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Embarrassing the USA: Contrast Corporate MSM Coverage of ISIS in Iraq With Gaza

By: TuffsNotEnuff Thursday July 31, 2014 6:44 pm
ISIS flag

Corporate media pretend that ISIS got there on their own.

The obvious omissions with corporate MSM start with their failures to criticize years and years of ignorant Republican policy statements. “Arm the Syrian rebels” has been Republican dogma since 2010. They all want a piece of this issue, fantasizing that they will be the next Senator Bob Dole getting an extra $100-million in materials for the Afghan rebels (from back in 1978 for the war against Russia.)

White House actions have gone to budget talk. $500-million in talk. A proposal to spend more to train and equip anti-ISIS-anti-Assad “rebels.” But little for action. Really, nothing.

[In Gaza Terry Moran rode in an IDF armored car into Gaza. We get first-person eye witness reporting.]

No one on the Democratic side claims that President Obama is going to put tanks and missiles and artillery up for grabs inside Syria. Enough already. About a tenth of George Bush’s gifts of military hardware to Iraq have gone over to ISIS. We don’t need to do more of that in Syria.

The GOP’s heavyweights have lined up for years, demanding that the U.S. send heavy weapons to their friends, the anti-Assad “Moderate Rebels.” They think they invented that phrase “Moderate Rebel.” They continue to claim, today, that the majority of anti-Assad Syrians fit the label.

Unfortunately for the GOP there is no evidence that these “Moderate Rebels” exist in-country among the Syrian Arabs.

WSJ and the CIA

The closest to that description in Syria is local militia in northwest Syria and the Kurds in three border areas. There’s also a couple dozen middle-aged Sunni Syrian guys taking CIA money and living in Turkey. There’s enough of a Sunni Front going to make a photo op for John McCain. Not enough of a force to control a city, or even a village when you get away from the Turkish border.

Another tag “Free Syrian Army” has circulated in the West. That existed briefly, serving as a way station for Sunni soldiers coming out of the Syrian Army, which is now a Shia force with support from Hezb Allah and the Iranian Qods Force.

McCain & buds

McCain with FSA and ISIS fighters.

Plain fact: there is no “Third Way” inside Syria.

“Free Syrian Army” units in central and eastern Syria went over to the Islamists in 2012. Iran’s Qods Force sent a full commando battalion to Damascus, in 2012, at which point the most of FSA that remained active melted into the Islamist ISIS and JTND organizations.

At worst the Big Republicans get used by Salafi terrorists. The guy on McCain’s far left is Mouaz Moustafa. He supported Hamas during the Egyptian Arab Spring and has ties to the political wing of the Arab Brotherhood. Her also turned up in Libya. It is possible that CIA considers Moustafa an asset. If so, this would not be their first blunder.

McCain and the GOP got their notion of Moderate Rebels from a Moustafa confederate named “Dr.” Elizabeth O’Bagy. She is the gal who got fired from WSJ for a claim that she had a Ph.D. from Georgetown University.

O’Bagy works for an operation called the Syrian Emergency Task Force. SETF gets its money from the Syrian rebels in Turkey. They get their money from the CIA. That’s the CIA who have their own standards where it comes to perpetrating disinformation inside the United States. “Contrary to many media accounts, the war in Syria is not being waged entirely, or even predominantly, by dangerous Islamists and al-Qaida die-hards,” — the baggy-pants Party Line. That is what O’Bagy wrote for WSJ (August 30, 2013); McCain and our benighted SoS John Kerry have quoted her.


Shi’ia Army Retakes Tikrit, Kills 300 Sunni ISIS Raiders. Ignored by Corporate MSM

By: TuffsNotEnuff Monday July 28, 2014 6:16 am
ISIS flag

The corporate media look the other way as ISIS kills.

There’s two news stories here. The war in Iraq continues unabated, which will surprise no one. Islamic State of Syria and al-Sham controls northwest Iraq while a regular army organized by Major General Qassim Suleimani focuses on actions at Samarra and Tikrit.  A fresh, modern Battle of Tikrit has been underway for the last five weeks. Tikrit is a test point for ISIS military conquest. Meanwhile back here in The West — and despite continuing phone and shortwave radio access to the combat areas — western corporate media press a story line that the Sunni raiders of ISIS are uniformly triumphant against Shi’ia (or “Shia” or “Shiite”) defenders. Actual combat results are missing from news reports.

