Spin – The Art of Political Lying

July 20, 2016

By Terence T. Gorski

Here is how Wilipedia defines and describes SPIN: 

Spin is propaganda or presenting lies to the public as the truth. The term, “plausible deniability” actual means to protect politicians from the consequences of getting caught in a lie. 

In public relations, Spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. 

While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, “spin” often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.[1]

Politicians are often accused by their opponents of claiming to be truthful and seek the truth while using spin tactics to manipulate public opinion. Large corporations with sophisticated public relations branches also engage in “spinning” information or events in their favor. 

Because of the frequent association between spin and press conferences (especially government press conferences), the room in which these take place is sometimes described as a spin room.

Public relations advisors, pollsters and media consultants who develop spin may be referred to as “spin doctors” or “spinmeisters” who manipulate the truth and create a biased interpretation of events for the person or group that hired them.
The term has its origin in the old American expression “to spin a yarn”. 

Sailors were known for using their spare time on board making thread or string (yarn) and also for telling incredible tales when they were on shore. 

When someone fooled you, it was said that “he spun me an amazing yarn”. Yarn also became a synonym for “tall tale” – “What a yarn!”, means “what a lie”. 

A coarser and more contemporary version of this expression is “bullshit”, and, for anyone who seeks to deceive, “bullshit artist”. 
History of Spin

Edward Bernays has been called the “Father of Public Relations”. As Larry Tye describes in his book The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and The Birth of Public Relations, Bernays was able to help tobacco and alcohol companies use techniques to make certain behaviors more socially acceptable in the 20th-century United States. Tye claims that Bernays was proud of his work as a propagandist. 

As information technology has increased dramatically since the end of the 20th century, commentators like Joe Trippi have advanced the theory that modern Internet activism spells the end for political spin. By providing immediate counterpoint to every point a “spin doctor” can come up with, this theory suggests, the omnipresence of the Internet in some societies will inevitably lead to a reduction in the effectiveness of spin.[4]
The techniques of spin include:
Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one’s position (cherry picking). For example, a pharmaceutical company could pick and choose trials where their product shows a positive effect, ignoring the unsuccessful trials, or a politician’s staff could handpick speech quotations from past years which appear to show her support for a certain position)

  • Non-denial denial
  • Non-apology apology
  • Politically-correct deception
  • Making misinformation (deliberate lies) seem like the truth 

“Mistakes were made” is an expression that is commonly used as a rhetorical device, whereby a speaker acknowledges that a situation was managed by using low-quality or inappropriate handling but seeks to evade any direct admission or accusation of responsibility by not specifying the person who made the mistakes. The acknowledgement of “mistakes” is framed in an abstract sense, with no direct reference to who made the mistakes and what exactly the mistakes were. The ultimate mistake, of course, is to get caught in the lie. 

A less evasive construction might be along the lines of “I made mistakes” or “John Doe made mistakes.” The speaker neither accepts personal responsibility nor accuses anyone else. The word “mistakes” also does not imply intent.
Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths, or avoiding the question[5]

“Burying bad news”: announcing unpopular things at a time when it is believed that the media will focus on other news. In some cases, governments have released potentially controversial reports on summer long weekends, to avoid significant news coverage. Sometimes that other news is supplied by deliberately announcing popular items at the same time.

Spin includes the art of misdirection and diversion[6]

For years businesses have used fake or misleading customer testimonials by editing/spinning customers to reflect a much more satisfied experience than was actually the case. In 2009 the Federal Trade Commission updated their laws to include measures to prohibit this type of “spinning” and have been enforcing these laws as of late. 

Additionally, over the past 5 to 6 years several companies have arisen that verify the authenticity of the testimonials businesses present on the marketing materials in an effort to convince one to become a customer.


GORSKI BOOKS: www.relapse.org

Thank God for the Atom Bomb

August 7, 2015

 Nuclear Weapons: A Time-Lapse History 

By Terence T. Gorski 

All people with a conscience have mixed feelings about war and the weapons of mass destruction used in modern day warfare. 

The fear of nuclear war is once again raising its head. Many of us would prefer to ignore the issue and pretend “it can never happen again.” The current deal with Iran over nuclear weapon development and the possibility of widespread nuclear proliferatio in the Middle East is raising the issue and the fear of the real possibility of nuclear war. 

People without a conscience (i.e. psychopaths/sociopaths) are not hobbled in their decision making about nuclear weapons by issues of morality, empathy, and fighting for the good. When making decisions involving the use of weapons of mass destructions psychopathic/sociopathic leaders will do anything necessary to expand their power even if it means destroying humanity in the process. 

In my opinion, the reality is that people of conscience need to come to terms with the need for violence to protect personal freedom. This means facing the issue of using violence on all levels to protect individual freedom. This includes, of course, coming to terms with the production and use of nuclear weapons. If they don’t, people motivated by high moral standards will eventually be killed, imprisoned, or controlled by psychopaths/sociopaths who are well armed and organized. This is especially true if evil intent can be cloaked by a religious ideaology. 

People of good will must recognize and name the true nature of the enemy –those who don’t are usually condemned to be defeat by the enemies they refuse to name. 

The following article was forwarded to me by Buck Yancy, a friend and mentor who keeps challenging me to face and think about the hard issues of life. It is the reprint of an essay written in 1981by the late Paul Fussell, a cultural critic and war memoirist. 

Reading this essay was unsettling. It contrasted two perspectives of making decisions about using nuclear weapons: the anstract perspective of those who make and critique policy; and the personal perspective of the troops whose lives were spared because the land invasion of Japan became unnecessary because the use of nuclear weapons forced Japan to surrender. 

Here is an article by the same name in The New Republic

Below is the original essay I received:

Thank God for the Atom Bomb  


Wed Aug 5, 2015 7:36 pm (PDT) . Posted by: “Jim Baker” baycur on Aug 5, 2015, at 11:42 AM, by Jeff Murray tamu73@sbcglobal.net [CHAT_281AHC] <CHAT_281AHC@yahoo groups.com> who wrote:

The headline of this column is lifted from a 1981 essay by the late Paul Fussell, the cultural critic and war memoirist. In 1945 Fussell was a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the U.S. Army who had fought his way through Europe only to learn that he would soon be shipped to the Pacific to take part in Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese home islands scheduled to begin in November 1945. 

Then the atom bomb intervened. Japan would not surrender after Hiroshima, but it did after Nagasaki.

I brought Fussell’s essay with me on my flight to Hiroshima and was stopped by this: “When we learned to our astonishment that we would not be obliged in a few months to rush up the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned, mortared, and shelled, for all the practiced phlegm of our tough facades we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live.”

In all the cant that will pour forth this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the bombs—that the U.S. owes the victims of the bombings an apology; that nuclear weapons ought to be abolished; that Hiroshima is a monument to man’s inhumanity to man; that Japan could have been defeated in a slightly nicer way—I doubt much will be made of Fussell’s fundamental point: Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t just terrible war-ending events. They were also lifesaving. The bomb turned the empire of the sun into a nation of peace activists.

I spent the better part of Monday afternoon with one such activist, Keiko Ogura, who runs a group called Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace. Mrs. Ogura had just turned eight when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, the epicenter less than 2 miles from her family home. She remembers wind “like a tornado”; thousands of pieces of shattered glass blasted by wind into the walls and beams of her house, looking oddly “shining and beautiful”; an oily black rain. 

And then came the refugees from the city center, appallingly burned and mutilated, “like a line of ghosts,” begging for water and then dying the moment they drank it. Everyone in Mrs. Ogura’s immediate family survived the bombing, but it would be years before any of them could talk about it. 

Because Hiroshima and Nagasaki were real events, because they happened, there can be no gainsaying their horror. Operation Downfall did not happen, so there’s a lot of gainsaying. Would the Japanese have been awed into capitulation by an offshore A-bomb test? Did the Soviet Union’s invasion of Manchuria, starting the day of the Nagasaki bombing, have the more decisive effect in pushing Japan to give up? Would casualties from an invasion really have exceeded the overall toll—by some estimates approaching 250,000—of the two bombs?

