Monday, November 21, 2016

Mainstream Media and Lame Duck Obama Pivot to "The Enemy Within": Is "Great Firewall" Coming to U.S.?

The "Mighty Wurlitzer," playing non-stop since last week a "fake news" tune, has for the time being replaced its preferred Russophobia for the "enemy within." Obama took a turn at the electric piano while in Lima. The quote is from Gardiner Harris' "As Obama Tour Ends, He Says U.S. Influence Must Not," which appears in today's national print edition of The New York Times (but which I can't locate online):
Mr. Obama ranked the problems resulting from alleged Russian hacking far below those generated by fake news being circulated on social media.
"The concern I had has less to do with any particular misinformation or propaganda that's put out by any particular party, but a greater concern about the general misinformation from all kinds of sources, domestic, foreign, on social media, that make it difficult to figure out what's true and what's not," Mr. Obama said. [That's chutzpah!]
If elections are "full of fake news and false information and distractions, [like 'moderate rebels' or the photo of little Omran Daqneesh or the announcement by AP that Hillary had sewn up the nomination on the eve of the California primary] then the issue not going to be what is happening on the outside, " he added. "The issue is going to be what are we doing to ourselves from the inside."
The remarks followed similar comments at a news conference in Berlin on Thursday in which Mr. Obama was sharply critical of the role of Facebook and other social media companies play in spreading false news -- a remarkable change in tone for a man who has spent his presidency praising the the transformational and beneficial effects of social media.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, published a detailed post early Saturday describing ways the company was considering dealing with the problem of fake news.
One can make out the contours of what is coming our way. Zuckerberg is being hammered. At first he rejected the Deep State argument articulated by Obama, that the lunatic fringe had upended its selection of a successor, but then he buckled and spat out a censorship laundry list.

The fix the Deep State is looking for is something along the lines of the USA Freedom Act, the 2015 reboot of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. The bulk collection of telephone metadata by the government was nominally ended only to be offloaded to the phone companies. The responsibility of policing "fake news" will be delegated to the big social media outlets -- Facebook, Google, Twitter -- with some sort of unofficial covenant or protocol being approved by the government. The USG will then have its own version of the Chinese Great Firewall.

In other words, net neutrality, if not already over, is coming to an end. It will be interesting to see how the liberal elite will then justify the majesty of America since for more than a decade -- look at Thomas Friedman's column -- it has been indistinguishable from a kind of comic-book libertarian techno-utopianism.

It all so absurd, yet it shows how truly out of touch the Democratic elite are. There is no evidence that any change will be forthcoming from the Democratic Party. Stalwart non-profits with historic links to the party have received a windfall in donations after the election. In a sign that the discredited party elite responsible for the Clinton debacle plan on ceding not one inch of ground to the Bernistas, Obama has announced that he will remain politically active once he exits the White House. (See "Obama May Jump Into Fray as Democrats Counter Trump," by Michael Shear and Thomas Kaplan. Never have I received so many Organizing for Action emails as I did after November 8.)

According to the same story above from Gardiner Harris:
In his news conference on Sunday, Mr. Obama suggested, for the first time, that he would continue to be active politically when his presidency ended.
The idea is to maintain Obama as a Fort Apache for disintegrating neoliberal orthodoxy. It is pitiful. And hopefully election results from Italy (December) and France (March) will banish the idea before Barry gets back from vacation with Michelle.

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