Category Archives: The Media

2016 never ends

Yesterday, I started a blog post, but by the time I wrote it,  the news was in a tizzy about President Trump’s UN speech.  Another mass media spin cycle spun out of control and  I felt very weary of information warfare.  That is what is going on in America though, so I’ll just go ahead and post this, with a bit added to the end of that post.

People often use the trite Groundhog Day movie analogy, about being stuck reliving the same event over and over, but with the 2016 election, we are stuck being barraged with an endless, boring, spin cycle, in a vicious information war waged by two candidates, the mass media, social media and hostile foreign intelligence.

The Players:

President Donald J. Trump – the “winner” of the 2016 U.S. presidential election is the sorest winner ever.  He continues to battle the media, Hillary Clinton, the GOP, history, facts and often reality.   He is a man intent on using mass media optics to create an American-size Potemkin village, where his image reigns supreme and TVs across America blare with his cheering throngs at rousing rallies, flags flapping in the breeze and his voice roaring on about “making America great again”.  For President Trump everything boils down to his “crowd size”.

Hillary Clinton – the loser of U.S. presidential election still believes she really won the election, making her the sorest loser ever.   She is a woman who blames everyone, except herself, for her loss, all while adding caveats to imply she was a victim of Russian influence, misogyny against strong women and even deplorable white women who didn’t vote for her, due to pressure from the Neanderthal, Trump-supporting men in their lives.

The Mass Media – The mass media played a central role in the 2016 scorched earth information war, because SPIN style information warfare requires mass media collusion to work.  American cable news networks are powerful information warfare fronts in America.  CNN, MSNBC and FOX all ran the Trump “GOP Insurgency Show”, in 2015, giving Trump unprecedented free media, running his “winning in all the polls” talking points messaging and broadcasting his large “crowd size” rallies live and in their entirety.  In early 2016, CNN and MSNBC and the liberal media made a pivot to running the Clinton scorched earth messaging, casting Trump as a fascist, while FOX News remained committed to running 24/7 MAGA propaganda.  Most of the print media and Hollywood aligned with the Clinton spin.

Twitter – As the whole world knows, it’s a social media platform President Trump uses and loves to spread his MAGA spin messages and lob petty attacks on his enemies.   He delights in baiting the media into overreaction with incendiary tweets.   It’s also a social media platform journalists use and love too.  This is where you can watch spin cycles burst into life, with journalists retweeting each other’s hot takes and stories, often with no independent fact-checking and it’s a place where those spun stories get thousands of retweets and the corrections only a handful.  This viral spread of misinformation assures these false stories are believed.  And if that weren’t bad enough, Trump has an army of pundit warriors on Twitter, who work tirelessly to attack the Left, the media and especially Republicans and conservatives, who refuse to get on the Trump train.  The media keep reporting that the Russians have troll and bot information warfare attack teams on Twitter and other social media too.

Foreign Intelligence (especially the “hostile” ones) – Of course, the Russians have received the most media attention in regards to trying to influence the 2016 election, but many other countries, both friends and foes, engage in cyber-activities and mass media information warfare, some of which is directed at America.

What Trump’s punditry cheerleaders, like Conrad Black, are touting as Trump’s “pivot” to Democrats, is really just more Trump scorched earth information warfare, to stick it to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who have the power to kill the Russian investigations.  Trump is trying to soften Pelosi and Schumer with deals on some policy issues, in hopes of getting their cooperation to put the brakes on the #Resist/impeachment frenzy of the Left and to align with them in making Republicans in Congress look impotent.

The mass media liberals are working with the Clinton spinners to rehash the 2016 election with the same old hysterical talking points they have used since Trump won the election – more hysteria about Russian interference in our democracy and how the electoral college is a threat to American democracy…  Hollywood is on the case to investigate the Russian interference in 2016 too, all timed to go along with Hillary’s sore loser book tour.  They’re even rerunning the  lame attacks on the electoral college.  Here’s a Politico story from today: The Electoral College Is a National Security Threat.

FOX News is busily spouting lines that sound like they came direct from the Kremlin,  attacking Mueller and the FBI, to cast doubt on their Russia investigation.  The Trump spinners are escalating their attacks on Republican leaders too,  just as news leaked of the FBI having FISA warrants for Manafort and that the Manafort’s phone calls were monitored last year.

The same old 2016 election mass media information war rages on, burning the integrity of all who engage in it to the ground.   If you participate in spin, which is using mass media to try to dupe the American people with LIES, you destroy your own credibility the most.

It’s easy to get drawn into the partisan spin and to be sucked into spin cycles.  The words used by the politicians and the media are designed to evoke emotional responses within their target audience.  The easiest way to discern the spin and the mass media information warfare messaging is to treat all of their messaging as suspect and then work to identify the various messages, try to track the messages back to the original source using that messaging first, follow the spread of that messaging.  Don’t get sucked into reacting emotionally to any political messaging and treat all news with great scepticism.  Work to try to fact-check and independently verify facts yourself – don’t rely on ‘fact-checkers” in the media or sites that are touted as “fact-checking” sites, because many of them have a partisan political taint to their ‘fact-checking”.

