Monday, August 16, 2010

Hand Job Alert - Distraction Tactics

Something landed in my inbox this morning that warrants making an example of.  It's an article from the Wall Street Journal, WSJ, written by a Brett Arends.  Don't know him, never heard of him before, don't read the Wall Street Journal.  It was an interesting read though, quite fast paced and stuffed to the gills with scary "data" that kept the reader riveted.  The title of the article is,  "Is a Crash Coming? Ten Reasons to Be Cautious".

I guess professional writers have to earn their pay like everyone else, and there's little doubt that the most popular pastime of today is fear mongering and hystericizing how bad it all is; so what's a writer to do but go with the flow and keep that paycheck a'coming?  Right-O.

The above mentioned article has ten numbered short paragraphs plus a brief intro saying all the right things.  It begins:

"Could Wall Street be about to crash again?
This week's bone-rattlers may be making you wonder.
I don't make predictions. That's a sucker's game. And I'm certainly not doing so now.  But way too many people are way too complacent this summer. Here are 10 reasons to watch out".

Okay fine, we're supposed to perceive the writer as savvy, sober, sane and honest and not prone to push anything that ain't so.   Well, we shall see.

Each of the ten paragraphs is on a different subject but each of them shares something in common.  They all have a feel and tone that escalates an explicit bottom line message.  That message is that things are much worse than we're being told; that everything is even shakier and more horrifying than we know; and most of all that any minute it's all going to blow up and bring on horrible terrible times and suffering and panic in the streets and chaos and all that fun stuff.  So don't wait;  worry, fear and panic now to stay ahead of the crowd.

I'm hardly a proponent of this government.  I know that it lies like a dog and I know things are foul.  But I also know that we don't know dick about what's really going on.  I know that everything is being orchestrated to the letter by very powerful individuals and that nothing happens or is allowed to happen unless they want it to.  I've learned that everything we're told is more or less bullshit and that the real reasons for things that happen are never given to us. We are literally in the dark.  Go ahead and prove me wrong.  We have to take "their" word for everything unless we can get up and go check it ourselves and for most of us, we can't do that.  Which is why it is very important to be careful who you listen to and even more important to use your head to do a whole lot of critical thinking because so much of what gets past us simply does not pass the sniff test, if only you do a little sniffing.  Could it be that there is no financial crisis at all except for the one they're making up in the media and shoving down our throats in order to supply cover for all the egregious thieving and robbing being done under the watchful protective eye of our dear Unca Sam?  Who knows. Could be. But this article is a perfect masterpiece of fear 'n panic pushing bull doody, right down to the black and white photo from the day of the 1929 crash.

Here's what I mean.  This is paragraph 6:

"6. The jobs picture is much worse than they're telling you.  Forget the "official" unemployment rate of 9.5%.  Alternative measures? Try this: Just 61% of the adult population, age 20 or over, has any kind of job right now.  That's the lowest since the early 1980s—when many women stayed at home through choice, driving the numbers down. Among men today, it's 66.9%. Back in the '50s, incidentally, that figure was around 85%, though allowances should be made for the higher number of elderly people alive today. And many of those still working right now can only find part-time work, so just 59% of men age 20 or over currently have a full-time job. This is bullish?"

On a quick read through, one might be shocked by these numbers and one might believe they just read that we have a 39% unemployment rate.  That does seem to be what is being implied here, but that is not what was said.  What was said was that 61% of the population, age 20 or over has a job right now.  What was not said is that is pretty close to good old fashioned normal.  That's right, normal, and here's why.

People often think that having a population of 300 million means we have 300 million workers but that would be wrong.  Chop that roughly in half to guesstimate the working population.  Why?  Because there are things called children in America.  There are also people who go to school called college students; and there are retired people, disabled people, and people who don't work because they either don't have to, they don't want to, or they can't for various reasons like having family responsibilities and so forth.

Now that you know that roughly half or so of the adult population doesn't work in the first place,  does 61% strike you as shocking and horrible or does it strike you more like ballpark?

I wondered where the writer got his employment data because he didn't state his sources, so I emailed him and asked him where he got it. 

"Labor Department. I dig through the numbers."

That was his reply, in full.  Alrighty, I said to myself, I'll just go there and see what they have to say about it.  I did this with a strong idea about what I thought the numbers should be because I went through this subject more in depth a year or so ago and what I learned stuck with me. It didn't take long to locate the numbers that verified that I'm correct and that this isn't shocking or even unusual for that matter.  It's all pretty status quo.

Don't get me wrong, there are most definitely a whole lot of people out of work as corporations pull up and move offshore with American jobs leaving workers precisely squat for options.  But that picture can only be revealed if you look at the data over time, say since dear Ronald Reagan was in office.  He's the great president who opened the doors for corporations to have their way with the world and exit the country with Americas jobs and prosperity and to screw the American people as much as they like.  Bless his heart.  I'm glad he's dead now.

The thing of it is, a number like that 61%  doesn't mean squat by itself, that's what's insidious about it.   It's not until you compare data over a period of time in order to gauge  increases and decreases, spikes and drops, that you can glean anything meaningful or pertinent from all those numbers.  Just throwing out a single number like that is pretty much pointless because it doesn't tell you anything about anything.

And because that's true the best that can happen is that people will believe things that are not true or real at all.  Repeat that process over and over as the corporate media tends to do, and pretty soon you've got a nation of worked up, hopped up people blowing off steam about idiotic nonsense like Obama's birth certificate or believing that all Muslims are crazed terrorists hell bent on killing us all in our beds.  That's how it happens.  That's the simple process that  has gotten us to where we are today.  Obama is just another pez head prez and I promise you,  it's not all him doing all that's wrong with the country.  Most of that ground was well laid long before he got on the scene.  And for those who have already forgotten that george w bush was and is the most hated man in the whole wide world, then you need to do a reality check.  The bush regime used the constitution for toilet paper, it was long gone before Obama's name was even on the ballot.

But I digress.  Back to the article.

I interpret this to be a case of preying on the ignorance of the public with the aim to inflame and upset people and get them even more wound up and worried and angry than they already are.   I just don't respect that.  I think it's low and seedy and unhelpful at best and one wonders what would possess any honest decent person to imply such horse crap knowing how much damage it will do to so many people who will take to heart what they think he said because that's exactly what he was going for.   The WSJ obviously caught the News Flu, the kind that makes you lie about everything and forget about
informing people about what they need to know.  No real surprise there.

The fact of the matter is that there really are extremely serious threats coming down on us right now but the establishment media is the last place you'd hear about any of those things.  The establishment media is there to distract you from those things with other things that go nowhere and mean nothing and just get everyone's panties all in a wad.  That's their
simple formula for keeping the masses at bay and out of their hair so they can go about doing their criminal thing uninterrupted.  When will the public ever figure this out?  Hard to say.  Maybe never.

I didn't check the facts of the other nine paragraphs but excuse me for assuming they're probably filled with similar falsely implied non-specific, unsubstantiated, over generalized data with the aim of freaking people out for fun and profit.  I get to make that assumption based on my first hand checking his "facts" out and finding out there's a game being played.   You can't say he's lying, but he's not exactly giving anyone an honest picture either.  Know what I mean?

If you want to read the rest of his piece, here's the link.

Question authority.   Question everything.
Doubt whatever they're selling whenever it's being pushed hard and wide.
And that's all I have to say about that.

Carry on.