As a nation we are at least halfway to being totally deranged. What this post is about is two examples of our insanity.

The first example is a column by Bill Gertz of The Washington Times, Warfare goes digital in the 21st century. The primary subject of the column is information warfare. What is Gertz’s complaint?

American adversaries have found asymmetric ways to attack and are waging sophisticated information warfare operations — both technical cyber-attacks and soft power influence and disinformation campaigns designed to achieve strategic objectives.

The U.S. government remains completely ignorant of the threat and lacks ways to deal with this new form of warfare. The Cold War-era U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the last semi-autonomous agency used for promoting America was disbanded in 1999. Its functions were folded into the State Department and the result has been diplomacy-impaired information programs. (from here)

That sounds innocuous, but what is odd is that Gertz’s column also included this observation by Matthew Armstrong, a former official involved in government radio broadcasting and associate fellow in King’s College Center for Strategic Communications.

Mr. Armstrong said he was told by a Russian information official that state-run RT broadcasts would have no audience in the United States “if the American media was doing their jobs.”

The failure of America’s news media in this sphere stems of the Balkanization of news outlets. Coverage by mainstream press outlets today is biased by three central liberal narratives of gender identity, racial issues and climate change, while the conservative media outlets are heavily weighted toward opinion and lack a needed hard news focus. (from here)

The news media is not doing its job? The news media is too biased to do its job? What happened to journalistic objectivity?

The second example is about a civil war.

The recent revelation about Susan Rice seems to be causing the war to swing Trump’s way.  That is what this report, Tucker vs Dem who called him Trump ‘smokescreen salesman’, considers. Here we see much of the news media has definite conclusions about the Susan Rice story: Steyn: Media annoyed someone has outfaked their fake news.

So what are we to make of all this? How are these news items related? Gertz’s column points out that the news media is failing to do its job in a very fundamental way. Instead of getting the true story out, the news media is leaving a vacuum that  foreign propagandists have filled. What is the news media doing? Lately the talking heads have argued over two distinctly horrific possibilities.

  • Did the Donald Trump betray America by colluding with a foreign power to steal a win in our last presidential election?
  • Did the Obama administration abuse America’s national intelligence systems by conducting “opposition research” on the Trump campaign and transition team?

Stories like this have not filled the airwaves for decades, but such has been more common in recent years, and the seriousness of the charges keep getting worse. Yet there is almost never any resolution. Apparently, the primary concern of our leaders is spending our money, not honest government.

What does Gertz propose in his column? Is it a fix for America’s news media? No.

The Trump administration urgently needs to recreate a new USIA for the digital age, something I call “Information America.”

This new institution can be established as a government entity similar to the USIA, or a nongovernmental organization funded by philanthropists. A third option would be set up Information America as hybrid government/private-sector organization.

Its mission should be to use truth and facts to counter lies and disinformation. Information America also must begin anew to promote fundamental American ideals and values. (from here)

Good idea? Maybe, but what about the America’s news media? Isn’t there some way we can get the press do its job instead of warring with words, effectively acting as rabid advocates for our two national political parties? I think so. We need to get our government out of the education business. We need to reduce the scope of the Federal Government’s responsibilities so that it is primarily focused national defense.

What is happening is Washington DC looks more and more like war because it is. Listen to different news media sources, and pretty soon it will become apparent the Democrats want Trump gone yesterday. Is he guilty of something?

Listen to different news media sources, and pretty soon it will become apparent that somebody was spying on Trump’s campaign and transition officials. Was that legal?

Unless we the people of America are properly educated, few of us will be able to appropriately review the facts and answer such questions. Instead we will be propagandized.  Unless we the people of America are properly educated, we will not understand how our government is supposed to work, and we will not fulfill our role as good citizens. Instead of electing officials who serve us, we will elect officials who will eventually demand that we serve them.

What the increasing acrimony in Washington DC indicates is that the crisis is coming to a head. When the crisis does come to a head, it is going to be ugly. Because the prize is huge, people will fight over it and not just with words.

If we want our children to be properly educated, we have to get our government out the business and take responsibility ourselves. If we want to understand how our government is supposed to work, we have to ignore news media propagandists and look up what the founders of our country had to say about it. We have to throw out the bums who just think their job is to spend as much of our money as they can.


  1. Tom

    After reading your post a few more times on the two subjects which irk me, I will add my comments.

    On the first part about media bias v government news, I believe public broadcast news like CSpan, while necessary, needs a different approach because normal working people do not have the time or energy to involve themselves listening to lengthy political debates.

    Also government reports can easily turn into government political propaganda.

    Instead, all media outlets should make brief timely government reports in prime time of problems at no charge to the government which is their license authority. In other words, no government reports, no license.

    For example, there is right now two health epidemics prevalent in the USA which many vulnerable people are not even aware of. HIV, SDC, and Opium addiction. Perhaps if CDC spread nationwide warnings, it may help people think about available resources of their choices to confront the issues to prevent further spread.

    The second part of you post inspired me to write a post today. If interested, check it out.

    Thanks for the inspiration. My comments probably will make no difference because of too much apathy and too little time for average Joes to get involved. But who knows, maybe others are getting as fed up as I am with politicians bickering like little old fools.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

  2. How do you propose Conservatives battle disinformation, when for example three quarters of them and their leading figures have convinced themselves that the scientists are betraying them and anthropogenic climate change is a conspiracy and a hoax?
    What hope do you have to educate yourself given these starting conditions?

    1. @marmoewp

      There is a credibility problem. Thinking we are supposed to decide science issues by “consensus”, really whoever is screaming the loudest, is one of them. You don’t suppose evidence the hypothesis is correct might work better, do you?

      I have brothers and sisters who vote for Democrat Liberals. So I sympathize with the anxiety that they and other Democrat Liberals are experiencing, but I don’t know what to do about it. I wonder if they would feel better if after all these years those repeated predictions of Global Warming were finally realized.

      It is a funny thought. The temperatures are soaring. The ice caps melting. The seas rising. Democrats Liberals running around, sticking the noses in the faces of their favorite Conservatives, and smugly saying, “See, I told you Global Warming was real.”

      1. Well, I’m a phyisicist. Despite not having specialised in climate research, but in solid state physics, the education and experience in a research community helps me to take a look myself at the reports and papers. Consensus in science is not about who is shouting loudest, but about which hypothesis works best to explain observational data. This includes dealing with uncertainty. The consensus on climate change simply means, that about 39 in 40 scientists working in the field of climate science are convinced, that mankind is radically changing climate. A change in climate in itself is not necessarily a problem, but it is the fast pace of change that will leave the biosphere with difficulties to adapt.

        When you say people accepting main stream science ought to be happy about being right in their predictions, you are basically driving a car towards a cliff edge 300 yards away, while looking at your cousin in the passenger seat, telling him/her: “If you would just stop screaming, I might be inclined to take you serious about that cliff edge. Maybe.”

        That said, here’s an offer. From what I seem to recall from the past, your objections seem to fall into the categories “the proposed solutions are socialist, so it’s probably a ruse to this end” and “science does not work that way”. I think I can help with the second part. You could ask questions you have about climate change science and I would try to answer them to the best of my ability and/or address issues I consider misconceptions.

        1. @marmoewp

          I don’t spend much time presenting my credentials for two reasons.
          1. On any issue issue I talk about there are people on the other side with better credentials.
          2. The argument I present should have far more weight than my credentials. If it doesn’t, I may as well keep my mouth shut.

          Is that suppose to be a putdown? No. It is just the way I approach discussions. My blog is not about me.

          You are a physicist? That is something to be proud of. It takes considerable effort and intellectual effort to become a physicist. Since I have read some of your debates with Keith, I know you are knowledgeable. Always right? No. No one is that.

          Meteorologists have been studying Global Warming/Climate Change for decades. The “experts” have spent gobs of money and developed all kinds of models. Thus far they have not demonstrated that Global Warming/Climate Change is a threat. Moreover, even the politicians who supposedly believe in Global Warming/Climate Change have not put together a plan to fix this supposed problem. All they have done is come up with “solutions” that empower them.

          You want a solution for Global Warming/Climate Change? It is simple. We drop all the other taxes and tax the consumption of fossil fuels. Even if Global Warming/Climate Change is just the figment of some overactive imaginations, the fact is that we can only get so much coal, oil, and gas out of the ground. So looking ahead, we ought to encourage alternative energy sources by giving them a price advantage. Instead, our leaders just waste money in schemes that allow them to pay off special interests.

          If the proponents of Global Warming/Climate Change are not serious enough to elect politicians who take the issue seriously, why should anyone take them seriously?

        2. @Citizen Tom
          Is that suppose to be a putdown? No. It is just the way I approach discussions. My blog is not about me.
          Good attitude. I only presented my credentials as they were relevant to my offer.

          Thus far they have not demonstrated that Global Warming/Climate Change is a threat.
          In the present, it isn’t. But the more carbon from fossil fuels we emit, the further we go into dangerous territory and there’ll be no easy way back. You may want to familiarize yourself e.g. with rice yield and its relation to daily minimum temperature during germination and growing season.

          I see, that you are only interested in the political side. Fair enough. Keep in mind, that your opinion can be manipulated when reality is presented in a distorted way to you, without you bothering to dig.

          Anyway, a carbon tax would be great. It would have to be high enough to have an impact from the get-go and increase over time, such that we go near carbon neutral by about mid-century. I’m not sure levying only a carbon tax would work, as long-term planning of the tax revenue could be tricky. On the one hand carbon usage would decline over time (which is desired), on the other changes of technology or user habits could cause high volatility of the revenue stream.

          1. @marmoewp

            The so-called experts predicted Global Warming/Climate Change would be raising temperatures, melting the ice caps, and elevating sea levels by now. The polar bears are all supposed to be dead.

            Am I only interested in the political side? No. I have studied science Global Warming/Climate Change. I don’t see cause for panic, but I doubt the wisdom of burning up all the fossil fuels we can. Even if the oceans can absorb the carbon dioxide, there are bound to be some kind of unanticipated problems.

            However, because the political side is what do we do about it, we have to have a compromise solution. The Democrat Liberals in this country have not got a solution for Global Warming/Climate Change. They are not proposing solutions. They are using Global Warming/Climate Change as an excuse to grab power. In fact, what they want to do is just bad for economy and does not fix anything.

            I suggest a simple and obvious solution, but the Democrat Liberals won’t go for it. Just like you they start trying to make it more complicated than it has to be.

            Compare the political problem with military conflict. No plan survives contact with the enemy. Hence, to win a battle, a commander has to gather accurate intelligence on the opposition and maintain accurate information on the status of his own forces. Then he has to re-plan and execute faster than the opposition can react. Similarly, if we started taxing the consumption of fossil fuels, government officials would have to see how the economy reacted. Are people using less fossil fuels? Are people using alternative energy sources? Do we need to tax other pollutants? Is the revenue sufficient to operate the government? Instead, consider what you want.

            It would have to be high enough to have an impact from the get-go and increase over time, such that we go near carbon neutral by about mid-century.

            High taxes are a political problem. People have to eat. Any fix which causes people to go hungry to fix a problem that may not exist is not going to get much support. If we tax the stuffing out of fossil fuels (an the sort of consumption tax I described would), people will transition to alternative energy sources when they work. If alternative energy sources don’t work, they won’t. Why should they?

        3. @Citizen Tom

          The so-called experts predicted Global Warming/Climate Change would be raising temperatures, melting the ice caps, and elevating sea levels by now. The polar bears are all supposed to be dead.

          Open your eyes. Polar bears dead today is a strawman and you should know that. As for the rest.

          Global temperature anomaly

          ice caps:

          For the modest increase of sea ice in the Antarctic over recent years see this article in ArsTechnica summarizing a recent paper

          Pseudoskeptics used to point to the global sea ice cover, so lets have a look at that, too.

          elevated sea levels:
          From two thousand years ago to about 1850/1900 sea level rose by about 0.7 cm per century. During the 19th century sea level rose by about 6cm and during the 20th century it rose by about 19cm. Over the last decade we had a rate of about 30cm/century. Miami and other US costal cities have had a jump in nuisance floods (i.e. floods w/o storm) in recent years.

          Given the above data, I have to ask you what you are talking about.

          1. @marmoewp

            It is possible to post graphics in wordpress comments, but computers are fussy about syntax. Since I don’t often do it, when I do I usually have to experiment just to make certain I have it right.

            Anyway, you know as well as I do the earlier projections of Global Warming/Climate change were way off. In fact, I have wrote some posts on this blog related to data manipulation. Fraud.

            The paper you referenced that tracks the shrinkage of ice in the Arctic and the expansion in the Antarctic takes some data and tries to explain what is happening. That’s not proof. That speculation.

            At one time ice a mile deep supposedly covered large portions of North America. Do you know why? Would you object if I called it Global Warming/Climate change?

            It is reasonable to expect that in some years the Arctic ice expands. Some years the Arctic ice retreats. What is normal? Who knows? How many years of data do we have? Not many. What is baseline normal, not caused by man? Who knows?

