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Good governance in six logical and easy steps

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/10/2021 - 4:57am in

A statement of public interest should be obligatory for major government decisions. Here’s why. The generally poor quality of public policymaking in Australia at both federal and state levels is a national disgrace. Research by both right and left think tanks (IPA and Per Capita) show that for all jurisdictions surveyed (federal, NSW, Victorian and Continue reading »

It Takes A Lot Of Education To Keep Us This Stupid

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/10/2021 - 11:37am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/a9511799914693b27fa4b8ce0db8e233/href

The oligarchic empire is working harder and harder to bolt down our minds in service of its agendas.

Silicon Valley is working more and more openly in conjunction with the US government, and its algorithms elevate empire-authorized narratives while hiding unapproved ones with increasing brazenness.

The mass media have become so blatantly propagandistic that US intelligence operatives are now openly employed by news outlets they used to have to infiltrate covertly.

NATO and military institutions are studying and testing new forms of mass-scale psychological manipulation to advance the still developing science of propaganda.

A transparently fake “whistleblower” is being promoted by the US political/media class to manufacture support for more internet censorship and shore up monopolistic control for institutions like Facebook who are willing to enforce it.

Wikipedia is an imperial narrative control operation.

They’ve imprisoned a journalist for exposing US war crimes after the CIA plotted to kidnap and assassinate him.

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The powerful work so hard at such endeavors because they understand something that most ordinary people do not: whoever controls the dominant narratives about the world controls the world itself.

Power is controlling what happens; absolute power is controlling what people think about what happens.

If you can control how people think about what’s going on in their world, if you can control their shared how-it-is stories about what’s happening and what’s true, then you can advance any agenda you want to. You’ll be able to prevent them from rising up against you as you steal their wealth, exploit their labor, destroy their ecosystem and send their children off to war. You can keep them voting for political institutions you own and control. You can keep them from interfering in your ability to wage wars around the world and sanction entire populations into starvation to advance your geostrategic goals.

This status quo of exploitation, ecocide, oppression and war benefits our rulers immensely, bringing them more wealth and power than the kings of old could ever dream of. And like the kings of old they are not going to relinquish power of their own accord, which means the only thing that will bring an end to this world-destroying status quo is the people rising up and using the power of their numbers to end it.

Yet they don’t rise up. They don’t because they are successfully propagandized into accepting this status quo, or at least into believing it’s the only way things can be right now. Imperial narrative control is therefore the source of all our biggest problems.

And they’re only getting more and more aggressive about it. More and more forceful, less and less sly and subtle in their campaign to control the thoughts that are in our heads.

Many of those who have this realization see it as cause for despair. I personally see it as cause for hope.

They work so hard to manufacture our consent for the status quo because they absolutely require that consent; history shows us that rulers do not fare well after a critical mass of the population has turned against them. And they’re working harder and harder to manufacture that consent, even as extremely influential people begin questioning whether we’re being deliberately deceived about everything.

They used to look like someone using a bucket to bail out water from a leaky boat. Now they look like someone treading water, barely managing to get their mouth and nose high enough to take gasps of air.

They’re working harder and harder because they need to.

The fact that the propagandists have to work so hard to keep our society this insane means the natural gravitational pull is toward sanity. They have to educate us into crazier and crazier ways of thinking from the moment we go to school until we die, because otherwise we’ll collectively awaken and shake off their shackles.

It takes a lot of educating to keep us this stupid.

You think you’re struggling? You should see the people trying to manufacture consent for a status quo that is both plainly insane and self-evidently unsustainable. They’re the ones doing all the heavy lifting in this struggle. They’re the ones fighting gravity.

Hope is not a popular position to take in a world that is being abused, exploited and being driven mad by manipulative sociopaths. Which is understandable.

But I just can’t help it. I look at how hard they are struggling to keep the light from bursting in and driving out the darkness, and I can’t help but think, “Those poor bastards can’t keep that up much longer.”

____________________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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The Science Of Propaganda Is Still Being Developed And Advanced

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/10/2021 - 11:48am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/6ac9f060ad4463349fc6de52f77913f2/href

We live in a far less free society than most of us think.

It looks like we’re free. We don’t get thrown in prison for criticizing our government officials. We can vote for whoever we want. We can log onto the internet and look up information on any subject we’re interested in. If we want to buy a product we have many brands we are free to choose from.

But we’re not free. Our political systems are set up to herd people into a two-party system that is controlled on both sides by plutocrats. The news media that people rely on to form ideas about what’s going on and how they should vote are controlled by the plutocratic class and heavily influenced by secretive government agencies. Internet algorithms are aggressively manipulated to show people information which favors the status quo. Even our entertainment is rife with Pentagon and CIA influence.

How free is that? How free is your speech if there are myriad institutional safeguards in place to prevent speech from ever effecting political change?

It doesn’t matter what you’re allowed to say if it doesn’t matter what you say. It doesn’t matter if you’re allowed to call the oligarchic puppet put in office by the last fake election a dickhead. It doesn’t matter if you’re allowed to Google any information you want only to find whatever information Google wants you to find.

What is the functional difference between a regime which directly censors the internet to prevent dissent and a regime which works with Silicon Valley plutocrats to control information via algorithms and has a system in place which prevents dissent from having any meaningful impact?

There is none.

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We live in a profoundly unfree society that is disguised as a free society. Western liberal democracy is just totalitarianism dressed in drag.

And it’s only getting worse. Propaganda is a still-developing science.

Last month Ottawa Citizen reported that the Canadian military used the Covid outbreak as an excuse to test actual military psyop techniques on its own civilian population under the pretense of assuring compliance with pandemic restrictions.

