Truth

#MustRead ~ Information Ecosystem

February 12, 2020

Truths kindle light for truths.

-Julius Caesar

“What you have is a presidential campaign that is pushing lies and distortions and conspiracy theories into the bloodstream at an unprecedented rate,” says Atlantic writer McKay Coppins.

“Eventually, the fear of covert propaganda inflicts as much damage as the propaganda itself.”

The Atlantic

The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President

How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election

“One day last fall, I sat down to create a new Facebook account. I picked a forgettable name, snapped a profile pic with my face obscured, and clicked “Like” on the official pages of Donald Trump and his reelection campaign. Facebook’s algorithm prodded me to follow Ann Coulter, Fox Business, and a variety of fan pages with names like “In Trump We Trust.” I complied. I also gave my cellphone number to the Trump campaign, and joined a handful of private Facebook groups for MAGA diehards, one of which required an application that seemed designed to screen out interlopers.

It’s been reported that the RNC and the Trump campaign have compiled an average of 3,000 data points on every voter in America. And so that means everything from what you like to watch on TV, what kind of stores you shop at, whether you’ve been to a gun show or own a gun. They’ve compiled all this data, and they can use it to carefully tailor messages just for you. And I should say that this is not unique to the Trump campaign. This isn’t something Brad Parscale invented. Barack Obama’s campaign famously did it in 2012. The Clinton campaign did it as well in 2016. But the Trump campaign’s effort was different, both because it was much more extensive and also, frankly, a lot more brazen.

The Trump campaign is planning to spend more than $1 billion, and it will be aided by a vast coalition of partisan media, outside political groups, and enterprising freelance operatives. These pro-Trump forces are poised to wage what could be the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history. Whether or not it succeeds in reelecting the president, the wreckage it leaves behind could be irreparable.”

The Death Star

The campaign is run from the 14th floor of a gleaming, modern office tower in Rosslyn, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. Glass-walled conference rooms look out on the Potomac River. Rows of sleek monitors line the main office space. Unlike the bootstrap operation that first got Trump elected—with its motley band of B-teamers toiling in an unfinished space in Trump Tower—his 2020 enterprise is heavily funded, technologically sophisticated, and staffed with dozens of experienced operatives. One Republican strategist referred to it, admiringly, as “the Death Star.”

Next hit? Local News

Parscale has indicated that he plans to open up a new front in this war: local news. Last year, he said the campaign intends to train “swarms of surrogates” to undermine negative coverage from local TV stations and newspapers. Polls have long found that Americans across the political spectrum trust local news more than national media. If the campaign has its way, that trust will be eroded by November. “We can actually build up and fight with the local newspapers,” Parscale told donors, according to a recording provided by The Palm Beach Post. “So we’re not just fighting on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC with the same 700,000 people watching every day.”

Running parallel to this effort, some conservatives have been experimenting with a scheme to exploit the credibility of local journalism. Over the past few years, hundreds of websites with innocuous-sounding names like the Arizona Monitor and The Kalamazoo Times have begun popping up. At first glance, they look like regular publications, complete with community notices and coverage of schools. But look closer and you’ll find that there are often no mastheads, few if any bylines, and no addresses for local offices. Many of them are organs of Republican lobbying groups; others belong to a mysterious company called Locality Labs, which is run by a conservative activist in Illinois. Readers are given no indication that these sites have political agendas—which is precisely what makes them valuable.

Censorship Through Noise

The political theorist Hannah Arendt once wrote that the most successful totalitarian leaders of the 20th century instilled in their followers “a mixture of gullibility and cynicism.” When they were lied to, they chose to believe it. When a lie was debunked, they claimed they’d known all along—and would then “admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.” Over time, Arendt wrote, the onslaught of propaganda conditioned people to “believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.”

[full read]

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-2020-disinformation-war/605530/

President Barack Obama: Even if the methods are new, sowing the seeds of doubt, division, and discord to turn Americans against each other is an old trick. The antidote is citizenship: to get engaged, organized, mobilized, and to vote – on every level, in every election. 02.11.20 [twitter]

Fresh Air with Terry Gross

“The 2020 Disinformation War,” is in the current issue of The Atlantic, where McKay Coppins is a staff writer. He writes about how the Trump campaign and a vast coalition of partisan media, outside political groups and freelance operatives are poised to wage what could be the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history. As part of his research, Coppins tried to live in the same media and social media world as Trump supporters so he could monitor the information or disinformation they were receiving.”

