Monday, May 26, 2014

This Is Your Brain On Propaganda - 5

Epigovernment Gun-boats
This Memorial Day is a day of memory.

The true memorial can only be as accurate as the true memory of the events to be memorialised. 

The ideal of the concept of a memorial is supposed to be to remember what really happened, however,  when the reality does not match the ideal it is not a memorial, it is one of the forms of propaganda.

It is sometimes a bit shocking to realize how much of what we think is actual history is really not actual history, it is instead the work of revisionist historians.

One new facet of that is how the U.S. Supreme Court revises the decisions it makes sometimes years after the fact:
Hiding in plain sight at the top of a Supreme Court opinion when first issued is a formal notice that “this opinion is subject to formal revision.” Readers have long assumed that any such revisions are both rarely made and entirely nonsubstantive in nature. Neither is true. Apart from the anticipated routine proofreading corrections of typographical errors, misspellings, and incidental grammatical mistakes, which are many, the Justices routinely correct mistakes in majority and separate opinions relating to the arguments of the parties, record below, historical facts, relevant statutes and regulations, opinions of their colleagues, and Court precedent. The Justices also, even more significantly, sometimes change their initial reasoning in support of their legal conclusions. To all these ends, they sometimes add, delete, and substitute words, phrases, and sentences. Unaware of the existence and degree of such changes, the public routinely refers to versions of opinions of the Court and of Justices that, while superseded, are nonetheless perpetuated through lower court opinions, websites, and even leading academic casebooks.

This article is the first to explore the Court’s practice of revising its opinions after initial publication, which one Justice privately referred to as “a strange and reverse basis” and a Court official described as “completely at odds with general publishing practices.”
(Harvard Law Review Article, The (Non)Finality of Supreme Court Opinions, 128 Harv. L. Rev.____, (forthcoming 2014), emphasis added). This form of revisionist history is problematic, because, as it ends up "lower court opinions, websites, and even leading academic casebooks" all pass around multiple versions of the "same case."

Time and again Dredd Blog has pointed out our cultural proclivity to habitually practice revisionist history (e.g. American Feudalism - 5, Corp Germ > Corp Seed > Corp Monster - 4, In Mother-Country MOMCOM: "Text Acts You!").

This is true of past "good" wars too:
The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.
(The Virgin MOMCOM - 6, quoting 1944 book; cf. MOMCOM And The Sins of Libya - 2, The Fog of War - McWarster McNamara, On The Origin of The Bully Religion - 2).

The wars fought since the 1900's have been primarily about the control of oil and war profiteering (The Universal Smedley, The Universal Smedley - 2, Viva Egypt - 2).

The previous post in this series is here.

Daily Show Video
On Veteran's treatment over the years: PART-1 PART-2

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