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Deception as an art form

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WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

"Hollywood no longer depicts reporters
in ruthless pursuit of criminals, high and low.
Now they are the criminals."

Frank Rich So Much for ’The Front Page’
NYT, November 2, 2003

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
--A. J. Liebling, writer (1904 - 1963)

Truth is the most precious thing. That's why we should ration it.
Vladimir Lenin

“Gentlemen, I am ready for the questions to my answers.”

- Charles de Gaulle,
at the beginning of the press conference,
wryly alluding to the staged nature of such events.

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given,
 rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content.
If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

“You can fool some of the people all of the time
and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

George W. Bush, joking at a Gridiron Club dinner,
 Washington, D.C., March 2001

Lately I’ve been amazed at the extent to which our entire public discourse now rests on disinformation and lies. First of all the concept of "bread and circuses" is now used more widely then in Rome:

What’s necessary for the state is the illusion of normality, of regularity,” America’s best-known political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, told me last week by phone from the prison where he is incarcerated in Frackville, Pa. “… In Rome, what the emperors needed was bread and circuses. In America, what we need is ‘Housewives of Atlanta.’ We need sports. The moral stories of good cops and evil people. Because you have that …. there is no critical thinking in America during this period...

... ... ...

Trump, an acute embarrassment to the corporate state and the organs of internal security, may be removed from the presidency, but such a palace coup would only further consolidate the power of the deep state and intensify internal measures of repression.

When "bread and  circuses" no longer work and people start asking themselves unpleasant question like "What is the deep state?", "Why we are finding all those wars in Me?"  heavy artillery of propaganda comes into play.

It starts with setting the proper narrative. The facts don't matter once the narrative is set.  In typical large scale disinformation cases like "Russian hacking" story (aka Russiagate), half of the country will go on thinking there's no way the story is totally made up, if MSM report if: there is no smoke without fire. Chris Hedges assumes that this idea of "injective proper narrative" started during Nixon's presidency with his idea of silent majority (Trump Is the Symptom, Not the Disease), but in reality it predates JFK assassination:

It began when big money was employed by political operatives such as Roger Stone, a close Trump adviser, to create negative political advertisements and false narratives to deceive the public, turning political debate into burlesque.

Dialectics suggest that each notion develops into its opposite. It might already happened with the US MSM. they are now all fake news  distribution ("fake news" are officially sanctioned rumors) XXI century can probably be called "the age of disinformation", although the process started long ago with the first totalitarian regimes in Russia, Italy and Germany. In this sense cold war was won by the USSR, because one of the most despicable features of the regime -- totalitarian control of media -- is now almost completely replicated in western countries.  As Daniel Schorr  aptly observed in his csmonitor article A spin cycle out of control

Washington these days feels a little like Moscow in Soviet times when the government routinely dispensed information to the public and the public routinely didn't believe it. The two main newspapers were the Communist Party organ, Pravda, (Truth) and the Soviet government organ, Izvestiya (News). People used to say, "There is no Izvestiya in Pravda and no Pravda in Izvestiya." 

Only a complete idiot now can believe mainstream press. Moreover at least Communists were honest about it and accepted it as a necessary evil, a byproduct of a one-party state surrounded by hostile capitalist states, which resort to all kind of dirty tricks to undermine it.

Under neoliberalism the net result is the same, but the dealing with media is based not of Party diktat (journalists are fighters of the Party"), but more subtle bets on greed, corruption and population stupidity and passivity. And communists view of "capitalist press" was simple, straightforward and is rather attractive, while in general being false, as many other communist ideas  --  all professional journalists should be considered to be a special kind of prostitutes  aka presstitutes :-). Anyway, even if you rightly think that communist's approach is too extreme or simplistic or both,  it still make perfect sense always ask who stands to profit and try to find and compare information form the opposition be it internal opposition press of other states. 

It is extremely naive to assume that free flow of information can exist in a any advanced Western state. But if you take several states then this assumption looks a little bit more realistic. Contradictions between state facilitates the flow of information, that would be suppressed by domestic press. that's why British press is generally preferable source of information about the US events ;-) Which they follow very closely. Of course, the level of disinformation is highly dependent on the importance of the event and generally reaches maximum in the atmosphere of McCarthyism-style witch hunt of war  hysteria ("Truth is the first casualty of war").  As Stephen Gowans wrote in Media Monitors Network

Every war proceeds along this path. Those who stand to be killed, dismembered, and dispossessed, are demonized, turned into the hobgoblins the American journalist H.L. Menken accused practical politicians of using to menace the population into consenting to what would otherwise not be consented to. Few are going to consent to the killing of innocents. So you turn the innocent into the guilty. Butchers. Murderers. Genocidists. Only later are the stories revealed to be gross exaggerations, often outright fabrications. 

That's why English is so important. It is the only language that has critical mass of foreign press (most countries provide English language periodicals and Web sites)  and as such English (along with Internet) is the main bastion of democracy in a modern world. Of course pro-state bias is also more pronounced in coverage of international events as foreign correspondents, who while not always are on a direct payroll of three letter agencies are often directly or indirectly influenced by them. If you are already thinking along this path you might also enjoy a book by John Ralston Saul called "Unconscious Civilization." Another his book that is worth reading (and written along the same lines) is "Voltaire's Bastards" in which he examines the appropriation of our government/corporations by an unaccountable elite which has co-opted the real power in our society (skip the Canadian identity-related staff) http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/events/readings/ejohn.htm

While in most cases Canadian and UK newspapers give more truthful picture of events in the USA, this is not true for foreign policy US and the USA are often in the same bed as for foreign policy and British press repeats (often in a slightly more sophisticated form  then the USA counterparts ;-) the State Department talking points. The same is true for Russian press about Ukraine.

Traditionally UK press was the standard of independent thinking. This clearly now belongs to the past (with Times controlled by Murdock family and Guardian being a neoliberal mouthpiece ) by still, in my experience, there are some remnants of this honorable tradition. You can more often to fight insightful articles in Guardian then iether in NYT or WaPo. But you need to be aware of those few brave soils, dinosaurs journalists who still try to inform public, not to misinform it. Another important factor is the level of monopolization of the press. In any case in British press discussions are always worth reading and typically this is were real information can be uncovered. 

This symbiosis of press and government is nothing new. It existed in the USSR and now exists in the West. Famous economist John Kenneth Galbraith in  his latest book The Economics of Innocent Fraud noted that  politicians and the media moguls actually form shadow "Ministry of Truth" in best Orwellian traditions, propagating, for example myth about:

..a benign "market" that big business always knows best, that minimal intervention stimulates the economy, that obscene pay gaps and unrestrained self-enrichment are an inevitable by-product of the system.

The other typical Soviet phenomena is blatant twisting of the language. For example the word "democracy" now usually means "our bastards" (as in famous quote “he may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard" ;-). And what is really sad, is that in case of war,  or major terrorist events, extreme, Soviet style disinformation is not limited to channels like Fox or Rupert Murdock controlled newspapers. It can be found all over the political spectrum. For example the level of distortion of wars in Kosovo and Beslan tragedy was actually greater in left press.  BBS and NYT, Newsweek, Guardian, Independent, etc really managed to outdid Fox in the art of disinformation in those cases. After that you feel nothing but disgust reading them.

And it is so called "left press" (or more correctly soft neoliberal press) which supported and continue to mix Wahhabi fanatics with freedom fighters. Like Talleyrand used to say "It is worse than a crime, -- it is a blunder" as Wahhabism is a direct threat to the civilized world. Moreover the story of Osama Bin Laden (Osama is essentially a byproduct of the Saudi regime, in particular the hardliners in the regime, and the CIA; Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided the necessary but not sufficient condition for the creation of this movement; two other important components were Saudis and CIA) had shown quite convincingly that due to the internal logic of the movement they always turn against  the very people who were providing them money and PR support. As MSNBC author By Michael Moran stated in his Aug. 24, 1998 article "Bin Laden comes home to roost":

At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term that describes an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.

In case of important events, nobody now generally expects the government to tell the truth rather than to resort to propaganda.  So in a way we all live in post-USSR world.  But there is some level in which quantity turns into quality. And "war time coverage" now is gradually extended to less and less important cases that should not involve "war time" restrictions and mobilization priorities.  So the situation is gradually sliding to the level of Orvell's dystopian novell 1984.  If powerful interests are involved, then trying to tell the truth is a direct threat to the employment of the particular journalist (and in some countries even life); in the case of the broadcasters can lead to direct or subtle forms of censorship (removal from the air) and/or economic retribution.  That means that for most journalists the loyalty to one's boss (and by extension his handlers) overwhelmingly took precedent over personal honesty and integrity. Also journalists, especially in national capitals, are regularly bribed by the establishment. Some of the are connected with the establishment by family and other ties.

For that reason, we, as citizens, have to learn to recognize propaganda and media disinformation and within our limited means fight it. The ability to withstand massive "brainwashing" now become an important dimension of non-conformism.  Those skills are especially important due to an extremely dangerous development in mass communication -- complete loss of independence (sovietization) of mass media, the phenomenon that is also connected with the creation of  military-media-industrial complex (MMIC). Here is a relevant quote from The 50, 26, 20... Corporations That Own Our Media

Of the 1,700 daily papers, 98 percent are local monopolies and fewer than 15 corporations control most of the country's daily circulation. A handful of firms have most of the magazine business, with Time, Inc. alone accounting for about 40 percent of that industry's revenues.

Actually this kind of control of media by powerful interests (connected with the state, but necessary directly manipulated by the state) is the essence of  the totalitarian state.  This is a bad thing. I think, that in such circumstances anybody who has IQ to speak about, should not blindly believe any newspaper or TV station. Any news coverage should be considered more like a question than like an answer. This is especially true for international events. Only by comparing sources from different countries (for example Australian coverage, Asian coverage, GB and Canada coverage) one can get some idea about what's really is going on.  In this sense Internet is really the last citadel of democracy. In addition to the internet there is still a couple of good things:

The history the media cowardice, prejudice and gross over-simplification needs to be studied much more completely and materials presented below are far from being such a study. And while I would like to repeat it again: Internet is last bastion of democracy, media conglomerates actually controls a large part of Internet too, so crossing the national borders is extremely important. Portals like Yahoo are just puppets in a big game. Just ask yourself who provides news  for Yahoo and similar portals. One should always ask the question, "Who and why put this here?". 

Another problem is that it's rather difficult to counter disinformation especially if the message falls within the bounds of your cultural belief systems. That's true for both light and left propaganda. The Internet offers certain advantages in conveying false information because the well known issues of conformity, persuasion and self-justification are amplified by the Net.   Here are some relevant quotes:

What the mainstream media is doing with facts is often wrong. Sometimes it's plain, undisguised lie. And they don't really care if I know it, or you know it, or if  millions know it. Again, they don't care -- they are doing their paid job of manipulation of public opinion in the interests of powerful groups.  It is definitely not anything like what it is supposed to be, which is a reliable and independent information helping us to understand this complex world. Let's face it: political commentators are often a special kind of trained crocodiles, they are just animals trained to maim the prey. The art of disinformation now reached such level that you can suspect anything including the direct transmission from the place of the event to be staged, sanitized  or outright manipulated:

If you're reading this, we trust that you're painfully aware of the stranglehold that corporations have on the flow of "news" the world over. In this self-referential hyper-aware media-saturated environment, it's hardly incendiary or revolutionary at this point to imply that most news these days is manipulative moronic crap manufactured to simultaneously subdue and incite The Masses into their ongoing cycle of complacent apathy and egomaniacal patriotism. Or is it?

We won't insult your intelligence by waxing poetic about the self-preserving, dull-witted conspiracy of fools that we conveniently categorize as The Media Elite. You know the ones we're talking about. And in case you're not familiar with exactly how influenced the information that filters down to your front door, car radio or boob tube by The Military Entertainment Complex, have a looksie at who owns what. Yeah, that's right. Show us the money.

And while Internet is the last bastion of democracy, it is extremely important to be aware of the nature of the Internet. Information exists on the Net outside of existing scholarly structures. Sometimes respectable Internet sites are using all the dirty  tricks of  of yellow press journalism. See Open Directory - Science Social Sciences Psychology Persuasion and Social Influence. Here is an relevant quote from the paper: In Seattle's Aftermath Linux, Independent Media, and the Survival of Democracy:

Why Mainstream Media Won't Tell You the Truth

You don't have to be a genius or a conspiracy theorist to figure this one out. A few global media giants dominate the market; they have huge and growing holdings in virtually every means by which information is disseminated--films, books, TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines (Herman and McChesney, 1998). And they pressure, whether overtly or not, authors and reporters to put a slant on the news--specifically, a centrist to right-wing slant that favors the interests of the media's corporate owners. That's the reason you hear, over and over, why development matters more than preserving the environment, why free trade matters more than worker's rights, and why the U.S. has the right to impose its military power wherever it pleases.

Apart from the general pressure to slant the news to the center and right, industry associations overtly pressure media outlets to censor certain types of news reporting by threatening to withdraw advertising. For example, thanks to pressure from restaurant associations, newspapers are reluctant to specify local restaurants which violate health department regulations. Even so, overt pressure isn't often needed. When you're in the media business, you know darned well you'd better not run stories that businesses won't like. You tone it down. You run it by them. And if they're not comfortable and you're not comfortable, you don't run it.

In sum, you don't hear the truth because corporations don't want you to hear it and mainstream media are too cowardly to report it. Had you known the truth about Seattle (including substantive discussion of the specific issues concerning WTO policies), you might have thought more deeply about what's at stake. But that doesn't sell beer; why ask why, after all, when doing so is virtually unmarketable? Instead of providing the tools needed to think seriously about national policies, the media would much prefer to socialize viewers into becoming "neurotic in their need to buy advertised commodities", generating "mass spending on goods such as cosmetics, cigarettes, beer, soft drinks, and patent medicines completely out of proportion to the rational use of national income..." and diverting attention from "society's central needs, including public education, health care, [and] democratic economics" (Bagdikian, 1996:10).

At the same time for a thinking person Internet provides a unique possibility to resist this brain-washing campaign by comparing several sources. With some training you can read between the lines in mainstream media reports (people from former "socialist" countries usually have high score in those skills ;-):

The Internet is "dangerous" because it is a medium for the instantaneous and uncontrolled transmission of ideas.

We think of free speech as being a given--almost an absolute--in the United States and much of the Western world. Though everyone knows that certain kinds of speech, such as pornography, are against the law, most of us don't think about the web of social, nongovernmental constraints on legal but disfavored speech.

Unpopular ideas are marginalized in our society, restricted to the fringes of public discourse even without the need for any governmental action. Broadcast television and radio, cable, newsmagazines and book publishers all are--or are owned by--large conglomerates. Many rely on advertising, or own other businesses that do, or are simply owned or controlled by people whose personal involvement in the social web of contacts and constraints guarantees moderation in ideas. No idea sees the light of day until it has been turned over, examined from every angle, and pronounced fit for human consumption. Editors approve articles and books, and are managed by publishers who sometimes intervene in content. Committees decide what news stories to cover and which to ignore.

Let's don't miss this possibility, while it's still exists !!!

"To successfully uncover the lies of someone you first must know how to lie yourself. Now, some people just don't know how to lie because they've never been around someone who was good at it. I'm going to give you some pointers — never ever exaggerate within the lie. Details are key and remembering those details is what will keep the lie alive."

"One of the ways that deal with co-workers who I think have lied to me is to ask them the most obvious question: 'Did you lie to me when…?'"

"In a group of people, ask the person the question you need answered and when they lie to you, I just say — 'You lying &*#^, you never said that in your whole life.' Everybody breaks up laughing and the person obviously is caught. We all make a joke of it and it is much harder for them to be dishonest the next time."

"When it is obvious that someone's story has little connection to reality, I say 'Oh my gosh, almost the exact same thing happened to me.' This achieves the objective of 1) pointing out to the tall tale teller that you are on to him; and 2) makes everyone else realize how ridiculous this co-worker's stories are getting, and forces everyone to evaluate the veracity of all future tall tales.

"When trying to detect a liar, I act absent-minded and pause with unfinished sentences. The liar tends to fill these spaces. I have caught liars this way."

"I give them my biggest smile and usually say something like, 'Come on Pinocchio, your nose is growing.' Then I laugh gently. If they seem embarrassed or avoid eye contact and smile and say nothing, then I have confirmation that they have lied. They know it and I know it. Reading their body language is extremely important. Once word gets around that you are not a fool who will believe anything, most people won't try it with you."

"If you must interact with this person, try to have a third party present to be a neutral witness to any conversation that takes place. Also, if possible, interact via e-mail and be professional. We all know e-mails are a nice time-stamped paper trail of the facts."

"There are different ways to deal with lies, depending on the reason and the frequency. The solutions range from ignoring the lies, to training, to confrontation, to verbal and written warnings, and perhaps, as a last resort if the damage by the lies is substantial, termination."

"Of course he is lying. Everyone is lying. It's part of the human condition. Bosses lie all the time. Workers give them lies in reply and to each other."

Recommended Reading

The Understanding Stupidity

This systematic distortion of information makes human societies characteristically self-deceptive, with people disposed to believe they are living up to their ideals, particularly when they are not. The existing schematic dissonance is usually subconscious, due to the misleading nature of words, so society stumbles smugly along while at odds with itself, its environment and its equally stupid neighbors. In fact, the only really effective control of development comes not from inside but from physical limitations (what cannot be done) and competition with other groups which are also out of touch with themselves.

In general, internal criticism is of limited value as a control mechanism for growth and development of a social system. There usually tend to be few, if any, effective critics within any organization. When not dismissed out of hand as a crank or an outsider, anyone with valid criticism is made an outsider, as ostracism is a common reward for honesty, accuracy and integrity. Thus, criticism without power is largely wasted, producing little but woe for the bewildered critic himself.

Perhaps there are so few effective critics because anyone with any brains at all quickly finds that most human organizations just are not set up for effective criticism. The basic working assumption is that everything is just fine. Outside criticism is deflected and internal feedback is supposed to be positive reinforcement from "Yes men" promoting their careers by corrupting the mighty. At best, criticism has a place on the fringe, where cranks and comics can be tolerated as amusing diversions.

Can Truth Be Told When Using Selective Information

"The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."

Business marketing and politics often overlap in election campaigns. Someone vying for office is essentially trying to sell himself to voters. "When you are campaigning, you're like the businessman who has a limited responsibility, a limited set of people to whom you owe something," said Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and author of "Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice" (W. W. Norton).

But, increasingly, because of the fund-raising involved in running for national office, "you have to be in an almost permanent campaign mode," said David Gergen, now a professor of public service at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who was an adviser to four presidents. "In politics, you fall into the trap of short-termism. You do whatever it takes to keep the headlines up today." This short-term thinking is not dissimilar to what causes some businesses to make poor decisions in trying to bolster stock prices or earnings reports.

"The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."

BUT it's difficult to affect the long haul if you find yourself voted out of office. For that reason, Dick Morris, a former adviser to Mr. Clinton and the author of "Off with Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks and Obstructionists in American Politics, Media and Business" (Regan Books, 2003), said he thinks that "using polling and all of the tools of an election to help you govern is a good thing."

"It gets the president to be very aggressive in figuring out what he can do in an active way really to help the country," he added. "The motivation is to govern well so he can get elected."

Even if President Bush has to campaign constantly and, as a result, selectively uses information to sell his message, we still expect him to tell the truth. "If they decided to lie to make the case stronger that's simply unethical," said Mr. Gilman, who was a senior official at the United States Office of Government Ethics from 1988 to 2001. Mr. Gilman said he hopes that the president "got one bad piece of intelligence and the rest was correct."

Some political analysts say President Bush crossed a line in selectively using information by pointing to British intelligence to make an argument, when American intelligence doubted the claim. "As in all marketing, when you go too far, it creates a small cloud over you about credibility," Professor Gergen said.

There's more at stake when President Bush selectively uses information than when a business executive tries to move a product. The president's role clearly distinguishes his unique moral responsibility. As an executive, you don't order young men and women to give up their lives for a cause.


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

"It tends to be all accurate,
but not in an over-all context."

Donald Rumsfeld

2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001

[Apr 24, 2018] Notes on Trump betrayal of his voters

Trump is just Republican Obama. Same masterful bait and switch maneuver.
Apr 24, 2018 | www.unz.com

Steve Gittelson , April 17, 2018 at 3:13 pm GMT

I suspect Goad is verboten on UR, but allow me to excerpt from "I Didn't Vote for This" of recent Goad production.
  • I voted for Trump because he promised to build a wall. Fifteen months into his presidency, the wall has not been built.
  • He promised to repeal Obamacare. It has not been repealed.
  • He promised to focus on domestic rather than foreign issues and pledged a huge program to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure. No such program has materialized.
  • He promised to remove the nation's millions of illegal aliens. They are still here.
  • He promised to defund sanctuary cities. They have not been defunded.
  • He promised a complete ban on new Muslim immigration.
  • He promised to eliminate the massive federal debt in eight years. Rather than even beginning to leave a dent in the debt, it is now over $1.1 trillion higher than it was the day he took office.
  • One of the keystones of his campaign was that China was a currency manipulator and therefore needed to be dealt with harshly. Only three months into his presidency, he reneged and declared that China was not a currency manipulator.
  • On the campaign trail, he relentlessly hammered the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Only three days into his presidency, he withdrew the US from the TPP. And now he's openly considering rejoining it.

Cogent points, in Reed's context. The only consolation is recognition that a Clinton presidency would have been much worse. Maybe so, huh?

Achmed E. Newman , Website April 17, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Steve Gittelson

I just read that column yesterday, Steve. He lays it out pretty good.

Maybe so, huh?

No doubt in the world.

Steve Gittelson , April 17, 2018 at 6:14 pm GMT
@Achmed E. Newman

No doubt in the world.

Yes, but the order of magnitude ebbs. Not that I would make the trade, but dammit, what happened to America? We've been fucked, and fucked ROYAL, yet all that climbs out of the political woodwork is flying monkeys.

It's clobbering time.

seeing-thru , April 17, 2018 at 11:29 pm GMT
@Steve Gittelson

Copying-in Achmed Newman as well

Aye, clobbering time it may well come to. But pray do not leave out the media whores when loving ministrations are being meted out. The whole bunch of these lying, whoring, war drumbeating progeny of Satan need special ministrations, perhaps even more care than the flying monkeys. Stringing these bastards upside down from meat hooks in public squares may be too ordinary a ministration, so better and brighter ideas need to be supplied by minds keener than mine.

[Apr 24, 2018] Constant and persistent nudging generally results in an angry backlash. Somewhere around when a person realizes "This is not where I wanted to be." That's now very true for neoclassic economy courses. Many students understand the game and hate it

Notable quotes:
"... cognitive infiltration ..."
Apr 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith, April 21, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Nudge was the title of a book by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein on how to manipulate people in their supposed best interest, like in cafeteria lines, to put whole fruit before desserts made with sugar.

See here for more detail:

blennylips , April 21, 2018 at 1:49 pm

If you liked Nudge , you'll love " cognitive infiltration ":

Conspiracy Theories
Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-03

Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.
Keywords: conspiracy theories, social networks, informational cascades, group polarization
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585

Is not this what discerning MIC's all do these days, via FBI FB?

Synoia , April 21, 2018 at 11:25 am

A nudge too far?

Constant and persistent nudging generally results in an angry backlash. Somewhere around when a person realizes "This is not where I wanted to be."

JTMcPhee , April 21, 2018 at 12:40 pm

And of course we mopes have been "nudged" into pretty much that blind serfdom alluded to. Back in the Cave, with not much chance of dispelling the belief in and subjection to the shadows projected on the wall we are forced to face

oaf , April 21, 2018 at 1:52 pm

manipulation is the sowing of a Karmic garden

Tom_Doak , April 21, 2018 at 6:09 pm

The classic nudge example is opting you into a 401(k) unless you opt out.

That's supposedly better for you but it is DEFINITELY better for the brokerage handling your account.

none , April 21, 2018 at 10:01 pm

I had to look it up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_theory

I hadn't heard of it before.

Tyronius , April 22, 2018 at 12:21 am

I rather detest the notion of someone or entity 'nudging' me in the direction of some behavior, especially in a paternalistic mode where the assumption is that they know better than I what I 'should' be doing or thinking.

On one level, isn't that a working definition of advertising? On another, it smacks of authoritarianism. Don't we have enough of this kind of thing already? Worse, what's the first reaction one naturally has when they realize they're being manipulated? Seems to be a strategy fraught with risk of getting exactly the wrong response.

If I'm to be encouraged to behave in a given way, show me the respect of offering a conscious, intelligent argument to do so on the merits, or kindly go (family blog) yourself!

Anti-Schmoo , April 23, 2018 at 4:18 am

In economics, the single most important thing to understand is debt.
If you understand debt; you won't have any debt.
Debt and freedom are the antithisis of each other.
Without debt; nudges have no influence.

Anti-Schmoo , April 23, 2018 at 4:24 am

A follow up:
https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/money/a19181300/nassim-nicholas-taleb-money-advice/
A very frank discussion of debt and freedom.

[Apr 24, 2018] The term scientism generally points to the facile application of science in unwarranted situations not amenable to application of the scientific method.

Apr 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

skippy , April 21, 2018 at 10:28 pm

The term scientism generally points to the facile application of science in unwarranted situations not amenable to application of the scientific method.

Soddy's attempts at linking the physical world via a quasi scientific approach without doing a thorough heterodox examination of our species wrt monies is my point i.e.

"Being scientist/technologists, Fuller and Soddy felt the need to define wealth, to quantify it in an equation. They knew the components of wealth were physical resources – matter and energy – and the level of knowledge available to most effectively employ these resources. Simplistically stated:

WEALTH = (MATTER + ENERGY) x HUMAN KNOWLEDGE

Energy stored in fossil fuels – Earth's energy savings account – is, of course, unavailable after the fuels are burned. But both Fuller and Soddy understood that expanding human knowledge would eventually make it possible for humanity to operate on Earth's energy income using solar, wind, tidal, biofuels, etc. (but for lack of political will and resistance from the fossil fuel industry, we have reached this potential today). Additionally, the First Law of Thermodynamics says the total amount of matter and energy in the universe is constant and can be neither created nor destroyed, only interchanged. Since knowledge can only grow, wealth can only grow.

It is critical to understand that wealth is governed by the laws of physics and is incorruptible, whereas money is governed by the laws of man and is infinitely corruptible."

I could start with models and applications of theory between interdisciplinary modes of inquire – chalk and cheese. Was Soddy an accountant, deal with issues like sound finance vs functional, or have any depth wrt international systems – no. Worse bit in my book is it moralizes the money question without dealing with the broader social ethos and how that is forwarded via dominate ideology.

To that quandary I brought up atomistic individualism on this blog some time ago, Syll has recently mentioned it. Its in these things that proceed baked in human tool user problems like money.

drumlin woodchuckles , April 22, 2018 at 5:37 pm

Thank you skippy and the follow-on commenters for a serious genuine reply-to-and discussion-of my question.

It has been years since I read " Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt – – The Solution of the Economic Paradox". In light of this subthread I will have to dig it back out of my bookpile and read it again . . . and slower next time . . . to see what I end up thinking.

Why would I even bother to do that? Because it still seems to me that Soddy was at least trying to understand "economics" in terms of the biophysical world in which we all live and in which we do everything we do, including trying to understand "economics". He was at least trying to see how matter-and-energy harvesting in order to do thing-making and stuff-doing could actually be reality-based understood in terms of the best actual knowledge of matter-and-energy reality
existing in his day. If that fails to take account of all the cultural/psychomental/etc. things that humans will do within the picture frame of nature's biophysical constraints, that is a problem we will have to try taking account of in our own extremely troubled day.

But his scientism was at least an effort to ground "economic" understanding within real scientific knowledge. His scientism is still better than the cardboard replica scientism practiced by today's mainstream economists who are merely spray-painting a bunch of scientism onto the paper-mache' sewage-filled pig which is all that their mainstream discipline of mainstream economics ever even is.

Or ever even will be.

[Apr 22, 2018] The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite

Highly recommended!
The quotes are from A Conversation on Race, by Paul Craig Roberts - The Unz Review
Notable quotes:
"... The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers. ..."
"... Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 2:43 am GMT

PCR's latest is really good. I love it when he gets to ripping, and doesn't stop for 2000+ words or so. It reads a lot better than Toynbee, fersher.

The working class, designated by Hillary Clinton as "the Trump deplorables," is now the victimizer, not the victim. Marxism has been stood on its head.

The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers.

The ruling elite favors a "conversation on race," because the ruling elite know it can only result in accusations that will further divide society. Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history.

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT

Just a bit more real truth from PCR. Carry on

All of America, indeed of the entire West, lives in The Matrix, a concocted [and false] reality. Western peoples are so propagandized, so brainwashed, that they have no understanding that their disunity was created in order to make them impotent in the face of a rapacious ruling class, a class whose arrogance and hubris has the world on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

History as it actually happened is disappearing as those who tell the truth are dismissed as misogynists, racists, homophobes, Putin agents, terrorist sympathizers, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists. Liberals who complained mightily of McCarthyism now practice it ten-fold.

The United States with its brainwashed and incompetent population -- indeed, the entirety of the Western populations are incompetent -- and with its absence of intelligent leadership has no chance against Russia and China, two massive countries arising from their overthrow of police states as the West descends into a gestapo state. The West is over and done with. Nothing remains of the West but the lies used to control the people. All hope is elsewhere.

[Apr 18, 2018] Obama vs Trump: That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 18, 2018 11:42:04 AM | 142

Don Bacon

Trump's actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also "caved" to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing "bipartisanship".

That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again

Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp

Obama: Deceiver: "Man of Peace" engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas

Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton's) - "Muslim socialist"!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by 'NeverTrump' Clinton loyalists) - Putin's bitch!

There's more but I won't belabor the point.

[Apr 17, 2018] Poor Alex

Highly recommended!
Now the color revolution against Trump just does not make any sense. We got to the point where Trump=Hillary. Muller should embrace and kiss Trump and go home... Nobody care if Trump is impeached anymore.
Apr 17, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Donald Trump's far-right loyal fans must be really pissed off right now after permanently switching himself to pro-war mode with that evil, warmongering triplet in charge and the second bombing against Syria. Even worse, this time he has done it together with Theresa May and the neoliberal globalist Emmanuel Macron.

We can tell that by watching the mind-blowing reactions of one of his most fanatic alt-right media supporters: Alex Jones. Jones nearly cried(!) in front of the camera, feeling betrayed from his 'anti-establishment', 'anti-interventionist' idol and declared that he won't support Trump anymore. Well, what did you expect, Alex? expect, Alex?

A year before the 2016 US national elections, the blog already warned that Trump is a pure product of the neoliberal barbarism , stating that the rhetoric of extreme cynicism used by Trump goes back to the Thatcherian cynicism and the division of people between "capable" and "useless".
Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders. Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Donnie sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008!

The only hope that has been left, was to resist against starting a war with Russia, as the US deep state (and Hillary of course) wanted. Well, it was proven to be only a hope too. Last year, Trump bombed Syria under the same pretext resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of confrontation with Russia. Indeed, a year later, Trump already built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish triplet.

And then, Donnie ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neo-colonial friends.

It seems that neither this strike was a serious attempt against the Syrian army and its allies. Yet, Donnie probably won't dare to escalate tension in the Syrian battlefield before the next US national elections. That's because many of his supporters are already pissed off with him and therefore, he wants to go with good chances for a second term.

Although we really hope that we are are wrong this time, we guess that, surrounded by all these warmongering hawks, Donnie, in a potential second term, will be pushed to open another war front in Syria and probably in Iran, defying the Russians and the consequent danger for a WWIII.

Poor Alex et al: we told you about Trump from the beginning. You didn't listen ...

[Apr 11, 2018] It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

Apr 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [280] Disclaimer , April 10, 2018 at 5:33 am GMT

It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

This is worrying. Nobody is that stupid so it's more like they don't care about credibility going forward. Like it won't matter.

Kiza , April 10, 2018 at 5:40 am GMT
We have moved way beyond the Skripals case now. Simply put, if US shoots in Syria, Russia will shoot back this time, yes back at US. USS Donald Duck has been placed as a bait to be sent to the bottom of Mediterrenain sea by the Russians, similar to Arizona et al at Pearl Harbour.

Many dissenter websites are currently under attack by the cyber forces of the Western regimes and Israel, one of them being this one. Another site under attack is my favorite johnhelmer.com. In addition to saying that he is under attack, the current message from John is:
WHEN THE RULE OF LAW WAS DESTROYED IN SALISBURY, LONDON AND THE HAGUE, AND THE RULE OF FRAUD DECLARED IN WASHINGTON, THAT LEAVES ONLY THE RULE OF FORCE IN THE WORLD. THE STAVKA MET IN MOSCOW ON GOOD FRIDAY AND IS READY. THE FOREIGN MINISTRY ANNOUNCED ON SUNDAY "THE GRAVEST CONSEQUENCES". THIS MEANS ONE AMERICAN SHOT AT A RUSSIAN SOLDIER, THEN WE ARE AT WAR. NOT INFOWAR, NOT CYBERWAR, NOT ECONOMIC WAR, NOT PROXY WAR. WORLD WAR.

The West is utterly bankrupt, morally as well as financially and we are experiencing the Western remedial plan and actions – war!

annamaria , April 10, 2018 at 5:52 am GMT
"In 2016 an official British government inquiry determined that Bush and Blair had indeed together rushed to war. The Global Establishment has nevertheless rewarded Tony Blair for his loyalty with Clintonesque generosity. He has enjoyed a number of well-paid sinecures and is now worth in excess of $100 million."

– The character of Blair and the Establishment is well established: Blair is a major war criminal supported by the major war profiteers. His children and grandchildren are a progeny of a horrible criminal.

What is truly amazing is the complacency of the Roman Catholic Church that still has not excommunicated and anathematized the mass murderer. Blair should be haunted and hunted for his crimes against humanity.

With age, Blair's face has become expressively evil. His wife Theresa Cara "Cherie" Blair shows the same acute ugliness coming from her rotten soul of a war profiteer.

Blanco Watts , April 10, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
The UK is governed by the same Neo-liberal psychotic cabal that runs the US, Israel and France.
JR , April 10, 2018 at 7:06 am GMT
Keep in mind how long ago all this is:
Skripal was recruited around 1990 and arrested in 2004. Guess that the Russian attitude towards Skripal took the chaos of the 90′s as mitigating circumstances into account.
Skripal served his sentence of only 13 years till 2010 when he was pardoned and given the option to leave. Russia did not revoke Skripal's citizenship. The UK issued Skripal a passport too. On arrival in the UK Skripak was extensively debriefed by UK intelligence services. Skripal has lived for 8 years in the UK now.

And now out of the blue this incident nicely dovetailing with May ratcheted up anti Russia language only a few months before this false flag incident and the rapidly failing traction of the Steele/Orbis/MI6 instigated Russia collusion story on the basis of that fake Trump Dossier. By the way Orbis affiliated Steele and Miller have been among Skripal's handlers.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 10, 2018 at 8:43 am GMT
From the Steele dossier lies falling apart to the Skripal lies falling apart to the 'Assad did it' lies falling apart:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/08/open-letter-to-die-linke/

^

Paul Craig Roberts is correct when quoting The Saker:

"The Russian view is simple: the West is ruled by a gang of thugs supported by an infinitely lying and hypocritical media while the general public in the West has been hopelessly zombified." -- The Saker

I expect that makes the Russians right

[Apr 11, 2018] Unfortuntely, even among friends and aquaintances, the story about evil Assad killing Children is often readily believed

White Helmets was the greatest war propaganda invention since Goebbels "big lie"
The sheeple might realize that they were duped only when it's too late... It's all very darwinian: Elite is too nasty and common people are too stupid and too busy with surviving in economic uncertanty to decipher lies
Notable quotes:
"... "the West is ruled by a gang of thugs" ..."
"... It is depressing to see that there are very few people in the MSM speaking out for reason. One of the few ones is Tucker Carlson. ..."
"... The US, British etc. taxpayer funded propaganda arm of Islamists, the media trained "white helmets" are delivering videos that look almost as real as Hollywood products and most of the sheeple in the western world don't question their propaganda narrative. ..."
"... Well here you go Dutti. Both Glen Greenwald and Amy Goodman are out there in media land championing the 'truth' for good old Isramerika. ..."
Apr 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Stuck on Zero -> IridiumRebel Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:16 Permalink

No other nation will go to war with the U.S. They are too smart. All they have to do is wait till we burn ourselves out and fight amongst ourselves.

IridiumRebel -> Stuck on Zero Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:18 Permalink

This is my hope.....

beepbop -> IridiumRebel Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

"the West is ruled by a gang of thugs"

Those THUGS are Jewish Neocons/Zionists/Bolsheviks. They've got the USG in their pockets. They're the HIDDEN HAND .

Let's tell it like it is.

Dutti -> DownWithYogaPants Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:38 Permalink

It is depressing to see that there are very few people in the MSM speaking out for reason. One of the few ones is Tucker Carlson.

Unfortunately, even among friends and acquaintances, the story about "evil Assad killing Children" is often readily believed.

The US, British etc. taxpayer funded propaganda arm of Islamists, the media trained "white helmets" are delivering videos that look almost as real as Hollywood products and most of the sheeple in the western world don't question their propaganda narrative.

Very sad and disheartening.

FBaggins -> Dutti Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:45 Permalink

Well here you go Dutti. Both Glen Greenwald and Amy Goodman are out there in media land championing the 'truth' for good old Isramerika.

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=168513

[Apr 09, 2018] In my opinion, the forces that push for war know they are lying and don't care if a small percentage are on to them. They have the microphone and we do not.

Notable quotes:
"... Without sufficient domain knowledge, you have no immunity from MSM narratives. And, to acquire that knowledge you need to read non-MSM sources (or know people with first-hand experience). ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Babak Makkinejad -> Prince Monolulu , 4 hours ago

Reasonably intelligent people? Like this Iranian woman (in US) whose postings during the war for Aleppo was full of righteous indignation for the rebels. when I told her that the people whose fate she was bemoaning would do many evil things to her as a Shia Iranian woman; she would not hear of it.
ceasley7 -> Babak Makkinejad , 2 hours ago
Couldn't agree with you more Babak. My dad is a 78 year old Orthopedic physician here in the US. He would be considered intelligent by most people. And he is. Except when it comes to Geopolitics. He believes everything the MSM parrots and I gave up long ago in voicing my opinion to him. It's hopeless. And consider the vast majority of the citizens of my country are far less intelligent than him. In my opinion, the forces that push for war know they are lying and don't care if a small percentage are on to them. They have the microphone and we do not.
Prince Monolulu -> Babak Makkinejad , 4 hours ago
Yes, people like that. Without sufficient domain knowledge, you have no immunity from MSM narratives. And, to acquire that knowledge you need to read non-MSM sources (or know people with first-hand experience).

[Apr 09, 2018] Hi, I am from the government. I am here to lie to you

The Brits blinked and did not punish the criminal liar Blair. Since then, the war profiteering based on false flag operations has become a national British pastime.
Notable quotes:
"... The problem for governments using false flag operations like this is many more people are no longer trusting their own governments and quite rightly so. ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

are we there yet -> DuneCreature Sun, 04/08/2018 - 17:56 Permalink

Hi, I am from the government. I am here to lie to you. I have so many lies on top of other lies that sometimes they are true. Even the government has lost track. I am not sure if even MIC or Israel knows anymore.

GreatUncle Sun, 04/08/2018 - 10:51 Permalink

The problem for governments using false flag operations like this is many more people are no longer trusting their own governments and quite rightly so. Human minds are reinforcing the concept of untrustworthy governments that actually lasts far longer than the elected period of time of those who purport to represent the population we now know to be a deceit.

As example, take Blair ex-UK prime minister who concocted the whole Iraq dodgy dossier in the UK who most people I know now call him a war criminal but nobody will put on trial in the Hague. He has not been PM since 2007 but nobody forgets the criminal acts he instigated and supported and will be remembered for a long time for this. So how do you make Blair appear human again to the population?

You can apply this concept to so many elected criminals in the west ... join it up those that rule us are in fact criminals not ordinary people. The psychos rule over us and to them we are no more than dead meat.

[Apr 08, 2018] Do brighter minds incline to honesty by James Thompson

Apr 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Simon Gächter & Jonathan F. Schulz. Intrinsic honesty and the prevalence of rule violations across societies. Nature, Letter doi:10.1038/nature17160

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3c4TxciNeJZS0JfOGZQNnBhVkE/view?usp=sharing

The authors argued thus:

Good institutions that limit cheating and rule violations, such as corruption, tax evasion and political fraud are crucial for prosperity and development. Yet, even very strong institutions cannot control all situations that may allow for cheating. Well-functioning societies also require the intrinsic honesty of citizens. Cultural characteristics, such as whether people see themselves as independent or part of a larger collective, that is, how individualist or collectivist a society is, might also influence the prevalence of rule violations due to differences in the perceived scope of moral responsibilities, which is larger in more individualist cultures.

If cheating is pervasive in society and goes often unpunished, then people might view dishonesty in certain everyday affairs as justifiable without jeopardising their self-concept of being honest. Experiencing frequent unfairness, an inevitable by-product of cheating, can also increase dishonesty. Economic systems, institutions and business cultures shape people's ethical values, and can likewise impact individual honesty.

I described Gachter and Schultz's work in April 2016, and thought I could immediately see a problem with the interpretation that the authors placed on the results. Putting forward a different perspective took a few days. Getting that new approach published has taken 2 years. For how long will researchers put up with these absurd delays which impede the prompt assessment of arguments?

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/honestly

The authors of this very interesting study, having revealed the cheats, interpreted the national differences as being due to cultural factors, particularly whether there were institutions in each society which encouraged honesty. Of course, this leaves open why one society would have such institutions and another would not. Culture must come from somewhere. A reasonable hypothesis is that the institutions of a county are built by the people who live there. Here is our reply:

Honesty, rule violation and cognitive ability: A reply to Gächter and Schulz
Heiner Rindermann, David Becker, James Thompson.
Intelligence, Volume 68, May–June 2018, Pages 66–69.

https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1Wl5h_3fG8aUwo

Our argument is that both institutions and honesty are determined by the intelligence of people, and that bright people can see the long-term benefits of honesty and of institutions that support honest behaviour. Any institution with a code of conduct leads its members toward probity, and shows prospective applicants what standards are expected of them. However, those institution do not arise randomnly.

Gächter & Schulz assumed that institutional rules affect individual honesty.
We added cognitive ability as further factor explaining national differences.
Stronger effect of IQ (total 0.55) than of rule violation (total −0.34) on honesty.
Stronger effect of IQ (total −0.68) than of honesty (total −0.26) on rule violation.
________________________________________
Abstract
Gächter and Schulz (2016) assumed an effect of institutional rule violation on individual honesty within societies. In this reply we challenge this approach by including a nation's cognitive ability as a further factor for cross-national variations in the prevalence of rule violations and intrinsic honesty. Theoretical considerations, correlational and path analyses show that a nation's cognitive ability level (on average β = |.62|) better explains and predicts honesty and rule violation. While institutional and cultural factors are not unimportant, cognitive factors are more relevant.

The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others.

Cognitive ability seems to have the strongest causal effect on the honesty of a society:

The same pattern holds true if you assume that social levels of honesty intermediate individual levels of honesty as shown by rule violation.

Either way, it seems that intelligence explains whether some societies cheat at games and cheat in real life.


KA , March 23, 2018 at 2:15 pm GMT

Society rots from top and doesn't matter who is at the top. It still remains valid even when the so called least intellectually developed honest poor people get shafted for hundred of years by so called high IQ nations who bring cheating,dishonesty,and violations of existing laws and destruction of existing institutions without replacing them nationwide. Often these newly created institutions are nothing but vehicle to whitewash the corrupting and corrupted new system.

Public moral status has a lot to do with corruption at the top -both local and international in these days of neoliberalism and post -colonization. It sounds painful and hurtful though.

res , March 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
Interesting work! I am amazed academics have the patience to deal with such a long lag time for letting arguments play out.

Is there any chance of you publishing a scatter plot matrix of the variables you used and/or the data itself?

Do you have the correlation matrix for your variables? By any chance did you try single and multiple variable models to try to predict rule violation from the other variables? It would be interesting to see how much variance an assortment of those models explained.

Has anyone explored the idea of "cheater fraction" (analogous to smart fraction) to explain dishonesty in societies?

James Thompson , Website March 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT
@res

Cheater fraction sounds interesting. I assume that if it is higher than 16% then the society in question is worth avoiding, if at all possible.

Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:17 pm GMT
Honesty can be anything, it's look like obedience to authority instead true or pure honesty
Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:34 pm GMT
@Santoculto

I mean, based on proto-concept used.

Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:37 pm GMT
So ashekl jews [on very avg or not] are the exception in collective terms **
Miro23 , March 23, 2018 at 11:59 pm GMT
It's an interesting question. Some years ago The Economist did a "European Honest Test " leaving a wallet with a fair amount of cash in it (but also including clear contact details of the owner), in capital cities around Europe.

The test was to see how many wallets were returned – and they found that the Scandinavians returned almost all of them, and the Italians returned almost none – with a clear North/South gradient in the results.

