Dereck Chauvin put his knee on the neck of George Floyd, stared into the camera and dared us to do anything about it.
Donald Trump did exactly what Chauvin did – he put his knee on the neck of democracy, decency, legality. He stared into the camera and dared us to do anything about it.
Putin has done exactly what Chauvin did – he has put his knee on the neck of Navalny, stared into the camera and dared us to do anything about it.
These are lessons, authoritarian lessons. They are demonstrating to us that that they can do whatever they want. They can even murder one of us right in front of our very eyes and we can’t do a damn thing about it.
We have won tonight, in the Chauvin case. We have won because of the mobilization of millions of people putting pressure on the system to live up to its ideals. We have won because of the courage and discipline of a group of witnesses. We have won and we can win again.
We must stand together and stand up to the boot of authoritarian rule on our necks. We stopped them with the Chauvin verdict. That’s why the legal system avoids jury trials if at all possible, especially for powerful defendants. We can, and we must stop them again. We must demand that the participants in the corrupt crime spree that was the Trump administration are held to account. We must demand that dangerous men like Putin and the oligarchs that surround him are held to account.
If we do not see, truly see that these actions are preparations for authoritarianism, they will come back for us. They are obviously not phased in the least by the electoral defeat in 2020. The tidal wave of voter suppression being orchestrated by the Republicans is just another way to take power because they cannot win it legitimately. It is their way back in power. We must take them seriously or we will find ourselves in 2022 and 2024 with another authoritarian take-over of the governmental process. If we flirt with that possibility, we may never recover.
That look you saw on Chavin’s face when he was kneeling there, crushing the life out of a man, is the same look you would see on the face of Bill Barr, Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, Pompeo, Pence, Steven Miller, Manafort and many others while they crushed the life out of anyone who opposed them if they thought for one minute they could get away with it. If we let them get away with it, they will crush the life out of democracy and our lives will be unalterably changed. If we don’t take them seriously, if we don’t fight them we will find ourselves living under that knee being given the same compassion and respect Dereck Chavin gave George Floyd.
It has been days since I have watched corporate TV news. I have been reading, writing, painting and binge-watching Dickens, Trollope, and Austen on Amazon Prime.
Every time I turn on the corporate news I find CNN hosts interviewing other CNN hosts about their new books. On MSNBC, I find people like Jason “Island of misfit black girls” Johnson, pontificating and acting like he’s something other than a vicious attack dog there to repeatedly blame the progressives in the Democratic Party for all the failures of the party establishment.
Morning Joe has turned into a prayer meeting with Joe Scarborough spending whole segments lecturing viewers on what a “true Christian” is. This is the news? Mika Brzezinski relentlessly promotes her “know your worth” marketing/money making strategy. She actually seems to think that people are going to believe this from a woman who “knew her worth” to such an extent she had an adulterous affair and then married her boss. She defers to him, babies him, allows herself to be regularly demeaned, interrupted and ridiculed by him. This is women knowing their worth.
In the afternoons, former Senator Claire MacCaskill has taken obsequious behavior to new heights, fawning over Nicolle Wallace at every turn, baking cakes for Wallace and lighting candles on the cake while lauding Wallace’s journalism. This is the news?
MacCaskill does this while the other members of the panel (including the other prime ass-kisser, Jason Johnson) clap their hands like school children. It is just nauseating.
There is no, no international news anymore on either CNN or MSNBC. The amount of information being communicated is almost nil. It’s like a televised circle-jerk, reporters interviewing other reporters, promoting each other’s books or (worse still) interviewing members of Congress, as if any member of congress is going to say anything either interesting or informative. There are only a handful of people in the entire Congress who say ANYTHING that is not a collection of focus-group tested nonsense.
The corporate media is, in short, like a toy my friend told me she bought her grandson a couple of years ago. I couldn’t even grasp what she was talking about as she described this gadget. It was a mechanical thing that had no purpose except to move. It was called a “fidget spinner.” The corporate news media is an intellectual fidget spinner – words and words and words and interview after interview after interview filling up space, for no reason except to make money for somebody and create the impression that things are under control. As Scarborough says the “institutions are holding.”
Meanwhile, the institutions are not holding. The criminal enterprise that was the Trump administration has gone without accountability or punishment, and will continue to do so. The legal system works to prosecute, hold accountable, and punish only the poor. We are repeatedly treated to an orgy of spectacle creating the impression that the powerful will be held accountable only to watch the whole sorry exercise collapse.
The Supreme Court which has sold democracy down the tubes with decisions such as Citizens’ United, is poised to further structure the legal system to favor the wealthy and powerful. The Congress is afraid of its shadow. If the Biden administration does not do away with the filibuster, alter the Supreme Court, fight for ordinary Americans, and ensure election fairness and security, the Trump/McConnell crime family will be back in power partially in two years, and totally in four.
