How Russian Propaganda Works (Peter Pomerantsev Interview)

–Peter Pomerantsev, Soviet born journalist and author of “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia,” and more recently, “This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality,” joins David to discuss state propaganda, Russia, and much more. Get the book: https://amzn.to/2Cgr7As

Civil War at Fox News

Juan Williams triggered fellow The Five hosts on Fox News. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.

Will Trump Be the Sage One?

Only one person can save us from the dangerous belligerent in the White House.

And that person is Donald Trump.

How screwed up is that?

Will the president let himself be pushed into a parlous war by John Bolton, who once buoyed the phony case on W.M.D.s in Iraq? Or will Trump drag back his national security adviser and the other uber hawks from the precipice of their fondest, bloodiest desire — to attack Iran?

Can Cadet Bone Spurs, as Illinois senator and Iraq war vet Tammy Duckworth called Trump, set Tom Cotton straight that winning a war with Iran would not merely entail “two strikes, the first strike and the last strike”? Holy cakewalk.

Once, we counted on Trump’s advisers to pump the brakes on an out-of-control president. Now, we count on the president to pump the brakes on out-of-control advisers.

.. “On one side, you have a president who doesn’t want war, who simply wants to do with Iran what he has done with North Korea, to twist the arm of the Iranians to bring them to a negotiation on his terms,” said Gérard Araud, the recently departed French ambassador. “He thinks they will suffer and at the end, they will grovel in front of his power.”

But in a way, Araud said, the face-off with the Iranians is more “primitive and dangerous” because, besides Bolton, other factions in the Middle East are also “dreaming of going to war.”

“Even if Trump doesn’t personally want war, we are now at the mercy of any incident, because we are at maximum tension on both sides,” said Araud, recalling Candidate Trump’s bellicose Twitter ultimatumsin 2016 when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards held American sailors blindfolded at gunpoint for 15 hours.

Given their sour feelings about W. shattering the Middle East and their anger at Trump shredding the Iran nuclear deal, Europeans are inclined to see the U.S. as trying to provoke Iran into war. This time, the Europeans will not be coming along — and who can blame them?

I’m having an acid flashback to 2002, when an immature, insecure, ill-informed president was bamboozled by his war tutors.

In an echo of the hawks conspiring with Iraqi exiles to concoct a casus belli for Iraq, Bolton told members of an Iranian exile group in Paris in 2017 that the Trump administration should go for regime change in Tehran.

And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!” Bolton cheerily told the exiles.

When Bolton was the fifth column in the Bush 2 State Department — there to lurk around and report back on flower child Colin Powell — he complained that W.’s Axis of Evil (Iran, Iraq, North Korea) was too limited, adding three more of his own (Cuba, Libya, Syria). Then, last year, Bolton talked about “the Troika of Tyranny” (Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela). His flirtations with military intervention in Venezuela this month irritated Trump.

The 70-year-old with the Yeti mustache is an insatiable interventionist with an abiding faith in unilateralism and pre-emptive war. (The cost of our attenuated post-9/11 wars is now calculated at $5.9 trillion.)

W. and Trump are similar in some ways but also very different. As Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio notes: W. was interested in clarity. Trump wants chaos. W. wanted to trust his domineering advisers. Trump is always imagining betrayal. W. wanted to be a war hero, like his dad. Trump does not want to be trapped in an interminable war that will consume his presidency.

Certainly, the biographer says, Trump enjoys playing up the scary aspects of brown people with foreign names and ominous titles, like “mullah” and “ayatollah,” to stoke his base.

But Trump, unlike W., is driven by the drama of it. “It’s a game of revving up the excitement and making people afraid and then backing off on the fear in order to declare that he’s resolved the situation,” D’Antonio said. “Trump prefers threats and ultimatums to action because that allows him to look big and tough and get attention without doing something for which he will be held responsible. This is who he is at his core: an attention-seeking, action-averse propagandist who is terrified of accountability in the form of coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base.”

David Axelrod, who had the military briefing about what a war with Iran would look like when he was in the Obama White House, said: “I’m telling you. It’s not a pretty picture.”

He says he is not sure which movie Bolton is starring in: “Dr. Strangelove” or “Wag the Dog.”

If part of your brand is that you’re not going to get the U.S. into unnecessary wars,” he said, “why in the world would you hire John Bolton?

Why do people have such divergent perspectives on the Mueller Report, ranging from Trump being completely exonerated to Trump being guilty of obstruction of justice and impeachable?

Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano, studied Useless Information. at School of Hard Knocks
I believe that I have an example that may answer this. After Barr released the redacted Mueller report, I watched the first half of the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC and later the first half of the Hannity show on Fox.

Maddow is biased, I have no disagreement about that but the coverage she gave was completely different from Hannity. Maddow took direct quotes from the report and discussed it with her guests. She easily discussed over ten direct quotes from the report in less than half an hour. She may have taken some quotes out of context, I have not read the report yet. Obviously she also chose quotes that would reinforce her narrative. Just remember, I am not claiming that Maddow is not biased.

Hannity spent the vast majority of the first half of his show ranting about Obama, Mueller, Hillary, Loretta Lynch, the deep state, Democrats in general, etc. After about twenty minutes Hannity finally took a direct quote from the report. A quote from Trump. Hannity then went back to ranting about all the people previously mentioned. Maybe he took more direct quotes later, I can only watch so much Hannity before I vomit.

So, Hannity claims that Trump is exonerated but he cited nothing from the report to back this up. Maddow tried to back up everything she said with a direct quote from the report. The reason why people have different perspectives is because of where they get their news. Liberals may watch biased news but at least they try to back it up with facts. Many conservatives get their news from propagandists. Sadly it appears as if many conservatives don’t know propaganda when they see it.

I should probably add this. In the thirty minutes I watched, Maddow asked her viewers to read the Mueller report for themselves several times. Hannity did not ask his viewers to read the Mueller report once in the thirty minutes I watched.