The Russians are/aren’t coming

I’ll spare people the “sorry I’ve been away” spiel. I haven’t been forthcoming on updates to this blog, and that’s on me. My bad. Mea culpa and all that.

So, it’s time to address the issue of the Special Counsel into Russian interference in the 2016 US General Election. To date a couple people have been indicted on this case, on matters that do not seem to link back to Trump. Paul Manafort has been indicted on matters relating to money laundering and ties with nations that are notably not Russia.

Other charges, like Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos seem to be more (with the former) in line with “lying to the FBI” and (with the latter) something which seems to have fairly little substance – everything is still in the air on that one.

Yet it seems telling that the Special Counsel seems to have pivoted a little on the Russian story and has now turned an eye to Obstruction of Justice and maybe even campaign finance issues.

But this all needs to wash out over time. I don’t know one thing or another, but am just commenting on the matter as a layman.

Let’s get this down to brass tacks. What exactly is this all about?

The contention originally made was the Russian influence affected the outcome of the US General Election. Okay, fine. To date, it seems that very little has come forward to implicate Trump in these allegations. From the beginning of his presidency, Trump has had these allegations on his back, and there has been a constant question of the legitimacy of his win. The investigation is ongoing, and seems to yield very little substance so far.

So, I am surprised that all these extra items have popped up that have gained some legs. Not because I think Trump is a man of substance and purity. Oh hell, no.

Because this whole mess was to focus on how Russia might have skewed the results of the election. So, first we were worried about the election being turned, and now we’re worried that Trump might have broken a rule about buying off a porn star to keep her quiet? Or that he’s tried to obstruct his own witch-hunt?

What about collusion with Russia?

Because, it seems to me that if this is no longer about Russia, then we basically have an investigation in search of a crime, as opposed to a crime requiring an investigation.

Why is this a problem?

Because if not by intent, then at least by appearances, this whole special counsel theatre is basically a sign that very powerful and well-backed people will stop at nothing to depose someone who was actually democratically elected to his position.

Forget for a moment about the other charges and look at the Russian narrative. If it was found that Trump did not collude or conspire with Russia, and that there was no effect on the results of the election, then why is the special counsel continuing to dig for other random charges? If there was no influence, then Trump is and was – for better or worse – the winner of the election.

If you are not troubled by the idea rich and powerful people can overturn the result of a legitimate democratically elected leader, then I fear for your priorities.

This is beyond cheering for left over right. This is about the democratic process and respect for the will of the people. Whether you like Trump or not, if his win was legitimate, then you should be very worried. If you have no problem with the incessant probing of Trump’s affairs, but perceive Trump to be a tyrant, then you should be doubly worried, because it means that he can turn the tables back on your preferred candidate.

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Hollywood: the Useful Idiots

I remember when George W Bush was the President of the United States. Oh lordy how the globe laughed. Wasn’t he such a buffoon? I am pretty sure David Letterman owes much of his career to good ol’ Dubya, and Will Ferrell may not have received as much attention if not for his impression of Bush the Second.

That sure was a fun eight years. While in the midst of an actual war in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, Hollywood, the music industry et al went all out in the mockery of George W Bush. There were some protests over the wars he started, sure, but the role of Hollywood and the celebrities within the cluster were to mock him.

Now we have Trump as the President. Sure, a Republican in the White House was always going to be mocked, but to my eyes, it feels like Hollywood cannot do anything without having to point out what a colossal evil-doer Trump is – and he hasn’t started any wars yet.

I’m seeing anti-Trump sentiment popping up in entertainment news, and on the Ellen DeGeneres show – places of light entertainment where politics probably have very little place outside the election cycle.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel that Trump is worthy of mock and scorn, but I have an unshakeable feeling that there is an exaggerated and concerted effort to denigrate Trump that isn’t what I’d consider “organic”. It’s almost like there’s a genuine attempt to ensure that the people don’t do again what they did in November 2016.

Trump was an outsider. He wasn’t meant to get anywhere near the Presidency. He was meant to just disappear after the primaries. Except he didn’t.

I have a hypothesis that both sides of the political divide in US politics are simply two sides of a rotten coin. Every four years they allow the commoners to have a say in who leads the country, but despite whoever they elect, the agenda is the same. Sure the parties might differ slightly, but I cannot shake the feeling that the elections are simply a bit of theatre to make the people believe they have power.

