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Putin Paranoia

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | March 31, 2017

Things about America we’ve learned since November.

Our nation, the republic, democracy, our very system of government is more fragile than at any other time in American history. So fragile that everything has, or is in near-immediate danger of, collapsing, after only a two month jog from near-perfect to the edge of dystopia.

The cause of this is Vladimir Putin, who is an evil genius, spymaster, mastermind, brilliant, super criminal, chessmaster, but also a thug and dictator.

Only a few months ago, stuff like this lurked in the dank corners of the Internet, usually web sites that were designed in the 1990s, or on late night talk radio, or on six hour YouTube video rants. These were the same sources who found the Illuminati, Mossad, childhood vaccines, and chemtrails responsible for the impending end of our nation. We called this stuff conspiracy theories and if rational people mentioned them at all, it was as a punchline, with a shake of the head and a muttered “How can people believe this crap?”

Good times. But they are over.

We now live in a media world where what used to be crazy is now mainstream. Today’s example is from Salon, with a piece subtitled “The Soviet Union never attacked America as blatantly as Putin has — and we’re in danger of losing democracy.”

The article gets right to it, announcing this is

… the first time in modern history in which Russia has directly attacked the United States — on American soil no less, and precision-aimed at what matters most: the very integrity of our democratic process.”

How was this done? By hacking our election, hacking being a word that no longer means anything but something something computers I don’t really understand but it’s bad. Like when your mom calls you up and says her laptop was hacked because it lost the wifi link to the printer (just restart it, mom…)

Anyway, how was this hacking done? Social media. Russia ‘bots. Fake news. RT.com which no one watches. The upshot according to Salon ? Millions of Americans

… were manipulated into acting as unwitting foot soldiers for Vladimir Putin’s invasion… Americans were suckered by and acted in accordance with Putin’s plot… [because] Americans are deeply vulnerable to digital manipulation and weaponized social media hoaxes.

More about how stupid our nation is in the face of Putin’s brilliance? Here you go, same article:

The blind acceptance of Russian propaganda, because it happened to include “facts” that some of us were starved to read, is what turned otherwise decent though gullible Americans into Putin’s infantry, virally blitzing the Kremlin’s message through the trenches of the political internet, attacking and converting more voters with zombie lies. Trench by trench, Facebook group by Facebook group, Americans executed Putin’s attacks for him.

And then oh-my-God things really start to fall into place to somehow explain Hillary Clinton’s inexplicable loss:

The hacking of the DNC and Podesta aside, the effort to trick Americans into being recruited as Russian cyber-soldiers began by turning Democrats who supported Bernie Sanders against the predicted front-runner, Hillary Clinton. Using “bots” and human resources, Putin lobbed fake news and ridiculous conspiracy theories into social media. Voters who were predisposed to distrust Clinton willingly shared these stories, poisoning everyone who inexplicably wanted to be poisoned.

Knowing what we know now, it’s no longer a stretch to report that Trump was placed in office by Putin. But it only happened because millions of Americans unknowingly volunteered to serve as enemy combatants, undermining and betraying their own country.

So there it is, laid out in black and white: Americans were duped by Putin into destroying our own democracy by exercising our right to vote in a way Salon doesn’t like. Basically, our precious bodily fluids are at grave risk. Brilliant, evil, but brilliant.

BONUS: So in summary, some substantial number of Americans clearly and truly believe Putin engineered the results of our last election, not by manipulating actual ballot counts, but via influencing social media in a way that influenced some 50% of Americans to vote a certain way. And that the entire universe of factors that went into the election (advertising, endorsements, emails, you choose) did not have as significant an effect as Facebook and RT. And that as a result, the President of the United States is under the direct and immediate control of Putin and has and will continue to purposefully act against the interests of the U.S.

Seriously, that is some whack paranoid sh*t right there.

April 1, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

“There is no American Deep State…it just looks like there is”

By Kit | OffGuardian | March 21, 2017

Last week the New Yorker, and yesterday Salon magazine, published editorials arguing against the very existence of an “American Deep State”. The arguments presented are very… interesting. Both are, perhaps, classic cases of protesting too much.

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m convinced.

This article, appearing in the New Yorker on Sunday, sets out to tell its readers that there is no such thing as an American “deep state”, repeatedly rubbishing the very idea whilst – at the same time – making a compelling case for the exact opposite.

