8.22.2016 In Depth Look

From the past to start, and then the present, and then back to the past again, an examination of why the news, whether in terms of “all of it that’s fit to print,” for example, or according to some other rubric, is so noisomely biased, filled with distortion, and just plain false in this erstwhile ‘land of the free and home of the brave,’ starting off with a briefing from our erstwhile ‘paper of record’ about a key admission, that the Central Intelligence Agency, prior to statutory mandates that it no longer operate the execrable Project Mockingbird () of yore, had the capacity to ‘plant’ news items–either directly or through journalistic assets–and that vestiges of this now ‘outlawed’ program emerged again under Reagan and otherwise, an updating of which, in a Democracy Now! segment reveals multiple ways in which subverting honesty and reality remain the marching orders of the C.I.A. and other ‘agencies’ of government, two portrayals of past sins–up to the recent turn of the century, say–that two new items recognize as a continuing issue, the first an assessment from The Jewish Daily Forward of Breitbart News and its ‘special relationship’ with our newest long shot billionaire Chief Executive, the second a news analysis from the World Socialist Website of the most recent German trust-funded heir to embrace protofascist views, all of which points to a critically important hypothesis for scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens, to wit that a media that consists of financialized conglomerates, spook-supported propaganda mills, and military-industrial-complex ’embedding’ operations will no more evince the capacity to serve ‘the public’ than a ravenous wolf can demonstrate the ability to watch over little bunny rabbits, the aggregate of which fits in nicely with a few-year-old commentary  from the corporate-social-responsibility site Just Means on why the ‘energy beat’ is so lacking in reality orientation or even vague semblances of intelligence: “The Central Intelligence Agency had a secret weapon at the Bay of Pigs, the ability to plant propaganda directly on international news wire services, according to a newly declassified C.I.A. document.  The document, a ‘propaganda plan’ issued shortly before the invasion in April 1961, said the agency’s headquarters had ‘the capability of placing items directly on the wire service tickers’ as part of its ‘regular propaganda apparatus.’desk media computer journalism
It has been known since the 1970’s that in the cold war the C.I.A. had a handful of ‘assets,’ or agents, in place at some news organizations like The Associated Press and United Press International, particularly in foreign bureaus. The newly declassified document says flatly that the intelligence agency could essentially dictate articles and have them sent around the world.rect3336 space
The document, which was made public at an international conference on the 40th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs (in Havana in 2001), said the ‘propaganda apparatus’ was not limited to the power to plant articles ‘throughout the hemisphere through C.I.A. assets’ and ‘through Miami exile contacts with Florida papers.’  It also said the agency could ‘place specific messages and propaganda lines’ on the wire services during and after the invasion.

The document was declassified under the Freedom of Information Act after repeated efforts by Jon Elliston, a journalist and the author of Psywar on Cuba: The Declassified History of U.S. Anti-Castro Propaganda, published by the Ocean Press in 1999.  Mr. Elliston made it available at the meeting today, where thousands of documents from the military, intelligence and foreign policy files of the United States, Cuba and other nations were being analyzed and discussed by conferees, including President Fidel Castro, ex-C.I.A. officers, and Bay of Pigs veterans. “—The New York Times
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CC BY by pete_weis
        “Andrew Breitbart, the conservative media provocateur who founded the site and died in 2012, was Jewish.  So were many of his colleagues and successors, among them former Breitbart News editor-in-chief Joel Pollak and former Breitbart News editor-at-large Ben Shapiro (more on him later).  The site has an Israel-dedicated vertical called Breitbart Jerusalem, where its coverage and opinion content are generally in line with the hawkish end of the pro-Israel spectrum.rect3336 space
‘They say that we are ‘anti-Semitic,’ though our company was founded by Jews, is largely staffed by Jews, and has an entire section dedicated to reporting on and defending the Jewish state of Israel,’ Breitbart executives said in response to the Clinton campaign’s attack. …Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook didn’t say why he thought Breitbart News was pushing anti-Semitic conspiracies, but he may have been referring to a recent dustup over a headline on Breitbart’s site that called anti-Trump neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol a ‘renegade Jew.’rect3336 space
The author of the piece, right-wing firebrand David Horowitz, is himself Jewish.  Even so, the Anti-Defamation league at the time called the headline ‘inappropriate and offensive.’  Writing in Slate, Michelle Goldberg argued thatBreitbart was mainstreaming anti-Semitism.

(Ben)Shapiro, 32, quit Breitbart in March after the site appeared to side with the Trump campaign against a Breitbart reporter who claimed she had been assaulted by Trump’s then-campaign manager.  (Local prosecutors declined to press charges against the campaign manager.)  After he quit, Shapiro was bombarded with anti-Semitic harassment on TwitterBreitbart News responded to the harassment with an odd piece in which an author identified as ‘Pizza Party Ben’ dismissed the notion that anti-Semitism even exists.  ‘He has started playing the victim on Twitter and throwing around allegations of anti-semitism and racism, just like the people he used to mock,’ the writer said of Shapiro.  ‘Ben, no one hates Jewish people.’

(One of the site’s Senior Editors, Milo) Yainnopoulos, who identifies as having Jewish ancestry, (i)n a long March article at Breitbart, brushed away allegations that the alt-right is anti-Semitic.  He said that anti-Semitic caricatures are the ‘long hair and rock’n’roll’ of 2016, employed mostly to ‘shock older generations.’  Shapiro, in his own March essay, pointed out that people who Tweet like racists are often indistinguishable from actual racists.  ‘When I can’t tell the difference between a David Duke tweet and a tweet from Milo’s biggest fans, that’s not my fault – that’s the fault of the person tweeting like David Duke,’ Shapiro wrote.”—The Forward
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        “(Jakob Augstein’s regular Spiegel column, ‘When in Doubt, Left’), allows the multi-millionaire Spiegel heir to portray himself as a left-liberal, so long as he has doubts about the direction in which official politics is heading.  But now the time of doubt is over.  In the face of the growth of militarism, the strengthening of the state apparatus and anti-refugee agitation, Augstein has openly declared he is a right-winger.

Augstein laments the fact that there are now approximately 500,000 people living in Germany who have Turkish and German passports.  The ‘well-meaning dual citizenship initiative’ had made ‘the integration of some Turks more difficult’ and ‘given 500,000 Turks living in Germany the opportunity not to have to decide.’  Given the growth in migration, this can no longer be tolerated, Augstein continued.
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Augstein wants citizens who ‘feel obligation to the state’ and know to which ministers, presidents and premiers they ‘owe loyalty.’  The claim that dual citizenship is ‘an accepted part of the German immigration society’s culture of recognition’ is rejected by Augstein, who writes in contrast, ‘An immigration society accepts everyone who acknowledges it.  Why then do such people require a second citizenship?’rect3336 space
This is not fundamentally different from the right-wing demand for a ‘leading German culture (deutsche Leitkultur).’  The idea that citizens must profess allegiance to a society (whatever that means), are bound to the state and owe loyalty to the government is deeply anti-democratic and authoritarian.  It stands in the unwholesome traditions of the authoritarian German state.  From here it only requires one small step further to demand loyalty to the fatherland and the accusation of betraying the fatherland bound up with this, which in Germany was used to target numerous socialists, opponents of war and other critical individuals.rect3336 space
Augstein’s rightward evolution is no isolated case.  It is symptomatic of the members of an entire section of the privileged upper-middle class who formerly understood themselves as left and liberal but who now give their full support to the state under conditions of deepening social tensions and the return of German militarism.”—World Socialist Website
        “I’ve got a bone to pick.  We supposedly have Dr. Pangloss’ ‘best of all possible worlds’ going on here in the good old USA.  We have freedom, and according to all reliable sources, we have more scientists and educated people per capita than almost any other spot on earth.rect3336 space
So the level of ignorance about, and lack of participation in, these (energy-policy and other) matters ‘don’t make no sense,’ as my brother liked to say about lame excuses.  And, since ‘inquiring minds want to know,’ I ask myself, ‘Why, with 223,000,000 avenues (in one Google search) to understanding, is so much of the ‘information’ about ‘energy’ so hopelessly partial or simply false?’rect3336 space
I have formulated a reply to this question which is the basis for most or all of this section of today’s posting.  The simplest aspect of this response is that the government’s and established business dovetail in their expressions of reality because they constitute the same social forces.  The people who work in one sphere go back and forth between highly paid corporate positions and stable and secure government jobs.rect3336 space
While he watched in horror, Marion King Hubbert witnessed such crisscrossing opportunism repeatedly.  He documents this pattern richly in his interviews at the American Institute for Physics at Johns Hopkins University.  C. Wright Mills started almost an entire branch of sociology that monitors such phenomena.rect3336 space
A second, related element of this situation is the ruling position of capital in ours, a highly capitalist society.  Thus, almost all expressions of the State’s performance become an extension of corporate policy.  Whether the confluence appears as a sop to retail food sellers in the form of Food Stamps or as a disinformation program to energy producers in the form of citizen-education materials is in some sense immaterial.  The purpose is the same.  The result is social weakness and a compounding of already extant difficulty.rect3336 space
If folks don’t use something like a set of tools such as shows up in these pages, then they had better find some other materials with which to teach themselves and fend off intrusive and destructive policy.  Either that, or they should avoid any complaint when the exact opposite of majority inclination is the ‘party line’ from Washington.”—Just Means