Bare Bones Biology 118 – David Barsamian

You all know David Barsamian, who gave us a personal interview. The podcast is linked to the bottom of this post, and transcribed below:

“David Barsamian was in Santa Fe a couple of weeks ago. He created Alternative Radiothat plays on KEOS and around the world every week, with some of the best facts and opinions available these days. I’ll write more about this below the transcript, and leave the rest of the time for David.

“Well, let me say this. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. We live now in a time of tremendous lying and perfidity, and citizens need to inform themselves. Chomskysays it’s the task of citizens in a democratic society to educate themselves, so they will be able to resist the propaganda that’s cascading upon them through the media and through the educational system.

“Propaganda is first and foremost destroying the truth in terms of U.S. foreign policy. It completely misrepresents U.S. intentions outside the country. Everything the United States does is always presented in very benign, benevolent terms. If there is anything tragic that happens, then you’ll notice they use the passive voice and say that ‘mistakes were made’ or ‘it was an accident, it was not intentional.’

“So I think to be able to resist this kind of propaganda it’s very, very important to be informed. I mean, many Americans don’t even know that they don’t know what they have lost because of the paucity of public education. Many people have lost the ability to distinguish evidence from opinion.

“So when you watch something on FOX news, all those gas-bags and blow-hards who know nothing about nothing, they’re not talking about facts. They’re talking about opinion. Not evidence. So when they say things like, ‘Iran is an aggressive country, OK let’s say that’s the case. Iran is an aggressive country. The fact is that Iran has not invaded another country in 250 years. You can’t go more than two and a half years in any part of U.S. history and make that statement. The United States is constantly directly invading, occupying other countries, undermining them through economic warfare, political warfare, and straight-out military invasion. So the historical record often is at extreme variance with the propaganda tropes, and propaganda plays a huge role for manufacturing consent for imperial foreign policy, as well as domestic wall-street policy.
We have an economy run by the 1%, as the Occupy movement says. It’s an economy by and for the financial elites, the bankers, the people who own the economy.

“And this makes perfect sense, because one of the founding fathers was John Jay, the first President of the Continental Congress and the first Supreme Court Justice of the United States. He said: ‘Those who own the country ought to govern it.’ There you have it, right at the beginning of the founding of this country you have a statement that 1% should control the 99%. Another example is James Madison, who is endlessly quoted, but not this quote: ‘The aim of government (this is a direct quote) is to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.’ Simple English. The minority of the opulent, that’s the rich, and the majority is everybody else. And that’s what we have today, economically, and it hasn’t changed very much, it’s just gotten worse in the United States.”

And then Lynn pops in here: “I’m doing OK. Why should I care?”

Barsamian: “There’s a very important human quality, which is compassion, and if we see our fellow human beings suffering or in some way disadvantaged, we have to extend ourselves as much as possible to help them in any way we can. I think that’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us humane.”

Of course you know David Barsamian’s comments are about politics, but I find it fascinating that all or nearly all posts about any serious issue come down to the same sorts of subjects and points of view. I can read through this whole broadcast above and replace the political topics with science topics and nothing is changed except that good science gets to work with already-established facts and most of politics is about cause and effects based in historical evidence. We can’t change facts and we can’t change what already has happened.

It’s somewhat easier for scientists, because we can prove what we say when we are talking about already-demonstrated facts. Well, in one way it’s great. In another way, we are continually in danger of being tripped up by our own science, in case someone might be able to demonstrate the flaws in our arguments. Climate Change for example. The climate is changing, and all the opinions in the world can’t stop it. The only thing that could have stopped it was action – changing our behaviors – and we didn’t want to do that, so here we are. Facts do not change. That’s why we call them facts. So whenever the scientist (I’m not talking about technology here) when the scientist is right – she is right! And then our responsibility is to modify our behaviors according to the facts, because we are not going to change the facts, no matter how hard we try.

I think of the global warming “debate” and I wonder why? What did anyone get out of that except an economic downturn? (There is not and was never a climate change debate among people who understood he facts and were not willing to lie; the people who were willing to lie were not qualified scientists; it’s just another corposystem<acon gameof the sort that David is talking about above.

It’s really hard for scientists who aren’t willing to lie when the people who own the media are spreading lies at the top of their wavelengths.

Bare Bones Biology 118 – David Barsamian
KEOS 89.1, Bryan, Texas
An audio copy of the above transcript can be downloaded here
Or at

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