Debbie Lusignan glaubt an Fake Terror, ausgeführt als Übung mit Crisis Actors

Debbie Lusignan auch bekannt als sane progressive auf ihrem youtube Kanal glaubt aus den Videos und Fotos und Info herauszusehen, dass es sich um einen gestellten Terrorangriff handelt.

Bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen war Debbie Bernie Sanders Anhängerin und alle ihre Hinweise auf Wahlbetrug waren gut fundiert. Insofern würde ich sie nicht in dieselbe Ecke stellen wie einen Alex Jones von Info Wars. Allerdings kann man leicht Täuschungen aufsitzen, auch wenn man es gut meint.

Daher:alle Quellen und die Interpretation von Debbie mit gesunder Skepsis anschauen.

 

https://www.bitchute.com/video/XAlfWv5uoWmy/

 

 

Here is my two hour summary of my findings of the Las Vegas alleged mass shooting incident. As people are led by the nose by a media that has everyone analyzing Paddock, Campos, and multiple shooters, we are diverted from the ACTUAL story. This is a fake. The shooting is a fake. Stop asking who was the shooter/s and LOOK at what is RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES. The question is not who was the shooter, the question is WHAT PRODUCTION COMPANY THEY USED and how they simulated the event and who was involved. Don’t believe me? Watch this video. You will. Go and LOOK for yourself. You will NOT see what they are TELLING you are seeing. LINKS BELOW:
Footage of Pick Up Rescues.
Chicago Tribune Talks About Medics/Cops/Firefighters Storming Scene While Bullets Still Fell:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-las-vegas-shooting-first-responders-20171005-story.html
Las Vegas Review Journal:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtKGnh2-fEM&feature=youtu.be&t=1m1s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A7hlIhHzw4
CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/videos/us/2017/10/02/aftermath-of-las-vegas-shooting-von-new-day.cnn
Taylor Winston: Conflicting stories of how he got truck and did THREE trips to rescue victim:
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/10/03/hero-marine-steals-truck-drives-vegas-shooting-victims-to-hospital.html
https://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/former-marine-country-rebel-product-engineer-saves-dozens-during-deadly-vegas-shooting
Employer page links to Taylor’s fb
Christina Kitcat:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4952136/Boyfriend-saved-girlfriend-s-life-Vegas-massacre.html
Bonus. Her brother Michael Lane (her FULL name Christina Lane Kitcat who live in LA ) tells of how she is off all machines and sitting up fine after open heart surgery:
http://www.dailynews.com/2017/10/05/hollywood-woman-undergoes-2nd-surgery-after-las-vegas-mass-shooting/
Christina’s GoFund Me Page run by ‚life long friend‘ Casey Winchell Napolitano who’s fb friends list is a whos who of production company/film/actor/actresses – photos of Casey hospital photos HERE:
https://www.gofundme.com/support-calabasas-vegas-victim
Tina Frost, rescued by anonymous man in pickup truck and wheeled in by’Shane‘ another miracle. Not only will she live (although she allegedly lost eye), latest report is they are going to get ‚their old tina back‘
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/05/us/mother-thanks-man-for-saving-daughters-vegas-shooting-cnntv/index.html
Another Miracle Recovery.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/10/15/las-vegas-shooting-victim-struck-in-the-head-wakes-from-coma-and-walks/?utm_term=.5e1cde078a77
Mike the Crack Cronk:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEIDs2SxKGE&t=96s
Changes story w Lester Holt:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hEtD4XfbHI
Multiple takes, they realized he didn’t have any blood so he changed his shirt with exact same shirt:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO5EnT60g3E&t=50s
Another take without shirt:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3bj3PH7PGg
SHOOTING FOOTAGE:
Crowd leaving and even RUNNING before shots fired, they were signaled by pops or ‚they don’t know‘ song que:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCrNsC0mTBg
Various vantages of people on scene showing the shooting occurring, note some videos are spliced with fake footage (that is analyzed in video as well)
Front Stage Footage (Singer runs off stage, no crowd warning, then SPOTLIGHT turned on audience):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miznwQu3WyE
More crowd shots:
MONTAGE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNgTh6Kjo3w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdB8YfWhOSQ
I don’t see anyone actually injured footage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYrmQdoLhKw&t=146s
Live Leak Links:
Staged Propaganda Video of Shooting Victims Analyzed in Video:
https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4ff_1507067186
Entire SERIES of these, great to get early photos since scrubbed from web and leads to who they actually are, see full profile of user:
https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0f5_1508193075
Las Vegas Review Journal Leads the Coverage to the rest of MSM, owned by Adelson:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/how-a-las-vegas-newspaper-quickly-mobilized-to-cover-a-tragedy/2017/10/02/c37149c0-a794-11e7-850e-2bdd1236be5d_story.html?utm_term=.11aaaf678111
Qui Bono – Truthstream:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNqxUuyHFzc&t=498s
Follow the Money Vegas:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=74&v=tVDVsw6xEpc

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Las Vegas Shooter Stephen Paddock, Eine Zusammenfassung

Wie der Autor richtig notiert, sind viele Punkte des Anschlags nicht geklärt und es spricht einiges für eine Mittäterschaft.

Eigene Überlegungen: Warum sind die Vorhänge vor beiden kaputten Scheiben zugezogen? Sie würden den Schützen beim Schiessen eindeutig hindern und auf Videos ist sichtbar, wie sie im Wind hinaus und ins Zimmer hinein wehen. Hätte Paddock den Vorhang nur leicht zur Seite geschoben, dann hätte der lose Teil wie eine Fahne vor seine Waffe wehen können.

Die Anzahl der Schüsse muss sehr hoch sein. Lässt sich genau errechnen, wieviele Patroen er verschossen hat in den 10 Min? Bei über 500 Verletzten und 59 Toten und der Annahme, dass die meisten durch Kugeln verletzt wurden, müssten gegen 600 Kugeln direkt oder als Abpraller Personen getroffen haben. Dass eine Kugel mehrere Leute gleichzeitig verletzt, ist nicht ausgeschlossen, aber eher unwahrscheinlich. Nachweislich haben Personen mehrere Schusswunden, also müssen sie mehrere Kugeln getroffen haben, was wiederum mehr Kugeln insgesamt erforderlich macht, um diese grosse Anzahl an Verletzten und Toten zu erreichen.

Da auf den Videos nachweislich Pausen für das Nachladen? eruierbar sind, die bis zu 30-50 Sekunden ausmachen. Bei Wechsel ist etwa mit 8 Sekunden zu rechnen, also etwa doppeltmso lange wie das Feuern des Magazins. Macht bei 10 Min Schiesserei ungefähr 3,5 Minuten Dauerfeuer.

Mit Bump Stock kann man etwa 8 Kugeln pro Sekunde abfeuern. Andere Quelle sagt bis 14 Kugeln pro Sekunde. Durchschnitt sind 30er Magazine, also in 4 Sekunden leer. und dann muss das Magazin gewechselt werden. Es gibt grössere Magazine mit 50 und 100 Kugeln.

Rechnung: 8x60x3.5 = 1650 Kugeln in 3.5 Minuten Dauerfeuer

Allerdings ging eine AR 15 bei einem Test nach 800 Schuss kaputt. Es müssten daher sicherlich 3 AR 15 nebeneinander benutzt worden sein.

Und es bedeutet, dass mehr als jede 3 Kugel getroffen haben muss in meiner Annahme.

 

Andere Zählung anhand von etwa 5:30 Minuten Video einer Taxifahrerin. Gezählt: 581 Schuss., Wenn wir diese Zeit verdoppeln ergeben sich etwa 1200 Schuss. Auffällig. Kadenz der Schüsse ist unregelmässig und nicht ganz 11 Schuss pro Sekunde.

 

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

I set aside some time for more details of the Vegas shooting to emerge before writing this article. A few important data points have been released, but I have to say that this remains one of the most confusing terror incidents in decades.

The tactical and strategic thought applied in this attack denotes a sophisticated and experienced shooter, yet, we are told by Stephen Paddock’s family and girlfriend that there was no indication that he had such knowledge or experience. There were some advanced tactical decisions involved in every aspect of the staging of the event, yet, there were also a few glaring mistakes that do not fit. Beyond this, there is evidence that Paddock (the alleged shooter) did not act alone, yet, the official mainstream narrative continues to tell us that he was a lone wolf.

Now, every terror event these days produces an endless supply of alternative theories, some practical and some ridiculous. I will be keeping my theories to a minimum here, because I don’t think they serve much purpose in this instance beyond comfort for those that desperately want explanations. What I will be doing is presenting some questions and pointing out inconsistencies. My goal is merely to show that there is evidence which indicates far more complexity to the Vegas shooting than the mainstream media and federal officials are willing to discuss.

First, lets look at how the attack was staged versus what we are told about the background of Stephen Paddock.

Mass Shooter Psychological Profile

Psychological disposition is the root of tactical behavior.  It is important to note that mass shootings are an extremely rare occurrence despite the propaganda often poured onto the pages of the mainstream media. Psychological profiling of the people behind these crimes is difficult because the number of candidates is very small. There are, however, some common themes.

For example — many mass shooters are motivated by revenge or envy. Shooters often exhibit signs of sociopathy, a self-centered nature and a lack of compassion along with past instances of abuse and violence towards other people and animals. There is also usually a previous history of mental illness. In most cases there is a „triggering event“ which leads to a psychological break and a reaction to violence.

According to the personal accounts from the people that knew Paddock, including his girlfriend, none of these attributes seems to fit. Marilou Danley described him as a „kind and caring man,“ stating that he had never taken any action which would have led her to believe he was capable of such violence. The only factor that stands as evidence of a potential psychological break is the fact that Paddock was prescribed the anti-anxiety drug diazepam months prior, which has been known to cause aggression when taken in larger doses.

Did Paddock take this drug because of unrelated anxiety and did it trigger his shooting spree? Or, was his anxiety caused by the fact that he was already planning a shooting spree and the drug was meant to „take the edge off“ so he could more easily follow through with the attack?

Paddock was prescribed the drug once in 2016 and on June 21st of this year.  I have seen no evidence that he was using the medication in the days before the attack.  The meticulous planning that went into this attack, as well as possible evidence that Paddock was renting rooms adjacent to major musical events for some time, shows that this was not initiated by a psychological break. Rather, there was a considerable level of conscious critical thought and foresight.

There is also no available evidence of domestic instability or financial troubles. Paddock was a multi-millionaire with a successful real estate investment portfolio. He was a former postal worker and tax auditor, as well as an employee for defense contractor Lockheed Martin (I have not seen any statements by Lockheed on what exactly he did for them). It should be noted that Paddock, at age 64, was one of the oldest mass shooters in recent history.

Paddock’s father, a bank robber on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, was not present for the most of the early lives of the children according to his brother, Eric Paddock, which undermines the notion of poor environmental influences.

Eric Paddock claims Stephen also had no strong ideological or religious leanings and simply „didn’t care“ about such matters. Meaning, no apparent ties to extremist views. He had no social media profiles and police claim they have found nothing in his home computers or phones to suggest a philosophical or political motive. So far I have not seen a single concrete and verified piece of evidence proving Paddock believed in anything other than making money, gambling and traveling the world for fun.

I personally find this extremely hard to believe. Stephen Paddock, for all intents and purposes, was positively the perfect „Gray Man,“ a ghost that blended completely into the background, so much so that his own family and girlfriend had no idea that he was amassing the weapons and training needed to pull off the Vegas attack.

The Tactical Know-How Of A Nobody

This is the area which brings up the most questions for me in terms of the Vegas incident. As an avid tactical shooter and long distance shooter, I immediately recognized some strange factors. For instance, the choice of his perch, two adjacent rooms on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, was rather effective for a number of reasons.

If you have the chance to study counter-sniping methodologies or talk with veterans involved in counter-sniping in urban areas, you will learn that the most successful snipers tend to choose mid-ground perches to take shots from. Meaning, they never choose the highest points nor the lowest points, and never shoot from the closest points or the furthest points. Well trained snipers can and do sometimes shoot from 1,000 yards or more, but they prefer to shoot from the „sweet spot“ around 300-400 yards away at an elevated point from an expedient hide in the middle of a building or structure.

They do this because when people (including trained combat soldiers) are shot at, their eyes naturally tend to scan for the highest points in the background and the closest points in the foreground first. Choosing mid-ground positions makes snipers more difficult to pick out quickly and also harder for the average person to shoot back at.

I would note that average, untrained mass shooters are more likely to enter a crowd and start shooting at point blank range in order to ensure hits on targets. Paddock chose the position of a trained shooter, which you can see a photo of in this article by The New Yorker. It was NOT the best possible position, but a very good one.

Paddock’s choice to fire from the position of a large occupied hotel gave a layer of cover to his attack; anyone attempting to suppress him with their own fire would risk hitting innocent people within the building.  Only a person with an understanding of counter-sniping and a scoped rifle would have the ability to stop the attack from outside.  Nevada is a very concealed carry friendly state and attacking a crowd at close range on the ground would be a high risk scenario.  Firing from the Mandalay was the shooter’s most likely chance of a high body count without meeting opposition, as long as he had the proper training.

The first room Paddock used in the Mandalay is in the corner of the 32nd floor with a view of the concert area and the north. It has a diagonal range of around 400 yards and a linear range of around 240 yards. When firing from an elevated position snipers range targets and bullet drop according to the shorter linear range or „true ballistic distance“ (base of the ground to the target) rather than the direct range from their perch to the target. This is because gravity only affects the bullet over the true ballistic distance and elevation in a scope must be adjusted to that distance. It is not as easy as it seems to hit targets from an elevated position, even with an „automatic“ weapon.

