This is Week 1 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and how to use them to better understand the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.
It will take several posts to explain why I nominate Ion Mihai Pacepa’s and Professor Ronald Rychlak’s Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Attacking Religion, Undermining Freedom, and Promoting Terrorism as a substantial book for the fight to win the cultural and political battles of the coming decades. It’s a manual for learning how to recognize Soviet Disinformation in both history and today’s media. I enthusiastically agree with former CIA director R. James Woolsey’s introduction:
This remarkable book will change the way you look at intelligence, foreign affairs, the press, and much else besides. Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking defector we have ever had from a hostile intelligence service. As chief of Romanian intelligence he was for many years in the key meetings with heads of state and a participant in some of the most sensitive discussions by our enemies during the Cold War.
The insights of the book can provide key corrections to the previous generation’s conservatism, and have some major implications for what I described earlier this wee as Conservatism 3.0–the movement’s evolution over the next 20 years to both defeat our Jihadist enemies and undo FDR’s New Deal Nightmare.
I think conservatives of the previous decades fighting the Cold War misdiagnosed the nature of the Soviet Union. Pacepa and Rychlak convincingly argue that with the death of Stalin and the rise of Khruschev Marxism was no longer really what animated the USSR’s leaders. Khruschev was not an intellectual or a Marxist true believer. He was a thug who only really cared about his own power. The USSR was communist, but more important it was criminal and committed to global mayhem on a mass scale. And the actor and driver of these crimes was the KGB.
Pacepa and Rychlak argue that Soviet crime was concealed through massively financed disinformation campaigns to transform the image of both great men like Pope Pius XII — described by Winston Churchill in 1944 as “the greatest man of our time”– and evil men like the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Disinformation was primarily image-based and targeted at those who are the least educated and literate — antisemitic cartoons depicting images of Jewish conspirators was a favorite technique in the Middle East, as it remains today. This picture-based worldview opposes what the Jewish tradition teaches, Western Civilization’s method for sorting truth from falsehood, good from evil. Among the foundational stories of the Torah is Jacob wrestling with the angel, afterwards earning the name Israel.
This archetype of man trying to reach upward, continually challenging himself, doubting, and questioning doesn’t just apply to God. As media theorist Douglas Rushkoff demonstrates in Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism It becomes an all-encompassing approach to life. In the study and endless debate of the Torah — the beginning of book-based religion — the children of Israel learn how to wrestle with a world dead set against their continued existence. In Rabbi Joseph P. Soloveitchik’s The Lonely Man of Faith this shifting between ideas is explained further as deriving from the fact that there are two creation narratives at the beginning of Genesis, each positioning man in a different kind of relationship to God. Soloveitchik argues that it’s in understanding and shifting between these two orientations that man transforms in according with God’s plan.
Thus KGB disinformation has limited utility for the non-image based, the book people who know how to dig deeper than the surface to find Truth. Those who only see the KGB-developed propaganda play The Deputy may come to believe Pope Pius was a pro-Nazi antisemite who ignored the Holocaust. And those inundated with images of dictators as sophisticated and cultured may buy into them. They don’t know how to read! Well, maybe these images will help.
Getting the naive Jimmy Carter to believe Nicolae Ceausescu was anything other than a criminal was a successful disinformation campaign.
Yasser Arafat was trained by the Soviet Union and he too was given an extensive Soviet disinformation campaign.
KGB criminal Vladimir Putin was able to deceive George W. Bush into trusting him and praising him using an anecdote about a cross. Bush still doesn’t even realize he was duped.
Establishment Republicans really aren’t that much better…
There’s a reason why KGB head Yuri Andropov called his enemies “American Zionists.” We are book-based, word-based, law-based and thus an individual-empowering people — or at least we once were…
This understanding of antisemitic, image-worshipping criminals Vs a Bible-based, literate people is more accurate and bigger than the proxy ideological wars that so many people have dedicated their lives to perpetuating for fun, glory, and profit. Left vs Right, Liberals vs Conservatives, Democrats vs Republicans, Secular radicals vs Fundamentalist believer radicals — these baby boomer-dominated paradigms are oblivious to how the KGB has been a behind-the-scenes arsonist the whole time pouring gasoline to stoke hate all over the world. The Soviets didn’t need to defeat us militarily, they duped us into fighting each other. And our real enemies maintained power. The Soviet Union is no more but what difference does it make when KGB thug-billionaire Vladimir Putin is running a state that still murders and oppresses? (Yes, something Pacepa highlights that many people don’t know: Putin is the wealthiest man in Europe — he’s got $40 billion dollars. Is he the wealthiest murderer in the world?)