To start off the author, David Remnick, relates a very cheery sounding story about a young man’s transformative journey from junior naval officer to hard-hitting journalist. I shall relate it to you in bullet points, for the sake of brevity:

  • In 1970 junior naval officer Bob Woodward, a Yale graduate and member of the Book and Snake secret society, goes to the White House Situation room. At night.
  • Whilst there, he meets a high-up at the FBI named Mark Felt, an intelligence veteran and long-time loyalist to J. Edgar Hoover.
  • For reasons unknown the two men discuss the career prospects of young Mr Woodward. Mr Felt gives Woodward advice about pursuing “only employment that interests him”.
  • Later that year Woodward leaves the navy, and applies for a job at the Washington Post. He doesn’t get it, thanks to a complete lack of any journalistic experience. He spends a year working at a minor local paper instead, before being hired by the WaPo in 1971.
  • Throughout this time Woodward and his FBI friend are in constant contact, Woodward thinking of Felt as a “career counsellor”.
  • Felt confides in Woodward that he sees the Nixon administration as “corrupt, paranoid, and trying to infringe on the independence of the Bureau”.
  • In 1973 Felt, under the alias “Deep Throat”, leaks Woodward information on the Watergate break-in, and – by proxy – brings down the Nixon administration.

How does that story read to you? There are unquestionably overtones of Operation Mockingbird, right?

Well, not according to Remnick. He tells us the meeting was accidental, the friendship natural, the career advice sincere and the leak opportunistic. He asks the rhetorical question:

Was Deep Throat part of the Deep State?”

As if the only logical answer is “no, of course not”, when in truth any answer other than “Yes, almost certainly” shows a level of willful blindness or chronic naivety that probably merits medication. We are expected to believe that a young naval officer, with no previous interest or experience in journalism, takes career advice from a senior FBI agent after one (accidental) meeting, leaves the navy, becomes a reporter, and ultimately acts as a key cog in what amounted to a “soft coup” in the United States. That is patently absurd.

As I said before, what is presented as a case against the existence of an American Deep State, makes a very strong argument for both its existence, and its power.

Next, Remnick provides us with a little history on “Deep States”:

“Deep State” comes from the Turkish derin devlet, a clandestine network, including military and intelligence officers, along with civilian allies, whose mission was to protect the secular order established, in 1923, by the father figure of post-Ottoman Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It was behind at least four coups, and it surveilled and murdered reporters, dissidents, Communists, Kurds, and Islamists. The Deep State takes a similar form in Pakistan, with its powerful intelligence service, the I.S.I., and in Egypt, where the military establishment is tied to some of the largest business interests in the country.

You see, he’s not arguing that Deep State power structures don’t exist – he willingly admits that they do – it’s just that they don’t have them in America. His argument for this is simple… or at least, it probably would be if he were to make one. What he actually DOES is simply describe how deep states work in other countries, and then leave an ellipsis that’s meant to convey “and of course none of that is true in the USA”, when in fact – again – it does the exact opposite.

What he does is supply us a short checklist of qualities which define a “Deep State”:

  1. Clandestine and secretive
  2. Involving military and intelligence officers
  3. civilians allies
  4. Protecting the status quo
  5. coups
  6. surveillance
  7. assassinations
  8. ties to big business interests

Does that not sound the least bit familiar to anyone else? The first two are givens that need no explanation.

Civilian allies? Well, I would imagine that a planted and/or manipulated journalist would make a good “civilian ally”. Such a person could be used to “leak” information that brings down enemies of the Deep State. Or, indeed, to write clumsy editorials about how the Deep State doesn’t even exist.

Protecting the status quo. The protection of “secular order” in Turkey could easily be translated as the protection of the neo-liberal order in the United States. It is essentially a program of protecting those in power from any kind of change. In fact, the way Remnick writes about this mission, it’s almost as if he is arguing that the noble ends justify ignoble means. That’s an interesting subtext to include.

Coups, surveillance and assassinations. Turkey’s derin devlet was behind only four coups? That’s a busy morning at the CIA. Surveillance? Well, it has suited the MSM of late to pretend they didn’t tell us all about the level of surveillance we operate under every single day. But we all know. Assassinations? Yes, there are a few famous examples, and a few not so famous. Blowing the President’s head off in the middle of a public square probably counts.

Ties to big business? Well Eisenhower admitted that, and warned against it, sixty years ago. Soros Open Society Foundation frequently collaborates with the State Department, as does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Pentagon’s ties to Boeing and Lockheed Martin are well documented, as is Dick Cheney’s involvement with Halliburton. The list is endless.

As an eight-point definition of a “deep state”, America’s power structures certainly seem to stand as a perfect template.

Now we come to the good part. The part where Remnick is forced to include a lot of information he’d rather pretend wasn’t true, because – if he didn’t mention it – he would open himself up awful lot of correction and/or ridicule… even more so than he does already.

One does not have to be ignorant of the C.I.A.’s abuses—or of history, in general—to reject the idea of an American Deep State. Previous Presidents have felt resistance, or worse, from elements in the federal bureaucracies: Eisenhower warned of the “military-industrial complex”; L.B.J. felt pressure from the Pentagon; Obama’s Syria policy was rebuked by the State Department through its “dissent channel”.

You see, there undoubtedly are powerful secretive intelligence organisations with ties to big business and the military. Yes, you can point to the uncontested public record of literally dozens of crimes – both international and domestic – carried out by these agencies (calling coups and wars “abuses”, is craven apologist language). Yes, it’s perfectly true that many Presidents (from both parties) have faced domestic opposition from these agencies, to their eventual ruin in some cases. Yes, some of those President’s – including Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy – have publicly warned against the influence of these unelected actors and agencies… but – BUT – that doesn’t mean America has a “Deep State. Because:

… to use the term as it is used in Turkey, Pakistan, or Egypt is to assume that all these institutions constitute part of a subterranean web of common and nefarious purpose.

Which begs the response: “And?”

For one thing, David, it’s not to assume that, it’s to reason that… based on evidence (including all the evidence you helpfully supply in your article). It was your self-appointed task to provide a counter-argument to this reading of the evidence…. and you have failed. Miserably.

However, David Remnick is not alone in his ineffectual assertion that “there is no deep state, it just looks like there is”. Further arguments that there are no “secretive military and intelligence collectives” pushing their agendas through “civilian allies”, was published in Salon. It is an editorial on the exact same subject, published on the exact same day, with almost the exact same title.

The author, Ryan Bohl, argues (in apparent seriousness) that deep states are definitely real, that Egypt has one, but that American can’t have one… because America and Egypt are different.

His assertions that America “doesn’t have a deep state”, would probably hold more water if he displayed any kind of understanding of what the term actually means. Instead he has, in truly Orwellian fashion, redefined the phrase in order to present a counter-argument… and even then barely manages to scrape one together.

… a major flaw of the American Deep State theory is that a deep state needs a weak state to survive

I’m not sure where Bohl got this statement from. I suspect he made it up. It means nothing, and is never backed up by any kind of sources, analysis or evidence. It is a baseless factoid, invented to allow the author to use the rhetorical trick of shifting the argument. Having “established” that a Deep State cannot exist within a strong nation, the author no longer has to disprove the deep states existence… but can now focus on proving that America is strong. Unfortunately for him, he is equally bad at this.

What does a weak state look like? For one, it’s horrifically ineffective: not a “I can’t believe they made me wait 45 minutes for my driver’s license when there were only six people in front of me” nuisance, but “I can’t believe I had to spend 2 years, $4000, and know an official at the Ministry of Transport via a relative to get my license”-style corruption. It is a state that fails to provide water, electricity, schools, and roads on a vast scale every single day.

The logic is obviously terrible. His argument that a deep state can only exist within weak and corrupt infrastructure? A completely unjustifiable a priori assumption. One that is never established with any kind of evidence.

… but let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that he’s right – doesn’t America have a failing infrastructure?

Doesn’t America house 20% of all the incarcerated people on the planet? Aren’t many of these people held in corrupt private prisons? Aren’t post-industrial cities falling apart? Didn’t Detroit have no water for weeks at a time? And didn’t Flint have toxic water? Aren’t there roads and bridges crumbling? Didn’t New Orleans flood because of neglected levees? Aren’t their dams crumbling to dust?

Have not Salon themselves published two articles in the last month about the collapsing American infrastructure?

If a state is labeled “weak” on the quality of its infrastructure and development, then any objective observer would have to accept that America is weak. In many cases it is practically a third world nation. But Bohl has a response:

It can seem like the United States has a weak state when you compile the many anecdotes of bad roads, bridges, schools, water supplies, and other creaky public services. But this is misleading: just because you know a lot of stories about a topic doesn’t mean you know anything about its societal scale.

You see, much like the deep state, it might seem like America is falling apart… but it’s not really. Just look at the statistics he cites. Of course, these statistics are “indexes”, with a secret formula entirely invented by America-based NGOs who are almost certainly part of the (entirely fictional) American deep state.

There is also yet another critical argument against an America deep state: the regular transfer of power.

Another flawed argument. The very theory he is arguing against is that the elected officials possess very little power at all, and, as such, power is never transferred. Rather, the puppet is replaced.

What frustrates Trump and his allies is not a conspiracy of a CIA/State Department/journalists/Democrats/Obama/Pentagon cabal, agenda-driven to impose some secret world order upon the United States. Rather, they are encountering the hard edges of America’s geopolitical interests.

You see, it’s not that there is a deep state with an agenda, it’s just that America has concrete, innate “interests” that cannot be threatened by elected officials without encountering massive resistance from the agencies whose job it is to protect these interests.

… it is not in America’s interests to align with Russia any more than it has to, especially under the Putin government. So long as Russia has an independent foreign policy, it will be a threat to both NATO and the American-led world order; only bringing its foreign policy into the American-led alliance system will end that condition.

It is counter to the unquestioned and never-changing “interests” of the USA to have friendly relations with Russia, so naturally if the elected representatives of the people try to improve those relations, then the CIA/State Dept./FBI/the media and other unelected bodies will work together in opposing those plans.

This does not mean America has a deep state.

America having geo-political interests that extend beyond the power of the people’s elected officials is NOT evidence of a “deep state”… because? Well…

As the deep state accusations grow, it would behoove some to visit Egypt, stay a while, and try to get a driver’s license. That is what a place with a deep state truly feels like.

… have you ever tried getting a driver’s license in Cairo?

*

So two…

… wait, did I say two? I meant three four five six seven.

Seven non-members of the non-deep state are so enraged by the idea that people might think the totally fake American deep state might be real, that they accidentally publish seemingly coordinated attacks on the very idea. Under very similar titles. All within the same few days. Citing the same “counter examples” of Egypt and Turkey. All acting with symmetrical umbrage.

That’s almost as unlikely as bumping into a senior FBI agent in the White House by chance, taking his off-hand advice about a career change and then accidentally breaking the story that results in the FBI’s removal of a President they perceived as a threat to their influence, when you think about it.

Never mind. I’m just paranoid. America doesn’t have a deep state.

It just sometimes really looks like it does.

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WikiLeaks exposes liberal group’s efforts to thwart climate writings of CU’s Roger Pielke Jr.

By Sarah Kuta | Daily Camera | October 26, 2016

A University of Colorado professor who’s been criticized for his writings about climate change has been caught up in WikiLeaks’ dump of emails involving John Podesta, campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton.

Roger Pielke Jr., who has been a faculty member on the Boulder campus since 2001, was the subject of a July 2014 email about an essay he wrote on climate change for the website FiveThirtyEight.

Pielke writes a regular column about sports governance for the Daily Camera.

The email was sent by Judd Legum, the editor of ThinkProgress, a site that’s part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, which was founded by Podesta in 2003.

In his email to billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Legum described how he believed Climate Progress, the environmental arm of ThinkProgress, got Pielke to stop writing about climate change for FiveThirtyEight.

“I think it’s fair say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538,” Legum wrote.

Legum did not respond to interview requests on Wednesday.

The email was one of tens of thousands of messages from Podesta’s hacked Gmail account released by WikiLeaks this month.

The group took issue with Pielke’s piece titled “Disasters Cost More Than Ever —- But Not Because of Climate Change,” in which he questioned the link between rising natural disaster costs and climate change.

Pielke argued that the cost of disasters is increasing because the world is getting wealthier, not because there are more — or more intense — floods, droughts, hurricanes or tornadoes.

“We’re seeing ever-larger losses simply because we had more to lose — when an earthquake or flood occurs, more stuff gets damaged,” he wrote.

Pielke, who has written extensively about climate-change economics, is a polarizing figure among climate change scientists and activists.

Pielke refutes claims that he’s a climate-change skeptic or denier, pointing to his public support for a carbon tax. He says that many of the arguments he presents are supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Nevertheless, shortly after Pielke’s FiveThirtyEight piece was published, ThinkProgress wrote a story quoting climate scientists who said Pielke’s claims were misleading. FiveThirtyEight published a rebuttal to Pielke’s piece.

The criticism of Pielke’s piece continued, with stories about Pielke and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver appearing in Salon, Slate and the Huffington Post.