It has been recently stated by Las Vegas police that the „note“ found near Paddock’s body was scribbled with calculations for bullet drop from his position. These calculations can be done with newer laser rangefinders, but Stephen apparently chose to do them on paper. Las Vegas Detective Casey Clarkson was on the grounds of the concert during the attack, and recounted „I’m like, how is he so accurate“ (in reference to Paddock) in an interview with 60 Minutes. Yet another piece of evidence showing that Paddock (or someone else) had extensive shooter training.

The two adjacent rooms at the Mandalay offered extensive coverage of possible approaches for first responders. The first room gave the shooter good coverage of the concert and the north approach of Las Vegas Blvd. The second room gave the shooter a very wide angle of coverage to the south approach to the Mandalay as well as the main entrance of the hotel. More tactical know-how on display.

Finally, Paddock allegedly placed small surveillance cameras in the hall approaching his room. A valuable tool which a shooter could use to surprise law enforcement, maintaining a longer period of shooter effectiveness as well as possibly allowing for an escape. Las Vegas police are quoted as stating that it appeared as though Paddock had planned to evade capture. This fits in line with the rest of his tactical staging. His suicide does not.

Things That Don’t Add Up

Again, I am not going to enter into much discussion on theory, here. I am only going to cite some instances of evidence and narrative that, for me, do not make sense.  Let’s begin…

The motive: No apparent motive. Paddock led a life of near luxury, had a happy relationship with his girlfriend and gave no indication to anyone of any instability or ideological affiliation. He had no criminal record. He was also well beyond the average age range of people commonly involved in such crimes. He does not fit any of the characteristics of mass shooters.  Period.

The arsenal: Paddock put a substantial amount of thought and planning into the position of his perch as well as a potential escape. He had the knowledge and experience to calculate accurate shots from an elevated position at distance. But, for some reason the 64-year-old-man decided it was warranted to drag at least 23 guns and hundreds of pounds of ammunition in ten separate suitcases to his room at the Mandalay Bay. A person with the intelligence displayed in the planning of this event would know that most of these rifles were not needed in the slightest to achieve the effect desired. They are dead weight, and moving them into the Mandalay only presented unnecessary risk of discovery. Unless, of course, the original plan involved multiple shooters.

A strange year?: Family and acquaintances have mentioned Paddock’s propensity for „disappearing“ in the year previous to the Vegas attack. And, there is the fact that 33 of the 47 firearms Paddock owned were purchased in the last 12 months.

Security calls:Paddock called hotel security at least twice to complain about „loud music“ on the floor below him the day of the shooting.  Why would a mass shooter care, or take the risk of drawing too much attention to himself?

The windows: Why, after so much careful planning, did Paddock expose his position by smashing two separate windows in his adjacent hotel rooms? There are other ways of providing a shooter’s loophole with less exposure? Very odd.  Almost as if the decision to actually shoot was made suddenly, which does not fit the rest of the narrative or evidence.

„Unrelated“ room alarm leads security right to Paddock: The Las Vegas Sheriffs Department indicates that security was originally led directly to the floor that Paddock was shooting from by a „door alarm“ that was set off by someone three rooms down from him. Now, authorities have been forced to admit that this alarm and the confrontation between security and Paddock took place BEFORE he began his shooting spree.  This means that police should have been alerted to Paddock’s presence and exact location in advance of the attack.  Who set off this alarm which conveniently helped to give away Paddock’s position early, and why?

The surveillance cameras: Paddock had a head start on security, SWAT and anyone else that approached his rooms. He fired at hotel security through his door injuring employee Jesus Campos. He also had thousands of rounds of ammunition including .308 rounds which could easily be fired through several walls on the floor of his hotel room. Why did Paddock prepare for an escape, use his cameras to allow him to fire at hotel security through his door, equip rounds capable of annihilating any SWAT team that stacked up to breach his room, but decided to shoot himself instead before SWAT ever entered? Some people might argue that there is no logic to the mind of a „madman,“ but again, I’ve seen no evidence that Paddock was insane beyond the criminal act itself.  Also, the hotel had its own surveillance in the hall near Paddock’s rooms.  No one noticed the man placing cameras about the area?

Multiple shooters?:Las Vegas County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo is quoted as saying that it was only logical to assume given the evidence that Paddock „had some help at some point“ in the staging of the Vegas attack. To me, this is absolutely clear in the tactical planning.  Paddock does not appear to have the background or training to have chosen and staged the perch.

The report suggesting that a phone charger was found that did not belong to Paddock has since been refuted by police, as well as the report that his card key was used to access his room while Paddock was gone. Of course, hotel surveillance would prove this one way or the other and should be made available to the public.

Still, there are multiple accounts by witnesses that there may have been a second shooter, including the initial reports given by first responders on the scene, who were told a shooter was on the 29th floor as well as the 32nd floor.  All of these accounts have been dismissed as a result of „panic“ and the fog of war.

The mystery woman:A witness on site at the concert stated that a woman (and her apparent boyfriend) approached people near the stage 45 minutes before the attack, telling them that „they were all going to die.“ She was later escorted out of the venue by security. Who was this woman? Was she trying to menace the concertgoers or warn them? Or, was it all coincidence?

Conclusion

In my view, there is simply no way that a man with Stephen Paddock’s history and background committed the Vegas shooting alone.

There is no motive, no clear evidence of mental illness, no ideological markers and nothing to be gained. The tactical expertise displayed in most cases shows considerable training. Theories will abound.

It is possible that he was used. It is also possible that he was secretly radicalized and trained, as ISIS has continuously asserted since the attack. Or, perhaps he never pulled a single trigger and somehow ended up shot through the head in a room full of guns overlooking Las Vegas Blvd. and dozens of dead concertgoers.

The most disturbing aspect of this event and the mainstream narrative, though, is what it insinuates.

It insinuates that anyone no matter how seemingly normal could one day simply „snap“ and murder crowds of people with impunity.

It is the anti-Second Amendment narrative personified, because if „anyone“ is capable of such horror, and motive is nonexistent, then the mere existence of firearm access means that we are surrounded by millions of latent mass shooters.

That is to say, we are supposed to fear everyone around us at all times.

I will write about the solution to this problem in my next article. In the meantime, I suggest everyone ponder on the oddities of this event and continue to ask questions.

Sind die Renten sicher? Ökonomische Gedanken zur Rentenentwicklung

Riesige Schulden und Unterfinanzierung in den Kassen der öffentlichen Alterversorgung stehen einer grösser und älter werdenden Anzahl an Menschen gegenüber, die im Moment nicht bereit sind, länger zu arbeiten und eine kürzere Rentenphase zu haben.

=> Die Versprechen, welche die Rentenversicherung abegegeben haben, sind in der heutigen Form nicht einlösbar. Wir müssen in Zukunft mit einer sehr viel kleineren Rentenauszahlung rechnen, wenn nicht an den einzelnen Stellschrauben Höhe der Einzahlung, Alter, Bezugshöhe… geschraubt wird.

 

Authored by John Mauldin via MauldinEconomics.com,

I’ve written a lot about US public pension funds lately. Many of them are underfunded and will never be able to pay workers the promised benefits – at least without dumping a huge and unwelcome bill on taxpayers.

And since taxpayers are generally voters, it’s not at all clear they will pay that bill.

Readers outside the US might have felt safe reading those stories. There go those Americans again… However, if you live outside the US, your country may be more like ours than you think.

This week the spotlight will be on Europe.

The UK Is Headed to a Retirement Implosion

The UK now has a $4 trillion retirement savings shortfall, which is projected to rise 4% a year and reach $33 trillion by 2050.

This in a country whose total GDP is $3 trillion. That means the shortfall is already bigger than the entire economy, and even if inflation is modest, the situation is going to get worse.

Plus, these figures are based mostly on calculations made before the UK left the European Union. Brexit is a major economic shift that could certainly change the retirement outlook. Whether it would change it for better or worse, we don’t yet know.

A 2015 OECD study found workers in the developed world could expect governmental programs to replace on average 63% of their working-age incomes. Not so bad. But in the UK that figure is only 38%, the lowest in all OECD countries.

This means UK workers must either build larger personal savings or severely tighten their belts when they retire. Working past retirement age is another choice, but it could put younger workers out of the job market.

UK retirees have had a kind of safety valve: the ability to retire in EU countries with lower living costs. Depending how Brexit negotiations go, that option could disappear.

Turning next to the Green Isle, 80% of the Irish who have pensions don’t think they will have sufficient income in retirement, and 47% don’t even have pensions. I think you would find similar statistics throughout much of Europe.

A report this summer from the International Longevity Centre suggested that younger workers in the UK need to save 18% of their annual earnings in order to have an “adequate” retirement income.

But no such thing will happen, so the UK is heading toward a retirement implosion that could be at least as damaging as the US’s.

The Swiss Are No Different Despite the Prudence

Americans often have romanticized views of Switzerland. They think it’s the land of fiscal discipline, among other things. To some extent that’s true, but Switzerland has its share of problems too. The national pension plan there has been running deficits as the population grows older.

Earlier this month, Swiss voters rejected a pension reform plan that would have strengthened the system by raising women’s retirement age from 64 to 65 and raising taxes and required worker contributions.

From what I can see, these were fairly minor changes, but the plan still went down in flames as 52.7% of voters said no.

Voters around the globe generally want to have their cake and eat it, too. We demand generous benefits but don’t like the price tags that come with them. The Swiss, despite their fiscally prudent reputation, appear to be not so different from the rest of us.

This outcome in Switzerland captures the attitude of the entire developed world. Compromise is always difficult. Both politicians and voters ignore the long-term problems they know are coming and think no further ahead than the next election

Switzerland and the UK have mandatory retirement pre-funding with private management and modest public safety nets, as do Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, and Hungary.

Not that all of these countries don’t have problems, but even with their problems, these European nations are far better off than some others.

France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain Are in Deep Trouble

The European nations noted above have nowhere near the crisis potential that the next group does: France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Spain.

They are all pay-as-you-go countries (PAYG). That means they have nothing saved in the public coffers for future pension obligations, and the money has to come out of the general budget each year.

The crisis for these countries is quite predictable, because the number of retirees is growing even as the number of workers paying into the national coffers is falling.

Let’s look at some details.

Spain was hit hard in the financial crisis but has bounced back more vigorously than some of its Mediterranean peers did, such as Greece. That’s also true of its national pension plan, which actually had a surplus until recently.

Unfortunately, the government chose to “borrow” some of that surplus for other purposes, and it will soon turn into a sizable deficit.

Just as in the US, Spain’s program is called Social Security, but in fact it is neither social nor secure. Both the US and Spanish governments have raided supposedly sacrosanct retirement schemes, and both allow their governments to use those savings for whatever the political winds favor.

The Spanish reserve fund at one time had €66 billion and is now estimated to be completely depleted by the end of this year or early in 2018. The cause? There are 1.1 million more pensioners than there were just 10 years ago. And as the Baby Boom generation retires, there will be even more pensioners and fewer workers to support them.

A 25% unemployment rate among younger workers doesn’t help contributions to the system, either.

Overall, public pension plans in the pay-as-you-go countries would now replace about 60% of retirees’ salaries. Plus, several of these countries let people retire at less than 60 years old. In most countries, fewer than 25% of workers contribute to pension plans. That rate would have to double in the next 30 years to make programs sustainable.

Sell that to younger workers.

The Wall Street Journal recently did a rather bleak report on public pension funds in Europe. Quoting:

Europe’s population of pensioners, already the largest in the world, continues to grow. Looking at Europeans 65 or older who aren’t working, there are 42 for every 100 workers, and this will rise to 65 per 100 by 2060, the European Union’s data agency says. By comparison, the U.S. has 24 nonworking people 65 or over per 100 workers, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which doesn’t have a projection for 2060. (WSJ)

While the WSJ story focuses on Poland and the difficulties facing retirees there, the graphs and data in the story make clear the increasingly tenuous situation across much of Europe.

And unlike most European financial problems, this isn’t a north-south issue. Austria and Slovenia face the most difficult demographic challenges, right along with Greece. Greece, like Poland, has seen a lot of its young people leave for other parts of the world.

This next chart compares the share of Europe’s population that 65 years and older to the rest of the regions of the world and then to the share of population of workers between 20 and 64. These are ugly numbers.

Source: WSJ

The WSJ continues:

Across Europe, the birthrate has fallen 40% since the 1960s to around 1.5 children per woman, according to the United Nations. In that time, life expectancies have risen to roughly 80 from 69.

In Poland birthrates are even lower, and here the demographic disconnect is compounded by emigration. Taking advantage of the EU’s freedom of movement, many Polish youth of working age flock to the West, especially London, in search of higher pay. A paper published by the country’s central bank forecasts that by 2030, a quarter of Polish women and a fifth of Polish men will be 70 or older.

Source: WSJ

This Coming Crisis Is Beyond the Power of Politicians

I could go on on reviewing the retirement problems in other countries, but I hope you begin to see the big picture. This crisis isn’t purely a result of faulty politics – though that’s a big contributor.

It’s a problem that is far bigger than even the most disciplined, future-focused governments and businesses can easily handle.

Worse, generations of politicians have convinced the public that their entitlements are guaranteed. Many politicians actually believe it themselves. They’ve made promises they aren’t able to keep and are letting others arrange their lives based on the assumption that the impossible will happen. It won’t.

How do we get out of this jam?

We’re all going to make big adjustments.If the longevity breakthroughs that I expect to happen do so soon (as in the next 10–15 years), we may be able to adjust with minimal pain.We’ll work longer years, and retirement will be shorter, but it will be better because we’ll be healthier.

That’s the best-case outcome, and I think we have a fair chance of seeing it, but not without a lot of social and political travail. How we get through that process may be the most important question we face.

Sharp macroeconomic analysis, big market calls, and shrewd predictions are all in a week’s work for visionary thinker and acclaimed financial expert John Mauldin. Since 2001, investors have turned to his Thoughts from the Frontline to be informed about what’s really going on in the economy. Join hundreds of thousands of readers, and get it free in your inbox every week.