By coincidence, at about the same time, I found a wallet beside some rubbish bins with € 400 in it and some credit cards (one from my own bank). So on my next visit, I told them about it and soon got a call from the owner ( a Spanish carpenter working in Germany). His reaction was 1) to check that the money was still in the wallet 2) say that not many people would return a wallet with € 400 in it 3) leave 2 bottles of wine at my front gate.

I checked this reaction with my secretary at the time, and asked her what she would have done, with the answer that it would be a "Regalo de Dios" (Gift of God), i.e. it was not going to be returned to the owner, so there seems to be some anecdotal evidence for the result.

Godfree Roberts , Website March 24, 2018 at 12:31 am GMT
China's position on the Intrinsic Honesty chart is puzzling both at the macro level (remarkably honest, competent policy-makers) and at the individual level (above average IQ).

The Edelman Corporation, which has a lock on international surveys of personal and institutional honesty has consistently found the Chinese to be among the most trusting people on earth, as have World Values Surveys in their own, independent polls of the Chinese.

The source of the discrepancy appears to be the source of the data: "a n indicator of political rights by Freedom House that measures the democratic quality of a country's political practices; the size of a country's shadow economy as a proxy for tax evasion; and corruption as measured by the World Bank's Control of Corruption Index (Supplementary Methods)".

Relying on George Soros' Freedom House for information about China is akin to relying on the neighborhood fox to keep an eye on your chickens while you go on vacation. Garbage in, garbage out

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSwBCAPkkvGYMGa-7qn79nTF-eX-EnPauQYK8a_NqIAxY7nO7gwjp-m4u9BpRpcOOGZXnkrfe65MOaz/pub .

James Thompson , Website March 24, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@Miro23

Regalado.

Anonymous [388] Disclaimer , March 24, 2018 at 10:30 am GMT
I would rate Japan pretty high for getting things returned, but this ethic has eroded over the past three or four decades.

Also, in the past you'd see adult males scolding unrelated misbehaving teens in public, who'd slink away with their tails between their legs. This you do not currently see: men are less masculine and assertive and some teens at least are more beligerant.

Dieter Kief , March 24, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
I think, David Perkins' findings about high IQ-people being also very tribal would make for a nice addendum here, to better understand how IQ and honesty are related.

I refer to Jonathan Haidt's argument, that he bases explicitly on Perkins' findings, that because of the tendency of high IQ-people to be even more tribal than the lower IQ ranks, ist is so crucial, to understand with J. S. Mill's On Liberty (and I add: with Kant and – – the Kantian Habermas' "Theory of Communicative Action"), that the core achievement of modernity is the institutionalization of disconformation in the democratic/liberal rational discourse and liberal public sphere (universities, the media, etc.).

Here's Jonathan Haidt, referring to Perkins and Mill to make clear, how important the institutionalization of disconformation actually is:

Ilya G Poimandres , March 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm GMT
Correlation≠causation. Maybe honesty leads to brighter minds. Is it your knowing the right answer that makes you follow it, or is it you looking at the situation, as it is, considering evidence and proof, and getting the right answer through correct deductive reasoning, which is then to be followed? You can't be honest and act ideologically, because by definition you follow your observations of the world, not your ideas of the world. An honest person is bound to direct observation, an intelligent person is not. Honesty is probably primary to an accurate understanding of the world.
Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@James Thompson

I think that 16 per cent is a bit arbitrary. In a class or caste dominated society you might, if of a class which can choose to avoid countries, decide that it really doesn't matter if your butler and housekeeper have to terrify the lower orders to stop them ripping you off (and the butler and housekeeper have enough relations they want to place in employment to keep them to the rules as to how much they cheat you).

Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 2:12 pm GMT
@Miro23

I recently lost my wallet for a short time in a supermarket-plus-other-shops complex as I wheeled my trolley to the car park. I thought my pocket had been picked so went to a nearby poluce station to see if they could accelerate access to CCTV. Mr Plod was useless and unhelpful. (Fortunately I didn't start cancelling credit cards immediately as he pretty well demanded). Back in the shopping centre I was directed to a caretaker's office where a 30 ish man of Pakistani origin had my wallet that had fallen out of my pocket as I went up a ramp. He had taken the trouble to count the cash and wrap it separately with a note on it that the amount was $915 or whatever. I never bothered to count it myself or even unwrap it for several days. What does that say about the standard of civilisation in one of Australia's biggest cities?

Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 2:41 pm GMT
As anyone who has seen how inadequate religion is today to form moral young people may have thought, the obvious starting point is to ask oneself how I bring up my children and what moral rules I rub in (preferably by example as well as preaching). One knows children are not going to be cunning ruthless sophisticates by nature – unless psychopaths – and will not benefit from being taught to think immediately how they can get away with some theft or lie. So you bring them up with rules which will help to make sure they are both trusted and trustworthy – seeing you return the small amount of change over paid for exsmple to rub in the message about rules they should still be obeying without thought when they have children. Morality is about the customs of the tribe, its mores, and children are rarely done any sort of favour by not being trained to be strictly moral (even if taught Christian forgiveness, especially for the "poor in spirit"). However ..

It occurs to me that the place of intelligence in this may extend to what hss been called Divergent Thinking (does this overlap with Lateral Thinking? Or imagination?)
A quick imaginative laterally thinking brain may think of several ways some dishonest subterfuge may go wrong almost st the moment temptation arises. So honesty for him he quickly concludes is the best policy. And so down the speculative path on which little evidence is to be found. After all what is one to make of the arrogant lawyer that one reads about in the big tax case who thought arrogantly he could get away with something and the Mr Plods of the tax office would never sus him out and prove his wrongdoing to a court?

James Thompson , Website March 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

I was guided by my recollection of the modelling of neighbourhood crime risk, but it is a sliding scale, I agree. I assumed, years ago, that at the 16-20% level one would begin to notice a difference from base rate. See, in this particular example, Fig 2 and Fig 3

http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/hood.htm

Miro23 , March 24, 2018 at 8:06 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

What does that say about the standard of civilization in one of Australia's biggest cities?

It doesn't really say anything. You need some standardized parameters and a reasonable sample size. Then you can draw some conclusions and assess the level of accuracy – like The Economist did with their wallet test – quite a good experiment.

However , at the individual level, a continuing positive outcome would be the wallet owner saying thank you, and being more inclined to return the favor one day.

Wizard of Oz , March 25, 2018 at 1:52 am GMT
Yep. Fair enough. (All of it).
Wizard of Oz , March 25, 2018 at 2:08 am GMT
@James Thompson

It occurs to me that 5 per cent might be a horrible worrying prospect if you, as a lawyer or doctor, thought it applied to the five or ten thousand you might come across as fellow professionals in your city or state. But then it could be that you rarely gossip about others and only regard as liars and cheats those who have done it to you (apart from the few who have been busted for insurance fraud). Maybe 16 per cent sometimes fudge or fiddle something but you don't know so you remain happily (and honestly) complacent, and proud of your profession.

Jonathan Mason , March 25, 2018 at 3:24 am GMT
More intelligent people may be more adept at calculating the possible negative consequences of personal dishonesty and they are likely to have more to lose. However, put them in a corporate situation and no doubt they will be as gung-ho as anyone to figure out ways to rip off customers.
Drapetomaniac , March 25, 2018 at 4:13 am GMT
@Miro23

I only look at the lost wallet in one light: it's not my property.

One of the factors I consider when looking at whether a person is a member of mankind or humankind – property.

szopen , March 25, 2018 at 8:57 am GMT
@Miro23

I've lost a wallet once and then I was visited home by shop owner, who carefuly tracked where I could live by using data from the wallet. She wanted nothing in exchange.

On university, I also was also given back a wallet once; I got back also a cellphone (which was quite expansive at the time) I left somewhere few years ago.

OTOH once I left a wallet with cash at university and it was not returned.

So, here you are my anecdotal evidence from Poland: three wallets and one cellphone, one time not returned, two plus one times returned.

szopen , March 25, 2018 at 9:07 am GMT
@James Thompson

"my recollection", " _I_ assumed, years ago" ??? Does that mean La Griffe du Lion is you?!?

Svigor , March 25, 2018 at 9:28 am GMT

More intelligent people may be more adept at calculating the possible negative consequences of personal dishonesty and they are likely to have more to lose. However, put them in a corporate situation and no doubt they will be as gung-ho as anyone to figure out ways to rip off customers.

The purpose of the institution in question is to "figure out ways to rip off customers." It's neither dishonesty nor cheating. The trick is not to have a culture that puts corporate/employer concerns first.

Obviously smarter people are going to tend to be more moral; you need to know what the fuck morality and ethics even are, and assess the circumstances, before you can make your decisions. Retards can't even get to the point of making a decision. Stupid people are great at missing the moral implications of their behavior. Smart people are the ones who need to come up with rationalizations.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 9:54 am GMT
All "honesty" begins with the self. Lying to your self, about your self is the basis of delusion and
in-authenticity. How can you know reality when reality is constantly reinterpreted to fit the needs of a run-away ego ?
The general point, that intelligence is linked to long term thinking seems sound to me. Dishonestly is often about immediate gratification: a question of gaining or avoiding immediate pleasure/displeasure. Honesty is a strategy that "pays off" over the long term.
Honesty, or truth telling (in so far as one can) is also a factor in an Honour culture. The liar is a "base" person, a person who has no sense (or no care about) their own social (self conscious) standing. Honesty also has a close correlation with such things as "loyalty", "promising" etc.
animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:02 am GMT
@Jonathan Mason

Oh yes !
That's the joy of the corporate structure: no one is responsible. EVERYONE acts because they "owe" obligations to another. (Executives to higher executives; Higher executives to the Board; the Board to Shareholders) Personal, moral responsibility becomes entirely lost in this deliberately confected ethical melange. The Large organisation is the perfect environment for crafting crimes safe from individual consequence.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:06 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz

It says you are damn lucky. If I had $ 915 in my wallet I'd super-glue the damn thing to my chest. Rather lose a couple layers of skin than that kind of dosh.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:25 am GMT
@Ilya G Poimandres

Self honesty is a long tortuous process.
Ideology is a relief: it removes the constant anxiety of needing to "question".
Science is -- should be -- the strictest form of public honesty.
Its frightening how many reports we so often get now about the systemic "dishonesty" in the scientific realm. (Dishonesty driven usually (not exclusively) by the demands of corporate profits)

m___ , March 25, 2018 at 10:46 am GMT
Sublime opportunism, entwined inside collective incentives, converges into supreme ethics, moral behaviour.
Sadly, the convergence is beyond the gradients of our elites.
The why of hard-wired human elites as are, cannot transcend to long term survival strategies, and society resembles a chicken coop.

To add another factor randomly, embedded into the above, it does not matter, how intelligence plays out between individuals, because individual opportunity feeds back into a pool of extended family, group, tribe, waves of culture and ad-hocs, lastingly and durably not encased in cognitive ambition, itself a consequence of cognitive genetic effort. Colleges and universities worldwide are a better example of petty games.

The "truth" and other concepts of "honesty" are a psychological, relative variant, depending on context. The agnostic concept of real and it's pursuit is unknown to our archaic, analogue brain without the preposition of a limited context, opportune in the now.

EliteCommInc. , March 25, 2018 at 1:35 pm GMT
I would be interested in how honesty was explicated. And the valuation of cross cultural rules that note the value of said rule equally across cultures. Now perhaps, these are fully layed out in the study, but I was unable to access the sight provided.

I would also be interested how the study rated honesty as a national value. Thus far the model looks to be applied by survey data. As I was reading I kept thinking of the multiple national scandals in which dishonesty played a central role. Once one figures out the definition and meaning of what constitutes honesty among individuals and or societal groups as agreed upon by those groups, then a model of measuring said honesty is built. This is essential because the article indicates that the difference in variable is largely cultural. So I have to conclude that a standard was established that recognizes what honesty is across cultures.

Because even withing culture, honesty varies. If intelligence is the key demarcation than one would expect those groupings with supposedly higher intelligence to have a higher degree of honesty. But again, even withing culture an agreed upon understanding of honesty is required.
Assuming intelligence matters to some set post of morality, in this case honesty -- could the model replicate supposed intelligence to honesty withing a given system in which the rules are more readily identifiable and agreed upon. Assuming that the students at the US military academies rank higher in intelligence than say the students at any comparable sized university would the students among the military academies rank higher or lower as to the being or practicing honesty. Considering the value placed on meritocratic institutions such as Harvard when measuring that intelligence grouping demonstrate a higher degree of honesty than a comparable public university.

Assuming we agree what the rules are,

"The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others"

it could be interesting whether said tested data is measuring awareness verses adherence.

Here are a bare list of some developed nation's honesty issues regarding rule adherence.

http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Scientific-misconduct

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheating (rare use of Wikipedia)

https://phys.org/news/2014-11-business-culture-banking-industry-favors.html

Again assuming that the players agree on what the rules are across countries or cultures a comparison of honesty across varying fields as to scandals and or practices might tell us something regarding the impact of intelligence to honesty across said cultures.

Found the article interesting and just expressed to thoughts on the read.

James Thompson , Website March 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@szopen

No, someone else.

ThreeCranes , March 26, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
Well, I'll speak (honestly) from the other perspective.

I used to ride my bike of a Sunday morning on a scenic route that boasted a few first class restaurants. Twice I found wallets lying on the pavement just downstream from these establishments. Apparently, the owners, a little tipsy, had set their wallets on top of their cars while they fumbled for their keys and then drove off.

The first I took to the local police station. The second I took home and called the owner (who lived in Canada) using their credit card number to pay for the call and left a message reassuring her that her wallet (and money) was safe and sound, not to worry (because I knew she would, having lost it outside her home country). I didn't want to take it to the police because I figured they'd begin to suspect me of stealing the wallets if I kept showing up with them.

She and her husband drove down to a prearranged place to meet me for the return. She was very grateful.

The owner of the first lost wallet called me and asked if they could donate $100 in my name to my favorite charity.

Another time I found a perfectly nice fleece-lined, leather aviation jacket lying in the road just outside a golf course. Luckily there was a receipt from his fee for 18 holes in the pocket. I called him and arranged to return the coat. We met. He treated me as though I had stolen the jacket from his car. Not so much as a thank you.

I don't know if I'm inclined to honesty because I'm bright, it's just that I've lost my wallet in the past and it's such a pain in the butt that I feel sorry for anyone who shares that fate. Credit cards, ID etc. the money is the least of it.

Mishra , March 26, 2018 at 7:14 am GMT
Honesty and trust are just two more archaic notions to be discarded along the way toward our new third-world future.
The Alarmist , March 26, 2018 at 11:08 am GMT

"Good institutions that limit cheating and rule violations, such as corruption, tax evasion and political fraud are crucial for prosperity and development."

I'd argue that these institutions derive from a well-functioning, high-trust society and are rarely a catalyst for more honesty in other societies.

As for the connection to intelligence, look at India and China to test your hypothesis.

JackOH , March 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

"Another time I found a perfectly nice fleece-lined, leather aviation jacket lying in the road just outside a golf course. Luckily there was a receipt from his fee for 18 holes in the pocket. I called him and arranged to return the coat. We met. He treated me as though I had stolen the jacket from his car. Not so much as a thank you."

TC, yep. I found a wallet stuffed with cash and credit cards on the campus of our local state university. A campus policeman was nearby so I turned the wallet over to him. He cautioned me that people who recover lost or abandoned property are sometimes blamed by the owners of that property for any real or imagined loss, damage, or inconvenience to the owners.

My rough rule of thumb is that if the property can be readily linked to an owner, I return it. If not, and the property has trivial value, say under USD $100, it's a judgment call. Found a few bottles of liquor, seals unbroken, in a trash can. Kept them. Found an untagged but well-kept dog once, which I judged to have strong sentimental value to its owner, so I placed an ad in a local newspaper, got a response, and returned the dog. His children were very grateful.

Santoculto , March 26, 2018 at 10:53 pm GMT
@Mishra

Most of corruption in third world countries came back from the top of social hierarchy, i mean, higher IQ.

dux.ie , March 27, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
The Gachter experiment on rule violation is based on die throwing in sterile experimental conditions where the financial incentives are trivial and more seriously there are no competition between the participants and there are no mechanism to identify specific individual cheating and no resulting blemish to ones' reputation. So how much of that are relevant to real life situations?

Real life cheating data where there are great advantage to be gained and also with consequences that might affect ones future are more appropriate to be studied. One aspect of the OECD TALIS project dealt with real life cheating in 8645 schools and over 100K? teachers globally,

"TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning – © OECD 2014″

http://www.oecd.org/education/talis/

Table 2.20.Web. School climate – Frequency of student-related factors (cheating)
Percentage of lower secondary education teachers whose school principal reports that the following student behaviours occurred 1 Never, 2 Rarely, 3 Monthly, 4 Weekly, 5 Daily in their schools.

Answers 3, 4 and 5 are considered to be serious indicator of cheating in schools. With the intention to mash the TALIS data with the PISA 2012 data, the primary school data were excluded.

Many popular pre-conceived ideas about cheating in schools were not proven by the data. In fact considerable efforts were needed to find any significant statistical trend. For example at the national levels cheating were not correlated to the average PISA scores, fraction of top or bottom PISA scores, teachers' practice of spliting the class to teach and to test part of the class differently, etc.

The factor that show statistical significance is the proxy factor for competition or meritocracy. Countries have adopted various shades of "no child left behind" policy and that is reflected in the age profile of the class. In country that practice strict "no child left behind", the students are automatically promoted to the next grade in the next academic year regardless of the ability of the students with the results that the student will be exclusive of the same 'academic age'. When meritocracy is practiced, poorly performing students might have to repeat the same grade one or more times resulting in 'academic age' distribution in class. Since the PISA project has data of percentage of 15 yo for that grade, the idea can be tested. To be polite, the marked datapoints are not labelled. Two countries separated by a narrow channel can have drastically different cheating levels.

Q32CheatRpt = -0.404*PctGrade +56.76; #n=32; Rsq=0.1891; p=0.01287 *

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=axb52h&s=9

The school cheating levels is statistically significant to be linearly dependent on the percent of the 15 yo in class. The levels of cheating is dependent on the level of meritocracy practiced. With automatic promotion to the next academic grade there is little need for the students to cheat. The governments are doing the cheating instead. The out-criers of cheating in other countries do not realized that they are in countries with lesser meritocracy.

Peter Frost , Website March 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT
The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others.

This is what Jean Piaget concluded from his studies of Swiss children. He believed that empathy was an integral part of a child's intellectual development. It doesn't follow, however, that there is some kind of genetic linkage between intellectual capacity and the capacity for empathy. These are two different mental traits. It's more likely that the same selection pressure that favored an increase in intellectual capacity also favored an increase in the capacity for empathy.

It's impossible to build an advanced society unless most of its members have a high capacity for both intelligence and empathy. On an individual level, however, high intelligence can co-exist with low empathy. There have been many cases of ruthless sociopaths who are very intelligent and yet totally self-centered. Such people can be very successful as long as they aren't too numerous. Otherwise, they'll destroy the very society that makes their existence possible.

An advanced society requires a combination of high intelligence and high empathy, although this may come about in different ways. In northwest Europeans, a high intellectual capacity co-exists with high capacities for guilt proneness and affective empathy. In East Asians, a high intellectual capacity co-exists with high capacities for cognitive empathy and pro-social behavior. In other words, there is more emphasis in East Asian societies on learning correct moral rules.

J.Ross , Website March 27, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
@Peter Frost

I am not following the credit gift of empathy to East Asians, or the connection of morality and intelligence to the obeying of complex rules, because of the stolen oranges in the Book of Rites and the counterfeit antiques that impressed the Emperor. The Chinese literally explain how to lie in their moral teachings. "Lying" is right there among the morality-guaranteeing complex rules. There are examples in the Talmud I will not specify, or regard as unreasonable, but I will note that nobody saw the Talmud as less than a downright complex system of rules. Some African tribes have rules so stringent (eg, no wet dreams) that nobody could possibly obey them. If anything I would expect that systems of compelled obedience to complex rules guarantee dishonesty. The only alternative is Billy Budd getting the captain to take his side.
What I would start with is power. In China, even in periods of decay or civil war, power is always centralized to a degree only approached in Europe by a few temporarily competent monarchs, and with an effectiveness that has never been accomplished in Europe. I think this and not math scores or cheap shoes is the basis of the elite adoration of the Han. The man who observes that a cow is not a nightingale, or that two and two are four, when the opposite is being claimed by an officer of the government (be it communist, imperial, or partisan) is an idiot. He, and probably his family, maybe his hamlet, will be exterminated with efficiency the European Enlightened Despots could only dream of. Truth, insofar as it is objective, is the hair of Liberty. It cannot exist at all except in the empty space left by the rolling back of power. The trick here is embracing negativism instead of falling into the positivistic trap. We in the West accidentally stumbled across Liberty and Truth and Science, not because we are good, objectively not because we are smarter, but because we just couldn't get that mandate of heaven thing together, despite the unambiguous desires of numerous monarchs. I predict that this will be an unpopular answer but it will not go away.
(but the Japanese are massively more ethical than the Chinese. Yeah. And they are also all but European, especially in a lot of their political history. They dreamed of imitating Chinese centralization but never came close.)
Also, how soon can we expect an update to that graph, now plotting IQ (or PISA, or tetris scores, etc) against something like the Transparency Index? Apologies if this has already been done and I missed it.

James Thompson , Website March 28, 2018 at 9:27 am GMT
@dux.ie

thanks for this interesting additional measure of cheating.

Steve Sailer , Website March 30, 2018 at 6:27 am GMT
Personally, I have a hard time understanding scams. I would make a terrible white collar criminal.
Wally , March 30, 2018 at 7:03 am GMT
@Jonathan Mason

Got examples?

Biff , March 30, 2018 at 7:31 am GMT
Those studies are bunk because everybody lies:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/09/everybody-lies-how-google-reveals-darkest-secrets-seth-stephens-davidowitz

What can we learn about ourselves from the things we ask online? US data scientist Seth Stephens‑Davidowitz analysed anonymous Google search results, uncovering disturbing truths about our desires, beliefs and prejudices

Tbbh , March 30, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@Santoculto

I almost thought I had found a thread on unz where somebody didn't mention joos. Thanks for not disappointing me.

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT
Have no idea where the data come from, but scandals with Dutch politicians seem to increase all the time, most with Rutte's VVD.

Condemned politicians for fraud etc., a novelty.
But until now just one behind bars.

But about honesty, our prime minister Rutte is nicknamed Pinocchio for his lies.
The VVD quickly rid itself of the chairman Keiser, who manipulated himself into possession of the crematoria of the organisation he advised.
The Dutch tax authority presented him with a claim of € 12 million, our FIOD, the authority for fiscal crimes is investigating him.

Condemned business men for fraud, more than we like.
Even the former Philips CEO Boonstra was condemned for trade with foreknowledge.
Solicitors also are not above suspicion any more.

At the recent municipality elections measures were applied to prevent criminals being elected.

Unreliable policemen, also a novelty, the first serious conviction was a short time ago, he sold information from police data bases to criminals.
How he was not discovered earlier, unbelievable, police salaries are insufficient for driving Porsches.

Wizard of Oz , March 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm GMT
Your last paragraph is ill timed and at best insensitive in the opinion of this Australian who once got some pleasure from the game of cricket
anarchyst , March 30, 2018 at 12:48 pm GMT
Catholic bishop Fulton J. Sheen said it best: "It is much easier for an educated person to rationalize evil".
All one has to do is look at abortion supporters who insist that abortion merely removes "a clump of cells", when they damn well know better, that it is HUMAN LIFE that they are destroying.
The old "ends justifies the means" excuse also comes into play, which is used by communist societies to purge millions of those who oppose them, not unlike the purges in the old Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other communist "paradises".
I would state that it is easier for an educated person to rationalize evil–this including dishonesty
ANON [436] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Do I detect a matter of class? The golfer seems not to have been a gentleman belonging to a golf club where proper behaviour was de rigeur, very likely passed from father, uncle and club pro to son. The sort of chap who pays green fees could be a wannabe upwardly mobile agent for subdivided swamp land

ANON [436] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

PS I gave up golf after my father died 20+ years ago. Not so much that I couldn't match his ethical standards but that after two heart attacks and hip replacements he was still a scratch golfer and all I could do was occasionally outdrive him if my slice or pull allowed.

TG , March 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm GMT
Interesting post. Some additional thoughts.

1. Perhaps smart people are just better at not getting caught?

2. Overall, there is one major factor in the honesty of a society, and that is poverty. When an overpopulated third-world society is crushed into misery, when people cannot earn a half-way decent living – or indeed, any living – through honest effort, eventually they come to cheat. This has been demonstrated in all cultures and all races.

Does integrity promote prosperity? Surely. But the reverse is if anything more powerful: poverty promotes corruption and nepotism. For people to behave honorably, yes there must be a culture of this, but it must also be the case that behaving honorably is not cutting your own throat. Because few people are saints.

Cindy , March 30, 2018 at 2:37 pm GMT
@JackOH

"Found a few bottles of liquor, seals unbroken, in a trash can. "

Dumpster-diving is a different thing than keeping lost goods. I think you're *morally* in the clear, there, even if sorely lacking in judgement. This doesn't seem very wise. Did it not occur to you that they were probably in the TRASH for a reason? Probably not poisonous or anything, since the seals were on. Probably some alcoholic decided to quit drinking. But do you want to take the chance that this wasn't a bootleg batch full of lead? Obviously the answer was yes. Your butt, I reckon

Anonymous [739] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm GMT
We have been flooded here at the University of Chicago by Mainland/Communist Chinese students. There are lots of accusations that the Chinese Communist government assists these students by cheating, getting other English language proficient students to take the English part of the SAT tests.

There appear to be lots and lots of Mainland Chinese/Communist China students here who supposedly aced the English SAT test but can't seem to speak English.

Twodees Partain , March 30, 2018 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Miro23

"like The Economist did with their wallet test – quite a good experiment."

But, The Economist is hardly a bastion of truth. I would tend to dismiss their entire story of the wallet experiment as a fabrication, having caught their writers in so many lies.

Willem , March 30, 2018 at 4:06 pm GMT
I interpreted the Simon Gächter graph as follows: the more money a country has, the more honest the citizens are.

Perhaps one should do an experiment and make countries like Tanzania as rich as e.g. The Netherlands, and then do the comparisons.

Same applies to IQ.

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 5:05 pm GMT

Do Brighter Minds Incline to Honesty?

Possibly.

But certainly that accounts for the fact that politicians are dull, ignorant, dissemblers at best.

In many governments the candidates for the highest stations are above the law; and, if they can attain the object of their ambition, they have no fear of being called to account for the means by which they acquired it. They often endeavour, therefore, not only by fraud and falsehood, the ordinary and vulgar arts of intrigue and cabal; but sometimes by the perpetration of the most enormous crimes, by murder and assassination, by rebellion and civil war, to supplant and destroy those who oppose or stand in the way of their greatness.

Adam Smith, Essays Pt I, Sec III, Chap III. ed. Joseph Black and James Hutton (London: Alex. Murray & Son, 1869). 3/30/2018. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2721#Smith_Essays1649_206

denk , March 30, 2018 at 5:36 pm GMT
Uk, the perpetrator of Iraq WMD and the current Russiagate, a more 'ethical' country than China ?

What a joke !

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm GMT
@Willem

Honesty to me seems a cultural phenomenon.
Once people get away with dishonesty, others think 'why not me ?'.

The Dutch erosion, in my recollection, already began in the seventies, with leftist people, at the time social democrats.
It was said then 'thinking left, filling pockets at the right'.
People as my father, life long socialists, left the party in great numbers.
It took a long time for THE socialist party, PvdA, to disappear, until the last parliamentary elections.
The self destruction had much to do with EU support, socialism is at odds with globalisation, even within the EU.

Few in the USA will have followed all the French scandals before the last presidential elections.
Even Macron was accused of not declaring all his possessions.
And indeed, I also cannot understand how he spent or lost the millions he got while working for the Rothschild bank.

Another well known politician, presidential candidate, cannot now remember the name, disappeared after gifts for suits for some € 50.000 were published, there was also a very expensive watch, the job his wife had, what she in fact did, nobody understands, and the temporary jobs for his children.
When one sees the small castle where the family lives one understands that he could not buy his suits himself.

Now at last there seems to be sufficient proof against Sarkozy.

Now many French presidents were persecuted after their immunity ended, when they no longer were president.
But the frauds etc. they seem to have perpetrated seem worse and worse, in the Sarko case, intimidating a judge, among other things.
When Hollande will be persecuted, I wonder.
He had a reputation for sacking editors in chief.

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 5:53 pm GMT
@denk

Ask Ghandi, alas he does not live, when Britain was an ethical country.
Just a few years ago, in BBCW Hard Talk, I saw an Indian minister getting quite angry 'the British did not have to teach the Indians anything'.

JackOH , March 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Cindy

Cindy, both gut and butt survived my "rescue" hooch. I did some due diligence: examined the bottles, carefully tasted the contents, etc. My guess was a domestic quarrel in the parking garage over the high-end vodka and liqueurs, perhaps over someone's drinking problem, and the quarrel was settled by chucking the booze.

" . . . [S]orely lacking in judgment." Not really. My judgment turned out to be okay, because I was informed by the totality of the circumstances and then made my call. Had the booze been low-end stuff found in an unfamiliar location, etc., I might have judged differently.

BTW-I didn't dumpster-dive. The booze was clearly visible at the top of the trash can.

denk , March 30, 2018 at 6:19 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

How did they measure such 'honesty index' ?
Placing 100 wallets in a park and observe how many are returned to the owners ?

But when the anglos lie, they always lie big time !

Goebel famously oberved .

The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous

Waging wars by false pretexts surely is the highest form of duplicity ?
They dont call them perfidious albions for nuthin you know !

Another Realist , March 30, 2018 at 6:24 pm GMT
How does the author explain the link between the supposed highest IQ group – the Jews, and their reputation for utmost dishonesty, greed and lust throughout history? Same goes for the Chinese.

Propensity for Honesty is the biggest reason why we need to restrict immigration from low trust cultures, i.e. all 3rd world countries. It's why they're 3rd world, because they are low trust, everyone is dishonest from the top down, the few honest ones are called "stupid" and get ripped off left and right. The more we import from these cultures, the more dishonest our society will become, this includes all of Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Southern & Eastern Europe esp. Russia. The only truly honest people in the world are Northwestern Protestant Europeans, and maybe the Japanese. All other groups are dishonest.

Joe Wong , March 30, 2018 at 8:18 pm GMT
@res

Interesting work? This article is a pure misuse of statistics, a fabrication and a classic work of evil minded Eurocentrist attempting to give a new lease of life to their declining rotten Eurocentrism in facing of the rising progressive, peaceful, and pragmatic East.

Look at the graph, its racist Eurocentrism is glaring, all the Western nations are on the good side while rest of the world on the bad side. History has shown all those on the good side are liars, cheaters, murderers, bandits, and pirates, while those on the bad side are the victims of those perpetrators on the good side. The missing of the USA in the chart makes this article an unapologetic white supremacy lie.

To study the link between brightness and honesty, it should pull data from the same pool of population who are in the same environment, i.e. within a nation, then we even can study whether cognitive ability, intellectual development, moral awareness, culture factor, and institutions have any effect on honesty and their relationships.

Besides in spite of being bright, and having cognitive ability, intellectual development, moral awareness, culture factor and strong institutions, the West still bombs, kills and waterboards others on the fabricated phantom allegations as humanitarian intervention without showing remorse; and recently the West lied about the poisoning episode in UK, and brought the world to the edge of anther world war crisis, those evidences prove the Western societies are not honest despite the qualities they processed as prerequisite for honesty, it seems it proves the West is either hypocritical or innate psychopathic.

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 9:18 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

Ask Ghandi, alas he does not live, when Britain was an ethical country.

Exactly. What a pack of criminals. They were much worse and for a longer period of time, than what they accused the Nazis of doing.

Churchill refused to divert supplies away from already well-supplied British troops at the same time he allegedly blocked American and Canadian ships from delivering aid to India either. Nor would he allow the Indians to help themselves: the colonial government forbade the country from using its own ships or currency reserves to help the starving masses. Meanwhile, London pushed up the price of grain with hugely inflated purchases, making it unaffordable for the dying and destitute. Most-chillingly of all, when the government of Delhi telegrammed to tell him people were dying, Churchill allegedly only replied to ask why Gandhi hadn't died yet.

If all this is true -- and documents support it -- then Winston Churchill may well have starved to death as many innocent people as Stalin did in the Ukrainian genocide. Could the man who held out against Hitler really be capable of such an atrocity? Judging by the rest of this list, it wouldn't be surprising.

https://listverse.com/2014/02/04/10-evil-crimes-of-the-british-empire/

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm GMT
The honest and bright Brits are responsible for starvation in prison camps decades before the Nazis were supposed to have done their thing.:

Picture of Brit camp victim (Boer War) according to the article linked above.:

lavoisier , Website March 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm GMT
@ANON

I cannot play golf without committing a certain amount of larceny. In my mind a mulligan is a reasonable option to excuse a particularly poorly played shot. And I have been known to sweeten my lie on the not rare occasion, which, of course, is a form of lying.

I have often wondered if my ease at dishonesty on the links might suggest a propensity towards darker deeds?

And don't even ask me about gimme putts. That for sure must reflect a lower intelligence!

Joe Wong , March 30, 2018 at 10:33 pm GMT
@James Thompson

Who decides who cheats or being dishonesty? Is misleading advertising cheating? Is empty campaign promises cheating? Is abusing legal loopholes cheating? Is putting one's self-interest ahead of the ones they supposed to serve cheating? Is price fixing cheating? Are cartels of all kind cheating? Are selective reporting, wrongful labelling, and spreading ideology cheating? . . .

Mind you, the people involved in the above activities are all bright, well educated, intelligent, having strong institutions, within well-functioning societies, and a sense of moral responsibilities too, would they be more than 16% in the western societes?

Sollipsist , March 30, 2018 at 11:08 pm GMT
The assumptions behind this are so fragile and unsupportable.

Honesty, as with most of the Judeo-Christian values, largely serves to keep the compliant majority self-correcting while the predatory and parasitic top and bottom of society maintain a more productive relativistic approach – long term dishonesty for the elites, short term dishonesty for the undesirables. In-group honesty is always far more valued than universal honesty – whether you're talking about stockbrokers or Romani.

The most intelligent in any class or group are far more likely to utilize dishonesty when it best serves their needs. To do otherwise would be a clear sign of lack of intelligence.

The idea that intelligent people are more likely to see the purpose of honesty in the long term is not only an unsupportable assumption, it's also ignoring the countless undeniable historical instances of intelligent leaders deploying adaptive fictions to achieve positive social goals (anything from religion to the concept of inalienable rights).

Anyone who uses the phrase "speaking truth to power" can absolutely be counted upon to be utterly dishonest when that power comes knocking.

Art , March 30, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
As a boy I had the privilege to attend a Catholic grade school. Part of the education was to go to confession. Admitting to a third party your wrongs, is very powerful. Forgiving the past frees one. Being truthful builds character, and getting over the past is a blessing. It was a struggle to be totally truthful all the time. As a mid to late teen, I fell away from Catholicism.

In my early twenties I came back to believing that truthfulness is the best policy. I attribute that to the Catholic culture and the confessional. I would not say that it was my intelligence that led me.

Think Peace -- Art

Joe Wong , March 31, 2018 at 1:17 am GMT
@Art

Confession has nothing to do with honesty; it breeds psychopath, unrepentance, irresponsibility and repeat offending. The churches use confession to cleanse perpetrators' sins, so the perpetrators can repeat their crimes without moral burden; this is not hypothesis, history bear witness of such fact. This is the trait of the Western culture, it reflects in all aspects of the westerners' behaviour. Most common expression of such morally defunct mentality is that the western governments and officials have no trouble to apologize the wrongs they have done, but they keep on doing the same wrong over and over again after apologizing. The Native Americans are the most abused victim of such morally defunct practice.

The churches use confession to recruit and dominate its members (mentally colonized serfs), expand their domains. Confession is one of the most effective mechanisms that corrupt the basic decency of humanity.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@jacques sheete

Here's another ROFLLMAO,

China much more aggressive than UK ,
WTF !

How did they deduce that ,
Comparing how many people jump queue in UK and China ?

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Coming from those who hog the top 100 hoax of the century chart.

hehehhehe

utu , March 31, 2018 at 2:13 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Perhaps going to confession or a dose of Christianity would be good for Chinese.

Twodees Partain , March 31, 2018 at 2:20 am GMT
@jacques sheete

Adam Smith apparently had their number when he was alive. It seems that little has changed in the quality of politicians between the 19th and 21st centuries. If anything, today's politicians are even more dimwitted and venal. The average Congress member is a moron, and nearly inarticulate in unscripted speaking.

I really enjoyed reading Henry Mencken's observations on political campaigns of the early 20th century. He also seemed to enjoy making those observations as well. It comes through in the way he describes the candidates.

Twodees Partain , March 31, 2018 at 2:26 am GMT
@denk

The government of the UK seems completely unconcerned with ethics, in the same way the US government is. Most members of both governments seem, to me, to be morally retarded.

Malcolm Y , March 31, 2018 at 2:54 am GMT
Since this is statistics there are no counterexamples. But there is one giant "counterexample"
denk , March 31, 2018 at 3:27 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

which begs the question .

How did these two 'ethical' countries keep churning out world class psychopaths as leaders .since 1600 ?

dux.ie , March 31, 2018 at 5:45 am GMT
Flash! Flash! Flash! Stop the press. This is not yet 1st April.

Currently there are a lot of news about cheating in sports, e.g. cricket. Out of a whim the relationship of sports with academic cheating is tested. The OECD PISA project has data on the percentage of students who exercise before or after school PctExercise, and

PctCheatRpt=+1.044*PctExercise-46.25; #n=29; Rsq=0.234; p=0.007889 ** (V Sig)

It is very statistically significant that PctExercise is positively highly correlated to academic cheating. The effect is more than double that for the other percentage variables whether they are statistically significant or not. If students spend too much time on tracks and fields and little time at home studying the results can easily be inferred. Now you know those loud mouths screaming about cheating in another countries and that the students there spend too much time studying, they are on average themselves doing most of the academic cheatings and they might be trying to divert attention away from them.

To be fair, the situation for the nerds should also be checked. The OECD PISA has data on the percentage of students who have more than 4 hours per week of off-school maths tuition PctMathTuitGt4hr,

PctCheatRpt=-0.835*PctMathTuitGt4hr+31.81; #n=28; Rsq=0.0552; p=0.2287 (NotSig)

It is statisticaly not significant. What about those academically very competitive, the percentage who wanted to be the best PctWantBest,

PctCheatRpt=-0.445*PctWantBest+54.07; #n=29; Rsq=0.222; p=0.009944 ** (V Sig)

It is statistically very significant that PctWantBest negatively correlated with cheating, i.e, on average the more academically competitive they are the lesser they will cheat.

It is intuitively that most self-confident students will not cheat. The OECD data can be transformed and normalized into confident quotient CQ similar to the IQ scale where CQ ≥ 115 is considered to be over-confident. However,

PctCheatRpt = -0.362*ConfidantQuotient +61.62; #n=29; Rsq=0.1289; p=0.05581 (NotSig)

Two datapoints are far from the rest and are on opposite sides of the regression line, by excluding them,

PctCheatRpt = -0.473*ConfidentQuotient2 +73.25; #n=27; Rsq=0.1653; p=0.03535 * (SIg)

CQ is negatively correlated to cheating rate as expected.

The summary of the results,

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=10pvbyt&s=9

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 10:42 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Most common expression of such morally defunct mentality is that the western governments and officials have no trouble to apologize the wrongs they have done, but they keep on doing the same wrong over and over again after apologizing.

Amen!

What's even worse is the goofy idea that one is automatically "forgiven" if s/he's a "believer." It's the works vs faith idea. Some of those people feel free to break every rule in the book (even the 10 supposedly written in stone) with complete impunity.

Those people routinely engage in behavior that's as disgusting as those from the the tribe who think they're "chosen."

G-wd's special ones, goy and non-goy, are forgiven in advance I guess.

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 11:05 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

If anything, today's politicians are even more dimwitted and venal. The average Congress member is a moron, and nearly inarticulate in unscripted speaking.

True.

I think much the same could be said for all hierarchical systems and that includes religious as well as academic ones. I've always been as much amused as amazed at how dimwitted and venal priests and professors usually are.

Frauds-R-Us.

jilles dykstra , March 31, 2018 at 11:19 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Rereading this reaction comes to mind
Edward W. Said & Christopher Hitchens, ed., Blaming the Victims, Spurious scholarship and the Palestinian question', 1988, London

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
@JackOH

"[S]orely lacking in judgment." Not really. My judgment turned out to be okay"

No, it was a bad call regardless of how it turned out. The risk-reward ratio was off the chart.

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 11:30 am GMT
@denk

which begs the question .

How did these two 'ethical' countries keep churning out world class psychopaths as leaders .since 1600 ?

Beg no longer, fine sir! This dude may have an answer.

Henceforth, Britain will do the bidding of her real masters ; she has
become the tool of the schemers against all she holds dear, namely, her
faith, her patriotism, traditions, civilisation. She grants the " returned "
aliens equality of civil rights ; they may and do become mayors over
Christian population, and within a short time Britain is ruled by a
Jewish Prime Minister, Disraeli, first and foremost a Jew and the
flunkey of the powerful Rothschild financiers.

One of the consequences of this disastrous political mistake is the
transformation of the national attitude of Great Britain and her
colonies into that of the British Empire. Disraeli who inspired it
knew what he was scheming for, the British people did not. But with
him, Zionism is carried up to the very heights of the British Throne, a
Zionist World Empire is on the high road to realisation.

-Leslie Fry, "the Jews and the British Empire," 1935

https://archive.org/stream/FryLeslieTheJewsAndTheBritishEmpire/Fry_Leslie_-_The_jews_and_the_British_Empire_djvu.txt

He musta been a kunspirasee theerist er an antee-Semite er sumpin. Prolly lo IQ and jellis too.

Dieter Kief , March 31, 2018 at 11:37 am GMT
@Dieter Kief

In the light of what Jonathan Haidt in the above linked video says with regards to David Perkin's findings, I tend to say this question of yours

Do Brighter Minds Incline to Honesty?

has to be answered: "Yes. But ."

The But has to do with the the history of the term "honesty".

People might say wrong things, while being (and feeling!) honest, because honesty is not necessarily rooted in speaking the truth.

Honesty is a social category alltogether (with close ties to knighthood, chivalry and the like). It therefor is a category, which in it's very core hints at obedience and fellowship, and that's at times what keeps people away from speaking the truth – cf. David Perkins and Jonathan Haidt above (ok – full circle).

Joe Wong , March 31, 2018 at 12:42 pm GMT
@utu

Hit-and-run is common all over the world not just in China, it is a sign of moral decay, confusion, and irresponsibility. Those perpetrators must be denounced.

But if one follows the West or the unrepentant war criminal Japanese, it is easy to white wash those hit-and-run crimes by saying the percentage of such crime in China is way lower than in the US though the absolute number might be higher, so Chinese is more honest than average in the world.

On the other hand killing people with car faces less consequences in the West, most perpetrators in the West get slap on the wrist for such crime, such as suspension of driving license, insurance company paid compensation, short term imprisonment, or get way free by claiming medical conditions, but in China the perpetrators may have to pay their lives for their crimes. It seems the West does not have a balanced morality, harsh on the victims and lenient on the criminals.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

In the honesty index graph,
Germany is higher than China, OK, thats fair.

As for the five eyes lies , their rightful place is right at the bottom.

UK [half of fukus] the ethical country ?
hehehehhe

Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy
by Mark Curtis

In his explosive new book, Mark Curtis reveals a new picture of Britain's role in the world since 1945 and in the 'war against terrorism' by offering a comprehensive critique of the Blair government's foreign policy. Curtis argues that Britain is an 'outlaw state', often a violator of international law and ally of many repressive regimes. He reasons not only that Britain's foreign policies are generally unethical but that they are also making the world more dangerous and unequal.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1128541.Web_Of_Deceit

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:21 pm GMT
@utu

kid,

You believe in gawd ?
I pray to the all mighty every day to stop the great satan,
a fat lot of good it does tho !

so how ?

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

that utu kid oughtta go out more .

He spend all day in the basement and he thought he knows the world by watching some dubious youtube videos, forchrissake !

hehehhe

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 2:59 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

Interesting. Reverse Midas Touch can be a very real phenomenon, apparently.

So who chose them and what were they chosen for?

Anon [436] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT
@anarchyst

Why do you condemn over 100,000 years of homo sapiens behaviour. Destroying human lives has been continuously the most effective natural way to achieve important utilitarian ends tight up to today. And given the ancient Hebrew enthusiasm for genocide is it surprising that God's Ten Commandments not only said nothing about abortion but assumed that limiting killing was about the best that could be hoped for.

utu , March 31, 2018 at 6:16 pm GMT
@denk

Quality is also an aspect of honesty: both individual and institutional.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 6:54 pm GMT
Did I mention the top 100 hoaxes of the century chart, kid ?

Here's a partial list,

Iraq WMD
IRAQ babies incubators
Racak 'massacre'
RUSSIAGATE,
Chinagate,
Indo./China war 1962
Indon genocide 1965
GCHQ fake foto
Tibet fake foto,
Tibet genocide,
Libya
Syria
Sinking of the Maine,
Gulf of Tonkin,
911
War OF terror,
R2p[lunder]
TAM 'massacre'
Tibet 2008
Xinjiang 2009

100 reasons why fukus should be at the bottom of the 'honesty' chart !

utu , March 31, 2018 at 8:13 pm GMT
Chinese the most dishonest, Japanese and British the least, study finds

http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/1879850/chinese-most-dishonest-japanese-and-british-least-study-finds

Why do Chinese students think it's OK to cheat?

