Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 15, 2020

Fake News About Iran, Russia, China Is U.S. Journalism's Daily Bread

Every few days U.S. 'intelligence' and 'officials' produce fake claims about this or that 'hostile' country. U.S. media continue to reproduce those claims even if they bare any logic and do not make any sense.

On June 27 the New York Times and the Washington Post published fake news about alleged Russian payments to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops.

The stories ran on the outlets' front pages.

Two week later the story was shown to have no basis:

[T]hat the story was obviously bullshit did not prevent Democrats in Congress, including 'Russiagate' swindler Adam Schiff, to bluster about it and to call for immediate briefings and new sanctions on Russia.

Just a day after it was published the main accusation, that Trump was briefed on the 'intelligence' died. The Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Advisor and the CIA publicly rejected the claim. Then the rest of the story started to crumble. On June 2, just one week after it was launched, the story was declared dead.
The NYT buried the above quoted dead corpse of the original story page A-19.

Despite that the Democrats continued to use the fake story for attacks on Donald Trump.

Yesterday the commander of the U.S. forces in the Middle East drove a stake though the heart of the dead corpse of the original story:

Two months after top Pentagon officials vowed to get to the bottom of whether the Russian government bribed the Taliban to kill American service members, the commander of troops in the region says a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.

"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

But as one fake news zombie finally dies others get resurrected. Politico's 'intelligence' stenographer Natasha Bertrand produced this nonsensical claim:

The Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa, U.S. intelligence reports say, according to a U.S. government official familiar with the issue and another official who has seen the intelligence.

News of the plot comes as Iran continues to seek ways to retaliate for President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a powerful Iranian general earlier this year, the officials said. If carried out, it could dramatically ratchet up already serious tensions between the U.S. and Iran and create enormous pressure on Trump to strike back — possibly in the middle of a tense election season.

U.S. officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring, the officials said. But the intelligence about the threat to the ambassador has become more specific in recent weeks. The Iranian Embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot, the U.S. government official said.

Ambassador Lana Marks is known for selling overpriced handbags and for her donations to Trump's campaign. To Iran she has zero political or symbolic value. There is no way Iran would ever think about an attack on such a target. Accordingly the South African intelligence services do not believe that there is such a threat:

South African Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo said the matter was “receiving the necessary attention” and that the State Security Agency (SSA) was “interacting with all relevant partners both in the country and abroad, to ensure that no harm will be suffered by the US Ambassador, including any other Diplomatic Officials inside the borders of our country.”

However, an informed intelligence source told Daily Maverick that although the “matter has been taken seriously… as we approach all such threats, specifically, there appears to be, from our perspective, no discernible threat. Least of all from the source that it purports to emanate from.

There was “no evidence or indicator”, the source said, so the plot was “not likely to be real”. The “associations made are not sustainable on any level but all precautions will be put in place”.

The source suggested this was an instance of the “tail wagging the dog”, of the Trump administration wielding a “weapon of mass distraction” to divert attention from its failures in the election campaign running up to President Donald Trump’s re-election bid on November 3.

The spokesperson for the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs, Saeed Khatibzadeh, strongly denied the allegation in the Politico report which he called “hackneyed and worn-out… anti-Iran propaganda”.

In January the U.S. assassinated the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Soleimani led the external campaigns of the Iranian Quds Forces. He was the one who orchestrated the campaign that defeated the Islamic State. His mythic-symbolic position for Iran and the resistance in the Middle East is beyond that of any U.S. figure.

There is simply no one in the U.S. military or political hierarchy who could be seen as his equal. Iran has therefore announced that it will take other ways to revenge the assassination of Soleimani.

As an immediate response to the assassination of Soleimani Iran had launched a precise missile attack against two U.S. bases in Iraq. It has also announced that it will make sure that the U.S. military will have to leave the Middle East. That program is in full swing now as U.S. bases in Iraq are again coming under daily missile attacks:

More than eight months after a barrage of rockets killed an American contractor and wounded four American service members in Kirkuk, Iraq, militia groups continue to target U.S. military bases in that country, and the frequency of those attacks has increased.

"We have had more indirect fire attacks around and against our bases the first half of this year than we did the first half of last year," Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, said. "Those attacks have been higher."
McKenzie's comments came just hours after he announced the United States would be cutting its footprint in Iraq by almost half by the end of September, with about 2,200 troops leaving the country.

Just hours agon two Katyusha rockets were fired against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone. Two British/U.S.convoys also came under attack. U.S. air defense took the missiles down but its anti-missile fire is only further disgruntling the Iraqi population.

These attacks are still limited and designed to not cause any significant casualties. But they will continue to increase over time until the last U.S. soldier is withdrawn from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other Middle East countries. That, and only that, is the punishment Iran promised as revenge for Soleimani's death.

The alleged Iranian thread against the U.S. ambassador to South Africa is just another fake news propaganda story. It is useful only for lame blustering:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 3:04 UTC · Sep 15, 2020

According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering U.S. Troops, and the death & suffering...
...caused over so many years. Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!

The danger of such fake stories about Russia or Iran is that they might be used to justify a response in the case of a false flag attack on the alleged targets.

Should something inconvenient happen to Ambassador Lana Marks the Trump administration could use the fake story as an excuse to respond with a limited attack on Iran.

It is well known by now that U.S. President Donald Trump is lying about every time he opens his mouth. Why do U.S. journalists presume that the agencies and anonymous officials who work under him are more truthful in their utterings than the man himself is hard to understand. Why do they swallow their bullshit?

Posted by b on September 15, 2020 at 11:50 UTC | Permalink


Amerikas propaganda machine never sleeps and sadly to many people believe the BS

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 15 2020 12:01 utc | 1

US and European journalists are also lying constantly, that's why. Even when they make embarrassing attempts at "being unbiased" or "factual". Do they understand it? Many might not, but some do, perhaps fewer than anyone would think reasonable.

Btw a lot of these "journalists" in Europe in particular openly self-identify to "the left" or even as socialists and communists or "greens". So much for ideology as some kind of solution: entirely worthless and superficial.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 15 2020 12:27 utc | 2

But CNN has and will continue torepeat the allegations as fact, so it's mission accomplished for the deep state. As another poster said on this board about manufacturing consent:

"It is important to discuss the story, not its credibility, the more the discussion, the more the reaction and the more it reinforces the narrative."

Just for laughs, I looked at the reviews of Gordon Chang's book, 'The Coming Economic Collapse of China' to see if I could figure out the reasoning and one of the reviewers said that China weakens because they lack a free press to hold their govt accountable. I had a good laugh at that one.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Sep 15 2020 12:44 utc | 3

There's an objective explanation for that.

In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of "public opinion". This would become a hallmark of Western Civilization in the post-war.

The public opinion theory states that the masses don't have an opinion for themselves or, if they have, it is sculpting/flexible. The dominant classes can, therefore, guide the masses like a shepherd, to its will.

Friedrich von Hayek - a colleague of Popper and father of British neoliberalism (the man behind Thatcher) - then developed on the issue, by proposing the institutionalization of public opinion. He proposed a system of three or four tiers of intellectuals which a capitalist society should have. The first tier is the capitalist class itself, who would govern the entire world anonymously, through secret meetings. These meetings would produce secret reports, whose ideas would be spread to the second tier. The second tier is the academia and the more prominent politicians and other political leaderships. The third tier is the basic education teachers, who would indoctrinate the children. The fourth tier is the MSM, whose job is to transform the ideas and opinions of the first tier into "common sense" ("public opinion").

Therefore, it's not a case where the Western journalists are being fooled. Their job was never to inform the public. When they publish a lie about, say, Iran trying to kill an American ambassador in South Africa, they are not telling a lie in their eyes: they are telling an underlying truth through one thousand lies. The objective here is to convince ("teach") the American masses it is good for the USA if Iran was invaded and destroyed (which is a truth). They are like the modern Christian God, who teach its subjects the Truth through "mysterious ways".

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4

It is an insult to the noble profession, to call what the mainstream media in the west, especially in the USA do, journalism. In my opinion what they do is propaganda and stenography on behalf of those who are in power. I am not sure who coined the term but “presstitution” is not a bad attempt at describing their profession.

Unfortunately they have been amazingly successful in brainwashing people. One current example, from numerous ones that could be cited, is the public’s opinion on Julian Assange. .

While the western corporate media lie on a continuous basis - and that has the predictable effect - what is more insidious is not these acts of commissions ( meaning lies), but their acts of omission (meaning excluding or deemphasizing important contextual information) leading people to make the wrong conclusions. NPR in the US is an excellent example of such presstitution.

What I am saying is nothing new to the bar flies here. But I am extremely distressed when I see how poorly informed (propagandized, brainwashed) the vast majority of the people I know are. Let’s say a decade ago, ideological polarization was the main reason why it was so difficult to have an open discussion on important issues the US. Today it has become even more difficult because, thanks to the success of the presstitutes, people also have different sets of “facts”. And most alarmingly, after successfully creating a readership who believe in alternative “facts”, the mainstream presstitutes are moving on to creating a logic-free narrative. Examples include Assad supposedly gassing his people when he was winning (even though that was guaranteed to produce western intervention against him). A more recent example is the Navalny affair. Sadly, very sadly, way too many people are affected.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Sep 15 2020 12:56 utc | 5

Hi, thanks, and sorry, but: why does nobody look behind the curtain?

Why are the US promoting conflict with China, with Russia?
Why are they beating Europe, maybe with the intention to destroy it?
Why is a new civil war in the US promoted?

Are these random developments of history? Are laws of history behind that?
NO!! Surely not!

Normal (geopolitically interested) people would think: against China it is better to come together and unite,
at least US & Europe, but eventually Russia included.
For instance take the population of these three together: far less than China's.

If something is going against the common sense, then there should be a reason behind.
This reason I recommend You, with due respect, to find - and to uncover the plan.

Journalism in the US is so superficial, it is a drop above the uppermost wavy comb.
Not worth to pay attention to it.

The actual demand is to understand and to show the forces playing deep underwater.
And to preview where these forces are determined to strike against.

Kind regards, Gerhard

Posted by: Gerhard | Sep 15 2020 13:07 utc | 6

They are all Judith Miller now.

Posted by: DG | Sep 15 2020 13:30 utc | 7

Like the famed slogan of septic tank pumpers, the Gray Lady's masthead should read, "Your shit is our bread and butter!"

Posted by: morongobill | Sep 15 2020 13:39 utc | 8

Yep. We're into some pretty overt 1984 territory now... It's really a shame.

Posted by: ptb | Sep 15 2020 13:53 utc | 9

Gareth Porter's latest on "Russian hacking"...

Dark Web Voter Database Report Casts New Doubts on Russian Election Hack Narrative
A new report showing that US state-level voter databases were publicly available calls into question the narrative that Russian intelligence “targeted” US state election-related websites in 2016.

The problem with these sorts of accusations about "state-sponsored" hacking is they assume that because a target has some connection to a state or some political activity that it means the hackers are "nation-state". In reality, personal identification information (PII) is a commodity on the black market, along with intellectual property - and *any* hacker will target *any* such source of PII. So the mere fact that it is an election year, and that voting organizations are loaded with PII, makes them an obvious target for any and every hacker.

"Oregon’s chief information security officer, Lisa Vasa, told the Washington Post in September 2017 that her team blocks 'upwards of 14 million attempts to access our network every day.”'

This is the usual ridiculous claim from almost every organization. They treat every Internet packet that hits their firewall as being an "attempt to access" the network (or worse, a "breach" - which it is not.) Which is technically true, but would only be relevant if they had *no* firewall - a setup which no organization runs these days. By definition, 99.99999% of those attempts are random mass scans of a block of IP addresses by either a hacker or some malware on someone else's machine - or even a computer security researcher attempting to find out how many sites are vulnerable.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 15 2020 14:37 utc | 10

"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Barflies should write Gen Frank McKenzie inside the back cover of their diaries, and count the days until we hear of/from him again. I've a feeling he's crossed a line and knows precisely what he's doing and why. Imo, the Swamp has just been put on notice.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15 2020 14:52 utc | 11

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4
In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of "public opinion".

vk, I can’t find anything regarding this coinage. Could you please provide a link.
Wiki is specially devoid of it and it goes back to 16 century.
The term public opinion was derived from the French opinion publique which was first used in 1588 by Michel de Montaigne in the second edition of his Essays

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 14:54 utc | 12

Thank you, b. In this world of illusion that mainstream press provides it is forgivable that we cannot even convince members of our own families that are dear to us of the underlying truths behind what these masters of deception continue to print. Surely they only do so because livelihoods are threatened, and the public perceptions are reaching a critical point where belief in what they write, read by the diminishing numbers of faithful few, reaches a pinnacle of perception and spills chaotically down into a watershed of realization.

I remember when we were told what happens on the top floor of the New York Times. It opened my eyes. And perhaps here also, b is providing a chink through which we may glimpse what is happening in military circles in fields of operation where facts collide with fiction:

"We have had more indirect fire attacks around and against our bases the first half of this year than we did the first half of last year," Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, said. "Those attacks have been higher."
McKenzie's comments came just hours after he announced the United States would be cutting its footprint in Iraq by almost half by the end of September, with about 2,200 troops leaving the country.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 15 2020 15:12 utc | 13

@ Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 14:54 utc | 12

On Hayek's "tiering", google "IHS model" ("pyramid of social change") and his book "The Intellectuals and Socialism”.

On Popper's conception of "public opinion", see "The Open Society and Its Enemies" (1945). Yes, the term itself is not Popper's invention - he never claimed to have done so. But he gave it a "twist", and we can say nowadays every Western journalist's conception of "public opinion" is essentially Popper's.

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 15:13 utc | 14

Yes, the term itself is not Popper's invention - he never claimed to have done so.
Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 15:13 utc | 14

This (coinage) is what I was questioning. You said he “coined” it.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 15:21 utc | 15

In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of "public opinion". This would become a hallmark of Western Civilization in the post-war.

The public opinion theory states that the masses don't have an opinion for themselves or, if they have, it is sculpting/flexible. The dominant classes can, therefore, guide the masses like a shepherd, to its will.


Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc |

If one cares to read you more closely one is much less less bothered by your often curiously offensive collective judgments.

Otherwise you might have wanted something like malleable, shapable, mouldable ... (here: it is sculpting/flexible.)

Posted by: LeaNder | Sep 15 2020 15:21 utc | 16

@ Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 15:21 utc | 15

Sorry about that. English is not my mother language.


@ Posted by: LeaNder | Sep 15 2020 15:21 utc | 16

Karl Popper became a declared and virulent anti-communist after the 1920s (which, in the post-war period, would place him in the far-right). If he were alive today, he certainly wouldn't be offended by being called a "far-rightist".

But the important lesson is this: the pro-capitalists consider ideology as something they can fabricate and manipulate at will, while the socialists/communists consider ideology as something that arises from attrition between the classes. Completely different conceptions of ideology.

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 15:34 utc | 17

Why do swallow their bullshit?

because on matters related to Iran, China and Russia, they are not independent, there is no real difference between the two camps in US, Biden' foreign policy which is endorsed and supported by NYT and WP is not that different than Trump's, if not more radical. There is no free press in US, as matter of fact, as long as this United Oligarchy of America exist there will be no free press.

Posted by: Kooshy | Sep 15 2020 15:36 utc | 18

Thanks to Nathan Mulcahy @ 5. Very well said.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 15 2020 15:44 utc | 19

OK, I admit it. I read this rag, just because Paul Pillar posts there.
And yes, there is an “Iran derangement” syndrome in US, where people go to sleep and dream Iran. They wake up from wet dream of bloody Iranian babies, asking, have we sanctioned Iran today?

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 15:50 utc | 20

Juliania @13,

Perhaps one can look upon McKensie as a first - kinda like that coke-bottle glaised-wearing girl in "V for Vendetta" uttering "Bullocks! in response to the obvious 'newscasters' spate of lies.

Unfortunately for us in real world, we have to deal with not just one .. but a multitude of littleminded, controlfreakish 'High Chancellor$"!

Posted by: polecat | Sep 15 2020 15:50 utc | 21

As well, this fake news propaganda barrage continues in the context of determined censorship of alternative media and social media - a campaign which has been largely promoted by the liberal intelligentsia in the US, in the name of reducing "fake news."
Having to live within an ever-widening swamp of utter BS is wearying and mind-numbing - also to the point, one may assume.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 15 2020 16:01 utc | 22

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Sep 15 2020 12:56 utc | 5

Yes, I agree, IMO/observation, the US Government, the political parties and their supportive media are rapidly ideologically polarizing their constituencies to two hard entrenched ideological camps (which as you say has become hard shelled impenetrable). Except on one common ideological point, which almost all the population has been and is being brain washed as young as first grade, this common used term, which shield you from needing to investigate or form any other opinion is: US has always been, is and will be a “force for good” by its constitution, no matter what she has done or will do. This sentence when fully believed and carved in one’ mind from childhood is very difficult to erase and crack. These two ideologically opposing camps about 70% of the population will not want to hear any fact or not, other than what they are told and believed all their life.

Posted by: Kooshy | Sep 15 2020 16:19 utc | 23

thanks b... i can't see any of this ending really soon... @ 5 nathan mulcahy nails it... everyone ought to read his post...

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2020 16:24 utc | 24

Retired Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel, a Junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, Ladda Tammy Duckworth is apparently still berating Trump for not taking Russia to task for the now utterly disproved story of the ‘Russian bounties ‘ being discussed in this thread.

It would appear that merely being stupid isn’t a quintisential requirement to enter U.S. politics. A person obviously needs to be either an imbicile, a cretin, mentally deluded, disturbed or disabled on top of deteminedly corrupt and dishonest.

I don’t find it sad, I find it hilarious that people vote for such incompetence.

They say a country gets the government it deserves.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Sep 15 2020 16:33 utc | 25

I am not sure who coined the term but “presstitution” is not a bad attempt at describing their profession.
Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Sep 15 2020 12:56 utc | 5

Good post. I have seen the term referenced by Paul Craig Roberts. Perhaps he coined it.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 16:36 utc | 26

Also would like links on Friedrich von Hayek, public opinion and 4 tiers of intellectuals

Posted by: Curious | Sep 15 2020 16:38 utc | 27

'It is well known by now that U.S. President Donald Trump is lying about every time he opens his mouth.' This is held as fact in the American press corps - except if it fits their own agenda, or is of the war mongering ilk. What an utterly corrupt system this has become.

Posted by: Peter Camenzind | Sep 15 2020 16:39 utc | 28

Karl Popper, as a far-rightist ?

Is it a falsifiable theory ?
Or just a clownish one ?

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Sep 15 2020 16:46 utc | 29

@ Posted by: Curious | Sep 15 2020 16:38 utc | 27

Those two sources I quoted @ #14 are books/essays. I don't know if they are available on the internet.

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 16:46 utc | 30

Re. K. Popper and topic above:

"Unlike utopian engineering, piecemeal social engineering must be “small scale,” Popper said, meaning that social reform should focus on changing one institution at a time.  Also, whereas utopian engineering aims for lofty and abstract goals (for example, perfect justice, true equality, a higher kind of happiness), piecemeal social engineering seeks to address concrete social problems (for example, poverty, violence, unemployment, environmental degradation, income inequality). It does so through the creation of new social institutions or the redesign of existing ones. These new or reconfigured institutions are then tested through implementation and altered accordingly and continually in light of their effects. Institutions thus may undergo gradual improvement overtime and social ills gradually reduced. Popper compared piecemeal social engineering to physical engineering. Just as physical engineers refine machines through a series of small adjustments to existing models, social engineers gradually improve social institutions through “piecemeal tinkering.” In this way, “[t]he piecemeal method permits repeated experiments and continuous readjustments” (Open Society Vol 1., 163).

Only such social experiments, Popper said, can yield reliable feedback for social planners. In contrast, as discussed above, social reform that is wide ranging, highly complex and involves multiple institutions will produce social experiments in which it is too difficult to untangle causes..."


So Top-Down with a vengeance, but softly, softly, hunting for 'good results', for what and how these are defined is left out entirely, and who exactly runs the process...? (Btw China sorta follows this approach with 'social experiments' gathering data that is analysed etc. to improve governance.)

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 15 2020 16:59 utc | 31

vk @4--

Your attempt to credit Karl Popper with the concept of public opinion is just as false as the stories b wrote about. Click here for a history of that concept.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 15 2020 17:04 utc | 32

Don't forget that the only time the Amerikastani Empire's warmongering imperalist media called Trump "presidential" was when he launched missiles at Syria on false pretences in support of al Qaeda.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 15 2020 17:16 utc | 33

The statement by praetor McKenzie probably won’t do much to remove the “Russian bounties” tale from the received Beltway belief structure, where it lodged immediately upon publication, any more than earlier refutations, or its inherent implausibility, did. I see the bounties regularly referred to by Dems and Dem-adjacent media as established fact.

In the same light, it’s worthwhile to read the Politico article on the alleged Iranian designs on the purse princess and try to spot other fictions included as supposedly factual background, some qualified as being American assertions, but others presented as undisputed fact, such as:
• Trump’s version of the almost-happened retaliation after Iran downed a U.S. drone
• that the attack that killed a U.S. “contractor” in Iraq that started last winter’s U.S./Iran tit-for-tat was “by an Iranian-allied militia”
• Soleimani was responsible for the death of numerous U.S. troops
• Soleimani plotted to hire a Mexican drug cartel to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington (remember that one? a blast from the past)

This new one about the plot to get the ambassador in Pretoria may be too trivial to get sustained attention, but it will show up as background in some future Politico article or the like, joining the rest in the Beltway’s version of reality, which at this point is made almost entirely of these falsehoods encrusting on each other, decade after decade, creating the phony geopolitical mindscape these people live in.

Mere factual refutation – even from otherwise establishment-approved sources – won’t remove these barnacles. For instance, in February the NY Times itself published a debunking of the initial account that it was an Iran-backed Shia militia, as opposed to Salafist I.S.-affiliated forces, that killed that U.S. contractor last December. But the good (if delayed) reporting is forgotten; the lie persists. The same fate awaits McKenzie’s dismissal of the Russian bounties nonsense.

Posted by: David G | Sep 15 2020 17:16 utc | 34

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 15 2020 17:04 utc | 32

The term itself is not Popper's, but Popper certainly updated the term to the modern capitalist era. He "re-minted" the term, so to speak.

But yeah, using Wikipedia articles to base your argument is not impressive, to say the least.

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 17:39 utc | 35

Waiting for Mr. Gruff to do the analogy, journalism is just like Hollywood, on the sly but full of it.

Posted by: Paco | Sep 15 2020 17:41 utc | 36

The thoughtful reader would at this point stop and ponder. "Fake News About Iran, Russia, China Is U.S. Journalism's Daily Bread".

I agree with this statement. But not just U.S. Journalism. Minimally U.K. Journalism is on-board, if not tutoring the Yanks in the art of Journalism. And then there is Europa herself, she too has armies of Jouranlists and many Journals. They too mostly fake around in general.

Now then, that leave Journalism in "Iran, Russia, China". It is fine trait to root for underdogs but Journalism in these states is also subject to a highly controlled and managed environment. It is disingenuous to ignore these facts.

Given this congregation of "fakers", worldwide, it is very reasonable to question the very "fight" that these "fakers" keep telling us is on between the "adversaries".

Posted by: conspiracy-theorist | Sep 15 2020 18:04 utc | 37

I am not sure who coined the term but “presstitution” is not a bad attempt at describing their profession.
Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Sep 15 2020 12:56 utc | 5

Take a look at this article by Paul Craig Roberts. Perhaps he did coin it.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 18:13 utc | 38

With fear of having his life destroyed, football coach desperately apologizes for harmless Pentagon joke:

Navy football coach rips Pentagon for Commander-in-Chief's Trophy series, then apologizes

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 18:23 utc | 39

Good to see so many being able to name the operation of the official narrative. It serves also another purpose, witnessed by one of the most consequential actions of all, the wanton abandonment of international law and accountability - the GWOT and the launching of same in Afghanistan and Iraq. That other purpose is to create cover for those, elected in our name, to avoid responsibility.

"Who knew?" asked the soulless Rumsfeld. And the refrain returned from the hollowed out halls of the Greatest Democracy On Earth (tm) - "We were misled!", "Look it says so right there in the official narrative, REMEMBER?" But the misleaders are never rounded up and never face any consequences, cause truth be told all that voted for the AUMF belong in the pokey. And the congressional class of '02-'03 would do the same thing all over again, 'cause the narrative's got their back.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Sep 15 2020 18:24 utc | 40

Despite the future grimness predicted by 1984, the ability and effectiveness of Media Structures to openly lie and thus herd the public to embrace the preferred Narrative hasn't turned out quite the way Orwell thought it might. Former authoritarian blocs learned the hard way that it's better to tell their citizens the truth and actively engage them in governance, while the Anglo-Imperial powers have gone in the opposite direction, thus the question why? IMO, the longstanding Narrative related to the mythical Dream has greatly eroded in the face of Reality, while at the same time the Rentier Class and the Duopoly it controls needs to try and obfuscate what it's doing. And thus we've seen the rise of BigLie Media to be used for the purpose of Divide and Rule. There're numerous works detailing how and why; two of the more important are Manufacturing of Consent and J is for Junk Economics. Part of the overall process of dumbing-down populations is the deliberate destruction of the educational process, particularly in the areas of philosophy and political-economy/history, which are essentially connected as one when considering the History of Ideas or a sub-area like the Philosophy of Science.

Such a dumbing-down of a nation's populous can be measured, the USSR and its Warsaw Bloc being the most evident, but also The Inquisition and its affect on the advancement of science within the regions it ruled, and the inward turning of China during the Ming Dynasty which allowed for its subjugation by Western forces beginning in the 16th Century. Most recently, this is evident in China's passing the Outlaw US Empire in terms of geoeconomics and thus overall geopolitical power. An explanation for India's inability to match China's development can be found in its refusal to do away with its semi-feudal caste system and not educate its masses so they can become a similar collective dynamo as in China. At the beginning of his brief tenure, JFK noted the Knowledge Gap that existed between a USSR that was nearing its intellectual heights (although that wasn't known then) and the USA whose educational system effectively excluded @60% of students from having the opportunity to advance. There would never have been a Dot.Com economy without JFK's initiative to improve educational outcomes. There seems to be a notion within the Outlaw US Empire's elite that an well educated populace presents a danger to their rule and they can get by using AI and Robotics to further their future plans. Here I'd refer such thinkers to the lessons provided by the failure of Asimov's Galactic Empire in his Foundation series of books--particular their reliance on AI, robotics, dumbing-down the populace to the point where no one recalls how atomics functioned. The sort of balance sheet being constructed by the Fed cannot repair or replace crumbling infrastructure or train the engineers needed to perform the work.

So, what continual BigLie Media lies tell us is the continued downward spiral of the West's intellectual abilities will continue while an East that values the Truth and Discovery moves on to eclipse it, mainly because the West has stopped trying, thinking it's found a better way based on the continual amassing of Debt, which is seen as wealth on their balance sheets. Ultimately, the West thinks the one person holding all the assets as the winner of its Zero-sum Monopoly Game is a better outcome than having millions of people sharing the winnings of a Win-Win system that promotes the wellbeing of all. I can tell you now which philosophy will triumph, but you all ought to be capable of reasoning that outcome.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 15 2020 18:34 utc | 41

Katyusha rockets are normally fired in salvos of dozens. Two of them being launched against the American fortress in Baghdad is just gentle prodding.

Another interesting point is that Katyusha rockets (BM-21 Grad) are dirt cheap. Whatever was used to intercept them was several orders of magnitude more expensive. I'm sure the Iraqi militias can keep lobbing Katyushas at the Green Zone for much longer than America can afford to try to shoot them down.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 15 2020 18:50 utc | 42

After a sound and an in-depth analysis, b sometimes confounds me with his credulity. Take this sentence for example: "Why do U.S. journalist presume that the agencies and anonymous officials who work under him are more truthful in their uttering than the man himself is hard to understand. Why do swallow their bullshit?" Of course there is no daylight between the US, and indeed the whole Western governments, and its Press. Other than few independent blog site such as this, every media outlet is in the service of its home government or foreign sponsors. Only born-suckers take the corporate media at face value. Modern journalism is nothing but an aggressive propaganda racket.

Posted by: Steve | Sep 15 2020 18:59 utc | 43

Another interesting point is that Katyusha rockets (BM-21 Grad) are dirt cheap. Whatever was used to intercept them was several orders of magnitude more expensive. I'm sure the Iraqi militias can keep lobbing Katyushas at the Green Zone for much longer than America can afford to try to shoot them down.
Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 15 2020 18:50 utc | 42

While I agree with the statement, I can, with a degree of certainty, say nothing was intercepted, and this is all face saving.
As this article elucidates, no such iron dome, exists, or cannot be overcome.
All empire’s bases remain exposed in the region. This is why the empire is high tailing it out of SW Asia. Zarif said so, himself.

Dr Rubin, the founder and first director of the Israel Missile Defence Organization, which developed the state’s first national missile defence shield, wrote in the wake of the 14 September attack on Abqaiq, (the Saudi Armco oil facility) that it was: “A brilliant feat of arms. It was precise, carefully-calibrated, devastating yet bloodless – a model of a surgical operation … the incoming threats [were not] detected by the U.S. air control systems deployed in the area, nor by U.S. satellites … This had nothing to do with flaws in the air and missile defence systems; but with the fact that they were not designed to deal with ground-hugging threats. Simply put, the Iranians outfoxed the defence systems”.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 19:08 utc | 44

You only have to look at who owns the media and who their close friends are,
to understand why the media says what it says or lies what it lies !
It’s an industry promoting the elites self-interest, creating ficticous enemy countrys to feed the arms industry and create US domestic mass paranoia.
The Israeli lobby groups are at the wheel of the whole dam clown car.

Posted by: Mark2 | Sep 15 2020 19:13 utc | 45

Even more admiration for coining 'Vichy Press'.

Posted by: chet380 | Sep 15 2020 19:45 utc | 46

Sakineh Bagoom @44

The missiles Iran used against the US bases in Iraq and the ones used by Yemen against the Saudis to wreck the Aramco refinery are very different things from Katyusha rockets. Katyushas are old WWII technology. They are extremely effective for saturation bombardment, but the projectiles are slow and in small numbers they can be intercepted. A full salvo heading your way, though? Well, good luck! Even Russia's Pantsir would have a hard time with that.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 15 2020 19:50 utc | 47

Large explosion in U.K.
Nearly one thousand schools have reported symptoms of coronavirus.
That’s nearly 3% of U.K. schools. The schools have been open less than 2 weeks.
The testing for virus infections is now in a state of collapse!
Sorry about the off topic, but this suckers about to blow.

Posted by: Mark2 | Sep 15 2020 20:03 utc | 48

Biden is outed in his coup machinations by Fort Russ a tale told with a bit of media spin.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 15 2020 20:39 utc | 49

Using lies (bearing false witness) to cause murder and theft are not exactly a new phenomenon.
These 'groups of individuals', which are employing these fabricated deceptions, are doing nothing less than trying to commit murder and theft.

Posted by: Josh | Sep 15 2020 20:40 utc | 50

These acts happen to constitute real crimes, or at least attempted criminal acts, in reality.

Posted by: Josh | Sep 15 2020 20:41 utc | 51

@5, Nathan Mulcahy, going by this Google Books Ngram Viewer graph use of the word "presstitute" appeared around 1882. Its use really took off in 2009, peaking in 2016-2017, but definitely still up there. It didn't give an equivalent graph for "presstitution".

I think that might be just for printed books, and not for online usage. Since at least 2014, if not earlier, Paul Craig Roberts has definitely contributed to popularizing the term, imo. It's definitely fitting for our mainstream new media.

Speaking of fake news, Wikipedia asserts that it was coined by a "trend forecaster" author Gerald Celente (but if you look at Wikipedia's source article, it's some Indian news site article that clearly makes the attribution "according to urban dictionary" which is not only a crowd-sourced site but also makes zero mention of this Celente.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Sep 15 2020 21:41 utc | 52

No doubt the two propaganda streams will merge until we will be told that the CIA now believes that Iran will attempt plausible deniability by funnelling the money through Putin, who will offer it to the Taliban by way of a bounty on the Ambassador’s head.

The CIA’s wet dream: the Taliban does it, Putin arranged it, but it was all Iran’s fault, leading to:
A) infinite occupation of the poppy fie.... sorry, Afghanistan
B) even more sanctions on Russia
C) war with Iran

What’s not to like?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 15 2020 22:07 utc | 53

Karlof 1 @ 32 attacks vk @4-- Your attempt to credit Karl Popper with the concept of public opinion is just as false as the stories b wrote about. Click here for a history of that concept. by: karlof1 | Sep 15 2020 17:04 utc | 32

What I like about what vk@ 4 said is that he has given this list a beginning to not only understand our plight as members of the governed classes, but also to analyze our experience with this stuff and to develop a set of rules
that can allow us to defend our minds against being controlled by invisible hands of mind control.

can we on this list develop a defensive strategy and use it to teach the governed masses?

Around the globe and throughout history it can be observed that the oligarchs invent a collection of
values and stuff them into structures they call nation states, culture, institutions and journalist
are all designed to, and rewarded for supporting the values, while media is charged to keep the propaganda

The H&C propaganda model pulls together from across the political communications literature the variety of factors which essentially constrain journalist and means that they don’t actually play the independent autonomous and watchdog role that we expect them to in a democracy ae Herman Chromsky talk about the importance oe size concentration ownership oe mainstream media the way in w/e ownership of most oe media outlets w/people go to for their information is essentially associated w/very large conglomerates w/h overlapping interests and overlapping interests with government and this produces a large structural constraint oe way the media operates.

The Interface between Propaganda and War: Prof.
The Propaganda Model: The filters (Herman & Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, the political economy of the mass media).

Posted by: snake | Sep 15 2020 22:09 utc | 54

Snake, your AI writer needs an update or perhaps the ruskies hacked it.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 15 2020 22:50 utc | 55

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4
In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of "public opinion". published 1923.

Posted by: spindoctor | Sep 15 2020 23:18 utc | 56

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4

From the link just cited:

'"Public opinion", according to Bernays, is an amorphous group of judgments which are not well elaborated even in the head of a single average individual. He extracts a quotation from Wilfred Trotter, which states that this average man has many strong convictions whose origin he can't explain (Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, p. 36). People's minds have "logic-proof compartments" which must be approached by means beyond the rational. (pp. 61–68).'

Posted by: spindoctor | Sep 15 2020 23:25 utc | 57

@ Posted by: spindoctor | Sep 15 2020 23:18 utc | 56

Yes, I forgot to mention this very important book. If I'm not mistaken (and I may be), Popper got the term from Bernays.

Popper, von Hayek... these guys are the fathers of neoliberalism. I'm not mentioning backyard intellectuals here. They shaped the West as we know it today and, if you're a Westerner and wants to understand the civilization you live in, you have to know what they formulated.

Just to clear that off: I don't agree with Popper's (or Bernays, for that matter) conception on "public opinion". The Marxist conception of ideology is much more complete and precise scientifically.

Posted by: vk | Sep 16 2020 1:12 utc | 58

@karlof1 41

Speaking of education (although of science/tach, rather than critical thinking)...

Add in the migration of top-level educated individuals. In the US, an underdeveloped primary/secondary school system creates room at the university/grad level to absorb talent from the rest of the world. For many years, this was a source of competitive advantage -- imported human capital is better than home grown, because if you import, you take it away from someone else. Clever!

It was not that big a deal for the US if social mobility of native born lower and middle classes was stifled somewhat. (and I would say it still would not be a big deal if the resources of the country were not so grossly mismanaged/wasted/stolen).

But in the current century, or certainly the decade now ending, China alone can fill every US grad school science/tech program and still have people to spare for itself. Other parts of the world are right up there as well.

And then you have computers. Sometime between 2000 and 2010, computers became pretty much cheap enough that you could give one to a every kid, even in families of limited means. Provided the primary/secondary education system is there to support it, a country could develop as much tech talent as they had population. The first generation of kids whose childhood took place under this condition is now coming out of university - I would think vastly greater in numbers than any amount the US (or Euro) higher educational system can absorb. Should be a pretty serious shifting of gears in how human capital is distributed worldwide.

But none of this is about critical thinking. Few systems of organizing society actually promote that ... it tends to happen in spite of the organizing principles, rather than because of them. Nor are the most educated (regardless of country of origin) any less susceptible to the propaganda - if anything they are more so, due to the design of the message, because it is more important that they receive it. You want a book recommendation that talks about that, check out 'Disciplined Minds' by Jeff Schmidt (though perhaps with an overly pessimistic outlook -- people can recognize the reality he describes and deal with it... it is only the more naive/idealistic types who fall extra hard for the mythology and then find themselves in a conflict they can't handle). There are lots of other avenues to take too... about the psychology of self-discovery, discovery of self-vs-social-organism etc....

Posted by: ptb | Sep 16 2020 1:35 utc | 59

Kooshy @ 18

There are big differences between Trump and Biden regarding their foreign policies:
Trump is hard on Xi-China and soft on Putin Russia, while Biden is the reverse.
This has to do with their personal business interests, views, friends and the amount of Deep State (DS) influence they are under. DS is blustering against both thinking it is Almighty, not clever enough to split them as in the past.
Biden is a constant 100% DS puppet for however short he will live on, while Trump manages to skirt DS ~ 50% of the time with his Twitter weapon.

Posted by: Antonym | Sep 16 2020 3:36 utc | 60

Conspiracy-theorist #37

Exactly that and yet we are constantly fed a diet from the bottom of the barrel. NYT? WAPO? They are rags. Gutter press peddling drivel. Surely there are more erudite and critical publications in this world than these USA drivel sheets. I am aware of good journalism in Switzerland and elsewhere but currently separted from a device adequate to translate and quote.

Thank you Conspiracy-theorist it I way past time we escaped the neverending story of BS + HATE.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 16 2020 4:34 utc | 61

And this tidbit? Deep state is as deep state does...

Trump Claims He Wanted To Assassinate Syrian President Assad, But Mattis Opposed It

Posted by: Greg L | Sep 16 2020 6:12 utc | 62

A propos fake news, John Helmer reports on the Navalny saga and was lately on the Gorilla radio podcast with Chris Cook to discuss the newest events. It's a one-hour-talk but very enjoyable listening to Helmer. You can also follow his reports on his blog Dances With Bears.

Posted by: vato | Sep 16 2020 7:49 utc | 63

karlof1 | Sep 15 2020 18:34 utc | 41

Try this on for size. This is a conclusion I arrived at several decades ago, wrote about several times, but not recently.

Everything that was accomplished (albeit incompletely or moderately) through the New Deal and then the abortive Great Society absolutely spooked the oligarchy. Lifting much of the working class out of absolute wage slavery to the point where the next rung on Maslow's ladder was at least visible. And when it all culminated in the late 60's and early 70's with the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Surface Mining act, and various labor protection measures, the wealthy owner class decided the proles had gained too much power to influence "their" captive government.

The princes and barons of industry and finance were very open about their complaints. The advance of regulation on their ability to pollute and to exploit must stop or they would take their bundles of riches and go elsewhere. It is what Saint Ronny was ALL about. And so all that got fat and filthy rich during the real American Century took their wealth where regulation and labor fairness and justice didn't exist to continue their exorbitant profit taking.

And then they imported those cheap products here to wreak what was left of our industrial base and to impress on all of us that they remain the boss, the real power. Drive down wages, destroy pensions and safety nets and put US proles back into wage slavery. Remember the 80's and 90's when Wal-Mart basically told established and storied US manufacturers "either you produce the goods we want for what our Asian suppliers can make them for, or you're finished." And that is exactly what happened. Wal-Mart was just the vanguard, it is now ubiquitous. Another aspect of this assault was forcing us proles into the stock market through our pensions and retirement funds so as to make us all sympathetic to de-regulation - so as not to hurt OUR bottom line. Many labor unions became just a sick symbiosis with the industries they "served."

Incomplete and observational, I am not erudite or lettered, but I think it is an accurate narrative.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Sep 16 2020 12:55 utc | 64

There is a curious schizophrenia where the U.S. press will treat presidential claims about foreign affairs as a sacred truth but treat claims denying adultery, such as in the Lewinski affair, as dismissible.

Posted by: Edward | Sep 16 2020 13:05 utc | 65

Living in the USA (Steve Miller classic) has always seemed to me about dealing with falsehood and deception. US highschool seemed like he time for me when the formidable pressure to conform became completely nonsensical, perhaps because it was so utterly cruel, but also because it seemed untruthful. You basically were required to accept modes if behavior and thought that seemed alien to human behavior, but were presented as the sine quo non of how to be. How to succeed, how to live. It seems to me that if you were attempting to retain truthfulness, this conformity was rife with logical fallacies of every sort which if you tried to deal with them, or confront them, you were ostracized or at worst outcast.

In the many years since, it seems like everything else, once a person adopts untruthful behavior, it is next to impossible to change course, so you deal with all kinds of people who have doubled down on their personal deceptions. Marriages based on financial success come to mind, and are like any deception, the cause of incredible dis ease and misey.

There is a philosophical concept I came upon called parrhesia that Foucault gives a fantastic series of lectures on which can be found by searching the web, that investigates the perils implicit in telling truth to falsehood, and the many disasters and tragedies that have befallen human kind in the attempts to do so.

I’ve come to think that humans by nature are basically incapable of avoiding whatever it is that is “truth.” Because over and over life seems to present situations that are the unswervingly the same to everyone. Youth and aging, for example, and the end result never varies, like illness, death, and dying. And everyone has their own similar story navigating the human predicaments and facing an inalterable “truth,” which might be in this example, death.

My wonder as I observe life as I age, is what is the damage done to those not only who try their honest best to remain truthful, but what is the damage done to those who cannot escape an adopted untruth and refuse to let go of it. I suppose in this moment of history, you need only look at pandemic, wildfires, and conflicts to see how far human beings have digressed from an Eden. But there must be a purpose to it all? Like, trying to cling to any kind of integrity.

Posted by: Geoff | Sep 16 2020 13:20 utc | 66

You think international fake news is just a Trump thing? Just off the top of my head we have thins like Tonkin Bay, Kuwait babies being massacred by Iraqi troops, my personal favorite Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and a multiple of mean Assads killing their people with poison. That is just a bipartisan few. We have one political party, who serves the deep state. The deep state serves the interests of Wall Street and more importantly the Rothschild world banking system. Give the spooks a lot of credit they let us have two "choices" while controlling both. Think of it as a neo fascism kinda thing that ironically finances the anti fascists. The press is just a means to an end. Assume everything is an agenda, and read the independents for some actual thought. I may not agree with you all the time, but I do love you MoA. Thank you for all your work.

Posted by: Old and Grumpy | Sep 16 2020 13:31 utc | 67

@64 vinnieoh

'spooked oligarchy...reforms..culminated in ..70s'

Yep. When committed Dem's go off on Trump, it's deeply felt but kindof a ritual rant. Bring Ralph Nader into the conversation, just mention him in passing, and the response becomes live! Betrayal, danger of being shown up again!

Posted by: ptb | Sep 16 2020 14:02 utc | 68

Old and Grumpy @67 has a good point. Anyone suggesting that fake news is in any way related to Trump being President are big parts of the problem for why fake news persists in the first place. Suggesting that it is because of Trump, and thus implying that the fake news will go away when Trump does, is either profoundly ignorant, or profoundly deceitful, though probably both. Trump ranting about fake news exposed the problem and forced it into the public discourse. Those rants did not create the problem.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 16 2020 14:12 utc | 69

Re: @Geoff 66

"You basically were required to accept modes if behavior and thought that seemed alien to human behavior ... ... forced to double down"

I had short but deeply influential conversation right out of college with a recruiter/HR manager from Raytheon, of all places. He talked about exactly what you said. He spoke, in a hypothetical third person, about a mid-career guy with a mortgage and family who finds themselves questioning the defense industry. How that isn't the best place to be in, mentally. I changed my career plans that day, forever thankful for the encounter.

However, regarding people being able to avoid unpleasant realities, he was of the opinion that for most people, it is possible to do so. Even beneficial. (Except of course for the recipients of his company's products. I didn't say that but I think he figured out that I was thinking it). The issue, from the point of view of running an effective organization, is what happens if the doubters and believers start to mix? Part of his assigned task was to simply keep out people curious enough to ask too many questions. That's one of the "benefits" of really polarizing politics too.

Posted by: ptb | Sep 16 2020 14:36 utc | 70

Geoff @66: "My wonder as I observe life as I age, is what is the damage done to those not only who try their honest best to remain truthful, but what is the damage done to those who cannot escape an adopted untruth and refuse to let go of it."

That's what modern pharmaceuticals are for, and why one in six Americans (officially) are prescribed them. If we include the numbers of Americans who self-medicate with alcohol and/or grey/black market pharmaceuticals, then the proportion would be a bit (quite a bit) larger. People who succeed at being truthful (mostly to themselves) are not confronted with cognitive dissonance mind-quakes; however, such individuals are confronted with experiencing the retch reflex when consuming mass media.

Is being truthful vs embracing the lies then half-dozen of one and six of the other? I find satisfactory peace of mind from being truthful and simply avoiding the primary vector of deception; the mass media. Noble individuals like our host and some of the posters here will slog through that vile cesspool of lies and fish out the little nuggets of truth that leak out. It is selfish of me to leave such dirty work to others, but at least I am not hermetically isolated on a mountain somewhere.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 16 2020 15:33 utc | 71

Geoff | Sep 16 2020 13:20 utc | 66

Where are you goin' to?
What are you gonna do?
Do you think that it will be easy?
Do you think that it will be pleasing?
Hey, hey...

What you say?
I won't pay,
I'd rather play
It's my freedom!
Hey, hey...

There was another track (My Friend) on that same piece of vinyl (Sailor) that said the same things, but that one really grabbed you by the plastic handles and shook. I also recorded from that disc to my computer Song for our Ancestors, that opens with a symphony of harbor tug horns, what many of our ancestors first heard in America coming to Ellis Island.

ptb | Sep 16 2020 14:36 utc | 70

What you say... was basically forced out of my job, despite having been instrumental in leaving our competitors in the dust and making the company piles of money, because I was not sufficiently ideologically compliant. They need not have worried though, because all my co-workers wouldn't say shit, even though they had a mouthful.

"Somebobody give me a CHEESEBURGER!"

Posted by: vinnieoh | Sep 16 2020 15:45 utc | 72

The is a post today on Z/H regarding the usual railing against the FED.

I could help but chime in with some standard snark -

If we were to end the FED, how would we pay for our military?

To which I received the immediate reply -

Your military? You haven't understood a thing.

I am awe-struck.

Posted by: jared | Sep 16 2020 16:08 utc | 73

Kooshy @ 23

An interesting thought. I have long had the feeling that a large part of the obviously orchestrated drive to almost define both of the two US parties with really incredibly unimportant issues like bathroom preferences were designed to split the voters as equally as possible, so that to swing elections one had only to control the votes of a very small number of tie breakers. I still think this is likely true, but I do think you make an important point that a lot can be learned about what is truly important to the PTB by reflecting on the topics that aren't being argued over.
Compare the “two” US political parties, and you will note that while they seem to be getting ever more extreme and irreconcilable and quasi-religious in their differences, these differences are always on the periphery. Both parties are being indoctrinated with certain common beliefs they will take for granted because they are never talked about—because these points are not allowed to be in contention. So while even something like climate change can be a big divider (no worries, there’s money to be made on both sides of that issue, and means of control); but you will never hear debate about 1. America is the greatest ever! 2. America is always and unquestionably a force for good, and even it’s proven bad things (kidnapping, rendition, and torture programs) are done “for the greater good.” 3. Unbridled capitalism is the only way, and the privatization and unwinding of any vestiges of social programs, like education, social security, and even utilities and infrastructure, is always a good thing deserving of priority. 4. Individualism is the best, if not only, way. To be a hero you must strike alone against the bad guys/the system/the government; someone who rallies others, causes forces to be gathered and united, unionized, whatever are discouraged or ignored. 4. “Leadership” in the affairs of others around the world is American right, responsibility, and destiny. Having the largest, almost entirely offensively oriented military on earth is essential; and having it, we must use it to get our money’s worth. 5. Omnipresent “intelligence” services equal safety and are absolutely required for life to be normal. I'm sure there are other examples of "universally agreed" doctrines in the US, but these are some that leap out.

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 16 2020 16:12 utc | 74

These crazy MSM lies …Anecdote. Last Sat (Geneva, Switz.) I spoke to 20 ppl whom I know somewhat, all know I like to discuss news etc. I said, weird news this week, making no mention of Navalny. 18/20 believed Putin poisoned Navalny and brought it up spontaneously! There is something so appealing and narratively ‘seductive’ about spies and ‘opponents’ (Skripal…) and mysterious poisons used by evil doers etc. that fiction just flows smoothly into fact or whatever is 'real.'

I had to mention Assange myself to most, but there the reaction was very mixed, most thought Assange was being persecuted, or it was ‘not right’, and took this story seriously in one way or another - 4 ppl claimed not to know the latest news. Here, NGOs, Leftists and Others have made demands for him to be offered asylum in Switz, so he has been front page.

In F.

Besides that (I’m always interested in from-the-ground view-points, experiences, so post some myself) what is going on is monopoly consolidation:

Mega MSM in cahoots with the MIC, Big Pharma, Big Agri, Finance, and so on. Corporations joining up their positions bit by bit while also competing in some ways, bribing and owning the Pols. who are front-men and women tasked with providing a lot of drama, manufactured agitation, etc., which in turn is fodder for the MSM, etc.

Overall, the most important sector to watch is the GAFAM, 1, the reign of the middle men is close at hand (control information, both the channels and the content, and commerce up to a point.) All this leaves out energy considerations, another vital topic left aside.

1. google apple facebook amazon microsoft

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 16 2020 16:32 utc | 75

William Gruff @ 71

It is selfish of me to leave such dirty work to others, but at least I am not hermetically isolated on a mountain somewhere

they are not hermetically isolated on a mountain somewhere either, WG, but living in/near towns and cities, ostensibly in communities, with an internet connection, and all the other grid connections (and most likely with at least one internal combustion engine). this very time consuming dirty work you speak of is somewhat manic, entirely voluntary, religious.

Posted by: john | Sep 16 2020 16:38 utc | 76

john @76

Apologies! I had not intended to imply that I thought those doing the dirty work were the ones isolated, but rather that I would be the one off in the mountains if I distanced myself further from contemporary culture, as toxic and false as that culture may be. I am very appreciative of the efforts made by our host and others here, even though I rarely express that appreciation clearly.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 16 2020 16:53 utc | 77

ptb @59--

Thanks for your reply! I've touched on the topic of human capital and its development occasionally here, positing it's the #1 asset of all nations. Those nations who neglect to develop their own human capital are bound to become deficient when it comes to basic comparative advantages with other nations, particularly as political-economy shifts from being materialistic to knowledge-based; thus Pepe Escobar agreeing wholeheartedly with my comment about India. (He added this article to his FB timeline and I posted my comment there.)

From 1999-2003, I was involved in developing distance learning platforms for the rapidly advancing ability to learn outside of a school's four walls. The other educators I worked with and myself had great hopes for the virtual classroom and what it might do to aide both teachers and students. At the time we thought this development would provide a great opportunity for the third member of the educational team--parents--to play a greater role in the process since active parental involvement was proven to generate better student outcomes. But for that to be properly implemented, equitable funding for all school districts became an even greater issue than it was already. This issue highlighted the huge problems related to financing education at a moment when BushCo Privatizers began to seriously threaten what was already in place. And that problem has only worsened, the vast disparities being very evident thanks to COVID-forced distance learning. The primary reason good teachers can't be retained is the entire system's a massive Clusterfuck. And computers aren't substitutes for even poor teachers. And parents are even more aloof from becoming involved in the process than ever before.

The dumbing-down I mention is now entering its third generation. The educational structure needs to be completely refitted nationally, but I wouldn't give that task to any of the fuckwits employed by the past three administrations--Yes, I'm arguing education needs to be a completely federal program instead of the 53 different school systems in states and territories; and yes, I'm aware of the pitfalls and potential corruption that poses, which is a microcosm of all the problems at the federal level of government. This problem is yet another very basic reason why the Duopoly and its backers need to be ousted from government and kept as far away as possible as the structure is torn down and rebuilt--The USA will never be great again until that is done.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2020 17:02 utc | 78

@ J Swift | Sep 16 2020 16:12 utc | 74

I suggest that the reason that the media focus on the ridiculous is to convince the public that there is nothing important happening - except where the MSM wants the participation of the public as in with anti-Russia, anti_China, anti-Socialism, etc. Good to get the public participation directed at harmless targets.

They've got to fill the papers with something. The public must be kept warm, comfortable, semi-comatose, watching cat videos...

Last thing anybody wants is the involvement of the public, they will only screw everything-up or try anyway.

Posted by: jared | Sep 16 2020 17:16 utc | 79

vinnieoh @64--

Thanks for your reply! Your explanation sadly is correct, but it was put into motion prior to Reagan becoming POTUS. The tools used to undo the New Deal were put into place before FDR became POTUS. And FDR's unwillingness to prosecute those who attempted to overthrow his government provided that faction to infiltrate government and eventually attempt to undo the good that was done prior to WW2. When looked at closely, American society was generally quite Liberal in the positive aspects of that term and during the Depression was becoming ever more Collectivist with the war advancing that even further. At the war's end, it was paramount for the forces taking control of the nation to push the public to the right and away from its collectivist proclivities. Where we find ourselves today thus is not an accident of history but an engineered outcome. You may recall voices on the Right accusing Liberals and their organizations of engaging in Social Engineering. Those accusations were projections since it was actually forces on the Right that were maneuvering society to the Right while assiduously applying the principle of Divide and Rule to create a condition where they would be immune from political challenge, which is where we are now.

A few understand this ugly truth and how we arrived here. What's missing is scholarship that links the changes that began in the 1870s with today's situation. Yes, there're good examinations of various pieces of the overall puzzle. But it appears that only Hudson and those in his small circle have figured it out; yet, they haven't produced a complete history that encapsulates it all. And for us to have a realistic chance to undo what's been done, we need to know how it all transpired.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2020 17:40 utc | 80

Antonym @ 60
"There are big differences between Trump and Biden regarding their foreign policies:
Trump is hard on Xi-China and soft on Putin Russia, while Biden is the reverse."

I don't share your view. The current administration's foreign policy is very much aligned with that of past administrations and the diplomatic circus surrounding the Skripal affair alone is evidence that nobody is soft on Russia.

What differs, however, is the presentation. Trump is criticized (not praised) for being allegedly soft on Russia and Biden criticized for being allegedly soft on China. This clever trick ensures that just about everybody is onboard the bash-China-and-Russia train.

In a violently polarized society, whith red-blue antagonism reaching ridiculous heights, people tend to act exclusively in contradiction to the cult figure they hate so much.

If a Trump hater hears the criticism that the president is too soft on Russia, he will readily grab the bash-Russia stick hoping to score a few hits on Trump. The same person's reaction to a criticism on Biden will be either indifference or angry denial. In either case, he will not be opposed to the bash-Russia nor the bash-China movement.

The dem hater's reaction is similar. Indifference to the soft-on-Russia claim (ie. no opposition to the bash-Russia movement) and active support for the China-bashing.

Posted by: robin | Sep 16 2020 17:56 utc | 81

The article and subsequent discussion brings to mind Dawkins discussion of Memes and Memetics. Not those pesky internet memes. The propaganda war is fierce, and almost without exception the people here are poking and prodding perhaps without being able to put the finger on the "EZ button". This is war, baby, so one thinks the following link may be useful:

Wherein: " Ideally the virus of the mind being targeted will be overwritten with a higher fidelity, fecundity, and longevity memeplex in order to assure long term sustainability. When this is not practical, it is still possible to displace a dangerous memeplex, by creating a more contagious benign meme utilizing certain packaging, replication, and propagation tricks."

The lie is irrelevant, whether true or false, it must be believable, and it must successfully replicate.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | Sep 16 2020 18:13 utc | 82

In reply to O | Sep 16 2020 18:02 utc | 82

I don't see the point of going on about it. Some of us didn't fall for it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | Sep 16 2020 18:21 utc | 83

nothing for me has changed as result of the lockdown, I know it's different for others... I feel their pain

Posted by: Curmudgeon | Sep 16 2020 18:30 utc | 84

karlof1 @ 80

You are right, the early FDR days were, in hindsight, one of the most important in setting the course of the US for the next century, and unfortunately Big Business won, taking us on a long, ugly road to the right. I agree this would be a most fascinating history book if some of those respected, genuinely knowledgeable people you often cite could collaborate on an opus.

Yes, most people do not know that the wide ranging labor laws implemented at that time were actually not meant to empower organized labor, but to limit it. Perhaps FDR thought it was the best he could do for the working class, but I tend to think it was more a case of him thinking that by outlawing general strikes, wildcat strikes, strikes in support of other unions, and setting up an NLRB with a lot of political control by business, the powers who had so recently let it be known they were ready to actively try to overthrow the government might be mollified. I think he feared the US was at the cusp of a revolution, and perhaps it was. Whether or not if would have been better had that been allowed to proceed is the big question.

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 16 2020 20:34 utc | 85

Anti-China activists funded by NED & Co make up all sorts of horrid stories online, which are then picked up by MSM and political NGOs to spoon feed world audiences/viewers. Viola, you have "fact-based" anti-China news!

Here is an example how an Uyghur activist in Canadian continue to her make-up-to-believe "1 million Uyghurs in concentration camp" is caught on Twitter red handed.

This is literally what these overseas Uyghur activists do all day. Putting a random caption on a video they ripped down from a medical worker's tiktok in China. And people believe it. They'd even believe if the follow up rebuttal is that this is a forced labour doctor.

Another one: There's a guy (Arslan Hidayat, Aussie Uighur) on Twitter who takes footage of ordinary people doing ordinary things, sets them in China and invents a fantastical and sinister scenario.

His twitter functions as the aggregator of fake anti-China propaganda from the past few years.

Posted by: lulu | Sep 16 2020 20:58 utc | 86

Ed Bernays (Freuds Nephew)

Glad to see his name mentioned here. I've been saying for years here to watch the documentary-

Century of the Self

If you want to learn about and understand America, its all here. Government, Corporations, Consumerism, Militarism, Deep State, Psychology, Individual selfishness and mental illness.

