Saturday 26th of September 2020

fear versus radio caroline...


There were times past when we thought that things were more simple and assured. They were not. The controversies were well-contained and hidden from view.



Governments controlled, or tried to control, the narratives. We call this propaganda… From time to time, some ugly events propped up, including nasty wars, but the justifications were mostly wrapped up quickly with the moral flavour of the governing bodies. 

This of course did not happen everywhere — and some countries suffered from crackdown on their news and protests. But what did (and does) this mean? Who is right, who is wrong? Is it populism of some loony populace, sometimes for or against the officialdom, versus  the survival of a nation that is suckling the teats of the Empire? The democratic sentiments can choose to become authoritative and make this crack down acceptable to the “majority” which controls the officialdom.

Below this officialdom plimsol line, there were and are secrets. Secret intelligence agencies have been manipulating the propaganda for us to “believe” into the development of a line of news. War or peace? Libya and Syria, Iraq and Iran… Read: aussie mercenaries in libya in the contristadors...

The propaganda equation is the same as the Byzantine generals equation. Mathematically, one needs to control at least 67 per cent of the population to have “unity”. In a kingdom where the subjects believe in the godly sanctity of the king (or da queen) this is often a peace of cake until a bloody revolution. In England, the fights were mostly between kings and would-be kings — in which the religious and ethnic (English versus Scottish) flavours would play important parts — not on the style of democratic choice. In those days, the game of power was played above the populace’s head, as knowledge was limited to the top echelons of society. The plebs from time to time were conned into fighting for this king or the other, mostly through various oral transmissions from clever spruikers. There was no media per say, but indoctrination came from the pulpits which had their orders from the top of the religious hierarchy, itself in bed with the king of the time.

Presently our democratic ideals are precarious because it is impossible to achieve the critical 67 per cent of support for whatever style of government. The media has multiplied into many various sources of disinformation, in which every one is “statistical analyst”. 

Who can blame us when we know that on many occasion stats can be manipulated? The stats on Covid-19 are still in flux and being collected, while the stats on global warming are far more precise and accurate. Yet we are made to accept the stats on the disease, while destroying economies — which doesn’t affect Gus to say the least (so far), but which greatly affect the future of the youth. Our next generations are in trouble...

We know that the war on Saddam was based on lies.  We know that the war on Libya was fabricated to suit our profit making ventures. We know that the war against Afghanistan was a succession of deceitful adventures which has now lasted more than 40 years for that country — the last 19 of which, being the longest American war by miles. Unsavoury alliances were made and allies became enemies, not because of them but because their existence exposed our shifty hypocritical moral position. This is why Bin laden got murdered by the US, at a time when our moral compass had been tweaked by the media, under governmental influences, to make it most palatable. Then we were sold a story on how they “found” him with DNA etc. They had to know were he was, but the time of the assassination had to be advantageous.

Presently, under orders of Trump, Pompeo is negotiating a peace treaty with the Taliban which was never going to be defeated, unless obliterated by nukes, something that would have destroyed our wonky moral compass as well. So a peace treaty is on the card. 

One of the difficult aspect is the acceptance of women as equal to men. This is one of the most important subject — as old as Eve and Adam — in which every religious enterprises has since belittled women. Thus the status of women in Afghanistan is paramount. For the last 19 years, we have given (some of) them hope of better recognition but will the peace treaty drop them like smelly socks, back into the doldrum of middle ages. Here we must point out that not all Afghani women are in favour of “emancipation”. The religious indoctrination is very powerful in “making them accept their status”… We shall see how Pompeo, a “religious man himself” can wriggle some concessions for women out of this essential  peace treaty.

In our days of mono-cultured media, the outcomes have been  chosen between the rabid right and the loony left, which to some extend have been on the same capitalist pathway with different shoes… The rightwing has boots, the left wears sandals. But this has been up-ended by networks of communications that are not controlled by governments, though some of these powerful networks like Twitter and Facebook design themselves to fall under the spell of profits and governmental largess, to eliminate “contrary” thoughts.

One has to remember, for example, the radio station(s) that was (then were) transmitting away from the shore of England, especially “rebel” popular music. The government hated it because it captured the young minds away from the main stream… Kids of today would not have a clue, and many oldies would not remember, as many of us (not Gus) have folded back in the groove and the Rock and Roll that had become a counter-indoctrination tool, became absorbed (and controlled) by the main stream — now a fully profitable enterprise:

At the dawn of the 1960s, Britain still bobbed to the rhythms of a vanished age. With the exception of one commercial TV network, the airwaves were owned by the British Broadcasting Corp. — known semi-affectionately as "Auntie."

The BBC favored a bland if nourishing diet of news, information, light entertainments and children's programs. In other words, the rock 'n' roll revolution that was spreading like wildfire in the United States had been all but banished from the British airwaves.

But for a group of rebellious, rock-loving disc jockeys, such restrictions were merely a hurdle. Many of them took to the seas, hunkering down on old fishing ships anchored off the Eastern coast of England; from there, they broadcast programs built around the illicit tunes of bands like The Hollies and The Rolling Stones.

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Some words can displace the frail government information construct. This to simply say that more people have stopped believing the leading teams of whatever colours… Many social media promote anti-something for the sake of anti-something that represent a free-form of thinking. But is it enough to unearth the truth?

All this may have started way back when some historians say that the US civil war was sparked, or very much helped, by the invention of the telegraph… From then on the transmission of news and ideas via electricity, then electronic media, changed the nature of the “immediate” information — and democracy broke up into a million pieces with contradictory ignorance — and philosophical annihilation.

With the pop music, the English government became authoritarian… Then rather than loose the war against “pop music”, ii swallowed it. The technique is old. The Catholic Church did it from its inception. Roman depiction of gods were adapted to suit the Christian story. A pagan fiesta became Christmas, and so forth...

In 1967 the British government made it a crime to supply music, commentary, fuel, food and water — and, most significantly, advertising — to any unlicensed offshore broadcaster. The law sounded the official death knell for most of the pirate stations.

Yet the music had made its mark. One month after the law took effect, the BBC launched its first pop station. And in a strange turn of events, many of the shipwrecked DJs went to work for their former nemeses at the BBC. After all, it would be six more years before Britain allowed any commercial radio stations in the country.

"They hated us," says Cash, who still works for the Beeb, "but we didn't care. And we still don't! I take their money, but I still don't care. And if you need a real pirate over there in America, I'm your man."

It took (takes) new fiction and dictums from governments to make sure the people follow the main-stream. Usually the main ingredient of control is fear. As soon as the people are happy, they go on errand, searching for the greener grass on the other side of the fence. We cannot have that.
We’ve been told under no uncertain term that there is no grass outside lockdowns-and-wearing-masks. We better believe it: the fines for straying outside are massive. The major difference between Radio-Caroline and Covid-19-restrictions is one was promoting new excitements of freedom, while the other is promoting fear. Fear seems to always win — especially when allied with authoritarianism...

Cartoon at top by Chappatte, at the China Daily.. (remember he was booted out of The New York Times for no reason...)

See also: freedom — sweet girl with golden eyes — and sour masked men of humanity....

we reject the premise...

Have you ever noticed that if a number of politicians don’t really want to answer a question, they ‘reject the premise’ or reject the characterisation’ rather than answer it? Current Prime Minister Morrison is a past master of the ‘art’.

The implied message is that the question for some reason is either beneath their ‘dignity’ to answer or ‘too silly’ to be bothered thinking about. The response gives the impression the question is awkward or will bring up an issue that the particular politician doesn’t want to address. A similar sentiment, popularised by Adam Savage on the TV series Mythbusters is ‘I reject your reality and substitute my own’. As the Urban Dictionary suggests, the

quote basically means "you may be technically right, but you're not changing my mind." 


While it could be argued that Adam Savage used the line for comedic value, the concept of refusing the premise or the characterisation of a question is not only deflection, it is suggesting that the question is so far way from being meaningful it should never have been asked. 

However, if someone is asking the question, there is clearly some interest in a genuine and honest response. Politicians are supposed to be accountable to the people they represent for their entire term, not only for a few months every third or fourth year when it’s time to kiss the babies, shake the hands and promise that their particular beliefs and ideologies are far better than any other choice. If a reporter at a press conference is told the premise of their question is not accepted, more often than not the impression is the politician is trying to hide something, because the politician hasn’t given us any justification to consider another option. 

In other parts of our lives, we understand implicitly and accept that a flat “no” is never a good answer. When responding to our partner, employers, employees or children, if we are delivering an unfavourable outcome, most of us innately know that an explanation is required along with the “no” so the person receiving the message is aware of why there has been a negative response. 

So why do politicians choose to look tricky, evil and dishonest by refusing the premise of a question or more simply deflecting it? Discussing ‘why we are or not’ rather than just ‘yes or no’ does take a little longer than the length of a soundbite on the nightly news, and there probably are questions asked that make the politician wish for the ground to open up and swallow them. However if politicians put themselves up for ‘no holds barred’ long term interviews more often we all might have a better appreciation of why various decisions are made and what’s in it for us, engendering trust. It also might improve the typical shallow reporting of national events that seems to have been an ongoing issue in Australia (and elsewhere) for a number of years. 

It’s just open communication and leadership. Most of us know that while saying what you really think about Aunt Beryl in front of your five year old (who repeats everything verbatim) may not be a particularly clever idea, explaining why something is or isn’t happening is a learning experience for your children. They realise there is more to a decision than the self-evident and should eventually realise you’re not saying ‘no’ just to be vindictive or annoying. In a similar way, if politicians actually explained why decisions were made, the reasonable amongst us would probably consider the evidence provided versus our pre-conceived ideas and understand and accept the basis for the decision — even if we don’t agree with it. 

Leadership is the ability to made a decision that is believed to be correct based on a set of circumstances; and then if the circumstances change or are demonstrated to be incorrect, admitting the circumstances have changed and re-assessing the decision. Open communication is discussing the reasons for a decision and if relevant, the reasons the initial decision was incorrect. If people who claimed to be political leaders did admit errors and discuss reasons, the method of operation for ‘shock jock journalists’ would have to change as there would be no fodder for the ‘gotcha’. 

Rejecting the premise or the characterisation of the question points to trickiness and deceit. Taking the time to provide an explanation is much more open and a discussion around why the question was inane, irrelevant or pointless demonstrates there is nothing to hide. 

While we have seen traces of real leadership and communication during the current pandemic period, at this stage it is certainly too soon to be able to call most of our political ‘leaders’ authentic leaders and communicators. We have an opportunity to embed a ‘new normal’ in political and business life into the future — our future leaders need to answer the question rather than reject or deflect them. Who knows, they might engender trust if they do.


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a word that shook france...

Ensauvagement” (the savage response to destructive ideals): the word shook the politicians and the press this summer. Runaway or real phenomenon? In an attempt to see clearly, RT France has interviewed crime specialists, trade unionists and citizens engaged on this issue. 

Questioned on the sidelines of a trip to Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme) on September 8, Emmanuel Macron intended to close this semantic debate, which has agitated the French political and media landscapes in recent weeks: “With your media comments for the past 15 days, you all have been doing contortionist positions with these savage ideals. So I'll leave you alone with your kamasutra”…

The object of this controversy: the association of the term “savage” to qualify the implementation of security in the country. 

“What matters to me is the real!” Hammered Macron... 

What is this real? First of all, one observation: the summer news in France were marked by a large number of violent acts, assault and even homicide, which have made headlines and placed security issues at the centre of the national debate. 

Among others: injuries deliberately inflicted on firefighters, attacks on mayors, violence targeting the police, violence erupting for cases of not wearing masks (in Brest, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Dijon) ... And, above all, several deaths — that of Philippe Monguillot, bus driver in Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantique), that of the gendarme and French military champion in judo Mélanie Lemée and that of a young man named Thomas … —  all of which provoked strong emotions on social networks, encouraged the organisation of “white" marches, the indignation of political leaders, and consequent media coverage. 

Activists and militants, in particular from the right-wing and from identity politics, have called on these occasions to publicly name the culprits or launched hashtags calling for "#Justicepour [victim’s name]...", (#Justicefor) on the model of the Black Lives Matter movements, against violence and racism of the police force. 

They intended, thus, to shed light on what they consider to be a phenomenon of insecurity specific to the current French society, which has been neglected for too long by the press and by the government. That is to say: “the [bad] situation needs to be savaged”. 

In an attempt to distinguish the facts from the politico-media phenomenon, but also to shed light on the feeling of insecurity that crosses French society, RT France interviewed experts in crime, representatives of organisations of civil servants (police, firefighters, teachers), but also citizens who have decided to organise themselves to denounce the violence which, according to them, plagues their daily life.

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Translation/adaptation by Jules Letambour

not blaming bill...