December 31, 2021

No Epps, No Peace

It’s funny how much trust and faith the FBI had in Trump and his supporters.

I mean, in 2015 and 2016 I thought Trump would implode on his own and that there would be some incident that would ruin him.  But the FBI didn’t see it that way, they wanted to destroy him before he could destroy himself. And thus the desperate Russian collusion gambit that made Trump a martyr. 

Similarly, the FBI knew a huge crowd was coming to D.C. on 1/6 and they could’ve assumed there would be violence and it could’ve been blamed solely on Trump. But instead of trusting that violence would happen organically they needed to incite and lead it. They stepped on their own message and muddied the waters again. 

The fortunate part is they are inept enough to unwittingly reveal what we know.  I’m not sure how they thought, if they were thinking at all, that in an age of smart phones that the non-arrest of Ray Epps wasn’t going to be a big deal given the video footage. 

Now Epps is an international story, getting front page treatment at the UK Daily Mail. (Nothing much in U.S. of course, although the Wall Street Journal did run an excellent op-ed today saying, "Abolish the FBI".)  

So Epps was approached by two Daily Mail reporters told them no comment when asked if he was linked to the FBI.  Last week a couple local citizen journalists stopped by his farm and asked a similar question and received a similar response but then were visited by the FBI the next day. (I trust the Daily Mail will receive no visits.)

And there's the ongoing disaster of the FBI trying to gin up someone to kidnap Gov Whitmer which was both corrupt and incompetent but effective towards its goal inasmuch as the timing, right before the election, might've swung enough votes to Biden, especially in Michigan.  The money quote in the article linked is about how post-9/11 entrapment was the new modus operandi used on numerous Muslim defendants  but that "in general the public did not object".  We're all Muslims now. 

Psalm 93 seems appropriate:

"Amid all the thronging cares that fill my heart, my soul finds comfort in thy consolation. What part have these unjust judges with thee, that make mischief in the name of law? Let them harry the just as they will...in my God I shall find a rock-fastness still.”

 


December 26, 2021

Support the 1/6 Prisoners

One of the cliches of those who have rose from straitened circumstances is to say “we didn’t know we were poor.” 

And I think there’s an element of that for the spiritually poor of today - they don’t know that our society was far wealthier in the past. For those of us of a certain age, our youths certainly weren’t formed in a spiritually rich society but compared to today it was better off.  

I mean, at least we knew the difference between males and females and two of the same sex couldn’t marry. Pretty basic stuff. 

So one of the difficulties is mentally adjusting to the constantly decreasing spiritual wealth of this age.  We certainly see it in politics where a generation or two ago the ACLU would support the right of the KKK to march in the streets.  At the time I found that touching and noble and it affected me. Who was this leftwing organization speaking on behalf of the reprehensible? And what appealed to me at the time was not so much mercy towards reprobates but the idea that there were ideals, that there were principles that transcended whether a person’s views were “good” or “bad”. It was called the “rule of law”.  May it R.I.P..

The ACLU now, of course, doesn't care a fig about the far more serious issue of people charged with crimes like trespassing and sitting in jail for over a year, often in inhumane conditions. The process is the punishment. Who needs a trial when you can hold someone in solitary confinement for a long period of time? All of the ACLU’s bravado melted before the heat of the next illiberal generation. 

Ol’ bloggers Zippy Catholic and Mark Shea pointed out the wrongness of the abuses of the terror suspects held in Guantanamo in the early 2000s. They were understandably concerned about that rule of law, even when applied to non-citizens.  Well, now we know for whom the bell tolled when it came to those Taliban suspects: it tolled for future white Americans involved in the patriot movement. The tells were there for those with ears to listen (though I missed it and hence am catching up).  Note the October 2020 announcement by Homeland Security that white nationalism was the primo domestic terrorist threat, simultaneous to the FBI trying desperately to incite people to kidnap  MI Gov Whitmer. (With one FBI for every woebegotten "plotter”.) Then of course came 1/6 and Ray Epps is free and is working on his wedding rental outfit in Arizona.  There will be no healing on 1/6 until we get an explanation. By all means, hold Trump culpable for not making statements sooner, but trade that for the FBI coming clean. I’ll not hold my breath. 


One could say that justice was always this bad -- just not for whites.  And for sure Native Americans had treaties worth little and Blacks had slavery followed by Jim Crow. In a way, MAGA is learning what Blacks have known for eons: that there’s little justice in the “justice system”. 

So perhaps in that sense my sympathy for the benighted political prisoners is misplaced. Or maybe not, since they - poor rural whites - are the last acceptable prejudice. All’s fair against white trash while Blacks are, as a fully owned subsidiary of the Democrat party, obviously now in a protected class.  These blue collar whites are the true margins that Pope Francis often talks about - even when their own behavior is repulsive or cringeworthy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer ran into some “German trash” early in his career as pastor. He wrote:

“Every day I am getting to know people, at any rate their circumstances...I meet people with passions, criminal types, small people with small aims, small wages and small sins - all in all they are people who feel homeless in both senses...And I can only say that I have gained the impression that it is just these people who are much more under grace than under wrath, and that it is the Christian world which is more under wrath than grace.” 

By definition, those on the margins will be harder to help given the lack of concern in broader society. Lawfare for GOP (let alone MAGA types) will always be an uphill battle given the Democratic party is the party of elites (academia, woke corporations), and attorneys/ABA are main constituent of Dem power base/funding. 

Which means we need more crowdfunding of lawyers from the right - or should I say from the margins. Pope Francis, the pope of mercy and margins, would surely approve.

Aid can be given here or here. And Julie Kelly has been good on the issue

December 24, 2021

Jesus as the Sign of Contradiction

The first reading from Malachi just before Christmas is fire and brimstone:

"Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made.” 

One of the complaints about the Bible is contradiction. In the Old Testament, God is depicted both as a a vengeful, ominous God and other times a merciful, intimate God. Sometimes He is too holy to touch without dying, and other times we are “the apple of His eye” as the psalmist says. 

So I imagine Jesus reading and studying the Bible as a child, understanding He would have to fulfill the Old Testament.  Not an easy task.  He would have to somehow combine all these visions of God into his single person. 

And yet he succeeded. One could hardly pigeonhole Jesus as completely the vengeful God or completely merciful one. He certainly gave no quarter to the Pharisees and Sadducees, calling them white-washed tombs and saying that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will get into Heaven. In 70 AD the Jews and the Temple would be utterly destroyed. So that’s very strong stuff. But at the same time he was surreally merciful given the constant healings, the unparalleled situation of a rabbi speaking to Samaritan woman with five husbands (she was wrong on three counts: Samaritan, a woman - whom Jewish rabbi’s were supposed to talk to alone, and a serial adulterer), the Prodigal son story, the woman caught in adultery, Zaccheus, Matthew, and on and on etc... 

Malachi’s prophecy was certainly lived out in that Jesus was like a refiner’s fire to the Pharisees and the Jewish Temple... and he did “purify the sons of Levi and make them like gold and silver” given that all the apostles save Judas were martyrs and/or saints. 

And so was the Old Testament passages about him being a suffering servant, and a lover of all of mankind. 

Jesus literally embodied the contradictions of the Old Testament. He was both ominous and scary, and intimate and merciful. 

December 23, 2021

Researching 1/6: Why Feds Obsessed with Proud Boys?

It’s sort of bewildering to me that the Feds were so desperate to get the Proud Boys that they apparently orchestrated an elaborate trap for them on 1/6 (of course with unintended consequences ensued like Capitol windows getting busted - Ray Epps later said that window breakage "was not supposed to happen!" - and the counting of electoral college getting delayed.) 

Kudos to The Revolver for doing the remarkable reportage that journalists won’t do. This impressive stuff - along with this gal’s tweet thread - is the sort of citizen-journalism I aspired to with a certain Colorado and GA Sec of State but never got too far. 

As we know, previous Trump rallies had been peaceful so all you needed on 1/6 for it to be a success from the Fed’s point of view was for someone to take down some temporary barriers with wire clippers, equip a couple undercover with bullhorns, escort the Proud Boys onto the Capitol grounds and then - voila! - you have them all trespassing and whatever else you feel like charging them with. Shows over. Seems an extraordinary length to go in order to get these guys.  So what’s the backstory? Are they the evil empire within? 

Well, I was surprised to learn that a few months before 1/6, even after the Antifa riots, white supremacist groups were deemed the biggest threat to national security. From NPR in Oct 2020:

In its first-ever “Homeland Threat Assessment” released on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security named white supremacist groups as the single most dangerous domestic extremist threat to the nation.

Since 2018, white supremacist groups have been responsible for more deaths than any other domestic extremist group, the report adds.

The report does mention protests that broke out in cities like Portland, Kenosha, and New York City over the summer – but attributes this violence to “anti-government/anti-authority violent extremism” as opposed to specific white nationalist groups.

Wow. Big if true! So I tried to dig into the deaths they’d been responsible for and eventually found this:

From Newsweek:

[2019] was the deadliest on record for domestic extremist violence since the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. White supremacists were responsible for most of that bloodshed – 39 out of 48 deaths, including 23 people who died at the hands of an anti-Hispanic racist in El Paso, Texas, and a Jewish worshipper murdered at Poway Synagogue in California.

Turns out he El Paso shooting was indeed perpetrated by a white racist just as a black racist recently killed people in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Both are heinous crimes but seem to lack any status as a “trend”.  

In the Jewish worshipper murdered (according to Wikipedia): "Officials said he had no previous criminal record or contacts with police, and no known connection to any white supremacist group.” 

So that accounts for about 2/3rds of the 48 deaths and I’m not sure where the other fifteen white supremacist deaths are coming from nor am I confident the government would give us accurate statistics on crimes assigning the correct motivation anyway. As Clear Talk Media host Monica Matthews recently tweeted, “This year taught me one thing. Trust no one.” But you try to use data even from soiled sources (like the MSM and feds). 

So back to the Proud Boys who have exercised such a remarkable hold on the FBI’s imagination (and Biden’s, who singled them out in a speech albeit calling them “the Poor Boys”).  You can’t attack them for their thoughts alone, can you? There has to be violence, supposedly, so I googled for Proud Boy violence and came up with the quote below via NPR: 

To reach the fourth degree, [Proud Boys founder] McInnes said, "you get arrested or in a serious violent fight for the cause." (During the interview, Rogan responded, "So you're promoting violence?" and told McInnes, "You should erase that part." McInnes has, at times, claimed the fourth degree should be reached only in self-defense.) 
 
Officially, the group rejects racism and touts the multiracial backgrounds of some members. But they also describe themselves as proponents of "Western chauvinism" — the belief that Western European culture is superior to all others.

He also wrote in an email that violence is not core to the group's identity. "The violence you see from Proud Boys is a reaction to the unmitigated violence from antifa that the media ignores," he said, and that "I have encouraged FIGHTING BACK."

He also said that he discouraged the group from any involvement in the pro-Trump rallies on Jan. 6. "I made it very clear the whole thing was a bad idea and implored Proud Boys not to go," McInnes wrote.

So the Poor/Proud Boys are certainly not without sin but to create a 1/6 sting op seems just crazy given the risks to, er, the Democratic process and counting of electoral votes.  But hey enjoy the show - it was your tax dollars at work! :-) 

UPDATE: Ah, some light shed by Jack Posobiec’s recent book on Antifa:

What the intelligence community understood was that many in Washington D.C. on both sides of the aisle had begun to outsource their personal responsibility to the assessments and reporting of so-called experts. Rather than taking the time to dig in and understand an issue, a report is placed on a congressman’s desk, or a briefing is conducted, generally with staff, and their decisions are essentially made for them.

