Tuesday, September 30, 2014
A comparison of Democrats and Republicans based on the crime rates of the states that they govern indicates that the five states with the highest murder rates all have Republican governors and Republican control of both houses of the state Legislatures. The Democrats have a more moderate advantage when it comes to the ten states with the lowest murder rates, as indicated below; but that doesn't necessarily mean that they do a good job on crime.
If you compare the United States to other developed countries, (List of countries by intentional homicide rate), it doesn't do nearly as well as most of them; although it does much better than many of the undeveloped countries, which are mostly having much more political problems. In many cases part of the reason for their political problems is because the United States is supporting corrupt regimes that have political support of multinational corporations.
The murder rate for the United States in 2012 was 4.7 per 100,000 people; the murder rate in Canada was only 1.6. In most parts of the developed world it is lower, including many that are below 1 per 100,000. Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and New Zealand all have less than 1 per 100,000 and France and the United Kingdom both have a rate of exactly 1. Only the states with the lowest rates in the United States have barely dipped below a rate of 1 per 100,000; and that hasn't happened since 2009 when New Hampshire dropped to .8 for one year before going back up to 1 or more.
This implies that a comparison of who does the best job addressing crime might have to consider the policies of other countries in order to find out what is most effective. Also a comparison of most of the policies that I have been reviewing, in previous posts about the causes of crime, indicates that many of the positions that would be most effective at reducing crimes aren't being addressed well by either political party; nor is the traditional media attempting to inform the public about some of the most credible research.
The higher murder and violent crime rates for states controlled by Republicans clearly indicates their policies are almost certainly worse than Democrats; what else would explain it? And this is practically never discussed in the traditional media, although it isn't hard to find much better research on the internet from the academic world even if my review isn't the best, although I have no doubt it is better than what the media and political establishment is doing.
As far as I can tell they aren't even trying; at least when it comes to finding policies that will reduce crime.
They might be trying when it comes to manipulating emotions and convincing people they're addressing crime;but their methods don't stand up to scrutiny, which is totally absent from the mainstream media or the political debate.
(This is part of a series of posts exploring the root causes of violent crime and ways to recognize and prevent them. Past posts on the subject include Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows; Does lack of education increase violent crime? Religion?; How does gambling and gun control impact violent crime?; Politics, not technology, caused botched executions; Wal-Mart crime: Rolling Back Safety more than prices?; States with high murder rates have larger veteran populations; Teach a soldier to kill and he just might; and How much does Income Inequality Affects Crime Rates?)
The past blog posts on contributing causes of crime and numerous studies on a variety of subjects have indicated that improvements in education, reduction in corporal punishment, poverty, homelessness, and income inequality will all help reduce violent crime. They also indicate that reducing the amount of gambling or better efforts to inform the public about how the odds in gambling are always fixed, other wise the gambling institutions wouldn't be able to cover expenses and make a profit; and reasonable gun control laws will reduce crime.
Evidence has indicated that the death penalty doesn't help reduce crime and that the growth of big box stores especially Wal-Mart has been accompanied by increased crime, or a reduction in the amount that crime is being reduced at those location, which creates similar results. A similar conclusion could be made about the reduction in crime if other causes were adressed as well. For example, if more efforts were made to educate the public about how corporal punishment escalates to more violent crime then further reductions in the murder rate would almost certainly have already happened. The same would also go for addressing other contributing causes like poverty and education; however public policy has been moving in the opposite direction on those issues despite grass roots resistance.
Evidence has also indicated that many of the veterans, coming back from wars based on deceptive information, have been more prone to violence, possibly as a result of PTSD or aggressive training including hazing that teaches them to use violence to accomplish their goals. Efforts to treat PTSD have been slow when they happen at all.
In most if not all of these cases few if any politicians from either party are making much if any effort to address these problems; in most cases they're actually attempting to promote policies that accomplish the opposite. The Republicans are probably the ones with the strongest rhetoric about getting tough on crime by increasing punishment, including increased reliance on "zero tolerance" policies, the death penalty or trying juveniles as adults and accepting "no excuses" for traditional crimes that are often refereed to as "blue collar."
However the same get tough on crime strategy doesn't apply when it comes to the white collar crimes that deprive lower classes of the fair wages, safe environment or access to health care or education.
