Friday, December 9, 2016

The New Red Scare: Fake News

Fresh off her failure to fool enough of the people some of the time, Hillary Clinton has pivoted to trying to convince the people whom she failed to fool that they are a bunch of fools.

The Empress-in-Waiting might have had one dream destroyed, but that isn't stopping her from posing as the Empress-in-Exile.

 If you thought that Hillary was going to go quietly into that good night of one of her fortified palaces, you foolishly thought wrong. 

If you also thought that, like most other people, she is scared witless about Donald Trump's formation of a military junta assisted by a claque of kleptocrats depraved enough to make even Caligula blush, you thought wrong again.

Hillary's comeback consists of pretending that the scurrilous rumor mill - something which has probably been an integral part of human civilization ever since the first hominid landed on her feet after being pushed out of a tree by a bully - is suddenly the Threat To End All Threats.

 There's supposedly an epidemic of Fake News devouring the brains of our nation, but Hillary Clinton is here to immunize you through the magic bullet of censorship. 

While everybody else either is hysterical or depressed about the lethal, real-world consequences of the Trump presidency, Hillary is more worried about the Clinton World consequences of #PizzaGate. That's the hashtag  given to a weekend incident in which a paranoid guy fired shots into the floor of a Washington D.C. eatery after arriving there to check out for himself a deranged online rumor about a Hillary-run pedophile ring.

So, before arriving on Capitol Hill to say goodbye to outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, Hillary arrived at the pizza joint to check out for herself the true news reports about the fake news reports.

But rather than use her TV time to urge citizens to use their own common sense before brandishing their unregulated weapons, and rather than urge immediate emergency funding for the teaching of critical thinking skills in public schools, Hillary is calling instead for massive government censorship. Leaders in both the public and private sectors should act immediately to "snuff out" stories which they deem to be bogus:
 "The epidemic of fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the last year ― it’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences,” Clinton said.
“This isn’t about politics or partisanship,” she continued. “Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities. It’s a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly.”
Clinton implies that there is such a thing as good, government-sanctioned propaganda. An example of good propaganda might be the selling of the Iraq War by the establishment media based upon bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction. This propaganda resulted in the deaths and displacements of millions of innocent people.

Good propaganda might be her own selling of the deadly bombing of Libya based upon false claims that Muammar al-Qaddafi was on the verge of exterminating his own people.

 It might be the running deficit-hawk narrative that "Social Security and Medicare are going broke" used by politicians and the mainstream media to sell the neoliberal program of pain and austerity for the many, and prosperity for the plutocrats - some of whom comprise Donald Trump's cabinet.

Ordinary citizens' lives are indeed at risk as they go about their precarious business working at their precarious jobs. Neoliberalism as preached by Clinton and both sides of the Uniparty has served to increase the national mortality rate to its highest level in two decades. Good propaganda outlets like the New York Times report that all the experts are ever so surprised that so many victims of the neoliberal class war are suicidally depressed, or addicted to drugs, or eating cheap unhealthy food, or not using their high deductible health plans, and then dying so tragically young.

When Hillary was running for president, it was the epidemic of opioid addiction that she said was the most pressing social issue of our time. Now that she's not running, it's those vile yet silly rumors about her on the Internet.(Which is odd, because nowhere on her campaign website is there one single mention of the fake news epidemic destroying all our lives.)