**

One active member of U.S. SOCOM told me “the Beltway intel community is one big circle [expletive]. They read the Washington Post every morning, watch CNN all day, and consider themselves informed. They never consider the fact that they might be getting information from bad sources.” He continued, “Look at 2020. You had looters and Antifa tearing up American cities every night of the summer, biggest riots since LA, but FBI barely even mentioned them. All these kids come in with criminal justice or poli sci degrees and think that counts as real-world experience, but they wouldn’t even know how to clear a corner.” I asked what sorts of reports were coming in during 2020. He said, “Well all the analysts were working from home because of COVID so they really only had access to unclassified. So they’re sitting home using Google and CNN to write OSINT (open source intelligence) and everyone wants to write about the same Q Anon or white supremacist nut so we end up with 15 reports about one event and the SES thinks it’s some kind of crisis. Then they brief the director about it, and then he goes to congress and tells them it’s the biggest threat in the country.” The intelligence community has fallen for the trap of circular reporting in the past, when the CIA falsely reported to the Bush Administration that Iraq had active weapons of mass destruction program. 

One can often assign laziness to nearly everything: laziness of Congress members to do research, laziness of the intelligence community to do anything but read the news, laziness and herd-thinking on the part of reporters and laziness of American voters to acquire alternative sources of information given the media is one large cauldron of misinformation. 

Update 2: Ah, it's a continuing education course.  I didn't deep dive into Charlottesville back in 2017, seeing it too much in Trump terms due to the media falsely putting him at the forefront of it.  But in this case the joke had a deadlier impact by setting up the country for the summer of '20 riots with the media's approval and acceptance of Antifa. (This may also have misled rioters on the Right in the lead-up to 1/6 thinking the playing field was level, that violence was acceptable.) 

As much as I think the dominant media had and has been thoroughly discredited, they have great influence where it most matters (the elites in law and government bureaus). 

Turned out, Charlottesville was in some ways a defining event for the country and surely part of the reason for the "white supremacy is the greatest domestic threat" that popped up a couple years later. 

From Posobiec’s book discussing it: 

..Yet by every account, as violence broke out between white supremacists and opposing anarchists, the police stood by as it escalated into a deadly brawl...

Charlottesville was an unmitigated disaster, resulting in the tragic deaths of three people – including the murder of demonstrator Heather Heyer, horrifically mowed down by a neo-Nazi. The left continued to bring up this event almost daily for years throughout the Trump presidency, and Joe Biden made it central to his election campaign in 2020. Through endlessly repeated lies and misrepresentations, in the minds of millions, Donald Trump remains branded as a racist, while Antifa was all but absolved of its role in the violence...

In short, Charlottesville was among the first of the great false narratives of Trump’s aptly named “fake news” era.

By “whitewashing” the role played by Antifa’s thugs in the violence – and also keeping the klieg lights far from the local Democrat officials who conspicuously failed in their sworn duty to uphold order – the national media more dramatically than ever before exposed itself as terminally corrupt.

They went to great lengths to legitimize Antifa’s role in the mayhem. CNN host Chris Cuomo infamously compared their actions in Charlottesville to those of the soldiers who landed on the Normandy beaches in 1944. Thus began the legitimization of Antifa in the eyes of the media...This book could be entirely comprised of nothing but major media praise for Antifa in the wake of Charlottesville.

Update 3:  Maybe the risk to the Capitol wasn't as great as thought because looks like there was a contingency plan. 

From Newsweek:

The presence of these extraordinary forces under the control of the Attorney General—and mostly operating under contingency plans that Congress and the U.S. Capitol Police were not privy to—added an additional layer of highly armed responders. The role that the military played in this highly classified operation is still unknown, though FBI sources tell Newsweek that military operators seconded to the FBI, and those on alert as part of the National Mission Force, were present in the metropolitan area. The lingering question is: What was it that the Justice Department saw that provoked it to see January 6 as an extraordinary event, something that the other agencies evidently missed.

