Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Liberal Marketing of Lowered Expectations

Since President Biden's definition of competitiveness is limited to protecting American oligarchs from Chinese oligarchs, his campaign promise of a government-run public option to compete against the for-profit health insurance industry is, unsurprisingly, not part of his proposed annual budget, to be officially delivered to Congress this week.

Therefore, what the New York Times touts as an "ideologically diverse" group of congressional Democrats is mounting a "pressure campaign" against the White House. Not to include the public option in either his infrastructure package or his budget, mind you. And definitely not to support Medicare For All, which is way too radical and inconvenient and popular a concept to even think about right in the middle of a deadly pandemic. Rest assured that these Democrats merely aim to tweak the currently-existing health insurance scheme for the elderly, in so delicate a way that the for-profit health care industry should barely even feel the pinch.

The core of this plan is to lower to the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60, and to expand coverage of this selected demographic's bills for dental, vision and hearing care. The multibillion-dollar cost of the plan would be "paid for" by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with Big Pharma. 

This last part is the poison pill which dooms even this pathetically modest effort to preordained failure. Cue the onslaught of drug company and hospital lobbyists bearing campaign bribery gifts to the congress critters already cowering behind their acres of barbed wire and more heavily protected than ever by their recent allocation of billions more dollars to the Capitol Police, which strangely enough did not require its own "pay-for."

"It's really unusual to get his level of intensity on a health care proposal,"  Progressive Caucus leader Pramila Jayapal enthused to the Times.

She wasn't, of course, referring to the health care lobbying onslaught, but to the fact that 150 representatives were all able to come together to pressure Joe Biden to do even less than he'd promised to do on the campaign trail, and far less than what ostensible Medicare For All proponents like Jayapal have committed to doing for their entire political careers.

But rather than admit that Democrats are cravenly caving to the insurance and drug lobbies, Jayapal is using the Times to give her cover as the Paper of Record pretends to take her "pressure campaign" seriously. Maybe readers won't notice that the obligatory "strongly-worded letter" to Biden signed by Democrats, followed by a big bold scheduled Zoom conference with White House officials, are the usual stale examples of passive-aggressive political theater. But just in case they do notice, the campaign for Medicare For a Few More Lucky Duckies will also include a slew of carefully-planted opinion pieces and more softball corporate media interviews with Jayapal and her conservative colleague Conor Lamb.

In order to engage the public in this charade, there are also the usual villains and roadblocks standing in the way of these intrepid congress-critters. The first roadblock is Biden himself, whose own health care plan is throwing more billions of public dollars at the private insurance cartels. Then there are the hospitals, which already are raking in record profits from the pandemic, not least because they have used federal bailout funds to buy up a record number of smaller hospitals and medical practices already struggling to survive and which largely had served poor, uninsured and underinsured people. This consolidation will now lead to even higher prices being charged to patients and insurance premium-paying employers, say critics.

The Times article thus smarmily concludes:

That (Biden's) proposal has widespread support, including from hospitals, which want to be paid the higher private insurance rates, and insurers, which want more people buy their products. Any effort to expand Medicare is likely to be met with resistance from those same groups.

Those same destructive groups position themselves as delicate royalty, for whom the pea-sized Medicare expansion planted by Democrats under their layers and layers of soft mattresses will viciously assault their tender bottom lines.

 So, you might ask, why not just call the bluff of these morbidly sensitive elites and kick them right off the towering corporate welfare featherbeds to which they've become so ridiculously and unhealthily accustomed?

Why not just welcome the hatred and temper tantrums of these royal pains, and mount a pressure campaign against the White House for a full-fledged Medicare For All program, which would of course also cover the therapeutic lancing of many an oligarchic butt boil, not to mention salving those totally preventable plutocratic pressure sores?

Well, because if you limit government-run health insurance to just one lucky age group, then you don't run the risk of tens of millions of people of all ages coming together clamoring for it and cheering for it, and pressuring their congressional reps to actually vote for it. 

Quite the opposite in fact, especially when the think tanks and politicians and media pundits funded by the insurance and drug cartels start kvetching anew about the old robbing the young of their futures. 

Let the peasants keep feasting on manufactured resentment and maybe they won't notice that our ruling elites are losing legitimacy by the minute.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

As If We Needed Another Reason to Hate Bankers

Just when you thought they couldn't sink any lower, the rentier capitalist class has burrowed down into the deepest slimy depths of shameless greed.

