Propaganda

Over the last couple of weeks, there have been a couple stories that give me the feeling of an itch that I can’t scratch. The first is the continuing Edward Snowden saga and the second is the reporting on the next Chairman of the Fed.

I guess the Snowden Affair has almost died because there’s now a commission that’s both independent and blue ribbon investigating things. But the whole thing still just doesn’t make sense.

Snowden just doesn’t seem like a whistleblower. I don’t get any decent sense of a coherent ideological position from the guy. The idea that we should care about the government knowing who we call on the phone (who even makes phone calls anymore?) when the government already knows exactly how we make and spend money, is gaining access to our health records, etc. is just silly.

Most importantly, the story has been manufactured and controlled way too well. Perhaps I’ve just read too much non-mainstream history to believe that there’s any possibility that Glenn Greenwald writing for the Guardian is writing a story that’s deeply injuring to USG. Glenn Greenwald is – as much as anyone else – part of USG. There are lots of people suggesting that the story is 90% Greenwald’s . . . crafting and 10% hard facts. Count me in that camp – and round up.

To make it all worse, I’m now supposed to feel sorry for Greenwald’s husband because he was questioned while carrying illegally obtained documents? How dumb do I look?

The second itchy story relates to the nomination of a new Fed chairman (covered from the reactionary angle already here). Progressive insiders (i.e. inflationists) seem to support Janet Yellen while the administration seems to support Larry Summers. From where I’m sitting, it wouldn’t really matter (both would seem to be against meaningful changes to financial regulation – I’m not saying that’s good or bad, it’s just the thing that most affects me).

Anyway, the odd thing was the immediacy with which the press was filled with stories attacking Summers (even The American Conservative, which apparently took a break from policing the opinions of its contributors with respect to certain subjects, jumped into the fray). There were so many stories, which all said the same thing. The effort had to be coordinated.

I’m not sure how to draw this all together. I think my point is that if you’re paying attention, you see certain cracks in the narrative. Be wary of what you read.

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28 Responses to Propaganda

  1. spandrell says:

    So:
    Greenwald made it up.
    Greenwald is part of USG.

    How does this story benefit USG?

    • Foseti says:

      There’s no question Greenwald is part of the Cathedral. He’s like a friggin’ poster-child for it.

      I don’t think the story harms the blue parts of USG at all. You’re not allowed to get worked about civil rights that would prevent USG from paying bills, State from interfering in the activities of other countries as it sees fit, healthcare being nationalized, etc. But hey, if some concern about civil rights would hurt one of the red parts of USG, then by all means, get worked up about civil rights.

      • spandrell says:

        Well if the blue parts of USG take over NSA and fill them with black lesbians I don’t see why we shouldn’t be happy. I still don’t see the benefits of USG storing all internet traffic in a huge data center.

        And come on. That link from BI was the lamest thing you’ve linked over here.

      • Foseti says:

        Hey, if you want to believe Glenn Greenwald, go right ahead. Just don’t believe you’re pulling for the underdog.

      • Glorious says:

        Absolutely.

        The story invigorates the blue part of the USG. The end goal is obviously, some sort of civilian “oversight” of the NSA. Which, of course, would be composed of more blue-tinted federal sinecures, or even better, scads of public-interest lawyers that do the majority of the legwork in environmental & community regulation.

        Of course, that’s not very realistic, but people are already calling for the Supreme Court to “oversee” the NSA and things like it (article III, section 2 notwithstanding). The Cathedral just kind of throws thing against the wall and sees what sticks, just because the approach might not be suitable doesn’t mean it won’t be tried at some point. It’s a bunch of independent actors following the same pattern, which isn’t the same thing as as design.

        And, as our gracious host notes, sometimes sticking it to the red part is reward enough by itself.

      • SOBL1 says:

        Agree on this being a blue ploy to strike at red. That’s why my comment below asked when the last time red and business interests tied to it didnt get what it wanted.

      • Handle says:

        Sorry guys – little here is what it seems or what’d you’d predict it would be. NSA isn’t even really Redgov, and supports a lot of Bluegov activities. Bluegov neither orchestrated this nor is happy about it.

        Obama administration Blue Elites are about Governing and Power and define ‘Civil Liberties’ and ‘Rights’ and so on around whatever is convenient to their ambitions.

        Furthermore, Blue Elites are, duh, very hypocritical about it. Going ballisticly hysterical over anything and everything when Republicans are in power and then suddenly doing the exact same things enthusiastically and without compunction when they’re the ones at the wheel. So sometimes, some cathedral elements fail to get the joke and are uncoordinated (‘New Left’ vs. ‘Old Left’ etc.) and go rogue. This is especially true for the press, who regularly make their money buying and publishing stolen government secrets.

        Blue likes having its useful secrets too, and random hero-complexers and their obnoxious journalist enablers throw a wrench in the blue works. Watch what bluegov does to Snowden, Greenwald, et al next – it’ll make Redgov look like the Peace Corps.

      • Foseti says:

        I’m not sure any part of government is really redgov.

        There’s perhaps nothing more terrible then a friend of your wife’s from law school telling you she’s been assigned to the Pakistan Desk at DoD. There’s apparently no job that a law degree from a top 14 law school doesn’t qualify you for. No wonder the world’s falling apart.

      • Handle says:

        @Foseti:

        Sigh … there’s much unfortunate truth in what you say. Then again, OSD is, ironically, the least military part of the military.

      • Glorious says:

        Handle, that is surely true in some regard, as the info the NSA is getting is clearly from blue-tinted peeps. Facebook, Google, et al aren’t at all supportive of bluegov, but that’s where the bulk of this info is coming from.

        But what you are saying, which is that the cathedral is ironically not monolithic, is precisely the point. This isn’t supposed to be news under the current blue-run nominal government. But it still invigorates the grass-roots of those who support the blues, the fact that it is rather inconvenient for the blue-run nominal government doesn’t change that.

        I don’t know your social cohort, but I know mine, and it’s clear that they see the government as possessing two natures. When it comes to the government “spying” on its citizens looking for “terrorists” they aren’t actually thinking of “Obama administration Blue Elites.” Why? Because that’s the essentially the same sort of people they are.

        No, they are thinking what they imagine as 50s style G-men ruining regular people’s lives looking for communists. That SCREAMS redgov, and it is what they oppose.

        You are right that is mostly an illusion, and that the NSA isn’t at all like that in political character and direction, but that little detail is neither grasped nor comprehended. Just note the relative lack of any blowback against Google or Facebook.

      • Glorious says:

        Err, I meant

        “Facebook, Google, et al aren’t at all supportive of REDgov, but that’s where the bulk of this info is coming from.”

        I apologize for the error.

  2. SOBL1 says:

    Thanks for linkage Foseti. I’ve been dredging up bits on Summers because I find it odd that no one dives deep on him. I think Summers is the pick, unless he’s a stalking horse for Geithner.

    As far as Snowden, I’ve got a theory, but before writing it, I’ve been trying to figure out when the last time the Red empire didnt get hat they wanted (cancelled Seawolf subs? the peace dividend?).

  3. Glorious says:

    Snowden is much like Manning. This isn’t about ideological opposition, but rather about how low-ranked loner children in their twenties working in the IT department have an existential need to make something of their life.

    Manning saw a bunch of diplomatic traffic that looked shady to his inexperienced and naive eyes. But all of the supposed big reveals weren’t really anything to new to anyone who intelligently reads the news. He was “shocked” because he didn’t understand what he was looking at. I used to challenge people to produce “shocker” items from the wikileaks dump and then I’d just use Google to find how the BBC or even USAtoday dutifully reported on it years and years ago.

    Likewise with Snowden. The Government uses the modern-day equivalent of pen registers to create social networks of contacts? Did anyone read about TSP back in the latter days of the Bush administration? Hell, did he watch zero-dark-thirty? None of this is new, and none of it is shocking.

    There isn’t anything injurious here because everything that is “revealed” is, once again, open knowledge to anyone who pays attention. Yes, it isn’t trumpeted about, but it’s hardly secret.

