Political propaganda drops all pretense of logical thinking #ACA #ObamaCare #MedicareForAll

“Faithfully executed, as the Constitution requires, the ACA was working and insurance markets were stable” – Andy Slavitt, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2015-2016.

During the period from 2014 to 2016, the average premium went up by 106% according to the CMMS, and in 3 states average premiums went up by over 200%. This, he says, is a “stable” market. And he was in charge during most of that time frame. Prices continued to rise at similar rates in 2017 and 2018.

The AP reports:

Of course – a very stable market requires ever increasing government subsidies while premiums rise at astronomical rates. Not.

This column in USA Today works as propaganda rather easily through the use of

  • Appeal to Authority (Slavitt)
  • Asserting things are true, that clearly are not. Which is just another form of lying.
  • Logical fallacy, “the ACA was working and the markets were stable”.
  • Censorship, by leaving out the writer’s relevant past experience.
  • The target’s quick acting System 1 thinking style that avoids details and misses the logical fallacies used in the proponent’s arguments.

The USA Today column mentions Slavitt’s involvement with CMMS but omits his full history. Once you learn of his past history, your perspective of his comments may change. What do you think?

Slavitt left a job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs to become CEO of a company named Ingenix, a subsidiary of United Healthcare. Under his leadership, Ingenix was sued, twice, for creating fraudulent data used in health care billing and paid $400 million in settlements. Slavitt, who led the fraud scheme, was appointed to head CMMS and implementation of the ACA. Ingenix changed its name after the settlements – and Slavit was put in charge of CMMS where he regulated his past employer which is a conflict of interest prohibited by the Federal government. However, the Obama Administration issued an “Ethics Waiver”, waiving its conflict of interest rules and permitting Slavitt to head CMMS anyway.


Not only was the ACA not working due to how the Act was written, the ACA is not sustainable. I wrote a paper on the subject that was read by staff at the Oregon Health Authority, numerous Oregon state legislators, health care industry executives and economists and was, in part, influential in changing Oregon State law to partially fix the definitely not stable ACA markets here. To learn more, please read my paper.

Proponents who say the ACA is “working” and “stable” are simultaneously advocating “repeal and replace” the ACA:

Logically, why is it necessary to repeal and replace a government program that is “working” and “stable”?

The propaganda efforts by Slavitt are perplexing. Presumably he is trying to buttress his past association with the ACA. But he is doing so through the use of lies while supporters simultaneously say it should be repealed and replaced. There is a logical disconnect here.

Fake photo re- purposed for propaganda message, once again

This is getting old – an old photo is re-purposed to pretend it represents something else in a Tweet on Twitter.

The photo was taken from Getty Images, of a protest in Tahrir, Egypt in 2011. It appears in multiple locations online. Has nothing to do with Tommy Robinson or Trump or the UK. Note that the tweet has been liked nearly 10,000 times and shared 7,600 times.

This is a very common technique used in social media propaganda messages – take a photo of something else, at a different date, time and location and pretend its another event. We have posted numerous examples of this on this blog.

Text for Indexing

“This was the Tommy Robinson and Pro-Trump Rally today in London 14th July 2018. The crowd is bigger than the Anti-Trump protest held yesterday. The main stream media won’t talk about it.

Did Kurt Cobain predict in 1993 that Donald Trump would be President? No.

I just unfollowed the person who posted this item today. It’s not true. He should have known better than pass along such silly propaganda posters.

Several online meme debunking web sites have branded this as false (and Snopes here). The meme was created by a Facebook page called “Trump Train” in July of 2016.

Cartoon character Lisa Simpson, of The Simpsons, did in actual fact, predict President Trump all the way back in 2000. For some reason, she is never quoted in these meme posters.

Text for Search Indexing

“In the end I believe my generation will surprise everyone. We already know that both political parties are playing both sides from the middle and we’ll elect a true outsider when we fully mature. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not a business tycoon who can’t be bought and who does what’s right for the people. Someone like Donald Trump as crazy as that sounds.” – Kurt Cobain, 1993

“What you see is all there is” messaging

Much propaganda messaging relies on showing us only a limited view of a story. Our quick acting thinking (Kahneman’s System 1 thinking style) jumps to a conclusion based on what we see, and usually fails to consider that there might be more to the story. Hence, this form of propaganda is “What you see is all there is”.

Here is the example that went viral on social media. Here on Twitter, this video clip has been viewed over 3 million times.

A young black woman is accosted at gun point by police, and arrested.

A bystander records video and posts online. This video was also picked up by the national media.

Looks typical of recent videos showing inappropriate police response.

Except this is an example of “What you see is all there is” thinking. If all you see is this clip, you see this as an example of inappropriate police action.

But there is more to the story. What are your views of this video clip when the following information is added to the description:

Daisy McCrackin and Joseph Capone were at the actress’ Los Angeles home back in early May 2017 when defendants Keith Andre Stewart and Johntae Jones overpowered them as part of a ransom scheme, prosecutors said as they announced a grand jury indictment.

The defendants pistol-whipped Capone and dragged him to a waiting car, leaving a trail of blood, the indictment reviewed by the Daily News states.

They forced McCrackin into the car as well and used the dark canvas hoods to “obscure” both victims’ vision during a car ride to Jones’ home in Compton, according to the indictment.

Once there, the assailants beat, punched and kicked Capone, stripped him naked and held him without food in a bathtub for 30 hours, the indictment released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney states.

Actress and actor were victims in violent kidnapping plot that led to viral arrest video: officials

Even when new evidence is presented (such as the rest of the story about alleged participation in a violent kidnapping and ransom plot), you can see in the Twitter comments that most are sticking with their first impressions and conclusions. That also illustrates that the first message received is the one that sticks with the propaganda target – and shows how it is nearly impossible to undo effective propaganda messaging.

Part 7: We should all be like Denmark, remember?

Occupy Democrats is an online, social media-based, for profit publisher of emotion laden political propaganda posters targeting those who view themselves as left wing.

In 2016, Occupy Democrats used social media to distribute this propaganda through shares and likes.

Every claim on this widely distributed and shared poster is essentially false – or two that are highly misleading at best (see links below for excruciating details.)

Note their last item:

SHARE if America should follow their lead!

Occupy Democrats wants the U.S. to be like its fantasized version of Denmark.

The poster, however, left out other attributes of Denmark. For example,

Starting at the age of 1, “ghetto children” must be separated from their families for at least 25 hours a week, not including nap time, for mandatory instruction in “Danish values,” including the traditions of Christmas and Easter, and Danish language. Noncompliance could result in a stoppage of welfare payments. Other Danish citizens are free to choose whether to enroll children in preschool up to the age of six.

Denmark’s government is introducing a new set of laws to regulate life in 25 low-income and heavily Muslim enclaves, saying that if families there do not willingly merge into the country’s mainstream, they should be compelled.

Source: In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos’ – The New York Times

That sounds as bad as separating immigrant families at the border, as has been done in the U.S. and which Occupy Democrats is strongly opposed to.

Denmark bans Muslim women from wearing a niqab or burka in public, and if they do, they are subject to a 1,000 kroner fine.

Denmark also has the 2nd highest use of anti-depressant medication in the EU, the highest rate of violence against women in the EU, and until recently, one of the highest suicide rates in the world. This in a country said to be the happiest on earth.

The original poster was highly effective propaganda as it appealed to its target audience and works primarily through the propaganda methods of assertion, and lying, with an encouragement to “Get on the Bandwagon”.

When we see the full picture – the original claims being wrong – and further information about Denmark, does Occupy Democrats really want the U.S. to be more like Denmark and to separate children from their families for indoctrination, to ban Muslim women from wearing certain clothing? Apparently so.

This new information about Denmark illustrates how the poster’s propaganda success used “What you see is all there is” psychology – only showing you the attributes they want you to see. This is the method of “cherry picking” or the flip side of that, censorship.

Finally, “Share if…” is a form of “Get on the bandwagon” – because everyone is doing this.

The above poster was one of the most widely shared propaganda posters I saw in 2016, illustrating the incredible power of propaganda messaging to influence people to adopt viewpoints and actions that are not based in truth or logic.

Analysis of the Occupy Democrats Poster

If its on social media, it must be true …

Appeared on Facebook.

It’s a misquote, taken out of context, says Snopes. (June 28th – the original post has been replaced and rewritten with the following)

Violence broke out at a protest over removal of Confederate related statutes at a protest in Charlottesville, VA. Trump said:

“I think there is blame on both sides,” the president said in a combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”


I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”

Trump’s commentary is interpreted as saying “both sides are bad” and some of the people involved were “good” (including racists) thereby implying racist white supremacists are good.

The CEO of Camping World said those who supported hate were not welcome at his stores.

I listened to the interview and I did not interpret his comments as saying Trump supporters should not shop at his stores. However, CNBC made this interpretation and posted that as the headline. This spin was distributed in online forums, right wing web sites, but not by well known media services.

Lemonis made an unclear statement that was readily interpreted in to what ever the recipient wanted it to mean … and then bungled an explanation that failed to clear up the ambiguity.  As a point of logic, the CEO of a national retailer is not likely to tell half of his shoppers to stop shopping there; that makes no sense. However, he did make an unclear, ambiguous comment that left him open to being misquoted.

I posted the Snopes link on FB and the only response was from one person saying that Snopes = CNN (an assertion), therefore this refutation of the statement is not true (logical fallacy). Numerous philosophers have said a statement is true or false regardless of who makes the claim. Thus, the analysis is true or false – even if you don’t like Snopes. By asserting that CNN is false, and Snopes = CNN, therefore this analysis by Snopes is false is itself an invalid argument.

