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16 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

... but at bottom for a person like me, Russia  is not a Western friend at the moment, not after the last years consolidating autocratic power.

William,

Autocratic power?

Heh.

Russia LOST a crapload of autocratic power.

This fear of yours is part of a core storyline that's still in the public mind where Russia's shadow is still enjoying its reputation from the Soviet Union days.

Not that Russia is a good guy. It still has a massive nuclear arsenal and a lot of bad habits left over from its meddling years. It's just not hellbent on world domination like it once was.

IN FACT, this is precisely why the left and the globalists hate Russia right now. It refuses to be part of their own world domination scheme and insists on its own autonomy.

Globalists see nationalism in any degree as an enemy right now. They want gobs of power and they want strong independent countries squashed.

President Trump is not in bed with Russia, but he does take a Randian "selfishness" view. He trusts a country that claims it is looking out for its own people waaaaay more than a cartel of technocrats claiming they only want what is best for everyone. He can do business with the first. The second is like a parasitic cancer--their only payoff is death of the host. 

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
2 hours ago, william.scherk said:

... but at bottom for a person like me, Russia  is not a Western friend at the moment, not after the last years consolidating autocratic power.

Autocratic power?

Heh.

Russia LOST a crapload of autocratic power.

I don't follow (although I could have been clearer that it is Putin who has consolidated power).

An autocratic power implies an autocrat, and he comes closest of any post-Soviet leader.  He has been the foremost leader of Russia since 2000. I leave it to readers to consult their memories about how Russia removed most checks and balances on executive power over those seventeen years. We could argue sensibly about whether Putin can be called Autocrat/Czar, when it seems he must satisfy many power sources not elected by the people.

Perhaps a way of threading the needle is to imagine Ayn Rand telling us what we should beware of in a government.  Or, maybe, try to square Objectivism's universal concepts of liberty with the present state of affairs in Russia. Or re-listen to Global Balkanization. 

In any case, if Putin is no autocrat  in the sense of absolute rule, he is in control of Russia in a way that no American president can be. It is amusing to see the regressive left and the Trumpist right attempt to valorize this aspect of Putinism.  

I will add that it pays to read Russian sources (if in translation), even if only from dissidents like Gary Kasparov.  I believe it pays to know a little bit about what calculating Russian eyes see when they look at the USA. It pays dividends to understand a Russian Long Game. We each might have a different angle on their game, but "robust discussion" is why OL still prospers. 

Somewhere between "hell-bent on world domination" and leftover "bad habits" are volumes. Volumes. 

-- re so-called "Fake News,"  I remembered that Memeorandum.com has some sister-aggregators, one of which is called Mediagazer. Mediagazer has a tighter tech and media focus than Memeorandum, and so highlights stories not in the top rank at your Google News or at Memeorandum itself. 

Here's a sample of its aggregation. "Pizza-ordering Shoes" is the stand-out, after the Facebook story (I should mention here that I have been waiting for the French fact-checking consortium to get up to speed [CrossCheck]. That happened today, but I will report on that later):

 Columbia Journalism Review:
Study of 1.25M stories from April 2015 until the US election shows that a right-wing media network, anchored around Breitbart, altered the broader media agenda  —  The 2016 Presidential election shook the foundations of American politics.  Media reports immediately looked for external disruption …

 

Edited by william.scherk
Executive Privilege

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11 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

Somewhere between "hell-bent on world domination" and leftover "bad habits" are volumes. Volumes. 

William,

And this is exactly where the bait and switch always occurs when power-mongers want political power.

A danger needs a rational identification, then a rational evaluation.

Don't think Trump doesn't know this. He does.

His supporters do, too. (Ain't it funny how he got to be president--with the support of commie haters at that--without demonizing Russia? :) )

But those volumes contain levels and depths of raw emotions--both manipulated and valid--and they are all mixed up. Fear is the strongest and rawest.

Don't think the power-mongering manipulators don't know it. They do.

All the yelling in the world in the media will not change these realities. All that the yelling can do is illustrate them.

Michael

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33 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

I believe it pays to know a little bit about what calculating Russian eyes see when they look at the USA. It pays dividends to understand a Russian Long Game. We each might have a different angle on their game, but "robust discussion" is why OL still prospers. 

