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Parry writes: "As Americans approach Election Year 2016, the crisis of misinformation is growing more and more dangerous. On issues from foreign policy to the economy, almost none of the candidates in the race appears to be addressing the real world."

President Obama at press conference. (photo: AP)
President Obama at press conference. (photo: AP)


The Misinformation Mess

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

01 January 15

 

As Americans approach Election Year 2016, the crisis of misinformation is growing more and more dangerous. On issues from foreign policy to the economy, almost none of the candidates in the race appears to be addressing the real world, writes Robert Parry.

ew York Times columnist Paul Krugman marvels at the right-wing extremism prevalent in the Republican presidential race not just from the “outsider” candidates but from the “establishment” favorites as well, doubling down on President George W. Bush’s economic prescriptions and foreign policies despite their record of disaster.

The media’s obsession with Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff candidacy “has in one way worked to the G.O.P. establishment’s advantage: it has distracted pundits and the press from the hard right turn even conventional Republican candidates have taken, a turn whose radicalism would have seemed implausible not long ago,” Krugman wrote on Monday.

From escalating U.S. military involvement in the Middle East to slashing taxes – again – for the rich, the supposedly “mainstream” Republicans, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, are acting as if the catastrophes under Bush-43 never happened.

It would be fair to say that the Democrats are suffering from a similar disconnect from the lessons of the last quarter century, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bristling with hawkish rhetoric toward Syria and Russia while sending fawning salutations to Israel despite its contribution to the Mideast crisis by repressing the Palestinian people.

Even Clinton’s chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, can’t formulate a rational policy toward the Middle East, although – to his credit – he did oppose Bush’s bogus case for invading Iraq and favors prioritizing cooperation with Russia in defeating the Islamic State over demanding another “regime change” in Syria.

But Sanders simply wants to postpone the U.S. removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and he encourages Saudi Arabia to throw its military weight around more across the region, not noticing that the Saudis are backing many of the Sunni jihadists who have helped turn the Middle East into a killing field. Nor does Sanders explain why one would expect the Saudis to turn away from their obsession with fighting Shiites as they are currently doing in pulverizing Yemen because a Shiite rebel group, the Houthis, gained power in that impoverished nation.

In a rational world, Saudi Arabia would be viewed as a major part of the problem, not part of any solution.

On domestic policy, Sanders – like Trump – does seem to have touched a populist political nerve in their recognition that neo-liberalism (as preached since Bill Clinton’s presidency) has failed to protect America’s middle class. Though Sanders’s and Trump’s brands of populism offer sharply divergent remedies, they both speak to Main Street’s fear that it is being left behind by the high-tech globalized world that has diverted vast wealth to Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

The more traditional candidates – whether Hillary Clinton or the establishment Republicans – don’t address the heart of this problem. Instead, they choose to play it safe on the edges while embracing the “free market” orthodoxies that created the crisis.

A Propagandized People

But is it really possible to expect that the American people (as propagandized and misinformed as they are) could effect significant change through the electoral process, which is itself deeply compromised by vast sums of dark money from American oligarchs, while other super-rich Americans own the major media companies.

So, while there may be some logical responses to this combination of crises, the media/political system prevents them from being considered in any coherent way.

For instance, a rational approach to the Middle East would shift American alliances away from the reactionary Persian Gulf monarchies and Turkey and toward a more balanced approach that would invite greater involvement of Shiite-ruled Iran, which the Sunni-led monarchies view as their chief regional rival. There is little reason for the United States to take one side of a sectarian split within Islam that dates back to the Seventh Century.

By shedding its current pro-Saudi bias, the United States could finally get serious about resolving the Syrian crisis by shutting down the money and weapons going from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to the extremists not just in the Islamic State but also in Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its various jihadist allies.

Since summer 2014, President Barack Obama and his “coalition” have been fighting a half-hearted war that has failed to face down the U.S. “allies” aiding the Sunni jihadists in Syria. Only when shamed by Russia in fall 2015 did the U.S. coalition join in bombing trucks carrying the Islamic State’s oil from Syria through Turkey’s open borders for resale in the black market. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Blind Eye Toward Turkey’s Crimes.”]

As for Syria’s political future, a reasonable approach would be to leave the selection of national leaders up to the Syrian people through internationally organized democratic elections. The voters would be the ones to decide Assad’s fate, not outsiders.

Yet, Official Washington finds itself in the crazy position of extending the bloody Syrian war – and the resulting chaos across the region and into Europe – because Obama and other Important People said “Assad must go!” and don’t want to lose face by dropping that demand. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Neocons Object to Syrian Democracy.“]

A realistic approach to the Middle East also requires finally standing up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than letting him dance U.S. political leaders around the world stage like puppets on a marionette’s string. A balanced approach to the Middle East would allow for collaborating with Russia and Iran to apply pressure on the parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to make the necessary concessions for a peace deal, imperfect though it would surely be.

The need to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin would also require rethinking the aggressive U.S. strategy regarding NATO and Ukraine. Instead of insisting that everything is “Putin’s fault,” the U.S. government could acknowledge its hand in exacerbating the political crisis in Ukraine in 2013-14 and admit that the U.S.-backed putsch on Feb. 22, 2014, was not the simple story of “our good guys vs. their bad guys” that was sold to the American public.

As part of all this reassessment, there needs to be a coming-clean with the American people regarding what U.S. intelligence knows about a variety of key events, including but not limited to the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin attack outside Damascus, Syria; the Feb. 20, 2014 sniper attack in Kiev, Ukraine, which set the stage for the coup; and the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine.

The fact that such events have been exploited for propaganda reasons – to blame U.S. “adversaries” – while the detailed knowledge of the U.S. intelligence agencies is hidden from the American people has deprived the public of an ability to make rational assessments about the larger policies. U.S. positions are driven by false or faulty perceptions, not reality.

The Disappearing Middle Class

Along with bringing rationality and reason back to U.S. foreign policy, a similar process of truth-telling could take place domestically. The core problem of America’s disappearing middle class is not just technology and globalization; it is that the super-profits from those developments have gone overwhelmingly to the extremely rich, rather than equitably shared with the population.

Thus, we see the rapid shrinking of the Great American Middle Class, a development that is destructive and dangerous because a prosperous middle class serves as ballast for an economy, preventing it from suddenly capsizing.

Plus, if most people can’t afford to buy the products that technology produces, then eventually the investment in that technology becomes unprofitable, a lesson well known since the days of Henry Ford who wanted his workers to earn enough to afford to buy his cars.

There is the trick question about what is the value of all the properties and hotels in “Monopoly” once one player has won by bankrupting all the other players. The answer is zero because no one has any money to visit the properties or stay at the hotels. They thus have no monetary value. A similar reality holds true in the real-world economy. Over-concentration of wealth is a threat.

The answer to this conundrum is also clear: since it is impossible to stop technological advancement and risky to start trade wars, the alternative is to tax the super-profits of the rich and recycle the money in the form of jobs to build infrastructure, educate the young, protect the environment, research ways to improve health, etc.

There is nothing wrong with having machines do more of the drudgery and give humans more time to enjoy life. The problem comes when the benefits accrue to a tiny minority and the rest of us are forced to work harder or face declining living standards.

But what prevents us from making the sensible move – i.e., dramatically increase taxes on the rich and put that money to use putting people to work on worthy projects – is Ronald Reagan’s propaganda message that “government is the problem.” The Right has built onto that theme the idea that government promoting the common good is against the U.S. Constitution.

Thus, you have extremists such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz posing as “constitutionalists” as they ignore the fact that the chief authors of the Constitution – the Federalists – inserted a clear mandate for the U.S. government to “provide for the … general Welfare.” That authority was cited in both the Preamble and Article I, Section 8, which enumerates the government’s powers. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Right’s Made-up Constitution.”]

In other words, the “originalist” meaning of the U.S. Constitution was in favor of a robust and activist federal government. But few Americans know and understand that history. They have been sold on a false rendition that serves the interests of the rich who understandably don’t want the government to use its taxing powers on behalf of the broader population.

The Heart of the Matter

Which get us to the heart of the matter: Why is the American political debate so ill-informed and misinformed? Why was there virtually no accountability in the mainstream U.S. news media when nearly every important foreign-policy journalist and pundit bought into the WMD lies that justified the Iraq War? Why are the same kinds of “group thinks” continuing to prevail, with U.S. government propaganda accepted rather than questioned?

The answer to that conundrum is that Official Washington is dominated – on foreign policy – by neoconservatives and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks and – on domestic policy – by neo-liberals and government-hating conservatives. The old days – when there were foreign policy “realists” who acted more from a perspective of American interests and politicians who remembered the Great Depression and the New Deal – are gone.

The neoconservatives, who emerged as pro-Vietnam War Democrats in the 1970s and switched over to Reagan Republicans in the 1980s, have proved to be a formidable and effective force for a propaganda-driven foreign policy that sees American interests as indistinguishable from Israel’s and treats the American people like cattle to be herded.

That is why real information is as dangerous to neocons as water was to the Wicked Witch of the West. It is also why they have concentrated so much on getting control of the flow of news to the American people. If all the public gets is propaganda – and if honest journalists and scholars are marginalized and silenced – then the people will either support the latest neocon/liberal-hawk cause or end up in confused disarray, not sure what to believe.

The truth is that the neocons and their liberal-hawk allies now control virtually the entire mainstream news media, from The New York Times and The Washington Post to NPR and the major networks to Fox News and most of right-wing talk radio. Even esteemed journalist Seymour Hersh now must go overseas to the London Review of Books to get his important reporting published when it challenges the “group think” on Syria and other topics.

‘Free Market’ Capitalism

A similar situation exists regarding “free market” capitalism that is embraced by both neo-liberals and right-wing economists. For decades, in the major U.S. news media, it has been hard to hear a discouraging word about “free trade” deals even though labor leaders and some populist politicians warned presciently that these deals would cost millions of middle-class factory jobs.

Today, there is more skepticism about “free trade” as the social and economic impact has become undeniable but, again, there was no accountability for the misleading advocates of these agreements nor a serious effort to rewrite the deals. Renegotiation of the trade deals has been one of Donald Trump’s major proposals and applause lines.

But most Republican candidates favor more of the same: more unrestrained capitalism and less taxation on the wealthy. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton positions herself as a centrist, promising no “middle class” tax increases on people making $250,000 or less, a redefinition of the “middle class” to include families making about five times the median income.

Despite their other shortcomings, Trump and Sanders are the only candidates seriously addressing some of these key economic issues. For his part, Sanders advocates much higher taxes – especially on the wealthy and the stock speculators – to fund a broad range of social programs, such as Medicare for all, and to finance massive infrastructure rebuilding.

Yet, the central challenge for a possible political transformation in America rests on reliable information getting to the people, especially given all the sources of misinformation and the many barriers to the truth. That battle – restoring the life-blood of democracy, an informed electorate – remains the challenge of our time.



Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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Comments   

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+43 # indian weaver 2016-01-01 14:42
Remember, the only meaning and value to existence for the government is power and money. Chaos and war supports those values perfectly. I see nothing the government is doing to avert chaos and war, no matter what, no matter whom, no matter why. Chaos and war is good for the powerful and rich, destructive and fatal to We The People. Everything this government is doing is therefore rational in their terms, and their terms are the only terms. Forget these rational discussions. We've read, said and thought them for years, to no use, to no effect but add fuel to the internal fires of We The People. These writers are getting paid but to what end? To earn their paycheck. We've heard all this for many years. Time to move on ... to something that works, like civil war. I suppose everything will get worse, until it gets better, as the saying goes. Good luck with that. Nothing is changing for the better. Everything is changing for the worse, as long as we allow Washington to survive as it is.
 
 
+55 # Capn Canard 2016-01-01 18:21
It is what the uber wealthy want. Economic misery, recession, middle class collapse, war, and chaos is their life blood. They will gobble as much of our property and wealth as they can. And it will all be legal. For them your children's future is just an appetizer.
 
 
+23 # wantrealdemocracy 2016-01-01 19:32
The only meaning and value of existence for government NOW is power and money---but that is not the only meaning and value of a good government. Have we no idea of the common good? We need a government that works to allow all of us to participate in deciding just what would be best for all of us.

I agree with indian weaver that our only solution now seems to be civil war. I would like we the people to rise up against our government which is now working to serve the wildest greedy desires of the very wealthy.

Our choices in the upcoming election cycle is below dreadful. We have time to search out independent candidates who will support the concept of democracy where the government works for the common good so that all of us share the wealth of our nation and mind our own business here in our nation. We must end all these wars and bring all of our troops home to share in the work of rebuilding our nation.

It will be a hard task to change current situation where the rich run the show and the people are suffering as is our mother the Earth. We must stand up so that things do not get worse. Nothing will get better if we do not criticize the actions of our government and DEMAND change. It is time for a new political party or an independent candidate to act in the interests of our common good.
 
 
+21 # futhark 2016-01-01 22:07
Constitutional, representative government was initiated in the United State to PREVENT civil war. The authors of the Constitution had just been through a dreadful civil war, the War of American Independence, in which neighbors killed and robbed neighbors and business, trade, and industry were all significantly impaired.

An orderly and just society is not only more humane but it supports the general welfare and prosperity. It is good for business.

Concentration of political power in the hands of an elite few impairs adaptation of policy to changing conditions and alienates the citizens from participating in the political process. Alienation breeds hostility and hostility breeds violence. With violence comes chaos. All this is very bad for business. Business leaders who are wise should understand this basic lesson of history and seek to broaden, rather than restrict, civil liberties and participation in government. The best interests of all parties are served by broadening the voting franchise, protecting freedom of speech, and increasing access to medical care and educational opportunities.

If I was formulating questions for a candidates debate, I would ask each of the candidates how they would advance policies that would thus safeguard liberty, justice, and civil order.
 
 
+10 # Radscal 2016-01-02 00:40
I agree that concentrating political power (or any power) in the hands of any elite is bad for society. But the Constitution was actually written to concentrate more power in the Federal government.

1776 US "birthday"
1783 UK signs peace treaty ending Revolutionary War
1789 Constitution ratified

The United States were governed by the Articles of Confederation for those years before 1789. But, the Framers of the Constitution wanted a stronger Central Government.

And, as written, the Constitution only permitted "the people" to vote for one office: their Congressional District's Representative. They were all about concentrating power within an elite, and overall believed democracy would be "tyranny of the majority."

But, they did include a method by which the Constitution could evolve, and gradually more and more categories of humans were able to vote for more and more offices.

Which is probably why the elite have worked so hard to disenfranchise people and crush popular movements for liberty and justice.
 
 
+18 # wrknight 2016-01-01 22:30
Quoting indian weaver:
Remember, the only meaning and value to existence for the government is power and money.

No Craig, there is another value when executed properly and Hamilton said it best when he said, "Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without restraint."

The problem is, who is responsible for restraining government? Our founding fathers did their best to provide a system of checks and balances that prevent too much power in any one person's hands. They also put several restraints on government into the constitution, but they left the ultimate oversight of government up to the people. And that's where we failed.

For too long, Americans put too much faith in their elected politicians and failed to oversee what they were doing and discipline those who abused their office.

On top of that, neither the founding fathers nor any of their successors implemented the means necessary for restraining the potential power of corporations which has now gotten out of control. And now that the corporations control the media (and disinformation) , and both they and the government are cloaked in secrecy, public scrutiny is nearly impossible.

Regardless, properly administered government is essential to an orderly society. But lacking public scrutiny and management, no republic will be properly administered for long.
 
 
+55 # vicnada 2016-01-01 18:26
"A realistic approach to the Middle East also requires finally standing up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than letting him dance U.S. political leaders around the world stage like puppets on a marionette’s string. A balanced approach to the Middle East would allow for collaborating with Russia and Iran to apply pressure on the parties in the Israeli-Palesti nian conflict to make the necessary concessions for a peace deal, imperfect though it would surely be."

I agree. And as far as I can see, so does Bernie Sanders. I don't think Sanders is as naive has he is made out here.
 
 
+23 # JoanF 2016-01-01 21:05
Quoting vicnada:


I agree. And as far as I can see, so does Bernie Sanders. I don't think Sanders is as naive has he is made out here.


There is only so much Bernie can say about the Middle East and have any hope of winning. The neocon believers and the Israel supporters would go crazy trying to stop him and low information voters, a very large bloc, don't understand anything about the situation in the Middle East and the long history involved. They are largely gun lovers who think violence can solve problems. I don't see mucn hope.
 
 
+9 # vicnada 2016-01-02 10:09
...and do you see a large Secret Service contingent assigned to Bernie Sanders? No. That's why he has to wisely walk his way into the White House and, when there, we need to absolutely do all we can to ensure his safety and that of his running mate. The latter needs to be as unimpeachable as is Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren would be my first choice but if she is unwilling, I would love to see Robert Reich in place.
 
 
+19 # beeyl 2016-01-01 21:09
"Even Clinton’s chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, can’t formulate a rational policy toward the Middle East…"

Such a criticism means less than nothing, unless one can point to an obviously sensible and rational policy, which the author doesn't because imo an obvious one doesn't exist.

Parry might as well have knocked Sanders for failing to figure out how to make cold fusion work.
 
 
+19 # Radscal 2016-01-02 01:21
One reasonable solution would be to require both the US and Israel to abide by International Law and the UN Resolutions regarding "the Palestine/Israe l issue."

The US also has a law that forbids providing aid to any country or group with a history of civil rights violations, so that'd be a nice one for a President to enforce.

So, what does that boil down to?

1. Israel pulls back to the 1949 armistice line.
2. Israel permits "the right of return" to all those who were driven out of Israel and their descendants (or pay individual Palestinians for the land if any Palestinians prefer).
3. Both groups agree to end all hostilities
4. An International Peacekeeping force is installed throughout the region to insure that peace is upheld.
5. Jerusalem becomes an International City/Region in which all people have access, and the Palestinian capital is in East Jerusalem.

Even Hamas has agreed to each point in this UN plan.
 
 
-35 # ForceFoxFive 2016-01-02 02:42
YES when you're down and troubled and need something to kick, for all that's vile and criminal in the world, especially in the ocean of Muslim Mideast sewage and repression , kick on Israel, a productive democracy.....
If Palestine e er exited at all, it's in Jordan...apply pressure there...
 
 
+6 # Radscal 2016-01-02 13:13
Great Britain chopped Mandate Palestine in two when it created Trans-Jordan. This caused a division amongst the European Zionists. A radical group who wanted ALL of Mandate Palestine, and not JUST all of what became Palestine split off. They were/are the Revisionist Zionists.

The leader of this group was one Vlad Jabotinsky.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/Revisionist_Zionism.html

Jabotinsky's personal secretary was a Polish Jew named Benzion Mileikowsky. Benzion moved to New York to work for the cause of creating the Jewish State of Israel in the Levant to include all of the Biblical Promised Land (Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and parts of Iraq and Egypt).

Benzion also changed his last name to Netanyahu, and had a son who is the current fascist Prime Minister. Although Netanyahu's Likud Party states in their platform that they won't conquer Jordan while it serves Israel's purposes, they do state that Jordan is rightly part of their Eretz Israel.
 
 
+33 # jdd 2016-01-01 18:47
Mr. Parry gives us an accurate and informed view of the follies of current American foreign policy, especially that of the past two administrations , but makes a major error in his understanding of American System economics. While he is correct in the need for massive investment in infrastructure, for example a nationwide high-speed rail network, he is confused as to how to accomplish it. While a tax on speculative gain and a progressive tax structure is needed, the implementation of Glass-Steagall is the requisite first step for saving this economy. Once the trillions of unpayable toxic paper is canceled and those debts wiped off the books, then the Federal government can issue trillions of new credit through the reorganized banking system, not limited by the amount of new tax money collected. This new credit, over and above tax revenue, would be generated by the US Treasury and directed by the Congress can be earmarked for exactly those projects Mr. Perry mentions hiring tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans. It's Hamiltonian economics, practiced by Lincoln and by FDR, but abandoned the Wall Street system.
 
 
+34 # Doc Mary 2016-01-01 19:17
Misinformation does not scare me as much as disinformation. I wish Hillary was not a hawk, and I wish she was further left domestically - but I don't think the Democrats' campaigns are based on lies.

Unlike the Republicans.

The Republican candidates, Jeb included, spout things they KNOW not to be true. The less true it is, the happier the base seems to be. THAT is REALLY scary.

I've seen reporters try to reign in Trump. He interrupts. He says I won't answer that, or he bulls on with whatever he'd rather say. It is disconcertingly rude. That is demagoguery, and it is scary. But the seeds for Trump were sown in the tolerance for Rush Limbaugh, who also lies like a rug.

Historians have always known that in the 1930s we could have gone in the OTHER direction as easily as we ended up going towards FDR instead. We are at that type of juncture now.

Journalists may come to regret ignoring Bernie if Hillary loses the national.

The Middle East is a bleeping mess and we have to get the bleep out of there. If dealing with it is so important, let someone else do it for a while. We just paint a bullseye on ourselves, and for what?

As for the Angry White Man, the reason the gender gap has narrowed is not because women are doing better. White men are doing worse. A white male high school graduate still does better than a college-educate d white woman or person of color.

They just can't handle the truth.
 
 
+21 # angryspittle 2016-01-01 19:30
They don't want the truth. They want the comfortable lies. The truth is too unsettling.
 
 
+41 # SHK 2016-01-01 21:16
Wishing Hillary was not a hawk is a useless exercise. Same for wishing she were farther left domestically. You have the person who is not a hawk and is farther left domestically. WHY is everyone wishing for what we have in Bernie but taking the candidacy of Hillary as a done deal??? I don't understand that attitude. It's a done deal only if the people who are wishing for exactly what Bernie is offering just sit on their rumps and moan about why Hillary isn't like him!!! PLEASE PEOPLE! Get on the stick. Take part in this government of by and for the people and make it run like we want it to!! What is it if we just sit on our rumps and hands and do nothing? It surely the heck is not participatory government!!! I'm sick and tired of this kind of attitude from perfectly intelligent, knowledgeable people moaning and sighing and doing exactly nothing. Get the blankity blank blank off your rumps and get out there and stump for this man. Look at the crowds. Listen to them roar when he says what he thinks and has done and has supported his entire political life. You are accepting the wife of a pseudo-democrat president as our only hope??? Stump for Bernie. Send your money to Bernie. DO SOME WORK TO SAVE THIS COUNTRY!! Is that too much to ask?????
 
 
+33 # Moxa 2016-01-01 22:15
"You have the person who is not a hawk and is farther left domestically. WHY is everyone wishing for what we have in Bernie but taking the candidacy of Hillary as a done deal???"

My sentiments, exactly. America has been given a test. We have a potential nominee who offers the most progressive agenda since FDR. Sanders, the "Independent", is the first real "Democrat" to run for the presidency in decades. We are going to fully support someone who reflects the highest populist values or we will fail the test we've been offered. This may be our last chance. Support Bernie Sanders every way you can!
 
 
+14 # Henry 2016-01-01 22:27
You're right, Moxa – this is a test: of everyone! NOW.
 
 
+12 # Henry 2016-01-01 22:22
Right on, SHK
 
 
+3 # ericlipps 2016-01-02 08:36
Quoting Doc Mary:
Misinformation does not scare me as much as disinformation. I wish Hillary was not a hawk, and I wish she was further left domestically - but I don't think the Democrats' campaigns are based on lies.

Unlike the Republicans.

The Republican candidates, Jeb included, spout things they KNOW not to be true. The less true it is, the happier the base seems to be. THAT is REALLY scary.

No, what's really scary is what they might actually believe. The Republican Party was always conservative and sometimes nasty, but now it seems to be experiencing a collective psychotic break.

Quote:
I've seen reporters try to reign in Trump. He interrupts. He says I won't answer that, or he bulls on with whatever he'd rather say. It is disconcertingly rude. That is demagoguery, and it is scary. But the seeds for Trump were sown in the tolerance for Rush Limbaugh, who also lies like a rug.
Trump believes, as Dubya (jokingly?) said several times, that a dictatorship would be easier than democracy as long as he's the dictator.

Quote:
Historians have always known that in the 1930s we could have gone in the OTHER direction as easily as we ended up going towards FDR instead. We are at that type of juncture now.
Which is why the D's need a nominee who has the best possible chance of winning. Whether that's Clinton or Sanders is open to debate.
 
 
0 # SHK 2016-01-17 18:04
Quoting Doc Mary:
Which is why the D's need a nominee who has the best possible chance of winning. Whether that's Clinton or Sanders is open to debate.

Please be observant! Sanders is the candidate who has the best possible chance of winning. The people trust him, believe him, support him. Women who care more about having a woman as president than having a someone terrific as president are the ones who are backing Hillary...along with the Moneyed Class of course. Regular folks and people who care about the country and the people who've mostly been ignored for a long time by the governing class are the ones who love Bernie. Take your pick. I've picked Bernie long ago. Doesn't owe anything to anybody but us citizens, and that because that's who he cares about.
 
 
+33 # angryspittle 2016-01-01 19:27
Bringing rationality and reason back to American foreign policy? When has it ever been rational and reasonable? Not in my lifetime of close to 70 years. The US has been the greatest enemy of democratic desires of people around the world since at least WWII and even going back to the Phllipine insurrection of the turn of the century (20th). And the MIC's interest is selling death. It will take a real revolution to change that.
 
 
+7 # oakjoan 2016-01-02 13:49
At last somebody (in this case Angry Spittle, although I am not fond of the name, is telling the truth. Pretending that we have mostly done good things in the world and are only now doing bad things is baloney. We have mostly done very bad things ever since we came into existence. Isn't it time we started leaning, no, running toward the Left? I aY YES with a capital YES.
 
 
+7 # Cassandra2012 2016-01-01 20:23
Quoting Doc Mary:
Misinformation does not scare me as much as disinformation. I wish Hillary was not a hawk, and I wish she was further left domestically - but I don't think the Democrats' campaigns are based on lies.

Unlike the Republicans.

The Republican candidates, Jeb included, spout things they KNOW not to be true. The less true it is, the happier the base seems to be. THAT is REALLY scary.

I've seen reporters try to reign in Trump. He interrupts. He says I won't answer that, or he bulls on with whatever he'd rather say. It is disconcertingly rude. That is demagoguery, and it is scary. But the seeds for Trump were sown in the tolerance for Rush Limbaugh, who also lies like a rug.

Historians have always known that in the 1930s we could have gone in the OTHER direction as easily as we ended up going towards FDR instead. We are at that type of juncture now.

Journalists may come to regret ignoring Bernie if Hillary loses the national.

...

As for the Angry White Man, the reason the gender gap has narrowed is not because women are doing better. White men are doing worse. A white male high school graduate still does better than a college-educated white woman or person of color.

They just can't handle the truth.


'rein' in, but otherwise pretty much on target.
 
 
+7 # dipierro4 2016-01-01 20:34
It is a good article. Don't rein on his parade.
 
 
+5 # dipierro4 2016-01-01 20:41
Of the whole bunch of candidates, the one who was willing to call attention to the problem with the Saudis was Biden. He got only a little attention for it. Even though he has stayed loyal to the Administration, he was willing to go public with this, just as he did with gay marriage. I think we all underrated him. Anyway, I guess that does not matter now. Just getting in one final rant about this...
 
 
+11 # Robbee 2016-01-01 21:00
"Which get us to the heart of the matter: Why is the American political debate so ill-informed and misinformed?"

- because -
1) those with the resources to misinform advance their business interests by misinforming - that is, it's worth it to misinform - it pays! pays well! and further enriches those with resources!

2) many voters find it in their personal interest to suspend disbelief! they hate certain others and find it satisfying to lord over them!
 
 
+31 # PABLO DIABLO 2016-01-01 21:32
Sanders is not perfect, but he is the best I've seen since Robert Kennedy.VOTE.
 
 
+27 # wrknight 2016-01-01 21:53
We are not facing a "misinformation " crisis, we are facing a "disinformation " crisis. It is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is a crisis caused by the acquisition of the mainstream media by a few megacorporation s whose goal it is to control public opinion by controlling the generation and distribution of information.

There is nothing accidental about it, and it didn't happen just by chance.
 
 
+14 # Shades of gray matter 2016-01-02 01:36
The necessary building blocks of authentic democracy are civic minded citizens. In pursuit of $$, the media commonly say only what Americans WANT to hear. WE are the bottom line. Demographics clearly favor a rainbow coalition of working class & middle class people who would benefit from progressivism, enlightened foreign policy. But we have to ACT, organize, contribute, struggle, contribute. Talk is cheap. Irresponsible. Cowardly.
 
 
-7 # SSS 2016-01-02 08:48
Many good points here, but a lack of understanding what is happening in the former Soviet Union states. Look at Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. All are destabilized by Putin with the goal of failed states that will come creeping back to "Mother Russia." As for the idea that the coup in Kiev was US inspired that is exaggeration. Yes, the US supported the revolt in small ways, but it was the hatred of Ukrainians for the Putin-controlle d President that sparked the change.
 
 
+6 # Radscal 2016-01-02 13:21
Victoria Nuland acknowledged the US spent $5 billion to cause he coup, then she handpicked the leadership of the putsch government.

Now, US citizens (including the son of Vice President Biden) hold key positions in Ukrainian government and industry while the US is providing $ billions of dollars in military "aid," has military "trainers" stationed in Ukraine, has surrounded it with tanks, artillery and warplanes, and is waging an economic war against Russia.

If you call those "small ways," perhaps you need new glasses.
 
 
+3 # crispy 2016-01-03 06:35
well said Rascal! a large aide package was also provided by Europe
 
 
+14 # davehaze 2016-01-02 09:25
Growing up in the fifties and the sixties political and international problems were solely blamed on the Russians, the communists. The United States only had good intentions which became a stretch when we bombarded Vietnam Cambodia and Laos. I stopped believing any word that came from official sources.

So now the word is everything would be peachy in the Middle East if Russia only behaved itself. Yeah.

Robert Parry has a good take on our current delemias.
 
 
+2 # Cassandra2012 2016-01-03 13:00
Quoting davehaze:
...

Robert Parry has a good take on our current delemias.



'dilemmas'?
 
 
+4 # John Escher 2016-01-04 13:25
Not enough about what a good essay this is and how good all of Parry's essays are and not enough realization that if these unchallenged essays were to become mainstream rather than marginalized a complete alteration of the presidential landscape would occur. Would the change be for the better? One could hope so.
 

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