Tuesday, March 29, 2016

That Overrated New Yorker Fact-Checking Department

Read at propagandaanalysis.blogspot.com

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Compulsive Liars of FBI Blatantly Lie Again- Media Doesn't Notice

You may recall that for the last month or so, the FBI has been insisting that the only way they can get into the encrypted data on an iPhone used by one of two Islamofascists who committed a massacre in San Bernardino, California, is if the Apple Corporation creates a software program to break its own encryption on the phone. [1]

Well whaddaya know, turns out it's not so. The U.S. Department of "Justice" is dropping its court case to compel Apple to make cracker software for the FBI. The FBI, after a full-court press in the media for a month, claiming that the terrorists were going to destroy "National Security" if Apple didn't submit, said Never Mind. They "found" a company that can do the job. Surprise surprise.

Actually it was always obvious that the FBI could break into the iPhone of the dead killer without forcing Apple to create software that the FBI, contrary to its oh-so-innocent protestations, would then use routinely and in secret to break into the phones of whomever it doesn't like. (People like me. Although I personally don't have an iPhone.) For one thing, there's this outfit called the NSA (National Security Agency) that most certainly already has methods to defeat iPhone security. And the FBI has free access to the NSA's databases and can call on them for assistance. (They just don't want to admit it in open court.)

For another thing, there's an entire industry devoted to data retrieval. Edward Snowden even pointed this out weeks ago. So the FBI is availing itself of the services of a company that specializes in this.

It had already been pointed on tech websites that various means exist to get past the Apple encryption, such as merely copying the contents of the flash storage as many times as needed and trying out password possibilities on the copies until one worked. (That's called a brute force attack.) There was much repetition of the claim that after 10 wrong password attempts, all th date would be deleted and gone forever. Not so, according to some tech experts. The password would be deleted.

The point is, the FBI's original claim was bogus, knowingly false. But the U.S. media will never, ever, point out an FBI lie, no matter how obvious. (The BBC won't either, I've noticed.)

But in the meantime, we were subjected to a month of media attacks on Apple for selfishly putting profits ahead of "National Security" and Protecting the American People from Terrorism. (Funny, I thought corporate profits were the whole point of this system! That's the reason they overthrow governments and slaughter millions of people, to make the world safe for corporate profits.) As part of this propaganda offensive to aid and abet yet another FBI power grab, the media trotted out the usual suspects, giving a platform to various secret police poohbahs and the political enablers of the secret police state. Some of whom you might not have expected in such a role, such as the "progressive" mayor of New York City, that alumnus of the Clinton cabal, Bill "My Deeds Contradict My Words" de Blasio, who scolded Apple and lectured them on the necessity of "protecting" people's "safety" rather than worrying about their image and profits. His hand-picked police Commissioner, Bill "The Velvet Repressor" Bratton, chimed in likewise.

Apple, for self-interested reasons, dug in its heels. Other tech companies verbally backed them. But this is only a defeat for the secret police leviathan in the sense that a grab for still more repressive power was stymied. The principle that corporations have to act as accomplices to the secret police in making cracker software was temporarily staved off. But no legal precedent was set, since the case was dropped. In practice however the secret police still strip all of us naked of any privacy every second of every day. And the tech companies, and especially the phone companies, are still almost fully cooperative with the secret police, as they have been ever since the invention of the telephone. (The telegraph too, for that matter.)

We'll see what repercussions, if any, will be visited on Apple CEO Tim Cook for his effrontery. Remember what happened to the head of Qwest Communications, Joseph Nacchio, when at the beginning of the regime of Bush the Younger, the NSA went around to all the telecoms to tap into their networks illegally. Nacchio said Sure, just show us the warrant. He was the ONLY telecom exec to require a warrant. The NSA said Never Mind, and the next thing that happened was the Federal government found an excuse to indict Nacchio on a insider trading charge and he was socked with a 6 year stretch in prison.

By the way, the NSA was setting up this massive illegal spying in February 2001. That's 7 months before September 11, when agents of the U.S. Deep State, acting on the orders of Richard Cheney, blew up those three buildings at the World Trade Center, which has ever since been used as a justification for every state crime under the sun.

1] The San Bernardino massacre occurred December 2 of last year. The attack was carried out by a married ethnic Pakistani couple, who targeted an office party for the husband's co-workers, killing 14 of them. For details and background on the San Bernardino killers, see "Last Days: Preparing for the apocalypse in San Bernardino," New Yorker, February 22, 2016. For an interesting insight into how extremists go unnoticed by people who know them, see "San Bernardino and the Mechanics of a Double Life," New Yorker, December 16, 2015. This also refutes the demagogues who insist that the Muslim "community" shelters and hides terrorists.We just heard it again from the U.S. demagogues, including Donald Trump and the "talk" radio stormtrooper ranters, saying that the Muslims in Belgium "had to know" the terror suspects were among them. Like everybody knows who's hiding in a given apartment! It's called hiding for a reason.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Still Smearing the Anti-War Movement After All These Years

The spontaneous grassroots movement against the monstrous war on the three Indochinese nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, was one of the noblest occurrences in U.S. history. The power establishment reviled it at he time, simultaneously fearing and hating it. The view of those who rule was- and is- that the proper role of the citizenry is to be docile and obedient and willingly offer themselves up as cannon fodder in whatever imperialist war the masters decided on. It was certainly not to meddle in “policy decisions” made by the Wise Ones, and it was most certainly not to protest such policies. And attempting to reverse those evil policies was regarded as depraved and diabolical. [1]

Lest you think that “elite” attitudes have changed, today on a U.S. government-hosted propaganda show, “Fresh Air,” presented by Terry Gross and aired on the U.S. domestic radio network NPR, one Elaine Kamarck, a minor made member of the U.S. nomenklatura, casually tossed off the following slander with no demurral from the program host; that the anti-war movement “were out rioting” during the 1968 Democratic Party convention in Chicago, Illinois. [2]

Actually, what really happened was “a police riot” that went on for a week! Those are the words of the official government-appointed commission that reviewed the matter! But inconvenient history is routinely tossed down the memory hole and replaced with lies by the U.S. commentariat. The Chicago police, under the rule of the corrupt, iron-fisted political boss Mayor Richard Daley, brutally attacked protesters assembled in a park and on the street, tear-gassed the delegates of the anti-war candidate Senator Eugene McCarthy in their hotel (the CIA had assassinated Robert Kennedy in June, who otherwise would have won the nomination and the election against Nixon), and even punched CBS reporter Dan Rather in the stomach on the convention floor on live television. [3]

But pseudo-scholar Kamarck tells us it was a “riot” by protesters.[4]

Anyway, that cheap shot was just a gratuitous sideswipe. Kamarck was brought on to explain to us how the electoral primary process works. And who better to give an objective explanation than a Hillary Clinton superdelegate, which is what Kamarck is! Kamarck is also the perfect person to tell us why superdelegates are necessary, which she proceeds to do. (Clinton started with over 500 superdelegates before the first primary. It's like a race with one person having a hundred yard- or meter- headstart.)

You see, when the grip of rightwing corporatist party bosses, the kind who are aggressive imperialists, was broken after Senator George McGovern managed to get the party's presidential nomination in 1972, the result was, according to Kamarck, “a lot of uncertainty and chaos.” Chaos! And horror of horrors, machine hack pols weren't going to the convention as delegates! And they were sorely needed as “leaders,” according to both Kamarck and Gross. So in 1982 something called the Hunt Commission was formed, to reempower the machine party hacks. Oh, by the way, Kamarck was a member of the Hunt Commission. Just an irrelevant coincidence. I'm sure it in no way biases her version of history and contemporary politics.