As I write more about Pacepa and Rychlak’s book (and its accompanying documentary) there will be more revelations realigning thinking so we can win the wars for America 3.0. And for more titles next in line for this series check out my shelves of recommendations at the new Freedom Academy Book Club.
PJ Media Story Round Up, Wednesday-Friday
Lead PJM Stories
As a business, newspapers do one thing: they sell advertising. All the content in the newspaper that isn’t advertising is just there because, the company hopes, it will attract people who will then see the advertising. All of the journalism-school preening about how Journalism Is A Profession is a self-important fantasy. So if we want to understand what’s happening to newspapers, it’s the advertising business we want to understand.
The tradeoff for newspapers, though, was that it actually cost a lot of money to print each paper — both a big fixed cost for the presses, and a pretty significant cost. Working very roughly from the New York Times 10K statement , we see they print on average a little more than a million copies a day, so 365 million copies a year at a total operating cost of about $2.1 billion. Which is about $5.75 a copy. The newsstand price is $2; per copy subscription price is much less. They need to bring in around $4 per copy per day in advertising if they hope to break even.
Of course, the Times has a lot of pages; according to a recent rate card, advertising in the “regional general” sections of the paper costs around $35,000 for a full page at the basic rate. With a million copies going out per day, that’s around 3.5 cents per copy for a full page ad. (Of course, there’s a discount for a big ad.)
And now we run into the traditional problem of advertising: as the saying goes, 90 percent of advertising is wasted. If you’re lucky, one person in ten sees your ad. Of those, only a few will respond to it, and of those only a few will actually buy something.
In junior high, high school and college I wrote and edited school newspapers. The blogosphere arrived as serious player when I was in college and with it internet comments and online debates. I recall suggesting the then-radical notion for the op/ed page columnists — of which I was among — start posting links to their sources in the online versions of their columns.
That’s one of the big transformations over print too — online if something in a story smells fishy you can check the links cited and quickly google to see if someone has already fisked the piece.
After graduating I wrote a few — very boring – freelance pieces for the Indianapolis Star but other than that it’s been all new media for 7 years.
What would have been a winning strategy?
Well, here’s just one. Instead of voting not to fund ObamaCare or filibustering till the cows come home and closing everything down, don’t vote at all. Let the Democrats do all the new budget voting — CR, debt limit, etc. — in the House and the Senate.
Like the Barack Obama of old, the Republicans should just vote “present” — or simply not at all.
Let the Democrats own it all. Let them be entirely responsible for what happens between now and the 2014 election — ObamaCare, entitlements, deficit, the whole nine yards. The Republicans didn’t obstruct anything, didn’t close anything down or cost any government workers any jobs. They just didn’t approve it.
Trust me — the public will notice. And the Democrats, quite a number of them anyway, will be scared out of their wits.
Absolutely horrific. This should make every decent person very angry. Disagree with a man’s politics? After he’s dead sue his wife and try and sabotage his children’s lives and their future education.
Egypt is a long way from anything resembling a real democracy, a culture rooted in liberty, equality, and a respect for minority rights. But those currently governing Egypt have figured out that you cannot have both a real democracy and the Muslim Brotherhood. Would that those governing the United States could figure that out.
PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page
1. When Phillips tries to suss out the motives behind the pirate attack, his captors tell him that it’s people like Phillips who forced them into armed robbery and extortion on the high seas.
One pirate explains that big commercial fishing operations have drained the seas near Somalia of all the fish, which frames the story as a kind of watery Occupy Wall Street. Should we be rooting for the pirates then? No. As Phillips explains, the ship is carrying, in addition to its commercial cargo, tons of aid for Africa.
The movie is just about perfect without this bit of Third World grandstanding, which appears to have been thrown in so thatCaptain Phillips can be positioned as not just a rousing yarn but as an Oscar-bait story of globalization’s unintended victims.
Here’s the Truth courtesy of Robert Spencer:
But while we praise their skill, let’s not lose sight of who Phillips’ captors were. His Somali pirate captors are Islamic jihadists, dedicated to the same goals as Osama bin Laden and other jihadists around the world.
In August 2008, when the pirates became especially active off the Horn of Africa, Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, declared that Al-Shabaab, a group of jihadists in Somalia, use piracy to fund their jihad: “According to our information, the money they make from piracy and ransoms goes to support al-Shabaab activities onshore.”
