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Friday, August 18, 2017

After Charlottesville, after Bannon

The song is from 1965. It's relevant again, jah? Especially when it comes to those tiki-torchers who insist that they had no idea that they were marching alongside Nazis. The song also reminds me of a certain ludicrous doubletalker who thinks that one can revere Julius Evola while claiming not to be a fascist.

@Joseph Cannon,

Our modern day Martin Bormann (Chief of the Parteikanzlei), Steven K. Bannon, is officially out of the White House. I don't know what hell he will raise now that he's outside government again. But it's not enough to placate me. It's not enough, period. The fight is far from over. I hope you'll agree with me that the fight has to continue until Trump is removed from office or resigns. Even after Trump, the Far Right is burgeoning today like never before in the post-War era. There is a global resurgence of Fascism. Removing Bannon and Trump from power are just first steps in combating Neo-fascism.

Joe, it is time for the Centrists and the Leftists to unite in fighting Neo-fascism. The neo-fascists (like Bannon) only benefit from rifts like that between the centrists and progressives (Hillary vs. Bernie, etc.). For the sake of annihilating fascism, which has resurged thanks to Putinist Russia, the Center and the Left need to reconcile. At least for a long time. Either the center will hold or we will end up in a Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) dystopia.

Bernie Sanders was much closer to my political, social, economic and jurisprudent positions. But if it means defeating neo-fascists (the Alt. Right, the Far Right, Kekistanis, GamerGate, Ethno-nationalism, White nationalism, Ultranationalism, Economic nationalism, Trumpkins, etc.), I will ally with people of a wide range of political views. Even moderate or 'Main Street' Republicans. Even Wall St. ilk. And I'm saying that as someone who is anti-capitalist and left of Sanders. Neo-fascism should be public enemy numero uno. I hope to Hell you'll agree with me on that much.


A well-written comment, Jay.

But I would not compare Bannon to Bormann. Bormann always struck me as more pragmatic, more efficient, less ideological, less of a perpetual outsider.

Bannon is more like...well. To whom do we compare the man?

Evola. Goebbels. Some odd combo of the two.

History never offers true repetition. It gives us variations on a theme.
One other thing, Jay. I just recalled: Bormann was not at all well-known while the Third Reich was operational. He was more of a behind-the-scenes mastermind. He became well-known only at the very end, and of course, during the search for his whereabouts.

Say what you will about Bannon: He DOES like publicity.
@Joseph Cannon,

Thank you for the responses. You're right, I was too quick to put Bannon in the secretary Martin Bormann position. But if Bannon is not the behind-the-scenes mastermind of neo-fascism, who would you say is? Richard B. Spencer seems too foolish to me for masterminding fascism's undead resurrection. Vlad Putin? If Putin isn't the most vile, wretched and evil power moving in the world today, I don't know what is. The fact that so much of the Left have become Putin apologists makes me sick. I'm still a 'radical Leftist', but I'm in 'time out' because I refuse to be an apologist for the Chekist state that is the Russian Federation. The endless flow of Putin apologists coming from Jimmy Dore, Oliver Stone, Consortium, and other sources I use to trust. The fact that the Left I love has allied with Putin has damaged me to the very core.

Anyway, there's a new video from Olbermann's the Resistance which I think we'll both enjoy. See it at

You can replace every reference to Chappaquiddick with "Benghazi", "EmailGate" or "PizzaGate". The tools of neo-fascism are many today. But two tools are endlessly referencing debunked nonsense about the Clintons (including the "Pay-to-Play" Foundation scheme) and insisting that Russian collusion and interference is a "nothing-burger". It terrifies me that the Left is using tactics of the neo-fascists. So here I am, in time out. Trying to find allies like you. Like anyone willing to fight Nazis again.

The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over."

Quiz question: was Stephen Bannon echoing someone else's words?

I don't know the answer. Perhaps Benito Mussolini or an associate said something similar at the start of the Salo Republic in 1943?

Other possibilities that come to mind are Otto Skorzeny after VE Day, or Vladimir Putin at the end of the USSR.
I don't want to get into a contest on who was damaged more by the left, you or me. But I know mine was longer than Putin. Their treason on 2016 isn't just for the country, but mostly for the ideals which are the fabric of their existence. They betrayed the very people who are supposed to be helping. They showed no principals, values or morals what so ever. I simply can't trust them. They call dump brother trump. Do I need to say more?
The man who carried out the terrorist murders in Turku appears to have been arrested about 100 metres from the synagogue on Brahenkatu, and when he was moving in its direction.

That's one of only two synagogues in Finland.
Back to the fixed election
Joseph Spiezer, thanks for the link...I will check it out when I get my computer back! I used to love Medium but they are walling it off...I know, they are trying to survive.
Joseph, that song reminds me of this time at work, the trainees shared a bit about themselves...and this German guy shared about his dad being a WW 2 German veteran and I just stared, mean a Nazi? I did not end up working there!
Jay, I applaud your moving out of your bubble. While everyone is in a horror over the racism of the right, next to none even acknowledge the sexism of the left. It is so pervasive it's like water to fish. As long as we're comparing losses to our core identities, just know every time anyone references Olbermann I react the way I did to the Nazi 's son calling his dad a WW 2 vet. Here is someone A-OK with Uber-man 's calling for Hillary ' s death at the hands of men. On air. Women are reminded every day men hate them, but never more so when things like that are forgiven and forgotten.
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Bannon out

When Roger Stone came out against Bannon, I knew: He's out. It's not official yet -- although the hammer may drop as I write -- but the exit sign is flashing, and even Drudge is predicting an adios.

Update: Yes, the NYT published the story even as I was writing these words...
Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election but clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers, is leaving his post, a White House spokeswoman announced Friday.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”
In other words, Kelly made the decision -- probably while listening to Trump rant and rave the other day.

I love this bit from Axios:
One White House source twists the knife: "His departure may seem turbulent in the media, but inside it will be very smooth. He has no projects or responsibilities to hand off."
One senior White House official said it seemed like Bannon was setting himself up to be a martyr — the nationalist hero fired by the "globalists."
Of course, there IS no "globalist" (read: Jewish) conspiracy against Bannon. Bannon is going because things are going bad and someone must be fired. Neither Trump nor Kelly can admit that Trump is the problem.
Bannon has felt freed this past week and has told friends that he is ready to go "medieval" on enemies of Trump and his populist agenda both in and out of the White House.
"Get ready for Bannon the barbarian."
Joy Reid has tweeted:
Hearing from a source that Bannon is going ugly. Stay tuned...
The obvious question, as asked by one of her readers: How much uglier can that guy get? I think the important consideration is that Trump, if he has to have any hope of lasting a full term, must eschew nationalism and become more of a conventional Republican -- but if he does move in that direction, Bannon will turn the Pepe people against the administration. That's no doubt the reason why, until now, it was thought safer to keep Bannon on the inside.

Sorry, Steve -- but if you're going to stage a "revolt against the modern world" (to borrow Evola's term), the White House is not the place.

Remember, remember...
From the Palmer Report (with all due caveats):
Way back in December of 2016, longtime Republican strategist Rick Wilson – who has stood loudly against Donald Trump from the start – posted a cryptic prediction on Twitter in Guy Fawkes style: “Remember, remember, The 8th of November, ‘Twas Putin, and treason and plot; I see no reason Why pro-Russian treason Should ever be forgot.” At the time it didn’t seem to refer to anything in particular. But this evening Wilson quoted his own poem and added “Just wanted to re-up this. You’ll know why in about two weeks.” (link). So what the heck is he referring to with this new message?
Color me skeptical. Wilson first came to my attention just before the election, when he promised a "bonkers" revelation that would destroy Trump. What we got instead was a bonkers last-minute smear against Hillary, claiming that she had been raided by the cops.

Added note: Doing the "I was not a Nazi" polka. Gotta love Jerrod Kuhn of NY, who joined the marchers in Charlottesville, and whose life is now being made much more difficult...
“I’m not a neo-Nazi,” he insisted. “I don’t belong to a German workers’ party from 1933. I’m a moderate Republican.”
"I never worked at zat camp! I am SWISS, I tell you! SWISS!!!"

Kuhn was filmed marching around with a bunch of torch-wielding would-be bullyboys chanting "Blood and soil." They yelled insults at Jews who were trying to hold a worship service. Kuhn's digital trail reveals that he enjoys hanging out with the "moderate Republicans" at the Daily Stormer.

Sometimes I wonder how Hitler would have defended himself, had he gone to trial at Nuremberg. "Adolf who? My name is Wally."
There is rumors that bannon will replace roger a. that will be fun;-)
Well I'm surprised Bannon has left. What next for Breitbart now?

So far, only a small amount of blood has flowed in the US as a result of the Trump presidency, and yet Bannon is out because keeping him would make Trump look bad in the media? If that is so, Trump may be in big trouble. Bannon is of a much higher calibre than Scaramucci. But I'm not at all sure that it is so.

Maggie Haberman and Michael Shear in the New York Times quote the same words as I quoted earlier, but interestingly they put a very different spin on them:

"Mr. Bannon mockingly played down the American military threat to North Korea as nonsensical: 'Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.'"

"Mockingly"? I read him as speaking the truth with a forked tongue, not as mocking.

Do the top brass want to wait a while before starting WW3, whereas Bannon is a Ledeenite "faster, please" guy? Just a hypothesis, but it's hard to imagine it might be the other way round. What else might the brass have against Bannon?

My hunch is that this relates to war preparations. Just how, I'm not sure.
In fairness to Rick Wilson, he later admitted that the Trump "bombshell" that wasn't was the pee tape. Everyone in the media knew about both it and the dossier, and Rick thought it would drop. Not an endorsement of him, but I thought I should provide more context.
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Strange Trumpian tales

Spain. I'll probably have more to say about the Barcelona attack later. Right now, all an American blogger can do is express sadness and horror. Good Lord, when will this time of insanity end?

Do you recall Steve Bannon's acid-filled bathtub? Looks like someone close to him was cookin' up some meth.
Curtis heard the same stories of porn, drugs, and debauchery over and over again.

“Each person gave accounts that the house was used to film pornography, had a constant flow of men, women — and even children — at the house and that blatant drug use was occurring at all hours of the night and day,” Curtis said.

At least five people told him tales of drug use and porn at the house.

Felix, a handyman who frequently worked on the property, told Curtis he had personally “witnessed women and men being filmed in the act.” He described the buckets of chemicals and bags of trash and rags he had to remove. He spent hours scrubbing the master bathtub, “which appeared melted by some form of acid.” Felix suspected the bathtub had been used for “making drugs.”

Curtis heard similar stories from the pest control service man.

“In fact,” Curtis said, “he did so in an almost gleeful and boastful manner.”

The pest control worker described witnessing drug use each time he came to the house, “even at early day hours.” He told Curtis it would blow his mind to know what “what went on in the house.”

An unnamed male tenant, he said, who was “a heavy set man,” offered him “girls for sex and/or drugs in lieu of payment,” but he never accepted because he could lose his job.
Later that night, Bannon plopped into bed, reached for his well-worn copy of Julius Evola's The Hermetic Tradition, and thought: "Yes! When Evola writes about the transcendental god-man, he's really talking about....about ME!"

Later, Sater! Frankly, this story strikes me as iffy. Too good to be true. Nevertheless, let us take note of the claim: If it pans out, it pans out -- and you can debunk it, please share what you know.
Felix Sater, one of Donald Trump’s shadiest former business partners, is reportedly preparing for prison time — and he says the president will be joining him behind bars.

Sources told The Spectator‘s Paul Wood that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s deep dive into Trump’s business practices may be yielding results.
And according to Wood’s sources, Sater may have already flipped and given prosecutors the evidence they need to make a case against Trump.
For several weeks there have been rumours that Sater is ready to rat again, agreeing to help Mueller. ‘He has told family and friends he knows he and POTUS are going to prison,’ someone talking to Mueller’s investigators informed me.
Sater hinted in an interview earlier this month that he may be cooperating with both Mueller’s investigation and congressional probes of Trump.

“In about the next 30 to 35 days, I will be the most colourful character you have ever talked about,” Sater told New York Magazine. “Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it now, before it happens. And believe me, it ain’t anything as small as whether or not they’re gonna call me to the Senate committee.”
I'm intrigued but wary. Mensch and Taylor have gotten our hopes up too many times; having been burned before, I now put on oven mitts. It should also be noted that Sater denies collusion with Russia...
Sater laughed off such theories. “The next three years of hearings about Trump and Russia will yield absolutely nothing. I know the man, they didn’t collude,” he said. “Did a bunch of meetings happen? Absolutely. The people on the Trump team who had any access to the Russians wanted to be first in and be the guys that ran the whole détente thing. Michael Flynn wanted to be the détente guy, and then [Paul] Manafort, I’m sure, wanted to be the détente guy. Shit, I wanted to be the détente guy, why not? But was it really a conspiracy between Putin and Donald to get him elected? A little bit of a stretch.”
Of course, Sater probably fears Putin one hell of a lot more than he fears Donald Trump or anyone else. So he could be looking for a way to implicate the Orange Oaf without annoying Vladimir Satanovich.

The "Tom Watson Slide": Today's anti-fascist is tomorrow's fascist

Millions have already seen the short documentary embedded above. I am ashamed to admit that I had not viewed it until yesterday. If you've not seen it yet, you must.

Pay close attention to Matthew Heimbach, who shows up not long past the ten minute mark. You may be surprised by his anti-corporatist, anti-capitalist message. For a moment, he sounds like someone who has been reading Chomsky. Of course, Heimbach believes that anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism go hand in hand; so did many 19th century Marxists.

An argument of that sort may seduce radical leftists into joining the far right. In fact, I've seen that very scenario play out many times.

In 1970, anti-war protestors gathered to hear Jane Fonda say "Don't trust the government" -- and ten years later, the same people voted for Ronald Reagan, who also said "Don't trust the government." I knew a famous leader of the SDS -- someone who testified at the Chicago 8 trial -- who, by the 1990s, had become a quasi-sympathizer of the JBS. I used to know one of the founders of the East Village Other (a great hippie journal of the 1960s); by the 1990s, the same guy was a right-wing kook who wanted to get rid of Social Security. In the late 1980s, I knew people radicalized by Chomsky and Cockburn and Pacifica radio; by 1994, the same people were joining militias and trading conspiracy theories about Bill Clinton and the Rothschilds and the Knights Templar and God-knows-what-else.

The beat goes on: The SPLC tells us that White Nationalist Jason Kessler got his start with the Occupy movement.

