Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln and The Two Eternal Principles

Scott Horton has posted, in his No Comment blog at, a quote of Lincoln's from his debate with Douglas that perfectly sums it all up for me:

It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

–Abraham Lincoln, Seventh and Last Joint Debate with Steven Douglas, held at Alton, Illinois, Oct. 15, 1858. []

Even-Handedness is the Order of Our Day
[[[Full-Spectrum Dominance / Our Common Weal///[[[{{{Dissent}}}]]]]]]
In this case, the generic formula reads: Full-spectrum dominance over our common weal based on suppression of dissent

  • % Our patriarchal cult of kinetic power
  • % Closed society: Us vs. Them
  • % Fear and Control: manipulating the media narrative aka myth-jacking
  • % Absolute dualism enforced with kinetic violence
  • % Cosmos as construct
  • % Moves like a trebuchet or ratchet (boom & bust cycles)

  • beloved/[{UNION}]/Beloved
    In every case: In Union We Trust

  • % Open society: Our more perfect Union
  • % Empathy and mutual respect; sharing being aware of our shared narrative of our shared becoming
  • % Non-dualism expressed kenoticly
  • % Cosmos as organism
  • % Spins like a wheel; the Dao; dharmadhattu; the way the world self-empties into itself, "whereby Spring comes and grass goes by itself."

  • I bow in your virtual directions,

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    Speaking of the Unspoken

    Will go out on a limb here and guess that you are an academic?
    -- peakdavid

    Smile when you say that, pal. You're very close: presently, I'm a poet. And a Zen one at that, meaning one who specializes in transmitting 'the lamp of enlightenment' beyond and above, but certainly not without, the written word, the 'Scritptures.'

    This is one of the very few comments sections in which I can adequately format one of my best poems. Observe carefully the words in bold: they will transcend the medium in which they appear. exactly as this unspoken voice we all share transcends its medium, exactly as the ringing of a bell or the shining of a lamp transcend also their media.


  • Sound or Divinity, Resounding?

  • How many Buddhists does it take, anyway,
    To make a revolution?

    NONE: change comes from Within. The very same Voice
    That is Now
    composing these thoughts

    Sounds them in your head as you read them.
    So whose's this? Or

    A Silent voice that has always spoken
    Louder, much louder than words.

    Our Voice now sings the Universe Electric. It is
    the stated goal of Western science: to capture this energy in a bottle,
    In a nuclear bomb, for example, or a vial full of a life-saving drug.

    So who's in charge, here? Who's voice is this?

    My Voice? Divinity, resounding, or

    just a machine?

  • dp
  • Sunday, February 8, 2009

    More Evidence of Propaganda in Place of "News"

    REPORT: GOP Lawmakers Outnumber Dem Lawmakers By Almost 2 To 1 In Cable News Stimulus Debate Again

    Originally published Saturday February 6, 2009 at ThinkProgress

    Last week, ThinkProgress released a report showing that, in the debate over the House economic recovery bill on the five cable news networks, Republican members of Congress outnumbered their Democratic counterparts by a ratio of 2 to 1. The analysis tallied interview segments about the stimulus on CNBC, Fox Business, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC during a three-day period, finding that the networks had hosted Republican lawmakers 51 times and Democratic lawmakers only 26 times.

    The economic recovery package passed the House last week with zero Republican votes, shifting the focus to the Senate. Though the venue has changed, the debate on cable has not improved much.

    In a new analysis, ThinkProgress has found that Republican lawmakers outnumbered Democratic lawmakers 75 to 41 on cable news interviews by members of Congress (from 6am on Monday 2/2 through 11pm on Thursday 2/5): [visit TP for a very informative graph].

    Hey Dick Cheney: Myth-Jack THIS

    The Pentagon's Message Force Multipliers Are Still Attacking Us From Within

    DoD walks fine line between news, propaganda

    By Chris Tomlinson - The Associated Press
    Via Marine Corps Times

    WASHINGTON — As it fights two wars, the Pentagon is steadily and dramatically increasing the money it spends to win what it calls “the human terrain” of world public opinion. In the process, it is raising concerns of spreading propaganda at home in violation of federal law.

    An Associated Press investigation found that over the past five years, the money the military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year, according to Defense Department budgets and other documents. That almost is as much as it spent on body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006.

    This year, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations, almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department.

    “We have such a massive apparatus selling the military to us, it has become hard to ask questions about whether this is too much money or if it’s bloated,” says Sheldon Rampton, research director for the Committee on Media and Democracy, which tracks the military’s media operations. “As the war has become less popular, they have felt they need to respond to that more.”

    Yet the money spent on media and outreach still comes to only 1 percent of the Pentagon budget, and the military argues it is well-spent on recruitment and the education of foreign and American audiences. Military leaders say that at a time when extremist groups run Web sites and distribute video, information is as important a weapon as tanks and guns.

    “We have got to be involved in getting our case out there, telling our side of the story, because believe me, al-Qaida and all of those folks ... that’s what they are doing on the Internet and everywhere else,” said Democratic Rep. Adam Smith, who chairs the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. “Every time a bomb goes off, they have a story out almost before it explodes, saying that it killed 15 innocent civilians.”

    On an abandoned Air Force base in San Antonio, editors for the Joint Hometown News Service point proudly to a dozen clippings on a table as examples of success in getting stories into newspapers.

    What readers are not told: Each of these glowing stories was written by Pentagon staff. Under the free service, stories go out with authors’ names but not their titles, and do not mention Hometown News anywhere. In 2009, Hometown News plans to put out 5,400 press releases, 3,000 television releases and 1,600 radio interviews, among other work. That is 50 percent more than in 2007.

    The service is just a tiny piece of the Pentagon’s rapidly expanding media empire, which is now bigger in size, money and power than many media companies.

    In a yearlong investigation, The Associated Press interviewed more than 100 people and scoured more than 100,000 pages of documents in several budgets to tally the money spent to inform, educate and influence the public in the U.S. and abroad. The AP included contracts found through the private FedSources database and requests made under the Freedom of Information Act. Actual spending figures are higher because of money in secret budgets.

    The biggest chunk of funds — about $1.6 billion — goes into recruitment and advertising. Another $547 million goes into public affairs, which reaches American audiences. And about $489 million more goes into what is known as psychological operations, which targets foreign audiences.

    Staffing across all these areas costs about $2.1 billion, as calculated by the number of full-time employees and the military’s average cost per service member. That is double the staffing costs for 2003.

    Recruitment and advertising are the only two areas where Congress has authorized the military to influence the American public. Far more controversial is public affairs because of the prohibition on propaganda to the American public.

    “It’s not up to the Pentagon to sell policy to the American people,” said Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes, who sponsored legislation in Congress last year to reinforce the ban.

    Spending on public affairs has more than doubled since 2003. Robert Hastings, acting director of Pentagon public affairs, says the growth reflects changes in the information market, along with the fact that the U.S. is now fighting two wars.

    “The role of public affairs is to provide you the information so that you can make an informed decision yourself,” Hastings says. “There is no place for spin at the Department of Defense.”

    But on Dec. 12, the Pentagon’s inspector general released an audit finding that the public affairs office may have crossed the line into propaganda. The audit found that the Defense Department “may appear to merge inappropriately” its public affairs with operations that try to influence audiences abroad. It also found that while only 89 positions were authorized for public affairs, 126 government employees and 31 contractors worked there.

    In a written response, Hastings concurred and, without acknowledging wrongdoing, ordered a reorganization of the department by early 2009.

    Another audit, also in December, concluded that a public affairs program called “America Supports You” was conducted “in a questionable and unregulated manner” with funds meant for the military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper.

    The program was set up to keep U.S. troops informed about volunteer donations to the military. But the military awarded $11.8 million in contracts to a public relations firm to raise donations for the troops and then advertise those donations to the public. So the program became a way to drum up support for the military at a time when public opinion was turning against the Iraq war.

    The audit also found that the offer to place corporate logos on the Pentagon Web site in return for donations was against regulations. A military spokesman said the program has been overhauled to meet Pentagon regulations.

    “They very explicitly identify American public opinion as an important battlefield,” said Marc Lynch, a professor at George Washington University. “In today’s information environment, even if they were well-intentioned and didn’t want to influence American public opinion, they couldn’t help it.”

    In 2003, for example, initial accounts from the military about the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch from Iraqi forces were faked to rally public support. And in 2005, a Marine Corps spokesman during the siege of the Iraqi city of Fallujah told the U.S. news media that U.S. troops were attacking. In fact, the information was a ruse by U.S. commanders to fool insurgents into revealing their positions.

    The fastest-growing part of the military media is “psychological operations,” where spending has doubled since 2003.

    Psychological operations aim at foreign audiences, and spin is welcome. The only caveats are that messages must be truthful and must never try to influence an American audience.

    In Afghanistan, for example, a video of a soldier joining the national army shown on Afghan television is not attributed to the U.S. And in Iraq, American teams built and equipped media outlets and trained Iraqis to staff them without making public the connection to the military.

    Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, director of strategic communications for U.S. Central Command, says psychological operations must be secret to be effective. He says that in the 21st century, it probably is not possible to win the information battle with insurgents without exposing American citizens to secret U.S. propaganda.

    “We have to be pragmatic and realistic about the game that we play in terms of information, and that game is very complex,” he says.

    The danger of psychological operations reaching a U.S. audience became clear when an American TV anchor asked Gen. David Petraeus about the mood in Iraq. The general held up a glossy photo of the Iraqi national soccer team to show the country united in victory.

    Behind the camera, his staff was cringing. It was U.S. psychological operations that had quietly distributed tens of thousands of the soccer posters in July 2007 to encourage Iraqi nationalism.

    With a new administration in power, it is not clear what changes may be made. Obama administration officials have said they intend to go through the Defense Department budget closely to trim bloated spending.

    The emphasis on influence operations started with former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In 2002, Rumsfeld established an Office of Strategic Influence that brought together public affairs and psychological operations. Critics accused him of setting up a propaganda arm, and Congress demanded that the office be shut down.

    Rumsfeld has refused to speak to the press since leaving office, but while defense secretary he spoke bluntly about his desire to revamp the Pentagon’s media operations.

    “I went down that next day and said, ‘Fine, if you want to savage this thing, fine, I’ll give you the corpse,’ ” Rumsfeld said on Nov. 18, 2002, according to Defense Department transcripts of a speech he delivered. “‘There’s the name. You can have the name, but I’m gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.’ ” In 2003, Rumsfeld issued a secret Information Operations Road Map setting out a plan for public affairs and psychological operations to work together. It noted that with a global media, the military should expect and accept that psychological operations will reach the U.S. public.

    “I can tell you there wouldn’t be a single American disappointed with anything that we’ve done that might be out there, that they don’t know about,” says Col. Curtis Boyd, commander of the 4th PSYOP Group, the largest unit of its kind. “Frankly, they probably wouldn’t care because maybe they are safer as a result of it.”

    In January 2008, a new report by the Defense Science Board recommended resurrecting the Office of Strategic Influence as the Office of Strategic Communications. But Congress refused to pay for the program.

    In February, the Army released a new eight-chapter field manual that puts information warfare on par with traditional warfare.

    The title of an entire chapter, Chapter 7: “Information Superiority.”

    Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.

    On the Net: Hometown News Service:

    Sunday, February 1, 2009

    "We're not going to fight no war, man."

    The NFL Declares Peace, Sort of

    Makes you wonder how they learned how to motivate large groups
    off the field, too

    via Sunday February 1, 2009

    NFL Orders Retreat From War Metaphors
    Goodell: 'A Matter of Common Sense'

    By Les Carpenter
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, February 1, 2009; D01

    TAMPA -- Just down Dale Mabry Highway, eight miles south of the site of this year's Super Bowl, sits the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command. There, inside the boundaries of MacDill Air Force Base, is where America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are run. And it would seem to be the perfect metaphor for a sport built on the lexicon and culture of the military: football's ultimate battle being waged in the shadow of the country's two armed conflicts.

    Only the National Football League will not frame this Super Bowl as a war. The quarterbacks will not be depicted as field generals and the teams won't rely on a devastating ground attack. The players will not walk through the tunnel as gladiators, the coaches will not talk about imposing their will on the enemy.

    In a little-discussed shift in recent years, the NFL has moved away from depicting its games in military terms. While the league continues to embrace the military as an entity, inviting Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of Central Command, to make the Super Bowl's opening coin toss and having the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform a pregame flyover at Raymond James Stadium, the NFL no longer endorses using military terminology to describe its contests.


    The connections between football and the military stretch back to the beginning of the 20th century, when men like Yale Coach Walter Camp and Harvard's Percy Haughton leafed through military texts for clues as to how they might motivate large groups of men on the field. Soon the game thrived at the country's military academies.