Tuesday, March 20, 2018

George Clooney: The Key to Making Peace in Africa?!?!?!

ForeignPolicy |  The scenario in South Sudan is hardly unique. Something similar plays out across many African countries torn by conflict, including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan. Oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, copper, and a variety of other mineral deposits and trafficked wildlife provide immense opportunity for those in power to line their own pockets. Brutally repressing all forms of opposition is seen as the only way to maintain control of the spoils.

Remarkably, there is currently no coordinated strategy to disrupt the illicit siphoning of money by leaders and their foreign business partners. For leaders, giving up power almost certainly means losing access to their spoils, and it might even mean facing prosecution. Every year, billions of aid dollars pour into Africa: taxpayers and donors around the world fund peacekeeping forces, state-building programs, humanitarian assistance, elections, and peace processes. But none of this support has been able to keep corrupt leaders and their network of beneficiaries from stealing billions of dollars.

Every year, billions of aid dollars pour into Africa: taxpayers and donors around the world fund peacekeeping forces, state-building programs, humanitarian assistance, elections, and peace processes. But none of this support has been able to keep corrupt leaders and their network of beneficiaries from stealing billions of dollars.
This is the fatal flaw of peacemaking in Africa: those supporting mediation lack the leverage necessary to stop corrupt figures from using their forces to bomb, burn, imprison, silence, torture, starve, impoverish, kill, and rape to maintain or gain power. South Sudanese peace talks, for example, are currently stuck because Kiir and his allies have rejected any notion of sharing power with the rebels, since such an arrangement would require giving up their exclusive grip on the crudely-constructed looting machine masquerading as a government.

For years, the tool of choice for building leverage against actors undermining peace or human rights has been to impose targeted sanctions. But sanctions have been used sparingly in Africa. They have been applied to only a few individuals at a time, with very little enforcement, and are rarely extended to predatory commercial collaborators, both inside and outside Africa, who facilitate and enable official misdeeds. Over time, warring parties have come to regard sanctions as a vague annoyance for their public relations rather than as any serious threat to their power. The Obama and Trump administrations recently removed comprehensive sanctions against neighboring Sudan, but were unable to extract meaningful changes in Khartoum’s behavior. This move is a potent example of the folly of current peace efforts in Africa, which have for the most part eschewed the use of readily available tools for applying pressure that are both more sophisticated and better focused. 

This standard but failing approach can change. Serious financial pressure with real bite is not only possible; it has proved effective in the past. 

As a start, sanctions must be levied against entire networks, not just individuals. That was the approach the United States took with Iran and North Korea in order to drive them to the negotiating table. The United States deployed extensive sanctions targeting Iran’s leadership and military networks in an effort to disrupt the illicit funding streams used by the country’s ruling elites to maintain their grip on Iran’s economy. For example, in June 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, a state-owned entity that includes 37 ostensibly private businesses located around the world, many of which were used as front companies meant to evade sanctions. They generated and controlled massive, off-the-books investments that they hid from both the Iranian people and international regulators. 

Wlhat Does Hollywood Gain By Placing the Queer Gaze in the Spotlight?

LATimes |  Such an approach, and the resulting film, is a manifestation of the unique vantage point Berlanti brings to projects as a gay man. As Hollywood continues conversations about inclusion and diversity, the distinctive outlooks LGBTQ filmmakers bring have become a calling card. Call it the "queer gaze."

The "male gaze," a term coined in 1975 by film theorist Laura Mulvey, describes how film — and art of all sorts — is created through the lens of a heterosexual man. Such a gaze has manifested itself in stereotypical roles for women and minorities, including the busty dumb blond and the sassy black woman.

Over the last couple of years, awareness has risen for an unofficial retort, the "female gaze," as women have taken and been given more opportunities to write and direct their own narratives with female characters at the center. Look no further than the boom of women behind the scenes in television — from the all-female directing teams of "Queen Sugar" and "Jessica Jones" to the writers rooms of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and "Jane the Virgin" — for representations of women toppling patriarchal conventions.

The "queer gaze," meanwhile, remains less known and discussed as a creative perspective. A direct response to the oft unspoken of yet ever-present "straight gaze," the queer gaze recognizes how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people create and view art. Moreover, it challenges binary notions of existence and storytelling employed in many male gaze versus female gaze conversations where the context is nearly always heterosexual.

LATimes |  I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Alt-Right and the Jewish Question

Quillette |  For many on the alt-right, every grievance is, at root, about Jews. Andrew Anglin, host of the most popular alt-right/neo-Nazi website, explains: “the only thing in our movement that really matters [is] anti-Semitism.” If only the Jews were gone, he argues, the white race, freed from bondage, would immediately overcome all of its problems. Where does this attitude come from?
Jews are a conspicuous people, small in number but large in footprint. As Mark Twain wrote in 1899:
If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race….Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk….What is the secret of his immortality?
For many people throughout history, the answer to Twain’s question was simple: Jews conspire among themselves to dominate and disadvantage gentiles. This answer fell out of fashion, at least in polite society, after World War II. Since the 1990s, however, the conspiratorial account of Jewish prominence has taken on a new, more meretricious form in the work of (now retired) California State University, Long Beach psychologist Kevin MacDonald, known affectionately among alt-righters as “KMac.” According to Richard Spencer, the inventor of the term “alt-right” and unofficial leader of the movement: “There is no man on the planet who has done more for the understanding of the pole around which the world revolves than Kevin MacDonald.” And: “KMac…may be the most essential man in our movement in terms of thought leader[ship].” To understand the alt-right’s anti-Semitism, we must understand MacDonald’s ideas, particularly as outlined in his most influential book, The Culture of Critique.