Meanwhile, that bogus Washington Post story boosting a slimy blacklisting Internet site called PropOrNot turns out to have Clinton machine and State Department and CIA fingerprints smeared all over it. Investigative journalist Mark Ames looks into the sourcing:
The only specific clues given were an admission that at least one of its members with access to its Twitter handle is “Ukrainian-American”. They had given this away in a handful of early Ukrainian-language tweets, parroting Ukrainian ultranationalist slogans, before the group was known.
One PropOrNot tweet, dated November 17, invokes a 1940s Ukrainian fascist salute “Heroiam Slava!!” to cheer a news item on Ukrainian hackers fighting Russians. The phrase means “Glory to the heroes” and it was formally introduced by the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) at their March-April 1941 congress in Nazi occupied Cracow, as they prepared to serve as Nazi auxiliaries in Operation Barbarossa.
Ames notes that the language of the PropOrNot site and that of Ukraine-based blacklisting and censorship efforts are remarkably similar. And he notes a direct link between a Ukrainian lobbyist and the Democratic National Committee:
  One of the key media sources who blamed the DNC hacks on Russia, ramping up fears of crypto-Putinist infiltration, is a Ukrainian-American lobbyist working for the DNC. She is Alexandra Chalupa—described as the head of the Democratic National Committee’s opposition research on Russia and on Trump, and founder and president of the Ukrainian lobby group “US United With Ukraine Coalition”, which lobbied hard to pass a 2014 bill increasing loans and military aid to Ukraine, imposing sanctions on Russians, and tightly aligning US and Ukraine geostrategic interests.
Ames further notes that Yahoo News named Chalupa one of the 16 key influencers of the Democratic campaign and the main impetus behind reports that Russia interfered with the election and boosted the chances of Donald Trump.

As I read Ames's piece, I could have sworn I was in the throes of a John Le Carre novel.

Glenn Greenwald writes that MSDNC and other mainstream outlets were also complicit in the "good," Clinton-approved propaganda. They all helped spread the bogus claims that the damaging emails released by Wikileaks were all fakes. To bolster that claim, one "Trump operative"  who named himself Omnivore posted a fake speech by Hillary to Goldman Sachs to trick her opponents into citing him. It was just such a tactic that got Dan Rather fired after citing a planted forged document to bolster the otherwise legitimate claim that George W. Bush skipped out on his Air National Guard training.

Even after Omnivore was exposed as a Clinton plant, the fake news that all the Wikileaks documents were faked continues to be spread by corporate "real news" sites.

As I reported during the waning days of the campaign, one of my own articles, cross-posted on Truthout (one of PropOrNot's blacklisted sites) was caught up in the cache of the Democratic National Committee emails provided by Wikileaks. I can personally attest that it was not a fake. I wrote every word of it. It's in the cache because Campaign Director John Podesta apparently subscribes to Truthout. So Hillary should probably warn him about this clear and present danger to his brain.

It just goes to show you that American fascism, like American propaganda, is not an epidemic suddenly unleashed upon us in the Age of Trump. It's been around for a very long time. And it has usually been well-hidden by the gloss of democracy and liberalism.

 Not any more. The veneer is not only showing cracks, it is coming apart at the seams.

Update: Under political pressure,President Obama has now ordered a full investigation of the alleged Russian infiltration of American democracy and the electoral process. The New York Times reports, however, that the actual results of this alleged investigation may never be released to the public. Otherwise Russia might steal our investigation techniques! 

In other words, what we don't know can't possibly eat our brains. 

So carry on. Buy the latest gadgets, consume approved propaganda content, and go about your precarious business as you struggle to be a finalist in the mortality sweepstakes.

Update 2: Within hours of Obama announcing the investigation, the Washington Post quoted secret anonymous sources as reporting that the CIA has already secretly decided - with the usual "high level of confidence" - that Russian operatives did indeed hack into the DNC and John Podesta's emails and furnished the caches to Wikileaks as a direct ploy to help elect Donald Trump. The New York Times adds that a similar Russian hack of the Republican National Committee did not result in any fair and balanced leakage. Oh what a sticky, tangled web.


Zee said...

Is it possible that this bizarre behavior on the parts of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their acolytes in the press is the result of our “managed democracy” suddenly becoming “unmanaged?”

The 2016 presidential election was predicted to be a pretty ho-hum affair, a Clinton-Bush, “six-of-one, half-a-dozen-of-the-other” event. No matter the outcome, we—the American electorate—were simply bound to get more of the same.

But then a couple of things happened that were totally unexpected, indeed, totally unpredictable.

Think of the birth of “The Mule,” the character in Isaac Asimov’s great science-fiction trilogy, “The Foundation Series.” The Mule was totally outside of psycho-historian Hari Seldon’s calculations, and threatened to throw all of his forecasts/plans for the future into a great, big black hole. You’ll have to read the series—and several “sequels”—to see how Hari Seldon and his successors worked out “their” problem.

But think about Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump—not to mention the combined ire of the electorate on the left and the right—as our present-day version of The Mule, thrown into an otherwise “happily” managed democracy.

The Republican “establishment” is unexpectedly laid waste by the laughable, utterly unpredictable—maybe even dangerous—Donald Trump. The electorate—some of whom have been demoralized by the sabotaging of Bernie Sanders by the DNC—stands up on its hind legs in a totally unpredicted way, and defeats the all-but-coronated, totally establishment, Hillary Clinton.

And now we have chaos on every front. Things are, it seems, beyond the “establishment’s” ability to manage:

Republicans who excoriated Trump using the harshest of terms are now groveling at his feet, sucking up to him for any possible crumbs in his new administration that he might care to throw them.

And Democrats—among other tactics—have now created this fiction of a grand “fake news” conspiracy that not only explains HillBillary’s loss, but poses a grave threat to democracy that only Obama, Hillary, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency (Have I forgotten any other intelligence agencies?), along with the Washington Post and the New York Times and PropOrNot can save us from. Even Republicans seem to have hopped on this bandwagon.

All of which also has to be kept secret from the gullible American public lest the various intelligence agencies’ “sources and methods” be revealed.

“Trust us,” we are told. Well, I think not.

Where is Hari Seldon when we really need him?

Zee said...

I see that at the same time your article was “going to press,” Karen, the WaPo upped the ante in promoting fear of “fake news.”

Based on a single “shots fired” event committed by a single whack job—in which people were frightened but in which no one was actually harmed—we now need to fear NRA-armed militias running wild across the land, spurred on by by an epidemic of “fake news.”

“Little Brother is unsupervised, isolated from civilization and potentially murderous. And thanks to the Internet, the vicious, dog-eat-dog world of Little Brother is impossible to escape.
Little Brother screams so loud, no one can think. When human beings experience anger and fear — the dominant emotions of Little Brother and his Internet clickbait — their IQs drop. People cannot use their rational minds when thousands of angry children are shouting at them online. That’s Little Brother.

Little Brother gossips and lies. In a dramatic historical shift, too much information on the Internet — rather than a lack of information — has become the prevailing form of censorship. People cannot easily assess facts while doubts, lies and bias-confirming opinions are constantly whispered in their ears. That’s Little Brother…

“Little Brother is armed. In state-sponsored fascism, armed citizen militias blend with police, forming an official means of destroying the political opposition and minority scapegoats. But thanks to Little Brother and gun rights advocates, there is no need for the government to organize violent action against its own citizens. Little Brother can take care of wrong-thinkers all by himself. ”

So of course, “Little Brother” must be controlled, although the author doesn’t say exactly how. But I think readers of Sardonicky know exactly what the author has in mind.

My two favorite comments so far?

“And most of all. Remember. Only big brother can protect you from little brother. Trust big brother. He is your savior. And the only path to salvation is through him. Also. When islamic fanatics go on a killing spree, that too is little brothers fault.” —Pappy54

“The column points to only one clear "solution" -- destruction of the Bill of Rights.” —showtheway

Scarily, however, many of the responses favored some form of “muzzling” of people and the internet

Jay–Ottawa said...

Tails wagging dogs again. Since the CIA knows what happened in Podestagate and has just now announced it to the nation, Obama may want to call off his investigation of what happened. The President's Administration should really try to keep him in the loop, at least for the sake of appearances.

annenigma said...

I liked Trump's response - 'These are the same folks who said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.'

Wow, Trump is actually taking on the CIA! He'd better get a food tester.

annenigma said...

Breaking Official News

An anonymous high level source, suspected to be a former Secretary of State/two-time loser for the Presidency/inveterate liar, has just leaked a highly classified CIA report proving that it was the Russians who had Hillary Clinton "under sniper fire in Bosnia".

Zee said...


And let's not forget that these are the same "folks" who also completely missed the collapse of the Soviet Union!

Zee said...

And let's see now.

