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Soft Targets: The Muddled and Anti-Intellectual American Brains That Made Election Meddling Possible


#1

Soft Targets: The Muddled and Anti-Intellectual American Brains That Made Election Meddling Possible

Bill C. Davis

Putin asked an interviewer - “Do you think the Russian state could get into the minds of millions of Americans and affect how they will vote?” It’s brilliant he asked an "absurd" question he knew the answer to years ago. Yes. Trump voters were soft targets. Who knew there were so many of them? Someone did - and knew which states they were in and the point value of those states.


#2

“Trump voters were the target before they were Trump voters. The prerequisite for expending energy on such an initiative was an analysis of the fears, appetites and intellectual wattage of the targets. These are the people who could be seduced into bad mortgages, Jimmy Swaggart, Colonel Sanders, cabbage patch dolls, Mitch McConnell, the Kardashians, and styrofoam.”

I can almost hear this in the cadence of the late great George Carlin, who opined that he “leaves symbols for the symbol minded.”


#3

The simple, ill-educated malleable minds were also woefully and criminally (intentionally with pre-meditation it can be argued) uninformed by the mass-media and faux news - media and the critical role of the Fourth Estate now an agent of big-money and purveyors of rubbish, scandal, and diversion…the whole truth, and nothing but the truth long extinct with rare exceptions…not once did the author mention the role of the mass-media/press or journalism…ad the epidemic of the murders and/or suppression of journalists that attempt to expose the truth.


#4

Definition of the Base.

The lowest part of something.


#5

Even here in Common Dreams you find that people actually believe this hogwash. Am I like the only sane person left alive on the planet? Russia didn’t sway shit. They had a few twitter bots and a few crappy ads posted on facebook. Yet the country has been brought to a frenzy of frantic mind melting. Hillary lost that election because she was a vile and corrupt woman and the very living embodiment of the establishment, and was determined not give the left an inch. Remember Schumer and his comments about for every progressive they lose they will pick up two or three moderate Republicans? Did the Russians do a little meddling? Yes. Was it worse then what we do on a daily basis…including meddling in Russia’s elections with Yeltsin? no…it was not. I am not sure what badness will come out of this insanity…but this destroy Trump at any cost.social programming will come back to haunt us. I have no doubt.


#6

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
–H.L. Mencken

No foreign bogey men needed.


#7

Making “intellectual” a dirty word dates back to Nixon and Agnew and has been used in some variation by every Republican, since. It’s been enormously successful and helped along by the Democratic party abandoning unions and the working class, purging the party of populist candidates, and showing a general disdain for red state voters, labeling them as trailer trash, deplorables, and so on.

Yes, there will always be a segment of the voter population gullible enough to vote for someone like Trump and that segment doesn’t need any help from the Russians or anyone else to do it. Focusing on the Russians is nothing more than a diversion to avoid the real issue. The problem in 2016 wasn’t voter intelligence and manipulation by those evil Russians. It was the lack of choice that kept so many disgusted voters at home and allowed those gullible voters to put Trump in the White House. It was that 44% of the eligible electorate who have given up on our filthy, corrupt system.

Until the Democrats abandon their lofty meritocracy ways and field a candidate that can bring back those lost voters, there will be more Trumps to come. Another neoliberal status quo candidate won’t do it and, at this point, doesn’t look like the Democrats have much interest in bringing back those lost voters. The Dem establishment would still rather chase around in the suburbs after those mythical swing voters.


#8

Recall POTUS Carter’s July 15, 1979 Crisis of Confidence speech wherein he warned of the rise of the power of the brain dead.

It was little more than a year later that the brain dead demonstrated their power when Saint Ron won the rigged 1980 election wherein Ron’s henchmen delayed the release of the Iran hostages.


#9

I remember when Adlai Stevenson was derided as an “egghead” during his presidential campaign against Eisenhower.


#10

You might find this interview from TPM with a longtime campaign analytics guy (worked for Sanders in 2016) interesting:

Needless to say, he definitely doesn’t agree with the idea that the Russians “didn’t sway shit.” People pay a lot of money for campaign analytics for a reason.


