America Spends About Half of World’s Military Expenditures – by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

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by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

The National Priorities Project headlines “U.S. Military Spending vs. the World” and reports: “World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total.” But it can’t be believed, because, even if other nations aren’t under-reporting their military expenditures, the U.S. certainly is — under-reporting it by about 50%. The reality is approximately twice the official figure, so that America’s current annual military expenditures are around $1.5 trillion, which is to say, almost equal to that entire global estimate of “more than $1.6 trillion in 2015.”

America’s actual annual military budget and expenditures are unknown, because there has never been an audit of the ‘Defense’ Department, though an audit has routinely been promised but never delivered, and Congresses and Presidents haven’t, for example, even so much as just threatened to cut its budget every year by 10% until it is done — there has been no accounatability for the Department, at all. Corruption is welcomed, at the ‘Defense’ Department.

Furthermore, many of the military expenditures are hidden. One way that this is done is by funding an unknown large proportion of U.S. military functions at other federal Departments, so as for those operations not to be officially “‘Defense’ Department” budget and expenditures, at all. This, for example, is the reason why Robert Higgs, of The Independent Institute, was able to report, on 15 March 2007, “The Trillion-Dollar Defense Budget Is Already Here”. He found that America’s military expenditures, including the ones he could identify at other federal agencies, were actually already nearly a trillion dollars ($934.9 billion) a year:

“To estimate the size of the entire de facto defense budget, I gathered data for fiscal 2006, the most recently completed fiscal year, for which data on actual outlays are now available. In that year, the Department of Defense itself spent $499.4 billion. Defense-related parts of the Department of Energy budget added $16.6 billion. The Department of Homeland Security spent $69.1 billion. The Department of State and international assistance programs laid out $25.3 billion for activities arguably related to defense purposes either directly or indirectly. The Department of Veterans Affairs had outlays of $69.8 billion. The Department of the Treasury, which funds the lion’s share of military retirement costs through its support of the little-known Military Retirement Fund, added $38.5 billion. A large part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s outlays ought to be regarded as defense-related, if only indirectly so. When all of these other parts of the budget are added to the budget for the Pentagon itself, they increase the fiscal 2006 total by nearly half again, to $728.2 billion.”

Furthermore, “Much, if not all, of the budget for the Department of State and for international assistance programs ought to be classified as defense-related, too. In this case, the money serves to buy off potential enemies and to reward friendly governments who assist U.S. efforts to abate perceived threats. … [As regards] Department of Homeland Security, many observers probably would agree that its budget ought to be included in any complete accounting of defense costs. … The Federal Bureau of Investigation … devotes substantial resources to an anti-terrorist program. The Department of the Treasury informs us that it has ‘worked closely with the Departments of State and Justice and the intelligence community to disrupt targets related to al Qaeda, Hizballah, Jemaah Islamiyah, as well as to disrupt state sponsorship of terror.’”

But, almost everything there relied upon mere estimates, because the Congress and the President always supply to the public numbers that are sadly uninterpretable by anyone who wants to know what percentage of the federal government is actually military.

For example, on April 3rd, the White House, as required by law, sent to Congress “the Seven-Day-After report for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Public Law 115-141). The President signed this Act into law on March 23, 2018.” That’s the current authorized spending for the entire U.S. federal Government. It was broken down there into twelve categories, some of which were for multiple federal Departments, in order to make the reported numbers as uninterpretable as possible — for example, nothing was shown for the Treasury Department, but something was shown for “Financial Services and General Government Appropriations” and it didn’t even mention the “Treasury” Department. And nothing was shown for the Justice Department, nor for the Commerce Department, but something was shown for “Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies” (whatever those are). However, as bad as this is, the military (or invasions) department is even less fathomable from the publicly available reports than those other ones are. The ‘Defense’ Department is the only one that’s still “unauditable” so that in one of the attempts to audit it:

“The audits of the FY 1999 DoD financial statements indicated that $7.6 trillion of accounting entries were made to compile them. This startling number is perhaps the most graphic available indicator of just how poor the existing systems are. The magnitude of the problem is further demonstrated by the fact that, of $5.8 trillion of those adjustments that we audited this year, $2.3 trillion were unsupported by reliable explanatory information and audit trails or were made to invalid general ledger accounts.”

Largely as a consequence of this, Wikipedia’s “Military budget of the United States” is a chaotic mess, though useful for links to some sources (all of which are likewise plagued as being uninterpretable).

On 1 March 2011, Chris Hellman headlined “The Real U.S. National Security Budget: The Figure No One Wants You to See”, and he estimated (using basically the same approach that Higgs had done in 2007, except less accurate than Higgs, due to failing to base his numbers on “the most recently completed fiscal year, for which data on actual outlays are now available” but instead using only the President’s budget request) that at that time, the U.S. Government was spending annually on ‘Defense’, “$1,219.2 billion. (That’s more than $1.2 trillion.)” That amount was far less than the totals that the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense had been reporting, in some of its periodic investigations (such as the one just cited), to have been missed or undocumented or falsely ‘documented’ as having been spent, by that Department; but, for some mysterious reason, the American people tolerate and re-elect ‘representatives’ who ‘debate’ and rubber-stamp such corruption, which is of enormous benefit to corporations such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, whose sales and profits depend upon the U.S. Government and its allied governments. Any such privatization of the ‘Defense’ industry, in America or any other country — treating its military operations so as to produce profits for investors (investors in mass-murder) — thus guarantees that the national-security function will be heavily loaded with lobbying and graft, because the military industry’s entire market is to one’s own government and to its allied governments: it’s not a consumer market, but a government one. Thus, privatized military suppliers grow virtually to own their government; democracy consequently becomes impossible in such nations. And, one outcome from that is the uninterpretable financial reports by America’s government, regarding ‘Defense’.

For example, probably fewer than 1% of Americans have even been informed by the press as to what the currently authorized annual federal spending for the ‘Defense’ Department is. When the Washington Post, on 23 March 2018, reported their main story about the FY 2018 federal spending authorizations (“In late-night drama, Senate passes $1.3 trillion spending bill, averting government shutdown”), the figure for the ‘Defense’ Department was buried inconspicuously in a 52-word passage within that 1,600-word ‘news’-report, which was otherwise loaded with distractive trivia. This buried passage was: “The legislation funds the federal government for the remainder of the 2018 budget year, through Sept. 30, directing $700 billion toward the military and $591 billion to domestic agencies. The military spending is a $66 billion increase over the 2017 level, and the nondefense spending is $52 billion more than last year.” That’s all. For readers interested in knowing more, it linked to their 2,200-word article, “Here’s what Congress is stuffing into its $1.3 trillion spending bill”, and all that it said about the military portion of the new budget was the 27-word passage, “defense spending generally favored by Republicans is set to jump $80 billion over previously authorized spending levels, while domestic spending favored by Democrats rises by $63 billion.” Though 23 categories of federal spending were sub-headed and summarized individually in that article, ‘Defense’ wasn’t one of them. Nothing about the budget for the U.S. Department of ‘Defense’ — which consumes more than half of the entire budget — was mentioned. However, the reality was that, as Defense News reported it, on 7 February 2018 — and these figures were unchanged in the bill that President Trump finally signed on March 23rd — “Senate leaders have reached a two-year deal that would set defense spending at $700 billion for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019.” This year’s $700 billion Pentagon budget thus is 54% of the entire $1.3 trillion FY 2018 U.S. federal budget. Another article in Defense News on that same day, February 7th, noted that, “‘I’d rather we didn’t have to do as much on non-defense, but this is an absolute necessity, that we’ve got these numbers,’ said the Senate Armed Services Committee’s No. 2 Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Oklahoma.” So: 54% of the federal budget wasn’t high enough a percentage to suit that Senator; he wanted yet more taken out of non-‘defense’. How can people (other than stockholders in corporations such as Raytheon) vote for such a person? Deceit has to be part of the answer.

