'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrity

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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby JohnD on June 13th, 2019, 5:04 pm 

wolfhnd » 15 Nov 2016, 14:44 wrote:The media is responsible for facts not truth.

Bias is a problem but not as big a problem as the unrealistic expectation that any institution would be bias free.

The political polarization in the U.S. has made self examination all but impossible for any group. To make democracy work "truth" has to be delegated to a place where compromise remains possible. A new understanding of what it means to be virtuous that recognizes the importance of humility is needed. Different political groups have different priorities as long as everyone believes that their truth trumps everyone else's the danger of either a right or left wing authoritarian government coming to power increases.

And where does it end? The media is being controlled by those with interest in blurring what is with what they would have people believe is real. This isn't necessarily being done by media moguls (though we know of one who is) but those manipulating news releases and news events. In Australia during the last election we had one millionaire invest $60 million dollars in media advertising that generated an extreme perception of reality.
I worry that soon Julian Assange will be in an American prison and the very idea of people being able to speak up will be arrested with him.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 13th, 2019, 6:29 pm 

Serpent,

I agree with your summation of how to gain context. But I don't agree that the dissemination of misinformation, dysinformation or plain propaganda has ever been different. It's the nature of the beast...power. What I see different of the last 20 years is the purposeful elimination of investagative journalism in English speaking countries. You have to remember, under GWB, at the start of the "war on terror", it was made clear and public that news services printing anything outside the government narrartive could be charged with "dissent" and lose their license. Everyone has toed the line since and rid themselves of competent, but troublesome, investagative journalists and replaced them with drones of the same title.

And under Trump it's no different. What does the "news" focus on? His behavior and personality with just a sprinkle of political issue. That's not news, that's a soap opera. He generates more "news" through his use of Tweets than all the investagative journalsts put together can generate...and all they basically do is repeat what he's said with their own flavor.

No-one in government or big business wants the general public informed or taught critical thinking. No-one! If the general public actually understood how it all works, there would be revolution. Pointless revolution, but revolution none the less...I say "pointless" as nearly invariably, one tyrant is swapped only for another tyrant. There have been exceptions, but they are extremely rare.

The Internet has been a wonderful tool also for the dissemination of dysinformation. Opinion has become more important than facts. Political Correctness is nothing more than a distraction from the bigger picture by getting people to focus on how they feel (not what they think) about a work colleague and such. It gets people to focus on themselves (as if we're generally not self-absorbed enough) rather than focussing upon what's going on outside of ourselves. As does all the electronic/digital gadgetry we carry and have at home. We're isolated amongst the crowd, even our own families.

That's what's different.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 13th, 2019, 7:33 pm 

Lozza » June 13th, 2019, 5:29 pm wrote:Serpent,

I agree with your summation of how to gain context. But I don't agree that the dissemination of misinformation, dysinformation or plain propaganda has ever been different.

It's been up and down. Yellow journalism flourished for a few decades - and then didn't for the next few.
However, the technology of deception available now is unprecedented.
I know: the printing press was also unprecedented, and so was radio and then television; each gave a different presentation of events in a different format; each made falsification easier, more convincing and capable of wider dissemination. That array of media has now reached supersaturation - so that the audience can no longer absorb more than a fraction of the "news" being scatter-shot at it. It's also reached a point of technical finesse which makes fakery impossible to distinguish.
And the times are more than ordinarily perilous; the public anxiety level is high.
It's exactly because of these factors that we most desperately crave reporters to trust.


It's the nature of the beast...power. What I see different of the last 20 years is the purposeful elimination of investagative journalism in English speaking countries. You have to remember, under GWB, at the start of the "war on terror", it was made clear and public that news services printing anything outside the government narrartive could be charged with "dissent" and lose their license. Everyone has toed the line since and rid themselves of competent, but troublesome, investagative journalists and replaced them with drones of the same title.

Tin-foil hat off, I still have to wonder whether that was serendipity for the fascist faction. It certainly intensified at that juncture, but you can trace its tendrils back through Reagan, Nixon, McCarthy, Hearst, etc. Grand old tradition. But there has nearly always been some counter-weight or antidote.
When state and capital merge, there is no room for dissenting voices.
The US isn't unique: many other nations are going through a similar transformation right now; many have completed the process; some have previous experience and so resist it longer.

He generates more "news" through his use of Tweets than all the investagative journalsts put together can generate...and all they basically do is repeat what he's said with their own flavor.

Indeed. Governance through social media is a new phenomenon.

No-one in government or big business wants the general public informed or taught critical thinking.

Obviously. Where the trend (in North America) from the late 19th century - Carnegie et al - was toward raising the public's level of education, awareness and participation, from about the mid-70's, it was all about closing, diminishing, limiting, forbidding, dumbing-down. I propose two reasons for this reversal: the contrary youth of the late 60's coupled with the scope of television advertising. I might tentatively add a third: that was about the time we began to hear warnings of climate change - information that it was vital for those same interests to keep us from understanding.
Solution: "Gentlemen, we cannot afford to have them wake up. We have the tools to create an entire nation - nay, and entire globe! - of uncritical consumers. We must deploy these tools effectively, universally and immediately."

That very successful drive to consume has produced the wholly plugged-in generation to which you allude, and the devices they're plugged into are a constant reinforcement of the uncritical.... etc.
Just my take, of course.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby JohnD on June 14th, 2019, 6:29 am 

I agree. Social media has presented a formidable oponent of truth and critical thinking however, the general public has always been willing to accept the words of those they place in power, not only politically but within the media and those in positions of power or influence.
The media, being on a 24 hour news cycle is constantly in search of "experts". Truth has no place next to a wad of credentials. The public have to believe because we tell them they must listen to credential people even if what they can physically see is completely at odds to what they're being told.
Generally, the public are interested in jobs, feeding the family, etc... Anyone who is capable of reassuring them and at the same time presents their opposition as being incompetent or worse out to take what they are told they have saved for, they will listen to. Unfortunately it's been the same throughout history, even when reading about Chinese dynasties or European kings, etc. They all manipulated their populace and that's why we had wars. We can only imagine that in all those past times the then media was extremely difficult to overcome.
Obviously, those with influence believe keeping the public busy thinking about retaining existing benefits will stop them from questioning further.
It seems the world is in need of a new hero, unfortunately Churchill isn't taking calls.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 14th, 2019, 10:20 am 

JohnD » June 14th, 2019, 5:29 am wrote:I agree. Social media has presented a formidable oponent of truth and critical thinking however, the general public has always been willing to accept the words of those they place in power,

And they're happy to perpetuate their illusion of having placed those people in power - when, in fact, their influence on who occupies those positions of power is marginal at best.

The media, being on a 24 hour news cycle is constantly in search of "experts".

There is a concept could stand closer scrutiny. Who ordained the "24-hour news cycle" and the 15-second sound-bite? People just accept these these things as articles of faith. And of course, the media experts are not the same as the experts who write the insightful, informative, well-researched books that only a handful of readers ever open. Media experts are carefully chosen for the ability to start ever answer with "so..." and for their "balanced views" (don't scare the people!).

Generally, the public are interested in jobs, feeding the family, etc... Anyone who is capable of reassuring them and at the same time presents their opposition as being incompetent or worse out to take what they are told they have saved for, they will listen to

I have witnessed far more times than I want to recall - but can't forget last fall - the replacement with just such a campaign, of a government that was actually working toward financial and medical security for the people by a government that's shutting programs, reducing services and depriving the government itself of revenue sources.

It seems the world is in need of a new hero, unfortunately Churchill isn't taking calls.

