"Everything is as it should be."

                                                                                  - Benjamin Purcell Morris

 

 

© all material on this website is written by Michael McCaffrey, is copyrighted, and may not be republished without consent

Next Stop - Speculation Station: Syria and Scott Pruitt Edition

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Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes 18 seconds

Warning: the following post contains rambling…SPECULATION (gasp!)so if speculation (gasp!) frightens or offends you, then your best bet is to stop reading now. If you have the courage to proceed, then for the sake of safety I highly recommend a tin foil hat and maybe even a dance belt.

Now that all that unpleasantness is out of the way...ALL ABOARD - NEXT STOP - SPECULATION STATION!

According to the establishment media, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people in the city of Douma last week, killing men, women and children. What struck me about the coverage of this incident was that all of the disturbing video and photos were of young children either dead or suffering the effects of the chemical attack. 

When I saw all of these children in distress or dead, red flags went up for me regarding the veracity of the reports I was seeing and hearing. Children are a favorite prop in the propagandists tool bag, and have been used many times to manipulate leaders or peoples into taking action.

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Just a year ago the same storyline played out in Syria and the Orange Toddler King reacted just as his handlers expected him to…the end result of which was American Seamen shooting a barrage of missiles on Syria which triggered MSNBC anchor Brian Williams to shoot a barrage of semen from his war-induced missile onto his American audience. Brian Williams getting a battle boner on live television and then ejaculating his American Empire/Establishment seed all over himself was a perfect representation for our morally and intellectually corrupt media and what is supposed to pass as journalism. 

In looking more closely at this most recent alleged chemical weapons attack, it seems rather obvious to me that it is a "false flag" attack orchestrated by either the Saudis, Israelis, U.S. intelligence or all three, and executed by their proxies in the Syrian "resistance". Anyone who looks at this situation and sees it any other way is either a dupe or a dope or both. 

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And yes, I do realize that using the term "false flag" will probably get the Conspiracy Police out in full force, but how else can you describe what just happened in Syria? And if you look closer at last year's chemical weapons attack and earlier alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria during this civil war, including the infamous "red line" attack of 2013, it becomes more and more clear that things are not even remotely what they appear to be.

For a great example of the manufactured bullshit out of Syria that our media elevate to gospel, look at the story of NBC reporter Richard Engel who was allegedly kidnapped by vicious pro-Assad forces in 2012. Engel came up with a huge cock and bull story about heroism, dead bodies, people being shot, and his being saved by pro-western, anti-Assad "rebels", but it was all a bunch of bullshit. Of course, the media conveniently ignores that story, and Engel for his part, dutifully plays the brave journalist when asked by sycophants like Little Bill Maher to talk about his harrowing experience being "kidnapped". The reality is that the only thing that got killed when Richard Engel was kidnapped was the truth…and the truth in that case was that Engel's "kidnapping" was…you guessed it, a false flag event…but you'd never hear anyone int he mainstream media dare mention that fact...just like they refuse to even contemplate it in regards to the recent spate of chemical weapons attacks.

Speaking of media bullshit, a dead give away that this entire episode is a concocted false flag is that the Establishment media never debate the veracity of the chemical weapons claims, only in how aggressively to respond to them. The question is never…who did this? Who prospers from doing this? What is the evidence? Instead the question is…how many missiles should we launch? Should we invade? 

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The reason that the establishment never questions the veracity of these allegations is because by simply using cold hard logic it becomes pretty clear that the Assad government is not behind them. Assad has nothing to gain and everything to lose by using chemical weapons, especially now. But that is the key to this whole situation…LOGIC NEED NOT APPLY. The Media does not want reason, logic and rational thought to be used when assessing the alleged chemical weapons attack, they want blinding emotion to be the guide…this is why you see pictures of dead and dying little kids on your television screen, because that is a sure fire way to tap into the emotions of any human being. Showing suffering or dead children is a cold and calculating way to get people to be hot and emotional about something. 

Of course, the argument you often hear is that Assad is a monster, and that is why he does things like this. To me that sort of assessment could only come from a propaganda addled mind. Assad may in fact be a beast, but like all leaders he is only interested in self-preservation, and irrationally using chemical weapons to satiate some evil impulse within him would lead to his ultimate demise, the one thing he is trying to avoid at all costs.. 

Another reason to think this chemical weapons attack is a false flag is because last month the Russians warned the world that the U.S. was planning this sort of operation. Sure, you can claim that the Russians knew in advance that Assad would use chemical weapons and so they concocted this story to cover for him, but again, that would require such a gargantuan suspension of logic as to be absurd. You may think the Russians are pure evil and want to see people suffer, but they, like every other nation on earth, only act in their own interest, and drawing the U.S. into the Syrian civil war that Assad/Russia is winning, is not in their best interest. 

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The bigger picture of this entire chemical weapons scenario is very disheartening. I think that the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are desperate to maintain the current world order where they are on top, and fear the rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzebkistan, India and Pakistan), their ally Iran (and Shiite Muslims allied with Iran), and Syria is the canvas upon which that struggle is currently taking place.

In recent years the U.S. has been instrumental in setting the stage for a soft coup against a left-wing government in Brazil, which could lead to a less soft coup if things don't work out - also, with the rather fascinating and disturbing news out of Brazil recently, why hasn't John Oliver followed up on his Brazil piece…hmmm…I wonder. The U.S. has also aggressively tried to kneecap Russia on all fronts, from Ukraine and Georgia, to economics and propaganda including even in sport, and to a much lesser extent they have tried to maneuver against China. 

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The reason the U.S. and their allies in the current world order, Saudi Arabia and Israel, fear the BRICS/SCO and their allies the Iranians, is because they represent an alternative to U.S. dollar hegemony via the petro-dollar . The U.S. cannot tolerate any challenges to their financial dominance of the world through the use of the dollar as a reserve currency. Saudi Arabia and Israel do not want to see the U.S. taken down a notch because they have masterfully infiltrated the U.S. political system and control it, using the U.S. and its massive military to do their bidding. And as an aside, if you think Russia meddled in out election, they are pikers compared to the Israelis and Saudis when it comes to infiltrating and manipulating American politics. 

The BRICS/SCO are nowhere near the size, scope or scale of the U.S. financial and military machine and don't threaten to "overthrow" it per se, but only be an alternative to it, and in so doing they would expose the U.S., its economy and the Dollar for the house of cards and fraud that it is. Obviously, the U.S. cannot allow this to occur, and so we have the soft coup in Brazil, the coup in Ukraine, the civil war in Syria, the propaganda and economic war on Russia, the military maneuvering in regards to China, the South China Seas and North Korea, the failed uprisings in Iran which will no doubt be followed eventually by U.S. military action against Iran. This is the game, and it is life and death for the American Empire, which is why the cynical tactic of American proxies gassing some kids in Syria to maintain the current world order is not only possible but extremely likely. 

I also think that the recent "chemical weapons attack" in the U.K., also known as the Skripal poisoning, is also a false flag executed but a combination of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans and is just another volley in the war on Russia. A calm, rational inspection of the evidence and context of that case reveals that for all of the hype initially surrounding it, there is next to nothing backing up the claims of Theresa May and Boris Johnson laying the blame at Russia's door. (And even going back a little further, I think the odd sound wave attacks on U.S. embassy personal in Cuba were also false flag attacks - but that is a story for another day)

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The recent PR tour by Saudi Arabian leader Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, where he was fawned over by America's establishment media, including basically getting fellated by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, was a prelude to this new phase in the war against the American Empire's enemies (and by extension, American Empire's owners and operators, the Saudis and Israelis). MBS is, along with Netanyahu in Israel, angling to have the U.S. take down the Iranian government. They do not care if, like in Iraq, chaos replaces the current government, they just want that government gone because they are an existential threat to Israel's dominance in the region and the survival of the Saudi royal family. 

Syria is a pivotal chess piece for both the Saudis and Israelis and by extension is therefore important for the U.S. Syria was a potential gateway for a Qatari (Sunni) gas pipeline into Europe that would've been a huge blow to Russia (and Iran) and their dominance of the gas market in Europe, but Assad decided to stick with the Russians. Russia being economically wounded by a Qatari pipeline would go a long way in thwarting the rise of the BRICS/SCO alternative, which is why Syria remains a pivotal piece in the war for American dominance. Assad's fall would also benefit the Israelis by knocking Iran down a peg and allowing Israel to continue to enjoy military supremacy in the region. 

There are forces, both inside and outside of the American establishment, working to manipulate not only the American people but our hapless and hopeless President into a war in Syria, Iran and by extension Russia. These establishmentarians who populate the halls of the mass media, intelligence community, the military industrial complex and the Saudi and Israeli lobby, have positioned Trump right where they want him. If he does nothing or next to nothing, he is soft on Russia and could face impeachment or worse. If he does commit to a wider war, he is trapped in a quagmire that he will only be able to escalate into a wider and ultimately more destructive war. Once again, if you think the Russians have Kompromat on Trump, it is nothing compared to the compromising information the Israelis and Saudis have on him. 

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The only thing regular people can do in the face of such a horrendous situation is to stay awake and to realize when you are being played. The media and our government (and that of Saudi Arabia and Israel as well) are playing their American audiences like virtuosos. Think of it this way…why is the establishment media so distraught over a bunch of dead Syrians…but doesn't even give the briefest of mentions about the slaughter of women and children in Yemen at the hands of the Saudis, or the butchery of Palestinians by the Israelis? The answer of course is that the atrocities in Yemen and Gaza are committed by MBS and Netanyahu, and they are America's puppet masters, and questioning them is an absolute non-starter in American media circles. 

And look, I am not arguing that Assad or Putin are some doe-eyed innocents and the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are mustache twirling villains. What I am saying is that anyone who thinks that America (Saudi Arabia/Israel) is the good guy and is incapable of doing the most heinous of things to maintain its power, is deluded. There are no good guys or bad guys…there is just a struggle for power and survival. We are no better than Russia, Syria, Iran, China or our allies the Israelis and Saudis. America holds no moral high ground, we are down in the pig sty with the rest of the world. All of these nations and their leaders are like worms in a pile of shit…blind and squirming in a desperate bid to stay alive no matter the cost. 

I certainly hope I completely wrong in all of my speculation and that peace breaks out soon and rainbows and puppy dogs rule the day, but that deafening cacophony I keep hearing emanating from cable news is the sound of the dogs of war barking. I pray they don't get the wider war for which they keep howling.

Update on Skripal and Syria: Some supplemental reading…on the Skripal case…LINK , LINKand False FlagsLINK

THE CABOOSE IS LOOSE

Finally, last Sunday I watched John Oliver's show Last Week Tonight. That show, and its host, are getting worse and worse by the minute, so I consider my watching it to be a form of penance for grievous sins in this and past lives. 

One thing that stood out to me on the show though was a story about EPA chief Scott Pruitt. The gist of the story is that Pruitt is a corrupt douchebag and is an awful human being. I knew that going in so none of it came as a surprise…except for one little tidbit. 

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Oliver told the story, and relentlessly mocked Pruitt over it, about Scott Pruitt being locked in a room in his D.C. rented home and his security detail trying to get in but being unable to. The story is a bit unclear but from what I understood, Pruitt didn't answer the door, and the security team had to break down that door, and then found him unconscious and unresponsive and called 9-11.

Paramedics were dispatched and Capitol Police were on the scene. What happened next is unclear but the Pruitt camp claims that it was all a hilarious misunderstanding as they say Pruitt was simply napping in the middle of the day and didn't hear all the commotion. No police report was filed and the incident, which occurred in 2017, went down the memory hole until last month when it became news due to the fact that it happened at a home he was renting from a lobbyist. 

What I found strange about Oliver's comedic take on the Pruitt nap is that he, for the most part, took the story at face value. The rest of the media  just described it as a "bizarre" incident, and Oliver maintained that approach. The whole Pruitt nap story sounds like complete bullshit to me, and since we are at Speculation Station, here is what I speculate.  

I think that Scott Pruitt is using opioids. I think his very erratic behavior while at the EPA is a strong indicator that he is not of sound mind. I believe that Pruitt overdosed on an opioid of some kind, and that is why he was unresponsive in the middle of the day when security officers were banging on his door and entered his room. 

I think that either the security officers, or the paramedics, gave Pruitt Naxolone/Narcan to revive him from his overdose. I think the security team and Pruitt's handlers convinced the Capitol police to keep this quiet and TO NOT WRITE A POLICE REPORT because Pruitt is the EPA chief and is a powerful guy.

The vital bit of information is that the Capitol police didn't write a police report, because if they did and lied on it, saying that Pruitt was napping and not overdosed, then they would be in legal jeopardy. But by not writing any report of the incident, they cover their ass in case the more nefarious story comes out, which it may since there were multiple people involved. 

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Now, you may think my speculation is absurd, that the idea of Scott Pruitt, the former Attorney General of Oklahoma and current Director of the EPA, using, never mind overdosing, on opioids ridiculous. Maybe you are right, but as someone with experience in dealing with opioid addicts, I can tell you that Pruitt's behavior in office, the various scandals from the travel issues to the rent story to giving his friends raises and all the rest, all signal to me a man in the throes of drug abuse. In the context of his erratic behavior as Director of the EPA, I think this "nap" story is more than just bizarre, it is, at least to me, obvious that it was an overdose event. 

Maybe I am wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. But ask yourself this, would you be shocked if Scott Pruitt resigns to "spend more time with his family" and then years later it comes out he went to rehab for opioid addiction? It wouldn't shock me…but maybe that is just because I am losing my mind waiting here for the next train out of Speculation Station!

©2018

The Pentagon and Hollywood's Successful and Deadly Propaganda Alliance (Extended Edition)

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Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes 48 seconds

The Pentagon aids Hollywood in making money, and in turn Hollywood churns out effective propaganda for the brutal American war machine.

The U.S. has the largest military budget in the world, spending over $611 billion, far larger than any other nation on earth. The U.S. military also has at their disposal the most successful propaganda apparatus the world has ever known…Hollywood.

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Since their collaboration on the first Best Picture winner Wings in 1927, the U.S. military has used Hollywood to manufacture and shape its public image in over 1,800 films and TV shows, and Hollywood has, in turn, used military hardware in their films and TV shows to make gobs and gobs of money. A plethora of movies like Lone Survivor, Captain Philips, and even blockbuster franchises like Transformers and Marvel, DC and X-Men super hero movies, have over the years agreed to cede creative control in exchange for use of U.S. military hardware.

In order to obtain cooperation from the Department of Defense (DOD), producers must sign contracts - Production Assistance Agreements - that guarantee a military approved version of the script makes it to the big screen. In return for signing away creative control, Hollywood producers save tens of millions of dollars from their budgets on military equipment, service members to operate the equipment, and expensive location fees.

Capt. Russell Coons, Director of Navy Office of Information West, told Al Jazeera what the military expects for their cooperation,

“We’re not going to support a program that disgraces a uniform or presents us in a compromising way.”

Phil Strub, the DOD chief Hollywood liaison, says the guidelines are clear,

“If the filmmakers are willing to negotiate with us to resolve our script concerns, usually we’ll reach an agreement. If not, filmmakers are free to press on without military assistance.”

In other words, the Department of Defense is using taxpayer money to pick favorites. The DOD has no interest in nuance, truth or, God-forbid, artistic expression, only in insidious jingoism that manipulates public opinion to their favor. This is chilling when you consider that the DOD is able to use its financial leverage to quash dissenting films it deems insufficiently pro-military or pro-American in any way.

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The danger of the DOD-Hollywood alliance is that Hollywood is incredibly skilled at making entertaining, pro-war propaganda. The DOD isn’t getting involved in films like Iron Man, X-Men, Transformers or Jurassic Park III for fun, they are doing so because it’s an effective way to psychologically program Americans, particularly young Americans, not just to adore the military, but to worship militarism. This ingrained love of militarism has devastating real-world effects.

 

Lawrence Suid, author of “Guts and Glory: The Making of the American Military Image in Film” told Al Jazeera,

“I was teaching the history of the Vietnam War, and I couldn’t explain how we got into Vietnam. I could give the facts, the dates, but I couldn’t explain why. And when I was getting my film degrees it suddenly occurred to me that the people in the U.S. had never seen the U.S. lose a war, and when President Johnson said we can go into Vietnam and win, they believed him because they’d seen 50 years of war movies that were positive.”

As Mr. Suid points out, generations of Americans had been raised watching John Wayne valiantly storm the beaches of Normandy in films like The Longest Day, and thus were primed to be easily manipulated into supporting any U.S. military adventure because they were conditioned to believe that the U.S. is always the benevolent hero and inoculated against doubt.

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This indoctrinated adoration of a belligerent militarism, conjured by Hollywood blockbusters, also resulted in Americans being willfully misled into supporting a farce like the 2003 Iraq war. The psychological conditioning for Iraq War support was built upon hugely successful films like Saving Private Ryan (1997), directed by Steven Spielberg, and Black Hawk Down (2001), produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, that emphasized altruistic American militarism. Spielberg and Bruckheimer are two Hollywood heavyweights, along with Paramount studios, considered by the DOD to be their most reliable collaborators.

Another example of the success of the DOD propaganda program was the pulse-pounding agitprop of the Tom Cruise blockbuster Top Gun (1986).

Top Gun, produced by Bruckheimer, was a turning point in the DOD-Hollywood relationship, as it came amidst a string of artistically successful, DOD-opposed, “anti-war” films, like Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, which gave voice to America’s post-Vietnam crisis of confidence. Top Gun was the visual representation of Reagan’s flag-waving optimism, and was the Cold War cinematic antidote to the “Vietnam Syndrome”.

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Top Gun, which could not have been made without massive assistance from the DOD, was a slick two-hour recruiting commercial that coincided with a major leap in public approval ratings for the military. With a nadir of 50% in 1980, by the time the Gulf War started in 1991, public support for the military spiked to 85%.

Since Top Gun, the DOD propaganda machine has resulted in a current public approval for the military of 72%, with Congress at 12%, the media at 24% and even Churches at only 40%, the military is far and away the most popular institution in American life. Other institutions would no doubt have better approval ratings if they too could manage and control their image in the public sphere.

It isn’t just the DOD that uses the formidable Hollywood propaganda apparatus to its own end…the CIA does as well, working with films to enhance their reputation and distort history.

For example, as the War on Terror raged, the CIA deftly used Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) as a disinformation vehicle to revise their sordid history with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and to portray them-selves as heroic and not nefarious.

The CIA also surreptitiously aided the film Zero Dark Thirty (2012), and used it as a propaganda tool to alter history and to convince Americans that torture works.

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The case for torture presented in Zero Dark Thirty was originally made from 2001 to 2010 on the hit TV show 24, which had support from the CIA as well. That pro-CIA and pro-torture narrative continued in 2011 with the Emmy-winning show Homeland, created by the same producers as 24, Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa.

 

A huge CIA-Hollywood success story was Best Picture winner Argo (2012), which ironically is the story of the CIA teaming up with Hollywood. The CIA collaborated with the makers of Argo, including alleged liberal Ben Affleck, in order to pervert the historical record and elevate their image.

The CIA being involved in manipulating the American public should come as no surprise, as they have always had their fingers in the propagandizing of the American people, even in the news media with Operation Mockingbird that used/uses CIA assets in newsrooms to control narratives. 

Just like the DOD-Hollywood propaganda machine has real-world consequences in the form of war, the CIA-Hollywood teaming has tangible results as well. 

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For example, in our current culture, the sins of the Intelligence community, from vast illegal surveillance to rendition to torture, are intentionally lost down the memory hole. People like former CIA director John Brennan, a torture supporter who spied on the U.S. Senate in order to undermine the torture investigation, or former head of the NSA James Clapper, who committed perjury when he lied to congress about warrantless surveillance, or former Director of National Intelligence Michael Hayden, who lied about and supported both surveillance and torture, are all held up by the liberal media, like MSNBC and even allegedly anti-authoritarian comedians like John Oliver and Bill Maher, as brave and honorable men who should be thanked for their noble service. 

The fact that this propaganda devil’s bargain between the DOD/CIA and Hollywood takes place in the self-declared Greatest Democracy on Earth™ is an irony seemingly lost on those in power who benefit from it, and also among those targeted to be indoctrinated by it, entertainment consumers, who are for the most part entirely oblivious to it.

If America is the Greatest Democracy in the World™ why are its military and intelligence agencies so intent on covertly misleading its citizens, stifling artistic dissent and obfuscating the truth? The answer is obvious…because in order to convince Americans that their country is The Greatest Democracy on Earth™, they must be misled, artistic dissent must be stifled and the truth must be obfuscated.

In the wake of the American defeat in the Vietnam war, cinema flourished by introspectively investigating the deeper uncomfortable truths of that fiasco in Oscar nominated films like Apocalypse Now, Coming Home, The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Born on the Fourth of July, all made without assistance from the DOD.

The stultifying bureaucracy of America’s jingoistic military agitprop machine is now becoming more successful at suffocating artistic endeavors in their crib though. With filmmaking becoming ever more corporatized, it is an uphill battle for directors to maintain their artistic integrity in the face of cost-cutting budgetary concerns from studios.

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In contrast to post-Vietnam cinema, after the unmitigated disaster of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the continuing quagmire in Afghanistan, there has been no cinematic renaissance, only a steady diet of mendaciously patriotic, DOD-approved, pro-war drivel like American Sniper and Lone Survivor. Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker (2008), shot with no assistance from the DOD, was the lone exception that successfully dared to portray some of the ugly truths of America’s Mesopotamian misadventure.

President Eisenhower once warned Americans to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.”

Eisenhower’s prescient warning should have extended to the military industrial entertainment complex of the DOD/CIA- Hollywood alliance, which has succeeded in turning Americans into a group of uniformly incurious and militaristic zealots.

America is now stuck in a perpetual pro-war propaganda cycle, where the DOD/CIA and Hollywood conspire to indoctrinate Americans to be warmongers, and in turn, Americans now demand more militarism from their entertainment and government to satiate their bloodlust.

The DOD/CIA - Hollywood propaganda alliance guarantees Americans will blindly support more future failed wars and will be willing accomplices in the deaths of millions more people across the globe.

A version of this article was originally published on March 12, 2018 are RT.

©2018

TWIB : This Week in Bullshit (Feb. 17th - 24th)

Estimated Reading Time : 5 minutes 42 seconds

I am a baseball fan, and as a little kid I used to religiously watch This Week In Baseball, which was hosted by Yankees play by play man, Mel Allen, one of the all-time great baseball announcers. Allen would narrate highlights from the week's games and add his signature call, "How about that!!". Since I didn't have cable tv or access to much if any highlights, This Week in Baseball was my lifeline to the sport I adored. I loved This Week in Baseball with a near-religous fervor, its theme music would instantaneously make me giddy.

That was a long time ago, though. My childhood a distant, faded memory. Mel Allen is long dead. This Week in Baseball is still on, but now it is on Fox and it is entirely useless since ESPN exists. So why I am rambling on about This Week in Baseball? Because I have decided to write a brief column about the media titled, This Week in Bullshit. Bullshit seems to have become our national pastime, so i figured...why not?

This past week I forced myself to do some very uncomfortable and unpleasant things, among them were to watch both Bill Maher's and John Oliver's HBO shows, and also read the editorial pages of both the New York Times and the Washington Post everyday. Even writing that last sentence, never mind doing those things, makes my colon twinge. But I did it. And I thought I would share some random thoughts about what I discovered as I swam among the sewage that is the establishment media's point of view. 

Maher, Milo and Malcolm

On Bill Maher's show last Friday (Feb. 17), everyone got into an uproar because Little Bill had on Milo Yiannopoulis, the alt-right provocateur/performance artist who liberals love to hate. I do not now, nor have I ever, given a shit about Milo or anything he has to say. I do not understand why anyone else would either.  But they do. In fact, I have heard numerous liberals say out loud this week that they would like to kill Milo. I am not joking.

As demonized as Milo has become, and it got worse after his appearance, he came across to me as transparent phony and unserious glamour boy. Why anyone would get worked up over something he says is beyond me. People like Milo, or Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity or whoever the conservative "it" girl of the moment is, get rich by instigating and provoking liberals. Why Liberals make their jobs so easy I will never understand. Milo and company need your hatred in order to survive, if you remove it from them, they whither and die…not unlike Trump. So, liberals need to toughen up and stop being so delicate when it comes to what people say. They need to think strategically and not emotionally, deal with actions, not words. 

The most important thing about that Maher episode though was buried under the Milo freak show. After Little Bill's "interview" with Milo (which was, as usual for Little Bill, flaccid and nonsensical), his opening segment with the panel was astounding and has received little attention. In the segment, Little Bill got very solemn and said he wanted to be serious…always a bad sign. He then went on to say that the CIA and the Intel Community are at war with Trump and that is good because they know the president is dangerous.  Little Bill put himself firmly in the camp of the intel community.

Little Bill then followed up with this doozy…he said that years ago during the Kennedy administration, the Intel Community moved against JFK because JFK had a "pussy problem" and was sleeping with East German agents and Mafia girlfriends and the like. In essence what Little Bill was saying is that the CIA killed Kennedy and that they were right to do it because he was compromised by his sexual dalliances. HOW ABOUT THAT!!

Maher then argued that the same is true now and that it is good that the Intel Community is plotting against President Trump. This is some remarkable stuff…but no one on the panel blinked an eye. And most importantly, "former" Navy Intelligence Officer and multiple-agency Intelligence agent, Malcolm Nance, never uttered a word of denial about Little Bill's thesis about Trump OR Kennedy. 

So what we have here is Bill Maher admitting he believes that the CIA killed Kennedy and that it was a good thing, and that he wants them to sideline Trump by any means necessary (wink-wink). The fact that Nance never challenged Maher or spoke up in defense of the intel community against these charges is stunning. It makes you even wonder if it might even be true (wink-wink). 

Having a major voice of the establishment, Little Bill, claim that the Intel Community murdered one president and is plotting against another, without a peep of denial from a member of that community, is a ground breaking development. One that shocks me no end. it is stunning that no one else seemed to noticed.

The Empire Strikes Back

John Oliver's show was it's usual impotent attempt at being insightful. In the opening segment, Brave Sir John "eviscerated" Trump as he has done countless other times. One wonders how many evisceration must take place before the evisceration event horizon gets crossed. I have a not-so-funny feeling we are a long way from Trump evisceration market saturation. 

Brave Sir John then did his feature segment on…surprise, surprise…Russia. I had just written an article about John Oliver that get some attention on the internets the week beforeand got me lots of emails calling me a Kremlin stooge and Putin shill, which puts me in very good company with people like Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges who routinely suffer the same fate. I can't help but wonder if Brave Sir John, or his staff, read that piece and my other critiques, as his Russia segment seems to use my arguments against him as a blue print. It felt like Brave Sir John was defending himself against my accusations. Another, much more plausible scenario is that I am suffering from manic depression and am currently in a heightened state accompanied by delusions of grandeur…God knows it wouldn't be the first time. Regardless, whatever the reason, Brave Sir John seemed to make a feeble attempt to counter my charges. 

Brave Sir John's basic argument against Russia and for the U.S. is that the Russians are awful, and we may do bad things but it is different when we do them because we are good and deserve every benefit of the doubt no matter what!! In conclusion…U.S. is good…just because…and Russia is bad…because everyone says so. 

Watching John Oliver is like being forced at gun point to watch old people fucking. It is excruciating, it takes forever, it is entirely repulsive and there is never a climax. HOW ABOUT THAT!!

"I Know Nothing!!" - Sgt. Schultz

On Tuesday of last week, Steve Phillips wrote an Op-ed for the New York Times titled, "Move Left, Democrats". This op-ed was remarkable for no other reason than it was the least coherent and most idiotic thing I have seen in a long time. Phillips spent 1,000 words or so saying absolutely nothing, all while fighting straw men and falling to define his terms. It was a tremendous piece of opinionated detritus, and proves that all you have to have to get your 1,000 words in the Times are connections to the right people and be fluent in the right buzz words.

Phillip's argument is nearly as incomprehensible as it is moronic. As far as I can decipher it, he thinks democrats should ignore white working class voters who went for Trump, but who had previously voted for Obama, in favor of "progressive" voters who voted third and fourth party in 2016. He then gives numbers to back up his assertions, but never gives any facts to back up his assumptions. For instance, he assumes libertarian voters are democrats who didn't vote Clinton, and not republicans who didn't vote Trump. Regardless, it all looks serious, until you actually read it. 

Phillips logic is so faulty it is amazing he is able to function in the world, never mind write an op-ed. Phillips keeps saying democrats should be more "progressive" but never defines what that means in the context of his argument. Does being more progressive mean being economically populist? Does it mean identity politics? This is the crux of the issue when debating these points. If you don't specify what you mean, then you don't mean anything. 

Phillips also pulls some bait and switches which prove him to be a charlatan in trying to make a pointless argument. He starts off by arguing for ignoring Springsteen voters (my term for white, working class who voted Obama twice and now for Trump) in favor of third and fourth party voters (green, libertarian), but then in the latter half of the piece he simply calls the Springsteen voters "conservatives". He claims that democrats shouldn't waste time trying to convince conservatives to vote for them. Ummmm…no shit, Einstein. The problem with Phillips argument, and thinking ( or lack thereof), is that he doesn't understand that Springsteen voters are not "conservative" in the sense that he makes them out to be. They are economic populists…which was a lynchpin of the progressive political movement for ages. This is why his not defining "progressive" makes his entire article moot. The political spectrum was deconstructed with the last election, and it is fools like Steve Phillips who fail to recognize this. He is like those generals in Vietnam who are trying to re-fight World War II. The battlefield is entirely different now, and the tactics and strategies required to compete and succeed on this battlefield are much different than the ones Steve Phillips is trying, and failing, to articulate.

Democrats should move left, because that is how they will woo third and fourth party voters AND Springsteen voters. The democrats and Hillary Clinton are a center-right party, beholden to corporate and Wall Street interests and a neo-con foreign policy. If Phillips had the intelligence, and courage, to say as much, he might even earn my respect. But since he just babbled on about nothing and wasted my time, he earns my venom.  HOW ABOUT THAT!!

Thar She Blows!!

The aptly named, Charles M. Blow, wrote a wonderful piece of emotionalist horseshit on Feb. 23rd, that no doubt felt invigorating to him, but is ultimately fruitless. Here are Blow's final few paragraphs...

"This is why I have no patience for liberal talk of reaching out to Trump voters. There is no more a compromise point with those who accept, promote and defend bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia than there is a designation of “almost pregnant.”

Trump is a cancer on this country and resistance is the remedy. The Trump phenomenon is devoid of compassion, and we must be closed to compromise.

No one need try to convince me otherwise. The effort is futile; my conviction is absolute. This is a culture war in which truth is the weapon, righteousness the flag and passion the fuel.

Fight, fight, fight. And when you are finished, fight some more. Victory is the only acceptable outcome when freedom, equality and inclusion are at stake."

What is so great about Blow's self-righteous nonsense is that it is so completely Trumpian in its self-absorbed myopia. Blow, just like Trump, need not be convinced, as the effort would be "futile", his conviction is "absolute".  The Trump movement is "devoid of compassion", Blow demands that "no compromise" be permitted.

Blow, like many liberals I speak to about Trump, is so emotionally triggered that he is incapable of thinking straight….or of just plain thinking. If Trump is as awful as liberals say he is, then stop being such candy-ass clowns about it. Stop thinking emotionally and start thinking strategically. If you ignore Springsteen voters, you will lose again. If you find ZERO room to compromise, especially on any economically populists opportunities, then you will push those moderate, Trump-lite folks, deeper into his camp. 

Resist when needed, but embrace when necessary. Blow, like many liberals, is entranced by the siren's call of his emotionalism. He refuses to stop, breathe, reflect and strategize. To Mr. Blow I will quote the great, 21st century, American philosopher Dr. Phil, "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?" Being "right" about how wonderful you are and how awful every Trump voter is, even the Springsteen voters who went for Obama twice, is a surefire way to  end up unhappy come election day. 

To Mr. Blow, I quote myself, "self-righteousness is a warm blanket few refuse in favor of the cold, hard struggle of self-reflection". Hey Blow, grow up, stop bitching, and start winning. HOW ABOUT THAT!!

Nick of Time

Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed in the Times on the 23rd as well. St. Nick wrote about how Trump voters are not the enemy. He said it is ok to attack Trump but not his voters because that is unproductive. Kristof is from Ohio and assures his readers that Trump voters are just regular, working class folks trying to make a living in a tough world. 

I liked Kristof's piece a great deal. When I think about it now, I realize the reason I liked Kristof's piece so much is because I wrote it myself three months ago, right after the election (HERE, HERE , and HERE ). It almost feels like you aren't allowed to write op-ed's for the Times unless you are at least three months behind morons like me in your thinking.

But hey, better late than never. Hopefully Kristof, just like John Oliver, keeps reading my pieces. I appreciate the traffic, Nick. 

And thus concludes This Week in Bullshit!! After this week's episode, I am sure Mel Allen, JFK, Herman Melville, Sgt. Schultz and Dr. Phil are all spinning in their graves. I will try to keep up my media feast, but I don't know how long I will last. One man can only eat so many shit sandwiches before his eyes go blind with brown-ness.

©2017

 

John Oliver - Shameless Establishment Shill

FOR THE PREVIOUS JOHN OLIVER ARTICLES CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW

1. COURT JESTER AS PROPAGANDA TOOL - 2. THE DRUMPF AFFAIR AND LITTLE BILL MAHER'S POWER FETISH - 3. WAXING BRAZILIAN AND WANING CREDIBILITY -4. OUT TRUMPING TRUMP ON THE GREAT WALL OF TRUMP - 5. THINGS SAID AND UNSAID.

Estimated Reading Time : 5 minutes 02 seconds

This Sunday, February 12, 2017, season 4 of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight premieres. If the first three seasons are any indication, viewers can expect no deviation from the official party line by the establishment’s favorite comedy accomplice.

John Oliver is a charlatan who appears to be a rebellious liberal comedian speaking truth to power, but is really a shameless shill for the ruling class in the U.S. Oliver specializes in telling his liberal audience and those in the establishment exactly what they want to hear. He never genuinely challenges or questions the U.S. power structure, making him an agent of the status quo, which is why the media love him so dearly.

In order to maintain most favored status among liberals, Oliver assails universally loathed entities like FIFA, the NCAA, tobacco or televangelists. Or he’ll investigate a wonky subject like infrastructure, voter ID laws or reforming the bail system. While Oliver gets quite a lot of attention for these stories, they only generate heat, not light. Nothing changes as a result, not even popular opinion since Oliver is only preaching to the converted in the liberal echo chamber.

