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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Murdoch matters: Deep-dish paranoia

About Sean. How can any death of a young-ish person be considered "unexplained" but "not suspicious"? How can such a statement be issued even before the results of an autopsy are known?

About Becky. I didn't know, until just recently, that Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Alsaud (the second largest investor in News Corp.) had called for the resignation of Rebekah Brooks. Her Wikipedia page offers a tidbit that demonstrates the true mental age of the kind of people who get their news from Murdoch:
While at the News of the World, she oversaw its controversial campaign of "naming and shaming" convicted child sex offenders, after the murder of Sarah Payne. The paper's decision led to angry mobs terrorising those they suspected of being child sex offenders, which included several cases of mistaken identity and one instance where a paediatrician had her house vandalised, apparently by people who misunderstood her occupational title to be the same as paedophile.
About Jimmy. We have more evidence for the theory that this scandal is really directed at making sure that the more liberal James Murdoch does not take his father's place. Note this Washington Post piece:
“My personal estimation is that the end result of this is that someone not named Murdoch will become CEO of News Corp.,” Michael Wolff, Rupert Murdoch’s biographer, said in an interview.
So far, I've seen no real evidence against James, who has been accused of paying off the victims of hacking. Here too, Wolff pushes for James' ouster.

I'm starting to get just a wee bit suspicious of Wolff. He seems to be an anti-CIA writer with decently liberal credentials, and his recent writings about Israel are pretty much on the mark. (Also see here.) On the other hand, Wolff's Murdoch bio never mentions the media baron's eight-year partnership with Sir Peter Abeles, the Australian transportation magnate who is said to have been very spooked up indeed. (You may believe or disbelieve the rather wild allegations here; I remain, for the moment, agnostic.) And just how did a good liberal score those interviews with Rupert in the first place?

In a previous post, we noted that James is on friendly terms with both the Clintons and the Gores. His wife, Kathryn Hufschmid, actually works for Bill Clinton -- specifically for the Clinton Climate Initiative. Thus, we may fairly surmise that if James ever became the direct head of Fox News, the network might no longer be so friendly to global warming deniers.

This piece offers an in-depth look at James Murdoch's attitude toward climate deniers:
James gets the scale of the climate crisis: "This is crunch time right now. All of the climate prediction models suggest we're on the worst-case trajectory, and some cases worse than the worst case," he told The Observer in 2009.
But in his 2009 Observer interview, James sounded hesitant to interfere with the editorial side of the Murdoch media properties: "How we deal with climate-change deniers depends on who they are. If they run energy policy for large governments, then they're a problem. If it's a random columnist, ignore them for a while. If they're in my paper? Well, I don't tell people what to write."
If James' position were unassailable, he might take more control over editorial content. You Dad.

In the run-up to this scandal, rabidly pro-Israel writers were rather adamant about the need to deep-six James. If you fire up Google, you can find some truly obnoxious articles along these lines. See, for example, the piece here, which makes sneering reference to James Murdoch's closeness to the aforementioned Prince Talal.

And way back in 2007, there appeared a masterpiece of paranoia which deserves lengthy excerption:
Apparently, Rupert Murchoch’s son and heir-apparent James (that is, assuming Rupert’s inscrutible Chinese wife doesn’t grab the family jewels first) does not care much for the Jewish state. So naturally, one wonders what happens to all those pro-Israel voices Murdoch cheers on through his many media properties once he has left the scene – which, given his advancing years, cannot be too long in the offing.

Well, what can happen is that they quickly all become hostile to Israel, because the one man who controls them all will have been replaced by a new guy who hates Israel. That’s how media aggregation works. It’s a fine thing if someone on your team is the CEO of a News Corp. or a Dow Jones, but pretty horrible if management goes the other way. Just think how hostile the environment for Zionism would become here if Fox News, the New York Post and the WSJ all turned against Israel. So great are the stakes that one can easily foresee the day in the not too distant future in which Rupert’s Chinese wife conspires with Mossad and Communist Chinese agents to snatch control over News Corp. (perhaps soon to include the Wall Street Journal) from its rightful if hirsute heir, delivering it into the hands of someone with smoother skin whose political loyalty is mainly to China.
All of this fear-mongering has but one cause: James dared to state out loud that the Palestinians were "thrown out of their fucking homes." Which happens to be true.

It's one thing to be a pro-Palestinian writer like myself, motivated by simple sympathy for the underdog. It's another thing entirely to be an anti-Semitic bigot motivated by racism and ancient myths. I have nothing but contempt for demagogues who disingenuously conflate one with the other.

That said: There are a lot of genuine anti-Semites out there, and they have made some strange assertions about the Murdoch clan. This post is as good a place as any to try to set the record straight.

Despite the assertions you will find on many web sites -- some racist, some not -- Rupert Murdoch's mother Elizabeth is not Jewish. (She's still alive, by the way.) She attended a Christian boarding school. It shouldn't matter if she were Jewish, of course -- but as we shall see, one false belief leads to another, and eventually a whole mythos arises.