That, to me, is a highly unfortunate choice of heroic figures. Talk about media hype!
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby JohnD on June 14th, 2019, 4:11 pm 

When speaking of heroes I refer to them as those having the ability to think beyond themselves and beyond party politics to what will actually benefit the people. I suppose modern day believers would have been the likes of Bob Hawke in Australia, Nelson Mandella in South Africa and Jimmy Carter in America. These people rallied their countrymen for the common good.
I think the left side of politics (using modern day political parlance) needs to radically change its tactics and reassert its foundations. Problem is most political leaders today are more interested in shoring up defenses even though the threat isn't coming from terrorists. Terrorists could just as easily been handled by better policing. If we look at history we can see other attrocities where buildings have been destroyed and people killed both by opposition groups and by governments. The designs of modern business and living will always mean there are hundreds if not thousands of people in any one building. But the actions of terrorists, mostly minor as what they were and are have encouraged the far right to seek more and more control over what people say and do. This has given great avenue for the right to seize power and the left has no answer.
Added to this is global warming and overpopulation that are rapidly leading to more and more disasters around the world. Ordinary people are thinking about this, polling shows this as being prominent on people's minds. However, how do any of us expect people to react to the news that everything we have ever done on this planet has dire consequences? They look to anyone who can reassure them everything is OK and they won't let anyone take their jobs, their homes, their lifestyles away from them. They see pictures everyday of refugees streaming across borders and in boats and they're afraid. Afraid their lifestyle will soon be gone. They read right wing racist stories of violence amongst refugees and epidemics in small countries with poor sanitary conditions and they're very afraid.
To me a sign of how people are faring is TV and movies. In the last 20 years the subject matter and the use of violence has become progressively more dark. Reflecting how dark people see their own life situation. Have you noticed how difficult it is to find light-hearted movies and shows these days. Especially ones with credible actors and directors.
We must always remember those that are in power are not the politicians, they're the puppets, the puppet masters stand behind them a little to the left or right. You will notice there is little interest in shedding any security laws anywhere in the world. Those now in control, and I don't mean politicians, don't want to lose any of their power or control not anytime soon. So the war on terrorism will keep going even if they have to manufacture a threat.
Looking at world politics, the British are in an absolute mess. With the right in power they can't logically decide who should lead them and now are looking at Boris Johnson as the new PM. What a disaster. Aside from this it seems Brexit will keep going for many years to come. My opinion is they shouldn't leave Europe. Like it or not the Brits are a small island group who depend on trade both incoming and outgoing to survive. Of course, Trump not surprisingly says it's a good thing they're leaving and has offered to trade more with them. While in Europe more extremist right wingers are seeking and getting power.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 15th, 2019, 12:48 am 

Serpent » June 14th, 2019, 10:33 am wrote:
Tin-foil hat off, I still have to wonder whether that was serendipity for the fascist faction. It certainly intensified at that juncture, but you can trace its tendrils back through Reagan, Nixon, McCarthy, Hearst, etc. Grand old tradition. But there has nearly always been some counter-weight or antidote.
When state and capital merge, there is no room for dissenting voices.
The US isn't unique: many other nations are going through a similar transformation right now; many have completed the process; some have previous experience and so resist it longer.


I'm glad you used the term "fascist". Fascism is the marriage of big business with government and the military...how does that not describe how the Western Economy, led by the USA, has romped around the globe imposing its political will, raping the resources of under-developed nations, inserting puppet governments and attempting to cut-off supply to China and Russia (for they are now competing for the same resources..the geo-political game)? Most people think of fascism only in terms of a military government such as under Mussolini, but that's only one manifestation of the concept of the marriage of the three groups. Under Mussolini it was more of a dictatorship government and its military being the business, whereas we function as big business (which now includes the military) dictating terms to government in order to enact policy, using the military to enforce it.

No-one in government or big business wants the general public informed or taught critical thinking.

Obviously. Where the trend (in North America) from the late 19th century - Carnegie et al - was toward raising the public's level of education, awareness and participation, from about the mid-70's, it was all about closing, diminishing, limiting, forbidding, dumbing-down. I propose two reasons for this reversal: the contrary youth of the late 60's coupled with the scope of television advertising. I might tentatively add a third: that was about the time we began to hear warnings of climate change - information that it was vital for those same interests to keep us from understanding.
Solution: "Gentlemen, we cannot afford to have them wake up. We have the tools to create an entire nation - nay, and entire globe! - of uncritical consumers. We must deploy these tools effectively, universally and immediately."


Yes, that's certainly part of the story. I would suggest that the post WWII years, the years that have seen the general public move from predominately working class to middle class dominance, has been a glitch in human history that will never be seen again. Post WWII is when the working man was suddenly able to get credit, which is what created the swelling of the middle class...people were now able to buy homes, cars and goods with a down payment instead of needing the full amount, creating jobs and a thriving economy in construction and all goods and services.

I think what many don't really appreciate is the long term planning that big business needs to involve itself in, due to the simple fact that the business is big...for example, the colour of the new car you buy today, was planned at least 6 years ago. When you're manufacturing 100's of thousands of cars, you don't order the paint the week before. You need to place the order to the paint company who in turn place their order to the mining company of the particular minerals required for the colours. The millions of gallons of paint has to be made, stored and the timing such that it's available for the manufacturer when needed. And so forth for all of the components that make a car, the tooling for the production line etc. So that car we buy today was basically 8-10 years in the planning. That's 2 and a half terms of a US government. Big business therefore requires long term political stability in order to minimize risk of their substantial financial investment and planing and development time. The notion that the whims of the masses could change government policy because of an election is abhorrent to big business, therefore making adverse political conditions to make large investments.

The conditions we live under today of a diminishing workplace due to manufacturing moving to Asia, was planned for around 1971 and is in the Lima Declaration of that year, whereby it stated that they wanted to have 60% of manufacturing in Asia by the year 2000. By the year 2000 in fact. 80% of manufacturing had moved to Asia. This is for a number of reasons, but mainly, due to these two: The Western Economy (the USA, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand) constitutes about 1.8 billion people over 4 land masses and dozens of sovereign governments, with large transport costs and lots of differing tax treatments and an expensive workforce compared to Asia; and the Western Economy is a saturated marketplace, limiting the ability of expansion of business, while the Asian continent is a blossoming marketplace of about 4 billion people (China, South-East Asia and India), all on one land mass, with cheaper labour, infrastructure and transport costs. In business terms, the logistics makes it a glaringly simple and obvious decision.

Thus, our middle class can only shrink further, the gap between the rich and poor grow only further with increasing unemployment and only part-time employment, becoming the norm rather than the exception. With that, increased surveillance on the masses is needed in order to quell rebellion...nip it in the bud before it even starts, for unrest amongst the public can only grow as money and opportunity diminish. And by shear coincidence of timing, a "war on terror" has facilitated surveillance on the general public (sarcasm).

That very successful drive to consume has produced the wholly plugged-in generation to which you allude, and the devices they're plugged into are a constant reinforcement of the uncritical.... etc.
Just my take, of course.


It's not just your take, I concur.

Propaganda isn't just disinformation, it's the relentless repetition of it. Thus we are subjected to 24 hour repetition of the desired narrative.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 15th, 2019, 1:32 am 

JohnD » June 15th, 2019, 7:11 am wrote:When speaking of heroes I refer to them as those having the ability to think beyond themselves and beyond party politics to what will actually benefit the people. I suppose modern day believers would have been the likes of Bob Hawke in Australia, Nelson Mandella in South Africa and Jimmy Carter in America. These people rallied their countrymen for the common good.


Bob Hawke! That's funny! If you had have said Gough Whitlam, I'd agree, but Hawke, no way. Don't get me wrong, I liked Bob as a bloke and as a trade unionist, but as Prime Minister, he quickly discovered not only how tied his hands were, but how to play the game. If you remember, under Hawke and then Keating, Labor, who are traditionally "left wing", were actually advocating right wing policies, so much so, that in order for John Howard, a fascist right-winger, to get into office, he had to make left wing promises to win an election. He lied of course and implemented nothing of the sort, but my point is that there was the bizarre situation that the Liberals, a right-wing party, had to make left wing promises because the left wing was using right wing policies.

There was a telling photo in the Sydney Morning Herald one day...Bob Hawke was at the head of a table, Kerry Packer on one side and Alan Bond on the other (for those that don't know, Packer was a television magnate and Bond a criminal entrepreneur and responsible for taking the America's Cup), Bob was eating the meal in front of him and Kerry and Alan were just smiling at him, not eating. I wanted the caption..."Who's feeding who?"

I think the left side of politics (using modern day political parlance) needs to radically change its tactics and reassert its foundations. Problem is most political leaders today are more interested in shoring up defenses even though the threat isn't coming from terrorists. Terrorists could just as easily been handled by better policing. If we look at history we can see other attrocities where buildings have been destroyed and people killed both by opposition groups and by governments. The designs of modern business and living will always mean there are hundreds if not thousands of people in any one building. But the actions of terrorists, mostly minor as what they were and are have encouraged the far right to seek more and more control over what people say and do. This has given great avenue for the right to seize power and the left has no answer.


They haven't seized power, they've just strengthened their grip. The unions were nobbled by Howard and Wreath when they first got to power, nobbling the water-side workers union which was the most powerful union at the time, and everyone else just fell into line. It's virtually illegal to strike now except under very finite conditions, which just don't seem to occur. Labour has become casual and part-time, further weakening the power of the workforce, and unemployment is kept high in order to keep the threat of our jobs at the forefront of our minds. Political Correctness keeps the workforce fighting amongst each other rather than combating the "common foe" of the employer. It's been a form of "divide and conquer". And that's before we get to the fact that technology is reducing jobs and therefore the power of a workforce...robots don't rebel.