We’ll never know. 

— We only know that the U.S. lost 14,000 men merely to take Okinawa in 82 days of fighting. 
— We only know that, because Japan surrendered, the order to execute thousands of POWs in the event of an invasion of the home islands was never implemented. 

— We only know that, in the last weeks of a war Japan had supposedly already lost, the Allies were sustaining casualties at a rate of 7,000 a week. 

— We also know that the Japanese army fought nearly to the last man to defend Okinawa, and hundreds of civilians chose suicide over capture. 

Do we know for a certainty that the Japanese would have fought less ferociously to defend the main islands? We can never know for a certainty. 

“Understanding the past,” Fussell wrote, “requires pretending that you don’t know the present. It requires feeling its own pressure on your pulses without any ex post facto illumination.” Historical judgments must be made in light not only of outcomes but also of options. Would we judge Harry Truman better today if he had eschewed his nuclear option in favor of 7,000 casualties a week; that is, if he had been more considerate of the lives of the enemy than of the lives of his men?

And so the bombs were dropped, and Japan was defeated. Totally defeated. 

Modern Japan is a testament to the benefits of total defeat, to stripping a culture prone to violence of its martial pretenses. 

Modern Hiroshima is a testament to human resilience in the face of catastrophe. It is a testament, too, to an America that understood moral certainty and even a thirst for revenge were not obstacles to magnanimity. In some ways they are the precondition for it.

For too long Hiroshima has been associated with a certain brand of leftist politics, a kind of insipid pacifism salted with an implied anti-Americanism. That’s a shame. There are lessons in this city’s history that could serve us today, when the U.S. military forbids the word victory, the U.S. president doesn’t believe in the exercise of American power, and the U.S. public is consumed with guilt for sins they did not commit.

Watch the lights come on at night in Hiroshima. Note the gentleness of its culture. And thank God for the atom bomb.


January 18, 2015

By Terence T. Gorski
Author, The Books of Terence T. Gorski

Life is full of danger and terror. Wherever we look we find the prospect of gloom. That said, let’s get on with living. 
I remember the terror attacks of 9-11. I was a part of that history, as were many of you. I honor the memory of all the people lost on that tragic day and in all the battles that followed.

We are now into year eleven of the war on terror.
– Justified? Of course!
– Necessary? Yes, in the judgment of many people more knowledgable than I!
– Courageously fought by our nation’s warriors? Most definitely! — Righteous violence? As righteous as violence can ever be!

Is the war on terror a part of a never ending historical cycle of war and violence? Most definitely!

It might just be me — but I pray that we, all humanity, find a way to peace.

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” ~ Thomas Paine

The Books of Terence T. Gorski

Public Health Addiction Policy

January 4, 2015

By Terence T. Gorski

The time is getting right for the nation, on a state-by-state basis, to shift from a War on Drugs Policy to a Public Health Addiction Policy.

The motto of the War On Drugs Is:

The War on drugs is a GET TOUGH, BE DUMB approach to the international effort manage the addiction epidemic.

The motto of the Public Health Addiction Policy is GET TOUGH, BE SMART

The Public Health Addiction Policy is a GET TOUGH, BE SMART approach that used public health policies, that were do successful in managing the cigarette addiction problem. Early Intervention, Treatment, and Relapse Prevention needs to be the leading approach, supported by law enforcement efforts.


Addiction is a public health issue yet the Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not mention it as a top priority. The closest it comes is to address public health approaches to tobacco and smoking. This has lead to a reduction in smoking.

It is time to shift more responsibility to the CDC for managing the alcohol and drug abuse epidemic.


The goal should be building sober and responsible communities by promoting sober and responsible lifestyles both as prevention and to provide a supportive environment for recovering people.

Please repost this blog and share it with friends, family, and legislators.