These ideological progeny of the slave trade are complaining that if the Black farmers trapped in debt peonage are freed by the federal government to the tune of $4 billion, with the predatory loans paid off early and in full, it wouldn't be fair to the investors in the "secondary market" who were counting on earning interest on compound interest on compound interest until either the death of the debtors and all their heirs. or until hell freezes over.

And if the federal government still insists, despite all the ravenous ongoing lobbying by banking groups, on paying back the Black farmers' loans early, the bankers proceed to demand that they and the investors in these loans should also be handsomely compensated for future paper losses. 

I suppose you can't really blame the rentiers of finance capital, given that heretofore the feds had so reliably bailed out Wall Street while shafting Main Street. It was just a little more than decade ago, for instance, that the Obama administration had rewarded the miscreants of the subprime mortgage industry and house-stealing private equity firms while allowing millions of ordinary people to lose the roofs over their heads. The Trump administration later sweetened the pot even more by lowering corporate tax rates and using the pandemic to open up the spigots of the Federal Reserve to the already-rich to the tune of trillions of dollars.

The predatory financial class simply doesn't understand why the Biden administration is allowing mere mortals, like Black farmers, to partake of even the crumbs left over from the feast.  Not that the debt peons have yet received one single crumb, mind you, because the funds approved in March as part of the $1.9 trillion rescue package are still stuck in bureaucratic limbo, along with the billions approved by Congress for rent relief.

As the New York Times reports:

Bank lobbyists, in letters and virtual meetings, have been asking the Agriculture Department to make changes to the repayment program, a U.S.D.A. official said. They are pressing the U.S.D.A. to simply make the loan payments, rather than wipe out the debt all at once. And they are warning of other repercussions, including long-term damage to the U.S.D.A.’s minority lending program.

In a letter sent last month to Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, the banks suggested that they might be more reluctant to extend credit if the loans were quickly repaid, leaving minority farmers worse off in the long run. The intimation was viewed as a threat by some organizations that represent Black farmers.

“If U.S.D.A. does not compensate lenders for such disruptions or avoid sudden loan payoffs, the likely result will be less access to credit for those seeking U.S.D.A. guaranteed loans in the future, including U.S.D.A. farmers/ranchers,” they (the bankers) wrote to Mr. Vilsack in April.

If this sounds like attempted extortion, it's because it is attempted extortion.

But because the de facto oligarchy that rules these United States could never survive in our putative representative democracy without also engaging in some good old co-optation and Divide and Conquer mayhem, a different group purporting to represent white ranchers and farmers is also suing the USDA, on grounds that the federal bailout is racially discriminatory. It's called America First Legal, and it's led by Stephen Miller, late of the Trump administration.

As for USDA Secretary Vilsack, his reappointment to the post in the Biden administration elicited a flurry of complaints from civil rights leaders and Black farmers themselves for the backlog of discrimination complaints he'd allowed to accumulate during his eight years under Obama, as well as his misrepresentation of data to cover up the numbers of Black farmers who'd been losing their land for decades because of discrimination by banks.

Whether he now bows to pressure from the banking lobby and delays disbursement of funds just as planting season begins remains to be seen. But he already has a history of crumbling to right wing pressure.

In 2017, he became the only Obama cabinet member to support the confirmation of Trump's own agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue - who among his other claims to fame, moved to kick hundreds of thousands of people off their SNAP (food stamp) benefits unless they got jobs.

In 2010, a doctored video produced by the late notorious right wing provocateur Andrew Breitbart led to Vilsack firing Black USDA regional official Shirley Sherrod without getting her side of the story or demanding to see her full recorded remarks. Once Sherrod was vindicated, Vilsack merely offered her a different post, one which she refused. She was among the chorus of critics who expressed dismay at Vilsack's reappointment as ag secretary by Biden. 

That's the history that gives the predatory banking industry so much hope for a lot more federal change in their own pockets as their reward for continuing to profit off the pain and deprivation of others.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Imperial America Unmasked

The mask was ripped off the U.S. in more ways than one during the past week. And each of these ways exposes the big lie that our leaders care deeply about "our children."