With ransoms for ships each bringing in at least $10,000 and some in multiple millions of dollars, and the pirates seizing ships at a furious rate (taking four in one forty-eight hour period last summer), piracy is a lucrative source of funding for the jihad. Journalist Stephen Brown noted in November 2008 that “security experts fear the ransom money the pirates are receiving will allow them to buy better equipment and weapons for larger operations.” And with astounding short-sightedness, European governments — with the notable exception of the French last week — have been paying these ransoms. In that light, the American refusal to do so, and the rescue of Phillips, is a welcome step in the right direction.
New at PJ Lifestyle
Being an apostate – someone who leaves a religion, ideology, political party, etc. – is rarely easy. You can lose friends and family, often a job. But for those who abjure Islam the problems are on a whole other level. You can lose your life. That is why Islamic apostates are some of the most courageous people on Earth.
One of the bravest of the brave whom I have met is a man who goes under the name “Ibn Warraq.” He is the author of Why I Am Not a Muslim, first published in 1995, that demonstrates how Islam is incompatible with “individual rights and liberties of a liberal, democratic, secular state.”
Warraq has just published a new book Sir Walter Scott’s Crusades and Other Fantasies, largely a collection of Internet essays previously published on Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch and other sites. I highly recommend it. But be warned: Warraq is a true intellectual. These essays are serious and detailed, not the breezy stuff you’re used to reading online.
Coming to understand the Crusades better has been one of my preoccupations of late. I’ll be reading this one — and Warraq is a Counter-Jihad activist/writer/intellectual who I need to get caught up on.
This is the first in a series of pieces from Bob Jones, a man who’s been the hardware business for almost a decade and who I can report first hand is indeed very handy around the house (we were roommates for a year after college.)
New at PJ Tatler
From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston
Nevertheless, we do have government workers heavily sampled, by more than twice the actual percentage of Americans who work for the government. Then let’s factor in the poll’s partisan sample, which was 43-32 Democrat, the percent that admits voting for Obama, which was 44 versus just 35 for Romney, and this looks like a left-heavy sample.
If you’re of a mind that the president wants this shutdown, and has engineered this shutdown, to achieve the goal of killing the GOP ahead of the mid-terms to win himself total power for his last two years in office, that poll suggests strongly that he is winning. It also suggests that he feels no pressure now to make any deal at all, other than one that grants him the equivalent of full and unconditional surrender. It puts megatons of pressure on the Republicans to find some way out of the current fight so they can regroup and start another fight on more favorable ground. Ahead of today’s meeting, Obama’s position was that he would only negotiate once he’d gotten what he wanted. That position doesn’t seem to have changed after the meeting. Obama “didn’t say yes, and didn’t say no” to GOP proposals to end the standoff. He may be just letting them twist to see if another poll confirms the NBC/WSJ. If that doesn’t happen he’ll be back at the table to not negotiate while he actually caves; if that doesn’t happen, well, let’s all hold hands and sing while the default deadline comes and goes.
The dynamics of all this are disturbing for the long-term health of the nation. All the dust from this exasperating cycle of name-calling obscures a hard truth: Obama and the Democrats were elected by their voters to do certain things, and Ted Cruz, Mike Lee et all were elected by their voters to do the exact opposite things. I stand on the Cruz side of things. Obamacare is a job-killing menace, but beyond that, it forces the blue state worldview down the throats of us red-staters who voted Cruz in to stop him. We repeatedly vote against that world view where I live. But that doesn’t seem to mean a whole lot. Democrats live to impose themselves on others, all in the name of fairness! and justice! and brotherly love! and all that crap they don’t really believe in. If they did, they would just leave people who disagree with them alone, rather than aiming the IRS and the NPS et al at us to force us to do what they want.
From PJM’s Washington D.C. Editor Bridget Johnson
“When we were debating the healthcare bill three and a half years ago here, I had stood up and helped to demand, and we got in the House originally, the Stupak Amendment. The language we have on abortion clearly is very different from what the Stupak Amendment said. And today we see that not only do we have the funding of abortion, but we really want to focus on, especially today, is the lack of transparency,” he said at a press conference.
“One of the biggest issues I remember in the whole healthcare debate was Americans deserve to have a clear, transparent understanding of what insurance companies are providing for them in their healthcare plans. That was one of the biggest priorities all along in talking about healthcare reform, health insurance reform. But we wound up with Obamacare.”
15 Interesting Stories Around the Web This Week
At News Aggregators:
While she is most noted for skewering liberals in her weekly columns and nine previous New York Times best sellers, “Never Trust” puts her on a path for a head-on collision with the establishment Republican Party and even a favored 2016 presidential candidate as she urges the GOP to purge itself of failed tactics, lazy consultants, and gripless potential candidates.
