the view from the dark side: politics, media, cities & culture
Author: Daniel Margrain
I graduated in 2001 with an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Human Geography and Social Policy. I then successfully completed my masters in Globalisation, Culture and the City at Goldsmiths, London.
I am a massive fan of the musician Neil Young. My favourite book is Murder In Samarkand by Craig Murray. My favourite album is Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and my favourite film is Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso.
I have traveled widely and fell in love with Cuba and Madagascar. My other interests include politics and current affairs and social and urban theory.
The 30 minute documentary filmKilling Us Softly (1979) based on a lecture by Jean Kilbourne focuses on the effects of advertising on women’s self-image and the objectification of women’s bodies. Kilbourne argues that the superficial and unreal portrayal of women in advertising lowers their self-esteem and that sexualized images of them are being used to sell a multitude of goods.
Kilbourne goes on to posit that these images degrade women, encourage abuse, and reinforce a patriarchal and sexist society. She also makes the connection between advertising and pornography, stating that “the advertisers are America’s real pornographers”.
Over four decades since the release of ‘Killing Us Softly’, Kilbourne discussed some of the issues in her film to a new audience of young people. Significantly, she says that since the film’s initial release in 1979 “things have got worse, not better.”
It can barely get any worse than the case of 21 year old bulimia sufferer, Eloise Perry. On April 12, 2015, Ms Perry tragically died at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital one week after having swallowed eight unlicensed fat-burning pills that she purchased from the internet.
The pills, which the Food Standards Agency describe as being illegal to sell for human consumption, contained DNP which is an industrial chemical historically used in the manufacture of explosives and fungicides. Website companies who sell this chemical depict DNP as a fat burning product and some even use the tag line“getting leaner through chemistry” as a marketing tool.
The social pressures for young women (and increasingly young men) to conform to certain expectations placed upon them by the media are immense. The upshot is that young people are involved in a constant psychological battle between myth and reality. In Britain, for example, the average size of a woman is 16 but the ‘aspirational’ size is zero – an unobtainable goal.
The contradiction between reality and aspiration and the weaponization of feminism is undermining many of the gains that women made in the debates of the 1960s and 1970s. What Ariel Levi terms “raunch culture” – the sexualisation of women as sex objects – is another symptom of the undermining of these gains.
The normalization of sexist imagery in pop videos and television commercials and the sexualization of young girls clothes, is another illustration of raunch culture outlined by Levi in which fantasies, desires and ambitions are transformed into commodities to make money.
The growth in cosmetic surgery is another factor that increases expectations on women’s appearances. Ninety-one per cent of cosmetic surgery is undertaken on women of which the most popular is breast enhancement. I was astounded to learn that in the U.S it’s widely considered normal practice for girls to be given a breast enlargement as a graduation present.
It’s a fact that a growing number of girls who suffer low self-esteem perpetuated by a media system that constantly portrays an ‘ideal’ body shape is a tendency that’s less common in the developing world.
This would seem to suggest that mental illness, of which eating disorders are a reflection, is to a large extent symptomatic of the growth of the consumerist capitalist society in which human relations are objectified. In Marxist terms, objectification is the process by which human capacities are transferred to an object and embodied in it.
Young females who read fashion magazines tend to have more bulimic symptoms than those females who do not – further demonstrating the impact the media has on the likelihood of developing the disorder.
As J. Kevin Thompson and Eric Stice have shown, individuals first accept and ‘buy into’ the ideals set by fashion magazines, and then attempt to transform themselves in order to reflect the societal ideals of attractiveness.
The thin fashion model ideal is then reinforced by the wider media reflecting unrealistic female body shapes leading to high levels of discomfort among large swaths of the female population and the drive towards thinness that this implies.
Consequently, dissatisfaction, coupled with a drive for thinness, is thought to promote dieting and its negative affects, which could eventually lead to bulimic symptoms such as purging or binging. Binges lead to self-disgust which causes purging to prevent weight gain.
Thompson’s and Stice’s research highlights the extent to which the media affect what they term the “thin ideal internalization”. The researchers used randomized experiments (more specifically programmes) dedicated to teaching young women how to be more critical when it comes to media, in order to reduce thin ideal internalization. The results showed that by creating more awareness of the media’s control of the societal ideal of attractiveness, the thin ideal internalization significantly dropped.
In other words, less thin ideal images portrayed by the media resulted in less thin ideal internalization. Therefore, Thompson and Stice were able to conclude that there is a direct correlation between the media portrayal of women and how they feel about themselves.
Social media also plays a part. A 2014 two part study  looking at social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, researched influence and risk for eating disorders. In the first part of the study, 960 women completed self-report surveys regarding Facebook use and disordered eating. In the second part of the study, 84 women were randomly assigned to use Facebook or to use an alternate internet site for 20 minutes.
What the cross-sectional survey illustrates, is that more frequent Facebook use is associated with greater disordered eating. The survey indicates a close correlation between Facebook use and the maintenance of weight/shape concerns and state anxiety compared to an alternate internet activity . Other research suggests an etiological link between eating disorders and the tendency towards self-harming [now referred to as Non Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI)] .
Over 1.6 million people in the UK are estimated to be directly affected by eating disorders. However, the Department of Health estimate that the figure is more likely to be 4 million due to the huge level of unmet need in the community .
Studies suggest that as many as 8 per cent of women have bulimia at some stage in their life. The condition can occur at any age, but mainly affects women aged between 16 and 40 (on average, it starts around the age of 18 or 19). Reports estimate that up to a quarter of Britons struggling with eating disorders may be male .
1.Mabe AG, Forney KJ, Keel PK. Int J Eat Disord. 2014 Jul;47(5):516-23 Do you “like” my photo?
2.Colleen M. Jacobson and Cynthia C. Luik, Epidemiology and Sociocultural Aspects of Non-suicidal Self-Injury and Eating Disorders 2014
3. Joint Commissioning Panel For Mental Health (www.jcpmh.info/wp-content/uploads/10keymsgs-eatingdisorders.pdf)
For a very long time, I have strongIy suspected that something wasn’t quite right with the media’s Greta Thunberg narrative. Then on March, 16 I was very much taken by the recent comment on twitter by Dr Simon Goddek – @goddeketal.
Dr Goddek wrote the following:
The more I dug into @GretaThunberg's story, the more I realized that something stinks here. It's no COINCIDENCE that her first appearance was on August 20, 2018, with a sit-in protest in front of the Swedish Parliament, followed COINCIDENTALLY four days later by the release of a… https://t.co/z26lkdFi80pic.twitter.com/va0V1PdP0n
Could the narrative constructed around Greta finally be crumbling?
Here’s the full text:
”The more I dug into @GretaThunberg‘s story, the more I realized that something stinks here. It’s no COINCIDENCE that her first appearance was on August 20, 2018, with a sit-in protest in front of the Swedish Parliament, followed COINCIDENTALLY four days later by the release of a book she co-authored with her mother.
But that’s not all – the PR machine for her was already in full swing on August 20, thanks to a man named Ingmar Rentzhog, who financed and drove the campaign through his company, @WeDontHaveTime.
And guess what? Rentzhog is also COINCIDENTALLY the chairman of the think tank “Global Challenge” (@ChallengesFnd), which is now COINCIDENTALLY fully financed by a billionaire named Kristine Person, a member of the Swedish Social Democratic Workers’ Party and former minister in the government under Stefan Löfven.
And if that’s not enough, Rentzhog purely COINCIDENTALLY happened to walk by the Swedish Parliament on August 20 and encounter Greta during her sit-in protest, taking a photograph of her.
But wait, there’s more – Rentzhog and Greta’s mother had already met before at a climate conference on May 4, 2018, which is COINCIDENTALLY the exact date when Rentzhog became CEO of the aforementioned think tank.
And here’s something interesting – both Kristine Person and Stefan Löfven happen to be members of Klaus Schwab’s @WEF.
It’s amazing how all these connections seem to come full circle, isn’t it?
It’s clear to me that something fishy is going on behind the scenes here. These people are manipulating the public and abusing their power for their own political gain. We need to be aware of their tactics and warn everybody we know about the Great Reset and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Very well said, Dr Goddek.
Talking of coincidences:
Greta’s function is to warn of impending doom for the planet if we do not do something about CO2, is COINCIDENTALLY the same message pumped out by the WEF that’s intended to further empower the United Nations and helps pave the way for global government.
Greta’s social media accounts are completely focused on the task in hand – creating ‘climate panic’ in defiance of the facts. Her Facebook account is series of self-promotional posts with no interraction with comments. The list of people that Greta follows on twitter are world leaders and major political figures, climate and environment accounts like Soros-funded Greenpeace, the WEF and celebrities.
Over the past five years, the political and media establishment have helped galvanise the world’s youth in her support. ‘Independent analysts’, Media Lens, who falsely portray themselves an an alternative to the corporate media, heavily promote Greta’s climate catastrophism, as does the Guardian’s, George Monbiot.
Greta works in tandem with Extinction Rebellion (XR), which appears to be the climate cult’s Antifa, promoting civil disobedience in order to force action on the ‘climate emergency’.
Within a few short months Greta’s stature was such that she was invited to address the UN’s Climate Change Conference at Katowice, making her plea for ‘climate justice’.
Greta’s very first tweet back in June 2018 – which has since been deleted – was to post an article (in English of course) which warned that climate change will wipe out all of humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years.
This is what Greta said in her tweet, dated June 21, 2018:
“A top climate scientist is warning that climate change will wipe out all of humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years.”https://t.co/AOr2DDZORc— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg).
For the first time in 33 million years, it seems, we are almost at a point where there is no ice at either pole:
”The chance that there will be any permanent ice left in the Arctic after 2022 is essentially zero,[…] with 75 to 80 percent of permanent ice having melted already in the last 35 years’‘.
How did that turn out, Greta?
Greta’s obvious claptrap underscores the fact that the Arctic was never anywhere melting away. The earth has not returned to the temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period when Greenland was colonised – how can we be approaching temperatures not seen in 33 million years?
The spectacle of the legacy media using a young girl in order to panic the world into giving more power to the WEF is, to say the least, bizarre. Thousands of the world’s scientists (see here and here) have called climate alarmism a hoax.
However ludicrous as it may seem, we are expected to ignore the facts about geological history, Co2 and global climate, and to follow the lead of a young woman who, since the age of 15, has parroted arrant nonsense embedded in unending cliché, on the say-so of the likes of George Monbiot and Media Lens.
This same media not only continue to parrot Thunberg’s nonsense, but seemingly have absolutely no qualms about having callously exploitated and manipulated a child in order to further the goal of world government.
