Saturday, October 31, 2020

Masks. Plus: We're now up to FOUR magic laptops!

Who says Trump supporters don't like to wear masks? Seems to me that they've been going to great lengths to cover up.
For example, we know that white supremacists posed as BLM supporters to commit violent attacks on police stations and other targets. Nevertheless, our vile Attorney General spread the "Blame Antifa" lie

The Hunter Biden smear piles deception atop deception. No sane person believes that Hunter Biden (who lived in L.A.) left an incriminating laptop with a nearly-blind computer repair guy in Delaware. Yet Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi, the current masters of the right-to-left sales pitch, are still promulgating this bullpuckey.
It's just another mask. A kind of mask. 
It's the latest variation of a classic spy trick, in which spooks working for Country A leave a disinfo-filled briefcase (or wallet, or document folder, or whatever) in a place where spooks from Country B can stumble across it. In World War II, the Brits used an actual corpse as a vehicle of disinformation. This 1956 film was based on that operation. 
If they make a movie about the Hunter Biden smear, they should call it The Computer That Never Was

(Operation Mincemeat was the brainchild of none other than Ian Fleming -- a fact worth noting on the day that we lost the big screen's original Bond, James Bond.)
Many on the right now believe that the Hunter Biden smear was verified by a former business partner named Tony Bobulinski, who claims to be an eyewitness to skullduggery involving both Hunter and Joe Biden. Bobulinski's story has little or nothing to do with that instantly-infamous NY Post article about the Magic Laptop. His claims do not incriminate Joe. Frankly, they don't even sling much mud in Hunter's direction.
I've seen no proof that Bobulinski did any business with the Biden family. The venture mentioned by Bobulinski "never delivered any project revenue" -- if it existed at all.
So why is he saying these things? 
Recently, there was a $659,000 judgment against Bobulinski. A cynic might suggest that the man now has 659,000 reasons to aid Trump. The familiar "book deal" gambit can be a great way to generate revenue. 
How many laptops? Right-wing sources tell us that Hunter Biden dropped off no less than three laptops at that repair shop in Delaware. That shop just happened to be owned by a die-hard Trump supporter. 
Again: Hunter lived in Los Angeles. 
I'll never believe that Hunter managed to forget all about those three laptops, even though one of them was filled with supposedly-damning evidence -- including, some say, kiddie porn. 
But those three computers are not the only laptops. Oh no. We are now told that Hunter also forgot all about a fourth laptop which was positively oozing with evidence of criminality.
Supposedly, Hunter stupidly placed Magic Laptop #4 in the possession of yet another enemy of the Biden family. This story, which resists easy summary, is one of the freakiest freak shows in the history of freakiness. Definitely worth a read.
According to the latest yarn, Hunter lived for a while on the east coast with his shrink, a man named Keith Ablow. This Ablow character has been claiming for years that Joe Biden is a menace. Two years ago, Ablow gained fame in right-wing circles for his public pronouncement that Joe is a drunk. (In the real world, Joe doesn't drink.) 
We are supposed to believe that Hunter roomed with that guy.
Hunter. The fellow who has been provably living on the west coast for years. 
Ablow never mentioned until just now that Hunter was his roomie. Nevertheless, he says he can prove it. He has a photo of the two of them together.
Yeeeeeaaaahhhh. Give me a copy of Photoshop and I'll give you all sorts of photos. Wanna see Godzilla raping Rudy G.?
In sum: We are supposed to believe Hunter left yet another laptop filled with incriminating evidence in the home of a famous Biden-hater. We are supposed to believe that a DEA raid scooped up Magic Laptop #4 as well as a journal written by Hunter. 

For a while, this fable was promoted by one Bradley Birkenfield, a writer living in Malta. Does Birkenfield know Joseph Mifsud? Anything's possible! Not anything. 
I don't think that the tale of Magic Laptop #4 is possible. From the above-linked NBC story:
At this point, Birkenfeld seemed to recognize how surreal this all sounds: that Hunter Biden would not only professionally see but live with a psychiatrist in a state hundreds of miles from his home—a psychiatrist who accused his dad of having dementia—that he confided intricate details of international corruption during these therapy sessions, that he would leave YET ANOTHER LAPTOP at this TV doctor’s residence; and that the DEA would surreptitiously seize that laptop right when Senate investigators were swarming.
Anyone dumb enough to believe this horseshit could be convinced that The Wizard of Oz is a documentary. Yet the Washington Examiner promotes this nonsense.
As a great American once said: C'mon, man...!
Is this going to happen in every election from now on? Are we doomed to be buried under endless incriminating laptops?

