The US Becoming More Like Japan: Controlled Press Edition

Marshall Auerback, who lived in Japan during its early post bubble years, sent this e-mail:

Today’s New York Times reports on how the Saudis warned the US about the planned parcel bomb attack emanating from Yemen.

Buried in the story was this line: “The German magazine Der Spiegel told The New York Times it would report the Saudi warnings in its editions next week, and the American officials confirmed them to The Times.”

In the old days in Japan, the local press never broke a big story until it was broken open first by the foreign news agencies. That’s how the Lockheed bribery scandal was broken in Japan, which doomed Prime Minister Tanaka (he was convicted but never went to jail thanks to endless appeals, which ran through until his death in 1993).

Now it appears the same thing is happening here. Unless the news comes from a non-traditional news source (e.g. Rolling Stone Magazine), then it takes foreign coverage to force the local press to cover it.

And the march to Banana Republic goes on…

This trend has actually been some time in the making. Even some news stories in the BBC don’t get picked up in the US unless a domestic outlet with some reach picks them up. As Greg Palast wrote in 2004:

When the fattened cats at Disney put the kibosh on Michael Moore’s new film, Fahrenheit 9-11, they did more than censor an artist. Gagging Moore is only the latest maneuver in suppressing some most uncomfortable facts: the Bush Administration’s killing off investigations of Saudi Arabian funding of terror including evidence involving a few members of the bin Laden family in the USA….

Those stories ran at the top of the nightly news in Britain and worldwide but not in the USA. Why?

Our news teams picked up several awards including one I particularly hated getting: a Project Censored Award from California State University’s school of journalism. It’s the prize you get for a very important story that is simply locked out of the American press.

And that hurts. I’m an American, an L.A. kid sent into journalistic exile
in England.

What’s going on here?

Why the heck can’t agents follow the money, even when it takes them to Arabia? Because, as we heard repeatedly from those muzzled inside the agencies, Saudi money trails lead back to George H.W. Bush and his very fortunate sons and retainers. We at BBC reported that too, at the top of the nightly news, everywhere but America.

Why are Americas media barons afraid to tell this story in the USA? The BBC and Guardian stories were the ugly little dots connected by a single theme: oil contamination in American politics and money poisoning in the blood of our most powerful political family. And that is news that dare not speak its name.

This is not the first time that Michael Moore attempted to take our BBC investigative reports past the US media border patrol. In fact, our joke in the London newsroom is that if we can’t get our story on to American airwaves, we can just slip it to the fat guy in the chicken suit. Moore could sneak it past the censors as ‘entertainment.’

Here’s an example of Moore’s underground railroad operation to bring hard news to America: In the Guardian and on BBC TV, I reported that Florida’s then Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, removed tens of thousands of Black citizens from voter rolls just prior to the 2000 election. Her office used a list of supposed ‘felons’ – a roster her office knew was baloney, filled almost exclusively with innocents.

I printed the first installment of that story in the Guardian papers while Al Gore was still in the race. The Washington Post ran my story seven months later. By then, it could be read with a chuckle from the Bush White House.

The Black voter purge story would have never seen the light of day in the USA, despite its front-page play over the globe, were it not for Moore opening his book, Stupid White Men, with it

Unless you read the foreign press, or have lived overseas and have reason to keep on top of US coverage, it’s easy to be completely unaware that this sort of thing goes on. I was in Australia right before and during the second Gulf War, and the disparities in reporting were marked. Stories about civilian casualties, the deterioration of living conditions (looting of hospitals, limited electricity, lack of physical safety) and the rising discontent even among Iraqis who had supported the invasion were regular items in Oz and virtually taboo in the US. And remember, Australia was an ally in that war.

I have no doubt that there are other instances of reporting disparity, where matters important to American citizens are either not being featured in the US, or being covered late and only when it gets enough visibility via an unconventional outlet that the MSM finally picks it up. I hope readers will provide additional examples.


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  1. attempter

    I remember how during the Clinton administration they put out an interesting report detailing how “right-wing” stuff could make its way from scurrilous mail-order videos to the front page of the NYT. Even then I was interested in the broader concept: how to force the MSM (though I didn’t call it that back then) to cover non-party line stuff?

    Of course the difference in that case was that there was a faction of the power structure behind the faux-“dissenting” story. But today the real news has no formally powerful advocate.

    So is there a possible path here through the foreign press?


    I printed the first installment of that story in the Guardian papers while Al Gore was still in the race. The Washington Post ran my story seven months later. By then, it could be read with a chuckle from the Bush White House.

    That’s a good example though probably irrelevant to the events. If Gore had been willing to fight at all, he would have done so and prevailed. Since it looks like he wasn’t willing to fight under any circumstances, no amount of factual reportage is likely to have made a difference.

    1. jest

      “But today the real news has no formally powerful advocate.

      So is there a possible path here through the foreign press?”

      When I read this, the first thing I thought of was the documentary “Control Room,” a behind the scenes look at how Al Jazeera covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

      In interviews with various producers & journalists, you could see what the fight was like to expose uncompromised truth, rather than merely telling stories. There was one journalist who was intentionally killed by Coalition Forces, and the network took it as a message from Rumsfeld to change their coverage. They did not listen.

      So I’d say, yes, the foreign press may be our only hope, especially after the recent Keith Olbermann fiasco. But the problem is, are mainstream Americans really going to trust the BBC or Al Jazeera?


      “If Gore had been willing to fight at all, he would have done so and prevailed. Since it looks like he wasn’t willing to fight under any circumstances”

      Gore is such a disappointment. Though in retrospect, it’s clear he didn’t want the job anyway, so I’m not sure how effective he would have be. He is the perfect embodiment of the Democratic Party.

      Well, on the bright side, if he did win, rather than bemoaning President Obama, we’d probably be bemoaning President Lieberman.


      1. John

        “Well, on the bright side, if he did win, rather than bemoaning President Obama, we’d probably be bemoaning President Lieberman.”

        Actually, the world would probably be a completely different place now, because 9/11 would most likely not have occurred. Maybe it would have occurred in 2005, after the Republicans won in 2004.

    2. purple

      If Gore had been willing to fight at all, he would have done so and prevailed.

      My perspective on 2000 has changed since Gore’s escapades were outed this year. The opposition could have had something on him, and let him know about it through back channels.

    3. stefanie

      During the lead up and during the first years of the Iraq war, I followed the US MSM very closely, specially the New York Times, and was stunned how biased their reporting had become. Certain important points in the debate about the dangers that Hussein posed to the US, and later, stories about abuse and grave misconduct by Halliburton and other private companies, were widely reported in the European press – The Guardian, Die Zeit (Germany), NZZ and Tagesanzeiger (Swiss), Le Monde and Repubblica (Italy). So yes, it’s important to read quality European papers as an additional source of information. The question that kept me worried up to the present days is: By what process does the US Government manage what is reported in i.e. New York Times, and what is left out? (see the current economic debates)

      1. attempter

        It’s primarily self-censorship where the issue even comes up.

        But by now most MSM “journalists” are corporate ideologues and/or supercilious elitists by nature, such that they already want to spin most things in the way the power structure would like.

  2. unirealist

    The media are not on the side of the citizens. The corporations are not on the side of the citizens. Nor are the politicians and regulators on the side of the citizens.

    Not a single institution in the country is on the side of the citizens.

    The only way this situation will change is when all those forces allied against the citizenry collectively destroy the dollar. Which is what they are doing.

    Reality then re-asserts its authority, and all those wretchedly corrupt institutions go down in a sea-to-sea conflagration. Nothing in the history books can prepare us for the magnitude of that coming cataclysm.

    I only hope there will be historians afterward to document what happened and put the proper name on it.

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Good comment, and lets not forget the global nature of it all …

      This Vanilla Greed based article is an inadvertent plum for the Control Driven Pernicious Greed wealthy elite folks now in charge of all global media as it presents that the people have a little bit of a voice left in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. The article amounts to a Vanilla Greed love-fest for old fashioned profit driven wealth media which is really no longer singing its old songs but rather the new songs of the new owners — Control Driven Pernicious Greed. The history books will show that it is the Vanilla Greed crowd hanging on to its profit driven fantasy that is most responsible for the demise of freedom and democracy.

      The BBC, and the Guardian of the rich man’s wallet, are on the same Mr. Global Propaganda team as the scamerican media and other global media. The owner’s of the global central banks own and pull all of their good cop bad cop jerk you back and forth razzle dazzle and confuse you strings.

      The globe is becoming more like fascist Germany, not a banana republic and not like the japan alluded to. It is wake up and connect the media dots time so as to smell the fascism.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. i on the ball patriot

          Come on Progressive Ed, give it up … terror is a deception.

          Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        2. Francois T

          The end result of any terrorism is self-destruction.
          The only question that matters is:

          What’ll be next? Integration into the body politics or annihilation?

          J’ai dit!!

  3. bob

    “Rupert, how much for your adopted government and your women?”

    “Well, how about an equity stake and I’ll throw the women in for free.”

  4. Richard Kline

    While I’m completely in sympathy with Greg Palast and Marshall on their perspective here, I have a further, albeit morose, take on the issue of ‘disappered news’ an major American Media. That is, the fat part of the demographic of the American public simply doesn’t want to know, and those who own the media are very well aware of this. Information about the great majority of issues/scandals/tragedies/investigations are readily available, if not necessarily plastered as the lead item of primary media outlets, but the public makes no use of _freely available_ information.

