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The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume: “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. --Carl Sagan ... The sophisticated nature of propaganda means that merely being “smart” is not enough to escape its effects. Indeed, the propaganda served up to educated people is merely another set of flavors, and is otherwise no less successfully manipulative. ... Propaganda is not merely about what is being reported and what is not - though the omissions are certainly damaging enough; it’s about setting the limits of what is acceptable to discuss... Visit Website ]
Mar 29, 2020, 12:12pm

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COVID-19: How Corona Broke the System
Marc Saxer: The corona crisis sends shockwaves through political, economic and social systems. The status quo simply cannot continue... At the global level, the new conflicts between major powers are fuelling the crisis even more ... Whatever the outcome of the oil price war, the balance of power in the oil markets will be readjusted ... Conflicts arise from excessive interdependence. These conflicts must be cushioned by international norms and multilateral cooperation. ... The corona crisis amounts to an enormous field test. Millions of people are experimenting with new ways to organise their everyday lives. ... The crisis has made it drastically clear to the populace that the status quo cannot continue. The desire for a fundamental reorganisation of our economic activity and collective life has never been greater.... Visit Website ]
Mar 24, 2020, 12:32pm

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One California mayor has tried universal basic income. His advice for Trump: 'Think big'
Lois Beckett, The Guardian, UK: Early findings from Stockton, California, which launched a basic income experiment last year, may offer American policymakers some reassurance – and a few notes of caution. ... “We have to make sure that the most marginalized, the most impacted, the folks who were struggling the most before this global pandemic get help and relief” ... Direct cash payments are more flexible than a one-size-fits-all government program, and they allow people to adapt to changing needs and new crises. ... “We have been a house of cards for a really long time, and it wasn’t going to take much to blow it over.” ... But even large direct cash payments aren’t a substitute for other kinds of government action, they cautioned. Other solutions are needed during the coronavirus crisis, including paid sick leave and better healthcare... Visit Website ]
Mar 22, 2020, 10:47am

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A 70-Year War on ‘Propaganda’ Built by the CIA
Cynthia Chung: Propaganda is vital in times of war because it is absolutely imperative that the people, who often need to make the greatest sacrifices and suffer the most, believe that such a war is justified and that such a war will provide them security. ... Operation Mockingbird was an “alleged” CIA program that was started in the early 1950s in order to control the narrative of the news. ... At the helm of this project was none other than CIA Director Allen Dulles ... Its function was to have the CIA write reports that would be used by a network of cooperating “credible” reporters. ... it would be parroted by unwitting reporters (mockingbirds) and a successful echo chamber would be created across the world. ... included as part of its CIA contingency respected members from Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and others... Visit Website ]
Mar 17, 2020, 4:06pm

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Coronavirus vs. the Mass Surveillance State: Which Poses the Greater Threat?
John W. Whitehead: Emboldened by the citizenry’s inattention and willingness to tolerate its abuses, the government has weaponized one national crisis after another in order to expands its powers. ... Don’t go underestimating the government’s ability to lock the nation down if the coronavirus turns into a pandemic, however. ... The building blocks are already in place for such an eventuality ... Government eyes see your every move: what you read, how much you spend, where you go, with whom you interact, when you wake up in the morning, what you’re watching on television and reading on the internet. ... Surveillance, digital stalking and the data mining of the American people add up to a society in which there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence... Visit Website ]
Mar 12, 2020, 2:39pm

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What Might Happen If We Thought of Other Animals as People?
Peter Harrison: The common condition of humans and animals is not animality but humanity. (Eduardo Viveiros de Castro) ... I have come to develop the habit of viewing other animals as humans, or persons ... A number of authors (e.g., Brightman 1993; Nelson 1983, Tanner 1979) have written extensively on the ritual obligations towards animals that structure relations between human and non-human persons in the Subartic. ... Adrian Tanner has argued that among the Mistassini Cree, hunting rituals presuppose the real-life existence of animals as they appear in the Cree myth (long-time-ago stories); that is, as persons with whom humans can enter into reciprocal social relations. ... Hunting peoples across the North believe that human beings incur ritual obligations towards animal people as a direct result of their need to kill and eat them... Visit Website ]
Mar 3, 2020, 3:11pm

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Out of Thin Air — Breakthrough Tech Uses Water Vapor to Generate Electricity
Lana Cohen: The air-powered generator — which its creators, a team of University of Massachusetts Amherst scientists, affectionately call Air-gen — uses tiny conductive proteins called nanowires to create a seven-micrometre film that generates electricity from water vapor. ... The inner workings of the generator can be compared to the phenomenon that causes lightning: ... Air-gen is like a tiny cloud with opposite charges built up between the top and bottom of the film. Because the top of the film is exposed to the moisture of the air and the bottom is not, a moisture gradient is created, causing water molecules to crash into each other, building up the charges. Subsequently, a voltage gradient is created that produces electricity from “thin air.”... Visit Website ]
Feb 22, 2020, 12:17pm

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“And Then Nothing. Silence” - The Deadly Facade Of "Democracy"
Media Lens: Humanity has reached the edge of the climate abyss because what passes for ‘democracy’ is a propaganda myth, sold endlessly to the public by politicians, Big Business and the state-corporate media. That myth acts as a thin veneer covering rampant global capitalism. We are now in the terminal stages of this destructive system. ... Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. ... The glaring phenomenon of tightly managed ‘mainstream’ news and permissible commentary – on climate breakdown, capitalism and foreign policy – indicates one inescapable truth: there will not, and cannot, be major changes in society without genuinely public media... Visit Website ]
Feb 20, 2020, 11:16am

