actually decide to NOT vote for Hillary because of the Podesta emails? I suspect the answer is "very few." The electorate was so polarized, nobody I know who voted for Hillary was influenced in the least by the emails. The same could be said of Trump voters.

    [/quote]

    That's just speculation, of course, Charles, and not necessarily accurate.  The cumulative ~100,000 in a few key states is less than 0.1% the ~130,000,000 people who voted.  And many key states including Wisconsin, which only had a margin of 22,000 after an initial Trump over-count was corrected, were affected by pre-existing voter suppression efforts that were an artifact of the culture/political wars between the Republicans elites vs Democratic elites and likely took away tens of thousands of votes from Clinton also.

    From The Intercept and the Nation:

    https://theintercept.com/2016/10/27/voter-suppression-is-the-real-election-scandal/

    _"For example, 27,000 [22,000] votes currently separate Trump and Clinton in Wisconsin, where 300,000 registered votersaccording to a federal court, lacked strict forms of voter ID. Voter turnout in Wisconsin was at its lowest levels in 20 years and decreased 13 percent in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives, according to Daniel Nichanian of the University of Chicago."

    Another analysis I saw said that voter suppression might have swung Wisconsin, but wouldn't have made the difference in this election in enough other states to swing the election.  We won't know about the combined impact of Russians or voter suppression for sure either way.

    From what I’ve read of your writings, I think your answer would be that neither the Russian intervention nor the voter suppression really matter;  the point is that Trump’s election is an expression of public disgust with both parties, and that the narrative that the future will be fine through central planning (with a huge dollop of privilege for those in power) is beginning to be shown for the false narrative that it is, and that that’s the most important outcome right now.  

    To me, your perspective is really worth paying attention to and reflecting upon, but, of course, it’s not the only perspective on how to view this election and its outcome.  As I’ve expressed elsewhere, it’s not my view of the best progression, but it was going to be a difficult future either way.  You, Chris and others have at times spoken of favorably of people like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Jimmy Carter.  In different ways, they all represent an aspect of the populist push to eliminate corruption and inequality, but like me, they all have a very different perspective on this election, the preferred outcome, voter suppression, and the best way forward to change the status quo.   

    In any case, I’ll feel more comfortable that you're a non-partisan advocate for the People in the cultural/political wars we’re now seeing when you shift your crusade against inequality, false information and centralized power from attacking only the “memes” of the Clinton elites and give equal time to the memes of the Republican elites as they now gleefully take their turn at the levers of power.    My perspective is that your advice is a good heads up when you say that we should shift our attention to our own networks and away from believing the promises of corporations or the state.  At the same time, as I’ve written elsewhere, it's possible that state, national and international corporate politics may continue to exert a powerful and potentially repressive and destructive influence on us for years or decades still - far longer than we might hope or imagine. As was discussed here in recent months, they may trigger wars that end life in our communities or on the planet, or may greatly worsen the ultimate climate and environmental disruption that all our communities have to live through this century.  

    You have your thoughts about the best strategy to avoid those risks in a world that we know will have risk any way we slice it.  Other valid perspectives exist.  Subterfuge, vote suppression and corruption have existed for decades - centuries.  As Chomsky pointed out when asked about Russian influence in this election, the US has been proudly fiddling with other countries elections for decades, and now it complains?  Still, that doesn't mean that Putin, as the authoritarian leader of the Russian elites has the best interests of the American public in mind, any more than the US was acting in the interests of the Chilean people when it interfered in Chile, or in elections elsewhere in the world.  It also doesn't mean that democracy, freedom and equality aren't important ideals to try and maintain, whether in a town or network, or to the extent possible, at a national level.  If people share those ideals, it'd be good if we all don't get caught up in the culture wars that will now certainly move ahead with some fury, but instead try to build bridges where possible and be as united as we can.  I know for my part, I intend to oppose the new "boss" just like I opposed the old "boss".  I would have opposed whichever group of elites were elected, and their program of plunder and destruction.  How about you? I would think so, but so far haven't heard much from you on that point.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 5:45pm

    #7
    Tim Ladson

    Tim Ladson

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 22 2012

    Posts: 16

    0

    Enemy's List

     

    I'm thinking that Charles might be pissed at having been targeted by the current representatives of TPTB, the Democrats, for daring to actually print the truth about them.

    Tim 

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 6:28pm

    #8

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    enemies list and parties on the decline

    Hi Tim: yes, I confess to be annoyed that merely raising questions (respectfully, in my view) put me on the enemies list of a regime (Demos) that claims to be "tolerant." heh.

    But then I was harassed and interviewed by the FBI in 1972 for being involved in the AFSC draft counseling program. Never mind I didn't burn my draft card or promote breaking the law--my involvement in a legal and respected organization was enough because it was rightly viewed as dissenting from the approved narratives of the day.

    Kelvinator: I personally see both parties as doomed, as their narratives no longer work as desired nor do they explain what's happening.  identity politics (Demos) doesn't explain the failure of the status quo IMO, and the usual agenda of cutting taxes won't fix what's broken (Repubs).

    IMO the real story in this election is Bernie Sanders collected a quarter of a billion dollars from small donors, bypassing the Demo party gatekeepers and corporate funded leadership. Many Demos feel the DNC undermined Bernie and thereby cost the party the election.

    The second real story is Trump did the equivalent to the Repubs--he won by bypassing the corporate-funded leadership.

    Recall that the Repubs were written off as doomed a year or two ago. Now its the Demos who are wandering the wilderness. IMO both parties have lost control of the narrative because their narratives have failed.

    If I have focused on the Demos, it's because the "establishment" media has been blatantly biased in favor of the Demo candidate. as noted above, the mainstream media was carrying the Repub party to an open grave until Trump upset the elite Repub's apple cart--a cardinal sin that is not yet forgiven.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 6:49pm

    #9

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    for dissenters, it's a seamless transition

    For those dissenting from the dominant narratives of the time, the transition from Demo Johnson to Repub Nixon was seamless. The same can be said of GW Bush to Obama. No difference.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 6:58pm

    #10

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    fackcheck.org's tips to spot fake news

    Here is factcheck.org's list of tips to identify fake news. My questions here are "who gets to fact-check the "experts"? Who identified the "experts"? What's the track record of the "experts"? Point being skepticism can't stop at the door of the "experts". Recall that WaPo justified its enemies list by claiming the "fake news" list was drawn up by "experts." Hiding behind "experts" is a classic propaganda technique. Buyer beware...

    http://www.factcheck.org/2016/11/how-to-spot-fake-news/ 

    Consider the source.

    Read beyond the headline.

    Check the author.

    What’s the support?

    Check the date.

    Is this some kind of joke? 

    Check your biases.

    Consult the experts.  

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 7:16pm

    #11

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    one of the best summary on the election/issues

    Glenn Greenwald's essay is one of the best summaries on the election and the issues I've seen:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-10/democrats-trump-and-ongoing-dangerous-refusal-learn-lesson-brexit

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - 7:20pm

    #12
    Time2help

    Time2help

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2494

    0

    Disintoxication

    At last night's holiday party the topic shifted to politics (as it invariably will after several drinks among colleagues).

    "You follow things pretty closely - what do you think of the election?"  

    Me: "Honestly, I think we're screwed".

    "Yeah. But really we would have been screwed had it gone the other way as well."

    This coming from someone I consider well to the left in the political spectrum.

    Not sure what others would call that.

    I'd call it progress.

    This election, the shock turnover, the resulting social "injury" brought an old quote to mind (source).

    [quote=Aquino]"While in the 1980s I had no reason to think that this paper had had any official effect upon U.S. PSYOP doctrine within or beyond the Army, it was with some fascination that I saw specific of its prescriptions applied during the first Gulf War, and recently even more obviously during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In both instances extreme PSYOP was directed both against the object of the attack and upon U.S. domestic public perception and opinion, in 2003 to the extent of "embedding" journalists with military units to inevitably channel their perspectives and perceptions.

    The impact of even these minor techniques of MindWar was remarkable. A psychological climate of inexorable U.S. victory was created and sustained in both the United States and Iraq, which accelerated that victory on the ground.

    Somewhat less positively, the failure of MindWar in this instance to be guided by only the most rigorous principles of truth and ethics has just as inexorably led to a substantial post- victory evaporation of that euphoric climate. Therein lies the Achilles' heel of MindWar. Invoking as it does the most intense emotions and commitments of its audiences, it must deliver the goods as they are judged by the target audiences. If the ethical values of those audiences are not respected - if MindWar is used only in the service of ulterior motives and objectives - the resulting "disintoxication"can be socially shattering.[/quote]

    This description resonants with me. Particularly with the sudden rejection of MSM mass media and the resultant panic on behalf of the establishment. The goods were promised - but not delivered.

    And now it's a scramble to put Humpty back together again...

    Senate passes countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act as part of NDAA 2017 (LastAmericanVagabond)

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Dec 11, 2016 - 12:30am

    #13

    LesPhelps

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 718

    0

    Do you ever ask, "What is the point?"

    If, as Chris says, we face a catastrophic predicament and, if bias and dis-information dominate the news industry, then a question arises.

    Does spending an inordinate amount of my time trying to get to a truth that, once achieved, can't change the, at this point inevitable, catastrophic future, make any kind of sense?