We need a name for this phenomenon. I suggest calling it the "Tom Watson Slide," after the populist rabble-rouser Tom Watson, who began as a radical ultra-progressive but eventually morphed into a radical racist. Watson played the Édouard Drumont role in the Leo Frank affair -- and modern Nazis are still defending his scurrilous behavior.

Some readers wonder why I've come to hate the BernieBros. Some wonder why I never had any use for those on the left who despise mainstream liberalism and the Democratic party.

Why do I distrust such people? The Tom Watson Slide. That's why. I've seen it happen far too often.

In the 1930s, the left was split between those who loved FDR and those who called FDR a capitalist sell-out. The latter category included a few notables (such as Whittaker Chambers and, arguably, Irving Kristol) who eventually showed us their versions of the Tom Watson Slide. Meanwhile, those in the former category -- the FDR-lovers -- tended to stay put. If they did slide, they didn't slide very far.

For similar reasons, I oppose anarchism -- all forms of anarchism, including that really cool one that you are now tempted to prattle on about because you seem to believe that I've never heard that kind of prattle before. Why do I stand against the anarchist? Because anarchism, in all its flavors, is a common "gateway drug" leading to Libertarianism, and Libertarianism usually morphs into the latest iterations of the Tea Party or the John Birch Society.

I have read that members of Antifa behaved with true heroism in Charlottesville. They deserve our gratitude and our applause for that.

However, the more I learn about Antifa, the greater my fear that this movement attracts the kind of radicals likeliest to make what I call the Tom Watson Slide. Most members of Antifa are anarchists who oppose conventional Democratic politicians. How can I do anything but oppose their opposition? In response to a previous post, one of my readers insisted on drawing a sharp distinction between Antifa and the violence-prone Black Bloc. But that distinction is far from clear: See here and here and here.

History strongly suggests that today's anti-fascist street-brawler is tomorrow's pro-fascist street-brawler. Those who bravely stood against the Nazis in Charlottesville may find it hard to believe that such a transmogrification is possible. But the Slide has happened before -- many, many times. It will happen again.
I mostly agree with you! But this isn't the time to be directing fire at the left and the perniciousness of anarchists isn't the takeaway. The president said there were many "fine people" in the "quiet" Nazi torch parade. Our country has its Hitler, and he has three and a half years left, minimum. Keep your eye on the ball.
President Trump needs to be impeached and sooner rather than later.

Racism is unacceptable. Trump's narcissism and egoism are a clear and present danger.

I'm not saying anything everyone doesn't already know. So how in the fuck is this idiot not impeached? How are there not impeachment proceedings in the Congress already? How far is the GOP (or Republicans or whatever shit name they want to self-identify with) going to let Trump shit all over the nation and bounce around like a fucking buffoon? Impeach the son of bitch, put Pence in office for the next ~3 years. Then let that evil son of a bitch lose to the Democratic nominee. Which would happen because Michael Pence on his own wouldn't even reach the ~1% level in the primaries that Lindsey Graham had. The Democrats could throw up anyone (except Hillary Clinton) and easily skate to victory in 2020 against Pence and his fellow goombas.

Impeach Trump. Let's get it done, America. No more playing footsies with neo-Nazis, the Alt. Right, the Far Right, the neo-fascists, the ultranationalists, etc. It's time to put an end to these dangerous flirtations before someone gets bedded.

RIP Heather Heyer. May your death lead to America's salvation in getting rid of that imbecile President 45.


What's happening with Steve Bannon?

Whatever it is, it's not essentially about white supremacism. Bannon is not a white supremacist. That term is bandied about so much. Bannon may be willing to use the crackers, just as Trump wouldn't have won the election without geeing up the beer-bellied, uneducated, white gun-toting males who think they're Macho Incarnate but who in the event of a second US civil war might find it hard to pull themselves away from the wrestling on the telly. Any serious military force would be very choosy about who among that rabble of lardarses (probably in many cases addicted to opiates) they wanted to recruit. Even the German SA had standards.

Bannon said last year that the US and China would fight a war within 5-10 years. The background of guys like Bannon and Michael Ledeen is fascism. Not Nazism. Italian fascism. Militarism and war were far more intrinsic to that brand than they were to German national socialism. War is central to Bannon's outlook. Major war between, on one side, the US and at least some of its NATO allies, and on the other, China, Russia, or both. World war three. Nuclear war. Not a bunch of hooded crackers in the US South. It was obvious that Trumpism would cause blood to start flowing in the US. But the crackers are just tools.

Here's a quote from Bannon when he went to a conference in the Vatican in 2014:

"Just to put it in perspective, with the assassination that took place 100 years ago tomorrow in Sarajevo, the world was at total peace. There was trade, there was globalization, there was technological transfer, the High Church of England and the Catholic Church and the Christian faith was predominant throughout Europe of practicing Christians. Seven weeks later, I think there were 5 million men in uniform and within 30 days there were over a million casualties." (emphasis added)

That sounds far more like it.

More recently he came from a different angle:

There’s no military solution (to North Korea’s nuclear threats). Forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s no military solution here. They got us.

He is correct in his analysis of the balance of forces in Korea. North Korea could indeed destroy Seoul with conventional weapons within a very short period of time. It would be absolutely impossible for the US to destroy their artillery before they did it. The South Korean elite must be shitting themselves at the thought that their assets will be sacrificed at the altar of the Trump-Kim monster. But they're small fry.

The term "economic war with China" has been deliberately chosen for use by Bannon because of the resonance that is pumped up by its final three words: war with China. His statements about both WW1 and Seoul, even if the latter was couched in forked-tongue negative terms, show he is very well aware of how quickly things can change, how quickly the plan is for them to change. It's at this point in the analysis that comparisons with Nazism are apt.
Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer"
I keep remembering Toni Morrison's description of one of those: he didn't kill because of the organization demanded it, he joined the organization because he wanted to kill, or something to that effect.
The political spectrum is not a straight line but a circle. Liberals on left, conservatives on the right, and libertarians on the bottom. The further left or right that you go you eventuality meet each other at the bottom.
Word in the conspiracy world is that Kessler might be some kind of intelligence agent working for "them". No idea if there is any truth to that but I found it an interesting suggestion. No doubt there are intelligence agents infiltrating these groups on a regular basis.
@William - Sure, that's often true as a first-order observation, but you haven't defined "left" and "right"; nor, for that matter, the horrible term "liberal". Is Trump a "conservative"?

The straight line ("spectrum"), the horseshoe, the circle, the two-dimensional plane (left-right on one axis, despotism-liberalism on the other): they are all confused. We live in dark, dark times, in which to achieve an appreciable amount of critical clarity is a lifelong and ongoing battle. Many of the decent people who reject the right wing, the free market, and the red fascism of Lenin and Stalin, but who are anything but nutcases who are always calling for what few social forces are actually materially positing, have a hard time defining what they are for.

Where would you place Anton Pannekoek, usually considered to be the left of Leninism, on your circle? Nowhere near Ayn Rand, I hope :)
I remember like it was only yesterday how the mainstream media, or corporate media, or the Octopus had condemned blogs and bloggers, who were encroaching on their elite privilege of ownership of information. Underneath any of their sometimes sensible arguments was the self-evident fact: the Internet is anarchy and liberty made actual, no need for steenking badges, n'est-ce pas?

It would be useful to have a national debate about repealing the 22nd amendment which limits the terms of the president. More important, though, the Constitution should be amended to require all candidates for president, vice-president, and Congress to wear paper sacs over their heads to insure that non-photogenic persons (and men who suffer flopsweat) get a fair shake.
The Barcelona attack happened outside this Chabad-certified restaurant.
Other than an obsession with Chabad, I fail to see b's point.
Everyone you mentioned were conspiracists first and foremost. That's the common denominator. When the next cool bit of forbidden knowledge comes along they can't help themselves but to get swept up in it. And no individual is either totally left or totally right on the political spectrum, any more than they're totally good or totally bad.
Anon: So you figured out who was who, even though I dropped no names? Guess I wasn't as oblique as I thought. I could tell some stories -- especially about the East Village Other guy.

Look, you're right about no-one being totally left or right; human behavior is not so schematic. But I've seen the transition too often: A nice liberal guy becomes curious about who was shooting from the grassy knoll, and three years later, the same guy is telling me to read "The Committee of 300" or some similar classic.
The Chabad links to properties close to the sites of terror attacks are way too many to be coincidence, and as with the 7/7 bombings in London there will be Zionist "security" all over the area. No doubt you will say I am a genocidalist Hitler-lover to make that point, small-j joseph, so don't expect a reply.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It belongs in a museum

Wow. I had hoped to discuss the monument issue in Baltimore before the problem received an official solution. But they took it down last night!

By "it" I refer to a rare double-equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Three other monuments were also taken away, but the Lee/Jackson work is the one that made such a striking impression on me when I first explored that neighborhood. The work is -- was -- located in the park across the street from the Baltimore Museum of Art, the same park in which one also may find a memorial to Union soldiers and sailors.

If memory serves, the Lee/Jackson piece was erected in the 1950s. Make no mistake: The purpose of this work is pure glorification. The inscription on the pedestal offers no hint that these men were declared enemies of the United States.

The work has genuine art historical value, since it is very well-executed and double equestrian monuments are quite rare -- in fact, I can't think of another example. However, many African-American families live not far from that park. One can only imagine how parents felt when they brought their children to that place.

When Robert E. Lee re-conquered a city, he would re-enslave the black population. I'm not sure that he approved of this policy (dictated by the government of Jefferson Davis), but he enacted it, and I see no reason why people trying to have a nice day in the park should be reminded of what he did.

After the war, Lee opposed the erection of any monuments to the Confederacy; he felt that healing took precedence over all other considerations. Nevertheless, throughout the next century, many monuments to the Confederacy were built -- often in reaction to the struggle for civil rights.

My view is that such works must not be destroyed. The iconoclastic instinct terrifies historians, particularly art historians -- for example, England lost many important works after Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church. Societies change; values change; politics change. But art endures. Art must endure, even when it offends.

Preservation, however, does not mean that such works should continue to dominate public spaces.

Context is all. A Lee/Jackson statue in a park sends a certain message: These were great men. We, the people of Baltimore, approve of what they did.

That's the wrong message.

In the words of Indiana Jones: It belongs in a museum. A museum setting will change the message.

Most people understand that museums do not glorify; they preserve. They allow us to study an artifact of the past; they do not compel us toward admiration or worship. In a museum setting, signs and curators can tell visitors the truth about Lee and Jackson, and can explain the social context which surrounded the creation of the work.

Everyone knows what Andrew Jackson did to the Cherokees, yet no-one objects to the paintings of Jackson in the National Portrait Gallery. Those portraits do not require us to admire what the man did. They simply say: Here he is. Here is what he looked like. Here is how a 19th century artist saw him.

Speaking as an artist myself, I must also point out that artworks exist to tell the story of the artist. To someone like me, the person that the artist was looking at is often of little importance.

Many people do not understand this point. Many people are very literal: They are word people. They reduce all painting and sculpture to rhetoric; they judge a painting by its subject matter. As I've written in at least one previous post, subject matter is the least interesting aspect of any painting or sculpture -- at least when viewed through the eyes of an artist.

When you visit the National Gallery in DC, you'll come across Jacques-Louis David's famous portrait of Napoleon in his study. If you are not an artist, your first thought will probably be: "Ah. Napoleon!"  

My first thought (back in 1986, during my first trip to DC) was quite different: "Ah. David!"

I see the artist. You see the emperor. I wish to hell I could make you see through my eyes, but you never will. Frankly, I've given up on trying to improve the vision of "word people" like you.

One could argue that this image of Napoleon is every bit as offensive as that double-equestrian statue which was recently removed from its perch in that Baltimore park. You may not care about the burning of Moscow, but Russians do. Napoleon's campaign in Egypt -- which began on the pretext of noble ideals -- devolved into sheer horror:
One particularly valued aid-de-camp named Sulkowski was sent with a message to General Dumas. While riding through the city his horse stumbled, and he was thrown. He was then beaten and massacred by the people, and his body thrown to the dogs. When one of Sulkowski's guides returned to Bonaparte, covered with blood and gave him the news, he was enraged. He ordered an officer named Croiser to take his men and find the tribe responsible for the uprising and the murder, burn their huts, kill their men and bring their heads back to show the population. Croiser and his men returned the next day, laden with sacks. As Bourrienne remembers, "The sacks were opened in the principal square, and the heads rolled out before the assembled populace. I cannot describe the horror I experienced..."
When the French arrived at Jaffa on March 3rd, the defenders there refused to surrender. On the 7th, the French launched a strong attack and the town fell that evening. During and after the attack, many French soldiers ran amok through the town slaughtering Jews, Christians and Moslems indiscriminately (for reasons I cannot divine). The carnage was terrible.
Four thousand men surrendered; Napoleon ordered helpless prisoners to be shot.

So: Should we remove David's painting from the National Gallery? Of course not. If we were to start removing all works that might possibly cause offense, we'll soon have nothing left but pretty florals and landscapes.

People understand -- at least, I hope they understand -- that a museum is not like a public park.

When you see that portrait of Napoleon, you should not walk away thinking: "Here is a great man, worthy of emulation." Some of you will walk away thinking "What an asshole." Indeed he was, but the painting has much more to say. I can only hope that you -- at least a few of you -- will walk away telling your companions: "Say what you will about David, that guy was one hell of a painter."

Context is all.

Museums can offer the right context for the works now being removed from our public spaces.

Preserve. Recontextualize.
Ishmael Reed had an amusing biography listing for his novel "Yellow Back Radio Broke Down". I wish I could quote it exactly. Something along the lines of "Ishmael Reed was born in the south, and consequently spent his early years barking his shins on Confederate statues."
I'm glad you elaborated on the portrait of Napoleon because I first thought it was a promo still of the young Alan Arkin as Napoleon at the conclusion of the grand "Scaramouche" (1952). And will there be a 'Movement' to rename Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia? (Ah, there once was a great vegetarian restaurant there, The Blue Heron Cafe.) Will a group demand that Montgomery Clift's name in "From Here To Eternity", Robert E. Lee Pruit, be scrapped and dubbed with another name when he speaks it, when Burt Lancaster speaks it, and when Donna Reed speaks it?

