Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Musings On The Trashing Of Clinton

Let's see, Hillary Clinton is corrupt.  We know this because every time Trump tweets her name he puts "Corrupt" before her name.

STOP!  I've been thinking about a post for the last couple of weeks.  One that would basically say, "Why all this fuss about Clinton's email?  First it was Benghazi, now it's email?  Why do so many people say she's corrupt in polls?  Duh.  Cause Trump keeps tweeting 'corrupt Hillary'.  Over and over and over and over again.

Email?  Give me a break.  She used a private email account.  OK.  That's what they have.  No intention.  No leaks that caused any harm.  Now, I'm all about following the law and all that, but no one gets to the presidential candidate level without leaving a trail.

And I think about how in 2004 the contest was between a Vietnam war hero and a draft dodger, and the Republicans managed to smear the hero with the Swiftboat campaign, and they're trying to do something similar with Clinton.  And they've managed to get the corrupt word stuck to her.

BREAK.  New thought.
There was a tweet I saw the other day:
My gurl headed to just walked past 4 senators in 1st class and then sees our governor in coach. ­čÖä .
I responded.  Something like:  if you have enough mileage, they bump you up to first class for price of coach.
Others responded:  Agreed, but appearances matter. 
I added:  Appearances are important, but getting below the surface is more important.
The original tweeter responded:  Oh Gurl, I know how upgrades work but take it from someone who used to sing in malls, appearances matter.
Yes, appearances matter.  So, were the 4 senators in first class because they  paid for first class with state money?  Or they've flown enough that they get bumped up to first class when there are seats available?  And did the governor get bumped up to first class, but chose, for appearances, to stay in coach?  

The answer is, I guess, it doesn't matter,  Appearances matter.  


So, I'm thinking, yeah, appearances do matter, and Clinton's team know what happened to Kerry in 2004.  They're attacking Trump regularly.  

The campaign has become attack, attack, attack.  Everyone loses in that kind of campaign.  I'm still thinking about how 'corrupt' has become attached to Hillary.  Is it because Sanders and Trump are changing the rules of the campaign and so the old ways, where politicians' compromises necessary to get to the top were basically ignored or seen as business as usual?  Or because Clinton's a woman and so she's held to a higher standard than men?   Or that Trump's 'corrupt Hillary' campaign is working?  Or a combination of all three?  


I google:  If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth.  (I'm assuming you can see the connection between this thought and Trump's 'corrupt Hillary' tweet campaign.)

It gets me to a post on "Goebbels quotes."   Whoa.  I didn't mean to get to Nazi stuff.  Everyone freaks out when you reference Nazis as though you are saying "X is a Nazi."   

What do I do now?  I read the post.  At the bottom:
Misattributed[edit] The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success. 
Actually from "War Propaganda", in volume 1, chapter 6 of Mein Kampf (1925), by Adolf Hitler 
If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself. 
Attributed to Goebbels in Publications Relating to Various Aspects of Communism (1946), by United States Congress, House Committee on Un-American Activities, Issues 1-15, p. 19, no reliable source has been located, and this is probably simply a further variation of the Big Lie idea
If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.
If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes truth.
If you repeat a lie many times, people are bound to start believing it.
Attributed in "The Sack of Rome" by Alexander Stille, p. 14, and also attributed in "A World Without Walls: Freedom, Development, Free Trade and Global Governance" (2003) by Mike Moore, p. 63
What does that all mean?  That it's in Mein Kampf?  That it's really from "The Sack of Rome"?

So, reluctantly I google:  Mein Kampf volume 1 chapter 6 which gets me here.
So I search for "lie " in chapter 6.  And I get some stuff. The chapter is titled "War Propaganda" and discusses how English war propaganda in WW I was so much better than German propaganda.  But how do I know the translation is any good?  So I search for Mein Kampf in German.  (I studied in Germany for a year at the time when overseas students had to take all their classes in the local language.  My German's not great, but it's good enough, especially with all the online help these days, to see if the translation is accurate.)
Das Volk ist in seiner ├╝berwiegenden Mehrheit so feminin veranlagt und eingestellt, da├č weniger n├╝chterne ├ťberlegung als vielmehr gef├╝hlsm├Ą├čige Empfindung sein Denken und Handeln bestimmt. 
The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning.
Is the translation any good?  It's amazingly good.  Not because it's a literal translation - which would make little sense in English - but because it takes the meaning and renders it in good clean English.  I checked the next couple of paragraphs, and it stayed good.
Diese Empfindung aber ist nicht kompliziert, sondern sehr einfach und geschlossen. Sie gibt hierbei nicht viel Differenzierungen, sondern ein Positiv oder ein Negativ, Liebe oder Ha├č, Recht oder Unrecht, Wahrheit oder L├╝ge, niemals aber halb so und halb so oder teilweise usw. Das alles hat besonders die englische Propaganda in der wahrhaft genialsten Weise verstanden – und ber├╝cksichtigt. Dort gab es wirklich keine Halbheiten, die etwa zu Zweifeln h├Ątten anregen k├Ânnen. 
This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. Its notions are never partly this and partly that. English propaganda especially understood this in a marvellous way and put what they understood into practice. They allowed no half-measures which might have given rise to some doubt. 
Das Zeichen f├╝r die gl├Ąnzende Kenntnis der Primitivit├Ąt der Empfindung der breiten Masse lag in der diesem Zustande angepa├čten Greuelpropaganda, die in ebenso r├╝cksichtsloser wie genialer Art die Vorbedingungen f├╝r das moralische Standhalten an der Front sicherte, selbst bei gr├Â├čten tats├Ąchlichen Niederlagen, sowie weiter in der ebenso schlagenden Festnagelung des deutschen Feindes als des allein schuldigen Teils am Ausbruch des Krieges: eine L├╝ge, die nur durch die unbedingte, freche, einseitige Sturheit, mit der sie vorgetragen wurde, der gef├╝hlsm├Ą├čigen, immer extremen Einstellung des gro├čen Volkes Rechnung trug und deshalb auch geglaubt wurde. 
Proof of how brilliantly they understood that the feeling of the masses is something primitive was shown in their policy of publishing tales of horror and outrages which fitted in with the real horrors of the time, thereby cleverly and ruthlessly preparing the ground for moral solidarity at the front, even in times of great defeats. Further, the way in which they pilloried the German enemy as solely responsible for the war – which was a brutal and absolute falsehood – and the way in which they proclaimed his guilt was excellently calculated to reach the masses, realizing that these are always extremist in their feelings. And thus it was that this atrocious lie was positively believed. The effectiveness of this kind of propaganda is well illustrated by the fact that after four-and-a-half years, not only was the enemy still carrying on his propagandist work, but it was already undermining the stamina of our people at home.
So, you're asking, where is the stuff about lies becoming truth?  It's a ways below.  First there is the discussion of what the Germans did wrong in WW 1.  They were too even handed, not simplistic enough, too logical.  Needed experts to do this, but we left it to 'feckless statesmen' and 'placid aesthetes and intellectuals.'
Its [propaganda's] chief function is to convince the masses, whose slowness of understanding needs to be given time in order that they may absorb information; and only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on the memory of the crowd.  [emphasis added]
Every change that is made in the subject of a propagandist message must always emphasize the same conclusion. The leading slogan must of course be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula. In this way alone can propaganda be consistent and dynamic in its effects. Only by following these general lines and sticking to them steadfastly, with uniform and concise emphasis, can final success be reached. Then one will be rewarded by the surprising and almost incredible results that such a persistent policy secures.
The success of any advertisement, whether of a business or political nature, depends on the consistency and perseverance with which it is employed.
The lies?  Well, it's never exactly said that way.  But the key is to repeat the simple black and white message.  The closest it comes is the last sentence below:
In this respect also the propaganda organized by our enemies set us an excellent example. It confined itself to a few themes, which were meant exclusively for mass consumption, and it repeated these themes with untiring perseverance. Once these fundamental themes and the manner of placing them before the world were recognized as effective, they adhered to them without the slightest alteration for the whole duration of the War. At first all of it appeared to be idiotic in its impudent assertiveness. Later on it was looked upon as disturbing, but finally it was believed.
The last two sentences, this time in the original again.
Sie war im Anfang scheinbar verr├╝ckt in der Frechheit ihrer Behauptungen, wurde sp├Ąter unangenehmundward endlich geglaubt.


As much as people want to blame social media like Twitter for the simplistic way many voters think, and the effectiveness of constantly repeating a message until it goes from 'idiotic' to 'believed,'  these tactics are not new.  Hitler claims these means were used by the British in WW I to rally its people and troops on to victory.

My sense is that the fuss about Hillary's emails is simply Swiftboating.  Most people understand something simple like using a private email account versus the government account.  But I think in the end it might backfire on the Republicans.  Most people know that they slip between their work and private accounts all the time.  They know that keeping up with the constantly changing technology leaves most folks vulnerable to screwing up.

Two of the key pit bulls attacking Clinton appear to have their own private/public email issues.  Or is this just the Clinton team hitting back?  And even the attorney whose client successfully sued the Palin administration for her use of private email accounts to prevent the public from seeing all her emails via public records requests, is having some second thoughts about whether the public should see every email.

Appearances matter, true.  But life isn't simple.  Getting past superficialities may be difficult with 140 characters, but I think it's still important.  And writing about the complexities helps one understand them and how to focus in on the most important aspects.  Ultimately, we probably make the biggest impact by doing what we're best suited for.  In my case, appearances are there to be questioned and examined.  And as I do that, I can't imagine the email attacks on Clinton are about serious stuff, but rather are mudslinging attempts to tear her down. The focus on the emails shows how little they have (or are they saving the serious stuff for October?)  Calling her the most corrupt candidate in history is sheer propaganda, and Trump does stay on message.  And already that idea, for many, according to the polls, has gone from 'idiotic' to 'disturbing', and by November could become 'believed.'


  1. Calling Hillary corrupt hardly started with trump. Remember Whitewater and Vince Foster? That had nothing to do with her running for president; probably a lot to do with being female (and of course a democrat).

    When Hillary

    Wait -- I'm typing on a kindle pad and when I typed Hillary the machine suggests three next words: Rodham, Clinton, and corrupt -- repeat it often enough and Amazon believes it. Gaaa

    Anyway... when Hillary talked about the vast right wing conspiracy everybody laughed and called her paranoid. Actually she was right, and it's gotten 100 times worse since then.

  2. Morning, Steve. Proud to call myself British today! Nothing less than the inventors of modern-day propaganda? and from such an unimpeachable source(!).

    To my point. I read recently that House Speaker Ryan called for Ms Clinton (if she were to become president) not to have 'confidential' briefings.

    So let's connect the ideas you laid out above with today's 'messages':

    1. Hilary didn't follow security policy in office;
    2. The presidency deals with highest level security;
    3. We cannot trust her with the office of president.

    Simple premises; simple (and faulty) conclusion.

    Complexity it a bitch. Tweet-think is so much easier.


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