Welcome to this week’s “zine.”
by Mark M
Selections from Volumes 5 and 6 (of eight) of Mcyclopedia (1999, 2022):
NOSTRIL. Hole in the nose for breathing through and smelling with. You have two of these so as to be able to tell how far away smells are.
NUCLEAR ENERGY. Highly unsafe energy-generation method* with a legacy — toxic (radioactive) waste — that remains dangerous for thousands of years. Scientists should leave atoms alone.
*Think Three Mile Island, US(A), Chernobyl, Russia, or Fukushima, Japan.
OBSCENE. Hard to define. Mainly in the eye of the beholder. One thing that is obscene is VIOLENCE since it causes physical harm.
ORNERY. Some encyclopedists can be downright ornery.
ORTHOGRAPHY. If you’re not good at this, people will think you’re dum.
PICASSO, PABLO (1881-1973), Spanish painter who painted and painted (and painted) and was of such talent that most of his works were regarded as quite good. Cruel to women. “ART is a Lie that makes us realize the truth.” –Pablo Picasso
POVERTY. Economic want. A form of VIOLENCE.
QUESTION. Something that begs an answer.
ROOSEVELT, THEODORE (1858-1919), American president (1901-1909). “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.” –Roosevelt, 1897. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906.
SARDONIA. The land from which some encyclopedists write.
SCIENTIFIC MATERIALISM. What you see is all you get.
SMOKING. Something to do with one’s hands that is injurious to the lungs. Addictive.
SPONG, John Shelby (1931–2021) was an American bishop of the Episcopal Church. In his 1991 book, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture, he argued that PAUL was a presumably-celibate homosexual based on hints in his epistles and inferences made from same. In a subsequent book, The Sins of Scripture, 2005, he argued the point further and quoted a gay cleric friend: “Paul is just like I was before I became honest with myself…” Needless to say, the religious right did not care for his views. He was once informed that they were praying for his plane to crash, and he replied, “What about the others on the plane?”
SPORTS. Seems to have somewhat replaced RELIGION as the opiate of the masses. (Percentage of all UNITED STATES corporate sponsorship that goes to the arts: 6%; percentage that goes to sports: 65%.) At least as bad as religion in that games such as football are little more than, in the words of JAMES JOYCE‚ “mimic warfare.”
TELEVISION. An audio-visual device that encourages passivity in the user. After all, while using it, you’re just supposed to sit there.
THERE. Not HERE.
TRADITION. A bad habit en masse.
TWAIN, MARK (1835–1910) Vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League and funny guy.
My first post had a section called “Abysmal Ukraine Coverage.”
Remember Russiagate concerning Trump? And Mueller’s slow-motion investigation?
Coverage of all that was similarly abysmal. It seems the function of the corporate media is not to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth but is instead to jerk us around in the name of mass manipulation, that, for instance, Russia can be quite handily blamed for all sorts of nefariousness. (Of course, like many nations, especially big, war-making ones, it is certainly no angel-nation as we have seen.)
Remember during election 2016, when there was that leak of damning Hillary Clinton e-mails, like ones where she’s saying, for instance, you need both “a public and a private position” on issues?
It worked like a charm to blame Russia for this leak as if the content of the e-mails is entirely forgivable as long as a state enemy was behind the leak.
…Not until May 7, 2020, when secret testimony to the House Intelligence Committee from late 2017 was made public, did it become completely clear that CrowdStrike has no concrete evidence that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016 were hacked — by Russia or by anyone else.
Seventeen months earlier, on Dec. 5, 2017, the president of CrowdStrike, former FBI cyber-crimes unit director Shawn Henry, admitted this in sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. This is how he confusingly answered a leading question from ranking member Adam Schiff:
Mr. Schiff: Do you know the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC? … when would that have been?
Mr. Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have no indicators that it was exfiltrated (sic). … There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.
This admission went very little remarked on in the corporate media which is why you most likely never heard of it.
Remember the intelligence community’s “assessment” that Russia leaked Hillary’s dirty e-mail laundry?