William,

I got to see Russia from Brazilian eyes because I spent half of my life in Brazil.

I assure you, the US is not the only thing Russia looks at in the world. And Russia looks a lot different from Brazil than it does from the US.

President Trump knows this different country perspective because he did business all over the world on the open market before becoming president. He saw how people lived in reality in other countries, their customs, culture, laws and all. And their views of each other. Once you have been outside the bubble long enough to assimilate it, the inside never looks the same anymore.* You understand the inner-bubble people, but you know things outside are a lot more complex--or simple at times--than they think.

If you want to know the Russian long game, you have to start by taking a wider view of Russia itself than the North American media view. That view sucks reality-wise.

Michael

EDIT: One caveat. If you are a member in good standing of the ruling class elite, you can travel the world over and even live in a different country, but the view will always be the same. You are One Of The Chosen and the rest of humanity is livestock. Culture from that view is like pop entertainment where you don't get much by saturating yourself in it and you can change the channel when you get bored.

President Trump transited among the ruling class elite because they were greedy enough to take his money so they had to be polite, but he was never accepted by them. Ever. I believe he finds their view of humanity repugnant.

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6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

 

8 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Can you elaborate?  I'd like to know if you assert that President Obama surveilled Trump Tower in some personal capacity. If that is what you believe, then I wonder why -- what evidence you rely upon.

William,

It's speculation.

Let me add some non-fake-news speculation on forming a pattern.

:)

Michael

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"Obama" is now shorthand for "Intelligence," in the sense that spy agencies supply observations, and render them into a coherent pattern. Or even perhaps shorthand for The Executive. Which is yet another way of looking at Intelligence.  Intelligence actually has many working parts, many automated routines, many layers of analysis, comparison, weighting, labeling, building conceptual hierarchies.  The USA's "Intelligence" is Leviathan, and should send a shiver down the spine of every libertarian, even if he is pink as a baby.  But  in my cynical view, when the planes smashed into their targets in 2001, "Intelligence" was going to get a lot of new structure, cash, and staff. 

More cynically, the "Intelligence" community is like any bureaucracy, full of beliefs in its needful existence. It seems only to grow, become more intrusive and powerful -- especially in the years since the Internet became a common device. I was amazed and gratified to read the leaks that found their way to Wikileaks which had been hacked out of the Presidency of Syria's server. In this case, it was a new almost amateur social-media version of SIGINT or HUMINT that brought the trove to light and passed them on to Wikileaks. 

I liked that Wikileaks collaborated with other partners I trusted in that instance, and published the leaks without editorializing too much.  The trove of emails was small enough for a crowd-sourced analysis, a sifting of the top fifty and so on. It made quite an impression on me, even though the leaks in and of themselves did absolutely nothing to change any aspect of the Syrian conflict.

Back to the "Assad" state or the "Putin" Intelligence agencies or the "Obama" FBI or NSA or whatever.  Sometimes the whole subject is distasteful: that Ambassador FatFace is routinely "hacked" means that ... you guessed it, the same thing happens to US Ambassadors to Russia. Every top-level state (say half or more of the G-20) has fingered its way into every available hole in terms of Intelligence. 

 

If you haven't followed any of the links in the Wikileaks post, you won't know what I mean by automated routines of intelligence.  For example, did "Obama" shorthand Intelligence hack Sarkozy, get right into leader-to-leader spaces, "bug" the WTO , eavesdrop on conversations to extract useful information?  Was it "Obama," in other words, or was it Obama? Or was it, more likely, THEM (the ''agencies").

It's pretty easy to figure out, I reckon. 

To the French CrossCheck collaboration I mentioned, its fruits are pretty good so far, to my eyes. Each 'disputed' story is put through a crowd-source-ish analysis, with partners checking the validity and reliability of the item. I mention this because one of my tutors in online fact-checking is of the stellar Bellingcat group. Stellar because they are the foremost gang of wits able to deconstruct war propaganda. The Bellingcat founder, Elliot Higgins, was instrumental in gathering and curating evidence that established regime complicity in the Damascus Sarin Attack. Bellingcat also did yeoman's work constructing a true timeline of events regarding the missile attack which brought down Malaysian MH17.  Guess who regards Bellingcat as "Fake News"? That's right, the same guess who that funds what we know as "Troll Farms."

