What's Worse Than the Establishment?
A bizarre alliance of opportunists and kooks on the extreme Right and Left is beginning to emerge. We ought to start taking a look at, as a patriot once put it, "what's going on."
Wikileaks' leader and ego Julian Assange staggered through an interview yesterday in which he implied the shooting of Seth Rich - a young DNC staffer - in our nation's capital might be the result of some high-level conspiracy to silence a whistle-blower. When asked, reasonably enough, why this was on his mind, and if perhaps Rich was an informant for Wikileaks, Assange meekly replied that Wikileaks doesn't reveal its sources. Asked again why this would be of any interest unless Rich was connected to Wikileaks, Assange gave a perfectly Trumpian answer: “A variety of Wikileaks sources are concerned when that kind of thing happens.” Video below:
And on Twitter Wikileaks itself posted the following: “WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.” The usual suspects on the Right took their cue well enough, and rumors emerged that perhaps the Clintons had added to their “body count” by murdering the young staffer for crossing them. Yes, I'm serious. Rachel Alexander, to name only one example, tested the theory on the popular conservative website Townhall.com. This kind of disgraceful – and gleeful – wild speculating soon occupied discussions across the Internet in various far Right and Left echo chambers.
Now just as the bile begins to rise in your throat I'm afraid I have to turn to Roger Stone. Also reported yesterday was a claim from Stone himself that he has been in communication with Julian Assange, apparently regarding the stolen DNC documents, and that there's “no telling” what kind of October Surprise may be used against the Clinton campaign. For those who don't know who Roger Stone is, it is difficult to convey his role in American politics. He is a long-time political operator, opposition researcher, and lobbyist. His Wikipedia entry contains an entire section on his apparently exquisite and precise fashion sense. The section ends with this bizarre aside: “Stone's office in Florida has been described as a "Hall of Nixonia" with framed pictures, posters and letters associated with Nixon. Exceptions are a poster of a stripper and a photo of him standing by a pool with porn star Nina Hartley, both in bikinis.” He has written dubious books on the JFK assassination, Clinton-related conspiracies, and soon, a hit-job on Jeb! and the “Bush Crime Family.” He is widely regarded as a professional slime-monster and bigot.
Crucially, he is a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, unofficially as of August. He was the fellow who promised “days of rage” if Trump were to lose the nomination in Cleveland, and threatened to publish the hotel room numbers of any delegates that worked against his candidate during the convention. He also was kicked off CNN and soon the other networks for calling Roland Martin a 'fat Negro.' OK. You get the idea.
Well this shadowy Trump surrogate is friends with, if it is possible to say, and even more preposterous figure. Alex Jones, the professional conspiracy nut and Founding Father of InfoWars.com, frequently invites Stone on his popular Internet-based program. So popular, in fact, that he regularly reports a higher on-line listenership than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck combined. I have to say, I don't understand the appeal. Jones is one of the strangest, angriest, and most unpleasant performance artists and paranoiacs I've ever seen. Watch, for example, a compilation of his “funniest” moments and see how long you can last. As for his views, he described himself rather modestly as a libertarian. But that does not account for his ability to generate conspiracies spontaneously. The Boston Marathon bombings, 9/11, and the Oklahoma City bombings – to name a few – were actually designed and implemented by the United States government. In many cases, the government hires 'crisis actors' – professional hires who pretend, for example, to have lost a child in the Sandy Hook shooting. That is the lengths of depravity our government has stooped too, just to control YOUR mind. Jones's brand is essentially this kind of appalling, exasperating brain-mush. The kind you would like to forget people actually believe.
This would all be fine (I guess) if it were only superficial entertainment for bored white men, which to some extent it surely is. But I have personally met people who take him very seriously, and as it happens, he's a big Trump fan. Recently, Roger Stone made yet another appearance on Jones's show, and the host went into reveries about this Last Best Hope for our country, going so far as to call him “almost Christ-like.” Let me repeat. This cretin is watched by millions of people, and a senior adviser to the Republican nominee for President of the United States is a regular contributor to, friend of, and co-conspirator in his show.
OK, one final thread in this unholy knot. Jill Stein, the nominee for the Green Party of the United States, recently had a convention during which her nomination was made official (and named as her running mate an activist who recently contributed to a 'false-flags'-related collection of essays under the editorship of Kevin Barrett, 9/11 truther) . One of the speakers at the convention was Julian Assange, via satellite of course. When the inevitable question came up – who do you prefer of the two front-runners for president – that internationalist liberal champion replied that it was like choosing between cholera and gonorrhea, to a room full of (progressive) laughter and applause. That is the kind of cheap answer that will play well to the inconsolable Left nowadays.
Stein, for her part, has been very cagey about what outcome she expects and indeed hopes for in this election. Just by running she has partially answered this. And last year, it has recently been reported she attended a dinner in Moscow honoring Putin's state-run propaganda station RT. A screenshot confirmed that she was there as was Putin, and that she sat at the same dinner table with, unbelievably enough, Michael Flynn – a top military adviser to Donald Trump. Whatever the intentions of either of them, it takes effort to construe this as something other than Putin duping American rubes for his own propaganda purposes.
Now if I were as conspiracy-minded as the people discussed here, I might begin to cast in cloudy terms a suggestive shadow on all of this. Perhaps the Russian government, which has come up uncomfortably and often in this election, might be trying to undermine it by enlisting the most cynical kooks and mischief-makers on the American Right and Left. Or possibly Assange, who has proclaimed more than once that he enjoys “crushing bastards,” has a vision of the US government – a big bastard indeed – being disrupted gloriously by one of his data dumps.
But whatever is going on with these assorted, and sordid, factions, I doubt there is any high level of collusion or collaboration involved. The real problem is this: each of these groups seems to smell blood in the water. Their diverse and even contradictory aims all begin with taking advantage of some kind of massive shakeup. And who doesn't want a shakeup? Does anyone dare say that the United States government is in good shape now? That it isn't guilty of the most embarrassing gridlock and squabbling? That is the pitch made to the decent citizen.
But all this desire for a reckoning right now relies on a particular kind of chaos. Whether directly or indirectly, with gusto or reluctantly, each of these factions seems to require for leverage the – quite possibly unwitting – fulcrum called Donald Trump.
Certainly, the established political order is intolerable, and in fact almost by definition can't continue existing as it is. But there are some people much closer to power than they have ever been before, and we ought to start looking at them as though they had power already. What do we see then? It's a dark picture, and hardly unprecedented in history. There are people in the world who provoke, entertain, conspire, enrage. People on the margins make contributions to culture. But lead? Govern? Manage? The nation? What can we expect if this were to happen? There's not enough tinfoil in this world.