[Update: radio in Baghdad had a report Monday that verified ISIS killings have topped 6,000 for the last 3 months.]

Reporting foreign wars has been optional at best for MSM. That has been the situation for 25 years:

– Start with the two big civil wars in the Congo that killed 5-million civilians with not one murmur from the corporate outlets.

– In Central African Republic an ISIS-lookalike operation called Seleka went on an anti-Christian rampage through 2011-2013 that included murdering 30,000 to 50,000 civilians and conquering C.A.R.’s capital city, Bangui, for their leader and not-quite-Caliph Michel Djotodia.

– In Mali, yet another ISIS-lookalike Salafist coalition — al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) plus Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujwa) plus the smaller Ansar Dine — set up shop in the Southern Sahara, an area called the Azawad Desert. They took Timbuktu, the regional capital, in a raid reminiscent of recent events at Mosul in Iraq. Literally nothing of these events appeared in western media until the week after a mix of French Foreign Legion paratroopers, their Special Forces, and Marines retook Timbuktu killing an estimated 130 of the Salafist raiders.

– When the Nigerian Salafist militia called Boko Haram kidnapped 234 Christian school girls in April, 2014, and then several hundred more in other actions, that got a measure of coverage.  Military responses to Boko Haram have received no coverage at all.

Saudi support for ISIS and its clones follows their Salafi / Wahhabist beliefs. This from Patrick Cockburn:

Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: ‘The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia.’ More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.’

Wiping out these Shia and/or Christians is good sport. On a par with Saudi Jew-hating.

Wahhabists vs. Qods Force

But then the plan for Boko Haram and Seleka and ISIS runs into a professional military operation.

Battle of Tikrit
For the Battle of Tikrit, General Suleimani has replicated tactics that proved effective during the Battle of Qusayr in Syria in 2012. His Shi’ia forces started their action by setting up a 10-kilometer perimeter around Tikrit. This effort helped protect the sprawling Saddam palace and the military hospital and other areas where the ISIS raiders had failed to seize control. All the roads and cross-country transit routes were blocked. This Tikrit perimeter force deploys an estimated 5,000 troops in 24/7 assignments with a substantial logistics infrastructure. Temperatures above 110F every day makes the logistics sustainability problem critical. Then the big drive started counterattacking its way to the western areas of Tikrit, beginning last Wednesday, so the perimeter force had to set up to block ISIS retreat.

Wargamer “Panzerblitz” Scenario: Shi’ia Army Counterattacks ISIS in Iraq, September 2014

By: TuffsNotEnuff Sunday July 20, 2014 3:39 pm

Can’t any of these guys play the game ???

We are all of three months from John McCain and Lindsey Graham calling for America to arm the Syrian rebels. Not one mention of ISIS.

Then we got American Enterprise Institute going all NeoCon with “A plan to save Iraq from ISIS and Iran” from Jack Keane and Danielle Pletka. Here’s the fantasy stuff:

…only the United States can provide the necessary military assistance for Baghdad to beat back our shared enemy.

Setting aside for the moment the question of whether this administration has the will to intervene again in Iraq, here are the components of a reasonable military package that can make a difference:

• Intelligence architecture. Iraq’s intel screens went blank after the U.S. military pulled out in 2011. Washington needs to restore Baghdad’s ability to access national, regional and local intelligence sources, enabling the Iraqi military to gain vital situational awareness.

• Planners and advisers. The Iraqi military needs planners to assist with the defense of Baghdad and the eventual counter-offensive to regain lost territory, as well as advisers down to division level where units are still viable.

• Counterterrorism. Special operations forces should be employed clandestinely to attack high value ISIS targets and leaders in Iraq and Syria.

• Air power. Air power alone cannot win a war, but it can significantly diminish enemy forces and, when used in coordination with ground forces, can exponentially increase the odds of success.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2014

Iran is doing all of that. Today.

Air power is 7 SU-25s with pilots. Major General Qassim Suleimani led the effort that freed Tikrit, which is largely a Sunni city, then came over to Samarra. He has been sleeping in the cellar of al-Askari. Both cities now have security perimeters with scale to prevent heavy mortar attacks.

The NeoCons’ “only the United States” concept is about to take a major tumble. Together with seeing the United States-Saudi Arabia alliance and the House of Saud-House of Bush conjunction go to pieces.

Order of Battle for the Fall Campaign

You don’t see commercial war games that match this Shi’ia vs. Sunni action.

General Suleimani’s Army will have 500,000 militia suitable for holding strong points. Another 200,000 reliable Iraqi soldiers with combined Persian and Iraqi officers. And 50,000 Qods Force commandos. Their equipment will include 400 tanks, 600 field artillery pieces, and the usual assortments of heavy and light mortars, and guns.  Logistics will rely on truck convoys. Air support includes the dozen SU-25s, another 200 helicopters with on-board guns, and drones to provide GPS locators on artillery targets.

Caliph Baghdadi’s force looks to be 15,000 Sunni irregulars. They have 120mm mortars, a few howitzers, RPGs, and small arms. The al-Anbar Baathists are reported to have provided an assortment of field artillery. But effective use of artillery in a battle scenario requires years of training.

Next thing, apply this match-up to the venerable “Panzerblitz” wargame system. This is the board game developed by Jim Donnelly in 1970. It is the seminal pattern for modern war-based civilian board games.

This is not an easy task: the scenario for September has a 50:1 manpower advantage for the General. How do you set up an interesting battle at those odds?

They can run. But they can’t hide. Here’s a set of “Rule” elements for success playing The General:

Give it another 2 months. Time for ISIS to kidnap, extort, steal, murder their way through Sunni Nineveh Province. The Iraqi Sunnis in Nineveh will tire of them quickly enough. Then the General’s 750,000 man army will have the option of creating a Paradise of battle.


  • Seal off the Syrian border. Same for Jordan
  • As ISIS takes no prisoners, take no prisoners
  • If Fallujah and Ramadi support ISIS then flatten them
  • Destroy or disable every private automobile and light truck in al-Anbar and Nineveh
  • Commandeer the heavy trucks and use them to move food and fuel
  • Where local militias choose combat, kill them

Do it all and you win. Get to four out of six and you’re competent. But you have to get #1 to meet the fundamental eradication objective.

Regimes all over MENA sent their Sunni psychopaths to Syria. That’s been going on for three years when the Syrian drought knocked the country into severe difficulties. The aim was to knock off the Shi’ia Assads. Then it got out of hand.

So now the Sunnis are looking at a Shi’ia Crescent that stretches from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus. Iraq’s Sunnis become a minority with no political power, treated better than al-Maliki jas been treating them. But utterly powerless.  And the local Army of God forces in Lebanon and Iraq will have been blooded by fighting the ISIS mad dogs — an invaluable set of lessons.

The Americans ???

Either they have not seen war. Or they flew over it. Or they read classified reports. And they sent troops into battle in Iraq without teaching the men Arabic first, which General Suleimani and Qods Force would never do.

Welcome to the Middle East ???

The scorpion and the turtle ?

Not exactly. Read the chapters of Manchester’s book “American Caesar” that depict Douglas MacArthur during World War I. That is how General Suleimani fought the Iranians in the 1980s — doing his own night recon missions, for one — and how he is fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. He is 57.

The Sykes-Picot treaty lines that define Iraq and Syria and deny Kurdistan are about to be redrawn. Expect Syria and Iraq to merge for self protection with Kurdistan getting Kirkuk and independence for opening a strong Second Front against ISIS. The merger concept can work, but only after the General takes his army north to the Turkish border and wheels west to the left to meet the Assads in Damascus.

For a continuing expansion on these themes:

Bush43 Gave Iraq to Iran and General Suleimani now holds the keys


Don’t expect to see much of this in the corporatist outlets. Or from the politicians. They don’t know how these games are played, not at all.

Did the Russians Plunder NSA Computers Prior to Edward Snowden ?

By: TuffsNotEnuff Thursday May 29, 2014 4:01 pm

Edward Snowden was never debriefed by Russian intelligence personnel.

That is a small detail, but still the most surprising part of what he told Brian Williams.

It seems odd, at first, as you would think that the Russians would want to get what they could from him. In normal circumstances there would be no harm in trying.

