Sunday, March 19, 2017

DDD EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ~ MARCH 19, 2017


While most pop culture mavens are mourning the loss of one of Rock and Roll's last great innovators, yer old pal Jerky can't help but be more upset over the passing of one of the giants of the comic book industry: Bernie Wrightson

With a style so distinct that most comics aficionados can identify his work at a quick glance, Wrightson is perhaps most widely known for his work in horror anthologies and for having co-created, with writer Len Wein, the enduring character known as Swamp Thing. But his legacy stretches far beyond the funny books ghetto, thanks to his illustration work for a prestige edition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (50 gorgeous pen-and-ink pieces in all), as well as such popular fair as Stephen King's Cycle of the Werewolf

Producing top quality art for everyone from Marvel and DC, Dark Horse and Warren Publishing, and countless indie publishers on top, picking a favorite from his vast oeuvre is impossible. I do, however, hold a fond place in my memory for his over-sized comic book adaptation of Stephen King and George Romero's movie Creepshow, which, coincidentally, is finally getting a reprint this May. 

IN OTHER NEWS
  • The impeachment and ouster of South Korean president Park Geun-hye after a bizarre year-long scandal involving everything from a sunken ferry boat to strange religious cults is being both celebrated and protested in Seoul. And that's part of the reason why stability and North Korea’s recent missile tests are so troubling, and at the top of the agenda for US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's regional tour, which has stops in Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo.
  • Oh, hey! That reminds me! Did y'all hear about how the Chinese government decided to "honor" their guests by forgiving 80 percent of the President's Son-in-Law’s outstanding debts? Isn't that sweet of them? I mean, blatant disregard for the law be damned... the way I see it, it's just nice to see people being good to each other for a change! 
  • In going over recent DDD Exec Sum's, yer old pal Jerky noticed that he hadn't referenced the Trump administration's decision, inspired by something Sean Hannity said on FOX News, ordering 46 holdover U.S. attorneys to quit, which, aside from the fact that it was sparked by FOX News, isn't all that unusual. 
  • I have also neglected to mention the fact that powerful Manhattan prosecutor Preet Bharara, who had previously been given leave to carry on with his important work, was fired after refusing to submit his resignation. That one, it turns out, isn't quite so "usual". Nor is it "usual" that Bharara's firing might have been prompted by the fact that, along with his investigation into Trump's pick to head up Health and Human Services, Tom Price, Bharara was also investigating (and please note the circular synchronicity at play here) FOX NEWS! Believe it or not, it gets even more sordid when you start digging through the details.
  • Another story I haven't had much to say about is the revelation that history's shortest-serving National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, had to admit that he was working as "a paid foreign agent" last year, representing the interests of the Turkish government in a dispute with the US, and during a pretty crazy time for that government (remember the "coup"?)... all while simultaneously serving as a key member of Trump's campaign! What the hell is it with these people? It's like they're constitutionally incapable of behaving ethically. 
  • And, finally for today, nearly a month after yer old pal Jerky's prediction that Nazi-sympathizing Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka would "soon go bye-bye", a bigger stink is finally being raised over the man's ties to a Hungarian Fascist group responsible for handing hundreds of thousands of Jews over to the Nazis during World War II. We'll keep you posted!
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SUGGESTED READINGS


1. Okay, so it's time to buckle the fuck up. Taking an estimated 41 minutes to read (thanks for that feature, Medium!) this heavy-duty think piece argues, quite convincingly in this reader's opinion, that Donald Trump's "victory" in November was NOT, as has been posited by observers from both the alt.right and the alt.left, a blow against the "Deep State" (who are now, as that narrative would have it, in open rebellion against him). Rather, it can more accurately be described as a by-product of an ongoing war between two distinct factions of the Deep State.

Titled "How the Trump Regime was Manufactured by a War Inside the Deep State", Nafeez Ahmed's article aims to explore how "a systemic crisis in the global Deep System has driven the violent radicalization of a Deep State faction", and this it does, in pretty convincing fashion. It begins thusly:
President Donald Trump is not fighting a war on the establishment: he’s fighting a war to protect the establishment from itself, and the rest of us.
At first glance, this isn’t obvious. Among his first actions upon taking office, Trump vetoed the Trans Pacific Partnership, the controversial free trade agreement which critics rightly said would lead to US job losses while giving transnational corporations massive power over national state policies on health, education and other issues. 
Trump further plans to ditch the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US, which would have diluted key state regulations on the activities of transnational corporates on issues like food safety, the environment and banking; and to renegotiate NAFTA, potentially heightening tensions with Canada. 
Trump appears to be in conflict with the bulk of the US intelligence community, and is actively seeking to restructure the government to minimize checks and balances, and thus consolidate his executive power. 
His White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has restructured the National Security Council, granting himself and Trump’s Chief of Staff Richard ‘Reince’ Priebus permanent seats on the NSC’s Principals’ Committee – opening the door to the White House politicization of the government’s highest national security body. 
Trump’s White House has purged almost the entire senior staff of the State Department, and tested the loyalty of the Department of Homeland Security with its new ‘Muslim ban’ order. 
So what is going on? One approach to framing the Trump movement comes from Jordan Greenhall, who sees it as a conservative (“Red Religion”) Insurgency against the liberal (“Blue Church”) Globalist establishment (the “Deep State”). Greenhall suggests, essentially, that Trump is leading a nationalist coup against corporate neoliberal globalization using new tactics of “collective intelligence” by which to outsmart and outspeed his liberal establishment opponents. 
But at best this is an extremely partial picture. 
In reality, Trump has ushered in something far more dangerous: 
The Trump regime is not operating outside the Deep State, but mobilizing elements within it to dominate and strengthen it for a new mission. 
The Trump regime is not acting to overturn the establishment, but to consolidate it against a perceived crisis of a wider transnational Deep System. 
The Trump regime is not a conservative insurgency against the liberal establishment, but an act of ideologically constructing the current crisis as a conservative-liberal battleground, led by a particularly radicalized white nationalist faction of a global elite. 
The act is a direct product of a global systemic crisis, but is a short-sighted and ill-conceived reaction, pre-occupied with surface symptoms of that crisis. Unfortunately, those hoping to resist the Trump reaction also fail to understand the system dynamics of the crisis. 
All this can only be understood when we look at the big picture.
And that's precisely what Nafeez does for the remaining 39 minutes it will take you to read (or 7 minutes to skim) his assessment of the emerging Trumpian realpolitik; naming names, and connecting dots. Kudos on a job well done. Be sure to check out his follow-up reporting on this subject, too. I know I certainly will be.

2. This hilarious Washington Post editorial explains exactly why Trump's new budget is just the thing to whip a whimpy, flabby America back into tip-top shape! I guffawed, legit LOLs, a number of times while reading.

3. You've been good today, class, so it's time for the AV geeks to roll out the equipment so we can all watch a video together! From the description: "Why do so many people use the internet to harass and threaten people, and stretch the freedom of speech to its limits? Director Kyrre Lien meets a global group of strongly opinionated individuals, who spend their time debating online on the subjects they care most strongly about. Online platforms are their favourite tools to express the opinions that others might find objectionable in language that often offends. Do they behave in the same way when they come offline?"

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

Nobody’s dealing with the real issue with this fucking clown as president, and the shit that we dealing with out here, so I wanted to take time out to push pause on a party record and make one of these records for the time being... It’s a lot of clown shit going on that we could just sit and talk on the phone all day about, but it’s a few issues that we really wanted to lock into, like police, the president and just life in general.

- Snoop Dogg explains why he made a video in which he's shown pointing a gun at a clown version of Donald Trump's head.

DDD EXTRAS
  • New at the Kubrick U blog! We check out the latest documentary, S is for Stanley!
  • I've created a new blog! A cool new trailer for a cool new movie is up at The Mediavore! 
  • If you want to learn about some cool and/or weird things that happened on whatever day of history that it happens to be when you're reading this, why not check out our sister-site, Useless Eater Blog? You're sure to find something of interest, guaranteed!
THE TAKEAWAY

GEERT! Wilders underperformed in the Netherlands elections, but that doesn't mean he, nor the ideology that fuels him, are going away any time soon...

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