Sunday, 31 December 2017

The BBC's Father Brown

Propaganda comes in many forms. The most persuasive of all those different forms are the ones that look least like propaganda. The BBC's Father Brown series is a classic example of such propaganda. 

The series is explicitly based on the work of G K Chesterton. He was a well known racist and fascist. He was a Catholic reactionary. Yet the Father Brown character, as represented by the BBC, bears only a passing, and utterly superficial resemblance to Chesterton's. The BBC's character is a carrier for the values of the BBC, rather that the values of Chesterton. Indeed, the BBC's Father Brown is committed to a form of Catholicism that Chesterton would not have recognised as Catholic at all.

The BBC's Father Brown is the embodiment of the neoliberal values of the BBC establishment. He is opposed to discrimination against persons on the grounds race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. These are values that would have appalled Chesterton, who held precisely the opposite values. Chesterton publicly called for Jews to be forced to wear special clothes so they could be instantly recognised as Jews, much like the Nazi yellow stars. He was deeply concerned with the so called Jewish problem, but which he meant the problem of Jews living in Christian countries. He was a supporter of the Italian fascist regime.

The apologists for Chesterton like to point out that he expressed opposition to the Nazi regime. However, they are loath to point out the basis for his opposition. Chesterton's opposition was based on the fact that he considered the Nazi regime to be the result of a Jewish project: so the Jews were responsible. This reasoning does nothing but reveal the extent of his antisemitism. No wonder the Chesterton apologists seek to suppress why he opposed the Nazis.

Similarly, the apologists like to point out that Chesterton was in favour of a Jewish homeland, but again they fail to provide his motivation, which was precisely same reason as the Nazis and other anti-Semites  supported the call for a Jewish homeland: as a way of legitimatising the expulsion of people of Jewish origin from their countries.

The BBC is very good at creating period dramas. These dramas receive mass audiences, not only in Britain, but across the world. Father Brown is no exception. Many millions of people watch the BBC's Father Brown, and the vast majority doubtless do so with the critical faculties switched off; it is just entertainment. Millions of people are being inculcated with propaganda; all at the expense of the British licence payer.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

On media credibility

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shooting in Las Vegas, which resulted in more than fifty dead and hundreds injured. This claim has been dismissed by US authorities and the corporate media. The FBI has stated that there is no evidence that the shooter was linked to any international terrorist group. The authorities have instead claimed that he was mentally ill and was acting alone. The corporate media have taken these claims at face value and added the spin that Islamic State routinely falsely claims responsibility for acts of violence. However, there is simply no evidence of Islamic State making such false claims - and there is a great deal of evidence of the political media elite making false claims: so much so that one could reasonably characterise it standard operating procedure.

According to Amaq, Islamic State's news agency, Mr Paddock converted to Islam some months ago. The news agency gives his name as Abu Abd Abdulbar al Ameriki and states that he had apparently planned the attack for some time. The publication is of a piece with previous claims of responsibility, which have invariably turned out to be true. This stands in stark contrast to claims made by Washington and repeated as facts by the corporate media, which often turn out to be completely false.

Another problem with the official narrative is that according to witnesses, about forty-five minutes prior to the attack a woman warned the crowd that they were about to die. This testimony casts doubt on the notion that Paddock/Abdulbar was acting alone. It also seems odd that this woman, who was removed by security, does not appear to have been interviewed by law enforcement officers.

It may also be worthy of note that some months ago Islamic State called for an attack on the Las Vegas strip.

Given the political and media elite's track record of lies and propaganda, it will not be surprising if many people find the official story lacking in credibility. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Political violence


Violence for political purposes is the very definition of terrorism. The actions of the Spanish state in attempting to prevent the people of Catalonia from exercising their rights in Sunday's independence referendum fit the definition perfectly. The police attacked people who were peacefully participating in the vote. They vandalised polling stations. They stole ballots. They arrested politicians. The Spanish state had closed down websites promoting the vote. People were threatened with being charged with sedition if they expressed support for the referendum. The Spanish state, under the personal direction of the Spanish prime minister, behaved exactly like the Italian fascists under Mussolini. Yet the people voted and ninety percent voted for independence.

The Catalan government had said before the referendum that if the yes voted carried the day, they would declare independence within two days. The Spanish prime minister has declared that the referendum did not happen and that Catalonia cannot be independent. His behaviour in the run up to, and during, and immediately after the referendum suggests that the Spanish state will continue with its fascist response to the democratic will of the Catalan people.

The so called international community has responded to the fascist Spanish state in precisely the same way it responded to the fascist dictators in the interwar era. The predominant response is one of silence and the attempt to spin the issue as an internal matter for Spain. The European Commission has called for dialogue - as though one can have a meaningful conversation with a police baton bashing one's head; as though it is possible for a people to negotiate with a prime minister who is prepared to use of all the power of the state, including violence, to deny the rights to freedom of expression and deny democracy. Such pusilanimity by the international community in the face of fascism provided the inter-war dictators with all they needed to overthrow democracy in country after country, including Spain itself.

