Summary: Here we discuss a powerful article about a serious weakness of America — our broken observation-orientation-decision-action loop. Specifically, our ability to orient our present in term of our history, a broken mechanism because of our amnesia and gullibility. We need not be like this; we can change.
“Our American Pravda“, Ron Unz, The America Conservative, 29 April 2013
“The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?”
The author discusses one of the marvels of our age: how the world is nothing like we saw it a 70 years ago, or even a decade ago. The author discusses a some noteworthy examples of our gullibility and amnesia.
- The serious penetration of communist sympathisers and agents in the US government (although exaggerated by conservatives like McCarthy, Nixon, and Unz).
- The frequent failure of our corporate accounting and regulatory apparatus, as seen in the tech-boom busts (with Enron the last and largest examples) and the banking failures during the great recession.
- The massive campaign of lies surrounding the anthrax attack (so vital in passing the Patriot Act) and our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- And other stories even more thoroughly ignored by the mainstream press, and so remaining unknown to the American people.
Unz’s great article just scratches the surface of the layered deceptions preventing Americans from clearly seeing the world as it is.
Our Presidents, a facade of lies hides the men
US Presidents are among the most closely scrutinized people on the planet. We must know their true nature since they take office only after a successful career and brutally long election. But we don’t.
In fact the media help develop characterizations for Presidents & VPs, which becomes “fact” for Americans through intensive indoctrination. Kennedy was a sportsman and family man. Ford was a clumsy. Dan Quayle was dumb. Reagan was a fool. It’s astonishing how consistently wrong these are. Backwards, even.
Summary: The scandals have Washington aflame, almost as much fun for the imperial courtiers as starting a war. Last month was the great North Korean crisis. Soon their attention will turn to something else. More important than this trivia is our reaction to these revelations.
It’s back to the future for America!
We are reliving the 1970s, with the revelation of government surveillance programs run against political dissidents and minority groups. This challenge came first to the greatest generation. They grew up during the Depression, fought fascists, and brought America through the Civil Rights conflicts that closed the wound opened in April 1861. They were not men and women to allow the Republic to fail on their watch.
The Greatest Generation then passed the Republic into the care of the Boomers, for whom even the routine operation of the Constitutional machinery has proved too burdensome.
Now it’ s our turn to face a similar challenge, since our reaction to 9-11 has plunged the Republic into crisis. Articles of the Constitution fall like ten pins. Government power grows like crabgrass. Frequent use of agents provocateur by the police and FBI. The Executive wages war on leakers and whistleblowers (six prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act), which has inevitably evolved into an attack on the press.
Now, four decades after Nixon’s resignation, betting is open on these questions:
Summary: The reactions to major events reveals much about us and our institutions. Such as the tragic Oklahoma tornadoes, showing the usual propaganda, the evolution of the news media, and an opportunity to learn about climate science.
Those seeking to use global warming to change US public policy have become desperate as the failure of their forecasts erodes public support. Many respond by abandoning the IPCC and consensus science, making extreme forecasts outside those forecasts (see the IPCC’s report; large PDF). Many respond by blaming global warming for large but normal weather events.
The former is sad, but the latter is ugly — exploiting tragedies for political gain, with little or no scientific basis. As we see now regarding the tornadoes in Oklahoma.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) boldly makes stuff up:
“This is climate change. We were warned about extreme weather: Not just hot weather, but extreme weather. When I had my hearings, when I had the gavel years ago — it’s been a while — the scientists all agreed that what we’d start to see was extreme weather.”
“Carbon could cost us the planet,” Boxer added, plugging her own carbon tax bill, co-sponsored by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. “The least we could do is put a little charge on it so people move to clean energy.” (Daily Caller)
Journalists have usually accepted uncritically any claim relating weather to global warming, without checking what the IPCC says — or if the area has warmed during the past decade or two (a warming world does not mean each spot has warmed). But they are learning.
Andrew Revkin, New York Times, 21 May 2013:
Any influence of climate change on dangerous tornadoes (so far the data point to a moderating influence) is, at best, marginally relevant and, at worst, a distraction.
Summary: The FM website has a great record of providing unpopular but accurate forecasts to its readers, but a poor record of updating them. Once they become consensus insights we drop them. We’ll provide a few posts with updates.
Today let’s revisit the slowdown in technological progress. The first post about this — 5 years ago — was wildly controversal. Now it is so uncontroversial that even the Chairman of the Fed can discuss it.
“Economic Prospects for the Long Run“
By Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed
Speech at Bard College, 18 May 2013 — Excerpt:
Indeed, some knowledgeable observers have recently made the case that the IT revolution, as important as it surely is, likely will not generate the transformative economic effects that flowed from the earlier technological revolutions. As a result, these observers argue, economic growth and change in coming decades likely will be noticeably slower than the pace to which Americans have become accustomed.
Such an outcome would have important social and political — as well as economic — consequences for our country and the world.
This provocative assessment of our economic future has attracted plenty of attention among economists and others as well. Does it make sense? Here’s one way to think more concretely about the argument that the pessimists are making:
Fifty years ago, in 1963, I was a 9-year-old growing up in a middle-class home in a small town in South Carolina. As a way of getting a handle on the recent pace of economic change, it’s interesting to ask how my family’s everyday life back then differed from that of a typical family today.
Summary: What a wonderful week, bringing to even the most obtuse of Americans unmistakable evidence of our government’s growing power. These incidents are insignificant in themselves, more of the endless scandals that titillated members of America’s outer party (the proles don’t care about such things; the inner party knows their irrelevance). But they might give small pushes to help a few see the true state of America.
(1) The Tea Party discovered that the government will investigate even white conservatives! Watch their anti-reality screens glow as they deflect all evidence that it was routine low-level actions, not planned attack by the Black Pretender in the White House.
(2) Journalists discovered that the government has no friends, only subjects and targets. Even their supine support of the government — concealing secrets, spinning stories to their benefit, denying a voice to its opponents — gives them no immunity from government surveillance. Legal surveillance, due to the post-9/11 shredding of the 4th Amendment.
(3) During the five years posting warnings on the FM website, I have received many forms of replies saying Don’t worry; all is well. None say it in as few words as this tweet, which should be carved on the eventual memorial to the late great Constitution: