Tag Archives: Russian influence

Wanted: A Little Truth Telling

The most victimized by “fake news,” are those who most loudly decry its very existence. They fall prey to it because they don’t have the critical thinking skills needed to identify what it is and to recognize where it’s coming from – that it is being produced by the very same people and organizations they loudly support on the far-right.

Among these purveyors of political propaganda perhaps the most noteworthy is Donald J. Trump, who continues to stand the media on its head by declaring real news to be fake and vice-versa.

And now, rising to yet a new level of deceit, it appears there are those who are going to great lengths to design “leads” on fake news stories.  It’s a kind of reverse “phishing”  technique aimed at the legitimate media, attempting to get real news organizations hooked on a phony story by planting bogus information so that once the story comes out the alt-right can point its crooked finger at the legitimate media while screaming, “See we told you so!  Fake News!”   

It appears the legitimate media’s Queen of intellectual power and credibility, Rachel Maddow, was a recent target of this technique.

As “The Hill” reports – “MSNBC host Rachel Maddow warned other media outlets on Thursday that she believes she was provided forged National Security Agency documents alleging collusion between a Trump campaign official and Russia’s efforts to influence last year’s presidential election.

“I feel like I need to send this up like a flare for other news organizations in particular,” Maddow said on her program Thursday night.”

So Maddow and her producers didn’t fall for it.   They didn’t get sucked into the vortex of what appeared to be a big story based upon what appeared to be an official document.  Good for them.  As she pointed out on her show, one wonders who else has taken the bait, or might?   One wonders if Dan Rather’s producer at CBS and ultimately Rather himself,  might not have been victims of this same tactic?

There are those who might say a media organization will have only itself to blame if it fails to properly check out the information it’s using prior to airing or publishing a story.  And they’d be right.  However, if those planting the fake story are really good at what they’re doing,  if they have unlimited backing from some…oh, let’s call it an “evil empire”…. then it’s a good bet that eventually they will be able to hook somebody with their scheme.   Maybe as big a fish as Dan Rather or Rachel Maddow?

With the President of the United States acting as Finger Pointer in Chief,  firing off repeated allegations of “fake news” and even suggesting the law should be changed to make it easier to file a lawsuit against the media,  our political and media environments are growing stranger by the hour.   Every tweet, holds the potential for a new horror, like the latest from Donald Trump Jr.,  showing Donald Trump in a fighter jet shooting down another jet labeled “CNN.”   This is not funny or clever, it is unacceptable behavior that could lead to a member of the press being seriously injured or killed.

Much of this feels like one of those spy novels set in the 60’s, where the KGB was out to get us using anything that worked, be it disinformation, misinformation, blackmail, and probably a few other spy tricks most of us had never thought of, like hacking an American election or buying off highly-placed elected American officials?  The principle difference, of course, is that in the 60’s, it was the U.S. Government and the American press that were aligned against the Russians.   Now it’s Trump and the Russians, who appear to be aligned against the American press.

Against this backdrop Mr. Trump meets with Vladimir Putin, the President of the United States,  still under the influence of what appears to be continued denial with regard to Russian hacking as he agrees to set the hacking issue aside so that they can move forward with their relationship?

Question is, move forward with what?   Is the totalitarian Putin going to stop murdering journalists, jailing opposition politicians, invading neighboring countries, supporting a bloodthirsty dictator in Syria even while he promises a partial ceasefire?    And Donald Trump, the President of the United States, gives the appearance of being just one more useful idiot as he looks the other way in tacit approval of all that Putin stands for.

According to Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the two sides came away from their two-hour meeting during the G20 Summit, with an agreement to hold further talks,  “regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process.”  It’s important to understand the insanity of believing the United States can work with the Russians on preventing future hacking incidents, when it’s the Russians who are doing the hacking but refuse to admit that it’s taking place.   And this apparently, is the “deal” Trump got from Putin.  It’s laughable.

Whose best interests does Trump have in mind?  Ours, or Putin and his Russian oligarchs?   And where do Trump’s business interests fit in?   Perhaps even more troubling is the question of whether this President has the intellectual capacity to sort it all out,  whether he may be suffering from one or more disabilities that preclude the possibility of rational thought?  More than one observer has commented that his personality appears to have been impacted since entering the political process, some saying he is changed man.  In addition, his physical well being remains suspect, as we have  yet to see anything approaching a comprehensive medical report on his 71 year-old physique.