“Silver is still backing the wrong horse, and the sooner he dumps Pielke, the better,” David Auerbach wrote for Slate.

Shortly thereafter, Pielke stopped writing for FiveThirtyEight. In the email released by WikiLeaks, Legum gave ThinkProgress credit for that.

“I don’t think there is another site on the internet having this kind of impact on the climate debate,” Legum wrote of FiveThirtyEight.

A year later, Pielke was the target of an investigation led by a Democratic congressman into whether he had received funding for his work at CU from fossil fuel companies.

In response, CU President Bruce Benson wrote that the university “did not discover any information indicating that Pielke’s funding sources influenced his research,” adding that Pielke confirmed that he received no funding from the oil and gas industry.

Pielke has more or less stopped writing about climate change. Since then, he’s focused his efforts on sports governance and is now the director of CU’s Sports Governance Center.

“They were ultimately successful in removing an academic from working on a topic,” Pielke said, adding that there’s “nothing like a political witch hunt to help you focus on career priorities.”

When he read the leaked email last week, Pielke said he wasn’t surprised by its contents.

“It spells out in black and white … that there was an organized, politically motivated campaign to damage my career and reputation, based on a perception that my academic research was thought to be inconvenient,” he said.

CU board shows support for faculty, students’ academic freedom

By Sarah Kuta | Daily Camera | November 10, 2016

The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents reaffirmed its support for academic freedom on Thursday in light of recently released emails that showed that a liberal group targeted CU Boulder Professor Roger Pielke Jr. for his writings on climate change.

At a regular meeting in Denver, the regents passed a resolution 9-0 to send the message that “faculty and students must have complete freedom to study, to learn, to do research and to communicate the results of these pursuits to others.”

The principles of academic freedom are codified in regent laws, which govern the university. The board was restating its commitment to those principles on Thursday.

Though he was not mentioned in the resolution, Pielke was the motivating factor behind it, according to its author, Regent John Carson, a Republican from Highlands Ranch.

Pielke was the subject of a 2014 email sent by the editor of ThinkProgress, a website that’s part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.

In Judd Legum’s email to billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Legum described how he believed the website got Pielke to stop writing about climate change for the data-focused news website FiveThirtyEight.

The email was part of an October WikiLeaks dump of emails involving John Podesta, the founder of the Center for American Progress and the chairman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Pielke and others described the email as evidence that there was a “politically motivated campaign” to damage his career and reputation. Ultimately, he stopped writing about climate change and now directs CU’s new Center for Sports Governance.

Carson said he felt that type of conduct was unacceptable and that he thought the board should show all CU faculty and researchers that it stands behind them.

“I want to go on record making clear that I don’t think this type of conduct is appropriate and we’re going to defend our faculty and we’re going to go on record, when we find out about these types of things, opposing it,” Carson said.

Pielke wrote for FiveThirtyEight that “human-caused climate change is both real and important,” but came under fire for an essay the website published in which he argued that rising natural disaster costs were not linked to climate change.

Reporters at ThinkProgress asked several climate scientists to weigh in on Pielke’s claims and published stories in which those scientists said Pielke’s claims were misleading. By Pielke’s count, the website has published more than 160 critical articles about him.

Legum, the ThinkProgress editor, said there was no organized campaign to damage Pielke’s career. Rather, the website was trying to report accurate information about climate change.

“There was inaccurate information being presented in his writing … We called a number of climate scientists and asked them about the claims he was making in this piece,” Legum told the Daily Camera last month. “They said that there were a lot of really inaccurate or misleading things, and we reported on that.”

Pielke was also the target of a 2015 investigation led by a Democratic congressman into whether he had received funding for his work at CU from fossil fuel companies.

In response, CU President Bruce Benson wrote that the university “did not discover any information indicating that Pielke’s funding sources influenced his research,” adding that Pielke confirmed that he received no funding from the oil and gas industry. […]

Though he did not attend the meeting, Pielke wrote in an email to the Daily Camera that he felt supported by the leaders of the university.

He said the bipartisan-backed resolution sent a strong message “to my faculty peers who may question whether it is worth participating in important debates of the day — that CU has their back.”

