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It’s Not A Political Problem, It’s A Propaganda Problem: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

It’s Not A Political Problem, It’s A Propaganda Problem: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

While we all fixate on electoral political solutions, the powerful focus on narrative control, because that’s where real power is at. The people who pose an actual threat to the machine are those who disrupt its narratives and narrative control agendas. Everyone else is harmless.

If the majority of a troubled population believes their political system is operating in a way that is demonstrably very different from the way it actually operates, then that population doesn’t have a political problem, it has a propaganda problem.

Berners watched the mass media actively sabotage the Sanders campaign day after day in two consecutive elections, and went “The problem is not enough progressives in government!” No, the problem is the billionaire media are constantly lying to everyone. Create a truth-based information ecosystem and politics will move toward health by itself.

As long as the ruling class is successfully using mass-scale narrative manipulation, it won’t matter what political strategies you employ because they’ll just manipulate that too. Everything we try will be neutered by propaganda until fighting propaganda becomes our number one priority. The narratives around your insurgent third party will be manipulated to the advantage of the powerful. Your progressive takeover of the Democrats will be narrative managed into impotence.

You can’t politics your way around narrative manipulation. You’ve got to make it the issue. You don’t measure how effective someone is against the machine by what their campaign platform says or what their strategies are, but by how disruptive they are to the narratives and narrative control of the powerful. If they’re not disruptive on that front they’re not effective.

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

 

Instability

Instability

In every century the same thing happens at one point or another. Society loses the plot and gets caught up in a mania, a grandiose exercise in self delusion. It can be political, it can be religious, and yes it can be economic. Sometimes these manias are confined to regions or small groups of people, sometimes they are vast in reach and impact and have global consequences. We can all think of examples. Religious? How about witch burnings? Politics? How about Nazism? Economics? How about all the manias that had fervent believers and adherents that with the hindsight of time were completely insane? The South Sea Bubble, the Tulip mania, the 1929 mania, etc. All of these bringing about vast social instability versus the previous status quo with often disastrous consequences.

And whatever we got going here is now approaching a similar frantic delusion that appears to infect everyone.

All of these manic periods have something in common: Believing in something absolutely even though it is either completely wrong or unrealistic. Seeing reality becoming untethered.

I’ve long argued that central banks aiming to be a stabilizing force are actually bringing about societal instability. Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the storming of the Capitol, angry Trump voters, angry Democrat voters and yes even Gamestop reddit buyers may all have different causes and triggers and motivations, but they actually have one thing in common: They are angry, angry at a system that has screwed them over, a sense of deep pervasive injustice and inequality, a fissure that keeps widening with every central bank intervention program.

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

Americans Only Care About America. Their Rulers Only Care About World Domination.

Americans Only Care About America. Their Rulers Only Care About World Domination.

Ever since November third the American political/media class have been keeping Democrats fixated on Trump’s post-election shenanigans with garment-rending urgency, now going so far as to call for yet another oxygen-sucking impeachment as he’s on his way out the door while millions of Americans are struggling just to meet their basic needs.

You wouldn’t know it from the dominant chatter, but Trump’s impotent attempts to reverse the election results don’t rank anywhere remotely near the top ten worst things this president has done while in office, which include vetoing attempts to end the world’s worst mass atrocity in Yemen, escalating world-threatening cold wars with both Russia and China, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, pushing Iran to the brink of war by assassinating its top military commander, expanding the “war on terror” and rolling back airstrike regulations designed to protect civilians.

US political discourse hasn’t reflected the fact that Trump’s foreign policy has been far more atrocious than anything he’s done domestically–and certainly anything he’s done since November–because news media coverage does not reflect this fact. News media coverage does not reflect this fact because western news media regard imperialism and mass military slaughter as normal US presidential stuff, and do not regard brown-skinned foreigners as human.

I point this out because it’s good to note, as Trump leaves office, that he spent his entire administration advancing murderous imperialist agendas which spilled very real blood from very real human beings while mainstream America barely even noticed. Their attention was drawn instead to endless narrative theater which had no impact whatsoever on the concrete actions taken by the US government’s executive branch. Their gaze was kept fixated on meaningless political drama while the war machine marched on unseen.

