Sunday, June 2, 2019

SORRY I'M AWOL... HERE'S SOME GOOD READING

Hey folks!

Sorry for being AWOL recently. I've been somewhat busy with a number of personal projects in various arenas, currently at various levels of completion. I'll tell you more, here in this space, when I have more to tell. 

Also, to be perfectly honest, the political situation here in North America, and pretty much everywhere around the globe, seems beyond the ability of the average person to comprehend, much less influence. It almost feels like we're desperately clutching the fur of some wildly bucking Beast, anxiously waiting to see what long-established institutional norm will be next to be toppled and shattered by its rampage.

Anyhoo, enough of all that. In the last month or so, I came across a number of interesting articles that I wanted to share with y'all, but never got around to. So today, I decided to do that, before too much more time passed and these articles became less relevant. And so, without further ado, here is my Suggested Reading List for today...

***

Here's a deeply depressing New Yorker piece by Adam Gopnik about how the South were the real winners in the Civil War. It begins:
Not so long ago, the Civil War was taken to be this country’s central moral drama. Now we think that the aftermath—the confrontation not of blue and gray but of white and black, and the reimposition of apartheid through terror—is what has left the deepest mark on American history. Instead of arguing about whether the war could have turned out any other way, we argue about whether the postwar could have turned out any other way. Was there ever a fighting chance for full black citizenship, equality before the law, agrarian reform? Or did the combination of hostility and indifference among white Americans make the disaster inevitable? 
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in his new book, “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow” (Penguin Press), rightly believes that this argument has special currency in the post-Obama, or mid-Trump, era. He compares the rosy confidence, in 2008, that the essential stain of American racism would fade through the elevation of a black President with the same kind of short-lived hopes found in 1865, when all the suffering of the war seemed sure to end with civil equality. Instead, the appearance of African-American empowerment seemed only to deepen the rage of a white majority. Then it brought forward Klan terrorism and Jim Crow in the South; now it has brought to power the most overtly racist President since Woodrow Wilson, openly catering to a white revanchist base. It’s a depressing prospect, and Gates is properly depressed and depressing about it.
If you follow this link, you can actually listen to a mellifluously intoned audio version of this article instead of just reading it.

***


Dan O'Sullivan, writing at his ongoing creative project "Welcome to Sullyville", offers up a wide-ranging and substantial meditation on the current state of American culture, particularly as it pertains to how America's creeping Fascism has metastasized into a now exploding Fascism, the hows of it, the whys of it, etc. It's called Pigs, A Million Different Ones, and after a brief introduction, he posits that...
...the Internet is now the world’s largest subduction zone, where an endless column of young, mostly white males are overtaken and crushed by the unstoppable force of far-right extremism. Violent misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, gay-bashing, anti-black racism - you name it, you can find it, in ever more plentiful amounts online. 
The biggest tech platforms you can name - Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit - serve up this kind of poison on an industrial scale, mushrooming and expanding at a rate that makes catching up with the spread almost impossible. The early neo-Nazi webforum Stormfront is on life support, largely because there is no need for the far-right to stay in an online cul-de-sac; they have free run of the world now. Worst of all, those consuming this economy of hate, which has exploded into an epidemic over the past ten years, are still mostly boys. 
Meaning, we as a society are going to be living with the effects of this radicalization for the rest of our lives.
I urge you to read the article in full, and to share it with friends and family... as long as you think they'll get something out of it. O'Sullivan has a pretty good grasp on many elements of the New Fascist International(e) gestalt, and he could be a writer to watch.