If the Labor Party was genuine about returning to its roots, it would need to reverse much of what I described and more, but note that that hasn't been part of any of the promises made by Labor, as that would upset the status quo, their true masters, big business.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 15th, 2019, 1:41 am 

Lozza » June 14th, 2019, 11:48 pm wrote:I'm glad you used the term "fascist".

I don't get credit: a poster on another board stepped up and made this unapologetic case in regard to US politics. We're so afraid of the Hitler stigma, we shy away from naming the political phenomenon in other contexts - and there are so many!
Fascism is the marriage of big business with government and the military...
that's a menage a trois, but you've left out Big Religion, which complicates it and turns it even darker. Keep in mind, though, the military have no independent existence - no separate head - in most countries: it's meant to be, and normally is, just a tool of government. When the army grows a mind and will of its own, the game tends to be changed.

I would suggest that the post WWII years, the years that have seen the general public move from predominately working class to middle class dominance, has been a glitch in human history that will never be seen again. Post WWII is when the working man was suddenly able to get credit, which is what created the swelling of the middle class...people were now able to buy homes, cars and goods with a down payment instead of needing the full amount, creating jobs and a thriving economy in construction and all goods and services.

Now, there you have two separate and equally interesting - well, significant, anyway - stories.
The working class in America wasn't effectively disappeared until the [what i see crucial] mid-to-late '70's. The disappearing of it was an enormous undertaking, carried out with surgical precision and utterly dispassionate objectivity. That's a moot point now, when the chavs are all replaced by robots anyway, but it was a big deal through the decades of toxic conservative ascendancy.
And credit --- !!! America runs on debt. Every executive, every social worker, every doctor and engineer, every grocery store clerk and mail delivery person is shackled to the status quo - whatever the establishment declares that to be - by his or her student loan, mortgage, car payment, and credit card balance. Make everything possible with credit - then make everything impossible without credit and you've got a nation by its collective ... debt.
And since debt is the thing they most fear, keep getting elected on platforms that pretend to be against debt, while you keep borrowing more.

Big business therefore requires long term political stability in order to minimize risk of their substantial financial investment and planing and development time.

Buy your politicians early in their career, when they're poor; then keep lobbying them into submission.

Thus, our middle class can only shrink further, the gap between the rich and poor grow only further with increasing unemployment and only part-time employment, becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Yeah.... this has a terminator gene, though, donnit? Cut incomes, cut spending power, cut market, cut profit, all in a spiral that goes right down the economic toilet. All those best-laid plans, wasted.

With that, increased surveillance on the masses is needed in order to quell rebellion...nip it in the bud before it even starts, for unrest amongst the public can only grow as money and opportunity diminish. And by shear coincidence of timing, a "war on terror" has facilitated surveillance on the general public

Same thing. Expensive, but ultimately self-defeating. You can watch them and intimidate them and arrest them - but the eruption isn't planned - it just happens when the pressure reaches that critical point.

I don't think that's what will happen, though. I think the house of cards will collapse by itself.
Unless they can really conflate an unconvincing hole in a Japanese ship into a nuclear war - in which case, bye-bye.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby JohnD on June 15th, 2019, 2:53 am 

Hi Lozza, you're very astute and left wing. I didn't want to turn this into a debate about which was the nicer guy. That isn't the point I am making rather that Hawke drew the nation together which is what is needed today.
Yes we could go into detail about who did what and where but it's the divisions within society that hurt us the most. Factional politics is ruinous no matter what part of the world we're looking at.
The people are looking for reassurance and they're not getting it. Rather they are getting false promises, lies, and propaganda and with no viable alternative things are not likely to change any time soon. That's not just in Australia but around the world. The people of this tiny blue planet have always looked to extraordinary people to light the way for them. That's just the way we are.
With no viable alternative people vote for a person like Trump because he is seen as an outsider who might actually get things done.
Frankly it's been pointed out in this post so many times with so much propaganda who has the time and knowledge to sort out fact from fiction. Sometimes it seems like the media gets its facts from Facebook.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 15th, 2019, 10:53 am 

Serpent » June 15th, 2019, 4:41 pm wrote:[quote="[url=http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=346502#p346502]


I don't get credit: a poster on another board stepped up and made this unapologetic case in regard to US politics. We're so afraid of the Hitler stigma, we shy away from naming the political phenomenon in other contexts - and there are so many!


Agreed. I would describe the current system akin to a democratic aristocracy, whereby we elect representatives of wealth, not the public.

Fascism is the marriage of big business with government and the military...
that's a menage a trois,


Haha! That would depend on the religion of your fascism.

but you've left out Big Religion, which complicates it and turns it even darker. Keep in mind, though, the military have no independent existence - no separate head - in most countries: it's meant to be, and normally is, just a tool of government. When the army grows a mind and will of its own, the game tends to be changed.


As is the case in the US, whereby up until recent years, was spending more on military than the rest of the world combined. In recent years, Russia and China have greatly increased their spending, but no-one to the extent of the US...yet. Truman warned of the Military Industrial Complex, and was right. Vietnam was nothing more than the manifestation of that warning not heeded. The Cold War was of great assistance but also facilitated other geo-political agendas.

I know I'm sounding like I'm attacking the USA in this, but it's circumstantial, not the fault of any one or group of individuals. In smaller economies, which is everyone else in the Western Economy, those nations have maintained control over their military purely by nature of the size of their economies. The US economy is driven by a population of around 280 million, while the next largest country is only about 70-80 million. The difference in order of magnitude is huge, which means that the businesses that contract to the US military are also huge. It's not the military per se that the USA has lost control of, but the military contractors have become so financially large as to be able to lobby powerfully. Thus, the US always needs boogeymen. If I'm a manufacturer of military equipment, my business booms during war, but I go out of business during peace time. Strangely, people don't like going out of business, particularly multi billion dollar businesses.

And as an aside, my example of population size driving an economy, is precisely why the USA is so scared of China...it's not 280 million driving an economy, it's nearly 2 billion people in one economy under one government. It's not "communism" the West is scared of, it's competition for the same resources from a competitor that's massively larger than the USA who's used to being the lad on the block with the biggest stick. Well, no more.

I would suggest that the post WWII years, the years that have seen the general public move from predominately working class to middle class dominance, has been a glitch in human history that will never be seen again. Post WWII is when the working man was suddenly able to get credit, which is what created the swelling of the middle class...people were now able to buy homes, cars and goods with a down payment instead of needing the full amount, creating jobs and a thriving economy in construction and all goods and services.

Now, there you have two separate and equally interesting - well, significant, anyway - stories.
The working class in America wasn't effectively disappeared until the [what i see crucial] mid-to-late '70's. The disappearing of it was an enormous undertaking, carried out with surgical precision and utterly dispassionate objectivity. That's a moot point now, when the chavs are all replaced by robots anyway, but it was a big deal through the decades of toxic conservative ascendancy.
And credit --- !!! America runs on debt. Every executive, every social worker, every doctor and engineer, every grocery store clerk and mail delivery person is shackled to the status quo - whatever the establishment declares that to be - by his or her student loan, mortgage, car payment, and credit card balance. Make everything possible with credit - then make everything impossible without credit and you've got a nation by its collective ... debt.
And since debt is the thing they most fear, keep getting elected on platforms that pretend to be against debt, while you keep borrowing more.


Well, don't start me on the banking system, that rose from an age old tradition of ultra conservatism to becoming the cowboys of the wild west of Wall Street. If you're interested in a blow-by-blow description of what I mean, read Barbarians at The Gate (.https://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/21/books/the-granddaddy-of-all-takeovers.html), I found it a real page-turner when I read it in the early 90's. Oh, and the documentary "Inside Job" is the most succinct explanation of the Sub-Prime Loan fiasco leading to the GFC that I've seen. It's excellent...



Thus, our middle class can only shrink further, the gap between the rich and poor grow only further with increasing unemployment and only part-time employment, becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Yeah.... this has a terminator gene, though, donnit? Cut incomes, cut spending power, cut market, cut profit, all in a spiral that goes right down the economic toilet. All those best-laid plans, wasted.


Depends upon where you live. If it's the West, then yeah, the future is grim, but if you live in the East, then it's a rosy picture indeed, for they're in the beginning of their golden age, while we're at the end of ours. But that said, their golden age won't have the same level of liberties as we did, for the Chinese regime works very hard to maintain their control over both business and the population. Of course, if you're a multi-national, then aside from holding no allegiance to any sovereignty, you care not whether your profits are USD, Euro's or Yen and can reside anywhere and just about everywhere.

