Tag Archives: propaganda

Get to know the ‘de facto president’ Stephen K. Bannon

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 7.57.21 AMThe other day I posited the possibility that “Stephen K. Bannon may be more than just ‘Trump’s Brain.’ It is becoming increasingly evident that he is the ‘power behind the throne’ so to speak, a ‘shadow president’ who is pulling the strings of his puppet. And that should deeply concern all Americans.”  ‘Trump’s brain’, Stephen K. Bannon, elevated to National Security Council.

Shortly thereafter the New York Times in an editorial asked, President Bannon?

Plenty of presidents have had prominent political advisers, and some of those advisers have been suspected of quietly setting policy behind the scenes (recall Karl Rove or, if your memory stretches back far enough, Dick Morris). But we’ve never witnessed a political aide move as brazenly to consolidate power as Stephen Bannon — nor have we seen one do quite so much damage so quickly to his putative boss’s popular standing or pretenses of competence.

Mr. Bannon supercharged Breitbart News as a platform for inciting the alt-right, did the same with the Trump campaign and is now repeating the act with the Trump White House itself. That was perhaps to be expected, though the speed with which President Trump has moved to alienate Mexicans (by declaring they would pay for a border wall), Jews (by disregarding their unique experience of the Holocaust) and Muslims (the ban) has been impressive. Mr. Trump never showed much inclination to reach beyond the minority base of voters that delivered his Electoral College victory, and Mr. Bannon, whose fingerprints were on each of those initiatives, is helping make sure he doesn’t.

But a new executive order, politicizing the process for national security decisions, suggests Mr. Bannon is positioning himself not merely as a Svengali but as the de facto president.

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The media is being played by Trump’s ‘executive orders’

Last week there was a blizzard of “executive orders,” mostly hatched by White House political director Stephen K. Bannon’s team and the White House policy adviser, Stephen Miller, aimed at disorienting the “enemy” — the mainstream media — and fulfilling campaign promises, or at least creating the appearance of fulfilling campaign promises, designed for consumption by the conservative media entertainment complex.

As the Washington Post’s conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin notes, Trump’s base-pleasing antics create firestorm:

This was a campaign stunt turned into a cruel and destructive [Muslim travel ban] policy with no forethought or planning. (“Coming in the late hours of Friday, and with little apparent consultation with other agencies and groups prior to its publication, the order created havoc and confusion among those tasked with overseeing entry into the country.”) The ban goes so far as to include green card holders. [The Trump administration is now trying to walk this back.]

The sheer recklessness and lack of planning should be deeply disturbing. Those closest to Trump seem oblivious to the fact that they are no longer just putting out white papers to please anti-immigrant fringe groups as they did in the campaign.

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We see here a perfect demonstration of what happens when demagogues, with no experience in the White House and no input from serious professionals, take a dubious campaign promise and instantly turn it into policy. (Rex Tillerson, if he had a hand in this, should not be confirmed as secretary of state; if he was excluded, he might rethink his participation in the administration.) Anti-immigrant zealots close to Trump (Stephen K. Bannon, Stephen Miller) have zero understanding of the international ramifications of their irrational and unnecessary schemes (both regarding the wall and on immigration). If Trump is to avoid becoming a failed president and doing immense harm to the country even before he gives his first State of the Union address, he should banish the ignoramuses and find some qualified help.

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Trump’s first act as president: declare war on the media and the truth

On his first full day in office, the always insecure egomaniac Twitter-Troll-in-Chief declared war on the media, and the truth. With False Claims, Trump Attacks Media on Turnout and Intelligence Rift:

President Trump used his first full day in office on Saturday to unleash a remarkably bitter attack on the news media, falsely accusing journalists of both inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies and deliberately understating the size of his inauguration crowd.

In a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency intended to showcase his support for the intelligence community, Mr. Trump ignored his own repeated public statements criticizing the intelligence community, a group he compared to Nazis just over a week ago.

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He also called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” and he said that up to 1.5 million people had attended his inauguration, a claim that photographs disproved.

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 6.40.11 AMAn estimated 1.8 million attended President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Crowd scientists estimated that 160,00o people attended Trump’s inauguration.

By the way, the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday also was yuuuge compared to Trump’s puny little crowd. Crowd Scientists Say Women’s March in Washington Had 3 Times More People Than Trump’s Inauguration.

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Donald Trump’s Russian Mob Money Connections

I picked a bad week to get sick again. Lots of crazy stuff coming out of Washington this week.

I don’t have time to get into the unconfirmed “Donald Trump dossier” and his allegedly being compromised by the Russians which blew up his press conference earlier this week. How Russian ‘kompromat’ destroys political opponents, no facts required:

Putin-Trump-KissShort for “compromising material” in Russian, kompromat is all about the intersection of news and blackmail. It’s the ability to sully the reputations of political opponents through hints, images, videos, promises of disclosures, perhaps even some high-quality faked documentation. Sex or pornography often figures prominently. The beauty of kompromat is that it has to create only a sense of doubt, not prove its case conclusively. This sounds a bit like “fake news,” but in a classic kompromat operation, real Russian state media organizations work in tandem with the Kremlin to find appealing and effective ways to discredit the target. Often, that means in the most visceral and personal ways possible.

Now kompromat may have come to the United States.

Arizona’s angry old man, Senator John McCain, managed to get himself entangled in this “Donald Trump dossier” scandal as well, so bonusJohn McCain intrigue grows in Donald Trump dossier affair:

McCain this week confirmed he received the “sensitive information,” which originally was compiled as anti-Trump opposition research during the 2016 GOP primaries and general election, and gave the explosive file to the FBI.

I did what any citizen should do: I received sensitive information, and then I handed it over to the proper agency of government and had nothing else to do with the issue,” McCain told reporters Wednesday.

The FBI apparently was already aware of the memos, or at least most of them. The memos became news this week when CNN reported that intelligence officials had given Trump a summary of the allegations. The website BuzzFeed subsequently published the memos.

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Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona, part the infinity

I have been posting this continuing series for some time, but now the Arizona Republic wants in on my meme. “As a new legislative session is set to start in Arizona, a cautionary tale comes from Kansas, where deep tax cuts have resulted in steep budget cuts and anemic job growth.” A warning to Arizona on income-tax cuts: ‘Don’t do what Kansas did’:

DorothyThe “Kansas experiment” of eliminating the income tax is a failure that Arizona would be wise to avoid, participants at the launch of a new economic-policy think tank were told Thursday.

“The moral of our story is ‘Don’t do what Kansas did,'” said Duane Goossen, who ran the Kansas state budget office for 12 years. The result of eliminating the income tax on small business and chopping down the income-tax rate has been disastrous, he said.

“It’s a Dumpster fire, it’s a real crisis,” said Goossen, who came to Arizona to help kick off the opening of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress.

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‘Dear Leader’ Donald Trump’s big reveal on Russian hacking – Julian Assange?

So THIS is supposed to be “Dear Leader” Donald Trump’s big reveal about Russian hacking?

Trump fluffer Sean Hannity interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last night on “Hannity.” Assange insisted the Russian government was not his source for the hacked emails he released from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Sean Hannity Declared Reports That The US Has 17 Intelligence Agencies “Fake News”. “We don’t have 17 intelligence agencies, so now we’ve got ‘fake news’ stories to bolster the claim of the president and the Democrats losing the election.” Right-Wing Media Are Using The Term “Fake News” To Attack Credible News Sources.

“Has WikiLeaks become a laundering machine for compromising material gathered by Russian spies? And more broadly, what precisely is the relationship between Mr. Assange and Mr. Putin’s Kremlin?” How Russia Often Benefits When Julian Assange Reveals the West’s Secrets. “[A] New York Times examination of WikiLeaks’ activities during Mr. Assange’s years in exile found a pattern: Whether by conviction, convenience or coincidence, WikiLeaks’ document releases, along with many of Mr. Assange’s statements, have often benefited Russia, at the expense of the West.”

And here we have Sean Hannity advancing a Russian disinformation campaign in the post-truth fact-free world of FAUX News.

GOP_BubbleThis is how the mighty Wurlitzer of the right-wing propaganda machine works, creating Epistemic closure and the ‘conservative misinformation feedback loop’ media bubble.

Trump Quotes Assange, Says WikiLeaks Did Not Get Emails From Russia:

Mr. Assange appeared on Fox News on Tuesday night with Sean Hannity, one of Mr. Trump’s biggest media boosters, to declare once again that the Russians were not the source of the purloined emails that WikiLeaks released from the Democratic National Committee and the personal account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

Mr. Trump followed that appearance with a series of Twitter posts on Wednesday that appear to be preparing his followers for battle once more information on intelligence findings is released, likely by Thursday.

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