Category Archives: Facts

Part 6: Paying for Denmark’s Free Health Care

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TL; DR Summary

This final installment looks at the claim that Denmark has free health care – health care is free at point of service, but obviously, health care expenses still get paid some how.

FREE HEALTHCARE

Clinics are free. However, (as of 2012) there was an 8% flat rate “Health contribution” tax on income. This tax was being phased out and rolled in to general income taxes. However, this gives us a baseline for what “free” health care costs in Denmark. Additional tax revenue, especially from local government income taxes, is added to this to pay the costs of “Free” health care.

The 8% health care income tax applied to all earnings above the US$7600 level. Starting in 2012, this is going down by 1% per year and merged into the general income tax (Source Danish government web site reviewed in 2015. For additional reference, see also  http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/Denmark.pdf)

TAXES IN DENMARK

Taxes in Denmark are the highest in the world. The typical Dane worker pays between 50% and 70% of their income, as taxes, including “Gross”, “Health”, “Income”, and “Local” taxes, plus a 25% Value-Added-Tax (VAT) which is similar to the U.S. concept of a sales tax. The “50-70%” figure is NOT a marginal rate – that is the total percentage of one’s income that is paid in taxes.

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About 60% of headlines on social media are not clicked, meaning the headline is the message

Key points about social media (and how this applies to the dissemination of propaganda) from peer reviewed research:

  • Information is shared rapidly on social media, most of it within just a few hours of it first appearing online
  • Information that is shared on social media continues to live for a long time, generating subsequent click thrus for days and weeks in to the future.
  • Information shared on social media is long lived – that is, generates click throughs back to the web site for days (and even weeks)
  • “Social media count for 30% of the overall visits to web sites” – more than comes from search engines.
  • “At a first approximation, a web search service provides pull based information filtered by algorithms and social media provide a push based information filtered by humans”
  • News is the source of a primary topic of conversation on social media
  • To reach a maximum audience, content producers should either promote focused content that is the most popular with their (niche) audience or produce a large quantity of content that reaches multiple interest areas.
  • “Secondary URLs” (that is not the original or primary source which posted on online but those that are shared on social media by others) generate the majority of web traffic.
  • 59% of shared links are never clicked – which means only the “headline” is read by other social media users
  • Shared links on social media “creates a majority of the visits and hence advertising revenue”.

Source:
Maksym Gabielkov, Arthi Ramachandran, Augustin Chaintreau, Arnaud Legout. Social Clicks: What and Who Gets Read on Twitter?. ACM SIGMETRICS / IFIP Performance 2016, Jun 2016, Antibes Juan-les-Pins, France. 2016. <hal-01281190>. Retrieved from https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01281190/document on January 2, 2017.

I have highlighted some of the findings of this study in regards to their impact on social media propaganda efforts:

  • Most items are shared within hours of their initial appearance.
  • Most users of social media only read the headline and never click through to the detailed story or report.
  • Items posted on social media basically live forever, even when completely false.  This way falsehoods turn into permanent “facts”.

Most influence comes from the initial “headline” (even when false, as illustrated by the Washington Post’s false report about Russian hackers infiltrating the U.S. electric grid). Few people click through and read the actual story, and fewer still will see subsequent corrections.  Thus, the headline is the message.

Once posted online, fake news basically lives forever and continues to influence others for a long time to come.

This is why social media is ground zero for the dissemination of for profit fake news services (targeting left and right with emotionally laden messages and imagery), traditional news services wanting to generate eyeballs for advertisers and for profit propaganda services (such as Occupy Democrats and other online-based, social media for profit publishers).

 

Man behind “alt right” fake news sites is registered Democrat

As this blog pointed out long ago, its all about money. There are right wing sites published by left wing authors and left wing sites published by right wing authors. The goal is to hook the target’s emotions, encouraging Likes, Shares and more click throughs to generate ad revenue.

In this case, some of the best known “alt right” fake news was produced by a registered Democrat, political scientist and self admitted liberal:

Coler is a soft-spoken 40-year-old with a wife and two kids. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right.“The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction,” Coler says.

Source: NPR Reporter Tracked Down a Fake-News Creator; Here’s What She Learned | The California Report | KQED News (NPR did real reporting on this – good job!)

His publishing group works with about two dozen writers who are paid a share of the ad revenue.

Most of the mainstream news reports about fake news have covered the story mostly wrong, suggesting alt right fake news was coming from a combination of right wingers being manipulated by Russia.

However, another fake news web service was run by a registered  Republican who speciallized in fake articles bashing Hillary Clinton. He claimed “I didn’t really have a political motivation whatsoever,” he told Shane in a subsequent Facebook Live interview. “It was a way to make money.” (In fact, he worked for a Republican politician and was fired after his publishing business was discovered.)

As this blog pointed out long ago – fake news is primarily about the money and did not have a lot do with ideology for these writers and publishers.

I started this blog (off line, not public for the first 2 years) as a way of learning about and exploring the propaganda flooding my social media feeds. I read most of the great works of the 20th century about propaganda techniques. I observed social media propaganda posters to learn how they work and hook people. I saw propaganda campaigns unfold in real time – both in my news feed and in deliberate use of propaganda techniques in main stream media stories and by government officials.

I began to realize social media is a pile an awful stench of rotten information. Between distortions, outright lies, manipulative posts and emotional screaming, social media is damaging to our understanding of the world around us and to our mental health.

This blog’s exploration led to me conclude that enormous numbers of people, often very smart people, have become suckers for propaganda, voluntarily signing up to “subscribe” to daily propaganda broadcasts from these fake news web sites and Facebook pages.

post from fake news site Occupy Democrats[1] in July of 2015 was one of the best designed, greatly shared pieces of propaganda I had seen. The entire post was based on elegant logical fallacies, leading the target to a conclusion that was an outright lie. That single post set in motion my own plans to publish this blog.

The wide spread acknowledgement of fake news and the mental health problems caused by social screaming matches from the perpetually outraged has sort of made this blog no longer necessary. Most people seem to “get it” now – social media is a swamp of shouting and propaganda.

Maybe I should continue this as a fake news site and make some money from it!

[1] Occupy  Democrats is perhaps largest social media based, for profit, propaganda publishing organization, with about 4 1/2 million subscribers on Facebook, alone, at the time of this post.

Too complicated, TL;DR. Way too detailed.

10986496_880177065389784_6136522222064413250_oTL; DR Summary

  • If you need to spend more than 5-10 seconds to gather the propaganda message, then the message is a failure. This poster is a big failure.
  • This poster originates from a right-wing leaning group.
  • It’s propaganda method is basically to present lots of facts.
  • In terms of effectiveness, this poster is awful. Far too detailed, far too complex, way too much tiny print. Nearly impossible to figure out the message.