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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Let's get weird

I'm here to chew bubblegum and talk about weird shit. And I'm fresh out of bubblegum.

Trump's new favorite website. Good god, is this what the country has come to? I've always said that conspiracy addiction is close kin to drug addiction. Yes, some conspiracies are real -- just as some drugs are beneficial. But even a "good" drug can turn you into an addict, and addicts always seek a more powerful high. The MAGA Pill site is for addicts desperate for an armful of something stronger than heroin, crystal meth, or crack. MAGA Pill is the krokodil of paranoia sites.

And our president wants you to read it. The image above comes from this site; in order to read the small print, click to enlarge.

Franken photo funnies. There's a theory going around that the photo of Al Franken and Lindsay Menz was manipulated via Photoshop. Color me unpersuaded. Cannon's Third Law: Any photograph, even one you just snapped, will start to look photoshopped if you stare at it hard enough.

Are the BernieBots going after Franken? Sure looks like it. The Berners (whom we know to be manipulated by Russia) are trying to convince their sheep-like followers that getting rid of that awful sexist corporate shill Al Franken will result in his automatic replacement with Keith Ellison, who will help Dear Leader Bernie usher in socialist utopia.

In the real world, of course, there will be a special election which will undoubtedly be won by Norm Coleman (pro-lifer, gay marriage opponent, big supporter of the Iraq invasion) or someone exactly like him. That's a lock. You have two choices: Either accept Franken's apology or live with a Coleman. Don't listen to the deceivers who beguile with with the myth of Door #3, because there just ain't gonna be a Door #3.

Bernie can't pretend that there is any distance between himself and this "Justice Democrats" ratfucking operation: See here.

The Secret Doctrine and fascism. NYT writer Richard Fausset interviewed a neo-Nazi named Tony Hovater and came away perplexed as to how a seemingly-normal fellow would make the slide into fascism. Fausset feels that his story has a "hole" because he can't find the Rosebud-like key to the man's personality. I would argue that one of the lessons of Citizen Kane is that even when you learn the meaning of "Rosebud," you still won't have all the answers.

That said, I think that this nugget contains a Rosebud-esque revelation:
Mr. Hovater was exceedingly candid with me — often shockingly so — but it seems as though his worldview was largely formed by the same recombinant stuff that influences our mainstream politics. There were exceptions, of course: I saw, on his bookshelf, two volumes of Helena Blavatsky’s “The Secret Doctrine,” 19th-century work of esoteric spiritualism whose anti-Semitism influenced Nazi thinking.

But even if I had called Mr. Hovater yet again — even if we had discussed Blavatsky at length, the way we did his ideas about the Federal Reserve Bank — I’m not sure it would have answered the question.
When I made my own explorations of the conspiracy buff subculture, I was shocked and perplexed by the way Theosophy and The Secret Doctrine kept coming up. Back in the 1990s, whenever one visited "crank" conventions or certain oddball bookstores, one inevitably ran into images of Master Kuthumi and Saint Germain and El Morya and all the other demigods of the Blavatsky pantheon.

Intrigued, I purchased both volumes of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine and tried my damnedest to make my way through the author's irritating prose (much of which she shamelessly cribbed from other works). I also spent more time than I should have studying the history of her movement.

In case you don't know: Old Theosophical books -- the ones published before WWI -- usually feature HUGE swastikas on the title pages. Even today, the official Theosophy logo displays a swastika, a Star of David and an Ouroboros snake.

(Let me guess: Right now you're just dying to give me the predictable lecture on how the swastika originally was not a negative symbol. Right? Well, spare me. Understand: I'm older than you. The first time I heard that rap was before you were born.)

Those older Theosophical books also talk a lot about the wonderful, glorious "Aryan" race. Although Blavatsky's use of that word differed from Hitler's, I can demonstrate that there is a direct link between Theosophy and the fascism that we're fighting today.

I'll give you three examples:

1. Germany. An esoteric philosopher named Dietrich Eckhart was a Theosophist; see here and here. Why is Eckart important? Look at the dedication page for Mein Kampf. Eckart was the one who first advised Hitler to make use of the swastika symbol.

2. Russia. An adventuress/spiritualist/oddball named Yuliana Glinka became, for a while, a close aide to Madame Blavatsky. Glinka played a still-misunderstood role in the transmission of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion hoax to Russia and points beyond. James Webb's The Occult Establishment -- once quite rare but now online -- is your best place to start reading about Glinka, although you can learn more about her from the standard Blavatsky biographies and from a deep delve into the history of the Protocols.

3. America. William Dudley Pelley, leader of the Silver Shirts (the most important pro-Nazi group in America during the 1930s) was a hermeticist inspired, in part, by Blavatsky. His movement gave rise to the I AM cult, which in turn gave rise to Ramtha (remember him/her?) and to Elizabeth Clare Prophet's Church Universal and Triumphant, which was and is extremely right-wing and racist. If you think Pelley had no link to Theosophy -- well, start here. Pelley also disseminated (and probably wrote) an anti-Semitic hoax document called The Franklin Prophecy.

Blavatsky's contribution to modern racism traces back to the second volume of The Secret Doctrine, which outlines her theory of the root races. In this system (which her followers modified), the first four Root Races were proto-human while the Fifth Root Race -- the Aryan race -- constitutes all of humanity, which is divided into sub-races. At this point, modern Theosophists usually assure us that these sub-races were unified and equal, although Blavatsky's original text did not really convey that impression. It can't be denied, however, that Blavatsky advocated a eugenics program to engineer the next stage of human evolution. In other words, she foresaw the creation of a master race. 

Theosophists deny that HPB countenanced racism. I must admit that the Theosophists I met "back in the day" seemed like reasonable people who bore no resemblance to our modern tiki-torchers. Gary Lachman's comments here are probably on the right track.

Nevertheless: One must judge a tree by its fruit. We've seen far too many poisonous apples dropping from this particular tree.

The Evola connection. As most of you know, Steve Bannon and other Alt Rightists revere Julius Evola, the Italian fascist hermeticist who advocated a return to pre-Enlightenment thinking. Evola had a massive influence on the thinking of Alexander Dugin, the mentor to Vladimir Putin. The major intellectual influence on Evola was, in turn a French occult philosopher named René Guénon, who can be called a Theosophist of a sort, even though he turned against Blavatsky.

Earlier today, I stumbled across Aristocrats of the Soul, an elaborate website devoted to presenting the wit and wisdom of Evola and Guénon. That site offers an introduction to Evola's magnum opus, Revolt Against the Modern World.
Evola discusses how in early ages, concepts like regality, the state, and religious rites were all ordered from a higher plane, and practices like initiation and societal rules like the caste system were ordered from above to align with the transcendent order. He discusses the differences between man and woman, along with the current dysgenics caused by the stronger animal-like impulse toward procreation that’s found in the lower classes. Also in Revolt Against the Modern World Evola presents a theory of root races that echoes the ideas of Theosophy.
In recent days, this book has gained a vast new readership. You can even get it on audiobook. I downloaded my free copy from a lovely site called Wrath of the Awakened Saxon. From Chapter 21, "The Decline of the Superior Races":
It is no wonder the superior races are dying out before the ineluctable logic of individualism, which especially in the so-called contemporary “higher classes,” has caused people to lose all desire to procreate. Not to mention all the other degenerative factors connected to a mechanized and urbanized social life and especially to a civilization that no longer respects the health and creative limitations constituted by the castes and by the traditions of blood lineage. Thus proliferation is concentrated in the lower social classes and in the inferior races where the animal-like impulse is stronger than any rational calculation and consideration. The unavoidable effects are a reversed selection and the ascent and the onslaught of inferior elements against which the “race” of superior castes and people, now exhausted and defeated, can do very little as a spiritually dominating element.
This summary of Evola's life and thought is as good as any I've seen:
You read enough of this stuff and it all becomes absurdly predictable. Liberty in all its forms is the enemy; hatred, tribal violence, dictatorship, mythological love of the lie, is the philosophical aspiration of superior people. Though Evola’s books poured out in the years before the war, each was a variation on the same theme.