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

 

The US election: perspectives from an ear of grain

The US election: perspectives from an ear of grain

With an important election looming in the USA, let’s talk for a change about politics. But since this is primarily a farming blog, I thought I’d approach it obliquely from the agricultural angle of cereal breeding. It’s obvious when you think about it…

Actually, before we even get to the cereal breeding, we need to take a step back and talk about systems of classification. Because to make any sense of things, people inevitably need to divide up their perceptions of the world, grouping like things together. But our taxonomies can rarely if ever capture the complexity of existence perfectly. Anomalous cases, fuzzy boundaries and alternative reckonings abound.

One way these imperfections manifest is in the distinction between ‘lumpers’ and ‘splitters’. Take two palaeontologists arguing over some fragments of fossil bone. Professor Lumper thinks the small differences between like bones aren’t enough to justify classifying them as belonging to different species, whereas Professor Splitter takes the opposite view. Their argument is potentially endless and irresolvable – unless there’s some agreed objective standard against which to judge their claims. In the case of evolutionary biology, that standard arguably exists in the possibility of tracing descent from a common ancestor, though that’s not going to help the professors resolve this particular dispute.

The advantage of lumping is that it enables us to see big picture stuff, the broader patterning in the world. But push it too far and it becomes overly simplistic, and ultimately vacuous – and the grounds for the lumping can usually be questioned. The advantage of splitting is that you can grasp the fine-grained detail of things. But push it too far and you get lost in pettifogging specifics that prevent an appreciation of deeper underlying patterns.

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

The Corruptocracy

The Corruptocracy

Most political philosophy is just an elaborate justification for theft and fraud.

What’s called the silent majority is really the ignored majority, who for the most part are happy being ignored. Their lives revolve their families, jobs, friends, and community, not the media, publicity, polls, or politics. They’re sick of elections well before they’ve seen their hundredth campaign ad, received their hundredth mailer, or ignored their hundredth telephone call. They know that politicians are phony and corrupt and make jokes about them, but hope that their rulers don’t screw things up too badly, cross their fingers, and vote for the perceived lesser of two evils.

There’s a shortage of blue-ribbon pedigrees, Ivy League degrees, and gold-plated resumés among the ignored majority, but a surfeit of hard-knocks wisdom and common sense. Benjamin Franklin said, “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.” Everybody does foolish things, but by and large, the ignored majority learns from the dear school and puts its lessons to good use.

The gilded class denigrates those outside it: Hillary Clinton deploring the “deplorables,” Barack Obama saying working-class voters, “cling to guns or religion,” and Obama telling entrepreneurs, “you didn’t build that.” Yet, it consistently, almost invariably, demonstrates a complete lack of the common-sense street smarts found in abundance among those it disparages.

The quotes’ condescending arrogance rankles, but at a deeper level illustrate the real division in American politics—between the productive class and those it supports. At the intellectual level it’s the irreconcilable difference between those who believe that value can and should be conferred by the government, and those who know it must be created and produced. It’s believing or not believing that something can be had for nothing.

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

Five ways to ensure that models serve society: a manifesto

Five ways to ensure that models serve society: a manifesto

Pandemic politics highlight how predictions need to be transparent and humble to invite insight, not blame.
Cartoon of scientists and policymakers inspecting the inside of a black box that is outputting a policy document

Illustration by David Parkins

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates perfectly how the operation of science changes when questions of urgency, stakes, values and uncertainty collide — in the ‘post-normal’ regime.

Well before the coronavirus pandemic, statisticians were debating how to prevent malpractice such as p-hacking, particularly when it could influence policy1. Now, computer modelling is in the limelight, with politicians presenting their policies as dictated by ‘science’2. Yet there is no substantial aspect of this pandemic for which any researcher can currently provide precise, reliable numbers. Known unknowns include the prevalence and fatality and reproduction rates of the virus in populations. There are few estimates of the number of asymptomatic infections, and they are highly variable. We know even less about the seasonality of infections and how immunity works, not to mention the impact of social-distancing interventions in diverse, complex societies.

Mathematical models produce highly uncertain numbers that predict future infections, hospitalizations and deaths under various scenarios. Rather than using models to inform their understanding, political rivals often brandish them to support predetermined agendas. To make sure predictions do not become adjuncts to a political cause, modellers, decision makers and citizens need to establish new social norms. Modellers must not be permitted to project more certainty than their models deserve; and politicians must not be allowed to offload accountability to models of their choosing2,3.

This is important because, when used appropriately, models serve society extremely well: perhaps the best known are those used in weather forecasting. These models have been honed by testing millions of forecasts against reality.

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

Civil War Two

America has a new manufactured crisis, ElectionGate, as if all the other troubles piling up like tropical depressions marching across the September seas were not enough.

America needs a constitutional crisis like a hole in the head, and that’s exactly what’s being engineered for the holiday season by the clever folks in the Democratic Party’s Lawfare auxiliary.

Here’s how it works: the complicit newspapers and cable news channels publish polls showing Joe Biden leading in several swing states, even if it’s not true. Facebook and Twitter amplify expectations of a Biden victory. This sets the stage for a furor when it turns out that he loses on election night.

On cue, Antifa commences to riot all around the country. Meanwhile, a mighty harvest of mail-in votes pours into election districts utterly unequipped to validate them.

Lawfare cadres agitate in the contested states’ legislatures to send rogue elector slates to the electoral college. The dispute ends up in congress, which awaits a seating of newly-elected representatives on January 4, hopefully for Lawfare, mostly Democrats. Whoops…!

Turns out, the Dems lost their majority there too. Fighting in the streets ramps up and overwhelms hamstrung police forces in Democratic-run cities. January 20 — Inauguration Day — rolls around, and the Dems ask the military to drag Trump out of the White House “with great dispatch!” as Mr. Biden himself put it so nicely back in the summer.

The U.S. military breaks into two factions. Voilà: Civil War Two.

You didn’t read that here first, of course. It’s been all over the web for weeks, since the Democratic Party-sponsored Transition Integrity Project (cough cough) ran their summer “war game,” intending to demonstrate that any Trump election victory would be evidence of treason and require correction by any means necessary, including sedition, which they’d already tried a few times in an organized way since 2016 (and botched).

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

Canadian Protesters Cheer Trump Against Justin Trudeau

 

Poltics & the Decline & Fall of America

300 people. There have been allegations that Biden’s speech was prerecorded and masterfully edited. The Democrats insist it was live. There were some journalists who claim to have been present. ABC’s Johnny Verhovek, BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer, the Washington Post’s Annie Linskey, the New York Times’ Katie Glueck, the Wall Street Journal’s Ken Thomas, the Daily Beast’s Hanna Trudo, CNN’s Sarah Mucha, the Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere and CBS’s Bo Erickson. Of course, they did not invite anyone who was not promoting the Democrats against Trump so claiming these journalists are proof is by no means trustworthy.

What is far worse is the sheer hatred that is being unleashed and Pelosi is maintaining this same posture that anyone who voted for Trump is unworthy of their consideration. Biden claims he will bring the country together. They are fanning the very flames that are tearing it apart. But this is what Socrates has been forecasting. The United States is self-destructing and this is typically resolved only in a civil war.

Nancy Pelosi claims that Trump is not worth of debates which she is saying 50% of the country does not have any rights whatsoever. She accuses Trump of having no respect for the Democratic process, yet then refuses to allow debates. This election is anything but normal, and to refuse to have debates only increases the concerns that Biden is not competent to even debate. Hillary is advising Biden if he loses, do not concede, and turn this into sheer chaos.

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

A Lesser Evil: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

A Lesser Evil: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

I really don’t mean to be a pest about this but we are still trapped on a planet where people without functioning empathy centers are waving literal armageddon weapons around in the name of a made-up concept called unipolarism. We should probably put a stop to that.

~

If you see two separate mainstream political parties, it looks like one is the lesser evil. If you see two oligarchic sock puppets held by the same oligarchy, it looks like they’re both being used to bully you into consenting to an entire system which isn’t designed to serve you.

If you see the latter, what is the correct response? What is the correct response to someone saying you must beg them to punch you with their left hand or they’ll punch you a bit harder with their right? Is it to beg for the left fist? Or is it to knock your abuser the fuck out?

When the oligarchy tells you “Vote for my left party or my right party will take away your civil rights”, the correct response is not bowing to its demands, nor voting right-wing out of spite, nor even merely voting third party. The only correct response is to tear down the oligarchy.

~

Democrats: Here’s a half-dead piece of beltway flotsam held together by nothing but Aricept and crazy glue who’s been pushing for wars, austerity and the erosion of civil liberties since before most of you were born.

Progressives: I bet we can move him to the left.

~

Q: What is the Republican Party?

A: An organization which assures Americans of conservative sensibilities that the status quo is working fine.

Q: What is the Democratic Party?

A: An organization which assures Americans of liberal sensibilities that the status quo is working fine.

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

Whatever Happened to the Green New Deal?

Whatever Happened to the Green New Deal?

The Green New Deal was the signature issue of the Green Party in the 2010s. Howie Hawkins was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010 running for New York governor. The Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2012 and 2016, Jill Stein, made “A Green New Deal for America” the theme of her two campaigns.

The ecosocialist Green New Deal proposed by the Green Party’s 2020 presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins, is a 10-year, $27.5 trillion a program to achieve zero-to-negation carbon emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030. It also includes an additional $1.4 trillion a year for an Economic Bill of Rights to a guaranteed job, a guaranteed income above poverty, affordable housing, Medicare for All, lifelong tuition-free public education, and a secure retirement by doubling Social Security benefits.

This ecosocialist approach features extensive public ownership and planning, particularly in the energy, transportation, and manufacturing sectors, in order to achieve its goals in a decade. To support the conversion of industrialized, pesticide-dependent corporate agriculture to organic farms owned by working farmers that rebuild carbon-capturing living soils, the ecosocialist Green New Deal provides income guarantees, parity pricing and supply management for all agricultural products in order to ensure that working farmers and farmworkers have decent incomes and economic security.

The ecosocialist approach recognizes that capitalism’s destruction of the climate and exploitation of people are part of the same process. It recognizes that in order to harmonize society with nature we must harmonize human with human by ending economic exploitation and all forms of oppression. It calls for an ecosocialist economic democracy that meets the basic needs of all within ecological limits.

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

Localism in the 2020s (Part 3) – Scaling Politics

Localism in the 2020s (Part 3) – Scaling Politics

Today’s post will outline a framework through which I’ve come to view politics, as well as life in general. It will identify and examine various units of sovereignty as they exist in the contemporary U.S., since that’s the political system I’m most familiar with. Nevertheless, the overall framework should prove useful to people living all over the world.

Let’s start from the beginning. The most basic and meaningful unit of sovereignty is the individual, followed by the family, the municipality/county, the state (California, New York, Texas, etc) and finally the federal government (Washington D.C.). It’s my view that within a healthy society the scope of governance should decline as you add more and more individuals to the mix. It’s at the most basic unit of sovereignty (the individual), where authority over most of life’s decisions should reside. This runs the gamut from the really big decisions, such as what sort of work to do, who to marry, what religion (if any) to believe in; to the completely mundane, such as what to eat for breakfast.

As a person starts to add more members to their daily life in the form of a family (spouse and children), a wide range of complexities are added to the equation which call for a more expansive approach to individual agency. You suddenly find yourself sharing an intimate existence with people who are not you, and who’ll invariably have conflicting views on a wide variety of subjects, both significant and trivial. Compromise becomes necessary in the pursuit of a harmonious coexistence amongst spouses, as well as within the larger family unit, and you start to relinquish a certain degree of individual sovereignty.

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

Serious Advice

SERIOUS ADVICE

Given all this, what do MPs do all day? Media manipulation, not operational planning on priorities.

“Unsurprisingly, most senior MPs in all three parties are locked into a game in which they spend most of their time on a) launching gimmicks, and b) coping with crises. These two forms of activity are closely related. The only widely understood model of activity in Westminster (and one which fits well psychologically with the desire for publicity) is a string of gimmicks aimed to manipulate the media (given the label ‘strategy’ to make it sound impressive) which are announced between, and in response to, media crises, some of which are trivial and some of which reflect structural problems. Many, drawing perhaps only on the bluffing skills rewarded by PPE, have no idea what else to do.

“Powerful people rush from meetings about the latest gimmick they are to announce, to meetings about the latest cockup for which they need to try to dodge the blame (possibly caused directly by a previously announced gimmick), to the TV studio, to dinner parties, where they gossip about either a) the daily crisis, or b) vague speculations about the distant future (and give overconfident predictions that are usually wrong but which they later reimagined to have been right – ‘as I’ve always said…’). Ministers’ time is dominated by unfocused panic about the media environment – not focused urgency about the most important problems.

“These gimmicks have obvious costs in the form of money wasted and the ostensible goal unfulfilled. They also have indirect costs that are often higher. 1) They divert the bandwidth of senior people from serious issues. (For example, dealing with No10 gimmicks diverted DfE ministers, spads, and officials from focusing on serious issues such as child protection.) 2) Once announced, they can easily trigger a set of further stupid decisions as the system attempts to evade the humiliation of the gimmick failing. 

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

Politics and Algorithms

Politics and Algorithms

Edward Hopper Sailing  1911

It’s a development that has long been evident in continental Europe, and that has now arrived on the shores of the US and UK. It is the somewhat slow but very certain dissolution of long-existing political parties, organizations and groups. That’s what I was seeing during the Robert Mueller clown horror show on Wednesday.

Mueller was not just the Democratic Party’s last hope, he was their identity. He was the anti-Trump. Well, he no longer is, he is not fit to play that role anymore. And there is nobody to take it over who is not going to be highly contested by at least some parts of the party. In other words: it’s falling apart.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s a natural process, parties change as conditions do and if they don’t do it fast enough they disappear. Look at the candidates the Dems have. Can anyone imagine the party, post-Mueller, uniting behind Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris? And then for one of them to beat Donald Trump in 2020?

I was just watching a little clip from Sean Hannity, doing what Trump did last week, which is going after the Squad. Who he said are anti-Israel socialists and, most importantly, the de facto leaders of the party, not Nancy Pelosi. That is a follow-up consequence of Mueller’s tragic defeat, the right can now go on the chase. The Squad is the face of the Dems because Trump and Hannity have made them that.

The upcoming Horowitz and Durham reports on their respective probes into “meddling into the meddling” will target many people in the Democratic Party, US intelligence services, and the media. In that order. Can the Dems survive such a thing? It’s hard to see.

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

Politics, Democracy and Environmental Rebellion

Politics, Democracy and Environmental Rebellion

Pulp Mill, Longview, Washington. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

A question worth asking is: what conceivable national electoral outcome would resolve the political dysfunction that currently prevents much-needed programs such as solving climate change and mass extinction, national health care, and an end to militarism from being enacted? While setting aside for a moment the national / international divide that facilitated post-War liberalism, class struggle has reemerged to redraw political alignments that lack formal institutions from ‘below’ to move them forward. Would a Democratic sweep in 2020 really change this political landscape?

Focus on elected officials rather than the systemic levers of class control support the carefully crafted posture of great difference between the governing Parties. Political marketing posits the locus of power within personal traits that suborn the class relations the candidates support to a passive role. In the realm of diversions, the passion of anti-Trumpism has been temperedsomewhat since the 2018 mid-term elections by actual Democrats regaining control of the House. As enthusiastically despised as Mr. Trump is, all it takes is a gander at the ‘opposition’ to illuminate the political role that manufactured constraints play.

The near-term political success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is likely attributable to the distance she has kept from the much-despised political establishment. She said so herself. To paraphrase, her constituents are the people who elected her, not her colleagues in congress. This return to politics, to taking one’s case to the people, 1) is the only way forward for left politics and 2) illustrates how institutional constraints are political in the sense that they preclude only those acts and policies that are inconvenient to official interests. Radical policies that benefit the rich are normalized as necessary— e.g. the U.S. war against Iraq and the Wall Street bailouts.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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