Investigative journalist and researcher, Whitney Webb summed-up what is behind the prevailing climate change orthodoxy and the media’s fetishization of Greta.
Webb highlighted the fact that the twin phenomena are intimately tied to corporate interests embodied in the UN’s climate change agenda:
“COP26 is about setting up the financial infrastructure for a completely new economic system based on CBDCs and the financialization of ‘natural capital’ and ‘human capital’ into new asset classes. It’s about complete economic domination of the planet, not about ‘saving’ it.”
Webb revealed the nefarious Malthusian underpinnings that drive the UNs climate change agenda and that legitimate environmental concerns have been usurped in pursuit of this agenda.
”In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”
In 1978, the Australian social scientist, Alex Carey, pointed out that the twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance:
“the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.”
In order to defend their interests against the forces of democracy, the corporations that now dominate much of the domestic and global economies recognize the need to manipulate the public through media propaganda by manufacturing their consent. This is largely achieved through coordinated mass campaigns that combine sophisticated public relations techniques.
The result is the media underplay, or even ignore, the economic and ideological motivations that drive the social policy decisions and strategies of governments’.
Sharon Beder outlines the reasoning behind the coordinated political, corporate and media attacks on democracy:
“The purpose of this propaganda onslaught has been to persuade a majority of people that it is in their interests to eschew their own power as workers and citizens, and forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now largely confined to policies aimed at furtheringbusiness interests.”
This is the context in which the UK political and media establishment undermined former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The plot to oust Corbyn began the moment he became leader after a hardcore group that included shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, shadow communities secretary Emma Reynolds and shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker, all refused to serve under him.
Others included shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Shabana Mahmood, shadow international development secretary Mary Creagh and shadow Cabinet Office minister Lucy Powell. These figures as well as the establishment in general were aware that Corbyn could not be bought off on their terms. The former Labour leader’s incorruptibility represented a potential threat to the gravy train that sustains them.
In other words, it’s not merely Corbyn who the establishment regard as a democratic threat to their hold on power, but what he represents as an example to others following in his foot steps which is the reason why, even now, they want to shut him up. It’s the potential of breaking the iron-clad neoliberal consensus that underscores what has arguably been some of the most vitriolic and biased reportage ever witnessed against any British political figure in history.
What Media Lens accurately described as a “panic-driven hysterical hate-fest right across the corporate media spectrum,” began the moment the plotting against him by members of his own party began. As the media analysts noted at the time of the leadership election, “the full extent of media bias against Jeremy Corbyn can be gauged simply by comparing the tone and intensity of attacks on him as compared to those directed at the other three candidates: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.”
The level of the media attacks against Corbyn continued after he secured ‘the largest mandate ever won by a party leader’. The focus of these attacks included what colour poppy he would wear, his refusal to sing the national anthem or whether he would wear a tie or do up his top button. All of this was granted national news headlines and incessant coverage.
Not to be outdone, in October 2015, the BBCs political editor Laura Kuenssberg featured in an almost comically biased, at times openly scornful, attack on Corbyn’s reasonable stance on nuclear weapons. The BBC then broadcast five senior New Labour figures all opposing Corbyn without any opportunity for an alternative viewpoint.
Kuenssberg followed up this hatchet-job three months later when she helped to orchestrate the live resignation of Labour shadow foreign minister Stephen Doughty on the BBC2 Daily Politics show as a pre-requisite to accusing Corbyn’s team of ‘unpleasant operations’ and ‘lies’. Then came the April 12, 2016 Telegrapharticle – a non-story about Corbyn’s state-funded salary and pension.
Eleven months later (March 5, 2017), the same rag continued with the smears by suggesting Corbyn had paid insufficient tax on his declared annual earnings – a claim subsequently debunked within hours on social media.
Meanwhile, the news that then Tory Chancellor, Philip Hammond, refused point-blank to publish his own tax returns after being prompted to do so by his opposition counterpart, John McDonnell, did not receive anything like the same kind of media scrutiny.
The implication was that Corbyn had misled the public. However, similar media outrage was not leveled at then PM Theresa May after it was revealed (March 7, 2017) that she had lied to parliament after having falsely claimed that Surrey Council had not engaged in a ‘sweat heart’ deal with the Conservative government.
Academic studies indicate that when it came to criticising Corbyn’s political opponents, a completely different set of media standards were applied: A major content analysis from Cardiff University revealed that the BBC is pro-business and Conservative-leaning in its coverage. The London School of Economics and Political Science found strong media bias against Corbyn, claiming the press had turned into an “attack dog” against the opposition leader.
According to content analysis from the Media Reform Coalition, the UK’s public service broadcaster gave double the airtime to Corbyn’s critics compared to his allies.
The anti-Corbyn propaganda was systematic and entrenched within both the legacy media and the Labour party hierarchy. Both were determined to topple Corbyn, using ‘anti-Semitism’ as a weapon to achieve it. Journalists Tony Greenstein and Asa Winstanley were among the first to highlight the politically-motivated smears of the pro-Israel lobby against Corbyn.
In an excellent piece published by the Electronic Intifada (April 28, 2016), Winstanley outlined the links between right-wing, anti-Corbyn and pro-Israel forces within the Labour party. Winstanley meticulously showed how this lobby manufactured an ‘antisemitism crisis’, pinpointing the individuals involved, the tactics and dirty tricks used and the connections to powerful individuals whose ties lead to pro-Israel groups both in London and Israel.
One of key contrived ‘antisemitism’ accusations levelled at Corbyn during this period was by Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth who Wikileaks revealed is a ‘strictly protected’ US informant. Smeeth staged a highly publicised walk-out on June 30, 2016 during Corbyn’s launch of a review into the Labour party’s supposed ‘anti-semitism crisis’ which, as Jonathan Cook pointed out, was in fact, “a crisis entirely confected by a toxic mix of the right, Israel supporters and the media.”
A few days earlier another manufactured and staged anti-Corbyn story made the headlines. This time it centred around a Corbyn ‘heckler’ at Gay Pride, who in fact, as Craig Murray observed, turned out to have been Tom Mauchline. At that time Mauchline worked for the public relations firm, Portland Communications, whose ‘strategic counsel’ is Alastair Campbell, Blair’s former media chief who helped to sell the illegal invasion-occupation of Iraq.
In addition, Corbyn’s pro-Remain position with respect to the EU referendum provided his critics with the ammunition they needed in their attempts to undermine him further. Chief among these critics was Angela Eagle.
Eagle was one of the many Oxford-educated Blairite plotters who resigned her post in order to position herself as a potential replacement for Corbyn and who claimed to be dissatisfied with his performance during the EU referendum campaign. However, as the graphic below indicates, Corbyn did much better than Eagle in defending their respective Remain positions:
The Labour party gained 60,000 members in one week following the attempted coup against Corbyn. Membership levels were higher under Corbyn than the previous peak of 405,000 last seen under Tony Blair’s leadership. In his constituency of Islington North, Corbyn inherited a majority of 4,456, which increased to 21,194. He’s one of the few Labour MPs whose vote increased between 2005 and 2010, when he added 5,685 to his majority.
Furthermore, under Corbyn’s leadership, London, Bristol and Greater Manchester ushered in Labour mayors, rolling back years of Tory dominance, while Labour’s majorities in by-elections had generally increased.
It should also be remembered that pre-coup, Labour led the Tories in three polls in a row over 41 days. The long-term decline in Labour’s fortunes that preceded Corbyn can hardly be blamed on the then Labour leader. Nevertheless, these positive Corbyn statistics didn’t stop any attempts by opportunistic and self-serving careerists within the party to undermine him.
Corbyn’s alleged weakness at the dispatch box was presented as evidence of ‘ineffectual opposition’ despite the fact that under his leadership the Tories had been forced into some thirty policy u-turns. In terms of some of the core domestic policy issues, Corbyn maintained the support of the majority of the British public.
However, the establishment insisted he was ‘unelectable’. As one commentator on twitter put it, ”un-electable is media-political code for ‘likely to be highly electable but ‘will not serve elite interests.’”
Following Theresa May’s surprise decision to call a snap election for June 8, 2017, the media bias against Corbyn ramped-up another notch particularly by, but not limited to, the gutter Murdoch press.
During the build-up to the General Election, the BBC for example, no longer even pretended to be impartial, as the Tweets below illustrate:
Laura Kuenssberg, more than any other BBC correspondent, appeared to have had a particular dislike for Corbyn that bordered on the outright contemptuous. This hatred was best summed up by Media Lens who critiqued Kuenssberg’s “subtle insidious use of language” in a BBC hit-piece.
It was hardly a surprise to learn that the kind of sustained attacks against Corbyn were the result of an increasingly concentrated foreign ownership of the UK media. This media made it clear they supported the Tories in the build-up to the General Election, not least because of Theresa May’s hard Brexit strategy at that time.
The mass media frequently depicted May’s stance as indicative of her ‘strength and stable’ leadership. Conversely, their antagonistic tone and depiction of Corbyn as weak and calamitous, was the opposite of the truth.
In a rare moment of honesty, The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade wrote:
“Mainstream media as a whole took its gloves off and Corbyn’s electoral hopes have been doomed from day one. He was “a great leap backwards”, said the Mail. Beware this “absurd Marxist”, said the Express, while the Daily Telegraph referred to his “divisive ideology” and “atavistic hostility to wealth and success”. And the Sun? It just called him “bonkers”. There was scepticism too from the liberal left. The Independent thought he would not persuade middle England to accept his policies.”
Neither the Daily Mirror nor the Guardian greeted Corbyn with open arms. Support for him on social media made no impact. Meanwhile, the overall anti-Corbyn agenda, repeated week upon week, month after month, was one that broadcasters were unable to overlook, despite their belief in balance and adherence to impartiality. News bulletin reports reflected the headlines. Current affairs programmes picked up on the themes. That’s how media narratives are constructed.”
The election campaign strategies of the two leaders couldn’t have been more different. While May’s robotic and lacklustre performance overseen by Lynton Crosby’s single issue Brexit strategy was engineered to avoid public and media scrutiny, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign was marked by a willingness to engage with the public. While Corbyn had been open, transparent and accountable, May had been robotic, secretive and aloof.
While May came across as cold, calculating and lacking in human empathy, Corbyn came across as being totally at ease with the public, smiling and relaxed in their company. Corbyn openly espoused his philosophy and numerous policy initiatives, many of them significant. May, by contrast, appeared to have no policies to discuss and came across as instinctively autocratic and awkward.
Whereas Corbyn’s campaigning had been marked by spontaneity and a willingness to reply to previously unseen questions in public meetings and press conferences, May’s series of highly evasive stage-managed PR stunts were exemplified by an eagerness to rely on focus groups and a carefully selected media who provided her with pre-vetted questions by the Tory Party.
