Julian Assange Indictment

assange

When Julian Assange was originally indicted, the government carefully avoided bringing charges that directly implicated press freedom.  In this new set of charges, however, Assange is indicted under the Espionage Act and actions regularly engaged in by most media organizations are implicated.  Jameel Jaffer of the Knight First Amendment Institute, argued that this set of indictments is what many press freedom organizations have been worrying about since the original indictment.  It is, he says, the first time in a hundred years, the Espionage act has been used against a publisher for publishing information.  We are, he says, “crossing a new and very dangerous frontier.”

Adam Serwer of the Atlantic Magazine points out that Assange is the perfect person for Trump to use to set a precedent for prosecuting the people he really wants to prosecute, i.e., the people investigating him.  This case is intended to expand Trump’s powers so he can “go after the very journalists who have been exposing his corruption for the past three years.”  “He has picked Assange” because liberals hate him so much.

Additionally, Serwer points out that this prosecution will not stop leaking.  It will, however, mean that the government will leak information selectively to influence opinion.  The government can manipulate the public by using classified information with no power of the press to contradict the information.

Jaffer notes that we are not sure that Assange will be extradited, but even if he isn’t, the indictment alone has a chilling effect.  “It’s about control of information.”  “The indictment itself is going to send a very chilling message.”

Jaffer and Serwer made their comments on “All In” with Chris Hayes, MSNBC 5/23/19.

 

 

How Did We Get Into This Mess?

Monbiot, George (2016)  How Did We Get Into This Mess? London and New York: Verso.

how we got into this mess

“This apparatus of justification, or infrastructure of persuasion, and the justifying narratives it generates allow the rich to seize much of our common wealth, to trample the rights of workers and to treat the planet as their dustbin. Ideas, not armies or even banks, run the world.  Ideas determine whether human creativity works for society or against it.” (1)

The Propaganda of the Pundit Class

morning joe in pajamas

Morning Joe (Biden) continues, every weekday morning, to infuriate me.  The Morning Joe show is doing in 2019 exactly what it did in 2015 and 2016, i.e., inserting itself into the election process by giving outlandish amounts of coverage to one candidate.  In 2015, 2016, it was Donald Trump.  Almost every Morning Joe started off with clips of Donald Trump speaking.  Then, the program allowed him to phone in daily comments.  Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were whoring around at Mar-A-Lago even after the election.  They broke with Trump only after he threatened to out their adulterous affair.  Now, though, you would think that Joe Scarborough had fought against Trump from the date of his (Scarborough’s) birth.  Scarborough and Brzezinski are hypocrites and liars, both of them.

Now, they are on the “elect Biden” train, relentlessly repeating that Biden is the “frontrunner” and citing endless polls most of which are biased towards older respondents and people with land lines.  They are making daily assertions that all the money from donors is going to Biden, that Bernie is “in trouble,”  that people are supporting Biden because they want to “beat Donald Trump.”  That people don’t want to vote for Bernie Sanders because they don’t want to change the entire economic system at a time when the economy is doing so well.

Let’s take that last assertion first.  The economy may be doing well for the Scarborough’s and the Brzezinski’s of the world and the rest of the upper, upper class, but it’s not doing well for regular people.  And, those regular people are about to lose 1) their health care, 2) their protection from insurance companies and predatory rules about pre-existing conditions, and 3) their ability to keep their children on health insurance until 25.  Second, Bernie Sanders is not going to change the entire economic system.  He is going to make sure, however, that this economic system functions with more justice.  It is a stupid lie and irresponsible distortion to argue that Bernie Sanders advocates anything other than a social democratic system that protects ordinary people from the predatory behavior of the upper class and corporations.

Scarborough and Brzezinski, however, attempt to create the impression that Biden is the only candidate that can beat Trump.  People sometimes argue with me that what people like Scarborough and Brzezinski say is irrelevant.  I understand their point to a certain extent.  But, I hear their propaganda parroted back to me over Lunch with Southern Ladies.  The received wisdom of the pundit class, repeated relentlessly becomes the cheap analysis of ordinary people who don’t care enough about politics to study and read.  These cheap clichés become the basis of their voting.