What is the North Korean Word for “Gulf of Tonkin?” by Publius Tacitus


The media drum beat portraying North Korea as a country in the hands of a "crazy", "insane" mad man is churning along at full speed. The messaging is so intense that even Helen Keller would see and hear it–we are going to war with North Korea. Whether or not Donald Trump and his team decide to actually push the button is a subject already addressed by Colonel Lang–(see,  Is the Korean war scare real?

What I want you to consider is the broader topic of how the media is being routinely used as medium for shaping and manipulating public opinion. The quantity of disinformation and propaganda flooding the internet, cable news and newspapers is akin to an avalanche in the Swiss Alps during the heaviest of winter snows. 

Consider the following demonstrably false statements that are widely accepted by the media and public as true:

Iran is world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism, US says    

Europe faces a 'real threat' from Russia, warns US army commander

"It's not an assumption. There is a Russian threat," Lt-Gen Frederick "Ben" Hodges said.

"You've got the Russian ambassador threatening that Denmark will be a nuclear target if it participates in any missile defence programme. And when you look at the unsafe way Russian aircraft are flying without transponders in proximity to civilian aircraft, that's not professional conduct."

Gen Hodges spoke to the Telegraph on the sidelines of a military debriefing after an exercise to move live Patriot missiles 750 miles across Europeby road and deploy them on the outskirts of Warsaw.

The sight of a US military convoy crossing the German-Polish border more than 20 years after the end of the Cold War made international headlines and brought traffic to a standstill as people posed for selfies beside the troops.

The Richest Man in the World Could Be Putin

Donald Trump's latest outburst against North Korea seems like a ready made sketch for Saturday Night Live. President Trump was hosting a meeting with his Administration officials combatting the Opiod Epidemic:

President Trump on Tuesday drew attention to the country’s opioid crisis, calling it a “tremendous problem in our country” ahead of a meeting with top administration officials on the issue.

It was during the press appearance that Trump talked trash about North Korea:

North Korea and the United States traded escalating threats, with President Donald Trump threatening Pyongyang "with fire and fury like the world has never seen" and the North's military claiming Wednesday it was examining its plans for attacking Guam.

The obvious joke is to wonder if the President was under the influence of opioids when he issued this threat. He certainly did not appear to appreciate the irony of promising action against a foreign leader who has said things characterized as "crazy" and "intemperate." Pot calling kettle black came to mind.

One final item in the news that caught my eye on the propaganda front concerned an FBI raid on the offices of President Trump's former campaign manager:

FBI agents raided the Alexandria home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman late last month, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Federal agents appeared at Paul Manafort’s home without advance warning in the predawn hours of July 26, the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

I find the "leak" of this info and its publication today to be quite strange. First, the event occurred two weeks ago. Second, the article is written in a way to cast more innuendo on Manafort to suggest he is hiding some nefarious activity. Yet, if you carefully read the article you find it is nothing but circumstantial speculation. But that  fact did not prevent the media from seizing on this as a major development. Most gave a cursory nod to the rebuttal from Manafort's attorney who insisted that his client was cooperating fully with Congressional investigators as well as law enforcement.

My fundamental point with respect to the points raised above is to simply encourage you to read with skepticism and doubt the conventional wisdom presented as "news" by the so-called mainstream media. There are agendas at work and information is disseminated, in my view, for the express purpose of shaping public opinion to manipulate the mass rather than informing the citizens of a Republic. That is a reality that jeopardizes our freedom and undermines the foundation of law this nation was built on.


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29 Responses to What is the North Korean Word for “Gulf of Tonkin?” by Publius Tacitus

  1. David E. Solomon says:

    Publius Tacitus,
    Is anything different than it ever has been?
    The three events that turned me against the media and the US propaganda machine in my early youth were, “duck and tuck”, the coverage of Gary Powers and the U-2 spy plane, and our sudden turning against Fidel Castro after we no longer desired to encourage him against our hated mafia supported Batista.

  2. Daniel Nicolas says:

    the media is being routinely used as medium for shaping and manipulating public opinion. The quantity of disinformation and propaganda flooding the internet, cable news and newspapers is akin to an avalanche in the Swiss Alps during the heaviest of winter snows.
    Consider the following demonstrably false statements that are widely accepted by the media and public as true

    I want to propose that the borg/democrats/leftists/etc. strategy for using the media for shaping and manipulating media is backfiring as they continue to double down on trying to sell their narratives to the public.
    Even the ‘media’ knows they’re lying and it’s all just propaganda (see CNN producers saying that their spearhead story about Russia is just BS). The more they’re exposed, the more the public doesn’t believe their narrative anymore.
    I think it is more widely accepted that public doesn’t trust the media.