When it comes to potentially controversial topics, like the rare times he looks at the U.S. political, military and media establishment, John Oliver gives his sycophant fans the soft sell. In the 89 Episodes of Last Week Tonight that have aired, they have shown 250 segments. In those segments, Oliver has scrutinized issues pertaining to the U.S. military and foreign policy just 11 times, that’s 4.4%. In contrast, the show has dedicated 14 or 5.6 % of their segments to Russia, Putin and Russia’s foreign policy. And those numbers do not include the innumerable one-liners at Russia’s expense scattered throughout various other segments, as Putin is Oliver’s favorite comedy whipping boy.

Even when Oliver looks into issues like drones, torture, Guantanamo Bay or NSA spying, he does so with the gentlest of tones and the kindest of language. For example, in regards to drones he called U.S. strikes, which killed civilians, “a little disturbing”. At end of the segment he concluded that now “might be the time to think about drones”. So his scathing assessment of the drone program was that it might now rise to the level of “thinking about”? And I guess “might” was the operative word in his statement since Oliver has never returned to the topic.

Contrast this delicate approach to the U.S. with his scorched earth campaign against Putin, where Oliver leads a cacophony of establishment media voices preaching a Russian hysteria. Oliver has assured his audience that the “brutal Russian dictator” shot down MH17, invaded Ukraine, committed war crimes in Syria, murdered Boris Nemtsov and would starve and freeze the population of Crimea once winter arrived. Oliver’s stance on Russia is just as vacuous, assumption-filled and fact-free as the rest of the mainstream media. A braver comedian would challenge the current prevailing presumptions, but courage is obviously not John Oliver’s strong suit.

Even when Oliver is mildly critical of the U.S., like he was in his torture and Guantanamo Bay pieces, he deflects those American failures by pointing to other nations that he feels are much, much worse, like Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Sudan. He also avoids using moral and ethical frameworks to argue against alleged U.S. failings, instead favoring arguments about “image”.

Oliver’s main thrust on torture was that it causes “serious harm to America’s image”. He had an entire segment titled “The CIA’s Public Image” which dealt with how the CIA handles its social media. Of all the things to talk about regarding the CIA, their social media prowess seems to be the most frivolous, which is probably why Oliver chose it. In Oliver’s interview with NSA chief Keith Alexander, an important part of the conversation was on the NSA’s image and how to change it for the better, not on its Orwellian surveillance programs.  When it comes to questioning the U.S. establishment, Oliver never dare wander into the heart of the matter, only stay on the surface and stick to appearances.

The discussion with Keith Alexander was also enlightening when contrasted with Oliver’s interview with Edward Snowden. Watching the Alexander and Snowden interviews side by side, it is easy to see where Oliver’s loyalties lie. Oliver uses the softest and most playful tone with Alexander, where he is extremely aggressive and nasty with Snowden.

The Snowden interview also reveals Oliver’s tactic of obfuscating uncomfortable issues. Oliver spends the first half of his Snowden segment making the story about how frightened he is to be in Russia. He is fearful because Snowden is late, the old KGB building is across the street and Russians are no doubt listening to his every word. You could come away from these bits thinking it is Russia that’s been eavesdropping on the world and not the U.S. But that was Oliver’s point with the Snowden interview and many other segments, to distract from U.S. crimes by imagining foreign ones.

The cherry on top of the Snowden episode was when John Oliver blamed Edward Snowden for the “major f***- up” of the New York Times publishing information that allegedly named a secret agent and a target.  In John Oliver’s world, the New York Times is sacrosanct and above blame, but that scoundrel Snowden makes for a convenient scapegoat.

Lies of omission are littered throughout Last Week Tonight episodes as well. When Oliver did a segment on Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia, he made the story about how rude the Saudi’s were to the president but gave no context at all. According to Oliver, the Saudi’s just randomly decided to hate Obama. Of course, the actual context is pretty important, Obama went to Saudi Arabia to calm the royal family over the 9-11 lawsuits and the congressional bills opening up the Saudi’s to liabilities for the attacks. Why Oliver would ignore this is beyond me.

When Oliver doesn’t ignore context is also revealing. In two segments on Ramzan Kadyrov, the Sunni strongman in Chechnya who had lost his cat, Oliver went to great lengths to give Kadyrov’s ties to Putin. He also spoke of Kadyrov’s Wikipedia page, which has a section about his human rights abuses, and spoke of it as if it were some sort of smoking gun. This is curious, as there was no mention of human rights abuses when another group of despotic Sunni Muslims, the Saudi’s, were the topic. And the Saudi’s don’t just have a section on their Wikipedia page about human rights abuses, they have a whole page dedicated to their human rights abuses! But Kadyrov is an enemy of the U.S. establishment and the Saudi’s are protected by it, so Oliver acted accordingly.

Oliver only uses context when it supports the official narrative, not when it undermines it. A case in point was his coverage of the protests in Brazil against the left-wing Workers Party government. Oliver made that story about left wing corruption in Brazil, and nothing more. A closer examination of those protests reveals that a major factor was class and race, with wealthy Whites protesting against the government and poor Black/Brown people protesting for it. Race and class would normally be things that someone like John Oliver, and his liberal audience, would focus on, he certainly would in relation to the Tea Party or Trump supporters here in the U.S. But in South America, the official U.S. narrative is left-wing, populist governments are “no bueno”, and so  Oliver, whether it be in regards to Dilma Rousseff in Brazil or Rafael Correa in Ecuador, propagates that position.

In contrast to his coverage of Brazil, watch this segment on turmoil in another left-wing South American country, Venezuela. In it, Oliver opens the segment with a news story that clearly defines the context of the protests, with the poor and working class on one side, and the military and police on the government side. Why clarify the struggle in Venezuela so distinctly but keep the Brazil situation murky at best? Because context in the Venezuela story supports the establishment media narrative that Oliver wants to sell, and it undermines it in the Brazil story.

And finally, the most remarkable proof of Oliver being an establishment shill occurred on the season three finale. Oliver actually pleaded with his audience to subscribe to the New York Times and the Washington Post in order to counter Trump and fake news. This was the first time John Oliver ever made me laugh out loud, as buying the Times and Post as an antidote to fake news is like treating obesity with a diet of pizza and ice cream.

It is too bad that Oliver’s insipidly predictable comedy and insidious support for all things establishment are so beloved by his minions. They obviously don’t know it yet, but John Oliver isn’t laughing with them, he’s laughing at them, all the way to the bank.

Previously published on Saturday February 11, 2017 at RT.

©2017

Snowden : A Review and Commentary

****THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW!! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS ZERO SPOILERS!!!****

ESTIMATED READING TIME : 12 MINUTES AND 39 SECONDS

MY RATING : 3 out of 5 Stars

MY RECOMMENDATION : If you saw and liked Citizenfour, see Snowden in the theatre. If you don't like Edward Snowden, or are indifferent, see it on Netflix or Cable.

Snowden, written and directed by three-time Oscar winner Oliver Stone, is the story of famed NSA whistelblower Edward Snowden. The screenplay is based upon the books The Snowden Files by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena. The films stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden, with Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo, Rhys Ifans and Nic Cage in supporting roles.

Director Oliver Stone, like Edward Snowden, is a controversial figure who is despised and ridiculed by those in the establishment, which is a pretty good reason to like the guy. Stone has spent his career sticking his finger in the eye of those in power and their sycophants in the media. Stone and his films have been an important cultural counter weight to the prevailing winds of his time. During the height of conservative rule and thought in America during the 80's, when the nation was all too happy to forget its sullied not too distant past and corrupt present, Stone reminded America of its unresolved hubris with his Vietnam films (Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July) and his indictment of then U.S. foreign policy in Latin America with Salvador and the economic ruse of the times in Wall Street.

In the early 90's, while the nation was still basking in the warm glow of sunlight from Reagan's "morning in America", Stone pulled back the veil and tore off the scab to reveal the rot at America's core underneath the flag waving veneer with his films JFK, Nixon and Natural Born Killers.  Stone's insistence that America look at and acknowledge its true self was never warmly welcomed by those who need to deceive in order to succeed, thus the Washington and media establishment have always loathed him. All the more reason to admire the man and his work, which certainly struck a raw nerve for those in power.

Edward Snowden is also quite a controversial figure to say the least. As the marketing of the film tells us, some people call him a traitor, like those in the establishment and media, others call him a hero. The film Snowden itself is probably a Rorsharch test for viewers, with those who think Edward Snowden a hero liking it and those thinking he is a traitor hating it. The reality is that if you already think Snowden is a traitor, you probably aren't going to go see this film anyway. The people who believe Snowden is a hero are the most likely ones who will go and see this film.

With that context in mind, director Oliver Stone surprisingly pulls a lot of his punches in the film. In Snowden, Stone "bottles the acid", to quote Judge Haggerty from JFK,  and never goes in for the kill shot on the intelligence community, which is very out of character for the rebellious director. Considering Oliver Stone's past work, I found his indictment against the intelligence community in Snowden to be rather tame. That said, Stone certainly shows Edward Snowden in as positive a light as he can, and there is never any doubt as to Snowden's moral and ethical superiority throughout the story, but the scope, scale and magnitude of the evil being perpetrated by our intelligence community, and the impetus for Snowden to act, is under played and never fully fleshed out to satisfaction.

All that said, Snowden, while not a great film, it certainly is a good one. It is without question the best Oliver Stone film of the last twenty years or so since Nixon in 1995. The only other film of note from Stone during the second half of his career is 2008's W., which like Snowden, is also a Rorsharch test for viewers and is a good but not great movie. Both Snowden and W. pale in comparison to Oliver Stone's genius work during the first half of his career, when he made a bevy of tremendous films such as, Platoon, Salvador, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street, JFK, Nixon, The Doors and Natural Born Killers. When I speak of the futility in the second half of Stone's filmmaking career I am not counting his documentaries which can be quite good. His Showtime series Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States is extremely well done and should be mandatory viewing for any citizen.

As for Snowden, as much as I enjoyed the film, the greatest issue I had with it was that it failed to use Stone's signature visual and editing style (think JFK) to tell the complex and mammoth tale of the various surveillance programs that Ed Snowden uncovered and revealed. This is the crux of the story as it shows why Snowden risked so much in order to inform the public as to what was being done to them and in their name to others. Stone does try to personalize the snooping that the programs do, but while that sequence is effective it isn't quite enough. Stone also under-uses actual news footage and cutting between it and the dramatic narrative of Snowden. Stone used that technique to great effect in JFK but fails to utilize it enough in Snowden, much to the detriment of the film. Stone's masterful work on JFK showed how to take an enormous and complex subject and whittle it down so that people could understand and digest it, he needed more of that approach in Snowden, not less. Oddly enough, Snowden almost feels like it was directed by someone other than Oliver Stone, as the film lacks his visual and storytelling trademarks.

As for the acting, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance is simply miraculous. Levitt's work is meticulous, detailed and vibrant. Levitt perfectly captures Snowden's unique vocal tendencies and looks strikingly like the man, so much so that in some shots I was wondering if that actually was Edward Snowden and not the actor. Snowden is not an easy character to take on, he is an enigmatic man, probably somewhere on the autism spectrum, who is both self conscious and self confident, sometimes all in the same moment. Levitt creates a genuine, complex human being with all of his intracacies and inhabits him fully, never letting the character slip into caricature or imitation. Levitt's Snowden is multi-dimensional and is a truly remarkable piece of acting work, proving Levitt to be among the best actors of his generation. In comparing Levitt's performance as Snowden to other actors in previous Oliver Stone films, the thing that is strikingly obvious is that other actors in Oliver Stone films were actors in "Oliver Stone films". For instance, Born on the Fourth of July is an "Oliver Stone film", not a "Tom Cruise film", the same can be said for Charlie Sheen in Platoon or Kevin Costner in JFK or Anthony Hopkins in Nixon, these actors all did solid work but were overshadowed by the talent and vision of their director Oliver Stone, hence they were in "Oliver Stone films" and not in "Sheen/Costner/Hopkins films". The very high compliment I can pay Joseph Gordon-Levitt is that Snowden is, without question, a "Joseph Gordon Levitt film", and not an "Oliver Stone film". Levitt outshines his director, which is a tribute to him as an actor, and a recognition of some creative slippage on the part of Stone the director.

The supporting cast is hit and miss. Shailene Woodley does a solid job in the terribly underwritten role of Snowden's girlfriend Lindsay Mills. Woodley is a strong actress, approachable and artistically honest, who has an undeniable charisma that lights up the screen. On the other hand there is Nic Cage, who is simply a dreadful actor of epic proportions, and frankly, contrary to popular opinion, always has been. Cage is in some very crucial scenes but is so distractingly bad that those scenes and the highly critical information they convey, get scuttled, much to the detriment of the film. It feels like Cage is in one of those god-awful National Treasure films and not a serious Oliver Stone film.

Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo and Tom Wilkinson all do solid work as the documentarians and reporters Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill. The scenes with Snowden and the reporters in the Hong Kong hotel room are surprisingly compelling since they are scenes we have already seen in the documentary Citizenfourthat is a credit to the actors.

Snowden reminds me of two films, one, Citizenfour is pretty obvious. Snowden is a very nice companion piece to Laura Poitras' Academy Award winning documentary Citizenfouras it dramatizes and expands on what was revealed in that excellent film.

The second film I was reminded of is much less obvious, at least on the surface. That film is American Sniper. Here is the round-a-bout way in which Snowden reminded me of American Sniper. As I walked out of the theatre post-Snowden, I was wondering if Oliver Stone has simply lost his fastball as a filmmaker and was not able to land his punches quite as crispy and effectively as he was twenty five years ago in films like JFK, Platoon, Wall Street etc. Then I wondered if maybe Stone had just grown weary of the cultural battle to which he has dedicated his life, which seems never ending and futile at best. I thought this because of Stone's surprisingly conventional storytelling in Snowden, punctuated by an upbeat ending that, in my opinion, defies the reality we find ourselves in, in regard to surveillance and what the intelligence community is up to. And then I wondered if…and this gives a big benefit of the doubt to Oliver Stone, who, frankly, with the stellar filmography of his earlier years has earned that benefit, Stone had made a truly subversive film with Snowden, but it was hidden beneath the surface of the rather tepid bio-pic it was buried under. It could be that Snowden is Oliver Stone's answer to American Sniper, right down to mimicking its flaws?

Here is my theory…that Oliver Stone intentionally made Snowden to undermine the propaganda of American Sniper and reduce its power on the American collective unconscious.  Snowden the film and the man, are counter-myths to Chris Kyle and American Sniper. Like American Sniper, Snowden is structured as a standard bio-pic, almost hitting the same exact beats and with the same exact rhythm as American Sniper. Also like American Sniper, Snowden ties the dramatic film to the actual, real-life man in it's final scenes, blurring the lines between what is dramatized and what is real. That said, one real life difference between the films is that unlike with the Kyle family and American Sniper, Edward Snowden had no say or final approval of the final script, and received no money for Snowden.

I don't think those structural and narrative similarities between American Sniper and Snowden are accidental. If Oliver Stone is anything, he is a true-blue subversive and it is a stroke of genius to make Snowden a parallel to American Sniper. Oliver Stone has spoken of his masterpiece JFK as being a counter-myth to the prevailing myth of the Warren report. The only difference between the Warren report and JFK is that JFK readily admits it is a myth, while the Warren report holds onto the illusion and delusion that it is factual. And so it is similar with Snowden and American Sniper, as Stone sets out to counter Clint Eastwood in his bootlicking, ass kissing, myth making, propaganda with a counter-myth meant to celebrate the thoughtful, rebellious, principled subversive in the form of Edward Snowden.

Why do I think Oliver Stone is intentionally taking shots at American Sniper in Snowden? I think that because Stone has cast the remarkably wooden actor Scott Eastwood, American Sniper director Clint Eastwood's look alike son, as Trevor James, an NSA middle management type who never questions, or thinks, about what he is tasked to do, or much of anything really. It was seeing Scott Eastwood in the film that made me connect American Sniper and Snowden, and I think that that was not an accident. Stone could have cast a million other actors in that role, but he didn't, he cast Clint Eastwood's kid. Scott Eastwood being cast is not because of his superior talent (God knows) and it isn't a business decision, it is a creative and symbolic decision, and it is deliciously stealthy bit of cinematic intrigue.

Stone subtly and surreptitiously shows that Trevor James is, just like his father's American Sniper muse Chris Kyle, an unquestioning and unthinking fool who fights for tyrants and tyranny, as opposed to Snowden, who selflessly risks his life for the truth, and nothing else. That is what stands out the most to me in Snowden as a contrast to American Sniper, namely that Edward Snowden is smart and insightful enough to recognize the true enemy of America is within in the form of Bush, Obama, Clinton, Petreaus, Hayden, Clapper, the intelligence/political and media establishment et al. Stone is showing that Chris Kyle, like Trevor James, is a dupe, a sucker and a fool, who gives his life as a pawn for the powerful to exploit the weak, the stupid and the gullible. If Chris Kyle were a real man and the true American hero he has been sold to us as, he would not have gone to Iraq to keep us safe from phantom enemies a world away, he would have used his substantial sniping skill on the only actual threat to America that exists, namely the same tyrants who were sending him to war for their own benefit. Of course, Oliver Stone would be excoriated if he came out and said what I just wrote, and it is hard enough to sell movie tickets to a film about Edward Snowden, the man our country and culture has labelled a traitor, already, considering we live in a nation of propagandized flag waving dupes, dopes and dipshits who don't have a single clue between them and are as happy as pigs in shit about it. So Stone made a subtle and ingenious dig at Clint Eastwood, Chris Kyle and American Sniper, that only those cinematically savvy enough would be able to catch and I, for one, give him great credit for that.