Friday, 29 September 2017

CNN wisdom

CNN's latest pearl of wisdom explains how Russia is destroying America by supporting Black Lives Matter. With all the appearance of complete sincerity, CNN reported that a Facebook ad was placed by a suspected Russian source promoting Black Lives Matter. CNN further reported that this was done to destroy America by inflaming racial tensions and divisions.

The smart people at CNN are apparently completely unaware of their own role in routinely pushing the  Black Lives Matter narrative and their constant highlighting of racial divisions and tensions. It seems that CNN expect their readers and viewers to judge CNN's promotion of the Black Lives Matter narrative and pushing racial divisions as something positive that helps to unite Americans; whilst simultaneously expecting those same viewers and readers to judge a single Facebook ad placed by a suspected Russian as having the exact opposite effect.

In fact the idiocy of CNN's spin defies credulity: for, if one is to take the CNN judgement that support for the Black Lives Matter narrative is destructive of America, it logically follows that Black Lives Matter constitutes a threat to America and so does anyone, including CNN, the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, etc, who supports Black Lives Matter.


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Authoritarian repression


The Spanish government's measures against the Catalan people's referendum are nothing other than the kind of authoritarian repression the leaders of the so called free world so love to denounce their enemies for. The Spanish state has instituted a programme of measures to prevent the people from holding an independence referendum. Catalan officials have been incarcerated. Police have been deployed to prevent the use of polling stations. Ballot papers have been confiscated. Websites have been shut down. Thousands of ordinary people have been threatened with charges of sedition. The fact that such measures can be taken against a referendum clearly shows the claimed commitment of the leaders of the so called free world to freedom of expression and democray to be nothing more than empty rhetoric.

The Spanish move against democracy is hardly exceptional. The response of the Iraqi parliament to the independence referendum in Kurdistan, which was supported by over ninety percent of the population, was to immediately authorise the deployment of military forces to prevent the implementation of the democratic decision.

The leaders of the so called free world similarly denounced the similar independence referendum held by Crimea in the wake of the illegal US-backed coup d'etat in the Ukraine in 2014.

Indeed, the commitment of the leaders of the so called free world to freedom of expression and democracy lasts only as long as people agree with the leaders of the so called free world and vote the right way. Time and time again the leaders of the so called free world have blatantly shown their opposition to democracy. In the United Kingdom, the political and media elite have engaged in a relentless campaign to undermine the decision to leave the European Union. In the United States, the political and media elite have similarly engaged in a campaign to undo the result of last November's election which put Trump in the White House. The democratically elected, and highly popular, president of Syria is routinely denounced as a dictator. Yet all the while, actual dictatorships, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are provided with unwavering support.

Whilst the Catalan people seek to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, democracy and self determination, and the Spanish state engages in a ruthless attempt to repress them, the leaders of the so called free world provide the Spanish authoritarians with the same support they once provided the fascist dictator, General Franco.

When you strip the mask away, the so called democracies of the so called free world are nothing other than fascism with highly effective propaganda.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Russia-gate beyond absurd


The Washington Post is busily pushing the latest version of Russia-gate. This time around the story is that Russia stole the election for Donald Trump by placing a $100,000 of ads on Facebook. The ads were placed from 2015 to 2017 (ie, some were after the election). The ads very not pro-Trump or anti-Clinton, but were about political issues (unidentified). The ads were placed by suspected Russians (no evidence provided), who are assumed to have Kremlin links. If this were not front page coverage, one would assume it is satire. But the Washington Post is being utterly serious. Apparently, the smart journalists there think Putin is so smart, he can rig the US presidential election by spending a mere hundred thousand dollars on Facebook, a platform that has over twenty billion dollars of revenue a year. Serious journalism in the so called mainstream media is now officially dead. It has been killed by Russophobia, rabid never-Trumpism, a slavish commitment to Washington's propaganda.

The irony here is clearly revealed by a close, critical reading of the Washington Post story, for it shows that what actually happened was that Facebook executives were coerced by senior Democrat politicians to come up with something to support the Democratic Party Russia did it nonsense, eventually caved under the pressure, and produced another evidence free Russia did it story. It is the Washington Post (and the rest of the corporate media) that is guilty of producing misinformation, disinformation and fake news, whilst they hysterical attack others. When an individual does this, it is called projection; when societies do it, it is preparation for war.

We have seen this over and over. Before the US war on Vietnam, the corporate media ran with Washington's lying propaganda. The same happened with the former Yugoslavia. The same happened with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. The same is happening with North Korea. Nowadays, very few people will try to defend the lies told about Vietnam (nothwithstanding PBS and Hollywood), but very few people seem to be aware of the lies currently being told. Apparently, most Americans think it is North Korea that is threatening the US, rather than the US that is threatening North Korea. The same phenomenon occurred with Iraq: the vast majority of Americans believed the media lies of 2002/3 and only belatedly (when it was far too late) recognised that they had been sold a pig in a poke.

