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“Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?” “In disputes upon moral or scientific points,” Arthur Martine counseled in his magnificent 1866 guide to the art of conversation, “let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your...
Most people who deny that human activity is warming the planet just dismiss a massive body of scientific evidence as a big hoax. But there’s a more sophisticated set of climate “skeptics” who make arguments that, at least to the lay ear, sound like they’re grounded in...
Just as Sunday’s big People’s Climate March and next week’s UN global summit on climate converge here in New York City, the nation and world are experiencing weather of an intensity that should rattle the stubborn false convictions of even the most fervent climate change...
Officials in Washington are inadvertently providing some insight into the strange logic of their nebulous war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, in contradictory and puerile statements about whether the military action should be called a war, or...
David Martin’s Thirteen Rules for Truth Suppression,  H. Michael Sweeney’s 25 Rules of Disinformation (and now Brandon Smith’s Disinformation: How It Works) are classic lessons on how to spot disruption and disinformation tactics. We’ve seen a number of tactics come and go...
Pleased to meet you Hope you guess my name What’s confusing you Is the nature of my game - The Rolling Stones The reason that Internet trolls are effective is that people still don’t understand their game. There are 15 commonly-used trolling tactics to disrupt, misdirect...
Whatever your politics, you’re not likely to feel great about America right now.  After all, there’s Ferguson (the whole world was watching!), an increasingly unpopular president, a Congress whose approval ratings make the president look like a rock star, rising poverty...
A talk given at Occupy Wellington, New Zealand, to counter the prevalence of conspiracy theories amongst the local wing of the Occupy movement. Kia ora kotou, thanks everyone for coming. First, I want to make it clear that I'm not here today to debunk or debate any specific...
A new world requires new stories, but people will only listen to them when they themselves are included in the storyline. This requires a ‘gear-shift’ in conversations about radical action. While working in the belly of corporate communications some years ago, I stumbled...
The corporate media loves to talk about violent protestors, while the biggest forms of violence in our society go unchallenged. An Aug. 19, 2014 Wall Street Journal article headline blared: Strong Police Presence Felt After Night of Violence in Ferguson. “Night of...
Smearing a Progressive Website to Support Israel Like many other news websites, Common Dreams has been plagued by inflammatory anti-Semitic comments following its stories. But on Common Dreams these posts have been so frequent and intense they have driven away donors from...
Forget about solving climate change for a moment. Forget about all the problems we face. All of these problems are symptoms of a way of life that few of us are really happy with - especially when we have glimpsed the possibility of a world that could be so much more. We need...
Necessary cognitive fortification against propaganda, pseudoscience, and general falsehood. Carl Sagan was many things — a cosmic sage, voracious reader, hopeless romantic
All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside...
Obviously, there’s a wide range of opinions (and variations on each of those opinions) when it comes to anything related to Israel and Palestine (in particular, Hamas) but to cultivate a truly nuanced perspective requires a lot more evidence and context than we’ll ever get...
Israel claims that it is merely exercising its right to self-defense and that Gaza is no longer occupied. Here’s what you need to know about these talking points and more. Israel has killed upwards of 1500 Palestinians in the past three weeks. The UN estimates that more than...
It’s been three weeks since Israel launched its bombing campaign and subsequent invasion of the Gaza strip. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, over 1,500 Palestinians have been killed and over 6,500 have been wounded in what has become one of the bloodiest...
Waiting in line to pay for groceries, it’s hard not to notice all the ridiculous tabloid headlines: So-and-so wore shorts yesterday! Who's cheating on who? People are on diets! As entertaining as it all may be, shouldn’t *real* stories get the kind of attention the pointless...
How commonly is the alleged moral superiority of the Israeli military invoked? So commonly that if you type “the most moral army in the world” into Google, you’ll immediately get a bunch of articles discussing the Israeli “Defense” Forces. Just last week, Slate’s William...
Wednesday (7/16/14)  the New York Times posted its first account of the Israeli strike that killed four young Palestinians on a beach in Gaza. The headline looked
From Colbert and Oliver to Sarah Silverman and Louis CK, comedians are torching anti-science activists with aplomb  In the latest version of America’s long-running culture wars, conservatives (and even some liberals) have zeroed in what once might have seemed like an...
All too often the 'honest brokers' mediating negotiations agree with our occupiers that the destructive spread of settlements is not on occupied land.
Today, six corporations own most of our media—but we could be poised to take it back.
Modern America has a strong generational divide.  Whether it’s cultural or political, there are a wide-range of topics that can be off limits when talking to “the grandparents.”  On the reverse side, it can be hard to listen to the “wisdom” of a generation that’s had such a...
