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Sun, 24 Sep 2023
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US: The Fascinating Story of How Shameless Right-Wing Lies Came to Rule Our Politics

R Reagan
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From Nixon's plumbers to James O'Keefe's video smears: How political lying became normal.

It takes two things to make a political lie work: a powerful person or institution willing to utter it, and another set of powerful institutions to amplify it. The former has always been with us: Kings, corporate executives, politicians, and ideologues from both sides of the aisle have been entirely willing to bend the truth when they felt it necessary or convenient. So why does it seem as if we're living in a time of overwhelmingly brazen deception? What's changed?

Today's marquee fibs almost always evolve the same way: A tree falls in the forest -- say, the claim that Saddam Hussein has "weapons of mass destruction," or that Barack Obama has an infernal scheme to parade our nation's senior citizens before death panels. But then a network of media enablers helps it to make a sound -- until enough people believe the untruth to make the lie an operative part of our political discourse.

For the past 15 years, I've spent much of my time deeply researching three historic periods -- the birth of the modern conservative movement around the Barry Goldwater campaign, the Nixon era, and the Reagan years -- that together have shaped the modern political lie. Here's how we got to where we are.

Bad Guys

Peru accused of plotting to allow exploitation of ancient tribe's land

One of the world's last uncontacted tribes in the rainforest of Peru
© Gleison Miranda/Funai
One of the world's last uncontacted tribes in the rainforest of Peru

Community that lived in seclusion for millennia faces threat to survival

They are some of the most isolated people on earth, a small civilisation which has spent its entire history cut off from the rest of the world by thousands of miles of wilderness, learning to eke an existence from the plants and creatures of the Amazon rainforest.

Now they face a grave threat. Fears are growing about the future of one of the world's last un-contacted tribes, amid claims by a British human rights organisation that the government of Peru is planning to re-write strict laws supposed to protect their remote jungle territory.

The community was discovered in 2008, when it was spotted by a conservationist flying over rainforest near the country's north-eastern border with Brazil. Footage showed them brandishing weapons and staring at the unfamiliar machine in the sky.

Three years later, the still-unnamed community is the subject of a diplomatic row amid allegations officials plan to quietly abolish the Murunahua Reserve, which was set up to prevent indigenous groups from coming into contact with outsiders.

Survival International says Peru's government plans to allow loggers to begin exploiting valuable mahogany and oil resources within the 1.2 million-acre reserve, hundreds of miles from the nearest towns and cities.


Hyperinflation, Nails in the Coffin and Silver Bullets

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In the past few years the world and the U.S. in particular has seen no shortage of economic near-collapses, boondoggles, scandals, ponzi schemes, and 'bail outs'. But before we examine the next disaster fast approaching and experience the ensuing nausea that is likely to come from knowing about it, it would help us first to just review what the definition of hyperinflation is so that all else that follows goes down easier - so to speak.

Here's how Wikipedia defines it:
"In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or "out of control". While the real values of the specific economic items generally stay the same in terms of relatively stable foreign currencies, in hyperinflationary conditions the general price level within a specific economy increases rapidly as the functional or internal currency, as opposed to a foreign currency, loses its real value very quickly, normally at an accelerating rate.[1] Definitions used vary from one provided by the International Accounting Standards Board, which describes it as "a cumulative inflation rate over three years approaching 100% (26% per annum compounded for three years in a row)", to Cagan's (1956) "inflation exceeding 50% a month." [2] As a rule of thumb, normal monthly and annual low inflation and deflation are reported per month, while under hyperinflation the general price level could rise by 5 or 10% or even much more every day.

A vicious circle is created in which more and more inflation is created with each iteration of the ever increasing money printing cycle. Hyperinflation becomes visible when there is an unchecked increase in the money supply
(see hyperinflation in Zimbabwe) usually accompanied by a widespread unwillingness on the part of the local population to hold the hyperinflationary money for more than the time needed to trade it for something non-monetary to avoid further loss of real value. Hyperinflation is often associated with wars (or their aftermath), currency meltdowns, political or social upheavals, or aggressive bidding on currency exchanges."


Bilderberg 2011: Background, Preview and Predictions

Transcript and sources can be found here.

For more news and information, please visit The Centre for Research on Globalization


US Unemployment Now Worse than During Great Depression

Despite the Republican rhetoric of "jobs jobs jobs," the country is stunningly lacking them. We knew it was bad, but the latest US Unemployment Report, released Friday, proves that we are in the worst slump since the 1930s. This puts it in perspective:
About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months - a higher percentage than during the Great Depression...

Here's another problem: more than 1 million of the long-term unemployed have run out of unemployment benefits, leaving them without the money to get new training, buy new clothes, or even get to job interviews.


Gaddafi's Stolen Billions: Max Keiser Explains 'Financial Terrorism'

International bankers have reportedly wasted billions of dollars invested by Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi. The Financial Times says giants like Goldman Sachs were dealing with the dictator's investments when it needed to plug a hole during the economic crisis. Most of the money has been lost, but with what's going on in Libya any repayment seems unlikely.

Alarm Clock

The Rise of the Second-String Psychopaths

shoe stepping on peeps graphic
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The great writer Kurt Vonnegut titled his final book A Man without a Country. He was the man; the country was the United States of America. Vonnegut felt that his country had disappeared right under his - and the Constitution's - feet, through what he called "the sleaziest, low-comedy Keystone Cops-style coup d'état imaginable." He was talking about the Bush administration. Were Vonnegut still alive in the post-Bush era, he would not have felt that his country had returned.

How had our country disappeared? Vonnegut proposed that among the contributing factors was that it had been invaded - as if by the Martians - by people with a particularly frightening mental illness. People with this illness were termed psychopaths. (The term nowadays is anti-social personality disorder.) These are terms for people who are smart, personable, and engaging, but who have no consciences. They are not guided by a sense of right or wrong. They seem to be unaffected by the feelings of others, including feelings of distress caused by their actions. Straying from a decent way of treating people, or violating ethical codes causes no anxiety, the anxiety which is what causes the rest of us to moderate our more greedy impulses. If most children feel anxiety when they are pilfering the forbidden cookie jar, psychopaths feel just fine. They can devour the cookies, shatter the jar as evidence and stuff it in the trash can. When accused, they can argue with apparent sincerity that the cookie jar has been missing for at least a week. They suffer no remorse, no guilt, no shame. They are free to do anything, no matter how harmful.


GMO Protests Greet Opening of New Gates Foundation Campus

© AGRA Watch
"The technologies that are promoted by the Gates Foundation in Africa are not farmer-friendly or environmentally friendly. Some of them have not been tested fully to determine their effects on the environment and consumers. African farmers are seeking food sovereignty, not imposed unhealthy foods and GMOs!" - Kenyan farmer and director of the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), Samuel Nderitu
Seattle, Washington - On the public opening day of the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle, local activists called attention to the negative aspects of the Foundation's agricultural development efforts in Africa. Although farmers, activists, and civil society organizations throughout Africa and the US have pointed to fundamental problems with the programs of the Foundation and its subsidiary, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Foundation has been non-responsive to these concerns


Israeli forces kill six protesters: Syrian TV

Majdal Shams, Golan Heights - Israeli troops opened fire on Sunday at Palestinian protesters in Syria who rushed toward a border fence and Syrian state television said six demonstrators were killed.

"Anyone who tries to cross the border will be killed," Israeli soldiers shouted at the crowd of several hundred through loudspeakers on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Sunday marked the 44th anniversary of the 1967 Middle East war and Israel had been on alert for a repetition of last month's storming by thousands of Palestinian protesters of Israel's frontiers with Syria and Lebanon.


Malaysia 'obedient wives' club: Good sex is a duty

© AP
In this picture taken Saturday, June 4, 2011, Malaysian Muslim Ishak Md Nor, second from right, 40
Rawang - As a new bride, 22-year-old Ummu Atirah believes she knows the secret to a blissful marriage: obey her husband and ensure he is sexually satisfied.

Ummu and some 800 other Muslim women in Malaysia are members of the "Obedient Wives Club" that is generating controversy in one of the most modern and progressive Muslim-majority nations, where many Muslim Malaysian women hold high posts in the government and corporate world.