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How Washington protects itself

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Consider global warming. There is now much exuberance in the United States about "100 years of energy independence" as we become "the Saudi Arabia of the next century" -- perhaps the final century of human civilization if current policies persist.

That illustrates very clearly the nature of the concern for security, certainly not for the population. It also illustrates the moral calculus of contemporary Anglo-American state capitalism: the fate of our grandchildren counts as nothing when compared with the imperative of higher profits tomorrow.

These conclusions are fortified by a closer look at the propaganda system. There is a huge public relations campaign in the US, organized quite openly by Big Energy and the business world, to try to convince the public that global warming is either unreal or not a result of human activity. And it has had some impact. The US ranks lower than other countries in public concern about global warming and the results are stratified: among Republicans, the party more fully dedicated to the interests of wealth and corporate power, it ranks far lower than the global norm.

The current issue of the premier journal of media criticism, the Columbia Journalism Review, has an interesting article on this subject, attributing this outcome to the media doctrine of "fair and balanced." In other words, if a journal publishes an opinion piece reflecting the conclusions of 97% of scientists, it must also run a counter-piece expressing the viewpoint of the energy corporations.

That indeed is what happens, but there certainly is no "fair and balanced" doctrine. Thus, if a journal runs an opinion piece denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin for the criminal act of taking over the Crimea, it surely does not have to run a piece pointing out that, while the act is indeed criminal, Russia has a far stronger case today than the US did more than a century ago in taking over southeastern Cuba, including the country's major port -- and rejecting the Cuban demand since independence to have it returned. And the same is true of many other cases. The actual media doctrine is "fair and balanced" when the concerns of concentrated private power are involved, but surely not elsewhere.

On the issue of nuclear weapons, the record is similarly interesting -- and frightening. It reveals very clearly that, from the earliest days, the security of the population was a non-issue, and remains so. There is no time here to run through the shocking record, but there is little doubt that it strongly supports the lament of General Lee Butler, the last commander of the Strategic Air Command, which was armed with nuclear weapons. In his words, we have so far survived the nuclear age "by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion." And we can hardly count on continued divine intervention as policymakers play roulette with the fate of the species in pursuit of the driving factors in policy formation.
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As we are all surely aware, we now face the most ominous decisions in human history. There are many problems that must be addressed, but two are overwhelming in their significance: environmental destruction and nuclear war. For the first time in history, we face the possibility of destroying the prospects for decent existence -- and not in the distant future. For this reason alone, it is imperative to sweep away the ideological clouds and face honestly and realistically the question of how policy decisions are made, and what we can do to alter them before it is too late.
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from wikipedia: Noam Chomsky (official website)  is an American  linguist ,   philosopher , [4][5]   cognitive scientist , and   activist . He is an   Institute Professor   and Professor ( Emeritus ) in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at   MIT , where he has worked for over 50 years. [6]   Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" [7][8][9]   and a major figure of   analytic philosophy . [4]   His work has influenced fields such as computer science, mathematics, and psychology. [10][11]

Chomsky is credited as the creator or co-creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory, and the Chomsky--Schutzenberger theorem.

Ideologically identifying with anarchism and libertarian socialism, Chomsky is known for his critiques of U.S. foreign policy[12] and contemporary capitalism,[13] and he has been described as a prominent cultural figure.[14] His media (more...)

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The ambitious reach of this article is interesting... by Phillip Michaels on Friday, Jul 4, 2014 at 1:13:43 PM
No doubt one may defend Kennedy's presidency, at l... by Robert S. Becker on Friday, Jul 4, 2014 at 3:48:10 PM
Mr. Becker, great response. Thank you. You are ... by Phillip Michaels on Friday, Jul 4, 2014 at 9:21:44 PM
9/11 - a day that changed our lives forever, but s... by Lance Ciepiela on Friday, Jul 4, 2014 at 6:38:14 PM