Category Archives: Fake News

Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment

“There you have it — At-will, AKA at the beckon call, beckon abuse, beckon exploitation, beckon denigration, beckon injurious behavior and workplace environment. These employers are thugs, and from the top down, with their lawyers and MBAs and institutional misleadership yahoos at the executive level, the worker is doomed by this sick system. Forced vaccinations for schools, colleges, workplaces. The systems need to burn!”

Of course, I am asked not to identify the person who wrote this to me. We all are being surveilled by these Stasi folk, whether we work for a governmental agency, school systems, private college, for-profit business, mom and pop lowbrow joint, nonprofit, you name it.

They (bosses, agencies, pre-employment interviewers) sign up for Google search notifications — any time their company is named in the media or on digital platforms, they get notifications. They track what’s said about their business, corporation, nonprofit, agency, school. That is also for anyone they want to put into the Google-Palantir search engine, for a price, monthly rate, be it a person’s name. Like mine, hmm.

This is what these Stasi Americans want in their lives — complete control. Damage control against the truth-sayers speaking truth to power. Damage the messenger, or kill him or her with constant threats of litigation, fines, subpoenas, more. Imagine one writer, me, getting hooked into the Google Gulag, but then, what about anyone with my name? Hmm, children, siblings, spouses? This is how they play their mole game.

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Below, an example of the blithe and dangerous bullshit fake journalism of the mainstream imbeciles. That the State of Oregon can force vaccinations onto people really is the issue: the state just pushes that onto the overlords running businesses or nonprofits. That’s it, no argument, hands down the policy of the land, man.

The news (sic) story below will not contain push back,  and it will be vacant of civil rights thinkers/libertarians cited, will allude to no one pushing back on these Draconian measures. In fact, the story will not frame these measures as Draconian. The journalist from the Oregon paper of record (Oregonian) is already colonized and co-opted. Then you get some “law” professor (sic) from a for-profit private university pulled into the article, to come on board to yammer on. This is the new normal that’s been pretty old normal — mainstream media faking it, looking like it’s in the hunt for balance, when it’s all false balance, false and manufactured consent. The goal is to question the prevailing party-bureaucratic-company line, and question all governments’ actions. Read here:

“I think ultimately most employers would be able to require it,” said Henry Drummonds, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor specializing in labor and employment law. “But I think most employers probably wouldn’t want to require it. I think employers could first encourage and educate employees about the safety of the vaccine and the desirability of it in terms of protecting yourself and your coworkers.”

Drummonds said that at-will employment standards allow private businesses to dictate and change the terms of employment at any time and fire employees for any reason, as long as they don’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age or any other protected category.

In practice, this means that employers probably could require employees to receive the vaccine to remain employed or return to the office. Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries have released guidance stating that employers can mandate that employees get vaccinated.

 

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Already, idiocy prevails: just recently, I witnessed a manager of a nonprofit ask her employee in front of another employee in a public place within lots of people’s earshot: “Well, Rick, got his vaccination. So did I. Most everyone in the company has. But John hasn’t.”

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I knew this was a nonprofit this manager was a member of because I was within earshot. I offered an unsolicited response, trying to equate calling someone out in public for not having this experimental and not FDA-approved chemical shot. “How’s your BMI? You looking overweight? How’s your hypertension? You looking pink in the face? How’s your probable lung cancer? You just finished off a cigarette. Come on, shaming people for not agreeing to an untested chemical compound with that jab in the arm is unethical, and in public so I can hear your conversation?” She just clammed up and scooted her two employees away.

Imagine, fewer and fewer tough guys and gals can actually make it in USA (elsewhere too) with the power of what they can and cannot decide upon, that is, what they either want to and do not want to be injected into their bodies. Mind you, the jury is far from out on these chemical shots —

On February 27, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had “issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the third vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” the Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) Covid-19 vaccine.

This announcement is virtually identical to the EUAs previously issued for Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna.

In each of the EUAs, the FDA has been careful to avoid any claim that the vaccines provide protection against infection or transmission of the virus. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have each publicly stated that the vaccines have NOT been shown to prevent infection or transmission.

All of their regulatory documents and commentary addressing the issue state clearly that there is no evidence that the vaccines affect either infection with or transmission of the virus, nor do they prevent symptoms of Covid-19 from appearing.

— Source:  “Covid Vaccine Nonsense” [US-based human rights lawyer breaks down the contradictory claims of “effectiveness”, the incomplete studies and legal minefield of forced use of experimental vaccines] JP Jerome

 

Let’s shift to some compare and contrast between vaccine makers and cigarette makers. I  just read a short but cogent article on the menthol marketing, how 45,000 black Americans die each year from tobacco related illnesses (mostly throat, tongue, and lung cancer). Talk about cool — mentholated cigarettes’ make the poisons go down easier. Everything goes down smoother with a little bit of throat deadening. And this is legal stuff. No massive “take all the cigarettes’ and Juul’s and pipes and cigars and chew cans away.”  “Menthol Marketing Exposes Institutional Racism” by Michael Schwalbe, Counterpunch.

But forced vaccinations, and then this pact with  the devil — at-will, zero protection: screw up and you get the pink slip bullshit about American capitalism. Sort of buyer beware, user beware, consumer beware, worker beware.

In the long run, the solution to the ongoing global pandemic of tobacco-related disease is to abolish tobacco companies. Short of that, we now have an opportunity to significantly curtail the industry’s ability to profit from the destruction of Black lives. If Black lives matter, we must not let the opportunity pass.

— Michael Schwalbe, professor of sociology at North Carolina State University Source.

Low income, lots of working class people, workers in the developing world. Slick multimillion dollar a year ad campaigns: Slick, and Scientific (sic). Data driven.  Imagine, tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. Of these deaths, 1.2 million are caused by secondhand smoke exposure. Talk about an epidemic, pandemic. You know that every rotting Southern pol and every single tobacco lobbyist and every grower and CEO, they pooh-pooh these stats. “Prove it. If it’s that deadly, then why’s it legal?”

The internet seems great at scrubbing information, but the reality is that when Ray-Gun left his criminal enterprise throne, he did some hucksterism stuff for the tobacco industry. He and Edwin Meese did a talking tour overseas to push cancer sticks.

Talk about killing people from his cold-ass grave, Reagan and the long arm of his contra mentality, still with us:

But the industry did not launch its campaign for new overseas markets alone. The Reagan and Bush administrations used their economic and political clout to pry open markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and China for American cigarettes. At a time when one arm of the government was warning Americans about the dangers of smoking, another was helping the industry recruit a new generation of smokers abroad.

Asia is where tobacco’s search for new horizons began and where the industry came to rely most on Washington’s help. U.S. officials in effect became the industry’s lawyers, agents and collaborators. Prominent politicians such as Robert J. Dole, Jesse Helms, Dan Quayle and Al Gore played a role. “No matter how this process spins itself out,” George Griffin, commercial counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, told Matthew N. Winokur, public affairs manager of Philip Morris Asia, in a “Dear Matt” letter in January 1986, “I want to emphasize that the embassy and the various U.S. government agencies in Washington will keep the interests of Philip Morris and the other American cigarette manufacturers in the forefront of our daily concerns.”  Source.

Why the harangue by yours truly against tobacco in a piece about how rotting the at-will mentality of big, small and loser companies run by bigger losers than anyone following the Peter Principle 2.0 [well, Peter Principle update: the worse you are as a human, with no ethics, no character, well, you go up the ladder, food chain, corporate manure pile!] can imagine forcing vaccines onto workers?

Think hard about an experimental mRNA chemical put into a syringe and then forcefully delivered to the global population. Hmm, would this have been acceptable in 2019? 2001? 1990? The year I was born, 1957?

Of course not, and yet, this is it, with people being shamed or called out for reluctance on an experimental, emergency authorized, untested chemical and DNA morphing drug being forcefully put into one’s body. Not once, but with a booster, and then, now, as the world burns, yearly or bi-yearly boosters for the “new” variants of a corona cold virus.

Here, this is science and capitalism, science/capitalism/politics, like leprosery and it’s host —

One way the tobacco industry has manipulated cigarettes to increase addictiveness is by loading cigarettes with chemical compounds. Bronchodilators were added so that tobacco smoke can more easily enter the lungs. Sugars, flavors and menthol were increased to dull the harshness of smoke and make it easier to inhale. Ammonia was added so that nicotine travels to the brain faster.

Specifically, increasing the amount of nicotine was of paramount importance to tobacco company executives. Experts found that Big Tobacco companies genetically engineered their tobacco crops to contain two times the amount of nicotine and adjusted their cigarette design so that the nicotine delivered to smokers increased by 14.5 percent. As Phillip Morris Principal Scientist W.L. Dunn said in 1972, “No one has ever become a cigarette smoker by smoking cigarettes without nicotine.”  — Source

Bronchodilators and ammonia added? Come on, my students at UTEP were finding more dirt on big tobacco and the collusion with the FDA, keeping secret under governmental lock and key all the ingredients they sprayed on tobacco before becoming the stuff of rolled cigs, cigars, pipe filler and chew. Think of secret doses of anti-convulsant drugs, since the higher nicotine content and the other burning chemicals cause many people to get ticks, minor tremors; i.e., seizures. Best keep the seizures down and the sales up.

Shoot, this is just the minor list of smoke by-products — Nicotine (the addictive drug that produces the effects in the brain that people are looking for), Hydrogen cyanide, Formaldehyde, Lead, Arsenic, Ammonia, Radioactive elements, such as polonium-210, Benzene, Carbon monoxide, Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

These Satan’s, these big and little Eichmann types, these Mad Men, these PR spinners, these profiteers and cancer mercenaries, come on, the story is bigger — 600 ingredients can be used in cigarettes, but the actual combustion of the cig produces over 4,000 chemical compounds. And, when burned, these cigarette ingredients mix together and create deadly substances, 69 of which are carcinogenic.

Yeah, how’s that pandemic and pandemic and pandemic on the horizon. SARS-CoV2, 3, 5? Remember, there is no outright statement that declares cigarette smoking causes cancers or any number of other co-occurring diseases or terminal cancers.

So, if Big Tobacco and Gore and Reagan and Clinton and Trump, et al can stump just for this singular felonious Mafia outfit, what do you think might be happening behind closed doors and inside labs and at the top of the heap tied to exactly what this experimental vaccine’s (sic) side effects might do today, next month, a year from now, etc.?

For the good of the world? The economies? For life saving ethos? You got the memo yet? You want life saving? Shit, one product, tobacco, done with, hmm, what’s that life saving factor? Banned from planet earth, more or less. And how much for all the lost labor of huffing and puffing cig smokers . . .  all the flagging physiologies, all the damage, slow and fast, caused by cigs, et al? Ya think there will be a ban tomorrow?

Hmm, NEVER. Now, multiply that a million fold with all the deadly chemicals and toxins and fumigants and fungicides and off-gassing crap in all manner of clothes, combustible materials, food, drinks, drugs. Then multiple one times two, and then factor up. How do these work, hmm, twelve together, the impossibility of really studying the synergistic effects of one chemical interacting with another, or a dozen or 4,000? Hmm, those 4,000 chemicals in one good Marlboro man drag, what’s the toll?

You think there are governmental and private financed studies on that? Think.

According to comments from vaccine scientists in September 2020 (prior to the Covid-19 EUA issuances), no vaccine had ever before been distributed on an EUA basis.

“We don’t do EUAs for vaccines,” [Dr. Peter] Hotez said, “It’s a lesser review, it’s a lower-quality review, and when you’re talking about vaccinating a large chunk of the American population, that’s not acceptable.”

Three months later, the FDA issued EUAs for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but with explicit guidance that the vaccine “has not undergone the same type of review as an FDA- approved or cleared product.”

The idea is that if there are injuries and deaths because of the experimental and untested drugs-chemicals in these shots, well, who foots the bill? Who is responsible? Hmm, in the USA, it’s the US taxpayer.

I have a friend whose niece would not take “death by any other means” as the last answer. She is pushing for an investigation into her father’s death after the vaccine was given to him. He was 74, healthy, but he did have aging issues, like we all do. Blood clots occurred rapidly, hmm, and, then he checked out in a stroke like manner. This is after, right after, vaccination. The county coroner will not do an autopsy, and alas, there are no watchdog agencies in our corner. A simple autopsy would be $6,000. This is a suspicious vaccine-related death, and she has now gone on-line and gotten more people to email her about similar deaths after vaccination. She can’t put it on Facebook, too long or too detailed like, so she is getting contacted through GoFundMe. She’s doing this surreptitiously.  There will be no Ralph Nader’s or RFK, Jr.’s coming to her family’s aid.

Just like you can’t sue successfully the big tobacco and their technicians and chemists and MD’s and lawyers and CEO’s and the politicians and marketers for selling a dangerous product to a billion people, let alone the second and third hand smoke of these cancer sticks.

The post Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment first appeared on Dissident Voice.

MOFA: BBC is Not Trusted even in the UK

According to material openly available, BBC World Service is immune from any form of regulation and can produce all the disinformation it likes with legal impunity in the UK. It has caused the spread of the fake news virus not only in the UK but all over the world. BBC should try to do more just and truthful reports to tackle its credibility crisis, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Wednesday.

The post MOFA: BBC is Not Trusted even in the UK first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Active Shooter in the Brain

Oh, the act of deactivating, the process of disconnecting, the very process of uncluttering the brain — bye-bye Facebook — Emancipation!

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Some might say we are caught in a fun-house . . . or caught in a psych ward. I have more and more people in my sphere — work, friends, email world, Facebook world, family — who are not only showing signs of insanity, but also lobotomy, or massive electro-shock therapy (sic-sick). They actually buy into that Matrix shit, that we are part of a sophisticated code god, a program that creates the “reality” we are in. A Super Duper Mario Brothers Hollywood style. Really, and then the ancient astronauts and those aliens that had to help build Chichén Itzá and the great Pyramids of Gaza.

Conversations about this new normal sort of circle the drain, and in so many instance, the putrid politics of “never Trump” come spewing from the mouths of these people, unsolicited. And as a frame of reference, this “Trump is Gone Now — Hurray for Harris and Biden” (sigh of relief, smiles, giddy chortles) — I am back in the back of the back of the intellectual and political bus. You see, many of us know, through study, travel, experience, rebuff — that the system both Biden and Trump adore is the shooter in the brain. Active Shooter in the House. Active Shooter in the Books they Read (not many). Active Shooter in their Consumer Choices. Active Shooter in the Work Places. Active Shooter in the State Capitals. These Active Shooters are everywhere, and have been since the founding of the Active Shooter Society that is called United (hahaha) States (really?) of America (a map maker, man!).

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Just the way the Kingdom of Puritans and Kingdom of Capital laid the groundwork for this sick-in-the-head, sick-in-the-heart, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-body, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-commercial-culture has galvanized all those parts to the Active Shooter scenario and Active Shooter response to everything.

A Good Indian is a Dead Indian. There Will be Blood. Atonement for their Savagery. Beat the Dickens Out of their Native Soil/Soil/Spiritual Being. It’s that Collective Psychological Response to the Active Shooter White Patriarchal Rapist/Land Stealer/Murderer Government working out of the White House vis-à-vis all those houses of ill repute, from the CIA, to Pentagon, from NASA, to Every University, from the New York Times to Netflix, from Bank of America to BlackRock, from Jerusalem, to Geneva. Here a few other things these presidents said —

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted putting “dangerous or undesirable aliens or citizens” in “concentration camps.” During World War II, Roosevelt signed an executive order that led hundreds of thousands of people of Japanese descent––including 80,000 U.S. citizens––to be incarcerated in concentration camps on the West Coast of the U.S. The U.S. was in a war against Japan at the time. It was also fighting Italy and Germany, but did not broadly incarcerate people in the U.S. of Italian and German descent.