But maybe, just maybe, once the government starts sending those direct cash deposits to families with children this summer, these families will forget all about the cruelty of opening all the schools before young children under the age of 12 will even qualify for vaccination against Covid-19. Maybe they will swallow whole the government's decidedly unscientific claim that unvaccinated kids cannot possibly spread the virus to others. Maybe they will ignore the warning from the country's largest nurses' union that the CDC's convoluted guidelines over whether to mask or not to mask exposes families and individuals to unnecessary danger, given that the reports of the end of the pandemic have been, ahem, somewhat exaggerated.Maybe Americans will ignore the troubling reality that even as President Biden is getting plaudits for his tax credits and his plans for Pre-K and subsidized child care, he is at the same time giving his tacit approval to the murders of other people's children. He is turning a cold and blind eye to the children of Gaza, who are being injured at the rate of about three per hour by US-subsidized Israeli airstrikes.

 If Joe Biden is sincere about restoring America's global reputation and its "soul" in the aftermath of Trump, he certainly has a strange way of showing it, what with his tepid response to a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the monster Bibi Netanyahu.

Although support for Israel may be crumbling due to the elite establishment no longer having a monopoly on news coverage and ownership of the means of persuasion, the "woke" New York Times is doing its best.

It helpfully reports, for instance,  that the "proportionality" of an estimated 40 Palestinian kids getting killed compared to only three Israeli kids can be ascribed to Palestinian mothers being lazy and having too many babies. Reporter and former Jerusalem bureau chief David M. Halbfinger ever so delicately tiptoes around the Israeli government's grotesque rationale for genocide:

Relatively few women in Gaza are employed, and the fertility rate is high, leaving the median age in the crowded coastal enclave at just 18, compared to 30 in Israel and 31 worldwide. And Israel says that Hamas positions its fighters in or underneath residential areas, deliberately exposing civilians — and children — to harm.

In other words, there are far too many children taking up space in Gaza to expect Israel to avoid bombing them to death, especially since their fecund mothers insist upon housing them above Hamas tunnels.

What is to be done? For starters, we can boycott US corporations doing business with Israel, and start harassing and scaring elected representatives in Congress, who keep right on approving military aid to genocidal maniacs no matter how many children may be killed in all our names.  The nihilistic Republicans are a lost cause. But if your congress critter happens to be one of those selectively woke Democrats who just signed a letter pledging their unconditional support for military aid to Israel, you might want to give them a friendly buzz and demand they rescind their pledge.

As reported by Truthout, virtually all GOP members of the House of Representatives and more than half of their Democratic colleagues - including several members of the Progressive Caucus - signed a letter in late April stating that Israel can violate international human rights statutes with impunity and still get its annual $3.8 billion for its fighter jets, bombs, and other child-killing hardware. You can read the letter here,  and see whether your representative signed it. You might be in for a very unpleasant surprise.

No wonder that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has decreed that all her members keep their own masks on in public. Besides protecting themselves from the virus, they have to enhance the barbed wire currently surrounding the Capitol. They have to do something to hide their cynical smirks from the public.

With the help of a complicit press and generous donations from Pentagon contractors, these people have been inoculated against public accountability for far too long.

Joe Biden ostentatiously ripped off his own Covid mask last week in the Rose Garden, exposing his veneered rictus to the maudlin accompaniment of comparisons of America's victory over the Nazis and Japan in World War II

Vice President Kamala Harris, doing her own facial striptease for the cameras, chortled modestly: "What a contrast to the bad old days of lies, stupidity, denial, hyping hydroxychlroquine and bleach!"

But just as suddenly, the masks are right back on, both literally and figuratively. Transparency, what with all its exposure of their death's head grimaces, must have been more than they could bear. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Death By a Thousand Tweaks

The New York Times headline "Biden Administration Restores Rights of Transgender Patients" is not only misleading, it deflects attention from the overarching reality that the richest country on earth still does not provide guaranteed, single-payer health care to every single one of its citizens, regardless of race, color, creed, gender or sexual orientation. Even in the middle of a deadly pandemic, tens of millions of Americans are still forgoing care because of costs, or getting sued for their inability to pay for it because they either have inadequate insurance or no insurance at all. 

Moreover, the Health and Human Services Department's reversal of a Trump-era rule which had given health care providers the option to deny care to transgender people without fear of losing federal funding for their businesses paradoxically continues to punish this population by making them prove to the government's satisfaction that any denial of care is based solely upon their existence as transgender people. Since no other group of people is similarly required to submit evidence regarding denial of medical care, the Biden administration's restoration of their rights to "access" is punitive in and of itself. It might be said to deprive these patients of their rights by forcing them to jump through hoops that no other population group is ever forced to jump through to prove that their rights were, in fact, violated.

Rather than issuing a warning salvo to care-denying providers, the Biden administration is initially placing the onus directly on victims, merely "encouraging" affected patients to file complaints. Prosecution of bad actors, such as insurance providers, under existing civil rights laws is not guaranteed. Medical or surgical treatment for transgender people is not guaranteed, nor is monetary relief.

The verbal and ostentatious bestowal of "access" rights upon transgender patients is just one more example of the government nibbling around the edges of a massive social problem rather than addressing the problem in its entirety. They may just as well have declared "We feel your pain" for all the lack of urgency and remedies that the announcement entails.

The rule reversal and possible amendments to the law are - whether wittingly or not -  guaranteed to further inflame and perpetuate the "culture wars" which have become the centerpieces of modern political campaigns and legislative battles whose lack of any concrete policy solutions is guaranteed to please nobody. Conservatives and religious groups will howl on and on about government overreach and tyranny, while liberals will self-righteously defend "science" and make the interests of the oppressed group du jour the be-all and end-all of their artificially narrow discourse. 

These cultural provocations are, in fact, built right into the pathologically bloated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one arcane section of which presumes to address health care rights. But for all its heft, it does not address them specifically enough, because the Biden administration will now have to spend all of its precious health reform capital on further "tweaking" the unnecessarily convoluted law, and enraging religious zealots and Trump cultists in the process.  Perhaps most importantly, it's a nifty way to delay discussing Bernie Sanders's own watered-down drive to "expand Medicare." 

From the New York Times article on the verbal restoration of transgender health rights:

Biden administration officials said they were working to write more complete new regulations on the civil rights provision of the law, known as Section 1557, that will specify which health care institutions are subject to the rules and what sorts of services they will be required to provide.

"We do anticipate engaging in further rule-making," said Robinsue Froheoese, the acting director of the Office of Civil Rights. She said the administration did not have a timeline for when a formal regulatory change would be announced. A formal rule will require reconsideration of a number of legal questions, such as whether the provisions apply to health insurers as well as health care providers. The Obama administration and the Trump administration also disagreed about whether the law's sex discrimination  language encompassed the treatment of patients who had had abortions.

Of course, transgender people could avoid being scapegoated and co-opted in the latest iteration of the culture war method of governing if the language of the ACA were simpler. For example, when the National Health Service law was enacted in England and Wales in 1948, every citizen received the following succinct letter from the ministry of health:

It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone - rich or poor, man, woman or child - can use any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a "charity." You are all paying for it. mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in times of illness.

Contrast that to the kludge of arcane minutiae and wishy-washiness that is the "Affordable" Care Act, which in its nearly one thousand pages (and tweakily counting) had already incorporated the word "waiver" 214  times in the original bill. This number does not include the various state waivers, many of which were implemented during the Trump years and which themselves will require further tweaking by Joe Biden. The law is a document of death by a thousand tweaks and a thousand deliberately manufactured potholes in the road to the single payer system supported by seven out of 10 Americans.

 It is also a massive blank check subsidizing private health insurers and other profiteers to the tune of billions and billions of dollars.

Can you imagine what would have happened to the 1935 Social Security Act if it had contained a thousand pages, rather than 37?

Rather than protecting transgender patients, the ACA itself is a loaded weapon which places them smack-dab in the middle of the culture wars crossfire.  Trans teens, already vulnerable and prone to self-harm and even suicide, are being targeted in ten states by reactionary legislatures which have directly barred providers from administering hormone therapy and other care.

If we had a single payer program that guaranteed care for everybody, trans people would not only be provided with necessary treatment, they would be saved from the additional trauma of politicians either demonizing them or deliberately delaying justice for them as they tweak their timelines, in the process merrily co-opting them as pawns in their identity politics game of thrones.