The fashionable pundit pummels the party for wooing untested politicians for president. “Why are any congressmen or businessmen showing up in our presidential primaries? They are never going to get the nomination,” she says.
The solution is a governor, just like four of the last six presidents. “I don’t care if it makes you feel good, conservatives: Do not ever, ever considering running a presidential candidate who has not been a senator or preferably a governor. No, not even our beloved Ben Carson. What are we concentrating on? That’s right: winning.”
“Without Obama on the ticket, it won’t be magic again. The only people fainting at Hillary’s speeches will be chubby gals from NOW,” writes Coulter.
Great. An anti-white racist and an anti-American antisemite want to tell the story of the civil rights hero whose legacy today they both work hard to destroy.
Is this the first caffeine overdose death ever?
I also saw this at the Daily Mail today:
This seems to be such a common story. One of my high school math teachers — a charismatic, friendly man in his late ’20s or early ’30s — shot himself the summer before my senior year for the same reason.
‘There are two kinds of people in the world; ones that brighten the room when they walk in and those that don’t,’ he said.
‘He was one that brightened the room when he walked in. That’s what I’ll always remember about Christian.’
His mother, Angela, thanked her son’s friends and said they could learn from his life, AL.com reported.
‘Remember to smile, don’t be afraid to do something goofy and remember the consequences of those actions, ask for help when you need it, ask for help if you think your friends need it if you don’t know what to do, be quirky, be happy, be smart,’ she said.
I’ve always enjoyed the revolutionary anarchist cult film Fight Club — even though I now recognize its ideology as destructive and a call to counter-Enlightenment primitivism. But I really do wonder how many people’s lives have been irreparably harmed or even lost in imitation of it.
I just saw a piece by Victor Davis Hanson that he published on his website. He normally writes at National Review Online, and maybe it’ll get posted there, probably so. But he makes the point that it’s Obama who’s looking incoherent, it’s Obama who’s looking small, it’s Obama who’s looking petty. And his point is that Obama will make a deal, sooner rather than later, if you just keep the pressure on. We’re in the process.
People would say I’m abandoning my post here at reality if I were to say something like we are winning. Maybe that’s not the case. But we’re at a place where we haven’t been in five years. We’re winning the public perception on Obamacare, but that’s not even a public perception battle. That’s reality. People are signing up and they’re finding it’s a disaster. People are finding out that none of what they were told about it is true. It isn’t cheaper. It isn’t easier. It isn’t anything that they were told.
The 26-year-old college student at the University of Michigan wrote she has been raped by this law. Twenty-six, and she found out she’s now not covered by her parents policy. It’s gonna take every disposable dollar she earns to pay for this. Every disposable dollar. That means… Well, what does that mean? That means no streaming video from iTunes or whatever disposable income is spent on these days by 26-year-olds. She made it clear.
She’s got two degrees, and she can’t get a job that’s longer than 32 hours a week because of Obamacare. The jobs that she has pay $8 to $10 an hour because of Obamacare. She’s got two degrees. She’s working in a gymnasium. Now, I don’t want to extrapolate and say this is happening all over the place, but it doesn’t have to be happening all over. It is going to at some point, as people sign up. In Hawaii, they had to shut down and reset.
Nobody signed up.
Nobody could figure out how to do it.
In California, they’re talking greatly about signing up 16,000 people. “Whoa, what a success rate: 16,000 people,” or some such thing. This economy is in the tank. It’s an absolute joke. There is no growth taking place. There’s nothing that’s anywhere reminiscent of a growing economy where careers are being created and opportunity is abundant. It isn’t. That’s reality. People are living it. They know it. They don’t have to be persuaded of any of that.
Left of Center News and Opinion Sources:
At the Atlantic:
The wife and I had an annual pass for Universal Studios Hollywood for a year. This sounds like a less advanced version of the 3-D King Kong experience on the Studio Tour — which never gets boring doing again.
At The Nation:
Oh what a surprise, the Marxists at the Nation, a publication that supported the Soviet Union for its entire existence, stand in support of Obama…
Right of Center News and Opinion Sources:
A longtime Democratic operative, Karen Finney, explained the Democrats’ intransigence on MSNBC to a delighted Joan Walsh (aka the most easily fooled person on TV) by comparing House Republicans to a teenager trying to borrow his mother’s car. “No, I’m not negotiating!” Mother says. “It’s MY CAR!”
This wasn’t a stupid slip of the tongue that other Democrats quickly rejected. Finney had used the exact same metaphor to a panel of highly agreeable MSNBC guests the day before. (MSNBC books no other kind of guest.)
