Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What is "real" and WHO decides and polices?

The war over truth is being waged out in the open as various groups vie to shape public opinion in the new Internet public sphere.

Here are several interesting articles that explore this war over truth.

The first article "Russian Propaganda Effort" published in the Washington Post promotes the neoconservative Cold-War 2.0 view that the Russians hacked the American election:

Craig Timberg November 24, 2016. Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say. The Washington Post,

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.  Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.
I've always said that Russians are master propagandists because their winning strategy has been to provide platforms for critical voices that resonate with targeted audiences as authentic, because they are in a sense "organic."

But acknowledging Russian expertise with propaganda does not mean that I believe the Russians hacked the election. Matt Taibbi chastises the Washington Post appropriately, in my opinion, for inflammatory rhetoric:
Matt Taibbi (2016, November 28). The 'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful and Disgusting. The Rolling Stone,

The capital's paper of record crashes legacy media on an iceberg. Last week, a technology reporter for the Washington Post named Craig Timberg ran an incredible story. It has no analog that I can think of in modern times. Headlined "Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say," the piece promotes the work of a shadowy group that smears some 200 alternative news outlets as either knowing or unwitting agents of a foreign power, including popular sites like Truthdig and Naked Capitalism…

…The meat of the story relied on a report by unnamed analysts from a single mysterious "organization" called PropOrNot – we don't know if it's one person or, as it claims, over 30 – a "group" that seems to have been in existence for just a few months.  It was PropOrNot's report that identified what it calls "the list" of 200 offending sites. Outlets as diverse as, and the Ron Paul Institute were described as either knowingly directed by Russian intelligence, or "useful idiots" who unwittingly did the bidding of foreign masters.

Forget that the Post offered no information about the "PropOrNot" group beyond that they were "a collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds." Forget also that the group offered zero concrete evidence of coordination with Russian intelligence agencies, even offering this remarkable disclaimer about its analytic methods
The battle over the truth of the election is waged while newly elected Trump promises to cut social services and public education in a not-so-veiled attack against the very people who elected him.

Trump's authoritarian turn - not a good time to burn the flag people - coincides with more overt efforts to police truth by American companies:
Mike Isaac. November 22, 2016. Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool to Get Back Into China. The New York Times,

Inside Facebook, the work to enter China runs far deeper. The social network has quietly developed software to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas, according to three current and former Facebook employees, who asked for anonymity because the tool is confidential. The feature was created to help Facebook get into China, a market where the social network has been blocked, these people said. Mr. Zuckerberg has supported and defended the effort, the people added.

Facebook has restricted content in other countries before, such as Pakistan, Russia and Turkey, in keeping with the typical practice of American internet companies that generally comply with government requests to block certain content after it is posted. Facebook blocked roughly 55,000 pieces of content in about 20 countries between July 2015 and December 2015, for example. But the new feature takes that a step further by preventing content from appearing in feeds in China in the first place.

Facebook does not intend to suppress the posts itself. Instead, it would offer the software to enable a third party — in this case, most likely a partner Chinese company — to monitor popular stories and topics that bubble up as users share them across the social network, the people said. Facebook’s partner would then have full control to decide whether those posts should show up in users’ feeds.

The current and former Facebook employees caution that the software is one of many ideas the company has discussed with respect to entering China and, like many experiments inside Facebook, it may never see the light of day
One has to wonder what forms of censorship and propaganda warfare are being deployed by companies operating in the US? 

Of course, we all know that every blog post, every comment, every tracking cookie is recorded somewhere in Utah in vast servers that promise to map the passage of every Internet electron.

Intrusive surveillance and excessive policing are the way of the future unless rapid change occurs. Unfortunately, the change that Trump is delivering will only accelerate that course:
Are Trump's Plans to Expand Obama's Surveillance State & Activate Muslim Registry Unconstitutional? Democracy Now
In the near-term future, the war over truth will go underground as "mass media" once again is monopolized by the few, for the few. The public sphere created by the Internet will have been policed into conformity around truths that promote the interests of those few.


  1. Eight years ago at this time the air was filled with optimism and positive thought after Obama was elected. He would have a Democrat House and Senate. Wonderful things were about to happen. And then Cast Lead occurred and Obama was silent. I regarded that as a very bad omen which it was. And then two years passed and Obama did virtually nothing. Free phones but no shovel ready jobs. It was a joke. Now the new American Hitler? All kinds of terrible things wait impatiently behind a door to spring out and begin devouring the poor, illegal aliens and perhaps welfare recipients . . . what "shaggy beast" is making its way towards Washington,D.C.?
    We live still in the time of ever upward and onward though it looks more like continuously downward. I strongly suspect that our historians have laid out a very misleading history that makes us look like the advanced beings when we are really in a long period of decadence and degeneration. Not once during the long presidential campaign was Fukushima or nuclear power plants mentioned; or GMO's. Whenever there is money to be made then the human consequences are set aside. I think our distant ancestors were more humane. We are a very externalized community of humans. Everything including happiness is out there. If CNN told people to jump off their roofs would they do so? I am actually fond of Russia which I see as a more advanced peoples. I did not detect any sly Russian influence creeping into the elections. I think Putin would have forbade it. As the X-Files liked to say the truth is out there as well as in there. I went for years without reading magazines or newspapers or taking in the radio or TV . . .I would occasionally catch a headline or overhear a conversation. And yet I never lost track of where things were going. It was an experiment that I found very rewarding and kept doing it for a very long time. Once in a while I might hear Reagan's voice or George H. W., voices I found very unpleasant because they were lying. I still distinctly remember how George H W pronounced Saddam Husein's name. It meant hate that man. Clinton was no better. Nor the next Bush nor Obama. Obama is really the classical psychopathic liar and in his own way as good as Hillary at deceiving. Now for a while it is Jill Stein. And for a while it was Bernie Sanders. I guess they do not know that when a person lies it effects the vocal cords . . . I wonder what people who coach singers hear? We will have to see with Trump.

  2. In an effort to define liberal I will try an ostensive definition. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Valery Jarrett, and perhaps Nancy Pelosi. The fore going are liberals, Democrats. MSM regularly refers to California as a progressive state. Jill Stein and the Green Party are progressive which I take to be a kind of liberal. Now my question is why would I want to identify with these people or hang on their words? Or say move to California where I could emerge myself in progressive thought and feeling? [As you may have read CA will now tax cow gas, farts and belches, in an effort to stay global warming!] I do not wish to offend anyone but there is nothing attractive about these people and poor California seems enslaved by the human population. I have spent time for months now trying to figure out what liberal means and what progressive means. Wikipedia is worthless for this. We could say universities are liberal. Not much help there either as professors who put something on their FB get fired even though they have tenure. Liberals promote PC which I find despicable and which really impedes conversation with so many trigger
    words now. The safe space people desire should be found inside themselves and not in a room with the door barred. Well, flee to these rooms all ye that are burdened and heavily laden. I think one needs a very strong, robust sense of humor to engage in politics.

  3. Nothing is real in american politics anymore except maybe Jill stein. Most are conquered or duped. Half or more of america will be dying in the streets, or incarcerated in some form soon. Hope of a free america is gone.

    1. Where are you getting your information? Your position is extreme in my opinion. As for Jill Stein she seems to epitomize what is fake. In any case I am sure you are a long way from being in her elite class. She would automatically consign you to the ignorant masses who need to be led around by the intellectual elite. I could be wrong but she seems to have quite a big ego and thinks very highly of herself. Do you remember where Hillary in her speech to the bankers said she had a Private as well as a Public position? Jill Stein's private position is apparently hidden from you. You might want to look into that. Meanwhile you seem to be agitating yourself and others for no good reason. Take it easy.

    2. Screw you. Moron

  4. Good cop bad cop and captured media games played in the huge Orwellian nightmare called the united states. Trump gets elected will not prosecute Clinton. Trump the new strongmans megaduplicitous and even more ruthless convoluted propaganda machine takes over. The baton gets handed to the even more insidious despicable regime. It is all the same.
    The democorp candidates machinations and propaganda overwhelmed by a repuclicorp coup. The grand theatrical production moves forward. The Washington post has always been a propaganda organ.

    When strongman trump consolidates his power he can use the Washington post blacklist to shutdown news sites he doesn't like . Opednews for example. Completely ruthless and twisted manipulations for the proles entertainment and self enslavement.

  5. "Cuban dictator Fidel Castro reportedly left behind millions in private mansions, yachts, private islands, and even a personal cheese factory. While the Castro family has imposed a mandatory nine-day mourning period over Cuba, questions remain as to who will inherit the head of state’s fortune.
    While fellow communists and assorted global leftist elites are using the occasion of his death to praise Fidel Castro as a hero of the poor, reports from both defectors within Castro’s world and journalists using publicly available information have estimated the Castro family fortune to be in the millions. The closest realistic number estimating Castro’s net worth appeared in the magazine Forbes in 2006, whose research found that Castro was hiding a $900 million fortune from his starving people." --Breitbart
    The above is an example of why I think we have to be careful when someone comes along who has taught at the Harvard Medical School, who is clearly affluent, and praises someone like Fidel Castro. That is not to say that Fidel never did anything good. He probably did. But he also indulged in some self aggrandizement and his reign certainly had its brutal side.
    I think Jill Stein's praise of Castro gives us an insight into her private position. It is a luxury people with high status have but which most people can not afford.
    Bernie Sanders is already telling the 1000 workers who will not lose their jobs that they should have because it may have consequences down the road that are undesirable. Well, Bernie has a good job and no children to raise, so he is safe from financial want. Who can argue against possible bad consequences?

  6. Who cares what a propagandist spook thinks. Self absorbed little psychopath. Little thing does not really believe in democracy. Maybe it will track people down and tell them how to think at the point of a gun. Not content . Has to lie and beat people over the head with its lies and smuggeries

  7. Anonymous: I have some extra time now and am attempting to translate you comments into common English. Who is the propagandist spook? Who is the little psychopath? How much do you know about psychopaths? I assume it is one person who does not believe in Democracy. You remind me of Golam talking to himself. Nations can not be democracies; even the Quakers have problems being democratic in their decisions. Nations are either benevolent oligarchies or malevolent ones--or some mixture. They can have a democratic element like voting but look what a mess it has been this year. A mob is a democratic group destroying property and perhaps lynching someone.

  8. Has to urn everything into a fascist echo chamber


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