Nächster Überblick über die Anschuldigungen der USA gegenüber Russland

Neue Anschuldigungen wie Wahlmanipulation in 21 Staaten sind dazugekommen, aber innerhalb weniger Tage wieder in sich zusammengebrochen. Special Investigator Müller hat offenbar bislang nur Trumps ehemaligen kurzzeitigen Wahlkampfleiter Paul Manafort an der Angel. Ob dieser allerdings über genügend Riussladkontakte verfügt und man diese als Beeinflussung auslegen kann und wiederum Spuren dann zu Trumps Wahlteam führen, ist nicht gesagt. 

 

Authored by Aaron Mate via TheNation.com,

From accusations of Trump campaign collusion to Russian Facebook ad buys, the media has substituted hype for evidence...

In her new campaign memoir, What Happened, Hillary Clinton reveals that she has followed “every twist and turn of the story,” and “read everything I could get my hands on,” concerning Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election. “I do wonder sometimes about what would have happened if President Obama had made a televised address to the nation in the fall of 2016 warning that our democracy was under attack,” she writes.

Clinton has had a lot to take in. Since Election Day, the controversy over alleged Russian meddling and Trump campaign collusion has consumed Washington and the national media. Yet nearly one year later there is still no concrete evidence of its central allegations. There are claims by US intelligence officials that the Russian government hacked e-mails and used social media to help elect Donald Trump, but there has yet to be any corroboration. Although the oft-cited January intelligence report “uses the strongest language and offers the most detailed assessment yet,” The Atlantic observed that “it does not or cannot provide evidence for its assertions.” Noting the “absence of any proof” and “hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack,” The New York Times concluded that the intelligence community’s message “essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’” That remains the case today.

The same holds for the question of collusion. Officials acknowledged to Reuters in May that “they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far.” Well-placed critics of Trump – including former DNI chief James Clapper, former CIA director Michael Morrell, Representative Maxine Waters, and Senator Dianne Feinstein – concur to date.

Recognizing this absence of evidence helps examine what has been substituted in its place.

Shattered, the insider account of the Clinton campaign, reports that “in the days after the election, Hillary declined to take responsibility for her own loss.” Instead, one source recounted, aides were ordered “to make sure all these narratives get spun the right way.” Within 24 hours of Clinton’s concession speech, top officials gathered “to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up.… Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

But the focus on Russia has utility far beyond the Clinton camp. It dovetails with elements of state power that oppose Trump’s call for improved relations with Moscow and who are willing to deploy a familiar playbook of Cold War fearmongering to block any developments on that front.

The multiple investigations and anonymous leaks are also a tool to pacify an erratic president whose anti-interventionist rhetoric—by all indications, a ruse—alarmed foreign-policy elites during the campaign. Corporate media outlets driven by clicks and ratings are inexorably drawn to the scandal. The public is presented with a real-life spy thriller, which for some carries the added appeal of possibly undoing a reviled president and his improbable victory.

These imperatives have incentivized a compromised set of journalistic and evidentiary standards. In Russiagate, unverified claims are reported with little to no skepticism. Comporting developments are cherry-picked and overhyped, while countervailing ones are minimized or ignored. Front-page headlines advertise explosive and incriminating developments, only to often be undermined by the article’s content, or retracted entirely. Qualified language—likely, suspected, apparent—appears next to “Russians” to account for the absence of concrete links. As a result, Russiagate has enlarged into a storm of innuendo that engulfs issues far beyond its original scope.

The latest two stories about alleged Trump campaign collusion were initially received as smoking guns. But upon further examination, they may actually undermine that narrative.

One was news that Trump had signed a non-binding letter of intent to license his name for a proposed building in Moscow as he ran for the White House. Russian-born developer Felix Sater predicted to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that the deal would help Trump win the presidency. “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Sater wrote, believing that voters would be impressed that Trump could make a real-estate deal with the United States’ “most difficult adversary.” The New York Times describes the outcome:

There is no evidence in the emails that Mr. Sater delivered on his promises, and one email suggests that Mr. Sater overstated his Russian ties. In January 2016, Mr. Cohen wrote to Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, asking for help restarting the Trump Tower project, which had stalled. But Mr. Cohen did not appear to have Mr. Peskov’s direct email, and instead wrote to a general inbox for press inquiries.

 

The project never got government permits or financing, and died weeks later.

Peskov has confirmed he ended up seeing the e-mail from Cohen, but did not bother to respond. The story does raise a potential conflict of interest: Trump pursued a Moscow deal as he praised Putin on the campaign trial. But it is hard to see how a deal that never got off the ground is of more importance than actual deals Trump made in places like Turkey, the Philippines, and the Persian Gulf. If anything, the story should introduce skepticism into whether any collusion took place: The deal failed, and Trump’s lawyer did not even have an e-mail address for his Russian counterparts.

The revelation of Sater’s e-mails to Cohen followed the earlier controversy of Rob Goldstone offering Donald Trump Jr. incriminating information on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Goldstone’s e-mail was more fruitful than Sater’s in that it yielded a meeting, albeit one that Trump Jr. claims he abandoned after 20 minutes. Those who deem the Sater-Goldstone e-mail chains incriminating or even treasonous should be reminded of their provenance: Sater is known as “a canny operator and a colorful bullshitter” who has “launched a host of crudely named websites—including IAmAFaggot.com and VaginaBoy.com… to attack a former business partner.” Meanwhile, Goldstone is a British tabloid journalist turned music publicist. One does not have to be an intelligence expert to doubt that they are Kremlin cut-outs.

Then there is Facebook’s disclosure that fake accounts “likely operated out of Russia” paid $100,000 for 3,000 ads starting in June 2015. The New York Times editorial board described it as “further evidence of what amounted to unprecedented foreign invasion of American democracy.” A $100,000 Facebook ad buy seems unlikely to have had much impact in a $6.8 billion election. According to Facebook, “the vast majority of ads…didn’t specifically reference the US presidential election, voting or a particular candidate” but rather focused “on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum—touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.” Facebook also says the majority of ads, 56 percent, were seen “after the election.” The ads have not been released publicly. But by all indications, if they were used to try to elect Trump, their sponsors took a very curious route.

The ads are commonly described as “Russian disinformation,” but in the most extensive reporting on the story to date, The Washington Post adds multiple qualifiers in noting that the ads “appear to have come from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency,” itself a Kremlin-linked firm (emphasis added).

The Post also reveals that an initial Facebook review of the suspected Russian accounts found that they “had clear financial motives, which suggested that they weren’t working for a foreign government.” Furthermore, “the security team did not find clear evidence of Russian disinformation or ad purchases by Russian-linked accounts.” But Russiagate logic requires a unique response to absent evidence: “The sophistication of the Russian tactics caught Facebook off-guard.”

The Post adds how Russian “sophistication” was overcome:

As Facebook struggled to find clear evidence of Russian manipulation, the idea was gaining credence in other influential quarters.

 

In the electrified aftermath of the election, aides to Hillary Clinton and Obama pored over polling numbers and turnout data, looking for clues to explain what they saw as an unnatural turn of events.

 

One of the theories to emerge from their post-mortem was that Russian operatives who were directed by the Kremlin to support Trump may have taken advantage of Facebook and other social media platforms to direct their messages to American voters in key demographic areas in order to increase enthusiasm for Trump and suppress support for Clinton.

 

These former advisers didn’t have hard evidence that Russian trolls were using Facebook to micro-target voters in swing districts—at least not yet—but they shared their theories with the House and Senate intelligence committees, which launched parallel investigations into Russia’s role in the presidential campaign in January.

The theories paid off. A personal visit in May by Democratic Senator Mark Warner, vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, “spurred the company to make some changes in how it conducted its internal investigation.” Facebook’s announcement in August of finding 3,000 “likely” Russian ads is now an ongoing “scandal” that has dragged the company before Congressional committees.

Other election threats loom. A recent front-page New York Times article linking Russian cyber operations to voting irregularities across the United States is headlined, “Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny.” But read on and you’ll discover that there is no evidence of “Russian election hacking,” only evidence-free accusations of it. Voting problems in Durham, North Carolina, “felt like tampering, or some kind of cyberattack,” election monitor Susan Greenhalgh says, and “months later…questions still linger about what happened that day in Durham as well as other counties in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Arizona.” There is one caveat: “There are plenty of other reasons for such breakdowns—local officials blamed human error and software malfunctions—and no clear-cut evidence of digital sabotage has emerged, much less a Russian role in it.”

The evidence-free concern over Russian hacking expanded in late September when the Department of Homeland Security informed 21 states that they had been targeted by Russian cyber-operations during the 2016 election. But three states have already dismissed the DHS claims, including California, which announced that after seeking “further information, it became clear that DHS’s conclusions were wrong.”

Recent elections in France and Germany saw similar fears of Russian hacking and disinformation—and similar results. In France, a hack targeting the campaign of election winner Emmanuel Macron ended up having “no trace,” of Russian involvement, and “was so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone,” the head of French cyber-security quietly explained after the vote. Germany faced an even more puzzling outcome: Nothing happened. “The apparent absence of a robust Russian campaign to sabotage the German vote has become a mystery among officials and experts who had warned of a likely onslaught,” the Post reported in an article headlined “As Germans prepare to vote, a mystery grows: Where are the Russians?” The mystery was so profound that The New York Times also explored it days later: “German Election Mystery: Why No Russian Meddling?”

Following this evidentiary praxis, Russia can be blamed for matters far beyond Western elections. After the recent white-supremacist violence in Charlottesville, foreign-policy consultant Molly McKew issued a widely circulated appeal on Twitter: “We need to have a conversation about what is happening today in Charlottesville & Russian influence, and operations, in the United States.” (McKew recently testified at a US government hearing on “The Scourge of Russian Disinformation.”)

Writing for CNN, Yale Law School’s Asha Rangappa asserted that Charlottesville “highlighted again the problem of Russia.” Sure, Rangappa concedes, “there is no evidence to date that Russia is directly supporting extreme right groups in the United States.” But Russian government ties to the European far-right “when viewed through the lens of Trump’s response to Charlottesville, suggests an opening for Russian intelligence to use domestic hate groups as a vehicle for escalating their active measures inside the United States.”

Linking Russia to right-wing American racists contrasts with just a few months prior, when it was fashionable to tie Russia to the polar opposites. In March, intelligence-community witnesses soberly testified to Congress that Russia’s “21st-century cyber invasion” has “tried to sow unrest in the U.S. by inflaming protests such as Occupy Wall Street and the Black Lives Matter movement.” The evidence presented for this claim was that both movements were covered by the Russian state-owned television network RT.

Russian-linked tweets about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice show the Russians “trying to push divisiveness in this country,” says Republican Senator James Lankford. A Russian-linked ad about Black Lives Matter aimed at audiences in Ferguson and Baltimore “tells us…that the Russians who bought these ads were sophisticated enough to understand that targeting a Black Lives Matter ad to the communities…would help sow political discord.… the goal here was really about creating chaos,” says CNN reporter Dylan Byers.

But this story might actually tell us a lot more about the attitudes of pundits and lawmakers towards their audiences. On top of the 3,000 ads identified by Facebook, Twitter has now informed Congress of around 200 accounts “linked to Russian interference in the 2016 election.” Twitter has 328 million users. To suggest 200 accounts out of 328 million could have had an impact is as much an insult to common sense as it is to basic math. It also suggests Black Lives Matter protesters in places like Ferguson and Baltimore were unwitting foreign agents who needed Russian social-media prodding to march in the streets. To protest racism is not to sow “chaos” and “political discord,” but to protest racism.

Because the ads may have originated in Russia, it is widely taken for granted that they were part of an alleged Russian government plot. Few have considered a different scenario, pointed out by the journalist Max Blumenthal, that the ads could have been like those from any other troll farm: clickbait to attract page views.

Some who focus on Russiagate may be acting from the real fear and disorientation that follows from the victory of the most unqualified and unpredictable president in history. But those who partake, particularly those in positions of privilege, should consider that Russiagate offers them a safe and anodyne way to “Resist.” For privileged Americans to challenge Trump mainly over Russia is to do so in a way that avoids confronting their own relationship to the economic and political system that many of his voters rebelled against. “If the presidency is effectively a Russian op, if the American presidency right now is the product of collusion between the Russian intelligence services and an American campaign,” to borrow a scenario posed by Rachel Maddow, then there is nothing else to confront.

But economic discontent, along with voter suppression, the Democratic Party’s failures to reach voters, and corporate media that gave endless attention to Trump’s empty promises and racial animus, are among the issues cast aside by the incessant focus on Russigate, as are the very real US-Russia tensions that do not fit the narrative.

Amid widespread talk of Putin pulling the strings, Trump has quietly appointed anti-Russia hawks to key posts and admitted a new NATO member over Russian objections. Trump’s top military commander, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is backing an effort by the Pentagon and Congress to arm Ukraine with new weapons. President Obama had rejected a similar proposal out of fear it would inflame the country’s deadly conflict. Just before Russia’s recent war games with allied Belarus, the United States and NATO allies carried out their “biggest military exercise in eastern Europe since the Cold War” right next door.

These tensions only stand to worsen in a political climate in which diplomacy with Russia is seen as a weakness, and in which challenging it through sanctions and militarism is one of the few areas of bipartisan agreement. Conflict with a nuclear power may threaten the future annihilation of many, but it offers immediate benefits for some. “NATO concerns about Russia are seen as a positive for the defense industry,” the business press notes in reporting that military stocks have reached “all-time highs.” As have the ratings of MSNBC, the cable network that has pushed Russiagate more than any other.

Those unbound by Russiagate’s offerings need not succumb to them. Trump didn’t get to the White House via Russia, but by falsely portraying himself as a populist champion. The only con he will be undone by is his own.

Eindrückliche Darstellung der Verseuchung des Pazifiks durch radioaktiven Abfall aus Fukushima

Die Radioaktivität des Pazifiks ist 5-10 Mal so hoch im Vergleich zur Zeit, als die USA Atombomben im Pazifik hochgehen liessen.