    I'd suggest a breather from carrying the weight of the world every so often.  

    Right now, I'm reading about paleoanthropology.  I find it's a topic that does not induce anger or stress, and at least for now, I'm sleeping better at night.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Dec 11, 2016 - 2:52pm

    #14
    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 6651

    0

    Real vs Fake News

    Here's a re-post of a comment of mine from the Real vs Fake News forum thread.  It belongs here too.

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    My methodology, such as it is (for determining real from fake news), involves never accepting any one source for anything.  

    For example, when the US ship was allegedly fired upon by Yemen rebels, and the US retaliated, I could not find consistent reporting on what happened. 

    There seemed to be consensus in the US press, but then that got wobbly and the whole thing disappeared.

    So I’m pretty sure something happened but I really don’t know what.

    I kept checking and reading what Russia was saying, the westerns press (there’s no difference in US/UK/Eu sources, so any one major news outlet is sufficient to gather their views), I checked navy veterans’ blogs and more speculative sites.

    Nothing really emerged so I came up with an “I don’t know” and did not report on it heavily here.

    What I am proposing is that the search for real news is not as easy as finding a single site that’s got it right.

    The balance is always between getting something out quickly and getting it right.  The quicker you run with something the greater the chance you are running with version 1.0 of the spin machine. 

    Worse, we know that the major media outlets are infested with security state actors as are the comment threads beneath every significant article at a major outlet.

    And we’re all humans and everybody has their own bias, myself included.  There’s no escaping that, and so my trust in various sources is nuanced by my understanding of each player’s biases.  For example, William Engdahl is listed above as a possible source, but my filter for him includes his views on oil as being abiotic in origin as excluding him from the people I read for anything related to energy.

    The bottom line becomes this; read everything, trust none of it, and trust yourself.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Dec 11, 2016 - 6:12pm

    #15

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    Who's paying the source?

    If I had to summarize what's going on broadly, I would say that "news" and data have been politicized. The "news" and the data that undermine the politically powerful narratives must be spun or fudged to support the dominant paradigm/ruling elites. Of course this is not new, but it seems like the propaganda of wartime ("we're winning" of course) is now the norm. 

    We can ask, "who benefits from this narrative" but also "who's paying the source?"

    For example, a lot of reports come out of foundations, the majority of which seem to have implicit political agendas. If you're an employee and getting paid a lot of money, your job is to cherry-pick data that backs up the foundation's agenda and footnote or bury anything that calls the chosen narrative into question.

    As for government--how many agencies encourage releases of information that reveal the agency botched it? Or that reveal the contingent nature of data that is released as "fact"? (Look at the endless revisions of GDP and other numbers.  The first data isn't necessarily the most reliable.)

    So we have the politicization of data on several levels. It can be cherry-picked, and highly contingent/statistically shaky data can be presented as "rock solid."  Who's to say that agencies tasked with "just the facts" aren't being told (indirectly, or in private)  to "improve the numbers"?  Many of us look at the 4.6% unemployment rate and wonder why it doesn't seem to reflect the real economy. Is it just chance that a low-paying part-time job is considered the equivalent of a good-paying full-time job?

    I personally prefer sources like the IRS income data. What people paid in various taxes and received in deductions really is just numbers. But sources as solid as this are becoming scarce--and I say that as an absolute data hound who pores over data from many agencies, international and domestic.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Dec 11, 2016 - 9:21pm

    #16
    sand_kitty

    sand_kitty

    Status: Member

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2005

    0

    When there is no expectation of truthfulness

    I know that we have the same concern with the expert witnesses in court cases and on debate teams.  A person is paid or assigned to a certain viewpoint and asked to defend that viewpoint with the greatest skill they have.  It is well known that cherry picking data and lying is regarded as MORAL in this setting.

    The American College of Emergency Medicine has recently taken a stand against board certified emergency physicians who advocate in court for ludicrous positions reporting that they are the "standard of care."  Their board certification can be revoked after a hearing.

    In commercials, an actor is paid to look ecstatic after tasting a bit of pudding or applying a new "fresh scent" deodorant.  Would we feel betrayed to learn that the actor was lying to us?

    Or the "retired generals" who appeared on hundreds of local TV stations during the Iraq war appearing to give us their personal opinions about what needed to be done to "stabilize Iraq."  Lo and behold, they were secretly on the Pentagon payroll and had that days' talking points delivered to them by FAX each morning.

    Or project Mockingbird, where journalist are on salary from both their newspaper and the CIA at the same time.  The expectation would be that the CIA viewpoint would be advocated in the newspaper as their own assessment.

    It is only healthy to come to understand when a speaker does not value truthfulness itself.  We come to understand his moral developmental stage correctly, and no longer believe him.

     

     

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Mon, Dec 12, 2016 - 12:24am

    -Casey

    -Casey

    Status: Member

    Joined: Nov 12 2013

    Posts: 89

    0

    experts

    Litigation 101 is that both sides are very open and candid at trial that their experts are compensated for their time by the party that retains them.  Juries aren't stupid, no matter what people think, and are usually pretty damn good at separating wheat from the chaff.  In cases that actually go to trial, which are very few and far between, most times there is room for differing expert opinions.  Truly outlying opinions are exposed for what they are.  Be assured that lying is not moral in this setting.  A lawyer that knowingly suborns perjury will lose his ticket.

    Also it's interesting that a bunch of doctors propose to sit in judgment of doctors who testify against doctors to decide whether the opinions rendered are "ludicrous."  How about we convene a panel of plaintiff's lawyers to sit in judgment over the doctors testifying in defense of doctors to decide the same thing?  There is no shortage of defense whores out there whatsoever, I assure you.  (PS we only defend med mal cases, never bring them).

    Follow the money, trust your gut and trust your common sense.  It's that simple.

    Casey

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Mon, Dec 12, 2016 - 11:30pm

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    Amen

    [quote=LesPhelps]

    If, as Chris says, we face a catastrophic predicament and, if bias and dis-information dominate the news industry, then a question arises.

    Does spending an inordinate amount of my time trying to get to a truth that, once achieved, can't change the, at this point inevitable, catastrophic future, make any kind of sense?

    I'd suggest a breather from carrying the weight of the world every so often.  

    Right now, I'm reading about paleoanthropology.  I find it's a topic that does not induce anger or stress, and at least for now, I'm sleeping better at night.

     

    [/quote]

    Its hard enough for me these days to face up to the fact that there is so much I need to know more about, in terms of skills as well as know-how, much less burn this much CPU power on a doomed system, so Les I'm right there with you. My instinctual fight-or-flight anxiety has been spiking, making rational thought more difficult. Combine this with my apparently vain attempts to convince both my conservative and liberal friends to look long and hard at the freaking data and challenge the underlying cultural/economic/political assumptions they have, teach my students about the three Es in a way that won't get me in trouble in a school of the wealthy, raise awareness of the messages inherent in the crash course, raise a family, and learn a metric ton of skills I need to learn in order to help my family survive a financial downturn or collapse, I'm losing my will and fraying my mental state to a breaking point. I need to go hike on the Appalachian trail for a week and reset or something. Can someone write my boss and get me off of work?

     

    That's a way of me saying "I agree." 

     

    I definitely need to come up to Rowe this year. Being around others who think similarly to us will probably help me feel a sense of community I'm lacking right now, and give me some grounding.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 13, 2016 - 12:23am

    #19
    Time2help

    Time2help

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2494

    0

    Getting nasty





    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 13, 2016 - 7:26am

    #20
    Time2help

    Time2help

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2494

    0

    Fake News, Fake Culture, Fake System





    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 13, 2016 - 7:12pm

    #21

    kelvinator

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 25 2008

    Posts: 200

    0

    Sheep in Wolf's Clothing to Wolf in Wolf's Clothing – Not Better

    Hopefully, on this website, the Future of Truth will one day include the truth about “the new boss” as well as “the old boss”. One reason I prefer Noam Chomsky’s commentaries is that, it seems to me, he works to stay balanced, in the present, and closer to the truth in assessing the implications of people & their crony administrations like Clinton and Trump, rather than ignoring realities to support a merely ideological view.

    What’s happening in US gov’t now is turning into a tragic-farce so absurd it would be hilarious if it weren’t a next step set-up to loot whatever’s left of the vast assets, pure and plentiful resources and high ideals that once “made America great” and that the American public once liked to think they owned, controlled or were associated with.  To me, Trump is looking a lot less like a populist and a lot more like the heavy that comes in with his mobster friends and just loads up the truck once his associates have trashed competing mob lieutenants and softened up the resistance for the new boss.  As he picks all the Goldman, Exxon, and other corporate cronies to join him, that noise we’re hearing is the sound of the big boyz backing up the truck in earnest. 

