A sick man awakens to a world far stranger than a sick man's dreams. I opened my eyes to this reader comment:
Not only did Syria use chlorine at Douma but it helped deliver the nerve agent used against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. I'm not making this up. UK Intelligence says they intercepted messages confirming this. Seriously?
I haven't seen a news story to this effect -- and even if I did, I would not believe the charge, which seems ludicrous on its face. As does the Russian allegation
that the UK launched the chemical attack in Ghouta.
As furious as we all justifiably are at Putin, I'm starting to suspect the covert presence of an outside actor. Remember the scenario of the early James Bond films, in which SPECTRE tries to goad the superpowers into tossing nukes at each other? Call me a weirdo (you wouldn't be the first), but I'm starting to warm to a cognate narrative.
Is someone trying
to set the world afire? He who controls the intelligence "chatter" controls the decisions made by great nations. Just how difficult would it be to spoof said chatter?
For now, I will say little more about the Syria strike, beyond noting that my unloved Theory of Syria (which you can read if you scroll down and skim recent posts) has been neither confirmed nor disconfirmed. Suppose they gave a war and nobody blogged?
Speaking of the digital manipulation of events...
. At the end of last March, a flurry of stories indicated that Alfredas Chmieliauskas
-- an employee of Peter Thiel's Palantir -- helped Cambridge Analytica acquire and use all of that Facebook data. In what follows, "Wylie" is the now-famous C Anal whistleblower Christopher Wylie:
Documents seen by the New York Times show that Chmieliauskas began writing to Wylie and a colleague of the whistleblower's then working SCL Group, which later went on to create Cambridge Analytica.
The trio shared ideas about employing data to assemble behavioral profiles for a product they named 'Big Daddy'.
Chmieliauskas then reportedly advised Cambridge Analytica to harvest Facebook profiles' data using an app.
Palantir's initial response to the revelations was to say it had 'never had a relationship Cambridge Analytica, nor have we ever worked on any Cambridge Analytica data'.
Later, Palantir said that Chmieliauskas acted in a purely personal capacity. That's the value of a guy like Chmieliauskas: He's plausibly deniable.
As most of you know, Thiel does not believe in democracy
. He said so in 2009. Officially.
I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.
Part of the problem, sayeth Thiel, is the expansion of the franchise to women. He is not the first staunch libertarian to sneer at the Athenian answer to the eternal question of "How to Run the Zoo?" The modern alliance between Putinism, fascism and libertarianism stems from one basic fact: All of these forces don't like democracy.
Yet Palantir was built with CIA funding
and works at the heart of the American intelligence establishment.
A fundamental belief in democracy should be a requirement for anyone gaining entrance into that world. That's the least
we should demand, don't you think? One may justifiably ask if an anti-democratic force within our espionage establishment has helped to create our current national nightmare.
Its initial clients included US government agencies, particularly in the intelligence community, as well as the Pentagon, law enforcement bodies, and homeland security customers
Palantir also collaborated with the NSA in expanding its global spy network, the extent of which was revealed in the trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Although I look forward to reading Malcolm Nance's new book about the rise of modern fascism, I'll bet you a donut that a spook-friendly writer like Nance won't touch Palantir. Nance excels when he discusses the malign influence of Vladimir Putin, because Putin is foreign -- The Other. Nance wouldn't be my go-to guy when it comes to investigting a potential enemy within
the spook community.
Earlier, I offered my theory that an "outside force" was trying to set the world afire by spoofing intelligence chatter. Is Peter Thiel that force?
He does not like democracy, and he is in a position to end it. Many consider Thiel a mere crackpot. That's what people said about Hitler.
Remind me: Just which one of Stone's Rules states that it is good policy to threaten a man's dog
? Which rule says that one should make so self-defeating a threat in public, or at least in a fashion that can easily be made public?
(Randy Credico, the receiver of that threat, owns a Coton de Tulear named Bianca. For a while, I thought that my beloved hellhound Bella was a Coton de Tulear, although she was a bit too large for the breed. I later decided that she was a Havanese. I still miss Bella.)
Asked for comment, Stone responded Thursday night in an email to Isikoff: “Go f*** yourself FBI Schill
This is the very definition of the word "meltdown."
