How the Establishment Imposes ‘Truth’

A new “press freedom” paradigm has taken hold in the Western world, imposing establishment narratives as “truth” and dismissing contrarian analyses as “fake news,” a break from the Enlightenment’s “marketplace of ideas,” says Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

For the last quarter century or more, Western foreign policy has claimed to be guided by promotion of “democratic values,” among which none shines brighter than freedom of speech and the related freedom of the press. European Union institutions have repeatedly been quick to denounce authoritarian regimes in the greater European area for arrests or murders of journalists and for the shutting down of media outlets that crossed some government red line.

Flag of the European Union.

In the past year, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey may have headed the list in Brussels for such offenses, especially since the crackdown that followed an attempted coup last summer. The E.U.’s supposed guardians of the free press also put Vladimir Putin’s Russia on the short list of countries where journalism is said to be severely constrained.

However, against this backdrop of European moral posturing, there are troubling examples of how the E.U. itself deals with journalists who challenge the dominant groupthinks. The E.U. finds its own excuses to stifle dissent albeit through bloodless bureaucratic maneuvering.

For instance, in April 2016, I wrote about how a documentary challenging the Western narrative of the circumstances surrounding the death of Kremlin critic Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 was blocked from being shown at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

The last-minute shutting down of the documentary, “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes,” was engineered by lawyers for William Browder, the influential chairman of the investment fund Hermitage Capital and an associate of Magnitsky.

Based in London, Browder has been an unrelenting crusader for imposing sanctions on Russian officials allegedly connected to Magnitsky’s death in prison. Browder successfully pushed for the U.S. Congress to approve the 2012 Magnitsky Act and has lobbied the European Parliament to pass a similarly punitive measure.

Financier William Browder (right) with Magnitsky’s widow and son, along with European parliamentarians.

Then, in April 2016, Browder pulled off a stunning show of force by arranging the cancellation of “The Magnitsky Act” documentary just minutes before invitees entered the auditorium at the European Parliament building for the showing.

Browder blocked the documentary, directed by Andrei Nekrasov, because it carefully examined the facts of the case and raised doubts about Browder’s narrative that Magnitsky was an innocent victim of Russian repression. The E.U.’s powers-that-be, who had fully bought into Browder’s Magnitsky storyline, did nothing to resist Browder’s stifling of a dissenting view.

Which appears to be part of the West’s new approach toward information, that only establishment-approved narratives can be presented to the public; that contrarian analyses that try to tell the other side of a story are dismissed as “fake news” that should rightly be suppressed. (When the Magnitsky documentary got a single showing at the Newseum in Washington, a Washington Post editorial misrepresented its contents and dismissed it as “Russian agitprop,” which was easy to do because almost no one got to see what it said.)

Bureaucratic Runaround

I got my own taste of the E.U.’s bureaucratic resistance to dissent when I applied to the Media Accreditation Committee of the European Commission on March 2 seeking a press pass to act as the Brussels reporter of Consortiumnews.com.

This Committee issues accreditation for all the European Institutions, including the only one of interest to me, the European Parliament. The Committee is a law unto itself, a faceless bureaucratic entity that deals with applicants only via online applications and sends you back anonymous emails. The application process includes several steps that already raise red flags about the Commission’s understanding of what it means to be from the “press” or a “journalist” deserving accreditation in the Twenty-first Century.

First, under the Committee’s rules, a journalist must be a paid employee of the given media outlet. This condition generally cannot be satisfied by “stringers” or “freelancers,” who are paid for each assignment or an individual story, a payment arrangement that has existed throughout the history of journalism but has become more common today, used by mainstream media outlets as well as alternative media, which generally pay little or nothing. I satisfied that requirement with a Paypal credit note from Consortiumnews.

The Commission also must have the media outlet on its approved list. Regarding Consortiumnews, an Internet-based investigative news magazine dating back to 1995 and operating in the Washington D.C. area, the Commission apparently wasn’t sure what to do.

So, like bureaucratic institutions everywhere, the Committee played for time. It was only on June 6 that I received the review of my application. The finding was that 1) I needed to present more proof that my employer is paying me regularly, not just once, and 2) I needed to supply further articles showing that I am not merely published regularly, as was clear from my uploaded articles with the initial application, but that I am published precisely on the subject of activities at the European institutions.

I was assured that pending delivery of these proofs and completion of my request, I could ask for ad hoc accreditation “to the individual institutions for specific press events you would need to cover.”

In fact, I had withheld from my application my most recent published essay on a panel discussion in the E.U. Parliament devoted to censuring Russia’s alleged dissemination of “fake news.” That discussion was run by a Polish MEP and former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs from the determinedly anti-Russian party of the Kaczynskis. The title of my essay was “Europe is brain dead and on the drip.” I had felt that this particular piece would not further the cause of my press pass.

Still, the insincerity of the E.U. press accreditation committee’s response to my application is perfectly obvious. A journalist can write articles about the European Institutions when he or she has free run of the house via a press pass and can ascertain what is going on of interest. Without a press pass, you do not know what or whom is worth covering.

And in this connection, “specific press events” are among the least desirable things going on at the E.U. for purposes of a genuine practicing journalist. They are useful only for lazy journalists who will send along to their editor the press release and a few canned quotes obtained by showing up at a press briefing in time for the coffee and sandwiches.

In short, I will not be issued a press pass and the Committee will not bother to address the real reason for refusal: that Consortiumnews is not on the Committee’s short list of acceptable media. Not to mince words, this is how the E.U. bureaucracy manages skeptical media and stifles dissenting voices.

NBC’s New Star v. Putin

Meanwhile, the mainstream Western media continues to hammer home its propaganda narratives, especially regarding Russia. Another case study unfolded over the past week with NBC’s new star reporter Megyn Kelly interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 2 on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

NBC’s Megyn Kelly interviews Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 2, 2017. (NBC Photo)

This latest NBC crime against professional journalism becomes apparent when you compare the full version of the interview as it was broadcast on Russia’s RT network and the edited version that NBC aired for its American audience. The most shocking discrepancy involved a segment in which Kelly aggressively questioned Putin about what she said was Americans’ understanding of his government, namely one that murders journalists, suppresses political opposition, is rife with corruption, etc.

In the NBC version, Putin’s answer has been cut to one empty introductory statement that “Russia is on its way to becoming a democracy” bracketed by an equally empty closing sentence. In the full, uncut version, Putin responds to Kelly’s allegations point by point and then turns the question around, asking what right the U.S. and the West have to question Russia’s record when they have been actively doing much worse than what Kelly charged. He asked where is Occupy Wall Street today, why U.S. and European police use billy clubs and tear gas to break up demonstrations, when Russian police do nothing of the sort, and so on.

Simply put, NBC intentionally made Putin sound like an empty authoritarian, when he is in fact a very sophisticated debater, which he demonstrated earlier in the day at an open panel discussion involving Kelly who became the event’s laughingstock. Regarding the bowdlerized interview, NBC management bears the prime responsible for distorting the material and misleading its viewers.

Interviews by serious news organizations can be “hard talk,” as the BBC program of the same name does weekly. The journalist in charge can directly and baldly challenge a political leader or other public personality and can dwell on an issue to arrive at exhaustive responses that then allow viewers to reach their own conclusions.

However, in the interview at hand and in the earlier panel discussion, Kelly repeated the same question about alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election even after she had received an exhaustive answer from Putin several times. Clearly she was reading from a script given to her by management and was not permitted to react to what took place in the interview exchange.

Given that Putin’s answers then were shredded in the NBC cutting room, we may explain the objectives of NBC’s executives as follows: to present themselves and their featured journalist to the American audience as being so respected by the Kremlin that the Russian president accorded an exclusive interview. Second, to show the American audience that they used the opportunity not to allow the Russian President to pitch his views to the U.S. home audience but instead to hit him with all the charges of wrongdoing that have been accumulating in the American political arena.

In other words, NBC got to show off Kelly’s supposed boldness and the network’s faux patriotism while sparing the American people from hearing Putin’s full answers.

A Harvard Dissent

Although this emerging paradigm of righteously suppressing challenges to mainstream narratives appears to be the wave of the future – with the modern censorship possibly enforced via Internet algorithms – some voices are protesting this assault on the Enlightenment’s trust in human reason to sort out false claims and advance factual truth.

Harvard President Drew Faust.

At the May 25 commencement at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard President Drew Faust delivered an impassioned defense of free speech. She spoke about the institution and its obligations as generator and protector of “truth” and knowledge arrived at by free debate and challenge of ideas.