    Meanwhile, I know tax attorneys dealing with unrepentant scofflaws who say that undeniable tax fraud (yes, outright fraud, not evasion) isn’t even remotely the concern they have for their criminal clients. Rather, undisclosed foreign bank accounts are the weapon of choice the USG uses to plea-bargain people into submission or destroy them in court. But, like you said, GASP! The guvmnt might be tracking who I call? !!ALERT THE INTARWEBZONE!! (Nevermind how everyone watching Law & Order for the past twenty years should know “pull the LUDs” by heart)

    The contrast to someone like Ellsberg is stark. He wasn’t some IT dweeb, he was cogent thinker, an analyst. He was older, more experienced, highly placed and educated. He earnestly tried to alert the government, and then congress, before going to the press. He actually had a real “reveal”.

    But now, today? He applauds these aimless children as heroes, and they likewise idolize and point to him as a precedent.

    It just goes to show how utterly corrosive the entire idea is. We worship the idea of whistleblowing because it follows the same lie as democracy: the radical autonomy and unlimited importance of the individual. Nevermind how that kind of worship is why we need, and thus have, an overbearing government in the first place.

    • asdf says:

      I almost became a whistle blower. Everyone knows my story about my corrupt boss that helped the companies he was regulating break the law. He was also into hiring compliant bodies to sign off on it for him. The first was a senile man in his 70s that walked into walls and pissed himself. When that didn’t work he tried to hire a convicted felon that had embezzled from his own company, got convicted of a felony, and had just gotten out of a stint in jail. I told him that was too far, that if he went through with hiring him I’d go to the press and expose whatever I could. He threatened my career. It was the only time he threatened me rather then just evading or bullshitting.

      And you know the funny thing is that isn’t even the most absurd story I have from government. Give these guys a break. A lot of what goes on wouldn’t happen if people stood up against it.

      • Glorious says:

        Sure, but that was about the abuses of an individual, not of policy. Snowden and Manning aren’t saying that something in particular is corrupt, they are saying that the system is.

        And, unlike your situation, it isn’t. The system isn’t corrupt in the manner that Manning and Snowden are suggesting. As I’ve said, their revelations aren’t actually revealing. Manning’s diplomatic leaks just exposed the mundane machinations of government, most of which (if not all) were dutifully disclosed by the media anyway. Snowden leak was to announce that the NSA is “spying” on Americans, but regardless of what that actually means or whenever or not it’s a “good” idea, it’s not at all new: TSP once again.

        The end result of this is more of the charade: permgov members are drawn in front of congress and grilled. It’s all theater. Congress gets to pretend to govern by harshing on civil servants whose careers aren’t even in question (and even if they are, lucrative opportunities in private sector/academia await them), and the media reinforces that it’s keeping the government “accountable” when really the media is just the unofficial PR arm yet again.

        The whole scenario just reinforces the system.

  4. fnn says:

    Why should anyone think that the “reds” of the “red empire” are anything more than court eunuchs who serve their “blue” masters?

  5. dearieme says:

    It would help us foreigners immensely if you would refer to the left-wingers as “Red” and those intermittently inclined to impede their progress slightly as “Blue”, as happens elsewhere. It would certainly clarify matters when writers refer to Reds in government: I can’t always tell if they mean Soviet agents or Rock-Ribbed Republicans.

    P.S. Who was the brilliant Communist agent who persuaded the US media to use “blue” of the Democrats?

      • dearieme says:

        “Russert is survived by his wife, Maureen Orth, a writer for Vanity Fair magazine, and his beloved son Luke.” Are they really suggesting that he didn’t love his wife? That’s unusually frank.

      • Handle says:

        @dearieme:

        ‘Beloved’ was used for Luke because he’s being evaluated/groomed to replace his father in another step towards American pseudo-Aristocracy Surname Dynasticism.

        No one knows if he’ll pan out, but if he does, he’s someone you’ll want to invest in kissing-up to in advance. I read somewhere that a lot of that went on at that famous National-Event-Equivalent funeral that was covered in that book ‘The Town’ that Foseti recently blogged about.