Coppins:

“A lot of these illiberal leaders have discovered that in the Internet age, in the social media age, in what scholars call the information abundance age, it’s a lot easier to harness the power of social media for their own means. So rather than shutting down dissenting voices, they’ve learned to use the democratizing power of social media to jam the signals or sow confusion. They don’t have to, you know, silence the dissident who’s shouting in the streets; they can actually just drown him out. And I think that over time, you’ve seen this in other countries – certainly in the Baltic states, in Eastern Europe, Russia.

If journalism and facts are treated as equal in credibility to partisan propaganda or lies from political leaders, if it’s all one level playing field, then it becomes almost impossible for political leaders to be held accountable for their actions because you have a population that’s either disengaged or distracted or confused and unable to kind of respond to the various corruptions and scandals and things that they’re getting away with.

Matthew Boyle, an editor at Breitbart who is often involved in this effort, gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation in 2017 where he said, journalistic integrity is dead. There is no such thing anymore. So everything now is about weaponization of information. And that’s really at the root of this whole enterprise. They’re not trying to make journalists be better or get them to do their jobs better. They’re trying to discredit them and weaponize information and make it so that journalism and facts are seen as on par with political talking points and propaganda.”

https://www.npr.org/2020/02/11/804811544/journalist-details-brazen-ways-trump-will-use-his-power-to-get-reelected


AP

AXIOS

 

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

February 7, 2020

For your service, for your loyalty, for love of country, for your compassion, for truth, thank you, Lt. Vindman. You are a patriot. Love to your brother, and your family.

“LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth,” his attorney, David Pressman, said in a statement. “The truth has cost LTC Alexander Vindman his job, his career and his privacy.”

V O T E

And to your brother, Yevgeny Vindman, our deepest apologies.

#DeleteFacebook

January 1, 2020

New Year’s Eve 2019.

Hi friends.  This is my final post on fb. 2.2 billion people, a third of humanity, log on across the planet every hour, I don’t think Zuck will miss me much. Nonetheless, 17 million Americans have left FB in the last two years because of disinformation and political manipulation. Mark Zuckerberg made an additional $27 billion last year alone; he won’t be changing his behaviors any time soon. He throws all that he does under the free speech/innovation bus. His modus operandi has always been to act first, apologize later. Literal early company motto: ‘Move fast and break things.’ Based on past behaviors and weak rhetoric, I don’t think he has the moral compass to steer a moral path. He doesn’t have the emotional or compassionate intelligence to consider the meaning of truth, the limits of free speech, and the origins of violence. Peter Thiel, a billionaire who sits on his board, is the guy who once wrote democracy was weakened when women received the right to vote. Good guy. Zuckerberg is now at the center of a full-fledged debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders.

In their opinion piece for January 1st, 2020, Idaho Mountain Express offered their New Year’s resolution for fb and Zuckerberg: “To take legal responsibility for what his platform has wrought by making it a publisher instead of a filthy rich exploiter of unsuspecting Americans.” Right on.

In 1915, Louis Brandeis, the reformer and future Supreme Court Justice, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of corporations large enough that they could achieve a level of near-sovereignty “so powerful that the ordinary social and industrial forces existing are insufficient to cope with it.” He called this the “curse of bigness.” Tim Wu, a Columbia law-school professor and the author of a forthcoming book inspired by Brandeis’s phrase, said “Today, no sector exemplifies more clearly the threat of bigness to democracy than Big Tech.” He added, “When a concentrated private power has such control over what we see and hear, it has a power that rivals or exceeds that of elected government.”

A healthy market should produce competitors to Facebook that position themselves as ethical alternatives, collecting less data and seeking a smaller share of user attention. Like it or not, Zuckerberg is a gatekeeper. The era when Facebook could learn by doing, and fix the mistakes later, is over. The costs are too high, and idealism is not a defense against negligence.

I’ll miss my connections on this platform, my ol’ radio buds, sorority sisters, our community…I even reconnected with a dear junior high school friend from San Diego. We were 14 years old when we met. I will miss the ease in posting and sharing information. I remain hopeful someone will create a new social media site that will allow us to have a nonaddictive, advertising-free space that guards against foreign influence and disinformation, honoring privacy and our personal data. From Free Press: ‘We must have control over how our personal information is used, and prohibit its use to build systems that oppress, discriminate, disenfranchise and exacerbate segregation.’

I don’t Instagram or engage on WhatsApp…all Zuckerberg. I stay with twitter, where I follow various news organizations and journalists, because owner Jack Dorsey has committed to eliminating political ads and just recently launched a research project called Bluesky, researching decentralized technical standards for social media platforms making it easier to enforce rules against hate speech and other abuses.

The early hope for internet democracy has evaporated into a dystopian space that has weakened our democracy with dangerous disinformation, false political ads and foreign algorithms. We haven’t even begun to deal with ‘deep fake’ video yet, given media in general, the press specifically, have not found a way to authenticate what’s real and what isn’t. This virtual mess is only going to get worse.

In India, the largest market for Facebook’s WhatsApp service, hoaxes have triggered riots, lynchings, and fatal beatings. Local officials resorted to shutting down the Internet sixty-five times last year. In Libya, people took to Facebook to trade weapons, and armed groups relayed the locations of targets for artillery strikes. In Sri Lanka, after a Buddhist mob attacked Muslims this spring over a false rumor, a Presidential adviser said, “The germs are ours, but Facebook is the wind.”

Nowhere has the damage been starker than in Myanmar, where the Rohingya Muslim minority has been subject to brutal killings, gang rapes, and torture. In 2012, around one per cent of the country’s population had access to the Internet. Three years later, that figure had reached twenty-five per cent. Phones often came preloaded with the Facebook app, and Buddhist extremists seeking to inflame ethnic tensions with the Rohingya mastered the art of misinformation.

Beginning in 2013, a series of experts on Myanmar met with Facebook officials to warn them that it was fueling attacks on the genocide. David Madden, an entrepreneur based in Myanmar, delivered a presentation to officials at the Menlo Park headquarters, pointing out that the company was playing a role akin to that of the radio broadcasts that spread hatred during the

In 2011, the company asked the FEC [Federal Election Commission] for an exemption to rules requiring the source of funding for political ads to be disclosed. In filings, a Facebook lawyer argued that the agency “should not stand in the way of innovation.” Another default argument. It became a running joke among employees that Facebook could tilt an election just by choosing where to deploy its “I Voted” button.

The 2016 election was <supposed> to be good for Facebook. That January, fb COO and billionaire Sheryl Sandberg told investors that the election would be “a big deal in terms of ad spend,” comparable to the Super Bowl and the World Cup. According to Borrell Associates, a research and consulting firm, candidates and other political groups were on track to spend $1.4 billion online in the election, up ninefold from four years earlier.

During the campaign, Trump used Facebook to raise two hundred and eighty million dollars. Just days before the election, his team paid for a voter-suppression effort on the platform. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, it targeted three Democratic constituencies—“idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans”—sending them videos precisely tailored to discourage them from turning out for Clinton.

***Theresa Hong, the Trump campaign’s digital-content director, later told an interviewer, “Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won.”***

Facebook admits a pro-Trump media outlet used artificial intelligence to create fake people and push conspiracies.

In September of 2017, after Robert Mueller obtained a search warrant, Facebook agreed to give his office an inventory of ads linked to Russia and the details of who had paid for them. In October, Facebook disclosed that Russian operatives had published about eighty thousand posts, reaching a hundred and twenty-six million Americans.

Last year, Facebook spent $11.5 million on lobbying in Washington, ranking it between the American Bankers Association and General Dynamics among top spenders. Money…I mean, power and greed…along with behavior modification technology… pretty much defines how we landed here. FB is the epicenter of persuasive technology.

#2020 is going to be a ride. Buckle up. Stay vigilant. Be proactive consumers of news and information. Take the Pro-Truth pledge. And V O T E. It is imperative we remember our democracy is fragile and it fails without ‘we the people.’ Activist Greta Thunberg wrote today, “This coming decade humanity will decide it’s future. Let’s make it the best one we can. We have to do the impossible. So let’s get started.”

I’ll miss you, my fb friends. Happy New Year. Be safe. Only peace.

~

[In context of fb’s persuasive behavior modification techniques, my pages will stay active for about 30 days and then evaporate. If I log on anytime during those 30 days post depletion, the pages will re-activate, so I won’t be able to read any comments to my final fb post. Just email me, dayle.cafe@icloud.com, follow me on twitter, @DayleOhlau, or my website, daylescommunitycafe.com. ♡]

protruthpledge.org

Even if your voice shakes.

December 19, 2019

The truth is that what we want or dream of doesn’t always last. It tends to serve its purpose in our development and then fades away, losing its relevance. And we can do enormous damage to ourselves by insisting on carrying that which has died.

Living up to a dream is rarely as important as entering it for all it has to teach.

What is it teaching you?

-Mark Nepo

 

#Truth

October 6, 2019

“Truth cannot be given the same level of coverage as falsehood. We shouldn’t make them equivalent. It’s not partisan for the media to be partisan towards the truth.”

-EJ Dionne, American journalist, political commentator, and long-time op-ed columnist for The Washington Post.

 

A message to the Fourth Estate: Don’t amplify the lies. Report truth.


 

Seth’s Seven

May 16, 2019

  • Identity

  • Axiomatic

  • Historic

  • Experimental

  • Experimental

  • Experience

  • Cultural

“A truth is a useful, reliable statement of how the world is. You can ignore it, but it will cost you, because the world won’t work the way you hope it will. You can dislike the truth, but pretending it isn’t true isn’t an effective way to accomplish your goals or to further our culture.

Most of the kinds of truth we experience are about the past and the present, and these are the easiest to see and confirm, but there are also truths about cause and effect.

Identity is the truth of description. A circle is round because we define a circle as round. You can say, “a circle is rectangular in shape,” and all you’ve done is confused us. Words only work because we agree on what they mean.

Demagogues often play with the identity of words, as it distracts us.

Axiomatic truth is truth about the system. The Peano axioms, for example, define the rules of arithmetic. They are demonstrably true and the system is based on these truths. Einstein derived his theories of special and general relativity with a pad of paper, not with an experiment (though the experiments that followed have demonstrated that his assertions were in fact true.)

There were loud voices in mid-century Germany who said that Einstein’s work couldn’t be true because of his heritage, and many others who mis-described his work and then decried that version of it, but neither approach changed the ultimate truth of his argument.

Axiomatic truth, like most other truths, doesn’t care whether you understand it or believe it or not. It’s still true.

Historic truth is an event that actually happened. We know it happened because it left behind evidence, witnesses and other proof.

Experimental truth may not have the clear conceptual underpinnings of axiomatic truth, but it holds up to scrutiny. The world is millions of years old. Every experiment consistently demonstrates this. Experimental truth can also give us a road map to the future. Vaccines do not cause autism. The world is not flat. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising.

If you want to challenge an experimental truth, the only response is to do a better experiment, make it replicable and show your work.

Personal experience truth is the truth that’s up to you. How you reacted to what happened can only be seen and reported by you.

And finally, consider cultural truth, and this is the truth that can change. This is the truth of, “people like us do things like this.” Which is true, until it’s not. And then people like us do something else.”

-Seth Godin

https://seths.blog

The value of truthfulness.

March 20, 2019

A liar no longer needs to feel that his lies may involve him in starvation. If living were a little more precarious, and if a person who could not be trusted found it more difficult to get along with other men, we would not deceive ourselves and one another so carelessly.

But the whole world has learned to deride veracity or to ignore it. Half the civilized world makes a living by telling lies. Advertising, propaganda, (politics) and all the forms of publicity that have taken the place of truth have taught men to take it for granted that they can tell other people whatever they like, provide that it sounds plausible and evokes some kind of shallow emotional response.

-Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island [1955]

Humbly, we are asked to keep the flow real between what is taken in and what is let out. We have only to breathe to remember our place as al living inlet. Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. In a constant tide, life rushes in, and in constant release, we must let it all run back off. For this is how the earth was made magnificent by the sea and how humankind is carved upright, again and again, by the ocean of spirt that sets us free.

-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening [2011]

There is something in me that knows what to do. It not only knows what to do, It impels me to act upon what It knows. This very acceptance flows forth into action through me. Always there is an inner, quiet, persistent confidence, a nonresistant but complete acceptance, an inward flowing with the stream of Life, knowing that It carries me safely and surely to my destination and to the accomplishment of every good purpose.

-Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind [2001]

We are guided continually. We choose to follow what is good, and right, and just.

 

 

February 23, 2019

The Constitutional clock is ticking.

February 17, 2019

‘From today forward we are living in Constitutional time. Which news organizations will rise to the moment?’
-Jay Rosen, NYU

__

#CitizenJournalism
[A basis of democracy that encourages citizens to actively participate in social processes.]

__

‘Democracies rarely collapse suddenly, with tanks rolling through the streets out of a blue sky. It’s a slow death of a thousand cuts to rights, norms, the rule of law.

The groundwork is to turn the people & leaders against institutions of democracy: the free press, political opposition, independent judiciary & law enforcement, the truth. The infallible leader is the substitute for all of it.’

Garry Kasparov
Human Rights Foundation


25th Amendment

The 25th Amendment, proposed by Congress and ratified by the states in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.  The Watergate scandal of the 1970s saw the application of these procedures, first when Gerald Ford replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president, then when he replaced Richard Nixon as president, and then when Nelson Rockefeller filled the resulting vacancy to become the vice president.  Read more from the Congressional Research Service…


“The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds and makes of all political and social life a mass illness. Without this housecleaning we cannon begin to see. Unless we see, we cannot think. The purification must begin with the mass media. How?”

-Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander [1968]

 

What is truth?

December 15, 2018

 

And the lonely voice of youth cries, ‘What is truth?’

Yeah, the ones that you’re calling wild
Are going to be the leaders in a little while
This old world’s wakin’ to a new born day
And I solemnly swear that it’ll be their way
You better help the voice of youth find
‘What is truth?’

Wonderful documentary recently released on Netflix about a particular time in the life of President Richard Nixon, Johnny Cash, and American conflict during the Viet Nam war, politics, and a divided country.  Cash ‘walked the line’ representing both sides and common struggle, putting country over ideology while embracing empathy for those without voice.

Reality check.

June 23, 2018

All the World is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming. -Helen Keller

Much of our anxiety and inner turmoil comes from living in a global culture whose values drive us from the essence of what matters. -Mark Nepo

As spiritual beings, we have within us the inherent power to rise above any circumstance. -Rev. Jane Beach

NPR

David Folkenflick

‘When the White House Can’t Be Believed’

This essay isn’t about spin, or splitting hairs, or differing opinions.

This involves a reality check about our expectations of the people who act in our name. About credibility at the highest levels of our government. About people whose words are heard abroad as speaking for our nation. About the public and the media that try, however imperfectly, to serve it.

[…]

You could call what she [Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen] said a deception, an evasion or a technical nicety. NPR will not call what Nielsen said a lie because it cannot gauge her intent.

I report about the media for NPR and in so doing, I periodically cover NPR and its policies. I don’t speak for the network. I would say the word “lie” fits here.

[…]

But what you call it almost doesn’t matter.

More important is that the media and the public register a fundamental fact: Top people speaking for the United States aren’t telling us the truth — starting with the president.

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/20/621876079/when-the-white-house-cant-be-believed

Columbia Journalism Review

Advocates are becoming journalists. Is that a good thing?

As the media landscape continues to fragment and many outlets struggle to afford more ambitious reporting projects, non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups like the ACLU and Human Rights Watch are increasingly taking on the role of reporter—breaking stories and in some cases even helping to change policy. But even those leading the new NGO-as-muckraker efforts acknowledge that they’re no replacement for traditional news organizations.

The line between advocacy groups and media organizations has been blurring for some time.

Journalism professor Dan Gillmor wrote a decade ago about the work the ACLU was doing around Guantanamo Bay, and the reporting Human Rights Watch did on issues such as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia. A number of academics have also written about the increasing overlap between NGOs and journalism.

“As traditional journalism companies are firing reporters and editors right and left, the almost-journalist organizations have both the deep pockets and staffing to fill in some of the gaps,” Gillmor wrote. He also encouraged NGOs to concentrate on applying journalistic principles such as fact-checking and transparency.

Of course, traditional media organizations often get accused of distorting the news in similar ways—of selectively including certain facts or quoting certain individuals—because those facts or views fit a certain worldview. In some cases it’s done in order to generate traffic and advertising revenue, but there can also be ideological elements at work (Fox News, or at least the version of it that exists in primetime, springs to mind).

In the end, the world of journalism and the world as a whole are probably better off now that there are activist organizations that are trying to use the tools of modern media to tell stories. The more sources of information there are, especially from remote or developing nations, the better. In some ways, that’s one of the biggest benefits of a democratized media environment—anyone anywhere can become a news source, and that’s fundamentally a good thing, even if some take advantage of it for their own purposes.

d: At this moment in our democracy, we do indeed need moral thinkers serving as activists; both-sides journalism, and for-profit media prior and post the 2016 presidential primary, have delivered us to this point of massive deception and gaslit lies. Perhaps only journalists as activists, and ‘democratized media’ will deliver us from the deception and recurrent lies being generated from this nation’s highest offices.

The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see. 
—Winston Churchill
 
Richard Nixon is a not good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he’d lie just to keep his hand in. 
—Harry Truman

Society of Professional Journalists

spj.org

Minimize Harm

Journalists should:

  • Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work.
  • Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort.
  • Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage.

The Intercept

All mass crimes in history start with a justification, a necessity rationalization, a sick form of nationalism and racism.

Administration of Hate: The Snatching and Caging of Immigrant Children. It is Happening Here.

This week on Intercepted: The Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux talks about his recent reporting in the border state of Arizona and paints a harrowing picture of the human toll of family separations by ICE. Alice Speri lays out her investigation of sexual abuse by ICE officers and contractors in immigration detention centers. Sohail Daulatzai discusses his new book, “With Stones in Our Hands: Writings on Muslims, Racism, and Empire,” and explains why the film “The Battle of Algiers” is still relevant more than 50 years after its release. The legendary resistance singer Barbara Dane shares stories from her 91 years on earth fighting militarism, racism, and economic injustice. Plus, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen competes on Jeopardy! and we hear a cover of “The Partisan” from composers and musicians Leo Heiblum of Mexico and Tenzin Choegyal of Tibet.

https://theintercept.com/2018/06/20/administration-of-hate-the-snatching-and-caging-of-immigrant-children-it-is-happening-here/

NPR

James Doubek

White Civil Rights Rally Approved for D.C. in August

The National Park Service has approved an initial request for organizers to hold a second “Unite the Right” rally, this time across the street from the White House in August — one year after white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Va.

The park service has given initial approval to an application from Jason Kessler to hold a “white civil rights rally” on Aug. 11 and 12, as first reported by WUSA9. Kessler, along with white supremacist Richard Spencer and others, organized the 2017 rally, during which a woman was killed. The park service has not yet issued a permit for the event.

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/21/622144455/white-civil-rights-rally-approved-for-d-c-in-august

Think Progress

Meet the Favorite Philosophers of Young White Supremacists

A new book explores how philosophers like Nietzsche and Heidegger have inspired a new generation of fascists.

Casey Michel

As Donald Trump basked in his presidential election victory in 2016, white supremacist Richard Spencer unleashed a round of Nazi-inspired praise for Trump’s victory — sentiments echoed by Alexander Dugin, a Russian neo-fascist whose writings reached a broader-English-speaking audience thanks to Spencer and his wife, Nina Kouprianova.

These three, writes University of Toronto political science professor Ronald Beiner, all trace their fascistic views back to a pair of German philosophers: Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger, both of whom played outsized roles in either inspiring

As Beiner writes in Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right, the recent resurgence of the far-right and white supremacy didn’t occur in any kind of philosophical vacuum. Rather, it’s rooted in a long lineage of fascists who have leaned on Nietzsche and Heidegger to excuse and expand their own racism, anti-Semitism, and personal quests for power.

[…]

Decades later, the two philosophers have gained newfound prominence thanks to the growing impact of neo-fascists and white supremacists on both sides of the Atlantic. ThinkProgress spoke with Beiner about the effect Nietzsche and Heidegger have had, and what may come next for the young white supremacists who have found their philosophical heroes in a pair of German thinkers.