Of course, the liars have many advantages. They are rich and powerful. They drape themselves in the flag of patriotism. They denounce anyone who asks for evidence as traitors and dupes, as propagandists for foreign enemies, as supporters of Hitler. And they have the full support of the corporate media. In the past, this latter was enough. Only the other day, Samantha Power waxed nostalgic for the days when the "gatekeepers" who control the corporate media could decide what information the public had access to and what was suppressed. Those days are gone. The Internet has seen to that. And that is why the mainstream politicians and media are so desparately denouncing anyone who dissents: like drowning men they are clinging on to the sinking ship for dear life. But the sinking of that ship is inevitable, short of censorship of the kind known only to totalitarian dictatorships.

Monday, 25 September 2017

'We are at war' says Morgan Freeman


Morgan Freeman is a much admired actor. But his latest piece, a two minute video for the Committee to Investigate Russia, is just plain embarassing - or at least it should be.

Freeman claims that Russia is waging war on the US. He denounces Russia's aggression. He denounces propaganda. Yet every sentence is nothing more that propaganda and disinformation and misrepresention and completely unfounded allegation.

I do not know whether Freeman knows that he is pushing a lie (and a potentially disasterous lie at that) or whether he actually believes the narrative. But, he ought to be at least aware that there is no evidence to support the whole Russia-gate nonsense. He also ought to be aware that this nonsense was created and pushed by professional liars: people who have lied the American people into illegal, unnecessary, and devastating war after war. He also ought to realise that his endorsement of this narrative is only being sought for the glamour that a Hollywood star can provide. Mr Freeman is either a warmonger or so never-Trump that he is willing to risk anything to undermine Trump or an incredibly naive dupe.

The Committee to Investigate Russia is a coalition of Hollywood Democrats, neocons and rabid Russophobes, including the well known perjurer, James Clapper, the wrong-about-everything, Max Boot, the creator of the Axis of Evil meme, David Frum. These are people who have promoted US imperialism across the globe. Their inclusion in the Committee completely undermines the rhetoric, which paints the US as a shinning beacon of democracy and human rights.

The Committee is a propaganda organisation that thinks its target audience are a bunch of idiots that can be persuaded of any assertion just so long as it is wrapped in the US flag, pseudo-patriotism and delivered by a skilled narrator. Mr Freeman is the perfect front man. His narration is supposed to hide from view that fact that the Committee's only claimed support for its allegations is the January 6 report published by none other than James Clapper. The Committee assumes their audience has never read the report and never will, and is completely unaware that it contains not a single shred of evidence.

Freeman, and the other Hollywood Democrats, may think they are fighting Trump, but they are being exploited by the neocons, who are intent on US world hegemony, at any price, including nuclear war.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Why Islam is so dangerous

Islam is dangerous. Here in the West, it seems that most people are incapable of appreciating the seriousness of that threat. It is as though centuries of religious tolerance, secularism and even outright disbelief have rendered many incapable of a true appreciation of the motive power of belief. 

I have attempted to address this issue before. But it seems that many cannot understand that when Muslims take to the streets demanding the beheading of all infidels, when suicide bombers murder innocents, when women are stoned to death for being raped that these are not the actions of a few deranged fundamentalists, not some perversion of the religion, but the true and genuine face of Islam. I will therefore in this post simply point out and briefly explain the basic tenets of Islam. 

Islam is written down in the Koran. It cannot be changed, up-dated, re-interpreted or modernized. It is the unchangeable Word of God. To try to change the Koran is punishable by death. And it contains clear instructions for its spread, making it a holy duty to convert the entire world. 

Islam demands that Muslims create a state that enforces it. No other religion has ever required, as a religious duty, that the government enforce the religion. It even has it own system of law to facilitate this duty. It is called Sharia and it is barbarous. 

The Koran further requires that Islam be spread by the use of war. Whilst members of other religious faiths have attempted to impose their religion by force, they have struggled to reconcile such behaviour with their own doctrines. In Islam it is a holy duty. It helps to save the poor infidels from their sin. This is the only way to bring submission to the Will of God on Earth. The Prophet provides the perfect example. Whilst he tried to convert people by persuasion, he gained after thirteen years a mere one hundred and fifty followers. When he took the path of violence, within ten years he had tens of thousands of converts. His followers added millions by the same methods; and now it stands at over a billion. 

Islam holds that contraction is bad and expansion good. So any lands lost such as Spain and Israel must be re-conquered. Moreover, any lands that do not follow the laws of Allah must be conquered and Sharia imposed. It is a sin not to do so. 

In order to ensure as many children, new Muslims, as possible, a Muslim man may have up to four wives and have sex with as many slave (ie, infidel) girls as he wishes. 

It is a punishable offence, punishable by death, to criticise Islam. Just to spell this out: no freedom of speech and without freedom of speech there is no means to defend any freedom. 

