Good Stuff. Trump was allowed to repeatedly lie over the airwaves without repudiation by anyone. Every time Trump called Clinton a criminal, he was lying. And lets not forget the National Enquirer, probably 10 million see their headlines in the supermarket over the course of a full week. Now multiply all the horrific anti Clinton headlines they ran over the past year. Easily shifted at least a million to 2 million votes to Trump. Trump and that National Enquirer are allies.
More important was Jeff Zucker and CNN. Zucker and Trump go way back to 2003, when Zucker was head of NBC Entertainment and Trump had his hit program "The Apprentice." Jeff Zucker literally MADE Donald Trump the candidate. Nobody else. Zucker is totally responsible for this disaster called Donald Trump. He was NOT a serious candidate and wouldn't have made it past Iowa were it not for Zucker pimping for him on his network. Zucker gave this Lonesome Rhodes of the GOP unlimited, unfiltered airtime for months on end. Other candidates were shut out.
Zucker did this for ratings and ad revenue. He completely violated journalistic ethics.
None of this blatant conflict of interest was noted in the primaries.
Jeff Zucker belongs in prison for treason against the United States.
I agree with OTE's comments on Jeff Zucker, who blatantly said, 'Trump may be bad for the country but he's great for ratings.' That Trump lashed out at Zucker at the infamous meeting with the press at Trump Tower was either a staged putdown or a bit of karmic justice. Knowing that Trump loves to deceive people, I'd now say the Zucker lambast was strategic: deflect, deflect, deflect.
More outrageous is knowing that the CIA knew of Russian interference in the election, passed that info to Comey who, in his infinite wisdom, decided to sit on the investigative materials. Instead, the man placed his thumb on the scale for Trumpism, offering the press the unique opportunity to launch baseless smears and innuendo against Hillary Clinton. Because carelessness.
And so, we have the next POTUS selected by Putin and his lackeys and a complicit Republican establishment. It's reported that McConnell knew of Trump's Russian connections, the hacking and skullduggery all along but did not want the material released until after the election. Says a lot for an independent FBI doesn't it? Makes me wonder what they have on James Comey. It must be Yu-u-ge!
Pizzagate -- or: The difference between clowns and monsters
If you haven't seen it yet, this Colbert segment is must-viewing. However, he is far too soft on Alex Jones.
It goes without saying that AJ will now go after Colbert. Right now, much of the conspiratard right is tweeting "proof" that the great comic is a devil-worshipping child-raper.
It must be understood that guys like Alex Jones are not clowns: They are monsters. What makes Jones a monster are his demonstrated inability to question himself and his smug presumption of his own rectitude. Although I've never met Jones personally, I've met a lot of guys like him -- and by "a lot" I mean a lot. They all radiate absolute jackass self-confidence coupled with a blinkered refusal to admit even the slightest possibility that they could ever be wrong -- about anything.
If a guy like AJ steps on your foot, the fault must be yours for putting your foot there. Alex Jones would rather bite off his own nipples than squeak out the words "I'm sorry."
And yet these conspiracy-crazies consider themselves Christians, even though they are no such thing. They may go to church, but they disdain the one virtue that every Christian denomination has always revered: Humility. Right-wing plot-spotters consider humility weak and effeminate. Brash, bombastic, rage-filled, hyper-macho Texas thugs like Alex Jones are as addicted to pride as they are to paranoia.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating: If you take Julius Streicher, shave off his mustache and give him more blubber, the result will bear an uncanny resemblance to Alex Jones -- physically and intellectually. Y'see, most of the Nazi bigwigs considered Streicher a dummy; he had his uses (until the very end), but he was still a dull-witted, lowlife brute. After the war, an American examiner placed his IQ in the 90-100 range. That sounds about right as an estimation of AJ's brainpower.
Although I'm not inclined to believe in reincarnation, certain cases make me wonder.
As infosec and Twitter personality @SwiftOnSecurity tells it in a tweet on October 30th: "Started off as a 4chan joke, InfoWars nuts thought it was serious, trolls keep up fascade, people think they're serious, big cycle."
That epidemiology may not be accurate. As we've seen in previous posts, the earliest versions of this conspiracy theory -- "Ur-Pizzagate," we may call it -- appeared in print just before the election, when two fake news sites -- True Pundit and Subject Politics -- published a bogus story claiming that the NYPD had raided Hillary's home and found evidence of her involvement with a child abuse cult.
So just who is behind True Pundit and Subject Politics? Do we have names? Do we know who funds those sites?
As far as I know, nobody has proven those two sites to be connected to the Trump campaign. Then again: Michael Flynn said that Pizzagate should be taken seriously until it is completely "debunked." If turnabout is fair play, perhaps we should treat the Trump connection to True Pundit as a given until someone can prove otherwise.
This article identifies one early Pizzagator -- a "stay-at-home mom" in Ontario:
Stefanie MacWilliams, a contributor to Planet Free Will, wrote an article last month that took off on social media. In it she recounted a man’s claims about a politically connected pedophile ring housed at the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlour in the U.S. capital.
“I kind of wanted to put out the information that was there with the statement I’m not accusing anyone of anything, there’s no concrete evidence of anything,” MacWilliams said Wednesday, adding that her readers were very interested in it.
Hey, gang -- I have an idea! Let's spread the story that Stefanie rapes her own children with a broomstick, as demonstrated in the infamous TV movie Born Innocent. And when she complains about that smear, let's act affronted. With a great pretense of innocence, we will say: "We're just putting out the information. We're not accusing anyone of anything. Maybe there's no concrete evidence that she uses a broomstick. It's just that our readers are very interested in it."
Planet Free Will was among the websites recently called out by the New York Times for sharing fake news.
“I was personally a little bit insulted,” said MacWilliams of the label, adding, “Fake news has become used as this ridiculous term . . . it’s the new ‘conspiracy theorist.’ ”
Damn right, Stefanie. Although you will always be too pigheaded to admit it, there's a good reason why "conspiracy theory" has become a term of opprobrium.
Again: I know the conspiracy theory subculture well. When I was younger and much more naive, I got a snoot-full of that odious milieu -- and then I made my escape, at a time when Stefanie MacWilliams was probably still in grade school. Having briefly glanced at her work on Planet Free Will, I feel fairly confident in classifying Stefanie as a classic paranoia-addict: Like AJ, and like so many of the guys I met "back in the day," she displays a complete lack of humility and an inability to confess the harm that she has done.
Monsters like Stefanie MacWilliams don't give a shit about other people. They thoughtlessly toss around accusations of child abuse -- one of the worst crimes imaginable -- without asking themselves the single most important question: "What if I'm wrong?"
That's what always separated me from the conspiracy buffs, even back in the bad old days when I kept very low company. I was always asking myself: "What if I'm wrong?" Self-doubt is a natural result of my upbringing. I had an Italian mother and a Jewish stepfather, so if there's one thing I know about, it's guilt.
Guilt and doubt are what saved me. Those two lifelong companions kept me from turning into a monster like Alex Jones or Stefanie MacWilliams.
I wrote several articles on DailyPUMA many years ago begging the Clintons to get into the media game and create a daily moderate news show. When Current TV was sold, I had hoped the Clintons might lead a group to buy it. My NRA PAC Russian connection story would fly like a kite if it had been conservative based, but because it is about conservatives there is no counter force on the liberal side to promote the story and give it legs. The Bottom line is Comey put FBI agents on email duty when those same agents should have been boots on the ground prior to and on election day making sure there had been no infiltration of our vote polling locations by "volunteers" with NRA or Russian alliances. And Comey needs to do another press conference prior to the Electoral College Vote day where he explains why Trump was not under investigation for anything.
Alessandro, Al Gore did buy a media locus and tried to recruit amateur journalists to provide video content. It didn't work. I don't know why. Maybe Al Gore had a bad reputation among hipsters. Maybe he was deliberately trying to bust the hopes and waste the time of amateur journalists.
Obama seems to have been very effective in making his young supporters cynical, and Bernie after. Feeling Berned Out? To their credit, many passionate Bernie supporters are pouring enormous energies into third parties.
“The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent,” he said. However, he refused to dismiss outright the claims in the online articles, conceding only that there were no children “inside that dwelling.” He also said that child slavery was a worldwide phenomenon.
And that makes shooting up a pizzeria a viable option...?
He said he did not believe in conspiracy theories, but then added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks needed to be re-examined. He has listened to Alex Jones, whose radio show traffics in conspiracy theories and who once said that Mrs. Clinton “has personally murdered and chopped up” children. “He’s a bit eccentric,” Mr. Welch said. “He touches on some issues that are viable but goes off the deep end on some things.”
There is an important debate as to what fake news actually is.This Slate piece correctly points out that some pundits are using the term far too loosely, as a catch-all designation for any text one considers dubious or disagreeable.
The right-wingers -- and others -- have argued that mainstream sources can be fake as well. This argument has some merit. We've all complained about misleading reportage. Hell, this very blog has bitched about the NYT, the WP and CBS on many previous occasions, and I have every intention of doing so in the future.
The difference, I think, is this: Whenever the NYT or the WP publishes something which you and I might decry as "fake," the real sin on display is (usually) undue journalistic deference given to a Voice of Authority. Too often, our reporters function as stenographers to the powerful, and powerful people often seek to maintain their power by manipulating public perceptions. The result is, arguably, a kind of news-faking. Nevertheless, I would argue that ultimate responsibility for these exercises in deception belongs with the original source, not with the reporter/stenographer.
The 2016 election forces us to confront fake news of a different sort: We now have writers who deliberately concoct outrageous lies in order to smear a candidate (especially candidates named Clinton) or to stimulate the pleasure centers of partisans.
This is not a new phenomenon. The Weekly World News and other tabloids have performed this function for many years. Much of the early Iraq war coverage -- especially the pulling down of Saddam's statue -- was deceptive and propagandistic.
Our intelligence agencies have indulged in newsfaking of this sort for many years. You may want to research PBSUCCESS, the operation which led to the overthrow of a democratically-elected government in Guatemala in the 1950s; the broadcasting of fake news stories led to a nearly bloodless coup. An even more instructive example would be the subversion of Salvador Allende's government in Chile, best described in Death in Washington, by Fred Landis and Donald Freed. The parallels between that media campaign and the efforts to demonize Hillary are, in my view, uncanny.
So let's narrow our definition of the term fake news. Obviously, we have every right to apply the label to this story, published on the True Pundit site, which came into existence alongside the Trump campaign. (Am I suggesting that the Trump campaign surreptitiously created that site? Oh no. Heaven forbid!)
New York Police Department detectives and prosecutors working an alleged underage sexting case against former Congressman Anthony Weiner have turned over a newly-found laptop he shared with wife Huma Abedin to the FBI with enough evidence “to put Hillary (Clinton) and her crew away for life,” NYPD sources told True Pundit.
NYPD sources said Clinton’s “crew” also included several unnamed yet implicated members of Congress in addition to her aides and insiders.
But new revelations on the contents of that laptop, according to law enforcement sources, implicate the Democratic presidential candidate, her subordinates, and even select elected officials in far more alleged serious crimes than mishandling classified and top secret emails, sources said. NYPD sources said these new emails include evidence linking Clinton herself and associates to:
Sex crimes with minors (children)
Pay to play through Clinton Foundation
Obstruction of justice
Other felony crimes
NYPD detectives and a NYPD Chief, the department’s highest rank under Commissioner, said openly that if the FBI and Justice Department fail to garner timely indictments against Clinton and co- conspirators, NYPD will go public with the damaging emails now in the hands of FBI Director James Comey and many FBI field offices.
“What’s in the emails is staggering and as a father, it turned my stomach,” the NYPD Chief said. “There is not going to be any Houdini-like escape from what we found. We have copies of everything. We will ship them to Wikileaks or I will personally hold my own press conference if it comes to that.”
On the face of it, the fakery here should have been obvious on Day 1. Why no named sources? Why would the NYPD say such things to a brand-new garbage rag like True Pundit and not to any real newspaper -- not even (say) the Trump-friendly NY Post?
Another obviously spurious story appeared on a page that has since disappeared. It used to be here on the Subject Politics website. (This site appears to be another Trump-era creation.) This Buzzfeed story reproduces the front page I saw when the article first appeared: I distinctly recall that photo, which allegedly shows an NYPD raid on Hillary Clinton's home. No such raid ever occurred.
If that isn't an example of "fake news," then what is?
As noted earlier, we have all carped about many sins of mainstream journalism, and for good reason. But neither the NYT nor any other mainstream source has ever done anything this outrageous.
In recent days, some opinion writers have argued that "fake news" is also a problem on the left. Amusingly, the cited examples usually point to articles by H.A. Goodman ("Lord H.A. H.A.," as I call him) and other Feelers of the Bern. Although the Sanders die-hards and other progressives have indeed demonstrated an eagerness to don woolen sunglasses, we must put the problem in its proper perspective. Nowhere on the left side of political aisle will you find a kayfabe operation even remotely similar to True Pundit and Subject Politics.
The term "fake news" definitely applies to those two sites. Does the same label apply to Fox? I would say no, although Fox has run many stories which come perilously close to qualifying.
As I've said many times before, right-wing conspiracy theory is best understood using the addiction model. Paranoia gets you high. Whenever a right-wing conspiracy junkie says "The MSM is just as bad as this so-called fake news," what he's really saying is: "I love the rush and I refuse to pull the needle out of my arm."
So how do we solve the problem? Many have argued for some form of censorship -- which is, in essence, what Twitter, Reddit and Facebook have started to implement. But censorship allows the right-wing newsfakers to cry foul. As an old friend might have put it, they'll "do the martyrella routine."
Hollywood found the right solution some 48 years ago. Ratings.
I'm old enough (barely) to recall a time when films were not rated; everything shown in the movie theater was supposed to be viewable by the entire family. In the 1960s, movies began to experiment with nudity and violence. The result: Widespread calls for government intervention -- for official censorship.
That's when the studios formed a non-governmental agency, the MPAA, which offers ratings for all non-pornographic films. (Porn is allowed to rate itself.) Films are not censored; they are labeled.
The system got off to a rocky start: When I was kid, I could not believe that Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (a blood-fest which instantly became one of my all-time favorite films) received a G rating. Midnight Cowboy certainly did not deserve the X rating that it initially received. In the years since, nearly everyone has complained at one time or another about the MPAA's decisions, many of which have seemed downright unfathomable.
Yet despite the problems, the system has worked. It certainly fulfilled its initial function of staving off the threat of government censorship. Although studios will self-censor in order to avoid an R rating, it is nevertheless undeniable that the screen has been far freer since 1968 than it was before. Labels liberated.
I propose a similar solution to the fake news problem.
We live in a world in which Facebook, Google and similar entities provide the "news gateway" for most people, at least for most Americans. It's time for those companies to stop ducking their responsibilities. They should join with university-level experts in media studies to form an association modeled on the MPAA. Job 1: Rating as many news sources a possible.
Call it the Social Media Providers Association, or SMPA.
This non-partisan association should be composed of academics, and it should be dedicated to offering disinterested judgments of news providers. A user-generated system, such as the one discussed here, is doomed to failure, because organized political operatives can always manipulate the results.
Here are my proposed ratings -- and please note that these are provisionalsuggestions, meant to demonstrate the general principle:
M -- Mainstream news source.
A -- An academic source, a declassified government document, or a report issued by an organization such as Human Rights Watch.
O -- a source predominately devoted to relaying opinions and analysis. Most blogs, including this one, would be rated O. Although I occasionally contact sources and do original research, I could live with an O rating.
P -- An openly partisan news source. Fox, MSNBC, Rush Limbaugh and Daily Kos would qualify. Certain think tanks issue reports which deserve a P rating. (This label would not necessarily indicate falsity or unreliability).
F -- Fake News. True Pundit and the offerings of Jestin Coler would be good examples of the genre. Any site which regularly publishes exercises in deliberate deception would earn an F rating.
U -- Unconfirmed. This rating would apply to any site that the SMPA has not yet examined.
Whenever someone on social media sends a link, one of these ratings would automatically appear next to the link. The programming should be a simple affair. Blog posts on the Blogger and Wordpress platforms could also use this system.
Can the main social media providers afford to maintain something like the SMPA? Of course. The cost would be minimal; a budget of $500,000 a year should be ample. Google, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook are swimming in money.
One salutary effect of this system is that it would pressure the more outrageous "nearly F-rated" sites to clean up their acts. Alex Jones would have to decide whether he wants Infowars to live with the F rating, or if he wants to keep things within O territory.
Obviously, there will be endless complaints about the ratings, just as there are now endless complaints about the decisions rendered by the MPAA. But for all the caterwauling about the MPAA, few want the film rating system to disappear entirely. I believe that, after a bumpy initial period, few will seek the elimination of my proposed SMPA.
Of course, people addicted to conspiracy theories will insist that the above-described system -- or any system -- is rigged against their interests. Paranoia connoisseurs will claim that certain F-rated links offer better information than do M-rated links. Fine. I have no problem with anyone making that argument.
The white supremacist right is setting up its own forums -- Gab and Voat, for example -- which will surely want no part in this proposed SMPA system. Those who gravitate toward those alternatives will inhabit an intellectual ghetto; within its confines, they will have the perfect freedom to romp and scamper as they will.
No one will be able to claim any danger to the First Amendment. The First Amendment does not contain a clause which compels Facebook to offer label-free links to news sources.
I am not proposing censorship; I am proposing a voluntary, non-governmental labeling system. All writers and readers will be at liberty to ignore those ratings or to argue that any given rating is unfair.
Most Americans, I believe, will want to know whether the latest shocking "news" story in their Facebook feed was actually concocted by a fly-by-night organization with a track record of peddling hogwash.
How about a follow the money system? Each site must publicly where their income comes from as it relates to their website. How many of these blog sites that fake news actually are run on no income? I'm pretty sure most of the offending sites receive compensation not just from hits. but from funding sources that allow them to do some level of incoherent research before posting.
I did a post about the Russia, NRA connection and within an hour of posting the article link on 2 Facebook Election Integrity sites, I got a THOUSAND hits from Russia over the next 24 hours. I normally get about 0 to 3 hits a day from Russia. If Facebook publicly posted a percentage breakdown about where the members of a site are geographically from, that would also be a way for people to assess the news they are reading.
I love your idea, Alessandro. But how to implement it? How to enforce it?
For example, I receive no funding beyond the occasional PayPal ding, for which I am very grateful to my readers. (And if anyone out there can help me buy a Christmas present for my ladyfriend, I'd be particularly grateful.) But if someone were to scoff at that claim, how could I prove it? How can I PROVE that there are no secret funders?
We live in a new world in which any conspiratorial notion is considered valid if not thoroughly debunked, as Michael Flynn indicated in his comments about Pizzagate.
By the way, I really should have written about that NRA/Russia link heretofore, because it is important. You've mentioned it in a previous comment.
Once a site publicly exposes how they are funded, they have the legal right to lie, but let it be known that there are consequences for lying. I happen to know where to find a thousand federal employees who are perpetually hunting for email wabbits during presidential season who could be performing more useful tasks, such as following the money when it comes to political blogs and political blogs.
Another excellent idea, Joseph. Hope Zuckerberg is listening!
posted by David Jay Morris : 2:57 AM
And perhaps an "S" for satire. Satire sites already put disclaimers labeling themselves as "entertainment" somewhere on the page, usually in small font on the bottom or linked under "about us."
It's a good idea. But doesn't solve problems like memes. Memes will be "true" but misleading, and they spread like wildfire. Just for one example, the Berniebrats got all miffed about Hillary's "praise of KKK leader" Robert Byrd and many such memes were generated to inflame the bros. They were nonstop. So many memes, so few people with context or the initiative to research.
posted by prowlerzee : 6:23 AM
Stephen Colbert went off about PizzaGate last night, made Jones look pretty foolish.
Recall that WAPO published the PropOrNot list of 100 websites designated as unreliable sources of news and political commentary. Now Mark Ames says that PropOrNot has ties to Ukrainian Intelligence.
posted by gavan : 1:50 PM
Pam and Russ Martens also provide evidence that PropOrNot may be tied to Peter Pomerantzev and the Legatum Institute. Pomerantzev was the originator of the phrase "weaponized propaganda" which he previously applied to any web sites or political commentary expressing pro-Russian views, or merely challenging the NATO narrative on Europe and the M.E. His proposed solution was to install a series of online censorship protocols to be overseen by Western MSM agencies.
posted by gavan : 2:17 PM
This has nothing to do with what I've written. Are you trying to mischaracterize my point?
I've been doing a ton of Pizzagate research, but haven't the time to discuss my findings in any detail right now. In truth, I'm thinking of writing a small book about this episode -- a case study in how the conspiratorial underground devolves into madness.
For now, let's briefly note that Michael Flynn Jr., son of the Lt. General who will be Trump's National Security Adviser, is a huge fan of right-wing conspiracy theories and a big Pizzagator. He also plays a substantial role in the transition -- a fact denied by Mike Pence, but a fact nonetheless.
Actually, they are now claiming that Flynn the younger no longer plays a role. Ah, yes. Where have we heard that before? This is a typical Trump trick: You may recall how the Donald's campaign at various times claimed to have severed relations with Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort. All such claims came perfumed by a scent which the French call la connerie.
In the last week, all Turkish pro-government papers, including mainstream publications like Sabah, A Haber, Yeni Şafak, Akşam and Star, ran similar stories about the PizzaGate, using the very same images and claims from a (now banned) subreddit to convince their readers on how serious and deep-rooted the scandal was. Columnists penned articles that the PizzaGate is a part of the globalist conspiracy against Turkey, and one article even remarked that the “Teenage” in pizza-eating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles now makes sense as a pedophilia reference after PizzaGate.
And all of this is very, very popular on Turkish Twitter. A video that claimed to show Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., purportedly delivering children to politicians and business people (which is not true) went viral in Turkey, just like the video of Vice President Biden on the swearing-in ceremony of Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) was re-narrated in Turkey to claim that Biden was abusing Coons’ daughter in public (which, also, is not true).
As always, the question is: How much of this is intentional deception, and how much is the misguided conclusion-hopping of conspiratards anxious to pull the wool over their own eyes?
I don't think that a guy like (say) Ed Opperman -- a private investigator and an alleged socialist who has pushed Pizzagate on his show -- is a deliberate liar. In fact, I've quite enjoyed some of his less-nutty shows, like the one he did on Scientology. However, he seems to be emotionally wedded to the insane idea that everyone worth more than a million bucks wants to rape a child while shouting "Hail Satan!"
Who's the white private dick that's a lie machine to all the cranks? Op!
You're damn right.
Who is the man that lies like hell 'bout the Clinton clan? Op!
Can ya dig it?
Who's the cat who won't make sense
and helped the guy who ran with Pence? Op!
You see, this cat Op is one dumb mother... Shut your mouth
Hey, just talkin' 'bout Op
He's a complicated man
But no one understands him 'cause he's cray-cray. Ed Op.
I'll cackle uproariously when he accuses me of being paid by the Great Clinton Conspiracy to come up with that bit of filking.
For the most part, though, I think that the right-wingers who invented Pizzagate are deliberately engaging in psychowar. They are lying and they know it.
On a related note: I've been trying to get my head around the adversarial relationship between Alex Jones and the growing number of avowed, unrepentant fans of the Third Reich. "Out" Nazis all claim to hate AJ. Yet on some level, they seem to understand that he is kin. AJ has linked up with Milo "post-fact" Yiannopoulos, who is also hated by the acolytes of Adolf, even though most of us feel comfortable classifying Milo himself as, at the very least, a fascist.
It's a little difficult for those on the outside to keep track of who-hates-whom within the far right. This situation reminds me of the old days, when Milton "Bill" Cooper asked his audience of addled UFO dimwits to read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. As soon as the Protocols entered his spiel, most outside observers assumed that Cooper had to be a secret Nazi -- after all, Coop was the guy who claimed that the "evil aliens" who had gained control of the world's banks could be recognized by their big noses. I was a little surprised to learn that actual swastika-bedecked Hitler-heilers hated Cooper. Why? Because despite the obviousness of his coded language, Coop refused to come right out and say "It's the Jews!"
(He may have taken that final step into overt anti-Semitism late in his ill-starred career; I stopped following his antics after a certain point.)
I guess that's the main split within the far, far right: The J-word. Those who state their bigotries plainly resent those who maintain a certain respectability by employing euphemisms. Coop could always claim: Hey, I'm not talking about Jews -- I'm talking about aliens! Jones can always claim: Hey, I'm not talking about Jews -- I'm talking about the Illuminati! The most successful American conspiracists offer up every slice of the Nazi sausage except for that really evil bit at the end.
"I'm thinking of writing a small book about this episode [PizzaGate]"
Yes, please! I would buy that book. I've never stated it, but I've always wanted you (Joseph Cannon, that is), to write a book. In this day and age, and you've read my posts, it would be nice to read a book by someone who isn't 'Hard Right'. That is, to say, someone who isn't a complete fucking lunatic that is so Far Right that they don't feel human to me.
I have the feeling that you would consider me much farther 'Left' than you are, but I'm pretty sure that broken down to brass tax, we are both Keynesians. And THAT, fundamentally, is what matters to me. Keynesianism is dead, to be sure, but the Democratic Party of today is entirely enveloped in the language of identity politics, something that doesn't interest me. Like you, I'm focused on economics and economic polity, not identity polity. I recently told my stepfather, who is an exceptionally Far Right extremist, that I don't play party loyalty or cults of personality, I'm interested in economics and policy, because I believe that's what matters.
Any civilization, ANY CIVILIZATION, is going to be the product of its economic policies. I've supported various third parties (the Socialist Party of the United States of America, the Green Party, the Progressive Citizens Party, which is a local party) and the Democratic Party (primarily in my support for Barack Obama AND Hillary Clinton). In 2008, I voted for Brian Moore, the nominee of the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA). I did this because I was hurt and upset that Hillary Clinton wasn't the nominee. I felt, at the time, that the nomination was stolen from her and that Barack Obama was chosen only because he's black. I actually hated Obama for stealing the nomination, as I saw it. I supported the Green Party during the midterm year (2010), both for ballot access in the Spring and for the Fall midterms.
In 2012, I very begrudgingly voted for Barack Obama in the general election, and Democratic Party down ballot (for every single position). I only voted for Obama because of pressure from my boyfriend at the time, who told me that voting third party was throwing my vote in the trash and stoked fears of a Willard 'Mitt' Romney victory. I still regret caving into such pressure and fear. In the 2014 midterms, I once again supported the Green Party, both for the Primary elections in the Spring and the midterms in the Fall.
This year, and only because of Hillary, I supported the Democratic Party. I voted on the Democratic ballot during the State Primary (for Hillary and every female listed on the ballot), and I voted for Hillary and every Democrat down ballot for the general election. This year was my last attempt to get Hillary elected. It's also the last time I will ever support the Democratic Party. I know Joe Biden said he may run in 2020, but I don't give a single fuck if he does or doesn't. I'm not on board for that or with the Democratic Party. Supposedly, an alternative route is running Cory Booker as "the Second Coming of Obama". Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Cory Booker have been disastrous. The only time they don't look vile is when they are standing next to a Republican.
And so long as Republicans continue to control the flow of information and the narrative, people will continue to buy and put stock into PizzaGate. The PizzaGate pseudo-scandal is far from over, both my mother and her husband believe PizzaGate to be a genuine story. They actually believe that Hillary Clinton was the Madam (or Head Mistress) pimping out soft, feminine underage boys to Washington clientele. Yes, they actually believe such claptrap.
When I've broached the subject, to try and change their minds, they look at me as if I had just come home from fucking a small boy. This is the society and culture that Fox News and Christian fundamentalism has created. We were primed for the rise of American Fascism.
posted by JSL : 11:04 PM
Why do all these conspiratards coalesce around jews? they aren't part of ac conspiracy themselves-they're uncoordinated and mutually hostile so how do they all nudge towards this argument? I woulda liked to hear back from u, pls add a contact field to your 'anonymous' comments. I'll just bookmark for now.
posted by Anonymous : 1:35 AM
Trump again follows in Hitler's footsteps (1938), by becoming Time magazine's Person of the Year (2016). Don't you just love New York?
posted by b : 8:47 AM
"The city getting rich from fake news". It's an interesting article by the BBC. You've got tie city and sock city in China - well here's a fake news city in Macedonia. Pys-ops bullshit on the internet may feel like it's automated, but it still requires a fair amount of labour-power, not all of it highly skilled.
The article is interesting, but toe-curlingly pathetic. Photos yes, interviews yes, but did the question "Who is paying?" even occur to them?
posted by b : 9:00 AM
Please do write a book, Joseph. I'll buy it if it's priced within reason. (Don't go all Judy Wood on me.) It doesn't have to be ponderous. You could just collect your favorite blog posts over the years. You could even model it on "Revolution for the Hell of It" and "Steal This Book". Feature your art. Well worthwhile.
Vox traces the Big Lie to 4chan. Why am I not surprised? 4channers are scum.
Right now the only question is: Did the vile smear-mongers who invented this yarn actually believe in what they were saying, or did they deliberately set out to deceive all of the gullible freaks inhabiting Paranoialand? Although much of the media pretends that Pizzagate originated as a mere rumor which "just grew," I feel confident that this particular example of the Big Lie technique was a deliberate concoction. Only someone who hasn't examined the evidence can argue that Pizzagate arose spontaneously the way Athena sprang from the forehead of Zeus.
In other words, the conspiracy theorists are the conspiracy.
This was not happenstance; it was a deliberate lie. (Although the tweet at the other end of that link was allegedly issued by a Jewish lawyer, it's actually the work of a neo-Nazi.) For another good look at the kind of fascist assholes who lurk behind the big lie of Pizzagate, see here.
In a sense, the real inventor of the Pizzagate Big Lie was Julius Streicher. He died in 1946, yet his spirit lives on. The exact same techniques once used to demonize the Jews are now being used to demonize the Clintons and anyone who supports them -- and no, that's not an overstatement: It's cold, hard, demonstrable fact. (Beware, black leaders: You're next.)
With that, fake news outlets like Your News Wire pushed the story more broadly just days before Election Day. One of the stories even claimed, “IT’S OVER: NYPD Just Raided Hillary’s Property! What They Found Will RUIN HER LIFE.” New York police officers did not raid Clinton’s property, but the story quickly got more than 100,000 engagements — shares, reactions, and comments — on Facebook, and it was quickly plagiarized by multiple fake news outlets to get hundreds of thousands more engagements on social media.
The nonsense just kept building and building, with fake news outlets running more and more false details about this false conspiracy theory — typically alleging that police, particularly the NYPD and FBI, had uncovered even more evidence of this international child abuse ring, even though no such thing had happened.
As all of this spread, pro-Trump supporters went back to the Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks to find more “clues” for Pizzagate and other conspiracy theories. Without any evidence or cause, they quickly began to interpret basic food items as code words for this supposed sex ring. Through this new ridiculous “discovery,” Trump supporters on social media linked even more emails to Pizzagate, which grew from a conspiracy theory about a DC pizzeria to one about a fictitious international child sex ring.
The evil involved here is truly infernal. These cancerous fake-news fiends deliberately whipped up false, hysterical accusations against anyone close to, or tangentially involved with, the Clintons. For the "crime" of supporting Hillary, innocent parties will now be stigmatized as child abusers.
UPDATE: General Michael Flynn seems to be linked to the smarm-merchants promoting this smear. See here and then head here.
Infowars reporter Joe Biggs will join social commentator Milo Yiannopoulos to tell Californians the truth about feminism and “social justice warriors.”
"The truth"? Good Christ, Milo has admitted that he does not even believe in truth! He likes the idea of a post-fact era. And yet half of the country has decided to get their "truth" from the likes of Joe Biggs and Milo.
The Alex Jones/Joe Biggs/Milo Yiannopoloulos linkage offers us a hard connection between Alex Jonesism and Julius Streicherism. (Added note: Look at the photo at the beginning of this article. If Alex Jones shaved his head and grew a bad mustache, he'd bear a surprisingly close resemblance to Streicher.)