The attempts by the Tories to restrict the media from asking May any probing questions, was highlighted by Channel 4 News journalist, Michael Crick, after he admitted to apparently being shocked that “reporters collaborate with May’s press team by agreeing to reveal their questions to them in advance.”
The BBCs Eleanor Garnier, on the other hand, was clearly of the opinion that May was not subject to this kind of overt media censorship. Garnier tweeted: “I didn’t discuss question or topic of question with May’s team. If I was ever asked to give my question there is no way I would. Ever.”
Whatever is being taught on journalism courses these days, the work of Chomsky and Herman is clearly not on the syllabus. My advice to Garnier is to spend 30 minutes watching Chomsky’s demolition of Andrew Marr before taking on her next journalistic assignment.
That Garnier, as a BBC journalist, failed to recognise that access is determined by the lack of difficult or challenging questions indicative of how the media works, is frankly staggering.
What is equally staggering, is the fact that lack of access and the closing of journalistic ranks with the governments complicity, is not seen as an outrageous attack on civil liberties, democratic accountability and press freedom.
In Britain in 2017, arguably for the first time, the public were faced with a situation in which they were denied information to enable them to be able to make informed choices ahead of a General Election. Craig Murray, succinctly expressed his outrage at that time:
“The idea that the head of the government both gets to choose what they have asked, and gets advance warning of every question so they can look sharp with their answer, is totally antithetical to every notion of democratic accountability. If we had anything approaching a genuine free media, there would be absolute outrage. All genuine media organisations would react by boycotting such events and simply refusing to cover them at all.”
It should be remembered that Theresa May, like Rishi Sunak, was not elected as PM. This was a period that mainstream political historians and journalists ought to reflect on with some degree of humility. The obtusiveness, obfuscations, evasiveness and total disregard for democracy and public accountability often associated with Boris Johnson, didn’t begin with him. Rather, Britain’s descent into authoritarianism began under the Cameron administration but mushroomed under May’s leadership.
If the UK media at that time had reported the British political and media system with honesty, then they would have acknowledged similarities to North Korea. What has happened in Britain from the Cameron, and particularly the May years, is that basic democratic norms have been trampled on.
Unfortunately, those who believe the situation will change for the better under a future Labour government led by Keir Starmer are sadly mistaken. It is not widely known that the Labour leader and establishment stooge, Sir Keir, is a member of the Trilateral Commission, an organisation that thinks the problems of governance “stemfrom an excess of democracy.”
As Britain’s descent into authoritarianism continues apace, hardly anybody, either within the political and media establishments, or among the wider public more generally, appear to have blinked an eyelid at the prospect.
There appears to be a serious dereliction of duty on the part of the panoply of economic analysts and commentators within the legacy media to discuss the limitations of economic neoliberalism. On the contrary, these commentators and analysts regard the existing growth model as a panacea rather than the death knoll for society and the environment it undoubtably is.
Economic ‘experts’ who extol the virtues of the prevailing orthodoxy are discussed by the media commentariat in reverential tones and the discipline is viewed as if it is an exact science. Mainstream economists, chancellors of the exchequer, prime ministers, heads of the Bank of England and other ‘pillars of the establishment’, are widely regarded in this light.
What all these ‘experts’ agree on is their belief in the deluded notion that sustained economic growth is emblematic of societal progress. Very rarely are the premises upon which these ‘experts’ promote neoliberal economics challenged by commentators.
The UKs current chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is part of a political establishment that continues to perpetuate the myth that the neoliberal economic growth model is the best way to curtail the threat of further economic crisis as opposed to recognizing it’s the major cause. Consequently, Hunt will continue to systematically push for policies that fly in the face of all available evidence.
The problems are as much to do with ideology and dogma as they are to do with incompetence. Rather than the global financial crisis of 2008 acting as a wake up call, Hunt and the likes of Kwarteng, Zahawi, Hammond and Osborne who preceded him, continue with the same poisonous model until the next crisis comes along, by which time they will continue with it until the one after that. And so it goes on. This is the economics of the madhouse.
Radical visions – development not growth
What is required is a radical alternative vision for society – a break from the concept by which everything has become a commodity to be bought and sold for profit. But who, other than a handful of creative thinkers in the academic sphere, are proposing alternative, imaginative visions?
One of the most ambitious ideas I’ve come across is that postulated by Pat Devine, whose thesis is closely aligned to that of the Chilean economist, Manfred Max-Neef. While recognizing the importance, geographically, of bringing production closer to consumption, Max-Neef argues that the root of the existing problem stems from how establishment economists perceive their academic discipline as being above, and separate from, nature and the biosphere.
According to Max-Neef, mainstream economists are ignorant about ecosystems, thermodynamics and biodiversity and regard nature as a subsystem of the economy.
Max-Neef argues that economics needs to be taught in a different way based in five postulates and one fundamental value principle:
1) The economy is to serve the people and not the people to serve the economy.
2) Development is about people and not about objects.
3) Growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.
4) No economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.
5) The economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system, the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible.
The fundamental value to sustain a new economy, says Max-Neef, should be that no economic interest, under no circumstance, can be above the reverence of life.
For far too long, humanity and the natural world has been subordinate to the imperatives associated with an economic growth paradigm that’s perceived by mainstream economists and politicians as being separate and distinct from them.
What Max-Neef is saying in the first point above is that the dialectical relationship between economy and people has to be restored in order for society and nature to function properly.
The distinction Max-Neef makes between growth and development in point three, is particularly significant. As the economist from Berkeley points out:
“Growth is a quantitative accumulation. Development is the liberation of creative possibilities. Every living system in nature grows up to a certain point and stops growing. You are not growing anymore, nor he nor me. But we continue developing ourselves… So development has no limits. Growth has limits. And that is a very big thing that economists and politicians don’t understand. They are obsessed with the fetish of economic growth.”
This fetishization of economic growth is arguably explained, in part, by the fact that the monetary offshoots that accrue as a consequence of this growth have, since the onset of ‘trickle-down’ neoliberalism, increasingly ‘gushed upwards’ towards the top of the socioeconomic pyramid.
Statistics indicate, for instance, that economic output (GDP) in the UK, adjusted for inflation, doubled during the peak of neoliberalism, from £687bn in 1979 to £1,502bn in 2011. However, over the same period, income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, increased from 0.25 to 0.34.
In other words, during the peak era of neoliberalism, working people who have created the sustained increase in wealth in society, have seen their slice of the pie reduced. Max-Neef understands that the ruling class obsession with the fetish of economic growth is underscored by the fact that this is the class that disproportionately benefits the most from it.
The threshold hypothesis
One of the later works Max-Neef authored was the famous threshold hypothesis. This states that in every society there is a period in which economic growth brings about an improvement in quality of life. But only up to a point – the threshold point – beyond which, if there is more growth, quality of life begins to decline.
According to Max-Neef, the U.S, which he terms an “undeveloping nation” is already at that point with the UK not far behind. The logic of diminishing returns applies to other parts of the system that eventually results in net costs over the long-term.
These costs are quantified, not only in strict monetary terms, but also involve human capital – something which the economic-growth fetishists rarely factor in to their cost-benefit calculations.
The graph below, highlighting the impact of immigration on UK debt, is an example of how the mainstream economists of the OBR have failed to take into account Max-Neef’s threshold hypothesis:
It would appear that the OBR is suggesting the existence of a causal link between the reduction in government debt and the notion that immigration is a net economic benefit.
However, the ORB analysis doesn’t take into account the uneven distribution of wealth which negate the benefits accrued. It also omits other indicators such as reduced quality of life resulting from, for example, a lack of school places or other pressures on public services that mass immigration potentially brings.
It’s the apparent inability of politicians to view the economic growth paradigm as destructive that opens up spaces for alternative narratives of the likes of Max-Neef to fill.
After winning the Right Livelihood Award in 1983, two years after the publication of his book, Outside Looking In: Experiences in Barefoot Economics, the Chilean economist’s metaphor was inspired as a result of the ten years he spent working in extreme poverty in the Sierras, jungles and urban areas of different parts of Latin America.
It was during this period that the economist from Berkeley began to view his profession in a different light. What subsequently happened was to change his life for ever:
“I was one day in an Indian village in the Sierra in Peru”, recalls Max-Neef. “It was an ugly day. It had been raining all the time. And I was standing in the slum. And across me, another guy also standing in the mud…This was a short guy, thin, hungry, jobless, five kids, a wife and a grandmother. And I was the fine economist from Berkeley. We looked at each other, and then suddenly I realized that I had nothing coherent to say to that man in those circumstances, that my whole language as an economist was absolutely useless.”
”Should I tell him that he should be happy because the GDP had grown five percent or something? Everything was absurd. I discovered that I had no language in that environment and that we had to invent a new language. And that’s the origin of the metaphor of barefoot economics, which concretely means that is the economics that an economist who dares to step into the mud must practice.”
Max-Neef argues that economists are divorced from the kind of poverty that’s central to their theories:
“The point is, economists study and analyze poverty in their nice offices, have all the statistics, make all the models, and are convinced that they know everything that you can know about poverty. But they don’t understand poverty. And that’s the big problem. And that’s why poverty is still there. And that changed my life as an economist completely. I invented a language that is coherent with those situations and conditions.”
The ‘language’ Max-Neef alludes to relates to how human beings in developed countries have lost the capacity to understand. Despite our ability to accumulate knowledge, this capacity, in the absence of empathy, love and understanding is, according to Max-Neef, insufficient:
“You can only attempt to understand that of which you become a part. If we fall in love, as the Latin song says, we are much more than two. When you belong, you understand. When you’re separated, you can accumulate knowledge. And that is the function of science. Now, science is divided into parts, but understanding is holistic.”
For Max-Neef, poverty from the perspective of economists, can only be understood by living among people who are poor. Only then can economists understand that in such an environment there exists a different set of values and principles that are alien to the world of academia that cannot be learned or understood their.
“What I have learned from the poor is much more than I learned in the universities. The first thing you learn…is you cannot be an idiot if you want to survive. Every minute, you have to be thinking, what next? What do I know? What trick can I do here? What’s this and that? And so, your creativity is constant. But very few people have that experience. They look at it from the outside, instead of living it from the inside”, says Max-Neef.
“In addition, you have networks of cooperation, mutual aid and all sorts of extraordinary things which you’ll no longer find in our dominant, individualistic, greedy and egotistical society. It’s the opposite of what you find there. And it’s sometimes so shocking that you may find people much happier in poverty than what you would find in your own environment. This also means that poverty is not just a question of money. It’s a much more complex thing.”
