One thing that never fails to amaze me with True Crime, is the apparent schizophrenia of some of its adherents. True Crime is about a search for truth, right? It's also about calling out criminals and criminality, right? It's about a fight for justice, right?
Not quite, for some it's also about PR. For some it's also about shaming those narratives you don't agree with. It's about cheerleading your show pony, and the one who cheers the loudest wins [who cares whether it's dishonest, disingenuous, deceitful or spiteful].
And so, without further ado, let me introduce one of Shakedown's most faithful reviewers: C.T. Brown who has reviews on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Brown, who describes herself as a nurse based in the UK, and who places a link on her profile to a pro Knox site, has left no less than 8 reviews on her .com profile [all 1 star of course] and another 6 on her .uk profile. That's a total of 14 reviews.
Below are a few snippets from them. Let's see if we can gather the gist of what Brown is trying to communicate:
1. May 31st, 2015 - Deceit:
"The author seems to be obsessed with Amanda Knox."
2. June 22nd, 2015 - Dark Matter:
"...a highly biased, badly researched and spiteful series."
3. September 30th, 2015 - Under Suspicion:
4. October 6th, 2015 - American Traitor
"Tip: before writing a book read the evidence......just a thought ;)"
5. October 6th, 2015 - Fugitive
"...what really put me off was how boring the book was..."
6. October 6th, 2015 - #RS
"Please do not buy this book!"
7. October 6th, 2015 - Obscurity
"Badly written and researched..."
8. July 23rd, 2016 - White Horse
"The worst part though was the dry and boring writing. Seriously dull!"
9. November 30th, 2016 - Dark Matter
"There is a theme that goes through all of these books, HATE pure and simple."
10. August 18, 2017 - Despicable
"...their hate knows no boundaries..."
And so it goes on. As far as I can tell not one of C.T. Brown's reviews are verified purchases, and not one discusses a single aspect of the evidentiary burden. You have a book citing hundreds of aspects of evidence and also dissecting witness testimonies, and yet the reviewer never settles down to contest, argue or counter any in its own terms.
It does beg the question, given Brown's unadulterated dedication to discrediting some while endorsing others, is Brown being paid to troll, or does Brown do it on her own dime?
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Friday, August 04, 2017
1. "I am voluntarily providing this statement..."
Oscar Pistorius, when applying for bail after being charged with premeditated murder [he is currently in jail because he was convicted of murder] also breezily claimed that he was making his statement voluntarily. Fact is, if Kushner had a choice not to make a statement, he would have, ditto Oscar.
2. "...in order to shed light on issues..."
Why not be specific about it? It's not "issues", it is an allegation of colluding with the Russians to help one's father in law win an election, which would elevate Kushner and his wife into the White House as well. In Oscar's affidavit, in which he commits to "volunteering information", part of this "volunteering" is the strategic admission that he fails to understand how he is charged with murder, and can he please be furnished with proof, so that he be allowed to defend himself. See how quickly the open-handed "I'm just being honest here" actually becomes a legal ploy about finding room to manoeuvre when there is very little left?
3. "I am not a person who sought the spotlight..."
Well, then why not stay out of the White House, and out of Trump's campaign? Why walk on the stage when Trump accepted his nomination? Oscar also notes in his affidavit that he's not obligated in any way to provide any merits in terms of his case. He's sort of saying he's doing this as a favour, and at some inconvenience to himself. Well, when someone is murdered in your house, it's not about inconveniencing yourself when explaining what happened. The reason you're in court is because there is no obvious explanation.
4. "I have left it to others to work on media and public perception..."
Interesting words Kushner uses. Public perception. He is well aware that perceptions can be and are being manipulated [just not by him]. Kushner's attendance at a meeting to discuss Russia's ability to help them influence the elections was all about having an agency be to blame, even though the bottom line was a quid pro quo. Russia was offering Trump and his associates something [a way to undermine Clinton and the DNC], and in exchange, the Russian's wanted something. It was a transaction. Oscar Pistorius hired a PR firm and a representative to protect his million dollar image during the first part of his prison term. Once he was convicted for murder the PR disappeared, because the whole idea of a murderer having an image to protect is asinine [unless you're OJ Simpson, and even then, it's clearly bizarre].
5. "I am grateful for the opportunity to set the record straight..."
The allegations of Russian meddling came up as early as September 2016 during the election debates. Kushner's meeting was in June, giving them a perfect window of two months to prepare and execute. It's noteworthy that the first email dump [from Russia to Wikipedia of the DNC emails] took place just a few hours after the Access Hollywood slur. In other words, Trump was waiting for a good time to counterpunch a slur, to drop a bigger bomb when a PR hand grenade was flung by the Clinton campaign. So why did he wait until mid 2017 to "set the record" straight? He'd known about his meeting for over a year, and ought to have been painfully aware of the controversy surrounding Trump and Russia. Also, he only made a statement following Don Jnr's statement, which essentially implicated Kushner. So far from being grateful, Kushner was simply trying to extinguish a PR fire. Clearly if he could have avoided "setting the record straight..." indefinitely he would have.
6. "My experience was in business...it was not my initial intent to play a large role in my father-in-law's campaign..."
This is interesting. If it wasn't Kushner's intent to play a role in Trump's campaign, whose was it? The word "large" is also interesting. Kushner seems to be suggesting both that he didn't intend to play a large role and that ultimately he didn't play a large role. But it seems like he did, like his role in the campaign was large. That's the issue. How large was it? It's a nice duck though from volunteering this information to sort of going backwards and saying it wasn't my idea to play a large role. Forget about that, what exactly was your role Mr. Grateful To Set The Record Straight.
7. "I was called to assist...and took on more and more responsibility..."
Vague terms. Who called you? When? To assist with what? What exactly were you responsible for?
8. "My role continued to evolve..."
Still fudging. What were you doing matters, not that what you did changed.
9. "I ultimately worked with the finance, scheduling, communications, speechwriting, polling, data and digital teams as well as becoming a point of contact for foreign government officials..."
Wow, it's taken this far to actually say something. It's been a lot of smelly, obtrusive shit and diarrhea to get to this point, and what we have is an admission that Kushner was pretty much involved in fucking everything. So much for a dude who doesn't like the limelight or doesn't care about public perception. A campaign - with its polls, speechwriting and data analysis - is all about a strategic effort to shape public perception. That's all it is, and Kushner, Mr Shining Book Report, is absolutely central to all of it.
The real issue is whether his role was defined from the outset or whether it evolved. I wouldn't be surprised if someone like Roger Stone laid it on thick right at the beginning, telling Team Trump: if you go up against Clinton you can't win without getting your hands dirty. We can only win by making her lose. She's got to come out of this looking dirtier and slimier than we do. So what is our weakness? Our dishonesty. We've got to make her look more dishonest. What else? Donald's attitude to women. We've got to make her attitudes look worse.
In other words, that's a strategy set out at the outset. Like premeditated murder, you've got to know what outcome you want before you execute. It doesn't evolve along the way. And you need the right weapons and alibi for the job. In Kushner's case that means putting the right guy in place to pull the various strings in the game, and the alibi of course is Russia. We didn't smear Clinton, the Russians did [and can you blame them]. Well what the fuck is Russia doing having a meeting with Team Trump if not to ask: hey guys, do you want us to hack the DNC [Don Jnr: I love it]. Okay then, we'll do it, but then we need something in return.
It's also huge that at the end of that statement, and notice he leaves it for the end, Kushner adds: "...as well as becoming a point of contact for foreign government officials..." Holy shit so he is the point man for all these meetings with Putin's point men...dudes like Kislyak [Russian ambassador to the US], Gorkov [chairman of a state run Russian bank], Dasha Zhukova [wife of Abramovich, a Russian oligarch]. Akhmetshin [a Russian lobbyist associated with the KGB]. Veselnitskaya...and so on.
If Kushner is meeting all these people, and he's working on "data and digital teams" then he's the point guy on the American side executing the whole scheme. Think about it. If Trump needed to rely on someone on the inside, but not too far in [like his daughter or son in law], and not too far out, then a son-in-law was perfect. And from Kushner's perspective, if he pulled the rabbit out of the hat and got dad-in-law elected president, then he automatically achieved diplomatic immunity from teacher for cheating on his book report. Screw his classmates, the teacher's pet couldn't be touched because the teacher had just become principal.
10. "All of these were tasks that I had never performed on a campaign previously..."
Here Kushner is invoking the legal idea of precedent. It's a little like saying I've never shot my girlfriend in a door, so I didn't shoot my girlfriend through the door. Except this is Kushner saying I've never colluded with the Russians before on a presidential campaign, so I didn't collude with the Russians to get my father-in-law elected now. Except, it seems he did.
Fact is he did have business dealings with the Russians previously, so it made sense to have Kushner expand in a role - "being a point of contact with foreign government officials..." made perfect sense.
11. "When I was faced with a new challenge [like Russian hacking] I would reach out to contacts [like Kislyak?] and ask for advice, find the right person to manage the specific challenge [Veselnitskaya? Akhmetshin?] and execute the plan of action [the email dump, make it happen at 4pm...]"
Kushner seems to be saying here: hey, it wasn't just me...
Oscar also makes his ultimate defense in his murder charge, hey, it wasn't just me in that house, there was a burglar [or at least, I thought there was...]
12: "nimble culture...fast-paced campaign...viewed through the lens...thousands of meetings...some memorable, some not..."
Here we have the first signs of manipulation. Once again, not only were there lots of other people involved, not just me, so much was happening at once I should be forgiven for becoming confused. [In other words, when offered the chance to conspire, collude with the Russians, a seminal event in the entire election/when preparing to murder my girlfriend, a seminal event in one's home, and life], I sort of was caught up in things, and it should be seen in that "lens". Really?
In Oscar affidavit he also clouds his own culpability and the facts surrounding the murder by invoking "being asleep" and the place being "pitch dark". This allows for the possibility of cognitive confusion and ignorance, which is a classic giveaway.
In essence, the ruse of "volunteering information" actually amounts to strategic confirmations and strategic misdirections meant to confuse or muddle an investigation. Again, the whole point of the statement is nail something down that passes a sort of common sense test [oh, so he does have a reasonable version, a reasonable explanation]. Of course, that is the whole issue driving the process: how are you involved in this illegal act? The response is to provide some sort of excuse that explains an association that is reasonable. Ultimately little pieces of information are admitted where absolutely necessary, and little pieces omitted and distorted. It is then up to the resolve and intelligence of anyone analysing the statement to read between the lines and pursue it.
By putting up a statement, the idea is also to say, my lawyers are prepared to defend this, are yours prepared to pursue it? Well, I hope your resources are as much as mine...
12 points and I've only gotten to the end of page 1. Shall I continue?
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
So far, our team has worked very well. We have established a basic base camp on 5000 meters. Tenji and Nima always bring us fresh food. The weather was until 3 October 2013, awesome. Just in time for my birthday on the 4th of October 2013 the weather was bad and we had a reason to descend back to the base camp.
We have set up a base camp at 5'000 meters. Tenji and Nima always bring us fresh food. The weather was until 3rd October, awesome. We spent 2 nights at 6'100 meters. I climbed alone over the first rock. Here Lafaille and Beghin had mounted a fixed rope. Now here is the rock covered with a thin layer of snow and ice, I can easily climb up and down again. On 6'700 meters I have seen enough, up to the rock bar it looks easy. I get off again to Don and we spend a second night on our eaglehorst and then we went back to Basecamp. I feel very good.
A few days later, on the 7th of October, we are back on the ABC, the base camp. Don comes later, he has waited until something clears up, he had no desire to rise in the rain. It snowed and we decided to wait the next day. We wanted to look at what happened in the wall. One day we spend all together in the best weather in ABC. The sun works all day and the snow can solidify. It gets really hot. We are sitting in the T-shirt on 5'000 meters.