One other thing to keep in mind in regards to Snowden and some parallels with American Sniper, namely that both of them may very well be pieces from the same propaganda puzzle brought to us by our power and control hungry friends who operate in the shadows (and are unaware of their own shadow - psychologically speaking!!). There is a part of me, and there is substantial evidence to back this up, that believes that The Legend Chris Kyle was created as a propaganda tool out of whole cloth. His story and his rise into public consciousness is very suspect to say the least, as we've seen from the revelations about his less than truthful depiction of his life and military career. The other thing to keep in mind though is that Snowden, as much as I admire what he did, he may very well be just another piece of counter intelligence propaganda meant to spread disinformation and to manipulate the masses. The reason I say that is because while Snowden revealed a great deal of government illegality, yet no one has ever been held to account for these crimes, which is quite convenient. One result of Snowden's revelations are that the public has become numbed into a shoulder shrugging apathy in regards to government surveillance. So with Snowden's revelations, the intelligence community gets to have the cover of being forced to  "come clean", meanwhile they can continue surveillance without anyone noticing or more importantly, caring.

In keeping with the intelligence communities playbook, right after Snowden's revelations the media went into hyper-drive to destroy Snowden personally. The usual suspects at the Washington Post and New York Times and all the television outlets painted him as a self serving, smug, fame hungry man trying to harm his nation for his own advantage. Even ferret faced "comedian" John Oliver got into the act. So now, any other whistleblowers will be reticent to come forward, and any other revelations of government criminality will be ignored. The cavalcade of information that Snowden revealed has been masterfully manipulated into having the effect of creating apathy in the general public and giving immunity to the intelligence community from any crimes committed.  Snowden may not have been a part of the bigger propaganda and counter intel project, but he was certainly useful to it.

Add to that that Snowden seemingly came out of nowhere…his life story reeks of someone who was snatched up by the intel community and groomed to be an asset. He never finished high school? Failed out of the Army Rangers? These are odd things for someone so obviously intelligent and highly functioning. To tie things back to Oliver Stone, Snowden may be a modern day Oswald, nothing more than a patsy. (Oswald too was a high school drop out and was seemingly much more intelligent than he seems at first glance, for example he allegedly taught himself to be fluent in Russian.)

The reality is that if I am to be suspect of Chris Kyle's story I need to be equally suspect of Edward Snowden's story, as both of them are littered with red flags, some waving higher than others. A giant red flag for both of them is that their stories were made into major motion pictures. Hollywood is a very useful tool to the intel community to shape culture and perception. The idea that Snowden is an intelligence asset meant to obfuscate the truth rather than reveal it may be a stretch to some people, but we must understand that nothing can be taken at face value. If you want to be a well informed human being, you have to be skeptical of everything you come across. Manipulation of the masses by the powers that be is as old as civilization itself, and one must always be vigilant against one's owns prejudices.  

The intel community could use Snowden's revelations to divert attention and distract us from what they are really up to, which is probably a hell of a lot more heinous than we can ever imagine. Maybe that is why Oliver Stone made such an un-Stone-like film. Maybe Stone had an inkling that not all was as it seemed in the Snowden story, and so he used the film as an opportunity to subtly undermine the military-industrial-propoganda complex by taking shots at American Sniper while telling a tepid version of the Snowden tale. Maybe…just maybe…Oliver Stone's Snowden is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Or maybe my tinfoil hat is on too tight…who knows?

One final odd contradiction coming from people like Chris Kyle and his flag waving and ass kissing supporters, is that they are usually either Republicans or conservatives, and often times both. They dislike and rail against government, determined to reduce it to a size where they can drown it in a bathtub, but they fail to realize that the military, the intelligence services and law enforcement are all part of the government. In fact, military/intelligence/law enforcement are often times the most expensive form of government and the most dangerous to the things that I, and alleged conservatives, say we hold dear, namely, the constitution and our individual, GOD-given liberties. As Republicans and conservatives like to tell us, and as I certainly believe, government didn't give us our liberties, God did. So why are conservatives in general, and Republicans in particular, so infatuated with government power, violence and secrecy? It is odd. And don't get me wrong, the Democrats are usually just as awful as Republicans on these issues…look at the superstars who have been my Senators and representatives over the years, Jane Harman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton…they are like a murderer's row for the military/Intelligence industrial complex and against civil liberties.

Which brings us to another point made in Snowden, albeit only in passing. Namely that all of these surveillance programs run by the intelligence community aren't meant to stop terrorists at all, they are meant for corporate and government espionage, and to scuttle civil unrest and protest. In the film, Nic Cage's character Hank Forrester describes to Snowden how he had developed a much better, much more accurate and much cheaper surveillance program than the one the CIA and NSA currently use, but they chose not to use it because they wanted to fill the coffers of the military industrial complex by using a bigger, less effective and more expensive by billions program. This sounds exactly like our trusted government in action. Even applying the most basic, Luddite logic, one would understand that the more information you sweep up, the less usable information you will actually be able to focus on. When you expand the haystack, needles don't get easier to find, they get harder.

This is proven by the fact that the NSA and CIA have never used these surveillance programs to stop a terror attack. They have CLAIMED to have stopped terror attacks using these surveillance programs, but there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that is true. Like the overwhelming majority of police work, these surveillance programs, at best, give the intelligence services something to do AFTER an attack, but never before. So what are these programs really about? These surveillance programs aren't about security, they are all about power.

If the U.S. government were so interested in stopping terrorists, then why do they bend over backwards to protect the home and heart of terrorists, Saudi Arabia. Bush's bestest hand holding buddy Saudi Prince Bandar, has been proven to be an accomplice and paymaster to the 9-11 hijackers, as was his wife. And yet, Bush and his successor Obama have moved heaven and earth to protect the Saudi's at all costs and to protect that information from coming to light…why? The Saudi's have been proven to have supported the 9-11 hijackers…think about that. Saudi Arabia was complicit in 9-11, where three thousand Americans were killed. 9-11 has been used as the catalyst and excuse for all of the intrusive (and illegal) surveillance the government has undertaken, and yet, that same government has no interest in pursuing justice in regards to the Saudi's. In fact, not only are they not holding the Saudi's accountable, they are actively arming and protecting them. Any rational human being could, in the light of this information, see the War on Terror for the Kabuki theatre that it is.

Further strengthening the case against the alleged use of surveillance in the war on terror is the fact that the U.S. is also actively working with, arming and supporting terrorists in Syria. ISIS and Al Qaeda are being used by the U.S. as weapons in their war against the Assad regime and its Russian benefactor.  We are doing the same thing in Ukraine where we supply and arm jihadists in the war against Russian nationalists in eastern Ukraine. We play our little public game of charades and pretend to deplore terrorists but behind the scenes we do everything we can to arm and empower them in Syria, Ukraine and across the globe. Is this the act of a nation so desperate for security that they would trample the Constitution and our civil liberties in order to stamp out terror? 

In conclusion, I have an opinion of what Edward Snowden that is probably right in synch with Oliver Stone's, thus I enjoyed the film. I think it could have been much better, but in the final analysis I think it was good enough. I am sure people on the other side of the argument will loathe the film. I believe that if Edward Snowden is the man he says he is, this is the type of man we as a nation should celebrate and hold in the highest regard. It is a sign of our culture's decadence, intellectual indifference and moral and ethical decay that Edward Snowden has successfully been labelled a traitor and an enemy by those in the establishment. He may be an enemy of the state, but he is undoubtedly a hero for the people. If we plan on getting our country back from the oligarchs, aristocrats, corporatists and military industrialists who currently reign over us with their Eye of Sauron intelligence apparatus, the people will need to wake up and fight back. The film Snowden is not perfect, and seeing it will not be a cure-all for the fear, weakness and stupidity that cripple us as a people, that said, seeing it would be a small and positive step in the right direction. 

©2016

 

THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST : Things Said and Unsaid.

This is the fifth article in our new series THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST, where we monitor tv's political comedians and hold them accountable. The original article, Court Jester as Propaganda Tool, can be found HERE. The second article, The Drumpf Affair and Little Bill Maher's Power Fetish, can be found HEREThe third article Waxing Brazilian and Waning Credibility can be found HERE, and the fourth, Out Trumping Trump on the Great Wall of Trump HERE.

ESTIMATED READING TIME : 7 MINUTES 12 SECONDS

A (relatively) brief post on the recent comings and goings of our favorite political comedian, Brave Sir John Oliver, and to a lesser extent, Little Bill Maher, over the last few months. Much has happened but I've been pressed for time so haven't been able to update you, dear reader, on the shenanigans these two faux truth tellers have been up to.

As I have tried to show in previous posts, John Oliver uses the Establishment Propaganda Model ™ to great effect to deceive and misinform his audience. Oliver is not the first comedian to use that model, but in recent years he has certainly been the most effective. Part of how you know he is such a good propagandist for the establishment is to see how the establishment has embraced his work. If Oliver were what he claimed to be, a rebel speaking truth to power, those in power would loathe or maybe even fear him, but they don't, they celebrate and embrace his every move. It seems every week following one of Oliver's shows the public is inundated with articles in the mainstream press about how Oliver's latest "takedown" or "evisceration" of one subject or another was so utterly brilliant. Even Oliver has poked fun at the embarrassing amount of gushing praise his work receives.

The thing about Oliver's "eviscerations" or "takedowns" are that they have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the subjects he takes on. Yes, they may raise some sort of momentary awareness, but that awareness evaporates almost as soon as the episode is over. The Atlantic magazine did a great piece on this recently where they exposed the reality that Oliver is all sound and fury signifying nothing. And that is part of the Establishment Propoganda Model™ as well. Feed the audience something to distract them and to give them the impression that they are well informed and making a difference, when in reality they are really being led down a cul-de-sac of self satisfaction with nothing at all changing in the long run. 

What has interested me the most in the last few months since my last John Oliver Twist post, has been the things that Oliver has left out of his segments, as opposed to what he has put in. This is a vital part of the Establishment Propaganda Model ™, focusing on certain, specific things, but leaving others out. For instance, on episode 10 of season 3, which aired on April 24, 2016, Oliver's opening segment was on Obama's trip to Saudi Arabia and how the Sauid's ignored him during his trip.

It was a cute bit, but if you watch it closely you realize that it entirely ignored the real reason the Saudi's were so angry with Obama. Saudi Arabia was furious with the U.S. over a bill that was up before congress that would allow victims of the 9-11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia over their role in those attacks. That is kind of a huge thing to leave out of the story, don't you think? It's like talking about O.J.'s marriage to Nicole and leaving out the stabbing. The funniest part of the whole thing is that two episodes later, on episode 12 of season 3, which aired on May 15, 2016, Oliver opened his main segment, which happened to be on the 9-1-1 emergency phone system and it's problems, by stating "9-1-1, a number we work hard to remember". Apparently Brave Sir John doesn't work so hard to remember those numbers when they point to Saudi complicity in terror attacks referred to by those same three numbers, and Obama's ass-kissing of those same, complicit Saudi's. 

The Saudi/Obama kerfluffle and Oliver's choice to willfully ignore the reason behind it, 9-11, is both odd and telling. It is also telling that just a few weeks later, Oliver did a little bit on Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who had lost his cat. Kadyrov is a real piece of work, no doubt about it, but Oliver made a big point, in fact he mentioned it twice, that Kadyrov's wikipedia page has an entire section dedicated to his human rights violations, as if this was some sort of remarkable "gotcha" point. As I said, Kadyrov, a Sunni Muslim, is a real piece of work (or a real piece of something else more odorous), but that said, you know another group of Sunni Mulsims who have a less than stellar track record on human rights…that's right...the Saudi's! Oliver never mentioned that fact in his piece on Obama visiting the royal kingdom to try and quell the fears of financial liability of the royal family over their role in 9-11. In fact, Saudi Arabia has such a horrendous human rights record that, unlike Kadyrov, they don't just have a mention of it on their wikipedia page…they have a whole wikipedia page dedicated to it!!

This is how the Establishment Propaganda Model™ works, some things are said and others not said. The assumptions underlying the establishment propaganda are never to be challenged, only blindly accepted. A great example of this shows up on Oliver's most recent episode, episode 13 of season three, which aired May 22, 2016. Oliver opened the episode by doing a segment on the turmoil in Venezuela, and the protests that have broken out there. The very first thing he shows about the protests is a video clip from ABC News which clearly states the context of the protests, that "on one side (of the protests) are students and the middle class, and on the other, police and the military."

That quote may seem like a minor part of a bigger segment, but this clip and statement are incredibly crucial in setting up the context of the protests and the premise of Oliver's argument that follows. This statement of "students and the middle class being on one side, and the military on the other", does all the work Oliver needs in setting audience expectations for who the good guys are and who the bad guys are in the Venezuelan situation.  And I am not saying that Oliver is wrong here, as he skillfully shows with the rest of the segment, Venezuelan president Maduro is, like Kadyrov, a real piece of work. What actually intrigued me the most about Oliver's Venezuela piece and his setting of context in regards to the protests, was that in a very similar situation in Brazil (episode 6, season 3, air date March 20, 2016), he completely ignored the context of those protests because he was taking the side of the right wing, the lighter skinned, the powerful, the rich and the military, against the black lower and working classes. Why would Oliver highlight the context in one case and ignore it in the other? The answer is obvious, the context helps him in the Venezuela argument, and undermines him in the Brazil argument. The key in both cases is that Oliver, just like the American Establishment, and just as the Establishment Propoganda Model™ would predict, calls for the overthrow or removal of an elected, left-wing, South American government that is less than friendly with the U.S.. The Venezuela/Brazil protests segments are damning and incontrovertible evidence of Oliver as a propaganda tool. Every liberal watching his show immediately sided with the "students and middle class" against Maduro in Venezuela, just as they would have sided with the black, poor and working class protesting in support of the left-wing President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, but Oliver intentionally never alerted them to the class warfare element of the Brazil situation.

This is how the Establishment Propaganda Model™ works, you manipulate the information you present in order to contort "reality" to your own ends. So, for instance, the mainstream media in the U.S. would ignore or treat as completely normal the U.S. military doing exercises on the Russian border, but would call Russian military exercises WITHIN THE BORDERS OF RUSSIA as provocative. An easy way to dissect this sort of propaganda is to simply turn it around and imagine what you would think if the media from another country…Russia say, did the same thing. Would you trust them, or believe them? Would you take them seriously? Of course not. If the Russians did a military exercise in Canada and the U.S. did a military exercise in North Dakota, who is the one being provocative? In this case, obviously the Russians. So this is one way you should watch and read the news and see through the propaganda model.

As previously stated, it is not always the things that are said that are revealing of the Establishment Propaganda Model™ at work, but what isn't said. For example, why does John Oliver choose the subjects he chooses? Why did he completely ignore 9-11 in regards to the Saudi/Obama situation when it was such a vital part of the story? Why hasn't he done a segment on the "28 pages" redacted from the 9-11 report which some believe implicate the Saudi's in the attack? Why hasn't he done a segment on the C.I.A. losing the torture report…talk about a situation ripe with comedy? Or better yet…why not do a bit on this press conference from last year by the State Department which talks about how the U.S. has  'long standing policy" to not support coups. it is relevant to both the Venezuela and Brazil situations…and come to think of it, the Ukrainian and Egyptian situations as well. This press conference is the height of comedy and should be right up Brave Sir John's alley…yet he ignored it. 

These are the types of questions viewers should be asking of Oliver and all of the other political comedians. These questions show that it isn't just what Brave Sir John says that proves he is a propaganda shill for the establishment, it is what he chooses NOT to say.

LITTLE BILL MAHER PUCKERS UP

As for Little Bill Maher…well…he has been up to his old ass-kissing tricks once again. Most of the episodes of Realtime with Bill Maher are dreadfully dull and inane. The only time my interest is piqued is when Bill bends over backwards (or just over) for an interview guest. On the 5th episode of season 10, which aired on February 12, 2016, Little Bill interviewed "journalist" Richard Engel. Engel was there to promote his book, and Maher was more than happy to let him "plug away".

What was so interesting in the interview was that Maher briefly mentioned Engel's being kidnapped in Syria. This kidnapping story is pretty amazing and is a twisting and turning tale of propaganda from start to finish. Engel was kidnapped by Syrian rebels who claimed to be Assad forces in an attempt to garner U.S. public support to invade Syria. Engel claimed that a group of Syrian rebels attacked his captors, killing many of them, and freed him. The purpose of the propaganda was to make Assad's troops out to be the bad guys, and the rebels to be the good guys. Except…there were no dead bodies…even though Engel claimed to have seen them. And the rebels didn't save Engel from Assad's forces, they saved him from themselves. It was all a ruse…one which, shock of shocks, NBC, the home of Brian Williams, gladly went along with. You know who else gladly went along with it? Little Bill Maher. The story had been quite clearly debunked and dissected by the time Engel made it the set of Realtime, but Little Bill Maher simply pretended that Engel's original story was the one that happened. In typical Maher fashion, he got on his knees, licked his lips and told Richard Engel that he was "so brave", much like his similar work with General Hayden this season.  This is a great example of the Establishment Propaganda Model™ in two respects…the first is what Maher (and Engel) didn't say, namely that the kidnapping was a ruse and propaganda ploy, and two, retelling the original story so that the truth of what actually happened goes down the memory hole, never to be seen or heard again.

