Charles Lane: . . . . that brings us to the present day and present President whose name, by the way it’s Donald Trump, does not appear in your book. Now that can’t be an accident.
George Will: The names of Charlemagne and Audrey Hepburn and Duke Ellington don’t appear in the book either [Lane: That’s true] because this is a book about ideas and the current president is not part of that discussion. He has nothing to do with conservatism. He really to his credit has never pretended to be a conservative. He’s an entrepreneur in politics and he’s maximizing whatever he wants to maximize. This is a book about important arguments, and he’s not part of that.
While states of affairs involving Ukraine, Russia, Syria, and Turkey appear same-old same old — at least as settled as yesterday and the day before as well as week, month, and year past — events involving the U.S. relationship with Iran appear “forward” or moving toward some change in what has festered for years with Tehran’s bankrolling and arming of Hezbollah, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and its bellicose and continuous threatening of Israel and the west. While “east-west” parties deny the wanting of war, conditions appear moved toward error (by way of accident, itch, or misperception) in that regard.
BackChannels compiled and read through the following this morning (retention: minimal; impression, however: pretty good) and most highly recommends for those seeking insight in background the two articles bolded), one by former FBI agent and terrorism expert Ali Soufan, the other by veteran journalist Ariana Tabatabai.
Also, at the bottom of his post is a video posted yesterday by Sky News featuring an interview with Iranian ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad. In it, the diplomat notes that while Washington has abandoned the “nuclear deal”, Iran has kept up its part in light of European adhesion and may expect from the same the benefits promised for its good behavior on that issue.
Despite its ongoing economic woes, today’s Iran has fashioned itself into one of the premier military and diplomatic powers in the Middle East—and Saudi Arabia’s principal rival for hegemony over the entire region. It has achieved this with a mix of policies—among them, deft diplomatic maneuvering; a tactical alliance with Vladimir Putin’s Russia; and the provision of arms, advice, and cash to Shi`a militias across a variety of countries. In the latter case, Iran has pioneered a seemingly unique strategy that combines insurgent and state power in a potent admixture—a strategy that is evident today in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
At a high school basketball game in Indiana in March, white students chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” at Latina students. Everyone knew what that meant: It was a new way to be racist.
But the alt-right’s appeal remains marginal because the huge majority of young Americans like multiculturalism. They aren’t paranoid or hateful about other races. Those ideas are ridiculous to them. The alt-right’s small gains in popularity will not be enough to win Trump the election. This is not Germany in the 1930s. All that’s changed is that one of Alex’s fans — one of those grumpy looking middle-aged men sitting in David Icke’s audience — is now the Republican nominee.
But if some disaster unfolds — if Hillary’s health declines further, or she grows ever more off-puttingly secretive — and Trump gets elected, he could bring Alex and the others with him. The idea of Donald Trump and Alex Jones and Roger Stone and Stephen Bannon having power over us — that is terrifying.
For the record, BackChannels supports as broad a spectrum of political speech as possible bounded by criminal law associated with conspiracy and incitement.
While Facebook Civilization as Zuckerberg may shape it has no monopoly on speech conveyed via the web, it’s notable that Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan made the same grade.
In the gonzo escapade that produced dish for The Elephant In the Room, Ronson manages to get in some quality time with Alex Jones and Roger Stone in Jones’ production trailer. The “in” with the talk show host had been crashing Bohemian Grove years earlier with him.
Agent provocateur as Roger Stone refers to himself? Moral crusader for the west as befits Steve Bannon’s “populism” in the surrounds of the books collected and gardens cultivated by Italian monks? Or clowns found out and moved off the Oval Office’s carpet?
Trump stole the election and the aforementioned demons were unable to remain attached to his glory: so why read Ronson’s book?
Take it in for background — $1.99 for the Kindle — for delight in language, and for the prescient glimpse of a campaign x personality yesteryear that really does seem just like yesterday.
Having quoted from the end of the book, here’s the sound of the beginning:
The TV’s at the EQUINOX were showing a Donald Trump rally. Hillary Clinton might have been holding her own rally somewhere but, if so, it wasn’t on any of these screens. In fact, a few weeks ago MSNBC, Fox News and CNN had ignored a Hillary Clinton speech entirely, choosing instead to broadcast a live feed of the empty podium from which Donald Trump would soon speak. His empty podium: that’s how insatiable our appetite was to hear Donald Trump say staggering things in the spring of 2016, back when it was new and strange.
I plugged in my headphones and heard someone in the crowd shout out to Trump: “Are you going back on the Alex Jones show?”
“Alex Jones? Trump said. “He was a nice guy! You like him?”
“It was a GREAT interview!” the man called back.
“Oh good,” Donald Trump said. “Alex Jones. Nice guy.”
I was so jolted by this exchange I almost fell off my elliptical. Donald Trump knows Alex Jones?
I AM BASICALLY ALEX JONES’S Simon Cowell. I star-spotted him in the late-1990s . . . .
Skullduggery at about 27:48 (iTunes), Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman ask Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Dem., Michigan) for her views on the Middle East Conflict, which she then mixes with observations having to do with the Holocaust and her Palestinian ancestry.
There’s a kind of a calming feeling I always tell folks when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust and the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihoods, their human dignity, their existence in many ways had been wiped out and some people’s passport . . . I mean all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post the Holocaust, post the tragedy and horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time, and I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right?, in many ways, but they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right?, and it was forced on them, and so when I think about one state, I think about the fact that why couldn’t we do it in a better way?
In 1948, an Arab war intent on the annihilation of the Jews of a most recently UN chartered Israel produced what would become the refugees of that year and the related Arab Apartheid camps of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Moreover, some Arab populations that fell in with the Jews would become themselves the Christian and Arab complement of Israel among Israel’s citizens, comprising about 20 percent of modern Israel’s population.
What was to corrode Palestinian dignity and freedom were the combined effects of Stalin’s pick-up of what Hitler and the Nazis failed to hold in their defeat; the amplification of Arab anti-Semitic ideation, much appreciated by Hitler and subsequently encouraged by Stalin in the aftermath of WWII; and in the more modern decades of the 1960s and 1970s, KGB manipulation of the Palestinians en masse with direct relation to their leadership.
Representative Tlaib’s ancestors did not have to suffer the re-emergence of the Hebrews as a political power in the Land of the Hebrews.
Quite opposite and far predating WWII, Jewish agricultural capitalization and land purchases (based in the Ottoman Land Registries) produced a new regional economy and heightened the Arab populating of the space with both Arab and Jewish labor. The refusal of Arab states to accept a Jewish enclave established the initial Palestinian separation from both Arab state cultures and from amity with the Jews. The period since the Islamic Revolution in Iran (and the related sponsoring of Hezbollah and funding of Hamas) may add its impact as regards the deepening of Palestinian captivity by those who have most professed to represent them.
One of BackChannel’s conservative Israeli friends online had this to say this morning in relation to Rep. Tlaib’s comments:
Tlaib also said that Netanyahu would not be able to look her grandmother in the eye. Her grandmother lives in an Arab village called “Beit Ur al Fa’uqah,” one of two adjacent “Beit Ur” villages on adjacent hilltiops.
The irony is that the two villages are actually the Jewish town of Beit Choron. Though we have a modern Beit Choron nearby the two Arab villages are where Jews lived for roughly 3-millenia until the 17th Century CE. At that point Tlaib’s ancestors rode filthy camels across our homeland and stole the town along with the rest of HaEretz in a process that began in 634 CE. This “woman” is real big on talking about “ancestors.” Not all Jews in Israel are Ashkenazi Holocaust Survivors. Some are Baladi, Jews like myself whose families for the most part have always lived on the land. When the very first Arab INVADED in 634 CE the last pre-modern Jewish State had only fallen 20-months before.
How far forward may any go by going so far back?
Whatever the answer, there may be a greater point to be made on behalf of historic truth looked on in Arab and Jewish partnership, so that the past has its place more in history than in the future adjustment of separable but perhaps ultimately complementary separable ethnic and political cultures.
At this point in time, any modern person in possession of a computer, moderate English language skills, and Internet access — and who is not politically repressed as regards reading and speaking online — may search up historians Benny Morris and Efraim Karsh, for a start, on Palestinian real history.
It’s sad to note of political reality that more constituents in the world’s states may prefer partisan fairy tales and convenient sloganeering to the adventure that is about learning new things, but when the pain is great enough — or old enough — as it has been for Israelis and Palestinians (for more than 70 years), one may wish for scholars to rise with integrity against the lies and inventions of politically ill-informed (at best) or venal (at worst) personalities that perpetuate conflict through the many forms of fascist-totalitarian methods focused on the continuing political servitude of those defenseless, ignorant, and powerless against them.
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL ACTION NO. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, v. PURDUE PHARMA L.P., PURDUE PHARMA INC., RICHARD SACKLER, THERESA SACKLER, KATHE SACKLER, JONATHAN SACKLER, MORTIMER DA. SACKLER, BEVERLY SACKLER, DAVID SACKLER, ILENE SACKLER LEFCOURT, PETER BOER, PAULO COSTA, CECIL PICKETT, RALPH SNYDERMAN, JUDY LEWENT, CRAIG LANDAU, JOHN STEWART, and MARK TIMNEY
Dangerous opioid drugs are killing people across Massachusetts. Prescription medicines, which are supposed to protect our health, are instead ruining people’s lives. Every community in our Commonwealth suffers from the epidemic of addiction and death.
Purdue Pharma created the epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit. First, Purdue deceived doctors and patients to get more and more people on its dangerous drugs. Second, Purdue misled them to take higher and more dangerous doses. Third, Purdue deceived them to stay on its drugs for longer and more harmful periods of time. All the while, Purdue peddled falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives. Even when Purdue knew people were addicted and dying, Purdue treated patients and their doctors as “targets” to sell more drugs. At the top of Purdue, a small group of executives led the deception and pocketed millions of dollars.
How is it in this extraordinary country in which vested interests also enjoy the greatest access to liberal education that the same affluent-to-wealthy people think nothing of addicting and gouging their fellow Americans to death?
The effort, the whistleblowers said in a lawsuit against the company, was part of an intentional “multi-tiered strategy” by Questcor Pharmaceuticals, now Mallinckrodt, to boost sales of H.P. Acthar Gel, cheating the government out of millions of dollars.
The price of the drug, best known for treating a rare infant seizure disorder, has increased almost 97,000%, from $40 a vial in 2000 to nearly $39,000 today.
The Justice Department has now intervened in the case after conducting its own extensive investigation — a sign that the government believes the allegations levied by the whistleblowers are credible. In a statement to CNN, Mallinckrodt did not deny the accusations but said the fault lies primarily with Questcor.
North American Continental Appetite for Narcotics –> Cash –> Central / South America –> Cartel –> Gangs –> Related Violence –> Corruption of Authorities –> General Insecurity –> Displacement of Population | Northern Mass Migration
If you’re on the Soviet / post-Soviet flavored Left / Far Left Progressive Movement, the same that might obtain its image of the world from, say, 927+ or Mint Press, at least consider reading Christopher Dickey’s report on the Cuba-Venezuelan connection and the InSight Crime series on narcotics trafficking and the accumulation of wealth by nominally “communist” and “socialist” so-called “leaders” in captive Central and South American states.
In familiar Orwellian fashion, the New Old Now Old Far Out and Lost Left simply ignores the sustained Soviet / post-Soviet investment in the underworld and what it does to societies everywhere it travels.