Some excerpts:

  • “Canadian military leaders saw the pandemic as a unique opportunity to test out propaganda techniques on an unsuspecting public, a newly released Canadian Forces report concludes.”
  • “The plan devised by the Canadian Joint Operations Command, also known as CJOC, relied on propaganda techniques similar to those employed during the Afghanistan war. The campaign called for ‘shaping’ and ‘exploiting’ information. CJOC claimed the information operations scheme was needed to head off civil disobedience by Canadians during the coronavirus pandemic and to bolster government messages about the pandemic.”
  • “A separate initiative, not linked to the CJOC plan, but overseen by Canadian Forces intelligence officers, culled information from public social media accounts in Ontario. Data was also compiled on peaceful Black Lives Matter gatherings and BLM leaders.”
  • “‘This is really a learning opportunity for all of us and a chance to start getting information operations into our (CAF-DND) routine,’ the rear admiral stated.”
  • “Yet another review centred on the Canadian Forces public affairs branch and its activities. Last year, the branch launched a controversial plan that would have allowed military public affairs officers to use propaganda to change attitudes and behaviours of Canadians as well as to collect and analyze information from public social media accounts.”
  • “The plan would have seen staff move from traditional government methods of communicating with the public to a more aggressive strategy of using information warfare and influence tactics on Canadians.”

So they’re not just employing mass-scale psychological operations on the public, they’re testing them and learning from them.

And we can probably assume that anything which may have been learned was also shared with the government agencies of other NATO members.

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In a new article titled “Behind NATO’s ‘cognitive warfare’: Western militaries are waging a ‘battle for your brain’”, The Grayzone’s Ben Norton reports on how recent NATO-sponsored discussions have explicitly advocated the need to advance the science of cognitive warfare for offensive as well as defensive purposes.

Some excerpts:

  • “NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded as cognitive warfare. Described as the ‘weaponization of brain sciences,’ the new method involves ‘hacking the individual’ by exploiting ‘the vulnerabilities of the human brain’ in order to implement more sophisticated ‘social engineering.’
  • “While the NATO-backed study insisted that much of its research on cognitive warfare is designed for defensive purposes, it also conceded that the military alliance is developing offensive tactics, stating, ‘The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO’s human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries’s vulnerabilities.’”
  • “In a chilling disclosure, the report stated explicitly that ‘the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military.’”
  • “The study described this phenomenon as ‘the militarization of brain science.’ But it appears clear that NATO’s development of cognitive warfare will lead to a militarization of all aspects of human society and psychology, from the most intimate of social relationships to the mind itself.”
  • “In other words, this document shows that figures in the NATO military cartel increasingly see their own domestic population as a threat, fearing civilians to be potential Chinese or Russian sleeper cells, dastardly ‘fifth columns’ that challenge the stability of ‘Western liberal democracies.’”
  • “Naturally, the NATO researcher claimed foreign ‘adversaries’ are the supposed aggressors employing cognitive warfare. But at the same time, he made it clear that the Western military alliance is developing its own tactics.”

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In a 2017 essay titled “The War on Sensemaking”, writer Jordan Greenhall made an observation that I have thought about ever since: that the science of modern propaganda has been in research and development for more than a century now, and has necessarily advanced scientifically just as much as other fields in the military have.

“In 1917, a young Edward Bernays was asked to help the American war effort by applying his uncle Sigmund Freud’s theories of the unconscious to a new German technique called ‘propaganda’,” Greenhall writes. “The technology of war moves quickly. In the span of one and a half centuries, the last war leapt from long rifles to repeating rifles to gatling guns all the way to Little Boy. The warfighters of the current war haven’t dawdled. The wars of culture, meaning and purpose have seen innovation on an ‘exponential technology curve.’ The artisanal efforts of Bernays and Goebbels have been left far in the past by modern methods.”

Think about how many technological advancements there have been in the military over the last century. Our rulers have been refining their methods of manipulating our sensemaking abilities to their advantage throughout that entire time, and only a small minority of us have even begun to realize that that manipulation is even happening. We’re just learning to play checkers while they’re mastering 3-D chess.

I don’t have any solutions to this problem other than to spread consciousness of the fact that it is happening. Propaganda only works if you don’t understand (A) that it is happening to you and (B) how it is occurring, and a basic awareness of the fact that there’s a globe-spanning campaign to manipulate human thought to the advantage of the powerful is the first step toward having that understanding. Having the humility to understand that you yourself can be manipulated and deceived is the second step.

My hope is that humanity will transcend its psychological susceptibility to manipulation and move into a healthy relationship with mental narrative as our adapt-or-die precipice draws nearer. But time will only tell.

____________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Featured image via Pixabay.

Australia adrift: how to be a good society Part 2

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 06/10/2021 - 4:57am in

There is no denying it. Australia is at the crossroads. If a reminder were needed, the pandemic has obliged. COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of life, the uncertainties of the future, and the shortcomings of our institutions.

Federal and state governments have tried to manage an emergency for which they were ill prepared and whose ramifications they still only dimly perceive. We now know that the Covid threat to health and livelihoods cannot be managed purely by the efforts of a local community, a state government, or for that matter a national government. For the virus knows no boundaries — within or between countries.

And so it is with every other major issue, be it climate change, education or our relations with China. People and issues are inextricably linked.

All of which adds to Australia’s collective uncertainty and anxiety. Where to turn? The only feasible answer is to connect, to engage with others, to marshal energies and interest in a multifaceted national conversation that looks at the symptoms and importantly the causes of our predicament.

The first step is to devise a sustained and inclusive process of public education and consultation. Ideally, we would look to government to establish a representative and popularly elected national convention, whose brief it would be to reach a wide cross-section of society, facilitate the widest possible expression of opinion, and bring this process to a fitting conclusion in a declaration of principles and accompanying constitutional and policy recommendations.

Realistically, the institutions of government are unlikely to be forthcoming, at least initially. Political parties, as presently constituted, are largely reactive creatures. They are most unlikely to be agents of change.

