Showing posts with label Propaganda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Propaganda. Show all posts

April 14, 2019

The Mitzvah of Vaccination

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Mitzvah of Vaccination."
According to the CDC, "Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting measles, mumps, or rubella"...for yourself, your families, your community, and for all the other innocent people out there who want to be and stay healthy, please get vaccinated; do your part as a good citizen and Jew.

Getting vaccinated–it is a mitzvah and please G-d, for all, a L’Chaim!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 11, 2017

The Fine Line Between Fantasy and Reality

So I've started to realize that there are at times a (very) thin line between fantasy and reality. 

In some cases, people hear some facts or some truth, and then in their mind, they concoct entire stories of fantasy or full-fledged conspiracy around it.

But more than that, the fantasy in their minds, because it starts with a real fact or two then becomes entirely perceived as reality itself. 

We saw plenty of this in the last election cycle and even today, with one political side or the other purchasing phony dossiers or making up stories about the opposition--and they may even have some underlying facts associated with it. 

But around these facts, entire scripts and stories are concocted through inductive reasoning or highly imaginative thinking, whether for example, of deep Russian conspiracies reminiscent of the era of McCarthyism or the Salem Witch Trails of yesteryear. 

Again, I'm not saying that nothing is there, but the question is whether there is real truth then to the whole conspiracy that has been drawn from fantastical minds of opposition agents, reporters, and others gainfully benefiting and perhaps running amuck with these grandiose versions of alternate reality?

What I am coming to believe is that it's not so much that people are willfully making up these stories (although there can certainly be plenty of biases, exaggerations, and agendas at work as well), but that in their mind, they create these bombastic versions of what seems like truth to them and then they pawn it off and sell it to others who are only to happy to latch unto some juicy new gossip or theory of "what's really going on."

Similarly, some people who get very mad may actually take albeit a genuine fight with another person and pour layer upon layer of evil doings and manipulations on them until by the time their mind is done, the other person has become the devil themselves--and the fantasy for a short time seems like it is the reality--until such time that cooler heads prevail and reality replaces the mind's fantasy or it's ultimate fears. 

In short, there is a very fine line between fantasy and reality--our minds can get carried away with facts or notions of the moment and build those into full-fledged conspiracy theories of "who done it" and "why didn't we see it all along."

Certainly, this doesn't mean that there aren't some very good pretenders out there who truly are doing very bad things and covering their tracks, and it's for the gifted and detective minds out there to perceive those and prove them as being the greater reality.

But we have to be careful in accusing people--until such time that the facts are all there and the perception or fantasy of our mind's eye is shown to be the reality indeed. 

We need good investigative journalism, excellent law enforcement and intelligence, and clarity of mind to know what's real and what's fake in life and in our fantastical minds. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 15, 2017

Another Nothing Burger

So I've noticed that not only in politics--but in life--people are want to throw around a lot of nothing burgers.

This happens when they make vague accusations--incriminating people or groups--but without substantiating what they are saying. 

It's a way of bullying, discriminating, and hating on others. 

Creating doubt about your victim--keep saying those derogatory, demeaning, and hateful stories--it tarnishes the other person's image, reputation, and credibility.

Creating an endless aura of fallibility on the other person's part. 

Here, we go...they screwed up again!

It's death by a thousand cuts of insults, pot shots, and sucker punches.

It's a definite form of verbal and emotional abuse and violence. 

Sometimes, there may be something to it--in which case the party that screwed up should take responsibility, correct their mistakes, and commit to sincerely doing better in the future. 

But often, there is nothing there!

And the false accusations are merely a way to cover up (management) incompetency or bias by the accusers themselves. 

It's a great way to dominate the conversation, but really the people making the stink are simply acting out--and not too flattering as the whiners and complainers.

They point fingers at others, but there are three fingers pointing back at themselves!

Why?

Because it's another nothing burger meant to deceive, discredit, and retard and take the focus off their own meatless patties!  

Where's the beef?

The liars and deceivers and propagandists are using you for their own means.

Another nothing burger in the oven and it ain't kosher! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 7, 2017

Any Objectivity Out There Please?

Just want to pose a question to close out this week...

A recent Harvard study "confirms media bias" against Trump with negative media reports outpacing positive ones by 80:20.

Some outlets are posting at an incredible 13:1 rate for negative reporting!

Can CNN, the New York Times, and other mass media outlets get back to objective news reporting once again?

This doesn't mean avoiding real investigative journalism and honest criticism where due.

But rather it should be fair, balanced, and work to get to truth.

We can hold dear the First Amendment and do it with genuine integrity too. 

This would be a great day for America! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 2, 2017

CNN News May (Sometimes) Be Fake, But The Flowers Aren't

As CNN (and other news outlets) continue to go after the President of the United States with a vehemence, and three of its journalists had to resign, I thought it was important to remember that while there may be much news these days that is ugly and fake, there are still many things in life that are still beautiful and real like these gorgeous flowers.

While we look to the media for honest and fair news reporting to educate and inform us all, it continues to be more than disappointing that they not only seem to take sides, but as one of their own producers admitted, they are looking out for their own ratings more than for the benefit of the American and global news consumer. 

Political biases, chasing after ratings, alternative facts, fake news...what are people across the political and viewpoint spectrum to do to get to the truth?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 23, 2017

The Nails Exploded!

So it continues to be amazingly sad how there can be a large terror attack in the UK yesterday, but still many of our weak politicians and fake news media can’t readily admit the simple truth about the war with radical Islamic terrorism.

A nail bomb goes off at a concert in one of the largest arenas in Europe killing at least 22 and wounding 59 mainly teenagers attending a rock concert, and the headline is:

“Suspected Terror Attack”

Uh, who would’ve suspected that?

Perhaps it could have just been a large pile of nails lying around exploding at the box office and killing people?

Stupid, stupid, stupid…

Shameful, shameful, shameful

We live amidst brazen lies to the people, grotesque political correctness, and unbelievable media spin.

And yes, that’s how we might end up losing a big one someday. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 28, 2017

U.S. National Demise From Political and Media Extremism


When politics

When media becomes propaganda, this country is in serious trouble.

We are so busy telling each other what "the truth" is that nothing is getting done. 

While Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and radical Islamist terrorists increase in strength and bravado, we are fighting one another here at home.

As more people in the U.S. gravitate to the extremes--alt-left and alt-right--lines in sand are drawn between us, while the red lines defending our common interests are eviscerated. 

Self-destructing from within, while we outwardly spend $600 billion on defense--34% of that of the entire world!

No strategy or weapons can defend us, when fake news and alternate facts and hatred of one another is at our present-day core. 

Tearing us apart, the endless hateful calls of:

- "Not my President"

- "Resistance and persistence"

- "Love Trumps Hate"

- "Deplorables, Nazis, Communists!"

The political extremists and their media henchmen are leading the charge to America's downfall and possible doomsday. 

Unless we, the American people, can moderate and unify and love each other again.

We must before our enemies take advantage of our inner divisiveness and weakness.

If we don't come to our common senses, then we may very well pay a most heavy price in our persons, property, and freedom that we all so cherish and value. ;-)
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February 19, 2017

Fake Media

So it's not supposed to be this way. 

While of course, there is a media bent, it's not supposed to be a downright bias--the media's job is to report the news, not take absolute sides. 


Yet these days, the alt-left media seems most hell bent on incessantly attacking the President and working to delegitimize him.

And the President is calling the news media, "the enemy of the American people."

Russ Limbaugh commented: "The media did not make Donald Trump and they can't destroy him."

It started with the election when biased media outlets "ordered employees to destroy Trump"and tried to convince Americans that he absolutely couldn't win

And only 4 weeks into the now Trump presidency, they are calling that "Congress should impeach Donald Trump."

What type of Democracy is this?

For eight years, Obama ruled and the media glowed bright with near endless praise--even when things went very wrong, the media played the Secret Service and took the bullet shielding Obama's every move.

Now with the Trump, the media is no longer the Praetorian Guard, but the the assassin in waiting--plotting and maneuvering for their chance to fire the fatal shot. 

Will it be Flynn, the Russians, the Islamic Terrorist immigration ban or something entirely else. 

The media has the people's ears...they can spread the news or seed gross and even malicious propaganda. 


While Trump wants to put America First, many media outlets are instead looking to put Trump out to his final pasture. 

When they are targeting the President in such a merciless and endless barrage of negativity and hate, can even President Trump survive? 

While the alt-left media--with funding by billionaire George Soros--kicks and punches away with every article and news segment, it's our democracy that is surely taking the power beating and dying the death of bias and overthrow. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 22, 2017

Not A Newspaper, But Rather A Hatepaper

Many are raising concerns about media bias and censorship in this most polarizing of times for our nation. 