  • In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower told Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren white Southerners “are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes” while discussing the desegregation of schools.
  • Johnson is often credited as one of the most consequential presidents with respect to civil rights, having signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But for much of his political career, Johnson opposed civil rights legislation. According to a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Johnson, during the two decades he served in the U.S. Senate he would use the phrase “nigger bill.” Johnson also reportedly defended appointing Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court––the court’s first black justice in U.S. history––by stating, “Son, when I appoint a nigger to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a nigger.”
  • Recorded conversations of Nixon’s time in the Oval Office reveal extremely bigoted views of black people, among other groups. In one conversation, Nixon said, “We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like [New York Sen.] Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls. That’s the key.”
  • Nixon added, “I have the greatest affection for [blacks], but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they’re dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don’t live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.” On Jewish people, Nixon said, “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”

And then, butter-for-brains Vice President Joe Biden, with more and more of his racist toes and feet in his mouth — “The way Trump deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” Biden said. “No sitting president has ever done this, never, never, never. No Republican president has done this, this no Democratic president,” he continued. “We’ve had racists and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president but he’s the first one that has. And the way he pits people against one another is all designed to divide the country, divide people, not pull them together.”

Shall I say more about the absurdity of the presidential election/selection? I’d end up in the poor house if I gave a reader a penny for each racist thought-or-statement written by or yammered by USA politicos, media mavens, Holly-Dirters, authors, celebrities, Fortune 1000-ers, et al!

With the continual panic and lockdown mentality and genuflection to authority, this society pre-and post-Trump has been the bum’s rush for me and my ilk. When we put this society through the settler-colonial lens, we are lambasted on both sides of the political manure pile. “You know, the Indians were not all these noble savages. You know, they came here using the Land Bridge. You know, progress means adaptation.” These people have always believed in American exceptionalism, believed in the red and white and blue. Always believed those alabaster statues of Lincoln or Jefferson or even Martin Luther King. That Active Shooter in the House is what creates that Collective Stockholm Syndrome. It can be collective in rarified forms — the Stockholm Syndrome of Branch Davidians or MAGA or QAnon. The Stockholm Syndrome of Greta/350.org/David Attenborough. The Stockholm Syndrome of K-Street. Stockholm Syndrome of the Military Police State. Stockholm Syndrome of Techies and Bezos Types. That Syndrome is the result of the Active Shooter Mindset.

Siberian eatery is ideal spot for a Putin fan | Reuters

Until we end up here, in Lockdown, in a society where stores are boarded up. Streets are empty. Barricades of the mind and spirit erected from sea to shining sea. Incomes frozen. Assets Hacked. Lives Set Inside that Funhouse, or to use non-PC lingo, Madhouse. That Active Shooter rules of engagement also include not speaking out and not moving too quickly, or use anything in reach to subdue and escape, or to crawl and stop and hide. Lights out, doors locked, no sounds, no whispering, nothing, just crouch and hold still until, what? Whirling Blackhawks and Rumbling SWAT Armored Vehicles with Machine Gun Turrets?

The perceptions from the individual and collective Stockholm Syndrome, and the intellectual actions and inactions in this Active Shooter Lockdown Abide by All Leaders’ Laws/Regulations/Rules/ Fines/Admonishments/ Recommendations/Edicts/Penalties/Crimes/Offenses/Dictates, well, that certainly has constructed a very mean and very ostrich like society, and the see-hear-speak no evil and head in the sand and the lashing out and the hyper propaganda and the hyper-knee jerking, and, well, with it all facilitated by unsocial media, we are in the super minority if we dare question the question and the responses and the answers. We dare to go up against any of the narratives, and alas, we then become the pariah and the Scarlet-ed Letter “A” for Anarchist or Anachronistic or Abnormal or Ambiguous or Antagonistic or Adversarial or Asymptomatic or Argumentative or even the letter “A” for Anticlockwise.

“All forms of perception are “subjective” in the sense that they represent only those aspects and properties of the world that can be detected by an organism’s sensory transducers. Hence all perception is subjective in the sense of being partial. Moreover, once organisms reach a stage of cognitive complexity where they start to encode some sort of model of the surrounding world through their sensory contact with it, then the result is subjective in an even deeper sense. For what is represented will only comprise those aspects of the world that potentially matter to the organism (whether this is explicitly represented in the organism’s values, or implicit in the lifestyle that has been selected for it by evolution).”

— Peter Carruthers, from Human and Animal Minds: The Consciousness Questions Laid to Rest ( Oxford University Press, Jan 5, 2020;  p. 68)

Imagine that, the very act of just shutting it off, that Fuck You Book, that social ingratiation book, that rotting of the brain book. I was on it only because I had to set up an account for the nonprofit that was/is Gig Economizing me to work on their rather bombastic project of getting billionaires and millionaires and governments and philanthropies to put in “cash” transfers to poor people during, before and after (there will be no after) the Plan-demic Covid-19, SARS-CoV2, corona virus thing. Then, with the multitasking aplomb of wanting to take a break from this or that writing project, alas, I ended up messing with the Paul Haeder Facebook page, and then “befriending” a thousand or so, and then letting loose the philosophical and political tirades of our age. I did end up exposing folk to left of left stuff, to things that are pretty mainstream to me like Black Agenda Report, and groups like the Black Alliance for Peace. Discourse around why Trump or Trump-lite or Pence or GOP-lite, or DNC, or AOC or Biden-Obama-Hillary lite, and the hard stuff brewed by Empire of the Capitalists, that it’s all the same to revolutionaries or those with the Scarlet Letter “A” emblazoned on our t-shirts. Pure addictive and mind-blowing shit, this country is, and that is the unholy alliance of a country tis of me based on torture, raping, burning, immolating, murdering, beheading, pollution, animal slaughter, and air and soil and water destruction, all in the name of toilet paper for the masses, and kingdoms of jewels, banks, homes, mansions, castles for the Capitalists in Power. The ethanol brain rot of Capitalism a la North America.

I would throw out bombs on why Biden and Trump come from the same patriarchal DNA, how the Democratic Party Machine is as Bad and Corrupt as the Republican Party Machine. How the Machine is greased with Capital, and the Machine is not of, for, by, with, entwinned to the People, US, but for the banks. The techno-fascists, and brothers and sister of the Military Industrial Complex of Another and Another and Another Mother/Mothership.

United Snakes of America. United States of BlackRock. Un-united States of Capitalism, what have you, in variations on the theme, well, those stars on that other Banner, tell the story, and the story shifts with the logos, and those stores are indeed just banners, hiding the real sophisticated thugs of Transnational, Transhuman, Transcultural, Transhumane capital.

Corporate Logo Flags (US Flag) from Reclaim Democracy

In that abortion of Facebook just days ago, I find myself less distracted, though I have always worked as a writer, done my time in the world of nature, walks, paddles, bike riding, and now another gig for the 63-going-on-64-white (self-loathing, sort of)-communist-male-who-has-to-in-polite (mixed up)-company-call-himself-socialist. This one, well, full-time, with benefits, and back in the slog of things, working with adults with developmental and intellectual (and psychological and physical) disabilities. As a counselor, in this case all-around job-employment counselor, developers, what have you. Back to getting my expired certificates re-upped, and then all the vocational rehabilitation and department of human services and department of developmental disabilities courses and trainings. Deja vu, and well, in the beach life of the Central Oregon Coast, my spouse and I have to work, even though it feels fluttering around here that half the people are retired and enjoying high lifestyle, or at least solid retired middle class, and then, there are those who service this place, and many of them are struggling big time. In Oregon with the Nanny Governor and the schizophrenia of Red-Neck and Blue-Neck, the pain of businesses shuttering and main streets depopulating, well, this makes for a very hard time for the clientele I work with — how to get a job for someone who has to usually work 20 hours or less to keep the SSI under wraps. People who are not “normally” those we see in the workplace (the highest unemployment rate for any demographic is adults with developmental disabilities — think 83 percent). Getting creative in Plan-Demic times, well, I am up for the challenge, but alas, working that 40-hour a week schedule, and then doing my own thing as a journalist and novelist and such, well, I have to utilize as much brain-space and keyboard and mouse time as possible for MY work.

Facebook was a kick for a while, then for many of those nanoseconds (they do add up to minutes and then an hour is wasted on Fucker-Berg’s Mind Manipulation Tool, I was put on 24 hour and then three-day and then one week suspension. Expelled from posting and commenting. Then, to make matters even more hilarious (sad, too) those dyed in the wool exceptionalists, those with the Democratic Party diarrhea dreams dream, I just had to call it quits. They are the worse of the worse, the same as Christian MAGA and Conservative MAGA and Military MAGA and Retiree MAGA and Female MAGA, and the like. Total cognitive dissonance, and the Active Shooter mind-scape, well, that got the best of me (not really). Endless stupid dead-end posts and mini-discussions about why Trump is in and why Biden is bad, and, then, just coming from this angle as a communist, err, in Active Shooter land, a “socialist,” the arguments are back on the table about how great it is to have that first person of color in as VP-soon-to-be-Prez . . . (1928-’32, Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, was a member of the Kaw Nation).

Endless stupidity about the lesser of two evils, about the evils of two lessers, about how a Biden win will allow for pressure on the left side of things to move the party and the country leftier . . . . Right! Bankers, bombers, baggers, bottom-feeders, bombasts, buccaneers, bag men/women, broadcasters, botulism boys, and the like, already lined up for the Harris-Biden Kill Show. Active Shooters show. Then, the Trump All Encompassing Digital and Cable Network . . . . all the while the offense industrialists (elites in and out of the military industrial complex) will bilk the nation, the globe, the resources until a future is this below, the fighting orangutan’s, a la Homo Psychopithecus!

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PETITION TARGETCambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry

The Phnom Penh Safari zoo in Cambodia showcases disturbing orangutan boxing matches, forcing innocent apes to fight each other in a boxing ring. The animals are also made to ride bikes, hula-hoop, and wear degrading outfits, as shown in numerous TripAdvisor photos.

Orangutans aren’t the only animals abused at this zoo: tigers jump through flaming hoops and cower in fear of trainers’ electric prods; crocodiles are hit with sticks and have their mouths taped shut for selfie opportunities; and elephants are controlled with bullhooks.

The animals appear neglected, too. The tigers are declawed and extremely thinaccording to EARS Asia. And the drinking water is filthy, according to a Khmer Times article that has since been deleted.

Animals do not exist for human amusement. They deserve natural habitats and loving caretakers, not cruel zoos where they’re forced to perform for park-goers.

The abuse must stop. Sign this petition urging Cambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry to call for an end to all cruel animal performances at the zoo and push for a thorough investigation into the animals’ treatment.

The abusive husband in this loveless marriage of capitalists ruling the roost, writing the narrative, spinning the malignant history, fears the loss of her/his master because that abusive system has turned him/her into a clinging hopey-dopey thing who believes all those decades of oppression will somehow be redefined to allow this shattered individual and collective to lose all self-esteem to the point that we are no longer capable of imagining a life without our parasitic master.

We are collectively servants of those masters who have for centuries plotted and prodded populations into fearing agency, revolution and radical transformation. We are that Disney-fied and Disney-fed collective, and those elites especially, yammering and yammering about the LGBTQA+ minority’s play (Lin-Manuel Miranda), “Hamilton,” being so wonderous and so emblematic of the good of this nation, well, not a one would question the slaver’s role in America — a slaver, new documents do show that not only was Alexander Hamilton a slave trader for his in-law family, the Schuyler’s, his own account books demonstrate that Hamilton bought, sold and personally owned slaves. But try and have that conversation about Miranda and the elite’s bullshit love of this bullshit play on Fuck-You-Book, or in person (of course, masked up and at least six feet of separation, please, and no more than 8 gathered in an open space, please or else!!!).

I would have expected a few of the people on Fuck-You-And-The-Horse-You-Rode-Into-Town-On BOOK, to nuance the Biden-Harris gig, the bullshit nature of GOP and DNC, and the trillions thrown at the sex addicts and money changers in the billionaire class, while mom and pop, sister and brother, downtrodden and almost-to-be-downtrodden, get shit from Pelosi and Mitch, but instead, the Collective Stockholm Syndrome of the liberal lite kind has just plummeted our 2021 into the new normal of following more anti-civil rights and anti-free speech and anti-freedom of movement laws backed by thousand-dollar fines, the fuzz with their assault rifles and, well, the GIANT Scarlet Letter A for, well, fill in the blank of anti- as prefix. You get expelled from Zoom Doom school, get cut from the team, get sacked, get ostracized, and get kicked to the curb if you dare question narratives of the ruling class. Dare to question this science (sic) versus that science. You know, that is the mob mentality of America, whether it is in the village square burning heretics, or on the greasy grass mowing down dancers and drummers. We are in a Little Bighorn, and the Big-Small-wannabe Eichmann’s are there, mostly, in places of “authority,” the elites, the nanny governors and their cadre of pencil neck followers, the compliant ones, the ones who follow order, those who say LGBTQA+, but are hope-dopey Stockholm Syndrome sufferers of the major kind, creating dictate after dictate.

You can’t even talk about small businesses closing. Can’t talk about the renter and mortgage class (sic) sticking it and sticking it and resticking it to the masses. Imagine this fucked up Corona World, where stupidity and no-deep questioning rule. Can you imagine scum bucket governors from red and blue states, yammering and yammering.

There is no plan for the resettling in and after Plan-demic. But there is that Fourth Industrial Revolution, the big plans by big tech, and the Google world and the economies of scale of the Amazon-kind variety and the satellites launched at sunset and the Elon Musks and the entire shit-show that is Forbes and Rockefeller and Council on Foreign Affairs, the Aspen Institute, the Federalist Society, the Family, the TED Talk crews, all of them, from QAnon to the Tweets, and everything in between, it is the world of the ACTIVE Shooter, and duck and cover, the name of one generation’s game, and now, the slave master will say, “All Money, All Movements, All Things” will and must be on a digital platform. Passports from Hell to Enter a New Hell. No Travel Unless Eyes Are Scanned and Vaccination Record Checked.

Somehow, that has been the pathway of the elites, from Holly-Dirt, to the schools, to the drone programs at two-bit community colleges, to the food purveyors. We have colonized each generation, and the baselines of old hopes — agency, real food, real relationships with people-land-planet, real debate, real learning, real arguing, real water, real air, real art, real feelings, real history, real enfranchisement, real conversations — that too has been put on Red Flag Active Shooter hold. Deep Sixed.

Conversations and philosophical constructions and deconstructions are put on hold as the majority of people in the United Snakes of BlackRock, well, they talk about “things” as bifurcated nonsense, politics, histrionics, heliographs, shit shows and PT Barnum One-Upping Scams of the Mind and of the Culture.

I love what John Steppling has to say in the front of his essay, The Mechanical Soul:

One of the reasons I keep writing about AI is that the entire construct of an artificial intelligence has become both a symbol and metaphor for contemporary thought, and, is part of this ongoing reshaping of human consciousness.