*Update, 5/12: I'd like to make clear that in no way am I advocating any sort of therapy, including gender reassignment surgery. Those are medical issues that I am not qualified to discuss. The point of my post was to critique the "identity politicization" of this particular medical issue by the usual suspects in the Duopoly. The Biden administration seems to be trying to score more points with the liberal class, co-opting the trans population as a way to differentiate itself from the extreme right wing of the GOP, which is demonizing trans people from many different angles, including the bathroom controversy. I found the White House's self-congratulatory bestowal of medical rights on trans people to be just another smug way to both virtue-signal and dump on Trump. I also found it hypocritical in the extreme, given Biden's abandonment even of the public option in health insurance, thus breaking one of his campaign promises. He is only playing a progressive on TV; his statement that health care is a basic human right is a lie, and his co-optation of vulnerable people, many of whom are already traumatized enough, in order to score political points, is pretty damned gross. In my opinion, of course.

Hope that clears things up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Obama Monetizes the Bin Laden Anniversary

 In a weekend email appeal to a dwindling circle of donors to his $500 million presidential center, Barack Obama claims that his extrajudicial murder of Osama Bin Laden 10 years ago was such a noble feat of sustained cooperation and courage among experts that it will "inspire a whole new generation of leaders." 

 But in order for them to remain properly inspired by his hit job, the mythology surrounding the actual sordid event must be perpetuated within a building whose appropriately brutalistic design bears an uncanny resemblance to the Aztec temple where people similarly came to be inspired and awed by ancient blood-soaked human sacrificial rites.

Obama Center

Aztec Center

So whether the accompanying video of a mawkish mutual tongue bath between Obama and retired Admiral William McRaven will be enough to inspire more people to open their wallets in order to help perpetuate the lies surrounding the assassination remains to be seen. That's because, according to recent published reports, the Obama Foundation doesn't even have the bare minimum seed money required by law to break ground as planned this fall on his Chicago museum and entertainment complex and professional golf course.

Therefore, Obama has resorted to enhancing the crass mythology of the grisly event with a crass attempt to monetize it.

He fetishizes it even further by using the American flag supposedly carried by the SEAL Assassination Team on May 1, 2011 as the main set decoration in his propaganda film.

"When you walk into my office," he writes to potential donors in the form of a film teaser, "the first thing you see is the American flag signed by the team that carried out the operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, against Osama bin Laden ten years ago."

"That gift is the most meaningful object I received as president."

You might think it would have been the Nobel Peace Prize. However, since that award was merely aspirational, and the flag symbolizes an actual accomplishment, I can understand Obama's rationale for which artifact  to brag about.

We don't get to see the autographs of the SEALs in the film, because just like the Peace Prize, they're carefully hidden from public view. The placement of their signatures on the back of the flag is ostensibly to protect the SEALs, whose deadly global missions are normally kept secret, lest they provoke retaliation and deaths of more innocent people. But as journalist Seymour Hersh tells it, it was Obama himself who put people in harm's way for his own selfish political interests. When he blabbed to the nation that it was the SEALs who carried out the hit job - and not the unmanned drone as the original fake story had been planned for public consumption - McRaven and his elite squad of killers were reportedly none too pleased to be outed by their Commander in Chief, who subsequently required all of them to sign nondisclosure agreements related to the Obama administration's fabrications. According to Hersh, quoting a "retired official," 

"It (the NDA) promised civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the mission, in public or private....  McRaven was apoplectic. He knew he was fucked by the White House, but he's a died-in-the-wool SEAL, and not then a political operator, and he knew there's no glory in blowing the whistle on the president." 

 The fabrications that McRaven and his troops had to keep quiet about included the phony story of bin Laden's burial at sea after Obama blabbed that the SEALs had control of the corpse; that bin Laden had been heavily armed and guarded in his compound rather than being held prisoner by the Pakistan military; that his death was the culmination of a prolonged firefight; and most damning, that Pakistani officials had no advance knowledge of the execution and were not bribed into cooperating with it. A  couple of officials even collected most of the $25 million reward money offered by the US government for the capture or death of the al Qaeda leader.

Regarding the complicity of the Pakistan government, Seymour Hersh quotes a retired US intelligence official:

"It didn't take long to get the cooperation we needed, because the Pakistani's wanted to ensure the continued release of American military aid, a good percentage of which was anti-terrorism funding that finances personal security, such as bullet proof limousines and security guards and housing" - all of which were and are financed by the Pentagon's off-the-books "contingency funds."