Furthermore, you are not allowed to leave Islam. So contrary to international law or any sense of morality, if you even for a moment profess a belief in Islam you can be legitimately murdered should you subsequently change your mind. This means anyone who is not following Islam to the letter is an apostate and should be punished by death; a major reason why there are no moderate Muslims. Anytime someone wishes to up-date Islam and, for instance, give women equal rights, they are labelled apostate and subject to murder. 

Next it is imperative that your first allegiance as a Muslim is to other Muslims. This means that your loyalty is not to yourself, your family, your tribe or your nation: it is to Islam alone. This creates unity across borders. 

If you are a man, the only way to ensure you will go to Paradise is to die fighting for the cause. No matter how good a Muslim you are, the only sure way of getting to Heaven is to fight. 

The Koran must be read in Arabic. Thus all believers are tied together by a common language. No matter what you do, you cannot go to Paradise unless you pray in Arabic. This shared language makes it much easier to plot and conspire. 

And that prayer must be conducted five times each day. In Islamic states the practice is even enforced by law, as it ensures that daily life is dominated with the ideas of Islam. It is of course impossible to forget something that you are bowing down to five times a day, day in and day out. It requires no great insight to see that the more time and effort a person expends on something, the more he will value it. Thus, mere outward observance can eventually create believers. 

Further, the practice of prayer is highly ritualized, involving washing first, the reciting of verses, the movement in time with others. All this creates a bond between the participants and Muslims believe that all Muslims are performing these actions in precisely the same way at the same moment right across the whole world. 

The subordinate position of women is far from accidental. It is integral to Islam's violent mission. Women tend to strongly object to seeing their sons and husbands going off to fight. So women are not allowed to leave the house unless accompanied by a male relative. A woman is not allowed to be a head of state or a judge. She may only inherit up to half of what a man may. Her testimony is only worth half of a man's. She is not allowed to choose who she may be married to, and her husband cannot be a non-Muslim. She cannot divorce her husband, but he may divorce her at will and he may and indeed should beat her if she is disobedient to his will. Her only certain way into Paradise is if her husband is happy with her. 

Whilst the Koran is unchangeable, Allah has obviously the right to edit it. This rule holds that if one passage of the Koran contradicts another, it is the latter passage that is correct. As the Koran was written over a period of twenty-three years, and during very changing circumstances, such contradictions occur frequently. The effect of this is for the earlier passages that proclaim a message of peace to be over-ridden by later passages that exhort and justify violence. 

Islam aims for the conquest of the whole world. And as everyone knows large ambitions are powerful motivators. This is buttressed by fear of Hell and longing for Paradise. The subordination of the whole world will bring the process of conquest to and end and it is in this sense that Muslims can sincerely say, 'Islam is the religion of peace.' 

Where Muslims gain control of an area they must impose Sharia. Amongst other things this legalises the collection of a tax on non-Muslims of twenty-five percent of their income and thus supports Islamification and simultaneously provides an economic incentive to convert. This double edged process helps to account to the tiny numbers of non-Muslims who live in Islamic states. Their repression is reinforced by other measures, such as the Sharia prohibition on building non-Islamic places of worship. Nor is it permissible to utter non-Islamic prayers within the hearing of a Muslim or make any public display of any other faith. The Sharia prohibition against non-Muslims having weapons completes the subjection. 

No Muslim is allowed to make friends with a non-Muslim. A Muslim may pretend to be friends. Indeed, the Koran advocates deceit when dealing with infidels (that is, all non-Muslims). This should hardly be surprizing. Attempting to deceive the enemy is a well established tactic and Islam is at war with the whole of the non-Islamic world. Examples of such deceits abound. Islamic leaders will tell the world one thing and then state very different messages in Arabic. Islamic charities collect money ostensibly for orphans and siphon the funds into organisations that are actively engaged in killing infidels. 

The Koran says, 'War is deceit' and it encourages the use of any pretext to justify attacks on non-Muslims. Merely not wishing to be a Muslim is sufficient to justify holy war, as it is an attempt to prevent the bringing of the Word of God. And the only certain way for a man to enter Paradise is by fighting in a holy war. So any act of aggression is justified as a defence of Islam. The Koran repeatedly asserts that Muslims should imitate the Prophet and this was his practice. 

In Islam all Muslims are superior to all infidels. The mere presence of infidels in the holy places of Islam is considered sufficient cause for war. Islam makes a virtue of double standards and inequality. For example, Islam must be spread, but other faiths may not attempt to convert Muslims, any such action is an 'aggression'. Any defamation of Islam must be met with violence, but Muslims are required to incessantly defame all non-Islamic ideas. Muslims are encouraged to build as many mosques and madrases in the non-Islamic world as possible, but no places of non-Muslim worship may be built under Sharia. Another illustration of this double standard and inequality is the value of a human life. It is forbidden to kill a Muslim without 'just cause', but it is not forbidden to kill an infidel. 

