Society's ChildS


Why Do People Defend Unjust, Inept, and Corrupt Systems?

© unk
Why do we stick up for a system or institution we live in -- a government, company, or marriage -- even when anyone else can see it is failing miserably? Why do we resist change even when the system is corrupt or unjust? A new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science, illuminates the conditions under which we're motivated to defend the status quo -- a process called "system justification."

System justification isn't the same as acquiescence, explains Aaron C. Kay, a psychologist at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, who co-authored the paper with University of Waterloo graduate student Justin Friesen. "It's pro-active. When someone comes to justify the status quo, they also come to see it as what should be."

Reviewing laboratory and cross-national studies, the paper illuminates four situations that foster system justification: system threat, system dependence, system inescapability, and low personal control.

When we're threatened we defend ourselves -- and our systems. Before 9/11, for instance, President George W. Bush was sinking in the polls. But as soon as the planes hit the World Trade Center, the president's approval ratings soared. So did support for Congress and the police. During Hurricane Katrina, America witnessed FEMA's spectacular failure to rescue the hurricane's victims. Yet many people blamed those victims for their fate rather than admitting the agency flunked and supporting ideas for fixing it. In times of crisis, say the authors, we want to believe the system works.


Taiwan: Man Lies Dead in Internet Cafe for 9 Hours Before Anyone Notices

game screen
© n/a
30 people sat around Chen Rong-yu did not realise anything was wrong

A young gamer lay dead in an internet cafe in Taiwan for nine hours before anyone noticed.

Chen Rong-yu, 23, is thought to have suffered a heart attack after playing League of Legends for 23 hours.

He was apparently still sat on the chair with his hands stretched out in front of the keyboard as if he was still playing in the cafe in New Taipei City.

A waitress only realised he was dead after rigor mortis had set in.

None of the other 30 gamers around him had realised anything was wrong.

Mr. Potato

US, Wisconsin: Menominee Seventh Grader Suspended for Saying "I Love You" in her Native Language

© unkMiranda Washinawatok - Menominee
What's love got to do with it? Not much, especially if you say the words "I love you" in the Menominee language in front of a certain Wisconsin teacher.

Seventh grader Miranda Washinawatok, Menominee, found this out.

Miranda speaks two languages: Menominee and English. She also plays on her basketball team. However, two Thursdays ago she was suspended for one basketball game because she spoke Menominee to a fellow classmate during class.

Miranda attends Sacred Heart Catholic Academy in Shawano, Wisconsin. The school body is over 60 percent American Indian. The school is approximately six miles from the south border of the Menominee Indian Tribe Reservation.

War Whore

US: Why Do We Ignore the Civilians Killed in American Wars?

US soldiers @ Iraq changing flag
© Mario Tama / Getty Images
As the United States officially ended the war in Iraq last month, President Obama spoke eloquently at Fort Bragg, N.C., lauding troops for "your patriotism, your commitment to fulfill your mission, your abiding commitment to one another," and offering words of grief for the nearly 4,500 members of the U.S. armed forces who died in Iraq. He did not, however, mention the sacrifices of the Iraqi people.

This inattention to civilian deaths in America's wars isn't unique to Iraq. There's little evidence that the American public gives much thought to the people who live in the nations where our military interventions take place. Think about the memorials on the Mall honoring American sacrifices in Korea and Vietnam. These are powerful, sacred spots, but neither mentions the people of those countries who perished in the conflicts.

The major wars the United States has fought since the surrender of Japan in 1945 - in Korea, Indochina, Iraq and Afghanistan - have produced colossal carnage. For most of them, we do not have an accurate sense of how many people died, but a conservative estimate is at least 6 million civilians and soldiers.

Our lack of acknowledgment is less oversight than habit, a self-reflective reaction to the horrors of war and an American tradition that goes back decades. We consider ourselves a generous and compassionate nation, and often we are. From the Asian tsunami in 2004 to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Americans have been quick to open their pocketbooks and their hearts.

2 + 2 = 4

US: How the Government Manufactures Low Unemployment Numbers

'I need a job' man
© Reuters / Jason Reed
Figures released Friday by the US Labor Department declare that the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3 percent. While economists applaud the latest news, the reality is improvement comes only after 3 million jobless Americans are unaccounted for.

While job creation exceeded expectations for January, those experiencing long-term unemployment - those jobless for longer than six months, that is - remains at a record high.

In a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, it's revealed that those suffering the longest from the unemployment epidemic exceed any monthly statistic dating back to the Second World War. The Labor Department figures that 5.5 million would-be workers have been without employment for 27 weeks or longer, accounting for around 42.9 percent of the total tally of unemployed Americans.

The consulting firm Hamilton Place Strategies based out of Washington estimates that as many as 3 million additional unemployed workers have been without jobs for just as long but are not taken into consideration by the US government. For those unfortunate many, the Department of Labor simply stops including them in statistics once they are determined to have simply "given up" on the job hunt. They add in their study, however, that even if bettering economic conditions prompt those considered to have given up to reevaluate the job hunt, the government's "official" unemployment rate may once again surge to unfavorable numbers as the country's still staggering economy would not be able to create work for them.

Bad Guys

U.S. Military Toxins: The Gift That Keeps on Killing

Iraqis wave as the last U.S. convoy heads
© Lucas Jackson/AFP/Getty ImagesThe US has a history of “invasion, occupation and destruction” throughout the world, Dennis Etler says.
A tragic history of pollution continues in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hey, Iraq, don't say we never gave you anything. In addition to hundreds of thousands dead and untold injured, the United States is leaving behind enough toxic waste sites to kill your rats.

"Open-air burn pits have operated widely at military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan," the Department of Veterans Affairs notes on its website. On hundreds of camps and bases across the two countries, the U.S. military and its contractors incinerated toxic waste, including unexploded ordnance, plastics and Styrofoam, asbestos, formaldehyde, arsenic, pesticides and neurotoxins, medical waste (even amputated limbs), heavy metals and what the military refers to as "radioactive commodities." The burns have released mutagens and carcinogens, including uranium and other isotopes, volatile organic compounds, hexachlorobenzene, and, that old favorite, dioxin (aka Agent Orange).

The military pooh-poohs the problem, despite a 2009 Pentagon document noting "an estimated 11 million pounds [5,000 tonnes] of hazardous waste" produced by American troops, the Times of London reported. In any case, it says, the waste isn't all that toxic, and there is no hard evidence troops were harmed. Of course, one reason for that lack of evidence, reports the Institute of Medicine (which found 53 toxins in the air above the Balad air base alone), is that the Pentagon won't or can't document what it burned and buried, or where it did so.


US, California: No Capital Punishment in Baby's Microwave Death

Sacramento prosecutors have decided not to seek the death penalty against a woman charged with murdering her 6-week-old daughter by putting her in a microwave oven.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Ore disclosed his office's decision at a brief hearing today for defendant Ka Yang in Sacramento Superior Court.

Ore, in an emailed statement, cited Yang's lack of criminal background among the factors that went into the office's decision against pursuing capital punishment.


US, California: Prosecutors won't charge cyclist Lance Armstrong

© Bas Czerwinski/The Associated PressIn this July 17, 2009, file phot, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong reacts as he answers questions of reporters prior to the start of the 13th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 200 kilometers (124.3 miles) with start in Vittel and finish in Colmar, central France.
Lance Armstrong is used to winning, but his most recent victory was unlike any he had experienced before.

Federal prosecutors dropped their investigation of the seven-time Tour de France champion Friday, ending a nearly two-year effort to determine whether the world's most famous cyclist and his teammates joined in a doping program during his greatest years.

Armstrong steadfastly denied he doped during his unparalleled career, but the possibility of criminal charges threatened to stain not only his accomplishments, but his cancer charity work as well. Instead, another attempt to prove a star athlete used performance-enhancing drugs has fallen short, despite years of evidence gathering across two continents.

"I am gratified to learn that the U.S. Attorney's Office is closing its investigation," Armstrong said in a statement. "It is the right decision and I commend them for reaching it."

The probe, anchored in Los Angeles where a grand jury was presented evidence by federal prosecutors and heard testimony from Armstrong's former teammates and associates, began with a separate investigation of Rock Racing, a cycling team owned by fashion entrepreneur Michael Ball.

U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. announced in a press release that his office "is closing an investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates of a professional bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong."


Best of the Web: Georges Fenech of the MIVILUDES: "The economic crisis, a fertile ground for cults"

Translated by SOTT

Comment: The U.S. government has taken away all the freedoms that they have claimed the Islamic Terrorists hate us for! And governments all over the world, sometimes in slightly different ways, are doing exactly the same. In France, it's an organization known as MIVILUDES that has taken on this role, and their mandate seems to be exactly the same as that promoted by Evgeny Morozov, cited in Columnist Calls for Internet Quality Control" to Quash Dissent where you will read:
Do you think anthropogenic global warming is a hoax? Are you unconvinced that your ancestors had more in common with Cheetah than with Tarzan? Have you any doubts about the official version of how 9/11 went down? Then you, according to Evgeny Morozov, are part of a "kooky" "fringe movement" whose growth must be checked by forcing you to read "authoritative" content whenever you go looking for information on such topics on the Internet.

Morozov is a visiting scholar at Stanford University, a contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine, and a former fellow at George Soros' Open Society Institute - in other words, a reliable bellwether of globalist establishment thinking.
What shows the terrible, collective, weakness of character of the soft and hedonistic U.S. population is their acceptance of the loss of their freedoms in exchange for protection from those who are claimed to "hate us because of our freedoms." This same poison is being spread in France by the above mentioned MIVILUDES in lock-step with the Globalist Elite agenda. A French doctor of my acquaintance showed me a magazine that she (as a physician in France) receives. In the last issue, there was an article explaining to doctors that they need to be on the lookout for anybody who thinks or acts "different from the norm". Doctors are, apparently, being encouraged to abrogate their Hippocratic Oath in favor of reporting on their patients who might be holding "aberrant ideas" such as that vaccines may be bad, vitamins are good, food does have an effect on your health, and so forth. Doctors in France are even being offered special perks if they take a course in "spotting cult members"! I kid you not! The same types of articles are being included in legal journals that attorneys and judges subscribe to! And all of this activity, undertaken by MIVILUDES, is being financed by the French government!

Invited by the order of lawyers, Georges Fenech, president of the MIVILUDES (Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances), will be in Toulouse next Wednesday.

An ex-magistrate, deputy of the Rhône departement in 2002 and 2007, Georges Fenech, 57, came back to the magistracy in 2008. Since then, upon nomination by the Prime Minister, he's the head of the MIVILUDES.

Why taking part in a symposium about the training of lawyers?

Georges Fenech: I was invited by the president of Toulouse's bar, and training constitutes one of the essential missions of the MIVILUDES. We attach a lot of importance to it. It allows us to transmit information, to go deeper in the analysis of the phenomenon and to train on the issue of cultic deviances, on detecting criteria, and on the means to counter them.

Comment: As a reminder:

The U.S. Congress signal the dangerous politics of Miviludes
Today, the U.S. Congress reacted to the publication of a bulletin from the french Ministry of Justice. This bulletin, which has already been the object of polemical discussions in recent days, instructs prosecutors and judges of courts of appeal to consider certain religious practices, such as fasting, as means of psychological subjection.

In a letter to Prime Minister Francois Fillon dated October 28, co-signed by the presidents of House International Religious Freedom Caucus, the members of U.S. Congress, express their worries: "We are worried because there is no chance of real justice for these movements (religious minority) and this appears as a direct intervention of the executive power to influence and direct the decisions of judges in criminal cases."
Extract from You are not so smart by David McRaney:
Richard M. Perloff in 1993 and Bryant Paul in 2000 reviewed all the studies since researcher W. Phillips Davison first coined the term "third person effect" in 1983. Davison noticed some people saw certain messages in the media as a call to action, not because of what was being said, but because of who might hear it. He pointed to the third person effect as the source of outrage from religious leaders over "heretical propaganda" and the ire of political rulers over some speech out of a "fear of dissent." Furthermore, Davison saw such censorship as arising out of a belief that some messages might harm "more impressionable minds." Perloff and Paul found that the third person effect is magnified when you already have a negative opinion of the source, or if you personally think the message is about something you aren't interested in. In all, their meta-analysis showed the majority of people believe they aren't like the majority of people.

You don't want to believe you can be persuaded, and one way of maintaining this belief is to assume that all the persuasion flying through the air must be landing on other targets. Otherwise, how could it be successful? ...

When you watch your preferred news channel or read your favorite newspaper or blog, you tend to believe you are an independent thinker. ...On the other side of the television, networks and producers design programming based on statistics and ratings, on demographic analysis that cuts through the third person effect so you can keep on believing you aren't the kind of person who watches the shows you watch. You tend to think that you are not like the people who live in your town, got to your school, work at your business, and so on. You are unique. You dance to the beat of a different drummer. You fail to realize just by living in your town, attending your school, and working at your job, you ARE the kind of person who would do those things. You you weren't, you would be doing something else. ...

The third person effect is a version of the self-serving bias. You excuse your failures and see yourself as more successful, more intelligent and more skilled than you are. Research into the self-serving bias shows subjects tend to rate themselves as more skilled than their coworkers, better drivers than the average person, more attractive ... {etc} It follows, then, that most people would believe that they were less gullible than the majority. ...

When the Third Person Effect leads you to condone censorship, take a step back and imagine the sort of messages people on the other side might think are brainwashing you, and then ask yourself if those messages should be censored too.
Persuasion: The Third-Person Effect

Why people think they are less influenced than others by adverts and persuasive messages.

One of the most intriguing things about the psychology of persuasion is how many people say that persuasion attempts have little or no effect on them. Other people, oh sure, adverts, work on them. But not you and I, we're too clever for that.

Attractive woman holding a bottle of beer? Hah! How stupid do they think we are? We know what they're doing and we wouldn't fall for such cheap tactics.

Would we?

Persuasive experiments

So pervasive is this feeling that only 'other' people are influenced by things like adverts that many studies have explored the idea, with an initial surge in the 1980s and 90s. Psychologists wanted to see how much people thought they were influenced by persuasive messages like adverts and compare it with actual attitude changes, if any.

Typically these studies first got participants to watch an advert, read a newspaper article or other medium containing a persuasive message. Then they were asked how much it had influenced them and how much it might influence other people. Since the experimenters measured actual persuasion and knew from previous research how influential the messages were, they could compare people's guesses with reality.

What they found, in study after study, was that participants thought others would be influenced by the message, but that they themselves would remain unaffected. When psychologists looked at the results, though, it was clear that participants were just as influenced as other people. This was dubbed the 'third-person effect'.

Third-person effect

Reviewing the research in this area, Perloff (1993) found that studies on political adverts, defamatory news stories, public service announcements and many more all showed a robust third-person effect. Similar conclusions were reached by Paul et al. (2000), who looked at 32 separate studies.

Perloff also found that when people don't agree with the message or judge its source as negative, the third-person effect became even stronger. The effect is also stronger when messages aren't directly relevant to people.

In other words people are likely to be influenced more than they think on subjects that are currently of little or no interest to them. An everyday example would be seeing an advert for a car, when you're not in the market for a new car. We'd probably guess it has little or no influence on us, but this research suggests we'd be wrong.

Take back control

The third-person effect is unusual because it goes against the general finding that we overestimate other people's similarity to ourselves.

This is what psychologists call the false consensus effect: we tend to assume that others hold more similar opinions and have more similar attributes and personalities to ourselves than they really do.

The third-person effect, though, goes in the other direction. When it comes to influence, instead of thinking other people are similar to us, we think they're different. There are two facets of human nature that support this exception:

* Illusion of invulnerability. People prefer to believe that they are, on average, less vulnerable than others to negative influences, like unwanted persuasion attempts. We all want to protect our sense of control over our lives. One way we do that is to assume that ads only work on other people.

* Poor self-knowledge. Although it's an unpalatable idea, we often don't know what's really going on in our own minds. Not only does this make scientific psychology a tricky enterprise, it also means that many of our intuitions about the way our own minds work are scrambled and subject to biases like the illusion of invulnerability. The effect of persuasive messages is a good example of this.

People often react to this sort of research by saying it's disheartening, which it is. It's not a happy thought that we don't know how easily we are influenced because we don't really know what's going on in our own minds.

However, sticking our heads in the sand and pretending influence attempts don't work is likely to increase our vulnerability. On the other hand, if we acknowledging our lack of insight into our own thought processes, we can raise our defences against the power of advertising and messages of influence, and take back control for ourselves.
W. Phillips Davison, The Third-Person Effect in Communication

A person exposed to a persuasive communication in the mass media sees this as having a greater effect on others than on himself or herself. Each individual reasons: "I will not be influenced, but they (the third persons) may well be persuaded." In some cases, a communication leads to action not because of its impact on those to whom it is ostensibly directed, but because others (third persons) think that it will have an impact on its audience. Four small experiments that tend to support this hypothesis are presented, and its complementary relationship to a number of concepts in the social sciences is noted. The third-person effect may help to explain various aspects of social behavior, including the fear of heretical propaganda by religious leaders and the fear of dissent by political rulers. It appears to be related to the phenomenon of censorship in general: the censor never admits to being influenced; it is others with "more impressionable minds" who will be affected.

Bad Guys

UK: Animal-Cruelty Hell Discovered Behind the Gates of 'Haven' Farm

Farm Hell
© Notts County CouncilSICKENING -- pigs were kept in cramped, dirty conditions at the farm.

THE HORROR endured by mistreated animals that were left to feed on the dead remains of livestock at a Dispatch district farm has been graphically exposed.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that trading standards officials were alerted to the hell that was being hidden behind the gates of White Haven Farm off Goosedale Lane on the outskirts of Bestwood Village by an anonymous tip-off.

A disturbing investigation was launched and when officers searched the site they discovered what they have now dubbed the "worst case of animal cruelty they have ever dealt with".

The man responsible is 47-year-old farmer Keith Littlewood, who has now been jailed for a year for the disturbing mistreatment of the animals and failing to dispose of animal carcasses. The catalogue of cruelty unveiled emaciated cows and pigs living in squalid conditions.

The bodies of dead cows, pigs, poultry and even a donkey were found rotting when a harrowing raid was carried out at the White Haven Farm in Bestwood Village.

The images illustrate the full extent of the cruelty that was exposed when Notts County Council trading standards officers raided the premises.