Even if John Stewart is Gone, We all Need to Keep taking on FOX and all the Media


I am going to put a lot of John Stewart videos in the comment section, like this one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO_om3iK9kE

You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course Democrats.com responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0tgvWxC_6A

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/8/white_house_environmental_adviser_van_jones

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/06/van-jones-resigns/

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/95963/what_will_the_green_economy_look_like/

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/28/van_jones_on_the_green_collar

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061650758/The_Green_Collar_Economy/index.aspx

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

http://www.pittsburghurbanmedia.com/a-petition-against-fox-conservative-host-glenn-beck.aspx

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

http://aan.org/alternative/Aan/index

and alternative monitoring websites.

http://americas.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/64380

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

http://www.tacomapjh.org/progressive_news.htm

Posted in Uncategorized | 55 Comments

Is Augmented Reality the Future of Defence?


Source: Is Augmented Reality the Future of Defence?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reagan Administration created a “psyops” bureaucracy three decades ago to flood the world with dubious information


 

How US Flooded the World with Psyops

By Robert Parry

The mainstream U.S. media obsesses over Russian “propaganda” yet the U.S. government created a “psyops” bureaucracy three decades ago to flood the world with dubious information, reports Robert Parry.

::::::::https://www.opednews.com/articles/How-US-Flooded-the-World-w-by-Robert-Parry-CIA_Media_President-Ronald-Reagan_Propaganda-170325-180.html

From Consortium News


Walter Raymond Jr., a CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist who oversaw President Reagan’s ‘perception management’ and psyops projects at the National Security Council. Raymond is partially obscured by President Reagan and is sitting next to Nation
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Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that — over the past three decades — have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home.

The documents reveal the formation of a psyops bureaucracy under the direction of Walter Raymond Jr., a senior CIA covert operations specialist who was assigned to President Reagan’s National Security Council staff to enhance the importance of propaganda and psyops in undermining U.S. adversaries around the world and ensuring sufficient public support for foreign policies inside the United States.

Raymond, who has been compared to a character from a John LeCarre’ novel slipping easily into the woodwork, spent his years inside Reagan’s White House as a shadowy puppet master who tried his best to avoid public attention or — it seems — even having his picture taken. From the tens of thousands of photographs from meetings at Reagan’s White House, I found only a couple showing Raymond — and he is seated in groups, partially concealed by other officials.

But Raymond appears to have grasped his true importance. In his NSC files, I found a doodle of an organizational chart that had Raymond at the top holding what looks like the crossed handles used by puppeteers to control the puppets below them. Although it’s impossible to know exactly what the doodler had in mind, the drawing fits the reality of Raymond as the behind-the-curtains operative who was controlling the various inter-agency task forces that were responsible for implementing various propaganda and psyops strategies.

Until the 1980s, psyops were normally regarded as a military technique for undermining the will of an enemy force by spreading lies, confusion and terror. A classic case was Gen. Edward Lansdale — considered the father of modern psyops — draining the blood from a dead Filipino rebel in a such a way so the dead rebel’s superstitious comrades would think that a vampire-like creature was on the prowl. In Vietnam, Lansdale’s psyops team supplied fake and dire astrological predictions for the fate of North Vietnamese and Vietcong leaders.

Essentially, the psyops idea was to play on the cultural weaknesses of a target population so they could be more easily manipulated and controlled. But the challenges facing the Reagan administration in the 1980s led to its determination that peacetime psyops were also needed and that the target populations had to include the American public.

The Reagan administration was obsessed with the problems left behind by the 1970s’ disclosures of government lying about the Vietnam War and revelations about CIA abuses both in overthrowing democratically elected governments and spying on American dissidents. This so-called “Vietnam Syndrome” produced profound skepticism from regular American citizens as well as journalists and politicians when President Reagan tried to sell his plans for intervention in the civil wars then underway in Central America, Africa and elsewhere.

While Reagan saw Central America as a “Soviet beachhead,” many Americans saw brutal Central American oligarchs and their bloody security forces slaughtering priests, nuns, labor activists, students, peasants and indigenous populations. Reagan and his advisers realized that they had to turn those perceptions around if they hoped to get sustained funding for the militaries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras as well as for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, the CIA-organized paramilitary force marauding around leftist-ruled Nicaragua.

So, it became a high priority to reshape public perceptions to gain support for Reagan’s Central American military operations both inside those targeted countries and among Americans.

A “Psyops Totality”

As Col. Alfred R. Paddock Jr. wrote in an influential November 1983 paper, entitled “Military Psychological Operations and US Strategy,” “the planned use of communications to influence attitudes or behavior should, if properly used, precede, accompany, and follow all applications of force. Put another way, psychological operations is the one weapons system which has an important role to play in peacetime, throughout the spectrum of conflict, and during the aftermath of conflict.”


President Ronald Reagan leading a meeting on terrorism on Jan. 26, 1981, with National Security Advisor Richard Allen, Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and White House counselor Edwin Meese.
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Paddock continued, “Military psychological operations are an important part of the ‘PSYOP Totality,’ both in peace and war. … We need a program of psychological operations as an integral part of our national security policies and programs. … The continuity of a standing interagency board or committee to provide the necessary coordinating mechanism for development of a coherent, worldwide psychological operations strategy is badly needed.”

Some of Raymond’s recently available handwritten notes show a focus on El Salvador with the implementation of “Nation wide multi-media psyops” spread through rallies and electronic media. “Radio + TV also carried Psyops messages,” Raymond wrote. (Emphasis in original.) Though Raymond’s crimped handwriting is often hard to decipher, the notes make clear that psyops programs also were directed at Honduras, Guatemala and Peru.

One declassified “top secret” document in Raymond’s file — dated Feb. 4, 1985, from Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger — urged the fuller implementation of President Reagan’s National Security Decision Directive 130, which was signed on March 6, 1984, and which authorized peacetime psyops by expanding psyops beyond its traditional boundaries of active military operations into peacetime situations in which the U.S. government could claim some threat to national interests.

“This approval can provide the impetus to the rebuilding of a necessary strategic capability, focus attention on psychological operations as a national — not solely military — instrument, and ensure that psychological operations are fully coordinated with public diplomacy and other international information activities,” Weinberger’s document said.

This broader commitment to psyops led to the creation of a Psychological Operations Committee (POC) that was to be chaired by a representative of Reagan’s National Security Council with a vice chairman from the Pentagon and with representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department and the U.S. Information Agency.

“This group will be responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing psychological operations activities in support of United States policies and interests relative to national security,” according to a “secret” addendum to a memo, dated March 25, 1986, from Col. Paddock, the psyops advocate who had become the U.S. Army’s Director for Psychological Operations.

“The committee will provide the focal point for interagency coordination of detailed contingency planning for the management of national information assets during war, and for the transition from peace to war,” the addendum added. “The POC shall seek to ensure that in wartime or during crises (which may be defined as periods of acute tension involving a threat to the lives of American citizens or the imminence of war between the U.S. and other nations), U.S. international information elements are ready to initiate special procedures to ensure policy consistency, timely response and rapid feedback from the intended audience.”

Taking Shape

The Psychological Operations Committee took formal shape with a “secret” memo from Reagan’s National Security Adviser John Poindexter on July 31, 1986. Its first meeting was called on Sept. 2, 1986, with an agenda that focused on Central America and “How can other POC agencies support and complement DOD programs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama.” The POC was also tasked with “Developing National PSYOPS Guidelines” for “formulating and implementing a national PSYOPS program.” (Underlining in original)

Raymond was named a co-chair of the POC along with CIA officer Vincent Cannistraro, who was then Deputy Director for Intelligence Programs on the NSC staff, according to a “secret” memo from Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Craig Alderman Jr. The memo also noted that future POC meetings would be briefed on psyops projects for the Philippines and Nicaragua, with the latter project codenamed “Niagara Falls.” The memo also references a “Project Touchstone,” but it is unclear where that psyops program was targeted.

Another “secret” memo dated Oct. 1, 1986, co-authored by Raymond, reported on the POC’s first meeting on Sept. 10, 1986, and noted that “The POC will, at each meeting, focus on an area of operations (e.g., Central America, Afghanistan, Philippines).”

The POC’s second meeting on Oct. 24, 1986, concentrated on the Philippines, according to a Nov. 4, 1986 memo also co-authored by Raymond. “The next step will be a tightly drafted outline for a PSYOPS Plan which we will send to that Embassy for its comment,” the memo said. The plan “largely focused on a range of civic actions supportive of the overall effort to overcome the insurgency,” an addendum noted. “There is considerable concern about the sensitivities of any type of a PSYOPS program given the political situation in the Philippines today.”

Earlier in 1986, the Philippines had undergone the so-called “People Power Revolution,” which drove longtime dictator Ferdinand Marcos into exile, and the Reagan administration, which belatedly pulled its support from Marcos, was trying to stabilize the political situation to prevent more populist elements from gaining the upper hand.

But the Reagan administration’s primary attention continued to go back to Central America, including “Project Niagara Falls,” the psyops program aimed at Nicaragua. A “secret” Pentagon memo from Deputy Under Secretary Alderman on Nov. 20, 1986, outlined the work of the 4th Psychological Operations Group on this psyops plan “to help bring about democratization of Nicaragua,” by which the Reagan administration meant a “regime change.” The precise details of “Project Niagara Falls” were not disclosed in the declassified documents but the choice of codename suggested a cascade of psyops.

Other documents from Raymond’s NSC file shed light on who other key operatives in the psyops and propaganda programs were. For instance, in undated notes on efforts to influence the Socialist International, including securing support for U.S. foreign policies from Socialist and Social Democratic parties in Europe, Raymond cited the efforts of “Ledeen, Gershman,” a reference to neoconservative operative Michael Ledeen and Carl Gershman, another neocon who has served as president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), from 1983 to the present. (Underlining in original.)

Although NED is technically independent of the U.S. government, it receives the bulk of its funding (now about $100 million a year) from Congress. Documents from the Reagan archives also make clear that NED was organized as a way to replace some of the CIA’s political and propaganda covert operations, which had fallen into disrepute in the 1970s. Earlier released documents from Raymond’s file show CIA Director William Casey pushing for NED’s creation and Raymond, Casey’s handpicked man on the NSC, giving frequent advice and direction to Gershman. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “CIA’s Hidden Hand in ‘Democracy’ Groups.“]

Another figure in Raymond’s constellation of propaganda assets was media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who was viewed as both a key political ally of President Reagan and a valuable source of funding for private groups that were coordinating with White House propaganda operations. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Rupert Murdoch: Propaganda Recruit.“]

In a Nov. 1, 1985 letter to Raymond, Charles R. Tanguy of the “Committees for a Community of Democracies — USA” asked Raymond to intervene in efforts to secure Murdoch’s funding for the group. “We would be grateful … if you could find the time to telephone Mr. Murdoch and encourage him to give us a positive response,” the letter said.

Another document, entitled “Project Truth Enhancement,” described how $24 million would be spent on upgrading the telecommunications infrastructure to arm “Project Truth, with the technical capability to provide the most efficient and productive media support for major USG policy initiatives like Political Democracy.” Project Truth was the overarching name of the Reagan administration’s propaganda operation. For the outside world, the program was billed as “public diplomacy,” but administration insiders privately called it “perception management.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Victory of Perception Management.“]

The Early Years

The original priority of “Project Truth” was to clean up the images of the Guatemalan and Salvadoran security forces and the Nicaraguan Contras, who were led by ousted dictator Anastasio Somoza’s ex-National Guard officers. To ensure steady military funding for these notorious forces, Reagan’s team knew it had to defuse the negative publicity and somehow rally the American people’s support.

At first, the effort focused on weeding out American reporters who uncovered facts that undercut the desired public images. As part of that effort, the administration denounced New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner for disclosing the Salvadoran regime’s massacre of about 800 men, women and children in the village of El Mozote in northeast El Salvador in December 1981. Accuracy in Media and conservative news organizations, such as The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, joined in pummeling Bonner, who was soon ousted from his job. But such efforts were largely ad hoc and disorganized.

CIA Director Casey, from his years crisscrossing the interlocking worlds of business and intelligence, had important contacts for creating a more systematic propaganda network. He recognized the value of using established groups known for advocating “human rights,” such as Freedom House.

One document from the Reagan library showed senior Freedom House official Leo Cherne running a draft manuscript on political conditions in El Salvador past Casey and promising that Freedom House would make requested editorial “corrections and changes” — and even send over the editor for consultation with whomever Casey assigned to review the paper.

In a “Dear Bill” letter dated June 24, 1981, Cherne, who was chairman of the Freedom House’s executive committee, wrote: “I am enclosing a copy of the draft manuscript by Bruce McColm, Freedom House’s resident specialist on Central America and the Caribbean. This manuscript on El Salvador was the one I had urged be prepared and in the haste to do so as rapidly as possible, it is quite rough. You had mentioned that the facts could be checked for meticulous accuracy within the government and this would be very helpful. …

“If there are any questions about the McColm manuscript, I suggest that whomever is working on it contact Richard Salzmann at the Research Institute [an organization where Cherne was executive director]. He is Editor-in-Chief at the Institute and the Chairman of the Freedom House’s Salvador Committee. He will make sure that the corrections and changes get to Rita Freedman who will also be working with him. If there is any benefit to be gained from Salzmann’s coming down at any point to talk to that person, he is available to do so.”

