A short clip from Cold War #122.
On the Bullshit Filter this week we covered the recent Gulf Of Oman oil tanker attacks and the US claims that Iran did it.
As evidence, the US proferred up some grainy spycam video of what they claim to be an Iranian ship pulling an unexploded limpet mine off one of tankers.
We explained on the podcast all of the problems with this evidence, but get this: In 2008, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that during a previous incident in the same Straits of Hormuz, there was a meeting in Dick Cheney’s office about how to start a war with Iran. According to ThinkProgress: “during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them.”
HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.
Remember when New York cops pepper sprayed peaceful protesters during the Obama administration?
Imagine if that happened today under Trump?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Occupy Wall Street. A common criticism of it at the time (2011) was that the protesters didn’t have clear demands.
And that criticism might be appropriate. Or maybe it missed the point?
One thing OWS did do was popularise the idea of the 1% and 99%.
Which, of course, Bernie Sanders used to made his surprising rise as a credible voice in American federal politics, nearly upsetting the entire DNC applecart, causing major rifts inside the organisation, as they had to resort to rigging the primaries to shut him down.
What many people don’t remember is that OWS was started by Kalle Lasn, the publisher of AdBusters magazine. He was inspired by this podcast I did with him back in 2009 (kidding… or am I?).
Kalle and his team released this poster with the infamous hashtag #occupywallstreet.
Now Sanders didn’t win the DNC primary, let alone the White House – but what he did achieve was the partial rehabilitation of the word “socialist” in American politics. And here we are a few years later, where “Four in 10 Americans prefer socialism to capitalism” according to an Axios poll.
What do I take away from all this?
A poster and a hashtag can have consequences well beyond a protest.
Let me make this as simple as possible for the people in the slow section. Even if Vladimir Putin had personally turned up on Julian Assange’s doorstep and handed him a gold-plated USB stick containing the DNC emails wrapped in red ribbon, along with a box of Lindt chocolates, a bottle of Dom Perignon and a long red rose, IT STILL WOULDN’T MAKE ASSANGE AS RUSSIAN AGENT.
Do you know what it makes him?
IT MAKES HIM A FUCKING JOURNALIST.
That’s what journalists do – they get information from sources and publish it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t approve of the source or approve of the content – it still makes him a journalist.
Anyone who is trying to push the narrative that publishing information given to him by Russia (if that indeed did happen) makes Assange a Russian agent is selling you a line of bullshit. And if you buy into it, you’re the dupe. You seriously need to examine your epistemology and heuristics.
BTW, the last I heard, Assange was firmly denying that his source for the DNC emails was connected to Russie. Now – maybe he was mistaken. Maybe he was lying. But who should you believe on this issue? A report written by American intelligence services, who have lied to the public continuously for the last century? Or Julian Assange who has a perfect track record of providing verified leaks? And isn’t it a coincidence that Julian Assange has been forced offline for the last year and chance, first gagged by Ecuador in March 2018 and now in jail, unable to respond to Mueller’s claims?
A handy coincidence, indeed.
I guarantee the people who decry Assange “outing national security agents” would have zero problem with, say, the NYT exposing Russian agents in Washington or Russian top secrets. What they are actually protesting is anyone exposing AMERICAN agents and AMERICAN secrets. They would likely applaud the NYT. And if the Russians sought to extradite the NYT journalists and publisher to stand trial in a kangaroo court for exposing their agents, these people would cry foul. So it’s not the principle that they have an issue with. They are just buying into the US narrative that anyone who exposes American secrets is an enemy and not a “true journalist”. It’s a FOX NEWS narrative. Anyone who truly values press freedom would understand that the role of the press is to expose secrets. Plenty of journalists and publishers who aren’t on good terms with Assange have come out and said exactly that over recent weeks. And, as I keep reminding people, Assange won Australia’s highest award for journalism. So the claim “he’s not a true journalist” is ridiculous. As is the claim “he’s a Russian agent”. The fact that he exposed dirt on the Clinton campaign does not make him a Russian agent. IT MAKES HIM A JOURNALIST.
Check out our interview with one of Australia’s most respected finance journalists, Alan Kohler. Alan gave us his thoughts on the economy, unemployment, internet stocks, lying CEOs, and his role with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.
On episode #12 of QAV, we’re talking about ethical investing, Bob Hawke, and, in our QAV Club episode, drilling down into the financials of Stanmore Coal. Stanmore Coal operates the Isaac Plains coking coal mine in Queensland’s prime Bowen Basin region.
Following on from my recent post about needing to control the media in order to have influence over the electoral process:
According to Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne, via The Conversation:
An audit of metropolitan newspaper front pages by Media Watch showed a heavy anti-Labor bias by News Corp papers, and a roughly equivalent – but less strident – pro-Labor bias by the old Fairfax (now Nine) newspapers, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The New Daily analysed three nights of Sky News coverage – April 30, May 1 and 2 – and found gross anti-Labor bias:
News Corp’s unconstrained anti-Labor bias cannot account entirely for Labor’s disastrous showing, but common sense says it accounts for some. For example, the company has a daily newspaper monopoly in Brisbane through The Courier-Mail. It was virulently anti-Labor and Labor did astonishingly badly in Queensland. Coincidence? Possibly, but unlikely.
Note that neither newspaper empire showed a bias towards The Greens or Socialist Alliance. So don’t tell me Fairfax is “left-leaning”. The ALP hasn’t been left since Hawke and Keating. They are pro-corporate, just in a less virulent form. You won’t find Fairfax or the ALP arguing for the dismantling of capitalism.
The conclusion for me is that we either need more media regulation in this country – enforcing neutrality, at least in terms of political reporting and opinion – or we need to replace the old media with new media. But doing the latter has proven difficult over the last 20 years. Very few new media businesses have been able to build a sustainable business model that doesn’t rely on venture capital (which usually means putting rich white guys in control of your business) or advertising (corporate control over your revenue stream).
The only solution I can see for new media is to have user-funded models. Find blogs, podcasts, authors that you like and support them. And yes, I have a vested interest in saying that, but can you see another way forward? How do we stop the old media from determining the result of future elections?
The very neat, legible handwriting of Poggio Bracciolini, Renaissance hunter of ancient manuscripts, became the basis of the first types used in the printing machines in Italy. It was easier to read and faster to write than the Gothic styles which were in vogue in the 14th century. We’re starting a series about Poggio on our Renaissance Times podcast this week.
Poggio’s friend, the Florentine humanist Niccolò de’ Niccoli, developed his own style, based on Poggio’s. It was a neat, sloping, cursive, essentially a rapid version of the same script. It became very popular and early printers adopted it, too. They called it “italic”, because it was Italian. And that is what we still call it today on computers.
I’ve been saying it for 20 years. If you want political influence in a democracy, you need to control the media. That’s why I started TPN. That’s why Murdoch is king. Don’t blame the voters. They get their opinions from the media. Don’t blame the politicians. They were chosen by the media to do a particular job. It’s the media. If we want change, we need to control the media. We need to invest in independent media. Not the ABC. Truly independent media. That’s why you don’t want advertising to find your podcasts. That’s why you don’t want VC firms to invest in New Media. That’s why you don’t want Facebook to be the new publishing platform. Those things just subvert the opportunity to wrest control of the future from the rich white psychopaths.
What can you do? You can make the media. Make podcasts. Write blog posts. Write books. Make documentaries. Make comics.