Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Fake news has been a hot topic recently. All sides of the political sound and fury surrounding the recent presidential election have leveled charges and counter-charges against their opponents in this regard. Democrats, embracing a newfound, touchingly naive faith in the CIA and the other agencies of the so-called intelligence community, have claimed that the Russians hacked the Democratic strategists’ electronic files, released the information gained thereby, and hence influenced the election in Trump’s favor, costing Clinton the victory she so amply deserved.
Republicans have responded that such claims at best evince sour grapes and an attempt to shift the public’s attention from the substance of the revealed messages to the identity of the messengers who allegedly made them public. At the same time, libertarians and others have called attention to the fact that the government itself is and long has been a leading, if not the leading, propagator of fake news—sometimes called simply propaganda—in its various attempts to sway public opinion and diminish resistance to its schemes for aggrandizing its own power and enriching the crony capitalists on whom it relies for its principal financial support, especially during the electioneering season.
Fake news is as old as news itself. Political reporting in particular has always served as a tool of those who hold or seek to gain a grip on power. Respectable news sources, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, are not and never have been strangers to the distribution of false, twisted, or selectively partial and slanted reports. Less prestigious news outlets have also played the game. Perhaps the only new development on this front recently is the use of the Internet to spread fake news quicker and farther than the old media could. The news cycle revolves constantly now, and hence news, true and false, is placed before the public on an instant, worldwide scale as never before.
A little-noticed aspect of this ongoing activity relates to the matter of “failed polices.” Government’s critics constantly harp on allegations of such failures in an attempt to sway public opinion in favor of throwing the (current) rascals out and replacing them with the critics’ preferred rascals. Revelations of “scandals,” whether personal or managerial, provide especially useful allegations in the world of fake news.
Thus, for example, critics of the government’s so-called drug war(s) constantly allege that these efforts have failed to stem the use and trafficking in such forbidden fruits and therefore ought to be modified or abandoned. Such criticism, whether well founded or not, however, falls victim to the assumption that the policy has failed merely because it has not halted or even reduced drug use and trafficking.
But the policy, at least at the federal level of government, has not been altered substantially or abandoned in response to such criticism, and the reason it has proved so durable is that it has decidedly not failed insofar as its principal warriors are concerned. The drug war has brought tremendous infusions of money and power into the hands of its conductors, who would be crestfallen indeed if their effort had succeeded in reducing the use and trafficking they purport to be targeting. Such success would remove the foundation that supports their hold on money and power and hence would prove personally devastating to them, however desirable it might seem to be in the abstract.
Once one has come to understand this reality, one sees immediately the parallel between fake news and fake policy making and implementation. In short, the government’s alleged purpose—winning the drug war, suppressing foreign enemies of the American people, saving the public from harmful pharmaceuticals and medical devices, you name it—is a fake, a mere public-relations or propaganda cover for the real purpose, which is to empower and enrich government officials and their pals in the private sector. Seen in this light—somewhat as Bruce Yandle has taught us with his lovely bootleggers-and-Baptists model—one realizes that a very large part of everything the government does is derived from fake politics, from false characterizations or appealing cover stories that provide plausible rationales for government policies and programs whose true goals are quite different from those it advertises to the public in its quest to put the policies in place and keep them going, preferably with ever-increasing funding and an ever-larger bureaucracy.
Where government, politics, and policy implementation are concerned, we would be wise to remember that just as in the realm of often-fake news, things are rarely what they purport to be and, indeed, they are often the exact opposite.
Kellyanne Conway on Women's March: 'We...Frankly Didn't See the Point'
What did President Trump think of the women's march on Saturday, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway was asked on Sunday.
"I discussed it with him briefly," Conway told ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. "We respect people's First Amendment rights but frankly didn't see the point. I mean, you have a day after he's uplifting and unifying. And you have folks here being on a diatribe where I think they could have requested a dialogue. Nobody called me and said, hey, can we have a dialogue?
"And you have celebrities from the podium using profanity-laced insults. You have a very prominent singer who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars not going over to women shelter here in D.C. to write a check, but instead saying that she thought of, quote, burning down the White House.
Conway was referring to Madonna, who told the women gathered in Washington: "Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House. But I know that this won't change anything. We cannot fall into despair...I choose love."
Madonna said some terrible things about President Trump, including sexual suggestions expressed with profanity.