By 1982, Casey also was lining up some powerful right-wing ideologues to help fund the “perception management” project both with money and their own media outlets. Richard Mellon Scaife was the scion of the Mellon banking, oil and aluminum fortune who financed a variety of right-wing family foundations — such as Sarah Scaife and Carthage — that were financial benefactors to right-wing journalists and think tanks. Scaife also published the Tribune Review in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

A more comprehensive “public diplomacy” operation began to take shape in 1982 when Raymond, a 30-year veteran of CIA clandestine services, was transferred to the NSC. Raymond became the spark plug for this high-powered propaganda network, according to an unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation that was suppressed as part of the deal to get three moderate Republican senators to sign on to the final report and give the inquiry a patina of bipartisanship.

Though the draft chapter didn’t use Raymond’s name in its opening pages, apparently because some of the information came from classified depositions, Raymond’s name was used later in the chapter and the earlier citations matched Raymond’s known role. According to the draft report, the CIA officer who was recruited for the NSC job had served as Director of the Covert Action Staff at the CIA from 1978 to 1982 and was a “specialist in propaganda and disinformation.”

“The CIA official [Raymond] discussed the transfer with [CIA Director] Casey and NSC Adviser William Clark that he be assigned to the NSC as [Donald] Gregg’s successor [as coordinator of intelligence operations in June 1982] and received approval for his involvement in setting up the public diplomacy program along with his intelligence responsibilities,” the chapter said. Gregg was another senior CIA official who was assigned to the NSC before becoming Vice President George H.W. Bush’s national security adviser.

“In the early part of 1983, documents obtained by the Select [Iran-Contra] Committees indicate that the Director of the Intelligence Staff of the NSC [Raymond] successfully recommended the establishment of an inter-governmental network to promote and manage a public diplomacy plan designed to create support for Reagan Administration policies at home and abroad.”

War of Ideas

During his Iran-Contra deposition, Raymond explained the need for this propaganda structure, saying: “We were not configured effectively to deal with the war of ideas.”


President Reagan meets with publisher Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick, lawyers Roy Cohn and Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983.
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One reason for this shortcoming was that federal law forbade taxpayers’ money from being spent on domestic propaganda or grassroots lobbying to pressure congressional representatives. Of course, every president and his team had vast resources to make their case in public, but by tradition and law, they were restricted to speeches, testimony and one-on-one persuasion of lawmakers. But President Reagan saw the American public’s “Vietnam Syndrome” as an obstacle to his more aggressive policies.

Along with Raymond’s government-based organization, there were outside groups eager to cooperate and cash in. Back at Freedom House, Cherne and his associates were angling for financial support.

In an Aug. 9, 1982 letter to Raymond, Freedom House executive director Leonard R. Sussman wrote that “Leo Cherne has asked me to send these copies of Freedom Appeals. He has probably told you we have had to cut back this project to meet financial realities. … We would, of course, want to expand the project once again when, as and if the funds become available. Offshoots of that project appear in newspapers, magazines, books and on broadcast services here and abroad. It’s a significant, unique channel of communication” — precisely the focus of Raymond’s work.

On Nov. 4, 1982, Raymond, after his transfer from the CIA to the NSC staff but while still a CIA officer, wrote to NSC Adviser Clark about the “Democracy Initiative and Information Programs,” stating that “Bill Casey asked me to pass on the following thought concerning your meeting with [right-wing billionaire] Dick Scaife, Dave Abshire [then a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board], and Co. Casey had lunch with them today and discussed the need to get moving in the general area of supporting our friends around the world.

“By this definition he is including both ‘building democracy’ … and helping invigorate international media programs. The DCI [Casey] is also concerned about strengthening public information organizations in the United States such as Freedom House. … A critical piece of the puzzle is a serious effort to raise private funds to generate momentum. Casey’s talk with Scaife and Co. suggests they would be very willing to cooperate. … Suggest that you note White House interest in private support for the Democracy initiative.”

The importance of the CIA and White House secretly arranging private funds was that these supposedly independent voices would then reinforce and validate the administration’s foreign policy arguments with a public that would assume the endorsements were based on the merits of the White House positions, not influenced by money changing hands. Like snake-oil salesmen who plant a few cohorts in the crowd to whip up excitement for the cure-all elixir, Reagan administration propagandists salted some well-paid “private” individuals around Washington to echo White House propaganda “themes.”

The role of the CIA in these initiatives was concealed but never far from the surface. A Dec. 2, 1982 note addressed to “Bud,” a reference to senior NSC official Robert “Bud” McFarlane, described a request from Raymond for a brief meeting. “When he [Raymond] returned from Langley [CIA headquarters], he had a proposed draft letter ” re $100 M democ[racy] proj[ect],” the note said.

While Casey pulled the strings on this project, the CIA director instructed White House officials to hide the CIA’s hand. “Obviously we here [at CIA] should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor should we appear to be a sponsor or advocate,” Casey said in one undated letter to then-White House counselor Edwin Meese III as Casey urged creation of a “National Endowment.”

But the formation of the National Endowment for Democracy, with its hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. government money, was still months down the road. In the meantime, the Reagan administration would have to line up private donors to advance the propaganda cause.

“We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding,” NSC Adviser Clark wrote to Reagan in a Jan. 13, 1983 memo, adding that U.S. Information Agency Director “Charlie Wick has offered to take the lead. We may have to call on you to meet with a group of potential donors.”

Despite Casey’s and Raymond’s success in bringing on-board wealthy conservatives to provide private funding for the propaganda operations, Raymond worried about whether a scandal could erupt over the CIA’s involvement. Raymond formally resigned from the CIA in April 1983, so, he said, “there would be no question whatsoever of any contamination of this.” But Raymond continued to act toward the U.S. public much like a CIA officer would in directing a propaganda operation in a hostile foreign country.

Raymond fretted, too, about the legality of Casey’s ongoing role. Raymond confided in one memo that it was important “to get [Casey] out of the loop,” but Casey never backed off and Raymond continued to send progress reports to his old boss well into 1986.

It was “the kind of thing which [Casey] had a broad catholic interest in,” Raymond shrugged during his Iran-Contra deposition. He then offered the excuse that Casey undertook this apparently illegal interference in domestic politics “not so much in his CIA hat, but in his adviser to the president hat.”

Peacetime Propaganda

Meanwhile, Reagan began laying out the formal authority for this unprecedented peacetime propaganda bureaucracy. On Jan. 14, 1983, Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 77, entitled “Management of Public Diplomacy Relative to National Security.” In NSDD-77, Reagan deemed it “necessary to strengthen the organization, planning and coordination of the various aspects of public diplomacy of the United States Government.”

Reagan ordered the creation of a special planning group within the National Security Council to direct these “public diplomacy” campaigns. The planning group would be headed by Walter Raymond and one of its principal outposts would be a new Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America, housed at the State Department but under the control of the NSC. (One of the directors of the Latin American public diplomacy office was neoconservative Robert Kagan, who would later co-found the Project for the New American Century in 1998 and become a chief promoter of President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.)

On May 20, 1983, Raymond recounted in a memo that $400,000 had been raised from private donors brought to the White House Situation Room by U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick. According to that memo, the money was divided among several organizations, including Freedom House and Accuracy in Media, a right-wing media attack organization.

When I wrote about that memo in my 1992 book, Fooling America, Freedom House denied receiving any White House money or collaborating with any CIA/NSC propaganda campaign. In a letter, Freedom House’s Sussman called Raymond “a second-hand source” and insisted that “this organization did not need any special funding to take positions … on any foreign-policy issues.”

But it made little sense that Raymond would have lied to a superior in an internal memo. And clearly, Freedom House remained central to the Reagan administration’s schemes for aiding groups supportive of its Central American policies, particularly the CIA-organized Contra war against the leftist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. Plus, White House documents released later revealed that Freedom House kept its hand out for funding.

On Sept. 15, 1984, Bruce McColm — writing from Freedom House’s Center for Caribbean and Central American Studies — sent Raymond “a short proposal for the Center’s Nicaragua project 1984-85. The project combines elements of the oral history proposal with the publication of The Nicaraguan Papers,” a book that would disparage Sandinista ideology and practices.

“Maintaining the oral history part of the project adds to the overall costs; but preliminary discussions with film makers have given me the idea that an Improper Conduct-type of documentary could be made based on these materials,” McColm wrote, referring to a 1984 film that offered a scathing critique of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. “Such a film would have to be the work of a respected Latin American filmmaker or a European. American-made films on Central America are simply too abrasive ideologically and artistically poor.”

McColm’s three-page letter reads much like a book or movie pitch, trying to interest Raymond in financing the project: “The Nicaraguan Papers will also be readily accessible to the general reader, the journalist, opinion-maker, the academic and the like. The book would be distributed fairly broadly to these sectors and I am sure will be extremely useful. They already constitute a form of Freedom House samizdat, since I’ve been distributing them to journalists for the past two years as I’ve received them from disaffected Nicaraguans.”

McColm proposed a face-to-face meeting with Raymond in Washington and attached a six-page grant proposal seeking $134,100. According to the grant proposal, the project would include “free distribution to members of Congress and key public officials; distribution of galleys in advance of publication for maximum publicity and timely reviews in newspapers and current affairs magazines; press conferences at Freedom House in New York and at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.; op-ed circulation to more than 100 newspapers “; distribution of a Spanish-language edition through Hispanic organizations in the United States and in Latin America; arrangement of European distribution through Freedom House contacts.”

The documents that I found at the Reagan library did not indicate what subsequently happened to this specific proposal. McColm did not respond to an email request for comment about the Nicaraguan Papers plan or the earlier letter from Cherne (who died in 1999) to Casey about editing McComb’s manuscript. Freedom House did emerge as a leading critic of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and also became a major recipient of money from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which was founded in 1983 under the umbrella of the Casey-Raymond project.

The more recently released documents — declassified between 2013 and 2017 — show how these earlier Casey-Raymond efforts merged with the creation of a formal psyop bureaucracy in 1986 also under the control of Raymond’s NSC operation. The combination of the propaganda and psyop programs underscored the powerful capability that the U.S. government developed more than three decades ago for planting slanted, distorted or fake news. (Casey died in 1987; Raymond died in 2003.)

Over those several decades, even as the White House changed hands from Republicans to Democrats to Republicans to Democrats, the momentum created by William Casey and Walter Raymond continued to push these “perception management/psyops” strategies forward. In more recent years, the wording has changed, giving way to more pleasing euphemisms, like “smart power” and “strategic communications.” But the idea is still the same: how you can use propaganda to sell U.S. government policies abroad and at home.

Submitters Website: http://www.consortiumnews.com

Submitters Bio:

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It’s also available at
Amazon.com, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth.’

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Jesus Wept


“I wept, too, when I saw the Walls of Palestine built by Israeli government at USA taxpayer expense.”–KAS

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As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it,  saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” 

Luke 19:41-42

Christ sees the truth of the world around him and that visionary sight is painful: what we could be and what we fail to be, over and over. (We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.) In Lent, we make our home in the wilderness to examine the depth of our blindness. 

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Tyler McCabe is the producer of the Movies & Meaning Festival this April 27-30, a gather of people around art and social justice. Movies & Meaning was founded in 2015 as a gathering of people who desire to heal our personal and cultural wounds as a diverse community, laugh and cry around the “campire experience” of great movies, and gain tools for constructive, respectful, and thoughtful dialogue across boundaries of religion, class, race, and age. Learn more here.

 

 

 

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Officially bad for America


Media Matters for America - Take Action

Ted Koppel tells Sean Hannity that he is bad for America, Alex Jones apologizes for Pizzagate, the life cycle of a Trump lie, and more …

Kevin,

Beyond the notable Media Matters work below, here are some other things I’ve read this week: Jim Sterling on racism and bigotry on YouTube, Nora Caplan-Bricker on people who have to choose between abuse and deportation, Paul Singer on the “Breitbart embassy” in Washington, and Hannah Levintova on the history of Trump’s connections to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

John Whitehouse
@existentialfish

Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity: Officially bad for America

Sean Hannity repeatedly lies, pushes conspiracy theories, and acts as a full-blown Trump propagandist. So it was more than a little refreshing when Ted Koppel told Hannity to his face that he’s bad for America. Share the video here.

PBS on climate change The state of climate change coverageOur annual climate report is out, and it’s not good: Climate change coverage collapsed in 2016 on broadcast news, with just 50 minutes of coverage. In fact, Bernie Sanders mentioned climate change on the Sunday shows four times as much as the hosts did — combined.

