Why Don’t You Ever Criticize RUSSIA’S Warmongering

“Why don’t you ever criticize RUSSIA’S warmongering?” is a question I am often asked with great indignation. People cannot comprehend why I would spend all my time criticizing the warmongering of the power structure I live under without spending any time criticizing the government they’re used to hearing criticisms of.

It’s a question born of delusion and propaganda brainwashing, and it has several good answers. Here are some of my favorites.

“Why don’t you ever criticize RUSSIA’S warmongering?”

First of all, I actually do sometimes criticize Russia’s warmongering, to the limited extent that I believe it’s necessary in a civilization that’s being deliberately saturated in maximum-amplification criticisms of Russia’s warmongering. That criticism generally goes something like this: Putin is responsible for Putin’s decisions, and the US empire is responsible for the US empire’s decisions. Putin is responsible for deciding to invade Ukraine, and the US empire is responsible for provoking that invasion.

It’s not actually complicated. If I provoke someone into doing a bad thing, then we each have a degree of moral responsibility for the bad thing that was done. So much modern empire apologia revolves around pretending that provocation is simply not a thing; that this very simple and fundamental concept we all learned about as children was just

— source caitlinjohnstone.com | Caitlin Johnstone | Jan 28, 2023

Nullius in verba


The Dangerous Digital Forever War of Far-Right Conspiracy Theories

His video quickly went viral and triggered a wave of news coverage. Those seven words Flynn tacked onto the end of the officer’s oath — “Where we go one, we go all” — had first appeared in a mediocre 1990s movie, White Squall, starring Jeff Bridges. More recently, though, the phrase and its acronym, WWG1WGA, had become a rallying cry associated with QAnon, the bizarre conspiracy theory about a supposed cabal of pedophile elites in the Democratic Party and Hollywood who secretly run the world, while harvesting the adrenal glands of children in order to live forever. The Flynn family insisted that the oath was a family tradition having nothing to do with QAnon. (Flynn’s relatives even sued media outlets that claimed a connection.)

In the two years since that moment, what strikes me about that video isn’t the possibility of a QAnon connection, which, to be clear, the Flynn family has unequivocally denied. What stays with me is the pseudo-oath itself and what it catches about this moment in our history.

As you’ll undoubtedly recall, in 2017, Flynn briefly served as President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, a post he held until it emerged that he had misled the FBI and Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he’d had with the Russian ambassador

— source tomdispatch.com | Andy Kroll | Sep 8, 2022

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Dog Whistle or Just Racist?

Republican strategist Lee Atwater is the godfather of the modern political dog whistle. He didn’t go around calling it that—I can’t actually find any evidence that he even used the term—but in a 1981 interview about how the GOP won the South, Atwater offered a concise description.

“By 1968 you can’t say ‘[n-word]’—that hurts you, [it] backfires, so you say stuff like, uh, ‘forced busing,’ ‘states’ rights,’” Atwater explained. “And you’re getting so abstract. Now you’re talking about ‘cutting taxes.’”

Atwater was speaking anonymously to a political scientist from his perch as a staffer in Ronald Reagan’s White House. He was also telling on himself. He got his start working for the arch-­segregationist Strom Thurmond. Later, as a campaign manager for George H.W. Bush, he would push the Willie Horton ad, which tied Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis to a Black man who committed multiple violent crimes while out on furlough from prison. On the surface, it was just a factual criticism about a weekend-release program. On a different frequency, it was screaming at white voters about a racist trope. Plausible deniability was crucial. Atwater told reporters that he at first hadn’t known Horton was Black.

The Horton ad, and the campaign manager behind it, captured something essential about the past and future of the Republican party. Over the last half century, Republican politicians and ad-makers have repackaged and sold white reactionary politics—on education, public services, housing, immigration, and crime—with an evolving set of euphemisms

— source motherjones.com | Tim Murphy | Sep+Oct 2022

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Silencing the lambs. how propaganda works

In an address to the Trondheim World Festival in Norway, John Pilger charts the history of power propaganda and describes how it appropriates journalism in a ‘profound imperialism’ and is likely to entrap us all, if we allow it.

In the 1970s, I met one of Hitler’s leading propagandists, Leni Riefenstahl, whose epic films glorified the Nazis. We happened to be staying at the same lodge in Kenya, where she was on a photography assignment, having escaped the fate of other friends of the Fuhrer.

She told me that the ‘patriotic messages’ of her films were dependent not on ‘orders from above’ but on what she called the ‘submissive void’ of the German public.

Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? I asked. ‘Yes, especially them,’ she said.

— source johnpilger.com | John Pilger | 8 Sep 2022

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Top Hollywood Producers Working With Israel To Defend Its War Crimes

As Israel was launching a deadly assault on Gaza, killing thousands of civilians and displacing more than 100,000 people, many of America’s top TV, music and film producers were organizing to protect the apartheid state’s reputation from widespread international condemnation.

Together, the Sony Archive – a cache of emails published by Wikileaks – prove that influential entertainment magnates attempted to whitewash Israeli crimes and present the situation as defending itself from an impending “genocide”, liaised with Israeli military and government officials in order to coordinate their message, attempted to cancel those who spoke out against the injustice, and put financial and social pressure on institutions who hosted artists criticizing the apartheid government’s actions.

“[Israel’s message] Must be repeated ad infinitum until the people get it,” wrote Hollywood lawyer and producer Glenn D. Feig, in an email chain to many of Tinsel Town’s most

— source scheerpost.com | Alan MacLeod | Sep 24, 2022

Nullius in verba