According to MacDonald, Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy.” Jews possess both genetic and cultural adaptations (including, on the genetic side, high IQ and ethnocentrism) that allow them to develop successful intellectual movements that undermine gentile society and promote their own group continuity. “Jewish intellectual movements,” MacDonald argues, are led by charismatic figures analogous to rabbis. They attack white nationalism while promoting Jewish nationalism, and use pseudoscience to “pathologize” anti-Semitism, which in reality is a justified response to “Jewish aggression.” According to MacDonald, Jewish intellectual movements include Freudianism, Frankfurt School critical theory, and multiculturalism. These movements, MacDonald claims, taught white gentiles to reject ethnocentrism and accept high levels of nonwhite immigration to their countries while tolerating Jewish ethnocentrism and racially restrictive immigration policies in Israel.

MacDonald’s theory and the anti-Semitism of many on the alt-right are largely reactions to the perceived liberalism of Jews. One of us (Cofnas) has just published an academic paper that examines MacDonald’s most influential book, The Culture of Critique, and finds that it is chock full of misrepresented sources, cherry-picked facts, and egregious distortions of history. MacDonald and the alt-righters are, nevertheless, correct that many liberal leaders over the last hundred years have been Jewish. We’d like to offer an explanation for this phenomenon, as well as determine whether Jewish liberalism is the cause or the result of anti-Semitism.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What, Exactly, Are Male Supremacy Groups?

rantt |  Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center for the first time added two male supremacy groups to its hate group watch list, noting in their announcement that “the vilification of women by these groups makes them no different than other groups that demean entire populations, such as the LGBT community, Muslims or Jews, based on their inherent characteristics.”

The decision to officially track the actions of two groups espousing male supremacy ideology comes at a time in which fringe and extremist groups have become increasingly emboldened through many factors, such astheir unprecedented access to key political leaders. And it also comes at a time when these groups are affecting tangible, real-world damage—to women, to marginalized people, to media, and to the overarching landscape of American politics.

The rise and embrace of male supremacy groups has yielded violence and provably damaging anti-woman White House policies. But perhaps most terrifying of all, groups that operate on the premise of white male victimhood, of the equation of female empowerment and diversity to anti-male persecution, are spreading the message that marginalized voices are a threat to free speech that must be expunged. This ideology of invalidating modern feminist speech is most recognizable in that innocuous term, “political correctness” — the idea that basic demands for respect and recognition are somehow far from basic, and rather, an oppressive overreach; that speech in opposition to misogynistic, hateful speech is somehow not free speech, but rather, the hate speech that it responds to is.

The very concept of political correctness, espoused by the same thinkers who founded male supremacy activism, is meant to trivialize oppression, and through that trivialization, silence, rewrite history, and make marginalized groups vulnerable to political attacks.

Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes

CounterPunch |  You may not recognize names like Amy Cuddy, Kristina Durante, or Brian Wansink but if you listen to NPR, watch TED talks, or read popular online news sites or local and national outlets such as the New York Times, you have probably stumbled across their work. They are among a growing number of academics who have produced one or more exciting, novel, too-amazing-to-be-true research studies that have caught the attention of the media and have been widely disseminated through American culture to the point that we may have internalized their findings as fact. Yet their work has since been debunked, shown to be unscientific and irreproducible. It is all part of what has been dubbed the “replication crisis” in science. Since replication is one of the basic tenets of science, failure to reproduce the results of a study (especially after several attempts) indicates a lack of support for the original findings. How does this happen time and time again, and what does it say about science and the news media?

Case 1 – Amy Cuddy
Amy Cuddy’s famous study on how an assertive “power pose” could elevate testosterone levels and increase a person’s confidence and risk-taking was published in the prestigious Psychological Science, one of the top journals in that field. Then a professor in the Harvard Business School, Cuddy went on to give the second most-popular TED talk ever, sign a book deal, and travel around the world commanding huge fees on the lecture circuit based on the general theme of her study. In the meantime, other skeptical researchers Joe Simmons and Uri Simonsohn questioned the veracity of her claims and Eva Ranehill and collegues failed to replicate the results of the study. One of Cuddy’s co-authors, Dana Carney, has since withdrawn her support of the study, saying “I do not believe the effects are real.” But Cuddy, having voluntarily left her academic position, still stands by her work.

In truth, not only is the power pose study a replication failure, it is a failure of peer review. No one needs a particularly specialized expertise to see some of the problems with the study. One glance at the methods section of the paper and you see the sample size of 42, hardly sufficient or statistically powerful. In addition, like in many studies, specific subjective proxies were used to indicate a much more general, supposedly objective, finding. Here, risk taking was measured by participants’ willingness to perform a certain gambling task. Yet one’s interest in gambling is not necessarily directly proportional to one’s interest in other risky activities. Further, participants’ levels of confidence were self-reported on a scale of 1-5. Self-reporting is always error prone, because your level of “2” may not be equivalent to my level of “2.” And yet, all of these subjective measurements are treated as concrete quantifiable data. Finally, the study assumed no cultural differences; demonstrations of power or confidence might not be viewed as beneficial and positive as they are assumed to be in the American culture.

You can see how the reliability of the study deteriorates under scrutiny. But no study is perfect. One of the biggest problems with this study and many similar ones is not just how unreliable the results are, but that the results are treated as generalizable to everyone everywhere. If Cuddy had defined the results as provisional and contingent upon certain assumptions, and circumstances, then her research might have been more defendable, but instead she presented her shoddy science as universal immutable fact. This practice appears to be too widespread.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Psy-Opping, Gaslighting, and Outright Lying - MSM Weirder By the Minute...,

medium |  This Red Scare reboot keeps getting stranger and stranger.

In a recent discussion with Infowars‘ Alex Jones, Luis Elizondo of To The Stars Academy spoke about new video footage of UFO phenomena recently released by the Pentagon, and says the three videos that have been released so far comprise just a small fraction of the strange and compelling evidence that he has accessed personally.

“These are just three videos now that have come out that everybody’s looking at,” Elizondo said as Jones downed an entire pitcher of CAVEMAN True Alpha Bone Broth Formula™ without pausing to breathe or breaking eye contact with the camera. “But there is far more compelling evidence that I was privy to that — you know, I think you’re looking at the tip of the iceberg.”