Take action: There was one bright spot in the report: PBS’ coverage of climate change was outstanding. And now PBS itself is under siege as a result of Trump’s budget. Add your name now to the thousands of people who have signed our petition telling Congress to save public broadcasting.

Alex Jones

Alex Jones apologizes for Pizzagate, blames other outlets

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones apologized for promoting the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, blaming other outlets. Jones’ website InfoWars had deleted videos promoting the conspiracy in December after a gunman stormed into a pizzeria firing shots, including one video where Jones told listeners to investigate personally. The gunman later revealed that he had listened to Jones before his rampage. Jones and InfoWars had denied promoting the conspiracy as recently as February. It remains to be seen if other members of the so-called “alt-right” will apologize for promoting the conspiracy as well.

Andrew Napolitano Fox News causes international incident which ensnares MurdochFox analyst Andrew Napolitano is off of Fox News “indefinitely” after saying that President Obama commissioned the British intelligence agency to spy on then-President Elect Trump. Media Matters first tracedthat lie back to Russian state television, which The New York Times confirmed days later. After White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited Napolitano to defend Trump’s wiretapping lie, this became an international incident when the British angrily denied any truth to the accusation. Trump himself then blamed the incident on Fox News. Fox News anchor Shep Smith promptly debunked the accusation, but the whole debacle is causing Rupert Murdoch serious problems in the UK. This is all because the president of the United States gets his information from Fox & Friends.
Paul Ryan, Donald Trump

Conservative Attempt To Repeal Obamacare Dies

Donald Trump and Paul Ryan’s healthcare bill failed, and right-wing media are blaming anyone except for Trump. The simple fact is the bill Trump and Ryan pushed did exactly what conservatives accused Obamacare of doing. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that the myth of Trump as the “great negotiator” has little basis in fact.

Featured Video

Before the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia was announced, Sean Hannity said that a president under FBI investigation would present “a major Constitutional crisis.” http://mm4a.org/2nkYrxM

Featured Post

Donald Trump lies so much that there is now an emerging pattern of how the press covers his lies — and how right-wing media pressure mainstream outlets to give in to the lie. http://mm4a.org/2n14JSB

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Not Your Grandma’s Civil Rights Strategy Whose Streets? (Then and Now)


March 26, 2017
Tomgram: Jon Else, Eyes on the Prize 2017

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Here’s a special offer for you. Today’s author Jon Else was the series producer and cinematographer for the classic TV documentary on the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize.  His book, True South has just been published. The New York Times calls it “warm and intelligent” and Adam Hochschild has hailed it as a “moving account of perhaps the greatest American documentary series ever made,” a story told “with the compassion and eloquence it deserves.”  I’ve read it with fascination. As it happens, for a contribution to this website of $100 ($125 if you live outside the USA), you, too, can have it in your hands, signed and personalized by Else himself. Check out our donation page for the details. Tom]

It was one of the worst moments of the Vietnam War era in America. U.S. troops had just invaded Cambodia and the nation’s campuses erupted in a spasm of angry and frustrated protest. At Kent State University in Ohio, National Guardsmen had killed four students. In Washington that day in May 1970, the first of what would be vast crowds of protesters were beginning to gather in the pre-dawn hours when a restless President Richard Nixon with his valet Manolo Sanchez in tow had himself driven to the Lincoln Memorial.  There, at 4:40 a.m., he met, shook some hands, and engaged in “a rambling dialogue” with some startled young demonstrators. (“I said, ‘I know you, probably most of you think I’m an SOB, but, ah, I want you to know that I understand just how you feel.’”)

The protesters were not exactly impressed. (“‘I hope it was because he was tired but most of what he was saying was absurd,’ one of the Syracuse students told the press afterward. ‘Here we had come from a university that’s completely uptight, on strike, and when we told him where we were from, he talked about the football team.’”) But in that bizarre meeting in that embattled moment, you could still see the last dregs of a relationship between presidents of the United States and vast, mobilized movements, the first of which, as Jon Else explains today, was the civil rights movement. Nixon, who perfected “the southern strategy” of using implicit racial appeals to bring the previously Democratic white southern vote into the Republican fold, even alluded to that in his own odd fashion. (“I pointed out that I knew that on their campus, their campuses, a major subject of concern was the Negro problem. I said this was altogether as it should be, because the degradation of slavery had been imposed upon the Negroes, and it was, it would be impossible for us to do everything that we should do to right that wrong.”)

Almost half a century later, don’t expect President Trump to pay any pre-dawn visits to those arriving in Washington to protest his policies, no less consider their positions, or respond to them. As Else points out today, the ability of protesters to appeal successfully to Washington, vibrant in the civil rights era, dying in the Vietnam years, is now dead on arrival and protest, as it sweeps the country, will have to find other ways to make itself felt and effective. Else, whose new book, True South: Henry Hampton and “Eyes on the Prize,” the Landmark Television Series That Reframed the Civil Rights Movement, is a moving look at the civil rights movement through one man’s life, frames our present grim moment in the context of that remarkable history. It’s a past worth remembering as the protest movement of the twenty-first century finds its way in a grim world. Tom

Not Your Grandma’s Civil Rights Strategy
Whose Streets? (Then and Now)
By Jon Else

On a glorious afternoon in August 1963, after the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom wrapped up on the national mall, President John F. Kennedy, prodded by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, welcomed John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and other march organizers to the White House for a discussion of proposed civil rights legislation.  Fifty-four years later, on an afternoon in January 2017, when the even more massive Women’s March on Washington wrapped up, President Donald Trump responded with a sarcastic tweet.  Just the day before, Trump’s team had removed the “civil rights” page from the issues section of the WhiteHouse.gov website and replaced it with a new entry entitled “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community.”  The page is still missing.

Today, with the three branches of government controlled by men intolerant of dissent and hounded by their own dark vision of pluralism, few human rights advocates of any stripe can reasonably expect a hearing in Washington.  Our long-running, ongoing, unfinished American civil rights struggle that so often focused on pressing the federal government toward justice, is suddenly in uncharted territory. The legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King has slammed up against the legacy of Alabama Governor George Wallace, whose snarling campaign for president in 1968 has come home to roost in the presidency of Donald Trump. Where civil rights leaders, warriors, and foot soldiers found support in high places they will now find a void.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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Hate came to NYC from Maryland Hate Groups


 

NYPD: Baltimore White Supremacist Targeted Black Men for Death

HEADLINES MAR 23, 2017

H08 nyc racist murder

In New York City, police say racial hatred drove a 28-year-old white Army veteran to fatally stab a 66-year-old black man. James Harris Jackson surrendered to police early Wednesday after surveillance video identified him as the killer of Timothy Caughman. Police say Jackson traveled from Baltimore to New York to commit a high-profile hate crime.

Assistant Police Chief William Aubry: “The reason why he picked New York is because it’s the media capital of the world, and he wanted to make a statement. … It is believed that he was specifically intending to target male blacks for assault.”

James Harris Jackson served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Police say he’s a known member of a hate group in Maryland, though they did not identify which group.

  1. Gang Violence Prevention – ngcrc.com‎

    2017 Gang Training Conference Chicago, August 7-9, 2017
  2. SPLC Hate Map‎

    There are 892 hate groups currently operating in the United States.
  3. Maryland Group Home – Home for Youth / Boarding School‎

    Home, Therapy, Education Services
    Types: Residential Program, Education Program, Salem Equestrian Program…
  4. Map U.S. Hate Crimes – niot.org‎

    Track Hate Groups Across U.S. Take Action! Find Out How.
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Ryan doesn’t grasp that he put forward a terrible bill to begin with. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, it would have resulted in 24 million Americans losing health coverage over the next decade, hardly make a dent in the federal debt, and transfer over $600 billion to the wealthiest members of American society


No, Paul, It Wasn’t Because of “Growing Pains”

By Robert B. Reich

Apparently Ryan doesn’t grasp that he put forward a terrible bill to begin with. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, it would have resulted in 24 million Americans losing health coverage over the next decade, hardly make a dent in the federal debt, and transfer over $600 billion to the wealthiest members of American society.

::::::::https://www.opednews.com/articles/No-Paul-It-Wasn-t-Becaus-by-Robert-B-Reich-Debt_Health_Paul-Ryan_Republican-170326-800.html

From Robert Reich Blog

From flickr.com: House Speaker Paul Ryan {MID-71073}
House Speaker Paul Ryan
(Image by Gage Skidmore)
  Permission   Details   DMCA

House Speaker Paul Ryan, in his press conference following the demise of his bill to replace Obamacare, blamed Republicans who had failed to grasp that the GOP was now a “governing party.”

“We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do,” said Ryan. “You just had to be against it. Now, in three months’ time, we tried to go to a governing party where we actually had to get 216 people to agree with each other on how we do things.”

It was, he said, “the growing pains of government.”

Rubbish.

Apparently Ryan doesn’t grasp that he put forward a terrible bill to begin with. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, it would have resulted in 24 million Americans losing health coverage over the next decade, hardly make a dent in the federal debt, and transfer over $600 billion to the wealthiest members of American society.

The so-called “Freedom Caucus” of House Republicans, who refused to go along with the bill, wanted it even worse. Essentially, their goal (and that of their fat-cat patrons) was to repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it at all.

Ryan is correct about one thing. Congress is in the hands of Republicans who for years have only said “no.” They have become expert at stopping whatever a president wants to do, but they don’t have a clue how to initiate policy.

Most of the current Republican House members have not shared responsibility for governing the nation. They have never even passed a budget into law.

But their real problem isn’t the “growing pains” of being out of power. In reality, the Republicans who are now control the House — as well as the Senate — don’t like government. They’re temperamentally and ideologically oriented to opposing it, not leading it.

Their chronic incapacity to govern didn’t reveal itself as long as a Democrat was in the White House. They let President Obama try to govern, and pretended that their opposition was based on a different philosophy governing.

Now that they have a Republican president, they can no longer hide. They have no philosophy of governing at all.

Sadly for them — and for the rest of the country, and the world — the person they supported in the election of 2016 and who is now president is an unhinged narcissistic child who tweets absurd lies and holds rallies to prop up his fragile ego.

His conflicts of financial interest are legion. His entire presidency is under a “gray cloud” of suspicion for colluding with Russian agents to win office.

Here’s a man who’s advised by his daughter, his son-in-law, and an oddball who once ran a white supremacist fake-news outlet.

His Cabinet is an assortment of billionaires, CEOs, veterans of Wall Street, and ideologues, none of whom has any idea about how to govern and most of whom don’t believe in the laws their departments are in charge of implementing anyway.

Meanwhile, he has downgraded or eviscerated groups of professionals responsible for giving presidents professional advice on foreign policy, foreign intelligence, economics, science, and domestic policy.

He gets most of what he learns from television.

So we have a congress with no capacity to govern, and a president who’s incapable of governing.

Which leaves the most powerful nation in the world rudderless.

The country on whom much of the rest of the world relies for organizing and mobilizing responses to the major challenges facing humankind is leaderless.

It is of course possible that Republicans in congress will learn to take responsibility for governing. It is possible that Donald Trump will learn to lead. It is possible that pigs will learn to fly.

But such things seem doubtful. Instead, America and the rest of the world must hold our collective breath, hoping that the next elections — the midterms of 2018 and then the presidential election of 2020 — set things right. And hoping that in the meantime nothing irrevocably awful occurs.

Submitters Website: http://robertreich.org/

Submitters Bio:

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, “Inequality for All,” to be released September 27. He blogs at http://www.robertreich.org.

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More Contempt for America Laborers


Labor Secretary Nominee Alexander Acosta Refuses to Commit to Obama-Era Labor Protections

HEADLINESMAR 23, 2017

H05 alexander acosta

President Trump’s second nominee to head the Labor Department declined to say Wednesday whether he would enforce Labor Department regulations set by President Obama governing overtime pay, health and safety, and retirement. Under questioning from Senate Democrats in his confirmation hearing, Alexander Acosta repeatedly said he would defer to President Trump’s executive order asking agency heads to review pending regulations.

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SCOTUS 100% Ruling that Gorsuch Doesn’t Know How to Judge Properly


High Court Rules 8-0 Against SCOTUS Nominee Gorsuch’s 2008 Ruling

HEADLINES MAR 23, 2017

H02 gorsuch day 3

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that a public school district in Colorado violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by failing to adequately provide for an autistic student. The high court’s 8-0 ruling overturned a 2008 decision written by Judge Neil Gorsuch in favor of the school district over the autistic child. The ruling was handed down as Gorsuch testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee for the third straight day of his confirmation hearings to join the Supreme Court. This is Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, quoting the Supreme Court ruling.

Sen. Dick Durbin: “The court went on to say, ‘The IDEA demands more. It requires an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances,’ end of quote. It’s a powerful decision. It’s a unanimous decision.”

Judge Neil Gorsuch: “If anyone is suggesting that I like a result where an autistic child happens to lose, it’s a heartbreaking accusation to me. Heartbreaking. But the fact of the matter is, I was bound by circuit precedent. And so was the panel of my court.”

