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History vs. Propaganda; Pundits vs. Investigative Journalism

by Charlie Barber | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Last Word | August 24th, 2020

“History, like payback, is a bitch.” - Chicago Dog

“History as a discipline began as a confrontation with war propaganda. In the first history book, The Peloponnesian Wars, Thucydides was careful to make a distinction between leaders’ accounts of their actions and the real reasons for their decisions. In our time, as rising inequality elevates political fiction, investigative journalism becomes the more precious.” - Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom, 2018

“If we examine history, war and totalitarianism are found together so frequently that their association can scarcely be accident. Totalitarianism seems rarely to thrive except during war and under the threat of war. If these conditions do not exist, totalitarian states often create them artificially in order to survive.” - Herrlee Creel, “The Totalitarianism of the Legalists,” Chinese Thought From Confucius to Mao Tse-Tung, 1953

“While reporting the Vietnam War, the news media described the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front as ‘the enemy,’ as if they were the enemy of the news media. Similarly, weekly casualty stories reported the number of Americans killed, wounded, or missing, and the number of South Vietnamese killed; but the casualties on the other side were impersonally described as ‘the Communist death toll’ or the ‘body count.’” - Herbert Gans, Deciding What’s News: A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time, 1979

“I am an unlikely witness to one of the most shameful chapters in modern American history. The Trump administration’s deliberate and systematic separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents was, according to humanitarian groups and child welfare experts, an unparalleled abuse of the human rights of children. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the practice will leave thousands of kids traumatized for life.” - Jacob Soboroff, Separated: An American Tragedy, 2020

“Pundits (as opposed to civil servants, legal scholars, and investigative journalists) think ‘homework’ is cheating.” – Lawrence O’Donnell, 2020

“It is a strange, melancholy feeling to turn sixty-five and realize that what you have spent a good portion of your life working for and toward was not only meritless but also destructive…There is nothing strange or unexpected about Donald Trump. He is the logical extension of what the Republican Party became over the last fifty or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race, self-deception, and anger that became the essence of the Republican Party.” - Stuart Stevens, It Was All A Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump, 2020

“The pandemic and its ensuing recession aside, our economy will remain sick as long as our political system remains sick. The malignant tumor causing that lies on Capitol Hill, particularly in a Senate…that refuses to carry out its constitutional responsibilities.” - Edward Lotterman, Bismarck Tribune, August 23, 2020

I woke up last Sunday morning, August 16, looked in the Bismarck Tribune, and saw that pundit Richard Brooks (New York Times) had just called me a “conservative radical,” a label he was willing to attach to himself, and, less modestly, to Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, and FDR. I wondered why terms like “conservative” and “radical,” toxic these days when standing alone, seem so benign when brought together. Rather like the volatile elements of Sodium and Chlorine, which produce the benevolent compound: table salt, when brought together under the right natural, or laboratory conditions. How strange to be redefined by a representative of main stream media, after living so long on the so-called “fringe,” and not notice the difference!

For 60 years I have borne (with) the label “liberal Democrat” from Cook County IL, who now is a card carrying Democratic/NPLer in North Dakota, those who brought the only State owned (ie. socialist) Bank into America’s history 100 years ago. I’m glad to see a pundit actually label himself for a change, rather than others, but I wonder what took so long? It might have to do with President Donald Trump and his dependency on media like FOX and One America that, in the words of John Oliver, ask him only questions that are “on absolutely nobody’s minds.” For answers on mainstream media joining mainstream Americans, I turned to my KGB advisors.

High Plains Reader: Is it just Donald Trump that brought Democratic Socialist (DSA) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Billionaire former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg together at the Democratic Party National Convention last week, or is it something bigger?

Putin: Quite a few things, actually. Michael Harrington’s DSA was always more democratic than socialist. He forced JFK and LBJ to discover in the 1960s that poverty affected white folks as well as people of color. Bernie Sanders and AOC have simply followed in his humanitarian, compassionate footsteps. It’s Lenin, Stalin and Mao who trashed socialism. Lonely Republican Senators in the 1950s, like North Dakota’s Bill Langer, knew it and said it, but their Party went Joe McCarthy’s way. Most Republicans appreciated, and Democrats feared, the vote production of McCarthyism, and rarely stopped lying about it: to themselves, and to the rest of their country.

Schickelgruber: A living wage of $15. an hour is only socialism to billionaires that the Mayor no longer wants to associate with. Their 1%ers love affair with Trump reminds Mike Bloomberg too much of National Socialism: Hitler’s scam that appealed to the 1% in Weimar Germany, as well as the unemployed and ended up destroying them all with his sociopathic megalomania.