As Darren Beattie said: 

 And yet, despite this mysterious revelation, the Capitol enjoyed uniquely poor security on 1/6...Makes sense...

And came an anonymous reply to him on Twitter: 

It was a delicate situation. They had to make sure their school play didn't devolve into an actual sacking. The bigger question is, was Babbitt's shooter operating under these orders?


December 13, 2021

An Open Letter to David French

My obligatory David French response wherein I tilt at windmill of his hatred of the politics of his fellow evangelicals, saying that either these come from theology (which case the politics are acceptable) or culture (which case the politics are unacceptable):

**

I feel like there’s an additional component outside just the binary choice of theological conviction versus culture, namely "the truth”.  I understand that THAT greatly depends on the media, which is why we’re where we are. The truth is extremely hard to discern in an environment where the press is utterly untrustworthy.

Reaching for alternative media services is the most rational thing evangelicals can do. In fact, they are derelict as citizens if they don’t. Their choices seem not so much predicated on cultural predisposition or theological predisposition but a search for the truth which is the natural recoil from constantly being lied to.

It’s rational to see the exemption to covid distancing policies for riots in the summer of ’20 and wonder, so, social distancing is not required if the cause is righteous?

It’s rational not to trust Fauci and the medical establishment given their own inconsistencies and the change of goals from "flattening the curve" to whatever we’re doing now (I guess the goal is vaccinating the unvaccinated to protect the already vaccinated.)

It’s rational to distrust the ‘20 election results given the concerns of U.S. senators and HBO documentarists in 2018 concerning the potential for fraud.

It’s rational to see BLM as an inversion of the Civil Rights moment.

If self-defense is valid in the individual sphere, I’m not sure why it shouldn't be in the social sense.

December 12, 2021

Our Lady of Guadalupe Situated in History

Today would be, if it wasn’t a Sunday, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s interesting to flesh out what was going on in the world at the time of the apparition (Dec 1531). 

It was just thirty-nine years after Christopher Columbus and thirty-four years after John Cabot landed in Newfoundland, which began the British colonial presence in Continental North America. Just seven years prior Giovanni da Verrazzano, working for France, explored coastline from present-day Maine to North Carolina.  Around that same time Juan Diego is baptized by Franciscan missionaries. 

Mexico City’s Bishop Zumárraga was appointed the year before the apparition: “having only the title of bishop-elect and Protector of the Indians, he left Spain with the first civil officials, magistrates (oidores), towards the end of August 1528.” 

Martin Luther was near his zenith, asserting that Catholic clergy and monks were sodomites.  German Protestants form a league to defend against the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and the Roman Catholic states.

Michelangelo had fled Florence and goes into hiding. The Pope promises him immunity if he continues to work on the Medici Chapel figures. He finishes two of them (NIGHT and DAWN) by 1531. He would work on his “Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel four years later.  

John Calvin is 21, studying in Paris, his Protestant father having just died; Calvin is two years into his religious conversion. 

In 1530 King Henry VIII made his proclamation ordering the clergy to acknowledge Henry as ‘Supreme Head’ of the Church and St. Thomas More “speedily lost the royal favour, and in May, 1532, resigned his post of Lord Chancellor.” 

St. Terese of Avila was 16 years old and four years from entering the convent. 

St Ignatius of Loyola was 39 and studying theology at a French university and was already planning the start of the Jesuits; he met fellow students who would become, four years later, the first members of that order including St. Francis Xavier. 

St. Pope Pius XV had been ordained a priest in three years prior and was lecturing on papal support. 

St. Philip Neri was 16 and two years later, in 1533, would experience his religious conversion. 

The Battle is Not With Flesh and Blood...

From a Catholic lawyer Eudamonia esq on Twitter: 

Can’t believe I’m tweeting this, but I figured I should share it. Last night between 3:40 am and 4:00 am I had the first demonic experience of my life. As a former atheist and someone who is still dispassionate about this side of the faith, I know how that may sound. But this is something that must be shared. I awoke from a dream at about 3:40 am last night and was turning in bed. I was awake—I know this because I checked my phone and opened this app. After about 2 minutes of laying in bed, I felt mounting pressure in my temple and on the crown of my head, as if my head was being grabbed. It wasn’t painful, but it was strong like a grip. Seconds later, I “heard” a voice—I didn’t “hear” it like one hears things with their ears. Rather, I heard it like one hears their own thoughts: in their head. 

The voice was deep and graveled—almost with vocal fry, too. It was not speaking English, but I understood what it was saying. The voice was telling me to renounce Jesus Christ.

Yeah, yeah I know. I know! It sounds absolutely bonkers and I am gonna be dragged. Anyways this voice was telling me to renounce Christ as I was frozen in bed with this pressure on my skull. I uttered the words “I love Jesus Christ, my lord and savior” but it was very tough to say. It took about 3 seconds to say each word—as if I was being constrained.

The MOMENT I said the last word, however, the pressure stopped and I was in my bed as if all was normal. I was shaken. I’m shaken still. I am not the kind of person to believe this stuff happens—when I hear it happens to other people, I don’t believe them.

I’m a skeptical guy who converged to Catholicism due to academic study. I’ve always struggled with the spiritual, or metaphysical, aspect of faith. I’m an educated, intelligent, sober guy. And I’m telling everyone this happened. I need to tell everyone this happened.


December 08, 2021

Mea Culpa

I write too much about politics, which is to say about the trivial, and now feel appropriately guilty and small.  I can’t say I wasn’t warned; Amy Welborn seems to strike a much better balance between curiosity and spirituality. 

My stepson sent a rather remarkable letter (snail mail no less) to his widowed aunt after talking to her at a birthday party on Sunday. 

He’s been reading the Victorian novel Middlemarch and wrote it in that style, having been blown away by learning of his aunt's rescue operation of her grandson-by-marriage, Richard.  He’s been bullied and doing poorly in his school district so he’s come to live with her during the week and go to school locally where he is thriving and has friends. 

Aaron quotes Eliot’s novel, saying that it reminded him of her: 

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

He closes with:

“Be blessed in the knowledge that you and the company of saints are encouraged that you live a faithful life and let these blessings be compounded knowing your faithful life is not hidden from, nor will be forgotten by, the rest of us.” 

Not that one should be envious of your brother or sister’s excellence but...

Despite the absence of virtue on the political stage there are regular reminders of OPE (other people’s excellence) closer to home.  I heard today that Mrs. Darwin, 43, is pregnant with her 8th child. Her killer line is, in some ways, so reflective of the divine imperative: “I find that I'm still fruitful, just not in the ways that I choose.”

**

Tom Wolfe Talk in ‘96

Heard a Youtube lecture of the late author Tom Wolfe, given to Brown University audience in the late 1990s. Some notes:

“The philosopher Nietzsche was prophetic. He said in 1888 that the death of God [as seen by educated people] was unprecedented.  We don’t think of Plato and Aristotle believing in God but they always posited the existence of God. Even the 18th century philosopher David Hume said there must be a God to make the whole system work.”

Nietzche made three predictions in 1888:

1. In the collapse of belief in God, there will be wars such as never been waged on earth before, wars catastrophic beyond all imagining. You have killed God, but you have not killed guilt. And guilt is implanted in human beings very early in life, long before the age of reason. So you will be like the headless body of a religion: there will be guilt everywhere but no way to absolve it. You’ll have no where to turn to expiate your sins. As a result you will loathe not only one another but yourselves. 