They rarely even consider the possibility that these might impact crime, yet a close look at the research clearly indicates that it will.
Furthermore, even though the Republicans are probably more outspoken on this so-called get tough on crime approach many of the highest profile Democrats have been becoming more like the Republicans on this issue including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Joe Biden. At the same time, when it comes to one issue, that Republicans have been better at than Democrats, gambling, they are increasingly becoming more reliant on gambling campaign contributions as well and they also promote it as a way to "strengthen the economy" and "create jobs" even though those jobs do nothing to improve the quality of life and they do more to shift wealth to the upper classes than anything else while increasing crime.
The Republicans are also much more likely to put large numbers of people in jail; and they often use this as an excuse to deprive them of their right to vote as well. According to the Wikipedia List of U.S. states by incarceration rate (2008), which includes a brief comparison with other countries, the United States has a much higher incarceration rate than almost all other countries in the world. The only large developed country that has more than half of the incarceration rate of the United States is Russia. A few other small countries with major political problems have more than half as well and one country, Seychelles, with less than 100,000 people that hardly anyone has heard of actually has a higher rate.
Within the United States the ten states with the highest incarceration rates all have Republican control of both state legislatures and eight of them, including the top seven, have Republican governors. This is based on 2008 rates, which is the latest I could find for now, and 2012 elected officials; however it is unlikely that there are major changes since then that would effect party lines; although prison population has apparently finally begun to slowly drop since then.
The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all have significantly worse rates than even the worst of the states, Louisiana. These three districts or territories don't have representation in congress and are less able to hold the few elected officials they do have accountable. This implies the possibility that democratic control might help reduce crime. Michigan is one of the states with the highest murder rates as well as other problems; and they're responding to some of their fiscal problems by taking over large cities and replacing elected officials with authoritarian "emergency managers" often appointed by the governor. (See Cash-strapped cities seized by new management; Michigan Naming Fiscal Manager to Help Detroit and The Scandal of Michigan's Emergency Managers for more details)
The reason many cities and states are in so much fiscal trouble is because they have often been mismanaged by corrupt politicians that have been catering to campaign contributors at the expense of the voters. Now in areas where the voters have been complacent enough to allow this and reelect those that have been destroying their fiscal stability they're now losing their right to vote some of them out.
On the other end, where murder rates are at their lowest includes one of the most progressive states in the country, Vermont, where there is extensive participation by many voters and town hall meeting participants. The political establishment is overwhelmingly rigged in favor of the campaign contributors; however there is some reason to believe that, at least at the local levels some areas where voters are less complacent, they are more inclined to pay attention to the root causes of crimes even if their elected officials try to ignore them in favor of the agenda of their campaign contributors.
This may also be indicated by some of the local areas that have managed to elect grass roots candidates, despite the opposition of powerful corporations, like Richmond California where they're had a Green Party Mayor since 2007 and they've seen a large drop in crime during that same period. I'll follow up with that more on another post; however a review of the politicians that govern the states with the highest and lowest murder rates, reports of violent crime rates and incarceration rates is included below. This also includes a comparison of some of the characteristics previously review\ed and how they compare with each other. Previous posts compared them to crime rates without comparing, for example, religion with graduation rates or gun control.
This comparison indicates that the stereotype about a large correlation between "God, Guns and religion" isn't always just a stereotype. Even though I'm sure there are many exceptions there is a large correlation for a significant percentage of each, as well as some other characteristics. The religious opposition to gambling probably isn't as strong as it used to be, except in Utah, which is mostly Mormon.
These are some comparisons between religion gun control and graduation rates that weren't provided in previous blogs.
Data was collected for this comparison from the following web pages, whichare the same listed on the previous blogs posts.
City-Data Crime rate in the US: Murders, Rapes, Robberies, Assaults, Burglaries, Thefts, Auto thefts, Arson
Wikipedia Crime rate for cities above 250,000 population
Mississippi most religious, Vermont least, survey says 01/29/2009
Church or synagogue attendance by state
State rankings of high school and college graduation rates 2011
State rankings of college graduation rates up to 2009 at this time
Gun laws by state
Firearms Death Rate per 100,000 (most recent) by state
Gambling in the United States
The following are rankings for the states that made it into the top ten or bottom ten for either murder rates, reports of violent crime or incarceration rates. The reports for murder rates are almost certainly more reliable since reported of them is mandated by law and at the local level when victims hesitate to report violent crime that doesn't result in murder they often go unreported but murder rarely do. Since incarceration rates are based on public record they're probably more reliable than reports of violent crime as well.
For one reason or another Mississippi ranks surprisingly low, at 36th when it comes to reports of violent crime despite the fact that it comes in second when it comes to murder rates. None of the southern states comes in the bottom twenty when it comes to murder but in addition to Mississippi coming in at 36th two others come in the bottom ten.
Even though Idaho is in the bottom ten for both reports of violent crime and murder, they are twelfth when it comes to incarceration rates. Wyoming also has an unusually high incarceration rate compared to their rates of violent crime and murder. However the south clearly has the highest incarceration rates in the country.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
According to a Gallup poll released just last week Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low.
If I was relying primarily on the mainstream media I probably wouldn't have even heard about this poll at all. They probably did mention it briefly but quickly forgot before most people even noticed, unlike the constant barrage of polls about political races that they keep repeating over and over again and people can't avoid hearing about them.
Then, on top of the minimal coverage they provided for this poll, they didn't provide more than a token amount of coverage for the major protests about the environment and climate change that took place over the weekend. I made a point of checking at least a portion of the coverage that was provided by the mainstream media on it over the weekend and in the day or two after it, and not surprisingly what I saw was minimal. On the Sunday evening local news they didn't even mention it when introducing the days headlines at the beginning; during the world news they provided about 90 seconds of it 12 minutes into the news broadcast then from there there was little if anything that I could find covering it.
On Monday I made a point of watching at least one of the half hour local news shows they provided plus fifteen minutes of a second one in the evening. They didn't mention it once, quickly forgetting it even happened; however they did have three breaking news stories during that broadcast. But none of those three were actually new stories, although two of them had updates to ongoing news stories that have been in the news cycle for at least two or three days. The world news did mention it; but they couldn't have given it more than ten seconds of their time.
I noticed that when the covered these "breaking news" stories, which weren't actually breaking at all, they had a flashing banner which I didn't notice before, either because I hardly pay attention to their increased hype or because they just came up with it.
They're replacing research with increased hype.
Do they think the public won't notice this?
They did include two stories that had serious environmental impact, at least for local residents; one about a building that was evacuated because of a nitrogen leak and another where close to a dozen cars caught fire. They reported on these two stories quickly then forgot them like any other news story. On several occasions when I wanted to find out how often some of these events happen I started creating lists of disasters like this and they quickly got very long and the only reason they didn't get much longer is that I ran out of time to continue looking for these stories.
The traditional news media has much more resources than me yet they don't come up with comprehensive coverage of these disasters and discuss how to dramatically reduce them.
But they do make an enormous amount of money selling propaganda ads to BP and other energy companies that continue running long after the public forgets about most of the environmental disasters that have been happening with minimal amount of coverage.
This isn't the first time that I have reported on the lack of coverage that the mainstream media has been providing; when Obama was being inaugurated for the second time I covered The commercial media didn’t report the Inaugural Die-In and there have been many more that I haven't been able to keep track of. This includes a major protest last March which I hardly remember any coverage of, and the full extent of the protest that took place this weekend. The protests that took place in New York were only a fraction of the protests around the world on the same day; but people that rely on the mainstream media would have little or no knowledge about that.
The big surprise shouldn't be that trust in the mainstream media is down to 40%; it should be that there are still 40% of the public that supposedly trusts the mainstream media.
This shrinking 40% must be either incredibly complacent or incredibly trusting; but the more the mainstream media ignores major stories that receive much better coverage from alternative outlets the lower that figure is guaranteed to go.
Fortunately Democracy Now has been doing a much better job covering this protest including their Special 3-Hour Broadcast of the People's Climate March. Democracy Now isn't always the best alternative news outlet but they do a much better job than the mainstream media especially when there are major protests going on and there are plenty of other news outlets that pick up where they leave off; but the least reliable sources increasingly appears to be the mainstream media which no longer even does a good job pretending to covering the news in a reasonably balanced manner.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
After reviewing a few articles written by some of the most powerful institutions, it may also be a appropriate to ask if these institutions, or at least some of the most powerful people in these institutions, are intentionally ignoring the problem since solving it won't necessarily help them personally.