This is not to say that there was perfect clarity in her message. She left me and other attendees somewhat uncertain as to whose rights of free speech she was defending and against what sort of challenge. Given the political persuasion of students and faculty, namely the middle-of-the-road to progressive wings of the Democratic Party, one might think she had in mind such causes célèbres as the ongoing verbal attacks against Linda Sarsour, a Muslim (Palestinian) graduation speaker at CUNY.

Indeed, in her speech, Drew Faust pointed to the more vulnerable members of the student body, those from minorities, those from among first generation college students who might be intimidated by hurtful speech directed against them. But it is more likely that she drew up her speech having in mind the controversy on campus this spring over the rights of speakers disseminating hated ideas to appear on campus. That issue has come up repeatedly in the student newspaper The Crimson, and it may be said to date from the scandal at UC Berkeley over the cancellation of controversial far-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.

However, I believe the main weight of her argument was directed elsewhere. Primarily, to the processes by which truth is determined. She was defending the appropriateness of sharp debate and airing of views that one may dislike intensely on campus:

“Universities must model a commitment to the notion that truth cannot simply be claimed, but must be established – established through reasoned argument, assessment, and even sometimes uncomfortable challenges that provide the foundation for truth.”

Though this idea rests at the heart of the Enlightenment, it has faded in recent years as various political and media forces prefer to simply dismiss contrary evidence and analysis by stigmatizing the messengers and – whenever possible – silencing the message. This approach is now common inside the major media which lumps together cases of fact-free conspiracy theories and consciously “fake news” with well-researched information and serious analyses that clash with conventional wisdom.

No Sharp Edges

From my experience as an organizer of public events over the past five years, I learned that the very word “debate” finds few defenders these days. Debate suggests conflict rather than consensus. The politically correct term for public discussions of even hot issues is “round tables.” No sharp corners allowed.

A sign supporting Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016 (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

But Faust said: “Ensuring freedom of speech is not just about allowing speech. It is about actively creating a community where everyone can contribute and flourish, a community where argument is relisted, not feared. Freedom of speech is not just freedom from censorship; it is freedom to actively join the debate as a full participant. It is about creating a context in which genuine debate can happen.”

Besides the value of honest debate as a method for ascertaining truth, Faust also noted that suppression of diverse opinions can blind those doing the suppression to growing unrest among the broader public, an apparent reference to the surprising election of Donald Trump.

Faust continued: “Silencing ideas or basking in intellectual orthodoxy independent of facts and evidence impedes our access to new and better ideas, and it inhibits a full and considered rejection of bad ones. From at least the time of Galileo, we can see how repressing seemingly heretical ideas has blinded societies and nations to the enhanced knowledge and understanding on which progress depend.

“Far more recently, we can see here at Harvard how our inattentiveness to the power and appeal of conservative voices left much of our community astonished – blindsided by the outcome of last fall’s election. We must work to ensure that universities do not become bubbles isolated from the concerns and discourse of the society that surrounds them.”

Of course, the inconvenient truth is that Harvard University has long been a “bubble,” especially in the area of policy research that most interests me and may be vital in avoiding a nuclear catastrophe: Russian studies.

Over the past few years of growing confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, amid vilification of the Russian President and the Russian people and now encompassing the hysteria over “Russia-gate,” colleagues with long-standing and widely acknowledged expertise in Russian affairs including Ambassador Jack Matlock and Professor Stephen Cohen have been repeatedly denied any possibility of participating in “round tables” dedicated to relations with Russia that might be organized at Harvard’s Kennedy Center or the Davis Center.

These policy centers have become pulpits to stridently expound orthodoxy per the Washington consensus. Thus, the flaccid argumentation and complacency of U.S. foreign policy are aided and abetted by this premier university, which, along with Columbia, created the very discipline of Russian studies in 1949. So, by wallowing in this consensus-driven groupthink, Harvard contributes to dangerously biased policies that could lead to World War III. In that case, truth – or as Harvard might say, Veritas – would not be the only casualty.

No doubt there are other faculties at Harvard which also are desperately in need of renewal following President Drew Faust’s call for debate and free speech. Nonetheless, Dr. Faust’s celebration of open debate and free speech represented a welcome tonic to the close-mindedness of today’s Russia-bashing.

Her speech is all the more noteworthy as it marks one of the first steps by liberals and Democratic Party stalwarts to acknowledge that those whom Hillary Clinton condemned as “deplorables” must be heard and reasoned with if U.S. democracy is to become great again.

Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels.  His last book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.  His forthcoming book, Does the United States Have a Future?

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55 comments for “How the Establishment Imposes ‘Truth’

  1. Kiza
    June 12, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Three quick comments.

    Firstly, the use of computer algorithms by the Internet gate-keepers (Google, Facebook etc) to determine what is true news and what is fake news does have a strong association to Galileo in front of the mighty Inquisition. I am sure that if the Inquisition had such computer algorithms the Western society would have never heard of alt-Galileo. The today’s equivalent of sanctioning and even burning of heretics at a stake is withdrawal of the ad revenue and the decision of who is a journalist and who is not.

    Secondly, I fail to understand Russia and Putin. Did Putin really believe that his interview would not be massacred by the Western official propaganda and fake news generators? This is naïveté as border line stupidity, why caste time? The Russians are obviously not switched into what has been going on in the West. In some past times the West used to be auditur et alters pars and truth seeking intellectuals such as Drew Faust used to be a rule not an exception. Perhaps the Russians feel respect and admiration based on those old times, but those are just pleasant memories of the past achievements now.

    Finally, the construct of “fake news” and the application of computer algorithms are a sign of desire to suppress the alternative views of the truth and this is coming from the growing weakness in both thinking and the institutions (e.g. Universities) of the Western intellectual elite. A clear sign of a wide-spectrum decline, of weakness replacing strength. Somebody is afraid of the “fake news”, the kind of news that I consume exclusively, exactly because it is alternative to orthodoxy.

    • Gilbert Doctorow
      June 13, 2017 at 1:55 am

      Was Putin “naive” in agreeing to the interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly?

      Putin knew what he was doing when he invited Megyn to be the featured journalist of the day. He knew her intellectual shallowness, he knew she would shown to be a buffoon in front of his adoring audience who could be proud of their president. And surely he chose her because Trump, with his limited verbal, or generally intellectual abilities could not counter Megyn and had to use character assassination to put her down and out at Fox. Putin was at the same time besting Trump.
      So let’s be honest: both Russian and American sides were playing games, games that are not helpful if we are going to avoid a war.

      • Kiza
        June 13, 2017 at 2:45 am

        Thank you for your explanation Dr Doctorow. As Jessica K below adds, perhaps Putin was aiming at those in the West who would want to see the full original interview. Thus, maybe he was setting NBC and Megyn up, to create a wonderful practical example of how the truly fake news operate (he used to be in KGB after all)? Perhaps Putin is manipulating the whole of US intellectual class (those who would bother to find the full interview) – to initiate more internal resistance in US. Even if he is as manipulative as this, I would still file this under “for a good cause” of preventing a war whilst it is being cooked up. Will it work?

        • Bill Bodden
          June 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm

          Perhaps Putin is manipulating the whole of US intellectual class (those who would bother to find the full interview) – to initiate more internal resistance in US. Even if he is as manipulative as this,…

          Which stands in sharp contrast to our barbarians in Washington who, for the most part, appear to be intellectually bankrupt and can only think of resorting to some form of violence.

          As one version of an old saying attributed to the Chinese puts it, “He who strikes the first blow admits to having the weaker mind.”

      • Bill Bodden
        June 13, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        Putin knew what he was doing when he invited Megyn to be the featured journalist of the day. He knew her intellectual shallowness, …

        Which says a lot in support of the allegations of decadence in the United States. The Business Insider suggests NBC will pay Kelly $15 to $20 million per year. A registered nurse in a large city who could mean the difference between life and death for a patient would have to work about 100 years to make $10 million while people such as Megyn Kelly, Rachel Maddow and their ilk get paid millions for working a fraction of the time a nurse would work to disseminate bullshit and outright lies.