Snowden could have said that he had deflected official inquiries. Instead, Snowden went out of his way to say that there was no such approach. He also said that he had made sure not to take any of the NSA files into Russia.

There is also no evidence, nothing but RWNJ paranoia that would lead to a belief that Snowden lied. So what does makes sense? What fits both history and opportunity? What are the facts?

It’s not like the Russians are dummies at recruiting Americans:

1. Services have been provided to Soviet Union/Russian intelligence operations steadily over decades.

2. Every significant Federal operation has been infiltrated. The stuff that gets classified as secrets has been stolen.

3. Big list for spies: Robert Hanssen, Edward Howard, Robert Soblen, Aldrich Ames, Harold Nicholson, Ronald Pelton, David Boone, Richard Miller, Earl Pitts, Christopher Boyce, and many dozens of others who got caught, plus others who did not get caught.

Russia’s spies did espionage. More than not they took bribes. We have to ask: what problems would a Russian spy face at scraping files off NSA servers?

4. The NSA system had no document-level security protections. When Snowden went looking, there was no use of the Trusted Oracle document vault security application. (NSA bought it; didn’t use it.)

5. Anyone with root access on a regional server could traverse the NSA network and copy virtually unlimited numbers of documents. Bandwidth was the physical limit.

6. Indexes were not protected.

7. The documents, themselves, were not encrypted.

All in all, an ordinary law office or medical practice has better security on its client records than what NSA used to protect its internal documents.

If the Russians had not already cleaned out NSA and analyzed their new toys, they would almost certainly have asked Snowden for help.

What makes sense here? Well, what if the Russians already had everything Snowden could possibly have copied. Instead of taking only the management documents, Russian spies would have taken everything. 100 times, maybe 1,000 times the number of documents Snowden took away.

Russia’s option with the biggest pay-out: avoid Snowden and pray that NSA stays brain dead for its own computer security.

NBC is slow getting out a full transcript of the interview. A transcript of the whole uneditted interview — that’ll stay a “maybe” for now.

And ultimately, who beside the Russians and Snowden got hooks in and copied NSA files ??? Which organizations would benefit from directed use of the NSA spy systems?

What is out there that could damage us individually?

Stop worrying that the U.S. Army could lose some advantage fighting the Red Army. That war is not going to happen. Modern wars are economic.

The TBTF banks getting insider information so they can manipulate stocks? So they can blackmail people in governments worldwide? You betcha. And that gets back to why NSA security was so lax. Why they cannot track unauthorized document theft. A design feature, not a bug.

Follow the money.

“Legal Abortion Is A Personal Right” is the New Conservatism

By: TuffsNotEnuff Wednesday February 26, 2014 2:36 pm

Social conservatives have generated quite the backlash recently with ads that slam date rape drugs along with marijuana. One unintended effect has been to identify abortion as a prime defense against the unintended pregnancies caused by chemical attacks.

Same time, just under 1% of pregnant girls think that they are still virgins. They have no memory of the attack. Similarly, pharmaceutical birth control is seen now as a defensive tool.

This combination of date rape drugs and Republican propaganda has produced unintended consequences. Legal abortion is the “tough” response to these rapes.

Where an abortion is considered “necessary,” self-identified social conservatives want it available and completely safe. Abortion, itself, is admittedly unpleasant.

legal abortion

A majority of self-identified Republican voters in a recent face-to-face interview sequence agreed with this poster.

Avoiding unplanned pregnancies is how you reduce abortions.

Extremism in defense of wack-job dogma ??? The party has not adapted. GOP candidates continue to ally themselves with unending streams of embarrassment:

“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.”

– State Representative Jodie Laubenberg, Texas

“…Cleaned out!” A girl can get “cleaned out.” No one on the democratic side says anything like that.

Abortion has been a good issue to GOP candidates. After Nixon and Watergate in the 1970s, they were able to use the Christian Right for manpower so that money from Adolph Coors and the Kochs could let them rebuild.

Now, apparently, that core issue has become stale.

The next two or three years will be critical: an emotional counterattack on the abortion issue can move precious votes away from the GOP. The Big GOPers are having none of it. Legislatures in Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, Ohio, North Dakota, and Wisconsin have gone wild and passed laws that apply various tricks to undermine legal abortion.