‘…Included also were eight charts, most of them disclosed by Edward Snowden, depicting the relevant NSA collection programs and how emails are traced over the Internet. What we already knew of the technology (two former NSA technical directors are Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity members and were heavily involved in our analysis) presaged what we learned on May 7 from CrowdStrike’s boss Shawn Henry. Here is the introductory sentence for our Memo of December 12, 2016:
“As the hysteria about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election grows, a key mystery is why U.S. intelligence would rely on ‘circumstantial evidence’ when it has the capability for hard evidence, say U.S. intelligence veterans.”’
How about all those Russian ads on Facebook?
Terry Gross, Fresh Air/NPR expresses here what is received wisdom:
“…knowing what we know about how Russian disinformation and Russian bots played such a significant role in the 2020 presidential election, what are some of your concerns about how Putin might try to interfere again in our upcoming elections?”
‘…we learned from the report last month that the Russian Internet Research Agency manipulated every one of us with Facebook ads. If you don’t mind though, the Senate and the corporate media (and anybody else who knows the secret oligarchy handshake) would really prefer you just ignore the fact that Facebook clearly stated: “…56% [of the Russian ads] were after the election” and “…roughly 25% of the ads were never shown to anyone.”’
In fact, half of IRA’s Facebook ads were purchased after the 2016 election and half of those before the election supported Hillary Clinton, and the other half, Trump. The IRA spent about $100,000 on the ads, compared to the $6.5 billion spent by the Clinton and Trump campaigns….
…IRA has never been proven to be a state actor.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted IRA officials in 2018 for supposedly interfering in the 2016 U.S. election. [Remember, there is the saying that you can indict a ham sandwich. –Mark] But the Department of Justice, after stalling on IRA lawyers’ demands for discovery, then dropped the case in March, arguing that the company sought to “weaponize” the documents they obtained. A federal judge had earlier ordered Mueller to stop referring to the IRA as a state actor.
The dropping of the 2018 case against the IRA is not mentioned in The New York Times account accusing the IRA of further allegations of electoral interference….
In this famous photo, Nancy Pelosi has gotten exasperated with then-president Trump (who wouldn’t?) and tells him off.
“All roads with you lead to Putin,” she said. “You gave Russia Ukraine and Syria.”
Really, Nancy. You, who were and are the third in line in succession to the presidency, operate at the simplistic, popular mere meme level that Trump loves Putin (or, alternately, Trump was beholden to Putin, or was Putin’s puppet, or so forth)?
Folks, many (most?) of these people who are our leaders are actually not that smart or are ignorant. They, along with millions of John/Jane Q. Public US/Americans, actually believe what the New York Times and the Washington Post have to say.
Fair.org makes it their job to monitor the corporate media and constantly finds them lacking.
Here is just one quick NYT example:
On 3/15/19, the NYT correctly referred in a story to the Azov Battalion as “a Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization.”
But, recently, on 10/4/22, a NYT story began, “Commanders of Ukraine’s celebrated Azov Battalion…”
Fair.org reports that ‘Not a word in the article hinted at the unit’s far-right politics, whose founder hoped Ukraine would “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade…against Semite-led Untermenschen (subhumans)” (Guardian, 3/13/18).’
Also, a lot of the bills passed by brainy Congress are written by lobbyists.
Incidentally, as bad as I think Pelosi is, neither she nor her husband, of course, deserve a violent attack.
Here is Tom Tomorrow’s cartoon concerning that appalling violation entitled “Oh, the Hilarity.”
So Trump loves Putin. By looking at what Trump did (actions speak louder than words), let us count the ways:
- Implemented a Nuclear Posture Review with a more aggressive stance toward Russia
- Armed Ukraine
- Bombed Syria
- Staged coup attempts in Venezuela
- Withdrew from the INF treaty
- Ended the Open Skies Treaty
- Sold Patriot missiles to Poland
- Occupied Syrian oil fields
- Killed Russians in Syria
- “Installed” tanks in Estonia
- Sailed war ships into the Black Sea
- Instituted sanctions
- Then more sanctions
- Still more sanctions
- Even more sanctions
- Guess what? MORE sanctions
- Oh hey, more sanctions
- Secondary sanctions
- Forced Russian media to register as foreign agents
- Threw out Russian diplomats
- Trained Polish and Latvian fighters “to resist Russian aggression”
- Refused to recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation
- Sent 1,000 troops to Poland
- Withdrew from the Iran deal
- Attacked Russian gas interests
For explication of the above, see here.