***

Our old pal Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll (my concordance here), has written a lovely article for The Paris Review about a topic that is near and dear to yer old pal Jerky's heart. Titled "To Believe or Not To Believe: That is NOT the Question", it is an exploration of the surprisingly vigorous paradoxical interplay between legitimate, profound skepticism on the one hand, and Western esoteric traditions of occult practice on the other. Along with Eugene Thacker (whose In The Dust of This Planet I also put together a concordance), I think Bebergal is one of the contemporary English-speaking world's finest writers on these topics, and this brief article is a good place to start getting a handle on where it is, exactly, that he's coming from. It begins:
Many years ago at a dinner party, I met a couple who had brought along their two-year-old son. The mother was Jewish, and the father was a practicing Buddhist from Tibet. Making small talk in the kitchen, the mother began to tell me about how she had been unable to get pregnant, so her husband had gone to their lama to ask him to bless them with a child. Some months later the couple successfully conceived, but before they broke the news to friends and family, they received a call from the lama, who told them that their unborn son was a bodhisattva—a being who has achieved enlightenment but chooses to reincarnate for the good of the world. As she told me this story, I felt dizzy and entranced. All I could see was her suddenly illuminated face; all I could hear was her voice. 
Now, I am not a Buddhist, but I experienced what she said about her child as true. He was beautiful and played quietly on the floor at our feet. For me, this was an encounter with the numinous, a realization of holiness and magic that didn’t require what religious people call faith. Moreover, when my trance broke and the other voices and sounds of the party returned to my awareness, I didn’t immediately begin to rationalize what I had been told or how I had felt about it. That spirits of the dead might move through the heavenly spheres and reemerge in new earthly forms seemed as real to me as the food that was being prepared for us. The language the family used to convey the story stirred all our imaginations. 
As a writer whose chosen subject is religion and, more recently, magic and its supernatural cousins, I admit that I am more disposed to exploring, and perhaps even experiencing, these kinds of altered states, but I am not more susceptible to believe in them. Not only because I am often critically challenged by readers and friends but because I am interested in what it means to hold to the irrational with a rational embrace, using skepticism as a compass to travel the map of the weird. One consequence of this, however, is finding myself without a home.
Let me tell you, if the above intro isn't enough to catch your interest and make you want to read the rest of the article, I don't know what to say to you!

***

In the wake of far-right evangelical Jair Bolsonaro being elected President of Brazil, Buzzfeed's Ryan Broderick filed a report arguing that the era of being surprised at this kind of politics is over. Now it's time for us to figure out how to live with what we've done. And what is it, that we've done? Well, that's what his report, entitled How We Radicalized the World, aims to answer, in part. It begins:
From the balcony of BuzzFeed’s São Paulo office right now, you can hear screams of “Ele Não” echoing through the city’s winding avenues. It’s the same phrase I’ve seen graffitied all over the city this month. The same one I heard chanted from restaurants and bars all afternoon. It means “not him” — him being Bolsonaro. But his victory tonight isn’t a surprise. He’s just one more product of the strange new forces that dictate the very fabric of our lives. 
It’s been a decade since I first felt like something was changing about the way we interact with the internet. In 2010, as a young news intern for a now-defunct website called the Awl, one of the first pieces I ever pitched was an explainer about why 4chan trolls were trying to take the also now-defunct website Gawker off the internet via a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. It was a world I knew. I was a 19-year-old who spent most of my time doing what we now recognize as “shitposting.” It was the beginning of an era where our old ideas about information, privacy, politics, and culture were beginning to warp. 
I’ve followed that dark evolution of internet culture ever since. I’ve had the privilege — or deeply strange curse — to chase the growth of global political warfare around the world. In the last four years, I’ve been to 22 countries, six continents, and been on the ground for close to a dozen referendums and elections. I was in London for UK’s nervous breakdown over Brexit, in Barcelona for Catalonia’s failed attempts at a secession from Spain, in Sweden as neo-Nazis tried to march on the country’s largest book fair. And now, I’m in Brazil. But this era of being surprised at what the internet can and will do to us is ending. The damage is done. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably spend the rest of my career covering the consequences.
This is an important piece, and well worth reading if you're trying to wrap your head around what the fuck happened to the world while you were distracted by a variety of shiny new apps and gewgaws. I urge you to read, absorb, and share. I also urge you to check out the comments section, to see how bad the rot has gotten, how severe the Dunning-Kruger-compounded right-wing brainwashing problem has become.

***

Hey guys, just a reminder that I have been putting in a bit of time at my Mediavore blog, having recently begun a media diary of sorts. I call it a reading diary, and I do spend more time on my reading choices than anything else, but I'm also using it to keep track of certain life events (like a recent trip to Landlord/Tenant court) and the movies and TV shows that I watch. So, anyway, if you like that kind of stuff, or if you're at all curious about what the hell the image immediately above this paragraph is all about, then by all means, keep up with my updates over at The Mediavore!

