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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Either an artist (postmodern, or not) strongly desires to have an influence on a large number of people through his works, or he doesn't. Either he believes each work he painstakingly produces is "important", or it is not. He can't have them both ways.

Specifically who, other than imaginary people in your head, wants to have it both ways?

 

1 hour ago, anthony said:

Except, because of a ready audience and market which highly regard postmodern art, he can in fact get away with his contradictions. "I didn't mean it, my work is a joke, please don't take me seriously - but yes, I mean it, I am a serious artist - because *they* believe me". I think the basic criteria of pomo is when an artwork 1). can't begin to be identified by a rational (visually sane) viewer and/or 2). shows low to non-value in the art itself, holding to self-ridicule and ultimately ridiculing any human endeavor. Saying overall, if you can't see what it is, it's your disability and you must learn a ~different~ reality; and if you can't giggle at the art you take your life too importantly.

You're off to the races again analyzing imaginary people who have taken imaginary positions. Crazy town.

 

1 hour ago, anthony said:

The first task of an artist isn't moralism, and shouldn't be - that usually results in weak and prescriptive art, when tried -  he achieves plenty, more than enough, when he's true and honest to his personal vision, whichever it may be. However, the effects (and he must recognise, also) don't stop with just completion and people's viewing of his work, they cumulatively knock-on into other art, general media, movies, popular music, intellectualism, the way people see themselves and existence, think, value, emote and behave, and finally, into politics and mass political beliefs. Who could think it surprising that the pomo phenomenon coincides with and preceded this period, maybe the most sensationalist, cynical, anti-reason and anti-individualist? "You asked for it..."

Thanks for telling us all about art and the imaginary people who live in your head, Tony.

J

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Jonathan, Thank you, It is a quite brilliant idea. Perhaps a moving experience for the audience. Both pieces are against a wall in my studio, it hasn't occurred to me to throw out the background.

Your mind-reading skills are clearly Jedi level.  If only you'd distill your know-how into a correspondence course. No wonder I haven't been able to get this tune out of my head.  Only I've found

Former White House officials say they feared Putin influenced the president’s views on Ukraine and 2016 campaign  

Well, all the art produced speaks for itself. Connect the dots. Just look at the prolific amounts of post-modern art made, in two broad categories: contra-identification, and contra-value - are they "imaginary"? Are their creators "imaginary"? Did they or did they not make their art with foresight and deliberation? Do they (too) not seek fame, approval and wealth and often to affect people's minds? So what conclusions can one generally infer about these p-m artists' mindset and vision of existence? (in defiance of a long tradition of quality art). You appear always too keen to distance the artwork from the artist's mind, as if he can't take full responsibility for what he makes, as if one shouldn't ever deduce anything about his views of life from his works. When I see art I see someone's mind at work.

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5 hours ago, anthony said:

Well, all the art produced speaks for itself. Connect the dots. Just look at the prolific amounts of post-modern art made, in two broad categories: contra-identification, and contra-value - are they "imaginary"? Are their creators "imaginary"? Did they or did they not make their art with foresight and deliberation? Do they (too) not seek fame, approval and wealth and often to affect people's minds? So what conclusions can one generally infer about these p-m artists' mindset and vision of existence? (in defiance of a long tradition of quality art). You appear always too keen to distance the artwork from the artist's mind, as if he can't take full responsibility for what he makes, as if one shouldn't ever deduce anything about his views of life from his works. When I see art I see someone's mind at work.

Tony, before going off, like in the above, you should transcribe and post the arguments that the imaginary people in your head have made, and to which you're responding.

Thanks,

J

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J. The arguments ring a bell in your mind or they don't. You may compare them to your abstracted understandings from experience, of real works and real artists (and you, of course) and critics and buyers in the art industry you have known, or not. As you wish. The device of "Imaginary people" you have ~imagined~ of me shows concrete thinking, that of wanting to be shown example upon example, without which, it 'follows', my argument *must* be invalid.  A way to avoid considering/debating my quite unoriginal proposition about artists ultimately 'affecting' society with their works. (Also, "society" in turn creating a demand for types of art, which can be taken as an indicator of that society). Relax, this is not all about you anyway.