Another hum dinger of an interview with Little Bill was on epsidoe 13, season 10, air date April 22, 2016. This time writer Lawrence Wright stopped by to discuss 9-11, Saudi Arabia and the 28 pages redacted front he 9-11 report. I was glad Little Bill was tackling this important issue…and then I saw the interview. This interview was a classic of the Establishment Propaganda Model™ in that it served no purpose but to obfuscate the truth, not reveal it. Take a look.

This interview is so incoherent as to be mind numbing…and that was its purpose. Wright speaks of Saudi complicity in the attacks due to a Saudi agent being in contact with the hijackers here in the U.S. He also spoke of Saudi government officials being involved by supporting the attack logistically. He also claimed that the U.S. intelligence community knew this as it was happening and were also in close watch over the hijackers their entire time in America. But then he says that the 28 pages aren't really worth much thought because all they will do is "embarrass" the C.I.A. Yes…"embarrass" is what he said. The idea that anything other than "embarrassment" is behind the nondisclosure of the 28 pages is never even mentioned or thought of. What an absurd idea!! How could it be anything other than fear of "embarrassment"? This ignores the fact that it isn't just 28 pages we haven't seen about 9-11 and the Saudi's, but 80,000 files. That's right, 80,000 files…not just 28 pages. That is a hell of a lot of "embarrassment" to cover up in an attempt to save face.

Later in the interview Wright goes on to "explain" that Saudi Arabia isn't responsible for any terrorism at all…only the ideology that creates terrorists. Got that? This comes just moments after he explains that Saudi Arabian officials were in direct contact and supported the hijackers on 9-11. If none of this makes any sense to you, then that makes two of us.

Of course those statements by Wright are in direct contradiction of one another. Maybe Wright was just drunk and rambling…not the craziest notion after watching the absurd interview, or maybe he was intentionally being obtuse and contradictory. Maybe that is his job, to muddy the waters, to obfuscate the truth, not to clarify it. And Little Bill Maher was all to happy to help Wright make a gigantic mess of things. Little Bill was giddy at the chance to be able to change the subject from 9-11 and Saudi and U.S. Intelligence "embarrassment" and make it about Pakistani child fuckers…seriously. Little Bill turned the redacted 28 pages of the 9-11 report into a story about Pakistani child fuckers. Pakistani child fuckers reinforces Little Bill's, and the establishment's, preferred worldview, and U.S. intelligence "embarrassment" and Saudi complicity in 9-11 do not. Concerned about Saudi Arabia, U.S. intelligence and terror attacks?Don't worry…Lawrence Wright and Bill Maher assure that there is nothing to see here.

Besides his interviews, Little Bill has been full of the usual idiocy in his comments over the last few months as well. A case in point is when he had a comedian on and talked about how he, Little Bill, doesn't tell his audience what they want to hear. He was very proud of this, wearing it as a badge of courage. Little Bill is a truth speaker who says the truth no matter what…consequences be damned!! In his next breath, Little Bill went out of his way to make a point blindly supporting Israel. Little Bill explained that Europe, who has always been adversarial with Israel, might now be more sympathetic to Israel since European countries are now being over run with Muslim immigrants from Syria. It was a staggeringly illiterate thing to say, historically speaking. In case Little Bill doesn't know, it was European Jews who immigrated into Palestine, not the other way around. And those European Jews brought with them a terrorist campaign against the locals which featured the invention of the car bomb!! Yes, Little Bill Maher doesn't tell his audience what they want to hear, unless that audience are his pay masters in the establishment, then he says exactly what they want to hear, especially about Israel, over and over again. Bravo Little Bill!! 

Also in keeping with the Establishment Propaganda Model™, Little Bill, just like Brave Sir John, hasn't mentioned on his show the C.I.A. losing it's torture report either. In addition, Little Bill keeps on banging home the idea of "liberals supporting liberal ideas" in regards to the Middle East and Islam. Either Bill is dumber than I think, or he is intentionally laying the foundation for more wars in the region against Islam. You see, you cannot argue for liberals to fight for liberal values in Middle Esatern countries, without also arguing for actual fighting in those countries. Little Bill is a neo-con in that he wants to reshape the middle east, and while he would say he is against another war there, his rhetoric betrays him. You can't tell people to fight for liberal values and then tell them not to actually fight.

In conclusion, both Brave Sir John and Little Bill Maher have been, as the Establishment Propaganda Model™ would predict, serving as useful tools to reinforce the establishment narrative, and not to attack it.  As much as I am loathe to do it, I will continue to watch these two dim-witted, establishment shill, asshats, week in and week out, all as a service to you, my dear reader. I hope you are grateful for this, the greatest of all sacrifices, that I willingly make for you. God help me!!

©2016

 

THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST : Out-Trumping Trump on The Great Wall of Trump

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2016, BUT DUE TO A TECHNICAL ISSUE, IT IS RE-POSTED AGAIN NOW. APOLOGIES TO ANY READERS WHO HAVE ALREADY SEEN IT.

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 8.5 MINUTES

This is the fourth article in our new series THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST, where we monitor tv's political comedians and hold them accountable. The original article, Court Jester as Propaganda Tool, can be found HERE. The second article, The Drumpf Affair and Little Bill Maher's Power Fetish, can be found HEREThe third article Waxing Brazilian and Waning Credibility can be found HERE.

John Oliver's HBO show "Last Week Tonight", took Easter weekend off, so you would think I would have no fodder for my John Oliver Twist article this week. You might also think that with it being Easter that I would be so busy with bunny related activites that I would have no time to write yet another John Oliver Twist article...you would be sadly mistaken on both counts. After last week's John Oliver Twist - Brazil article ran long (as most of my articles do), I decided against posting my analysis of Oliver's allegedly devastating takedown of Trump's Mexican border wall proposal. With no new material to dissect this week, I am free to go back a week to examine Brave Sir John's supposed evisceration of The Donald's cornerstone issue. Here is the relevant segment from the March 20, 2016 episode of "Last Week Tonight".

As someone who does not support a wall on the Mexican border, I found Oliver's argument on episode six of season three against Trump's wall to be, frankly…Trumpian in its vacuousness, speciousness and transparency. What made this "takedown" so absurd was how obviously flaccid it was to anyone with an open mind on the subject and half a brain in their head. A brief glance at Oliver's argument reveals it to be at best, amateurish. 

Brave Sir John challenged Trump for his ever changing estimate of the cost of building "his" wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. At first Trump said the cost would be 4, then 8, then 10, then 12 billion dollars. Not surprisingly, Trump is a bit fuzzy on the details, which is par for the course with The Donald and part of his appeal to his followers, you see Trump is a big "ideas man", he'll let others fill in the details. Regardless of where that number lands, it certainly is a lot of money. Oliver claims that Trump's estimate isn't the half of it, as there will be maintenance costs and all sorts of hidden building costs and such, which will greatly increase the ultimate final cost, which Oliver puts at roughly $25 billion. Brave Sir John points out that this is $77 per American, and that money would be more effectively and more wisely used buying each American a Palmer Waffle Iron rather than building a wall. Cute. He then joked that this plan, unlike Trump's would not offend Latinos…only Belgians. In a weird coincidence, the terror attacks in Belgium a few days later made that joke much less funny in hindsight.

The issue I have with this line of attack from Brave Sir John is this, if we have learned anything over the years it is that Americans never give a rat's ass how much something costs, especially if it is something that they want. Look at it this way, $25 Billion certainly is a hell of a lot of money, but to put it into perspective, it is a drop in the bucket compared to other government spending. When compared to say, Obamacare, which is something that Oliver's liberal audience would presumably support, and that program's cost over a ten year period, which is $2.76 trillion, or even just the increase in overhead for Obamacare over that same time period which is $270 billion. Liberals would not be swayed against Obamacare by a "cost" argument, just like conservatives, and most Americans, were not swayed against the Iraq war by the cost argument. Speaking of which, $25 Billion is still $5 billion less than the U.S. spent every single month in Iraq during the war. If you remember, that war was sold on the premise that oil revenue would pay for the war effort…or put another way…the Iraqi's would pay for the war. Sound familiar? It should, because The Donald is guaranteeing that Mexico will pay for building the wall.

Brave Sir John did step up and take on the claim by Trump that "Mexico will pay for the wall". He used two clips of former Mexican presidents saying that "no" and "fuck no" they won't be paying for Trump's stupid wall. These denials are absolutely meaningless in the debate and prove little except how paper thin John Oliver's anti-wall argument really is, because of course Mexican politicians are going to say that Mexico won't pay for the wall. Trump's argument is that Mexico will pay because they wouldn't want to endanger the $54 Billion trade surplus they have with the U.S. Brave Sir John countered that by saying that yes, Mexico does have a trade surplus with the U.S., but that money is not just sitting in some pile somewhere, it is Mexican businesses money. A glaringly obvious point is sitting right out there for all to see but Brave Sir John ignores it because to acknowledge it would scuttle his entire argument. That point is this, that if a President Trump (God help us all) is in power and says to Mexico, "hey, either you pay for this wall or I am going to put big tariffs on all Mexican products coming into the U.S.", a Mexican President might say "fuck you" to Trump, but Mexican business interests will say…"no...fuck you El Presidente, pay that orange haired gringo for his stupid wall". And in Mexico, as in the U.S., money talks and bullshit walks. The reason is simple and clear, Mexico needs the wealthy American market much more than America needs Mexican goods. Apparently Brave Sir John has never heard of the term leverage, or how to use it. For decades now, the U.S. has been idiotic with it's "free trade" policy, this fact is a great part of Trump's appeal to blue collar workers. If Donald Trump, or anyone else, becomes President, he or she would be very wise to tear up all the free trade agreements we've gotten ourselves into and end "free trade" as we know it because it is neither free, nor trade. America is the wealthiest nation on the planet, we are of much more value as a market to every other nation on earth, than those nations are valuable to us for their products. Sometimes being a bully has its uses, and in the trade debate, this is one of those times. 

Oliver's next line of attack was to claim that Trump's wall simply won't work in keeping out illegal immigrants because no matter how high it is, people will just get ladders one foot higher to climb it and use ropes to climb down on our side. Of course, this conveniently ignores the reality that a wall is much more easily manned than a wide open border. And since the wall will be manned anyone trying to climb it will be exposed to the people meant to protect the border who are working on the wall. This is an obvious point that any impartial observer would note, and it is an extremely silly argument against Trump's wall.

Oliver also makes the claim that "nearly half" of all illegal immigrants have come across the border at official checkpoints. Brave Sir John makes it seem like this is some magic bullet that proves that the wall is totally useless and a giant waste of time and money….case closed.  Of course, this does nothing of the sort…think about it, "nearly half" of all illegal immigrants cross at border checkpoints? "Nearly half" can also be said another way…"less than half"…or better yet try this on for size, "more than half of all illegal immigrants do not cross the border at a checkpoint". Think of it this way…if the U.S. could stop "more than half" of all crime, wouldn't that be a pretty tremendous accomplishment. Or "more than half" of all drugs coming over the border, or terrorists coming into the country or whatever it is you are trying to stop. Even though his supporters are too blind to see it, Brave Sir John's semantic gymnastics are again, little more than clever cover for a glaringly vacant argument. 

Oliver attempts to buttress his "wall is useless" argument by declaring that Trump's wall won't stop drugs coming into America either because drug cartels already build tunnels, or use catapults, or slingshots, or just have people throw drugs over the border in an attempt to evade law enforcement. Seriously…this is his argument. Think about that logic for a second, we should not build a wall because people will try and circumvent it? Yes, cartels will still try to get drugs into the U.S., I mean, you can't keep drugs out of a secured facility like a prison, so your not going to keep them out of an entire country, but does that mean we shouldn't try to keep them out? O.J. got away with killing two people, so I guess we shouldn't arrest anyone for murder. What the fuck kind of dimwitted logic is that and what sort of numb-nuts falls for it?

The biggest issue I have with Oliver's "takedowns" of Trump are that they are fighting fire with fire…or better said…Oliver fights emotionalism with emotionalism. Trump is the master of pushing buttons and playing on people's emotions, and to counter that, one must plug into reason, logic and rational thought, not with counter-emotions. Trump's proposal is certainly vacuous, but Oliver's attack of it is specious at best. What Oliver is really doing is not rationally countering Trumps proposal, but rather satiating his liberal audiences emotional and psychological desire to feel intellectually superior. Think of it this way, would Oliver's argument against the wall convince anyone who believes that we need a wall to change their mind? No…it would only reinforce the beliefs of those who are already against the wall. This sort of argument is perfectly Trumpian…empty, hollow and emotive. Trump does little more than posture, pose and preen, and although his liberal devotees don't, won't or can't see it…John Oliver does exactly the same thing. Both men are symptoms of the same disease that has become epidemic and is ravaging this country…emotionalism.

In terms of the specifics of the immigration debate…want me to let you in on a little secret? Here it is…the powers that be don't want to fix the illegal immigration issue, they want it to forever be a mess. You want to know why? Well…whether you do or don't , I'm going to tell you. Illegal immigration keeps wages down and undermines organized labor in the U.S. (whenever you hear someone say that "illegal immigrants do the jobs Americans don't want to do" tell them that sentence is incomplete. Here is the complete version, "illegal immigrants do the jobs American don't want to do…AT THAT WAGE". And therein lies the problem and the proof of downward wage pressure), which keeps American workers struggling to keep their heads above water, and keeps corporate profits way up. Corporate profits keep the the powers that be happy and low wages and neutered unions keep working people struggling and disorganized, and a struggling, disorganized person is one who is more worried about paying their bills than marching in the streets. Speaking of marching in the streets, illegal immigration also does something else, and this is a topic no one talks about…it keeps pro-U.S. corporatists, tyrants and right-wing fascists in power in Central and South America. If all illegal immigration into the U.S. were stopped today, and all of those poor people who come here for a better life were stuck in the shithole from which they came, then eventually, the pressure in their home countries would grow and grow until finally it would explode in a huge wave of revolution. It is easier for the U.S. to absorb these down-trodden people and use them as near slave labor, than it is for the U.S. to keep them where they are and let them grow in numbers and get more and more disgruntled until they finally lash out and overthrow our corporate puppets who run their country. Mexico is, of course, the greatest example of this. But the rest of Latin America is also riddled with nations that have gone through multiple revolutionary cycles. The region is also infested with drug gangs and cartels, which the U.S. works very hard to keep in business. What? Why would the U.S. do that? Well, for one, to destabilize our own inner cities through an influx of drugs so that the poor can never organize and protest effectively, and also so that the U.S. intelligence community can have an off the books way of raising money for their nefarious operations around the globe. 

Which brings us to the truth about John Oliver, that he is a propaganda tool for the establishment in arguing for the status quo. John Oliver's audience is overwhelmingly liberal, yet he argues time and time again against working people and for the powers that be, and the immigration debate is no different. Oliver's liberal audience should believe in a strong working class and a unionized labor force, but illegal immigration undermines unions and the working class while exploiting poor illegal immigrants for nearly slave wages. In his case against Trump, Oliver argues against using our leverage to strengthen America's trade position in favor of giving our power away to corrupt Central and South American governments like Mexico. John Oliver argues for the status quo and allowing the people of Latin America to escape their native lands for the U.S., which lets corrupt tyrants and corporatists favorable to the U.S. establishment to never be held accountable to their people and to prosper throughout the region. As highlighted with last weeks Brazil column, Oliver has a special hatred for any left or liberal government in Central or South America (Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina etc.) that does come to power through the people's vote and goes out of his way to denigrate and attack them. 

John Oliver's stance on immigration is once again proof of his being a propaganda puppet for the establishment, and his liberal viewers unwitting dupes in his charade. The biggest red flag about Brave Sir John being a warrior for the establishment is that he never makes an alternative proposal to Trump about what to do about illegal immigration. This shows that John Oliver wants to maintain the status quo, which benefits no one but those at the very top of the power structure in the U.S, in other words, the people to whom Brave Sir John answers.

In order to not be accused of doing just what Brave Sir John does, and not offering a counter proposal to Trump's immigration plan, let me offer my own. You want to solve the illegal immigration problem? Make it a crime punishable by prison time for a business to hire any illegal alien and enforce that law for everyone in the corporate power structure of the company. Deport a million illegal aliens, and I promise the rest will leave by their own accord because they can't work due to pulling the weed at the root, which is employment. If illegal immigrants have had children in the U.S., which makes those children citizens, then allow those people to stay under a green card (with all the worker protections that come with it) and garnish a portion of their wages for ten years, and make them become proficient in the English language. After ten years or a certain total sum paid in fines for coming here illegally, and once they have learned English, they become citizens. Finally, legalize narcotics, which will eliminate the need for the drug cartels to use violence, corruption and human exploitation in order to run their business. Wow…look at that, I just solved some of the biggest issues currently ailing our nation. But guess what…none of these things will happen, not because they can't happen, but because the establishment don't want them to happen. It is more beneficial to the power structure in the U.S. for the scourge of the illegal drug trade, the downward wage impact of illegal alien labor, and the upward corporate profit motive, to continue than it is to solve the problem. With shills like John Oliver…and his HBO partner in crime, little Bill Maher, consistently making the establishment case while pretending to be rebelling against the establishment, I am sure no one will notice, or do anything about it, which is just how they want it.

©2016

THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST : Waxing Brazilian and Waning Credibility

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2016. DUE TO A TECHNICAL ISSUE IT IS RE-POSTED AGAIN. APOLOGIES TO READERS WHO HAVE ALREADY SEEN IT.

ESTIMATED READING TIME : 11 MINUTES

This is our third article in our new series, THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST, where we monitor TV's political comedians and hold them accountable. The original article, COURT JESTER AS PROPAGANDA TOOL can be found HERE. The second article, THE DRUMPF AFFAIR AND LITTLE BILL MAHER'S POWER FETISH, can be found HERE.

This past Sunday, March 20, 2016, John Oliver was at it again on his HBO show "Last Week Tonight". As Always, Brave Sir John was the right-wing establishment wolf dressed in a rebellious left-wing sheep's clothing. The topics this week on episode 6 of season 3…protests in Brazil and Donald Trump/s xenophobic border wall. Let's take a closer look to see where Brave Sir John pulled the bait and switch on his starry-eyed, lapdog, liberal followers. Here is the Brazil protest segment of the episode for those of you who were lucky enough to miss it.

The opening segment was on Brazil, which happens to be in the midst of a terrible economic downturn, and the anti-government protests that have rocked the country recently. The protests are in response to alleged widespread corruption by the left-wing Workers Party government of President Dilma Rousseff and her mentor and predecessor Lulu Da Silva, involving the state-owned oil company Petrobras and an investigation known as Operation Car Wash. The anti-government protestors are calling for Rousseff to be impeached, and for Rousseff and Lula to be charged with crimes. It is, as NBC's Chuck Todd recently re-tweeted, a case of the "People vs. The President"…or at least that is what the media establishment in the U.S., John Oliver included, and Brazil, would have us believe. Brazil's political situation is certainly a potential comedic goldmine, so let's take a closer look and see if John Oliver went down the right mine shaft or if he gave his viewers the shaft.

Here is a little context on the "anti-government protests" of which Brave Sir John is so enamored. Take a look at this picture of the protestors….notice anything a little funny?

In case you are color blind I'll help you out, the protestors are overwhelmingly white. In fact, according to polls cited by Joshua Howet Berger of yahoo News, the protestors against Rousseff and her leftist government are "significantly richer, whiter and more educated than Brazilians at large." At the largest anti-governemnt protests in Sao Paulo, 77% of the demonstrators self identified as white, and 77% were university graduates. In the entirety of Brazil these numbers are dramatically lower, with 48% of the population White and only 13% university graduates.

To expand our context a bit more, understand that Brazil's population of 200 million people is roughly 50.7% Black/Brown, and Black/Brown people make up a disproportionately larger percentage of the populace living in poverty, 70%, than they do of the overall population. Black/Brown people also make up 68% of homicide victims and 62% of the prison population. In other words, Brazil has a pretty serious race problem. In addition, according to a study by the BBC"Brazil has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world." If we broaden our context to Brazilian history, the deep roots of that income and racial inequality are easy to see as Brazil was the last country in the western hemisphere to abolish slavery in 1888.

What does any of this have to do with John Oliver and his Brazil bit? Well, take a look at this other picture. This was taken of a family heading out to attend the anti-government protest of which John Oliver is spoke and supports.

This picture should be the Holy Grail for a rebellious liberal comedian like Oliver as it captures perfectly the hypocritical core of the protests against the left wing government. Rich, white people, with their pure-bred dog, out to protests their suffocating oppression at the hands of the left wing government with their black nanny in tow wearing her uniform, pushing their two children.  HOLY SHIT!! Is this not the kind of picture that gives a supposed liberal comedian like Brave Sir John wet dreams? I can hear his voice…"Keep up Maria!! We can't be late to the anti-government protest!! We need to oust this oppressive left-wing government which forces us to pay you a livable minimum wage!! It's for your own good Maria!! Followed by…""Maria you need to wear all whtie today so you match little Fifi, my husband and I are wearing matching green and yellow, so you should wear the same color as the dog since you and Fifi are equals in my eyes!!Viva La Revolucion!!" But Oliver never mentioned this infamous picture, nor did he ever mention the racial component (white) of the anti-government protests, or of the pro-government protests that followed (Black/Brown).

The closer you look at what Brave Sir John kept out, the curiouser his Brazil segment becomes. Another aspect that Oliver failed to mention can be found in a terrific article at The Intercept written by Glenn Greenwaldwhich tells us that the white, wealthy, anti-government protestors are being relentlessly egged on by the corporate Brazilian media which are owned by a small group of, not surprisingly, rich, white oligarchs with a long track record of nefarious political activities. The main culprit is a media monster known as Globo, which is basically the Fox News of Brazil. How bad is Globo? Well, in 1964 there was a military coup in Brazil which overthrew a democratically elected left wing government, just so you know, this coup was backed and funded by the U.S., another little factoid that Brave Sir John would never mention. Anyway, this coup led to over twenty years of brutal, right-wing, pro-U.S., military dictatorship which tortured, murdered, disappeared and imprisoned political opposition. This coup was fully supported by Globo and the rest of the oligarch media and their ownership of a handful of plutocratic families, which described the coup as "a noble defeat of a corrupt left wing government." If that sounds eerily reminiscent of what is going on in Brazil right now…well, it would seem with U.S. backed right wing South American coups, as with fashion, everything old is new again.

So what we have is John Oliver, a darling of the liberal class here in America, taking the side of the wealthy, white, right-wing Brazilians and their mouthpiece media monster Globo, which is basically a Portuguese language Fox News on steroids, in their attempt to overthrow a democratically elected left wing government that has, through various government programs like raising the minimum wage, lifted tens of millions our of poverty and hunger, many of those millions being the poor Black/Brown Brazilians who are now protesting in support of the government. Let that sink in for a minute. A very understated comparison would be if John Oliver were supporting the Tea Party and Fox News in an attempt to remove Obama from the Presidency because of Obamacare.

Well, you may ask…what about the corruption? There is no doubt that the terribly flawed left wing Worker's Party government of Rousseff is corrupt…but you know who else is corrupt? The right wing governments that preceded Lulu And Rousseff in office and the one that would take her place if she is impeached. In fact, according to that same article by Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept"five members of the impeachment commission are themselves being investigated as part of the same corruption scandal that is threatening to bring down Rousseff. Of the 65 members of the House impeachment committee, 36 are currently facing legal proceedings." The right wing opposition leader who would replace Rousseff if she were impeached is Vice-President Michel Temer, who, surprise, surprise, has also been identified as having accepted bribes in the same scandal that embroils Rousseff. Hold onto your hats because, shockthe opposition Senate leader, Aecio Neves, has also been implicated five times in this same exact scandal. Another understated but apt comparison would be when during the 90's, republicans like Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston tried to impeach Bill Clinton for the Lewinsky affair, when they themselves were having affairs. In the opening of the Brazil segment, John Oliver says in a very dismissive and throw away fashion, that "the Rousseff government claims the charges are politically motivated", ummm…yeah…you think that might be a possibility? Goodness knows it certainly wouldn't be the first time.

So now we have an executive branch, president Rousseff and her predecessor Lulu, ensnared in corruption allegations, and the legislative branch tarred by the same corruption investigation, but at least the judiciary has clean hands in all of this…right? Right? RIGHT? Oh dear. Even this part of the story is rife with unbelievable corruption. Brave Sir John mentioned a "smoking gun" audiotape of a wiretapped conversation between Rousseff and Lulu that was released by the court which seems to indicate that Rouseff and Lulu were in cahoots to get Lulu protection from prosecution by making him part of her cabinet. With the help of Mr. Greenwald once againa closer investigation of this "smoking gun" reveals that the judge who leaked the audiotape, Sergio Moro, obviously did so as a political maneuver to embarrass Rousseff and Lulu and to create the same street protests of which Brave Sir John is so enamored. A brief glance at the facts surrounding this audiotape, that Brave Sir John portrayed as powerful proof of Rousseff's and Lulu's looking guilty but which is, in reality, much more ambiguous than he claims, shows that the audiotape was illegally obtained after Moro's warrant had expired, and it was released to the media without any due process and only hours after the tape was made. This, of course, didn't stop the right wing Globo from dramatizing this "bombshell" revelation with all the journalistic integrity we have come to expect from out own 'Fair and Balanced" friends at Fox.

Oliver also mentioned that twenty judges have vowed to block Rousseff's attempt to get Lulu onto her cabinet, a move that Oliver described as an "outright revolt". It is an interesting choice of words because Oliver praises this "outright revolt" by the judiciary, but never mentions the judges connections to the upper class, white protests and the right wing opposition party. A judicial revolt is not democratic, and in fact, subverts the will of the populace in Brazil which over the last four presidential election has elected Lulu and Rousseff to the nations highest post. In the last presidential election alone, 54 million Brazilians voted for President Roussef. Would John Oliver's sycophant fans think he was so wonderful if he spoke the same way about Jstice Scalia and the Bush v. Gore decision of 200 which discontinued recounts and put the man with fewer votes, Bush, into the white house? Or the Senate republicans who are blocking Obama's Supreme Court nominee in his final year in office? Both of these pale in comparison to what is happening in Brazil right now but it gets the point across that Brave Sir John is up to no good and his liberal fans are none the wiser. 

In regards to the state-run oil company Petrobras scandal, Brave Sir John was quick to point out that the only two words more suspicious than "state-run" are "oil company". He then quickly corrected himself and gave this list of the most suspicious two word phrases…1. Open Marriage 2. Well-spoken 3. Homeopathic remedy 4. State-run 5. father-daughter 6. Oil company 7. Discount sushi. As always Brave Sir John is nothing if not "clever", but beneath this clever cloak lies a steely establishment dagger. What is this establishment dagger? Let's take a closer look.

Brave Sir John's favorite tactic is to completley ignore context when attacking any country except the U.S. In his assault on the left in Brazil, he makes the blanket statement that "State-run" is a suspicious word. Good to know…I hope his liberal sycophants in the U.S. are listening so that they understand that single payer healthcare…which would be "state-run"…is very suspicious. As are social security, medicare, medicaid, law enforcement and the military to name but a few. Also, according to Brave Sir John the question becomes…why would ANY country have a state-run oil company? To Brave Sir John that idea is utter lunacy…the implication being that those dipshit Brazilians are just idiots. This is where context would help a great deal because as with nearly every country in South America, Brazil has a very long and dark history of being raped, ravaged, pillaged and plundered by Europeans and American colonialist powers. Brazil's natural and human resources have been exploited for centuries by powerful outsider interests which subjugated much of the populace and stole most of the resources. This might be an important fact to point out when discussing the desire by Brazilians to nationalize their oil industries.

And as a supposed beacon of liberalism, Brave Sir John might also want to point out that it was U.S. multi-national companies that as recently as late last century were the ones leading the charge to exploit Brazil and its resources, and also destroying its Amazon rain forest in the process. But Brave Sir John would never do that because that would mean standing up to the Establishment which is anathema in the weak kneed world of John Oliver.

It also would have been helpful in regards to the "state-run" issue, to point out that the U.S. was behind the coup in 1964 that overthrew the democratically elected left wing government and installed a brutal right wing military dictatorship. That right wing dictatorship ruled from 1964 to 1985…which might be important piece of information if you are trying to explain why, after returning to democracy in 1986, Brazil would eventually in 2002 embrace the left wing Worker's Party and "state-run" oil companies after decades of severe right wing dictatorial rule and the exploitation by multi-national companies that came with it.

The context of the '64 coup might also be useful in understanding that not everything his what it appears to be in Brazil, namely that these wealthy, white, right wing protests might be backed by powerful foreign interests…like…I don't know…the United States, which has a very long and odious history of partaking in such covert operations in the region. 

These facts are uncomfortable for Brave Sir John because they go against the establishment narrative that he routinely espouses and vociferously defends. As does the fact that in 2013 it was revealed that the U.S. was spying on President Rousseff and intercepting her texts, emails and phone calls…which might be an indicator that they were trying to dig up dirt on her to get her removed from her democratically held office of President.

Why would the U.S. want to remove Rousseff and her left wing government from office? This is a geo-political move by the U.S. to strangle the potential economic, military, and political rival of the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in the cradle. Removing the threat of the BRICS alliance guarantees that the world remains a uni-polar one, with the U.S. at the top, and not a multi-polar one where the BRICS are an admittedly weaker, although viable, alternative to U.S. domination. This is also why the U.S. has made covert moves against Russia in the form of the coup in Ukraine and the war in Syria. Coincidentally, or not, the moves against Putin and Russia also involved the Olympics, the 2014 Socchi Winter Olympics, which brought a great opportunity for a propaganda victory by the west over Putin. The moves against Rousseff coincide with this summer's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

What makes the Rio Olympics interesting is that there is also a massive corruption scandal swirling around them that is centered on the same ruthless construction monopolies at the heart of the Petrobras/Car-Wash investigation that has enveloped Rousseff, but the political party involved with the Olympic corruption is the center right opposition party to the Worker's Party, so for the time being that investigation has been thwarted.

Construction magnate Marcelo Oderbrecht, whose company Odebrecht was at the heart of the Petrobras corruption, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for his role in that scandal. Odebrecht was also involved in building much of the World Cup and Olympic venues, but the company's criminality in those cases has been ignored for now. As a Rio based journalist told The Nation's Dave Zirin" The contrcution Indistrial Complex in Brazil is similar to the Military Industrial Complex in the U.S. Instead of Haliburton and the Carlyle Group, Brazil has Odebrecht and all the rest ." Brave Sir John has taken on FIFA corruption on his show, so why not take on Olympic corruption in Rio? Why not expose the Construction Industrial Complex  and its connection to the opposition trying to take down the Worker's Party in Brazil? This seems to be fertile ground for a comedian whose legion of fans are avowed liberals, does it not?

To close out the Brazil piece, Brave Sir John in passing states that there were "pro-government rallies" as well. In his next breath he went on to the next segment. Ummm…the fact that there were "pro-government" rallies is kind of an important point, and it actually undermines the majority of the segment that preceded that acknowledgment. A closer inspection of both the anti and pro-government rallies also reveals something quite extraordinary that Brave Sir John might wanted to enlighten his audience with. Namely, that the people who dislike Rousseff and the Worker's Party are openly calling for a military coup to overthrow the government and to, in a wonderful bit of Orwellian flourish, "restore democracy". The Brazilian oligarch class is pissed off by the social changes that have taken place in Brazil during the 13 years of Worker Party rule in the country…changes like a higher minimum wage and greatly reduced poverty and hunger. As Duke University historian John French told Yahoo News, that wealthy, white Brazilians are "discomforted by the fact that people are rising to places where they're not supposed to be, for example, a lot of poor people are now flying in airplanes, which really outrages them because airports used to be an upper-class preserve. Or the tripling of the number of people going to higher education."

If this story were based in the U.S. wouldn't John Oliver and his ilk be in total support of the impoverished Black minority fighting against an uprising by wealthy white elites? The answer is, of course, yes. In fact, race would be the central issue in the story for people like John Oliver….you know how I know that…because he makes it the central issue later in the same episode with his segment on Trump's Mexican wall. But in the case of Brazil, since it has a leftist government, Brave Sir John takes the side of American corporate and foreign policy establishment interests which loathe the Worker's Party and Rousseff and Lulu, over that of its historically dispossessed and marginalized poor Black/Brown population. If anyone else were doing that, Brave Sir John would call them a racist…so what does that make him…a racist, a hypocrite and an imperial asshat?

With the Brazil segment Oliver did what he always does in regards to South and Central America, he attacked only the leftists who stand for their native people against the U.S. establishment…remember his assault on President Correa of Ecuador last season? Why would Brave Sir John, a supposed liberal, only attack South American leftists and their policy? And why wouldn't he openly declare that was what he was doing? The answer is obvious, he was covertly doing the dirty work for the U.S. establishment by inoculating his liberal audience from thinking critically about America's imperial foreign policy in the region.

Brave Sir John's modus operandi is to completely ignore context and nuance when trying too make an argument, and the Brazil story is testament to that. Oliver's turning a blind eye to the crucial context of these protests is damning and incontrovertible confirmation that he is an agent of disinformation who intentionally obfuscates the truth and deliberately misinform his audience. 

Will Brave Sir John's liberal audience actually inform themselves about the slow-motion coup taking place in Brazil and hold John Oliver accountable for being a lackey to the establishment and powerful here in America? It is doubtful, you know why? Because he distracts his intellectually self-satisfied minions by wrapping his imperial foreign policy and establishment ass kissing, in a fuzzy, warm blanket of domestic liberalism. You know how I know that? Because, in keeping with his tried and true formula, he followed up his assault on the Worker's Party of Brazil, with the delicious liberal red meat of deconstructing the reasoning and logistics of Donald Trump's xenophobic Mexican wall. The liberal establishment swooning over Oliver when he takes on Trump reaches uncomfortably pornographic proportions, so I wouldn't count on much self-refelction from that crew of mindless, yet self-satisfied dupes. 

The truth of what John Oliver is really up to with his HBO show is very clear to see for those interested in looking. When presented with the choice of siding with the wealthy, white, fascist oligarchy or the downtrodden and their very flawed leftist government, Oliver chooses the former. Time after time, when given the choice between the powerful and those fighting for the powerless, Brave Sir John chooses the powerful. While his audience are overwhelmingly avowed liberals, Brave Sir John knows where his bread is truly buttered…on the side of the establishment and empire. Well done, Brave Sir John, another episode of "Last Week Tonight" and another misinformation mission accomplished. 

UPDATE I - MAY 25, 2016

Some new information has come to light on the coup in Brazil…I am pretty positive that Brave Sir John won't do a segment on this material because it is inconvenient to his rabid pro-U.S. establishment argument. Please read the following.

RIGHT WING/FASCIST COUP IN BRAZIL

UPDATE II - JUNE 3, 2016

The hits keep on coming down in Brazil. Please read this new piece from Glenn Greenwald…another bit of information that Brave Sir John won't share on his show.

INTERIM PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL RECEIVES 8 YEAR BAN ON RUNNING FOR OFFICE

And for more information on John Oliver and Brazil, check out the new John Oliver Twist : Things Said and Unsaid 

©2016

THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST : The Drumpf Affair and Little Bill Maher's Power Fetish

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 10 MINUTES

This is the second article in our new series THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST, where we monitor tv's political comedians and hold them accountable. The original article, Court Jester as Propaganda Tool, can be found HERE.

There has been a great deal of chatter about John Oliver's latest episode of his HBO show Last Week Tonight and Oliver's "masterful takedown" of all things Donald Trump. I think the episode is noteworthy, but not for the same reason others seem to think so. I believe the episode is noteworthy because it lays bare, not just the vacuousness of Donald Trump, but also the vapidity of Brave Sir John and his flaccid humor.

The problem with Oliver's Drumpfening, is not that he attacked Donald Trump, who has been a boil on the ass of America for over thirty years, but rather that he only diagnosed the symptom (the boil) and not the disease (the corrupt establishment) from which it sprang. This is John Oliver's modus operandi, he zeros in on a very specific, and frankly, insignificant issue, and self-aggrandizingly beats it death, all the while whistling past the graveyard of the bigger looming issue. It is this larger issue, the disease if you will, that needs to be addressed, ridiculed and dissected, not the superficial symptom. 

Oliver's Trump episode exposes his adamant and willful ignorance of the larger, more pressing issues from which these smaller issues come. The Egyptian economic crisis is a perfect example. Oliver made fun of Egyptian President el-Sisi and his opulent arrival via a $200,000 red carpet to an event where he tells Egyptians that there must be spending cuts to basic services in  order to save money as the country goes through economic hardship. Oliver followed up with a scathing attack on a tongue-in-cheek el-Sisi speech where he tells Egyptians that they can "sell him" in order to raise money. It was funny because it is such an obvious display of corruption and narcissism on the part of El-Sisi. Oliver rightly took the leader to task for such nonsense. What Oliver didn't do…was take the United States to task for being the ones behind putting El-Sisi into power and keeping him there.

A brief history lesson shows us that the U.S. backed the brutal dictator Hosni Mubarek for decades until he was overthrown by the "Arab Spring" protests. A democratic election followed that put the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of Egypt. This was unacceptable to the U.S. and it's ally Israel, so the U.S. quickly went about undermining the Muslim Brotherhood's government and supported a coup by another military leader in the vein of Mubarek, this time with the aforementioned nefarious narcissist General el-Sisi. So Oliver shows what a venal and delusional leader el-Sisi is but ignores how and why he got into power in the first place. Brave Sir John also fails to mention that the US is backing el-Sisi, who besides being corrupt, is a savage tyrant who tortures and brutalizes the same democratic forces we once praised in Egypt. Because if Oliver pulled that particular string of inquiry into el-Sisi and Egypt, then he begins questioning the U.S. and the establishment, and Brave Sir John  has proven that he will never, under any circumstances, take on or stand up to, the U.S. establishment in general, and its foreign policy in particular. Even though Brave Sir John wears the mask of the fearless rebel, he is actually a chickenshit sycophant whose actual job is to protect authority, never attack it.

Oliver followed the el-Sisi bit with his much adored Trump rampage. It was a very effective evisceration of the unscrupulously hollow man behind the Trump brand. But, regardless of whether you like Trump or not, there is a much deeper, and more relevant story behind him and his political rise than his obvious lies and despicable behavior. That story is…how in the hell did the Trump phenomenon even become possible in the first place?

The answer to that question is obvious to anyone with eyes to see. The political, media, financial, and corporate establishment of this country has spent years demeaning, belittling, exploiting and deceiving the populace for their own personal wealth and gain. No one trusts or should trust politicians, the government, the media, Wall Street or corporate America. The failure across the board of the establishment and its exploitation of the working class, is the fertile ground upon which the demagogue Trump gained his foothold and blossomed into a most unlikely voice for the forgotten. 

It is not without a tremendous amount of irony that a silver-spooned, self-serving billionaire has become the symbol of the exploited. As Oliver points out, Trump's whole game is just pure bullshit, but so is John Oliver's, as Trumps lies are lies of commission, while Oliver's lies are lies of omission. Oliver never even attempts to pull the Trump weed at its root, instead preferring to pluck the dandelion by its Orange-haired head, insuring that the ground from which this toxic flower blossoms will never be held to account, guaranteeing that another, maybe even more repugnant, weed will bloom from the same soil the next time around. 

Oliver's target audience, those on the political left and in the establishment, already loathe Trump with a fiery passion, so by simply taking down Trump, Oliver is just doing what he always does, reassuring his audience that they are really, really smart and superior, all the while making sure they never actually question the root causes of such problems, only their superficial existence.

Those...and please pardon the pun...Trumpeting Oliver's masterful annihilation of all things Trump are really only buttressing the trivial type of thinking from which a man like Trump can gain traction. It is a strange bit of political and intellectual Jiu Jitsu, but the reality is that Oliver's empty attack on Trump's shallowness will only reinforce the type of thinking, or more accurately, the shortcuts to thinking, that brought a man like Trump to political prominence in the first place. I doubt Oliver's minions will be self aware enough to break through their own sense of self-satisfaction to see that they are just as vacuous and mindless as the buffoons who praise and follow Trump. Both groups, those who love Trump and those who love Oliver, are embracing the easy, the simple and the thoughtless at the expense of the meaningful, the important and the sophisticated.

LITTLE BILL MAHER LOVES FELLATIO!!

A brief note on another impotent clown who wears the rebel mask but refuses to actually take on the powerful…Little Bill Maher. On Friday nights Realtime with Bill Maher, Maher shamelessly interviewed former NSA and CIA chief General Michael Hayden. The interview touched upon Hayden's new book, thoughts on surveillance and on the Apple/FBI battle over the iPhone of the San Bernadino shooters.

Little Bill Maher is, on his very best day, a third rate hack of a comedian and an intellectual dwarf. To his credit, Maher is very good at hosting "Realtime" and at keeping the show moving as his panels are usually populated by a collection of dullards so lacking in wit and insight as to be mind numbing. Watching a chimp smelling his own poop would be a vastly more entertaining and intellectually stimulating exercise.  

In keeping with Little Bill's patty cake interview style that he used with propagandists Judith Miller and Kathryn Bigelow, Maher went the extra mile last week. Fridays interview with Hayden was nothing short of pornographic as Maher spent the entire interview fellating General Hayden on live television. Little Bill empathized with Hayden for doing such a hard job and never getting credit for it. BOO-HOO. Maher said that Americans demand better intelligence after a terror attack but then want less surveillance when no attacks have occurred. To Maher this showed how Americans are coddled and stupid, something Little Bill would know a lot about since he is a spoiled pampered dipshit. Little Bill even chastised his audience for cheering Apple for taking on the FBI.

What was really great was that Maher told his audience that they have no idea what a dangerous and scary world we live in because terrorists REALLY want a nuclear bomb and to set it off in America. OH NO….WITTEW BIWW IS SCAWED!!!!  Maher sounded more like Dick Cheney's fluffer than an insurgent comedian.

Little Bill went on to say that the intelligence services only make the news when they don't stop an attack. He claimed that the NSA, CIA et al have stopped attacks, but that all of the attacks that they have stopped, and how they have "kept us safe" since 9-11, are not front page news. Maybe it isn't front page news because it isn't even remotely true. The idea that the NSA has kept us safe from any attacks and that is why they need such vast surveillance on regular Americans is a piece of steaming horse shit that has been debunked many times. Little Bill repeating that lie proves he is out to deceive, either his audience, himself, or both.

The NSA and other intelligence agencies have regularly lied to Congress and undermined our democracy by spying on ordinary Americans and on the U.S. Congress that is tasked with oversight of that same intelligence community that is doing the spying. Little Bill knows these things, but he chooses to ignore them in order to leave his pre-concoeved worldview unchallenged. Instead Maher lets his irrational hatred and fear of Muslims override the rational, easily observable facts on the subject of surveillance and the intelligence agencies.

Little Bill finished Fridays interview with the most egregious form of bootlicking imaginable when he gushed to General Hayden…"Thank you for you service." Thank you for your service? This to a man, General Hayden, who is an agent of tyranny, who has lied to congress about torture and committed numerous war crimes,  one more heinous than the next.

Says the Sheep in Wolf's Clothing and Pied Piper of Conformist.

Says the Sheep in Wolf's Clothing and Pied Piper of Conformist.

Little Bill Maher is a shill for the establishment elite, who uses his position to fortify authoritarians and war criminals. It is amusing that Maher is so in lock step with the intelligence community in regards to surveillance since the most animated and aggressive he has ever been on television was when he physically ejected a bunch of 9-11 Truthers from his studio audience. Maybe someone should remind Little Bill that the intelligence agencies had lots and lots of surveillance on the 9-11 hijackers, yet did nothing to stop the attacks. 

Someone should also tell Little Bill that more surveillance won't keep us safe. Being smarter about our foreign policy, and keeping our nose out of other people's business most certainly will. But that line of thinking doesn't mesh with Little Bill's nuanced world view which is Islam = Bad, US establishment = Good.  

It is mealy-mouthed cowards like Little Bill Maher that make despots like Bush, Cheney and yes, even Donald Trump possible. Brownnosing Little Bill is willing to give up all of our liberties for the straw man of perfect security. What a wonderful couple…the straw man of perfect security and the boogie man of scary Muslim terrorists, maybe Little Bill can blow both of them when he's done with General Hayden. Little Bill Maher should grow a pair of balls and stop playing the rebel while he kisses establishment ass, and start actually being the rebel by kicking the establishment in the ass.

©2016

THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST : Court Jester As Propaganda Tool

****ESTIMATED READING TIME : 15 MINUTES****

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS QUESTIONABLE LANGAUGE. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!! CONSIDER THIS YOUR OFFICIAL TRIGGER WARNING…MOTHERFUCKERS!!

On a Sunday night last April, after finishing a session with my final client of the day (yes, I work on Sundays!!), I heated up some chicken and pasta, plopped myself down on the couch and tuned in to John Oliver's HBO weekly comedy show "Last Week Tonight". Oliver's main topic was the Internal Revenue Service, which makes sense since this was that most dreaded time of the year, tax time. Oliver's premise was that the I.R.S. is hated, but desperately needed, and terribly underfunded. He made the analogy that the I.R.S. is the "anus of the country", saying "you may not like to talk about it but you really need it to work." It's a clever anal-ogy*, which was no surprise since John Oliver is nothing if not clever…and an asshole.

*anal-ology…GET IT? See how clever I was there?

To start at the beginning, I am one of those rare people who through the years have not religiously watched Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show". Nor did I watch much of Stephen Colbert's "The Colbert Report". I am in a tiny minority in the world I inhabit when it comes to my viewing habits of Comedy Central political shows, I readily admit that. I'm not sure exactly sure why, I have nothing against either man, but I just never thought, or remembered, to watch their shows. Regardless, I only rarely watched, and because of that I was not familiar with John Oliver.

When John Oliver's HBO show came out, I missed the entire first season. The biggest reason I missed it is probably the same reason I didn't watch "The Daily Show", namely, because it never occurred to me to watch. Coming in a very close second for why I missed it is…I didn't have HBO at the time, so I was incapable of watching. I was aware of the show though because the media was gushing in its praise of the program and of Oliver. Nearly every media outlet did glowing pieces on Oliver, ebullient in their praise of him and the show, calling it, "smart, funny and insightful!" 

In no time at all, "Last Week Tonight" became a big hit and Oliver the darling of the hipster/intellectual/cool kid set. The mainstream media slobbered all over him, adorning him with the type of praise once only reserved for Saint Jon Stewart, the Patron Saint of Thinking People Everywhere™.  It was at this point that I got HBO, so the John Oliver option was suddenly on the table. So, I decided to check out "This Week Tonight" and see what all the fuss was about.

Season two of "Last Week Tonight"  started off innocuously enough, or so I thought. Oliver made fun of some racist tweets made by the Argentinian president while on her trip to China. He also talked about the closing of Radio Shack and the Republican congressman who decorated his office like Downton Abbey. It was clever enough if not a bit cloying, but as expected it was funny in a "man shooting fish in a barrel", substance-free way. In my opinion it was amusing enough, but not very "insightful". Oliver finished the show by doing a seemingly mundane bit about Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa. The bit included a video of Correa hosting a live talk show where he answers questions from the audience and pontificates on whatever topic he feels like. In the video, Correa (in Spanish, or as they say in Spanish, En Espanol) singled out a young Ecuadorian man who had tweeted that he wished President Correa were dead. Correa gave out the young man's name to his audience and told people to flood the mans Facebook and Twitter accounts. John Oliver excoriated Correa for bullying the poor, young man. He then showed a funny, weird and completely out of context clip of a creepy clown embracing Correa during one of these live talk shows. Oliver relentlessly mocked Correa, and he did it very, very well.  

After the show ended, out of pure curiosity, I looked Correa up on the internet. I knew nothing about him and frankly, very little about Ecuador. I was pretty shocked too see what kind of a man Correa was and what he had accomplished in his life. Correa isn't the tin-pot dictator and bully Oliver made him out to be, not in the least. Here are some of the highlights of Correa's public life. After resigning in protest over corruption as finance minister from the previous administration and being widely regarded as the most respected and trusted person in the country, he was voted into the Presidency in 2006 and took office in 2007. Upon becoming President, Correa immediately poked his finger into the eye of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), The World Bank, and the U.S. He declared Ecuador's national debt illegitimate since it was contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. Correa then said that Ecuador would default on $3 Billion worth of bonds. He pledged to fight creditors in international court and reduced the price of outstanding bonds by 60%. He then refused to renew the U.S. lease of Eloy Alfaro Air Base in Manta, Ecuador, thus ending the U.S. military presence in the country. If Correa wanted to make enemies, he certainly succeeded. He not only made enemies, he made enemies with the most powerful country, military and financial institutions in the world. To make matters worse, for the U.S. anyway, Correa greatly reduced Ecuador's rampant unemployment and poverty, solidifying his popularity in the country. 

In addition to all that, Correa also took on foreign oil companies because they failed to meet environmental and investment regulations. He restructured the country's finances in order to increase spending on social programs, rather than on foreign debt, and set out to protect and support the indigenous Quechua Indians of Ecuador, a long brutalized people. In other words, Correa was a champion for justice and for the people of Ecuador. These might be things that John Oliver's audience might want to know about the man, but Brave Sir John Oliver had no interest in informing his audience, only propagandizing them.

If you still think Brave Sir John was doing the right thing by calling out Correa for his "bullying" of a citizen who was wishing him dead, you should look more closely at the historical context of Correa's comments. A brief perusal of South and Central American history shows us that colonialism has devastated the continent. Up to and including this century, the U.S. has been behind some of the most brutal and insidious policies in the region. Correa is an Ecuadorean nationalist, which means the U.S. government, military, Wall Street and Oil companies hate him, because he puts the Ecuadorian people first. When you see John Oliver ridiculing Rafael Correa for being a "bully" when someone publicly states they want to see him dead, keep in mind the history of U.S. backed assassination of people like fellow Ecuadorian President Jaime Roldos and Panamanian President Omar Torrijos to name just two of many, or the U.S. backed coups and wars that litter South and Central American history (Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras to name a few). Then keep in mind it is not Correa who is the bully.

John Oliver is the weapon used those by those in power to ridicule Correa in the eyes of the mostly liberal Americans who, if they knew anything about him, would, or should, greatly admire him. But now Correa is little more than a punchline, and if and when he is 'killed in a plane crash', or 'overthrown by a popular revolt', or 'hangs himself in his jail cell'* or a civil war or coup breaks out in Ecuador, Americans, liberal Americans in particular, will just nod and say "hey, thats that despotic clown we saw on John Oliver". The man who stood up for his country and the weakest of its people, and wouldn't be bullied by military or corporate empire is now a joke. Mission accomplished John Oliver, true dissent from the American establishment group-think, is now strangled in the cradle.

Oliver is just the newest propaganda tool of the American Empire, at home and abroad. So when Oliver was mocking Correa, he was intentionally doing the IMF's, World Bank's, U.S. Government's, Military's, Wall Street's and the Oil Company's dirty work. Way to go Brave Sir John, instead of bullying the bullies, you are bullying for the Bullies. Good work. 

John Oliver's greatest skill as host of "Last Week Tonight" is in reassuring his audience that they are, in fact, as smart as they think they are, and most definitely smarter than everyone else. What Oliver is really doing with his show is inoculating his audience from thinking critically. Oliver serves up the very bitter pill of American Empire and Citizen Subservience wrapped in a delicious serving of liberal red meat. His audience is too enamored with it's own delusions of superiority to realize that they are, in fact, just like those ridiculous Fox News viewers they love to hate, in that they too are gullible rubes lapping up gobs of American Imperialism by the bucketload. What the hell am I talking about? How can everyone's favorite, goofy, Brit really be a propaganda tool? That's how propaganda works. If it is obvious, it isn't any good. "Last Week Tonight" is really good propaganda because the show, and its host John Oliver pretend to be truth tellers against propaganda.

Oliver sells himself as the brave and noble truth teller, a much needed check to the power of the mainstream media. But Oliver only mimics speaking truth to power and standing up for the little guy. He appears to plant his flag on the high ground of rational thought, moral superiority and common sense, and waves it with a robust sense of self-satisfaction. This is all little more than theatrics though, because the reality is that John Oliver doesn't speak truth to power, he is merely a puppet of power, a useful idiot, a weapon they use to pacify and control those who believe themselves to be well informed and deeply critical thinkers. The stark truth is that John Oliver doesn't stand up for the little guy, he consistently kisses up and kicks down. And as for being a symbol of rational thinking, Oliver instead waves a red flag of emotion in front of liberals in order to get them on his side and then feeds them misinformation, disinformation and propaganda while they are in their highly emotional state.

"Last Week Tonight's" formula is obvious to any one with a nose for media manipulation, and it executes that formula with a surgical precision week in and week out. Oliver lures 'intellectuals' in with a wonkish bit on a very specific topic, be it infrastructure, the I.R.S., FIFA, NCAA, voting rights in U.S. territories or patents, and then, like a pied piper, once he gets the viewer hooked, he leads them to the establishment narrative he really wants to sell them, usually in the form of a foreign policy or intelligence issue, and they, wanting to not be seen as stupid, unquestioningly accept the story he is selling. If you also notice, when Brave Sir John does critique something "American", it is always and every time a critique of a that very specific thing, and never a critique of America. 

Another thing to take notice of are what type of targets and topics Brave Sir John decides to take on. Just as a quick example of how Brave Sir John earned that nickname...he has taken on both FIFA and the NCAA, two organizations that are universally loathed by every single person who has even the most remote knowledge of them, with the handful of corrupt men running them being the lone exceptions. Another example of Brave Sir John's tremendous, steadfast courage was when he took on both racism (he literally said "fuck racism!!" in regards to Ferguson, Missouri, I shit you not) and cigarette companies. Taking on racism and cigarette companies!! What truly brave stance to take…IN 1964.

Regardless of Brave Sir John's weak kneed choices in segment topics, he never fails to to be a propaganda tool when it comes to the issues that really count. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. So let's take a taste of John Oliver's rotten and rancid pudding, shall we, and see what we come up with. 

On episode two of season two, Oliver followed up his initial mocking of Correa with another flurry of attacks prompted by Correa actually defending himself against Oliver's baseless buffoonery the week before.

Episode three had Oliver belittling another countries finance minister, this time Greece, who had the temerity to take on the IMF. What a strange coincidence? Three episodes into season three and John Oliver had attacked enemies of the IMF on all three episodes. In this episode, he said Greece's finance minister looked like "Pitbull's uncle", looked "slimy" and probably smelled like "scented lube". All very funny stuff, but once again he was attacking the underdog, not the big bad bully of colonialism and empire. There is comedy to be found in the horror of the Greek economy, but it isn't the cheap kind at the expense of its finance minister. Why didn't Oliver make fun of Goldman Sachs engineering the whole Greek fiasco and then looting the public coffers once Greece was bailed out? Or JP Morgan? Why not make fun of the IMF, which basically ran an extortion racket that oversaw the entire Greek collapse? Is that not funny to John Oliver? Would his self described intellectual audience not "get it", like they "get" his making fun of the way the finance minister dresses and looks? Why not make fun of Germany for accomplishing what Hitler never did, conquering and ruling all of Europe without having to fire a single shot, by bailing out their reckless banks at the expense of the Greeks? The reason why Oliver wouldn't take that approach to the issue is obvious, it is contrary to the narrative the establishment is feeding the populace. Oliver's job is not to challenge the establishment narrative, but to reinforce it.

Episode three turned out to be a propaganda tour-de-force, as it also gave us Oliver's brave and cutting edge stance on Ukraine. His stance, not surprisingly, is identical to the mainstream media's and U.S. governments official stance…that EVIL PUTIN™ started that horrific war. What a brave and shocking stance to take!! The real comedy here is that anyone with the slightest bit of sense, curiosity and courage knows that the U.S. intelligence community started the Maidan protests and the civil war in Ukraine. The U.S. planned, funded and executed the whole thing, from soup to nuts. In a genuine piece of comedy completely ignored by Brave Sir John, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was caught on tape during one of her phone calls saying as much. Even some Government-friendly media outlets like the BBC have reported that the snipers on rooftops at the Maidan who shot and killed protestors, weren't government forces, but rather some shadowy group attached to the protesters who were trying to start a revolution.

A great way to smell an establishment rat is to listen to them when they speak of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. has been at war with Russia for at least the bunch of years. The war started out purely in the form of propaganda (remember the Socchi Olympics and the media assault on all things Russian?), and has now morhped into a proxy shooting war in Ukraine and Syria. As many people who have senselessly died in these terrible wars, one of the greatest casualties has been the truth. There is, believe it or not, comedy to be found in Ukraine, Syria, Putin et al, but it is in the way the establishment group-think has to contort reality in order to make it fit their preconceived narrative. John Oliver is more than happy to ignore the contorting, and just mouth the same old party line in regards to these deadly serious issues. 

Now, you may be thinking, wait, Putin is a tyrant and a monster!! He wants the Soviet Union to come back and he wants to dominate Europe!! Look, I am not making the case that Putin is some saint, but like Correa, he is a true nationalist, and he is certainly not half of what the U.S. media and officialdom have painted him to be. For instance, there have been multiple accusations by the powers that be here in the U.S. that Putin has sent Russian troops into Ukraine. The problem is that there is no proof of this. It would be nice to have proof, because, as I am fond of saying, "proof proves things." But the charge has been made so often that it is now taken for granted that it is reality. It isn't reality, it is establishment fiction and propaganda.

The same is true of MH- 17, the plane shot down over Ukraine, killing all aboard. The U.S. said in the immediate aftermath of the shoot down that it had proof that Russia or Russian backed separatists shot down the plane. Again, there is no proof of this, and for some strange reason, the U.S. seems to have lost it's evidence because out hasn't released it. Maybe Russians did shoot the plane down, but there is no PROOF that they did. "Proof proves things!"  But again, this charge has been repeated so often by the media and establishment that it is taken as completely true.

The charge that Putin had a second rate political rival, Boris Nemtsov, assassinated in Moscow also became a part of the establishment narrative, and not surprisingly, there is no proof that is true ( Remember..."Proof proves things!!"), nor is there much logical sense to the accusation when you take Nemtsov's lack of political standing or threat to Putin into the equation. That didn't stop John Oliver on episode 4, from doing an entirely predictable bit about it though, that was completely uncritical of the U.S. official narrative. John Oliver, if he so wished, could have a field day holding the U.S. government's feet to the fire regarding their statements and actions in regards to Russia and Putin, but he has no interest in doing that. His only interest is in buttressing the story being told by those in power because he is not a truth teller, he is a lap-dog to power.

The most glaring example of Oliver being an incurious lap-dog for the establishment, was when he travelled to Russia and interviewed whistleblower Edward Snowden. The interview was so confrontational, and so obviously a piece of contrived propaganda that I was left slack jawed at the audacity of it. The propaganda script was easy to see from the get-go as Oliver started off the bit by playing like he was scared to death by just being in Russia. He was, in particular, very frightened because…shudder...across the way was the old KGB building from back in the Soviet Union days. He quivered like a nubile starlet in a horror film at the thought that the KGB, which has been defunct for over twenty years, might come and get him. He also was worried that they were 'eavesdropping'  and 'listening' to his conversations, even going so far as to talk to the imaginary microphones hidden in the room. This was particularly odd since the Russians aren't the ones who are proven to eavesdrop, THE U.S.. is the country that does that!! "Proof proves things…like NSA spying!!"

For some reason, Oliver also played up the drama that Snowden was an hour late for the interview. This was so strange as Oliver made it seem like a huge piece of intrigue, but the reality is that people sometimes get stuck in traffic, it happens. But Oliver made it out to be an intensely dramatic moment which was odd in and of itself. When Snowden showed, Oliver proved himself to be an even bigger douchebag than I had already thought he was. He proceeded to be completely adversarial, and frankly rude, to Snowden, even holding him accountable for the New York Times screwing up an article and putting out some classified information on ISIS in Mosul. He blamed Snowden for the mistake and called the situation a "major fuck up". This is just the most twisted and tortured sort of anti-logic imaginable, but it is right in line with the contortions propaganda salesmen routinely peddle. You see…according to Oliver, the U.S. government reads all our emails and listens to our phone calls, but Snowden is the bad guy because THE NEW YORK TIMES FUCKED UP. Got it, thanks again Brave Sir John for the "insight".

Things went downhill from there as Oliver proceeded to minimize the importance of the information Snowden released because it was "too complex" for regular people to really understand. He also dropped in a beauty of a throw away statement, namely that Julian Assange, creator of Wikileaks, was a "bad" guy and not likable. Good to know, Brave Sir John, thanks again for that nearly subliminal "insight" that is devoid of any context. He then proceeded to say it is hard to "wrap your head around perfect privacy vs perfect security."  Great straw man from Brave Sir John, as that is an entirely false argument. "Perfect security" is an impossibility, while "perfect privacy" is not.

Brave Sir John then followed this up by showing videos of people interviewed in Times Square who had no idea who Snowden was or what information he released. Oliver assured the viewer that these interviews were COMPLETELY representative!! Trust him!! Brave Sir John would never lie!! This is the oldest trick in the book in order to bolster your preconceived opinion…go and watch, if you dare, Bill O'Reilly's segment, "Water's World",  if you don't believe me. Or any "man on the street" segment on any two-bit show anywhere. This nonsense was followed by Oliver undermining the vital importance of the NSA survelience issue by reducing it to a bit on "dick pics". That is some solid, top notch, "insightful" comedy from America's favorite rat-faced, establishment lap-dog. Oliver succeeded in doing what Snowden himself said in the film Citizenfour the media would do to him to obfuscate the NSA spying issue, they would make the story about him and not about the NSA spying. Brave Sir John played that game plan perfectly. 

In response to the Oliver piece, all the cable channels, officialdom's own public relations department, did stories on the interview and sure enough, they all took shots at Snowden and diminished his truly brave work and service. On Chris Matthews reliably revolting show, he had a group of guests on, each more repugnant than the next, who all took the same courageous stance that John Oliver took, that Edward Snowden was a "leaker", and not a "whistleblower". Washington Post Establishment shill extraordinaire, the achingly ambitious yet utterly vacuous Jonathon Capehart, ended the Chris Mathews show segment by declaring Edward Snowden was "smug". Thanks for the thoughtful analysis Jonathon, have you ever heard of the phrase, "pot calling the kettle black?"

The most disturbing part of the entire Snowden affair happened a few days later, when I overheard some very liberal friends talking about Oliver's interview with Snowden. These true- blue liberals lapped up everything John Oliver had fed them. One of them kept mis-stating that Snowden "was the 'wiki-leaks' guy", showing that Oliver's disinformation and obfuscation campaign was a huge success with his target audience. Of course my liberal friends, like the rest of Brave Sir John's audience, think they are astoundingly well informed, but are, in reality, really dangerously mis-informed.

Oliver has proven, with his constant regurgitation of establishment narratives, on Putin, Snowden and Correa in particular, that he is a propaganda tool for the powers that be. If you watch his show closely enough, you will notice that John Oliver never, ever questions the things the Establishment holds dear... U.S. foreign policy, the Intelligence community, Israel, capitalism, The War on Terror, or the establishment itself. Brave Sir John is, at heart, a corporatist and Imperialist, which should come as no surprise since he is currently an employee of Time-Warner. 

It is important to understand that John Oliver is the symptom, not the disease, which is ironic because Brave Sir John only feels comfortable pointing out very specific symptoms on his show, and never the bigger disease. This is what the intelligence community does, they co-opt popular culture to their benefit in order to shape opinion. They manipulate, dominate, and misinform people through pop culture, media and film. It isn't just Brave Sir John, it is Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and even...gasp…Jon Stewart!! I know people will have a tough time swallowing the charge against Jon Stewart, but go take a look at his interview with Kathryn Bigelow, director of Zero Dark Thirty, a well known propaganda piece, the day after the Senate Torture report came out showing that her film was filled with convenient lies for the intelligence community. Stewart and Bill Maher both had the same reaction to Bigelow when they interviewed her in the same week, they both ignored the torture and propaganda issue and instead let Bigelow plug her work involving African elephants. Stewart started his interview by bringing up the torture topic and asking her thoughts, and Bigelow simply replied, "it's been a tough week"...End of discussion, Stewart dropped the subject…NOW let's talk elephants!! It was truly bizarre on Stewarts part, but at least he asked her thoughts, Bill Maher ignored the topic altogether when Bigelow was on his show later in the week.

These "clowns", Oliver, Stewart, Colbert and Maher shape and form public opinion and thought, particularly on the political left. These guys and their imitators are insidious because they use the ruse of being rebellious comedians who scrutinize authority to actually cover their vehement defense and cultural enforcement of all things establishment. It is all the more insipid because these men are held up, and hold themselves up, as a vital check and balance to establishment authority. These clowns only play the role of court jester, but never have the courage to actually speak the truth to the ruling powers or challenge their authority. They are less like the court jesters of old and more like the court eunuchs. They are more interested in staying relevant and in good graces with the establishment than in growing a pair of balls and telling the truth.

Do I think that CIA operatives are sitting in the writers room at HBO or Comedy Central…no…well..probably not. That is not necessarily how it works. But I would say that John Oliver, Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert wouldn't have their jobs on television if they weren't vociferous establishmentarians. Would some corporate entity with a television channel have given a weekly or daily show to George Carlin or Bill Hicks when they were alive or if they were alive today? Not in a million years, because those guys directly challenged the establishment, their foundation of power and their false narratives. They didn't dance and giggle around specific symptoms like John Oliver, they punched hard and often by diagnosing the whole god-damned disease. And where are the Carlin's and Hick's of this new generation of comedians? They might be out there, but they won't be getting work on corporate television anytime soon. Guys like Carlin and Hicks are anathema to the corporatist, imperial system and the powers that be who run it. Dangerous comedians will be frozen out of the process entirely. That's how the game works.

In a normal world, comedy is found in being contrarian. But not with the comedy or propaganda we get from Brave Sir John and his ilk. Brave Sir John just tells people what they want to hear…that they are really, really smart!! That what they read in the New York Times and Washington Post is true!! Oh…and they are really smart BECAUSE they read the NY Times and Washington Post and can regurgitate the establishment party line on all matters big and small!! In reality, John Oliver and his ilk are cowards. They won't take on true power, which makes John Oliver in particular…and I'll use a British term here he will definitely be able to understand…a fecking twat.

"Last Week Tonight" begins its third season tonight, Sunday, February 14. I will be tuning in to watch if only to observe and note the propaganda that Brave Sir John will be selling. I will try and keep a running tally as season three progresses. If you watch the show, and if you like the show, watch it with a sharply critical eye. Watch how Brave Sir John lulls you into a false sense of liberal camaraderie and superiority, and then pay attention when he sells you the Establishment line. 

I know some of you may think I'm crazy, or an idiot, or both, well rest assured, you are in good and crowded company. But understand, I am not asking that you agree with me in thinking that John Oliver is a propaganda tool for the establishment, I am simply asking you to BE CONSCIOUS AND AWARE when you watch his show. There is more going with on with "Last Week Tonight" than meets the eye. Wake up and see through the bullshit you're being fed, whether it's the mainstream media or an "alternative" comedian who is feeding it to you.

I leave you know with a relevant quote from the wonderful writer and intellectual Chris Hedges.

"Those few who acknowledge the death of our democracy, the needless suffering inflicted on the poor and the working class in the name of austerity, and the crimes of empire—in short those who name our present and past reality—are whitewashed out of the public sphere. If you pay homage to the fiction of the democratic state and the supposed “virtues” of the nation, including its right to wage endless imperial war, you get huge fees, tenure, a television perch, book, film or recording contracts, grants and prizes, investors for your theater project or praise as an pundit, artist or public intellectual. The pseudo-politicians, pseudo-intellectuals and pseudo-artists know what to say and what not to say. They offer the veneer of criticism—comedians such as Stephen Colbert do this—without naming the cause of our malaise. And they are used by the elites as attack dogs to discredit and destroy genuine dissent. This is not, as James Madison warned, the prologue to a farce or a tragedy; we are living both farce and tragedy." - Chris Hedges, The Great Forgetting 1/10/2016
EPISODE 2 : THE JOHN OLVIER TWIST : THE DRUMPF AFFAIR AND LITTLE BILL MAHER'S POWER FETISH
EPISODE 3 : THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST : WAXING BRAZILIAN AND WANING CREDIBILITY
EPISODE 4 : THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST : OUT-TRUMPING TRUMP ON THE GREAT WALL OF TRUMP
EPISODE 5 : THE JOHN OLIVER TWIST : THINGS SAID AND UNSAID
©2016