Sunday, April 30, 2023

Why Are The Feds Coming After The Harmless Ururu LARPs?

thenation  |  Last week, nine months after the raid, the Department of Justice unsealed new grand jury indictments against Yeshitela, as well as Jesse Nevel, Penny Hess, and Gazi Kodzo—national chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, and cofounder of the Black Hammer Party, respectively—naming them as co-conspirators in an alleged plot to promote the political interests of Russia within the United States.

The FBI surveilled these Black liberation activists and their organizations for years before finally securing a search warrant for their personal residences and other locations connected to the African People’s Socialist Party and the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement. The FBI’s search warrants were based on a federal grand jury indictment, which charged an unrelated individual—Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov—with violations relating to a little-known statute called the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

The superseding indictment charges Yeshitela, Nevel, and Hess with conspiring to commit an offense against the United States—specifically, “to act as an agent of a foreign government and foreign officials…without prior notification to the Attorney General” as required by law under FARA. The specific acts they are accused of committing include attending an international conference in Russia, publishing a “Petition to the United Nations on the Crime of Genocide Against African People in the United States of America” after encouragement from Ionov, accepting financial support from Ionov for a speaking tour in the United States to discuss reparations, permitting Ionov to speak during an African People’s Socialist Party event, and publishing and speaking in support of the Russian government. It is worth remembering that African American activists have charged the United States with genocide since at least 1951, when the Civil Rights Congress submitted a similar petition to the United Nations, titled “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People.”

Despite the sensational nature of the charges and the Department of Justice’s presentation of the case, we should be clear: The indictments against the defendants do not allege any intent to commit violent acts, nor espionage, fraud, nor even election interference. Because of FARA’s extraordinary reach, the Department of Justice has been able to selectively invoke foreign agent accusations as a way to silence criticisms of the United States’ role in international politics.

A Dangerous Smokescreen for Political Repression

The Department of Justice is likely to invoke FARA and foreign agent regulations more and more often in the next few years, especially to target anti-war activists and movements critical of United States foreign policy. Already in 2022, the DOJ signaled its intention to broaden the scope of FARA to cover a wider range of activities and less direct agent-principal relationships. It is now more imperative than ever that progressive activists develop a nuanced understanding of the cynical ways that FARA can been deployed to undermine international solidarity and grassroots organizing.

The federal charges against Yeshitela, Hess, and Nevel also come on the heels of a drastic increase in FBI attention to Black organizers. Since 2017, the FBI has specifically targeted Black organizers against police brutality—whom it has labeled “Black Identity Extremists” or, more recently, “Racially Motivated Violent Extremists”—under Operation “Iron Fist.”

Indeed, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated in August 2022 that “the top domestic terrorism threat we face continues to be from [domestic violent extremists] we characterize as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.” As of 2020, this category of alleged “extremists” included “actors who use retaliation and retribution for wrongdoings against African Americans by those they view as oppressors, including law enforcement of all races, whites, government personnel, and others they view as participants in an unjust institutionalized system,” according to the FBI’s threat guidance document.

Given this political context of increased attention to Black liberation organizers, it is safe to predict that foreign agent accusations will also be used more frequently in the coming years as a tool for spying on, intimidating, and criminalizing Black social justice organizations and Black internationalism, as well as other social movements that critique the United States’ actions abroad.

In the face of this targeted political repression, progressive forces should resist the cynical, politicized use of “foreign agent” accusations as a dog whistle to chill and criminalize international solidarity, and should directly oppose the attendant FBI raids and prosecutions when and where they occur. The chilling effect caused by foreign agent accusations is an incredibly powerful deterrent against protected First Amendment activity, and such accusations could lead to financial ruin, as was the case for Du Bois.

Uhuru LARPing Is A Harmless Hobby Enthusiasm - NOT A Viable Catalyst For Revolutionary Change

mronline |  How should dialectical materialists deal with the cultural question to avoid falling into the Afrocentric trap? The work of Amilcar Cabral and Sekou Toure provides a clue. First, what does the materialist mean by culture? We can use Toure’s definition from his speech “A Dialectical Approach to Culture.” He says:

By culture, we understand all the material and immaterial works of art and science, plus knowledge, manners, education, a mode of thought, behavior, and attitudes accumulated by the people both through and by virtue of their struggle for freedom from the hold and dominion of nature; we also include the result of their efforts to destroy the deviationist politics, social systems of domination and exploitation through the productive process of social life. Thus culture stands revealed as both an exclusive creation of the people and a source of creation, as an instrument of socio-economic liberation and as one of domination.

This definition highlights that culture depends on the relationship between people and their environment. It is not something merely spawned from the head. Indeed, one of the primary ways we come to understand a culture is through material artifacts such as pottery, tools, linguistic codes (like Sumerian scripts), and the like. We even separate historical periods through concepts like the “Iron or Bronze Age” or notions like “Feudalism, Mercantilism, and Capitalism.” It goes to show that the primary factor in cultural development is the political-economic arrangement and the effects of its productive relations.

In Cabral’s speech “National Liberation and Culture,” he states:

The value of culture as an element of resistance to foreign domination lies in the fact that culture is the vigorous manifestation, on the ideological or idealist plane, of the physical and historical reality of the society that is dominated or to be dominated. Culture is simultaneously the fruit of a people’s history and a determinant of history, by the positive or negative influence which it exerts on the evolution of relationships between man and his environment, among men or groups of men within a society, as well as among different societies.

Again, pay special attention to the fact that Cabral highlights that culture is an ideological expression of the material reality of society. Dialectical materialists do not ignore the role of culture. Instead, We point out that the call for cultural change is the ideological reflection of a need for the productive system to change. When one complains about the consumerism of Afrikan people or the high Black-on-Black violence, one should stop to consider the structural elements that bring about those practices.

How exactly should We understand the notion of “ideological reflection” in relation to base? Well, like the notion of simple and expanded reproduction in Marx’s Capital (where the production process cyclically reproduces itself), there is also the process of what is termed social reproduction. Indeed, in Capital, Marx tells us that not only are the productive forces reproduced in the average production process, but there is a reproduction of the necessary relations of capitalist production. In relation to culture as superstructure, everyday of our lives, but especially during childhood development, we encounter and internalize what that i term a “cultural logic.” This “logic” functions similarly to paths that all lead, in one way or another, to the same end.

During socialization, the child comes to acquire not only knowledge of an external world, a mother, and the like, but she also comes to acquire her culture. As the Soviet philosopher, Evald V. Ilyenkov states, “The child that has just been born is confronted – outside itself – not only by the external world, but also by a very complex system of culture, which requires of him ‘modes of behavior’ for which there is genetically (morphologically) “no code” in his body.” He says further,

Consciousness and will become necessary forms of mental activity only where the individual is compelled to control his own organic body in answer not to the organic (natural) demands of this body but to demands presented from outside, by the ‘rules’ accepted in the society in which he was born. It is only in these conditions that the individual is compelled to distinguish himself from his own organic body. These rules are not passed on to him by birth, through his ‘genes’, but are imposed upon him from outside, dictated by culture, and not by nature.

A similar concept is found in the Amerikan philosopher, George Herbert Mead’s, work Mind, Self, and Society with his notion of the generalized other. He says,

The organized community or social group which gives to the individual his unity of self may be called ‘the generalized other.’ The attitude of the generalized other is the attitude of the whole community. Thus, for example, in the case of such a social group as a ball team, the team is the generalized other in so far as it enters—as an organized process or social activity—into the experience of any one of the individual members of it.

So, We understand that the person comes into a cultural matrix already developed for him or her to which they are then enculturated. We have to remember however, that the culture of any society is largely going to be one that is most fit for the current mode of production and its social relations. For example, during the feudal era, the common sense of the time believed that the nature of reality reflected the experiences of priests, lords, and serfs. The intellectuals of the era erected a grand scheme called the great chain of being that places the serfs at the lowest tier right above animals and had the church at the top right underneath God. If one questioned this logic, they were more often than not, treated as a social outcast or severely punished. There is a similar trend in relation to the rise and maintenance of capitalism.

From the last sentence, a word must be said about the role of law in relation to the struggle. The Marxist legal theorist, Evgeny B. Pashukanis, makes an astounding point in his article “Lenin and the Problem of Law” when he points out that, “Under autocracy and under capitalism it [is] impossible to struggle with the legal impotence and juridic illiteracy of the masses, without conducting a revolutionary struggle against autocracy and against capital. [T]his impotence is but a partial phenomenon of the general subjugation for whose maintenance Tsarist and bourgeois legality existed. But after the conquest of power by the proletariat, this struggle has the highest priority as one of the tasks of cultural re-education, as a precondition for the construction of socialism.” Thus, We need to be wary of those who wish to ground our struggle in the purely ideological realm. In other words, We must engage in a war of position against the decadence of Capital viz. a seizure of the instruments of production and the repressive apparatuses of the state. Only with a structural victory can we hope to wage and win the so-called “culture war”.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Jes Cuz Tucker Anem "Only Human" Doesn't Mean Coincidence Theory Is Wrong

racket  |  Today you’ll find two new #TwitterFiles threads out, one by longtime Racket contributor Matt Orfalea, and another by Andrew Lowenthal, who worked for 18 years defending digital rights at EngageMedia and watched activists in his space slowly be absorbed by what we’re now calling “The Censorship-Industrial Complex.”

The two new threads collectively show the wide political range of revelations in the #TwitterFiles material, which have been slandered — absurdly — as a partisan exercise. Lowenthal, who in his “Insider’s Guide to ‘Anti-Disinformation’” describes himself as a “progressive-minded Australian,” printed a series of exchanges between journalists who attended a summer “tabletop exercise” at the Aspen Institute about a hack-and-leak operation involving Burisma and Hunter Biden, weeks before the actual event. When the actual scandal broke not long after, the existence of that tabletop exercise clearly become newsworthy, but none of the journalists present, who included David Sanger of the New York Times and current Rolling Stone editor Noah Schactman — said a word. Perhaps, as was common with anti-disinfo conferences, the event was off the record. (We asked, and none of the reporters commented). It doesn’t matter. Lowenthal showed how another “anti-disinformation” conference featured the headline speaker Anthony Blinken. He’s currently suspected of having “triggered” the infamous letter signed by 50 intelligence officers saying the Hunter Biden laptop story had the “classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

As Lowenthal writes: “See how it works? The people accusing others of “disinformation” run the biggest disinformation campaigns themselves.”

On the flip side, Orfalea found a document showing that both the Wikileaks account and that of Dr. Jill Stein were algorithmically added by Twitter to a list given the creepy name is_russian. This was one of two buckets of “Russians” Twitter was collecting, one called “A Priori Russians” (usually, accounts identified as Russian by 3rd party researchers), the other “Inferred Russians” (accounts that had “strong,” “medium,” or “weak” “signals” of Russianness, involving language, type of email account, location of IP address, tweet time, etc). Even Twitter’s own analysts noted that any system that “captured” Jill Stein as “Russian” spoke to the “overly broad nature of is_russian.” It was just such a “signals” or “marker”-based methodology that Twitter and other researchers used to identify “Russians” on the Internet, a methodology Twitter internally called one of “educated guesses,” concealing a company secret about identifying accounts linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency: “We have no realistic way of knowing this on a Twitter-centric basis.”

As Stein noted when I spoke to her yesterday, these unseen algorithmic tweaks to the political landscape have the effect of decreasing the visibility of political independents during a time of “record hunger for political alternatives.” Stein noted a Gallup poll just showed “identification with the Democratic and Republican parties is at an all-time low,” and said such digital meddling is “an outrageous excuse for political repression,” and “more that Joe McCarthy would be proud of.”

When Stella Assange was told about the is_russian list, she first speculated that any algorithm that demerited users based on location might produce false positives if account holders used, say, the Tor Browser, which could “randomly result in an RU exit node.” Since “Tor is an essential tool for civil liberties and privacy communities,” you could have people being tossed in a “Russian” bucket for the crime of trying to evade surveillance.

In another part of his thread, Orfalea notes that a Clemson University researcher hailed as a “troll hunter” in the press and used as a source by major media outlets, speculated that an account called @drkwarlord that was sharing a hashtag, #BloombergisRacist because the account was tweeting at odd hours:


That’s the “expert” opinion. Orfalea just called @drkwarlord, who laughed, “I’m a nurse at a hospital in Indiana. In 2020, I worked the night shift.” Whether it’s suppression of a news story conservatives care about like the Hunter Biden laptop tale, or deamplification of a left-leaning Green Party candidate like Jill Stein, the #TwitterFiles consistently hit at the same theme, but it’s not partisan. 

It’s really summed up by something Stella Assange said, about the difference between Wikileaks and the “anti-disinformation” facsimile, Bellingcat. “Wikileaks coined ‘intelligence agency of the people.’ Bellingcat went with ‘for the people.’” Civil society institutions, the media, politicians, and government are supposed to maintain distance from one another in democracy. 

The Censorship-Industrial Complex shows an opposite instinct, for all of these groups to act in concert, essentially as one giant, incestuous intelligence operation — not of the people, but paternalistically “for” the people, or so they believe. Journalists attend conferences where news happens and do not report it, breaking ranks neither with conference organizers, nor with each other. The Trump era has birthed a new brand of paranoid politics, where once-liberalizing institutions like the press and NGOs are encouraged to absorb into a larger whole, creating a single political cartel to protect against the “contagion” of mass movements. As Lowenthal notes, this explains why so many “anti-disinformation” campaigns describe language as a kind of disease, e.g. “infodemic,” “information pollution,” and “information disorder.”

Hustling Hard To Make It To The Top Of Hollywood For Ugly People

racket  |  That interview says it all, doesn’t it?

Not long ago I was writing in defense of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. When she first entered Congress as an inner-city twenty something who’d knocked off longtime insider Joe Crowley with a Sandersian policy profile, her own party’s establishment ridiculed her as a lefty Trump. Nancy Pelosi scoffed that her win just meant voters “made a choice in one district,” so “let’s not get carried away.” Ben Ritz, director of the Progressive Policy Institute, an offshoot of the old Democratic Leadership Council, groused, “Oh, please, she just promised everyone a bunch of free stuff.”

This was before AOC decided to be the next Pelosi, instead of the next Sanders. The above sit-down on MSNBC shows the transformation. Having shed the mantle of an outsider who shook the old guard with online savvy, she appeared in soft light for a softball “interview,” by a literal Biden official (Inside With Jen Psaki is as close as you can get to a formal dissolution of the line between White House and media). In it, she seemed to argue for the outlaw of Fox News. “We have very real issues with what is permissible on air,” she said, adding people like Tucker Carlson are “very clearly” guilty of “incitement to violence,” a problem in light of “federal regulation in terms of what’s allowed on air and what isn’t.”

Friday, April 28, 2023

An In-Depth Interview With Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

tablet  |   Anyone who hung around Kennedy political circles knew that in the collective opinion of the various longtime family friends, and speechwriters, and political consultants, and other hangers-on, who in one way or another saw themselves as custodians of the family brand, there was one member of the third generation of Kennedys who was said to have “it”—the family’s electric brand of political magic. Not Joe, the eldest of RFK’s children, who was dull and plodding; not Kathleen, a dedicated public servant who lacked personal charisma; not Caroline, who took after her mother; not John-John, who was a playboy; not Teddy Jr., who battled cancer and lost a leg; or Patrick, who was honest and sweet-natured but inherited his father’s problems with substance abuse and spoken language.

The heir to the family’s political mantle in the third generation of Kennedys was always Bobby. It was Bobby who became the leader of his tribe of orphaned brothers and sisters after their father’s death, trying and failing to make up for the absence of a charismatic father and the near-total absence of adult supervision. A friend who was close to the family in those years recalls visits to their home in Hickory Hill, Virginia, as like visiting a zoo—quite literally, with live sea mammals in the swimming pool, and animals of all shapes and sizes, frequently untamed, roaming freely throughout the house. Bobby’s hawks nested in the eaves and children climbed in and out of windows. Eventually, the friend’s mother forbade further visits, on account of it being too physically dangerous.

If the Kennedys were a kind of American royalty, then Bobby was their Prince Hal—charismatic and beloved, yet also dangerous and frequently out of control, a fatherless child who was trying to emulate the adult father figures who had been taken from him before he could truly understand who they were or what their brand of world-shaping masculinity meant. In 1983, Bobby was found nodding off in an airplane bathroom, and then pleaded guilty to heroin possession. The death of his brother David, who worshipped Bobby, a year later from a heroin overdose, made an uphill climb back to respectability seem even more unlikely, even after he got clean, and his decades of hard work as an environmental lawyer for Riverkeeper and the NRDC established him as one of the most effective environmental activists in the country.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Bobby kept his name alive in political circles through a familiar striptease dance with the New York press, which was no doubt orchestrated in part by his best friend from college, Peter Kaplan, the sharp-eyed editor of The New York Observer: A dutiful accounting of his environmental good works ridding New York’s waterways of deadly toxins, a dash of Kennedy fairy dust, a tour of his falcons—falconry being a lifelong hobby, pursued with characteristic dedication—and a tantalizing hint of a possible future race for some political office that would re-up his star power and help promote his advocacy. Of course, he never ran—which prevented the publication of the inevitable attack articles ripping him to pieces. Running would have been messy. His sister Kerry was married to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo—heir to another political dynasty whose name meant more in New York state than the name Kennedy did.

