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Saturday, 30 May 2020 18:06

Laurene Jobs and The Atlantic Go All In

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Michael Le Flem and Jim DiEugenio observe how The Atlantic Monthly has become a part of the oligarchical problem in trying to conceal what has happened to the Democratic Party behind a smoke screen of “pernicious conspiracy thinking,” which has now become part and parcel of the Democratic party’s legacy.


If CNN and MSNBC can disseminate obvious propaganda and not be held accountable, as they did for three years during the “Russia did it hoax,” then who cares anymore? Facts? Evidence? Logic? Why did we have to go to the Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi and The Nation’s Aaron Mate on Russia Gate to discern that it was a mirage. (Click here for details)

For instance, it was recently revealed through the declassification of depositions before the House intelligence committee that, in February of 2017, the Clinton campaign raised money to further the Russia Gate meme after Trump was inaugurated. (John Podesta deposition pp. 8-9, 12/4/2017) Hillary Clinton is still dodging Tulsi Gabbard’s process servers in Gabbard’s ongoing $50 million-dollar defamation lawsuit in which she is suing Clinton for calling her a “Russian asset” during the primaries. And when a man in a Wisconsin town hall meeting called Joe Biden out for his son’s questionable Ukrainian sinecure—put in place while Biden was still Vice President under Obama—Biden ignored the question and instead challenged the man to a push-up contest, to rising cheers from the audience.

Deceptions usually trickle downward and must necessarily be both enabled and promulgated by the corporate gatekeepers masquerading as journalists for the pseudo-intellectual class of Whole Foods liberals who cannot seem to internalize their own party’s bankruptcy.

These are the folks who with a straight face will preach tolerance and inclusion in flurries of inane Facebook “debates” and on online forums, but will attack anyone who doesn’t tow their ideological line when hard-pressed to engage in real debate. These are some of the people who all but put a scarlet letter on a woman in a New York City grocery store this week who didn't feel like wearing a mask as she bought vegetables. I was all but physically attacked at a Chicago bar a few years ago when I told a drunk patron I didn’t think Russia “hacked the election.” Nothing serious: a few words exchanged, a shove, a few more words exchanged, a nice woman beside me made uncomfortable, etc. But I almost had to fight a fellow taxpaying citizen on U.S. soil outside of a Chicago bar thirty years after the Cold War ended, because I did not believe the “Russia Gate” probe was authentic or impartial.

Where do Americans get these ideas? Well, some of them get these ideas from places like The Atlantic Monthly. Even the usually reliable and objective James Fallows pushed this Russia Gate meme for The Atlantic. (The Atlantic Monthly, July of 2018, “Trump-Putin Meeting: How Will Republicans React?”) That journal began way back in 1857 over the issue of slavery. Writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Greenleaf Whittier outflanked the nascent Republican Party. They would brook no compromise with the south. They were abolitionists. James Russell Lowell, the illustrious poet and critic, was the first editor.

It’s quite a long haul—and fall—from that auspicious beginning to David Bradley and the late Michael Kelly. Beginning in the eighties, Bradley made his fortune as a healthcare consultant. In the nineties, he sold two companies and became a multimillionaire. In 1999, he bought The Atlantic Monthly and made Kelly the editor. Bradley calls himself a political centrist. Michael Kelly was a strong supporter of the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq. In fact, as an embedded reporter, he passed away in that war. Prior to that, as editor of The New Republic, he not only accepted the largely fabricated stories of his contributor Stephen Glass, he defended Glass without investigating the stories. That investigatory job fell to his successor Charles Lane. Under Lane, The New Republic then uncovered a whole slew of stories Glass had made up, either in whole or in part. Glass even manufactured evidence to backstop his fabrications. The new editor had to issue an apology and listed the titles of all the stories Glass had created in whole or in part. Incredibly, Kelly was still defending Glass even after he admitted his chicanery. (Gawker, 4/03/2013, story by Tom Scocca)

Kelly also mocked those who did not accept the pretexts for the Bush invasion of Iraq. In fact, Kelly tried to make the case that Bush’s war should be accepted by liberals. (Jewish World Review, 10/23/2002, “Anti-War effort Perverts Liberal Values”). He also allied himself with Neocon kingpin Daniel Pipes to create the fusion paranoia theory. This was a true milestone in a war of political and psychological denial by the Power Elite.

Back in 1995, Kelly wrote an essay for The New Yorker entitled “The Road to Paranoia”. That article was then used by Pipes in his 1999 book Conspiracy. In fact, Pipes spent all of Chapter 8 addressing this idea. He used the following quote by Kelly as a blast off point:

Views that have long been shared by both the far right and the far left…in recent years have come together in a weird meeting of the minds to become one, and to permeate the mainstream of American politics and popular culture. You could call it fusion paranoia.

Kelly focused on the Militia of Montana and, specifically, the chief researcher and spokesman for that group, a man named Bob Fletcher. Fletcher postulated a global conspiracy theory that was something of a forerunner to QAnon. What Kelly was driving at was how left and right had beliefs in certain conspiracies. Pipes then adapted it in its broad outlines. This was dubious on its face, for more than one reason. But to give one example, Pipes drew similarities between how the modern militia movement and the Weather Underground viewed the FBI. Kelly’s above quoted tenet, that these ideas now permeated the mainstream, seems quite strained. The MSM and the political establishment do what they can to ridicule these concepts and to marginalize their advocates; never differentiating between which are true, and, therefore, deserve inspection and which are false and should be ignored.

This is an important point, because it was this kind of automatic disdain that paved the way for one of the most lethal conspiracies in contemporary history. That was, of course, the Karl Rove/Dick Cheney plot to create an arsenal of WMD in Iraq. It included the stamping out of any dissenters, like the late diplomat Joseph Wilson. What was amazing was how much of the MSM got behind a clearly fabricated mythology, which included not just the above personages, but also people like Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz. (Click here for details) And Kelly bought into this, with a vengeance. If the reader can believe it, ever since his death, The Atlantic Monthly sponsors an annual Michael Kelly award in journalism. An award named after a journalist who bought the lying Stephen Glass and also the myths about WMD which ended up killing 600,000 people.

In July of 2017, Bradley sold the controlling interest in The Atlantic Monthly to something called the Emerson Collective. A nice sounding name which is actually run by multi-billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs. Jobs is on the advisory committee to the Council on Foreign Relations and has given loads of money to people like Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris. (Click here for details)

Right after this, The Atlantic Monthly printed a cover story by radio host and author Kurt Anderson. It was titled “How America Went Haywire”. That essay—an excerpt from an upcoming book—maintained that Donald Trump’s arrival as president was caused because of America’s belief in conspiracy theories. And this dated from—drumroll please—the JFK assassination! (For a review of that article, click here).

Anderson managed to do something many historians would think impossible. He tried to draw an arc of American decline without describing the effects of 1.) The Vietnam War or 2.) The Church Committee. Here, the old joke applies: Well, Mrs. Lincoln besides your husband’s assassination, did you like the play? The Living Room War went on for ten years in all its ugliness and sickened much of America with its pointless carnage. The Church Committee explored the myriad crimes of the CIA and FBI: the plots to drive Martin Luther King to take his own life, to exterminate the Black Panthers, and the conspiracies to murder Patrice Lumumba and Fidel Castro—and those were just some of the highlights. But those two huge events deepened the cynicism of many Americans in what their government was doing and why. And it was all true. Anderson and The Atlantic Monthly decided to ignore those facts.

One of the things the Church Committee did was delve into the CIA’s attempt to control the media. This was Director Allen Dulles’ scheme termed Operation Mockingbird. It was inspired by Dulles’s reaction in Bern, Switzerland to viewing how the Third Reich controlled the media in Nazi Germany, which, in turn, Joseph Goebbels modeled in part on the ideas of public relations wizard Edward Bernays. Bernays began as a journalist and then helped the Woodrow Wilson administration propagandize America into entering World War I. In 1928, Bernays published his classic work on the subject called simply Propaganda. It was one of the first books to use the phrase “invisible government.” Bernays thought these techniques were not just good but necessary. He later used them to attain riches through Madison Avenue type advertising for huge corporations including cigarette companies. This was while he was trying to break his wife’s smoking habit. (Click here for some information on Bernays)

As most of us know, one of the things the CIA did was to try and control the media criticism of the Warren Commission. In 1967, the Agency issued a memorandum titled “Countering Criticism of the Warren Report”. CIA planners clearly state that “the aim of this dispatch is to provide material for countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.” (CIA 1035-960, “Countering Criticism of the Warren Report,” NARA Record Number: 104-10404-10376) Thus was born Kurt Anderson’s knee-jerk meme, “conspiracy theorist” in the American imagination. Prior to this, that term had been used quite rarely. As author Lance DeHaven Smith has shown, after this the term broke through the stratosphere to become a meaningless catch all term. The CIA memo stresses the importance of a full-spectrum approach to countering criticism and maintaining the official story. They deem it essential to “employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics,” claiming, “book reviews and feature articles are particularly useful for this purpose.” (Ibid) After then explaining to the dispatch's readers how best to disseminate information to the agency's embedded Mockingbird assets in the U.S. media, the document lists the five most effective ways to combat critics of the Warren Commission's conclusion that Oswald shot president Kennedy because he was a crazy Marxist lone nut: “Our play should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (i) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, ( ii ) politically interested, ( iii ) financially interested, ( iv) hasty and inaccurate in their research, ( v ) infatuated with their own theories.”

And now the Anderson Gang is back again. The Atlantic Monthly recently ran a piece entitled “The Conspiracy Theorists are Winning” on May 13. According to Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief, “America is losing its grip on Enlightenment values and reality itself.” We’d like to address both claims, since The Atlantic Monthly is now apparently running counter-intelligence on the questioning masses.

First of all, we’d like to thank Mr. Goldberg for the admission, finally, that we’ve won. It’s probably the greatest single admission by the mainstream media we’ve ever seen. After years and years of toiling, of gnashing of teeth, of cries in the wilderness, of evidence, of testimonies, of unredacted documents released through FOIA requests, of Congressional hearings, of whistle blowers speaking out, of declassified memos, of declassified archives, we, the independent research community, have finally won.

But that’s not really what Goldberg is saying.

You see, conspiracies don’t exist according to the editor in chief of The Atlantic Monthly. And the only thing worse, according to his latest missive are “theories” about conspiracies. Goldberg implies that everything that has ever entered the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Congressional Record, or the text books in history classrooms from the time of the founding of the United States is a 100% accurate, unexpurgated, unredacted representation of the thousands and thousands of incalculable factors that comprise any major historical event as it happened in real time. To say that conspiracy theories do not exist is, in essence, to say that it is wrongheaded to write that people like Bernays paved the way for the acceptance of the American public to go along with Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of war in 1917. Are people also wrong who say that President Johnson was planning on declaring war in Vietnam months before he actually did so? When Adam Weishaupt founded the Bavarian Illuminati in 1776, whose entire mission statement was to conspire against entrenched European power structures in secret, he was, according to the legal meaning of acting in concert with others, engaged in a conspiracy. As any criminal lawyer will tell you, if you had the Justice Department, and all state Attorney Generals and all local DA’s order all prison inmates incarcerated on conspiracy charges immediately released you would greatly reduce the prison population of the USA.

What is a “theory”? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, one definition of a theory is “a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation.” Some theories become “the official story,” if they tow the party line at the time of their release. Others become the pejorative “conspiracy theories,” if they, at all, challenge the dominant power structure of their times. We are allowed to admit that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a provocation in 2020, because the Vietnam War, who’s selling to the public was largely based on this lie and the unfolding “official story” narrative, is long over and is now, at best, considered a monumental mistake. Or, it can be safely referenced as a type of political crime that somehow had a benign intent to it.

If you question anything, in essence, according to Jeffrey Goldberg, you are also “destroying the enlightenment virtues upon which America was founded”. That’s funny. Co-author Michael LeFlem wrote his Master’s degree thesis on the 18th-century Enlightenment under a world authority of that subject, Professor Darrin McMahon, at Florida State University. Tell Dr. McMahon that questioning political realities is “against Enlightenment values.” He might refer you to his excellent book, Enemies of the Enlightenment.

Donald Trump did not win the election of 2016 because American culture went berserk with conspiracy theories. Nor did he win because of Mr. Putin’s manipulations in America; that idea has been pretty much discredited. In fact, with the revelations of the Michael Flynn case, it has been discredited with an air of finality. Without the complicity of the MSM, through the lens of carrying propaganda, the case against Flynn probably would have fallen apart even sooner. On and on they droned about Russia. But as of late May, there is mounting evidence that Russia Gate was a power play to somehow cover up the failure of the Democratic National Committee to run a fair primary campaign and also the failures at the management level of the Clinton candidacy. In other words, it was those “centrist” Democrats, like Mr. Bradley and Ms. Jobs, camouflaging their tracks.

If we’re going to be honest, we need to face these inconvenient truths instead of ducking behind our safe-spaces of like-minded propaganda. It does us no good to try and conceal what has happened to the Democratic Party behind a smoke screen of “pernicious conspiracy thinking,” which has now become part and parcel of the Democratic party’s legacy.

The Atlantic Monthly is part of that oligarchical problem. Let us admit it and Move On.

Written by Michael LeFlem with consultation and contributions from Jim DiEugenio.

Last modified on Saturday, 06 June 2020 20:44
Michael Le Flem

Michael Le Flem is an independent researcher and a university lecturer in history and philosophy in Chicago. He holds a Master's degree in Western Intellectual History from Florida State University.

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