You can say a lot of things about Louise Mensch, everyone’s favorite conspiracy theorist and unhinged internet troll, but you can’t accuse her of not knowing how to spin a good yarn. The author of novels like Venus Envy and A Kept Woman—the titles give you a pretty good idea of what’s inside—is a natural storyteller, a gift she’s been using lately on Twitter to convince her hundreds of thousands of followers that she is, as my friend Jamie Kirchick wrote, “perpetually on the cusp of exposing a massive conspiracy on the part of Russia, dating back decades, to make Donald Trump president of the United States.” Yesterday, Mensch introduced an unexpected plot twist to her Twitter potboiler: America wasn’t hacked by the Russians alone; the Jews helped. One Jew in particular: Bibi Netanyahu, dark lord and, apparently, apprentice to puppet-master Putin. Because the pleasure of indulging in lunacy lies in the minute details, here goes. The saga began last night, when Mike Cernovich, himself a fan of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, tweeted to protest the firing of Derek Harvey, a National Security Council official sacked by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, suggesting that Harvey was let go because of his allegiance to Israel. Another Twitter user responded and accused Cernovich of being an agent of a Russian-sponsored coup d’etat. It was precisely the kind of language that summoned Mensch into the fray. “Love you sir” she tweeted back, with all the subtlety of an oversexed British boarding school adolescent. And then, having warmed up to her subject, she continued: Obama, she tweeted, was right to despise Netanyahu. Oh, and Netanyahu was colluding with Russia to help Trump take an ax to the beating heart of American democracy. ……… What is Netanyahu, then? And where’s the proof of his subterfuge? What’s up with the RISSAD, which used to be called the Mossad but which Mensch has renamed Russian Israeli Trolls Loyal to Moscow Over Jerusalem, suggesting Israeli intelligence, too, is in Putin’s pocket? And why rehash, as Mensch did this morning, the ridiculous canard that Chabad is secretly a vessel for connecting the Kremlin and the Knesset?
Anyone who had two brain cells to rub together knew that Mensch was an addled conspiracy theorist, but because it fit a narrative, she got an OP/ED in the New York Times.
Even if Russia did everything that they have been accused of in exactly the manner accused, and the evidence is at best sparse, it is neither unusual nor unprecedented behavior.
US interventions in foreign elections, including Yeltsin’s 1996 reelection in Russia was far more extensive, including tacit support of vote fraud, as was Winston Churchill’s intervention by his intelligence agencies in the 1940 US Presidential election.
As I’ve said before, Donald Trump’s election was a perfect storm of many factors, but the entire, “A noun, a verb, and Vladimir Putin,” crap serves only to gloss over the very real institutional failures of the Democratic Party, and as such continues to set it up for electoral debacles.
Charlie lost his ID card, he does not have a driver’s license, so I took him to the DMV to order a replacement.
On the way in, we noticed these guys with a table with a big sign talking about an FBI conspiracy against Donald trump.
On closer inspection we noticed that their signs referenced LaRouchePAC.com, so seriously crazed conspiracy theorists.
We had about a 20 minute wait at the DMV, so he wanted to think about a potential taunt.
He was concerned that he could not come up with one quickly, because this sort of reaction is analogous to a stand-up comic dealing with a heckler, and because he does stand-up comedy now and again, this troubled him.
I reassured him that that comics frequently prepare in advance to deal with potential hecklers, so we can prepare something for the inevitable wait at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
As we are waiting, he floats out some ideas, and I float out some ideas, including his pointing at his hat, and saying, “Chem Trails.”
Charlie wears a blind fold that he made out of duct tape as a hat. He made it for blind folded Rubik’s Cube competitions, and it does evoke the whole “tinfoil hat” thing, so the juxtaposition of the hat and, “Chem Trails,” is a statement that is both amusing, and unclear: It could be mockery, and it could be a statement that one is a fellow traveler conspiracy nut.
He liked that one, so that is what I was expecting when we left the DMV (He took the hat off for the ID pick, BTW).
Instead, he looked the man in the eye, and said:
Live in Obedient Fear, Citizen!
And then he turned and walked away, giggling as the guy at the table said, “What did you say?”.
Of course, this phrase is VERY well known to the reader(s) of this blog.
He needs to work on his delivery, he said it too quickly, and he should have pitched the words lower, because it really works better when said in a stentorian manner, but he worked out what would be the best quick take down.