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2 hours ago, anthony said:

J. The arguments ring a bell in your mind or they don't. You may compare them to your abstracted understandings from experience, of real works and real artists (and you, of course) and critics and buyers in the art industry you have known, or not. As you wish. The device of "Imaginary people" you have ~imagined~ of me shows concrete thinking, that of wanting to be shown example upon example, without which, it 'follows', my argument *must* be invalid.  A way to avoid considering/debating my quite unoriginal proposition about artists ultimately 'affecting' society with their works. (Also, "society" in turn creating a demand for types of art, which can be taken as an indicator of that society). Relax, this is not all about you anyway.

Keep arguing with your imaginary opponents.

J

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On 2/13/2019 at 7:57 PM, Jonathan said:

Keep arguing with your imaginary opponents.

J

Ah, the "opponents", in other words, "sides". Your raison d'etre, not mine. I like arguing ideas instead of ad hominems at opponents.

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13 hours ago, anthony said:

Ah, the "opponents", in other words, "sides". Your raison d'etre, not mine. I like arguing ideas instead of ad hominems at opponents.

Really? You had claimed that certain people have certain beliefs and desires. Go to the top of this page, and read the post in which I quoted you making the claims. I challenged you to specifically identify who -- what real person, not imaginary ones in your head -- has taken the position that you claim.

No one has. You're inventing opponents, sides, and enemies. You're assigning beliefs to imaginary people, and then attacking them. You seem to be wanting something from me? Do you expect me to agree with the mindsets that you've assigned the imaginary people, and to defend them? Or do you expect me to join you in condemning imaginary people for the imaginary beliefs that you've given them? What?

J

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On 2/15/2019 at 1:37 AM, Brant Gaede said:

I think you started it.

---Brant

Yes? For ad hominem, look at the thread title. The topic began respectfully, reverted to a personal hit piece of MN. Michael left in disgust at being tricked by the initial pleasantries, supposedly.  Easier to try take apart a personality than debate his ideas. 

 

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On 2/15/2019 at 2:00 PM, Jonathan said:

Really? You had claimed that certain people have certain beliefs and desires. Go to the top of this page, and read the post in which I quoted you making the claims. I challenged you to specifically identify who -- what real person, not imaginary ones in your head -- has taken the position that you claim.

No one has. You're inventing opponents, sides, and enemies. You're assigning beliefs to imaginary people, and then attacking them. You seem to be wanting something from me? Do you expect me to agree with the mindsets that you've assigned the imaginary people, and to defend them? Or do you expect me to join you in condemning imaginary people for the imaginary beliefs that you've given them? What?

J

And I repeat, that for every effect there is a cause. A painting does not exist without a maker. They are connected. There's nothing "imaginary" about postmodern artworks, we've all seen them, and nothing imaginary about the artists. Nothing imaginary about the acclaim their work is often received with. It is redundant to name some or any personalities. I don't "expect" more than discussion about the intentions of artists, the affective power of a pictoral 'idea' and the final effect art has on culture, but you've succeeded in shutting that down. 

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11 hours ago, anthony said:

And I repeat, that for every effect there is a cause. A painting does not exist without a maker. They are connected. There's nothing "imaginary" about postmodern artworks, we've all seen them, and nothing imaginary about the artists. Nothing imaginary about the acclaim their work is often received with. It is redundant to name some or any personalities. I don't "expect" more than discussion about the intentions of artists, the affective power of a pictoral 'idea' and the final effect art has on culture, but you've succeeded in shutting that down. 

Tony, you don't have the ability to distinguish between what's imaginary and what's not.

J

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  • 8 months later...

Doh!

Kookburger Newbsie is back to flogging his straw man construction of Kant:

It is truly astounding contemplating all that Newbsie has refused to know, especially after all of the repeated exposures here to information which has corrected his embarrassing idiocy. After all of this time, he is still dedicated, religiously devoted, to the false myths that his deity Ayn told him to believe, and to denouncing the Satan that she invented out of her own historical  incompetence.