HPR: Hitler relied on an Anti-Semitism decried as “socialism for idiots” by pundits and other cynics who didn’t take him seriously at the time. Rich people loved his smashing of labor unions.

Torquemada: “Christianity’s racism,” as delineated by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, is a description of Anti-Semitism and its variant in Nazi Germany, historically suitable to the thousands of years its virus has been surging through the body politic in the world. Rocinante: When Anti-Semitism appeared in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017, along with America’s “original sins” of slavery and color based racism, Joe Biden reentered the political arena to fight for what he, with President Barack Obama, had achieved…and more.

Lena: Ironically, Joe Biden is likely one of the most anti-establishment candidates that the Democratic electorate and leadership could have chosen. The high priests of punditry have never seen “fit to print out “ Joe’s pedestrian style as suitable for their anointment.

Chicago Dog: Their beat reporters are some of the best in the world, but when the Times let Maureen Dowd trash Hillary in 2016, and chose Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren for the Democrats in the Primary season, they were merely telling us what “they” were ready for, not the rest of us. They barely understood what Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) meant when he said in his endorsement that carried Biden last Spring: “We know Joe, but Joe also knows us.”

Ms. Recovering Republican Lap Dog: The Times Board, and other establishment figures, who value their grandchildren over their wallets, will come around now, of course, because Joe Biden doesn’t just “know African-Americans,” and women. In choosing Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate for Vice President, Joe included South Asians and Immigrants, as well: retail politics at its finest; the kind of thing policy wonks could only learn by working a precinct.

Omar Khayyam: Joe’s Convention performance also showed that he knows white kids who stutter, black folks who like swimming, union workers who abandoned the Democrats for Trump in 2016, and front line female elevator operators. Memo to nervous establishment figures at the NYT Times and other posts of punditry: Joe also knows NATO and your democratic allies!

Rasputin: The sending of US/NATO troops to Poland, as well as German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s embracing of those trying to save Vlad Putin’s poisoned adversary, Alexei Navalny; prove that other European leaders followed the Democratic Convention as much as the Russians. FOX News hasn’t yet told Trump what to say about Vlad’s latest horror, nor do FOX or Trump know what to do about Kamala Harris. Trump’s family as a “Royal Family” at the Republican National Convention won’t cut it. After all, only pundits like George Will don’t like Kamala.

Corporal Kangaroo: Kamala Harris has rock star glamour, and a killer instinct for confronting racist grifters like Donald Trump. She correctly says there is “no vaccine for racism;” but there are antibodies in every word and action of tolerance and empathy spoken and acted upon by the man who chose her as his running mate; promising a wave of dynamic women in power in 2021. Joe Biden, a “pre-boomer,” 77 year old white guy, parks his ego at the door and opens it wide for new generations to empower a future more to their needs. Andrew Yang, East Asian descended entrepreneur and Presidential Candidate, previously concerned about condescension from establishment Democrats, can now see that Joe “knows him,” and the “Yang Gang” as well.

Lena: Media analysts designate Vice President Biden and Senator Kamala Harris as from the “establishment” wing of their Party. Not true. They were elected, time and again, by voters of Delaware and California; not endorsed by any editorial board. If Trump’s toadies can’t “disestablish” a fair election on November 3rd, the GOP will be jettisoned by those same voters.

Mr. Swamp Fox: Trump and AG Barr know that, of course. Trump is choosing to exit via the madness that got him into this mess in the first place: the blame game, the racist game, the misogynist game. Trump’s truly loony supporters will stay with him; but the ones who deserted Obama and the Democrats for him are coming back to Joe and Kamala in 2020. They knew they were getting screwed by Reaganomics in 1992 and voted for Bill Clinton and Ross Perot; expecting economic equity. They didn’t get it, and voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, after Senators Bill Bradley (D-NJ) and John McCain (R-AZ) were no longer available on either major ticket.

Mr. Crying Wolf: Bush and Cheney delivered more war and economic misery, except for the 1%. In 2008, regular folks got Barack Obama, Joe Biden and the Affordable Care Act, but in 2010 the Republican Tea Party and Moscow Mitch McConnell threw a wrench into that. So, folks who bothered to vote at all in 2016, threw a wrench into the establishment by going to the right with Trump. In 2020, now resolved that their votes, as well as their lives, matter, people of all ages and colors “wrench” Democrats to the left with their demonstrations and their ballots.

Señor Perro: How far left? Folks don’t care about that as much as pundits say they do. They trust that Joe “knows” folks of any color, and, like FDR, will pick policies deemed “radical” to the “arguing class” if needed. Pundits misunderstand that the basic needs of women and people of color for fairness always places them on the “left.” Such oversight and studied ignorance by mostly white, male editors has generationally boosted Republican Party propaganda.

Prudence Possum: According to well informed “swamp creatures,” White House reporters, and FOX news associates of Trump’s nuttiest “pillow talkers” like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, Bill Barr is losing his own mind over Trump’s increasingly obvious, out-of-control, insanity. I also heard from my KGB Pekinese associate, Madame Inspector Chen, a specialist in East Asian swamp creatures taking advantage of Steve Bannon and Ivanka Trump.

Madame Inspector Chen: Like Inspector Chen’s creator, Professor of Literature, Qiu Xiaolong, I left China after the Tiananmen repressions. What I know about post Communist China’s leadership then and now, is that there’s no difference, except in time and scale, between Xi Jinping’s (or Chiang Kai Shek’s) criminal corruption, Vladimir Putin’s (or the Tsars’), or small fry dictators around the world, as well as their admirers Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.

Kim Dog Un: Even if the Chinese billionaire, from whose yacht Bannon was nabbed by U.S. Postal authorities for their “Build the Wall” scam, is turned over to Xi Jinping, instead of western legal entities like Bannon was, it would be a kind of punishment of the “guilty by the guilty.”

Madame Inspector Chen: “Build The Wall,” is just code for “Bilk Them All.”

Prudence Possum: My alligator friends overheard “Benito” Bill Barr, Trump’s Badass Barracuda Barrister discuss the Republican oncoming train wreck in November with Trump’s once and future Tea Party enthusiast and Chief of Staff, Mark “Mindless” Meadows (R-NC).

B-6th power: I wonder how many trips Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will make to Post Offices in Senate and Presidential battleground States before November 3rd, to see the wreckage wrought by Treasury Secretary “Sneaky” Steven Mnuchin, and Trump’s mailman, Postmaster General Louis De(Kill)Joy, currently being grilled in House hearings by Congresswomen Ocasio-Cortez and Katie Porter (D-CA). Republicans are even going to have to pour money into Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas to save the sorry hides of Senators McConnell, Graham and Cornyn.

Mindless Meadows: Trump and Killjoy are killing us with their bad timing. If they fail to stop the Post Office funding bill we die by machine. If they succeed in stopping it, the Postal workers will kill us in hand to hand, sorting of mail combat; overtime, or no overtime. We should have waited until October to launch a real “surprise,” instead of a phony Covid “cure” or a Hunter Biden witch hunt like you are promising. Dimwit (Senator) Ron Johnson (R-WI) is just giving (Senator) Gary Peters (D-MI) free reelection exposure to run up Democratic votes there.

B-6th power: Nah! Early voting starts September 18th. We could be dead by October, even before Biden crushes Trump with facts and his genuine passion in their first debate on September 29th. We should have pulled the Post Office trigger on Labor Day, but Trump was “needy.”

Mindless Meadows: We’re screwed, I agree. But since there is no honor among thieves, I suggest that we keep putting out a wall of nastiness that keeps the Republican rubes who will never figure out what we did to them, sedated, while we figure out how to stay out of jail. If Trumpies are dumb enough, mask-less, to fly his flags on massed motorcycles in Sturgis, SD and massed motorboats from the Missouri R. to Rhode Island Sound, and think they are fighting some sort of class war with their pea brains at the top of the U.S. Caste system, we’re doomed.

B-6th power: Sure. Those swan songs to mindless materialism are a sure sign that our days are numbered. We can hope for natural disasters we and FOX can blame on Democrats, but most formerly clueless pundits are finally writing that the man made catastrophes were done by us.

Lament of an Un-dynamic Duo……………………………………...……..…………………..Headless Horseman
We may have picked the wrong horse, after all;
To keep us in the power we both crave.
But, Donald daily digs our common grave
And we can’t stop our final, fatal fall.

Steve Bannon is much dumber than we thought.
His racist rants won’t hunt on this next ride
And if he turns on Don to save his hide,
Then we can’t sell the same crap folks have bought

We must attack the Democrats for sure,
With all the lies that worked before; But then,
What happens when the polls suggest we’ve lost?
It’s then we’ll have to screw the Donald, OR
He will betray us to Joe Biden’s men,
And women, who will make US bear the cost.

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