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1974986/why-do-chinese-students-think-its-ok-cheat

99% OF PUBG'S BANNED CHEATERS ARE FROM CHINA

http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/02/16/99-of-pubgs-banned-cheaters-are-from-china

utu , March 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

those hit-and-run crimes

These are not just hit and run. In China you do not run until you make sure the victim is dead. And if the victim is not dead you hit them second time to make sure he/she is dead and then you run. This is very pragmatic and congruent with all Chinese philosophical systems. That's why I suggested to your compatriot (denk) here that a bit of Christian mercy and compassion would do Chinese some good.

Philip Owen , March 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

As Amryata Sen has pointed out. The problem in Bengal was not a lack of food but the lack of purchasing power by the poorest peasants. Hoarding by merchants is a traditional driver of famine in India. The Punjab actually had a good harvest but Bengal ate rice. Churchill's nvolvement was ncidental. India was governed com India, often by Indians. Churchill was an outrageous racist but by no means representative of the British of the time. He lost the post war election.

Philip Owen , March 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

WYes. Grotesque incompetence rather than the intended result but morally wrong just the same.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@utu

I am surprised that you posted that first link. Its 1500 tested people (selected how?) from 15 countries simply reminded me that the "Climategate" emails also belonged to the University of East Anglia.

I didn't take the time to understand WTF PUBG was all about (third link).

As to the second link it is indeed interesting to learn of what appears to be a formal recognition by the Chinese Communist Party that part of what contributed to the earlier economic success of the West was trust and comparative honesty (as Amy Wax might point out).

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 1:58 am GMT
@utu

First of all Christians have no mercy, and they only have crusade and conversion. Christians are cult. The Christians have been committing crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes using evil and sadist inquisition methods for a very very long time. Their forte is racial and culture genocide. Before Columbus time they only did their carnage between themselves and Muslims within the European continent and ME. After Columbus they spread their plague all over the world.

The most unfortunate victims are the Americans (from North to South). Christian not only took the American's land, and killed them into nearly extinct, they also burnt all books of South Americans, so that there is no indigenous South American civilization left to tell their history and to refute what the Christian casted them as savages.

In China during the late Qing time, the Christians treated Chinese culture and traditions as witchcraft, backed by their governments' guns they used extraterritorial right to expand their control of people and land with organized violence and insidious crimes. Their unscrupulous activities forced Chinese to resist thru Boxer movement because Qing Court was incompetent. The West labelled Boxer as terrorists and crashed them with Eight Nations Alliance armed intervention, Christian was a major force that caused China Century Humiliation.

Since WWII all wars were led by the Christians, their false Christian mercy calls paved the way for the Western governments and war mongers to bomb, kill and waterboard on moral high ground just like their barbaric Christian forebears who have done to the native South Americans and rest of the world.

That kind of morally defunct drivers are not unique to China, they appeare in the West too. In some incidences the driver in the West made sure nobody survives in the other car by pushing the car over the road side, so they have better chance not to be convicted due to no witness.

While guys using assault rifles mowing down tens of school kids for no reasons and claim it is their constitution rights to do so, and tens of millions of killed, tortured and maimed by the NATO false flag wars, why don't you suggest your compatriots in the USA and other NATO nations that a bit of Christian mercy and compassion would do their souls some good? Is it because Christian mercy is myth, fantasy and snakeoil?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 2:37 am GMT
@utu

You are being racist, propagating the pink skin pigs' trashes in HK irresponsibly. You should know those noxious racist trolls in the SCMP are posted by the pink skin pigs and their mentally colonized wannabes in HK out of resentment and frustration, because they lost their colonial privileges in HK and they are being rejected as uneducated unscrupulous colonials back home. They fell from master caste to the bottom of the society and become worthless trash.

Japanese are unrepentant war criminals, their whole society are liars and they have been lying since WWII about their war crimes, their past, their present and their future, they even are lying about the massive toxic nuclear leaking in the Fukushima cripple nuclear power plants that are causing millions of people died of cancer and extinction of marine creatures. While the British is the mentor of the Japanese.

Britain was a ruthless global tyrant and liar, but you seem to believe that all the crimes against humanity and peace and war crimes British committed around the world can be forgiven and glossed over by claiming Britain a democracy; what a lie and morally defunct double think evil psychopathic expression. People said British imitates the Romans and the American is born out of the British, no wonder the American is adopting the same double think logic to white wash and gloss over the war crimes, crimes against humanity and peace they have been committing around the world.

Winston Churchill was a classic imperialist with no moral bearing, he believed for the empire everything goes. WWII is nothing but a dog-eat-dog play rough over the monopoly to plunder the rest of the world; they squandered all the wealth they obtained thru stealing, looting and murdering hundreds of millions of people all over the world in that scrabbling.

About cheating in the exams you must have never seen what the Greeks and Indian are capable of. PUBG is sour grape, they cannot beat the Chinese so they banned Chinese on the fabricated allegation, just like the Opium Wars, the British could not beat Chinese manufactured goods, so they used Opium and wars to steal and cheat Chinese wealth.

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 2:44 am GMT
@denk

Death should be knocking on Iran's door and wearing a Star of David effacing the American flag.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:50 am GMT
@denk

Why do you waste time displaying your prejudices without even acknowledging what question was asked? Your English is up to it – just – so you have no excuse.

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Your diatribe is a bit on the simplistic side.

All Utu was pointing out is that deliberately killing someone with a car to escape prosecution is pretty heinous behavior and does suggest something really wrong with the Chinese culture at a fundamental level.

And the treatment of animals in China is generally deplorable compared with Western standards with little concern for their well being. How does this obvious cruelty fit on the ethical plane?

Ethical behavior among human beings is probably more unusual than we would like to believe and we can all be better people. The Chinese are no exception to that rule. If Christian ethics or Buddhist ethics can advance that cause, I support this.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@jacques sheete

I was intrigued to find on the listverse.com site some readable and/or intriguing stuff, e.g. on Charles Darwin, but your particular, well debunked, choice of anachronistic and inaccurate story to believe and post suggests to me that anyone whose intellectual standards allow them to rely on one of those list (usually of 10) sites should not pollute UR. Are you aware that people are paid $100 (with possibility of bonuses) for those lists?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@utu

You are wrong, not everybody demands the same quality, and Chinese provides different quality for different needs in the market. Besides you get what you paid for, it is fundamental principle of capitalism if you don't count the first principle of capitalism which is monopoly which is charge as much as you can bear and cost is irrelevant, that is not only cheating and it is also blackmailing and looting.

The video just claims but shows no proof what the guy claims. Chinese machinery and parts are taking more markets around the world, this simply fact proves the video is made out of bad faith, and pure propaganda.

Coins can stand up on Chinese High Speed Rail running more than 300km/hr, no German, Japanese or any other nation can do that, it proves the bearing quality in China HSR is unprecedented, it further proves the guys in the video is a troll out of jealous, resentful and fear Chinese achievements.

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:33 am GMT
@utu

hey kiddie,

Spare me all those China videos' [1]

In case you still havent noticed,
Im not here to defend China.
I allow its position below Germany is quite fair.

But,
Can you give me one good reason why UK , that agent provocateur extraordinaire , is so high up that honesty chart ?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:41 am GMT
@utu

In China you do not run until you make sure the victim is dead.

cuz you watch some videos from youtube,
forchrissake !

Can you give me some credible statistics , the percentage of such alleged crimes in China ?

How does such alleged crimes stack up against fukus state terrorism like double tapping , sniping at women and chidlren, obliterating the whole neighborhood of a suspect hideout just to make sure, ?

And .
How does this elevate fukus from its rightful position at the bottom of that honesty chart,
thats all I wanna know ?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:44 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz

To think that I recently commended you for some improvement on your comprehension !
, now you go back to my bozo file,

Anonymous [216] Disclaimer , April 1, 2018 at 8:03 am GMT
@Joe Wong

It is propaganda. People tell me that the same stories were circulated when Japan was becoming a tech powerhouse. It will probably take another 5-10 years before it dissipates.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 10:01 am GMT
@denk

Don't avoid the issue. How do you justify your use of the word "aggressive"?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 11:42 am GMT
@lavoisier

I merely point out the misconception about Christians supported by historical facts. Indian treats animals even worse while China has humane protection laws, it seems you are as impartial as utu.

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 11:58 am GMT
@Anonymous

Chinese is not Japanese. Japanese only steals, their forte is made refinement on the stolen.

A lot of the American and British have been saying China will collapse 30 years already, you are one of them.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm GMT
Your first paragraph comes over as so silly that perhaps it shouldn't surprise that your second paragraph is, to say the least, extremely puzzling. Where did Anonymous [216] say or suggest that China eould collapse? The post you are replying to implies no such thing.
utu , April 1, 2018 at 3:32 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

After every of your visit by you at unz.com I keep wondering to what degree your primitive chauvinism is representative of China. How many millions primitive and hateful Joe Wongs are there? Then I wonder that perhaps you are not Chinese. That you are employed by enemies of China. That Chinese are too smart to show their cards that early in the game. If they really hate they would not show it because only fools show hate.

You, see I carry a positive stereotype of Chinese which is supported by my personal experience with them but you and your sidekick deng do everything possible to undermine it and change it into: Yes, Chinese can be really stupid and thus more dangerous than we thought. Watch, out for stupid and dangerous Chinese. Go to the Plan B: Poke NK and the Rocket Man more to the point that Japan get so paranoid that it starts arming itself with nukes. If there is to be a war let it start with the yellow races killing each other. They hate each other anyway. Ask Joe Wong if you have any doubts.

So what is it? Are you Chinese or an agent of revanchist militarist unreformed Chinese hating interests of Japanese imperialism? And then, if you are Chinese, how many more stupid ones like you are there?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMT
@utu

I carry a positive stereotype of Chinese which is supported by my personal experience

sic !

your sidekick deng

Ad hominem is the last resort of the scoundrel.

Why dont you try answering my questions kid ?

*How do you propose to get rid of that plague of the 21C ?

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/do-brighter-minds-incline-to-honesty/#comment-2267831

Why are you evading the issue but indulge in China bashing ?
Are you a diversion agent ?

*Do you agree that UK should be right at the bottom of that honesty chart ?

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 5:45 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

No. I am unimpressed with the morality of most humans and suspicious of attempts to paint ourselves as more virtuous than we are.

But there are certainly aspects of Christian morality that can serve as a framework to guide human behavior–wherever one lives or whoever you are.

Your diatribe blaming Christians for all the evil of the world is incredibly dishonest and naive.

Anonymous [442] Disclaimer , Website April 1, 2018 at 6:14 pm GMT
What is the difference in per capita income between southern europeans and scandinavians? I think this also plays a role.
Joe Wong , April 2, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
@lavoisier

It seems your only defense for the Christians is denying historical facts, and stating something that Christians are not.

Naïve? Are you saying the crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes committed by the Christians were carefully planned, deeply thought through, determined and maturely decided like holocaust?

Bible is zero-sum based narrative, the fundamental dogma of Christianity is "you are either with us or you are with the devil" therefore all Christians have a mission to convert everyone else into "one of us" on the moral high ground with whatever means necessary, Christians believe whatever the Christians do it is necessary with good intention, even bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated allegations is humanitarian intervention.

Christianity assumes humans are primitive and born evil, they need divine force to threaten (go to hell) them not to do harm, and it is tribal. While some other civilizations believe humans are sane, rational, intelligent and compassionate, humans do not need divine force to tell them how to behave properly in order to achieve peace, harmony, cooperation, development and mutual benefits, just logical explanation and some directions will be suffice.

If the past can be any reference, the crimes have been committed against humanity in the name of Christianity, it is doubtful that Christians have any morality, mind you it does not mean the Bible does not have good points in it, there are other way better ways and means to serve as a framework to guide human behaviour for the good.

Joe Wong , April 2, 2018 at 2:25 am GMT
@utu

Chauvinism is someone claims what he is not and based that false claim to demonize others what they are not on the moral high ground, this is what the West has been doing since 1492.

Stating facts does not involve emotion, so please refrain yourself from sensationalize any topic unnecessary that makes dialog on difficult issues impossible, Theresa May and Nikki Haley are not your role model to follow.

For over seventy years the US has dominated Asia, ravaging the continent with two major wars in Korea and Indo-China with millions of casualties, and multiple counter-insurgency interventions in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor, Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The strategic goal has been to expand its military and political power, exploit the economies and resources.

Before WWII, the American is just one of the Western imperialists ravaged and wreaked havoc of Asia with barbaric wars, illicit drugs like Opium, slavery, stealing, robbing, looting, plundering, murdering, torturing, exploiting, polluting, culture genocide, 'pious' fanaticism, unmatchable greed and extreme brutality. In fact it is hard to tell the difference between the American and the unrepentant war criminal Japanese who is more lethal and barbaric to Asians until the Pearl Harbour incident.

James Thompson , Website April 2, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
@utu

instructive comparison

lavoisier , Website April 2, 2018 at 3:57 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

If the past can be any reference, the crimes have been committed against humanity in the name of Christianity, it is doubtful that Christians have any morality

Do you really believe this???? No morality in any Christians?

You are even more locked into hate and racism than I thought possible.

Have you attended any of the lectures by the anti-racist Tim Wise??

You might get some talking points from him that can help you in your future postings.

And keep up the good work, you have a bright future in any number of our MSM outlets.

Daniel Chieh , April 2, 2018 at 4:23 pm GMT
@utu

And you have not even met the hardcore commies, who would like to explain that the only thing that Mao did wrong, terribly wrong was that he did not kill nearly enough people.

And the answer to your question is that there are idiots in every country and race, though in China they are mostly excluded from political positions(because insanity is not welcome), so they troll online message boards within and without China.

Like various other fanatics and crazies, they can be entertaining in the appropriate context. If you've been to Finland, he's the equivalent of the old drunk men yelling propositions at girls in some train stations of the small towns. Entertaining in small doses.

utu , April 2, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Daniel Chieh

Entertaining in small doses.

I think I reached my limit dose of Joe Wong and deng already.

denk , April 3, 2018 at 4:46 am GMT
@utu

So you couldnt even give one good reason why UK should be on top of that 'honesty chart' eh ?

well I can give you 100 why UK should be right at the bottom,

Perfidious albions
exhibit one

How to ethnic cleanse an entire island ?
Declare the residents as tresspassers !

'What the files also reveal is an imperious attitude of brutality. In August 1966, Sir Paul Gore-Booth, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office, wrote: "We must surely be very tough about this. The object of the exercise was to get some rocks that will remain ours.

There will be no indigenous population except seagulls." At the end of this is a handwritten note by DH Greenhill, later Baron Greenhill:

"Along with the Birds go some Tarzans or Men Fridays " Under the heading, "Maintaining the fiction", another official urges his colleagues to reclassify the islanders as "a floating population" and to "make up the rules as we go along".

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/oct/02/foreignpolicy.comment

Perfidious albions at its best !

heheheheheh

I think I reached my limit dose of Joe Wong and deng already.

yEAH,
Scurry away with tail between your legs and declare victory,

that'd be
perfidious albions exhibit 2

hehehhehe

Chris2345 , April 3, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT
@joe Wong You are a foolish, ignorant person. At least in regard to Christianity. The perpetrators of the holocaust and genocide are Christians? You absolutely have no clue about Christianity. Yes, they came from a Christian based culture but Nazis (and American war criminals) have nothing in common with Christianity. The best countries in the world are ones based on Protestant Christianity, meaning Christianity that is the closest to the Biblical teachings. I admire Chinese culture and history (especially the technology which benefited the West) but you need the ability to admit the faults of your culture which has some serious problems.
JackOH , April 4, 2018 at 9:53 am GMT
@Anonymous

Thanks for the concern, but the risk of harm to me was near zero. Numeracy and all that.

Vojkan , April 5, 2018 at 6:13 am GMT
Though I am convinced that honesty is more rational in the long term than lying, I definitely don't believe that people with high IQ are more honest than those more modestly gifted with intellectual talent. Smart people just know better to juggle with fallacies so they are more likely to get away with it than dummies, that's all.
Logic does say that truth is lower maintenance, as it exists per se and is always consistent, and lies so they are not exposed need to be cared of constantly, as they are always intrinsically inconsistent with reality, but people are people, driven by the seven sins, of which greed and vanity are possibly the worst, with the former being more evenly distributed while the latter tends to affect the bright rather than the dim.
Logic and ethics are different categories. Equating them is a sign of, well, vanity.
TT , April 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm GMT
@utu

Only a moron equate honesty = quality using ball bearing as example. There are countries may be very honest like Bhutan, yet they don't produce high quality product.

The US top elites are very intelligent, are producing lots of quality products like Boeing plane & precision weapons for murdering everywhere, yet their politicians & bankers are known habitual liars, with British & French close behind, and Germans reluctantly.

Japanese is producing high quality products, look how frequently their politicians are caught outright lying, corrupted & nepotism, and researchers are now caught recently in their published papers using fake data, with big corporates like Toshiba, Nissan, Steel factories caught cheating systematically for long period.

Its true Germany make top notch quality, undisputed, better than Japan imo.

But look at the chart, beside Germany, who else is producing better ball bearings than China, or precision tools that run aerospace, manned space craft, rockets, 5th gen J20, satellites, nuclear plants(light water pebble), nuclear sub, FSR, a long list to go yet they are rated more honest than China.

Fyi, only 2 countries are able to produce precision steel ball bearings for tiny ball point pen tip, Germany & Japan. So China is importing billion of them for its ball point pen production annually.

Why can't China factory produce it? There was some uproar in China media over this last year. Guess what? Within a mth, some factory is churning out perfect ball bearings, but in better material – ceramic that is cheaper & longer lasting. And the producer explained, its not economical worth the effort & machining to produce those bearings as they cost only $200K p. a. to import. But for national pride, they do it.

And i highly suspect you are either from HK or Taiwan with some bad memory of old China that you simply like to smear China without taking a fairer stand that, out of 1.4B Chinese how many % is doing those crimes, vs 400M murkans more serious crimes.

The new generation Chinese should not be continuously viewed through old communist color lens & West propaganda, they are not responsible for the history but the future. Pres Xi is a good example, he is leading China to their peaceful rise now. He suffered in culture revolution, do you want to blame him for those history?

TT , April 7, 2018 at 4:15 pm GMT
This chart simply look so questionable. Why not include US, France, Oz, Canada, Bhutan, India, Brazil, Agentina, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, HK, Japan, Korea, HK, Taiwan, to give a wider comparison. And how the author do his samplings to derive this graph is very much questionable.

And to say brighter mind = honesty, just look at how honest are most world politicians that are generally top intellectuals of their cohort. I would say more wise = more honesty.

To use wallets returning as a test of honesty is also overly simplified. When a country is poor, these are godsend present unless they are true perfect communist.

As a country get wealthier, their people generally get better education & well off, become indoctrine with social norm of what is so called good behavior(persuaded by praise & blame). They are more inclined to return a wallet found with money that aren't so attractive to them compare to poor. But that can never be equate to genuine honest, im sure most US Pres & UK PM will return wallets.

Take UK as the most glaring example, with its brightest in parliament are consistently been outright shameless liars, such as Blairs lies for Iraq WMD war, and now May's lies of Skripal case, which all getting near unanimous support from their parliament members speak great volumes.

There is a Unz article written on how UK has been the mecca of paedophiles, global capital in grooming children for sexual exploitation, with systematic covered up over decades by their politicians because they & those powerful elites were all involved.

http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/the-telford-child-sex-scandal-and-the-end-of-england/

Their police chief even suggested not to criminalize Britons watching/owned child porno as so high a proportion of their nation are doing will overwhelm their prisons & judicial system.

So what honesty are we talking about here, UK as over 60% honest? Even their moral value is highly questionable if you ask most UK white people.

And Malaysia getting 3rd highest honesty of near 80% is a great joke just shy from UK. Its one of well known highest crimes & corruption that the West themselves criticized much, even Spore ex-PM LKY openly condemn as violent crime infested. I never know violent criminal is honest, may be yes for the author country when compared to their politicians.

[Mar 27, 2018] It's Wishful Thinking to Blame Trump's Win on Cambridge Analytics by Patrick Cockburn

Notable quotes:
"... Much of what Cambridge Analytica claimed to be able to do for its clients has an exaggerated ring to it. As with the Steele dossier, several of the Cambridge Analytica documents are unintentionally funny, such as a letter from Aleksandr Kogan, the Russian-American academic researcher, suggesting that finding out if people used crossbows or believed in paganism would be useful traits on which to focus. ..."
"... What is lacking in these scandals is much real evidence that Russian "meddling" or Cambridge Analytica "harvesting" – supposing all these tales are true – really did much to determine the outcome of the US election. Keep in mind that many very astute and experienced American politicians, backed by billions of dollars, regularly try and fail to decide who will hold political office in the US. ..."
"... Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
Mar 27, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Many people who hate and fear Donald Trump feel that only political black magic or some form of trickery can explain his election as US President. They convince themselves that we are the victims of a dark conspiracy rather than that the world we live in is changing, and changing for the worse.

Cambridge Analytica has now joined Russia at the top of a list of conspirators who may have helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is satisfactory for Democrats as it shows that they ought to have won, and delegitimises Trump's mandate.

In the Russian and Cambridge Analytica scandals, dodgy characters abound who claim to have a direct line to Putin or Trump, or to have secret information about political opponents or a unique method of swaying the voting intentions of millions of Americans. The most doubtful evidence is treated as credible.

The dossier by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, about Trump's romps in Moscow, struck me when I first read it as hilarious but entirely unbelievable. The US media thought the same when this document was first being hawked around Washington before the election, and refused to publish it. It was only after Trump was elected that that they and the US security agencies claimed to find it in any way credible.

Much of what Cambridge Analytica claimed to be able to do for its clients has an exaggerated ring to it. As with the Steele dossier, several of the Cambridge Analytica documents are unintentionally funny, such as a letter from Aleksandr Kogan, the Russian-American academic researcher, suggesting that finding out if people used crossbows or believed in paganism would be useful traits on which to focus.

We are told that Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users have been "harvested" (a good menacing word in this context, suggesting that the poor old users are being chopped off at the ankles), and that information so garnered could be fed into the Trump campaign to put him over the top on election day. In reality, information gathered from such a large number of people is too generalised or too obvious to be of much use.

What is lacking in these scandals is much real evidence that Russian "meddling" or Cambridge Analytica "harvesting" – supposing all these tales are true – really did much to determine the outcome of the US election. Keep in mind that many very astute and experienced American politicians, backed by billions of dollars, regularly try and fail to decide who will hold political office in the US.

It simply is not very likely that the Kremlin – having shown extraordinary foresight in seeing that Trump stood a chance when nobody else did – was able to exercise significant influence on the US polls. Likewise, for all its bombastic sales pitch, Cambridge Analytica was really a very small player in the e-campaign.

The Russian "meddling" story (again, note the careful choice of words, because "meddling" avoids any claim that the Russian actions had any impact) and the Cambridge Analytica saga are essentially conspiracy theories. They may damage those targeted such as Trump, but they also do harm to his opponents because it means that they do not look deeply enough into the real reasons for their defeat in 2016, or do enough to prevent it happening again.

Since Clinton lost the election by less than 1 per cent of the vote in the crucial swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, almost anything that happened in the campaign can be portrayed as decisive. But there are plenty of common-sense reasons for her defeat which are now being submerged and forgotten, as the Democrats and a largely sympathetic media look to Russian plots and such like to show that Trump won the election unfairly.

It is worth looking again at Hillary Clinton's run-for-office in 2016 to take a more rational view of why she unexpectedly lost. A good place to start is Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign , by the journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, which was published a year ago and is based on interviews with senior campaign staffers.

Ironically, the Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook based his approach on a similar sort of analysis of vast quantities of data about voters that Cambridge Analytica claimed it could use to great effect.

Mook's conviction that this data was a sure guide to where to invest the Democrats' best efforts had disastrous consequences, even though Clinton outspent Trump by 2 to 1. For instance, she did not campaign in Wisconsin after winning the nomination, because her election team thought she was bound to win there. She put too little effort into campaigning in Michigan, though her weakness there was underlined there in March when she lost the primary to Bernie Sanders.

Traditional tools of electioneering such as polls and door-to-door canvassing were discounted by Mook, who was absorbed by his own analytical model of how the election was going. In major swing states, the book says that "he declined to use pollsters to track voter preferences in the final three weeks of the campaign".

Clinton carried a lot of political baggage because she had been demonised by the Republicans for 25 years. She had bad lluck, such the decision of the FBI director, James Comey, to send a letter to Congress about her emails two weeks before the election – but Trump somehow managed to survive even worse disasters, such as boasting of how he groped women.

Opponents of Trump tend to underestimate him because they are convinced that his faults are so evident that he will implode when the electorate find him out. Somehow they never do, or at least not those parts of the electorate which votes for him.

The very scandals that Trump's critics believe will sink him have enabled him dominate the news agenda in a way no American politician has ever done before. The New York Times and CNN may detest him, but they devote an extraordinary proportion of their news output to covering his every action.

The accusation that the Kremlin and companies like Cambridge Analytica put Trump in the White House may do him damage. But I suspect that the damage will mostly be among people who never liked him and would never vote for him.

Perhaps the one thing would have lost Trump the election is if his campaign had truly relied on Cambridge Analytica's data about the political proclivities of pagan crossbow enthusiasts.

[Mar 27, 2018] Facebook Suspends Donald Trump's Data Operations Team For Misusing People's Personal Information

Mar 27, 2018 | yro.slashdot.org

(theverge.com) BeauHD on Friday March 16, 2018 @11:30PM from the violation-of-terms dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Facebook said late Friday that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies around data collection and retention. The companies, which ran data operations for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign , are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook than his rival, Hillary Clinton. While the exact nature of their role remains somewhat mysterious, Facebook's disclosure suggests that the company improperly obtained user data that could have given it an unfair advantage in reaching voters . Facebook said it cannot determine whether or how the data in question could have been used in conjunction with election ad campaigns.

In a blog post, Facebook deputy general counsel Paul Grewal laid out how SCL came into possession of the user data. In 2015, Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge, created an app named "thisisyourdigitallife" that promised to predict aspects of users' personalities. About 270,000 people downloaded it and logged in through Facebook, giving Kogan access to information about their city of residence, Facebook content they had liked, and information about their friends. Kogan passed the data to SCL and a man named Christopher Wylie from a data harvesting firm known as Eunoia Technologies, in violation of Facebook rules that prevent app developers from giving away or selling users' personal information. Facebook learned of the violation that year and removed his app from Facebook. It also asked Kogan and his associates to certify that they had destroyed the improperly collected data. Everyone said that they did. The suspension is not permanent, a Facebook spokesman said. But the suspended users would need to take unspecified steps to certify that they would comply with Facebook's terms of service.

[Mar 27, 2018] Did Cambridge Analytica Harvest 50 Million Facebook Profiles?

Mar 27, 2018 | tech.slashdot.org

(theguardian.com) umafuckit shared this article from The Guardian: The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump's election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of U.S. voters , in one of the tech giant's biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box... Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer : "We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles . And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on."

Documents seen by the Observer , and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale . However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals... On Friday, four days after the Observer sought comment for this story, but more than two years after the data breach was first reported, Facebook announced that it was suspending Cambridge Analytica and Kogan from the platform, pending further information over misuse of data. Separately, Facebook's external lawyers warned the Observer on Friday it was making "false and defamatory" allegations, and reserved Facebook's legal position...

The evidence Wylie supplied to U.K. and U.S. authorities includes a letter from Facebook's own lawyers sent to him in August 2016, asking him to destroy any data he held that had been collected by GSR, the company set up by Kogan to harvest the profiles... Facebook did not pursue a response when the letter initially went unanswered for weeks because Wylie was travelling, nor did it follow up with forensic checks on his computers or storage, he said. "That to me was the most astonishing thing. They waited two years and did absolutely nothing to check that the data was deleted. All they asked me to do was tick a box on a form and post it back."
Wylie worked with Aleksandr Kogan, the creator of the "thisisyourdigitallife" app, "who has previously unreported links to a Russian university and took Russian grants for research," according to the article. Kogan "had a licence from Facebook to collect profile data, but it was for research purposes only. So when he hoovered up information for the commercial venture, he was violating the company's terms...

"At the time, more than 50 million profiles represented around a third of active North American Facebook users, and nearly a quarter of potential U.S. voters."

[Mar 27, 2018] Integrity Has Vanished From The West by Paul Craig Roberts,

Mar 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored Among Western political leaders there is not an ounce of integrity or morality . The Western print and TV media is dishonest and corrupt beyond repair. Yet the Russian government persists in its fantasy of "working with Russia's Western partners." The only way Russia can work with crooks is to become a crook. Is that what the Russian government wants?

Finian Cunningham notes the absurdity in the political and media uproar over Trump (belatedly) telephoning Putin to congratulate him on his reelection with 77 percent of the vote, a show of public approval that no Western political leader could possibly attain. The crazed US senator from Arizona called the person with the largest majority vote of our time "a dictator." Yet a real blood-soaked dictator from Saudi Arabia is feted at the White House and fawned over by the president of the United States.

The Western politicians and presstitutes are morally outraged over an alleged poisoning, unsupported by any evidence, of a former spy of no consequence on orders by the president of Russia himself. These kind of insane insults thrown at the leader of the world's most powerful military nation -- and Russia is a nation, unlike the mongrel Western countries -- raise the chances of nuclear Armageddon beyond the risks during the 20th century's Cold War. The insane fools making these unsupported accusations show total disregard for all life on earth. Yet they regard themselves as the salt of the earth and as "exceptional, indispensable" people.

Think about the alleged poisoning of Skirpal by Russia. What can this be other than an orchestrated effort to demonize the president of Russia? How can the West be so outraged over the death of a former double-agent, that is, a deceptive person, and completely indifferent to the millions of peoples destroyed by the West in the 21st century alone. Where is the outrage among Western peoples over the massive deaths for which the West, acting through its Saudi agent, is responsible in Yemen? Where is the Western outrage among Western peoples over the deaths in Syria? The deaths in Libya, in Somalia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Afghanistan? Where is the outrage in the West over the constant Western interference in the internal affairs of other countries? How many times has Washington overthrown a democratically-elected government in Honduras and reinstalled a Washington puppet?

The corruption in the West extends beyond politicians, presstitutes, and an insouciant public to experts. When the ridiculous Condi Rice, national security adviser to president George W. Bush, spoke of Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction sending up a nuclear cloud over an American city, experts did not laugh her out of court. The chance of any such event was precisely zero and every expert knew it, but the corrupt experts held their tongues. If they spoke the truth, they knew that they would not get on TV, would not get a government grant, would be out of the running for a government appointment. So they accepted the absurd lie designed to justify an American invasion that destroyed a country.

This is the West. There is nothing but lies and indifference to the deaths of others. The only outrage is orchestrated and directed against a target: the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Iran, Assad, Russia and Putin, and against reformist leaders in Latin America. The targets for Western outrage are always those who act independently of Washington or who are no longer useful to Washington's purposes.

The quality of people in Western governments has collapsed to the very bottom of the barrel. The British actually have a person, Boris Johnson, as Foreign Secretary, who is so low-down that a former British ambassador has no compunction in calling him a categorical liar. The British lab Porton Down, contrary to Johnson's claim, has not identified the agent associated with the attack on Skirpal as a Russian novichok agent. Note also that if the British lab is able to identify a novichok agent, it also has the capability of producing it, a capability that many countries have as the formulas were published years ago in a book.

That the novichok poisoning of Skirpal is an orchestration is obvious. The minute the event occurred the story was ready. With no evidence in hand, the British government and presstitute media were screaming "the Russians did it." Not content with that, Boris Johnson screamed "Putin did it." In order to institutionalize fear and hatred of Russia into British consciousness, British school children are being taught that Putin is like Hitler.

Orchestrations this blatant demonstrate that Western governments have no respect for the intelligence of their peoples. That Western governments get away with these fantastic lies indicates that the governments are immune to accountability. Even if accountability were possible, there is no sign that Western peoples are capable of holding their governments accountable. As Washington drives the world to nuclear war, where are the protests? The only protest is brainwashed school children protesting the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment.

Western democracy is a hoax. Consider Catalonia. The people voted for independence and were denounced for doing so by European politicians. The Spanish government invaded Catalonia alleging that the popular referendum, in which people expressed their opinion about their own future, was illegal. Catalonian leaders are in prison awaiting trial, except for Carles Puigdemont who escaped to Belgium. Now Germany has captured him on his return to Belgium from Finland where he lectured at the University of Hesinki and is holding him in jail for a Spanish government that bears more resemblance to Francisco Franco than to democracy. The European Union itself is a conspiracy against democracy.

The success of Western propaganda in creating non-existent virtues for itself is the greatest public relations success in history. Tags Politics

[Mar 26, 2018] NEO Mueller and Trump, Why Russia didn't do it Veterans Today

Notable quotes:
"... Evidence of Israel's role in gas attacks in Syria was overwhelming even though Russia was blocked from presenting same to the United Nations time and time again. ..."
"... the Likudist extremists who run that nation are mostly former Russian gangsters and enemies of Russia's current leadership. ..."
"... As anger grew toward Cambridge Analytica on Monday after Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a report showing company executives boasting about their extreme propaganda strategies, including filming opponents in compromising situations with Ukrainian sex workers, authorities in the U.K. and the U.S. also questioned whether Facebook mishandled the alleged breach and it's now facing damaging investigations that will further tarnish its brand. ..."
"... Britain's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, confirmed she was applying to the courts for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica's London offices and said Tuesday morning that she has been left frustrated by the company's reluctance to cooperate with her investigation. ..."
Mar 26, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com
Now we know they not only kept files on 50 million Americans through Facebook, using the data there to profile fears and emotions, targeting and manipulating millions but when Google added their incredible mass of data, billions of illegally read emails and more, the American people became little more than pawns.

Again we reiterate, Russia didn't do it. It was the tech companies, all working as is now being made public, for Israeli intelligence and the mob. From the Daily Beast, March 20, 2018 by Jamie Ross:

"Facebook has been plunged into crisis over the allegations that Cambridge Analytica misused data from more than 50 million people to help elect Donald Trump. Nearly $40 billion was wiped off Facebook's market value Monday, an emergency meeting is due to be held Tuesday morning, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been criticized for remaining silent during what some analysts are describing as a threat to the company's existence.

Zuckerberg has been summoned to the British parliament to give evidence about the how it handles people's personal data. The head of a British inquiry into 'fake news,' Damian Collins, has accused Facebook of previously 'misleading' a parliament committee, adding: 'It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process.'"

What is being left out is more telling, that Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, has long openly worked for Israeli intelligence and that evidence now exists that Israel not only ran the program to rig the American election, as many believe it did in both 2000 and 2004, leading to the destruction of Iraq, but that it did so again in 2016.

Few note the real policies of former Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama, the even handedness in the Middle East and their use of leverage against Israel. Obama never accepted wild claims made against Syria as Trump has and never attacked Damscus.

Evidence of Israel's role in gas attacks in Syria was overwhelming even though Russia was blocked from presenting same to the United Nations time and time again.

But then we hypothesize, what are we speaking of when we talk of Israel? This is where so many back off as anyone who questions Israel is smeared as an "anti-Semite" though the Likudist extremists who run that nation are mostly former Russian gangsters and enemies of Russia's current leadership.

The reason for what appears to be Israeli animosity toward Russia in reality originated when Putin cleaned out the oligarchs that looted Russia for two decades, plunging that nation into poverty and then fleeing to Tel Aviv or New York with endless billions of ill gotten gains. This is real history, not the history written down in books or reported in fake news.

More on happenings in London as reported by Jamie Ross:

"As anger grew toward Cambridge Analytica on Monday after Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a report showing company executives boasting about their extreme propaganda strategies, including filming opponents in compromising situations with Ukrainian sex workers, authorities in the U.K. and the U.S. also questioned whether Facebook mishandled the alleged breach and it's now facing damaging investigations that will further tarnish its brand.

Britain's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, confirmed she was applying to the courts for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica's London offices and said Tuesday morning that she has been left frustrated by the company's reluctance to cooperate with her investigation.

[ Editor's Note : There appears to have been the classic "fix" in at the British Court by delaying for days the seizure of Cambridge's computer files, giving the needed time to remove any incriminating evidence Jim W. Dean ]

Fears have also been raised that the investigation may have been compromised by the presence of cybersecurity consultants from Stroz Friedberg -- the company hired by Facebook to audit Cambridge Analytica on its behalf -- who were in the London offices on Monday evening, until they were asked to leave by the information commissioner.

Asked if there was a risk of Cambridge Analytica or Facebook destroying evidence, Denham said on Sky News: "As this point we're not satisfied with the cooperation we're getting from Cambridge Analytica, so the next step is for us to apply to the court and to do an audit to get some answers as to whether data was misused and shared inappropriately."

British Parliament Culture Committee Chairman Damian Collins said:

'This is a matter for the authorities. Facebook sent in data analysts and lawyers who they appointed. What they intended to do there, who knows? The concern would have been, were they removing information or evidence which could have been vital to the investigation? It's right they stood down but it's astonishing they were there in the first place.'"

The issue now is one of accepting what is happening for all to see rather than absorbing the fake narrative sold the world. For those unaware, it isn't just millions of Americans but government officials as well, who form their opinions and prejudices against nations, races of people, religions and even ideas themselves.

The are imprinted via fictional television shows like Homeland , whose writers and producers are in actuality as complicit in psychological warfare as those who run Cambridge Analytical, Google or Facebook, the groups now under the public microscope.

As for Mueller and his investigation, it is pure theatre. As for Trump, more theatre as well, a buffoon long shown to be a mob asset, now wielding nukes and threatening the world, holding it hostage to his bad brain chemistry and his criminal handlers.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He's a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."

[Mar 26, 2018] The Mind-Benders How to Harvest Facebook Data, Brainwash Voters, and Swing Elections by Roberto J. González

I would not exaggerate the voodoo science behind Cambridge Analitica activities -- all this crap about the Big Five personality traits borrowed from social psychology: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
But it really can create "plausible lies" to targeted groups of voters in best "change we can believe in" style. Essentially promoting "bat and switch" politics.
Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... In July 2005, SCL underwent a dramatic transformation. It very publicly rebranded itself as a psychological warfare company by taking part in the UK's largest military trade show. ..."
"... The company's efforts paid off. Over the next ten years, SCL won contracts with the US Defense Department's Combatant Commands, NATO, and Sandia National Labs. ..."
"... Along the way it created Cambridge Analytica, a subsidiary firm which differs from SCL Group in that it focuses primarily on political campaigns. Its largest investors include billionaire Robert Mercer, co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, who is best known for his advocacy of far-right political causes and his financial support of Breitbart News. Steve Bannon briefly sat on Cambridge Analytica's board of directors. ..."
"... Although Cruz ultimately failed, Cambridge Analytica's CEO, Alexander Nix, claimed that Cruz's popularity grew largely due to the company's skillful use of aggregated voter data and personality profiling methods. ..."
"... Cambridge Analytica relies upon "psychographic" techniques that measure the Big Five personality traits borrowed from social psychology: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. ..."
"... In the US, Cambridge Analytica developed psychological profiles of millions of Americans by hiring a company called Global Science Research (GSR) to plant free personality quizzes. Users were lured by the prospect of obtaining free personality scores, while Cambridge Analytica collected data–and access to users' Facebook profiles. Last week, The Guardian ..."
"... Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet ..."
"... Twitter And Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest ..."
"... Roberto J. González is chair of the anthropology department at San José State University. He has written several books including American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain and Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State . He can be reached at roberto.gonzalez@sjsu.edu . ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
In the days and weeks following the 2016 presidential elections, reports surfaced about how a small British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, might have played a pivotal role in Donald Trump's surprise victory. The company claimed to have formulated algorithms to influence American voters using individually targeted political advertisements. It reportedly generated personality profiles of millions of individual citizens by collecting up to 5000 data points on each person. Then Cambridge Analytica used these "psychographic" tools to send voters carefully crafted online messages about candidates or hot-button political issues.

Although political consultants have long used "microtargeting" techniques for zeroing in on particular ethnic, religious, age, or income groups, Cambridge Analytica's approach is unusual: The company relies upon individuals' personal data that is harvested from social media apps like Facebook. In the US, such activities are entirely legal. Some described Cambridge Analytica's tools as " mind-reading software " and a " weaponized AI [artificial intelligence] propaganda machine ." However, corporate media outlets such as CNN and the Wall Street Journal often portrayed the company in glowing terms.

Cambridge Analytica is once again in the headlines–but under somewhat different circumstances. Late last week, whistleblower Christopher Wylie went public , explaining how he played an instrumental role in collecting millions of Facebook profiles for Cambridge Analytica. This revelation is significant because until investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr published her exposé in The Guardian , Cambridge Analytica's then-CEO Alexander Nix had adamantly denied using Facebook data. And although Facebook officials knew that Cambridge Analytica had previously gathered data on millions of users, they did not prohibit the company from advertising until last Friday, as the scandal erupted. To make matters worse, the UK's Channel 4 released undercover footage early this week in which Cambridge Analytica executives boast about using dirty tricks–bribes, entrapment, and "beautiful girls" to mention a few.

The case of Cambridge Analytica brings into focus a brave new world of electoral politics in an algorithmic age–an era in which social media companies like Facebook and Twitter make money by selling ads, but also by selling users' data outright to third parties. Relatively few countries have laws that prevent such practices–and it turns out that the US does not have a comprehensive federal statute protecting individuals' data privacy. This story is significant not only because it demonstrates what can happen when an unorthodox company takes advantage of a lax regulatory environment, but also because it reveals how Internet companies like Facebook have played fast and loose with the personal data of literally billions of users.

From Public Relations to Psychological Warfare

In order to make sense of Cambridge Analytica it is helpful to understand its parent company, SCL Group, which was originally created as the PR firm Strategic Communications Laboratory. It was founded in the early 1990s by Nigel Oakes , a flamboyant UK businessman. By the late 1990s, the company was engaged almost exclusively in political projects. For example, SCL was hired to help burnish the image of Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid–but Oakes and SCL employees had to shut down their operations center when SCL's cover was blown by the Wall Street Journal .

In July 2005, SCL underwent a dramatic transformation. It very publicly rebranded itself as a psychological warfare company by taking part in the UK's largest military trade show. SCL's exhibit included a mock operations center featuring dramatic crisis scenarios–a smallpox outbreak in London, a bloody insurgency in a fictitious South Asian country–which were then resolved with the help of the company's psyops techniques. Oakes told a reporter : "We used to be in the business of mindbending for political purposes, but now we are in the business of saving lives." The company's efforts paid off. Over the next ten years, SCL won contracts with the US Defense Department's Combatant Commands, NATO, and Sandia National Labs.

Over the past few years SCL–now known as SCL Group –has transformed itself yet again. It no longer defines itself as a psyops specialist, nor as a political consultancy–now, it calls itself a data analytics company specializing in "behavioral change" programs.

Along the way it created Cambridge Analytica, a subsidiary firm which differs from SCL Group in that it focuses primarily on political campaigns. Its largest investors include billionaire Robert Mercer, co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, who is best known for his advocacy of far-right political causes and his financial support of Breitbart News. Steve Bannon briefly sat on Cambridge Analytica's board of directors.

Cambridge Analytica first received significant media attention in November 2015, shortly after the firm was hired by Republican presidential nominee Ted Cruz's campaign. Although Cruz ultimately failed, Cambridge Analytica's CEO, Alexander Nix, claimed that Cruz's popularity grew largely due to the company's skillful use of aggregated voter data and personality profiling methods.

In August 2016, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica as part of a desperate effort to challenge Hillary Clinton's formidable campaign machine. Just a few months later, reports revealed that Cambridge Analytica had also played a role in the UK's successful pro-Brexit "Leave.EU" campaign.

Hacking the Citizenry

Cambridge Analytica relies upon "psychographic" techniques that measure the Big Five personality traits borrowed from social psychology: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

In the US, Cambridge Analytica developed psychological profiles of millions of Americans by hiring a company called Global Science Research (GSR) to plant free personality quizzes. Users were lured by the prospect of obtaining free personality scores, while Cambridge Analytica collected data–and access to users' Facebook profiles. Last week, The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica collected data from more than 300,000 Facebook users in this way. By agreeing to the terms and conditions of the app, those users also agreed to grant GSR (and by extension, Cambridge Analytica) access to the profiles of their Facebook "friends"–totalling approximately 50 million people.

Psychographics uses algorithms to scour voters' Facebook "likes," retweets and other social media data which are aggregated with commercially available information: land registries, automotive data, shopping preferences, club memberships, magazine subscriptions, and religious affiliation. When combined with public records, electoral rolls, and additional information purchased from data brokers such as Acxiom and Experian, Cambridge Analytica has raw material for shaping personality profiles. Digital footprints can be transformed into real people. This is the essence of psychographics: Using software algorithms to scour individual voters' Facebook "likes," retweets and other bits of data gleaned from social media and then combine them with commercially available personal information. Data mining is relatively easy in the US, since it has relatively weak privacy laws compared to South Korea, Singapore, and many EU countries.

In a 2016 presentation , Nix described how such information might be used to influence voter opinions on gun ownership and gun rights. Individual people can be addressed differently according to their personality profiles: "For a highly neurotic and conscientious audinece, the threat of a burglary–and the insurance policy of a gun. . .Conversely, for a closed and agreeable audience: people who care about tradition, and habits, and family."

Despite the ominous sounding nature of psychographics, it is not at all clear that Cambridge Analytica played a decisive role in the 2016 US presidential election. Some charge that the company and its former CEO Alexander Nix, exaggerated Cambridge Analytica's effect on the election's outcome. In February 2017, investigative journalist Kendall Taggart wrote an exposé claiming that more than a dozen former employees of Cambridge Analytica, Trump campaign staffers, and executives at Republican consulting firms denied that psychographics was used at all by the Trump campaign. Taggart concluded: "Rather than a sinister breakthrough in political technology, the Cambridge Analytica story appears to be part of the traditional contest among consultants on a winning political campaign to get their share of the credit–and win future clients." Not a single critic was willing to be identified in the report, apparently fearing retaliation from Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, who is also an investor in the firm.

Not-So-Innocents Abroad

By no means has Cambridge Analytica limited its work to the US. In fact, it has conducted "influence operations" in several countries around the world.

For example, Cambridge Analytica played a major role in last year's presidential elections in Kenya, which pitted incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta of the right-wing Jubilee Party against Raila Odinga of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement. The Jubilee Party hired Cambridge Analytica in May 2017. Although the company claims to have limited its activities to data collection, earlier this week Mark Turnbull, a managing director for Cambridge Analytica, told undercover reporters a different story . He admitted that the firm secretly managed Kenyatta's entire campaign: "We have rebranded the party twice, written the manifesto, done research, analysis, messaging. I think we wrote all the speeches and we staged the whole thing–so just about every element of this candidate," said Turnbull.

Given the most recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica's planting of fake news stories , it seems likely that the company created persuasive personalized ads based on Kenyans' social media data. Fake Whatsapp and Twitter posts exploded days before the Kenyan elections. It is worth remembering that SCL Group has employed disinformation campaigns for military clients for 25 years, and it seems that Cambridge Analytica has continued this pattern of deception.

The August elections were fraught with accusations of vote tampering, the inclusion of dead people as registered voters, and the murder of Chris Msando , the election commission's technology manager, days before the election. When the dust settled, up to 67 people died in post-election violence–and Kenyatta ultimately emerged victorious. Weeks later, the Kenyan Supreme Court annulled the elections, but when new elections were scheduled for October, Odinga declared that he would boycott.

Given Kenya's recent history of electoral fraud, it is unlikely that Cambridge had much impact on the results. Anthropologist Paul Goldsmith , who has lived in Kenya for 40 years, notes that elections still tend to follow the principle of "who counts the votes," not "who influences the voters."

But the significance of Cambridge Analytica's efforts extends beyond their contribution to electoral outcomes. Kenya is no technological backwater. The world's first mobile money service was launched there in 2007, allowing users to transfer cash and make payments by phone. Homegrown tech firms are creating a "Silicon Savannah" near Nairobi. Two-thirds of Kenya's 48 million people have Internet access. Ten million use Whatsapp; six million use Facebook; two million use Twitter. As Kenyans spend more time in the virtual world, their personal data will become even more widely available since Kenya has no data protection laws.

Goldsmith summarizes the situation nicely:

Cambridge Analytica doesn't need to deliver votes so much as to create the perception that they can produce results. . .Kenya provides an ideal entry point into [Africa]. . .Embedding themselves with ruling elites presents a pivot for exploiting emergent commercial opportunities. . .with an eye on the region's resources and its growing numbers of persuadable youth.

Recent reports reveal that Cambridge Analytica has ongoing operations in Mexico and Brazil (which have general elections scheduled this July and October, respectively). India (which has general elections in about a year) has also been courted by the company, and it is easy to understand why: the country has 400 million smartphone users with more than 250 million on either Facebook or Whatsapp. India's elections are also a potential gold mine. More than half a billion people vote in parliamentary elections, and the expenditures are astonishing: Political parties spent $5 billion in 2014, compared to $6.5 billion in last year's US elections. India also has a massive mandatory ID program based on biometric and demographic data, the largest of its kind in the world.

Cambridge Analytica's global strategy appears focused on expanding its market share in promising markets. Although many people might describe Kenya, Mexico, Brazil, and India as developing countries, each in fact has a rapidly growing high-tech infrastructure, relatively high levels of Internet penetration, and large numbers of social media users. They all have weak or nonexistent Internet privacy laws. Though nominally democratic, each country is politically volatile and has experienced episodic outbursts of extreme political, sectarian, or criminal violence. Finally, these countries have relatively young populations, reflecting perhaps a long-term strategy to normalize a form of political communication that will reap long-term benefits in politically sensitive regions.

The capacity for saturating global voters with charged political messages is growing across much of the world, since the cost of buying Facebook ads, Twitterbots and trolls, bots for Whatsapp and other apps is cheap–and since more people than ever are spending time on social media. Such systems can be managed efficiently by remote control. Unlike the CIA's psyops efforts in the mid-20th century, which required extensive on-the-ground efforts–dropping leaflets from airplanes, bribing local journalists, broadcasting propaganda on megaphones mounted on cars–the new techniques can be deployed from a distance, with minimal cost. Cambridge Analytica relies upon small ground teams to do business with political parties, and partnerships with local business intelligence firms to scope out the competition or provide marketing advice, but most of the work is done from London and New York.

Weaponizing Big Data?

From its beginnings, Cambridge Analytica has declared itself to be a "data-driven" group of analytics experts practicing an improved form of political microtargeting, but there are indications that the firm has broader ambitions.

In March 2017, reports emerged that top executives from SCL Group met with Pentagon officials, including Hriar Cabayan, head of a branch which conducts DoD research and cultural analysis. A decade ago, Cabayan played an instrumental role in launching the precursor to the Human Terrain System , a US Army counterinsurgency effort which embedded anthropologists and other social scientists with US combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A few months later, in August 2017, the Associated Press reported that retired US Army General Michael Flynn, who briefly served as National Security Director in the Trump administration, had signed a work agreement with Cambridge Analytica in late 2016, though it is unclear whether he actually did any work for the firm. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian operatives in late 2017, when he was working with Trump's transition team. Given his spot in the media limelight, it is easy to forget that he once headed US intelligence operations in Afghanistan, advocating for a big data approach to counterinsurgency that would, among other things, include data collected by Human Terrain Teams.

The connections between Cambridge Analytica/SCL Group and the Pentagon's champions of data-driven counterinsurgency and cyberwarfare may be entirely coincidental, but they do raise several questions: As Cambridge Analytica embarks on its global ventures, is it undertaking projects that are in fact more sinister than its benign-sounding mission of "behavioral change"? And are the company's recent projects in Kenya, India, Mexico, and Brazil simply examples of global market expansion, or are these countries serving as laboratories to test new methods of propaganda dissemination and political polarization for eventual deployment here at home?

Here the lines between military and civilian applications become blurred, not only because ARPANET–the Internet's immediate precursor–was developed by the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency, but also because the technology can be used for surveillance on a scale that authoritarian regimes of the 20th century could only have dreamed about. As Yasha Levine convincingly argues in his book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet , the Internet was originally conceived as a counterinsurgency surveillance program.

Neutralizing Facebook's Surveillance Machine

It appears that many people are finally taking note of the digital elephant in the room: Facebook's role in enabling Cambridge Analytica and other propagandists, publicists, and mind-benders to carry out their work–legally and discreetly. As recently noted by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai in the online journal Motherboard , Cambridge Analytica's data harvesting practices weren't security breaches, they were "par for the course. . .It was a feature, not a bug. Facebook still collects -- and then sells -- massive amounts of data on its users." In other words, every Facebook post or tweet, every g-mail message sent or received, renders citizens vulnerable to forms of digital data collection that can be bought and sold to the highest bidder. The information can be used for all kinds of purposes in an unregulated market: monitoring users' emotional states, manipulating their attitiudes, or disseminating tailor-made propaganda designed to polarize people.

It is telling that Facebook stubbornly refuses to call Cambridge Analytica's actions a "data breach." As Zeynep Tufekci, author of the book Twitter And Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest puts it, the company's defensive posture reveals much about the social costs of social media. She recently wrote :

"If your business is building a massive surveillance machinery, the data will eventually be used and misused. Hacked, breached, leaked, pilfered, conned, targeted, engaged, profiled, sold. There is no informed consent because it's not possible to reasonably inform or consent."

Cambridge Analytica is significant to the extent that it illuminates new technological controlling processes under construction. In a supercharged media environment in which Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) have become the primary means by which literally billions of people consume news, mass producing propaganda has never been easier. With so many people posting so much information about the intimate details of their lives on the Web, coordinated attempts at mass persuasion will almost certainly become more widespread in the future.

In the meantime, there are concrete measures that we can take to rein in Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and other technology giants. Some of the most lucid suggestions have been articulated by Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist and early Facebook investor. He recommends a multi-pronged approach : demanding that the social media companies' CEOs testify before congressional and parliamentary committees in open sessions; imposing strict regulations on how Internet platforms are used and commercialized; requiring social media companies to report who is sponsoring political and issues-based advertisements; mandating transparency about algorithms ("users deserve to know why they see what they see in their news feeds and search results," says McNamee); requiring social media apps to offer an "opt out" to users; banning digital "bots" that impersonate humans; and creating rules that allow consumers (not corporations) to own their own data.

In a world of diminishing privacy, our vulnerabilities are easily magnified. Experimental psychologists specializing in what they euphemistically call "behavior design" have largely ignored ethics and morality in order to help Silicon Valley companies create digital devices, apps, and other technologies that are literally irresistible to their users. As the fallout from Cambridge Analytica's activities descends upon the American political landscape, we should take advantage of the opportunity to impose meaningful controls on Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other firms that have run roughshod over democratic norms–and notions of individual privacy–in the relentless pursuit of profit. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Roberto J. González

Roberto J. González is chair of the anthropology department at San José State University. He has written several books including American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain and Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State . He can be reached at roberto.gonzalez@sjsu.edu .

[Mar 25, 2018] Tonight Is The Beginning Seven Things To Watch For In Stormy Daniels' Interview

Can you EVER imagine the MSM doing this to Slick Willy? Fukin' hypocrites!
Can you imagine the CBS of twenty or thirty years ago wading in the sewer like this?
Mar 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Tonight at 7pm ET/PT, 60 Minutes will air a controversial interview with Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, the adult-film star who says she had an affair with Donald Trump. Daniels will talk to Anderson Cooper about the relationship she says she had with Trump in 2006 and 2007, unveiling details that bring her story up to the present. It will be the first - and so far only - television interview in which she speaks about the alleged relationship.

The 60 Minutes interview will include an examination of the potential legal and political ramifications of the $130,000 payment that Trump's attorney Michael Cohen says he made to Daniels using his own funds. Daniels accepted the money in return for signing a confidentiality agreement, although she recently violated the CA, claiming Trump never signed it.

The president has denied having an affair with Daniels, while Trump's legal team - in this case led by Charles Harder who won a $140MM verdict for Hulk Hogan against Gawker - is seeking to move the case to federal court and claims that Stormy is liable for up to $20 million in damages. This in turn prompted Daniels to launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund her lawsuit against Trump, which at last check had raised over $290K .

Cooper conducted the interview earlier this month, shortly after Cohen obtained a temporary restraining order against Daniels. Meanwhile, Daniels is seeking a ruling that the confidentiality agreement between her and the president is invalid, in part because Mr. Trump never signed it. The president's attorneys are seeking to move the case to federal court and claim Daniels is liable for more than $20 million in damages for violations of the agreement.

On Thursday, the lawyer representing Daniels fired off a tweet with a picture of what appeared to be a compact disc in a safe - hinting that he has video or photographic evidence of Clifford's affair with President Trump.

"If 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' how many words is this worth?????" tweeted lawyer Michael Avenatti.

me title=

Avenatti has been a frequent guest on cable news as he promotes Stormy's upcoming 60 minutes tell-all about her alleged affair with President Trump. When CBS Evening News' Julianna Goldman asked Avenatti if he had photos, texts or videos of her alleged relationship with Trump, he replied "No comment," adding that Clifford just "wants to set the record straight." (which you can read more about in her upcoming book, we're sure).

Previewing today's 60 Minutes segment, Avenatti purposefully built up the suspense, tweeting that, among other things, "tonight is not the end – it's the beginning"

me title=

And while it is highly unlikely that the Stormy Daniels scandal will escalate into anything of Clinton-Lewinsky proportions, not to mention that Trump has enough other headaches on his hands, here according to The Hill , are seven things to watch for in tonight's interview:

1. Will she give details about the nondisclosure agreement?

Daniels has never spoken publicly about the nondisclosure agreement that purportedly bars her from speaking about her alleged affair with Trump. But a lawsuit filed by Daniels earlier this month confirmed the existence of such a document, arguing that it is invalid because it was never co-signed by Trump himself.

Whether Daniels will discuss the details of the agreement in the "60 Minutes" interview remains to be seen. Her lawsuit seeking to void the contract is still pending, and NDAs often prohibit signatories from speaking about the agreements.

Daniels has hinted that is true of her NDA. During an interview with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel in January, Kimmel pointed out that Daniels would likely be barred from discussing the agreement if it, in fact, existed. "You're so smart, Jimmy," was her cagey response.

2. Will she talk openly about the alleged affair?

Daniels has implied she was paid $130,000 by Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about the alleged affair. Speaking openly about her claims would certainly violate the terms of the disputed NDA, and could subject Daniels to legal penalties.

In court papers filed earlier this month, Trump's lawyers said that Daniels could face up to $20 million in damages for violating the terms of the agreement. One question that remains is whether Daniels could toss out the NDA completely in her "60 Minutes" interview, and provide details about her alleged relationship with the president. The last time she spoke about it was 2011, when she gave an interview to In Touch magazine that wasn't published until this year.

3. Will she mention possible video or photographic evidence?

Avenatti has repeatedly hinted that video or photographic evidence of Daniels's alleged affair with Trump exists. The March 6 lawsuit filed by Daniels to void the nondisclosure agreement with Trump refers to "certain still images and/or text messages which were authored by or relate to" the president. While the NDA reportedly required her to turn over such material and get rid of her own copies, Avenatti has suggested that Daniels may have retained it.

Avenatti hinted this week that he may be in possession of such material, tweeting a cryptic photo of a compact disc inside of what appeared to be a safe. "If 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' how many words is this worth?????" he wrote on Twitter.

4. Will she address whether she was physically threatened?

Avenatti prompted questions earlier this month when he said that Daniels had been threatened with physical harm in connection with the alleged affair with Trump. Asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" whether Daniels had been physically threatened, Avenatti bluntly replied, "yes." Exactly who may have threatened Daniels or what the nature of those threats may have been is unclear, and Avenatti has declined to discuss the matter in greater detail. Daniels herself has not addressed any potential physical threats that she may have gotten, leaving open whether she will discuss the topic in the "60 Minutes" interview.

5. Will she discuss whether Trump knew about the $130K payment?

Cohen himself has acknowledged making the payment to Daniels, but has insisted that the money came from his personal funds and that Trump was never made aware of the transaction. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said she does not believe Trump knew about the payment. But Avenatti has argued otherwise, saying the fact that Cohen used a Trump Organization email address backs up his claim that the real estate mogul was aware of the transaction. In an interview on "Morning Joe" last week, Avenatti also suggested that he had more evidence that Trump knew about the payment. Asked by Willie Geist if his "belief that the president directed this payment is based on more than a hunch," Avenatti simply replied, "yes," but declined to provide any evidence.

6. Why does she want to talk about the affair now?

Daniels's lawsuit claims she expressed interest in discussing the alleged affair publicly in 2016 after The Washington Post published a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump could be heard boasting about groping and kissing women without their permission. It was at this point that Cohen and Trump "aggressively sought to silence Ms. Clifford," according to the lawsuit, which claims that the $130,000 payment and nondisclosure agreement soon followed. But for more than a year after that, Daniels was silent about the alleged affair, and it was only in recent months that the accusations resurfaced. One thing to watch for is whether Daniels addresses her motives in the "60 Minutes" interview, or answers questions about what she hopes will happen next.

7. What happens next?

There may be hints of what Daniels's next steps are in the interview. A planned court hearing for Daniels's lawsuit is still months away. However, whatever Daniels reveals in the interview may force the hand of Trump's own legal team. After news broke that CBS intended to air the "60 Minutes" segment with Daniels, speculation swirled that Trump's lawyers would take legal action seeking to block the broadcast. Such legal action would have been unlikely to proceed, because courts rarely allow such prior restraint of speech, particularly regarding the news media.

But Trump's legal team has already signaled they're willing to fight Daniels on her claims. They reportedly asked for a temporary restraining order against her last month and have asked to transfer the lawsuit from California state court to a federal court in Los Angeles. But how Trump and his lawyers respond to the interview after it airs will be closely watched. Tags Law Crime News Agencies Internet Service Providers Glasses, Spectacles & Contact lenses

Comments Vote up! 7 Vote down! 0

Moustache Rides Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:02 Permalink

Oh, I can't wait to tune into this. Give me a frackin' break.

wee-weed up -> Moustache Rides Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:03 Permalink

Can you EVER imagine the MSM doing this to Slick Willy? Fukin' hypocrites!

IridiumRebel -> Bes Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

It's 24/7 on the CuntStreamMedia.....like they're gonna find out tonight for the first time?

They probably know already. IT WAS 12 YEARS AGO......

warsev -> IridiumRebel Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:23 Permalink

What I wonder is just how low CBS can go. Can you imagine the CBS of twenty or thirty years ago wading in the sewer like this?

serotonindumptruck -> Mustafa Kemal Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Initially, this ridiculous scandal was mildly amusing.

Now, it has become a tedious circus sideshow that serves to distract the masses from much more important issues.

The disgusting fact that Trump chose to throw his dick into this cum-dumpster skank is bad enough, but now that her lawyer apparently has a Trump dick-pic or some other pornographic evidence, he intends to exploit and extort as much publicity and money that he can in an effort to embarrass the POTUS.

Is it any wonder that the USA has become the laughing stock of the world?

didthatreallyhappen Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:04 Permalink

bill clinton raped women and the left didn't care. They care now about Trump's mistress?

silverer -> didthatreallyhappen Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:12 Permalink

Bill squirted in the White House. Trump squirted on his own time.

Robert Trip Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:06 Permalink

"Adult film star?"

Interviewed by "I love to suck cocks" Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes.

They are fit for each other.

[Mar 25, 2018] Surveillance is the DNA of the Platform Economy

Creating a malware application which masks itself as some kind of pseudo scientific test and serves as the backdoor to your personal data is a very dirty trick...
Especially dirty it it used by academic researchers, who in reality are academic scum... An additional type of academic gangsters, in addition to Harvard Mafia
Notable quotes:
"... By Ivan Manokha, a departmental lecturer in the Oxford Department of International Development. He is currently working on power and obedience in the late-modern political economy, particularly in the context of the development of new technologies of surveillance. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... The current social mobilization against Facebook resembles the actions of activists who, in opposition to neoliberal globalization, smash a McDonald's window during a demonstration. ..."
"... But as Christopher Wylie, a twenty-eight-year-old Canadian coder and data scientist and a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, stated in a video interview , the app could also collect all kinds of personal data from users, such as the content that they consulted, the information that they liked, and even the messages that they posted. ..."
"... All this is done in order to use data to create value in some way another (to monetize it by selling to advertisers or other firms, to increase sales, or to increase productivity). Data has become 'the new oil' of global economy, a new commodity to be bought and sold at a massive scale, and with this development, as a former Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff has argued , global capitalism has become 'surveillance capitalism'. ..."
"... What this means is that platform economy is a model of value creation which is completely dependant on continuous privacy invasions and, what is alarming is that we are gradually becoming used to this. ..."
"... In other instances, as in the case of Kogan's app, the extent of the data collected exceeds what was stated in the agreement. ..."
"... What we need is a total redefinition of the right to privacy (which was codified as a universal human right in 1948, long before the Internet), to guarantee its respect, both offline and online. ..."
"... I saw this video back in 2007. It was originally put together by a Sarah Lawrence student who was working on her paper on social media. The ties of all the original investors to IN-Q-Tel scared me off and I decided to stay away from Facebook. ..."
"... But it isn't just FB. Amazon, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and many others do the same, and we are all caught up in it whether we agree to participate or not. ..."
"... Platform Capitalism is a mild description, it is manipulation based on Surveillance Capitalism, pure and simple. The Macro pattern of Corporate Power subsuming the State across every area is fascinating to watch, but a little scary. ..."
"... For his part, Aleksandr Kogan established a company, Global Science Research, that contracted with SCL, using Facebook data to map personality traits for its work in elections (Kosinski claims that Kogan essentially reverse-engineered the app that he and Stillwell had developed). Kogan's app harvested data on Facebook users who agreed to take a personality test for the purposes of academic research (though it was, in fact, to be used by SCL for non-academic ends). But according to Wylie, the app also collected data on their entire -- and nonconsenting -- network of friends. Once Cambridge Analytica and SCL had won contracts with the State Department and were pitching to the Pentagon, Wylie became alarmed that this illegally-obtained data had ended up at the heart of government, along with the contractors who might abuse it. ..."
"... This apparently bizarre intersection of research on topics like love and kindness with defense and intelligence interests is not, in fact, particularly unusual. It is typical of the kind of dual-use research that has shaped the field of social psychology in the US since World War II. ..."
"... Much of the classic, foundational research on personality, conformity, obedience, group polarization, and other such determinants of social dynamics -- while ostensibly civilian -- was funded during the cold war by the military and the CIA. ..."
"... The pioneering figures from this era -- for example, Gordon Allport on personality and Solomon Asch on belief conformity -- are still cited in NATO psy-ops literature to this day ..."
"... This is an issue which has frustrated me greatly. In spite of the fact that the country's leading psychologist (at the very least one of them -- ex-APA president Seligman) has been documented taking consulting fees from Guantanamo and Black Sites goon squads, my social science pals refuse to recognize any corruption at the core of their so-called replicated quantitative research. ..."
Mar 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. Not new to anyone who has been paying attention, but a useful recap with some good observations at the end, despite deploying the cringe-making trope of businesses having DNA. That legitimates the notion that corporations are people.

By Ivan Manokha, a departmental lecturer in the Oxford Department of International Development. He is currently working on power and obedience in the late-modern political economy, particularly in the context of the development of new technologies of surveillance. Originally published at openDemocracy

The current social mobilization against Facebook resembles the actions of activists who, in opposition to neoliberal globalization, smash a McDonald's window during a demonstration.

On March 17, The Observer of London and The New York Times announced that Cambridge Analytica, the London-based political and corporate consulting group, had harvested private data from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their consent. The data was collected through a Facebook-based quiz app called thisisyourdigitallife, created by Aleksandr Kogan, a University of Cambridge psychologist who had requested and gained access to information from 270,000 Facebook members after they had agreed to use the app to undergo a personality test, for which they were paid through Kogan's company, Global Science Research.

But as Christopher Wylie, a twenty-eight-year-old Canadian coder and data scientist and a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, stated in a video interview , the app could also collect all kinds of personal data from users, such as the content that they consulted, the information that they liked, and even the messages that they posted.

In addition, the app provided access to information on the profiles of the friends of each of those users who agreed to take the test, which enabled the collection of data from more than 50 million.

All this data was then shared by Kogan with Cambridge Analytica, which was working with Donald Trump's election team and which allegedly used this data to target US voters with personalised political messages during the presidential campaign. As Wylie, told The Observer, "we built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons."

'Unacceptable Violation'

Following these revelations the Internet has been engulfed in outrage and government officials have been quick to react. On March 19, Antonio Tajani President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, stated in a twitter message that misuse of Facebook user data "is an unacceptable violation of our citizens' privacy rights" and promised an EU investigation. On March 22, Wylie communicated in a tweet that he accepted an invitation to testify before the US House Intelligence Committee, the US House Judiciary Committee and UK Parliament Digital Committee. On the same day Israel's Justice Ministry informed Facebook that it was opening an investigation into possible violations of Israelis' personal information by Facebook.

While such widespread condemnation of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica is totally justified, what remains largely absent from the discussion are broader questions about the role of data collection, processing and monetization that have become central in the current phase of capitalism, which may be described as 'platform capitalism', as suggested by the Canadian writer and academic Nick Srnicek in his recent book .

Over the last decade the growth of platforms has been spectacular: today, the top 4 enterprises in Forbes's list of most valuable brands are platforms, as are eleven of the top twenty. Most recent IPOs and acquisitions have involved platforms, as have most of the major successful startups. The list includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Waze, Uber, Lyft, Handy, Airbnb, Pinterest, Square, Social Finance, Kickstarter, etc. Although most platforms are US-based, they are a really global phenomenon and in fact are now playing an even more important role in developing countries which did not have developed commercial infrastructures at the time of the rise of the Internet and seized the opportunity that it presented to structure their industries around it. Thus, in China, for example, many of the most valuable enterprises are platforms such as Tencent (owner of the WeChat and QQ messaging platforms) and Baidu (China's search engine); Alibaba controls 80 percent of China's e-commerce market through its Taobao and Tmall platforms, with its Alipay platform being the largest payments platform in China.

The importance of platforms is also attested by the range of sectors in which they are now dominant and the number of users (often numbered in millions and, in some cases, even billions) regularly connecting to their various cloud-based services. Thus, to name the key industries, platforms are now central in Internet search (Google, Yahoo, Bing); social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat); Internet auctions and retail (eBay, Taobao, Amazon, Alibaba); on-line financial and human resource functions (Workday, Upwork, Elance, TaskRabbit), urban transportation (Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, BlaBlaCar), tourism (Kayak, Trivago, Airbnb), mobile payment (Square Order, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet); and software development (Apple's App Store, Google Play Store, Windows App store). Platform-based solutions are also currently being adopted in more traditional sectors, such as industrial production (GE, Siemens), agriculture (John Deere, Monsanto) and even clean energy (Sungevity, SolarCity, EnerNOC).

User Profiling -- Good-Bye to Privacy

These platforms differ significantly in terms of the services that they offer: some, like eBay or Taobao simply allow exchange of products between buyers and sellers; others, like Uber or TaskRabbit, allow independent service providers to find customers; yet others, like Apple or Google allow developers to create and market apps.

However, what is common to all these platforms is the central role played by data, and not just continuous data collection, but its ever more refined analysis in order to create detailed user profiles and rankings in order to better match customers and suppliers or increase efficiency.

All this is done in order to use data to create value in some way another (to monetize it by selling to advertisers or other firms, to increase sales, or to increase productivity). Data has become 'the new oil' of global economy, a new commodity to be bought and sold at a massive scale, and with this development, as a former Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff has argued , global capitalism has become 'surveillance capitalism'.

What this means is that platform economy is a model of value creation which is completely dependant on continuous privacy invasions and, what is alarming is that we are gradually becoming used to this.

Most of the time platform providers keep track of our purchases, travels, interest, likes, etc. and use this data for targeted advertising to which we have become accustomed. We are equally not that surprised when we find out that, for example, robotic vacuum cleaners collect data about types of furniture that we have and share it with the likes of Amazon so that they can send us advertisements for pieces of furniture that we do not yet possess.

There is little public outcry when we discover that Google's ads are racially biased as, for instance, a Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney found by accident performing a search. We are equally hardly astonished that companies such as Lenddo buy access to people's social media and browsing history in exchange for a credit score. And, at least in the US, people are becoming accustomed to the use of algorithms, developed by private contractors, by the justice system to take decisions on sentencing, which often result in equally unfair and racially biased decisions .

The outrage provoked by the Cambridge Analytica is targeting only the tip of the iceberg. The problem is infinitely larger as there are countless equally significant instances of privacy invasions and data collection performed by corporations, but they have become normalized and do not lead to much public outcry.

DNA

Today surveillance is the DNA of the platform economy; its model is simply based on the possibility of continuous privacy invasions using whatever means possible. In most cases users agree, by signing the terms and conditions of service providers, so that their data may be collected, analyzed and even shared with third parties (although it is hardly possible to see this as express consent given the size and complexity of these agreements -- for instance, it took 8 hours and 59 minutes for an actor hired by the consumer group Choice to read Amazon Kindle's terms and conditions). In other instances, as in the case of Kogan's app, the extent of the data collected exceeds what was stated in the agreement.

But what is important is to understand that to prevent such scandals in the future it is not enough to force Facebook to better monitor the use of users' data in order to prevent such leaks as in the case of Cambridge Analytica. The current social mobilization against Facebook resembles the actions of activists who, in opposition to neoliberal globalization, smash a McDonald's window during a demonstration.

What we need is a total redefinition of the right to privacy (which was codified as a universal human right in 1948, long before the Internet), to guarantee its respect, both offline and online.

What we need is a body of international law that will provide regulations and oversight for the collection and use of data.

What is required is an explicit and concise formulation of terms and conditions which, in a few sentences, will specify how users' data will be used.

It is important to seize the opportunity presented by the Cambridge Analytica scandal to push for these more fundamental changes.



Arizona Slim , , March 24, 2018 at 7:38 am

I am grateful for my spidey sense. Thanks, spidey sense, for ringing the alarm bells whenever I saw one of those personality tests on Facebook. I never took one.

Steve H. , , March 24, 2018 at 8:05 am

First they came for

The most efficient strategy is to be non-viable . They may come for you eventually, but someone else gets to be the canary, and you haven't wasted energy in the meantime. TOR users didn't get that figured out.

Annieb , , March 24, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Never took the personality test either, but now I now that all of my friends who did unknowingly gave up my personal information too. I read an article somewhere about this over a year ago so it's really old news. Sent the link to a few people who didn't care. But now that they all know that Cambridge Analytical used FB data in support of the Trump campaign it's all over the mainstream and people are upset.

ChrisPacific , , March 25, 2018 at 4:07 pm

You can disable that (i.e., prevent friends from sharing your info with third parties) in the privacy options. But the controls are not easy to find and everything is enabled by default.

HotFlash , , March 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm

I haven't FB'd in years and certainly never took any such test, but if any of my friends, real or FB, did, and my info was shared, can I sue? If not, why not?

Octopii , , March 24, 2018 at 8:06 am

Everyone thought I was paranoid as I discouraged them from moving backups to the cloud, using trackers, signing up for grocery store clubs, using real names and addresses for online anything, etc. They thought I was overreacting when I said we need European-style privacy laws in this country. People at work thought my questions about privacy for our new location-based IoT plans were not team-based thinking.

And it turns out after all this that they still think I'm extreme. I guess it will have to get worse.

Samuel Conner , , March 24, 2018 at 8:16 am

In a first for me, there are surface-mount resistors in the advert at the top of today's NC links page. That is way out of the ordinary; what I usually see are books or bicycle parts; things I have recently purchased or searched.

But a couple of days ago I had a SKYPE conversation with a sibling about a PC I was scavenging for parts, and surface mount resistors (unscavengable) came up. I suspect I have been observed without my consent and am not too happy about it. As marketing, it's a bust; in the conversation I explicitly expressed no interest in such components as I can't install them. I suppose I should be glad for this indication of something I wasn't aware was happening.

Collins , , March 24, 2018 at 9:14 am

Had you used your computer keyboard previously to search for 'surface mount resistors', or was the trail linking you & resistors entirely verbal?

Samuel Conner , , March 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

No keyboard search. I never so much as think about surface mount components; the inquiry was raised by my sibling and I responded. Maybe its coincidental, but it seems quite odd.

I decided to click through to the site to generate a few pennies for NC and at least feel like I was punishing someone for snooping on me.

Abi , , March 25, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Its been happening to me a lot recently on my Instagram, I don't like pictures or anything, but whenever I have a conversation with someone on my phone, I start seeing ads of what I spoke about

ChiGal in Carolina , , March 25, 2018 at 10:12 am

I thought it came out a while ago that Skype captures and retains all the dialogue and video of convos using it.

Eureka Springs , , March 24, 2018 at 8:44 am

What we need is a total redefinition of the right to privacy (which was codified as a universal human right in 1948, long before the Internet), to guarantee its respect, both offline and online.

Are we, readers of this post, or citizens of the USA supposed to think there is anything binding in declarations? Or anything from the UN if at all inconvenient for that matter?

https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Platforms like facebook allow individuals to 'spy' on each other and people love it. When I was a kid i always marveled at how some households would leave a police scanner on 24/7. With the net we have this writ large with baby, puppy and tv dinner photos. Not to forget it's a narcissist paradise. I have friends who I've tried to gently over time inject tidbits of info like this article provides for many years and they still just refuse to try and get it. If they looked over their shoulder and saw how many people/entities are literally following them everywhere they go, they would become rabid gun owners (don't tread on me!) overnight, but the invisible hand/eye registers not at all.

Pelham , , March 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

A side note: If Facebook and other social media were to assume ANY degree of responsibility for content appearing on their platforms, they would be acknowledging their legal liability for ALL content.

Hence they would be legally responsible just as newspapers are. And major newspapers have on-staff lawyers and editors exquisitely attuned to the possibility of libelous content so they can avoid ruinous lawsuits.

If the law were applied as it should be, Facebook and its brethren wouldn't last five minutes before being sued into oblivion.

albert , , March 24, 2018 at 6:27 pm

" being sued into oblivion ." If only.

Non-liability is a product of the computer age. I remember having to agree with Microsofts policy to absolve them of -any- liability when using their software. If they had their druthers, -no- company would be liable for -anything-. It's called a 'perfect world'.

Companies that host 'social media' should not have to bear any responsibility for their users content. Newspapers employ writers and fact checkers. They are set up to monitor their staff for accuracy (Okay, in theory). So you can sue them and even their journalist employees. Being liable (and not sued) allows them to brag about how truthful they are. Reputations are a valuable commodity these days.

In the case of 'social media' providers, liability falls on the authors of their own comments, which is only fair, in my view. However, I would argue that those 'providers' should -not- be considered 'media' like newspapers, and their members should not be considered 'journalists'.

Also, those providers are private companies, and are free to edit, censor, or delete anything on their site. And of course it's automated. Some conservative Facebook members were complaining about being banned. Apparently, there a certain things you can't say on Facebook.

AFAIC, the bottom line is this: Many folks tend to believe everything they read online. They need to learn the skill of critical thinking. And realize that the Internet can be a vast wasteland; a digital garbage dump.

Why are our leaders so concerned with election meddling? Isn't our propaganda better than the Russians? We certainly pay a lot for it.
. .. . .. -- .

PlutoniumKun , , March 24, 2018 at 9:52 am

It seems even Elon Musk is now rebelling against Facebook.

Musk Takes Down the Tesla and SpaceX Facebook Pages.

Today, Musk also made fun of Sonos for not being as committed as he was to the anti-Facebook cause after the connected-speaker maker said it would pull ads from the platform -- but only for a week.

"Wow, a whole week. Risky " Musk tweeted.

saurabh , , March 24, 2018 at 11:43 am

Musk, like Trump, knows he does not need to advertise because a fawning press will dutifully report on everything he does and says, no matter how dumb.

Jim Thomson , , March 25, 2018 at 9:39 am

This is rich.

I can't resist: It takes a con to know a con.
(not the most insightful comment)

Daniel Mongan , , March 24, 2018 at 10:14 am

A thoughtful post, thanks for that. May I recommend you take a look at "All You Can Pay" (NationBooks 2015) for a more thorough treatment of the subject, together with a proposal on how to re-balance the equation. Full disclosure, I am a co-author.

JimTan , , March 24, 2018 at 11:12 am

People are starting to download copies of their Facebook data to get an understanding of how much information is being collected from them.

JCC , , March 24, 2018 at 11:29 am

A reminder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRT9On7qie8

I saw this video back in 2007. It was originally put together by a Sarah Lawrence student who was working on her paper on social media. The ties of all the original investors to IN-Q-Tel scared me off and I decided to stay away from Facebook.

But it isn't just FB. Amazon, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and many others do the same, and we are all caught up in it whether we agree to participate or not.

Anyone watch the NCAA Finals and see all the ads from Google about being "The Official Cloud of the NCAA"? They were flat out bragging, more or less, about surveillance of players. for the NCAA.

Platform Capitalism is a mild description, it is manipulation based on Surveillance Capitalism, pure and simple. The Macro pattern of Corporate Power subsuming the State across every area is fascinating to watch, but a little scary.

oh , , March 24, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Caveat Emptor: If you watch YouTube, they'll only add to the information that they already have on you!

HotFlash , , March 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Just substitute "hook" for 'you" in the URL, you get the same video, no ads, and they claim not to track you. YMMV

Craig H. , , March 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Privacy no longer a social norm, says Facebook founder; Guardian; 10 January 2010

The Right to Privacy; Warren & Brandeis; Harvard Law Review; 15 December 1890

It was amusing that the top Google hit for the Brandeis article was JSTOR which requires us to surrender personal detail to access their site. To hell with that.

The part I like about the Brandeis privacy story is the motivation was some Manhattan rich dicks thought the gossip writers snooping around their wedding party should mind their own business. (Apparently whether this is actually true or just some story made up by somebody being catty at Brandeis has been the topic of gigabytes of internet flame wars but I can't ever recall seeing any of those.)

Ed , , March 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-23/digital-military-industrial-complex-exposed

" Two young psychologists are central to the Cambridge Analytica story. One is Michal Kosinski, who devised an app with a Cambridge University colleague, David Stillwell, that measures personality traits by analyzing Facebook "likes." It was then used in collaboration with the World Well-Being Project, a group at the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Center that specializes in the use of big data to measure health and happiness in order to improve well-being. The other is Aleksandr Kogan, who also works in the field of positive psychology and has written papers on happiness, kindness, and love (according to his résumé, an early paper was called "Down the Rabbit Hole: A Unified Theory of Love"). He ran the Prosociality and Well-being Laboratory, under the auspices of Cambridge University's Well-Being Institute.

Despite its prominence in research on well-being, Kosinski's work, Cadwalladr points out, drew a great deal of interest from British and American intelligence agencies and defense contractors, including overtures from the private company running an intelligence project nicknamed "Operation KitKat" because a correlation had been found between anti-Israeli sentiments and liking Nikes and KitKats. Several of Kosinski's co-authored papers list the US government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, as a funding source. His résumé boasts of meetings with senior figures at two of the world's largest defense contractors, Boeing and Microsoft, both companies that have sponsored his research. He ran a workshop on digital footprints and psychological assessment for the Singaporean Ministry of Defense.

For his part, Aleksandr Kogan established a company, Global Science Research, that contracted with SCL, using Facebook data to map personality traits for its work in elections (Kosinski claims that Kogan essentially reverse-engineered the app that he and Stillwell had developed). Kogan's app harvested data on Facebook users who agreed to take a personality test for the purposes of academic research (though it was, in fact, to be used by SCL for non-academic ends). But according to Wylie, the app also collected data on their entire -- and nonconsenting -- network of friends. Once Cambridge Analytica and SCL had won contracts with the State Department and were pitching to the Pentagon, Wylie became alarmed that this illegally-obtained data had ended up at the heart of government, along with the contractors who might abuse it.

This apparently bizarre intersection of research on topics like love and kindness with defense and intelligence interests is not, in fact, particularly unusual. It is typical of the kind of dual-use research that has shaped the field of social psychology in the US since World War II.

Much of the classic, foundational research on personality, conformity, obedience, group polarization, and other such determinants of social dynamics -- while ostensibly civilian -- was funded during the cold war by the military and the CIA. The cold war was an ideological battle, so, naturally, research on techniques for controlling belief was considered a national security priority. This psychological research laid the groundwork for propaganda wars and for experiments in individual "mind control."

The pioneering figures from this era -- for example, Gordon Allport on personality and Solomon Asch on belief conformity -- are still cited in NATO psy-ops literature to this day .."

Craig H. , , March 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm

This is an issue which has frustrated me greatly. In spite of the fact that the country's leading psychologist (at the very least one of them -- ex-APA president Seligman) has been documented taking consulting fees from Guantanamo and Black Sites goon squads, my social science pals refuse to recognize any corruption at the core of their so-called replicated quantitative research.

I have asked more than five people to point at the best critical work on the Big 5 Personality theory and they all have told me some variant of "it is the only way to get consistent numbers". Not one has ever retreated one step or been receptive to the suggestion that this might indicate some fallacy in trying to assign numbers to these properties.

They eat their own dog food all the way and they seem to be suffering from a terrible malnutrition. At least the anthropologists have Price . (Most of that book can be read for free in installments at Counterpunch.)

[Mar 25, 2018] CA was able to provide the campaign with predictive analytics based on more than 5,000 data points on every voter in the United States

This is really deception as an art form: presenting a specially crafted false message to group of voters bating them into voting for this candidate with explicit goal to deceive. This is the same method pedophiles used to groom victims.
Notable quotes:
"... "CA was able to provide the campaign with predictive analytics based on more than 5,000 data points on every voter in the United States. From there, CA's team of political consultants and psychologists guided the campaign on what to say and how to say it to specific groups of voters." ..."
Mar 25, 2018 | www.eurasiafuture.com
"CA was able to provide the campaign with predictive analytics based on more than 5,000 data points on every voter in the United States. From there, CA's team of political consultants and psychologists guided the campaign on what to say and how to say it to specific groups of voters."

This is a vocal acknowledgement from Trump's data guru that he was able to change the behaviour of American voters in favour of a Trump victory in the presidential election, but unfortunately, the American deep state blamed Russia for hacking American democracy – a claim which is totally baseless and untrue. In a total disingenuous move, American mainstream media tried to link-up CA with WikiLeaks. While CA did contact Wikileaks, Julian Assange is on the record as rebuffing CA's advances.

American warmongers within the deep state worked for a Hillary Clinton victory through their control of American mainstream media, but they nevertheless failed to elect her. As a result, Clinton's team blamed her loss on Russia, in order to accelerate hostility towards Moscow and to apply pressure on President Trump so that he could not establish friendly relations with Russia. They have succeeded in this regard as Trump surrendered to the war hungry deep state. That being said, the fight within the deep state between FBI and CIA also helped Trump to use the situation in his favour, as the FBI investigated Clinton after emails leaks scandal.

The CIA blamed Russia for hacking Hillary Clinton's DNC emails and allegedly passing them to Wikileaks. The purpose of this blame was to influence the FBI investigation against her. To a degree they succeeded. While she did not go to jail, she ended up losing the election. US intelligence agencies propagated a myth that Wikileaks worked for Russia, but it is a fact that Russia has no links with Wikileaks.

... ... ...

Recently Russian President Vladimir Putin held up a mirror to western global manipulator elite and addressed their baseless 'blame campaign' against Russia. Speaking with NBC news anchor Megyn Kelly, Putin said, "We're holding discussions with our American friends and partners, people who represent the government, by the way, and when they claim that some Russians interfered in the US elections, we tell them and we did so fairly recently at a very level, 'But you are constantly interfering in our political life'. Can you imagine, they don't even deny it, you know what they told us last time? They said, 'Yes, we do interfere but we are entitled to do it because we are spreading democracy and you're not, and you can't do it'. Does this seem like a civilized and modern approach to international affairs? At the level of the Russian government and the level of Russian President, there has never been any interference in the internal political process of the United States."

President Putin further explained, "Not long ago President Trump said something, he said that if Russia goal was to sow chaos it has succeeded, but that's not the result, that's the result of your political system; the internal struggle, the disorder, and division. Russia has nothing to do with it. Whatsoever we have nothing to do with it all. Get your own affairs in order first and the way the question's been framed as I mentioned –that you can interfere anywhere you want because you bring democracy but we can't –that's what causes conflicts. You have to show your partners respect and they will respect you."

President Putin's statement clearly indicates that it is the USA who is behind the effort to hack democracy and bring about regime changes throughout the world with the aim to install puppet regimes in targeted states. Cambridge Analytica and its mother company SCL are working for the strategic interests of the USA and its western partner NATO in order to achieve these regime change ambitions. Hence, this is the reason that Facebook after the publication of my previous article, suspended the CA/SCL group from its social media network by saying, "Protecting people's information is at the heart of everything we do, and we require the same from people who operate apps on Facebook. In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe. He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc."

[Mar 25, 2018] Cambridge Analytica Scandal Rockets to Watergate Proportions and Beyond by Adam Garrie

Highly recommended!
Mar 25, 2018 | www.eurasiafuture.com

Manipulating democracy -- brainwashing the public for a large fee

Cambridge Analytica, the data harvesting firm that worked for the Trump campaign, is in the midst of a scandal that should make everyone who cares about a clean political process demand major investigations of anyone who has procured the services of the company, major prosecutions of those who have violated laws across multiple nations and a wholesale revitalisation of electoral laws to prevent politicians from ever again procuring the services of unethical companies like Cambridge Analytica.

Days ago, whistleblower Christopher Wylie went public about his time working for Cambridge Analytica and specifically about how the firm illegally obtained the public and private data, including the private messages of 50 million Facebook users. He also exposed how Cambridge Analytica used this data to run highly scientific social manipulation campaigns in order to effectively brainwash the public in various countries to support a certain political candidate or faction.

