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"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Entries in Propaganda (98)

Tuesday
Feb072017

Really Dumb Superbowl Ads

Last time I checked the purpose of a Superbowl ad was to increase sales for your business. A Superbowl Ad costs millions, so lets do an ad that hurts our business said no one ever. But yet that is exactly what two ads did. 

The first begins with a stereotypical beer customer insulting the founder of Budweiser as he enters America. Of course, most of those who Budweiser is parodying do not oppose immigration, they oppose illegal immigration. There is a certain subset that those oppose all immigration, but it is small, 10% maybe. But even at 10%, why would Budweiser want to alienate that many potential beer drinkers? Not also the founder of Budweiser nodding at a black man, no stereotype was left unaired. 

Here is the ad: 

(Budweiser is doubling down and is buying extensive YouTube presence for these ads.) 

The second ad is for 84 Lumber. It is even worse as it highlights illegal immigration. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when this ad was pitched. It is like 84 Lumber does not actually know who its customers are. A big problem in the contractor and subcontractor area is the hiring of illegal aliens. If you are a contractor, and a potential customer of 84 Lumber, you may have just been underbid by a competitor who uses illegal labor. Your supplier favoring these illegal acts might influence which supplier you chose. Notice also the stereotype of women and children as illegals. 

I wonder how the "let's insult half of our customers" ploy is going to work for them? 

Friday
Jan272017

How Propaganda Works

The post as it appeared in Facebook
The original photo.
Besides filling out the double chin to massive proportions, the skin tone was changed to a pasty whitish pink along with a contrast adjustment to make the skin look reptilian. This is not going to stop.

 

Thanks to the No Agenda Podcast for pointing this out. As I have said many times, never forget that you are being played. 

Thursday
Jan262017

A CIA Without Columns

This speech apparently made the departing head of the CIA mad as Trump brought his own people with him to make sure the president had a friendly crowd. There are two ways of looking at this. The first is that at least Trump has the right enemies. The other is that this will harm the effectiveness of Trump as his government will war against itself. Here is an excerpt from his speech. 

Just so there is no question that Trump was on hostile territory, let me remind you how InfoGalactic defines 5th column. 

fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group—such as a nation or a besieged city—from within, usually in favor of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. This term is also extended to organized actions by military personnel. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.

A CIA without a fifth column—now that would be an accomplishment. 

Monday
Jan232017

Fascism?

People think that by protesting they are fighting Fascism. But do they even know what fascism is? Here is my definition: 

Fascism is where the people own the means of production but the government controls the means of production. 

(If you are interested in this topic, be sure to read my blog post that this definition is taken from.) 

When I asked Google to define it here is what I got:

an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.


This definition does not actually work as Hitler and Mussolini were both men of the left.  

How did Mussolini define it? 

1."Everything in the state". The Government is supreme and the country is all-encompasing, and all within it must conform to the ruling body, often a dictator. 

2."Nothing outside the state". The country must grow and the implied goal of any fascist nation is to rule the world, and have every human submit to the government. 

3."Nothing against the state". Any type of questioning the government is not to be tolerated. If you do not see things our way, you are wrong. If you do not agree with the government, you cannot be allowed to live and taint the minds of the rest of the good citizens. 

You can also go here and read Mussolini's own words. Or you can look at the various definitions compiled at Wikipedia.  

Here is an interesting one from John T. Flynn. 

In 1944, American right-winger John T. Flynn wrote a polemical work, As we go marching,[12] aimed against socialist and social democratic tendencies that he saw beginning to subvert capitalism. He characterizes fascism based on an analysis of Mussolini's Italy: 

  1. Anti-capitalist, but with capitalist features;
  2. Economic demand management...
  3. ...through budget deficits
  4. Direct economic planning, reconciled with partial economic autonomy through corporatism;
  5. Militarism and imperialism;
  6. Suspension of rule of law

 How about George Orwell, author of 1984?

Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes... It is a planned system geared to a definite purpose, world-conquest, and not allowing any private interest, either of capitalist or worker, to stand in its way.

!930's FascismSo by this definition I would say that to a large degree each US Administration since Roosevelt has been Fascist to some degree. (Note I did not say which Roosevelt!) 

I cannot help but think that the US is Fascist when I think about recent US History. The CIA and its interference in democratically elected leaders the US did not like: Allende in Chile, Mosaddeq in Iran, Yanukovych in Ukraine, and various interventions and assassinations too numerous to mention or link to in the Caribbean and Central America. I won't even mention the Tuesday meetings where Obama decided who he was going to murder this week, or wait I did mention it, sorry.  

 

When I hear the Chant USA, USA, I can't help but think about Fascist America:

To see many, many example of this, type in USA Chant into YouTube. Yes, a lot of these videos are associated with Trump.  

So, no, these protestors are not protesting Fascism. They are protesting that their version of Fascism lost in the last election, and that someone else's version won. How many people understand that their government is a beast? Not many. 

Friday
Jan202017

Pogo Revisited: We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us

In an interesting article about modern and earlier responses to Fascism, John Pilger said this

According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day.  He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.

Every Tuesday — reported the New York Times — he personally selected those who would be murdered by mostly hellfire missiles fired from drones. Weddings, funerals, shepherds were attacked, along with those attempting to collect the body parts festooning the “terrorist target”. A leading Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, estimated, approvingly, that Obama’s drones killed 4,700 people. “Sometimes you hit innocent people and I hate that,” he said, "but we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al Qaeda.”

Like the fascism of the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent media whose description now fits that of the Nuremberg prosecutor: “Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically … In the propaganda system … it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.

Pilger's point is that Obama, and Clinton too, are not liberals. I suppose it depends on what your definition of is is. 

This argument also risks committing the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.  

The use of the term was advanced by British philosopher Antony Flew:

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again". Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing". The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, " No true Scotsman would do such a thing".[2]

When the statement "all A are B" is qualified like this to exclude those A which are not B, this is a form of begging the question; the conclusion is assumed by the definition of "true A".

So I would disagree with my friends who think Obama is a conservative. It is instead that liberals have adopted the conservative view of Foreign Policy, and the conservatives have adopted the liberal view of Foreign Policy—at least Trump has. So it is that conservatives who have not made the switch will say that Trump is not a "true" conservative, and liberals who have not switched either will say that Obama is not a "true" liberal. This is actually a return to the traditional views of liberals and conservatives from the 30's. 

So we live in a weird world where Obama is more "conservative" than Trump. Or as Weird Al said in song, "Everything You Know Is Wrong."