Saturday, October 12, 2019

Rudy: The ultimate hypocrite

I love the subhead for this Michelle Goldberg opinion piece: "Once upon a time, we spread ideals of democracy and rule of law. Now? We send Giuliani."
Thanks to Giuliani’s escapades, the domestic grudges of a crooked Ukrainian prosecutor have blossomed into a scandal that’s likely to lead to the impeachment of an American president. Federal prosecutors are now investigating whether Giuliani himself broke the law.
In the preceding post, we identified the paymasters of Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, the two Soviet-born Florida crooks who hired Rudy Giuliani. The Mr. Big behind this whole operation is Ukrainian criminal Dmitry Firtash, a Putin-friendly 'garch now holed up in Austria. He's the reason why Fruman, Parnas and Rudy planned to take a Viennese holiday.

Dig: Trump didn't pay Rudy one dime to be his lawyer bag man. The money came from Firtash.

Whenever you saw Rudy on teevee spreading lies, you were seeing Firtash funding at work. Demonic Dmitry paid for that.

How do we know that Firtash is a very bad dude? Because Rudy Giuliani himself said so. Here's Rudy on video, laying into Firtash. At the time, Firtash was represented by Lanny Davis, whom Rudy wanted to besmirch.
"He is considered to be one of the close associates of [Semion] Mogilevich, who is the head of Russian organized crime, who is Putin's best friend. Lanny Davis has represented him for four or five years. If the newspapers are correct, he gets $80,000 a month from this guy who's considered to be one of the high-level, Russian organized crime members or associates," Giuliani said.
Davis no longer represents Firtash. You know who do? Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, the lovely couple who frequently defend Trump on Fox teevee. They also love to spread conspiracy theories about Darth Soros.

And now Trey Gowdy wants to replace Rudy, who replaced Michael Cohen. Why would anyone want that job?

Conspiracy theory: Is "theory" the right word? Last month, Robin Ramsey -- editor of the maverick UK parapolitical periodical Lobster -- offered a look back at some of the oddball conspiracy theories which became popular during the 1990s. Things are worse now.
Social media has changed things somewhat. The word ‘theories’ is hardly justified for some of the stuff that is heard today (we need a new word for it) but theories and propositions get circulated much more quickly than they used to. Then they get expanded and amended by everybody and their incompetent cousin. These days we have collective conspiracy theory formation. But the really big change isn’t technology: it’s the input of party politics and religion. Both the big recent US net-based conspiracy theories, Pizzagate and QAnon, contain anti-Democratic Party and Christian or Christian-derived paranoia about the Devil and/or non-Christian religions. In one chapter of his The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker discusses conspiracy theory in the late 1970s and early 80s – when I first got interested in it – a world of little newsletters. Walker reminded me that, entertaining though the likes of the late Mae Brussel and Robert Anton Wilson may have been, when measured against their equivalents on the American Christian Right, they were utterly insignificant. Hal Lindsey’s 1970 The Late Great Planet Earth, for example, sold 28 million copies in two decades.
He's right. We need a new word. Any suggestions?

Ideally, the new term should convey the ideas of weaponization and psychological warfare. Most of the theories we hear nowadays are disingenuous; the people who concoct them don't actually believe them. As always, I insist on recognizing the difference between left-wing conspiracy theories and the right-wing variety. The lefties are often wrong, but at least they (well, the best of them) understand the need for evidence and logic. The righties couldn't care less about evidence; they just like to get high on fear.

Whatever you may think of Robert Anton Wilson, he once offered some wise words on the topic of conspiracy theory.
However, I am profoundly suspicious about all conspiracy theories, including my own, because conspiracy buffs tend to forget the difference between a plausible argument and a real proof. Or between a legal proof, a proof in the behavioral sciences, a proof in physics, a mathematical or logical proof, or a parody of any of the above.
Demanding proof before there's even been a proper investigation is somewhat premature.

This is why the term "conspiracy theorist" has been weaponized -- neutralize criticisms of the official reports, which often do not provide "proof" themselves.
Conspiracy becomes accepted wisdom when determined players can capture the internet. I mentioned previously how Labor lost the recent elections here in Oz and that the architect of that unexpected conservative win was one Isaac Levido, now working with another Aussie, Sir Lynton Crosby, head of electoral campaigning for the UK Conservative party. The Guardian has reported on Crosby's company CTF partners being called before a parliamentary committee for running covert Facebook advertising on behalf of foreign states and corporations. CTF ran extensive pro-Brexit ads which were deleted after the Guardian reported on them and before they could be scutinized by regulators. And...

"Facebook expenditure [by CTF partners and affiliates] swamps the amount spent in the last six months [of the Brexit campaign] by all the UK’s major political parties and the UK government combined."

... almost all the major pro-Brexit Facebook "grassroots" advertising campaigns in the UK share the same page admins or advertisers. These individuals include employees of CTF Partners...

"There are also questions over how Crosby’s firm uses arm’s-length companies to run its digital campaigns. Since 2016 it has outsourced work to two right wing New Zealand political activists called Ben Guerin and Sean Topham through their Auckland-based consultancy Topham Guerin, which bills CTF Partners for the work they do on behalf of Crosby’s company."

Yet Topham and Guerin have been sold as political wunderkind who have gone to work for Crosby because of their skills when in all likelihood they are actually Crosby agents.

We are talking about covert political funding and advertising on an unprecedented scale. Crosby and CTF have been at work in Canada and NZ as well as Oz. It seems all of the Five Eyes have been the subject of a takeover by the Atlantic Bridge crowd. (ps Apologies for the length.)
No need to apologize, fred! You've taught me much. Thanks.
"Demanding proof before there's even been a proper investigation is somewhat premature"

That's a fair comment. But what I was referring to was something else -- to the very concept of "proof" as something desirable and necessary.

In many previous posts, I've likened conspiracy theorists to junkies. I speak from experience, being a former addict. The demand for a reasonably high standard of evidence interferes with the high. If you don't believe me, try telling UFO buffs that they haven't proven that an alien spaceship landed near Roswell: It's like telling a smack-head to get the damn needle out of his arm.

The term "conspiracy theorist" has not been weaponized. The conspiracy theories are the weapon.

Anon, I'm guessing that you speak from the perspective of a JFK assassination researcher. I joined that club before you were born. All the famous names in that subculture -- I've met 'em all -- and pissed a lot of 'em off, as is my wont.

I'm not saying that they were wrong. I still maintain that Angleton was the mastermind of the assassination. But Angleton himself was the king of the conspiracy theorists: One of the reasons why "Mother" became so fascinating to the JFK buffs is that they recognized him as a kindred spirit.

And now the subculture of paranoia has become...the culture. Half the country thinks the way Edwin Walker thought. Assassination researcher Peter Dale Scott popularized the term "Deep State" -- yes, yes, I KNOW he took it from the Turks; don't be tiresome -- which was picked up by Alex Jones, who handed it to Trump, who uses it as an all-purpose excuse.

And that's how conspiracy research by an avowed anti-fascist becomes -- well, fascism.

I've seen that metamorphosis happen repeatedly, on both the micro and macro level. And I have no idea what to do about it.

You are still blind to it.
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