Is the partial ceasefire real, or nothing but disinformation?   A lie that will turn to dust in a few weeks, after Trump has used it as red meat for his base, ostensibly proving that his relationship with Putin has some value after all, while the fact that Mr. Putin is believed to have directed the hacking of an American election will be nothing but an afterthought?  Just another bit of fake news.  Another Trumpian deflection,  targeting an American public who increasingly look like lambs to the slaughter as the Kremlin chalks up one more victory in its ongoing assault on Liberal Democracy.

Is Trump Taking Us To A Point Of No Return?

A bogus attack on an abandoned airfield in Syria, apparently mostly for publicity.   Dropping the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan, again, apparently mostly for publicity,  and now this most recent acting out, calling all 100 U.S. Senators to the White House for what appears to have been another publicity stunt, forcing the country to spend money to set up a secure briefing room big enough to hold all those people at the White House when that same secure briefing area already existed for no additional expense on Capitol Hill.   All Trump had to do was send his three or four people over to the Hill, rather than busing 100 senators to the White House.  Is there a method to this madness?  Maybe.  Maybe he wants to make it appear as though he is doing all he can to keep the Congress informed as he ramps up the country for war with North Korea.

So far, none of it, not the bombing  of the abandoned airfield in Syria, or the giant “Mother” of all bombs in Afghanistan or even losing an aircraft carrier battle group as he increases the potential for war with North Korea, has been enough to erase the investigations into his administration’s ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russians.

This is nuts.  U.S. intelligence has informed us that the Russians and Turks have infiltrated Trump’s inner-circle.  It’s the elephant in the middle of the room while one of Trumps’s top advisors, Steve Bannon, openly brags about the effort underway to “deconstruct” our government as hundreds of positions remain unfilled due to personnel not having been nominated by the White House.

We have been warned that we can either fill all those unfilled diplomatic positions to help avoid war, or we will be forced to spend even more money going to war.   Generally speaking, military leaders are not heavily backgrounded in diplomacy.  They are backgrounded in going to war.  At the same time it is important to remember that the nation’s top diplomat, Secretary of State,  Rex Tillerson, has no professional diplomatic experience.   He is an oil company executive.

Mr. Trump says he is going to listen to his generals.   It might be assumed then, that the former CEO of ExxonMobil and a military man nicknamed “Mad Dog” are taking the point for U.S. diplomacy?

How much of this are we supposed to be able to stand?    Why is Congress acting like all this negligent and possibly deranged behavior is okay?  Where will Trump be busing them off to next?  A big lockup somewhere?   Where is the FBI?   Where are the patriots who care more for the country than their party affiliations?

Why, when the Trump Administration orders the United States Senate to get on a couple of buses for an unnecessarily costly and perhaps meaningless visit to the White House (other than giving Donald another opportunity to get all puffed up), did they do it?  Kudos to Bernie Sanders for not going.   Have our senators taken leave of their senses?

Oh wait.   The Republicans are in the majority, so if the Democrats refused to get on the bus, then the Republicans could call the Democrats uncooperative, blaming them for everything and anything that might go wrong with whatever the Donald does or does not plan on doing in the future.   It would be the Democrats fault, even if it wasn’t.   It will be their fault for not getting on the bus. That’s the way it is, when party loyalty trumps loyalty to one’s country.   There’s also the nasty fact that some of the Republicans feel a need to follow Trump’s orders or risk being targeted in their home districts in the next election.

Expect our collective sanity to be stretched to the max over the next few months or maybe even weeks as thinking Americans continue losing sleep.  As for me, I am abandoning the pundits and switching over to old movies as a diversion from being forced to focus on when and where Donald J. Trump will start our next big war in an obvious effort to make his personality issues and connectivity with the Russians go away.

It no longer matters whether Donald J. Trump is doing what he is doing intentionally or whether he is simply oblivious.   The Congress must take steps to put the ship of state back on a course that improves rather than threatens our security before Trump takes us to a point of no return.

This is not a business deal, this  is geopolitics and possibly war.  This is not putting America first.

This is insane.