Whenever I think of Trump's cronies, whenever I visualize the way they probably behave behind the scenes, you know what comes to mind? The Wolf of Wall Street
. Stone accused his old pal Sam Nunberg of being a cokehead without realizing that he, Stone, the self-described libertine, had just admitted in public that he's the sort of person who pals around with cokeheads.
Question: What kind
of person pals around with cokeheads? Often enough, other cokeheads.
In previous posts
, we have established that Donald Trump had an amphetamine problem, as Hope Hicks has confirmed. Author Henry Hurt names the late, notorious Dr. Joseph Greenburg as a supplier of speed to Trump. Dr. Steve Hoefflin is the man who made Trump's hairline what it is today -- and Hoefflin has been accused of supplying celebrities with happy pills. We all recall Carrie Fisher's expert opinion of Trump's behavior.
Remember the "Popeye" scene in Wolf of Wall Street
? That's how I picture Team Trump.
As for Credico: At this point, I would not be surprised to learn that he is lying about Assange, and I would not be surprised to learn that he is telling the truth. But I'm certain of this: Any man who threatens a dog might as well wear a t-shirt that says "I'M GUILTY."
Cohen and Trump. This New Yorker piece
is a gem.
The narrative that will become widely understood is that Donald Trump did not sit atop a global empire. He was not an intuitive genius and tough guy who created billions of dollars of wealth through fearlessness. He had a small, sad operation, mostly run by his two oldest children and Michael Cohen, a lousy lawyer who barely keeps up the pretenses of lawyering and who now faces an avalanche of charges, from taxicab-backed bank fraud to money laundering and campaign-finance violations.
Cohen, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka monetized their willingness to sign contracts with people rejected by all sensible partners. Even in this, the Trump Organization left money on the table, taking a million dollars here, five million there, even though the service they provided—giving branding legitimacy to blatantly sketchy projects—was worth far more. It was not a company that built value over decades, accumulating assets and leveraging wealth. It burned through whatever good will and brand value it established as quickly as possible, then moved on to the next scheme.
Was Cohen truly Trump's lawyer?
He seems more like a co-creepazoid, operating under the delusion that the magic phrase "attorney client privilege" would forever hide their shadowy milkings and bilkings and scammings and schemings.
Cohen in Prague.
Although the right keeps braying that the Steele dossier has been discredited, only one argument against it comes to us backed by anything resembling evidence. I refer, of course, to Michael Cohen's insistence that he never has journeyed to Prague. Cohen "proved" that he never went by showing his passport.
When he first made this statement, I noted that some people possess more than one passport. Hell, I had a girlfriend
who owned two passports. I've seen 'em. Held them in my hands.
Nevertheless, some readers scoffed at my claim that a citizen might have two passports.
When Paul Manafort's home was investigated, the cops found three
Now we have a massive discussion of Michael Cohen and his claims -- and yet, infuriatingly, very few people care to discuss the possibility of multiple passports. Everyone keeps talking about a scenario in which Cohen could have sneaked in through Germany -- a theory that Cohen can scotch by "proving" that he did not have a "Germany" passport stamp for that time period.
Come on. Let's stop treating the "multiple passport" theory as though it were a claimed bigfoot sighting.
tends to doubt that Cohen went to Prague because Cohen sued Buzzfeed, thereby opening himself up to discovery.
It is certainly possible that Cohen is a big enough idiot to sue a media organization—and thereby invite discovery—over his presence in Prague when he, had in fact, been there, but...
, dude. As noted above, whenever I visualize the Team Trump decision-making process, I visualize the "Popeye" scene in Wolf of Wall Street
. Discovery? Big deal. Hide Passport #2 in a hole dug in the backyard. What's Buzzfeed gonna do?
So far, nobody has verified the McClatchy report that Meller has proof of Cohen's presence in Prague. Cohen has denied the charge
Bad reporting, bad information and bad story by same reporter Peter Stone @McClatchyDC. No matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague. I was in LA with my son. Proven!
Remember, Cohen now denies ever
setting foot in Prague, even though he once told the WSJ that he had visited the city
. Note that Cohen previously used as his alibi a visit to Capri
with musician Steve Van Zandt, a claim which Van Zandt has denied
Then again, why shouldn't
Cohen be in two places at once? It appears that Mike Pence has the power of bilocation
. So why not Cohen?
