Democracy: It’s Not Dark Yet, But It’s Getting There

Photograph Source: Dirk Haun – CC BY 2.0

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the [fill in the country] voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

– Henry Kissinger, Nobel Peace prize winner and war criminal

Ever since the Nobel Peace prize-winning President Barack Obama had the audacity to hire as his press secretary someone with the forked-tongued name Josh Earnest (can you say, oxymoron?) back in 2014, I’ve given up on the hope that executive administrations will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ever again. Obama worked the Press. The uproarious Jonas Brothers drone joke, followed by the knee-slapping drive-by shootings of American citizens overseas a year later, turning Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son, into drone meat. Or the drone double taps: first their weddings, then their funerals. Get it? “They hate us more than they love life,” whistleblower John Kiriakou once said. But keep pushing, and they’ll write poetry to us, he continued.

Obama played Hollywood, bringing in the makers of Zero Dark Thirty, showing them ‘classified’ documents supporting the Administration’s narrative describing what happened the night they took bin Laden out in Abbottabad, so that Kathryn Bigelow exclaimed after the meetings that ZDT would be a “journalistic” movie. No mention of the raid narrative’s multiple versions (I counted at least 9). No consideration of what Abbottabad neighbors witnessed that night. No mention that the classified documents Bigelow’s team were shown, aside from legal questions such showing raised, were overclassified, or that her movie had superstition triggers — a black cat crossing, and omen birds flying off, as terrorists arrive. WTF?

Scheduled to be Obama’s October Surprise lift before the 2012 election, journalists, like Glenn Greenwald, criticized Bigelow’s easy access, comparing her work to Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi propaganda filmmaker, who directed Hitler’s Goy Pride flick, The Triumph of the Will. ZDT was released in December instead. Obama didn’t get the raised limp fish treatment from the Lefties at any red-and-black rallies following his squeaky victory, but ZDT won Oscars, which is something Leni never did, and Barry probably saw with rolling eyes his name in the movie’s rolling credits.

Obama played his basket of implorables — those who hoped and prayed for change in a country they saw free-fallin in its own democratic footprints: the hypnotic illusion that they owned a government for and by the People was wearing off. But for a little extra gangsta bounce in his step, he paid back all the Lefties who had barracked for his presidency by bitch slappin’ them, like a Billy Dee Williams blaxploitation pimp, until even Black Agenda Report pundits shook their heads, noting, “in 2008, it was Obama who opposed any moratorium on home foreclosures,” and he who helped “shield corporations from class action suits, and voting against caps on credit card Interest.” BAR threw up their hands and called him “The More Effective Evil.” Read it and weep. O my aching heart.

Josh Earnest’s arrival was a punchline appointment that even Karl Rove, who GW Bush affectionately nicknamed Turd Blossom, would have guffawed at.

The Bush advisor and dirty trickster, who famously went to war with “reality-based thinking,” (and then denied it, coyly) almost torpedoed Obama’s reelection in 2012, according to Greg Palast, who writes in How Trump Stole the 2020, that had Palast and a law professor not filed a midnight suit in Ohio, the votes of thousands of early Black voters were set to be “disqualified”:

Turdblossom Rove knew…that if Husted disqualified about 20% of the early-voting “absentee” Black ballots on technical grounds, Rove would realize his last, best hope of defeating Obama (and defeating the voters). Fritakis went to court, I went on air, and the mass disqualification of Ohio votes—which worked the trick in 2004—failed in 2012. Barely.

As Palast asks: Who needs Russians to interfere in our processes?

Even Trump has gotten in on the narrative game, seemingly making fun of the Obama Administration’s setup of the bin Laden take down narrative. Raise your hand, like a man, if you think the al Baghdadi-Idlib ISIS takedown narrative was a tweak at the Obama administration. There’s plausibility out there that Obama was sitting on bin Laden, and had the raid lined up many months in advance as a cash-in for the October before the 2012 election. Trump’s hasty, impromptu gathering of growls and grumps for a photo-op after Idlib looked like a lampoon of that now-iconic shot of the Obama cartel concerned in the situation room. Helmet cameras suddenly malfunctioned, coincidentally around the time an Apache raid-copter was said to have crashed and exploded.

John Brennan, despite having claimed to have been present for live updates of the raid, came out of that situation room and lied with his bald face to the Press, claiming bin Laden had been in a fire fight with SEALs and, when they broke down his door, he was clutching at least one of his wives and held a gun, “like a coward.” Brennan had to walk and talk it back the next day, and was none too happy about it. It didn’t mesh with the C-in-C’s narrative.

Compare that to Trump’s description of al-Baghdadi as “whimpering and crying,” clutching kids, “and dying like a dog.” The President laughing his ass off when, much to the ISIS head’s chagrin, no escape tunnel was there after all, said Trump with glee. Even the chopper footage looked like a vague tweak of the Wikileaks Collateral Murder posting. Trump wasn’t there, and nobody described the scene that way. Brennan’s the guy, if you’ll recall, who’s security clearance Trump had snatched after the ex-CIA head kept snarking at Trump on TV — as a paid consultant. It’s like someone had sat Trump down with Turd Blossom’s Reality Bashing for Dummies, and DJ went to town with the concept.

Trump, a one-man wrecking ball, who comes at us shaking his leather-panted toosh like Smiley Silage; we know it’s wrong to watch him twerk, but we can’t look away; that’s some bum. Trump even brings his own rally pole with him. Wall Street keeps tucking in dollar bills. And we fear this clown; he’s not a polly; he’s unpredictable in certain important ways. Too many of us believe what he says, when it’s clear he’s speaking Truth to bowels not power. He could pull a coup out of whimsy, for all we know. He may not be sane — or worse, we may be insane. There’s a vaccine we’ll never see before 2030, the date scientists are telling us that Climate Change will be taking off the gloves.

So what the christ am I on about? Well, for one thing, Turd Blossom is back in the mix of the 2020 election cycle, working as an unpaid consultant for the Trump campaign. The Times piece even has Turd Blossom chiding Trump about his failure to dirty up Joe Biden sufficiently. But no above the fold play, where such news belongs. If Business Insider, a reliable alternative to the MSM dailies, hadn’t featured that information, we might never have seen it deeply buried in the gassy vowels of a NYT piece. Well, to quote Trump, “What the hell is going on?” You might know what The Truth is by trusting the MSM. That’s what I’m going on about.

Just the other day, over at the Democracy Dies in Darkness Daily, columnist Josh Rogan had a go at empty blather with his piece, “Secret CIA assessment: Putin ‘probably directing’ influence operation to denigrate Biden.” Probably? More unnamed sources high in the IC community, supposedly. Check out what Rogan offers up:

“We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November,” the first line of the document says, according to the sources.

This is a near-repeat of the 2016 IC assessment that blossomed after the DNC “hack,” but that ass-essment had pushers — Clapper and Brennan, members of the “deep state” Liars Club.

The Rogan piece seems to have been ‘developed’ out of an August assessment reported by WaPo, “Russia is trying to ‘denigrate’ Biden while China prefers ‘unpredictable’ Trump not be reelected, senior U.S. intelligence official says.” Note the repeat of ‘denigrate’, but this time we are treated to the source of the qualified opinion: by William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. Again, despite the surveillance state clamp on global data streams, a meek assessment without evidence is offered up to the public — just references to

“Pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach … spreading claims about corruption — including through publicizing leaked phone calls — to undermine” Biden and Democrats, Evanina said.

Underwhelming evidence of anything. Specific denigrating comments that might have undermined American confidence in Biden would have been helpful.

One wonders why WaPO didn’t confer with a former director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Cofer Black, the guy who gave Bush the head’s up about an impending al Qaeda attack on American soil, we’re told. Black joined the Board of Directors of Burisma Holdings just after Trump’s 2017 inauguration (he would have conferred with Hunter Biden before the latter left a couple of months later). He probably has deep insight into what the pro-Russian Ukrainians were up to, just as he did al Qaeda in the lead up to 9/11.

In fact, one wonders why WaPo didn’t chase after the Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin that Joe Biden crowed about having got shit-canned, who in February, around the time Rudy Guliani was in Ukraine probing for dirt on Biden, attempted to file a criminal complaint against Biden in Ukrainain courts for interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine. The first question might be, did Trump put Shokin up to the filing? That would be more impeachable than the quid pro quo phone call that brought about the January circus. WaPo doesn’t say, because they didn’t check out Black or Shokin. We have to take their authoritarian word for it. Voice of God journalism in the Age of Relativism. Go figure.