Look, if you're interested in the rest of the Democratic Party establishment propaganda that party machine apparatchik Kamarck spoon-fed to Terry Gross's audience, you can go online and listen to it. Obviously she is not a reliable source for an objective picture of reality.

Kamarck is one of these barnacles who is permanently attached to institutions of power. She was a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where the curriculum can be summed up as How To Rule. Currently she is ensconced at the Brookings Institution, where she is the director of a thing called the “Center for Effective Public Management.” She was a “Senior Policy Advisor” to rightwing Democratic Leadership Council politician Albert Gore when he was vice president under the first (and hopefully only) Clinton regime, and also during his 2000 presidential campaign, which he and the Democratic Party allowed to be stolen by the Gang Of Plunderers (GOP).

Which reminds me of another piece of Democratic Party “history,” namely their canard that Ralph Nader cost Gore the election. Absurd bullshit in so many ways.

Clinton, whose power circle Kamarck belongs to, helped commit much evil as co-president with her husband from January 1993 to January 2001. They helped spur a massive increase in the prison population. They gutted welfare, imposing a 5-year lifetime limit on aid, among other things. When Bill Clinton's war secretary, Les Aspin, wanted to intervene to stop the genocidal ethnic cleansing being carried out by the Serbs, Hillary stopped her. Her political and personal partner Bill is responsible for three mass murders: the killing of thousands in Haiti by Fraph, a CIA-controlled terrorist organization; the deaths of thousands for lack of medicines when Clinton blew up the just-completed first and only pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, pretending it was an “Al-Qaeda biological warfare factory;” and blocking the UN from sending requested reinforcements to the peacekeepers in Rwanda just before the ensuing massacre of hundreds of thousands.

As Obama's Secretary of Sate, Clinton helped protect the Honduran military coup that overthrew the elected president Manuel Zelaya and instituted the current reign of terror, under which hundreds have been murdered, most recently two environmental activists. Clinton brags of her role in legitimizing the coup with a sham election and blocking EU interference in her recent book.

As is obvious from just this brief synopsis of her crimes, Hillary Clinton is evil, and anyone allied with her and helping her in her quest for power, is aiding and abetting evil.

1] Lyndon Johnson literally believed that the anti-war movement was the creation of Moscow, and ordered the CIA to uncover the “links” to prove it. As if millions of Americans were marching in the streets against U.S. barbarism on the command of the Kremlin! This mad conspiracy theory is never ridiculed, whereas establishment polemicists and media hacks regularly ridicule those speaking true facts about the Kennedy assassinations or the demolition of three buildings at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan on September 11 of 2001, for example.

2]The Mind-Boggling Story Of Our Arcane And Convoluted 'Primary Politics',” NPR, “Elections.” As I said, the show is called “Fresh Air,” and is hosted by Terry Gross. The day's segment is described thusly: “Author Elaine Kamarck explains superdelegates, the difference between caucuses and primaries, what happens in a brokered convention and how the rules of primaries can sometimes change.”

Conveniently, NPR and Gross arranged things so you can buy Kamarck's book directly from a link on top of the NPR/Fresh Air program page. In case you still didn't purchase a copy, there's also a link on top of her bio page at Brookings. The book is “Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know about How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates.” So you don't need to think. She'll tell you “everything you need to know.”
Or rather, what she and her ilk want you to believe.

Both the book and Kamarck's and Gross' dog and pony show are junior high school civics class-style propaganda aimed at adults. Apparently one can have cushy career spushing such pablum.

The underlying gimmick of Fresh Air is typical of NPR; appearing to be “thoughtful” and “in depth” and giving off a vaguely liberal odor, while in fact often being quite reactionary. The day before, Gross had on Fred Kaplan, a reactionary who is more subtle than most U.S. reactionaries, the better to brainwash people in his hawkish ideology. Both a militarist and a supporter of police state powers, Kaplan feigns neutrality and objectivity. (Not exactly an original ploy.)