Nobody asked the broad range of Republican voters what they thought of this. Fundie voters constituted no more than 12% to 15% of the voting population. That is a minority of their own party.

Republican statements could all have come from clones of Michele Bachmann:

“It’s Jessica who’s having to have her body live with the ravages of this vaccine.”
—Representative Michele Bachmann, Minnesota. Inventing dangers for the HPV vaccine

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and… if they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. …they feel pleasure….”
— Representative Michael Burgess

“But on the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?”
— John Koster, Washington State

“As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
— Clayton Williams, Texas. He did say that with a microphone in front of him.

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country…. Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
—Rick Santorum, then a Senator from Pennsylvania

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, and I realized that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”
—Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock

“I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape.”
—Chuck Winder, Idaho state senator

“These Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness…We are not going to have our men become subservient.”
— Representative Allen West, Florida

“Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of forcible rape.”
—Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, as part of an extended rejection of rape as a reason for abortion

“The method of conception doesn’t change the idea of life.”
—Paul Ryan, vice-presidential nominee, rejecting rape as a reason for abortion

Abortions make up “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”
—Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona. Off by 87% of their budget.

“The executive director of Planned Parenthood in Illinois said they want to become the LensCrafter of big abortion in Illinois.”
– Representative Michele Bachmann, Minnesota

“Put yourself in the father’s [rapist's] situation.”
—Tom Smith, Pennsylvania

“The facts show that people who are raped —who are truly raped—the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”
—Representative Henry Aldridge, North Carolina

Spoil yourself with one more Bachmannism:

“There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.”
– Michelle Bachmann

“Intelligence design,” yes. That’s for cars and planes and phones.

And there are no practical responses for today’s Republicans, other than to repeat their usual swill. Going into 2014 election season we have Obama virtually winning the War on Terror with 10 terrorism deaths of Americans in 5 years, a recovering economy, and Chris Christie echoing Nixon’s V.P. Spiro Agnew — the Corruption Kid.

Add to that the possibility of vaporizing abortion as a GOP vote-generator. One other statement might surprise you, that it gets majority agreement from voting Republicans:

“The dismaying truth is that Birtherism is part of a larger pattern of rejection of reality that has taken hold of intimidating segments of one of the two political parties that alternate in power in our governing institutions. It is akin to the view that global warming is a hoax, or that the budget can be balanced through spending cuts alone, or that contraception causes abortion, or that evolution is just another theory, on a par with the theory that the earth is six thousand years old.”
― Hendrik Hertzberg

Ignoring their own “Base” voters, GOP candidates insist on supporting wack-job dogma.

American voters will make them pay for it. The country’s very low information voters… don’t vote. Increasingly these Big Republicans are dead to the rest of us.

Hoaxes 101: How Birchers Game Voters and Elect Tea Party Extremists

By: TuffsNotEnuff Thursday October 17, 2013 9:09 am

The Senate and House votes to reopen the government and avoid Federal financial default gave us a hard look at the GOP’s “Die Hard !!” elected extremists. The Senate came in with 18 wack-jobs; the House showed up with 189 for the initial vote, then 144 for the final. These teabaggers share belief in rightie hoaxes that originated as far back as the John Birch Society in the 1950s. These are anti-socials who would rather see the United States of America default on its debt and go into recession than accept the results of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

John Birch logo

How the John Birch Society elects Tea Party candidates.

Paul Ryan, the GOP’s vice presidential candidate from 2012, led the charge. He and the others support a “Tea Party” subset of the Republican Party. Thing is, they push Bircher paranoia for a dozen major issues; they report belief in propaganda themes that have little to no basis in fact. For example: ObamaCare is mainly a program for insurance reform. Every one of the coverage plans comes from a capitalist enterprise. But Ryan & Co. push a hoax claiming that this is “government takeover of health care.”

Yes, folks, the John Birch Society is alive and well, rebranded as the Tea Party. There’s also a public group using the JBS name that minimizes the open craziness; it’s out there for public relations purposes. The real Birchers are the billionaires and propagandists who have been around for decades and took over the nativist anti-Obama Tea Party in 2009.

The main result of this manipulation is that structured hoaxes dominate today’s GOP.

The hoaxes reflect Libertarian and Randian fantasies and Right Wing Nut Job paranoid delusions. Now they are played out in Washington by the self-described Tea Party office holders.

