The bulk of this post is about the Trump/Obama election connection. But before we get to that, we must take care of a related issue.
Eighteen hours ago, Kurt Eichenwald tweeted
The stupid acceptance of fake news and propaganda is both a left and right problem, and both believe it's THEIR propaganda that's true.
Case in point
, from Daily Kos:
The following brief excerpt is from a recent Huffington Post article:
New Pre-Election Poll Suggests Bernie Sanders Could Have Trounced Donald Trump
The DNC failed our party and we lost, not just the Presidency but many down ticket races. In fact, Democrats have been losing election cycle after cycle at every level because the DNC has been interfering in party democracy to effect a result that fits their ideology and keeps like-minded Democrats in power.
And so on. You get the picture. On the insanity scale, this rates right up there with the madness spewed by the fake right-wing news sites described here
That poll is meaningless, since there was no media opposition to Bernie Sanders. It's easy to become a nationally-beloved figure when you receive nothing but slippery slobbery deep-dish fellation from writers on both the right and left.
We know from Eichenwald that the GOP had a massive oppo file on Sanders, including video of Bernie participating in a Nicaraguan rally (back in the day) when chants of "The Yankee Must Die!" filled the air. There also seems to be video of Bernie singing the praises of the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran. Sanders wanted to increase middle class tax rates to match those currently imposed on Bill Gates. Sanders has a history of links to groups which explicitly promote the end of capitalism and the state ownership of the means of production. Sanders promoted Big Government at a time when 69% of the electorate says Big Government is our greatest problem. Polls make clear that, for the vast majority of American, the word "socialist" is a deal-breaker -- and no amount of otiose argumentation over the true meaning of the S-word can change that number.
In short and in sum: Bernie Sanders would have lost all 50 states.
As for the supposedly all-powerful DNC -- I refer you to this important piece by Eichenwald
, referenced in an earlier post.
The DNC, just like the Republican National Committee, is an impotent organization with very little power. It is composed of the chair and vice chair of the Democratic parties of each state, along with over 200 members elected by Democrats. What it does is fundraise, organize the Democratic National Convention and put together the party platform. It handles some organizational activity but tries to hold down its expenditures during the primaries; it has no authority to coordinate spending with any candidate until the party’s nominee is selected.
The RNC had no power to stop the rise of Trump. What makes anyone think that the DNC had the power to deep-six Bernie?
Even if it possessed such power, the DNC did absolutely nothing to impede Bernie Sanders. This is not a matter of opinion; it's a matter of provable history. The Eichenwald article mentioned above establishes that point beyond rational debate. Anyone who reads that piece and still believes that the DNC backstabbed Bernie is either a fruitcake or a paid propagandist.
All of which functions as prelude to our main story: The Obama/Trump connection.
I am heartened to see a flurry of articles about the serious problem posed by fake news stories circulating on Facebook and Reddit. Even Obama has weighed in on this issue
But instead of basking in the glow of his valedictory tour of Europe, Mr. Obama used the moment to make a passionate and pointed attack on bogus news stories disseminated on Facebook and other social media platforms, twice calling such false reports a threat to democracy in his hourlong news conference.
Good to know. But we must also understand that left-wing sites
are a prime target of these bots and deceivers. We must further understand that Obama himself attained office in 2008 through the use of such tactics
In an earlier Cannonfire piece, I wrote the following of the first election Hillary should have won:
That year saw not just a fevered political campaign but the creation of a genuine cult of personality. Big blogs like Daily Kos and TPM were inundated with comments from individuals never seen before or since, and they all spread horrific lies and rumors about Hillary and Bill Clinton while lauding Obama in reverential, almost messianic terms.
Were these personas? Were the Obots actually...bots?
Don't be silly. The question isn't even a question.
My own blog, humble as it was, got battered by a "vitriol monsoon." The hate-spew came every few minutes, day and night. Software was obviously involved. A large amount of that hate commentary -- including several death threats -- came from the same ISP in Chicago, Illinois. The home of the Obama campaign.
If that happened here, it surely happened on a much grander scale on Kos and HuffPo.
Obama's campaign attack dog, David Axelrod, runs a little-known company called ASK, which -- surprise, surprise -- manipulates public opinion through the creation of astroturf (fake grassroots support for a policy, company or candidate). "Persona software" was created for the purpose of astroturfing. You know damned well that a cutting-edge firm like ASK has a copy of that software.
We have discussed ASK in a previous post. One of Axelrod's campaigns involved spreading a completely false revisionist history of the California energy crisis; he did this in order to help a public utility drum up support for a rate hike.
Answer honestly: How do Axelrod's tactics in 2008 differ from what we see here
An automated army of pro-Donald J. Trump chatbots overwhelmed similar programs supporting Hillary Clinton five to one in the days leading up to the presidential election, according to a report published Thursday by researchers at Oxford University.
The chatbots — basic software programs with a bit of artificial intelligence and rudimentary communication skills — would send messages on Twitter based on a topic, usually defined on the social network by a word preceded by a hashtag symbol, like #Clinton.
Their purpose: to rant, confuse people on facts, or simply muddy discussions, said Philip N. Howard, a sociologist at the Oxford Internet Institute and one of the authors of the report. If you were looking for a real debate of the issues, you weren’t going to find it with a chatbot.
“They’re yelling fools,” Dr. Howard said. “And a lot of what they pass around is false news.”
“The use of automated accounts was deliberate and strategic throughout the election,” the researchers wrote in the report, published by the Project on Algorithms, Computational Propaganda and Digital Politics at Oxford.
Because the chatbots were almost entirely anonymous and were frequently bought in secret from companies or individual programmers, it was not possible to directly link the activity to either campaign, except for a handful of “joke” bots created by Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, they noted.
However, there was evidence that the mystery chatbots were part of an organized effort.
Michelle Obama said "When they go low, we go high." She lied. Trump went low -- and won -- because Obama went low -- and won.