  2. June 12, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    I initially also thought, why did Putin do the interview knowing it would be edited by the western press for their own propaganda? But then I just watched the YouTube “what NBC edited out of the Megyn Kelly interview” and took a different take. I suspect Putin is intelligent enough to know that some Americans will see the unedited version, and I also got the impression that he took some satisfaction in castigating the West for hypocrisy, as when he mentioned the disappearance of the Occupy movement and pointed out that Russian police in dealing with demonstrators do not use batons, tear gas, or other weapons as is done in the United States, and he said that directly. He also stated that the US secret service may have been involved in the Kennedy assassination, and stated it in such a way that it was not known but likely, rather cleverly suggested, which prompted Megyn Kelly to say “Let’s move on” immediately. All in all, I found his answers to be refreshingly honest and his face conveyed quite open and thoughtful honesty. If average americans want to be so closed-minded as to be steered by their idiotic propaganda purveyors of the press, it’s their loss entirely and more’s the pity.

    I spent quite a few years in the Cambridge MA area and I can only say that I can see why Drew Faust might say the Harvard-type community was shocked by the presidential election, there is a very large bubble surrounding them. Time to wake up!

    • Skip Scott
      June 13, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      I sent an email to some friends linking this article, the uncut interview with Putin, the NBC version, and then a Business Insider article that talks about the NDAA of 2012 basically making propaganda of US citizens legal. I’m hoping to open a few minds.

  3. Joe Tedesky
    June 12, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    So without ‘free speech’ would we devolve into a society who builds it’s strategies and philosophies upon ‘groupthink’? Without the freedom to print, or make available as documentary political or sociological statements would the authors of such material escape to preach their ideologies through religion, while freedom to practice religion is still permitted to be practiced? If so, would the next step be for the ‘Establishment’ to repeal the ‘freedom to practice any religion’ standard that America has enjoyed over it’s time as a country?

    When describing of how the international audience was stunned by Megyn Kelly’s tabloid spin techniques, I would hope the international audience pay attention to the fact, that Americans voted into the White House a reality tv star. We Americans are now officially living inside the ‘bubble’. With this 24/7 Trumpathon we Americans are void of almost all other news, domestic or international. Besides all the time Trump, we occasionally get an update on the Bill Cosby trail….it sells. Everything in America today, comes at top level pricing, with bottom level service. Squeeze me into a plane seat, or allow my Pharmaceutical Insurance to deny my prescribed medicine, because it just doesn’t matter anymore since I quit fighting back long ago….they love to call security.

    All of our news is packaged to grab your attention while checking out at the grocery store. We elect people, and demonize our adversaries with simple edited out of context sound bites. Everything has become retail, and you must join the club to get the best discount, and outsiders need not apply. The world will need to excuse America due to it’s lack of poor programming….hang in there though, the new generation just may get it right, at least I hope so for their sake.

    • john wilson
      June 13, 2017 at 5:16 am

      Joe I can’t think that a man of your intelligence hasn’t read Orwell’s book, 1984 If you haven’t then I suggest you do as this will answer all your questions and give you sleepless nights for months.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 13, 2017 at 9:20 am

        John you are right. I read 1984 fifty years ago. We are living in the age of ‘Big Brother’.

  4. June 12, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Forgot to mention that Putin stated that the US meddled in many elections of other countries, and Kelly said, “That’s justification”, to which he replied, “No, that’s a fact.”(well, of course he spoke in Russian). And he stated that Russia did not meddle in the US election, but that he knew that would not be believed, regardless.

  5. Bill Bodden
    June 12, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    In short, I will not be issued a press pass and the Committee will not bother to address the real reason for refusal: that Consortiumnews is not on the Committee’s short list of acceptable media. Not to mince words, this is how the E.U. bureaucracy manages skeptical media and stifles dissenting voices.

    The story preceding this quote is another example of the corruption of bureaucratic power. Similar incidents probably contributed to the UK’s Brexit vote.

  6. Bill Bodden
    June 12, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Another case study unfolded over the past week with NBC’s new star reporter Megyn Kelly interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 2 …

    Kelly was clearly out of her league trying to get the better of Putin. CNN made the same blunder when they had Erin Burnett interview Bibi Netanyahu a year or two ago.

  7. Bill Bodden
    June 12, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Clearly she was reading from a script given to her by management and was not permitted to react to what took place in the interview exchange.

    Is that not standard operating procedure on the corporate news networks?

  8. JWalters
    June 13, 2017 at 2:17 am

    During the Vietnam war the Tet offensive showed that the rosey picture being painted by the military and the government was wrong. America’s modern military was supposed to be dominating those primitive farmers. So Walter Cronkite went to Vietnam himself. He heard from General Westmoreland personally how the situation was under control. Then he went to Hue and saw a raging battle. A former war correspondent, he saw then he had not been told the truth, and that he had been passing along lies to the public. He went back to America and told the public the truth, that there was no military solution, only a diplomatic one.

    Who among today’s MSM anchors and editors will tell the truth to the American public? The truth is readily available on the internet, including some highly intelligent and experienced sources and analysts. But sadly, today’s MSM is completely bought by the war profiteers. Do today’s MSM editors and reporters whisper to each other in secluded places about the truth? Or are they too cowed to even do that? And of course there’s all that money. That’s how the Oligarchy works. It gets a person or organization dependent on them, and then pulls the choke collar, spiking key stories.

    The Mideast is today’s Vietnam. And all these wars were brought into being by Israel. Israel created the Jewish-Muslim conflict where there was none, and then prodded the U.S. into destroying Iraq and loosing a variety of non-state militaries into a combat chaos. But the business of war is booming. As is the business of reporting on it in the most superficial of ways.

    Everyone in the MSM clearly believes no one in the media (or politics) can survive an honest assessment of Israel’s steady history of bigotry and brutality, slaughter and theft. So they serve their masters and collect their cut of the booty while America’s “free press” is neutered and it’s democracy is strangled. So many people I used to respect who I now can’t stand. And I’m not the only one.

    For readers who haven’t seen them, here are a few useful background articles to share with friends:

    “Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/01/terrorism-israeli-state
    “Let’s talk about Russian influence”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/about-russian-influence/
    “Why Not a Probe of ‘Israel-gate’?”
    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/04/20/why-not-a-probe-of-israel-gate
    “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”
    http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

  9. Realist
    June 13, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Do you ever get the feeling you are just pissing in the wind, Dr. Doctorow? Not too many years ago, before the Telecommunications Act of 1996 signed by President Clinton, your voice and those of Professor Cohen, Jack Matlock, Robert Parry and more than just a few other modern day “dissidents” would be sure to get coverage when every major newspaper, television network, radio station and wire service was a separate independent agency, with owners of different political philosophies who nevertheless had to grant exposure to opposing points of view under the now extinct “fairness doctrine,” killed under the Reagan administration. But, I guess, as far as most are concerned, it was ultimately quite all right for the free press to be gutted since it was a bipartisan decision. Dems and GOPers no longer disagree on anything substantive in the media, they simply gang up and shut out anyone else with a differing perspective. And who would want to disagree? After all, those dissidents are just basically a bunch of nuts and traitors whom you would do well to avoid, if you know what we mean.

    I’m not sure what ideal Dr. Faust was really representing, her wording was kept nebulous enough to be embraced by either side, because the vociferous and ascendant neocon faction would still tell you that they are the assailed and aggrieved party. Being artfully mealymouthed has become a critical survival instinct in academia today. Speaking bullshit at the behest of power has totally replaced speaking truth to it. I’m hoping that this latter day Faust was not imbued with her communication skills on a crossroads at Midnight. She might have mentioned a few concrete examples, such as Professor Cohen, to bolster her platitudes.

    • Gilbert Doctorow
      June 13, 2017 at 7:04 am

      your comment reeks of cynicism. and cynicism will get no one anywhere. good for sharing a pint in a pub and that’s it.
      pissing in the wind? perhaps. but if you have a better proposal on what is to be done, please share it… and act on it yourself. otherwise talk is cheap.
      Drew Faust was totally sincere in her defense of EVERYONE’s right to free speech and her insistence that without direct and open debate the truth cannot be established. the question is whether she will succeed in persuading all faculties at the university to respect and implement this principle. we shall see. but it is far better for her to have raised the issue in so public a manner than to have stayed within her favored list of politically correct subjects like further raising financial aid and raising diversity in the student body.

      • Realist
        June 13, 2017 at 8:38 am

        Sorry you took my words that way. I didn’t mean to imply that you were doing anything wrong or that your efforts are not appreciated. You are one of damned few who seem to be trying to bring back objectivity and truth to the American media subsequent to the hits it took in the political arena back in the 80’s and 90’s which leave us today with “fake news” employed as both a weapon and a defense by all the major players. I simply meant to underscore the obstacles thrown in your way and, by way of example, those others I mentioned. I thought you might have been feeling a little frustrated by the concerted actions of the philistines who have the run of the place now. If you think I’m just a glib jackass taking potshots at you, trust me, I have been following your painstaking effort to compare and contrast how the media comports itself in Russia versus the United States. From your accounts, I thought they seem rather more credible. If I had a solution to bring back a fair, objective media I WOULD share it, but I don’t. I don’t like how things stand, but I remember how much better they used to be, so I know such a world is possible.

        I don’t know Dr. Faust, but I’ve heard both sides of this divide pay the same homage to free speech even as it disappears. Like I said, I’ll know if she’s legit when she recruits Stephen Cohen to give a commencement address or some equivalent speech. Frankly, it pisses me off to see such an esteemed, reasoned and articulate scholar get such short schrift, even by colleagues whose careers he has advanced. My speciality was nowhere near yours or his but even I could see the injustice, and the wasted opportunities to utilise his talents. You think that’s being cynical? Fine.

        • Gilbert Doctorow
          June 13, 2017 at 10:10 am

          No, these remarks do not sound cynical at all, just deeply frustrated.

          Over time the pendulum swings this way and that. I think the eloquent and unqualified defense of free speech by Drew Faust, who is a very cautious academic is a kind of straw in the wind. The pendulum has clearly swung too far against free speech, to the point where someone like Faust understands that the bubble created by our McCarthyism is now blindsiding the establishment so that it loses elections and does not even know why.
          I can tell you that in the professional literature of Russian affairs, there has been a dramatic improvement in diversity of opinion ever since Trump’s victory last November. My marker is Johnson’s Russia List, a daily digest of literature about Russia that has about 6,000 subscribers at university centers across the country. Johnson publishes what is out there. in December 2016 there was nothing out there for him to republish other than the orthodox dogma coming from Washington. Horrible, nauseating propaganda day in and day out. When I revisited and resubscribed to JRL in December 2016, it was a different world. All the academics and other commentators who had been beaten into silence or who found no publishers in 2016 reemerged from the woodwork. A thousand flowers bloomed, and continue to bloom despite the Russia-gate hysteria.
          For this reason, I am not so pessimistic as you regarding the chances for a revival of free speech and debate more generally in America. But for that happen, people have to stir, have to make demands on the media, daily and at every opportunity denouncing the trash we saw on NBC last week.

          • Realist
            June 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

            And thank you for critiquing NBC’s abysmal job of “editing” Megyn Kelly’s interview with Vladimir Putin. I made mention of your piece on the matter in Russia Insider to this group earlier.

            I’ll look for more signs of promise on the American Committee for East-West Accord site.

            As Jessica remarked in one of the posts here, those of us not “in the loop” depend a lot on Stephen Cohen’s periodic discussions with John Batchelor. I think our spirits do rise when “the man” is hopeful.

          • Martin - Swedish citizen
            June 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm

            Realist and Mr Doctorow,
            Thanks a lot for a very good article and illuminating exchange of ideas.
            I will need to look up the Johnson Russia list!
            Can it be that the sudden broadening of ideas is brought about by a eased grip by the neocons due to the new Trump administration?
            Very interesting, too, to hear the history of how the present dystopic 1984 political and media climate came about in the US!
            In my country, it seems to me it set in with full force at the time of the coup in Kiev in 2014. Our foreign minister announced, perhaps unintentionally, on TV that “we are going to win this propaganda war” (with Russia). Since, MSM and politicians take part wholeheartedly in the war.

      • mike k
        June 13, 2017 at 11:17 am

        Mr. Doctorow – I have enjoyed learning from your articles on CN, but I think you indulged in a cheap shot calling Realist a cynic. A lot of us on this site would be happy to call ourselves cynics, in the sense that we are sharply suspicious of people’s assertions of their virtue and probity, and have a disposition to question everything. In modern usage cynic is close to skeptic, but with an implication that the cynic is inordinately or wrongly negative in their attitude. In no way did Realist’s remarks betray that sort of bias in my reading of his comments. The very openness of discussion we are looking for can be short-circuited by these sort of put-downs, that mischaracterize a persons contribution, rather than admitting it might raise relevant questions. I found it startling that you would construe Realist’s innocent comment to be an attack on you, which it did not seem to be at all to my mind.

        • Kiza
          June 14, 2017 at 4:07 am

          Saying that the author’s almost life long effort is pissing up the wind is fine, but replying that the critic reads like a cynic stifles the discussion!? Luckily, this discussion brought out some new insights, such as the rise of the Johnson Russia list from the dead. It is not a difference that Trump made directly, it is just that “the left”, which always means opposite to what is says – for example, freedom of speech, transparency and all those other noble words always mean their opposite (just like in “1984”), has been removed from power. Now that the left is too busy fighting Trump freedom is mushrooming. This is a completely new insight for me.

          • Realist
            June 14, 2017 at 9:49 pm

            In the original post I asked him if all the obstacles I mentioned made him feel that way. First he and now you took that sentence the wrong way. It was not an attack on his efforts but more an intended commiseration. Bad choice of words, admittedly, I think I corrected that.

  10. john wilson
    June 13, 2017 at 5:12 am

    I suspect that what will happen in the end with mass media, alternative news, fake news etc is that anyone contributing news or opinion on the net will have to be accredited. Those who have no accreditation, which will be all alternative opinion to the mass media and the ‘establishment’ will just not be accredited. Hence, the internet will be full of main stream media news, opinion and comment. Even the comment pages will be subject to some kind of accreditation controls. Never underestimate the deep state’s ability to silence its critics and promote its own agenda. If you want to see how this will look, click onto ‘Yahoo news’ and you will see that its total drivel about celebrity’s tittle tattle, with virtually no real news at all. Google isn’t much better. People say the net isn’t owned, but as long as I have to pay an ISP for a connection, then its owned by the service provider. Same goes for email providers, search engines etc.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 13, 2017 at 8:57 am

      john wilson – I think you will be proven correct.

  11. June 13, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Thanks for this article, Gilbert Doctorow, and keep them coming because that’s how the word will spread about the deep state lies on Russia. I really do wonder just how many Americans are really falling for this nonsense? We need a new Studs Terkel to talk to people around the country, find out what people really are thinking instead of our being told by media organs such as NYT, WaPo, etc., what they want us to think people are thinking. (Realist, I enjoyed your comment about this “latter day Faust”, yep, the vacuity of academia.)

  12. Chris Chuba
    June 13, 2017 at 8:50 am

    NBC has been running nightly ‘Russia’ segments that are amazingly shallow.
    Last night they covered the Navalny demonstrations and after the obligatory references to the martyred journalists that they ominously said, ‘Navalny is the last voice of dissent’. These idiots are totally unaware that Russia has general elections where there are at least two other major party candidates. Unfortunately, these voices of dissent are ardent nationalists but they are voices of dissent none the less, just not the ones we favor, aren’t we special that we choose who is the legitimate voice of dissent.

    The previous night was actually more absurd, they went to a rural ghost town in Russia for the ‘times are hard, something is broken’ segment. Uh … we have ghost towns in just about every state in between our coast lines it happens. It was especially funny when they mentioned how this was a thriving community when there was collectivized farming under communism. So now a U.S. network is waxing nostalgic for one of the most despised whipping boys of the Cold War? Unreal. Of course they failed to mention that Russia is now the #1 exporter of wheat but did mention how ’20M Russians are now living below the poverty line’. Gasp! But with a population of 140M that is the same rate as the U.S. since we have 45M below the poverty line with 300M people.

    I’m not trying to say that Russia is Utopia but this was supposed to be an in depth segment and they provided absolutely no meaningful context. It was a ‘Russia is a terrible place’ narrative.

    • Chris Chuba
      June 13, 2017 at 9:36 am

      I have to add, they did have the classic TV sign off, using the Adam West Batman’s halting delivery …

      ‘In Russian … the name of the woman we interviewed means … hope … but in [insert name of lost village] there is precious, little hope. This is Lester Holt …’

      Yeah, we get it, Putin’s Russia is hell, BTW under Yeltsin, there were 70M Russians living below the poverty line.

  13. June 13, 2017 at 9:29 am

    And they could go to many a town in America that looks pretty down and out. But no, don’t show that!

    Dr. Doctorow, Americans have gotten very cynical, and us thinking ones certainly see the divides and feel how hard it is to break through. Actually, cynicism comes from the Greek word that means “realism”. It is pathetic that Dr. Stephen Cohen should be ostracised for attempting to cut through this propaganda theater, has to go on John Batchelor’s show, which has a small audience, to air his knowledge of Russia, which is considerable.

    • Catcher in the Wild
      June 13, 2017 at 11:10 am

      Jessica,
      Have you seen the CNN & Al Jazeera interviews with Russian scholar, Stephen Cohen, where this strong, stately 70-something Princeton-NYU Emeritus Professor was bullied but not beaten…in fact,quietly but powerfully stood his ground as he displayed his breadth & depth of Russian research and insight. On The Nation’s pre-Oliver Stone Putin interviews story yesterday the comments by typical Nation readers? were pathetic, in that they seemed to have never read Cohen’s profound pieces in The Nations pages…as they bashed Stone in the same mode as they’ve been mind-washed by the mainstream media to bash Putin.

      Otherwise, Gilbert Doctorow, with or without your EU press pass, La Repubblica, El Pais & The Financial Times which I’ve been reading here in Italy, now Portugal, over the past month seem to have already been infected with American media “groupthink”…as they dutifully repeat “Russiagate”, “Putin, the former KBB agent” & exhibit other symptoms of Russophobia which they seem to have caught from watching/reading CNN, NBC, The Times & The Post. However, to its credit, the FT still firmly states “ALLEGED (caps mine) Russian hacking & interference in the US Presidential election”.

      Meanwhile, Jessica, if you haven’t picked up my messages here at CN before, know that I also live in NH…just south of the Dartmouth College “bubble” in Salinger country, so we have Ivy League & other up country notes to compare. Please send me a postcard with your contact info to JR at PO Box 396, Meriden, NH 03770…so I can get in touch with you after I return home Thursday.

      • Tom Welsh
        June 13, 2017 at 12:20 pm

        ‘La Repubblica, El Pais & The Financial Times which I’ve been reading here in Italy, now Portugal, over the past month seem to have already been infected with American media “groupthink”…’

        May I rephrase that observation slightly?

        ‘La Repubblica, El Pais & The Financial Times… seem to have already been infected with American money’.

  14. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 13, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Will Trump Get Away with All of It?

    By Michael T. Bucci
    June 13, 2017
    http://www.globalresearch.ca

    The good news for Trumptarians is that Donald J. Trump is not going to be legally impeached, indicted, removed from office or otherwise until his protectors and enablers are weakened first: Congressional Republicans. And they won’t be weakened until mid-term elections in 2018. In “Washington time” that might as well be the next century.

    As far-sighted Democrats build political strategies to get elected in 2018, the ever so expeditious GOP-Trumptarian wrecking ball swings 24/7 dismantling the structure and fabric of America. By 2018, there might not be a Beacon on a Hill to uphold, leaving only a sovereign America First molehill owing $20 trillion in national debt and $13 trillion in consumer debt. Such is the cost of Empire so far.

    It is always possible that one or two or even three House and Senate Republicans vacate their seats for reasons of health, for example, and are replaced by Democrats to upset the GOP’s carefully crafted though slim majorities that for now have rode out moderate Republican dissenters. But attrition applies to judges too, especially the oldest sitting members of the Supreme Court – Ginsburg, Kennedy, Breyer. The oddmakers call for a right-leaning packed Court lasting generations. The Trump-dyed imprint being left on this nation, with or without him staying in power, isn’t going to come off with Clorox.

    As things stand, unless stricken by heart failure or an act of God, Trump is here to stay. He is beyond the law because Republicans have blocked enforcement of it, or reversed it. If Mueller gets too close he’ll be fired. If Trump shoots people on Fifth Avenue, he’ll remain immune from prosecution until he leaves the Oval Office. If he cuts deals with the House of Saud, launders billions through his properties and off-shore investment vehicles, accepts payments from foreign governments, or drops sulphuric acid on the Guttenberg Bible, Trump will never be wrong. Only a psychopath with extreme NPD who is a chronic liar, cheat, thief, misogynist, racist, racketeer, deceiver and manipulator is wrong, never Trump.

    Also, as the Lord’s personal envoy sent to save America how could he ever be wrong?

    If that day does arrive when Trump is prosecuted his defense attorneys will file an “insanity defense” and Trump’s luck will save him yet again; and that same luck, he’ll hope, will continue to save him until his very last day, his last throw of the dice, his last attempt to cut a deal – the day he faces the Book of Life.

    Hear now his plea and petition at the gate of St. Peter, who by now has become so sicken by what he read he recuses himself. Then the Lord enters, but not the one believed unto by the righteous of the day.

    Then Trump’s life review commences … then the weeping and gnashing of teeth begins … the wailing and beseeching … the bargaining, bartering, haggling … finally the verdict.

    “Do you have anything to say before sentencing?” asks the Lord of Trump. A suspenseful wait for apologies, contrition, penitence, repentance, remorse, shame is dashed …

    “Well do you? You have attacked illegals as one does who has committed lifelong illegalities. You have denigrated minorities, women and the weak as one who is inwardly cowardly and weak. You have divided nations, families and people from one another as one does who is devoid of giving or receiving trust and love. You have postured great wealth as one does who is bankrupt. You have engendered hate and violence as one does who is self-loathing and ashamed. You have scapegoated others as one does who bears the crimes he attributes to others.”

    Seeking to divert the attention of heaven from himself and onto another; seeking to find the scapegoat that will elicit angels to support him; seeking to tell the final lie that will reprieve him; waving his hand and throwing his head back, he bellows

    “Fake news!”, “Throw Peter and the rest out of here. I’ll pay the legal fees!”, “Even though I break every Commandment and my God is money; even though I act more like Herod then Jesus, the Evangelicals voted for me!”

    Trump is sentenced. The new land he finds is filled with joyous souls who cannot be shaken by impostors. A land where all is transparent and no lie or deception can be hatched. A society where money is non-existent and without winners and losers. A land where perfect justice is bestowed; where no one can cheat or steal another’s place and receive only what they have merited. A place beyond death that annuls violence or the murder of another.

    This was Donald J. Trump’s sentence.

    Not into the eternal flames by an avenging God, but into a personal Hell of realizing all that he did wrong by witnessing all that is right.

    Such is the Law.

    ::
    Notes

    Geneva Sands, “Meet the 9 sitting Supreme Court justices”, ABC News, May 29, 2017.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/meet-sitting-supreme-court-justices/story

    James Downie, “How GOP gerrymandering is protecting Trump”, Washington Post, May 19, 2017.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/05/19/how-gop-gerrymandering-is-protecting-trump/

    Philip Bump, “The one little number that — so far — is all the protection Donald Trump needs”, Washington Post, May 12, 2017.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/05/12/the-one-little-number-that-so-far-is-all-of-the-protection-donald-trump-needs/

    U.S. Debt Clock.
    http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    Steve Liesman, “Household debt just surpassed the record level reached during the 2008 financial crisis”, CNBC, May 17, 2017.
    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/17/household-debt-levels-higher-than-2008-debt-levels.html

  15. June 13, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Excellent article. Minor typo under “No Sharp Edges”: “…a community where argument is relisted, not feared.” I assume you wanted to say “relished” rather than “relisted”.

  16. Winston
    June 13, 2017 at 10:47 am

    The internet now allows the following to be bypassed for the first time in history and the manipulators don’t like one bit any challenge to their “approved narrative”.:

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country… We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of… In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays – Propaganda – 1928

    • Tom Welsh
      June 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Well observed! In this context it may be relevant to recall that, according to engineering tradition, it takes about 100 years for any new scientific or technical idea – or some garbled facsimile of it – to enter the consciousness of managers.

      And today’s politicians are, overwhelmingly, nothing more than managers. Mediocre managers who could not find employment in the private sector.

    • Cal
      June 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      So true…and more so every year.

  17. Tom Welsh
    June 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    “This Committee issues accreditation for all the European Institutions, including the only one of interest to me, the European Parliament”.

    While I understand strongly sympathise, I cannot understand why the European Parliament would be of interest to anyone.

    Except, perhaps, specialists collecting examples of foolishness, strangled grammar, and logical fallacies.

  18. Cal
    June 13, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    ” Besides the value of honest debate as a method for ascertaining truth,”>>>>>

    Honest debate does not ascertain the truth.
    The only truth is ‘what happened”.
    The ‘debate’ is about the defenders of what happened and the objectors to what happened debating ‘What Happened”.

  19. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 13, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Naomi Klein: Trump is the First Fully Commercialized Global Brand to Serve as U.S. President
    JUNE 13, 2017
    http://www.democracynow.org

    A decade after Naomi Klein published her now-iconic book “The Shock Doctrine,” the best-selling author and activist reflects on how President Trump represents a form of continuous shock and how he ran a branding campaign—more than a political campaign—in order to capture the presidency. Naomi Klein’s latest book is “No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.”

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, one of the interesting things, to me, in reading your book was the—how you connect, for instance, the work you had done long ago on branding and how the Trump administration has become the branding of the president and how he was able to understand the importance of branding way back during when he was doing the Apprentice program.
    In fact, you talk about, you analyze The Apprentice and its impact on American consciousness.

    NAOMI KLEIN: Right. So, I think we need to understand that Trump is not playing by the rules of politics. He’s playing by the rules of branding. And, you know, there have been presidential conflicts of interest before. There have been presidents with business interests before. But there has never been a fully commercialized global brand as a sitting U.S. president. That is unprecedented.

    And the reason that’s unprecedented is because this is a relatively new business model. It is—the business model that has been adopted by the Trump Organization is really not one that existed before the 1990s. It is what I called in my first book, No Logo, the hollow brand model, right? And the model comes out of the fact that in the—so, the original history of branding is you have a product—you know, maybe it was rice, maybe it was beans, maybe it was shoes—you’re a manufacturer first, but you want people to buy your product, so you brand it. You put a logo on it. You identify it with, you know, some sort of iconic image, like Uncle Ben’s or whatever it is, right? You give it a kind of personality.

    That stopped working in the 1980s. Customers got savvy to it. I had—probably the most requoted quote of mine in No Logo is from an advertising executive who said, “Consumers are like roaches. You spray them and spray them, and they become immune after a while.” It’s just lovely insight from a marketer, yeah, about how they see customers. So, marketing started to get more ambitious, and then you started to see these companies that position themselves as lifestyle brands. And they said, “No, we’re not product-based companies. We are in the business of selling ideas and identity.” Nike was the ultimate example of this. Nike CEO Phil Knight stepped forward and said, “We are not a sneaker company. We are not a shoe company. We are about the idea of transcendence through sports,” right? Starbucks wasn’t a coffee company; it was about the idea of community and the third place. And, you know, Disney was family. And all this. So, there was these—you know, the corporations would have their séances and come forward and say, “We have our grand idea.” This changed manufacturing dramatically, because once you decide that you’re in the business of selling an idea as opposed to a product, well, it doesn’t really matter who makes your product. What you want to do is you want to own as little sort of hard infrastructure as possible, and your real value is your name and how you build that up.

    So, Trump was more of a traditional business in the 1980s. And Trump was just sort of like a guy who built buildings, but—built buildings and had a flair for marketing. But the game changer for him was The Apprentice. That’s when he got to—he realized he could enter the stratosphere of the superbrands. And his business model changed. It no longer became about building the building or buying the building. That was for other people to do. He was about building up the Trump name and then selling it and leasing it in as many different ways as possible. So you’ve got the Trump water and Trump Steaks and Trump’s very so-called dodgy university. And so many of the towers, the Trump towers around the world, the Trump resorts around the world, those are not owned by the Trump Organization. The Trump Organization is paid millions of dollars by these developers for the privilege of putting the Trump name on those towers.

    So, this has huge implications for how we understand the corruption at the heart of Trump’s decision to merge his global brand with the U.S. government, which is what is underway on so many different fronts, because, honestly, what it means is, every time we say the word “Trump,” even when we’re saying it in a negative light, we’re doing his marketing for him. So, you know, with this lawsuit that was just announced by the attorneys general of New York and Maryland.

  20. vetran
    June 14, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Don’t know if Drew Faust ‘s address on free speech was sincere, but she’s presiding an university whose library has recently published a modern “Index Librorum Prohibitorum”, which list hundreds of websites and blogs it calls “biased,” “conspiratorial,” “unreliable,” “fake,” and otherwise “mislabeling”. Needless to say, Consortiumnews is one of them.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/harvards-fake-guide-to-fake-news-sites-americas-21st-century-index-librorum-prohibitorum/5579697
    If this is not mere hypocrisy, then she should know better …

    • mike k
      June 14, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Thanks for the link – very informative. This makes me even more skeptical of Doctorow’s blanket praise for Harvard’s Faust. Sounds like she needs to clean out her own cupboard before posturing about free speech. Harvard has produced more than it’s share of rotten leaders for America.

  21. June 14, 2017 at 5:03 am

    The denial of reporting access to Doctorow and others is adjunct to the no-platforming strategy that is becoming pervasive by those in positions to exercise democratically unaccountable power as elites and their allies, not just against critics, but open enquiry itself. Regardless that this practice has become endemic in a new West that still pretends to uphold the old marketplace of free speech exchange – but only if it is politically correct speech – it is degenerating into a form of publicly enforced opinions according to corporate crony interests and their political hires. In a word, propaganda against domestic public opinion, in the cause of weakening accountability to that public, by replacing genuine public opinion with a manufactured false version.

    It might well be that democracy is still developing in Russia. However, that process is regressive in our own environs, and the clearest example of fake news, is the canard that our own elites’ government is any longer in the business of democracy promotion either abroad or at home. Rather the cast of their project is imperial and authoritarian, the goal world hegemony.

  22. June 14, 2017 at 5:15 am

    I have never watched even one episode of “The Apprentice.” Whatever pressures have been brought to bear now, essential to Trump’s election success was tapping into the economic angst of a beleaguered middle America in the center of the country. Moreover, political pragmatism tied into job security, in a nation where Wall Street sold 50,000 U.S. factories down the Shangtze River, leaves little immediate alternative to doubling down on what has become America’s last bastion of good paying manufacturing jobs – the war business and the export of both its products and the conflicts which produce demands for them. Any attempt to demobilize or reduce dependence on war is politically impossible in the short term, with the unemployment problem it would produce. The window between U.S. elections is too narrow to consider long term goals that can require immediate sacrifice that generate political blowback. Reagan could turn things around despite economic pain between 1980 and 1982, but there was still a manufacturing base present to revive. Not so in 2017, with a base so eviscerated that it will take a decade, were there the appetite for it this time among elites, which there is not.

  23. UIA
    June 14, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    The problem with fighting for freedom is that you spend all your time supporting scoundrels. UIA supports press freedom and Hope. She’s never getting caught with a midnight rider.

    We’re a government in exile.

  24. June 14, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    That is truly hypocritical of Dr. Faust, thank you, Vetran, for the heads-up on the Global Research article about Harvard’s censor list, which certainly undercuts her remarks on truth. And as for Naomi Klein, I find myself annoyed after respecting her for her “Shock Doctrine” work. Trump is not the shock at all, he is the result of the shocks Americans have been receiving ever since globalization and its discontents, repeal of Glass-Steagall under Bill Clinton, and all the other various legal decisions that have eviscerated Americans’ rights. Chris Hedges has it right, that Trump is a symptom of what is wrong here, not the disease. Americans are stuck on personas, identity politics. The Putin demonization is an outcome of this, the social media blabber and gossip, the pettiness of the American mind, which I like to call “tabloid nation”. Joan Baez even wrote a silly song called “The Nasty Man”, about Trump, meaningless drivel. Did she write anything about the murder of Gaddafi, brought about by the Democrats she now supports rather than truth?

  25. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 14, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    “The Nasty Man”, about Trump, meaningless drivel.

    Oscar Brown Jr. accurately described “The Snake.”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/6/12/1671049/-Donald-Trump-turns-a-cabinet-meeting-into-a-butt-kissing-ritual

  26. UIA
    June 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    With hyperdemocracy values you have unlimited potential. Comey is bearing up and Trump is lawyering up. The truth will get you fired, so you’ll be free. The Silence of The Press has become the Silence of The Lambs and Comey is no lamb. Hope is getting a winery. I need $13 million or there’s no Hope or winery. Impossible has the possible in it and this will be hard, witch is easy. That’s the mission. Had to make a deal with the devil. Better than a deal with Russia for leaks. We’re growing leeks with the vines.

  27. UIA
    June 15, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I went the Beirut, which was more education than Yale. We all ran out of bullets and had to fight them with knives until the chopper showed up. Late.

    Fight with cameras and tapes. Scotch makes you smart. Hope is the best of times and the only times we have.

  28. UIA
    June 15, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I can build a castle from a single grain of sand.
    I can make a ship sail, uh, on dry land.