Watch the below video for an opinion that closely aligns with my own.

Hollywood seems to be on board in following the lead of the theatrical production, and are railing against Trump in the most visible way possible. Now, I don’t suggest that Hollywood is part of the sinister cabal that ultimately controls the President by threatening to “JFK” the person – much like I wrote about Katy Perry, I think Hollywood stars genuinely believe in their cause.

But they are simply Useful Idiots. They are simply influential (ie popular) people who will follow and promote the cause of those truly in power, unthinkingly parroting the party line, either willingly through their own sense of righteousness, or because they fear that their career will end if they don’t say the right words, or espouse the right ideology.

I am wary of using the term “they”. The word “they” is often employed by some conspiracy theorists when they refer to “the Establishment” or “the Illuminati” or “the Elites”. I think it’s good to keep in mind that if you use the term “They” then you should be able to name one person. To some, this might be George Soros, or The Rothschilds. Either way, I am going to simply use “They” because this is only a hypothesis I have.

Trump wasn’t meant to be in power, and I think the election cycle has already started to ensure that Trump doesn’t win again in 2020. “They” are using their Useful Idiots to convince the new generation of voters coming up to not vote for Trump, and/or convince those who did vote Trump that they made a mistake.

When every Hollywood star and likeable personality tells you that you made a bad choice, it’s hard to not think that you’re on the outer. It’s hard to not think you’re a part of the right side. It’s the tactic of isolating people and showing them the right way.

To this, I assure you that you should vote for whomever you want. Don’t be dictated to by anyone – even me – as to who wins your vote. Don’t let the Useful Idiots make you feel bad. They don’t care about you. They care about their cause.

You do you. Forget the Idiots.

When is it a deluded conspiracy theory?

It’s difficult to get alternative perspectives and unique outlooks on events, especially on the internet. From the moment “Loose Change” erupted on Youtube, serving to ask more questions about 9/11 than answer anything, the moment that anyone outlines that they don’t buy the official story they are immediately lumped into a hole with the deranged lunatics.

I attempted to watch Loose Change. All I saw was a whole bunch of allusions and a big fat wad of fuck-all. When it comes to 9/11, I find that when someone claims to me that the buildings were downed in a “controlled demolition”, they are often stumped by the question, “Why?”

Why demolish in a controlled manner when the mere vision of crashing planes would be enough to kick off a war?

But this post isn’t to engage in a search for the truth around 9/11. I am merely wanting to ask when does a crazy theory transfer from being a genuine possible explanation into deluded conspiracy theory? Let’s look a little closer to today as well, and ponder over Trump and the possible Russian collusion.

The rumblings of Russian involvement in the election have been simmering away since November 2016, but nothing of any substance seems to have come to surface. The media keeps trumpeting the story, but even the most “damning” of evidence seems to prove very little.

Donald Trump Junior once met with a Russian person who might have had ties to the Russian Government. He was searching for dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Questionable? Yes. Collusion? I remain unconvinced, especially when the likes of GQ pleads with foreign countries for dirt on Trump. My concerns with Trump Jnr lie more with his ethics than with any kind of political espionage.

Time and time again we expect to see some great revelation about Trump colluding with Russia, and each time it results in nothing but allusion and yet more speculation. I don’t mean this post to suggest that Trump is innocent, but at one point or another, if nothing seems to come of it, then we need to accept that the Russia collusion story will fall into the realm of the Truther and Birther movements. Something concocted from nothing which many people got wrong.

The thing is, many mainstream media outlets have wed themselves to the Russia collusion story. They have gone all-in and it will take some time before they admit to have gotten it wrong (if they ever do).

Tell you what, Mainstream Media. If you treasure your relationship with your audience (who is increasingly distrusting you), it would go a long, long way with people if you just eventually said, “Our bad. We kept pushing this, but we were wrong.” Such an act of humility would certainly earn some trust back from me.

On the flip side of this, let’s assume that Russia did meddle in the US election. Sure, I’m willing to entertain the notion. Considering how Clinton was ready to go to conflict with the Russians, are we surprised they preferred Trump?

 

Let’s not forget that as far back as 2014, Clinton was comparing Putin to Hitler. If I were a leader of a nation, I would be concerned about any politician who was comparing me to history’s greatest villain, and I wouldn’t mind if they weren’t at the helm of the planet’s largest military.

Besides, it’s not like meddling in foreign elections is something that only rogue states do.