But this need not obstruct or delay the conversation. Civil society can itself take the initiative. Community organisations engaged in such diverse areas as poverty, disadvantage and inequality, Indigenous rights, racism, environment, human rights, aid and development, to name a few, all have much to gain from and contribute to such an exercise. So do trade unions, professional associations, student bodies, business groups, philanthropic foundations, ethnic community organisations, research centres. think tanks and sympathetic media.

Australia adrift and uneasy; time to set a new course. Part 1

The success of such an enterprise will depend on extensive consultation, sensitivity to the needs and capacities of different players, and careful but flexible planning. At some point, it may be useful to consider a well prepared national conference that launches the initiative. It would allow for in person and online participation and reflect the widest possible range of interests and areas of expertise.

As it gets under way, the national conversation would give rise to numerous gatherings across the country, small and large, formal and informal, online and in-person. It would be sustained by an extensive program of workshops, training sessions, and a number of highly accessible discussion papers and audio-visual resources.

The overarching aim of the national conversation will be to think through how democratic citizenship and governance can best flourish in multicultural Australia. And this in the context of powerful globalising pressures and a rapidly shifting regional landscape.

Can Australian society reach a consensus on the broad principles that embody its vision of the good society and its place in the world? It would be highly desirable if it could. It is certainly worth trying.

Much headway has already been made in several areas critical to Australia’s future direction. However, they are as yet far from being formalised into language with which Australians can readily identify. Several are worth highlighting:

Formal recognition of the right to self-determination of our First Nations

The Uluru Statement from the Heart, the result of extensive deliberation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, is the necessary starting point. It is an invitation to all Australians to recognise the right of the First Nations to determine their preferred political status and give voice to their economic, social, cultural and spiritual aspirations.

It may be time for Australia to go one step further and recognise Indigenous customs, law and institutions as an integral part of Australia’s living cultural and legal heritage.

Democratic governance

Political renewal in Australia depends on a clear affirmation of the principles that should govern our understanding and practice of governance and civic engagement. For this we need to breathe new life into such notions as democratic participation in decision-making, social and economic justice, ecological sustainability, gender equality, celebration of cultural diversity, and a commitment to eliminate discrimination based on race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, class or status.

Respect for the balance, integrity and diversity of the natural environment

This principle needs to be translated into guidelines that can inform lifestyles, consumptions patterns and industrial and agricultural practices.

A new conception of world order

The broad principles are well known: satisfaction of human needs, respect for human rights, redistributive justice and ecological sustainability. But the potency of such principles is negated unless they are energetically and consistently applied at home and abroad. Equally such principles lose their meaning if so-called “national interests” are pursued without due regard for the corresponding interests and aspirations of other societies and the objectives of world order.

A new approach to security

Such an approach invites two commitments: support for the prohibition of the development, acquisition, use or threatened use of nuclear weapons and other technologies of mass destruction; and a policy of co-operative relations with all other peoples and states consistent with the above principles, and exclusive of any military alliances.

A public conversation of the kind envisaged here offers a unique opportunity to revisit what we understand by the rights of Australian citizens. A legally binding framework, sometimes referred to as a bill of rights or a human rights charter, has been periodically considered but invariably relegated to the too hard basket. Much debate is needed to determine the specific rights to be recognised and protected and the legal procedures that should be instituted for this purpose.

At the very least, Australia must commit itself to giving legal force to all existing international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights and their respective protocols, and several other conventions dealing with the rights of children, women, workers, refugees and asylum seekers, migrant workers and their families.

Political renewal must eventually include the functioning of several political institutions. The establishment of an Australian republic is symbolically important in that it would mean the severing of residual legal and political connections with the British Crown.

Ideally, a republican constitution would cement the principle that the making and unmaking of national governments is determined solely by the Australian electorate. Fears associated with the discretionary or incremental powers that an elected president might wield could be allayed if the presidential office were to be purely ceremonial in character, and if over time occupancy of the office were to be reflective of the multicultural fabric of Australian society.

A great many other facets of Australian governance are in urgent need of review. These include the restructuring of the Australian federal system, the democratisation of the parliamentary process and the electoral system, the potential of a more extensive though selective use of the plebiscite mechanism for policy determination, the need for strict quantitative and qualitative controls on party finances, including funding of election campaigns, and the regulatory system that can best deliver an independent and diverse media landscape.

Also worthy of attention is the establishment of publicly funded but representative and accountable citizen councils or assemblies empowered to air complaints, hold public inquiries, investigate various facets of public administration, and issue reports and recommendations.

Crucial to all this is the renewal of civic education, making it an integral element of primary, secondary, tertiary and continuing education. Such education must take account of the needs and possibilities of a multicultural society on the one hand and a rapidly changing international order on the other.

A national conversation on the future of Australia — the land, its people, and its cultures — is overdue. It will not cure all our ills. Nor will it fully satisfy anyone’s preferences. But, if adequately prepared, resourced, and inclusive, it may allow Australia to awake from its current slumber.

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The Corporations Are The Government: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 02/10/2021 - 10:00pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/c79079b574a6b8da773ddc7b06b2a0bb/href

You’d think the revelation that the CIA planned to assassinate an award-winning journalist for journalistic activity would have been a bigger deal.

Capitalism hinders progress because it ensures that all mass-scale human behavior will be driven by the pursuit of profit. For example, a huge global issue we have right now is cleaning up the pollution in our oceans. That is an easily solved issue if you take out the profit motive; you don’t wait for market forces to find some way to make it profitable, you just get in there and clean it up. But with the profit motive it’s almost impossible to conceive of it ever being solved.

How often have you been excited by a great idea only to feel that familiar disappointment wash over you as you realize that it will never happen because it won’t make anyone any money? That’s how the profit motive stunts innovation.

The profit motive will never find a way to leave a forest alone or minerals in the ground. There’s no business plan that makes money out of moms being paid to bring up healthy, happy, secure children. You can’t find a way to make money out of people driving less or buying less. There is no money in curing an illness, only treating it. There is no money in solving poverty, only in setting up a multi-million dollar “charity” that never actually intends to solve poverty because it’s a business and a business requires endless expansion.