Media like the New York Times that many used to look up to is endlessly going after the President of the United States and has become a hateful disgrace for its bias, hyperbole, and rancor. 

No longer a respectful investigative and informative newspaper, it's now become a bona fide one-sided, bigoted, hatepaper.

Sure, media is going to represent the views of its owners, but today's New York Times is what happens when hate and party politics become it's sole purpose for being. 

When people and media are balanced, fair, and rational, they present good and bad--both sides of the argument. 

When they are biased and hateful and simply a tool for power elite propaganda and mind control then this is what you get...the New York Times Sunday Review Section--here's a list of their articles today:
- The Commander in Chief Who Buried Humility
- How to Listen to Donald Trump Every Day for Years
- Why Would We Need To March?
- Racial Progress, Then Racist Progress
- Under The Big Top (Apparently the circus [Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey] couldn't compete against a Trump presidency)
- Sheer Dispair
- The America We Lost When Trump Won
- Placing a Bet on the New President (I've Been hearing he's surrounding himself with swampy people)
- The Tempting of the Media (The traps for the press in the Trump era)
- Why I Cannot Fall in Line Behind Trump
Yes, our freedom and democracy is under attack by bias and bigotry, but perhaps you need to look closer at the supposedly mainstream newspapers that you are reading for the true hateful filled columns that they have come to represent.  

May G-d save this republic from not only corrupt politicians, but also a media that is in some cases no better, and perhaps as in this case, maybe even worse. 

Who are the deplorables when the windows of innocents are being smashed, the cars being burnt, threats of bombing the White House are broadcast, and the hate-mongering media keeps bashing and bashing and bashing.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

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August 22, 2016

Antisocial Social Club

This guy was hilarious.

Pink hat.

Big round white sunglasses.

And a shirt that says:

"Antisocial Social Club"

Truly, if he was anymore antagonistic to the norms of society, he'd probably be unloading an AK47 into an unsuspecting innocent crowd somewhere.

Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, then again not really in this day and age of global terrorism where beheadings, suicide bombers, burning and stoning people alive, and child abductions and sex slaves are now the norms in certain outrageous societies. 

And if those are the norms in certain places, what in the world would be considered antisocial behavior there???

So a pink hat, big sunglasses, and an antisocial t-shirt in free America--that ain't nothing anymore.

Antisocial with a big "Anti" now means death and apocalyptic destruction and global disorder.  

As to our weak politicians who can't can stomach calling a mass phenomenon of psychotic antisocial personality disorder, antisocial--well you can judge what's wrong with them for yourself. 

Why does it matter?

It matters only to those of you who have a moral compass to live by and who care about what normal even is--too bad our political elite are missing the substance of this. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 21, 2016

Why Are We So Unconfident?

So I took this photo today at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. 


"We are strong!
We are positive!
We will survive!" 

Does someone who says these things sound like they really believe it or far more likely, it is that they need to tell themselves these things, because they are really not feeling so confident after all?

What's the unfortunate message behind these words?  

- We spend $610 billion on defense--more than the next 8 super nations combined--yet somehow we feel vulnerable and weak, especially with terrorism and a resurgent Russia and China

- We are so fortunate to live in freedom, democracy, seeming prosperity, and have everything to be positive and thankful about--yet 80% are dissatisfied and think we are heading in the wrong direction. 

- We are the world's superpower of nations--with wealth, armaments, a seat on the UN security council, and more than 800 bases around 80 countries in the world--"more than any other people, nation, or empire in history," yet most Americans think we're faring poorly and that their children will be worse off than themselves!

How can so much security result in so much insecurity?  

The answer should be obvious.

When people don't believe in the wisdom of their leaders, then no matter what they have or spend or where they are coming from, they are at risk of losing it all.

Poor leadership means corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, and absolute bad decision-making for this nation. 

We don't believe we are strong, because we see other nations spending less on their defense, yet getting more in terms of security for the people.

People don't feel positive, because they don't see good decisions being made, progress toward a better future, and confidence in the future being shaped. 

Questions about our very survival are surfacing because:

- We have seen millions of jobs disappear to our competitors overseas

- Our national debt balloon to near catastrophic levels (and with no tangible benefit to average Joe citizen as everything from our education system to our roads and bridges are falling apart)

- Bankruptcy to the critical entitlement pillars of Social Security and Medicare are being regularly forewarned. 