Also, as always, the Useless Eater Blog updates with a new "On This Day" entry, every single day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

GOP VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORTS HIT NEW LOW

They say the eyes are the window to the soul.
So now the Republicans, who are so desperate to win at all costs that they'll even cheat in states where their victories are already all but assured, are trying to criminalize giving people a ride to the polls in Texas. 

Essentially, an evil state senator by the name of Bryan Hughes (who also happens to be a big fan of gay conversion therapy, of course) is pushing a bill through the Texas legislature that would, among other anti-democratic atrocities, outlaw carpooling or ride-sharing, if the ride being shared happens to bring people to a polling place on election day.

This is NOT an exaggeration.

Check it out for yourself. Pay particular attention to SECTION 2.11. Section 64.009, which reads in part:
"The Election Code, is amended by adding Subsections (e), (f), and (g) to read as follows:
  (e) A person who assists at least three voters voting under this section at the same time by providing the voters with transportation to the polling place must complete and sign a form that:
        (1) requires the person to affirm that the voters are physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring their health; and
        (2) contains the following information:
              (A) the person's name and address; and
              (B) whether the person is providing assistance solely under this section or under both this section and Subchapter B.
  (f) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form described by Subsection (e). 
SECTION 2.12. Subchapter B, Chapter 64, Election Code, is amended by adding Section 64.0322 to read as follows:
Sec. 64.0322. SUBMISSION OF FORM BY ASSISTANT.
  (a) A person, other than an election officer, who assists a voter in accordance with this chapter is required to complete a form stating:
       (1) the name and address of the person assisting the
voter;
       (2) the manner in which the person assisted the voter;
       (3) the reason the assistance was necessary; and
       (4) the relationship of the assistant to the voter.
  (b) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form required by this section. The form must be incorporated into the official carrier envelope if the voter is voting an early voting ballot by mail and receives assistance under Section 86.010, or must be submitted to an election officer at the time the voter casts a ballot if the voter is voting at a polling place or under Section 64.009.
Keep an eye out for more like this from the Republicans, who have long since given up trying to hide the fact that they're a criminal-gang-slash-doomsday-cult who only pretend to be a political party anymore. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

FOR THOSE PANICKING ABOUT THE MUELLER REPORT

Seth Abramson has a Tweet Storm for you. 

Here it is:

BREAKING NEWS: Mueller has sent a report to DOJ that DOJ is representing is "comprehensive" and will shortly be publicly summarized. A lot of the reporting surrounding this major event is *wrong*—so I'll try to report things accurately. I hope you'll read on and retweet.

1/ At the risk of sounding like Mike Myers' famous SNL talk-show host Linda Richman, "Mueller's final Trump-Russia report" is neither "Mueller's," final, about "Trump-Russia" or a "report." So all the breathless "reporting" today suggesting otherwise is inaccurate and misleading.

2/ What we call the "Trump-Russia" investigation is a web of criminal, counterintelligence, and Congressional investigations that intersect with the work of the Special Counsel's Office. So there are three key "c"-words here—"criminal," "counterintelligence," and "Congressional."

3/ Special Counsel Mueller is part of the "criminal" investigation; Mueller's work *intersects* with the "counterintelligence" investigation; and his work feeds into and draws from the Congressional investigation. And here's the key: all three of these investigations are ongoing.

4/ As part of the "criminal" investigation, Mueller investigated some things his office then prosecuted; he investigated some things his office handed off to others; he investigated some things he chose not to prosecute; he investigated some things he is letting Congress handle.

5/ Mueller's "criminal" investigations—that is, the information he derived during his nearly 24 months of *criminal investigative work*—then fed directly into multiple "counterintelligence" investigations and will undoubtedly feed into many ongoing "Congressional" investigations.

6/ The news we got today is that Mueller will not *himself* be bringing any more indictments. That's it. That's *all* that has just happened. Any reporting that says the "Russia probe is done" is false. Any reporting that "Mueller's work is done" is false. It is only what I said.

7/ Focusing *exclusively* on what Mueller's office will be doing going forward and *exclusively* on the criminal investigation—so, a small part of what we somewhat misleadingly call the "Trump-Russia scandal"—we can see that Mueller may be done indicting (*maybe*) but that's it.

8/ As of today, Mueller had ten attorneys working for him (himself not included, I believe) down from seventeen originally. But we found out this week that certain attorneys who "left" his Office will *still be doing work for it*. Why? Because the Office has some work left to do.