At this point, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote in favor of Judge Gorsuch’s nomination on April 3, and a Senate floor vote is expected later that week. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened to change Senate rules to allow Gorsuch’s confirmation on a simple majority vote rather than the 60 votes now required for confirmation.

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Dark Money Billionaires Push for Pro-Nuclear Radiation Climate Denier for White House Science Post


STORY MARCH 23, 2017

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Jane Mayer

staff writer at The New Yorker. Her latest piece is headlined “The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.”


Years before backing Donald Trump, the Mercers helped support the congressional campaign of Arthur Robinson, who attempted to oust Rep. Peter DeFazio. Robinson made for an unusual candidate. He is a climate change denier who speaks about the positive effects of nuclear radiation. Robinson runs the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which stores some 14,000 samples of human urine. Robinson has said he is trying to find new ways of extending the human lifespan. The Mercers funded Robinson’s campaign and institute. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reports the Mercers also pushed to have Trump name Robinson as his science adviser. Jane Mayer writes about Robinson in her new piece, “The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.”


NERMEEN SHAIKH: We continue our conversation with Jane Mayer, staff writer at The New Yorker. Her latest piece is headlined “The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.” The piece looks at how the secretive billionaire reshaped the political landscape. But Robert Mercer is hardly a household name. He never talks to the press and rarely speaks at a public event.

AMY GOODMAN: But Robert Mercer did speak in 2014, when he accepted a lifetime achievement award from the Association of Computational Language. He told a story of working at New Mexico’s Kirtland Air Force Weapons Lab.

ROBERT MERCER: … its possession a program for computing these fields, but for whatever reason, they were not in possession of the programmer who had created it. It took hundreds of hours of CPU time to make a single run of this program, and my boss at the lab gave me the job of figuring out how it worked and making it run faster. The style of the original program was very unpleasant, so the first thing I did was rewrite the whole thing. And after a while, I had a new program that produced the same answers as the old one, but about a hundred times faster. And then a strange thing happened. Instead of running the old computations in 1/100th of the time, the powers that be at the lab ran computations that were a hundred times bigger. I took this as an indication that one of the most important goals of government-financed research is not so much to get answers as it is to consume the computer budget, which has left me ever since with a jaundiced view of government-financed research.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that is one of the few times Robert Mercer has spoken publicly. In fact, Jane Mayer, you talk about, at the heroes-and-villains ball after Donald Trump was elected, he said he had his longest conversation with Robert—with Robert Mercer, and he had uttered two words, he said. But—so he has this view of the government. He moves over to Renaissance Technologies in Setauket, Long Island, out near Stony Brook University. Talk about how you did learn more about his views—you mentioned the man earlier, David Magerman, one of the people he worked with at Renaissance, who broke with him; so often that’s how you can learn about people’s views within an organization, when you have a break, a major rift like this—and Magerman’s view of what the Mercers represent.

JANE MAYER: Well, I mean, it’s very unusual, what happened with this man, David Magerman. He is a senior employee at Renaissance Technologies, this wildly lucrative hedge fund. And he spoke out about Mercer’s views. I mean, the thing is, this hedge fund is very secretive. It has its own sort of secret sauce about how to make money. Nobody there talks. They’re all also getting so rich. There’s a lot to lose by alienating the people who run the firm. And so, it was very unusual that Magerman came forward.

But what happened was, he is involved in Jewish politics, Jewish causes in Philadelphia. And he became very concerned about the Mercers’ role in the campaign and the sort of the promotion of the alt-right, which has these anti-Semitic strains to it, and got into a conversation with Bob Mercer that devolved into an argument about politics. And at some point, Magerman said to his boss, Bob Mercer, you know, “You are using money that I helped earn for this firm to do these things. And if you’re harming America, you have to stop.” And he spoke to colleagues about it, and Mercer called him and said, “I understand you’re saying I am a white supremacist.” And Mercer said, “That’s ridiculous.” And Magerman said, “Well, I didn’t use those words exactly, but, you know, you’ve got to stop doing this.” Eventually, this fight got written up in The Wall Street Journal. Magerman spoke to The Wall Street Journal. And when that happened, when it went public, the firm suspended Magerman for 30 days from his job without pay, and—which God knows how much that would be.

And at that point, Magerman didn’t back down. He wrote an essay himself about how he saw things. And what he wrote is really very eloquent, I thought, which is that he says about his boss, Mercer, “He’s making an investment. He’s buying shares in this candidate, Trump. And now that Trump’s been elected, he owns a piece of him. He owns a share of the presidency.” And he said, you know, “Everybody’s got a right to express their own political views, but it’s a real worry when the government of the United States is being set up to reflect—is being peopled by Mercer’s people, who are running our government, and it feels more like an oligarchy than a democracy.” So, anyway, Magerman was one of the people who actually opened the—allowed one to get a glimpse of what it is that Mercer believes.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I want to ask about someone who’s strongly influenced the views of Robert Mercer, Arthur Robinson, who is also the person that Mercer intervened on behalf of when he was running for Oregon’s governor. Now, in your piece, you talk about the influence that he’s had on Robert Mercer, especially on climate change and nuclear radiation. Robinson runs the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which stores some 14,000 samples of human urine. Robinson has said he’s trying to find new ways of extending the human lifespan. In 2010, Mercers bankrolled Robinson’s run for a congressional seat in Oregon against Pete DeFazio. During the race, Arthur Robinson was interviewed by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

RACHEL MADDOW: You’re well known for your belief that global warming is made up, that that is not true. That’s sort of the source of your national reputation, to the extent that you have one. Your opponent, Mr. DeFazio, is also—

ARTHUR ROBINSON: That’s not a belief. That’s a conclusion I reached as a physical scientist. I have a degree from Caltech.

RACHEL MADDOW: Right.

ARTHUR ROBINSON: Many other men who have degrees from Caltech have agreed with me on this.

RACHEL MADDOW: OK.

ARTHUR ROBINSON: We have—there are thousands of physical scientists in this country who, on the basis of scientific information alone, reject the idea of human-caused global warming.

RACHEL MADDOW: You have advocated that radioactive—

ARTHUR ROBINSON: You can go right ahead. You’ve already—you’ve already put a big pejorative statement before the statement. But go ahead. Ask anything you like.

RACHEL MADDOW: You have advocated that radioactive waste should be dissolved in water and, quote, “widely dispersed in the oceans.” Quote, “All we need to do with nuclear waste is dilute it to a low radiation level and sprinkle it over the ocean—or even over America after hormesis is better understood and verified with respect to more diseases.” Now, hormesis is your belief that low-level radiation is good for us to a certain extent? Is that right?

