Miss a day of blogging and the news just piles up on you. Let's zoom through some oddities...
False quotation syndrome:
The image to your right has been making the rounds lately, even though I've never seen any evidence that Goebbels said those exact words. Thus, anti-Trumpers who wish to imply that Trump is following a Goebbels directive are themselves exemplifying that directive. It all gets very meta.
Who the hell is Julia Gran?
She's a property manager in West Hollywood who originated a super PAC called the “Taking America Back Fund.”
It's taking something
all right: The fund asks for, and receives, donations from both pro-Trumpers and anti-Trumpers.
Visitors to the website are asked to donate $5 or more to “Help Stop the Fake Russia WITCH HUNT” against Donald Trump.
Compare that message to this cache
of another page, which was suddenly removed.
A separate page on the site, not linked from the homepage, asked visitors to donate to the same super PAC to help stop the Trump administration from eliminating net neutrality...
The super PAC has not registered to lobby on any federal issues. An address provided on the website goes to a rented mailbox in West Palm Beach, Florida. Multiple calls to a toll-free number provided on the site went to a voicemail box.
If there are no laws against this sort of thing, there ought to be. Wouldn't it be freaky if Roger Stone or someone of that sort were the secret power behind "Julia"?
I'm trying to learn more about Julia Gran. There's a children's book illustrator by that name, who I hope is a different person. (Never trust a children's book illustrator who gets involved in politics!
) Pipl lists a Julia Gran associated with two address in West Hollywood, but gives us no further information. Why would such a person be connected to an address in Florida?
Sometimes I think that the only one who hasn't figured out a way to make money from the Trump presidency is me
Putin wants a new civil war.
We've been seeing the signs everywhere: Russia doesn't just want an end to the Magnitsky sanctions; Russia wants an end to America.
Putin is trying to worsen the political divide within this country, and seems perfectly willing to use both the right and the left to further this scheme. This course of action was recommended by Alexander Dugin, Putin's mentor.
This Kos diary
offers an excellent look at what's going on...
If you go on Twitter and search “#civilwar” you will be horrified, disgusted and enraged at best, alarmed at worst. This is basically a thread for Trump supporters to threaten the country with civil war if Trump goes down in some way, whether it be impeachment, charges via Mueller or what-have-you.
But what is far worse — and I feel almost sick writing this — the hashtag is also being pushed by Russian trolls/bots. It almost didn’t register when I first saw it, for disbelief. My emotions don’t want to accept it. But my intellect knows it’s not in the slightest bit implausible.
My source here is the website Hamilton 68... It tracks the activities of 600 Twitter accounts known to be linked to Russian influence operations. Check it out.
“#civilwar” is showing up as being influenced under “Trending Hashtags” as per the image above, meaning Russian cyber-warriors are using it in a lot of tweets.
I'll repeat here a point which I've made in previous posts: Viewed from an Olympian perspective, this turn of events has a certain horrible fairness to it. American covert operators have inflamed similar conflicts in other countries, including (I would argue) Ukraine and Syria.
Here's the thing: I don't live on Mount Olympus. I live here
(Incidentally, there are people who really do live on Mount Olympus
. If things get much worse in this country, I may join them. I hear it's a great place to score some myrrh
It's pretty obvious that Putin's bot army or the Cambridge Analytica bot army or the GOP bot army is the driving force behind the new "purity crusade" in Democratic circles. The BernieBro barrage directed against Kamala Harris
is absolutely disgusting.
The bots also hope to enforce a new "purity test" on abortion. I support Planned Parenthood and a woman's right to choose -- but like it or not, there are
anti-abortion Democrats, and sometimes they represent congressional districts where the majority of the constituents oppose abortion. Do you really think that Congress will be a better place if those Democrats are replaced by Trump-enabling Republicans?
"Oh Go Fuck Yourself, Glenn Greenwald"
is the name of a new offering
in Wonkette. Poor Glenn! A headline of that sort would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago.
But he’s really really confused about which is worse: that Trump is in office and beating the shit out of American institutions and the Constitution, or that the so-called Deep State (normal people refer to them as “career public servants”) is trying its damnedest to protect the Republic from Trump’s damage.
All of this guff about a "deep state" is the conspiratorial right's attempt to rectify a paradox: How do you pretend that you are the victim of gubmint conspiracies when your man and your party are
the gubmint? The answer: Borrow Professor Peter Dale Scott's concept of the "deep state," which he himself borrowed from Turkish politics.
This terminological burglary never made much political sense: Scott is a Berkeley progressive, not a Trumper or an Alex Jonesian. Scott has written of a "deep state" which is reflexively conservative and plutocratic. That's not the "deep state" that libertarians and the Alex Jonesians are talking about. British Prime Minister Harold Wilson
would be an example of someone taken down by his country's "deep state" -- which, in that case, was really a small enclave in MI5, plus their mates in the right-wing media.
Unfortunately, right-wing paranoids have a long history of borrowing terms and memes from their left-wing counterparts. (You have no idea how much it pisses me off to see an infectious pustule like Alex Jones address the JFK assassination.) In modern reactionary fearmonger parlance, "deep state" = the Illuminati = powerful Democrats. In the words of Morris Kaminsky: It's a scarecrow to frighten the gullible.
Speaking of scarecrows to frighten the gullible...
Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor.
They've lost most of their former admirers, including the Palmer Report
, which, in the past, has often displayed an "anything goes" attitude.
Based on tonight’s incident in which Taylor publicly acknowledged that one of his scoops was nothing more than a fake email he’d been duped by, we will no longer be passing along anything from Taylor or Mensch.
Taylor brought this on himself by playing Secret Squirrel, and he played Secret Squirrel because he wanted to seem more important than he actually is.
In the course of my own humble blogging career, I've discovered a way to discuss weird, incoming data-shards like that "fake email": Honesty.
A writer who receives an out-of-nowhere communication of that sort can
make it public, though perhaps not in a formal news story. This is what blogs are for. The writer should adopt an informal, conversational tone while offering a subjective account: "Funny thing happened today, folks. I received a strange email from an unknown party, and I'm not sure if I believe what it has to say. Color me wary but intrigued. Since I have no way to verify this information, I'd like to have your feedback. What do you make of the following...?"
the way to discuss an email like the one which Taylor received. There are a lot of smart people out there, and the "group mind" can steer a writer toward the truth. Any writer who proceeds in this fashion can't be accused of disinformation or sensationalism.
Claude, Louise -- have you even considered
offering your readers an honest discussion of your sourcing? It's possible to be more candid without naming names (although it appears that Taylor's email came from someone using a fake
name.) You'd be better respected if you stopped pretending to be big shots who constantly receive Top Seekrit data from Spook Central.
I'm old enough to recall when humility was considered a virtue and pride was a sin.