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Maneuvering Hell for Our Advantage
Robert Koehler: In point of fact, war begets nothing but war, a reality that’s getting harder and harder not to acknowledge here in the 21st century. ... But the language of war — “releasing munitions,” let us say, rather than blowing the arms and legs off children — lets the game proceed, at least beyond the national borders and national consciousness. ... War is not a chess game. Whatever strategy it employs involves killing people, mostly civilians, and we should at least begin acknowledging that the ramifications of doing so are never strategically contained. ... And 18 years on, we’re bombing Afghanistan more savagely than ever. We’ve already destroyed the country, but we can’t stop trying to save it... Visit Website ]
Feb 3, 2020, 3:18pm

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Lev Parnas Is Afraid of Bill Barr. He Should Be.
Thom Hartmann : Lev Parnas recently told Rachel Maddow that he’s more afraid of Attorney General Bill Barr than he is of the mobbed-up foreign oligarchs he has betrayed. Barr, after all, can weaponize our prisons to punish Parnas. ... How Barr Earned the Moniker ‘Coverup-General’ --- Americans knew that both Reagan and Bush were up to their necks in the Iran-Contra crimes, and both could be facing prison time as a result. ... The independent counsel had already obtained one conviction and three guilty pleas, and two other individuals were lined up for prosecution. ... Barr ... as AG in the Bush White House ... “I went over and told the President I thought he should not only pardon Caspar Weinberger, but while he was at it, he should pardon about five others.” ... Bush shut the investigation down by pardoning not only Weinberger, but also the five others known to be involved in the crime, destroying (Independent Counsel) Walsh’s ability to prosecute anybody... Visit Website ]
Jan 25, 2020, 10:54am

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The “Are You Serious?” Awards: Looking Back on 2019
Conn Hallinan :.... The Dr. Strangelove Award goes to the U.S. Defense Department for its unique solution to the problem of supplying troops in war zones. Between 2001 and 2010, U.S. soldiers escorting fuel convoys in Afghanistan and Iraq accounted for more than half the casualties suffered by American forces. ... The solution? Portable nuclear power plants that would generate between 1 and 10 megawatts and service up to 1,000 troops. ... The “micro-nukes” would be “semiautonomous” — that is, they wouldn’t need on-site operators. ... Even small reactors contain significant amounts of highly radioactive and long-lived isotopes, like cesium-137. ... I mean, what could go wrong?... Visit Website ]
Jan 22, 2020, 3:05pm

Consider This....
The Propaganda Multiplier
It is one of the most important aspects of our media system, and yet hardly known to the public: most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris. (Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Reuters)... The key role played by these agencies means Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world. ... “Therefore, you always have to ask yourself: Why do I get this specific information, in this specific form, at this specific moment? Ultimately, these are always questions about power.” Visit Website ]
Jan 15, 2020, 3:58pm

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Should Judges Have to Weigh the Price Tag of Sending Someone to Prison?
Samantha Michaels: As part of a wave of progressive candidates that swept district attorney elections in Virginia in November, Biberaj is calling for changes that reformers elsewhere have championed, like ending cash bail and letting marijuana crimes go. But she’s also touting a proposal that goes a step beyond what most liberal district attorneys have floated: She wants courts to grapple with the financial toll of incarcerating people. .... Americans pay tens of billions of dollars a year for state prisons, despite declining crime rates. ... For state cases, prosecutors usually work at the county level, but when they imprison someone for a felony, the county doesn’t foot the bill for it—the state does. ... “When people return from prison, they tend to be sicker, they have a harder time finding a job. All these things are the real costs.” Visit Website ]
Jan 8, 2020, 4:40pm

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A Strong Welfare State Could Be a Blow Against Imperialism
Matt Currie: The US military is a human-maiming, planet-destroying machine. ... These two sectors (fossil fuels and the military) not only imitate each other, they are mutually dependent: as the world’s largest institutional consumer of petroleum, the US military is a crucial customer for fossil-fuel companies. ... What if every person in the United States had the right to free college, high-quality medical care, and a well-paying job, outside of the military-industrial complex? ... Giving people options other than the military is also key to avoiding climate disaster. ... The economic struggles of workers in the United States, the fight for climate justice, and the resistance to the United States’ imperial footprint all come together here... Visit Website ]
Dec 28, 2019, 2:09pm

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“It’s Important to Talk About the Role That Capital Plays in the Justice System”
Interview with Mik Pappas is a Pittsburgh district judge. He’s also a socialist. ... "a judge in the position of presiding over a criminal case has a responsibility to protect the public. However, in the vast majority of criminal cases, a serious risk to public safety is not present. Most criminal defendants are there because of poverty, because of addiction, homelessness, mental health disorders. That is the vast majority, well above 70 percent of cases that come through the courts. ... it’s really important to talk about the role that capital plays in the justice system, oftentimes a corrosive and really corrupting influence — the cash bail industry, for-profit prisons, tech industries’ surveillance and policing ... More of an understanding and empathetic view toward the folks who are accused of committing crimes...
Visit Website ]
Dec 20, 2019, 2:56pm


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