NPR Agrees with CIA that Only Sickos Leak State Secrets: Tuesday 10/17/17
In her interview with Ursula Wilder, a CIA psychologist whose job is debriefing returning spies, NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly (their alleged National Security Correspondent) failed big-time to probe whether Wilder thought an insider might ever have a patriotic motivation to inform the public of bad behavior on the part of the agency. Based on Wilders’ profile of leakers, the answer would surely have been No, but it would have been nice to ask.
Instead, the official story is simple. Each and every leaker suffers from some DSM psychopathy, such as impulsiveness, narcissism or drug addiction, often compounded by exigencies such as marital discord or gambling debts. It’s all due to character defects, Wilder says—and Kelly doesn’t contradict—not to blowback or some nasty conduct the agency wants to disappear. Hear for yourself.
How many set pieces does NPR owe spy agencies as the price of access? File under Psy-Ops.
Where’s the Beef? Sunday 10/15/17
One September evening, out of the blue, my dear daughter suggested we forego meat. Even though she couldn’t quite say why she wanted to do this, we agreed to veg out and see. But I drew the line at vegan; I respect dairy far too much to banish butter and eggs.
A meatless month later (excepting bacon, a significant source of micronutrients), we’ve sort of stuck to it. We’re doing okay and our grocery bill is lighter. Me too, but it hasn’t been easy.
If you decide to try this at home, let me tell you there are downsides. You’ll spend a lot of time poring over recipes involving exotic ingredients like faro, miatake, adzuki, kombu, and seitan. Our young lady’s aversion to staples like beans and ancient grains challenged my culinary creativity. We consume a lot of salad, mushrooms, and on her recommendation, hot dishes (preferably pizza) smothered with cheese. So much for the meat co-op I was thinking of joining. Pass the pepperoni. File under fiber.
Take This Flagpole and … Friday 10/13/17
NPR tells of how in 2003 our future Chiseler-in-Chief sued the school district of Rancho Palos Verdes, California town for $100M over land it owned in the middle of a golf course he was rehabilitating. They settled and the district got $5M for the land (they had wanted rent), but not before Trump called the town’s lawyer an a-hole to his face. (BTW, Attorney Milan Smith is now a judge on the circuit court that blocked Trump’s immigration restrictions.) Then, when homeowners complained about a 70-foot flagpole he put up on the course without obtaining a permit, the City Council went after him for it. It got ugly. Trump played the patriotism card, saying if you make me take down our flag you hate America. He still has hissy fits about it. Here you go. File under Mendacity.
Trump According to Dilbert’s Dad: Wednesday 10/11/17
On—for whatever reason—Halloween, Scott “Dilbert” Adams will release a book called Win Bigly to comfort his supporters, afflict his critics, make money, and cement his pundit brand. Having been taken to task for trumpeting Trump, he wants everyone to know he endorsed Trump because he has “an appetite for risk, a deep understanding of persuasion, and a personality the media couldn’t ignore,” qualities that gave him “a 98% chance of winning.” Trump’s sleaziness, divisiveness and badmouthing don’t seem to faze Adams—in fact he seems to rather admire those qualities, saying they make him a better negotiator. He wants his readers to be as persuasive as Trump, to the extent he can persuade them. I tried to be persuaded. My take on an advance copy of the book is posted here. In a nutshell, I’ve read Win Bigly so you won’t have to. File under Self-Help.
Guns Are People: Friday 10/06/17
The NRA signaled today it wouldn’t oppose regulating “bump stocks,” those gizmos that make assault weapons fully automatic, of which Stephen Paddock had a dozen of in his complementary 32nd-floor hotel room. Even Gopers are saying that a bit of adult supervision might be needed in this regard. Well, so says the Paranoia Lobby, that there’s the tippity-top of your slippery slope, isn’t it? If the feds can outlaw bump stocks, what will they do next to render the populace impotent to resist the Illuminati’s plans to lock down America?
But surely the NRA can’t be serious. To weather blowback from Vegas, they dissemble, pretending neutrality publicly while pressing gun dealers and owners to do the heavy lifting should Congress ever bring itself to broach the subject. Let’s face it, Americans; guns r us. Don’t expect any new restrictions on firearms unless you live in Massachusetts or DC.