Gorski Books. www.relapse.org

Political Decisions and Addiction

December 19, 2013

20131219-025004.jpg By Terence T. Gorski, Author
December 19, 2013

“All decisions are political decisions if they involve people and shared resources.” – Former Senator Harold Hughes

Political decisions affect us all. This is because they determine how the shared or collective resources of a group or organization are to be used or spent. People concerned about how
the resources are spent form together in special interest groups. Like-mind groups may form into a political party.

There are two primary characteristics that determine if a decision is political.

1. Is the decision beings made by more that one person, each having different ideas about what the best or right idea is?

2. Does the decision involve the use of shared resources in the form of money, people, infrastructure, or other valuable resources?

In the United States, I have heard people say that “we don’t have money to treat addiction properly and effectively.”

This is no an inaccurate statement. The accurate statement is: “we choose to invest our shared money and resources in other things and then give addicted people and their families the what is left over.”

Who is the “we” making these decisions? The “we” is usually a politician or their designate or some bureaucrat working in an agency of government who is doing the bidding of a politician.

It is important to become a strong voice in advocating for a public health addiction policy. This means redirecting funds from the war on drugs and investing more in prevention, early intervention, treatment, and relapse prevention.

Massive amounts if money are being spent on the War on Drugs. This is s failed strategy that has not, is not, cannot, and will not work in effectively managing the alcohol and drug epidemic in the USA. These resources would be best redirected into a public health addiction policy that focuses on prevention, early intervention, treatment, and relapse management.

Your voice can make a difference. No one can speak your voice except you. I will close with longer statement from Harold Hughes from a private conversation in 1985.


“Every decision is a political decision. Will water come out of your kitchen faucet when you turn it on? Will the waste products go down the drain when you flush your toilet? Will the waste products flushed down the toilet come out in the kitchen sink? All of these things depend upon not one, but many political decisions influenced by many special interest groups.

“If the current trends in making ill-conceived political decisions regarding alcoholism and addiction continues, it is only a matter of time before the waste products of too much punishment and too little treatment will start to flow into the kitchen sinks of our communities.” ~ Senator Harold Hughes, deceased. In a private conversation with Terence T. Gorski in 1985. Senator Hughes authored the legislation that founded NIAAA and NIDA.



I Want George Orwell To Be Wrong

December 14, 2013

By Terence T. Gorski, Author

20131214-182840.jpgSometimes I really wish that George Orwell had it all wrong. I was born in 1949 and read his book in high school in 1966. I had been through the Cuban Missile Crisis when John F. Kennedy was president and the USA was eye-ball to eye-ball with the USSR and about to Nuke The World. The palpable threat of nuclear war in the air.

Orwell’s ideas had a strong ring of truth and they effected me deeply. His world view seemed to be emerging before my eyes and has been playing itself out all around me ever since.

Orwell’s book , 1984, was not supposed to be an instruction manual. It was supposed to expose a horrible possible future and motivate people to prevent it. Tragically, Orwell’s vision is all but upon us, except for the fact that we have more creature comforts, entertainment distractions, and opportunities for non-stop consuming.

Orwell did get one thing wrong. In his novel, he deprived the masses of creature comforts. This is not how it’s playing out. Take the alcohol from an alcoholic and they get mad – fighting mad. Take it away from the entire population of the USA and you have the birth of criminal empires and blood in the streets. It was called prohibition. Take away the drugs and addicts/abusers won’t get clean and sober. They will move heaven and earth to get it. Even an extensive national and international war on drugs won’t stop people from getting drugs. It didn’t work with prohibition. It won’t work with the drug war. People who really want something will find a way to build a supply – even in prison.

People are more easily conquered when they are distracted by false pleasures that feel good now and bite back latter. They can be distracted by dramas that continually recycle in the news, and comforting lies that distract them from the the truth. Most of the American people probable won’t wake up until all their creature comforts are gone. We’re losing them fast, so it might not be long.

Addiction and Deceit


How do I turn off
my brain and my pain?