[…]

Nietzsche and Heidegger despise the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution — they resolutely, deliberately, and bitterly reject that legacy, that inheritance of the modern West. I’d say they violently reject [them]. Why is that? Take the French Revolution. Really what it stands for is the idea that people should not be locked into pre-dictated roles in life, scripts they’re meant to live out. The idea is to give individuals space to map out their own ideas of life, to live freely. Well, Nietzsche totally rejects that.

[…]

The project is: destroy liberalism. Destroy the moral and political horizons of modernity. Destroy everything from the ground up. And if it takes a nuclear explosion and just starting all over again, they’re happy with it.

Meet the favorite philosophers of young white supremacists

d: Then, if we really want to sober up, we read this:

In Raven Rock, Garrett Graff sheds light on the inner workings of the 650-acre compound (called Raven Rock) just miles from Camp David, as well as dozens of other bunkers the government built its top leaders during the Cold War, from the White House lawn to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado to Palm Beach, Florida, and the secret plans that would have kicked in after a Cold War nuclear attack to round up foreigners and dissidents, and nationalize industries.

Equal parts a presidential, military, and political history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government’s plans and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the present day. Relying upon thousands of pages of once-classified documents, as well as original interviews and visits to former and current COG facilities, Graff brings readers through the back channels of government to understand exactly what is at stake if our nation is attacked, and how we’re prepared to respond if it is. [Amazon]

—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Einstein:

Garrett Graff has given us a colorful and frightening account of the American government’s plans for doomsday, and the secret bunkers where official could go to save themselves. These early plans still have their counterparts today, and they reveal a lot about how warfighting doctrine evolved. Read it and be fascinated—and a little scared.”

Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interviewed Graff in 2017, and re-aired her interview on Friday, June 22nd. The book was just released in paperback.

Graff is a former editor of Washingtonian magazine and Politico Magazine. He also is a contributing writer to Wired magazine. Terry interviewed him last year when his book was published. It’s now out in paperback.

[excerpt]

Raven Rock is this massive, hollowed-out mountain. I mean, it’s a free-standing city inside, you know, with individual buildings – three-story buildings built inside of this mountain. And it has everything that a small city would. I mean, there’s a fire department there. There’s a police department, medical facilities, dining halls. The dining facility serves four meals a day. It’s a 24-hour facility. And it has been – it was sort of mothballed to a certain extent during the 1990s as the Cold War ended and then was restarted in a hurry after 9/11 and has been pretty dramatically expanded over the last 15 years and, you know, today could hold as many as 5,000 people in the event of an emergency.

GROSS: So you have these underground bunkers the size of cities in case of nuclear attack to protect members of government and keep the government going. You say that these places are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

GRAFF: Yes. They are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And it’s not just the bunkers. Right as we are sitting here talking today, there is a presidential doomsday plane, these converted 747s that are known as the Nightwatch planes. There are four of them. They’ve been in existence for the last quarter century. And one of them is sitting on a runway in Omaha, Neb., at Offutt Air Force Base right now. Its engines are on. It’s fully staffed with everyone that you would need to lead a nuclear war. And it’s ready to launch in a 15-minute alert in the event of an emergency and rendezvous with the president, wherever he may end up being, and evacuate him.

d: And then we remember who occupies the Oval Office.

#

Truth & Beauty

February 27, 2018

“Beauty, whoever we find it, is the salve that keeps us vital and fresh. But Truth, in its uncompromised and naked story, no matter how harsh, has a Beauty all its own that is cleansing. […] Like X and Y chromosomes, they make up the fundamental elements of life that no one can do without. They are the yin and yang of existence–one cleanses the wound, while the other heals the wound.”

Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty

That is all you know on earth,

and all you need to know.

-John Keats

“This is why we must remember the Holocaust and other atrocities exactly as they were. This is why it is essential to bear honest witness to our own naked stories.

Still, as wise as the message he came upon is, there is an equal lesson in how young Keats came upon it. For only by voicing our tender pains can we find our way to the deer Beauties and Truths that like ropes and wheels can carry us.”

-Mark Nepo

“Breathe fully and, in the next breath, allow the beauty around you to revitalize the place in you that is raw.”

Fact & Fiction

December 6, 2017

Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) was one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. Born into a German-Jewish family, she was forced to leave Germany in 1933 and lived in Paris for the next eight years, working for a number of Jewish refugee organisations. In 1941 she immigrated to the United States and soon became part of a lively intellectual circle in New York. She held a number of academic positions at various American universities until her death in 1975.

[Standford Encyclopedia]

We are verbs.

October 27, 2017

We are truth, not “facts.” Verbs, not nouns. We evolve. We are life. We are alive. The realest truth, with galaxies in our eyes.

~Jennifer Rose

 

Let’s bring back:

Emotions

Creativity

Intuition

Justice

Peace

Nature

Love

Let’s re-humanize.

A new paradigm for journalism.

September 11, 2017

‘When we fiercely hate one another, we make ourselves vulnerable to propaganda and demagogues. Hate blinds people to the truth.’

Jimmy Carter’s advice for President Trump: “Keep the peace, tell the truth”

Jennifer Rose.

August 11, 2017

Seek truth & share from your soul. Real truth is felt before told.

The heart’s bold behavior of belief.

July 30, 2017

“It is incumbent on all of us to constantly protect it and the only way to do that is to exercise it. We can always choose to love rather than hate, support rather than withdraw, speak out rather than stay silent, and stand up for what we believe rather than lay down to a collective pressure that does not reflect our belief. Every time we choose not to do this we give it away.” Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon

“If we see a person who is being crushed by a rock, the goal is not to get under the rock and feel what they are feeling; it is to help remove the rock.” Dalai Lama/The Book of Joy/p. 259

“I know that when I speak this word for myself, there is a direct reaction toward me. I know that when I speak it for others, there is a direct reaction toward them. There is no doubt or uncertainty in my consciousness.” Rev. Dr. Marilyn Leo

‘When all you have is the truth, if you degrade that truth, then you have nothing. […] Either be forthright or be silent. Proffer examples, testimony of things that have happened. […] Boldness, bravery and intellectual fearlessness – these are the qualities (we) need if we are to storm heaven.’ Mitch Horowitz/Science of Mind-July, p. 16

“‘Oh, no,’ we exclaim as we stand  directly in the path of Source.’ ‘I’m too old, too young, too inexperienced, not the right size, shape or color, not educated enough, not lovable enough.’ Only when we let go of this nonsense and get out of our own way can our blessings come.” -Anne Bock

 

 

Whatever is true.

July 26, 2017

“When you give your attention to anything, you are building that thing into your consciousness, for good or evil. Free your mind of negativity. Rather build into your consciousness what you wish to see in your life. Recognize that you’ve been unconsciously creating all along and decide now that you will create only love, joy, prosperity, health, happiness and all the good things readily available to all of us. Build in mind the house you want to live in joyously ever after. It is your choice. Nothing is stopping you except your excuses for why it’s not possible.[…] Before the house is built, the architect draws the plans.”

Rev. Karen S. Wylie

Science of Mind

April 9, 2017

‘Let’s be honest

which doesn’t mean

being harsh, but gentle.

 

Let’s be clear

which doesn’t mean being dispassionate, but

holding each other up

in the face of what is true.’

 

-Mark Nepo

 

Unconscious complexity.

March 14, 2017

The possibilities that exist between two people, or among a group of people, are a kind of alchemy. They are the most interesting thing in life. The liar is someone who keeps losing sight of these possibilities.

Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other

Truthfulness, honor, is not something which springs ablaze itself; it has to be created between people.

Truthfulness anywhere means a heightened complexity. But it’s a movement into evolution.

The unconscious wants truth, as the body does.

When we discover that someone we trusted can be trusted no longer, it forces us to reexamine the universe, to question the whole instinct and concept of trust. For a while, we are thrust back onto some bleak, jutting ledge, in a dark pierced by sheets of fire, swept by sheets of rain, in a world before kinship, or naming, or tenderness exist; we are brought close to formlessness.

Adrienne Rich


‘Truth’ is the central ethical problem within the field of communication ethics. Even as the standard of justice belongs in a particular sense to politics and the norm of stewardship to business, so truth, or truth telling, is the fundamental issue in communications.

How is human dignity manifested? For whom and under what conditions are speakers establishing the vernacular? How are worldview articulated?

Dear God, lead us to the truth, but save us from those that have found it.

-Dr. Clifford Christians


How will Post-truth and alternate fact dialogic interaction on a national platform seep into our common and everyday interpersonal communication?

 

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