I admit I am surprised how many people believe in the entire project of AI. Clearly it holds something very appealing that people WANT to believe in. And a key element in this is the idea of predictability. And predicting means controlling. So, in one sense, there is nothing new in this desire to foretell the future.

Now the first problem when discussing “consciousness” is that finding a definition for that word is nearly impossible.

“Moreover, the explicit dualistic beliefs of children in Western cultures get less strong with age (Bering 2006). This suggests that dualism is the default setting of the folk-psychological system, which gets weakened by cultural input in scientific cultures—at least at the level of explicit verbal expression—rather than depending on such input (Riekki et al.2013;Willard & Norenzayan 2013; Forstmann & Burgmer 2015). Indeed, dualist intuitions are prevalent in both children and adults, even in cultures whose norms discourage overt attention to mental states, albeit becoming weaker as a function of exposure to Western education (Chudek et al.2018).” –Peter Carruthers (Human and Animal Minds)

With Facebook and Twitter and even consumption of the low art of Netflix and everything on the Internet, that is, almost all of it on the Web, we are losing the race for dualistic beliefs, of holding many counter-arguments in our brains, and even just considering counter-intuitive things. But, the news, the real news, should send shudders down any human’s spine — Bend, Oregon, on the frigid east side of the Cascade Range, is currently without a warming shelter, largely due to complaints by rich residents about a location. Early Tuesday morning, the body of Dave Melvin Savory, 57, a homeless double amputee, was found slumped against a dumpster outside a Rite Aid pharmacy.

Finally, of course, any real leftist would be cheering the defeat and dethroning of any ruler of the empire. Christ, just watching both sides of the sewer pond is what a revolutionary would hope for. Trump defeated and his slim-balls and himself slipping and sliding in their own shit, that is a good day to be a human being. And, the end of Biden and Harris and all the hit men he and she are hiring on for the Biden-Harris Empire Shit Show, that too will be a very good day for humanity.

Something About Heads on Pikes and All Chained up in the Docks? Banned on Facebook.

America’s Active Shooters!!!

One-time rival Senator Kamala Harris backs Joe Biden for president | amNewYork
Oh Say Can You See by the Dawn’s Early Covid Lockdown…
Pope Francis offers prayers for President Trump - The Dialog
… and Christian Bombs Bursting in Air while laughing all the way to the bank!

Final Note — Imagine this shit show America, and this blog, and the few things I wrote in it, enough to toss me to the curb. Big Brother and Big Sister, they are all watching. Just this recent new job, I was told by a person in the nonprofit involved in hiring me that “I Googled you . . . I had to really get beyond that to think, ‘there is more to this guy than all that.'” Hmm. Is this the proverbial digital straw that broke the human being’s back?

The post Active Shooter in the Brain first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Social Media’s Erasure of Palestinians is a Grim Warning for our Future

There is a growing unease that the decisions taken by social media corporations can have a harmful impact on our lives. These platforms, despite enjoying an effective monopoly over the virtual public square, have long avoided serious scrutiny or accountability.

In a new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, former Silicon Valley executives warn of a dystopian future. Google, Facebook and Twitter have gathered vast quantities of data on us to better predict and manipulate our desires. Their products are gradually rewiring our brains to addict us to our screens and make us more pliable to advertisers. The result, as we are consigned to discrete ideological echo chambers, is ever greater social and political polarisation and turmoil.

As if to underline the ever-tightening grip these tech corporations exert on our lives, Facebook and Twitter decided this month to openly interfere in the most contentious US presidential election in living memory. They censored a story that could harm the electoral prospects of Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to incumbent President Donald Trump.

Given that nearly half of Americans receive their news chiefly via Facebook, the ramifications of such a decision on our political life were not hard to interpret. In excising any debate about purported corruption and influence-peddling by Biden’s son, Hunter, carried out in his father’s name, these social media platforms stepped firmly into the role of authoritarian arbiter of what we are allowed to say and know.

‘Monopoly gatekeeper’

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them. But if we wish to understand where this ultimately leads, there is no better case study than the very different ways Israelis and Palestinians have been treated by the tech giants.

The treatment of Palestinians online serves as a warning that it would be foolish indeed to regard these globe-spanning corporations as politically neutral platforms, and their decisions as straightforwardly commercial. This is to doubly misunderstand their role.

Social media firms are now effectively monopolistic communication grids – similar to the electricity and water grids, or the phone network of a quarter of a century ago. Their decisions are therefore no longer private matters, but instead have huge social, economic and political consequences. That is part of the reason why the US justice department launched a lawsuit last week against Google for acting as a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”.

Google, Facebook and Twitter have no more a right to arbitrarily decide who and what they host on their sites than telecoms companies once had a right to decide whether a customer should be allowed a phone line. But unlike the phone company, social media corporations control not just the means of communication, but the content too. They can decide, as the Hunter Biden story shows, whether their customers get to participate in vital public debates about who leads them.

The Hunter Biden decision is as if the phone company of old not only listened in to conversations, but was able to cut the line if it did not like the politics of any particular customer.

In fact, it is even worse than that. Social media now deliver the news to large sections of the population. Their censoring of a story is more akin to the electricity company turning off the power to everyone’s homes for the duration of a TV broadcast to ensure no one can see it.

Censorship by stealth

The tech giants are the wealthiest, most powerful corporations in human history, their riches measured in hundreds of billions, and now trillions, of dollars. But the argument that they are apolitical – aiming simply to maximise profits – was never true.

They have every reason to promote politicians who side with them by committing not to break up their monopolies or regulate their activities, or, better still, by promising to weaken controls that might prevent them from growing even more fabulously rich and powerful.

Conversely, the tech giants also have every incentive to use the digital space to penalise and marginalise political activists who urge greater regulation either of their activities, or of the marketplace more generally.

Unlike their explicit deletion of the Hunter Biden story, which incensed the Trump administration, social media corporations more usually censor by stealth. That power is wielded through algorithms, the secret codes that decide whether something or someone appears in a search result or on a social media feed. If they desire, these tech titans can cancel any one of us overnight.

This is not just political paranoia. The disproportionate impact of algorithm changes on “left-leaning” websites – those most critical of the neoliberal system that has enriched social media corporations – was highlighted this month by the Wall Street Journal.

Wrong kinds of speech

Politicians increasingly understand the power of social media, which is why they want to harness it as best they can for their own ends. Since the shock of Trump’s election victory in late 2016, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives have regularly found themselves dragged before legislative oversight committees in the US and UK.

There, they are ritually rebuked by politicians for creating a crisis of “fake news” – a crisis that, in fact, long predated social media, as the deceptions of US and UK officials in linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and claiming that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” testify to only too clearly.

Politicians have also begun holding internet corporations responsible for “foreign interference” in western elections – typically blamed on Russia – despite a dearth of serious evidence for most of their allegations.

Political pressure is being exerted not to make the corporations more transparent and accountable, but to steer them towards enforcing even more assiduously restrictions on the wrong kinds of speech – whether it be violent racists on the right or critics of capitalism and western government policy on the left.

For that reason, social media’s original image as a neutral arena of information sharing, or as a tool for widening public debate and increasing civic engagement, or as a discourse leveller between the rich and powerful and weak and marginalised, grows ever more hollow.

Separate digital rights

Nowhere are ties between tech and state officials more evident than in their dealings with Israel. This has led to starkly different treatment of digital rights for Israelis and Palestinians. The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think, and over who is visible and who is erased from public life.

Israel was well-positioned to exploit social media before most other states had recognised its importance in manipulating popular attitudes and perceptions. For decades, Israel had, in part, outsourced an official programme of hasbara – or state propaganda – to its own citizens and supporters abroad. As new digital platforms emerged, these partisans were only too willing to expand their role.

Israel had another advantage. After the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, Israel began crafting a narrative of state victimhood by redefining antisemitism to suggest it was now a particular affliction of the left, not the right. So-called “new antisemitism” did not target Jews, but related instead to criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights.

This highly dubious narrative proved easy to condense into social media-friendly soundbites.

Israel still routinely describes any Palestinian resistance to its belligerent occupation or its illegal settlements as “terrorism”, and any support from other Palestinians as “incitement”. International solidarity with Palestinians is characterised as “delegitimisation” and equated with antisemitism.

‘Flood the internet’

As far back as 2008, it emerged that a pro-Israel media lobby group, Camera, had been orchestrating covert efforts by Israel loyalists to infiltrate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to edit entries and “rewrite history” in ways favourable to Israel. Soon afterwards, politician Naftali Bennett helped organise courses teaching “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia.

In 2011, the Israeli army declared social media a new “battleground” and assigned “cyber warriors” to wage combat online. In 2015, Israel’s foreign ministry set up an additional command centre to recruit young, tech-savvy former soldiers from 8200, the army’s cyber intelligence unit, to lead the battle online. Many have gone on to establish hi-tech firms whose spying software became integral to the functioning of social media.

An app launched in 2017, Act.IL, mobilised Israel partisans to “swarm” sites hosting either criticism of Israel or support for Palestinians. The initiative, supported by Israel’s ministry of strategic affairs, was headed by veterans of Israeli intelligence services.

According to the Forward, a US Jewish weekly, Israel’s intelligence services liaise closely with Act.IL and request help in getting content, including videos, removed by social media platforms. The Forward observed shortly after the app was rolled out: “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military censor who was then assigned to Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, said the goal was to “create a community of fighters” whose job was to “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda.

Willing allies

With advantages measured in personnel numbers and ideological zeal, in tech and propaganda experience, and in high-level influence in Washington and Silicon Valley, Israel was soon able to turn social media platforms into willing allies in its struggle to marginalise Palestinians online.

In 2016, Israel’s justice ministry was boasting that Facebook, Google and YouTube were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content”, almost all of it Palestinian. The social media companies did not confirm this figure.

The Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel lobby group with a history of smearing Palestinian organisations and Jewish groups critical of Israel, established a “command centre” in Silicon Valley in 2017 to monitor what it termed “online hate speech”. That same year, it was appointed a “trusted flagger” organisation for YouTube, meaning its reporting of content for removal was prioritised.

At a 2018 conference in Ramallah hosted by 7amleh, a Palestinian online advocacy group, local Google and Facebook representatives barely hid their priorities. It was important to their bottom line to avoid upsetting governments with the power to constrain their commercial activities – even if those governments were systematically violating international law and human rights. In this battle, the Palestinian Authority carries no weight at all. Israel presides over Palestinians’ communications and internet infrastructure. It controls the Palestinian economy and its key resources.

Since 2016, Israel’s justice ministry has reportedly suppressed tens of thousands of Palestinian posts. In a completely opaque process, Israel’s own algorithms detect content it deems “extremist” and then requests its removal. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel over social media posts, chilling online activity.

Human Rights Watch warned late last year that Israel and Facebook were often blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and incitement. Conversely, as Israel has shifted ever further rightwards, the Netanyahu government and social media platforms have not stemmed a surge of posts in Hebrew promoting anti-Palestinian incitement and calling for violence. 7amleh has noted that Israelis post racist or inciteful material against Palestinians roughly every minute.

News agencies shut down

As well as excising tens of thousands of Palestinian posts, Israel has persuaded Facebook to take down the accounts of major Palestinian news agencies and leading journalists.

By 2018, the Palestinian public had grown so incensed that a campaign of online protests and calls to boycott Facebook were led under the hashtag #FBcensorsPalestine. In Gaza, demonstrators accused the company of being “another face of occupation”.

Activism in solidarity with Palestinians in the US and Europe has been similarly targeted. Ads for films, as well as the films themselves, have been taken down and websites removed.

Last month, Zoom, a video conferencing site that has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, joined YouTube and Facebook in censoring a webinar organised by San Francisco State University because it included Leila Khaled, an icon of the Palestinian resistance movement now in her seventies.

On Friday, Zoom blocked a second scheduled appearance by Khaled – this time in a University of Hawaii webinar on censorship – as well as a spate of other events across the US to protest against her cancellation by the site. A statement concerning the day of action said campuses were “joining in the campaign to resist corporate and university silencing of Palestinian narratives and Palestinian voices”.

The decision, a flagrant attack on academic freedom, was reportedly taken after the social media groups were heavily pressured by the Israeli government and anti-Palestinian lobby groups, which labelled the webinar “antisemitic”.

Wiped off the map

The degree to which the tech giants’ discrimination against Palestinians is structural and entrenched has been underscored by the years-long struggle of activists both to include Palestinian villages on online maps and GPS services, and to name the Palestinian territories as “Palestine”, in accordance with Palestine’s recognition by the United Nations.

That campaign has largely floundered, even though more than a million people have signed a petition in protest. Both Google and Apple have proved highly resistant to these appeals; hundreds of Palestinian villages are missing from their maps of the occupied West Bank, while Israel’s illegal settlements are identified in detail, accorded the same status as the Palestinian communities that are shown.

The occupied Palestinian territories are subordinated under the name “Israel”, while Jerusalem is presented as Israel’s unified and undisputed capital, just as Israel claims – making the occupation of the Palestinian section of the city invisible.

These are far from politically neutral decisions. Israeli governments have long pursued a Greater Israel ideology that requires driving Palestinians off their lands. This year, that dispossession programme was formalised with plans, backed by the Trump administration, to annex swathes of the West Bank.

Google and Apple are effectively colluding in this policy by helping to erase Palestinians’ visible presence in their homeland. As two Palestinian scholars, George Zeidan and Haya Haddad, recently noted: “When Google and Apple erase Palestinian villages from their navigation, but proudly mark settlements, the effect is complicity in the Israeli nationalist narrative.”

Out of the shadows

Israel’s ever-tightening relationship with social media corporations has played out largely behind the scenes. But these ties moved decisively out of the shadows in May, when Facebook announced that its new oversight board would include Emi Palmor, one of the architects of Israel’s online repression policy towards Palestinians.

The board will issue precedent-setting rulings to help shape Facebook’s and Instagram’s censorship and free speech policies. But as the former director-general of the justice ministry, Palmor has shown no commitment to online free speech. Quite the reverse: she worked hand-in-hand with the tech giants to censor Palestinian posts and shut down Palestinian news websites. She oversaw the transformation of her department into what the human rights organisation Adalah has called the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”.

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate, online transparency or greater civic engagement. Their only commitment is to the maintenance of a business environment in which they avoid any regulation by major governments infringing on their right to make money.

The appointment of Palmor perfectly illustrates the corrupting relationship between government and social media. Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful.

Many more of us could soon find ourselves sharing the online fate of Palestinians.

• First published in Middle East Eye

The post Social Media’s Erasure of Palestinians is a Grim Warning for our Future first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Social Media’s Erasure of Palestinians is a Grim Warning for our Future

There is a growing unease that the decisions taken by social media corporations can have a harmful impact on our lives. These platforms, despite enjoying an effective monopoly over the virtual public square, have long avoided serious scrutiny or accountability.

In a new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, former Silicon Valley executives warn of a dystopian future. Google, Facebook and Twitter have gathered vast quantities of data on us to better predict and manipulate our desires. Their products are gradually rewiring our brains to addict us to our screens and make us more pliable to advertisers. The result, as we are consigned to discrete ideological echo chambers, is ever greater social and political polarisation and turmoil.

As if to underline the ever-tightening grip these tech corporations exert on our lives, Facebook and Twitter decided this month to openly interfere in the most contentious US presidential election in living memory. They censored a story that could harm the electoral prospects of Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to incumbent President Donald Trump.

