Slow Murder, Done On Your Dime

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By Scott Ross

Or pence, if you’re British.

The hearing two weeks ago at Westminster Magistrate’s Court, distressing on several levels, revealed to anyone paying attention — and, rather frighteningly, there don’t appear to be many of us — the naked corruption involved in the process the world’s greatest bully indulges in to persecute (not prosecute) a single publisher.

It’s a dispiriting spectacle in which one allegedly sovereign nation lowers its head, raises its hindquarters and presents itself to another, on command. Those who witnessed this grotesque, Kafkaesque exercise in judicial abuse came forth shaken, and not merely by the blatant (I would say, openly defiant) contempt for legalities exhibited by the presiding magistrate; far worse for these witnesses was the condition of the… well, what shall we call him? Defendant? He’s been charged with nothing, save a flagrantly false conspiracy accusation for having allegedly violated a century-old espionage law by, not even Great Britain herself but another nation entirely, although behind that lies the near certainty that, if extradited to the United States, he will certainly be charged with worse. “Accused,” perhaps? The accusation that began this absurd and dangerous saga was a minor one: Failure to appear in court. It was, of course, what, again, lay behind that minor issue — what in fact convinced Assange to seek asylum of Ecuador — that is the nub of the problem. Had he appeared in that court at that time, he’d have been indicted on allegations of rape we now know were utterly false but which would have carried with them his extradition to Sweden and almost certain subsequent forced “rendition” to The Land of the Free. It was that particular sphere of criminality, carefully chosen to outrage tender identity sensibilities, as much as his revelations about Hillary Clinton, that turned so many liberals (especially women) from defending Assange, indeed feting and fawning over him, to chortling gleefully when, clearly ill, he was dragged from his sanctuary and placed in 23-hour per day solitary confinement in a prison filled with the most dangerous types of (unlike himself) convicted felons.

And if Assange is not yet broken, he is as close to breaking as makes no difference.

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In her WiseUpAction essay Claudia M. Cuartas, who was in the Magistrate’s Court to watch as a certifiable lapdog to the American Permanent Government ruled in favor of keeping Assange in Belmarsh despite his having completed his mandatory (and, again, minor) bail-breach sentence, described Assnage’s physical deterioration thus: “I could clearly see how exhausted and emaciated he was, his back was bent, he was hunchbacked, his head practically sinking between his shoulders… he looked like a very old and tired man…” Cuartas also, she writes, “realised how judge [she is not a judge] Baraitser was visibly attentive with the US prosecution team, while showing apathetic gestures towards Julian and his defense team.” The historian and former diplomat Craig Murray’s account of the proceedings agrees with that of Cuartas: “Since his arrest, [Assange] has lost over 15 kg [roughly 33 pounds] in weight.”

Tellingly, Murray goes on to note that, while he has been (inexplicably, to my mind) “quietly skeptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and skeptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.” I do not quite know how it was possible for Murray, who claims to be a friend, not to see the signs before now when the rest of us, who don’t know Assange and have never been in his presence, have been able to for months, based on the descriptions of such those of his friends as have been allowed to see him. Each of his surreptitious photographs and fast public appearances (as brief as the British paid thugs surrounding him can make them) since this past spring have shown a man in the process of deterioration.

“Everybody in that court yesterday,” Murray goes on, “saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.” But then, why should it? She knows on which side of her scone the butter lies.

“The charge against Julian,” Murray then notes, getting to the heart of the matter, “is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election; a simple clarification the mainstream media appears incapable of understanding.” Sadly, one suspects that the bosses at least in corporate media understand the distinction very well indeed.

“The purpose of yesterday’s hearing,” Murray continues, “was case management; to determine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. The key points at issue were that Julian’s defense was requesting more time to prepare their evidence; and arguing that political offenses were specifically excluded from the extradition treaty [emphasis mine]. There should, they argued, therefore be a preliminary hearing to determine whether the extradition treaty applied at all.” Below, the Article in question, provided by Murray:

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Article 4.1 is the salient clause: Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense. Murray: “On the face of it, what Assange is accused of is the very definition of a political offense — if this is not, then what is? It is not covered by any of the exceptions from that listed. There is every reason to consider whether this charge is excluded by the extradition treaty, and to do so before the long and very costly process of considering all the evidence should the treaty apply. But Baraitser simply dismissed the argument out of hand.”

Assange’s team, we are told, “had very limited access to their client in jail and had not been permitted to hand him any documents about the case until one week ago. He had also only just been given limited computer access, and all his relevant records and materials had been seized from the Ecuadorean embassy by the US government; he had no access to his own materials for the purpose of preparing his defense.” Even more damning, Assange’s defense team argued that “they were in touch with the Spanish courts about a very important and relevant legal case in Madrid which would provide vital evidence. It showed that the CIA had been directly ordering spying on Julian in the Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide security there. Crucially this included spying on privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers discussing his defense against these extradition proceedings, which had been in train in the USA since 2010. In any normal process, that fact would in itself be sufficient to have the extradition proceedings dismissed. The evidence to the Spanish court also included a CIA plot to kidnap Assange, which went to the US authorities’ attitude to lawfulness in his case and the treatment he might expect in the United States.” [Emphases mine.]

During the second phase of the hearings, Murray and others have reported, “There were five representatives of the US government present… seated at desks behind the lawyers in court.” It was to these that Baraitser repeatedly gave her attention and solicitude, reserving her contempt only for the man in the dock. “The US government was dictating its instructions to [QC] Lewis, who was relaying those instructions to Baraitser, who was ruling them as her legal decision. The charade might as well have been cut and the US government simply sat on the bench to control the whole process.”

Give them time, Craig. Give them time.

Baraister then decreed that the February hearing on extradition will be held, says Murray, “not at the comparatively open and accessible Westminster Magistrates Court where we were, but at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, the grim high security facility used for preliminary legal processing of terrorists, attached to the maximum security prison where Assange is being held. There are only six seats for the public in even the largest court at Belmarsh, and the object is plainly to evade public scrutiny and make sure that Baraitser is not exposed in public again to a genuine account of her proceedings…” There are those who would compare what is being done to Assange to the Soviet show trials of the 1930s, but the comparison won’t hold water; they were conducted in public. As for this one, the corporate media — very much including the BBC — in the filmmaker and activist John Pilger’s phrase, “blacked it out.”

Pilger, who was also there, writes elsewhere of Baraitser, “Her face was a progression of sneers and imperious indifference; she addressed Julian with an arrogance that reminded me of a magistrate presiding over apartheid South Africa’s Race Classification Board. When Julian struggled to speak, he couldn’t get words out, even stumbling over his name and date of birth. When he spoke truth and when his barrister spoke, Baraister contrived boredom; when the prosecuting barrister spoke, she was attentive. She had nothing to do; it was demonstrably preordained. As Pilger later told Afshin Rattansi on a recent Going Underground appearance, “[Baraister’s] bias was incandescent.”

The British MP Chris Williamson — who has himself twice been subjected to ludicrous and blatantly unlawful suspension from the Labour Party — attempted to table a motion condemning the treatment of Assange and was informed that it was sub judice, ergo not permitted without the express permission of the Speaker of Parliament. Yet even after repeated public screwings of him by his party, Williamson still maintains it is salvageable.

I admire Mr. Williamson’s principles, but believe he is deluding himself that Labour as it is currently constituted can be changed, just as people like Sanders and Gabbard in America are deluding themselves that the Democrats can be made to stop embracing  corporatism, war, neoliberalism and election rigging. Why can’t such impassioned people see reality, and consider forming new parties that could, because their concerns intersect with those of so many citizens across the political spectrum, become not only important but potentially vastly popular? What is the fear that governs them? If it is a fear of failure, they are already failing now — their respective parties will never change, and never allow them to lead. And anyway, matters are too crucial in both countries, and indeed the world, to go along with the entrenched, right-wing leadership of Labour or the Democrats.

Even Jeremy Corbyn, the best of a bad bunch and himself the repeated victim of coordinated smears and utterly risible allegations of that all-too-convenient new bogey anti-Semitism, has expressed merely a modicum of displeasure at the treatment of Assange. No calls for his release, no excoriating the British and American systems for his torture at their hands. No outrage that the very concept of a free press, without which no society, however flawed, can hope to call itself a democracy, is being destroyed before our incredulous eyes. Just a mild sniff. An “I say, this is unsporting, what?” And barely that.

Public discontent with both the ruling duopolies and the banks and corporations that control them to our detriment has, quite rightly, reached a pitch comparable to that of the early 1930s, and for similar reasons. The choice, it seems to me, is either peaceful revolution now, or violent revolution ere long.

And if you think I’m joking, consider this: If the Democrats actually manage to achieve their three-year dream and remove Donald J. Trump from office on a spurious charge because he upset them by winning the last election, they may well, in addition to elevating the odious — and truly dangerous — Mike Pence to the presidency, unleash civil war in this country.

After all, as Democrats themselves are so fond of noting, many Trump supporters are not only angry… they’re armed.

And don’t be shocked if some on the progressive left, whatever their pacifism, begin considering the purchase of a rifle or two.


Yeats - The Second Coming

Design by Scott Ross

I no longer use the terms “Deep State” or “Shadow Government” to describe the Beast Oliver Stone alluded to in Nixon that treats each successive occupant of the Oval Office as a temporary employee, because I have come to believe they are inadequate to the enormity of the monster that, for all but the first two years of my life (1961-1962) has been making my country a de facto banana republic, if not indeed an outright Fascist state, and in so doing rendering much of the rest of the earth miserable. I think of this Beast now as The Permanent Government, for no matter who resides in the White House, the NSA, CIA, FBI and DOD go on and on.

It is, therefore, sickening beyond my capability to describe the nausea to see so many liberals, deranged by the endless 2016 Presidential campaign, so fully and completely embrace The Beast. It is as if they have finally been granted the opportunity they have so long privately desired: To be exactly as fascistic as they tell us conservatives are. I would remind them that, as was the case in the 1950s, in order for McCarthyism to work both liberals and conservatives must be in accord. Without that precedent, the House Committee on Un-American Activities could never have succeeded in getting so many Americans to bear witness, true or false, against their friends, nor could so many dissenters, in both senses of the word, have been blacklisted.*

“The campaign of demonization and dehumanization against Julian,” as Craig Murray writes in the conclusion of his piece, “based on government and media lie after government and media lie, has led to a situation where he can be slowly killed in public sight [emphasis mine], and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing, while receiving no assistance from ‘liberal’ society.”

Ben Swann, meanwhile, says this as preface to his recent interview with John Kiriakou, the man who exposed the torture program: “It is clearly not enough for this government that Manning and [Jeremy] Hammond have already spent nearly a decade each in a cell… for having revealed crimes committed by big corporations and government. No, it seems the goal is to keep them punished.” In the discussion that follows, Swann and his guest discuss the parallel cases of Manning and Hammond, the Anonymous hacker who is, like Manning, being mauled by the CIA-controlled Federal court in Virginia, punitively re-sentenced and fined for refusing to testify against Assange, all of it just as he was about to receive his release. This is iniquitous. It is extra-legal. It is worthy of Torquemada. Of Manning and that rigged court, Kiriakou says, “She refused to testify, and that took real guts.” Those who don’t get this about Manning are laboring under a misapprehension about which almost any gay man or Lesbian, or transgendered person, could quickly and easily disabuse you: When one has spent nearly the entirety of his or her life fighting against bigotry in all its forms — mental, emotional, verbal, oral, legislative and physical — and come out the other side more or less intact on the basis solely of their own inner strength, do you really believe you can break them that easily?

I’m hardly suggesting this genuinely iniquitous, and criminal, legal harassment of Manning is a breeze for her. The confinement she is being made subject to is affecting her physical as well as her mental and emotional health and indeed she is, along with Assange, being slowly and quietly and deliberately murdered by my government. But imagine: As a young man, in the U.S. military, she identified as gay — and this before the odious “compromise” of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” was, finally and belatedly, lifted — then, once imprisoned, as transgendered. Do you think, somehow, that was easy, and this is hard?

They don’t know with whom they’re dealing. They think she’s just a faggot. pussy. A chick, to quote the unfortunate Jon Stewart, with a dick. They can’t imagine a young woman of principle who will stand up to them, and refuse to accept their jurisdiction over her, or their ability to make her testify.  And that, I submit, goes some way toward explaining the hellishly punitive and unconstitutional fines they are currently levying against her and which, if allowed to stand — they could be slightly less than a half-million dollars if she is let out of jail next year — will almost certainly allow them to send her back to prison for non-payment.

As Kiriakou notes, “the goal is to frighten others by your example.”

And no liberal voice is raised in her defense, or Hammond’s. They don’t necessarily speak against either of them. They don’t need to. All they need do is maintain a discrete, and telling, silence.


The estimable Caitlin Johnstone, writes of the recent Assange hearing, “It is obvious that the US government is destroying Assange to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is therefore also obvious that any journalist who fails to use whatever platform they have to speak out against Assange’s persecution has no intention of ever publishing anything that the US government doesn’t want published. Their silence on or support for what is being done to this man can and should be taken as an admission that they are nothing other than state propagandists. State propagandists, sycophants, and cowards… exactly how much torture is appropriate because your preferred candidate wasn’t the one who was elected?”

As I have often said, and as I have had occasion to say with even greater frequency these last several years, “Scratch a liberal, find a fascist.” Don’t believe me? Below, the results of a FOX poll (as re-Tweeted by Glenn Greenwald) asking Americans which organizations and people they trust. Granting the unreliability of polls, and admitting too the way they are skewed now to older respondents with land-lines, note the figures from Democrats when asked how much confidence they have in the CIA. Note, too, the numbers for Clinton correspondents.

Confidence - Greenwald

Congratulations, Boomers! You have officially become your parents.

And Millennials… you’ve just become your grandparents.

These are the same people whose heads, or the heads of those they knew or went to school with, were smashed by police batons in Chicago and Century City; whose blood was wantonly shed by the National Guard in Ohio and Mississippi and Florida; who watched helplessly as CIA and FBI agents conspired against and murdered their president, a beloved civil rights leader, a Black Muslim activist, a Senator and a peaceful Black Panther and Christ alone knows how many more, and, pace Hollywood, assisted the killers of three young men in Mississippi to evade justice, just as they would later plan, egg on and otherwise abet the daylight murders of mostly black Communists and industrial workers by Nazis and the Klan in Greensboro; whose affiliations were questioned and whose groups were infiltrated by these agents of chaos, these servants of The Beast. And now they say they love the CIA. They trust the FBI.

And even as Julian Assange stands in a British courtroom and is barely able to speak, or recall his own name or birth date, liberals are suggesting he is “faking it” to secure a medical release.

All because their fucking awful candidate lost.

And they have the almighty gall now to tell us they’re “the adults in the room.”

After three years of “Russia, Russia, Russia!” and Donald Trump being pilloried for many of the same things the “Resistance” slept through during the Obama Administration, here at last is one case we can actually, fully and fairly (for once) pin exclusively to Trump. It is his Administration that is carrying this miscarriage of justice forward after even Obama, the whistle-blower’s prosecutor-in-chief, declined to go after anyone in the press under the century-old Espionage Act. Donald (“I Love WikiLeaks!”) Trump, apparently, has no such compunctions.

Yet the “Resistance” says nothing about it.

Because Assange exposed Clinton. And they hate him for it.

And here one wonders. For while the persecution — not prosecution, which we, and he, will likely never live to see — of Assange is certainly motivated chiefly by the American Permanent Government’s desire to squash all dissent, and all inconvenient truth, yet might we not be forgiven if we suspect, just a little, that dismantling what shards remain of the U.S. free press doesn’t suit Trump personally? The irony, of course, is that he is a man entirely made by press releases — often either in his own hand or by his own mouth (cf, Pete Hamill, News is a Verb.) Yet the press that helped make him turned, like Dr. Frankenstein, against its own Monster in 2016… after giving him billions in free advertising. And why?

The primary reason: He doesn’t know how to be subtle. Trump says aloud what our duly selected leaders are supposed only to hint at, or to cover with phrases, the kind we traditionally (if not habitually) go to war on. The secondary reason: That for the first time since 1963 the chief resident of the White House seems to think he’s actually the President of the United States. That hubris, that sin against the Permanent Government, dwarfs the other. Six ways to Sunday, as our Senate Minority Leader so memorably, and with such contented approval, once mooed. Not standing in the way of the Assange execution — for that is what is taking place, after all, a slow execution — may just be Trump’s attempt at mending fences a little.

If so, it won’t work. They’ll continue to hate him. All of them: Liberals, the FBI, CIA, Justice, the military, the corporate press.

And for this a man has to die?


Savagery
In the Afterword to his informative and  impeccably researched and rendered book The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (Verso, 2019) Max Blumenthal writes of the insane drive by so-called liberal Democrats to head backwards into a 1954-style confrontation with Russia, and doing so moreover utilizing the same “homo = bad” iconography we’re used to seeing on the Right but now note coming at us with increasing speed from the alleged left:

“By uniting against a foreign evil that supposedly controlled the White House, liberals had unwittingly become infected with the same tendency exhibited by right-wing Tea Party activists, who had sought to cast Obama as a crypto-Muslim with no American birth certificate. Almost overnight, hun­dreds of thousands of liberals were showing up at postelection rallies with placards depicting Trump in Russian garb and sur­rounded by Soviet hammer-and-sickle symbols. Typical of the phantasmagoria of the liberal “resistance” was a giant projection above the Apple Store near the Manhattan gay mecca of Chelsea that portrayed a shirtless Putin lovingly embracing a pregnant, effeminate Trump. Complimented with the hashtag #LoveThroughHate, the image conveyed the sense that Putin and Trump were gay together, and that Trump was the bottom in the relationship. [Emphasis mine] For the first time in history, a majority of registered Democrats told pollsters that they believed Americans should fight and die to defend NATO members like Latvia from a hypothetical Russian invasion. With the strange and sudden transformation of the Democrats into a paranoid war party, a quiet neoconservative campaign set into motion over a decade before was being realized.”

While one can certainly quibble with his use of the word “unwittingly” (Remember: Scratch a liberal, find a fascist) what Blumenthal gets at above is with what rapture liberals have let themselves be gulled and co-opted by what should, if they were not en masse a cadre of blithering phonies, be their natural enemies. Worse, as above, many  either cannot even see how contemptuous they are, or are reveling in it. Even gay liberals now laugh at their own debasement.

Blumenthal too is hated by these types, if not perhaps with the full-throated vigor they reserve for Assange. At the launch of The Management of Savagery, Politics and Prose, the venerable, and venerated, bookstore that serves as the unofficial flagship for D.C.-based independent booksellers, was besieged by calls and Tweets smearing its author with claims that he was “as Assad supporter” (hmm… where have we heard that one before?), and a “genocide denier,” and demanding the store cancel his scheduled appearance. Blumenthal is loathed by the Permanent Government for his critical reporting, and they’re making it pretty clear these days that they’ll do almost anything to stop him… reporting. Up to and including an arrest on ludicrous charges, served by six officers who performed a SWAT-style assault on his home.

Following his eventual release Blumenthal Tweeted: “I spent 2 days in jail, was shackled for extended periods & was denied my right to call a lawyer.” And do the mighty members of the self-styled “Resistance” say a bloomin’ word about this fascist police-state treatment of a journalist? No. Do journalists? Of course not. Why? In the case of the former, because they don’t care about free speech (other than their own) and in the case of the latter, because they a) are in the pockets of the Permanent State, ever prepared to smear anyone who makes a case against it; and b) resent Blumental for being everything they are not: A genuine, painstaking investigative reporter doing solid, unassailable journalism.

The deafening silence of and even cheers by most of the Fourth Estate (now largely a Fifth Column) anent Blumenthal’s arrest and illegal detention are revealing. You may not like Max Blumenthal personally — the extremely irritating, vocal-fried Matt Taibbi finds him “annoying, in every way” — and you may find fault with his presentation, his findings, his analysis; you may quarrel with his perspective; you may even think he’s a bad man and a lousy reporter. That does not matter, any more than it mattered about Julian Assange. Or Chelsea Manning. Or John Kiriakou. Or Jeremy Hammond. Or Alex Jones. What matters is that a journalist was cited months ago on a phony charge of which he was given no notice or the opportunity to present himself and his dwelling surrounded by macho self-styled commandos, that he was taken from his home in his pajamas, thrown into a series of paddy-wagons, denied access to a legal representative, and held for days in a cage because he opposes American hegemony in foreign nations, and reports on his nation’s abuses of others.

Julian Assange is not being held hostage in a maximum security prison because he upset Hillary Clinton. He is being detained in these barbaric conditions because he reported on American military personnel massacring journalists and civilians. Chelsea Manning is being persecuted with all the force of the Permanent Government’s might for the same reason, and Jeremy Hammond for similar. And, like Manning, Hammond (who had expected shortly to be released) is not only being held hostage by our alleged criminal “justice” system but having his sentence extended, and being made subject to ruinous fines, for the heinous legal sin of refusing to testify against Assange.

And we tell ourselves we don’t live in a fascist state.

What are we to call a state which jails journalists on trumped-up (pun definitely intended) charges, throws whistle-blowers — the non-sanctioned kind, that is — into prison (Kiriakou, Manning, Hammond) or forces them to emigrate (Edward Snowden) for the “crime” of revealing to the public, which has every right to know, what its government, elected and permanent, is doing to and against it, other than fascist?

But wait! Perhaps Max Blumenthal is not a journalist. What is the criteria for being a journalist? Well, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) will tell you. Or, he’ll make sure the Permanent Government tells you.

Mark Joyella writes, in Forbes: “Blumenthal’s proposed Journalist Protection Act would make assaulting a member of the working press or making threats with the intent to intimidate journalists from doing their jobs a crime carrying a sentence of three to six years in federal prison.” Yet nowhere in Joyella’s entirely un-critical report does he tell you that a) this bill was invoked as a response to the president’s usual eye-rollingly dopey “critiques” of the corporate press, which it interprets as “bullying” and b) that under its provisions, someone will get to define what a journalist is. And that someone will not be Edward R. Murrow or I.F. Stone or Aaron Maté, folks. That someone will be a bureaucrat, with an FBI or CIA agent looking over his or her shoulder. Don’t like Maté’s commentary? Poof! He’s no longer a journalist. Hate Blumenthal’s criticism of U.S. interventionist policies in South America and the Middle East? Ping! He’s not a journalist. Got your knickers in a twist over Abbie Martin, or Elizabeth Lea Vos, or Ben Swann? Poof! Ping! No longer journalists. No longer a problem. Close their social media accounts, shut down their You-Tube channels. Done, and done.

Leave it up to the government to determine who qualifies as a journalist, and even what little journalistic independence is left will be gone.

But then, most of you won’t raise a peep of protest, will you? Just as most of you haven’t raised your voices in support of Manning, Hammond or Assange. Just as you were silent when the big guns came for John Kirakou, Ed Snowden and Bill Binney.

Just as your neighbors will be silent when they come for you.

Poem_by_Martin_Niemoeller_at_the_the_Holocaust_memorial_in_Boston_MA


* And no, Virginia, Senator McCarthy did not target Hollywood. That was HUAC. “McCarthyism” is merely the convenient banner for that era’s shameless political persecution… of which today’s liberals, like yesterday’s, heartily approve.

Text copyright 2019 by Scott Ross



Related
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/10/21/wither-hillary/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/delirus-liberalis-or-how-they-learned-to-stop-thinking-and-love-the-state/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/the-politics-of-pique/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/why-i-am-not-a-liberal/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/keep-gloating/

Wither Hillary?

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By Scott Ross

Christ, but there are so many things I would rather write about this morning than that alcoholic gasbag Hillary Clinton! Her latest caper, however, is, in a long life of ugliness, one of the vilest stunts she, or anyone else since Joseph McCarthy, has pulled in public. While we await in vain the arrival of a modern-day Joseph Welch to say to her, “Have you no sense of decency, ma’am? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” (Senator Sanders? This is your moment to show a little backbone. Ah, but then why would you buck your own longstanding trend?) let us review for those enviable few who don’t know what I’m on about.

Hillary - Nuerology image-1

The soon-to-be failed candidate reacts with gape-mouthed dysphasic wonder at the standard convention balloons falling onto the stage in 2016.

Last Thursday, on a previously obscure Apple podcast called Campaign HQ with David Plouffe, She Who Must Be Elected said, in words that may not live in infamy but will, I suspect, be recalled for quite some little time, the following to her host:

“I’m not making any predictions, but I think [the Russians have] got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and they’re grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up because she’s also a Russian asset.”

Setting aside the fact, which Clinton knows perfectly well, that Tulsi Gabbard has said repeatedly she would not run as a third-party candidate — more’s the pity — and that Stein is not (unlike, perhaps, Mrs. Clinton herself?) in any 2020 race, look at the tone of those remarks: Even without hearing Clinton utter them through her own Chardonnay-benumbed lips one can feel, to mix my genera, the bitchiness and the cattiness (and yes, those are precisely the words I mean) of her words, but more, the patented McCarthyite sneer inherent in that baseless and unsupported (indeed, insupportable) accusation. It is perhaps the clearest signal yet of Hillary Clinton’s essential anti-democratic code, although she has certainly given strong indications for years, in particular the last three in which she has, in craven and irresponsible fashion, attempted to fob (and in some quarters, succeeded in fobbing) all blame for her own, well-predicted, loss against Donald Trump for the Presidency onto another nation. Now, not content with fomenting a new Cold War and turning her mindless acolytes into the veriest pod-people of the mid-1950s, she has finally alit where we always knew she would: The top of the fetid dung-heap on which perch those who, from selfish and cynical motive and without evidence, compunction or conscience, accuse their fellow countrymen and women with, not merely sedition, but active treason. This is the logical end-point, aside from a war between two nuclear-armed nations, to which Clinton’s unfounded, dangerous and anachronistic Red-baiting has been aimed all along: Tarring American citizens with disloyalty.

Putin-hrc-apec-mbe

Putin: “Ve appreciate sale of Uranium Vone. Vhere ve should send check of Bill?”  Hillary: “To our Foundation, silly – where else?”

Hillary Clinton has long known that the first rule of Machiavellian politics is deflection. Aware that she was uniquely vulnerable for the sale, while she was Secretary of State, of the Uranium One company to a Russian state corporation known as Rosatom, resulting in an $145 million windfall for the phony Clinton Foundation, and a cool half-million to Bill personally for a single speech in Moscow. This, Wikipedia now rushes to tell its users, is a conspiracy theory “promoted by right-wing media, politicians, and commentators.” Which might come as some news to the neoliberal New York Times, which ran a story on the controversy in 2015.

Thus, and with perhaps some assistance and prodding from a CIA terrified that Trump might actually win, Clinton immediately began insinuating that it was Trump, not she, who was in Russia’s pocket. This strategy reached its (previous) apotheosis immediately following the November 2016 Presidential election, when Team Clinton put out the ludicrous, and easily disproven, claim that Russia generally, and Vladimir Putin specifically, caused her well-predicted defeat, thus igniting an at-first only figurative new Cold War which has, frighteningly, mutated into the possibility of a hot war should the mercurial Trump be pushed far enough by the Clintons of this country on the one side and the permanent deep-state shadow-warriors on the other.

It was perhaps Plouffe himself, as the former manager of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign most credited with besting Clinton, who should be her natural enemy. But no, it is the most interesting of the current Democratic contenders who has engendered Hillary’s wrath, and for a fresher reason: Gabbard’s abandoning of her post as vice-chair of the DNC in protest at the Clinton-controlled organization’s cheating of Sanders, and Sanders’ supporters… which is more than the Senator himself ever did… and her subsequent endorsement of him. These are offenses which, for a Clinton, cannot be brooked. Thus in addition to keeping the flame of her self-generated “There’s a Russian under your bed!” hysteria aflame, and smearing once again a third-party candidate who, if “official” election figures are to be believed garnered less than 1% of the vote, Hillary also gets to hit back at someone else she presumably blames for her loss to a television game-show host. (There is, after all, a new source of blame at least once a week, and has been for the last three years. Everyone on earth, it seems, except the one person most to blame for it.)

Although the Clinton Camp, surprised by the unaccustomed push-back her Red-baiting if not technically slanderous remarks have generated, attempted to back-peddle Hillary’s statement, that was a horse that wouldn’t run, especially after her spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed the obvious: That Madame Secretary was indeed referring to Gabbard. (Who else could she have meant?) He also managed to double-down on the completely fabricated notion that the dread Russians are controlling American elections. Relates Colby Itkowitz in the Washington Post, “Merrill, in an interview Saturday, said Clinton was ‘not saying Americans are Russian spies but that Russia has found ways to take advantage and is not being held responsible by anyone in government.’”

Oh. Well. Thanks for the clarification, Nick. Clear as mud.

And as if Hillary’s own ugliness was not enough, Merrill then compounded it by the elliptical comment, “If the nesting doll fits…”

russia-nesting-dolls-hillary

Which nesting-doll did you have in mind, Merrill?

Thankfully, and unlike the gelatinous Sanders, Gabbard does not absorb such personal attacks without a response:

Great!” [she Tweeted] “Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

I wish Gabbard had eschewed that rather bizarre locution “cowardly hide,” but I otherwise applaud her not allowing Clinton to slander her sans a whimper of protest. Had Sanders himself not let her, and her thoroughly corrupt party’s Committee, get away with it in 2016 — had he done what hundreds of thousands of his supporters begged and petitioned him, and his own team of lawyers advised him, to and nailed them all for rigging the election in Clinton’s favor, they might have been chastened, if not actually charged, tried and convicted. As it is, he didn’t, and they are already doing it again. Had it been Gabbard whose victories in the primaries were turned into defeats by a DNC wholly owned and operated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, I think we can imagine the result.

Wither

Note how the arrow points to the right. She knew what message she was conveying.

What we are being shown, in broad relief, is why Hillary Clinton is the avatar of a narcissism so total it ignores the fate of millions. My friend Eliot M. Camarena may not have been the first to identify Clinton’s supporters, wittily, and based upon her own self-regarding logo, as “Withers,” but he nailed them early, and often, and continues to do so.* What does it say of a candidate for President when her campaign slogan indicates not that she supports and will work for Americans, but that they must be “With Her“? And what does it say of her supporters that they not only accept this symbolic slavery, but embrace it, weep over it, fight for it? (I don’t know of one who has actually killed or died for it, but give them time.) Hillary’s sickness — that is, her emotional and psychic as opposed to her physical illness, which God only knows what it is — spreads to her mindless idolaters. She at least has the excuse of an abusive mother. What’s theirs?