With that, increased surveillance on the masses is needed in order to quell rebellion...nip it in the bud before it even starts, for unrest amongst the public can only grow as money and opportunity diminish. And by shear coincidence of timing, a "war on terror" has facilitated surveillance on the general public

Same thing. Expensive, but ultimately self-defeating. You can watch them and intimidate them and arrest them - but the eruption isn't planned - it just happens when the pressure reaches that critical point.

I don't think that's what will happen, though. I think the house of cards will collapse by itself.
Unless they can really conflate an unconvincing hole in a Japanese ship into a nuclear war - in which case, bye-bye.


What I'm suggesting is that the prevention measures are profoundly more extensive. What you describe is the traditional course of events, but by the same token, traditionally, there wasn't the pervasive technology that there is today for prevention. Why do you think such an ambiguous and subjective term as "terrorist" has been the keyword to the narrative? Get labelled that and you have less than no rights at all. That's a powerful weapon that can be used collectively or incisively. A paranoid totalitarian dictator like Stalin would be proud of such a system that we have in place, making him look like an amateur. :)
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 15th, 2019, 12:47 pm 

No weapon, no technology, no reign of terror can be used effectively by a government in disarray, driven by paranoia, frenziedly chewing off its own limbs. No weapon, no technology, no dysinfomation can shore up a growth-dependent (credit) economy when it hits the limits of growth. As the economic recoveries, adjustments, slowdowns, retrenchments, downturns, contractions, slumps, declines, recessions and depressions slide toward the edge of the precipice, the steam drains out of the pistons, the cheques to Daddy Warbucks start bouncing, the mercenaries go looking for new masters, but all their funds dry up at the same time, even the drug lords go out of business.
I wonder what the real (patriotic, brainwashed) army does when the food riots break out, when the coasts need to be evacuated. Do they shoot into the crowd or turn on the one who gives that order?

Then, of course, China is acutely conscious of climate change, and will probably fare better than these shotgun marriage governments.

Interesting times.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 15th, 2019, 2:32 pm 

JohnD » June 15th, 2019, 5:53 pm wrote:Hi Lozza, you're very astute...


Hi John, you're too kind, but astute in your observations...lol

...and left wing.


Actually, though I fully understand how I have been sounding that way, I subscribe to no wing, but advocate that both wings are firmly connected to the same bird. I subscribe to no political or religious dogma of any kind, but due to the fact that I live in a country whereby voting is compulsory, vote for a political party like The Pirate Party seeking an improvement from what we already have, respecting the integrity of candor held within the name.

I subscribe to the Groucho Marx philosophy of, "I don't want to be a member of any club that wants me as a member."

Jokes and truisms aside, I'm naively idealistic. Pushed to put a label to my world view, I'd have to say somewhere around humanitarian to egalitarian, which no political party can serve, as it's too unrealistically idealistic and a world view, not a national view...I'd like to see us function as a united species rather than the fractured friction we embroil ourselves in. It's impossibly simple. I suppose that's the problem with having a world view that can be described by an oxymoron. :)

I didn't want to turn this into a debate about which was the nicer guy. That isn't the point I am making rather that Hawke drew the nation together which is what is needed today.


No, that's my fault, I understood the point you were making. It was putting Hawke in the same league as Mandela that caught my attention, which is why I threw in Whitlam's name, as he, like Mandela, was a man of principle that never wavered. Hawke was a man of principle until he became Prime Minister and didn't have the fortitude to fight the status quo like Whitlam or Mandela did. Hawke became the status quo. Whitlam is the only PM in my lifetime that lived up to his pre-election promises and more. He was truly a man of the people, that's why he was sacked, as he refused to not only not represent wealth, but refused to play by their rules. Gone. So we ended up with Malcolm Fraser who sold us down the river to the World Bank.

As for drawing a nation together, I couldn't put it that way. He was wildly popular for his work as President of the ACTU in the trade union movement, which is the reason why they wanted to give him the job...not only was he a vote catcher, you removed him from being the enemy to government and big business. They killed two birds with stone by giving him the PM's job. The economic boom of the 80's had nothing to do with him or his policies, but the result of the relinquishing of the gold standard, floating of the dollar and deregulation of banking that occurred in the US, causing us to follow suit. Sorry, there was one policy that contributed to over-inflation of the stock market, and that's making superannuation compulsory. The insurance companies during the 80's quite literally were flush with so much money, their fund managers didn't know where to invest it, so invested it everywhere, risky or not. I was in the insurance industry in those days, had Christmas lunch with a couple of fund managers...the shit they told us that was going on, is mind boggling.

Bob was also very good at getting free PR at big sporting events, like the America's Cup when he made his famous comment "any boss sacking someone for not coming into work today, is a mug." Aussies in those days, still very much saw themselves as being the underdogs against the rest of the world, whereas these days I believe the national psyche is more about viewing the world as our oyster. So, I believe you're conflating his popularity and effective PR with drawing a nation together. I believe I understand how you draw your conclusion, though.

Yes we could go into detail about who did what and where..


Sorry, I just took that liberty. :)

...but it's the divisions within society that hurt us the most.


Precisely! And then the divisions of culture/nation at a global level.

Factional politics is ruinous no matter what part of the world we're looking at.


All politics is ruinous. People do not need to be ruled over. That's not to say we need no common basic rules, so I'm not advocating anarchy, but we don't need to be ruled over and treated like errant children.

The people are looking for reassurance and they're not getting it.


I think the people want a sense of a predictable and secure future. Personally, I would find reassurance as foreboding, but I can't speak for everyone.

Rather they are getting false promises, lies, and propaganda and with no viable alternative things are not likely to change any time soon. That's not just in Australia but around the world. The people of this tiny blue planet have always looked to extraordinary people to light the way for them. That's just the way we are.
With no viable alternative people vote for a person like Trump because he is seen as an outsider who might actually get things done.


I think it's even simpler...the Presidency has been reduced to the position of game-show host since Reagan, but now the US actually has a real life game-show host. National leader is a PR job, not a leadership role. You talk like a leader from scripts prepared for you by professional script writers. You're frequently on TV, therefore the general public, for whatever reasons, have to find you appealing to talk about, because like the saying goes, bad publicity is also good publicity. Let's face it, Trump generates publicity.

Frankly it's been pointed out in this post so many times with so much propaganda who has the time and knowledge to sort out fact from fiction. Sometimes it seems like the media gets its facts from Facebook.


Very true.

I describe politics as being the biggest crime story on the planet. And like any good detective will tell you, "follow the money and you'll find the culprit." Politics is no different. Look to see who has financial interest to gain, and suddenly all wars make sense, all political upheavals or small changes, all make sense. Money and the basic human desire for it and its associated benefits, drives everything.

Here's a basic example that's relatively current and topical...this is my take on the Syrian conflict...you know the ill-gotten oil the US obtained in Iraq, the 2nd largest oil field on the planet? Well, the US would like to get it to market. Which market you ask? Well, the European market, as there's more than enough oil in the US currently to service the domestic market, and besides, our good mate Vlad Putin has 15% of the Western European oil and gas market, so the US would like to take that from him. Now, if you want to get your oil from Iraq to Europe, you have to ship it from the Gulf, all the way around the African continent to then get into the Mediterranean Sea, where you would likely off load it at refineries in Italy (they've already got about 20, so have the infrastructure...I Googled). But shipping oil around the African continent is time consuming, risky due to both pirates and the Cape, and so, also expensive. What's the alternative? How about piping your ill-gotten oil to ports in Syria that are already on the Mediterranean? It's quicker, safer and much more economical. Good idea! Except this...those ports that Syrya has are leased by someone...yep, you guessed it, Vlad Putin has had those leases for quite some time. Ergo, Vlad and his allies assists the Assad government in order to keep his markets and stick it up the USA, while the USA and its allies wish to usurp the Assad government in order to terminate those leases and have them in their clutches via their own puppet government.

That's how we discovered terrorists in Syria. It's the excuse to put troops on the ground in order to seize control of a tract of land in order to get an estimated 50 billion barrels of oil to markets. And if you refresh your memory of the region by looking at a map, you'll see that the logistics of what I describe is more than plausible, it's the obvious financial motives for the conflict.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby ronjanec on June 15th, 2019, 4:41 pm 

A lot more credit for people and business certainly helped create a very large middle class after the war, but the big rise in the numbers of the middle class here in the US after WW2 right up until the 1970’s and 80’s was primarily due to the fact that the rest of the world and their factories and mills were all completely(or almost completely) destroyed because of the war, and the US had almost no competition in selling their products to the entire world. The US also converted their enormous military production of equipment and products to civilian goods production, and were thus able to supply the entire world with many of the things they needed.