Then it all came apart. In 2005, Kerry and Andrew Cuomo divorced. In 2010, Bobby separated from his wife, Mary Richardson, who had been Kerry’s college roommate at Brown and appeared to be suffering from substance abuse issues; a judge awarded temporary full custody of their four children to Bobby. In 2012, Mary Richardson hung herself. In 2013, Peter Kaplan died of cancer.

Meanwhile, Bobby Kennedy Jr. found success as an environmentally friendly venture capitalist along with a new cause: vaccines. In 2005, Kennedy wrote a blockbuster Rolling Stone magazine article titled “Deadly Immunity,” which presented compelling evidence of an ongoing vaccine safety cover-up led by U.S. national health bureaucrats, including transcripts of a 2000 CDC conference in Norcross, Georgia, where researchers presented information linking the mercury compound thimerosol with neurological problems in children. At its root, the case Kennedy made in his article was no more or less plausible and empirically grounded than the cases that he and dozens of other environmental advocates had been making for decades against large chemical companies for spewing toxins into America’s air, water, and soil, and then lying about it.

Yet the resulting journalistic-bureaucratic firestorm proved that vaccines were different. It also offered a preview of the COVID wars, with pressure campaigns by vaccine believers attacking five fact-checking errors in the article—a number that was hardly unusual for a long and complex reported article in a venue like Rolling Stone. The campaigns led to various emendations of the article by its online publisher, Salon, which eventually retracted the article in 2011. In that year, Kennedy founded the World Mercury Project, which would be renamed the Children’s Health Defense, to keep pressing his assertions about empirical links between vaccinations and the explosion of neurological issues in children. For anyone who knew Kennedy, his family, and his own record as an environmental advocate, the fact that he would sink his teeth in rather than let go was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

And so began the strangest and in many ways also the most promising chapter of Bobby Kennedy’s life. Stripped of the protection that the Kennedy name had once offered him, he was no longer the future secretary of something in some future Democratic presidential administration; he was a leper, banned from social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, repeatedly attacked by network television personalities and by members of his own family as an “embarrassment” and a “moron.” Meanwhile, his book attacking Anthony Fauci, the high priest of the COVID order, became an Amazon bestseller.

It is therefore easy to welcome the news that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an heir to the political dynasty that sprinkled fairy dust on the 20th-century Democratic Party, is running for president. The collision he’s about to cause between the world of official group-think and the world of normal-speak—where most Americans weigh what might be best for themselves and their children—can only be good for American democracy, and for the American language.

 

Fox Which Convenes The Audience Is The Star - Don't Fuck Up

politico  |  The truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter much why the host of cable TV’s most popular show on cable TV’s most popular network has suddenly left the building.

Nor does it matter much who replaces Tucker Carlson in the 8 p.m. block because the “talent” at the Fox News Channel has never been the star. Glenn Beck wasn’t the star in 2009 when he generated the largest viewership Fox had ever seen in the 5 p.m. hour. Bill O’Reilly, Carlson’s predecessor on the Fox schedule and the previous king of cable news, the subject of a zillion magazine profiles and the instigator of a tubful of moral panics, wasn’t the star, either. Both of them were carried out with the tide to positions of broadcast irrelevance when Fox tired of them, a longitude and latitude Carlson now finds himself in. Perhaps you recall Megyn Kelly, another Fox sensation who hasn’t had much of a career since splitting the network.

What Beck, O’Reilly and Kelly didn’t understand at the time, and what somebody should explain to Carlson this evening, is that Fox itself, which convenes the audience, is the star. And the star maker is whomever network owner Rupert Murdoch has assigned to run the joint. The nighttime hosts, as talented as they are — and Beck, O’Reilly, Kelly and Carlson are among some of the most talented broadcasters to slop the makeup on and speak into the camera — are as replaceable as the members of the bubblegum group the Archies, as interchangeable as the actors who’ve played James Bond, as expendable as the gifted musicians who played lead guitar for the Yardbirds.

Roger Ailes, the original architect of Fox, who founded the network in 1996 with Murdoch, explained its show-making philosophy to Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard in 2017. The subject was the early evening news-talk program, The Five, which in recent months has outperformed even Carlson’s show. Ailes explained how he filled the slot vacated by solo artist Beck with an ensemble of pundits — building a sort of Archies talk show for the Fox audience. The Five would be performed by five commentators at 5 p.m. Get it?

“Go around the table,” Ailes told Ferguson. “Over on this end, we’ve got the bombshell in a skirt, drop-dead gorgeous. … But smart! She’s got to be smart, or it doesn’t work.” Next, he said, “We have a gruff longshoreman type, salty but not too salty for TV. In the middle there’s the handsome matinee idol. Next to him we have the Salvation Army girl, cute and innocent —but you get the idea she might be a lotta fun after a few pops. On the end, we need a wiseguy, the cut-up.”

When Ailes finally cast the show with his types, Ferguson writes, he summoned them to his office and had them stand in a semi-circle around his desk to explain why he was calling the show The Five. “‘I’m calling it The Five because you are types, not people. You all are about to become very famous, and you’re going to make a lotta money. A lotta money. But don’t ever forget. Right behind you I’ve got somebody exactly like you ready to take your place. So don’t fuck up.”

 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

MisogynBro Tucker Carlson Had No Idea That Pussy Is Undefeated

mercurynews  |  In breaking news that Murdoch had called off the engagement, Sherman reported that Smith’s politics and religious views might have been too extreme even for the man who owns Fox News. A source close to Murdoch told Sherman earlier this month that Murdoch had become “increasingly uncomfortable” with Smith’s “outspoken evangelical views.”

On Facebook, she shared a mix of inspirational self-help talk with Christian nationalism and right-wing conspiracy theories. She also said “Tucker Carlson is a messenger from God, and he said nope,” a source told Sherman.

It’s also possible that Murdoch — or people close to him — also had become increasingly uncomfortable with news reports that began circulating about Smith. Details about her personal history were sketchy, including where she was born and grew up. But it had become known that she had been married at least twice to much-older men and that those marriages ended in bitter and protracted legal fights over money.

It’s easy to see how Murdoch’s three adult children from his second marriage wouldn’t want any added complications from Smith as they gear up for an-already complicated succession battle over the future of the Murdoch empire, Sherman reported. Perhaps Murdoch also didn’t want to be associated with a woman whose

In several interviews in recent years, Smith liked to portray herself living a “rags-to-riches” storyline that became even more fulfilling when, she said, Jesus and prayer brought new meaning into her life.

“When you let the Lord take control of your life, you can make it,” Smith once told the Christian Broadcasting Network. “Out of the ruins you can rise, and let the oil of his anointing just be all over you.”

Smith said she found Jesus after surviving a turbulent first marriage in the 1980s to the much-older John B. Huntington, a scion of one of San Francisco’s most prominent families. They married when she was a 28-year-old dental hygienist, joining the 47-year-old Huntington’s high-society life-style, which included a Tiburon estate, philanthropic endeavors, gala openings and a clothing budget of up to $65,000 a month.

Smith made news at one of the galas when she was involved in “a shoving match” with another socialite on the dance floor at the Fairmont Hotel, the New York Times reported. Smith pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and was ordered to donate $3,000 to a shelter for abused women, Reuters reported at the time.

After Smith and Huntington separated in 1989, she launched an unsuccessful court fight to extend spousal support, according to court records. She claimed she suffered post-traumatic stress from Huntington’s alleged abuse and alcoholism.

Following the divorce, Smith told CBN that she had to go on welfare and became suicidal but found redemption through faith and worked for a time as a street preacher in Marin County. In 1999, she married Michael Carabello, a former percussionist in the rock band Santana, but that marriage only lasted a year, the New York Times reported.

At some point, Smith met her second husband, Chester Smith, a former country music star who became wealthy by buying up independent local TV stations. He married her, just after divorcing his first wife, whom he had been married to for 42 years, according to the Daily Mail. He was 74 at the time, while his new bride was 27 years his junior.

Early in their marriage, Chester and Ann Lesley Smith cut a country music album together titled “Captured in Love.” The album cover shows Smith dressed in a police uniform; she told the Modesto Bee that she met her very devout Christian husband when she was working as a prison chaplain. Hat tip DD.

 

Rupricht DID NOT LIKE All Of Tucker's Good/Evil/God/Prayer Talk....,

vanityfair  | A new theory has emerged. According to the source, Fox Corp. chair Rupert Murdoch removed Carlson over remarks Carlson made during a speech at the Heritage Foundation’s 50th Anniversary gala on Friday night. Carlson laced his speech with religious overtones that even Murdoch found too extreme, the source, who was briefed on Murdoch’s decision-making, said. Carlson told the Heritage audience that national politics has become a manichean battle between “good” and “evil.” Carlson said that people advocating for transgender rights and DEI programs want to destroy America and they could not be persuaded with facts. “We should say that and stop engaging in these totally fraudulent debates…I’ve tried. That doesn’t work,” he said. The answer, Carlson suggested, was prayer. “I have concluded it might be worth taking just 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to say a prayer for the future, and I hope you will,” he said. “That stuff freaks Rupert out. He doesn’t like all the spiritual talk,” the source said. 

Carlson declined to comment. A spokesperson for Fox Corp. declined to comment. 

It’s been reported that Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott made the decision to fire Carlson on Friday night. Another source, a person close to Murdoch, has said something similar to me. Scott informed Carlson of the decision on Monday morning. 

Rupert Murdoch was perhaps unnerved by Carlson’s messianism because it echoed the end-times worldview of Murdoch’s ex-fiancée Ann Lesley Smith, the source said. In my May cover story, I reported that Murdoch and Smith called off their two-week engagement because Smith had told people Carlson was “a messenger from God.” Murdoch had seen Carlson and Smith discuss religion firsthand. In late March, Carlson had dinner at Murdoch’s Bel Air vineyard with Murdoch and Smith, according to the source. During dinner, Smith pulled out a bible and started reading passages from the Book of Exodus, the source said. “Rupert just sat there and stared,” the source said. A few days after the dinner, Murdoch and Smith called off the wedding. By taking Carlson off the air, Murdoch was also taking away his ex’s favorite show. 

Smith did not respond to a request for comment. 

The 92-year-old mogul’s broken engagement is part of a string of erratic decisions he has made of late that raises questions about Murdoch’s leadership of his media empire. According to sources, executives at Fox are worried about Murdoch’s unsteady hand at the wheel of the company. “It’s like the King is senile but no one wants to say anything,” the source said. According to two sources, Fox settled with Dominion moments before the trial was set to begin because Fox’s lawyers didn’t want Murdoch to testify in public. “They were hoping and praying to settle for months, but they didn’t want to pay up,” the second source said. Once the trial began, the lawyers told Fox execs that Murdoch would be “disgraced on the stand, run out of the boardroom, and his testimony will expose him as a lunatic sliding into senility.” (The person close to Murdoch disputed this. “Rupert was very well prepared to testify.”)

The Pentagram Is Very Happy To See Tucker Carlson Go....,

politico  |  From maternity flight suits to diversity policies to Ukraine aid, the military was a favorite punching bag for Tucker Carlson. Now that he’s off the air, some Pentagon officials are quietly cheering his departure.