Cambridge Analytica's dubious methods were used to meddle in the US election after the Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica substantial sums of money for their services. The firm also meddled in the last two Kenyan Presidential elections, elections in Nigeria, elections in Czech Republic, elections in Argentina, elections in India, the Brexit campaign, UK Premier Theresa May's recently election and now stands accused of working with the disgraced former Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif in an attempt to reverse his judicial ban on holding public office, while helping his PML-N party win the forthcoming general election.

Beyond the scandalous use of personal data from Facebook users and the illegal access to people's private messages, Cambridge Analytica has now been exposed as a company that, by the hidden-camera admission of its CEO Alexander Nix, engages in nefarious, illegal and outrageous activities across the globe.

The UK Broadcaster Channel 4 just released a video of Cambridge Analytica's CEO and Managing DIrector Mark Turnbull in a conversation with an undercover reporter posing as a Sri Lankan businessman interested in meddling in domestic elections. During the conversation Nix boasted of Cambridge Analytica's history of using entrapment, bribery and intimidation against the political opponents of its wealthy clients. Furthermore, Nix boasted about his firm's ability to procure Ukrainian prostitutes as a means to entrap adversaries while also procuring the services of "Israeli spies" as part of dirty smear operations.

The activities that Nix boasted of using in the past and then offered to a prospective client are illegal in virtually every country in the world. But for Nix and his world of ultra-rich clients, acting as though one is above the law is the rule rather than the exception. Thus far, Cambridge Analaytica has been able to escape justice throughout the world both for its election meddling, data harvesting, data theft and attempts to slander politicians through calculated bribery and entrapment schemes.

One person who refused to be tempted by Cambridge Analytica was Julian Assange. Alexander Nix personally wrote to Julian Assange asking for direct access to information possessed by Wikileaks and Assange refused. This is a clear example of journalistic ethics and personal integrity on the part of Assange. Justice must be done

Cambridge Analytica stands accused of doing everything and more that the Russian state was accused of doing in respect of meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election. While meetings and conversations that Trump campaign officials, including Steve Bannon had with Cambridge Analyatica big wigs were not recorded, any information as to what was said during these exchanges should be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement and eventually made public for the sake of restoring transparency to politics.

Just as the Hillary Clinton campaign openly conspired to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party's nomination, so too did Donald Trump's campaign pay Cambridge Analytica to conspire against the American voters using a calculated psychological manipulation campaign that was made possible through the use of unethically obtained and stolen data.

While Facebook claims it was itself misled and consequently victimised by Cambridge Analytica and has subsequently banned the firm from its platform, many, including Edward Snowden have alleged that Facebook knew full well what Cambridge Analytica was doing with the data retrieved from its Facebook apps. Already, the markets have reacted to the news and the verdict is not favourble in terms of the public perception of Facebook as an ethical company. Facebook's share prices are down over 7% on the S&P 500. This represents the biggest tumble in the price of Facebook share prices since 2014. Moreover, the plunge has knocked Facebook out of the coveted big five companies atop the S&P 500. Furthermore, Alex Stamos, Facebook's security director has announced that he will soon leave the company.

The Trump myth and Russia myth exposed

Donald Trump has frequently boasted of his expert campaigning skills as being the reason he won an election that few thought he could have ever won. While Trump was a far more charismatic and exciting platform speaker than his rival Hillary Clinton, it seems that for the Trump campaign, Trump ultimately needed to rely on the expensive and nefarious services of Cambridge Analytica in order to manipulate the minds of American voters and ultimately trick them into voting for him. It is impossible to say whether Trump would have still won his election without Cambridge Analaytica's services, but the fact they were used, should immediately raise the issue of Trump's suitability for office.

Ultimately, the Trump campaign did conspire to meddle in the election, only it was not with Russia or Russians with whom the campaign conspired, it was with the British firm Cambridge Analytica. Thus one sees that both the narrative about Trump the electoral "genius" and the narrative about Trump the Kremlin puppet are both false. The entire time, the issue of Trump campaign election meddling was one between a group of American millionaires and billionaires and a sleaze infested British firm.

Worse than Watergate

In 1972, US President Richard Nixon conspired to cover-up a beak-in at the offices of his political opponents at the Watergate Complex. The scandal ultimately led to Nixon's resignation in 1974. What the Trump campaign did with Cambridge Analytica is far more scandalous than the Watergate break-in and cover-up. Where Nixon's cronies broke into offices to steal information from the Democratic party, Trump's paid cyber-thugs at Cambridge Analytica broke in to the private data of 50 million people, the vast majority of whom were US citizens.

Richard Nixon, like Donald Trump, was ultimately driven by a love of power throughout his life. Just as Trump considered running for President for decades, so too did Nixon try to run in 1960 and lost to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, while he also failed to become governor of California in 1962 election. By 1968 he finally got into the White House at the height of the Vietnam War. When time came for his re-election, Nixon's team weren't going to take any chances and hence the Watergate break-in was orchestrated to dig up dirt on Nixon's opponent. As it turned out Nixon won the 1972 by a comfortable margin, meaning that the Watergate break-in was probably largely in vain.

Likewise, Trump may well have won in 2016 even without Cambridge Analytica, but in his quest for power, Trump has resorted to dealing with a company whose practices have done far more damage to the American people than the Watergate break-in.

New laws are needed

While existing laws will likely be sufficient to bring the fiends at Cambridge Analytica to justice, while also determining the role that Trump campaign officials, up to and including Trump played in the scandal, new laws must be enshrined across the globe in order to put the likes of Cambridge Analytica out of business for good.

The following proposals must be debated widely and ideally implemented at the soonest possible date:

-- A total ban on all forms of data mining/harvesting for political purposes.

-- A total ban on the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence in any political campaign or for any political purpose.

-- A mandatory seizing of the assets of any company involved in data mining/harvesting for political purposes, after which point such a company would be forcibly shut down permanently.

-- A mandatory seizing of the assets of any company involved in the use of artificial intelligence or algorithms in the course of a public political campaign.

-- A total ban on the use of internet based platforms, including social media by political candidates and their direct associates for anything that could reasonably be classified as a misinformation and/or manipulation scheme.

-- A total ban on politicians using third party data firms or advertising firms during elections. All such advertising and analysis must be devised by advisers employed directly by or volunteering for an individual candidate or his or her party political organisation.

-- A total ban on any individual working for a political campaign, who derives at least half of his or her income from employment, ownership and/or shares in a company whose primary purpose is to deliver news and analysis.

-- A total ban on anyone paid by a political candidate to promote his or her election from an ownership or major share holding role in any company whose primary purpose is to deliver news and analysis until 2 years after the said election.

If all of these laws were implemented along with thorough campaign finance reform initiatives, only then can anything remotely resembling fair elections take place.

The elites eat their own

While many of the media outlets who have helped to publish the revelations of whistleblower Christopher Wylie continue to defame Russia without any evidence about Russian linkage to the 2016 US election (or any other western vote for that matter), these outlets are nevertheless exposing the true meddling scandal surrounding the Trump campaign which has the effect of destroying the Russia narrative.

In this sense, a divided elite are turning against themselves. While the billionaire property tycoon Donald Trump can hardly be described as anything but a privileged figure who moved in elite public circles for most of his life, his personal style, rhetoric and attitude towards fellow elites has served to alienate Trump from many. Thus, there is a desire on the part of the mainstream media to expose a scandal surrounding Trump in a manner that would be unthinkable in respect of exposing a cause less popular among western elites, for example the brutal treatment of Palestine by the Zionist regime.

In this sense, Trump's own unwillingness or lack of desire to endear himself to fellow elites and instead present himself as a 'man of the people', might be his penultimate undoing. His rich former friends are now his rich present day enemies and many ordinary voters will be completely aghast at his involvement with Cambridge Analytica, just as many Republicans who voted for Nixon, became converts to the anti-Nixon movement once the misdeeds and dishonesty of Richard Nixon were made public. Many might well leave the 'Trump train' and get on board the 'political ethics express'.

Conclusion

This scandal ultimately has nothing to do with one's opinion on Trump or his policies, let alone any of the other politicians who have hired Cambridge Analytica. The issue is that a company engaged in the most nefarious, dangerous, sleazy and wicked behaviour in the world, is profiting from their destruction of political institutions that ought to be based on open policy debates rather than public manipulation, brainwashing and artificial intelligence.

The issue is also one of privacy. 50 million people have been exploited by an unethical company and what's more is that the money from the Trump campaign helped to empower this unethical company. This is therefore as unfair to non-voters as it is to voters. Cambridge Analytica must be shut down and all companies like it must restrict the scope of their operations or else face the same consequence.

[Mar 25, 2018] Cambridge Analytica was involved in basically all recent elections

Mar 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

veritas semper -> Four chan Sun, 03/25/2018 - 14:05 Permalink

Look at this great interview with Adam Garrie. This is a must watch video.

This scandal is HUUUGE

He discusses Cambridge Analytica involvement in basically all elections, involvement of Facebook and its Sugar daddy, UK ,US gov. How they tried to co-opt Mr.Assange and he said FO.

How UK tries to cover it up . There is a whistleblower and soon more ,it seems

http://www.eurasiafuture.com/2018/03/24/cambridge-analytica-scandal-fro

[Mar 25, 2018] Cambridge Analytica was always anti Russia. Involved in operations in most of the ex soviet countries to create a hatred of ethnic Russians and I think will work with non nationalist types who are very anti Russia.

Mar 25, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU 1 , Mar 25, 2018 1:23:38 PM | 4
James 1

I ran onto something about that when researching SCL/Cambridge Analytica

The Mercer/Cambridge Analytica US wing of SCL put a lot of funding into the leave campaign which was undeclared. Like a political campaign, donations above a threshold have to be declared.

Threshold for declaring donations I think was around 3 to 7000 and CA put in over 300 000.

Peter AU 1 , Mar 25, 2018 2:31:01 PM | 10
james 6

I have been researching SCL the last few days now. It is starting to look as though, rather than being political mercenary's working for whoever pays, they seem to back nationalist leaning groups or individuals. They have a political or geo-political agenda but not sure what at the moment. Always anti Russia. Involved in operations in most of the ex soviet countries to create a hatred of ethnic Russians and I think will work with non nationalist types who are very anti Russia.

[Mar 23, 2018] http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2018/4512_poisoning_brit_desperate.html

Notable quotes:
"... [ Print version of this article ] ..."
"... A short statement of the reasons why the British are now staging the Skripal provocation can be found in a March 14 London Daily Telegraph call to arms by Allister Heath, who rants: "We need a new world order to take on totalitarian capitalists in Russia and China. Such an alliance would dramatically shift the global balance of power, and allow the liberal democracies finally to fight back. It would endow the world with the sorts of robust institutions that are required to contain Russia and China. Britain needs a new role in the world; building such a network would be our perfect mission." Across the pond, as they say, a similar foundational statement was made by 68 former Obama Administration officials who have formed a group called National Security Action, aimed at securing Trump's impeachment and attacking Russia and China. ..."
"... China's "Belt and Road Initiative" now encompasses more than 140 nations in the largest infrastructure-building project ever undertaken in human history. This project is a true economic engine for the future. At the same time, the neo-liberal economies of the trans-Atlantic region continue to see their productive potentials sucked dry by the massive piles of debt they have created since the 2008 financial collapse. ..."
"... Just look at the events of February and March from this standpoint. It is no accident that Christopher Steele turns up, smack dab in the middle of the Skripal poisoning hoax. ..."
"... None of the true facts about the actual motive for, and sponsors of, the DOJ applications involving Carter Page were revealed to the FISA Court in the filings made by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Director James Comey, or current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. ..."
"... Since Steele has been discredited in the United States, a huge fawning publicity campaign has been undertaken on his behalf. The campaign involves journalists who have collaborated directly with Steele in his smear job against Trump. Books by Luke Harding and Michael Isikoff seek to rebuild Steele's reputation. ..."
"... A fawning piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, as implausible as it is long, has been foisted on the public for the same reason. ..."
"... Steele described his business to Luke Harding as primarily providing research and reports to competing and feuding Russian oligarchs, many of whom use London as a base of operations. This is obviously a perfect cover for intelligence operations. It is also a very violent theater of operations. The oligarchs intersect both Western intelligence operations and Russian organized crime. They engage in deadly gang warfare. ..."
"... Steele and his partners are mentored by Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 and a critical player in the infamous "sexing up" and fabrication of the claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, ..."
"... Steele had been tasked to claim that Russia was interfering in Western elections during the entire post-Ukraine coup time-frame, when this black propaganda line began to be circulated widely. ..."
"... The background to Porton Down's reluctance, is of course former Prime Minister Blair's phony dossier on Iraqi WMD, which Lyndon LaRouche fought, alongside the late British arms expert David Kelly, who exposed the "dodgy dossier," at the time. ..."
"... Thus, after being disclosed by a dissident Russian chemist living in the United States, novichoks have been widely copied by other countries, according to the press accounts. ..."
"... The insane McCarthyite reactions to Corbyn's simple statements of fact show that he hit the nail on the head. If you want to find Skripal's poisoners, then, like Edgar Allen Poe, you must take in the whole picture first. The field of play involves the British intelligence services and the anti-Putin Russian oligarchs, each of which services the other, acting on behalf of British strategic objectives. It is no accident that the coup against Donald Trump and the latest British intelligence fraud, putting the entire world in peril, absolutely intersect one another. ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.larouchepub.com

Skripal Poisoning a Desperate British Attempt To Resurrect Their American Coup

by Barbara Boyd

[ Print version of this article ]

March 18 -- In this report, we will explore the strategic significance of major events in the world starting in February 2018. Our goal is to precisely situate British Prime Minister Theresa May's March 12-14 mad effort to manufacture a new "weapons of mass destruction" hoax based on the alleged Skripal poisoning, using the same people (the MI6 intelligence grouping around Sir Richard Dearlove) and script (an intelligence fraud concerning weapons of mass destruction) which were used to draw the United States into the disastrous Iraq War.

The Skripal poisoning fraud also directly involves British agent Christopher Steele, the central figure in the ongoing coup against Donald Trump. This time the British information warfare operation is aimed at directly provoking Russia, while maintaining the targeting of the U.S. population and President Trump.

As the fevered, war-like media coverage and hysteria surrounding the case make clear, a certain section of the British elite seems prepared to risk everything on behalf of its dying imperial system. Despite the hype, economic warfare and sanctions appear to be the British weapons of choice -- Vladimir Putin, as we shall see, recently called the West's nuclear bluff. With the British "Russiagate" coup against Donald Trump fizzling, exposing British agent Christopher Steele and a slew of his American friends to criminal prosecution, a new tool was desperately needed to back the President of the United States into the British geopolitical corner shared by most of the American establishment. The tool they are using to do this is an intelligence hoax, a tried-and-true British product.

According to the British spy tale, a former Russian military intelligence colonel, Sergei Skripal, who spied for Great Britain in Russia from the early 1990s until 2004, was poisoned, along with his daughter, on March 4 in Salisbury, England, using a nerve agent "of a type developed by Russia." In 2010, Skripal had been exchanged in a spy swap between the United States and Russia. He had served six years in a Russian prison for spying for Britain. He had been living in the open in Britain for the last eight years. Skripal's MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller, listed himself as a consultant to Orbis Business Intelligence, Christopher Steele's British company, on his LinkedIn profile. When the London Daily Telegraph called attention to the Orbis reference, it was removed from the profile. Steele, who worked on the Trump dossier through his company Orbis, has denied that Miller worked directly on that dossier.

Theresa May and her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, insist there is only one person who could be responsible for the poisoning -- described as an act of war -- and that person is Vladimir Putin. No evidence has been offered to support this claim. No plausible motive has been provided as to why Putin would order such a provocative murder now, ahead of the World Cup, when the Russiagate coup in the United States has lost all momentum. Rather than following the protocols of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which require that evidence of the alleged agent be presented to Russia, the eccentric and unpopular May instead delivered an ultimatum to Russia, and whipped up war fever throughout the UK. She now seeks to pull Donald Trump and NATO into ever more aggressive moves against Russia.

Thus, as with Christopher Steele's dirty dossier against Donald Trump, the British claims against Putin are an evidence-free exercise of raw power. The Anglo-American establishment instructs us: "trust this, ignore the stinky factless content presented in this dossier -- just note that it is backed by very important intelligence agencies which could cook your goose if you object."

A short statement of the reasons why the British are now staging the Skripal provocation can be found in a March 14 London Daily Telegraph call to arms by Allister Heath, who rants: "We need a new world order to take on totalitarian capitalists in Russia and China. Such an alliance would dramatically shift the global balance of power, and allow the liberal democracies finally to fight back. It would endow the world with the sorts of robust institutions that are required to contain Russia and China. Britain needs a new role in the world; building such a network would be our perfect mission." Across the pond, as they say, a similar foundational statement was made by 68 former Obama Administration officials who have formed a group called National Security Action, aimed at securing Trump's impeachment and attacking Russia and China.

Russia and China have embarked on a massive infrastructure building project in Eurasia, the center of all British geopolitical fantasies since the time of Halford Mackinder. China's "Belt and Road Initiative" now encompasses more than 140 nations in the largest infrastructure-building project ever undertaken in human history. This project is a true economic engine for the future. At the same time, the neo-liberal economies of the trans-Atlantic region continue to see their productive potentials sucked dry by the massive piles of debt they have created since the 2008 financial collapse. This debt is now on a hair trigger for implosion. It is estimated by banking insiders that the City of London is sitting on a derivatives powderkeg of $700 trillion, with over-the-counter derivatives accounting for another $570 trillion. The City of London will bear the major impact of the coming derivatives collapse.

In this strategic geometry, President Trump's support for peaceful collaboration with Russia during the campaign, and his personal friendship with China's President Xi Jinping, have marked him for the relentless coup-drive waged by the British and their U.S. friends.

On top of that, President Putin delivered a mammoth strategic shock on March 1, showing new Russian weapons systems based on new physical principles, which render present U.S. ABM systems and much of current U.S. war-fighting doctrine obsolete, together with the vaunted first strike capacity with which NATO has surrounded Russia. Not only is the West sitting on a new financial collapse, its vaunted military superiority has just been flanked.

It is very clear that a strategic choice now confronts the human race. In 1984, Lyndon LaRouche wrote a very profound document, " Draft Memorandum of Agreement Between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. " In it, he developed the concrete basis for peace between the two superpowers at the moment when the United States had adopted the LaRouche/Reagan doctrine of strategic defense. Both Reagan and LaRouche had proposed that the Russians and the United States cooperate in building and developing strategic defense against offensive nuclear weapons, based on new physical principles, thereby eliminating the threat of nuclear annihilation.

According to the LaRouche Doctrine, "The political foundation for durable peace must be: a) the unconditional sovereignty of each and all nation states, and b) cooperation among sovereign states to the effect of promoting unlimited opportunities to participate in the benefits of technological progress, to the mutual benefit of each and all."

Both China, in President Xi's October Address to the Party Congress, and Russia, in Putin's March 1 address to the Federal Assembly, have set a course to produce technological progress capable of being shared in by all. They both outline major infrastructure projects and dedicating massive funding to exploring the frontiers of science, technology, and space exploration. Donald Trump, in both his campaign and his presidency, has embraced similar views. The British and their American friends, however, are devotees of a completely different and failing economic system, a system soundly rejected in Brexit, in the election of Donald Trump, and most recently in the Italian elections.

Just look at the events of February and March from this standpoint. It is no accident that Christopher Steele turns up, smack dab in the middle of the Skripal poisoning hoax.

Exposure of British as U.S. Election Meddlers Weakens Anti-Trump Coup

On Feb. 2, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a memo demonstrating that the Obama Justice Department and FBI committed an outright fraud on the FISA court in obtaining surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a volunteer for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The bogus warrant applications relied heavily on the dirty British dossier authored by MI6's "former" Russian intelligence chief, Christopher Steele, who had been paid by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee to paint Donald Trump as a Manchurian candidate -- as a pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the House Intelligence memo and other aspects of its investigation, Steele confided to Bruce Ohr, a high official in the DOJ, that he, Steele, hated Trump with a passion and would do "anything" to prevent Trump's election. Steele was using the fact of an FBI investigation of his allegations as part of a "full spectrum" British information warfare campaign conducted against candidate Trump with the full complicity of Obama's intelligence chiefs. (See Peter Van Buren, " Christopher Steele: The Real Foreign Influence in the 2016 U.S. Election? " The American Conservative, February 15, 2018.) None of the true facts about the actual motive for, and sponsors of, the DOJ applications involving Carter Page were revealed to the FISA Court in the filings made by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Director James Comey, or current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The House Intelligence Committee memo was quickly followed by a declassified letter on Feb. 5, in which Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham referred Christopher Steele to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for criminal prosecution, based on false statements he made to the FBI about his contacts with the news media. No doubt the criminal referral sent chills down the spines not only of Christopher Steele and his British colleagues, but also of those former Obama officials conspiring against Trump.

In the same week, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes announced that he would be conducting investigations into the role of the Obama State Department and intelligence chiefs in the circulation and use of Christopher Steele's dirty dossier. These investigations have been widely reported to focus on John Brennan and James Clapper -- Brennan for widely promoting the dirty British work product, and Clapper for leaks associated with BuzzFeed's publication and legitimization of the dirty British work product. Remind yourself every time you hear media explosions against Trump by either Clapper (congressional perjurer and proponent of the theory that the Russians are genetically predisposed to screw the United States) or Brennan (gopher for George Tenet's perpetual war and torture regime and Grand Inquisitor for Barack Obama's serial
assassinations by baseball card). They are next in the barrel, so to speak.

The January 11, 2017 BuzzFeed publication of the Steele dossier was meant to permanently poison Trump's incoming administration, and is the subject of libel suits both in Florida and London. In the London case, the British are ready to invoke the Official Secrets Act to protect Christopher Steele. In the Florida case, Steele has been ordered to sit for deposition despite numerous delays and stalling tactics.

The Congressional investigation of the State Department is focused on John Kerry, Kerry's aide Jonathan Winer, Victoria Nuland, and Clinton operative Cody Shearer. Nuland utilized Christopher Steele as a primary intelligence source while running the U.S. regime change operations in Ukraine in alliance with neo-Nazis. She greenlighted Steele's initial meetings with the FBI about Donald Trump. Winer deployed himself to vouch for Steele to various news publications collaborating with British agent Steele and his U.S. employer, Fusion GPS, in Steele's media warfare operations against Trump.

Horowitz's report on the Clinton investigations -- which have already unearthed the texts between former Russiagate lead case agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, proclaiming their hatred of Donald Trump and the need for an "insurance policy" against his election -- is expected to be released very soon. According to the House Intelligence Committee, the Strzok/Page texts also reveal that Strzok was a close friend of U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras. Contreras sits on the FISA court, took Michael Flynn's guilty plea, and then promptly recused himself from Michael Flynn's case for reasons which remain undisclosed.

Despite its exoneration of the President and thorough discrediting of the British Steele operation, the House Intelligence Committee dangerously accepts the myth that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the emails of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta, and then provided the hacked information to WikiLeaks for publication. Its final report states, however, that Putin's intervention was not in support of Donald Trump, as previously claimed by Obama's intelligence chiefs. The Senators seeking a new Special Counsel also salute this dangerous fraud.

As we have previously reported, the myth that Putin hacked the Democrats and provided the hacked emails to WikiLeaks, has been substantively refuted by the investigations of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). In summary, the evidence points to a leak rather than a hack in the case of the DNC. Further, the NSA would have the evidence of any such hack or hacks, according to former NSA technical director Bill Binney, and would have provided it, even if in a classified setting. It is clear that the NSA has no such evidence. It is also clear that the United States and the British have cyber warfare capabilities fully capable of creating "false flag" cyber war incidents.

North Korea Talks Planned, While Russia and China Continue to Create the Conditions for a New Human Renaissance

In addition to the fizzling of the coup, the Western elites suffered through February and March for additional reasons. To the shock of the entire, smug Davos crowd, Donald Trump, working with Russia, China, and South Korea, appears to have gotten Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table concerning denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Substantive talks have been scheduled for May. The breakthrough was announced by President Trump and South Korea on March 8.

On March 1, President Putin gave his historic two-hour address to the Russian Federal Assembly and the Russian people. Like President Xi's address to the Chinese Party Congress in October 2017, Putin focused on the goal of deeply reducing poverty in Russian society. Xi vowed in October to eliminate poverty from Chinese society altogether by 2020. In addition, Putin emphasized that Russia would undertake a huge city-building project across its vast rural frontiers and dramatically expand its modern infrastructure, including Russia's digital infrastructure. He put major emphasis on directing funds to basic scientific and technological progress. He emphasized that harnessing and stimulating the creative powers of individual human beings is the true driver of all economic progress.

China's Belt and Road Initiative also continued to advance. Great infrastructure projects are popping up throughout the world, including most specifically in Africa, which had been consigned to be a permanent, primitive looting-ground for Western interests. Among the recent breakthroughs is the great project to refill Lake Chad, a project known as "Transaqua," involving the Italian engineering firm Bonifica, the Chinese engineering and construction firm PowerChina, and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, which represents the African countries directly benefiting from the project. But the biggest strategic news of the last six weeks was contained in the last part of President Putin's speech. He showed various weapons, developed by Russian scientists in the wake of the U.S. abrogation of the ABM treaty and the Anglo-American campaign of color revolutions and NATO base-building in the former Soviet bloc. These weapons, based on new physical principles, render U.S. ABM defenses obsolete, together with many U.S. utopian war-fighting doctrines developed under the reigns of Obama and Bush. Putin emphasized that the economic and "defense" aspects of his speech were not separate. Rather, the scientific breakthroughs were based on an in-depth economic mobilization of the physical economy. He stressed that Russia's survival was dependent upon marshalling continuous creative breakthroughs in basic science and the high-technology spinoffs which result, and their propagation through the entire population. He stressed that such breakthroughs are the product of providing an actually human existence to the entire society.

Compare what Russia and China have set out to accomplish with respect to the physical economy of the Earth, with the second and third paragraphs of Lyndon LaRouche's prescription for a durable peace in the LaRouche Doctrine:

The most crucial feature of present implementation of such a policy of durable peace is a profound change in the monetary, economic, and political relations between dominant powers and those relatively subordinated nations often classed as "developing nations." Unless the inequities lingering in the aftermath of modern colonialism are progressively remedied, there can be no durable peace on this planet.

Insofar as the United States and the Soviet Union acknowledge the progress of the productive powers of labor throughout the planet to be in the vital strategic interests of each and both, the two powers are bound to that degree and in that way by a common interest. This is the kernel of the political and economic policies of practice indispensable to the fostering of a durable peace between those two powers.

This is the perspective which has the British terrified and acting-out, insanely. Were Trump, Putin, and Xi to enter into negotiations based on the LaRouche Doctrine, a breakthrough will have occurred for all of mankind, a breakthrough to a permanent and durable peace. No neo-liberal, post-industrial, unipolar order can match this, no matter how much Allister Heath, Ms. May, or Boris Johnson rant and rave about it.

Christopher Steele's British Playground

As is well known by now, Christopher Steele was a long-time MI6 agent before "retiring" to form his own extremely lucrative private intelligence firm. The firm is said to have earned $200 million since its formation. Steele was an MI6 agent in Moscow around the time Skripal was recruited. He also later ran the MI6 Russia desk and would have known everything there was to know about Skripal. Pablo Miller, who recruited Skripal, worked for Steele's firm according to Miller's LinkedIn profile, and lived in the same town as Skripal.

Since Steele has been discredited in the United States, a huge fawning publicity campaign has been undertaken on his behalf. The campaign involves journalists who have collaborated directly with Steele in his smear job against Trump. Books by Luke Harding and Michael Isikoff seek to rebuild Steele's reputation.

A fawning piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, as implausible as it is long, has been foisted on the public for the same reason.

There are some fascinating facts, however, in all this fawning prose:

Leaving aside Sergei Skripal's relationship with the central figure in the British-led coup against Donald Trump, it is clear that the May government's claim that he and his daughter were poisoned by a "novichok" nerve-agent, even if it is true, by no means makes a case that Putin's government was responsible. (It is of interest that as we were going to press on March 19, the foreign ministers of the European Union, after a briefing by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that indicted Putin as responsible, issued a statement which condemned the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, but pointedly failed to blame Putin or Russia.)

Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan who maintains contacts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote March 16 that Britain's chemical-warfare scientists at Porton Down, "are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation of a type developed by Russia, after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the novichok program, a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilizers. This substance is a novichok in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China."

The background to Porton Down's reluctance, is of course former Prime Minister Blair's phony dossier on Iraqi WMD, which Lyndon LaRouche fought, alongside the late British arms expert David Kelly, who exposed the "dodgy dossier," at the time.

"To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days," Murray continues. "The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation of a type developed by Russia was used by Theresa May in Parliament, used by the U.K. at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, 'of a type developed by Russia,' is the precise phrase used in the joint communique‚ issued by the U.K., U.S.A., France, and Germany yesterday."

The main account of the chemical weapons cited by Theresa May was written by a Soviet dissident chemist named Vil Mirzayanov who now lives in the United States and published a book about his work at the Soviets' Uzbekistan chemical-warfare laboratory. In his much-publicized book, Mirzayanov sets out the formulas for the claimed substances. According to the March 16 Wall Street Journal, that publicity led to the novichoks' chemical structure being leaked, making them readily available for reproduction elsewhere. Ralf Trapp, a France-based consultant and expert on the control of chemical and biological weapons, told the Journal, "The chemical formula has been publicized and we know from publications from then-Czechoslovakia that they had worked on similar agents for defense in the 1980s. I'm sure other countries with developed programs would have as well."

But it does not seem that those "other countries" include Russia. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the independent agency charged by treaty with investigating claims like those just made by the British government, certified in September 2017 that the Russian government had destroyed its entire chemical weapons program, inclusive of its nerve agent production capabilities. In addition to Trapp's account, Seamus Martin, writing in the March 14 Irish Times, posits, based on personal knowledge, that novichoks were widely expropriated by East Bloc oligarchs and criminal elements in the Russian economic chaos of the 1990s.

Thus, after being disclosed by a dissident Russian chemist living in the United States, novichoks have been widely copied by other countries, according to the press accounts.

Further trouble for May's attempted hoax is found in the condition of the Skripals and of a police officer who went to their home. All were made critically ill, although they are still alive. Yet the emergency personnel who treated the Skripals, allegedly the victims of a deadly and absolutely lethal nerve poison, suffered no ill effects whatsoever.

The Skripal poisoning is being compared in the British press to the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. The former KGB and FSB officer was granted asylum in London and worked for the infamous anti-Putin British-intelligence-directed oligarch Boris Berezovsky in information warfare and other attacks on the Russian state, inclusive of McCarthyite accusations against any European politician seeking sane relations with Putin.

Litvinenko's case officer was none other than Christopher Steele, and Christopher Steele conducted MI6's investigation of the case, which, of course, found Putin himself culpable. Berezovsky's use of the disgraced British PR firm Bell, Pottinger is also credited with a significant role in public acceptance of this result. Berezovsky was a prime suspect in organizing the murder of American journalist Paul Klebnikov. Many believe that Berezovsky arranged Litvinenko's demise. Berezovsky himself died in Britain in mysterious circumstances following the loss of a major court case to another Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich.

In the parliamentary debate in which Theresa May issued her provocation, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn cautioned against a rush to judgment and pointed to the bloody playing field of Russian oligarchs and Russian organized crime as alternative areas for investigation. Had Corbyn added to that mix, "Western intelligence agencies," he would have been entirely on the right track. Corbyn also pointed out that these oligarchs had contributed millions to May's Conservative Party. The reaction by the British media, May's Conservatives, and Tony Blair's faction of the Labour Party was to paint Corbyn as a Putin dupe, including photoshopped images of the Labour leader in a Russian winter hat in front of the Kremlin.

The insane McCarthyite reactions to Corbyn's simple statements of fact show that he hit the nail on the head. If you want to find Skripal's poisoners, then, like Edgar Allen Poe, you must take in the whole picture first. The field of play involves the British intelligence services and the anti-Putin Russian oligarchs, each of which services the other, acting on behalf of British strategic objectives. It is no accident that the coup against Donald Trump and the latest British intelligence fraud, putting the entire world in peril, absolutely intersect one another.

[Mar 20, 2018] We read that Vladimir Putin's passport was found three days later at the Scripaal's poisoning scene.

Notable quotes:
"... Just like MH17, or the alleged (but fake) poison gas attacks in Syria, the policy has been to launch an initial barrage of accusations completely unsupported by the slightest shred of evidence – and then drop the matter abruptly, leaving the public with a strong impression of "Russian wickedness" although nothing has actually been proved. ..."
"... Skripal and daughter cheap, convenient, collateral damage for the warmongers. A person trained to handle organic nerve material introduces it into Skripal's car, they go for a morning drive and stop to have a pizza. After pizza, they begin to feel a little queasy. Go sit on a park bench. A passing citizen sees them, calls for medical assistance. Doctor says probably poisoned by toxic agent. Doctor knows it was not highly refined military grade. ..."
"... Car is lifted by straps so as not poison others and hauled to Potent Downs or whatever the Nerve Agent Factory is called. Now it can be doctored to fit the crime and I don't mean the Russians. How am I doing? Got a better tale? ..."
"... Now, I do understand that you – and most Brits – think that you are special. That there is one set of rules for you, and another for the ' others '. You have been conditioned by propaganda to assert this without any shame and to demonise Russia based on decades of half-witted stories (most taken out of context and exaggerated). Why would anyone take you seriously? ..."
"... People who walk around saying that they are exceptional, meaning they are 'Gods', or that they talk 'to God', are generally ignored or kept in an institution. Claiming that you are 'exceptional and special' is the same as claiming that you are divine – that's what it has meant historically. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

remo , Website Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 8:36 am GMT

"Sir, Further to your report ("Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment", TIMES Mar 14)' may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved."
Stephen Davies. Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Meanwhile, a doctor who was one of the first people at the scene has described how she found Ms Skripal..She said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying "there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripals face or body."

The woman, who asked not to be named, told the NNC she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway, as others tended to her father.

she said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripal's face or body.

The doctor said she had been worried she would be affected by the nerve agent, hut added that she "feels fine".

Some nerve agent. We read that Vladimir Putin's passport was found three days later at the scene.

Tom Welsh , Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 8:53 am GMT
One wonders how the Skripals are right now. Have they recovered completely, or partially? Are they still deathly ill? Has one or both of them died?

In any case, why have there been no public announcements of these important facts? It is useless to cite privacy, when the government hastened to trumpet the case – and its own dubious conclusions – as publicly as possible.

Just like MH17, or the alleged (but fake) poison gas attacks in Syria, the policy has been to launch an initial barrage of accusations completely unsupported by the slightest shred of evidence – and then drop the matter abruptly, leaving the public with a strong impression of "Russian wickedness" although nothing has actually been proved.

Incidentally, I wonder where the Skripals are and why. Apparently the Russian government applied for consular access to Yulia (who is a Russian citizen) but this was bluntly refused – against all norms of international law and civilized behaviour.

Ger , Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 6:17 pm GMT
Skripal and daughter cheap, convenient, collateral damage for the warmongers. A person trained to handle organic nerve material introduces it into Skripal's car, they go for a morning drive and stop to have a pizza. After pizza, they begin to feel a little queasy. Go sit on a park bench. A passing citizen sees them, calls for medical assistance. Doctor says probably poisoned by toxic agent. Doctor knows it was not highly refined military grade.

How does the doctor know this: He is just down the street from the British Nerve Agent Factory and has been trained to recognize and treat real exposures to potent nerve agents. A policeman ends up in same hospital as Skripal because he sees car parked overtime or illegally, opens door to check for ownership gets zapped by toxic agent. Car is lifted by straps so as not poison others and hauled to Potent Downs or whatever the Nerve Agent Factory is called. Now it can be doctored to fit the crime and I don't mean the Russians. How am I doing? Got a better tale?

Beckow , March 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT

We understand we are not being taken seriously

Good, understanding that you are a joke is the first step on the road to possible recovery.

Try for once to imagine a reverse scenario: an Englishman dies under suspicious circumstances in a provincial town in Russia. (Or 3-4 of them over 15-20 years.) He was considered a 'traitor' by UK for whatever reason. Immediately Russia declares that it was an ' unacceptable attack on Russia's sovereignty, that Britain did it, and that it is 'highly likely' that Teresa May ordered it herself' . Russian government also says that they will not disclose any details, show no evidence and will not even allow basis diplomatic protocol for UK embassy. Why? For reasons of ' state security '. Wouldn't any rational outsider consider that a joke?

Now, I do understand that you – and most Brits – think that you are special. That there is one set of rules for you, and another for the ' others '. You have been conditioned by propaganda to assert this without any shame and to demonise Russia based on decades of half-witted stories (most taken out of context and exaggerated). Why would anyone take you seriously?

People who walk around saying that they are exceptional, meaning they are 'Gods', or that they talk 'to God', are generally ignored or kept in an institution. Claiming that you are 'exceptional and special' is the same as claiming that you are divine – that's what it has meant historically.

This 'joke' is not that funny any more. Grow up.

[Mar 17, 2018] "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life: In November 2017 British TV 6th session episode 5 of 'Strike Back" Novichok was used

Mar 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

Art , March 16, 2018 at 6:51 am GMT

George Orwell sure can write beautiful words.

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it ( ) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality"

Think Peace -- Art

Seraphim , March 16, 2018 at 7:18 am GMT
In an essay "The Decay of Lying" (1889), Oscar Wilde launched that famous sentence: "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life".

In November 2017 British TV presented the 6th session episode 5 of 'Strike Back", a British/American action-adventure/spy-drama television series based on a novel of the same name by novelist and former Special Air Service (SAS) soldier Chris Ryan. In it the Section 20 ("a secretive unit of British military intelligence, a team of special operations personnel conducting several high risk missions across the globe") foiled a terrorist attack with the gas Novichok made by Karim Markov, a Russian scientist who allegedly killed his colleagues who invented the gas. The team duly trace the labs where Markov continues to produce more Novichok, in Ukraine and Belarus. The cast is full with the assorted jihadis, Russian Mafia bosses with their cruel henchmen, Hungarian white supremacists and nasty Serbians.
You find summaries of the episodes @https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike_Back:_Retribution

Melotte22 , March 16, 2018 at 8:40 am GMT
Anyone heard of 'Strike Back', TV Drama:

"It is strange that a British-American intelligence TV drama Strike Back had several episodes featuring Novichok nerve agent and Evil Russkies last year. Someone orchestrating political theater in the UK watches a lot of TV, or is advised by its producers."

Check episodes 50&51

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike_Back:_Retribution

Seraphim , March 16, 2018 at 8:49 am GMT
Nobody will miss the fact that the countries which emitted the 'Joint statement' blaming Russia's aggression are the countries which repeatedly aggressed and invaded Russia or allied themselves with Russia's enemies. None of them were ever invaded by Russia but in pursuit of the repelled invaders. None of them were ever threatened by a Russian invasion.

[Mar 16, 2018] NATO to display common front in Skripal case

Highly recommended!
France previously stated that they do not react to British "Fantasy politics". French president Emmanuel Macron wants more evidence Vladimir Putin was involved and his spokesman accused Britain of "fantasy politics" -- Theresa May accused of punishing Russia too SOON by France who demand more evidence .
Later Macron was forced to change the tune
Notable quotes:
"... Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Curious fact. Although Russia stopped all its CW programmes in 1992, the UK & the US received specialists/defectors & documentation on these projects incl. so-called Novichok in mid-1990s, continued researching CW as evidenced by open sources ..."
"... .@RussiaUN: in 1992 Russia closed all Soviet chemical weapons programmes. Some of the scientists were flown to the West (incl UK) where they continued research. To identify a substance, formula and samples are needed – means UK has capacity to produce suspected nerve agent. ..."
"... Craig Murray's excellent essay's been heavily attacked, and he's written a stimulating and educational response that further bolsters the initial essay. Quite interesting the so-called journalists supporting May's propaganda. ..."
"... Oh dear, in sacred Europe!! How about the West using nerve agents on a grand scale against its enemy Iran in the Middle East (since the Second World War)? Twenty thousand Iranians were killed on the spot by nerve gas, according to reports, with thousands of people hospitalized. According to Iraqi documents, assistance in the development of chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. A report stated that Dutch, Australian, Italian, French and both West and East German companies were involved in the export of raw materials to Iraqi chemical weapons factories. ..."
"... This is the same sort of "highly likely" language that has worked so well with the false-flag attacks in Syria. It's obviously "highly likely" that there is no actual evidence. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:17:24 AM | 90

In joint statement, world leaders agree Russia behind nerve agent attack on former spy
This is the joint statement of the whirled leaders:
We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018. A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened. We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response.

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all.

The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia´s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behaviour. We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security. . . here

b , Mar 15, 2018 11:35:19 AM | 92
Russian Embassy, UK @RussianEmbassy
Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Russia destroyed all of its chemical weapons arsenals by 2017, a fact attested by @OPCW. No research, development or manufacturing of projects codenamed Novichok has ever been carried out in Russia, all CW programmes were stopped back in 1991-92

-

Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Curious fact. Although Russia stopped all its CW programmes in 1992, the UK & the US received specialists/defectors & documentation on these projects incl. so-called Novichok in mid-1990s, continued researching CW as evidenced by open sources

-

later:

-

.@RussiaUN: in 1992 Russia closed all Soviet chemical weapons programmes. Some of the scientists were flown to the West (incl UK) where they continued research. To identify a substance, formula and samples are needed – means UK has capacity to produce suspected nerve agent.

source:
karlof1 , Mar 15, 2018 11:44:05 AM | 94
Craig Murray's excellent essay's been heavily attacked, and he's written a stimulating and educational response that further bolsters the initial essay. Quite interesting the so-called journalists supporting May's propaganda.
Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:51:02 AM | 96
from the Joint Statement:
. . . the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War
Oh dear, in sacred Europe!! How about the West using nerve agents on a grand scale against its enemy Iran in the Middle East (since the Second World War)? Twenty thousand Iranians were killed on the spot by nerve gas, according to reports, with thousands of people hospitalized. According to Iraqi documents, assistance in the development of chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. A report stated that Dutch, Australian, Italian, French and both West and East German companies were involved in the export of raw materials to Iraqi chemical weapons factories.
Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:55:15 AM | 97
from the Joint Statement:
. . . it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack
This is the same sort of "highly likely" language that has worked so well with the false-flag attacks in Syria. It's obviously "highly likely" that there is no actual evidence.

[Mar 16, 2018] Does Western civilization now reject real, objective truth emulating the USSR

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Liza , March 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT

With "principles" such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all "for the greater glory of God" the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth

Excuse me? What about western civilization before the ten commandments? Was it better or worse in your eyes? What's so damn special about your ten commandments that their (forced) acceptance by westerners should mark some sort of magical beginning of the true western civilization? So we had no morality of any kind before this?

I can think of other civilizations that have nothing – and I mean nothing – to be proud of. They make us look like amateurs in the rejection of real, objective truth.

[Mar 16, 2018] The method attributed to poisoning of Skripal is the best indication of the false flag operation. Looks more and more like a recycled WMD hoax to justify attack on Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Ask this, "who is pathologically obsessed with execution by gas?" Who is spearheading the "Russia is Evil" propaganda campaign? ..."
"... If Russian leadership wanted KGB/FSB/GRU/SVR to kill him, they'd done it while the man was in Russia in their custody. He would have never left the Russian prison alive, and nobody would be wiser. ..."
"... He is just not that important, that is why he was let out in a swap after spending only a few years in jail. The orchestrated hysterics and the oversize overreaction by the NATO gang is clear tell that they are the one who did it. ..."
"... Do you remember the Wikileaks about CIA having hacking tools whereby they could spoof cyber attacks form their computers yet have the signature they came from Russia (or some other country)? ..."
"... There is nothing uniquely Russian about the poison. There are no unique poisons or nerve agents. Everybody has the same things. All is being said is that the nerve agent is military grade. And England is refusing to give samples to Russia for analysis, so we don't know what it is. ..."
"... why wouldn't FSB off him by simply clubbing him to death and making it look like a mugging gone wrong: why use a military grade nerve agent of all things. Ridiculous that _anyone_ believes Russians did it. ..."
"... Boris Johnson confirmed widespread suspicions that the attack on Skripal was part of a recycled WMD hoax to justify another U.S. war of aggression, this time in Syria instead of Iraq. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Stan d Mute , March 16, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT

@Mark James

Because of the poison involved, they (Rus/Putin) almost certainly did it. Just because something like this is stupid doesn't mean it should be written off. Stupid things happen.

As I constantly iterate, never attribute to complex conspiracy what can be easily explained by gross stupidity. Look at the Billion plus followers of the lunatic ramblings of a desert cave dwelling freak, or the State of Utah and Planet Kolob. But your Occam's Razor analysis also fails the smell test.

If I want to assassinate someone, using a gas, in public, is about the dumbest way to go about it. Russia may well have wanted to send a message "for the encouragement of others" not to betray mother Russia, but why a gas rather than oral or injected poison? Why not the old favorite of defenestration? Or a simple GSW using Russian manufactured firearm/ammo?

Ask this, "who is pathologically obsessed with execution by gas?" Who is spearheading the "Russia is Evil" propaganda campaign?

Avery , March 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Answer: none of the above.

If Russian leadership wanted KGB/FSB/GRU/SVR to kill him, they'd done it while the man was in Russia in their custody. He would have never left the Russian prison alive, and nobody would be wiser.

He is just not that important, that is why he was let out in a swap after spending only a few years in jail. The orchestrated hysterics and the oversize overreaction by the NATO gang is clear tell that they are the one who did it.

Avery , March 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm GMT
@Mark James

{Do I think Russia is involved with the Skripal hit? Of course.}

Based on what?

{Because of the poison involved, they (Rus/Putin) almost certainly did it.}

Really?

Do you remember the Wikileaks about CIA having hacking tools whereby they could spoof cyber attacks form their computers yet have the signature they came from Russia (or some other country)?

There is nothing uniquely Russian about the poison. There are no unique poisons or nerve agents. Everybody has the same things. All is being said is that the nerve agent is military grade. And England is refusing to give samples to Russia for analysis, so we don't know what it is.

{Just because something like this is stupid doesn't mean it should be written off. Stupid things happen}

Well, yeah: stupid things happen, and smart individuals sometimes do stupid things – but almost always for a reason, even if their actions are stupid. This should be written off, for a very simple reason: what is the Russian motivation? This guy was released in 2010. He was arrested in 2004: whatever damage he caused was very long ago. Why would Russian leadership risk almost certain exposure? for what?

And as poster [Meyer] posits above in #23, why wouldn't FSB off him by simply clubbing him to death and making it look like a mugging gone wrong: why use a military grade nerve agent of all things. Ridiculous that _anyone_ believes Russians did it.

alley cat , March 16, 2018 at 12:56 pm GMT
Speaking of "great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies," in an article in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Boris Johnson confirmed widespread suspicions that the attack on Skripal was part of a recycled WMD hoax to justify another U.S. war of aggression, this time in Syria instead of Iraq.

The fact that Prime Minister May has produced no evidence that Russia was behind the attack on Skripal, and that Secretary of Defense Mattis admits he has no evidence the Syrian government used sarin against its own people, doesn't deter Boris Johnson from blaming Russia for chemical attacks in both England and Syria.

From Johnson's article:

How much easier does it become for a state [Russia] to deploy chemical weapons when its government has already tolerated and sought to hide their use by others? I would draw a connection between Putin's indulgence of Assad's atrocities in Syria and the Russian state's evident willingness to employ a chemical weapon on British soil.

So a neocon-orchestrated Russiagate hoax merges with a neocon-orchestrated WMD hoax in Syria. It's all coming together.

The neocon strategy of "regime change by jihadi" in Syria has failed, and they're now forced to dust off the bogus WMD script that wreaked so much havoc on Iraq. Unfortunately for the neocons, Vladimir Putin has decided that Russia has nothing to lose, and probably much to gain, by taking a stand against imperialism now, in Syria, instead of later in Iran.

Now the world is both hostage and spectator to a game of nuclear chicken. If neither player swerves in time, planet Earth dies.

If Trump orders a climb down, the neocons will impeach him for losing Syria. But more appeasement by Putin would only embolden the neocons to further acts of aggression.

So Putin asks: "why do we need a world if Russia ceases to exist?" He is right to frame the showdown in Syria as a fight for Russia's existence, and Trump knows it.

Trump will have to take his chances with Mueller and the neocon crazies. Maybe the neocons will overplay their hand and bring about their own downfall, a happy outcome for all of humanity.

[Mar 16, 2018] George Orwell sure can write this quote

Notable quotes:
"... the fact that freedom of speech is under threat shows that the rise of mere emotive speech is still a long way from dominant. Facts and logic can still be heard and make a difference. This is why the political media elite cannot tolerate reasoned evidenced argument and is so concerned to censor dissenting voices. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Art , March 16, 2018 at 6:51 am GMT

George Orwell sure can write beautiful words.

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it ( )

To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality"

Think Peace -- Art

Steve Hayes , March 16, 2018 at 12:15 pm GMT
Whilst there is much to be said in favour of the argument, the fact that freedom of speech is under threat shows that the rise of mere emotive speech is still a long way from dominant. Facts and logic can still be heard and make a difference. This is why the political media elite cannot tolerate reasoned evidenced argument and is so concerned to censor dissenting voices.

http://viewsandstories.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/knowing-without-finding-out.html

[Mar 16, 2018] Up until now, I was in favor of Putin trying to keep cool demeanor and be reasonable. Time works in favor of Russia, so simply trying to wait the Western collapse out is not unreasonable strategy. But with the West starting to resort to something as extreme as poisoning its own lapdogs and blaming Russia for it without presenting a single shred of evidence, it might be a good time to reconsider and join the escalation train in earnest.

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

alec bell , March 15, 2018 at 11:46 pm GMT

Up until now, I was in favor of Putin trying to keep cool demeanor and be reasonable. Time works in favor of Russia, so simply trying to wait the Western collapse out is not unreasonable strategy. But with the West starting to resort to something as extreme as poisoning its own lapdogs and blaming Russia for it without presenting a single shred of evidence, it might be a good time to reconsider and join the escalation train in earnest.

If we are in the age of ultimatums, then Moscow may want to start issuing a few of its own. One would be to warn the West about its intention to abandon START framework within a year and ultimately rearm to Soviet levels – 20000 strategic warheads at a minimum. Another would be to ask Syrian government to outsource its air-defense to Russia, then issue blanket no-flight order to all aircraft not authorized by Damascus.

Third, start arming insurgencies around the world that struggle against NATO/US presence. Fourth, eliminate USD and GBP from its trade completely. Fifth, consider formalizing military alliance with Iran.

There are many more steps that Russia can undertake. But whatever it chooses to do, the somnolent posture it maintained until yesterday is no more feasible.

[Mar 16, 2018] Truth vs half-truth vs lie

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

VICB3 , March 15, 2018 at 5:55 pm GMT

@yurivku

Respectfully, I think what he means is something that I've learned to do in the last few years in a rather automatic fashion. Namely, it's to realise that, in the immediate aftermath of any event, it's best to just sit back and wait a bit before you come to any sort of conclusion about blame. In the very short term, the water, the stream is very muddy and clouded as anybody and everybody who has – or think that they have – an interest in the event du jour tries to spin it to their own advantage.

The truth will reveal itself inasmuch as the Internet is the World's best fact checker. The initial story will *always* be shown to have a good deal of exaggerations, contradictions, anomalies and omissions. But those revelations take a (usually relatively short) bit of time. So better to look at whatever the immediate story might be with a good deal of patient skepticism and not immediately fly off the rails in a fit of hand-waving, eye-rolling and pearl-clutching hysterics.

Do this consistently, and I think you'll discover that:

-The truth of the matter is usually gray, with plenty of blame to go around.

-And/or you're being fed a line of pandering BS by people who think that you're a naive and trusting idiot.

In short, act like an adult and not a dimwitted child. Use your brain and not your emotions.

Hope this helps.

Just a thought.

VicB3

P.S. A pithy thought from Mike Rivero:

If it doesn't affect you directly, then it's either advertising or propaganda.

Anders , March 15, 2018 at 8:38 pm GMT
Re: "Almost from day one, the early western civilization began by, shall we say, taking liberties with the truth, which it could bend, adapt, massage and repackage to serve the ideological agenda of the day. It was not quite the full-blown and unapologetic relativism of the 19th century yet, but it was an important first step. With "principles" such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all "for the greater glory of God" the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth, only the subjective perception or even representation each person might have thereof."
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
Saker is a good military analyst, but as a historian he is a laughable dilettante. He is a very self-righteous, touchy Orthodox Christian ideologue and moralist.

[Mar 15, 2018] The timing is once again highly suspicious with the fifa world cup around the corner

Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

DisappointeDinTRUMP

The timing is once again highly suspicious with the fifa world cup around the corner. The Empire does not want Russia on center stage with the whole world watching. Trust me, we can expect much more to come regarding this world cup. Boycotting, sanctions and more underhanded tactics happening are what the next month has in store for us.

I wonder just how much more Russia is able to take before it decides not to turn the other cheek. Eventually Russia will start saying that "hold on a second, we are being judged and punished continuously so why dont we start doing some things to at least warrant all this punishment?"

[Mar 15, 2018] This is just another entry in a long list of false flag events carefully crafted to turn Russia, and Putin in particular, into an international pariah

Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Bob In Portland

Also, the poison, Novichok, was stored by the Soviets in states on its borders, like Georgia and Ukraine, and Baltic states, so after those republics broke off from the USSR during its collapse the poison fell into the hands of anti-Russian countries. It is inconceivable that western intelligence at the collapse of the USSR would not have swooped in and grabbed what it could in those stockpiles. In fact, in 1999 American agents spent six million dollars in decommissioning a plant that produced Novichok in the Uzbek city of Nukus. If you don't think that they took a little for a false flag in the future you don't know our intelligence services.

Finally, the chemical formula is available here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/State-Secrets-Insiders-Chronicle-Chemical/dp/1432725661/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520920301&sr=8-1&keywords=vil+mirzayanov

Holmes , March 14, 2018 at 7:04 pm

100% False Flag.

andrew , March 14, 2018 at 8:14 pm

I believe the culprits are ukraine SBU.

This week poroshenko has been trying to convince the EU to designate Russia as the Aggressor nation and to attempt to end Minsk obligations.

Chumpsky , March 14, 2018 at 10:04 pm

The Russian presidential election is coming up on Sunday. A great opportunity now for the CIA / MI6 / Mossad backed candidate to make some noise over Putin's near-guaranteed, shoe-in victory by planting an illegitimate narrative.

The gassing, using Novichok (an open-source formula), is just another in a long list of false flag events carefully crafted to turn Russia, and Putin in particular, into an international pariah and bogeyman in particular. Such an event is an attempt to throw cold water on Trump's thawing of relations by discrediting him now that Steele has been exposed as a fraud.

Who's meddling in whose election now?

[Mar 15, 2018] All those elaborate deception schemes and false flags that we now know of are just another set of deceptive methods of Socializing The Costs, while Privatizing The Profits.

Notable quotes:
"... nd, on June 26, 2006, The Washington Post reported that "the CIA acknowledged that Curveball was a con artist who drove a taxi in Iraq and spun his engineering knowledge into a fantastic but plausible tale about secret bioweapons factories on wheels." ..."
Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

cmp , March 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Venal Visors. And the all too easy convenience of Socializing The Costs, while Privatizing The Profits.

Oliver North, while under oath during the IranContra Hearings: "..We didn't lose the Vietnam war over there, we lost that war, in this city."

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

On April 8, 2005, CIA Director Porter Goss ordered an internal review of the CIA in order to determine why doubts about Curveball's reliability were not forwarded to policy makers. Former CIA Director George Tenet and his former deputy, John E. McLaughlin, announced that they were not aware of doubts about Curveball's veracity before the war. However, Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA's European division, told the Los Angeles Times that "everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening." .. A nd, on June 26, 2006, The Washington Post reported that "the CIA acknowledged that Curveball was a con artist who drove a taxi in Iraq and spun his engineering knowledge into a fantastic but plausible tale about secret bioweapons factories on wheels."

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

While Mueller Was Head Of The FBI -- Hillary's email firm was run from a loft apartment in Denver with its servers in the bathroom, which of course, should raise some questions over security of sensitive messages (the public's property) that she held.

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

And, is there a softer side -- to actively engaging in war?? .. James Le Mesurier, the creator of the White Helmets, who just happens to be a British private security specialist and a former British military intelligence officer, he has said very recently, "who would you trust more than the fire brigade or a first response NGO?" And, as reported by Vanessa Beeley in a recent Corbett Report interview: "James Le Mesurier, he is now recruiting in Brazil. We know that the White Helmets have appeared in Malaysia and in Venezuela, and in the Philippines."

.. Too BIG to jail?

Venal Visors -- gone viral.. ..Socialize. ..Privatize. .. Feed the beast..

~ Rep. Luther Johnson (D.-Texas), in the debate that preceded the Radio Act of 1927
"American thought and American politics will be largely at the mercy of those who operate these stations, for publicity is the most powerful weapon that can be wielded in a republic. And when such a weapon is placed in the hands of one person, or a single selfish group is permitted to either tacitly or otherwise acquire ownership or dominate these broadcasting stations throughout the country, then woe be to those who dare to differ with them. It will be impossible to compete with them in reaching the ears of the American people."

[Mar 12, 2018] The USA has become completely an oligarchy run by a convoluted mix of intellignce agences and various lobbies with a fight going now on at the top (mafia 1 vs. mafia 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power, revenue, war spoils, etc

Highly recommended!
Trump's game looks more and more like a V2.0 of Obama's "bait and switch" game... Another "change we can believe in" scam to artificially extend the shelf life of neoliberal as a social system.
Notable quotes:
"... My take on his support: DT support is far higher than one would expect (duh.. it just isn't visible in the MSM, remember I predicted he would win when he threw his hat in). ..."
"... DT has lost some who voted for him, typically 'anything but Hillary' types, "give him a chance", who are disapointed at his poor performance on some/any/all issues. Some others have checked out of any involvement in MS pols. and have joined Doomsters, Refusniks, and even (imho) to my surprise, quasi-anarchists (who lack a platform.) ..."
"... The rapidly degrading US socio-economic landscape is no doubt responsible, more so than the person of DT. (Arguably he is contributing to the decline, other story.) Poverty, sagging life expectancy, opioid crisis, homelessness, student debt, crumbling infrastructure, cuts in social aid or 'benefits' as the brits say, no future generation, etc. ..."
"... On the other hand, DT supporters have become more 'radical and committed' ..."
"... The USA has become completely a-political, an oligarchy run by a convoluted circuit of top-dogs and gals, fights going on at the top (mafia 1 vs. team 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power/revenue/capture/ etc., not new but now evident. ..."
"... The top 20% chooses sides, as they have to, merely in function of who is paying them, where their status comes from, what hopes for children. The rest can check out and face their fate, or choose a cult, a tribe The next question is, what are the attitudes to civil war? How is that going to play out? ..."
Mar 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Noirette | Mar 12, 2018 10:51:11 AM | 20

Lozion,

I keep vague track of Trump support by consulting various sites. DT enthusiasts are all very keen on GAB, the censorship on twitter - reddit - youtube and other pop. drives them totally crazy.

My take on his support: DT support is far higher than one would expect (duh.. it just isn't visible in the MSM, remember I predicted he would win when he threw his hat in).

DT has lost some who voted for him, typically 'anything but Hillary' types, "give him a chance", who are disapointed at his poor performance on some/any/all issues. Some others have checked out of any involvement in MS pols. and have joined Doomsters, Refusniks, and even (imho) to my surprise, quasi-anarchists (who lack a platform.)

Technotopists are going out of fashion (> global warming disasters.) -- The rapidly degrading US socio-economic landscape is no doubt responsible, more so than the person of DT. (Arguably he is contributing to the decline, other story.) Poverty, sagging life expectancy, opioid crisis, homelessness, student debt, crumbling infrastructure, cuts in social aid or 'benefits' as the brits say, no future generation, etc.

On the other hand, DT supporters have become more 'radical and committed' as is always the case in these kind of 'tribal' belonging scenes, they have dragged in family members / friends, through the usual conduits of social influence in micro-circles. Which has been made exceptionally easy by the terminal idiocy, blindness and contradictions of the MSM, Dems and the PTB (incl. top Republicans, corporations, etc.) generally. Authoritarian impulses (which DT embraces in part - the WALL is a good ex. - for the rest, hmm..) will flourish up to a point.

The USA has become completely a-political, an oligarchy run by a convoluted circuit of top-dogs and gals, fights going on at the top (mafia 1 vs. team 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power/revenue/capture/ etc., not new but now evident.

The top 20% chooses sides, as they have to, merely in function of who is paying them, where their status comes from, what hopes for children. The rest can check out and face their fate, or choose a cult, a tribe The next question is, what are the attitudes to civil war? How is that going to play out?

About non-posts, I was going to go into the murder of Kim Jong-Nam (brother of today's Kim) which ties two threads together - NKorea and murder by nerve gas. (Hoarse mentioned this in the other thread.)

[Mar 06, 2018] Xi Jinping Is Now China's President for Life. What Would Machiavelli Think

Mar 06, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Machiavelli recounts Livy's tale of the sons of Brutus, consul of Rome, to make his point about eradicating foes of a new regime. Roman republicans had just deposed the Tarquin monarchy, and Brutus' sons intrigued to bring the kings back. Why? "As the history shows," observes Machiavelli, the youths "were induced to conspire with other young Romans against the fatherland because of nothing other than that they could not take advantage extraordinarily under the consuls as under the king, so that the freedom of that people appeared to have become their servitude."

In other words, the sons of Brutus subverted the republic because they couldn't turn its institutions to their personal gain. Their enmity left the fledgling regime in an uncomfortable predicament: "a state that is free and that newly emerges," contends Machiavelli, "comes to have partisan enemies and not partisan friends." Those who profited by the old order become implacable foes of the new order, while friends of the new order hedge their bets until and unless the new rulers consolidate their hold on power.

In other words, the new republic faced resolute opposition while commanding only tepid support. The consul had to vanquish Rome's enemies in dramatic fashion to win wholehearted allegiance from the populace. "If one wishes to remedy these inconveniences and . . . disorders," maintains Machiavelli, "there is no remedy more powerful, nor more valid, more secure, and more necessary, than to kill the sons of Brutus." Brutus oversaw the scourging and beheading of the conspirators -- and endeared himself to generations of republicans.

[Mar 02, 2018] Neocon schumer plays identity politics

Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , March 2, 2018 at 2:59 am GMT

Don't worry about republicans ..democrats are ruining themselves all alone .every time the deplorables see something like this they will double down on anything but a Dem.
Regardless of one's view on blacks or whites this is a major Stupid for a politician.

Chuck Schumer votes against South Carolina federal judge nominee because he's white

https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/chuck-schumer-votes-against-s-c-judicial-nominee-because-he/article_8b9f1890-1d6b-11e8-8533-0f7cc33319a9.html

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected President Donald Trump's nominee for a long-vacant South Carolina federal judgeship not because of his qualifications but because of his race.
The decision drew the quick ire of South Carolina's two U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, a former federal prosecutor.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a Senate floor speech Wednesday he would not support Greenville attorney Marvin Quattlebaum for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court in South Carolina

Voting for Quattlebaum, he said, would result in having a white man replace two African-American nominees from the state put forth by former President Barack Obama.

Schumer said he would not be a part of the Trump administration's pattern of nominating white men.

"The nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum speaks to the overall lack of diversity in President Trump's selections for the federal judiciary," Schumer said.

"It's long past time that the judiciary starts looking a lot more like the America it represents," he continued. "Having a diversity of views and experience on the federal bench is necessary for the equal administration of justice."

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate's sole black Republican, pushed back on Schumer's rationale and urged other Senate Democrats to instead address diversity issues by starting with their offices.

"Perhaps Senate Democrats should be more worried about the lack of diversity on their own staffs than attacking an extremely well-qualified judicial nominee from the great state of South Carolina," Scott tweeted Thursday morning.

[Feb 26, 2018] State Department Troll Farm Receives Huge Cash Infusion

Notable quotes:
"... "This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. ..."
"... Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns. ..."
"... With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states). ..."
"... If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck. ..."
"... The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes." ..."
"... money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that... ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. State Department will increase its online trolling capabilities and up its support for meddling in other countries. The Hill reports :

The State Department is launching a $40 million initiative to crack down on foreign propaganda and disinformation amid widespread concerns about future Russian efforts to interfere in elections.

The department announced Monday that it signed a deal with the Pentagon to transfer $40 million from the Defense Department's coffers to bolster the Global Engagement Center, an office set up at State during the Obama years to expose and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.

The professed reason for the new funding is the alleged but unproven "Russian meddling" in the U.S. election campaign. U.S. Special Counsel Mueller indicted 13 Russians for what is claimed to be interference but which is likely mere commercial activity.

The announcement by the State Department explains that this new money will not only be used for measures against foreign trolling but to actively meddle in countries abroad:

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said the transfer of funds announced today reiterates the United States' commitment to the fight.

"This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. "

The mentioning of Silicon Valley is of interest. The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:

While the companies call it standard practice to work hand-in-hand with high-spending advertisers like political campaigns, the new research details how the staffers assigned to the 2016 candidates frequently acted more like political operatives, doing things like suggesting methods to target difficult-to-reach voters online, helping to tee up responses to likely lines of attack during debates, and scanning candidate calendars to recommend ad pushes around upcoming speeches.

In May 2016 the Hillary Clinton campaign even set up her own troll farm :

Hillary Clinton's well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet's worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton's campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.

In effect, the effort aims to spend a large sum of money to increase the amount of trolling that already exists online.

Clinton is quite experienced in such issues. In 2009, during protests in Iran, then Secretary of State Clinton pushed Twitter to defer maintenance of its system to "help" the protesters. In 2010 USAid, under the State Department set up a Twitter-like service to meddle in Cuba.

The foreign policy advisor of Hillery Clinton's campaign, Laura Rosenberger, initiated and runs the Hamilton68 project which falsely explains any mentioning of issues disliked by its neo-conservative backers as the result of nefarious "Russian meddling".

The State Department can build on that and other experience.

Since at least 2011 the U.S. military is manipulating social media via sock puppets and trolls:

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
...
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".

It was then wisely predicted that other countries would follow up:

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns.

With the new money the State Department will expand its Global Engagement Center (GEC) which is running "public diplomacy", aka propaganda, abroad:

The Fund will be a key part of the GEC's partnerships with local civil society organizations, NGOs, media providers, and content creators to counter propaganda and disinformation. The Fund will also drive the use of innovative messaging and data science techniques.

Separately, the GEC will initiate a series of pilot projects developed with the Department of Defense that are designed to counter propaganda and disinformation. Those projects will be supported by Department of Defense funding.

This money will be in addition to the large funds the CIA traditionally spends on manipulating foreign media:

"We've been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947," said Mr. Johnson, now at the University of Georgia. "We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners -- you name it. We've planted false information in foreign newspapers. We've used what the British call 'King George's cavalry': suitcases of cash."
...
C.I.A. officials told Mr. Johnson in the late 1980s that "insertions" of information into foreign news media, mostly accurate but sometimes false, were running at 70 to 80 a day.

Part of the new State Department money will be used to provide grants. If online trolling or sock puppetry is your thing, you may want to apply now.

Posted by b on February 26, 2018 at 02:02 PM | Permalink

Comments


nhs , Feb 26, 2018 2:34:39 PM | 1

The US propaganda machine has just confirmed what establishment's worst nightmare would be
Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 2:40:29 PM | 2
"to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner"

I call these social media watchers rather than trolls. Rather than simply trying to disrupt any and all social media threads they don't like, social media watchers look for comments or comment threads that are disparaging or damaging to their employer.

WorldBLee , Feb 26, 2018 2:49:32 PM | 3
#2 @Peter AU 1 - I would say the language "to find and CONFRONT" sounds pretty much like troll behavior.

With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states).

Don Bacon , Feb 26, 2018 2:51:50 PM | 4
That $40 million will probably be pissed away on a couple sweetheart contracts to Tillerson friends and nobody will see a difference. US State Department propaganda programs, labeled as "public diplomacy" and other monikers, have been around for a long time but haven't been executed very well.

From the State Dept. historian office, 2013: . .(excerpt):

Public Diplomacy Is Still in Its Adolescent Stage in the State Department , etc.

. . . The process of convergence has been evolutionary. Secretary Powell grasped the power of the information revolution, reallocated positions and resources from traditional diplomatic posting to new areas and recognized the power of satellite television to move publics and constrain governments even in authoritarian regimes. Secretary Rice forwarded this reconceptualization under the rubric of "Transformational Diplomacy," which sought to help people transform their own lives and the relationship between state and society. Secretary Clinton continued the theme under the concept of "Smart Power." "Person-to-person diplomacy in today's work is as important as what we do in official meetings in national capitals across the globe," Clinton said in 2010.The work done by PD officials in Arab Spring countries beginning in 2011 was as much about capacity-building as advocating U.S. policies or directly trying to explain American culture. . . here

notlurking , Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....
nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:18:15 PM | 6
Prior efforts were targeted more at traditional news outlets, this is just an expansion into social media along the lines of previous work, example A being the Rendon Group in Iraq, etc. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rendon_Group

If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck.

Tediousness, defined.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:19:30 PM | 7
WorldBLee 2

Media watchers target specific comments or comment threads, in the case stated by b, those disparaging or damaging to Clinton.

What I term trolls target blogs or social media accounts that are considered targets, no matter the content of a particular article or comment thread. Social media media watchers are a little more specialized than trolls and look for specific content.

nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:23:52 PM | 8
P.S. it's funny that you can find out what these clowns are up to by looking for job listings and salary reports:

The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist Salary | Glassdoor

Average [monthly] salaries for The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist: $2,520. The Rendon Group salary trends based on salaries posted anonymously by The Rendon Group employees.

Talk about a soul-destroying job. Right up there with Wikipedia page editor.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:27:48 PM | 9
nonsense factory 8. Money looks good. Plenty of people that dont give a shit about their soul will take it up.
la Cariatide , Feb 26, 2018 3:40:19 PM | 11
http://www.voltairenet.org/article194715.html
NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:08:38 PM | 12
@7 peter

I see what you are alluding to, but the only problem with it is that, irrespective of the differing definitions, at heart, these infiltrators are a disrupting force on the message boards, whether paid to be or not. Their medium is disruption and obfuscation. I tried to wade into the neoliberal viper's den at slate.com un the past to post "alt-right" stuff and was quickly attacked by multiple avatars.

In essence, one troll disrupts because he has a need for recognition, and the latter disrupts for money. Both are netgain for the troll and loss for the rest of us.

ben , Feb 26, 2018 4:09:30 PM | 13
The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes."

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

james , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:32 PM | 14
thanks b... troll farms looks like a good name for it... farming for the empire.. they could call it that too.. russia as trend setter, lol.. i don't think so!

speaking of troll farms, i see max Blumenthal came out with some 'about time' comments on the sad kettle of fish called 'democracy now'... here is his tweet - "If @democracynow is going to push the neocon project of regime change in Syria so relentlessly and without debate, it should drop the high minded literary NPR aesthetic and just host Nikki Haley for a friendly one-on-one #EstablishmentNow https://twitter.com/democracynow/status/967123918237655041
7:07 AM - Feb 25, 2018 "

money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that...

NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:33 PM | 15
The silver lining here is that the state dept. is in a sense admitting that there is nothing "in the pipe" relating to outright censorship whether through nefarious agreements between ISP providers and the IC via the repeal of net neutrality.

$40 mil is a lot for liberal college graduates however.

Jen , Feb 26, 2018 4:20:59 PM | 16
Nonsense Factory @ 8, Peter AU 1 @ 9: There are plenty of communities in rural Australia who'd be glad to have troll farms paying that sort of money (even as Australian dollars - 1 Australian dollar being worth about US$0.76 at this time of posting) a month. Real farmers could do trolling on the side during slow seasons of the year and make some money.
karlof1 , Feb 26, 2018 4:26:45 PM | 17
What we need are some Mole Trolls, or maybe that's Troll Moles--double agents if you will that work for 6-12 months recording 100% of all they do then reveal it all in an expose.
Ian , Feb 26, 2018 5:21:58 PM | 18
Getting ready for mid-terms. It's going to be interesting to see if the Democrats get wiped off the map. They should be able to hire quite a few people for $40 million. Don't be surprised if they deploy AI in the first wave, then follow up with a real person.

ben @13:

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

ROFL After wandering aimlessly in the mall with Her Majesty over the weekend, I'm not sure if that's even possible now.

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:23:20 PM | 19
Hillary Clinton sat on a wall,
Hillary Clinton had a great fall;
All the DNC stooges and all her trolls
Couldn't put her campaign again on the roll.

[department of lame rhymes]

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:29:18 PM | 20
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5

Foolish human, who needs the likes of you! Regards, Chief Bot

pantaraxia , Feb 26, 2018 6:42:36 PM | 21
"The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:"

It went much further than that . Google actually tweaked its algorithms to alter search recommendations in favor of the Clinton campaign. A comparative analysis of search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo showed that Google differed significantly from the other two in producing search recommendations relevant to Clinton.

Google Manipulates Search Results To Favor Hillary Clinton - Jimmy Dore
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MICXf6viakc

But , but, but...Russia!!!

Nothing to see her folks. Carry on.

che , Feb 26, 2018 6:47:53 PM | 22
The entire U.S. MSM is a F'ing troll farm, disinformation, Orwellian world on steroids. The U.S. public is fed a constant never ending stream of complete Bull sh**, self serving crap. How to stop it is the only question, to stop the impunity with which these criminals like Bush and Trump and Obama and Mattis et.al. lie with their pants on fire and .....they all suck .01% dick.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23
@8 Nonsense Factory

Ahmed Nafeez exposed The Rendon Group and the Pentagon's Highlands Forum a few years ago.

And then there's today's nonsense.

Are You a Russian Troll?

Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:44:21 PM | 24
It's surprising to see the NYT admit the US does it, too. The alt media has been all over this including Corbett's recent video with the Woolsey interview with Fox News where he laughs it off and then says it was for a good cause.
Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:47:09 PM | 25
Hillary's Troll Farm = Lipstick on a pig.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:51:55 PM | 26
From Nafeez Ahmed :
Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda , including an "imminent" invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron's Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:10 PM | 27
From Nafeez Ahmed :

The Highlands Forum has thus played a leading role in defining the Pentagon's entire conceptualization of the 'war on terror.' Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a retired IMB vice president who co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001, described his experience of one 2007 Forum meeting in telling terms:

"Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own."
Debsisdead , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:42 PM | 28
Posted by: Fec | Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23

Yeah well since the writer of the 'quiz' exposes themself as bein a troll of the worst sort there is nothing to be said. I'm currently attempting to ingest only those newstories where the publisher provides space for feedback from readers since if a story is truthful it should be able to withstand challenge. yeah riight cos that means there's bugger all out there anymore. The biggest 'win' populism has had this far is in driving all feedback off all sites with a readership of more than a few hundred. Many of those that do allow feedback only permit humans with credentialed facebook or google accounts to indulge and the comments are only visible to similarly logged in types. That tells us a lot about the lack of faith the corporate media actually have in the nonsense they publish.

Of course 'trolls' are the ones held to be the guilty for causing this but if you actually watch what happens in a feedback column such as the rare occasions when the graun still permits CIF comments it isn't the deliberately offensive arseholes spouting the usual cliches who get deleted, it is those who put forward a considered argument which details why the original writer has reached a faulty conclusion.

We all know this yet it seems as though none of us are prepared to confront it properly as the censorship it is.
IMO media outlets which continually lie or at least distort the truth to advance a particular agenda need to be called to account.
Massed pickets outside newsrooms would be a good way cos as much as media hate us loudmouths who won't swallow their bromides, they like their competition even less. A decently organised picket of NYT, WaPo or the Graun would be news in every other spineless, propagandising & slug-featured media entity.

Lozion , Feb 26, 2018 9:09:10 PM | 29
Cant wait to see the big new shiny gold GEC logo, AMC & GMC anyone? ;)
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:17:57 PM | 30
@ 28 Debsisdead

Said troll was published in Richmond and God only knows who else picked it up. I refuted it in the comments as best I could, also excerpting MOA. Regardless:

From Ahmed Nafeez :

Among Rendon's activities was the creation of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) on behalf of the CIA, a group of Iraqi exiles tasked with disseminating propaganda, including much of the false intelligence about WMD . That process had begun concertedly under the administration of George H W. Bush, then rumbled along under Clinton with little fanfare, before escalating after 9/11 under George W. Bush. Rendon thus played a large role in the manufacture of inaccurate and false news stories relating to Iraq under lucrative CIA and Pentagon contracts  --  and he did so in the period running up to the 2003 invasion as an advisor to Bush's National Security Council: the same NSC, of course, that planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved with input from Enron executives who were simultaneously engaging the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/why-google-made-the-nsa-2a80584c9c1
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:26:22 PM | 31
From Ahmed Nafeez :
Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:40:37 PM | 32
From Ahmed Nafeez :
In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the 'Neurobiology of Narrative Framing' project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman's emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy "empathetic influence," the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal "to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response," but in different ways across different cultures

This goes a long way toward explaining what is occurring in Hollywood and Nashville.

[Feb 16, 2018] Is Donald Trump Morphing Into A Neocon Interventionist by Doug Bandow

One year later we can say with confidence, yes he morphed into a neocon in foreign policy.
What is especially bad is that Trump executed "bait and switch" maneuver as smoothly as Obama. Devastating.
Notable quotes:
"... So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? ..."
"... Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view. ..."
"... I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street. ..."
"... It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start... ..."
"... While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative. ..."
"... Stop those wars. They don't serve us. ..."
"... Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam. ..."
"... Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle! ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Why Is Trump Abandoning the Foreign Policy that Brought Him Victory The National Interest Blog

Candidate Donald Trump offered a sharp break from his predecessors. He was particularly critical of neoconservatives, who seemed to back war at every turn.

Indeed, he promised not to include in his administration "those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war." And he's generally kept that commitment, for instance rejecting as deputy secretary of state Elliot Abrams, who said Trump was unfit to be president.

Substantively candidate Trump appeared to offer not so much a philosophy as an inclination. Practical if not exactly realist, he cared more for consequences than his three immediate predecessors, who had treated wars as moral crusades in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. In contrast, Trump promised: "unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct."

Yet so far the Trump administration is shaping up as a disappointment for those who hoped for a break from the liberal interventionist/neoconservative synthesis.

The first problem is staffing. In Washington people are policy. The president can speak and tweet, but he needs others to turn ideas into reality and implement his directives. It doesn't appear that he has any foreign policy realists around him, or anyone with a restrained view of America's international responsibilities.

Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and H. R. McMaster are all serious and talented, and none are neocons. But all seem inclined toward traditional foreign policy approaches and committed to moderating their boss's unconventional thoughts. Most of the names mentioned for deputy secretary of state have been reliably hawkish, or some combination of hawk and centrist-Abrams, John Bolton, the rewired Jon Huntsman.

Trump appears to be most concerned with issues that have direct domestic impacts, and especially with economic nostrums about which he is most obviously wrong. He's long been a protectionist (his anti-immigration opinions are of more recent vintage). Yet his views have not changed even as circumstances have. The Chinese once artificially limited the value of the renminbi, but recently have taken the opposite approach. The United States is not alone in losing manufacturing jobs, which are disappearing around the world and won't be coming back. Multilateral trade agreements are rarely perfect, but they are not zero sum games. They usually offer political as well as economic benefits. Trump does not seem prepared to acknowledge this, at least rhetorically. Indeed he has brought on board virulent opponents of free trade such as Peter Navarro.

The administration's repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was particularly damaging. Trump's decision embarrassed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who had offered important economic concessions to join. More important, Trump has abandoned the economic field to the People's Republic of China, which is pushing two different accords. Australia, among other U.S. allies, has indicated that it now will deal with Beijing, which gets to set the Pacific trade agenda. In this instance, what's good for China is bad for the United States.

In contrast, on more abstract foreign policy issues President Trump seems ready to treat minor concessions as major victories and move on. For years he criticized America's Asian and European allies for taking advantage of U.S. defense generosity. In his March foreign policy speech, he complained that "our allies are not paying their fair share." During the campaign he suggested refusing to honor NATO's Article 5 commitment and leave countries failing to make sufficient financial contributions to their fate.

Yet Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have insisted that Washington remains committed to the very same alliances incorporating dependence on America. Worse, in his speech to Congress the president took credit for the small uptick in military outlays by European NATO members which actually began in 2015: "based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning" to "meet their financial obligations." Although he declared with predictable exaggeration that "the money is pouring in," no one believes that Germany, which will go from 1.19 to 1.22 percent of GDP this year, will nearly double its outlays to hit even the NATO standard of two percent.

Trump's signature policy initiative, rapprochement with Russia, appears dead in the water. Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America. Contrary to neocon history, Russia and America have often cooperated in the past. Moreover, President Trump's attempt to improve relations faces strong ideological opposition from neoconservatives determined to have a new enemy and partisan resistance from liberal Democrats committed to undermining the new administration.

President Trump also appears to have no appointees who share his commitment on this issue. At least Trump's first National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, wanted better relations with Russia, amid other, more dubious beliefs, but now the president seems alone. In fact, Secretary Tillerson sounded like he was representing the Obama administration when he demanded Moscow's withdrawal from Crimea, a policy nonstarter. Ambassador-designate Huntsman's views are unclear, but he will be constrained by the State Department bureaucracy, which is at best unimaginative and at worst actively obstructionist.


taavitheman , March 10, 2017 4:04 PM

"Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America."

I did my due diligence on the writer after this absolutely baffling argument that has no basis on certain fundamental laws of geopolitics. Referring to this: https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? Figures...

Eric Zuesse , March 14, 2017 8:24 AM

Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view.

Sarastro92 Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 11:43 AM

And other say you're a sap for believing a bunch of half-baked one-liners that Trump often contradicted in the same sentence... He never had a coherent policy on anything, no less foreign policy... so don't complain now that he's showing his true colors

tom Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 10:28 AM

The USA should FORCE other nations to use DIPLOMACY as a means to preventing wars. If they don't, they lose all support, financial and otherwise, from the USA. This would include Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The only thing Trump should take a look at in all this is the INHUMANE policies that previous administrations have used to placate the military/industrial clique's appetite for money and blood! If it's going to be "America First" for Trump's administration, it better start diverting this blood money to shore up America's people and infrastructures!

America2028 , March 12, 2017 1:19 PM

Most of these issues come down to the fact that President Trump doesn't have anything resembling a "grand strategy", or even a coherent foreign policy. His views are often at odds with each other (his desire to counter China economically and his opposition to the TPP, for example), and I suspect that most were motivated by a desire to get votes more than any kind of deep understanding of global affairs.

R. Arandas , March 10, 2017 9:36 PM

Most of his supporters, at least from what I can tell, are actually quite resolutely against entering a new war, and are strongly condemnatory of the neo-conservatism that involved the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In fact, according to the polls taken at the time, more Democrats favored military intervention in Syria than Republicans did.

olde reb R. Arandas , March 21, 2017 5:53 PM

I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street.

Ref. http://farmwars.info/?p=15338 . A FACE FOR THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT

mladenm , March 11, 2017 8:45 AM

It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start...

Mark Thomason , March 11, 2017 11:13 AM

While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative.

That does not excuse doing more of the same, but just asserts that we did get some of what we voted for/against.

We should get the rest of it. Stop those wars. They don't serve us.

richardvajs Guest , March 19, 2017 1:46 PM

There are similarities between Trump and Putin . The GOP and its rich corporate members have decided to use Trump as the oligarchs in Russia used Yeltsin. The oligarchs used a drunken Yeltsin to pry the natural resources out of the public commons for the grabbing by the oligarchs. Likewise, our rich are going to use an unwitting Trump to lower their taxes to nothing while delivering austerity to the 99%.
To the oligarchs' surprise and dismay, Yeltsin's incompetence led to Putin and his scourge of the oligarchs. So will Trump's incompetence lead to the end of our system of crony capitalism and the rebirth of socialism such as the New Deal, and higher taxes.
The crooked bastards can never be satisfied even with 3/4 ths of the whole pie, so no-one should pity them for being hoisted on their own petard.

Asia at War , April 30, 2017 12:52 AM

Trump forgot what he promised to the people. He sold his soul to the devil. I hope he doesn't send more of our children to die for the "Deep state."

Doug Nusbaum , March 21, 2017 5:17 PM

I'm sorry --- Trump had a foreign policy? As near as I can tell, he just said whatever the crowd in front of him wanted to hear. Or do you have evidence to the contrary? Remember that this is a man who can be shown, in his own words, to have been on all sides of almost every issue, depending on the day of the week, and the phase of the moon.

Stefan Reich , March 20, 2017 6:13 AM

You really take all that time to analyze the guy instead of just seeing he is a madman? Wouldn't that be faster?

gentry_gee , March 20, 2017 3:41 AM

He, they, the US, that is, must obey Israel. Israel wants Assad gone in the end for their territorial expansion. It also helps the oil companies and isolates Russia further into a geostrategic corner.

dieter heymann , March 19, 2017 11:58 AM

This headline is way over the top. The first and foremost foreign policy statement which brought numerous voters to Trump was the US-Mexico wall and at least some of that wall will be constructed. Hence it is the only promise which has not (yet) changed except for who will pay for it.

OBTUSEANGLE , March 19, 2017 9:39 AM

The truth can be buried, but eventually it will be exposed. Only a matter of time.

Harold Smith , March 19, 2017 12:34 AM

Why must we give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume that his campaign presentations were made in good faith? That is a very generous assumption.

There's a simple and more logical explanation for what's going on with "foreign policy" in the "Trump" administration: Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam.

freewheelinfranklin543 , March 18, 2017 4:03 PM

Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle!

dieter heymann , March 18, 2017 9:35 AM

The fundamental problem of exonerating Trump and blaming this non-reversal on the non-existing "deep state" is believing that anything a candidate said on the campaign trail can be executed when that candidate becomes president. Such reversal has happened so frequently in our history that it is truly amazing that " he does not do what he promised" still has adherents.

There is no reversal. I see reality clashing with words. I do not blame Trump for reversals. I see some shift from unrealistic to more realistic. It is called learning on the job.

Elelei Guhring , March 11, 2017 8:06 AM

Every political position on the planet is stuck in the 80s. There is no one with a will to change what is happening, mostly because no one wants to get tarred and feathered once the:

a) economy implodes upon itself in the most glorious Depression to ever happen, and;

b) world war 3 erupts but engaging such a variety of opponents, from Islam to China and Russia and even minor trivial players such as North Korea, and;

c) civil disobedience in the western world rivals that of even third world revolutions as people revolt against a failure to protect them from Islamic violence, to preserve their standard of living and their perceived futures. Lots of change coming, but nothing that any politician is promising.

Politicians are dinosaurs. We are entering a world where large numbers of people will make things happen. It's called Democracy.

An Eastern European , March 11, 2017 2:10 AM

Trump will remain close to Putin ideologically and he might continue to admire the man as a strong leader BUT there is one thing that neither Putin nor Trump can change and it is that Russia and America are natural rivals. Geopolitics. Land vs Sea. Eurasia vs Atlantic. Heartland vs Outer Rim.

Trump is hawk, don't be mislead. You cannot have a great country if you're not willing to kill and die for it. Russia knows that. Which is why Putin made Russia great again after the horror of the Yeltsin years. Now America knows that too.

[Feb 08, 2018] We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus

Notable quotes:
"... We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 6:57 pm

We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input.

Through critical thinking, we can overcome these emotional impulses, but only with effort, and a pre-existing skepticism of all information sources. And even still, I have no doubt that all of us who are aware of the propaganda still accept some falsehoods as true.

It could be that having former Intelligence Agency Directors as "news" presenters, and Goldman Sachs alum and Military/Industrial complex CEOs running important government agencies makes clear to some the reality that we live in an oligarchy with near-tyrannical powers. But most people seem too busy surviving and/or being diverted by the circus to notice the depths of the propaganda.

[Feb 03, 2018] Kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as real or true, specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not staged. Kayfabe became a code word for maintaining this reality for the general public.

Feb 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

ruffhouse Feb 3, 2018 4:31 PM Permalink

Post-American Politics Is Kayfabe.

KAYFABE: kayfabe /ˈkeɪfeɪb/ is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true," specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or pre-determined nature of any kind.

Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this "reality" within the direct or indirect presence of the general public.

http://www.barnhardt.biz/2016/10/08/post-american-politics-is-kayfabe-the-word-is-kayfabe/

[Feb 03, 2018] But What If He is Not an Idiot by John Atcheson

Notable quotes:
"... Trump inherited great wealth. He learned one big lesson in life early on. Hire competent people and they will save your ass when you make a blunder. Trump's one skill is as a promoter of Trump. ..."
Feb 03, 2018 | www.commondreams.org

36 Comments

Trump could be playing us all. And not considering that is, well, idiotic.

Turns out, the first word a lot of people think of when it comes to President Donald Trump is this one: idiot .

The White House's handling of the Comey firing looks a lot like a clip from The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight . The Press Secretary hiding in the bushes, Trump sending virtually his entire staff under the bus with his various and rapidly shifting versions of his reasons for the firing, and his unhinged Twitter rants at the press for covering the fiasco as a fiasco.

Once again, pundits are talking about impulse control, the ADD Presidency, rank amateurism in the Oval Office, threats to Democracy -- all the stuff that they talked about in the campaign. The stuff that was supposed to doom his bid for the presidency to failure.

"It's worth considering what we are not talking about as we watch this political pornography play out."

All of this is grim stuff. We haven't seen a threat to democracy as serious as this since Watergate, so I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't be addressing it.

But it's worth considering what we are not talking about as we watch this political pornography play out and also, how does the focus on Russia undercut the Democratic Party? In other words, what if this is exactly what Trump intended when he fired Comey? It's worth remembering Trump's mentor was Roy Cohn, who was a master at controlling the narrative and one of his favorite techniques was to change the subject with an in-your-face outrage of one kind or another.

Let's examine what we're not talking about, and then what the effect of the whole Russian narrative is having on the Democratic Party.

What We Aren't Talking About

Shortly before Trump tossed in the Comey Molotov Cocktail into the national living room, here's what was dominating the news:

But none of that is being discussed much any longer. And if you ran as a populist, but all your policies are benefitting the top 1%, that's exactly what you'd hope for. Yes, the few Congressional members who are brave enough to hold town meetings are still getting mugged by outraged constituents, but these meetings are not getting the kind of coverage they would have pre-Comey. And that means the Health Care Bill isn't getting the kind of serious examination it would have if the media weren't doing all Comey, all the time. Again, exactly what you'd want if you knew the guts of the legislation were so bad, that if it got out there, even the Trump bobble heads would be pissed off. So folks aren't talking about the fact that it was rushed to the floor before getting scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), before we knew what its effects were and what its ultimate cost could be, before people caught on to the fact that the state waiver provision stuck in the revised version of the bill turned it from merely a cruel piece of legislation to the cruelest piece in modern history.

Or take the budget "proposal," which was getting panned by the media and even the few Republicans left in the Senate who actually are fiscal conservatives. Hell, even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took issue with some of the cuts. This reprise of "trickle down" and "supply side" chicanery was being almost universally ridiculed by the press and economists, and it was heavily influenced -- if not outsourced to -- the Heritage Foundation, an outfit funded by the likes of the Koch Brothers. Here again, the last thing Trump wants after running as a populist and a fiscal conservative is to get widespread coverage of just how much this plutocrat's budget resembles the stuff he railed against in his campaign.

And speaking of budgets, the media once again ignored the sanest budget proposal in Washington, The Congressional Progressive Caucus's Better Off Budget , which cuts the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years -- Trump's budget would have increased it by at least $1.4 trillion over that time period, by the way -- while creating 8.8 million new jobs. The Better Off Budget uses policies that are wildly popular with the majority of Americans to accomplish this.

Now, it must be said that the press always ignores the CPC's budget proposals, but maybe Trump was taking no chances -- after all, if anyone held them up side-by-side, Trump and the Republicans would have been unmasked as the charlatans they are.

But there's no danger of that when it's all Comey, all the time.

Much is made of the fact that Trump's popularity among those who voted for him hasn't budged, despite the fact that he's screwing them left and right with his policies. Well, these kinds of maneuvers may explain why. Look back. When the Russian stuff was first heating up big time, we suddenly just had to bomb Syria. Wagging the dog is a time-honored way to change the subject. So is firing a controversial senior public servant.

Comey, the Russians, and the Establishment Arm of the Democratic Party

If Trump isn't an idiot, then here's where his tactics are brilliant. The neoliberal elitists who control the Democratic Party have been trying to keep the focus on the Russian intervention in our election as the reason Hillary Clinton lost. The progressives in the Party have been attacking the Party's estrangement from the people and its rejection of the New Deal policies as the reason. In short, there's a battle on for the heart and soul of the Party.

Firing Comey, brings the whole Russian thing to the fore, and works to sidetrack the real debate the Democratic Party needs to have about its future.

"Firing Comey, brings the whole Russian thing to the fore, and works to sidetrack the real debate the Democratic Party needs to have about its future."

Two things were working to undermine the establishment's hold on the Party until Comey's firing. First, Sanders continued to poll as the most popular politician in America. Second, people were beginning to realize that it was the content of Secretary Clinton's emails that hurt her, not the emails per se . And that content revealed the soft underbelly of the Democratic Party. To wit: the neoliberal belief in small government, the power and goodness of the market, free trade, deregulation, and fiscal austerity was simply too close to the Republican dogma to generate enough passion among progressives to get a good turnout, and Democrats need a good turnout to win elections.

But now it's all Comey all the time, and the Democratic establishment is taking full advantage of that to deflect attention from the real reason they're losing at all levels of government. It appears they'd rather risk losing elections than embrace a truly progressive agenda, and Trump just reinforced their self-serving narrative.

Yeah. What if he's not an idiot?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

John Atcheson John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise , and he has just completed a book on the 2016 elections titled, WTF, America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back On Track , available from Amazon. Follow him on Twitter @john_atcheson


notwistalemon May '17

Quote from your article:

"But now it's all Comey all the time, and the Democratic establishment is taking full advantage of that to deflect attention from the real reason they're losing at all levels of government. It appears they'd rather risk losing elections than embrace a truly progressive agenda, and Trump just reinforced their self-serving narrative."

In my opinion you are right on the mark; especially with your last paragraph. Practically all the ultra rich in the world live in the same "gated community". Their goal is to control the world's resources and somehow survive the coming mass die-off due to severe climate disruption. To them their party never ends!

drone1066 May '17
It's possible he's not stupid AND he has zero impulse control. That seems most likely. He's good at subverting the few things he does think out.

But Democrats have quintupled down on Russia. For them, it's a battle for existence. They were completely exposed, and it's going to take a lot of "Russia!" to keep that conversation about their profound corruption from taking place.

And Atcheson is also right that this party much prefers losing than giving up its donorship buffet. That's why they do nothing to correct the course to get more votes. They're relying completely on their corporate media allies to keep the illusion going. So far it's working, to the great shame of rank and file Democrats.

SkepticTank May '17
drone1066 The D-Party would rather stumble back to electoral victory on the anti-Trump effect than offer policy that might clash with the wishes of their corporate donors.

Case in point: Single Payer now back-burnered as a distraction from anti-trump hysteria.

Sad to see so many otherwise intelligent commenters here falling for the usual D-Party parlor tricks.

erisx May '17
Whether Trump's just lucky or know how to work a room is unimportant. Results matter, and the result is that the important stuff's not being discussed, and the Greatest Heist In The World continues. Lest we forget, that Heist is NOT just about the USA. There's a reason they call it 'globalization.'
natureboy May '17
Excellent assessment.

Corporate bribes, big salaries, perks and tv star jobs will have to be torn from Neoliberal Democrats' cold dead hands.

And Don, Rupert and the rest of Mammon's soldiers will soon have to deal with an Artificial Intelligence that learns in one day what it took humans 40,000 years to learn. Interesting times.

Direct Democracy

ontheres May '17
Anyone who carefully followed the primaries knows that the democratic machine used all kinds of corrupt methods to defeat Bernie Sanders. And, anyone who follows the general election knows that the election is easily rigged - especially computer voting that leaves no paper trail and cannot be audited. The hypocrisy of Russians hacking our elections when they are hacked by our own politicians, and Russians interfering with our elections when our corporate elite have no problem interfering with elections in other countries all makes me ill. Don't know how many other voters out there are like me, but sure would like to hear from them.
Somehow almost none of this get mentioned in any press, progressive or otherwise.
BWilliamson May '17
bjoldlygo Trump can't control what he himself thinks. He's been a promoter of the Trump name for 40-50 years. That is a reflex with him. That is the extent of his thinking. There are many others around him, supporting him. Praising his genius, as this article is inclined towards, is their means of exploiting his great weakness.
BWilliamson May '17
wolfess There is nothing behind the scenes. Everything is happening center stage. If you spend your time trying to see behind the scenes you're going to miss the whole show.
Olhippy May '17
ontheres No, the seething undercurrent of the discontented is rarely reported on in the "news". Only when it explodes as in Missouri riots or Occupy Wall Street takeovers, does it get coverage which is put down by government forces, either civilian or feds. The Democratic primaries were changed, back in the 70's I believe, after anti-war candidate McCarthy got the nomination nod. That's when the super delegates came about, so they had more control of things. Expect the GOP too, to change things to keep future Trumps' from getting the nod.
Wereflea May '17 1
I see Atcheson's point but I think he needs to remember that Trump is a Prince of inherited wealth. Trump may be an idiot (he really did seem more intelligent before he got elected and then we had a good look at him and listened to his sometimes unintelligible speech patterns) but he has always been in a position where he delegated authority to people who got paid to be smarter than he was, so his 'idiocy' didn't show as much.

Trump paid high priced lawyers to arrange his deals. He paid expensive consultants and investment managers and on and on and all of those people were exceptionally intelligent. He paid someone to ghost write his book for him. Trump makes the same mistakes as he was always wont to do but back then they were always covered and massaged for him by his staff! After all... he was the Prince!

The Oval Office is not quite the same as a business conference with his lawyers, assistants, bankers and etc. Thus we see Trump blurting out statements that his advisors pull him back from as soon as they get the chance . Being president means everything you say gets publicized and despite all his billions that was not the case for the Prince back when he was just a wheeler and dealer.

Trump runs without a script too often but who in his entourage will dare tell the Prince that when he speaks (without their permission first) he ends up sounding like an idiot! Trump may be feeling constrained by his need to be less reckless and impulsive.

Trump unfiltered? Yeah well maybe he really is an idiot too!

Trumps just wanna have fun!

Lrx May '17 1
Olhippy I think you need to go back and review the history of Democratic primaries. Until 1972 the candidates were largely chosen in smoke-filled back rooms. George McGovern was instrumental in largely turning the Democratic primaries over to the voters. And that is how he got the nomination. Unfortunately he only won a single state but he was the people's choice to run. I wouldn't be concerned about the superdelegates. They always go along with the candidate who got the most pledged delegates. It is unlikely they would ever do otherwise. Unless the people chose a candidate who was really off the charts like Trump. Without superdelegates the Republicans were unable to stop Trump once the RNC backed him. Given what happened to the Republicans a case can be made for the superdelegates. Parties can choose their candidates any way they want. They don't have to let the people vote. Both parties now do and for the first time that turned into a complete disaster.
Godless May '17
The Comey firing also distracted from the Kushner family peddling visas for real estate deals in China; the Pence-Koback Commission to make voter cross-checking a federal law; and Sessions reinvigorating the war on drugs and legal marijuana to strike more minority voters from the rolls. El Presidente Naranja Mentiroso only cares about playing to his base and his base loves watching Democratic heads explode. As long as his base is happy, and they are happy with his performance, the Reptilians in Congress will be afraid to move against him. I thoroughly believe that the voter suppression moves will win the Reptilians the elections in 2018 and 2020. With their control of gerrymandering for another decade and the paid-to-lose Democrats only concerned about donor money, the Reptilians have clear sailing to gain 38 governorships and the ability to rewrite the constitution in their twisted image.
skiendhiu May '17
Wereflea I agree with you on your points of Trump having smart lawyers, assistants,bankers etc. around him doing the "smart" work, I am sure he allso used other tactics, of itimidation of one kind or another , taking it to the courts, threats of financial ruin, he allso wasnt kidding when he said he "knew' the system and how it worked, ..or rather how to work it, but he didnt do that singlehanded either, and i am sure there are more than one or two politicians at different levels from municipalitys on up, in his pocket and or good graces.

But to think him not an idiot is getting to be a bit of a stretch, does he really believe that he actually came up with the phrase "prime the pump"? I knew he was an idiot years before he made fun of the disabled reporter, but that single act confirmed it for me.

Yeah "prime the pump" what is he going to lay claim to next? "four score and seven years ago" " E=mc2" or how about.."and Trump said...let there be light"... I 'll tell you who else the idiots are...and that is any one taking this guy seriouslly any longer at least in a presidentiall sense,... that is just ...idiotic in the extreme.

formerly May '17
What If He's Not an Idiot?
Anyways, most of the American people are idiots .... the dark state and the 0.1% mostly aren't idiots -- just psychopaths.
Michael_Wilk May '17
I think it's more likely that the Democrats are even more moronic than is Drumpf, which is why, as usual, they are serving only to strengthen the GOPhers while pretending they're defenders of the public. Why do you think that hundred or so Democrats are signed onto John Conyers' single-payer bill now that Drumpf is in the Oval office and the Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress, when they could have done so when Obama was the chief executive and their party controlled Congress including a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, but instead passed a bill that was modeled on the Heritage Foundation's plan? It's all so much political theater designed to distract the public from the last great plundering of the nation before it collapses in on itself.
cassandra May '17
Lrx The Republicans used rule-changing, altho not superdelegates, to derail Ron Paul. There is never just one way to subvert truth.
cassandra May '17
ontheres I'm with you. The whole Russian thing is ridiculous. And they've never been accused of actually hacking voting machines, just the DNC emails which showed how slimy the DNC is. I have read that Georgia believed someone tried to hack their voting machines and they hired a private firm to investigate. What they found was hacking was attempted the the Dept of Homeland Security.

The simple fact that, after losing in 2000 by voting manipulation and probably via voting machines in 2004, the Dems took over the House in 2007 and 2 years later the Presidency and the Senate, they never, to my knowledge, introduced any legislation to require paper trails in federal elections. As far as I'm concerned that said all one needs to know about the Dems. It would have been a simple one page piece of legislation, Ok, maybe 2 pages.

ToniWintroub May '17
Wereflea Factor in his mafia connections here and abroad. To roll around in that slime at the high level he's in requires cunning to kiss up to the really rich guys who can hurt him and whom, actually, he can hurt. Then he's learned how to survive while he manipulates. Idiot? Define the term.

Cunning. Sociopathic. Narcissistic needing his constant narcissistic supply (adorers). Blackmailer and probably blackmailed. I gotta get Barrett's biography of this POS.

Wereflea May '17
ToniWintroub I wore out years ago but it just goes on and on! Lol

Actually at this point in time I am very much engaged in this garbage since Trump is stunningly entertaining as a rightwing boob out of his element and unraveling as we speak. Trump's adventures in incompetency fascinate me. It is just week after week in a steady progression of mistakes, attempted corrections, attempts at re-correcting those corrections that make them even worse and so forth. It would make for an interesting TV show (sort of like the 'apprentice got himself fired') except that this gross and often crude person can trigger a nuclear war on a whim which puts a damper on the pleasures of watching him deconstruct in front of our eyes.

Nevertheless, it is without doubt the most unexpected presidency of my life. Watergate was a comeuppance but Trump is bizzaro world in action.

Btw... Trump inherited great wealth. He learned one big lesson in life early on. Hire competent people and they will save your ass when you make a blunder. Trump's one skill is as a promoter of Trump. He was never a big brain and up until recently, he never pretended to be.

He is rich and loves being the center of attention. However his being rich is often at the expense of others. You assume that because Trump has long had shady connections that he must be an intellect to survive the association. Not really. Trump makes sure that he is profitable for them and they have no problem with that. It isn't genius on his part. It is always having his projects go way over budget. He guarantees them the cream and they 'have an arrangement'.

Prior to becoming president, Trump's associates, advisors, lawyers and accountants kept Trump making money and that made them money.

Trump is truly like the medieval Prince who lives in a sumptuous palace but who needs his Grand Vizier to actually run things in the country. Keep your eye on Kushner who has become the architect of oligarchy by being the real deal maker (he has the intellect) that Trump only promotes (he has the ego and the big mouth)!

[Feb 01, 2018] Michael Wolff Kicked Off Morning Joe By Mika Brzezinski Mid-Interview

Notable quotes:
"... On Thurdsay morning, in a rare example of the antipathy many journalists feels toward "Fire and Fire" author Michael Wolff, MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski abruptly cut off her interview with Wolff on Morning Joe, after the author of the scandalous, if largely fictional, "tell all" book of the Trump presidency, said he never suggested that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley had an affair with President Donald Trump. ..."
"... To that Brzezinski replied, " You might be having a fun time playing a little game dancing around this, but you're slurring a woman. It's disgraceful." ..."
"... Melania feelings dont seem to worry her ..."
"... "Hey...you cannot lie on our show...we're the only ones allowed to do that".. ..."
Feb 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The anti-Trump "resistance" appears to be turning on itself.

On Thurdsay morning, in a rare example of the antipathy many journalists feels toward "Fire and Fire" author Michael Wolff, MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski abruptly cut off her interview with Wolff on Morning Joe, after the author of the scandalous, if largely fictional, "tell all" book of the Trump presidency, said he never suggested that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley had an affair with President Donald Trump.

To that Brzezinski replied, " You might be having a fun time playing a little game dancing around this, but you're slurring a woman. It's disgraceful."

"We're done" the Morning Joe then cut off the interview after asking, with a straight face, " are you kidding? you're on the set of Morning Joe, we don't BS here."

The exchange comes after Wolff recently appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher, where he said he was "absolutely sure" the president was having an affair with someone, and alluded to who that person was in one paragraph of his White House tell-all -- that person being Haley, according to the Daily Beast . In the following days, Haley - a former South Carolina governor - has vehemently denied any relationship with Trump.

Minutes after Wolff was kicked off, he tweeted: " My bad, the President is right about Mika "...


Cognitive Dissonance Feb 1, 2018 10:18 AM Permalink

Righteous indignation in all its glory. First you destroy the others, then you destroy your own, then you destroy yourself. It is the inevitable conclusion to the self reinforcing insanity of righteous indignation.

Badsamm -> Cognitive Dissonance Feb 1, 2018 10:21 AM Permalink

Melania feelings dont seem to worry her

eclectic syncretist -> DownWithYogaPants Feb 1, 2018 11:17 AM Permalink

"We don't BS here" ROFLMFAO!

Jerry Springer is Amateur hour compared to these assclowns.

j0nx -> Nameshavebeenc Feb 1, 2018 10:31 AM Permalink

Mika and Joe never had terrible things to say about Trump until he didn't let them into his little party and tweeted about her bloody post-surgery face. It's such a personal vendetta with them at this point that it isn't even legitimate news TV anymore. Has nothing to do with him or his policies. They are just pissed that he dissed them. They have lost all relevance. Sad.

CheapBastard -> j0nx Feb 1, 2018 10:40 AM Permalink

One slime bag bashing another slime bag. Glorious! Winning!

northern vigor -> Nameshavebeenc Feb 1, 2018 10:39 AM Permalink

"Hey...you cannot lie on our show...we're the only ones allowed to do that"..

newmacroman -> Nameshavebeenc Feb 1, 2018 10:43 AM Permalink

ZBigly embarrassing

[Jan 31, 2018] Is Trump yet another "bait and switch" artist?

Jan 31, 2018 | www.unz.com

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment January 31, 2018 at 8:37 am GMT

@Harold Smith

That was always one of the things that most unnerved me about Trump from the start: what, exactly, motivated him to run? (The other thing about him that bothered me was his overweening Zionism.) The idea that he was some kind of plant certainly did occur to me, but the MSM didn't treat him the way they usually treat 'The Chosen One'. Compare him with the treatment the MSM gave that other 'outside, nontradional' candidate, Emmanuel Macron.

So what did motivate Trump? Ego? Vainglory? Some burning conviction somewhere? I still don't know. One way or the other, though, I'm pretty sure that MAGA is dead.

Harold Smith , Next New Comment January 31, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

"So what did motivate Trump? Ego? Vainglory? Some burning conviction somewhere? I still don't know."

Several lines of reasoning point me to the conclusion that Orange Clown is a "deep cover" or "sleeper" agent that's been "waiting in the wings" for his Zionist masters' call.

I believe that the political ascendancy of Orange Clown should be seen as a sign of Zionist desperation.

Anyway, one valid line of reasoning, IMO, is to rule out anything else. At 70 years old, Orange Clown is no spring chicken. So why would he run run NOW?

If he had actually followed through on his campaign rhetoric, or at least some of it, he'd be considered a true American hero, IMO. He's going to finally get us out of NATO? He's going to pull out of the hopeless war in Afghanistan and cut out the costly and self-destructive nation building crap? He's going to collaborate with Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and finally investigate the worst crime in U.S. history?

If so he'd go down in history as a modern American revolutionary. The guy that single-handedly saved America from the "beast". And he's going to begin this herculean task at the age 70 years old? Seriously? How many historical examples are there where a 70 year old all of a sudden became a political visionary and led a revolution?

He's at the age where most people suffer cognitive decline, prostate problems, etc., but he's going to square off against "the powers that be", put himself at risk of assassination and lead a revolution in American politics? I just can't accept that.

Okay, but what about if he wanted to be president "just for a taste of power"? And that's a fair question, IMO.

That may explain why he wouldn't necessarily give a damn about following through on his campaign promises, but it doesn't explain why he would reverse himself on everything of major

[Jan 24, 2018] Wolff book: Hope Hicks is his daughter and Ivanka his wife

This sleazy Wolff just can't stop...
This "Trump chicks theme" was definitely underutilized in fire and Fury" Wolff later tried to revive and capitalize of it as the tool to support the declining book sales with "Triumph mistress" rumor.
Notable quotes:
"... Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who Trump blames for the bulk of the book, as he was one of Wolff's most prominent sources, reportedly told people that 'The daughter ... will bring down the father.' ..."
"... Me thinks Mr. Wolff has got bats in the belfry. ..."
"... ''I have included that which I believe to be true'' - a quote from Wolff himself. Also, The Author's Note to Wolff's book states the quotes in it are all "recreations". ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | dailymail.co.uk

Hope Hicks is his real daughter and Ivanka is his real WIFE: How Trump can't say no to his family and is totally reliant on his communications director

With Melania Trump often keeping a low profile, White House staffers refer to first daughter Ivanka Trump as her father's 'real wife' and Communications Director Hope Hicks as the president's 'real daughter,' a new book alleged.

Author Michael Wolff, who wrote the forthcoming 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' revealed these designations in the context of who is now closest to Trump, with many high-level aides leaving within the president's first year.

That distinction goes to Hicks, the president's 29-year-old former campaign press secretary who Wolff said is now Trump's 'most powerful White House advisor.'

'Hicks' primary function was to tend to the Trump ego, to reassure him, to protect him, to buffer him, to soothe him,' Wolff wrote in a story about the writing of his book, published Thursday by the Hollywood Reporter.

'It was Hicks who, attentive to his lapses and repetitions, urged him to forgo an interview that was set to open the 60 Minutes fall season,' the author continued. 'Instead, the interview went to Fox News' Sean Hannity who, White House insiders happily explained, was willing to supply the questions beforehand.'

In a preview of the book published Thursday in the Hollywood Reporter, Wolff also explained how Trump couldn't say no to his kids, casting this characteristic as 'foolishness.'

'It's a littleee, littleee complicated,' the president reportedly told his first Chief of Staff Reince Priebus when explaining why he wanted to give Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner official White House jobs.

They're now serving as senior advisers in the West Wing. However, Wolff did not describe their tenure as a happy one. 'By July, Jared and Ivanka, who had, in less than six months, traversed from socialite couple to royal family to the most powerful people in the world, were now engaged in a desperate dance to save themselves, which mostly involved blaming Trump himself,' Wolff wrote Thursday in the Hollywood Reporter.

'It was all his idea to fire Comey!' the couple nicknamed 'Javanka' reportedly said, referring to Trump's ouster of the former FBI director that prompted the appointment of a special counsel.

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who Trump blames for the bulk of the book, as he was one of Wolff's most prominent sources, reportedly told people that 'The daughter ... will bring down the father.'

Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2017, after 11 years at The New York Times, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and Congress, among other things.  Follow @ashleyrparker

EmmaJanesMommy , Jacksonville, United States, 2 weeks ago

Me thinks Mr. Wolff has got bats in the belfry.

Sen Dog, Everywhere, United Kingdom, 2 weeks ago

''I have included that which I believe to be true'' - a quote from Wolff himself. Also, The Author's Note to Wolff's book states the quotes in it are all "recreations". Nice try liberals .

[Jan 23, 2018] Hope Hicks Famous For 'Hard-To-Maneuver-In Short Skirts,' According To 'Fire And Fury' Author by Paula Mooney

This "Trump chicks theme" was definitely underutilized in fire and Fury" Wolff later tried to revive and capitalize of it as the tool to support the declining book sales with "Triumph mistress" rumor.
Notable quotes:
"... Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... The Stepford Wives ..."
"... Dallas Observer ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Morning Joe ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | www.inquisitr.com
Hope Hicks is featured prominently in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff, as proven by book excerpts that have made it to the public, as reported by the Inquisitr . The tome speaks of the 29-year-old Hicks' unlikely rise to become one of President Donald Trump's closest confidantes, even relating Hope's preferred manner of dressing to one that aligns with Trump's favorite look.

"Ten days before Donald Trump's inauguration as the forty-fifth president, a group of young Trump staffers -- the men in regulation Trump suits and ties, the women in the Trump-favored look of high boots, short skirts, and shoulder-length hair -- were watching President Barack Obama give his farewell speech as it streamed on a laptop in the transition offices."

Wolff notes that Hope was a 26-year-old when she was hired onto the Trump campaign as the first official hire. Hailing from Greenwich, Connecticut, Hicks worked as a model prior to getting into the PR business and working for Ivanka Trump's fashion line. After Ivanka captured Hope for her dad's political campaign in 2015, Hicks took the political ride of a lifetime to become the gatekeeper to President Trump.

Michael writes about Hope's family, who worried about Hicks "having been taken captive" into the Trump world, with friends and loved ones joking that Hope would need therapy once her time in the White House was done. Wolff describes Hicks as a young woman who was inexperienced but "famous among campaign reporters for her hard-to-maneuver-in short skirts."

Book: Hope Hicks Famous For 'Hard-To-Maneuever-In' Short Skirts, Rumored Uniform Trump Liked In White House Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The overall tenor of Hope's portrayal in the best-seller paints her as a "yes woman" who is way too overeager to seek Trump's approval. Fearful of making errors, Hicks was protected by Trump from blame -- an act that baffled others, claimed the author. Hope rose in the ranks to become Trump's most trusted aide, albeit one who was assigned the difficult task of getting Trump positive press in the form of a winning New York Times article.

Hope always backed Trump's point-of-view, according to Fire and Fury , with Hicks often landing firmly on Trump's side when the president complained of the media being out to get him with negativity. Hicks even developed an instinct for the types of articles that would make Trump happy, with Hope presenting those clips to the president, even as others brought Trump bad news.

Wolff even likened Hope to the classic robotic wives seen in The Stepford Wives , calling Hicks "a kind of Stepford factotum, as absolutely dedicated to and tolerant of Mr. Trump as anyone who had ever worked for him." According to the Dallas Observer , even crossing the line and allegedly calling Hicks a " piece of tail " hasn't apparently dampened Hope's enthusiasm in working for Trump, in Wolff's estimation, with Hicks failing to get the coveted and positive New York Times coverage.

"That, in the president's estimation, had yet failed to happen, 'but Hope tries and tries,' the president said. On more than one occasion, after a day -- one of the countless days -- of particularly bad notices, the president greeted her, affectionately, with 'You must be the world's worst PR person.'"

Hicks was also the person who greeted Trump each morning, "quaking" to tell him what the latest Morning Joe episode said about the president in the wake of Trump refusing to watch the show. Either way, Trump's closeness with Hope was something that not only baffled White House insiders but caused concern and alarm.

Michael wrote that "the relationship of the president and Hope Hicks, long tolerated as a quaint bond between the older man and a trustworthy young woman, began to be seen as anomalous and alarming." Existing as a go-between in the middle of President Trump and the media, Hope's complete devotion to Trump and her accommodating nature to him was being blamed as part of the reason for Trump's "unmediated behavior."

"His impulses and thoughts -- unedited, unreviewed, unchallenged -- not only passed through him, but, via Hicks, traveled out into the world without any other White House arbitration. 'The problem isn't Twitter, it's Hope,' observed one communication staffer."

[Jan 22, 2018] Fire and Fury SMU's Hope Hicks' Star Turn in Michael Wolff's Scathing Trump Book by Stephen Young

This "Trump chicks theme" was definitely underutilized in fire and Fury" Wolff later tried to revive and capitalize of it as the tool to support the declining book sales with "Triumph mistress" rumor.
Jan 08, 2018 | www.dallasobserver.com
Hope Hicks can now add "being objectified by the president of the United States" to the narrow list of accomplishments she's racked up as she's gone from SMU English major to White House communications director .

According to Michael Wolff's new presidential tell-all Fire and Fury , Hicks, a former model and Gossip Girl novelization cover star who caught Trump's eye while modeling for Ivanka Trump's clothing line, had on an on-again, off-again relationship with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Hicks and Lewandowski's liaison culminated in a Page Six-covered screaming match on 61st Street near Park Avenue and Manhattan in May 2016.

The next month, Trump fired Lewandowski. In a moment of compassion, Hicks, who'd by then become one of Trump's closest, and tight-lipped, confidants, asked Trump how she could help Lewandowski.

"Why?" Trump replied, Wolff writes. "You've already done enough for him. You're the best piece of tail he'll ever have."

Hicks immediately fled the room after Trump's comments, according to Wolff, but it wasn't enough to stop her rise through the campaign's ranks. When Trump dumped former communications director Anthony Scaramucci last summer, Hicks, who did not return a request to comment on the contents of the book, took over as his interim replacement. In November, she took over the job full time.

Trump has disputed both the content of the book and Wolff's claim that he was granted extensive access to the White House in 2017. "I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist," the president tweeted last week.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, called the book a "complete fantasy," during a press conference Thursday, the day before Fire and Fury 's release.

[Jan 22, 2018] Michael Wolff Hints at Current Trump Infidelity Hidden in Fire and Fury

"These people are the lowest form of life; vicious, ignorant, scheming, petty, savage, manipulative -- if given the opportunity and the right incentive, he would stab any one of them, and not lose a minute's sleep... Again, what was his motivation -- something is missing from this puzzle. Drugs or drink or mental illness? ... those rats in that sinking sack, they're fighting... He may be the dictionary definition of a firestarter to some, to me he's a rancid piece of filth." Guardian comment
"If you think abandoning your wife and cashing in on your "batty" mother-in-law's home is cruel, it turns out this is par for the course."
"And, really, sex with someone other than his wife and the attention of other people is all Michael Wolff really wants, at the end of the day."
"A clue to Wolff's character emerged in 2009, when the "bald, trout-pouted" 55-year-old was caught sleeping with a 28-year-old intern at Vanity Fair. His wife kicked him out of their Manhattan home, but not before joining him in an attempt to evict her 85-year-old mother because they wanted to sell the apartment she lived in. As you can tell, he's a charmer."
This is really sleazy interview... Typical project of Wolff own behavior as in
Wolff: "If this is a book that will bring down his President.." And the only topic he is capable to discuss is dirty rumors about President infidelity. For Trump the book title "The great transition" ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Maher asked if it was about a woman, to which Wolff answered, "Yeah. I didn't have a blue dress." ..."
"... Without hesitation, Wolff said yes. "You just have to read between the lines," he said, adding that it's toward the end of the book. "Now that I've told you, when you hit that paragraph you're going to say bingo." ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | www.thewrap.com

Everybody has been talking about Michael Wolff's best seller "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" since it came out Jan. 5, but the author said there is one thing hinted at in its pages that he is surprised no has asked him about.

"Real Time With Bill Maher" kicked off its 16th season Friday night with Wolff, who hinted there was a tidbit near the end of the book that he thought would get tongues wagging. At first cagey, he said it's something he is "absolutely sure of, but was so incendiary that I just didn't have the ultimate proof."

Maher asked if it was about a woman, to which Wolff answered, "Yeah. I didn't have a blue dress."

Of course, the "blue dress" he's referring to is Monica Lewinsky's infamous outfit that was said to be stained with President Bill Clinton's semen.

His curiosity piqued, Maher wondered if it was somebody Trump is "f -- ing now?"

Without hesitation, Wolff said yes. "You just have to read between the lines," he said, adding that it's toward the end of the book. "Now that I've told you, when you hit that paragraph you're going to say bingo."

Watch the full interview above.


landshark123 , January 20, 2018 4:48 PM

25 years ago it would be categorized as nothing more then a Kitty Kelly gossip rag.

He wouldn't answer Bill's question because he didn't want to get his butt sued into oblivion. He seems to be reveling in how he BS'd his way into there.

Afra , January 20, 2018 10:16 AM

IMAGINE -- in your wildest imaginings -- that this was President O.
The more sordid America becomes the more his hyperverbal "base", along with our traditional "enemies", celebrate.

ErikKC2 , January 20, 2018 7:06 AM

And, it will only get more "interesting" over the next couple of weeks. I ordered the book on the first day I could. In fact, I pre-ordered it. And, it was just shipped today. Give it a couple of weeks for the shipments from Amazon to be delivered, and the book digested.

And, of course, it's Hope Hicks.

Afra ErikKC2 , January 20, 2018 10:18 AM

I'm going to say a creeper in that back door he mentioned. I like to give the young lady a little more credit. In my head. 😟

I Heart Suckabees , January 20, 2018 4:35 AM

get it, Sarah Sanders!

[Jan 22, 2018] Sleazy Wolff tried to prolong his five minutes of fame

This is the real Wolff -- sleazy and unscrupulous gossip columnist
Notable quotes:
"... Wolff said Friday on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" that he was "absolutely sure" of such a tryst, but acknowledged that he lacked "ultimate proof." "I didn't have the blue dress," Wolff told Maher, referring to the key piece of evidence from Bill Clinton's notorious Oval Office dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. ..."
Jan 20, 2018 | www.nydailynews.com

Originally from: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/michael-wolff-claims-trump-affair-white-house-article-1.3767521

President Trump may be having an extramarital affair in the White House, according to the latest bombshell claim from "Fire and Fury" author Michael Wolff.

Wolff said Friday on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" that he was "absolutely sure" of such a tryst, but acknowledged that he lacked "ultimate proof." "I didn't have the blue dress," Wolff told Maher, referring to the key piece of evidence from Bill Clinton's notorious Oval Office dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.

[Jan 22, 2018] Michael Wolff's Trump Affair Clues Point to Nikki Haley, and We Hate This Story (Column) by Tim Molloy

Yahoo tried to amplify the unsubstantiated and malicious rumor. Not the first time, not the last. So Yahoo bottom feeders are happy to feast on Wolff's excrements...
Notable quotes:
"... By October, however, many on the president's staff took particular notice of one of the few remaining Trump opportunists: Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador. Haley -- 'as ambitious as Lucifer," in the characterization of one member of the senior staff -- had concluded that Trump's tenure would last, at best, a single term, and that she, with requisite submission, could be his heir apparent. Haley had courted and befriended Ivanka, and Ivanka had brought her into the family circle, where she had become a particular focus of Trump's attention, and he of hers. ..."
"... Bingo? Wolff adds that Trump "had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a political future." Wolff cited one "senior Trumper" who said the problem with Trump mentoring Haley "is that she is so much smarter than him." ..."
"... The White House, Haley and Wolff did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There are many problems with this theory, aside from Wolff going on national television to accuse people of having affairs. Among them: Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was one of Trump's early Republican critics. ..."
"... She campaigned for Marco Rubio and then supported Ted Cruz. When she gave the Republican response to President Obama's final State of the Union address, she seemed to criticize Trump when she said: "During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices." Trump responded by calling her "weak" on immigration . ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | www.yahoo.com

"Fire and Fury" author Michael Wolff's accusation that President Trump is currently having an affair set off online speculation Saturday about who the other party might be. Based on Wolff's clues, it appears he's making insinuations about UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

A quick side note before we go further: This is gross on every level. We don't have any evidence whatsoever to suggest that what Wolff is hinting at is true, so please consider this a story about an author making an accusation he admits he can't prove.

That said, Wolff went on "Real Time With Bill Maher" Friday to provide some encouragement to readers who may have given up halfway through "Fire and Fury" when he said a passage near the end of his book hints at the affair.

Also Read: Trump Demands Babies Not Be Born After Nine Months: No, Really, He Said This

"Now that I've told you, when you hit that paragraph you're going to say bingo," Wolff told Maher.

We've read the book. While there are icky descriptions about Trump's behavior with his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, they come before the book's midway point. ("You're the best piece of tail he'll ever have!" Trump is quoted as telling Hicks about an ex, which Wolff says sent Hicks "running from the room.")

The only passage we've found near the end of the book that references a Trump relationship with a woman who isn't his wife or daughter is this one:

By October, however, many on the president's staff took particular notice of one of the few remaining Trump opportunists: Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador. Haley -- 'as ambitious as Lucifer," in the characterization of one member of the senior staff -- had concluded that Trump's tenure would last, at best, a single term, and that she, with requisite submission, could be his heir apparent. Haley had courted and befriended Ivanka, and Ivanka had brought her into the family circle, where she had become a particular focus of Trump's attention, and he of hers.

Bingo? Wolff adds that Trump "had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a political future." Wolff cited one "senior Trumper" who said the problem with Trump mentoring Haley "is that she is so much smarter than him."

Also Read: 'Real Time': Michael Wolff Hints at Current Trump Infidelity Hidden in Bombshell Book (Video)

The White House, Haley and Wolff did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There are many problems with this theory, aside from Wolff going on national television to accuse people of having affairs. Among them: Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was one of Trump's early Republican critics.

She campaigned for Marco Rubio and then supported Ted Cruz. When she gave the Republican response to President Obama's final State of the Union address, she seemed to criticize Trump when she said: "During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices." Trump responded by calling her "weak" on immigration .

... ... ...

[Jan 22, 2018] From Elizabeth Taylor to Donald Trump Insinuations, Half Truths and Lies by Dr. Fred Eichelman

Notable quotes:
"... "No, it can really hurt" she replied. She went on to tell us how in one story the cover headline announced "Elizabeth Taylor is slowly killing her mother." As it turned out the story was about how her mom worried about her daughter's health and travels. Elizabeth went on to relate that in the United Kingdom you could not get away with such stories. She had sued successfully 15 times, winning each. "I did not need or want the money" she confided. "I just wanted a retraction. That is not possible in the United States." ..."
"... These kind of distortions about Elizabeth were not just prevalent in magazines. Books have done the same thing. There is a biography of Elizabeth Taylor by an author known for penning page turners about celebrities with as much dirt as possible. In one story she described an argument between Elizabeth and John during a political gathering locally here in the Roanoke Valley. One that had her storming off and not returning. We were there with other friends and no such thing happened. ..."
"... Now I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment and the idea of freedom of speech. I also know I do not have the right to go into a theater showing a film and shout "FIRE" if there is no fire. I could be rightfully arrested for that because of the possible danger to public safety. ..."
"... Today we see people in the liberal media distributing fake news with every opportunity they can find. They have done every thing they possibly can to see the presidency of Donald Trump fail. The Michael Wolff book makes a case that every one around the president, including family, think he is not competent and not smart. He is fair game for such fake news. ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | politichicks.com

The title may cause readers to think this is strictly about the half baked book by Michael Wolff on the Trump Administration. That is already being debunked by even some liberal sources like the Washington Post which has been finding errors on every page. The only criticism I would make is that too much is being said about it and that makes sales of the book go up. The old adage that "Get banned in Boston if you want a best seller" holds true.

The concern here is the interpretation by the courts of the First Amendment that people with a public position are fair game for the spreading of information whether true or untrue. This has been going on for some time and the first I became aware of it was with the entertainment media.

Dr. Fred Eichelman and Elizabeth Taylor

Back in the late seventies my wife Carolyn and I were privileged to host Elizabeth Taylor several times when her husband John Warner was running for the U.S. Senate here in Virginia. We found Elizabeth a very open person and easy to talk with and there was one question I had to ask.

I had seen a number of covers on Super Market magazines with stories hinting of scandals and Elizabeth Taylor was a popular subject. I had heard that Hollywood stars did not mind that sort of thing as bad publicity was still good publicity as long as it kept their name in the news. I had to ask Elizabeth if this was true in her case.

"No, it can really hurt" she replied. She went on to tell us how in one story the cover headline announced "Elizabeth Taylor is slowly killing her mother." As it turned out the story was about how her mom worried about her daughter's health and travels. Elizabeth went on to relate that in the United Kingdom you could not get away with such stories. She had sued successfully 15 times, winning each. "I did not need or want the money" she confided. "I just wanted a retraction. That is not possible in the United States."

These kind of distortions about Elizabeth were not just prevalent in magazines. Books have done the same thing. There is a biography of Elizabeth Taylor by an author known for penning page turners about celebrities with as much dirt as possible. In one story she described an argument between Elizabeth and John during a political gathering locally here in the Roanoke Valley. One that had her storming off and not returning. We were there with other friends and no such thing happened.

Now I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment and the idea of freedom of speech. I also know I do not have the right to go into a theater showing a film and shout "FIRE" if there is no fire. I could be rightfully arrested for that because of the possible danger to public safety.

Today we see people in the liberal media distributing fake news with every opportunity they can find. They have done every thing they possibly can to see the presidency of Donald Trump fail. The Michael Wolff book makes a case that every one around the president, including family, think he is not competent and not smart. He is fair game for such fake news. People with common sense know that a man who was an honor student in college, became a billionaire, was a success on TV and able to get elected president is no small potatoes. The success with our economy alone should erase such ideas.

Of course not being a born politician Donald Trump believes in fighting back and he makes ample use of Twitter for this. This is also not news as when Ronald Reagan was president his competence and ability to lead was often called into question. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil labeled President Ragean as an "amiable dunce." Reagan made ample use of television to go over the heads of congressional critics and the media. In this digital age Donald Trump is only doing what many wish they could do to protect themselves.

While our president can protect himself, you have to wonder about so many others in government, business. the entertainment world and elsewhere who have found untrue criticism in the media too much to handle. The definition of what people are not exempt from untrue news keeps broadening. This sort of thing is even happening on college campuses where conservative teachers have found themselves under attack by student publications using the First Amendment as their defense even when not telling the truth.

There is no easy answer here and we can only wish that someday common sense will find a solution to protect us all from such attacks.

Dr. Fred Eichelman is a retired teacher and a director for Point North Outreach, a Christian media organization. He recently had a book published, Faith, Family, Film-A Teacher's Trek. Fred is a former local Republican Committee chairman and has attended hundreds of conventions from political to science fiction. He sees the two as compatible. Fred also tells us he values very much a title we gave him since he could not be a PolitiChick. PolitiDude.

[Jan 22, 2018] Michael Wolff's 'Fire and Fury' to Become TV Series (Exclusive) by Lesley Goldberg, Andy Lewis

Notable quotes:
"... Endeavor Content -- the financing and sales arm formed in October between sister companies William Morris Endeavor and IMG -- has purchased film and television rights to the No. 1 best-selling book. The massive deal is said to be in the seven-figure range. ..."
Jan 17, 2018 | www.hollywoodreporter.com

Michael Wolff's controversial Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is coming to television.

Endeavor Content -- the financing and sales arm formed in October between sister companies William Morris Endeavor and IMG -- has purchased film and television rights to the No. 1 best-selling book. The massive deal is said to be in the seven-figure range. Endeavor Content plans to adapt the book as a TV series. A network is not yet attached, as Endeavor will now begin shopping the project.

Wolff will executive produce the series, with veteran Channel 4 and BBC executive Michael Jackson -- now CEO of indie producer Two Cities Television -- also on board to produce.

[Jan 22, 2018] How Michael Wolff duped the White House into giving him access to Trump's aides by Allahpundit

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... According to Bloomberg , Wolff didn't even initiate this project. It fell into his lap when Trump dialed him up out of the blue to compliment him on a CNN appearance in which Wolff bashed the media's coverage of the president. So susceptible is POTUS to flattery and so eager is he to satisfy his eternal grudge with the press that a little bit of cheerleading from Wolff was all it took for him to place his trust, essentially blindly, in a far more devious reporter than the ones he's always complaining about. ..."
"... CNN drives him nuts so he turned to Michael farking Wolff, of all people, to try to balance the scales. The irony is as thick and dense as the brain matter of White House deputies who went along. ..."
"... In fact, for the first six months of Trump's presidency no one in his White House -- including then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer -- stopped Wolff from repeatedly scheduling appointments in the West Wing. He visited about 17 times, according to a person familiar with the matter. Nor did they monitor what Trump's aides were telling the controversial author ..."
"... [An] Obama aide said his communications team kept strict tabs on authors' work -- micromanaging access to the White House, assigning press aides to mind the authors during interviews or asking staff for summaries afterward, closely tracking lines of questioning and making sure writers were escorted off the grounds after their appointments. ..."
"... Some of Bloomberg's sources claim that Kellyanne Conway gave him access more than once and appears to have spoken with him at some length. Conway's a longtime political player. What's her excuse for not knowing Wolff's reputation and intervening to protect Trump from him? ..."
"... Dubke left the job in late May but Trump's fateful phone call to Wolff allegedly happened in early February 2017, with Wolff conducting interviews at the White House not long afterward. Dubke's a right-wing media-relations pro of longstanding. He didn't speak up about Wolff either? ..."
"... In the end, though, it all falls on Hope Hicks, who was Trump's informal communications director before being formally appointed to the job in September at the tender age of 29 after Dubke quit. Although she had no leadership role in the West Wing until the fall, she's an old-school Trump deputy who was with him before the campaign. She's either the unofficial head of the Praetorian Guard or she's a very high-ranking member. Where the hell was she when Wolff came knocking? Did she do any due diligence as to whether he could be trusted to write the sort of book he was proposing to write? If so, how did she miss the high-profile critiques of his methods in magazines like Brill's Content and The New Republic ? It's tempting to accuse Hicks of being too young or simply out of her depth to do her job effectively for Trump -- but then how do you explain the apparent negligence on Conway's and Dubke's parts, too? ..."
"... Wolff's going to end up filthy rich from all this, and not just from book royalties. "Fire & Fury" will soon be a TV show (although, more likely, a TV miniseries) with Wolff himself as executive producer. And given the propensity of Trump staffers to leak, he's probably already hard at work on "Fire & Fury 2: More Fiery, More Furious." Congrats to Hope and everyone else for sharpening a knife and handing it to Wolff before allowing him to stab their boss repeatedly with it. Exit question via a million different people: Isn't there already a "Fire & Fury" TV show on cable news every day? ..."
Jan 17, 2018 | hotair.com

... According to Bloomberg , Wolff didn't even initiate this project. It fell into his lap when Trump dialed him up out of the blue to compliment him on a CNN appearance in which Wolff bashed the media's coverage of the president. So susceptible is POTUS to flattery and so eager is he to satisfy his eternal grudge with the press that a little bit of cheerleading from Wolff was all it took for him to place his trust, essentially blindly, in a far more devious reporter than the ones he's always complaining about.

