My Counterpunch Articles: CONSPIRACY PANIC, 9/17/20

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My Counterpunch Articles: CONSPIRACY PANIC, 9/17/20

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:01 pm

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EDIT of 17 Sep 2020: This thread started under the headline of the following article from 2019. Starting with the one CP just published, CONSPIRACY PANIC, I'll add future CP articles here and change the title each time.

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this article sprang from a post on Rigorous Intuition, and you will still find it in the text. thanks everyone!

MARCH 1, 2019

Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood: Which Trump Do We Fight?

by NICHOLAS LEVIS

Former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s incendiary testimony to the House Congressional Oversight Committee on 27 February, calling the president “a racist, a con-man and a cheat,” highlighted not for the first time the contradiction between condemnations of Trump as the unwanted, kitschy, proto-fascist, poisoned flower of American capitalism — a “legitimate businessman” and global television star who had a strong shot at the presidency handed to him by an unprecedented sustained overexposure in the US corporate media starting more than a half-year before the 2016 presidential primaries — and the attempt, which began even before Trump’s shocking victory in that election, to instead style his ascent as the product of a deeply hidden foreign intervention: a conspiracy! The Kremlin, we are told, its hackers, the compromised Trump 2016 campaign, and the journalistic outfit Wikileaks captured armies of US zombie followers and introduced division to American society for the first time through small ad purchases on social media, and then timed the public releases of e-mail troves commandeered from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, just at the right moments to iceberg Clinton’s unsinkable Titanic.

While there is no shortage of compatriots who see the children ripped from their parents at the border and the clean-water regulations rolled back, such as they were, and other atrocities too numerous to name here, and don’t really care which of these two narratives damages or ousts the White House occupant, the contradiction between these two Trumps — the rotted symbol of the American good life and the treasonous Russian agent — exposes larger realities we cannot afford to ignore. The question of which Trump we fight is fateful, and not only for those who position themselves to the left of the Democratic Party establishment. By confirming what investigative journalists and an attentive reading of news had already shown to be true about Trump’s businesses for decades, Cohen’s performance bore out that the first narrative remains undeniable, even as the second is unprovable. The first, however, is dangerous to the American ruling class and its managerial and policy-making power-elite, for it undermines their still widely-held capitalist creed. The second, which has been shorthanded as #Russiagate, can certainly be viewed as a tale of convenience adopted to cover up the epic failure and general odiousness of the Clinton campaign, and to give the non-FOX corporate media a never-ending bone to chew on for the ratings. But it is potentially much more than that. As a propaganda narrative it could serve to establish, at least temporarily, a new socio-ideological hegemony of how politics are interpreted: a new creed for Americans that could relieve a persistent crisis of legitimation for both American Empire and its metropolitan Power Elite, at a time when they find themselves divided and bereft of vision. It would, I say, except that it is a failure, and has been so since its inception. If I’ve used too much fancy academic talk, please allow me a paragraph of theory and a bit more of historical context to clarify it. Then we will return to the Cohen micro-episode. Okay?

READ MORE
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/01 ... les-blood/

[...]

We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby liminalOyster » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:42 pm

Very nicely done.

It's perversely shocking to notice how rare this other "second" figuration of Trump has become in most media organs of late.
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby Belligerent Savant » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:48 pm

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A tantalizing lure. Look forward to reading the entire article. Thanks for sharing this, JR.

[I took a quick peek at the link to look for a reference to RI in the footnotes -- ha. Good luck on that dissertation. Greeks in the 60s! Quite daunting. I'll begin drafting the screenplay, however. It practically writes itself.]
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby PufPuf93 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:56 am

Like article and like (and somewhat understand) Counterpunch. Like this, "offer to finance the movie version, fund a translation into Farsi, or remind 'author' that he should be working on his history dissertation, which is supposed to be about Greeks in the 1960s".
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby Elvis » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:42 am

Terrific article and congrats on another Counterpunch piece.
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:08 pm

Just re-read this. It's really excellent. You mentioned Lapham elsewhere but that's really what it reminds me of. Harpers glory days.
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby RocketMan » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:19 am

This is a great summary explanation of Trump. I applaud you, sir. I love the idea of Trump being TOO MUCH INFO about the ruling class, and thus their frantic, neurotic need to discredit him and purge him from view.
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby Elvis » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:15 am

Did someone mention the Deep State?

“It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”

— Trump in 2016 ad
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:40 pm

“Socialism is not about the environment, it’s not about justice, it’s not about virtue. Socialism is about only one thing: it’s called power for the ruling class. All of us are here today because we know that the future does not belong to those who believe in socialism.”

- Trump in speech to CPAC congress, March 2018.


Common to this statement and to the one quoted by Elvis is that both are prewritten, planned, programmatic. They are not mere products of Trump's improv show, they are not mistakes, they are not things he's likely to contradict in the next sentence. I have often spoken of confusionism, the art of switching everything with its opposite so often that language loses its referents and the truth becomes impossible to speak; at which point only power counts. (See also the famous quote from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; she objects that words cannot just be made to mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean. "What matters is who decides, that is all," comes the reply.)

A simpler way of defining confusionism is as a synonym for psychological projection, except that it is done intentionally, strategically. Above he is describing capitalism, his own businesses, and the current regime in office. The possible slip in it -- but the one that makes it true 1:1 projection -- is the use of ruling class rather than "ruling party."

The same is true of the campaign ad first released in late October 2016 and quoted by Elvis, a product of the Bannon period.

Elvis » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:15 am wrote:Did someone mention the Deep State?

“It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”

— Trump in 2016 ad


This was the famous "populist" pitch with which Bannon directed Trump through the final mile. I saw the ad during the World Series and worried that this was just good enough to squeak out the win, especially after seeing the Clinton ads on the same broadcast. The Clinton ads also featured an all-Trump soundtrack -- him saying vile things while vulnerable, sad-looking children were shown listening on TV. That was supposed to expose him as repellent, a danger to children. As if this was necessary! He had already famously said these statements himself. Repeating them only fed elements of his base by broadcasting the violent public rhetoric from campaign rallies that his own campaign could not choose to repeat during the World Series. The Clinton ads gave little or no content to Clinton, even as Trump's ad presented a worldview and program that sounded half-leftist -- intentionally so; it's the art of confusionism. This was shocking malpractice by the Clinton campaign, and I'm still gobsmacked by it more than 2 years later. You do not broadcast the opposition's words for them, especially not those meant for the opposition's base. Certainly not without a clear response. It's a fundamental PR rule.

If you remember, at the point when it showed him speaking those words (perhaps from the RNC speech?), the ad version flashed Soros, Yellen and Blankfein. Given Soros and his special role in the right-wing imaginary, it was not coincidence that all three of the malefactors representing "the large corporations and political entities" of "the global power structure" are Jewish. Taken individually, Soros, Yellen and Blankfein are also not inappropriate examples of what was being described, but the combination of three Jews blows on a deniable dogwhistle for the white nationalist, anti-Semitic crowd, who absolutely will understand it as a message to them. The same words accompanied by a sequence of Trump himself, the Deutsche Bank chief who lends to him, and Erik Prince or Peter Thiel or the Mercers or Adelson or any one of dozens of other financial plunderers close to Trump would have also been an incomplete version of "the global power structure," but just as accurate in illustrating the words being spoken.

As for "deep state," since I had started using the PDS vocabulary in my own academic work, Trump's political rise was a minor annoyance. He Trumpified and rendered useless this serviceable term for describing an aspect of the permanent government. That is not permanent like the pyramids, but refers to institutions and arrangements that outlast mere elected administrations, tend to set or influence policy in sequences of administrations, and possess independent para-policy powers of their own. If you let a government agency have its secret headquarters and charge it with violating the law everywhere except at home, it will spawn what we call conspiracies as a matter of structure and culture. The term "deep state" is thus most useful in describing those parts of "permanent government" considered central to national security and therefore imbued with secrecy or quasi-private protection, including in their dealings with non-governmental entities, which then moves us into "parapolitics."

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR KINDNESS! I APPRECIATE IT MUCH!

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Last edited by JackRiddler on Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:00 am, edited 4 times in total.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby overcoming hope » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:45 pm

Great work! You should write as much as possible (as long as it doesn't disrupt your life), good insights, original voice/perspective, good stuff.
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby Grizzly » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:02 am

This is a great summary explanation of Trump. I applaud you, sir. I love the idea of Trump being TOO MUCH INFO about the ruling class, and thus their frantic, neurotic need to discredit him and purge him from view.


Indeed. Excellent insight. Excellent read.
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Other People’s Money, Other People’s Blood

Postby liminalOyster » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:55 am

RocketMan » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:19 am wrote:This is a great summary explanation of Trump. I applaud you, sir. I love the idea of Trump being TOO MUCH INFO about the ruling class, and thus their frantic, neurotic need to discredit him and purge him from view.


I'd love to see the Riddler use Epstein as another angle on this same thesis for another Counterpunch piece......
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CONSPIRACY PANIC

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:48 pm

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SEPTEMBER 16, 2020
Conspiracy Panic
by NICHOLAS LEVIS
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/09/16 ... acy-panic/

The most consequential false conspiracy theory of the last twenty years in the United States centered on fabricated accusations raised against the Iraqi state in 2002-3. These claimed that Iraq maintained secret stores of “weapons of mass destruction” intended for use against the West, perhaps imminently. Most versions insinuated the Saddam regime was involved in some vague manner in perpetrating the 9/11 attacks, putting it in league with its sworn enemies: the jihadi movements that at the time were doing business as al-Qaeda. That is what the vice-president running the U.S. regime, Cheney, repeatedly said. His president, Bush, just repeated the magic words 9/11, Saddam, 9/11, Saddam, 9/11 for months, until enough people saw the urgency of an attack on Iraq to allow a smooth start to the carnage...


I have sought to distinguish between two types of top-down campaigns that play upon the notion of conspiracy. The first type is the creation and promotion of official, quasi-official, and hegemonic *conspiracy theories,* such as the WMD-Saddam-9/11 narrative promoted by the government in 2002-2003, and the #Russiagate narrative about Trump since 2015. Although these qualify by any definition, they are never hegemonically termed conspiracy theories, even after they are exposed as false. The second type is *conspiracy panic,* meaning efforts and campaigns to promote official, quasi-official, and hegemonic over-reaction, condemnation, and political exploitation of unwanted conspiracy theories...
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: My Counterpunch Articles: CONSPIRACY PANIC, 9/17/20

Postby DrEvil » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:42 pm

Today many of the Iraq war conspirators — and conspiracy theory mongers — have been embraced by the Democratic establishment as heroic fighters against Trump.


What if that was the point all along? The corporate owners know that the republican party is on a downward slide and headed for irrelevancy, maybe not tomorrow or next year, but eventually, so Trump is the wedge used to separate the marginally sane (but still flaming assholes) remnants of the GOP and push them (and the Overton window) over to the democrats in a bid to turn the democratic party into the new republican party, allowing business to go on as usual.

Obama already did his part with normalizing Bush's warmongering and surveillance, Trump might just be the last push to consolidate the useful people in a new, more defensible position, aka the DNC, while leaving the dead weight and crazies in the GOP.

Would also help explain the burning hatred of real progressives in the DNC. Actual change is not part of the plan, so everybody freaks out.

/tinfoil
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Re: My Counterpunch Articles: CONSPIRACY PANIC, 9/17/20

Postby Harvey » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:34 am

The Library of Alexandria is on Fire
by James Corbett, speaking @ AE9/11 jump to time 2:07:40

Time: https://youtu.be/LXC-6NNehlA?t=7660



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And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
This he said to me
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You'll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return"


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