Conway noted that the American people just held an election. "And a lot of what I heard from this march yesterday in Washington, we heard all through the election. And that whole messaging and their candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost. Twenty-nine to 30 million women voted for Donald Trump. Their voices are heard as well. They should be respected.
"I just thought they missed an opportunity to be about solutions and to really fight for those millions of women whose kids are trapped in failing school, who don't have access to health care, who don't have access to an economic, affordable life. And those are the -- those are the people that we're here for, the forgotten men, the forgotten women and their children.
"And I just thought it was such a contrast to have President Trump deliver an inaugural address that was so uplifting and aspirational and inclusive of America -- if you open your heart to patriotism, there's no room for prejudice, and then the very next day, you have these profanity-laced, threatening, vulgar comments coming from the podium.
"The whole celebrity thing didn't work for Hillary Clinton. She tried that in her campaign and it failed," Conway added.
According to the Associated Press, more than a million women (and men) turned out Saturday at demonstrations across the nation, apparently to oppose President Trump's agenda and to fight for "women's rights."
Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Conway said Donald Trup "hears and sees a country that is divided."
"Donald Trump didn't divide the country," she said, "but as president, he has a great opportunity to help heal and unify it." She added, "He is going to be a president for all Americans."
And in a heated interview conducted by NBC's Chuck Todd, Conway again noted that "everything we heard from the these women yesterday happened on the watch of Barack Obama. He was president for eight years, Donald Trump has been here for about eight hours."
This Tweet From One Women's March Organizer Shows How NUTS The Left's Worldview Is
One of the four chief organizers for the massive Women's March that took place on Saturday is "Palestinian-American-Muslim racial justice & civil rights activist" Linda Sarsour. Sarsour, who also served as a Democratic National Convention delegate, was honored by President Obama's administration as a "Champion of Change"; fittingly, she also posed in Chicago with an alleged Hamas financier (fitting because Barack Obama used to give speeches in honor of Palestinian terror mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi).
So, what exactly drove Sarsour's ire during the Women's March? Here's a clue from 2014:
If you wonder why hundreds of thousands of women declared themselves "brave" for marching in favor of taxpayer-funded contraception while doing nothing for women abroad who live in abysmal circumstances, this would be it: a complete lack of perspective.
Perhaps one reason that Saudi Arabia is happy to pay for "maternity leave" is because they bribe their citizens not to rebel against the autocratic regime through massive welfare payments; perhaps another reason is because the government wants to encourage women to stay home rather than working. In Saudi Arabia, as The Week reports, women can't get a passport without the permission of a husband, father, or other male guardian; most Saudi women can't drive; Saudi women are prevented from wearing attractive clothing; go to public areas that are non-segregated; or even try on clothes at stores.
This is just another piece of evidence that a government big enough to give you goodies is big enough to take away rights. And it turns out that people who think that Saudi Arabia's maternity policies rather than their restrictions on female driving probably shouldn't be a guide to female freedom in the United States. But the left would prefer not to focus on such matters, since that would obligate them to favor Westernism rather than multiculturalism abroad and at home.
Pauline Hanson defends her call for a ban on the Burqa in Australia
A TRIPLE M [Rock radio] breakfast host launched into One Nation’s Pauline Hanson on Tuesday over her controversial stance of banning the burqa.
Ms Hanson, who has been pushing for a complete ban of the Muslim garment in recent months, as well as an inquiry into Islam as a religion, began the segment by asking the hosts a question. “Do you like (the burqa)?,” she asked. “Do you wear one?”
Robin Bailey, who joined Triple M at the beginning of the year, took exception.
“You know what, I will say quite honestly, that is a representation for a group of people about their religion and you having a go at the burqa is like having a go at a Christian for wearing a cross,” Bailey said.
Ms Hanson laughed off the comparison. “The burqa is not a religious requirement ... countries around the world are now wanting to get rid of the burqa, we’re talking about the full face covering,” Ms Hanson said.
She told Bailey that she “couldn’t believe a woman ... believes a woman should be covered up from head to toe”.
Bailey fired back. “I can’t believe a woman wants to have a crack at another woman about what she wears,” the host said.
Ms Hanson demanded: “Don’t pull the woman stuff on me.” “Just because I’m a woman and I’m complaining and I do not like it ... don’t try and shut me down because I’m having a go at a woman. I’ll have a crack at anybody.”
Ms Hanson told Bailey “you don’t understand the Islamic religion”. “What are we doing, taking women back 2000 years?”
Bailey said: “No one is forcing ... in this country you are not forced to wear the burqa.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.