9/ That Office, whether still formally constituted or not, will see its attorneys prosecute Roger Stone in November, eight months from now. It will see its cooperating witness Rick Gates participate in "multiple" ongoing federal criminal investigations. And that's just the start:

10/ The Office will see its cooperating witness Mike Flynn testify in the Kian trial in July (Kian was a NatSec official on Trump's transition team whose case intersects with all the other parts of the Trump-Russia investigation). Flynn is also involved in *multiple* other cases.

11/ The Office will continue to pursue grand jury testimony from a Roger Stone witness, and continue to pursue a substantial trove of documents (for its grand jury, which is seated through July as far as was last reported) from an as-yet unnamed state-owned foreign corporation.

12/ The Office has—it appears—referred to DOJ for prosecution at least one man it previously promised to prosecute (Corsi) and presumably has referred to DOJ for *possible* prosecution a whole host of "Trumpworld" figures who Congress has recently accused of perjuring themselves.

13/ We also heard from major media over the past few weeks that Bob Mueller's office was referring out an unknown number of new cases to other federal prosecutors, including presumably—based on past cooperation and information-sharing practices—prosecutors in SDNY, EDVA, and DC.

14/ We *also* know from major media that there are many ongoing cases for which Mueller's office conducted some of the investigation, all of the investigation, or shared information with the case's primary investigators, such as Cohen's SDNY cases and the Maria Butina case in DC.

15/ What some in the media decided—I do not know why—is that the only cases they would associate with Mueller would be (a) indictments Mueller's office brought, (b) that were completed before he issued any report to the DOJ, and (c) immediately (on their face) involved collusion.

16/ So you have reporters today blithely saying that "Mueller is done" when Mueller will be prosecuting Roger Stone for most of 2019. You have reporters saying "he's done" when cases he initiated are not only ongoing in multiple jurisdictions but may well provide new intel there.

17/ If Roger Stone decides to cooperate—before or after conviction—that's Mueller. The same is true for Kian. The same is even true for Manafort (who can cooperate to reduce his sentence for the next year). But the same is also true for the many cases Gates and Flynn are working.

18/ The same is true for Butina. And for indictments that arise from the ongoing counterintelligence investigation(s). Or any new criminal referrals that go from Congress to DOJ. The same is true for cases Mueller began—that then went elsewhere—that could lead to new indictments.

19/ So Mueller has indicated not just all the charges he himself brought, but all those he sent elsewhere that we know of and all those he sent elsewhere that we *don't* know of. As for the "counterintelligence" investigation—quite possibly still ongoing—we'll get nothing at all.

20/ There may then be *another* category in what Mueller has submitted which includes cases he referred back to Main Justice. And a final category (possibly) that includes cases he suggests be referred to Congress because an indictment is impossible (e.g., cases involving Trump).

21/ As to what Mueller will do with one other category—inculpatory evidence he discovered involving potential offenses he regarded as outside his purview—I have no idea whether those will be in the report, were sent to other federal prosecutors, or will be given to Main Justice.

22/ What we have today are a large number of non-attorney journalists who don't understand what a *small part* of the big picture is being dealt with and discussed today because they want to believe they have a handle on a story they do *not* have a handle on. That's distressing.

23/ Imagine that tomorrow Bijan Kian says, "I saw things on the national security team during the transition—I want to talk." Imagine Stone says that. Imagine that any of the cases Mueller's cooperating witnesses are working on now—including Gates and Flynn—beget new indictments.

24/ Under those circumstances, what would today's too-oft-heard pronouncement—"no new indictments"—even mean? Or what would it mean if any of the cases Mueller referred to SDNY, EDVA, DC, state courts, or Main Justice—whether in the past or just recently—lead to new indictments?

25/ What if the counterintelligence cases that do not appear to have been subsumed by Mueller's investigation return to the criminal sphere in the future as new indictments? What if Congressional investigations spurred by Mueller's work produce new evidence, and then indictments?

26/ Thus—given all this—my statement that this investigation isn't "Mueller's." It now resides within—besides, still, Mueller's grand jury—the Stone case, the Kian case, Gates' cases, Flynn's cases, Cohen's cases, SDNY, EDVA, DC, NYCDA, NYAG, Main Justice, FBI, CIA, and Congress.