There is a link between universal deceit and addiction. Universal deception makes people feel crazy and want to numb themselves off. This is most easily done with addictive substances and behaviors. To me, this makes sense. I believe that human beings are truth seeking-animals and that to live with lies is harmful to our mental and physical health. Living in a world of universal deceit makes people want to do a wide variety of things to turn off their brain and their pain. Here are some the most common:

(1) Join the masses and revel in the euphoric emotions of the mob mentality. Mobs don’t think. When they get riled up they can get out of control, destroy things, and kill people.

(2) Buy into the false idea that everyone creates their own reality and deserves what they get (after all, this life is just a learning experience, so what difference does it make?).

(3) Self-medicate with alcohol, other drugs, and/or compulsive behaviors. Try them all! More is better! Ask any addict, unless of course they are in recovery. Recovering people might say a few things you don’t want to hear.

(4) Turn off your empathy and morality and live for today, tomorrow be damned.

(5) Embrace irrational feel-good ideas of psychology, spirituality, and utopian communities. Be sure the that you select one that absolves you of any personal responsibility for your actions in the world. A strong charismatic leaders helps because you don;t have to think, only obey. (It worked great for Jim Jones and his family of believers at the people’s temple! That’s were we got the term about drinking the pool-aide.)

(6) Do nothing about anything except whine, complain, and play helpless. This is called tyranny of the weak. It is designed to motivate a rescuer to come running. When the rescuer doesn’t who up or ends up be a manipulator, the next step depression. Depression is debilitating but understandable. As the truth slowly seeps into our brain and we see the immensity of the problem it is easy to lapse into depression and suicidal thinking. This is driven by the thought: “If all of this is true, what’s the point in living?). W can only keep handing on by our fingernails for so longer. Doing nothing that feeds your soul can lead to mental illness.

There is another option, the one that I hope you will take: Don’t settle for shallow slogans and simplistic explanations. Don’t wait too be rescued because I truly don’t believe anyone is. coming to rescue us. Above all believe in yourself, get active in the world around you. Think, real discuss. Speak your truth at the top of your voice. Practice what you preach.

I hope you enjoy the challenge of Orwell’s thinking. Whether you agree with it or not, once you get into it, it’s a lot more interesting than TV or the movies. Read on. I hope you enjoy the ideas.


I wanted to get you thinking, so I decided to share several of my favorite George Orwell quotes. These have stayed with me since high school. I will share a quote, make a personal comment, and then share a letter I found on the internet written by Orwell in 1944. The letter presents Orwell’s rationale for writing the controversial book entitled 1984. I recommend Orwell’s 1984 as must reading.

Please pass this blog on to young people. I am no longer the youth of America. Our youth need to have these ideas to wrestle with if there is any hope for the future.


“War is a choice of evils — I fancy nearly every war is that.
I know enough of British imperialism not to like it,
but I would support it against Nazism or Japanese imperialism, as the lesser evil.”
~ George Orwell ~

TTG Comment: This explains to my why men and women of good will have gone to war. War to Protect Plan A , protecting a free people from tyranny, is being enslaved by a tyrannical Plan B. Sometimes the game of war engulf’s the entire playing field. There is no out-of-bounds and all spectators are forced onto the field of play. There is no place to run and hide. When this happens, I guess you just have to pick sides. I will always stand on the side of freedom and personal responsibility.


“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night
to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
~ George Orwell ~

TTG Comment: This explains why police and the military are absolutely essential to civilization. The police and military also need to be held to higher values and standards because they carry on their shoulders the social permission to use lethal force. Without check and balances, military and police powers will always grow to the point of taking away individual freedom in the name of providing protection and safety.


“In times of universal deceit,
telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
~ George Orwell ~

TTG Comment: This is why a commitment to rigorous honesty and healthy skepticism are so important. People in the pursuit of power can spin very convincing lies that are based on grains of truth designed to inflame emotions and turn people against each other. Without critical thinking skills, we can’t hope to tell truth from lies. Without the courage to speak our truth to power, even if there is hell to pay, we can’t hope to make a democracy work for the common good.

