Give Wes Bellamy a Break

Charlottesville City Council Member Wes Bellamy is being widely denounced for tweets he tweeted years ago. I think he should be given a break.

I don’t know Bellamy well and have not communicated with him about this. I don’t support everything he’s done even in recent years. I have almost nothing but contempt for the Democratic Party. I don’t believe Bellamy deserves more of a break than would anyone else from some other demographic. I don’t sympathize in the least with the disgusting things he tweeted.

And yet I find this criticism of him outrageous. And I find it consistent with some disturbing trends that extend well beyond Charlottesville.

Bellamy speaking at a rally on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

1. Privilege

The problem of unfair privilege here is not one of race or class or gender but of age and position. If you grew up before every Spring Break lunacy and adolescent pretense was enshrined forever on the internet (outside of wise European efforts to provide a Right to Be Forgotten), you must be very careful in criticizing those who have grown up since that underappreciated age. If you have not stuck your neck out into the fire of partisan politics, you must give careful consideration to what most-ugly and most-deeply-forgotten thing you would be at risk of becoming known for if you did.
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Pearl Harbor Facts and Proof

By guest author, diogenes (bio below).

Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit:  The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor (New York, Free Press, 2000)

Stinnett conclusively demonstrates with vast and incontrovertible documentary evidence that in order to precipitate an unwilling American public into supporting intervention in the Second World War, President Roosevelt oversaw the contrivance and deployment of a closely-guarded secret plot to goad the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor. The plan was set in motion in October 1940, and its development closely monitored through decoded intercepts of Japanese diplomatic and military radio communications. Knowledge of the plan was limited to 13 Roosevelt administration members and chief military officers, and 21 members of Naval Intelligence and related operations. Once it produced the intended result and the attack impended, the Pacific fleet’s modern naval vessels were sent to sea from Pearl Harbor, leaving seven antiquated World War One battleships as decoys. Meanwhile, the Japanese fleet was tracked with radio intercepts from its formation off the Kuril Islands on November 16, and its sailing for Hawaii on November 26; its course was cleared of all shipping with a Vacant Sea order on the 22nd; and Pearl Harbor naval patrols were ordered out of the area on the 25th. Intelligence of the impending attack was withheld from the officers (Admiral Kimmel and General Short) charged with defending Pearl Harbor, who were kept uninformed of the plan and intelligence of the impending attack, and scape-goated afterward. A coverup of the entire operation was maintained through eight official and Congressional investigations between 1941 and 1946, and down to Strom Thurmond’s inquiry in 1995. Stinnett’s forty-seven pages of Appendices (p. 261-308) present photographic reproductions of essential documents obtained from Federal archives through the Freedom of Information Act, as well as numerous other documents reproduced in the body of the text, and 65 pages (p. 309-374) of closely detailed and referenced notes, all of which copiously and conclusively document Stinnett’s factual assertions, arguments and conclusions.  His voluminous research files and notes are deposited at the Hoover Institute library at Stanford.
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American Experts: PropOrNot Is Propaganda

The anonymous website PropOrNot.com claims that they have analyzed alternative media websites and identified 200 sites which act as useful idiots for Russian-government propaganda.

The Washington Post and many other mainstream media have trumpeted PropOrNot as evidence of a vast conspiracy of American and foreign alternative media as spreading Russian propaganda.

PropOrNot claims that they use scientific methods to identify the sites, providing the following diagram as an illustration of their analysis:

prop-diagram

We asked a former top NSA official and computer expert – Thomas Drake – to look at the diagram and PropOrNot’s website.

Drake is a decorated Air Force and Navy veteran, who has been awarded numerous medals including:

  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Air Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal

Drake was a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service.

With a strong technical background in surveillance and computers, Drake was one of the top NSA executives, and was Senior Change Leader within the NSA.

Drake was also one America’s top government experts on Stasi Germany … so he knows a thing or two about propaganda.

To get a sense of who Drake is, watch this PBS interview.

When asked to analyze PropOrNot and its diagram, Drake told Washington’s Blog:

My take?

It’s a prop for a disinfo op in order to serve a manufactured narrative.
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Posted in Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | 7 Comments

Are US Corporate-Media Businesses ‘Independent’?

Professor Noam Chomsky is one of the most cited scholars in history.  His work continues to be prominently taught in classes at top US universities like Yale.  He teaches classes on US government at MIT, and has written some 100 books on political and social science topics.  He has been voted in multiple polls as the world’s most important public intellectual.

So why do Western corporate and government media outlets like the New York Times (whose board members have often also been on the boards of weapons manufacturers) almost entirely avoid quoting or citing him?

Perhaps because they do not want to call much attention to his work, which includes meticulously documenting and exposing that what outlets like the Times produce is largely fake news – a new buzz-word for propaganda.

The New York Times, Chomsky has noted, is a particularly odious offender.  He refers to the output of that publication, which claims to offer “all the news that’s fit to print”, as “pure propaganda”, and documents how and why this is the case.

