The latest questionable document from Wikileaks hits an uncritical and credulous “media”:
Here Are Hillary Clinton’s Three Speeches To Goldman Sachs For Which She Was Paid $675,000
Tyler Durden / zerohedge.com
— As has been widely reported, in 2013 Hillary Clinton was paid $675,000 for three speeches to Goldman Sachs. One was delivered on June 4, 2013 at the 2013 IBD CEO Annual Conference at The Inn …
As foreign entities openly attempt alter the outcome of a US presidential election, the outrage has been, to be kind, muted. Alas, within my unreconstructed citizen’s soul — from cub scouts to boy scouts, from a page at the Wyoming Republican Convention to a delegate from Oregon at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles — there burns a red-hot rage at those who would so casually dismiss treason and threats to our true “national sovereignty” and, worse, those whose committment to America is lukewarm at best, and who believe in the convenient trope “the US Government” and its subliterate twin, “the gum’mint.”
0. Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start)
Let’s begin with the building blocks of logic:
Logic is three-dimensional, NOT fully within the FOUR-dimensional world we live in.
The Fundamental Proposition of formal logic of A=A works ONLY as long as “A” (for example “Angelina”) equals A at the same time (the FOURTH dimension).
(Baby Angelina is HARDLY equal to Soccer mom Angelina. Not in dimensions, proportions, skill, knowledge, rights, etc. etc. In fact, the differences are so great that it’s hard to believe that we are talking about the same person. A=A only if you throw time away.)
A does not always equal A
We “stereotype” A for the purposes of logic. We create a simplified “logic block” that we can manipulate with other belief blocks like, “patriotism,” “duty,” “honor,”human right,” “sustainability,” “ecosystem,” etcetera.
Secondly, logic, as practiced, is almost entirely verbal — even if that verbal nature is internal monologue. Which means that reality is mapped into language. (Remember: language is a “map.” If it weren’t, my invocation of “tuna salad sandwich” would suffice for your lunch. We “map” reality with language, but conduct our logical thinking about our description of reality, and not with reality itself. There is a difference between formal logic and the natural reason that humans and other animals use to solve problems, but leave that aside for the moment. Above this blog post’s pay grade.)
And, unless we are very, very careful, we can easily mistranslate reality into nouns that are utterly at odds with fundamental Reality. Example: The US Government.
I have very sad news for many of youse: there AIN’T no such thing as “The US Government.”
There are many people working in and on behalf of “The US Government,” but as we reckon reality in normal life — can you touch it, etc. — there is no more a tangible US government than there is a tangible Santa Claus, or a corporeal unicorn. It is an IDEA, and many people are empowered over time to enact their version of that IDEA.
In a black and white world of A=A thinking, the “US government” of Barack Obama must therefore be exactly the same as a “US government” of George W. Bush.*
[* If you believe that they were the same, you didn’t live through them.]
This is utter nonsense, of course, but it is possible to bumble into a perfectly logical idiocy equating the US government of Wounded Knee with the present day government and feel justified in getting even with Richard Nixon via Barack Obama. Or failing to identify the ACTUAL human or humans who created the outrage, using the vehicle of the US government to do so. Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger come to mind.
But there is no monolithic “US government” for the Bundys of this world to attack and protest. How many people throughout the world hate “America” but like and even love Americans?
Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let’s return to our regularly scheduled Essay Title, shall we?
i. The First Amendment versus the Right of Privacy.
There is a fundamental contradiction here, which no amount of logical yoga will ever manage to win the Eternal Game of Twister® with. The right for me to spout the contents of your diary in public are pretty much guaranteed to any newspaper under law. The right for me to sue the party who stole my diary for monetary damages (but not much else, alas) is also protected under law.
That fundamental contradiction plays out every day in every newspaper in the land.
You don’t have a right to steal my most private writings. But a newspaper has the right to print them — if I am a “public figure” and they’re not doing it maliciously.
That’s just the way that the contradiction plays out. And don’t be afraid, reality will never be able to fit neatly into logical formulations, and paradox and contradiction will inevitably ensue, but reality manages to continue pretty much impeded when it breaks all the laws of logic, so let’s recognize pure reason for what it is: an incredibly useful paradigm and tool, but ultimately imperfect for any final understanding. Too many either utterly depend on the A=A logic, while even more, sadly, utterly REJECT logic and irrelevant to their thinking.
See no evil, speak no evil, boll no weevil
As regards governments, it cannot be argued that there are necessary secrets in the conduct of statecraft and governance. If that is NOT true, then defend, please, why all schematics and blueprints for nuclear weapons are not publicly accessible and online for easy printout?
Clearly there will always be a contradiction in a “people’s government” between transparency and necessary secrets. And there will always be the contradiction between those who make things secret having secrets that can conveniently be hidden as STATE secrets. That’s always the nature of the secrecy beast.