... ... ...

[Jan 22, 2018] Michael Wolff discusses Fire and Fury

British interviewer is heads above US MSM interviewers. He also approach Wolff with kid gloves, but he pins a couple of time his ego ;-)
Of cause BBC is a neoliberal swap and they interviewed Wolff half-dozen times :-)
In his BBC interview and this interview Wolff clearly state that Trump is not fit for the office "mentally unfit for office" ;-). Here Wolff also claims is Trump is like a child.
Also on the question of allegation of "collision with Russia" Wolff state that "emperor has no clothes" while in reality it is Wolff who has no cloth doing this hatcet job without verification of even basic facts. He also pushed Bannon under the bas.
When confronted with that fact that Bannon challenged of Wolff claims, he just start blabbing.
The interviewer suggested that this book is a fascinating gossip taken at the heat of the moment, that this is one dimensional book.
Jan 06, 2018 | bbc.co.uk

Michael Wolff discusses his book Fire and Fury, about US President Donald Trump's first nine months in office, with Nick Robinson. Mr Trump has accused the author of making up stories and has called him a "total loser".

[Jan 22, 2018] EPIC: CNN Host GOES OFF On Anti-Trump Michael Wolff for what he did on Live Tv

Highly recommended!
Nice exposure of duplicitous character Wolff "I certainly said whatever necessary to get the story"
Key question: Did you misrepresent yourself trying to get access to Trump. "I like the person" "I want to humanize the president" "You know that I like him" "Nobody is doing it" "I might be able to change perceptions"
Another interesting question: "Where all those pledges accurate when you made them? " Why you present yourself as a beacon to combat bias against the President.
Jan 21, 2018 | www.youtube.com
Tom S., 3 days ago
Mainstream media turned into political party! Mainstream media professional liars are political assassins for the worst people on this planet. Mainstream media is a political apparatus which is bought and paid off by champagne-socialists, thieves set-up-entirely to serves rich and powerful to extract from small and weak. Mainstream media professional liars will continue to support political scum and their style of cronyism and rampant corruption that is stunting the country's development.

Mainstream media will make sure to siphon off large chunks of targeted electoral subsidies and Lobbying cash which will enable them to preserve their fancy cars, apartments and privileged status as American people suffer!

JD Mott, 1 week ago
Like everything the Left thinks is Nirvana this too is turning against them. Wolfe is well known for injecting fiction into his recollection.

[Jan 22, 2018] CNN's Brian Stelter owned by Michael Wolff: No disrespect, you border on being a ridiculous figure

Notable quotes:
"... CNN, Michael Wolff -- Reliable Sources. HaHaHaHaHaHa! ..."
Feb 01, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Daniel Stetson

CNN, Michael Wolff -- Reliable Sources. HaHaHaHaHaHa! 

Daniel Jansen, 1 month ago
The media is totally ignorant of real issues that matter to the American people they are so involved in defending their own opinions that they have forgotten their purpose of keeping the public informed of what's happening they have taken it upon them self to defend the Democrats and their corrupt world order agenda
Keith M, 2 weeks ago

Media=fake news

 Official Jayo, 1 week ago

Pot meet kettle. I now believe Wolff knew exactly what he was doing with the fake book. He knew the media would eat it up and he could ride off into the sunset with one last big payday.

Frankie Dog Turner, 1 week ago

CNN is just very fake news. Brian Stelter is a ridiculous figure and so if Wolfe. Like Uncle Fester and Mini-Me two pitiful idiots on stage together..

Raymond Armatino, 1 week ago

This was staged. Its there to make Wolf seem like he is telling truth in his book and I dont buy it for many reasons.

[Jan 21, 2018] Michael Wolff: Everyone in the liberal media is a Trump enemy

This Jul 12, 2017 interview of Wolff when he took somewhat pro-Trump stance...
Jul 12, 2017 | BBC Newsnight

Explicit statement of Wolff on FBI-contractor organized meeting in Trump tower that definitely suggests malice.

[Jan 21, 2018] Michael Wolff's Book: Trump lawyers threaten ex-aide Bannon - BBC

BBC presstitutes on meeting in Trump tower
Jan 04, 2018 | bbc.co.uk

Tony Blair disclaimed the statement of Wolff in the book

[Jan 20, 2018] Looks like no one edited this book

Jan 20, 2018 | www.amazon.com

C on January 19, 2018

It's like no one edited this book

Badly written. It's like no one edited this book. Really makes me question the author's credibility and journalistic integrity. Doesn't cite sources, even when providing direct quotes. That's not okay.

I'm glad someone had the courage to write about the imbecile in our White House, but this kind of crappy writing that borders on tabloid-level makes our side look just as bad as "the other side".

Wolff is lucky that the Bannon controversy happened, otherwise this book wouldn't have sold more than a handful of copies.

Lisa Popolo on January 19, 2018
Amateur level writing

Gossipy and fun, but a difficult read with such poorly edited, sloppy writing. Such sentences worth only of Trump himself.

joe-maryland on January 19, 2018
Save money, watch the news, Trump nuts in either case

Kind of a waste of money. Just watch the news and read the tweets, you'll figure it out for free.
It would be more interesting if it had some notes on sources, but there is no way to determine 1st hand info, 2nd hand info, and third hand in a mirror info.

Allan on January 19, 2018
Terribly written mess

There was not much here that you didn't already know. But the writing is so terrible that it was difficult to make it to the end of a rather short piece. He repeatedly writes long paragraphs consisting of single sentences. He compulsively inserts long parenthetical expressions everywhere which breaks up the flow and requires reading and reading to try to figure out what he's saying. I would expect a best selling author to be able to construct a comprehensible sentence but he mostly fails.

MTANDIZ on January 19, 2018
#1 for the FAKE BOOKS AWARD.

1st we had FAKE NEWS, now we have FAKE BOOK. Maybe NEXT YEAR, this book will make the FAKE BOOKS AWARD.

Kathleen GAM on January 18, 2018
As much as I wanted to like this book

As much as I wanted to like this book, because I detest Trump, the only thing I can say about this book is it stinks. It's repetitive, poorly written and he could use a proofreader. There's nothing in it that we haven't all read on the internet.

[Jan 19, 2018] Interesting in a voyeuristic sense but stylistically and factually flawed

Notable quotes:
"... The media has done everything to discredit him and are always found to be false. Sure, he is obnoxious but enough already. ..."
"... Fire and fury seemed to be a compilation of the news stories about Trump that had already been worked and reworked in the written media. Other than a little embellishment it was like reruns on cable TV. You had heard the story so many times you could almost say the lines with the characters. ..."
Jan 20, 2018 | www.amazon.com
shoesarei on January 18, 2018
Interesting in a voyeuristic sense but stylistically and factually flawed.

The inaccuracies are off-putting. How credible is the rest of this book if he calls Stephen Miller Jason? I am far from being a Trump fan, but I am also far from being a Bannon fan. Wolff clearly likes Bannon and admires the daily chaos and "war footing" tactics he engendered. I would love to read a book like this but one that is edited and vetted before going to print.

Angela M. Hey VINE VOICE on January 18, 2018
Bannon's White House legacy

This chronicle of life in the White House is more about Steve Bannon and his buddies versus Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's more liberal views. Highlights of President Trump's first nine months provide material for the book's chapters.

There are almost no good words for Trump. The reader gets tired of hearing he's confused, stupid or uninformed. The writing is tedious and relies on Yiddish and journalistic jargon to add gravitas. If you want to know more about Trump, this is not the book.

One reads about White House chaos and the book explains the political infighting that contributes to it. The communications professionals' comings and goings are explained. The chief of staff gyrations and Air Force One trip insights provide interest.

If you keep up with the news you won't learn much about Trump, but as a partial biography of Bannon this is worth reading.

adam j schlaff on January 18, 2018
Not a Trumpet but come on.

Seriously this book has been debunked by so many. I don't always agree with Trump but this is pure slander. I hope he sues and wins.

The media has done everything to discredit him and are always found to be false. Sure, he is obnoxious but enough already.

teamleade on January 18, 2018
Full of fire and fury but signifying nothing.

The hype on this book got my attention but it was a book "I could put down". Fire and fury seemed to be a compilation of the news stories about Trump that had already been worked and reworked in the written media. Other than a little embellishment it was like reruns on cable TV. You had heard the story so many times you could almost say the lines with the characters.

[Jan 18, 2018] His great gift is the appearance of intimate access by Kyle Swenson

How you spell "hypocrisy" Mr. Wolff...
Notable quotes:
"... "a portraitist who has mastered the art of the suck-up putdown." ..."
"... "And by repeatedly reminding the reader of what a dishonest, scheming little s -- he is, he seeks to inflate his credibility." ..."
"... "hit piece (plural hit pieces) (idiomatic) a published article or post aiming to sway public opinion by presenting false or biased information in a way that appears objective and truthful." ..."
"... I've seen Wolff on television several times and he comes across very badly. He is pretty full of himself. ..."
Jan 04, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com

Originally from: Michael Wolff's Trump book The latest in a career of controversy - The Washington Post

Wolff had taken shots in a recent Newsweek column at the media's "apoplexy" over the 45th president, specifically calling out Stelter for delivering on his show each week, in the writer's words, a "pious sermon about Trump's perfidiousness."

"I hope I pronounced that right," Stelter joked for a gawky transition. "Do you feel my style is wrong or my substance is wrong, trying to fact check the president?"

Wolff, snazzy in a dandy banker's navy suit, pocket square, and trademark thick framed glasses, didn't flinch. "I mean this with truly no disrespect, but I think you can border on being quite a ridiculous figure," he told the host. "It's not a good look to repeatedly and self-righteously defend your own self-interest. The media should not be the story."

The television moment -- an acerbic jab at a media heavyweight on his own show -- was classic Wolff. But it was also a bit of foreshadowing. Nearly a year later, Michael Wolff himself is very much the story this week.

...He has also, as The Washington Post's Paul Farhi wrote on Wednesday, been accused by critics of "pushing the facts as far as they'll go, and sometimes further than they can tolerate."

...Critics have blasted the writer in the past for filling his column inches with insight and imaginative recreation rather than actual reporting.

..."His great gift is the appearance of intimate access," an editor told Cottle in 2004. "He is adroit at making the reader think that he has spent hours and days with his subject, when in fact he may have spent no time at all." Another former colleague said: "He did get a lot of things majorly wrong, but he never was just pedestrian . . . You have to admire his balls."

Chicken and tuna sandwich 1 week ago Why would you even mention Jones? He is in no way a legitimate source for anything, not even the entertainment he has admitted in court he engages in. That's like referencing Manson for midwifery. "a portraitist who has mastered the art of the suck-up putdown." "And by repeatedly reminding the reader of what a dishonest, scheming little s -- he is, he seeks to inflate his credibility."

Two of the best lines I've read in a while. I haven't read his books but I like what I'm hearing about this one. Now the real question is not whether or not it is true, it's how will Trump spin this into a whirlwind he can reap unearned profits from?

the cavalier, 1 week ago

Sounds like the perfect supercilious self absorbed twit to cover a supercilious self absorbed twit.

crown scientist, 1 week ago

Based on what I've as yet read in the excerpts published by NewYork Magazine I would suggest Michael Wolff has introduced our distressed democracy to alt-journalism, the Access Hollywoodification of presenedtial history. What drips with irony is that the Stupid Orange Clown essentially fathered this freak of literature.

b everdene 1 week ago

You can see what happened here. Wolff set the stage for gaining Trump's trust (and access) by publically criticizing Trump critics, but then he turned the tables on Trump and wrote an unflattering profile. How fun.

Call it Presidential Pornology.

scchan.2009, 1 week ago

So if I understood what Wolff does: if you - assuming you are famous enough - give Wolff a chance or a hole to write BS about you, he will do it.

The thing about many similar "journalism", the tall tales are not even remotely unbelievable. It is totally consistent with the character even if it is false. It is playing the anti-hero of the Daily Mail or NY Post. People enjoy reading gossip, be that be rubbish on Fox News or BS come out from Wolff's or Stephen Colbert's mouth.

For now, have a good laugh without suspension of belief!

Greatful Deadline , 1 week ago

"hit piece (plural hit pieces) (idiomatic) a published article or post aiming to sway public opinion by presenting false or biased information in a way that appears objective and truthful." https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hit_piece

In other words, if it's true (as in "he has tapes"), then it's NOT a "hit piece."

jim380691910 , 1 week ago

I've seen Wolff on television several times and he comes across very badly. He is pretty full of himself. Trump and Wolff, two unlikeable people, truly deserve each other. I'm so disgusted with Trump that I'm fine with anyone flushing him down the toilet.

mr.natural, 1 week ago
"But Wolff has also been taken to task for blurring the lines between hot take and hatchet job. "Wolff exploits the human tendency to confuse frankness and cruelty with truth-telling," media critic Jack Shafer wrote in Slate in 1998. "And by repeatedly reminding the reader of what a dishonest, scheming little s -- he is, he seeks to inflate his credibility.""

This book will be a must read for all those who need to have their biases reinforced, to be reminded that they are better than the rest, that anyone not agreeing with them is indeed a knuckle dragging Troglodyte.

[Jan 17, 2018] Mediocre book

Notable quotes:
"... A journalist friend recently observed that good journalism leaves you understanding something you never even thought you cared about. This book did the opposite - left me pretty much not caring about something I was really curious about. I found the transcript of Glenn Simpson's testimony at the Senate hearings on the Steele dossier more riveting ..."
"... Wolff had an opportunity to put this disaster in writing -- a writing that any serious observer would want to add to their "reference" library. Wolff failed -- poor editing, overuse of a thesaurus, convoluted sentence structure and frequently leaving the reader wondering if statements made are Wolff's opinions or simply his ideas of what were thoughts of a person or group he has written about. There are some interesting bits in this book but it took work getting through Wolff's poor writing to get to the bits. ..."
"... unless you've been reclusive over the past several weeks, you know about most of the juicy bits. ..."
"... If you're thinking of reading a book, why not try something about a president of accomplishment Lincoln, (there's an entire that lists books about Lincoln)Teddy Roosevelt ( David McCullough's "Morning on Horseback is fantastic and Edmund Morris' trilogy about Roosevelt is not to be missed), Franklin Roosevelt? (Again there's a shelf full of books: I'm partial to Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time" and Geoffrey C Ward's "Before the Trumpets" and "A First Class Temperament." If you want to read about a shady president try John Farrell's "Richard Nixon: A Life." Nixon is a whole lot more interesting than Trump. ..."
"... Disappointed. Full of innuendo and gossip. Editors should be flogged for all the errors they let by. Also someone needs to tell the author that he doesn't need to use ten dollar words to try and make the book seem credible. ..."
"... After the best parts were revealed in the media, the rest of the book reads as a dry attempt at juicy gossip. ..."
"... I'd like to read a more straight forward plain speaking account with sources to set the record straight. Guess we'll get this from Bannon's testimony quite soon! ..."
Jan 20, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Uppsala on January 17, 2018

Mediocre book about a crappy president.

To begin with, I was very irritated by all the editing mistakes that appeared in the Kindle edition. Writers lose some credibility when their "finished" product is riddled with grammatical errors. This book is just not well-written. At first the account was galvanizing, especially seeing in print one of Trump's speeches--which I would assign a D-minus at best. Incoherent, highly repetitive writing (or in this case Trump's speaking) indicates incoherent thinking; the president does not argue, he asserts. He has anecdotes but no evidence. Facts are clearly anathema to him; logic escapes him. But all this is really no surprise because he has shown himself over and over to be a vain, emotionally needy idiot, who is a compulsive liar being propped up by immoral toadies (in his staff and in congress). That said, after the first 90 or so pages, I became really bored. And why not? Trump (the subject of the book, after all) has nothing to say. He has no plans to solve the country's many problems and seems dangerously susceptible to repeating what the last person he talked to said.

James Garrett on January 17, 2018
Gossip

See the subject line. This book is TMZ material. If you like it, go for it. It is going for s laugh. However, you would be better off reading the summaries online.

David on January 17, 2018
Unsettling and not a lot of new information

I pre-ordered this book primarily because Trump was opposed vehemently to its publication. (The same reason, years ago, that I saw "The Last Temptation of Christ." Local religious extremists were picketing the theater.)

I cannot say that reading the book was enjoyable. It reflects the troubling times we are in now and the likelihood of difficult times ahead. And I am asked to trust this author regarding the details. It would be easier for me if Wolff had been a journalist with the discipline imposed by a news editor. As it is, the quotes and attributions stand as gossip (though I am inclined to believe most or all of them, since they appear to fit logically with information already public).

The broad brush (e.g., "All of the senior staff...") may be true, but could a careful investigator not find a true believer among them? I am certain that I could not work in this administration, but there must be one who is as devoted to Trump as I have been to other elected officials for whom I have worked.

Did I learn anything? Some details, perhaps, but not the big picture. I had known that this president is a dangerously ignorant narcissist from his public statements. Is his public persona (a childish, insecure man who holds grudges, lashes out at real or perceived opposition, and evidences no maturity) likely to be similar to his behavior in the White House? It seems probable.

complexanimal on January 17, 2018
A Tabloid-esque Exposé Befitting our Time

This is a poorly sourced, hearsay laden book that would get ripped to shreds and given a C- if presented as a final project in any top 500 journalism graduate school in the country. However, I very much doubt the author intended it to adhere to The Rulebook of Journalistic Ethics and Integrity. In short, it revels in being a salacious story about gossip and innuendo -- fitting quite well in our age of social media, aggregated and questionable sources, and our own attention span lacking president. In effect, it reads like an extremely long, multi-part post in Reddit's /r/bestof section.

Regarding the "truthiness" and authenticity of the facts that lies within: yeah, I generally believe most of it is probably true. There is not much secrecy in the bumbling ineptitude of the Trump administration and the in-fighting that is hidden in plain sight. Rake stepping seems a constant favorite past time of our Dear Leader and his cohorts. Bear in mind, 'Fire and Fury' seems clearly on the side of Bannon, so I would certainly take any of his character opinions -- particularly, of those he clearly despises (Jarvanka) -- with a boulder sized grain of salt. Also, there are some factual errors that are troubling to say the least. For example, Wolff suggests that Trump's father was definitely a member of the KKK. From my cursory research on the topic, this claim seems circumstantial at best. There are also errors in poll numbers sprinkled throughout the text.

Should you read it? Perhaps, but don't expect anything terribly enlightening. If you're like me: a mainstream liberal who reads the failing New York Times and the Bezos Washington Post, I doubt any of this will be much of a surprise to you. What the book mainly does is sum up the top 50 forehead slapping headlines of this disastrous presidency in the past year, so if you've been paying attention, you've already read a version of this. I suppose it is useful to have a story arc within a single book that covers the first year of the Trump presidency. Had it been better written, properly sourced, and factually correct, it might have really been something.

Plimoth Rock on January 17, 2018
Sound and fury signifying nothing.

This work to me seemed like more than a timeline of events covering the period within which Wolff had been given West Wing access. That the timeline was extruded with often sourceless hearsay makes it a bedfellow with a 14 year old's diary. I learned little that was new, except for the seedier alleged "conversations" with the major and minor players. Reading it made me depressed with the realization that the majority party and its henchmen in DC right now wouldn't know the truth or respect it if it pushed them down the stairs.

Philly Lawyer on January 17, 2018
Disappointing

I am mad that I rushed to buy this book because of the hype and my intense dislike of Trump. A journalist friend recently observed that good journalism leaves you understanding something you never even thought you cared about. This book did the opposite - left me pretty much not caring about something I was really curious about. I found the transcript of Glenn Simpson's testimony at the Senate hearings on the Steele dossier more riveting .

Do yourselves and favor and read that, or read the March 2017 New Yorker piece on Robert Mercer, or any of the many excellent pieces on Trump and his administration in the New York Times or Washington Post. I gave the book 3 stars anyway because - well - it is a only book about the dysfunctional Trump White House.

Cou on January 17, 2018
Important story poorly told

The history of Trump's first year in office has been followed by most Americans who have any level of interest in politics. Wolff had an opportunity to put this disaster in writing -- a writing that any serious observer would want to add to their "reference" library. Wolff failed -- poor editing, overuse of a thesaurus, convoluted sentence structure and frequently leaving the reader wondering if statements made are Wolff's opinions or simply his ideas of what were thoughts of a person or group he has written about. There are some interesting bits in this book but it took work getting through Wolff's poor writing to get to the bits.

Stephanie Patterson on January 17, 2018
Donald Trump is a bore

Donald Trump is a bore.

This book is very readable though unless you've been reclusive over the past several weeks, you know about most of the juicy bits.

On Sunday, the historian Niall Ferguson, was the interviewee in the "By the Book" feature in the New York Times Book Review. He was asked the standard question for this interview: "If you could require the American president to read one book, what would it be? And the prime minister? His answer was priceless: "I agree with you that it would be wonderful if both Mr. Trump and Mrs May read one book. I don't much mind which one it is."

If you're thinking of reading a book, why not try something about a president of accomplishment Lincoln, (there's an entire that lists books about Lincoln)Teddy Roosevelt ( David McCullough's "Morning on Horseback is fantastic and Edmund Morris' trilogy about Roosevelt is not to be missed), Franklin Roosevelt? (Again there's a shelf full of books: I'm partial to Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time" and Geoffrey C Ward's "Before the Trumpets" and "A First Class Temperament." If you want to read about a shady president try John Farrell's "Richard Nixon: A Life." Nixon is a whole lot more interesting than Trump.

You already know more about Trump than he knows or realizes about himself. Skip this and read about a real president.

Becca on January 17, 2018
Disappointed. Full of innuendo and gossip

Disappointed. Full of innuendo and gossip. Editors should be flogged for all the errors they let by. Also someone needs to tell the author that he doesn't need to use ten dollar words to try and make the book seem credible.

Ricksterf on January 17, 2018
Poorly Written Book

I teetered between 2 and 3 stars, which means I'm somewhere between "don't like the book" and "it's okay. Here's why. The book was poorly written. Mechanically, there were way too many breaks (commas everywhere) throughout the flow of reading. Combine this with there were too many sophisticated words throughout the whole book, and there were typos and grammatical errors along with that. All these things distracted my attention away from what Mr. Wolff was trying to convey. I ultimately lose interest thus stopped reading the book.

To Mr. Wolff: If a reader is spending more time looking up the meaning of words or is constantly re-orientating because there are so many parenthetical notations, they will probably lose interest. I'm sure the material that surrounds the disaster our country is in right now is quite complicated. The task of explaining all this should not involve additional layers of confusion and arcane language.

Johanna Moscoso on January 17, 2018
All the best parts were publicized.

After the best parts were revealed in the media, the rest of the book reads as a dry attempt at juicy gossip.

John Crossland on January 17, 2018
Illuminating reading but a bit pompously worded for a wide audience

I learnt a lot about the nuttiness with the staff and the family, but I was glad I got the Kindle edition to look up some fairly obscure wording with the built in dictionary. I'd like to read a more straight forward plain speaking account with sources to set the record straight. Guess we'll get this from Bannon's testimony quite soon!

[Jan 17, 2018] Is There Life After Liberalism

Notable quotes:
"... As exciting as the 1930s ..."
Jan 17, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Fourteen months ago, in the first flush of power, Steve Bannon gave an interview to Michael Wolff -- beginning a relationship that would prove his undoing -- in which he boasted about his plan to realign our politics. His nationalist-populist movement, he argued, would transform the G.O.P. into something truly new: a right-wing worker's party that spent freely, "jacked up" infrastructure all over the country, and won "60 percent of the white vote" and "40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote" on its way to a 50-year majority.

"We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks," Bannon said. "It will be as exciting as the 1930s."

As exciting as the 1930s is not a line you hear every day, but rather than an alt-right dog whistle, what I heard in Bannon's formulation was the idea that in the Trump era, as in the crisis years that gave us both F.D.R. and Hitler, everything might be up for grabs: not just electoral coalitions, but the nature and destiny of the liberal order. Which would be a terrifying prospect but also an exciting one, since it would mean that the long "end of history" that followed the Cold War had irrevocably ended, and that it was time to imagine radical revisions to a stagnant-seeming liberal West.

Flash forward a year and a couple months, though, and Bannon's vision seems pretty much dead: its rumpled leader sacked and ritually denounced, its bold populism subsumed into the same old, same old Republican agenda. Trump remains temperamentally authoritarian and personally vile, but the idea of Trump_vs_deep_state as an ideological revolution, whether akin to Roosevelt's or Mussolini's, has mostly evaporated.

Recent Comments

Candlewick 2 days ago

No. There isn't *life* after liberalism; just a bunch of dead men (GOP) wondering the earth with black hooded robes and scythes.

SP 2 days ago

It does not matter what we call these philosophies, whether Liberalism, Capitalism, Libertarianism etc. Good, ethical moral, wise,...

Michael Kubara 2 days ago

This suffers from the journalist disease-- "ism-ism": castigating "liberalism" without defining it." the crisis years that gave us both F.D...

[Jan 16, 2018] The Donald Trump Conversation Politics' Dark Heart Is Having the Best Time Anyone's Ever Had

Initial article about Trump by Michael Wolff which allowed him to put a feet into WH door later, in February 2017 when he decided to milk the Trump administration.
That's was probably the only major interaction of Wolff with Trump. Wolff claimed that Trump liked it ("for some reason"), but I do not see what can be liked in this article. It is very mediocre.
It is alarming to see that Trump did not understand whom he is dealing with: "This isn't an interview or a conversation. It's a hit piece by a nobody, Michael Wolff, opinionated and inflaming, punctuated with short hand picked Trump quotes. Trump is correct about the dishonesty of the media."
You see all Wolff's typical tricks, innuendo, and his infatuation with the celebrities here "a pint of vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream"... "a 5,395-square-foot Colonial mansion" ...""There had to be over a thousand policeman. They had a neighborhood roped off, four or five blocks away from this beautiful house. Machine guns all over the place.". Nothing of substance. You will never guess from the article whom Trump represents and how he channels the anger of ordinary Americans against neoliberalism and globalization.
You can also can see Wolff's flattery in action (just in case; he decided to write the book much later, in Feb of 2017). Later Woff did the same trick with Bannon and actually got the access to WH via him.
It looks like among readers of Hollywood reporter there here some Trump supporters. Comments to this article are really interesting to read now, two years later and they are more informative that Wolff's article by leap and bounds.
Notable quotes:
"... One thing to understand about Trump is that, rather unexpectedly, he's neither angry nor combative. He may be the most threatening and frightening and menacing presidential candidate in modern life, and yet, in person he's almost soothing. His extreme self-satisfaction rubs off. He's a New Yorker who actually might be more at home in California (in fact, he says he usually comes to his home here -- two buildings on Rodeo Drive -- only once a year). Life is sunny. Trump is an optimist -- at least about himself. He's in easy and relaxed form campaigning here in these final days before the June 7 California primary, even with Hillary Clinton's biggest backers and a city that is about half Latino surrounding him. ..."
"... If onstage he calls people names, more privately he has only good, embracing things to say about almost everybody. (For most public people I know, it is the opposite.) He loves everybody. Genuinely seems to love everybody - at least everybody who's rich and successful (he doesn't really talk about anyone who isn't). Expressing love for everybody, for most of us, would clearly seem to be an act. But with Trump, it's the name-calling and bluster that might be the act. ..."
"... What a self serving article once again, can't you fools write without trying to demean your next president, in every paragraph? ..."
"... Another sleeze. Nuff said. ..."
"... This wasn't an "interview", Mr. Wolff. It read like a terribly biased libturd desperately attempting to 'bait' a Presidential candidate with childish, unimportant questions. We get it...you don't approve of Trump. Now go home and cry in your pillow. ..."
"... Let's get this straight, Trump exists because the leadership of both parties declared an undeclared war on the American people. Their disdain towards ordinary Americans makes them willing to lie to get theirs and screw everybody else. The Republican leadership? Losers. That's why he exists. ..."
"... Totally biased flake article, the author is clearly a Clinton shill. The give away is labeling Clinton Cash a "hatchet job", considering a huge portion of the MSM on the left have validated the book as 100% accurate and true. ..."
"... Surprised Trump bothered giving the antagonistic Michael Wolff the interview, but it does show Trump is fearless. Hillary won't go within 5 miles of Fox News. ..."
"... The arrogance of the writer, Michael Wolff is breathtaking. We get it Mr. Wolff. Your story included the small talk and you articulated YOUR pre-conceived opinions and impressions of Mr. Trump. ..."
"... Like or hate 'em there is one thing that Trump and Sanders have both accomplished: They have thoroughly exposed the corruption and the contempt for the American People that is "mainstream" politics for both sides. ..."
"... For that reason alone, it's been great to have these guys in the race. ..."
"... This isn't an interview or a conversation. It's a hit piece by a nobody, Michael Wolff, opinionated and inflaming, punctuated with short hand picked Trump quotes. Trump is correct about the dishonesty of the media. ..."
"... Here in "liberal" Boston the Trump signs are everywhere. Bad sign for Madame Mao. Trump may not take Massachusetts but he is closing the gap with that hideous woman. ..."
"... Like Trump said: "The press are very, very dishonest. Some of them are downright sleazy".Thank God for the internet, otherwise the MSM would have us believe Madame Mao is the Virgin Mary. ..."
"... I wouldn't be surprised to see the 'Hollywood Reporter' shut off comments early. ..."
"... They delete all non-liberal comments, usually later in the morning... the millennial lib's arrive late to work in the morning because they're out partying all night... ..."
Jan 16, 2018 | www.hollywoodreporter.com

The long day is ending for Donald Trump with a pint of vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream. We're settling in for a late-night chat at his Beverly Hills house, a 5,395-square-foot Colonial mansion directly across from the Beverly Hills Hotel. He's here for the final presidential primary, a California coronation of sorts, after rallies in Orange County (where violence broke out and seven people were arrested). He is, as he has been for much of our conversation - and perhaps much of the last year - marveling at his own campaign. "You looked outside before, you see what's going on," he boasts about the police surrounding his house, and the Secret Service detail cramming his garage and snaking around the pool at the center of the front drive. And he's just returned from a big donor fundraiser in Brentwood for the Republican Party at the home of Tom Barrack, the investor and former Miramax co-owner. "There had to be over a thousand policeman. They had a neighborhood roped off, four or five blocks away from this beautiful house. Machine guns all over the place."

One thing to understand about Trump is that, rather unexpectedly, he's neither angry nor combative. He may be the most threatening and frightening and menacing presidential candidate in modern life, and yet, in person he's almost soothing. His extreme self-satisfaction rubs off. He's a New Yorker who actually might be more at home in California (in fact, he says he usually comes to his home here -- two buildings on Rodeo Drive -- only once a year). Life is sunny. Trump is an optimist -- at least about himself. He's in easy and relaxed form campaigning here in these final days before the June 7 California primary, even with Hillary Clinton's biggest backers and a city that is about half Latino surrounding him.

... ... ...

If onstage he calls people names, more privately he has only good, embracing things to say about almost everybody. (For most public people I know, it is the opposite.) He loves everybody. Genuinely seems to love everybody - at least everybody who's rich and successful (he doesn't really talk about anyone who isn't). Expressing love for everybody, for most of us, would clearly seem to be an act. But with Trump, it's the name-calling and bluster that might be the act.

... ... ...

Trump will turn 70 on June 14, but he shows no sign of fatigue even as our conversation drifts toward 11 p.m. He's been at this since either 4 a.m. or 6 a.m. (he offers different times at different moments).

...Then I came back and did more meetings, then I did a fundraiser tonight, then I did Kimmel. And now you. You're not a two-minute interview guy."

V. M. Varga > HelloTommy • 2 years ago

Bernie has no chance and Hillary is a neocon. What war next.

Ranger_Ric > Political Hostage • 2 years ago

Neocon or neoliberal, they are the same animals and there is no difference between George Bush and Hillary Clinton. They all answer to the same NWO masters.

There is a difference in Hillary's case... She is a habitual liar, a fake, a criminal and a lesbian. Other than that, there is one uniparty, the Washington Criminal Mafia.

Penny • 2 years ago

I love the smell of radical establishment media's hysteria this early in the morning. Naturally, the media elite who have not gone after Obama for not having a press conference since 2009 and Clinton, who has not had one in over a year, doesn't make a bean's hill of difference. ROT is the name of the "mainstream" media, especially when they see their D.C. lifestyle of corruption and cover-ups threatened by a straight-shooting, take-no-prisoners man like Trump.

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN--TRUMP/SESSIONS 2016

YesMeansNOMeansYES • 2 years ago

What a self serving article once again, can't you fools write without trying to demean your next president, in every paragraph?

Walter White > YesMeansNOMeansYES • 2 years ago

Another sleeze. Nuff said.

mredward > Political Hostage • 2 years ago

As you read the anti Trump posts, remember the Hillary pacs have purchased over a million dollars worth of bogus posters here.

SmartDoctor • 2 years ago

Hmm. The real news is NOT that the competition is in a statistical dead heat during the first week of June. The real news is that Hillary's polls have been steadily plummeting, and with her level of charisma, charm, and message, it is totally illogical to assume that they are going to improve anytime soon. They won't. And Trump, the "clown", the totally undetectable candidate, the spoiler, the guy with no Republican backing what so ever, keeps going up and up and up. Of course the left never, ever shows the size of the crowds he attracts to his rallies. The left is completely out of touch with the American mainstream (you know, the folks Mr. Nixon once called "the silent majority".) Trump has the momentum nationwide, and no one except Southern black ladies likes Hillary. There is your story! Next paragraph, "how did this happen?" And keep in mind, the FBI hasn't spoken yet, Bernie ain't through yet, the left wing, Soros financed riots haven't begun yet, 2 weeks in politics is a lifetime, and we haven't gotten to the convention boost yet. Yeah, I'm biased. In America's favor, sorry if that offends anyone. TRUMP 2016

Political Hostage > SmartDoctor • 2 years ago

I live in the South, with a ton of black folks, and have yet to see any HRC bumper stickers on their cars. It's mostly Coopers, Beetles, and Cubes that have the HRC swag on them. Not many though.

Our building has about 6,000 people working in it and there maybe a handful of Bernie stickers too. Most working people aren't looking in the direction of democrats.

Bill Strang • 2 years ago

And you don't think the media is too easy on Hillary? Every time she opens her mouth, she lies and the media just ignores it. But lets just hold Trump to a much higher standard then a standard democrat.

Penny > Bill Strang • 2 years ago

That is the job description of the elitists (a/k/a "mainstream" media). A recent survey revealed that 85 percent-plus media are demRATS

Wilkins Micawber • 2 years ago

A vote for Clinton is a vote for the leftist, moonbat, felon, gay, generational welfare leech, gov union, drug addicted, pervert, lgtqxyz, pedophile, academic, stupid college kid, white guilt ridden, illiterate third world invading trash, in other words the Democrat base, that supports her.

Angry black woman > Wilkins Micawber • 2 years ago

10000 up votes

TroyGale • 2 years ago

I like confident people who are confident because they have struggled and won in the arena. Trump is no different, he wins...Why?
Here is a quote from General George Patton, I think it explains it perfectly....

"All men are timid on entering any fight. Whether it is the first or the last fight, all of us are timid. Cowards are those who let their timidity get the better
of their manhood."

Trump doesn't let his timidity get involved, AT ALL.

Brian washere • 2 years ago

Here's an inconvenient truth liberals (media) don't want to face. All those blue collar dems that have always been brainwashed into thinking the Bolsheviks (D) were for the "working man" are finally opening their dim eyes and realizing they have been sold down the river.

The regulations puked out by government that chases their workplaces out of the country and the illegals they have to compete with for replacement jobs, all trademarks of the progressives, have f--ked them hard. They are going to go Trump in huge numbers.

All the dems voter fraud and manipulation won't save Shrillary from that fact. This is going to be so lopsided it will make Reagan/Carter look like a nail-biter.

Bill Thompson • 2 years ago

I'll vote for him because I want to control our border, enforce our immigration laws, cut the H-1B visas, keep our troops home, eliminate free trade, protect the 2nd amendment.

phosgene • 2 years ago

is trump ever going to have to answer a single challenging question about how he is full of sheet? this is an "interview" where he eats ice cream and talks about himself. we already know he can do that. the only policy or current events based questions i saw he was completely oblivious. there is no room for anything in trump's world but trump.

hillary volunteered for the goldwater campaign when she was younger. her credentials as a republican and a conservative are stronger than trump's. the guy has conned millions into completely selling out their party and beliefs. sad.

nonuser > phosgene • 2 years ago

Congratulations, you've made Michael Wolff very happy.

dudefromdixie • 2 years ago

Trump is going to unite the right like none before him. He is also going to conquer the left, like none before him.

HelloTommy • 2 years ago

Donald Trump's new finance guru: once a Clinton donor, Soros employee. Steven Mnuchin also contributed to Obama, Kerry and Gore. You Trumpets are so gullible. He is also an ex-Goldman-Sachs employee and PAC donor. We're suppose to hate that right? Tell me how that is okay?

MICHAELNLA > HelloTommy • 2 years ago

"gullible?"

You Liberals voted for a guy who you thought was Black, not once but twice...guess you forgot to ask him who his mother was.

Meanwhile, Hussein has DOUBLED the National Debt in 8 years!

We have 95 MILLION Americans out of the work force.
50 MILLION Americans on Food Stamps.
Half of college grads unemployed.

And you expect Americans to give the "D" party another
four years in the White House...KEEP DREAMING, LEFTY!

OWilson • 2 years ago

The arrogant left, and their pals in the Media, are not used to being questioned. Hillary hasn't had a press conference in 2016. She lets CNN do all the Trump bashing, all the time. They see a change coming, and it scares the hell out of them all.

jj333 • 2 years ago

This wasn't an "interview", Mr. Wolff. It read like a terribly biased libturd desperately attempting to 'bait' a Presidential candidate with childish, unimportant questions. We get it...you don't approve of Trump. Now go home and cry in your pillow.

SamVaughn • 2 years ago

Let's get this straight, Trump exists because the leadership of both parties declared an undeclared war on the American people. Their disdain towards ordinary Americans makes them willing to lie to get theirs and screw everybody else. The Republican leadership? Losers. That's why he exists.


ObiterDictum • 2 years ago

Menacing who? If he financially runs the country like his campaign, expect some of those non-essential government employees to be out on the street. For years our Government has not been afraid of the governed, but now they fear our proxy.

Bluto Redneck ✓Shithole Appr. > ObiterDictum • 2 years ago

Exactly. I predict a 15-20% real cut in our federal bureaucracy. And God help any of those fools that go out on strike. Air traffic controllers anyone?

phosgene > ObiterDictum • 2 years ago

he's not going to cut a damn thing. do you even listen to what he says? build a wall, kick out 11 million people, massive military increases, massive increase for veterans, massive infrastructure rebuilding, replacing obamacare with something "better".

none of this is small government stuff, kids. he hasn't mentioned cutting a single thing on the stump. oh yeah, and the age old republican idea of reforming entitlements? OUT THE WINDOW!

well, that only costs a few TRILLION.

Reaganite✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ • 2 years ago

One of the more obvious reasons Trump has been viewed by so many as the GOP´s best hope of defeating Our Empress of the Seven Genders is precisely because he - and he alone among the candidates - doesn´t give a flying flip about the "civility" speech code Democrats impose upon Republicans (or the New Tone muzzle Republicans impose upon themselves) that prohibit the Left from ever having to face the mocking, the insults, the scathing satire, and the verbal abuse they themselves vomit upon the Right on a daily basis. The establishment still doesn´t seem to understand just how refreshing this is.

Reaganite✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ • 2 years ago

Donald Trump and his people are upending the Political Media/Progressive Establishment industrial complex narrative. These " media cretins of PC conformity" are staring into the abyss of their own personal irrelevancy. Trump's celebrity and unapologetic surrogates allow his campaign to fight them with devastating effect. The professionally offended are blinded to their own hypocrisy.

Weezy -Stable Genius • 2 years ago

Totally biased flake article, the author is clearly a Clinton shill. The give away is labeling Clinton Cash a "hatchet job", considering a huge portion of the MSM on the left have validated the book as 100% accurate and true.

What kills many is these reporters really believe the public is incapable of discerning their real intentions when producing articles like this.

In the meantime, Trump continues to roll on and gain further momentum.

notimportant > phosgene • 2 years ago

Completely different situation. Make the media responsible for what they tout! They can say what they want, but they better make sure it's correct. Of course, liberals don't believe in personal responsibility. By the way, Putin has an 80% approval rating in his country and many people respect the man outside the country. That's because he's a man and stands up for what he believes. He doesn't allow bullying or ugliness by those who disagree with him to effect him. Time we had that in our country and we will when Trump is president. Neither Putin nor Trump are one world order supporters. Neither am I

ScottPM • 2 years ago

Nothing would be worse than having a President that has shown that they are utterly reckless, arrogant, and shows a total disregard for American lives by INTENTIONALLY mishandling classified information. Information is classified because people die if it gets out. hillary has shown she can NOT be trusted as President.

phosgene > ScottPM • 2 years ago

you are completely ignorant. half the paperwork the government generates is classified. they completely misuse it ON PURPOSE. it is meant to control information. lives have nothing to do with it. it is about protecting their butts

strongisland • 2 years ago

Amazing how a mere journalist for the Hollyweird Reporter repeatedly attempts to elevate himself intellectually above a man who is light years more successful than himself. The mocking doesn't work here. In fact, it belies what the author is all about. The typical Gen Y, millennial liberal snark that is never to be taken seriously...because, well, these fools think no issues are actually serious. As long as the progressive playbook is being fulfilled...these fools are happy in their rapidly deteriorating paradise.

For someone who is seemingly so in tune with the important issues...he sure skirted them as conveniently as possible when it came to this interview. Sometimes...a worthy opponent brings out the best in an individual. Sadly, for Donald Trump...he was tangling with a total lightweight here.

cageysea • 2 years ago

"... He loves everybody. Genuinely seems to love everybody - at least everybody who's rich and successful (he doesn't really talk about anyone who isn't)..."

Uh.... Yeah, I got nothin'.

Mitch Alan > Bad Will Hunting • 2 years ago

...Surprised Trump bothered giving the antagonistic Michael Wolff the interview, but it does show Trump is fearless. Hillary won't go within 5 miles of Fox News.

Deplorable- jean Lee • 2 years ago

The arrogance of the writer, Michael Wolff is breathtaking. We get it Mr. Wolff. Your story included the small talk and you articulated YOUR pre-conceived opinions and impressions of Mr. Trump. You are the one with the black heart! Trump 2016

Stormrdr • 2 years ago

Like or hate 'em there is one thing that Trump and Sanders have both accomplished: They have thoroughly exposed the corruption and the contempt for the American People that is "mainstream" politics for both sides. The mechanizations and back-room dealings have been fully revealed with each attempt to derail these "outsiders". For that reason alone, it's been great to have these guys in the race.

I can't say I'm a big fan of either one of them, but I do admire what they've accomplished for America's political future (whether or not it was intentional).

Rocky • 2 years ago

This isn't an interview or a conversation. It's a hit piece by a nobody, Michael Wolff, opinionated and inflaming, punctuated with short hand picked Trump quotes. Trump is correct about the dishonesty of the media.

jack4949 • 2 years ago

Here in "liberal" Boston the Trump signs are everywhere. Bad sign for Madame Mao. Trump may not take Massachusetts but he is closing the gap with that hideous woman.

jack4949 • 2 years ago

Like Trump said: "The press are very, very dishonest. Some of them are downright sleazy".Thank God for the internet, otherwise the MSM would have us believe Madame Mao is the Virgin Mary.

Yip Yap • 2 years ago

I wouldn't be surprised to see the 'Hollywood Reporter' shut off comments early. It has been doing that lately when comments don't go it's way. THAT WALL'S GOIN' TA BE HUUUGE!!!

barney59 > Yip Yap • 2 years ago

They delete all non-liberal comments, usually later in the morning... the millennial lib's arrive late to work in the morning because they're out partying all night...

[Jan 16, 2018] Is There Life After Liberalism - The New York Times

Notable quotes:
"... As exciting as the 1930s ..."
Jan 16, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Fourteen months ago, in the first flush of power, Steve Bannon gave an interview to Michael Wolff -- beginning a relationship that would prove his undoing -- in which he boasted about his plan to realign our politics. His nationalist-populist movement, he argued, would transform the G.O.P. into something truly new: a right-wing worker's party that spent freely, "jacked up" infrastructure all over the country, and won "60 percent of the white vote" and "40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote" on its way to a 50-year majority.

"We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks," Bannon said. "It will be as exciting as the 1930s."

As exciting as the 1930s is not a line you hear every day, but rather than an alt-right dog whistle, what I heard in Bannon's formulation was the idea that in the Trump era, as in the crisis years that gave us both F.D.R. and Hitler, everything might be up for grabs: not just electoral coalitions, but the nature and destiny of the liberal order. Which would be a terrifying prospect but also an exciting one, since it would mean that the long "end of history" that followed the Cold War had irrevocably ended, and that it was time to imagine radical revisions to a stagnant-seeming liberal West.

Flash forward a year and a couple months, though, and Bannon's vision seems pretty much dead: its rumpled leader sacked and ritually denounced, its bold populism subsumed into the same old, same old Republican agenda. Trump remains temperamentally authoritarian and personally vile, but the idea of Trump_vs_deep_state as an ideological revolution, whether akin to Roosevelt's or Mussolini's, has mostly evaporated.

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