“It could be anything, so I wouldn’t rule anything out, and that’s why I think we need to look at it,” Elizondo added. “I mean it could be Russian. It could be Chinese. It could be little green men from Mars. We don’t know what the hell it is.”

Oh wait, sorry, I got mixed up. That wasn’t Infowars, it was CNN.

The mass media propaganda machine is very busy. It’s got wars to manufacture consent for, it’s got Russia to lie about, it’s got a CIA-packed midterm election to sell as healthy democracy, it’s got end-stage ecocidal neoliberalism to disguise as freedom and sanity, and it’s got a corporatist oligarchy to dress up as a constitutional representative republic. How is it finding the time to talk about space aliens so much all of a sudden?

IG's Don't Place Internal Investigative Targets Under Oath...,

theconservativetreehouse |  Don’t be so blinded by the tripwire flares you fail to see the obvious.  Within the statement from Attorney General Sessions hopefully you’ll note: “Including Under Oath”
The IG doesn’t place the internal investigative target “under oath”.  An outside prosecutor who is assisting the IG does.  Hence Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling us what is going on – SEE HERE – Just like he did before:
… I have appointed a person outside of Washington, many years in the Department of Justice to look at all the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us; and we’re conducting that investigation. (read more)

You're Going To See Pure TNT Come Out Of This IG Report

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fresh Off Of FUBARing A Wrinkle In Time, Ava Duvernay Will Fustercluck The New Gods...,

hollywoodreporter |  If superhero stories, as many have argued, offer a contemporary mythology, then the Fourth World Saga at the center of New Gods, ups that ante considerably. The DC Entertainment property is getting its highest profile yet, with the news that director Ava DuVernay will be tackling a film adaptation of the project for Warner Bros.

So, who are the New Gods?

Since its creation in the early 1970s, when Jack Kirby abandoned the Marvel Universe to create something altogether new at competitors DC, the Fourth World Saga has endeavored to tell stories on a scope that make even the most cosmic of superhero epics seem unambitious by comparison. Not for nothing did the first issue of 1971’s New Gods open with the gloriously melodramatic narration, 
There came a time when the old Gods died!”

Told, initially, across four separate comic book series running in parallel — and then, in subsequent years, through even more revivals, guest shots and graphic novels — the Fourth World Saga is a sprawling storyline with a truly vast cast of characters that would take a long time to fully introduce. In order to get a quick handle on DuVernay’s film project, however, here is a brief primer on some of the primary players.

Russia Stories So Preposterous They'd Make Shonda Rhimes Blush...,

thesaker |  Assuming mankind finds a way not to destroy itself in the near future and assuming that there will still be historians in the 22nd or 23rd centuries, I bet you that they will look at the AngloZionist Empire and see the four following characteristics as some of its core features: lies, willful ignorance, hypocrisy, and hysterics. To illustrate my point I will use the recent “Skripal nerve-gas assassination” story as it really encompasses all of these characteristics.

I won’t even bother debunking the official nonsense here as others have done a very good job of pointing out the idiocy of the official narrative. If you are truly capable of believing that “Putin” (that is the current collective designator for the Evil Empire of Mordor currently threatening all of western civilization) would order the murder of a man whom a Russian military court sentenced to only 13 years in jail (as opposed to life or death) and who was subsequently released as part of a swap with the USA, you can stop reading right now and go back to watching TV. I personally have neither the energy nor the inclination to even discuss such a self-evidently absurd theory. No, what I do want to do is use this story as a perfect illustration of the kind of society we now all live in looked at from a moral point of view. I realize that we live in a largely value-free society where moral norms have been replaced by ideological orthodoxy, but that is just one more reason for me to write about what is taking place precisely focusing on the moral dimensions of current events.

Lies and the unapologetic denial of reality:
In a 2015 article entitled “A society of sexually frustrated Pinocchios” I wrote the following:
I see a direct cause and effect relationship between the denial of moral reality and the denial of physical reality. I can’t prove that, of course, but here is my thesis: Almost from day one, the early western civilization began by, shall we say, taking liberties with the truth, which it could bend, adapt, massage and repackage to serve the ideological agenda of the day. It was not quite the full-blown and unapologetic relativism of the 19th century yet, but it was an important first step. With “principles” such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all “for the greater glory of God” the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth, only the subjective perception or even representation each person might have thereof. Fast forward another 10 centuries or so and we end up with the modern “Gayropa” (as Europe is now often referred to in Russia): not only has God been declared ‘dead’ and all notions of right and wrong dismissed as “cultural”, but even objective reality has now been rendered contingent upon political expediency and ideological imperatives.
I went on to quote George Orwell by reminding how he defined “doublethink” in his book 1984:
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it (…) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality
and I concluded by saying that “The necessary corollary from this state of mind is that only appearances matter, not reality.

This is exactly what we are observing; not only in the silly Skripal nerve-gas assassination story but also in all the rest of the Russophobic nonsense produced by the AngloZionist propaganda machine including the “Litvinenko polonium murder” and the “Yushchenko dioxin poisoning“. The fact that neither nerve-gas, nor polonium nor dioxin are in any way effective murder weapons does not matter in the least: a simple drive-by shooting, street-stabbing or, better, any “accident” is both easier to arrange and impossible to trace. Fancy assassination methods are used when access to the target is very hard or impossible (as was the case with Ibn al-Khattab, whose assassination the Russians were more than happy to take credit for; this might also have been the case with the death of Yasser Arafat). But the best way of murdering somebody is to simply make the body disappear, making any subsequent investigation almost impossible. Finally, you can always subcontract the assassination to somebody else like, for example, when the CIA tried and failed, to murder Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussain Fadlallah by subcontracting his bombing to its local “Christian” allies, killing over 80 innocent people in the process. There is plenty of common crime in the UK and to get somebody to rob and stab Skripal would have probably been the easiest version. That’s assuming that the Russians had any reason to want him dead, which they self-evidently didn’t.