Facebook's attempt looks feeble next to CrossCheck. 

Guess who in Russia wants who in France to win the French presidential elections. Oh, and guess which party loaned the other money. And  while you are at it, guess who doesn't mind using the powers at hand to massage French public opinion.

"Obama"!

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6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Claim

This beauty is by Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear.

It looks like this article contradicted another NYT article written by Schmidt himself.

From Breitbart:

New York Times Trashes Its Own Reporting on Obama Admin Wiretapping

The gist of the article says that Breitbart made "unproven" claims about wiretapping in Trump Tower, but did not link to the Breitbart article. However, that Breitbart article cites a previous NYT article by Schmidt that has the headline (in the print version) “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides,” and openly says that information from wiretaps of Trump Tower had been provided to the White House.

We have the same reporter claiming that wiretaps in Trump Tower are unproven in one article, and talking about the White House receiving information from those wiretaps in another.

Gotchaaaaaaaaaaa!

:)

That sounds an awful lot like what a fake news organization would do.

:) 

Michael

 

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1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

"Obama" is now shorthand for "Intelligence"...

William,

That sounds euphemistic to me.

I prefer the way Wikileaks said it.

So, forgive me for paraphrasing you, but: "Obama" is now shorthand for tapping & hacking friends and rivals.

:) 

Michael

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One of the items William linked to in this post is a Columbia Journalism Review analysis of web reading and linking habits.

 

Quote

Study of 1.25M stories from April 2015 until the US election shows that a right-wing media network, anchored around Breitbart, altered the broader media agenda  —  

 

The 2016 Presidential election shook the foundations of American politics.  Media reports immediately looked for external disruption to explain the unanticipated victory—with theories ranging from Russian hacking to “fake news.”

We have a less exotic, but perhaps more disconcerting explanation: Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world. This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton.

 

I read the article.  The data analysis, stripped to basics, is confirmative of something Michael has said many times, that Trump supporters tend to tune out the traditional press.  

The article's authors find this result distressing.

I presume that the study's funders aren't happy about the results either.

Quote

The election study was funded by the Open Society Foundations U.S. Program.  Media Cloud has received funding from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Societies Foundations.

A box at the end of the article makes the plea:

Quote

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Ellen

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9 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

 but he does take a Randian "selfishness" view. He trusts a country that claims it is looking out for its own...

Michael

Right, What else explains why the howling at home and from the international community? Selfishness. The US with Trump is showing promising signs of a return to its selfishly independent strength. "My job is not to represent the world ..."

The president is pushing back on "We can be just like you [Western Europe]" - "yes, they are right to hate us" - "yes we can be accepted by all, once we've apologized enough for our past imperialist errors" - "yes, we owe a duty to help the weak, no matter if it weakens ourselves" -- and so on. Adding up to altruism in a nutshell. I'd think Objectivists could see it.

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

I'd think Objectivists could see it.

Tony,

It's the damnedest thing.

They teach you a principle. Then you go out in the world and say, "Look what I found! Here's an example of what you taught me!"

Then they tell you that A is not A.

Apparently for them, A is only A when they say so.

:) 

At least in our universe, an independent rational mind with good will is beautiful. 

Michael

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6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

It's the damnedest thing.

They teach you a principle. Then you go out in the world and say, "Look what I found! Here's an example of what you taught me!"

Then they tell you that A is not A.

Apparently for them, A is only A when they say so.

:) 

At least in our universe, an independent rational mind with good will is beautiful. 

Michael

Spot on Michael. And as you imply, good will is the *consequence* not a primary cause. Its pre-requisite: to have a base of self-confidence, which can only emerge from the solid base of "an independent, rational mind".

What's apparent is a nation can drift from its base - or move back towards it, as can a volitional individual. Your president tapped into a whole segment of the country which wants not much more than truthfulness and independence, and he sensed that.