Given that nearly half of Americans receive their news chiefly via Facebook, the ramifications of such a decision on our political life were not hard to interpret. In excising any debate about purported corruption and influence-peddling by Biden’s son, Hunter, carried out in his father’s name, these social media platforms stepped firmly into the role of authoritarian arbiter of what we are allowed to say and know.

‘Monopoly gatekeeper’

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them. But if we wish to understand where this ultimately leads, there is no better case study than the very different ways Israelis and Palestinians have been treated by the tech giants.

The treatment of Palestinians online serves as a warning that it would be foolish indeed to regard these globe-spanning corporations as politically neutral platforms, and their decisions as straightforwardly commercial. This is to doubly misunderstand their role.

Social media firms are now effectively monopolistic communication grids – similar to the electricity and water grids, or the phone network of a quarter of a century ago. Their decisions are therefore no longer private matters, but instead have huge social, economic and political consequences. That is part of the reason why the US justice department launched a lawsuit last week against Google for acting as a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”.

Google, Facebook and Twitter have no more a right to arbitrarily decide who and what they host on their sites than telecoms companies once had a right to decide whether a customer should be allowed a phone line. But unlike the phone company, social media corporations control not just the means of communication, but the content too. They can decide, as the Hunter Biden story shows, whether their customers get to participate in vital public debates about who leads them.

The Hunter Biden decision is as if the phone company of old not only listened in to conversations, but was able to cut the line if it did not like the politics of any particular customer.

In fact, it is even worse than that. Social media now deliver the news to large sections of the population. Their censoring of a story is more akin to the electricity company turning off the power to everyone’s homes for the duration of a TV broadcast to ensure no one can see it.

Censorship by stealth

The tech giants are the wealthiest, most powerful corporations in human history, their riches measured in hundreds of billions, and now trillions, of dollars. But the argument that they are apolitical – aiming simply to maximise profits – was never true.

They have every reason to promote politicians who side with them by committing not to break up their monopolies or regulate their activities, or, better still, by promising to weaken controls that might prevent them from growing even more fabulously rich and powerful.

Conversely, the tech giants also have every incentive to use the digital space to penalise and marginalise political activists who urge greater regulation either of their activities, or of the marketplace more generally.

Unlike their explicit deletion of the Hunter Biden story, which incensed the Trump administration, social media corporations more usually censor by stealth. That power is wielded through algorithms, the secret codes that decide whether something or someone appears in a search result or on a social media feed. If they desire, these tech titans can cancel any one of us overnight.

This is not just political paranoia. The disproportionate impact of algorithm changes on “left-leaning” websites – those most critical of the neoliberal system that has enriched social media corporations – was highlighted this month by the Wall Street Journal.

Wrong kinds of speech

Politicians increasingly understand the power of social media, which is why they want to harness it as best they can for their own ends. Since the shock of Trump’s election victory in late 2016, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives have regularly found themselves dragged before legislative oversight committees in the US and UK.

There, they are ritually rebuked by politicians for creating a crisis of “fake news” – a crisis that, in fact, long predated social media, as the deceptions of US and UK officials in linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and claiming that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” testify to only too clearly.

Politicians have also begun holding internet corporations responsible for “foreign interference” in western elections – typically blamed on Russia – despite a dearth of serious evidence for most of their allegations.

Political pressure is being exerted not to make the corporations more transparent and accountable, but to steer them towards enforcing even more assiduously restrictions on the wrong kinds of speech – whether it be violent racists on the right or critics of capitalism and western government policy on the left.

For that reason, social media’s original image as a neutral arena of information sharing, or as a tool for widening public debate and increasing civic engagement, or as a discourse leveller between the rich and powerful and weak and marginalised, grows ever more hollow.

Separate digital rights

Nowhere are ties between tech and state officials more evident than in their dealings with Israel. This has led to starkly different treatment of digital rights for Israelis and Palestinians. The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think, and over who is visible and who is erased from public life.

Israel was well-positioned to exploit social media before most other states had recognised its importance in manipulating popular attitudes and perceptions. For decades, Israel had, in part, outsourced an official programme of hasbara – or state propaganda – to its own citizens and supporters abroad. As new digital platforms emerged, these partisans were only too willing to expand their role.

Israel had another advantage. After the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, Israel began crafting a narrative of state victimhood by redefining antisemitism to suggest it was now a particular affliction of the left, not the right. So-called “new antisemitism” did not target Jews, but related instead to criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights.

This highly dubious narrative proved easy to condense into social media-friendly soundbites.

Israel still routinely describes any Palestinian resistance to its belligerent occupation or its illegal settlements as “terrorism”, and any support from other Palestinians as “incitement”. International solidarity with Palestinians is characterised as “delegitimisation” and equated with antisemitism.

‘Flood the internet’

As far back as 2008, it emerged that a pro-Israel media lobby group, Camera, had been orchestrating covert efforts by Israel loyalists to infiltrate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to edit entries and “rewrite history” in ways favourable to Israel. Soon afterwards, politician Naftali Bennett helped organise courses teaching “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia.

In 2011, the Israeli army declared social media a new “battleground” and assigned “cyber warriors” to wage combat online. In 2015, Israel’s foreign ministry set up an additional command centre to recruit young, tech-savvy former soldiers from 8200, the army’s cyber intelligence unit, to lead the battle online. Many have gone on to establish hi-tech firms whose spying software became integral to the functioning of social media.

An app launched in 2017, Act.IL, mobilised Israel partisans to “swarm” sites hosting either criticism of Israel or support for Palestinians. The initiative, supported by Israel’s ministry of strategic affairs, was headed by veterans of Israeli intelligence services.

According to the Forward, a US Jewish weekly, Israel’s intelligence services liaise closely with Act.IL and request help in getting content, including videos, removed by social media platforms. The Forward observed shortly after the app was rolled out: “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military censor who was then assigned to Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, said the goal was to “create a community of fighters” whose job was to “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda.

Willing allies

With advantages measured in personnel numbers and ideological zeal, in tech and propaganda experience, and in high-level influence in Washington and Silicon Valley, Israel was soon able to turn social media platforms into willing allies in its struggle to marginalise Palestinians online.

In 2016, Israel’s justice ministry was boasting that Facebook, Google and YouTube were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content”, almost all of it Palestinian. The social media companies did not confirm this figure.

The Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel lobby group with a history of smearing Palestinian organisations and Jewish groups critical of Israel, established a “command centre” in Silicon Valley in 2017 to monitor what it termed “online hate speech”. That same year, it was appointed a “trusted flagger” organisation for YouTube, meaning its reporting of content for removal was prioritised.

At a 2018 conference in Ramallah hosted by 7amleh, a Palestinian online advocacy group, local Google and Facebook representatives barely hid their priorities. It was important to their bottom line to avoid upsetting governments with the power to constrain their commercial activities – even if those governments were systematically violating international law and human rights. In this battle, the Palestinian Authority carries no weight at all. Israel presides over Palestinians’ communications and internet infrastructure. It controls the Palestinian economy and its key resources.

Since 2016, Israel’s justice ministry has reportedly suppressed tens of thousands of Palestinian posts. In a completely opaque process, Israel’s own algorithms detect content it deems “extremist” and then requests its removal. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel over social media posts, chilling online activity.

Human Rights Watch warned late last year that Israel and Facebook were often blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and incitement. Conversely, as Israel has shifted ever further rightwards, the Netanyahu government and social media platforms have not stemmed a surge of posts in Hebrew promoting anti-Palestinian incitement and calling for violence. 7amleh has noted that Israelis post racist or inciteful material against Palestinians roughly every minute.

News agencies shut down

As well as excising tens of thousands of Palestinian posts, Israel has persuaded Facebook to take down the accounts of major Palestinian news agencies and leading journalists.

By 2018, the Palestinian public had grown so incensed that a campaign of online protests and calls to boycott Facebook were led under the hashtag #FBcensorsPalestine. In Gaza, demonstrators accused the company of being “another face of occupation”.

Activism in solidarity with Palestinians in the US and Europe has been similarly targeted. Ads for films, as well as the films themselves, have been taken down and websites removed.

Last month, Zoom, a video conferencing site that has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, joined YouTube and Facebook in censoring a webinar organised by San Francisco State University because it included Leila Khaled, an icon of the Palestinian resistance movement now in her seventies.

On Friday, Zoom blocked a second scheduled appearance by Khaled – this time in a University of Hawaii webinar on censorship – as well as a spate of other events across the US to protest against her cancellation by the site. A statement concerning the day of action said campuses were “joining in the campaign to resist corporate and university silencing of Palestinian narratives and Palestinian voices”.

The decision, a flagrant attack on academic freedom, was reportedly taken after the social media groups were heavily pressured by the Israeli government and anti-Palestinian lobby groups, which labelled the webinar “antisemitic”.

Wiped off the map

The degree to which the tech giants’ discrimination against Palestinians is structural and entrenched has been underscored by the years-long struggle of activists both to include Palestinian villages on online maps and GPS services, and to name the Palestinian territories as “Palestine”, in accordance with Palestine’s recognition by the United Nations.

That campaign has largely floundered, even though more than a million people have signed a petition in protest. Both Google and Apple have proved highly resistant to these appeals; hundreds of Palestinian villages are missing from their maps of the occupied West Bank, while Israel’s illegal settlements are identified in detail, accorded the same status as the Palestinian communities that are shown.

The occupied Palestinian territories are subordinated under the name “Israel”, while Jerusalem is presented as Israel’s unified and undisputed capital, just as Israel claims – making the occupation of the Palestinian section of the city invisible.

These are far from politically neutral decisions. Israeli governments have long pursued a Greater Israel ideology that requires driving Palestinians off their lands. This year, that dispossession programme was formalised with plans, backed by the Trump administration, to annex swathes of the West Bank.

Google and Apple are effectively colluding in this policy by helping to erase Palestinians’ visible presence in their homeland. As two Palestinian scholars, George Zeidan and Haya Haddad, recently noted: “When Google and Apple erase Palestinian villages from their navigation, but proudly mark settlements, the effect is complicity in the Israeli nationalist narrative.”

Out of the shadows

Israel’s ever-tightening relationship with social media corporations has played out largely behind the scenes. But these ties moved decisively out of the shadows in May, when Facebook announced that its new oversight board would include Emi Palmor, one of the architects of Israel’s online repression policy towards Palestinians.

The board will issue precedent-setting rulings to help shape Facebook’s and Instagram’s censorship and free speech policies. But as the former director-general of the justice ministry, Palmor has shown no commitment to online free speech. Quite the reverse: she worked hand-in-hand with the tech giants to censor Palestinian posts and shut down Palestinian news websites. She oversaw the transformation of her department into what the human rights organisation Adalah has called the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”.

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate, online transparency or greater civic engagement. Their only commitment is to the maintenance of a business environment in which they avoid any regulation by major governments infringing on their right to make money.

The appointment of Palmor perfectly illustrates the corrupting relationship between government and social media. Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful.

Many more of us could soon find ourselves sharing the online fate of Palestinians.

• First published in Middle East Eye

The post Social Media’s Erasure of Palestinians is a Grim Warning for our Future first appeared on Dissident Voice.

New York Times Releases Sequel of Putin-the-Poisoner

The New York Times released sequel six in the best-selling Putin-the-Poisoner series on September 22. The incredibly gifted junior G-men and women in the Times Tower have sleuthed yet another episode of boundless evildoing by the arch-villain Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

“The editorial board,” we are informed, “is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values” (emphasis added). In this blue state special, they spin the tale of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny poisoned with “a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union.” Jacobin calls Navalny, who is a right-wing anti-immigrant blogger and YouTube celebrity, “Russia’s Trump.”

From the “established fact” that a poisoning occurred, the rest of the Times editorial is pure conjecture. After the poisoning and spending two days in a Russian hospital, the victim flew off to Germany. The people described by the Times as “Mr. Navalny’s colleagues” returned to the crime scene, a hotel in that most ominous of places, Siberia. The perpetrators of the crime were sloppy in covering up because “traces of [the poison] Novichok were found on a water bottle” at the hotel, according to the Times.

This clearly demonstrates not only malevolent intent by the culprits but also the abject failure of Russian hotels to achieve room service to international standards of cleanliness. Likewise, the Russian police were too incompetent to seal off the crime scene for investigation.

In a chain of custody not revealed, the “colleagues” sent the “evidence” out of Russia to Germany then also to France and Sweden, where it was subsequently “confirmed by laboratories.” “The powerful poison,” we are told is used “against foes of the Russian regime.”

Only in the cartoonish mindset of the NYT do the perpetually bungling villains leave such blatant clues to their crimes.

The editorial board declares, “many questions remain unanswered and are likely to remain so. Chief among them is whether President Vladimir Putin ordered or approved the attempted assassination.” Later in the editorial, this chief question is answered: “Mr. Putin knows what happened, or he can find out,” but “…he continues to hide behind glaringly phony denials.”

The NYT gumshoes have discovered a pattern: “Then there is the fact that once again, the victim survived the attack.” In fact, this is the sixth such incident of survival in a row. Not only have the wrongdoers used a chemical agent that can be traced back to them and they allowed both the victim and the damning evidence to leave Russia, but they repeatedly administered the poison in precisely the correct sub-lethal dose to induce a near death experience to their victims.

How can this be? The NYT detectives rhetorically state: “Or was it their intention to convey a brutal warning of what happens to those who challenge the Kremlin?”

As in any crime mystery, the motive must be established. For the Times, it is clear: “the attack could be seen only as an attempt to silence a strong and effective political voice.” The Times then calls for increased sanctions against Russia. They argue that Putin must not be allowed to get away with bad behavior.

Harkening back to the Russiagate playbook of Trump being Putin’s puppet, the Times ingenuously asserts, “President Trump, for reasons that remain one of the top mysteries of his administration, has largely closed his eyes to Mr. Putin’s serial transgressions.” The Times admonishes: “it is incumbent on the West to hold him accountable for murdering or trying to murder anyone he finds troublesome.”

Note, the Times segues from conjecturing that Putin is the perpetrator to – based on no evidence – that he has in fact attempted murder.

Outside the comic book world that the editorial paints, there are questions not addressed by the Times. Why, after five previous incidents, has the Russian security state not learned to administer fatal doses of poison and cover up their tracks? Why would Putin repeatedly order hits on dissidents that every time boomerang on him by publicizing their grievances and inviting punishing sanctions?

An alternative explanation for this poisoning story is that this is a setup to discredit and weaken an official enemy of the US imperial state. The nation’s newspaper of record has a long history as a faithful mouthpiece of empire. On spinning the Putin-the-Poisoner tale, the Times has been but one voice in the Russo-phobic chorus of western media.

The truth of the Navalny case is hard to ascertain. What is clear is that the “evidence” that the Times touts has not been made public but has been used to bludgeon Russia.

Putin is not up for election. But there is something else at stake and that is, as the Times editorial mentions, the possible “cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a gas conduit from Russia to Germany,” which is of vital economic interest to Russia. The US, now the world’s leading producer of fossil fuels, opposes the project. In a bipartisan effort, the US even threatens “crushing legal and economic [secondary] sanctions” on the German seaport of Sassnitz for supplying the project.

The Times laments, “Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, is reluctant to take a step” to cancel this “nearly completed” project despite the US having “demanded cancellation of the pipeline.” It is not inconceivable that the Navalny scandal was manufactured to tip the scales and sabotage the Russian project.