Recall the very purpose of the Prague meeting (according to the Dossier):
The immediate issues had been to contain further scandals involving MANNAFORT’s commercial and political role in Russia/Ukraine and to limit the damage arising from exposure of former TRUMP foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE’s secret meetings with Russian leadership figures in Moscow the previous month. The overall objective had been “to sweep it all under the carpet and make sure no connections could be fully established or proven.”
COHEN had been accompanied to Prague by 3 colleagues and the timing of the visit was either in the last week of August or the first week of September. One of their main Russian interlocutors was Oleg SOLODUKHIN operating under Rossotrudnichestvo cover. According to [redacted], the agenda comprised questions on how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the CLINTON campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow’s secret liaison with the TRUMP team more generally.
Why I'm a bit more paranoid than usual...
You may recall, a while back, I wrote a post discussing rumors that Julian Assange had long ago managed to escape his confines in the Ecuadorean embassy, making the occasional return trip just to keep up appearances. I further noted that the likeliest place for Assange to "hang out" would be in a semi-palatial pad owned by his good friend Pamela Anderson, in the Malibu Colony.
His presence there would explain Roger Stone's insistence that he never dined with Assange, despite a boast to that effect in an email exchange. Stone says that credit card receipts prove that he was in Los Angeles that day, dining in a restaurant just twelve miles away from Pamela Anderson's house.
(No doubt Cohen also has credit card receipts proving his presence in Los Angeles.)
The post in which I outline the "Great Assange Escape" theory
was written in the spirit of jollity, with a twinkle in the eye and a grin on the face. Way I figure it, if Roger Stone can join forces with Alex Jones and dish out all sorts of weirdo conspiracy theories, why not toss a few back in his direction? Fair is fair.
Though I did not write in a serious vein, the post fetched a disturbing comment from an anonymous reader:
Figured it had an ending near Malibu Canyon for ya.
Why did these words disturb me? Because I did indeed spend a few key "growing up" years in a place called Malibu Canyon.
Nobody else knew this. The woman I live with did not know this. I've never mentioned the fact in public, or even in private.
In this post
, I published a photo of the home in which I lived, but the location is identified only as "a hillside community near the San Fernando Valley." I have never written the words "Malibu Canyon" in any public or private place until this day.
More paranoia fodder:
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up to discover that a folder containing an art project -- something meaningful to me, though not to anyone else -- had disappeared. I've worked on that project for months
I also use an app which automatically backs up important materials to an exterior drive. Infuriatingly, that app kicked in right after the folder was deleted, which means that the "mirror" folder on the exterior drive also disappeared. Such are the dangers of using an automatic backup system.
Fortunately, I was able to find the files with a remarkable bit of free software called Puran, which I highly recommend.
Think what you like, but I know
that I did not delete that folder. I also know that my ladyfriend did not delete the folder. And I'm pretty damned sure that the cat is physically incapable of such a task.
A short while ago, my web-based email indicated that a private message sent to me just a couple of hours previously was already read. I had not fired up my email for nearly a full day. Had someone else accessed my account?
Yeah, yeah, I know: Paranoia springs eternal. Why would any hacker bother to tweak the nose of someone as inconsequential as little ol' me?
I've no illusions of my importance. At one point, I was a C-level blogger, but those days are long past. Like Sebastian the crab, I'm quite content to stay below C level. To switch metaphors: There's freedom in being small potatoes, which is one reason why I've not attempted to become a more sizable spud. Nobody has passed me any secret information. My many little theories are sometimes right and often wrong, and usually offered to the world with the aforementioned twinkle in the eye.
Still, I'm starting to wonder...
A plea for information:
Serious voices out there are starting to ask questions about Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department Inspector General who wrote that report about Andrew McCabe. I'm not the only one who wonders why the far right, which once spewed hate hate hate
at Horowitz, now seems happy with the guy.
If you have any information about all of this -- or just a good Theory of Horowitz -- let me know. You need not tell me what
you know. I can tell you how to pass along your information to someone who is a not a "small potatoes" blogger like yours truly -- someone who wants to get to the bottom of the Horowitz enigma. We're talking about a very reputable "someone" who can make an impact.
Looks as though I may see a doctor today. If a major news story hits and you see no post about it here, simply presume that I've got other concerns on my mind. Until we meet again, take care.