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  • 1 month later...

The infection has returned to full effect once again. Our hero is back to tilting at his straw man Kant with the same old fierce dedication:

https://atlassociety.org/commentary/commentary-blog/6374-the-cult-of-oblivion-cia-abstract-expressionists-and-kant?fbclid=IwAR1diiC9BSNOkO_AdG9lPmPWaqRtpkJoHA1EtWOkeqOzA9dJNy3PzFGTGSM

J

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1 hour ago, Jonathan said:

Our hero is back to tilting at his straw man Kant with the same old fierce dedication:

-- from Newberry's opinion article at TAS: 

Quote

Frances Stonor Saunders in his wonderful article "Modern Art was a CIA Weapon" writes:

Modern Art was CIA 'Weapon' |  November 9, 2010 [Paragraphing by WSS]

By Frances Stonor Saunders Independent | 22 October 1995

Quote

For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art – including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko – as a weapon in the Cold War. In the manner of a Renaissance prince – except that it acted secretly – the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.

The connection is improbable. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art – President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: “If that’s art, then I’m a Hottentot.” As for the artists themselves, many were ex- com- munists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing. Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US.

Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete. The existence of this policy, rumoured and disputed for many years, has now been confirmed for the first time by former CIA officials. Unknown to the artists, the new American art was secretly promoted under a policy known as the “long leash” – arrangements similar in some ways to the indirect CIA backing of the journal Encounter, edited by Stephen Spender. The decision to include culture and art in the US Cold War arsenal was taken as soon as the CIA was founded in 1947.

Dismayed at the appeal communism still had for many intellectuals and artists in the West, the new agency set up a division, the Propaganda Assets Inventory, which at its peak could influence more than 800 newspapers, magazines and public information organisations. They joked that it was like a Wurlitzer jukebox: when the CIA pushed a button it could hear whatever tune it wanted playing across the world. The next key step came in 1950, when the International Organisations Division (IOD) was set up under Tom Braden.

It was this office which subsidised the animated version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which sponsored American jazz artists, opera recitals, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s international touring programme. Its agents were placed in the film industry, in publishing houses, even as travel writers for the celebrated Fodor guides. And, we now know, it promoted America’s anarchic avant-garde movement, Abstract Expressionism. Initially, more open attempts were made to support the new American art. In 1947 the State Department organised and paid for a touring international exhibition entitled “Advancing American Art”, with the aim of rebutting Soviet suggestions that America was a cultural desert. But the show caused outrage at home, prompting Truman to make his Hottentot remark and one bitter congressman to declare: “I am just a dumb American who pays taxes for this kind of trash.” The tour had to be cancelled.

The US government now faced a dilemma. This philistinism, combined with Joseph McCarthy’s hysterical denunciations of all that was avant-garde or unorthodox, was deeply embarrassing. It discredited the idea that America was a sophisticated, culturally rich democracy. It also prevented the US government from consolidating the shift in cultural supremacy from Paris to New York since the 1930s. To resolve this dilemma, the CIA was brought in. The connection is not quite as odd as it might appear. At this time the new agency, staffed mainly by Yale and Harvard graduates, many of whom collected art and wrote novels in their spare time, was a haven of liberalism when compared with a political world dominated by McCarthy or with J Edgar Hoover’s FBI. If any official institution was in a position to celebrate the collection of Leninists, Trotskyites and heavy drinkers that made up the New York School, it was the CIA.

Until now there has been no first-hand evidence to prove that this connection was made, but for the first time a former case officer, Donald Jameson, has broken the silence. Yes, he says, the agency saw Abstract Expressionism as an opportunity, and yes, it ran with it. “Regarding Abstract Expressionism, I’d love to be able to say that the CIA invented it just to see what happens in New York and downtown SoHo tomorrow!” he joked. “But I think that what we did really was to recognise the difference. It was recognised that Abstract Expression- ism was the kind of art that made Socialist Realism look even more stylised and more rigid and confined than it was. And that relationship was exploited in some of the exhibitions.