The post New York Times Releases Sequel of Putin-the-Poisoner first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Why is the World going to Hell? Netflix’s The Social Dilemma tells only Half the Story

If you find yourself wondering what the hell is going on right now – the “Why is the world turning to shit?” thought – you may find Netflix’s new documentary The Social Dilemma a good starting point for clarifying your thinking. I say “starting point” because, as we shall see, the film suffers from two major limitations: one in its analysis and the other in its conclusion. Nonetheless, the film is good at exploring the contours of the major social crises we currently face – epitomised both by our addiction to the mobile phone and by its ability to rewire our consciousness and our personalities.

The film makes a convincing case that this is not simply an example of old wine in new bottles. This isn’t the Generation Z equivalent of parents telling their children to stop watching so much TV and play outside. Social media is not simply a more sophisticated platform for Edward Bernays-inspired advertising. It is a new kind of assault on who we are, not just what we think.

According to The Social Dilemma, we are fast reaching a kind of human “event horizon”, with our societies standing on the brink of collapse. We face what several interviewees term an “existential threat” from the way the internet, and particularly social media, are rapidly developing.

I don’t think they are being alarmist. Or rather I think they are right to be alarmist, even if their alarm is not entirely for the right reasons. We will get to the limitations in their thinking in a moment.

Like many documentaries of this kind, The Social Dilemma is deeply tied to the shared perspective of its many participants. In most cases, they are richly disillusioned, former executives and senior software engineers from Silicon Valley. They understand that their once-cherished creations – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat (WhatsApp seems strangely under-represented in the roll call) – have turned into a gallery of Frankenstein’s monsters.

That is typified in the plaintive story of the guy who helped invent the “Like” button for Facebook. He thought his creation would flood the world with the warm glow of brother and sisterhood, spreading love like a Coca Cola advert. In fact, it ended up inflaming our insecurities and need for social approval, and dramatically pushed up rates of suicide among teenage girls.

If the number of watches of the documentary is any measure, disillusion with social media is spreading far beyond its inventors.

Children as guinea pigs

Although not flagged as such, The Social Dilemma divides into three chapters.

The first, dealing with the argument we are already most familiar with, is that social media is a global experiment in altering our psychology and social interactions, and our children are the main guinea pigs. Millennials (those who came of age in the 2000s) are the first generation that spent their formative years with Facebook and MySpace as best friends. Their successors, Generation Z, barely know a world without social media at its forefront.

The film makes a relatively easy case forcefully: that our children are not only addicted to their shiny phones and what lies inside the packaging, but that their minds are being aggressively rewired to hold their attention and then make them pliable for corporations to sell things.

Each child is not just locked in a solitary battle to stay in control of his or her mind against the skills of hundreds of the world’s greatest software engineers. The fight to change their perspective and ours – the sense of who we are – is now in the hands of algorithms that are refined every second of every day by AI, artificial intelligence. As one interviewee observes, social media is not going to become less expert at manipulating our thinking and emotions, it’s going to keep getting much, much better at doing it.

Jaron Lanier, one of the computing pioneers of virtual reality, explains what Google and the rest of these digital corporations are really selling: “It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behaviour and perception – that is the product.” That is also how these corporations make their money, by “changing what you do, what you think, who you are.”

They make profits, big profits, from the predictions business – predicting what you will think and how you will behave so that you are more easily persuaded to buy what their advertisers want to sell you. To have great predictions, these corporations have had to amass vast quantities of data on each of us – what is sometimes called “surveillance capitalism”.

And, though the film does not quite spell it out, there is another implication. The best formula for tech giants to maximise their predictions is this: as well as processing lots of data on us, they must gradually grind down our distinctiveness, our individuality, our eccentricities so that we become a series of archetypes. Then, our emotions – our fears, insecurities, desires, cravings – can be more easily gauged, exploited and plundered by advertisers.

These new corporations trade in human futures, just as other corporations have long traded in oil futures and pork-belly futures, notes Shoshana Zuboff, professor emeritus at Harvard business school. Those markets “have made the internet companies the richest companies in the history of humanity”.

Flat Earthers and Pizzagate

The second chapter explains that, as we get herded into our echo chambers of self-reinforcing information, we lose more and more sense of the real world and of each other. With it, our ability to empathise and compromise is eroded. We live in different information universes, chosen for us by algorithms whose only criterion is how to maximise our attention for advertisers’ products to generate greater profits for the internet giants.

Anyone who has spent any time on social media, especially a combative platform like Twitter, will sense that there is a truth to this claim. Social cohesion, empathy, fair play, morality are not in the algorithm. Our separate information universes mean we are increasingly prone to misunderstanding and confrontation.

And there is a further problem, as one interviewee states: “The truth is boring.” Simple or fanciful ideas are easier to grasp and more fun. People prefer to share what’s exciting, what’s novel, what’s unexpected, what’s shocking. “It’s a disinformation-for-profit model,” as another interviewee observes, stating that research shows false information is six times more likely to spread on social media platforms than true information.

And as governments and politicians work more closely with these tech companies – a well-documented fact the film entirely fails to explore – our rulers are better positioned than ever to manipulate our thinking and control what we do. They can dictate the political discourse more quickly, more comprehensively, more cheaply than ever before.

This section of the film, however, is the least successful. True, our societies are riven by increasing polarisation and conflict, and feel more tribal. But the film implies that all forms of social tension – from the paranoid paedophile conspiracy theory of Pizzagate to the Black Lives Matter protests – are the result of social media’s harmful influence.

And though it is easy to know that Flat Earthers are spreading misinformation, it is far harder to be sure what is true and what is false in many others areas of life. Recent history suggests our yardsticks cannot be simply what governments say is true – or Mark Zuckerberg, or even “experts”. It may be a while since doctors were telling us that cigarettes were safe, but millions of Americans were told only a few years ago that opiates would help them – until an opiate addiction crisis erupted across the US.

This section falls into making a category error of the kind set out by one of the interviewees early in the film. Despite all the drawbacks, the internet and social media have an undoubted upside when used simply as a tool, argues Tristan Harris, Google’s former design ethicist and the soul of the film. He gives the example of being able to hail a cab almost instantly at the press of a phone button. That, of course, highlights something about the materialist priorities of most of Silicon Valley’s leading lights.

But the tool box nestled in our phones, full of apps, does not just satisfy our craving for material comfort and security. It has also fuelled a craving to understand the world and our place in it, and offered tools to help us do that.

Phones have made it possible for ordinary people to film and share scenes once witnessed by only a handful of disbelieved passers-by. We can all see for ourselves a white police officer dispassionately kneeling on the neck of a black man for nine minutes, while the victim cries out he cannot breathe, until he expires. And we can then judge the values and priorities of our leaders when they decide to do as little as possible to prevent such incidents occurring again.

The internet has created a platform from which not only disillusioned former Silicon Valley execs can blow the whistle on what the Mark Zuckerbergs are up to, but so can a US army private like Chelsea Manning, by exposing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so can a national security tech insider like Edward Snowden, by revealing the way we are being secretly surveilled by our own governments.

Technological digital breakthroughs allowed someone like Julian Assange to set up a site, Wikileaks, that offered us a window on the real political world – a window through we could see our leaders behaving more like psychopaths than humanitarians. A window those same leaders are now fighting tooth and nail to close by putting him on trial.

A small window on reality

The Social Dilemma ignores all of this to focus on the dangers of so-called “fake news”. It dramatises a scene suggesting that only those sucked into information black holes and conspiracy sites end up taking to the street to protest – and when they do, the film hints, it will not end well for them.

Apps allowing us to hail a taxi or navigate our way to a destination are undoubtedly useful tools. But being able to find out what our leaders are really doing – whether they are committing crimes against others or against us – is an even more useful tool. In fact, it is a vital one if we want to stop the kind of self-destructive behaviours The Social Dilemma is concerned about, not least our destruction of the planet’s life systems (an issue that, except for one interviewee’s final comment, the film leaves untouched).

Use of social media does not mean one necessarily loses touch with the real world. For a minority, social media has deepened their understanding of reality. For those tired of having the real world mediated for them by a bunch of billionaires and traditional media corporations, the chaotic social media platforms have provided an opportunity to gain insights into a reality that was obscured before.

The paradox, of course, is that these new social media corporations are no less billionaire-owned, no less power-hungry, no less manipulative than the old media corporations. The AI algorithms they are rapidly refining are being used – under the rubric of “fake news” – to drive out this new marketplace in whistleblowing, in citizen journalism, in dissident ideas.

Social media corporations are quickly getting better at distinguishing the baby from the bathwater, so they can throw out the baby. After all, like their forebears, the new media platforms are in the business of business, not of waking us up to the fact that they are embedded in a corporate world that has plundered the planet for profit.

Much of our current social polarisation and conflict is not, as The Social Dilemma suggests, between those influenced by social media’s “fake news” and those influenced by corporate media’s “real news”. It is between, on the one hand, those who have managed to find oases of critical thinking and transparency in the new media and, on the other, those trapped in the old media model or those who, unable to think critically after a lifetime of consuming corporate media, have been easily and profitably sucked into nihilistic, online conspiracies.

Our mental black boxes

The third chapter gets to the nub of the problem without indicating exactly what that nub is. That is because The Social Dilemma cannot properly draw from its already faulty premises the necessary conclusion to indict a system in which the Netflix corporation that funded the documentary and is televising it is so deeply embedded itself.

For all its heart-on-its-sleeve anxieties about the “existential threat” we face as a species, The Social Dilemma is strangely quiet about what needs to change – aside from limiting our kids’ exposure to Youtube and Facebook. It is a deflating ending to the rollercoaster ride that preceded it.

Here I want to backtrack a little. The film’s first chapter makes it sound as though social media’s rewiring of our brains to sell us advertising is something entirely new. The second chapter treats our society’s growing loss of empathy, and the rapid rise in an individualistic narcissism, as something entirely new. But very obviously neither proposition is true.

Advertisers have been playing with our brains in sophisticated ways for at least a century. And social atomisation – individualism, selfishness and consumerism – have been a feature of western life for at least as long. These aren’t new phenomena. It’s just that these long-term, negative aspects of western society are growing exponentially, at a seemingly unstoppable rate.

We’ve been heading towards dystopia for decades, as should be obvious to anyone who has been tracking the lack of political urgency to deal with climate change since the problem became obvious to scientists back in the 1970s.

The multiple ways in which we are damaging the planet – destroying forests and natural habitats, pushing species towards extinction, polluting the air and water, melting the ice-caps, generating a climate crisis – have been increasingly evident since our societies turned everything into a commodity that could be bought and sold in the marketplace. We began on the slippery slope towards the problems highlighted by The Social Dilemma the moment we collectively decided that nothing was sacred, that nothing was more sacrosanct than our desire to turn a quick buck.

It is true that social media is pushing us towards an event horizon. But then so is climate change, and so is our unsustainable global economy, premised on infinite growth on a finite planet. And, more importantly, these profound crises are all arising at the same time.

There is a conspiracy, but not of the Pizzagate variety. It is an ideological conspiracy, of at least two centuries’ duration, by a tiny and ever more fabulously wealth elite to further enrich themselves and to maintain their power, their dominance, at all costs.

There is a reason why, as Harvard business professor Shoshana Zuboff points out, social media corporations are the most fantastically wealthy in human history. And that reason is also why we are reaching the human “event horizon” these Silicon Valley luminaries all fear, one where our societies, our economies, the planet’s life-support systems are all on the brink of collapse together.

The cause of that full-spectrum, systemic crisis is not named, but it has a name. Its name is the ideology that has become a black box, a mental prison, in which we have become incapable of imagining any other way of organising our lives, any other future than the one we are destined for at the moment. That ideology’s name is capitalism.

Waking up from the matrix

Social media and the AI behind it are one of the multiple crises we can no longer ignore as capitalism reaches the end of a trajectory it has long been on. The seeds of neoliberalism’s current, all-too-obvious destructive nature were planted long ago, when the “civilised”, industrialised west decided its mission was to conquer and subdue the natural world, when it embraced an ideology that fetishised money and turned people into objects to be exploited.

A few of the participants in The Social Dilemma allude to this in the last moments of the final chapter. The difficulty they have in expressing the full significance of the conclusions they have drawn from two decades spent in the most predatory corporations the world has ever known could be because their minds are still black boxes, preventing them from standing outside the ideological system they, like us, were born into. Or it could be because coded language is the best one can manage if a corporate platform like Netflix is going to let a film like this one reach a mass audience.

Tristan Harris tries to articulate the difficulty by grasping for a movie allusion: “How do you wake up from the matrix when you don’t know you’re in the matrix?” Later, he observes: “What I see is a bunch of people who are trapped by a business model, an economic incentive, shareholder pressure that makes it almost impossible to do something else.”

Although still framed in Harris’s mind as a specific critique of social media corporations, this point is very obviously true of all corporations, and of the ideological system – capitalism – that empowers all these corporations.

Another interviewee notes: “I don’t think these guys [the tech giants] set out to be evil, it’s just the business model.”

He is right. But “evilness” – the psychopathic pursuit of profit above all other values – is the business model for all corporations, not just the digital ones.

The one interviewee who manages, or is allowed, to connect the dots is Justin Rosenstein, a former engineer for Twitter and Google. He eloquently observes:

We live in a world in which a tree is worth more, financially, dead than alive. A world in which a whale is worth more dead than alive. For so long as our economy works in that way, and corporations go unregulated, they’re going to continue to destroy trees, to kill whales, to mine the earth, and to continue to pull oil out of the ground, even though we know it is destroying the planet and we know it is going to leave a worse world for future generations.

This is short-term thinking based on this religion of profit at all costs. As if somehow, magically, each corporation acting in its selfish interest is going to produce the best result. … What’s frightening – and what hopefully is the last straw and will make us wake up as a civilisation as to how flawed this theory is in the first place – is to see that now we are the tree, we are the whale. Our attention can be mined. We are more profitable to a corporation if we’re spending time staring at a screen, staring at an ad, than if we’re spending our time living our life in a rich way.

Here is the problem condensed. That unnamed “flawed theory” is capitalism. The interviewees in the film arrived at their alarming conclusion – that we are on the brink of social collapse, facing an “existential threat” – because they have worked inside the bellies of the biggest corporate beasts on the planet, like Google and Facebook.

These experiences have provided most of these Silicon Valley experts with deep, but only partial, insight. While most of us view Facebook and Youtube as little more than places to exchange news with friends or share a video, these insiders understand much more. They have seen up close the most powerful, most predatory, most all-devouring corporations in human history.

Nonetheless, most of them have mistakenly assumed that their experiences of their own corporate sector apply only to their corporate sector. They understand the “existential threat” posed by Facebook and Google without extrapolating to the identical existential threats posed by Amazon, Exxon, Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, Goldman Sachs and thousands more giant, soulless corporations.

The Social Dilemma offers us an opportunity to sense the ugly, psychopathic face shielding behind the mask of social media’s affability. But for those watching carefully the film offers more: a chance to grasp the pathology of the system itself that pushed these destructive social media giants into our lives.

The post Why is the World going to Hell? Netflix’s The Social Dilemma tells only Half the Story first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Facts Vs. Fake

Do you know who coined the curse, “conspiracy theory” or accusation, “you are conspiracy theorist!”?  It was nobody less than the CIA in the 1950s, to silence those who saw through the lie of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. This was a complete lie by US war strategists to install fear in the population in general and in Europeans in particular and to boost the American Military Industrial complex and presenting a constant threat to the communist Soviet Union.