    Sorry, I just can’t really get that excited, Charles, that Trump tweets “around mainstream media” to get his double-digit percentage of lies out there to forward his family and friends’ personal, Darwinian goals.  I can tell you for sure, he’s not acting in my interests, from everything I see so far, and I doubt seriously that he’s going to be doing much for the rust belt Trump voters either, even if he throws them a feeble bone by borrowing fiat cash to give rich crony friends milking the region so they support a few more jobs for a year or so.  People like Clinton and Trump aren’t moral actors.  Their regimes are more like somewhat different crappy roads to take through an increasingly crappy future.  And I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for the deep stench along the route of Trump’s particular crappy road.  I’d rather have gone down the other crappy road, but at least I’m ready to be realistic about the current smell, and the crappy scenery and sinkholes on this one and plan accordingly. 😉

    Also, as you say, it’s true that the editorial boards of media across the country almost unanimously didn’t support Trump during the election.  Yet, IMO, that was often for many varied and good reasons that Noam Chomsky, I and most Americans agree with (there’s that damn tyranny of the majority that voted against Trump, right? Sorry, it's that damn democracy again, not just misinformation, though there is always some of that).  And I'd say, Trump’s campaign was actually made a winner in big part by the mindless capitalism of mainstream media - not in spite of it or around it.  That’s how he won. He got huge mainstream coverage for free.  It was a fascination with his campaign that caused his circus act to lead the evening news in the same way the news would lead with a bloody trainwreck that killed 100 people to get the ratings.  He was the wrecking ball of change and generated excitement.  You and others thought that was the best path.  I and others didn’t.  Now, I hope you at least have the journalistic accuracy to look at and talk about the wreckage as well as the gain. And, I agree, the accountability for the corrupt Dems was indeed a gain, but not one greater than the cost we’re in the process of paying, IMO.

    Do you really believe that Trump is a populist challenging “the ruling elite’s dominance and socially harmful asymmetries in wealth and power”?  Sure, the public is >trying< to do that in electing Trump, but the evidence of Trump’s cabinet appointments, to me and many people, make a complete laughing stock of any implication that Trump himself will be an agent of much positive change. I knew Obama was selling us down the river as soon as I saw his appointments after the 2008 election, too.  And Trump - the guy is a woman harassing, defrauding, multi-time bankrupted, millionaire egotist liar who proved to be extremely talented at articulating the angers of the Zeitgeist.  So, we’ve found someone really good at fooling people regarding his intentions and able to tell outright lies on a casual, everyday basis. We’re supposed to think it’s advancing the cause of the People?  I don’t think so.  Here’s The Intercept’s writing on Trump’s powerful continuation of the Goldman Sachs dynasty, which I’ve also commented on elsewhere. I agree with the great Glenn Greenwald article you linked to on the forces behind the election.  I also agree with these and all the other articles now being published that relate to the present rather than the past election, including those that don’t try to ignore the massive corruption inherent in Trump’s dealings with Russia, the ½ trillion dollar Exxon deal he’s now likely to support, for his benefit and the Republican party elites, etc:

    https://theintercept.com/2016/12/09/trump-makes-america-goldmans-again-maga/

    I don’t consider accelerating the burn down of the planet to be a good thing.  I don’t get confidence from the fact you note that historically, populist movements haven’t yet spawned a demagogue in the US, or see why I should in this very different time given what’s right in front of our eyes.  Again, the problem I see with the perspectives of people who are intensively opposed to central planning such as yourself and Libertarians is that they tend to studiously ignore the fact that when people-based government is corrupted and fails, the Darwinian space tends to be dominated by thugs and thieves.  All a person has to do is look around the world to notice that fact, or that there are or have been people-focused gov'ts that, at times, seem much more benign and somewhat less corrupt.  Bernie represents at least the idea of people-based and focused government with integrity, even if we all know that’s very tough to implement and sustain in practice.  I prefer his ideals and strategy to the extent that nation-states or state-states continue to exist – and as I said, they may continue for many, many years, we can’t know for sure.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 13, 2016 - 7:26pm

    Edwardelinski

    Edwardelinski

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 23 2012

    Posts: 351

    0

    On Raping Natural Resources:

    It is starting to look like no one is better than raping resources than Rex Tillerson over at Exxon.Over the weekend Steve Coll from The New Yorker Wrote a piece titled Rex Tillerson,From a Corporate Oil Sovereign to the State Department.At the momentt unable to link.Frightening doesn't begin to cover it.Also,(JDargis)submitted an excellent piece on propaganda published by Slate today.Check it out....

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 13, 2016 - 7:33pm

    #23

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    Bravo, Kelvinator

    Nothing that has happened has changed my pre-election prediction that with Hillary we were f**ked, and with Trump we are screwed. Neither of them care about us average people, except insofar as they can manipulate the message to get us to vote for them, or buy whatever they are peddling. Instead of messing with nuclear-armed Russia, now we're messing with nuclear-armed China. Yay. I want to believe Trump will shake things up, but his cabinet selections have me raising my eyebrow, sighing, and reaching for the Vaseline jar yet again. Seriously, the head of Exxon-Mobil? Really? What. The. Hell.

     

    Oh, but wait! Kanye West visited Trump! That's certainly newsworthy, right? Look over there! Look! Its Kanye West visiting Trump Tower! No, really, look over there!

     

    I'll refer back to that video that was posted a few weeks back about the "Keys to Power." The old King is dead. God save the new King. 

     

    In politics, it seems, nothing changes but the veneer.

     

    I'm beyond pissed, and beyond caring.

     

    Let it burn.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 13, 2016 - 8:57pm

    #24
    -Casey

    -Casey

    Status: Member

    Joined: Nov 12 2013

    Posts: 89

    0

    Trump

    I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what he does when (if) he takes office.  He can't staff a cabinet with clueless outsiders who will simply get run over by the deep state status quo.  If some of these guys look like the status quo, well, they also happen to have been playing the only game in town.  Sure, I would have rather had the goldbug hard money guy than the vampire squid guy but you know what?  No shooting war with Russia, that's what.  We are literally living to fight another day, and there's nothing in the world wrong with that. 

    Exxon isn't exactly dispensable, either.

    Casey

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Dec 14, 2016 - 8:18am

    davefairtex

    davefairtex

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 2914

    0

    its better

    To me, I'd prefer to have the wolf in wolf's clothing.  I really didn't like the HRC hypocrisy.  Trump will be Trump, he won't be any big surprise.

    Some time in the wilderness will do the Dems wonders.  If HRC had been elected, it would have been bribery as far as the eye could see, with everyone who came in contact with her administration compromised just by association.  It would have validated her whole "Crime Pays" approach, probably encouraging others to engage in this sort of thing.  Now, the party has a chance to decontaminate itself.  Not saying it will, but at least there is the opportunity.  The opening is there.  With Clinton gone, there will be a lot more space for the "Warren" wing to have a voice.

    Plus, there's always the bonus of no war with nuclear-armed Russia.  And if we are clever, we can let Russia stomp out ISIS for us (while wringing our hands about how awful it is), versus HRC's policy of handing out guns to Al-Nusra while calling them "moderates" because "someone" took $25 million from the Saudis, while imposing a "No Fly Zone" and shooting down Russian planes.

    Speaking of which, the (bipartisan) volume of the current shriek-o-meter re: Russia tells me that there is a well-heeled group who are quite upset at the very real danger of no war.  WAPO's effort to resurrect McCarthy-ism because of the horrible prospect of peace breaking out is simply fascinating.

    "We had to destroy the principles of Free Speech in order to save them."

    It used to be that the Reps were the masters of hypocrisy, especially when it came to the whole evangelical/morality play.  Now its WAPO's turn: speech suppression in the name of tolerance and diversity.

    I really do wonder which constituency this pro-war-with-Russia (bipartisan) gang represents.  Defense industry, perhaps?  You don't really need the F-35 unless you have enemies that are actual nation-states.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Dec 14, 2016 - 1:59pm

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    Dave

    [quote=davefairtex]

    To me, I'd prefer to have the wolf in wolf's clothing.  I really didn't like the HRC hypocrisy.  Trump will be Trump, he won't be any big surprise.

    [/quote]

    I agree. I don't think Trump is being any less hypocritical, since if you look at his cabinet selections it doesn't look like "draining the swamp" so much as "bringing in new swamp creatures." He's making appearances at overturning a political elite class - some of his choices are old-guard political elite though - but instead he is bringing in the very economic elite who have been screwing over low and middle-class workers in the first place. Since these economic elite used to pull the strings of the political elite from behind the curtain, all this represents is the economic elite doing away with the charade and moving into the open. The corruption of the system and its adherence to the principle of serving only the 'aristocracy' of our society will be, I think, bluntly obvious to everyone by the end of this presidency. An Augustus Caesar, come to cleanse us of a corrupt Senate and act in the name of the plebeians, Trump is not. In my view of the situation, of course. 'Tis opinion.

     

    It is this overt corruption, this in-your-face corruption, that marks the end-phase of many empires in history, when the elite are so confident in their mastery of the system that they no longer even play at operating in the interests of the mass of people and simply gut the system in the full light of day. What comes next is either violent revolution, a complete breakdown of societal norms of behavior, or the complete disconnecting of the populace from the system/nation itself (or a combination of all three). Why were there no armies opposing the Goths in central Italy, as they made their way towards Rome to drive home their complaints to the Emperor? Why did the Muslim armies face so little resistance from the vaunted Byzantine legions? Why are so many civilizations, right before collapse, prone to decadence and moral decay? Well, often because they have lost hope or faith in the systems of government around them, and civilization, which by definition is a communal effort, makes way for a society that ceases to think of itself as a community with common goals. A documentary called "The Four Horsemen" has a section on the patterns of Empire that illustrates what I'm talking about, although I would amend it and say the final phase isn't just an "obsession with sex" as much as it is an "obsession with personal pleasure in all forms," whether it be watching TV, playing video games, or sex. Coliseums come in many forms.