27/ And "new indictments" in *any* of those spheres may not be prosecuted by Mueller himself—but they will be the product of his work and the fact that his investigation has unleashed a snowstorm of legal hurt upon Donald Trump the likes of which no president has previously seen.

28/ This explains, too, why "final"—applied to today's "report"—is false. There is only a finality to Mueller himself bringing new indictments (with the exception that many things could happen that *would've* led to new indictments for Mueller that he'll now allow DOJ to handle).

29/ But Mueller did something else for America that we are only just beginning to appreciate: news stories tracking down what Mueller was working on informed us that what we call "Trump-Russia" isn't really "Trump-Russia" at all—that Trump's malfeasance goes *well* beyond Russia.

30/ That is, no matter the scope of what Mueller "reports," we know he investigated—and may have sent to other prosecutors outside Main Justice—data on pre-election Trump collusion with Saudi Arabia, Israel, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, and Qatar: all intersecting with Russian collusion.

31/ The extent to which Mueller pursued these leads is partly mandate-based and partly due to the imposition of urgency upon his work by voters, media, politicians, possibly DOJ itself. Investigation of these other courses of collusion—many quite baroque—can't be wrapped up soon.

32/ So for instance, major media reported that Mueller was looking into Trump-Saudi collusion—and soon after Representative Schiff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence picked up that thread, and will pursue it even if Mueller left it out of his "report" to DOJ.

33/ I keep putting "report" in quotes because what Mueller has made is a "report" by DOJ *regs* but not as we generally understand the term: it is not a conclusive statement that addresses all complexities of a given issue. It is a narrow perspective on a single subset of issues.

34/ DOJ can't charge someone with something *or discuss in much detail that they considered doing so*—or perhaps even *any* detail—unless they can prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt: with 90%+ certainty. But would a full "report" tell us there was 78% proof of conspiracy?

35/ To put this in concrete terms: If Mueller found 81% proof that Trump criminally conspired with the Kremlin, it's entirely possible you wouldn't find that anywhere in any "report" Mueller files. Would you then call that a full and final "report on conspiracy"? No—you wouldn't.

36/ Just so if Mueller had 78% proof Trump Jr. perjured himself. Or 86% proof Erik Prince did. Or 69% proof that Kushner committed espionage. That's all stuff you'd like to know—and that we'd expect in any "report" deserving that name on those topics—but you wouldn't see it here.

37/ To be clear, this isn't sour grapes—as the fact that this intel *won't* be in this "report" media is over-hyping only means that, instead, you will see this 78% (or 86%, or 69%) proof of harrowing federal felonies *paraded before Congress on your TV screen at home*. And more:

38/ It will *continue* to be—invisible to you and me—the subject of ongoing investigations by the FBI/CIA such that, if/when proof of Kushner committing espionage (say) goes from 69% to 90%, it *will* reappear in the criminal justice system as a "new indictment." You bet it will.

39/ So when I say "Mueller's final Trump-Russia report" is neither Mueller's, final, "Trump-Russia," or a report, I mean it—it isn't any of those things. That doesn't mean it's not an important milestone in an historic test of our rule of law, democracy, and civic fabric—it *is*.

40/ We're not jurors—we don't need 90%+ proof of conspiring with Russia to find a POTUS unfit or shun Kushner the rest of his life. My book PROOF OF COLLUSION—and upcoming book PROOF OF CONSPIRACY—establish these things at the high level of certainty informed citizenship demands.

41/ As for offenses underlying collusion and conspiracy—obstruction, witness tampering, perjury, bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, RICO and more—as to both Donald Trump *and* his family and aides I have every reason to believe such investigations and cases proceed onward.

42/ As for collusion and conspiracy—the latter a charge in itself, the former chargeable when it arises in conduct qualifying as conspiracy, aiding/abetting, bribery, fraud or even offenses like obstruction—there's *another* group that isn't jurors requiring 90%+ proof: Congress.

43/ PROOF OF COLLUSION and PROOF OF CONSPIRACY—taken together as a duology of Trump/Trumpworld treachery—make a fulsome case for impeachment in the context of the offenses alleged being national security threats no Congress can demand 90%+ proof of for an impeachment to proceed.

44/ And it's for this precise reason that *another* investigation will not be stopped should there not be found (by Mueller) 90%+ proof of conspiracy: the counterintelligence investigations that preceded Mueller's investigation and that are—as far as any of us know—still ongoing.