Itkowitz, in her Post story, makes sure to get in her own licks, defining Gabbard as “an unconventional Democrat, whose message of an isolationist foreign policy [emphasis mine]… has gained her fans among the far right… She has also gained a following with some white nationalists. A neo-Nazi website called Daily Stormer said it deserved credit for getting her the support necessary to qualify for the first two debates. But the main reason many Democrats, including Clinton, are wary of her is because she’s a favorite topic on Russian websites and social media [emphasis again, emphatically, mine.]” It is worth noting that David Weigel, the insignificant little pissant who a couple of years ago attempted to smear Jimmy Dore in the pages of what Eliot calls The Washington Bezos, “contributed to this story.”

To his credit, Andrew Yang immediately defended Gabbard. Madeline Albright, meanwhile, who when she isn’t opining that a half-million dead children is “worth it” is declaring there ought to be a “special place in Hell for women who don’t help each other” when what she of course really means is, “Any woman who doesn’t vote for Hillary is a traitor to the sex!,” has been conspicuously silent. Marianne Williamson, however, accused the Democrat establishment of, in a line aimed squarely at Albright, “smearing women it finds inconvenient.”

hillary-clinton-pantsuits-lead_0

Pantsuit, Pantsuit, who’s got the (ugly, bland, unflattering) Pantsuit?: The relative age of the candidate can best be determined by the width of the cloth required to encase her increasingly Marie Dressleresque hips.

As anyone who knows me well can attest, I believe in Smedley Butler’s adage that war is a racket, that the various branches of the American military are its racketeers’ hired goons, and knows as well that I have never been one of those blubbering creeps who with tears in their eyes whimper, “Thank you for your service!” to every paid thug in a uniform. Further, while I agree with Gabbard on more than I disagree, I am cool to her precisely to the degree she carried on (in the 21st century, mind you) about “homosexual extremists” agitating for marriage equality. Nevertheless: Two fellow Americans, one  a candidate I voted for and the other a major in the Hawaiian National Guard who served as medical personnel in one of our endless Middle Eastern wars, are being accused by one of the nation’s most prominent politicians of disloyalty to their country. I should like very much to see Clinton and Merill forced to prove their assertions in a court of law. I strongly suspect Gabbard and Stein would walk away the clear victors in that event.

If such a lawsuit will shut this increasingly dangerous harpy up, it cannot be filed soon enough to suit me.


* Having done this so often of late, I am slightly embarrassed to cite Eliot yet again in one of my blog essays, but there is no one with whom I enjoy discussing these matters more than he, and no one I know who is more perceptive, or funnier, about them.

Text copyright 2019 by Scott Ross

Related
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/crucible/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/the-politics-of-pique/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/why-i-am-not-a-liberal/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/keep-gloating/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/delirus-liberalis-or-how-they-learned-to-stop-thinking-and-love-the-state/

Delirus liberalis, or: How They Learned to Stop Thinking and Love the State

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By Scott Ross

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” — CIA Director William Casey to Ronald Reagan, February 1981

The late Mr. Casey may rest in peace. His dream has, at long last, become reality. And if the entire American public is not fooled all of the time, yet there is a substratum which, as Jacques Abbadie (not Abraham Lincoln) noted, can always be counted upon to be deceived. They adhere to no particular party or system of belief, but for the moment let us examine their allegedly “left” polity, otherwise known as the American liberal, who is in no way left and, in the things that matter most, is in most ways wrong. And for any conservative who might be snickering at that statement, may I say that I am not addressing your all too similar follies because you habitually make them so large, and so obvious; liberals get away with the same and worse because they’re more hidden, and better protected.

The state of American liberal delirium is circumscribed at the present time, as it has been for the past three years, largely by its unifying causus belli: A hatred of and for the current President of the United States so overmastering that not even similar loathings for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and his dark spawn can compare. Indeed, those particular lords of the flies are now looked upon with giddy nostalgia by the (seemingly) permanently deranged liberal class, as witness the recent fawning over the fag-bashing George W. Bush by Celebrity Lesbians Ellen DeGeneris and Rosie “Queen of Nice” O’Donnell, both of whom in their unhinged hatred for Donald Trump conveniently overlook that previous President’s desire for a Constitutional amendment permanently enshrining into law the inability of same-sex couples in America to marry. “If only we had him in the White House again!” goes the cry of Delirus liberalis. So he can cobble up and get enacted something even worse than the USA-PATRIOT Act, presumably.

bush-degeneres-2-2000

So Fun Time for narcissist sociopaths.

Just as all too many panicked Americans in 2001 willingly and against the advice of Dr. Franklin surrendered what few tatters of America’s once-valued demi-democracy still existed for a promise of “security” for the sinisterly-named “Homeland” — when outside one of Dick Chaney’s fever dreams did Americans ever refer to the United States as their “homeland”? — so too now do many of them on the (again, supposed) “left” sing the praises of the very people who insisted we give those liberties up, in the name of something they call National Security but which increasing numbers of my fellow countrymen and women are belatedly realizing is a well-entrenched (since 1947) and all too permanent National Security State. As such, it does not care who the President is, or from which party he (or, eventually, she) hails; it knows it is the enduring actual government, each succeeding President a temporary employee only. As someone once said of the 35th occupant of the Oval Office, Jack Kennedy was the last man who thought he was actually President… right up to the moment someone’s bullet — Lucien Sarti’s, possibly — blew his brains out the back of his head.

The question Delirus liberalis never asks him-or-herself, of course, is how the hated Trump got into office to begin with. As with their putative leader, the equally deranged, Chardonnay-besotted, Hillary Clinton, they know there is blame to be apportioned: To Jill Stein, or Bernie Sanders, or Julian Assange, or Susan Sarandon, or Jimmy Dore, or Vladimir Putin, or those twelve (or was it 16?) rather pathetic Russian ‘bots trolling for social media cash after the election. The new target for opprobrium changes monthly, sometimes weekly; only Clinton herself is, like a Pope, entirely without blame. Or should I say, “the Clintons themselves”? For Delirus liberalis, the infallibility of one embraces that of the other, as it does of any Democrat, however reactionary, pathologically prevaricating, demonstrably bigoted or terminally corrupt. Thus, it was not disgust with a quarter-century of the neoliberal policies embraced first by the Clintons, then successively by Gore, Kerry, Pelosi, Schumer, Biden and Obama that led many to consider, on the left, Sanders and, on the right, Trump; rather, it was some flaw within those voters themselves (the sexists.) There was at least one 2016 candidate whom polls consistently showed would most likely have beaten Trump in the general election, but as Jimmy Dore often notes, “Democrats would rather lose to a Republican than win with a progressive.” Or, as say, Democrats could fuck up a wet-dream.

Thus, too, when a Democrat — Schumer — is interviewed on national television by the increasingly demented Rachel Maddow (nice to see so many of my Lesbian sisters shilling at $30,000-a day for the war machine and the shadow government) and says of Trump’s problems with the permanent deep-state, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” and says this, moreover, not in disgust or anger but smugly and with favor… and scores of liberal Democrats nod their heads and mutter the new millennial equivalent of, “Yes, Lord!”… we are being given a message, and not a subliminal one: “We approve.” It does not upset, or anger, or disgust them, that the (un)natural order of things in America now is that if any President attempts actually to govern the nation as he sees fit he will be met with instant opposition by CIA and NSA, not to mention their dirty little brother, the FBI. Yet I will state without fear of contradiction that this seeming complacency is wholly partisan; if a Republican Senator had made the same observation Schumer did of a Democrat president, Delirus liberalis would be screaming its coiffured little head off. But then, as is widely if not universally known…

Bad stuff is only bad when Republicans do it

Do you think for a moment that, if the President of the United States is not permitted to act as he sees fit, any of the rest of us will be?


The complete derangement of Delirus liberalis, however, the frighteningly debilitating sickness that has so completely eaten away their cognitive abilities, demands the worst, as long as Trump is perceived as its victim. Thus: A CIA-based operation, willingly (and I daresay more than eagerly) entered into by the Hillary-dominated DNC, which began during the 2016 elections, and with the active collusion of the Obama Justice Department, MI-5 and the Ukraine — a breakaway Russian “republic” set up by American intelligence fiat and governed by corrupt neo-Nazis — arrayed against the putative Republican candidate for President transforms, more or less instantaneously following the November election, from a plot against Trump, centered in Ukraine, to a campaign against Clinton, emanating from Moscow. But then, Madame C. knew her apples; the first law of Machiavellian politics being to deflect from your own peccadilloes (one’s Foundation benefiting from the uranium deal with Russia you orchestrated as Secretary of State) and to then tar your opponent with them (Putin was helping Trump!) It helps, of course, to have the entire shadow government’s numerous intelligence networks (CIA, FBI, NSA, Justice) to create the fantasy and the corporate press, which owes its very octopus-like existence to an Act cunningly devised by your husband in 1996, to promote it.

Cruise meets with Ukrianian president via Eliot

Ukraine president and all-around good guy Volodymyr Zelensky meets Impeachment Emissary Tom Cruise. (Does Cruise know Zelensky is a neo-Nazi? Does Volody know Tommy is a… whatever the hell it is he is?)

But where, the fiction having grown, as they say in the Show Business, legs, do you go from there? To a succession of shady investigations and specious hearings conducted by a cast of vaguely sentient ghouls left over from the Reagan and Bush era. And here is where the true worth, and cost, of Delirus liberalis is accounted, as a phalanx of former hippies and assorted agitators now embrace the Establishment as embodied by salivating would-be mass-killers (“We came… we saw… he died! Hahahahahahahaha!“) whose sole virtue, to the alleged liberal “feminist,” whose actual viewpoint as expressed in 2016 is in fact the very essence of sexism, is that she comes equipped with a vagina; and Law ‘n’ Order in the form of the various former and current CIA and FBI directors and general prevaricators who almost giddily lied us into a war whose age will soon permit it legal access to alcohol: John Brennan, Michael Hayden, James Comey, Robert Mueller… The very embodiment of the forces that wiretapped law-abiding Americans seeking only legal redress of grievance and the exercise of their rights to free speech; infiltrated peaceful protest groups and encouraged rioting and other forms of violence; broke the heads of said groups; murdered in their turn JFK, MLK, RFK, Fred Hampton and, in all likelihood, Malcolm X; overthrew elected governments across the globe and engineered the murders of their leaders; killed untold millions of men, women and children throughout the Middle East (and made refugees of millions more); who have in short exhibited for over a century a snarling hatred of, and intolerance for, all forms of democracy. Behold! These… these… are the heroes of the new liberal “Resistance.”

