Archive for the ‘blowback’ Category

The Illusion of Conspiracy as Black Propaganda

September 25, 2014

I have been reading posts in various social media sites where individuals are vociferously claiming vote rigging in last week’s Scottish independence referendum.  I have watched videos that purport to show said rigging.  I have to say that I have not seen anything in these videos that cannot be explained by count procedures.  I say this as somebody that has attended election counts in both Dundee and Edinburgh, albeit a long time ago, and as someone who has served as a Polling Clerk in Lanarkshire.  Plus, as someone who would undoubtedly have voted Yes had I still been living in Scotland (see recent posts to this blog).

The human mind is fertile territory for conspiracy theorists. The propagation of elaborate vote rigging theories relies on that.  Also, conspiracy theories typically divert people from blatantly obvious explanations.  A terrific example is 9/11.  There are myriad conspiracy theories concerning what happened that day, these are usually given more air time than the real reason – the events around 9/11 were blowback from flawed foreign policy decisions.  The CIA recognizes blowback.  Paul Wolfowitz has talked about blowback.  But it seems to be off limits to bring this up, even though it is so glaringly obvious.  Those that talk about blowback are often lumped into the “Blame America Crowd”, only one step away from being a “Truther”.

Which takes me back to the vote rigging allegations.  They have the potential to be a form of black propaganda, or to evolve into such, where phony allegations are used that lead to division.  This is the value of the illusion of conspiracy to the Westminster political establishment.  Black propaganda can be amplified by a compliant media to sow discord between allies so people/ideas can be marginalized.  Those that are pushing these allegations really need to take a deep breathe and think about who benefits politically (or if I am engaging in my own conspiracy theory).  “No” won because of its scaremongering.  But the establishment was rattled and the world didn’t end.  Its time to focus on the future.

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Blowback and Project Fear

September 10, 2014

One week left to go before the referendum. Two years ago I would have said 35-65. A year ago 40-60. Now the polls are close to 50-50. Ladbrokes odds of a “Yes” have rapidly halved, now at 5/2, “No” on 3/10 – the bookies firm favourite. But on the day, who knows how remaining “Undecideds” will break. What turnout will be? How effective the “Yes” ground game will be in getting their vote out. Will there be some “Black Swan” event in the final week that benefits either side?

Regardless of the result, the fact that this referendum is happening at all is a result of blowback against the political establishment. Westminster has failed to govern for the nations and regions of the UK as a whole for decades now; I would say going back to 1979. Rather, it is widely perceived as governing for the benefit of the City of London, as evidenced by loose financial regulation that eventually resulted in the bail-outs. The expenses scandals. Cronyism, with the perceived connections between financial donors and MPs that result in policies being enacted or decisions being made that financially benefit the former, particularly NHS privatization. Reckless foreign policy. The obscene waste of replacing Trident. The complete erosion of trust, a broken social compact. This has all lead to disaffection, and does not apply solely to Scotland. The rise of UKIP similarly mirrors how people feel so let down, and alienated, by the actions of central government.

What puzzles me is that as the polls have tightened the political establishment just don’t seem to get it. Key individuals in the “No” campaign, such as Alastair Darling and Gordon Brown get trotted out, individuals who were at the helm in the years leading to the crash in 2008. They were seriously at fault. Given their reputations they are not assets to a campaign that seeks to keep the UK together, they are seriously tarnished. I could never really understand why Mr Darling, in particular, was the front man for “Better Together”. Or should I really just call him “Flipper”?

“No” ran a terrible campaign. “Project Fear” dominated. The polls closed as people became scunnered and moved towards “Yes”. Panic began to set in, with Alec Douglas-Home ’79 style promises being made in recent days. Now, if Ladbrokes has it right, “No” will have guaranteed that their victory would eventually be seen as pyrrhic. Reconciliation will have been made harder. Yet more blowback will be guaranteed.

Michael Steele Should Feel Aggrieved Today

November 7, 2012

If I had to pinpoint the key moment when Mitt Romney lost the election, it would long pre-date his eventual securing of the GOP nomination.
In January 2011, Michael Steele was essentially fired and replaced with Reince Priebus. As time passed, it became increasingly clear that by taking this decision the RNC was dicing with electoral disaster. Michael Steele had articulated and taken an inclusive approach that paid dividends in the 2010 election. By dumping him and installing Reince Priebus as the new Chair of the Republican National Committee, the GOP had put in place a person that had no interest in adopting the sort of inclusive approach that would hand victory to Mitt Romney on a silver platter.
My evidence? The treatment of Ron Paul and his supporters by the RNC was atrocious.  All the way from the Iowa straw poll to the Convention in Tampa.  The Republican Party also totally failed to address big issues relating to the role of the Federal Reserve, Civil Liberties and the immediate need to drastically cut Federal spending on programs such as Medicare parts C and D.  This lead to the alienation of natural, small “l” libertarian, Republican supporters and, shock horror, the chickens came home to roost.  Obvious or what.  I had the opportunity to vote for Gary Johnson, who was similarly poorly treated by the RNC, and took it – in the swing state of Ohio, too.  Many others just did not vote.  Political blowback.

As Chair of the RNC, Reince Priebus executed appallingly bad judgement; a charge of which he will certainly not be alone.  For that he, and his cronies, should immediately quit.  They were instrumental in delivering an epic fail.  Or maybe they prefer to fail rather than do what we all know needs to be done to restore fiscal sanity.

Why I will vote third party, and for Gary Johnson, on Tuesday

November 4, 2012

I live in the swing state of Ohio. This means I have been inundated with Democrat and Republican propaganda. I have had up to 6 mailers from PACs in my mailbox in a single day. Being a “swing voter”, I guess I am of pretty high value to the duopoly. If I read all these mailers, other than to view them as a propaganda analysis exercise, I would be in danger of being less well informed than if I hadn’t received them at all. The latest stormer was from “Freedomworks”, a guide slamming Sherrod Brown. This amused me immensely as much of the information therein, or subtle variations thereof, could equally be applied to almost every Republican Congressman and Senator, Paul Ryan included. Remember that Paul Ryan was begging Congress to pass TARP. Also, in all these mailers big issues are totally absent – the role of the inflationary role and cronyism of the Federal Reserve, erosion of the Bill of Rights, and unending overseas adventurism.
I will vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, in large part because he addresses these issues. But also because he was not given a fair shake during the Republican primary process, and not just by the GOP itself but also by their shills in our corporatist propaganda organs.  A form of political blowback if you will.

Geopolitical Poker, Blowback & Iran

January 8, 2012

Radical political Islam has flourished in large part due to “blowback” from US/Western foreign policy. This isn’t just an observation by Ron Paul, he is also restating what the CIA have told us for years. Blowback was also discussed by the 9/11 Commission.  Our corporate media give the Neocons a free pass when they refuse to even discuss blowback.  The current extremely serious situation with Iran is probably the best example of blowback and can be traced back to the US/UK overthrowing Mosaddegh in 1953 (over oil). Continuing to engage in the same interventionism despite the obvious evidence of failure only further bankrupts the United States, both financially and morally. If we do bomb suspected Iranian nuclear facilities, I predict the Iranian regime itself will be the big winner (as it was when we went into Iraq). Any attack would be a propaganda gift. Repression would accelerate under the guise of protecting the state from a “5th Column”, thereby weakening internal dissent. Iraq would further destabilize. Plus don’t forget the fragility of Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia. Geopolitics on this scale is a massive poker game, we are in serious danger of being taken to the cleaners yet again.  But don’t expect to hear blowback discussed anytime soon by any of the so-called experts, or should I say propagandists, that grace our corporate media.

My 7-year-old understands “blowback” – so why can’t Rudy Giuliani or Rick Santorum?

September 27, 2011

In the GOP primary debates, with the exception of Ron Paul, it seems to be anathema to discuss how blowback was a major cause of 9/11. This is as much the case in 2011 with the likes of Rick Santorum as it was with Rudy Giuliani in 2007, with their ignoring of both a key finding of the 9/11 Commission and of CIA analysis. Blowback was a predictable response to US foreign policy decisions largely relating to the Middle East, be it support of autocratic regimes in Arab countries, military bases in Saudi Arabia or disregard for the plight of the Palestinians. One would assume that obliviousness to blowback betrays an ignorance that would be unthinkable for a President tasked with making the biggest decisions of state. I doubt that to be truly the case with a great many blowback deniers, the likes of Giuliani and Santorum are clearly smart guys, rather they are simply continuing their pandering as a matter of rote. Anything to appeal to the base to try and win the primary, no matter how outrageously ignorant they sound. But it doesn’t really work with the swing voter does it?
In talking to my 7-year-old about bullying, I asked him how he would respond. He said he would tell the bully to stop. “But what if he doesn’t stop?” “I’d tell my teacher.” “But what if that doesn’t help?” Long pause. “I’d trick him.” At 7 he knows that if you try to fight a bully fair and square, it ain’t going to happen and you will very likely get pummeled. You may deck him, but you’ll likely get jumped soon thereafter. Growing up in darkest Lanarkshire taught me that, but I was super impressed by my sons answer. “I’d trick him”. He is clearly way smarter than I was at the same age!
Is it really so hard for people to understand that people don’t attack us because “we are free” but because we are bullies? That we are letting ourselves be tricked into responding in ways harmful to our national security and ultimately self-destructive? That we are bankrupting ourselves, mortgaging our children’s future, polarizing our society and, by casting the Bill of Right onto its funeral pyre, destroying what makes America truly exceptional? Sure, I supported our response after the violence and fatalities of 9/11. But after we overthrew the Taliban we engaged in a militaristic adventurism that has fuelled further blowback. We let ourselves be tricked. After all, the primary goal of terrorism is not to kill as many people as possible. Rather, it’s to change the political environment in which the terrorists and their supporters are seeking to function. Be it the Stern Gang, IRA/INLA or Al Qaeda. This is not a difficult concept to understand. Look around the world today, and how America is regarded. With all the billions we expend on so-called national security and defense we routinely walk into traps that a 7-year-old can understand.
No blowback denier for me. I do not want a Commander-in-Chief that is a dupe and unable to grasp even the simplest manifestations of blowback, let alone to ultimately have the authority to one day send my son and daughter off to war. I do not want a President that is a blatant panderer that would blithely expend our strength on militaristic adventurism. I will never vote for such a candidate in 2012. I do want a President that recognizes the magnitude of the mess we are in and stops this madness.