Coincidentally I just watched "Camille Claudet", which I think is much better than the excellent "Seven Days In May". I don't live within a day's reach of a good museum of fine art. Where I grew up, though, I could walk to some of the best. I was too young to comprehend much about a painting's or sculpture's subject and matter, so I could only stand or sit in awe of the work itself, especially because I loved to draw, paint, and sculpt. Much later, when I visited the British Museum, a lovely docent there recalled to me the time she had read of someone who met a traveller from an antique land who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, tell that its sculptor well those passions read which yet survive, (stamped on these lifeless things,) the hand that mocked them and the heart that fed: and on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far away. Then she directed me to the museum's basement, where I looked at the black Rosetta Stone (or a facsimile) and behind it, in a room of its own, a many thousand-years-old sculpted head from Egypt that was bigger than a duplex. It reminded me of P. D. Ouspensky's passages about the Great Sphinx, how its face is quite modern looking, and its gaze focusses at infinity.

I adore the scenes in "Amelie" (!!!) when the neighbor art copyist obsesses over the young woman's gaze in Renoir's "Luncheon Of The Boating Party".
I could not have said it better, Joseph.
Nice jumping off point for an essay on art and its meaning. What a surprise to hear that some of those confederate things have some actual aesthetic value.

A coincidence to read of the original Ozymandias. Ed and Nancy Reddin Kienholz made an assemblage sculpture called "The Ozymandias
Parade" in 1985. That piece, which I've seen twice, has been on my mind recently. Pretty good write up here:

Kienholz died too long ago to have made a Trump sculpture, but we are free to imagine.
Folks, I forgot to add one point: The reason why that particular statue shocked me when I first saw it was that Maryland remained loyal to the Union. I'd have been less surprised to see a monument of that sort in Tennessee or Virginia.

Maryland was highly unusual in that slavery was still legal here, even though the state did not join the Confederacy. If it had, the Union could never have won the war. Lincoln thus had to tolerate slavery in this one state, at least for a brief while, because doing otherwise would have resulted in victory for the south.

Of course, Alt Left purists pretend not to understand why history sometimes requires these terrible compromises.

You're missing the point about why the Confederate monuments are being taken down. It wasn't about the general's conduct in the war. Lee and Jackson were no more or less cruel than Napoleon, Sherman, or Patton. It's the cause they were fighting for. Napoleon was at the time fighting to preserve the ideals of the French Revolution.
I think you're the one missing the point, Franklin. And it's a very good point, Joseph.
Confederate monumentalism was a product of the Jim Crow era, intended to intimidate the newly freed Blacks. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville was erected in 1924, six decades after the Civil War. It was from the outset a re-assertion of White power. It does not commemorate Lee the man but Lee the racist. Lee himself was against any monuments to the Confederation, so if one wishes to honestly celebrate Lee, taking down the statue would be the best way to do justice to him.

That said, the artistic value of such statues is debatable. Certainly the double chevaliers of Baltimore are a rarity and quite well crafted. But they would hardly be museum-worthy were it not for the historic personalities they represent. As an art genre, equestrian statues are a bit akin to national anthems in music, a mix of craftsmanship and kitsch, to which even the greatest artists have succumbed. Just consider Haydn, who composed “Gott erhalte Franz, den Kaiser” (God save Francis the Emperor). The empire was Austria, but the melody is now the national anthem of Germany (with different lyrics, of course). It is easily Haydn’s most banal invention, and it irks me to no end because Haydn is otherwise my favorite classical composer. You hear this junk ad nauseam in football stadiums, along with Queen’s insufferable “We Are the Champions”, but never in concert halls.

It is no more artistically defensible to build a (necessarily huge) Museum of Equestrian Statues than to hold a concert of national anthems by great composers.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trump lost it

I did not see Trump's presser today, but I've read the transcript and followed the various reactions. It seems obvious that the president lost his shit. And when I say he lost it, I mean...he LOST it. If Josh Gates, Heinrich Schliemann, Vasco da Gama and Indiana Jones mounted a year-long expedition in search of Trump's Lost Shit, they'd come out of it shit-free.

Is there any justification for this "both sides" rhetoric? Or for that reference to "clubs"? Or for applying the "Alt Left" label to the counter-protestors? Some of them were members of Black Lives Matter. The term "Alt Left" usually refers to the BernieBros, and most black people did not support Bernie.

Mind you, I don't have any use for Antifa, which may in fact be a ratfucking operation, although I have not read enough about that group to formulate any hard conclusions. From what I have read, it would appear that most of those kids are self-proclaimed anarchists -- which means that, over the course of the next ten years, they'll no doubt make the traditional anarchism-to-libertarianism-to-GOP transition. How many times have we seen young people go down that well-worn path? Since most of 'em hate the awful, awful DNC more than they hate (say) Paul Ryan, they can't expect any applause from the likes of me.

My understanding is that most of the counter-protestors were locals, not Antifa imports. The NYT reports that none of the anti-Nazis lost their temper until after James Fields plowed his vehicle into a group of innocents. I consider the anti-Nazis' loss of temper to be justifiable, or at least inevitable: Human beings have their breaking points, and violence committed in self-defense does not have the same "semblance of guilt" as violence committed by an aggressor.

Of course, both Trump and the Alt Rightists (especially David Duke) are using that loss-of-temper as an excuse to pretend that both sides were equally at fault. Good Christ, what does Trump expect? Does he really think that decent citizens should meekly accept vehicular homicide committed by an acolyte of Adolf? As one wag noted: By Trumpian logic, the Nazis and the Allies were equally at fault for the violence committed on D-Day.

The Wikipedia entry on the Charlottesville incident offers no evidence for Trump's "both sides" rhetoric. Neither does it offer evidence for Trump's contention that there were non-extremists marching alongside Richard Spencer's tiki-torch Sturmabteilung.

Tomorrow, perhaps, I'll offer my thoughts concerning the knotty problem of public monuments to the so-called "heroes" of the Confederacy. There is an important example here in Bawlmer.

Kelly. You may have seen the instantly-famous photo of General Kelly looking embarrassed during Trump's Loss-of-Shit performance. A number of progressives are now saying that Kelly should quit.

No. No.

North Korea still threatens; war jitters still beset us. In such times, we can't have a White House totally bereft of grown-up supervision. If Trump keeps imitating Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny, then Kelly may have to stage his own version of Seven Days in May.

A scenario which liberals once considered nightmarish is starting to look attractive. Or at least less dangerous than the alternative.
The car murder incident has overshadowed the timeline and too many overshadows the timeline. The car murderer will get his and should not be used as an excuse to not analyze what came before.

What was the timeline. Were the intolerants allowed to protest without being physically blockaded, or not? Until that question is answered, it's mindless bullshit propaganda.
Antifa is not a ratfvcking organization, you might be thinking of the black bloc which shows up uninvited and masked to various protests and immediately began to burn things and cause damage. That had the stink of agent provacetuer all over it.

Trump was seething after his staff made him give a mealy-mouthed condemnation of the White Supremacists. Richard Spencer knew it and said so immediately.

Trump is the President no one was going to tell him what to do and with Ivanka out of town and thus unable to brush his lap with her long hair there was no one to mollify his anger. So, he went out a declared himself a Literal Fascist and made it know he is them and they are he...
Antifa---I guess that's an abbreviation of antifascist...I believe we fought a war about that.
Also, we won.

Antifa is the communists attempt to re-brand themselves after we fought a war with them... and won.

Confederate monumentalism was a product of the Jim Crow era, intended to intimidate the newly freed Blacks. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville was erected in 1924, six decades after the Civil War. It was from the outset a re-assertion of White power. It does not commemorate Lee the man but Lee the racist. Lee himself was against any monuments to the Confederation, so if one wishes to honestly celebrate Lee, taking down the statue would be the best way to do justice to him.

That said, the artistic value of such statues is debatable. Certainly the double chevaliers of Baltimore are a rarity and quite well crafted. But they would hardly be museum-worthy were it not for the historic personalities they represent. As an art genre, equestrian statues are a bit akin to national anthems in music, a mix of craftsmanship and kitsch, to which even the greatest artists have succumbed. Just consider Haydn, who composed “Gott erhalte Franz, den Kaiser” (God save Francis the Emperor). The empire was Austria, but the melody is now the national anthem of Germany (with different lyrics, of course). It is easily Haydn’s most banal invention, and it irks me to no end because Haydn is otherwise my favorite classical composer. You hear this junk ad nauseam in football stadiums, along with Queen’s insufferable “We Are the Champions”, but never in concert halls.

It is no more artistically defensible to build a (necessarily huge) Museum of Equestrian Statues than to hold a concert of national anthems by great composers.

Sorry, meant to post above in the Belongs in Museum thread.
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Glad you said it, Richard Spencer

I don't often agree with Richard Spencer, but...well, when yer right, yer right. (In this case, ultra-right.)
Alt-right leader Richard Spencer told reporters from his "office" on Monday that he doesn’t think President Donald Trump condemned his movement when he denounced neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and white supremacists.

"His statement today was more kumbaya nonsense," said Spencer, who attended and was slated to speak at the white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. "Only a dumb person would take those lines seriously."
I wasn't among the dumb (as the preceding post demonstrated). Were you?

Was anyone?

Added note: A long time ago, I wrote a piece which confused Richard Spencer with Robert Spencer, the author of Did Muhammed Exist? (a book I enjoyed, even though I didn't agree with its main thesis). Apparently, the error is a common one. I apologize for the misapprehension; although Robert Spencer is an oddball, he's a different kind of oddball. We should note that the website accuses Robert Spencer of...well, here's the exact wording:
Major Evidence Reveals That Robert Spencer Is Working With Genocidal Satanist Nazi Cult That Plans To Eradicate All Christians In Concentration Camps
I don't think that this is true. I also think that Muhammed was a real person, although I strongly doubt that he chatted with the angel Gabriel. To the best of my knowledge, this opinion is shared by nearly every objective academic.

What mad times we live in! Robert Spencer, Richard Spencer, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon, Jack Posobiec, Mike Cernovich... Can you believe that these creatures are taken seriously? That journalists are forced to learn their names and summarize their views? That they've impacted the thinking of the goddamned president and his entourage?

I'm old enough to recall when someone like John Judge was considered wacky.
@Joe Cannon,

I hope you'll consider this post to be in accordance with your "stay close to topic" rule. VICE just put out an excellent documentary (about 1 hour 10 minutes long) called 'A House Divided'. It's an attempt to explore how we got where we are today. I think you and everyone else will enjoy it. See it at:

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Trump hesitated to condemn Nazis because he IS a Nazi

I'm still angry.

I'm so angry that I probably should not try to write. My original intention was to embed a clip from last night's John Oliver episode and let it go at that.

But the need to express myself has taken hold, so I'm going to offer my thoughts -- and if this essay seems unorganized or intemperate, apologies. Again: I'm still angry.

Ever since Trump fastened onto birtherism, we've wondered: Does he really believe in that nonsense? Or is he simply using right-wing conspiracy theories for the purposes of self-promotion?

I think the answer is clear now: Trump really is a True Believer. He is also, at heart, a fascist.

True, he finally denounced the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who assembled at Charlottesville, but he did so only when politically forced to do so. His words came far too late, backed by far too little sincerity.

Conspiracy theory is the road to fascism. Psychologically, Trump is the sort of person likeliest to embrace right-wing conspiracy theories: He's an ill-read, low-IQ blowhard who thinks that he's smarter than he actually is, and who remains perpetually resentful of those who possess greater brainpower.

I've met a lot of guys like that, although the ones I bumped into never had money. There was a time when I tried to debate that sort of person. Always a mistake. Those assimilated into the ConspiraBorg are way beyond argument.

Many years ago, I became peripherally involved with the JFK assassination research community, taking a particular interest in JFK's far-right opponents -- Guy Banister, General Walker, the Birchers and so forth. Researching that subculture brought me into confrontation with people I had read about but never hoped to meet: Illuminati-spotters, Holocaust deniers, and racists who consider "mixmaster" to be the ultimate insult.

Not only that. Some of the JFK assassination researchers -- the good ones, the liberals -- morphed into doppelgangers of JFK's far-right opponents. I will always defend the memory of Jim Garrison, yet I must also admit that some Garrison fans share certain attributes with the fans of Willis Carto and Milton William Cooper. On both left and right, there is the automatic presumption of bad faith on the part of anyone who disagrees. On both sides, one encounters a knee-jerk reliance on ad hominem argumentation, particularly of the "spook-baiting" kind.

In short: Even the "good" conspiracy theorists sometimes descend into a kind of fascism. Yet they sincerely identify themselves as anti-fascists.

On the far right, the F-word evokes mixed feelings. Although James Alex Fields, the white supremacist who used his car as a lethal weapon, has openly proclaimed his love for Hitler, most white nationalists prefer to argue that mainstream liberals and Democrats are the true fascists.

Personally, I'm sick of that doubletalk. Give me the fascist who wears the F-word on his t-shirt without shame or subterfuge. He may be evil, but at least he's honest.

Our president remains a classic doubletalker, though he is not as effective as he once was, perhaps because age and job stress keep eroding his verbal skills (which weren't very impressive to begin with). Even so, most of the country refuses to recognize Trump's fascism for what it is. The truth is simply too horrible to admit.

There's another problem. Too many people cannot get beyond this simplistic equation: Fascism = anti-Semitism. Trump praises Israel and has a Jewish son-in-law. How (many would ask) can one apply the label "fascist" to such a man?

My answer: Fascism has always been a more complex ideology than most Americans realize. Mussolini invented fascism, yet he didn't hate Jews -- at least not in the virulent way that, say, Julius Streicher did. As I keep reminding readers, Anders Brevik -- the neofascist Norwegian mass murderer -- remains an admirer of Israel. The Nazi party of 1940 and Richard Spencer's group are two different things; the new beast is not the old beast.

The current American fascist movement is split between old-schoolers -- those who retain a transcendental hatred of Jews -- and new-schoolers who consider Israel a valuable ally in the battle against Islam.

But the situation becomes ever more complex the closer one looks. Steve Bannon hates Islam and respects Alexander Dugin, yet Dugin admires the more extreme forms of jihadist Islam. For Dugin, the enemy is neither Judaism nor Islam: The true enemies are equality, tolerance, democracy, multiculturalism and progress. In a word: The Enlightenment.

Steve Bannon always insists that he loves Israel, as if that statement could bleach the F-word from his t-shirt -- but only the most foolish Jews would ally themselves themselves with a modern fascist like Bannon. The old-school anti-Semites may be relatively quiet now, but I am certain that they will one day reassert their dominance of the far right. If the supporters of Steve Bannon take full control of this country, no Jew anywhere will be safe.

Americans must understand that we have a Nazi-influenced president who also happens to have a Jewish son-in-law and a daughter who converted to Judaism. Yes, it's a bizarre situation. But it is what it is.