2. You’ll be seized with an implacable ever mounting skepticism. Things you accepted just as a matter of course as truth, beauty and eternal verities you will now see as cheap lies and hypocrisies that have been contrived to cover up cynical strategies of power. 

3. And that will be the easy century. Wait till the 21st. You will see horrors beyond your wildest imagination. 

The sociologist Max Weber, contemporary of Nietzche, said the philosopher was right and added: “Art will replace religion in the 20th century. Aesthetics will replace ethics as the standard by which educated people judge one another.” 

Today, if you want to show your spiritual worthiness among the corporate elite, you want to be on the museum board!  Being on the board of the art museum!  

Recently there was a Vatican art exhibit that came to New York. Naturally it was a major NY city art world event.  All the major players were invited but since this was the Vatican’s collection it was also necessary to invite leading Roman Catholics, starting with the cardinal on down to laymen.  They arranged the tables such that there was one art world luminary, one Roman Catholic, etc... This was the most silent public dinner I’ve ever heard in my life. All you could hear was the ping of hotel silver off the plates. I happened to be out in the lobby and overheard two well-known gallery owners and one of them said to the other, “Who in the name of God are these unbelievable people?”  The idea is “what are these pagans, these heathens, doing at a major New York art world event?” This is how far this idea of art as spiritual worthiness has come. 


December 07, 2021

Hunter Biden’s Laptop & a View Inside the Machine

The interesting thing about Hunter Biden’s laptop is the rare opportunity to see inside the highest levels of American business and government. The videos and prostitutes and crack pictures are nothing burgers, but the calls and texts are insider gold.

For example, seeing that Tucker Carlson was best buddies with Biden as late as a half-dozen years ago is just a fact of beltway life and lends additional credibility to Carlson swearing that things are so bad. Who but the uber-connected would know? 

We also see where Biden taped a call he had with Walmart’s chairman Greg Penner in 2018 about the possibility of his father running for president.  Walmart, by the way, lives the truth of O’Sullivan’s Law that states that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.  I’m old enough to recall when Walmart wasn’t “woke”. 

Penner managed Madrone Capital Partners, an investment firm with “a $1 billion investment in the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, a $33 million investment in the failed search engine Cuil, and a stake the bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra, which was raided by the FBI in September 2011.”

Penner was also on the board of the Chinese company Baidu for 14 years until 2017. Walmart does a lot of business with China, and allegedly a Walmart heiress is one of the biggest funders of the Lincoln Project. 

So big money meets big government and shake hands. 




December 04, 2021

In Money and Voting the Currency is Trust

 Interesting to read the following excerpt from Jacob Goldstein in his book on the history of money:

It would be catastrophic if the CEO of a bank was delusional, or the chairman of the Federal Reserve was inclined to commit fraud. Those institutions depend on the choices made by the people in charge. The point of bitcoin is that no one is in charge. (You could also say that everyone is in charge, but that amounts to the same thing.) In classic cypherpunk style, Satoshi (“Satoshi”) owns no patents on bitcoin. The full codebase was published online for everyone to see and use and tweak however they want. Money is always and everywhere based on trust.

 One might propose an analogy:

It would be catastrophic if the CEO of a voting system was delusional, or the security chief of Dominion was inclined to commit fraud. Those institutions depend on the choices made by the people in charge. The point of open-sourced code is...that no one owns no patents on open-sourced code. The full codebase is published online for everyone to see. Voting is always and everywhere based on trust.

But the problem is to think that there can only be a single problem with our crapulent voting system when, of course, life is more complicated.  Heard this summary of the voting “irregularities” of 2020 from Matt McGwire:

“It all stems to mail-in ballots. Obviously there are different parts of the electronics which we have a better picture of how it went down but still as long as they’re hiding behind the ‘it’s proprietary’ nonsense and until we can get through that firewall we can’t truly know how we did it. Every time we do an audit we see little pieces... 