What underlines Max-Neef’s message, perhaps more than anything else, is that mainstream economists in the ‘developed’ world see themselves as sophisticated, educated and cultured. They do this while building walls, pushing away to the margins the poor of the ‘developing’ world.
Ultimately, mainstream economists fail to acknowledge that the inherent contradiction of the neoliberal economic paradigm is such that it’s undermining the very foundations upon which ‘progress’ can be sustained in the long-term.
Groups of young parents huddle in a hallway, making plans. Old men nap on couches, waiting for dessert. It’s the extended family in all its tangled, loving, exhausting glory.
This particular family is the one depicted in Barry Levinson’s 1990 film, Avalon, based on the film directors own childhood in Baltimore. But it’s also one that could equally be played out in any post-war town or city in a smog drenched Keyensian Britain.
Battle-fatigued young men who fought for God and country were in no mood for the platitudes of politician’s who had sent many of their comrades to the battlefields where the stench of death still lingered. Hitler fascism, although defeated had, through the passing of time, left indelible scars on the faces of generations of young men ravaged by its consequences.
The fraternity among men who returned to Blighty from war in the hope that society back home could be transformed for the better, was a hope not lost on the ruling class. The establishment were to suffer the torment of a disillusioned nation tired of being used as cannon fodder for the interests of Whitehall pen-pushers.
‘No more war’ was the cry of the huddled, restless, masses. Churchill had underestimated the level of the nations discontent. The epithet ‘war hero’ would have to wait for the writings of historians as the war statesman was rejected at the polls by the very people who had put him into power seven months after Germany’s fascists invaded Poland.
By 1945 it was widely understood by the ruling class that the amelioration of the antagonistic relations between capital and labour was a necessary price to pay to stave off revolutionary levels of proletarian discontent. Churchill, considered by many to be an historical footnote by the working classes who fought a war ostensibly for the vanity of others, were now in a position to force the hand of their rulers.
The Red Army paid the heaviest price for fascisms defeat. Russian revolutionary sentiment still lingered in the air on the streets of London, Birmingham and Belfast. The British working class hadn’t forgotten the toll the war had on the Soviet people, nor had generations before them forgotten the gains of the bolshevik revolution. British prols were in no mood to genuflect at the feet of their ‘betters’.
Perhaps, somewhat ironically, it was the poetic realism of the film, Brief Encounter, that managed to unify a nation distraut by war. David Lean’s 1945 masterpiece about a middle-class woman’s imagined confession of a extramarital love affair, was an allegory for a society in a state of flux, hamstrung by conformity.
The key message of the film was that the ‘free time’ available to the films protaganists, Laura and Alec, that involved their chance encounters at Boots chemist, the Palladium cinema and at a railway station refreshment room, represented newly formed spaces in the public imagination that only an immediate post-war world borne out of servitude was capable of filling. Underlying the poetic sense of realism was a quest for balance and harmony in an otherwise fractured world.
In post-war Britain, nothing less than fair play was acceptable to the masses. Brits weren’t demanding the best cut steak, caviar or smoked salmon but neither were they content with the breadcrumbs from their rulers banquetting table. People needed and demanded homes. Not dilapidated, damp-ridden, rat infested hovels, but ‘homes fit for heroes’. And they got them, three hundred thousand of them, year on year.
But widespread access to post-war housing and the consumerism that followed in its wake, marked the beginning of a societal shift. Family bonds, once close and extended, began to split apart as the desire for more convenience, privacy and mobility represented a shrinking of time and space within the newly booming capitalism.
The time-piece which was popularized at least a generation before, was now a means by which the ruling class would attempt to remind British workers that showing up at the factory gates on time was the necessary price to be paid in order for them to enjoy the exuberent excesses experienced by their counterparts across the Atlantic.
”You’ve never had it so good” was the cry of the Westminster hordes. The young had time on their hands and money with which to spend it. Full employment and ‘jobs for life’ weren’t merely the mantras of dinner partying socialists, but were the realities for millions of working class people. It wouldn’t be long before the public’s appetite for convenience and increasing levels of consumption that money and time implied, would feed into the realm of leisure.
The young bedraggled by war became increasingly hungry for entertainment. They found it in the restaurants, football terraces, shopping malls and movie theatres. American consumerism in all of it’s unbridled excesses was depicted in the latter and Brits demanded some of the action.
Food, entertainment and their corollary, leisure time, perfectly encapsulated the rapid pace of change that was beginning to take hold amid the rubble of bombed neighbourhoods. These shifts in society gave way to new antagonisms across dinner tables the length and breadth of the country as family loyalties began to be questioned.
The violation of well-established protocols was not only seen as a sign of disrespect but more broadly as a metaphor for the beginning of the collapse of the entire family structure and the speeding-up of the pace of life.
As the 1960s beckoned, the extended family began to play an ever diminishing role. In his film, Avalon, Levinson depicts the total destruction of the extended family. What we witness is a young father and mother and their son and daughter eating turkey off trays in front of the television.
In the final scene, the main character is living alone in a nursing home, wondering what happened. “In the end, you spend everything you’ve ever saved, sell everything you’ve ever owned, just to exist in a place like this.”
The scene Levinson depicts is reminscent of the famous parable about materialism and contrasting values in which an American investment banker sits at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village. After meeting a local fisherman, the banker begins to reflect on the meaning of his life, and starts to question notions of success and capitalist values to which he had become accustomed. The American begins to understand that a simpler, slow paced life experienced by the fisherman was far more enriching and fullfilling than his own urban ‘rat race’ life as a banker.
The author, Milan Kundera, said:
”To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”
Kundera’s evocation of being at peace with life is like a dream in time and space. It’s akin to the days where people told family stories, of the stable, centralized, family and the dense cluster of many siblings and extended kin. It’s like the phantasmagorical experience when watching a colourized film clip of an early twentieth century Paris street scene and a sense of stepping into that world.
The serenity of time and place thus imbued is intensified by the imagination, prolonged by a multitude of echoes. But imagination is also an expression of pain for that which has been lost and can never be recaptured. Today, such visions of historical memory are routinely mocked like a rust that corrodes all it touches. The truth is, the world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless. It will take you everywhere.
Founded in 2001 by Cromwell and David Edwards,Media Lensis a media analysis website which monitors the broadcast and the print media in the UK, attempting to show evidence of bias, distortions and omissions on such issues as climate change, Iraq and the “war on terror”.
The founders of Media Lens draw on the Propaganda Model of media control advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. As a ‘media analysis site’ Media Lens portrays itself as providing an alternative view to the increasingly mistrusted corporate media.
They claim to focus on calling to account the ‘liberal media’, e.g. the Guardian and the Observer and want us to believe Media Lens are a corrective to the ‘mainstreams’ ‘distorted vision’. Their aim, they claim, ”is to raise awareness of the systemic failure of the corporate media to report the world honestly and accurately.”
Scrutiny of Media Lens output, however, indicates that rather than being objective analysts of the media, they strongly promote their own agenda which has much in common with that of the establishment media they claim to be critiquing.
Media Lens state on their website:
”We also hope to encourage the creation of non-corporate media – good examples are Democracy Now!, The Real News Network and ZNet – that offer genuine alternatives to the corporate mainstream.”
ZNet appears to have folded. But Democracy Now and The Real News Network are hardly ‘ corporate alternatives’ since both are corporate financed. The former is funded by the Carnegie Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society and Tides Foundations, and the Ford Foundation. The latter is funded by the the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.
The corporate hand
Both DN and TRNN claim to be independent and progressive. However, the corporate hand has shown itself very clearly, for example, on the issue of the Syrian war, where both DN and TRNN are firmly squarely on the side of imperialism and regime change.
The public’s ”trust” in Media Lens’ analysis is premised on the false assumption that journalism is a vital component of our democracy. The position of Media Lens seems to be that they and their corporate outlets of choice who they have a number of shared interests with, are best placed to determine which sources are deserving of this “trust”.
Media Lens rely heavily on social media for impact, especially twitter, rather than a high volume of articles (termed ‘Alerts’). The two editors, David Cromwell and David Edwards, have also authored some books, most recently, Propaganda Blitz. They tweet, retweet and write about failings of the media on issues where the corporate media see their role as propaganda or suppression rather than fact.
They are seen as progressive and anti-imperialist, as they largely make the right noises about, for example, Gaza, Yemen and Syria. However, the Media Lens response to the wars on first Libya, then Syria, as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, appears dutiful rather than enthusiastic, even compromised. They are seemingly unaware that the tradition of the brutality of Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad owes more to Western propaganda than to evidence.
Media Lens aspires ‘to show evidence of bias, distortions and omissions on such issues as climate change, Iraq and the “war on terror’. As well as stressing their left-wing credentials, the three major issues that are arguably utmost on the Media Lens agenda is their promotion of Noam Chomsky, climate change alarmism and their rejection of the sceptical arguments in relation to the Covid event.
Media Lens and Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky, often hailed as America’s premier dissident illectual, fearless purveyor of truth-fighting against media propaganda, murderous US foreign policy and the crimes of profit-hungry transnational corporations, enjoys a worldwide slavish cult-like following from students, journalists and activists.
Media Lens are among those who fawn over Chomsky’s every utterence and written word as if they were scripture and prophetical. To them, Chomsky is the supreme deity, a priestly master whose logic cannot be questioned. Chomsky has a reputation for being a ‘progressive’, a critic of government and the corporations, and an advocate of democracy. This is also the position of Media Lens.
The implication is that democratic principles are underscored by ‘trusted’ news reportage sanctioned by the likes of Media Lens and their chief advocates and therefore we should trust them, unquestioningly, to the exclusion of dissenting ‘others’.
Chomsky has been strongly criticised as suppressing discussion on any issue that threatens globalist interests, from the Kennedy assassinations, the activities of the CIA, the Federal Reserve and above all the Covid narrative and the plan for global government. The organisations mostly closely involved with global government, the Trilateral Commission, the WEF, the Committee of Foreign Relations are ignored or dismissed as ‘nothing organisations’.
Chomsky facilitated the invasion of Libya by whitewashing the rebels and demonising Gaddafi, and went on to support the United States with regard to the war on Syria. Chomsky pushes the NATO propaganda line of the popular Syrian uprising, the brutal response first by ‘Assad’ and then ‘Assad’ in conjunction with the Russians, and the necessity for regime change, by negotiation if possible and if necessary by arming ‘rebels’.
Media Lens, however, has steadfastly ignored the growing disillusionment with Noam Chomsky on part of anti-imperialists, and lose no opportunity to promote him as a cult figure. Media Lens and Chomsky mutually resent the charge they are pro-Assad and reject the arguments of those who are critical of the anthropogenic climate warming narrative.
