Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Malkin Thinks the Holocaust is a Game

First They Came for the Catholics

Michelle Malkin must have thought she was being very cute when she titled her column this way. Or maybe this is a pathetic bid for attention from someone who doesn’t really have anything intelligent to say. I will confess now that I barely skimmed the article that followed this title because I have long since foresworn exposing my mind to her tripe.

The gist of her article is that President Obama and his “radical feminist followers” are forcing Catholic health care companies to cover and provide birth control and abortion services against their will. The meat: “This weekend, Catholic bishops informed parishioners of the recent White House edict forcing religious hospitals, schools, charities and other health and social service providers to provide "free" abortifacient pills, sterilizations and contraception on demand in their insurance plans — even if it violates their moral consciences and the teachings of their churches.”

Boo-hoo. There’s a real simple answer here. If you are opposed to providing certain health care services, stay the hell out of the health care business. Since when did anyone force the Catholic church to become a major health care provider?

This is the perfect example of why religious organizations should stick with their mandate from God, healing souls, and stay out of business. The separation of church and state was put into place to protect the churches from government regulation as much as it was to protect the people from the oppression of churches. You can’t have your communion wafer and eat it too. If you are going to hold yourself out as a business entity, you have to follow the SECULAR laws of the Constitution and federal, state and local laws where you conduct business. If you want to hold to your BIBLICAL laws, you can stay out of business and you are free to do so.

All of this aside, Malkin is a disgusting pig for comparing this issue to the Holocaust. It trivializes the misery of millions of people who suffered, died or lost loved ones to the Nazi death machine. Nobody is dragging Catholics off to death camps because they refuse to provide proper medical services for women. Of course Malkin is no Christian, so she could care less. She is a Propagandist for whom this sort of stunt is mostly self-serving. Using Holocaust references to get attention is a game to her. If she wasn't such a heartless shill, I might even pity her.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A List of the Propaganda Techniques Used by Sarah Palin

A list of the propaganda techniques used by Sarah Palin in her attempt to shift blame from herself and other propagandists who have used hate speech and propaganda techniques to whip up anger against liberals, progressives and anyone who doesn’t agree with their Neanderthal, theocratic, regressive political ideas.

What is Propaganda?

"Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist."

Quotes from Palin’s videotaped response to the violence in Arizona are followed by an explanation of the techniques utilized in those quotes.

Palin said that “responsibility lies not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.”

Common Man - The "'plain folks'" or "common man" approach attempts to convince the audience that the propagandist's positions reflect the common sense of the people. It is designed to win the confidence of the audience by communicating in the common manner and style of the target audience. Propagandists use ordinary language and mannerisms (and clothe their message in face-to-face and audiovisual communications) in attempting to identify their point of view with that of the average person.

Glittering Generalities - Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words applied to a product or idea, but which present no concrete argument or analysis. A famous example is the campaign slogan "Ford has a better idea!"

Half-truth - A half-truth is a deceptive statement which may come in several forms and includes some element of truth. The statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may utilize some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade blame or misrepresent the truth.

Intentional vagueness - Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analyzing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application. The intent is to cause people to draw their own interpretations rather than simply being presented with an explicit idea. In trying to "figure out" the propaganda, the audience forgoes judgment of the ideas presented. Their validity, reasonableness and application may still be considered.

“Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

Appeal to Prejudice - Using loaded or emotive terms to attach value or moral goodness to believing the proposition. For example, the phrase: "Any hard-working taxpayer would have to agree that those who do not work, and who do not support the community do not deserve the community's support through social assistance."

Repetition - This type of propaganda deals with a jingle or word that is repeated over and over again, thus getting it stuck in someones head, so they can buy the product.

- A slogan is a brief, striking phrase that may include labeling and stereotyping. Although slogans may be enlisted to support reasoned ideas, in practice they tend to act only as emotional appeals. Opponents of the US's invasion and occupation of Iraq use the slogan "blood for oil" to suggest that the invasion and its human losses was done to access Iraq's oil riches. On the other hand, "hawks" who argue that the US should continue to fight in Iraq use the slogan "cut and run" to suggest that it would be cowardly or weak to withdraw from Iraq. Similarly, the names of the military campaigns, such as "enduring freedom" or "just cause", may also be regarded to be slogans, devised to influence people.