  3. Bill H says:

    I could not agree with you more. I do not believe that “North Korea has a nuclear weapon that will fit on an ICBM,” for instance. That conviction is not based on any knowledge whatever, but is based entirely on the fact that the statement comes from the US media.

  4. zk says:

    North Korean situation is a 20th century problem, that needs to be solved not with “fire and fury” but with 21th century methods.
    All interested parties (most of the planet really) need to help them make the similar transition that China is making.
    A transition towards some form of market economy and international integration and cooperation.
    It might take a decade or two but it is a much better solution than nuking everything in sight and/or arming the SK and Japan with nukes.

  5. turcopolier says:

    What if the NoKos attack the US or the ROK before you persuade them to become modern. pl

  6. BillWade says:

    Agree 100% with your last paragraph. However, I seriously doubt President Trump is acting like a crazed drug induced lunatic, I think he means what he says.
    Maybe people think we need several months and a “coalition of the willing” before we take out North Korea. We don’t, 24-72 hours should do the trick.

  7. turcopolier says:

    You are right. American leaders are crazy. we should long ago have stopped protecting Canada and particularly BC from what you evidently see as non-existent dangers. OTOH the last time a “crazy” US president directly threatened a country was Eisenhower who threatened North Korea in 1953. IMO Assad is not crazy. Kim Jung Un IS mad in that he has directly threatened the US with an announced attack to be made on the US sovereign territory of Guam. IMO that in itself justifies a US pre-emptive attack on NoKo. pl

  8. Fredw says:

    My only serious disagreement is with the underlying assumption that this is abnormal and reprehensible. My perception is that this is how the media have always acted. The intensity is high for this campaign against Trump, but it is high also in his campaigns against various puported villains. That is how things are done. And, amazingly, that turns out to be a fairly effective way of doing things over the long term. (Applying Churchill’s standard of comparing to all the other ways that have been tried.) Democracy depends on this sort of mobilization.
    When the objects of such a campaign do not clash too badly with our existing notions, we barely notice the mechanisms by which opinion is manipulated. When the purposes conflict with ours, then we experience outrage over the falseness and unfairness of the media. But they are not doing anything much different than they did when we agreed with them.
    These articles perform a service for me by piercing some of the pretensions, helping me to understand what is really going on. But mostly they help me ask some of the right questions.

  9. The Beaver says:

    Now, one wonders why Nikki Haley is losing two key aides at the same time – just before her trip to Vienna.
    Chief of staff and communications director both resigned
    Haley said on Twitter the men were leaving for family reasons

  10. zk says:

    With all the money poured into US military and intelligence services, one would expect the US should be able to learn about and preempt any nukes being launched at it from NK (or delivered by any other means).
    As for the ROK and Japan, if the US attacks, the NK retaliation is guaranteed.
    It should be made perfectly clear to NK leadership, that if they attack anyone, they will perish.
    If they launch missiles towards Guam, they should be shot down.
    But they also should be offered a way to gradually transform their society. With the help of China, US, SK, Japan, Russia and others.
    They offer must be genuine, and feasible, not of the type Kim Must Go, Assad must Go and other such nonsense.
    This could give peace a chance, while also giving countries in the region time to beef up defenses and prepare for the worst, just in case.

  11. Confusedponderer says:

    given the oopsies that the US have met in iraq, or during the ‘liberation’ of libya or syria, I’d argue that “fury and fire” are considered a suitable approach by some US policos.
    As Iirc Albright said: “What’s the point oft having our awesome military if we don’t use it?”

  12. Greco says:

    Is it too cynical to ask that perhaps they wanted out before the proverbial SHTF on something that might prove to be a botch on their resume?

  13. FourthAndLong says:

    @ I do not believe that “North Korea has a nuclear weapon that will fit on an ICBM,” for instance.
    That was formulated to cool things off IMO. Not at all as a stampede to war.

  14. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    I rather suspect that they were bailing out from the Crazy Train called Nikki Haley.
    If anybody should have resigned, or been shown the wisdom of resigning, it was her nibs. Although, if you think about it, having a waspish, ill-tempered virago filling the post of UN Ambassador seems to have become a tradition for the U.S.. But Ms Haley has amped it up with her coupling of willful ignorance with the now quotidian accusatory bombast. What a cocktail! Bottoms up, world. Prost.

  15. sid_finster says:

    The more isolated that crazy witch is, the better.

