81 Comments

The best word to describe it is the original word: propaganda. “Information operations” is a euphemism, and George Carlin explained the problem with euphemisms better than anybody else. What is propaganda? The definition is simple: the management of collective attitudes by the manipulation of significant symbols. So it’s an activity, and as such, can be used for good or for evil. The government can use it to discourage smoking, or to enlist the youth to fight and die abroad. The problem is when government and news media unite to carry out propaganda internally, against their own population. The twitter files expose this. But the elephant in the room is the summer of flames of the george floyd protests. Despite the “right reasons” to protest, there’s a high chance FBI/Twitter fanned the flames and violence to prime the Biden vote. If there is any evidence of this in the twitter files, it would be the biggest “information operation” scandal in the history of the USA.

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Those pallets of bricks didn't show up on their own.

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If it's not salted with a fresh conspiracy theory, it's not a genuine Racket News comment.

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Funny how theories become facts. Especially the really far out ones, like Russia hoax, which just become conspiracies.

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Yeah there is a pattern forming there isn't there?

Tinfoil is the new wool felt.

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I'm glad I wasn't drinking something when I read this " .... would mean a natural decrease in the defense budget ....". A natural decrease? Has anyone ever witnessed such a rare event or is it a prong off the theory of evolution?

"Being the most powerful military ...", on paper anyway. Given the neocon approach, stomping a third-rate opponent may give the impression of might but in reality much of it could be illusion fed by multiple "information operations" as well as "Collective Paranoia".

"Since the military is reactive by nature, .... ". More theoretical perception? Many think there is ample evidence of involvement with the sole intention of fomenting conflict(s).

It seems possible the only hope for the future of the US is the fact of " ... the distrust many Americans have for the government." exist.

Thanks for an interesting read. It might seem I'm trying to be critical of this piece but that's not my intent, just adding a bit of contrast. I worked on the outer edge of the MIC for more than 25 years and much of what is written here is spot on.

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Post WWII was the last time we had a natural, and massive, decrease in military spending. Then the Republican Party spurned Taft, for Ike, so that our devolution into an imperial power (replacing the UK) would continue unabated. Even then, the development of the nuclear umbrella was vastly cheaper than the conventional alternative.

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I think both parties were equally receptive to embracing the generosity doled out by MIC. The few who took exception, say JFK, RFK & MLK, were easily dispatched from the scene. And as an exclamation mark Teddy learned the lesson after taking a quick dip in the pond. Greed is a thorough corruptor.

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Ike gave the original speech criticizing the Military Industrial Complex. He posited the dangerous future implications of an unabated MIC. Today, we also have the Tech IC and the Censorship IC.

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Yes, his farewell speech - telling us to beware of what he had helped create.

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Truman felt the same way about the CIA and gave a speech around the same time saying the CIA's mission had become nothing like he had intended. The speech was only broadcast once.

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May 19, 2023·edited May 19, 2023

Like 'Islamophobia,' a word that attempts to recast a natural aversion to terrorist atrocities as an irrational psychological aberration in the minds of objectors, 'misinformation' and 'disinformation' are terms of deliberate evasion. Saying we've been misinformed is a convenient ellipsis for claiming that information we've been given is inaccurate, incomplete, or unreliable in some other way. It doesn't follow there's such a thing, ontologically, as misinformation: everything that comes to our attention qualifies as information. The propositions by means of which we exchange information can be classified as true, false, helpful, harmful, etc., but the set of propositions that are non-propositions has no members.

Let's stop acquiescing in having this ontologically vacuous vocabulary foisted on us. The truth status, accuracy and utility of propositions conveying information are our true and legitimate concerns, and the pre-emptive labeling of such propositions as 'misinformation' and 'disinformation' is a transparent attempt to forestall exactly the kind of investigation needed to ascertain such propositional accuracy and truth value. 'Misinformation' as a classification is a treacherous deceit that pretends we already have answers to questions we haven't even been allowed to ask yet.

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So assuming all the terrorists are Muslims just assume all Muslims are terrorists, eliminate all the Muslims, in the process all the terrorists. What of the Muslims that are not terrorists? No one gives a fuck about them anyway.

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(?) Since no such assumption is inferable from my post, or required to make sense of it, I'm not sure what the point of your observation is.

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If anything, we should look at the fact of human brainwashing. This is so prevalent in all this that to just speak of Islamophobia is only a small example. Christianity is no better and all is an aberrational power structure that is destructive and comes from self hatred.

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"Like 'Islamophobia,' a word that attempts to recast a natural aversion to terrorist atrocities ..."

