Are Media An "Enemy of the People"?
By Dennis Loo (2/26/17)
Trump and his White House are claiming that media are an "enemy of the American people," that Trump's choice of words are deliberate and dead serious, that blocking certain members of the mainstream news from his "news" conferences is appropriate, and that boycotting the funfest White House Correspondents Dinner is also. It seems appropriate that several different dimensions to this be addressed.
First of all, why is Trump trying to eliminate views and facts he doesn't like from even being considered? It's one thing to disagree, but another thing altogether to say no one should dare to say things that differ from what I (POTUS) say and that their doing so makes them an "enemy of the state" and justifies physically barring them from press "briefings." What state are you trying to establish then? One in which dissent per se is criminalized? Yes, indeed, that's what they are doing.
Moreover, doesn't this look exactly like a form of political correctness turned inside-out? Isn't he saying that we should deal with contrasting views from our own by banishing them!? Doesn't that make the infamous critic of political correctness a full-on hypocrite?
Second, the Trump camp's efforts to make people who disagree with them "shut up," besides the fact that the effort to do so is fascist - it is the very definition of fascist and I am using the word not as an insult but scientifically - and not just partisanship bickering, as some are seeing it as, reflects strategic weakness on their part, not strength. Trump and his Trumpists are saying that we will tell you what's true and what isn't, no matter what your eyes may tell you, and you will believe it and like it, because we say so. If what you say is true, then your attitude towards those who might disagree with you is not to censor them but to actively invite debate and free discussion. For truth emerges through contention and lies proliferate in darkness. Lies or mistakes cannot stand close examination and will wilt and die from debate and discussion. I say it's strategic weakness on their part because if your ideas are so good, then you don't have to try to eliminate contrary ideas and challenges to your ideas, because good ideas will stand up before a challenge and are in fact improved by challenge, not harmed or weakened. The attempt to rid the society of contending ideas and facts (which is like ridding us of smoke from a fire) shows weakness and fear that your ideas are not, in fact, so strong since you must bully away those other ideas and facts, rather than invite them in.
Trump versus the Intelligence Community
By Dennis Loo (2/24/17)
Keith Olbermann in his February 22, 2017 broadcast of his show “The Resistance” takes what we know from the public record about the intelligence community (IC) and its relationship with Trump and goes on to infer some conclusions based upon that. To summarize his argument in its briefest form: the IC is slowly killing the Trump presidency but Trump is too stupid to see the writing on the wall.
For his part, Trump and his camp do realize that they have a difficult - to say the least - relationship to the IC and are trying to reduce the IC’s significance, including by reducing its numbers and its role. In a New York Times’ February 17, 2017 article, for example, some of the back-and-forth is detailed and Rep. King, a reliable ally of the more reactionary elements in power, is quoted:
“Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, said in a recent interview that some officials in the intelligence community were trustworthy but ‘not all.’ ‘People there need to be rooted out,’ Mr. King said.” Sounds like McCarthyism, doesn’t it?
Trump Hypocrisy and Fear of Russian Ties Revealed Reaches New High
By Dennis Loo (2/23/17)
As you know, Trump and his people have been saying lately that mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, Time et al are “fake news” and have gone so far as to say that they are “enemies” of the American people.
In particular, Chief of Staff Reince Preibus made the rounds of the weekend talk shows to repeat his boss’ claims that the widespread reports that there have been frequent contacts between the Trump camp and Russia are totally false. Preibus also said that the (common and necessary practice of) news media of citing anonymous sources was wrong and that people should always be named if they're in news accounts.
This is what Preibus said to Fox News Sunday last weekend:
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[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
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Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)