Oh yeah, I forgot. Guns don’t kill people; bullets do.
Spooks in Space: Tuesday 10/03/17
Today, Marketplace asked Should we fund the militarization of space? Hell, no. There is no need to further militarize space or anyplace else, not with 200+ bases around the world, grossly overstuffed DoD and black budgets, offloads of military surplus weapons and gear to local police forces to keep the populace under control, overseas adventurism, and unconstitutional spying on of our Internet and telephone use, aren’t we sufficiently militarized for God’s sake?
Here’s an idea: call it Spooks in Space; send our intelligence officials and military leaders off to conquer and colonize Mars. Then we could get on with what really matters to the American people, as opposed to what the security-industrial complex wants, without the distractions of endless wars and assorted homeland security intensification that only benefit their ranks and vendors. When will more Americans wake up to see their taxes and their real security swirling down the Pentagon’s thousand-dollar toilets?
What Happened in Vegas Should mostly Stay in Vegas: Monday 10/02/17
Great. Another mass shooting, this one from a guy 32 floors up packing ten rifles who took his own life when police entered his hotel room. Sure, it would be nice to know who 64-year-old Stephen Paddock was and why he killed 58 people and injured 500+, but let’s curb our own and the media’s ghoulish disaster mania. This very morning I was at an NPR station taking pledges over the phone, but at 830 they sent us volunteers home and suspended the fund drive so the station could cover Vegas continuously, as if they couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. If you think gun laws are a joke now, wait til you see HR 38 and HR 3668. Sign CREDO’s petition to congress to oppose them now.
What (TF) Happened: Friday 9/29/17
Amazon’s been deleting one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s memoir What Happened. As of right now (9/29), of 1600 reviews 1425 (89%) are 5-stars and 96 (6%) are one star. There are no 2 or 3-star reviews and just 48 4’s. According to Zero Hedge, mid-morning on 9/12 there were 1500 reviews 50% 1’s and 45% 5’s. By closing time, of the 442 remaining reviews, 97% gave the book 5 stars and 1% (4) awarded it one star. Could have been a business decision, but given that Jeff Bezos also owns WaPo and given that WaPo has long had close ties with the Agency (recall that Georgetown Set from yesterday’s post?), perhaps HRC’s spooky friends went trick-or-treating at Jeff’s house. Find it hard to believe? Check out this list of 50 ways the Agency infiltrated mass media, paying close attention to number 21. File under Psy-Ops.
The Commemes Are Coming! Thursday 9/28/17
Columnist Chris Floyd strikes a troubling cultural note in today’s Counterpunch about the sound of tweets coming from the so-called “resistance” to Trump that he labels a counter-revolution. From BLM to kneeling NFL players, establishment anti-Trump forces are laying outrage at American racism at Moscow’s door. Yes, they say, Putin’s people are stirring up the masses on Twitter and elsewhere about ailments America never had before the Russkies manufactured them in a massive psy-ops campaign. Read the article, see the tweets. and be on the lookout for such commemes, #hiddenpersuaders that imply that whatever is wrong with America would be right if it weren’t for Russian meddling. We tried this before. It was called McCarthyism and it didn’t work.
Harvard, the CIA and All That: Wednesday 9/27/17
When Harvard’s Institute of Politics abruptly rescinded its offer to Chelsea Manning of a fellowship, all hell broke loose. After intense pressure from both sides, Harvard chose to back the “intelligence community,” as is its wont. That wont goes back many decades, as documented in my post, Harvard, the CIA, and All That, in which I cast available light on networks of Ivy League cold-war-era establishmentarians, a clique of insiders that Harvard fomented, abetted, and continues to play a key and unapologetic role as empire thought leaders. Its coziness to power is one reason why I don’t donate to my alma mater.
My Almost-Famous Haircut: Saturday 9/23/17
This morning I visited my famous Greek barber George for a haircut. Proudly displayed on the wall in his 120-year-old Harvard Square cuttery are photos of him with his more notable clients, like Michael Dukakis and Yo-Yo Ma (both of whom I’ve encountered there). Among patrons not pictured, he told me, are Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama from their student days, Mike Taibbi (Rolling Stone investigative reporter), and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whom he expects to be the next Prime Minister of Greece. When I hinted that he might also let people know that he does my hair, he suggested adding a photo of the two of us to his collection, saying people will assume I’m somebody famous. Now I’m kicking myself. Why didn’t I insist on a selfie with George right then and there?
