Covert Operation or Not?

Does anybody else think that this whole ongoing Trump-Fuentes-Kanye debacle is a covert operation to destroy Trump’s new election campaign at the get-go? The dinner they had together was clearly a setup. Somebody close to Trump must have engineered it, probably for financial reasons. But what about the rest of the slow-motion train wreck we are observing? You’d literally have to bribe 2 or 3 people at most to make it happen.

COVID Posters

At the pediatrician’s, there are three large posters explaining how great COVID vaccines are. And we had to wait for 40 minutes to be seen. Since Klara now reads, there was nothing I could do to prevent her from reading the posters. And then there were 35 joyous minutes of answering the questions of “Why does it say there are people who don’t want these vaccines if they are so good? Am I getting one? Why not? It says here they are great for kids. Did you get one? Did Daddy? Why not? It says they don’t interfere with fertility. What’s fertility? Is Daddy not getting the vaccine because he doesn’t want another baby? Because he loves me so much? What’s a spike protein? It says here the vaccine trains your body to develop its own spike proteins. Is that a good thing? Do I have spike proteins?” By the time the pediatrician showed up, I was ready to spike-protein him into the infinity.


These people are hopeless, I’m telling you.

This is the same city:

It was never bombed or anything like it. This is what it looks like in peacetime. And after decades of oil and gas prosperity.

And now look at this:

So when people equate Russian and Ukrainian corruption, they are being stupid. There’s corruption, and then there’s Norilsk.

My Talk

Yesterday I was giving one of my regular talks at the community center. The topic was the Spanish Empire. A large crowd showed up, and they all wanted me to talk about Ukraine. Mind you, I have great material on the Spanish Empire. It’s not the usual Zinnian “bad, evil Spaniards genocided the poor innocent indigenous people.” I’ve got really interesting stuff, plus I blasted the BLM and the Latinx crap, creating a lot of confusion among the very liberal crowd at the community center. But they love me, so I can say whatever I need.

In any case, what they really wanted was to hear about Ukraine, so I wrapped up the Spanish Empire and gave people what they wanted. The last time I’d spoken to this group was a week before the war and I told them that I did not believe Russia would invade. There was some gentle ribbing of me over that. It’s well-deserved and I ate crow, recognizing that I’d been in denial because I just didn’t want to believe it.

The listeners were completely on our side and had a profound understanding of why Ukrainian military strategy is so much more successful than the Russian. I know that at least two of the listeners are retired career military men and one is a professor of military history, so they know this stuff. There was a lot of cussing out of Biden for dawdling on providing aerial defense. I didn’t join in and only said that we are deeply grateful to our Western allies, particular the US, Poland and the UK.

The only area where I felt that people didn’t fully get it was the belief that Russian propaganda is at fault and the Russian people simply don’t know the truth. I don’t know why so many good people still cling to this talking point about propaganda. Propaganda is only successful when it tells people what they want to hear.

Take, for instance, the chief Russian (well, Russian in terms of his citizenship) propagandist Solovyov. I’m so old that I remember how he was one of the leading lights of the anti-Putin opposition. He was a great darling of the Khodorkovsky crowd when Khodorkovsky was in jail. Solovyov was so anti-Putin that he even lost his show at some point and had to hawk weight-loss supplements to make ends meet. He had a bit of a Milo-Yannoupolis strategy back then.

Eventually the guy must have thought, “hey, why am I putting my livelihood at risk to bring freedom to the stupid gits who don’t want it?” and started giving people what they want. Now he’s a mega-star in Russia, fabulously rich and very popular. He clearly doesn’t believe any of the crap he spouts but that crap is what brings viewership, and viewership is money.

There are no circumstances that can bring out of people what isn’t already there. Propaganda doesn’t change people. It flatters them. It mirrors their deepest feelings at them, making these feelings normal and comforting. If you aren’t already a stinking piece of excrement, no propaganda can turn you into one.