According to Karen Dawisha, recently deceased, the Soviet as administered by the Party Nomenklatura had in place in the mid-1980s a contingency plan for its own dissolution (just in case) — source: Putin’s Kleptocracy — so when the state dissolved (Dec. 25, 1991), the assets it had controlled were released to the “privileged of the The Party”. While the state transitioned into its federated form, the state was essentially lawless and without power to impose order on the chaos that ensued. (Aside: the power of the sovereign to police Russia has been always weak in terms of recognized police assets x area x population — the space has been historically underserved in that regard). The “Vory” coming out of the Gulag would present an especially egregious challenge to the new state and, so BackChannels believes, would be incorporated into the “mafia state“, effectively centralizing organized crime in the shadows beneath Vladimir Putin’s full sweep of power.
Now take in Craig Unger’s observations and blend with Russia’s Soviet / post-Soviet obligations and relationships involving all but support for Communism, which ideology was effectively neutralized by the official disempowerment of “The Party” at the end of the Cold War: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria | PLFP, PLO, Hezbollah, et al. | other former Communist Party alignments and former Loyalist (White Russian) extensions from the Imperial Period.
Russia’s mafia state, narcoterrorism, integration with big “transnational crime organizations (TCOs)” . . . — Oh! Add a few other states with their active criminal and terrorist funding portions and then imagine the money sloshing about in the pockets of the middlemen — the facilitators, the smugglers — who can’t spend all that dirty loot without cleaning it up some.
NOW, good civic minded citizen (who knows not to ask too many questions), imagine receiving it clean.
What would you do with it?
What if it stopped arriving?
In recent years and now weeks, money laundering scandals have surfaced in various ways: “Panama Papers”; HSBC; Danske Bank; Norde Bank.
The gum shoes and journos do their investigative things; we get the information and the infotainment; and we cluck: “How awful!
Wait a minute — that cash, indecipherable from other cash — is in someone’s economy serving as capital or reserves or as loose dough attractive to business, charity, labor . . . everyone for everything.
Is there a price? A benefit?
One generation does the crime — and behold: Las Vegas.
And the next: good educations; good businesses; good jobs; decent enough rule of law.
Delivered every which way: America’s Addicted: 2.5 million souls.
In the pipeline and driven by corporeal and financial insecurity associated with corruption, crime, and related impoverishment and violence: Central and South American mass migration.
While the Democrats have some post-Soviet issues on the Far Left — and the Republicans seem to draw the White Far Right — I believe Americans are perceiving a deeply paranoid, aggressive, and vindictive Administration freighted with shady figures (like Manafort) on the ride in and packed with sycophants (like Stephan Moore, the latest nomination for the Fed), today.
It was just one book (by a liberal) and may be let go, but since its publication, there have been many others, each researched and defended by its author, most with impeccable credentials. Now even the Mueller Report is being redacted — whatever the “eyes only”, the public isn’t getting the whole story, so there has to be something of value in the volume worth keeping from the public.
Whatever this report says, here’s what I know: when I was at Cambridge Analytica, the company hired known Russian agents, had data researchers in St Petersburg, tested US voter opinion on Putin’s leadership, and hired hackers from Russia – all while Bannon was in charge.
Christopher Wylie in the below displayed tweet.
In the way of communists and fascists alike, Bannon, the “populist”, has decamped himself into an Italian monastery befitting his own self-concept.
Such impressions add up, albeit among those who follow the news and query the Internet. The image of the President and his helper has not been authentically “populist”.
With Donald Trump, his once-trusted lawyer, his once-esteemed campaign manager, his brag, “I just you all a lot richer”, his Miami real estate, one of the world’s dirtiest / most glamorous markets, the story’s just not going to wash away, not matter how loud he may be about vindication.
I own it, haven’t read it, but it’s the kind of thing that pops up on Amazon with the search string, “Trump, Collusion” — there are also Trump collusion dismissals, but in that category, Roger Stone places high — I’d rather read (and trust) Guardian veteran Luke Harding.
BackChannels cited a BackChannels post on Craig Unger’s book. Here’s the direct link to the book on Amazon: