“When a man ain’t got no ideas of his own, he’d ought to be kind of o’ careful who he borrows ’em from.” – Owen Wister (The Virginian)
So, this is going to be another long political blog post, but I want to be clear that although I’m pretty conservative and mostly supported Republicans, at this point, I believe neither party really serves the American people. There’s too much big money in our politics, too much political theater (spin info war) and let’s be honest, both parties have spent America into a destabilizing pit of debt. I’ve gone on and on about how getting out of debt and building up some savings are important for personal emergency preparedness, well that holds true for our government too. So, straight up, if I criticize Democrats, that doesn’t mean I think Republicans are better and vice versa. Both major parties have spent us into this precarious situation. Neither party holds any sort of moral high ground with combating the vast public corruption in our politics. Both parties are committed to engaging in this destructive spin information war played out in the news media and on social media 24/7.
Media – whether it’s the news organizations, Hollywood, or social media platforms – aren’t out to find the truth; they’re about making money. Our elected officials are about money too and power… and control.
Yesterday, along with the Twitter/Elon Musk media drama, another story emerged of the Biden administration setting up a “Disinformation Governance Board” within the Department of Homeland Security. Nina Jankowicz apparently will head this board. Naturally, right-wing folks on Twitter began tweeting out all sorts of social media comments and videos of Janckowicz, including this:
And here’s a tweet of Jankowicz singing about disinformation (I watched about 15 seconds and that’s all I could take):
“Disinformation” was a term used frequently during the Cold War to explain the Soviet Union’s efforts to spread communism world-wide and undermine western democracy. Now, Democrats are so desperate to control the media environment (especially social media) that the Biden administration established a sort of Ministry of Truth within the Department of Homeland Security. Last year I reread George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and wrote a blog post about it: Don’t Join The Crazy and well, that goes double now… Just this silly woman singing about disinformation was enough for me to discount her as person who should be heading up any federal government board.
The last thing Americans need or should tolerate is a “Disinformation Governance Board” run by the Department of Homeland Security. Free speech is vital to maintaining our personal liberty and protecting our individual rights.
Since 2016, suddenly “Russian disinformation” became a Democrat spin talking point, with efforts to paint Trump as a Russian asset, agent or some variation of “working with Russia,” and the Clinton campaign manufactured the bogus Steele dossier and peddled it to the FBI, into our intelligence agencies and to the US State Department, all to try to destroy Trump’s presidential campaign.
I constantly say timelines matter and they do. It’s easy to forget which order events happened and when they happened, so I keep looking back and thinking through timelines and the sequence of events.
There’s always been a huge question mark in my mind about why Trump entered the 2016 race and who he was working with in the beginning. Trump received millions of dollars worth of free liberal media to disrupt and wreak havoc in the 2016 GOP primary. He was still good friends with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who allowed Trump to phone in for interviews, which other GOP candidates weren’t allowed to do. All across liberal media, they were selling Trump in the beginning – all to create chaos in the 2016 GOP primary. And Trump was still hanging out with friends like Howard Stern at Mar-a-Lago, in 2015, when he entered the race. Trump had also been good friends with the Clintons and Bill Clinton’s golfing buddy. Trump-supporters chose to forget all that history. Trump was useful to the Democrat spin war effort in the spring of 2015, with turning the GOP primary into a freak show.
Trump became a problem for Democrats by late 2015, because Hillary was a terrible campaigner, the email scandal, which broke in early 2015, was also dragging down her campaign. Trump had gained a following and hobbled together some campaign themes that were resonating, plus his rally, large crowd rabble-rousing had created almost a cult following, in addition to creating energy and momentum to his campaign. By late 2015, Democrats, the liberal media and the Clinton campaign unleashed one of the most aggressive smear campaigns in American politics, largely propelled via their spin war. That effort continues to this day and in 2016 “Russian disinformation” became a central theme of many of those smear attacks.
Yes, of course the Russians engage in information warfare operations against the US, but in the past few years the American spin information war has veered so far off the rails, that some Democrat political operatives worked with Silicon Valley execs. to field fake Russian bots in the 2017 Alabama Senate race. We’ve had Democrats & liberal blue checkmark Twitter (especially the journalist class) fighting to get Trump and other right-wing people banned from social media. We’ve had years now of spun up hysteria about “dangerous” Russian disinformation on social media and a whole lot of government/media brainstorms floated on ways to combat this purported “threat.”
I grew up during the Cold War and became fascinated by it, along with falling in love with early American history. I have a high school education, went to college one year, then joined the Army. I am a total dunce at science and math, didn’t think I was smart enough for college and never returned. I like to read a lot about things that catch my interest. I am not an expert on anything, so I try to provide a lot of links in my posts, to indicate where I found information or read something or saw something online.
The Russian disinformation story began long before the Cold War (1947-1991). In 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Czarist government and seized power in Russia. Lenin wasn’t satisfied with the Russian revolution and wanted a global communist revolution, so in 1919 Lenin formed the Comintern:
“Lenin and his associates viewed Russia as no more than a springboard from which to launch a global civil war. They feared that if the revolution remained confined to backward, agrarian Russia it would perish under the combined onslaught of the foreign “bourgeoisie” and the domestic peasantry. In their view it was essential to carry the revolution abroad to the industrial countries of the West, whose workers, they believed, were anxious to stop fighting one another and topple their exploiters. To organize and finance this effort, they formed in March 1919 the Third International, or “Comintern.” This organization was a branch of the Russian Communist Party and operated under the aegis of that party’s Central Committee. By virtue of rules laid down in 1920 at the Comintern’s Second Congress, Communist parties abroad were to be created either afresh or else by splitting Social Democratic parties; in either case, they were to be accountable to Moscow and not to their domestic constituencies.
Hoping to exploit the political and economic turmoil afflicting central Europe after the Allied victory, Moscow sent agents with ample supplies of money to stir up unrest. In Germany three revolutionary efforts undertaken with the help of local communists and sympathizers—in early 1919, in 1921, and again in 1923—failed, partly from the passivity of the workers, partly from effective countermeasures of the Weimar government. In Hungary a Bolshevik government under Béla Kun came to power in March 1919, but it lasted only four months before being overthrown. Efforts to incite social unrest elsewhere had no success either and eventually were given up in favour of infiltrating existing institutions by both legal and clandestine communist organizations.”https://www.britannica.com/place/Soviet-Union/The-Communist-International
Thus began the modern era of Russian disinformation. Russian police state behaviors didn’t begin in the Soviet era, but permeate through Czarist Russian history. There’s a Russian cultural acceptance of harsh government controls, unlike our American traditions of personal liberty and individual rights. Piles and piles of books have been written about the Soviet efforts to undermine the West and Russian disinformation/misinformation, along with mountains of great spy/international thriller novels. I loved many books on the Soviet efforts and the Cold War spy novels.
I don’t think America has a “disinformation” problem so much as it has a media culture problem and also a broader culture problem in how Americans react to and interact via social media. Too many people react instantly to social media drama, think shallowly about information they see or hear, if at all, and rush to become part of the latest media-driven “national conversation” or weigh in on the big news drama of the day. Few people take the time to research information or wait before leaping into the online social media hot take public square. It’s about as easy to rush to judgment and spread information without checking it out as it is to click and buy stuff online. Taking a deep breath and taking some time to think about purchases or buying into media hysteria would serve each of us better.
The quote at the beginning is one of my favorite quotes. It’s from The Virginian, a 1902 novel considered to be the first true American fictional Western and it’s one of my favorite American novels. As America expanded westward, American culture developed and spread, but often Americans in settled parts loved to hear frontier stories of drama, hardship and heroism sold in American print, from newspapers to American dime store novels (1860-1915), which were peddled largely to the uneducated class. It’s fine to be entertained by cheap fictional drivel, but to run a country via a 24/7 political soap opera/spin information war, replete with constant smear campaigns, fabricated “news” and pundit-generated hysteria as the constant chorus, is no way for our republic to prosper. We’ve moved from dime store novels, which ran a 100 pages to 280 character tweets and many Twitter peeps were complaining that 280 character tweets were too long to read… go figure.
Trying to encourage people to slow down and think about things, read more, consider differing viewpoints and work to stop reacting instantly, like puppets on a string, can help each of us regain control over the information overload, shield ourselves from the media-driven drama and regain more control over our minds rather than running around reacting 24/7.
The last thing America needs is a Ministry of Truth run by a bizarro Mary Poppins of Disinformation. Seriously, this woman is ridiculous.
The truth has a way of breaking through even the darkest clouds of lies (or the most ridiculous spin war garbage.) Sometimes even one ray of truth poking through can light our path forward, I believe. The thing is we’ve got to start breaking away from our screens more to even see the clouds in the sky or catch that ray of truth.
Look to the sky… not at the screen.