Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kavanaugh. Plus: Who put fear in the heart of Marcy Wheeler?

Vis-a-vis Brett Kavanaugh, I can only trot out a familiar phrase: What can you expect from a pig but a grunt? Trump is Porky and Kavanaugh is his grunt.

So much for abortion. Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Akhil Reed Amar's "Liberal case" for Kavanaugh is a bad joke. We're talking about the chief author of the Starr Report. We're talking about a guy who thought Bill Clinton obstructed justice by trying to put off questions from the special counsel. By that logic, Trump is ultra-vulnerable. Will Kavanaugh apply the same standard to Trump? Of course not. Kavanaugh wouldn't have gotten the gig if he weren't one of the boys.

Partisan hacks don't care about accusations of hypocrisy. It's all about power. Pretending (as Amar does) that Kavanaugh espouses an "originalist" view of the Constitution obscures that depressing truth: It's all about power. Kavanaugh will demonstrate a view of the Constitution that is not so much originalist as orange, and he will do so well after Trump is gone. Kavanaugh's opinions will evolve, but only when his masters tell him to evolve.

How should vulnerable red state Democrats vote? It's all about attaining a majority in November; no other consideration matters. Progs who argue otherwise are Putin's puppets.

When abortion rights go bye-bye, don't blame any red-state Dems who, with nostrils pinched shut, cast votes for Kavanaugh. Blame the progressive purists and BernieBros who bought into all of those insane lies about Hillary. They are the assholes who made Trump possible.

Let's now turn to a mystery which a reader brought to my attention...

Did someone threaten Marcy Wheeler?
A friend forced me to pay attention to this remarkable Emptywheel column from July 3. I had not seen it previously, in part because I had become "disgustipated" with politics altogether, and in part because -- to be honest -- I had stopped following Marcy's work.

Y'see, she and I see eye to toe on the Steele Dossier. She's very doubtful of that whole affair, while I've always presumed that there's definitely a there there. True, I've become somewhat suspicious (as has Steele) of the pee-pee claim, which seems to trace back to sources within the Trump camp. There's much more to the dossier than the stink of urine, of course; unfortunately, Americans are sex-obsessed ninnies who can't pay attention to anything else.

In the past, whenever I've disagreed with Marcy Wheeler, she turned out to be right. (Well, almost always.) So instead of saying "You got it wrong this time, Marcy" -- a practice likely to end in humiliation -- I've avoided her site altogether.

As long as we're being honest, I'll mention another problem: Her writing style is too intricate, too "inside baseball." She reminds me of those academic authors who presume that the reader is already familiar with every obscure 19th century foreign-language article that the writer has seen.

Behind the scenes, she and I have corresponded very rarely, although I did tell her that I had done an OCR of that dossier. (Unfortunately, my publication of the dossier opened with a veritable waterfall of pee-related jokes. Sorry! I can resist everything except temptation.) Beyond that, she probably doesn't even recall my name.

We've strayed from the topic at hand, haven't we? Let us return.

I can't here summarize everything she says. Suffice it to say that Marcy Wheeler -- privacy advocate and avowed enemy of the Secret State -- walked into the FBI to inform them of a potential threat posed by one of her colleagues. Only an ultra-serous concern could make her do a thing like that. She intimates that she personally feels threatened by this person or by his associates. She hints that she could be killed. Clearly, there is much more to this story than she is willing to tell at this time.

It seems that this Mystery Man has demonstrably lied in furtherance of the Russian agenda.
I never in my life imagined I would share information with the FBI, especially not on someone I had a journalistic relationship with. I did so for many reasons. Some, but not all, of the reasons are:

I believed he was doing serious harm to innocent people
I believed (others agreed) that reporting the story at that time would risk doing far more harm than good
I had concrete evidence he was lying to me and others, including but not limited to other journalists
I had reason to believe he was testing ways to tamper with my website
I believed that if the FBI otherwise came to understand what kind of information I had, their likely investigative steps would pose a risk to the privacy of my readers

To protect the investigation, I will not disclose this person’s true identity or the identity and/or role I believe he played in the attack. Nor will I disclose when I went to the FBI. I did so on my own, without subpoena; I did that in an effort to protect people who have spoken to me in confidence and other journalists. Largely because this effort involved a number of last minute trips to other cities, I spent around $6K of my own money traveling to meet with lawyers and for the meeting with the FBI.
The obvious conundrum: Who is this person?

Don't expect an intelligent discussion of that quandary in this Daily Kos column. The flabbergastingly beside-the-point reader response demonstrates everything wrong with "debate" on the internet. God damn but Kossacks can be obtuse!