As the Nazi party made advances in German politics, Evola was enraptured, placing all his hopes and dreams into the great cause, and became a full-time propagandist working in Germany. He spoke on behalf of the Third Reich, and became good friends with Nazi official and extermination-camp builder Heinrich Himmler. His services were so appreciated that Evola eventually became a top intellectual in Nazi circles, a genuine intellectual insider of a cause who provided ideological cover for its crimes, while cheering every aspect of Hitler’s war and regime as the best possible hope for humanity. He even ended up escorting Mussolini to Hitler’s hideout during the war. Evidentally, the slaughter of innocents was not only just fine by him but embodied some realization of what he believed must happen.
This is the philosopher idolized by Steve Bannon, architect of the modern right.

It must always be remembered that Evola was an occult philosopher, even though he wanted Catholic monarchies to rule much of Europe. (He differed in this regard from HPB, who was ultra-paranoid about the Jesuits.) Keep that thought in mind as you try to understand how The Secret Doctrine came to rest on Mr. Hovater's bookshelf.

Final thoughts: Most of his modern admirers don't like to admit that Evola -- for all his emphasis on traditional male/female relations -- was (probably) gay. That's one paradox. Another paradox stems from his advocacy of both esoterica and pre-Enlightenment Catholicism. Still another paradox may may be found in the fact that the prophet of capital-T Traditionalism sprang out of the avant garde art movement of the early 20th century.

Increasingly, I have come to feel that the avant gardists of a century ago opened a door to the very fascism that eventually declared all Modern Art to be Entartete Kunst. As much as I love many of the paintings and works of literature produced in the early 20th century, I now believe that the Modernists took a wrong turn when they declared that the ultimate virtue is not beauty or wisdom but transgression. This wrongheaded decision opened up a trail leading toward G.G. Allin, who "critiqued" the work of serial murderers as if they were fine artists and who literally sung the praises of misogyny, pedophilia and racism.

This idealization of transgression and the fetishization of shock still prevail in "arty" circles. My response: What could be more transgressive and shocking than wielding a tiki torch and chanting "Jew will not replace us"? If Marcel Duchamp disrupted bourgeois complacency, so did Julius Streicher -- and so does Alex Jones.
Excellent analysis. I "dabbled" in the New Age movement in late 80's/early 90's and had no clue that Prophet and Ramtha were fascistic. Duh. When I realized I was substituting "moral authority" of Catholicism with the "moral authority" of the "New Age" movement I became very critical of the gurus and prophets who were every bit as authoritarian as any priest, bishop or cardinal. I read "Ramtha" and one of Prophet's books. When I read about her cult I lost interest.

Dave Emory has written several pieces about the links between New Age movement and fascism/white supremacy and cults in general and also cited Ramtha.
I recognise most of that stuff in the infographic. I know the BIS is the Bank of International Settlements. I dig. What the hell is "Brownstoning"?

Theosophy has always struck me as the mystical equivalent of Randism. Long, tedious works which are bafflingly influential. And it gets everywhere, so you ended up with the Nazi Ariosophists burning down the rather appealing headquarters of the Anthroposophists even though they were both basically theosophists.
I am beginning to believe that the Franken photo was photoshopped. Trump is now claiming that the Access Hollywood tape was faked. I think he expected Franken to deny the authenticity of the photo giving him cover for his absurd claim.
That Franken photo is almost certainly real. The Roger Stone types probably have couples out getting such pictures snapped for use later.

Wife with politician, hubs with the camera. And we're supposed to believe that he was groping her butt, at the State Fair, thousands of people milling all around?

Pretty hilarious, framing Al Franken as a serial groper, but his M.O. is to only work really public places when he's being photographed in the act. Letter written by his female staffers says that he was a great employer who was at all times respectful. And we're stuck with President grope dotard in chief.
Trump is talking about fake tapes because he knows there's a Russian tape out there. What's on the tape?
Great analysis, Joseph. Chilling, but very informative. Thanks for posting it.
Washington Post busts sting operation shopping a false Roy Moore story.
Meanwhile in Germany right now...the political class are swearing blind that no non-caretaker government can be formed for several weeks if not months. They what?

The SPD and CDU have been in the cabinet together for four years and in fact they are still in the cabinet together, albeit a caretaker one. The SPD's Sigmar Gabriel for example is the foreign minister. Anybody who takes at face value the delay in forming a majority government or a minority one with sufficient support is naive.

End of 2015: Cologne: mass assault of women by "Arabic speaking men" on New Year's Eve; story spread by Breitbart and Geller.