But here is the important thing: every single criminal or intelligence specialist in the West understands all of the above. But that does not stop the Ziomedia from publishing articles like this one “A Brief History of Attempted Russian Assassinations by Poison” which also lists people poisoned by Russians

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Do You Believe That Putin Underestimates the West?

paulcraigroberts |  By now one would think that Russians, both government, media, and public, would understand that all the West is capable of is to lie. The purpose of the lies is to demonize Russia and to set up Russia for military attack. 

But somehow Russians can’t get the message. Russians think it is all some kind of mistake that facts and legal processes and diplomacy can clear up. “Please just listen to us, we can clear up all the misconceptions!” As if the West cares. Washington wants “the misconceptions.” That is why Washington creates them.

The inability of Russians to understand the West, which Russia stupidly wants to join, is the reason that World War 3 is near at hand.

What if, instead of reciting the legal process and the law governing it that the UK PM refused to follow before publicly accusing Russia without the presentation of any evidence, the Russian UN Ambassador had simply said: “If the UK exists tomorrow, it will be due entirely to the forbearance of the Russian government.”

By relying on law, about which no Western country gives a hoot, the Russian UN ambassador permitted Washington’s French puppet and other of Washington’s European puppet states to say that they supported the British charges against Russia despite the absence of evidence. Perhaps the Russians noticed that none of those European governments required any evidence that Russia was responsible. All that was required was the accusation.

In the exceptional, indispensable Western World ruled by Washington, accusation alone is proof of Russian mendacity. When British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn asked PM May if she actually had any real evidence that Russia had tried to kill the former British double-agent, Corbyn was shouted down not only by the corrupt Conservatives but also by members of the Labour Party that he heads. How much more evidence does Russia need that facts are not important to the West?

Will Russia wake up? Or will its demented desire to be part of the West leave Russians unprepared for Washington’s nuclear strike, which is coming.

After You Fire McCabe Jeff, GTFOH Y'Dayyum Self!!!

NYMag |  We now live in a world where the attorney general going out to dinner with two top Justice Department officials is not only news, but a sign that he’s rebelling against the president. As a senator, Jeff Sessions was one of Donald Trump’s earliest supporters, and he served as one of his campaign’s top foreign-policy advisers. But the seeds of the attorney general’s rift with the president were planted during his confirmation hearing, when he offered up some thoughts about Russia collusion that turned out to be not entirely accurate. Here’s how the Trump-Sessions relationship devolved to the point that two 71-year-old lawmakers are barely speaking, lobbing insults on Twitter, and sending passive-aggressive messages with their choice of dinner companion.

Sessions’s Russia Contacts Are Revealed

Exactly one year ago, President Trump was basking in the unusually positive reviews from his first address to Congress. The very next day, we learned that Sessions met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least twice while working with the Trump campaign — yet during his confirmation hearing he denied, under oath, having any such contacts.

“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions said of Trump officials’ Russia contacts, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

Andrew McCabe - You're Fired!!!

NYTimes |  Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing a recommendation to fire the former F.B.I. deputy director, Andrew G. McCabe, just days before he is scheduled to retire on Sunday, people briefed on the matter said. Mr. McCabe was a frequent target of attack from President Trump, who taunted him both publicly and privately.

Mr. McCabe is ensnared in an internal review that includes an examination of his decision in 2016 to allow F.B.I. officials to speak with reporters about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that Mr. McCabe was not forthcoming during the review, according to the people briefed on the matter. That yet-to-be-released report triggered an F.B.I. disciplinary process that recommended his termination — leaving Mr. Sessions to either accept or reverse that decision.

Lack of candor is a fireable offense, but like so much at the F.B.I., Mr. McCabe’s fate is also entangled in presidential politics and the special counsel investigation. He was involved from the beginning in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. He is also a potential witness in the inquiry into whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice.

Mr. Trump’s supporters have tried to cast Mr. McCabe as part of a “deep state” that operates in secret to undermine the administration. Mr. Trump has goaded Mr. Sessions into taking action against him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Exxon Out, Koch Brothers In At Foggy Bottom...,

libertyblitzkrieg |  When the director of the CIA, an unelected public servant, publicly demonizes a publisher such as WikiLeaks as a “fraud,” “coward” and “enemy,” it puts all journalists on notice, or should. Pompeo’s next talking point, unsupported by fact, that WikiLeaks is a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” is a dagger aimed at Americans’ constitutional right to receive honest information about their government. This accusation mirrors attempts throughout history by bureaucrats seeking, and failing, to criminalize speech that reveals their own failings…

Words matter, and I assume that Pompeo meant his when he said, “Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an embassy in London. He’s not a U.S. citizen.” As a legal matter, this statement is simply false. It underscores just how dangerous it is for an unelected official whose agency’s work is rooted in lying and misdirection to be the sole arbiter of the truth and the interpreter of the Constitution.

– From Julian Assange’s Washington Post opinion piece: The CIA Director Is Waging War on Truth-Tellers like WikiLeaks

What’s most unique about Mike Pompeo isn’t the fact he’s a terrible human being, it’s the fact he’s so transparent and shameless about it. This became crystal clear last April when I read the transcript of a speech he gave at UAE-funded think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

I covered Pompeo’s commentary in detail in the piece, The American Empire Under Donald Trump Has Become Increasingly Desperate, Dangerous & Insecure, but let’s revisit in case some of you missed it the first time around.

Sergei Skripal: UK Now Playing Some Russia, Russia, Russia Music...,

timesofisrael | Moscow rejects accusation of responsibility for attack on Sergei Skripal, likening it to previous attacks against Russians on UK soil. 

Moscow on Monday rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement to parliament that it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a former spy in Britain.  

The statement was part of an “information and political campaign based on provocation,” said Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in comments carried by news agencies. 

“This is a circus show in the British parliament,” she added.

“Rather than think up new fairy tales, maybe someone in the kingdom could explain how the previous ones ended up — about Litvinenko, Berezovsky, Perepilichny and many others who have mysteriously died on British soil,” Zakharova said.

timesofisrael |   The White House on Monday condemned the chemical attack on a former Russian spy in Britain as “an outrage,” breaking a week-long silence. 

