RSSCategory: Propaganda

Cult of personality

February 11, 2013 | By | 5 Replies More

Glenn Greenwald points out that many Democrats have been exposed as hypocrites, supporting abhorrent Bush era policies simply because Obama is now implementing them.

That many Democratic partisans and fervent Obama admirers are vapid, unprincipled hacks willing to justify anything and everything when embraced by Obama – including exactly that which they pretended to oppose under George W Bush – has also been clear for many years. Back in February, 2008, Paul Krugman warned that Obama supporters are “dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.” In May, 2009, a once-fervent Obama supporter, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, wrote a column warning that Obama was embracing many of the worst Bush/Cheney abuses and felt compelled – in the very first sentence – to explain what should be self-evident: “Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House.” The same month, former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith – who provided the legal authorization for the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program – went to the New Republic to celebrate that Obama was not only continuing the core Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism, but even better (from his perspective), was strengthening those policies far beyond what Bush could achieve by transforming Democrats from opponents of those policies into supporters.

Many, including Greenwald have repeated attacked our policy allegedly justifying the assassination of Americans. A much bigger concern to me is that we are, through the use of drones, waging illegal undeclared wars in a many other countries. Also consider these domestic and foreign policy actions of Obama. How many Democrats would support them if a Republican President had been responsible?

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Orwell on the crossroads of language and power

February 11, 2013 | By | Reply More

Terrific article at Salon revisiting the works of George Orwell. Here’s an excerpt:

The essay is an investigation of what Orwell called the “special connexion between politics and the debasement of language.” Using as his point of departure five short representative extracts from various contemporary political publications, Orwell decried a creeping invasion of the political vernacular by insidious waffle. Meaning and clarity, he complained, were giving way to hot air and opacity, contributing to a general impoverishment of British political culture. His polemic is censorious yet witty, offsetting a surly, jaded disaffection — the man, one feels, has seen too much — with a disarmingly brisk and easy turn of phrase. Politics and the English Language rails with suitably understated flair against pretentious diction, verbal false limbs, jargon, archaisms, meaningless words and journalistic clichés, culminating in a six-point checklist for avoiding bad prose:

Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

Never use a long word where a short one will do.

If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Never use the passive where you can use the active.

Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

This was about more than just style as a thing in itself. Orwell was writing in defense not of a pedantically rigid standard English, but of honesty and sincerity in politics.

This article then challenges Orwell, who suggested that cleaning up language would clean up the problem. The argument is that we now see many simply worded official pronouncements that are meaningful. Many are vapid exercises in evasion.

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Huxley v Orwell: Two routes to dystopia

February 7, 2013 | By | Reply More

Excellent illustrated comparison of the concerns of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.

Orwell huxley

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The greatest country in the world

February 6, 2013 | By | 5 Replies More

This impressive speech suggests that the United States is not the “greatest country in the world.” But what would Jeff Daniels know? He’s only relying on facts.

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Ex-CIA Agent, Whistleblower John Kiriakou Sentenced to Prison While Torturers He Exposed Walk Free

January 30, 2013 | By | Reply More

Ex-CIA Agent, Whistleblower John Kiriakou Sentenced to Prison While Torturers He Exposed Walk Free. The story is at Democracy Now.

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Julian Assange: “The Fifth Estate” is a hit piece against Wikileaks

January 26, 2013 | By | Reply More

From Huffpo:

“Julian Assange says he has obtained a leaked copy of the script for “The Fifth Estate,” a DreamWorks film about the maverick computer expert and his famed secret-busting site. In a speech before the Oxford Union debating society earlier this week, Assange said his unauthorized sneak peek has left him convinced the film is a hit piece.”

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Unending U.S. hypocrisy in the Middle East

January 20, 2013 | By | Reply More

Glenn Greenwald sums up a large part of U.S. Middle East foreign policy:

Obama administration has continuously lavished the Saudi Kingdom with a record amount of arms and other weapons, and has done the same for the Bahraini tyranny. He has done all this while maintaining close-as-ever alliances with the Gulf State despots as they crush their own democratic movements.”

According to a high-ranking adviser to four Presidents, including President Obama, this means:

“work even harder, do even more, to strengthen the Saudi regime as well as the neighboring tyrannies in order to crush the “Arab Awakenings” and ensure that democratic revolution cannot succeed in those nations.” The result is flagrant U.S. hypocrisy: “US policy to support the worst tyrannies that serve its interests, sitting right next to endless US pro-war rhetoric about the urgency of fighting for freedom and democracy.”

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Why did the feds over-prosecute Aaron Swartz?

January 17, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More
Why did the feds over-prosecute Aaron Swartz?

Glenn Greenwald makes a strong case that the government was intentionally making an example out of Swartz in order to assert corporatocratic control over the Internet. Government information belongs to the government and big business

But the abuses here extend far beyond the statutes in question. There is, as I wrote about on Saturday when news of Swartz’s suicide spread, a general effort to punish with particular harshness anyone who challenges the authority of government and corporations to maintain strict control over the internet and the information that flows on it. Swartz’s persecution was clearly waged by the government as a battle in the broader war for control over the internet. As Swartz’s friend, the NYU professor and Harvard researcher Danah Boyd, described in her superb analysis:

“When the federal government went after him – and MIT sheepishly played along – they weren’t treating him as a person who may or may not have done something stupid. He was an example. And the reason they threw the book at him wasn’t to teach him a lesson, but to make a point to the entire Cambridge hacker community that they were p0wned. It was a threat that had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with a broader battle over systemic power.

The government bullying of Aaron Swartz is one of many government abuses that all fit into a pattern, as Greenwald notes:

The grotesque abuse of Bradley Manning. The dangerous efforts to criminalize WikiLeaks’ journalism. The severe overkill that drives the effort to apprehend and punish minor protests by Anonymous teenagers while ignoring far more serious cyber-threats aimed at government critics. The Obama administration’s unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers. And now the obscene abuse of power applied to Swartz.

Why the focus on the Internet?

[T]he abuse of state power, the systematic violation of civil liberties, is about creating a Climate of Fear, one that is geared toward entrenching the power and position of elites by intimidating the rest of society from meaningful challenges and dissent. There is a particular overzealousness when it comes to internet activism because the internet is one of the few weapons – perhaps the only one – that can be effectively harnessed to galvanize movements and challenge the prevailing order.

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The meaning of “support the troops.”

December 10, 2012 | By | Reply More

What does it mean to “support the troops”? I previously wrote a post about this issue.

Today on Facebook, I noticed this quote on Noam Chomsky:

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