Or, to put it in terms Delirus liberalis can understand: It is as if someone re-wrote the climax of Return of the Jedi so that in the end Luke Skywalker decided to go ahead and team up with Darth Vader because he hated the Emperor too.

There have been times over the past three or four years when reading, listening to, or just hearing accounts of deranged Baby Boomers and other alleged liberals cheering FBI/CIA liars and psychopaths as heroes, gnashing their teeth at the President’s stated intention of pulling U.S. troops out of manufactured Hell-holes like Syria, all but demanding America go on promoting and engaging in the continuance of war and mass killings abroad, and praying for an economic collapse that can be blamed on Trump has made me feel as if I have changed places with Alice. They want suffering. They want killings. The more of you (not them) who suffer, the happier it will make them.

A Stanton collapse

That isn’t a statement of political ideology; it’s sadism on a world scale.

Well, as I’ve also often said: Scratch a liberal, find a fascist.

In the universe of the Boomer, ca. 2019, whatever opposes Donald Trump is an absolute good. He could issue a Universal Declaration of Love tomorrow, and they would demand a corresponding document upholding the right to hatred; he rules them more completely than if he really was the dictator they believe him to be. And he knows it. However idiotic they think him, he is a past master at manipulation: One early-A.M. Tweet and they’re set for the day, or the week; they can then be counted upon instantly to gibber and screech like a pack of howler monkeys in a rain forest, led by Her Royal Derangement, the mad cow known as Rachel. Their obsession with Trump is so perfect, so total, that he knows he can distract them anytime, anyplace, with just a few jumbled sentences. A single, bloated Trump Tweet and “The Resistance” will, as it has for the last three years, continue to ignore his overseeing the largest upward redistribution of wealth in American history, his presiding over record Defense Department budgets (which the Democrats cravenly and greedily voted for) and arms-sales abroad, his tacit permitting of economic warfare waged, and coups attempted, against sovereign nations and legitimately elected officials; they will instead gnash their collective teeth over some triviality, or playground insult, which they will return in kind. Trump is the charmless Harold Hill of American politics, and they are all — all — his willing chumps.

Larson E. Whipsnade would be proud.

You Can't Cheat an Honest Man poster

In which the voluble Mr. Dukenfield portrayed the carny con-man Larsen E. Whipsnade: “Never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump.”

Somehow, in a 21 September piece on Salon.comSalon.com, David Masciotra managed to get this past the DNC- (if not indeed CIA-) sponsored shills who run the website for which he writes: “In a nonfiction adaptation of American Horror Story, Bill Maher, nominally a member of the liberal ‘Resistance,’ [emphasis mine] led his audience and guests in applauding and paying tribute to the FBI and CIA. To her credit, panelist (and rival talk-show host) Krystal Ball remained stoic, refusing to bring her hands together or smile. But even she allowed the moment to pass without noting the obvious: The CIA and the FBI are two of the most anti-democratic and violent forces in the history of our country.”

With Masciotra’s description of Maher as his show’s “admittedly clever host, who can often amuse, enlighten and nauseate in the same string of sentences,” I would strongly demur. I can’t recall having laughed at anything Maher has ever said, only at something said of and to him (by Martin Short, as Jiminy Glick.) Much less has he ever enlightened me. But he has certainly caused me nausea, often. And I should hope by now that the many neoliberal pronouncements by the “comedian” in question would convince anyone of even modest intelligence of — his atheism notwithstanding — Maher’s deep and abiding conservatism. More to the point, however, is that Maher learned something from having his network show canceled after a perfectly reasonable remark by him concerning September 11, 2001 was called “treasonous” by people who have no more notion of what the word means than they possess any real love for free speech. (Except, of course, their own…) He learned to stroke his audience’s prejudices. He learned to milk it for easy applause. He learned how to seem controversial while promoting the Establishment’s points of view on any given issue. He has learned, as Quentin Crisp used to say of Existentialists, to swim with the tide, but faster.

The “Make Love, Not War” crowd of 1969 has become, with rather predictable alacrity, a group un-fazed in the main by the indecency of America’s seemingly perpetual need to shed blood abroad. Peace is a movement for which they toil not, neither do they spin. That was, like, so yesterday, man. In the span of my lifetime my nation, which values peace above all virtues and conditions, has involved itself in no fewer than 37 overt wars (as opposed to Christ only knows how many covert), nearly a third of them just since the beginning of the new century. For older Boomers, the figure is still higher. Yet where, amidst the incessant babble of the chattering classes, is the voice opposing war? Alas, the Medea Benjamins and Brian Beckers of America are few, and we have become a culture in which all and sundry — very much including old 1960s anti-Vietnam War Boomers — must now reflexively whine, “Thank you for your service” to any vet we come across or risk the sort of freezing contempt that met me when I refused to stand for the National Anthem — at a goddamn college glee club concert — in 1990.

While the “Resistance” carries placards supporting the likes of the un-indicted serial criminals James Clapper and James Comey — imagine  American liberals in 1973 so deranged by their hatred of Nixon that they began marching in support of H.R. Haldeman — the Trump Administration meanwhile quietly continues giving obscene amounts of our treasure to arms manufacturers to support the seven wars Barack Obama managed to carve out of the two he inherited and to bomb civilians in Syria and elsewhere at the behest of Our Friends, the Saudis. That the “Resistance” says nothing about. (Indeed, the Democrats have voted for all of Trump’s obscene military expenditures.) Why? One can only posit two related explanations: 1) That their loathing for Donald J. Trump swamps all other interests, passions or human concerns; or 2) that they secretly approve of protracted war and mass-killing.

I am not fully persuaded that both are not equally true.

Senile Aggitation Boomers

Thanks to Eliot M. Camarena for this.

Certainly ABC News approves of endless conflict. Having repeatedly aired footage the network claimed was of civilians being slaughtered in Syria because Donald Trump ordered a troop withdrawal but which was subsequently proven to be of a gun demonstration in Kentucky, are there demands from the “Resistance” that such naked  and appalling manipulation of the airways be investigated? That the news executives and reporters who perpetrated this arrant hoax be removed from their jobs, charged, and tried or at the very least black-balled from their industry? Assertions that such craven and partisan assaults on the very notion of a free press are more damaging to American journalism, and to America itself, than anything Trump did by withdrawing combat troops? Outside of progressive YouTube channels such as Ben Swann’s and media outlets like that scourge of Delirus liberalis, RT America, not a peep.  Or a Tweet.


The latest hobbyhorse for Delirus liberalis is the whistle-blower… but only so long as the whistle being blown is on Trump. While a (so far) anonymous CIA hack is celebrated by liberals, his protection from the big bad President their gravest concern, a genuinely heroic whistle-blower, one who has both served her time and been pardoned, sits in a Virginia prison cell being fined $1,000 a day, not for any crime she has committed but for refusing to testify against a publisher, one with whom she had no direct involvement. Even if the charges on which she is being held were not so flagrantly anti-democratic,  indeed fascistic… even were she in better physical health than she currently is… Chelsea Manning would be worthy of our veneration and our support, yet the “liberal” media is, and liberals in general are, when not actively pillorying her, utterly silent.

Ah, but… Manning, you see, assisted WikiLeaks and, by extension, Julian Assange, the most hated figure in the rogue’s gallery of Delirus liberalis, despised in a way even the bile engendered by Vladimir Putin cannot match, for in the eyes of liberal Democrats, Assange’s revelations about their uncrowned queen cost her the election. It did not occur to them, of course, to be outraged that she was proved so base, corrupt, heartless and cruel; that she had two faces, only one of which she was going to show to the likes of them; that she controlled the DNC, and thus the 2016 Democratic Party elections; that it was she and her husband, her daughter and their phony foundation that gained most from the sale to Russia of Uranium One. No, they were, and are, engaged in a collective conniption, a massive, volcanic overflow of pique, because Assange exposed her.

And what of Julian Assange himself, speaking of whistle-blowers? Where the cheers of support for his exposing deliberate murder of civilians by the American armed forces? Where the cries of outrage at his patently illegal arrest and incarceration, in solitary confinement, in one of the worst prisons in Britain, or at his almost certain extradition, trial and imprisonment in America? Or the howls of anguish for young Seth Rich, who may or may not have been Assange’s DNC connection and who was, whatever the case, murdered for no other discernible reason? What of a true American hero, Edward Snowden, forced to leave his home and country because he cared more about Americans, and privacy, and democracy, than he did about the pleasurable trappings of his employment? For these whistle-blowers, and others, who have acted out of a love of truth and liberty, a commitment beyond themselves, no word spoken except to condemn, no passion offered but vilest opprobrium. For CIA agents who rush to tell, not their superiors, as John Kiriakou did when he adhered to Agency rules (and ended up in jail anyway) but the corporate media, anguished cries of, “We must protect the whistle-blower!”

Unlike Manning, Snowden, Rich, Kiriakou or Bill Binney, however, Assange is a journalist — or at the very least, a publisher. And unlike ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and MS-NBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post, not a single one of Assange’s claims has later been proven to be false.

Naturally, Delirus liberalis cannot suffer him to live.

wikileaks-julian-assange-cover-2010

What a difference a decade makes. Note Zakaria’s headline. Who in the corporate media believes this now, or will say so?

Finally, while I am on the subject of journalism, or what passes for it, this, concerning Senator Richard Blumenthal‘s terrifying new bill proposing to define who may call him-or-herself a journalist: “Blumenthal cited a fake video depicting President Trump carrying out a violent attack on members of the news media as he again called on Congress to make it a federal crime for anyone to attack or threaten a member of the news media doing their job.” Nowhere in this shoddily-written piece by Forbes is there any illumination for its readers of what is in Blumenthal’s bill. Yet liberals are now cheering the Democrat Senator’s proto-fascist proposal, which would permit the government to decide who qualifies as a journalist, and who does not. Who, in other words, deserves the protection of the First fucking Amendment to the goddamned Constitution.

For those who require a refresher course, the Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

As my friend Eliot M. Camarena rightly notes in his most recent blog essay: “The First Amendment is all the protection journalists need AND NEOFASCISTS LIKE SENATOR BLUMENTHAL KNOW THIS or he would not promulgate a law giving government the UNCONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY to decide who the First Amendment applies to […] Hey, you infantile, certifiable twits who satisfy your Cosplay egos by branding yourself ‘The Resistance’: Face the fact that you refuse to accept that a corrupt, obese, alcoholic, belligerent, old lady who long ago earned the sobriquet ‘Congenital Liar’, lost the 2016 election. This rage, and your continuous tantrum, blinds you to EVERYTHING else. Now you want to further gut the Bill of Rights because you don’t like the way Trump mocks journalists. Well done, you sap-heads! You have now truly become what Stalin called USEFUL IDIOTS – doing the work of the very fascists you so loudly CLAIM TO OPPOSE.”