“The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against UK citizens on UK soil is an outrage,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “The attack was reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible.” 

Sanders stopped short of pointing the finger of blame at Moscow, as British Prime Minister Theresa May did earlier in parliament.

The United States and Britain have a long-standing intelligence-sharing agreement.
When asked whether Russia was to blame, Sanders demurred: “We stand by our ally and fully support them.”

For a week, the White House had refused to comment on the attempt to kill Sergei Skripal, who sold secrets to Britain and later moved there in a 2010 spy swap with Russia.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The CIA Democrats: Warsocialist Welfare Trash Flooding Midterm Elections...,

wsws |  An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored “star” recruit.

A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, “homeland defense” and cyber warfare.

Will Putin’s Speech Be Enough To Wake Up the Empire’s Ruling Elites from Their Delusional Slumber?

thesaker |  Russia and the USA have been at war since at least 2014 (I have been warning about this year, after year, after year). So far, this war has been about 80% informational, 15% economic and 5% kinetic. But this could very well change, and very suddenly. Russia has therefore embarked on an immense effort to prepare against both a conventional and a nuclear attack by the AngloZionist Empire. Here are some of the measures which have been taken in this context: (partial, non-exhaustive list!)

In response to the conventional NATO threat from the West:
  • Putin has ordered the re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army. This Tank Army will include two Tank Divisions (the best ones in the Russian military – 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division and the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division), and a total of 500+ T-14 Armata tanks. This Tank Army will be supported by the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army (in progress). This will be what was called a “Shock Army” during WWII and the Cold War.
  • The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system (completed)
  • The doubling of the size of the Russian Airborne Forces from 36’000 to 72’000 (in progress).
  • Creation of a National Guard: which will include troops of the Interior Ministry (about 170’000 soldiers), personnel from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the OMON riot police forces (about 40’000 soldiers), the SOBR rapid-reaction forces (about 5000+ soldiers), the Special Designation Center of the Operational Reaction Forces and Aviation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs including the Special Forces units “Zubr”, “Rys’” and “Iastreb” (about 700+ operators) for a total of about 250’000 soldiers which will probably reach the 300’000 men figure in the near future.
  • The procurement and deployment of advanced multi-role and air superiority fighters and interceptors (MiG-31BM, Su-30SM, Su-35S and, soon, the MiG-35 and Su-57).
  • Deployment of S-400 and S-500 air defense systems along with very long range radars.
  • The adoption of about 70% of new, modern, systems across all the armed forces.
In response to the ABM “encirclement” of Russia by the USA:
  • The deployment of the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM with hypersonic maneuverable reentry vehicles
  • The deployment of conventionally armed very long-range cruise missiles
  • The deployment of a nuclear powered cruise missile with a basically unlimited range
  • The deployment of a nuclear powered unmanned submersible with intercontinental range, very high speed, silent propulsion and capable of moving a great depths
  • The deployment of the Mach 10 hypersonic missile Kinzhal with a 2’000 kilometer range
  • The deployment of a new strategic missile Avangard capable of Mach 20 velocities
This list is far from being exhaustive, there is much more missing from it including new submarines, (air-independent propulsion, conventional diesel-electric, nuclear attack and SSBNs), strike aircraft, new armored vehicles of various types, new advanced (high tech) individual soldier equipment, new artillery systems, etc. etc. etc. But by far the most important element in the Russian readiness to confront and, if needed, repel any western aggression is the morale, discipline, training, and resolve of Russian soldiers (so powerfully illustrated in several recent examples in Syria). Let’s just say that in comparison US and EU servicemen (or their commanders, for that matter) are not exactly an impressive lot and leave it at that.

Si vis pacem, para bellum
The reality is, of course, that nobody in Russia plans for a war, needs a war or wants a war. In fact, Russia as a country needs many more years of (even relative) peace. First, because time is obviously on Russia’s side and that the military balance with the USA is very rapidly shifting in Russia’s favor. But no less important is the fact that, unlike the USA which strives for conflicts, wars, and chaos, Russia badly needs peace to deal with her still very numerous internal problems which have been neglected for all too long. The problem is that the entire US political system and economy are completely dependent on a permanent state of war. That, combined with an imperial hubris boosted by an increasingly vocal russophobia is a potent and potentially dangerous mix leaving Russia no other options than “bare her fangs” and engage in some saber rattling of her own. So will Putin’s speech be enough to wake up the Empire’s ruling elites from their delusional slumber?

Probably not. In fact, in the short term, it might have the opposite effect.

Remember when the Russian’s deflected Obama’s planned attack on Syria? The US reaction was to trigger the Maidan. Sadly, I expect something very similar will happen soon, most likely in the form of a full-scale Ukronazi attack against the Donbass this Spring or during the World Cup this summer. Of course, regardless of the actual outcome of such an attack (already discussed here), this will not in any way affect the actual correlation of forces between Russia and the Empire. But it will feel good (Neocons love revenge in all its forms). We can also expect further provocations in Syria (already discussed here). Hence and for the foreseeable future, the Russians will have to continue on their current, admittedly frustrating and even painful course, and maintain a relatively passive and evasive posture which the Empire and its sycophants will predictably interpret as a sign of weakness. Let them. As long as in the real world the actual power (soft or hard) of the Empire continues to decline, as long as the US MIC continues to churn out fantastically expensive but militarily useless weapon systems, as long as US politicians are busy blaming everything on “Russian interference” while doing nothing to reform their own, collapsing economy and infrastructure, as long as the USA continues to use the printing press as a substitute for actual wealth and as long as the internal socio-political tensions in the USA continue to heat up – then Putin’s plan is working.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Headlines Focusing On One Word: Jews

Forward |   In an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly in Moscow that aired on March 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked about the 13 Russian nationals indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with a covert social media campaign.

Through a translator, Putin responded:

“Maybe they’re not even Russians. Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship. Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don’t know.”