But without the mail-in ballots, ballot-harvesting and drop boxes they don’t have the votes to switch. Those are the three parts: you send everyone a ballot, you have someone pick up a ballot, and then you have them drop off the ballot in a place that isn’t monitored. If you do that you don’t even need the electronics at that point. If you can flood it with illegal ballots you don’t even need the program to do anything but 1 + 1 + 1 = 3.  And we know that happened.” 


December 01, 2021

Trivial Mysteries

I have a lot more respect nowadays for how easily I can be bamboozled.  Ideally that would lead to humility but, ach, you know, I think of it like St. Augustine said of chastity: “let me be humble Lord... tomorrow.” 

Pre-Trump I used to think of myself as a decent discerner but he inadvertently blew that wide open by turning out to be the white ha, at least compared to the establishment black hats.  I was anti-Trump in ‘15 before my eyes were opened to worse forces at work.  

**

I’m still wonderstruck by the number of conservatives arrayed against the Richard Jewell/Nick Sandmann defamation lawyer Lin Wood: Charlie Kirk, Dan Bongino, Kyle Rittenhouse, MTG, Pat Byrne, Jovann P....  How to win friends and influence people right? Someone who draws so much fire must be way off base or way on base?  On the defense side, just Joe Oltmann, Prof. David Clements, and Lin’s dogs, ha. (Wood lives in God’s country by the way,  on a plantation in Beaufort SC not far from the isle of Hilton Head.)

I’m trying to put together a unified field theory for the Wood hatred from the Right, and I suspect it’s because he had a huge falling out with MTG for reasons unclear and Kirk and Bongino need to be friendly with MTG for professional reasons. Rittenhouse is the more problematic. 


I think if Wood is a bad guy here, he’s the most persuasive bad guy I’ve listened to in eons, maybe ever. See first line in this post though. I didn’t think it was possible for someone to be so persuasive and so evil, at least if he’s guilty of the opprobrium. 

I really have no idea why I care, or anyone should, about who is telling the truth other than the sheer cussed unknowingness is fascinating. (The irony is we don’t even know ourselves, as St. Paul wrote, so there’s plenty of fascination to be had without searching far and wide for it.) But mysteries, man, they just really suck you in.  They suck you in because you think if you read just one more link you’ll understand and get closure and feel like you’ll get some vast panoramic view from that small mystery revealed -- or at the very least that you can move on. Trivial knowledge is not wisdom, I get that. Intellectually at least. 

There are few people more bizarre, for good or ill, than the actors in the 2020 election integrity drama, like Mike Flynn channeling a dead cult leader.  Or Mike Lindell’s tireless all-in approach. Or Patrick Byrne. The truth of human beings is stranger than fiction. 

**

On Telegram, Lin Wood the other day comments on Johnnie Cochran: 

I miss Johnnie Cochran.

Johnnie was a friend of mine and I was a guest on his television show a couple of times.

It would be great to hear Johnnie’s legal commentary on the Rittenhouse and Maxwell criminal trials.

On January 1, 2004, I made a televised appearance on the Today show with Katie Couric as her guest in a panel discussion along with Johnnie.

We were discussing which case we thought would be “THE high profile”case in the news in 2004.

I predicted it would be the Kobe Bryant rape case. Johnnie predicted it would be the Michael Jackson criminal case.

I was subsequently retained to represent the female victim in the Kobe Bryant rape case in a civil lawsuit against Bryant. The case was successfully resolved in favor of my client by means of a confidential settlement agreement.

I recall in the January 1 Today show interview, Katie asked me the question of whether I would represent Saddam Hussein if he sought my legal services.

I have never been a criminal defense lawyer. However, I did reply to Katie that I would not represent Saddam Hussein because I tried to focus my law practice on representing innocent clients.

I told her that I would “refer Saddam to Johnnie Cochran.” Johnnie almost fell out of his chair laughing out loud.

Johnnie Cochran was a great guy and a great trial lawyer.

Johnnie won cases no one could or should have been able to win.

RIP Johnnie Cochran.