     

    I'm painting with a broad brush here, of course, but the patterns that arise at the end of empire are here, in full view, and Trump seems to me to be a signal of endgame in more ways than one. As always, I could be wrong, and I will continue to hold out hope that he will follow through with many of the campaign promises I could get behind - that I think many of us here at PP could get behind - but whether that hope is vindicated or proves foolish, only time will tell.

    [quote=davefairtex]

    Some time in the wilderness will do the Dems wonders.  If HRC had been elected, it would have been bribery as far as the eye could see, with everyone who came in contact with her administration compromised just by association.  It would have validated her whole "Crime Pays" approach, probably encouraging others to engage in this sort of thing.  Now, the party has a chance to decontaminate itself.  Not saying it will, but at least there is the opportunity.  The opening is there.  With Clinton gone, there will be a lot more space for the "Warren" wing to have a voice.

    [/quote]

    So far it doesn't seem that the Warren wing is winning this internal battle. Lord knows I've gotten as much if not more flak from my hyper-liberal friends who refuse to concede or acknowledge the fact that Hillary lost as much because the liberal establishment has become a snobbish holier-than-thou religion, as because they have ignored the plight of kinds of working people who have been the backbone of the party for decades. They refuse to listen to other voices, even still. Even mine, and I'm mostly liberal in hue.

    [quote=davefairtex]

    Plus, there's always the bonus of no war with nuclear-armed Russia.  And if we are clever, we can let Russia stomp out ISIS for us (while wringing our hands about how awful it is), versus HRC's policy of handing out guns to Al-Nusra while calling them "moderates" because "someone" took $25 million from the Saudis, while imposing a "No Fly Zone" and shooting down Russian planes.

    Speaking of which, the (bipartisan) volume of the current shriek-o-meter re: Russia tells me that there is a well-heeled group who are quite upset at the very real danger of no war.  WAPO's effort to resurrect McCarthy-ism because of the horrible prospect of peace breaking out is simply fascinating.

    "We had to destroy the principles of Free Speech in order to save them."

    [/quote]

    I completely agree with you here. I'm worried that Trump is poking China too much though. Keep in mind this is a nation that has a recent history of tragedy brought on by outside interference - Opium wars, imperialism, world war, civil war, deaths on a scale we can't even fathom as Americans - and so it takes the threat of outside meddling in its sphere very seriously. Yes, the construction of that south China Sea island isn't very nice, especially for its neighbors, but when you look at how many bases we have around the area, how many aircraft carriers of far more advanced design we have versus how few they have, and how many nuclear-powered subs we have operating off their coast versus how many they have operating off of ours, and I'm not convinced of the "Chinese Threat" anymore than I was of the "Russian Threat." Combine that with Trump's promises to increase military spending, and I have a really, really have a hard time thinking he's more a dove than Clinton is. Regardless, poking China too much over something as central to their national interests as Taiwan is - you'd literally be hard-pressed to find a more sensitive issue for them - isn't any better a game to play than poking Russia was. I don't much care whence the nukes striking my country come from.

     

    I'm glad he pulled off the Russian bear, though, for sure. 

     

    [quote=davefairtex]

    It used to be that the Reps were the masters of hypocrisy, especially when it came to the whole evangelical/morality play.  Now its WAPO's turn: speech suppression in the name of tolerance and diversity.

    I really do wonder which constituency this pro-war-with-Russia (bipartisan) gang represents.  Defense industry, perhaps?  You don't really need the F-35 unless you have enemies that are actual nation-states.

    [/quote]

    Oh, many Repubs are still hypocritical in the evangelical/morality play area, but that has ceased to matter as much as economic conditions have worsened for most Americans. Hypocrisy abounds in both parties.

     

    As for the F-35s, yeah, I see what you are saying and agree completely. Is there a nation that can seriously challenge our last generation of warplanes? I get that we want to stay ahead of our enemies, but the F-35 program seems like a bit of overkill; one we can't much afford.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Dec 14, 2016 - 2:36pm

    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 6651

    0

    I completely agree - Thoughts n the Russian 'threat'

    [quote=davefairtex]

    (...)

    Speaking of which, the (bipartisan) volume of the current shriek-o-meter re: Russia tells me that there is a well-heeled group who are quite upset at the very real danger of no war.  WAPO's effort to resurrect McCarthy-ism because of the horrible prospect of peace breaking out is simply fascinating.

    (...)

    [/quote]

                                                             ^^^^

                                                            THIS

                                                      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    The over-the-top hysteria about Russia is really remarkable both in its volume and number of willing participants who are eating it up and relaying the meme.

    I am 99.99% sure that the "Russia is evil and hacked us" is a meme that was decided upon by a small group of people who are now watching the fruits of their efforts ripen.

    To review:

     

    • The anti-Putin, and anti-Russian propaganda started back in 2008 (well before the current election is my point)
    • The continued use of "Russia annexed Crimea" does even remotely comport with the actual circumstances of how it came to be that Crimea democratically opted to rejoin Russia as opposed to staying dependent on Kiev leadership that was openly calling for the ultimate destruction of all Russian speaking people in Ukraine
    • Russia did not break Ukraine or stir up the initial trouble.  That was the west.  Russia responded after the trouble began.
    • Absolutely zero evidence of any Russian hacking or election influencing has been presented by the CIA or the other unnamed "intelligence officials" that are being cited in the MSM.

    I've yet to have one single person respond with anything useful or most times even at all when I pose the question, "why should we consider Russia our foe vs. our ally?"  Chirping crickets.

    I think this is because these people have ingested the "Russia is bad" meme without passing through any of the necessary stages of thinking that go into an informed opinion.  It was a product idea that was sold to them and now they are busy rationalizing that decision when it was formed at the emotional level, not the rational level.  This is the very essence of marketing; you sell to people's emotions and count on them rationalizing the purchase themselves.

    So my theory at this point is that the military industrial complex is entirely too powerful in the US, and it is seeking a next foe.    They know that a foe is like a house guest which is like a fish; they come with a freshness expiry date.

    Terrorism is just not moving the goods anymore is my guess, so who's next?  Russia.

    Already the "Russian menace" has promoted lots of calls for increased NATO spending.  Coincidence?  Puh-leeze.

    Terrorists require some low-level stuff and certainly inspire a lot of electronic snooping and over-reach, but those have matured and are now being fought at the system level by politicians and others now that the 9/11 emotional shock has worn off enough to again be asking rational questions.  

    So I am watching the near-hysterical fear pandering about Russia with a mixture of annoyance and dismay.  annoyed that something so crude can still be used, and dismayed that so many are falling for it (because it matches up with their pre-existing emotional landscape and belief systems).

    How will people respond when the real threats of the future emerge if they are this maneuverable now?  To me the possibility of a real demagogue is staring us all in the face, not in the form of Donald Trump, per se, but in the fervent declarations of a crowd desperate to believe that the blame for their recent set-back can be found in an external enemy rather than a hard look inward.

    This goes in both political partisan directions, so this is not a partisan jab by me in any way.  Instead it is a psychological view of an important turning point in US history, that mirrors other fracturing events in the US and elsewhere in the past.

    When stuck in a cage and being shocked unpleasantly, context is vital.  Learn that it is not the other rat in the cage with you that is to blame for your discomfort.    Who is pressing the button to deliver the shock?  What sorts of events befell you that you landed in the cage in the first place?  Is the cage even real, or do you make it real by agreeing to it on some level?

    These are the sorts of questions that can lead to a new found sense of freedom, if only the freedom from having other people press your buttons for whatever it is that they happen to be selling. 

     

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Dec 14, 2016 - 3:02pm

    #28

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    Right.

    Chris, your post explains my worries about what I see as the rise of a side-discussion about the "Chinese" threat in the MSM, and Trump's apparent playing right into their hands. Are the elite trying to set up another "danger" in case this Russian hacking meme doesn't work? They seem to have a knack for pre-loading the next bullet before the last one has even hit or missed the target.

     

    You know, when I tried pointing out that Russia wasn't the real threat we think it is on my Facebook feed, and talked about why I believed this, I actually got subtly accused of being a traitor by a supposed "friend." Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Until we realize that "terrorists" don't become "terrorists" without a reason, and that they perceive of themselves as freedom fighters, we will go nowhere in solving the issue of terrorism. Until we realize that the Russians love their children too (as per the Sting song of the early 80s), the same will be true of our current relationship with Russia. Or China. Or a dozen other places on earth we like to demonize.

     

    /sighs

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Dec 14, 2016 - 3:16pm

    #29
    Time2help

    Time2help

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2494

    0

    Copenhagen Syndrome

    Copenhagen Syndrome (The Off-Guardian)

    This article takes an anti-liberal stance, but the thought process is valid. It would be better served focusing on "anti-establishment" thought vice "liberalism". But hey, that's just an opinion.