The Russian connection. In recent days, those pushing back on Russiagate have mounted two mutually exclusive attacks.

On one hand, we have a recent article in The Nation (I refuse to link to it) which claims -- insanely -- that the Democratic party is responsible for the leaks that deep-sixed Hillary Clinton. This piece of propaganda actually goes so far as to imply that the Guccifers (both 1 and 2!) were constructs of those hideous, scheming Democrats, especially the hideous, scheming DNC.

I need not offer a detailed counterargument. If you are the sort of person who can take that inane claim seriously, even for an instant, find yourself another blog. A long time ago, I stopped arguing with Holocaust deniers, with Jehovah's Witnessess, and with people who are convinced that the aliens built a base beneath Dulce, New Mexico. Fanatics are beyond debate; I refuse to be sealioned by some nutjob who thinks that the DNC created Guccifer 2.0.

So much for the first line of attack. The second line of attack holds that Obama was warned about Russian interference as early as 2014. Although the Politico article at the other end of that link is worth reading, rightwingers have seized upon this line of investigation to argue that Russian interference is really all the fault of those hideous, scheming Democrats. This absurd claim has already flavored some of Trump's tweets.

Needless to say, Propaganda Claim 1 and Propaganda Claim 2 cannot be reconciled. One can say that Russiagate is imaginary or one can say that Russiagate all the fault of Barack Obama. One cannot say both things at the same time.

How does the Russian connection link up with American neofascism? First and foremost, I'd point to this tweet from David Duke:
White man... your enemy isn't Russia -
#TheScaryThingIs your enemy is those telling you Russia is your enemy, believe me.
Duke adorns this sentiment with the hashtags #TeamWhite and #MAGA.

From there, you may want to proceed to a piece published just a few hours ago in the Observer: "Richard Spencer and His Kook-Right Ilk Are Agents of Russian Influence."
Our extreme right, with very few exceptions, are super-fans of the Russian president, in whom they see a strong, traditional leader who runs the world’s only white nuclear-armed great power. Their websites brim with adulation for Putin as a demigod who resists the Western social justice agenda with more than words.
This article was written by John Schindler, whom I do not trust -- although in this instance, his argument is open to independent verification.

Where next? I would suggest exploring the strange philosophical realms ruled by Alexander Dugin. Although I talk about him a lot, it would be a mistake to regard Dugin as a kind of Marvel comics supervillain. To me, he symbolizes a much larger phenomenon.

Since the 1950s, one faction of the post-war international fascist movement has had a love affair with Russia -- and after the fall of the Soviet Union, many Russians have reciprocated their affection. If the previous sentence seems unfathomably strange to you -- "Didn't Hitler invade Russia? Wasn't there a really horrible siege of Leningrad?" -- I can only direct your attention to Kevin Coogan's important work Dreamer of the Day, which offers a detailed, scholarly investigation of certain little-known developments within the world of post-war fascism.

Coogan's book focuses on an influential fascist "thinker" named Francis Parker Yockey. In the 1950s, Yockey decided that Communism was a temporary affliction, and that the day would come (once the Marxist menace withered away) when Russia would prove an ideal homeland for a new "white power" movement.

Allow me to republish a section of an earlier post:
While doing some research into Robert Spencer, the neo-Nazi who pals around with Steve Bannon and Pam Geller, I found some statements which led me to suspect that Spencer has read Frances Parker Yockey's Imperium. This post-war Nazi "Bible" remains unfamiliar to most Americans.

Have I read it? Of course. I've also read Dreamer of the Day, Kevin Coogan's remarkable biography of Yockey. Although hard to locate -- try inter-library loan -- this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand post-war fascism.

Yockey's Imperium attempts to prove that, in ancient times, the white race -- that "hardy band of adventurers" -- traveled the world, initiating every great intellectual leap made by the human race. Pyramids in Egypt, printing in China, formal logic in India, the wheel, cuneiform writing, fire: Thank Whitey. The so-called "Aryans" did all of these things and so much more.

According to Yockey, creativity is a purely Aryan "thing." Many Aryans do not understand this truth about themselves because they've been deceived by a group which Yockey calls the "culture distorters." And just who are they? Yockey usually plays it coy when it comes to identifying these people, although you may be able to hazard a guess.

If you're thinking that Yockey joined up with the American Nazi Party of George Lincoln Rockwell, you're wrong. Rockwell could not tolerate Yockey's obsessive hatred of America. Surprisingly, Yockey favored Russia. That's right: An American post-war fascist sided with Russia in the middle of the Cold War -- not many years after the battle of Stalingrad!

Although Yockey had no love for communism, Marxism was, in his view, just a temporary affliction. More important, he felt, was the fact that the Russian people eschewed racial mixing, Yockeyism's great sin. They were also more chary of those pesky "culture distorters." Near the end of his life, Stalin's drift toward anti-Semitism made many American hate-mongers rethink their attitudes toward him.

Yockey worked within with the first American fascist movement of the post-WWII era: The National Renaissance Party of James Madole. (The NRP also published the works of Eustace Mullins, who later became very popular with conspiracy buffs on both the right and the left.) Yockey's greatest champion was Willis Carto, founder of Spotlight magazine -- a formative influence on the American conspiracy buff subculture.

(Intriguingly, some theorists have speculated that Carto had a hand in Yockey's mysterious death.)

For five decades, Yockeyism has been the "secret ingredient" laced into the giant pot of stew served up by America's conspiracy buff subculture. Is it any surprise to see Trump's conspiracy-addled entourage spouting riffs that sound like passages from Imperium?

Yockey's most radical ideas can be stated simply: Russia = good. Join forces with Russia. Unravel the power of those evil Wall Street culture distorters who run America.

That's pretty much the message of the Trump campaign, isn't it? Allow me to offer a tentative prediction: Before we are done with the Trump movement, we will see the boldest Trumpers endorse Imperium openly.
Do you take requests, Mr. Cannon? If you do take requests, on some Sunday would you post something about Michelangelo's David's foreskin? Imagine Bathsheba's ghost looking at that huge statue and saying, WTF?

So what if Trump's a Nazi? During his presidential campaign George McGovern compared the Nixon administration to Nazi Germany. Remember? And he implied that Nixon was like Hitler when he recommended "Inside The Mind Of Adolf Hitler". Then Reagan laid a wreath in the SS graveyard. Then G.H.W. Bush employed Nazis in his administration. You have to ask yourself: Are we safer because of Operation Paper Clip? Is it irony, a paradox, or something else, that flipped Nazis developed the space programs for the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., and now American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts co-habit the International Space Station?

Were you surprised during the MSNBC coverage of the 2004 Democratic National Convention when it ran commercial spots for The Nation magazine? I had never seen a commercial for The Nation anywhere before then. In more recent times, The Nation has run many full-page and back cover ads for MSNBC, featuring the news anchors, without which ads it can be argued that The Nation would have gone out of business.

I don't think Trump belatedly condemned racists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK owing to political pressure or public opinion; I think he was simply unfazed during the weekend while he was busy with golf and following the PGA Championship. Only after did he wake up to the possible market effects of his equivocation and hesitancy, and probably he realized he'd never get a lawyer to help him ever again because Roy Cohn was dead. Yet he did condemn them unambiguously, clearly and without any equivocation. Why? Probably because he only likes and supports winners. The racist, white supremacists lost the War Between the States; the Nazi master race lost to the Soviet Slavs and Asiatics and American boys bred from European peasants and serfs. Plus, he doesn't give a crap about those deplorables because he won't be running again.

The U.S. House of Representatives still displays a fasces to the right of the Speaker's chair, and the old Mercury dime, replaced with the current Roosevelt dime, had a fasces on its reverse side. Well before Mussolini, the U.S. had embraced the fascist ideals (and architecture) of the Roman republic. Of course, symbols and emblems of fascism were okay until Hitler co-opted the U.S. murderous ideology of Manifest Destiny for his attempts to fulfill the Aryan dreams for Lebensraum. Hitler didn't need to be a genius or even smart to realize that the U.S. grew into a powerful nation by acts of genocide and legalized slavery. All Hitler needed was a large military force without too many hapless schmucks like George Armstrong Custer.

I wonder how many Americans self-identify as 'white' or 'Caucasian' except when they feel it is useful or necessary, as with the national census or applying for health care insurance or treatment. Then I wonder how many of those believe in 'white supremacy' as an ideology. Finally, how many of those ideologues ever realize they are literally insane and need help?

It's not so much whether or not Trump, the president, finally condemned the insane ideologues as "thugs and criminals", but whether or not all the other elected and appointed politicians will go on record as unambiguously and unequivocally. These are the times that try Trump's loyalty oathers. You first, Jefferson 'Jeff' Sessions, but I hope you're fired.
@Amelie D'bunquerre,

Please comment more. Your commentary here was damn good. Delicious food for the mind.

"[the] U.S. grew into a powerful nation by acts of genocide and legalized slavery."

Dead on, that is exactly how this American federation came into being. And it was not a nation worth fighting for. Have you (or you, Joe Cannon) seen Jada Thacker's incisive account of the early United States of America in the article ' Deep History of America’s Deep State'? It's over at Consortium here:

It is also worth noting that the United States still hasn't abolished slavery. The 13th Amendment was only a partial ban on slavery, not a total and absolutely abolishment of it. 'Criminals', that is, people convicted of any crime, are subject to slavery.

"Abolishes slavery, and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime."

Slavery is alive and well with the prison-industrial complex here in these United States of America. As Alan Moore once observed, the countries (federations) or nation states (unitary states) that have the word 'united' in their name are the least united of all.

Shakesville writer Aphra Behn argues why The Nation magazine's article that DNC emails were leaked not hacked is Russian propaganda.
Three things,
First, I suspect Joseph Cannon and I are among the very few who actually think the votes announced after the election did not reflect the votes cast. As Stalin is reputed to have said, "It isn't who votes, it's who counts the votes." Until a forensic analysis of ALL the voting machines is done, I will believe the vote was fixed.
Second, the fascists of the 1930s and the fascists of today are very much alike in their goals, the creation of a dictatorial regime with those at the top having all the power and the lion's share of the wealth. Their tactics are eerily similar: Create scapegoats, use mob mentality to cower others into silence, and use force rather than reason to achieve their goals.
Third, the notion that Trump and his allies are friends of Israel, or Jews, is ludicrous. They say they support Israel not for Jewish support (most of us have, and will, vote for Democrats) but for Christian Evangelicals. Those evangelicals support Israel only so that all Jews can go there and die in the apocalypse. We have seen the conflagration before, from 1933 to 1945 and aren't interested in seeing it again. How long the evangelicals can hold on to those beliefs is anyone's guess, but if they ever figure out it's not going to happen I suspect they will rapidly abandon Israel.
@Joe and @everyone,

You need to see the video at this link.

It's less than three minutes long, but holy shit it gets to the point. Share with everyone, your friends, your family, coworkers, loved ones. Especially people lured by the Far Right. This includes people who live on a diet of InfoWars, Breitbart News, Drudge, RT (Russia Today), 4chan's /pol/ (or any board or forum on 4chan), DC Whispers, and seemingly countless others.

Alex Jones is right about one thing, there is a war on for your mind. If you let him and his vile allies, they'll brainwash you and have you thinking you're a rebel. But you're not a rebel if you trust him, you'd be a rube.

"You see, we human beings are not born with prejudices. Always they are made for us. Made by someone who wants something."

Traitor Trump can no more denounce the TeaKKKi Party than he can denounce himself; They are Him.

As to Russiagate, I am flabbergasted about The Nation, I expect ratfvkcing from right-wing tool Glenn Greenwald but, the Nation? Fortunately, my subscription came up for renewal and I was able to simply decline to re-up.
I am willing to let Obama off the hook on account of his inability to be strong decisive leader, but alt_left that's a different story. IMO they were actively and purposely part of the Russians campaign to elect dump.
@JSL : 2:53 AM

Thanks for the kind encouragement, though I come here because of Joseph Cannon's heavy lifting (and for the waters). While he may not be a polymath, he's quite the polytasker and one of the best, probably the best for being a one-man band. I overlook many of his idees fixe (accents required there) because he's a steadfast New Deal Democrat and because it's futile to argue on the internet.

You're right about 'united' being a misleading term for most people. After its use as a rallying cry to conclude the Declaration of Independence, and after the failure of the Articles of Confederation to insure binding unity among the states, the term became a term of art as contract and corporate law in the sense that all ratifying states would be bound under the Constitution, that is 'united' as a corporate entity, in this instance, as a republic. Thus, E Pluribus Unum, meaning literally one political entity comprising many political entities. The motto was propagated to mean something else, something like 'one people with many different and diverse persons', i.e., the melting pot. As if. Also, the early 'united we stand, divided we fall' rallying cry was represented by the fasces symbolism.

It's significant that voluntary indentured servitude was never made illegal. The 19th- and early 20th-century waves of immigration brought millions of indentured servants whose passage and subsequent housing was paid for by robber barons and captains of industry, and the immigrants had to work to pay off those debts. But they were paid in company scrip, not U.S. legal tender, and "owed [their] souls to the company store": without legal tender in payment, they couldn't leave and survive.

In our time, voluntary indentured servitude takes the form of home mortgages and auto loans, along with college loans. Financial independence is effectively impossible, so a more or less reliable work force keeps the financial bubbles inflated. Some call it cynicism, some call it business. Only self-delusion and absolute denial, or manufactured consent, rendered by invisible propaganda keep us from acknowledging that most people on the planet are exploited to one degree or another, many wretchedly so.

I imagine, easily, that the decades-long debates about immigration and documentation have more to do with who gets to own voluntary indentured servants than they have to do with any individual's rights.

I'm optimistic because we now stand on the shoulders of FDR, The Beatles, and Steve Jobs. The world is a better place because of them.

joseph, i don't always agree with you, but i do agree with you on your second and third point. As for your first point, you two are not the only ones that do not trust the results. M
omg...are there waters? and salons? and fans?
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Sunday, August 13, 2017

H.L. Mencken, Donald Trump, and false quotation syndrome

I'm furious about Trump's horrific "both sides" rhetoric in response to the neo-Nazi terror attack in Virginia -- so furious, that I can't write about it right now. If I start "angry writing," I'll end up clobbering the keyboard with my fists.

To avoid having to buy a new keyboard, here's a post cobbled together for use on a slow news day. (Remember when we used to have slow news days?) I'm posting this text here and now because any attempt to express my current feelings could get me into trouble.