#11

It’s really false to attribute the many maladies of the body-brain-soul-dead U.S. to Trump voters alone. It’s epidemic throughout the U.S. body-politic.

See this conversation with activist/writer Dan Kovalik on Black Agenda Report:

I want readers to un-learn their faith in the following notions: capitalism as a path to democracy and freedom; the US military as a human rights organization; the US as the “indispensable nation.” In truth, I believe that Americans are the most uninformed, misinformed and ideologized people on the planet. And, they must be so for the system to work as well as it does to destroy huge swaths of the world with barely a peep of opposition in this country.

One of my favorite expositions of all of this was put forth in Harold Pinter’s 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, in which he stated:

“The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

“Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.

“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

It is my hope that, through my writings, I can help wake Americans from the sleep to which they have been lulled by years of schooling and by state propaganda masquerading as journalism.

https://www.blackagendareport.com/bar-book-forum-dan-kovaliks-plot-scapegoat-russia-and-plot-attack-iran


#12

The current and feverish fight to protect the American voters from Russian or any manipulation is something that should have happened decades ago. Too late? Poor education, a pervasive vapid culture and a constant massage of the collective lower instincts has spawned a juicy target for whoever or whatever want to bring the classic columns down. A large part of the body politic has been depleted of immunity. It can’t resist.

You’re wrong. We’ve never seen a USB attack like this before.
This is “unprecedented!”


#13

Peace
Po


#14

For how many years, decades, centuries has the human mind been manipulated around the world? Why isn’t this manipulation tactic taught in schools, why isn’t critical thinking taught in schools any longer, or civics or music, arts? We used to have more well rounded people better capable of discerning information.

No accountability is part of the problem. Remember when that couple was murder for being traitors back before the 50’s or during the 50’s. We actually killed this couple for treasonous acts and now we have a wholly owned republican party and their donors and the dem party elites who look the other way. I only remember Martha Stewart jailed, Bernie Madoff and other little guys but not the ones daily manipulating the corrupting the system.


#15

You mentioned the 44% who didn’t vote. It would kind of you to mention those who couldn’t vote. The racism involved in that negation,etc.


#16

In the election of 2016 the Russians did target white working class voters who they thought might go for Trump but their overall goal is to erode American’s confidence in the electoral system. They want people to believe that the elections are rigged. They don’t care if people or on the left or right or intellectual or anti-intellectual. What they care about is Americans who are suspicious that something is going on behind scenes or in other words, some for to conspiracy is going on. The Russians aim their fake news at people who are distrustful of the traditional sources of information. If they can convince enough people that our elections are rigged through hacking voting machines, fake news, etc. then that is would be a major blow to democracy.


#17

The best example of a brain-dead American voter is a main-stream MSNBC liberal who has been made into a rabid war-mongering neo-McCarthyite by all the Russian boogie-man BS.


#18

Like you would know.


#19

I’ve used Common Dreams for years but I’m seriously thinking of leaving it behind due to crap like this. As a working-class person I find it offensive. Yes working-class people are largely ignorant of politics, but so are most of the middle-classers. Anyone who depends on corporate news media doesn’t really know what is going on.

Trump is a useless right-wing con man, but working-class people had good economic reasons for rebelling against the Democratic party, and Democrats had better start listening to us if they want to win elections.


#20

You make a good point. “The lack of choice” absolutely!!! What does one do when both candidates are abhorrent? In this last election, I didn’t want to vote at all. But I decided to vote third party–Green. At least that candidate (Jill Stein) represented what I believed.

The point about Russian interference tho–entails many complicated elements. The propaganda is aimed at those anti-intellectuals who are gullible and angry and resentful that their issues are not paid attention to…so that combination of factors plays well into the brainwashing schemes of fascist proponents who want to gain control over a population. I’m sure we did it too–to the Russians. The end result is the spread of Fascist ideology. Who wins? The oligarchs.

Manipulation, done for the purpose of gaining control, is always bad–whoever does it, i.e., them or us.