    This has been true as long as I’ve been aware of public affairs (and I assume long before), though I’ll grant it’s much , much worse over the last twenty years. And there is at least a solid 20% of informed Americans, by no means all of radical political views. The fat part of the demographic curve doesn’t _want_ to know. Period. So the media is as much collaborating with popular preference as groveling to oligarchical propagandizing, of which lies by omission are as signal a part as any other technique. I can think of many of my friends, highly liberal and very well educated individuals who don’t follow public affairs in the main at all, _even those who have done so actively in times past_. Why? Most of them lead relatively comfortable lives. (Not affluent, but comfortable.) And knowing would mean that they’d be uncomfortable. . . . This is the American way, nowadays: What, Me Worry? Got Mine Baby, Don’t Rock the Boat. And this is a very worrisome condition, because it’s mulch to fascism. One doesn’t have t lie all that much to a public a plurality of which doesn’t want to hear _and_ discouraging news. Cheetos and Idols for the masses, and make sure the explosions happen off screen . . . . Very worrisome.

    1. DownSouth

      This is why I often believe we do not find ourselves in a 1930s-type era, not yet at least. Where we are is in the Roaring Twenties. The big crash is yet to come.

      The martyred President had not been long in his grave when the peculiar circumstances under which the Naval Oil Reserves at Teapot Dome and Elk Hills had been leased began to be unearthed by the Senate Committee on Public Lands, and there was little by little disclosed what was perhaps the gravest and most far-reaching scandal of the Harding Administration.


      And how did the American people take these disclosures? Did they rise in wrath to punish the offenders?

      When the oil scandals were first spread across the front pages of the newspapers, early in 1924, there was a wave of excitement sufficient to force the resignations of Denby and Daugherty and to bring about the appointment by the new President, Calvin Coolidge, of special Government counsel to deal with the oil cases. But the harshest condemnation on the part of the press and the public was reserved, not for those who had defrauded the government, but for those who insisted on bringing the facts to light. Senator Walsh, who led the investigation of the oil scandals, and Senator Wheeler, who investigated the Department of justice, were called by the New York Tribune “the Montana scandalmongers.” The New York Evening Post called them mud-gunners.” The New York Times, despite its Democratic leanings, called them “assassins of character.” In these and other newspapers throughout the country one read of the “Democratic lynching-bee” and “poison-tongued partisanship, pure malice, and twittering hysteria,” and the inquiries were called “in plain words, contemptible and disgusting.”

      Newspaper-readers echoed these amiable sentiments. Substantial business men solemnly informed one another that mistakes might have been made but that it was unpatriotic to condemn them and thus to “cast discredit on the Government,” and that those who insisted on probing them to the bottom were “nothing better than Bolsheviki.” One of the leading super-patriots of the land, Fred R. Marvin of the Key Men of America, said the whole oil scandal was the result of “a gigantic international conspiracy . . . of the internationalists, or shall we call them socialists and communists?” A commuter riding daily to New York from his suburb at this period observed that on the seven-o’clock train there was some indignation at the scandals, but that on the eight-o’clock train there was only indignation at their exposure and that on the nine-o’clock train they were not even mentioned. When, a few months later, John W. Davis, campaigning for the Presidency on the Democratic ticket, made political capital of the Harding scandals, the opinion of the majority seemed to be that what he said was in bad taste, and Davis was snowed under at the polls. The fact was that any relentless investigation of the scandals threatened to disturb, if only slightly, the status quo, and disturbance of the status quo was the last thing that the dominant business class or the country at large wanted.

      They had voted for normalcy and they still believed in it. The most that they required of the United States Government was that it should keep its hands off business (except to give it a lift now and then through the imposition of favorable tariffs and otherwise) and be otherwise unobtrusive. They did not look for bold and far-seeing statesman. ship at Washington; their idea of statesmanship on the part of the President was that he should let things alone, give industry and trade a chance to garner fat profits, and not “rock the boat.” They realized that their selection of Harding had been something of a false start toward the realization of this modest ideal. Harding had been a little too hail-fellow-well-met, and his amiability had led him into associations which brought about unfortunate publicity, and unfortunate publicity had a tendency to rock the boat. But the basic principle remained sound: all the country needed now was a President who combined with unobtrusiveness and friendliness toward business an unimpeachable integrity and an indisposition to have his leg pulled; and this sort of President they now had. The inscrutable workings of Providence had placed in the office left vacant by Harding the precise embodiment of this revised presidential ideal. Calvin Coolidge was unobtrusive to the last degree; he would never try to steer the ship of state into unknown waters; and at the same time he was sufficiently honest and circumspect to prevent any unseemly revelry from taking place on the decks. Everything was, therefore, as it should be. Why weaken public confidence in Harding’s party, and thus in Harding’s successor, by going into the unfortunate episodes of the past? The best thing to do was to let bygones be bygones.

      As the years went by and the scandals which came to light grew in number and in scope, it began to appear that the “mistakes” of 1921-23 had been larger than the friends of normalcy had supposed when they vented their spleen upon Senator Walsh. But the testimony, coming out intermittently as it did, was confusing and hard to piece together; plain citizens could not keep clear in their minds such complicated facts as those relating to the Continental bonds or the Daugherty bank-accounts; and the steady passage of time made the later investigations seem like a washing of very ancient dirty linen. Business was good, the Coolidge variety of normalcy was working to the satisfaction of the country, Coolidge was honest; why dwell unnecessarily on the past? Resentment at the scandals and resentment at the scandalmongers both gave way to a profound and untroubled apathy. When the full story of the Continental Trading Company deal became known, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., as a large stockholder in the Standard Oil of Indiana, waged war against Colonel Stewart and managed to put him out of the chairmanship of the company; but the business world as a whole seemed to find nothing wrong in Colonel Stewart’s performance. The voice of John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness.
      –Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Thanks again, DownSouth. “Only Yesterday” (1931) sounds like an excellent read, in wry amusing style. It’s funny(?) how history rhymes in tragi-comical parallel to the MBS/derivative and fraudclosure scandals (complexity by design):

        “…the testimony, coming out intermittently as it did, was confusing and hard to piece together; plain citizens could not keep clear in their minds such complicated facts … and the steady passage of time made the later investigations seem like a washing of very ancient dirty linen… why dwell unnecessarily on the past? Resentment at the scandals and resentment at the scandalmongers both gave way to a profound and untroubled apathy.” (Like Chris Hedges’ world of “Liberal Opportunists”)

        In all ‘official’ discussions of the Dems midterm “loss”, mention of the wars is studiously avoided, only the need “to boost and encourage our business sector” (Obama). And so our forward looking president is now off to scout out new outsourcing opportunities in India … while Ben is busy counterfeiting to ensure a cold, hungry, trickle-down winter for the steerage class. Unreal.

        You are surely right: “I often believe we do not find ourselves in a 1930s-type era … Where we are is in the Roaring Twenties. The big crash is yet to come.”

        In “Stocks Have Collapsed in 2010–When Priced in Wheat”, Charles Hugh Smith writes that “The Fed and Bernanke have failed in their duty utterly and completely. But thanks to their brilliant propaganda campaign, only those paid in silver and quatloos (wheat, corn, sugar, cotton, etc.) can see this clearly.”

        “The rest of the populace has been fooled–for awhile.”

        “I’m going to make a bold prediction … the Fed’s policy, and indeed the Fed itself as an independent policy-setting agency, will be discredited by late 2011. The total failure of the Fed’s policies will be clear to all by then, and there will be no QE3 or QE10. The political chickens will finally come home to roost …”


        “The entire Fed scheme of sparking organic growth in consumer demand by smashing the purchasing power of the dollar–the actual measure of the cost of goods in the U.S. economy–in order to generate an entirely bogus “wealth effect” in the top tranch of households who might gain (on paper) from nominal gains in the stock market (about 10% of households)–will be discredited as a catastrophic policy failure without precedent.”

    2. jest

      It’s even more dire & complicated than that.

      Many oeople are quite aware that the MSM is vapid tripe, which explains why their ratings have gone into the toilet.

      I have to get most of my news from non-traditional sources in order to stay sane. The only traditional TV sources I would watch are PBS’s NewsHour, & Amanpour’s new show; but even those have issues. Al Jazeera, by far, has better coverage than most if not all the domestic networks. How sad is that?

      Faux News’ success is in part because they aren’t real news, and are more akin to the non-traditional side of the spectrum. Their viewers do not believe the spinned BS they typically see on the big 3, Meet The Press, and other like minded programming. Thus, their relative popularity. (they only have about 1.5mm viewers, less than 0.5% of the US population)

      So here, you have an example of a group of people who do know & care about the nonsense spewing from the MSM, but due to their conservatism & ideology, they are attracted to something much worse.

      I don’t know how you address something like that.

    3. Jojo

      Agree RK, but I think it is more than just an “I don’t care/don’t rock the boat” attitude or that much of the MSM news is lame.

      For many, the major problem is that there is simply too much information, too much going on and too little time in the day. Few people have the time or luxury to read blogs, look at international news sources and so on. So the attitude becomes – if I can’t give a subject adequate focus and time, then why give it any time at all?

      The internet made so much more information available (but much of that information is no better than the rumors and gossip one might hear in the local tavern) and most people don’t have the time or know how to process all this info. The internet is no different than say 500 channel TV. People choose a limited number of favorite channels to watch (10-20 generally) and ignore all the rest.

      I haven’t seen any stats lately, but a couple of years ago, it was said that only 6% of internet users used RSS (which helps you significantly tame the info inflow if you follow blogs). The rest simply blunder about jumping from web page to web page, wasting much of their time and losing focus.

      The MS is aware of the time and info processing limitations of the masses and so they structure the TV news in a short, sound-bite format. Most local newspapers no longer due investigative reporting but merely parrot generic AP/Reuters stories. Everyone reports on the same stories at the same time.

      Taken the above together, most people are much more apathetic and less well informed than they were 40-50 years ago.

      Which is why with at least 15 million people unemployed, the real economy not doing well, but with Wall Street/banking making out like the bandits, there are no demonstrations and no civil unrest. Most everyone is too busy and too overloaded to focus on anything more than getting through another day.

      In the end, I think it will be too much information and too much choice that destroys our society.

  5. Agent Vanilla

    The US now reminds me of WWI Woodrow Wilson’s USA. The press was heavily censored in support of war in Europe and consequently, we have a truncated history from the Great Influenza pandemic.