Cromwell subsequently worked for Shell in the Netherlands (four years) and then for 17 years in a research post at National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom, before leaving in 2010 to work full-time on Media Lens. Cromwell’s impressive qualifications both explain an interest in global warming and give credibility to his position. However, his manner of engagement on the issue is hardly consistent with a scientific interest.
While Media Lens claims to be scrutinising the mainstream media, they are actually in lockstep with the corporate media who are pushing the same message. The media analysts, for example, constantly promote the globalist position by uncritically tweeting mainstream media articles such as this one and this one, as well as tweets from alarmists like Michael Mann on December 5, 2018 and Bill McGuire on February 21, 2023, both of whom blocked me for no apparent reason other than I reject their thesis that human activity is driving catastrophic climate change.
Media Lens have also quoted, uncritically, Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in the Guardian.
”Scientists are now admitting more often that they are ‘scared’ about the climate crisis.”
The media analysts added:
”Record high temperatures this summer in the UK alone prompted Professor Hannah Cloke, from Reading University, to say: ”This sort of thing is really scary. It’s just one statistic amongst an avalanche of extreme weather events that used to be known as “natural disasters”.
No room for debate
There is no room for scientific debate with Media Lens on any point. The analysts frequently praise campaigns‘ of vandalism committed by climate activists like Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil. Their alerts consistently and uncritically report from the alarmist perspective.
In this alert which could well have come from the Guardian, they cited the Daily Mail who they previously condemned as a ‘mainstream climate sceptic‘, apparently quoting the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Daily Mail article claims that ”normally chill Norway, Sweden and Finland all saw temperatures they have never seen before on any date, pushing past 90 degrees”. Oddly enough, July high temperature records for Sweden, for one, have remained unchallenged since 1901 (Götaland), 1933 (Svealand) and 1945 (Norrland). Climate alarmists have been warning of an ice-free Arctic for decades, and continue to do so, but the ice is, if anything, increasing.
”In Greece, 80 people died in terrible wildfires.”
This completely overlooks the fact that in 2007 there were fires which killed 84 people, and that then as now, Greeks blamed arson, as do many in California. The Media alert is sensationalist popular journalism of the worst kind, designed to uncritically push the corporate agenda.
Their position is totally partisan. What happened to the objective ‘media analysis’ website?
Investigative journalist and researcher, Whitney Webb summed-up the prevailing climate change orthodoxy in a single tweet, highlighting the fact that it’s intimately tied to corporate interests embodied in the UN’s climate change agenda formulated at the annual ‘COP’ gatherings:
“COP26 is about setting up the financial infrastructure for a completely new economic system based on CBDCs and the financialization of ‘natural capital’ and ‘human capital’ into new asset classes. It’s about complete economic domination of the planet, not about ‘saving’ it.”
Webb’s remark was in response to a speech at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference – COP26 – in Glasgow by the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, Mark Carney, who remarked:
‘The architecture of the global financial system has been transformed to deliver net-zero. We now have the essential plumbing in place to move climate change from the fringes to the forefront of finance so that every financial decision takes climate change into account.”
Webb had revealed in her tweet the true nature of power and its interconnectedness which extends beyond the limited confines that the media analysts are prepared to admit.
To be fair to Media Lens, they did quote quite extensively from an article of Webb’s in their 22 October, 21 alert where they acknowledged the endless corporate drive to privatise the planet and the tendency for capitalists to both seek control of ecosystems as ‘financial assets’, and the rights people around the world have to ‘ecosystems services’. These include the benefits that humans receive from Nature such as food production, tourism, clean water, biodiversity, pollination and carbon sequestration.
”In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”
Perhaps Media Lens can be forgiven for their various shortcomings and ommisions on climate change on the basis of good intentions, no matter how misplaced. But their response to arguably the biggest event in decades, the Covid debacle, is unforgiveable.
Having positioned themselves as analysts who regard media and government propaganda-busting as their raison d’etre, the fact that they have had little or nothing to say in the face of a government and media propaganda blitz, arguably unrivalled in peace time, can only be explained if you happened to be following an agenda consistent with power and accept promoting harmful societal and economic measures.
Excess death rates were another reliable indicator that nothing exceptional was happening. According to a paper published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, “the excess deaths from the measures taken is likely to be much larger than the COVID‐19 deaths”.
Cure worse than the disease
That the cure had the vast potential to be far worse than the disease was patently obvious to many before the lunacy of lockdowns became reality. When Peter Hitchens questioned this fundamental principle on 22 March in his Mail on Sunday column, Media Lens responded with ill-informed emotional-based vitriol, devoid of facts:
They agreed wholeheartedly, however, with Paul Mason’s authoritarian advocacy of caging a population that could not be trusted to make sensible decisions based on facts which ought to have been calmly provided by the government.
The science always was and still is clear that locking populations down to address this particular threat is ineffective. Sweden, the smoking-gun ignored by Media Lens, followed an almost identical trajectory in its timeline of infections and deaths, did not lock down and yet achieved better outcomes.
So much for Media Lens adhering to their own stated philosophy: ”Our aim is to increase rational awareness, critical thought and compassion. Our goal is not at all to attack, insult or anger individual journalists…”
Public bodies significantly downgraded the threat of Covid on 19 March, 2020. In addition, many eminent experts cautioned against lockdowns. These facts, in tandem with the speed and aggression with which Media Lens uncritically embraced wholesale imprisonment – the efficacy of which was plainly questionable and the harms all too apparent – is crucial to understanding that the response of Media Lens cannot be regarded as an error of judgement based on lack of knowledge about the threat.
It is reasonable to conclude, that at least as far the Covid event is concerned, Media Lens agree with, and support, the authoritarian diktats of the state. If anybody should doubt this, their subsequent lack of response to the revelations of Dr Mike Yeadon, should end all these doubts.
Dr Mike Yeadon has a degree in biochemistry and toxicology and a research-based PhD in respiratory pharmacology. He has spent over 30 years leading new medicines research in some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, leaving Pfizer in 2011 as Vice President & Chief Scientist for Allergy & Respiratory, the most senior research position in this field in Pfizer.
“the pandemic was over by June 2020 and herd immunity was the main force which turned the pandemic and pressed it into retreat.”
Yeadon’s conclusion demolished the 7 per cent immunity claim made by the government’s chief scientists. So how was was it possible that Media Lens, who claim to ”check the media’s version of events against credible facts and opinion provided by journalists, academics and specialist researchers”, fail to challenge the 7 per cent claims or, at the very least, show any indication that they were even remotely curious about this propaganda and the potential impact of it on society?
Why wouldn’t Media Lens regard it to be an approriate course of action to investigate,in the public interest, the claims made by BBC journalist, Deborah Cohen, that the World Health Organisation changed it’s advice on masks, from ‘don’t wear them’ to ‘do wear them’ due to lobbying pressure from governments’?
Not once has Media Lens challenged the pseudo science underpinning the State’s line on masks. On the contrary, they label those who use scientific-based arguments to challenge the alleged effectiveness of masks, as ”conspiracy theorists”.
Not once, to my knowledge, have Media Lens tweeted about the fact that the far more measured and appropriate response was the approach taken by the Swedish authorities who actually did calmly follow the science.
This kind of a rational approach was identified by the World Health Organisation as being “just as dangerous” as an alleged global pandemic, included any and all information that questioned the diktats of our “democratic” policymakers.
But arguably, most importantly of all, Media Lens have failed abjectly to inform their readers about Pfizer’s history of corruption, lies, and fraud. This dates back to at least 1994 when the corporation agreed to pay $10.75 million to settle allegations from the Justice Department that they “lied to get Federal approval for a mechanical heart valve that has fractured, resulting in over 600 deaths”.
Media Lens have also failed to inform their readers about how Pfizer manipulated studies to bolster the use of its epilepsy drug Neurontin for other disorders, while suppressing research that did not support those uses.
In September of 2009, the U.S Justice Department announced a $2.3 billion fine on Pfizer, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in American history.
The best available data on the adverse event rate of the Pfizer vaccine showed a serious adverse event rate of 1 per 10,000 vaccinees. According to renowned Harvard biostatician Dr. Martin Kuldorff, these figures are unacceptably high (compared to other vaccines on the market which produce adverse event rates in the ballpark of 1 per million).
Sadly, for them, Media Lens have totally swept these scandals under the carpet. It would appear, then, that Media Lens, along with much of the Left in general, are more concerned with defending Big Pharma than they are with defending the public interest against the criminality of Big Pharma.
Rather than attempting to counteract government and media hysteria as part of their role within the so-called ‘alternative’ media, Media Lens instead joined in with the legacy media by attacking or ommitting all dissent and looked askance at sceptical scientific papers on behalf of the establishment.
They also looked askance at the millions of people who raised their voices in mass protests. These protests were either ignored by Media Lens or the protestors views were distorted and their peaceful demonstrations labelled “extremist” or ”right wing”.
The lack of any critical engagement in relation to the Covid event, the denial of, and refusal to engage with, the science and their actual support of some of the most draconian, illiberal and authoritarian measures ever enacted by the state, is evidence that Media Lens deliberately and consciously filtered out a relentless campaign that manipulated the public into believing that Covid was the most catastrophic public health threat since the Black Death.
Of course, it would subsequently take their cult leader in crime, Noam Chomsky, to effectively validate Media Lens for their belittling, or at least censoring, of dissenting voices that dared challenge the prevailing Covid narrative.
In this sense, by censorsing by omission dissenting voices that do not conform to their restrictive Chomskyian narrative but, rather, by promoting what have been referred to as the ‘cruise-missile left’, Media Lens are essentially no different from any other ‘news’ outlet. Their main objective is to reaffirm a specific world view ‘brand’ and business plan model.
With Media Lens we don’t get any critiques of ‘net zero’, Agenda 30, of global institutions like the WEF and the WHO, of indiscriminate mandatory vaccination policies, the tyranny associated with lockdowns or the move towards technocratic authoritarianism.
Instead, readers are subjected to anti-Assad propaganda, lip service to anti-imperialism, and the perpetuation of the Club of Rome’s anthropogenic climate change and WEF ‘build back better’ global agendas that, paradoxically, are consistent with the ‘manufacturing of consent’ accusation Media Lens level at many of their ‘mainstream’ media critics.
I’m English, and I’ll probably be called a c*** and told to **** off, but I’ve noticed a change over the last ten years. A new attitude has emerged, especially among the young. There were always people who hated ‘the English’ (often without ever having been to England). But the majority were either indifferent or had a kind of vague dislike that was slightly tongue in cheek – the kind of dislike Canadians feel for Americans, or New Zealanders feel for Australians (kind of jokey and ironic – no more than banter).