There is a divide in the Democratic Party now over the political path forward, between those who think that they should hammer the Republicans on healthcare and social programs, and those who think that the party should be all Putin all the time:
The Democratic Party is embroiled in a debate over where they should focus their efforts to win back political power: health care or Russia. The party’s campaign committees and many of Democrats’ leading super PACs have spent virtually all their energy this year on shaming Republicans for their push to repeal Obamacare, an issue that clearly touches voters’ daily lives. But on the other side of the split, American Bridge — the party’s outside-group research arm run by David Brock, the well-known Hillary Clinton ally — is among those convinced the investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials is one Democrats would be foolish to downplay or wait to take advantage of.
Of course David Brock would be at the center all of this and on the wrong side.
Ever since he switched sides, he has had this weird obsessive bromance with Hillary Clinton, and addressing real issues diminishes the polical future of both Hillary and her Evil Minions™.
This is a proxy for a number of other positions. Basically Brock and his ilk are placing their doing well over their doing good for the country.
I think that the major impetus for this is that no one likes to admit that they have screwed this badly, and anyone who supported the Clinton campaign in a meaningful way is using this as a way to avoid admitting that they completely screwed the pooch:
……… Perhaps it will come off just the way people are expecting. Perhaps Flynn will get a deal, walk into the House or the Senate surrounded by a phalanx of lawyers, and unspool the whole sordid conspiracy. He will explain that Donald Trump, compromised by ancient deals with Russian mobsters, and perhaps even blackmailed by an unspeakable KGB sex tape, made a secret deal. He’ll say Trump agreed to downplay the obvious benefits of an armed proxy war in Ukraine with nuclear-armed Russia in exchange for Vladimir Putin’s help in stealing the emails of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and John Podesta. I personally would be surprised if this turned out to be the narrative, mainly because we haven’t seen any real evidence of it. But episodes like the Flynn story have even the most careful reporters paralyzed. What if, tomorrow, it all turns out to be true? What if reality does turn out to be a massive connect-the-dots image of St. Basil’s Cathedral sitting atop the White House? (This was suddenly legitimate British conspiracist Louise Mensch’s construction in The New York Times last week.) What if all the GlennBeck-style far-outcharts with the circles and arrows somehow all make sense? This is one of the tricks that keeps every good conspiracy theory going. Nobody wants to be the one claiming the emperor has no clothes the day His Highness walks out naked. And this Russia thing has spun out of control into just such an exercise of conspiratorial mass hysteria. ……… But when it comes to Trump-Putin collusion, we’re still waiting for the confirmation. As Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters put it, the proof is increasingly understood to be the thing we find later, as in, “If we do the investigations, we will find the connections.” But on the mass hysteria front, we already have evidence enough to fill a dozen books. And if it doesn’t freak you out, it probably should.
As I have noted before, I think that a lot of this is a desperate attempt by the Democratic Party intelligentsia to avoid any sort of introspection, which would otherwise reveal them to be complete prats.
Considering the numerous times that undercover law enforcement has been the primary motivator in violent protests, I’m not sure if this is a tinfoil hat, or just a Panama hat with a red and black band.
In January, 1961, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” That warning was issued prior to the decade long escalation of the Vietnam War, three more decades of Cold War mania, and the post-9/11 era, all of which radically expanded that unelected faction’s power even further. This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.” Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry and damaging those behaviors might be. The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There are a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combatting those threats: from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach. But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.
If the US state security apparatus is behind this, it is indicates a part of our bureaucracy is out of control and a clear and present danger to both our democracy and out civil rights.
There is, however, another possibility, which Greenwald obliquely alludes to:
There is a real danger here that this maneuver can harshly backfire, to the great benefit of Trump and to the great detriment of those who want to oppose him. If any of the significant claims in this “dossier” turn out to be provably false — such as Cohen’s trip to Prague — many people will conclude, with Trump’s encouragement, that large media outlets (CNN and BuzzFeed) and anti-Trump factions inside the government (CIA) are deploying “Fake News” to destroy him. In the eyes of many people, that will forever discredit — render impotent — future journalistic exposés that are based on actual, corroborated wrongdoing.
This is pretty clearly what Karl Rove did to CBS with GW Bush’s going AWOL from his responsibilities at the Air National Guard.
He floated out the story, Rather got fired, and Shrub’s draft dodging was permanently removed as a viable news story.
You create a story, it blows up, and then you point out a few seemingly-minor-but-obvious-in-retrospect-flaws, and you discredit any reporting in that vein for the next few years. (As an historical aside, Karl Rove once bugged his own campaign offices to get control of the news cycle in a campaign, so this is very much in the bag of tricks of both Republican campaign operatives and the GRU.)
I’m kind of hoping it’s the latter, because if it is the former, we are very close to a 7 Days in May scenario.