“In a way our understanding was helped because Moscow in those days was very vicious in its denunciation of any kind of non-conformity to its own very rigid patterns. And so one could quite adequately and accurately reason that anything they criticised that much and that heavy- handedly was worth support one way or another.” To pursue its underground interest in America’s lefty avant-garde, the CIA had to be sure its patronage could not be discovered. “Matters of this sort could only have been done at two or three removes,” Mr Jameson explained, “so that there wouldn’t be any question of having to clear Jackson Pollock, for example, or do anything that would involve these people in the organisation. And it couldn’t have been any closer, because most of them were people who had very little respect for the government, in particular, and certainly none for the CIA.

If you had to use people who considered themselves one way or another to be closer to Moscow than to Washington, well, so much the better perhaps.” This was the “long leash”. The centrepiece of the CIA campaign became the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a vast jamboree of intellectuals, writers, historians, poets, and artists which was set up with CIA funds in 1950 and run by a CIA agent. It was the beach-head from which culture could be defended against the attacks of Moscow and its “fellow travellers” in the West. At its height, it had offices in 35 countries and published more than two dozen magazines, including Encounter.

The Congress for Cultural Freedom also gave the CIA the ideal front to promote its covert interest in Abstract Expressionism. It would be the official sponsor of touring exhibitions; its magazines would provide useful platforms for critics favourable to the new American painting; and no one, the artists included, would be any the wiser. This organisation put together several exhibitions of Abstract Expressionism during the 1950s. One of the most significant, “The New American Painting”, visited every big European city in 1958-59.

Other influential shows included “Modern Art in the United States” (1955) and “Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century” (1952). Because Abstract Expressionism was expensive to move around and exhibit, millionaires and museums were called into play. Pre-eminent among these was Nelson Rockefeller, whose mother had co-founded the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As president of what he called “Mummy’s museum”, Rockefeller was one of the biggest backers of Abstract Expressionism (which he called “free enterprise painting”). His museum was contracted to the Congress for Cultural Freedom to organise and curate most of its important art shows. The museum was also linked to the CIA by several other bridges.

William Paley, the president of CBS broadcasting and a founding father of the CIA, sat on the members’ board of the museum’s International Programme. John Hay Whitney, who had served in the agency’s wartime predecessor, the OSS, was its chairman. And Tom Braden, first chief of the CIA’s International Organisations Division, was executive secretary of the museum in 1949. Now in his eighties, Mr Braden lives in Woodbridge, Virginia, in a house packed with Abstract Expressionist works and guarded by enormous Alsatians. He explained the purpose of the IOD. “We wanted to unite all the people who were writers, who were musicians, who were artists, to demonstrate that the West and the United States was devoted to freedom of expression and to intellectual achievement, without any rigid barriers as to what you must write, and what you must say, and what you must do, and what you must paint, which was what was going on in the Soviet Union.

I think it was the most important division that the agency had, and I think that it played an enormous role in the Cold War.” He confirmed that his division had acted secretly because of the public hostility to the avant-garde: “It was very difficult to get Congress to go along with some of the things we wanted to do – send art abroad, send symphonies abroad, publish magazines abroad. That’s one of the reasons it had to be done covertly. It had to be a secret. In order to encourage openness we had to be secret.” If this meant playing pope to this century’s Michelangelos, well, all the better: “It takes a pope or somebody with a lot of money to recognise art and to support it,” Mr Braden said. “And after many centuries people say, ‘Oh look! the Sistine Chapel, the most beautiful creation on Earth!’ It’s a problem that civilisation has faced ever since the first artist and the first millionaire or pope who supported him. And yet if it hadn’t been for the multi-millionaires or the popes, we wouldn’t have had the art.”

Would Abstract Expressionism have been the dominant art movement of the post-war years without this patronage? The answer is probably yes.