 

 

Submitted by Whitney Webb via TrueActivist.com,

The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

An energy map provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the intensity of the tsunami in the Pacific Ocean caused by the magnitude 8.9 earthquake which struck Japan on March 11, 2011. Thousands of people fled their homes along the Pacific coast of North and South America on Friday as a tsunami triggered by Japan's massive earthquake reached the region but appeared to spare it from major damage. REUTERS/NOAA/Center for Tsunami Research/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

What was the most dangerous nuclear disaster in world history? Most people would say the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, but they’d be wrong. In 2011, an earthquake, believed to be an aftershock of the 2010 earthquake in Chile, created a tsunami that caused a meltdown at the TEPCO nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. Three nuclear reactors melted down and what happened next was the largest release of radiation into the water in the history of the world. Over the next three months, radioactive chemicals, some in even greater quantities than Chernobyl, leaked into the Pacific Ocean. However, the numbers may actually be much higher as Japanese official estimates have been proven by several scientists to be flawed in recent years.

fukushima-debris-island

If that weren’t bad enough, Fukushima continues to leak an astounding 300 tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean every day. It will continue do so indefinitely as the source of the leak cannot be sealed as it is inaccessible to both humans and robots due to extremely high temperatures.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Fukushima has contaminated the entire Pacific Ocean in just five years. This could easily be the worst environmental disaster in human history and it is almost never talked about by politicians, establishment scientists, or the news. It is interesting to note that TEPCO is a subsidiary partner with General Electric (also known as GE), one of the largest companies in the world, which has considerable control over numerous news corporations and politicians alike. Could this possibly explain the lack of news coverage Fukushima has received in the last five years? There is also evidence that GE knew about the poor condition of the Fukushima reactors for decades and did nothing. This led 1,400 Japanese citizens to sue GE for their role in the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Even if we can’t see the radiation itself, some parts of North America’s western coast have been feeling the effects for years. Not long after Fukushima, fish in Canada began bleeding from their gills, mouths, and eyeballs. This “disease” has been ignored by the government and has decimated native fish populations, including the North Pacific herring. Elsewhere in Western Canada, independent scientists have measured a 300% increase in the level of radiation. According to them, the amount of radiation in the Pacific Ocean is increasing every year. Why is this being ignored by the mainstream media? It might have something to do with the fact that the US and Canadian governments have banned their citizens from talking about Fukushima so “people don’t panic.”

dead-starfish

Further south in Oregon, USA, starfish began losing legs and then disintegrating entirely when Fukushima radiation arrived there in 2013. Now, they are dying in record amounts, putting the entire oceanic ecosystem in that area at risk. However, government officials say Fukushima is not to blame even though radiation in Oregon tuna tripled after Fukushima. In 2014, radiation on California beaches increased by 500 percent. In response, government officials said that the radiation was coming from a mysterious “unknown” source and was nothing to worry about.

However, Fukushima is having a bigger impact than just the West coast of North America. Scientists are now saying that the Pacific Ocean is already radioactive and is currently at least 5-10 times more radioactive than when the US government dropped numerous nuclear bombs in the Pacific during and after World War II. If we don’t start talking about Fukushima soon, we could all be in for a very unpleasant surprise.

Zur Erinnerung: MSNBC diskutiert Zensur via Staat oder durch Facebook und Twitter selbst

Aus den Aussagen wird klar, dass das Panel mehr Angst um seine Deutungshoheit hat und deshalb gegen Twitter und Facebook argumentiert.

Für die Problematik „wer sagt, was gesagt werden darf“ haben sie keine Löung ausser „man erkennt ja auch falsche Dollarnoten“.

 

Authored by Chris Reeves via NewsBusters.org,

On Friday’s Morning Joe, Willie Geist hosted a panel to discuss the latest news on the Russian hacking narrative regarding Facebook ads that were purportedly used by Russian intelligence to stoke „racial tensions“ during the 2016 presidential election.

The panel’s primary reaction, with only one dissenting voice, was to call for increased government „regulation“ and financial “penalties in the hundreds of millions” to shut down alleged Russian influencers.

The segment started off with Geist introducing the latest reporting on the topic:

GEIST: Twitter says it has shut down more than two-hundred accounts that were tied to the same Russian operatives who bought political ads on Facebook. Of the 450 accounts released by Facebook as part of its investigation, Twitter was able to match 22 of them to its own site. The disclosure by Twitter followed a briefing by company officials to staffers of the Senate and House Intel committees yesterday. Following that meeting, the top Democrat on the Senate committee, Mark Warner, slammed Twitter for its presentation.

 

SEN. MARK WARNER [D-VA]: [playing clip] The presentation that the Twitter team made to the Senate Intel staff today was deeply disappointing. The notion that their work was basically derivative based upon accounts that Facebook had identified showed enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions, and, again, begs many more questions than they offered.

 

(…)

 

GEIST: The top Democrat on the House Intel Committee, Adam Schiff, also weighed in on Twitter’s briefing to his committee, releasing a statement that read, in part: „… it is clear that Twitter has significant forensic work to do to understand the depth and breadth of Russian activity during the campaign. This additional analysis will require far more robust investigation into how Russian actors used their platform as a part of their active measures campaign…“

Without any perceptible degree of skepticism about the Democratic Congressmen’s claims, Geist then teed up Nicolle Wallace, host of the MSNBC afternoon show Deadline: White House, to talk about social media and the 2016 election more generally:

GEIST: You do get the sense, Nicolle, that Facebook, Twitter, social media was totally clueless about what was happening on their sites during the 2016 campaign.

 

WALLACE: It’s worse than that […]. The social media companies are sort of like the worst stereotype of a Republican political organization. They’re reactive, they’re opaque, they’re defensive, they are very slow to understand the value of transparency. They’re totally lawyered up, lobbied up. And they are as a culture, the hubris of thinking that they’re all about the public good, when if you take a low-tech analogy, it’s basically like someone got mugged in your backyard and their position is: well, it’s not our problem, I mean, we just bought the lot on which the house was built, not our problem.

Donny Deutsch chimed in his agreement with Wallace’s analysis, mainly to suggest that perhaps internet news sites and social media sites need government regulation to make sure that what they post or allow up is accurate:

DEUTSCH: [T]here’s a tremendous irony with these guys, because, the tech guys, these young-, are, are the ones who are revolutionizing the world for betterment, yet the irony is, if I wanna take an ad out on NBC or anyplace else for a laundry detergent, the things I have to go through-

 

WALLACE: [interrupting] It has to work, it has to be real, you have to be real. Right!

 

DEUTSCH: [continues talking over Wallace] -[…] to prove that it’s got 5% more blue crystals in it, yet there is no regulati[on]. There is nothing more important for us, for people watching this show over the next ten and twenty years as the regulation of these companies. They control the flow of communication. […] [W]hat’s happening here, as far as our power versus what’s happening over here [points to his smart phone], multiply it a thousand-fold and there is no regulation.

Ah, so here we see one of the real reasons for wanting to regulate internet-based news content: it’s out-competing (supposedly) respectable news outlets like MSNBC!

After Deutsch floated the idea of government censorship to get the internet under control, Wallace decided to try her hand at stand-up comedy, declaring:

“One difference though is that we have quality controls, we have standards. […] [A]nd they [internet/social media] should be held to the same standards.”

Well, if we all only had to adhere to MSNBC’s standard for truth, that would make our jobs here much easier!

But on a more serious note, Geist subsequently moved the segment forward to allow New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor to summarize her latest findings on “racially divisive Russian ads on Facebook.” Alcindor said:

Facebook admitted to members of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the subcommittee on the House Oversight Committee that there were ads that were targeting Black Lives Matter and targeting, specifically, ethnic groups […] and allowing people to target, not only for Russian influence, but also target housing ads, employment ads.

 

[…]

 

[A] lot of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are fuming because they’re saying that Russia actually exploited a lot of the racial divisions that already exist in America and used both Facebook and Twitter […] in this way to essentially make people hate each other more.

So, Alcindor and the Congressional Black Caucus think that decades of the Democratic Party and the far left exploiting racial divisions for political gain was totally normal and fine, but now, they demand aggressive government action to stop it when it is being used by the Russians?

Without addressing this glaringly obvious point, the segment then moved in a much more interesting direction as Geist turned to Noah Rothman, associate editor of Commentary Magazine, for his opinion on the whole Russia matter. Although Rothman acceded to the larger narrative about Russians hacking the DNC and weaponizing social media, he did offer some true background to the current story:

First, you probably have to know that Russian intelligence is going to exploit anything they possibly can to do precisely what she was talking about. This isn’t new, this is the Kremlin playbook. They have been exacerbating racial tensions in the United States since there [has been] a Russian intelligence organization. As recently as 2014, you had RT talking about police tyranny and an Afro-Maidan, referring to the Ukrainian revolution that ousted the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. This is what Russia does. So if you’re a media institution and you know that Moscow is going to target your audience, you have to be proactive and aware of that. And, as you say, you have, you had gatekeepers in most institutions. Institutions that are not, you know, aware that they’re going to be targeted are the most irresponsible, I would say. But I’m not sure that regulation is something that you can even entertain. This is about responsibility.

Rothman’s point about past Soviet infiltration of the United States was correct, if lacking somewhat in details. Rothman would have done well to point out, in contrast to his characterization of Russian government-owned or funded media, that they actually frequently take stances in support of left-wing causes if those causes serve to diminish America’s international moral authority, particularly as regards anti-war narratives or movements like Black Lives Matter.

It was also refreshing to see someone push back against Wallace and Deutsch’s calls for government censorship and control over the Internet, but that didn’t last. Mark Halperin ultimately decided to make the most straightforward case for the federal government to crack down on „Russian operatives“ and fake news with the support of both Wallace and Deutsch:

HALPERIN: [T]here’s some interesting intellectual debates to be had around all this stuff to be sure. But these companies are American companies making a lot of money, dominating our lives, hiding behind a lot of intellectual arguments. And, as the Congressional members of both parties are saying publicly and privately, they are using lobbyists and PR executives and their own platforms to try to limit the disclosure that they make to be accountable. American democracy is under siege and they are hiding behind intellectual arguments.

 

[Deutsch tries to speak at same time as Wallace, then stops]

 

WALLACE: And it’s ongoing. I mean, they were involved, some of these Russian-linked Twitter accounts were involved last weekend in helping to sow-

 

EDDIE GLAUDE JR.: [interjecting] Exactly.

 

GEIST: [mumbles agreement] Right.

 

WALLACE: -hatred around the debate about the NFL. This isn’t, we’re not at a forensic stage where we’re gonna look back at what they did in 2016, we’re not even there yet. This is still-

 

HALPERIN: [interrupting] The bombs are still falling.

 

WALLACE: Right.

 

ROTHMAN: [tries to speak, hard to hear] Wait, to what extent is there even a recourse?

 

DEUTSCH: [interrupting] By the way, we can regulate, I’m gonna give you, we can regulate, we can regulate this. We start-, instead of the FCC, it’s the FDC. The Federal Digital Communications company. And there is a body, a governing body there, regulatory body, that when something like this happens, the, the economic consequence, the penalties in the hundreds of millions, you hit ‘em in the pocketbook, they’ll figure it out.

There are a lot of amazing comments here, particularly from Halperin and Deutsch.

It’s not completely clear what Deutsch means by using a „FDC“ „regulatory body“ to financially cripple people (or who precisely those people/organizations would be, although based on his following comments it might be Facebook and Twitter that would suffer fines in his mind). However, Halperin’s characterization of protecting people’s right to freedom of speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment, as “hiding behind intellectual arguments” was most chilling.

Thankfully, Rothman stepped in to voice some cogent defense of arguably this country’s most important founding principle: “I suppose there’s any number of ways in which the federal government could target an institution that is a media institution that provides a platform for the exercise of the First Amendment. What is the limiting principle there? At what point are we targeting speech that we simply don’t like?”

After a brief pause and Deutsch simply interjecting “um,” Wallace tried her Ministry of Truth argument out again:

WALLACE: Well you can’t yell […] fire in a movie theater if it’s not true. I mean-

 

ROTHMAN: [interrupting] You can if it’s on fire.

 

WALLACE: Well, I think the point on Twitter is that some of these things are not true, and-

 

ROTHMAN: [interrupting] That’s, incitement to violence is one thing-

 

WALLACE: -Twitter, Twitter and Facebook have done nothing. I mean money,-

 

ROTHMAN: -and it’s extremely difficult to prove incitement to violence.

 

WALLACE: -mon-, money has a seal to, so that we know when a dollar is real, when a dollar is counterfeit. There are groups that are trying to get the social media companies to have some sort of water seal or to verify the content, the veracity of it.

It was fun to see Rothman trying, ever so subtly, to point out the basic problem with Wallace’s argument, namely: who determines what is and is not true?

But then Halperin, skirting by having to address Rothman’s concerns, decided to seal the deal and make his position extremely clear: “[T]he government shouldn’t be the recourse at first, it should be the boards of these companies.” That is, if Facebook and Twitter don’t start censoring in the right way or to the right extent, then Big Brother should do it himself.

It’s nice to know that the media’s support for the free speech rights of NFL football players extends to all of us rubes too!

The panel closed out the lengthy segment by chuckling at the prospect of quick action to „figure out“ this „problem“ and never addressed the more fundamental question about whether or not what they were proposing was anathema to the U.S. Constitution, either in law or spirit.

We strongly suggest putting down all sharp objects before watching the following…

Russia-gate: nächster Artikel, der die Interessen der US-Akteure aufzeigt

Authored by Robert Parry via ConsortiumNews.com,

As the U.S. government doles out tens of millions of dollars to ‚combat Russian propaganda‘, one result is a slew of new ’studies‘ by ’scholars‘ and ‚researchers‘ auditioning for the loot

The “Field of Dreams” slogan for America’s NGOs should be: “If you pay for it, we will come.”

And right now, tens of millions of dollars are flowing to non-governmental organizations if they will buttress the thesis of Russian “meddling” in the U.S. democratic process no matter how sloppy the “research” or how absurd the “findings.”

And, if you think the pillars of the U.S. mainstream media – The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and others – will apply some quality controls, you haven’t been paying attention for the past year or so. The MSM is just as unethical as the NGOs are.

So, we are now in a phase of Russia-gate in which NGO “scholars” produce deeply biased reports and their nonsense is treated as front-page news and items for serious discussion across the MSM.

Yet, there’s even an implicit confession about how pathetic some of this “scholarship” is in the hazy phrasing that gets applied to the “findings,” although the weasel words will slip past most unsuspecting Americans and will be dropped for more definitive language when the narrative is summarized in the next day’s newspaper or in a cable-news “crawl.”

For example, a Times front-page story on Thursday reported that “a network of Twitter accounts suspected of links to Russia seized on both sides of the [NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem] issue with hashtags, such as #boycottnfl, #standforouranthem and #takeaknee.”

The story, which fits neatly into the current U.S. propaganda meme that the Russian government somehow is undermining American democracy by stirring up dissent inside the U.S., quickly spread to other news outlets and became the latest “proof” of a Russian “war” against America.

However, before we empty the nuclear silos and exterminate life on the planet, we might take a second to look at the Times phrasing: “a network of Twitter accounts suspected of links to Russia.”

The vague wording doesn’t even say the Russian government was involved but rather presents an unsupported claim that some Twitter accounts are “suspected” of being part of some “network” and that this “network” may have some ill-defined connection – or “links” – to “Russia,” a country of 144 million people.

‘Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon’

It’s like the old game of “six degrees of separation” from Kevin Bacon. Yes, perhaps we are all “linked” to Kevin Bacon somehow but that doesn’t prove that we know Kevin Bacon or are part of a Kevin Bacon “network” that is executing a grand conspiracy to sow discontent by taking opposite sides of issues and then tweeting.

Yet that is the underlying absurdity of the Times article by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Scott Shane. Still, as silly as the article may be that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. The Times’ high-profile treatment of these gauzy allegations represents a grave danger to the world by fueling a growing hysteria inside the United States about being “at war” with nuclear-armed Russia. At some point, someone might begin to take this alarmist rhetoric seriously.

Yes, I understand that lots of people hate President Trump and see Russia-gate as the golden ticket to his impeachment. But that doesn’t justify making serious allegations with next to no proof, especially when the outcome could be thermonuclear war.

However, with all those millions of dollars sloshing around the NGO world and Western academia – all looking for some “study” to fund that makes Russia look bad – you are sure to get plenty of takers. And, we should now expect that new “findings” like these will fill in for the so-far evidence-free suspicions about Russia and Trump colluding to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton.

If you read more deeply into the Times story, you get a taste of where Russia-gate is headed next and a clue as to who is behind it:

“Since last month, researchers at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan initiative of the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, have been publicly tracking 600 Twitter accounts — human users and suspected bots alike — they have linked to Russian influence operations. Those were the accounts pushing the opposing messages on the N.F.L. and the national anthem.

 

“Of 80 news stories promoted last week by those accounts, more than 25 percent ‘had a primary theme of anti-Americanism,’ the researchers found. About 15 percent were critical of Hillary Clinton, falsely accusing her of funding left-wing antifa — short for anti-fascist — protesters, tying her to the lethal terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 and discussing her daughter Chelsea’s use of Twitter. Eleven percent focused on wiretapping in the federal investigation into Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, with most of them treated the news as a vindication for President Trump’s earlier wiretapping claims.”

The Neocons, Again!

So, let’s stop and unpack this Times’ reporting.

First, this Alliance for Securing Democracy is not some neutral truth-seeking organization but a neoconservative-dominated outfit that includes on its advisory board such neocon luminaries as Mike Chertoff, Bill Kristol and former Freedom House president David Kramer along with other anti-Russia hardliners such as former deputy CIA director Michael Morell and former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers.

How many of these guys, do you think, were assuring us that Iraq was hiding WMDs back in 2003?

This group clearly has an ax to grind, a record of deception, and plenty of patrons in the Military-Industrial Complex who stand to make billions of dollars from the New Cold War.

The neocons also have been targeting Russia for regime change for years because they see Russian President Vladimir Putin as the chief obstacle to their goal of helping Israel achieve its desire for “regime change” in Syria and a chance to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran. Russia-gate has served the neocons well as a very convenient way to pull Democrats, liberals and even progressives into the neocon agenda because Russia-gate is sold as a powerful weapon for the anti-Trump Resistance.

The Times article also might have mentioned that Twitter has 974 million accounts. So, this alarm over 600 accounts is a bit disproportionate for a front-page story in the Times, don’t you think?

And, there’s the definitional problem of what constitutes “anti-Americanism” in a news article. And what does it mean to be “linked to Russian influence operations”? Does that include Americans who may not march in lockstep to the one-sided State Department narratives on the crises in Ukraine and Syria? Any deviation from Official Washington’s groupthink makes you a “Moscow stooge.”

And, is it a crime to be “critical” of Hillary Clinton or to note that the U.S. mainstream media was dismissive of Trump’s claims about being wiretapped only for us to find out later that the FBI apparently was wiretapping his campaign manager?

However, such questions aren’t going to be asked amid what has become a massive Russia-gate groupthink, dominating not just Official Washington, but across much of America’s political landscape and throughout the European Union.

Why the Bias?

Beyond the obvious political motivations for this bias, we also have had the introduction of vast sums of money pouring in from the U.S. government, NATO and European institutions to support the business of “combatting Russian propaganda.”

For example, last December, President Obama signed into law a $160 million funding mechanism entitled the “Combating Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.” But that amounts to only a drop in the bucket considering already existing Western propaganda projects targeting Russia.

So, a scramble is on to develop seemingly academic models to “prove” what Western authorities want proven: that Russia is at fault for pretty much every bad thing that happens in the world, particularly the alienation of many working-class people from the Washington-Brussels elites.

The truth cannot be that establishment policies have led to massive income inequality and left the working class struggling to survive and thus are to blame for ugly political manifestations – from Trump to Brexit to the surprising support for Germany’s far-right AfD party. No, it must be Russia! Russia! Russia! And there’s a lot of money on the bed to prove that point.

There’s also the fact that the major Western news media is deeply invested in bashing Russia as well as in the related contempt for Trump and his followers. Those twin prejudices have annihilated all professional standards that would normally be applied to news judgments regarding these flawed “studies.”

On Thursday, The Washington Post ran its own banner-headlined story drawn from the same loose accusations made by that neocon-led Alliance for Securing Democracy, but instead the Post sourced the claims to Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma. The headline read: “Russian trolls are stoking NFL controversy, senator says.”

The “evidence” cited by Lankford’s office was one “Twitter account calling itself Boston Antifa that gives its geolocation as Vladivostok, Russia,” the Post reported.

By Thursday, Twitter had suspended the Boston Antifa account, so I couldn’t send it a question, but earlier this month, Dan Glaun, a reporter for Masslive.com, reported that the people behind Boston Antifa were “a pair of anti-leftist pranksters from Oregon who started Boston Antifa as a parody of actual anti-fascist groups.”

In an email to me on Thursday, Glaun cited an interview that the Boston Antifa pranksters had done with right-wing radio talk show host Gavin McInnes last April.

And, by the way, there are apps that let you manipulate your geolocation data on Twitter. Or, you can choose to believe that the highly professional Russian intelligence agencies didn’t notice that they were telegraphing their location as Vladivostok.

Mindless Russia Bashing

Another example of this mindless Russia bashing appeared just below the Post’s story on Lankford’s remarks. The Post sidebar cited a “study” from researchers at Oxford University’s Project on Computational Propaganda asserting that “junk news” on Twitter “flowed more heavily in a dozen [U.S.] battleground states than in the nation overall in the days immediately before and after the 2016 presidential election, suggesting that a coordinated effort targeted the most pivotal voters.” Cue the spooky Boris and Natasha music!

Of course, any Americans living in “battleground states” could tell you that they are inundated with all kinds of election-related “junk,” including negative TV advertising, nasty radio messages, alarmist emails and annoying robo-calls at dinner time. That’s why they’re called “battleground states,” Sherlock.

But what’s particularly offensive about this “study” is that it implies that the powers-that-be must do more to eliminate what these “experts” deem “propaganda” and “junk news.” If you read deeper into the story, you discover that the researchers applied a very subjective definition of what constitutes “junk news,” i.e., information that the researchers don’t like even if it is truthful and newsworthy.

The Post article by Craig Timberg, who apparently is using Russia-gate to work himself off the business pages and onto the national staff, states that “The researchers defined junk news as ‘propaganda and ideologically extreme, hyperpartisan, or conspiratorial political news and information.’

“The researchers also categorized reports from Russia and ones from WikiLeaks – which published embarrassing posts about Democrat Hillary Clinton based on a hack of her campaign chairman’s emails – as ‘polarizing political content’ for the purpose of the analysis.”

So, this “study” lumped together “junk news” with accurate and newsworthy information, i.e., WikiLeaks’ disclosure of genuine emails that contained such valid news as the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street banks (which she was trying to hide from voters) as well as evidence of the unethical tactics used by the Democratic National Committee to sabotage Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign.

Also dumped into the researchers’ bin of vile “disinformation” were “reports from Russia,” as if everything that comes out of Russia is, ipso facto, “junk news.”

And, what, pray tell, is “conspiratorial political news”? I would argue that the past year of evidence-lite allegations about “Russian meddling” in the U.S. election accompanied by unsupported suspicions about “collusion” with the Trump campaign would constitute “conspiratorial political news.” Indeed, I would say that this Oxford “research” constitutes “conspiratorial political news” and that Timberg’s article qualifies as “junk news.”

Predictable Outcome

Given the built-in ideological bias of this “research,” it probably won’t surprise you that the report’s author, Philip N. Howard, concludes that “junk news originates from three main sources that the Oxford group has been tracking: Russian operatives, Trump supporters and activists part of the alt-right,” according to the Post.

I suppose that since part of the “methodology” was to define “reports from Russia” as “junk news,” the appearance of “Russian operatives” shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but the whole process reeks of political bias.

Further skewing the results, the report separated out information from “professional news organizations [and] political parties” from “some ‘junk news’ source,” according to the Post. In other words, the “researchers” believe that “professional news organizations” are inherently reliable and that outside-the-mainstream news is “junk” – despite the MSM’s long record of getting major stories wrong.

The real “junk” is this sort of academic or NGO research that starts with a conclusion and packs a “study” in such a way as to guarantee the preordained conclusion. Or as the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.”

Yet, it’s also clear that if you generate “research” that feeds the hungry beast of Russia-gate, you will find eager patrons doling out dollars and a very receptive audience in the mainstream media.

In a place like Washington, there are scores if not hundreds of reports generated every day and only a tiny fraction get the attention of the Times, Post, CNN, etc., let alone result in published articles. But “studies” that reinforce today’s anti-Russia narrative are sure winners.

So, if you’re setting up a new NGO or you’re an obscure academic angling for a lucrative government grant as well as some flattering coverage in the MSM, the smart play is to join the new gold rush in decrying “Russian propaganda.”

Überblick zum russischen „Hack“ der US-Wahlen – Spoiler – die bisherigen Beweise sind allesamt nichtig

Schöner Artikel, der die Hysterie über den russischen Einfluss auf die US-Wahlen auseinander nimmt und zeigt, dass an den bisherigen Anschuldigungen und Beweisen nichts dran ist.

Es gibt die Aussage, dass Nach der Wahlniederlage die beiden Wahlkampfleiter von Clinton, Mook und Podesta, übereinkamen, als Defensivstrategie die These des Hacks der Wahlen durch Russland zu propagieren und damit Trump zu schaden und von der verlochten 1 Mia Dollar an Wahlkampfgeldern abzulenken. Clinton selbst gibt in ihrem Buch What Happened, zig Gründe an, die alle nicht mit ihr zu tun haben. Von den Russen, über Emails, Republikaner, Comey, FBI, Medien, Chauvinisten, Bernie Bros, Sozialisten, Trolls etc. bis zu Frauen, die es nicht gewagt hätten, ihren Männern zu widersprechen und deshalb Trump wählten.

Den Einfluss, den Israel, Saudi-Arabien in der US-Politik und bei Wahlen haben (Trump besuchte bei seinem ersten Auslandsbesuch die Saudis, alle Kandidaten (Demokraten (ausser Bernie Sanders) und Republikaner sprach vor der Israel Lobby AIPAC, das US Parlament liud sogar den israelischen Präsident Netanjahu für eine Rede im US Parlament ein, ohne das dies mit dem US Aussenministerium abgestimmt oder bewilligt war) =>

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/29/russia-gates-shaky-foundation/

Russia-gate’s Shaky Foundation

Special Report: The Russia-gate hysteria now routinely includes rhetoric about the U.S. being at “war” with nuclear-armed Russia, but the shaky factual foundation continues to show more cracks, as historian Daniel Herman describes.

By Daniel Herman

Anyone who watches the news knows that Russian hackers gave Democratic National Committee documents to WikiLeaks and hacked voter databases in 21 states. Prominent Democrats call these shenanigans “a political Pearl Harbor.”

On the blog Daily Kos, one contributor cries “we were robbed!” (arguing that somehow Russian meddling gave Trump a victory in North Carolina, where his margin was 180,000, and where no evidence whatsoever indicates a successful hack of voter databases).

In a new video propamentary, er, docuganda, or something like that, Morgan Freeman declares “we have been attacked. We are at war. This is no movie script.”

Before we hop on the Morgan Freeman train, we might want to consider some history. In 1898, the American press — taking the word of naval investigators — reported that a Spanish mine had destroyed the battleship, U.S.S. Maine. Leading newspapers promptly called for war, and the U.S. government obliged.

Finally, the U.S. became an imperial power with the acquisition of Cuba and the Philippines and a few other odds and ends, at the bargain cost of 2,500 American soldiers dead, plus another 4,000 lost in the Filipino rebellion that followed, not to mention the lives of tens of thousands of Filipino opposition fighters. Only later did it come to light that the Maine was destroyed by a boiler explosion.

In 1915, leading newspapers again whipped up the American public by announcing that a German submarine had sunk the unarmed passenger ship, Lusitania. Two years later — and in part due to lingering outrage over the Lusitania — the U.S. went to war, this time costing 116,000 American lives and over 200,000 wounded, not to mention creating a patriotic frenzy at home that led to beatings, lynchings, and attacks on civil liberties. Decades later, divers proved that the Lusitania was carrying arms to Britain — contrary to government assurances — thus violating international law. German naval intelligence had proved correct.

In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed he had a list of men in the State Department who were communists. A credulous press played up his accusations, despite the fact that the numbers on his supposed list kept shifting. McCarthy and his allies in Congress recklessly charged Americans in Hollywood and in government with being either communists or “fellow travelers,” often ruining their careers.

Congress meanwhile passed the McCarran Internal Security Act, which required suspected “subversives” to register with the government. It also permitted the government to round up and hold those same suspected “subversives” on the order of the President.  McCarthy, of course, had no real list, and finally ruined his own reputation by accusing Army brass of communist sympathies. McCarthy’s many allies, however, paid no penalty for overreach.

Fake Intelligence

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced that the North Vietnamese had attempted a second torpedo attack on an American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin, then used the incident to get Congress to give him the power to make war.

Thanks to the press endorsing the war effort and cheerleading on the nightly news (at least until the Tet Offensive four years later), the Vietnam War led to 58,000 American deaths and over a million war deaths altogether. Covert U.S. forces, meanwhile, kick-started a civil war in Cambodia that ended in genocide after the Khmer Rouge took power. Cambodia lost over half of its population of 7 million between 1970 and 1980.

It later became clear that there had been no second attack on the destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin; its crew had misread radar signals.

In 2002, U.S. intelligence, via George W. Bush’s administration, told the American public that Iraq had a hand in planning the 9/11 attacks and, moreover, that Iraq secretly maintained an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that might be shared with Al Qaeda. Both claims were utterly false, yet the American press — particularly the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN — led Americans to believe they were true. Far from questioning authority, the press became its servant. The result: 4,500 American war deaths; at least 110,000 Iraqi deaths (some estimates put the figure at over a million); and a destabilized Middle East, wherein both Iran and ISIS (who are bitter enemies) were empowered. In all likelihood, moreover, there would have been no Syrian war had there been no Iraq War.

When the American press and American political leaders loudly accuse another country of “an act of war,” in short, the American public needs to be on the alert. Rather than marginalizing and belittling skeptics, the press and public should give them a fair hearing. Far better to have a spirited debate now than to come to the realization in the future that groupthink created catastrophe.

Hack or Leak? It’s Worth Asking

With all that history in mind, we should be grateful that William Binney, the National Security Agency’s former technical director, is shouting with everything he can muster that the U.S. intelligence community has no solid evidence that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee. The NSA, he says, would have a record of any overseas exfiltration and could release that data without danger to national security; yet the NSA hasn’t. Though Binney left the NSA 16 years ago, he should know: he created the powerful cyber-vacuum that the NSA still uses.

Binney’s organization, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), has produced a report in which they argue that forensic evidence from documents produced by Guccifer 2.0 (G2) suggests — strongly — that G2 was a hoaxer. Skip Folden, a VIPS associate and a former elite tech executive with IBM, has issued his own report that buttresses the VIPS report. Adam Carter (a pseudonymous investigator) and Forensicator (another pseudonymous investigator) have also buttressed the VIPS Report, as have cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Carr and former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter (Ritter disagrees with VIPS in part but not on the basic charge of insufficient evidence).

To the extent they mention the skeptics, American journalists dismiss them as fringe. Yet the skeptics deserve a hearing. Among the important points they make is that U.S. intelligence has only identified the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups (APT 28 and 29 to be precise) associated with the hacking, and not the hackers themselves. An APT is a set of common parameters — tools, modes of operation, target patterns — used by hackers. But how certain are our intelligence agencies that Russians stand behind APT 28/29?

It happens that Dimitri Alperovitch of CrowdStrike — the cybersecurity entity that analyzed DNC servers — was asked that question in June 2016. His answer: “medium-level of confidence that FancyBear is [Russian intelligence agency] GRU… low-level of confidence that CozyBear is [Russian intelligence agency] FSB.”

Skip Folden suggests that Alperovitch’s estimates equal a 37-38 percent probability that Russian intelligence stands behind APT 28/29. It’s not clear how Folden came up with that figure. We should note here that Alperovitch subsequently raised his confidence levels to “high,” but then had to reduce them again in March 2017 after realizing that his new assessment was based on phony data published by a Russian blogger. Meanwhile, in January, Director of National of Intelligence James Clapper’s hand-picked team had used Alperovitch’s “high confidence” assessment of Russian hacking of the DNC, which every major network reported dutifully without so much as a blink.

It’s hard to say what additional evidence the NSA/CIA team might have had — or whether there was any — though there are rumors that a Kremlin mole working for Latvia confirmed that Putin ordered his cyber-warriors into action. The NSA, however, didn’t consider the source fully trustworthy (remember Curveball, the wonderful gift of German intelligence?), hence it committed itself to only “moderate confidence” even as the CIA stated “high confidence.” At any rate, the January report lacked both solid technical evidence and more traditional evidence confirming Russian hacking.

Not Making Sense

Several other oddities stand out: first, why would G2 announce himself two days after the DNC reported being hacked, brag he was the hacker, and add that he had given his material to WikiLeaks? WikiLeaks exists for one reason: to give whistleblowers deniability. Normally, people don’t give material to WikiLeaks and then brag about it publicly.

Least of all would Russian intelligence do such a thing, assuming — as some allege — that they routinely use WikiLeaks to disseminate hacked data. Why would Russia implicate its proxy? Why, indeed, would Russia not only cast aspersions on Julian Assange’s honesty, but also cast doubt on the authenticity of the DNC data, given that intelligence services are known to doctor hacked documents? Why, moreover, would G2 give information to WikiLeaks in the first place, given that he had the ability to curate it and disseminate it on his own, as he showed by distributing “choice” (but actually innocuous) data to journalists?

Then there’s the forensic evidence, which shows that (1) G2 put DNC documents into a Russian template; and (2) G2 made those changes on the computer in an East Coast U.S. time zone. Plus, linguistic evidence suggests that G2 showed none of the typical speech idiosyncrasies of a native Russian speaker.

Metadata can be fudged, so it’s possible that (1) and (2) don’t matter. If that is the case, however, one must explain why G2 would drop deliberate clues indicating that he’s Russian — including leaving the name of the founder of the Soviet secret police in one document, along with Cyrillic error messages in another — while also dropping deliberate clues indicating he’s an American leaker. Tricky indeed.

Then there’s another important piece of forensic evidence: the transfer speed, which corresponds to the speed of a download to a local thumb drive rather than to an overseas exfiltration. Critics — including a few VIPS dissenters — promptly insisted that the VIPS report was wrong to assume that such speeds could not be attained in an overseas exfiltration in 2016. Signers of the original VIPS report, however, subsequently conducted multiple experiments to prove or disprove that hypothesis; not once did they achieve a transfer speed anywhere close to that indicated in the DNC metadata.

Critics have also argued that the DNC documents transfer speed may refer to a download to a thumb drive after the initial hack, yet the download would nevertheless have had to have been done on the East Coast of the U.S., since transfer speed metadata correlate to time stamp data. Why would a hacker exfiltrate data to Romania or Russia, then return to the U.S. to download the material to a thumb drive?

Inconsistencies and Uncertainties

The above inconsistencies, I should add, apply to the DNC data, not the Podesta emails. No one, so far as I know, has cast doubt on the theory that the Podesta emails were phished via APT 28. Still, the same rules of caution apply. As Alperovitch himself testified in June 2016, APT 28 does not necessarily prove Russia involvement, and even if it did, no one has proven that Russians gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks. There are many other possibilities.

The Wall Street Journal, for instance, reported that Republican operatives were desperately reaching out to the hacking community to locate Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 missing emails. They made contact with several hacking groups including some that claimed to have the emails and even sent samples. The Republicans told the hackers to turn over the emails to WikiLeaks, but — supposedly — offered no payment. It’s not inconceivable, however, that the same Republican dirt-diggers — or others — indeed did pay hackers to turn over materials to WikiLeaks. Even if that occurred, however, the hackers might well have been non-state actors who occasionally work with Russian intelligence, but who otherwise work independently (more on that later), and who were not under orders from Putin. Or, they may have been hackers who have no connection to Russia whatsoever.

Regarding Roger Stone’s infamous remark that “it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel,” which has been cited as proof that Stone had foreknowledge of WikiLeaks’ publication of Podesta’s emails, Stone explained on Tuesday that he was referring to his own research on Podesta’s consulting work for foreign governments in the context of similar complaints being lodged against Stone’s friend and Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Questioning the Investigation

There are worrisome implications here. First, if we are “at war with Russia”; if the hacking was “the crime of the century”; if it’s “bigger than Watergate”; why didn’t the FBI examine the DNC server, given that James Comey admitted that was “best practice”? Why did he rely on CrowdStrike’s analysis, especially given CrowdStrike’s strong ties to the Atlantic Council (created solely to support NATO and heavily funded by foreign entities) and CrowdStrike’s grossly mistaken charges of Russian hacking in other contexts?

Second, why has there been no comprehensive or coordinated Intelligence Community Assessment or a full-scale National Intelligence Estimate — weighing evidence of Russian culpability against contrary theories — by the U.S. intelligence community, given that it has known about alleged Russian election hacking of both the DNC and state voter databases for well over a year?

What we got in January was a hurried intelligence assessment put together by a “hand-picked” team from three agencies, not a consensus of “17 agencies,” as the U.S. press wrongly blared for months. If Russia had committed an “act of war,” then surely President Obama would have ordered the fullest assessment of intelligence that the U.S. is capable of producing; yet he didn’t.

Third, why would Putin order an enormous campaign against Hillary Clinton, knowing that she would very likely win anyway (and did win the popular vote). Would Putin risk the likelihood of President Hillary Clinton finding out about his shenanigans? What implications would that have for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, for additional sanctions, for Syria, for Ukraine, for NATO funding, for the possibility of renewed Cold War? Perhaps — as James Comey contends — Putin hated Clinton so much that he was willing to play “Russian roulette.” Yet one wonders.

Has the Press Fed Hysteria?

Why, moreover, has the U.S. press barely mentioned the fact that U.S. intelligence services — and the press itself — wrongly accused Russia of the Macron hack? France’s head of cyber intelligence, after finding no evidence of Russian hacking, said this: “Why did [NSA Director Michael] Rogers say that, like that, at that time? It really surprised me. It really surprised my European allies. And to be totally frank, when I spoke about it to my NSA counterparts and asked why did he say that, they didn’t really know how to reply either.”

Think about those words for a moment; they were not meant to be diplomatic. They were unabashedly chastening.

Why, too, has the U.S. press barely mentioned the fact that German intelligence, after a months-long investigation, found no Russian meddling in its recent election (and moreover, found that the supposed Russian hack of the Bundestag in 2015 was likely a leak after all), despite U.S. intelligence agencies’ insistence that Germany was Russia’s next target?

Why do we not hear that Britain found no evidence of Russian efforts to influence Brexit, despite allegations to that effect? Why has the U.S. press wrongly reported a Russian hack of a Vermont utility; a Russian hack of an Illinois water pump; a Russian hack of north Texas voter rolls; a Russian hack of Qatari news media? Add to those examples the latest round of debunkings: there was no Russian attempt to hack Wisconsin voter rolls, nor any Russian attempt to hack California’s. Despite all the debunked stories, the U.S. press eagerly reports new Russia-done-it stories every time some anonymous source breathes a leak.

Here’s a test you can do at home:  Type “Germany Russia hacking” into your search engine and see what comes up. Then type “Brexit Russia hacking.” Then try “France Russia hacking.” You’ll get an absolute barrage of stories — hundreds of links — that melodramatically attest to Russian hacking and/or meddling in all three situations, but you’ll struggle mightily to find stories refuting those charges.

One can readily see why some curious soul sitting at home who takes it upon himself to do a little internet research would come away utterly convinced of Russian perfidy. Google here becomes an instrument not of truth-finding, but of algorithmic fake news.

Why, too, did former Assistant Secretary of Department of Homeland Security for Cybersecurity, Andy Ozment, insist in September 2016 that hacking attempts on voter rolls were not of Russian origin, but rather were criminal attempts to steal identification data for sale on the dark net? Why did DHS say as late as October that they lacked evidence to blame Russians? Were they simply protecting the nation against mass hysteria that could cast doubt on the presidential vote?

And yet the basic evidence pattern for attributing the attempted hacks to Russia (or anyone else) hasn’t changed; it’s not as if some new damning piece of evidence emerged after September. Even Reality Winner’s leaked NSA document from June 2017 notes uncertainty about the identity of the hackers. If one looks at the leaked chart showing details of the flow of hacked information, one notes that the final arrow on the left pointing to Russian intelligence (GRU) is marked “probably.” Click here and scroll down to see the blown-up chart.

Incidentally, if you think the case of Reality Winner is a bit suspect — i.e., a cleverish ruse to undermine The Intercept (publisher of the “Winner leak”) and puff up the Russia hysteria — you might want to check out this story. I withhold judgment, personally.