We do have a few clues as to the identity of the Mystery Man:

1. Mystery Man is familiar with the argot of intelligence analysts, and thus is probably a former denizen of Spookworld.

2. Mystery Man is pro-Putin and (presumably) anti-Clinton

3. Mystery Man is taken seriously by other journalists, and not just journalists of the Fox persuasion.

4. Mystery Man must know a thing or two about cyber warfare. Marcy accuses him of directly participating in the Russian cyber-attack, and of possibly tampering with her site.

5. Mystery Man is probably someone Marcy came to know as part of her investigations of NSA abuses.

6. Mystery Man does not operate alone.

When I first read Marcy's column, the first name that popped into my head was that of Ray McGovern. But he's not the guy. McGovern (who is closing in on 80) is too old to provide the kind of threat that Marcy discusses.

Nevertheless, I am now convinced that McGovern's organization, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, is the "home base" for Mystery Man. After mulling over the clues, I would like to offer this suggestion:

Bill Binney.

Everything fits. He's a former NSA guy. He knows about hacking and cyber warfare. He can't stand Obama and the Clintons. He is doing Putin's work regarding the DNC hack. Many journalists believe that his background makes him a credible source. His Spookworld associates must surely include someone who might conceivably pose a threat to the life of a writer like Marcy Wheeler. He would know how to tamper with her blog -- or, at the very least, he would know someone who knows.

If not Binney, then our Mystery Man must be someone else from the world of VIPS. This group is definitely trying to sell Trumpism to lefties. Part of their act seems borrowed from Lord H.A. H.A., although they are going about it in a subtler, cleverer fashion. They are even using, without shame or apology, Thierry Meyssan, inventor of the World's Stupidest Theory of 9/11.

Cannonfire was the first blog to suggest that Putin played a role in the Trump effort. But I've also consistently said that the enemy is not just Russia; Trump couldn't have done what he has done without aid from British and American spooks. To prove the point, one need do little more than whisper the name Cambridge Analytica. There is a pro-Fascist contingent within American intelligence which has been wreaking havoc since WWII.

(That's a truth you won't hear from Malcom Nance, whose latest book offers a familiar right-wing take on Cold War history. Seriously, Malcolm? You actually think you can get away with citing Pete Fucking Bagley, one of the Angletonian kooks who thought that the Sino-Soviet split was a hoax? And yet lefties are taking this shit seriously!)

I used to think the world of Binney, just as I used to be pro-Greenwald, pro-Taibbi, pro-Parry, even pro-Assange. Hell, I was even (kinda, sorta) pro-Putin. At least, I was willing to argue that we should leave Russia and Syria alone, if only because so many of our efforts at regime change proved disastrous.

Similarly, many formerly anti-Establishment liberals now feel compelled to defend guys like John Brennan and Michael Hayden. I'll never feel comfortable wearing that suit. But after reading Roger Stone's ludicrous attempts to demonize Brennan, what choice do we have?

The rise of Trumpism has changed so much. This vile new ism has forced many of us hop into bed with the strangest of bedfellows. Some lefties (Bob Parry, for example) decided to snuggle up with Russian fascists, while other lefties (Rob Reiner, for example) are sleeping spoons with former CIA heads.

Never forget that the anti-Imperialist left has long been open to fascist infiltration.

I saw this right-woos-left dynamic play out during the first Bush administration, when a few naive youngsters drawn to the Christic Institute (anyone remember them?) became entranced by the weirdo ravings of Milton "Bill" Cooper, an anti-gubmint conspira-crank who functioned as a kind of gateway drug. The kids soon fell prey to even more absurd far-right hucksters.

In 1990, that left-right flirtation was purely a fringe thing. Nowadays, fringe politics is simply...politics.
Democrats want the immigrant and migrant vote. To that end they keep not feeling the pain of the rust belt states. So no matter how bad Trump acts, is, or does, it won't matter because Progressives don't connect with the rust belt states.
This is how you connect: Candidates, ask your constituents if they know anybody who has worked long stretches as a "temp" or a "contractor" and then was flicked off like a booger. That's the real rust belt.
So, what are we talking M W inviting the FBI into her digs?
Efrem Zimbalist Jr dusting for prints?
Or Agent Mulder tweezing microcircuits out of her hard drive enclosure?
She going through boxes of surgical gloves ever time she operates a door?
Might be prudent since Vlad killed Dean Burgess with a door knob greased w Novichok.
Ya gotta ask, who would be so stupid to do this drawing unwanted attention?
If bad actors are rat fucking Wheeler they left footprints forensic computer guys can trace.
Anyway a diversion from the Great White Dope appointing Elmer Gantry to the SCOTUS.
Trump gets another pick it will be the SCROTUS Supreme Court Republicans.
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