    [quote]The Battle of Copenhagen (1801) occurred during the War of the Second Coalition when a British naval fleet commanded by Admiral Sir Hyde Parker defeated a Danish fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. During the battle, he famously is reputed to have disobeyed his senior officer, Sir Hyde Parker’s, order to withdraw by holding the telescope to his blind eye to look at the signals from Parker. The signals had given Nelson permission to withdraw at his discretion. Nelson then turned to his flag captain, Thomas Foley, and said ‘You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.’ He raised the telescope to his blind eye, and said ‘I really do not see the signal.’ Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson’s hardest-fought victory.

    In our own time, much, if not all, of the mainstream media seem to suffer what can only be described as ‘Copenhagen Syndrome’; this involves, putting a metaphorical telescope to their cultivated blind eye and in so doing averting any possible contact with counter-vailing views that might disturb their own narrative. This requires a quite deliberate mental and moral effort at carefully nurtured ignorance and blindness on their part.[/quote]

    [quote=On Liberty]“Our merely social intolerance kills no-one, roots out no opinions, but induces men to disguise them, or to abstain from any active effort for their diffusion. With us, heretical opinions do not perceptibly gain, or even lose, ground in each decade or generation; they never blaze out far and wide, but continue to smoulder in the narrow circles of thinking and studious persons among whom they originate, without ever lighting up the general affairs of mankind with either a true or a deceptive light. And thus is kept a state of things very satisfactory to some minds, because without the unpleasant process of fining or imprisoning anybody, it maintains all prevailing opinions outwardly undisturbed … A convenient plan for having peace in the intellectual world, and keeping all things going on therein, very much as they do already … But the price paid for this sort of intellectual pacification is the sacrifice of the entire moral courage of the human mind.”[/quote]

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Dec 14, 2016 - 4:14pm

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    cmartenson wrote:So my

    [quote=cmartenson]

    So my theory at this point is that the military industrial complex is entirely too powerful in the US, and it is seeking a next foe.    They know that a foe is like a house guest which is like a fish; they come with a freshness expiry date.

    [/quote]

    Albania would be a great choice

    [quote=cmartenson]

    How will people respond when the real threats of the future emerge if they are this maneuverable now?  To me the possibility of a real demagogue is staring us all in the face, not in the form of Donald Trump, per se, but in the fervent declarations of a crowd desperate to believe that the blame for their recent set-back can be found in an external enemy rather than a hard look inward.

    [/quote]

    I believe Hermann Goering had a statement about this back in Nuremberg, circa 1945-46. Like you pointed out in another thread (or this one, I can't remember), it's kind of what we do as humans. Hell, on an individual basis, how many people are willing to take responsibility instead of placing blame on others? Precious few.

    [quote=cmartenson]

    This goes in both political partisan directions, so this is not a partisan jab by me in any way.  Instead it is a psychological view of an important turning point in US history, that mirrors other fracturing events in the US and elsewhere in the past.

    [/quote]

    This is why I am terrified as a person living through these times, yet fascinated as a historian. If the economy for the mass of people of the country doesn't get better in the next few years, all I know is this will all get much, much worse. I'd like to hold out hope, but by way of example, I just got out of a "discussion" with a hyper-liberal (militant liberal, radical, etc) teacher at my school - someone with whom I probably agree on a WIDE variety of issues - who ended up screaming at me because I dared to question whether Hillary was a good choice for Democrats, as well as point out why I wasn't happy with her neo-con attitudes towards Russia. She yelled at me, a professional peer. I fear we are so fractured that when the real shit does hit the fan, we'll be clawing at each other rather than throwing cucumbers at the real culprits.

     

    I'll keep talking into the void that is my little world, though, in an attempt to switch on the light bulbs. At least my students are receptive to alternative viewpoints.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Dec 14, 2016 - 4:49pm

    #31

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    On a side note...

     In that same discussion with my hyper-liberal peer with whom I'd probably agree on most issues, they were telling me that they got into a screaming match with their conservative brother on the phone last night for almost an hour. I responded to her minute-long tirade about it with a simple question: "And, what did that accomplish?" Christ, I thought she was going to take out my eyeballs with the nearest fork.

     

    I emphasize again here, she and I are far more similar in views than different. How the hell can we find a middle ground in this country when I can't even have civil discussions with people in mainstream society whose views I share on most issues?! One thing I love about PeakProsperity is that we, for the most part, can discuss things even when it is clear we don't always agree with one another. 

     

    I have to find a way to manufacture and bottle that, so I can run around like the Joker, spraying into everyone's face a misty portion of stop-being-a-douchebang-and-discuss-things-civilly sauce.  And yes, I recognize that I've not always acted perfectly in these forums, especially as my fear during this election spiked to new highs, and for which I was rightfully called out. I'm not saying we're perfect.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 8:02am

    thatchmo

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Dec 13 2008

    Posts: 381

    0

    yeah, man.

    Happened to see my annual renewal fee for PP on my credit card statement.  Didn't bat an eye.  Gawd, I love this place.....Aloha, Steve.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 9:56am

    #33
    davefairtex

    davefairtex

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 2914

    0

    China enemy

    Snydeman-

    So to hearten you, while I too have noted that Trump is poking China in its sensitive spots, he isn't going on about how they are going to attack their neighbors.  It really looks like he's setting the stage for a negotiation about trade.

    No "no fly zones", no "China threatening our allies", no actual increased military deployments, and so on.

    In other words, the military component seems to be entirely missing from Trump's campaign.  Contrast that with NATO/Russia, and US/Russia v Syria/ISIS.

    And the Chinese leadership might well find this a useful distraction from their domestic issues - way too much debt, a crazy housing market, and money fleeing the country by the dump-truck-load.  Indeed, "for national security reasons" they might start cutting off capital flows.  So, a little yelling back and forth, some Wag the Dog distraction, and pretty soon we have some new trade agreement that is a little more equitable.

    Well that's the theory anyway.

    I expect that no Presidents have done this in the past because corporations greatly increased their profits by outsourcing all that labor cost to China, and corporations were the major donors to both of the political campaigns since NAFTA.  Top 1% actually GAINS from jobs outsourcing, so of course they're for it, and that trickles down via campaign contributions into the Congress and the Executive.

    I really enjoyed this:

    I have to find a way to manufacture and bottle that, so I can run around like the Joker, spraying into everyone's face a misty portion of stop-being-a-douchebang-and-discuss-things-civilly sauce...

    I like to call it, "bullying and being generally nasty in the defense of tolerance and civil society."

    It really is a religion, in the sense that there is complete and utter certainty they are right, which totally overrides any appeals to fact or common sense.  How on earth did they all get to that place?

    Not-listening is a recipe for civil war.  A fair number of my friends on social media imagine that there is some trick they can play to stop Trump from becoming President.  Furthermore, that by playing this trick, they will get a consequence-free do-over victory vs the forces of Darkness.

    Again, a recipe for civil war.  The deplorables are far better armed than my friends, who have no clue what they would be starting, and certainly, no ability to "finish" it.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 12:16pm

    thc0655

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 2824

    0

    Trouble rumbling just below the tranquil surface

    I couldn't agree more, Dave:

    It really is a religion, in the sense that there is complete and utter certainty they are right, which totally overrides any appeals to fact or common sense.  How on earth did they all get to that place?

    Not-listening is a recipe for civil war.  A fair number of my friends on social media imagine that there is some trick they can play to stop Trump from becoming President.  Furthermore, that by playing this trick, they will get a consequence-free do-over victory vs the forces of Darkness.

     

    Again, a recipe for civil war.  The deplorables are far better armed than my friends, who have no clue what they would be starting, and certainly, no ability to "finish" it.

    As best I can tell, the election of Trump soothed some of the boiling resentment of The Deplorables who are tired of being called vile names, crushed economically, and counted as less than worthless in our country by The Progressive True Believers.  The Deplorables are, perhaps unwisely, sitting patiently with their hands in their laps hoping the Rule Of Law still exists and expecting that the election results will result in an actual inauguration of their candidate in January.  If that turns out not to happen, I expect that the long-suffering Deplorables will be sorely tempted en masse to rise up in violence and sabotage after taking their beatings passively and silently for so many years.  There certainly is a lot of chatter to that effect on the Fake News Internet, such as this piece:

    https://virginiafreemen.com/2016/12/14/hamilton-delegates-the-lefts-misplaced-confidence-and-its-potentially-deadly-consequences/

    Messrs. & Mesdames,

    I know you feel righteously indignant about the election results. A lot of people in the media and political apparatchik are advocating for an electoral college revolt, wherein the electors vote against the popular vote of their respective states out of allegiance to New York and California voters and deny their own state’s wishes. However, many among you seem to vastly misunderstand the dynamics and stark realities of the situation. Let me game out the very real, very possible reaction to this by all those deplorables that might, just might, not take it very well being told voting was for naught and to get back in line. Assuming enough of the electorates overturn the popular vote in their states, it makes the enormous brick thrown through the window of the establishment by a majority of states all for naught. To say many would be displeased is an understatement of rather epic proportions. Let us frame it in a different light. The people you just told to go pound sand on average purchase enough firearms in three months to outfit the Russian and Chinese frontline troops. Every. Three. Months. Those guys who were entrusted to go become experts at fighting insurgents and came home to better quality small arms in the private sector than they were issued, carved an entire market out of teaching what they learned from Uncle Sam to people with the coin and and the desire. You just told all of those guys to go pound sand. Not all are pipe hitters with steely eyes and camo. Many are farmers, utility workers, work in the oil fields, drive the big trucks that bend and go tshhh, tshhh when they brake, and produce thousands of things you never give a second glance to. The people who work 50-60 hours a week to feed, heat, and transport the nation. To really make sure we all got the point, it has been made abundantly clear that there is a desire to strip us of any voice online and silence those who do not conform to the appropriate level of ‘tolerance.’ I’m an eternal optimist, but I don’t believe silencing and stripping the votes of the opposition, who own the vast majority of the 400-600M firearms in the US, bodes well for anyone...