Meanwhile, ABC News — a hive of the very sorts of journalists from whom the United States government need have no fear whatever — tells you civilians are being slaughtered in Syria, and has the film to prove it.

Somewhere in the ether, William Casey is smiling.

Text copyright 2019 by Scott Ross

Related
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/crucible/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/the-politics-of-pique/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/why-i-am-not-a-liberal/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/keep-gloating/

“I did not hear fire engines and we understood”: Kristallnacht

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[Note: I am in the process of closing out the two blogs I created before this one and am transferring their contents here, so please bear with the sudden appearance of these “old” essays &cet.]

By Scott Ross

9 November, 2013. In a Weekend Edition Saturday piece commemorating the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Holocaust survivor Margot Friedlander notes of what translates to The Night of the Broken Glass, “I did not hear fire engines and we understood then that they didn’t come because they wanted the synagogues to burn. We never thought that Germans would stand by, and not do something about it.”

Kristallnacht more properly translates, colloquially, as “The Night of the Broken Crystal.” The symbolism was plain: Jews enjoy their ill-gotten luxury while “real” Germans starve; let us smash their riches, and their owners. The anti-Semitism had been building, of course, but with the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst von Rath by the Polish-Jewish Herschel Grynszpan, the Nazis (via the S.A.) finally had their excuse for widespread, and rampant, terrorism against the Jews of Germany and Austria.

Herschel Grynszpan - Nazi propaganda

Herschel Grynszpan as depicted in the Nazi press: As a stereotypically bloodthirsty, hook-nosed thug.

Herschel Grynszpan

Herschel Grynszpan as he actually was.

Between 9 and 10 November 1938, 1000 synagogues burned; 7000 Jewish businesses were destroyed; 30000 Jews were arrested and 91 murdered — a tiny foretaste of the genocidal horror to come.

Shattered Window of a Store

Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht - Heitingers

Kristallnacht - Synagogue in flames

Kristallnacht - stained glass

Magdeburg, zerstörtes jüdisches Geschäft

Kristallnacht - synagogue

Kristallnacht - Baden Baden synaogue

kristallnachtnewspaper-jews-fined-for-nazi-riots

To what was no doubt its own vast amusement, the German government then fined the Jews of Germany for the cost of the damages.

A pair of anti-Semitic cartoons of the period:

The Eternal Jew poster

Poster for the infamous Nazi “documentary” The Eternal Jew.

“Never again?” Hardly. The world has “stood by and done nothing” countless times since 1938 (including as the Israeli government commits atrocities against Palestinians) and will doubtless do so again.

In the Weekend Edition piece cited above, Stefan Redlich, spokesman for the Berlin police is quoted as saying, “The Berlin police protects all Jewish schools, all hospitals, all kindergartens and all synagogues in the city” [while] “noting that 250 policemen stand guard in front of Jewish properties throughout the city.

“But German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said she is not proud of this fact: ‘I feel deep shame that there is not a single Jewish building in Germany without police protection because we still have to worry about anti-Semitic attacks.’

“Merkel’s concerns are justified. On last year’s Kristallnacht anniversary, vandals in the northeastern city of Greifswald removed a number of cobblestone memorials.

“Seventy-five years on, though, Germans refuse to stand by and watch. To mark this anniversary, they are taking to the streets — chamois leather in hand — to polish the brief, brass biographies that serve as a daily reminder of lives cut short by the Holocaust.”

Stolpersteine-Andreas-Gregor-930x523

Meanwhile, in the former Soviet Union, where the population eagerly acts on Putin’s cynical (because unrelated to his actual beliefs, or feelings) tacit approval of pogroms against gay Russians with salivating bloodlust, preparations are under way for the Winter Olympics. A good time, perhaps, to invoke this Jewish Chronicle cartoon, published as Herr Hitler and his minions played host to the 1936 Olympiad.

Olympic Courtesy c40-3

Never forget? Never again?

Don’t make me laugh.

Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross

Hidden connections? (Or, destroying Superman with a vibrator)

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Note: I am in the process of closing out the two blogs I created before this one and am transferring their contents here, so please bear with the sudden appearance of these “old” essays &cet.]

“A hidden connection is stronger than an obvious one.” — Heraclitus of Ephesus

By Scott Ross

Somewhere in Gerald Jones’ pop history Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book, Jack Kirby admits that as an adolescent in the 1930s he masturbated to the homoerotic imagery in superhero comics. Since I’ve long suspected there is an unacknowledged connection between the hyper-masculine anatomy of the Marvel/DC universes and rabid fan-boy mentality — made explicit by Michael Chabon in The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay — Kirby’s statement (I don’t have Men of Tomorrow at hand, so I can’t quote him verbatim) did not surprise me, although it’s the only such confession by a heterosexual member of the comics fraternity I’ve encountered.

Kirby boys-brotherhood-republic1935-age18

The young Jack Kirby with fellow comic mavens.

Alan Moore, an exception to every rule, frequently attacks homophobia. In addition, his The Mirror of Love consists of an epic poem on same-sex romance, and there are positive gay characterizations in his superb Top Ten series. Participating in a panel on homosexuality in comics Moore noted, “I was never tempted to sort of suggest a gay relationship between Batman and Robin. I mean, come on, that has been the subject of infantile jokes, many of which I laughed at when I was at school. It’s not really saying anything interesting or important. It’s an attempt to shock and outrage, and it’s very middle class.”

Of course, we’re living in a very different world from the one Stan Lee and his compatriots grew up in and, later, worked through. It was the era of that infamous charlatan Frederick Wertham (M.D.) whose specious, hysterical and largely fabricated attack on the comic book, Seduction of the Innocent, led to Congressional hearings and the formation of the Comics Code Authority, the “funny book” equivalent of the equally mendacious and woebegone Motion Picture Production Code (and its hypocritical offshoot, the MPAA Ratings Board.) Aside from “openly gay” artists like Howard Cruse (does anyone ever say “openly straight”?) or the, essentially one-joke, re-imagining of The Rawhide Kid in 2003, and the gay-bashed Terry Berg in Green Lantern, there is the celebrated (and now “gay-married”) Kevin Keller of the Archie comics.

Since I’m not by any means a superhero expert — my comics of choice as a child were of the “funny animal” variety (Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Looney Toons characters. Terrytoons, the Harvey line and, later, those strange Charlton Comics) — I’m sure there are other, and better, examples. The point is that subterfuge no longer seems necessary, or desirable. Especially, perhaps, for a more knowing, ironic, audience, one that sees what Moore calls the “infantile” in anything remotely double-edged, intentional or not.

Which brings us to the nub, as it were: The many, and often jaw-dropping, period comic book howlers that increasingly show up on the ‘net. Even if we grant that changes in slang and other verbal nomenclature can alter the meaning of much — the very word “gay” had, to the wider culture, a much different meaning in the West even as recently as 40 years ago — the fact that these allegedly unintentional double entendres were perpetrated by adult men, who had to have known what they were doing, and writing, makes me question just how “innocent” these “boners” are.

No other comic book enjoys (if that’s the word) a greater reputation as a sexual eye-raiser than Batman. Panel from the story The Joker’s Comedy of Errors.

Batman pulls boner

The Joker wasn’t the only character who “pulled” boners.

Batman and Robin - What about us

Bruce Wayne and his “ward” Dick Grayson. (Well… what about them?)

Robin spanked

Bruce and Dick at home.

Batsignal

Just catching a few moon-rays. In the nude. Maybe Wertham was on to something after all.

Batman and Robin - Window

The 1960s television incarnation of Batman included often one of these suggestive images.

Batman and Robin - bed

What? Don’t all adoptive father-figures sleep in adjacent twin-beds with their wards?

Batman - Doing his best to sound gay

Batman and Robin Wobbly Knees

Robin squirted

Batman - Robin, what have I done to you

Bat-coupling

Batman - Robin face-sits

That Robin. Always going for the seat of the problem.

Batman - Marriage

Robin fantasizes.

Batman and Robin - punishment

Batman and Robin - Tied for by Santa

Batman and Robin - someone with experience

Batman - Seasons gay

Robin - He doesn't love me anymore

Man, Dick IS good

Batman - Need to know

(Why, as they used to ask in Esquire‘s Dubious Achievement photos, is this man laughing?)

With or without Robin, Batman saw his share of phallocentric adventures.

Batman - Penguin riding roc

Superman - Just you, my love

Batman and Joker - Man and Wife

Batman - Bruce and Alfred

Batman - What Clark did

And then there were the toys…

Superman is no less intriguing in these matters: 

Superman - Destroyed with a vibrator

That has got to be some vibrator!

Superman - Not whipped cream

And then there was that little tease Jimmy Olsen…

Jimmy Olsen - Hiring girls

Jimmy Olsen - On the wild side

Jimmy takes a walk on the wild side: Getting into drag was, for him, clearly not an isolated occurrence.

Superman and Jimmy Olsen - Tie up Jimmy

Jimmy Olsen - Weiner

What is there left to say?

Superman and Batman shake... for a long time

A very long time…

Superman spanked

Superman stiffening up

The power of suggestion. Or, what a little discrete blacking-out can do.

Superman’s younger self was no less ambisexually ambiguous.

Superboy_Vol_1_98

Cruising, Smallville style.

Superboy spanked

Superboy - Blows and queer trances

Those queer blows can really mess with a guy’s mind.

Kid Flash and Superboy

Kid Flash and Superboy enjoy… well, modesty forbids. (And is it just me, or do those vertical lines recall a men’s room stall? Just me, huh?)

Elsewhere in the Marvel and DC universes…

Aquaman - Change clothes with me

Does that line ever work?

Thor - Touch my hammer

The Flash - Censored

Spiderman - What the hell

What the hell?


Meanwhile, in the Archieverse…

Archie - Beating off

Well, that’s a novel approach, I guess.

A little hard to swallow that the Archie people didn’t know what an extended middle finger signified.

Archie - bar of soap

That old line!