Carlson’s criticism of Biden-era personnel policies appealed to many of the rank-and-file, which has a large bloc of conservative members. But at the upper levels of the Defense Department, news of Carlson’s firing from Fox News on Monday was met with delight and outright glee in some corners.

“We’re a better country without him bagging on our military every night in front of hundreds of thousands of people,” said one senior DoD official, who like others interviewed for this story was granted anonymity to discuss a politically sensitive topic.

“Good riddance,” said a second DoD official.

Asked to respond to the news that DoD officials are pleased by his departure from Fox, Carlson responded by text message: “Ha! I’m sure.” He declined to comment further.

The tension between the former cable host and Pentagon leadership isn’t new. Carlson drew the ire of top DoD officials early in the Biden administration for personal attacks on a number of military leaders, as well as ridiculing the armed forces’ efforts to increase diversity. A slew of conservative leaders quickly followed Carlson’s lead, giving rise to a small but vocal minority that to this day continues to hammer DoD officials, saying they’re focusing personnel policies at the expense of preparing for war. The Pentagon says only a small percentage of troops’ time is spent on diversity training.

Most memorably, Carlson’s remarks disparaging female service members in March 2021 prompted a rare rebuke from then-Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby.

After President Joe Biden announced new efforts to recruit and keep women in the service — including designing new body armor, updating requirements for hairstyles and the nominations of two female generals to become combatant commanders — at a White House ceremony, Carlson accused the commander in chief of making a “mockery” of the troops.

“So, we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military,” he said.

 

MSDNC Proclaims Tucker Fired For Being A MisogynBro

rollingstone  | Former Tucker Carlson producer Abby Grossberg had a lot to say about her ex-boss, detailing her experience with the noxious behind-the-scenes culture of Tucker Carlson Tonight in an interview with MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace on Tuesday. 

Grossberg filed two explosive lawsuits against Fox News in March. She alleges that the network coerced her into changing her deposition to lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems and that she was the victim of a pervasive culture of misogyny and workplace discrimination while working as a producer for host Maria Bartiromo, and now-former host Tucker Carlson. Through the lawsuits, Grossberg has produced several recordings made during her time at Fox that expose how transparently members of Trump’s circle lied about election fraud claims. In the interview, she revealed that she is in possession of a total of 90 recordings made during her time at the network. 

Fox News has called Grossberg’s allegations about her Dominion testimony “baseless” and stated that they are prepared to “vigorously defend Fox against all of her legal claims which have no merit.” 

On MSNBC, Grossberg elaborated on her claims that Carlson had created a hostile work environment rampant with sexist discrimination behind the scenes of his show. Carlson was ousted from Fox News in a shocking move by the network on Monday, with no explanation given as to the cause of his sudden departure. 

“Tucker and his executive producer Justin Wells, who was also fired, really were responsible for breaking me and making my life a living hell. So there is a feeling of justice, but it’s only partial,” Grossberg said in her discussion of Carlson’s departure from Fox. 

Despite her sense of partial vindication, Grossberg remains just as mystified as the public as to the network’s reason for parting ways with their biggest star. “I think [the lawsuits have] something to do with it,” Grossberg said, adding that she can’t “know for sure though.”  

What Grossberg does know, however, is her experience working behind the scenes of the most toxic show in the history of cable news. She described the frat-style culture of Tucker Carlson Tonight, whose offices at Fox’s studios were littered with photos of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in swimsuits.

The former producer said she was punished and demoted for speaking out against the “bro-fest” culture of Carlson’s team. “Whenever I said something like that, it put a target on my back and gradually I was shut out of meetings, I was mocked, I was eventually demoted. That’s how it played out for me. It got worse and worse and worse every time I spoke out.”

 

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Blinken's Stepfather Samuel Pisar Was Robert Maxwell's Attorney

Turley  |  This week, Blinken was implicated in a political coverup that could well have made the difference in the 2020 election. According to the sworn testimony of former acting CIA Director Michael Morrell, Blinken – then a high-ranking Biden campaign official – was “the impetus” of the false claim that the Hunter Biden laptop story was really Russian disinformation. Morrell then organized dozens of ex-national security officials to sign the letter claiming that the Hunter laptop story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

Morrell further admitted that the Biden campaign “helped to strategize about the public release of the statement.”

Finally, he admitted that one of his goals was not just to warn about Russian influence but “to help then-Vice President Biden in the debate and to assist him in winning the election.”

Help it did. Biden claimed in a presidential debate that the laptop story was “garbage” and part of a “Russian plan.” Biden used the letter to say “nobody believes” that the laptop is real.

In reality, the letter was part of a political plan with the direct involvement of his campaign, but Biden never revealed their involvement. Indeed, over years of controversy surrounding this debunked letter, no one in the Biden campaign or White House (including Blinken) revealed their involvement.

Of course, the letter was all the media needed. Discussion of the laptop was blocked on social media, and virtually every major media outlet dismissed the story before the election.

That was also all Biden needed to win a close election. The allegations that the Biden family had cashed in millions through influence peddling could have made the difference. It never happened, in part because of Blinken’s work.

Once in power, Blinken was given one of the top Cabinet positions. He was now one of the “made” men of the administration.

He was not alone. The 2016 election was marred by false allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Unlike the influence peddling allegations made against Biden, the media ran with those stories for years. It later turned out that the funding and distribution of the infamous Steele dossier originated with the Clinton campaign. The campaign, however, reportedly lied in denying any such funding until after the election. It was later sanctioned for hiding the funding as legal expenses.