The left thinks the government is their car and the people’s representatives are obstreperous teenagers trying to borrow the government. Which belongs to Democrats.
That’s not how the Constitution views the House of Representatives. To the contrary, the House is considered most reflective of the people’s will because its members are elected every two years.
As a matter of fact, the Republicans who mistakenly assume they have something to do with running the government represent most of the people who pay taxes to run it. So it’s more like a teenager who is making the car payments, maintaining the car insurance and taking responsibility for registering the car being told: “It’s not your car.”
At Truth Revolt:
I remember very clearly the day I was first accused of being involved in the kidnaping and rape of Tawana Brawley. I was preparing to attend a Christening on a Sunday when my phone rang. I picked up the phone, and the person asked if I was Steve Pagones; it was a media member inquiring about team Brawley’s allegations about me. I didn’t know what he was talking about. Then he dropped the bombshell: the Brawley team had said I was responsible for raping Brawley. I stammered, disbelieving, “That’s absurd. There’s not a shred of truth to it.” For the next 24 hours, my phone didn’t stop ringing. I was on the front page of every major newspaper in the state, and many across the country. It was simply unbelievable that the allegations had been made – and that the Brawley team made them without any evidence or support whatsoever. As soon as his charges hit the media, I had to hire around-the-clock security. I received death threats on the phone, in the mail. I had to hire armed guards for my family, for my property. My whole life was turned upside down.
Worse, because of the atmosphere and the race-baiting going on, I had to prove my innocence, as opposed to anyone having to prove my guilt. It was draining, emotionally and physically. Eventually, a grand jury found not only that I hadn’t had anything to do with whatever happened to Brawley, but that the entire story was a hoax.
I don’t think very highly of MSNBC to begin with. But in spite of that, I was dumbfounded over their decision to hire Sharpton. Look at his history, his rhetoric, the damage to race relations that he caused — not only in my case but in other matters he was responsible for escalating – and now they’ve given him a platform anyway, a platform from which he can push his hatred. It may be disguised hatred, but it’s hatred nonetheless. I can’t help but question the philosophy and honesty of any network or advertiser that can give him access to such a huge audience.
At Fox News:
President Obama’s rhetoric is finally coming closer to what appears to be his psychological truth: Because America victimized him and countless millions of others, any person or party or movement that opposes his views and does not yield to him is not just his adversary, but abusive, predatory and even threatening.
Again and again, President Obama has described members of Congress who insist on fiscal responsibility as having taken “hostages,” “demanding a ransom,” using “extortion,” and threatening to “blow up” the government.
On Tuesday, in fact, the president used these exact words when speaking to the press, “What you haven’t seen before, I think from the vantage point of a lot of world leaders, is the notion that one party in Congress might blow the whole thing up if they don’t get their way,” he said. Later he added, “you do not hold peoplehostage or engage in ransom taking to get 100 percent of your way.”
It is exceedingly difficult to come to terms with a person who sees you as his oppressor, his kidnapper, and someone terrorizing him who might well destroy him. You aren’t likely to consider whether your assailant and jailer and would-be killer has a few good ideas, after all.
As a young boy, Obama was, indeed, helpless.
He was helpless to stop his father from abandoning him.
He was helpless to stop his mother from leaving him with his grandparents.
He was helpless to stop his white grandmother and caretaker from communicating to him her fears of black people.
I’m not sure the president ever got over it.
The president’s victim mentality could contribute to dissolving the will of countless Americans who might otherwise see themselves as capable of summoning internal resolve and creativity to surge out of poverty.
An excellent analysis.
Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!
15 of My Favorite Writers And Most Important Intellectual Influences:
On Foreign Policy:
- Monday, August 5: ‘War, and Preparation for War, Are the Normal Conditions of Mankind, While Peace Is Extremely Rare.’ – Michael Ledeen
- Tuesday, August 6 on Andrew C. McCarthy: Muslim Brotherhood Operatives Have Infiltrated America’s Political and Cultural Institutions to Conquer Us from Within
- Wednesday, August 7 on Barry Rubin: First We Define Anti-Americanism, Then We Crush It Again Even Harder
- Thursday, August 8 on Claudia Rosett: The United Nations is a Corrupt Failure That Does Not Unite Nations
- Friday, August 9 on David P. Goldman: No to Corporate Neoconservatism, No to Paleo-Libertarian Anarchism, Yes to Augustinian Realism
- Tuesday, August 13 on Victor Davis Hanson: The Price We Pay for Our Ignorance of Military History Is Dead Americans
More authors and books coming soon as the 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading series continues…