Something seemed to be happening

Li'l Archie - Footman

Mr Weatherbee - Mavelous Mouth

Archie - On the receiving end

Regina and Archigail

Archie and Jughead - Dark Place

Archie - Facial from Moose

Archie and Moose - Lots of things we can do

Moose clearly has some ideas about what they can do.


And in other comics…

Gay Comics

How many inappropriate words and images can you cram into one cover, anyway? (And just when did Jughead have a son? And by whom?)

The Hangman and his Boy Buddies

Taylor and Garry together

Hip Knox and his Queer Machine

Peter Porkchops

Peter is a apparently a cannibal as well as a sub.

Mighty Mouse - Beating off cats

After that, the dogs… then the squirrels… then the chipmunks…

I like Dick too

Captain Tootsie and Fisty

Fisty was Captain Tootsie’s particular favorite…

Can you hold it, pal

Boys in the same bed

I don’t know who Toro and Torch are, but that double-bed is a definitive improvement over Batman and
Robin’s silly twins.

Bear and Tom

Ben Bowie and His Mountain Men

Blast it, I'm coming

The heartbreak of premature ejaculation.

Stopping The Gay

Silly hetero! Don’t you know by now that nothing can stop The Gay?

Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross

“You faggots are revolting!”: Stonewall + 50

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“You faggots are revolting!” — Cat-call at the first gay parade in New York, in 1970. To which an anonymous wit shouted back, “You bet your sweet ass we are!”

By Scott Ross

For the record, your correspondent was eight years old that day, and would not learn of the significance of Stonewall for some time. Herewith, a few signposts leading to, and from, 27 and 28 June, 1969.

Below: The late Frank Kameny in Philadelphia, in 1965.

Frank Kameny, 1965

Fired from his government job in 1957 as a “sex pervert,” he took his case to the Supreme Court in 1961, eight years before Stonewall. One of the most courageous men of his time.

The Lesbian rights pioneer Barbara Gittings, in the early 1960s.Barbara Gittings

The Black Cat Tavern in the Silverlake district of L.A. On New Year’s Eve 1967 — a year and a half before the Stonewall uprising — patrons rioted when the cops arrested and brutally beat its patrons. The once-great, now insipid, magazine The Advocate arose from this infamous event. Why do so few of us know it happened?

Black Cat barsmall

Below: Protests at the Black Cat.

black_cat_1_2

Below: The Stonewall Inn, 27 and 28 June 1969. When the queers fought back.
Article-stonewall-riots

While many of the patrons of that Mafia-controlled bar were black or Latino, some were drag queens, and Lesbians were represented as well, it was a decidedly mixed crowd, in terms of race, of gender, and even of gender-identity — precisely the sort of polyglot gathering we now take as a social ideal. And yes, Virginia, despite the historical revisionism now masquerading as fact and perpetuated by people who weren’t even alive in 1969, there were plenty of white boys there. Even granting the participation of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and others who perhaps did not consider themselves transgendered at the time of the riots but who later proclaimed it, for 20-somethings today to make the absurd claim that the event was precipitated solely by black trans women (as I saw more than one self-righteous twit proclaim on the release of the ill-considered 2015 Stonewall movie*) is as false as the usual popular whitewash which attends so much American history and which consistently elevated whites to sainted status (even in the creation of Jazz!) It serves neither social justice, nor history, to view the Stonewall riots solely through the bent lens (to use a pointed metaphor) of 21st century racial and gender identity politics. The inclusive patronage of the Stonewall — and, by extension, of the crowd that grew outside that evening and the following night — is emblematic of the movement, and of the reasons so many later embraced Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag.†

Below: Young black, Hispanic and Caucasian patrons, including two drag queens (or possibly three; I don’t know about the boy at top center) outside the Stonewall.

Stonewall - Getty

Gay “street kids,” some as young as 14, were also represented that night and the following evening. As has been pointed out, they lived on the edge of death anyway, and had nothing to lose by fighting back.

Stonewall - Getty Images
Some accounts suggest a butch Lesbian (or even a straight man…) may have instigated the riot. But the Village “street kids” were, understandably, the angriest, and they’d had it with the cops; they were likely the first to resist.
stonewall_riot
Stonewall-bettye_lane585C

A patron of the Stonewall Inn confronts New York police, as seen in Stonewall Uprising, a film by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner. A First Run Features release. (Photo Credit: Bettye Lane)

How the New York Times chose to cover Stonewall:
That headline’s pro-cop bias was a love offering to the gay community of Greenwich Village compared to how the Sunday News chose to cover the event:
nest-660x330
Below: The playwright Doric Wilson, who was there. Street Theatre, Wilson’s dramatic fantasia about Stonewall, should be required reading (or viewing, if you can find a production) for every intelligent homo boy or girl.
Street Theater - Howard Cruse

Poster art for the TOSOS production by the great Howard Cruse. Note the figures based on Mart Crowley’s Boys in the Band characters Michael and Donald at left. They represent the generation most determined to be un-affected by, if not indeed actively opposing, what happened that night in the Village.

Edmund White was passing by that evening as well, and took careful note. As he later said to David Carter, “Everyone’s restless, angry, and high-spirited. No one has a slogan, no one even has an attitude, but something’s brewing.”

Edmund White

One of the first posters of a new movement, if not the first:

Gay Liberation Front - Come Out poster

The late — and how gay men of my generation tired of using that phrase for the many AIDS dead — Vito Russo, an early activist whose groundbreaking book The Celluloid Closet, marrying two of my chief interests (movies and homosexuality) rocked my world in 1981.

Finally, to the legions of fashionable incrementalists on the left generally — and in the Democratic Party particularly — who believe we must always take baby steps and never offend or inconvenience anyone, this reminder: Meaningful social change only happens when there is direct action. While that does not necessarily mean violence (think Rosa Parks) it should be kept in mind that, had the participants at Stonewall waited to be patted on the heads and called good little boys and girls by the heterosexist Über-culture, we’d still be prohibited from dancing with each other in public.

They didn’t ask that night. They demanded. And everything since has flowed from that. A lesson we need to re-teach ourselves. To quote a murdered politician, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

It was not a Hamptons cocktail party. As a popular meme has it…

Stonewall was a riot

* Itself unnecessary, as the late Nigel Fench had already made a very fine Stonewall, based on Martin Duberman’s book, in 1995, which focused on an interracial couple (one of whom was a cross-dressing Latino) and which I doubt any of these carping, identity-blinded Millennials have ever heard of, much less seen.

†Although its Radical Faerie design actually represents Sex, Life, Healing, Sunlight, Nature, Magic/Art, Serenity and Spirit.

Text copyright 2019 by Scott Ross

The Politics of Pique

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By Scott Ross

May 3rd marked the observation of something called “World Press Freedom Day,” first proclaimed by the United Nations in 1993. There is much irony inherent in this, the first especial instance of which was the passage three years following that initial proclamation of a bill, engineered by Bill (and Hillary?) Clinton and rammed through Congress at his (their?) insistence: The Telecommunications Act of 1996. This blatantly fascistic law has in the years since effectively reduced media control in the United States from 50 corporations to a mere six and jettisoned what I would argue is the single most important component of a free society, without which democracy is impossible: An unfettered press.

There is irony as well in the reactionary and repressive governments —Saudi Arabia springs to mind, as it will — the United States, in foolish contravention of George Washington’s warning,* habitually supports and in which the press is strictly controlled by a state which, further, goes out of its way and across continents to punish with torture and death. I would include in that charming group the current government of Israel, whose military snipers target not only Palestinian men, women and children but clearly delineated medics and journalists. And indeed, the U.S. itself, as evidenced by the appalling video the almost infinitely courageous Chelsea Manning released to WikiLeaks of American military personnel massacring civilians, including journalists, from a helicopter in Baghdad, and laughing as they did so.

The more immediate ironies, which went unnoted save by the progressive left, were that “World Press Freedom Day” was commemorated this year during a period when the Western press generally, and the U.S. corporate media specifically, is (to use their new favorite word) colluding with the Trump Administration and its shadow masters to demonize and depose a legally-elected government in Venezuela. At the same time, the three most egregious examples of free-speech suppression by the West had so recently occurred, and (in the first case) been roundly celebrated by nearly all the ladies and gentlemen of the corporate media and (in the second two) utterly ignored:

  • The expulsion (following the promise of a massive American bribe) from the Ecuadoran Embassy and subsequent immediate arrest, on a flagrantly specious charge, of Julian Assange, now in a prison reserved for hardened and violent criminals and soon quite possibly to be turned over to the U.S. and extradited (on equally spurious charges), there presumably to be tortured, placed before a kangaroo installation called the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (known here as “The Espionage Court”), tried without legal defense counsel and sentenced for life — in not indeed to death — to the accompaniment of lusty cheers from the American press;
  • The harassment and, lately, arrest of legal and invited protectors of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, in contravention of established world norms for protocol, a violation of international law and the inviolability of embassies throughout the world and which, its unalloyed totalitarianism to one side, will almost certainly generate dangerous blowback elsewhere;
  • And the re-imprisonment, largely in solitary confinement, of Manning, her release and her re-re-imprisonment last week, with the added financial burden it will eventually entail, in daily fines of $500 to $1000, in addition to the physical and psychological effects on a woman who has already been charged, sentenced, imprisoned and released for the identical “crime” and which are clearly, and cruelly if not indeed with evil intent, designed to break, or kill, her. Either would, presumably, be acceptable outcomes.

What is being done to Manning makes me so angry, and so frustrated, I can scarcely speak about it without choking. It is iniquitous. It is stunningly vindictive. It is in fact fascist. I am livid, not merely at the court that has imposed this deliberate torture on her, but the overwhelming lot of so-called journalists throughout America who are utterly silent on the subject…. when not actively sneering at and deriding her.

And it this last bulleted item that is most directly related to the main topic of this essay. For, setting aside for the moment that WikiLeaks (indeed, a free press generally) is the bane, not merely of the National Security State but of the corporate class, whose investments in the former are, however obliquely, threatened by exposure of the misdeeds of our military/industrial rulers, much of what now governs the reaction (or lack thereof) of corporate media, and its main consumers, can be boiled down to a simple concept. And the word that best defines this attitude is pique.

