Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Robert J. Burrowes

In a recent incident in the United States, yet another unarmed man was shot dead by police after opening his front door in response to their knock. The police were going to serve an arrest warrant on a domestic violence suspect – the man’s neighbour – but went to the wrong address. See ‘Police kill innocent man while serving warrant at wrong address’.

For those who follow news in the United States, the routine killing of innocent civilians by the police has become a national crisis despite concerted attempts by political and legal authorities and the corporate media to obscure what is happening. See ‘Killed by Police’ and ‘The Counted: People killed by police in the US’.

So far this year, US police have killed 1,044 people. In contrast, from 1990 to 2016, police in England and Wales killed just 62 people. See ‘Fatal police shootings’.

Of course, these murders by the police are just the tip of the iceberg of police violence as police continue to demonstrate that the freedoms ‘guaranteed’ by the Fourth Amendment have been eviscerated. See ‘What Country Is This? Forced Blood Draws, Cavity Searches and Colonoscopies’.

So why are the police so violent? you might ask. Well, several scholars have offered answers to this question and you can read a little about what they say in these articles reviewing recent books on the subject. See ‘The Fraternal Order of Police Must Go’ and ‘Our Ever-Deadlier Police State’.

While there is much in these works with which I agree – such as the racism in US policing and the corruption of the legal system which is used to violently manage oppressed peoples in the name of ‘justice’ while leaving the individuals, banks and corporations on Wall Street unaccountable for their endless, ongoing and grotesque crimes against society, the economy and the environment – I would like to pose a deeper question: Why are police in the USA so terrified? This is the important question because only people who are terrified resort to violence, even in the context of policing. Let me explain why this is the case and how it has occurred in the police context in the USA.

Violence does not arise ‘out of nowhere’. And, sadly, its origin can be traced to what is euphemistically called the ‘socialization’ of children but which is more accurately labeled ‘terrorization’. You might think that this sounds extreme but if you spend some time considering the phenomenal violence – ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ – that we adults inflict on children during the ordinary course of the day – see Why Violence? and Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice – while deluding ourselves that we are preparing them to become just, decent and powerful citizens, then you might be willing to reconsider your concept of what it means to nurture children. Tragically, we are so far from any meaningful understanding of this notion, that it is not even possible to generate a widespread social discussion about how we might go about it.

So, having terrorized children into submission so that they unthinkingly and passively accept their preordained role in life – to act as a cog in a giant and destructive enterprise which they are terrorized into not questioning and over which they have no control – each of them takes their place in the global ‘economy’ wherever they can find a set of tasks that feels least painful. The idea of seeking their true path in order to search out their own unique destiny never even occurs to most of them and so they lead ‘shadow lives’ endlessly suppressing their awareness of the life that might have been.

Some of these individuals end up as recruits at a police training facility, where they are further terrorized into believing an elite-sponsored ideology that precludes genuine appreciation of the diversity of people in the community they will later police (that is, terrorize) in the name of ‘law and order’. After all, elite social control is more readily maintained when people, including the police, live in fear.

Police training further terrorizes the individuals involved and militarizes policing by encouraging recruits ‘to adopt a “warrior” mentality and think of the people they are supposed to serve as enemies’; the equipment they use, such as battering rams, flashbang grenades and Armoured Personnel Carriers, evoke a sense of war. See ‘War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing’.

But it doesn’t end with terrorization during childhood and then police training. Police practice functions within a long-standing cultural framework which has both wider social dimensions and narrower, localized ones. And this cultural framework has been changing, more quickly in recent years too. Unfortunately, more than ever before, this framework is increasingly driven by fear and older, delusional social expectations that police are there to maintain public safety or defend the community from criminal violence have given way to militarized assumptions, language and procedures that regard virtually everyone (and certainly indigenous people and people of color) as both dangerous and guilty until proven otherwise and treat the family home and car as targets to be ‘neutralized’ with military-style tactics and weapons. And this trend has been accelerated under Donald Trump. See ‘Trump to lift military gear ban for local police’.

By triggering fear and using military-style tactics and weapons, however, the very essence of the relationship between police and civilians is more rapidly, completely and detrimentally transformed in accord with elite interests. It equates law-enforcement with counter-terrorism and community safety with social control.

Fundamentally, of course, this plays its part in ensuring minimal effective resistance to the broader elite agenda to secure militarized control of the world’s populations and resources for elite benefit.

This transformation in the relationship between police and civilians has been accelerated by training US police in the use of military tactics that the Israeli military employs against the occupied Palestinians. See ‘Israel trains US law-enforcement in counter-terrorism’.

But consider the implications of this.

As Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, has noted in discussing this phenomenon: US police are learning paramilitary and counterinsurgency tactics from the Israeli military, border patrol and intelligence services, which enforce military law.

‘If American police and sheriffs consider they’re in occupation of neighborhoods like Ferguson and East Harlem, this training is extremely appropriate – they’re learning how to suppress a people, deny their rights and use force to hold down a subject population’. See ‘US Police Get Antiterror Training In Israel’.

Moreover, the most tangible evidence that the militarized training is having an impact on US policing is that both Israel and the US are using identical equipment against demonstrators, according to a 2013 report by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem and photographs of such equipment taken at three demonstrations in the USA. ‘Tear gas grenades, “triple chaser” gas canisters and stun grenades made by the American companies Combined Systems Inc. and Defense Technology Corp. were used in all three U.S. incidents, as well as by Israeli security forces and military units.’ See ‘US Police Get Antiterror Training In Israel’.

Given the sheer terror that drives Israeli military policy towards occupied and militarily undefended Palestine, it is little wonder that this fear is transmitted as part of any training of US police. All knowledge and technology is embedded with emotion, and fear is utterly pervasive in any military activity. Especially when it is directed in pursuit of unjust ends.

So what can we do?

If you are interested in working to reduce police fear and violence, you will get plenty of ideas in the document ‘A Toolkit for Promoting Justice In Policing’ which is summarized here: ‘15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality’.

If you want to organize a nonviolent action while reducing police fear to minimize the risk of police violence, there is a comprehensive list of guidelines here: ‘Nonviolent Action: Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’.

If you want to work towards ending the underlying fear that drives police (and other) violence, consider making ‘My Promise to Children’. In essence, if you want powerful individuals who are capable of resisting elite social control, including that implemented through police violence, then don’t expect children terrorized into obedience by parents, teachers and religious figures to later magically have this power.

And if you are inclined to resist violence in other contexts, consider participating in The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth, signing the online pledge of The Peoples Charter to Create a Nonviolent World and/or using the strategic framework explained in Nonviolent Campaign Strategy for your peace, environmental or social justice campaign.

Why are the police so terrified? Essentially because they were terrorized as children and then terrorized during police training to violently defend elite interests against the rest of us. Elite control depends on us being too terrified to defend ourselves against their violence.

If humans are to survive this elite-driven onslaught, we need people courageous enough to resist police violence and other elite-driven violence strategically. Can we count on you?

 

Biodata: Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of Why Violence? His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is here.


Robert J. Burrowes
P.O. Box 68
Daylesford
Victoria 3460
Australia
Email: flametree@riseup.net

Websites:
Nonviolence Charter
Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth
‘Why Violence?’
Nonviolent Campaign Strategy
Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy
Anita: Songs of Nonviolence
Robert Burrowes
Global Nonviolence Network

 

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Posted in Authoritarianism, conditioning, elites, Militarization, Philosophy, police state, Psychology, Racism, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two for Tuesday

Sus Bully and Tom Misch

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It’s time to call the housing crisis what it really is: the largest transfer of wealth in living memory

By Laurie Macfarlane

Source: OpenDemocracy.net

One of the basic claims of capitalism is that people are rewarded in line with their effort and productivity. Another is that the economy is not a zero sum game. The beauty of a capitalist economy, we are told, is that people who work hard can get rich without making others poorer.

But how does this stack up in modern Britain, the birthplace of capitalism and many of its early theorists? Last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released new data tracking how wealth has evolved over time. On paper, the UK has indeed become much wealthier in recent decades. Net wealth has more than tripled since 1995, increasing by over £7 trillion. This is equivalent to an average increase of nearly £100,000 per person. Impressive stuff. But where has all this wealth come from, and who has it benefitted?

Just over £5 trillion, or three quarters of the total increase, is accounted for by increase in the value of dwellings – another name for the UK housing stock. The Office for National Statistics explains that this is “largely due to increases in house prices rather than a change in the volume of dwellings.” This alone is not particularly surprising. We are forever told about the importance of ‘getting a foot on the property ladder’. The housing market has long been viewed as a perennial source of wealth.

But the price of a property is made up of two distinct components: the price of the building itself, and the price of the land that the structure is built upon. This year the ONS has separated out these two components for the first time, and the results are quite astounding.

In just two decades the market value of land has quadrupled, increasing recorded wealth by over £4 trillion. The driving force behind rising house prices — and the UK’s growing wealth — has been rapidly escalating land prices.

For those who own property, this has provided enormous benefits. According to the Resolution Foundation, homeowners born in the 1940s and 1950s gained an unearned windfall of £80,000 between 1993 and 2014 alone. In the early 2000s, house price growth was so great that 17% of working-age adults earned more from their house than from their job.

Last week The Times reported that during the past three months alone, baby boomers converted £850 million of housing wealth into cash using equity release products – the highest number since records began. A third used the money to buy cars, while more than a quarter used it to fund holidays. Others are choosing to buy more property: the Chartered Institute of Housing has described how the buy-to-let market is being fuelled by older households using their housing wealth to buy more property, renting it out to those who are unable to get a foot on the property ladder. And it is here that we find the dark side of the housing boom.

As house prices have continued to increase and the gap between house prices and earnings has grown larger, the cost of homeownership has become increasingly prohibitive. Whereas in the mid-1990s low and middle income households could afford a first time buyer deposit after saving for around 3 years, today it takes the same households 20 years to save for a deposit. Many have increasingly found themselves with little choice but to rent privately. For those stuck in the private rental market, the proportion of income spent on housing costs has risen from around 10% in 1980 to 36% today. Unlike homeowners, there is no asset wealth to draw on to fund new cars or holidays.

In Britain, we have yet to confront the truth about the trillions of pounds of wealth amassed through the housing market in recent decades: this wealth has come straight out of the pockets of those who don’t own property.

When the value of a house goes up, the total productive capacity of the economy is unchanged because nothing new has been produced: it merely constitutes an increase in the value of the land underneath. We have known since the days of Adam Smith and David Ricardo that land is not a source of wealth but of economic rent — a means of extracting wealth from others. Or as Joseph Stiglitz puts it “getting a larger share of the pie rather than increasing the size of the pie”. The truth is that much of the wealth accumulated in recent decades has been gained at the expense of those who will see more of their incomes eaten up by higher rents and larger mortgage payments. This wealth hasn’t been ‘created’ – it has been stolen from future generations.

House prices are now on average nearly eight times that of incomes, more than double the figure of 20 years ago. It’s unlikely that house prices will be able to outpace incomes at the same rate for the next 20 years. The past few decades have spawned a one-off transfer of wealth that is unlikely to be repeated. While the main beneficiaries of this have been the older generations, eventually this will be passed on to the next generation via inheritance or transfer. Already the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ has become the ninth biggest mortgage lender. The ultimate result is not just a growing intergenerational divide, but an entrenched class divide between those who own property (or have a claim to it), and those who do not.

Misleading accounting and irresponsible economics have provided cover for this heist. The government’s national accounts record house price growth as new wealth, ignoring the cost it imposes on others in society – particularly young people and those yet to be born. Economists still hail house price inflation as a sign of economic strength.

The result is a world which is rather different to that described in economics textbooks. Most of today’s ‘wealth’ isn’t the result of entrepreneurialism and hard work – it has been accumulated by being idle and unproductive. Far from the positive sum game capitalism is supposed to be, we have a system where most wealth is gained at the expense of others. As John Stuart Mill wrote back in 1848:

“If some of us grow rich in our sleep, where do we think this wealth is coming from?  It doesn’t materialise out of thin air. It doesn’t come without costing someone, another human being. It comes from the fruits of others’ labours, which they don’t receive.”

Britain’s housing crisis is complicated mess. Fixing it requires a long-term plan and a bold new approach to policy. But in the meantime let’s start calling it what it really is: the largest transfer of wealth in living memory.

Posted in culture, Economics, elites, Financial Crisis, Housing Crisis, Inequality, Neoliberalism, Recession, Social Control, society, Sociology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’ve Been Banned From Facebook For Sharing An Article About False Flags

By Caitlin Johnstone

Source: OpEdNews.com

My personal Facebook account, which has the maximum 5,000 friends and an additional 5,000+ followers, has been blocked from posting for three days. My page hasn’t been blocked yet, but we’ll see; I shared the article there, too.

The reason given for this ban by the little pop-up boxes when I logged on just now was that a couple months ago I had shared an article about admitted false flag operations perpetrated by governments around the world. I don’t know what happened that made Facebook’s system decide to crack down on me now all of a sudden, but I do know I’ve been a bit naughtier than usual in my last couple of articles.

The article I got the banhammer for sharing is titled For Those Who Don’t ‘Believe’ In ‘Conspiracies’ Here Are 58 Admitted False Flag Attacks. According to the site’s ticker it has 50,667 shares as of this writing. It’s laden with hyperlinks for further reading, and lists only instances of false flag operations that insiders are on the record as having admitted to themselves. It’s a good compilation of important information. People should be allowed to share it.

The notifications say I can be permanently banned if I continue posting that sort of material. I’ve had that account since 2007.

So. Who wants to see my Barbra Streisand impression?

(Image by Caitlin Johnstone)

(Image by Caitlin Johnstone)

In a corporatist system of government, corporate censorship is state censorship. When there’s no meaningful space between corporate power and government power, it doesn’t make much difference whether the guy silencing your dissent is Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Sessions. America most definitely has such a system.

If they’re going to get us locked down and propagandized into their vapid brain boxes, this will be how they’ll do it. Not by government censorship, but by corporate censorship. Government can’t make an overt attempt to stop a dissenting voice from speaking, but the corporations who own the venue of their speech can.

In a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, plutocrat-sponsored senators spoke with top legal and security officials for Facebook, Twitter and Google in a very disturbing way about the need to silence dissenting voices.

Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii demanded that the companies adopt a “mission statement” declaring their commitment “to prevent the fomenting of discord.”

A former FBI agent Clint Watts kicked it up even further, saying, “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”

“Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced”—“-silence the guns and the barrage will end,” he added.

This was on the Senate floor. Officials were speaking about the need to censor social media to prevent people from sharing dissenting ideas on the Senate floor.

World Socialist Web Site said of the hearing,

That such a statement could be made in a congressional hearing, entirely without objection, is an expression of the terminal decay of American democracy. There is no faction of the ruling class that maintains any commitment to basic democratic rights.

None of the Democrats in the committee raised any of the constitutional issues involved in asking massive technology companies to censor political speech on the Internet. Only one Republican raised concerns over censorship, but only to allege that Google had a liberal bias.

Former FBI agent says tech companies must “silence” sources of “rebellion”
US Congressional hearing: By Andre Damon 1 November 2017 Top legal and security officials for Facebook, Twitter and” www.wsws.org

I’ll admit right now that this really scares me. Ever the optimist, I’ve been reassuring my readers that the corporatocracy would never risk taking off the black hole sun mask of corporate cheerfulness and move into regular, overt totalitarianism. I’ve contended that they must remain covert in order to keep successfully manufacture consent.

But, here we are. Through a studious application of psy-ops they have their censorship and they have their consent. Remember, in the book “Fahrenheit 451” the public wasn’t unhappy about the book burnings. They cheered them on, and that’s what we have now. The herd is mindlessly clapping their approval at censorship and even volunteering to report naughty behavior like good little hall monitors for the oligarchy. I’m sure that even some of my close friends and family will silently approve of my banning and will meet my distress with the pursed lips of a church lady secretly pleased at my comeuppance.

I tried joining Gab when I saw this coming, but it’s really alt-righty there and the energy there is just gross. Finding a new social media outlet might not even matter anyway, since these creeps just target any place people gather in large numbers.

I don’t know. I always freak out a bit when the eye of corporate censorship focuses on me. I’ve recently been told by a number of people that they’ve been banned for sharing my articles, and now it’s hitting me.

I’m babbling. This is weird. I just really, really don’t want humanity to become what these people are trying to turn it into, you know? Help me make some noise about this stuff, please. Manipulators can’t do their job when there’s a big spotlight pointed at them.

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Posted in Activism, Authoritarianism, censorship, civil liberties, Conspiracy, corporate news, culture, Dystopia, freedom of speech, internet freedom, media, Media Literacy, news, police state, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, surveillance state | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What Science Isn’t

The Cult of Lay-Positivism

By Equanimous Rex

Source: Modern Mythology

Science. Does the word bring images of space ships and high-tech equipment doing miraculous things? Wonder drugs and new solutions to old problems? Good, because this article isn’t a declaration that science is evil, or dead. Keep that shining gaze on the things that amaze you, and buckle up.

Never before has it been so easy as in the modern era to find something to fill a person’s God-Hole with. What’s a God-Hole, you ask? Well, put simply its a metaphor for the part of our psyche where religious surety and faithful fanaticism would have been reserved for Yahweh and his earthly cohorts, as was the case with generations and generations of many of our ancestors. These days you can’t walk three steps without crushing some cult or dealing with apologists for yet another embryonic subculture, and one of the most wide-spread and pervasive modern cults is that of the materialistpositivists.

You might not be familiar with the names but you’re definitely familiar with the faces, the words, the general attitudes of the MP’s. They tend to identify themselves by their atheism though their atheism is the least descriptive part of their belief system. Erroneously, MP’s have been in the spotlight for so long that nowadays people assume that if you are an atheist, you must fall in line and along trends of attitudes of this group, despite the fact that an atheist could be a Buddhist, LaVeyan Satanist, religious naturalist, believe in the supernatural, ghosts, psychic powers, or what have you, (since none of these things are theoi, or gods). MP’s on the other hand are intrinsically opposed to the study of or contemplation of seemingly paranormal or preternatural phenomena.

Likewise they have taken hold of the term “skeptic” and have become its face in mainstream discourse. These days all you have to do to be thought of as a skeptic is to, firstly, tell everyone quite loudly that you are one, and secondly, start engaging in specified, surgical doubt of only the belief systems and ideologies you are already antagonistic towards, while neglecting to perform the same upon anything you tacitly presume to be true. Engage in rampant polemics against your opponents and frequently craft apologetics for your own beliefs, use your inquisitiveness and doubt like a blade with which to carve out the proverbial flesh of those whom you despise ideologically. This is far from philosophical skepticism as it was originally intended, but as long as you tell people often enough you are a skeptic, you must be one.

The combination of a certain brand of materialism (philosophical monism, in which they deem all things that exist are material) and positivism (belief that everything that exists can be verified scientifically and anything that can’t be verified scientifically doesn’t exist) forms a unique cocktail, an anti-belief based upon a sense of superiority against all other beliefs. “You have beliefs. We have facts.” It is a potentially useful worldview, which many people use as a metric with which to quantify worthiness, but use is only the same as truth to the strictest of pragmatists.

Most proponents of MP eschew philosophy as navel-gazing aphorisms and platitudes, seeing the field as the decrepit grandfather of science. Given that they are mostly unaware of philosophy — due to their aversion — they don’t usually know that their beliefs fall squarely under philosophy, and they don’t usually seem to know that there are still to this day debates about the validity of their philosophical presuppositions.

Again, being critical of the philosophies of positivism and materialism is not being anti-science, though such a claim is inevitable should you question the sacrosanct nature of anything tangentially related to science or adjacent to science. Karl Popper — the guy who came up with the concept of falsifiability  — was a major opponent to positivism, for example. They’d probably say he was anti-science as well, though that is entirely inaccurate.

This isn’t a condemnation of (most) scientists. I’ve had the pleasure to meet a few over the years and I’ve always found them quite humble in terms of facing the mysterious of the universe. They were the least likely to make outrageous claims or swerve outside of their proverbial lanes. The problem lies mostly with what I’ve come to think of as “positivist laity”.

The “lay-person” is a concept found generally from religion, and refers to someone who is not a part of the clergy, who are not ordained or educated on the ‘inner mysteries’ of the religious order. They are deferential to the priests and clerics and put great faith in them but do not themselves have the same information, education or knowledge.

The materialist-positivist laity seems to consist of people who have no formal or informal education dealing with the scientific method(s) or in the fields of science. They often come from a Post-Christian background (at least in the United States) and are angry that they believed the literalism their parents or geographical region shoved down their throats. They end up seeing a few debunking videos, or those in which someone who is self-identified with atheism points out the inconsistencies of the Christian cosmological mythos. They start to notice that the explanations and descriptions of the world that scientists and science educators give are more functional, and are trusted to be provable, even though the concept of ‘proof’ is mathematical, not scientific.

Either way, for whatever reason, they come to replace Yahweh and his priests for their conception of Science and it’s own educated, inner-circle experts. Once again, not a critique of science nor atheism. Not even really a critique of materialist-positivism. We must focus on the issue at hand. Large swathes of lay-positivists are turning the concept of science into a cargo-cult religion, using it to fill in their empty God-Hole and clutching to their conception of a cohesive and explanatory world-story.

It was the jobs of priests for thousands upon thousands of years to give the simple folk a world-story, without such as story anxieties rise and existential doubt creeps in. The crafting and dissemination of a world-story has since been split up from between priests to spread into other areas and specialists such as philosophers, academics and of course, scientists.

Science isn’t a religion. Science isn’t a good many things. For example, science isn’t technology, which would probably shock quite a few lay-positivists. Humanity used and invented technology since as far back as we can find evidence for humans at all. We created aqueducts, agricultural technology, wartime technology, shipbuilding and navigational technology, calendars and time keeping technology, architectural technology, psychological techniques and so on and so forth, well before science was a twinkle in the eye of natural philosophy. People with no education on science or without any formal training to this day still invent new technology. So, next time someone points to a piece of technology and tries to conflate it with science, keep this in mind. One cannot simply anachronistically and retroactively claim for ‘science’ everything which works or is useful, though this does not prevent some from attempting such a thing.

Science is also not ethics. Nor can science tell you what to do with the information you glean from the universe via science. I’m sure people will disagree, but I’m also sure most of them are not scientists and/or do not have a clear understanding of the scientific method(s). Not every moment of clear-thinking and rationality is science, not every free-thought is evidence of science in the works. By trying to make it appear as though everything which makes sense and works is science, lay-positivists have before-the-fact designated everything that is not science as nonsensical and nonexistent.

Intuition and introspection are cast aside by positivism because they are not scientific, and I agree wholeheartedly that intuition can be flawed, rife with bias and misconceptions. But it’s a ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’ scenario. Don’t forget that most of us get up every day and manage to navigate this world without using the slightest bit of the scientific method. For instance, we’ve got inductive, deductive and abductive reasoning, none of which are isolated to scientific methods. You’ve got examples of people thought to be great scientists in bygone eras who never used an ounce of empiricism to figure out their great contributions. (Galileo, for example, used rational but non-empirical means to infer a heliocentric model).

Science isn’t a cult, a religion, or anything of the sort. But lay-positivism stands to become just that. People seeking to fill a God-Hole, to give their life a sense of meaning and to provide a cohesive world-story so that they do not feel they exist in a state of uncertainty and chaos. Nietzsche, Freud, Feuerbach, and many others have recognized this fact: the need for Gods is not so easily replaced as the Gods themselves are. If scientific findings are used with an ideological agenda to offer fragile humanity a security blanket against the cold, unpredictable unknown, misrepresented and misunderstood by those who have never even bothered to Google “scientific method” who are merely disenfranchised with their old Church, it very well stands that the word “science” will be appropriated akin to the terms “skepticism” and “atheism” to refer to specified, pigeon-holed belief systems, made sacred and subject to no criticism.

“Meet the old laity, same as the new laity.”

Posted in consciousness, culture, Philosophy, Science, society, Sociology, Spirituality, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Saturday Matinee: Soldier/Demon With a Glass Hand

“Soldier” and “Demon With a Glass Hand” (both 1964) are two classic Outer Limits episodes with screenplays by science fiction author Harlan Ellison. Both take place in the shared universe of the Earth-Kyba War, a backdrop Ellison also used for a series of stories compiled in the graphic novel anthology “Night and the Enemy” as well as the short story “The Human Operators” which became an episode of the New Outer Limits. Soldier is notable for being the screenplay for which Ellison filed a lawsuit against producers of The Terminator for plagiarism. Demon With a Glass Hand features an excellent performance from Robert Culp as a man who carries the burden of being the last chance for humanity’s survival. Most of the episode’s action takes place in the Bradbury Building (most famous for the final scenes in Blade Runner) which adds to its creepy atmosphere.

Posted in Art, culture, Film, Saturday Matinee, Video | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The War on Fake News

By Anthony Freda

Source: Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox

As it becomes increasingly clear that yesterday’s conspiracy theories are today’s real news, the call to kill the messengers just gets more shrill and hysterical.

The attacks on free speech with high-tech censorship campaigns and old-fashioned hit pieces in the “War on Fake News” are massive and concerted.

The book burners are starting so many fires it’s impossible to stamp them all out.

What are the horrible thought crimes committed by the alternative press?

The new media has consistently exposed the lies and crimes of our corrupt and broken institutions.

Pioneers of alt media have passionately and convincingly made the case that The Patriot Act literally reversed the gains to human liberty codified in The Bill of Rights.

Independent media dismantled the lies that were presented as the pretexts to the invasion of Iraq. The same lies aggressively promoted by Bush, Hillary Clinton, CNN and The New York Times and that resulted in the death of a million people and global chaos. By contrast, how many people have died as a result of alternative media reports? The answer iszero.

The independent press interviewed NSA whistleblowers who accurately described how the U.S. government was illegally spying on its citizens and retaining our data, and how these whistleblowers were being persecuted by their own government for coming forward and refusing to break the law.

This was years before anyone heard of Edward Snowden.

Amazingly, there was very little interest in these bombshell allegations in the mainstream press.

It’s hard to believe now, but in those days, people who claimed the government was surveilling innocent citizens were dismissed as paranoid by the self-proclaimed arbiters of truth at the NYT and CNN.

Grassroots media detailed a decade ago how police forces all over America were becoming militarized and predicted that this dangerous trend would lead to racially charged conflict on the streets of the nation. What kooks!

We have also railed against; torture, needless wars, police brutality, government corruption, the two-party duopoly, the criminality of the banksters and the end of privacy.

Now the very same mainstream media hacks who promoted the lies that lead to war in Iraq and Syria and mindlessly regurgitate whichever talking point is uploaded onto their teleprompter are gleefully assassinating what they call “fake news” using edited tape and misleading hit-pieces.

While these discredited war cheerleaders lie about why our sons and daughters are sent to die, we are bravely exposing the fraudulent casus belli they traitorously and disgracefully promote.

While these corporate spokespeople work for the interests of the oil and drug companies and political forces that pay their salaries, we risk everything to expose the crimes and scams of these same broken institutions.

We have done a great public service by exposing the deceptive, psychological methods used by the ruling elite to warp historical narratives, manipulate patriotism and manufacture consent.

By helping people to recognize and suspend their belief in propaganda and therefore their own complicity in it, the alternative media is helping to create a public awareness to the tactics our enemies use to keep us divided, steal our rights and slaughter countless innocents all over the world.

I know it’s fun and easy to call us tin-foil-hat wearers, or whatever pejorative has been chosen for you today, but let’s be clear about whose dirty work some are doing. Ironically, many are using talking-points written by deep-state operatives to ridicule the idea that the deep-state exists at all!!

Alternative media is in direct competition with the mainstream media for revenue and the MSM want to control the information we are exposed to.

The MSM are waging a concerted demonization campaign aimed at destroying some of the dominant platforms exposing the lies and crimes of their corporate and deep-state masters and many are helping them do it.

The MSM is an enemy of the truth and of the people. Friends of mine have been accused of being Russian agents in The NYT because they simply told the truth about Clinton during the campaign.

The corporate press has gone from lying to the American people to lyingabout the American people.

Do we have the will and power to destroy our common enemy?

www.AnthonyFreda.com

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

Posted in Activism, censorship, conditioning, corporate news, culture, freedom of speech, internet freedom, media, news, police state, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, surveillance state | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The attack on “fake news” is really an attack on alternative media

As the author of an article labeled “pro-Russia propaganda,” I can testify that unorthodox views are under attack

By Dave Lindorff

Source: Salon.com

These are tough days to be a serious journalist. Report a story now, with your facts all lined up nicely, and you’re still likely to have it labeled “fake news” by anyone whose ox you’ve gored — and even by friends who don’t share your political perspective. For good measure, they’ll say you’ve based it on “alternative facts.”

Historians say the term “fake news” dates from the late 19th-century era of “yellow journalism,” but the term really took off in 2016, a little over a year ago, during Donald Trump’s run for the presidency. It described several different things, from fact-free, pro-Trump online media to sensationalistic and largely untrue stories whose only goal was eyeballs and dollars. During the primary season, Trump himself began labeling all mainstream media stories about him as “fake news.” The idea that there could be different truths, while dating at least back to the administration of President George W. Bush, when his consigliere Karl Rove claimed that the administration “made its own” reality, gained currency when Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, caught making stuff up in a TV interview, claimed that she was relying on “alternative facts.”

That dodge would be fine, on its own. Most people are primed to believe that politicians lie — whatever party or persuasion they represent — so their attempts to deny it when called a conjurer of falsehoods posing tend to be recognized as such.

The corporate media — The New York Times, The Washington Post, the network news programs and even National Public Radio — have all responded to being called liars and “fake news” fabricators of by promoting themselves as “the reality-based community” (NPR), or claiming they are fighting the good fight against ignorance, as demonstrated by the Post’s new masthead slogan “Democracy dies in darkness.” The Times has stuck with its hoary “All the news that’s fit to print”slogan, but has added a page-three daily feature listing “noteworthy facts from today’s paper” and has taken to calling out Trump administration whoppers as “lies.”

Last December Congress passed a new law, promptly signed by then-President Barack Obama, that enacted an Orwellian amendment to the Defense Authorization Act of 2017. Called the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, this measure tasks the State Department, in consultation with the Department of Defense, the director of national intelligence and an obscure government propaganda organization called the Broadcasting Board of Governors, to establish a “Center for Information Analysis and Response.” The job of this new center, funded by a $160 million, two-year budget allocation, would be to collect information on “foreign propaganda and disinformation efforts” and “proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests.”

What is “fake news”? The target keeps moving

This might all seem laughable, but as a journalist who has worked in this field for 45 years, in both mainstream newspapers and television and in the alternative media, and as a long-time freelancer who has written for publications as widely varied as Business Week, the Nation, the Village Voice and a collectively run news site called ThisCantBeHappening.net, I have watched as this obsession with “fake news” has turned into an attack on alternative news and alternative news organizations.

Last Nov. 24, The Washington Post published a McCarthyite-style front-page article declaring that some 200 news sites on the web were actually witting or unwitting “purveyors of pro-Russian propaganda.” The article, by Post National Security Reporter Craig Timberg, was based on the work of a shady outfit called PropOrNot, whose owner-organizers were kept anonymous by Timberg and whose source of funding was left unexplained. PropOrNot, Timberg wrote, had developed a list of sites which it had determined to be peddling “pro-Russia propaganda.”

For one of the sites on the list, the prominent left-wing journal Counterpunch, founded decades ago by former Village Voice and Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn, PropOrNot offered up two articles as justification for its designation. One of those articles was by me. It was a piece I’d actually written for ThisCantBeHappening, which had been republished with credit by Counterpunch. The reviewer, a retired military intelligence officer named Joel Harding (who I discovered is linked to Fort Belvoir outside Washington, home to the U.S. Army’s Information Operations Command, or INSCOM), labeled my article “absurdly pro-Russian propaganda.”

In fact, the article was a pretty straightforward report on the Sept. 29, 2016 findings by the joint Dutch-Australian investigation into the July 2014 shoot-down of a Malaysian jumbo passenger jet over Ukraine, which concluded that Russia was the culprit. I noted in the article that this investigation was not legitimate, because two nations — Russia and Ukraine — were known to possess the Buk missiles and launchers that had brought down the plane, but only one of them, Ukraine, was permitted to offer evidence. Russian offers of evidence in the case were repeatedly rebuffed. The report also failed to mention that the Ukrainian government had received veto power over any conclusions reached by the investigators.

Was my report “fake news” or propaganda? Not at all.

The fake news in this case has been what has been written and aired by virtually all of the U.S. media, including the Times, the Post and all the major networks, about that horrific tragedy. They all continue to state as fact that a Russian Buk missile downed that plane, though no honest investigation has been conducted. (Technically it is true that the Buk missiles are all “Russian,” in that they were all manufactured in Russia. Left unsaid is that Ukraine’s military had Buk launchers since their nation was part of the Soviet Union and continued to purchase them after independence.)

 Laziest form of media criticism

“Labeling news reports that you don’t like as ’fake news’ is the laziest form of media criticism,” says Jim Naureckas, editor of Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, a New York-based journalism review. “It’s like putting your fingers in your ears and going ‘la la la’ really loudly. Both the government and the corporate media have reasons for not wanting the public to hear points of view that are threats to their power.”

While Kellyanne Conway claimed her right to offer “alternative facts” as a way to justify getting caught in a lie, there are also alternative facts which are real but don’t get reported in the corporate media. A classic example was in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when the entire corporate media reported as fact that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was attempting to develop a nuclear bomb.

There were plenty of alternative news organizations who quoted UN inspectors saying that none of that was true and there were no WMDs or WMD programs in Iraq, but they were simply blacked out by the corporate media like the Times, the Post and the major news networks.

These days another dubious story is that the Russians “hacked” the server of the Democratic National Committee. It may have happened that way, but in fact, the vast intelligence system the U.S. has constructed to monitor all domestic and foreign telecommunications has offered up no hard evidence of such a hack. National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney and retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern have suggested that some evidence indicates a DNC insider must have been involved.

There is certainly fake news all over the internet, and baseless conspiracies run rampant on both the left and the right. But all too often, articles like mine cited by PropOrNot (a genuine purveyor of fake news!) are being labeled as propaganda in what Naureckas says is simply “the use of irony as a defense mechanism” by news organizations that themselves are actually guilty of publishing really fake news, as the Post did with its PropOrNot blacklist “scoop.”

“What the government and the corporate media are trying to do, with the help of the big internet corporations,” argues Mickey Huff, director of the Project Censored organization in California, “is basically to shut down alternative news sites that question the media consensus position on issues.”

A wide threat to online media

That’s a threat to any online news organization, including this one, that depend upon equal access to the internet and to fast download speeds. Already, Huff charges, there are reports that Facebook is slowing down certain sites that have links on its platform, in a misguided response to charges that it sold ad space to Russian government-linked organizations accused of trying to influence last November’s presidential election.

An end to internet neutrality, the equal access to high-speed internet for surfing and downloading that has been guaranteed to all users — but that is now under attack by the Trump administration, its Federal Communications Commission and a Republican-led Congress — would make it that much easier for such a shutdown of alternative media to happen.

The real answer, of course, is for readers and viewers of all media, mainstream or alternative, to become critical consumers of news. This means not just looking at articles critically, including this one, but going to multiple sources for information on important issues. Relying on just the Times or the Post, or on Fox News or NPR, will leave you informationally malnourished — not just uninformed but misinformed. Even if you were to read both those papers and watch both those networks, you’d often be left with an incomplete version of the truth.

To get to the truth, we need to also check out alternative news sources, whether of the left, right or center — and we need to maintain the critical distinction between unpopular or unorthodox points of view and blatant lies or propaganda. Without such a distinction, and the freedom to make such decisions for ourselves, maintaining democracy will be impossible.

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