        Like any good third-world country, it’s becoming so common in the US for the wives and children of ineligible/dead successful politicians to follow them in office, that I’d be pleasantly surprised if we didn’t get at least one more Obama term. The question is only Michelle, Malia, or Sasha? I’d be willing to put money on Michelle winning the 2016 election if she ran. {weeps quietly}

  6. asdf says:

    Foseti,

    You seem more pissed off then usual. Your a very calm and collected guy normally.

  7. VXXC says:

    OSD is one of the least Military Parts of the Military.

    Oh very droll. And true.

  8. If the Snowden affair is a deliberate work of disinformation engineering – a very plausible hypothesis – what we are witnessing is an epic triumph of ‘Redgov.’

  9. spandrell says:

    Handle theory makes the most sense, as it should.

    I wish it were so, but is USG really that simple? Redgov vs Bluegov? 2 cohesive factions fighting each other? It’s way more messy than that, and it’s not like all the Cathedral minions are in touch with the program all the time.

  10. Scott Locklin says:

    I think it fairly obvious that Snowden is a Ron Paul type; I believe he even made a significant campaign contribution. Probably a paleolibertarian; unlike, say, Philip Giraldi or Michael Scheuer, who are paleoconservative RP fans. If you must put it in reactosphere terms, his parents are obvious “optimates.” Not that I think such models are useful here. Data is more important than theory, and the data says Snowden is who he says he is.

    This has become important for several reasons, having nothing to do with the “Cathedral” or conspiracies. Obama is on the ropes; he’s been looking like a fool and a scoundrel at least once a month since the election. Typical second term problems, compounded by the fact that his team appears to be incompetent at crisis management, due to a compliant media in the first term. They’ve effectively thrown gasoline on the fire by behaving in a brutish fashion, making Snowden look like a prophet, and confirming peoples worst fears. Subsequent events; lavabit, silent circle et al, even Miranda’s detention and the ridiculous symbolic destruction of a guardian computer have made the spooks look even more heavy handed and scary. They’re acting like a lot of cold war KGB goons. The spooks never acted this way in the past, even when they were up against actual KGB goons. Again; spooks are used to people cooperating, and haven’t dealt with an angry public since the Church Commission. They’re freaking out and making themselves look worse.

    Greenwald has been harping on these issues at Salon and his blog for almost a decade now. This is his first big scoop for the Guardian, which is a much higher profile outlet. It is also being mirrored in other foreign markets for obvious reasons. The Germans, who have been looking in horror at US foreign policy for years now, are positively on fire with this stuff. It’s all they talk about in their news and blogs. The Russians are happy the US is finally overtly doing all the things we accuse them of secretly doing. Plus, they got their squeaky clean new Che to put on t-shirts.

    Finally, unlike Manning, Snowden has a lot of appeal across the socio-political spectrum. He’s not a wacky pants cross dressing loon, and his leaks were not willy-nilly; they were designed to expose specific problems with US intelligence policy. His life story is interesting, and his being chased around the world by the imbeciles in the USG makes for compelling reading.

    I don’t think this was planned by some Svengali any more than “the Cathedral” forced Liddy to break into Watergate: it is simply the media latching onto a real story with compelling events, actors and information. I know; hard to believe, but it occasionally happens. The old saying about malice and stupidity holds here; I can’t think of any possible motivation for this. Imagining it is a “redgov” operation to make Zero look bad is ridiculous: senior Republicans are the ones voting to continue the NSA programs. I’m fond of the old Bircher pamphlets myself (just read Shuyler’s “The Fall” -excellent stuff), but while they were sharp observers of what was going on around them, the idea that it was a conspiracy is ridiculous. Over civilization and degeneracy is a disease observed in many historical periods before there were any “communists.”

    • Root says:

      Thanks for this, it matches my interpretation rather closely. Snowden is a ron paul styled conservative. He saw things that went drastically against how he was raised to believe the US is supposed to work. He believed the individual has the right to expose government wrongdoing. He was smart enough to learn from others’ mistakes and correctly cynical enough to not trust the system, and he did it right.

      the minimization of government actions re. spying are premature because we haven’t seen the end of the information yet. Snowden and Greenwald are metering it out for maximum coverage and maximum political embarrassment.

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