But since it was on Facebook, it must be true.

Political misinformation is harder to correct than health misinformation – especially among the educated

We have covered this phenomena before. The first information people receive, even if subsequently proven to be incorrect, is what stays in people’s minds. This is one of the reasons that propaganda based on lies is often successful. It is very hard to refute erroneous propaganda statements.

New research indicates that corrections have a moderate influence on belief in misinformation. ….“The alarming growth of misinformation and the limited repercussions for non-institutional actors for knowingly or unknowingly misleading the public turned misinformation and its correction to one of the most pressing issues in the social sciences,” said study author Nathan Walter, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.


Walter found evidence that corrections had a moderate effect on counteracting misinformation. However, misinformation about politics was harder to correct than misinformation about health, particularly among participants who were well-educated political partisans.


“Realistically speaking, however, the results are also somewhat alarming because scientific and political misinformation is much harder to debunk, interventions outside the laboratory tend to produce weak effects and, as time passes, people seem to forget about the correction and remember the misinformation,” Walter explained.

Source: Political misinformation is harder to correct than health misinformation – especially among the educated

Riding a “bike generator” for 30 minutes will power a house for a day? No, not even close. #Facebook #Bicycling #nonsense

This made me laugh – can you see why?

A typical bicyclist may generate 100 to 200 watts per hour on a bike. A very fit bicyclist might generate up to 300 watts per hour (and their peak output – like a sprint – can produce 500 or more watts briefly). (Good explanation here. Another way to look at this is that 1 horsepower is 746 watts. Are you as powerful as a horse?)

Consequently, for most people, 30 minutes of bicycling produces in the range of 50 to 150 watt hours (.05 to .15 kwh) (or stated another way – 100 to 300 watts per hours is 50 to 150 watts per half hour).

American homes have an average consumption of about 11,000 kwh per year or about 30 kwh per day. (The amount consumed varies greatly by where you live in the country, and depends on local climate and local sources of energy, particularly for heating and cooling.)

See the problem? Let’s say .1 kwh produced relative to 30 kwh consumed per day. 30 minutes of bicycling produces less than 1/2 percent of the electricity consumed by an average home in a day.

This type of propaganda uses the simple method of assertion, making a claim (30 minutes of bicycling could power a home for a day). Few people will fact check – few have an intuitive sense of what a “watt” means or how much power they actually consume per day.

Consequently, many people think this assertion sounds great and quickly jump “on the bandwagon” to share this item with their friends.

While the above is from Twitter, the link is to a Facebook page that has been viewed 6.2 million times, shared 89,000 times!

People who ride stationary bikes tend to listen to music or watch TV (visit a gym to see this), which means they are producing less electricity than is being used by the TV. It’s possible for a group of riders, in a gym, to collectively out produce the TV’s demand, but that’s about as good they will do. They still need to power the lights, which they would not be doing! Effectively, riding a bike in the gym is likely to be a net loss of energy versus not riding that bike.

Yet this “meme” will likely takeover and people riding bikes in gyms will be sanctimonious about their behavior, virtue signaling how wonderful they are for the planet. When in fact, they are likely increasing energy consumption 🙂

It may be virtue signalling, but at least its not actually true

This propaganda poster came across my news feed.

According to Snopes,

  • He occasionally rides a subway but is more often driving one of his sports cars or classic motorcycles.
  • He generously support several charities; however, his net worth is estimated at $350 million.
  • He lives in a $4 million home (shack, not a mansion, in Hollywood Hills, which is in California, not New York City).

Typical of propaganda, this poster extracts “bits” and extrapolates those to make broad or generalized claims that are not true.

The purpose of the poster seems to be to deliver a message that

  • Reeves is humble
  • He donates all his money to charity and lives a life of poverty (or something)
  • We should all be like this
  • Those who share or like this poster are virtue signaling their commitment to this ideal (or rather, they like it when other people choose this hypothetical life style)
  • The poster makes several assertions, most of which are not true (lies).
  • The poster uses celebrity endorsement.
  • The poster uses cherry picking of the available information.
  • The poster may be suggesting that we should “get on the bandwagon” too.

Why people are compelled to share items like this on social media is bewildering.

How media manipulates your interpretation of a news story

Nearly every story on Facebook this week has featured this Getty Images photo of Zuckerberg looking contrite:

The photo first appeared in the press in about May of 2017. In other words, this photo is about one year old.

The media has deliberately selected an old photo of Zuckerberg to make it look like he is contrite and feeling badly about the current predicament of Facebook. This assertion, however, is made up entirely by fiction writers in the media. We have no idea how he feels right now – for all we know, he’s smiling that he pulled his scam for so long!

The point is – the media itself is manipulating you by selecting this photo which has nothing to do with the current situation.

Source: In Just a Few Painful, Embarrassing Minutes, Facebook Showed Just How Arrogant It Is | Inc.com