There is, in both the case of governments and the case of individuals, SOME necessity of privacy, although this has never been spelled out in Constitutional terms.
Comes the Wiki-Leaker.
ii. The Case of Wikileaks.
Screencapture by author
Mistaking the Obama Administration for the Bush Administration, Chelsea née Bradley Manning leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including all of the Hillary Clinton STATE DEPARTMENT cables, necessitating a round of then-Secretary Clinton’s ACTUAL apology tour to leaders around the world.
Manning had turned over the documents to a group of “transparency” fanatics led by an Australian national named Julian Assange.
Initially, the enterprise was done in concert with newspapers ’round the globe, with supposed “vetting” systems, so that necessary state secrets wouldn’t be dispersed willy-nilly, potentially with consequences ranging from the merely homicidal (e.g execution of “outed” agents) to the catastrophic.
Some reasonable attempt was made, in recognition of the LEGITIMATE right of governments to secrets, even if merely secret to the public at large, but not to other governments.
Then Assange decided to dump everything, abrogating all moral authority whatsoever. He espouses a somewhat incoherent philosophy about “transparency” and is currently holed-up in the Bolivian Embassy in London, claiming that he is the target of the USA, even though he is wanted for arrest by British Authorities for extradition to Sweden on sexual abuse charges.
This is the arbiter of World Secrets who now attempts to alter a US election using stolen documents.
Disinformation requires that mostly true documents are released, with forged and altered documents carefully introduced here and there — which has happened, as reported by Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald on October 10th. There was another Guccifer 2.0 release that was CLEARLY a ham-handed forgery (alleged “Clinton Foundation” documents with a list of “Democrats” who had received TARP “bribes/kickbacks” that was, prima fascie a falsification, now conveniently forgotten).
And note that in my original JULY reporting, it was already established that documents had been altered and/or forged.
Here is the Wikipedia definition of disinformation, which is, in itself, enlightening:
Disinformation is intentionally false or misleading information that is spread in a calculated way to deceive target audiences. The English word, which did not appear in dictionaries until the late-1980s, is a translation of the Russian ?????????????, transliterated as “dezinformatsiya.” Disinformation is different from misinformation, which is information that is unintentionally false.
The term disinformation began as a term of Soviet tradecraft, first defined in the official Great Soviet Encyclopedia as “the dissemination (in the press, radio, etc.) of false information with the intention to deceive public opinion.” Former Soviet bloc intelligence officer Ladislav Bittman, the first disinformation practitioner to defect to the West publicly, described the official definition as different from the practice: “The interpretation is slightly distorted because public opinion is only one of the potential targets. Many disinformation games are designed only to manipulate the decision-making elite, and receive no publicity.”
Like propaganda, disinformation is designed to manipulate audiences at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions, and/or at the emotional level. A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole (a limited hangout)….
It is understandable that Julian Assange believes that he hasn’t been manipulated into doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding. (After all, it would make him look like a naive fool, and not the grand master of secret documents and terror of the powerful that he believes himself to be. This kind of con is also a well-known modus operandi of Putin’s old KGB, now the FSB)
What is NOT understandable is the US media’s reaction to it.
iii. Collaboration with an Extraterritorial Enemy isn’t Treason
(And I’m The Easter Bunny, what color would you like your eggs?)
Let’s talk about confirmation bias.
For our purposes, conformation bias is the tendency to accept the information that confirms our pre-existing judgments, or, shorter, our “prejudices” — which merely means a pre-existing judgement. A stereotype, to be sure, but stereotpes are how our minds work, and ESPECIALLY — as noted above — how our logical reasoning works.
One of the great phenomenons of the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders primary on social media was the tendency of Bernie supporters to uncritically accept the wildest slanders of Hillary Clinton from Jim Hoft and Alex Jones, from World Net “Where’s the Birth Certificate” Daily and Michael Savage, even though they wouldn’t ever accept ANYTHING these right-wing propagandists and conspiracy theorists say on any other issue on any other day. This was seen time and time again. A perfect example of confirmation bias.
And, since the conventions (the original story about this springs from the time of the Democratic National Convention), the confirmation bias of the right has created the odd marriage of Julian Assange and Faux Nooz, one of whose commentators had FORMERLY characterized Assange as:
Hannity accused Assange of “waging war against the U.S.” by publishing secret diplomatic cables that he said put American lives in “jeopardy” and “danger” around the world. Hannity asked why the Obama administration hadn’t “arrested” Assange, wondering, why “we can stop pirating a music and Hollywood movies, but we can’t stop this guy from stealing highly classified documents that puts people’s lives at risk?”
~ Sean Hannity Suddenly Loves Julian Assange Now That He’s Anti-Hillary
The Fox News host once called for the WikiLeaks founder’s arrest. Now he’s praising him and hoping he gets free soon.