Like I said at the beginning, I’m very weary of this mass media information war that is being waged against the American people!

No one wins in this type of mass media information warfare, because invariably the American people are being fed bigger and bigger lies, the trust in our political system and the news media crumble completely and along with the partisan political information warfare propaganda, America’s enemies keep fanning distrust in American political institutions and floating “ways to fix the problems” in our political system that use deceptively “democratic” language, but which are meant to tear apart our constitutional republic.

Words do matter and you can trust America’s enemies to constantly work to hijack the meanings of words – it’s meant to destroy our ability to think freely (see here, here, here).


As a small side note, I’ve mentioned Stella Morabito’s articles in previous posts and she has a 2015 post with a list of books to read to hack-proof your mind.  I’m reading #2 on her list right now  The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Mind Control, Menticide and Brainwashing by Joost A. M. Meerloo.

Morabito also started a book club about propaganda in April 2017.

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, Culture Wars, General Interest, Politics, ThatWitch2016, The Media

How To Defeat Scorched Earth Information Warfare

Every American has the power to help defeat scorched earth information warfare.  It doesn’t take military might, new laws to restrict the media or trying to shut down free speech.

Stop being a participant in the scorched earth information warfare.

Don’t be a participant in engaging in scorched earth information warfare and learn to recognize it and not fall for it.

Here’s my battle plan to defeat scorched earth information warfare:

The best thing leaders can do is pull our politics back from the extremes, condemn violence by fringe kooks on the extreme ends and work to find ways to build a few bridges between the virulent partisan factions, that are our two major political parties.

The drumbeat that we are approaching a civil war or that our political system is on the verge of collapse may feed the scorched earth partisans, but it does nothing to fix anything that is wrong in America.

I personally think what everyone should be doing is work to bolster The Constitution and that means respecting the results at the ballot box. I think people should be working to try to get Trump to rein in the scorched earth, quit the crazy reality TV presidency show, and buckle down and do the job.

Trump’s “war against the media” isn’t happening in a vacuum. Much of the media, the Clinton political machine and many factions on the Left are working tirelessly waging a scorched earth information warfare campaign to #Resist, which is a euphemism for overturn the results of a legal election, by any means necessary.

The best thing the news media could do is take a long, hard look at their news reporting operations & strive to get back to “who, what, when, where, why and how” reporting rather than rushing to retweet the latest “hot take” or editorializing in hard news reporting.  Trust is earned and every time reporters leap into retweeting or running news stories that aren’t true, they erode the trust Americans have in their reporting.

Those entrusted with safeguarding our nation’s most sensitive information should quit with the endless leaking of intel, to try and destroy Trump.

This endless scorched earth information warfare is a serious national security threat, in my opinion.  Many of America’s foreign adversaries are working to foment chaos in this ongoing scorched earth information war, because a divided, chaotic, dysfunctional American political system and the constant visuals of America in chaos feed their political objective of taking down America.

Our elected officials in Washington should spend more time buckling down and finding bi-partisan solutions, to fix many of our nation’s problems, rather than regurgitating partisan talking points and rushing for photo-ops to get attention.

It would be very bad for our republic, if President Trump was impeached over frivolous charges and I am very dubious about that “unfit” gambit under the 25th. Trying to contain the damage he does as a loose cannon, while trying to teach him some restraint (tall order there) would be better for our constitutional order than to have a president ousted, basically by a massive media campaign and unpopular polls numbers.  Poll numbers should never substitute for the ballot box in America, especially in light of the massive information warfare used to generate manufactured public opinion (creating opinion cascades).

If Mueller finds things that warrant impeachment; he should send that information to Congress.

If there aren’t any grounds to impeach him, America will survive a bad president. We’ve survived others.

And most of all, more Americans need to read more and think more, before falling for media-generated outrage and hysteria or leaping onto the bandwagon of these media-driven hot button issues. Quit falling for these media-generated contentious topics that the media punditry and social media spread under the guise of “national conversations”.

What America really needs is more citizens talking to their neighbors and within their own communities, to find solutions for most of the problems within their own communities.  They also need to work to get to know each other.   The putrid punditry fueling anger, distrust and hate, from the partisan fringes poisons our politics.

Everyone should work to promote respect and civility in the public square.

To quote Maya Angelou, a poet, whose poetry I don’t care for at all, but who sure had some memorable quotes that speak the truth:

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet.”

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Filed under American Character, Civility, Corrupt Media Collusion, Culture Wars, General Interest, Politics, The Constitution, The Media

All leadership boils down to trust.

Last week, President Trump retweeted a meme about General Pershing, which according to military historians is not true:

Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!

Alex Horton, a reporter at the Washington Post, writes:

“Brian M. Linn, a history professor at Texas A&M University, did just that nearly two decades ago when he published “Guardians of Empire,” a book on the U.S. military presence in Asia from 1902 to 1940.

His verdict on Trump’s claim?

“There is absolutely no evidence this occurred,” he told The Washington Post.

“It’s a made-up story. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times people say this isn’t true. No one can say where or when this occurred.”

But Trump’s claims, and the wider belief in a routinely debunked story, have far-reaching effects. Not only is the story untrue, but the convenient twist — of an insurgency defeated only with the use of brutal war tactics — points to precisely the opposite lessons Pershing and his troops learned in the Philippines campaign from 1899 to 1913, Linn said.

“The U.S. military learned escalating counterterrorism was not effective, and they took great steps, including Pershing, to de-escalate,” Linn said.”

Trump said to study General Pershing. Here’s what the president got wrong.

President Trump loves to sound “tough”, so it’s no surprise he’d latch onto this “committing war crimes to defeat terrorists” myth.   This myth is the distillation of his conviction that the US military should murder ISIS family members to scare ISIS terrorists into submission, his “become terrorists to defeat terrorists strategy”.

Atrocities do happen in most wars, I believe, and often when one side employs a brutal tactic or a newer weapon, the other side often decides to do the same.   In World War I, weapons of mass destruction entered the battlefield, first with tear gas, but escalated, as all major belligerents worked to develop more lethal and effective gases, despite being signatories to the agreements that use of these weapons was a war crime:

“The use of poison gas performed by all major belligerents throughout World War I constituted war crimes as its use violated the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases and the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which prohibited the use of “poison or poisoned weapons” in warfare.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_weapons_in_World_War_I

General Pershing deserves to be remembered as one of America’s finest generals, not as a war criminal.  He revolutionized the American military during WWI, when he commanded the American Expeditionary Forces.   He went to war without an army, because the American peacetime army had been reduced to a few scattered regiments.  His innovations and relentless pursuit of solutions to complex logistical and tactical problems should be required reading for American military officers.  He defied bureaucracy at every turn, always striving to tackle every obstacle. He dedicated his life to not only leading soldiers, but taking care of his soldiers.  And above all else, General Pershing believed in a stringent code of conduct for all soldiers to follow.  He was not a ruthless killer; he was an American soldier dedicated to serving and protecting America.

General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing is an American hero worth remembering.

I intend to write more about General Pershing in future posts, because we could all learn a great deal about what selfless service means, by studying his leadership example.

President Trump is not the only American to fall for internet myths, fake news, garbled history, fabrications, hoaxes and scams.  Almost everyone who consumes news and information online has fallen for information, that was not true.  For instance, I read news at the Conservative Treehouse, seeing it mentioned in a list of conservative blogs.  The site uses Breitbart wallpaper, imagery of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Biblical quotes to lure people into believing it’s just a conservative site. I now believe it’s a Russian front operation.  I read some information there a few years ago and was fascinated trying to understand their crowdsourcing method for acquiring information.   Their two big topics were exposing the lies about black violence and Islamist terrorism.  I was banned from their site for trying to post a comment about the Islamic Golden Age, and countering some woman, who claimed I was aiding the enemy and touting Islamists. The historical fact is there really was an Islamic Golden Age and Islamic culture was far more advanced in the sciences than Europe, during that time.  My comment was blocked and I was banned, but they allowed and encouraged racist comments.  That site became Trump Polling Central during the 2016 campaign.

I mentioned my concerns about Drudge in previous posts.   Like millions of other political junkies, I started following Drudge during the Clinton impeachment scandal.  In recent years, Drudge started mainstreaming loon, Alex Jones, by featuring Jones’ stories.  Drudge also sensationalized conspiracy stories, like linking Ted Cruz’ father to JFK’s assassination, to destroy Ted Cruz.   Numerous times he headlined unflattering photos of Trump’s opponents.  On one occasion he headlined photos of Hillary, casting her as decrepit or another occasion, he ran photos of her casting her as a drunk.  The oddest thing I noticed on Drudge during the 2016 election was he removed his link to RedState, which went NeverTrump, from his list of links, and replaced it with Zero Hedge.  I’ve seen numerous articles alleging Zero Hedge is a Russian front operation, that recycles Russia Today propaganda.

The scope of Russian front operations online, their troll armies in comment sections to attack and silence anyone not on the Trump train, melded with Trump’s American sleaze operators, like Roger Stone, Peck at the National Enquirer, Richard Mercer’s Trump data operation, and Trump’s largest agitation propaganda front, Rupert Murdoch’s FOX News.

I know I have fallen for things online that turned out to be untrue, believed sites were reliable news and weren’t, but I am not making critical national security decisions, like President Trump.  I’m a homemaker, who writes a blog.

To improve the quality of the information that the president sees, General Kelly is working to institute policies that assure the president sees only vetted information:

“Confronted with a West Wing that treated policymaking as a free-for-all, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly is instituting a system used by previous administrations to limit internal competition —and to make himself the last word on the material that crosses the president’s desk.

It’s a quiet effort to make Trump conform to White House decision-making norms he’s flouted without making him feel shackled or out of the loop. In a conference call last week, Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide — White House staff secretary Rob Porter, a little-known but highly regarded Rhodes Scholar who overlapped with Jared Kushner as an undergraduate at Harvard — will review all documents that cross the Resolute Desk.”
Kelly moves to control the information Trump sees

President Trump has shown a preference for relying on word-of-mouth information from his friends and sycophants. General Kelly is trying to provide President Trump with fully vetted information, to aid in the president’s decision-making.  Whether he succeeds at weaning Trump off his penchant for trusting in unvetted internet stories remains to be seen. President Trump believes the American intelligence community, who vets that intelligence information, can’t be trusted, .  It’s worth remembering that several months ago President Trump cited Russian reports as factual to back up his assertions about Russian collusion.  He relied on Russian reports, but believes the American intelligence community is the nefarious “Deep State” out to get him.

Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent, whose identity was leaked several years ago, has initiated a crowdsourcing effort to raise money to buy Twitter and kick President Trump off of Twitter.  This is a ridiculous and pointless effort.  He has the bully pulpit  of the presidency and has endless ways to get his message across.  Beyond that, although I believe it would be better for the country if President Trump got off of Twitter, he is free to make that decision himself.  He obviously believes that his tweet war against the media is helping him “win”.  He deliberately tweets to incite the media and his political enemies, who without fail, rush into a spinning frenzy of moral outrage and retweeting rushed stories, many which fall apart quickly.  This aids him in convincing his followers that he is a victim of a vast conspiracy.

Every time he gets the media and his political enemies to overreact, he feels that is a win. Contrary to President Trump’s assertion that he likes to get the facts, he goes on instinct rather than a careful study of facts and he is very sloppy at presenting detailed information.  None of that matters, because Roger Stone and the other sleazy political strategists behind President Trump came up with his strategy to win in 2016 and they are behind this MAGA 2.0 strategy.  Trump doesn’t understand the details, but he is masterful at the stagecraft and acting the part of a populist flamethrower.

There will be plenty more scorched earth attacks on Trump’s enemies – the media, Republicans, Democrats, or anyone who gets in the way of the Trump train agitation propaganda blitzkrieg.  Roger Stone is back to issuing veiled threats of violence and blood in the streets, to intimidate Republicans into submission again:

“But if the president is impeached, Stone says, there could be disastrous repercussions.

“You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen!” Stone warned. “Both sides are heavily armed.”

“This is not 1974,” Stone explained. “The people will not stand for impeachment.” This, of course, refers to Richard Nixon‘s resignation after the Watergate scandal. Stone worked in the Nixon administration in the Office of Economic Opportunity.

Stone didn’t just predict violence among the public. He said that those in Washington who would support impeachment would be placing themselves at risk.

“A politician who votes for it would be endangering their own life,” he said.

“I’m not advocating violence,” he clarified, “but I’m predicting it.””

https://lawnewz.com/video/roger-stone-anyone-who-votes-for-impeachment-would-be-endangering-their-own-life/

These Trump train thugs, like Stone, want more violence, they especially want the crazies on the left  and right to get more violent.  Most of all they want to intimidate, by using fear.  President Trump will be out there stirring up his base, along with his FOX News army of propagandists, telling Americans that Trump will not put up with violence and he will be tough on crime.

The best defense against Trump train intimidation and fear mongering is to not be afraid.  Don’t back down from threats of violence.  Unite in encouraging civil debate, calm, respect for all Americans and most of all respect for the rule of law.

We should all work tirelessly to pull all Americans away from the partisan extremes.

In the end America’s future does not rest on General Kelly’s ability to rein in Trump, or the media reporting, or getting Trump off of Twitter; it will rest on who the American people choose to trust and follow.

All leadership boils down to trust.

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Filed under American Character, American History, Culture Wars, General Interest, Military, Politics, The Media

Trump launches MAGA 2.0 campaign

President Trump began his reinvigorated Make America Great Again 2.o propaganda campaign this week.  It’s sure to be more vicious than the 2016 campaign.

President Trump does have a strategy to defeat his political enemies, using mass media manipulation, but it is one that will further divide the country and lead to more violence in the streets.  He wants that violence in the street by Leftists, so he can rally for crackdowns and solidify his support for “tough” law enforcement.  Last night’s Phoenix rally, where he shamelessly lied about his Charlottesville statements, glaringly omitting his “many sides” equivocation, juxtaposed to his using the backdrop of Fort Myers and an audience of soldiers for his “acting presidential” speech, the night before, was just a prelude to his new and invigorated campaign to destroy his enemies.

He wants to bolster his support among soldiers.  He wants to rally support among the military using the generals around him, so expect to see him use more military backdrops for appearances, where he can cheer on the troops and tell them he is with them.  The US military is a captive audience to any president.  They can’t disrespect the commander-in-chief.

He wants the media and his political enemies to attack him.

Igniting racial strife over divisive racial issues, is part of his plan.  Expect to see more black pundits popping up on FOX and other Trump media fronts.  His media operation is using black pundits and black people in memes to convince people he’s not racist and to try and counter the fall-out from his Charlottesville comments. Memes with black people supporting Trump over his Charlottesville comments are already circulating on facebook – using the same equivocation Trump used.   I expect his online troll armies to return in force too.

I hope the generals in his administration stay, to work to persuade the president from his loose cannon tendencies and the last thing America needs is more Bannon/Gorka types nearby egging on this president in his “slash and burn insurgency politics”.  Sadly, many Americans don’t read much and think even less.  He will still have a large base of supporters.

President Trump loves to mention the generals around him and he borrows their honor as his own.  I believe he is a coward at heart.  If the president was not a wealthy, pampered, spoiled egotist, he would likely be one of those “stolen valor” scumbags, whom I detest.  His followers look at those generals and believe that if they are supporting him, he must be great.

My son came up with the best historical figure to compare President Trump to –  Peter III, minus the Prussian uniforms. I think there are many similarities in their personalities, except ours is not an idiot and even more concerning is ours has many wealthy backers, understands mass media propaganda and has millions of American citizens, who do not read history, do not think, and who are mindless followers, led by pop culture icons, celebrities and mass media propaganda.

Considering how much Trump can’t stand women making him look small, Peter III is a good comparison, because Peter III was outclassed and outmaneuvered in his power struggle by a woman, his wife, Catherine The Great.  Unlike Trump, she really was a “great” historical figure (one of my favorite female historical figures too).  And unlike Trump, she studied government policy, she read history and she had real leadership skills.  She paid attention to the details.   I doubt America will resurrect any statues to President Trump or call him a “great” leader, once his presidency is over.

President Trump knows exactly what he is doing, he planned that rally and he planned exactly what he was going to say. My son, who came up with the Peter III comparison, and I have had many discussions over the years about The Constitution and one of the things I have often mentioned was that sometimes I think America would be much better with the office of the President being separate from the duties of the commander-in-chief.   The very argument made for a President to be able to act swiftly in a time of crisis was my argument for why, in a nuclear age, we should have the duties of commander-in-chief vested in a person, who has the credentials, military background, resumé and calm temperament to carry out those duties. I would prefer the nuclear codes in the hands of military leaders who have demonstrated their trustworthiness, by decades of dedicated service to our country.  I would prefer an additional office, whereby Congress and the President must confer before using military force, especially a nuclear strike, and then a separate commander-in-chief has responsibility for carrying out those decisions.   Of course, I understand the opposing arguments to my position.

The Founding Fathers trusted that Americans would choose wise, moral leaders.  That trust was misplaced.

After Trump’s 70+ minute rally last night, where he fixated on relitigating his Charlottesville statements, attacked his enemies and went full scorched earth, the media reacted as usual – overreaction.  James Clapper went Pelosi about Trump’s mental stability, but that will help Trump.  Trump and all his spinners will spin Clapper as a Democrat hack, which to a large extent – he is.

Not engaging with Trump or Trump Derangement hysteria and avoiding escalation in rhetoric is probably the best course of action – ignore his efforts to incitement.  Speak to unity and calming people down. Ignoring him, dismissing him or treating him like a child throwing a tantrum is probably the best course.  I doubt the media or the Left will do that.

During the Obama administration, due to his political ideology, I did not trust President Obama’s judgment on military matters.   I don’t trust President Trump’s temperament when making decisions.  However, I do agree with President Trump’s new strategy on Afghanistan and I am glad he listened to the generals around him.  The risks to national security with pulling out and handing Afghanistan to the jihadists are far greater than staying.  Like many complex geopolitical issues, there are no easy solutions for the larger civilizational challenge of the rise of Islamic imperialism, Islamic radicalism, or whatever term you choose to use for this phenomenon, by a segment of Islamic world,  rejecting modernity and embracing terrorism and religious extremism.  We can’t decide the Islamic world’s future, but we must do what we can to protect American national security interests, at home and abroad, no matter how long it takes.

Americans, at the ballot box, decided our future was better getting behind President Trump rather than Hillary Clinton.  I left the top of my ballot blank in 2016.  I still believe both were choices I could never support.

The most important thing all Americans can do is support The Constitution.

The #Resist movement set out to overturn a legitimate election before President Trump’s inauguration.   That movement will gain many more supporters, as Trump ramps up his scorched earth campaign against the media, the Left, Republicans in Congress and anyone who crosses him.  The calls for impeachment or using the 25th Amendment mechanism to remove him from office will grow.

I don’t support impeaching him or removing him from office, unless there are solid grounds to do so.  Watching his reprehensible attacks on people, the vicious name-calling, the bold-faced lying and shameless manipulation, I wonder when he will cross the line for many of his followers?  Many religious leaders still sit idly by his side, as he engages in his petty name-calling and lying.   They still support him and praise him as a “great” leader.  Sadly, I believe that many of his followers are so trapped in binary thinking and rabid partisanship, that they would follow him, even if he did shoot someone on 5th Avenue.   I suspect many of them would rationalize that the person deserved it.

America is in for a very rocky 3.5 years.

I expect a lot more violence.

Once the smouldering ashes from President Trump’s campaign to “Make America Great Again 2.0” die out,  I hope Americans can find a way back to being the United States of America.

 

 

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Trump planned that press conference

How leaders operate is crucial to building a strong team.

Last week, President Trump went out and issued threats against North Korea and Venezuela, while his staff was left, once again, doing damage control.

One of the constant leaks from this White House staff is that President Trump went off message or “went rogue”.  Yesterday was another one of those days, with his press conference.

Immediately following that press conference, many reporters were reporting on their WH sources telling them that the President’s comments were not in the prepared speech.

However, President Trump did not go out there and just lose it.  He planned to do exactly what he did.  That is obvious.

Watching how Trump operates from the beginning of his campaign, yesterday was exactly how he plans his attacks on his enemies.  So let’s analyze the Trump modus operandi, in my typical LB timeline fashion:

Saturday, August 12, 2017:  President Trump issued a statement on the deadly violence in Charlottesville. His choice of words drew heavy condemnation.

Sunday, August 13, 2017:  The media backlash and demands that President Trump come out and condemn alt-right, neo-nazis and white supremacists grew.

Monday, August 14, 2017: President Trump issued a stronger statement on Charlottesville, sticking to prepared statements and reading from a teleprompter.  There was still a lot of criticism that the remarks weren’t strong enough and in the afternoon, the president tweeted:

Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the News Media will never be satisfied…truly bad people!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017:  President Trump, at a press conference that was supposed to be on infrastructure, engaged in a back and forth verbal battle with the media.

Yesterday morning, before his press conference, President Trump retweeted 2 tweets.  One was from an alt-right figure, Jack Posobiec about “Meanwhile: 39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?”, linking to a news story.  The other tweet was a cartoon of a Trump train running over CNN.  That cartoon tweet was quickly removed.

Watching General Kelly, the new chief of staff, during yesterday’s press conference, it was obvious he was not expecting the president to “go rogue”.

I suspect others around the president were fully aware that the president was going to come out fighting – he sent the signal to his alt-right followers on Twitter in the morning with that cartoon and Posobiec retweet.

Last night FOX News was in full Trumpathon mode.  They are part of the Trump propaganda circle.

I expect some in Trump’s circle of sleazes were in on the planning, but his own chief of staff was left out of the loop.  The WH staffers, who were caught unaware, were not in the loop.  He undercut most of his staff, who were urging him to act presidential and befitting the office.

Ann Coulter was gleeful last night on Twitter about Trump being back “fighting”.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017:  The media reported Trump will be in Arizona next week for another rally – to keep the agitation propaganda going.  The media reported the White House ordered the Republicans to get behind the President.

During the “GOP Insurgency”, Trump did not bother with details or policy,  but he came with his pockets loaded down with dirt to throw and vicious, petty name-calling.  He walked into that presser prepared to say exactly what he said and the FOX News agitation propaganda blitz, to back him up, was planned in advance too.  President Trump’s media collusion with FOX News is just as corrupt as the Left’s.

This is how he operates – classic Trump.

PS:  The American people should want to know who the president really listens to!

 

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We can all be duped by demagogues

Soul-searching is something we all should do sometimes.

Long ago, I used to be an inveterate channel-flipper watching cable news and when there was some breaking news event, I would flip between the cable news networks and also ABC, NBC, and CBS.  It was a habit I developed in October of 1983.  I was almost 7 months pregnant with my second child and my husband had deployed to Grenada.  Then there was the news void during the first couple days.  I was anxiously hoping for some news.

From that channel-flipping news habit, I started watching all the TV pundits on TV, even the ones I disagreed with on almost every issue.  Back then I would listen to those with views diametrically opposed to my own and I was open to finding small points with which I agreed.

Over the years and with the advent of the internet, my news consumption changed, as I began to get more and more news online and much less from TV.  I think I did what most Americans do – when it comes to political commentary and opinion, I began to go to mostly websites where the views fit my own political viewpoints.  When I did read opinions from liberal writers, I read it looking for ways to counter their arguments, rather than seriously consider them.