Consider the hoaxes as a collection. They generate disinformation and encourage actions that damage our Madisonian democracy.

Here is a selection of the GOP’s most antisocial hoaxes. Taken together they help to form a make-believe world.

The GOP Dystopia

– Economic problems are rooted in a Lower Class of 47%er welfare state layabouts
– Unions are criminal enterprises
– Government operations are intrinsically incompetent (lacking profit motive which is the only honest way to do things)
– Politicians are all crooks (especially Libruls, so voting doesn’t matter)
– Guns in homes are a sensible protection against home invasion (reflecting societal breakdown, alleged to occur 1,000,000+ times a year)
– Government is the problem (referring to what we call Madisonian constitutional democracy; denying international competition, the 1%er redistribution, and increasing automation)
– Global warming is an economy-killing leftist conspiracy
– Guns in homes are our ultimate protection from tyranny
– American Christians suffer rough and hurtful persecution
– Science cannot be trusted (typically in argument, because scientific results can change over time. The Bible is absolute.)
– The less government, the better; a.k.a., government-vs.-private-sector is a fixed sum game; a.k.a., taxes are theft
– Supporters of legal abortion are “Baby Killers”
– Media outlets (owned by multinational corporations) are biased to Left/Liberal positions
– Obama’s election victories in 2008 and 2012 were illegitimate
– Wealth redistribution to the top is what drives job creation
– Ronald Reagan maximized American influence world wide
– Democratic politicians are members of an out-of-touch elite; Democrats do not understand ordinary Americans
– The 2003-2009 mortgage debacle was caused by lying poor people (which ties in with the broader hoax that the Welfare State has produced a 47%er class of dependent losers)
– Corporations are people (which sounds funny until you consider “Undercover Boss” and the like)
– Everyone in the world should love America
– We’re # 1
– Vietnam and Iraq were examples of defending freedom and liberty and the American battlefield losses are all Americans care about
– America’s health care system is the best in the world
– American football is a great sport and uniquely important as a character builder
– Student debt is a normal part of education — nothing happening, move on
– Student debt and trashing support for Social Security — nothing there, move on
– Department of Defense is an essential and underfunded investment
– Patriot Act cancellation of Madison’s Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is what keeps Al Qaeda from killing your family
– National Security Agency storage of “metadata” is not part of a vast invasion of private lives
– Financing for politics in America is wide open and we are the Gold Standard for free elections
– The War on Drugs goes back and forth with more victories than losses
– Prisons lower the rate of violent crime by incarcerating “superpredators”


Take a couple minutes researching any GOP hoax. The profession versions consist of three sets of elements:

How Right Wing Propaganda Emulates Auditory Hallucinations

By: TuffsNotEnuff Monday September 30, 2013 8:05 am

They hear their “voices.” The deep baritone thug-tones of the Limbaughs and O’Reillys. The factless, non-rational arguments that populate the virtual world of “catfished” conservatives. Of course the aim is social control — reality testing is discouraged as the targets are compelled to carry on mindlessly: “Receive, Remember, Apply !”

Julian Jaynes, a professor at Princeton, wrote about the earliest human societies and how their large-scale projects were consistent similar patterns that included hearing imaginary voices. This is the Jaynes Model. Social control in those early urbanized systems is consistent with Jaynes’s hypothesis a large number of early humans experienced auditory hallucinations similar to what is reported today with schizophrenia and schizoid disorders. Social control would have been effected by influencing the message content of those “voices” in political and religious activities carried out by those societies’ authoritarian leaders.

The early “voices” in the Jaynes Model work like Tea Party members listening to radio and television. The main results of the Jaynes Model are predictions of strong social cohesion, submission, and a willingness to work many hours to achieve group goals.

Does it sound familiar?

A charismatic leader 7,500 years ago did not have radio or television. But they did succeed in many societies when they pressed claims to personal godliness. Hours of daily communal prayer played a role in the indoctrination. The “voices” could be used to control people for war, for such as draining marshes, or to build the pyramids.

Today we have 1% to 5% of people experiencing “voices” at one time or another in life; given the pay-offs in terms of social cohesion, the percentages in early societies could have been much higher. A society with 25% hearing divine “voices” would have dominant over any group of disorganized rural farmers and slaves. That’s also a big ticket if you want to be a Living God.