Phone home. Here's a tributary of this smear campaign that few have commented upon: 
Another tributary of this smear -- what we may call the Chinese tributary -- can be traced to a faked persona named Martin Aspen. "Aspen" -- an updated version of The Man Who Never Was -- produced an allegedly damning document. 
One of the original posters of the document, a blogger and professor named Christopher Balding, took credit for writing parts of it when asked about it and said Aspen does not exist.

Despite the document's questionable authorship and anonymous sourcing, its claims that Hunter Biden has a problematic connection to the Communist Party of China have been used by people who oppose the Chinese government, as well as by far-right influencers, to baselessly accuse candidate Joe Biden of being beholden to the Chinese government.
Balding said Aspen is "an entirely fictional individual created solely for the purpose of releasing this report." Balding did not name the document's main author, saying "the primary author of the report, due to personal and professional risks, requires anonymity."
Fuck you, Balding. If you're trying to establish credibility, why would you come up with this inane "Aspen" gambit? 
It's just another mask. These guys have more masks than a Halloween store.
There has been so much lying -- so much mask-wearing -- from the anti-Biden forces that one is forced to dismiss out of hand any accusations against any member of the Biden family. Life is short and elections are shorter (though at times they may seem eternal). We can't investigate every damned detail of every damned smear that the Republicans come up with. So: Consider the source. Those three words will help you zoom past Bullshit Acres.

The Revolver mystery. Here's a bit more information about the "Martin Aspen" deception:
The report itself was shared across Facebook and Twitter around 5,000 times, according to BuzzSumo, and more than 80 sites linked back to the blog, which was shared more than 25,000 times on Facebook and Twitter. Hyperpartisan and conspiracy sites like ZeroHedge and WorldNetDaily led the pack.

After the promise of a big reveal one day earlier, the document was also posted on the extremist forum 8kun by Q, the anonymous account behind the QAnon conspiracy theory movement.

On Twitter, the document was pushed by influencers in the QAnon community, as well as by Dinggang Wang, an anti-Chinese government YouTube personality who works for Guo Wengui, a billionaire who fled China amid accusations of bribery and other crimes.
Should we assume that this tale is the product of Chinese moneymen opposed to the Chinese government (and allied with Steve Bannon)? Such is the impression one gets from this important earlier piece by NBC News.
But it's not so simple. 
The primary promoter of these smears is a mysterious site called Revolver. This news aggregator advertises itself as the new Drudge Report (Matt Drudge having turned against Trump). 

The site has repeated the scurrilous claim that kiddie porn was found on Hunter's magic laptop. (The first magic laptop.) Obviously, if such images exist -- and if they were genuine -- we all would have seen the evidence by now. The Trumpers would not be asking us to follow complex, vague and rather dull tales involving China and Ukraine. That's not going to send the American public into quivering fits of rage-gasm.
No. If revolting images of child abuse actually existed, the Trumpers would make sure that everyone in America could see the evidence (albeit in suitably-censored form). "See? We TOLD you! ALL DEMS ARE PEDOS!" 
Right now, these game-changing photos are like the Virgin at Lourdes: Invisible. You must have faith, says Alex Jones, says Rudy Giuliani, says Revolver, says Q. 
Sorry. No sale. Bannon ain't no Bernadette.
Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communications and rhetoric at Syracuse University, said that pro-Trump trolls are "playing the hits from 2016" and hoping they stick with voters who didn't hear the first iteration of the rumor four years ago.

She noted that pushing child abuse conspiracy theories echoes what Bannon has publicly advocated in an effort to alter how voters feel.

"This is gaslighting of the highest order," Phillips said. "This has been the Steve Bannon playbook this entire time. He has celebrated the strategy of 'flooding the zone with s---' — when you confuse people, when you make them angry, when you just sort of throw too many things at them for them to process."
The image to your right displays a few of Revolver's current headlines. I miss Willis Carto. He was way more subtle. 

Revolver News promotes Trump and has been promoted by Trump. But who is behind Revolver? 
NBC seems to favor a "Blame the Chinese" theory, but the evidence suggests that we're dealing with a different kind of malefactor...
Revolver News does not disclose on its website who is behind its operations or any corporate affiliations, but Darren Beattie, a former speechwriter for Trump who was fired in 2018 for speaking at an event alongside white nationalists, has claimed authorship of some of the posts on the website.
I predicted nearly two months ago that Revolver would be the conduit for the Big Smear against Biden. I wrote the following on September 5:
Don't be surprised if this site "premieres" one of Trump's planned October Surprises.
God knows I make plenty of mistakes, but I also get to take the occasional victory lap. Yes, I may have been wrong about the exact nature of the Big Smear (which I predicted would arise out of the Epstein affair), but I correctly guessed that this smear would involve a charge of pedophilia. And I correctly named the messenger service.
The specific Revolver post which first aroused my attention was this one, which argues that Black Lives Matter (in conjunction with Evil Soros) is trying to lead a "color revolution" against Trump. The article makes sneering references to the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine, the one which kicked out Putin's puppet. According to Revolver, that was a bad thing.
This claptrap reeks of Russian propaganda. As I wrote at the time: 
Yeesh! Could these guys be more obvious? Maybe if their slogan was "EAT MORE BORSCHT"... 
If you look at the comments appended to the afore-linked article, you'll see obviously fake names like "James Cagney" and "Christian Erik Prince" as well as a Russian name or two. One comment links to the Daily Stormer, the infamous neo-Nazi cyber-rag. 
And Trump just loves this "news" sources.

Was Revolver created by Russian intelligence? Perhaps -- but at the moment, I won't point the finger at any foreign government.
Once you remove the mask, you will see that our current enemy is the old enemy. He once openly wore the swastika. In the future, he may be bold enough to do so again.


Anonymous said...

Josh said...

@Joseph Cannon,

As of writing this, Axios is reporting that "Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout." To me, this is great news. I don't know how much percent wise of "early voting" has been absentee voting (I voted through mail using absentee ballot already, and yes I voted for Biden/Harris and Dems down ballot, including every single Judicial nominee, only voting for one Republican - running for county engineer - because he ran unopposed), but I encourage people to vote absentee. Not only for health reasons, to prevent the formation of large gatherings or crowds, but to get around vert intimidation (Trumpkins all over the country are trying to do "voter watching", which means standing around like the Brown Shirts and bullying voters).

Anyway, my question to you is this: On the assumption that Biden/Harris win the election by a very comfortable and clear margin, and assuming the election results are not overturned, do you . . .

believe that the House will keep or increase its Dem majority?

that the Senate will remain solidly Republican or that it will change to a Dem majority, however slight?

If the Senate remains in the control of the GOP, and with SCOTUS in the hands of the GOP, do you believe that Biden will be able to accomplish much (or anything at all?)?

If Trump loses "bigly", do you think the GOP "revenge" will be to obstruct Biden on absolutely anything and everything (using the Senate and SCOTUS), thus boxing in Biden?

Josh said...

P.S. Sir Sean Connery, one of my favorite actors, has just passed away. 2020 is the 'gift' that keeps on giving. Comet/asteroid impact and zombie apocalypse when? President Trump discarding the election results like a boy crying wolf and preforming Judicial coup d'état (Trump is already being pressured to jam up the courts and stop the count) would be the icing on the shit cake that is 2020.

Casbott said...

In 2021, could Hunter (not being a politician) sue for libel?

Just the discovery on the websites/news organisations/ sources would be interesting - and would anyone be willing to try and use shield laws to protect their sources or even go to jail for contempt?

By this time there will be no benifit to pushing the smears so the money backers will not be forthcoming, and the whole Trump movement will be in disarray, especially if (!) Trump is facing charges himself (oh he is, he's so screwed).

And could the FBI investigate due to foreign influence?

Putting the accusers under the spotlight and proving they are full of BS will be needed to be done for the good of society. Otherwise this conspiracy crap WILL become the Standard Operating Procedure.

But if a bunch of wannabe operatives and fixers are facing jail time and massive fines come 2022, then there may well be less ratf*ckers willing to put it out there for team GOP, due to consequences.

Joseph Cannon said...

Casbott, I've been pondering that very question myself.

I'll add another log onto the fire: Criminal libel law still exists in many states, though it hasn't been used in ages.

I believe the last time it was used was 1964, and the man accused was none other than Big Jim Garrison, of "JFK" fame. (This was a separate matter.) Big Jim had called eight state judges lazy, and the state charged him with criminal libel. The Supreme Court cleared him on the grounds that libel requires actual malice, which could not be proven in this case.

However, the majority opinion held that "calculated falsehood" about WAS punishable -- even if the target is a public figure.

The possibilities seem vast. I envision a course of action that could be pursued only if the Supreme Court is expanded to 13 or 15 judges, all chosen by Biden.

States could argue that the Clintons or the Obamas or George Soros were defamed in a series of calculated falsehoods. Fox News, Breitbart, Infowars, OAN and QAnon are all founded on and wedded to the calculated falsehood. Calculated falsehood is their business, their reason for existence.

MSNBC and Kos and so forth are run by people who are intellectually capable of discerning where the line is and staying on the correct side of the law. But the right needs falsehood and malice the way a drunk needs drink.

Bring back criminal libel. It can DESTROY the right.