In the last few years things have changed. I even heard one Scot talk about the English ‘invading and raping my country’. Obviously no one had explained to him that political union began in 1603 when a Scottish dynasty replaced the Tudors on the English throne. Shakespeare wrote Macbeth to please the new Scottish king of England.
Maybe someone should have explained to him that the first Scottish Prime Minister of the UK, John Stuart, became PM way back in 1762. And it was a Scottish PM who led Britain during the Crimean war in the 1850s. The head of the British army in WW1 was Scottish. The founder of the SAS was Scottish. For god sake, even Gladstone was Scottish.
Of course, it suits the SNP to stir up this kind of hatred, especially among the young. They know it’s the quickest way to win support. Time and again I’ve watched SNP politicians indulge in fake outrage. Everything is twisted and distorted to fit their narrative.
They’ll be asked to comment on some new policy, or some random quote, and will then bang on about how “shocked” or “disgusted” or “outraged” they are by English arrogance. They know just which buttons to press: the English laugh at the Scottish, patronize them, look down on them, don’t care about them, etc, etc.
I remember hearing a story about the experiences of an Englishman working for an Aberdeen-based offshore company in Poland during the independence vote. Lots of Scots on the work bus after the vote shouted about being robbed and what bastards the English were.
The Englishman piped up and said that the big mistake was asking the Scots to vote. If they had asked the English to vote to get rid of the whinging Scots then they would be independent. There was a cheer from the English who were sick of it. The Scots shut up.
Many English people, particularly those on the Left actually admire the Scottish and used to think of Scotland (and to an extent Wales) as the backbone of British Socialism. On the whole, the same is true of the English Right who regard them as the backbone of the British army. There has never been any hatred or contempt.
George Orwell, for example, writes about ‘the cult of Scottishness’ that existed in the Edwardian public schools when he was a kid. According to him, boys who’d come from Scottish backgrounds had a high status and would often boast of their Highland roots.
The truth is, the vast majority of the English are not that bothered about what the Scots say about them, and understand that banging the nationalist drum has probably more of a benovelent undercurrent than many who excuse it on the basis of a more benign appeal to ‘civic nationalism’ care to admit.
Famously, Billy Connolly once said “it’s pointless the Scots hating the English; because the English simply don’t care”. If you are English, who do you care if they like the English? As an Englishman myself, I can testify to the veracity of this sense of indifference.
If I was 18, I would be too scared to go to university in Glasgow or Edinburgh. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I’d be frightened that if someone heard my accent in a bar or pub I’d get attacked.
I have heard too many stories of hatred directed against English people in Scotland to realize that this more than just banter. The SNP, who routinely whip up anti-English sentiment, portray themselves as enlightened progressives. But to me they often seem more like hate-filled bigots.
Italy and Germany weren’t unified until the late 19th century, and the USA wasn’t formed until 1776. But Britain and Britishness began in 1603. But then I am an evil English oppressor, so I should probably just shut up.
The debate on ‘climate change’ has never had anything to do with climate change, at least on the part of climate alarmists. The purpose of the narrative was always to fulfill a political agenda, to divert more and more wealth to the already rich and powerful, and to divest more and more power away from nation states and their citizens to the bloated and corrupt United Nations bureaucracy, which is essentially controlled by the rich and powerful.
The global warming idea is a project of the (very) elitist Club of Rome, whose members have included Al Gore, Ted Warner, George Soros, Bill Gates and members of the Rockefeller and Rothschild families. The Club of Rome is the active division of a group of entities serving a globalist agenda, which have played the major part in the establishment of the United Nations, the European Union and NATO. They include the Bilderberg Group, the Committee on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Trilateral Commission.
The global warming project enables further enrichment of the already very wealthy, through the carbon trading scheme (Al Gore was projected to become the first carbon millionaire). However, United Nations publications such as Agenda 21 make it very clear that climate alarmism has another purpose: to enable and justify expansion of UN bureaucracy, the empowerment of NGOs, inevitably controlled by the globalists, and to control and contain the populace, all in the name of the Earth and the ill-defined ‘sustainability’.
The climate change descent into farce began around four years ago when the Guardian published a letter entitled, ‘Climate change is real. We must not offer credibility to those who deny it‘, whereby a motley crew of journalists, politicians, activists and academics announced their refusal to debate anthopogenic global warming sceptics: ‘If “balance” means giving voice to those who deny the reality of human-triggered climate change, we will not take part in the debate’.
The reason for this step, we are told, is that on the one hand there is an overwhelmingscientific consensus and on the other, that there is a lobby, heavily funded by vested interests, that exists simply to sow doubt to serve those interests.
Scepticism represents ‘fringe views’ which should be ignored. Giving AGW sceptics a platform is apparently akin to showcasing flatearthers, never mind the fact that the official position of the Flat Earth Society is that it supports the climate alarmist narrative. (Of course it was sceptics who first argued that the world wasn’t flat).
The purpose of the letter is to justify the already well-established practice of refusing to engage in debate on global warming, by marginalising and belittling opponents, and to deplatform them.
Because of the shortage of real scientists prepared to put their names to the letter, we have the unedifying spectacle of the likes of Clive Lewis and Peter Tatchell declaring that they are above debating atmospheric physics with scientists of the calibre of Eric Karlstrom or Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever.
This exercise in dishonest narcissism demeans all who have signed or lent their support to it.
The letter is a farce and an embarrassment. Here’s why:
Climate alarmism is heavily funded by big money linked to the powerful and influential institutions and individuals highlighted above. Among them are the ‘charities’ The Bill Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation who only produce results that serve the globalist narrative. Academics who speak out against the narrative do so at the expense of their careers. The claim that it is the sceptical position that is heavily funded is nonsense.
Counter-arguments from AGW sceptics have never been discredited. Michael Mann, for example, who is in litigation with number of people who have openly called his hockystick graph a fraud, such as Tim Ball and Mark Steyn, is still, to my knowledge, refusing to produce the data supposed to justify it.
The vast majority of the signees to the letter would have no show of debating science with a top climate scientist. Of the 15 or so professors, maybe six are in relevant scientific fields, while the rest are in unrelated fields such as economics, law or psychotherapy.
The same applies to others with impressive sounding qualifications – Dr Teresa Belton, for example, wrote her thesis on the effects of television and video on children. In the case of 90% of the signees – academics, journalist, politicians, activists – the very idea that they could sensibly debate with serious climate scientists is ludicrous.
The letter comes out of the University of East Anglia and was drafted by Dr Rupert Read, Green Party politician and Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia; a the large number of signees have connections to the University. The UEA is notorious as the centre of the Climategate scandal, whereby emails between scientists at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) and their colleagues around the world revealed a consistent, deliberate effort to skew, hide or destroy data.
Three themes are emerging from the newly released emails:
prominent scientists central to the global warming debate are taking measures to conceal rather than disseminate underlying data and discussions;
these scientists view global warming as a political ’cause’ rather than a balanced scientific inquiry; and
many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.
”Man-made climate change (Anthropogenic Global Warming or AGW) is a scam and a hoax and until the average joe and jane wakes up to the truth this nonsense will continue to corrupt the scientific community, which depends on grants from those same economic and political powers, and more importantly will corrupt politicians worldwide who too are dependent upon them for campaign contributions.” (Dr Eric T. Karlstrom)
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. And if it quacks like a fraudulent narrative, the same applies.
The climate change project was officially launched in the US on June 23 1988, when NASA’s James Hansen told a Congressional committee that global warming had begun: that the then-current heat wave in Washington was caused by the relationship between ‘the greenhouse effect and observed warming.’ (To get the point across, Hansen and sponsor 98ii+68/Senator Tim Wirth chose what promised to be an exceptionally hot day and then sabotaged the air conditioning in the meeting room the night before.)
Global warming is one of those plain sight conspiracies, where the primary movers hardly bother to conceal the contrived nature of the project, or the vast sums of money they make from it. The Club of Rome in 1990 put out a report called The First Global Revolution saying:
‘In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…’ (p. 75).
The motivation, then, was not to solve an urgent problem, but to find a threat, real or not, that would ‘unite’ people. And divert them from real issues.
The Club of Rome was founded in 1967, one of a group of organisations committed to a globalist agenda, including the Committee on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg and the Trilateral Forum.
The Club of Rome has been described as being at the apex of the New World Order pyramid: it drives the global climate change project as well being concerned with population control and vaccinations. Members are world leaders and captains of industry, and have included Al Gore, Tony Blair, George Soros and other people you’d buy a used car from.
Climate alarmism is seen as fraudulent by many (probably all) top scientists, who have described it as a scam, a hoax and dangerous nonsense. As the science for significant anthropogenic global warming does not exist, the position relies on falsified data and especially on diversion from factual-based debate through emphasis on apocalyptic scenarios on the one hands, and spurious (and patently false) references to ‘consensus’.
Anthropogenic Climate Change: the Official Position
The International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) was founded with the task of providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change. Major points of its 2007 report are as follows:
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.
Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.
Continued GHG emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming.
Anthropogenic warmingcould lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change.
Notable achievements of the UN and its Kyoto Protocol include the creation of an international carbon market.
Scientific rejection of the IPCC’s position
The IPCC’s findings were opposed by scientists worldwide. The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, for example, slammed the IPCC report as ‘dangerous nonsense’ and produced a list of pillars of wisdom to counter the UN IPCC climate report.
Over the past few thousand years, the climate in many parts of the world has been warmer and cooler than it is now. Civilizations and cultures flourished in the warmer periods.
A major driver of climate change is variability in solar effects, such as sunspot cycles, the sun’s magnetic field and solar particles. […] Evidence suggests warming involving increased carbon dioxide exerts only a minor influence.
Since 1998, global temperature has not increased. Projection of solar cycles suggests that cooling could set in and continue to about 2030.
Most recent climate and weather events are not unusual; they occur regularly. For example, in the 1930s the Arctic experienced higher temperatures and had less ice than now.
Stories of impending climate disaster are based almost entirely on global climate models. Not one of these models has shown that it can reliably predict future climate.
The Kyoto Protocol, if fully implemented, would make no measurable difference to world temperatures. The trillions of dollars that it will cost would be far better spent on solving known problems such as the provision of clean water, reducing air pollution, and fighting malaria and Aids.
Climate is constantly changing and the future will include coolings, warmings, floods, droughts, and storms. The best policy is to make sure we have in place disaster response plans that can deal with weather extremes.
In essence, proponents of the theory of significant anthropogenic climate change need to show two things:
There is significant and dangerous global warming
This global warming is caused by human activity, ie greenhouse gas emissions, primarily co2 emissions.