Regarding Blowback and Liberation: Tuesday 9/19/17
Literature has an obligation to confront moral issues. One of humankind’s most persistent ones involves “collateral” injustices and suffering visited upon innocent people in the course of acquiring territory and asserting control over it. The unpublished novel Mahmoud’s Jihad focuses on the bubbling cauldron of the greater Middle East through the lens of marginalized opponents of state power who take matters into their own hands. You might find what these self-styled freedom fighters do shocking, but at least you’ll learn what makes them tick and what life underground is like. Politically conscious people don’t rebel just for the hell of it. As one character puts it, “They only call it class warfare when we fight back.” Read the preface to the novel to appreciate some of those reasons and the moral ambiguities of radical action.
Rojava—A Functioning Democracy inside Syria: Saturday 9/16/17
Who knew that part of a province of Syria functions autonomously as a bottom-up secular socialist democracy where women fight ISIS/Daesh and are full partners in all decision-making? It’s a Kurdish enclave called Rojava, and while it’s tiny it’s an inspiration for oppressed people in the Middle East and in fact everywhere. American feminist writer Meredith Tax explains Turkey’s attempt to crush Rojava and all Kurdish aspirations in her blog, and provides an in-depth account of its origins, organization, and prospects in her 2016 book A Road Unforeseen. View her describing what she learned in writing the book in a video from the 2017 Left Forum. File under Resistance.
The Great Purge of the Great War: Friday, 9/15/17
Happy Hundredth, WWI. We love you so much. Now’s a good time to remind all Americans—liberals in particular—how, during and after the Great War, the Wilson Administration, local law enforcement, newspapers, and assorted shitkickers all across the country brutally assaulted German-Americans and suspected Bolsheviks, sweeping up tens of thousands of trade unionists, progressives and freethinkers of all stripes in a grand purge, all patriotically shilled by politicians and newspaper publishers and bought and paid for by industrialists. Suggest taking a few moments to reacquaint yourself with that era by reading Adam Hochschild’s When Dissent Became Treason in NY Review of Books. File under Fascism.
AI Is a Zombie Bent on Eating Your Brain: Thursday, 9/14/17
What does “Artificial Intelligence” bring to mind? Robots? Siri psyching you out? Facebook quantifying your whole life? It’s coming, and fast. Bottom line for you is your intellect atrophies when all your decisions are “augmented,” you are made intellectually redundant, and tech overlords make out like the autonomy bandits they are. Find out more in this post at Linked In. File under technoquences.
Long Gas Lines—Better than No Gas Lines: Wednesday, 9/13/17
Evacuees returning to their homes across Florida are stymied. Few gasholes with petrol and power avail themselves. No nonnuclear terrorist attack would bring so many to a standstill for so long. Yet our nation spends umpteen billions more to safeguard Americans from pinpoint terrorist attacks that may not happen than from catastrophic acts of nature everyone already expects. The combined odds of a hurricane hitting the mainland or a twister rip-roaring through the heartland or a Big One pulverizing the Left Coast outweigh those of terrorism in inverse proportion to funds the Feds allocate to these eventualities. Follow the money. Find out who profits from ramping up the security state versus who profits from rehabilitating devastated lives and properties and then you’ll know. War, it seems, is the answer. File under corruption.
Lessons Learned from Hurricane Irma: Tuesday, 9/12/17
Your 401Ks and IRAs probably aren’t doing much, so cash them in. Be that alligator in the swimming pool; buy Florida real estate and rent it out. You won’t find a better deal until the next tropical storm hits. Flood insurance is optional if the property isn’t in a flood zone, even if it’s a bit damp now. File under avarice.
On Errorism: Monday, 9/11/2017
On this day, we honor the victims of terrorism in New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville, PA 16 years ago. What we dishonor are the provocations that the USA visited on the Middle East that created all that enmity and the sadly apparent fact that Washington has yet to acknowledge that those losses are almost-inevitable consequences of its adventurism. Filed under blowback.