Chomsky has published many articles and books that detail the US propaganda system, but here is a concise, 8-minute summary of how it works:

Thus, media outlets that Western elites refer to as “independent” really are not independent.  They are major corporations with inherent conflicts of interest that both determine their output and allow them to peddle it widely.
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Posted in Business / Economics, General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | 8 Comments

“Fake News” Has Been a Problem for Thousands of Years … Here’s How It’s Been Stopped

Throughout history, government officials have tried to stop “fake news” through various means before it was published.

The crime of the peddlers of fake news: failing to acknowledge that those in power were perfect saints.

Socrates

For example, Socrates was killed in 399 BC for spreading “fake news”.

His crime: “Failing to acknowledge the gods that the [mainstream media of the day] acknowledges”.

William Tyndale

William Tyndale was killed in 1536 for spreading “fake news”.

His crime:  Translating the Bible into English so that everyone could read it for themselves, and no longer had to rely on the clergy to tell them what it said.

Galileo

In 1616 and 1633, Galileo was tried for spreading “fake news”.

His crime: Saying that the Earth rotates around the Sun.

Heretics

Scores of people have been killed over the centuries for spreading “fake news”.

Their crime: Saying anything that the church authorities of the day disliked.

Benjamin Franklin

In 1773, Ben Franklin was fired as colonial Postmaster General for spreading “fake news”.

His crime:  Informing the American Colonists about what the British were really doing.

Strongmen

Strongmen of all stripes have cracked down on “fake news”.

The fake news pushers’ crime:  Criticizing the dictator or his policies.

Book Burnings

In 1933, the Nazis carried out numerous book burnings of “fake news”. The targeted authors included Einstein, Freud, Kafka, Hellen Keller, Jack London, Thomas Mann, Proust, Upon Sinclair and H.G. Wells.
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Posted in Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | 18 Comments

Beyond Income Inequality

Judging by the mainstream media, the most pressing problems facing capitalism are 1) income inequality, the basis of Thomas Piketty’s bestsellerCapital in the Twenty First Century, and 2) the failure of laissez-faire markets to regulate their excesses, a common critique encapsulated by Paul Craig Roberts’ recent book and 2) the failure of laissez-faire markets to regulate their excesses, a common critique encapsulated by Paul Craig Roberts’ recent book The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism.

These critiques (and many similar diagnoses) reach a widely shared conclusion: capitalism must be reformed to save it from itself.

The proposed reforms align with each analyst’s basic ideological bent. Piketty’s solution to rising wealth inequality is the ultimate in statist centralization: a global wealth tax. Roberts and others recommend reforming capitalism to embody social purpose and recognize environmental limits. Exactly how this economic reformation should be implemented is a question that sparks debates across the ideological spectrum, but the idea that capitalism can be reformed is generally accepted by left, right and libertarian alike.

Socio-economist Immanuel Wallerstein asks a larger question: can the current iteration of global capitalism be reformed, or is it poised to be replaced by some other mode of production? Wallerstein and four colleagues explored this question inDoes Capitalism Have a Future? Wallerstein is known as a proponent of world systems, the notion that each dominant economic-political arrangement eventually reaches its limits and is replaced by a new globally hegemonic system. Wallerstein draws his basic definition of the current dominant system—let’s call it Global Capitalism 1.0—from his mentor, historian Fernand Braudel, who meticulously traced modern capitalism back to its developmental roots in the 15th century in an influential three-volume history, Civilization & Capitalism, 15th to 18th Centuries.
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Swamp Thing Takes Over Treasury – ForclosureGate II, the Sequel

wallstxmasForclosureGate (circa 2010 forward): Widespread mortgage fraud as a result of an unregulated, rigged housing market guaranteed to create a collapse and waves of foreclosures, all of which leads to major hardship for homeowners and their families.

(Washington, DC)  Wall Street created the subprime mortgage crisis leading to the 2008 financial meltdown and ongoing recession. That cost trillions in homeowner net worth, near depression era unemployment levels, and a relentless struggle for the people. As a reward for their greed and incompetence, the authors of the financial crisis got trillions in Federal subsidies to stay afloat, receive huge bonuses, and plot to do it all over again. Goldman alumnus and foreclosure machine maestro Steven Mnuchin is set to usher in a new golden era for Wall Street greed as Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury.  (Image)

Donald J. Trump is the first major party candidate to run for president of the United States using populist rhetoric since William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Just enough of the public craved payback for 2008 financial meltdown to give billionaire populist Trump the edge in that anachronism known as the Electoral College.

Trump repeatedly promised to drain the swamp in the nation’s capital and remove insiders, special interests, and the usual suspects that serve themselves so well at the expense of the people.   Who better to target than perennial Washington insiders, the Wall Street investment-banking firm of Goldman Sachs, believed by many to be one of the key authors of the 2008 financial meltdown? In Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination, he excoriated Ted Cruz for his ties to Goldman:
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Posted in Politics / World News | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments