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The War on Facts is a War on Democracy


#1

The War on Facts is a War on Democracy

Jonathan Foley

There is a new incumbent in the White House, a new Congress has been sworn in, and scientists around the country are nervous as hell.

We’re nervous because there seems to be a seismic shift going on in Washington, D.C., and its relationship with facts, scientific reality, and objective truth has never been more strained.


#2

"Several centuries ago the greatest writer in history described the two most menacing clouds that hang over human government and human society as "malice domestic and fierce foreign war." We are not rid of these dangers but we can summon our intelligence to meet them. Never was there more genuine reason for Americans to face down these two causes of fear. "Malice domestic" from time to time will come to you in the shape of those who would raise false issues, pervert facts, preach the gospel of hate, and minimize the importance of public action to secure human rights or spiritual ideals. There are those today who would sow these seeds, but your answer to them is in the possession of the plain facts of our present condition." --FDR


#3

Trump’s Ego-Driven Lies - Paul R. Pillar

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/26/trumps-ego-driven-lies/

"U.S. government lying is surely not a new thing – recall the Iraq War deceptions – but Donald Trump has started off his presidency with clearly false claims that make the problem worse, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar."

"We are less than a week into the Trump presidency, and it is apparent that one of the more disturbing practices of Mr. Trump’s campaign he intends to continue while in office."

"It is surely no coincidence that in this first week of Donald Trump’s presidency, George Orwell’s 1984 rose to the top of the Amazon bestseller list."


#4

Thank you for that quote. It is...astonishing.


#5

This "War on Facts" dates back at least to the end of WWII. WE have a lying cohort of politicians supposedly governing for the voters, citizens but in reality doing the bidding of the plutocrats, all the time spinning lies about their motives and their actions. The list is long and endless. We the people suffer because of it with lies about our health [obesity epidemic, smoking deaths etc] about economics. [wider gap between rich and poor] and on and on. Only collapse will end this didfunction.


#6

a war on facts is not new, we have been on a steady diet of BS since I was a boy, a long time ago, and it was waged long before I was born, and lets face it and be honest there has been no real democracy for years and years ...only the pimping of it, so yeah you are in the league of ordinary nations, its only the myth of american exceptionalism that has led you to believe otherwise, so its not so much that the war on facts is a war on democracy, its more like a war against everything that is sane. but granted trump has taken it to a whole new level, it is thrown in your face, not gentlly spoon fed by a bunch well polished talking heads every night on the boob tube


#7

I agree, but you must admit that the "war on facts" was taken to an entirely new level with the Bush coup in 2000, a level maintained, if not further tweaked, by the Obama administration, and now Trump. But to lay it all at the feet of these woeful leaders is also not entirely correct. The consolidation of media interests into a very small handful of players, nationally and internationally, has led to a veritable strangling of the channels of give-and-take between journalistic competitors, between information sources, and between competing concerns, so that we no longer have the sort of dialectical clash of discourses that should ideally lead at least to a consensus of approximate historical truth. Nowadays the information flows directly from lying government sources to lying media channels. Add to this Obama's very sneaky removal of the legal safeguard against CIA engaging in domestic propaganda (a formality, really, since they've always meddled anyway), and we have a recipe for total information control by the people in power. What we see in the battle between Trump and the media is a "clash between Big Lie I and Big Lie II." But what has led up to Trump has unfortunately greased the wheels for him (thanks, Obama), so that the potential for abuse is probably greater than ever before. The information conglomerates need to be busted up, and the government needs to be held to account for its statements (note: the problem didn't start with Trump). If collapse is the only way to make this happen, then bring it on...


#8

I agree with the commenters who accurately observe that the war on facts has been going on for a very long time.
At the very tip of the root that sustains our governance, there is a tradition of information control where the public are not allowed in. This information control, nonpartisan and pervasive, gives politicians and their bureaucrats license and freedom to hide, deceive and manipulate. It pays them very well to comply and perform this function. There is no way for the public to access what facts are utilized in policy and what facts are extirpated. There can be no public discourse about the foundational thinking behind policy, as the public will rarely have the information required to make a reasonable choice.
So while fact checking Trump is fine, the media must broaden its fact checking and refuse to let the secretive and authoritarian governance continue the well established tradition of deception and lies presented decade after decade as alternative facts. Documenting the authoritarian tradition accurately is a key antidote to corporate rule and the dog-eat-dog ideology that has destroyed democracy.
When will the media make authentic democracy the touchstone of public discourse? Why is authoritarian governance treated as a valid representation of the people when the facts show otherwise? When 100s of thousands or millions of people die in fake wars, where are the mainstream media's proclamations of truth about American aggression and hubris? Republicans and Democrats will never bring democracy to America.


#9

So true. Yesterday I went to a library in this red state city (pop 200,000). With 6 public libraries around town, there were only 2 copies of 1984 available for checkout. When I requested an inter-library loan, the librarian said with a wry smile "Yes that book has been very popular of late."


#10

I posted a link to this essay a couple days ago, by Henry A Wallace, FDR's 2nd term Vice President, written in 1944 and entitled Fascism in America. Here it is again:
http://newdeal.feri.org/wallace/haw23.htm

Some excerpts:

The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power...

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful...

They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead....

American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery....

Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion....

The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection....


#11

IMHO-- That war on facts maybe began circa 1900. California first state to outlaw cannabis in 1913 and Harrison Narcotic Act (El Paso TX was the first city ban). Propaganda really went national with the Marijuana Tax (Stamp) act of 1937 and Anslinger single-handedly ran that war until handing off to Nixon (Anslinger actually retired by 1962--JFK). It was Anslinger that took the drug war globally in the UN. Many people say the War on Drugs began with Nixon, but really over half a century sooner.

Surely though--war/political propaganda predates even the drug war, so I'm not even correct with that claim.

So true. And regarding cannabis,most Americans do not realize that in 1800's, 50% of medications included cannabis and during that century 90% of Americans took cannabis medicine during their lifetimes. (And until cotton came along, hemp was the #1 textile crop in the USA.)

The War on Drugs has cost over a trillion, enslaved millions, and killed hundreds of thousands (if not 1 million).

With 29 states now having medical or recreational or both, (20,000 research papers written in the last 15 years alone) a thousand of documented medical applications ( over 1000) the DEA denies any medical value even though decades of medical research and over 10,000 years of medicinal use. Even the US govt. (H&HS) received a patent on some cannabinoids in 2003. Remember that?
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507

So the same government that tells you it can treat diseases from cancer to Alzheimer's, also claims that it has absolutely no medicinal value. And that CBD (cannabidiol), which is used to treat kids with Dravet's syndrome (Colorado, Charlotte's Web) is just as dangerous as Heroin, Quaalude, Ecstasy, LSD, and Bath Salts. Theater of the absurd.

A study in 1973 found that THC could fight cancer (did you ever here about that). Dr. Alan Shackelford told me there are no known hard copies of this test left in the USA, that someone must have systematically destroyed them in all medical/university libraries. As drumpf would say, he is a "great, great, really great guy".

Just for fun, here are some cannabis/hash advertisements from the 1800's. The latest great find was one featuring endorsement quotes from General Grant and General Lee (and many other military dudes).


#12

Sure I agree. I would add that investigative journalism has been doused by media magnates like Murdoch because they are part of the parasite class.
It's not in their interest to have such journalists on their payroll. So we can effectively rule out the daily papers and print medium and just rely on the net, which is much harder to muzzle, at least for now.


#13

Sorry JD, that last post of mine is rough, but it is too late to edit. This editing time limit sucks. I can't even delete it and start over. Whose idea was that CD?


#14

I tried to edit this, and got it down to one link. but time limit on posts.


#15

It's true enough what you say though.


#16

#17

It is all about the money; capitalism just doesn't need people anymore. We are witnessing a corporate, multimillion/billionaire coup. Sad. That does not mean, however that we make it easy for them! Keep the facts flowing....


#18

And just think, FDR dropped Henry Wallace in the 1944 campaign because he was thought to be too radical, so instead we ended up with Truman. Having Henry Wallace as president may have greatly changed US history!


#19

Wow! Thanks, Lobo4Justice. That is one of the best and truest things I've ever read.
Why, oh why, don't we have public servants like Henry Wallace anymore?


#20

Others have addressed your sentiment, and I concur.