The reaction from U.S. and Israeli media outlets was immediate and angry, with headlines focusing on one word: Jews.

Slate went with “Putin: Maybe it Was the Jews Who Meddled in U.S. Presidential Election”, New York Magazine with “Putin Says Jews Might Be to Blame for 2016 Election Hacking”, and the Jerusalem Post with “Putin: Jews might have been behind U.S. election interference”, as a representative sample.

The American Jewish Committee called Putin’s remarks “eerily reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a parallel also drawn by the head of the Anti-Defamation League. Democratic lawmakers also condemned the remarks, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who tweeted, “Repulsive Putin remark deserves to be denounced, soundly and promptly, by world leaders. Why is Trump silent? Intolerance is intolerable.”

This reaction, while understandable, fundamentally misrepresents both what Putin said and the cultural context in which he said it.

This is not to defend Putin for his smug and condescending tone throughout the interview, his palpably dishonest statements regarding whether the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election, or his unhelpful injection of ethnicity into the debate. Nonetheless, it’s important to be accurate about what Putin most likely meant and whether it represents a deeper animus toward Jews. Anti-Semitism in Russia is a real problem, but the panicked responses to Putin’s offhand comments miss the mark.

Valodya: No More F**ks To Give...,

WaPo |  Jewish groups and U.S. lawmakers condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that the 2016 U.S. presidential election may have been manipulated by Russian Jews.

Putin’s remarks came during a long and occasionally surreal interview with NBC News on Saturday, in which he speculated that nearly anyone other than the Russian government could have been behind a program to disrupt the election. U.S. intelligence agencies believe Putin ordered the effort to undermine faith in the U.S. election and help elect Donald Trump as president.

“Maybe they’re not even Russians,” Putin told Megyn Kelly, referring to who might have been behind the election interference. “Maybe they’re Ukrainian, Tatars, Jews — just with Russian citizenship.”
He also speculated that France, Germany or “Asia” might have interfered in the election — or even Russians paid by the U.S. government.

But his remark about Jews, which seemed to suggest that a Russian Jew was not really a Russian, prompted particular outrage among those who remember Russia’s centuries-long history of anti-Semitism and Jewish purges. Some groups compared the statement to anti-Jewish myths that helped inspire the Holocaust.

“Repulsive Putin remark deserves to be denounced, soundly and promptly, by world leaders,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote on Twitter. “Why is Trump silent?” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) also demanded a response by Trump, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

On March 1st, Putin Announced The Total Categorical Failure Of The U.S. Intelligence Community

strategic-culture |  But the real game changer is the Russian ability to negate America’s ability to project power through its navy. The already deployed air-launched Kinzhal anti-ship missile has a range of 2000 kilometers and a hyper-sonic speed that makes it nearly impossible to intercept. The development has made America’s thirteen aircraft carrier groups obsolete. President Putin made clear that Russia now has an overwhelming military advantage in cruise and ballistic missiles that are capable of penetrating U.S. defenses.

The new reality may or may not impel policymakers in Washington to approach Moscow and seek a new round of negotiations for arms control, but the real shock deriving from the Putin announcement is the failure of the intelligence community to anticipate the developments and advise their significance. Some of the new systems were hardly secret, with development of the Sarmat, for example, known to western governments for a number of years.

There will no doubt be a blame game in Washington over the inability to learn of Russia’s arms programs, but the questions that probably will not be asked relates to the intelligence agencies themselves and their capabilities, or lack thereof. It is no secret that organizations like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have seen their basic missions change since 2001. An organization that used to pride itself on its ability to conduct classic espionage operations involving recruiting and running spies suddenly heard from policymakers that those skills were no longer in demand. Many officers who were made redundant or forced to retire were precisely those individuals who had cut their teeth on running operations directed against the old Soviet Union. They had the language and cultural skills necessary to collect information on Russia. With their departure, those capabilities also largely vanished.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

With Warsocialism Obsolete - America Has An Opportunity To Do Over

russelltexasbentley |  To My Family and Friends, and All Good People of the USA,

You may not know it yet, but the world changed on March 1st, 2018, an old era was ended, and a new era begun.        In very great part, the meaning of this new era is up to you.

On that historic day, Vladimir Putin revealed to the world that the US military is now obsolete, and no longer capable of "projecting power", committing war crimes, or intimidating and destroying smaller nations around the world. That day has ended forever, one way or another.  The US military is still completely capable of the mission it needs and deserves to do, which is to defend the territory and people of the United States of America.  You are safe. There is no threat.  But the days of your government threatening and destroying other countries is over. I hope you understand this.

Putin's revelation of Russia's game-changing weapons, against which the US military is literally defenseless, is not a threat or a bluff. Only liars and fools speak of "Russian aggression", and the stupidity of anyone who says or believes "Putin is bluffing" is beyond measure. Russia's weapons are real, and the US military industrial complex (that Dwight Eisenhower warned about 57 years ago) has absolutely no defense against them. In spite of plundering and squandering literally trillions of dollars from the US treasury and the American People in the name of  "defense", they are defenseless.

Russia's new weapons present no threat to the American People, unless you allow the people who own and control your government to to start a world war and force the Russians to use them. But if you do allow that to happen, the American people will get exactly what the "good Germans" got in 1945. And you will deserve it, just as much as they did. For the exact same reasons.

Speaking Softly As Always, Valodya Ended U.S. Superpower

straightlinelogic |  During his State of the Nation address on March 1, Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed that Russia had developed six new weapons. For Putin’s descriptions of the weapons and more details about them, please read the above-linked article by Alexander Mercouris, which was posted on SLL.

Four of the six weapons Putin mentioned are, if Putin is to be believed, already developed: the Sarmat heavy Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), a nuclear powered cruise missile, a nuclear powered underwater drone, and an aircraft launched Kinzhai hypersonic missile. They are breathtaking for their speed, range, maneuverability, undetectability, and miniaturization of nuclear reactor technology. The other two, the Avangard hypersonic projectile and laser weapons (which Putin only cryptically mentioned), are believed to be still under development.

