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Rising fascism in the US

 
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Dec, 2017 01:37 am
@InfraBlue,
So what? You gona report me to Putain?
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Dec, 2017 12:28 pm
Agree or be shut out of the public conversation.

Gee. Where have I seen this before?

https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-is-devolving-into-an-effort-to-stigmatize-dissent/

Of all the various twists and turns of the year-and-a-half-long national drama known as #Russiagate, the effort to marginalize and stigmatize dissent from the consensus Russia-Trump narrative, particularly by former intelligence and national-security officials and operatives, is among the more alarming.


An invasion-of-privacy lawsuit, filed in July 2017 by a former DNC official and two Democratic donors, alleges that they suffered “significant distress and anxiety and will require lifelong vigilance and expense” because their personal information was exposed as a result of the e-mail hack of the DNC, which, the suit claims, was part of a conspiracy between Roger Stone and the Trump campaign.

According to a report in The New York Times published at the time of the suit’s filing, “Mr. Trump and his political advisers, including Mr. Stone, have repeatedly denied colluding with Russia, and the 44-page complaint, filed on Wednesday in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, does not contain any hard evidence that his campaign did.” (Emphasis added.)

In a new development, in early December, 14 former high-ranking US intelligence and national-security officials, including former deputy secretary of state William Burns; former CIA director John Brennan; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; and former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (a longtime proponent of democracy promotion, which presumably includes free speech), filed an amicus brief as part of the lawsuit.

The amicus brief purports to explain to the court how Russia deploys “active measures” that seek “to undermine confidence in democratic leaders and institutions; sow discord between the United States and its allies; discredit candidates for office perceived as hostile to the Kremlin; influence public opinion against U.S. military, economic and political programs; and create distrust or confusion over sources of information.”

The former officials portray the amicus brief as an offering of neutral (“Amici submit this brief on behalf of neither party”) expertise (“to offer the Court their broad perspective, informed by careers spent working inside the U.S. government”).

The brief claims that Putin’s Russia has not only “actively spread disinformation online in order to exploit racial, cultural and political divisions across the country” but also “conducted cyber espionage operations…to undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process and, in the general election, influence the results against Secretary Hillary Clinton.”

Much of this has been said before. But where the briefers branch off into new territory is in their attempt to characterize journalism and political speech with which they disagree as acts of subversion on behalf of a foreign power.

According to the 14 former officials, Russia’s active-measure campaign relies “on intermediaries or ‘cut outs’ inside a country,” which are rather broadly defined as “political organizers and activists, academics, journalists, web operators, shell companies, nationalists and militant groups, and prominent pro-Russian businessmen.”

Such “intermediaries” can range from “the unwitting accomplice who is manipulated to act in what he believes is his best interest, to the ideological or economic ally who broadly shares Russian interests, to the knowing agent of influence who is recruited or coerced to directly advance Russian operations and objectives.”

In other words, a Russian “cut out” (or fifth columnist) can be defined as those “activists, academics, journalists, [or] web operators” who dissent from the shared ideology of the 14 signatories of the amicus brief.

In a recent essay for the London Review of Books, the historian Jackson Lears observed that “the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords.” And this amicus brief is one such pronouncement.

In spite of the brief’s high-flown language (“The threat posed to our democracy by Russian active measures campaigns is serious, ongoing and will require vigilance on the part of the U.S. government and people”), it is little more than yet another effort to stigmatize political speech that questions the necessity of demonizing Russia—political speech, in other words, with which these former high-ranking intelligence and national-security officials surely disagree.

Professor Lears also observed that as regards Russiagate, “In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.”

That is only too true; indeed, as of this writing, the Russia-Trump collusion narrative is fast devolving into an effort to stigmatize and marginalize expressions of dissent, with the overarching aim of short-circuiting and stifling debate over US-Russia policy.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jan, 2018 01:23 am
@Lash,
To me, it seems a serious inquiry dedicated to a serious question: has a foreign power been able to influence or tip a US election, with help from the Trump campaign? I don't see how it could possibly be used to shut down anyone. If you or The Nation want to say that the US should ally itself to Russia, who's stopping you, pray tell?

Trumpists are so easily scared.
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 05:28 am
@Olivier5,
The character of pretty in-your-face Trumpists that I see portrayed in the media is anything but scared. I think an injection of realistic fear might improve their opinions.

But this media-driven shaming of people who refuse to parrot the national narrative reminds me of how badly they fucked up the election expectations.

The media sat on camera on election night crying, gobsmacked, and just wrong as ****. They all knew Hillary would cruise to an easy victory. Because they are so removed from the people who live in this country.

They almost uniformly hold the same opinions, and drive the same agenda.

They are trying to cram the Russia narrative down the throats of this country just like they tried to force a Clinton presidency.

It’s a crazy hyperbolic attempt to repudiate the election and to mitigate their previous glaring error.

I remember watching MSNBC during the election. Virulent Hillary fan ‘journalists were beginning to see that they’d been quite wrong about who was going to win, and they were getting emotional, launching into personal speeches about why it shouldn’t be happening. One commentator reminded the panel that she’d told them about Trump yard signs covering a lot of rural counties, and that Hillary rallies were vastly underpopulated, but whenever she mentioned it, it was shut down by them and other news figures.

That’s how groupthink kills actual fact—and that’s how the public is cheated out of authentic journalism.

97% of people who we get news from are Democrat donors.

This is why complaints about Fox News fall on deaf ears.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 05:49 am
@Lash,
I think the issue of whether the US still has a functional democracy is important. More broadly, what should democracies do to protect the credibility
of their electoral processes, is an important question at this point in time. Democracy is in retreat worldwide. The manipulation of social media, the hacking of electoral lists or emails, are emerging threats to the fairness of any electoral process. And it's not just about America. The Russians have been trying to influence the French presidential election too; fortunately that fired back at them. Drug lords in Mexico have used similar tactics to influence city council elections. I'm pretty sure the Chinese are thinking about it, if not gearing up their skills already.

Democracies are vulnerable to this sort of threats because they depend on a well-informed public.

Authentic journalism is not about spreading lies for Putin. It's about saying the truth, more often than not. It's about abiding to an ethic geared to inform the public fairly. That is much more likely to come from the NYT than from RT, FAUX, or the other professional liars you seem to love so much.
Lash
 
  0  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 06:44 am
@Olivier5,
You mischaracterize me yet again. I don’t trust ANY of them. I don’t think the US is a functional democracy.

The primary difference I see in your take and mine is you think hacking of emails is a problem.

I think the revelation of what I consider treasonous tampering in an election by politicians and media IN THOSE EMAILS is the problem. I support whistleblowers revealing facts and criminal behavior. You support the criminals.

I don’t understand that mentality.

Btw: they’re ALL professional liars.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 08:00 am
@Lash,
What I resent is the SELECTIVE hacking and release of SOME emails from SOME people, while leaving the Trump campaign off the hook and free to colude with a dictator they make tons of money with.

Beside hacking, the organized spreading of false information on FAUX, RT, Facebook and the likes is pretty dangerous, IMO, and needs to be exposed. And it's a lie to say "they are all liars".
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 08:19 am
@Olivier5,
MSNBC, CNN, and other so-called MSMs also skew and omit News purposefully—perverting journalism to profit certain individuals and factions, including the DNC.

Just as bad as Fox.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 08:37 am
@Lash,
I don't like CNN one bit but they lie far far less than FAUX, and when they do, it's generally by omission ('forgeting' to say an important part of the news). FAUX lies very consistantly and aggressively, stating absolute BS by the dozen a day, without even blinking. They actively disinform their viewers on scientific facts eg climate change. I mean, how evil is undermining science?

Lying and disinforming is FAUX core business, their purpose in life. CNN's purpose is just to make money. It's not to fight for the truth, but it's not to fight for lies either.
BillW
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 09:54 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier, Lying is when a story line is concocted using altenate facts. Fox does this, CNN does not. Slanting a view to meet a desire is not lying, the facts are still out they are not called fake. There is a big difference here and we can not let tRump make these actions normal by equating them. Propaganda is not lies, deplorable - yes, but not lis.
Olivier5
 
  3  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 10:17 am
@BillW,
There is something called "lying by omission", but indeed it is less of an offense than lying lying. The bottom line is that CNN is just shallow and unreliable, while FAUX actively tries to dumb down and misinform the American people. It's like the difference between a dog who might once in a while bark at you when you get near its food, and a tiger who wants to make you its food.
BillW
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 10:24 am
@Olivier5,
"lying by omission" is a lie when only you know the truth or it is hidden from public sight If it is in the open, then it may be an act of making "you" work to complete the circle: or, it is expected for you to already know it, plus at leat 15 other reasons. In effect, this is the premise of what Wolff has done in his book that is receiving so much public criticism. It is also called spin, at least - most of it.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Feb, 2018 04:06 am
Another one bites the dust. The Guardian fires independent journalists, hones their ‘message’.

http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/861-a-liberal-pillar-of-the-establishment-new-look-guardian-old-style-orthodoxy.html

—————————-
In part:

Fiercely independent and challenging'? When the Guardian Media Group is owned by The Scott Trust Limited, a 'profit-seeking enterprise'? (In other words, it is not a non-profit trust, with many readers still mistakenly holding a romantic vision of benign ownership.) When the paper is thus owned and run by an elite group of individuals with links to banking, insurance, advertising, multinational consumer goods, telecommunications, information technology, venture investment, corporate media, marketing services and other sectors of the establishment? When the paper remains dependent on advertising revenue from corporate interests, despite the boast that 'we now receive more income from our readers than we do from advertisers'. When the paper has actually ditched journalists who have been 'fiercely independent and challenging'?

However, it is certainly true that the Guardian 'will remain what it has always been': a liberal pillar of the establishment; a gatekeeper of 'acceptable' news and comment. 'Thus far, and no further', to use Chomsky's phrase. But, as mentioned, the Guardian will not go even as far in the political spectrum as Corbyn: a traditional left Labour figure, rather than a radical socialist proclaiming 'Revolution!' or an anarchist itching to bring down global capitalism.

Meanwhile, readers can expect the 'new look' Guardian to continue its attacks on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, such as the recent smear piece by ex-Guardian journalist James Ball that began scurrilously:

'According to Debrett's, the arbiters of etiquette since 1769: "Visitors, like fish, stink in three days." Given this, it's difficult to imagine what Ecuador's London embassy smells like, more than five-and-a-half years after Julian Assange moved himself into the confines of the small flat in Knightsbridge, just across the road from Harrods.'

Ball went on, dripping more poison:

'Today, most of those who still support Assange are hard-right nationalists – with many seeing him as a supporter of the style of politics of both Trump and Vladimir Putin.'

When we challenged Ball via Twitter for evidence of these foolish claims, he was unable to provide any. His facile response was:

'The WikiLeaks twitter feed is a pretty good start tbh [to be honest]'
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Feb, 2018 04:55 am
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-los-angeles-times-patrick-soon-shiong-20180206-story.html

Los Angeles biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is nearing a deal to buy the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune from their owner, Tronc, according to two people familiar with the talks.
The nearly $500-million cash deal, if consummated, would return The Times to local ownership after 18 years and end a tumultuous relationship with its corporate parent in Chicago. A sale also would represent a major strategy shift for Tronc, which has said that better promoting the Los Angeles Times brand and journalism was a key to its corporate growth.
0 Replies
 
revelette1
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2018 07:55 am
An interesting article from the Rolling Stone caught my attention this morning. I don't know if people here have noticed but there has been changes at google and youtube recently and at first I thought it was about fascism until I read the following and realized the changes have more to do with loss revenue.

Youtube's crackdown goes beyond Alex Jones
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2018 02:19 pm
@revelette1,
It’s cool to me that you’re at least questioning it.
camlok
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2018 02:26 pm
@Lash,
Quote:
It’s cool to me that you’re at least questioning it.


But she, and a lot of other folks are not questioning things that are totally impossible, Lash. Don't you think that is really odd?

Google's motto went from "Don't be evil" to "Be very evil, profits depend on it".
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2018 05:32 am
https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/friendly-reminder-that-jeff-bezos-is-trying-to-take-over-the-universe-b9b784cc75be
—————————
Why progressives warn about Bezos.
—————————
I will say it again for emphasis: Jeff Bezos, who has used his business prowess to become the wealthiest person in the world, did not purchase the Washington Post in 2013 because he was expecting newspapers to make a profitable comeback. That did not happen.

What did happen is the world’s richest plutocrat realizing that he needed a mouthpiece to manufacture public support for the neoliberal corporatist establishment that he is building his empire upon. This is why WaPo ran sixteen smear pieces on Bernie Sanders in the span of sixteen hours at the hottest point in the Democratic presidential primary battle.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2018 05:45 am
@Lash,
Donald Trump’s war on Jeff Bezos is more than just bluster
Quote:
Those who think the US president acts solely on impulse are not paying attention. He is doing what populists do, targeting independent media
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2018 06:21 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I would say that he us doing what all fascists do. All fascists are, initially, populists. Not all populists are fascists.
0 Replies
 
 

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