People who proffer the market as a solution to our massive problems have either never really thought about the restrictions of the profit motive, or they are heavily invested in pretending those restrictions don’t exist. I don’t respect either of those positions.

The corporations are the government. If you didn’t believe it before, believe it now that human rights lawyer Steven Donziger has effectively been sentenced to six months in prison by Chevron itself.

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Never attribute to an elite cabal of Satanic pedovores what can be adequately explained by capitalism.

Jeff Bezos steals $2537 per second.

Remember when we learned that a very wealthy person can for a relatively small fee hire an army of former Mossad agents to terrorize, intimidate and subvert any private citizen?

It’s pretty fucked up how our criminal justice systems are like a century behind our understanding of developmental psychology, trauma and addiction.

Imagine if young people deployed to remove plastic from the ocean instead of to kill foreigners for Lockheed Martin.

The US and its allies have every obligation to absorb the immigrants fleeing the conditions created by the imperialist warmongering and economic exploitation inflicted upon them by that power alliance. If you want people to stay in their own countries then stop destroying those countries.

It’s funny how defenders of the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations often bleated “You break it, you bought it,” but they always meant “We broke their country therefore we need to continue the occupation” and not “We broke their country therefore we need to take in all the people fleeing the conditions we created.”

Wow Australia’s such a mess, I don’t understand how a continent-sized military base with no bill of rights that was built on prison labor and genocide and apartheid could be experiencing human rights issues.

Picture the most intrusive, Orwellian government you can possibly imagine: watching your every move, controlling everything you do. That’s the kind of power we should have over any system of government. Total transparency and accountability to the people, total control by the people.

I just cannot understand why all these damn anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists don’t trust a government that actively works against the public interest 100 percent of the time.

I mean if you can’t trust institutions that are deliberately constructed to subvert the common good for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful at every turn, who can you trust?

Leaving aside the horrifying normalization of worldwide online speech being controlled by Silicon Valley plutocrats, does anyone actually believe that censoring vaccine skepticism will lead to increased trust in the vaccines? Does that really sound like something that would work?

“Obviously the best way to convince conspiracy theorists to trust their institutions is to have an elite cabal of billionaire megacorporations in Silicon Valley coordinate the blanket censorship of their online speech.”

Yeah great idea, dipshit.

If there are future humans on the other side of the existential hurdles our species is approaching there is a zero percent chance that they still destroy the environment to manufacture useless junk because they all need jobs to keep numbers in their bank accounts so they don’t starve.

When you actually love someone you are intensely curious about them and fascinated by them. You want to know everything about their inner world and what makes them tick, and you delight in what’s revealed to you with profound appreciation. If this isn’t happening, it isn’t love.

A lady in a spirituality group I used to frequent announced she was filtering the fluoride out of her water and made a really big deal about it. Every day she’d gush about her amazing third eye visions and how great she was feeling and how she pities all our poor calcified pineal glands. Then one day someone showed her that the filter she was using doesn’t actually filter out fluoride.

I think about this often.

So much of what we call spirituality is just the mind searching for things that are already the case. Peace. Freedom. Presence. Boundlessness. Unconditional love. These things are already here, are already you. Just obscured by the mind’s flailing around trying to create them.

_________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Pompeo Effectively Admits To Assange Allegations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/09/2021 - 11:59am in

Listen to a reading of this article

In the process of issuing another not-really-a-denial about a Yahoo News report that the CIA plotted to kidnap, extradite and assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2017, former CIA director Mike Pompeo said that the 30 former government officials the report was based on “should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Here are some quotes from the exchange on Pompeo’s recent Megyn Kelly Show appearance courtesy of Mediaite:

Kelly asked Pompeo about the claims.

“Makes for pretty good fiction, Megyn,” said Pompeo. “They should write such a novel.”

He added, “Whoever those 30 people who allegedly spoke with one of these reporters, they should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Pompeo called Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” that is “actively seeking to steal American classified information.”

“You deny the report?” asked Kelly.

“There’s pieces of it that are true,” said Pompeo. “We tried to protect American information from Julian Assange and Wikileaks, absolutely, yes. Did our justice department believe they had a valid claim which would’ve resulted in the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to stand trial? Yes. I supported that effort for sure. Did we ever engage in activity that was inconsistent with U.S. law?… We’re not permitted by U.S. law to conduct assassinations. We never acted in a way that was inconsistent with that.”

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Pompeo’s point that “We’re not permitted by U.S. law to conduct assassinations” is not especially convincing considering how the Trump administration openly assassinated Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike last year, a move which Pompeo supported and defended.

“President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence, real deterrence, against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo gushed in support of the assassination at the time.

Pompeo’s pseudo-denial is of course further undermined by his position that the former officials who spoke to the press should all be prosecuted for “speaking about classified activity inside the Central Intelligence Agency.” Is it false or is it “classified activity”? It can’t be both. The two things Pompeo admitted to, trying to “protect American information” and working to extradite Assange, are not classified information. The classified information he wants them prosecuted for is therefore something else.

After a lot of flailing and humming and hawing Pompeo does eventually make what sounds like a concrete denial with the curiously-worded phrase “I can say we never conducted planning to violate US law.” But even this wouldn’t be a denial of the claims in the Yahoo News report, because the report is mostly about the intelligence community and the Trump administration trying to find legal loopholes that would allow them to take out Assange.

For example, this quote from the Yahoo News article: “A primary question for U.S. officials was whether any CIA plan to kidnap or potentially kill Assange was legal.” This would in no way be contradicted by Pompeo’s claim that “we never conducted planning to violate US law.” It would mean that there were discussions and plans about assassinating Assange amid conversations and debates about whether it would be legal to do so. The fact that they didn’t plan to violate US law doesn’t mean they didn’t plan to assassinate Assange if they could find a legal loophole for it.