  6. Koshem Bos

    Comparison between our MSM and the Soviet Union media is helpful. Most US journalists have a mental test for whether something constitutes “proper” news. You never saw government criticism in Pravda. It wasn’t due to picky governmental intervention, the journalists “knew” what to print.

    The American journalists know the map and the route they can follow. The main determinant of the route: don’t make waves, say what your colleague says, don’t anger the right, make the US look good, etc.

  7. par4

    One of the most insidious aspects of American propaganda is that reasonably intelligent people refuse to believe they’re being manipulated. Hermann and Chomsky’s work ‘Manufacturing Consent’ should be studied by all Americans. I consider it ‘Understanding Propaganda 101’.

    1. PQS

      Amen to that. What is issued forth on Faux News and even in the “regular” news outlets (to a lesser degree) is pure propaganda and very sophisticated propaganda, at that.

      And I second the notion above that many well educated people, comforatable in their own bubbles, do not want to know. Yet I can’t entirely blame them – learned helplessness is a facet of endless propaganda exposure. And how many times has anyone been shown that protest works?

  8. Bob Siver

    “The media are not on the side of the citizens. The corporations are not on the side of the citizens. Nor are the politicians and regulators on the side of the citizens.”
    The media are the corporations are the politicians and regulators.
    I’m 55, and I don’t remember things ever being substantially different. Robert Parry had to write books to report on Reagan’s Central American wars. The tendency to romanticize the past makes us forget that George Seldes and I.F. Stone weren’t ever the norm in American journalism.

  9. Mamzer ben Zonah

    At the risk of being labeled “anti-Semitic” I would be remiss if I did not raise the almost complete lack of coverage of the actions the “settlers” in the Occupied Territories take against the Palestinian people.

    Typically numerous news reports appear in non-American media over a period of months before we see a single report in major American media like the New York Times.

    To see for youself the difference between the news and the news-as-reported-by-the-US-media, simply run the following search every day for a month:

    1. Jojo

      But with all the rest that is going on in the USA and the world, WHY should I/we care more than very superficially about the constant border war that the Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in?

      The Jews and Arabs have been fighting for centuries. They will probably continue doing so until one side eradicates or subjugates the other.

      1. Birch

        You should care in so far as your U.S. tax dollars (and the regime that collects them) support aparteid. The victims of said aparteid, and all the palestinian sympathisers around the world are very aware of the U.S. support of aparteid, and it will continue to affect our treatment of and behaviour toward the U.S. for a very long time to come.

        1. Sharonsj

          Israel is not an apartheid country; you do not understand the definition of the term. In fact, Jordan is an apartheid country: it refuses to allow Jews to become citizens or own land. Further, the Palestinians practice apartheid; according to their charter, no Jews are allowed to live within lands the Palestinians deem Arab–even areas where Jews lived previously. So Gaza is now completely empty of all Jews and the Palestinians hope to evict all Jews from the West Bank, no matter how many centuries Jews might have lived there. Finally, the Muslims have also made sure to chase out the Christians as well, but that is never covered in the media.

  10. Jim the Skeptic

    From Post: Buried in the story was this line: “The German magazine Der Spiegel told The New York Times it would report the Saudi warnings in its editions next week, and the American officials confirmed them to The Times.”

    So the source for the information/warning was Saudi Intelligence. Does anyone believe that they wanted this printed in the newspaper? Did this leak endanger any of their peoples’ lives? Will they give us a direct warning the next time or will it be some amorphous hint of a rumor, leaked to the USA officials just to cover their ass?

    How much did we gain from this leak and was it worth the potential cost?

  11. otto

    The USA’s perception of South American affairs, when compared to the way life really gets lived down here (me live S.Am) is as disparate as it gets and is driven by news media coverage of the region. This one is as old as the hills.

    1. purple

      S America has many problems but overall it is clearly making progress on them on many fronts, usually with a general love of life, while the U.S. is retreating with a distinctly nasty tone. Even the mine rescue in Chile – does anyone doubt that would have been a fiasco in the U.S. ?

      1. dondino

        Was it not a US company,personnel and technology that made the rescue possible?? Get off the piss on America train already!!

        1. Birch

          “Get off the piss on America train already!!”

          That ain’t gonna happen for a long, long time. It’s the most happening train going.

  12. Itamar Turner-Trauring

    It’s not just US media. The Economist’s “reporting” on the latest Wikileaks document dump was mostly a long rant about how Julian Assange is a terrible terrible person.

  13. Jim Haygood

    A rare counterexample of a U.S. newspaper actually going out on a limb to embarrass the government can be found in today’s NYT. Michael Moss reports on the scientifically fraudulent manner in which U.S. government-funded Dairy Management is pushing sales of cheese products loaded with saturated fat. Excerpt:

    One such study [on alleged weight loss benefits of dairy consumption] was conducted by Jean Harvey-Berino, chairwoman of the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont. “I think they felt they had a lot riding on it,” she said of the weight loss claim, “and felt it was a cash cow if it worked out.”

    “I’m a big promoter of dairy,” she added, noting that her research was also paid for by Dairy Management.

    But by 2004, her study had found no evidence of weight loss. She said Dairy Management took the news poorly, threatening to audit her work. She said she was astonished when the organization pressed on with its ad campaign.

    “I thought they were crazy, and that eventually somebody would catch up with them,” she said.

    Her study was published in 2005, and at scientific meetings she heard from other researchers who also failed to confirm Dr. Zemel’s work, including Dr. Jack A. Yanovski, an obesity unit chief at the National Institutes of Health.

    But in late 2006, Dairy Management was still citing the weight-loss claim in urging the Agriculture Department not to cut the amount of cheese in federal food assistance programs.

    On this issue, the Times at least can hide behind the skirt of the First Lady, who’s been campaigning for a healthier diet to counter obesity.

    But obviously the press isn’t going to stick its neck out on Serious Subjects such as finance and war.

    If Dairy Management is this dishonest, just imagine how flagrantly corrupt the financial industry is — with banks owning the quasi-governmental Federal Reserve, and investment banks slotting in their own ringers to loot the Treasury.

    And of course, the raison d’être of their centrally-planned, ‘non revenue-constrained’ fiat currency system is to serve as a system of war finance for the global US military empire.

    No gold money, no peace. The license to print is the license to kill.

  14. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

    I happened to be living in France in the autumn of 1972 when democratically elected Salvador Allende in Chile was overthrown by Augusto Pinochet in a violent coup. The French Press – Le Monde included – reported the event as a coup orchestrated by the US. Made no bones about it. When I returned to the US there was “suspicion” of US involvement but it never gained any traction. Now we all know different. But Kissinger et al still walk free… So this media self-censorship is nothing new. A quick review of how coups are reported in this country – Guatemala, Iraq, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Pakistan, and elsewhere will verify this. It’s all about freedom alright, but only our version of it.

    “Journalists” know intuitively – the inner cop – that reporting news or presenting it in a way contrary to the party line will be detrimental to their careers. It’s no different in the oppression of daily life. When’s the last time you told your boss to fuck off – that he/she was full of shit and didn’t know what they were talking about? Even if a bit more diplomatically perhaps? What passes for investigtive journalism today is a far cry from the days of the “muckrakers”… even Woodward and Bernstein. We’ve come a long way baby!!

    We acquiesce, if not consciously then subconsciously, to wrongs/evil/corruption that take place everyday in our daily lives. The illusion of freedom is more important than freedom itself [whatever it may mean to each of us]. Reinforcing the latter, however, is this “inner cop” internalized from birth in each of us that kicks in to remind us of what happens to free thinkers… aka troublemakers. [That “free thinkers” are deemed troublemakers in a scoiety that exalts the individual is perhaps the most striking testimonial to this illusion of freedom.] Even one’s children, the mortgage, employment – the American version of freedom and the good life – have all been transformed into mechanisms of oppression that have undermined both. This trap of freedom renders overt repression unnecessary. The “iron heel” of fascism has been closeted and replaced with the velvet glove of market totalitarianism – at least for the time being. But knowing that the “iron heel” is there makes having to resort to it more the exception than the rule. Is it any surprise that American TV is dominated by law enforcement shows from CSI in New York, Miami, and LA, to Criminal Minds just to name a few? To what purpose – entertainment? What is the real message?

    Even if you are aware of this aforementioned trap – the game – and do your utmost to “escape from freedom” you often find yourself swimming alone in an ocean of acquiescence to it. Because one thing the mainstream media and other cultural forces are tasked with is convincing US just how free we really are. Over and over, day in and day out, the message is the same. Even “dissent” is tolerated, if not exploited, to convince US how free we really are. Most Americans are so thoroughly indoctrinated that it never occurs to them that there is a contradiction between their good life and freedom as they equate one with the other. Even if they should have an epiphany – that moment – the “inner cop” is there to remind them of their children, the mortgage, car payments… Our “property” has come to own us – not the reverse.

    But to acquiece one has to be cognizant of the forces to which he is acquiescing. Hence, it may not be acquiescence but actual endorsement. Simply put: This is as good as it gets!

    The presumed apathy or sense of powerlessness proffered to explain this lack of indignation/resistance by the “oppressed” may obscure how the manufacturing of consent” results in both. More than once, conservative pundits/academics have argued that lack of civic involvement, participation, even voting, is an indication of CONTENTMENT – not apathy or powerlessness. That all is well in the best of all possible worlds. Those thinking otherwise are just malcontents who will never be happy. Narcotics – legal and illegal, alcohol, sex, and sports have become the new opiates now that God is dead!