Posted by: CitizenX | Sep 16 2020 21:11 utc | 87

j Swift @85--

Thanks for your reply! JK Galbraith in his American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power lamented what you recap in your 2nd paragraph and that there was thus no power capable of offsetting Big Business although one was sorely needed. As I wrote, some very sharp minds have written about small segments of the overall movement toward totalitarianism since the 1870s, Galbraith's 1952 book being one that's still worth reading.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2020 21:34 utc | 88

karlof1, thanks, I'll add that to my ever-growing list.

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 17 2020 1:05 utc | 89

Iranian revenge for the Soleimani assassination is a fake news scare meme with a very flexible applicability- in this instance, as per b, it involves the U.S. ambassador to South Africa.
Details are the stuff of click bait, but are essentially irrelevant. It's the meme that counts.
But in the big, wide, closeted world of western media meme peddling, this assassination-revenge theme-meme has problems.
If this is a culture wars shoot out the Iranians have won.
Dec. 2011. Iranians "capture" U.S. Advanced reconnaissance drone RQ 170, and announce that they will share technical information with China and Russia.
Jan.3 2020 Soleimani (and colleagues) assassinated. Trump receives international opprobrium.
Jan.8 2020 Operation Martyr Soleimani. IRGC precision strikes at multiple US bases in Iraq. Extraordinarily, no fatalities are on record. Western media succumb to portraying "precision" as "failure", but the precise guidance of those missiles amazes many.
Jan.28 2020 Mike D'Andrea and an unknown number of CIA personnel are aboard a Bombadier E-11A intelligence gatherer which goes down in Afghanistan. Missile/accident conjecture, but D'Andrea, his craft and personnel constitute the perfect high value tit for tat. Iranian media posts a screen shot of the Fredric Lehne character from the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" to announce their assassination of D'Andrea (who was the inspiration for this character). US journalists mock Iran for the movie reference, but it seems to be a case of reverse engineered popular culture by the Iranians.
Western media cannot admit that Ayatollah Mike and co are no longer doing their stuff because it reeks massive failure.
Revenge only works if it's pending, so Mike D'Andrea and personnel have effectively been cancelled from their home country. They have gone the way of the Skripals, "disappeared".
Assassinating Soleimani was a really dumb thing to do for so many reasons, and in the American context some of those can be employed personally against POTUS. The revenge targets were CIA. They cannot be "honoured".
Iranian revenge has become more "precise" than Pan Am 103, even though the Iranians mystified this revenge by colluding with the west to blame Libya.
I don't think there is any cui bono in revenge fantasy journalism. Iran excepted.

Posted by: Australian lady | Sep 17 2020 3:43 utc | 90

John Kenneth Galbraith is of course a non-entity in the atmosphere of hyper-capitalism today. A very prolific writer and thinker, another of his works was Economics and the Public Purpose. In that book he clearly explained the two-tier system of economics: those on top, large corporations, monopolies, conglomerates, are in the "planning system" - they have enough power, influence and control that they can dictate the environment in which they operate. Everyone else exists in the "free market," subject to the environment created by the planning system, without power or influence, and for many entrepreneurs and self-employed their success or failure depends on their willingness or ability to "self-exploit."

Posted by: vinnieoh | Sep 17 2020 13:22 utc | 91

John Kenneth Galbraith is of course a non-entity in the atmosphere of hyper-capitalism today. A very prolific writer and thinker, another of his works was Economics and the Public Purpose. In that book he clearly explained the two-tier system of economics: those on top, large corporations, monopolies, conglomerates, are in the "planning system" - they have enough power, influence and control that they can dictate the environment in which they operate. Everyone else exists in the "free market," subject to the environment created by the planning system, without power or influence, and for many entrepreneurs and self-employed their success or failure depends on their willingness or ability to "self-exploit."

Posted by: vinnieoh | Sep 17 2020 13:22 utc | 92

Sorry about the double post - don't understand exactly how that happened.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Sep 17 2020 13:23 utc | 93

vinnieoh @92--

Even more forgotten yet even more important than Galbraith (have you read The Affluent Society?) is Simon Patten. This essay reposted by Hudson at his site because of its importance and written by Trey Popp--"one of my most respected intellectuals"--the original being here. As you read the essay, you'll soon realize its documenting part of the overall story that tells us how and why we are where we are now. John Bates Clarke, one of the main villains, rates a brief mention pointing at why he deserves that epithet. (You may get an inkling of why Hitchcock in Psycho called it Bates Motel.)

As Hudson persuasively argues, the old economics--political-economy--taught the student far more about the reality of how systems work and interact than the hokum forwarded by the new economics of Neoliberalism, which is why having/reading the old books is so important as you then learn why today's Financial Parasites and their academic acolytes don't want you to even know they exist. And readers shouldn't think this is just an American thing--it's global. And what we're beginning to see is a reversal generated by the China-Russia Strategic Partnership for they aren't following the Neoliberal road to ruin. They are following Patten's road to an abundantly widespread prosperity.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2020 17:12 utc | 94

"Is Mike Pompeo preparing an October Surprise?"
It certainly looks like something is in the works. Fake news and a compliant press is paving the way. The part I have difficulty overcoming is all the targets Iran has for retaliation against a hostile act by the US. This could so easily get out of control.

"Pompeo appeared to signal that he intends to enforce the non-existent U.N. sanctions at “midnight GMT on September 20.”

Posted by: Tom | Sep 17 2020 20:43 utc | 95

Today, Yahoo News is front-paging Business Insider's article: "Putin will try to kill Navalny again and the West will do little about it, NATO sources say"

Posted by: spudski | Sep 17 2020 22:08 utc | 96

Tom @95--

Given the daily lies that BigLie Media supports on a daily basis, how will we even know a "surprise" was sprung since it's just business as usual?

UNGA attendee update. Xi will deliver for China. Putin is making a video presentation this week to be delivered and shown, so he will present in abstentia. Who will be allowed to present for Venezuela and Belarus seem to be unanswered at the moment. Since he was Russia's President at the time, Medvedev has barked at the Poles for their refusal to face reality over why their president and 95 others died in a plane crash ten years ago.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2020 23:15 utc | 97

"Fake News About Iran, Russia, China Is U.S. Journalism's Daily Bread"

The Anglo-American and Western "free press" dominate the supposed journalism of most of the entire planet.

This journalism (sic) disproportionately molds what counts as "legitimate news," "fake news" or political reality itself for the sheeple--while aggressively propagandizing for the Anglo-American Empire in general.

The Anglo-American and Western media particularly specialize in Two Minutes of Hate Campaigns against any nation that stands in the way of the Anglo-American Empire's lust for world domination ... my bad... glorious Western Freedom and Democracy.

THAT is the reason why Fake News About Iran, Russia, China is journalism's daily bread.

Russia, China, and Iran (as well as smaller nations from Syria to Venezuela to North Korea) are all on the hit list of the Anglo American Axis of Evil.

And the Anglo-Americans' Big Lie of the moment is only part of their broader hate campaigns against these nations--whether that be idiotic psyops like Russiagate; the Alexei Navalny "poisoning"; Uighur "concentration camps" in China; moderate "pro-democracy" jihadists in Syria; or Iran planning to assassinate some two-bit American ambassador to South Africa.

The deceits are peddled by the same Anglo American lie machine that has aggressively pushed greater Orwellian deceptions like non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq or the decades-long (fake) War on Terrorism--not to mention the American Reichstag Fire event called the September 11th "terrorist" attacks.

In short, the Free Press=Free Liars

There surely is a special place in Hell that awaits this "Free Press."

So much for diversity of media message in America

Posted by: ak74 | Sep 18 2020 5:21 utc | 98

karlof1 | Sep 17 2020 17:12 utc | 94

Sorry for the belated reply. I come to the bar as I am able. I will follow up on your links; I'm familiar with the title, but have never read it. I believe it was on my family's (my parents) bookshelves, as was Galbraith's work, as well as Bronowski, Dostoyevsky, and the little red book by Mao. Interesting in that my folks were hardly socialists, atheists, or even agnostics, but very curious about all things, and they instilled in their children that same curiosity.

Thanks for all your contributions here - keep em' coming.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Sep 18 2020 15:59 utc | 99

People build images of the world, of leaders and of events based on the information the media provides them. But today the Western media is trying to spread misinformation.

But global South media coverage is more responsible, impartial and accurate than in the West. Because of this, the people of our region cannot be easily deceived.

In fact, at times I am amazed at how the Western media deceives the people of their countries regarding various incidents.

Happily, an alternative media space has been created on the Internet today to respond to this misuse of media and to provide accurate information.

Posted by: Vijaya Dissanayake | Sep 19 2020 23:36 utc | 100

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