All I can think is that perhaps an over-immersion in the theory, creates a political idealism for we Objectivists. Idealism is a good and proper aspiration in the personal realm ("a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's [an ideal] for?"). Real life generally isn't in the habit of responding conveniently to one's ideals, and most definitely - at its least responsive - in politics/society where one has little to no control over outcomes.. There, I feel you should take every gifted opportunity to move back to "the solid base", notwithstanding minor quibbles. In an odd sort of way I have an advantage. From experience I've never placed a whole lot of expectancy in the perfectability of politicians and politics - you there have come from a far higher base and expectation.

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8 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

I read the [Columbia Journalism Review] article.  The data analysis, stripped to basics, is confirmative of something Michael has said many times, that Trump supporters tend to tune out the traditional press.  

Here's a few more paragraphs for those who haven't absorbed the article:

Quote

Rather than “fake news” in the sense of wholly fabricated falsities, many of the most-shared stories can more accurately be understood as disinformation: the purposeful construction of true or partly true bits of information into a message that is, at its core, misleading. Over the course of the election, this turned the right-wing media system into an internally coherent, relatively insulated knowledge community, reinforcing the shared worldview of readers and shielding them from journalism that challenged it. The prevalence of such material has created an environment in which the President can tell supporters about events in Sweden that never happened, or a presidential advisor can reference a non-existent “Bowling Green massacre.”

[...]

What we find in our data is a network of mutually-reinforcing hyper-partisan sites that revive what Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style in American politics,” combining decontextualized truths, repeated falsehoods, and leaps of logic to create a fundamentally misleading view of the world. “Fake news,” which implies made of whole cloth by politically disinterested parties out to make a buck of Facebook advertising dollars, rather than propaganda and disinformation, is not an adequate term. By repetition, variation, and circulation through many associated sites, the network of sites make their claims familiar to readers, and this fluency with the core narrative gives credence to the incredible.

[...]

And the false claims perpetuated in Ending the Fed’s most-shared posts are well established tropes in right wing media: the leaked Podesta emails, alleged Saudi funding of Clinton’s campaign, and a lack of credibility in media. The most Facebook-shared story by Ending the Fed in October was “IT’S OVER: Hillary’s ISIS Email Just Leaked & It’s Worse Than Anyone Could Have Imagined.” See also, Infowars’ “Saudi Arabia has funded 20% of Hillary’s Presidential Campaign, Saudi Crown Prince Claims,” and Breitbart’s  “Clinton Cash: Khizr Khan’s Deep Legal, Financial Connections to Saudi Arabia, Hillary’s Clinton Foundation Tie Terror, Immigration, Email Scandals Together.” This mix of claims and facts, linked through paranoid logic characterizes much of the most shared content linked to Breitbart. It is a mistake to dismiss these stories as “fake news”; their power stems from a potent mix of verifiable facts (the leaked Podesta emails), familiar repeated falsehoods, paranoid logic, and consistent political orientation within a mutually-reinforcing network of like-minded sites.

Use of disinformation by partisan media sources is neither new nor limited to the right wing, but the insulation of the partisan right-wing media from traditional journalistic media sources, and the vehemence of its attacks on journalism in common cause with a similarly outspoken president, is new and distinctive.

One of the reasons I consult Memeorandum.com (and now Mediagazer.com) is that their selection and ranking algorithms return stories from the spectrum.  This graph is from the CJR article:

Twitter-shares-new-698x600.jpg

-- a couple of items show me I had snookered myself. I thought that Mediate was a cross-checking version of Media Matters for America. In other words, I put Mediate to the right of the graph above from the article at CJR.

Another thing I do to try to stay out of a fenced groove of information is subscribe to daily newsletters from various organs, Breitbart, BizPac, WND, etc -- and of course make sure I have 'conservative' voices in my Twitter lists (for example, here is Mike Doran (@doranimated) with a quick summary of Russia Russia Russia scandals as Nothingburger:

 

Here is the first of a thirty-tweet Twitter 'essay' from Doran:

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9 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

 

Quote

Study of 1.25M stories from April 2015 until the US election shows that a right-wing media network, anchored around Breitbart, altered the broader media agenda  —  

 

The 2016 Presidential election shook the foundations of American politics.  Media reports immediately looked for external disruption to explain the unanticipated victory—with theories ranging from Russian hacking to “fake news.”

