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FTR #937 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 11: Settling In (The Underground Reich Comes into Plain View, Part 4)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by ear­ly win­ter of 2016. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.) (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012.)

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

Waffen SS-clad World War II reenactors, in original photo used by Trump [6]

Waf­fen SS-clad World War II re-enac­tors, in orig­i­nal pho­to used by Trump

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram sets forth some of the incom­ing Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s imple­men­ta­tion of what Mr. Emory has long referred to as “The Under­ground Reich.” Now, the Under­ground Reich is com­ing into plain view, trans­formed into a tri­umphant mass polit­i­cal move­ment.

This broad­cast is, obvi­ous­ly, the eleventh in the series about what we have termed “The Trumpenkampfver­bande.”

As the move­ment takes pow­er we take note of:

Much of the pro­gram focus­es on the media and com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the cor­rup­tion of the very con­cept of truth and the pro­fes­sion of jour­nal­ism. The grow­ing, dom­i­nant phe­nom­e­non of fake news was a major fac­tor in the cam­paign. The growth of social media [15], the role of Wik­iLeaks and the pro­cliv­i­ty of Don­ald Trump and those around him for tweet­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion are herald­ing the trans­for­ma­tion of jour­nal­ism into pro­pa­gan­da.

Among the adher­ents to unsub­stan­ti­at­ed “fake news” [16] (ter­ri­fy­ing­ly) is Trump’s selec­tion for CIA direc­tor, Mike Pom­peo: ” . . . . Rep. Mike Pom­peo of Kansas, Trump’s pick for CIA direc­tor, was described by The Wash­ing­ton Post edi­to­r­i­al board as “one of the more fanat­i­cal pur­vey­ors of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the 2011 ter­ror­ist attacks in Beng­hazi, Libya.” At a hear­ing last year, Pom­peo insin­u­at­ed that Clin­ton had used the Beng­hazi con­sulate for a gun-run­ning oper­a­tion. . . .”

Con­tribut­ing edi­tor Pter­rafractyl post­ed a com­ment [17] on FTR #931 [12] about Trump’s pick to be Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, Michael Fly­nn and his son and advi­sor Michael Fly­nn, Jr. Fly­nn is a big fan of fake news and, like Trump, uses Twit­ter to dis­sem­i­nate it. His son is a chip off the old block, in this sense.

Key fea­tures of the post­ed com­ment and the dis­cus­sion of it include:

Trump’s assault on the press fea­tured a blis­ter­ing attack [26] on broad­cast jour­nal­ists called by Trump to meet with him.

Don­ald Trump is among a num­ber of bil­lion­aires who are work­ing to muz­zle a free press. Trump says he wants to loosen the libel laws [27]. Com­ing at a time when the growth of the inter­net and social media have placed the work­ing press in dire eco­nom­ic straits and with Trump set to appoint fed­er­al judges, includ­ing supreme court judges, we may well see the very con­cept of a free press nul­li­fied alto­geth­er.

The pro­gram clos­es with rumi­na­tions about com­ing assaults on intel­lec­tu­al and aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom and the mean­ing of “free speech.”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1a. We begin with “alt-right” lumi­nary Richard B. Spencer’s greet­ing [8] to his fol­low­ers at a meet­ing held a few blocks from the White House a cou­ple of weeks after Trump’s vic­to­ry:

” ‘Hail Trump’ White Nation­al­ists Salute the Pres­i­dent Elect” by Daniel Lam­broso and Yoni Apple­baum; The Atlantic; 11/21/2016. [8]

“Hail Trump, hail our peo­ple, hail vic­to­ry!”

That’s how Richard B. Spencer salut­ed more than 200 atten­dees on Sat­ur­day, gath­ered at the Ronald Rea­gan Build­ing in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., for the annu­al con­fer­ence of the Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, which describes itself as “an inde­pen­dent orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to the her­itage, iden­ti­ty, and future of  peo­ple of Euro­pean descent in the Unit­ed States, and around the world.” . . .

1b. Spencer ref­er­enced Nazi anti-Semit­ic pro­pa­gan­da, racial the­o­ry and attacks on the media in that same address [9]:

“Alt-Right Exults in Trump’s Elec­tion with a Salute: ‘Heil Vic­to­ry’ ” by Joseph Gold­stein; The New York Times; 11/20/2016.  [9]

By the time Richard B. Spencer, the lead­ing ide­o­logue of the alt-right move­ment and the final speak­er of the night, rose to address a gath­er­ing of his fol­low­ers on Sat­ur­day, the crowd was rest­less. . . .

. . . . He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quot­ed Nazi pro­pa­gan­da in the orig­i­nal Ger­man. Amer­i­ca, he said, belonged to white peo­ple, whom he called the “chil­dren of the sun,” a race of con­querors and cre­ators who had been mar­gin­al­ized but now, in the era of Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald J. Trump, were “awak­en­ing to their own iden­ti­ty.” . . .

. . . Mr. Spencer’s after-din­ner speech began with a polemic against the “main­stream media,” before he briefly paused. “Per­haps we should refer to them in the orig­i­nal Ger­man?” he said.