    Not all segments of the population suffer from this illusion of freedom but, by and large, they have been marginalized. The largely white, suburban middle classes are the largest school of fish swimming in this ocean. Yet their Black, Asian and Hispanic neighbors are no less immune to the dominant themes proffered by the grinding wheel of market totalitarianism. If anything, these ethnic minorities reinforce the American dream of upward social mobility, believing in it even more than their white neighbors. Nevertheless they all are the bulwark of the dominant ideology. ETHNICITY, moreso than CLASS, may be the dominant fault line in American politics, one in which white America has thrown its lot in with corporate America. Where else is it going to go? Corporate America is the only game in town for white, suburban America. And even while its ranks are being thinned by corporate America, those who remain hope to “conserve” what they already have. Wasn’t it the middle classes who voted overwhelmingly for Adolf Hitler? Reagan Democrats… white suburban voters…

    Here though the media does not censor itself, reporting faithfully how the middle class is declining so as to reinforce the fear that who’s next may be none other than… This too facilitates acquiescence to the velvet glove.

    So self-censorship, whether by the media or the individual, may be the most sinister facet of market totalitarianism insofar as its internalization by the inner cop is deemed essential to “survival” in such an environment. But recognizing this, refusing to believe it, and choosing judiciously when to fight and when not to is what makes our “escape from freedom” essential to its defeat. Free thinkers, not beholden to any ideology, are the best antidote to all forms of totalitarianism.

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Good read Mickey! Regarding this;

      “More than once, conservative pundits/academics have argued that lack of civic involvement, participation, even voting, is an indication of CONTENTMENT – not apathy or powerlessness. That all is well in the best of all possible worlds.”


      “Overall, turnout in the midterm elections was projected at 42 percent of registered voters, about 1.2 percentage points higher than in 2006.”

      That means 58% BOYCOTTED the elections and stayed home in spite of massive expenditures to ‘get out the vote’ and in spite of the piss poor economy. It has nothing to do with apathy or contentment. The people are on to the electoral scam and they see that they have been brainwashed to false values. There IS NO Republican mandate. This was a definite ‘NO CONFIDENCE IN THIS CROOKED GOVERNMENT’ mandate when that many people BOYCOTT the vote. When that many people BOYCOTT the elections the government has no legitimacy, it has no validation, it is a hijacked corrupt government!

      But you will never see that correct and opposing viewpoint from the central banks Mr. Global Propaganda. We should all be rubbing their noses in the glaringly obvious shunning of their illegal and immoral power in this last sham election.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Thank you, Sir!

        As I wrote on Election Day, in response to an essay lauding Australia’s compulsory voting, shunning the polls is a thoughtful and responsible course of action in the absence of a NOTA (‘None of the Above’) ballot option.

        If we can bring the 58% majority of election boycotters up to 80 or 90% next time, the rotten-from-within duopoly may simply collapse, as eastern Europe’s petrified communist regimes did when the people simply withdrew their consent.

        1. Jojo

          If we can bring the 58% majority of election boycotters up to 80 or 90% next time, the rotten-from-within duopoly may simply collapse, as eastern Europe’s petrified communist regimes did when the people simply withdrew their consent.
          No, all that will occur is that the remaining 10-20% who DO vote will make the political choices for you. You may be sitting smug and self-satisfied but it will be in an environment that was not of your own making.

          1. i on the ball patriot

            Really? 10 to 20% voter sustained government?

            You will be sitting in an environment with a failed government that has no legitimacy.

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      2. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

        I on the Ball..

        When you state:

        “That means 58% BOYCOTTED the elections and stayed home in spite of massive expenditures to ‘get out the vote’ and in spite of the piss poor economy. It has nothing to do with apathy or contentment. The people are on to the electoral scam and they see that they have been brainwashed to false values.”

        I choose to disagree. Boycotting an election implies an active choice NOT to vote. It could just as easily be spun by a conservative that a significant proportion of 58% of the eligible electorate are CONTENT – that vast silent majority – and chose not to vote.
        Historically and by West European standards, voter turnout in the US has always been lower than elsewhere. You choose to explain it as conscious decision-making in spite of much empirical evidence to the contrary.

        So the electoral scam has been apparent to 58% of the American “people” for how long? When are they going to get off their asses and do something about it? Or can we just sit back until this “great awakening” attains critical mass and then… and then… Maybe they’ve concluded instead that it’s the only game in town for now and until a viable alternative is put forward – show me – they’ll grind it out, “boycotting” elections as you say.

        Meanwhile, the 58% who boycotted the election as you say must be prepared to endure the wave of AUSTERITY surely coming their way as a result just like the rest of us. Or do they honestly believe that it’s the other “people” who are going to take it in the ass – not themselves – this time around? So, by not voting, these same people who are cognizant that they’ve been screwed did nothing but bend over. Is that rational self-interest? Does that make sense to you? Willing penitents acquiescing to their own demise? I smell the “false consciousness” argument or the immiseration thesis… both of which are a dead end. Which is it?

        If these same “people” who concsciously boycotted the election were aware of the likely consequences of their actions and still chose to boycott the election hoping for the best, then the indoctrination of these willing penitents is so thorough that the “scam” is even bigger than the electoral scam of which you rant and rave against. It would also suggest that the “great awakening” to this scam which is purportedly taking place has a ways to go before the ruling class will take it seriously and have to suppress it. Meanwhile, they’ll be happy to proffer the argument that voting is a fetter on political decision-making and perhaps elections are no longer necessary, insulating themselves even further from public input. Then what do we boycott?

        In fact, if not voting to take a beating deemed inevitable is the people’s only form of protest then what more could the ruling class wish for? Either way, voting or nonvoting/boycotting results in the same beating and their acquiescence to AUSTERITY, bringing me back to the question of how much pain and suffering are the American “people” willing to endure before they do something about it? And that leads inevitably to the immiseration thesis that things just haven’t gotten bad enough. Yet the obesity of many Americans suggests that there’s quite a bit of dieting to be had before things get to that point, if ever, notwithstanding relative deprivation versus absolute starvation.

        So, what difference does boycotting make if the result is the same – AUSTERITY? The outcome isn’t any different than that resulting from voting is it? Both would seem to yield the same result. But which one offers a non-violent means with which to change the outcome over time? Boycotting or voting?

        We can argue/discuss the merits or symbolic importance of either till the American “people” choose between revolution or reform because that’s where the delegitimation of the “scam” intimated by boycotting argument leads. But when and which one it will be – revolution or reform – are the million dollar questions. “Boycotting” would seem to rule out reform by default wouldn’t it? But it’s a long march from boycotting to revolution. Just remember, revolutions devour their children – even those with the best of intentions.

        With you to the end… regardless of our disagreements.

        1. i on the ball patriot

          Mickey, thanks for the thoughtful response.

          You can choose to disagree if you like but not voting IS an active choice, and yes, the spinning is the issue here. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Put the wealthy elite on the defensive rather than the oppressed citizen who no longer participates out of frustration and disgust. 58% no show – NO CONFIDENCE – is a SIGNIFICANT, an EXTRAORDINARY number, given the miserable shape of the economy. That should be the headline, and a mainstay talking point, on every progressive blog on the planet. That number is glossed over and under reported in the central banks corporate media. As Jim Haygood says above, at 80 to 90% the system may collapse. I believe it would at even less if the BOYCOTTS were well celebrated and organized. It would also grow an underground economy, draw more people into learning, and at the same time would pressure the elite to make concessions. So we get to that pivotal issue, is it too big to fail?

          You appear to believe that it is too big to fail and so we must hang in there and make change from within. I believe it is too corrupt to be viable and any real meaningful and positive change will only come from without.

          I also believe that the Constitution, like software, needs an upgrade, and that as boycotts are mounted and gain in strength the Constitution can be rewritten along the way with an eye to decentralization, sustainability and real responsiveness to the will of the people. As for sorting out the mechanics of the newly formed government that is a task to also be completed along the way. People are engaged, and there is an awakening at all levels of society with much good debate, and more importantly, much learning taking place. When the student is ready the master appears.

          As for the austerity involved that too is a matter of perception of the reality and one’s individual belief. I believe that the austerity is already in the pipe line and it will be very severe and unending. It is my belief that this is a “final solution’ move by the global wealthy elite that will end in a two tier ruler and ruled world. As I said above in my first comment, the Vanilla Greed folks who think that this is just another boom bust cycle are a major impediment to the real change required. They want to believe as you do that it will soon turn around. I don’t see it. I see the death of the middle-class and the underclass in great numbers. This is just another business decision for the global wealthy elite. They created the middle class and used them to ramp up global production for profit and in the process got themselves into a position of unsustainability by over consuming the planet’s resources. Like any business that can not get raw materials they cut back on production and lay people off. In this case though, they are not laying them off, but rather eliminating them, as they, the middle class and under classes, are also the biggest drain on global resources. So, the violence is coming anyway, better to work to unify people under peaceful BOYCOTTS that will educate and reform along the way, rather than to keep them in the old energy dissipating divisive fantasy that will give them no hope and no change and insure their ignorance.

          58% of the people are now ready. They have just proclaimed their dissatisfaction by BOYCOTTING the vote! Add to those who did vote, and lost, and now feel screwed — and believe me they feel screwed — and you have a massive block of dissatisfied students for positive change.

          As a point of interest Mickey, there is also a biblical precedent for shunning, it is to be found in; 2 John 1:10: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,”

          Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

          1. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

            I on the Ball…

            “… if the BOYCOTTS were well celebrated and organized. It would also grow an underground economy, draw more people into learning, and at the same time would pressure the elite to make concessions. So we get to that pivotal issue, is it too big to fail?”

            Now the debate has switched to broader, more widespread boycotts which, I agree, could lead to something more fundamental and lasting. But that isn’t where we started.

            Moreover, you’re asserting that 58% of the electorate consciously boycotted the election in protest, an interpretation which I do find hard to believe. For as I said, it’s a long march from boycotts to revolution. Let’s not talk falsely now for the hour is getting late… Is there any empirical evidence to support your assertion? Granted it will be hard to find given the implications/ramifications. But…

            Elites need not concede anything so long as “troops” remain loyal and follow orders. The forces of repression are already in place. American elites have not hesitated to resort to force in the past when intimidation and threats did not suffice. Be assured that they will not refrain from violence this time around.

            I would not deny that we are in the midst of a sea change. Something is afoot. But what it is isn’t exactly clear. I do not have the certitude that you seem to. I too was once in revolutionary mode and have witnessed its derailment and the subsequent counterrevolution/reaction that came in its wake. Perhaps this time around it will be different. I certainly hope so…

          2. i on the ball patriot

            Mickey, you demand empirical evidence from me when you should be demanding empirical evidence from those who claim people don’t vote because they are apathetic or content. Where is there empirical evidence of this contentment? And would you believe it anyway?

            Not voting IS a conscious action, especially when the omnipresent harangue is on to get people out to vote and all are aware of it. 58% NOT VOTING IS a concerted — an act performed in unison — refusal to participate, it is a MASSIVE expression of disapproval. It is, in its totality, a gross rejection of the scam electoral process. Apathy and Indifference have a cause Mickey. There is a reason for apathy and indifference — it is disgust with the crooked, rigged process! In spite of the terrible economic conditions they BOYCOTT the process in unison.

            People know that when you play in a crooked game you only serve to validate and legitimize that game. What that overwhelming majority of people are saying, what that FIFTY EIGHT FUCKING PERCENT of the electorate are saying, is,”Screw you crooked scam government! I will not waste my time and I will not lend my good name to legitimizing your sorry ass existence and your gross deception!”

            Regarding this; “Elites need not concede anything so long as “troops” remain loyal and follow orders.”

            Troops and cops (who should be drafted for short duration duty anyway, something to be addressed in the new Constitution) should be thinking right now just how loyal do they really want to be when 58% of the electorate are BOYCOTTING the elections and a good half of those that did vote are disappointed with the results. Emphasizing and growing that BOYCOTT number will be cause for reflection in all of us. It is hard to get troops and cops to remain loyal when they are asked to turn their weapons on their own families.

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

          3. Anon

            What the 58% lack is coordination and a shared vision. Just agreeing that the current socioeconomic system in the US is hopelessly corrupt and dysfunctional isn’t enough to motivate people to action. But it’s very likely far too late for revolution. The power of America, Inc. is too asymmetric to be stopped by ‘we the people’. We’ve created a juggernaut that cannot be stopped. I just hope it self-destructs before it destroys all hope for the future.

          4. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

            I on the Ball..

            “58% of the people are now ready. They have just proclaimed their dissatisfaction by BOYCOTTING the vote! Add to those who did vote, and lost, and now feel screwed — and believe me they feel screwed — and you have a massive block of dissatisfied students for positive change.”

            I missed this jewel… Ready for what? Positive change? Who will provide it? Labor? Or will it emerge spontaneously? Ohioans have been hollowed out and outsourced for over 30 years and one would think there would be some evidence of this massive discontent which you claim – a readiness for positive change. [Perhaps I bear some of the responsibility for this not happening in Ohio but I have tried both inside and outside of the political process – forgive me for not succeeding.] But, believe me, I can’t find it or see it. I can only wish for a “Velvet Revolution” like that witnessed in Eastern Europe. But somehow my reading of American elites suggests otherwise. They won’t concede without a fight… VIOLENCE is second nature to them.

            Your comment regarding “troops and cops” reflects a political naivete that is outright dangerous. And I’m being kind in my choice of words here. We’re not talking about local cops or state National Guard but elite, thoroughly indoctrinated FEDERAL shock troops trained explicitly for the purpose of repression/suppression [law and order] – who won’t hesitate to shoot if ordered to do so! Moreover, they won’t be shooting THEIR families and friends, but ours! The notorious and brutal “paramilitary” death squads schooled at Ft. Benning – the School of the Americas – were trained by Americans! Do you think that this training has no domestic implications – that the “law” prevents its usage against American citizens? C’mon now… When has that stopped the powers that be? It’s precisely this kind of chiliastic, millenarian, subjectivist, wishful thinking that gets people killed without resulting in anything positive, except perhaps to remove the “illusions” between the rulers and the ruled. But in many ways the inner cop of the ruled already know this…

            Surely with 58% of the population disaffected and pissed off there should be some “anecdotal” evidence that they are ready for positive change beyond not voting. Where is it? Tea Party anger and frustration may be symptomatic of this disaffection but I seriously doubt that this is what you have in mind. Besides, they voted! So they’re not part of your 58% by definition, right?

            Perhaps my perspective is jaded and worn by age, ravaged by 40 years of counterrevolution, but as you say repeatedly deception is the strongest force on the planet. It surely is. I just don’t know if it’s your’s or mine or if it even matters. Perhaps it’s somewhere in between…

          5. i on the ball patriot

            Mickey said; “I missed this jewel… Ready for what? Positive change? Who will provide it? Labor? Or will it emerge spontaneously? Ohioans have been hollowed out and outsourced for over 30 years and one would think there would be some evidence of this massive discontent which you claim – a readiness for positive change.”

            Those that disengage from the energy dissipating system will provide it Mickey. The student will become his own master and as he/she sheds the propaganda positive change will occur. Yes, Ohioans are hollowed out, as are great swathes of scamerica, and they need to band together to force change that will honor their local economies. Boycotting the vote does not mean one disengages totally from the system, that would be impossible. You have to have a drivers license, insurance, obey speed limits, etc., You still must obey the law but you do not have to respect it, and you can still use what it offers to build a better world locally in Ohio or any where else in scamerica. Yes, there are still a lot of good people in government, but they are mostly at lower non policy making echelons, that can work and are willing to work when deprogrammed to make Ohio more sustainable and self controlling. They will respond when they understand the scams. This is about reclaiming autonomy from corruption. The corruption based in the system at all levels. The corruption that is sustained first by the crooked electoral process. We did not get fucked up all at once Mickey, an so we will not get unfucked up all at once. Take a look at attempters last few blog posts and read this link about what is going on in Ohio in regarding local sustainable farming, and keep in mind that a great part of the BOYCOTT action is to pressure the existing power structure to change. Constitutional revisions can, and have come from within, but they have always been accompanied by civil disobedience pressure against and outside the system. You are on one side of the street and I am on the other but it is possible to work both sides of the street. Here is the link, early summer but it still makes the point. And one does not have to become a farmer, think about supplying the needs of these farmers and getting them access to markets …


            And yes, I am aware the elite are psychopathic pricks and that they have goon squads that are non localized, and even localized as I have been subject to their machinations, and even that when you speak out that you are subject to having drugs and weapons dropped in your car or kiddy porn planted on your computer, etc., but bottom line that is the reality that we must courageously face and challenge. That challenge will not be made in their system voting booths. By talking about and demanding short term duty cycle cops and troops we get the discussion going that will be a platform to inform more people of the real dangers behind the mask, that knowledge is power …

            Silver Avenger …

            Then out spake elder senior,
            The avenger now first rate,
            “To every man who has been screwed
            Death cometh soon or late,
            When age compels your exit,
            Go not in vain say I,
            With careful aim aforethought,
            Avenged in glory you can die …

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    2. DownSouth

      I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. The majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.
      –Tocqueville, Democracy in America

      The old Jacksonville resonances of Whig-Democratic conflict containing as they did still older rhythms of the Jeffersonian-Federalist struggle, were all but obliterated by the massive realignment of party constituencies that had accompanied the war and its aftermath. The memories and even some of the slogans of ancestral debates still persisted in the postwar American ethos, but they no longer possessed a secure political home. Sectional, religious, and racial loyalties and prejudices were used to organize the nation’s two major parties into vast coalitions that ignored the economic interests of millions.


      Everywhere—-North and South, among Republicans and Democrats—-business and financial entrepreneurs had achieved effective control of a restructured American party system.
      –Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment

      Democratic movements are initiated by people who have individually managed to attain a high level of personal political self-respect [what Martin Luther King called a “sense of somebodiness”]. They are not resigned; they are not intimidated. To put it another way, they are not culturally organized to conform to established hierarchical forms. Their sense of autonomy permits them to dare to try to change things by seeking to influence others.
      –Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment

  15. Jim

    Three to four years into this accelerating financial/economic/cultural crisis there are the rough beginnings of the formulation of some strategic way out which, in turn, are largely dependent on one’s degree of optimism about whether the struucture of power in this country is reformable.

    On this blog, the reform camp seems to fall into two major groupings–those on the liberal/left of the political spectrum who seem to still hope that getting the right set of political candidates into Congress and the administration (for example some of the MMTers) will once again allow the Government to act in the best interests of the American public. There seems to be a similar hope on the right side of the politcal spectrum (among a portion of the Tea party groupings) that getting enough committed “Conservatives” to Congress will also be able to turn the country around.

    Those more skeptical of the possibilities of reform (including libertarian, anarchist, decentralist, federalist, socialist groupings) point to the necessity of major structual/cultural/economic transformations. In my opinion these tendencies have the more accurate analysis but have no concrete plans for mobilizaing the populace in order to reach their goals (which at this point are also vague).

    Back in the 1880s-1890s the agrarian populists had a plan for mobilization built around farmers cooperatives and the institutionalization of an alternative system of credit allocation (various sub-treasuries spread around the county).

    In the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s local communites in the South were mobilized through boycotts, sit-ins, public passive resistance and rhetoric reminding us that we were all sinners.

    In the early 1980s in Poland, Solidarity formulated the strategic goal of a free trade union independent of the state and their plan for political mobilization centered around an occupation strike (at the Lenin Shipyard) an interfactory strike committee that would become the negotiating agent with the state, and a network of couriers which kept the rest of the country informed as regional strikes in the Baltic area began to spread.

    For the 10 to 20 percent of the American population who do pay attention to political events an important question becomes–how are social movements created?

    Is conceptual intelligence enough? Do the American people have enough social experience in movement building to be able to formulate a new strategy for political mobilization?

    1. Jackrabbit

      . . . more accurate analysis but have no concrete plans for mobilizaing the populace . . .