Numerous studies have been done on how poverty income and education inequality lead to higher crime problems among other contributing causes. Some of these have been posted in locations where those that benefit from income inequality are much more likely to read while the majority may not even hear about them. One of them, with connections to the Council on Foreign Relations and other powerful institutions in a position to address this problem, cited below even goes so far as to say that poor people are more likely to take it out on each other and speculate about why and indicates that they're not likely to rebel as a result of it.
(This is part of a series of posts exploring the root causes of violent crime and ways to recognize and prevent them. Past posts on the subject include Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows; Does lack of education increase violent crime? Religion?; Politics, not technology, caused botched executions; Wal-Mart crime: Rolling Back Safety more than prices?; States with high murder rates have larger veteran populations and Teach a soldier to kill and he just might.)
First of all, poverty income inequality and education inequality among other related contributed causes overlap each other and almost certainly help cause each other. If one of them is a significant contributing cause the others almost certainly are as well. There has been some consideration about the possibility that it might only be one of these contributing causes that leads to high crime without input from the others, and some people have made arguments like "Income inequality, not poverty, responsible for crime;" however even though they might have some legitimate points these two contributing causes feed on each other and may be almost interchangeable.
Elaine Denny and Barbara F. Walter posted the following article about two years ago:
This article says that the poor are the ones that are most likely to pay the price for income inequality yet they're unlikely to rebel against the injustices that cause the inequality. By merely acknowledging this it implies that she might intend for some actions to correct it; however little or nothing is done to do so. Some members of the upper class might consider this good reason not to worry about it at all, assuming they even took much time to consider this article. Or more likely they would just attach a low priority to it since their top priority would be to protect the system that benefits themselves at the expense of the majority, including the poor who have to pay the higher price for lack, of police protection, as the article implies.
According to the list of Contributors from this site at least four of them have connections to the Council on Foreign Relations and more of them also have access to some of the most powerful research and reporting institutions. This means that some of the people that might be inclined to do this research or at least read it have a reasonably good chance to inform those in power and draw additional attention to this report and other studies that are similar so that some of the most important root causes of crime could be addressed better.
Yet, for the most part, they don't. None of these studies are mentioned much if at all in the mainstream media whether it is the studies about income and education inequality or poverty and how they impact crime or many other studies. Nor are they given much consideration when it comes to making some of the most important policy decisions as hinted at in the article.
The unequal protection of the lower classes goes beyond what the authors of this articles indicate. In addition to protecting people from crime or solving them after the fact, police are routinely used to maintain the current political system and give preferential treatment to those with the most political power. This doesn't necessarily mean that the individual police are corrupt; instead it may mean that the rules they act on are rigged to favor the politically connected.
For example when powerful corporations routinely profit by polluting the environment where poor people live and there are an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that it is causing a lot of premature deaths. This is followed up by an enormous number pf protests when the government does little or nothing to stop this. Instead of investigating the people polluting the environment and causing lots of deaths the police routinely arrest protesters for much more trivial charges like trespassing or what they call disorderly conduct. Similar things happen when workers are subject to dangerous working conditions that cause deaths and many other corrupt activities by powerful corporations.
The types of corrupt activities most often conducted by the politically connected is often not even considered a crime, although it might do even more harm than crimes committed by those without political connections..
Denny and Walter acknowledge that economic inequality is "most likely falls on government policies;" but they don't go further into it than that in this article and the way they phrase it implies that it is inconclusive. There really should be little or no doubt that income inequality is definitely caused by our economic system and government policies. One simple example is that the people who do the basic production that benefits our life get little pay for their work since they're forced to compete with people all over the world; however the people with connections and education that advertise these products get a much larger share of the money collected from consumers even though they don't give accurate information for consumers to make their decisions or provide a service that truly benefits the consumers.