Sarah Kuta: 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pathologization of Dissent

Photo by Jamelle Bouie | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Jamelle Bouie | CC BY 2.0
By CJ Hopkins | CounterPunch | October 27, 2016

According to the mainstream media, in a recent speech in West Palm Beach, Donald Trump finally completely lost it. Sawing the air with his tiny hands in a unmistakeably Hitlerian manner, he spat out a series of undeniably hateful anti-Semitic code words … like “political establishment,” “global elites” and, yes, “international banks.” He even went so far as to claim that “corporations” and their (ahem) “lobbyists” have millions of dollars at stake in this election, and are trying to pass the TTP, not to benefit the American people, but simply to enrich themselves. He then went on to accuse the media of collaborating with “the Clinton machine,” presumably to benefit these “global elites” and “international banks” and “lobbyists.”

Now, a lot of folks didn’t immediately recognize the secret meanings of these fascistic code words, and so mistakenly assumed that “global elites” referred to the transnational capitalist ruling classes, and that “lobbyists” referred to actual lobbyists, and that “banks” meant … well … you know, banks. As it turned out, this was completely wrong. None of these words actually meant what they meant, not in anti-Semitic CodeSpeak. So the mainstream media translated for us. “Political establishment” meant “the Jews.” “Global elites” also meant “the Jews.” “Banks” meant “Jews.” “Lobbyists” meant “Jews.” Even “corporate media,” meant “Jews.” Apparently, Trump’s entire speech was a series of secret dog-whistle signals to his legions of neo-Nazi goons, who, immediately following Clinton’s victory, are going to storm out of their hidey holes, frontally attack the US military, overthrow the US government, and, yes, you guessed it … “kill the Jews.”

OK, maybe I’m exaggerating the mainstream media’s reaction just a little bit. Or maybe Trump’s speech really was that fascistic. Judge for yourself. Read the transcript. (NPR offers a complete version of it here.) Then compare the reactions of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Inquirer, The Guardian, and other leading broadsheets, and magazines and blogs like Mother Jones, Forward, Slate, Salon, Vox, Alternet, and a host of others, most of which rely on Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and former Special Assistant to the President, as their authoritative source on Trumpian cryptology. (Mr. Greenblatt, incidentally, should know better, given the treatment he has received from hard-line Zionist publications for refusing to demonize Black Lives Matter, and for “taking sides against” the State of Israel.)

Look, I’m not defending Donald Trump, who I consider a self-aggrandizing idiot and a soulless huckster of the lowest order, and whose supporters include a lot of real anti-Semites, and racists, and misogynists, and other such creeps. I’m simply trying to point out how the corporate media have, for months, been playing the same hysterical tune like an enormous Goebbelsian keyboard instrument, and how millions of Americans are singing along (as they were before the invasion of Iraq, which posed no threat to the USA , but which according to the media had WMDs), and how terribly fucking disturbing that is. In case you didn’t instantly recognize it, the name of the tune is “This guy is Hitler!” and it isn’t the short vulgarian fingers of Donald Trump that are tickling the ivories. And no, it isn’t “the Jews” either. It’s the corporate media, and the corporations that own them, and the rest of the global capitalist ruling classes … in other words, those “global elites.”

The thing I find particularly disturbing is how these rather mundane observations — i.e., (a) that a global ruling class exists, (b) that it’s primarily corporate in character, (c) that this class is pursuing its interests and not the interests of sovereign states — how such observations are being stigmatized as the ravings of unhinged anti-Semites. This stigmatization is not limited to Trumpists. Anyone to the left of Clinton is now, apparently, an anti-Semite. For example, Roger Cohen, in The New York Times, riding the tsunami of condemnation of the insidious verbiage of Trump’s West Palm speech, executed an extended smear-job on Jeremy Corbyn and his “Corbynistas” (they’re fond of coining these epithets, the media), denouncing their virulent “anti-Americanism,” “anti-Capitalism,” “anti-globalism,” and “anti-Semitic anti-Zionism.”

Which, let me hasten to add, and stress, and underscore, and repeatedly emphasize, is not to imply that the Labour Party, or the British Left, or the American Left, or any other Left, is anti-Semitism-free. Of course not. There are anti-Semites everywhere. That isn’t the point. Or it isn’t my point.