Being a god can be very, very cool. Ask a Roman emperor. Or a pharoah. Ask Ted Cruz.

Sigmund Freud also did work analyzing the messaging systems for authoritarian controls. This includes his theory of the Superego. But by Freud’s day most people’s messages had gone underground, become subconscious. The Superego operates with guilt and silent inhibitions on behavior. Submission to a strong leader is addressed by Bob Altemeyer. For application to political analytics, see John Dean’s works on the Nixon administration

Altemeyer nails right wing submission to authority figures and acceptance of non-rational arguments solely based on authoritarian packaging.

In a nutshell, this is how you influence people to vote repeatedly against their own interests. Or to worship a gold digger such as Sarah Palin.

This is how relentless ad hominem and rude name-calling at our American president are disguised as patriotism. Jaynes’s auditory hallucinations are echoed by RWNJ “Message Discipline” and a well defined set of hoaxes.

Thing is: Never Underestimate the Effectiveness of Non-Rational Argument.

For people on the Right, fact checking might as well not exist. They are a class of “catfished” victims who believe that Republicans are Prince Charmings on white chargers. At the end of the day about a fourth of American voters have been manipulated to form a “Jaynestown USA” cult.

For Progressives to respond effectively it is not enough to fighting off single, atomic lies from the RWNJs. What modifies individual behavior is not the lies, but the hoaxes that the lies create and then support.

Lies can be ephemeral. Hoaxes are carried on for decades, if not for ever.

Here is a good intro to the basics of historical analysis relevant to how voices in the brain connect to personal awareness, leading to Jaynes’s research on consciousness:

Consciousness and the Voices of the Mind

Jaynes’s big book is here:

The Origin of Consciousness in the Break-Down of the Bicameral Mind

My guess is that Jaynes overreached. He want everybody in those societies influenced by “voices.” There is no reason to think that the disorder affected everyone.

“Voices”-amplified-religion, as Jaynes postulates, would give a leader all he needed to keep control. These were pre-writing societies with very low intellectual stimulation for slave classes. They also provided simply terrible food resources as cities were grafted on top of what had been low-density hunter-gatherer communities.

We get something similar in the early 20th Century with the Russian, Lev Vygotsky. He listened to children and found that they talked to themselves, to imaginary friends, to almost anything. The imaginary friends talked back, too. Kids do two-party imaginary conversations.

Building language structures and the generative capabilities is not a simple points-on-a-line waterfall.

Lev Vygotsky in wikipedia

Vygotsky appreciated that individual development in childhood is different from what children can do when they work with other children and with adults. He diagrammed this as a Zone of Proximal Development — extending from individual to full group achievement.

Imagine this ZoPeD process operating in a Jaynestown world where communal daily prayers and songs and hallucinatory voices are major players for childhood development. That is a different world from ours.

All too much a part of our world are the millions of American authoritarians. Here’s Bob Altemeyer’s test:

Altemeyer Authoritarian Test

Freud is left to Dearest Reader. You can find “The Century of the Self” BBC series in four parts at the Google video library. The series shows how Freud’s ideas invaded capitalist advertising in the 1920s and then moved on into politics.
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Right Wing strategy pushed well-defined hoaxes. The aim is to get their targets to believe broad, emotionally charged concepts that tie their “catfished” marks to “conservatives” as to family.

The individual lies can come and go. It is the hoaxes that matter.

Let’s look at a couple of the prime hoaxes.

– Ronald Reagan was a great president

And a great man. The archetypal American. Selling Ronald Reagan has become an industry for Right Wingers.

He is George Washington. Without Reagan, if you want to go all the way with this hoax, there might not be a United States with a constitutional government. He was the critical figure who saved America in the 1980s.

Foreign policy and war-making are areas of strength. He made no mistakes. Every move was brilliant.

Thing is, if you do fact checking on Reagan, he was a terrible failure at international politics. He trashed America’s image overseas by unleashing mass murder. Do the body counts.

Yet today it has been more than a decade since our broadcast news programs have mentioned Reagan’s invasion of Lebanon in 1983. He got 398 people killed there in that one year and then surrendered. His had the Marines and Army turn tail in full retreat. Reagan abandoned our local allies.

Some 241 were killed at the Marine BLT Barracks in October. The embassy had been hit earlier killing 63 and there were two additional truck bombings afterward.

What brought on those killings was Reagan’s mindless naval bombardments of Arab villages up hill from Beirut. He killed hundreds of civilians, setting up a cry for revenge. Iran

By 1985 it is not an exaggeration to say that Reagan was the “father” for Hezbollah. Prior to bombing the Marines, the Iranians had next to no influence in Lebanon. But when an Iranian, Ismail Ascari, drove the first truck bomb and got revenge, the Iranians became long term allies for all the hilltop tribes.

Reagan solved his political problems related to the defeat and surrender by invading Grenada and by having removal of a benign polyp headlined nationally as a “cancer scare.”

Reagan was very good at PR.

Not much else. The line “Tear down this wall!” is credited with powers like Jehovah parting the Red Sea. You would think that Reagan was up on Mt. Rushmore to listen to GOPer propaganda.

Except that he didn’t get as many people killed uselessly, Reagan was similar to GW Bush. Bush’s speech after the 9/11 attacks was his high point, same as Reagan’s speech at the Berlin Wall. Neither of them accomplished much of substance, they ran up huge budget deficits, and the failures in Lebanon and Iraq were their most important impacts on history.

– Democrats are always profligate, always for increasing government, wasteful of your tax dollars

This second big hoax mangles what has happened over the last century with Democrats and Republicans in office. We have a DKOS diary that is a classic for stating the facts:

Which party is best for the economy? It’s not even close

It has charts and links for everything you’d ever want to know. If you fact check.

More than not, corporate media pound out material supporting RWNJ hoaxes. They would have the citizenry believe that Democrats ruin the economy again and again by increasing government spending, raising taxes, and drowning puppies.

It’s like lines of crack for America’s authoritarians.
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Between the auditory hallucinations inhabiting AM and FM radio and putrid run off from the Citizens United out-house, it is no wonder that a fourth of Americans believe swill.

For Progressives, keep your focus on the the Major Hoaxes.

The hoaxes are what populate Tea Party mental processes. The lies are cheap tools used to sustain the hoaxes. Success is like getting any person who has been targeted to realize that their money has been lost to a scam.

Keep in mind that they’re hearing “voices.” You’re also working against the inertia of a very large mass of denial.

FBI and NSA Risk Analysis Commission appointment urged

By: TuffsNotEnuff Tuesday August 13, 2013 9:23 am

There is a risk from terrorism. It is less than 1% of the risk that comes with government overreaction to terrorism. Usama bin Laden knew that — it’s why he participated in the 9/11 attacks. But what are the overall risks of overreaction? we need a commission to sort these things out.

Here is a simple petition at the White House web site. Please, have a go at registering and signing to have an unclassified analysis of the risks published for us all.
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We petition the obama administration to:

Appoint a FBI and NSA Risk Analysis Commission to report most likely impacts of criminal misuse of personal information

A quantitative risk assessment of the FBI-NSA information technology environment should be prepared over a one year period. This report will be released to the public with no redactions. The prime focus is to identify long-term criminal threats.

This is routine work for commercial IT departments. “What damage can a System Administrator do? Or a Vice-President of Security?” These are critical questions.

FBI UPSTREAM and NSA PRISM systems warrant independent downside analysis. We know that millions of these phone records were copied to an FBI employee’s laptop. Similar crimes range from politically motivated cell phone taps to the Watergate “Plumbers” conspiracy.

Assuming the future replicates known “dirty trick” crime patterns, what new hazards for theft or blackmail are now at hand?

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Look to the #2 signer. She was the F.B.I. whistleblower who made the one honest, full effort to stop the 9/11 attacks. They had Zacarias Moussaoui in custody and his laptop in hand — surely enough to put World Trade Center and The Pentagon on a wartime defensive footing. The first airliner suicide-hijacking had come at Christmas of 1994, so there weren’t any mysteries to where the risks fell.

Now we need a solid look at long-term risks from running the UPSTREAM and PRISM systems.

Imagine a President Aaron Burr. Or a home grown President Henry Kissinger. Or how do you like a President J. Edgar Hoover or President Dick Cheney? What are the most likely misuses, the risks of having these systems in place?