26 October 2019

Curtain Call: When Clown World Ends

By now it is virtually a given that the legacy media has abandoned serious journalism and objective reporting in favor of clickbait and propaganda. The evidences are too numerous to deny.

Yet even clickbait and propaganda must yield to the persistence of reality. Write one hundred news articles about the sun rising in the west and tomorrow the sun will still rise in the east. Write one hundred news articles ignoring empirical fact and all one hundred will still be discredited once the facts become clear.

The fatal flaw in the business model of clickbait and propaganda, is that reality always sets in. When it does, we must address the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.

Several events in the past forty-eight hours stand as grim reminders of the inevitability of reality:

1. The Federal Reserve Is Losing Control Of Financial Markets And The Money Supply

A story the legacy media has scrupulously kept off the front page of late has been the slightly panicked efforts of the Federal Reserve to keep liquidity in the inter-bank lending ("repo"--for "repurchase agreement") markets, even to the extent of restarting Quantitative Easing (money printing), without calling it Quantitative Easing.

The Fed is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Fed's own data shows they have pursued a relentlessly loose money supply since 2008, and their money printing accounts for nearly all financial market gains since 2009. Inspection of the data shows unequivocally the degree to which the Federal Reserve has more or less willfully inflated asset prices, with neither obvious rhyme nor apparent reason. 

Nor is the Fed alone in their lunacy, as Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank has been flooding Europe with new currency while simultaneously pushing interest rates into the negative, an interest rate structure that is quite toxic to any bank operating on a fractional reserve basis.

These events underscore how little control the Federal Reserve has over financial markets, and hint at how little control the Federal Reserve has ever had. Far from the post-2009 narrative of central bankers "saving" the world economy from collapse and catastrophic deflation, we are seeing a very real possibility central bankers may be the cause of the next economic dislocation. Their heroic acts of salvation are being revealed as the doom they have always been hoping to avoid.

2. Lieutenant General Flynn Was Set Up By The FBI

Many commentators, myself included, have argued at length about the injustice attendant on Mueller's persecution-as-prosecution treatment of General Flynn. To that chorus we can now add Sydney Powell,  Flynn's new defense counsel and a longtime critic of prosecution tactics within the Department of Justice. In her latest court filings, she is making a case for a dismissal on all charges against General Flynn, based on outrageous (and arguably criminal) prosecutorial misconduct.

The core of Powell's argument is that former FBI lawyer and former Peter Strzok mistress Lisa Page had a hand in "editing" the form 302 Strzok by law was required to complete after meeting with General Flynn, and that the original notes of Strzok's interview differ dramatically from the narrative contained within the 302--so much so that Powell makes a clear inference the FBI lied to the court.

Without delving deeply into the merits of Sydney Powell's application to the court on behalf of General Flynn, the materials she references point to a disturbing truth: the FBI Form 302 is an edited document. It is not the notes of an interview, but is a report constructed from those notes--and, at least in General Flynn's case, revised to satisfy elements of the "Deep State". 

Nor is this the first time this criticism has been raised. In July of 2011, criminal defense and civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate raised substantially similar arguments about the propriety of the 302, and the power it has within Federal prosecutions. 

Do we know how many 302 forms have been substantially rewritten to satisfy a prosecutor's agenda, not just as regards President Trump's Administration but across the whole of the Federal criminal justice system? We do not, but it is hardly a leap of logic to postulate it is more than one--and to postulate that more than one Federal prosecution is potentially tainted by the FBI essentially manufacturing evidence against a defendant. If Sydney Powell prevails (as I am not an attorney, I do not have an opinion as to whether she will or will not), how many criminal cases might ultimately have to be overturned as a result of establishing FBI malfeasance in a case?

Far from a narrative of the Mueller Investigation proving the corruption of Donald Trump, the facts of the Mueller Investigation are proving the corruption of the FBI and the reality of the Deep State within the bureaucracy of the Federal government.

3. US Attorney John Durham Is Opening A Criminal Investigation Into The Russian Collusion Hoax

Narratives notwithstanding, the Mueller Investigation into what must now be acknowledged as the Russian Collusion Hoax was an unmitigated disaster for the legacy media and those deeply invested in that narrative. Robert Mueller drove a stake through the heart of any theory President Trump colluded, conspired, or cooperated with Russian government actors. He did not.

What Mueller did establish by demolishing the narrative of Russian Collusion was that there were those within and without the Federal government willing to deceive, dissemble, and outright lie in order to bring down the Trump Presidency. Even as Mueller failed to follow up with indictments of Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the investigation did reveal the corruption and mendaciousness behind the efforts to unseat President Trump.

Politicians attempting to sabotage and upstage their opponents is nothing new.  What is at the very least "different", however, is the extent to which people were willing to go in that sabotage, all dutifully written up by a compliant legacy media. US Attorney John Durham is accumulating evidence of that extent, and has reached a tentative conclusion that there was a bit of criminality involved. As the Russian Collusion narrative collapses, people find themselves running afoul of the very laws they casually dismissed.

The media pursued and peddled the myth of Russian Collusion from well before the start of the Mueller investigation until Mueller's sad denouement before the House Judiciary Committee. Mueller's ultimate debunking of that hoax shredded the legacy media's credibility, even as it cost them dearly in terms of ratings and viewers.

Those who pursued the narrative of Russian Collusion relentlessly are now at risk of seeing that narrative boomerang directly back at them.

Narrative is fiction. Consequences are reality. 

This is the eternal danger of narrative: regardless of the fictions spun in pursuit of the narrative, the consequences are firmly bound to reality.

Narrative is fiction. Consequences are reality. 

This has always been so. As Matt Taibibi notes in his deconstruction of the media hysteria surrounding the Russian Collusion Hoax, the narrative of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction was fed by government bureaucrats wanting an excuse to invade Iraq. The consequence was an invasion of Iraq, with thousands of American soldiers dead, thousands more horribly injured, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and injured, and a country that is barely governed, and has given succor to the likes of ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists.

Nor is this a recent phenomenon: The 1898 sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor helped propel the United States into war with Spain, driven in large part by salacious and sloppy reporting by the "Yellow Press" of the day. The narrative of Spanish sabotage and sloganeering resulted in real war, with thousands of real deaths.

Narrative is fiction. Consequences are reality.

This is the constant caution we must heed as we read and watch either the legacy media or the alternative media bidding to replace it. News stories are, first and foremost, stories. At best they are a restatement of reality, one journalist's reinterpretation of facts as he or she observes them to be. At worst, they are a departure from reality. Most lie somewhere in between.

What no story in the media, legacy or alternative, can ever be is reality itself. A news report quoting an individual is not the reality of either that individual or that quote, but merely a citation of the fact that said individual made said quote. Whether the story contains sufficient nuance, sufficient context, to frame such quote properly is inherently problematic. All media reporting operates within that limitation.

Every story, be it objective reporting or Clown World propaganda, must come to an end. After that final paragraph, after that closing statement, reality invariably sets in. The real world returns in full force, every time. It is in the real world that we must live, and it is in the real world that we must choose, decide, and act. It is in the real world that consequences will apply.

Narrative is fiction. Consequences are reality.

We are well advised to be mindful of the consequences, not only to ourselves but to the central characters of any narrative. If a government official becomes a "whistleblower", what will become of him? If a Congressman or Senator becomes embroiled in controversy, what outcomes are just and proper? If American troops are dispatched into an overseas conflict, how many of them will not come back alive?

The news events of the past week have been a stark reminder that narratives end, that Clown World must end. What remains is the equally stark reality--the reality of the parlous nature of our economy, the reality of prosecutorial abuse of General Flynn, the reality of the crimes committed in advancing the Russian Collusion Hoax. That the legacy media is shamelessly starting new narratives, new arcs for their propaganda, will not change the reality by so much as a punctuation mark.

The curtain call comes for every drama. The denouement awaits every narrative. Clown World must end. Reality will prevail--every time. Be prepared for reality, not for Clown World.

Narrative is fiction. Consequences are reality.


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