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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.
Comments:
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 http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/goeb59.htm

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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