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News Is outrage alive today?

  1. Aug 2, 2012 #1


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    I am watching a pbs special on daniel ellsberg who exposed the pentagon papers in the 1960's that revealed the fact that 5 straight presidents, truman, eisenhower, kennedy, johnson, and nixon, had all lied to the public about our involvement in the war in vietnam, and even supported dictators in blocking elections required by the geneva accords, and supported torture. this traumatized young americans in those days. it changed my life. we were not even aware then that nixon and ehrlichmann had authorized burglarizing ellsberg's psychiatrist trying to discredit him somehow. (this is substantiated by signed documents displayed and tapes played on the tv show. oh yes, and ehrlichmann added to his notes that he required hiding his approval from disclosure.)

    my feeling is that today people assume their leaders lie to them and would not even give a flip. what do you younger people say? In the 1960's, the government sought a sentence for ellsberg of 115 years in prison, but the supreme court dismissed the government's assertion that the publication of these papers was prohibited. what do you think todays supreme court would do?
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2012 #2


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    my apologies for bomb throwing. bless you all.
  4. Aug 4, 2012 #3


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    mathwonk, you’ve raised some important issues about how our government (and five Presidents) lied about the Vietnam War and about how Daniel Ellsberg, the “whistle-blower” was illegally persecuted. I know you’ve asked for younger people’s opinion, but this “oldster” just can’t resist!

    “In the 1960s, Ellsberg was a high-level Pentagon official. He was a former Marine commander who believed the American government was the good guy. But while working for the administration of Lyndon Johnson, Ellsberg got access to a top-secret document that revealed senior American leaders, including several presidents, knew that the Vietnam War was an unwinnable, tragic quagmire.
    The Pentagon Papers, as they became known, also showed that the government had lied to Congress and the public about the progress of the war. Ellsberg leaked all 7,000 pages to The New York Times, which published them in 1971.”
    http://articles.cnn.com/2011-03-19/us/wikileaks.ellsberg.manning_1_daniel-ellsberg-pentagon-papers-young-man?_s=PM:US [Broken]

    “Although Ellsberg emerged unscathed from President Nixon’s threats to throw him in prison for releasing the Pentagon Papers and one could only speculate the result of Manning’s fate, policy-makers have been forced to question the boundaries of free speech and how to balance that freedom with the need to protect sensitive government information and U.S. national security.”
    http://nationalsecuritylawbrief.com/2012/01/08/bradley-manning-and-daniel-ellsberg-heroic-or-traitorous-leakers/ [Broken]

    How can we know when our government or President is lying to us, such as in the Wars against Vietnam and Iraq?
    Should the Espionage Act of 1917 be revised? This federal statute states it is a criminal offense for anyone with unauthorized possession to willfully release and communicate information relating to the national defense that could cause damage to the United States.
    If Manning did leak all those documents to Wikileaks, could he be prosecuted under the Act? IMO, no, because the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Manning had a specific criminal intent to injure the United States and that he acted in bad faith.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Aug 4, 2012 #4

    I know that our leaders lie to us, and I happen to give a major "flip." Under similar circumstances, I'm sure that SCOTUS would now rule in favor of government secrecy, and against our right to expose it.

    You mentioned that young Americans in the 1960s were shocked by our government's attempt to cover-up lies. That's because young Americans in that period had their finger on the pulse of American politics. But young Americans today sit in front of the television for hours, warp their minds with video games and ipods, and once in awhile catch a glimpse of a mainstream media news article online, and accept it as gospel. Young (and old) Americans have the wool pulled over their eyes: they have no idea what kind of government they have, and no idea what their rights are.

    So to answer your original question: Yes, outrage is alive, but it's scarce.
  6. Aug 4, 2012 #5
    As a certifiable "youngster," I would have to agree with you. I know of two other classmates in my grade who are politically-involved, and get their news from unbiased sources. Outrage is far more noticeable and powerful when it has numbers. Outrage is most certainly alive today, but only to a much lesser extent than in the past.

    I also can't help but shake the idea that we are almost used to lying politicians at this point.
  7. Aug 4, 2012 #6
    Almost an example of that was Operation Northwoods; had not JFK cancelled it.

    But if this is one example that happened to drop out of secrecy, how about other possible false flag operations?

    See also this post.
  8. Aug 4, 2012 #7


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    Maybe the best way to see outrage in young people today is to rig a favorite video game so that you can't get beyond noob level :rolleyes:.
  9. Aug 4, 2012 #8
    Actually I completely disagree with it being scarce. I'm not sure if I count as a "youngster" or not anymore (I'm not as young as I used to be), but everything these days is inundated with politics. It actually kind of sickens me and I closely watch politics as a hobby (or whatever you want to call it).

    Even in video games. I reluctantly admit that I play an MMO, and in the general chat (live chat box), it is rare for the conversation of politics to not come up every few hours. I'm not joking at all, in a video game that has nothing to do with politics, said politics is probably the most talked about subject (other then the game).
  10. Aug 5, 2012 #9


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    I don't think people are as clueless as you think.

    People are becoming aware of more and more thanks for inventions like the internet and all of its related technologies.

    Sure you have lots of people, all for their own reasons who don't care what's going on outside their own personal world: some people don't just care, some people are jam-packed for time worrying about putting a roof over their head, feeding their kids, getting them to school and some are worried just to get through the week let alone to worry about anything else.

    But having said this, people are becoming more aware of things and are changing their own personal habits as a result: not all people, just some.

    Personally the way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if these constant video gamers you are talking about have to go through a world of hardship soon enough like those in the depression era had to when the SHTF.

    We are seeing this in places like Greece, Spain, and many other countries and the music is starting to stop and has stopped in many places already.

    You have to remember that a lot of people are born into a state of relatively high wealth and standard of living, so these people have never had to worry about getting access to clean water, energy, food, education, and so on but when these people experience the kinds of stuff that some of these countries have to go through, then things will change.

    As the saying goes: "People don't change until the hit the precipice of destruction and only then choose to change" (I am paraphrasing this quote from the movie "The Day The Earth Stood Still") and the quote is right.

    You can not value what is not scarce, or at least "thought" not to be scarce.
  11. Aug 6, 2012 #10


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    At this point in my life, I'm not troubled by the honesty of politicians; instead, I'm troubled about how everyone believes his or her candidate is the honest one.
  12. Aug 12, 2012 #11


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    The outrage among American citizens is barely audible when our government is found to have lied, created misleading propaganda, and committed immoral (“false flag”, for example) activities abroad. There are at least four possibilities: our citizens either
    a.) accept the propaganda promulgated by our media as the truth, or
    b.) suspect they are being lied to and don’t care, or
    c.) suspect government dishonesty but feel helpless to do anything about it, or
    d.) totally ignore our government’s actions outside the US because they are too busy being “entertained”.

    Political force in the USA is wielded by powerful economic interests. Two examples are the Pentagon and the large defense contractors, together known as the “military-industrial complex. Our nation’s defense spending is larger than any other nation on earth and represents a massive economic and strategic world power. These groups have a strong interest in keeping the war machine functioning and together form a powerful force, extending their influence into our legislature. Together they have insured that military production has been spread among nearly every Congressional district so that most Congresspersons, even if they are against increasing armaments, are reluctant to challenge defense work in their home districts.

    The infamous Military-Industrial Complex, with the cooperation of some mass media interests, will stop at nothing in their efforts to sway public opinion to be more sympathetic with their murderous goals. One typical method is to try to instill fear in the population by exaggerating some threat to our homeland. In the sixties it was the “Domino Effect”: the threat that a communist victory in one country would lead to many more countries to topple from the feared “communism”. Saddam Hussein’s WMDs in Iraq is a recent example: in the twelve months leading up to the invasion the Bush administration raised the threat of WMDs hundreds of times in public statements and speeches. The staggering resources we spend on the production of armaments to increase our military’s strength, to support a world-wide empire of bases, hugely expensive fighter aircraft, and maintain a massive Naval Fleet has not increased our national security. These activities have only increased criticisms that the USA wants hegemony and intends to create a global empire for its corporate and military interests, and not for the self-defense of our nation. The process of global expansion continues today using the catchphrase “in our strategic interest”.
  13. Aug 12, 2012 #12
    Not an expert on it, but the U.S. government having supported dictatorships throughout the history of the Cold War doesn't bother me a whole lot, because in quite a few instances, that was about blocking communism. Democracy is often looked upon as a high ideal, and something no free nation should seek to influence or block in another nation, but it really isn't when in its pure form. If the people literally do not know what they are voting for and are thus very likely to vote in a Lenin or Mao Zedong or Fidel Castro versus a George Washington, then the democracy is really no good. It will lead to another people falling to a brutal dictator, communism further encroaching around the world, and also a system that will likely be very oppressive to certain sub-groups of people (as it isn't a liberal democracy).

    For example, the initial U.S. involvement in Vietnam involved stopping democratic elections there. But that was because the number of people in the North outnumbered the South and also the fear was that the Communist North would rig the elections anyhow. Sometimes support for a dictator was just the lesser of two evils. If you had a country that was a region of the world that strategically absolutely could not be allowed to fall to the Communists, and elections are supposed to occur, but if they occur, the people will likely vote in the communist leader (who themself will probably assume dictatorial powers, only this time he'll be allied with the Soviet Union), then do you continue to support the dictator who is friendly to the United States or allow the elections?

    I think this is a more complicated subject then some people realize. Remember, communism was a real threat at the time, and unless people wanted the United States to try building liberal democracies throughout the entire world, supporting dictators was often the only alternative option. A lot of this never would have been required had the Soviets not been trying to spread their empire and communism all over the world at the time.

    I think today if there is real hard evidence that the government lied flat-out, then there is a concern, but the thing is that usually the claims of lying seem to be political. Ask a Republican and they can point out lots of ways they think Obama is a liar that many Democrats will counter is either nonsense or nitpicking. And the same with Bush. A lot of people will say Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq, but others can argue that greatly. The last incidence where a politician got caught really lying was Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky, and that was more laughable to many people then something to be outraged about.

    I wouldn't go so far as to claim that the MIC has murderous goals. Not saying they are a bunch of saints either though.

    Two things:

    1) How do you know the Domino Effect wasn't real? The U.S. fought a sustained war in Vietnam at the time which may have prevented the Domino Effect from occuring.

    2) Why do you put "communism" into quotes? Communism was a real system and one that constituted a major threat the free world at the time.

    The administration did, but I don't know if that constitues the MIC.

    The massive military spending is because the United States is the nation that underwrites global trade and security and I would say it very much contributes to our national security. The claims about hegemony are baseless and mostly rhetoric. If the U.S. truly wanted hegemony, we were in a perfect position to acquire it at the end of World War II. Instead, we poured lots of funds into helping the European nations rebuild themselves and also protected them from the Soviets. In Iraq, so many called the invasion "imperialism" for the oil and so forth, yet there was nothing imperialist about it. The U.S. didn't set up any kind of colonial government to govern the place for itself and give itself sole access to the oil there (to the contrary, Iraq has been auctioning off its oil to non-U.S companies). A major benefit of the U.S. military is that it is able to send relief to areas of the world that have suffered disaster as well.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2012
  14. Aug 12, 2012 #13
    Duplicate mistake
  15. Aug 16, 2012 #14
    What was done about the Bush administration and Bush himself lying about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction? That's my answer...
  16. Aug 17, 2012 #15


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    What do you think of this direct quote from Bush:
    "Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."​

  17. Aug 17, 2012 #16
    Yes, I assume that deception and lies are a fundamental part of politics, and I assume that pretty much all politicians lie to the public to some degree or another.

    I also assume it is routine for the U.S. to make up excuses or falsify justification to go to war so that we can further our own political interests, and that an elite few profit greatly from war at the expense of thousands or millions of human lives.

    Do I care? Sure, but as long as almost no one else does what am I supposed to do about it? People are much more comfortable just saluting the flag and chanting USA!
  18. Aug 17, 2012 #17
    Furthering my points made earlier, any idea how it feels to have made a career of saluting flags and chanting, only to discover the abject manipulation later? :frown::frown::frown:

    Anyway, just count fallacies and war talk in the election war campaign and vote for the one that uses the least.
  19. Aug 18, 2012 #18
    I think reaction to such shocking event(I can't tell how much shocking it was, I don't know much about it) would be very much the same. Situation now is different in that respect, when politician today lies, he has always comfortable plausible deniability. Such as "lower taxes for the rich benefits the poor" lie, that Romney is currently spreading. He can always point to number of superficial but plausible reasons in support, so noone can say "you are lying, you say this not because of poor people but because of your election".

    So I'd say problem today is, among others, conservative systems of thought, rather than lying politicians.

    And as for what young people think: I'm 23 and I'm extensively interested in politics and it's still not very clear to me how politics today works. I know 95% of politicians say these plausible lies to get elected and practice "legal corruption", but I know next wave of politicians would behave very similarly(look at Obama). So unless current politicians do something entirely outrageous, I don't think there will be huge demonstrations.
  20. Aug 18, 2012 #19


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    Outrage is alive today, but the outrage isn't appropriately focused. For instance, everyone jumped on the PIPA/SOPA proposals but not many people where fighting the patriot act or the so-called "protect america act" or any of the other hundreds of privacy and rights violations packaged as protection acts. While I completely agree with the anti-SOPA movement, I think a lot of its momentum simply came from the actual threat to piracy itself.

    A more recent example is the outrage over Chik-Fil-A, who campaigns politically against homosexuals. What about the homosexuals being murdered across the globe? Why isn't the outrage there?

    But there's also the issue of categorical imperitave. I disagree with Kant. The ends can sometimes justify the means. There may be good reasons for government keeping particular parties in power in foreign nations, there may be utilitarian arguments for killing a few innocents to protect a larger amount of innocents. These are the kinds of decisions governments have to make, and the reason most of us won't make it into a powerful position; because most of us are too emotional about decisions that have an obvious better end when the appropriate means are applied.

    Unfortunately, this creates a veil between the public and government, allowing corrupt officials to make decision that have no public ends, only personal ends, but using the 'ends justify the means' argument to feed their private ambitions.

    And more unfortunate, if I did have outrage... I wouldn't know how to direct or focus it productively, especially in a way that ensure it's not being misused. That's what a leader is supposed to do for me. But I haven't really found a leader who I'm willing to give my outrage to for optimal utilization.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
  21. Aug 19, 2012 #20
    That's one thing I really hate about american politics. Even for the most sh1tty law the lawmakers can come up with noble name, and suddenly half of electorate is ok with it.

    It can be other way though. Here in Czech Rep there are no law names as far as I know, only numbers, such as "302/2004 Sb." Congress should pass "Less manipulation of America act" that would make such change.
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