Equally, it would be wrong to suggest that when you look at an Abstract Expressionist painting you are being duped by the CIA. But look where this art ended up: in the marble halls of banks, in airports, in city halls, boardrooms and great galleries. For the Cold Warriors who promoted them, these paintings were a logo, a signature for their culture and system which they wanted to display everywhere that counted. They succeeded. * The full story of the CIA and modern art is told in ‘Hidden Hands’ on Channel 4 next Sunday at 8pm. The first programme in the series is screened tonight. Frances Stonor Saunders is writing a book on the cultural Cold War. [...]

Newberry misgendered Frances Stonor Saunders. Such rigour!

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7 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

Trump is Putin’s Bitch

Former White House officials say they feared Putin influenced the president’s views on Ukraine and 2016 campaign

Quote

Almost from the moment he took office, President Trump seized on a theory that troubled his senior aides: Ukraine, he told them on many occasions, had tried to stop him from winning the White House.

After meeting privately in July 2017 with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Trump grew more insistent that Ukraine worked to defeat him, according to multiple former officials familiar with his assertions.

The president’s intense resistance to the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia systematically interfered in the 2016 campaign — and the blame he cast instead on a rival country — led many of his advisers to think that Putin himself helped spur the idea of Ukraine’s culpability, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

One former senior White House official said Trump even stated so explicitly at one point, saying he knew Ukraine was the real culprit because “Putin told me.”

Two other former officials said the senior White House official described Trump’s comment to them.

The Ukraine theory that has consumed Trump’s attention has now been taken up by Republicans in Congress who are defending the president against impeachment. Top GOP lawmakers have demanded investigations of Ukrainian interference for which senior U.S. officials, including the director of the FBI, say there is no evidence.

Allegations about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 race have been promoted by an array of figures, including right-wing journalists whose work the president avidly consumes, as well as Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer. But U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers and their staff members this past fall that Russian security services played a major role in spreading false claims of Ukrainian complicity, said people familiar with the assessments.

[...]

The concern among senior White House officials that Putin helped fuel Trump’s theories about Ukraine underscores long-standing fears inside the administration about the Russian president’s ability to influence Trump’s views.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

The Russian Embassy in Washington declined to address whether Putin told Trump that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 campaign, saying only that information about the two leaders’ conversations is available on the Kremlin’s website.

[...]

This article is based on interviews with 15 former administration and government officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer their candid views about the president.

Aides said they have long been confounded by the president’s fixation on Ukraine — a topic he raised when advisers sought to caution him that Russia was likely to try to disrupt future elections.

“He would say: ‘This is ridiculous. Everyone knows I won the election. The greatest election in the world. The Russians didn’t do anything. The Ukrainians tried to do something,’ ” one former official said.

Trump, the official said, offered no proof to support his theory of Ukraine’s involvement.

“We spent a lot of time .... trying to refute this one in the first year of the administration,” Fiona Hill, a former senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council, told impeachment investigators in October.

A debunked theory takes hold

The claims that Ukraine sought to tilt the 2016 election have taken several forms. One early version was promoted by Paul Manafort, Trump’s then-campaign chairman, who suggested to campaign aides as early as the summer of 2016 that Ukrainians may have been behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), rather than the Russians, his deputy, Rick Gates, later told federal investigators.

[...]

Gates said that Manafort’s theory “parroted a narrative” that was advanced at the time by Konstantin Kilimnik, an employee of Manafort’s whom the FBI has assessed to have connections to Russian intelligence. (Kilimnik, who is believed to be in Moscow, has denied such ties.)

Two weeks after Trump took office, Putin floated another claim: that figures in Ukraine had helped boost Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“As we know, during the election campaign in the U.S., the current Ukrainian authorities took a unilateral position in support of one of the candidates,” Putin said at a news conference in Budapest on Feb. 2, 2017. “Moreover, some oligarchs, probably with the approval of the political leadership, financed this candidate.”

Ukrainian steel magnate Viktor Pinchuk’s foundation donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, but there is no evidence that he contributed money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which would be prohibited under federal law. Pinchuk has also supported Trump: In 2015, he made a $150,000 donation to Trump’s foundation.

