American hedonism closes its eyes to death, and has been
incapable of exorcising the destructive power of the moment
with a wisdom like that of the Epicureans of antiquity.

- Octavio Paz
Death is un-American, and an affront to every citizen's inalienable
right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

- Arnold Toynbee
the_band_huge
the_band_huge
"As long as such self-serving hypocrisy
motivates America's response, Ukraine will
only sink further into needless bloodshed,
and that blood will be on America's head."
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
the_band_huge
In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors,
since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors,
for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal
applies only upwards, not downwards.

― Bertrand Russell
Global Coke
Global Coke
"What those 'racists' are reflexively and rightly reacting
to is the soulless chill as the fire goes out beneath the
melting pot. Those who think America can thrive as a
'cultural mosaic' are worse than fools; they're Canadians."

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Global Coke
Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman
Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman
"[Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea] struck
me as uncannily symbolic of, if I may speak
broadly and loosely, the best and worst
of the 'American character abroad.'"

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman
the_band_huge
the_band_huge
"But where, I wonder, is Obama's hard choice, in this his
now sixth year of leadership? Where is his defining decision,
against the grain, made solely because it seemed right?
Drone strikes in Yemen?"

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
the_band_huge
Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe.
It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster,
in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe
have grown to appalling dimensions.

― Frantz Fanon
nsa-spy-cartoon-4
nsa-spy-cartoon-4
"We feel better living in a world with privacy, with intimate, unmonitored communication when desired. Those values mean something to us, and give our lives dignity and humanity."
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
nsa-spy-cartoon-4
What the United States does best is understand itself.
What it does worst is understand others.

- Carlos Fuentes
Poor Mexico, so far from God
and so close to the United States.

- Porfirio Diaz
the_band_huge
the_band_huge
"Indeed, everything about the American southland was magical
and exotic to the young Canadian musicians, from the sights
and smells to the drawling manner of speech to, especially, the
central role that music played in people’s everyday lives."

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
the_band_huge
America is a mistake, a giant mistake.
- Sigmund Freud
America is an adorable woman chewing tobacco.
- Auguste Bartholdi
chimerica
chimerica
"This is the tone of the China Century, a subtle
mix of Nazi/Soviet bravado and 'oriental'
cunning -- easily misunderstood, and
never
heard before, in a real enemy, by the West."

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
chimerica
Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
"And for the others who argued for English-only
patriotism, I note that there are more than
57 million Americans (about 20% of the nation)
whose first-language is not English...."

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
predator-firing-missile4
predator-firing-missile4
"This is the behavior, and the fate, of paranoid
old-world tyrants like Hitler or Saddam, not liberal new-world democracies like America pretends to be."

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
predator-firing-missile4
America is the only nation in history which
miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to
degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.

- Georges Clemenceau
I found there a country with thirty-two religions and only one sauce.
- Charles–Maurice Talleyrand
A people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle,
and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.

- Edmund Burke
America is the only country ever founded on the printed word.
- Marshall McLuhan
"The removal of racist sports nicknames (and mascots) seems outrageously belated
-- why, exactly, has this civil rights cause
taken so long to gain momentum?"

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
The atom bomb is a paper tiger which the
United States reactionaries use to scare people.
It looks terrible, but in fact it isn't.

- Mao Tse-tung
They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but
they kept only one; they promised to take our land, and they did.

- Red Cloud
In America sex is an obsession,
in other parts of the world it is a fact.

- Marlene Dietrich
I would rather have a nod from an American,
than a snuff-box from an emperor.

- Lord Byron
One day the United States discovered it was an empire.
But it didn’t know what an empire was.
It thought that an empire was merely the biggest of all corporations.

- Roberto Calasso
"For all the good things he did and tried to do, in a way, for me, Mandela's greatness lay more in what he did not do. And this, I think, is his greatest lesson for America."
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather
be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.

- Alexis de Tocqueville
newtown
newtown
"No one, I thought, could watch those scenes, of young children slaughtered en masse, and so many parents grieving, without thinking that this, finally, would tip some kind of balance in the country."
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
newtown
If you are prepared to accept the consequences of your dreams
then you must still regard America today with the same naive
enthusiasm as the generations that discovered the New World.