We have a less exotic, but perhaps more disconcerting explanation: Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world. This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton.

I read the article.  

Ellen I didn't read the article, but one phrase you quoted jumped out at me. I bolded it in the quote above.

These doofuses still don't get it.

Breitbart didn't set the agenda for Trump supporters.

Trump supporters set the agenda for Breitbart.

If people weren't into Trump because he reflected what they thought and felt, no matter how much Bannon could have been a Trump supporter and no matter how much he hypothetically could have slanted coverage, Breitbart's reach would have been narrow.

All these snooty liberal media people are glorified propagandists at heart. High class prostitutes at best. They don't deserve what's left of the audience they've got since they look down their noses at the very people who pay their bills or who provide the reason they get a paycheck.

Here's how the press works for them: They publish goosed up party lines and the livestock audience follows them and believes it.

These doofuses can't imagine a world where press success comes from the free will of readers rather than readers being manipulated by behavioral science.

Here are some sad, sad words, a dose of reality, for liberal ruling class elitists and their toady press. Imagine a slow soft minor key tune, a tearjerker (instead Kalie Shorr's song--I just riffed off her hook).

You keep talking like you always do
You keep saying you're so glad we grew
But nothing's hidden, it's all in plain view
You can slice it
You can nice it
Imprecise it
But you know you're gonna have to think twice.

Cause baby we're through,
It's true...
We're just not that into you,
No more... 
We're just not that into you...

:) 

Michael

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52 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

All these snooty liberal media people are glorified propagandists at heart. [....]

Here's how the press works for them: They publish goosed up party lines and the livestock audience follows them and believes it.

And their lament is that some of "the livestock" has strayed to other pastures.

Ellen

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Briefly, Russia Russia Russia.  Russia's take on Trump: Glee gives way to frustration

Quote

By Tim Lister, CNN
Updated 10:44 AM ET, Mon March 6, 2017[...]

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had direct access to Putin as CEO of Exxon, said the US needed to be "clear-eyed" about Russia.

"Russia today poses a danger....It has invaded Ukraine, including the taking of Crimea, and supported Syrian forces that brutally violate the laws of war," he said at Senate confirmation hearings.

The sentiment was echoed by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: "There's a decreasing number of areas where we can engage cooperatively, and an increasing number of areas where we're going to have to confront Russia."

And then new CIA Director Mike Pompeo chimed in on the hacking allegations: "It's pretty clear about what took place here, about Russian involvement in efforts to hack information and to have an impact on American democracy" -- efforts he said directed by senior leadership inside Russia.

One of the more pro-Russian voices in the new Administration, Mike Flynn, was gone after just 24 days in office as National Security Adviser, after he admitted giving "incomplete information" regarding his phone calls with Russian ambassador Kislyak.

His replacement, Lt. Gen. H R McMaster, is of a different persuasion.

In 2015, McMaster said that Russia wants "to collapse the post-World War Two, certainly the post-Cold War, security, economic, and political order in Europe and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests."

[...]

Whatever happens in Washington, the Kremlin insists the relationship must be one of equals, that the "deficit of respect" of recent years, as Peskov puts it, must be replaced by dialogue.

Trenin is not optimistic. "What the Russians want is to be treated as a co-equal partner— that's not going to happen," he told CNN.

For now, they are hedging their bets in Moscow. According to a survey carried out by the Russian news agency Interfax, Trump was mentioned 202,000 times in the Russian media in January -- comfortably ahead of Putin's 147,000 mentions. It's a remarkable comparison given the tight state control of the media.

Perhaps normality is reasserting itself. In February, Putin was just shy of 154,000 references. Trump had 143,000 mentions.

The days when Donald Trump as a candidate tweeted "Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along with Russia?" seem a long time ago.

Meanwhile ...

 

Edited by william.scherk
Meanwhile, good housekeeping.

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13 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

 

19 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Claim

This beauty is by Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear.

It looks like this article contradicted another NYT article written by Schmidt himself.