            The ice in the Arctic is not gone.

            I recall Keith had fun tracking some guys trying to travel the “ice free” northwest passage in a fancy canoe. Those guys seemed to notice some ice too, more adventure than they had bargained for.

            Pseudoskeptics? What the heck does that mean? A skeptic who pretends to be a skeptic. If you think am only pretending, what are you doing?

            You are a smart guy. You should know insults often boomerang.

            What is going on with the weather? I don’t know. I don’t even know if what is happening is all that unusual. The heat island effects created by big cities is bound to create noticeable micro-climate effects. Water, oil, and gas drilling causes the land to subside. Not good if it is near water. The east coast of the United States always seems to be slowly disappearing, and that seems to have more to do with plate tectonics than anything else.

            You want to blame all that on Global Warming/Climate change? Well, I have yet to see any reason not to remain a Pseudoskeptic, denier, or whatever the latest nonsense insult happens to be.

        4. @Citizen Tom
          I use “pseudoskeptic” to refer to people claiming to be skeptics when in reality they are not. I did not put you into that category, at least not wittingly. A true skeptic questions his own assumptions.

          An example of a pseudoskeptic is Anthony Watts of That guy sent out his readers to take photos and rate weather stations within the US and compiled these reviews into a database. He used the photos to mock single weather stations and cast doubt on the overall temperature record. He claimed that an analysis of the temperature record excluding the identified “bad” stations would radically change the results and he was going to write a paper on it. After he had been sitting on that data for years without doing so, Menne of NOAA in 2010 went ahead and used the publically available data. Surprise, surprise, the influence of bad siting was minute and good stations showed even a slightly higher rate of warming, contrary to what Watts claimed would be the result. Watts huffed and puffed over how they dared to use his data that he had made public for year and that he would write a paper with the full data proving them wrong. As of now, all that this amounted to is a draft of a paper with him added as co-author, which does not support his claim. And there the draft sits on the shelf, collecting dust.

          As for the effect of urban heat islands on global temperature, see figure 3 on page 7 of Hansen, Ruedy, Sato, Lo, Reviews of Geophysics, 48, RG4004 / 2010

          As a skeptic, the above should rattle your “I don’t know” cage. So next time you bring up urban heat islands, please do remember it.

          1. @marmoewp

            I understand that those guys see a problem using temperature data from urban sites. I also see that they tried to compensate and minimize the issue. Still, I don’t think it makes much sense to use suspect data except out of sheer desperation.

            This debate over Global Warming/Climate Change has been going on for decades. The same people who want us to believe in ice ages and tropical periods now want us to believe in man-caused Global Warming/Climate Change. Yet they don’t have any measurements going back before the space age that are actually reliable and meaningful, not for the conclusions they are demanding and especially not for the bullshit “solutions” they want.

            How much of the temperature differences are solar related? We don’t know. Until recently, we did not have the capacity to measure the energy coming from the sun.

            Are the proposed solutions going to make a difference? Yes. Lots of differences, but not the differences they advertise. The solutions give power to people who can’t be trusted not to abuse that power. That sort of difference does not have anything to do with fixing our environmental problems, especially one that may not even exist.

            So I am a skeptic for two big reasons.
            1. We don’t have a good model of the earth’s normal climatic behavior, and we don’t yet have sufficient data to fabricate a good model.
            2. The proposed “solutions” unnecessarily empower the wrong people. Protecting the environment should not have anything to with advancing a Socialist agenda, but Socialists have glommed onto environmentalism. Since these people can’t be trusted to tell the truth, they cannot be trusted to manage the scientific investigations without politicizing them. That and the fact they keep making claims that don’t materialize is why so many people roll their eyes whenever they produce a new study.

            As I said before, we could justifiably put a consumption tax on fossil fuels and eliminate the income tax. That would make lots of Conservatives and Republicans happy, and it should satisfy the environmentalists, but it does not. Why not? If man-made Global Warming/Climate Change is such a deadly serious problem, why do so many environmentalists insist upon putting a Socialist agenda first? Supposedly, so-called environmentalists believe the earth is about to look like Venus, but these environmentalists are more concerned about Socialism? That’s not rational.

            Taxing fossil fuel consumption would obviously encourage the development of alternative energy sources with minimal government involvement. America and Western Europe could do this without even involving nations like China and India, who are unwilling to do anything anyway. Yet as soon as the as those alternative energy sources became cost effective, China and India would want use them. Still, instead of just taxing the consumption of fossil fuels, too many environmentalists seem more interested in having the power to force other people to do something.

  3. Favorite gripe subject of mine. If you read into the history of news media consolidation in the past 50 years, the government has allowed news source to become monopolized news empires in the USA to control USA opinion. There used to be over a hundred independent news source.

    In my opinion, special interests planned the consolidation for their purposes rather than the Constitution reasons for free speech.

    if interested read one of my posts

    Regards and good will blogging.

  4. No one seems to give a rip about the 4th amendment protections against unwarranted searches and seizures anymore. Don’t care if it was legal, it was unconstitutional even if a fisa court said it was. We have strayed so far away from the original of what we were founded as. We are literally not the same country, haven’t been since the mid 19th century

  5. You know Tom it’s interesting that you write this post because just today I was thinking that the media could nit sink any lower after watching CBS anchorman Scott Pelley dismissively report the Susan Rice story as a quirky kind of thing that just happened. I had to shut off the tv before I threw a brick in to it.

    Nothing much surprises me about politics anymore and I’m certainly not naive about the strong liberal bias and propaganda that’s always been there, but I feel like we’ve reached a point of no return. The left and right are following completely different narratives and I agree things are coming to a head. Be prepared.

    1. The news media is normally partisan, but it is getting ridiculous.

      America was founded on an idea. That idea is expressed in the Declaration of Independence. We all have God-given rights. Not too long ago almost all Americans believed that. Not true anymore.

      When journalist see themselves as watchmen, scanning the horizon for threats to our communities and our country, they made be divided along party lines, but they are still unified in purpose. Today, because so many Americans have renounce our nation’s heritage and are just in it for themselves, we fight like rabid dogs. Hence, when the news media reports, they put on a show complete with phony debates and fake news, news that just appeals to our biases.

      1. Yup and add to that the belief among many that there is no objective truth, just what one happens to “feel” is right at the time just throws gasoline on to an already raging inferno. People false claiming the moral high road don’t really care if what they’re promoting is accurate only that the narrative contributes to their cause.

      2. I’m half way through Archbishop Charles J Chaput’s book Strangers in a Strange Land. Chaput’s theme that he keeps introducing is that the American experiment, although created by Enlightenment deist, worked because of this nation’s devout Protestant citizenry. The culture and the government together led to its success. He quotes Tocqueville heavily to give evidence to his assertion and I believe it.

        1. Sounds like a good book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

          Did a double-take on the title. Almost the same as one of Robert Heinlein’s books.

          I tend to agree with what you call Chaput’s theme. Given that Madison, Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin played key roles, it is silly not to concede that deists played a role in the American experiment. Nevertheless, I think American academia often ignore the obvious.
          1. Although these guys were star players, without the rest of the team (the country) the ball was not going anywhere.
          2. All these deists practiced a Christian ethical system and sold their ideas within the context of that ethical system. With the exception of Paine, they never tried to sell Deism. What they advocated was a constitution republic that protected everyone’s religious freedom.

  6. Interesting stuff, Tom. I just finished watching a series on human communication, from cave paintings to computers. Communication is a big part of warfare, so he who controls the information, holds the power. Propaganda, mediated reality, fake news, these things are all about who controls the data, who holds the power. The internet is a real threat to people in power because it cannot yet be contained,controlled, much like the printing press once was a threat,or bibles written in a language the common man could read. People were executed for possessing one.

    I see that same thing going on today, there’s a power struggle over who controls the data. Many of our leaders sense it, they are aware of it, they just don’t really understand, so we wind up with these crazy things like accusations of fake news and Russians hackers. It’s like saying,”well if we weren’t controlling the data, than who was?” The people! All through history there has been this struggle that just repeats itself over and over again, where people realize they are being propagandized, controlled, and they eventually revolt and seize control of the information themselves.

    1. I wondered what I would convey with this post. I wondered if the stories I chose and my ability to relate them would conveyed the idea I want to get across. It seems you got it. Thanks for a great summary. I hope everyone reads it.

    2. I too like what you write there IB, it explain a lot of what’s happening. Don’t think for a second though that the people normally used to controlling the narrative don’t have highly skilled teams of “propaganda promoters” doing their darnedest best to set the narrative for every issue that’s out there. The left is very good at this, the right, not so much but it’s catching up.

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