“Big brother is watching you.”
~ George Orwell ~

TTG: Comment: This slogan of George Orwell is expressed in practice by government agencies at all levels. there are more than 50 million traffic cameras alone. In addition every ATM has numerous cameras. All stores have video cameras both inside and covering the parking lots. We are not touching the NSA, FBI, or Homeland Security Cameras or the analysis of meta-data by both government and private corporations. I think the point is made.



In 1944, three years before writing and five years before publishing 1984, George Orwell wrote a letter detailing the thesis of his great novel. The letter, warning of the rise of totalitarian police states that will ‘say that two and two are five,’ is reprinted from George Orwell: A Life in Letters, edited by Peter Davison and published today by Liveright. (Read it on the Internet)

To Noel Willmett
18 May 1944

Dear Mr Willmett,

Many thanks for your letter. You ask whether totalitarianism, leader-worship etc. are really on the up-grade and instance the fact that they are not apparently growing in this country and the USA.

I must say I believe, or fear, that taking the world as a whole these things are on the increase. Hitler, no doubt, will soon disappear, but only at the expense of strengthening (a) Stalin, (b) the Anglo-American millionaires and (c) all sorts of petty fuhrers of the type of de Gaulle. All the national movements everywhere, even those that originate in resistance to German domination, seem to take non-democratic forms, to group themselves round some superhuman fuhrer (Hitler, Stalin, Salazar, Franco, Gandhi, De Valera are all varying examples) and to adopt the theory that the end justifies the means.


Everywhere the world movement seems to be in the direction of centralised economies which can be made to ‘work’ in an economic sense but which are not democratically organised and which tend to establish a caste system. With this go the horrors of emotional nationalism and a tendency to disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer.

Already history has in a sense ceased to exist, ie. there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark. Hitler can say that the Jews started the war, and if he survives that will become official history. He can’t say that two and two are five, because for the purposes of, say, ballistics they have to make four. But if the sort of world that I am afraid of arrives, a world of two or three great superstates which are unable to conquer one another, two and two could become five if the fuhrer wished it. That, so far as I can see, is the direction in which we are actually moving, though, of course, the process is reversible.

As to the comparative immunity of Britain and the USA. Whatever the pacifists etc. may say, we have not gone totalitarian yet and this is a very hopeful symptom.

I believe very deeply, as I explained in my book The Lion and the Unicorn, in the English people and in their capacity to centralise their economy without destroying freedom in doing so. But one must remember that Britain and the USA haven’t been really tried, they haven’t known defeat or severe suffering, and there are some bad symptoms to balance the good ones.

To begin with there is the general indifference to the decay of democracy. Do you realise, for instance, that no one in England under 26 now has a vote and that so far as one can see the great mass of people of that age don’t give a damn for this?

Secondly there is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people. On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side.

Indeed the statement that we haven’t a Fascist movement in England largely means that the young, at this moment, look for their fuhrer elsewhere. One can’t be sure that won’t change, nor can one be sure that the common people won’t think ten years hence as the intellectuals do now. I hope  they won’t, I even trust they won’t, but if so it will be at the cost of a struggle. If one simply proclaims that all is for the best and doesn’t point to the sinister symptoms, one is merely helping to bring totalitarianism nearer.

You also ask, if I think the world tendency is towards Fascism, why do I support the war. It is a choice of evils—I fancy nearly every war is that. I know enough of British imperialism not to like it, but I would support it against Nazism or Japanese imperialism, as the lesser evil. Similarly I would support the USSR against Germany because I think the USSR cannot altogether escape its past and retains enough of the original ideas of the Revolution to make it a more hopeful phenomenon than Nazi Germany. I think, and have thought ever since the war began, in 1936 or thereabouts, that our cause is the better, but we have to keep on making it the better, which involves constant criticism.

Yours sincerely,
Geo. Orwell
[XVI, 2471, pp. 190—2; typewritten]

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