RT, the Russian government-funded media network, spotlighted other arguments that Ukraine worked to help Clinton’s campaign, focusing on contacts between a part-time DNC consultant and Ukrainian Embassy officials in Washington.

“Democrat-Ukraine collusion seems far deeper than anything so far proven between the Trump campaign and Russia,” an op-ed columnist wrote in July 2017.

Trump added his own twist on the conspiracy theory in April 2017, in his first public allegation about Ukraine’s role.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the president claimed that CrowdStrike, a computer security company the DNC hired to investigate the breach of its email systems, was based in Ukraine and played some role in hiding evidence from the FBI.

“Why wouldn’t [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta and Hillary Clinton allow the FBI to see the server? They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based,” Trump said. “I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian, that’s what I heard. But they brought in another company to investigate the server. Why didn’t they allow the FBI in to investigate the server?”

[...]

It is unclear where Trump first got the idea of a Ukrainian connection to CrowdStrike. At the time, the notion was not yet being widely discussed on Twitter, his social media platform of choice and a fertile bed for disinformation, according to social media experts.

“Prior to Trump’s mentioning it in his interview with the Associated Press, the idea that CrowdStrike was Ukrainian based and concocted the story of the DNC hack existed on social media but was far from mainstream,” said Darren Linvill, an associate professor of communication at Clemson University who studies social media and online disinformation and conducted an analysis of tweets during that period for The Washington Post.

“On Twitter, messages pushing the argument can be measured in the hundreds, not even the thousands, and in this context those are small numbers,” Linvill said.

Trump has returned to the false Ukraine-CrowdStrike connection many times, arguing that the company had covered up Ukraine’s hacking of the DNC and that it had even spirited the DNC server to Ukraine, former White House officials said.

In June, for instance, he called in to Sean Hannity’s Fox News program and repeated his complaint that the FBI hadn’t taken possession of the DNC email server.

“How come the FBI didn’t take the server from the DNC? Just think about that one, Sean,” Trump said.

That same day, Breitbart News had published a story about the FBI relying on information from CrowdStrike.

In fact, the bureau’s forensic experts had taken complete copies of dozens of servers used by the DNC, which then-FBI Director James B. Comey later testified was an “appropriate substitute” for examining the actual equipment. The intelligence community also knew months before CrowdStrike was hired that the Russians had infiltrated the DNC.

Most significantly, Trump raised CrowdStrike in the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that led to his impeachment.

“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike .?.?. I guess you have one of your wealthy people. ... The server, they say Ukraine has it,” Trump said, according to a memorandum the White House released of the call.

Privately, officials tried in vain to convince the president that CrowdStrike was not a Ukrainian company and that it would be impossible for the server to be located there, a former administration official said.

One of the officials who Hill said tried to convince Trump, former homeland security adviser Thomas P. Bossert, publicly pleaded with the White House in September to drop the Ukraine theory, which he called “completely debunked.”

“The DNC server and that conspiracy theory has got to go,” he told ABC News’s “This Week.” “If he continues to focus on that white whale, it’s going to bring him down.”

Bossert pointed to Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, as a persistent source of the server claim. “I am deeply frustrated with what [Giuliani] and the legal team is doing in repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again.”

[...]

 

q3739.png

 

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What does the CIA do?

Well, it fields spooks, meddle among the power elites of other countries, and launder money to make up for the shortfall in its official budget.

What is one form of doing all that out in the open?

Art galleries specializing in modern art.

1. The average Joe does not take modern artists or modern art critics--and their peeps--seriously. Normal people have no interest in following their activities. That makes the modern art world a perfect environment for hiding spooks in plain sight.

2. Since average people do not participate in the modern art world (with an exception here and there), this is a perfect playground for the elites and spooks in high places. 

3. Modern art is ungodly expensive. Do you smell that? That's the smell of laundered money.

The modern art world, to me, has little to do with art aesthetics and more to do with espionage, bribery, money laundering and so on.

Occam's razor and all. (Follow the money, etc...)

Michael

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On 12/20/2019 at 3:57 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Art galleries specializing in modern art. 

