Engame Concepts: The U.S. Propaganda Machine–How Your Leaders Change Stats For Political Control

Posted: February 22, 2012 in General

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies…”  ~George Orwell

Some folks on the Web have been really enjoying AE’s informative articles.  In fact, as I predicted, many adults reacted to the last Endgame Concepts post about fiat money with caustic replies.  Apparently, what I wrote was “just more Ron Paul BS propaganda” and allegedly I “have no idea how world monetary policy works.”  That all may be true.  Here at American Endgame we are strong supporters of free speech, and believe one of the great things about the Internet is that it is and will remain free to all.  Honestly, I’m glad that I was able to get through to some people.

So, in the spirit of continuing to provide a public service that makes many Americans want to rip their hair out and berate me, I provide today’s Endgame Concepts post, which will certainly push many of you closer to the edge of mayhem–while possibly getting one or two of you to think about something in a different way.

Today’s concept: “official statistics” are deceptive, manipulated, and used to achieve political ends.

… Waiting to see if anyone is shocked by this revelation…  Not yet?  Okay, moving on then.

Statistics–collected, organized, analyzed and interpreted data–are crucially important in the organization of any major civilization.  Initially, they were important for things as rudimentary and basic as, oh, you know, survival–“how many acres of arable land do we have?” “What percentage of those acres are now productive?” “How many people do we need to feed?” “Will we have enough food?” “What is the probability of a major crop failure?” You get the picture.  Of course, statistics have taken on other, far more useful roles in modern societies: “What is Alex Rodriguez’s batting average against right-handed pitchers with two men on base in July?” (That was a joke…  I do have a sense of humor, you know).

Clearly, statistics also play a MAJOR role in our politics.  And this is an area where I think we all see the connection between statistical analysis and mass manipulation–which is, just as a head’s up, where we’re going today.  After all, we can see how statistics are injected into our minds in this 2012 GOP primary season.

This graph is fantastic.  It clearly shows the state of people’s opinions about the GOP candidates at each and every stage of the campaign season.  Here, the information is organized, and then it is left to be analyzed and interpreted.  You or I could analyze and interpret this in several ways…  We could draw dozens of conclusions from this information.  For example, we could be as bold as to say that near the end of December 2011, Newt Gingrich was the front runner.  We could peek into the future and state that based on his fairly stable performance throughout the campaign, Mitt Romney would soon retake the “lead” from Newt Gingrich, who appeared to be a statistical flash in the pan.  We could state that the five candidates near the bottom collectively had nearly as much support as the front runners, and that support would coalesce behind one of them as time went on and the others exited the contest.  In any event, its clear there’s a ton of information here.

However, when we see this in a magazine, or on the news, or online, the analysis is done for us by whoever published the information.  We are told what to see.  And that changes everything.  Examples of this are everywhere.  As I write, I am reminded of a recent incident on Chris Matthews’ broadcast on MSNBC, where he was discussing the favorable/unfavorable numbers for the GOP candidates left in the race.  He showed Romney at 34%, Santorum at 32%, and Gingrich at 25%.  He omitted Ron Paul’s rating, which stood at 42%, much higher than the other three.  In fact, Paul wasn’t even mentioned.  This is not designed to endorse Ron Paul, but to show the way the mainstream media manipulates statistics.

So, we know the MSM uses statistics to move public opinion.  But the government?  Isn’t that going a bit far?  Am I sitting here with a tinfoil hat on my head?  No on both counts.  Look:

This chart, from ShadowStats.com, shows unemployment measured three different ways.  The red line represents the “official” unemployment rate that runs every month on CNBC or Bloomberg.  The gray line represents the unemployment rate that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses internally (which leaves you wondering, if its good enough for the Federal government, why don’t average Americans see this each month?).  It includes the infamous “underemployed” category (people who are forced to work part time for lack of full-time opportunities) and the “short-term discouraged” category, which includes people who have been seeking work for a period of a few months.  The blue line is what the unemployment rate would be if it was measured the same way the government measured it in 1994.  This number is calculated in a fairly simple way: essentially, divide the number of people who have jobs by the number of people who are old enough to have jobs, and here’s what you get.  About 23% of Americans are unemployed.  Not 8.3% like the President and Congress would have you believe.  Call me strange, but I struggle to understand how the government can have any credibility when it changes the definition of unemployment over time.  If we defined unemployment the same today as we did 20 years ago, unemployment would be in Great Depression territory.  And here we sit, thinking its about to drop below 8%.  We, my friends, are manipulated by official government statistics.

One more example before I get this out.  Look at inflation:

Again, the red line if “official” inflation, as defined by the U.S. Government in 2012.  The blue line is inflation today as if it were defined by the U.S. Government according to their 1990 methodology.  In other words, if the U.S. Government defined inflation the same way today as it did in 1990, inflation would be 3 times higher.  Now, of course, the government has an answer for this.  They have all kinds of fancy terms and statistical rationale for changing this.  Substitution, for example, they say, plays a factor here.  Substitution is the concept that says, “well, as the price of something goes up, people tend to substitute something less expensive, therefore inflation isn’t happening at the same high rate.”  This is foolish and makes no sense.  Inflation is the rate at which the dollar looses its value over time.  The government calculates the inflation rate by essentially taking a “basket of goods”–a gallon of milk, a stick of butter, a loaf of bread, a pound of ribeye steak, etc.–and figures its price today against the price of those goods a year ago.  That’s inflation.  By substitution logic, you would compare the price of a gallon of milk, a stick of butter, a loaf of bread, and a pound of ribeye steak a year ago to a gallon of milk, a stick of butter, a loaf of bread, and a pound of hamburger today.  Does that seem like a fair way to calculate price change?  Even fifth graders agree: this makes no sense.  And yet, that’s exactly how our government figures inflation.

Why do we care about how the government calculates inflation?  Let me point out the difference between 2% inflation at 6% inflation.  At 2% inflation, $1.00 loses 75% of its buying power during the course of my lifetime.  At 6% inflation, $1.00 loss 75% of its buying power by the time I graduate from college.  Does that difference matter?  I’ll leave that up to you.  Again, why do we care how inflation is calculated by our government?  Well, if a dollar was going to be worth a quarter in 25 years, would you want to know that, or would you rather be told the problem is three times better than it really is?

I hope you enjoyed today’s cheery lesson on how the population is manipulated by statistics by the mainstream media and the U.S. Government.  Keep in mind that unemployment remained essentially unchanged for almost all of 2011, and then miraculously dropped almost a whole percentage point in three months.  And just in time for election season…  Hmmm…

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~DS

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