The Jeffrey Epstein rabbit-hole has become too alluring to resist. What really piqued my interest was when Vicky Ward reported that ex-Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta had told his interviewers in the Trump transition:
He'd cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein's attorneys because he hadbeen toldto back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade.I was told Epstein 'belonged to intelligence' and to leave it alone.
That was quite the powerful attractant, and now we have Robert Willman highlighting Acosta's remarks at his resignation:
. . . we come to the recent fascinating events, in which Epstein was arrested, and the role of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in this whole rotten mess was revealed to some extent . . . On Friday, 12 July, when president Trump went outside the White House to talk to the press before leaving on a trip, Acosta went with him. At around 1 minute, 40 seconds into this short video excerpt, Acosta says —I have seen coverage of this case, that is over 12 years old, that had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice. And as I look forward, I do not think it is right and fair for this administration's labor department to have Epstein as the focus, rather than the incredible economy that we have today. And so I called the president this morning. I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside. . . .There you have it:. . . this case . . . had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice.The cat was out of the bag. It was a sad sight: Alex Acosta, after achieving two significant positions in the federal government, took a dive to be the fall guy.Multiple levelsofinputandvettingat the DOJ, you say? Who might that be?
Willman also has links to court documents and some discussion of the two civil suits that have helped to bring the focus back to the infamous pedo procurer. Those court documents shine quite some light into that rabbit-hole. Pass the popcorn!
The brilliant and prolific Caitlin Johnstone offers a compelling argument that opposing the endless war should be the highest priority in the struggle against the owners and rulers. She argues that the weakest link in their propoganda narrative (and hence the best place to attack) is the justification for this:
The challenge for the propagandists is that [convincing Americans that it is good and desirable to keep trillions of dollars in military hardware moving around the planet and killing complete strangers who pose no threat to any American] is plainly bat shit crazy. It's an assignment that is both absolutely necessary and extremely difficult. When the entire world order depends on convincing millions of people that something transparently insane and ridiculous is perfectly sane and rational, you're naturally going to have difficulty smoothing over all the plot holes in the narratives you're selling. That's why you're always seeing glaring discrepancies in the narratives used to promote US foreign policy agendas. In retrospect I've pretty much built my career on highlighting these discrepancies.
Russiagate drags on as the 2020 elections loom. Too lazy/busy/indifferent to read the Mueller report? Aaron Mate' read it for you! In CrowdStrikeOut, Mate' examines the two principal allegations of Mueller, that
Russian military intelligence officers hacked and leaked embarrassing Democratic Party documents, and a government-linked troll farm orchestrated a sophisticated and far-reaching social media campaign that denigrated Hillary Clinton and promoted Trump.
Mate' uncovers the dearth of actual evidence and highlights the weasely language that goes with along with the flimsiness of Mueller's claims. He takes note of Mueller's declining to interview Julian Assange, who obviously had first-hand knowledge of the provenance of the leaked DNC documents. Mate' could have also noted that Mueller also declined to interview Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, who has claimed to have participated personally in the hand-off of the leaked materials to WikiLeaks.
Mate' does a nice job of putting the operations
of the St. Petersburg troll farm in perspective,
citing Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch that
posts from suspected Russian accounts showing up in Facebook's News Feed
approximately 1 out of [every] 23,000 pieces of content.
There's lots more on Guccifer, Crowdstrike, and the logical discrepancies of Mueller's timeline. Most usefully, there's a handy tracing of the roots of the witch hunt back to John Brennan, who appears to have quite a bit of 'splainin to do to the likes of Michael Horowitz, John Huber and John Durham. Of course, all this investigative flutter is unlikely to lead to any genuine consequences, but a guy can hope!
Putting our own Macronies in a wider context,
Nancy Fraser characterizes our
present crisis of widespread disaffiliation
(loss of trust in established institutions)
as an opportunity for experimentation and even emancipation.
But liberal elites, threatened with a new openness
the struggle to build a counterhegemonic left project,
have counter-attacked by trying to build fears of
a new fascism:
I'm focused, rather, in the performative force of the termfascism(ornew fascism) in the present context. As I read it, it's a call to order, to re-affiliation, to re-consolidation, to closure. It's a call above all to close ranks with the liberal elites who present themselves as ourprotectors,but who could more accurately be seen as our predators.
This brief and compelling essay concludes by dismissing the premature branding of disaffiliated citizens:
The present interregnum is the scene of a battle for hegemony in Gramsci's sense. Financialization continues on steroids, but its legitimating ideology lies in tatters. The result is a rare historical moment of political dis-affiliation and mass-psychological experimentalism. It is a moment when critical masses of people no longer believe the ruling commonsense and are willing to think outside the box. It is entirely premature to brand them asregressiveorfascistic.The last thing we need is to allow such scare tactics to close down the space of experimentation that represents our best hope for an emancipatory resolution of the present crisis.
Worried about US war with Iran? Skepticism might be in order. Dmitry Orlov neatly captures the trolling spirit of a sinking hegemon:
The world is on the brink of war, again. And again. And, yes, yet again. And then it's not on the brink of war any more . . . but wait, there's more! Of course there's more, there always is. . . . What's going on is that a has-been country, which can't stop squandering what little resources it has left on a useless but ridiculously bloated military-industrial complex, is trying to generate activity in order to justify continued lavish defense spending. All sorts of experts and pundits play along, claiming that the threat of this or that war is very real and that therefore we should all be paying attention to what's happening. But what's happening is that you are being trolled.
Patrick D. Anderson provides a fascinating riposte to the eclipse of the internal colonialism theory of Black life in the United States. Ranging over half a century of history, with an explication of the origins of the the thesis is not race-centric but anti-colonial, and explains Black elite behavior:
In the 1960s, nearly all Black Civil Rights leaders accepted the view that the oppressive conditions they faced were expressions of a global imperial logic, and the fundamental question confronting Black radical political theory of every kind was the question of Empire. Inspired by the anticolonial theorizing of Aime Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, and Kwame Nkrumah, Black activists and intellectuals of many ideological stripes adopted what is known as the internal colonialism thesis — the idea that Blacks in the United States constitute an internal colony within the borders of the imperial mother country. . . . Fifty years later, the internal colonialism thesis has largely fallen out of favor, and its critics insist that this is for the best[, arguing that] the most serious shortcoming of the internal colonialism thesis is that it fails to account for class divisions within the Black community. On the contrary, the internal colonialism thesis not only accounts for class distinctions among Black Americans but also provides an historical answer to the why and how of Black class antagonism. It illuminates the process of differential segregation under a neocolonial regime of simultaneous middle class integration and working class repression.