Global Political Situation (GPS): Headlines and analysis of what’s happening in the world, this week looking at government rhetoric from the lens of advertising.
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Global Political Situation (GPS)
Analysis: Is Politics Just Presentation?
Many of these articles (see below) highlight a fundamental disconnect between what Governments say and what they do. The situation is reminiscent of advertising. I want to briefly look at advertising and then explain how it’s similar to the way governments speak and act.
There are two things that advertising does perfectly. First, advertising is great at lying. The lies advertising tells are not, however, just normal lies. They are a very particular kind of lie, which we’ll come to in a second. The second thing advertising does perfectly is conceal the labor that produces whatever they’re trying to sell.
Advertising lies in a very specific way. They lie by associating the product they’re trying to sell with a value that consumers want to have but currently lack. Some values you often see expressed in advertising include Individuality (be yourself), Friendship (be with cool people who like you), and Autonomy (make your own decisions). By associating their product with these values, advertising obscures the fact that the very act of advertising (and, by extension, consumption) is opposed to the values they’re expressing. Buying the new iPhone will not make you an individual, will not win you any friends, and does not mean you area free-thinker. In fact, quite the opposite. Materialistic over-consumption is a symptom of the lack of values, not a solution to it.
At the same time, the things we consume are often produced in sweat-shops where workers are unfairly compensated for their time and labor, while profits flow up into the hands of a small number of extremely wealthy individuals. Advertising conceals these uncomfortable facts because informed consumers may decide not to buy their product.
Advertising is a fair analogy to politics. All governments, including blatantly non-democratic ones, speak a language designed to associate government decisions with values that are important to the people, and to reassure the people that the government is acting in accordance with those values. Some values you often hear mentioned are Human Rights, Freedom, and Transparency. Since governments in so-called democracies act in the name of the people they represent, the language they use is also intended to legitimize elections.
When we look at the global political situation, however, we see that the values expressed in government rhetoric are different from the values that inform their actions. Australia officially believes in Human Rights, but they intentionally torture refugees in order to prevent more refugees from coming. Governments lie to us when they claim to act according to our dearly held values, and by lying to us they show that they not only do not share our values, but that they are interested in obscuring that fact from us.
We can speculate why authoritarian governments want to obscure their reasons for acting from their people, but I’m more interested in why so-called democratic governments do it. The answer has to do with legitimizing the democratic process. If the real values underpinning government decisions were known, the people who voted for them would feel betrayed, and would not vote the same government into power again. Democratically elected governments want to maintain power, so they obscure the real reasons why they make decisions from their voters.
Government rhetoric in democratic countries therefore associates governmental decisions with values that the government does not have and perpetuates this falsehood in order to legitimize elections that are themselves based on the same lies. Mass elections have shown themselves to be extremely conducive to this behavior. These mass elections have become part of the problem, and cannot, without major structural change, be the solution.
Tensions between World Powers over Aleppo
International coalition of forces join operation to take Mosul from Islamic State
- We’re at the 4th day of the coalition invasion of the IS/Daesh controlled Mosul. Mosul (2million) has been controlled by Daesh for 2 years.
- The coalition involves mostly the Kurdish/Iraqi Peschmerga, the Iraqi military, and other various local Kurdish/Alividin militia forces.
- Daesh has met the initial invasions with suicide truck bombings and it has retreated its 4,000 troops into the 2 million populated city of Mosul.
Humanitarian pause to the bombing of Aleppo took place over the weekend.
- Over the weekend Russia enforced a “humanitarian pause” to the bombing of Aleppo by Russian and Syrian. The United States and Britain threaten Russia with more sanctions over the bombings, in which countless civilians have died. Tensions between the US and Russia are still high.
The Real Syrian Civil Defense Exposes NATO’s ‘White-Helmets’ As Terrorist-Linked Imposters
- The real Syrian Civil Defense is an International Civil Defense Organization certified fire and rescue organization and has no ties to the ‘White Helmets’
- The White Helmets are not recognized by ICDO, they have ties to Blackwater, and they have received nearly $100 Million in funding from Western backers.
- The White Helmets have been deployed by the west to derail the Syrian state, first by undermining existing civic structures and by disseminating staged PR to facilitate regime change propaganda, through western and Gulf state media outlets
Putin, Hollande, and Merkel met Wednesday evening in Berlin to discuss East Ukraine.
- Not much was expected from the meeting, Putin recently canceled a meet last week last minute in Paris with Hollande.
Turkish Warplanes bomb Kurds in Northern Aleppo
- Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) claimed air raids between 21.11-23.59 on Wednesday. The YPG recaptured Mare a town in the northern Aleppo district of Azaz in late 2015. 11 attacks on targets belonging to the YPG, e.g. shelters, military headquarters and an armoured vehicle. ANHA News Agency claims that 14 attacks were carried out on villages near Mare controlled by the Army of Revolutionaries (Jaysh al Thuwar, a part of the SDF). This comes as Wednesday morning the group liberated five villages in the Shahba region, 18km nw of al-Bab. As Turkish shelling subsided this morning Daesh began attacking the Revolutionaries from the east of the Shahba dam. Speculations surround the attacks as an attempt to prevent Kurdish forces from taking al-Bab.
- Reports of TSK also firing in Efrin (Kurdish controlled Canton). SDF co-chair Illham Ehmed reacted to the attacks on social media by saying, ‘The occupying Turkish state is attacking Afrin and the Shahba region to sabotage the operation to liberate Raqqa and protect the Daesh gangs crossing over from Mosul to Raqqa.’
- Many media outlets are reporting that 200 Kurdish fighters were killed in the attacks. However, as Facebook user Karem Schamberger points out, the sources for these claims are the Turkish military, a party of the conflict. The sources usually lead to the Anadolu Agency (AA), which, according to Schamberger, “is a pure propaganda machine of the AKP dictatorship.”
3rd Presidential Debate, Journalism and Press Freedom
Trump Claims the Election is Rigged.
Trump claims later that he would accept the result… if he wins!
Amy Goodman’s Charges for Riot Dropped by North Dakota Judge
- The State Prosecutor wants to leave the case open. She was charged after reporting on the First Nations Protectors attempts to stop the bulldozing of sacred burial lands going to be used for the underground pipeline. The pipeline is planned to be installed just north of reservation lands after the city of Bismarck, North Dakota refused to have the pipeline built through Bismarck.
Julian Assange’s Internet Access Cut by Ecuador
- Julian Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past 4 years, had his internet Access cut on Saturday.
- Ecuadorian officals released a statment Tuesday defending the decision to censor Assange based on respect for “the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states”.
- This came after Wikileaks released transcripts of 3 speeches given by Hillary Clinton that could harm her campaign for the US Presidency.
- Wikileaks says John Kerry pressured Ecuador to censor Assange
Other News around the World
Lead Politician behind Rousseff Impeachment Caught in corruption Scandal
- Eduardo Cunha, the central figure behind Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment arrested for corruption.
- Two Iranian Americans charged 10 years for collaborating with hostile governments.
Duterte and Xi Jaoping vow to reopen negotions over the South China Sea
- This comes as tensions were rising between many nations in the South China Sea, the US introducing another nuclear capable carrier and the PRC building a military base in one of the disputed islands.
‘Island of despair’: Australia intentionally torturing refugees on Nauru, says major Amnesty International report
- Amnesty International released a report detailing the “deliberate and systematic tortue of refugees” on the Australian island Nauru.
- The Amnesty report claims that the island was intentionally designed to inflict damage on women, men, and children in order to deter refugees from Australia.
- Many refugees on the island have attempted suicide.
- The report concludes that Australia should be held accountable according to international law.