    I can pick up all the pieces and make you an island.

    The truth is impossible and the possible is in the impossible. The mission is going to leave them alive and hopeless.
    No rules were broken because we know the exceptions. It was fair and square. We won Hope.

  29. Leonard vW
    June 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    The German broadcaster ARTE also scheduled showing The Magnitsky Files but recoiled in the last minute.
    But where can one get a copy of this documentary ? I tried various channels, like the maker and the distributor in Norway, but everywhere you seem to hit a wall.

  30. PlutoC
    June 15, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I have spent considerable time learning just how America does not have a “free press” while the corporatists manipulate the news to support the plutocracy. This article, supposedly about peddling misinformation, disinformation and confusion, somehow ends with Doctorow bashing the Putin and Russia bashers. The title, “How the Establishment Imposes ‘Truth,’” appealed to me and I was expecting a tightly written piece including a broad range of linked examples collected from around the democratic world that would expand my knowledge. Instead, this article shuffles through a wordy and meandering opinion piece with an anecdote, the NBC v. Putin story and a visit to Harvard. Suddenly from the quietude, a bizarre transition to Russia: “Of course, the inconvenient truth is that Harvard University has long been a “bubble,” especially in the area of policy research that most interests me and may be vital in avoiding a nuclear catastrophe: Russian studies.” Following this, more staking of the author’s position using “confrontation,” “vilification” and “hysteria over ‘Russia-gate.’” These are clearly strong emotions for Russia. But then it turns strange: Experts in Russian affairs “have been repeatedly denied any possibility of participating in ’round tables’ dedicated to relations with Russia that might be organized” at Harvard. What is this? Experts denied access to non-existing events that might take place in the future? A total ban? We are given the names of the banned and the place but not the ‘who’ and ‘why’ behind the directive.

    This wordy article did not live up to its title and that irritates me. Changing subjects in the last 20% is worse still. Changing to a subject dear to the author and it not treated objectively is unfortunate in this – Dare I say it? – the age of fake news.

  31. R Davis
    June 16, 2017 at 9:07 am

    More & more it looks like everyone needs to become nuclear ready for a big bang.
    Great article, thank you.

  32. CitizenOne
    June 18, 2017 at 12:01 am

    I am surprised that no poster has linked the Supreme Court Decisions in Citizens United vs. FEC and McCutcheon vs. FEC which effectively eliminated all election and campaign regulations which attempted to limit corporate influence in elections. Conservative pundits like George Will have stated that there is no such thing as “too much money in campaign donations” and have posited that the effect of corporate influence in politics is a very good thing.

    It has been a scant few years since SCOTUS handed over our democracy to the highest bidder and now we see that Trump who was elected because of his media supporters which was nothing more than an extortion of Super PACs to fleece them of their money has created the Russiaphobia as a smokescreen which has the double benefit of obscuring and fogging over of the real reasons Trump won which were the product of endless hours of media attention fawning over Trump and a host of other reasons such as Comey’s reopening of a closed investigation of Hillary Clinton and a whole bunch more reasons like boosting the cause for pouring ever more money into our national defense which exceeds already any other nation..

    The takeaway is that the media have come into full abuse of the “freedom of speech” clause in our Constitution and have interpreted it as the freedom to manipulate us for the benefit of themselves and the corporations they depend on for their cash flow through advertising and various other means of influence which buys them power with the establishment.

    Such interpretations of the intent of the US Constitution have also been revealed in the separation of Church and State by clever arguments that while the US Constitution states that there shall be separation between church and state it is interpreted to mean there is a defacto argument that while the government, having been forbidden to support or interfere with religion, it has given supporters of introducing religion into government carte blanche for religion to take over the government since this interpretation follows the logic that while the Constitution prohibits the government from interfering with religion the opposite is not the case. The “put religion at the head of government” folks view the Constitution as an open invite to take it over.

    In this interpretation, the framers of the Constitution left open a back door for a theocracy. Hardly what the original framers had in mind which was the exact opposite. But we now see many attempts to insert the force of law into both discriminating against some religions and supporting the notion that the founding fathers actually wanted a nation controlled by religion.

    Here is an old quote:

    When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

    Frederic Bastiat – (1801-1850) in Economic Sophisms

    We have the government we have exactly because of we have a group of men who have created a system of laws that glorifies their “moral code” which justifies plunder..

    The current diversion of some foreign influence being responsible for our current government which blames some foreign enemy for the result is just diversion and that is all it is.

    We might as well have a media system like North Korea or Saudi Arabia which blames all of the mass suffering of their people on the USA but in reverse. Now we blame all of the domestic corruption and hide our own medias and governments complicity in the current situation on the Russians. It is self serving and useful for them to do this.

    We are being manipulated in a way that would make any dictator proud and yet it is highly unAmerican for them to do so. They have abandoned the ethics which guided our founding fathers and have created clever twisted logic to justify their actions which are the exact opposite of what our founding fathers envisioned having fought against imperial tyranny and won independence.

    The unfortunate consequence of this is that the American People will become more skeptical of government leadership and government and our media will increasingly attempt to fool us all.

    From the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine to today’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Act” our government has allowed the regulations over the media to be eliminated one by one and has resulted in the medias new interpretation that freedom of the press means freedom to lie.

    The removal of regulations in campaign finance regulations and in telecommunications regulations designed to prevent the undue influence of money in our national discourse has resulted in the influence of money controlling our national discourse.and the control of out national government by the money powers.

    The money powers have been a feared adversary of democracy for a long long time.

    Here are some notable quotes. Thanks to apfn.org http://www.apfn.org/thewinds/library/money.html for some notable quotes.

    The Money Powers

    I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.

    Abraham Lincoln – In a letter written to William Elkin less than five months before he was assassinated.

    The money power preys on the nation in times of peace, and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces, as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes.

    Abraham Lincoln

    A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world – no longer a Government of free opinion no longer a Government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men….

    Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U.S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.

    Woodrow Wilson – In The New Freedom (1913)

    The fact is that there is a serious danger of this country becoming a pluto-democracy; that is, a sham republic with the real government in the hands of a small clique of enormously wealth men, who speak through their money, and whose influence, even today, radiates to every corner of the United States.

    William McAdoo – President Wilson’s national campaign vice-chairman, wrote in Crowded Years (1974)

    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

    Thomas Jefferson

    The system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction… I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity… is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

    Thomas Jefferson

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.

    Thomas Jefferson

    … To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill [chartering the first Bank of the United States], have not, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution.

    Thomas Jefferson – in opposition to the chartering of the first Bank of the United States (1791).

    We have stricken the (slave) shackles from four million human beings and brought all laborers to a common level not so much by the elevation of former slaves as by practically reducing the whole working population, white and black, to a condition of serfdom. While boasting of our noble deeds, we are careful to conceal the ugly fact that by an iniquitous money system we have nationalized a system of oppression which,though more refined, is not less cruel than the old system of chattel slavery.

    Horace Greeley – (1811-1872) founder of the New York Tribune

    When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

    Frederic Bastiat – (1801-1850) in Economic Sophisms

    The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank…sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.

    Prof. Carroll Quigley in Tragedy and Hope

    In a small Swiss city sits an international organization so obscure and secretive….Control of the institution, the Bank for International Settlements, lies with some of the world’s most powerful and least visible men: the heads of 32 central banks, officials able to shift billions of dollars and alter the course of economies at the stroke of a pen.

    Keith Bradsher of the New York Times, August 5, 1995

    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is eager to enter into close relationship with the Bank for International Settlements….The conclusion is impossible to escape that the State and Treasury Departments are willing to pool the banking system of Europe and America, setting up a world financial power independent of and above the Government of the United States….The United States under present conditions will be transformed from the most active of manufacturing nations into a consuming and importing nation with a balance of trade against it.

    Rep. Louis McFadden – Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency quoted in the New York Times (June 1930)

    Nothing did more to spur the boom in stocks than the decision made by the New York Federal Reserve bank, in the spring of 1927, to cut the rediscount rate. Benjamin Strong, Governor of the bank, was chief advocate of this unwise measure, which was taken largely at the behest of Montagu Norman of the Bank of England….At the time of the Banks action I warned of its consequences….I felt that sooner or later the market had to break.

    Money baron Bernard Baruch in Baruch: The Public Years (1960)

    The Federal Reserve Bank is nothing but a banking fraud and an unlawful crime against civilization. Why? Because they “create” the money made out of nothing, and our Uncle Sap Government issues their “Federal Reserve Notes” and stamps our Government approval with NO obligation whatever from these Federal Reserve Banks, Individual Banks or National Banks, etc.