What I Am Arguing

Am I implicating Obama in a conspiracy? No way. Am I suggesting that G2 was a DNC actor seeking to blame Russia for a damaging insider leak to Assange? Not necessarily, but not “not necessarily,” either. There is reason for suspicion at least.

Am I suggesting that U.S. intelligence agencies are lying in order to protect massive U.S. funding for NATO and to force Russia to loosen its ties to Iran and Syria, not to mention lay off Ukraine? No, I am not suggesting any deliberate lie, though yes, wishes can father thoughts. Certainly Trump’s campaign talk of defunding NATO, friendship with Russia, and leaving Syria to Assad ruffled feathers in the intelligence community.

I am far from being a cyber-security expert, let alone knowledgeable about IT, so I write all this in modesty. And yet I find myself agreeing with experts who say that APT associations are not grounds for “high confidence” intelligence assessments, and that the American public deserves to see strong evidence not just of hacking — but of actual Russian hacking — given the magnitude of the issue.

I also find myself agreeing with cyber-security experts who tell us that U.S. intelligence agencies — as well as private cyber-security firms like CrowdStrike — tend to build the evidence around hypotheses, rather than letting the evidence lead to its own conclusions.

I don’t think there’s a conspiracy; I think there’s bias, groupthink, and boss-pleasing — in both the press and the intelligence agencies — just as there was in the Iraq WMD fiasco.

As Folden points out, there are numerous international crime organizations (an $800 billion industry last year) that might well stand behind APT 28/29. Given the sloppiness of the DNC and Podesta hacks (assuming they were hacks), what’s probable is that Russia isn’t doing the work directly, but might be paying a third party that sells its wares to bidders. Or, perhaps Russia isn’t involved.

As Folden notes, numerous states and international crime organizations have strong economic and/or strategic interests in both internal U.S. campaign information and in U.S. elections outcomes. The same observation goes for allegations of hacked voter databases. Any number of entities have both the wherewithal to employ APT 28/29 and an economic interest in harvesting voter identification data.

We should pause to note here that almost all the state database attacks were just that — attacks — not breaches. Unsuccessful attacks cannot be traced to APT groups, only to IP addresses, which are highly unreliable evidence. What few confirmed breaches there were (e.g., Illinois), moreover, did not change election results, and — as with the alleged DNC hack — can only be traced to APTs, not to actual hackers.

Here’s an aside just for fun: why would Russian hackers imagine for a second they could turn Illinois into a Trump state? Clinton won that state by a million votes. Sure, one can understand why Russians might want to meddle with voter roles in a swing state, but Illinois? More likely the hackers were criminals seeking voter identification info, which is precisely why they downloaded 90,000 registration records. The FBI absurdly claimed that Russians needed all those records to figure out precisely how Illinois voter registration works, thus to improve their dirty work. Really? They needed 90,000 records for that?

Pressuring Facebook

Of course, if the voter database attacks turn out to be no-big-deal, the press still will find some new way to exploit the Russia hysteria. The Washington Post and the New York Times — along with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — are now investigating Russian attempts to use Facebook ads and posts to help Trump win the election. Facebook — thanks to subpoenas from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and pressure from congressional Democrats — has turned up $100,000 of suspicious ad buys from phony accounts.

Think of that for a moment: Russians (supposedly) mustered fully $100,000 for ads in a presidential campaign that cost $2.4 billion. Talk about bang for your buck! The current allegation is that over the past three years, a few hundred Russian trolls armed with $100,000 and 470 Facebook accounts (compared to Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue and 2 billion monthly users) deployed issues ads (not primarily attack ads against specific candidates) to out-brigade millions of ordinary Americans who posted campaign pieces on Facebook every day, not to mention Clinton’s public relations army.

Poor David Brock paid a million dollars for his own pro-Clinton troll brigade, but they were children compared to these nefarious Russians. It’s a feat right up there with Xenophon’s Anabasis … a tiny force of foreigners, slashing their way through the Persian hordes! Someone get an epic poet!

Of course Sen. Mark Warner, a hawkish vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, informs us that the $100,000 is just the “tip of the iceberg.” Who knows, maybe the Russians spent $200,000.

Even if these propaganda charges turn out to be 100 percent true — and even if the Russians were clever enough to target voters in the Upper Midwest — it is highly unlikely that they had more influence on the election than a host of other factors, ranging from Clinton’s bad campaign decisions to emailgate to anti-establishment fervor to Trump’s 4-Chan volunteers (did he really need several hundred Russians? Surely he had plenty of home-grown trolls).

Silencing Dissent

So, maybe the Russians did play some small role on Facebook — though I suspect this suspicion, too, will be challenged — but should we therefore conclude that we’re at war, as Morgan Freeman declares? Should we demand that Facebook and Google continue to rework algorithms to shut down posts or ads deemed pro-Russian? Doesn’t that remind anyone of the anti-German hysteria — and censorship — during World War I?

Should we demand, moreover, that the tiny Russian-owned media outlet RT register as a foreign agent — as the Atlantic Council has insisted, and as the Justice Department is now demanding — but not require the same of the BBC and CBC, which are financed by the British and Canadian governments respectively?

What about the Atlantic Council itself, which, receives much of its funding from foreign nations that seek to strengthen NATO? Should the Atlantic Council be required to register as a foreign agent? Does anyone seriously think the Atlantic Council doesn’t propagandize for NATO and for hawkish policies more generally? Or what about the hawkish Brookings Institution, or a host of other think tanks that welcome money from foreign powers?

The unspoken assumption here is that only Russia propagandizes; no other nation is so shifty. Surely Saudi Arabia wouldn’t do such a thing, nor Israel, nor Ukraine, nor countless other nations that seek to influence American policy. After all, they have their paid lobbyists and press buddies working for them every day; they don’t need several hundred trolls.

Let’s be honest, we live in a world in which foreign powers seek to influence American public opinion, just as we seek to influence public opinion in other nations. Which brings to mind a bill that President Obama signed in December, at the outset of the Russia hysteria: “The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act,” which created the State Department’s “Global Engagement Center,” which seeks to “recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United Sates national security interests.”

The act also offers grants to organizations (think news agencies and research groups) that promise to “counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability” of the U.S. and allied nations. (Shout out to Rob Reiner; did you apply for one of those grants? Might be a good opportunity for you.)

Does no one see a problem with this?  What exactly is foreign propaganda? Is it RT’s occasional charges that the U.S. press treats Trump unfairly? Is it RT’s penchant for left-wing, anti-establishment commentary, e.g., Chris Hedges, Thom Hartmann, and Lee Camp? Our intelligence elites certainly think so, judging from the seven pages they dedicated to RT’s supposed rascally programming in the January intelligence assessment.

And what exactly will it mean to “counter … foreign … disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda”? Will it mean countering any news or commentary deemed anti-NATO or pro-Russian? Any news or commentary deemed pro-Iranian? How exactly will our government define “foreign propaganda”? How, moreover, will it define “national security”? What lengths will it take to deny the American public — not to mention foreigners — access to legitimate opinions?

Alien and Sedition Acts

Perhaps the real analogue here isn’t World War I after all, but the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Of course it wasn’t Russians that President John Adams worried about; it was hot-blooded Irish radicals and French émigrés with their revolutionary idealism, which was ostensibly corrupting the nation. Ordinary Americans were suddenly refusing to vote for their Federalist political betters, and those betters determined to make them pay. Far better to jail Jeffersonian editors and drive out foreigners than to let them endanger America’s “national security.”

We are forsooth reliving the age of Hamilton, I fear, when political elites dance to Wall Street theatricals about anti-democrats while feeling virtuous about opposing “deplorables.” Just don’t expect them to care about free speech. Thanks to our government’s push against so-called fake news, both Google and Facebook have already altered algorithms to such an extent that they have pushed down readership for one old and revered progressive venue, AlterNet, by fully 40 percent (other progressive venues have seen similar declines), thus starving them for ad revenue. Meanwhile neoconservative researchers are trumpeting inch-deep investigations into supposed Russian propagandizing that — thanks to vast funding — may get churned out for years to come.

Let’s not kid ourselves; this project isn’t about shutting down “fake news.” From the moment the Washington Post ran its infamous PropOrNot story in November 2016, the message has been clear: the real threat isn’t Russians, it’s any media outlet that fuels anti-establishment politics.

The Universality of Hacking 

All that said, it is still very possible that CrowdStrike and the intelligence community are correct to attribute at least some DNC exfiltration of data to Russians or to loose-leashed teams working as subcontractors, or, alternatively, criminal organizations that sometimes answer to Russia. The one thing that the skeptics (of whom I am obviously one) have not answered is why the CrowdStrike investigation found uniquely modified X-TUNNEL source code in DNC servers, which would seem to have been created for this particular hack.

Since I don’t have years to become a cyber-security expert, I’ll leave the technical experts to further argue that question. However, I am left to wonder whether X-TUNNEL indeed betrays a Russian hack of at least some DNC emails, but that another party altogether — a leaker — was nevertheless responsible for handing the full complement of DNC documents to Wikileaks.

None of the skeptics are claiming that the Russians for certain didn’t hack the DNC (which wouldn’t be that surprising, really; we probably hack their political entities, too). The skeptics are only claiming that G2 was an insider who downloaded documents onto a thumb drive. Both claims can be true.

I’ll add — just to be clear — that I am quite certain that the U.S. intelligence community is correct that the Russian government is engaged in broad hacking attempts aimed at targets all over the world, many of them associated with APT 28/29. But that doesn’t mean they carried out the particular hacks at issue here (or, at least, it doesn’t mean that Russian state actors were behind the WikiLeaks releases, or the attacks on state databases).

And it certainly doesn’t mean — contrary to what over-wrought bloggers claim — that Russians changed 2016 vote tallies. The answer isn’t to shout “war” and create hysteria; the answer is to secure U.S. infrastructure.

I’ll also add that even “high confidence” that Russia hacked the DNC, Podesta, and/or state databases is insufficient grounds for aggressive policy — e.g., harsh sanctions and diplomatic ejections, not to mention military action — let alone grounds for announcing “we are at war.” Suppose for the sake of argument that “high confidence” is 75 percent probability. Would we convict an accused murderer on 75 percent probability?

If we did that — and if the accused were then put to death — we would be knowingly killing 25 innocents out of every 100 we adjudge. The same logic should apply to foreign policy. We should not be taking punitive measures unless we can assess culpability with greater certitude, else we risk harming millions of people who had no role in the original crime.

Where We Stand

It seems to me that we are in uncharted waters. Not everyone can be a cyber-security expert; we must trust those who are. And yet in doing so, we put enormous powers into the hands of unelected technocrats with their own biases and agendas. As others have noted, moreover, the cyber-war community is at odds with the cyber-security community.

On the one hand, intelligence operatives are constantly developing new tools to exploit cyber vulnerabilities of other nations and criminal actors. On the other hand, cyber-security people (e.g., DHS) seek to patch those same vulnerabilities to protect U.S. infrastructure. The problem is that the people who know how to exploit the vulnerabilities don’t want to report those vulnerabilities because it means years of work down the drain. Why make your tools obsolete?

We need to resolve these contradictions in favor of security, not cyberwar.

I cannot say this loudly enough. This whole episode isn’t just about Hillary Clinton losing the election, or Russian hacking of the DNC, or Deep State bias and boss-pleasing. The upshot is that we are entering a cyber-arms race that is going to become ever more byzantine, hidden, and dangerous to democracy, not just because elections can be stolen, but because in guarding against that, we are handing over power to unelected technocrats and shutting down dissenting speech. We are entering a new era; this won’t be the last time that hacking enters political discourse.

We might already be in the midst of a cyber Cold War, though the American public has no idea — flat zero — what sort of offensive gamesmanship our own cyber-warriors are engaging in. (One interesting theory: The Russians deliberately implicated themselves in the DNC hack in order to send a warning to U.S. cyber-warriors: we can play dirty, too).

Presumably not even our cyber-security experts at the DHS and FBI know what the CIA and NSA’s cyber-warriors are up to. Thus Russian hacking becomes “Pearl Harbor” rather than an unsurprising reciprocal response. Both the State Department and the CIA, after all, have been in the foreign propaganda business for decades; the American public, however, has not the vaguest idea of what they do.

We might also be on the brink of something else nightmarish: an international cyber-war with multiple parties participating — attacking one another while no-one-knows-who-did-what.

The intelligence community’s whispered “trust us, we’re the experts” simply isn’t good enough. If we don’t demand hard evidence, then we’re following the same path we took in 1898, 1915, 1950, 1964, and 2003. Let’s not go there.

Daniel Herman is Professor of History at Central Washington University. He specializes in American cultural history and the American West.

Als Reaktion auf Artikel zu Liberalismus: Was nicht ins eigene Weltbild passt, wird ignoriert.

Eric ZUESSE | 23.09.2017 | OPINION

People Ignore Facts That Contradict Their False Beliefs

The more people there are who ignore facts that contradict their beliefs, the likelier a dictatorship will emerge within a given country. Here is how aristocracies, throughout the Ages, have controlled the masses, by taking advantage of this widespread tendency people have, to ignore contrary facts:

What social scientists call “confirmation bias” and have repeatedly found to be rampant,* is causing the public to be easily manipulated, and has thus destroyed democracy by replacing news-reporting, by propaganda — ‘news‘ that’s false — in a culture where lies which pump the agendas of the powerful (including lies pumped by the billionaire owners of top ‘news’media and of the media they own) are almost never punished (and are often not even denied to be true). Thus, lies by those powerful liars almost always succeed at enslaving the minds of the millions, to believe what the top economic-and-power class want those millions of people to believe — no matter how false it might happen actually to be.

Recently, a particularly stark example of this came to my attention. On 15 September 2017, an article that I wrote for the Strategic Culture Foundation, and which was titled by a true statement that I had only recently discovered to be true, was republished at a news-site that I consider one of the best around, “Signs of the Times” or “SOTT” for short, and a reader-comment there, simply rejected that title-statement and the entire article, because it contradicted what the person believes. This commenter entirely ignored the evidence that I had provided in the article, which proved the statement to be true.

