Tag Archives: propaganda

Free speech is not absolute, it comes with consequences and accountability

Social media platforms such as Apple, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify and other companies removed or banned the truly vile Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory mongering Infowars from their platforms over the past week or so.

In recent years, Conservatives Have Weaponized the First Amendment:

A new analysis prepared for The New York Times found that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been far more likely to embrace free-speech arguments concerning conservative speech than liberal speech. That is a sharp break from earlier eras.

As a result, liberals who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them.

“The left was once not just on board but leading in supporting the broadest First Amendment protections,” said Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment lawyer and a supporter of broad free-speech rights. “Now the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.”

Many on the left have traded an absolutist commitment to free speech for one sensitive to the harms it can inflict.

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Dear Nancy Pelosi: take away the GOP’s favorite toy to win in November

The top three Democratic leaders in the House are in their late 70s. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi is 77 years old, Democratic whip Steny Hoyer is 78 and assistant minority leader Jim Clyburn is 77 years old. The Democratic Party has an age problem. On the Senate side, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is 66.

The current Democratic top contenders for 2020 are Vice President Joe Biden, 75, Bernie Sanders, 76, and Elizabeth Warren, 69.

Miles Mogulescu snarkily, but accurately noted at the Huffington Post, Democratic Leadership Looks Like Old Soviet Politburo:

What does a professional sports team do after 6 straight losing seasons? Among other things, it usually fires the coach and looks for new blood, new leadership, and new strategies.

But not if you’re the minority House and Senate democratic leadership… Or the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party shortly before the collapse of communism.

Instead, the failed, and increasingly geriatric leadership holds onto its fading power with increasing tenacity.

I’m sorry, but NO. It’s time to thank them for their years of dedicated service to their country and give them their gold watch and retirement party. To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, it is “time to pass the torch to a new generation” of Democratic leadership in the Congress.

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Debate: Should the media cover Trump rallies or not?

There is an interesting debate developing about how the media should cover demagogue Donald Trump’s “hillbilly Nuremberg rallies” (h/t Bill Maher) in which he encourages his lunatic Qanon supporters to attack the media covering his events in Stalinist terms, as “the enemy of the people.” Trump’s rally rhetoric is going to get somebody killed.

As frequently as Trump attacks the media as “fake news,” he needs the media in the room to use them as a foil for his incitements to hatred among his sycophant supporters. His supporters, in turn, are seeking their 15 minutes of fame by participating in attacks on the media, as they did last week with CNN’s Jim Acosta.

Trump is a master of manipulating the media. The media cover his rallies like people watch NASCAR racing for the crashes — they are there for the sickening event to see what crazy shit might happen. The media has allowed Trump to create a reality TV show presidency.

I caught a segment of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell last week in which Republican strategist Mike Murphy suggested that the media stop providing coverage of these Trump rallies to deprive him of the oxygen he needs. Send just one AP pool reporter and a photographer to cover his rallies so that Trump is denied the bank of cameras and the pen of reporters that he can use as a foil, and potentially put their safety genuinely at risk.

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Can we officially call it a constitutional crisis now? (Updated)

Donald Trump “went there” this morning on the Special Counsel’s Russia probe.

Trump is, once again, setting up Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to be the fall guy by signaling he is now ready to pull a Nixonian “Saturday night massacre” if the Attorney General does not do as he is directed by the president, a clear violation of the independence of the Department of Justice from undue influence over criminal investigations by the chief executive. With Robert Mueller closing in, Trump is in a panic and is abusing the powers of the presidency to obstruct justice in order to protect himself.

Chris Cillizza at CNN reports, Donald Trump just tweeted something new about the Russia investigation — and it’s huge:

President Donald Trump has made his displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, special counsel Robert Mueller and the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election he is leading crystal clear over the past year. But he took that critique to new heights on Wednesday morning, suggesting that Sessions needed to step in and end the investigation.

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That seems like a pretty clear directive, no?

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The ‘Deplorables’ take a turn to the truly disturbing and dangerous

For Star Trek fans, “Q” is a recurring character portrayed by John de Lancie in the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager series. The name “Q” applies to the names of the individuals portrayed (all “male” and “female” characters refer to each other as “Q”), it also applies to the name of their race and to the Q Continuum itself – an alternate dimension accessible to only the Q and their “invited” guests.

This is not about this “Q.”

This is about the dark web racist conspiracy theorists of the alt-right and the Christian Nationalists and Dominionists who collectively generate the “QAnon” conspiracy theory in the dark recesses of the Internet.

They are also worshipers in the personality cult of Donald Trump. These are some truly disturbed individuals who are now openly showing up at Trump rallies. These disturbed individuals will make you long for the run of the mill racist Deplorables from 2016. These disturbing individuals are dangerous.

The Washington Post reports, ‘We are Q’: A deranged conspiracy cult leaps from the Internet to the crowd at Trump’s ‘MAGA’ tour:

On Tuesday evening, the dark recesses of the Internet lit up with talk of politics.

“Tampa rally, live coverage,” wrote “Dan,” posting a link to President Trump’s Tampa speech in a thread on 8chan, an anonymous image board also known as Infinitechan or Infinitychan, which might be best described as the unglued twin of better-known 4chan, a message board already untethered from reality.

The thread invited “requests to Q,” an anonymous user claiming to be a government agent with top security clearance, waging war against the so-called deep state in service to the 45th president. “Q” feeds disciples, or “bakers,” scraps of intelligence, or “bread crumbs,” that they scramble to bake into an understanding of the “storm” — the community’s term, drawn from Trump’s cryptic reference last year to “the calm before the storm” — for the president’s final conquest over elites, globalists and deep-state saboteurs.

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Dezinformatsiya or doublespeak, Donald Trump is Orwellian

Russian asset Donald Trump is fully invested in Papa Joe Stalin’s dezinformatsiya (disinformation) black propaganda. He is turning America into George Orwell’s dystopian vision in 1984.

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars no less — patriots who have served their country honorably in military service — Trump slammed the news media as “fake news” for not upholding his preferred interpretation of the success of his administration. The New York Times reports:

“Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” Mr. Trump said at the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as part of the crowd booed and hissed in the direction of the press corps.

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” the president added.

Winston Smith in 1984 lamented:

The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right.

A spokeswoman for the V.F.W., which is nonpartisan, said in a statement after the event that organizers were “disappointed to hear some of our members boo the press.”

This is the pernicious power of black propaganda — even the minds of patriots can be confused and warped by a dangerous demagogue.

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