While we’re at it, even the Evanina report seems to have been derived from another sorry ass source, from the Guardian, asserting in January 2020, around the time Guliani was in Ukraine, “Russians Hacked Ukrainian Gas Company at Center of Impeachment.” No ‘alleged’ — headline statement of fact. Again, Cofer Black’s expert input on this might have been helpful. But the kicker-in-the-head is the source of the allegation is another cybersecurity company, Area 1, that is owned and operated by two ex-NSA hackers. Given what Edward Snowden says is happening, it seems fair to ask if these ex-NSA hackers are homo contractuses, doing US government work in no-accountability private guise. It’s almost like our democracy has been privatized. Neither WaPo nor the NYT nor the Guardian, the self-described papers of record, give a shit.

And while we’re knocking the Guardian in its paper teeth, after knuckledusting the Times and the Daily Darkness, awhile back another Guardian piece stuck in my craw — “Fresh Cambridge Analytica leak ‘shows global manipulation is out of control,’” Duh! might be one response. But the thing here is, the author, Carole Cadwalladr, who broke the Cambridge Anal-ytica story, here brings together two main miscreants of the 2016 election manipulations: CA’s “whistleblower” Brittany Kaiser and the one, the only “ex” British spy, Christopher Steele. Both were now concerned about American democracy. Brittany, with a just-released memoir, promised to dish more as the months passed. Nothing yet, October just ahead. Kaiser and Steele, who worked sleeze Left and Right during the 2016 cycle, now seem to be offering up their services as consultants in the new electoral cycle. Contrite, and to the right.

What the hell is going on?

I actually got some clarity when, while following the Julian Assange Extradition event — live from the Old Barnum and Bailey — I took the time to watch a short film — The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange — that sums up what Assange and Wikileaks stand for, and why they’re so goddamned important to any semblance of understanding current events. Instead of listening to all the quack-quack of Bush and Turd Blossom and Obama and Brennan and Clapper and Josh and the claptrap machine that surrounds the loudmouthed Trump, Wikileaks assumes you are intelligent and provides you with primary documentation that no fibbing federale can deny. It’s a well-produced short film whose value becomes self-evident. You might want to find the time to watch it.

We are not only amidst a War on Terror, a war that is the terror, but a war on public narratives, cries of “conspiracy theory” from one corner, “Fake News” from the other — the net effect is aural chaos and maybe even auditory hallucinations (did I just hear that?) that keep us from understanding what’s actually happening in the world — or, at least, America, which is the world for most Americans.

In Counterpunch the other day the estimable Jonathan Cook discussed the letdown lack of support at the trial by Guardian writers Assange collaborated with in the past to tell important public interest stories. He cites investigative journalist Iain Overton’s tweet that wonders, “I do not know where those who worked with him at the Guardian are…And frankly, some of them should be ashamed of themselves for that.” Worse, Cook shows how some of these past collaborations are being used against Assange, including an unauthorized biography that wants to reveal his thinking during the Wikileaks publication process. Such thinking is important to establish in a future political trial in the US.

I have already seen publications referring to Wikileaks in the past tense. This is not just sad, as we like to say on the Left, but unacceptable. Losing Wikileaks would be a great loss, especially if it is not to be replaced because its practices have been outlawed. In an excellent recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review, Harry Stopes immediately reminds us all of the Wikileaks value:

WE LIVE IN AN ERA DEFINED BY INFORMATION. Few organizations have done more to identify, and accelerate, this state of affairs than WikiLeaks. With its central idea, that transparency is a weapon to be brandished online, WikiLeaks has created a model of political action as it has become a cultural archetype.

We need more magazines like CJR and other media watchdogs to keep all the bastards all around us honest — or, at least, partially accountable.

And now comes the Master Debate between a plagiarist and a dunderhead. All eyes glued on, all ears pitched, popcorn and beer on the coffee table.

Turn the lights out when the party’s over.

John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelancer based in Australia.  He is a former reporter for The New Bedford Standard-Times.