ARTHUR ROBINSON: The statements that you have just made are untrue.

RACHEL MADDOW: Wait. That was a—I was quoting you.

ARTHUR ROBINSON: What you have done is take tiny excerpts from a vast amount of writing I’ve done on this scientific subject. I have not advocated any of this. As a scientist, I’ve written—

RACHEL MADDOW: I—”All we need to”—did you not say this?

ARTHUR ROBINSON: —about these and many other possibilities.

RACHEL MADDOW: Wait, wait. Are you saying that I—

ARTHUR ROBINSON: You are—

RACHEL MADDOW: Are you saying that your own news—

ARTHUR ROBINSON: You are not telling the truth.

RACHEL MADDOW: Sir, are you saying that your—

ARTHUR ROBINSON: If you want to tell the truth, that’s fine. I’m not going to answer to your lie. That’s just more mud.

RACHEL MADDOW: I’m quoting from your own newsletter.

ARTHUR ROBINSON: This is a complicated scientific subject, which you are misrepresenting to your viewers.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So that’s Arthur Robinson speaking to Rachel Maddow, Arthur Robinson who has been an influence on Robert Mercer. And he bankrolled—sorry. He bankrolled this institute and has been pushed to be a science adviser to Trump, this man who believes that nuclear radiation is good for you. So could you say more about him, Robinson?

JANE MAYER: Well, he is an eccentric. He lives on a sheep farm in Oregon. And as he says, he’s a graduate of Caltech. But, you know, if you listen carefully to what he was saying to Rachel Maddow, he’s talking about how “I am a physical scientist, and thus can come to this conclusion about climate change.” He is not a climate scientist. And he put together a petition that was meant to undermine belief in global warming, that had the signatures, he claimed, of zillions of physical scientists. It actually had a lot of, apparently, false signatures. And these scientists, again, were not climate scientists.

The consensus, as I think most people who are fact-based and interested in reality—the consensus we know is that science, overwhelmingly, and particularly climate scientists, overwhelmingly, accept that man-made global warming is causing all kinds of problems and that they are an immediate danger to life on Earth, and it’s something that we need to address.

But you have a few of these sort of holdouts, and Arthur Robinson is one of them. And Mercer is another. And Mercer has helped fund this research by Arthur Robinson and then—and promote it. And the Mercers have talked about, as you mentioned, trying to make Arthur Robinson get chosen as the national science adviser. Trump, too, has taken this position, calling global warming a hoax. It’s a tiny minority view, even in this country. If you look at—The New York Times did a piece this week about belief in global warming. The population understands this isn’t—this isn’t true, this position that these people are taking. But because you’ve got huge money behind it, including Mercer’s, it’s being pushed as the policy of the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to talk to you about Steve Bannon, continue talking about, since he’s so important, White House chief strategist, who some call “President Bannon,” who—you write about his deep ties to the Mercers, who bankroll Breitbart News and Bannon’s film projects. Let’s turn to comments Bannon made in an interview last month at the CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference.

STEPHEN BANNON: I think if you look at the lines of work, I kind of break it up into three verticals or three buckets. The first is kind of national security and sovereignty, and that’s your intelligence, the Defense Department, homeland security. The second line of work is what I refer to as economic nationalism. The third, broadly, line of work is what is deconstruction of the administrative state. … If you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason. And that is the deconstruction. The way the progressive left runs is that if they can’t get it passed, they’re just going to put it in some sort of regulation in an agency. That’s all going to be deconstructed. And I think that that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.

AMY GOODMAN: So that’s chief White House strategist Steve Bannon speaking last month. You mention in your piece, Jane, that Robert Mercer’s daughter Rebekah was part of Bannon’s entourage at CPAC. You also suggest Mercers aren’t ideologically aligned with Bannon on some issues. Can you talk about—more about the relationship between Bannon and the Mercers? You—even the possibility that Bannon doesn’t see himself that long in the White House?

JANE MAYER: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear. The possibility that Bannon doesn’t seem what?

AMY GOODMAN: See himself that long in the White House.

JANE MAYER: Ah. Well, from what I’ve been able to figure out, Bannon and Rebekah Mercer are quite close. They’re partners politically, in many ways. She’s the money in the team, and he is the kind of political vision. There are people who know the Mercers, who have worried that their kind of evolution into this tremendous political influence role is the work of Bannon and, to some—that he may have become kind of a Svengali to the whole family. But at any rate, they seem to be working closely together. In the past, they’ve talked a lot, quite frequently. Bannon is a social guest of the Mercer family. They have a tremendous yacht, 203 feet long, that costs $75 million. And he’s, you know, been described by The Wall Street Journal as kind of hanging out on it like a member of the family. And so, they are close. And they’re aligned on many things.

As you mentioned, there are areas of disagreement, particularly between Bob Mercer and Bannon, politically. Bob Mercer is stridently and extremely antigovernment, wants to just, you know, reduce it to a pinhead, according to David Magerman. And Bannon has been talking about an expensive, really expensive, infrastructure program in this country. And so, that would be a point of tension. That would be a government program that Bannon supports and that this family does not. But they are aligned on this idea of deconstructing the administrative state, which sounds like gobbledygook. But what is it really? They’re talking about completely gutting all kinds of government programs and regulations that have to do with things like the environment, that they’ve—just completely undoing the EPA from the inside by putting someone like Scott Pruitt in charge of it, who, basically, doesn’t believe in its mission.

AMY GOODMAN: Who has sued it 14 times—

JANE MAYER: Bannon—right.

AMY GOODMAN: —as Oklahoma attorney general.

JANE MAYER: Right. And so, you know, Bannon—the language is the language of populism. But the enemy, in his view, is government. And so, if you substitute the word “government” for “elites,” when he’s talking about taking on the elites, you end up pretty much in the same place where the Kochs have been all this time, the Koch brothers, who actually worked closely with the Mercers for a few years. They’re undoing the—sort of the government as we know it, which has, you know, the protections for people, for workers, for the environment, for the poor, for the disabled. That’s where—that’s where they’re heading with this.

AMY GOODMAN: Jane, we have to break, but when we come back, we want to ask you about Cambridge Analytica, of the—

JANE MAYER: OK.

AMY GOODMAN: —that the Mercers fund. Does the Trump team have 200 million files on Americans? That’s a question. Also, dark money. That’s the name of your book. And it was a question that was put to Judge Gorsuch, the $10 million campaign to have him, you know, confirmed as Supreme Court justice. We want to ask you about that, as well. Jane Mayer, New Yorker writer, author of Dark Money, that just came out in paperback. Stay with us.

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