Wikileaks disclosed Chelsea Manning's security leaks, and both were hailed as heroes (heroines?) by many on the "Left" for disclosing serious moral war violations on the parts of the U.S. and allies.

Wikileaks discloses nefarious doings on the part of the Democratic National Committee on behalf of HillBillary that were proferred to them (it?) by (possibly) Russian hackers--maybe inspired by the Russian government, but not proven insofar as I can see--and this is seen by many on the "Left" as a threat to democracy?

Exposing truth is a "threat to democracy?"

I may not understand everything that is going on, but there seem to be some internal contradictions here.

Perhaps it is because I don't fully understand the difference between "the Left" and "the other Left," but I think that I am beginning to sort it out.

annenigma said...

Trump to inherit state-run TV network with expanded reach

This article fails to mention that the Voice of America operates under the State Department, but it's still got a lot of gold nuggets in it. Here are some excerpts to mull over. They've had since early 2013 to officially propagandize us here in the USA about Syria, Russia, etc.

"Buried on page 1,404 of the National Defense Authorization Act that passed last week is a provision that would disband the bipartisan board of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the independent U.S. agency that includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcast Networks."

"That change, combined with a 2013 legislative revision that allows the network to legally reach a U.S. audience, which was once banned, could pave the way for Trump-approved content created by the U.S. diplomacy [aka PROPAGANDA] arm, if he chooses to exploit the opportunity."

"Because of the modification of the Smith-Mundt Act in 2013, the BBG can now broadcast in the U.S., too. But the influence on the domestic market could be even more subtle, the Republican official warned." [SUBTLE!]

"A BBG CEO influenced by the administration could penetrate established media outlets with packages, series or other news products produced by the BBG’s networks but picked up and aired by traditional media like Fox News or Breitbart. Many U.S. outlets currently use content from VOA." [Like NYT and WaPo]

"In a sign of how significant the changes are, Hillary Clinton's transition team set up a meeting to visit the studios at 330 Independence Avenue the Wednesday following the election, according to two sources."

Get out! Of all the things to do immediately after an election, the Clinton team planned to visit their new propaganda studio of the VOA? Hillary must have already had the CEO chosen. Any guesses? NYT's Tommy Friedman perhaps?

annenigma said...

We are currently witnessing version 2.0 of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird. The establishment media has always been one of their most important partners-in-crime and always will be.

"After William Colby left the Agency on January 28th, 1976, and was succeeded by George H.W. Bush, the CIA announced a new policy: 'Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contractual relationship with any full‑time or part‑time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.' However, more than half of the relationships the CIA had with U.S. journalists continued."

"The text of the announcement noted that the CIA would continue to 'welcome' the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists. Thus, while Operation Mockingbird came to an end, many relationships between the CIA and journalists were allowed to remain intact."

Zee said...


Thanks for reminding us that for all the fuss about Russia trying to influence our elections, we have been attempting to influence policies of governments worldwide with The Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcast Networks. That is, OUR OWN version of the "news," which some might also interpret as "fake news."

On the topic of "fake news" in general, another commenter on the WaPo article that I cited above reminded us that "fake news" is as old as the hills, and twice as dusty.

In 1710 Jonathan Swift published an essay titled The Art of Political Lying

"The poets tell us, that after the giants were overthrown by the gods, the earth in revenge produced her last offspring, which was Fame. And the fable is thus interpreted: that when tumults and seditions are quieted, rumors and false reports are plentifully spread through a nation. So that, by this account, lying is the last relief of a routed, earth-born, rebellious party in a state. But here the Moderns have made great additions, applying this art to the gaining of power and preserving it, as well as revenging themselves after they have lost it; as the same instruments are made use of by animals to feed themselves when they are hungry, and to bite those that tread upon them." (Bold-faced emphasis is mine. Non-italicized emphasis in the original.)

Sound familiar? Hillary and her allies, it seems to me, are revenging themselves on Trump by spreading the canard far and wide that he won the election ONLY owing to an "epidemic" of fake news, delegitimizing his win.

Then, as now, "Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it"

Zee said...

From Truthdig:

"No, America, It Wasn’t Russia: You Did This to Yourself"