Hypersonic means a minimum of at least 5 times the speed of sound (Mach 1 or 741 mph, Mach 5 is 3705 mph). Putin claimed the Kinzhai hypersonic missile travels at Mach 10 (7410 mph). The Avangard hypersonic projectile may hit Mach 20 (14020 mph). Intercepting missiles traveling at supersonic speeds (Mach 1 to Mach 5) has proven difficult enough. Even in the limited, controlled tests that have been conducted, present technology has not been 100 percent effective. Presumably, in real world situations they would be even less effective. The difficulties of intercepting weapons traveling at hypersonic speeds are obvious and daunting.

Compounding those difficulties are the weapons’ range and maneuverability. The Sarmat ICBM is believed to have range of at least 10,500 miles (Putin said it has “practically no range restrictions”) and can attack targets via either the North or South Pole (US missile defenses are oriented towards the North Pole). It is able to constantly maneuver at a speed of what is believed to be Mach 5 or Mach 6, and to carry 15 warheads with yields estimated at 150 to 300 kilotons (the Nagasaki atomic bomb had a yield of 23 kilotons).

Powering cruise missiles and underwater drones (both of which can carry nuclear warheads) with miniature nuclear reactors gives them virtually unlimited range. Putin claimed the Kinzhai missile, “can also manoeuvre at all phases of its flight trajectory, which also allows it to overcome all existing and, I think, prospective anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence systems.”

Friday, March 09, 2018

Obamamandian Imperative: Crushing Peasants With A Privatized Presidential Center

WashingtonExaminer |  A panel of national and local experts, comprised mostly of African-Americans, lambasted Chicago city officials in a meeting Wednesday night for how they have worked closely with the Obama Foundation to build the Obama Presidential Center on public land despite criticism and serious concerns from representatives of the South Side neighborhood.

"You have all this talk about collusion between Trump and Russia, right? To me, that sounds like collusion between the city and the university, and we see the same thing happening in relation to this," one of the panelists, Jawanza Malone, executive director of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, said.

University of Chicago professors, leaders in the black community, and experts on historic preservation and architecture repeatedly condemned former President Barack Obama and his organization for engaging in closed-door negotiations with the university and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama's first term chief of staff, and said the Democratic leader is ignoring the historic black community's needs.

Panelists indicated that their main gripe is the lack of representation by those overseeing the project. The speakers also listed other grievances they had with the current plan, though they agreed the center itself was not the issue, but rather how it was being rolled out.

Below is a list of 13 of those concerns.
1. Despite receiving invitations to attend and participate in the discussion, no one from the Obama Foundation, city of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, the park district, or University of Chicago chose to attend the meeting, university professor Tom Mitchell announced.

2. The Obama Foundation has refused to sign a Community Benefits Agreement, which Mitchell said would put in "writing the many glowing promises that protect low-income residents from eviction and higher rents." The idea of a CBA was "declared out of bounds with a promise that the Obama administration would do even better than such an agreement." No such deal has been struck in the four years that organizations and residents have voiced concerns about gentrification due to the project.

3. In the early planning stages for the center, which was rolled out in 2014 as a plan for a library, the Obama Foundation did hold community meetings, but Mitchell said they were "more like marketing exercises, sometimes like pep rallies, featuring glossy PowerPoints, but relatively few opportunities for open public discussion.

Instead, we were given breakout groups, which fragment the public and questionnaires that reduce the public to statistical interest groups." Mitchell added that on the "rare occasions when an open discussion was allowed, questions were too often or evaded."

4. What started as a presidential library that would be overseen by the National Archives quickly turned into a privately run operation that saw other private entities try to get a piece of the deal. A PGA golf course scheme and five-acre parking garage were both announced as additions to the center, only to be rescinded later due to public outcry.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

God Cares Nothing For Your Suffering....,

medium |  What does it mean to be American? To really “be” — see, feel, think, act American, so much so that you are not self-aware of it, because it is unconscious, reflexive, invisible, this way of “being”?

Well, it means what it always has. Punching down, not lifting up. Punching down is hardwired into America by now, thanks to a unique history of settlers — who had never had any — punching the next wave down for relative hierarchical position. An attitude of cruelty was born. And so today cruelty is the point of its institutions, the purpose of its norms, and the linchpin of its perverse idea of virtue, that by punishing people, we can better them. It is all that Americans expect from each other — and give to each other. That is the terrible burden of a Promised Land that history’s despised warred among one another for domination of.

The problem is this. A society of people punching one another down must collapse. What else could it do? It cannot rise, can it? If I am punching you down, and I am punching the next person down below me, how can anyone ever lift anyone up? But without lifting one another up, a society cannot grow in quantity or quality of life. This, too, is what happened to Soviet Russia.

America has never reckoned with its history of cruelty. Instead, it developed a defensive mythology of being welcoming — even while every new wave of immigrants had to fight, sometimes quite literally little street by street, against the last wave, for a piece of the Promise Land. Like all myths, that one — was a lie that revealed the truth: America was a Promised Land for the huddled masses to roam free — but only if they could fend off the other tribes, by punching them down, endlessly,.

A Promised Land is like a Garden of Eden. But who can live in the Garden peacefully but angels? Human beings, flawed, indelicate things, are only meant to be cast out— they are ever in conflict, in tension, hungry and ravenous. And that is never truer than for their most despised — who need to be healed most, or else will ravage their Gardens worst.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

"Progressive Journalists" All-In On Russiagate...,

consortiumnews |  Jane Mayer of The New Yorker and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks are the latest progressives to jump on the anti-Trump, pro-Russiagate bandwagon. They have made it crystal clear that, in Mayer’s words, they are not going to let Republicans, or anyone else, “take down the whole intelligence community,” by God.

Odd? Nothing is too odd when it comes to spinning and dyeing the yarn of Russiagate; especially now that some strands are unraveling from the thin material of the “Steele dossier.”