    There's more where that came from.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 3:18pm

    #35
    sand_kitty

    sand_kitty

    Status: Member

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2005

    0

    Evaluation of the strength of evidence "Russian Hack"

    The Intercept posts an evaluation of the strength and weaknesses offered that the Russian government specifically hacked the DNC computers in an act to influence the US election outcome.

    I am not a computer guy, and don't have the background to evaluate it.  But, it matches my confirmation bias so it is *probably correct.*  😉

    --------------

    I gotta give DaveF and thc0655 a couple of more thumbs up for this quote:

    It really is a religion, in the sense that there is complete and utter certainty they are right, which totally overrides any appeals to fact or common sense.  How on earth did they all get to that place?

    Not-listening is a recipe for civil war.  A fair number of my friends on social media imagine that there is some trick they can play to stop Trump from becoming President.  Furthermore, that by playing this trick, they will get a consequence-free do-over victory vs the forces of Darkness.

    Again, a recipe for civil war.  The deplorables are far better armed than my friends, who have no clue what they would be starting, and certainly, no ability to "finish" it.

    This is what I see too.  Begging for a civil war. 

    And then the necessary police state needed to "restore order."

    The Great Unraveling.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 3:39pm

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    davefairtex

    [quote=davefairtex]

    Snydeman-

    So to hearten you, while I too have noted that Trump is poking China in its sensitive spots, he isn't going on about how they are going to attack their neighbors.  It really looks like he's setting the stage for a negotiation about trade.

    No "no fly zones", no "China threatening our allies", no actual increased military deployments, and so on.

    In other words, the military component seems to be entirely missing from Trump's campaign.  Contrast that with NATO/Russia, and US/Russia v Syria/ISIS.

    And the Chinese leadership might well find this a useful distraction from their domestic issues - way too much debt, a crazy housing market, and money fleeing the country by the dump-truck-load.  Indeed, "for national security reasons" they might start cutting off capital flows.  So, a little yelling back and forth, some Wag the Dog distraction, and pretty soon we have some new trade agreement that is a little more equitable.

    Well that's the theory anyway.

    I expect that no Presidents have done this in the past because corporations greatly increased their profits by outsourcing all that labor cost to China, and corporations were the major donors to both of the political campaigns since NAFTA.  Top 1% actually GAINS from jobs outsourcing, so of course they're for it, and that trickles down via campaign contributions into the Congress and the Executive.

    [/quote]

    Oh, I'm definitely not trying to give equivalency to the "noise" on China versus the "noise" on Russia, since the mainstream media is awash in anti-Russian rhetoric right now, as opposed to modest coverage of the Taiwan-Trump call and backlash. I'm worried because I sense, perhaps incorrectly, that the Deep State may be pre-loading the Taiwan issue in case this whole Russian thing doesn't end up working as they want, and that China will become the new justification for high levels of military spending. I also understand that Trump may be trying to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip, but Taiwan is a very sensitive issue to the PRC, and approaching the issue as a business deal may very well backfire on Trump in a way that could lead to a shooting war, too. It also doesn't help that I'm not sure whether Trump has deep strategies for anything, or whether he shoots from the hip. It's his very unpredictability that is both refreshing and mildly terrifying, depending on the issue we're talking about. At least it won't be boring, right?

    [quote=davefairtex]

    I really enjoyed this:

    I have to find a way to manufacture and bottle that, so I can run around like the Joker, spraying into everyone's face a misty portion of stop-being-a-douchebang-and-discuss-things-civilly sauce...

    I like to call it, "bullying and being generally nasty in the defense of tolerance and civil society."

    It really is a religion, in the sense that there is complete and utter certainty they are right, which totally overrides any appeals to fact or common sense.  How on earth did they all get to that place?

    [/quote]

    This election cycle has taught me something that I knew inherently but had never experienced directly in my own life: both the reactionary right and the radical left are unreasonably dogmatic and intransigent with anyone who disagrees with them. I posted this to my Facebook page the day after the election, and was met with indignation by my more right or left-wing friends, but a LOT of "thank you" messages from my more moderate conservative and liberal friends/family:

    "This one will be long, so fair warning. It may be the last post I make this week, if for no other reason than I learned how much peace can be found offline, and how much of life’s moments pass by if you spend too much time enmeshed in the digital world.

     

    To my liberal friends, or friends who voted for Hillary, I offer my condolences on her defeat, as well as that of the Democratic Party in general. I realize that for you there is little solace to be found today, and you feel like you live in a foreign country with no voice and no idea how your nation came to this.

     

    There are a few ways you can interpret the results of this election. First, you can make the generalization that everyone who voted for Trump did so because they support his misogynist, bigoted, racist and bullying nature. In this explanation, your fellow Americans are reactionary nut-jobs and overall shitty human beings, and you will want nothing to do with them. They now have the label of “other,” and they are your enemy incarnate. However, if you latch onto this explanation – and I can’t sway anyone from doing so – I think you are making two mistakes: mislabeling an entire group of people, and missing the actual point.

     

    To be sure, there are people who supported Trump who whole-heartedly agree with his views on women, minorities, homosexuals, foreigners, etc. They ARE misogynistic and bigoted nut-jobs, and if they are reading this post I hope they will unfriend me and save me the trouble of doing so myself (because, frankly, I want nothing to do with you if you are). But I know many people on my Facebook feed who voted for him who are not any of these things, at least in any way I have ever detected. So, that leaves the second explanation.

     

    See, I think many people who supported Donald Trump did so because they were disenfranchised by a political system that has become corrupted – a system that Hillary was the epitome of, in their eyes – and they sense that the economic “recovery” hasn’t been much of a recovery for them. They’ve seen healthcare costs rise, tuitions rise, costs of living rise, and wages stagnate or decline at the same time that the “elite” has prospered more than at any time in our history. They are angry that free trade has benefitted the few at the expense of the many, shipped their jobs overseas, and they are fearful of our nation’s perceived decline. Now, I happen to think that they picked the wrong candidate to represent that anger and frustration – the man was born into money and wouldn’t know the hardships of most Americans’ lives if it hit him in the head – but he was the only “outsider” running at a time when “insider” is a dirty word. In essence, I think that many people voted for him despite his deplorable behavior, not because of it.

     

    To those of my friends and family who voted for Trump for these reasons, let’s keep talking. Even though I think you picked the wrong guy to represent that anger and frustration, I understand and sympathize with why you feel that way.

     

    I also happen to think that the second reason is why I had a foreboding sense that Trump would pull this off; he is riding a wave of popular anger that is truly a global phenomenon in the industrialized nations. In a sense, it has nothing to do with him, and never did.

     

    To my conservative friends and family who voted for Trump: Well, congratulations. Your candidate won, and your chosen political party now dominates every hall of power in D.C. Your agenda can now go forward unhindered by pesky liberals or moderates. I would caution, however, that this is a double edged sword, and that the results may not come out as you like them. First and foremost, the world may become more destabilized and dangerous than you previously thought possible as this wave of populism, protectionism, and nationalism breaks on other shores around the globe. There is a historical precedent for this kind of wave – it has happened before – and I’m not sure you want to see it play out that way again. Second, you may have voted for Trump because he was an outsider, but you have now handed power to conservatives in a way that may change the face of our social fabric for decades to come. Gay marriage could be overturned, Roe v. Wade most certainly can be too. The Affordable Care Act is likely gone, and I look forward to people being pissed when they realize their tax dollars will still go to supporting the uninsured (they always have been) when they go to the emergency room with health conditions that could have been nipped in the bud at far lower cost had those people had some kind of preventive medical coverage. The Supreme Court will likely become more pro-business and anti-worker than it has been in the past, and there are numerous other ways that this will affect you that you might not have been anticipating. Last, it’s all on the Republicans now. Whatever happens from here on out is in their hands, and I don’t want to hear any bitching about how it’s someone else’s fault. You handed them the wheel, so you have no right to complain if they drive us over a cliff. Oh, and good luck with watching a lot of the campaign promises not being actually carried through, by the way. Ask the liberals…they know that disappointment.

     

    I look forward to seeing how the now-Republican-dominated Federal government tries to solve the gargantuan problems facing our nation – a massive debt, distorted markets, climate change, terrorism, a declining middle class, income inequality, and a culture that is torn asunder between “red” and “blue” teams, to name a few – and I hope that the solutions they come up work for most Americans, but I’ll be honest and say I’m not holding out hope. For the record, I wasn’t sure Hillary and the democrats were up to the task either, but I fear the chain of unintended consequences may be more severe under Trump than most of you realize. If things don’t play out that badly, though, I’ll be the first one to admit it four years from now, but my fear, and the fear of roughly half the nation, is that it will play out very, very badly for all of us. You should know that. I would also ask you to think carefully about how partisan you are in the next coming years, and how much we could all benefit from some “across the aisle” politics, because, as stated in Mark 3:25: If a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand."