As long as Julian Assange, via WikiLeaks, was exposing the misdeeds of the hatred Bush Administration, liberals were more than delighted to receive the news — they were euphoric. Assange was all but nominated for a form of living canonization, feted and fussed over and interviewed at length. It was only when he, and figures like Manning and Edward Snowden, shone lights on the unsavory acts of the Obama regime (to use the favorite word of the mainstream media to describe any foreign government it does not care for) that Assange became suspect. This is due in part to party politics; how dare he — how dare anyone — rip the carefully constructed veil of respectability and moral rectitude off that universal symbol of hope, change and transparency? Revealing the lies and misdeeds of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz was one thing. Holding Obama to the same standards? Outrageous! But even that was as nothing compared to the greatest crime Assange committed: Drawing the curtain on the seedy backstage wherein Hillary Clinton exhibited her “private face” for her true public — her Wall Street owners.

That Hillary Clinton is not merely a practiced liar but, seemingly, a pathological one, should be news to no one not lost in the miasma of political team-sports. (As my friend Eliot M. Camarena has noted, we’ve already had one of those in the Oval Office; he was forced to resign.) But that WikiLeaks revealed the extent of her prevarication — that was too much. Of course, Clinton’s deceit goes deeper than assuring her billionaire donors with a wink that she has a public face and a private one so don’t worry, boys, I’ll always be true to you. It involves her takeover, and operation of, the DNC throughout the 2016 election; its subsequent cheating of Sanders and disenfranchising of his supporters and independent voters, the largest proven case of election racketeering in modern American history; her so-called “Pied Piper Strategy,” whereby she and Bill convinced their media assets to prop up Trump (and which, indeed, included that pair’s efforts in getting The Donald to run); and her determination to deflect voter concerns over her sale, as Secretary of State, of uranium ore to the Russian Federation as a means to directly benefit her husband and their phony Foundation, onto her opponent. No wonder she wanted Assange drone-bombed.

It was this unconscionable airing of Clinton’s soiled pantsuits by WikiLeaks that placed Assange officially beyond the pale. This is what I mean by pique. It is the same pique that found in any critical discussion of Hillary Clinton’s neoliberalism (if not indeed neoconservatism) the inevitable accusation leveled at the questioner and regardless of his or her gender, of “sexism.” It is pique that created the Pussyhat Brigade, fueled meaningless acts of protest that continue even now and which embrace such paragons of public virtue as James Clapper and Robert Mueller, and which suggests to them placards (“If Clinton was President I’d be having brunch now”) revealing far more than their carriers realize about their own essential complacence, and the extent of their personal pique. It’s the source of the virus that has engendered the entire so-called “Russiagate” hysteria, the gas that makes it run and which finds its apotheosis in the crazed Red-baiting of Rachel Maddow and that collection of deranged harpies on The View on the sillier end of the spectrum, and the seeming desire for nuclear war with Russia on the more dangerous, deadly, end. And it is Manning’s association with Assange, on a matter completely divorced from Assange’s revelation of the Podesta emails, which governs the lack of support for her and the reaction to her extra-legal imprisonment. She is seen as an expendable means to “getting” the source of their pique.

For pique it is which has seen to it that Trump cannot engage in a meaningful or productive conversation with Putin about anything. It is pique that has given him the greatest re-election gift imaginable. It is pique which demands that Democrats, and their media assets, not give an inch, or admit that the entire two-year investigation was a colossal waste of time, choler and treasure. And it is pique that will ultimately doom the campaign of whichever corporate tool they nominate as their party’s standard-bearer next summer.

But pique has other uses; it can extend the common madness far beyond reason, if not ad infinitum. For it is this same pique that encourages Neera Tanden to observe of the adherents of Twitter, “There are many cultists on this site, but the Assange cultists are the worst.  Assange was the agent of a proto fascist state, Russia, to undermine democracy.  That is fascist behavior.  Anyone on the left should abhor what he did.  Not celebrate it. [sic]” Note that Tanden, who “earned’ over $314K in 2016, is nonetheless a) not literate enough to understand basic tenets of the written word; b) feels compelled to waste two of her 140-character limit on unnecessary spaces between sentences; and c) apparently believes that, “Not celebrate it” is a sentence. (Yes, use of an abbreviated clause can herald an effective rhetorical flourish. But not in this case.) Her sub-literacy aside — the lack of a hyphen between “proto” and “fascist,” for example — Tanden, a Clinton stalwart to the end, thinks she is being clever by expressing a fascist sentiment while deflecting the accusation to those who not only might disagree with her but who know that there is not now, nor has there ever been, the slightest evidence to suggest that Assange, or WikiLeaks, is in any way aligned with, or subservient to, the Russian Federation. Like icon, like acolyte.

I will not accuse Tanden of the staggering ignorance her nasty little Tweet seems to illustrate, as I suspect she knows quite how deliberately she is misleading her hapless followers with that specious accusation, so let us assume that she is well aware that WikiLeaks has published thousands of pages of documentation critical of Russia. She may not know, as many do not, that Putin is no great admirer of Edward Snowden — nor, by extension, of Assange or Manning or John Kiriakou or Bill Binney — believing that the man his nation gave asylum to is guilty of a state crime. (See Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews.) Note too that the Tandens of the world, who without ever offering proof — or who offer self-serving official United States government excuses as proof — invariably state that the elected leader of Russia is, to use their favorite, CIA-directed, phrase, “a brutal dictator.” Yet they see nothing brutal or dictatorial about a band of uniformed “secret police” dragging an obviously ill Australian publisher into a waiting van.

Tanden is, please recall, President of the so-called Center for American Progress (which despite its sunny, double-speak name is in fact a neoliberal corporate “think-tank”) and was, during the 2016 primaries, a close advisor of Hillary Clinton’s. And, as Jimmy Dore recently pointed out, once said — apropos of whether Libya, now a chaotic no-man’s land, owes America for its “liberation” — “We have a giant deficit. They have a lot of oil.” Could Donald J. Trump have advocated international resource theft any better? It should, however, be remembered that Assange also published some of Tanden’s damaging emails. There is more than a slight whiff of personal vengeance — not to say pique — in her words. Such is the duplicitous game these types play. Tanden’s reaction to Russia asking that Assange’s rights be respected? “Fascists take care of their own.” One is tempted to ape her immaturity and sneer, “Takes one to know one, lady.”

WikiLeaks Editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson reports that, not only was Assange being monitored by video and still camera at every moment of his life, including conferences with his Ecuadoran attorney, but that legal documents were stolen and copied, the whole of this illegal surveillance then turned over to blackmailers in Madrid. The Tandens of the so-called “left” say nothing, of course, about the (to use her own word, only properly hyphenated) proto-fascist treatment of Assange. And I would love to hear the smug, condescending British and American reporters who have grilled Hrafnsson and Assange’s Australian attorney Jennifer Robison if their own governments were spying on them in their homes, recording their personal communications, legal discussions, sex lives and bathroom visits.† They’d squeal like stuck pigs. Yet somehow Assange is “naive” for not assuming it’s been done to him — and, presumably, ungrateful for complaining about it. And they wonder that so much of the public, both in Britain and elsewhere, is thoroughly disgusted by the press?

No one has ever successfully challenged the veracity of a single WikiLeaks’ publication. And that, I submit, is the real reason Assange is so hated, both by the National Security State and the permanently piqued.


Irony abounds as well in the fawning treatment of reporters and commentators in the United States (and in Britain) who, out of their pique over Clinton as much as their loathing for Donald Trump, have opportunistically peddled two and a half years of evidence-free accusations concerning the President and his counterpart in the Russian Federation.

Take, for example, the case of Marcie Wheeler, the likes of whom Michael Tracey refers to as “journalist-adjacent types.” This woman did the one thing that Glenn Greenwald correctly maintains is the gravest sin a journalist can commit: Turning in a source to the government. Even now, a year after she did so, and with the Mueller Report released, Wheeler is still speaking as if her informing on a source was of the gravest importance to the investigation and so cannot reveal the circumstances. And the brigade that has made hay (and jack) on the counterfeit accusations against Trump and, by extension, Vladimir Putin, lauded her as a fearless exemplar of the journalistic profession. So we can see where we are now: If you expose a government’s international murders and militaristic duplicity you are beyond the pale; if you snitch on a source ​to ​that government, you’re a liberal icon.

Take as well the increasingly deranged, deliberately prevaricating and, I aver, fundamentally dangerous Rachel Maddow, dementedly Red-baiting not only a nation that has not been Red in decades, but anyone who debunks her infinitely debunkable, certifiably reactionary, assertions, not the least insipid of which is that the Kremlin will turn off your heat during record freezes. To the best of my admittedly limited knowledge only the U.S. has, through its secret HAARP program, that ability. But for $30,000 a day, a person like Maddow may, and will, say anything. And the unthinking Piqued cheer this madness on.

Those of us who grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s and who in our teens looked into the 1950s Red Scare could scarcely believe what we were reading. How, we wondered, could claiming Communist interference on everything, without the slightest scintilla of evidence, not have been looked upon with skepticism by, at least, the more intelligent and well-educated Americans?

We now know the answer.


In the early 1980s, the then-CIA chief William Casey made a statement to the newly-elected Ronald Reagan at their first meeting, which a principled man would have responded to in the only sane possible manner: By, if not calling in the White House guards to hold the maniac until he could be arrested and charged with conspiring against his country, at the very least demanding its speaker resign and his government entity be scrutinized in minute detail and re-aligned as a result of that investigation. Reagan, of course, did none of these things.

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete,” Casey told him, “when everything the American public believes is false.”

One expects the National Security types to receive this information with nods of approval. One would like to imagine that others — particularly in the press — would express outrage. But those who believe Operation Mockingbird, the 1960s CIA campaign to influence and guide writers, reporters, editors and entire publications and publishing houses in the production of their news and analysis content, was ended merely because the Company told us it was also, presumably, maintain a conviction that the Easter Bunny leaves multicolored eggs in convenient baskets. Perhaps when the day dawns… and dawn it will, ere long… that these same writers, reporters and editors of publications find themselves in shackles, sharing a concrete wall with Julian Assange for the National Security crime of revealing truth to their viewers, readers and listeners, they will grasp the opportunity that fell into their laps to defend their own profession and which they deliberately eschewed in favor of the fast buck and the hosannas of the professionally piqued, and repeat to themselves a variation on the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller:

“First they came for Assange, and I did not speak out because I was not Assange…”


*“The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.” — George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

†Always assuming — a dangerous occupation these days — these governments aren’t in fact doing just that, perhaps through our now ubiquitous electronic devices.


Copyright 2019 by Scott Ross

Related
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/crucible/
https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/keep-gloating/