The audi­ence imme­di­ate­ly screamed back, “Lügen­presse,” reviv­ing a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.”

Mr. Spencer sug­gest­ed that the news media had been crit­i­cal of Mr. Trump through­out the cam­paign in order to pro­tect Jew­ish inter­ests...

. . . “One won­ders if these peo­ple are peo­ple at all, or instead soul­less golem,” he said, refer­ring to a Jew­ish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rab­bi brings to life to pro­tect the Jews. . . .

. . . .Mr. Trump’s elec­tion, Mr. Spencer said, was “the vic­to­ry of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era pro­pa­gan­da film. . . .

1c.Trump’s chief White House advi­sor, “Alt-Right” pub­lish­ing king­pin Stephen P. Ban­non described him­self as an “eco­nom­ic nation­al­ist” and dis­cussed how excit­ing the com­ing peri­od will be. He also ref­er­enced ele­ments he thought were good exem­plars of “dark­ness.”

“Steve Ban­non Speaks out on White Nation­al­ism, Don­ald Trump Agen­da” by Reena Flo­res; CBS News; 11/19/2016. [10]

. . . . . “I’m not a white nation­al­ist, I’m a nation­al­ist. I’m an eco­nom­ic nation­al­ist,” Ban­non told the news out­let ear­li­er this week. “The glob­al­ists gut­ted the Amer­i­can work­ing class and cre­at­ed a mid­dle class in Asia. The issue now is about Amer­i­cans look­ing to not get f—ed over.”

It will be as excit­ing as the 1930s, greater than the Rea­gan rev­o­lu­tion — con­ser­v­a­tives, plus pop­ulists, in an eco­nom­ic nation­al­ist move­ment.” . . . .

. . . .  Ban­non, in the Reporter inter­view, also gave some insight into how he viewed his polit­i­cal foes (pre­sum­ably, lib­er­als and the media) — and the “dark­ness” he touts in fight­ing against them.

“Dark­ness is good,” Ban­non said. “Dick Cheney. Darth Vad­er. Satan. That’s pow­er. It only helps us when they…get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

1d. In a New York Times op-ed piece, Charles Blow her­ald­ed what is com­ing:

“Mak­ing Amer­i­ca White Again” by Charles Blow; The New York Times; 11/21/2016. [12]

This may well be the begin­ning of the end: the ear­ly moments of a his­tor­i­cal piv­ot point, when the slide of the repub­lic into some­thing unto­ward and unrec­og­niz­able still feels like a small col­lec­tion of poor judg­ments and reversible deci­sions, rather than the for­ward edge of an enor­mous men­ace inch­ing its way for­ward and grind­ing up that which we held dear and fool­ish­ly thought, as lovers do, would ever endure. . . .

. . . . In Octo­ber, Fly­nn tweet­ed:

“Fol­low Mike @Cernovich He has a ter­rif­ic book, Goril­la Mind­set. Well worth the read. @realDonaldTrump will win on 8 NOV!!!”

The New York­er dubbed Mike Cer­novich “the meme mas­ter­mind of the alt-right” in a lengthy pro­file.

The mag­a­zine point­ed out:

“On his blog, Cer­novich devel­oped a the­o­ry of white-male iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics: men were oppressed by fem­i­nism, and polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness pre­vent­ed the dis­cus­sion of obvi­ous truths, such as the crim­i­nal pro­cliv­i­ties of cer­tain eth­nic groups.” . . . .

. . . . But not all of Sessions’s issues regard­ing minori­ties have a 30-year vin­tage.

In response to the attor­ney gen­er­al announce­ment, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter issued a state­ment that read in part:

“But we can­not sup­port his nom­i­na­tion to be the country’s next attor­ney gen­er­al. Sen­a­tor Ses­sions not only has been a lead­ing oppo­nent of sen­si­ble, com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform, he has asso­ci­at­ed with anti-immi­grant groups we con­sid­er to be deeply racist, includ­ing the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform and the Cen­ter for Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy.”

Indeed, FAIR was quick to con­grat­u­late Ses­sions on his nom­i­na­tion Fri­day, say­ing in a state­ment: “It’s hard to imag­ine a bet­ter pick for the attor­ney gen­er­al posi­tion than Sen­a­tor Jeff Ses­sions”; the group called on Ses­sions to rid the coun­try of sanc­tu­ary cities.

The S.P.L.C. has writ­ten about FAIR, say­ing:

“FAIR lead­ers have ties to white suprema­cist groups and eugeni­cists and have made many racist state­ments. Its adver­tise­ments have been reject­ed because of racist con­tent. FAIR’s founder, John Tan­ton, has expressed his wish that Amer­i­ca remain a major­i­ty-white pop­u­la­tion: a goal to be achieved, pre­sum­ably, by lim­it­ing the num­ber of non­whites who enter the coun­try.” . . . .

3. Trump and many of his key appointees are big fans of “fake news.”

“Con­spir­a­cy Ped­dlers Con­tin­ue Push­ing Debunked ‘Piz­za­gate’ Tale” by Han­nah Allum; McClatchy DC; 12/5/2016. [16]

One might think that police call­ing the motive a “fic­ti­tious con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry” would put an end to the claim that inspired a gun­man from North Car­oli­na to attack a fam­i­ly pizze­ria in Wash­ing­ton over the week­end.

Nope.

On Mon­day, those who share the assailant’s alleged sus­pi­cions that Hillary Clin­ton and her cam­paign man­ag­er oper­at­ed a child sex ring in the base­ment of the Wash­ing­ton restau­rant took it up a notch.

The gun­man, they said in Red­dit and oth­er online forums where the orig­i­nal fake news sto­ry orig­i­nat­ed, had a brief film career in a hor­ror movie, so the next log­i­cal leap was that he was hired by the Clin­ton camp to stage a false-flag oper­a­tion to dis­cred­it Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump. Fur­ther “proof”, they claimed, was that a secu­ri­ty cam­era that might’ve cap­tured the inci­dent had been removed just before it hap­pened.

Such claims once were con­fined to the nether­world of staged moon land­ings and 9/11 deniers, but now they’re seep­ing into the main­stream – with dan­ger­ous real-world con­se­quences, as Sunday’s inci­dent shows.

Trump has yet to con­demn the tor­rent of fake news that’s accom­pa­nied his rise to pow­er, a chill­ing prospect for civ­il rights advo­cates, who fear that the so-called “piz­za­gate” deba­cle por­tends more vio­lence from vig­i­lantes inspired by base­less claims.

“It’s deeply trou­bling that some of those false reports could lead to vio­lence,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a brief­ing Mon­day. Earnest said the pro­lif­er­a­tion of false reports had a “cor­ro­sive effect” on the polit­i­cal cli­mate.

Trump hasn’t addressed the fake news and con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that bounce around online com­mu­ni­ties of his sup­port­ers until they’re accept­ed as fact. Per­haps that’s because sev­er­al of his advis­ers and Cab­i­net picks – soon to be among the most pow­er­ful peo­ple in the coun­try – reg­u­lar­ly traf­fic in the same hokum. More than half the peo­ple Trump has picked so far for top admin­is­tra­tion posts have long his­to­ries of spew­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and mak­ing racist or big­ot­ed asser­tions with no evi­dence.

When Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence was in Con­gress, accord­ing to the Los Ange­les Times, he assert­ed with­out any sci­en­tif­ic back­up that mate­r­i­al in the 2001 anthrax scare had been genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied to make it more lethal – pos­si­bly by Iraqi dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein.

Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Fly­nn, has used Twit­ter to praise white suprema­cists, malign Mus­lims and spread base­less claims link­ing the Clin­tons to a sex cult.

His son, Michael Fly­nn Jr., who served as his dad’s chief of staff, has giv­en cre­dence to the so-called “piz­za­gate” tale and has smeared top Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din as a Mus­lim extrem­ist and Sen. Mar­co Rubio, R‑Fla., as a clos­et­ed gay cocaine addict. CNN report­ed that the younger Fly­nn has an email address affil­i­at­ed with Trump’s tran­si­tion team.

Fol­low
Michael G Fly­nn?? @mflynnJR
Until #Piz­za­gate proven to be false, it’ll remain a sto­ry. The left seems to for­get #PodestaE­mails and the many “coin­ci­dences” tied to it. https://twitter.com/jackposobiec/status/805559273426141184 …
7:13 PM — 4 Dec 2016
2,557 2,557 Retweets   3,456 3,456 likes
Trump’s pick for sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment, the neu­ro­sur­geon and failed pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ben Car­son, has a par­tic­u­lar­ly long track record of espous­ing ques­tion­able beliefs. He’s called Planned Par­ent­hood a con­spir­a­cy to con­trol the black pop­u­la­tion and cit­ed prison rape as evi­dence that homo­sex­u­al­i­ty is a choice, posi­tions Salon summed up in a piece head­lined “Ben Car­son is plain nuts.”

Carson’s also sug­gest­ed that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma is involved in a com­mu­nist plot to bring down the coun­try and he’s said that a Mus­lim shouldn’t be allowed to serve as pres­i­dent – a stance that vio­lates the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.

Steve Ban­non, Trump’s pick for senior White House strate­gist, is the for­mer exec­u­tive of Bre­it­bart, which he’s described as a plat­form for the so-called “alt-right” white nation­al­ist move­ment. The pub­li­ca­tion has a his­to­ry of lurid­ly sex­ist, racist and homo­pho­bic head­lines. Ban­non also has dis­par­aged fem­i­nists as “a bunch of dykes.” His selec­tion was opposed by Democ­rats, some Repub­li­cans and vir­tu­al­ly every civ­il rights watch­dog in the coun­try.

Rep. Mike Pom­peo of Kansas, Trump’s pick for CIA direc­tor, was described by The Wash­ing­ton Post edi­to­r­i­al board as “one of the more fanat­i­cal pur­vey­ors of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the 2011 ter­ror­ist attacks in Beng­hazi, Libya.” At a hear­ing last year, Pom­peo insin­u­at­ed that Clin­ton had used the Beng­hazi con­sulate for a gun-run­ning oper­a­tion. . . .

4. Con­tribut­ing edi­tor Pter­rafractyl gives us analy­sis in a com­ment [17] of the fake news phe­nom­e­non, Michael Fly­nn Sr. and his son and advi­sor Michael Fly­nn, jr.

“Here’s anoth­er sign of the times: It looks like “Piz­za­gate” – a hoax con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry about Hillary Clin­ton and John Podes­ta run­ning a child sex ring out of the Comet Ping Pong pizze­ria that was cooked up days before the 2016 elec­tion and aggres­sive spread on social media – is still going strong. At least some minds. Like the mind of the man who walked into the Comet Ping Pong pizze­ria yes­ter­day to “self-inves­ti­gate” the hoax claims with a rifle and end­ed up threat­en­ing the staff and fir­ing off a round.

And now, in wake if this inci­dent, Michael G. Fly­nn, Jr., son and chief of staff of Don­ald Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor Michael Fly­nn, is tak­ing to Twit­ter to defend his father over accu­sa­tions that Michael Fly­nn Sr. was pro­mot­ing the Piz­zgate hoax with poten­tial­ly dead­ly con­se­quences. Specif­i­cal­ly, Fly­nn Jr. is defend­ing his father by defend­ing the Piz­za­gate hoax itself, assert­ing that the hoax should be con­sid­ered a valid sto­ry until proven false.

But as the arti­cle below points out that despite the fact that Fly­nn Jr. jumped to the defense of father by defend­ing Piz­za­gate, Fly­nn Sr. had nev­er actu­al­ly pro­mot­ed Piz­za­gate. No, instead what Fly­nn Sr was pro­mot­ing right before the elec­tion was the “Spir­it Cook­ing” hoax, a dif­fer­ent hoax that also pur­ports to tie Hillary Clin­ton to Satan­ic rit­u­als involv­ing chil­dren.

So, to sum­ma­rize:
1. A man just walked into a pizze­ria that was the tar­get of a “Hillary Clin­ton is part of a child sex ring” hoax and fired shots.
2. Folks point­ed out that Michael Fly­nn Sr., Trump’s select­ed Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, was push­ing sim­i­lar the­o­ries days before the elec­tion and there­fore val­i­dat­ing them in the minds of many.
3. Michael G. Fly­nn, Jr. replied with a tweet defend­ing his dad by sug­gest­ing the Piz­za­gate hoax should be con­sid­ered a real sto­ry until proven false.
4. And now we have to point out that Fly­nn Sr. wasn’t pro­mot­ing Piz­za­gate. No, he was pro­mot­ing “Spir­it Cook­ing”, a dif­fer­ent “Hillary Clin­ton is part of a child sex ring” hoax.

So that’s where we are. In a place where there’s such an aggres­sive pro­mo­tion of far-right Fake News that we now have to take the pains to parse each of the sep­a­rate hoax­es in order to accu­rate­ly assess the pub­lic dam­age they’re doing. In oth­er words, we now have to under­stand all the far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries just to under­stand how much mis­un­der­stand­ing is tak­ing root in our col­lec­tive psy­che and shap­ing real­i­ty [18]:

“The whole mat­ter is a near-per­fect micro­cosm of just how much fake news sto­ries have pen­e­trat­ed our polit­i­cal process — so much so that we can’t even keep them straight. And it’s like­ly to lead to those who embrace con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries or sim­ply dis­trust the main­stream media to believe Fly­nn was unfair­ly maligned for his tweet.”

Well, that exact­ly doesn’t well. Unless hav­ing the next Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, and his advi­sor and son, ped­dle garbage hap­pens to bode well:


But it’s also worth not­ing here the Fly­nns have traf­ficked in these kinds of bogus sto­ries many times before. And even as Fly­nn Sr. can’t be specif­i­cal­ly tied to foment­ing the Comet Ping Pong rumors before­hand, his deci­sion to pass along a base­less arti­cle about the Clin­tons and sex crimes makes con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries like Comet Ping Pong more believ­able. This stuff is becom­ing a scourge.

In addi­tion, Flynn’s son isn’t some­one who just hap­pens to be relat­ed to an appointee to a major post in the Trump Cab­i­net. He’s some­one who has advised his father at the high­est lev­el — mak­ing his embrace of base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries a very legit­i­mate issue. (In oth­er words, this isn’t akin to a president’s black-sheep broth­er with no real role in an admin­is­tra­tion doing some­thing objec­tion­able.)

Update: CNN reports that Fly­nn Jr. now has a .gov email address [31], which sug­gests he’ll play a role in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

It’s prob­a­bly worth not­ing that the sto­ry Fly­nn Sr. was pro­mot­ing right before the elec­tion about the “Spir­it Cook­ing” meme was about a Bre­it­bart inter­view of Black Water founder Erik Prince and his asser­tion that arrests were going to hap­pen­ing soon [21] (arrests that nev­er happened…big shock­er!)

It’s prob­a­bly also worth not­ing that Prince is the broth­er of Trump’s choice for Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary, Bet­sy DeVos [22].

So, yes, Don­ald Trump’s Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary is the sis­ter of the head mer­ce­nary who was push­ing a fake sto­ry about a Satan­ic sex abduc­tion ring that was tweet­ed about by Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor. And when ques­tions were raised about the role this pro­mo­tion may have played in legit­imiz­ing a par­al­lel hoax sto­ry about Hillary Clin­ton and a child sex ring, Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advisor’s chief advi­sor, who also hap­pens to be his son, defend­ed his dad/boss by tweet­ing a defense of the par­al­lel hoax sto­ry.

“Michael Flynn’s Tweet Wasn’t Actu­al­ly about #Piz­za­Gate, but His Son Is now Defend­ing the Base­less Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry” by Aaron Blake; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 12/5/2016 [18]

There are so many fake tales float­ing around about the 2016 elec­tion that they appear to be get­ting con­fused for one anoth­er.

After a gun­man who cit­ed a Hillary Clin­ton-relat­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry entered the Comet Ping Pong piz­za restau­rant in Wash­ing­ton on Sun­day and fired one or more shots [32], reports and tweets point­ed to Don­ald Trump’s pick for nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Fly­nn, hav­ing foment­ed the rumors that appar­ent­ly spurred the man.

Here’s Flynn’s tweet:

U decide – NYPD Blows Whis­tle on New Hillary Emails: Mon­ey Laun­der­ing, Sex Crimes w Chil­dren, etc…MUST READ! https://t.co/O0bVJT3QDr [33]— Gen­er­al Fly­nn (@GenFlynn) Novem­ber 3, 2016 [34]

And here’s a sam­pling of the reac­tions:

1. Gen Fly­nn tweets about Fake HRC Comet Piz­za con­spir­a­cy. 2. Comet gets threats. 3. Gun­man enters Comet today. https://t.co/vS3cv2F6ui [35]— John Aravo­sis (@aravosis) Decem­ber 4, 2016 [36]

That near-shoot­ing in Wash­ing­ton DC was inspired by a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry advanced by …. Mike Fly­nn https://t.co/cCuxaXYDrx [37]pic.twitter.com/3DudzOFiNX [38]— Will Jor­dan (@williamjordann) Decem­ber 4, 2016 [39]

Except Fly­nn doesn’t actu­al­ly appear to have tweet­ed some­thing about Comet Ping Pong — not specif­i­cal­ly.

Fly­nn did tweet a link involv­ing dubi­ous claims about the Clin­tons and sex crimes, and his social media pres­ence is replete with [40] fake news and con­tro­ver­sial com­ments about Mus­lims, which made it an easy con­clu­sion to draw.

What’s more, his son Michael G. Fly­nn on Sun­day did sug­gest there could be some­thing to the Piz­za­Gate rumors [19], basi­cal­ly defend­ing his father as if he had tweet­ed about Comet Ping Pong and chal­leng­ing the media to dis­prove the base­less claims. The younger Fly­nn served as his father’s chief of staff — his top aide — mak­ing his tweets about this bogus the­o­ry par­tic­u­lar­ly sig­nif­i­cant.

Until #Piz­za­gate [20] proven to be false, it’ll remain a sto­ry. The left seems to for­get #PodestaE­mails [41] and the many “coin­ci­dences” tied to it. https://t.co/8HA9y30Yfp [42]— Michael G Fly­nn???? (@mflynnJR) Decem­ber 5, 2016 [43]

Michael Fly­nn Jr. also tan­gled with CNN’s Jake Tap­per, who sent him direct mes­sages implor­ing him to stop breath­ing life into the rumors that appar­ent­ly led to vio­lence on Sun­day at Comet Ping Pong. Fly­nn Jr. glee­ful­ly tweet­ed and retweet­ed the mis­sives.

Jake.Tapper..still…..DMing me….a shame he does­n’t argue this hard on his net­work. @Cernovich [44]@bakedalaska [45]@PrisonPlanet [46]@JackPosobiec [47]https://t.co/EQ8KmRYEBF [48]— Michael G Fly­nn???? (@mflynnJR) Decem­ber 5, 2016 [49]

Want evi­dence??? I must’ve real­ly hit a nerve @Cernovich [44]@bakedalaska [45]@JackPosobiec [47]@PrisonPlanet [46]@Rambobiggs [50]@RealAlexJones [51]pic.twitter.com/wRlPX8lrPy [52]— Michael G Fly­nn???? (@mflynnJR) Decem­ber 5, 2016 [53]

As for Michael Fly­nn Sr.’s orig­i­nal tweet, the con­fu­sion stemmed from fact that there are actu­al­ly mul­ti­ple dubi­ous claims involv­ing the Clin­tons, human traf­fick­ing and sex crimes. One involves Comet Ping Pong — a the­o­ry which involves “dozens of made-up arti­cles about Mrs. Clin­ton kid­nap­ping, molest­ing and traf­fick­ing chil­dren [54]” — and anoth­er involves bil­lion­aire donor and con­vict­ed pedophile Jef­frey Epstein’s ties to the Clin­tons.

At least the lat­ter con­nec­tion isn’t entire­ly based in fan­ta­sy. Here’s our Fact Checker’s sum­ma­ry [55]:

After leav­ing office, Bill Clin­ton was occa­sion­al­ly a pas­sen­ger on air­craft owned by con­vict­ed pedophile Jef­frey Epstein [56]. (Epstein was also a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to Don­ald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Flori­da, and Trump was a din­ner guest at Epstein’s home.) Gawk­er report­ed [57] that flight logs show that Clin­ton, among oth­ers, trav­eled through Africa in 2002 on a jet with “an actress in soft-core porn movies whose name appears in Epstein’s address book under an entry for ‘mas­sages.’” Chauntae Davies, the actress, declined to dis­cuss why she was on the flight. Clin­ton has not com­ment­ed.

The Epstein case isn’t a full-fledged con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry in and of itself, but it has result­ed in all man­ner of alle­ga­tions involv­ing the Clin­tons. An exam­ple from the New York Post: “‘Sex slave’ claims Bill Clin­ton vis­it­ed Epstein’s ‘orgy island. [58]Here’s more [59], if you’re curi­ous. And as the Fact Check­er not­ed, Trump has his own very real ties to Epstein.

The link that Fly­nn tweet­ed appears to refer not to alleged Clin­ton-relat­ed sex crimes at Comet Ping Pong but rather makes explic­it ref­er­ence to Epstein. After cit­ing anony­mous New York Police Depart­ment sources link­ing Clin­ton to “child exploita­tion” and “sex crimes with minors,” among oth­er crimes, the arti­cle from far-right web­site True Pun­dit points to the Epstein case:

The new emails con­tain trav­el doc­u­ments and itin­er­aries indi­cat­ing Hillary Clin­ton, Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, Wein­er and mul­ti­ple mem­bers of Con­gress and oth­er gov­ern­ment offi­cials accom­pa­nied con­vict­ed pedophile bil­lion­aire Jef­frey Epstein on his Boe­ing 727 on mul­ti­ple occa­sions to his pri­vate island in the U.S. Vir­gin Islands, sources said. Epstein’s island has also been dubbed Orgy Island or Sex Slave Island where Epstein alleged­ly pimps out under­age girls and boys to inter­na­tion­al dig­ni­taries.

Both NYPD and FBI sources con­firm based on the new emails they now believe Hillary Clin­ton trav­eled as Epstein’s guest on at least six occa­sions, prob­a­bly more when all the evi­dence is combed, sources said. Bill Clin­ton, it has been con­firmed in media reports span­ning recent years, that he too trav­eled with Epstein over 20 times to the island.

Comet Ping Pong is not ref­er­enced by True Pun­dit — either explic­it­ly or implic­it­ly. And in fact, the Red­dit post­ing that spawned what’s come to be known as “Piz­za­Gate” (the thread has now been tak­en down by Red­dit [60]) is from Nov. 4, accord­ing to Snopes [61] — two days after the True Pun­dit arti­cle post­ed on Nov. 2.

The whole mat­ter is a near-per­fect micro­cosm of just how much fake news sto­ries have pen­e­trat­ed our polit­i­cal process — so much so that we can’t even keep them straight. And it’s like­ly to lead to those who embrace con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries or sim­ply dis­trust the main­stream media to believe Fly­nn was unfair­ly maligned for his tweet.

But it’s also worth not­ing here the Fly­nns have traf­ficked in these kinds of bogus sto­ries many times before. And even as Fly­nn Sr. can’t be specif­i­cal­ly tied to foment­ing the Comet Ping Pong rumors before­hand, his deci­sion to pass along a base­less arti­cle about the Clin­tons and sex crimes makes con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries like Comet Ping Pong more believ­able. This stuff is becom­ing a scourge.

In addi­tion, Flynn’s son isn’t some­one who just hap­pens to be relat­ed to an appointee to a major post in the Trump Cab­i­net. He’s some­one who has advised his father at the high­est lev­el — mak­ing his embrace of base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries a very legit­i­mate issue. (In oth­er words, this isn’t akin to a president’s black-sheep broth­er with no real role in an admin­is­tra­tion doing some­thing objec­tion­able.)

Update: CNN reports that Fly­nn Jr. now has a .gov email address [31], which sug­gests he’ll play a role in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

But in this case, it is not fair to tie Fly­nn Sr. direct­ly to what hap­pened Sun­day after­noon in Wash­ing­ton. Crit­ics will argue this is a dis­tinc­tion with­out a dif­fer­ence — that Fly­nn foment­ed rumors that con­tributed to the per­cep­tion that the Clin­tons were involved in all man­ner of unholy things. But when it comes to com­bat­ing fake news, it’s worth being as spe­cif­ic and accu­rate as pos­si­ble.

6. Don­ald Trump is among a num­ber of bil­lion­aires who are work­ing to muz­zle a free press. Trump says he wants to loosen the libel laws. Com­ing at a time when the growth of the inter­net and social media have placed the work­ing press in dire eco­nom­ic straits and with Trump set to appoint fed­er­al judges, includ­ing supreme court judges, we may well see the very con­cept of a free press nul­li­fied alto­geth­er.

“Stop the Press­es” by Emi­ly Bazelon; The New York Times Mag­a­zine; 11/27/2016.  [27]

. . . . As a can­di­date, Trump blus­tered vague­ly [62] that he want­ed to “open up our libel laws.” I asked his spokes­woman, Hope Hicks, by email what he meant by that, but she didn’t answer the ques­tion (or oth­ers I posed). It’s not with­in the president’s direct pow­ers to change the rules for libel suits. But our legal safe­guards for writ­ers and pub­lish­ers aren’t fool­proof. In the last few years, Trump has been joined by at least two bil­lion­aires who are deter­mined to exploit cracks in the wall of defense around the press. The mem­bers of this club are inno­va­tors. They have sued or fund­ed suits to defend rep­u­ta­tions or pro­tect pri­va­cy. But an under­ly­ing aim appears to be to pun­ish crit­ics like O’Brien or even destroy entire media out­lets.

This kind of manip­u­la­tion of the law is unfold­ing at a keen moment of weak­ness for the press, which has already been buf­fet­ed by falling rev­enue and mount­ing pub­lic dis­af­fec­tion. Only 40 per­cent of the pub­lic — the low­est rate since at least the 1990s — trusts the media “to report the news ful­ly, accu­rate­ly and fair­ly,” accord­ing to a Gallup sur­vey [63] con­duct­ed in Sep­tem­ber 2015. This mis­trust has been grow­ing for a long time, but it was stoked by Trump dur­ing the cam­paign. He called the reporters who cov­ered him “scum” and whipped up yelling and boo­ing crowds. There is no con­sen­sus among his sup­port­ers that the press should hold those in pow­er account­able. A recent Pew sur­vey [64] found that only half of Trump back­ers agreed that it was impor­tant in a strong democ­ra­cy that “news orga­ni­za­tions are free to crit­i­cize polit­i­cal lead­ers.” . . .

7. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Trump’s assault on the press was his “in your face” scald­ing of broad­cast media fig­ures.

“Trump Calls TV Fig­ures to a Pri­vate Meet­ing, and Lets Them Have It” by Michael M. Gryn­baum and Syd­ney Ember; The New York Times; 11/22/2106. [26]

. . . . Mr. Trump, whose antag­o­nism toward the news media was unusu­al even for a mod­ern pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, described the tele­vi­sion net­works as dis­hon­est in their report­ing and short­sight­ed in miss­ing the signs of his upset vic­to­ry. He crit­i­cized some in the room by name, includ­ing CNN’s pres­i­dent, Jef­frey A. Zuck­er, accord­ing to mul­ti­ple peo­ple briefed on the meet­ing who were grant­ed anonymi­ty to describe con­fi­den­tial dis­cus­sions.

It is not unusu­al for jour­nal­ists to agree to off-the-record ses­sions with promi­nent politi­cians, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, as a way to gain insights and devel­op rela­tion­ships.

But after details of Mr. Trump’s hec­tor­ing leaked on Mon­day in The New York Post, it seemed the meet­ing was being used as a polit­i­cal prop, espe­cial­ly after Trump-friend­ly news out­lets trum­pet­ed the ses­sion as a take-no-pris­on­ers move by a brave pres­i­dent-elect.

“Trump Slams Media Elite, Face to Face,” blared the Drudge Report. “Trump Eats Press,” wrote Bre­it­bart News. . . .

8. Trump’s rise is being accom­pa­nied by sig­nif­i­cant moves to restrict aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom. A “Dan­ger­ous Pro­fes­sors” list was gen­er­at­ed and dis­sem­i­nat­ed online by a right-wing stu­dent group. Con­sid­er this in light of the appoint­ment of Black­wa­ter founder and fake news adher­ent Erik Prince’s sis­ter Bet­sy DeVos as Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary. Con­sid­er this, also, in light of places like Texas, where col­lege stu­dents can bring a gun to class.

“I Am a Dan­ger­ous Pro­fes­sor” by George Yan­cy;  [28]The New York Times [28]; 12/4/2016. [28]

Those famil­iar with George Orwell’s “1984” will recall that “Newspeak was designed not to extend but to dimin­ish the range of thought.” I recent­ly felt the weight of this Orwellian ethos when many of my stu­dents sent emails to inform me, and per­haps warn me, that my name appears on the Pro­fes­sor Watch­list, a new web­site cre­at­ed by a con­ser­v­a­tive youth group known as Turn­ing Point USA.

I could sense the grav­i­ty in those email mes­sages, a sense of relay­ing what is to come. The Pro­fes­sor Watchlist’s mis­sion, among oth­er things, is to sound an alarm about those of us with­in acad­e­mia who “advance left­ist pro­pa­gan­da in the class­room.” It names and includes pho­tographs of some 200 pro­fes­sors. . . .

9. In Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia, a his­to­ry teacher with 40-years expe­ri­ence at Moun­tain View High School was sus­pend­ed for com­par­ing Trump’s rise to the ascent of Adolf Hitler.

“Teacher Who Com­pared Trump’s Rise to Hitler Is Sus­pend­ed from High School to Keep Stu­dents ‘Emo­tion­al­ly Safe’ ” by Khale­da Raman; Dai­ly Mail; 11/16/2016. [29]

A Cal­i­for­nia teacher has been sus­pend­ed with pay from the school he has worked at for 40 years for com­par­ing Don­ald Trump’s rise to pow­er to Adolf Hitler’s.

Frank Navar­ro, a schol­ar of the Holo­caust, who has worked for decades at Moun­tain View High School said he taught his world stud­ies class the sim­i­lar­i­ties between Hitler’s rise to pow­er and Trump’s cam­paign.

But after con­cerned par­ents began con­tact­ing the school, prin­ci­pal Dave Gris­som and super­in­ten­dent Jeff Hard­ing made the deci­sion to sus­pend Navar­ro.

Navar­ro said the par­ent claims he called Trump and Hitler one and the same, but he says that’s not what hap­pened.

‘This par­ent said that I had said Don­ald Trump was Hitler, but I would nev­er say that. That’s slop­py his­tor­i­cal think­ing,’ Navar­ro told SF Gate.

He says he did make com­par­isons about how the two rose to promi­nence and lead their respec­tive nations, includ­ing rhetoric about deport­ing for­eign­ers and restor­ing great­ness to the coun­try.
‘I think it makes sense. It’s fac­tu­al, it’s evi­dence-based. It reminds stu­dents that his­to­ry is real,’ Navar­ro said.

But the school offi­cials said giv­en the cli­mate fol­low­ing the elec­tion, the les­son was inap­pro­pri­ate.

‘Regard­less of their polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion, many of our stu­dents show signs of emo­tion­al stress,’ Gris­som told par­ents in a let­ter.

He said the school has an oblig­a­tion to be an ’emo­tion­al­ly safe envi­ron­ment’ for stu­dents.

But, Gris­som also said, the school must pro­tect teach­ers and staff when unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims are made against them.

Gris­som told SF Gate the sus­pen­sion is a ‘time out’ for Navar­ro.

Navar­ro said it is his duty as a his­to­ry teacher to ensure stu­dents are aware of big­otry and to point it out, accord­ing to a Change.org petition.’I feel strong­ly about this: to stand qui­et in the face of big­otry and to turn your eyes away from it is to back up the big­otry, and that’s not what I, or any his­to­ry teacher, should be doing in our work,’ Navar­ro said.

Offi­cials said they would wrap up an inves­ti­ga­tion into the claims soon.

After The Ora­cle, the stu­dent news­pa­per, wrote about the sus­pen­sion, out­raged par­ents and stu­dents began say­ing Navar­ro should not have been sus­pend­ed.

‘Emails start­ed flow­ing in to the prin­ci­pal late that night,’ Navar­ro told the paper.

The Change.org peti­tion, which seeks to have an apol­o­gy made to Navar­ro and his sus­pen­sion lift­ed, received more than 7,600 sig­na­tures as of Sun­day after­noon.

Navarro’s daugh­ter post­ed on the peti­tion, furi­ous about the sit­u­a­tion her father had been placed in.

‘What Moun­tain View High School has done to my father is wrong. Dis­cussing the con­nec­tion between Trump and Hitler is impor­tant and rel­e­vant to his­to­ry and the painful sit­u­a­tion we are in now in this coun­try,’ she wrote.

She added that her father was set to retire in June and that the school will be los­ing a beloved teacher.

10. For the U.S., appar­ent­ly, the kind of restric­tions on free speech applied to Frank Navar­ro do not apply to endorse­ments of Nazism.

For the sec­ond time in three years [65], the U.S. has vot­ed against a U.N. res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Nazism and neo-Nazism because it con­sti­tutes a restric­tion of “free speech!”

This is to be seen against our long-run­ning and exhaus­tive series on the Ukraine cri­sis.

It also con­trasts marked­ly with the treat­ment accord­ed Frank Navar­ro in Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia.

“US Says Anti-Nazi Res­o­lu­tion at U.N. Restricts Free Speech” by Michael Astor; The Seat­tle Times; 11/17/2016. [30]

The Unit­ed States was one of three coun­tries to vote against a U.N. res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Nazism on Thurs­day, cit­ing free­dom of speech issues and con­cerns Rus­sia was using it to car­ry out polit­i­cal attacks against its neigh­bors.

The res­o­lu­tion enti­tled “Com­bat­ing glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and oth­er prac­tices that con­tribute to fuel­ing con­tem­po­rary forms of racism, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, xeno­pho­bia and relat­ed intol­er­ance,” was approved by the U.N.’s human rights com­mit­tee on Fri­day with 131 in favor, 3 against with 48 absten­tions. Ukraine and Palau were the oth­er no votes. . . .