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This is your brain:

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This is your brain on media echo chambers:

Prior to the US election I wrote a couple of articles saying that if Biden wins he will be attacked by the right as a Xi Jinping puppet even as he escalates dangerous cold war aggressions with China, in exactly the same way Trump was attacked by Democrats as a Putin puppet even as he escalated dangerous cold war aggressions with Russia. This extremely obvious prediction is of course already coming true.

I’m still getting dopey wingnuts in my social media notifications telling me that Biden is a Xi Jinping puppet who is going to be soft on China, even as Biden packs his cabinet with virulent anti-China…


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Did you know the US Department of Defense used to be called the Department of War? It would be a much more honest label today for a military which virtually never operates in any way that could be described as defensive, with its operations focusing far outside of the nation’s borders against targets who pose no threat whatsoever to ordinary Americans. An even more suitable name would be the Department of Eternal War.

The State Department was meant to be the counterpart to the War Department, focusing on diplomacy and peace. What ended up happening as the US government morphed into a globe-spanning empire dependent on endless violence and aggression is that the State Department wound up focusing more and more on manufacturing interventionist narratives on the world stage to gin up international support for starvation sanctions, proxy wars and war coalitions. …


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There has never been a better time to be a woman, minority or member of the LGBT community who works in the DC establishment and thinks the poor should be made into pet food.

The New York Times has published an article titled “Could Limiting Corporate Candidates Hurt Biden’s Diversity Push?”, for the benefit of all those normal everyday readers who’ve been lying awake at night wondering if limiting corporate candidates might hurt Biden’s diversity push.

The article’s authors warn against the nonexistent, completely imaginary threat of the next presidential administration rejecting corporatists for cabinet positions to appease the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, claiming that doing so would be “narrowing the candidate pool” in a way that hurts Biden’s stated aim of creating an administration that is as diverse as America. …


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People who are only just beginning to research what’s wrong with the world often hold an assumption that mainstream news reporters are just knowingly propagandizing people all the time. That they sit around scheming up ways to deceive their audiences into supporting war, oligarchy and oppression for the benefit of their plutocratic masters.

Once you’ve learned a bit more you realize it’s not quite happening that way. Most mainstream news reporters are not really witting propagandists — those are to be found more in plutocrat-funded think tanks and other narrative management firms, and in the opaque government agencies which feed news media outlets information designed to advance their interests. …


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The much-anticipated report on potential war crimes by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Afghanistan has been released, recommending 19 current or former soldiers be investigated for up to 39 murders.

Not combat kills. Not accidental kills. Not non-combatants killed by disputable decisions made in the heat of battle. Not civilians killed due to recklessness or carelessness on the part of Australian forces. Murders. Of non-combatants who died for no other reason than happening to live in a region the US power alliance has seen geostrategic value in keeping militarily occupied for 19 years.

The information about atrocities perpetrated by Australian forces in Afghanistan has taken many years to emerge, was fought tooth and claw with attacks on whistleblowers and journalists, and surely only touches on a tiny fraction of the war crimes which have been perpetrated and covered up with the investigation finding that “the criminal behaviour of a few was commenced, committed, continued and concealed at the patrol commander level”. …


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Americans: healthcare please

US government: Sorry did you say more war ships in the South China Sea?

Americans: no, healthcare

US government: Alright, you drive a hard bargain. Here are more war ships in the South China Sea.

Hi I’m Sleazy McPundit with WMD News. To explain why more internet censorship is needed to fight disinformation, here’s a panel of millionaires who are paid to lie to you.

Biden in 2020 is just Obama in 2008 if you aged him 30 years, made him white, and replaced all the hope and change talk with “Fuck you. No.”

Biden’s presidency looks set to be worse than Obama’s in every way. …


It looks like a safe bet that Joe Biden will be sworn in on January 20th after successfully campaigning on returning the murderous and oppressive Orwellian US empire back to its pre-Trump “normal”.

The problem with this, apart from the obvious fact that it was an embarrassingly close victory only made possible by the Covid outbreak, is that returning to the pre-Trump “normal” is returning to the exact positions which created Trump. It’s like using a time machine to prevent a train wreck, but only going back to one millisecond before the train wreck occurred.

It is clear that Trump’s election was the result of the easily exploited dissatisfaction caused by years of neoliberal austerity at home and neoconservative bloodshed abroad which Obama forcefully expanded and facilitated throughout two terms as president. Trump voters famously defended opting for the reality TV star over the anointed establishment favorite Hillary Clinton as a middle finger to the Beltway orthodoxy which did nothing but enrich the “swamp” Trump pretended to oppose on the campaign trail while ordinary Americans suffered. …


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There are creatures the size of mountains swimming beneath the ice.

There are babies laughing at things you can’t see.

That quiet old woman there, sitting in the corner:
she has seen some shit, man.

The lushest plants have their roots in shit,
and the lushest people, too.

They do not rise above the shit,
their roots dangling like car wash tentacles as they levitate in the air.
They sink into it.
They build their foundation in it.
They do not transcend,
they embody.

And they grow. …


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“President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take a historic step and select a woman to head the Pentagon for the first time, shattering one of the few remaining barriers to women in the department and the presidential Cabinet,” reads a new report from the AP. “Michele Flournoy, a politically moderate Pentagon veteran, is regarded by U.S. officials and political insiders as a top choice for the position.”

“Seen as a steady hand who favors strong military cooperation abroad, Flournoy, 59, has served multiple times in the Pentagon, starting in the 1990s and most recently as the undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2012,” says the AP. “She serves on the board of Booz Allen Hamilton, a defense contractor, which could raise concerns from some lawmakers. …


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Outgoing US envoy to Syria James Jeffrey stated in a recent interview with Defense One that US officials have been “playing shell games” about the number of troops in the region to deceive the Trump administration into thinking there has been a military withdrawal. Here are some excerpts:

“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” Jeffrey said in an interview. The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the two hundred troops Trump agreed to leave there in 2019.

“What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal,” Jeffrey said. “When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times. That’s the story.”

Officially, Trump last year agreed to keep about 200 U.S. troops stationed in northeast Syria to “secure” oil fields held by the United States’ Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS. It is generally accepted that the actual number is now higher than that — anonymous officials put the number at about 900 today — but the precise figure is classified and remains unknown even, it appears, to members of Trump’s administration keen to end the so-called “forever wars.” …

About

Caitlin Johnstone

I write about the end of illusions.

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