The workers knew the steel mills and factories were selling everything they made at very good profits because of supply and demand, so the workers demanded higher wages to share in the profits for themselves and their families and got them. Higher wages, and also great job security during this time, also lead to a big rise in available credit for the average worker and his family. This in turn, was spent on housing, cars, and many other consumer products, which lead to more jobs for people being created and more people in the middle class.

And this cycle basically continued almost unabated until the rest of the world again started producing goods and products of their own with brand new...and sometimes even much more efficient factories steel mills etc.(West Germany, Japan, and others)
Last edited by ronjanec on June 15th, 2019, 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby JohnD on June 15th, 2019, 5:51 pm 

History is a wonderful tale told by those who have an interest in the outcome of the story. I can say that in the early 70s I worked for a bank and the first news we were given when we started was the bank's view that credits cards will take over the flow of money and that paper money will one day no longer exist. Obviously, they saw their opportunity in the 40s and 50s and took it.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby PaulN on June 16th, 2019, 10:40 pm 

Sobering exposition on the "United States of Amnesia" from a former State department official in the Bush administration...

https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitic ... 350813577/

One problem with information these days is an inability to put things in real historical context. This renders people easily duped when they hear a politician beating war drums and can't recall that we've made that mistake already, earlier in this century. We are closer to Orwell's dystopia than we realize, when Orwellian phrases like "alternative facts" become a way to stifle critical thinking and real fact finding. Why, for example, in the latest attacks on oil tankers, does the tanker crew's account of an attack by a projectile differ from the DoD's claim of a limpet mine they claim was attached by Iranian Guardsmen? Why are we being told not to believe abundant witnesses actually on the scene, and instead place confidence in an ambiguous and poor quality video?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 17th, 2019, 12:41 am 

Obviously, because a faked video would be high quality.
(And if it was faked in Israel, it would helpful circles and arrows drawn on.)
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby PaulN on June 18th, 2019, 7:37 pm 

Friedrich Nietzsche coined a term, perspectivism, to describe the idea that there is no objective truth; we all get to make up our own reality, our own script, our own set of facts, and everything is conditioned to what one’s own perspective is. We saw this illustrated in the 2016 campaign, when Newt Gingrich insisted during a morning-show interview on defending Trump’s claim that crime rates were soaring. When the host, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, cited FBI data to support her claim that we are safer and crime is down, Gingrich responded, “No. That’s your view.”

When Camerota countered that this wasn’t simply a subjective matter and once again cited FBI crime statistics, Gingrich responded, “As a political candidate, I’ll go with how people feel, and I’ll let you go with the theoreticians.” In other words, facts be damned; my feelings will create my own reality. (By the way, those who assemble crime statistics are not “theoreticians.” They are documenting empirical data.)



https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... th/591925/
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 18th, 2019, 9:20 pm 

That's the first time I've heard the FBI characterized as "theoreticians". It may not be the last - especially given that they've taken two years to construct got this weird conjecture, with
....no EVIDENCE (at all).....
that Trump conspired with Russian agents to help him get elected. No wonder that agency never catches any of the proliferating criminals on the streets of ATGA.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby PaulN on June 19th, 2019, 9:52 am 

Heh.

ATGA = America that's great again?

I was reading the much respected Preet Bharara, the former US Attorney in Manhattan, on how investigators often recommend bringing no charges when there is quite a bit of evidence. They know they can't get a conviction. He explains how this is NOT an exoneration.

His book "Doing Justice," is a must-read for this political forum.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 23rd, 2019, 10:32 am 

Serpent » June 16th, 2019, 3:47 am wrote:No weapon, no technology, no reign of terror can be used effectively by a government in disarray, driven by paranoia, frenziedly chewing off its own limbs. No weapon, no technology, no dysinfomation can shore up a growth-dependent (credit) economy when it hits the limits of growth. As the economic recoveries, adjustments, slowdowns, retrenchments, downturns, contractions, slumps, declines, recessions and depressions slide toward the edge of the precipice, the steam drains out of the pistons, the cheques to Daddy Warbucks start bouncing, the mercenaries go looking for new masters, but all their funds dry up at the same time, even the drug lords go out of business.


That's true, but I don't see the US government as being in the disarray that you describe. Trump is an attention-seeker and narcissistic, but he doesn't run the government, nor is the President the "leader" of the country, they may lead their political party, but not the country. Wealth rules politicians, who in turn oversee the general public on behalf of wealth.

I wonder what the real (patriotic, brainwashed) army does when the food riots break out, when the coasts need to be evacuated. Do they shoot into the crowd or turn on the one who gives that order?


They'll shoot the citizens. History is a litany of examples of this. You have a combination of people that join the military because they are (blind) "patriots", or their family has a history of enlistment, or because they need 3 squares a day and a job/future, with I'm sure, a few other categories. But the thing to remember is this...they do as they are told. In every group there's bound to be a few people that disagree with policy, but to stand against the mob is highly dangerous especially if that mob is the military, and so, most will go with the flow of whatever their orders are, so they will shoot into the crowd...at least at first.

Then, of course, China is acutely conscious of climate change, and will probably fare better than these shotgun marriage governments.


It's hard to say. Their industry has been booming in the last couple of decades and they certainly have some of their own pollution problems. But on the other hand, they have been developing technologies that the West has, and that the West has ignored, so it will be interesting to see how they develop over the next decade or two and what direction they end up taking. I know that they have no interest in playing the Western Economy game of being involved with the IMF or World Bank (and neither does Russia), so I tend to think that they'll develop their own way of doing things, as they've already done for so long. I tend to think that in the next century, China's economy will make the IMF look like a corner store next to a supermarket.

Interesting times.


Is that a euphemism for "scary"? :)
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 23rd, 2019, 1:05 pm 

Lozza » June 23rd, 2019, 9:32 am wrote: I don't see the US government as being in the disarray that you describe. Trump is an attention-seeker and narcissistic, but he doesn't run the government, nor is the President the "leader" of the country, they may lead their political party, but not the country.

He thinks he does, and the toadies with whom he surrounds himself bend over backwards to bolster that illusion - else "theyyyy'rrre FIRED!"
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18575181
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41012533-fear
What he has controlled are appointments to cabinet and key agencies, as well as the Supreme Court, and the senate is still party-loyal and support bad funding decisions. With that support, his destructive power is immense.

Wealth rules politicians, who in turn oversee the general public on behalf of wealth.

While I don't accept that as a universal rule, I certainly agree that money has increasingly driven the US political process, even more than other capitalist nations.
But that just means that when the economic dominoes topple, governments follow.

They'll shoot the citizens. History is a litany of examples of this. You have a combination of people that join the military because they are (blind) "patriots", or their family has a history of enlistment, or because they need 3 squares a day and a job/future, with I'm sure, a few other categories.

Like, it's the only job available to poor kids with no musical or athletic talent. As long as the people they're pointed at are illegal immigrants, they'll shoot. What i wonder is whether they'll shoot when the rioters are their cousins and parents. Armies have turned before. Top ranking officers have turned with some documented regularity.

The first shooters into mobs are the local police, who are already accustomed to shooting those same people one at a time. Then riot police, who always shoot, hose, smoke, spray and tazer anybody on the other side of their shields. Then state police and/or militia - and here, I begin to have some doubt. By the time they're called in, they will have seen egregious police 'misconduct' and had some qualms. Here, peer pressure can go the other way: quite a lot of them will have serious misgivings, and it's they who might sway the obedient.

[China... will probably fare better than these shotgun marriage governments.]

It's hard to say. Their industry has been booming in the last couple of decades and they certainly have some of their own pollution problems. But on the other hand, they have been developing technologies that the West has, and that the West has ignored, so it will be interesting to see how they develop over the next decade or two and what direction they end up taking. I know that they have no interest in playing the Western Economy game of being involved with the IMF or World Bank (and neither does Russia), so I tend to think that they'll develop their own way of doing things, as they've already done for so long. I tend to think that in the next century, China's economy will make the IMF look like a corner store next to a supermarket.

I don't think they have decades; nor do I think there is any vast scope for monetary and industrial economies to grow. I'm just thinking that, post-collapse, their type of social and political organization will be more able to cope, and they'll have the further advantage of having made some preparations for a changed climate.
I realize that's also true of several European countries, but China has the advantage over them of not being a destination for large displaced very foreign populations.