A stopped clock shows the correct time twice a day.
The same principle — but nowhere near the same frequency! — operates with Trump.
During his presidency, sometimes, very occasionally, he was right.
He wanted to pull out of NATO. Bravo, as far as I’m concerned. Why is there still a NATO when the Warsaw Pact is long gone?
Had he not gotten talked out of that by apparent “adults in the room,” maybe Biden’s proxy war with nuclear-armed Russia at the cost of Ukraine lives and property would not now be taking place.
Trump, or some of his crazy underlings, thought these were good ideas:
1. Get us out of Afghanistan.
2. Get us out of Iraq and Syria.
3. Complete the withdrawal from Germany.
4. Get us out of Africa. (AFRICOM — bad!)
Those sound good to me!
Sometimes Trump would actually speak the truth, instances where he’d point out what other politicians would never admit to, like, when running for pres, at a Republican candidates debate, he said:
“I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give,” he said. “And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me.”
‘Later, moderator Brett Baier asked Trump about a past statement that when he gives money to politicians, “they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”
‘“You better believe it,” Trump responded.’
But of course, by far, most of the time Trump was wrong, busy lying, or committing illegal acts, none of which, so far, has he been held accountable for. That’s some Teflon!
Incidentally, concerning that letter 30 U.S. reps wrote to Biden urging negotiations with Russia concerning the Ukraine war (not doing so only violates international law), which, due to the outraged reaction to the letter had them withdraw it the next day, one of the signers, Rep. Ro Khanna, still stands by the letter rightly calling it common sense.
So now apparently the official U.S. line is that Russia is insincere in its efforts to seek negotiations.
Peace activist David Swanson writes: “Want to claim Russia is lying about a willingness to negotiate and compromise? Call Russia’s bluff. You’re obviously willing to call its bluff on starting the nuclear apocalypse, so why not on negotiating peace? … If you’re right that Russia’s lying, this will make Russia look worse than a dozen speeches about how bad Russia is.”
A note on Terry Gross:
Terry Gross has conducted interviews on NPR’s “Fresh Air” since 1975.
She must be good at her job, I know she is well-loved. But what is curious to me is that she appears to never waver at all over the many years from statements like:
“We need to take a short break here…” Never, “We’ll be right back after this break…” Or, “We need to briefly break…” Or “We’ll return after this quick break…” Or whatever.
Here’s another, “For those just joining us, we’re talking to…” Never, simply, “We’re talking to…” Or “If you just tuned in, our guest is…” etc.
If I am speaking, and someone didn’t hear me correctly and asks that I repeat what I said, I don’t even like to say the exact same thing again; I often will give it a slight variance of wording while keeping to the message. I find it annoying to have to say the same thing again verbatim.
And, as a Terry listener, I really wish she’d change it up slightly instead of always using her well, well, well worn phrases which I’ve heard “millions” of times by now.
Meantime, I prefer the regular guest host, Dave Davies.
Next week (subject to change): ‘S.BULL’ excerpt, Random Universe?, Native Americans and Ecology, “Baked Candy,” CEOs, Gloria Steinem Tells a Story
Boilerplate: As part of my community project as Racine Writer in Residence, I hereby invite Racine-area people to send me prose or poems of 250 words or less for me to consider for inclusion in my posts as a “guest appearance.” Former Racine Writers in Residence, I want to explicitly include you in this invitation. If you want, also send a photo and a very short “bio.” You will retain the copyright for the material you submit. Send to m.mk at att.net with “Racine WiR” in the subject line. Thank you.
Don’t hide your light under a bushel-sized basket; it is recommended that you let it be almost blinding.