1. The average Joe does not take modern artists or modern art critics--and their peeps--seriously. Normal people have no interest in following their activities. That makes the modern art world a perfect environment for hiding spooks in plain sight.

2. Since average people do not participate in the modern art world (with an exception here and there), this is a perfect playground for the elites and spooks in high places. 

3. Modern art is ungodly expensive. Do you smell that? That's the smell of laundered money.

The above is true of almost all art, not just "modern art." Such is the nature of subjective phenomena.

And, in my experience, it's especially true of Objectivishists: Generally, they don't participate in the art world, except for consuming Rand's art, and also virtue-signaling about (but not actually purchasing) works of art which they've been told (or have assumed) properly conform to Rand's theories and tastes. They generally tend to be quite aesthetically stunted and deficient, and uninterested in the art world. They're interests and cognitive strengths tend to be elsewhere.

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6 hours ago, Jonathan said:

The above is true of almost all art, not just "modern art."

Jonathan,

Not popular art.

:)

This became clear to me with poetry. In former times, poets had achieved the status of rock stars, with women throwing their undergarments at poets during recitations and things like that. They became cultural icons and indicators of culture, like a Byronic hero for an easy example.

Nowadays, modern poetry books are low-selling oddities. And the phenomenon called "modern poetry" is a plaything for government-sponsored insiders and academics. (There is a version for the masses that I find a lot more fun when it's not so social justicy--the stuff in poetry slams. But even then, this mostly caters to rebellious young souls and doesn't go mainstream.)

However, women still throw their  undergarments at poets during performances, with the caveat that the poems are dressed up as songs for public presentation. Also, notice that in pop culture songs with words sell a lot more than instrumental music--so, yeah, poetry has a critical piece of that, even when it's lousy poetry. :) 

Take a look at what visual art like painting is used for these days, book covers (try doing a break-out novel with a lousy cover and you'll find you're swimming against a strong current), tee shirts, posters (not super-huge, but a strong market for the masses), do-it-yourself digital painting has spawned software behemoths, and on and on and on. And, yes, there are more sophisticated uses, but I'm merely giving what is relevant to average people.

As to classics, ask anyone what the "Mona Lisa" is, and they'll tell you. As them about "Number 5, 1948" by Jackson Pollock and they won't know what you are talking about. Some may know the name, Jackson Pollock, but not his work. In the popular mind, he's a celebrity weirdo much more than a painter of iconic paintings. (It's mostly about the story for popular appeal, but that discussion is for another time.)

I once read a biography of Armand Hammer (who, incidentally, was one of the biggest drivers propelling Al Gore into a political career). The book is Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer by Edward Jay Epstein. Hammer was in-like-Flynn with Communist Russia (later the USSR) and he used his art gallery in NYC to launder all kinds of Russian money. He was set up with imperial Russian treasures to get a kick start and Hammer himself turned the art of laundering money into a fine art. Hammer Galleries now do big business with modern art. I seriously doubt the people and their offspring and cronies who are still around tracing back to the earlier Russian days turned into saints.

Whenever I see a lot of big money flowing around that is imbalanced with value in popular appeal, I smell big-money insiders, their protestations of intellectual integrity notwithstanding. 

In O-Land, Rand put so much emphasis on "follow the premise" that people who get into this forget all about "follow the money." Here's a simple question for them. If the emperor has no clothes on, like Rand said with modern art, why do some people spend gobs of money on it? Does an evil anti-mind premise (according to Rand) make people forget how to count their own money or suddenly lose all interest in it? :) 

Or worse, for the representational art intellectual crusaders, will representational artists suddenly inherit all this moolah if they can convince the public they are more aesthetically legitimate than modern artists are? In other words, will the gobs-of-money market be there for them with aesthetic value as the foundation when and if they win the culture war? I say people who debate that and ignore why the sums of money are so massive are missing what's really going on--i.e., money laundering, tax evasion, etc. etc. etc.

