In FTR #718 (recorded on Independence Day weekend of 2010), we noted that the new social medium–Facebook-might very well be the opposite of the liberating, empowering entity many believed it to be.
On the contrary, we said–it received financial backing from the CIA, permits unprecedented gathering and databasing of users’ personal information, and might very well be a “panopticon”–a type of prison in which the interned can never see his or her jailers, but their keepers can see the interned at all times.
In particular, we noted the prominent position of major Facebook investor Peter Thiel in “Mondo Zuckerberg.” Of German (and probable I.G. Farben) origins, we opined that Thiel was Underground Reich. Opposed to democracy because he feels it is inimical to wealth creation and doesn’t believe women should be allowed to vote, Thiel has now emerged as one of the most prominent of Donald Trump’s supporters, transition team creators and influential policy wonks.
Whereas we explored the “virtual panopticon” concept of Facebook with a question mark in 2010, we now feel affirmatively on the issue.
A very important story from New York magazine sets forth Facebook’s role in the just-concluded election. ” . . . . Facebook’s size, reach, wealth, and power make it effectively the only one that matters. And, boy, does it matter. At the risk of being hyperbolic, I think there are few events over the last decade more significant than the social network’s wholesale acquisition of the traditional functions of news media (not to mention the political-party apparatus). Trump’s ascendancy is far from the first material consequence of Facebook’s conquering invasion of our social, cultural, and political lives, but it’s still a bracing reminder of the extent to which the social network is able to upend existing structure and transform society — and often not for the better. . . .
” . . . . Facebook’s enormous audience, and the mechanisms of distribution on which the site relies — i.e., the emotionally charged activity of sharing, and the show-me-more-like-this feedback loop of the news feed algorithm — makes it the only site to support a genuinely lucrative market in which shady publishers arbitrage traffic by enticing people off of Facebook and onto ad-festooned websites, using stories that are alternately made up, incorrect, exaggerated beyond all relationship to truth, or all three. . . .
” . . . . And at the heart of the problem, anyway, is not the motivations of the hoaxers but the structure of social media itself. Tens of millions of people, invigorated by insurgent outsider candidates and anger at perceived political enemies, were served up or shared emotionally charged news stories about the candidates, because Facebook’s sorting algorithm understood from experience that they were seeking such stories. Many of those stories were lies, or ‘parodies,’ but their appearance and placement in a news feed were no different from those of any publisher with a commitment to, you know, not lying. As those people and their followers clicked on, shared, or otherwise engaged with those stories — which they did, because Trump drives engagement extremely bigly — they were served up even more of them. The engagement-driving feedback loop reached the heights of Facebook itself, which shared fake news to its front page on more than one occasion after firing the small team of editorial employees tasked with passing news judgment. . . .
” . . . . Something like 170 million people in North America use Facebook every day, a number that’s not only several orders of magnitude larger than even the most optimistic circulation reckonings of major news outlets but also about one-and-a-half times as many people as voted on Tuesday. Forty-four percent of all adults in the United States say they get news from Facebook . . . ”
Symptomatic of Facebook’s filter of what its users see concerns the social medium’s recent non-coverage of the women’s march:
” . . . . We don’t usually post on Pando at the weekend, but this is too topical and too shameful to wait until Monday. As you certainly know, today is the day of the Women’s March on Washington in protest of Donald Trump. The main event is in DC, where something close to 500,000 protesters of all genders and ages have packed the streets — but there are also major protests in Chicago, New York and around the world. Including Antarctica.
You certainly know this because the protest march is the top story on every major news outlet, and because updates and photos from the event are flooding your Twitter and Facebook feeds.
And yet, here’s what Facebook’s trending news feed looked like at the height of the march…
And here’s its trending politics feed…
Notice anything missing?
Like, say, a half million women? . . .
In case you think I’m seeing something different from the rest of the world, be assured I’m not….”
Facebook has changed its algorithm, no longer factoring in “likes” and other personal preferences in determining its news feed.
This, however, does not bode as well as Facebook would like us to believe. Facebook has promoted, among others, Campbell Brown, to an important position in structuring its news feed: ” . . . . Brown has longstanding ties not just to the traditional news media, but also to conservative politics, although she describes herself as a political independent. She is a close personal friend of Betsy DeVos, the Republican megadonor who is Donald Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, and is married to Dan Senor, a former top advisor to Mitt Romney who also served as spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority in the wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. . . .
. . . . And alongside her mainstream media experience, Brown is familiar with the world of non-traditional news outlets springing up online. In 2014, she founded a nonprofit news site, The 74, which bills itself as nonpartisan but which critics have said functions as advocacy journalism, tilted in favor of charter schools and against teachers’ unions. The site was launched with money from donors including the foundation run by DeVos, Trump’s proposed Education Secretary. When the nomination was announced, Brown said she would recuse herself from The 74’s coverage of DeVos. . .”
Brown is joined by Tucker Bounds, a former John McCain adviser and spokesman for the McCain/Palin campaign.
Exemplifying the terrifying possibilities of the virtual panopticon, we examine the nexus of Cambridge Analytica, its principal investors, Robert and Rebekah Mercer and Steve Bannon, a key member of the firm’s board of directors and a political guru to Rebekah. ” . . . . For several years, a data firm eventually hired by the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, has been using Facebook as a tool to build psychological profiles that represent some 230 million adult Americans. A spinoff of a British consulting company and sometime-defense contractor known for its counterterrorism ‘psy ops’ work in Afghanistan, the firm does so by seeding the social network with personality quizzes. Respondents — by now hundreds of thousands of us, mostly female and mostly young but enough male and older for the firm to make inferences about others with similar behaviors and demographics — get a free look at their Ocean scores. Cambridge Analytica also gets a look at their scores and, thanks to Facebook, gains access to their profiles and real names.
“Cambridge Analytica worked on the ‘Leave’ side of the Brexit campaign. In the United States it takes only Republicans as clients: Senator Ted Cruz in the primaries, Mr. Trump in the general election. Cambridge is reportedly backed by Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire and a major Republican donor; a key board member is Stephen K. Bannon, the head of Breitbart News who became Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman and is set to be his chief strategist in the White House. . .
” . . . . Their [the Mercers] data firm, Cambridge Analytica, was hired by the Cruz campaign. They switched to support Trump shortly after he clinched the nomination, and he eventually hired Cambridge Analytica, as well. Their top political guru is Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart News chairman and White House chief strategist. They’re close, too, with Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who also has a senior role in the White House. They never speak to the press and hardly ever even release a public statement. Like Trump himself, they’ve flouted the standard playbook for how things are done in politics. . . .”
Bannon’s influence on Rebekah Mercer is particularly strong: ” . . . Another of the Republican operatives described Bannon as the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ to Rebekah Mercer, and a third was even more pointed: ‘Svengali.’ Bannon is ‘really, really, really influential’ with Mercer, said the former Breitbart employee. The Mercers, the former employee said, made their wishes known through Bannon, who would sometimes cite the company’s financial backers as a reason for Breitbart not to do a story. Bannon didn’t respond to a request for comment about this. . . .”
In turn, the influence of Steve Bannon within the Facebook virtual panopticon is even more sinister considering Bannon’s political outlook: ” . . . . But, said the source, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about Bannon, ‘There are some things he’s only going to share with people who he’s tight with and who he trusts.’
Bannon’s readings tend to have one thing in common: the view that technocrats have put Western civilization on a downward trajectory and that only a shock to the system can reverse its decline. And they tend to have a dark, apocalyptic tone that at times echoes Bannon’s own public remarks over the years—a sense that humanity is at a hinge point in history. . . .”
One of the influences on Bannon is Curtis Yarvin, aka Mencius Moldbug, who has actually opened a backchannel advisory connection to the White House: ” . . . . Before he emerged on the political scene, an obscure Silicon Valley computer programmer with ties to Trump backer and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel was explaining his behavior. Curtis Yarvin, the self-proclaimed ‘neoreactionary’ who blogs under the name ‘Mencius Moldbug,’ attracted a following in 2008 when he published a wordy treatise asserting, among other things, that ‘nonsense is a more effective organizing tool than the truth.’ When the organizer of a computer science conference canceled Yarvin’s appearance following an outcry over his blogging under his nom de web, Bannon took note: Breitbart News decried the act of censorship in an article about the programmer-blogger’s dismissal.
Moldbug’s dense, discursive musings on history—’What’s so bad about the Nazis?’ he asks in one 2008 post that condemns the Holocaust but questions the moral superiority of the Allies—include a belief in the utility of spreading misinformation that now looks like a template for Trump’s approach to truth. ‘To believe in nonsense is an unforgeable [sic] demonstration of loyalty. It serves as a political uniform. And if you have a uniform, you have an army,’ he writes in a May 2008 post.’It’s been a while since I posted anything really controversial and offensive here,’ he begins in a July 25, 2007, post explaining why he associates democracy with ‘war, tyranny, destruction and poverty.’
Moldbug, who does not do interviews and could not be reached for this story, has reportedly opened up a line to the White House, communicating with Bannon and his aides through an intermediary, according to a source. Yarvin said he has never spoken with Bannon. . . .”
After discussing Facebook’s new AI technology being employed to search users’ photos, the program concludes with the shift of Silicon Valley money to the GOP.
Program Highlights Include: review of Steve Bannon’s role on the NSC; review of the martial law contingency plans drawn up by Oliver North during the Reagan administration, involving the deputizing of paramilitary right-wingers; review of Erik Prince’s relationship to the Trump administration and Betsy De Vos, Trump’s education secretary.
The title of the program derives from “the Himmler Kreis”–Himmler’s circle of friends, the industrialists who financed the day-to-day workings of the Nazi SS and, in turn, received slave labor from Himmler’s inventory of incarcerated workers. We borrow on the Third Reich term to characterize the Friends of Trump–the Trumpen Kreis.
Beginning with review of UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, we note the “Brexit” architect’s support for Donald Trump. In addition, we note that Farage has a German wife. Under other circumstances this would be unremarkable. In the context of covert operations/clandestine politics, a romantic/sexual partner/spouse might also be a case officer and/or paymaster.
We bring this up because the “Brexit” engineered by Farage and company removed a major obstacle to the creation of a German-dominated EU military force. ” . . . . With Britain, which had always adamantly opposed an integrated EU military policy, leaving the EU, Berlin sees an opportunity for reviving its efforts at restructuring the EU’s military and mobilizing as many member countries as possible for the EU’s future wars. . . .”
Interestingly, and perhaps significantly, Donald Trump has drawn support from Hindu nationalists of the Modi stripe. There is an important element of networking here: Trump campaign manager and “Alt-right” media figure Stephen K. Bannon is a supporter of Modi’s movement, as well as that of Nigel Farage. ” . . . . Mr. Trump may be largely indifferent to the reasons behind his Hindu loyalists’ fervor, but his most senior advisers are not. The campaign’s chief executive, Stephen K. Bannon, is a student of nationalist movements. Mr. Bannon is close to Nigel Farage, a central figure in Britain’s movement to leave the European Union, and he is an admirer of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist Mr. Bannon has called ‘the Reagan of India.’ It may be pure coincidence that some of Mr. Trump’s words channel the nationalistic and, some argue, anti-Muslim sentiments that Mr. Modi stoked as he rose to power. But it is certainly not coincidental that many of Mr. Trump’s biggest Hindu supporters are also some of Mr. Modi’s most ardent backers. . . .”
Trump has also received the support of the mercurial, bombastic Russian fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, whose political career was launched with the assistance of Gerhard Frey, a prominent German Nazi. Trump and Zhirinovsky have overlapping political styles: ” . . . . His combative style, reminiscent of Trump’s, ensures him plenty of television air time and millions of votes in Russian elections, often from the kind of blue-collar workers who are the bedrock of the U.S. Republican candidate’s support. Zhirinovsky once proposed blocking off mostly Muslim southern Russia with a barbed wire fence, echoing Trump’s call for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Zhirinovsky, who said he met Trump in New York in 2002, revels in his similarities with the American businessman – they are the same age, favor coarse, sometimes misogynistic language and boast about putting their own country first. . . .”
In FTR #921, we noted that Trump kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed and read it to gain tips on the use of rhetoric. He appears to have borrowed a play from Der Fuhrer’s rhetorical playbook when addressing the Values Voters Summit: ” . . . He regaled the crowd of Christian voters in his usual bombastic way, but near the end of the speech, Trump seemed to play into the hands of his accusers who claim that not only does Trump remind people of infamous dictators like Italian fascist Benito Mussolini and German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler with his jingoism, blatant nativist nationalism, and over-the-top fact-twisting scapegoating, but he sounds like them as well. He paraphrased the infamous Nazi Party slogan, ‘Ein volk, ein reich, ein Fuhrer!’ . . . If one saw the speech, or watches it in replay, Trump begins raising his voice on the first use of the word ‘one,’emphasizing each part of the verbal triptych. Not only does he invoke the traditional lines from the Pledge of Allegiance, he progresses from, just as the Nazi Party slogan does, ‘one people’ (‘ein volk’) to ‘under one god’ (an implied unified Christian nation or ‘ein reich’) to ‘one flag’ (‘ein Fuhrer,’ the symbol of a unified nation). . . .”
Trump is also borrowing a rhetorical page from the Nazi playbook in his attacks on the press: ” . . . . On Saturday night, a new and foreign accusation came to the fore: ‘Lügenpresse!’ The term, which means ‘lying press’ in German, has a history dating back to the mid-1800s and was used by the Nazis to discredit the media. In recent years, it has been revived by German far-right anti-immigrant groups. And on Saturday, it made an appearance at a Trump rally in Cleveland, Ohio. . . Breitbart News [edited by Trump campaign manager Stephen K. Bannon] reported favorably on the term in an interview earlier this year with the leader of the German far-right group PEGIDA, writing, ‘It will come as no surprise to many that the mainstream media would lash out against a word that highlights their own, intentional failings. But [Lutz] Bachmann’s PEGIDA has popularized the term to the point where it has become a pillar — even a rallying cry — for the nationalist, populist movements across the continent.’ . . . Meanwhile, the hatred toward the press among the larger population of Trump supporters grows increasingly pronounced nearly every day. In these final weeks of the campaign, at nearly every rally, Trump riles up his audience against the press as reporters sit in the media pen, easy targets for vitriol. Reporters disembarking the press bus at Trump’s rally in Naples, Florida, on Sunday, the day after the ‘lügenpresse’ incident, were immediately greeted by boos and shouts of ‘Tell the truth!’ . . . ”
Concluding the broadcast, we note that David French, a conservative veteran of the Iraq war, has been viciously trolled by Trump’s Alt-Right followers because of his adoption of an Ethiopian orphan: ” . . . . In particular, the alt-right made a point to attack French’s youngest daughter, whom his family had adopted from Ethiopia. You see, alt-righters view bringing in children of color to America as the ultimate betrayal of the white race, which is why they had particular scorn for French. ‘I saw images of my daughter’s face in gas chambers, with a smiling Trump in a Nazi uniform preparing to press a button and kill her,’ he writes. ‘I saw her face photo-shopped into images of slaves. She was called a ‘niglet’ and a ‘dindu.’ The alt-right unleashed on my wife, Nancy, claiming that she had slept with black men while I was deployed to Iraq, and that I loved to watch while she had sex with ‘black bucks.’ People sent her pornographic images of black men having sex with white women, with someone photoshopped to look like me, watching. . . There is nothing at all rewarding, enjoyable, or satisfying about seeing man after man after man brag in graphic terms that he has slept with your wife. It’s unsettling to have a phone call interrupted, watch images of murder flicker across your screen, and read threatening e-mails. It’s sobering to take your teenage kids out to the farm to make sure they’re both proficient with handguns in case an intruder comes when they’re home alone.”
Program Highlights Include: Review of Trump’s links with the Steuben Society; review of the Steuben Society’s position in the Nazi underground in this country, before, during and after World War II; review of the political resume of Gerhard Frey; discussion of Blacks for Trump supporter “Michael the Black man” and his background in a murderous, anti-Semitic cult.
QUICK: How many Presidential candidates can you name who kept a book of Adolf Hitler’s speeches by their bedside? Donald Trump does. For many years, what Mr. Emory terms “The Underground Reich” has been a fundamental point of discussion and analysis in these broadcasts and posts. In the third program analyzing the Donald Trump campaign, we examine the “Trumpenkampfverbande,” its political antecedents and adherents. Exemplifying, and networking with, generations of fascists and fascist organizations, the Trumpenkampfverbande embodies the emergence of the Underground Reich into plain view. A signature element of Trump’s campaign is his resuscitation of the “America First” slogan and concept, a manifestation both of his thinly-veiled appeal to Nazi and white supremacist elements and his willingness to cede dominance over world affairs to a German-dominated “third power bloc.” The America First concept mobilizes powerful feelings among those feeling overwhelmed and left behind by political and economic developments globally and in the United States. We note that the “original” America First was financed by Nazi Germany. Trump’s invocation of America First exemplifies the nature of his political heritage and allegiances. One of his top advisers Joseph E. Schmitz, “obsessed with all things German” and, according to associates, someone who “fired the Jews” (from the Pentagon) and manifested Holocaust denial. This is not atypical of “Team Trump.” One of the most important figures in mainstreaming “alt right” (i.e. Nazi, white nationalist and anti-Semitic) attitudes has been Breitbart’s Steve Bannon, now essentially running the Trump campaign. Trump and his campaign have a habit of re-tweeting information from “alt right” websites and message boards. Of primary significance in analyzing Trump concerns the main financial backer of his real estate projects–Deutsche Bank. In addition to the fact that this places a potential President in the position of owing upwards of $100 million to an institution that has openly defied U.S. regulatory positions, Deutsche Bank is a primary element of the remarkable and deadly Bormann capital network, about which we speak so often. Program Highlights Include: Analysis of the possibility that Trump’s father was in the Ku Klux Klan; review of Trump’s association with former Axis spy Norman Vincent Peale; review of Trump’s counsel–Senator Joe McCarthy aide Roy Cohn; Trump’s additional financial backing from George Soros, who got his start in business “Aryanizing” Jewish property during the Holocaust; Trump’s tweeting of a campaign ad featuring Waffen SS-clad World War II re-enactors; The enthusiastic suppoprt Trump has received from David Duke.
” . . . . asked if his father had lived at 175-24 Devonshire Road—the address listed for the Fred Trump arrested at the 1927 Klan rally—Donald dismissed the claim as ‘totally false’ . . . . according to at least one archived newspaper clip, Fred Trump . . . lived at 175-24 Devonshire Road: A wedding announcement in the January 22, 1936 issue of the Long Island Daily Press, places Fred Trump at that address, and refers to his wife as ‘Mary MacLeod,’which is Donald Trump’s mother’s maiden name. . . .”
It is comparatively rare to see articles in the mainstream press mentioning the profound support for Nazi Germany among American industrialists, financiers and political elite. A rare instance is a recent Daily Mail article from the UK. In addition to discussing the links between the Thyssen industrial empire and the Bush family, the broadcast underscores I.G. Farben’s decisive role in the German war economy and its links to the largest American corporations.
Both the actions of Eddie the Friendly Spook and those of the GOP Congressional faction have caused the world to view the U.S. in “fear and dismay.” This program examines intelligence leaks during World War II that might have proved extremely damaging to the United States. Highlighting elements of commonality between Snowden and the GOP “shutdown” proponents, the broadcast analyzes both as elements of an Underground Reich fifth column.
As America remembers its dead from fallen wars, it is incumbent upon us to remember what caused those wars, and for what ideals our soldiers fought. The political and economic forces that precipitated World War II are only too much with us today, and the commentary by Dorothy Thompson and James Stewart Martin has never been more relevant.