     

    Apologies if I posted this before, by the way, but I still can't find better words for it. It wasn't a perfect post, to be sure, but I was trying to open the eyes of my more militantly liberal friends, explain things as I saw them as a historian, and raise what I thought were far more salient issues than whether Trump grabbed crotches (which I still find unacceptable behavior) or whether Clinton used a private email server (which I still find unacceptable behavior). Most of all, I was trying to reconnect the ties that bind us all together and remind everyone on my feed that we can only solve the issues we face by talking about them, civilly, with people outside our echo chambers, whether "right" or "left."

     

    My difficulty in this election cycle is that I am primarily liberal on many issues and conservative on a few others - which pushes me more into the liberal side of the spectrum overall, but still with a firm grasp of the "middle." The only issue where I am hyper-liberal is the environment, which is an issue that causes me to be more liberal than most democrats. Yet I would like to think of myself as non-dogmatic and open minded enough that I will regularly ask my more conservative family and friends for their views on things.  

     

    This attitude has been challenging, though. By way of example, while I believe that there is great strength in diversity (some of the greatest empires were multi-cultural) and my anti-racism has its roots in my Christian upbringing (love thy neighbor and stuff), many of my fellow liberals have taken the concepts of racial equality to the furthest extremes, and in the process alienated otherwise moderate and reasonable white people. So, many liberals have gone too far. Yet watching white supremacy movements come out of the woodwork, and a rise in hate crimes (we've had some on my campus already) has me concerned, since I am certainly no supporter of fascism or racist ideology either. Yet we WILL swing further to the other extreme if my more liberal friends keep treating the rest of their countrymen and countrywomen as "deplorables" and don't start talking with - not at - them again.

     

    I guess what I'm saying is that while the "left" deserved its comeuppance, I certainly don't want my nation swinging far-right either. I feel like I'm in a bind here: wanting Trump to succeed on many of his promised platform, especially regarding economics and cleansing any practices that aid political corruption, but not wanting him to succeed regarding the environment or many social justice ideas I support. Yet while I supported Clinton on many social justice issues, I abhorred her corruption, connections with corporations, and hawkish stance on foreign policy. So, I'm politically homeless but kinda freaked out, which would have been the case had the election gone the other way. I imagine I'm not alone on this.

     

    [quote=davefairtex]

    Not-listening is a recipe for civil war.  A fair number of my friends on social media imagine that there is some trick they can play to stop Trump from becoming President.  Furthermore, that by playing this trick, they will get a consequence-free do-over victory vs the forces of Darkness.

    Again, a recipe for civil war.  The deplorables are far better armed than my friends, who have no clue what they would be starting, and certainly, no ability to "finish" it.

    [/quote]

    A civil conflict between "right" and "left" would not only be a tragedy for a multitude of reasons, it would play right into the hands of the elite, who want nothing more than for us to throw cucumbers at each other rather than at them, much less even ask why they have grapes and we don't (I'm going to be using that analogy for years, by the way).

     

    And, so I'm on record for this: while I didn't vote for Trump (or Clinton), the last thing I want to see happen is this election be overturned somehow. The consequences for democracy (as farcical as it may be at times) would be devastating and final. I do not wish this for my world, my nation, or my community.

     

    Too many things to fear. Too many dangers. Not enough vodka.

     

    I'm kidding on that last one.

     

    Mostly.

     

    Sort of.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 3:50pm

    #37

    kelvinator

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 25 2008

    Posts: 200

    0

    Two Simple Truths We All Can Likely Agree With

    Bertrand Russell's message to future generations in 1959:





    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 3:59pm

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    sand_puppy wrote:This is

    [quote=sand_puppy]

    This is what I see too.  Begging for a civil war. 

    And then the necessary police state needed to "restore order."

    The Great Unraveling.

    [/quote]

    I see this too, and although we've been preparing for this for half a decade at Chateau Snydeman, I can firmly say: We're still not ready.

     

    May the odds ever be in our favor, because I sense time isn't.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 4:53pm

    davefairtex

    davefairtex

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 2914

    0

    just below the tranquil surface

    Tom-

    The people you just told to go pound sand on average purchase enough firearms in three months to outfit the Russian and Chinese frontline troops...

    I’m an eternal optimist, but I don’t believe silencing and stripping the votes of the opposition, who own the vast majority of the 400-600M firearms in the US, bodes well for anyone...

    Yes.  Perfect.  That's just exactly what I was imagining.  Using tricks would be a really bad idea.  Do it legit, and they'll go along.  But if you play a trick...it will end really badly.   It breaks the compact in a very fundamental way.

    Its as if "rule of law" only applies to the deplorables.  For the "good people who are thinking properly", rule of law is this flexible, malleable thing, because...its the pseudo-religious thing again.  "We're good people, dammit, and we believe in doing good and thinking the right thoughts, so we simply deserve to win."

    It goes back to the capuchin monkeys.  People-monkeys are extremely good at detecting cheating, it is built into our very basic DNA.  Detecting cheating is a survival trait, as is throwing the cucumbers.

    We really need to focus more on fairness.  Not tolerance, or diversity, political correctness, or more free stuff for everyone.  We just need a big dose of basic fairness - in the political process, in the national economy, in the monetary system, the judicial system, and in the markets.

    Seriously.  Americans are fine, even with adversity, as long as they think things are fair.  Its built into our DNA, after all.

    I believe you step outside the bounds of fairness at your peril.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 5:17pm

    #40

    kelvinator

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 25 2008

    Posts: 200

    0

    More Complex Views Better Represent a More Complex World

    And moving back from the simplicity of Russell's statement, I think that the complexity and subtlety involved in Dave Fairtex's long post after the election on the pros and powerful cons of both Clinton and Trump and the possible negative outcomes of either better represent the reality than simpler overviews that I often find here that too simplistically paint Clinton as a representative of a Devil conspiracy but seem to refuse to analyze or criticize Trump and what his administration may bring in any detail.  The editorial voice of this site seems to persistently avoid moving forward into the details of the falsehoods, stark views and policies that Trump is foisting on the public right now in the form of the administration he's building, and the cons as well as pros of this political change.  I know 3 people now who have stopped coming to this site because, to them, it seems hugely unbalanced and unsubtle in its views.  However, to this point, I have more faith in PP and the deeper underlying message that Chris and others are trying to communicate than that, and more interest in views that aren't my own.   Most importantly, I believe that the underlying intention of the site is aligned with Russell's moral imperative to remember that "love is wise, hate is foolish", even if we all might stray from that a bit in the heat of the moment.  If that weren't the case, I would already be long gone.  We all, including me, have a tendency to lapse to a shorthand to make a point, when sometimes a long form like Dave's note captures the complex world we live in more fully and opens communication by overlapping with realities perceived by those we're talking to.  As he suggests, it's a lot of work and hassle with questionable payoff, of course. So, like anyone who bothers to bang out comments here, I understand the tendency to want to take breaks to find better ways to spend time.  😉

    And in terms of complex views better representing reality, I think it's worth reading what one of our general allies in thought has written about the impact of the election, Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute.  Because I volunteer part time as an environmental activist and have been successfully working with others to build local resistance to massive corporate power that's damaging my local community and improve local laws and control, I appreciate and agree with what he has to say about what this election may mean for efforts like mine.  I think it likely, as he suggests might happen, that Trump/Republicans will work to outlaw or override such local efforts, though I hope I'm wrong:

    Localism in the Age of Trump

    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/12/08/localism-age-trump

    He echoes, though in somewhat different form, what Dave says that spending time in the wilderness (and having powerful advocates of corporate domination to react to) could help energize a strong equal and opposite populist or progressive reaction that will have had an opportunity to free itself from the corrupt and war mongering domination of the Dem (and Repub) establishment.

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 5:26pm

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    davefairtex wrote:Its as if

    [quote=davefairtex]

    Its as if "rule of law" only applies to the deplorables.  For the "good people who are thinking properly", rule of law is this flexible, malleable thing, because...its the pseudo-religious thing again.  "We're good people, dammit, and we believe in doing good and thinking the right thoughts, so we simply deserve to win."

    [/quote]

    It helps for me to remember that none of the worst individuals or groups in the history of our species thought of themselves as evil. Not a single one. Everyone of them - even and especially Hitler - perceived of themselves as the "good guys" acting out of necessity for someone or some group in their world. Evil comes out of two things: the lie, and righteousness. People who lie to themselves about their own lies, who come to believe the delusions they have constructed around themselves so completely that they no longer recognize anything but the lie, and who are often so convinced in their own rightness to the expense of any other viewpoint; it is they who do the most damage in the annals of humanity. M. Scott Peck has a great book about this dynamic, called "People of the Lie," that's worth reading if you like psychology at all.

     

    It's fine and dandy to think you are right on some issue, so long as you don't think there are no other viewpoints on that issue.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 5:30pm

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    davefairtex

    [quote=davefairtex]

    We really need to focus more on fairness.  Not tolerance, or diversity, political correctness, or more free stuff for everyone.  We just need a big dose of basic fairness - in the political process, in the national economy, in the monetary system, the judicial system, and in the markets.

    [/quote]

     

    I forgot to add my kudos to you for this statement. Really, this is the key. My feelings on social acceptance and racism and feminism and economics, etc, all come down to this.

     

    I regret only that I can thumbs up this but once!

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - 10:34pm

    kelvinator

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 25 2008

    Posts: 200

    0

    And Speaking of HRC Outdoing Trump/Repubs on Hypocrisy...

    Dave, your comment in that regard just ain't really keeping up with the times anymore.  As Bernie points out below, Trump is revealing himself to be a super-competitive, world class hypocrite as well - if you want to use a word with that many letters to describe his campaign behavior and promises based on his actions since he was elected.  His four letter description of Hillary might better apply to him.





    And for those who'd prefer to keep a wait and see attitude on a Trump/Repub administration until he's in office, fair enough.  I understand.  I tried to feel better by keeping the same attitude after I was upset to see Obama's appointments just after his 2008 election, too.  And I expect that he will make some effort to deliver a little of what he promised voters, though I don't expect much.  But you might want to hide your wallet and hedge any precious metals you own in the meantime, just to be safe.  If you own any, like me, you've probably noticed they've been digging a hole to China as Wall Street and the Financial Authorities figure that with this new crew they can now rule the world with their US paper promises and keep their domination going for years to come.  I think that notion is sheer arrogance and not true, but clearly Wall Street loves what it's seeing with Trump.  So, if you're like me and don't love Wall Street, it's cause for reflection on why this "populist" is such a fabulous hit with Wall Street compared to even the prospect of more corrupt Dem rule.  It's no mystery to me.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Fri, Dec 16, 2016 - 2:43am

    #44
    davefairtex

    davefairtex

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 2914

    0

    trump tax plan

    Friend forwarded this to me: article contains a nifty graphic that summarizes what happens to people in the various tax brackets under the new Trump Tax Plan.  Really pretty graphics.

    Hint: people in the 40% bracket have a very happy outcome.

    https://howmuch.net/articles/trump-tax-changes

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Fri, Dec 16, 2016 - 6:08am

    #45
    Time2help

    Time2help

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2494

    0

    I know enough

    ...at this point to know that I can't tell what the hell is going on anymore politically.

    It looks like a two sided split, HRC/CIA vs DT/FBI. Given all of the disinfo and agitprop recently, who knows. 

    Going into observation mode for a while.

    Meh.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Fri, Dec 16, 2016 - 1:35pm

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 652

    0

    Let me get this straight...

    [quote=davefairtex]

    Friend forwarded this to me: article contains a nifty graphic that summarizes what happens to people in the various tax brackets under the new Trump Tax Plan.  Really pretty graphics.

    Hint: people in the 40% bracket have a very happy outcome.

    https://howmuch.net/articles/trump-tax-changes

     

     

    [/quote]

    If this is indeed accurate - and Dave I've not known you to be someone to post crap you just pulled from your sleeve, so I have little reason to doubt you here - then the poorest incomes will be taxed 2% more (Do they even pay taxes at that level though? I thought not), and the wealthiest Americans will get a 7% tax cut, while my wife and I would pay about 3% less. The very tax brackets that send their kids to the private school I teach at will be hit with a 5% increase, though, so my tax decrease could be offset by me losing my job if those people begin cutting back on education expenses. Yowzers.  

     

    So, how is this not a big tax cut for the uberwealthy again? And how will this help us pay for his planned infrastructure bill?

     

    In observation mode too, but I'm getting pissed-er ​and skeptical-er. I'm beginning to wonder if Trump and his victory were indeed an intentional play, designed to sow discord ahead of an electoral college split that would, literally, spark civil conflict. Even the elite can't be that bold/stupid, could they? Do they really perceive we are so close to the ledge that they'd make that kind of play now?

     

    -S

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Fri, Dec 16, 2016 - 6:13pm

    kelvinator

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 25 2008

    Posts: 200

    0

    Intelligence at Work?

    CIA intelligence?  FBI intelligence?  Russian intelligence?  Wisdom and intelligence?  It could be a mistake to assume that intelligence, in any way, shape or form, is actually effectively guiding what is happening or what's going to happen to us now. 😉  To me, we often seem to be trapped in the midst of collapsing human folly on a grand, summer block-buster scale, with the multiple roads to hell paved and traffic-jammed with good and evil intentions and half-baked in-depth traffic analyses gone viral.  Meanwhile, road rage insults to the scarecrows of errant, or ignorant "others" blocking the damn road are constantly being hurled into the building winds just to provide a little cheer, like whistling past the graveyard.  There's comfort in the sound of our own voices - we're still here.

    In my cheerier moments, I directly feel that a benign, loving, dispassionate intelligence guides the deeper story of the universe.  In my less cheery moments, I feel that same loving, dispassionate intelligence may have decided that, like a dear old flea-bitten dog with kidney cancer, the human race needs to be kindly put out of its misery - that that act of brutal kindness would, next century, or in a million years, make way for a newer, more sensible, more adaptable, less material, more loving species that can withstand the higher spiritual voltage of embodied intelligence and love needed for a lasting civility and civilization, a lasting communion and community based on those qualities.

    "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 20, 2016 - 5:26pm

    #48

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    solutions beyond centralization and the federal state

    I just want to be clear here that my interest is in community-work-decentralized-emerging-economy solutions and that the politics surrounding centralized federal "solutions" such as tax breaks, more spending, etc. are of minimal interest to me because they are not actual solutions. At best they keep the machine going for a bit longer. I know it deeply offends partisans but it doesn't make as much difference as people typically reckon which party is in power. Look at the divisions in the Deep State for a better guide than party politics. Also, look to the USD, capital flows and resource constraints. Conventional politics are like ants on these elephants, shouting that they control the world.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 20, 2016 - 5:30pm

    #49

    charleshughsmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 709

    0

    can tax cuts and more federal spending fix these?

    can tax cuts and more federal spending fix these structural ills? If they could fix them, they'd be fixed long ago. http://www.oftwominds.com/blogdec16/experts-wrong12-16.html

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 20, 2016 - 5:45pm

    davefairtex

    davefairtex

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 2914

    0

    tax brackets

    Snydeman-

    So this is the best information I have.

    There is one bit of mitigating news - the standard deduction has been raised to $15k (single) and $30k (married).   Itemization capped at $100k (single) and $200k (married).

    Lastly - no exemptions.  So $4k per person - gone.

    So if you have lots of kids and you itemize (i.e. big interest payments and/or big state taxes or lots of charitable deductions along with lots of exemptions), it is bad news.

    If you take the standard deduction...woohoo!

    Of course, this is just what has been proposed.  What passes Congress will probably be something entirely different.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 24, 2016 - 4:07pm

    #51
    David Phillips

    David Phillips

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 29 2009

    Posts: 111

    0

    Alexander Dugin on the multipolar world of Donald Trump

    Dugin’s Guidleine – The multipolar world of Donald trump

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 24, 2016 - 4:16pm

    #52
    David Phillips

    David Phillips

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 29 2009

    Posts: 111

    0

    Alexander Dugin Interviews Alex Jones

    Alexander Dugin interviews Alex Jones on Russian Television | VIDEO

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 24, 2016 - 4:20pm

    #53
    David Phillips

    David Phillips

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 29 2009

    Posts: 111

    0

    Alexander Dugin on the Eurasian Union

    The Eurasian Union | ALEXANDER DUGIN

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 24, 2016 - 4:21pm

    #54
    David Phillips

    David Phillips

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 29 2009

    Posts: 111

    0

    Alexander Dugin: Most dangerous philosopher in the world

    The Most Dangerous Philosopher in the World | DO LIBERALS GET IT?

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Dec 24, 2016 - 4:24pm

    #55
    David Phillips

    David Phillips

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 29 2009

    Posts: 111

    0

    Alexander Dugin on Russia's new information offensive doctrine

    What is behind Russia’s new information offensive doctrine?

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Dec 27, 2016 - 11:17am

    #56
    treebeard

    treebeard

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Apr 18 2010

    Posts: 573

    0

    When elephants fight the grass gets trampled

    Clinton and the neoliberal globalists or Trump and the old school robber baron plutocrats, that was the choice.  Saw a bumper sticker yesterday, Were screwed 2016. First time I think I have ever seen an election sticker like that.  Some are waking up.

    Koyaanisqatsi, the 1978 film directed Godfrey Reggio depicted in music and images our predicament back then. Koyaanisqatsi, is the Hopi word for life out of balance or a life that calls for another way of living.  Some think that closing our boarders is the answer, they forget we are an empire, like the one we like to go to the movies and cheer against.  I know that it is hard living in the belly of the beast. We want to believe  in someone or something,   But it is time to rid ourselves of belief altogether.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Jan 22, 2017 - 3:02pm

    #57
    mEad0w.larK

    mEad0w.larK

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 30 2016

    Posts: 14

    0

    How to Spot a Media Psy Op

    How to Spot a Media Psy Op
     
    http://www.newslogue.com/debate/277/CaitlinJohnstone

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Jan 22, 2017 - 4:55pm

    #58
    Time2help

    Time2help

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2494

    0

    ...

    Delete

    Login or Register to post comments