1. Monday: The State Department, using funds donated by the bloated Pentagon, is launching a brand new $40 million offensive against scary "foreign propaganda."
2. Tuesday: Alumni of the Clinton and Obama administrations are launching a brand new major national security "strike force" against scary Donald Trump's scary responses to the scary foreign propaganda.
The first initiative is designed to propagandize against the Enemy Outside, and the second one is designed to propagandize against Enemies Inside, Outside and All Over. Both offensive forces are ultimately designed to instill the requisite levels of free-floating anxiety in an already anxious, yet unduly depressed and disgusted and financially strapped, electorate. If they can't get people to the polls with the promise of a better life tomorrow, maybe they can get people to the polls by dangling the prospect of no life at all tomorrow.
Be miserable and barely hanging on, or be dead. It's your choice.
The first initiative adds massive amounts of military money to the State Department's Center for Global Engagement, which Barack Obama signed into law in 2016 for the express purpose of propagandizing directly to the American public. In other words, it is an elite and glorified troll farm that should be the envy of those 13 grossly underpaid and recently indicted Russian sock puppets. From The Hill:
The new influx of funds will bolster the center’s operations in the current fiscal year.Goldstein comes to his diplomatic gig direct from Corporate America, where most recently he was chief of marketing for BP Global Solutions. Previously he was a vice president for TIAA, a financial consulting firm, and also had served as vice president of communications for the Wall Street Journal. As founder of a start-up called Winning Algorithms, he seems absolutely perfect for his new gig doling out public money for all manner of aggressive and offensive things.
“This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight,” Steve Goldstein, the department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, said in a statement.
“It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive.”
The announcement comes less than two weeks after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians for allegedly participating in an elaborate scheme to meddle in the 2016 presidential election by creating false U.S. personas and spreading divisive content on social media platforms.
This definitely falls into the category of "Keep the Russiagate Revenue Flying," given that the Silicon Valley tech giants are obviously being paid directly by the government to censor content that the government doesn't like. Facebook, for example, has already announced it will hire at least a thousand new law enforcement and surveillance state personnel by the end of this year to monitor the ads and political posts from its users. When you think about it, $40 million to fight the grossly underpaid Russian trolls sneaking their cheesy click-bait ads onto social media is probably just a down-payment. Censorship and the suppression of dissent costs a lot of money.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a Trump appointee who has openly called Trump a "moron" and nonetheless continues serving at the pleasure of Trump, has no choice but to go along to get along. There's lots of oil and gas out there, and his own recent employer, Exxon-Mobil, and its investors and stockholders, are no doubt counting on him.
The new money will be used, in part, to supply grants to civil society groups, media providers, academic institutions, private companies and other organizations that are working on projects to counter disinformation.And lo and behold, quick as a wink, "National Security Action" sprang into action - less than a day after the State Department announced that any number of vague, unnamed entities will be partaking in the propaganda windfall for a whole new offensive army of paid meat puppets Again, it's probably a total coincidence, given that the 200 Obama and Clinton alumni are coyly not revealing who, exactly, will be paying their bills. The Washington Post, which got the big scoop, didn't bother to ask - possibly because it, too, is partaking of the State Department troll farm "seed money" to prevent all that domestic discontent-sowing going on around here.
The department said it plans to award an initial $5 million in grants from the so-called Information Access Fund. The fund will receive $1 million in initial seed money from the State Department’s public diplomacy coffers in order to get off the ground quickly, the department said.
"We decided, essentially, this is an emergency moment and that there was a need to pull together the national security community on the progressive side to counter Trump's policies and put forward an alternative" in this midterm year, said (former Obama national security adviser) Ben Rhodes, one of the founders.
Leaders of the new group described its mission exclusively to The Washington Post ahead of its debut Tuesday....
We're a temporary organization. Our hope is to be out of business in three years," Rhodes said.(When, presumably, they can all traipse back into more secure security gigs under a Democratic majority.)
The new group of credentialed experts, via TV appearances and op-eds and Democratic campaign consultancies, hopes to instill a new brand of existential angst into voters which Hillary Clinton simply could not sell them. The problem, says Democratic national security strategist Wendy Sherman, is that voters were more seduced by Trump's populist message than they were scared by his reckless bellicosity and his appalling ignorance of international affairs. Therefore, it is the new group's daunting task to scare voters into accepting the Democrats' and Republican neocons' more discreet ways of waging wars and colonizing the world's populations via trade deals and corporate plunder and predatory loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Of course, being a career diplomat herself, she didn't put it quite that way. Because that would have been way too Trump-like and crass.
She cited climate change and Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accord as one decision with deep national security implications, and the heightened rhetoric and tension surrounding North Korea's nuclear program as another. The group will also focus on cyberthreats in general and Russian election interference and Trump's response in particular, Sherman and others involved in the effort said.Again - $40 million to convince Americans, most of whom don't have enough savings socked away to pay for an emergency car repair, that North Korean nukes and Russian interference should be their most pressing concerns, doesn't seem like nearly enough cash to pay all these "aggressive" experts.
"It's not easy to talk about national security issues" in local elections, Sherman said. "Most often, people don't see it as having anything to do with their daily lives, but here we have climate change, North Korea and other issues that have everything to do with people's lives. I think people are much more aware of it" now than in 2016, Sherman said.
And as for Trump caring about a $40 million or even a billion-dollar domestic propaganda campaign that also has him in its cross-hairs: he doesn't. He's already achieved fame and personal fortune beyond his wildest dreams. All the negative and never-ending attention in the world - even from his own Secretary of State - has been nothing but beneficial for his brand.