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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Guns and bots and the assault on democracy (Updated)

What an astonishing period we live in.

Yesterday, I didn't know what to write about the terrifying school shooting in Florida. When an alienated boy goes mad, grabs an AR-15 and starts shooting, the only thing left to discuss is the ease with which such a weapon can be obtained by the young and the unstable. I have nothing new to add to that debate -- and neither, I'm guessing, do you. It's like the debate over abortion: What can one say that hasn't been said a million times?

Now we learn that Nikolas Cruz was a MAGA maniac who hated Antifa -- because (sayeth Cruz) they're too violent. The situation would be hilarious if it weren't so hideous. Cruz fell in with a group of neo-Nazis in Florida, a gang of potato-shaped talk-talk-talkers who couldn't get laid if they handed Stormy Daniels a suitcase full of C-notes, and who probably never expected anyone in their little group to create such havoc.

Update: Although the Cruz/Nazi linkage has appeared on many major news sites, HuffPo sounds a note of caution. Always remember that the Pals of Pepe are a puerile bunch who will mislead the media for giggles.  

We know full well what the right would be saying right now if Cruz had been a Clinton supporter. So when they bewail the politicization of tragedy, our response should be: Fuck you. You want us to hold back? YOU hold back.

How are they going to blame this tragedy on liberals? Haven't checked out Infowars, but I imagine that they're screaming nonsense about MKULTRA. Whenever right-wingers want to evade responsibility or to divert attention or to inject a little more craziness into the body politic, MKULTRA (a very real CIA mind control program shut down in 1963) is their knee-jerk, all-purpose excuse. In today's world, fear of MKULTRA brainwashes more people than MKULTRA ever did.

How predictable these people are. Don't the aficionados of Alex Jones ever get tired of these "conspiracy cliches"?

The Russian response is what interests me at the moment. A strong surge of Russian bot activity on Twitter and elsewhere has tried to sow confusion.
Meanwhile, some accounts with large bot followings are already spreading misinformation about the shooter's ties to far-left group Antifa, even though the Associated Press reported that he was a member of a local white nationalist group. The Twitter account Education4Libs, which RoBhat Labs shows is one among the top accounts tweeted at by bots, is among the prominent disseminators of that idea:
From the aforementioned Twitter account:
The shooter was a registered Democrat and a member of Antifa. Why does this not shock me at all? Maybe because you have to be a total piece of shit to belong to either of those groups. Rot in hell, loser.
Yes. And Hillary rapes children in a basement beneath a pizza restaurant. And an artist painted a hidden spermatozoa on Obama's face because, uh, Satanism.

I would not be even slightly surprised to learn that Russian bots are working the other side of the aisle as well. In 2015, in order to stoke racial tensions at the University of Missouri, Russian bots posed as black students.
Frustration with pervasive racism on Mizzou's campus came to a head in fall 2015 with student protests, a hunger strike, a football team strike, boycotts and other activism, which culminated in the resignation of university President Tim Wolfe on November 9, 2015.

Two days later, with #PrayForMizzou trending on Twitter, a tweet from user "@Fanfan1911" said the Ku Klux Klan was on campus.

“The cops are marching with the KKK! They beat up my little brother! Watch out!” the tweet said. It included a picture of a black child with a severely bruised face.

Reaction to the unconfirmed tweet was immediate. Student government President Payton Head posted on Facebook that "KKK members were confirmed on campus." National news networks halted coverage to revert to local camera feeds in search of violence, and news anchors read tweets that claimed there were shootings, stabbings and cross burnings.
And then the bot switched sides...
The same bot later began tweeting in German and spreading rumors about Syrian refugees, the report said. By spring 2016, it had morphed into an account touting messages from right-wing news organizations such as Breitbart. The account is now suspended on Twitter.
The question. We have to ask anew a question I've been posing for more than a year: How much of this is really Russian? These paranoia-producing bots and trolls usually write colloquial English very well, and they seem to know American pop culture even better than I do.

My strong suspicion is that the Russians are simply being used as muscle. The real power behind this assault is an international fascist movement.

In a recent interview -- on the Stephanie Miller show, if memory serves -- Malcolm Nance talked about his upcoming book, due out in April. It seems that he has a chapter on Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind behind...behind everything.

Finally, someone has decided to talk about the real enemy. I've been thinking about writing such a book myself. Better for Nance to do it.

Dugin, like his philosophical forebear Julius Evola, wants to eradicate what he calls "liberalism." One does not have to read very far into Dugin's writings to comprehend that when he uses that word, he does not mean what most Americans would presume that he means. In Dugin-speak, "liberalism" means democracy. (And "traditionalism" means feudalism.)

That's it. That's the goal. They want an end to democracy.

Whenever you see comments from alleged progressives and bogus "intellectuals" assuring us that both parties are the same, that Democrats and Republicans are equally corrupt, that nothing in the media can be trusted except for those reports which flatter your preconceptions, you are hearing the voice of Dugin and his dupes.

Whenever you hear from the no-compromise exponents of the politics of identity, you are hearing the voice of Dugin and his dupes.

Whenever you hear from white nationalists AND black nationalists, you are hearing the voice of Dugin and his dupes.

Whenever you hear from he-man woman-haters on the right AND from mindless, man-hating MeToo-ers on the left, you are hearing from Dugin and his dupes.

Whenever you hear from Chabadnik Nutballs-for-Netanyahu AND from the many pals of Pepe who push the Protocols, you are hearing the voice of Dugin and his dupes.

Understand that.

Are you ready for a nation and a world in which democracy is considered obscene? Do you want that?
The gang of usual suspects includes Alex Jones at Info-wars. One of the writers a Wonkette rips them a new one.
There is a lot of fury over the Parkland murder spree now. Will it last until November?
The Russians, if they're actually Russian Russians, are likely just guns for hire. Russian organised crime is big into computers and financial mischief, this would just be an outgrowth.

Stormy Daniels is not a prostitute, she's alleged to have taken money to keep quiet, not for the sex. The reason for the sex is still bafflingly unknowable.

I just saw some other blog talking about an MK ULTRA conspiracy theory. I think it was the Las Vegas shooter being reported to have said the government "hacked his brain".
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