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This follows an earlier non-denial by Pompeo of the exact same nature in an interview with conservative pundit Glenn Beck. Pompeo points out that one of the article’s authors was a Russiagater and says of the former officials cited in the report that “those sources didn’t know what we were doing.” But he doesn’t actually deny it.

If Pompeo had not been involved in plots to kidnap, rendition and assassinate Julian Assange, he would have just said so. He wouldn’t have engaged in all kinds of verbal gymnastics to squirm his way out of a difficult question, and he certainly wouldn’t be calling for the criminal prosecution of his accusers for “speaking about classified activity inside the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Mike Pompeo is a literal psychopath. He chuckles about lying, cheating and stealing with the CIA. He defends murderous sanctions and openly admits to using them to foment civil war in empire-targeted nations. He defends assassination. He strongly implied the US would interfere in UK politics if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister. And yet somehow he escaped the Trump administration the mass media so despised with nary a scratch of media criticism on him.

This is because Mike Pompeo, as full of centipedes and demon spawn as his enormous head may be, is highly representative of the mainstream US power establishment. He is the embodiment of the empire’s values. He’s just one of its less-subtle representatives.

__________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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The democratic crisis: Whatever happened to courage, principle, commitment, accountability?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/09/2021 - 4:56am in

Australian democracy is under serious threat, and neither of the major parties have any vision beyond the next election. Only an active citizenry can prevent us sliding towards authoritarian or populist democracy.

Democracy faces its greatest existential crisis since the 1930s. Hitler used democratic forms to come to power in Germany but rejected the democratic ethos. What is sometimes called “the Enlightenment project” has come under sustained attack in the United States, much of Europe, and to a lesser degree, so far, Australia.

There has been a sharp loss of confidence in democratic practice, and the quality of leadership, in the United States, in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, many other European states, Russia, Turkey, most of South America, and virtually all of Africa.

The global scene was marked by the rise of rightist, nationalist, anti-immigrant and protectionist parties, authoritarian rule, corrupted elections, the emergence of kleptocratic rulers, suppression of free speech, suspension of the rule of law, resort to violence and adoption of the surveillance state.

Democracy is under internal threats with the rise of populism, nativism, decaying institutions, with corruption accepted as normal, with vested interests setting agendas, leaders who refuse to be accountable for their actions, “retail politics”, where leaders fail to ask of a proposition, “Is it right”, but “Will it sell?”, in a new era in which feeling and opinion displace analysis and evidence, and leaders fail to lead.

Australian democracy is under serious threat and neither the Coalition nor the Australian Labor Party (ALP) have any vision beyond the election of 2022. Citizens have to be prepared to engage and challenge to tackle the global threat of climate change. The Coalition, captive of the fossil fuel lobby, lies about meeting global targets for emissions reductions and the Opposition’s line on climate change is vague and shifty. The states, irrespective of political allegiances, have been prepared to set targets: the Commonwealth has not — because there will be three elections before 2030 and 10 before 2050.

The well respected “Democracy Index 2020”, published by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit calculates that only 8.4 per cent of the world’s population live in a “full democracy”.

Australia is one of them, but we cannot take it for granted. We have become increasingly secretive, authoritarian, sensitive to criticism and corrupt.

Democracy in decline: Australia’s slide into ‘competitive authoritarianism’

Death of debate: Loss of language and memory

In 1977 when I was first elected to the Commonwealth Parliament, only 2 per cent of Australians were graduates, and 53 per cent of MPs. In 2021 we have a much more tertiary qualified community — 7 million graduates — and 85 per cent of MPs have degrees. That ought to mean a far higher quality of debate/discussion on issues than at any time in our history. Right? Wrong, actually.

Paradoxically, there appears to be an inverse relationship between the number of graduates in Parliament and the quality of political debate and it is now impossible to get a straight answer to a question.

Our Parliaments are far more representative as a cross-section of the community than they have ever been — not perfect, but far better. More women — not enough, some younger members, far more from non-English speaking backgrounds. Surely that ought to result in far better debates than in the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s, with all-male, white, English-speaking Parliaments? Right? Again, wrong.

Politics has become a profession. This is the era of retail politics, complicated by some feudal elements, in factions and patronage.

The major parties have been privatised, ruled by factions who exercise power by keeping the numbers of active, inquisitive party members well down.

There are 15 million voters but probably no more than 30,000 members of the major parties (0.2 per cent of the total) who are actually alive and know that they are members.

Typically, members of Parliament are drawn from a very narrow gene pool and follow a depressingly similar career path:

Student politics > graduate > party/union/ corporate/lobby group organiser > “minder” > MP or senator > minister > “resign to have time with the family” > lobbyist (gambling, banks, China, minerals).

The Liberal Party is essentially the party of the status quo — of reinforcement of the familiar. Historically, the ALP was the party of change, but I doubt if this is still true. The challenge for Labor is this: in an expanding, dynamic society, can the ALP concentrate on emphasising its ageing and contracting traditional base, with a “back to the 1980s” appeal?

In the decade 1966-1975, Australian politicians were generally well ahead of public opinion on many issues, for example the mass migration program, ending White Australia, abolishing the death penalty, divorce law reform, homosexual decriminalisation, access to abortion, recognising the People’s Republic of China, starting to reduce tariff protection, support for the arts, changing attitudes to the Vietnam War and conscription, affirmative action for women, needs based education, ending censorship, admitting large numbers of refugees, expanding tertiary education. Could we find an equivalent list for the current decade?

Australia has been a democratic innovator, and major reforms included expanding universities, creating probably the world’s best national health scheme, significantly reducing tariffs without causing large scale unemployment.

In recent decades, politicians have been well behind public opinion on issues such as same-sex marriage, effective action on climate change, transition to a post-carbon economy, protecting the Great Barrier Reef and other heritage sites, voluntary assisted dying, ending live animal exports, a rational and compassionate approach to refugees, and the republic. Political parties are fearful of antagonising vested interests and being “wedged”.