Islam is a theocracy. In an Islamic state everyone is a practising Muslim, or they are beaten, taxed or killed into extinction. No one may criticise Islam, not even in private. In such a state, it is almost impossible to think outside of the Islamic norms. Islam is a totalitarianism. And its aim is world domination. It cannot be appeased. It sees our values of tolerance and freedom of speech as weaknesses that it can exploit in order to destroy those very values and our civilisation. Islam is a serious threat. A clear and present danger.
 


Friday, 15 September 2017

Something Happened


Everyone knows Catch 22. Even people who have never read it, and it has sold over ten million copies. Catch 22 is the book Joseph Heller is remembered for. It is generally considered to be a classic of American literature, an icon of anti-war literature, one of the all time greats. But, in terms of Heller's literary achievements, it is the wrong book.

Heller's greatest literary achievement is Something Happened. Yet, paradoxically, most of his readers do not like it. A not untypical response can be seen in this YouTube review.* The reviewer praisesCatch 22, only in order to all the more vehemently damn Something Happened, which he says is a depressing book, about a depressing character, who has a depressing job and a depressing family: it is depressing.

Superficially, there is truth in such an evaluation. Something Happened only has one character, Bob Slocum, who is unhappy with his life. For six hundred pages, the reader is treated to a ranting monologue on what is wrong with his life. Something must have happened. The book is Solcum's search for that something, and it is not a pleasant journey.

Bob Slocum is a man in his forties. Apparently, successful. He has a good job. One that he is good at. But it gives him no satisfaction, no pleasure, no sense of achievement. Being good at his job is just a way of keeping score. For, what he really does at work is fear others and they fear him. And his family life is no better. He is unhappy with his wife and she with him. His relationships with his children are of the kind for which the term dysfunctional might have been coined. His youngest child, Derek, is the only one he even bothers to tell us the name of. And the reason for the name: 'I used to like him when I still thought he was normal. I was fond of him and had fun. I joked with him. I used to call him Dirk, and Kiddo, Steamshovel, Dinky Boy, and Dicky Dare. Till I found out what he was. Now it’s always formal: Derek.'

Bob's thinking about Derek is highly revealing. He thinks Derek 'suffers less than normal', by which he means that Derek's disability is such that Derek is less self aware, and is thus to be envied, as he does not suffer the anxieties that beset the rest of us. Equally revealing is Slocum's feelings on death. As he says, 'I have never felt only sadness at the death of a friend or relative… Always there has been simultaneously a marked undercurrent of relief, a release, a secret, unabashed sigh of "Well at least that’s over with now, isn’t it?"'

And this is what Something Happened is about. Whereas Catch 22 was about what it was like to be sane in the midst of the madness of war, Something Happened is about what it is like to be sane in a mad world, tout court. But Slocum does not know this. 'Something must have happened to me sometime.' Hence his search. And this is partly what makes this a masterpiece of literary art. Slocum is the unreliable narrator par excellence because he does not know the story and that is the story.

The other part of what makes Something Happened an outstanding work of literary art is its technical mastery. Even with such an unpromising character, who is obsessed with himself, a self that is none too likeable and all too flawed: even with such a dreadful theme, which is all too reminiscent of Ecclesiastes, but without the relieving optimism: Heller's control of form and delivery never slips. Whereas Catch 22 was messy, unorganised and badly structured, Something Happened is technically flawless; a masterclass in control of narrative and voice, sustained for six hundred pages. It is easy to see why it took Heller eleven years to write Something Happened.

Climate Change is pseudoscience


Any set of beliefs and practices or body of knowledge is a pseudoscience if it is presented as science, but does not actually conform to the scientific method. My argument in this post is that Climate Change meets the two criteria perfectly. Pseudosciences exhibit a number of features that are notable by their absence in genuine science. I shall demonstrate their presence in Climate Change and attempt to show how they have been used to protect this ideology from rational criticism. 

Untestable assertions


One of the hallmarks of pseudoscience is the inclusion of assertions that cannot be shown to be false. Climate Change makes significant use of this technique. For example, the very name itself, which is not the name of a science or a subject of scientific study, implies an untestable assertion, ie, that the climate is changing in a significant and serious manner. Beyond the trite truism that the climate has always changed, just as the weather constantly changes, this claim simply begs the question. 

More specifically, Climate Change is about the future, and the future is essentially unknowable. Therefore, if Climate Change was a science, the predictions would be made and we would wait to see if they were accurate. However, the computer models, which are used to make these predictions, have delivered predictions which have not been realised. According to the models, the global average temperature should be constantly increasing. Yet, there has been no global warming for over a decade. Further, the three decade decline in temperature from the 1940s to the 1970s is completely inexplicable. These facts are not treated as dis-confirmation of Climate Change. They are simply ignored. 

Climate Change is, not only about the future, it is also concerned with the whole planet. This makes tests, experiments and controls impossible. Such an holistic approach, with so many interacting variables, in itself renders null any notion of applying the scientific method. There are simply too many possibilities. One cannot know, as distinct from guessing, what weight or significance to attach to which variable in any observed global phenomenon. 