    H.L. Birum, Sr., American Mercury, August 1957, p. 43

    [The] abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit…. In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holdings illegal, as was done in the case of gold…. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves…. [This] is the shabby secret of the welfare statist’s tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the ‘hidden’ confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights.

    Alan Greenspan in an article he wrote in 1966.

  33. Bev
    June 18, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    We need 4 things:
    — Truth
    via a Free Press and Public Education

    — Democracy
    via evidence with hand counted Paper Ballots and reversing Kobach/Trump/GOP #Crosscheck COUP which Purged Voter Registration Rolls of Legal minority, student, and poor voters

    https://twitter.com/Greg_Palast
    http://www.gregpalast.com/
    http://www.gregpalast.com/election-stolen-heres/
    The Election was Stolen – Here’s How…
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-gops-stealth-war-against-voters-w435890
    The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters
    Will an anti-voter-fraud program designed by one of Trump’s advisers deny tens of thousands their right to vote in November?
    https://twitter.com/greg_palast/status/828822669927686144?lang=en
    Greg Palast? @Greg_Palast
    We’re trying to get the actual purge lists. Help us by supporting our Stolen Election Investigation: http://www.palastinvestigativefund.org/?stolenelectioninvestigation … #Crosscheck

    http://blackboxvoting.org/
    http://blackboxvoting.org/fraction-magic-video/
    Fraction Magic Video
    By Bev Harris
    A real-time demo of the most devastating election theft mechanism yet found, with context and explanation. Demonstration uses a real voting system and real vote databases and takes place in seconds across multiple jurisdictions.
    http://blackboxvoting.org/fraction-magic-1/
    Fraction Magic – Part 1: Votes are being counted as fractions instead of as whole numbers
    By Bev Harris

    — Money Debt-Free
    Six times in our country’s history, brave Presidents have taken Debt Money creation away from bankers and given it back to Government to create a Public, Debt-Free Money–presidents like Washington, Lincoln, & Kennedy among others. PROTECT all
    politicians who would do this again for the common good.

    — Climate Catastrophe mitigation and Environmental Cleanup Emergency Jobs
    via massive jobs program The Green New Deal by Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party
    http://www.jill2016.com/greennewdeal
    Our nation – and our world – face a “perfect storm” of economic and environmental crises that threaten not only the global economy, but life on Earth as we know it. The dire, existential threats of climate change, wars for oil, and a stagnating, crisis-ridden economic system require bold and visionary solutions if we are to leave a livable world to the next generation and beyond.
    ……………

    More about Public Money:
    The N.E.E.D. Act gives an Immediate, Seamless and Non-Disruptive Overnight Transition from a Crisis-Prone Bank Debt System to a Stable Government Money System.?

    The NEED Act Bill:?
    http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf?
    http://www.monetary.org/?
    http://www.monetary.org/2017-ami-monetary-reform-conference
    The American Monetary Institute proudly announces its 13th Annual
    AMI Monetary Reform Conference
    Chicago, September 14 – 17, 2017

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEU13R5jt1w
    Why Monetary Reform Must Become Your Number One Issue
    by American Monetary Speaker Joe Bongiovanni

    http://www.monetary.org/intro-to-monetary-reform/faqs?
    Monetary Reform FAQ

    7) Doesn’t your AMA proposal merely continue with a fiat money system? ?Shouldn’t we be using gold and silver instead? Wouldn’t that provide a more stable money?

    Our system is absolutely a fiat money system. But that’s a good thing, not a bad one. In reaction to the many problems caused by our privatized fiat money system over the decades, many Americans have?blamed fiat money for our troubles, and they support using valuable commodities for money.

    But Folks! The problem is not fiat money, because all advanced money is a fiat of the Law! The problem is privately issued fiat money. Then that is like a private tax on all of us imposed by those with the privilege to privately issue fiat money. Private fiat money must now stop forever!

    Aristotle gave us the science of money in the 4th century B.C. which he summarized as: “Money exists not by nature but by law!” So Aristotle accurately defines money as a legal fiat.

    As for gold, most systems pretending to be gold systems have been frauds which never had the gold to back up their promises. And remember if you are still in a stage of trading things (such as gold) for other things, you are still operating in some form of barter system, not a real money system, and therefore not having the potential advantages as are available through the American Monetary Act!

    And finally as regards gold and silver: Please do not confuse a good investment with a good money system. From time to time gold and silver are good investments. However you want very different results from an investment than you want from a money.

    Obviously you want an investment to go up and keep going up. But you want money to remain fairly stable. Rising money would mean that you’d end up paying your debts in much more valuable money. For example the mortgage on your house would keep rising if the value of money kept rising.

    Also, contrary to prevailing prejudice, gold and silver have both been very volatile and not stable at all. Just check out the long term gold chart.
    ……….

    http://www.monetary.org/seamlesstransition/

    The NEED Act is an elegant and simple law which overnight converts our crisis prone bank debt money system into a pure, reliable U.S. money system in fully secure accounts. It is painless, everybody’s money is maintained safe and secure, and all debts can be payable, meaning no losses from systemic defaults (thus restoring confidence in crisis ridden markets).

    Overnight Conversion of Bank Deposits
    ?Upon the NEED Act becoming law, all bank deposits are designated and treated as United States Money (sovereign money, just as circulating coins from the U.S. Mint are now). All bank deposits become “safekeeping accounts;” they are no longer owed by banks to their depositors, as they now are; but are instead maintained in safekeeping for depositors (what people think they are now). They’re still exchangeable at will for U.S. currency notes and coins. This change happens overnight and won’t disrupt business. It relieves banks of a liability they now have to their depositors. All these liabilities (bank deposits) are equal in value to the bulk of the U.S. money supply.

    In exchange for removing this liability from banks, an equal liability is put in its place which requires banks to pay over to the U.S. Treasury the repayments from outstanding loan balances2 due to them, when banks are repaid by their borrowers.3 The interest remains income of banks. This applies only to the amount of bank loans (or security purchases) that resulted in the creation of bank deposits out of thin air – from so called fractional reserve banking.

    Thus overnight, banks are relieved of liabilities that might be payable at any time (whenever the depositor asked for them), and these are replaced with liabilities that are only payable as and when the borrowers repay their bank loans.

    Any bank loans that arose from banks borrowing money from others will still be paid back to the banks’ lenders in the normal course of business.

    Thus banks have no more liabilities in total than they had before.?Thus banks’ liquidity situation is dramatically improved, while their net worth is unaffected.?Also banks’ income situation is dramatically improved since they will no longer pay interest on deposit accounts (their main expense) and can instead charge fees for their deposit services.

    It’s an Overnight, Seamless Transition to a Just Monetary System?
    more
    …..

    http://www.monetary.org/mmtevaluation
    AMI’s Evaluation of “Modern Monetary Theory” (MMT)

    The AMI considers the concept and definition of money as the most critical factor in determining whether a society’s money system functions in a just and sustainable way.

    How money is defined determines who controls the money system, and whoever controls the money system will dominate the whole society. For instance:

    • If money is defined as wealth (e.g., commodities like gold and silver by weight), as Adam Smith did, then the wealthy will control not only their own wealth, but the money system and thus the whole society as well.

    • If money is defined as credit or debt, as MMT and most economists now do, those who dominate credit (the banks) will control society’s monetary mechanism – and we know from experience they will misuse it to create bubbles, until the whole system crashes.

    • If money is defined as an abstract legal power of society, as the Constitution does, then the money system is placed under our constitutional system of checks and balances to work justly and sustainably for the whole society, not for only a privileged part of it.

    The AMI uses the following concept of money:

    Money’s essence (apart from whatever is used to signify it) is an abstract social power, embodied in law, as an unconditional means of payment.
    ……

    Its reforms are intuitively what one thinks the system already is.

    • The Federal Reserve System, currently owned by the private banks, would be put into the federal government.

    • Banks would no longer create our money and would only loan money that already exists.

    • Money would be created, debt-free, in non inflation/deflationary amounts and spent into existence for the needs of the nation: jobs, infrastructure, healthcare, education, etc. The federal debt will be repaid as it comes due, an absolute impossibility under the present system and there will be no more deficits and debt circuses in Washington.

    The NEED Act transforms our society from austerity to a productive, bountiful and sustainable democracy.

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