“The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”

Further to CNN Blackmailing

The last post I wrote expressed my disbelief that CNN would threaten a user for daring to create a wrestling gif that mocked them. Since publishing that post, more information has come to light about the character of the individual who created the gif, namely that because they had posted racist things in the past that they were somehow deserving of the threats levelled at them.

Despite vehemently condemning racism, I cannot help but disagree, for reasons I’ll outline below.

1)  Today it’s the racists. Tomorrow it’s you.

Sure, you might think you’re the pillar of benevolence, and that nothing in your past could stand to ruin you. Firstly, I would say that’s bullshit. Name me one person who has professed to have said not one ignorant thing in their entire span on this planet, and I will show a liar. Secondly, in the below video from Razorfist, you can see how a media organisation will report on your history.

Namely, they will simply report that you “deleted your racist history”, knowing full well that Johnny and Jane Mainstream will lap it up and move on. Don’t think for a moment (and to nab a popular phrase) that the media will let the facts get in the way of a good story.

I’m not disputing whether the victim of CNN’s threat is a racist or not. I’m saying that allowing it for them allows it for you, which leads me to my next point.

2) Shaming doesn’t change the extremists

“We must extinguish racism in all its forms!” goes the call as they cheer on the punishment for the scumbag who got their dues, “We must expose it and punish it!”

That’s all well and good, except what this will do is take your online racists and make them silent while still harbouring resentment, which they then pass down to their children. You might think that this is a solution, but what happens when you discover the unapologetic racist? The racist who proudly wears it on their sleeve? The shame tactic will not work there, and if anything their public humiliation will draw more eyes to them, and they then become a beacon for like-minded people.

In fact, humiliating the self-loathing racist only emboldens the unapologetic one. They’re the ones you might find gathering in groups that want to inflict actual bodily harm, or abusing people in the street the deem as inferior.

You might be thinking here that I am protecting or defending a racist, when I am not. Put broadly, I am protecting their right, and in effect your right, to express yourself. CNN is not the arbiter of whom should be able to express themselves, and CNN is not the executioner of those they deem as not fully compliant with their right-think.

By protecting a racist for their speech, I am protecting your for your speech. Many may like to deride the call for free speech as the braying defence of those who wish to spread ignorance, except I am not. As I outlined in an earlier post on Kathy Griffin’s photo, she has every right to express her thoughts without worry of their livelihood being jeopardised.

CNN can eat the biggest bag of dicks for trying to justify their horrendous behaviour, and to those who would agree with them, I pray to whatever deity occupies their soul that they never trip the path of an enormous and powerful party with a line to toe.

CNN can go die in a hole

It’s all I hear people talking about today, but rather than recap things wholesale, the below video captures the sentiment I currently feel – courtesy of Mister Metokur

Note that this particular Youtuber is not one I endorse, but I am only posting their video because they seem to share how fucking angry I am about this.

So, Trump posts a gif on Twitter that someone from reddit created. CNN flip out about how it encourages violence, even though;

  1. It’s a gif
  2. It’s a gif of wrestling
  3. It’s a gif of wrestling which has been amended, or features some poor sod born with a CNN logo for a face.
  4. It’s a gif of fucking wrestling

Not content with constructing that particular mountain out of an anthill, CNN decides to further shit through the cracks by actively tracking down the individual who made the gif of wrestling, and extract an apology from them under threat that they will reveal his identity – even though he fears that he will be victim to real violence should he be found out.

How can a company as large and far-reaching as CNN openly display hypocrisy on this level, and in such quick turnaround? People sometimes takes ages to have their double-standards exposed as they are gradually found to exhibit behaviours to which they had previously doth protested too much.

But CNN has expressed their hypocrisy in one sentence. “This thing that is harmful, I am totally doing to you now.”

This is not fucking okay, CNN. In no universe is this acceptable. Do not try to minimise this action or in any way try to explain it away. Go on and tell me about the individual that CNN threatened and say that this is justified. I don’t care. If you support CNN doing this, then as I’ve said before, then you support the same treatment for yourself – no matter how benevolent you think you are.

This is unreserved and naked blackmail. CNN are happy to dig up your details and expose you publicly if you dare poke fun at them. Yes, even with a fucking gif of wrestling.