A complementary phrase developed in the last years is “fake news” — people who are saying well-founded truths are being accused of spreading “false news” and that by the very media that spread the real false news and lies in the first place. A dystopian world indeed, and most of the public doesn’t capture it.

Another denigrating term that made it lately into the vocabulary of the mainstream, is “populist”. It refers to people or ideas from the left, the middle, or the right as soon as they don’t stick to the going narrative. By Webster definition, a populist is someone who represents the people’s views, a majority view, actually.  It’s a very democratic term because a true leader should represent the people’s views. But media manipulation has made “populism” something of “lesser intellect”, and, of course, nobody wants to be of “lesser intellect”. Hence, it’s become a derogatory term. That’s how the media and psychologically-worked propaganda can alter what people would call “my common sense”.

The fear factor is always a crucial element in dividing people and corralling them into chambers of fear which allows anything outside to happen – building up armament, faking an arms race  when there was none. The Soviet Union came out of WWII – where they lost between 25 and 30 million people to save Europe and the world from fascism.

But western history books have it that it was the United States and her European allies, who foremost defeated Hitler. This false news is continuingly being propagated, last by the recent WWII Victory Celebration on 9 May 2020 without any consideration of the key role of the Soviet Union — today’s Russia – in defeating the Hitler Nazis.

After this enormous sacrifice, the Soviet Union had no intention nor the resources to build up an army to defeat the west as was being propagated by the US and then being aped by Europe, hence justifying 40 years of a Cold War, based on FEAR. The Cold War destroyed the natural relationship (trade, diplomatic, cultural) between Europe and today’s Russia.

Today, however, anybody who dares to remind the western media, politicians and friends of the real conqueror of Hitler, namely the Soviet Union is a “conspiracy theorist” or someone who spreads “false news”.

The Corona Crisis

The latest example of conspiracy galore is the corona crisis. What is playing out in front of our eyes, a worldwide lockdown of everything, followed almost by every government of this globe with similar severity, quarantine, confinement at home for almost everyone under the “pretext” of protecting you, the people, from an invisible enemy – a corona virus. And every government KNOWS it is a disaster for their national and world economy.  It is social suicide. Yet they go along — with the orders of whom?

As most of us who look for our own sources of information outside the mainstream dominated, government dictated or supported lies, data collection and statistics on COVID infections, as well as death rates, are vastly inflated and willingly falsified, to increase the fear factor and prolong the all destructive lockdown.  This horrendous cheat is not just actively practiced in the US, but also in Europe. A point in case is Italy.

Another example is Switzerland. The official Swiss Federal Office of Statistics (BAS, for German “Bundesamt für Statistik”), keeps records of all deaths in the country per week. In the first 18 weeks of 2020 (ending 3 May 2020), there were actually less deaths reported than in the first 18 weeks of 2015 – 25,400 (2020) vs. 26,596 (2015). How is that possible if the official corona-death toll in Switzerland is 1,642, as of 24 May 2020. In other words, pretty much the same number of people die every year with or without corona.

Since Switzerland has the 8th highest Covid death-rate in absolute terms in Europe, similar total death figures may most likely be found in other European countries and the US; i.e. ,virtually unchanged in the first 18 weeks of 2019 and 2020.

Unless solid proof is presented, like by the Italian Member of Parliament and a number of medical doctors, virologists and microbiologists from Italy and other European countries, as well as the US, anybody who refers to the fakeness and unreliability of the statistic is called a conspiracy theorist — a liar. And in some countries people who tell the truth are even liable to fines and legal pursuit. These threats and conspiracy accusations should shut us up. But they don’t and won’t. We want the truth to come out and be known to the entire world.

The World Economic Crisis

We already now realize the damage of unheard proportions. In the first four months of this so-called, WHO-denominated pandemic, we see a global disaster of proportions far exceeding those of 1929-33 and 2008-09. Never in recorded human history has so much misery been created.

Bankruptcies abound, the stock market plunged so far by more than 30% (with some ups and down – called “quick profit taking” by the rich and powerful on the back of the small investors). However, US billionaires increased their wealth during the first 4 months in 2020 by US$ 406 billion, according to CNBC of 1 May 2020

The universal Covid-lockdown has also caused a meltdown of productive assets, which now become easy prey to be bought by large corporations – unemployment soaring to heights never experienced before by modern humanity, currently at about 45 million Americans out of a job. This does not account for those having given up looking for a job or claiming unemployment.

According to Fox Business News, up to 40% may never get back to work. The FED predicts unemployment may reach 50% by the end of the year (in the worst 1929 recession period unemployment attained 25%). These are only US statistics. The situation in more chaotic Europe may be even worse.

The International Labor Office (ILO) announced that within months worldwide unemployment may hit 1.6 billion people, half the globe’s work force. Many of these people, especially in the Global South, have already been at the verge of poverty or under the poverty line, living from day to day, with no savings. Now they are condemned to begging – and many, maybe hundreds of millions, to die from famine, according to the World Food Program (WFP). Many if not most of them have no access to health services, no shelter, or any other form of social safety nets, because the COVID-caused economic collapse has wiped out even flimsy social safety structures poor countries may have set up.

Misery no end. And this is only the tiny tip of the iceberg. The worst is still to come  when in a few weeks or months a clearer picture of what industries will live or die will emerge and more people will be relegated to economic paupers.

The Real Conspiracy

Taking a few steps back – it is clear, it is no coincidence that the entire world is stricken by the same virus and virtually at the same time. That does not happen naturally – but can happen, as it did, when the virus is artificially implanted in every country – and that at the same time. So, there is a diabolical plan behind this so-called corona-crisis which does not even have to be a crisis, if we look at real disease and death rates not the inflated, fear-inspiring ones (see above, cases Italy and Switzerland).

So, who is behind this all? Well, without naming names and leaving that guessing up to you, there are several reports and events that have “predicted” such a pandemic. One of the most prominent ones, is the 2010 Rockefeller report – that described in surprising detail what is happening now, and calls it the “Lock Step” scenario. According to the report it should get worse and the current pandemic might be followed by a stronger wave later this year or in 2021. Strangely, the IMF’s economic projections for a “post-Covid economy, foresees 3 scenarios, two of which consider another outbreak in the second half of 2020, or in 2021.

Event 201 on 18 October 2019 in NYC, simulating among other atrocities a corona pandemic that would leave 65 million dead within 18 months . This was the final stroke before the planned outbreak. Let’s just say that the evil masterminds behind this monstrous crisis are a few very rich, power-thirsty psychopaths and their families and cronies. They are planning a One World Government, also called the New World Order, or the One World Order that has been under preparation since the latter part of the last century. It requires total control over the population and a sizable population reduction.

That’s where the eugenics come in. Many of the Rockefeller club, the “Bilderberg Society” members have been advocating population reduction for decades, including Bill Gates. He even bragged about it when in a 2010 TED talk in Southern California, “Innovating to Zero”, he said, “if we do a real god job vaccinating, we may reduce world population by 10% to 15%.” He wants to eliminate poverty, literally.

However, talking about it, and connecting the dots of what we are living today is being labeled as Conspiracy Theory.

Why are Bill Gates’ new corona vaccines possibly killer vaccines?  Here is how it works. The Gates Foundation first created the pharmaceutical company “Moderna” in Seattle, Washington State, not far from his Microsoft empire, basically to produce tailor-made vaccines for the Gates Foundation. Then the foundation gave US$ 20 million to Moderna for the development of a COVID vaccine. A few days ago, Moncef  Slaoas resigned from Moderna’s Board to become White House Director of Operation Warp Speed, a plan to fast-track a COVID vaccine. Nobody seems to bother about the flagrant conflict of interest – let alone the health risk that poses. See Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the subject.

But it gets even better. The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), a little-known agency that is hardly in the news, had, according to Whitney Webb (Last American Vagabond) knowledge of the pandemic outbreak at least since last November, possibly earlier.

This means that President Trump knew about it, but didn’t do anything about it, rather let it happen. His blaming China today for mishandling the corona crisis is a sheer lie and a propaganda bluff to denigrate China’s reputation and her rising economy and solid currency, the yuan – which may soon take over from the dollar as a key world reserve currency.

DARPA is also financially supported by the Bill Gates Foundation. They have been working on new vaccine technologies for several years. The COVID-19 outbreak brought this research work to prominence. DARPA is closely collaborating with Bill Gates in applying this new technology to the vaccine, Bill Gates wants to develop and impose on the world population.

According to Whitney Webb, DARPA and its partner agencies are planning to

produce DNA and RNA vaccines, classes of vaccine that has never been approved for human use in the U.S. and involve injecting foreign genetic material into the human body. Notably, it is this very class of vaccine, now being produced by DARPA-partnered companies, that billionaire and global health “philanthropist” Bill Gates recently asserted has him “most excited”, relative to other Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

This is not conspiracy theory; this is real conspiracy. This sounds more like the Third Reich’s medical trials. The perpetrators were condemned at Nuremberg. In our dystopian world, nobody will be punished, even if thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands will die from the Gates WHO-supported rush with an untested vaccine. Though, it would match the eugenics agenda.

The so called (by WHO) COVID-19 “is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the human race.” It is a multi-generational lie that has become a ‘false normal’, says Dr. Sherry Tenpenny, founder of the Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center. And as a piece of reference enhancing her reputation, she has 20 years of vaccine research experience and her articles are translated in 12 languages. She also appears frequently on radio and TV to educate parents.

“By putting vaccines into our bodies, we are inserting foreign matter, toxins, into our cells, like mercury and aluminum.” In legal terms vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe”. Through pharma lobbying, in 1986 Congress has passed the National Childhood Vaccine Children Act, a law whereby pharmaceutical companies cannot be sued for any damage their vaccines cause, including death. The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of protecting vaccine makers from State Law Suits (5 May 2020).

Vaccines have enormous side effects, especially in small children, causing various lasting diseases, like peanut allergies, asthma, eczema and – yes – autism.

Particularly harmful vaccines are western-made MMR (measles), polio and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Russian made vaccines have different compositions and have helped prevent millions from polio and other debilitating, crippling or killing diseases. Since 2002, when revenues from vaccines for US pharma companies amounted to about US$ 8 billion, revenues and profits have skyrocketed to more than 60 billion per year by 2020. Every new vaccine is worth about a billion dollars. Learn more here:

Anybody who speaks out against vaccination, irrespective of the evidence given, is labeled a conspiracy theorist by the media, and often by the pharma-coopted medical society.

People start understanding that Bill Gates and his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) call the shots on public health around the world, especially on vaccination – and now on vaccination against the corona virus. The sinister new vaccines to be developed by Bill Gates in tandem with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), one of 27 agencies of the National Institute of Health (NIH), and supported by CDC and WHO – and in cooperation with DARPA – are described above. All Gates promoted vaccines are made by western pharma-corporations.

You should know that the Bill Gates Foundation also generously funds NIAID, NIH and CDC. Both CDC and NIH own several hundred if not thousands of vaccine patents. So, they have a vested interest in promoting vaccination, no matter how much harm they may cause to the population.

But this cannot be questioned, let alone criticized – else you will be denigrated as a conspiracy theorist. In fact, western Governments hire psychologists, sociologists and medical doctors to give interviews and talk to the media on conspiracy theories in a last-ditch effort to dissuade people from thinking and from believing the truth, if it is presented by non-mainstream media, or simply if it doesn’t correspond to the going political narrative. And many still fall for the lie, but ever more people are becoming suspicious and stick to their own investigated information  and demonstrate and protest, often with civil disobedience, against harsh government measure of police — and often military — crackdowns.

They call out against Bill Gates and WHO, a corrupted organization that receives half to three quarters of its annual budget from private donors, mostly the pharma industry, Bill Gates, but also telecom-industries (that’s why WHO has been silent on the potentially nefarious effects of 5G). Bill Gates is the biggest single donor of WHO. Conflict of interest is never discussed in the media. Those who know the truth and don’t hesitate calling it out are silenced by being called conspirators, liars by the media and, of course, by much of the medical community. In fact, Bill Gates literally calls the shots on matters of public health that affects the entire world.

People – be aware!

Also speaking out against vaccines and the lab-produced viruses from which eventually vaccines are derived is Dr. Judy Mikovits, a long-time NIAID micro-biologist, who has been severely punished by Dr. Fauci for defending her research results which Fauci wanted to hide. Her book, Plague of Corruption is currently Amazon’s number one Bestseller. That, in itself, tells a story of a public awakening.

Referring to her and her numerous interviews, peer-reviewed scientific articles and her book, is called a conspiracy because even her own outspokenness is called conspiracy, all in an effort to shut up critics of the current system, of the current new-normal that will soon require universal vaccination (Bill Gates with a sly smile wants to vaccinate 7 billion people in the next ten years). Will it be compulsory? Against most countries Constitutional and Democratic Rights? We don’t know. Seven billion is a slight exaggeration, because Russia and China will certainly not vaccinate their people with vaccines produced under Bill Gates funding and supervision.

But even if it is not compulsory, there may be so many “legal” hindrances put in place by western governments that most people eventually will roll over and accept the possibly killer vaccine that Bill Gates and his association of pharmaceuticals (GAVI) supported by WHO, will impose on humanity.

For example, you may not be able to receive or renew your driver’s license, going to concerts, to the movies, to sports events, to fly – and so on. That’s all been talked about and is part of the 2010 Rockefeller Report’s ”Lock Step” scenario  in which we are currently hopelessly navigating – under lockdown and with social distancing’ – so nobody can get together and possibly organize a plot against these draconian inhuman measures.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., JFK’s, nephew, founder of “Children’s Health Defense” an NGO advocacy organization has this to say:

Bill Gates is the world’s largest vaccine producer and the single largest donor to WHO and the CDC Foundation. Those agencies are now marketing arms for his vaccine empire.

In January 2019, Gates had WHO declare “vaccine hesitancy” the top “global health threat” (with Ebola, cancer, war, and drug-resistant pathogens), signaling a worldwide Pharma Gold Rush to mandate vaccines to all people.

Gates maxed-out in donations to Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff’s Political Action Committee (PAC). In February 2019, Schiff wrote to Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Pinterest, demanding they censor “vaccine misinformation, “a term meaning all skepticism toward government and industry pronouncements about vaccine safety or efficacy––whether true or not. “Vaccines are both effective and safe,” Schiff wrote. “There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines cause life-threatening or disabling disease.”

This was misinformation. A year earlier, Schiff pushed a bill to hike the Vaccine Court admin budget to $11,200,000 to reduce vaccine injury backlogs. The court had already paid out $4 billion for vaccine deaths and disabilities.

Facebook and Pinterest said that they will rely on Gates’s WHO and CDC to say which on-line statements are “misinformation or hoaxes.” Facebook and Google hired “FactChecker” (Politifact) to censor vaccine misinformation. The Gates Foundation is “FactChecker’s” largest funder.

In his article, “Fact Checker, a Propaganda Device,” investigative journalist Jeremy Hammond concludes:

Facebook is guilty of misinforming its users about vaccine safety… They have no problem with lies about vaccine safety and effectiveness, as long as it’s intended to persuade parents to vaccinate their children.

On May 4, 2017, FactChecker declared as false, Del Bigtree’s statement, “Vaccines include aluminum and mercury, which are neurotoxins, and vaccines cause encephalopathy.”