From Breitbart:

New York Times Trashes Its Own Reporting on Obama Admin Wiretapping

The gist of the article says that Breitbart made "unproven" claims about wiretapping in Trump Tower, but did not link to the Breitbart article. However, that Breitbart article cites a previous NYT article by Schmidt that has the headline (in the print version) “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides,” and openly says that information from wiretaps of Trump Tower had been provided to the White House.

We have the same reporter claiming that wiretaps in Trump Tower are unproven in one article, and talking about the White House receiving information from those wiretaps in another.

 

Here's the image:

:)

Michael

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As William quotes in one of the excerpts he included above from the Columbia Journalism Review article, reference is made to "what Richard Hofstadter called 'the paranoid style in American politics.'"

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" was the title of an essay published in the November 1964 Harper'slink.  The essay was adapted from the Herbert Spencer Lecture, delivered at Oxford University in November 1963, and was then used as the first chapter of a book titled Anti-intellectualism in American Life - Amazon link. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1964.

The essay begins:

Quote

It had been around a long time before the Radical Right discovered it—and its targets have ranged from “the international bankers” to Masons, Jesuits, and munitions makers.

American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind. In using the expression “paranoid style” I am not speaking in a clinical sense, but borrowing a clinical term for other purposes. I have neither the competence nor the desire to classify any figures of the past or present as certifiable lunatics. In fact, the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.

Of course this term is pejorative, and it is meant to be; the paranoid style has a greater affinity for bad causes than good. But nothing really prevents a sound program or demand from being advocated in the paranoid style. Style has more to do with the way in which ideas are believed than with the truth or falsity of their content. I am interested here in getting at our political psychology through our political rhetoric. The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent.

Note that the Goldwater movement is cited as an example.

I've never read the book, but I've become curious to see what all is talked about in it and I've ordered a copy.

Ellen

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Ellen's note on the Paranoid Style in American Politics triggered a search through OL's archives.  

The paranoid style is not a captive of one 'side' or another, in my opinion.  In an earlier thread I forked up an example of Naomi Wolf going right Dean Gores buggy with conspiracy ideation.  Worth a re-up? Why not.

I've trimmed out extraneous matter [---] to leave a plug and excerpt from Michael Shermer, the author of "Why People Believe Weird Things" ...  Shermer is one of the few strong libertarians in the modern skeptic movement, which is generally "humanist" ... though I haven't sought out his current political bent.

I'll also take the time to plug another favourite of mine, a book I first read a decade or so ago:  "How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life"

On 10/6/2014 at 0:49 PM, william.scherk said:

The Vox article includes a screenshot of a since-deleted Facebook post.

Quote

Bizarre deleted Naomi Wolf Facebook post

[---] Wolf's record of respectability gives her a platform and helps advance her conspiracy theories further than they would travel otherwise. This is not to argue that all of Wolf's earlier work must be discarded on the basis of these Facebook posts, but rather to urge others to see the broader context of Wolf and her thinking. In other words, it is important for readers who may encounter Wolf's ideas to understand the distinction between her earlier work, which rose on its merits, and her newer conspiracy theories, which are unhinged, damaging, and dangerous.

What might explain this paranoiac, even manic 'connecting the dots' from Wolf? [---]

I note that today on Facebook she is quoting from Global Research, an outlet definitely in the Nutterzone. That story was built on an article from Russia's RIANovosti site. It surely would have been easy for Wolf to find confirmation herself, as in this BBC story. It is so weird to me that she skims by details and entailments, in this small story and in her other delusional retellings.

I think something has gone wrong in Wolf's reasoning. She seems to be zooming from one 'fake' to another, with a huge confirmation bias contributing to cognitive error.

I think I will have to dig out my copy of The Paranoid Style in American Politics, as well as do a re-read of the Michael Shermer article, Why People Believe Conspiracy Theories: Why people who believe in one conspiracy are prone to believe others.