With the President announcing to all and sundry how “Fake” CNN is (and it still astounds me that people seem to think that he’s the creator of the phrase), I was willing to discount his words as the sounds of a spoiled brat who got shitty because the cool kids didn’t like him. However, given this event today, I care not for the demise of CNN. I could not give fewer shits if their organisation implodes under the weight of their bullshit.

They are not the exposers of truth and reason. They are peddlers of sensationalism, drama and bullshit in search of a target to stick to. They encompass everything that is wrong with establishment media, and they (and anyone who emulates them) need to shut down and fuck off.

Or maybe just grow a thicker skin.

A gif as violence.

Really.

ffs.

Feelings trump the news

In the wake of the testifying of former FBI Director James Comey, I’ve noticed a fairly significant rhythm and rhyme in the way that the media has been reporting on the event.

Aside from the non-revelation that a billionaire would dare to be outrageous with the truth for the sake of personal benefit, I am surprised a little that the headlines seem to focus upon Comey’s assessment of Trump’s character, rather than the actual news stories I took from the testimony. Those being:

  • Then Attorney-General, Loretta Lynch, asked Comey to call the investigation into Clinton a “matter” – effectively removing any kind of insidious tone to the process – to which Comey actually complied.
  • Comey was the leaker of information, albeit indirectly (not a crime in this instance, but certainly questionable for a public servant).
  • The New York Times was “almost entirely wrong” about the alleged contact between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

It is no great surprise that media outlets are very biased in their coverage, and their glossing over these particular points does make me understand why trust in them is at an all-time low.

However, many would distill this down to being a left-right issue, when I think it crosses party lines and starts treading into “establishment elite” versus their outgroup. Ever since the US election in November 2016, there has been zero let-up in the attacks on the person who the people voted for. These attacks have come from Democrats, the media (both left and right), the majority of social media sites, and even Republicans.

I don’t care for Trump, personally. However, I was happy to let him see out his first term and watch him make an ass out of himself, letting the system oust him over time. However, it appears that the powers-that-be are not content with this timeframe and are wanting to hurry things along. This concerted effort, I am sure, has not gone unnoticed with those moderate people who were on the fence with Trump, and are now seeing rich elite entities poo-pooing the peoples’ choice and trying to have it removed.

I am aware that when it comes to conspiracy theories, that if you are unable to name a “they”, then the theory is just paranoid delusion. I’ll deal with this later, I think.

The Griffin Head joke

I hate that I need to reiterate a point I’ve already made, but the week’s story that everyone seems to be talking about – for reasons I do not fathom – is the one where comedian Kathy Griffin holds aloft the severed head of the President of the United States.

TJ Kirk’s video effectively sums up my thoughts on the scenario.

I loathe getting into left-right labelling, because it immediately paints people into categories of “them and us”. People will squeal, “Oh the lefties do this” or “those right-wing nutjobs are at it again” trying to convince whoever is within earshot that there is a good “us” side and a nasty “them” side.

When the truth is we’re all the same kind of dumb animals.

Kathy Griffin’s photo in this instance is grotesque and not to my taste. Like TJ Kirk, I think it boring, pedestrian, and unchallenging. Ooooh, you hate Trump? Great. Join the millions of others on the pile. Fucking yawn.

However, I do not feel it a good idea that I be some kind of arbiter as to what kind of speech is palatable for the masses. God knows I hate a great number of comedians, artists, musicians, and would love to have them never perform a single piece ever again, but I am not that kind of person. Not because I am of high moral fibre, or because I am smart.

But because I possess an “off” button on my technology. I can choose to not listen or watch or taste.

Griffin has since lamented the apparent loss of her career, and many have bayed for her dismissal from any kind of public role. As I said in my previous post, I do not think that instances like these warrant attacks on peoples’ livelihoods. If not because that effectively stifles free speech, then because it reduces all discussion into milquetoast inoffensive words that dare not push any boundaries – even if (and especially if) boundaries need to be pushed. Sometimes we need to be confronted with views.

I don’t mean to say that Griffin’s photo was a necessity, either. As I said, it was boring. There are far more interesting and important debates to be had than “I hate Trump”. But if our reaction to an actual debate is to attack the livelihood of those who engage in it, then this is a path to destruction.

“But the other side does it” is a fucking lazy excuse, too. Do better than your supposed “other side”, and maybe then some moderates might come around to actually listening to you.

As I’ve said: the behaviour you exhibit is the behaviour you endorse – even with your opposition. Especially with your opposition.