It's like the climate change thing. Oodles of cash. Oodles of power. Muddled substance. Yet the public is sold on the integrity and vision of saving the planet of the recipients of the government crony money-and-power largess racket. And the public is tricked into debating the story and vision stuff instead of the income of the insiders or the accuracy of their predictions. (Once again, it's all about the story.)

My point is, sure, any kind of art can be used for a racket, but modern art (like climate change) serves especially well. From what I see, modern art is in wider use than other art forms for money management by elitists. I believe this is due to how well it filters out the hoi polloi from even looking at it since abstract art in galleries is not relevant to the lives and interests of the average person. And when nobody is looking at big money but insiders, said insiders almost always do shady shit.

I don't see much of an artistic debate in that reality.

(As you know, though, I find some forms of modern art valuable as art. But sense of life and volition are not what has made art so prevalent in human life down through all of human history for me. Those things exist and are relevant at times, and I even love works based on them, but they are not the foundation of all art, which is where Rand put them. But that's another discussion and not even relevant when the constantly circulating gobs of money are on the table.)

Michael

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On 12/23/2019 at 3:59 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
   On 12/23/2019 at 10:02 AM,  Jonathan said: 

The above is true of almost all art, not just "modern art."

 

Jonathan,

Not popular art.

 

True.

 

Quote

Or worse, for the representational art intellectual crusaders, will representational artists suddenly inherit all this moolah if they can convince the public they are more aesthetically legitimate than modern artists are?

The art world is actually very complex, and all sorts of styles are valued, including representational art. There are even very old-fashioned-ish artists who are making very good livings selling tradition figurative paintings today. Marketing is applicable to art just as it is to any other profession, and people can recognize the value of trading something which has succeeded in the market, even though the thing may not be an item that the trader personally likes or finds much use for.

Financially speaking, a crowd draws a crowd. It doesn't matter if it's "modern art" or some other fashion or trend which has happened throughout all of history, people will latch onto and make money off of crazes, and then, later, on retrospectives of past crazes, and then on a resurgence of the craze with a new twist, etc.

To answer your question: No, no one is going to be talked out of their own tastes, or our of investing in the popularity of others' tastes, by philosophical zealots, especially ones who are generally aesthetically deficient. Self-unaware dorks posing as cool kids and looking down their noses at what they dislike isn't a good marketing strategy.

J

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5 hours ago, Jonathan said:

The art world is actually very complex, and all sorts of styles are valued, including representational art.

Jonathan,

I agree with this. However, the area of art I was referring to is actually quite simple when seen from one lens. There are no poor people in it. No average Joe or Jane. I'm talking about high-end galleries and things like that.

Of course there are legitimate transactions in these places, too. You can't hide the rot without the camouflage. You just won't see a factory worker or secretary going into debt like they do for student loans to buy an expensive painting from a gallery. The high prices serve like in high priced restaurants--to keep the rabble away from their betters.

Also, there's this. You can't launder money without high prices. I mean, why bother? :) Throw in a bunch of unintelligible insider verbiage about this or that theory, nuance, blah blah blah and you have a perfect environment for monied shenanigans. Let's call the shenanigans the money laundering money and the camouflage the churn money.

(Incidentally, patents work really well for this, too, as do other things. When I was in my bad phase, I got some very interesting information in my sojourns into the dark side. :) )

5 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Self-unaware dorks posing as cool kids and looking down their noses at what they dislike isn't a good marketing strategy.

I agree with one caveat. These make excellent pitch men for keeping the rabble away. Rabble don't like snoots. In other words, I'm with you that being artsy-fartsy (regardless of art school) is not good marketing for selling art honestly (except to other snoots). Maybe you can fake a person into believing he's a snoot, too, for a time. The disadvantage is that this comes with a lot of buyer's remorse for honest people. But snoothood is great for setting the stage for money laundering.

Also, there's this. How can an insecure person feel superior to others unless someone tells him he is is superior? He needs the social proof and, with modern art, he even gets a tangible referent he can point to.

Nothing moves the churn money like an insecure rich person trying to keep his self-deception in place.

:) 

Rand did a great job showing this in The Fountainhead, although she did not focus so much on the money. But it was there.

Michael

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