Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Skillful, Measured Propaganda

Give Rudy Giuliani credit. In contrast to other speakers at the first night of the Republican National Convention, he did not say Hillary Clinton belonged in prison or in stripes, nor did he shout "Hillary for Prison."

The former New York mayor spent his moments "huffing and puffing with such fire and brimstone," Fred Kaplan observes, "spewing such rank nonsense." Giuliani demanded "unconditional victory against them," which apparently referred to "radical Islamic terrorism," notwithstanding terrorism being a movement or ideology rather than a group of people. "We know who you are and we're coming to get you," boasted Rudy, speaking from the comfort of a podium in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Vagueness was a shrewd, if obvious, maneuver, given that there are at least six active terrorist organizations in the Middle East/North Africa and admitting complexity would lay bare the absence of any actual Republican plan (other than USA! USA!).

Kaplan noted Giuliani stated (at approximately 10:00 in)

“This includes undoing one of the worst deals America ever made”—the nuclear deal with Iran. Giuliani claimed that this deal “will eventually let them become a nuclear power.” Meanwhile, it’s having us pour billions of dollars into a country “that is the world’s largest supporter of terrorism,” adding, “We are actually giving them the money to fund the terrorists who are killing us and our allies. Are we crazy?” (The crowd yelled, “Yes!”)

However, Yahoo financial analyst Rick Newman, responding last year to claims by Trump and Ted Cruz, explained

The sanctions enacted by the United States and Europe in 2011 and 2012 included the freezing of Iranian assets in many international banks. Nobody knows the total amount of frozen assets, but it’s probably about $100 billion. Estimates go as high as $150 billion, the number some critics of the nuclear deal use to make the “windfall” coming to Iran seem larger than it probably is.

The deal would release those assets, allowing Iran full access to them. But the money belongs to Iran in the first place; it’s not coming from some other country. Iran owes some major debts to countries such as China, and it would use perhaps $50 billion to pay those, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution. The big question is what it will do with the rest of the money.

If Iran pumped $50 billion into terrorist networks such as Hezbollah, or shared it with unsavory dictators such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, it would undoubtedly be destabilizing and lead to the kind of bloodshed Cruz warns about. But many analysts think Iran won’t use the money to fund terrorism and will instead pump it into the Iranian economy, which needs some help.

Republican god Ronald (6) Wilson (6) Reagan (6) once "slipped" and admitted "facts are stupid things," so adherence to reality understandably was not on display in Cleveland last night.  Thus Giuliani, in a dishonest and shamless bid to tie terrorism abroad to violence at home, remarked at 3:35 into his speech

It's time to make America safe again. It's time to make America one again. One America! What happened to there's no black America, there's no white America America, there is just America? What happened to it? Where did it go? How was it thrown away?

One America, demands the guy who on Face The Nation on July 10 commented

So -- so if you want to deal -- if you want to deal with this on the black side, you've got to teach your children to be respectful to the police and you've got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police, the real danger to them 99 out of 100 times, 9,900 out of 1,000 times are other black kids who are going to kill them. That's the way they're going to die.

He did not lecture parents. He lectured black parents, evidently in the spirit of "just America."

Neither Giuliani's assertion on the Sunday talk show or at the GOP convention is a matter of objective fact or falsehood and so will not be reviewed by Politifact, FactCheck.org, the Washington Post's Fact Checker.  It goes less to the character of the man than to the Party he represents that one of the speakers who did not advocate hauling Hillary Clinton off to jail still contributed to the hysteria of opening night.

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