- Corrupt politicians who are supposed to be looking after us and effectively governing us are instead doing terrible wrongs, yet they are endlessly allowed to be above the law. 

- There is non-stop global terrorism and a reluctance to even call it what it is let alone truly fight to win. 

- We face out of control proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and yet remove sanction and release hundreds of billions of dollar to the largest state sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses. 

- Open hostility to the U.S. is present as nations are doing what they want whether it terms of nuclear and ballistic missile development and testing in Iran and North Korea, using chemical weapons on civilians in Syria, annexing Crimea, buzzing U.S. planes and ships and conducting cyber war by Russia, and orchestrating a vast military build up in the South China Sea--and all without meaningful consequences.

So everyone repeat after me: 


"We are strong!
We are positive!
We will survive!" 

If you say it enough, you may actually start to believe it. 

Then again, if you start listening to your true inner feelings, you may start to see the vast political gimmickry being played out on you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 13, 2015

Obstruction Or Progress At Last

We all hate people who are obstructionist to what we consider progress.

The problem is not everyone defines progress the same way.

Progress to one may be hugely regressive to someone else.

So when 47 senators sent a cautionary letter to Iran's leadership this week about making a deal on nukes, which perhaps comes down to less now for more later...

- Some called it obstructionist to the negotiations and even a potential violation of the Logan Act.

- While others saw it as progress in bringing us back from the brink of a dangerous and (very) bad deal involving legitimizing weapons of mass destruction for a dangerous regime to all.

Two partisan sides to every story...and each side capitalizes on theirs.  

"That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!"

But history inevitably tells the true story (or closer to it) based on the outcomes of action or inaction (aka acts of commission and omission).

With the tornado of spin from the pundits on news, news, and more news, someone reminded me of the adage:

"Liar, liar pants on fire" 

or 

"Don't believe everything you hear, and only half of what you see." ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 21, 2015

The Monster Under The Bed

For those familiar with Yiddish...

A shiksa is a non-Jewish girl and is sometimes used to refer to Jewish women that don't follow the commandments. 

A shegetz is a similar term used for a male. 

Is it a bad word? 

Well, let's just say it's not a term of endearment. :-)

I guess it's funny that everyone has terms for those who are not just like them.

Of course we all don't have to be and aren't the same, cut from the same mold.

But we all have to have respect for each other and get along. 

I think the worst part of people being different is not even the overt jokes or off-handed remarks which can certainly be hurtful, but much more the backdoor insinuations and aggressive behaviors. 

Lately, to be frank, it seems that ethnic and religious war is brewing big time in the world--anyone else notice?

Not regional, focused on oil and resources, long held dictatorships, human rights, or even "the Palestinian issue."

But rather what no one wants to talk about or confront, a battle of civilizations.

It is so scary, because this is there are big and powerful actors at play whether Russia or China playing for the world's leadership role (one overtly and the other covertly), Iran and North Korea freely wielding nukes and threateningly strutting "their stuff," and ISIS and Al Qaeda looking for the next budding caliphate and  imposition of Sharia law as far and as wide as they can take it.

East meets West, democracy vs. dictatorship, religion against religion, this thing is building up steam, pressure is rising, and the question is whether and how big this is about to blow.

Shhh, if we don't say the words or we pretend to "make nice" and give out jobs, dole out handouts, and use our drones, oh so discretely, maybe no one will notice. 

Are we being phobic about communism, radical Islam, budding economic and military might, and other differences, or are we pointing out what we are all perceiving, but greatly fear to face. 

When I saw recently that some wonderful Muslim people were surrounding synagogues in Europe, not to attack it, but rather to encircle it to defend it, I was not only in complete awe, but also realized how many good and righteous people there are out there.

These people are actually doing something about the injustices and power grabs they are witnessing, and not trying to obfuscate or opiate the masses. 

It's not just about being tolerant of others and stripping hatred from our hearts and lives, but about being truthful when others may choose not to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Facebook)
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July 13, 2013

Head Spinning From All The Spin

The Nazi Minister of Propaganda, the evil Joseph Goebbels said, "He who controls the message, controls the masses."

All dictatorships function very much from this premise as we see even now a days in totalitarian governments that limit Internet access, block websites, and filter news and messages from the people, so as to keep them docile and servile. 

However, even in a democracy as fine as ours, the ability to control the message is a very powerful tool in directing how events are understood by the public and what action is taken, or not. 

Some recent examples:

1) Syria's Use of Chemical Weapons:
Numerous allies including England, France, and Israel say they have intelligence about Syria's use of sarin gas against their own people...So did Syria cross the red line and use chemical weapons requiring us to take action or is this a matter for investigation and evidence? 

2) Iran's Violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty:
Iran is one of the world's richest in energy resources and reserves...So is Iran violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty necessitating that we stop them or are they just building nuclear facilities for peaceful civilian energy needs? 

3) Egyptian Military Coup and Roadmap For Reconciliation:
Egypt's military overthrew the Egyptian Prime Minister from the Muslim Brotherhood who oversaw the rewriting of the constitution in 2011 to be based on Islamic law and not inclusive of other more secular elements of society...So is the restoration of true democracy and civil rights for the Egyptian people or a brutal coup? 

4) Sudan Committing Genocide in Darfur:
With over 400,000 killed, 2,500,000 displaced, and 400 villages completely destroyed in Darfur...So did Sudan commit genocide requiring prevention, intervention, and punishment or was this just Sudanese internal conflict? 

5) People Employed in U.S. at 30-Year Lows:
The proportion of the U.S. population that is working is at low rates not seen since the recession of the 1980's...So is the unemployment rate still a critical national issue or is the unemployment rate really better and the economy strong again? 

6) Edward Snowden Leaking Classified Information:
Snowden sought out the job with Booz Allen Hamilton to gather evidence on classified NSA surveillance and when he did he leaked this information to the news and harmed national security...So is Snowden a traitor or a whistleblower? 

7) An $82 Billion Federal IT Budget:
The Federal IT budget is anticipated to rise to $82 billion in 2014...So are we still spending on large troubled IT projects or realizing billions in IT savings from new technology trends in cloud, mobile, social computing and more?

As Bill Clinton in 1998 said when questioned about the Monica Lewinsky affair..."It depends what the meaning of the word is, is?"

We see clearly that definitions are important, interpretations are important, and spin can make right seem wrong and wrong seem like right. 

How we communicate and present something is very important and has critical ramifications on what is done about it whether in terms of action, attribution, and retribution. 

Moreover, we should keep in mind that "He who knows doesn't tell, and he who tells doesn't know," so there are limits to what even gets communicated from the get-go. 

What is communicated, when, and in how much clarity or distortion is a function one on hand of people's agendas, biases, career building (including the desire to get and keep power), as well as the genuine need for secrecy and security.

On the other hand, the desire for openness, transparency, truth, and healthy debate (facilitated by the media, checks and balances in government, and the judicial system) provides a counterbalance. 

We the people must press to determine--is the person telling it like it is or are some things being contrived, manipulated, edited, and Photoshopped.

In the end, critical thinking and looking beyond the surface can make the difference between what we know we know and what we think we know. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jah~)


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December 23, 2011

Leadership, Beyond Brainwashing and Beatings

Leading by decree rather than merit usually means that the people are either beaten or brainwashed into submission--this is oddly reminiscent of the age-old question, which is mightier, the pen or the sword?

History is full of examples of tyrants, dictators, and monarchs (this goes for some bosses at work too) who take "the throne" putting anyone who opposes them to either be put to death or be "reeducated."

On one hand, the sword is straightforward though it comes in a thousand varieties--where those who oppose the ruler die:

- in open opposition on the battle field

- in public display in front of a firing squad, by hanging, or even by guillotine
- in more surreptitious ways such as with a knife in a back alley somewhere, languishing in a dungeon of old, thrown in a van from the streets with a hood over your head, or taken in the middle of the night never to be seen or heard from again, or even assassinated by anything from a well-placed bullet to a vial of radioactive poisoning


The sword of the dictator knows no mercy.

On the other hand, the pen is more shady and comes in but one form--where those who disagree with the power(s) that be are convinced to think otherwise. There are many examples from the gulag to the labor camp where reeducation, indoctrination, propaganda, brainwashing, hypnosis and other, harsher forms of mind control are employed.

As a child of Holocaust survivors, who lived through the Hitler rein of terror, I am keenly aware of the devastating impact that dictators can have by sword and by pen. Hitler (may his soul be cursed forever) used both to achieve and hold power, sending millions to die in concentration camps and brainwashing a generation of Germans into believing his rhetoric of hatred, superiority, and megalomaniac ideals for world domination.

This week, watching power pass in North Korea from father to son, now for a third generation gripping unto the leadership mantle there, the potential for abuse is certainly present, but there is certainly also the opportunity for positive change. It remains to be seen who this new leader really is and what he will stand for--especially since he is so young--only age 28 or 29.

Previously, I had read about the sword being used to hold unto power in that country with horrifying prison camps, such as the infamous Camp 22 with 50,000 prisoners (many of them political opponents) living under the most inhumane conditions.

This week, I watched on the news and YouTube, citizens apparently wailing over the death of their leader there--and I wondered with the people starving and living in one of the poorest and most isolated nations in the world, are they really that brainwashed to believe in the absolute greatness (almost like a deity) of their leader or was this whole display staged?

In 2010, the son, was given the rank of a 4-Star General--yet supposedly he doesn't have any military experience.

This week, in the son's first week in power, he was given the title "Outstanding Leader"--even before having the chance to lead.

Today, I read in the Wall Street Journal (23 December 2011) how the "Propaganda and Agitation" department there is working to "quickly bolster [the] new leader's legitimacy." According to the article, their responsibility is "for filing North Koreans' minds with awe, devotion, and unswerving respect for the dictatorial dynasty."

While propaganda and force can create yet another generation whose will is bent to serve its leader, my hope and prayer is that we have a possibility for a new way of thinking and leadership in North Korea, and in many other countries around the world today.

Wielding power can be an opportunity to show benevolence, encourage freedom, and win people over through the power of ideas rather than by physical or mental coercion.

(All opinions my own)

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January 18, 2009

Information: Knowledge or B.S.?

With modern technology and the Internet, there is more information out there than ever before in human history. Some argue there is too much information or that it is too disorganized and hence we have “information overload.”

The fact that information itself has become a problem is validated by the fact that Google is world’s #1 brand with a market capitalization of almost $100 billion. As we know the mission statement of Google is to “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

The key to making information useful is not just organizing it and making it accessible, but also to make sure that it is based on good data—and not the proverbial, “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO).

There are two types of garbage information:

  1. Incorrect, incomplete, or dated
  2. Misleading /propagandistic or an outright lie

When information is not reliable, it causes confusion, rather than bringing clarity. And then, the information can actually result in worse decision making, then if you didn’t have it in the first place. This is an enterprise architecture that is not only worthless, but is harmful or poison to the enterprise.

Generally, in enterprise architecture, we are optimistic about human nature and focus on #1, i.e., we assume that people mean to provide objective and complete data and try to ensure that they can do that. But unfortunately there is a darker side to human nature that we must grapple with, and that is #2.

Misinformation by accident or by intent is used in organizations all the time to make poor investment decisions. Just think how many non-standardized, non-interoperable, costly tools your organization has bought because someone provided “information” or developed a business case, which “clearly demonstrated” that is was a great investment with a high ROI. Everyone wants their toys!

Wired Magazine, February 2009, talks about disinformation in the information age in “Manufacturing Confusion: How more information leads to less knowledge” (Clive Thompson).

Thompson writes about Robert Proctor, a historian of science from Stanford, who coined the word “Agnotology,” or “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.” Proctor theorizes that “people always assume that if someone doesn’t know something, it’s because they haven’t paid attention or haven’t yet figured it out. But ignorance also comes from people literally suppressing truth—or drowning it out—or trying to make it so confusing that people stop hearing about what’s true and what’s not.” Thompson offers as examples:

  1. “Bogus studies by cigarette companies trying to link lung cancer to baldness, viruses—anything but their product.”
  2. Financial firms creating fancy-dancy financial instruments like “credit-default swaps [which] were designed not merely to dilute risk but to dilute knowledge; after they changed hands and been serially securitized, no one knew what they were worth.”

We have all heard the saying that “numbers are fungible” and we are also all cautious about “spin doctors” who appear in the media telling their side of the story rather than the truth.

So it seems that despite the advances wrought by the information revolution, we have some new challenges on our hands: not just incorrect information but people who literally seek to promote its opposite.

So we need to get the facts straight. And that means not only capturing valuable information, but also eliminating bias so that we are not making investment decisions on the basis of B.S.


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