Here's an interesting excerpt from the Shermer piece:

Quote

[...] a trend I have detected that people who believe in one such theory tend to believe in many other equally improbable and often contradictory cabals. This observation has recently been confirmed empirically by University of Kent psychologists Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas and Robbie M. Sutton in a paper entitled “Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories,”[**] published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science this past January. The authors begin by defining a conspiracy theory as “a proposed plot by powerful people or organizations working together in secret to accomplish some (usually sinister) goal” that is “notoriously resistant to falsification … with new layers of conspiracy being added to rationalize each new piece of disconfirming evidence.” Once you believe that “one massive, sinister conspiracy could be successfully executed in near-perfect secrecy, [it] suggests that many such plots are possible.” With this cabalistic paradigm in place, conspiracies can become “the default explanation for any given event—a unitary, closed-off worldview in which beliefs come together in a mutually supportive network known as a monological belief system.”[---]

The authors suggest there is a higher-order process at work that they call global coherence that overrules local contradictions: “Someone who believes in a significant number of conspiracy theories would naturally begin to see authorities as fundamentally deceptive, and new conspiracy theories would seem more plausible in light of that belief.” Moreover, “conspiracy advocates' distrust of official narratives may be so strong that many alternative theories are simultaneously endorsed in spite of any contradictions between them.” Thus, they assert, “the more that participants believe that a person at the centre of a death-related conspiracy theory, such as Princess Diana or Osama [bin] Laden, is still alive, the more they also tend to believe that the same person was killed, so long as the alleged manner of death involves deception by officialdom.

 

Edited by william.scherk
Repaired screenshot link ... twice. Crossing fingers ...

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3 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Note that the Goldwater movement is cited as an example.

Ellen,

He would.

I looked this guy up on Wikipedia and from the gist of what I read, we can call his style of writing one of the poles along the same gradient with the "paranoid style." I came up with a cute name. Let's call it the "academic smugness" style. And, just like with the "paranoid style," it is not only on one side of the political divide, albeit we most often see it on the liberal/progressive side.

How's them apples?

:)

(And why do I keep remembering Daniel Barnes? :) )

btw - Life is too short for me to go into smug writers of the past unless they are masters so I, personally, don't expect to be reading this guy (although I might, depending). The thing that turned me off to him wasn't the smugness or the liberalism. It was something else in the Wikipedia article:

Quote

The sharpest criticism of Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1860–1915 focused on Hofstadter's weakness as a research scholar: he did little or no research into manuscripts, newspapers, archival, or unpublished sources. Instead, he primarily relied upon secondary sources augmented by his lively style and wide-ranging interdisciplinary readings, this producing very well-written arguments based upon scattered evidence he found by reading other historians.

Granted, this only refers to one work, so if some day I get interested in some other work by Hofstadter, I'll check this box on my pre-reading sheet to see if this is what he did before I devote any hours of my life to one of the products of his smug snark. :) 

I also didn't like it when Rand did what he did (like what she did with Rawls and Kant). There is nothing wrong with including analyses of other authors in a book or essay about a subject, but if your book or essay is nothing but a criticism of their analyses and purports to be about the topic itself, you are selling a misleading product. You are writing book reports on secondary authors. To wit, I am very interested in what Rand had to say about Kant. Not so much what she had to say about a biographer of Kant. And so on.

And even as an author of secondary book reports, Rand still had a strikingly original perspective in general based on her other work. I don't detect anything like that level of original thought in Hofstadter on skimming.

Michael

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15 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

"Obama" is now shorthand for tapping & hacking friends and rivals.

Great. "Obama" has been doing this since 1947.  He really got going in 1962, though, when he installed a secret taping system in his White House.

Meanwhile ...

 Lucinda Southern / Digiday:

Sources: German publishers are not signing up for Facebook's fake news initiative and have been unimpressed with its rollout in the country  —  After Facebook announced the first phase of a fact-checking initiative last month with partner Correctiv, a startup with 20 editorial staff manually …
1 hour ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" was the title of an essay published in the November 1964 Harper's [...] and was then used as the first chapter of a book titled Anti-intellectualism in American Life

Did you transpose two book titles? See Google Books for a look in. Or the Amazon 'look inside.'

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According to Andrew McCarthy over at National Review, Trump's tweets about Obama wiretapping him solved a major issue of fake news.

Almost single-handedly, they knocked out the entire Russians-did-it narrative.