45/ In short, as to any offense which isn't a high crime or misdemeanor and involves Trump and his family, the investigation of such crimes continues; as to high crimes and misdemeanors, 90%+ proof not only won't be required and isn't expected, it *cannot* be set as the standard.

46/ I'd have liked Mueller to handle the prosecution of Don Jr., Prince, and others lying to Congress, but if others do so that's fine; I'd have liked Mueller to hold Kushner accountable for all that he's done with Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others, but have *no* doubt he will be.

47/ I'm sad that—for the sake of clicks, eyeballs, ratings, and the salaries of those who live by a breaking-news chyron—what happened today has wrongly been cast as the end of something rather than (as @neal_katyal wisely said) the beginning of something. But that's media today.

48/ The reason I often remind people that I was a practicing criminal attorney for years—and am still an attorney—and that I was trained as a criminal investigator at two universities and then practiced as a criminal investigator, is because I stand by my professional judgments.

49/ Trump is what I've said he is, and he's done what I've said he's done. Hundreds of hours of professional research for two books leave no doubt for me. Whatever we receive from Barr in the coming days—whether comprehensive and transparent or opaque and elusive—that remains so.

50/ You—whoever you are, reading this—want this to end *now*. I want it as much as you do—maybe far more. But it won't end anytime soon. What we see when we see Mueller's work will be the end of just *one* chapter of U.S. history's longest, most complex, most harrowing epic. /end

PS/ I just want to acknowledge a couple things I chose not to address in this thread: most notably, whether "no new indictments" from the SCO right now means no sealed indictments to unseal, or the fact that no obstruction indictment means nothing because Trump can't be indicted.

PS2/ Folks wisely note that Mueller gave great deals to a lot of people to get them to give info on people higher up, e.g. Flynn, Gates and Nader. That's why I noted that Flynn and Gates are still being used in multiple cases and Nader's help on Saudi Arabia may still be active.

PS3/ Folks likewise wisely note that many people you'd expect to have seen interviewed either weren't (Ivanka) or only narrowly (Jared). That's why I noted that there are investigations ongoing in several jurisdictions that may well see these individuals *eventually* get noticed.

PS4/ The wisest thing I heard this evening was a smart progressive pointing out that the only thing we know now that we didn't know a few hours ago is that some sort of report exists. Basically everything else we read online and see on TV about what Mueller has said is a *guess*.

***

So maybe, you know... calm the fuck down, m'kay? When Trump stops acting like a guilty man going down in flames, maybe then it'll be time to start worrying.

Cheers!
yer old pal Jerky

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

SUGGESTED READINGS 29/01/2019


Buzzfeed gets a lot of guff for being the people who helped bring us such anti-journalistic horror-shows as "listicles", which feature such information-free topics as plastic surgery "did they or didn't they" reports and sideboob galleries. But over the last few years, they've really been upping their game. Case in point, Hannes Grassegger's report on The Unbelievable Story of the Plot Against George Soros, sub-titled "How two Jewish-American political consultants helped create the world's largest anti-Semitic conspiracy theory", which begins:

The glass tower that houses George Soros’s office in Manhattan is overflowing with numbers on screens, tracking and predicting the directions of markets around the world. But there’s one that’s particularly hard to figure out — a basic orange chart on a screen analyzing sentiment on social media. 
The data, updated regularly since 2017, projects the reactions on the internet to the name George Soros. He gets tens of thousands of mentions per week — almost always negative, some of it obviously driven by networks of bots. Soros is pure evil. A drug smuggler. Profiteer. Extremist. Conspiracist. Nazi. Jew. It’s a display of pure hate.
The demonization of Soros is one of the defining features of contemporary global politics, and it is, with a couple of exceptions, a pack of lies. Soros is indeed Jewish. He was an aggressive currency trader. He has backed Democrats in the US and Karl Popper’s notion of an “open society” in the former communist bloc. But the many wild and proliferating theories, which include the suggestion that he helped bring down the Soviet Union in order to clear a path to Europe for Africans and Arabs, are so crazy as to be laughable — if they weren’t so virulent. 
Soros and his aides have spent long hours wondering: Where did this all come from? 
Only a handful of people know the answer.
How's THAT for an opening that grabs you by the balls? And in case you were wondering, YES, the questions raised therein get answered, and YES, Grassegger names names. In fact, if anything, it's almost too detailed, leaving no stone unturned and no box unchecked in its exhaustive exploration of the evidence assembled to back up the thesis presented. This means that the article takes a while to read, which automatically reduces its potential readership by, like, half, right off the bat. 