"We told them we would leak the fact that you've got bin Laden in your backyard. We knew their friends and enemies (the Taliban and jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan) would not like it."

When Obama and McRaven (now, apparently, having advanced to a career as complicit political operator) schmoozed about the dangers to the American mission posed by those terrible Pakistanis, the reminiscences appear all the more cynical. The sustained cooperation and planning they boast about in the film is really about sustained bribery and shakedowns and lies. That they couldn't keep their stories straight in the aftermath of the hit is not surprising.

Perhaps the most grotesque fake news story was the CIA's John Brennan telling the media that information on bin Laden's whereabouts had been gleaned by torture. 

So it kind of makes one wonder whether the SEAL autographs facing the wall in Obama's office are actually affixed to those NDAs.

"It was important to me," Obama therefore explains in revisionary retrospect, for him to travel to Fort Campbell, Kentucky after the hit, in order "to shake every one of their hands." There was, of course, no mention of the enforced cover-up. Whenever official lies are concerned, the liars can always rely on the Grand Old Flag to erase the actual truth:

"That flag means a lot to me. When you swear an oath to be Commander in Chief, you have an obligation to the more than 1 million Americans serving in our nation's military to only send them into harm's way when absolutely necessary - and to approach the job with a level of seriousness that reflects their decision to commit to a life of service."

For his part, McRaven openly smirks in the film as he tells Obama that he was almost fooled during White House assassination planning sessions into believing that the former president was the one with 35 years of military experience.

The smirk later morphs into a maudlin catch in the voice as he describes Obama shaking all those hands. The former president, right on cue, then wipes away an invisible tear from one of his parched dry eyes.

Or as the Washington Post describes the bathos in an Obama Foundation press release disguised as a news article:

 "Well, you came off the platform. You went down..."McRaven recalled to Obama in the video. The retired SEAL pursed his lips, broke eye contact with Obama and fought to contain his emotion.

 "That's how I felt," Obama said shaking his head.

 "Receiving that flag," he later writes in his fundraising email, "I was humbled by the fact that the team recognized how much I care about them as Commander in Chief."

That, readers, is the subtle language of the protection racket. The threats are disguised as cajolery and concern, and those at the receiving end get the message. Just as Obama cynically shook down the SEALs by flattery and hand-shaking, feigning gratitude and humility, so too is he now attempting to shake down potential donors through appeals to their patriotism and fear of an outside enemy. And the media is dutifully duped.

Ben Rhodes, former Obama deputy national security adviser and current Foundation official, moderated the murder retrospective. He was just a little less adept than Obama when it came to muting his own triumphalism:

But what struck me about this conversation between Admiral McRaven and the President was how they were impacted by the outpouring of emotion that followed the raid. I remember late in the evening, after the president had announced the operation to the world in the White House East Room, I walked down the colonnade next to the Rose Garden and could hear chants of “USA!” from crowds that had gathered around the White House, a sense of catharsis after a difficult decade."

Was Obama's buckraking propaganda film also a subtle warning to Joe Biden, who so distressed Neocons from both political parties as he nearly simultaneously announced the end of the war in Afghanistan, and who is featured prominently in the video, striding jauntily down the steps of Air Force One in his aviator sunglasses to join Obama on stage in Fort Campbell to soak up all the enforced appreciation from the SEALs?

Was he perhaps the NDA bagman? Did he have to sign his own NDA, knowing what he knows? So far, his lips are as sealed as those of the SEALs, one of whom had to forfeit millions of dollars in book and speaking fees after he violated his own NDA for writing his own largely phony account of the bin Laden raid.

All fake news is not created equal. Some fake news is more fake and more profit-worthy than others.  It's especially not considered fake when a president does it for flag, mom, apple pie, and personal legacy, and when corporate media establishments owned by billionaires are themselves so invested in maintaining the happy-talk myths of American exceptionalism and the fading American imperium that holding their media-political complex colleagues to account is no longer what journalism is all about.

Just ask Seymour Hersh, who could not get his piece on the assassination published at his own magazine, The New Yorker, or at any other American mainstream outlet.

If you Google the topic today, you'll find that the entire front page of search results is composed of smear pieces of varying intensity against Hersh and his article, which was ultimately published in the London Review of Books and linked above.