Which one of these is not like the others: That's so dumb. That's so stupid. That's so annoying. That's so gay. It may look obvious typed out, but often times it doesn't sound that way. That's why some Duke students are taking matters into their own hands:
The question I hear time and time again from audiences who see my documentary film, Broadcast Blues is, "Why did you leave your lucrative career in broadcasting to become a media reform activist?" The truth is that, once upon a time, I worked in a newsroom where a corporate...
Corruption is by far not the main factor behind persisting poverty in the Global South. Transparency International recently published their latest annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), laid out in an eye-catching map of the world with the least corrupt nations coded in...
This is an image of a 19th century wood engraving called "Slaves in Brazil: The Terrible Torture of a Slave", from 'Journal des Voyages'. [3] It depicts a black slave being boiled alive above a huge cauldron. The film 12 Years a Slave was a Disney version of...
In the insular world of Manhattan media, there’s much handwringing over the latest blow to print publications as New York Magazine scales back from a weekly to a biweekly. But the real lesson might be the commercial failure of snarky writing, the kind that New York...
This is a subtly revised set of remarks given at “The Point is to Change It” conference on November 1, 2013 at the University of San Francisco. The event was co-sponsored by Project Censored. The panel on which I participated was organized by Project Censored Director...
It’s been the thing lately, among certain establishment liberals, to dismiss libertarians as “Koch-funded shills.” We’ve heard a lot of it from Mark Ames and Yasha Levine at NSFWCorp, for example. This is stupid, first of all, because it’s historically illiterate. Free...
Kevin Carson dismisses the NWO conspiracy theory narrative of world government, which in many ways resembles a kind of 'cartoon evil' as it is often depicted. There is a more grounded way to look at it. Back in the ’90s, the Financial Times referred to the G8 countries and...
A strange thing happened during the October 2013 battle in the US Congress over a government shutdown and threat of default. The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, denounced the Republicans as “anarchists.” So did Elizabeth Warren, one of the most liberal Senators. As did...
To this day, a philosophical debate rages on as to the true nature of humanity. Is humanity at its core good or evil? Does the human species amount to no more than a parasite on the planet as Agent Smith says in The Matrix, “a cancer”, intent on devouring every last...
Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell recently declared, "The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty." Ironically for thinkers like him, the last 35 years have redistributed U.S...
The world's most successful video game has, once again, pushed women to the margins. It's time that it faced proper critical scrutiny. So it's been a bad week. On Monday, I had to switch off Classic FM when it played Wagner, since he was an antisemite. Then I burned my...
Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider. It doesn't take muc
From a very young age, I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Always eager to give an answer, I framed my ambitions around the books and movies I loved so much, conjuring up fantastic scenarios in my head and spinning them far into the future. I...
In 1833, William Miller predicted the second coming of Jesus Christ in the year 1843. Only after his fourth failed prediction, each of which saw hundreds of thousands of followers turn out, did his followers abandon him. By this time, Miller had already absconded with copious...
New data shows that many will be paying less for private insurance, but the bad news is that...
Republished in light of the recent Naval Yard shooting. - Ed On December 14th, 2012, a horrible tragedy took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. Adam Lanza walked into the school and fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff. Some...
As predicted days before the UN's Syrian chemical weapons report was made public, the West has begun spinning the findings to bolster their faltering narrative regarding alleged chemical weapon attacks on August 21, 2013 in eastern Damascus, Syria. The goal of course, is to...
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a comic strip that answers your questions over Obamacare!
Since September 11, 2001, the United States has initiated a number of wars in Muslim countries. These wars, which would be more correctly called massacres, have resulted in the deaths of countless innocent Muslims.  In some cases, attempts have been made to present these...
What Do You Believe? Preface:  Americans have learned in the past decade that our government lied to us about: Iraq weapons of mass destruction  (and here) The case for war against Syria (and see this)
The U.S. Air Force is complaining that it cannot find enough drone pilots. Of course, there are plenty of kids with the video gaming skills needed but, for one reason or another, they just won’t sign-up fast enough. The reasons might have to do with less promotional...
Stay with it till the end. Wow. Does it look like the Earth's immune system is waking up to you too?   Via Foreign Policy: This is what data from a world in turmoil looks like. The Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT)...
<!--{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2Dcke_bookmark_79E%2D%2D%3E--> Powerful coal, oil, and gas interests are trying to confuse us all about global warming and renewable energy. Not with facts or reasoned argument — but with disinformation. In this interactive slideshow, UCS...
I recently wrote about geoengineering as a strategy to deal with climate change and carbon dioxide emissions. That drew comments from people who confuse this scientific process with the unscientific theory of “chemtrails.” Some also claimed the column supported geoengineering
Some smart people thought, and perhaps some still think, that the 2003-2011 war on Iraq was unique in that it was promoted with the use of blatant lies.  When I’d researched dozens of other wars and failed to find one that wasn’t based on a foundation of similar lies, I...