From which it follows Islam = terrorist atrocities.

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May 20, 2023·edited May 20, 2023

Clearly, you've never opened a book of logic in your life. No, that conclusion doesn't follow from a claim about how the word 'Islamophobia' is customarily employed. The intent is always to undermine legitimate criticism by pretending it's simply an expression of psychological malady in the critic, a form of ad hominemism that itself is a logical fallacy. The unwillingness of apologists to come to grips with Islam's sad history of terrorist atrocities is the most obvious example, and if your aim here is to speak up on behalf of Islam you might reflect on the fact that this particular evasive tactic hurts primarily Muslims themselves, since statistically they are by far the principal victims of such atrocities.

In any event, this is a side issue. Are you at all interested in the point of the post, which isn't even slightly concerned with Islam or terrorism? People are familiar with the 'Islamophobia' strategy, so referencing it as a conceptual aid to seeing that the 'misinformation' dodge sabotages dialogue in much the same way made sense. Do you care about that little problem--the one of evasion by terminological subterfuge--which at least has the advantage of being relevant to the article to which my post replies?

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Right. Islamophobia is disinformation when used in the context of recasting your Islamophobia as an irrational psychological aberration. Brilliant. Let's not call it Islamophobia. Let's call it ... NORMAL !!! Then let's assume they are all terrorists and eliminate them all !!!

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So you have neither a sense of logical relevance nor any interest in the forum topic, and your poster handle is an accurate self-description.

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Fabulous article, Tom -- thanks, and welcome to Racket News! (Though I fear you still retain a bit too much optimism... There is no escape from the Orwellian nightmare ;-) .... May as well get used to a permanent boot-print face tattoo!)

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Excellent work, and weaving in a scene from Josey Wales made it even better.

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a turning of the tide? Let's hope so.

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This. Is. Exactly. Why. We. Need. A. Real. Media. Not lap dogs and parrots.

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We do have a real media and all real media have their lapdogs and parrots. If you're also pleading for a "better" or more "honest" media, Wyatt offers a source's prescription by using Taiwan's efforts at combatting disinformation. Her recommendations: media literacy and civic engagement.

There are three pillars supporting a functioning democracy and they are inextricably bound up. The quality of a nation's media reflects the quality of its government and educational institutions. If the government is largely unresponsive to the needs of its citizens, the media will be also. And educated citizens will demand both a responsible media and a responsive government. Absent of one, a nation would soon be absent of all.

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"and educational institutions". Bingo!!! Johnny, tell him what he's won.

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May 22, 2023·edited May 22, 2023

I haven't heard from Johnny. Is this a tease? Did I really win anything? A croquet set? Or maybe a complete set of Cuisinart pots and pans? A heavy duty "Gorilla" lawn cart? What I could really use (if we have any input) is a nice little package of four Michelin Sport 4S tires. I don't want to come off as "pushy," but I've included some helpful Michelin product information below that might be helpful for the prize department at the "Rob Wright Show."

"Select sizes of the Pilot Sport 4S are available with Michelin's Premium Touch sidewall treatment. This velvet-effect checkered sidewall is created using cutting-edge laser technology and is designed to enhance the vehicle's visual presence. These sizes are identified on the "Specs" page and in the search results."

Again, where's my prize?

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I'll see what the delay is. But for your trouble I'm gonna see if we can't throw in a free set of curb feelers to protect those sidewalls

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The government can generate an honest narrative, but it requires being truthful, and no bureaucracy wants that. The bureaucracy (leadership and all of the people in it) want stability, and if that requires obscurantism rather than transparency - no problem. You want a perfect example, the author gives it to us:

"With Yonder, you can slice through streams of social media to gain contextual intelligence on narratives – including their authenticity and likely trajectory of amplification…Understanding the intent, affiliations, and influence of adversarial networks provides you with critical insight into emerging topics and events before they go viral."

That is a marketing pitch that says nothing. And the bureaucracy, and political leadership, love it.

The problem with all government acquisition, not just DOD, is that politics drives the process and there are no metrics of performance that are ever meaningful, nor is there any real 'return on investment'. You really can't ever know was this money well spent; you can only know did it satisfy some constituency (which is usually not completely thus we must spend even more).

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Ecce Homo . . .

"In Scotland also witch-finding became a trade. They were known under the designation of “common prickers,” and, like Hopkins, received a fee for each witch they discovered. . . . These common prickers became at last so numerous that they were considered nuisances. The judges refused to take their evidence; and in 1678 the privy council of Scotland condescended to hear the complaint of an honest woman who had been indecently exposed by one of them, and expressed their opinion that common prickers were common cheats. . . .