All you have to do it look at the flood of voter suppression laws that have been passed in Georgia and other states to see that Republicans are going to make sure that the Democrats lose control of the Congress in 2022 and the presidency in 2024. They are circling like sharks. All four years of Trump did for them was to give them the smell of blood and demonstrate how easily they could turn this into an authoritarian Christian nationalist state.
Meanwhile, Ari Melber makes jokes, quotes banal rap lyrics (of sexist rap stars) like they were great literature and/or philosophy and interviews celebrities, barely keeping himself from peeing his pants with glee at his proximity to fame. It is all just really disgusting.
And, then there’s today. A 21-year-old man has murdered eight women and was on his way to murder more. But, as the Georgia Sheriff’s office spokesman said, he “had a bad day.” There are so many things wrong with this story and the coverage of it and the people involved, I don’t know where to begin.
I feel like my mother when she first started watching the O.J. Simpson trial. She watched for a couple of hours. “What do you think?” I said. “I think they should all be put in prison now,” she replied getting up in disgust to go and read. “Who?” I asked. “All of them.” She said. “Simpson, the judge, the prosecutors, the defense attorneys, the reporters, all of them.” She was, of course, right.
That’s precisely what I feel about everybody involved in this murder case in Atlanta.
The Georgia Sheriff and CNN are talking about “sex addiction” as if sex addiction was something real. Law enforcement, politicians and the corporate media are actually mouthing the ludicrous sex equivalent of the “Twinkie Defense” for this Long guy. The Cherokee Sheriff’s office guy, Baker, found it his responsibility to provide an excuse for a man who walked into businesses that employ women (at starvation wages) to cater to the perverted pleasures of men and murder them. What is this Baker, Long’s defense attorney? Official law enforcement provides a narrative for the future jury pool excusing this man because of his “sex addiction.”
“Sex addiction?” There is no such thing as a sex addiction. It’s a fake con devised by the rehabilitation industry to make money. No serious person would even allow those two words together to come out of their mouth. A male reporter on CNN said that the young man “had issues.” ISSUES?////// ISSUES?????????
He hates women, that’s the issue, he hates and despises women and has racist exploitive sexual fantasies about them that he felt entitled to act out. It has nothing to do with addiction. Long is not mentally ill, that we know of. He is just the same kind of oppressive, abusive, exploitive, violent bastard that this culture turns out by the millions. He’s just like Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, that old man who used to be a comedian who doped and then raped women (I’m 70. I can’t remember his f…ing name), Weinstein, Cuomo, and God knows how many more.
But, we can’t talk about that. We can’t talk about a culture that makes the hatred of women fundamental, trades in the commodification of women’s bodies at every turn, provides a market for sexual perversion of every sort and then blames the impoverished women who are forced to participate in it for their own destruction at the hands of the very men they are forced to service.
This guy “had a bad day.” That’s what Baker, the Sheriff’s Office guy, said. He had a “bad day” and “issues” and “a sexual addiction.” No, the women who were killed and their families had a bad day, a tragic day. This guy acted out his violent racist sexual perversions, violent sexual perversions that are fed every day by the media and the entertainment industry and politics.
The British government and intelligence agencies failed to conduct a proper assessment of Kremlin attempts to interfere with the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to a long-delayed Russia report.
The contents of the report indicate that the government and intelligence agencies failed to investigate Russian interference because they didn’t want to know, and that they delayed a report until after the election that would have revealed the fact.
Stewart Hosie, a Scottish National party MP who sits on the cross-party committee that issued the report stated:
“The UK Government have actively avoided looking for evidence that Russia interfered. We were told that they hadn’t seen any evidence, but that is meaningless if they hadn’t looked for it.”
Britain has become “a favourable destination for Russian oligarchs and their money”, observed the committee.
Citing no names, the committee also warned that it was “notable that a number of members of the House of Lords have business interests linked to Russia, or work directly for major Russian companies linked to the Russian state.”
This is a fascinating and heartbreaking podcast about two of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s victims. The choice of these two victims in particular illustrates the class nature of the exploitation.
The stories also illustrate another crucial point about the media coverage of the Epstein case. Journalists are presenting the Epstein/Maxwell story as if it exists outside of the context of the international political blackmail scheme of which it was a part. The host of the podcast even talks about Epstein’s “pathology” as if this is a story about mental illness.
The Epstein/Maxwell story is not only about sexual exploitation, it is about political power. It seems to me to be perfectly obvious that Bill Barr’s father, himself with a history of clandestine activity, saw early on the potential Epstein had to advance the goals of compromising political enemies.
What Epstein and Maxwell ran was a ruthless systematic, methodical recruiting, grooming, and utilizing business. They recruited, groomed, educated and placed the right young women in strategic places to compromise and secure the complicity of important people for political purposes.
To discuss this operation as the raging mental illness of one man, or a man and a woman is to completely distort the nature and purpose of this operation.
The stories of two victims are talked about in this podcast – Melissa, a talented cellist and Michelle, a high school student in Palm Beach. Michelle fits the profile of the hundreds of girls the pair lured into Epstein’s property, abused and then discarded. Melissa is an example of a young woman who was recruited, groomed over a period of years and then discarded partly due to her own lack of willingness to comply. Even though a substantial amount of time and money was spent on the long-term grooming of Melissa, she was never sexually assaulted.