Gareth Evans points out that so many of these are what he calls “decency issues” and it is odd — and galling — that leaders who put a heavy emphasis on their religion and are supported by happy clappers are strikingly lacking in compassion, and regard cruelty to refugees, for example, as a vote winner.

In The Frontiers of Knowledge (Viking, 2021), the English philosopher A C Grayling wrote (p. 337):

“Higher education has undergone a remarkable reversal. It has gone from having general literacy as its goal, leaving special expertise to form itself later as the outcome of individual interest and experience, to inculcating special expertise as its goal, leaving general literacy to form itself later as the outcome of individual interest. The reversal occurred without a half-way house, like a switch being thrown.”

We now live in an era of anti-leaders, where the greatest issue is winning (or failing to win) the next election, so politicians are walking on egg-shells, fearful of offending powerful vested interests, incapable of thinking globally, or contemplating the long term future and 2030 or 2050 seem unimaginably distant.

There is a bipartisan failure in the hegemonic parties — both the Coalition and Labor, to act courageously on major issues — taking effective action on climate change (where we are determined to be last among developed nations, and proud of it), refusing to plan for a post-carbon economy, elevating opinion and feeling over evidence and experience, refusal to act on corruption, restore the concept of truth and accountability, in government, getting the Constitution right, pursuing indigenous reconciliation, preserving the environment, adopting humane, compassionate policies on refugees, tackling gambling and drug dependence, ending misogyny and exploitation of women.

The last serious debate in the Australian House of Representatives on science and research was in 1989, on involvement in war in 1991, arts and culture in 1995, the republic in 1998, on human rights in 2001, foreign policy in 2003, the environment and climate change in 2009. Neither major party is willing to debate the rationale for progressive taxation, rational policies on water use, a humane approach to the refugee/ asylum seeker issue — or gambling. And on the surveillance state, never.

Few Australians recognise that its House of Representatives holds the gold medal for the shortest sittings of any national legislature. It is not surprising that extended debate becomes impossible: it is planned that way. This is not the result of COVID-19 — it has been the case since 1901.

But I cannot help feeling uneasy when fears about COVID-19 have been used as a justification for parliaments not sitting at all — while recognising that the option of electronic voting can be valuable.

As the number of MPs increases, the sitting hours decrease.

Japan 150 days (average)
United Kingdom 142-158 days
Canada 127 days (average)
United States House of Representatives 124-145 days
Germany 104 days (average)
New Zealand 93 days (average)
Australia 67 days (average)

All governments regard parliamentary sittings as a nuisance, taking ministers away from what they regard as their core business. They are particularly irritated by Question Time, which has become a theatre of the absurd, not a genuine search for information, in which personal attacks, gaffes or “gotcha!” moments are scored, like a sporting event.

The words “truth”, “accountability”, “courage”, “debate”, “analysis”, “critical thinking”, “compassion”, “vision” and “global” have disappeared from the political lexicon.

Only an active citizenry can prevent sliding towards authoritarian or populist democracy with its endless appeals to the short term and self interest.

Solving the problems: the way ahead

Despite the magnitude of the problems, we can survive the next half century without irreversible damage to the biosphere and our social and political institutions. This will require:

  • Strong action on climate change, transition to a post-carbon economy, recognition that coal is the biggest single source of greenhouse gases, that the environment is not the enemy and that Australia can be a world leader in adopting economically complex industries;
  • Challenging major parties to adopt open democratic practices, come clean on funding, expose the role of lobbyists and restore trust in public institutions. If the major parties fail to respond, then citizens will have to create alternatives.

Oddly, the biggest problem of all — climate change — could be the easiest to tackle with higher levels of community engagement.

The number of Australians with lived experience of climate change from direct observation — farmers, gardeners, vignerons, birdwatchers, bushwalkers, firefighters, anglers, skiers, beekeepers, photographers, aviators — amounts to millions – but they are currently disengaged from, and repulsed by, politics.

Their expertise should been harnessed by the hegemonic parties but was not. to ensure that powerful mitigation measures were adopted.

Instead of hand-wringing they must engage, engage, engage. As Ross Garnaut has argued, we should not fear transition to a post-carbon economy — we have the potential to be a superpower in that area.

Voters are now spectators, not participants, in the political process.

Much could be achieved in a range of policy areas if even a small proportion of our citizens

If 1000 citizens in each of the 151 federal electoral divisions could be persuaded to join the political party that they normally vote for, play an active, principled and informed role, insist on a reform platform, and fight existing factional systems/cliques this would only involve 1 per cent of all voters.

But it would be a political revolution.

This is an edited extract of the inaugural Jean McLean Oration delivered at Victoria University on September 15, 2021.

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There Is No ‘Good’ Form Of Capitalism: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 28/09/2021 - 10:18pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/0669a8318db58c630727ba084a4be28d/href

Don’t side with the powerful against the less powerful. Just don’t. Don’t side with police against protesters. Don’t side with the US against the targets of western imperialism. Don’t side with Israel against Palestinians. Siding with the powerful means you’ve taken a wrong turn.

It sure is a strange coincidence how all the US government’s grave concerns about Julian Assange endangering national security all manifested in ways that just so happen to look exactly the same as the world’s most powerful government persecuting a journalist for telling the truth.

May all the journalists who helped manufacture consent for Assange’s persecution one day look in the mirror and see someone who helped the most powerful government in the world torture an autistic person for doing their job better than them.

Watching TV when you’re not used to it is like a nonstop machine gun punch-in-the-face reminder of how completely unsustainable capitalism is.

Q: What is capitalism?

A: Capitalism is a system of transferring blame for society’s problems from the people who cause those problems onto the people who are hurt by them.

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Q: What is democracy?

A: Democracy is getting to choose between a political party who doesn’t think the abuses of capitalism are excessive enough and a political party who thinks the level of abusiveness is just about right.