Before the 2016 election, British ex-spy Christopher Steele was contracted (through a couple of cutouts) by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee to dig up dirt on candidate Donald Trump. They paid him $168,000. They should ask for their money back.

Mayer and Uygur have now joined with other Trump-despisers and new “progressive” fans of the FBI and CIA – among them Amy Goodman and her go-to, lost-in-the-trees journalist, Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net. All of them (well, maybe not Cenk) are staying up nights with needle and thread trying to sew a silk purse out of the sow’s-ear dossier of Steele allegations and then dye it red for danger.

Monday brought a new low, with a truly extraordinary one-two punch by Mayer and Uygur.

Democracy Now Suspect? Say It Isn't So...,

strategic-culture |  The following report exposes one faux-‘progressive’ war-monger and propagandist for U.S. invasions of countries that never invaded nor even threatened the U.S.: Amy Goodman, and her “Democracy Now!” ‘alternative’ ’news’ media for Democratic Party billionaires’ international operations (such as for regime-change in Syria). These propaganda-operations (just like the acknowlegedly mainstream ones, such as TIME) promote using U.S. taxpayers’ money (the U.S. military, which is the most respected institution amongst Americans and thus receives “the benefit of the doubt” regarding any atrocities it may perpetrate — such as its having poisoned Iraq with depleted uranium, for example) — using taxpayers’ money for so-called ‘humanitarian’ reasons that are actually just sales-angles for American billionaires’ bloody conquests of resistant foreign countries (in this case, Syria). This propaganda is aimed at fooling liberals, or even “peaceniks,” into supporting what are actually hidden financial benefits for these behind-the-scenes billionaires.

Exposed here will be the depths that hypocrisy and psychopathy (both of which are pervasive at the very top of society, amongst the aristocrats and their retainers) plunge down to, in American ‘news’. This type of operation can be done only by taking advantage, especially, of well-intentioned Democrats, in order for billionaires to become enabled to use taxpayers’ money, to boost actually the private wealth not only of Democratic Party billionaires, but even of Republican Party billionaires — even of ‘the political opposition.’ The example that will be presented in detail here, typifies a depraved scheme for the warfare-state (not the welfare-state, which instead becomes proportionately reduced as the warfare-state becomes increased), a scheme (support of the military-industrial complex, or “MIC,” and its permanent-war-for-permanent-peace economy) which largely controls America, in order to build and maintain the public’s support for obscenely high ‘defense’ spending and billionaires’ ‘defense’ profits, which government-spending produces catastrophes for the victim-nations, such as Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, and Syria 2012-, all of which invasions are especially profitable for the owners of America’s ‘defense’ contractors such as General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin, which depend upon war in order to funnel money from the domestic masses, to the domestic classes, via taxes. And, of course, American resource-extraction corporations, such as oil-and-gas giants, also benefit handsomely from it, by grabbing foreign resources. Megabanks benefit, too. After all: it’s the U.S. aristocracy that’s behind this, the ultimate paymasters for these propaganda-operations (and some details of this fact of aristocratic sponsorship will be documented here).

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

On Second Thought, Propagation of the Faith May Be Even More Fundamental...,

vanityfair |  When I first came out to L.A. [in 1968], my friend [photographer] Joel Bernstein found an old book in a flea market that said: Ask anyone in America where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you California. Ask anyone in California where the craziest people live and they’ll say Los Angeles. Ask anyone in Los Angeles where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you Hollywood. Ask anyone in Hollywood where the craziest people live and they’ll say Laurel Canyon. And ask anyone in Laurel Canyon where the craziest people live and they’ll say Lookout Mountain. So I bought a house on Lookout Mountain. —Joni Mitchell

jaysanalysis |  It seems more and more as if we are living in a bad B movie, replete with cheesy set pieces and a Casio keyboard score – and the reason for that is because we are.  We have focused on Hollywood and propaganda often at JaysAnalysis, but we have not looked at the music industry, aside from brief mentions and a few shows.  When it comes to the score for that B movie we all live in, the best analysis I’ve read in a good while is none other than recently deceased Dave McGowan’s excellent work, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream.  I also have the honor of Amazon classing my book, Esoteric Hollywood, with McGowan’s, in the “readers also purchased” section.  I get emails on  daily basis requesting book recommendations (which is much harder to choose than you’d expect), so I think for the spirit of my site, no better book could be suggested for a reading list than Weird Scenes (aside from my own book, of course).

McGowan’s thesis is simple: The 1960s counter-culture movement was not what it appeared to be.  In a purple haze of pot smoke, free love, booze and LSD tabs, the fog of the 60s is believed by most baby-boomers to be a genuine (monstrous for faux conservatives) reaction against the system.  From student protests to politically active musicians, the anti-war, anti-establishment ethos of the 60s was, so the story goes, a natural, organic reaction to a hawkish, greedy corporate demon, embodied in “the man,” opposed by all those revolutionaries who love freedom, expressing themselves in the “arts.”  After reading McGowan’s analysis (a self-confessed fan of this era), it would appear the mainstream view is only slightly correct – some artists were political and genuinely anti-establishment, but the big names, and the movements as a whole, were promoted and directed by design, for large-scale social engineering.

McGowan begins his argumentation by pointing to Jim Morrison’s father, Navy Admiral George Stephen Morrison, who played a central role in the Gulf of Tonkin’s false flag event.  Morrison, curiously, avoided this association, stating his parents were dead, adding fuel to his mythical narrative of having no musical training and supposedly becoming a musical shaman following ghostly encounters and hallucinogenic trips.  While some of that may have been the case (such as the trips and witchcraft initiation, for example, as shown in Oliver Stone’s The Doors), the real story is likely much closer to McGowan’s analysis – Morrison was promoted and made into an icon by the system because of these high level connections.  However, being well-connected was not the only explanation – the establishment had a specific motive of derailing any legitimate anti-war activism or artwork, as well as moving the culture into a more degenerate state for social engineering.