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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Various outrages

In case I do not publish tomorrow, a Happy Easter to you. Customarily, I publish something quasi-blasphemous on Easter Sunday, but recent health concerns have forced a different approach.

Israel. Good lord. The Israelis opened fire on hundreds of Palestinians demonstrating for their rights on Passover/Good Friday.
The violence erupted on Friday after mass demonstrations took place demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to land in Israel.

Tens of thousands of people, including women and children, had planned to camp several hundred metres from the Israeli frontier, which surrounds the 140-square-mile Gaza strip on two sides, on the first day of a peaceful, six-week protest.

But from the main camps, groups of mostly young men approached the border at several locations and started throwing stones and burning tyres. Soldiers responded by opening fire throughout the day.
How will the Trump administration respond? More importantly: How will the Trump cultists respond?

Many within the cult are anti-Semites. Trumpism is conspiracism, and the path of right-wing conspiracy theory often leads to anti-Semitism, either in its open form or transparently disguised. (We all know what the Trumpers really mean when they talk about "globalists.") One of the more infuriating oddities of the modern era is that many anti-Semitic Trumpists support Israel.

Wasn't it cute when Steve Bannon, in his denial of the charge of anti-Semitism, insisted that Brietbart had published pieces encouraging Jews to relocate to Israel because Europe was no longer safe? In our skewed political culture, you can pretend to love Jews while calling for Europe -- and America -- to be judenrein.

Right after the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, Netanyahu also sounded the "Europe is not safe" alarms. Thus, Bibi and the fascists should be considered partners in the same grand enterprise.

It's been quite a while since I checked in on Xymphora or any of the other anti-Semitic sites, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are openly pro-Bibi these days. God only knows how they will respond to the latest outrage in Gaza. Life must be very confusing for them.

Trump will, of course, support Israel no matter what, and the love will flow in both directions. Last time I checked, the pro-Trump anti-Semites played the "Jared" card whenever they needed to explain away any discomforting displays of Donnie/Bibi chumminess. In this scenario, Kushner (not Putin) becomes the arch-schemer behind everything wrong with the current administration. Blame all sins on Jared; never blame Fearless Leader.

But: Kushner is in trouble. Everyone knows that he's been selling administration favors to obtain financing for that white elephant with the Devil's address. We'd still be on good terms with Qatar if not for Jared's desperation for money. (Someone should investigate the role of Jared's jailbird father in all of this.) Moreover, it is increasingly obvious that Jared Kushner lied to Congress about the Trump Tower meeting.

I don't agree with the notion that Jared will flip; everyone keeps forgetting about the pardon power. But it does seem possible, even likely, that Kushner will skulk back New York. If so, who will the anti-Semitic Trump cultists blame the next time Trumpy and Bibi start necking in public?

Bottom line: Many American liberals who despise Israel's treatment of the Palestinians are also the kind of people who would love to vote for a Jewish president. (In my case, that would be Al Franken or Russ Feingold, but not Bernie.) Conversely, many American non-Jews who bray their no-matter-what support for Israel are paranoid bigots who think that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the real deal.

The American Jewish community has yet to confront this contradiction in an adequate fashion.

Q-anon. Looks as though dear old Roseanne Barr is a devotee of the Q-anon conspiracy theory, an evidence-free casserole of horse manure which (if I understand aright) holds that Mueller is secretly investigating Hillary Clinton for her alleged ties to an imaginary pedophilia ring. Doesn't this theory mean that Trump protects Hillary whenever he assails Mueller?

Judging from her increasingly unhinged tweets, Barr actually seems to believe that Trump the Liberator has freed children all over the world from bondage to these evil liberal sex traffickers. What's more, he has managed to accomplish this noble task without receiving a single laudatory headline, not even from Fox News. Impressive!
QAnon believers are convinced that the world is run by a nefarious deep state cabal of Democrats, celebrities, and intelligence community figures (many of whom, they claim, are pedophiles).

Trump is about to take them all down, in their telling, often with sealed indictments that are hidden from the public. Hence Barr’s tweets about massive pedophile networks.
The Q-anon messages are obviously fraudulent -- so much so that even many Trump supporters refuse to take them seriously. I would compare them to the bogus UFO documents that made the rounds in the late 1980s and 1990s.

(Those documents, I am persuaded, served an experimental purpose. They tracked the effectiveness of "samizdat" distribution networks for propaganda and disinformation, just as one might use a harmless bacteria to trace the potential spread of a germ warfare agent. But that's a topic for another time.)

Despite the utter lack of proof for any of the Q assertions, the earwig of paranoia continues to burrow into many a brain:
Over the past several months, “the Storm” theories have gradually made their way out of the depths of 4chan and into more mainstream online platforms like YouTube, Reddit, and Twitter — including Roseanne Barr’s Twitter account.
My own cursory study of certain Q communications leads me to suspect that the primary writer may not be a native speaker of the English language. Russian? Perhaps, but I posit that the writer "thinks" in German. I also tentatively believe that he chose the pseudonym "Q" for the same reason that letter plays a role in New Testament studies: It refers to the German word Quelle, or "source."

In the past, I have theorized that these bogus communications may originate with the "Gregory Douglas" or "Henry Makow" organization, which I have discussed previously. This effort is a small pro-Nazi operation -- perhaps as small as a single individual, whose real name may or may not be Peter Storch. This incredibly prolific enterprise -- which has yet to receive the attention it deserves -- has churned out numerous political forgeries, although it has also dabbled in art forgery. Obviously, someone is paying these men (this man?) for their (his?) time and trouble, although I don't yet know who the paymasters might be.

Side note: One good "score" in the art forgery market could be lucrative enough to purchase an enormous amount of political mischief. There's precedent here. Check out the marvelous Orson Welles film F for Fake, then look deeper into Elmyr de Hory's associates.

No, I can't prove that Q is Stahl (or whatever his real name might be). But this exercise in madness certainly seems to be of a piece with this sort of nonsense we've come to expect from Makow/Douglass/TBRNews/Stahl. Q believes that Rod Rosenstein is the son of Heinrich Himmler and has been covering up the cure for cancer. Similarly, the Stahl operation loves to push weird claims about both Nazis and medical conspiracies.

In spite of all, Roseanne Barr thinks that relying on Q as a source of information is just fine.

Interestingly, Rush Limbaugh thinks that Barr's conspiracism is just fine.
Now, I’m not familiar with the conspiracies that she believes in, but they are conspiracies that are associated with this relatively private chat group on the internet called 4chan and a group called QAnon. Now, I don’t know how that’s pronounced, but it’s spelled the letter Q, A-n-o-n. So I’m guessing it’s QAnon. Anyway, the people in these chat rooms believe in the anti-Trump conspiracies that anti-Trump people are behind and believe in.

Roseanne is not a conspiracy theorist like you would think. The conspiracies that she believes in are those that supposedly exist to destroy Trump.
Just don't pronounce Q-anon as "Cannon," Rush. Otherwise, I'll have to make a terrible pun about "Rusha."

Rush makes oblique reference here to a seeming contradiction with his past positions. When the Oliver Stone movie JFK came out way back in 1991 -- Lordy, has it been so long? -- Limbaugh castigated liberals for daring to assert that CIA personnel had a hand in Kennedy's death. Now, he has no problem with conspiracy believers.

Or rather: Conspiracy belief is permissible or non-permissible depending on the target. If you posit a right-wing conspiracy against a liberal president, then you can expect scorn from the likes of Limbaugh -- even if you present your argument in a thick book filled with footnotes citing original documentation.

But if you attack the Clintons -- well, that's diffo (as Hatlo used to say). Anti-Clinton theorists do not need footnotes or documentation or on-the-record sources. They don't need any of the trappings of academic respectability. Hell, they don't even need to write in a comprehensible fashion. As long as they target Democrats, anything goes.

Note that Limbaugh never has castigated Roger Stone for his JFK book, which fingers LBJ as the mastermind of the hit. That fact that LBJ was a Democrat makes Roger Stone's conspiracy theory acceptable, even though it rests on a foundation of bullshit.

I strongly doubt that you will ever see Limbaugh mock Roseanne Barr for her reliance on an anonymous screwball who says that Rod Rosenstein is the son of Himmler.