"But such an opinion was not formed in high places before hundreds of innocent persons had fallen victims. The parliaments had encouraged the delusion both in England and Scotland; and by arming these fellows with a sort of authority, had in a manner forced the magistrates and ministers to receive their evidence."

-The Witch Mania, EXTRAORDINARY POPULAR DELUSIONS AND THE MADNESS OF CROWDS,

Charles McKay, England, published 1852

The presumed and intimidating authority of these complicated AI algorithms and their ludicrous fallibility and imprecision -- and I know how they work statistically and mathematically at the code level and how fallible they can be without sober interpretation -- are a version of the "common prickers" of our time.

Our nation certainly DOES have a legitimate role in shining the disinfectant of sunlight on wildly destructive innuendo. But making the cure worse than the disease -- or even worse, a disease unto itself -- is no solution, regardless of the profit opportunity.

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For hundreds, if not a thousand, or more years haven’t the weapons of war been for those of moral decrepitude a way to enrich themselves and seek power? No thought or caring for the general populace. Or worse, distain for the average person that justifies their use as fodder in their pursuits. These power hungry and mind twisted beings continue to create and implement more and more destructive weaponry. Whether it is directed at physical destruction or mental servitude. Peace to them is only a word to be used deceptively to further their aims. Just as the Green movement has been co-opted by the same greed. This psychopathy is so far from the best of what humans could be focused on. The cooperative and life enhancing activities that would be a source of contentment and environmental welfare. There is a “Better Way” .

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Another industry where “cooperative federalism” needs to form around the information technology moving at speed of light, with engineering trumping PR and the new emerging form of information depravity.

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founding

From May 10 Substack

Peter A. McCullough MD

By JOHN LEAKE

The Intercept recently reported the creation of two new federal offices to combat disinformation. The Pentagon will oversee the “Influence and Perception Management Office,” which is consistent with the fact that “Perception Management” is an old DoD euphemism for psychological warfare and deception. According to the investigative journalist Robert Parry, who covered the Iran-Contra Affair, the Reagan and first Bush Administrations adopted the techniques of “Perception Management” for the objective of overcoming the American public’s “Vietnam Syndrome”—that is, its reluctance to get involved in foreign military adventures that were widely perceived as fruitless and likely to end badly.

Given that the federal government is already a Leviathan of agencies for conducting propaganda, influence, and surveillance operations, one wonders why it is necessary to create new offices for these activities. The new Biden Administration offices are purportedly to keep the homeland and its people safe from dangerous foreign adversaries. More likely they will work round the clock to keep our people insulated from outside sources of information that would serve to counterbalance U.S. government and MSM propaganda.

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Yeah, true story, except the intercept is a propagandistic as it gets. So maybe " malinformation"?

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founding

Btw who would this article be causing harm on?

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founding

What are ur thought abt The Slate?

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Worse. But I wasn't dissing the contents at all, and points well made. Just pointing out for the intercept to actually print truth is eye opening. Slate never will. So...

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Redirecting the massive security apparatus built after 9/11 from foreign to domestic threats did not mean redressing all perceived domestic threats equally. Instead, it meant that there was political and financial power to be gained based on who could most clearly identify the fringe of their political opposition as the most dangerous extreme. Needless to say, the Left won.

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“It’s been politicized. Even though disinformation has a distinct definition, it’s now being used as a label for any unwelcome information that someone doesn’t like, even when that information is true.”

I used to think that most people involved in the info wars generally knew when they were spouting lies. Now I understand that the scope of danger from a censorship regime is related to the fact that many people lack the self-awareness to separate beliefs from facts.

Also, there is a great disconnect related to the left media shift. If disinformation is such a threat to national security (inferring that people are very easy to manipulate and hence we must spend, spend, spend to prevent foreign ideological enemies from influencing the people) then any coordinated bias in media should be considered corruption of the minds of the people and hence interfering in the democratic process.

Either disinformation is a threat or it is not. The political establishment today is having its cake and eating it too. If it is a real important threat, then we need to deal with the coordinated bias of the mainstream media and big tech.

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"...Also, there is a great disconnect related to the left media shift."

Frankie Lee can't fire off a missive without the seemingly obligatory lefty punching. Always amusing and entertaining.

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One needs to punch where there is a need to punch, and not punch where there is not.

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Feldspar is a soft mineral.

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Well, I dunno about that---soft is in the eye of the beholder. We're tough, resilient--and christ we're everywhere. Long transportation distances destroy our grains, and extended exposure to weathering converts us unwillingly into clay minerals. We have no control over this process. It's unfortunate but we don't bitch about it. It's does, however, make us cranky and at times unnecessarily disputative.

Clay minerals are effectively our contribution to the sedimentary record. We accumulate as mud or soil and often form sediments that become shales and mudrocks. It could be worse. We could be pyroxenes and don't get me started on pyroxenes...

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Like it or lump it, the left you defend is in power and has captured all our institutions.

Bogging down in left/right accusations may be counterproductive, but "the left media shift" is an accurate description of the current landscape.

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All of our institutions? I fully understand why my fellow commenters might confuse me as a defender of all things "left." I do. However, I would posit that my pro-left comments, meek and mealy-mouthed as they are, are fairly proportional to the comments from others here that harbor both anti-left slurs AND condemnations of the mysterious and phantom "uniparty."

I certainly don't mind a round of sound Democrat-punching, but if you're going to consistently reference this "uniparty" beast, then a smattering of republican slandering is only fair. And, really, not too much to ask for.

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You've got to focus on where the current or most dangerous threat comes from regardless of party affiliation. I think most half-bright people like me understand this. Forgive my quickness to criticize.

The term "uniparty" implies that there is little difference between D and R policies, and with a little reflection I see that this is far from true, though the situation wasn't always this way and things are . . .uh . . . in flux I believe the term is.. While the DP is now the party of imperialism and military flexing and fosters the cultural revolution that's destroying our collective sanity and our institutions, the neoconservatives of the RP are now a discredited faction in the Trump era, and I much prefer Trump nationalism/isolationism to the old neocon idea of "exporting democracy." The migration of Bill Kristol from the Rs to the Ds in 2020 is a good illustration.

The resistance to the Kennedy declaration that we see in media efforts to label him as some sort of crank is a good sign. They can't abide his rap about free speech and deep state over-reach. There will be a reckoning in the DP with Kennedy's run. Those Ds who oppose him represent the new breed of DP totalitarian--the architects of and believers in the Russia hoax, supporters of the neo-Marxist social revolution, advocates of totalitarian enforcement of bad (if not evil) "public health" decrees, proponents of "police de-funding," abortion on demand and disarming citizens, and the writers of bills designed to end First Amendment protections for online political discussion.

The RP--or at least a faction of the RP--is playing defense against this onslaught of insanity, as it has since the criminal efforts to oust Trump began.

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From Reuters:

No comment necessary---or one hopes.

"...The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Thursday authorizing a record $858 billion in annual defense spending, $45 billion more than proposed by President Joe Biden, and rescinding the military's COVID vaccine mandate.

Senators supported the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, an annual must-pass bill setting policy for the Pentagon, by an overwhelming 83-11 bipartisan majority.

The no votes came from a mix of liberals who object to the ever-rising military budget and fiscal conservatives who want tighter controls on spending."

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I have not once defended the “left” while commenting here. Not once. A distaste for McDonald’s does not signal a predilection for Wendy’s, though one is less likely to gag on a Dave’s Double than a Quarter-Pounder with cheese.

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I made the inference from your snarky comment slagging Frank Lee.

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Speaking of labels, in other discussions, “hate” for some has become the term for expressing disagreement with that to which they object.

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Thankfully you Nazis are not lacking in such self awareness!!! HEIL TRUMP !!!!!!

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WTF?

At least your screen name gives us advance warning.

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You propping up Chairman Joe while you bloviate ignorantly?

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Stalin was "Uncle Joe," not "Chairman Joe." Unless you're referencing Mao, in which case never mind.

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Quoting you back to you Nazi bitch.

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"The operators and ground-pounders on the frontlines get a real-world education in the necessary fluidity of such tactics, but the military monolith is often slow to adopt lessons gleaned from battle. To further complicate the matter, there are always plenty of defense industry opportunists promoting their tactics as dogma..."

Good explanation for why the US kept creating the same mess over and over again. There is a truth in frontlines "real-world education", and that takes time. Patton once said (paraphrasing) that every battle plan can be followed to the letter, until the first shot is fired. After that, it's complete chaos. And the defense industry opportunists aren't the only ones promoting. There were many high ranking military brass that green-lighted a lot of it.

Do you think it's possible for this country to NOT have a national enemy? I've given up on that. I think we must have our "Wicker Man" every so often. Just like male chimpanzees that mob-up every so often and inexplicably go on murder sprees.

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Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face, no plan survives first contact with the enemy, and every army has a weapon that works...until it doesn't.

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Thanks for widening my horizon by widening yours to include this guest

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