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Mon, 29 May 2017
The World for People who Think

Society's Child


Most people today want to be propagandized

There's a principle in hypnotism that goes like this: A person cannot be hypnotized against his will. He must be a willing subject. He must be fully cooperative.

So it goes with propaganda. For propaganda to be effective, it requires submissive subjects. As Professor Nicholas O'Shaughnessy wrote, propaganda is a "co-production in which we are willing participants."

Propaganda is typically defined as the dissemination of particularly biased information in support of a political or ideological cause. In his 1965 book Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes, philosopher Jacques Ellul provided us with some of the basic characteristics of propaganda: it thwarts dialogue, it is geared toward the masses, it utilizes various media, it is continuous, it is not intended to make one think.


'Incarcerated Workers' stage nationwide prison labor strike 45 years after 1971 NY's Attica riot

© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
On the 45th anniversary of the famous Attica riot, inmates across the US are attempting to bring attention to the dire circumstances that prison populations endure, in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world, by going on strike.

September 9, 2016 marks 45 years since the prisoners in New York's Attica Correctional Facility took over the prison to demand humane treatment. In the four-and-a-half decades since then, little has improved, according to those living behind bars.

Inmates are protesting a myriad of problems facing the incarcerated population, such as the low wages they receive for work they are required to do by penitentiaries that benefit the facilities themselves and private companies that contract out labor to prisons.

Some inmates' grievances were outlined in a list of demands posted on the Industrial Workers of the World Incarcerated Workers' Facebook page, containing complaints about the conditions prisoners in South Carolina face.

Comment: See also: Bend the bars: US inmates organizing nationwide strike in protest of prison slavery


Bittersweet progress: Russian teen genius with cerebral palsy invents communication software for the disabled

© facebook
Ivan Bakaidov
Dozens of articles have been published about Ivan Bakaidov, a St Petersburg schoolboy with cerebral palsy (CP), who has learned how to program, and ride a trike. But the plaudits lay bare the obstacles and low expectations faced by the disabled in Russia.

Headlines have called the 17-year-old 'the cerebral palsy genius' and 'the Russian Stephen Hawking' (the English physicist actually suffers from ALS, a different condition) but Bakaidov has repeatedly batted away those compliments, saying that his is merely a sound mind locked within an uncooperative body.

That is not to belittle his achievements.

Bakaidov was a year old when he was diagnosed with CP, a neurological disorder that severely hampers his movement, and is accompanied by dysarthia, an inability to use his vocal chords to effectively articulate sounds, meaning he cannot be understood by any but his closest family members.

Eiffel Tower

Suspicious gas canisters found near Marseille synagogue

© Jean-Paul Pelissier / Reuters
A suspicious vehicle containing two gas canisters has been found near a synagogue in Marseille, France, just a week after a similar incident near Paris' Notre Dame cathedral led to the arrest of several Islamic State sympathizers, local media report.

The suspicious car was found in southern France on Saturday morning next to the Community Centre of Bar Yohaye (local synagogue), La Provence newspaper reported.

Two gas cylinders were found in the car, the paper said, adding that the area has been put under heavy security.

The police Prefect of Bouches-du-Rhône, Laurent Nunez, confirmed to la Province that no detonators were found in the car, adding that it was too early to draw parallels between Saturday's incident and the one that took place in Paris last week.

Comment: In a climate of hysteria, all that's needed to "draw parallels" and make a connection is to make a statement denying any connection has been found. It's a positive feedback loop where both real and imagined threats only serve to heighten the hysteria. The strategy of tension becomes self-perpetuating.


'No moderate rebels here': RT talks with Aleppo civilians on new ceasefire deal

© Muzaffar Salman / Reuters
People living in southern Aleppo seem to have little optimism for a new ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and the US overnight, RT's correspondent Lizzie Phelan found out after talking to residents in the neighborhood.

Aleppo has been a divided city for years and has been the focus of hostilities over the past few months. Phelan walked the city's war-ravaged streets on Saturday just hours after the US and Russia announced a new plan to establish a truce in Syria. At a distance of approximately one kilometer from one of the city's frontlines, it seems that civilians are not very hopeful that it will succeed.

"We hope that the ceasefire holds because it would be good for all Aleppo. If not, let the military operations continue," said one man, who introduced himself as Ayman.

"I don't think this plan will work because there are no so-called moderate rebels in Aleppo. All armed groups are acting like terrorists."


Trump & co. poised to reap massive profits on Dakota pipeline

As the battle rages between Native Americans attempting to protect their natural resources and Big Oil profiteers seeking to plow through with the North Dakota Access pipeline, political figures remain silent.

Obama, Hillary, and Trump have not said a word about the pillaging of land and water, or the fact that attack dogs have been unleashed on protesters just as they were during 1960s civil rights demonstrations.

While we can chalk up Obama's and Hillary's silence to establishment loyalty, Trump has a deeper interest in the 30-inch diameter pipeline connecting the Bakken and Three Forks oil fields to Patoka, Illinois.

Comment: It's all about lining their pockets at the expense of another. Native Americans know this all too well.


Norway goes berserk over Facebook crack down on iconic Vietnam War photo over nudity, then Facebook u-turns

© Ina Fassbender / Reuters
Photojournalist Nick Ut and Kim Phuc (L) attend the presentation of the latest Leica equipment at Photokina 2012, the world's largest fair for imaging, in Cologne
Norwegians have been accusing Facebook of censorship since the social media giant decided to enforce its nudity rules by deleting the iconic photo of a Vietnamese girl running away in terror after her village was hit by a napalm attack.

The blunder began when popular Norwegian author and journalist Tom Egeland posted a status about how photography can influence the world. Among the eight photos he published was that of Kim Phuc taken in June of 1972 near her home village after it was hit by a napalm attack. Kim, who was nine at the time, ripped off her clothes and ran naked crying and screaming as the napalm burned her skin.

Military photographer Nick Ut won the Pulitzer Prize for capturing the iconic image, but Facebook decided that it didn't comply with its nudity rules and deleted it. The social media giant's decision triggered backlash from Norwegians, who posted the iconic photo in defiance. Facebook responded by routinely deleting it.

Comment: Facebook U-turn: Social network backtracks on 'Napalm girl' photo censorship
Facebook has reversed its decision to block the famous image showing a naked girl suffering from a South Vietnamese napalm attack, after the network was accused of censorship around the world.

The social network was under immense pressure and ridicule after it emerged the website blocked the photo, which shows the naked 9-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc running away in terror after her village was hit by a napalm attack. The photo "breached" Facebook's standards for nudity in the image.

Facebook decided to reverse its decision Friday after it "listened to the community" and recognised the "global importance" of the photo.

"Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed," Facebook said in a statement.

"It will take some time to adjust these systems but the photo should be available for sharing in the coming days," it added. "We are always looking to improve our policies to make sure they both promote free expression and keep our community safe."

War Whore

Tacoma Mall rent-a-cop assaults 15yo girl - dragged by hair and thrown 'like a doll' in brutal arrest, lawsuit filed

© WA PI Law / YouTube
A 15-year-old girl was met with an extreme use of force when she and her brother were riding their bikes through a mall parking lot in Washington and were stopped by mall security and an off-duty officer.

A lawsuit on behalf of Monique Tillman and her brother, Eric Branch, claims their civil rights were violated when they were stopped by two security vehicles in the Tacoma Mall parking lot while biking home.

The girl demanded to know why she was stopped, but was met with an extreme use of force.

They believe that they were targeted for the stop, because they're African-American and also claim that the Tacoma police officer who attacked Tillman was negligent in his treatment of a minor while working off duty as a mall security guard.

A video of the 2014 incident between then-15-year-old Tillman and Tacoma police officer Jared Williams is a key piece of evidence in the lawsuit. The surveillance footage shows Tillman and Branch being stopped by a Tacoma Police Department Cruiser and a mall security vehicle.

Tillman is seen gesticulating while she allegedly demanded to know why they were being stopped, her lawsuit claims. Officer Williams claimed that the two teens were "causing a disturbance and being 'trespassed' from the mall," the lawsuit states.

Both Tillman and Branch repeatedly pointed in the direction they were riding their bikes, but when Tillman moved to ride away, Officer Williams reacted with severe force.

Comment: "[P]olice officers are there to protect and serve the community,"

If this phrase doesn't make you nauseous, you haven't been paying attention. No doubt the 'thin blue line' will close ranks and Jared Williams and company will be found guiltless.

Read the filing here.


OECD report: Overwhelming majority of refugees in Germany are overqualified

© Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
Germany has by far the highest percentage among EU countries of overqualified asylum seekers, a working paper by the OECD has found. A larger portion of refugees was also found to be more overqualified than any other immigrant group there.

Germany, which has accepted more Middle Eastern refugees than any other EU member, faces a situation in which over 71 percent of refugees are overqualified for the jobs they are doing, according to the report. This is over 10 percent more than what was reported for any other EU member after the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) compared job requirements with level of qualification.

The report also found them to be more overqualified than other non-EU-born workers. The figure for overqualified immigrants in general is 38 percent in Germany, compared to 30 percent for EU as a whole.

Interestingly, the situation is reversed where locals are concerned: fewer locals in Germany are overqualified for their jobs than elsewhere in Europe, with 16 percent at home and 21 percent in the EU.

Wedding Rings

Report: 1,500 underage refugees arrived in Germany married

Already married 11-year-old seeking asylum in Norway
Some 1,475 minor refugees, mostly girls, have arrived in Germany already married, the majority of whom come from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, an official report cited by German media says. Almost one in four are reportedly less than 14 years old.

The numbers from the government migration office were released in the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) newspaper on Friday.

According to data collected in July of this year, some 1,475 refugee minors were recorded by the migration office as married. The usual minimum age for marriage in Germany is 18, but an exception can be made for 16-year-old children if they have their parents' permission.

The majority of married minors arrived from Syria (664), Afghanistan (157), Iraq (100), Bulgaria (65), Poland (41), Romania (33), and Greece (32), the report says. Girls make up the majority - at least 1,152.