      I think many who believe that we need structural change believe that it will not be possible until the populace is totally outraged. Until then, anyone who questions the two party system, free markets, etc. is treated as a loony agitator.

    2. DownSouth


      What I get from The Populist Moment is that the time must be right, the target audience which one wants to organize must be ready and receptive to new ideas. It’s not at all clear how that happens:

      The literature on perceptions suggests that, however they come to be formed, the beliefs…are slow to change…

      Students of cognitive processes have focused on crises or dramatic events as the most likely agents of attitude change. Drawing on evidence from behavioral psychology, Robert Jervis concludes that individuals are able to dismiss or absorb bits of “discrepant information” that might call an accepted belief into question if they arrive slowly and one at a time. Conversely, bad news is usually hardest to handle when it comes in large batches. For this reason Jervis believes that “in politics, sudden events influence images more than do slow developments.”

      This view has a certain intuitive appeal, but it is by no means undisputed. In a study of public opinion that may also have some relevance to the analysis of elite attitudes, Karl Deutsch and Richard Merritt conclude that even spectacular events usually do not result in massive or permanent shifts in collective beliefs. Cumulative events tend to have a larger influence over long periods of time (“perhaps two decades or more”), but, the authors find, “often it takes the replacement of one generation by another to let the impact of external changes take its full effect.”
      –Aaron L. Friedberg, The Weary Titan

      1. DownSouth

        When the sea change comes, however, it will probably be on us before most of us even realize it:

        The precise point at which the scales of power turn…is imperceptible to common observation…some progress must be made in the new direction, before the change is perceived. They who are in the sinking scale…do not easily come off from the habitual prejudices of superior wealth, or power, or skill, or courage, nor from the confidence that these prejudices inspire. They who are in the rising scale do not immediately feel their strength, nor assume that confidence in it which successful experience gives them afterwards. They who are the most concerned to watch the variations of this balance, misjudge often in the same manner, and from the same prejudices. They continue to dread a power no longer able to hurt them, or they continue to have no apprehension of a power that grows daily more formidable.
        –Lord Bolingbroke

  16. Tom Hickey

    I have had my nose in this for years. The US media is one giant propaganda machine when it isn’t just a pure entertainment vehicle. I read it only to see what disinformation is being distributed in Dumbfuckistan. Otherwise, it is just a comic strip.

  17. Norman

    Up until the middle of September of this year, I received the Pakistan news, which is an eye opener about what goes on there & in Afghanistan too. Perhaps it’s because the stories were getting too close to what the U.S.Government was doing there in country. The whole effort there is beyond belief. We can look at what has taken place in this country as far as no two so called intelligence agencies share information, as to what takes place over there. Censorship keeps us ignorant as to the real happenings over there. As the saying seems to bear out, “an informed citizenship, is a dangerous citizenship, to the ones in power.

    1. DownSouth

      “…an informed citizenship, is a dangerous citizenship, to the ones in power.”

      However specious in theory the project might be of giving education to the laboring classes of the poor, it would be prejudicial to their morals and happiness; it would teach them to despise their lot in life instead of making them good servants in agriculture and other laborious employments; instead of teaching them subordination it would render them fractious and refractory as was evident in the manufacturing counties; it would enable them to read seditious pamphlets, vicious books and publications against Christianity; it would render them insolent to their superiors and in a few years the legislature would find it necessary to direct the strong arm of power against them.
      –M. Giddy, President of the Royal Society, in testimony before English Parliament, 1807

  18. Hugh

    For many of us, the turning point was the Iraq war. Dissatisfaction with the press had been there before. Just remember all the lunacy around the Clinton impeachment and whether his penis bent to the left or the right. The difference in 2003-2004 was that we had the internet. Before this, the blogosphere had been sort of a boutique kind of affair. At this point in time, however, it became a place where the unofficial censorship of American news could be gotten around. It wasn’t just access to foreign news sources. It was all the material hiding in plain sight, and available on the web: legal opinions, government reports, government data, archives of what political leaders had said now and in the past, how they were reported, who are elites really were. Suddenly, these were no longer names on page. They were people with histories written on by people with histories, and both what they said and what was reported could be verified via third parties or source documents. And this was something we didn’t have to do completely by ourselves. It was a communal enterprise. My ideas and information might get improved by someone else’s insights and information. They might be able to steer me to sources and sites that might have even better information and analysis. And I could be doing the same for them. It was community education at its best.

    At the same time, it has been a very sobering experience. I read traditional news sources now, not for primary information acquisition but to see how the news is being spun. When I listen to media reporters, pundits, politicians, and government officials, the main question I have is how much of what I see or hear is ignorance and how much outright lying. I wonder what the hidden agendas are, what self-serving narratives are being created, and how they are being used. The one thing I don’t experience, and haven’t for years, and in retrospect even decades, is real information being imparted to me in a straightforward fashion, the occasional piece by Bill Moyers, now sadly retired, excepted.

  19. Jim

    Down South

    I have long been a fan of Larry Goodwin’s historical writing. One of the points which Goodwin has made is that the emergence of social movements in the U.S. and other places tends to be described through elaborate metaphors from nature. Movements often “flare-up” and “gather steam” “boil” then “burst into flame” andd “burn like a prarie fire” before, in time, “flickering out.”

    He also says that a social movement is often described as a “gathering storm” which “sweeps like a cyclone” They are also understood as liquid in form, the “wash” against the established order sometimes like a “tidal wave” before they “drain away.”

    I believe the point that he is trying to make is that most descriptions of social movements are located securely outside the social movement that is being characterized. He calls it a “view from afar.”

    There tends to be no historical causation in such descriptions. But these same descriptions conceal the actual historical actors. That is why his book on American populism was so ground-breaking. He identified the actual individuals, tactics and strategy of the Agrarian revolt.

    I guess my working hypthosis is that large-scale democratic social movements only are built by human actors involved in movement building. They happen then, when they are organized.

    It is also true that this is a process we know little about. Most scholars do not take the time or have the interest in capturing the original insurgents and thus the details are handled by lazy metaphors.

    Successful strategy and tactics do not just fall from the sky. Insurgency is usally an idea which takes form among a tiny group of people, usually in some isolated space. Soon such people try to communicate to the larger society.

    Over the past few years Naked Capitalism has partially been a forum about such issues Much of our commentary on social change has dealt with visualizing an appealing political goal rather than the strategy and tactics needed to recruit people to reach such a goal.

    It is my firm belied that mere exhortation passes over a number of key components crucial to the creation of an organized democratic movement.

    The American populists, the civil rights movement, the Solidarity movement in Poland knew what acts to perform to recruit enough people to bring their long cherised goals within practical social reach.

    It seems to me that it is now a social necessity that the social experience of organizing, which is intricate, painful and even dangerously learned, be more carefully examined.

    The mobilizing success of Solidarity occurred in conditions
    where the Leninist system of production was breaking down which eventually led the entire Soviet sphere to an economic/cultural/political crisis.

    My suspicion is that conditions in the U.S. are not what is holding us back–in our hearts all of us want and need a new democratic country–it is finding a concrete way to get it–that is now the primary organizing issue.

  20. Harry Shearer

    Other examples? The world press reported the comments of three high-ranking intel officials (Dr. Brian Jones-UK, Greg Thielmann-US, Andrew Willkie-Aus) before the Iraq War, saying publicly that the intel did not say what US-UK officials claimed. Their names were never mentioned in mainstream US media, including NPR.
    Or…the flooding of New Orleans, 2005. Mainstream media continued, even through their fifth anniversary coverage, with the meme that this was a “natural disaster”. Those words even came out of the President’s mouth on both his visits to the city. That approach ignores the conclusions of two independent forensic investigations (ILIT from UC Berkeley, Team Louisiana from LSU) that “Katrina” in New Orleans was actually, quoting the ILIT co-author, “the greatest man-made engineering catastrophe since Chernobyl”. This information has been on the public record since 2006. NPR wouldn’t even let a documentary containing this material, focusing on the lead investigators, be accurately advertised in “underwriting announcements”.

  21. PJM

    Maybe some americans are turning to the real issues in those days: american political system is very similar to old days in Mussolinis Italy and the mainstream press works with the government.

    The best way to cjeck this is the mainstream media making propaganda do global warming fraud/climate change rubbish, to help PRs of government to implement some old nazi recyclced ideology. Like eugenics, population controles, police state, big brothers surveillence, and so on.

    Is really sad to see people believing in some old nazi ideas, like to put american population living like before the industrail revolution and even believing its time to force populations reducing policies.

    Its really sad to see today the same sceintific frauds justo to implement ideology. Like in the thirties in Germany. Who is really sad.

    Peak oil mamboo jamboo and global warming fear-terrorism its onlye one face of the nasty behaviour of mainstream media.

    Nobody cares about american/allies crimes agaisnt humanity; the bad behaviour of outr troops in some wars; etc. Its really scare how wu close the eyes to crimes agaisnt Humanity just because theyre “them”. The other. The “enemy”.

    Its really scare. Thats why USA is really in troubles because the world are getting upset with this current american behaviour. Not only about militar wars but even currency wars, trade wars, QU, and so on.

    Can we, the world, trust in USA Can we really trust as a reliable ally? Not really. Everyone is complaining agaisnt USA.

    Some americans claim that China doesnt want to negotiate with USA. Ist that what is hapenning? Its true that China doenst want to make some deals with USA?

    In fact its USA who is trying to impose his views and interests to the worlds. The currency and trade war is a fact: USA is doing a war against some international players.

    Some months ago a lot of suspections were spread telling us that USA wanted to implode the €urosystem. But nobody believed in mainstrean media an opinion makers. Now wre seeing QE as a war tool agaisnt some countries, like China and Germany. Others are complainning too, like Brasil, South Korea, etc. Ah some countries are puting some capital controles because too many cheap dollars and yens are fleeing to others countries.

    In fact, the current USA are doing the same mistakes of mr. Bushs USA. Imposing his view, wishs and interests to the world. And these mistakes is another nail in american empire cauffin.