*  *  *

From time to time, previous posts in this humble blog have discussed what I call "false quotation syndrome." Examples:

1. Some people believe that Aleister Crowley said these words: "After I am dead, people will say that I gave birth to the 20th century." Sorry, folks. It's a bogus quote, probably adapted from a fictional work by Alan Moore.

2. The film America: From Freedom to Fascism features a ridiculous quote about the Federal Reserve attributed to Woodrow Wilson -- a quote which reverses his true feelings.

3. Not long ago, we noted a meme in which Josef Goebbels is quoted as saying "Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty." A reader helpfully pointed out that Goebbels did say something similar, though not as a directive: He was criticizing the rhetoric of Germany's opponents during the first World War. (A similar transmogrification beset the infamous Lenin "pie crust" quote.)

4. A few years back, right-wingers attributed a lengthy quotation to Jeb Bush:
The truth is useless. You have to understand this right now. You can't deposit the truth in a bank. You can't buy groceries with the truth. You can't pay rent with the truth...
And so on. Spurious. All of it.

5. Conspiracy buffs and the Urban dictionary have averred that the Bush family uses the term "one fodder unit" to describe the individual American citizen. Although a man named Al Martin claims that the term was widely heard at Republican cocktail parties in the 1980s, we have no proof beyond his word that anyone named Bush has actually used that term. If you ask for proof, people will accuse you of being a "Bush-lover."

6. During the anti-Hillary mania of 2008, the Obots promulgated a false quotation attributed to Bill Clinton's brother Roger (whose drug issues were no secret). Supposedly, Roger Clinton was recorded saying the following: "Gotta get some for my brother. He has a nose like a vacuum cleaner." No such recording has ever surfaced. What began as a 90s-era right-wing fabrication was repurposed as a pro-Obama fabrication.

Often, fake quotes appear in "image memes" distributed via Facebook. Here's an example:

Need I add that Putin never said such words?

And now I'd like to bring to your attention a very subtle example of the genre. This one has been promulgated by opponents of Donald Trump (not all of them on the left).

This bogus quote festoons the internet in various graphic guises. Another example:

As it happens, Mencken did say something like those words -- but not those exact words. As an adopted son of Baltimore, I feel duty-bound to present the actual text, as it appeared in the July 26, 1920 edition of the Baltimore Evening Sun:

Mass communication has evolved since 1920. No-one can deny that Trump won, in large part, by the force of his personality, although he also conveys the impression that that his mind truly is a vacuum when it comes to "book smarts." 

The final paragraph contains two sentences which the internet meme-pushers have excised: "The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men" and "We move toward a lofty ideal." The former can safely go, but the latter, in my opinion, deserves to be retained.

The key change comes at the end: "The White House will be adorned by a downright moron" has become "The White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron."

In 1920, the term "narcissistic" was primarily used by researchers in psychology, the first academic study of narcissism having appeared in 1911. I can find no authentic example of Mencken using that word. That term was inserted into the text for understandable reasons: Trump is so thoroughly self-absorbed that he probably fantasized about masturbation while siring Barron.

As some of you may recall, a more precise version of Mencken's quote received some distribution during the administration of George W. Bush -- who, at the time, seemed the ultimate example of a White House moron.

Those who accuse Trump of being a habitual liar, those who criticize him for repeating memes without any concern for accuracy, would do well if to avoid distributing a false quotation -- even if the quote is only partially false.

How did this particular exercise in falsification begin? Perhaps the original sinner was the creator of this cartoon...

Mencken, and Will Rogers at another extreme, are among those fossil species from the newspapercene epoch before universal air conditioning and TV, when Mort Sahl kept their torches burning.

Andy Warhol never said In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes, or any words to that effect, although its origin has been traced to 1966 in Sweden where one of his installations was being photographed (according to Wikipedia). Actually, in 1966 when Medicare began to be administered, he commented on it and said, "In the future everyone will be patients for fifteen minutes."
He did say, however, "In fifteen minutes, everyone will be famous!"
it occurred to me this morning that those who to this day are going on about Hillary's being the "lesser" of two evils and how "hard" it was to vote for her are not allowed to complain about Trump's "all sides" because they are basically doing the same thing he is by saying that.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Manafort and "The Protectors": Is Mueller going after proof of election-rigging?

Sorry for the light posting. There are days when one just does not want to read one more word about Donald Effing Trump and his comrades in criminality.

And yet we must. This will be a "mostly Manafort" post. Yes, it is long and discursive, but bear with me: I will argue that Robert Mueller may be pursuing an even bigger story than most observers realize.

Hold onto your hats (as they used to say back when men wore hats)...

Manafort's new lawyers. Many have discussed Paul Manafort's apparently hostile separation from the law firm of WilmerHale. There are indications that WilmerHale fired Manafort, not the other way around. The new legal team, Miller and Chevalier, has strong ties to Russia -- and if you're surprised by that development, you'll be absolutely astonished when I tell you that water is wet. 

WilmerHale is a very high-powered DC firm with strong links to the CIA. A day or so ago, Rachel Maddow discussed the fact that this firm represented Iran-Contra figure and old-school Agency operative Clair George, convicted of lying to Congress. (He testified under oath that CIA had nothing to do with the Contra supply effort, a moment which caused spywatchers everywhere to do a classic spit-take.)

Actually, WilmerHale has a revolving door relationship with the Agency. For example, partner Stephen Preston was a "former General Counsel of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)." Partner David S. Cohen served as a CIA Deputy Director from 2015 to 2017. In 2016, partner Shirley Woodward became the CIA Inspector General, an oversight role which generally goes to reliable "good old boys." Basically, WilmerHale seems to be the de facto law firm for Spooksville.

Another WilmerHale alum was a fella you may have heard of: Robert Mueller. Yes. Manafort's lawyer and Robert Mueller worked for the same team.

It makes sense to presume that this conflict prompted the law firm to "fire" Manafort. But why was that firm representing that client in the first place? The potential conflict of interest should have been apparent from the start.

The more I ponder the situation, the odder it seems.

It should be noted that the lawyer formerly handling Manafort's case, Reginald Brown, does not have any ties to the intelligence community, although his CV shows that he is an "active member" of the Federalist Society. This group of right-wing lawyers is hated by both progressives and by the Alt Right, since the Society played a large role in the "never Trump" movement.

Keep it on the state level! It's clear now that Mueller is going after Manafort on financial charges. Many believe that if Manafort faces prison time, he'll sing a song displeasing to orange-hued ears.

Problem: Trump has the power of the pardon. If Manafort faces a federal charge, he will have every reason to want Trump to stay in office.

Mueller's only hope is to find something on Manafort that will allow state charges to be filed against him. A presidential pardon cannot cover state-level offenses. In case you are wondering: Money laundering is usually prosecuted on the state level -- in fact, there were no federal money laundering laws until 1986.

Most people have forgotten that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been quietly investigating Manafort for months. We know that the NY AG has looked into loans made by Steve Calk -- a Trump campaign adviser who runs Chicago's Federal Savings Bank -- to Paul Manafort. Calk is said to have coveted the position of Army Secretary, although I have seen no indication that the loans themselves were shady.

I'm not persuaded that the Calk thing is going to go anywhere, but that doesn't mean Manafort is clean. There must have been some basis for the issuance of a search warrant on Manafort's home.

The hacked messages of Manafort's daughters. You may already know that Paul Manafort's daughters were hacked and published on the dark web. The story, which first made public on February 28, has gained new interest in light of recent developments. This is pretty fascinating stuff:
In one exchange, daughter Jessica Manafort writes “Im not a trump supporter but i am still proud of dad tho. He is the best at what he does.” Her sister Andrea Manafort responded by referring to their father’s relationship with Trump as “The most dangerous friendship in America,” while in another exchange she called them “a perfect pair” of “power-hungry egomaniacs,” and asserted “the only reason my dad is doing this campaign is for sport. He likes the challenge. It's like an egomaniac's chess game. There's no money motivation.”
In one March 2015 exchange that appears to be between the two sisters, Andrea Manafort seems to suggest that their father bore some responsibility for the deaths of protesters at the hands of police loyal to Yanukovych during a monthslong uprising that started in late 2013.

“Don't fool yourself,” Andrea Manafort wrote. “That money we have is blood money.”

In another hacked exchange a few months later with someone else, Andrea Manafort wrote that her father’s “work and payment in Ukraine is legally questionable.”
In a text exchange in early April, Jessica Manafort tells her sister that her father, who maintained an apartment in Trump Tower, where the campaign is located, seemed to be thriving on the campaign.

“Dad and Trump are literally living in the same building and mom says they go up and down all day long hanging and plotting together,” Jessica Manafort wrote. “Gross,” Andrea Manafort responded, prompting Jessica Manafort to come to their father’s defense.

“Its really amazing opportunity at 67 years old. And he is basically running the campaign now He is so happy,” Jessica Manafort wrote.

When WikiLeaks released a massive tranche of hacked emails from the DNC ahead of Clinton’s nominating convention in late July, Jessica Manafort seemed to assume that it was her father’s doing, texting her sister “Dad is brilliant.” Andrea Manafort responded “Well it wasn't dads doing. It was hackers,” adding “But dad has to be thrilled about this. It's overshadowing the whole convention.”
I've had a gut feeling for a while that the evidence which may break this case already exists somewhere on the dark web. 

Who are "The Protectors"? Longtime readers know of my belief that our election systems not only can be manipulated but have been. I'm therefore surprised that this page, published right after last November's election, has not come to my attention heretofore.
Regardless of Hillary Clinton’s concession, a close analysis must be done of the actual voting results (machine tabulations and paper ballots cast) versus the vote reporting (to the board of elections and Secretary of State offices). Some important facts collectively warrant this: 1) Russians have heavily influenced this election for the past six months and have successfully hacked into the election systems of more than half the states in the country; 2) Major public polls and the Clinton campaign's internal polls were historically off the mark, and in the campaign's case, didn't match the voter file records, which is unheard of to this level. This is especially odd considering that Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook is one the most brilliant in politics when it comes to micro-targeting and voter analysis. Even GOP strategist and pollster Frank Luntz called the 2016 exit polls “the worst and least accurate we’ve ever seen,” in a Tweet sent on election night.
Even more intriguing:
Homeland Security/DOJ teamed up with a group that is part of Anonymous based in Washington, D.C. called “The Protectors.” This group saw a lot of activity during Election Day from the Russians and believe that the voting results projected don’t match the internal and public polls because the voting results were manufactured in favor of Trump in heavily Republican counties in key states, and voting results may have been decreased for Clinton in key Democratic counties via malware that was placed by the Russians when they hacked the election systems of more than half our states. 4) Trump/Manafort set-up the “rigged election” narrative months ago preparing for exactly this scenario. This is straight out of Manafort’s playbook, and Putin’s, too — accuse the other side of doing what you’re doing so that you cannot be accused of doing it.
Everyone is overlooking the most compelling reason for Trump to accuse Clinton of rigging the election: A forensic examination of the machines might have revealed the presence of malware. The populace, conditioned by incessant propaganda to view Hillary as the very incarnation of deviltry, would have automatically presumed her team to be behind the malefic code.

The above-quoted paragraphs are attributed to an anonymous writer, whom I was able to identify after a bit of Google-sleuthing. But before we get to that, let's talk about "The Protectors."

Did such a group actually exist? Does it still exist? I've found a few other scattered references, such as this one.
On the morning after the election, Alexandra Chalupa, who led the Democratic National Committee’s Trump-Russia-ties research team, published a long comment on Facebook that reveals Russian sources had “successfully hacked into the election systems of more than half the states in the country” by or on our Election Day. Chalupa, a rising Democratic Party star who was featured in “16 in 2016: The people, places and moments that shaped the election,” a Yahoo News video, also wrote that “(Department of) Homeland Security/Department of Justice teamed up with a group that is part of Anonymous based in Washington D.C. called ‘The Protectors.’” She reports that the group saw multiple attempts by Russian hackers to break into state election systems on Election Day, and that The Protectors believe that the voting results we see today “don’t match the internal and public polls because the voting results were manufactured in favor of Trump in heavily Republican counties in key states, and that voting results may have been decreased for Clinton in key Democratic counties via malware that was placed by the Russians … “ In an interview with Gothamist, Chalupa stated that in Pennsylvania, a large number of voters voted for the Republican presidential and US Senate candidates, but then crossed parties down ballot. "That's usually not the pattern," Chalupa told Gothamist. An audit of state votes would be able to determine if this break from American voting norms occurred in other states as well.
The search for the earliest reference to this group takes us to Chalupa's Facebook page -- here. That link presents the Ur-text which first unveiled the Protectors to the public. As the above excerpt makes clear, Chalupa is a serious person, not a fringe writer or a conspiracy crank. Here's her Twitter feed.

After we learned about the meeting with that Russian lawyer in Trump Tower, right-wingers have attacked Chalupa for working with the anti-Putin Ukrainians for oppo research, a charge she has denied. The Trumpists pointed to Chalupa as a way of claiming that "both sides do it." That argument failed for a number of reasons -- for one thing, Chalupa didn't work for Hillary; for another, she didn't take secret meetings with an enemy; for a third thing, there were no quid-pro-quo arrangements, as there obviously were in DJT Jr.'s meeting with Veselnitskaya. (Everyone knows that "Russian orphans" is code for the Magnitsky sanctions.)

Politico did a meaty (though overly hostile) piece on her in January.
Manafort’s work for Yanukovych caught the attention of a veteran Democratic operative named Alexandra Chalupa, who had worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration. Chalupa went on to work as a staffer, then as a consultant, for Democratic National Committee. The DNC paid her $412,000 from 2004 to June 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records, though she also was paid by other clients during that time, including Democratic campaigns and the DNC’s arm for engaging expatriate Democrats around the world.

A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants who maintains strong ties to the Ukrainian-American diaspora and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Chalupa, a lawyer by training, in 2014 was doing pro bono work for another client interested in the Ukrainian crisis and began researching Manafort’s role in Yanukovych’s rise, as well as his ties to the pro-Russian oligarchs who funded Yanukovych’s political party.

In an interview this month, Chalupa told Politico she had developed a network of sources in Kiev and Washington, including investigative journalists, government officials and private intelligence operatives. While her consulting work at the DNC this past election cycle centered on mobilizing ethnic communities — including Ukrainian-Americans — she said that, when Trump’s unlikely presidential campaign began surging in late 2015, she began focusing more on the research, and expanded it to include Trump’s ties to Russia, as well.

She occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and Clinton’s campaign, Chalupa said. In January 2016 — months before Manafort had taken any role in Trump’s campaign — Chalupa told a senior DNC official that, when it came to Trump’s campaign, “I felt there was a Russia connection,” Chalupa recalled. “And that, if there was, that we can expect Paul Manafort to be involved in this election,” said Chalupa, who at the time also was warning leaders in the Ukrainian-American community that Manafort was “Putin’s political brain for manipulating U.S. foreign policy and elections.”
I've quoted this material at such length in order to make two points:

1. This story about "The Protectors" has a named source -- someone in a position to know.

2. Chalupa feels that Manafort would be Putin's point man when it comes to election rigging in the United States.

If she's right about that...well.

Well well well well well.

My friends, that is THE prize. If Mueller gets Manafort's balls in a vise, then Manafort may well become the most important bean-spiller in the history of beans.

Since 2004, I've longed for the day when this nation recognized the reality of computerized vote-rigging. Not just the possibility: The reality. Frankly, I never thought I'd live to see that day.

Well, I survived long enough to see Season 3 of Twin Peaks. I sure as hell didn't expect that. Who knows what may be possible?

Tweets. So much for the main course; time for the dessert. From Kurt Eichenwald:
Russia has put its eastern air defense on alert in response to Trump's saber rattling at North Korea. But...her emails!
From Donald J. Trump -- back in 2012:
Polls are starting to look really bad for Obama. Looks like he'll have to start a war or major conflict to win. Don't put it past him!
"Through the darkness of future past, the magician longs to see..."
I always believed the election was hacked. Not because I was a Hillary supporter, but because I believe in statistics and statisticians. Open any statistics book and you will find that picture of a guy holding newspaper predicting Dewy's win over Truman. They beat that to death from sampling, questions asked and analysis. They determined it will never happen again, not in that scale anyway. That's why if nothing else I can't believe professors and analysts all get it wrong at the same time. What are the odds.
I don't know how to frame it,but also I am suspicious of Hillary's hasty concession. Obama had something to do with it, how? I don't know. Anyway I was suspicious of him a lot during 2016.

I saw the link, below, from a poster while I was reading at emptywheel. (If I'm not mistaken, Marcy has been consistent in her reluctance or refusal to accept 'the Russians did it' narrative.)

"A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack
Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.

"By Patrick Lawrence ...

"August 9, 2017"

I was struck by the similarity between Lawrence's reportorial style and Joseph Cannon's, allowing that Lawrence has the benefit of first-tier editors.

The article attaches two Nation editorial comments, the second of which quotes the DNC's response that calls the report bullshit.
Amelie, I read that piece, or as much of it as I could stomach. Ray McGovern has been a Putin apologist for ages now, and the same -- I'm sorry to say -- can now be said of Bob Parry. That piece actually suggests that Guccifer 1 AND 2 were DNC plants!

I cannot conceive of a more inane thesis. Seriously, anyone who believes that nonsense would also believe that Hitler invaded France out of legitimate concerns of self-defense.

The point of the above post is that a DNC lawyer argued from the start that Russia would interfere with the actual vote, and that there is substantial evidence to this effect, some of which I have discussed in previous posts. During the recounts, it was Trump's lawyers who did everything they could to prevent a forensic examination of the machines and a proper recount. The Democrats did nothing to impeded the effort. You can argue, fairly, they did not SUPPORT the effort as they ought to have done. But it was the Republicans who actively OPPOSED a recount and a search for malware.

That Nation report is absolutely disgusting. Unconscionable. It is the single worst thing I've ever seen from that rag, and I picked up my first issue of the Nation back in the 1970s. I would place it alongside L. Ron Hubbard's "Psychopolitics" hoax or that Nazi tract "proving" that Jews commit ritual murder.

By this point, anyone who doubts the thesis of Russian efforts to help Trump is either a fool or a tool. The "evidence" the skeptics proffer is akin to the evidence offered by proponents of intelligent design or by opponents of man-made climate change.
I wouldn't suggest or think that The Nation article tries to cover the election itself or Russia's alleged interference with the election and campaigns. The article is quite narrow in its scope, spelled out in its title, and then providing the evidence. It's to your credit that you invoked Godwin rather than The Nation's support of Bernie, so I wonder whether or not you were at all interested in the accounts of the forensic analyses and the conclusions that followed from them, if you read that far. Time is of the essence because if net neutrality disappears, the forensics described in the article will no longer be possible or reliable (there's more at stake than Netflix consumer's rights). On the other hand, I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused you or your loyal readers.
There is no evidence at all in that bullshit article. It's propaganda.
Maybe, then, it should be called fake news because it's not possible that an arcane rag like The Nation, which is read by hardly anyone, can publish actual or effective propaganda.
Amelie, it serves the purpose of the Trumpers: "As even the left-wing Nation magazine admits..."

Now can we PLEASE talk about the topic of my post? I put a lot of research into it. I'm hoping that someone will actually focus on what Alexandra Chalupa has to say vis-a-vis Manafort. We are fucking DONE DONE DONE talking about that Putinized propaganda piece published in the Nation.

As an unmuddied lake, sir. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer.

Right. You propose that Mueller hopes to get Manafort pinched in New York so Trump can't pardon him for a state rap, and he'll sing instead of taking one for the team. And I think the only way to get to Trump is to begin to seize his personal and corporate assets based on Manafort's laundry list. Such a strategy threatens WW3 more than Trump's "fire and fury" because there's gigunda Russian assets involved.

I am not a lawyer, but my college roommate lived across the street from someone whose cousin went to law school, so maybe I can speculate that there will be no official investigations into vote rigging since it will open the cans of worms out of which will spring elections and primaries going back to 1988, legitimate nullification lawsuits, along with Pandora's Box, about which Albert Camus said: Of all the evils that issued forth from the box Pandora was forbidden to open, the last was the worst, which was Hope.
I enjoyed this post but mostly for the fascinating family dynamics in the Manafort family. Both Trump and Manafort seem to have disgruntled daughters who may be eager to divulge their disgust. I also would be heartened if there is indeed a faction of Anonymous grown up enough to do some Protecting. I do fantasize about the election's being proven hacked, and Hillary's acting like our president in exile, but I am deeply steeped in the art of fantasy.

I apologize for not being able to post much, but my desktop is in the Little Shop of Mac Horrors, and I'm greatly hobbled with undersized devices....including this one, perched atop a Complete Shakespeare so I can even read it! (Tom, thanks for the comments re the smell of dead elephants....I think my reply would've been along the lines of "duh, of course!" I also remember wanting to reply "Sinclair" to your post about fascism's needing local narratives to be in lockstep.)

Very interesting post. Especially finding Ms Chalupa, the one who tracked Manafort back from his connections with the Putin sphere. Clearly adds substance to the leaks and speculation.

Mueller has that vice ready, and I'm not alone in seeing fright in Trump's dead eyes when he was talking about the Manafort raid at the press conference. It's going to be anxious waiting to see what next emerges from team Mueller, or will it be Schneiderman?

Or will it be a data exposure? I share your feeling that there may already be a trove of documents somewhere, or that such documents will suddenly be found or otherwise appear. It seems to me that such a leak or dump would have to serve someone's interests. It's fun to speculate.

Joseph, I request your indulgence to discuss an aspect of that moronic Nation article. It brings up a significant issue.

What is most notable about it (equal indeed to its stupidity) is the number of commenters who are committed to boosting the article and denigrating criticism of it. It reeks of the troll infestation seen in the run up to the election, and attaching thereafter to many pieces of reporting that discuss e.g. Russian hacking.

The article is psychological warfare and I propose that the saturation trolling of the comments is evidence of it. If a small rag seems unlikely, it does represent a target audience ripe for an injection of uncertainty and confusion. Plus the right can and do point and say, "See, even the liberals...."

The depth and breadth of the "psychological operations" that we as a population are being subjected to is one of the few great mysteries of our time. That's why, I think, folks want to talk about an occurrence so much.

prowlerzee, You're welcome. And the family element is unusual. In the Manafort case, genuine emotions. My guess is that Ivanka became disgruntled only recently, watching the value of her brand put so badly at risk.
Something has struck me about Trump's use of Twitter. It gives him enormous power to make money on the financial markets.
I wonder if there's away to examine the results without the machine. What in have in mind is some sort of statistical analysis. Let say some group and conduct a parallel election using the actual registered voters from 2016. Make a sample, go ask who they voted for and analyze the result. I bet it's not going to be that costly. Accordingly we either pursue the hacking further or just put the whole thing to rest.
Isn't Katrina a Russian
b: yeah, but Consider the actual computer savant, Mercer master of Facebook bot armies. Mercer also runs a hedge fund which offerss 78 percent returns annually. Seems likely that Facebook is not the only target for his bots.

One of the reasons senible people used to regard Matt Taibbi so highly is insights such as this one regarding law enforcement profiling. When the cops see a guy known for his '89 Pontiac drive into the hood in a brand new fully loaded Escallade, they view it as evidence of remunerative criminal activity. Yet when some hedge fund guy consistently delivers above average returns, which is by definition impossible given the way markets are supposed to work, and therefore an obvious sign of criminal activity, every regulator looks away. Sorry for an inelegant paraphrase.

A hack and a leak aren't mutually exclusive. The modern question seems to be, does Mueller have the guts to penetrate the shadow conspiracy? Who danced with whom, if at all, and who looked the other way? On that day of certain reckoning, the headlines will probably read, All the President's Men or Putin's Puppets; and those like The Nation leaker will fade back into the shadows, status quo restored.
**The "evidence" the skeptics proffer is akin to the evidence offered by proponents of intelligent design or by opponents of man-made climate change.**

The mass promotion of pseudoscience on the web nowadays is profound. With a warming climate, the North American wheat growing regions are likely to move north into Canada, leaving the United States in dire straits... While the harsh cold of the Russian winter is likely to ameliorate, allowing major expansion of agricultural opportunities. Consider the possibility that Russia is a significant player in pushing the flood of climate change denial on the internet and in our media.
More on the timeline of the Russian efforts to influence the US political process.

Obama team was warned in 2014 about Russian interference

In 2014, the administration got a report of Russia’s intention to disrupt Western democracies, including the United States.

If true there was adequate time for organizing semi official or unofficial alliances such as "The Protectors."

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Alexander Dugin's dream of apocalypse: Is it coming true?

It was clear just from the garbled wording that Trump's warning to North Korea was improvised. Trump promised "fire and fire" if North Korea threatened the United States. Trump did not specify that action would bring retaliation. He said that a threat would bring retaliation.

North Korea's immediate response was the issuance of a threat.

No fire, no fury -- so far. Thank god. But it is undeniable that Kim Jong-Un called Trump's bluff. As NY Mag put it:
North Korea proceeded to test this warning by immediately issuing a new threat, to attack Guam. This forced the United States into the unenviable position of either instigating a massive war with horrific casualties or surrendering its credibility. The administration has wisely chosen Option B.
And it gets worse:
North Korea said on Wednesday it will finish a plan to attack the US territory of Guam by mid-August, adding that "only absolute force" would be the right approach for dealing with President Donald Trump.

General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army, made the remarks in response to Trump's statement Tuesday that the US would unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on Pyongyang in response to its rapidly developing nuclear and ballistic missile program.

"The U.S. president at a gold links again let out a load of nonsense about 'fire and fury,' failing to grasp the on-going grave situation," the statement said, according to North Korean state news agency KCNA. "This is extremely getting on the nerves of the infuriated Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA."

"Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him," it added.
Rex Tillerson tells us not to lose sleep. Perhaps he has made arrangements to be out of the country...?

Back to NY Mag's piece:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis have issued more normal-sounding statements intended to supersede the president’s improvised one. (Mattis’s statement redraws the red line, threatening reprisal in return for North Korean actions, rather than threats.) The message of this cleanup is that Trump’s statements do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. government – a reality most American political elites in both parties already recognize, but which needs to be made clear to other countries that are unaccustomed to treating their head of state like a random Twitter troll.

It is humiliating for the world’s greatest superpower to disregard its president as a weird old man who wanders in front of microphones spouting off unpredictably and without consequence. But at this point, respect for Trump’s capabilities is a horse that’s already fled the barn. New chief of staff John Kelly has supposedly instilled military-style order and message discipline into the administration, but Trump is unteachable.
So the future of civilization depends on the mad leader of North Korea choosing to ignore the rantings of the mad leader of the United States.

Meanwhile, the far right is doing everything it can to undermine McMaster and everyone else in this administration who is not a screeching maniac. Why? Why on earth?

Perhaps they've been listening to Alexander Dugin.

Is this Alec's Apocalypse? Perhaps the people with real power in this administration are all disciples of Alexander Dugin, the neofascist "philosopher" and mentor to Putin who makes no secret of his yearnings for The End.

If you'd like to know more about this man's crazed belief system, start here. Be warned: It gets pretty wild, especially if you've never explored the realm where reactionary politics meets gonzo occultism.
Throughout his intellectual career, Dugin has repeated proclaimed his adherence to the bizarre tenets of ‘Traditionalism,’ and in The Fourth Political Theory, he reiterates that ideological dependence: “I share the vision of René Guénon and Julius Evola, who considered modernity and its ideological basis (individualism, liberal democracy, capitalism, consumerism, and so on) to be the cause of the future catastrophe of humanity, and the global domination of the Western lifestyle as the reason for the final degradation of the Earth.” And Dugin’s promotion of his fourth political theory is marked by the darker aspects of Traditionalism spiritual syncretism:
Thus the Fourth Political Theory may easily turn towards everything that preceded modernity in order to draw its inspiration.… When it returns, postmodernity (globalisation, postliberalism, and the post-industrial society) is easily recognized as ‘the kingdom of the Antichrist’ (or its counterparts in other religions — ‘Dajjal’ for Muslims, ‘Erev Rav’ for the Jews, and ‘Kali Yuga’ for Hindus, and so forth). This is not simply a metaphor capable of mobilising the masses, but a religious fact — the fact of the Apocalypse.
It gets even crazier after that. Now go here:
Dugin doesn’t stop there, however. His visions of what Trump’s victory means go into the apocalyptic and civilization-changing:
“We need to return to the Being, to the Logos, to the foundamental- ontology (of Heidegger), to the Sacred, to the New Middle Ages - and thus to the Empire, religion, and the institutions of traditional society (hierarchy, cult, domination of spirit over matter and so on). All content of Modernity - is Satanism and degeneration. Nothing is worth, everything is to be cleansed off. The Modernity is absolutely wrong -- science, values, philosophy, art, society, modes, patterns, "truths", understanding of Being, time and space. All is dead with Modernity. So it should end. We are going to end it.”
This certainly would not be the first time in recent history a Russian thought that everything is wrong and the world needs to be completely uprooted.
Dugin considers Steve Bannon his "soul mate," and Bannon seems to think that Dugin is just peachy. Bannon's people are the ones trying to oust McMaster and Kelly and everyone else in this administration who retains any sanity.

Years ago, Dugin went on the record as favoring North Korea's acquisition of nuclear arms. In America and elsewhere, neo-Nazis and other assorted fascists favor what Kim Jong-Un is doing.
Welcome to The Daily Traditionalist, a video blog by Matthew Heimbach, an American white nationalist who advocates dividing the United States into ethnically and culturally homogenous states.

“As long as [North Koreans] can maintain their blood, it will maintain their identity as a people,” he says. “It’s pretty amazing if you actually look at what they’re trying to do [there].”
“North Korea has much to be admired,” said Matteo Salvini, head of Italy’s right-wing party Northern League, in 2014. “They have a splendid sense of community. Children play on the streets and respect their elders — things that no longer exist in Italy.”
“American imperialism and American militarism cannot abide a country [like North Korea] that wants to be sovereign and that rejects the radical globalist agenda,” Heimbach tells The Diplomat, adding that North Korea has survived despite being a “pretty universal punching bag” among Western governments.

Even Russia’s Alexander Dugin, an ideologue for white nationalists, has praised Pyongyang as an “island of freedom,” arguing that Russia should provide it with weapons of mass destruction to protect its sovereignty.

“If their weapons take flight, we [the Russian people] should cheer them on!” he says. “To not understand that North Korea is a seed of humanism and democracy in the face of an American occupation is to demonstrate complete and utter ignorance.”
If Trump truly opposes North Korea, why does he keep Steve Bannon -- a Dugin admirer -- within his administration?

Events are being engineered by madmen who believe that our "liberal" civilization needs to be cleansed by fire. Keep that in mind when Rex Tillerson tells you not to worry about North Korea.

Added note: And here is Boris Epshteyn -- the likeliest "Source E" candidate -- on Trump and Kim Jong-Un. I haven't the stomach to watch. Literally. Earlier today, I ate some food that was off and my tummy is now doing all sorts of weird gymnastics, so asking me to watch that guy is asking too much. Can anyone give me the gist?
A very niggly point, but one that comes up far too frequently in my reading: I believe the correct spelling is Epshteyn. The world would be a much better place if we never had occasion to see his name again under any spelling.
Typo: promised "fire and fire"
Dugin allegedly had a role in the July 2016 "coup attempt" in Turkey and as such seems to have been instrumental in Ankara's turn toward Russia and the resulting tensions with NATO.

Thanks for catching my misspelling. I've made the correction.
I wouldn't call Dugin a mentor or adviser to Putin, nor a close friend, main philosophical inspiration, etc. In his Fourth Political Theory, Dugin even cites Guy Debord. He is a tool. Like Zhironovsky, he has "FSB" written all over him. Gonzo is the right word.

Putin is sane, unlike his counterparts in Washington DC and Pyongyang. Orthodox apocalypticism and the holy role of Russia are being used rationally. Russia is WAY AHEAD of the US in psychological warfare, as well as in its internal equivalent, the creation and maintenance of the popularity of leader and state. (Not the leadership, who everyone knows are corrupt; the leader.) When the CIA tried to interfere in the 2012 Russian presidential election, Putin and the FSB regarded their efforts as water off a duck's back.

When elderly Russian widows prefer to reach for a bottle of Coca-Cola rather than a cross or an icon, that will be the day when the US has outfought Russia in psychological warfare. That day will never come.

Putin's fave philosophers include Solovyov, Berdyaev, Ilyin, and others.

Capitalism is an insane social system that really is hurtling towards Armageddon. The memes are in place and building. How the banking system has remained up and running for so long since 2008 I really don't know. The chattering classes may have stopped talking about "subprime" (what a euphemism!), but banks are continuing to lend, to coin a phrase, like there's no tomorrow. It won't be through derivatives markets and exotic financial instruments that the "great questions of the day" will be decided. All of that goes out of the window when paper currencies crash, the aircraft carriers get going, and the shop shelves run bare.

Will it be the ongoing war of words between the US and North Korean presidential nutjobs that builds to the apocalypse? I don't know. But it won't remain on hold forever. Both the British and the Israeli media seem to be itching right now for nuclear war in the Far East.
B, I am really at the beginning of my research into Dugin and what he represents. Of course, the new fascism is such a broad and complex movement that one can study it for a decade or two and still be "at the beginning."

So please understand that I stand on unsure footing when I say "I disagree." Dugin doesn't strike me as anyone's tool. What are you proposing? That a group of covert schemers in the FSB suddenly came up with the bright idea to prop up a bizarre bearded guy who pushes an updated version of Rene Guenon's occult philosophy? Sorry, but I just don't believe that ANYONE in the FSB has ever had the ability to think THAT far outside the box!

I'd agree that Putin seems a rational actor, certainly in comparison with someone like Trump or Kim Jong-Un. But Putin is also a criminal. He certainly seems to believe in the dictum that fortune favors the bold. And his high intelligence makes him dangerous -- just as Trump's lack of intelligence makes HIM dangerous.

In some respects, I miss Russian communism, or at least the post-Stalin version thereof. That system didn't work, but at least the USSR's post-Stalin leadership tended toward conservatism (with the exception of the idiotic decision to put missiles in Cuba). Ideology put a ceiling on the grift and graft. Although I've often said that all isms are prisons, having an ideology (Marxism, Christianity, Confucianism, whatever) does have its virtues: Even if you're not a true believer, even if you are just giving lip service to your ideology, you have to keep up appearances.

For example: Stalin lived very, very well -- but he didn't live like a Czar or like a modern oligarch, and he refused to transform his dictatorship into a monarchy (perhaps because he disliked his kids). Ideology played a role here. Stalin couldn't live like a Putin and still call himself a Marxist.

Sorry. I'm rambling. A man must do something with his time while waiting for the nukes to fly.

Oh...and I don't think that capitalism per se is hurtling us toward The End. The problem is libertarianism. Before Milton Friedman was elevated to sainthood during the Reagan administration, capitalism tended to work fairly well. Well, yes, there were tons of problems and lots of corruption; you needed go over the familiar list. But let's say that the thing worked BETTER than it does now. Of course, back in the 1970s, one could call the US a "mixed economy" without provoking ideologues into a volcanic rage.
Joseph I know this film is a little 'out there' but Victor Pelevins 1999 tommb Generation P is now on youtube with English substitles. I sometimes feel that this Russian writer's novel was spot on vis-a-vie fake politics, digital manipulation, etc... Amazingly prescient for an almost 20-year-old book! N.B. It's quite a literary film, so slowing it down to 75% allows the viewer to both get the nuances, and enjoy the film, and since it's mostly Russian men sopeaking, slowing it down doesn't make it unlistenable. Please watch this film, maybe it's not actually happening now, but is it that far off?
Not quite so about capitalism and the U.S. Prior to the 1970's, the U.S. comprised a society. In the 1970's the U.S. drifted from being a society to being an economy. By the middle of Carter's term, most people self-identified as consumers, no longer as citizens. Then, thanks to the silicon chip and cheap electronic calculators, and armies of cheap PC's, the economy drifted from manufacturing and exchanging goods and services to trading in money, aka, finance. That's the outline. Today's so-called capitalism consists of passing along debt and trying to outrun the sun before it sets.

Old-fashioned capitalism can be understood using the holiday season, as it was the brief period when retailers would take in enough revenue to show a profit for the year, or break even at worst. Soon enough the holiday season was pushed back, thus Black Friday. Then it was pushed back further so that Hallowe'en became a national kind of holiday. Then, because the holiday shopping season was insufficient, we got Presidents Day week. And so on. The fiscal capital calendar has lapped itself, or the snake is swallowing itself, so only acquiring debt and outrunning it is what remains.

The financial system can stay afloat as long as Wile E. Coyote doesn't look down. It isn't necessarily doomed any more than living day to day and year to year with thousands of nuclear weapons ready to launch has worried us with despair. We know how to deny stuff.

I would include the historical fact of TV as a marketing tool unlike anything before it, and how it was accelerated by cable and then exploded by satellite. First it was local, then regional, then national, and now global.

Yeah, each of my paragraphs requires at least a book. Like about how come manufacturing got outsourced, about which there are many books and theories, including the EPA's regulations binging, erosion of river banks right up to the factories front doors, labor union members demanding a vacation home, and, notoriously, the successful PR efforts to prevent conversion to the metric system of standards and measures.

All that failure when the U.S. population numbered 200 millions. Now, 300 millions are all cash cows, and we know who milks them every day and every nanosecond.

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Raiding Manafort

I'll soon have more to say about the Orange Oaf's spectacularly stupid handling of the North Korean situation -- although we must note, ominously, that the Oaf's current Twitter picture shows him in conference with FEMA. Heckuva job, Orangey: That's precisely the image likely to calm the nerves of a jittery nation.

Right now, let us note another bit of recent spectacle:
FBI agents raided the Alexandria home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman late last month, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Federal agents appeared at Paul Manafort’s home without advance warning in the predawn hours of July 26, the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The search warrant was wide-ranging and FBI agents working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III departed the home with various records. Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, confirmed that agents executed a warrant at one of the political consultant’s homes and that Manafort cooperated with the search.
Additional reporting from the NYT indicates that "Mueller was seeking Manafort's tax documents and foreign banking records." Adam Goldman of the NYT says that it is likely that they are probing a violation of the Banking Secrecy Act. Translation: Money laundering.

We've been told that Manafort has been ever-so-cooperative with the Mueller probe. I guess they had reason to mistrust him. I posit that he said something misleading when he met with the Senate Committee.

Shortly after that raid on July 26, Trump tweeted the following:
Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got....big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!
He had no other pressing reason to be thinking of McCabe at 6:52 A.M. on that particular morning. The raid must have prompted Trump to emit those words. McCabe presumably gave the go-ahead for the pre-dawn operation, so Trump laid the groundwork for a possible retaliatory strike against McCabe.

(Incidentally, Trump's allegation was factually wrong: Clinton had no part in any donations to McCabe's wife. I wonder who helped Trump at that time of morning? It's not as though Trump is capable of doing his own oppo research -- even bad research. Perhaps he has access to a "dirt file" on potential enemies.)

Here's another development that should worry you:
Even as he has publicly criticized the special counsel in charge of the government’s investigation into Russia, President Donald Trump has used his lawyers to send more friendly private messages to the counsel's office, USA Today reported Tuesday.

Trump’s chief counsel John Dowd told the paper that Trump’s team has passed along messages of “appreciation and greetings” to special counsel Robert Mueller. Such overtures are seen as not very common.
Follow-up. While I was writing this post, the WP published an analysis which lists several likely rationales for the raid, including this:
Investigators could use him as leverage. Manafort's role in the Trump campaign isn't the only aspect of his life under federal investigation. The Wall Street Journal has reported the special counsel is investigating him for money laundering allegations. NBC has reported federal investigators have subpoenaed records related to a $3.5 million mortgage Manafort took out on his home in the Hamptons. And The Post reports that Justice Department officials are also looking into whether he violated any laws by not fully disclosing his work as a foreign agent in Ukraine. (Manafort retroactively filed as one in June, which is how we know how much money he got paid by Ukrainian politicians.)

Much of that is now under Mueller's umbrella. That's significant leverage investigators have on Manafort. If they can't convince Manafort to cooperate on the Russia investigation — and this search warrant is evidence that they feel they couldn't — they could potentially force him to cooperate by threatening him with unrelated legal trouble. (Manafort has not been, nor do we have any indication he will be, charged with a crime.)

Snagging a big fish with an unrelated crime is a common tactic used by investigators, Jacobovitz said.
From another analysis, also published a short while ago in the WP:
Manafort's contemporaneous notes from that meeting, the existence of which The Post previously reported, seem to be one of the few windows we have into what exactly transpired.
Keep in mind that Congress now has copies of those notes.
Also, in a little-noticed report last week, CNN linked Manafort to possible collusion. Here's the paragraph at issue:
CNN has learned that investigators became more suspicious when they turned up intercepted communications that U.S. intelligence agencies collected among suspected Russian operatives discussing their efforts to work with Manafort, who served as campaign chairman for three months, to coordinate information that could damage Hillary Clinton's election prospects, the U.S. officials say. The suspected operatives relayed what they claimed were conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians.
It's not clear that this report, which was anonymously sourced and which The Post hasn't confirmed, has anything to do with the search warrant. But it only adds to the mystery surrounding Manafort.
Very good post, Joseph.

Could that be a predawn fragrance of RICO wafting out of the Mueller investigation?

Joseph, you write, “I posit that he said something misleading.” It must be the case.

These guys become accustomed to getting away with so much for so long, thinking that the laws no longer apple to them that they lose touch with reality (really, who do they think they are, Wall Streeters, who really are made of Teflon?). Losing touch includes being ignorant of the great probability the Mueller already knows a lot about their activities and thus knows a lie immediately.

A commenter on TPM referred to Manafort as a frog who’s starting to feel the heat. That’s not an apt comparison. Only humans are capable of submitting to intolerable discomfort and danger under the notion that they are standing up under pressure. It’s actually being in denial. As I wrote there (and sorry for editing and reposting but the point seems good), Actually, frogs know what to do when in a pond of warming water gets a bit too warm: they simply jump out, easy.

With sleazy people like Manafort, Trump and pals, they get into the warm water, it’s fine, now it’s hot. And they seem to like the increasing heat, think they thrive where the heat is; faces turning red, thinking the higher heat is good; starting to sweat, hey opens the pores! Love this fetid cesspool, money and heat go together so good, and I .... uunh... uh oh ...

It's 4:30 in the morning, who is that banging on the door?
To prowlerzee.
To prowlerzee, sorry for the delay.
In followup to the Matt Taibbi’s book _Smells Like Dead Elephants_. The chapters are reprinted journalism from Rolling Stone, and the title phrase does not, as far as I can tell (searching in google books) appear in the text of the book. It seems to me that the title is meant to refer to a coming backlash against the GOP due to their terrible job of governing in the Bush-Cheney-DeLay years.

Of course, in a normally functioning political system those years of catastrophe (which began with a group of GOP hacks on the Supreme Court putting a stop to the democratic process, in this case, counting the votes, and installing their guy as “President.”), would have lead to a decades long decline of GOP strength.