3] National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, aka The Walker Report. The commission was chaired by Milton Eisenhower, brother of former president and general Dwight David Eisenhower. Its over 200 members interviewed more than 1,400 witnesses and reviewed film and FBI documents. Here are excerpts:

“The nature of the [police response] response was unrestrained and indiscriminate police violence on many occasions, particularly at night. That violence was made all the more shocking by the fact that it was often inflicted upon persons who had broken no law, disobeyed no order, made no threat. These included peaceful demonstrators, onlookers, and large numbers of residents who were simply passing through, or happened to live in, the areas where confrontations were occurring.”

“Newsmen and photographers were singled out for assault, and their equipment deliberately damaged. Fundamental police training was ignored; and officers, when on the scene, were often unable to control their men. As one police officer put it: “What happened didn’t have anything to do with police work.”

In other words, standard U.S. police procedure in treating protesters (and bystanders) whose message the power structure despises. Something we've seen many times before and since.

4] Kamarck's bio on the Brookings Institution website presents her thusly:

'Elaine C. Kamarck is a senior fellow in the Governance Studies program at Brookings and the director of the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings. ['Effective Public Management' being a euphemism for How To Rule, like 'governance.'] She is a public sector scholar with wide experience in government, academia and politics. Kamarck is an expert on government innovation and reform [sic! Anti-reform, reaction against reform more like it!] in the United States, OECD countries and developing countries. In addition, she also focuses her research on the presidential nomination system and American politics and has worked in many American presidential campaigns. Kamarck is the author of 'Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know about How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates.'"

She is listed as “Founding Director” of that Center.

Senior Fellow at Brookings, Senior Policy Advisor to Al Gore, past Senior Fellow at the Progressive [sic] Policy Institute, Senior This, Senior That- are there any Junior Fellows at these joints? I've never come across one. Apparently they aren't allowed out in public. (They might upstage the Senior ones, I guess. Can't let that happen.)

Brookings is considered “liberal” in the U.S., even though it is pro-U.S. imperialism and corporatist to its core, simply because it isn't rabidly reactionary like the Heritage Foundation or numerous other propaganda mills are. The business of these propaganda mills is to traffic in “expertise” designed to influence government policy in the desired direction. They are political pressure groups disguised as centers of scholarship. (Brookings website actually uses the .edu suffix, reserved for educational institutions. How presumptuous. You ain't no school, Brookings.)

Elaine C. Kamarck

Don't worry your pretty little heads trying to figure out politics, folks. I'll tell you what to think.

Terry Gross. That's odd, she looks “liberal.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Trump vs. Clinton Means Democrats Once Again Force You To Vote For Them As Lesser Evil

Well, another presidential election, another electoral extortion by the Democrats coming up. Every four years Americans who have decent instincts (and in some cases are politically conscious and non-deranged) have the same choice- Evil or Worse Evil. Vote for imperialism, reductions in government programs that serve human needs, and a more repressive police state, or vote for possibly even more aggressive imperialism (although given the Democrats war record going back to World War I, through Korea, Vietnam, Carter's instigation of the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan and beginning the assault on Nicaragua and sanguinary repression in El Salvador- by the way Carter also increased the military budget 50% in just four years, contrary to the "hollowing out" of the military under Carter you may have been led to believe by the GOP and U.S. media- and now Obama's numerous wars, force one to wonder whether the GOP, notwithstanding their louder barking, actually has a worse bite), more savage assaults on human services, and a more repressive police state. This stark choice is used every time to repress arguments for the need to break decisively with the two-party dictatorship that fronts for the corporate oligarchy of America, and offer a real alternative. More importantly, it smothers in the cradle the necessary building of a political movement to actually change things fundamentally in the U.S. [1]

This endless postponement of creating a true opposition movement (with the party-building that must be part of such a movement to give it coherence, institutional continuity, and strategic direction) means nothing really changes in the U.S., except for the worse. As the U.S. has relentlessly moved rightward over the past few decades, the populace increasingly feels confused, trapped, angry, and demoralized.

On the right this manifests in the schizophrenic extremism of the Tea Party mentality. The narcissistic demagogue Donald Trump sensed his opportunity here and has seized it. That's what good opportunists do- take advantage of circumstances in ways that only serve themselves.

On the left, once again a figure has arisen to raise false hopes, later to be dashed. In 2008 it was Barack Hussein Obama, a product of the Daley machine of Chicago, a hustler and con man whose first job out of college was with a CIA-front company, and who then became an infiltrator of grass roots progressive movements in Chicago (getting close to ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers in the process) as a "community activist." In 2016 it's Bernard Sanders, an independent allied with the Democratic Party, another Pied Piper whose ultimate role will be to urge his followers to vote for the mega-corrupt, two-faced political chameleon Hillary Clinton.

Well, at least this is more interesting than the originally-scheduled choice between the Clinton and Bush dynasties.

Clinton will probably prevail, although it is no sure thing. Trump will suddenly deny he ever said anything bad about Mexicans (he has a habit of saying an outrageous thing one day and the next day bluntly denying saying what he said, and the corporate propaganda system- aka "the media"- let him get away with it every time. [2] One should not underestimate Trump's flexibility. He feels not the slightest compunction to respect consistency. He changes his words as easily and often as his underwear. And his fealty to accuracy and truth is obviously zero. Presumably Clinton will hammer on his self-contradictions, but most people are too intellectually lazy to keep track of facts, and the skillful demagogue Trump will parry the attacks and counterattack with lines that change the subject to Clinton's email server, the attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three American staffers, and whatever else, plus the usual juvenile insults and put-downs. (Maybe instead of vulgar references to menstruation, he'll mock Clinton as menopausal.)

Still, if I were to bet on the outcome, I'd bet on Clinton prevailing. it will be a slough for her. But she's used to that. And have you noticed something? She's become a much better politician. Her speeches, while predictably mendacious and misleading (she's bellowing progressive rhetoric at her primary victory rallies for example), are effective and have the proper emotional affect. She sounds passionate about things she has no intention of doing, just like Obama.

Of course, her husband, a natural politician/con man, has had years to tutor her.

1] As best I can tell, the only real difference between the two oppressor parties is on abortion. Democrats pay lip service to the right of women to control their own bodies and not be forced to bear offspring against their will, like some breeding animal, but precious little beyond lip service, while the GOP (Gang Of Plunderers) fight relentlessly to strangle the right to death- with great success so far. In practice, they are eliminating or greatly impeding the option of abortion for millions of women in states like Texas, and Mississippi (down to one clinic, clinging to existence by its fingernails under relentless state assault).

And this year, with the blessed death of Supreme Court "Justice" Antonin Scalia, and the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate announcing that Barack Obama will not be allowed to appoint a successor, the Democrats can play their Supreme Court card yet again, dangling the prospect of "losing" the right to abortion if we don't vote for them. This cynical ploy relies on people not knowing various fact as to how the Court became so reactionary in the first place- Democrats had to allow the placement of every single reactionary on the high court, as even the minority party in the Senate can block confirmation through various parliamentary mechanisms.

For example; Scalia was put on the court with the aid of every single Democratic Senator (the vote to confirm was 98-0). And Joseph Biden, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was instrumental in ramming through the confirmation of sex-harasser Clarence "Silent Cal" Thomas. His venal, dishonest role is what made Thomas' ascension possible. (He actually tried to keep the evidence provided by Anita Hill secret from other Senate Democrats, and then told them that Hill was not to be believed; he also quashed supporting evidence of Thomas' vulgar behavior towards women.) [See the book The Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson, 1994. In 1994 both authors were employed by the right-wing Wall Street Journal. Mayer went on to The New Yorker, Abramson became the top editor at The New York Times (until she was cashiered and character-assassinated in a quasi-defamatory media campaign by the sexist male Times' hierarchy, led by publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, who inherited the job from his daddy and whose family controls the corporation). So both have eminent establishment credentials and unimpeached credibility over the years. Some of the damning facts about the evil Biden are on pages 248-50, 268-71, and 277. By the way, on page 248 is a description of Thomas lying to the FBI, a felony for which he was never indicted, and which in no way impeded his elevation to the exalted "highest court in the land."