The host of the podcast explains the long-term investment in Melissa as an example of Epstein’s “pathology” of power. She argues that Melissa illustrates Epstein’s obsession, indeed “addiction” to power games.
The host, however, completely ignores what is the more obvious explanation for Melissa’s experience. Epstein and Maxwell were not just sexually exploiting young women for their own sexual gratification. They were methodically grooming young women and placing them in strategic positions to compromise political targets. You don’t just send a lower class little girl into a high society environment and expect her to seduce Prince Andrew. You groom, make beholden, and place a Julliard cellist in the room with Prince Andrew and then use that young woman to compromise the target.
That is exactly what they tried to do with Melissa. They spent years supporting her financially, working her into a pseudo-family situation with them and then even demanding that she attend the higher status school, Julliard, to make her a more attractive lure. Epstein’s “pathology” didn’t prevent him from spending years cultivating this girl. But, the journalist here, doesn’t even discuss this. Instead she launches off on a discussion of Epstein’s supposed power mad psychology.
The issue here is not psychology. That’s not even what’s interesting or significant about the case. But, the corporate media will turn the story into a lurid tabloid narrative to avoid talking about this massive, international kompromat ring. That is not only a shame. It is yet another example of the corporate media distorting reality, maintaining a delusion which protects powerful people who are aggressively pursuing an authoritarian agenda.
This is a fascinating story about the reporter Julie Brown and her history of digging in the Epstein case. It makes an important point about journalism. Brown’s history was much like that of the girls who were exploited by Epstein. She was not a child of privilege and connections like most of the corporate press today. Chris Cuomo, the white haired guy on CNN. I like to think of this group as the “Bonfire of the Mediocre.”
Someone recently said that the music industry doesn’t look for talent anymore. They look, she said, for a certain loon and a compliant personality. That just about sums up the corporate media. It’s a waste of time.
There are two documentaries out about Jeffrey Epstein. One, “Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?” is part of a series by Investigation Discovery. The other is a Netflix release “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” based on a book by James Patterson.
But, as Elizabeth Vos points out in an article in the Consortium News (6/18/20), neither covers Epstein’s place in a larger political narrative. In treating Epstein’s activities as separated from their political context, they turn Epstein into a sexual predator, committing crimes that float free of their political context.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were part of an international scheme to compromise and then blackmail influential people. There is evidence that this operation was part of the compromising of the Republican party long before Trump became the nominee.
Even though Epstein’s death in prison is widely accepted and indeed repeatedly reported as a “suicide” no thinking person can accept that narrative on face value. There is so much that is suspicious about the death and there is a plethora of evidence of the interests of powerful and rich people in his silence. Epstein knew the secrets of a lot of powerful people and his death was essential to protect those people. The refusal of the media to question that death is just part and parcel of their subservient status with regard to those in power.
Ghislanie Maxwell, who had finally been arrested in New Hampshire on July 2, 2020, is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, the former owner of the New York Daily News and The Mirror. He was given what Vos describes as a “state funeral” in Israel after his mysterious death in 1991. Maxwell “fell off” his yacht in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, much like enemies of the Russian state repeatedly “fall” out of windows.
Israeli sources say that Epstein worked for Israeli military intelligence. Ari Ben-Menache, a former Israeli intelligence officer, told Consortium News that Robert Maxwell introduced his daughter and Epstein to Israeli intelligence after they engaged in a blackmail operation for Israel.
According to Ben-Measche’s book “Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “[Epstein] was taking photos of politicians f**king fourteen-year-old girls — if you want to get it straight. They [Epstein and Maxwell] would just blackmail people, they would just blackmail people like that,” he says in the book.
Cornell Belcher, former Obama pollster and part of the corporate Democratic elite, tells progressives to “Shut the hell up and grow up.” Silence your criticisms of Biden, Belcher chides, and “fall in line.” Make no mistake, that is their attitude to all progressives. Obama and his administration purposefully squelched progressive participation in his administration. Obama refused to prosecute members of the Bush administration who engineered and carried out torture. He refused to prosecute those responsible for the 2008 crash. Those two decisions helped get us where we are. Biden will do the same.
Ghislaine Maxwell was finally arrested today. There are those who believe that Barr’s firing of Berman was to get more control over this investigation and prosecution. I am not one of the people who find Berman’s behavior in this situation commendable. He finally resigned and securing a promise to have his next in command take over the operations is not enough. He should never have resigned. He should have made them fire him. It’s not enough. I am not optimistic about the Maxwell prosecution. This is one of those situations where too many powerful people have too much to lose to allow this to go forward. They will stop it. We don’t know how exactly, but trust me, they will stop it.
Chris Hayes on MSNBC tonight described narratives that question Epstein’s “suicide” as “conspiracy theories.” MSNBC can always be trusted to maintain the corporate Democratic line.