This is unfortunate, because it's so well researched, articulately argued, and meticulously laid out, that I believe it is ESSENTIAL READING for anyone hoping to achieve an accurate big picture take on our current political moment. This includes the rise of the New Fascist International(e) on a global scale, and the absolute helplessness of those previously dominant, consensus-dependent political structures that are currently supposed to serve as our bulwark against these types of ideological attacks and incursions.

So, whatever your politics, I urge you to read and absorb this article. It's well worth your time. It's one of those articles that you're going to want to clip and save so you can refer to it and share with others.
***

So, did you hear the one about the "transparency" organization that sent out emails to various media outlets featuring a list of topics NOT to report on? I refer, of course, to Wikileaks, and the missive in question is apparently very real... and very ridiculous., listing 140 statements that they believe SHOULD NOT BE PUBLISHED! These statements, which they call “false and defamatory”, are pretty much all about their cult-like figurehead, founder, and spiritual leader, Julian Assange. Check it out:
Among the assertions that WikiLeaks labeled “false” or “defamatory” were allegations that Assange had ever been an "agent or officer of any intelligence service” or has close ties to the Kremlin or Russian President Vladimir Putin. 
"There is a pervasive climate of inaccurate claims about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, including purposeful fabrications planted in large and otherwise 'reputable' media outlets," the email read, according to Reuters. 
"Consequently journalists and publishers have a clear responsibility to carefully fact-check from primary sources and to consult the following list to ensure they are not spreading, and have not spread, defamatory falsehoods about WikiLeaks or Julian Assange." 
The email was labeled “Confidential legal communication. Not for publication."
The ironies basically never stop with this Kremlin stooge!

***

Speaking of Kremlin stooges, it's looking like there are some actual, non-compromised journalistic transparency advocates out there who are willing to go where WikiLeaks fears to tread (for some mysterious, inexplicable reason*). Yes folks, that's right... it's Vladimir Putin's turn in the barrel! That means the most successful organized crime figure of the new millennium -- along with the Russian oligarchs and Kremlin apparatchiks spared by WikiLeaks in the past-- is getting his emails hacked and leaked! Keep your eyes on their Tor site, Distributed Denial of Secrets, and the related Twitter account.

*Actually, it's totally explicable: Wikileaks has long been co-opted by the Kremlin tentacle of the New Fascist International(e) conspiracy

Friday, January 25, 2019

JUST A COUPLE NOTES TO PASS ALONG

Hey y'all! It's me, yer old pal Jerky, here with a few nuggets that I've come across recently that I feel like sharing with anyone who might accidentally surf on over to this page.

First of all, here's a really great @Maddow segment on Trump's repeated parroting of extremely obscure conspiracy narratives emanating exclusively from a handful of known Russian propaganda outlets. Very much worth a watch. I mean, even if you don't think Trump is literally Putin's puppet, it's genuinely concerning that the president of the united states seems to be repeating the Kremlin line, over and above that of his own foreign policy experts at State and beyond.

And of course, the next naturally arising question is... Why? Where is he getting all these weird takes on the politics of countries that he probably wasn't even aware existed prior to learning, and spreading, these obscure (and mostly erroneous) "facts" about them?

I, myself, had completely forgotten the Poland theory, which is just obscure as it gets. And I remember him repeating other stuff, during the campaign, that made me go, "Wow! That's literally the RT/Sputnik line."

Anyway... nothing to see here, I'm sure. But watch anyway!


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What does a sketchy, possibly fake Leonardo da Vinci painting have to do with the Russian mob using Trump and his assets to achieve a rather spectacular level of money laundering? Surf on over to Wonkette to find out for yourself!

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this. I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

- In case you were still wondering what could possibly be behind some people’s ongoing support of Donald Trump, a New York Times dispatch from the small, politically conservative, hurricane-and-shutdown-ravaged town of Marianna, Florida, features the above, supremely revealing quote from semi-disgruntled prison worker Crystal Minton. So the answer is, yes, friends, Trump supporters really are subhuman shit golems.