But times were not normal, and still aren’t. And it does seem that we have been getting “groomed” for this situation for a long time.
To modify your metaphor just a bit: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. But the very act of getting out of the kitchen is a confession that you couldn't stand the heat. Thus, if you want to prove that you're the toughest of tough guys, you've got to stay in the kitchen well after any sane person would vacate.

Our entire planet could well be cooked because we are being run by insecure men who want to prove their masculinity.

Another point worth mentioning: Stone and Manafort were partners, and may still be. So whatever takes Manafort down could also take down Stone. Roger Stone strikes me as the kind of tough, tough guy who would sing like Caruso if placed under the right kind of legal pressure.

Yes. Must not admit weakness, though no sane person would have gone into that kitchen to begin with. Our overheated planet is very much the subtext or backstory. The game and its rewards seemed worth it to them. It would be something to see getting Stone under oath.

Just a note on being in denial. Not a simple state of avoiding an issue. Being in denial exerts a distorting field throughout the mind, causing strange effects throughout the personality and interactions in the world. Judgement deteriorates, ideas become fixed, mistakes are not corrected but become entrenched.
To prowlerzee, sorry for the delay.
In followup to the Matt Taibbi’s book _Smells Like Dead Elephants_. The chapters are reprinted journalism from Rolling Stone, and the title phrase does not, as far as I can tell (searching in google books) appear in the text of the book. It seems to me that the title is meant to refer to a coming backlash against the GOP due to their terrible job of governing in the Bush-Cheney-DeLay years.

Of course, in a normally functioning political system those years of catastrophe (which began with a group of GOP hacks on the Supreme Court putting a stop to the democratic process, in this case, counting the votes, and installing their guy as “President.”), would have lead to a decades long decline of GOP strength.

But times were not normal, and still aren’t. And it does seem that we have been getting “groomed” for this situation for a long time.

In order to raid the house, the FBI had to get a search warrant. To get the search warrant the FBI had to submit a probable cause affidavit. Mueller has a reputation as a straight shooter so the probable cause statement was probably quite specific. It must have alleged a crime and probable cause that evidence of that crime existed in the house. Manafort would have been given a copy of the warrant or, if no one was home, it would have been left in the house. There is nothing preventing Manafort from releasing the warrant, but I don't suppose that he will.
Glad you invoked Give-'Em-Hell Harry, Joseph. In "The Atomic Cafe", we see Truman as he awaits his cue to announce on to the world over radio, and for the Pathe Newsreels, that the first nuclear weapon had been dropped on Hiroshima. We see President Truman laughing, guffawing no less, just before he delivers his message. Funny stuff.
I heard another bit of speculation on the raid, although the speculator said that he did not personally believe it was likely. What if the raid were a ruse to disguise Manafort's total cooperation with the investigation?
Spent a bunch ot time on old but always current topic in latest iteration, Damore; so late to news of the day.

Malcolm Nance's Twitter feed was rather strange in the early afternoon Friday regarding Trump pedophilia allegations. Possibly explains now widespread, very distracting war readiness.
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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Let us talk of many things

Miss a day of blogging and the news just piles up on you. Let's zoom through some oddities...

False quotation syndrome: The image to your right has been making the rounds lately, even though I've never seen any evidence that Goebbels said those exact words. Thus, anti-Trumpers who wish to imply that Trump is following a Goebbels directive are themselves exemplifying that directive. It all gets very meta.

Who the hell is Julia Gran? She's a property manager in West Hollywood who originated a super PAC called the “Taking America Back Fund.” It's taking something all right: The fund asks for, and receives, donations from both pro-Trumpers and anti-Trumpers.
Visitors to the website are asked to donate $5 or more to “Help Stop the Fake Russia WITCH HUNT” against Donald Trump.
Compare that message to this cache of another page, which was suddenly removed.
A separate page on the site, not linked from the homepage, asked visitors to donate to the same super PAC to help stop the Trump administration from eliminating net neutrality...
The super PAC has not registered to lobby on any federal issues. An address provided on the website goes to a rented mailbox in West Palm Beach, Florida. Multiple calls to a toll-free number provided on the site went to a voicemail box.
If there are no laws against this sort of thing, there ought to be. Wouldn't it be freaky if Roger Stone or someone of that sort were the secret power behind "Julia"?

I'm trying to learn more about Julia Gran. There's a children's book illustrator by that name, who I hope is a different person. (Never trust a children's book illustrator who gets involved in politics!) Pipl lists a Julia Gran associated with two address in West Hollywood, but gives us no further information. Why would such a person be connected to an address in Florida?

Sometimes I think that the only one who hasn't figured out a way to make money from the Trump presidency is me.

Putin wants a new civil war. We've been seeing the signs everywhere: Russia doesn't just want an end to the Magnitsky sanctions; Russia wants an end to America.

Putin is trying to worsen the political divide within this country, and seems perfectly willing to use both the right and the left to further this scheme. This course of action was recommended by Alexander Dugin, Putin's mentor.

This Kos diary offers an excellent look at what's going on...
If you go on Twitter and search “#civilwar” you will be horrified, disgusted and enraged at best, alarmed at worst. This is basically a thread for Trump supporters to threaten the country with civil war if Trump goes down in some way, whether it be impeachment, charges via Mueller or what-have-you.
But what is far worse — and I feel almost sick writing this — the hashtag is also being pushed by Russian trolls/bots. It almost didn’t register when I first saw it, for disbelief. My emotions don’t want to accept it. But my intellect knows it’s not in the slightest bit implausible.

My source here is the website Hamilton 68... It tracks the activities of 600 Twitter accounts known to be linked to Russian influence operations. Check it out.

“#civilwar” is showing up as being influenced under “Trending Hashtags” as per the image above, meaning Russian cyber-warriors are using it in a lot of tweets.
I'll repeat here a point which I've made in previous posts: Viewed from an Olympian perspective, this turn of events has a certain horrible fairness to it. American covert operators have inflamed similar conflicts in other countries, including (I would argue) Ukraine and Syria.

Here's the thing: I don't live on Mount Olympus. I live here.

(Incidentally, there are people who really do live on Mount Olympus. If things get much worse in this country, I may join them. I hear it's a great place to score some myrrh.)

It's pretty obvious that Putin's bot army or the Cambridge Analytica bot army or the GOP bot army is the driving force behind the new "purity crusade" in Democratic circles. The BernieBro barrage directed against Kamala Harris is absolutely disgusting.

The bots also hope to enforce a new "purity test" on abortion. I support Planned Parenthood and a woman's right to choose -- but like it or not, there are anti-abortion Democrats, and sometimes they represent congressional districts where the majority of the constituents oppose abortion. Do you really think that Congress will be a better place if those Democrats are replaced by Trump-enabling Republicans?

"Oh Go Fuck Yourself, Glenn Greenwald" is the name of a new offering in Wonkette. Poor Glenn! A headline of that sort would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago.
But he’s really really confused about which is worse: that Trump is in office and beating the shit out of American institutions and the Constitution, or that the so-called Deep State (normal people refer to them as “career public servants”) is trying its damnedest to protect the Republic from Trump’s damage.
All of this guff about a "deep state" is the conspiratorial right's attempt to rectify a paradox: How do you pretend that you are the victim of gubmint conspiracies when your man and your party are the gubmint? The answer: Borrow Professor Peter Dale Scott's concept of the "deep state," which he himself borrowed from Turkish politics.

This terminological burglary never made much political sense: Scott is a Berkeley progressive, not a Trumper or an Alex Jonesian. Scott has written of a "deep state" which is reflexively conservative and plutocratic. That's not the "deep state" that libertarians and the Alex Jonesians are talking about. British Prime Minister Harold Wilson would be an example of someone taken down by his country's "deep state" -- which, in that case, was really a small enclave in MI5, plus their mates in the right-wing media.

Unfortunately, right-wing paranoids have a long history of borrowing terms and memes from their left-wing counterparts. (You have no idea how much it pisses me off to see an infectious pustule like Alex Jones address the JFK assassination.) In modern reactionary fearmonger parlance, "deep state" = the Illuminati = powerful Democrats. In the words of Morris Kaminsky: It's a scarecrow to frighten the gullible.

Speaking of scarecrows to frighten the gullible...

Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor. They've lost most of their former admirers, including the Palmer Report, which, in the past, has often displayed an "anything goes" attitude.
Based on tonight’s incident in which Taylor publicly acknowledged that one of his scoops was nothing more than a fake email he’d been duped by, we will no longer be passing along anything from Taylor or Mensch.
Taylor brought this on himself by playing Secret Squirrel, and he played Secret Squirrel because he wanted to seem more important than he actually is.

In the course of my own humble blogging career, I've discovered a way to discuss weird, incoming data-shards like that "fake email": Honesty.

A writer who receives an out-of-nowhere communication of that sort can make it public, though perhaps not in a formal news story. This is what blogs are for. The writer should adopt an informal, conversational tone while offering a subjective account: "Funny thing happened today, folks. I received a strange email from an unknown party, and I'm not sure if I believe what it has to say. Color me wary but intrigued. Since I have no way to verify this information, I'd like to have your feedback. What do you make of the following...?"

That's the way to discuss an email like the one which Taylor received. There are a lot of smart people out there, and the "group mind" can steer a writer toward the truth. Any writer who proceeds in this fashion can't be accused of disinformation or sensationalism.

Claude, Louise -- have you even considered offering your readers an honest discussion of your sourcing? It's possible to be more candid without naming names (although it appears that Taylor's email came from someone using a fake name.) You'd be better respected if you stopped pretending to be big shots who constantly receive Top Seekrit data from Spook Central.

I'm old enough to recall when humility was considered a virtue and pride was a sin.
If you can't say anything nice about someone you should post at Wonkette. An exception: I recall a Wonkette feature from 2006 when they discovered Sarah Palin, which was the first time I learned about her. Wonkette's inordinate praise and more-than-tentative embracing of her could only be called love at first sight, combining political and physical infatuation in every sentence. Right. The de casibus arcs of Sarah Palin and Louise Mensch match perfectly.
It really urks me to see right wing conspiracy pushers misuse "deep state". I mean, it obviously CAN include Democrats (and certainly most Republicans), but I always used Peter Dale Scott's meaning, which you state in the post. In any case, it worked well during the Bush years to describe the way that administration handled intelligence. It also describes the bureaucracy that is at the heart of our government and runs mostly on inertia that started back about the Kennedy assassination (probably earlier, but that makes a good starting point for understanding where we are now, I think). As to the rest, keep on posting Joseph. You are a ray of sanity in a darkness of madness that is the internet these days.
Though it may be changing, I'm still on the Claude train. I've always understood that you have to take everything he says with a grain of salt, but I think he has provided some nuggets of useful information. Even if his "scoops" are all BS, he still provides links to useful news and has some worthwhile analysis. He is not a must follow, but unlike Mensch, he doesn't rail against everybody who expresses any skepticism about his sources. He basically has a "take it or leave it" attitude with his info which I find much more honest. Though after the latest expose of him by Naveed Jamili, he may be coming off the rails.

Oh well. I'm sure Naveed is just TEAM DEZA!
Like Nemdam, I follow Mensch and Taylor and Garland and Schindler et al, reading them with a grain of salt. I don't tweet myself but I follow the twitter threads while reading as widely as I can. Material from a variety of venues in the Age of the Trumpster is voluminous, to say the least.

I picked up on your comments about the Bernie Brigade's (or so they would have us believe) concerted effort to divide Democrats leading into 2018. I've seen this on other sites. DU, for instance. And the attacks on Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Duval Patrick, Nancy Pelosi, etc. Right, too, on the abortion issue with provocative headlines charging that any Dem who isn't 100% Pro-Choice (meaning 100% abortion) is really a turncoat in disguise or that the purity charge is a clever ruse to attack 'real' progressives. I've even read arguments blasting the 'safe, legal and rare' phrase because the word 'rare' is offensive.

Who are these people?

Are these the same arrogant fools demanding liberals 'bend a knee' to their dictates, their definition of . . . whatever. Like you, I am completely attune to a Pro-Choice position. But unlike some, I take the word "Choice' as the word that drives the position. Which means women get to choose what their reproductive decisions are. Not a bunch of ideologues or crass pretenders. Of course that means for more conservative constituencies, we need to run appropriate candidates who can speak to that particular electorate. If we want to win, that is. Rather than smiling smugly about our untouched purity in defeat.

At one time I thought the saying 'may you live interesting times' was a blessing. How incredibly naive I was!
According to this reference

The source: Der Kongress zur Nürnberg 1934 (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., Frz. Eher Nachf., 1934), pp. 130-141.

Goebbels said (English translation) "The cleverest trick used in propaganda against Germany during the war was to accuse Germany of what our enemies themselves were doing".

The war referenced here is WWI.

Although it was written in 1934 [and I did not read it all] the information is relevant today.
Now that I've actually read the Greenwald piece that Wonkette was responding to (in a completely ridiculous, over the top manner), I really don't disagree with very much of it. The details, anyway. However, his whole premise about what is more dangerous, the deep state military industrial complex (which he accurately points out most certainly exists and is most certainly responsible for our imperialist adventures over the years) or Trump, is to me kind of a toss up. Obviously, Trump is being pressured from two factions of the intel community....those that support him and those that don't. It's become painfully obvious also that Trump is completely nuts and shouldn't be running a country at all. If the M.I.C. takes over (after he invited them in, of course) there will be no one to blame but Trump. Glenn also seems to be ignoring (probably deliberately) the fact that Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, so he doesn't exactly have a mandate to enact his crazy, constantly shifting "policies". I also wonder about his concerns about Presidential power being curtailed by the military guys, when he has so often railed against the excessive power Presidents have been accumulating since the Bush years (and much earlier). So I'm not really sure why he is more frighted of the devil we have known, over the psychopathic narcissist we now also know all too well. Like I said, it's a toss up which is worse and I fear we are going to find out in the coming months which it is. Regardless, Trump is the reason we are in this mess in the first place, so there is no point in defending him in any way.
This building in Pyongyang is taller than any of Trump's.

This BBC article is of the usual crap standard but it's interesting on the long history of Trump's utterly ill-informed interest in nuclear weapons.

In 1984 he said he wanted to be in charge of the US side of nuclear weapons talks with Russia. He claimed Roy Cohn had told him that an interview with the Washington Post was a good place to start.

"It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles (...) I think I know most of it anyway. You're talking about just getting updated on a situation (...) You know who really wants me to do this? Roy (...) I'd do it in a second."

(One thing this maniac might learn is the difference between a missile and a warhead!)

In 1990 he stated that "I believe the greatest of all stupidities is people's believing (nuclear war) will never happen".
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