Whereas sceptics need only show one thing:
global climate is not significantly or dangerously affected by human activity
It’s the Winning that Matters
As previously outlined, the AGW cause has the richest people and institutions on the planet promoting and exploiting the narrative, most of whom are closely associated with the Club of Rome and related globalist organisations like the Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg.
Vast sums of money are made available for research that produces the right results, and most of the corporate media is on message, churning out alarmist messages almost on a daily basis. The fact that neither science nor nature itself support the theory hardly seems to matter.
Like all narratives pushed by the powerful onto the masses, the global warming hoax is supported by relentless fallacious argument, so that the public are battered with endless ad hominem, cherry-picking and appeals to authority. Much of the data is suspect, to put it mildly, and a very large part of the ‘debate’ consists of apocalyptic scenarios, with threats of doom unless the public pours more money into the coffers of those profiting from the carbon hoax.
The IPCC’s position is still that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years, increasing at an exponential rate as we pump more and more CO2 into the atmosphere. Many scientists disagree, pointing to higher temperatures in the 30s, and a cooling since 1998.
150 graphs from 122 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals indicate modern temperatures are not unprecedented, unusual, or hockey-stick-shaped — nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability.
Data to promote the idea of runaway global warming has been questioned, for example the graphs used by NOAA ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NASA have been shown to have been ‘updated’, as it were.
In 2015, German professor Dr. Friedrich Karl Ewert accused NASA of ‘Massive’ Temperature Alterations’, i.e. of intentionally and systematically rigging the official government record of global temperatures.
‘A comparison of the data from 2010 with the data of 2012 shows that NASA-GISS had altered its own data sets so that especially after WWII a clear warming appears – although it never existed.’
The name ‘hockey stick graph’ was coined for figures showing a long-term decline followed by an abrupt rise in temperature, specifically applied to the findings of ‘a little known climate scientist named Michael Mann and two colleagues’ as described here by the Atlantic Council.
Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick obtained part of the programme that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the programme not do conventional principal component analysis but it handles data in such a way that whatever data was fed in, it produced a hockey stick. Mann has queried their findings, but refused to provide necessary additional data (McIntyre and McKitrick’s adventures with Mann are described here).
Michael Mann has been suing various critics for libel, including Mark Steyn, whose A Disgrace to the Profession is a compilation of scientific commentary on Michael Mann and his work. Steyn has also termed Mann a Big Climate huckster), and also emeritus Professor Dr. Tim Ball, who likewise suggested Mann was guilty of data fraud. Mann has been reported as being in contempt of court in the Ball case for failing to provide essential data.
When the promised global warming failed to eventuate, the phrase ‘global warming’ gave way to ‘climate change’. So when cherry-picked claims of extreme heat are met with examples of low temperatures, they are countered with, ‘there you go, extreme climate change!’.
The cause of ‘runaway global warming’ is, according to alarmists, the production of CO2. Not carbon monoxide, note, the one that is poisonous (we’re not worried about that), but carbon dioxide, which is necessary for plant life, and which greenhouse owners often add to improve the growth of their vegetables. (See New York Times Hysterical over Global Greening)
Scientists have pointed out in vain that the level of carbon dioxide has been far higher in the past, during the Cambrian period about 18 times higher. Moreover, during the glaciation of the late Ordocivian period, CO2 concentrations were nearly 12 times higher than today, according to one report. (This study has similar results.)
Winter is Coming
From the early 14th to the mid nineteenth century, Europe and other parts of the world experienced what is called the Little IceAge. It led to much misery, with cold and hunger from the failure of crops, political upheaval, and the decolonisation of Greenland. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII recognized the existence of witches and echoed popular sentiment by blaming them for the cold temperatures and resulting misfortunes plaguing Europe. (N.b. Greenland still has not recovered from the Little Iceage.)
The response of British institutions like the Met Office and University of East Anglia has been interesting. In 2012 they released data that showed that the warming trend ended in 1948, but insisted that cooling from natural sources will be offset by carbon emissions. See Scientists Predict Coming Iceage.
The thought of the world’s governments being able to serious affect the climate is not a comforting one: ‘If we didn’t have the greenhouse affect the planet would be at minus 18 deg C but because we do have the greenhouse affect it is plus 15 deg C, all the time.’ (Augie Auer).
Evidence of the Earth cooling has not given any pause to alarmist claims of dramatic warming, which have been present from the outset. In 1989 Nasa’s James Hansen was predicting that global temperatures would rise up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050. In his film An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore warned that increasing carbon dioxide emissions would spur catastrophic global warming that would cause more extreme weather, wipe out cities and cause ecological collapse. (The claims and predictions of An Inconvenient Truth were scrutinised 10 years on by Michael Bastasch in An Inconvenient Review.)
In his review of the book that accompanied Gore’s film, Hansen claimed: ‘As explained above, we have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions’.
To give a sense of urgency, the global warming threat has been described in the most extravagant terms. Hansen warned of a ‘global warming time bomb’ when he spoke to the Club of Rome in 2009. The concept of a ‘tipping point’ came into vogue, the peak of climate alarmism. Marc Morano prepared a full list of apocalyptic declarations, exclaiming ‘Hours, days, months, years, millennium – the Earth is serially doomed’. Some examples:
It is suggested that the only authentic climate ‘tipping point’ is the one proposed by New Zealand’s Augie Auer, who predicted in 2007 that it was all going to be a joke in five years time. (Auer reckoned without the powerful forces behind the climate hoax.)
Melting of the icecaps would be a truly dramatic event, a serious indication of warming. Accordingly climate alarmists have seized on this ‘danger’, in defiance of all the evidence. In 2007 — during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech — Al Gore mooted that the northern icecap could be gone by 2014.
‘One study estimated that [the North polar ice cap] could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years. [pause for effect] Seven years from now.’
In 2015 NASA data indicated that the polar icecaps were not receding, but in fact growing. This did not deter Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge University from predicting in 2016 that the icecap at the North Pole would be completely melted in the next year or two, ie by the end of summer 2018 at the latest. As it is now August, and the Polar caps seems to be doing well, his prediction is hardly odds on.
Others are sure that the icecaps will be gone by at least 2050. This view is expounded in an article by Gilbert Mercier, who is sure that by 2100, the countryside will be parched earth and major cities like London and New York will be under water.
Dr. Guy McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, is described in his biography as an ”award-winning scientist and the world’s leading authority on abrupt climate change.” Recently, McPherson claimed in a podcast that ‘abrupt climate change’ will result in the extinction of humans by 2026.
Six years ago, McPherson wrote an article where he made a similar dramatic catastrophic prediction. The article included a timeline for virtual human extinction within 9-33 months from the date the article in question was published. Conveniently, McPherson has since deleted the article. However, in a 2018 [Video] McPherson predicted that humans would be extinct by 2028 and that the arctic would be ice-free by 2019.
Arguably, the world’s leading climate doomsayer, Al Gore, has reportedly made $330m as a result of advocating on behalf of the alarmist cause. Gore made his fortune when he set up a green investment firm that’s now said to be worth $36bn, paying him $2m a month.
In a recent speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Gore’s hyperbole was off the scale. In the speech, he warned about ”rain bombs” and ”boiling oceans.”
Much of what Gore had to say is indicative of the kind of moral posturing synonymous with ‘climate justice’ often expressed by delegates at COP climate summits.
Gore’s psuedo-scientific hyperbole and the appeals to moral authority championed by his acolytes, have rarely been critiqued by journalists. Meanwhile, catastrophic warnings about the alleged impacts of ‘runaway climate change’ and the moral imperative to act against it, have become normalized across much of the panoply of social media.
The End of Snow
In An Inconvenient Truth Gore claimed that Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, would be snow free within a decade. On March 20, 2000, the British Independent reported that snowfalls were a thing of the past.
‘Global warming is simply making the UK too warm for heavy snowfalls. […] Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.
The source of these claims was Dr. David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, of Climategate fame. The Independent article appears to be gone from the Web, melted away as it were, but was well reported, and certainly criticised.
Apocalyptic predictions are supported by a relentless reporting of supposedly extraordinary events proving a trend towards global warming. The cherry-picking in many cases is both obvious and ludicrous, and often the actual facts open to question.
Coincidentally, it was also recorded that 2018 had the coldest April in the US for 30 years. At the same time New Zealand and Australia (the Daily Mail always nice pictures, if nothing else) were predicting the coldest winter on record -so far this has not come to pass, in NZ at least. It is probable that one could find (or contrive) an extreme temperature somewhere on the globe at any time in history.
Back to the old chestnut – the 97% Consensus
The claim that 97% of the world’s scientists support the climate hoax (99.9% according to George Monbiot) is a mantra repeated ever more shrilly in the face of unwelcome factual evidence. One might well ask, who cares? The argument is an appeal to authority, a red herring fallacy, and the beliefs of a claimed 97% of ‘scientists’ don’t actually change the scientific facts.
As often happens with the use of fallacious argument, the premise is completely false as well. It is clear that the there has been concerted and substantial opposition from scientists to the AGW narrative and the carbon fraud. Essentially the 97% claim is a bare-faced lie, designed to make sceptics look like loonies.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
Marc Morano has given a breakdown of more than 1000 international scientists who dissented over man-made global warming claims from 2008 to 2010. Morano refers to, for example:
U. S. Senate Minority Report:More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims: Scientists Continue to Debunk ‘Consensus’ in 2008 & 2009.
712 Prominent scientists from 40 countries signed the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change, sponsored by the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). The 2008 declaration states in part, ‘Global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life’.
In 2009, more than 100 international scientists rebuked President Obama’s view of man-made global warming. The scientists wrote: ‘Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.’
December 8 2009, an Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General from 166+ scientists declared ‘the science is NOT settled’.
2010, 130 German Scientists called climate fears ‘pseudo religion’ and urged the Chancellor to ‘reconsider’ her views.
In 2010, more than 260 scientists who are members of the American Physical Society (APS) endorsed the efforts of skeptical Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer to substantially amend the APS alarmist statement on man-made global warming.
A Japan Geoscience Union symposium survey in 2008 showed 90 per cent of the participants do not believe the IPCC report.
Professor Larry Bell of Houston University has also debunked the 97% claim, reporting.
A 2010 survey of media broadcast meteorologists conducted by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 63% of 571 who responded believe global warming is mostly caused by natural, not human, causes. Those polled included members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Association.
A more recent 2012 survey published by the AMS found that only one in four respondents agreed with UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims that humans are primarily responsible for recent warming. And while 89% believe that global warming is occurring, only 30% said they were very worried.
A March 2008 canvas of 51,000 Canadian scientists with the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysics of Alberta (APEGGA) found that although 99% of 1,077 replies believe climate is changing, 68% disagreed with the statement that ‘…the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled.’ Only 26% of them attributed global warming to ‘human activity like burning fossil fuels.’ Regarding these results, APEGGA’s executive director, Neil Windsor, commented, ‘We’re not surprised at all. There is no clear consensus of scientists that we know of.’
Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, and supervisor to James Hansen, Dr. John S. Theon has called Hansen an embarrassment, and added himself to the list of NASA scientists who dissent from man-made climate fears. Others include:
Aerospace engineer and physicist Dr. Michael Griffin, the former top administrator of NASA,
Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA,
Geophysicist Dr. Phil Chapman, an astronautical engineer and former NASA astronaut,
Award-Winning NASA Astronaut/Geologist and Moonwalker Jack Schmitt,
Award-winning NASA Astronaut and Physicist Walter Cunningham of NASA’s Apollo 7,
Chemist and Nuclear Engineer Robert DeFayette was formerly with NASA’s Plum Brook Reactor,
Hungarian Ferenc Miskolczi, an atmospheric physicist with 30 years of experience and a former researcher with NASA’s Ames Research Center,
Climatologist Dr. John Christy,
Climatologist Dr. Roy W. Spencer,
Atmospheric Scientist Ross Hays of NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility].
The alarmist narrative began to collapse in earnest from August last year when over 1,100 scientists and professionals put their names to the ‘World Climate Declaration (WCD). The authors, drawn from across the world, led by the Norwegian physics Nobel Prize laureate Professor Ivar Giaever, reject the claim that there is a ‘climate emergency’.
The WCD posit that the ‘scientific consensus’ on man-made climate change is part of a politically-driven media agenda and that grant-dependent academics have degenerated the discipline into a discussion based on beliefs, rather than sound self-critical science.
In particular, the WCD are critical of climate models, noting that they ”are not remotely plausible as global policy tools.”
The WCD contend that these models exaggerate the negative effects of carbon dioxide. They instead emphasize that the gas is beneficial for nature and agriculture; that it increases global crop yields, promotes growth in plant biomass and is essential to all life on Earth.
It is also the contention of the WCD that, historically, climate models have overstated the projected negative impacts of climate change compared to real world events and note that insufficient emphasis is placed on the empirical scientific method.
In addition, the WCD declare that there is no statistical evidence that climate change is intensifying hurricanes, floods and droughts, or making them more frequent.
Rather than there being a consensus of 97% of scientists who believe in climate alarmism, the opposite is more likely to be true: that 97% of scientists of integrity and without a financial interest believe that AGW alarmism is fraudulent.
Given that most scientists in fact reject the AGW scenario, and the public itself is growing increasingly sceptical, why has Augie Auer’s prediction, that it would be seen as a joke by about 2013, not come to pass?
Carbongate is seen as a victimless crime – ok, the taxpayer is paying out a fortune, but afterall, who hasn’t nicked a Biro from a government office?
The other reason, of course, is money: AGW alarmism is a construct of the rich and (thus) the very powerful, who are practically unstoppable. And getting richer.
Climate Change: a Hypothesis. This is an article which aimed to address the relationship between war and global warming. Unfortunately it relies on graphs provided by NASA which are almost certainly false, and so the article has little value except for some background information – I am probably the only person who has written about climate change who actually believed those graphs.
‘In this paper, I document some of the many disproofs of the hypothesis of unprecedented, catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming (AGW). In the process, I demonstrate that AGW is and has always been a fraud. I also:
Demonstrate that there is no consensus amongst scientists in support of the AGW hypothesis.
Show that natural climate fluctuations have had a far greater influence than humans on the climate system and that the claimed rate of modern warming (0.6° C in the 20th century) is well within the normal range for natural temperature fluctuations.
Show that atmospheric CO2 does not drive temperatures and plays a minor role in the climate system.
Discuss the historical benefits of relatively warm climates vs. more damaging colder climates.
Demonstrate that human contributions of CO2 to the atmosphere are minor (about 3.5%) as compared with nature’s contributions. And water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas.
Detail the many ways in which science fraud has been systematically and is still being used to create the common misperceptions associated with AGW.
Discuss problems and limitations of the GCMs (global climate models) that provide the basis of the alarmist claims of human-induced global warming
Expose the fallacies of the many propaganda ploys, including melting glaciers, rising sea levels, die-off of polar bears, increase in extreme weather, etc., that are now commonly attributed to AGW.
Speculate on the political, economic, and social agendas served by the AGW fraud.
In pre-enlightenment times, the earth was widely perceived as a stable force at the centre of the universe overseen by God. Theologians rationalized intellectual curiosity and any challenges to this prevaling orthodoxy as akin to bringing forth evil into the world. Dissenting ‘wrongdoers’ were required by the church to seek salvation in a deity in order to absolve themselves of their intellectual impulses.
But as theology eventually began to accede to scientific inquiry, salvation correspondingly began to take root in a system of ideas embodied in the philosophical writings of Aristotle.
According to Aristotle, the positions in society that individuals were perceived to have naturally occupied, all dovetailed together to form a pattern of the universe which gave everything its purpose. Aristotlian philosophy predicated on order, but underpinned by uneven relations of power, was to be one of the guiding principles of the enlightenment.
So although the enlightenment was a great leap forward from the idea that the power of Kings was historically fixed predicated on a grand purpose and design ordained by God, modernity nevertheless remained tied to the concept of progress as being that of the development of the human mind and of human nature as unchanging.
Knowing your place
The classical economists who arose out of the enlightenment were thus able to reinforce the notion that social and economic hierarchies and the establishment of private property were fixed and ‘natural’ consequences of progress borne out of intellectual endeavour.
Similar claims are made by evolutionary psychologists who reinforce the ideology that human behaviour or psychological characteristics are a biological adaptation shaped by natural selection hard-wired into the human brain.
The notion that human behaviour is genetically determined and that biology holds the key to solving social problems, has a long history going back to Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, in 1865.
Sociobiology and evolutionary psychology reinforce the ideological notion that the mass of ordinary people are conditioned to know their place within an ‘unchanging’ society even though the great changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution prove that power had transferred from feudal landlords to corporate grandees.
By the mid 19th century, the supplanting of the aristocracy of land with money led to the transference of the great estates to commodities. Karl Marx was the first to analyse in detail the nature of the emerging capitalism in which the worker devotes his life to producing objects which he does not own or control. The labour of the worker, according to Marx, thus becomes something separate and external to him.
In the year of Marx’s birth in 1818, a young English author called Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley published the first edition of the Gothic and Romantic science fiction novel, Frankenstein – the tale of a monster which turns against its creator. It’s the externalizing and uncontrollable forces Shelley describes in her masterpiece that draws parallels with the daily lot of workers outlined by Marx.
It was precisely the lack of any control workers had in the production process during the Industrial Revolution that led to the Luddites smashing up the machines that churned out the fruits of their ‘externalizing’ or alienated labour. For Marx, alienation is a material and social process that is intrinsic to society and nature in flux.
In dialectical terms, changes in nature are marked by a state of continuous motion driven by the struggle of conflicting and antagonistic forces. At some point, small incremental quantitative shifts in nature over time will eventually result in fundamental qualitative changes in appearance or form even though in ‘essence’ their nature remain one and the same.
An acorn, in becoming an oak, for example, will have ceased to be an acorn. Yet implicit within the acorn is the potential to become an oak. Equally, since humans are an integral part of nature, they cannot be excluded from the contradictory socioeconomic forces that interract with it. At some point these socioeconomic forces will eventually become something else and therefore cease to exist in their current form.
The ten-thousand year history of class-based societites from slavery to feudalism, through to capitalism, are indicative of these changes. Colonialism and imperialism, under capitalism, have been marked by the ability of the oppressors to suppress opposition to their rule using monsters as part of their strategy of divide and conquer.
But what the oppressors rarely factor into their strategies, is the potential for working people to break free from the chains that bind them. Attempts by the ruling class-owned corporate media to manipulate the public into accepting their oppression cannot be sustained indefinitely.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend
Similarly, there are limits to which monsters will be supine to their creators and many have been known to break free, and even turn the tables, on them. This, for example, was the case in Afghanistan during the 1980s when then US president Jimmy Carter’s covert programme financed tribal groups known as the mujahedin, including Osama bin Laden, against the common enemy, the Soviet Union, as part what was called, Operation Cyclone.
From this spawned other monsters, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, all of whom felt betrayed enough to turn their ire on their creator in the form of undertaking terrorist attacks, most notably and spectacularly in New York on September 11. The Zionists in Israel are an example of a US-funded monster that has managed to have been kept under relative control, despite its frequent attempts to break free from its masters leash.
In all cases, the monsters described have bitten the financial hand of Washington that feeds them resulting in often unintended and unpredictable, geopolitical consequences. Indeed, Faustian pacts with the devil have, largely by way of ‘blow back’, contributed significantly to the exponential spread of terrorism worldwide.
School of the Americas
There are, however, other monsters which their creators have managed to exert tight control. An example, is the extent to which Washington maintains leverage over terrorist fighters in central and south America who continue to emerge from what was formerly known as the School of the Americas located at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia.
The SOA was responsible for training the regime that overthrew the Honduran government headed by Manuel Zelaya in June, 2009, as well as fomenting the March, 2016 coup that culminated in the assassination of the leading grass-roots Honduran environmental activist, Berta Caceres.
Saudi Arabia, who is one of the key players in Syria, has also been bombarding Yemen since at least September, 2015 using weaponry sold to them by the UK-US governments’.
Also around this time – February, 2014 – the US instigated a violent coup d’etat in Kiev against the democratically-elected government of pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych.
From 2015 to the present, the policies of successive Ukraine governments’ have been their unwillingness to both ratify and implement the Minsk Agreement which in, part, is designed to guarantee the security of the people of the Donbas region and to secure a lasting peaceful resolution to the year-long Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The fact that the US and UK continue to funnel weapons to paramilitary neo-Nazi’s and ultra nationalists such as the Azov Battalion and other fascist followers of Hitler-collaborator, Stepan Bandera, in support of their monster in Kiev, would indicate that the intention of the UN/NATO powers is not for a peaceful resolution but to prolong the conflict as part of a geopolitical proxy war.
Whenever I feel a little low and disillusioned with the world, I often re-read the following parable, the clarity of vision of which seems to put everything neatly into perspective.
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked: ”But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said: “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed: “I have an MBA from Harvard, and can help you,” he said. “You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middle-man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution,” he said.
The American added: “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked: “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied: “Oh, 15 to 20 years or so.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said: “That’s the best part. When the time was right, you would announce an IPO, and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said: “Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”