FactChecker explained, “Current data show vaccines are safe and do not cause toxicity or encephalopathy.” [However], manufacturer’s inserts reveal that many vaccines contain aluminum and mercury, and cause encephalopathy. Finally, massive gifts to NPR & PBS buy Gates biased vaccine coverage.

This statement is from public media Highwire.

I’m (Robert Kennedy) not anti-vaccine. I’m against dangerous, shoddily tested, zero liability vaccines with toxic ingredients. If someone came up with a thoroughly tested vaccine that was completely safe and efficient, one that performed as promised, one that made people healthier rather than sicker, I’d be for it. – Indeed, only an idiot would oppose it.

But under no condition, would I support mandatory vaccination. Government has no right to force citizens to take unwanted medicines or to submit to involuntary medical interventions.

And he adds:

Google is a vaccine company. It has a $760 million partnership with Glaxo-the world’s largest vaccine maker and similar deals with Sanofi and Merck to mine your medical information. Googles mother company, Alphabet, has 4 vaccines developers working on flu, and other, vaccines.

Google and Youtube are removing videos from highly experienced doctors, epidemiologists, biologists and virologists – censuring is also the new normal – but they are promoting a billionaire software developer and a 16 year old climate change “expert” about viruses and vaccines — what does that say for the media, for the governments that support and finance the media.

The Strategy behind shouting Conspiracy – Conspiracy Theorist

There is a lot of psychology behind the strategy – leading people to a state of cognitive dissonance, of believing a narrative they know is a fiction, meaning, you know there is something not quite right, but you don’t’ dare questioning it. Why? Because of being called a conspiracy theorist. And why does that matter? Because it is a demeaning term, robbing the accused of his credibility (well thought-out by the CIA in the 1950s). Somebody stamped as a conspiracy theorist, believing in conspiracy theories, in fake news, makes you a lesser person in your friends’ eyes. So, they may avoid you, and if you stick to your opinion, you may gradually move into isolation. Being isolated, no friends, is fear-provoking. So, better believe the official narrative.

The silver lining around this dark cloud is ever more visible and ever brighter.

Be self-assured. Don’t cave in. Stick to your own research, to your fact-based opinion, regardless of being insulted as a conspiracy theorist. Stand up for what you believe and do it with passion. Other people also have doubts, and when they see people defending their beliefs with passion, they may join you. And so, a critical mass grows. And the conspiracy theory strategy rapidly loses power and fades away. Fading is already visible throughout European and US cities, where tens of thousands take to the streets, defending their civil and human and Constitutional Rights.

These are encouraging signs. Hope never fades until “we shall overcome.”

A Case Study of Corporate Media Disinformation

Some alternative media have exposed the US government and its corporate media fake news reporting on Russian “election interference,” on Venezuela, the war on Syria, China’s Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Nicaragua, Palestine, among others. One of the longest running media disinformation campaigns has been directed at Cuba, well covered in Keith Bolender’s Manufacturing the Enemy: The Media War Against Cuba.1 This thoroughly documented work is a good antidote to the constant anti-Cuba disinformation we are subjected to, which inevitably influences all of us. According to well-known Goebbels quote, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” —  true, but actually a lie that Goebbels ever said this.

Over the 60 years of the Cuban revolution, the corporate media has implanted in us a negative image of Cuba through their distortions of the country’s political and economic system, their discounting the revolution’s achievements, and their denial of the impact the blockade and US terrorism have had on the country. The media has been especially effective in not addressing the endless complex problems a developing nation faces once it has decided to establish its genuine sovereignty while trying to survive the relentless hostility of the world’s superpower.

In early 1960 Robert Kennedy spelled out the US’ Cuba project: the overthrow of Castro “is the top priority of the US government, all else is secondary, no time, money, effort or manpower is to be spared.” (p. 76) Washington clearly understood the revolution opened a future that didn’t exist before, still doesn’t today in most countries, and consequently imposed a blockade similar to a full military blockade in war. The US sought to undermine the Cuban Revolution by making people suffer, with the hope that they would blame and overturn their government.

The US government engineers the “regime change” attempts, while the “media’s role is not to examine Cuba’s society fairly: it is to validate regime change”2 The media’s function is to win public support for overthrowing another country’s government, not question Washington’s right to interfere in the internal affairs of that nation. It re-packages counterrevolution as saving the freedoms and human rights of the targeted nation’s people. With its control over information available to the US population, the corporate media has been able to convince most US people that Cuba is not a model to follow. The media consistently holds Cuba up to a higher standard that few other nations, including the United States itself, are subjected to.

The corporate media remains the gatekeeper of information, with five corporations controlling 90% of the media business. They have effectively promoted that its news can be confidently trusted. Bolender notes that while overall trust in the media has decreased, he points out, using the examples of Fox News and CNN, “it is mostly based on the consumer not believing in the media that presents opposing information to his own opinions in a specific issue” (p. 34). On Cuba, however, the corporate media present no opposing information, and are free to feed us fake news.

Fake News on Cuba

Bolender’s book can be called a short version history of fake news about Cuba. We present a sampling here:

The media claimed that Castro and his allies executed hundreds of Batista regime enemies in kangaroo courts after taking power. In fact, Batista’s repressive forces and police had killed 20,000 and some of them were captured and brought to justice for their crimes.

The media has presented the Cuban government’s nationalization of US properties as illegal and without any compensation. In fact, Cuba offered reparation payments based on 20 year bonds at 4.5% interest rates based on October 1958 property assessments. This offer, accepted by other countries, was refused by the US. That compensation and that negotiations were offered and repeatedly refused by the US was rarely reported by corporate media.

The media has claimed the US blockade was a response to Cuban seizure of  US properties without compensation, yet Washington’s eliminating the Cuban sugar quota occurred more than a year before the US refused negotiations.

New York Times fake news campaigning did not begin with its Russiagate anti-Trump story. On January 3, 1961, four months before the Bay of Pigs invasion, it claimed “It is incredible to us that the Cubans can believe we are about to invade their island…It is difficult for Americans to understand that others can honestly believe things about us that we know to be false”. (p. 87)

Bolender reviews some media coverage during the invasion: the Wall Street Journal, for instance, reported claims that the invaders had cut the country in two, had taken Santiago de Cuba and captured Raul Castro.

The corporate media painted Cuba’s installing nuclear missiles in 1962 as an act of war, even though their purpose was to forestall a new US invasion in the works. In fact, Cuba had as much right to point missiles at the US as the US had to point them at Cuba. Nevertheless, that the US almost went to world nuclear war and destruction of the planet with a naval blockade of Cuba is blamed on Cuba, not on Washington.

Bolender points out the same corporate media bias against Cuba is held against Palestine: “The notion that the Palestinians or Cubans have the right to defend themselves is outside the realm of normal discourse”. (p. 182)

The New York Times and Washington Post both presented fake news in the 1980s that Fidel sent 500 Cuban troops to El Salvador.

The media historically describes Cubans as emigrating due to the revolutionary government’s economic incompetence and political repression. In fact, people all over the world emigrate from poorer countries to richer ones.

The corporate media used the rescue of Elian Gonzalez to continuously attack the alleged poverty stricken and repressive life in Cuba his mother had fled. Actual US immigration policy at the time was rarely reported: that unaccompanied immigrant children are returned to their parents unless the parents are unfit.

Washington Post, among others, gave credence to John Bolton’s 2002 claim that Cuba was developing biological weapons, later convincingly disproven by Jimmy Carter.

The corporate media went on an anti-Cuba propaganda campaign over the Cuban “dissidents,” including “independent journalists” and “librarians” arrested in 2003 during the time of another US attempted attack on the country. It was not pointed out that they were arrested because of their prior and planned disruptions and bombings, or that they were on the US payroll.

The Cuban government allegedly diverts food from the population to the tourist industry. As with many such stories, no actual evidence is provided.

More than once were some of the 930 Cuban medical professionals working in Haiti after the earthquake identified as “Spanish.”

The New York Times propaganda still asserted Cuba is a mismanaged anachronism, that the average Cuban has no say-so, that the government does not permit public dialogue on its policies. This is arrogant nonsense to anyone knowledgeable about Cuba. Unlike the US, Cuba has a number of mass organizations that involve the people in running the government and society as a whole: Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC), Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), Federation of University Students (FEU), Federation of Pre-University Students (FEEM), and the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).  Clearly this system is vastly more open and democratic than in the US.

In 2011 Cuba had a national discussion in thousands of assemblies in workplaces and schools around the country to establish new laws and guidelines for economic reforms. The US did no such thing when confronted by the 2008 economic crisis.

In 2018 Cuba had a similar national discussion on a new constitution. The process was discussed in over 100,000 workplaces and community meetings.  After the debates and modifications of the draft, the National Assembly approved it, which was then voted on in a national referendum. In contrast, the US has never organized national discussions or assemblies throughout the country when changes to the constitution have been made. The US does not even give the citizens the right to vote on changes to the constitution, nor gives us the right to elect the president by popular vote.

The media has claimed Cuba is involved in drug smuggling, again without evidence. In contrast, when Gary Webb exposed actual CIA crack cocaine smuggling into the US the corporate media undertook a major smear campaign against him for reporting it, destroying his life.

The corporate media consistently covered up the hundreds of acts of US terrorism against Cuba, including bombing Havana hotels and blowing up a civilian airliner, killing all 73 on board. The media has covered up biological warfare against Cuba, and does not report that over 3500 Cuban civilians have been killed in US terrorist attacks. Cuba has documented 636 US attempts to kill their head of state.  Bolender comments “The lack of authentic coverage of this covert war against Cuban civilians remains a great stain against the media in its treatment of the island nation.” (p. 100)

When Posada Carriles, who orchestrated the Cubana airline bombing, was arrested for illegal entry into the US, the New York Times did not describe him as a CIA agent or terrorist but as a Cuban “militant” seeking to overthrow Fidel Castro.

When Cuba shot down the Miami Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996, the media helped cover up that these planes were in Cuban airspace, that they had penetrated Cuban airspace twelve times before, that Cuba had repeatedly complained to the FAA,  and  that the group was planning on dropping bombs on Havana in future flights. Instead, the shoot-down was presented as a callous and unprovoked Cuban attack on a humanitarian group over international waters.

Corporate media concealed that the Cuban Five were fighting terrorism directed at their country from the US. They were framed up as “spies” and imprisoned while the media colluded to black out reporting of the trial and their sentencing. The Miami press covered the case, but their reporters were working to aid the prosecution in the case. Some prominent journalists became paid US government agents, writing articles to misinform the public and even fabricate stories to help ensure the judicial frame-up of the five. They concocted stories that the Cubans were part of a spy network to smuggle weapons, even bombs, into the US to murder Castro opponents in Florida. The government spent millions dollars in illegal payments to journalists to write a thousand articles over a six-year period aimed to ensure a conviction. 

The  media misrepresented USAID agent Alan Gross, arrested and imprisoned in Cuba, as simply bringing in cell phones and laptops to the Jewish communities in Cuba. Honest reporting would have noted that he brought in and helped set up an untrackable, untraceable military grade communications network using devices illegal in Cuba.

Prior to Obama’s “opening” to Cuba, the media regularly told us that Cuba blocked US people from traveling to the country, while, in fact, the US disallowed it.

President Obama is credited with “normalizing” relations with Cuba, even though relations are not normalized when one continues a blockade and economic war on the other.

In 2015, Fox News and Daily Beast claimed hundreds of Cuban military personnel were aiding Syria’s Assad.

The media claims Trump ended individual travel to Cuba, which was allowed under two different licenses. In fact, he ended the People to People license, but the Support for Cuban People license remains in effect. This is typically not reported, discouraging travel to Cuba.

In 2017 Cuba allegedly engaged in sonic attacks on US diplomats in Havana, causing serious health problems for the officials, and provided the excuse for Trump to slash US and Cuban Embassy staff. Barely reported was that after four trips to Cuba, the FBI found no evidence to support this assertion of attacks.

The corporate media claims Cuba restricts internet access to its citizens. In reality, by late 2018, anyone with a 3G phone can get online. It is actually the US that restricts internet access by denying access to the fiber optic cables that run near Cuban shores.

Bolender notes that “A favorite ploy of the media is to offer expert opinions on how to fix the serious economic problems Cuba faces, while consistently ignoring America’s debilitating economic embargo.” (p. 3) The New York Times claims Cuba is “an economically distressed country that is perennially in crisis” with the blockade never referenced. If the blockade is mentioned, its draconian nature remains hidden, thereby maintaining the fiction that US action has no impact on Cuba.

The media has consistently used “democracy” and “human rights” to malign Cuba. Obama himself declared Cuba “has not yet observed human rights…The fact of the matter is Cuba… has not yet moved to democracy. Has not yet observed basic human rights.” The self-appointed US big brother presumes it can “help” the Cubans gain freedom and operate their economy in an efficient manner. The calls for “democracy” and “human rights” in Cuba has nothing to do with representative government nor human rights. The terms are used as a propaganda tool, elevating the accuser to a superior moral status, justifying Washington’s illegal interference.

The media claims Cuba has no free elections, no democratic process. In reality, Arnold August’s Cuba and its Neighbours, Democracy in Motion explains that Cuba has an electoral system surprisingly more democratic than the US version. The Cuban people both propose and vote on who will be their own representatives, unlike the case here. People in every constituency propose and then vote on who will be their delegates for the municipal government. Once the municipal government is formed, they propose from among their elected members and vote on who will be their delegates to the provincial government. The provincial government does the same in turn for the national parliament. The national parliament elects the president, ministers, and Council of State members from among its own members. This means, from the president to every single member of government, everyone has to be nominated in the first place in the community where he or she lives.

Social media opens many new doors for disinformation operations. Twitter, a neo-con corporation, received USAID funding to build a social media network in Cuba called Zunzuneo. It sought to create a mass youth following in Cuba and later use this network to stimulate demonstrations and cause internal unrest.

When fake news was deemed insufficient the media resorted to a schizophrenic McCarthyism: Cuba was a “point of infection by the Communist virus for the whole hemisphere”.3

As if to assert its thinking has not evolved, when Fidel Castro died the New York Times blamed him for ‘bringing the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere” and for “pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war.” In fact, the US had brought the Cold War here at least by 1954 with its coup against Guatemala’s Arbenz. The historical record shows that Cuba turned increasingly towards the Communist world only after the US drastically curtailed political and economic relations with Cuba. As mentioned above, the world was pushed to the brink of nuclear war by the aggressive actions by John Kennedy, not by Khrushchev or Castro.

The New York Times also referred to Cuba as “a dynastic police state”. (p. 151)

The Washington Post on Fidel Castro’s death called him “one of the most brutal dictators in modern history,” an irrational statement that presumably places him in league with Hitler.

Like any foreign leader the US wants to eliminate, Fidel Castro was portrayed as a child, as mentally unbalanced. This helped to both justify US regime change and to avoid informing the US public on the reasons for Cuban anger at the US conduct towards Cuba since 1898. When journalists accurately reported on the Cuban experience, as did Herbert Matthews, he was “ostracized by his media colleagues as being a dupe of Castro and a communist sympathizer”. (p. 79)  More respected were the likes of Tad Szulc who said Fidel was “an overgrown boy”. (p. 80)

Bolender repeatedly points out “that whenever there’s something positive about Cuba, the media must follow its credo of injecting negative misinformation, no matter how preposterous the claim….It was intended to ensure the consumer maintains a negative opinion about Cuba, despite reading of its accomplishments”. (pp.  171-172)  One example: a criticism of the new Cuban president by the New York Times, “Mr. Diaz-Canel, who became Cuba’s new president on Thursday, the day before his 58th birthday, has spent his entire life in the service of a revolution he did not fight”. (p. 180)

Corporate media reporting of anything negative about Cuba is an acceptable default position, with the underlying assumption being, before and after Obama’s opening, that the Cuban system must change, guided by US benevolence.