  16. optimax says:

    I think I’m more skeptical than you, Tacitus. I wonder if the NoKo statements of planned aggression against Guam and US are fake news? I don’t always trust the interpretations of foreign leaders. Is the NoKo military planning strikes strikes the way way our military plans for war with every other country in the world just because we like to be prepared? Or are these real threats like bin Laden’s, which he carried out.
    I’ve looked at South Korea newspapers and found nothing to substantiate the msm claims. In fact, they are much calmer than us. Here is a link to an English translation of a NoKo newspaper and if anyone has java script, which I don’t, you can read it.

  17. Bill Herschel says:

    As a gedanken experiment, let’s ask ourselves where Russian nuclear missiles are targeted? Is it possible that any of them are targeted on U.S. cities and other U.S. targets.
    If so, does that constitute a threat? And, if it does, should we pre-emptively attack Russia?
    If it doesn’t constitute a threat, what does it constitute?
    Your argument is based on the notion that Kim Jong-un is crazy enough to first strike the U.S. and that Putin isn’t. In that case, why isn’t Kim threatening China, a much easier target, particularly after they voted against him in the Security Council. Is it because he thinks he’ll lose if he attacks China? And that he’ll win if he attacks the U.S.?
    This is so very, very like the lead-up to the GW Bush Iraq war. And the Russians and Chinese are high-fiving all the way.

  18. b says:

    What makes you think that North Koreans would WANT “international integration and cooperation”?
    What exactly would that mean for them? More rapacious banking? Less income for the masses but much more income for the 1%?

  19. b says:

    There was NO threat to the U.S. with an attack announcement for Guam.
    This was an extra low level statement about *potential* escalation through TESTING a certain missile so that it would land some 50 km away from Guam.
    The “threat” came from an artillery command which said it was drafting plans for such a test, that it would put forward the draft in future and that at some some point the leadership would decide.
    This was all very unusually conditioned and low level. Normally we get blasts of test announcements from the highest level.
    It was also simply a response to “fire and fury”. The U.S. president is threatening to nuke North Korea. Did you expect no response to that?
    With this low level statement the DPRK stepped over Trump’s rhetorical red-line just to make the point.

  20. b says:

    You are now guilty of “nuclear Orientalism”.
    That depicts the assertion that the other country (or its leader) is crazy while one’s own country (leader) always behaves totally rational.
    Thus nukes other have are dangerous and a threat while ones own nukes never are.
    I am WAY more concerned about Trump’s craziness that about Kim Jong Un’s.

  21. DMC says:

    What’s it been, more than 30 years since Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”? And now, the consent is more manufactured than ever.

  22. MRW says:

    That link is extremely worthwhile, optimax. If you search for Trump, barely a peep. In fact, their reports seem to be fairly measured.

  23. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    It WOULD NOT be the same. We have fired nothing into NoKo. To say that NoKo demonstrating its ability to strike Guam is the same is an unrealistic comparison. pl

  24. turcopolier says:

    “so that it would land some 50 km away from Guam.” If they do that there will be war. pl

  25. Kooshy says:

    NK is China’s buffer zone to Yellow Sea, like Ukraine is for Russia’s Black Sea. I believe at the end of the day dear leader Trump will have to cool it down a few natchre. I don’t see a patriotic war mood against NK boiling hot. Not yet, as PT says depends on how the media IO mind forming campaign sucsseds.

  26. Greco says:

    “Mr. Trump’s warning this week that any further threats from North Korea ‘will be met with fire and fury’ was aimed in part at jolting China into doing more to enforce the sanctions.”
    “Worse for China’s leaders, the latest escalation comes as they are preparing for a Communist Party congress that will reapportion power across its top leadership and give President Xi Jinping his second five-year term. Mr. Xi and other leaders are believed this week to be meeting in the coastal resort town of Beidaihe [their version of Bilderberg], where top officials have gathered most summers to discuss policy and political matters in secret. This year, party leaders are likely focused on negotiating promotions and personnel arrangements, according to Chinese politics experts.”

  27. kao_hsien_chih says:

    The weaker power almost always takes more risk than the stronger power. This is especially more applicable in case of NK: the threat with which they blackmail their neighbors with is that, unless they are satisfied, they will create more instability in the region, with only they being allowed to decide when and if they should be satisfied, coupled with a sense of historical aggrievement that may or may not be justified. More than anything else, NK attitude strikes me as that of Imperial Japan, circa 1940. I actually think FDR made several mistakes that made a military clash more likely, but, no matter what happened until December 6, once the proverbial manure hits the fan, there’s no turning back.

  28. scott s. says:

    It seem like the transition China is making is from an Empire controlling East Asia that declined and was dominated by Euro, American, and Japanese powers back to the status of Empire. If that reading is correct, then expect China to treat Joseon as its vassal state.

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    How much of Seoul, Pusan, and Tokyo Bay area will be destroyed during those 3 days, do you estimate?

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