My point is that this stigmatization campaign is part of a much larger ideological project, one that has little to do with Trump, or Jeremy Corbyn, or their respective parties. Smearing one’s political opponents is nothing new, of course, it’s as old as the hills. But what we’re witnessing is more than smears. As I proposed in these pages back in July, political dissent is being gradually pathologized (i.e., stigmatized as aberrant or “abnormal” behavior, as opposed to a position meriting discussion). Consider the abnormalization of Sanders, back when he was talking about “banks,” “global elites,” and other things that matter, or the media’s portrayal of British voters as racists in the wake of the Brexit referendum. And, yes, the charges being leveled against Trump, much as we might despise the man. Anti-Semitism, inciting violence, paranoid conspiracy theorizing, insurrection, treason, et cetera — these are not legitimate arguments one needs to counter with superior arguments; they are symptoms of deviations from a norm, signs of criminality or pathology, which is increasingly how the corporate ruling classes are dismissing anyone who attempts to challenge them.

A line is being drawn in the ideological sand. On one side of it are the decent people, the normal people, in their business wear, with their university degrees, and prescriptions, and debts. On the other side are … well, the deplorables, the ignorant, racist, anti-Semitic, neo-nationalist, populist extremists. This line cuts through both the Left and the Right … supersedes both Left and Right, making bedfellows of supposed adversaries like Obama, Clinton, Kagan, Wolfowitz, Scowcroft, and their ilk on the Normal team, and a motley crew of Trumpists, Putinists, European populists, Corbynistas, Sandernistas, socialists, anarchists, Wikileakers, anti-Zionists, anti-capitalists, neo-Nazis, Black Lives Matterers, angry Greek pensioners, environmental activists, religious zealots, the Klu Klux Klan, David Graeber, most of the contributors to CounterPunch, and various other “extremist” types, many of whom detest each other, in the Deplorables’ current starting line-up.

The corporate media is sending a message … a message aimed at a much broader audience than undecided American voters (assuming such creatures really exist). The message is, “get with the fucking program, or get stigmatized as an anti-Semite, or a racist, or a Russian spy, or whatever.” The message is, “drop the populist rhetoric, shut the hell up about the Wall Street banks, and the corporations, and the ‘one percent,’ and … actually … forget about politics completely, except for identity politics, of course. Go ahead and knock yourself out with that.” The message is, “you’re either with us or against us … and it doesn’t matter why you’re against us, or what it is you think you’re for. Right, Left … who gives a shit? It’s one big Basket of Deplorables to us.”

This message, of course, displays many of the hallmarks of the classic authoritarian mentality, the need for nearly total conformity, mindless allegiance to one’s so-called superiors, delegitimization of all opposing viewpoints, and the infantile type of hero-worship figures like Obama and Clinton inspire … not the old-fashioned authoritarianism that would-be despots like Trump represent, but, rather, a more attractive version, a hopey, changey, lovey version, where there are no frightening Hitlerian leaders barking out anti-Semitic code words, and no one is exterminating thousands of people in faraway countries they want to destabilize in order to entirely dominate the region. No, this is the version where Obama sells the TPP on the Jimmy Fallon show, and wars of aggression are not wars of aggression, but “humanitarian interventions.” It’s also the version where universal healthcare is, regrettably, “unrealistic,” but $38 billion for the State of Israel so it can operate its Apartheid State, and weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, so they can bomb the shit out of farmers in Yemen, and cut off people’s heads for blasphemy, is somehow in “America’s vital interests.”

But what do I know? I’m just a satirist. I should probably leave all this complex stuff, like what is and isn’t in my interest, and what words really mean and all that, to the experts in the mainstream media. Since they did so well decoding Trump’s speech, maybe they could translate some of these other code words I’ve been having trouble with, like the ones I put in scare quotes above, or other such code words, like “enemy combatant,” “free trade agreement,” “security barrier,” “indefinite detention,” “targeted killing,” or “troubled asset relief program.”

I could go on, but I probably shouldn’t. Odds are, I’m already on the list of Putin-worshiping, anti-Semitic, racist, misogynist, neo-nationalist, non-standing up for the National Anthem, conspiracy theorizing America-haters. The last thing I need to do at this point is start jabbering about how the United States is an authoritarian corporatist dystopia ruled by a global capitalist elite that couldn’t give less of a shit about Americans (or any other actual people living in any other actual countries), where the corporate media can whip up mass fanatical support for wars of aggression, or corporate puppets, by pointing their fingers at yet another bogeyman and shouting “Hitler” at the top of their lungs. Next thing you know I’d be writing about “banks,” and “global corporations,” and “national sovereignty,” and we all know what that’s about, don’t we?

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (US). He can reached at his website, cjhopkins.com, or at consentfactory.org.

October 28, 2016 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment