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Monday, May 15, 2023

"They KNEW."

Who are "they," and what did they allegedly"know?"

I watched an MSNBC segment online the other day featuring GOP "Never Trumper" gadfly Rick Wilson and this author. I was previously not hip to her.
Seriously My Bad.
Looked up her latest book, read the Amazon preview, downloaded it straight away, and read it forthwith. It jumped my queue.

In They Knew, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Kendzior explores the United States’ “culture of conspiracy,” putting forth a timely and unflinching argument: uncritical faith in broken institutions is as dangerous as false narratives peddled by propagandists. Conspiracy theories are on the rise because officials refuse to enforce accountability for real conspiracies. They Knew discusses conspiracy culture in a rapidly declining United States struggling with corruption, climate change, and other crises. As the actions of the powerful remain shrouded in mystery—like the Jeffrey Epstein operation—it is unsurprising that people turn to conspiracy theories to fill the informational void. They Knew exposes the tactics these powerful actors use to placate an inquisitive public. In Kendzior’s signature whip smart prose and eviscerating arguments, They Knew unearths decades of buried American history, providing an essential and critical look at how to rebuild our democracy by confronting the political lies and crimes that have shaped us.
"Whip smart prose" indeed. Sheee-it...

Cutting to the chase:
…All I am is a writer, but my work has become a transgression. A modern writer on politics is supposed to wait to tell the public what they know until it no longer matters. You are supposed to save information on national security for a book deal and participate in a pantomime of feigned shock and delayed realization. Your job is to help the powerful run out the clock, to serve as a stenographer while elite crimes go unpunished, until so much time passes that they are no longer categorized as crimes at all…

The truth is always worth it, no matter the price you pay. Normalcy bias is meant to pacify you out of a state of inquiry. When you continue your inquiry anyway, you may be demonized—called a liar, a conspiracy theorist, an outsider with a bad agenda. This is because you have become a threat to power, a break in the algorithm, a deviation in the plan. Conspiracy theories and actual conspiracies both revolve around questions of preexisting power dynamics and whether they can change. The ability to shift these dynamics is still in your hands—not unilaterally, but in concert with others sharing the same goal, and by acting with integrity and conviction. When everything else collapses, all you have are your principles.

Your only obligation is to the truth, and it is an unbreakable obligation. Everything else stems from it. You are entitled to truth from government as a basic covenant of citizenship. There is no justice without accountability, and there is no accountability without the truth. Insisting that the corruption we witness be acknowledged is never an empty gesture. The very act of this public demand, this uncompromising insistence on exposure of the criminal elite, can set in motion unpredictable events. Americans can learn from the past that we keep repeating. And possibly, in the end, we can break the future.

Kendzior, Sarah. They Knew (pp. 180, 200-201). Flatiron Books. Kindle Edition.
Lordy Mercy. Now I gotta make time to read her prior books.

For me, these will be mostly for the "whip smart" excellent writing (can't get enough of that), I'm pretty topically up to speed there, in general. Though, I'm certain I will learn a lot, particularly w/ respect to "Flyover Country."

I Tweeted,
OK, I just finished reading this book by . At this point, I have WAY more to ponder than comment on. I can say one thing, however: and Deborah Cahn should contact Sarah forthwith and offer her the gig as the screenwriter for Season 2 of “The Diplomat.”
She could have a recurring cameo role as well (skulky, acid-tongued independent investigative journalist, throwing down F-bombs and other snark with Keri Russell's Ambassador Kate?). I can just see it. Hell, I'd kill to be in that writers' room. Aaron Sorkin, sit down, bro'.

Seriously. All goes to how we deal with "exigencies" (or, fail to).

But, hey, w/ respect to “conspiracies,” in the words of Will Sommer, we could always just Trust the Plan.

BTW: Check out her podcast, Gaslit Nation.

More Sarah for now,
The dystopia extends beyond state surveillance and into corrupt private technology firms like Facebook that boast authoritarian sympathizers like Peter Thiel on their boards, data mining firms like Cambridge Analytica, built to manipulate the public into backing autocrats, and the general panopticon hellscape of smartphone living, in which everything can be monitored and nothing is revealed. This dystopia will worsen with the emergence of “deep fakes” and Mark Zuckerberg’s dehumanizing “metaverse” and the skyrocketing wealth of tech billionaires who are attempting to purchase and monopolize the public sphere. Their ideas, frequently presented as libertarian, are in fact the exact opposite. They are a replication of the worst instincts of government: a surveillance system with even less citizen recourse.

“Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented,” Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said in 2011. “Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations, and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence.” Assange’s assessment is prescient, accurate, and ironic, as Assange delivered it in an interview on RT, the state news network of the Kremlin. Since 2011, the Russian government’s state surveillance operation has become even more brutal and has benefited greatly from Western social media ventures. Silicon Valley and the state intersect at disturbing inflection points, ones that often involve espionage…
[They Knew, pg. 188]

Speaking of books: Been eagerly awaiting the release of this title. Cited it before. Got it.

This will merit its own post.

“United States Representative Nancy Mace (R-South Carolina) on Tuesday suggested that virtually any person whose last name is Biden committed some kind of corrupt criminal act amid growing skepticism of the validity of House Republican investigations into President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.”
I keep tryin’ to like her (hey, we live in a Marjorie Taylor Greene world). A Fool’s Errand?
I gotta wait til Oct. 3rd?
When Michael Lewis first met him, Sam Bankman-Fried was the world’s youngest billionaire and crypto’s Gatsby. CEOs, celebrities, and leaders of small countries all vied for his time and cash after he catapulted, practically overnight, onto the Forbes billionaire list. Who was this rumpled guy in cargo shorts and limp white socks, whose eyes twitched across Zoom meetings as he played video games on the side?

In Going Infinite Lewis sets out to answer this question, taking readers into the mind of Bankman-Fried, whose rise and fall offers an education in high-frequency trading, cryptocurrencies, philanthropy, bankruptcy, and the justice system. Both psychological portrait and financial roller-coaster ride, Going Infinite is Michael Lewis at the top of his game, tracing the mind-bending trajectory of a character who never liked the rules and was allowed to live by his own—until it all came undone.
Arrggghhh... that fatuous punk SBF. And little brother Gabe. Ahhh… Mistakes were made.

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