President George W. Bush became akin to Hitler in the liberal punditry echo chamber. The election of President Bush followed not only a contentious election, but also the Clinton impeachment, which left American partisans deeply angry and divided.  Just as the mainstream media worked to feed the Bush Derangement Syndrome, FOX News played an outsized role in the constant stream of anti-Obama reporting.  That is the truth.

I disagreed with President Obama on most political issues and he turned me off early with his condescending comment about rural Pennsylvanians “clinging to their guns and religion” comment.  My childhood roots are in rural PA soil.  I also started watching mostly FOX News, when I turned on TV news, because the CNN and MSNBC Obama lovefest had turned me off quickly.

It didn’t take much for me to believe the worst of President Obama, because the Obama administration started talking about their “narratives”, which were concocted stories of events, often “evolving narratives” they hadn’t completely fabricated yet,  and it reminded me of the Clinton “spin”, which was talking points (lies), they colluded with their friends in the media to spread.  Often, the Obama narratives were quickly exposed as being untruthful, just like the Clinton spin.  These untruths fed the right-wing news and punditry information bubble and provided the base for a constant stream of whataboutism and paranoid distrust of President Obama.  The liberal media and punditry do the same thing and in their bubble of whataboutism and paranoia, conservatives are all haters and might be closet Timothy McVeigh wannabes.

I remember when FOX News brought on Glenn Beck and he was busily pointing out all the dangerous Obama administration connections to other dastardly doings and devious leftist demons, with his ever-widening conspiracy circles on his chalkboard.   Beck was entertaining with his presentation, but as I would try to actually connect the dots from many of his shows, I began to suspect he was a con man and something, besides his extremely bizarre emotional outbursts,  seemed very off to me.  Those circles never really connected.

Beck became too controversial and left FOX news and began his online show.  I subscribed and kept watching, trying to figure out what his real game was.  It was like watching a magician who does really amazing card tricks and trying to find out how.  He had on many guests whom I liked and he spouted enough right-wing views to keep me watching.  I still wasn’t 100% convinced he was a total con man and I still listened to him.

One day, I watched his show, where it finally clicked in my mind that his act is all fake. Long before I came to that conclusion I kept wondering about the commercials he ran on his show – the seed bank/build the bunker stuff, the guns, guns, guns, and the people in these ads seemed like total grifters.

The day it all clicked in my mind that he really is a con artist he had some man promoting a haven of American patriot bliss in Idaho on as his guest.  It was a ponzi scheme and Glenn Beck gave this man a platform to dupe people.  That Beck guest, an obvious con man, was selling an imaginary gated community, The Citadel, using American patriotism as a lure, just like Beck.  His gated community existed only as some online scam, where people could send monthly payments for the “collective” to buy land for the community.   He sold this as a place for American patriots to find like-minded people, united by their belief in patriotism, liberty, pride in American exceptionalism and preparedness.

Beck gave this con artist a platform, an audience and credibility to scam people.

I unsubscribed from his online show, but I still ask myself, why I listened to him for so long, despite the uneasiness I had with so much about him.  The answer, I think, is because he was feeding my fears and distrust of President Obama, but he was also carefully couching everything in Tea Party patriotic rhetoric.  I have always loved reading about the American Revolution, the founding fathers, and long before Beck came along with his Being George Washington, in fact since my early teens, I have been captivated by George Washington.

Many people on the right, myself included, lamented how so many on the Left fell for President Obama’s soaring oratory and we mocked Chris Matthews’ rapturous fawning that he felt a tingle up his leg, when Obama spoke.  We asked ourselves, “Why don’t these people see through his demagoguery?”  Then along came Donald Trump with his rousing rallies, flag-waving, get tough on law enforcement – “Make America Great Again”.

During the 2016 campaign, Glenn Beck was against President Trump and supporting Ted Cruz, but his bizarre, on his knees praying antics, actually hurt Ted Cruz.

I don’t have the answers to the scope of the media efforts to deceive Americans, but American news, across the board, has become a partisan wasteland, where tweeting poorly vetted news stories leads to viral stories spreading, long before anyone has even fact-checked the information.

The aftermath of both political parties choosing completely corrupt candidates, who lie constantly and engage in ruthless, scorched earth information war has left America an easy target for hostile disinformation efforts.  The 2016 campaign wasn’t just about the dangers of Russian influence.  It sure seems to me that the American cable news media and most of the other news media turned into total disinformation operations too.

We have a president who is really jazzed about waging information war against the mainstream media, FOX News spreading Trump disinformation 24/7 and most of America’s other journalists and political pundits hanging out on Twitter retweeting each other’s “hot takes”.  Most of them are liberal, most of them supported Hillary, most of them loathe Trump and most of them are click happy about retweeting any negative Trump story, without thorough fact-checking.   In February, even the Washington Post  fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, retweeted the fake racist Fred Trump campaign ad video, without fact-checking it.

Trying to ascertain facts is harder now than during the news void during Grenada.  In 1983 I trusted the U.S. Army to let me know my husband was okay.  When the news networks started getting news during Grenada – they reported the same things about the events.  Now, there are completely different realities being reported, depending what cable news channel you watch.

With so much disinformation swirling, I know I can’t trust the mainstream media, FOX News, the partisans on both sides and most especially I can’t trust President Trump to tell the truth.

My soul-searching has led me to wonder why I listened to FOX News and many of these “conservative” pundits for so long.  I cringe when I hear these Trump supporters on FOX News selling their “Deep State” conspiracies and character assassinations of honorable men, like Robert Mueller and General McMaster, men who have spent their lives dedicated to serving America.

Demagogues feed our fears and prejudices.  President Obama played to the fears of people who distrust conservatives and believe they are all closet racists.  Beck played to conservatives’ religious and patriotic beliefs, while drawing nefarious Obama conspiracy circles on a chalkboard.  I distrusted President Obama after his “clinging to their guns and religion” remark, so it was easy to feed my fears.  There were also lots of signs of corruption in the Obama administration, lots of mishandled classified information (way beyond just Hillary), lots of information requested by Congressional Oversight Committees that never was turned over.  I suspect there’s a lot of criminal leaking of classified information from former Obama officials going on now.

CNN and MSNBC have been spinning for the Left for decades and their anti-Trump slant is obvious.  I recognized the liberal spin long ago, but I did not recognize the extent of right-wing spin.  What frightens me is how many people watching FOX News completely believe the Trump spin.  They were conditioned since 2015 to alter their belief system and accept that “Trump being Trump” is good, because he’s fighting to “make America great again”.  They were sold that “Trump doesn’t play by the rules” is great too, because  Trump’s fighting to “make America great again”.   Whenever FOX News and Trump supporters have to acknowledge something negative about Trump, it’s always wrapped up in more whataboutism than even Russian propaganda.

Trump mocks the media as “Fake News”, while many in the mainstream media, along with pointing out all the Trump lies, keep churning out highly dubious or grossly misleading information, that Clinton and Obama operatives have leaked to them.

It’s becoming very hard to get to facts, as the pile on continues, because of the speed and amount of disinformation being dumped.  It’s exhausting even trying to keep up with the Trump and media information battles. My fear isn’t just about hostile foreign disinformation efforts, my fear is that this information war between Trump and the media has created a vast, domestic disinformation wasteland.  Discerning facts is harder as the mountain of disinformation (spin) grows and it’s harder to even find the facts buried in the pile of lies.

In Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, a young neo-nazi ran his car into a crowd of people. One young woman died and many others were injured.  Immediately, President Trump tried a whataboutism approach, with his “many sides” comment.  Alt-right and neo-nazis brag that President Trump supports them.  During his campaign,President Trump refused to denounce David Duke, by pretending he didn’t know who David Duke is and what Duke stands for.  His “many sides” comment was a repeat of his David Duke performance.

Whataboutism thrives on binary thinking, where people start believing in the lesser of two evils .  It’s like dealing with children and one child is caught doing something wrong, but he starts pointing out what all the other kids did wrong.  If you start buying into those excuses, you start losing focus about right and wrong.  Whataboutism destroys moral clarity by muddying the water with misdirection and misleading facts.

The 24/7 FOX News and Trump pundits have ramped up Trump damage control, another whataboutism disinformation campaign (the “many sides” evil alt-left and Leftist hate groups), will throw enough misdirection to prop up Trump.  And as a last resort, there will be Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich to remind the right, “at least Trump isn’t Hillary” or “but Gorsuch!”.

The truth is President Trump is a lying demagogue just like Hillary; he even borrowed Hillary’s spin – “it’s all a witch hunt” and the Trump version of the “vast, right-wing conspiracy”  is the omnipresent “Deep State”.

Update in light of President Trump’s press conference this afternoon, where he was using morally relativistic dodges to avoid condemning neo-nazis.   Hillary Clinton used the same lying and demagoguery techniques,  BUT he is the President of the United States and must be held accountable for what he says and does.  He is totally unfit to lead our great nation and a national disgrace.

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Filed under American Character, Corrupt Media Collusion, Culture Wars, General Interest, Politics, Public Corruption, The Media

The Anatomy of Viral News

Here are two stories about the dissemination of stories on the web that are worth a read.  They cover different aspects of how information can go viral.

The first story is about the #FireMcMaster campaign, to get General McMaster fired:

#FireMcMaster, explained

The second story is by Franklin Foer, former editor of the New Republic, writing about his experiences dealing with journalism being driven by garnering clicks, rather than presenting good reporting:

When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism

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