There is no “good” version of capitalism. Any system in which human behavior is driven by profit will necessarily see a steadily mounting rise in exploitation, inequality, ecocide and militarism, because all of those things are profitable. We need to end the profit motive itself.

Conspiracy theorists would have you believe that wealthy and powerful people would manipulate global affairs in all sorts of immoral ways over a paltry trillions of dollars.

Indie media figures who spend a lot of time sniping at and talking shit about other indie media figures do so solely because their interest in social climbing and sectarian tribalism grew to exceed their interest in the values which brought them to indie media in the first place.

Nobody really talks about the way you get pulled into different factions once you start gaining a following in indie media, but it’s very much a thing. You get added to group chats, people cozy up to you and amplify you and ask to be amplified, then before you know it you find yourself involved in agendas and sectarian spats that have nothing to do with your values. Takes a lot not to get drawn in.

Remember when CNN staged a scripted interview with a seven year-old Syrian girl to have her explain that Assad was responsible for a recent sarin gas attack and drum up support for US military interventionism?

https://medium.com/media/09a791ff3da17c4ac836cc85435999e2/href

I think about this a lot. She’s plainly either reading or reciting from a script, which means CNN’s Alisyn Camerota necessarily had the other half of that script. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

“Why don’t you talk more about Covid and vaccines, Caitlin?”

Yeah why don’t I spend my life trying to explain a nuanced and evolving perspective about a hot-button issue to hysterical people on the internet who are all determined to misinterpret the words I’m saying, sounds fun.

People say Marx was smart but I’ve read his stuff and he barely spends any time at all yelling about Jimmy Dore.

AOC’s habit of word-salading on difficult issues is what you get when you have news media driven by access journalism who politicians know will never try to pin them down on their answers and say “Yeah nothing you just said makes sense. Please explain what you meant by that?”

Politicians of a certain level understand that as far as the media are concerned it doesn’t matter so much how you answer as that you answer. If it’s a difficult question you just keep your mouth moving without actually saying anything until the question goes away.

This is why it always feels like you’re being lied to when you watch presidential debates. Candidates understand how to keep their mouths moving and word salad about freedom and American democracy and whatever without actually giving a concrete answer to a difficult question.

They do it because they know it works. And they know it works because they know the plutocrat-controlled media are driven by empire apologia first, ratings second, advertisers third, and holding the powerful to account somewhere near the bottom of the list.

Democratize the media, free the internet, end government secrecy, end corporate and financial secrecy, end patents, establish centers for psychedelic use and consciousness expansion, eliminate most laws and thereby most police and prisoners, govern in rotating shifts like jury duty, eliminate mass-scale manipulation including advertising, build systems for collaboration with each other and our ecosystem, end all war and militarism, get mothers all the material support they need to raise mentally and physically healthy children, end wealth inequality, give everyone enough, make shelter, water, food and air inalienable human rights.

_______________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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How Is The CIA Still A Thing?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 27/09/2021 - 10:07pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/5fb7872ac4e40c26b31eb2c533c1dd2f/href

Citing “conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials,” a new report by Yahoo News has confirmed earlier allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency not only spied on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his associates, but also drew up plans for kidnapping, renditioning, and assassinating him.

These plans were reportedly made in coordination with the Trump White House as then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo and then-Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel raged over WikiLeaks’ 2017 Vault 7 release which revealed that the CIA had lost control of an enormous digital arsenal of hacking tools. These included tools which enabled the surveillance of smartphones, smart TVs and web browsers, the hacking of computerized vehicle control systems, and the ability to frame foreign governments for cyber attacks by inserting the digital “fingerprints” of the hacking methods they employ for investigators to find. It was the single largest data leak in CIA history.

Normally we have to wait decades for confirmation that the CIA did something nefarious, and then people absurdly assume that such things no longer occur because it was so long ago, and because changing your worldview is uncomfortable. But here we are with an extensively sourced report that the agency plotted to kidnap, rendition and assassinate a journalist for publishing authentic documents in the public interest, just four years after the fact.

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Which is about as spectacular a violation of virtually every value that western society claims to uphold. Particularly the assassination bit.

The authors of the story (who for the record insert their own flimsy spin insinuating ties between Russia and WikiLeaks) say it’s not known just how serious the assassination plans were taken at Langley. But they make it abundantly clear that such plans were made:

“[A]gency executives requested and received ‘sketches’ of plans for killing Assange and other Europe-based WikiLeaks members who had access to Vault 7 materials, said a former intelligence official. There were discussions ‘on whether killing Assange was possible and whether it was legal,’ the former official said.”

And that, right there, just by itself, should be reason enough to completely abolish the Central Intelligence Agency. Just the fact that this is an institution where such conversations even happen and such plans even get made, to say nothing of the obvious implication that they wouldn’t have such conversations and make such plans if they did not act on them from time to time.

I just can’t get over how this claim was openly confirmed by a mainstream journalism investigation and the public response has been “Oh wow what an alarming news story,” instead of, “Okay well the CIA doesn’t get to exist then.”

I mean, is it not out-of-this-world bizarre that we just found out the CIA recently drew up plans to assassinate a journalist for journalistic activity, and yet we’re not all unanimously demanding that the CIA be completely dismantled and flushed down the toilet forever?

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This would after all be the same lying, drug-running, warmongering, propagandizing, psychological terrorizing Central Intelligence Agency that has been viciously smashing the world into compliance with its agendas for generations. It is surely one of the most depraved institutions ever to have existed, comparable in terms of sheer psychopathy to the worst of the worst in history.

So why does it exist? Why is there still an institution whose extensive use of torture has reportedly included “Rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electric shock (‘the Bell Telephone Hour’) rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; the ‘water treatment’; the ‘airplane’ in which the prisoner’s arms were tied behind the back, and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; the use of police dogs to maul prisoners”?

I am of course being rhetorical. We all know why the CIA still exists. An agency which exerts control over the news media with ever-increasing brazenness is not about to start helping the public become more well-informed about its unbroken track record of horrific abuses, and if anyone in power ever even thinks about crossing them they have “six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.”

The CIA is still a thing for the very reason we wish it wasn’t: because it is more savage and unscrupulous than anyone else around. Because it is willing to do whatever it takes to continue dominating and getting its way. Because terrible things happen to people it doesn’t like.

https://medium.com/media/1ec75cc8af1d4ca44f541e417bc24dfa/href

The date of the absolute last time the CIA ever did anything evil keeps getting moved forward. The CIA just casually had plans drawn up for the assassination of Julian Assange in case they decided that was something they wanted to do, but you’re a crazy conspiracy theorist if you think they might be doing other bad things right now.

The reason the latest Assange story isn’t getting more traction and causing more people to think critically about the CIA is because the US government making plans to kidnap, rendition and assassinate a journalist for telling the truth is so incomprehensibly evil that it causes too much cognitive dissonance for people to really take in. Our minds are wired to reject information which disrupts our worldview, and people who’ve spent their lives marinating in the belief that they live in a free democracy will have worldviews that are resistant to information which shows we are actually ruled by secretive power structures who laugh at our votes.

So to recap, the CIA made plans to kidnap and rendition Julian Assange and to assassinate him and his associates. The CIA also spied on Assange and his legal team, and a notoriously untrustworthy key witness for the prosecution in his case has admitted to fabricating evidence. And yet the CIA is not being burnt to the ground and its ashes scattered to the Langley winds, and the UK is still somehow proceeding right along with the US appeal to extradite Assange.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as much light as WikiLeaks has shone on the dark inner workings of the powerful over the years, the persecution of Julian Assange by those very same power structures has revealed far, far more. The more they seek to persecute him the brighter that light shines on them, making it easier and easier for us to see who they are, what they do, and how they do it.

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People Don’t Understand How Unfree We Already Are

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 26/09/2021 - 10:52pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/c087f103615cd9f7a27e5473097ac8d8/href

The biggest and most widespread blind spot among those who oppose totalitarian control by the powerful is the assumption that it has not already been achieved.

We’ve been so busy watching out for the next overtly totalitarian dictatorship that wants to put the jackboot on our necks we never noticed the covert totalitarians sliding the shackles around our minds.

Everyone thinks about the abusers who beat their spouses, but not the abusers who dominate their spouses’ minds with psychological manipulation.

Everyone thinks about psychopathic killers prowling the streets, but not the psychopathic killers who rule our world via mass-scale manipulation.

Conspiracy analysts warn that the government is trying to give everyone a social credit score to force us all to comply with the agendas of the powerful, in nations where mass-scale narrative management through the media and online algorithms already manipulates everyone into complying with the agendas of the powerful.

People assume that they aren’t already behaving exactly how the powerful want them to behave within a civilization whose political, monetary and economic systems are already completely under the control of the powerful.

People think they are free just because they can go and buy whatever they want in an economy rigged for the powerful using money rigged for the powerful, because they can say whatever they want on internet platforms whose algorithms are manipulated by the powerful, because they can vote for a politician who only got on the ballot by being owned by the powerful.

People think they are free because the system let them elect a “populist” like Donald Trump, even after that “populist” spent four years doing nothing but advancing the interests of the powerful.

People think they are free because the system lets them elect “progressives” like Bernie Sanders and AOC, even though those “progressives” always stop short when it comes time to challenge real power.

People spent generations arguing for the right to own guns so they can defend themselves against tyranny while the iron bars of tyranny were quietly being constructed around them the entire time.

Western leftists are so busy arguing with each other that they haven’t noticed that the left has been so effectively sabotaged, hijacked, subverted and neutered in our society that it is now little more than a glorified group chat.

Silicon Valley megacorporations have intimate relationships with powerful government agencies and those agencies are almost certainly harvesting everyone’s data to fine-tune their propaganda operations on the public based on what our information tells them about our thoughts and feelings on subjects relevant to status quo power agendas.

If our information is valuable enough to make Facebook into a trillion-dollar company via surveillance capitalism, we may be absolutely certain that our information is also valuable enough for opaque government agencies to work on gathering our information for its own purposes.

The science of modern propaganda has been in research and development for more than a century, which is an eternity when you think of all the advances in other military technologies that have been achieved during that time. They’re only getting better and better at this, and now the internet has given them unprecedented access to the inner workings of our collective psychology.

A wife who’s been psychologically dominated into doing everything her husband wants doesn’t notice she’s being abused, because she isn’t being beaten into doing those things; she thinks she’s doing what she wants to do.

A population that’s been psychologically dominated into doing everything the powerful want doesn’t notice that it is being tyrannized, because it isn’t being forced to do those things at gunpoint; people think they are doing what they want to do.

None of the people warning of Orwellian dystopia get it: we’re already there. We’re already marching in perfect alignment with what our rulers desire for us. We just haven’t noticed because we’re still able to eat McDonald’s and watch internet porn.

They’re still tightening the bolts in various ways to make sure we don’t escape our prison, but make no mistake: those prison walls are already fully constructed, and have been for a while now.

The walls aren’t physical; the chains are affixed to our minds. But what is the functional difference between a populace which obeys the powerful because it is forced to and a populace which obeys the powerful because it was manipulated into wanting to?

We are trapped. We are checkmated. At least, as long as our minds continue to operate in a way that can be easily manipulated.

It is possible that humanity can collectively break free from this propaganda-induced trance by means of a mass-scale psychological transformation out of our unhealthy relationship with mental narrative, and there are some signs that such a transformation may be on its way.

Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t; every species comes to a point where it either makes the adaptations necessary for its survival or it doesn’t. As the powerful use the chains around our minds to march us all toward an existential cliff’s edge of ecocide and nuclear brinkmanship, we’re about to find out which one we are.

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My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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