Using similar percentages to those that were employed by Higgs and by Hellman, the current U.S. annual military expenditure is in the neighborhood of $1.5 trillion. But that’s more than the total authorized federal spending for all departments. Where can the extra funds be coming from? On 5 February 2018, CNBC bannered “The Treasury is set to borrow nearly $1 trillion this year”. Then, charts were presented on 10 May 2018 by Dr. Edward Yardeni, headlined “U.S. Government Finance: Debt”, in which is shown that the U.S. federal debt is soaring at around a trillion dollars annually; so, that extra money comes from additions to the federal debt. Future generations of U.S. taxpayers will be paying the price for the profligacy of today’s U.S. aristocracy, who receive all the benefits from this scam off the public, and especially off those future generations. But the far bigger losses are felt abroad, in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine, where the targets will be suffering the consequences of America’s invasions and coups.

Notwithstanding its pervasive corruption and enormous uncounted waste, the U.S. military is, by far, the U.S. institution that is respected above all others by the American people. A great deal of domestic propaganda is necessary in order to keep it that way. With so many trillions of dollars that are unaccounted for, it’s do-able. All that’s needed is a tiny percentage of the huge graft to be devoted to funding the operation’s enormous PR for ‘patriotism’. And this treasonous operation has been sustainable, and very successful (for its ultimate beneficiaries), that way, in the U.S., at least for decades.

I have previously explained why specifically military corruption has come to take over the U.S. Government, but not certain other governments. And the result of its having done so has by now become obvious to people all around the world, except in the United States itself. Furthermore, ever since the first poll was taken on that matter, in 2013, which showed that globally the U.S. was viewed as the biggest national threat to peace in the world, a subsequent poll, in 2017, which unfortunately was taken in fewer countries, showed that this negative impression of the U.S. Government, by the peoples in those fewer countries, had actually increased there during the four intervening years. So: not only is the situation in the U.S. terrible, but the trend in the U.S. appears to be in the direction of even worse. America’s military-industrial complex can buy a glittering ‘patriotic’ image amongst its own public, but America’s image abroad will only become uglier, because the world-at-large dislikes a country that’s addicted to the perpetration of invasions and coups. Just as bullies are feared and disliked, so too are bully-nations. Even if the given bully-aristocracy becomes constantly enriched by their operation, economies throughout the world suffer such an aristocracy, as being an enormous burden; and, unfortunately, the American public will get the blame, not America’s aristocracy — which is the real beneficiary of the entire operation. This deflection of blame, onto the suckered public, precludes any effective response from the publics abroad, such as boycotts of U.S.-branded products and services might be. Instead, American tourists abroad become increasingly perceived as ‘the ugly American’. The restored ‘Cold War’ — this time with no ideological excuse (such as communism) whatsoever — could produce a much stronger global tarnishing of America’s global reputation. The beneficiaries, apparently, just don’t care.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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‘Terrible massacre’: Israel kills 52, injures 2,410 Gaza protesters as US embassy opens in Jerusalem – By RT

‘Terrible massacre’: Israel kills 52, injures 2,410 Gaza protesters as US embassy opens in Jerusalem
Fifty-two Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations on the day of the US embassy’s inauguration in Jerusalem, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday.

More than 2,400 protesters have been injured in Gaza on what has been the most violent day of the six week long Great March of Return. Those wounded on Monday include 203 children and 78 women, according to the ministry. 

The Palestinian government denounced Monday’s violence as a “terrible massacre” perpetrated “by the forces of the Israeli occupation”, and called for an immediate international intervention to prevent further deaths. A day of national mourning has been declared by the government in Ramallah, to be held Tuesday.

Around 35,000 protesters gathered at the border fence and thousands more within half a mile of the vicinity, according to Israeli Defence Forces. 

Clashes have also reportedly broken out between protesters and the Israeli Defense Forces in Bethlehem. 

The first of Monday’s deaths was 21-year-old Anas Hamdan Qudeih, killed east of Khan Yunis, a spokesperson for the ministry said. A 29-year-old man, Mosaab Yousef Ibrahim Abu Laila, was later killed east of Jabalya. Some of the dead have yet to be identified. Six children under the age of 18, including one girl, are among the fatalities.

Amnesty International has called the Israeli violence in Gaza “an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights.” 

Around half of all injuries were caused by live bullets while hundreds more were targeted with teargas, according to the ministry. The Palestinian Health Ministry claims that Israeli forces are directly targeting emergency services and journalists and are calling on citizens to urgently donate blood to help save the lives of those wounded.

Six journalists have reportedly been injured while covering Monday’s demonstrations, according to the Journalist Support Committee.

Meanwhile, the IDF said Israeli Air Force planes targeted Hamas posts near Jabalya after its soldiers came under fire in the area.

The latest deaths bring the number killed since the Great March of Return protests began six weeks ago to 97.

Dr. Mkhaimer Abuseda, professor of political sciences at Alazhar University in Gaza, told RT that the relocation of the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem is “a very sad day for the Palestinians, reminding them of their first Nakba some 70 years ago.”

“It seems to me that the Palestinians have decided that the US is no longer an honest broker in the MidEast peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis,” he said, adding that it will likely lead to further Palestinian rage and resistance.

Scuffles have reportedly broken out outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem as the inauguration ceremony took place inside.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has condemned Monday’s violence, claiming the US, as well as Israel, is responsible for the “massacre” because of their “unjust decision” to move the embassy.

Tuesday marks the commemoration of Nakba Day, a term which Palestinians use to describe their forced mass exodus from their homes during the establishment of the State of Israel. It is celebrated among Israelis as Independence Day. Thousands of people have gathered near the border to take part in Monday’s protests.

Huge demonstrations are expected to mark the May 15 event, which brings to a close the six-week Great March of Returndemonstrations.

The IDF dropped leaflets warning people in Gaza to stay away from the security fence ahead of Monday’s protests. Demonstrators in North Gaza brought down an IDF drone that was allegedly dropping fire bombs on tents, according to the Great Return March movement.

READ MORE: Israel fires tear gas, drops leaflets warning Palestinians to stay away from border

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The Impact of America’s Wars on Freedoms and Democracy at Home – by Whitney Webb (MINT PRESS)

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet military personnel during a visit to the Pentagon, July 20, 2017. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

While America has gone a century and a half without being “war-torn” in the conventional sense, the damage of war is not limited to that inflicted by guns and bombs.

MINNEAPOLIS – Despite concern that the United States will soon find itself in a major war that could have global consequences, many Americans are uninterested in that eventuality as shown by the minimal attention major geopolitical events, like the recent bombing of Syria or the 17-year-long occupation of Afghanistan, receive compared to the President’s alleged sexcapades and rapper Kanye West’s tweets. Though many theories have been put forth as to why so many Americans are uninterested in their government’s military actions abroad that are committed in their name and with their tax dollars, there is one that stands out from the rest.

The United States has been at war for 93 percent of its history. However, a vast majority of those wars took place abroad and did not drastically alter domestic life for most Americans, except in the case of the Civil War. The suffering of wars in which the U.S. has participated has largely eluded the majority of Americans, save for American servicemen and veterans — who are often forced to internalize their suffering in a country disconnected from the consequences of war.

Compare, for instance, the suffering unleashed upon the people of Korea during the Korean War, the people of Vietnam during the Vietnam War and the people of Iraq during the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq to the domestic experience of the average American while those wars were taking place. Even the “just” wars of years past, like World War I and World War II, did not cause the type of destruction that those wars wrought upon Europe. In fact, the U.S. government – beyond the loss of life of its soldiers – benefited greatly from these catastrophes and allowed the country to become a world power.

As a result, there is a prevailing, though likely unconscious, perception that U.S. military adventurism abroad, no matter how brutal or criminal, does not significantly impact the day-to-day activities of American life, allowing a substantial portion of the population to ignore the more sordid consequences of U.S. imperial ambition.

Yet, while America has gone a century and a half without being “war-torn” in the conventional sense, the damage of war is not limited to that inflicted by guns and bombs. With yet another war looming, it is worth revisiting the effects past wars have had on American domestic life as well as the dangerous precedents that past actions of the U.S. government taken during war-time have set. Indeed, were the U.S. to get involved in a major war with a country like Russia or Iran, many of the past actions taken by the government, particularly those aimed at curbing dissent, are highly likely to make a comeback to the great detriment of American domestic life and, most of all, American democracy.

 

The Espionage and Sedition Acts: Protecting Americans from themselves

Reaching back a century ago, the memory of World War I is faint. “The Great War,” as it was called at the time, killed millions and arguably changed the face of war forever. While the war did not take place on U.S. soil, it too brought great change to America, with Orwellian consequences that still persist today.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson decided that the country needed to be protected from “the insidious methods of internal hostile activities,” and went to great lengths to restrict freedom of speech and criminalize dissent. One of the results of Wilson’s efforts was the Espionage Act of 1917. Though it was similar to past laws dealing with espionage, the Espionage Act was unique in the sense that it deemed anyone a criminal who published information during times of war that the president declared to be “of such character that it is or might be useful to the enemy” or may “attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny or refusal of duty [draft dodging].” The act passed with a wide majority in both houses of Congress. For those found guilty, the legislation imposed a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison.

Another piece of legislation passed a year later went even further in curbing domestic dissent by limiting speech. The Sedition Act, an amendment that extended the Espionage Act, officially forbade the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” that cast the U.S. government, its armed forces, or even the national flag in a negative light or led others to view the U.S. government and its institutions with contempt during times of war — regardless of whether the information expressed was true. It also prohibited speech that interfered with the sale of government bonds designed to fund the war effort.

Though it was repealed in 1920, the Sedition Act ultimately paved the way for similar legislation that would regulate speech during peacetime in the years to come. The acts were also used to entirely dismantle the progressive left in the United States. For instance, Victor Berger, the first socialist elected to Congress, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “hindering” the war effort, and legendary socialist leader Eugene Debs received 10 years in prison for making a single anti-war speech.

Today, a revised version of the Espionage Act of 1917 continues to be used by the U.S. government to prosecute whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou and Jeffrey Sterling, among others, as well as journalists and publishers like Julian Assange.

However, it is worth remembering that, in times of war, the Espionage Act becomes a much more powerful curb on speech and, given that the U.S. uses the law to target whistleblowers in times of peace, the war powers it bestows on the government are sure to be used if and when the U.S. enters into another major war.

 

The chill of civilian spy networks

In addition to legislative efforts and the use of media to manipulate opinion and squash dissent, American citizens were also encouraged to spy on their countrymen, leading to the formation of citizen vigilante groups likes the Knights of Liberty, the American Defense Society and the National Security League, among others.

A 1917 Chicago Tribune article on the The America Protective League.

The most powerful of these groups was the American Protective League (APL), a semi-official organization that worked with the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation and boasted around 250,000 members in some 600 cities across the U.S. Though ostensibly tasked with identifying war saboteurs, draft dodgers and foreign spies, the APL’s members surveilled, harassed, intimidated and “arrested” Americans whose loyalty to the war effort was called into question.

Declining to buy Liberty Bonds, being an immigrant of “questionable” origin, and even having food stores in your home were enough to raise the suspicion of the APL. They raided factories, union halls and private homes with impunity, seeking out any American who opposed the war effort as well as targeting innocent Americans of German descent, whom they tarred and feathered and attacked with horsewhips in full public view. They also worked to suppress American labor unions, calling unions and socialists “pro-German” and “anti-American” and working with the U.S. government to conduct mass raids on the socialist labor union International Workers of the World (IWW).

Despite the clearly illegal tactics of the APL, it had the support of then-Attorney General Thomas Gregory, who assured a skeptical President Wilson that the APL “should be encouraged and…not subject to any real criticism.” During the course of the war, the APL detained some 40,000 people and claimed to have found more than 3 million cases of “disloyalty.”

Though the APL and organizations like it have become relics of wars past, civilian vigilante groups that collaborate with the government have attempted to make a comeback in post 9/11 America. For instance, under the George W. Bush administration, the Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), was created and sought to create a domestic intelligence-gathering program that would have U.S. citizens report “suspicious” activity. The measure sought to recruit one out of every 24 Americans for the program, mainly those whose work provided access to private homes or businesses, such as mailmen, utility employees and truck drivers. The program, however, was eventually canceled and replaced with Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” initiative.

 

Propaganda: getting everyone on board for war

In addition to intimidating the public and curbing speech in increasingly fascist attempts to limit dissent, World War I also saw the advent of a new government agency aimed at the mass distribution of propaganda in order to drum up support for the war. The Committee on Public Information (CPI), established by Wilson through an executive order, put journalist George Creel – a fervent supporter of Wilson and the war – in charge of the first state propaganda bureau in the country’s history. In addition to Creel, the members of the committee were the Secretaries of State, War and the Navy.

The idea for the CPI was not Wilson’s, it was Creel’s. Creel had heard many military leaders call for strong censorship of criticism of the war and subsequently sought to convince Wilson that “expression, not suppression” of a controlled press could help the war effort. He urged Wilson to create an agency that would disseminate “not propaganda as the Germans defined it, but propaganda in the true sense of the word, meaning the ‘propagation of faith.’”

The CPI brought powerful businessmen, media personalities, scholars, novelists and artists into its fold, creating a propaganda machine that blended marketing techniques with human psychology. It became the primary conduit for information regarding the war, leading Creel to assert that – in any given week – more than 20,000 newspaper columns across the country were filled with information provided by CPI handouts. Towards the latter half of the war, much of the content produced by the CPI was hateful and xenophobic, adopting slogans like “Stop the Hun!” on posters that showed German soldiers terrorizing women and young children. Its film division produced such titles as The Kaiser: The Beast of Berlin and Wolves of Kultur.

The CPI was also remarkably thorough in its control of dissenting narratives. According to historian Michael Sweeney, “every war story [against the government narrative] had been censored somewhere along the line — at the source, in transit, or in the newspaper offices in accordance with ‘voluntary’ rules established by the CPI.” The CPI was also a global operation, with offices in nine countries, and used its propaganda to great effect in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere.

The CPI was dissolved soon after the war and the domestic (but not foreign) distribution of propaganda was made illegal by the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948. However, in 2013, then-President Barack Obama signed the 2013 National Defense and Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, which contained a piece of legislation, known as “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012,” that completely lifted the propaganda ban. The act’s co-authors asserted at the time that removing the domestic propaganda ban was necessary in order to combat “al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among populations.”

Five years later, the result of the lifting of the ban can be seen in the era of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” in which false narratives have become commonplace and largely normalized, as those who publish demonstrably false claims face minimal, if any, accountability. Meanwhile, alternative media sources that provide dissenting narratives are rapidly being silenced and those journalists and citizens who offer different perspectives on key issues are dismissed as “regime apologists” and “Russian bots.” Were war to break out, surely the current efforts under way to control the narrative would only grow.

 

WWII: Wash, rinse, repeat

World War II, in which propaganda likewise flourished, also resurrected the dangerous “protection” practices set during World War I, namely the mass targeting of those suspected of “disloyalty” to the war effort. The most infamous of these was the internment of Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast on the sole basis of their ethnicity.

In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066, which put the Secretary of War and his commanders in charge of establishing military zones, or concentration camps, and deciding whom to imprison within their confines. Congress supported the measure, passing Public Law 503, which allowed for the executive order’s implementation. Significantly, the measures did not name a specific ethnic group, but allowed the military to restrict anyone it deemed a “threat.”

Anyone of Japanese ancestry along the U.S. West Coast was considered by the military to present such a threat and, after the laws were passed, many of these individuals were placed under restrictions and curfews before being “evacuated” to internment camps scattered across the country from California to Arkansas. However, it was later shown that the Japanese-Americans were targeted, not out of fear for the national security, but due to the influence of “farmers seeking to eliminate Japanese competition, a public fearing sabotage, politicians hoping to gain by standing against an unpopular group, and military authorities.”

Following evacuation orders, this store was closed.  The owner, a University of California graduate of Japanese descent, placed the "I AM AN AMERICAN" sign on the store front the day after Pearl Harbor.  Oakland, CA, April 1942.  Dorothea Lange.

Around 120,000 Japanese-Americans, two-thirds of them American citizens, were sent to the camps. More than half of those interned were children. They were not given due process and were incarcerated for up to four years, unable to leave the prison camps. Many of the children imprisoned there came to consider the camps “home.”

Strangely and tellingly, Japanese-Americans, despite being considered a domestic security threat, were able to join the U.S. Armed Forces after filling out a short questionnaire.

Not all Japanese-Americans complied with the government orders, however. The most well-known of those who disobeyed the internment order was Fred Korematsu, who later challenged the internment of Japanese-Americans on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court eventually ruled 6-to-3 that the internment of Japanese-Americans was well within the war powers of the President, arguing that in times of war such actions — even if blatantly racist — are justified when there exists a “military necessity.”

It is important to note, however, the vague nature of the law that led to the internment of Japanese-Americans. It stated that the Secretary of War was authorized to “prescribe military areas” and that “the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion.” Thus, the legal war-time precedent that resulted from war hysteria gave the U.S. military the ability to place anyone from any group into concentration camps using “national security” and “military necessity” as justification.

It’s not hard to imagine how this could play out in the United States today if and when war breaks out. Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” and push to make a registry of Muslim immigrants, as well as top U.S. officials calling people of Russian descent “genetically driven” to be untrustworthy, are just a few examples of the xenophobia and related hysteria currently at work in the U.S. As long as those irrational fears are cloaked in the patriotic blanket of “military necessity,” it seems that the internment camps could again make an appearance on American soil.

 

Fascism and racism cloaked in patriotism: an inevitable cycle

Ultimately, what the past shows us is that, in times of war, the United States often embodies the very evils it purports to stand against – fascism and racism chief among them – but does so by wrapping these troubling acts in a veneer of patriotism that falsely seeks to claim that such crimes against the Constitution and American democracy are done out of “necessity” to national security.

Again, the oft-repeated adage that “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it” rings true. Trump’s Muslim ban and the anti-Russian hysteria of the “Resistance” have raised concern among Japanese-Americans that another group could again suffer in American internment camps as they once did. Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” program shows that the APL’s brand of patriotic vigilantism still lives on. The U.S. government’s continued use of the Espionage Act to target whistleblowers and journalists further shows that dissenting narratives are unwelcome here, whether during times of war or times of peace.

Top Photo | President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet military personnel during a visit to the Pentagon, July 20, 2017. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

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Syria – A Case Study in Western Propaganda – By Chris Kanthan (Sott.net)

Cover of The Economist, August 31st, 2013

Cover of The Economist, August 31st, 2013

Dear diary, many of my colleagues are unhappy about the recent events in Syria. They are unhappy that Assad is still in power. However, I see the metaphorical glass as being half full. In a recent poll, 58% of Americans support the bombing of Syria and 19% have “no opinion.” This is wonderful news, since it shows how the vast majority of people are easily manipulated and are simply apathetic. In a democracy, the most important but least understood tool is propaganda. Let me share with you the fundamentals of a successful propaganda campaign.

Here are the five rules of public relations a.k.a propaganda:

  • Keep the message simple
  • Make it emotional
  • Don’t allow nuances or debates
  • Demonize the opposition
  • Keep repeating the message

Rule #1: The principle message has to be simple so that even a 5-year-old can understand. In this case, it was, “Assad used chemical weapons to kill innocent Syrians.” The secondary message was, “we should do something about it”. Everyone who watched TV or read the mainstream/social media got this message loud and clear.

Rule #2: Make it emotional. Propaganda is just marketing. (In fact, the phrase Public Relations was coined to replace Propaganda when the latter became a dirty word after World War I). Every good commercial has an emotional aspect to it. Emotions stop you from thinking and analyzing. Thus, while selling Pepsi, marketers use sexy women, selling a war requires evoking fear and/or anger.

About 120 years ago, when the U.S. wanted to steal Cuba from Spain, it relied upon the exact playbook. “You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war,” said the newspaper oligarch William Randolph Hearst to his cartoonist. The pictures portrayed dying children and brutal Spanish authorities. (Although Spain is white, the picture below used a monstrous person with African American features, since a warmonger could also be racist in those days).

US-Spanish war propaganda Cuba

Today, the US government tells the White Helmets, “You furnish the videos, we’ll furnish the war.” It’s the same technique used over and over. Remember during Iraq War 1, when a girl testified before the Congress that Iraqi soldiers were killing newborn babies in incubators in Kuwait? Of course, it turned out to be fake news; and the girl turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador.

The Syrian war is also a great study in use of emotional language: “worst chemical attack in Syria in years” (a lie from NY Times that forgot its own article about 52+ chemical attacks by ISIS); “international outrage,” “shocked the world,” “horrific/deadly/ghastly/heinous chemical attack” etc. Also, the Syrian government is always referred to as “regime” and Assad is always a “dictator” or a “butcher” who “kills his own people.” Every word and phrase is designed to have an emotional impact.

Rule #3: No debate allowed. The media and the pundits left absolutely no doubt who the culprit was. Within minutes after the release of pictures/videos, everyone was blaming Assad. So it didn’t matter if you listened to ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, or read the NY Times, WaPo or HuffPo … everyone was singing the same tune. Tucker Carlson was the only mainstream person who went off the script, but we are taking care of him.

This kind of consistency is really important in a successful propaganda campaign. No one should be allowed to consider other alternatives – could the attack be staged, could it be a false flag, could it be fake, how do we know when/where the videos were taken, why is it that Assad’s chemical weapons kill only children and civilians and never the jihadists, why do the attacks happen only when Assad is winning etc.?

There was also no discussion of evidence or proof. We see pictures and videos, and that’s enough. We have a doctor on site who says it’s Sarin or chlorine gas … end of story. Nobody discusses options such as should we send an international team of doctors and experts to the site, should we wait for an autopsy, should we get Assad to answer these charges (gasp!) and so on.

The US Establishment is the judge, jury and executioner, (literally on the last one). The witness is Al Qaeda who supplies the pictures and the videos, but the average person doesn’t know that either.

The secondary message was also never debated. Even if you assume that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, why should the US do something about it? Is it a moral obligation that only falls on the US? Is it a legal obligation? Does the US intervene every time and anytime some country uses chemical weapons? How about non-chemical weapons? No such discussions are permitted.

Even the cruise missile attack was so ridiculous, but the average person doesn’t notice anything suspicious. For example, we bombed the Barzeh research facility that has been inspected and cleared by the OPCW many times, including once in Nov 2017. The fact is that it’s a civilian research and educational center:

Barzeh research center

Furthermore, the OPCW team had just arrived in Syria on April 13 when the trio of US/UK/France bombed the sites. Wouldn’t it make sense to send the OPCW team to inspect the buildings before bombing them? Also, if the buildings really had chemical weapons, wouldn’t bombing them disperse the chemicals and kill thousands of civilians near by? The real proof for the civilian nature of these buildings is that within a couple of hours after the bombing, there were Syrian journalists and soldiers walking through the rubble of these lethal “chemical weapons factories” that had just been blown up by US missiles.

I know, I know, thinking only complicates matters and ruins the comfortable lie. That’s why propaganda has to keep everything simple.

Rule #4: You have to viciously attack anyone who questions the official narrative. We did a great job of attacking independent journalists and bloggers. Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett and Twitter ‘influencers’ such as @PartisanGirl and @Ian56789 were all maligned as “Russian bots.” Ian even got banned from Twitter for a few days. Sites such as 21st Century Wire and Russia Insider were brought down by our hackers during the strikes on Syria.

Rule #5: Repetition is key in any successful campaign – selling a product, a politician or a war. Thus the media saturated the airwaves and the Internet with shocking language and pictures and videos. The West really has only one media outlet, but it comes in 100’s and 1000’s of different names in order to give the illusion of choice and diversity. Thus when the same message is repeated so many times by so many people, it comes becomes the truth.

Goebbels big lie

So, you see, it doesn’t matter if Assad is still in power. The most important thing is that people are gullible and malleable, since that allows us to keep the war going and eventually achieve our goals. I assure you, we will get Syria and then we will get Iran. Yes, it will be a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions, but rest assured that the people of the West will feel good about it. That’s the power of propaganda!

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Chris Kanthan (Profile)

Chris Kanthan is the author of a new book, Deconstructing the Syrian war.. Chris lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to 35 countries, and writes about world affairs, politics, economy and health. His other book is Deconstructing Monsanto.. Follow him on Twitter: @GMOChannel

Maria Zakharova: West is Launching an All-Out Anti-Russian Campaign – Published by The Saker

The Hired “Jumping Jacks” of the Press and Their Corporate and Deep State Overlords – By Tim Keating (Sott.net)

There are laws to protect the freedom of the press’s speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press. ~ Mark Twain

Today’s news cycle is such that we are bombarded with information, much of it fake news and most of it echo and spin. There are excellent journalists, bloggers and academics out there, but too often they go unheard in the electronic haze of hysteria that passes for ‘news’. The mainstream media has few journalists worthy of the name on the payroll, but plenty of those willing to compromise themselves for ‘the inside scoop’. The CIA’s Operation Mockingbird exposed collusion between government and media decades ago. And today, when some journalists routinely submit their drafts to powerful interests before publication, getting ‘the right people’ who will ‘stick to the script’ into media is a relatively easy job.

Publicare et Propagare

Acta Diurna

The Acta Diurna Populi Romani: The “Daily Acts of the People of Rome”

Journalism is as old as civilization. Ptah-hotep, vizier to Egyptian pharaoh Djedkare Isesi, wrote sometime around 2,200 BCE of the need for “communicating truthfully, addressing audience interests, and acting in a manner consistent with what is being said.”

Julius Caesar launched the Acta Diurna, a daily gazette “posted in prominent places in Rome and in the provinces with the intention of feeding the populace official information.”

The Acta Diurna introduced the expression ‘publicare et propagare’, which means “make public and propagate,” and was typically written as a footnote to texts published in the Diurna. The practice of recording Senate deliberations was kept up after Caesar, though his successor refused to publish them, and thereafter they were often only published in censored form.

Dangerous Medium

Then as now, information is a craft. Who crafts the information, controls the message and therefore what the population believes. As much as purveyors of information may wish to convey that the information they are reporting has objective value, free from bias and constituting simply ‘the news’, everything that is packaged as such is laden with assumptions, all of them ultimately geared towards ensuring ‘continuity of narrative’ and thus the status quo.

Serena Shim

Serena Shim (born USA 1985 – died Turkey 2014)

But good journalism, while respecting the ‘rules of the game’, will challenge official narratives. Journalism isn’t always a cushy profession; in fact, it can be downright dangerous. The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) reports that “more than 1,000 journalists have been killed in the past nine years.”

In 2013, 129 journalists were killed. In 2014, 128 were killed. In Ukraine alone during the US-backed coup d’etat in 2014, 9 were killed, including Andrei Stenin, snuffed out by Western-backed Kiev fascists. In Gaza, 16 journalists were killed by Israeli forces during Operation Protective Edge. In Syria in 2017, 13 were killed, including Serena Shim (see photo at left), killed just over the border in Turkey.

These were not ’embedded’ journalists, or journalists masquerading as truth-tellers, but reporters and photojournalists risking their lives to tell stories that the mainstream refuses to.

Creeds and Oaths

monkey see no evil,etc

The serious journalist is supposed to uphold the “Journalist’s Creed“, which contains this statement:

“I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.”

Of course, the task of deciding what is in the “welfare of society” does not fall to the average hack, but on his bosses, who in turn often are connected to political and corporate bosses. So if we ever end up in a situation where a culture of corruption and cronyism defines politics and business, with this definition of ‘journalistic ethics’, there is literally no chance that the corrupt will ever be called to account by the mainstream media. They are “society” and their welfare is at risk.

There are other ethical declarations for the modern day journalist, such as from the Society of Professional Journalists. Without citing all their ‘codes’, their prime directive is:

“Never deliberately distort facts.”

Distorting facts is the purposeful ‘twisting’ in different ways of the realities that face people each and every day. In this respect, when distortions of facts are broadcast ad infinitum people begin to believe half-truths and outright lies. History and the news are pregnant with this approach to deliberately mislead, whether it is allowing space for advertisers to manipulate people for their money or rallying readers behind political leaders, or pushing for war. This is no accident. Media moguls well understand that people are subject to ‘confirmation bias’. This bias, essentially, roots itself in the distortion of believing what you want to believe rather than what reality is.

At the end of the day, the journalists within the MSM surely must know whether or not they are practicing their creed, ‘deliberately distorting facts’ or simply embellishing them. Either that, or they have the self-awareness of a walnut. Why would they violate their creed? Most need a paycheck, and almost all crave recognition. And it’s much easier to follow the herd than to stick out one’s neck with an inconvenient truth.

US Media

The Conglomerates

Today the media in increasingly a single conglomerate that purveys a single message to the people: ‘trust us, no matter what we say’. This is not new. In the 1930s, the Krupp dynasty were famous for their production of steel, artillery, ammunition, and other armaments. They also owned newspapers. In their book the Merchants of Death published in 1934, H.C. Engelbrecht and F.C Hanighen observed:

“No modern business methods were unknown to Krupp. The power of the press was understood and appreciated. Krupp owned or controlled three great newspapers, the Rheinisch-Westphaelische Zeitung, the Berlin Taegliche Rundschau, and the Neuests Nachrichten. It was a simple matter to rouse public opinion to a patriotic frenzy at any time by war scares or by giving prominent space to the armament activities of other countries, especially during the feverish years before the War.”

As a time-period exposé, the authors highlight many more examples covering the period between WWI and WWII. Post 1945, the arms makers and press were interlocked once more – the examples could fill volumes. Since that time, the same corporate forces have further consolidated their alliance and power in an attempt to completely dominate the market for your mind.

Counterbalance

Fortunately, there are some excellent journalists who try to honor their creed. Some may have developed their careers working for the MSM and learned of its pitfalls, manipulations, and lack of overall integrity. Those who have made these observations and decided instead to opt-out, who have set their own paths based on conscience and responsibility to provide facts, are sadly few and far between.

But this rare breed of journalist has objectively reported on the Gulf of Tonkin (Bắc Kỳ) the Vietnam war; the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK; Iraq 1.0 and 9/11,Iraq 2.0 and Libya; Syria’s moderate rebels and the White Helmets; the Ukraine coup and the scapegoating of Russia, the recent American election and the fallout therein. Unfortunately, real journalism rarely makes it to the mainstream. Instead, we have companies that act as media gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook.

The ‘Constitution Society‘ writes of an event alleged to have occurred at the New York Press Club in the year 1880. A toast was offered to the esteemed press gathered around New York journalist John Swinton. Swinton responded with this:

‘We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

With the current leftist hysteria dominating the news, perhaps some words on the press by someone who knew how to weaponize it – Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda – might bring the message home:

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”

And play it they do.

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Tim Keating (Profile)

SOTT.net reader!

Anonymous – Events That are Shocking The World… (2018-2019) – By Anonymous

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Anonymous – Events That are Shocking The World… (2018-2019)

7 Comments on Anonymous – Events That are Shocking The World… (2018-2019)

SYRIAN ARMENIAN EXPLODES THE MYTH ABOUT THE WESTERN MEDIA’S “PEACEFUL” REVOLT AGAINST THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT – By Ziad Fadel

SEE THE CRIMINAL ROBERT FORD STANDING NEXT TO MASS MURDERER ‘UKAYDI

 

We thank Sharmine Narwani for sending us this must-see milestone in the search for the truth about Syria.  Make this viral.  Send it to everybody.

SYRIAN ARMENIAN EXPLODES THE MYTH ABOUT THE WESTERN MEDIA’S “PEACEFUL” REVOLT AGAINST THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT; SEE THE CRIMINAL ROBERT FORD STANDING NEXT TO MASS MURDERER ‘UKAYDI by Ziad Fadel

Read more at http://syrianperspective.com/2017/03/syrian-armenian-explodes-the-myth-about-the-western-medias-peaceful-revolt-against-the-syrian-government-see-the-criminal-robert-ford-standing-next-to-mass-murderer.html#RUoqOMtGlY8TEDyR.99

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Greece to Surrender Gold, Utilities and Real Estate in Exchange For Pieces of Paper Printed in Brussels – By Matthew Allen

Germany announces the final pillage of Greece

Mon, Feb 27, 2017 | 10,314 106

Conquered by the Neoliberal Reich.
Conquered by the Neoliberal Reich.
 

It’s official: The Germans will not allow debt relief for Greece. Instead, Berlin wants to send in the repo man.

The untold story of the Greek “bailouts” is that it wasn’t a “bailout” — it was an auction of Greek assets. Real, tangible things with real, tangible value were seized in exchange for pieces of paper that guarantee Athens will be chained to Berlin and Brussels for the foreseeable future.

It’s your basic extortion racket. As one rather gloomy (but intriguing) analysis puts it:

The debt problem continues to erode the European Union from within – it is already impossible to hide, and Greek tragedy, for example, is growing.

Against this background, Germany seems to have a consensus about how to get rid of Greece with its debts and inefficient economy. The scheme of this careless schoolboy by the ear from the class, it seems, differs only in details: either to expel or allow suffering – to provoke the Maidan in Athens, and then to expel in any case.

Bavaria’s 50-year-old finance minister and CSU politician Markus Soeder became the declarant of this ‘plan B’, who stated about the necessity of ‘a plan B’.

“New billions should only flow when Athens implemented all the reforms. Even then, however, aid should only be given against a pledge “in the form of cash, gold or real estate”,” Soeder stated.

In his own way, he’s right – all conditions have been created for Maidan in Athens. Previously, the EU and the European Central Bank assessed all the Greece’s public property at 50 billion euro that does not even cover the necessary new loans on debt payments of this country (80-90 billion euro). Therefore, the collateral should be gathered from private funds through the expropriation of gold and real estate. Implementation of reforms will lead to the final death of the Greek small and medium businesses after bringing the taxation to “European standards”, and namely such steps of the Ukrainian government have led to the Maidan in Kiev in 2013 with the collapse of the ruling regime in February 2014.

A bit too melodramatic? We forgot — we are supposed to use the friendly neoliberal term for this policy of national enslavement and communal suicide: “voluntary privatization.”

 

Yes, we know. The poor, altruist Germans had to save irresponsible Greece. They did a fine job of it too. Fire sales always have the best bargains:

Behind the stories of a Greek economic recovery is the sad reality that everything of value in Greece has been auctioned off to the Germans and their partners in crime. Privatization is being sold as the remedy to all financial woes, while the snake oil salesmen do the exact opposite:

Oh, we’re sure that Greece will get the money it “needs”. Just after it surrenders everything of value that isn’t nailed down. Once it’s all packed up and shipped off to Berlin — thanks, “have some euros”.

Even if the Germans are acting out of kindness (they’re not), this is not a sustainable or long-term solution. It’s the exact opposite: flat-out robbery.

As Eleni Portaliou, professor emeritus at the National Technical University of Athens, wrote back in September:

Privatization — the seizure of public property by private capital — is a central element of neoliberal globalization, routinely imposed not only by national governments but by supranational organizations like the International Monetary Fund, OECD, World Bank, European Central Bank (ECB), and European Commission.

Today, Greece is the epicenter of privatization. The third memorandum, signed by the Tsipras government in 2015, enabled the property of the Greek state to be given away through scandalous methods to multinational companies and other states.

The theft is not unusual. Privatization is one of the ironclad principles of neoliberal economic thinking, along with balanced budgets, independence of the ECB, prohibition of monetary financing of deficits, and close bonds with the financial markets. These principles have been constitutionally incorporated into the European edifice, codifying the appropriation and waste of public wealth, destroying human labor, and undermining the survival of our planet.

A perfect crime. After all, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs helped cook the books so Greece could join the eurozone.

This really is a golden age for international criminal cabals. Al Capone was a chump.

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The Fourth Turning and Steve Bannon Pt. 2 = Happiness, Hedonism, Horror – Repeat – By Harrison Koehli

histeria

Continued from Part 1: Why He’s Wrong, Even Though He’s Right

I wasn’t familiar with the ‘fourth turning’ before the Bannon media hype, but the idea didn’t strike me as off the wall once I read about it. I think it’s actually quite useful. And it’s not really new either. Howe and Strauss seem to have built upon existing ideas of historical cycles and refined them, tying them to the biological life cycle and filling in a lot of the details. For example, Howe mentions Toynbee’s idea of a “great war cycle”:

And this is the old lesson of Arnold Toynbee, of what he calls the great war cycle that arose every 80 years or so: it’s when the generation who doesn’t remember the last great catastrophe finally become the senior leaders.

Another source is Russian sociologist Pitrim Sorokin. I’m not sure if Howe and Strauss were familiar with Sorokin’s work, but these blog posts (here, here, and here) suggest that their theory at least “appears to be a clean innovation on Sorokin’s work”. Sorokin also identified a cycle of 80 to 100 years that ping-pongs between spiritual and materialistic mindsets, roughly corresponding to the awakening and crisis turnings. For Howe and Strauss, the second and fourth turnings – spiritual awakening and secular crisis – form the key moments in the larger cycle of cultural trends.

There’s another source, however, that I think rounds out generational theory even more and provides the perspective we need in order to prevent the current crisis from progressing to a reign of terror. Readers familiar with Lobaczewski’s Political Ponerology (which cites Sorokin’s work as a source) know that one of main points of the book is that some psychopaths strive for political power, and create societal nightmares once they achieve it. But equally important is his focus on the historical cycles that make such a thing possible. The two are intimately tied together.

In PP, Lobaczewski describes this cycle in terms of “good times” and “bad times”. Bad times contain within them the seeds of good times, because they provide the hard lessons that force people to rediscover what really matters, prompting a spiritual awakening for society to rebuild. But good times also contain the seed of bad times, because they tend to lead to hedonism, complacency, and stagnation, where past lessons are forgotten and written off as a waste of time. But the hedonistic pursuit of happiness only leads to misery, because it lacks any meaning or sense of purpose. And by ignoring the lessons learned in the past, societies open themselves up to the same “infection”. They lose their “immunity”. Their defenses are weakened, and another crisis becomes inevitable.

Already we see aspects of Howe and Strauss’s “high” (good times), “awakening” (rediscovery of lost values), and “unraveling” (stagnation and hedonism), which lead to “crisis” (bad times).

Lobaczewski admitted that the two key “danger” phases were well recognized by historians. The first is a spiritual crisis where moral, religious, and intellectual values atrophy and cease to nourish a society. If the correct measures aren’t taken, this leads to a secular crisis: economic collapse, revolution, war, the fall of empires. That’s pretty standard stuff in history, but what’s not understood very well are the specific dynamics that govern why and how this happens – and therefore give a clue as to how to prevent the worst from happening. Left only with Howe & Strauss’s theory, we’d be in the same boat as any other generation, albeit with the advantage of knowing we’re navigating a crisis. Luckily, we have PP to help us out.

As a psychologist who lived in Communist Poland and studied the Soviet system – risking his life in the process – Lobaczewski had a unique perspective, something people like Bannon could probably benefit from. He focuses in detail on two “pathological states” of societies. Think of them as mental illnesses affecting an entire society, which have specific causes, stages, symptoms, and treatments. These two societal diseases also act as distinct stages within a bigger “macrosocial disease process”:

…their essence and contents appear different enough, but they can operate sequentially in such a way that the first opens the door to the second. (PP, p. 120)

I want to focus on the first: a state of heightened and pervasive societal hysteria, which can open the door to the nightmare of the second disease state, “pathocracy”.

Lobaczewski fits these pathological social conditions into what he calls a “hysteroidal cycle”, but I’ll just refer to it as the cycle of hysteria. It’s important information to have, so I’m going to summarize his ideas here and relate them to Howe and Strauss’s work on the four turnings. (For those readers who have PP, the bulk of this information comes from Chapter 2.)

The Cycle of Hysteria

Lobaczewski says the cycle of hysteria repeats “not quite every two centuries”. The level of social hysteria peaks around one generation before a crisis, in other words during an unraveling. If it peaks hard enough, it can lead to a reign of terror, as it has so often in the past. If Lobaczewski is right about the length of the cycle, that suggests a longer cycle – close to two of Howe and Strauss’s cycles (i.e. 150 to 180 years). Civil War buffs might be able to provide some insight into this, given that the Civil War happened just over 150 years ago. Or perhaps Howe and Strauss are correct in limiting the cycle to 80 years, and the conditions that make one cycle worse than another are secondary and don’t repeat like clockwork. I don’t know.

As bad as the bad times are, they give purpose: for progress and the rediscovery of lost values. A close encounter with evil forces us to gather the physical and mental strength to fight not only for our lives, but also for our sanity. Even though our first response is usually to turn to violence and military might (revolution, counter-revolution, civil war), that hotheadedness falls by the wayside with time and experience. In the cauldron of suffering and chaos, frivolous emotions eventually make way for sober reflection, and we’re forced to regain lost powers of thought and discernment. Society eventually regains a healthier worldview: knowledge of self and others, old virtues and values, understanding the meaning of history. All of which eventually gives us the power to actually conquer evil by creating a new order out of the chaos.

But this knowledge slowly fades. Those who benefit the most after the crisis in terms of position and wealth give birth to children who haven’t known real hardship. These children learn to repress uncomfortable truths that would force them to admit that they profit from injustice (e.g., slavery, worker exploitation, corrupt business practices, imperialism, etc.). This form of denial only gets worse with each new generation. In other words, the privileged, elite establishment gradually loses touch with reality, becoming more self-serving and self-entitled with time.

This kind of comfortable life – blind to the negative underbelly – gives rise to increasing levels of self-importance and hysteria, which eventually reach a critical point. If this critical point can’t be overcome, a bloody tragedy usually results within the next generation. In other words, if the disease isn’t treated in its infancy, crisis is probably inevitable. How bad it is depends on how far a society has devolved morally and psychologically. Some societies survive relatively intact; some are tied to the fate of other nations; but empires can and do collapse. A crisis of hysteria is how it all happens.

So let’s take a look at some of the “symptoms” of this social disease, which show up after a couple generations of living the good life. Lobaczewski gives a few specific examples of how the hysteria manifests. People tend to become overly emotional, hyper-sensitive and hyper-irritable, prone to taking offense at the drop of a hat, and unreasonably distrustful of others. In Eastern Europe, some of the older generation assumed anything anyone said to them in casual conversation was a lie. Having a conversation with such a person is not easy. They’re constantly seeing something that isn’t there: you lying to them. And nothing you can say or do will convince them otherwise. In other words, they’re basically hallucinating.

Cognitively, critical thinking goes down the tubes, people lose their ability to reason, and cognitive dissonance reaches pandemic levels because people come to believe many things that just aren’t true. When you consistently hallucinate an alternate reality that isn’t actually there, naturally that alternate reality has to come face to face with actual facts. But those facts can’t be accepted as true, otherwise that would mean you’re wrong and you’re not as smart as you think you are. Result: cognitive dissonance. And when this kind of pseudo-thinking based on “alternative facts” becomes habitual, people habitually miss the point. Lobaczewski calls it “chronic avoidance of the crux of the matter” – they simply can’t see what’s actually important or significant. (I’ll go into this in more detail in Part 3.)

This video captures some of the above. It’s also funny.

This is bad news. When we ignore reality, or substitute facts with more comfortable alternatives, this means we can’t come to correct conclusions or make effective choices. And as Dr. Jordan B. Peterson put it in one of his talks: “Every time you tell yourself a lie and every time you act out a falsehood, you distort the pristine integrity of your nervous system, and the reports it will give you about the nature of the world will be distorted.” And that inevitably leads to bad results.

When these emotional and cognitive errors run rampant, they lead to a life dominated by what Lobaczewski calls the “three egos”:

  • Egoism: selfishness, self-interest above all else on the personal and national levels
  • Egotism: self-importance, arrogance, boastfulness on the personal and national levels
  • Egocentrism: self-centredness, thinking only of oneself, without regard for feelings, interests, of well-being of others, on the personal and national levels

That’s what happens when you hallucinate a world in which you are the best and the most important, and you ignore or reinterpret any evidence to the contrary. At the level of governmental administration, it leads to self-defeating and even disastrous domestic and foreign policy.

So, due to all the above (emotional hysteria, cognitive dissonance, the three egos), people and nations steadily cease to see the importance of engaging in introspection and self-criticism, and acknowledging their own faults. They lose interest in gaining knowledge of life and of others. They aren’t interested in understanding or acknowledging the suffering of others, here or abroad. When creature comforts and a relatively decent or exceptional standard of living are readily available, answering tough questions and acknowledging harsh realities just aren’t worth the effort. What’s the point when you have everything you want or need? “What’s in it for me?”

Public, social and moral responsibilities take a back seat. People become self-indulgent, driven by the pursuit of pleasure, and obsessed with trivial things. Our social connections with others get weaker and weaker. We don’t think seriously about the future, how to prepare for it, and what to do in order to make sure we have a future. We steadily lose basic knowledge of how our own minds work and how to interact with others in a healthy way. In a nutshell, we lose our understanding of the very things necessary for a peaceful preservation of law and order, and for social progress. And without this understanding, we can’t and don’t properly educate the next generation with the knowledge they need to deal successfully with the world, which only sets them up for failure.

Truth becomes an uncomfortable concept in such times; truth tellers and whistleblowers aren’t treated well, lies become common currency. People in high social positions become contemptuous of their inferiors, while those “inferiors” grow resentful of those at the top. Universities, politics, and business form a united front of talentless, incompetent hacks. This leads to a paralysis of leadership. Simple problems that should have relatively common-sense and simple solutions become overwhelming. Can’t get much worse, right? Wrong. Things can get much worse.

In sum, when hysteria reaches its peak, people are overwhelmingly ruled by automatic, unconscious emotional and cognitive processes. Readers should check out Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Timothy Wilson’s Strangers To Ourselves, because they talk about these specific processes. And a little self-knowledge goes a long way. The alternative is not pretty:

Those who try to maintain common sense and proper reasoning finally wind up in the minority, feeling wronged because their human right to maintain psychological hygiene is violated by pressure from all sides. This means that unhappy times are not far away. (PP, p. 105)

So the question is this: Is America (and the rest of the world) in for some unhappy times?

In Part 3, I’ll take a look at the hysterical state of American society, the implications, and what can go wrong.

Harrison Koehli

Harrison Koehli co-hosts SOTT Radio Network’s Truth Perspective, and is an editor for Red Pill Press. He has been interviewed on several North American radio shows about his writings on the study of ponerology. In addition to music and books, Harrison enjoys tobacco and bacon (often at the same time) and dislikes cell phones, vegetables, and fascists.

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