While You Weren’t Looking, the Democrat–Media Election-Hacking Narrative Just Collapsed

Oh... Mika broke down on Morning Joe. That's true. I guess that's what she looks like when she and her side get their asses whupped.

btw - That's a video worth watching, but I'm not embedding it or linking to it because I keep coming across versions with a headline of Mika breaking down, then when you watch the video, that stifling her sobs part is mysteriously chopped off. During the discussion, everyone tut-tut-tutted about how Trump was going lower than low, he was sinking the White House into the swamp, yada yada yada, then just like with the election, someone would throw in that the only thing he has going for him is his popularity. :) It really is a sight to behold.

Other than Mika, though, what McCarthy says seems to be true. If you go to the normal curated news feeds around the web, that massive number of former articles screaming "the Russians did it!" has turned into a sporadic trickle.

:)

Now the mainstream media will have to do their fake news without feeding off a centralized narrative maintained and fed to them by the dark forces. 

Michael

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4 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

 - Life is too short for me to go into smug writers of the past unless they are masters so I, personally, don't expect to be reading this guy (although I might, depending). The thing that turned me off to him wasn't the smugness or the liberalism. It was something else in the Wikipedia article.

What I'm curious about is the parallels to current intelligentsia attempts at explaining Trump's victory.  The explanation that the people who supported Trump are fed up with the way the country's been going doesn't seen to occur to the disappointed commenters.  Instead, it has to be due to something nefarious like Russian hacking and/or something psychologically suspicious.  The inclusion of Goldwater in the material I quoted from "The Paranoid Style in Almerica Politics" makes me wonder if the thrust of the essay and book is to form a diagnosis of political views frowned on by the intellectual elite.

Ellen

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26 minutes ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

The inclusion of Goldwater in the material I quoted from "The Paranoid Style in Almerica Politics" makes me wonder if the thrust of the essay and book is to form a diagnosis of political views frowned on by the intellectual elite.

Ellen,

I can't say since I haven't read it, but I can make an educated guess.

My guess is that the problem is not the political view, but the evolutionary one. Those who look down their noses at what they perceive as human livestock actually believe they are higher on the evolutionary scale, at least to some degree. And their comfort is that this superiority is innate, meaning they don't have to work for it and no one can take it from them.

That might sound like a quip, but I'm serious. These folks may not use those words, but this belief flows through so much I have seen from them, I have no reason to doubt this kind of vain nitwit has been with us for a long time.

As an anecdote, when I first came to Evanston, Kat and I went around trying to meet people. At the time, there was a debate between two local politicians, one Republican and the other Democrat. (I no longer remember their names.)

They held polar opposite political views. However, they played a game where the Republican (who articulated his views well) was content to be in the inferior position while the Democrat was the hero saving the day.

Later, I saw manifest a deep vanity in both of them, the kind of smug vanity I dislike so much. They were part of the same club and had been putting on a show for the ordinary people. The views of the Republican were part of the show. The progressives NEED that set of views as a foil, otherwise, they lose their legitimacy as an alternative. 

So view-wise, I would say conservative and libertarian views are frowned upon by the Smug Ones when they become prevalent for real, not just lip service. As lip service and a foil (when easily beatable), the Smug Ones love conservative and libertarian views.

In my view, the fundament is power for them, not ideology.

Maybe Hofstadter's fundaments are different, but I bet if you look at the way he frames his views, you will see an impatient and dismissive expectation of power simply because he believes he and his kind are entitled to it. I haven't read him, but I bet it's there in his work on every page.

Michael 

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5 hours ago, william.scherk said:
8 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" was the title of an essay published in the November 1964 Harper's [...] and was then used as the first chapter of a book titled Anti-intellectualism in American Life

Did you transpose two book titles? See Google Books for a look in. Or the Amazon 'look inside.'

 

Looks like I did mix up two different books.  I thought I read that the essay was used as the first chapter of Anti-Intellectualism..., but according to Wikipedia it was the title essay of a different book published a year after Anti-Intellectualism....

Quote

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" is an essay by American historian Richard J. Hofstadter, first published in Harper's Magazine in November 1964; it served as the title essay of a book by the author in the same year. Wikipedia

Ellen

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