Reliance on Confirmation 

Another hallmark of pseudoscience is it relies of confirmation. Climate Change had this reliance built into it from the outset. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change only uses evidence that supports Climate Change. This is because the organisation is not a scientific body. It was created by the United Nations in order to support the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. This framework asserts, as international law, that anthropogenic global warming exists and is dangerous and can be mitigated by carbon dioxide emissions reduction. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change is, therefore, legally obligated to promote that view, regardless of the evidence. Indeed, it has never seriously considered alternatives, other than to attempt to discredit them. 

This reliance on confirmation can also be seen in the reversal of the burden of proof. In science, the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim. It is for them to show the evidence and prove that their assertion is correct. With Climate Change, this burden of proof is simply ignored. We are repeatedly told that the 'science is settled'. The assertion is false: in the general sense of science never being completely settled and, much more significantly, in the specific sense that our knowledge of the climate is, not surprizingly, very limited. It is also far from settled in the more particular sense that thousands of scientists are not persuaded. Indeed, over thirty-two thousand scientists have signed a petition expressing scepticism.  

Lack of Openness


Another distinguishing feature of pseudoscience is a lack of openness to testing by others. An examination of Climate Change provides many serious examples of this trait. The most serious of these is the refusal to allow others access to the actual data. This is absolutely essential, as without such access it is impossible for the scientific community to verify or refute the Climate Change assertions. Where data has been released, it has generally been subjected to manipulations by computer models, the codes for which have also been kept secret. However, when computer code of such a model was leaked, it was found that the adjustments were such that a warming trend would be inevitable, regardless of the data. There are also examples where actual data has found its way into the public domain and in such cases the real data, unlike the adjusted data, do not show warming. 

This lack of openness to testing can also be seen in the tendency to use press conferences and releases to announce so called scientific findings and conclusions. This tactic pre-empts the self-critical function of the scientific community, and reveals a political, rather than scientific, motivation. 

The peer review process, whereby independent experts review scientific work, is of fundamental importance in ensuring scientific rigour. Indeed, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change makes much of its exclusive use of peer reviewed evidence. However, the assertion is highly misleading and, in fact, false. The peer reviewed papers are actually reviewed by a relatively small group of scientists, who are each reviewing each others' work and, as was revealed by the leaked Climatic Research Unit emails, consider themselves to be a team, working to a common cause. Indeed, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change has, contrary to its much vaunted assertions, used campaigning material from WWF in its current Assessment Report as though it were peer reviewed science. 

This misuse of the peer review process, as revealed by the leaked emails, extended to the group conspiring to prevent other scientists, who held differing views, from publishing their work in peer reviewed journals. 

They have also adopted that other well worn technique of pseudoscience and attempted to justify non-disclosure on the basis of claims of confidentiality, proprietary knowledge and non-disclosure agreements. Such practices have no place in genuine science. However, they have gone even further and actually destroyed data, rather than have to disclose it. 

Lack of progress


Science is a self-correcting process. In stark contrast, pseudoscience is characterised by a failure to self correct. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change has repeatedly ignored errors that have been pointed out. For example, the Mann hockey stick graph was shown to have been produced by a model that would produce the hockey stick shape nine times out of ten, regardless of the data. Yet, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change continues to behave as though the hockey stick results are an accurate reflection of reality. The internal processes of the production of the Assessment Reports have also been characterised by a refusal to accept criticism, with Summary for Policy Makers being written before the underpining science. 

Personalisation of issues


The personalisation of issues is perhaps the  sign of pseudoscience par excellence and it is clearly present in Climate Change. There is a very small group of scientists producing and presiding over the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change science. They see themselves as a team, working towards a common goal. They have, as I indicated above, worked together to suppress dissent and freeze others out. They have identified people who disagree with their views as enemies. The leaked emails provide some powerful examples of the extent of such emotive responses. Indeed, those who disagree are not debated with, rather they are subject to personal insults and labelled as deniers. 

Misleading language 


There are many examples of this, but the most blatant is the labelling of carbon dioxide as pollution. The fact that the perpetrators of this linguistic sleight of hand have been able to get away with it defies belief. Carbon dioxide is used by plants, which produce oxygen and food. It is a fundamental building block of life. To call it pollution is a travesty of both reality and language.
 

It is clear from this analysis that Climate Change bears the hallmarks of pseudoscience. One might then wonder at its ability to command such a high degree of acceptance. I would point out that this has happened before. Indeed, many people apparently find it much easier to accept pseudoscience than they do science. However, being able to distinguish between science and pseudoscience is a basic test of scientific literacy. The fact that so many people in positions of authority are apparently unable to identify Climate Change as a pseudoscience is deeply disturbing.

    On What Happened


    I haven't read Hillary Clinton's book, What Happened. However, from the excerpts I have read, it is pretty poor, which is hardly surprising. Ever since the election result, she has been busy blaming everyone else for her loss of what was supposed to be a slam dunk. (The media and experts had claimed she had over a ninety-eight percent chance of winning.) The notion that one could produce an informed rational analysis from such a perspective is just plain bunk.

    Anyhow, Amazon are determined to hide the fact that the book is awful. The Bezos operation is busy deleting unfavourable reviews and preventing people from even posting one star reviews of the Clinton it was everybody else's fault tome. According to the Amazon site, everyone thinks the book is just wonderful.

    I guess one shouldn't be surprised by Amazon's behaviour. Bezos has a very lucrative deal with the CIA and uses his Washington Post to push the Russia-gate nonsense that Clinton and her cronies cooked up. So, falsifying data to promote Clinton is hardly new terrority for the Bezos empire.

    Meanwhile, Facebook is also frantically working away to censor any criticism of the so called mainstream narratives (which are only mainstream amongst the one percent and their lackeys) on the specious ground of removing "sensationalism, misinformation and fake news". This campaign is firmly focused on critics of Clinton and the policies, especially foreign policies, she supported. To justify this censorship, Facebook claimed that some accounts on its platform were fake and had ties to the Kremlin. Of course, as with all this Russia-gate nonsense, Facebook failed to present a single shred of evidence. The pseudo-evidential basis for the judgment was that Facebook disagreed with the expressed opinions, which is effectively a tacit admission that it is a propaganda campaign.

    The campaign against freedom of expression is also focused on established news media organisations. The FBI is investigating RT and Sputnik on the dubious ground that they are foreign agents and therefore should have registered as such under US law. The absurdity is immediately obvious when one considers that the US does not require the BBC, for example, to register as a foreign agent or indeed any news media outlet. Indeed, the FBI investigation is a clear violation the US constitution. Yet in this Orwellian age, it is apparently un-American to point that out.

    Speaking of Orwell, one of the excerpts from Clinton's book that I read was really weird. Apparently, Hillary has read George Orwell's novel, 1984, and divined the true moral: the people should blindly trust their political leaders, the experts and the media. It is not easy to see how she reached this judgment (especially as it is the exact opposite of the actual moral of the story) but apparently she thinks that if the people do not place such blind faith in their leaders, the leaders will be forced to resort to authoritian measures.

    The neoliberal globalist elite are clearly deeply concerned that the Internet and freedom of speech has radically undermined their ability to control the narrative. (Think back to 2002/3 and how easy they found it to push their lies about Saddam Hussein.) They are so concerned that they are creating a co-ordinated campaign across the mainstream parties, the deep state and the corporations to both promote propaganda and to deny freedom of expression to anyone who challenges their narratives. And if Hillary's interpretation of Orwell's 1984 is anything to go by, they are prepared to use any means necessary, no matter how authoritarian.

    Wednesday, 13 September 2017

    Myth as history


    The iconoclasm that has swept across America is truly astounding. The tearing down of statues of people such as General Lee is justified by an incoherent mythology masquerading as history. According to the iconoclasts, such statues must be destroyed as they are symbols of neo-Nazi, white supremacy. Just stating this out loud immediately reveals its utter absurdity.

    The inaccuracies and absurdities of this mythology are manifold. These absurdities largely stem from the fact that the iconoclasts are apparently completely ignorant of American history. If this were not so, they would want to tear down not just statues to Robert E Lee, but also those of Washington and Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, along with many others.

    This historical ignorance is revealed by the very same people who want to tear down Lee's statues simultaneously defending statues to Abraham Lincoln. According to their mythology, Lincoln, and the north, is an emancipator of  slaves and Lee, and the south, is a defender of slavery. One has to wonder where they get their history from? It certainly isn't from the works of historians. Maybe it is from Hollywood. Who knows?

    Lincoln was not the emancipator of the slaves. And it does not require much historical knowledge to be aware of this. Lincoln was a racist, to his very core. He fully supported the institution of slavery. His words and actions are completely clear on this issue.

    Lincoln's first inaugural address, for instance, provides clear evidence of his position on the issue of slavery. Lincoln makes perfectly plain that he fully supports the institution of slavery and has no intention or inclination to interfere with it. He even makes plain his commitment to return runaway slaves to slavery.

    Indeed, Lincoln's collected works make it clear that he was a racist, consistently so. For Lincoln, the ideal solution would have been a "separation of the white and black races". In fact, he worked for the deportation of the "black race" to Africa and South America. He was completely opposed to marriage between the "races" and repeatedly asserted there could never be equality. He was totally opposed to the idea that black people should be allowed to vote or sit as jurors or hold public office. Anyone who has bothered to read Lincoln's own words would know all this and more.

    The associated notion that the northern states fought the so called Civil War in order to abolish slavery, is equally false, and equally obviously so. And this too can be easily seen in Lincoln's own words.

    The so called Civil War was unleashed by the northern states for economic reasons and the resistance of the southern states was also motivated by economic concerns, but also to defend the Constitution: ie, states' rights. In his first inaugural address, Lincoln actually makes the northern states' economic motivation perfectly clear: he threatens war over the issue of taxation. The protectionist taxation regime effectively plundered the wealth of the southern states for the benefit of northern capitalism. Lincoln's first inaugural speech clearly tells the southern states: pay up or die. Indeed, when the Senate issued its War Aims, it explicitly stated that it would not interfere with the southern states' established institutions, ie, slavery. The notion that the so called Civil War was fought to end slavery is a post hoc rationalisation, intended to provide a veneer of moral purpose to an immoral act of naked aggression.

    The Emancipation Proclamation is, of course, cited as though it somehow disproved Lincoln's racism. However, the claim is either ignorant or disingenous. Lincoln declared it was a war measure; ie, applicable only for the duration of the war. Moreover, it only applied to slaves in areas not under the control of the northern states. This reveals very clearly its purpose: it was designed, not to free slaves, but to foment slave rebellions in areas of under the control of the southern states. Lincoln freed no slaves. He had never intended to and he never did. The Great Emancipator of myth could not contrast more starkly with the Lincoln of history. When slavery was finally abolished by the thirteenth amendment, Lincoln played no part (notwithstanding Hollywood myth-making).

    Any reflection on the history of the so called Civil War makes one wonder at the purpose of the iconoclasts. Why would statues dedicated to people who tried to defend their state from the unconstitutional coercion of the northern states, which were determined to replace the voluntary union of the states by a forced union under the hegemony of the north, be unacceptable? It makes no sense. From the perspective of the time, the northern states were the aggressors, committing war crimes. Lincoln's generals proudly proclaimed their commitment to killing civilians and destroying economic resources. General Lee, and many others, were simply patriots, defending their own country (ie, state).

    However, it seems in contemporary America, actual history has been consigned to the memory hole and replaced by myths. This myth-making is dangerous. It enables people to commit crime after crime, whilst simultaneously wrapping themselves in a pretended moral superiority. And sociopaths who believe their own moralising rhetoric are truly dangerous, for any act is rendered justified.


    Tuesday, 12 September 2017

    Victory of the deep state


    The result of the November election has been reversed. The policies Trump campaigned upon, specifically ending unnecessary foreign wars, have been overthrown. The deep state-corporate-congressional complex has just forced President Trump to concede defeat. Perhaps, he thinks it is the only way he would be allowed to remain in office. However, he was not elected to occupy the White House, he was elected to implement is campaign promises.

    Trump's announcement of his acceptance of permanent war was nothing other than a symbolic waving of the white flag. The writing was on the wall (which is now doubtless nothing more than a dream) from the moment Trump accepted Michael Flynn's resignation. His replacement by McMaster was a clear signal that the commitment to defeat the jihadis was over. McMaster holds precisely the same views about Islamic terrorism as Obama and Clinton and the rest of the neoliberal globalists: it has nothing to do with Islam.

    The recusal of Jeff Sessions was a further blow to the presidency that Trump had campaigned for. It enabled the neoliberals in the deep state and congress to assert control over foreign policy, tied the hands of the president, and doomed to failure any attempt to improve relations with Russia.

    The next major step in the capturing of the presidency was Trump's illegal bombing of Syria in response to the jihadist propaganda, which alleged that the Syrian Arab Army had carried out a chemical weapons attack in Idlib. This showed the deep state just how easily he could be manipulated and out manoeuvred.

    The Charlottesville violence played directly into the hands of the neoliberal globalists, allowing the political-media elite to paint Trump and anyone who supported him as racist, neo-Nazis. Again Trump was out manoeuvred. This time by the simple rhetoric of: do you condemn the racists? The firing of Bannon signaled the collapse of Trump's morale, and indicated an end to America First policy commitments. Yesterday, Trump formalised his defeat.

    In all the firestorm of confected outrage hyperbolically presented in the media, the people who voted for Trump have stood firm, recognising the attempted coup d'etat as the works of his, and their, enemies. Trump, however, has not shown the same fortitude. He has repeatedly allowed the deep state to control events.

    The defeat of the policy commitments on which Trump was elected is a defeat, not merely for the vast majority of Americans (including those who did not vote for him), it is a serious setback for all who would wish to see a more peaceful world. Now the deep state has captured the presidency, there will be a stepping up of US military aggression around the world. Trump has already announced the ramping up of violence in Afghanistan. The CIA and the Pentagon are doubtless rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of resuming the regime change operation in Syria. Doubtless more support will be given to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its illegal war against Yemen. One can expect more war preparations in the Korean peninsula and the Ukraine and on Russia's western borders and in the South China Sea. One can expect a ramping up of tensions with Iran.

    Doubtless the leading figures in the deep state-corporate-congressional complex are celebrating. They have captured the presidency, overthrowing the decision of the people, demonstrating that America is an empire run by an aristocracy.