    What is sad is seeing americans closing their eyes to this rogue behaviour. And seeing the press controlled by the government and opinion makers searching for exterior scapegoats.

    Hey! This is the new Weimar Republic! Weake up, good americans. Dont loose your soul. Please, its time to really weak from your worst illusions or we, the world, will live the worst nightmare. Glup!

    1. PJM

      I see the news and I get scared:

      “China oferece ajuda a Portugal para «enfrentar impactos da crise»”

      [China offers help to Portugal to “fight crisis impact”. My own translation]


      What this deal means, nobody really knows. But we know is this: China is a dicatorship who is playing the game as USA in the past. But using less militar power and more financial power.

      To me is very sad this kind of news. Not because I hate chiense but because I hate chinese political system.

      But in these days as in the past, who has money has the potential militar power and political power. And China is doing a lot to be a realiable ally of… Europe. And USA behaviour is doing more for this new reality, China and European common interests, that is true sad.

      Some leaks are saying that China is buying portuguese assets, like sovereign debt and even stocks. And this agreemet could be another political framework to implement some more close relations and interests between my cowntry and China.

      What is fact is this: the dollar and the yen is exporting so much liquity than even my Cowntry can have some money from this tool of trade and currency war. In fact, the €uro is the main beneficiary of this liquidity trap of japanese and americans.

      I really dont understand what is behind international relations policies in Washignton. But maybe americans arent seeing how the world is changing and how USA have been trapped by their own mistakes.

      Who really controls USA foreign policy? What is their purpose? We in Europe dont understand USA anymore.

      And when Europe and USA are beeing more and more in opposite views of the world and even between our close relationship… Something is wrong in todays OTAN relationship.

      And after the economic, trade and currencies wars comes… Militar war. Pfffff!

      1. Externality

        Constitutional Dictator (and Maximum Leader) Ben Bernanke Issues New Stimulus Plan Without Congressional Approval


        So here’s what happened. On Tuesday the voters gave the Republicans control of the House of Representatives and several Senate seats because they opposed bank bailouts and Obama’s stimulus plan. As a result, Barack Obama understands that he won’t be able to pass a new stimulus bill to improve the economy. The newly elected Republicans simply won’t stand for it, and many Democrats are just too scared of what the public would say.

        Indeed, if President Obama had showed up at the press conference immediately following the elections and announced that regardless of the results of the elections, he was proposing a new 600 billion dollar stimulus plan, and that he expected Congress to pass it immediately, reporters would have thought he was delusional.

        Now imagine that President Obama said: “And if Congress doesn’t act immediately to pass my 600 billion dollar stimulus package, I’ll simply enact it myself without Congress.” Reporters would have thought he was doubly delusional. And a dictator to boot!

        Now imagine that President Obama also said: “And, you know what, I’m going to structure my new 600 billion dollar stimulus by giving the banks windfall profits. That’s right, the very same banks that got those lovely bailouts before!” The Republicans’ heads would explode!

        So what exactly did Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke do on that very same Wednesday? He ordered the Fed to purchase 600 billion dollars of United States bonds. Who owns those bonds? Well, um, banks, investment banks, brokerage houses and other financial institutions; you know, many of the same players who got those lovely bailouts that the voters hated so much. And by purchasing 600 billion dollars in bonds in a relatively short period of time, he is effectively driving up their price, thereby giving a windfall to their owners. (Even better: many of the owners are in foreign countries– so it’s effectively a bailout for foreign banks too! I’m sure the voters will love that.)

        1. PJM

          This happens because FED uses his mandatory power and authority to declare trade and currency wars in sted protect the american people.

          Of course everybody now expects a long wave of inflation in USA. To protect who? Bankers? Elites? The Government?

          Who will the net gainers of inflation? The middle class? The poor? Who?

          But to me, is a question of time until we will see hyperinflation in USA. I dont believe that the FED will sustain the dollar if the world run away from the dollar.

          Smels Weimar Republic.

    2. Externality

      QE is not benefiting average Americans either. Savings accounts and CDs are being devalued, and the Consumer Price Index, after being “corrected” by the Clinton administration (and supporters like Krugman) is designed to devalue pensions, Social Security, and purportedly inflation-protected bonds such as TIPS and I-Bonds. Stock prices, measured in constant dollars, are not compensating for the loss of purchasing power.

      The goal of QE is to allow the international bankers and a few wealthy demographic groups to extract their money from the US before an inflationary or deflationary collapse, or the US is pushed, by the elites, into a war against countries such as China and/or Iran. Americans have no real say: no matter who we elect, the government follows the same policies on _substantive_ issues such as the economy and defense issues.

      Many of the architects of these policies, who serve or served in the Obama administration, did the same thing to Russia and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to Asians during the Asian economic crisis, to Mexico during their economic crisis, to Argentinians, etc. Larry Summers, Tim Geither, and others are doing to the United States what, during the 1990s, they did to these other countries: destroying the countries’ middle class while strip-mining assets for wealthy oligarchs. They continue to defend, for example, Russian oligarchs who were imprisoned by Putin or who fled, with their wealth, to the UK or Israel.

    3. Birch


      The mainstream take on climate change, with all its twisted manipulation, has no bearing on the reality that climate is changing very rapidly. Where I live, average annual temperatures have already risen by more than 2 degrees C since the 70s, and the results would be catastrophic to human habitation and lives if there were more than a handful of people living here. Climate change here is old news – the change we already see on the land is shocking – so the debate now involves what we have to do to adapt.

      The powers that be support climate change not only because they own the businesses that contribute to it most, but mainly because they own the businesses that profit from disaster. Climate change doesn’t mean having the same weather a couple degrees warmer, rather in means experiencing rare extreme weather disasters with greater frequency. More hurricanes, more floods, more drought, more landslides. With every disaster, middle class people and governments donate lots of money that goes to big corporations who make a business out of disaster relief and reconstruction.

      Doing our best to slow climate change is all about avoiding increased domination by and dependence upon military industrial power – a fight that is consistently lost at every front. There is incredible economic potential in steady-state social systems and renewable technologies, but every tool of rigged market manipulation is used against them.

      The one up side is that we habitually waste so much without even realizing it, that it is very easy to consume way, way less without in the least affecting our comfort or happiness. All we have to do is open our eyes.

      1. PJM

        My dear Birch, give me reliable sources of data to convince me that we live an climate change because human activities.

        The only sources of data are Government agencies who benefits with ecoterrorism. And even these sources are disputed because the know “climategate”.

        In my opinion, this kind of behaviour from american and british government comes from one single fact: USA and UK are now a net importers of crude oil. So they use this theme to scare people, to impose more government intervention, more taxes and even more eugenics policies.

        I remember to you that I read the same scare ecoterrorism some years ago, after to read some articles of mr. John Holdren, who happens to recycle old nazy ideology. But some years ago it was the Ice Age coming, later they change their mind sto Global Warming. But the solar activity is now at minimuns and the groth in temperatures are stopeed, now the sell ecoterrorism like climate change.

        I remember the same ecoterrorism against CFCs because the Ozone Hole. They stopped producing CFCs and the Ozono Hole is widening more than ever, since we have reliable data.

        So, to me, my dear Birch, its the same old bulshit politics. The same used in Germany during the nazism and the same later in URSS, specially the biological discussions about eugenics and agriculture production.

        I dont have any reliable data to prove to me that we live in this kind of crisis. Is the same bulshit used over and over to control population, impose population controls and to benefit the elites and the Government. Nothing this is new, only in the West, where we are believing that we live in free and open societies.

        But if you believe that are the same politicians controled by bankers are telling you the truth about “climate change”… Go ahead. But later dont conplaint to live worst than 100 years ago.

        Thats my point.

        1. Yves Smith Post author


          You are out of your mind. You clearly are so biased that you won’t consider any argument from a legitimate source and will merely dismiss it as somehow government funded.

          Let’s put it this way: even the Society of Petroleum Engineers doesn’t dispute AGW.

          And you are 100% wrong on the US and taxes on oil and gas, and energy generally. They’ve been a logical target for a very long time, given the negative health effects from their use, absent any concerns re global warming. They are and continue to be taxed far less than in pretty much any advanced economy.

          Your willingness to distort the politics of oil in the US shows you to be badly disengaged from reality.

        2. Birch


          My climate change sources include climatologists, permafrost specialists, paleotologists and the like that are university scholars. Some are indirectly funded by government, many by non-profit research organizations funded by philanthropists. My other sources include native and white elders who have watched the weather closely for 80 years or more. My sources are not texts, but lengthy discussions over tea, and extended community meetings where elders and scholars corroberate their observations.

          Another of my sources is my day job as a weather observer. Sure, I’m paid by the government, but weather observation (not meteorology forcasting) is perty dam objective. The rate at which the permafrost flowed into the river this summer was SHOCKING to all those who watched it. Unprecedented, and increasing steadily every year. Retreat of arctic ice pack is not fabricated, we watch it happen. This all might be distant news to you, subject to the interpretation of many middlemen, and liable to manipulation by those with adjendas to further, but I sit where THERE IS NO MIDDLE MAN. I AM WATCHING IT HAPPEN, OBJECTIVELY. I am a primary source. Climate change is happening very rapidly, and denial is a stupid joke.

          My job training took place down river from the Alberta tar sands, a mega project known for creating its own weather. There are whole systems of cumulus clouds that form downwind from the refineries.

          As for government manipulating the coverage of climate change, all I see is denial for political purposes. I havent heard anybody suggest population reduction (eugenics) as a solution, rather reduction of luxurious extravagences and waste. Solar activity is increasing right now, as is normal in this stage of the solar 10 year cycle. CFCs take some 30 years to make it through the stratosphere. Theories of an immenant ice age were a long time ago, and predated all the evidence that has since been gathered regarding CO2 and its effects. Regardless, glodal warming is a misnomer, and if the gulf stream is interrupted (as it was at the end of the last ice age when melting arctic ice flowing south reversed it) Europe could easily experience -30 winters – yes, extreme cold as a part of global warming.