The interesting news about Elizabeth is that she keeps up her philanthropic work even though she is 102 years old. Rupert, a mere 80, may not be stepping down any time soon.

Even stranger is the story of James Murdoch and his wife, the above-mentioned Kathryn Hufschmid. Some of you may be thinking: "Hufschmid...? Where have I heard that name before?"

You're thinking of a rather bizarre individual named Eric Hufschmid, a Holocaust denier who was instrumental in jump-starting the 9/11 "controlled demolition" hoax. We've mentioned this rather obnoxious personage in these pages before.

It turns out that Eric is Kathryn's half-brother. He claims that he has not seen her since he was four, and I see no reason to doubt that statement (beyond the obvious fact that many people would doubt Eric if he said that the sun was hot). Nevertheless, this relationship between the Hufschmid and Murdoch clans has led to some interesting antics on the anti-Semitic right.

Before we continue, let's reiterate a point made in earlier posts: Despite a commonly-encountered misperception, the "controlled demolition" conspiracy theory was not an invention of the left, although quite a few young and naive "progressives" were taken in by this nonsense back in the 2005-2007 period. The CD meme largely began with writings promulgated by Jew-haters like Hufschmid, Christopher Bollyn, and Carol Valentine. Not for the first time, the far right had infiltrated and hornswoggled the left.

At any rate, the anti-Semitic "truthers" (as they style themselves) hate Murdoch with a passion as purple as the cow Gelett Burgess never saw. Why? In large part, because FOX News refused to push their inane theories about 9/11. Their hearts broken, they took solace in the myth that Rupert's mom is Jewish.

When the news of Kathryn's familial relationship to Eric came out, the anti-Semites freaked. Of course, they were a pretty freaky bunch to begin with.

Christopher Bollyn -- who denies being an anti-Semite, even though he thinks Israel engineered the demolition of the Twin Towers -- has accused Hufschmid of "lunacy" and of being an infiltrator in the 9/11 movement. (Actually, Hufschmid got that silly movement started.) Says Bollyn:
Hufschmid's bizarre behavior raises the question whether he is working with the Zionist agent of the Rothschild family, Rupert Murdoch, who happens to be his sister's father-in-law.
Oy. And then there's this classic example of ugly nuttiness.
Eric Hufschmid is a member of the Jewish criminal network that he claims to expose.
His claim that 99.5% of “truthseekers” are actually “zionists agents” is a deception coming from a man who is working for the Jews himself. He may even be a Jew.
Reading this stuff makes me want to take a bath.

Of course, I have much the same must-get-clean reaction when I read the scribblings of Likudnik writers who despise James Murdoch because they fear that he may hold to the forbidden belief that Palestinians are human beings.

When you get right down to it, what is the difference between the Israeli nutjobs who hate James Murdoch for sympathizing with the Palestinians and the 9/11 nutjobs who hate Eric Hufschmid because he is related by marriage to James Murdoch? The quality of paranoia remains the same. Only the details differ.

In the spirit of puckishness, I once engineered a meeting between a Catholic who was paranoid about Freemasons and a Freemason who was paranoid about Catholics. They got along splendidly. Fear makes men brothers; the target of that fear is a mere detail.

(Note to 9/11 crackpots: Don't try it. Your comments won't be published here; you won't even be read beyond the first sentence.)
Joe Cannon quoting Chris Bollyn!

The climate on this blog IS changing...

Joe, FYI, Chris used to the the fair-haired "golden boy" of the Willis Carto media machine -- until Chris became embroiled in a nasty spat with another Carto minion who outranked Bollyn, Michael Collins Piper.

Both Piper and Bollyn are rather brilliant-with-a-bias, revisionist-history researchers (see Piper's book "Final Judgment") but Bollyn lost out in the popularity contest with the Carto forces and has been a "wandering, freelance web-journalist" in the last few years. (I wonder who's paying his bills these days.)

They're both still quite interesting to read because of their ongoing discoveries and theories, but you sometimes have to "hold your nose," if you know (and I'm sure you do) what I mean.
You SOMETIMES have to hold your nose? I think the fingerprints on my nostrils may be permanently embedded. This has not encouraged me to continue reading the guy.

I possess a copy of Piper's book. Picked it up in a thrift store for 25 cents. I was overcharged.
I think the Hufschmid's purpose is to muddy the waters with disinfo. So if there is a shred of truth to any of the content, by association he lumps it together with ridiculousness like the Paul McCartney thing and smears it all with antisemitism. 9/11 kooks are mostly kooks, but even Fox news was told by a federal agent there was classified information linking some Israelis to 9/11. That means there IS an involvement and it is classified. The kooks don't like to talk about it and people will smear the ones that do as antisemitic. That's all by design.

What I'm saying is turn your brains off for a sec and pretend that there was a rouge Likud/Mossad op pulling the strings. The info was discovered and classified. Because the public couldn't handle it. I would hope if there was truth to it, the perpetrators were dealt with behind the scenes.