Those involved in spreading this false story were rewarded handsomely. For example, the second collusion story planted in the media by the campaign concerned the Russian Alfa Bank. The campaign used key Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, who went public with the entirely false claim of a secret back channel between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Sullivan was also a “made” man who was later made Biden’s national security adviser. Others who were implicated in either the Steele dossier or Alfa Bank hoaxes also later found jobs in the administration. The Brookings Institution proved a virtual turnstile for these political operatives.

Many signatories on the Russian disinformation letter continue to flourish. MSNBC analyst Jeremy Bash signed the letter and was put on the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board. As with Sullivan, it did not seem to matter that Bash had gotten one of the most important intelligence stories of the election wrong.

Former CIA head James Clapper was referenced by Biden on the letter and was also a spreader of the Russian collusion claims. Despite those scandals and a claim of perjury, CNN gave him a media contract.

They are all “made” men in the Beltway, but they could not have succeeded without a “made” media.

The DNC Email Leak And The Murder Of Seth Rich

moonofalabama  |   Last week we learned a new fact about the DNC email leak in 2016 and of the events that likely led to the killing of Seth Rich.

A quite aggressive Wikipedia page discusses the Murder of Seth Rich:

The murder of Seth Rich occurred on July 10, 2016, at 4:20 a.m. in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Rich died about an hour and a half after being shot twice in the back. The perpetrators were never apprehended; police suspected he had been the victim of an attempted robbery.

The 27-year-old Rich was an employee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and his murder spawned several right-wing conspiracy theories, including the false claim, contradicted by the law enforcement branches that investigated the murder, that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016. It was also contradicted by the July 2018 indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence agents for hacking the e-mail accounts and networks of Democratic Party officials and by the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion the leaked DNC emails were part of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Fact-checking websites like PolitiFact, Snopes, and FactCheck.org stated that the theories were false and unfounded. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post wrote that the promotion of these conspiracy theories was an example of fake news.

Well, that is not what really had happened.

Yes, Seth Rich worked as IT administrator for the Democratic National Committee. He was a fan of Bernie Sanders. During the 2016 primaries DNC functionaries did their best to work against Bernie Sanders and for Hillary Clinton. To make that public Seth Rich collected an archive of all DNC emails, copied it onto an USB stick and looked for someone who would publish them.

UPDATE 20:00 UTC

The former British ambassador Craig Murray said that he was given the USB stick by an intermediary of a disgusted Democratic whistleblower and brought it from Washington DC to Wikileaks which eventually published the emails. The data involved were not only from the DNC but also from Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta:

WikiLeaks made the DNC messages public in July and the incriminating emails from Podesta were published in October. The messages predominantly showed that DNC officials were bent on sabotaging the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. Murray insisted that the information was leaked and not hacked by Russia.

“Neither of the leaks came from the Russians. The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks…leakers were motivated by disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.”

/End Update/

Craig Murray did not mention Seth Rich. Up to last week we did not know if Seth Rich really made contact with Wikileaks.

But we did know that the DNC was never 'hacked' by anything Russia. The date/timestamps of the leaked files were consistent with local copying and inconsistent with an internet transfer. The company Crowdstrike which was hired to protect the DNC's networks and which did an investigation into the case never observed an actual 'Russian' hack or any data exfiltration from the DNC network. As ITwire wrote in May 2020:

The controversial American security firm CrowdStrike, which was called in to investigate the alleged Russian hack of DNC servers in 2016, had no proof that any emails from the system had been exfiltrated despite public assertions that this had occurred, according to the transcript of an interview released by the US Government a few days ago.

The transcript was from an interview conducted with CrowdStrike's president of services and chief security officer Shawn Henry by the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in December 2017, but only released to the US Special Counsel Robert Mueller who conducted a two-year inquiry into alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential poll.

While the exfiltration of emails from the DNC server has been accepted as a proven fact, Henry's answers to queries from committee members make it clear that this was definitely not the case.

In one typical exchange, Henry was asked, "What about the emails that everyone is so, you know, knowledgeable of? Were there also indicators that they were prepared but not evidence that they actually were exfiltrated?" To this Henry responded, "There's not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There's circumstantial evidence - but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated."

PolitiFact, Snopes and FactCheck.org are, unsurprisingly, wrong with their assertions.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Where My Nashville Shooter Manifesto At?!?!?!

NYPost  |  Nashville shooter Audrey Hale’s manifesto is a “blueprint on total destruction” which the FBI are stalling releasing, according to local politicians, who describe its contents as “astronomically dangerous”.

Almost a month after Audrey Hale, who identified as transgender, killed six at the city’s Covenant elementary school before being shot by police authorities have yet to release a motive or any of the writings seized from her home, despite growing pressure.

Rep. Tim Burchett, (R-Tenn.) told The Post he knew the FBI was behind the delay, saying the news was “disappointing” and calling for documents to be released to grieving loved ones as well as members of Congress.

The manifesto “could maybe tell us a little bit about what’s going on inside of her head,” he added. “I think that would answer a lot of questions.”

Twenty journals, five laptops, a suicide note and various other notes written by Hale were seized from the house she shared with her parents as well as two memoirs, five Covenant School yearbooks and seven cellphones, according to a search warrant.

Metro Nashville Council Member Courtney Johnston confirmed to The Post the FBI has already ruled the manifesto would not be released any time soon.

“What I was told is, her manifesto was a blueprint on total destruction, and it was so, so detailed at the level of what she had planned,” she said, when reached by phone.

“That document in the wrong person’s hands would be astronomically dangerous,” she added.

Where My Hunter Biden Tax And Gun Charges At?!?!?!

 cnbc  |  Federal prosecutors have considered charging Hunter Biden with three tax crimes and a charge related to a gun purchase, said two sources familiar with the matter.

The possible charges are two misdemeanor counts for failure to file taxes, a single felony count of tax evasion related to a business expense for one year of taxes, and the gun charge, also a potential felony.

