HomeArticleThe Incredible Shrinking Overton Window

The Incredible Shrinking Overton Window

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”
~ Noam Chomsky

The plutocrat-owned narrative managers of the political/media class work constantly to shrink the Overton window, the spectrum of debate that is considered socially acceptable. They do this by framing more and more debates in terms of how the oligarchic empire should be sustained and supported, steering them away from debates about whether that empire should be permitted to exist at all.

They get people debating whether there should be some moderate changes made or no meaningful changes at all, rather than the massive, sweeping changes we all know need to be made to the entire system.

They get people debating whether they should elect a crook in a red hat or a crook in a blue hat, rather than whether or not they should be forced to elect crooks.

They get people debating violations of government secrecy laws, not whether the government has any business keeping those secrets from its citizenry in the first place.

They get people debating how internet censorship should take place and whom should be censored, rather than whether any internet censorship should occur.

They get people debating how and to what extent government surveillance should occur, not whether the government has any business spying on its citizens.

They get people debating how subservient and compliant someone needs to be in order to not get shot by a police officer, rather than whether a police officer should be shooting people for those reasons at all.

They get people debating whether or not a group of protesters are sufficiently polite, rather than debating the thing those protesters are demonstrating against.

They get people debating about whether this thing or that thing is a “conspiracy theory”, rather than discussing the known fact that powerful people conspire.

They get people debating whether Tulsi Gabbard is a dangerous lunatic, a Russian asset, a Republican asset gearing up for a third party run, or just a harmless Democratic Party crackpot, rather than discussing the fact that her foreign policy would have been considered perfectly normal prior to 9/11.

They get people debating whether Bernie Sanders is electable or too radical, rather than discussing what it says about the status quo that his extremely modest proposals which every other major country already implements are treated as something outlandish in the United States.

They get people debating whether Jeremy Corbyn has done enough to address the Labour antisemitism crisis, rather than whether that “crisis” ever existed at all outside of the imaginations of establishment smear merchants.

They get people debating whether Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren would win against Trump, rather than whether either of those establishment lackeys is a worthy nominee.

They get people debating whether politicians should have corporate sponsors, rather than whether corporations should be allowed to interfere in the electoral process at all.

They get people debating if the US should be pursuing regime change in Iran or Syria, rather than whether the US has any business overthrowing the governments of sovereign nations to begin with.

They get people debating how many US troops should be in Syria, rather than whether that illegal invasion and occupation was ever legitimate in the first place.

They get people debating whether to kill people slowly by sanctions or kill them quickly with bombs, rather than whether they should be killed at all.

They get people debating whether or not some other country’s leader is an evil dictator, rather than whether it’s any of your business.

They get people debating the extent to which Russia and Trump were involved in the Democratic Party’s 2016 email leaks, rather than the contents of those leaks.

They get people debating what the response should be to Russian interference in the election, rather than whether that interference took place at all, and whether it would really matter if it did.

They get people debating how much government support the poor should be allowed to have, rather than whether the rich should be allowed to keep what they’ve stolen from the poor.

They get people debating what kind of taxes billionaires should have to pay, rather than whether it makes sense for billionaires to exist at all.

They get people impotently debating the bad things other countries do, rather than the bad things their own country does which they can actually do something about.

They get people debating what should be done to prevent the rise of China, rather than whether a multipolar world might be beneficial.

They get people debating whether western cold war escalations against the Russian Federation are sufficient, rather than whether they want the horrors of the cold war to be resurrected in the first place.

They get people debating what extent cannabis should be decriminalized, rather than whether the government should be allowed to lock anyone up for deciding to put any substance whatsoever in their own body.

They get people debating whether or not US troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan, rather than whether or not there should be any US troops outside of the US.

They get people debating whether or not Julian Assange is “a real journalist”, rather than whether or not they should set legal precedents that necessarily criminalize acts of journalism.

They get people debating the subtle details of bail protocol, political asylum, embassy cat hygiene and leaking rather than whether it should ever be legal to imprison a publisher for exposing government war crimes.

They get people debating what the punishment should be for whistleblowers, not what the punishment should be for those they blow the whistle on.

They get people debating whether Fox or MSNBC is the real “fake news”, rather than whether the entirety of mainstream media is oligarchic propaganda.

They get people debating about how the things everyone is freaking out over Trump doing were previously done by Obama, rather than discussing why all US presidents do the same evil things regardless of their parties or campaign platforms.

They get people debating what should be done with money, not whether the concept of money itself is in need of a complete overhaul.

They get people debating what should be done with government, not whether the concept of government itself is in need of a complete overhaul.

They get people debating whether the status quo should be reinforced or revised, rather than whether it should be flushed down the toilet where it belongs.

They get people angrily debating things they can’t change, rather than constructively working on the things that they can.

They get people shoving against each other in opposite directions, while they swiftly build a cage around us all.


Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemitthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Latest comments

  • USA Communist Party (i.e. Demoncratic-Socialist) has been censoring the internet for years. Even Biden’s White House has confessed to activity silencing all voices that defend the Constitution

    i and like it

  • Yip, you got it right! “THEY! Get People!” Get it? You are up against Human Behavior here! All your truths are enjoyed by a wee tiny slice of the populace and apparently will be effective roughly when the average grub bill starts taking more than 50% of the income! It is always great to know your not alone and others can see your perception and level of reality but I don’t think that is how THEY, “Get People!” They “Get People” by obsessing on “Power and Control” by way of material wealth and the use of same for “Power & Control!” I understand Democracies are always run by the Elite but this little group that has got the choke hold on America is something else!!! Talk about control freaks! It is definitely mental illness! They are 90% of the Senior Wall Street Executives! They use Robert Hare’s Psychopath Test for hiring to insure they get NO HEARTS in the house!!! They buy and monopolize the Media to control the minds of the masses! They buy and monopolize the Medicine and Healthcare system to sedate the same people and then extract over double the money from American Citizens than that of the worlds #1 Healthcare system and give Americans and Canadians back 3rd World Ranked Healthcare… U.S.A. #36… Canada #31, behind 3rd World African Nations!!! But most of all they got the M-O-N-E-Y in their Banks and if they run out they will come and take yours AAAAAgain!!! It ain’t that subtle actually it’s kind of obvious but still too subtle for the folks! And now everyone is so psychologically programmed, aka brainwashed, into the new “NO SPEAK” Political Correctness that he who cannot be named SHALL NOT BE NAMED! You can read about the “Big Lie” apparently in “Mein Kempf” but if the information I have received is correct there is a HUGE Elephant in this Room that is America and he is an Emperor with No Clothes On!!! “They not only “GET YOU!” THEY GOTCHA!!! Read em and weep!

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  • “They get people debating whether they should elect a crook in a red hat or a crook in a blue hat, rather than whether or not they should be forced to elect crooks.”
    You got it in one! But all the other examples make your case totally bulletproof.

  • This wonderful clarity of view, is a point many are blind to, and it shows how deeply brainwashed we all are. It’s a troll’s tactic, an ancient war-games ploy; a narcissists’ crazy making and a hugely successful high-stakes social gambit… still in play, hiding smugly in its costumed chicanery, surrounding us with its babbling chaos, guaranteeing its conquest, century after century… The solution of our waking up, lies in our power-of-choice… individual and collective; which of course common Humanhood is being constantly talked out of with masquerading new-age philosophies and age-old cultures, religions and political-social, patriarchal-familial authoritarianism! Creatorship run amok. It’s always about Power… and the only power human beings ever have is their sovereign power of choice in what they think, believe, and take comprehensive action toward.
    Don’t take my word for any of this… ask your self, if you still believe you Are a self-existence.

  • It is so good to see you kicking back at the same stuff I see on this side of the pond.
    There are huge parallels, as we are also suffering from the effects of hidden power-mongers shifting and shrinking the Overton window.
    We face the spectacle of Boris Johnson’s new government, previously elected by no-one, being re-elected on the back of frenetic media activity. The government/media axis has stolen power and intends to consolidate it to deliver something that almost no-one has ever voted for. By controlling and limiting debate they have managed to focus attention on the supposed shortcomings of their opposition, and they are marching onwards towards over-riding control at any cost.
    At the time of Prime Minister Cameron’s great “democratic” experiment, the Tory party decried all that the extreme Brexit campaigners stood for, it denounced their ridiculous ideas of leaving the EU with no deal, their attitudes to immigrants, their concepts of leaving the single market, of a hard Brexit. Now, following a series of hard-line shouts from absolute nutcases steeped in privilege and vested interest, the mainstream Tory view has become indistinguishable from those of the BREXIT party. The press and media debate has effectively been brought down to decide how to “just get it done” with anything else being regarded as unpatriotic and traitorous. If fact , anyone now espousing the original Tory view has been thrown out of the bloody Overton Window, and the Tory party, and is regarded as some kind of anti-democratic traitor.
    Not that I particularly care for them, but they still hold the views they always did it’s the window that has shifted radically. By persistently banging on about a No Deal Exit, the frame has moved – it would now seem like a huge relief, and a reasonable result to many, to exit on any old terms, when what they really wanted was to remain!
    This is the power of propaganda and it is very much alive in the UK.

  • You are absolutely beautiful! Thank you.

    Am I allowed to say that?

    loads of frequencies to choose from.

  • I would have much preferred if you would have quoted George Carlin rather than Noam Chomsky (the gatekeeper). Chomsky has much to say about what he wants to talk about but he is a captive of his own quote. He is a 911 denier and Warren Commission JFK believer. Yes, controlled are we. This is why I say; I believe everything and I believe nothing.

  • I am reading an opinion piece regarding the new Joker movie and how it reflects current state of society – nihilism or an attempt at such. I am reminded of a point that I recognized some time ago but I sometimes lose track of it: They want us to lose hope, to give up, to feel that everything is pointless, to be at each others throats, seeking vengeance, stop caring, tune out, take away all sources of inspiration, other than what serves thier purposes, take away civil discussion, the idea of civil rights, be afraid, hate, … People it the state of turmoil will be receptive to any source of support no matter how demeaning nor how it may affect others. We need to stop being so easily manipulated. Don’t buy into thier pervasive messages of hate. Reach out to others of different opinion and listen and understand and seek some points of common interest. It will not be easy.

    Was kind of humorous I thought to see how the thing that reversed US course on Syria – bringing back the troops to guard the oil was when the US (and others) feared that the Syria government and the Kurds might achieve cooperation and some form of truce.

    Sometimes when things seem bleak it’s because you are awakened to the true nature of the situation and only then things start to improve.

  • Amusing and true.
    Hope you get a chuckle from this.
    On the morning of June 7, 2016 and before the sun had risen in California the NYT had as their main headline on their frontpage:
    “Do Gorillas Even Belong In Zoos?”
    Then, like the hint of dawn on the horizon, the next big headline began to show itself.
    On the left margin appears a smallish picture of Hillary and she seems to be cheerfully gesturing towards the pictured gorilla. (Monkey business afoot?)
    And then a couple or so hours later there is a crescendo, the main headline on the frontpage of the New York Times is:
    Clinton Clinches Delegates for Nomination
    The Gorilla in the room has been pushed aside and there stands Hillary.
    This is no ordinary day in California. It is the morning when California votes in their primary for either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. It is illegal to announce Presidential election results before polls are closed but the same rules do not appear to apply to primaries. The MSM – the AP, NYT, etc – has told Californians, even before they had finished their morning coffee, that Hillary has clinched the nomination!
    Gorilla Warfare?
    According to the frontpage story the AP had polled superdelegates – anonymous superdelegates – and they indicated that they were going to give Hillary enough votes to clinch the whole banana.
    So there you have it. Fat cat, big donor, insider superdelegates were polled, according to the trustworthy AP, and this influenced the primary in California.

    • Compare the blitz by the MSM to anoint Hillary Clinton the winner of the Democratic nomination to the miniscule Russian click-bait Facebook ads postings (what a crock) that created such McCarthyist fever for the last two years.
      Here is what the LA Times said on the eve of the California (and New Jersey) primary:
      Clinton clinches Democratic nomination, making history on eve of California primary
      It wasn’t based on voting. It was based on the MSM echoing what the AP said. The AP said it spoke to anonymous Superdelegates who said they would vote for Hillary.
      Bernie Sanders quote:””They got on the phone as I understand it, and started hounding superdelegates to tell them in an anonymous way who they were voting for. The night before the largest primary, biggest primary in the whole process, they make this announcement,” he said. “So I was really disappointed in what The AP did.”
      Later in the day the LA Times changed their online frontpage a number of times. Around noon the headline said, “What presumptive nominee? California Democrats still have some things to say” The subtext under the headline said “Hours after the media declared the race actually over, some voters showed up to the polls motivated by a desire to cast a ballot in protest of the candidate who just clinched the nomination.”


      The Washington Post was repeating the same AP claim on the morning of the California and New Jersey primaries.


      It is no surprise that for the last two-plus years the MSM distracted people from considering the manipulation of the election by the MSM itself and harped endlessly on supposed Russian influence.

    • Update
      I had thought that there was a law requiring the press to not announce final election results until all polls had closed during a Presidential election. I have searched for the specific law and can find nothing, not even something alluding to one. Thus, must conclude that the press is self-regulated – good luck with that, as we have seen vis-à-vis the California primary.

  • “Overton Window” = What the “gatekeepers of the news” allow through the gate.

    This piece builds nicely on Caitlin’s recurring theme of “those who control the narrative control the world.”

  • Thanks Caitlin. Essential insights beautifully expressed.

  • “It still blows my mind that Steve Buscemi delivered the line, ‘Do you think God stays in
    heaven because he too, lives in fear of what he’s created?’ in a kid’s movie.”


  • It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting any thing by it; nay, absolute monarch will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for purposes and objects merely personal, such as a thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctioned by justice or the voice and interests of his people.– John Jay, Federalist No. 4 [November 7, 1787]

    • RE: “interests of the sovereign’s people …”

      What exactly is the “national interest” and who gets to decide this? Why do they get to decide?

      Is it in my “Interest” that American troops are putting their lives at risk in 12 or so countries right now? How does this benefit me exactly? Bad guys in these countries are going to “get me” if our troops aren’t in these places?

  • Here’s another example: It’s OKAY for the press to run stories showing what a prurient, evil person Jeffrey Epstein was. It’s NOT OKAY for the press to do stories focusing on the question of why all of his “associates” are not being questioned, investigated and charged with crimes. Nor is it apparently okay to focus on what the U.S. government knew about his operation and when it knew this.

    Stories that conceal the real truth and protect VIPs are okay. Those that go after the truth and might expose these individuals and institutions are not allowed.

  • Outstanding column. As usual, you make an important point few others make. I tried to do the same thing with a column I wrote that questions if America’s “national security” is really threatened by all of these supposed enemies/adversaries.

    Even if America had no CIA (or 16 other intelligence agencies) or if America’s military was reduced by 40 percent or if America had no bases outside our borders, America would not be “threatened” by ANY nation. America’s “national security” would be just fine.


  • Good article, Caitlin. Thanks. I first became aware of this during the lead-up to the Iraq invasion of 2003. At the time, I was listening to NPR, and I was astounded that there was literally zero debate on the merits of going to war, but only on which strategy would be best for bombing the shit out of those people. (I then quit listening to NPR, in disgust.) However, I will add my own thought here. While there certainly is a concerted effort on the part of the upper echelon to control what is acceptable for topics-of-discussion, there also seems to be the fact that it is EVER a ‘minority’ of folks who are inclined to look at the ‘larger picture’. What we need then, is a MEANS for larger-picture folks to discuss such matters, in a free and open (to the public) manner. I guess that it is also incumbent on the larger-picture minds to push these topics into the public spotlight, as much as possible. Thanks, again.

    • ditto about NPR. Caitlyn’s writing style is exceptional in its accessible punch as well as in its incisive analysis.

  • Do you remember what the MSM did the day before the California primary?

    “Last night, the Associated Press — on a day when nobody voted — surprised everyone by abruptly declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the victor.
    The decree, issued the night before the California primary in which polls show Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was based on the media organization’s survey of “superdelegates”: the Democratic Party’s 720 insiders,
    corporate donors, and officials whose votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually elected delegates. AP claims that superdelegates who had not previously announced their intentions privately told AP reporters that they intend to vote for Clinton, bringing her over the threshold. AP is concealing the identity of the decisive superdelegates who said this.
    Although the Sanders campaign rejected the validity of AP’s declaration — on the ground that the superdelegates do not vote until the convention and he intends to try to persuade them to vote for him — most major media outlets followed the projection and declared Clinton the winner.
    This is the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary:
    The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identities the media organization — incredibly — conceals. The decisive edifice of superdelegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that its nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward, and undemocratic sputter.”

    • The above was published by G.G. about six weeks before the Democratic Convention.
      I missed. The above was intended to be posted as a Reply to post found just a bit below that begins: “Hmm…I posted a comment an hour ago and it has not shown up yet.”

  • FWIW I wore my “Free Assange” t-shirt to a family gathering a few weeks ago. My brother-in-law, who delights in being “controversial” proceeded to hector me with a lot of the usual discredited MSM talking points to attempt to make me see the error of my ways. After enaging in this for a while, I finally said, “is it ever wrong to report a crime? Because that’s what he did, and why he’s being slowly killed as an object lesson to others.” He stuttered and spluttered, and then changed the subject. It was a beautiful moment.

    • That was great. As you suggested, the astonishing and not yet generally known reality is that:
      “The only person who’s abided by the law the entire time this epic tragedy has now lasted has been Julian Assange (and his lawyers, and others who work with him, and former Ecuador president Correa). All the other players, the people who’ve been chasing, torturing and now murdering him have all broken the law consistently, one after the other, and in coordinated fashion. But they have the media on their side, and that’s how the story got turned upside down. Propaganda wins.
      “In 2010, Swedish police invented a rape allegation out of thin air and against the expressed wishes of the alleged victim. . . .
      “This was followed (after 7 years!) by the new Ecuador government that violated any and all international law by rescinding Julian’s asylum, but only after hiring a Spanish “security” company that recorded all of his -and all of his visitors’ – talks and phones etc., including client-lawyer and doctor-patient conversations that we all know are confidential . . .
      “And now he’s in a super high security prison for no apparent reason at all . . . And then Monday in court, a British court, it was a bunch of Americans who openly decided what should happen . . .
      “What Assange practiced when he published “US war files” is called journalism. Which thank god is perfectly legal. Much of what those files reveal is not. What he did when he allegedly “skipped bail” in the UK is called requesting asylum. Also perfectly legal, a basic human right. He never broke a law. . . .
      “If you live in Britain and you think Brexit is a more important issue than Assange, you’re delusional. Nothing is more important to anyone in a society than a government torturing a man to death in broad daylight, a man who moreover has not broken a single law. We don’t even torture mass murderers, terrorists or child rapists to death anymore, at least not at home. But Julian Assange IS treated that way. And whether the UK will be a part of Europe or not, that is the country it has become. A lawless medieval banana republic.”
      Assange Is The Only One To Abide By The Law — Raúl Ilargi Meijer

  • There is a corollary to Caitlin’s excellent point. The Oligarchs run a system of fake-democracy to legitimize their power. This is a small opening into the system that has the potential to get out of control. Thus, it is carefully monitored and well guarded. The system Caitlin illustrates of loud and narrow debate is a part of this guarding of a weakness. The big problem they have in their system of fake democracy is that if everyone votes for a candidate that represents their own best interest, then the 1-percenters end up with a tiny caucus of 1% of the representation. Obviously, from the oligarchs point of view, or more likely the managers who watch this for the Oligarchs while the Oligarchs party on their yacht in the Med, they need to do two tasks. The first task is to get people to vote for candidates who represent the Oligarchs and who will lie, cheat and steal from the population. Not an easy campaign pitch to make directly, so they try all sorts of tricks and fake candidates (Obama was an example, loyal to Oligarchs but promising Hope). This massive stir of loud debate signifying nothing helps to mask and confuse real intentions and is a big part of the trick of getting the 99% to vote against their own interests.
    The second task is to try to convince people not to vote at all. That’s wonderful for the Oligarch’s managers as that means they don’t need to worry about that vote at all. It can’t support an opponent to the Oligarch’s if it doesn’t turn up on Election Day. Big Win. Its long been known that ‘negative’ or ‘attack’ ads turn off voters and depress turnout. Now that system has been made 24/7, this constant drill of negatives and attacks that makes any sane person want to go crawl into the closet and close the door. Everytime they convince a person that politics isn’t worth it, that its all a cess-pit and they don’t want to swim in it. Everytime they convince someone to focus on their garden and ignore the aggravation and annoyance that is politics, they win. That’s one more person that won’t be joining the movement to take power back to the people and to truly make another government of the people, by the people, and for the people again on the surface of this earth.

    • To Tim and Caitlin! Thank you! Reading your writings makes me think. And that is wonderful. When I think, I have to do one of two options. One is talk to the cat. The cat prefers that I don’t do that. The other is to write, and luckily there is a convenient comment field. Thus, when I am typing away that means I’m thinking and I’m happy and even my cat is happy that I’m keeping my mouth shut. Thank you! The cat just meow’d her own thank you too. 🙂

  • This, of course, reinforces a general feeling of hopelesssness of real change through good works: “They get people angrily debating things they can’t change, rather than constructively working on the things that they can.”

    So many things none of us can really know first hand, but we allow ourselves to become enraged about. What can I know for sure? What do I know about U.S. foreign policy? Only what I know from news sources, of course. Are they reliable? I do not know, but I try to apply tests of reasonableness and how the information fits in a worldview.

    But I could help my neighbors if I weren’t so upset about who my fellow Americans are going to vote for in an election a year away, that will likely not provide a real choice for change, anyway.

    • Maybe this is rather obvious: The debate point to suppress Sanders in the nomination process of “electability” is a rather open acknowledgement of controlling the window.

      “We can’t control what you say, we will simply convince people who support what you say that those thoughts are outside the bounds of allowable discussion in this country.”

  • Hmm…I posted a comment an hour ago and it has not shown up yet.
    Did I make a mistake?
    Was it too long?
    Do you not like posting via a VPN?
    Should I try again?

    • CJ, you alluded to it somewhat but I would add, “instead of talking about the corrupt and anti-democratic processes that led to the anointing of a horrid and ultimately failed candidate – Hillary Clinton – people were distracted with charges of “interference by Russians” (my G-d, how sick!).

    • http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-amazing-true-story-of-how-hillary-clinton-secretly-cheated-bernie-sanders-out-of-a-fair-shot-at-the-democratic-nomination
      “Yes, Hillary Clinton really did steal the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders, but most people have absolutely no idea how she actually did it. In the end, it was all about the money. A secret joint fundraising agreement that was made between the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America gave the Clinton campaign full control of the Democratic Party nearly a year before she officially won the nomination. Normally, a presidential candidate for a major party would only be permitted to take full control once the nomination had been secured. But in Hillary’s case, her campaign had a stranglehold over the Democratic National Committee virtually the entire time she was engaged in a heated battle with Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.”
      “How in the world was Bernie Sanders supposed to have a fair chance if Hillary was in full control of “the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised”?”

  • The greatest victory of The Matrix is “educating” human beings in such a way that the vast, vast majority are literally incapable of imagining the minute, day-to-day details of A Better World.
    The microscopic percentage of the population that are capable of imagining A Better World, bring it into reality and actually live within it are marginalized outside the Overton Window, behind the wizards’ opaque curtain.
    You’re lucky to be reading comments on Caitlin’s article today, because I now lift the opaque curtain to reveal A Better World. The only remaing question is: are you going to join that Better World, or is that Better World too boring, “backward” a lifestyle, and you want to live through to the inevitable, evolutionary end of The Matrix — environmental disaster or, even more exciting, full-scale nuclear war? Take your pick. Not much time left.

    • This is the Reality of the World I envision for our Children to LIVE IN, What a Dream World, Made True! When people can Think for Their own selves, what will they choose? They will choose to live in a HOME like this place is! I loved all of those people just dancing, dancing, Together, I wish I could Play my many-Tongued Drums for them to dance with! I, myself have not seen or inter-acted with another Human-being in 45 days now, I live all alone, and not a single neighbor has stopped in to check if I am alive, or dead on my couch!……I just feed another Log, sacrifice, into my fire, and wait it out…….

  • They get people debating about which statist totalitarian dictatorship is preferable: communist/socialist bureaucratic social control or fascist/corporate economic financial servitude, not whether or not statism itself is the antithesis of self determination and the poison most corrosive to both society and the environment.

  • Hard to prove but I just know this exists. Years ago it was apparent just to see the same news on all channels. What I’d like to know is who are the “plutocrat-owned narrative managers of the political/media class” and how do they stay organized? Is there a “boss”? Do they meet? Are you part of the encouraged dissident views?

    • osmosis in the web of power.

  • So what, pray tell, is in store for us United States peons?
    The Enemy Within by Chris Hedges

  • Hate to be a party pooper, but…

    “…rather than discussing the fact that her [Tulsi Gabbard’s] foreign policy would have been considered perfectly normal prior to 9/11.”

    Really? When before 9/11 could the Overton window of US foreign policy possibly be considered wide enough to forbid non-‘regime change’ for countries the US didn’t like? Some may consider, for example, the US’s ‘isolationist policy’ up to the its maneuvering Japan into attacking Pearl Harbour (only part of Japan attacking other Pacific-rim Asian countries on that ‘day of infamy’) an example. ‘Isolationism’ was short-lived, due partly to the US ruling class recovering from the Great Depression and wanting to focus on profits from arming the WWII combatants; it applied mainly to Europe because the US rulers’ most prominent members also had heavy investments in German industry, including Ford, GM, IBM, Coca Cola, etc; and of course the US was quite happy to leave Germany alone to destroy the USSR (after its own efforts in 1918 came to nought).

    From the Monroe Doctrine, which was ‘Europe, stay out of our South American backyard’; to its Teddy Roosevelt extension ‘South American countries behave or we’ll come as an international police force and police you with a big stick’; to the explicitly anti-communist Truman ‘containment’ doctrine of ‘we’ll now police the rest of the world’ (also an inevitable corollary of having nuclear weapons hegemony); to the Carter doctrine of protecting ‘our’ Middle East oil supply at any cost; to Reagan’s of funding and arming any counterrevolutionary force and making the Soviet economy ‘scream’; and now to Bush’s post-9/11 ‘war on Terror’ and its ‘preventive’ wars — all have regime compliance or regime change as the underlying MO.

    Did the US only begin invading foreign countries after 9/11? Clearly no. Did they only begin regime change operations after 9/11? Clearly no. So before 9/11, which presidential contender from the Republicrat duopoly ever advocated against the US’s foreign policy of interfering anywhere the ruling class wanted to? Has there been one?

    Maybe Henry Wallace came close to questioning US foreign policy, but he was brusquely excluded from the Democrat primary in favour of Truman. The only other foreign policy questioning from the Republicrat duopoly was from George McGovern who campaigned in 1972 to get out of the losing Viet Nam war, something that half the ruling class also wanted. Not to stop US imperialist depredations in general, only unpopular losing wars. Overall, in spite of these apparent ‘exceptions’, the foreign policy Overton window has never really extended beyond the foreign policy doctrine of the day.

    In short, since its emergence as an imperial power at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly from Teddy Roosevelt on, never has US excluded from its foreign policy repertoire regime change for non-compliant countries, by means ranging from electoral interference to coups and assassinations to outright military invasions. 9/11 or no 9/11.

    Tulsi Gabbard might ostensibly be against ‘regime change wars’, but she’s a hawke when it comes to ‘terrorists’, continues to support droning non-compliant parts of the world on suspicion and without permission, and such a posture, in an incremental tit-for-tat fashion, leads inevitably to fomenting or implementing straight out regime change. She’s remains an American exceptionalist, and her foreign policy is not qualitatively different from Bush’s ‘preventive war’ doctrine.

    Thus “[Tulsi Gabbard’s] foreign policy would have been considered perfectly normal prior to 9/11” isn’t really true or all that relevant. That norm didn’t change qualitatively around 9/11, and while Gabbard’s stated, ostensible foreign policy may appear to be outside the norm, her actual policy, and it’s consequences, is not substantially different from the current Bush norm. She may or may not realise that, but the rest of us should.

    • Righty-O. The rot has been there since the beginning.

    • Great comment.

    • Ron Paul is the only real contrarian I can think of who got any political traction when it came to promoting a non-interventionist foreign policy. And, boy, did the Establishment neuter him and his views.

    • You apparently drink from the same well of omniscient wisdom that enabled Hillary Clinton to proclaim Tulsi a Russian asset, whether “she may or may not realise that”. What remarkable insight, to discern the dangerous difference between “Gabbard’s stated, ostensible foreign policy” which she has repeatedly and consistently articulated, and “her actual policy”, seemingly known only to you and a handful of equally insightful neolib narrative managers. I am even further in awe of your ability to project the “consequences” of Tulsi’s foreign policy, as you say “not qualitatively different from Bush’s ‘preventive war’ doctrine.”

      To quote the Princess Bride character Westley, upon hearing Vizzini’s supercilious analysis before confidently quaffing his cup of poison, “Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.”

      • Supporting drone operations and being a hawk on terrorism contradicts her stated policy of getting out of foreign military interventions. It doesn’t take a neocon Clintonite or a ‘dizzying intellect’ to point this out or and its logical consequences.

        BTW, Gabbard is no Russian asset, and that’s a straight out slander, like your characterisation of my drinking habits.

        • Perhaps we can start with the premise that, aside from the relentless, indiscriminate bombing of nations like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria (all of which Tulsi opposes), the greatest act of terrorism in most of our memories was the destruction of three World Trade Center buildings on 9/11. As far as I know, Tulsi is the only even moderately high profile figure ever to call for the release of all FBI records related to that terrorist act. We already know that Saudi Arabia (our most active Mideast ally) was involved, but not the extent of their involvement nor the complicity of others in the plot. Identifying the perpetrators and holding them accountable is what I call being a hawk on terrorism.

          Without calling either your intellect or your motives into question, I cannot explain your failure to see the connection between needing to end the continuing mass murder in the Mideast and aggressively pursuing those responsible for provoking and excusing it. And given the direction in which a real investigation of 9/11 might lead, I find your statement that Tulsi is “not substantially different from the Bush norm” colossally disingenuous.

          • Tulsi Gabbard doesn’t limit her hawkishness on terrorism to finding and bringing to account those responsible for 9/11, and it’s disingenuous to imply that.

            In 2016, she told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that “When it comes to the war against terrorists, I’m a hawk”. And she’s repeated this on other occasions. The logic of her position is that if she’s commander in chief she’ll use the US military to fight terrorists wherever they might be. They’re in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq right now, so she can’t hold one position of withdrawing from these countries and at the same time be for fighting terrorism where it might be, including in these countries. She’s trapped in this contradiction and it will only tighten because the US presence in these countries, and the harm it has caused them, has generated and fuelled the spiralling rise in Al Qaeda-like terrorist spin-offs, and this will only continue.

            At the time of 9/11, Al Qaeda numbered around 400. Since then Al Qaeda and its spin-offs have grown to many tens of thousands. If she wants to fight terrorists militarily, they’ll only grow, and ‘police actions’, as they’re initially sold to the public, have been shown by history to escalate into full scale wars.

            Tulsi Gabbard’s support for drone attacks is reprehensible and further exposes her as hypocrite if her concern for the loss of civilian lives in US target countries is to believed. As a military person she knows full well that the vast majority of casualties from US drone attacks are civilians.

            Nor is Tulsi Gabbard against US imperialism’s military in general, not least that she’s still an officer in the National Guard. As a member of congress, in September 2018 she voted for the 2019 military appropriation bill for $670 billion which includes a provision expressly prohibiting the release of prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay torture facility.

            Finally, the reason you can’t explain my ‘failure’ “to see the connection between needing to end the continuing mass murder in the Mideast and aggressively pursuing those responsible for provoking and excusing it” is because this is a vague and meaningless statement — without specifying who you mean is committing the mass murder and who is responsible for it. If you mean the US, then by all means I’d support her hawkishness against the US terrorists. Some drone attacks on the Pentagon and Langley Virginia might be called for. Otherwise, interfering in numerous middle east countries in the name of hunting for elusive 9/11 perpetrators is simply a cover for further subjecting those countries to imperialist diktat. After all, that’s what the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were ‘all about’.

            It’s inescapable: Tulsi Gabbard is Bush lite.

    • That’s a very good point.
      It is important to realise that the current situation is not something new.
      What is new is that we become more aware of the reality.
      We are learning, becoming better.
      We need to help others to learn and not allow ourselves to sink back into that state of unknowing and uncaring.
      The world is run by wealthy people for wealthy people.
      There are technocrats who live fairly well by serving the owners.

    • right on about the imperialist in and outside the US: the empire knows no state boundaries. also agree on Tulsi: she is far from an anti-imeprialist war candidate. however, certain “limited” perspectives are useful in disrupting the imperialist narratives, for a while.

  • Thank you. My centering piece most weeks is your courageous diatribe poetry and these beautiful rants. You make space for thought tribes coming along. Max Blumenthal’s team Gray Zone work along with your effort to see and tell, to cherish reality while begetting what is needing to happen next. Is Priceless.

  • Amen. Of course as long as we insist government, a monopoly of violence, is necessary, there can be no other end result.

  • no more.

    BDS everyday!

  • Great article, Caitlin, full of insight on many fundamental topics.
    For example on what is coming now, the end of free press around the world via extradition:
    > They get people debating violations of government secrecy laws, not whether the government has any business keeping those secrets from its citizenry in the first place. . . .
    > They get people debating whether or not Julian Assange is “a real journalist”, rather than whether or not they should set legal precedents that necessarily criminalize acts of journalism.
    > They get people debating the subtle details of bail protocol, political asylum, embassy cat hygiene and leaking rather than whether it should ever be legal to imprison a publisher for exposing government war crimes.
    > They get people debating what the punishment should be for whistleblowers, not what the punishment should be for those they blow the whistle on. . . .
    > They get people shoving against each other in opposite directions, while they swiftly build a cage around us all.
    Award-winning journalist Chris Hedges warned about it as well:
    “The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Assange is extradited and convicted it will become one.
    “Assange is not an American citizen. WikiLeaks, which he founded and publishes, is not a U.S.-based publication. The message the U.S. government is sending is clear: No matter who or where you are, if you expose the inner workings of empire you will be hunted down, kidnapped and brought to the United States to be tried as a spy.
    “The extradition and trial of Assange will mean the end of public investigations by the press into the crimes of the ruling elites. It will cement into place a frightening corporate tyranny.
    “Publications such as The New York Times and The Guardian, which devoted pages to the WikiLeaks revelations and later amplified and legitimized Washington’s carefully orchestrated character assassination of Assange, are no less panicked.
    “This is the gravest assault on press freedom in my lifetime.”
    The Coming Show Trial of Julian Assange — Chris Hedges — Jun 17, 2019

    • Assange has already been arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced without any semblance of due process or regard for any law. Giving him his day in court is clearly not consistent with the interests of his persecutors, as it would only provide him a forum to compound his real offense, exposing US war crimes (and perhaps others). Therefore, Julian Assange is a dead man, now barely walking. His execution (the methodical destruction of his mind and body) is currently underway in Belmarsh Prison, under the supervision of US functionaries, and will be complete (or virtually so) prior to his extradition.

  • One of the reasons I’ve taken a long leave from Facebook is that algorithms are being employed to coral users towards like thinkers. In too many cases, once users discover people who think like them the vast majority willingly submit to the Overton windows imposed by the strongest personalities, who are usually the most sociopathic. They are blinded to the reality that they are being deliberately herded together in order to stop them reaching others. The transition is almost seamless.

    With everyone appearing to more or less agree with each other, dissenters from the main debate are soon made to feel unwanted, unless they submit to the prevailing narrative. Real debate is slowly suffocated, as failure to submit first leads to humilliation before being blocked. This is not a left or right wing thing, it applies across a ever narrowing aperture of debate. The stars of the groups gradually assert power, which they wield without mercy. They cannot their views being challenged. At times their arrogance becomes laughable as they struggle to challenge real evidence that contradicts their opinions or views.

    In one particular gathering my views on the United States coming elections were challenged because I was not American. The implication being that only U.S. citizens were entitled to express views on U.S. policies, even though those policies affect all nations. This wasn’t a right wing grouping but one whose users would probably describe themselves as progressive. I pointed out that there was a U.S. air and naval base less than fifty miles away from where I live in Spain and enquired if there were any Spanish military bases near where she lived in the U.S. I didn’t bother to read any reply she might give as I knew the answer. I don’t know the answer to this. I don’t know how to wake people up to the way they are being manipulated into impotence by social media, where they talk to each other in an echo chamber under the belief they can make a difference.

  • From Ted Kaczynski’s Manifesto (Find it at https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/unabomber/manifesto.text.htm):

    “133. No social arrangements, whether laws, institutions, customs or ethical codes, can provide permanent protection against technology. History shows that all social arrangements are transitory; they all change or break down eventually. But technological advances are permanent within the context of a given civilization. Suppose
    for example that it were possible to arrive at some social arrangements that would prevent genetic engineering from being applied to human beings, or prevent it from
    being applied in such a way as to threaten freedom and dignity. Still, the technology would remain waiting. Sooner or later the social arrangement would break down. Probably sooner, given the pace of change in our society. Then genetic engineering would begin to invade our sphere of freedom. and this invasion would be irreversible (short of a breakdown of technological civilization itself). Any illusions about achieving anything permanent through social arrangements should be dispelled by what is currently happening with environmental legislation. A few years ago its seemed that there were secure legal barriers preventing at least SOME of the worst forms of environmental degradation. A change in the political wind, and those barriers begin to crumble.

    134. For all of the foregoing reasons, technology is a more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom. But this statement requires an important qualification. It appears that during the next several decades the industrial-technological system will be undergoing severe stresses due to economic and environmental problems, and especially due to problems of human behavior (alienation, rebellion, hostility, a variety of social and psychological difficulties).

    We hope that the stresses through which the system is likely to pass will cause it to break down, or at least will weaken it sufficiently so that a revolution against it becomes possible. If such a revolution occurs and is successful, then at that particular moment the aspiration for freedom will have proved more powerful than technology.”

    The system must breakdown/self-destruct under the stresses it create for itself and then there will be a window for real revolution, a real opening of the Overton Window. Unless that happens, the status quo power structures will remain in control. TK is right, and he’s not alone on this (Read Polanyi for one), that our technology has brought us to our current situation. IF, the big if, technology overcomes the numerous challenges it now faces, problems created by previous technological steps (didn’t really know what we were doing, never do), there won’t even be an Overton Window at all…We’ll be fully Borg.

    Without the breakdown of the system, I’m afraid that all else for now is shaking our fists at the wind. Yet, as we do our cathartic fist-shaking, and we must, the system does look like it’s getting mighty shaky on all of its legs. So, there may be some hope but the process for getting to any real hope will not be pretty, and there’s no guarantee at all that whatever comes after this system’s demise will really be better. We humans won’t give up on wanting to be God (our technology’s what that’s all about), and we aren’t ever going to do any better than the all-too-human gods on Olympus did.

  • They (including pretty much all the Left) get people thinking it’s morally possible and physically possible to continue the Extreme Energy Civilization.

    They think they can destroy the Earth and have it too.

    (That includes the great majority of “climate” types who care nothing about the general ecological crisis.)

    • Yep. :/ Even the people who want to do the right thing and are willing to take the steps in their own lives have no idea what is actually required.

  • Yes, very well said! The insular echo-chamber of the window, blind to their own unconscious trauma, and the pain that lives in their bodies, shackled around their hearts, perpetuating their defenses and putting opaque film over their capacity to see reality. These defenses drive their need for constant control of narrative. To use Daniel Siegel’s term, they must stay within their ‘window of tolerance,’ which for individuals driven by unconscious unprocessed trauma is very narrow, impelling a rigidly controlled ego structure; if they are pushed outside their window of tolerance the nervous system is disregulated and they begin to dissociate and thus must go running back to their little window. I used to live in that little window too. My fathers rage and abuse helped me stay there. Yet I found healing, a long journey, and transformed my window, it became the vastness of the mystery of being, and my body became my home, the rhythm of my blood my music. Your writing is psycholytic, it loosens defenses, it shatters windows, it is the fresh and unfiltered scream of life, the fire of earth within us all raging for truth. I am grateful for it. I sing with you.

  • They make it so people never debate whether finance (the lifeblood of our species economic interchange) should be public or private or that the public/private schism is why the West is hating/at war with China, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc.

    They make it so the above is never understood to be the underpinnings of desire to control most/all of the Catlin mentioned issues

  • The truth must therefore be hate speech.

  • An absolutely BRILLIANT analysis my dear **CJ**

    Now here’s a 30-minute video that affirms
    many of your meta-physical writings
    on how to Awaken the World (part-1 of 4):

  • Brilliant as always, Caitlin!
    You’ll enjoy this: http://www.gregfelton.com/canpol/2010_01_13.htm

  • Another magnificent article, Ms Johnstone. It had me yessing out loud over and over again and at the end I was wishing for more. Thank You.
    Ah, the Buddha Ms Caitlin speaks the truth!

    • Amen x 10

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