The reason for this is because, contrary to what our media and political system says, is that the free market has already been eliminated and replaced with an oligarchy system where a relatively small number of corporations control most if not all industry. These corporations can pass on the cost of bureaucratic expenses like advertising, public relations, which probably should be referred to as propaganda, union busting or many other activities that are designed to shift wealth to the rich, on to the consumers, as I attempted to explain in Corporate bureaucrats are robbing us blind!
Our economic system does little or nothing to protect factory direct options that would dramatically reduce the amount of corporate bureaucracy between production and sales; this wasn't always the way it was but now oligarchies have consolidated again so factories are unwilling to threaten their primary source of income. There are many other ways which income inequality are impacted by government some of which are explained by Richard Clark with some help from Dean Baker in Growing Inequality, Deliberately Engineered Through a Whole Range of Policies Intended to Redistribute Income Upward
Most of these academic studies do little to consider many of the details behind some of the crimes that a lot of poorer people are being charged with and the possibility that many of them might be much less likely a lot of these crimes might be if they had the economic resources to function properly. The current surge in stories about hot car deaths are one example. A large number of these seem to be taking place while parents are shopping and they don't have help with anyone to take ca\re of their kids. The typical response might be that this is no excuse, and this might be right as far as it goes; however if they weren't economically disadvantaged then these incidents would be much less likely.
The enormous number of incidences where many poorer people are being charged with shoplifting for minor items that they need to survive is another indicator of how economic inequality leads to higher crime. And there are an enormous number of incidents where angry customers strike out when dealing with bureaucratic problems that are caused by decisions to cut corners and increase profits, including seemingly simple things like when the scanner doesn't work and it takes a long time to correct it. Most of the times where customers do get angry enough to cause trouble, if it is reported at all in the news, it is presented as if the customer has little or no justification for their actions and they're overreacting; however many people who have gone through these same problems without overreacting might remember when they felt like getting angry like this when they had similar problems.
Our current system clearly isn't nearly as bad as past systems of slavery or the economic systems during major wars like WWII; however we have taken too many steps int he wrong directions so a comparison might be in order before we take too many more and it becomes so extreme. During the Holocaust when the Jewish people were being scapegoated for everything they made it illegal for them to find reasonable work and in the most extreme cases, whether it was in the Polish Ghetto's or elsewhere the mere fact that some Jewish people were getting enough food to survive could be considered evidence of criminal activities since they couldn't obtain food otherwise under the extreme circumstances.
Now Wal-Mart workers and fast food workers can't afford to get by on a full time job so even though they do productive work that improves the quality of life for the public they wind up relying on welfare and are considered moochers by some. But advertisers of public relations people who study how to manipulate the public in the most effective way possible get paid much more but the public only gets a perceived benefit based on their deception and their quality of life is actually reduced as a result of it. In additions to receiving better police protection than the productive workers advertising and public relations bureaucrats also receive better health care and they're less likely to work in hazardous conditions.
Is it any wonder that those with the least education that get stuck with menial, but productive jobs might get angry and strike out once in a while?
If the more educated researchers were more concerned about reducing crime they could acknowledge these problems and come up with a system that rewards productive work as our system often pretends to.
As Denny and Walter indicate there are plenty of studies showing this is a major problem although some of them don't cover all the details including some of the following; and a comparison of my own below of different states with more or less inequality and their crime rates among other characteristics.
Growing Inequality, Deliberately Engineered Through a Whole Range of Policies Intended to Redistribute Income Upward
Think Progress: Study: Income Inequality Is Tied To Increase In Homicides 08/01/2012
U.S. State-Level Income Inequality Data - Mark W. Frank 1916-2011
The Increasingly Unequal States of America Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2011
Finance Online Julia Trello: How Income Inequality Affects Crime Rates
Finance Online Julia Trello: Education Inequality: How Income Inequality Blurs Education As The Great Equalizer 09/0/2014
Want to Fight Crime? Address Economic Inequality 01/06/2013
Income inequality, not poverty, responsible for crime -- NSCB 02/22/2013
Inequality Rising in Rural and Urban America 04/21/2011
The following compares the Wikipedia List of U.S. states by Gini coefficient with other characteristics divided by state.
Murder rates by state at the Death Penalty Information Center .
Incarceration rates by state
reports of violent crime per 100,000 and previous post about Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows
Mississippi most religious, Vermont least, survey says 01/29/2009
State rankings of high school and college graduation rates 2011
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
I’m not completely ruling out an ISIS Wag the Dog Hypothesis but it would have to be huge and absurd if it were true. In order for this to be faked it would need the cooperation, at least tacitly, of an enormous amount of news organizations and even many of the critics of the administration.
However this isn't enough to indicate that it should be completely ruled out from a factual point of view; although it would seem to be enough to indicate that it should be so close that it virtually out of the question, except for one problem.
If people pay enough attention to the official version of the truth as it has been presented by the commercial media it is almost as absurd as an ISIS Wag the Dog Hypothesis where Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro manufacture a war in Hollywood that never takes place.
When the official version of the truth is almost as absurd as the fringe conspiracy theorists it might be time to take a closer look and sort out the details before coming up with a more rational explanation, perhaps different from either version, although it might include details from both.
The person that conducts these beheadings looks like a comic book character; and the response by the administration is equally absurd. They spend their time saying they don't have a strategy but Obama can hardly let that interfere with his game of golf.
Joe Biden may want the public to think that he's taking this seriously but he seems to be watching to many movies when he says, "We will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside," This also seems to be the way they might respond to problems like this in comic books.
According to Nancy Snow the scariest part is how well their propaganda is working; however a closer look might indicate that she is at least partly right although I can't help but wonder if this propaganda is working better for ISIS or if it is working better for the warmongers in the US government and in the media that are trying to find an excuse to escalate military action and maintain a permanent state of war.
The phrasing of the villains message seems to serve the propaganda purposes of the US warmongers very well but if his message was a little more to the point it might not work quite so well.
If he had said that just like wars throughout history that "we will keep killing your people as long as you keep killing our people" then it might not have been quite so dramatic but it gets right to the point and it would demonstrate how absurd and foolish the permanent state of war is. The family of Steven Sotloff certainly seems to have a good point when they say, "The murder of an innocent man for the perceived crimes of the nation in which he was born makes absolutely no sense." But they fail to explain, or even consider why the crimes of our government should merely be considered "perceived crimes." Should the family members of those that are killed by the bombs being dropped by the US government be shocked by her portrayal of these crimes as being merely "perceived crimes;" would they be shocked if the opposition referred to the killing of Sotloff as a "perceived crime."
I don't mean to sound unsympathetic to the Sotloff family but nor do I mean to sound unsympathetic to the other victims that are routinely referred to as "collateral damage;" the more important issue should be how to end this permanent state of war so that the victims on both sides don't have to continue paying the price for decisions made by political leaders that remain out of harms way so they're not held accountable for their actions.
A Wag the Dog hypothesis certainly would be absurd and judging by Occam's Razor, "the simplest answer is most often correct," however the media has been presenting a long list of absurd stories for years and some of these official versions simply don't make sense when they're scrutinized, although some of these seem incredibly silly and hardly worth much attention. This includes the absurd story about Vladimir Putin steeling a super-bowl ring which is allegedly worth $25,000 and had a lot of sentimental value to Bob Craft although from a practical point of view it has little or no value that isn't based on hype. If Putin and Craft were concerned about maintaining their power and keeping billions of dollars that they probably didn't earn it clearly wouldn't be in their best interest to rub their silly disputes in the noses of those that often have a hard time paying for food.
Another more important story which is absurd, yet passed off as fact was the claim that three hikers thought the border between Iraq and Iran would be a good tourist destination; it is hard to imagine how reasonably well informed people could come to this conclusion and even more difficult to understand why hardly any consideration was given to this foolish decision. Regardless of why they decided that the border of a country at a permanent state of conflict with the United States dating back at least to when the United States used the CIA to overthrow their democratically elected government in the fifties and when the U.S. supplied both sides with weapons prolonging their war in the eighties, they had plenty of video of themselves at that time goofing around in a bamboo patch that served as great propaganda for months to comes and little or anything was done to question this.
Absurd things being passed off as reality without question is quite routine especially when it comes to politics. Before George Bush was elected it was quite clear that he was an incompetent clown to people that knew about him; if the establishment that wants to present us with a choice of leaders wanted to convince us to support them couldn't they have come up with a more credible candidate than that? If that wasn't absurd enough in 2010 they came up with an incredibly large number of so-called "tea party candidates" that they presented to the public and a few of them even won.
Why can't they do a better job coming up with candidates that at least seem reasonable?
A Wag the Dog Hypothesis is certainly absurd and highly unlikely but so is the fact that they can't come up with a better version of truth than this to present to the public. So it isn't that hard to imagine why someone like Mark Crispin Miller, who is usually quite rational, might ask, What’s up with these “beheadings”? They certainly seem fake, and so does an enormous amount of other activities that the government and the media is constantly coming up with, while failing to address many of the most important issues including the destruction of the environment and epidemic levels of poverty and inequality.
Rational researchers are often stereotyped so they might appear like some of the more fringe conspiracy theorists including some not quite as rational as Mark Crispin Miller, like Alex Jones and Before It was News in an attempt to discredit them; however in some cases even though a large portion of the material that Alex Jones, Allen West, and Before It Was News comes up with has problems, and usually seems so absurd that they can't possibly be right, they sometimes get some to the details right that the government is trying to avoid addressing. Therefore it would be inappropriate to dismiss their theories, including the following, in their entirety even if some aspects of them are out of the question.
Witnessing a wag the dog exercise in real time … 06/16/2014
Before It Was News: Tom Heneghan Explosive Breaking News: ISIS Totally Exposed! 08/31/2014
We’re falling for Obama’s ‘Wag the Dog’ moment, in Nigeria, says Col. Allen West 05/13/2014
This is especially true when considering there was another scare bout a threat from Syria almost exactly one year ago but the government wasn't the one warning us about the Islamic extremists at that time; instead they were warning us about the Syrian government and claiming that they had a sophisticated "Syrian Electronic Army" and that they were using chemical weapons. At the time the people that were trying to warn the public about the Islamic extremists in Syria were the fringe conspiracy theorists and the U.S. government was supporting the rebels and saying that they were trying to differentiate between the good rebels and the bad, but they didn't seem to be doing to good a job at it. It was almost exactly a year ago when I posted the following:
We're supposed to consider some of these conspiracy theorists fringe and unreliable but many of them were warning us about the same threat before the government, although at that time they didn't call themselves "ISIS;" actually the Islamic State still doesn't refer to themselves as ISIS or ISIL; that is apparently something that the media and the government came up with and only explained it briefly on a few occasions like the Rachel Maddow show while repeating the name over and over again without reminding the public that it isn't their actual name. Apparently ISIS is actually an Acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
When they wanted an excuse to escalate the fighting in Syria a year ago the media came up with threats that weren't previously reported widely, if at all and since then doubts have come up about the. Now they're doing the same thing but instead of claiming the Syrian Government is a much bigger threat than previously reported about it is the Islamic State which they were downplaying a year ago. Chuck Hagel's claim that "ISIL is a sophisticated and well-funded a group as we've seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. Oh, this is beyond anything that we've seen." sounds a lot like Colin Powell's speech before the U.N. and it doesn't seem any more credible.
How many times does our government have to cry wolf before people start to recognize their scare tactics?
Even if there is no absurd ISIS Wag the Dog hypothesis then there is still something seriously wrong with their version of the truth.
Info Wars reported, 'During an appearance on Fox News, General Thomas McInerney acknowledged that the United States “helped build ISIS” as a result of the group obtaining weapons from the Benghazi consulate in Libya which was attacked by jihadists in September 2012.' Some of these sources seem to have major credibility problems, but when they hold positions of power, now or in the past, they should be considered carefully since they're involved in the decision making process. It should also raise doubts about why so many people with credibility problems are in positions of power.
And additional confirmation seems to have come from Democracy Now, who says, 'a new report by a private British firm that monitors arms trafficking says military equipment provided by the United States and Saudi Arabia has fallen into the hands of Islamic State fighters. The firm examined rockets and small arms stamped "Property of the U.S. government" that appear to have been supplied to Shiite forces in Iraq during the U.S. occupation.' This is actually typical of U.S. foreign policy going back decades; the United States has almost always been the biggest arms supplier in the world and one time after another our country winds up fighting against the weapons we previously sold, often to people that used to be our allies.
Also, as Mark Crispin Miller points out, in More questions about those “beheadings,” additional questions have been raised by at least two sources about who it was that even kidnapped James Foley, previous sources, including "Business Insider" which is a more traditional media source, have claimed he was actually kidnapped by groups loyal to the Syrian government. If this is the case how did he wind up in the hands of ISIS? And, perhaps, more important why isn't the traditional media even addressing this problem? Actually that one might be easy since they don't seem to address many of the most important issues very well at all, but it should still be considered a major problem when the highest profile media outlets are hardly even trying to do a good job.
The claim that James Foley's beheading video may have been staged separately from his death: expert is spreading so fast that many other outlets even the New york Daily News are considering it, which seems to make a possibly Wag The Dog hypothesis slightly less unlikely although it would still be hard for most rational people to believe without fact checking. The traditional media still portrays this as a chilling piece of propaganda for ISIS, but if the target audience is English speaking people, then it is almost certainly a much more effective piece of propaganda for those that want to demonize ISIS as an excuse to maintain a permanent state of war. It is hard to imagine how this would help earn sympathy for ISIS although it will be quite helpful when trying to incite hatred against them.
William Lewis does a good job describing how The media and government is Selling Fear and Lies to Control the Publicon a variety of different issues; and cynical as it sounds there has been a long history of doing those while those that benefit from it remain far away from the fighting and often seem out of touch with the majority of the public except when it comes to studying how to manipulate them.
If, on the other hand, in the unlikely case where there actually is some kind of Wag the Dog version of the truth it would require help from a lot of sources including some that are more credible than either the traditional media or the fringe conspiracy theorists. This would include the reporters from the Global Post which actually does a much better job covering the news than the traditional commercial media although they weren't as widely known until the first beheading of their journalist James Foley. When the Egyptian revolution took place the traditional media was taken by surprise and one of the reporters on MSNBC even asked one of the protesters, on live TV, how they were able to organize this uprising without anyone knowing. The protester acted with surprise and said he didn't know and that they were trying to get the attention of the media for months to get them to report on it. At that time one of the news outlets that actually did report on it before the traditional media was taken by surprise was Global Post.
This should make more people wonder why the best reporting is often presented, to a small percentage of the public while the traditional media presents their reporting in an incredibly incompetent manner to the vast majority of people and is constantly catering to the shallowest hype that will keep people distracted even if they don't fully trust it.
By the time such a hypothesis could be considered viable it would have to explain a lot of problems that would come up in the debate and the theory would only get bigger, probably much bigger and it might even involve other unsolved mysteries, including the incompetent method that the Edward Snowden disclosures was covered without even mentioning the fact that ECHELON was disclosed long before Prism and it had all the same characteristics as I explained in Is “Prism” news? or is it ECHELON? In that post I raised doubts about the claim that the claim that NSA's Prism program began after 9/11/2001 since ECHELON was reported months earlier in 60 minutes and years earlier by other sources, and even wen so far as to speculate about the possibility that some of our rapidly developing technology might have been partially a result of "reverse engineering;" as suggested by Philip Corso. Appropriate use of Occam's Razor might indicate that this hypothesis is highly unlikely; however without reviewing the details or considering the other related unsolved mysteries it would be inappropriate to completely rule it out as many pseudo-skeptics often do.
As much as I try to be as rational as I can, with what I have to work with, when the material the government and the traditional media gives us becomes so absurd that it is hard to believe the only thing that seems rational is to think all the different stories through carefully and fact checking them before coming to final conclusions and that probably isn't going to happen too quickly. The following are some articles that might be related although they might do more to confuse the issue, temporarily than to solve it.
Rachel Maddow: Fox News’ Lt. General Thomas McInerney Comes Out As A ‘Birther’
Ret USAF General Warns of Possible 9/11/14 Coming
Evidence exposing who put ISIS in power, and how it was done.
Reddit: Foley video with Briton was staged, experts say
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi: Foley video with Briton was staged, experts say
ISIS to the Rescue: Amid NATO's failures in Ukraine, America's terrorist mercenaries threaten war with Russia
British Newspaper: Experts Agree Foley Beheading Video Was Staged After Internet Sleuths Expose