No matter how irrefutable the evidence is, most people reject anything which contradicts their deeply entrenched false beliefs, and this reader-comment crystallized for me, this phenomenon of “confirmation bias” — the phenomenon of ignoring evidence that contradicts what one believes.

The article was titled “Liberalism doesn’t respect a nation’s sovereignty.” I never knew that fact until I researched it, but I found, after looking through (and my article quoting key documents from) the history of the matter, that it’s actually the case: that liberalism (as it’s understood and defined by the scholars of the subject, and as it’s based upon the key formative documents of the historical tradition, “liberalism”) rejects a nation’s sovereignty. This fact shocked me to discover; so, I wrote an article documenting it, and SCF accepted it, and it then became republished at a few other sites, including SOTT.

The reader-comment at SOTT which for me personified confirmation-bias, was (in its entirety): “This is a rather new twist blaming liberals for invading countries. I’ve always associated liberalism with the left wing and democratic, progressive politics. I’ve always associated conservatism with the right wing, big business, militarism and invading other countries. Trying to move the goal posts, are we?”

That person never clicked onto my article’s links documenting the case, nor even read the quotations given in the article itself from John Locke and from Adam Smith, who were key founders of “liberalism” as that tradition has come down to us. He instead ignored all of that evidence, and stated — entirely without evidence of any sort — that I (and SOTT, and SCF, for publishing it) were “Trying to move the goal posts.”

I (a Bernie Sanders voter, and a lifelong progressive and opponent of conservatism) am “Trying to move the goal posts” — how? By pointing out the manufactured phoniness of ‘liberalism’? By pointing out a key way in which liberalism was designed by its aristocratic sponsors (in this case by the aristocrats who sponsored Locke and Smith), to be an ideology that would encourage conquest, empire, and discourage democracy (which is based upon the sanctity of national sovereignty — based upon the lack of imposition of government by or on behalf of anyone who isn’t a resident on the land). Liberalism, I show there, was designed for Empire, not for democracy. That reader simply refused to consider the evidence.

People who insist upon deceiving themselves disgust me. Anyone who blocks out the key relevant facts and persists in believing the lies they were raised with, or became fooled into believing, doesn’t harm only themselves by the lies they believe; they vote on the basis of the lies they believe, and thus these people who refuse to be open-minded destroy democracy, and invite control of the nation by the aristocracy (who sponsor the proponents of those lies). People who refuse to question their own beliefs, become increasingly putrid pools of their own false beliefs, which have been created and nurtured and sustained and become larger and larger pools of lies, by constant repetition from the media and lobbyists of the rich and powerful, so as to enable the exploiters to enslave the masses, via those constantly repeated and embellished lies.

Such self-‘justifying’ fools, who refuse to clean-up their conceptual pool that’s been increasingly polluted by lies, are enemies of democracy, no matter how much they may consider themselves to be ‘liberals’. They don’t even know the reality of what liberalism is. One thing that it definitely is not (as my article documented) is progressivism (which is utterly opposed to foreign conquest and to the entire imperial project of imposed rule, regardless whether by outright invasions or else by coups).

Thus, we have two dominant ideologies against progressivism: One is conservatism, which everyone recognizes to be against progressivism and for Empire and constant conquest, profitable war for the arms-merchants and for the ‘news’media owners who also benefit from stirring up invasion-fever, not only like William Randolph Hearst did but today like they all do. The other is liberalism, which hides that it’s actually conservative — hides this, by being ever-so-sweet toward certain ethnicities or other groups that are being oppressed domestically, and by vociferously condemning conservatives for what is actually nothing more than the blatancy of conservatism’s favoritism toward the aristocracy.

An authentic democracy cannot be based upon a “demos” (a public) that is overwhelmingly composed of suckers — manipulated fools. Only by means of the tiny aristocracy plus the huge mass of their suckers, does a democracy degenerate into a fascism. (For example, something like this can be supported overwhelmingly by the political Party that dominates the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, state capitals, state legislatures, and runs the U.S. White House, in this ‘democratic’ nation — ‘democratic’ according to the propaganda; but if this were really a democracy, then none of those politicians would be able to win public office.)

* A well-established central finding of psychological research, concerning “confirmation bias” or “motivated reasoning” (which are two phrases referring to people’s tendency to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of any contrary facts), is that individuals evaluate whatever they read or hear according to their pre-existing ideas about the given subject. Specifically, psychologists have found that people tend to pay attention to whatever confirms their existing ideas, and tend to ignore whatever contradicts those pre-established beliefs.

For examples, the following studies are available online:

“Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs,” in the July 2006 American Journal of Political Science, reported: “We find a confirmation bias – the seeking out of confirmatory evidence – when [people] are free to self-select the source of arguments they read. Both the confirmation and disconfirmation biases lead to attitude polarization … especially among those with the strongest priors [prior beliefs] and highest level of political sophistication [the highest degree of exposure to, and involvement in, the given subject-matter that the study was dealing with].” Prejudices were stronger among supposed experts than among non-“experts”: The more indoctrinated a person was, the more prejudiced. “People actively denigrate the information with which they disagree, while accepting compatible information almost at face value.” Moreover, “Those with weak and uninformed attitudes show less bias” (and this is actually one reason why the best jurors at trials are generally people who are not personally or professionally involved in any aspect of the given case – they are “non-experts”).

Sharon Begley’s article in the 25 August 2009 Newsweek titled “Lies of Mass Destruction: The same skewed thinking that supports a Saddam-9/11 link explains the power of health-care myths [such as that Obama’s health plan had ‘death panels’]” summarized the study in the May 2009 Sociological Inquiry, “‘There Must Be a Reason’: Osama, Saddam, and Inferred Justification,” which had surveyed, during October 2004, 49 conservative Republicans who admitted they believed that Saddam Hussein had caused the 9/11 attacks. This study found that 48 of these 49 extreme conservatives were utterly impervious to the overwhelming factual evidence which was provided to them by the presenters that contradicted this false belief they held.

A study concerning not political conservatism but merely resistance to new technologies is James N. Druckman’s “Framing, Motivated Reasoning, and Opinions about Emergent Technologies,” which was presented at a technological conference in 2009. He reported that, “factual information … is perceived in biased ways … (e.g., there is motivated reasoning).” “Facts have limited impact on initial opinions.” Moreover, “Individuals do not privilege the facts. … Individuals process new factual information in a biased manner. … Specifically, they view information consistent with their prior opinions as relatively stronger, and they view neutral facts as consistent with their existing” views.

“Motivated Reasoning With Stereotypes,” in the January 1999 Psychological Inquiry, found that, “When an applicable stereotype supports their desired impression of an individual, motivation can lead people to activate this stereotype, if they have not already activated it. … People pick and choose among the many stereotypes applicable to an individual, activating those that support their desired impression of this individual and inhibiting those that interfere with it.” Similarly, another research report, “The Undeserving Rich: ‘Moral Values’ and the White Working Class,” in the June 2009 Sociological Forum, found that John Kerry had probably lost the 2004 U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush at least partly because white working class voters overwhelmingly believed that Bush was like themselves because he behaved like themselves, and that Kerry was not like themselves because his manner seemed “snooty.”

Liberalismus

https://www.sott.net/article/362161-Liberalism-doesnt-respect-a-nations-sovereignty

Puppet Masters

Cupcake Pink

Liberalism doesn’t respect a nation’s sovereignty

When the United States and some of its allies in 2003 invaded and destroyed Iraq on false pretenses – and without Iraq having ever invaded (much less destroyed) any of the invading countries – this was actually within the scope of the invaders being liberal countries, because a nation’s sovereignty isn’t at all respected in traditional liberal thought. This also is the reason why some of the same nations invaded and destroyed Libya in 2011, and Syria since 2012. Neither of those two invaded countries had ever invaded – much less destroyed – any of their invaders; but, in all of these cases, such invasions were accepted by the populace within each of the invading countries, all of which invading countries considered themselves to be liberal nations. Why do liberals (and not only conservatives) so routinely accept barbaric aggressions by their own country? Here is the reason (and it needs to be read slowly and carefully, in order to become understood, because what follows is densely packed with meaning; the subject here is sufficiently deep to reach the core of things, like drilling through hard rock – it’s necessarily slow going):

A nation’s sovereignty means that the residents in a land possess the ultimate authority over that land, regardless of what its ‚owner‘ might happen to be: a foreign king, an international corporation, or even a domestic person who is one of the people who live there. Consequently, whereas an authentic revolution by the residents within a country, to overthrow and replace their government – or else a vote to secede – is acceptable in the concept of national sovereignty (and is recognized as „the right of self-determination“), no foreign invasion is (and this includes any internal invasion to defeat a secession), unless the invasion is authentically a response to a real and present danger of, or else in direct response to, an invasion by the country (or region) that’s being invaded. This is the concept of national sovereignty: the residents rule – no foreigner does. However, the concept of national sovereignty is fundamentally alien to liberals.

Liberalism is instead dominated by the concept of the individual’s right to property, which is the fundamental right in liberalism, upon which all other rights are (in traditional liberalism) based.

As one summary of John Locke’s political theory put this most clearly:

„The theory of property was understood to be central to the structure of Locke’s argument in the Second Treatise in that it serves as an explanation for the existence of government and a criterion for evaluating the performance of government. Locke’s individualist, private property stance was not always admired or believed to be without flaw, but criticism was leveled within the context of Locke’s claim to a place as a liberal philosopher.“

However, Adam Smith, writing in Locke’s tradition 87 years later, provided a clearer case than anyone up till his time, for the right to property being the fundamental right, the right which governments are instituted specifically in order to advance and to protect; and, so, here that basic statement is, in The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Ch. 1, Part 2:

… Wherever there is a great property, there is great inequality.

For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy to invade his possessions. It is only under the shelter of the civil magistrate, that the owner of that valuable property, which is acquired by the labour of many years, or perhaps of many successive generations, can sleep a single night in security. He is at all times surrounded by unknown enemies, whom, though he never provoked, he can never appease, and from whose injustice he can be protected only by the powerful arm of the civil magistrate, continually held up to chastise it. The acquisition of valuable and extensive property, therefore, necessarily requires the establishment of civil government. …

The causes or circumstances which naturally introduce subordination, or which naturally and antecedent to any civil institution, give some men some superiority over the greater part of their brethren, seem to be four in number.

The first of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of personal qualifications, of strength, beauty, and agility of body; of wisdom and virtue; of prudence, justice, fortitude, and moderation of mind. …

The second of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of age. …

The third of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of fortune, the authority of riches …

The fourth of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of birth. Superiority of birth supposes an ancient superiority of fortune in the family of the person who claims it. …

In liberalism, a person’s „superiority“ or „inferiority“ is measured by the amount of wealth he or she „owns.“ (Otherwise called „net worth.“) This is the professional economist’s belief in the inevitable rightness of „the free market“: an economist, by his/her being a professional who is devoted to that theory, is committed to this type of hierarchy or inequality – the belief that the more property one owns, the better that person is; and, so, the less that one owns, the worse he or she is.

Precisely how this system contrasts in any fundamental way with conservatism is not clear (and liberals especially don’t discuss it), but Smith’s central case was actually against mercantilism, which, in recent times, is part of nationalism – mercantilism is the argument for any nation to apply tariffs and other protectionist measures in order to block foreigners from „grabbing“ business away from the residents (the subjects to the local sovereign) within the given nation. Adam Smith’s argument was against sovereignty, not in support of it. Property-rights and property-obligations – obedience to, and governmental protections of, these rights and obligations – are at the very foundation of liberalism, whatever one might happen to consider either „liberalism“ or „conservatism“ to mean.

Progressivism means something totally different than either liberalism or conservatism: it is the belief not in „natural law“ nor in any „God’s Law,“ but instead in natural worth: Worth inheres in any sentient being, because it is sentient and can therefore experience joy (positive) and/or misery (negative). No sentient being can be property – it can only be an owner. It can be conquered, but it can’t be owned. It can be a dependent, but it isn’t itself owned, not by anybody but itself. By extension, this applies to the residents on any particular land; and, since they and they alone own themselves, they collectively are the sovereigns over that land; they alone possess the natural right to rule there. In the view of a progressive person, consciousness (especially the polarity between joy and misery) is the actual basis of worth; property isn’t. Materialism is no longer the basis in the realm of values, but „spirit“ (consciousness) is that. The goal is societal well-being, not merely personal wealth. In a progressive light, invasions are evil (because negative, misery-inducing). But, in a liberal light, they aren’t evil, and they can even turn out to be good, if the result is ’success‘: „victory.“ (Consequently, empires are acceptable to liberals.)

Consequently (for recent examples), no progressive supported nor endorsed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, nor the invasion of Libya in 2011, nor the invasion of Syria since 2012. (And, to call that invasion of Syria, by tens of thousands of foreign jihadists who were paid by Saudi Arabia and armed by the United States, a ‚civil war‘, as is commonly done, is simply a lie, just as bad as the lie that Saddam Hussein was hiding WMD in 2002.)

This is the concept of national sovereignty. It isn’t an economic concept; it isn’t a philosophical concept, it is instead a statement about sentience and what sentience entails; it is a scientific concept, and it is the very foundation of any progressive (i.e., science-based) political theory.

This concept, national sovereignty and all the rest of progressivism, does not preclude some type of world government gradually emerging, so long as that occurs 100% by means of democratic processes, and respects the national sovereignty of each and every one of the participating nations, and so long as all nations are honestly welcomed to join, on the same basis as the existing member-nations did. Only in this way, and by democratic process from the bottom to the top, would it even be possible for a world government to develop as being a force for peace in the world, instead of as a force for some type of international dictatorship (and thus as a force for even more war).

So: whereas liberals don’t respect a nation’s sovereignty, progressives do – it’s a basic part of progressivism.