December 2016: Berlin: Daesh terrorist attack on Christmas market, carried out by Arab Muslim "failed asylum seeker"; 12 killed.

September 2017: first federal election since 2013; AfD voteshare soars from 4.7% to 12.6%, and the party's representation in Bundestag rises from 0 to 94.

We can speculate on the possible effects of a December 2017 event in Germany in which again Arabs or Muslims are the bad guys.

Could the AfD overtake the SPD in the next election, which is likely to be soon? I wouldn't rule it out. The SPD's voteshare has fallen from 25.7% to 20.5%. The CDU and SPD leaderships are at the moment both dancing around to say they are so committed to cooperating - except that it's going to take so long to sort out - and suggesting subliminally that if either of them will be responsible for causing a new election it will be the other party, not them.

The end of Angela Merkel's premiership, probably Martin Schulz's fall from the SPD leadership too, and a new election all look probable.
@Stephen - The Steinerite propaganda machine has for several years tried to counter and derail the idea that their own evil bastards were anything other than essentially at loggerheads with the Nazi leadership - distorting the importance of tiny details, sealioning, setting up fake middle ground, using fake "former" Steinerites, etc. etc., the whole gamut, saying "Can you prove beyond doubt that Sigmund Rascher was a member? Then show us his card!" etc. - but that is all total crap.

Peter Staudenmaier's work is excellent and he has come in for a lot of flak. Unfortunately he tries to defend himself solely on "academic" terrain, which is a pious hope because it doesn't allow punches to be landed the way they need to bem and the Steinerites are strong on that terrain in several countries.

The Steinerites also have a lot of tentacles through the Triodos bank, their asset which funds many "alternative" and "ethical" and "green" companies and projects.

Had the opponents of Steinerism ("anthroposophy") on the German far right before the second world war had more success against them, then perhaps for example Rudolf Steiner's idea that gassing people with potassium cyanide would kill their souls wouldn't have led to the invention of the gas chamber at Dachau by the Steinerite Sigmund Rascher, in one of the camps in the camp system that was under the authority of the SS, led by Heinrich Himmler, owner of a Steinerite "biodynamic" farm.

Steiner shit was also crucial in the Nazification of part of what had been Italian fascism in the last two years of the war, when Italian racism was brought together and intertwined with German-Nordic racism.

Then there's Weleda. And Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO. Then there's the Rees-Mogg family too.
b, I'm grateful for this. It has been a while since I made a serious attempt to look at this territory, so I wasn't familiar with Peter Staudenmaier.

For newcomers: b is talking about a rival occult school called the Anthroposophist movement, founded by a weirdo named Rudolf Steiner. He was a Theosophist who broke from the movement, basically because Blavatsky focused on India's religious traditions while Steiner remained infatuated with Christian mysticism.

In Basel, Switzerland, the Steinerites erected a beautiful wooden temple called the Goetheanum, which the proto-Nazi right-wingers burned to the ground on January 1, 1923. Why did they burn it? I guess because they thought it was part of The Conspiracy. Steiner erected a second building, out of stone. It's still there; you can look it up on Google Earth. If nothing else, this story gives us a practical lesson in building construction.

For many years, people have assumed that the Nazis hated Steiner and his followers. Recent research paints a more complicated picture.

For my part, I'm simply stunned that anyone ever took Rudolf Steiner seriously. B, have you ever actually sat down and tried to read the guy's books? I have. He was NUTS. I mean, even by the loose standards which prevail in mystical circles, Steiner would prattle on for page after page making NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. A random word generator would produce more logical prose. I've read Therese of Avila and Meister Eckhart, both of whom were extremely lucid compared to Steiner.

Yet he has a following to this day.

And people wonder why I lose faith in my fellow human beings.
From Jabberwocky to Unwinese, gobbledegook has a long history of winning people over. Making sense is overrated.

Germany seems to have no chance of getting rid of Angela Merkel, with her whopping 32% of the vote. I suppose that's what happens when 20% of the Bundestag is controlled by AfD and The Left, neither of whom want to join coalitions, or are wanted in coalitions. The other parties know that being the junior party is a coalition will lose them votes, hence the most recent collapse of the SPD, and the FDP not wanting a repeat of their extinction in 2013.
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