The Daily Beast, Matt Wilstein 09.07.16 9:01 AM ET
Confirmation bias, again, leaving aside the notion that Faux accuses all other media of bias, and says that it’s bad, but when Faux news does it, it’s GOOD bias (“fair and balanced” in the Orwellian phraseology) because everybody else is biased. Which is bad.
So, there has been a continual motivation on the part of several parties to take the poisoned fruit (the steady drip drip drip of Assange’s vendetta/Wikileaks document dumps, some of which has UNDOUBTEDLY been curated to drop bigger and bigger bombshells, in furtherance of an agenda or two) of the poisoned tree (the Russian government’s hacking) as CREDIBLE.
How can it be credible when the conclusion the documents’ of both the documents’ releaser and releasers (and alterers) is FOREORDAINED? That is confirmation bias weaponized, and it IS classic disinformation. Snow White, the American media and public, sees the shiny apple, and despite clear and convincing warnings that it’s a poisoned apple takes a bite anyway.
Hey! says Snow White. This is a REALLY GOOD apple, and consumes the whole poisoned thing.
Which is precisely what we are doing. I may not fly an American flag outside my forest survival compound and carry a copy of the Constitution so that I can argue with state cops that I do not have to have a license to operate my jeep on public highways, but I am enough of a citizen to deeply resent any attempt by ANY government — whether friendly like Israel or unfriendly like Russia — to manipulate my most precious franchise: the vote. There are still incredible protections and advantages to being a nation, no matter which members of the “US government” soured you on everything about the US government, but you believe yourself to be an American anyway.
I am an American, a liberal and a Democrat in that order. And my first priority is deeply wounded by this blatant attempt to interfere in my nation. As far as I’m concerned, Julian Assange’s and Wikileaks’ credibility is eternally tarnished and his name is hereinafter mud. Period. As for the Russians, well, schmuck, you continue to bungle your way into the ashheap of history’s villains — Vladimir Putin, a role model for what NOT to be as a human being and as a leader. Just hope that karma isn’t real.
But most of all to you, fellow Americans: do not drink the poisoned fruit of the poisoned tree and then claim to be a patriot. Suckling at the teat of Iago leads to malnutrition, pox and death.
OK: we have established that
1. Julian Assange, a foreign national living abroad, is determined to use hacked (stolen) documents to influence a US presidential election. (zero doubt)
2. The Russian government is behind the hacking, according the US intelligence community. (very little doubt)
3. That Assange is unwittingly (or wittingly) using said Russian-supplied documents. (if #2 is true, then this follows as corollary)
4. That some of these documents have been altered and/or forged. (zero doubt)
5. That, therefore, questionable information is being used by a foreign agent to influence the US election. That it originates, with very little doubt, from Russia/Putin.
So, KNOWING that they are being played with questionable information from players INTENT on electing Donald Trump as US president, the US media KNOWINGLY collaborate by repeating whatever “dirt” they can find in the stolen documents, without ever ONCE questioning their role in this crime, and their aiding and abetting of a hostile foreign intelligence operation aimed at weakening the USA.
Again, where I come from, as a citizen, I cannot understand how, using the poisoned fruit of the poisoned tree, the American media is NOT a willing accomplice in a plot against their own nation, AND, (all caps) HOW KNOWINGLY FEEDING POISON TO CHILDREN IS NOT GOING TO POISON THEM.
[By “children” I mean the unsophisticated non-media professionals, who depend on our ‘watchdog’ media to provide them with credible information necessary to making the ultimate decision in the vote — that Prime Directive from which all legitimate power in our democracy flows! I realize that the Supreme Court disagrees with this — Bush v. Gore — but it is true, nonetheless.]
Teleologically, this is insane.
When you know you’re being used as a cat’s paw against your own governmental/electoral system, and knowingly collaborate ANYWAY, you’re actually sitting on a tree branch, sawing the branch between yourself and the trunk. To enable the enemies of the USA to attempt to weaken and/or harm it is to enable the weakening and/or harming of the FIRST AMENDMENT, which is contained within that charter.
When you KNOW that foreign agents are supplying questionable information in the SURE KNOWLEDGE that this information is an attempt to negate and/or alter the legitimate votes of US citizens through disinformation, AND you present the documents ANYway, you are intentionally attempting to harm your own nation.
There’s a word for that.
Have we so forgotten the Cold War that it’s OK to behave in this manner? ‘
Have we so forgotten what it means to live in a democratic republic that we would sacrifice it to our dislike of one candidate or party? Are we insane?
Do we so hate our fellow Americans that we would openly collaborate with those who would destroy us?
Eh, Fox and Fiends™?
Now, please beat your chest and call yourself a patriot or even bray about what a “good citizen” you are.
We all need the laugh.
Hail, fellow travelers!
And how do you fight disinformation? You literally tune it out.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog, His Vorpal Sword (no spaces) dot com.