Though some “claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently,” Palin said, it has always been “heated… When was it less heated? Back in those ‘calm days’ when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols?” she asked.

Oversimplification - Favorable generalities are used to provide simple answers to complex social, political, economic, or military problems.

Half-Truth - A half-truth is a deceptive statement which may come in several forms and includes some element of truth. The statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may utilize some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade blame or misrepresent the truth.

Rationalization - Individuals or groups may use favorable generalities to rationalize questionable acts or beliefs. Vague and pleasant phrases are often used to justify such actions or beliefs.

“We will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.”

Jingoism – (or Flag-waving) An attempt to justify an action on the grounds that doing so will make one more patriotic, or in some way benefit a group, country, or idea. The feeling of patriotism which this technique attempts to inspire may not necessarily diminish or entirely omit one's capability for rational examination of the matter in question.

Rationalization –already defined.

Half-Truth – already defined.

Common Man – already defined.

Repetition – already defined.

This is a cursory examination of the statement made by Palin. I am quite sure that further, closer evaluation of the statements would provide a wealth of factual evidence that Palin deals in manipulation and propaganda.

Palin appears to be engaging in psychological projection when she twists the facts to accuse others of inciting hatred when they point out that she has engaged behavior and used phrases and language to incite hatred and anger. Projection is defined below:
Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies their own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have those feelings.

Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted unconscious impulses or desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't Cry for Me, Kathleen Parker

Propagandist Kathleen Parker writes in today’s Washington Post about a new tv commercial being produced by the same old conservative propagandists that brought us the myth that was Ronald Reagan.

"In 1984, Americans were more optimistic about their future. Now, Americans feel uncertain and are deeply concerned about the direction of the country. . . .” she quotes from the new propaganda peice. Kathleen Parker isn’t quite blaming Obama. She’s just sad. Awww.

Here’s what I am sad about: Since Ronald Reagan came to office in 1981, we have had twenty years of Republican “leadership” in the White House and ten years under Democratic administration. In that period of time, this country has seen a steady loss of jobs, a steady decrease in income as compared to inflation and a steady shrinking of the middle class. Those things have wrought the destruction of the American Dream.

You want to talk about blame?

Let’s see…
Whose policies were so pro-business that they encouraged companies to hide their profits in off-shore accounts and relocate their factories elsewhere?

Which party encouraged the breaking up of unions which eventually contributed to joblessness and the lowering of the American wage?

Which President granted amnesty to illegal immigrants, in turn encouraging more to come and take American jobs?

Which party turned its head while American businesses courted more illegal immigrants to come to this country in order to continue to drive down the wage?

And what President, upon leaving office, took a one million dollar paycheck to stand before an audience in a foreign country and trashtalk the American worker?

Was it Keynesian economic policies that the majority Republican Congress enacted between the years of 1994 and 2000, or was it a new, neo-conservative, free market approach that undid all of the regulation and separations in the financial industry in this country that were put into place to protect the citizenry?

And then Parker dutifully repeats the latest Republican meme:

“Nevertheless, it is probably fair to say that Obama's ideas were too big for America's appetite. It would have been nice had he made a few incremental repairs to the economy and left the transformative events for a less stressful time.”
Yes, poor America. Obama cared more about his socialist agenda than he did about the country and its citizens.

More propaganda from the People For The Status Quo.

How fucked up are things in this country? Very. How much more fucked up can they get? VERY, VERY.

And who continues to benefit from the combined misery of the people of this country? Politicians, yes, but mostly the corporate ownership. Profits are rising again and the recession is over for them. While the rest of us wallow, the machine grows.

And Kathleen Parker is in no danger of becoming destitute tomorrow, unless she tells the truth. So, as a wise man said, “…And so it goes.”

If it is true what the pundits say, and Americans are so lacking in intelligence, knowledge, facts, evidence, and simple common sense that they vote Republicans back into office after the way they have slowly destroyed everything this country once was and once stood for, then woe be to the Republicans and the people of this nation. The Republican Party will bring us more of the elitist, rich-get-richer, trickle-down on the working man policies that have gotten us to where we are today and this nation will continue to suffer.

HOWEVER, if this Republican revolution does not occur, Democrats can take no satisfaction in knowing that their current policies are not innovative enough or progressive enough to turn anything around either. All the time in the world will not heal this economy without change in policy. True progressive economic policies, including more stimulus and a bottom-up approach that stops favoring the corporate/banking power structure and starts empowering true small business, especially manufacturing, is needed to turn this mess around. Obama and the Democrats haven’t brought these things to the table yet, and may missed their only chance.


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Supreme Hypocrisy

Money is protected speech when it is lobbyist money paid to politicians in order to procure passage of certain laws and regulations that will benefit corporations, but not protected speech when it goes to certain organizations that have been labeled “terroristic” by the government. Really?

Which does more harm, I wonder, in the big picture and the long run, -- the “terrorist” group or the government that works for corporations rather than the people that fund it and are supposed to be represented by it? Which causes more sickness, disease, pain and death—the “terrorist” group or the laws that allow corporations to freely pollute the planet, sell unsafe products, and treat the world’s citizens as slave labor?

Just who are the terrorists here? And what does it take to make the government’s terrorist list? And is there any recourse for groups that are falsely or erroneously labeled terrorists?

Remember Ronald Reagan’s “Freedom Fighters” that terrorized Nicaragua? Remember the Afghan “Freedom Fighters” that eventually took over the government and became known to the world as the Taliban? One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

Corporations can pay governments to create laws that harm thousands or millions but you and I don’t have the right to support the groups or causes that we believe in. Another example of: a) the hypocrisy of the Supreme Court; and b) the inequality of corporate personhood.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Financial Reform Should Start With Foundation

Paul Krugman addresses the problem with the financial "reform" in this oped:

The problem with this bill is that there is not enough reform of the credit-rating agencies. If Congress were truly serious about reform, this would be where to start. Not only at the corporate level with Standard & Poors and Fitch's, but with the credit reporting agencies that report on individuals to lenders. Both of these systems are set up to serve the interests of big business, rather than to protect the public or the individual citizen. The purpose of both credit rating agencies and credit reporting agencies have veered off course and are in need of heavy regulation to get them right again.

Credit rating agencies started out as a way to help lenders rate the risk of lending to certain companies, funds or capitalize large business deals. They have become a tool to push through bad business deals.

Credit reporting agencies started out as an unbiased way to rate individual's credit worthiness. It has turned into a tool to allow creditors to charge ridiculous rates of interest and to strongarm people who would otherwise not use credit to do so.

Nobody questions the right of credit reporting agencies to gather sensitive financial information on individuals and then provide that information about individuals to possible creditors (now expanding to employers and insurers). Nobody questions the idea that these agencies have the right to use this information to produce a credit score that we all have to pay to see. Have you ever had erroneous information on your credit report and tried to have it removed? It can be a nightmare multiplied by three. Why do the credit reporting agencies get to decide whether I have enough credit accounts opened? Wouldn't it make more sense for each of US to decide whether we need credit cards or no? And why shouldn't the credit reporting agencies be civilly liable for reporting erroneous information on our credit reports that cause us thousands of dollars on a mortgage or car loan?

We have little or no control over the information that is gathered or reported, the accuracy of the information gathered or reported or the credit score that is created by this information. But the credit score controls the amount of interest we will pay on our mortgages and car loans, how much our insurance premiums will cost and sometimes whether we get a job or not. Who pays these companies to report on us? The lenders. Who benefits if we all have low credit scores? The lenders. There is a built-in motivation for the credit-scoring agencies to adjust their algorithms to keep scores low so that lenders can make more money from credit transactions.

How in the world did we all allow ourselves to become enslaved to something over which we have absolutely no control? And isn't it time that something was done to stop this nonsense?

Credit scoring and credit rating are both the foundations upon which credit is built or destroyed, approved or denied. If there is to be reform, don't you think it makes sense to start with the foundation?

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