Two senior law enforcement sources told NBC News about “growing frustration” inside the FBI because investigators finished the bulk of their work on the case about a year ago. A senior law enforcement source said the IRS finished its investigation more than a year ago.

The Washington Post previously reported that federal investigators believed they had gathered enough evidence to charge Hunter Biden with tax crimes and a false statement related to a gun purchase.

The decision on which charges to file, if any, will be made by U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who was appointed by President Donald Trump and retained by the Biden administration to continue the Hunter Biden investigation. There are no indications a final decision has been made, said the two sources familiar with the matter.

The IRS Criminal Investigation division, the Justice Department, the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware and attorneys for Hunter Biden declined to comment.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Politicizing The Moment For Everything It's Worth

NYTimes  |  “I think what they’re missing is just how much this impacts a lot of us who exist while Black,” said Mr. Lucas, a Democrat, who has been mayor of this city of 508,000 people since 2019.

“The immediate answer anybody wants to have is, ‘Yeah, we’re a great place,’” Mr. Lucas said. He added: “I think we’re a wonderful place. But I think we’ve got a hell of a lot of things that we should confront to be the best place we can be.”

“If you live in a privileged part of town, a less privileged part of town may as well be across an ocean,” said Jason Kander, a former Missouri secretary of state who lives in Kansas City and who is white. He said his city “remains a place that is defined by the old-school red line,” and a failure to replicate the economic growth seen in largely white parts of town in mostly Black neighborhoods.

Old dividing lines have blurred some over the decades as Black families have moved west of Troost or north of the river, and the city’s record on race is complicated. Mr. Lucas is the third Black mayor of a city that remains majority white, and its first Black mayor, Emanuel Cleaver, now represents the area in Congress. 

But in interviews across Kansas City, residents described a place where progress has been uneven. Michele L. Watley, who lives in Midtown, said racism in the city was sometimes overt, like the time someone called the police on her after wrongly suggesting that she was stealing from a store. But often, she said, the bias was more subtle.

“It’s almost like this veil of nicety and smiles that kind of overlays microaggressions and all kinds of crazy stuff,” said Ms. Watley, who is Black and the founder of Shirley’s Kitchen Cabinet, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower Black women.

At a Kansas City community center, Deja Jones, who is white, said she had noticed that her fiancé, who is Black, regularly faced racism around town, including once when she was in the car with him and parked close to a building to drop something off.

Is It Fox4News? Is It Because He's Wayciss?

kansascity | A grandson of the man charged with shooting a Black teen in Kansas City’s Northland last week said he was “appalled” and “disgusted” at his grandfather’s actions and is thankful Ralph Yarl is recovering.

“I was horrified. I thought it was terrible,” Klint Ludwig said of his immediate reaction to hearing about the shooting of the 16-year-old. “It was inexcusable. It was wrong.

“I stand with Ralph, and really want his family to achieve justice for what happened to them. Their child or grandchild or nephew’s life was fundamentally changed forever, over a mistake and someone being scared and fearful.”

Andrew D. Lester, 84, shot Yarl twice — including once in the head — when Yarl accidentally went to the wrong house on Thursday night while trying to pick up his younger brothers. Lester, a white man who police say shot Yarl after the teen rang Lester’s doorbell, was charged Monday with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. He surrendered to authorities on Tuesday, was released on $200,000 bond and pleaded not guilty Wednesday during his first court appearance.

The shooting sparked a national conversation on race and guns.

“I feel terribly for him,” Ludwig, 28, said of Yarl. “And I’m really glad that he’s doing OK, he’s going to live. I know his life is changed forever. And I’m really sorry.”

Ludwig, who lives in the Kansas City area, told The Star on Wednesday that he also was disgusted at the way authorities handled the case.

Another grandson of Lester’s said he thinks characterizing the shooting as a hate crime is inaccurate.

Daniel Ludwig, 30, of Kansas City — who is Klint’s older brother — said he did not believe race played a role in the shooting.

“It’s just sad and I wish it didn’t happen,” Daniel Ludwig told The Star. “It seems like a bunch of mistakes in a row that resulted in a tragedy. I mean, a lot of mistakes all the way around, unfortunately.”

Daniel Ludwig said he believed his grandfather would not have fired had Yarl not “gone for the door.” It was clear, he said, that the shooting did not unfold “for no reason.”

“If you look at the affidavit, there were actions taken that caused it,” he said, later adding: “My grandpa’s side isn’t being reported.”

Yarl, however, told police he was “immediately” shot after simply ringing the doorbell.

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing the Yarl family, said Yarl “never” put his hand on Lester’s door and did not try to enter the home.

“Mind you, touching the door in and of itself wouldn’t be enough to justify the use of deadly force,” he said Wednesday. “Ralph rang the doorbell and waited quietly outside until the door was open.”

Earlier this week, Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson said there was a “racial component” to the shooting, though he did not elaborate. Civil rights and faith leaders have called for Lester to additionally face federal hate crime charges.

A nephew of Lester’s told The Star Wednesday evening that his uncle was a “decent man.”

“I really didn’t know what to think when I heard about this,” said Dean Smith, of Jewell Ridge, Virginia. “It just kind of shocked me. You don’t expect something like that.”

Smith said Lester was home alone because his wife had been in a rehab facility.

“They were trying to get her health back before she came home,” he said.

He said he believed Lester was scared when he heard the doorbell ring late at night.

“Eighty-four years old, living by himself.”

Smith said it would “be hard for me to believe” that Lester is racist.

“He’s worked with so many people,” he said. “He’s been a supervisor and all, over different races. He’s just a really straightforward, everyday person. He was just retired military, trying to get on with life.”

 

 

Do What I Do - ENJOY THE CHASE - And Stay Amused....,

  "Many years ago I was convinced the Heisenberg uncertainty principle was incomplete, and people shouldn't just believe it becaus...