[interesting times]Is that a euphemism for "scary"? :)

Supposed an ancient Chinese curse: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/12/18/live/
As for myself, terrifying comes closer. See Trump on Iran eg
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 24th, 2019, 3:16 pm 

Serpent,

He thinks he does, and the toadies with whom he surrounds himself bend over backwards to bolster that illusion - else "theyyyy'rrre FIRED!"


You mean like how George Dubya kept firing Attorney Generals that were telling him that torture was illegal and his "war on terror" was illegal, until he finally found a guy (of Spanish origin) that would condone their illegal behavior? Nothing new here. To Spain's credit, they tried to prosecute him for crimes against humanity, but of course, to no avail. George Dubya set a new low in criminal behavior for Presidents, making Trump look like a rank amateur.

Or like how the first act in taking office for Gerald Ford was to exonerate Nixon?...They didn't want any precedent set for criminal prosecution of presidents or ex-presidents. Go figure!

Or like the Warren Commission that had an ex-director of the World Bank and the sworn enemy of the Kennedy's, Dulles, who was ex-director of the CIA, fired by Kennedy? Yeah, like that wasn't a political whitewash for political and financial expedience. What business does a banker have on such a Commission about an assassination, besides none at all? Or a sworn enemy of the family like Dulles?!? Now there's an "impartial" investigation...if you're an idiot.

Or like how Oliver North ended up being the fall-guy for Reagan in Iran-gate?

Or like how the focus at the moment is to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for revealing the innumerable atrocities and crimes of the US government, while every US politician only talked of Assange and not a single one addressed the crimes or atrocities? So, apparently, no crimes were committed by the US government and their forces as far as every US politician is concerned...making them all implicated directly and indirectly....despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

And people wonder why I refer to politics as a crime story and that all you need do is to follow the money and
look at who benefits from these decisions, and suddenly it becomes all so clear as to what is really going on.


Wealth rules politicians, who in turn oversee the general public on behalf of wealth.

While I don't accept that as a universal rule, I certainly agree that money has increasingly driven the US political process, even more than other capitalist nations.
But that just means that when the economic dominoes topple, governments follow.


I'm not suggesting that you are necessarily incorrect with that opinion, just that I have a different opinion. My impression of history is that since the advent of currency, some 8,000 years ago, all governments whether they be monarchies, dictatorships, republics or totalitarian states, need the support of wealth in order to rule. So, monarchs needed the allegiance of barons and other land-holders to supply both troops and/or funding for their wars, of course, for a piece of the action and prizes in return for their support. Dictatorships frequently are funded from outside of the nation as it is in some way beneficial for those external forces to support such a dictatorship...for example, the Western Empire has been meddling in Middle Eastern affairs since the beginning of the 20th Century when they started to mechanize their armies and navies, and soon, their air forces, and industry was expanding. So we put in place puppet governments like Saddam as we got oil cheaply, or the Shah of Iran where we also got oil very cheaply, etc, while we permitted them to subjugate their population. This prevented them from industrializing and therefore competing for the same resources that we were after. We only turned on them when they started to believe the bullshit we told them and they mistakenly started to believe that they were actually running things...they quickly found out, much to their chagrin, that they ran nothing.

Even Hitler was supported by the British and European royal families. Prince Phillip said of the Russian Revolution, whereby the Romonovs were brutally murdered, "I lost half of my family." So they supported Hitler as he vowed to take Moscow, which of course suited the royals as they were not just in fear of losing assets, but in mortal fear of the Russian revolutionaries. Very human reasons, indeed.

So, I can't think of a period in history or a political ideologue that hasn't required the support of wealth, and wealth of course, expects favors and profits in return for that support. You might be able to give me some examples contrary to what I've given, which I would greatly appreciate, as I have a rather dark view of humanity and politics, and a ray of sunshine would be welcomed.

They'll shoot the citizens. History is a litany of examples of this. You have a combination of people that join the military because they are (blind) "patriots", or their family has a history of enlistment, or because they need 3 squares a day and a job/future, with I'm sure, a few other categories.

Like, it's the only job available to poor kids with no musical or athletic talent. As long as the people they're pointed at are illegal immigrants, they'll shoot. What i wonder is whether they'll shoot when the rioters are their cousins and parents. Armies have turned before. Top ranking officers have turned with some documented regularity.


If this was 40 years ago, 1979, I would agree with you emphatically. But in this day and age, I can't see it coming to that....that the army would be called in. And here's why...I'm continually amazed at the lack of thought people have when talking of the possibility of revolution, stating things like, "with the Internet, we can co-ordinate events nationally and even globally...". Yeah, right! The very tool that intelligence services use to spy and monitor, is the tool a revolutionary wants to use...good luck with that!!! You wouldn't even make it out of your door. That's the first reason. Secondly, if you noticed in the Boston shootings and the Boston bombings, the police were attired and armed with military grade equipment, from vehicles to weapons and other technologies. I was half expecting to see an officer in the stylish black leather full length coat, like the Gestapo, as the only thing missing was the swastikas from their uniforms, as they were all dressed in fashionable intimidation black. They don't need the military.

I can foresee that there would be demonstrations that could also turn ugly and into some rioting, but that this would be relatively quickly dispelled. I can't see that "revolution" would occur, as revolution requires leadership and planning, and if those people used the Internet, like I said, they wouldn't make past their front door.

And finally, even if it did come to "revolution", who are they going to overturn? The government? We've established that the government are only the lackeys to wealth, so that's pretty meaningless. And wealth these days is trans global, not domestic or centralized. So even an attempt to overturn wealth would be an exercise in complete futility.

But like I said, that's just the way I perceive things.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 24th, 2019, 4:57 pm 

Lozza » June 24th, 2019, 2:16 pm wrote:You mean like how George Dubya kept firing Attorney Generals

No, I mean like how the entire White house staff of relatives, hangers-on, incompetents and petty criminals are in a continuous turnstile. With this guy, it's not a question of finding the desired answer - he doesn't know what answer he wants until A FOX commentator tells him that yesterday's answer wasn't it.

Sure, for every publicized Trump situation, you can find a similar situation in some other cabinet, but you can't find all of them, every day, anywhere. And I doubt you can find another administration that was so entirely without a policy or plan of any kind, beyond keeping the MAGA crowd happy - or at least angry - or at least loud, or a president so incapable of telling the same lie twice in a row.

.... all you need do is to follow the money and look at who benefits from these decisions, and suddenly it becomes all so clear as to what is really going on.

That's been a reliable gauge. But even that is unclear now!!

So, I can't think of a period in history or a political ideologue that hasn't required the support of wealth, and wealth of course, expects favors and profits in return for that support. You might be able to give me some examples contrary to what I've given, which I would greatly appreciate, as I have a rather dark view of humanity and politics, and a ray of sunshine would be welcomed.

Sorry - can't do that. My hope lantern went out in 1976 (when i heard of the first international conference of climate change and saw my first bottled water. Though it wasn't in plastic yet, the insanity was evident.)

Of course, that's always been true, and it's true now. The equally obvious corollary is that when when the underpinning stock market or bank or industry or currency collapsed, regime change soon followed.
What I'm saying is that wealth itself has never been so ephemeral. I wonder if so much as 10% of the $billions they throw around actually exist - and i don't mean the inventory list of armaments.
There have been financial bubbles aplenty, but none, I think, so fragile.

I can foresee that there would be demonstrations that could also turn ugly and into some rioting, but that this would be relatively quickly dispelled. I can't see that "revolution" would occur, as revolution requires leadership and planning, and if those people used the Internet, like I said, they wouldn't make past their front door.

Oh, no, I'm not suggesting anything like an organized revolution - though I can see the possibility of civil war growing out of a regional conflict.
No, I'm talking about populations displaced by flood, tornadoes, fires, drought, crop failures, coastal erosion and ocean surges. Hungry, desperate people with nothing to lose and nowhere to go. Since the agencies that are supposed to deal with this kind of situation have been severely weakened (when they should he been increased tenfold) That's where armed forces will have to be called in. (The Canadian ones are already complaining that they have not enough resources or manpower for their increased civil defense duty.) Those refugee camps are going to grow and proliferate and get very, very ugly.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on June 24th, 2019, 9:35 pm 

Not to unduly disrupt the gloom and doom session, but I thought this new college course offered some hope for helping young minds to detect bullshit...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/ ... -fight-bs/
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 24th, 2019, 11:15 pm 

I wish them well.
Too bad I can't see around the advert.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on June 25th, 2019, 10:05 am 

The world, according to University of Washington professors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, is awash in BS.

So begins their popular course, “Calling Bullshit,” which trains college students to identify and call out misinformation. BS warps voter choices. It can damage businesses. BS oozed from a crudely edited video that falsely suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was inebriated at a public event. Foreign propaganda machines spread BS through social and news media during the 2016 presidential campaign and beyond. And BS, when it clouds the science of vaccine safety and climate change, even threatens our health. Many people believe the BS they encounter and transmit it further — and that’s what this class aims to stop.

Bergstrom and West developed the syllabus as a corrective to the widespread problem of BS, and they made it easy to distribute to other teachers and students. More than 70 universities have contacted them to use course materials


“The problem is not new. BS has been around forever. But it’s the way that technology has exploded that has really scaled up the amount of information and the amount of BS and how much we’re required to filter,” said Carrie Diaz Eaton, a professor of computational studies at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, who tweaked the syllabus to work in statistics in the programming language R.

The class focuses on a pernicious form of misinformation that can be especially misleading: the kind that comes cloaked in data and figures.

“We grant this unwarranted authority to numbers. Numbers feel hard and crisp and sort of unquestionable,” said Bergstrom, a computational biologist. “We wanted to show our students that you don’t have to have a master’s degree in statistics or computer science to be able to call bullshit on this stuff.”


A right-wing media site, for example, blared in a headline that several thousand DACA beneficiaries (undocumented children shielded from deportation by an Obama-era policy) have committed crimes against U.S. citizens, Bergstrom said. “But it’s an extremely low percentage of DACA recipients,” he pointed out. “Which means they’re being accused of crimes at substantially lower rates — massively lower rates — than American citizens. Of course the article doesn’t say that.”

The course includes training in practical skills, with no advanced mathematical knowledge required. West and Bergstrom said they have taught defense against BS to librarians and to high-schoolers, who “love calling bullshit on adults,” Bergstrom observed.

The class teaches students that a thing can be true and also BS. Whole Foods sells a product advertised as “non-GMO” Himalayan pink salt, to pluck an example from the course’s @Callin_bull Twitter account. Technically speaking, the claim is true: the pink salt was made without genetic modification. But it’s also BS, because salt, a mineral, doesn’t have any genes to modify.


In one lecture, West uses “Spurious Correlations,” a project made by a Harvard Law School student. The website pairs unrelated trends, based on actual data, that have no meaningful relationship. Except they happen to show a mathematical correlation — the decrease in Kentucky’s marriage rate happens to correspond with a nationwide drop in drownings on fishing trips, for instance. The point: Statistical correlations are useful tools, but students should ask whether the relationships make sense.


As a Harvard law student, Tyler Vigen used data (shown here from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Vital Statistics Reports) to create absurd correlations. (Tyler Vigen/Spurious Correlations)
The professors have had a long history of mutual BS-calling while trying to test the limits of each other’s scientific conclusions. West was a graduate student in Bergstrom’s laboratory more than a decade ago, and they have written numerous research papers about patterns in how scientists publish their work, including the observation that male scientists cite themselves far more frequently than female scientists self-cite.

Reviewing thousands of journal articles and scientific grants, West said, has honed their ability to sniff out data-driven BS.


Meanwhile, they increasingly saw misinformation in their lives outside work. The professors worried about their students’ exposure to BS. “When we had print media, the stuff that we consumed was predominantly filtered through professional editors,” Bergstrom said. But social media has made all of us “the gatekeepers of what’s worth seeing for our colleagues, our friends and our families.”

They designed the course as an online syllabus without knowing whether they could teach it themselves, because the professors are in different departments with different academic requirements — and there was also some friction with the university committee that decides names and course descriptions.

The website includes tools to disarm BS. Here are a few: Bar charts, but not necessarily line graphs, should include zero on their axes; there’s no guarantee a scientific paper is correct, but publication in a well-known and peer-reviewed journal is a sign the research was legitimate; computers can generate realistic human faces although algorithms struggle with hair, backgrounds and symmetrical glasses. The latter forms the basis of their spinoff project, Which Face is Real, a website where users can test their ability to distinguish bona fide humans from an AI’s creation.


West and Bergstrom are not the first to teach people how to recognize and fight BS. Journalist Darrell Huff wrote “How to Lie With Statistics” in 1954. Astronomer Carl Sagan published “The Demon-Haunted World” in 1995, in which he offered to readers a “baloney detection kit.” Sagan encouraged readers to look for multiple sources of verification, for instance, and to test every link in an argument’s chain.


Princeton University philosopher Harry Frankfurt published an influential 1986 essay, “On Bullshit,” in which he theorized that BS is distinct from a lie. Truth and falsehood are beside the point of BS, Frankfurt concluded. Its purveyor means to persuade. “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth,” he wrote. “Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”

West and Bergstrom’s definition follows from Frankfurt’s: BS “involves language, statistical figures, data graphics and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence.” To call BS is to publicly repudiate “something objectionable.”

The professors’ syllabus went viral, and in the flood of attention, the university gave the professors permission to teach the course. When registration opened for the first “Calling Bullshit” class, in the spring semester of 2017, its 160 seats filled in under a minute, West said.


They are developing an open online course, and they have shared their lessons in public events to reach an audience beyond the typical college-age student. Recent studies have shown that those vulnerable to sharing misinformation online are older than 65 and disproportionately conservative.

Not everyone at these lectures is a fan. “When we give public talks, we’ve had plenty of individuals come up and challenge us,” West said, including supporters of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and those who reject the science of vaccines.

Carol Harding, a recent Bates College senior who majored in political science, was a student in Diaz Eaton’s course last fall. “We talked a lot about Fermi estimation, which is essentially taking whatever instance you’re talking about and using rough generalizations and calculations that you can do in your head,” Harding said. Named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, this gut-check technique requires little more than common sense, a pen and a cocktail napkin. Fermi estimation provides a reasonable approximation, not a precise answer.


Diaz Eaton asked her students to combat misinformation they’d encountered in the community. Harding chose to examine the “characterization, in Maine, of Lewiston being particularly dangerous.” Which, she knew, was false.

The city, Maine’s second most populous, has a high percentage of Somali refugees in a state that is one of the nation’s whitest. There have been problems with hate speech on campus, Diaz Eaton said, and Lewiston’s mayor recently resigned after his racist text messages leaked.

Harding was enrolled in a class run by Lewiston police officers, which gave her access to local crime statistics. She produced several graphs showing the reality of crime in Lewiston: from 1985 to 2017, rates decreased in the city. Twenty-three other cities and towns in Maine have higher crime rates. “Twenty-fourth is pretty good for one of the largest cities in Maine,” Diaz Eaton said. “I mean, there’s not that many cities in Maine.”



She printed anti-BS fliers, with a visualization of the crime rates, and passed them out around campus. Her fellow students received them with surprise. The local police station liked her graphics so much that it asked for a copy.

Hers was the kind of thoughtful correction West and Bergstrom want to promote. “There are facts out there that exist,” West said. “We’re not trying to create, you know, a new generation of nihilists.”
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 25th, 2019, 1:59 pm 

Serpent » June 25th, 2019, 7:57 am wrote:
Lozza » June 24th, 2019, 2:16 pm wrote:You mean like how George Dubya kept firing Attorney Generals

No, I mean like how the entire White house staff of relatives, hangers-on, incompetents and petty criminals are in a continuous turnstile. With this guy, it's not a question of finding the desired answer - he doesn't know what answer he wants until A FOX commentator tells him that yesterday's answer wasn't it.


I see your point. For me, GWB was far worse. The only difference is that it wasn't a regime of incompetence, but of murderous pre-planning to kill others for profit...oil. And to put into place policies that severely encroached upon not just freedoms and liberties, but privacy of citizens. For me, he's the biggest criminal that the White House has ever seen. Both Father and son Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be tried for crimes against humanity and hung....on public TV like they did to Saddam.

Clearly, you're a US citizen and still watch the news or read newspapers in order to maintain the rage. I stopped watching the news and reading newspapers around 2005, otherwise everyday I would just feel intense anger at the lies, propaganda and bullshit justifications to murder others for profits. I can't escape news reports, and I occasionally flick through news items on the Internet just to see what issues are being lied about, or that interest me, but I no longer watch the news, current affairs programs or read the papers (except the intelligent parts....the cartoons and puzzles...lol).

.... all you need do is to follow the money and look at who benefits from these decisions, and suddenly it becomes all so clear as to what is really going on.

That's been a reliable gauge. But even that is unclear now!!


Not really....why is building a wall along the Mexico border so important to Trump? Because he has interests in construction. Simple.

Why does Trump continually badger and provoke China, Russia and North Korea? Those entities won't play the Western Empire game, they are competing for the same resources we are, and the Military Industrial Complex doesn't have a war to keep their profits up, so they're in his ear too.

Why is he provoking Iran? Oil and again, no war for the Military Industrial Complex. And, just let me look at a map for a moment, as there might be a logistical reason for Iran...ahh...it borders the Caspian Sea, giving the US a back-door militarily if a conflict starts with Russia. So, Iran is also geo-political positioning for the US to restrict Russia's movements within the Middle East as well giving the US another point of attack if it comes to war.

Of course, that's always been true, and it's true now. The equally obvious corollary is that when when the underpinning stock market or bank or industry or currency collapsed, regime change soon followed.
What I'm saying is that wealth itself has never been so ephemeral. I wonder if so much as 10% of the $billions they throw around actually exist - and i don't mean the inventory list of armaments.
There have been financial bubbles aplenty, but none, I think, so fragile.


Yes, you're correct. Apart from the false economy that credit has created through the ability to purchase items with money that hasn't been earned yet, the digital age has been a boon for creative bankers. As I'm sure you know, only a national mint is allowed to print currency, but banks have gotten around this by creating digital forms of credit with money that doesn't exist. A pinch of creative accounting and a pinch of creative legalese, combined with the advent of Internet banking, purchases and trading, making most of the money that exists nothing more than digital 1's and 0's.

Most people don't comprehend the sort of money that's out there. The British royal family is estimated to be worth a paltry $245 TRILLION, while the Rothschilds estimated to be worth $375 TRILLION. I was reading an article a couple of years ago whereby the Japanese government wanted some of their very large corporations to invest more of their money to create business and jobs, as there are something like 6-8 merchant banks that cater specifically to "parking" money for these large corporations. Their clients can deposit nothing less than $11 Trillion. They don't have only one client each, and there are 6-8 banks that do this. The Japanese government was contemplating forcing these merchant banks to charge 0.5% interest as a fee to discourage the parking of all this money at the time, rather than the corporations receiving interest on the money.

In 1988, a report came out stating that the 28th largest corporation in Japan could buy Australia 4 times over and be left with some chump change. NOT the largest corporation or even 10th largest, but the 28th largest. That's something to absorb, and barely the tip of the iceberg. Strangely, I keep telling people, "No-one in this country runs the country, we are controlled by external interests, and the government merely takes care of local affairs." But they don't believe me, of course.

I can foresee that there would be demonstrations that could also turn ugly and into some rioting, but that this would be relatively quickly dispelled. I can't see that "revolution" would occur, as revolution requires leadership and planning, and if those people used the Internet, like I said, they wouldn't make past their front door.

Oh, no, I'm not suggesting anything like an organized revolution - though I can see the possibility of civil war growing out of a regional conflict.
No, I'm talking about populations displaced by flood, tornadoes, fires, drought, crop failures, coastal erosion and ocean surges. Hungry, desperate people with nothing to lose and nowhere to go. Since the agencies that are supposed to deal with this kind of situation have been severely weakened (when they should he been increased tenfold) That's where armed forces will have to be called in. (The Canadian ones are already complaining that they have not enough resources or manpower for their increased civil defense duty.) Those refugee camps are going to grow and proliferate and get very, very ugly.


Ahh, I see, thank you for explaining that. I'm usually talking to true believers of politics, not someone that follows the environment. You and I aren't on the same the same page, but we are authors of chapters within the same book. I haven't given any thought towards the scenario you describe, but your logic is certainly sound. As you can see, my focus is more on the human behavior aspect of politics and money.

But I know this...when they introduced the carbon tax, they told us that corporations wouldn't be able to pass the carbon tax they pay onto the general public, thus it would encourage them to use technologies that make less of a carbon footprint. What's happened is that the corporations of course have passed-on the carbon tax, with interest, and so we pay more for energy but still have basically the same size carbon footprint. It's been nothing more than a scam.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on June 25th, 2019, 4:17 pm 

One minor point. I'm not a US citizen, so I can't affect any of these unfol --- unravelling events. I'm a horrified Canadian bystander, getting some of the ungawa splashed on me, with no power to affect that, either.

But I know this...when they introduced the carbon tax, they told us that corporations wouldn't be able to pass the carbon tax they pay onto the general public, thus it would encourage them to use technologies that make less of a carbon footprint. What's happened is that the corporations of course have passed-on the carbon tax, with interest, and so we pay more for energy but still have basically the same size carbon footprint. It's been nothing more than a scam.


Our [Ontario] Liberal provincial government passed it, as per federal policy, with the variant that the moneys thus collected are given back to the taxpayers. The incoming fathead government is spending more of our money on fighting it in court than they would have collected in carbon tax by this time - benefit to their polluting industrial buddies, as well as their corporate lawyer buddies.

Drop in Fuel Consumption: “The carbon tax has contributed substantial environmental benefits to British Columbia (BC). Since the tax took effect in 2008, British Columbians' use of petroleum fuels (subject to the tax) has dropped by 15.1% — and by 16.4% compared to the rest of Canada.
https://www.carbontax.org/where-carbon-is-taxed/british-columbia/



The fathead rival federal party is campaigning for the next election on rescinding the carbon tax altogether.
Plus ca change...
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lozza on June 26th, 2019, 1:09 pm 

TheVat » June 25th, 2019, 12:35 pm wrote:Not to unduly disrupt the gloom and doom session, but I thought this new college course offered some hope for helping young minds to detect bullshit...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/ ... -fight-bs/


Yes and no.

First the "yes" aspect...all the examples are valid, I have no issue with any of them, albeit that many of them are quite simple, but they are very valid.

The "no" aspect is a little more complicated to explain, so forgive me if this becomes a bit lengthy:

All of you know what an IQ is, but IQ isn't enough. EQ (a person's emotional quotient or emotional maturity level) is actually more important than IQ. Don't get me wrong, IQ is of great assistance, but if your EQ is low, then it doesn't matter how high your IQ is, you won't understand the material in a way that allows you to make effective decisions. The high IQ allows you to remember and recite information that you have learned or read, but it's only a good EQ that allows you to apply that information in a meaningful way in life and with other people.

I'll give you a business example that occurred to me...I worked for a multi national that had 70% of the global market of a disposable product within the health industry. Anyway, my manager and I were on our way to see the largest client in my area that was a wholesaler, supplying the Eastern seaboard of Australia and Perth in Western Australia. On our way to the appointment, he explains to me that our company is very cash rich and that it's not unusual for the company to invest in ancillary companies. While talking to the wholesaler, the wholesaler explains that he would hold more of our product, except he didn't have the warehouse space, but he owned an acre of land down the road, but just didn't have the cash to build a new warehouse. I then expected my boss to start posing some questions along those lines in order to "qualify" him...how much money would he need, what kind of interest rates would he expect to pay, how much more of our product did he think he would be to hold, questions of that nature. Nope. Not one question. He just kept talking about the guy taking more of our product. It was like he couldn't hear what had been said. As I was relatively new to the company, I didn't want to under-mind him, so at appropriate moments, would ask some of those questions, also thinking that my boss would see what I was doing and join in. No, he just kept on the same track that he'd been on. When we were finished and had returned to the car, I asked him, didn't you say, blah, blah, blah? He said "yes". Well, it was right in front of you, that's why I asked the questions that I did...he said he needed about a $1 million to build the warehouse, would be paying about 12% and would happily stock more of our product, so why don't we tell the CEO and then he can get the bean-counters to work out the details of offering a much lower interest rate for the money, but he stocks and moves larger amount of our product? My bosses response was, "You're a genius!" No, I'm just able to recognize the application of abstract concepts.

My second example is the area of psychology...the "soft science" (and I know just what sort of personality type coined that phrase)...there's one main reason that it is surrounded by skepticism and even many poor results: We don't profile the profilers. The only "aptitude" is your academic achievements, not your level of EQ. Consequently, we have many psychologists that are intellectually adept at learning the material and passing an exam, but they do NOT have the EQ to identify those traits and features in another human being. It takes insight that is only gained from emotional maturity to be able to see those traits in another person.

So here's the problem with the above video...if you possess the right amount of EQ, you look at the examples and say to yourself, "that makes sense" or "that's obvious", so in fact, you're only preaching to the converted. For those that don't see that the examples are obvious, they don't possess the EQ in the first place, and no amount of examples or information will convince them, regardless of the level of their IQ. Consequently, we have a lot of very intelligent, well educated people that say psychology is "hokum"...no it's not, you just don't have the EQ to understand it.

So what needs to be taught to people, is how to develop their emotional maturity. But the system doesn't want that, as otherwise the general public will see through their bullshit. So it won't happen. Also, if psychologists were tested for their EQ today, more than half would be unemployed tomorrow, so they also have a vested interest in this not occurring.
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