          Climate change isnt used as an argument to control population, it deosnt benefit any government of elites, and every reseacher on the subject except those in the pay of oil companies agree that it is a reality, and it will become an exponentially bigger issue as time goes on.

          And crazy trappers that live in the bush and never listen to the news or read the paper – the ones that go to town once a year – can tell you more about climate change than the most informed urbanite. Why? Because they watch it happen all year long in its most intimate detail.

          1. Skippy

            I salute you sir!

            From the earliest records of mans interaction with his enviroment…there has been cause and effect, it is profound in its SIZE and RAPIDITY.

            Skippy…umm…lifstlye or guilt burden…thats a tough one now…

          2. Paul Reptock

            As one “Crazy trapper” to another, I beg to differ. You may be better situated to recongnise specific changes in climate, but not necessarily to determine the causes.

            As to the elites benifiting from the conflict, I suggest you analyse Mr. Al Gore.

            Skippy; scale is very important. You need to make sure your data is correct.

          3. Birch

            I’m just saying it as I see it, Paul. Yes, causation can be tricky to determine.

            I’m not too concerned with global warming in isolation. It’s an issue of cumulative effects: fracturing of wilderness, biodiversity loss, air water and land pollution, dead zones in the ocean… A big healthy environment can adapt to climate change just fine, but little islands that are suffering from all manner of compromise may not do so well. There may be a tipping point where the Earth tips us off it. Not that that bothers me, I would be the last to miss humanity.

            My environmental ethic doesn’t come from any altruistic notion. Rather, it is greed that induces me to want to protect what is left of the wilderness. I love wandering around in the bush, living near small communities, drinking from the river, eating caribou and salmon, and not having to worry about asthma. I want to do these things when I’m old. There are, comparatively, not many places in the world I can do these things, and those places are threatened by all manner of human activity.

            That’s all.

      2. Paul Repstoc

        First. I don’t think we can do one bloody thing about ‘climate change’. It is a cyclical progession that will continue till this little rock looks like Mars.

        That said, that main beef I have with the AWG people is thier greedy grasping ways which lead them to spout wild theories and accusations, and then in some cases to back those up with bad science. If you trace the most strident voices, it always leads back to the “Money”. This suggests to me that the ‘voices’ in question couldn’t really give a hoot about the environment except as a means of gaining personal advantage.

        That makes me mad! I have been a resource exploiter all my life. (We all are), but I have been on the front lines. I also consider myself to be a rabid environmentalist. Who better to value the resources than those who are directly dependant on them. All the hysteria and BS accomplish is to make common people tone deaf. That is the real crime. We should all cherish the bounty of this world and try to minimize our impact on it, so that future generations may enjoy some fraction of what we have enjoyed.

  22. Birch

    I was living in the bush with a shortwave radio when the U.S. attacked Afganistan in, what, 2002 or so? I was impressed by the variety of coverage on different stations, considering they were all getting the same reports over the same networks. Each day I listened in to the CBC and ABC (Australia), Voice of Russia, Voice of America, NHK (Japan) Deuchewella (sp?), but the best of all by far was Radio Havana Cuba. Listening to RHC and VOA alone, it was hard to believe they were talking about the same planet. RHC was very clear on who the terrorist insurgents were.

    Another good, reliable news source (if you’re looking for one) is This Magazine. It’s a small Canadian magazine that has been providing the other story since the 60s. They have a good web presence these days.

  23. Francois T

    The most recent glaring example of how corrupt, slothful and morally depraved the US media has become ought to be their coverage of the Omar Khadr trial in Gitmo.

    1. Birch

      How is one soldier killing another a war crime any more than war, itself, is a crime? Shouldnt all soldiers who do their job then be convicted of a war crime?

      I really dont understand the line in the sand where its supposed to be okay to kill in war and where it isnt. Can anybody explain this for me? What did Omar do that was different from any other soldier? Is it only because of his citizenship, and because Stephen Harper didnt ask for him to be sent home?

    2. Paul Reptock

      Francois; that is more an example of how morally bankrupt the Canadian government is..Most other countries took responsibility for the actions of their citizens and demanded custody of them.

      Omar Kahar was 13 when he left Canada in the company of his father??

  24. Malfeasance

    Google Search Results are increasingly an extension of the Mainstream Media, Hedge Funds, and shadow government’s social psychology inspired propaganda. When the scientific and political opinion is shaped by Government, or military, banks and informed elites’ self-interests, it becomes the Duty of an informed media and citizen to study and compare the information from the equivalent searches in OZ, Japan, Canada, and Russia. By 1997 NASA interplanetary research data showed strong correlations in temperatures on distant moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, with temperatures on Earth. Western public and Media dependent on the IPCC, or the Journals Science and Nature, missed these NASA reports. Australia and Japan Media covered all the News.

    Today, it’s easier for a few to control a Democracy (51%), than it is for the People to keep a Republic.

  25. Paul Repstoc

    Again I’m awed by the company this blog allows me to keep. Thanks Yves.

    Suddenly I’m reminded of something that has been nagging my subconscious for some time.

    We ‘the people who bother to try understanding and ferreting out the truth, and worse yet, trying to enlighten the masses about what is happening’, are setting ourselves up as sacrificial goats for those who eventually launch and direct the eventual violent revolution.

    If you think I exaggerate, study the recent history of revolutions. Madam Guillotine removed many more intellectual heads than aristocratic ones. In varying degrees the same is true of all the other ‘revolutions’/regime changes. First of all, intellectuals seem to make poor revolutionaries in the main, and secondly, whoever eventually seizes power does not want us around to point out that the king doesn’t have any new clothes!

    In the West, we probably have a bit of time to air our discontent yet. We still have some value in exposing abuses and corruption and making common people aware of the mess we all are in. When common folk are being evicted from their homes in the dead of winter with insufficient food or clothing the time will be ripe for the real upheaval. Without a doubt, there will be a leader ready to step into the breach with promises of “a chicken in every pot.”

    At that point those of us who are not critical to that movement had better run!

    And special thanks to Down South for the Allen quote…” But the harshest condemnation on the part of the press and the public was reserved, not for those who had defrauded the government, but for those who insisted on bringing the facts to light.”

    1. Paul Repstoc

      This originally had a citation to Richard Kline as a justification for posting..

      Something Richard said above struck a cord in my aging memory cells.
      From Richard’s post at 6:10 in this thread. “..The fat part of the demographic curve doesn’t _want_ to know. Period……”And he goes on to generously say that 20% of the population ‘is aware of what’s happening’.

  26. ChrisTiburon

    Re: voter apathy and resistance…I really like this andand
    and think the last sentence is most powerful:

    The nut of the matter is this: you lose, you lose, you lose, you lose, they give up. As someone who has protested, and studied the process, it’s plain that one spends most of one’s time begin defeated. That’s painful, humiliating, and intimidating. One can’t expect typically, as in a battle, to get a clean shot at a clear win. What you do with protest is just what Hari discusses, you change the context, and that change moves the goalposts on your opponent, grounds out the current in their machine. The nonviolent resistance in Hungary in the 1860s (yes, that’s in the 19th century) is an excellent example. Communist rule in Russia and its dependencies didn’t fail because protesters ‘won’ but because
    [My emphasis]

    Question, other than filing income taxes, what is the cooperation that we can withdraw?

    1. Paul Reptock

      LOL. You miss the point Chris. Avoiding taxes is the worst thing we can do. Income taxes contribute very little to the power of the elites. If you have income taxes to pay you have earned income and the revenue generated goes to funding those things we all demand.

      The “cooperation we can withdraw” is to stop playing their silly ladder climbing, security enforcing games. Stop trying to get ahead of your fellow man by artificial means such as speculation, investment, and gambling. All these games are rigged as is every level of politics and generally anything that is not a productive endevor. The people with real power, not only studies P T Barnum, the educated him.

  27. Jim

    Paul Repstock,

    Just a brief comment on your 8:33P.M post. It strikes me that when attempting to form a democratic social movement many intellectuals tend to come at politics from a different angle than many movement participants.

    This is a schism that threatens all social movements.

    More formally trained academics (for example)tend to see activism as a product of intellectual discovery. Your average movement organizer sees the creation of activists as the product of social experience (say on the shop floor).

    Both are forms of self-activity–one may begin in college seminars the other in at-work experiences.

    Holding these types of groupings together takes great skill and possibly helps, in part, to explain why the creation of large-scale social movements is relatively rare in history.

    The specific issue of violence and social movements is an important topic for another time.

    1. Paul Reptock

      I sort of see what you mean. Perhaps the schism you speak of is what eventually comes to threaten the “intelectuals”.

      First let me clarify. I don’t consider myself an actual intelectual. I’m just a semi educated guy with access to the internet, who spends too much time thinking about my purpose in life.

      I don’t see much potential for violent upheaval within what we now consider the ‘normal’ spectrum. Certainly not from college seminars or semi intellectuals like myself. In the present day there is also not enough explosive force on the “shop floor”. (If we lived in China, then the shop floor would be a possibility)

      My limited experiences with formally trained academics tell me that they are the least likely source of radical change. Rhetoric perhaps, but most of the professors I’ve met have been the most hidebound conservatives, and staunch protectors of the status quo. To generate definative change, we probably need to look outside. Basically to those with nothing to loose…That means someone who does not have and cannot get a steady income. To build a reformative movement these people would also need to have a huge intelect and an awsome sense of purpose. Bill Gates would have made a great revolutionary, but he was too good at making money.

      And at this point the welfare state has pretty much drained the impetus from those people who do not have any jobs.

      The point of the earlier post was to warn of the historical pattern of these popular revolutions being hijacked by carpetbaggers. With the exceptions of Cuba and China, I cannot think of any revolutions where the early leaders of the movement were left in control. And even in China, the intelectuals were purged.

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