Just to keep people from looking, we got Hufschmid to instill antisemitism and ridiculous conspiracy theories. So if you ask, you're guilty by association. That's just a guess.
I'm not sure,though, Joe, generalized "sympathy for the underdog" is a much more respectably enlightened political ideology than that of those who engage in spreading distortions and lies about ethnic groups out of sincerely held (or admittedly in some cases, otherwise) beliefs.

Not when it comes to politicking for what is best for the United States. The Israeli Lobby shoved us into Iraq based on willful lies about Saddam's non existent WMDs. Israel is a financial/militarily strategic albatross to US interests.

Some of the behaviour of the Lobby can be traced to the influence of the features of Judaism's traditions Prof. Israel Shahak (himself Jewish) outlines in his tome "Jewish History Jewish Religion.

Perhaps the grotesquely disproportionate control of Mideast policy exercised by dual loyalists explains some of the absurd at times groping for truth by opponents of that control which has proven to be so deleterious to the best interests of the nation.

Broadsides which would also tend to bring under suspicion such LIHOP, Israel-critical advocates as Raimondo's "Terror Enigma," should also be avoided.
Fair warning: I really would prefer not to have the acronyms LIHOP and MIHOP appear in these pages again. I do think that Shahak is a good guy, although I think some of his argumentation is strained.
That story about working class people mistaking a paediatrician for a paedophile is bullshit.

Remember there are whole swathes of "experts" who think they know all about punishing, protecting, managing, rehabilitating, curing, and watching over paedophiles. Like almost all middle class people, especially of the bureaucratic and bullshit-merchant office-holdy 'professional' varieties, their self-image is mainly based on the view they got from mummy and daddy about how all working class people are morons, scum, and little more advanced than animals.

And when people criticise other people for not wanting released paedophiles living near them - men who have served sentences for abducting, abusing, and maybe even murdering children - ask whether the people doing the criticising would want to have such men living next door to them.

(Of course, most posh paedophiles - and I remember an issue of 'Encounter' admiringly describing some rich paedophile who bought toy trains when other men would buy bunches of flowers - don't go to jail in the first place).
Rupert Murdoch wrote an introduction (and how often does he write anything?) to a book promoting the line that 'the modern world will depend on Israel for the forseeable future', namely Israel in the World.

his 2009 speech to the AJC.

I put my fingers in my ears whenever anyone who supports the existence of Israel, an ethnic-supremacist entity, talks about the Nazi holocaust or anti-Semitism. They have absolutely no right. They insult the victims whenever they open their mouths about these matters.

People who oppose the cruel oppression of human beings, without regard to their ethnicity (i.e. who believe that people shouldn't be made to suffer that way) do have the right. It's that simple.

I abhor what happened in Auschwitz because it happened to real people. That many called themselves Jewish is irrelevant to my attitude.

(Although it's worth remembering that many didn't call themselves Jewish, but had the 'Jewish' label put onto them by the Nazis. Why is this worth remembering? Because it illustrates that racism is irrational. That applies to Nazi racism, which labelled people with an 'ethnic' identity that they themselves couldn't give a shit for. And it applies to Zionist racism, which counts people as Jewish who'd dumped the Jewish identity, or who never had it in the first place, so long as the focus is on Nazi crimes; but who have nothing but contempt for people today who dump the Jewish identity. You've got to have practically no ethical sense whatsoever to use the memory of victims in such a way - and why argue with people who have no ethical sense?)

Besides, who wants an identity based on ancestors belonging to an ultra-racist religion anyway? I can understand that it's a difficult thing for some people to get away from. But many people have managed to get away from it, and many who haven't have got little or no reasonable excuse for not doing so.
Is the story bullshit? Can you link to an article where a reporter says "I investigated this story and it is bullshit; here's what really happened..."?

I'm not saying one way or another. It wouldn't be the first time Wikipedia published crap, lord knows. But I would just like the facts.

For what it is worth: Although I despise all predators against children, I happen to believe that once a person has paid his debt to society, that should be the end of it. These laws which hound certain convicts forever do not strike me as a good idea, and I've seen no evidence that they lessen the crime.
No, I can't link to such a story, but I remember calling out a friend who believed the 'paediatrician mistaken for paedophile' story and challenging him to provide some credible basis for it. He couldn't. It has the exact flavour of the kind of urban myths that circulate in Britain among officials in the social work, school-teaching, and medical priesthoods.

The main reason I'm in favour of locking up those who prey on children isn't to make them repay a debt to society, but to protect those whom they might attack if they were at liberty.

If such a person requires watching over to be sure that he doesn't attack another child (or a child he's attacked before), I can't see a good reason for releasing him in the first place. Not that I know much about how to assess the risks, or how to know whether someone's getting genuinely rehabilitated or just faking it, but the official discourse seems to suffer from a lot of doublethink.
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