2] And not just Trump. Other outrageously brazen GOP liars like Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina were given the same extreme deference. A particularly disgusting example was when Fiorina claimed during one of the GOP presidential candidate "debates" (Sept. 17, 2015) that she watched a surreptitious ambush video, shot trying to entrap Planned Parenthood in fetal tissue malfeasance, that showed a baby lying on a table, kicking and screaming, before having its organs harvested. No such video exists. When this was pointed out to Fiorina by Chris Wallace (one of Rupert Murdoch's minions) on Fox "News" Sunday, the show he hosts, Fiorina loudly told the same lie again, yelling that this imaginary video showed a crying baby pre-disembowelment. And Wallace cravenly retreated! He let her get away with asserting the blatant lie as truth.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

North Korea Losing Friend

That's correct. "Friend" singular. How many friends did you think North Korea has?

Just one. China.

Of course, nations don't actually have friends. They have "interests," yet another euphemism. We can translate "friend" as "close ally."

What happened was, China apparently is finally losing patience with the obstreperous behavior of its bratty client. The latest military provocation by North Korea (another scary missile test- scaring others being the intent) prompted the UN Security Council to vote new sanctions on the crazed cult nation.

The Security Council vote was unanimous; and China is a permanent member of the SC. [1]

The new sanctions are being described as the "toughest yet" in news accounts. The main points are: mandatory inspection of all cargo going in and out of North Korea (sort of like a prisoner having to undergo a strip-search when entering or leaving his cell); a ban on small-arms and light weapons sales and transfers to the exasperating nation; and expulsion of North Korean diplomats who engage in "illicit activities." (Hey, U.S. diplomats do that too, especially the CIA officers masquerading as "diplomats." Other nations' diplomats similarly do "undiplomatic" things. But North Korea is probably more egregious than most. One irritating thing it does is counterfeit other nations' currencies. Such Bad Boys!)

In reaction to the new sanctions, North Korea threw a mini-tantrum, firing rockets into the sea, according to South Korea. Take that, ocean! (Probably killed some innocent bystander sealife.)

North Korea's strategy of intimidation and extortion of concessions has become less effective over time, as was inevitable. But as its rulers are trapped inside their own mental straitjackets, it is unlikely they will come up with a creative new approach in dealing with the rest of the world. Like maybe trying to get along with other nations. For sure, South Korea bent over backwards for the North, investing in an industrial park in the North, paying the wages of North Korean workers there (wages mostly confiscated by the NK regime), allowing tourists to travel North (at least one of whom was murdered by a North Korean soldier on duty).

The cult regime of the north has consistently bitten the hands that feed it, except China's. Contrary to the wishful thinking of some establishment commentators, I don't believe this represents the start of a major shift in China's relation with NK. Rather, it is the application of a little discipline to its long-misbehaving ward.

1] The Security Council has five permanent members, designated as victors in World War II. There are another ten seats which other UN member nations take turns filling, by election to two-year terms. Each year five are elected to replace those whose terms expire. Resolutions are passed by majority vote of the 15-members, assuming no permanent member exercises a veto.

Each of the permanent members has a veto, by which any one of them can block a Security Council action. The U.S. has been by far the most prolific user of this veto power, mostly to block resolutions that criticize its master, Israel. (Or maybe "Bitch Mistress" better describes what Israel is to the U.S.)

The Security Council is the only UN body with real power. The approximately 200 members of the UN, a club for national governments, constitute the General Assembly, which can pass toothless resolutions expressing opinions. This underlines the inordinate power of the five permanent Security Council members: the U.S., Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (and Scotland and Wales- how do those whitey-white people tell each other apart anyway?).