- Jean Baudrillard
I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.
- Samuel Johnson
America, thou half brother of the world;
With something good and bad of every land.

- Philip Bailey
"What can be more powerful than disinformation in the Information Age?"
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
England and America are two countries separated by the same language.
- Sir Walter Besant
Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by
posterity because he was the last to discover America.

- James Joyce
Now, from America, empty indifferent things
are pouring across, sham things, dummy life.

- Rainer Maria Rilke
If the United States is to recover fortitude and lucidity,
it must recover itself, and to recover itself it must
recover the "others"- the outcasts of the Western world.
- Octavio Paz
The youth of America is their oldest tradition.
It has been going on now for three hundred years.

- Oscar Wilde
"America really is, for most Americans, all things considered, a good place to be, and all they really want is for everyone to enjoy the same privilege and pleasure."
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
When good Americans die they go to Paris;
when bad Americans die they go to America.

- Oscar Wilde
jobs drug dealer
jobs drug dealer
They're nothing more than traffickers; and as the smart traffickers'll tell you, you don't use the merchandise. They are just inoculating their kids with a tech-drug serum, to immunize them against the very merchandise that put the **** bowling alley in their basement.
jobs drug dealer
America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that
lie before us, the burden of the World's History shall reveal itself.

- Georg Friedrich Hegel
America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room.
Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.

- Arnold Toynbee
Americans always try to do the right thing after they've tried everything else.
- Winston Churchill
The thing that impresses me most about Americans
is the way parents obey their children.

- Edward, Duke of Windsor
Americans are apt to be unduly interested in discovering
what average opinion believes average opinion to be.

- John Maynard Keynes
Europe was created by history.
America was created by philosophy.

- Margaret Thatcher
America is God's crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of
Europe are melting and reforming!... The real American has not yet arrived.
He is only in the crucible, I tell you - he will be the fusion of all races.

- Israel Zangwill
American dreams are strongest in the hearts of those
who have seen America only in their dreams.

- Pico Iyer
America: It's like Britain, only with buttons.
- Ringo Starr
The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.
It has never yet melted.

― D.H. Lawrence
I have two conflicting visions of America.
One is a kind of dream landscape and the other is a kind of black comedy.

― Bono
The American mirror, said the voice, the sad American mirror
of wealth and poverty and constant useless metamorphosis,
the mirror that sails and whose sails are pain.

― Roberto Bolaño

October 17, 2017

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Author Topic: Disinforming Their America


Aminah-
Hayek
Experienced Their American
Posts: 15
Aminah Hayek
Disinforming Their America
on: December 2, 2013, 14:31

I just came across the stunning new book by the top intelligence defector from the Soviet Union, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, called Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (amazon url, with summary and reviews below).
It seems like required reading for any citizen of Their America, since Pacepa claims, among other things, that (a) "During the Cold War, more people in the Soviet bloc worked for disinformation machinery than for the Soviet army and defense industry put together" (p. 38), and most importantly, (b) this unprecedented assault of systematic deception poisoned the consciousness of the young and impressionable global village in profound and still enduring ways, including the precipitous rise in Arab-American tensions.
Especially in regions like mine, where institutions like the media and social organizations, such as those identified by Pacepa, are still comparatively young and fragile, the minds and hearts of Their America seem unusually, even fatally vulnerable to such unseen and almost unimaginable forces. It's like AIDS of the mind.
Of course disinformation has existed as long as information itself, and has been employed in roughly the same manner for thousands of years; but the Soviets, it seems, raised it to a new level, both in sophistication and strategic importance, and were clearly far ahead of their time in realizing its potential impact.
What can be more powerful than disinformation in the Information Age ?
-------
http://www.amazon.com/Disinformation-Strategies-Undermining-Attacking-Promoting/dp/1936488604



Geoff-
Hamilton
Administrator
Posts: 170
Geoff Hamilton
Re: Disinforming Their America
on: December 3, 2013, 22:44

Thanks so much for your post, Aminah -- Pacepa's book is now on my summer reading list!
And I think you're quite right about the pernicious spread of disinformation in Their America. As a teacher of American literature to Canadian students, I often confront a casual and ill-informed (but typically quite smug) anti-Americanism. The scale of Canada's own "disinformation machinery", and the stakes involved in it, are obviously much smaller than what Pacepa describes in the former Soviet Union, but one can still find here a vigorous cottage industry manufacturing crude stereotypes. My hope is that our site might help in some way, if I may borrow Henry David Thoreau's formulation, as a counter friction to stop those machines.



Aminah-
Hayek
Experienced Their American
Posts: 15
Aminah Hayek
Re: Disinforming Their America
on: February 25, 2014, 06:24

A fascinating update on an emerging form of disinformation in the information age:
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/; by Glen Greenwald, of Edward Snowden fame.



tylerestua-
rt
Novice Their American
Posts: 5
Tyler Eliot Stuart
Re: Disinforming Their America
on: November 9, 2014, 21:10

This discussion of disinformation fascinates me, and I can't help but think of how closely tied it is with ideology. The propensity to push one's agenda often leads to a bending of the truth. We see it in issues of race, gender, and, of course, foreign affairs. I have not come across the smug anti-Americanism on Their America, Geoff, but it certainly exists. I would add, though, that a lot of anti-Americanism is founded in accurate information, but sometimes it takes a different paradigm or perspective to examine it. Noam Chomsky has famously declared the US the most powerful terrorist state in the world. This is an affront to everything Americans believe, perhaps due to their defence of American exceptionalism. While I don't know if I would call the US state itself a terrorist organization, I think it has caused more of a threat to world peace than well known terrorist organizations in the last 20 years. It has financed and armed terrorists, and tried to clean up its own mess multiple times, to varying levels of failure. Of course, this can be debated, but I think we should acknowledge that information can be interpreted differently based on our ideologies. I think it would be interesting to further examine the ideological diversity on Their America.



JeanGiroux
Novice Their American
Posts: 8
JeanGiroux
Re: Disinforming Their America
on: December 2, 2015, 16:14

Fascinating thread! Just to offer my two cents, I try to maintain a balanced outlook on foreign affairs, meaning I lend credence to both sides of a story as much as I can, irrespective of my beliefs. I fancy myself a citizen of the world, and I believe too strong an association with a nation's agenda can blur your vision of the whole picture. Moreover, while I find conspiracy theories fascinating, I try not to get too far down that rabbithole either, as you encounter the same agendas just with an opposing view, as well as those who think that anger and hatred are the solutions to corruption or injustice. While on the topic of corruption, the U.S. remains undoubtedly the most powerful nation in the world. How does it maintain this power? It appears to me that it does so by any means necessary, which, invariably, leads to it committing injustices when it encounters resistance. The U.S. is the world hegemony because of its economic and military influence, which revolves around the dollar's standing as global reserve currency. One can argue endlessly about semantics, however, the overarching policy remains: an ever-expanding economy on a planet with finite resources (and everyone is in competition for those same resources!). Who really knows the truth about the U.S. dealings overseas or even domestically, however, there are certainly a lot of loose ends with regards to the version of the events you hear. Is the ceaseless conflict in the Middle East truly because of the threat that region poses to our safety here in the West, or is war simply the most profitable mode of operation? Unfortunately, in the present day, vast amounts of the population can easily be programmed by what's disseminated via corporate media. This raises many questions which I think are healthy to ponder: are they showing real news? Are they rehashing specific events seemingly endlessly to gain support for policy which fits the government or corporate agenda? What is the true disparity between the Republican and Democrat parties? Are political events like elections merely mass distraction mechanisms while the government conducts the business of its choosing? Unfortunately, because of the very nature of politics and power, especially machines too big to fail like that of the American government, I belief disinformation to be pervasive and considered necessary to maintain the status quo.



emfoley13
New Member
Posts: 4
emfoley13
Re: Disinforming Their America
on: March 20, 2016, 08:47

I think the rampant nationalism present in the U.S contributes to the disinformation process: it's much easier to accept a lie you want to believe is the truth. There have been examples of this being used to sway the people to vote in different directions, like when the National Review edited a photo at an Obama rally so that the signs read "Abortion" and not "Forward." (http://www.alteredimagesbdc.org/national-review/) Moreover, I think that America (like many world powers) needs to have its people believe in its greatness to get behind their grand-scale ideas, and to maintain a strong pro-military mentality. War creates a culture of nationalistic fanaticism by stimulating an us vs. them mentality. In order to be able to kill the bad guys, you have to believe your team has God or some kind of morality on its side in order to differentiate the good (us) from the bad (them). By using disinformation as a tool to manipulate this mob mentality, it is possible to lead the conversation in directions that best serve the purposes of the American agenda, without feeling accountable to the opinions of the people. It also makes it possible to maintain a level of fear amongst the populace that makes it easier to corral them into policies they would not necessarily feel were prudent in peace times, like phone tapping.



harry094pa-
rk
New Member
Posts: 4
Harry Park
Re: Disinforming Their America
on: March 22, 2016, 00:53

I think to pigeonhole negative sentiment towards the US as smug anti-Americanism is reductive to say the least. I agree with Tyler that the US has been, at best, a clumsy parent that keeps stepping on its childrens' Lego creations with its size 14 Timberlands, then stepping on their childrens' feet in order to try and put it back together. While I wouldn't say world peace would certainly exist in a world without the United States' interference (a ridiculous claim for even the most fervent anti-American to make), the contributions that they have made to international affairs, particularly in the past decade, have been nothing but problematic, in that they consistently start more problems than they resolve. I'm not exactly savvy on domestic American politics, but thanks to the global village I've encountered many many Americans online, and the majority (as always, not all), their mindset seems to me to be an unapologetically nationalist one that can even erupt into xenophobic outbursts at the slightest criticism of their nation's wrongdoings overseas. How can one expect non-Americans not to foster negative images of the "land of the free", when both their foreign policy and many of their citizens throw themselves under international scrutiny with such recklessly close-minded characteristics? Of course, it is fair to defend your nation if your nation is under unfair or obviously biased attacks, but if the vast majority of the international community is telling you that your country is jingoing to the max, perhaps it's time for some self-examination. (I'm hoping jingoing is actually a word, since Dr. Hamilton is my professor.)

@emfoley13; In my opinion, the popular media outlets in the United States are most to blame for the spread of disinformation and consequent nationalism (and as you say, nationalistic sentiment allows for the snowballing of disinformation, the most vicious of circles in the modern age) - there is an incredible lack of coverage on international affairs that do not concern their own country's interests, in comparison to outlets such as the BBC (my main source) and Al-Jazeera. Possibly the most ironic thing about this, if this is true, the concept of capitalism, which drives America's commercialised media outlets, is responsible for the currently ongoing alienation of Americans from the rest of the global village. It is, in my eyes at least, the main force behind the misinformation. It's as if the fact that the news is saying it makes it gospel truth. I, and the other English/European kids that attended my fairly diverse high school in England, were sporadically reminded by our teachers and elders that the news, no matter how impartial it may seem, always has some agenda behind both what it presents, and how. Perhaps instilling some of this British skepticism into young Americans will help reverse the tides of misinformation.



MBannon
Experienced Their American
Posts: 11
MBannon
Re: Disinforming Their America
on: March 23, 2016, 19:07

I think the last sentence of Harry's post is the most important one, as his point that personal responsibility is crucially important in our heightened media age is extremely accurate. More than ever people have a vast array of media to consume, especially in America, where the three big networks (NBC, ABC, CBS) are steadily losing ground to the internet and other media forms. Quite frankly, news is available everywhere, at any time, and those who are misinformed have only themselves to blame. Networks and news stations are only as powerful as the amount of viewers they have, and tailor their news to ensure the most viewers. If the public were to demand high quality programming, they would receive it. This idea of intelligent consumption of information can be seen in plenty of places, but my initial thoughts go to the women in O'Connor's Good Country People, who cast aside their assumptions to correctly interpret the information in front of them, and thus represent this American ideal. As Harry says, this attitude of skepticism and intelligent consumption would go a long way to improving the quality of information received. Breitbart and Drudge (2 very controversial, and popular, very right wing websites) would close in a week if people stopped visiting them. Just as people deserve the governments they elect, they are responsible for the quality of news they receive. I believe that when Roosevelt emphasizes individualism for Americans he is advocating for individuals to shape their own thoughts; their own lives. Those who reject that individualist spirit in favour of following whatever Rupert Murdoch (A guy with huge influence over American media who is, strangely, Australian) tells them reject the spiritual essence of their forefathers as well.

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