Speaking of Stone... Will Mueller indict him? Looks possible.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been revealed to be focusing too heavily on Stone for this not to be going anywhere, and soon. Federal grand juries indict people far greater than 99% of the time. So what happens once Stone is indicted?

That’s when we’ll see if Mueller offers Stone a plea deal or simply goes ahead and arrests him. Stone appeared on MSNBC earlier this month and asserted that Mueller had never even so much as contacted him about Trump-Russia up to that point. Mueller’s general pattern has been that if he doesn’t bother contacting someone he’s investigating, he tends to arrest them as soon as they’ve been indicted.
Robert Mueller already has the cooperating testimony of Sam Nunberg and at least one other Roger Stone associate. Mueller also detained and subpoenaed yet another Stone associate this week, Ted Malloch, who is set to testify in two weeks. How many more witnesses against Stone does Mueller need? He already has more than enough to convince the typical grand jury to indict.
Here's the problem: There are no state-level charges against Stone, which means that Roger-dodger can place his faith in a pardon. If not for the pardon factor, I think Stone would have given Trump the middle-finger salute by now.

But will Donnie actually do it? Each pardon would generate a wildfire of animosity, and I'm not sure that saving Roger Stone's ass would justify the expenditure of so much political capital. (Jared's ass is a different matter. Jared is family.) Although Stone and Trump have been good friends for a number of years, one can easily visualize Stone's gaudy bespoke suits displaying tire tracks from the bus to Trumpsville.

Then again, I predicted the arrival of that bus a year ago, and it still hasn't shown up. So...who knows?

This recent story on the Malloch business generated an intriguing nugget:
Malloch said the agents quizzed him about topics ranging from “top-secret code word government clearances in an earlier era” to his being a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, then zeroed in on matters related to the Trump campaign and the Russian investigation.
What the hell...? Why would they ask about an old code word?
The agents, according to Malloch, asked him whether he had been to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lived in asylum since 2012. Malloch said he told the agents he had never been to that embassy.
Well, someone functioned as Stone's go-between to Assange.

For the longest time, there was speculation as to the identity of that go-between, because Stone wouldn't name a name. This noted Stone-watcher (whom I believe to be Ryan Lizza) fingered Randy Credico, who plumped for Sanders during the election and who now seems to function as a "soft" Trump apologist. (A typical progression, that.) Seizing upon this, Stone said that his middle man was indeed Credico.

But Credico says otherwise. So now attention turns to Malloch.

Someone is lying. Credico notably took the Fifth when asked to testify to the House, which -- by definition -- means that he's hiding something that might tend to incriminate him.

Now go here:
Stone said Nunberg has done a "disservice" and that Credico has a "selective or faulty" memory. They appear on Melber's show to respond.
Ari Melber's words sum up the situation nicely...
"Even if you put aside Mueller's Stone subpoena and put aside Stone's public defense of Assange and Stone's claimed intermediate to Assange and Stone's attempt to meet with Assange. You could even put aside the logical ethering of Stone's defense by his own associates -- Nunberg and Credico -- and you could put aside Stone's apparent prediction that WikiLeaks material was going to come out before it leaked. Put all that aside and you still have Roger Stone publicly confessing to contact with the alleged Putin spy behind the criminal hacking of the DNC emails and an international election conspiracy to subvert American democracy. That's a lot. It kind of leads to the only question left for Roger Stone if he ever does face Mueller's investigators: At this point, is your best defense to tell them I lied about everything?"
That's one of the virtues of being Roger Stone: If forced to say "I lied," he can do so with no loss of face; the only thing necessary is a certain impudent bravado. I would liken him to Joe Mantegna in House of Games, whose attitude can be summarized as: Of COURSE I'm a con artist. You knew that going in. Or, more succinctly, "I'm from the United States of kiss-my-ass."
Comments:
Isn't that Judenfrei? Or am I having a brain fart here?
 
I seem to recall first hearing the word "judenrein" in a movie or TV show, decades ago; I did not learn "judenfrei" until much later. According to Wiipedia, the Nazis used both terms; "judenrein" conveys a more brutal tone.

Also, "Juden" is capitalized but "judenfrei" and "judenrein" are not. Germans capitalize all nouns (not just proper nouns) but leave adjectives uncapitalized, even when they use a proper noun as the basis for said adjective. Thus, Berlin was "hitlerfrei" after April 30, 1945.
 
The State of Israel (מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל) is a de facto caste-system society, an apartheid state. It is also an anti-Semitic state. Arabs are Semitic peoples. Both Israelites (which encompasses Jews) and Arabs (which encompasses Palestinians) are Semitic peoples that descend from the same racial lineage. In fact, Arabs today are more Semitic than Jews and are racially closer to the Jews/Hebrews that existed 2,000 kya (thousand years ago) just around the birth of Christianity. The reason for this is that Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews spent the last two millennia intermixing with European blood, forcibly converted to Christianity or otherwise outright killed en mass. There's a saying, "Two thousand years of Christian love have made the Jews a nervous people." Intense and insane persecution by Christianity (Islam was historically much gentler and protective of Jews) has led to a situation where countless people in the world have Jewish ancestry but don't even know it.

Today, the situation with Christianity and Islam is reversed somewhat. The Islamicates (that is, the Islamic theocratic states, such as Iran) rely upon anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and canards (yes, Semitic people can and are anti-Semitic and racist pieces of shit, just as Black Americans can be racist against Blacks). Now, Israel sees Christianity (especially Evangelical Christianity) as a friend against the 'cancer' of Islam.

I don't blame Jews for Israel being the Far-right apartheid state that it is. I blame right-wing politics in general, I blame racism (which still absolutely controls the world, including the United States) and I blame virulent home-grown menaces such as Christian fascism. What Jews may not be aware of is this: Christians do not actually give a fuck about Jews or Israel. The Evangelical Christians support Israel because they are trying to immanetize the eschaton. They believe that most Jews, in their apocalyptic theology, will be killed and sent straight to hell for eternity. Those Jews that survive 'World War 3' will be forcibly converted to Christianity by the return of Jesus (his real name is Yeshua, which should be Anglicized as Joshua, not Jesus). In this vision, the small portion of surviving Jews will be forced to kneel before their new Christian Lord. "Every head shall bow, every knee shall bend [especially the Jewish knees]".

We live in a sick, racist world. One which is anti-Semitic against Jews and Arabs. And the worldwide fascist movement is motivated by the myth of Judeo-Bolshevism.

"Divine Chosenness" - the doctrine that is at the heart of Judaism and Christianity (so much so that their legitimacy depends upon this doctrine) - can be considered the intersection of racism and religion. Effectively, when racism became religion. Yet, the Jews never set about creating a 'Holy Israelite Empire'.
 
I agree with Joshua that evangelical support for Israel arises from biblical beliefs about the second coming. In "the neck of the woods" where I live it's not unusual to see "Stand with Israel" yard signs dotting the countryside. A week ago while waiting in doctor's office, I sat across from a man wearing a sweatshirt with "I Stand with Israel" blazoned across the front. As long as Trump plays into christian fundamentalist end-times beliefs, he will have the unwavering support of evangelicals.
 
But Joshua, 2,000 KYA was the Gelasian Age, you know early Pleistocene Epoch

BTW Epoch rhymes with Moloch and Koch but only the latter two eat babies (well people have been saying...)
 
First, the concept of choseness for Jews is not what many people think it is. For normative Judaism it is an obligation, not a benefit. It is the obligation to bring the concept of morality to the world, that is to say, tikkun olam. I know that there are some who think it shows a distinct "Jewish soul" but that is not the traditional view. The traditional view is that of Maimonides who, like Pope Pius XI (who was probably murdered by a conspiracy led by Pius XII) believed that there is only one rce, the human race. See a discussion in Maimonides and Spinoza by Marc Angel, page 137 et. seq.
The second thing is that the decision making process, which includes tribalism, Lucy Komisar writing in support of those financially supporting her, in fact all decision made every day, is heavily influenced by the unconscious. There are a number of books discussing that process, Blink, Subliminal, the Hidden Brain, Nudge, and of course the best of these, Thinking Fast and Slow. Buber described four I relations, but missed one: The I-Tribe relation. It is only be understanding the nature of the the unconscious push and then determining what tribal relationships are truly meaningful can we overcome those urges.
 
Or Q is an omnipitant trickster from the Star Trek universe.
 
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