Pizzagate once again demonstrates the general principle that I have outlined so many times before: Yes, some conspiracies are real -- and the right-wing conspiracy theorists are the conspirators. Whenever people debate the question "Should we believe in conspiracy theories?" they miss the point. Framing the question in that fashion is an over-simplification designed to distract us from the real lesson to take away from mystifications like Pizzagate...
Yes, some conspiracies are real -- and the right-wing conspiracy theorists are the conspirators.
That was the lesson we all should have drawn from the rise of the Nazis, who came to power by spreading rumors of fake conspiracies while engaging in real-world practices that can only be described as conspiratorial.
There is another principle to be gleaned from all of this: Human credulity can carry a degree of culpability.
Every one of us is susceptible to being fooled; fallibility is an inevitable part of the human condition. I freely admit that I have made many, many errors over the twelve-plus years of this blog's existence. But there comes a point when the mark must take responsibility for being a sucker. As I said in an earlier post: Some forms of stupidity are so stupid as to constitute a sin.
The monsters who constructed the Pizzagate lie and the dullards who bought into the Pizzagate lie are, in a sense, co-conspirators -- equally guilty, equally to be despised.
Alan Moore once wrote a story in which we learn that Cain and Abel both suffer eternal punishment: Cain is condemned for being the first murderer, and Abel for being the first victim. I think that there's a lava pool in Hell reserved for both the fake news creators and the fake news audience.
Trump's Generals. A long-time friend to this blog sends us an important link which had previously escaped my attention.
We find ourselves in times that not only try men's souls, they test a person's ability to maintain one's composure, master one's fear, and to retain a reasonable degree of active decency, not to mention keep from regularly throwing up. I don't know if there's any validity to the idea of reincarnation, but right now it sure feels to me as though I'm being hammered and annealed in the forge of the universe.
And this is just openers. Things may well get worse...much worse.
I came across this news-story which gave me goose-flesh: "Is Trump Hiring Too Many Generals?"
My immediate interpretation was fairly paranoid compared with that of the article's author. Could The Donald be systematically assembling a strike-force of ultra-right wing generals in preparation for some sort of "trumped-up" justification for suspension of constitutional order and a martial take-over?
Of course I'm not saying that's what's really in the works. But it strikes me as a contingency that unfortunately is not all that far-fetched, given the realities of the times we live in.
From the Politico story at the other end of that link:
But people with experience in the national security realm, whether in the executive branch or on Capitol Hill, say the glint of all those stars on the uniforms could be blinding Trump to the drawbacks of relying too heavily on ex-military brass to fill his top posts, including weakening the constitutional principle of civilian control of the government. At least four retired generals may be in the mix for prominent roles in the administration.
In addition, they warn, Trump’s administration could wind up seeing too much of its foreign and defense policy through a military lens, disregarding diplomacy and other levers of national power. And that could be particularly dangerous in an administration with a president who has no policy experience.
1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis: All of JFK's military advisers were telling him to invade. In fact, they insisted. They did not know that there were tactical nuclear weapons on the island, and that the authority to use those weapons was given to the local commanders, who needed no permission from Moscow. If JFK had sent in an invasion fleet, nukes would have flown -- and the result, inevitably, would have been World War III.
I give you that taste of the past in order to give you a taste of your future.
And that takes us right back to the George Carlin video with which we began. It's not getting any better, folks. It's only going to get worse.
Off Topic rant here, but I don't understand why the younger generation of "liberals" and Democrats malign JFK. I think he's been highly underrated, and I agree that he, Khrushchev and other Russian and American players averted nuclear war in 1962. And that's one of the reasons he was murdered. However, I think the seeds that were sown in 1963 have resulted in what we're seeing today.
That is NOT off-topic, Kathleen. It's very much to the point.
I've been incensed for years at the way liberal hipsters have fallen for the conservative lies about JFK. For example: Many young ninnies feel positive that Kennedy killed Marilyn, even though the evidence in favor of that proposition is non-existent, and even though that theory traces back to people like J. Edgar Hoover, Sam Yorty, and Jim Angleton.
I still consider Clinton the greatest of our post-war presidents. JFK had an easier time of it since he took over while the post-war Keynesian consensus held sway, and he did not inherit a massive deficit; moreover, the media landscape was far more even-handed in 1961 than it was in 1993.
That said, I now fear that talking about JFK's assassination may constitute playing the Trumpian game. Assassination research has been taken out of the hands of scholars and liberals (where it belongs). The game has been commandeered by the likes of Roger Stone and Alex Jones, neither of whom has ever made a genuine contribution to assassination research.
The "revisionists" started the war on the Kennedys in the 1980s. This was part and parcel of what the right was doing to this country as a whole, trying to con us into thinking our icons, who were Democrats, were made of feet of clay, while pumping up GOP politicians including presidents, no matter how mediocre (Hoover comes to mind when it comes to revisionism). These revisionists were trying to make it look like the Kennedys were all a big lie, that the grief we who were alive during the sixties and can remember them was all for a big fraud. It was all politically motivated.
"The nonsense just kept building and building, with fake news outlets running more and more false details about this false conspiracy theory — typically alleging that police, particularly the NYPD and FBI, had uncovered even more evidence of this international child abuse ring, even though no such thing had happened." - Politico
I spent 4 hours going through the Pizzagate material. I NEVER came across this claim. And this paragraph is as close as the Politico piece you praise comes to attempting to refute an actual claim. They attack a claim I didn't even come across in my own research! Politico is full of "false by association" type arguments, as is your blog post.
I suspect Pizzagate is likely false, but the key points have not been refuted. Politico failed to address the actual claims. So did you. Attacking the character of the people associated with spreading the story does not refute the claims.
posted by Anonymous : 11:30 PM
Speaking of revisionism of the 1960ies, this is an ongoing project in all mediums. Next month, James Harvie Wilkinson III will have his own revisionist book put out. It's titled 'All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s' and it's revisionist tripe. It's a tome that seeks to condemn the revolutionary fervor of the 1960ies, praises 'God' (Wilkinson's God, that is, not mine) that the attempts at change failed, and asks each of us to accept our masters and to go to sleep, because it's the "moral and righteous" thing to do.
Not only is James Wilkinson a fascist, his God is too. I'm so sick and tired of these revisionists putting out books on a constant basis. There's no pause in the propaganda publishing schedule.
I have to suffer the existence of a revisionist book like The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved. Which is just the first of two books which posit that Medved's God (presumably the same interdimensional fascist as Wilkinson's God) divinely established the United States of America, and that it's Constitution is holy writ and divinely inspired or authorized by the spirit of God (Yhwh).
Roman Catholics are buying into this crap too, since many of them are on the Trump Train. From what my mother has said, and she supports Trump, the Catholics support Trump primarily because of the abortion issue. The American Catholics, like all other types of Americans, suffer from amnesia. Catholics should remember that Americanism is a fucking heresy, but few or none seem to remember that it was classified as a heresy. It's not politically convenient to remember that.
Americanism is a fucking creepy religion, this weird marriage of Americentrism with Christian Dominionism, a hybrid of civil religion with fundamentalist Christianity. This is Trump's platform, his winning strategy.
posted by JSL : 11:51 PM
Go to hell, Anon. You're simply trying to sneak Pizzagate in through the back door. I was quite aware of that spurious "NYPD" claim on the day it was made. In fact, I mentioned it myself on November 6.
Thank you Joseph. This article includes info about these Generals. http://visupview.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-return-of-asc-part-i.html The Return of the American Security Council Network
posted by Anonymous : 4:05 AM
I am disappointed, Joseph. I had hoped that with your vast knowledge of the rise of fascism in the thirties you would have some tips on surviving the coming police state. Being a grandmother I dare not give in to insouciance or despair -- but the latter is winning.
Your favoring of Bil Clinton's presidency calls to mind Churchill's favoring of democracy as a form of government.
Trump and the generals: He was re-socialized at a military prep school. Maybe he's enthralled by such absolute power. Maybe he's still bitter and wants to boss them. Maybe he wants to be able to say "You're fired."
From what I can tell, he gets his information from two sources. One is from pop sound bites and the other is on the golf course, where he has met with very, very bad people, as he has said.
posted by Amelie D'bunquerre : 12:25 PM
Thanks for this focus on the fake news (and the audience!).
Also, JSL, thanks for that info. I have not heard the Dominionists mentioned in a while. I wondered why that threat had not been forefront in the election.
posted by prowlerzee : 12:41 PM
@OTE Admin @Joseph You both nailed it. I had the sense that the revisionism and focus on his affairs were designed to distract us from the truth about his assassination. "Nothing to see here, kids. Just a rich guy screwing around. Keep moving". I think the best book on this topic is JFK and The Unspeakable by James W. Douglass. Here's a brief quote from the Preface: "On our behalf, at the height of the Cold War, John F. Kennedy risked committing the greatest crime in history, starting a nuclear war. Before we knew it, he turned toward peace with the enemy who almost committed that crime with him. For turning to peace with his enemy (and ours), Kennedy was murdered by a power we cannot easily describe. I hope that, by following the story of JFK's encounter with the unspeakable, we will be willing to encounter it, too".
Completely off topic but... http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/12/6/1606610/-With-Biden-in-the-chair-on-Jan-3-the-Senate-can-confirm-a-renominated-Merrick-Garland-Here-s-how Republicans have been playing these games for eight years. Maybe it's time for us to join in and actually save our country. Anon347
posted by Anonymous : 6:27 PM
Jared Kushner is calling for the FBI to crack down on anti-Trump protesters.
posted by gavan : 7:50 PM
"Attacking the character of the people associated with spreading the story does not refute the claims". Ha ha, anon, 11.30pm! Some people you can't fucking sealion, OK?
Great stuff, Joe!
I am convinced that the best strategy is to provoke Trump, on our terms. The guy has a weakness. That's where we should be attacking.
Can anyone reading this who hasn't read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals please do so.
When you're fighting Power, always personalise.
I understand so much more now than I did 30 years ago.
Fascism wasn't stopped in 1936 in Spain, although hundreds of thousands died in the attempt. It wasn't stopped in Germany, Italy or Portugal either. Optimism of the will!
Yes, b. Attacking Trump's character or dismissing him rudely will demonstrate his warped psychology.
We all deal with others in a private way. We speak to them with words that have particular meaning to us to obtain benefits that we never fully reveal and we have greater or lesser levels of indifference to the well-being of those people. To that extent we are all mild narcissists. The problem with most people is that they simply have no experience of the scale of these distortions in a severe narcissist like Trump and they would be shocked to their core to see his real self on display. His sincerity is an act to get people on side. Words to him are just tradeable tokens with a half life of ten seconds. Over the years he has learned that by peddling them, grandly and insistently, he will elicit submissive cooperation and fawning behavior from his listeners. He relies on this. By refusing to go along with this script, by cursorily dismissing his views, publicly trashing his personality, interrupting him, and walking away from him, the public will induce either blubbering weakness or towering rage. He can't handle rejection at all. So give it to him in spades. The public has a right to know the real Donald.
b, you understood Trump by reading Saul Alinsky. I understood Trump because I worked for a severe narcissist for four nightmare years. When I saw Trump I recognized him immediately. The public is still coming around.
Observers in some counties have found no issues at all, while others have reported concerns and suspicious incidents. But one recount observer Waukesha County is now making the flat out accusation that county officials are purposely double counting Donald Trump’s votes and pulling other shenanigans during the recount.
The accusation comes from recount observer John West, who has been documenting his experiences on his own publicly visible Facebook page. On Sunday evening he flatly declared that “I’m calling out fraud.” West went on to make the following specific accusations: “Waukesha County Wisconsin is obstructing the recount blatantly. Making up rules to shut out allowed observers. Double counting Republican ballots. Taking machines out and returning machines that break down after midnight hoping to avoid any observers.”
In the comments section of his own post, linked above, he went on to elaborate that “They aren’t invalidating clear duplicate and unsigned ballots that were mailed in,” thus explaining how the double-counting is taking place.
The post was later taken down; no-one seems to know why.
There's more hugger-mugger in the same county. Jill Stein says that officials are intentionally hiding the ballots:
While most counties are conducting their recounts in clear and transparent fashion, we have gotten reports of observers not being allowed near the recount tables or not being allowed to view the ballots. For instance, in Waukesha County, officials are entering the ballots in to the machine face down. Remember, we have a legal right to see the ballots.
I see no reason why every aspect of this process should not be open to the public. Of course, I also see no reason why machines should play any role in the recount. And yet Waukesha refuses to do a hand recount, even though most WI counties are taking the manual approach.
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who has been under fire for past election snafus, is at the center of attention again because new procedures in tallying votes resulted in lengthy delays in getting election results Tuesday.
Nickolaus, who garnered national attention last April when her office made a mistake that flipped the outcome of a hotly contested state Supreme Court race, said she introduced new procedures Tuesday to follow guidelines set forth by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state.
As a result, some elections results were not posted on the county’s website until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Former Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus has been appointed to a three-year term as the clerk-treasurer for the Town of Waukesha, the Freeman reports.
The town had two clerk-treasurers resign in close succession. The Town Board met in closed session Thursday night to appoint Nickolaus, according to the Freeman.
Nickolaus came under fire in 2011 when she reported that she had failed to count City of Brookfield results, resulting in a statewide recount of the Supreme Court race that ultimately found Justice David Prosser defeated challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.
A year later reporting problems plagued election night tallies in April 2012.
I'm not saying that she is corrupt. All I'm saying is that she seems to be the right person in the right place, and that strange things seem to happen whenever she's around.
I'm betting on an NRA / Russia connection that Did NOT involve hacking, but rather simply volunteering on election day at voting locations as volunteers. it would take less than 1% of NRA members to have turned the election via vote fraud in small, out of the way precincts. The NRA PAC raised 31 million dollars to defeat Hillary Clinton.
Apologies if I read it here in comments, but I think this has not been mentioned on this site. If it has been mentioned already, it is still timely to revisit it.
Back in the primary season, Roger Stone said Preibus and Walker had perfected an election fraud method that they used, he said, four or five times, including to win the recall special election.
The Hill reported it, citing it from somewhere else, iirc. Of course, Stone's intent at the time was to explain DFT's large loss there.
posted by Anonymous : 12:56 PM
Clinton would probably have done better in Wisconsin had she bothered to campaign in the state - even once - which she did not. Neither did any of her surrogates. I don't think it's necessary to postulate any sort of vote-rigging conspiracy to account for a defeat that is so easily explained by arrogance, neglect and indifference.
posted by Propertius : 6:31 PM
U.S. 2016 Unadjusted Exit Poll Discrepancies Fit Chronic Republican Vote-Count Rigging, not Random Statistical Patterns
If they're in it for the money, where's the money?
I have a basic question about those fake news sites we've been hearing about.
Before we get to it, let's clarify a point raised earlier. A few posts down, I linked to this NPR piece about a fake news entrepreneur named Jestin Coler -- apparently a real name, although there's all sorts of puns in there. The important thing to know about his main fake news site, National Report, is that it is genuinely funny. Headlines such as this one...
Trump to Limit All Intelligence Briefings to 140-Characters
...are obviously satirical. And yet right-wingers really have taken some of these stories seriously, such as the one about the decision to impose sharia law in Dearborn, MI.
So I don't think that Coler inhabits a morally iffy area. The same cannot be said of the rightists who could not spot the obvious signs of satire. Some stupidity is so stupid that it should be considered a sin.
Coler's operation apparently makes $10,000-to-$30,000 a month, according to afore-linked NPR story. And that brings me to my main question: HOW?
How the hell does anyone make that kind of money on the internet selling mere words?
I've read elsewhere that the big money-maker for people like Coler is Google Adsense. I've been using Adsense for many years, as a favor to Google for making Blogger possible. It makes a ridiculously small amount of money -- so little, in fact, that I never bothered to give Google my current address. They keep it all.
Some people tell you that Adsense will make $6.00 per 1000 visits. Bullshit. For me, it's less than six CENTS per thousand. (I'm not supposed to discuss the money, according to the terms of service. But since I don't even receive the $100 check that Google sends every few years, screw the terms of service.)
So how do the fake newsers make money?
Hell, how does ANYONE make money on the internet? I still don't know.
I have no idea how people make money on YouTube, where (I am given to understand) a monetized video will fetch its creator perhaps a thousand bucks for a million views. YouTube has invented the first form of entertainment in which the entertainer receives such a tiny reward for entertaining a million people. By way of comparison: Each episode of Elementary is seen by about 5.5 million people, and I suspect that the budget for each episode is a bit more than $5500.
The problem is the same as it has always been since the early days of the internet: Ad value is determined by click-throughs -- by interactivity. On the internet, it's not enough simply to inform the audience that a product or service exists. The content creator gets paid only if the audience member is interested in interrupting his-or-her web-surfing trance in order to buy (or learn more about) that particular product at that particular moment.
On TV, ads are considered valuable simply because they place the product's name in front of eyeballs. TV ads cost a lot of money even if people have no interest in the thing advertised. If television had to operate according to internet rules, the enormously expensive programming we take for granted simply would not exist. Jim Parsons would consider himself lucky to be paid $300 an episode.
That Quora link has people there lying through their teeth about how much money you can make through AdSense. I was on BlogHer for nearly 8 years before it dropped my contract when it changed ownership, and I made between $50-$100 a YEAR. The operators didn't have the $100 threshold but instead a $20-$25 dollar one, which made it easier to get paid.
I have had only one check from Google in all of the years I ran ads for them.
The truth is blogs are not money makers for an itty-bitty number of people who either got into blogging in around 2002 like Kos and Duncan Black (Eschaton) did or they are people who were already established writers. This is true for freelance writing in general unless you are an established writer with an agent. Only staff writers or technical writers can get any kind of stable income to rely on.
Read this article please. It relates to terrorism caused by right-wing conspiracies, specifically #PizzaGate. You need to focus in on this story and let people know everything you said about right-wing conspiracy theories is true. The part at the end, about what the owner and employees have gone through, threats from people who rely on InfoWars, Breitbart and the like, it's so sad.
JSL, I was going to write about the Pizzagate insanity, but decided to devote a post to the Wisconsin recount insanity instead, if only because the stories to which I linked have not received sufficient attention.
But yeah, this is a terribly important development. You should see how the story is being covered on the right wing sites like Gateway Pundit. "FALSE FLAG!" -- natch.
I'm guessing that if Trump had won the popular vote and Clinton the electoral vote, rather than the reverse, support for the EC would remain at roughly the previous level. The knuckle-walkers of the Great White Booboisie have retained enough brains to realize that the EC enhances the power of their votes, at the expense of those decadent heathen libtards, and those uppity N-people and other minorities.
Since i'm the resident Troll here i suppose i'll comment first. The current system was put in by the founding fathers to give small states some modicum of power.
2nd. Although Clinton is ahead at least by 2.5 million votes at this time she is AHEAD of TRump by 3.3 million in California
so conversly he is ahead of her by 800,000 votes in the other 49 states.
so given the choice of control by the electoral college or control by California i'll stick with the electoral college
posted by gerry : 9:25 AM
Several states have entered a compact to split their electoral votes as soon as fifteen states sign up for it, most notably New York. So that's a step in the right direction. If only some states do it then it can't work, but it's the best option regarding the EC. Doesn't need an amendment, you know. Makes it worth voting in safer states. I don't think Clinton has comeout aganist the EC, has she?
Weren't you going to do a humourous post regarding the Podesta affair (now PIzzagate)? Given the connection to Correct the Record and Media Matters it may be regarded by some as a fordward defensive by the fake news purveyors. I'm more open to Pizzagate, but I need an actual victim before I become a Pizza Truther.
You would Gerry! Would you also prefer to give up California as a contributing State to the overall economy of the US? How about excluding California residents from the military? Why don't we re-calculate our GDP, federal tax budget, imports, exports without California? How about we distribute wealth and subsidies(pork) accordingly? Why don't we make Red States explain why they can't manage to move with global economic trends, climate science, changing social trends, to recognize Fascism when it's staring them in the face, to READ anything other than FAKE news? How about making Red States come up with one reason to elect an asshole that defies every Christian litmus test ever applied to every other candidate? Why should I pay for the stupidity of Red States? Gerry, your hands may fall off after four years of this ass hole, because hand ringing is hazardous after a while. I give Pence six months. M
posted by Anonymous : 6:09 PM
anonymous-you won't believe this but i was born and raised and have lived my entire life in Massachusetts-i am 65 years old
posted by gerry : 7:38 PM
Oh, good LORD. Looks like our resident troll lost out being "first" to our resident Looney Tune, Woody. And then was schooled by the same. Woodpecker, dude. If the troll amuses Joseph, there must be a salient reason. We all must coexist in such case.
A-hem. Again, Woodpecker. Tree-grubbing bird. Besides slinking back without abjectly apologizing to Joseph, did you at least eat some private crow? Or would that be too akin to cannibalism? Your beatific performance of "blessing" us all via your Sky Buddy, the toxic patriarchal cult Creep (aka "god" by the entranced) as you bid your "final" adieu is something I only wish I could forget.
As a counterpoint as to how the unentranced humans work, I was fully prepared to eat (or imbibe) crow, had I been wrong about the mass media's influencing and broadcasting the victory of their narrative "hero" Trump. I bought Old Crow. I was good either way. You, sir, have some explaining to do, after harassing Joseph for being right all along.
Stephen: interesting. I want to know more.
posted by prowlerzee : 9:49 PM
zee, I haven't had a troll for a while. Maybe I was wrong to scare off the old trolls. I have a sick dog who wakes me up every 90 minutes because he needs to relieve himself constantly. If I can deal with that, I can deal with a troll -- in fact, the two things are quite similar.
Haha, I completely hear you, Joseph! My dog is not sick but overtly unhappy we do not currently have an operational back door.
The troll (and unapologetic Looney Tunes character) do not please me, but given the world situation are tolerable as ballast.
posted by prowlerzee : 11:12 PM
Actually, the Looney Tunes work for Warner Brothers. My showbiz cousin Woody works for Universal.
Mr. Cannon, if I wronged you, I apologize.
The main reason I goofed is that I underestimated the importance of the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. If that had happened in 2005 instead of 2013, we'd be discussing the winding down of the McCain presidency. If it had happened in 2009, we'd be discussing the upcoming second term of Romney.
I must express admiration for Prowlerzee's stamina--that ze can hold a grudge for all this time. ;)
Right-wing conspiracy theory: The most dangerous substance on earth
Despite the hilarious efforts of the Trumpers to defend Il Duce's claim that millions voted illegally for Hillary Clinton, there have been only three (Brad Friedman says four) confirmed cases of voter impersonation in 2016, at least so far. Guess what? Those three were TRUMP SUPPORTERS.
Fake news watch: Heather Digby Parton has the best brief summary about the fake news explosion that did so much to elect Donald Trump.
This is just the latest story over the past couple of weeks involving the issue of “fake news” and its effect on this last election. It has been revealed that Facebook, one of the most important news purveyors in the world with 44 percent of Americans saying they get news from the site, was responsible for a vast number of false stories being pumped out to millions of people, most of them helpful to Trump.
Earlier this year Facebook had been hit with accusations of suppressing conservative stories, so the company eliminated human news curators and replaced them with a new algorithm that, well, ended up providing more conservative stories. Most of them were fake, many of them focused on lurid pseudo-scandals about Hillary Clinton.
On Reddit, a Clinton fake scandal called #Pizzagate continues to rage. It is entirely false, yet the site’s Trump-supporting users are up in arms over Reddit’s decision to ban the board that had fueled the conspiracy theory, involving accusations that Clinton had been running a pedophile ring out of the back of a pizza parlor. Reddit would not have banned it if its users hadn’t been publishing the private information of innocent people and accusing them of pedophilia.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, The Washington Post unveiled a big story about Russian involvement in disseminating fake news. Other news outlets have tracked down fake news purveyors as well, including individual entrepreneurial types as close as California and as far flung as Macedonia and the nation of Georgia, where the perpetrators coincidentally found that fake news benefiting Donald Trump could be very lucrative on the internet. The Post article has been challenged for its reliance on a questionable group that claims to be tracking fake news sites that aren’t actually fake news sites. (And there’s good reason to suspect that much of the spike in fake news traffic came from good old Matt Drudge, a phenomenon that I wrote about months ago.)
The Intercept published a fascinating account of fake news being created by Floyd Brown (a famous associate of Trump intimates Kellyanne Conway and David Bossie and the founder of the right-wing “oppo” group Citizens United, which drove Whitewater coverage in the 1990s). It’s not surprising that the man who created the Willie Horton ad would be involved in an enterprise like this. The article also tracks fake news stories circulated by the site Lifezette of possible Trump administration hire Laura Ingraham and far right institutions like World Net Daily.
A while back, I posted a piece which argued that some left-wing conspiracy theories were on the mark (or at least headed in the right direction) but all right-wing conspiracy theories were bullshit. An angry reader blared that I was woefully ignorant of Pizzagate. He was right: All I knew about it was that it had something to do with child abuse allegations.
Now that I know more. Good Lord. What can I say? Every week, it seems, one encounters a new contender for the title of Stupidest Conspiracy Theory of All Time. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Right-wing conspiracy theories are junk. I don't mean "junk" as in "trash" -- I mean "junk" as in heroin.
Right-wing CT is an addictive substance, the deadliest yet devised. You think that's an overstatement? Look up Auschwitz on Google Earth. I can't consider the addicts to be anything other than subhuman garbage until they pull the goddamned needles out of their arms.
Coler is a soft-spoken 40-year-old with a wife and two kids. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right.
"The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction," Coler says.
He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for NationalReport.net about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.
"What that turned into was a state representative in the House in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from using their food stamps to buy marijuana based on something that had just never happened," Coler says.
During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. "It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they're about to get served," Coler says. "It caused an explosion in the number of sites. I mean, my gosh, the number of just fake accounts on Facebook exploded during the Trump election."
Here's the part I love best:
Coler says his writers have tried to write fake news for liberals — but they just never take the bait.
I can verify. The most popular thing I've ever written -- by far -- was this post published on April 1, 2006. Even today, and I mean this very day, that post will receive more than two hundred viewings; all of the incoming links come from right-wing conspiracy theorists. If I had written something of that sort every day for ten years, and if I had found a way to monetize the "hits" (as Coler did), I would now be a wealthy man. Lefties simply don't fall for that sort of thing -- at least not in such numbers, and not for any length of time.
Guys like me are routinely accused of acting in a "condescending" fashion toward those poor, beleaguered red-staters who can't understand why they lost those good-paying factory jobs. Guilty as charged. You know why I'm condescending? Because red-staters and Trumpers just plain fucking deserve it. They really are inferior. They will always blame the wrong parties for the loss of their middle-class status -- and they will never understand that the only time in history when they had good jobs was when both parties hewed to the mantra "We're all Keynesians now." (Those were Nixon's words, uttered just when the assault on Keynesianism began in earnest.)
As long as you Trumpers continue to revile Keynesianism and to defend Milton Friedmanism -- as long as you continue to act like turkeys voting for Thanksgiving -- I will continue to treat you as my inferiors. Because that's precisely what you are.
Nobody called for an investigation into whether or not NRA members volunteered for the voting stations on November 8th, 2016. Statistical odds are that one out of every two voting stations would have an NRA member just based on the sheer size of the NRA at five million members. Then factor in that the NRA had a 31 million dollar pro Trump PAC and one has to ask, could they have generated either additional votes for Trump or simply thrown out votes for Hillary Clinton. If one NRA member is statistically to be found for every two voting stations, then if a concerted effort was made to get NRA members to volunteer at voting stations, that number could easily double or triple. Recounts are silly because all they do is recount the existing votes without forensically comparing ballot totals to signature totals in the signature book that each voter signs. Nor has anyone asked to check to see if signatures may have been forged. Once a ballot has been forged, it becomes a legitimate ballot once it is counted. The present method of recounting simply generates more and more temptation to infiltrate and cheat at the ballot box.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation into Russia's hacking say the US intelligence community is increasingly confident that Russian meddling in the US election was intended to steer the election toward Trump, rather than simply to undermine or in other ways disrupt the political process. The sources say there is some new information but would not specify due to the classified nature of the intelligence.
The call to release the information came in a short letter to the president released by seven Democratic senators that said "there is additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election" and called for the details to be declassified and released to the public. The public letter was signed by all the Democrats on the Senate intelligence community except the ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein did sign the second, classified message sent conveying more information about the request.
Sen. Angus King of Maine said he supports declassifying information on Russian attempts to intervene in November’s presidential election, not to revisit the outcome but to shed light on a “national security issue of the gravest consequence.”
“This is an arrow aimed at the heart of democracy by a foreign government and I think we need to take it very seriously,” King said Thursday in an interview.
The senators’ letter to Obama was as succinct as it was unusual.
“We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public. We are conveying specifics through classified channels. Thank you for your attention to this important matter,” reads the text of the three-sentence letter.
A team of Trump attorneys filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania late Thursday requesting a dismissal of Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s recount effort, arguing that she lacks a valid claim and merely “alleges speculative illegality.”
On Friday morning, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a lawsuit to stop the recount there, a move that came hours after Trump attorneys had filed a complaint to block the proceedings.
And soon after, a pro-Trump super PAC filed suit in Wisconsin, insisting Stein’s recount push could “unjustifiably cast doubt upon the legitimacy of President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s victory.”
That's quite correct, if by "unjustifiably" the PAC means "justifiably." After all, there can be no shadow on the legitimacy of the election unless the recount/audit effort finds actual evidence. So what are the Trumpers afraid of? (And yes, I'd say the exact same thing if the party positions were reversed. Principle before party.)
The Trumper response reminds me of what the cop said in L.A. Confidential: "You've got a big guilty sign around your neck."
Some Trump supporters have said that the recount is a waste of taxpayer dollars. How can this be so, if the money is coming from individual donations? Both Republicans and Democrats have intimated that Stein is engaging in a money-making scheme. Balderdash. The money is going to the recounts! And the price increases certainly are not the fault of Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton or any other recount supporter. The state of Wisconsin has suddenly jacked up the amount of money that they're asking for to $3.5 million (up from around $1 million). Don't blame Stein: Blame Wisconsin.
As all fans of Life of Brian know, Jesus did not say "Blessed are the cheesemakers." If Wisconsin keeps raising the price of democracy, he'll probably be very cross with those cheesemakers.
The best source of election integrity news is, as always, BradBlog:
Over the past 24 hours, Donald Trump or his surrogates have filed multiple legal complaints in three different states in an effort to stop the "recounts" (hand-counts, machine counts and/or forensic analyses of computerized voting and tabulation systems) as lawfully sought by Green Party Presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein. As the Stein camp noted today, the sudden interest by Team Trump comes as Trump's margin over Hillary Clinton has dropped from about almost 70,000 votes to about 46,000 votes (out of some 6 million tallied) as PA counties finally complete their initial tallies. The Stein camp notes today: "With his margin of victory in the state nearly halved as of last night, and now within 0.2% of triggering an automatic statewide recount, Donald Trump is desperately fighting to stop the recount in Pennsylvania." His attorneys filed a suit [PDF] late Thursday to dismiss her filings in the Keystone State.
He is also attempting, somewhat successfully, to stop hand-counting from moving forward in MI, where he reportedly leads Clinton by just over 10,000 votes out of about 5 million tallied, including more than 75,000 ballots with no vote reported for President at all, many of those cast in or near Detroit. That figure, Stein charges, "is double the number [of undervotes] from 2012."
In Wisconsin, pro-Trump outfits calling themselves the Great America PAC and the Stop Hillary PAC filed a complaint [PDF] in federal court to immediately stop the counting of ballots, which is now in its second day in the Badger State. That complaint, citing Bush v. Gore from 2000, argues that counting ballots violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and "may cast an unjustified pall over the election of President-Elect Trump, undermining public confidence in the integrity of the electoral process." Sounds familiar, ironic and, yes, hypocritical.
Remember, the "Brooks Brothers riot" in 2000 was largely the work of Trump's best friend, Roger Stone. (Which is ironic, since Stone would never wear Brooks Brothers.)
And now please scroll down to read Dave Morris' piece. It's damned good.
Why? Never tell anyone outside the family what you think. After two terms, Obama can trust his sources because they can trust him. It's good to be Commander-In-Chief.
The recounts are essentially trivial matters to him, but they might be cited when the time comes. First, the Electoral College has to meet and cast votes. Second, the new Congress has to be sworn. Third, Obama has to decide if he'll allow a new president (you know who) to take the oath.
We have to wonder if martial law would serve the United States better under Obama or under Trump. I will not be upset watching Obama on TV explaining the new rules of order and providing his legal brief for the extraordinary action. As a footnote, I suppose that Hillary had access in 1973 (while she served the House Committee during its impeachment proceedings) to the Nixon White House contingency plans (from VP Agnew's staff) to cancel the 1972 election, suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, and round up enemies. It's also likely that she, for one, had read the secret Lewis Powell Memo that circulated and established the momentum for what became the far-right success story.
Congress will not be able to meet, the Supreme Court is still 4-4 and three Justices are women.
I predict that Chief Justice Roberts will administer the oath of office to Trump in a tweet and trump will take the oath in a tweet.
posted by Amelie D'bunquerre : 11:46 PM
No less than Roger Stone, himself, (and he should know!) has been quoted in The Hill as saying Scott Walker and Reince Priebus know how to rig an election, and in fact have done so five times in Wisconsin. http://www.wpr.org/former-trump-advisor-scott-walker-has-rigged-5-elections
posted by Anonymous : 2:05 AM
In an ideal world, Tim Kaine would now officially respond to team Trump's court filings. As VP candidate with a chance to win if the results are overturned, this would destroy their major argument while perhaps sparing Hillary from the full force of Trump's vindictiveness if (as is likely) the whole thing still goes south.
Dream on, David.....
posted by David Jay Morris : 2:45 AM
If a volunteer grabs a hundred ballots and fills them out prior to the voting stations opening, or simply does the voting where no one will see them, those votes will look normal during a recount. What won't look normal is if the signature book each voter signs has 300 total signatures but that voting station delivered 400 votes, which apparently happened in 3 or 4 precincts in Wisconsin.
Also, what if 100 Clinton votes were replaced with 100 manufacture Trump votes so the totals match the signatures in the book? I presume the unused ballots are returned and counted to make sure that all ballots are accounted for.
Simply recounting ballots is very, very dumb if no other investigation is simultaneously going on.
I would like to know if NRA members were permitted within one hundred feet of a voting station other than to vote once and then leave. The NRA makes up 5% of all Trump voters and since the NRA had the largest anti Clinton PAC they should not have been allowed to volunteer at any voting station. Of course the FBI is on this to the degree that OJ Simpson was searching for his murdered estranged wife's killers.
I have come around to all legal recounts being done.
Wisconsin AND Michigan should have full recounts because it is within the rules for both.
There will be end to this uprest unless they do them.
Pennsylvania will only get a full recount if the margin gets down to .5-where it seems it is headed. Otherwise they should follow their laws with a partial.
Trump should get out of the way. Not allowing recounts in wisconsin and Michigan will just delegitimize his Presidency.
If Pennsylvania gets to .5 he should get out of the way for that
posted by gerry : 8:22 AM
also -in wisconsin nearly 60 percent of Trump winning counties are doing hand recounts.
some others are using combinations.
the big urban areas that were heavy Clinton are doing machine recounts.
Also on a daily basis Wisconsin is posting spreadsheets on the counts that are done.
these are excel sheets i cannot access though. However they are telling you if any candidate picks up or loses 10 or more seperatly.
so far after 2 days mostly one's or 2's or no changes. No big changes yet
posted by gerry : 8:35 AM
anonymous-the broken seals have been shown to be the original warranty seals from when the machines were bought. these machines are very old and most manufacturers no longer exist.
I'm sure most of them have had warranty seals broken and repairs done on these machines over the years
posted by gerry : 1:26 PM
I saw an interesting tweet from a NYT "reporter" that said something to the effect that as the election drew closer Trump had been advised to focus campaign efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin. The NYT "reporter" wondered why that advice was given and who was behind it. Well, NYT "reporter", if you all hadn't been so obsessed with all Hillary emails all the time someone may have investigated that.
How did fascism (or something perilously close to it) come to America? The quick answer is here. A Trump surrogate has come right out and said: "There's no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts." Context does not change the meaning of that sentiment; check it out for yourself.
But you want a more detailed answer, don't you? Cannonfire reader David Jay Morris, a former news editor, has written a remarkable essay on the rise of Trumpism, and he has graciously offered it to this humble blog for publication. It's long, it's juicy, and it's the best I've seen on the topic. Everything below the asterisks is his, not mine.
* * *
A Slow Motion Coup D’état
the alleged election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, have
we just witnessed the final act in what comedian Bill Maher recently called, “a
slow-motion right wing coup d’etat?”
all the bloviating and lies that characterized his campaign, Trump does appear
to have gotten one thing right…the election was
rigged.The problem is, it’s the Republicans
who did the rigging.
been at it for decades and once Trump is sworn in and his first Supreme Court
nominee is seated, all checks and balances will be gone. Thirty-plus years of
right-wing subterfuge and guile will have paid off big time, although not
necessarily in the way most Republicans intended.
cult of Trump will be ascendant.
Hillary Clinton once said that there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy” arrayed
against her and her husband.These words
elicited mainly sneers at the time, but can anyone seriously doubt them
now?Let’s take a quick look at some of
the main elements of this “conspiracy” and see if you still think that Donald
J. Trump is the legitimately elected president of the United States of America.
All of them have been presented and
analysed in much greater depth elsewhere – and links to a few articles about
each of them are included for those who would like to start investigating
further – but here is an attempt to outline them all.
Intensive Voter Suppression
in 1980, leading right-wing Republican operative Paul Weyrich said,
many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome. Good government.
They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not
won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our
country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the
elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
since, the Republican party has engaged in a systematic effort to make voting
more difficult for African Americans, young people, Hispanics and other groups
who tend to strongly support the Democrats.
since the Supreme Court trashed the
Voting Rights Act in 2010, states with Republican governments have pulled out
all the stops to keep as many likely Democratic supporters as possible off of
the voting roles.No one knows exactly
how many people have been disenfranchised through these efforts, but estimates
of Democratic votes lost range into the millions.Trump’s alleged margin of victory in
Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida could easily have
been erased if all those who should have been eligible to vote had been able to
News, Breitbart, Alex Jones, the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, home schooling,
biblical literalism, well-funded right wing “think tanks” (or should we say
propaganda factories), climate change denialism, fake news planted on social
media – the list goes on and on.For
more than 30 years, the right wing has undertaken a systematic and
well-organized campaign to dumb down a large portion of the American
electorate, destroy their capacity for critical evidence based thinking and
leave them susceptible to the wildest sort of demagoguery.
in the day, most fundamentalist Christians could be counted on to reject the
theory of evolution, but also to think that Jesus meant it when he told his
followers to care for the least among us and that it might be easier for a
camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into
heaven.Abortion, on the other hand, was
nowhere on their radar as it wasn’t touched on at all by their saviour.
times have changed.Back in the 60s and
70s, right-wing Republicans and their wealthy backers realized that there was
no better way to undercut support for the Democrats who were championing civil
rights for minorities, the right to choose for women and a more equitable
distributionof income and wealth than
to paint them as not only political opponents but as actual agents of the devil.Politically, their program has been an
astounding success…but in the process any remote connection to the actual
teachings of Jesus seems to have been lost.
with the creation of their own propaganda organs, a core tactic of fascist
movements is the discrediting and demonization of the mainstream (i.e.
fact-based) media.Starting with Rush
Limbaugh and Fox “News,” this has been a staple of the Republican playbook for
years. Trump has, however, taken it to a
whole new level, to the point where reporters trying to cover his rallies
became concerned for their personal safety.
demonization is crucial if the voters are to be kept “safely” away from the
truth about the people and policies for which they are voting.
Demonization of their Foes,
Especially the Clintons
the time Bill Clinton first stepped into the governor’s mansion in Arkansas,
right-wing Republicans have regarded him – and his wife Hillary – as very
serious threats and they have spared no effort or expense in their efforts to
demonize them.The attacks in Arkansas
were constant, but things really took off once Bill and Hillary moved into the
White House. Remember Whitewater, the years-long multi-million dollar partisan
witch hunt conducted by “independent” prosecutor Kenneth Starr which led to
absolutely nothing but the opportunity for the Republicans to bring a trumped
up impeachment charge against the president for lying about consensual sex.
of Hillary has been no better.In spite
of the Republicans undying efforts to find something – anything – to charge her
with over Benghazi, her private e-mail server or the life-saving Clinton Foundation,
they have come up with absolutely nothing.What the right-wingers have succeeded in brilliantly, however, is in
smearing Hillary’s reputation and painting her as “crooked Hillary” in the
there had been a fair and complete count of all the votes cast for president in
Florida in 2000, Al Gore would very likely have been the 43rd
President of the United States.If the
thousands of (mostly black) people who were improperly prevented from voting by
Republican Secretary of State Katharine Harris had been allowed to cast their
votes, he would certainly have won by a safe margin.
to the unprecedented – and seemingly unconstitutional – decision by a partisan
majority of the Supreme Court – two of whom should have, by any standards,
recused themselves due to conflicts of interest – we never had the chance to
find out for sure.What we got instead
was eight years of Bush buffoonery, 9-11, the Iraq war and near economic
just about every high school student knows, Facebook, Twitter and the like can
be cruel places, but Donald Trump, his allies in the neo-Nazi alt-right
movement and the growing army of professional Russian trolls have taken things
to a whole new level.Cross them and you
Trump knows better than anyone, social media is also the perfect way to bypass
fact-checking and spread the most nonsensical conspiracy theories and drivel of
every sort unfiltered to his gullible followers.
almost every election, in state after state and at a national level,
significant majorities of Americans consistently vote for Democrats – yet
Republicans consistently gain large majorities in the House of Representatives
and many state houses.
Why?Extreme – and probably unconstitutional –
practice of adjusting the borders of electoral districts to favor one’s own
side has long been an unfortunate feature of American political life, but in
2010 the Republicans activated a brilliant scheme to give themselves vastly
more electoral power than their opponents.Called Redmap, the first stage of the plan was to pour massive amounts
of money into elections for governorships and state legislatures in the year of
the census and then use that power to shamelessly (and scientifically) redraw
the districts in a way that had never been seen before.
result?A right-wing stranglehold on the
House and numerous state governments which has allowed unrestricted voter
suppression, gridlock in Washington, and an endless series of partisan witch
very night that Barak Obama was being inaugurated in 2009, a group of leading
Republican lawmakers and operatives gathered in a Washington DC restaurant and decided
that their priority would be to make him a one-term president by opposing and
obstructing him in absolutely everything he tried to do.Unfortunately for the country, they stuck to
this plan religiously throughout Obama’s entire eight years in office.Of course, they then turned around and blamed
all the suffering caused by their failure to go along with anything on the
Democrats – and huge numbers of people believed them.
as this effort did, so clearly against the interests of the American people,
another word for it might be treason.
since the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover have we seen such blatant and
unethical interference by the FBI into an American election as occurred this
Director James Comey’s unprecedented bad-mouthing of Hillary Clinton was bad
enough in July when he announced that she had been exonerated in the private
e-mail server non-scandal and then proceeded to do everything possible to
undermine her credibility.
beyond the pale, however, was his announcement ten days before the election
that new evidence was being examined in the case – leading to the obvious
assumption that it might be reopened – only to come back a week later, after
all the damage had been done, and let us know that there was absolutely nothing
there after all.
totally at odds with FBI policy.
course, Comey was not the only one causing trouble. After Comey’s bombshell, it
emerged that deranged Trump cheerleader-in-chief Rudy Guiliani was basically
able to use the New York FBI office as a tool of his dear leader’s
influence of money in politics has always been a problem in the United States,
but the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs the FEC totally blew
the roof off on all attempts to impose any sensible limits.
seems that the only way now that you can be elected is to either prostitute
yourself to big money interests – or else to be one yourself like Donald
Trump.Either way, the interests of the
middle class, let alone the poor, are way, way down on the priority list.
once famously said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still not
lose any of his voters.
was probably right.
might not have shot anyone, but he was caught on tape bragging about being a
sexual predator, numerous shady business dealings were exposed, he was shown to
have defrauded customers and not paid his suppliers, he told one demonstrable
whopper after another on a daily basis, and it didn’t make a damn bit of
difference to his fanatical supporters.
those with a sense of history, his rallies were chilling affairs as he whipped
his followers into a frenzy and skilfully directed their rage against blacks,
immigrants, Muslims, the Clintons, the press, women he may well have assaulted,
and anyone else that happened to get under his skin that day.
Chants of “Lock her up!” and “Build the wall!”
filled the hall, protesters were roughed up and respected members of the press
had to have police protection.
hard to say if the whole scene reminds you more of cults of strongmen such as
Idi Amin or Vladimir Putin, the horrifying political/racial cult of Nazism, or
out-and-out pseudo-religious cults such as the Church as Scientology.
bottom line is that Trumpism shows all the signs of being a genuine cult.
the long run, this could lead to disastrous results, especially when something
doesn’t go the way the Donald wants and he urges his well-armed followers to
take matters into their own hands.
with the remotest interest in facts knows that Trump’s and the right-wing’s
claims of massive voter fraud – millions of individuals voting illegally – is
complete nonsense.A recent in-depth
university study found that out of almost one billion votes cast over a
ten-year period, only 31 actual cases of such voter fraud could be found.
fraud, on the other hand, is a whole different matter.
years investigative organizations such as the Election Defense Alliance and BlackBoxVoting.org
and academics such as Princeton
professor Andrew Appel have been warning about the relative ease of tampering
with many of the nation’s electronic voting machines and the tabulators which
compile the results.Numerous
demonstrations have shown that their fears are valid, especially if insiders
were to be involved.
voting systems are, in fact, considered so unreliable and subject to
manipulation that in 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany forbade
the use of computers to count the country’s votes, and ordered a return to the
hand counting of all ballots in front of citizen observers.
evidence suggests that there is good reason to be suspicious of the results of
any election in which the final results reported vary greatly from the polls,
especially the normally reliable exit polls.This is the standard the U.S. government itself recommends for
evaluating if an overseas election might be fraudulent.
which party has benefited from these statistical discrepancies here at
home?Surprise, surprise, it always somehow
seems to be the Republicans - and 2016 was no different.In the words of election integrity expert
Theodore de Macado Soares:
to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research, Clinton won four key
battleground states (NC, PA, WI, and FL) in the 2016 presidential election that
she went on to lose in the computerized vote counts. With these states Clinton
wins the Electoral College with a count of 302 versus 205 for Trump. Clinton
also won the national exit poll by 3.2% and holds a narrow lead in the national
vote count still in progress.
polls were conducted in 28 states. In 23 states the discrepancies between the
exit polls and the vote count favored Trump. In 13 of these states the
discrepancies favoring Trump exceeded the margin of error of the state.”
can we state with certainty that Clinton’s loss was due to deliberate tampering
with the voting systems in key areas?
answer is no.That would take a serious
investigation by the FBI…but they seem to have been too busy looking into Secretary
Clinton’s e-mail server to be bothered by such a trifling matter as the basic
integrity of our national elections.
tampering with the tallies produced by electronic voting machines might be the
holy grail of Republican efforts to prevent demographic realities from
consigning them to the dustbin of history, but, so far at least, we have only
circumstantial evidence that this has actually been happening.
a faint glimmer of hope has been given to us by Green Party presidential candidate
Jill Stein’s call for a recount/audit in the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan
and Pennsylvania, and the massive public support it has received.
to say, the Republican authorities in these states have already started doing
everything they can to shut down or stymie the effort.As of the writing of this article, Wisconsin
has just more than tripled the fee they will charge the Greens from $1 million
to $3.5 million, and it is likely to go higher.
they are trying to arrange the recount so that it will be nothing more than
running the same data through the same tabulators again in exactly the same
fashion.Of course, this will tell us nothing - and
that is, no doubt, the intention.Rather
than this, what is essential is a full manual recount of all votes available in
any way on paper, and an in-depth forensic analysis by top-level impartial
specialists of the voting machines and tabulators themselves, along with their
Greens are trying to make this happen, but it is by no means certain they will
the possible exception of the Trump cult, the conspiratorial elements listed
above are not particularly new.Some of
them even go back decades or more.
2016 election did, however, bring us an entirely new phenomenon, one that might
be the most disturbing of them all.
refer, of course, to the likely involvement of a hostile foreign power in an
organized attempt to undermine and influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential
efforts are nothing new for Russian President Vladimir Putin.Back in the Soviet Union days, interfering in
the elections of countries where there was some sort of communist – capitalist
struggle going on was said to be a standard practice in the KGB playbook (as it
also was, to be fair, in that of the CIA). In more recent years, the regime of ex KGB
officer Putin is believed to have become increasingly active in this area,
particularly in the realm of cyberspace.
and the Wall Street Journal have reported on Russian cyber-attacks on the 2012
election in Georgia and 2014 one in Ukraine.The Washington Post reported that Russia has conducted operations aimed
at disrupting U.S. alliances and others designed to influence elections in
Latvia, Greece, Italy and France with the apparent aims of discrediting the
democratic systems of Western countries and creating the illusion of a moral
equivalence between them and Russia’s own authoritarian and corrupt system.
is now well-known, U.S. intelligence is virtually certain that it was Russian
players operating under Putin’s orders who hacked the e-mail accounts of the
DNC, Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta and others and passed on damaging
material to Wikileaks to be released at the worst possible times in an attempt
to derail the Clinton campaign and increase the chances of Putin BFF Donald
Trump winning the election.
of the nasty, anti-Clinton troll campaign was also believed to have been
carried out by paid Russian operatives and strong evidence exists that the
Russians attempted to – and perhaps succeeded in – hacking the voter
registration systems of several states and the computers of at least one major
electronic voting machine manufacturer.
true, either of these activities could have provided the Trump supporting
Russians with a way to tamper with the actual vote count in his favour.This possibility is one of the main reasons
why the Green Party and their supporters are so adamant that any recounts must
be done by hand, rather than with the same potentially corrupted equipment.
even a part of the theories put forward above are true, there is every chance
that the person who was declared the winner of our 2016 election is not a
legitimate president-elect, but a usurper.
usurper who got where he is not just because of his own extraordinary skill as
a con-man – perhaps the best in history – but through a long-term and carefully
crafted and executed plan to subvert American democracy carried out by a group
of right-wing zealots now aided and abetted by the government of a hostile
this doesn’t qualify as a conspiracy, I can’t imagine what does.
By David Jay Morris
December 1, 2016
About the author: Now
semi-retired, long-time believer in progressive causes David Jay Morris is a
former international news editor and columnist for the Guam Daily Post and has
worked for the New York Daily News and Long Island Business Review.Holding British-American dual nationality, he
now lives in the UK with his wife, cat and three dogs and works part-time as a
teacher, Japanese – English translator and editor.
There is just an unbelievable amount of anti Stein, Anti Recount chatter going on among the mainstream media. I find it appalling and very telling. Nobody should be against a manual recount, there just is no compelling reason to be against a manual recount, none. Whatever the outcome, it truly is all good. Stein keeps being accused of asking for more and more money with the intent of bilking those who donated to the recount even as each state asks for more and more money. Clinton is being bashed even though she had nothing to do with the recount. And still other articles claim the recount won't change anything so why are they bothering. Did the FBI bother to investigate how many of the 5 million NRA members served at voting locations the day of the election when those members NRA fees went directly to a 31 million dollar anti-Clinton PAC.
I must point out that in 2000 Gore made a strategic mistake in not asking for a whole state recount.
He only asked for Miami -dade area.
Because of the constitutions 'equal protection' clause he in effect made miami -dade votes more important than the rest of florida
Thats what the 5 supreme court justices used as the basis for stopping the recount.
Now whether you were on one side or the other it's a valid reason.
posted by gerry : 8:31 PM
Alseesandro-they might be less sceptical if she had picked at least one Hillary won stat-like MN instead of Michigan.
Also the basis of the recount is 'questionable'.
supposedly Hillary got 7 percent less votes than expected in machine areas as oppossed to optical scanner ballot areas.
However most ballot areas are in the boonies where Trump over performed.
Most machines were in the big cities dominated b Clinton voters. Since Trump over performed they would seem deficient.
anyways Wisconsin will be counted and the boonies ballots confirmed.
posted by gerry : 8:38 PM
Joseph, so we have a resident troll now? I remember that BS about Gore only asking for the Miami recount --- he did also ask for state-wide. I don't remember all the details now, but I remember that was the troll-line then.
posted by prowlerzee : 7:18 AM
prowler-i cannot respond to you by Josephs order
posted by gerry : 2:55 PM
As part of the alt-write, I demand the ouster of all apostrophe deviants. Still waiting to hear if we have to stomach a resident troll.
posted by prowlerzee : 8:46 PM
PZ, the presence of a troll tells me that this site is being read.