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Groupthink: we are all victims

Groupthink: we are all victims

US HHS response to COVID was textbook, in all the wrong ways

“Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.”
Fredrich Nietzsche

We all seek to understand the root causes of the COVIDcrisis. We crave an answer, and hope is that we can find some sort of rationale for the harm that has been done, something that will help make sense out of one of the most profound policy fiascos in the history of the United States. In tracing the various threads which seem to lead towards comprehension of the larger issues and processes, there has been a tendency to focus on external actors and forces. Examples include the Medical-Pharmaceutical Industrial complex, the World Health Organization, the World Economic Foundation, the Chinese Central Communist Party, the central banking system/Federal Reserve, the large “hedge funds” (Blackrock, State Street, Vanguard), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Corporate/social media and Big Technology, the Trusted News Initiative, and the United Nations.

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In terms of the inexplicable behavior of the general population in response to the information which bombards all of us, the denialism and seeming hypnosis of colleagues, friends and family, Mattias Desmet’s 21st century update of the work of Hannah Arendt , Joost Meerloo, and so many others is often cited as the most important text for comprehending the large scale psychological processes which have driven much of the COVIDcrisis madness. Dr. Desmet, a professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University (Belgium) and a practicing psychoanalytic psychotherapist, has provided the world with guide to the Mass Formation process (Mass formation Psychosis, Mass Hypnosis) which seems to have influenced so much of the madness that has gripped both the United States as well as much of the rest of the world.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Difference Between a Forecast and a Guess

The Difference Between a Forecast and a Guess

Every forecast or guess has one refreshing quality: one will be right and the rest will be wrong.

What’s the difference between a forecast and a guess? On one level, the answer is “none”: the future is unknown and even the most informed forecast is still a guess. The evidence for this is the remarkable number of informed forecasts that prove to be as completely off-base as the wildest guesses.

On another level, there is a big difference between an informed forecast and a guess–if the informed forecast has the consequential system dynamics right. The world is complicated and discerning the consequential dynamics in the tangle of complexity is difficult.

Context and perspective matter. So do incentives. To take one example of many, war planners in the Vietnam era looked at war from the perspective of “scientific metrics” that focused on collecting data on the efficacy of sorties and combat missions. This resulted in the infamous “body counts.”

The larger context was that war could be productively distilled down to metrics, costs and attrition: the enemy was presumed to be a rational player who will give up when the pain and cost become too high.

Planners slouching in comfortable offices have many incentives to “go along to get along”: and veering off into dynamics that can’t be conveniently measured and questioning the entire foundation of the war’s planning and execution will get you sent to bureaucratic Siberia. “Getting with the program” will get you kudos and promotion.

Hmm, which will most people choose? The Pentagon Papers circulated among hundreds of senior officials, and parts of the report circulated among thousands of lower-ranking employees. Only one person took the risks of sharing the report with the American public.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Groupthink Pandemic

The Groupthink Pandemic

Groupthink is all around us. Decision-making in government, in the media and at work. It’s slowly killing the world.

In the background of the most important events, the Covid-19 response and increasing tension and conflict in the world, it might be worth looking through some of this in a bit more detail.

I’ve experienced groupthink working for large organisations, most notably in my last job. We were tasked with investigating and solving complex problems. Some technical expertise helped but was not crucial to the role.

Critical thinking and balancing evidence and differing viewpoints was key.

Yet the organisation decided that this was no longer required and changed the whole operating model to a one-size fits all type of call-centre. This new high-risk approach was recommended to us by the outside consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) who were clueless about our business.

Those of us who were experienced in the role argued that the model wouldn’t work. But the organisation ploughed on regardless. It was obvious from day one that the financials didn’t stack up which they tried to deny and later concealed.

The executive largely ignored our concerns to start but then paid limited lip-service when the wheels started to come off. Anyway, in the end they offered us redundancy while employing fresh university graduates to replace us. As far as I know the place is still in denial and heading down the pan.

Groupthink is described as follows:

Groupthink is a term first used in 1972 by social psychologist Irving L. Janis that refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group. In many cases, people will set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinion of the rest of the group.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California Rooftop Solar Mandate: An example of bad groupthink?

California Rooftop Solar Mandate: An example of bad groupthink?

In recent news, California legislators have done a gimmick-trick that has earned the state loud applause from the environmentally-minded consumers and activists: California Energy Commission (CEC) recently voted 5-0 to add a new provision to the state’s building code. This includes a requirement that from 2020, all new house and multi-family residences construction of three stories or fewer, along with all major renovations, must be built with rooftop solar panels. Given that the state currently builds ca 113,000 housing units a year, and rising, this should increase significantly already existent solar generation capacity from 15% of the housing stock, currently.
Solar being mandated on virtually all new houses? Sounds like a renewables nirvana, especially given the fact that the state has huge solar generation potential due to its climate. But, as commonly is the case, there is a catch. Or two… or many more… And this means that California’s latest policy mandate may be a poor example to follow, and potentially, a bad policy mistake.

Here are the key reasons.

Rooftop solar is about as effective in reducing emissions as waving a broom into the smog. UC Berkeley’s Severin Borenstein argued this in his note to CEC Commissioner (http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/borenste/cecweisenmiller180509.pdf). Note: Borenstein also alleges that CEC has failed to involve experts in energy economics in its decision making process – something that is not a good policy formation practice.

UC Davis economics professor James Bushnell accused CEC of “regulatory groupthink.” (https://energyathaas.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/how-should-we-use-our-roofs/) and offered an alternative to roof solar that can generate far greater environmental benefits. There are, of course, other, more efficient ways for deriding emissions, including: mandating more urban density, raising home and cars efficiency standards, expanding the renewable energy mandate, improving grid efficiencies and transmission expansion, and so on. Once again, CEC did not allow for any independent assessment of the proposed plans economic and environmental impacts.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Threats to Family Farms & Homesteading from Agri-Business and Groupthink

Threats to Family Farms & Homesteading from Agri-Business and Groupthink

This research-based article details the multiple threats to good, community farming practices and small-scale organic/cooperative endeavors. The threats take the form of social engineering in the guise of “managed providers working for the common good of the majority of people,” when in effect it concentrates the wealth and resources in the hands of the few and leaves the average family farm and homesteader out in the cold, or worse. “Legislates” them right into illegality with previously legal practices (such as rainwater catchments systems, or sustainable family farms.)

An older article I recently stumbled across is particularly revealing of the mindset that governs this struggle: one characterized by that mindset’s reliance on “technology” and “mechanization” to provide a plethora of bountiful harvests. The article is entitled “8 Solutions for a Hungry World” and it lists those “solutions” as such:

1. Farm the desert – using a greenhouse that converts seawater to freshwater,
2. Grow with precision – using soil sensors to inform when water and fertilizer are needed,
3. Rebuild rice – the genetic engineering of the photosynthetic capabilities of rice,
4. Replace fertilizer – with a mixture of 300 natural microbes (now synthesized) for Nitrogen fertilization,
5. Re-map a continent – to target new farming technologies in Africa,
6. Use robot labor – to monitor, prune, and pick produce,
7. Resurrect the soil – biochar machines the size of shipping (sea-land) containers,
8. Make supercrops – more genetically engineered crops.

All of these proposed solutions (although possible) can (and probably will, if implemented) have far-reaching consequences. Items 3, 4, and 8 involve genetic engineering and manipulation of other species. Items 2 and 6 are unnecessary, replacing human labor with faddish gadgets that consume both energy and fuel. Item 5 concentrates and categorizes geographic spreads of potential profitability (a return to medieval serfdom, fiefs and all) instead of viable human communities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing

Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing

Photo Source Lisa Abitbol/Nieman Foundation for Journalism | CC BY 2.0

The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for independent journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.

Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.

Driven from the “mainstream”, Hersh must publish his work outside the United States. Parry set up his own independent news website Consortium News, where, in a final piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism’s veneration of “approved opinions” while “unapproved evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality.”

Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years. Dissent tolerated when I joined a national newspaper in Britain in the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves towards a form of corporate dictatorship. This is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the new “groupthink”, as Parry called it, dispensing its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.

Witness the witch-hunts against refugees and immigrants, the willful abandonment by the “MeToo” zealots of our oldest freedom, presumption of innocence, the anti-Russia racism and anti-Brexit hysteria, the growing anti-China campaign and the suppression of a warning of world war.

With many if not most independent journalists barred or ejected from the “mainstream”, a corner of the Internet has become a vital source of disclosure and evidence-based analysis: true journalism.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Christopher Booker gets serious about understanding “Groupthink”

Christopher Booker gets serious about understanding “Groupthink”

Groupthink, Christopher Booker GWPF. We toss the term Groupthink around a lot, but Christopher Booker gets serious about exactly what it is and what it means. He analyzes the “Climate Change” debate through the lens of the original scientific study of Groupthink as published by Irving Janis, a professor of psychology at Yale back in the 1970s.  It’s uncanny…

Obviously we need to understand it so we can preventlimit it.  But Groupthink is also ripe fodder for driving Eco-worriers up the wall as we list the ways — to a T — that they are The Textbook Example. There’s a useful strategy that flows from this. The core tenet is that because believers hold a shaky, fragile idea, they must be aggressively hostile to protect it. So put the boot on the other foot. Let’s ask Believers how they don’t fit the Groupthink mould. Do they welcome debate — go on, prove it.

Richard Lindzen’s introduction:

[Booker] asks how do otherwise intelligent people come to believe such arrant nonsense despite its implausibility, internal contradictions, contradictory data, evident corruption and ludicrous policy implications…

The phenomenon of groupthink helps explain why ordinary working people are less vulnerable to this defect. After all, the group that the believers want to belong to is that of the educated elite. This may have played a major role in the election of Donald Trump, which depended greatly on the frustration of the non-elites (or ‘deplorables’, as Hillary Clinton referred to them) with what they perceived to be the idiocy of their ‘betters’

Booker himself:

…I kick myself that I did not discover the book that inspired this paper until 2014. When I finally came across Irving Janis’s seminal analysis of ‘groupthink’, I realised just how much more it helped to explain about the story I and many others had been following for so long.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Russia-gate’s Litany of Corrections

Russia-gate’s Litany of Corrections

Exclusive: As much as the U.S. mainstream media insists that the Russia-gate scandal is growing, what is undeniably growing is the list of major corrections that news outlets have been forced to issue, reports Robert Parry.


The U.S. mainstream media’s year-long hysteria over Russia’s alleged role in the election of Donald Trump has obliterated normal reporting standards leading to a rash of journalistic embarrassments that have both disgraced the profession and energized Trump’s backers over new grievances about the MSM’s “fake news.”

Misguided groupthink is always a danger when key elements of the Washington establishment and the major news media share the same belief – whether that is Iraq’s supposed possession of WMD or the need to bring down some foreign or domestic leader unpopular with the elites.

Yet, we have rarely witnessed such a cascading collapse of journalistic principles as has occurred around the Russia-gate “scandal.” It is hard to keep track of all the corrections or to take note of all the dead ends that the investigation keeps finding.

But anyone who dares note the errors, the inconsistencies or the illogical claims is either dismissed as a “Kremlin stooge” or a “Trump enabler.” The national Democrats and the mainstream media seem determined to keep hurtling down the Russia-gate roadway assuming that the evidentiary barriers ahead will magically disappear at some point and the path to Trump’s impeachment will be clear.

On Friday, the rush to finally prove the Russia-gate narrative led CNN — and then CBS News and MSNBC — to trumpet an email supposedly sent from someone named Michael J. Erickson on Sept. 4, 2016, to Donald Trump Jr. that involved WikiLeaks offering the Trump campaign pre-publication access to purloined Democratic National Committee emails that WikiLeaks published on Sept. 13, nine days later.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America’s Righteous Russia-gate Censorship

America’s Righteous Russia-gate Censorship

Exclusive: Arriving behind the anti-Trump “resistance” and the Russia-gate “scandal” is a troubling readiness to silence dissent in the U.S., shutting down information that challenges Official Narratives, writes Robert Parry.


A stark difference between today’s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then – even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan – there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U.S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people’s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community.

Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim – no matter how unlikely or absurd – that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.

And, behind this disturbing anti-Russian uniformity are increasing assaults against independent and dissident journalists and news outlets outside the mainstream. We’re not just entering a New Cold War and a New McCarthyism; we’re also getting a heavy dose of old-style Orwellianism.

Sometimes you see this in individual acts like HuffingtonPost taking down a well-reported story by journalist Joe Lauria because he dared to point out that Democratic money financed the two initial elements of what’s now known as Russia-gate: the forensic examination of computers at the Democratic National Committee and the opposition research on Donald Trump conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Central Bank Group Think: Convince the Public More Inflation is Coming 

Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans is worried about the lack of inflation primarily because he is clueless about where to find it. As further proof of his economic illiteracy, Evans says “Low inflation expectations keep inflation down”.

The Federal Reserve should take a more aggressive stance toward boosting inflation and stop talking so much about using interest rates to ensure financial stability, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said.

Evans expressed concerns Wednesday that the public was losing faith in policy makers’ commitment to bring inflation back up to their 2 percent target.

The central banker has consistently argued for a slower pace of interest-rate increases than many of his colleagues on the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

“In order to dispel any impression that 2 percent is a ceiling, our communications should be much clearer about our willingness to deliver on a symmetric inflation outcome, acknowledging a greater chance of inflation at 2.5 percent in the future than what has been communicated in the past,” he said in remarks prepared for a speech in London.

Two Asinine Economic Theories

  1. There is a need for inflation
  2. The Fed can achieve it by talking about it

For proof of number 2, look at Japan.

In regards to point number 1, the BIS agrees that routine price deflation may be beneficial.

BIS Deflation Study

The BIS did a historical study and found routine price deflation was not any problem at all.

“*Deflation may actually boost output. Lower prices increase real incomes and wealth. And they may also make export goods more competitive*,” stated the study.

For a discussion of the BIS study, please see Historical Perspective on CPI Deflations: How Damaging are They?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Look at the big picture, avoid groupthink, remember history

Look at the big picture, avoid groupthink, remember history

A friend of mine recently outlined as follows his method for thinking about important issues: Look at the big picture, avoid groupthink, and remember history.

First, the big picture. People too often think only about the narrow field in which they work or the community or nation in which they live. But whatever the topic, there is always a context that includes the rest of world and the interplay of actors and forces in many locales and fields of endeavor.

Let me provide an illustration (not one provided by my friend). If I want to understand the state of renewable energy in the United States, I’d certainly want to know also the state of that industry in other countries including their regulatory regimes; the structure of their industry whether public, private or a combination; and the state of research and development. I’d also want to know how renewable energy fits into the total picture of energy use, for example, its current share of consumption compared to competing sources of energy and its growth rate. Further, I’d want to know about the emergence of electric vehicles, a major new user of electricity, and about the industry that produces them. I wouldn’t stop there, but what I’ve outlined so far conveys the scope of inquiry that I’m recommending.

Next I’d want to check into any relevant claims made in the media and by family members, friends, and co-workers in order to avoid groupthink, that is, believing something merely because I’ve heard it from others. For example, if someone claims that the dominant form of energy in human society in 2030 will be solar (and someone did), I would want to find the basis for such a claim if there is one and also see if the current trends suggest that this is likely.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

3 Things Sheeple Do That You Don’t Have To

3 Things Sheeple Do That You Don’t Have To

Do you ever get that feeling like you’re surrounded by automatons, people who merely mimic life, without really living it?

Sheeple, as they may be called, are otherwise ordinary folks who’ve adapted particularly well to the workforce/consumer/obedience training agenda. They’ve been taught to be docile, foolish and easily led. They’re particularly keen at following mainstream narratives and adapting to group-think and group-behaviors. Almost criminally uninformed at times, they are predictable, obedient, gullible, and uninquisitive, always doing their part to sustain the cultural power dynamic by policing and enslaving themselves and staying focused on whatever tasks have been given them. The primary rewards for their acquiescence being comfort and the illusion of security.

Sheeple are everywhere, to be sure, but a tremendous counter movement is rising in opposition to this engineered madness. The amount of people waking up is truly inspiring, and a big part of this transformation is a growing awareness of just how much of what we do and what we think is not actually born of original thought, but rather instructed by cultural programs scripted by industry, government and the psychopaths at the helm of spaceship earth. Waking up from this is a certainty, once awareness of it kicks in.

Here are 3 things that sheeple do that you don’t have to…

1. Self-Sabotage

Like a vampire who must be invited to gain entrance into the home of his victim, much of the matrix is an invitation to indulge in self-destruction. It’s voluntary in so many ways. Its traps are devised of appeals to ego, to taste buds, to pleasure, and to our want of convenience and instant gratification… nothing we can’t live without. It sells things that taste sweet, at first, but ultimately prove impossible to quit and even more impossible to pay for.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How To Spot Groupthink Among Economists

How To Spot Groupthink Among Economists

As GMO’s James Montier says in his latest white paper today “it seems one can hardly open a financial newspaper or read a blog these days without tripping over some academic-cum-central banker talking about the once arcane notion of the equilibrium real interest rate.”

Sure enough, it is the laughable concept of the equilibrium real interest rate (laugable because if it can be quantified and put into an equation, it becomes tangible and central banks are convinced they can recreate it, perfect it and implement it to “fix the economy”… usually with disastrous results) that is the topic of his latest must read piece “The Idolatry of Interest Rates Part I: Chasing Will-o’-the-Wisp“, which not only makes a mockery of central planners but also the intellectual conceits they all hold so dear, and which they will all hold dear all the way until the now inevitable collapse of “New Keynesian” economics.

And while there is much to discuss in his full 13 page paper, the following excerpt discussing how to spot groupthink in crowds (of economists) is what we found most relevant and amusing, perhaps because the entire world is now caught in a groupthink mode, and what’s worse, a groupthink that is peddling the wrong solution to the worldwide problem that can be summarized as simply as “$200 trillion in debt.”

From Jim Montier:

Wisdom of crowds or groupthink extraordinaire?

One could take the view that so many bright individuals all coalescing around a single framework was evidence of the wisdom of crowds. However, rather than representing the power of consensus, it appears to me to be evidence of extreme groupthink – it is very telling that not one of the aforementioned luminaries has questioned the framework itself.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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