US Disinformation on Cuba before 1959

Media propaganda against Cuba began long before the 1959 revolutionary victory. Bolender takes us back to the justifications for the 1898 US invasion and occupation. Cubans were portrayed as unkempt children unable to manage by themselves, needing Anglo-Saxon Uncle Sam to save Cubans from Spain and then from themselves by ruling their affairs for them.

The so-called Spanish-American War saw fake news stories that would be recycled later.

The two chief media outlets of the day competed with wild stories to whip up US support for war and occupation. It was “doubtful…that the war would have developed without the agency of the most vicious and cynical behavior of a part of the American press that our nation had yet seen”. (p. 53)  This same media conduct was repeated a hundred years later to garner support for the war on Iraq.

Spain was blamed without any evidence for the US Navy ship Maine explosion. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt  then repeated the unsubstantiated claim the next day, providing the excuse to launch an invasion. Similarly, this story-line was later repackaged with the fabricated North Vietnamese attack on a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The corporate press erased the whole 1895-98 independence struggle of the Cuban people against Spain by claiming the US invasion won the war and freed Cuba from Spain.

Even the US name for the war, the Spanish-American War, was a propaganda ploy, removing the agency of Cubans, concealing it being a US war on the Cuban independence struggle. Similarly, the corporate media sold us the US War on Korea as the “Korean War” and the US War on Vietnam as the “Vietnam War.”

Cubans were painted as irresponsible, lazy, ignorant, unfit for self-government — racist stereotypes the corporate media repeatedly applied to many other Third World peoples and countries, including native Americans and Blacks. “The Cuban is lacking chiefly in the qualities that are conspicuous in American men — virility, initiative, will power, tenacity, reverences for women and conscience.” They are helpless, idle, of defective morals and unfitted by nature and experience for discharging the obligations of citizenship in a great and free republic. Their lack of manly force and self-respect…” and so on with this precursor of Nazi-style propaganda.

“To clothe such men with the responsibilities of directing self-government would be to summon them to the performance of functions for which they have not the smallest capacity“ (quoted on pp. 55-56). The New York Times at the time declared, “We are guardians, self-appointed, to the Cuban people” (p. 61) and warned of “an irresponsible government of half-breeds”. (p. 62)

That Third World peoples still need the American white man’s firm hand and parenting remains a central element of US foreign policy propaganda, not only against Cuba, but the world.

Brazen Yankee arrogance displays itself in one clause of the quintessential neo-colonial Platt Amendment the US imposed on Cuba: Cuba was prohibited from negotiating treaties with any country other than the US “which will impair… the independence of Cuba” or “permit any foreign power or powers to obtain…or control over any portion” of Cuba. All precisely US conduct with the Platt Amendment.

The occupation completed, the US then made available prime Cuban lands to US citizens, following historic US policy with conquered native American peoples’ lands.

When Cubans protested this Platt Amendment, the Chicago Tribune editorialized “The United States reserved the right to intervene…to preserve public order…We are the parent, Cuba is the child, and the child is about due for a good spanking” (p. 67). Cuban “independence,” as written into their constitution, meant Cubans did not have the right to protest without risking foreign intervention. For the corporate media, Cuba was to be eternally grateful to the US for its freedom and independence, and to consider US domination as benign and progressive.

Bolender quotes Walter Cronkite on the US attitude towards Cuba before the revolution: “Cuba was a resort land for Americans…it was just a part of America, we kind of considered it part of the United States….The country was a little colony”.  (p. 74)

Then came 1959 and Fidel Castro responded to racist imperial patronizing with the simple truth: “I believe that this country has the same rights of other countries to govern itself”. (p. 68)  By the end of 1960 media coverage of Cuba was telling us Fidel Castro was crazy. In the world of corporate media fake news, all leaders who oppose or criticize US dictates and bullying are called madmen. The media transformed Cuba from a welcoming tourist playground into an armed camp, a repressive Communist state, a colony of the Soviet Union. The media “went on a rampage of misinformation and outright falsehoods about the Cuban Revolution that persists to this day”. (p. 75)

That Cuba must conform to US imperial standards, nothing less, has been an unchanged US policy from 1898 to the present.

Our Susceptibility to US Disinformation Campaigns

We should never underestimate the shrewdness of US disinformation, which has affected Bolender to a degree. For example, Bolender describes USAID’s Zunzuneo project as analogous to Russian social media operations in 2016.  (p. 188) In reality, this entire Russiagate story itself was a disinformation campaign. Bolender again falls for corporate media disinformation by calling the US-NATO war on Syria a “civil war”. (p. 6) We can be quite knowledgeable about some disinformation campaigns, but even the most astute among us can be taken in by others.

Bolender mentions “The decision by the Castro government to embrace Soviet orthodoxy” occurred after the Bay of Pigs invasion. He does not explain what is signified by this “Soviet orthodoxy.”  Nevertheless, Cuba did not become closely aligned with the Soviet Union almost ten years after the 1961 invasion. During the 1960s, a fair amount of discord punctuated the relations between the two countries: Khrushchev unilaterally removing missiles, the split in the Communist bloc, sharp disagreements over guerilla warfare, the Warsaw Pact 1968 intervention in Czechoslovakia, the defense of Vietnam, the 1967 crackdown of the pro-Soviet Anibal Escalante faction in the Cuban CP.

Bolender sees “a softening, even a balance of coverage when examining specific incidents, such as Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban Five and even the Alan Gross affair.” (p. 176) I do not agree. The public regarded Elian’s case as a father unfairly being kept from his son, and as the US government not defending family and parental rights. People could not be sold on the attempt to view it through a “Communist Cuba vs. US freedom” lens. Having worked on the Cuban Five case for twelve years, I observed no opening of coverage on the case. Outside of Miami the corporate media maintained a black out. We even had to raise funds to pay the New York Times to publish a factual account on the Cuban Five.

Corporate Media as Informational Enabler of US “Regime Change”

Bolender’s book gives us an excellent understanding of the actual role the so-called free press plays. “Cuba remains a prime example of media manipulation in support of foreign policy perspectives”. (p. 180) “While politicians express policy, the press was tasked to manufacture acceptable public opinion in support of regime change”. (p.76)  “America’s corporate media is the informational enabler of Washington’s regime change strategy”. (p. 183)

Media covers other countries in a hostile or favorable light, reflecting the US government and corporate America’s relations with those governments. Countries targeted for counterrevolution by Washington are routinely claimed to have serious economic problems and human rights abuses. Brutal regimes like Colombia, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, and Israel that are allied with the US have their abuses painted over.

“Destabilization, subversion and economic warfare have been the tools of regime change policy used by the US government; the media has willingly helped forge them.” (p. 2) Many studies have substantiated this, such as Carl Bernstein’s on the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird, revealing that the CIA actually had 400 corporate media executives and journalists reporting “news” according to CIA objectives. F. William Engdahl has written extensively on US media and NGO roles in recent regime change operations in Russia, China, Yugoslavia, the Arab Spring and the Middle East today. Beenish Ahmed wrote on a simple media coverup in her article, Here Are All The Things The Media Calls Torture Instead Of ‘Torture’.

Corporate media disinformation seeks to poison our attitude towards countries standing up for their national sovereignty, but also towards actual journalists who expose the media’s fake news. They seek to destroy Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning as they did Gary Webb. Corporate America’s disinformation relies on politicians, media and NGOs to implant their messaging. It remains a long ongoing battle to combat it among the people, and an essential part of that requires us to question our own views, as none of us are entirely immune to disinformation techniques, which have, in effect, become an advanced science.

  1. Manufacturing the Enemy: The Media War Against Cuba. He has also written Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba, and Cuba under Siege: American Policy, the Revolution and Its People.
  2. The term “regime change” is itself not accurate: the appropriate term is “counterrevolution,” as Washington’s actual goal is not overturning a ‘regime” so much as the social, economic and political gains of the people of the country. p. 137
  3. New York Times, April 23, 1961 — a date right after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

The Fallacy of the Appeal of the Centrist Democrat

I have watched for the past couple months as Bernie Sanders has risen in the polls and then proceeded to do well in the first primary and caucuses as these people have done everything to try and kneecap his success. The amount of negative press about Sanders that has been pumped out by all of the mainstream “liberal” media during this period of time is truly breathtaking. They don’t make any effort whatsoever to disguise their biases which is really ironic when they have all been prescribing themselves as the necessary antidote to the alternate reality the Trump administration is trying to create.

There is no problem with journalism examining candidates. That is why their viewers and readers turn to those outlets. The problem is that they have collectively targeted one candidate in this primary competition and chosen to smear him mercilessly. A truthful press requires objective, unbiased opinions. The deluge of anti-Sanders propaganda from all forms of the mainstream media (print/web/TV) has proven that they lack such an impartiality.

It is not surprising that most of the media is anti-Sanders; they are either corporations themselves or owned by corporations or venture capital. Sanders’ policy proposals threaten to put an end to the “no-taxes for corporate America” scheme that has been getting progressively worse with each administration since Reagan. It’s also not surprising to hear it from the people who are paid to talk on the TV set or write the hit-pieces because a lot of them are Republicans themselves. What is surprising, though, is to observe the audience that has been so critical these past three years about the propaganda on Fox News (and the Trump supporters who buy into it) fall into the same trap.

There has been a really great grift they have perpetrated on their casual viewers and readers since the Trump election. It’s essentially a bait and switch that deceives them into believing that because they share one common enemy all their views must line up. They have used the notion that since the Never-Trump Republicans (getting paid to share their opinions on “liberal” cable news) don’t like Trump, and the liberals tuning in don’t like Trump, that they should share the same opinions on who the Democratic Party should nominate to go against Trump.

The great irony of this is that there is a whole audience of liberal TV viewers who are listening to George W. Bush, McCain, etc. advisers and strategists giving them advice about which Democrat can win and lose an election against Trump. These people would have told you that Jeb was going to be the nominee in 2016, and they would have worked hard to help him beat Hillary, you can be certain of that. The whole reason they are on the TV set is because they were wrong and their candidates lost after which they publicly opposed the Dear Leader. Now they are the 6% of Republicans that don’t support Trump and the notion is that we need to appeal to them?!

There is a whole group of liberals, or people who used to be liberal, who are being deceptively turned into neocons by a bunch of Republican pundits spreading their poison through the media. This can be best observed following the results of the SC primary, and as a lifelong Democrat it is frightening to see. The take-away from this is that the enemy of your enemy isn’t always your friend. Such is true about these hucksters, who might share a mutual disdain for Donald Trump, but they almost certainly love his policies and all the judges he has been able to nominate. They are not on our side.

Following the SC Primary there has been a return to totally delusional and disingenuous analysis of the democratic primary. (They had to bite their tongues for a moment post-NV) Everyone reading this knows that Joe Biden won the primary by a large margin and Sanders came in second. This victory by Biden has given these newsrooms the license to move the goalposts yet again to push another phony message. From one of the perennial bad actors, the New York Times, there was this notification sent out: “Joe Biden won the South Carolina primary, reviving his campaign and establishing himself as a leading rival to Bernie Sanders.” From another, Politico, there was this: “Joe Biden racked up his first 2020 win in South Carolina’s Democratic primary, a big boost heading into Super Tuesday.”

Those stories were blasted out within 3-5 minutes of the polls closing on Saturday evening. There were no actual numbers other than exit polls at the time indicating Biden had won but they wanted to get that message out pronto. An exit poll isn’t official; it is simply an extrapolation of data gathered, often by news outlets, from voters as they leave polling stations. When the ballots were actually tallied Biden did have a big win, but this is proof that these outlets had these stories locked and loaded before a single vote had actually been counted.

Getting into the nitty-gritty about the results and the race overall the fake news gets even worse. As evident in both those messages, they were pushing the message that Biden had revived his campaign from winning in the state where he put all his resources. In an apparent nod to the Hillary contingent, they pushed the storyline that he had won more of the combined popular vote from the first four races than anyone else.

The argument about Biden having the most votes is the epitome of illusory; his SC win is the only reason he holds the largest share of the popular vote. It’s deceitful because its sole purpose is to imply that he is the most popular candidate but the win in SC accounts for 80% of his share of the popular vote. If he were the most popular candidate, then he would have done well in all of the first four states. He didn’t. It is supremely duplicitous when contrasted with the argument they have made since last winter that Sanders doesn’t have broad appeal.

Here is the reality — Biden came in fourth place in the Iowa Caucuses, finishing 11% points behind Sanders, who won the popular vote and tied for the state delegate equivalents. In NH he finished in 5th place, 17% points behind Sanders. In Nevada he came in 2nd place, finishing 27% points behind Bernie Sanders. In Nevada, not only did he have the backing of the state Democratic Party and his friend Harry Reid shilling for him, he had the benefit of the most powerful union in the state attacking Sanders’ trademark policy in the weeks before the primary. Even with all of those things working in Biden’s favor, Bernie Sanders still won by 27% points.

As you can see there, Biden’s results in those three different states were 4th, 5th, and 2nd. As I write this, there are still 50 states in our union and 5 inhabited territories and having broad appeal means doing well in more than one place. Not to take anything away from Biden, he won South Carolina by a wide margin, but Sanders tied for first in Iowa in delegate count and won the popular vote, won in NH and NV, and came in 2nd in SC. Overall that signifies a much broader appeal by the pundit’s own rubric.

What really signifies Sanders’ broad appeal, though, is the grassroots movement behind his candidacy. There hasn’t been anything like it in modern American political history. This is truly where the brainwashing from the corporate media shows its greatest impact. There is a large cohort of people out there who genuinely still believe that he has limited appeal because that is what they are being told in their media echo chamber. These are a lot of the same “resisters” who called Fox News a feedback loop of misinformation for the past three years.

The Sanders campaign sent out an email this morning revealing that they had received “more than $46.5 million from 2.2 million individual donations” in the 29 days of February. There is no analog to that in the American political sphere. No one else has that power to raise money in small dollar donations from individuals all over the country. No one else has that type of movement. I can promise you that every political candidate wishes that they had the fundraising ability that Sanders has. Those donations signify actual individuals donating their hard-earned dollars to support a candidate because they believe in that person.

In addition to that financial support, people are flying to states to canvass in support of Sanders, and people who can’t afford to contribute from their paychecks are making phone calls and canvassing locally. Biden can’t even get enough people to volunteer to canvass for him. There is a serious disconnect between the people that believe this drivel they read and watch and the political movement that is happening on the left.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, I guess, since they are watching the same networks that are responsible for giving us Donald Trump. While they watch former Republicans and Hillary strategists now blaming Bernie, they seem to forget that these people blamed James Comey, Jill Stein, Russian Interference, and so on for her losing. Meanwhile they are feeding the beast that is responsible for the whole thing — the mainstream media.

Trump probably would have lost because while he did have a base of supporters, they weren’t politically active and didn’t contribute much to his campaign. That didn’t matter, though, because he received over $3 billion worth of free media coverage and some estimates are as high as $5 billion. So please, liberals, go ahead and keep watching the networks that created the monster where they constantly try and kneecap the only guy with the movement to beat Trump.