On the 8th of October at 5:30 am we set off, it is bitter cold in the morning. Dan Patitucci and Jonah Matthewson, Don Bowie and myself. We are on the way to the wall foot. Dan Patitucci and Jonah are responsible for the pictures.
The weather is nice, but there was a strong wind blowing. Don Bowie, my partner, decided not to go to Bergschrund. He said it was technically too demanding for him to climb rope-free. This is the basic prerequisite for such a route. Since my trip to 6'700 meters it is clear to me that you can easily climb up to the rock bolt without rope. If you start to secure in this area, you need days until you get to the beginning of the rock bar. We're at Bergschrund, Don's decision is pretty clear. I am conscious of a sudden, he will not come. No way. What do I do now? I think about 2 options. I make another acclimatization trip and wait for Yanick and Stephan. I can go with them safely. Or I just try how high I come. If it does not work out, I can still work with the two Frenchmen. I'm not saying much about Bergschrund. I just go. Don, Dan and Jonah I say, I'll go look! I just need to get away from here. I leave my friends in uncertainty. I have to climb now, or I will not go. I know that, I know myself. I have to get rid of myself immediately. I have to say goodbye to this world - I go my way. I can not do anything else from now on. I know this from previous all-in-one, if I do not manage to dive into my own world is not. Without great words I go.
In the first moment it is difficult to switch to soloing. But the good conditions help me focus on the climbing fairly quickly. I climb over the Bergschrund into the endless slopes of the Annapurna south wall. I go relatively cozy, I need time to think. What am I doing. It is only now that I begin to think about it properly. I have acted on the Bergschrund relatively briefly. Before, I just had to go, I just went. It is nice weather, the snow conditions are ideal. Beautiful tread. It is also significantly colder than the last time. The snow is not soft. I'll make a plan during the ascent. I analyze: The weather is awesome, I have today and tomorrow to evening certainly no rainfall. The conditions are sensational, at least here. Only at the moment a very strong wind blows to the summit. At 6'100 meters we had deposited material. We had acclimatized in the weeks before in the wall and had a rope, tent and cooker with some food and gas dumped up there. I put the tent and the stove in my backpack. The rope I have not taken, since I have a 6 mm Reepschnur with me, which I had taken from the ABC. The sleeping bag I have for weight reasons unpacked and with extra gas, food and the existing rope deposited on a hook. I have an idea. I only take a tent and a stove. Try to keep moving as much as possible. I have the tent to have the opportunity to wait, if the wind is too strong. I have no more weight in the backpack. That feels good. I get after repackaging.
The difference is already enormous, before I had something more in the backpack and now I only have the tent, line cord, stove, gas and a bottle, down jacket and gloves. The rock climb is much better snow-covered, perfect, hard-frozen snow. The sun hardly soaks the snow. Last time, the snow was still soft at this time, today it remains hard-frozen. Actually, exactly as one would like it to be. I climb slowly to avoid acidification. It is never allowed to accumulate lactate, you will never get rid of these heights and you will be extremely slowly higher up over 7'000 meters. I must steadily slow down. I do not perceive anything, I just climb. Finally, once again easy mountaineering, I care only about myself and nothing else.
The ascent under the rocky mountain range is easy, everything is fine. From 6'600 meters I have some wind and spindrifts. I climbed to a height of 7'050 meters. Here I will build up the tent and wait for the wind to ease. I have several options: Either the wind lets go and I can climb further or I just leave the next morning. But a night sitting in the tent without sleeping bag is horrifying. I can not find a suitable place, I decide to descend again. Before I go down I want to take a picture of the rock. So that if I go up in the night possibly, I have an overview on my camera.
I hit my two ice machines deep in the Firn. With the crampons I try to make a bigger kick. So I'm more comfortable. I'm 1'300 meters above the Bergschrund, stand on a kick. I take off my right down glove and hang it on one of my ice machines. The camera is on my harness. The cord on which I have secured it is too short, I hang out the camera and take a picture. Before I reprint a second time, snow falls on me. I just grab my two ice machines and try to hold on and wait. Hope it stops. I notice how the pressure builds up between me and the wall. He is getting stronger and after a while he takes off again. My body is shaking. That was close! My glove is gone and also my photo camera. I'm annoyed. The glove, now I only have my climbing gloves. This can be a problem. But I've climbed all day without down gloves. Therefore, when it gets too cold, I just have to descend. Now find a shelter! I change completely, it is like a switch of the upset. From now on, I'm only thinking about how I can survive in this wall, but I've also accepted that I'm extremely exposed. Either you're fit enough or you're not coming back. For the first time, I decide radically when climbing. Just like in everyday life - black or white. I am very bad with half-hearted stuff.
100 meters further down I find a gap. It turned out to be a perfect bivouac spot and I can build my tent protected from the wind and the spindle drift in this gap. Food and drink are now announced. I try to take as much liquid as possible to me. Meanwhile, the sun goes away. Everything calmed down on the mountain, as I had noticed the evening before from ABC. And it's exactly the same as a day before. It set the dawn and it became quiet. This is my chance. I have to try.
I'm sure the wind will turn up again in the morning. Therefore, the only option during the night is to climb further as high as possible, and it makes sense, just like Loretan and Troillet at Everest. In the night climb, yes, I also have no sleeping bag, so it is significantly warmer to move during the cold hours and not to rest. I'm out again after a short break. I have certainly drunk 1 ½ liters and eaten, liquid food and a power bar. The bottle in my jacket warms me nicely. Now I have nothing more. Only the cord on the back tied. 1 liter of drink in the down jacket. A pair of latches stowed in the jacket. I leave my backpack, my tent, the stove, everything back. I start climbing again quite calmly. I have completely resolved myself from the other world. Just climb, nothing else. There is nothing at the moment except for me and this wall, I turned off the lamp.
The headwall is crossed with a continuous firn / ice line. Thus, it is possible to find the way at night. I just try, when I get lost, I climb back again. With my Tikka RXP with reactivLightning you have a good view, it just switches to headlights, when I look in the distance, so I should have 10 hours of light in this mode, usually it is only very weak in front of me - about 2 meters far. In the Firn I switch off the lamp, so I can save battery and it is also easier to have an overview, the snow and the ice stand out well from the dark. I like to climb it at night. It's kind of easier to concentrate. Only the next step, the next movement, is what is decisive. I can hardly believe it, the conditions are awesome! A hard snow layer covers everything. It is like in the Eigerordwand in the winter with top conditions.
Ideal solo terrain. As long as I can climb, I'm extremely efficient, I know. From now on, I push much more than the day. I'm traveling faster. I am now over 7'000 meters, at this height one can move still quite well forward. Only the cold is a bit painful, I'm afraid that my hands are getting too cold. I'm pretty far right in the wall, the last maybe 70 meters were quite steep, challenging, here I must safely abseil in descent. Something like a ramp pulls right, I follow her. I reach a broad snow band. Here I climb left again until I can climb again over a steeper passage. I have to find the transition to the left, I know somewhere I have left to get to the upper part. I must not climb too high. I find a passage, now everything should be clear, the wall is not so steep. The varnish layer is thin. I must be back here before the sun soaks this layer. That would be fatal. To descend here without this glued snow would be impossible. This thought makes me nervous. But I'm ready to take that risk. The exit from the rock bar is once again challenging, not necessarily steep, but the firn and the ice layer are thin. Again and again I hit the rock.
The headwall turned out to be shorter than I thought. It is difficult to say how many rounds it would be, since I do not use a rope. But I felt relatively quickly at the upper end. This is the first time I know where I am and what that means. I know that from now on, it is just a race against the wind and I should not turn around too late, because the sun is softening the ice and the ice layer and that would be my end. In addition, I am in a south wall, which means the sun comes very early in the morning. Now it slowly begins to load me, I know how exposed I am! I do not have anything. It is unrealistic with 60 meters of rope, 5 hoes and two ice screws here abseeilen! I'm going to survive. I calm down again. It's dark night. The Firn is still crunching.
I got my rhythm again. Everything in my head calmed down. Again, I am with myself. Step by step. I have accepted that I am up here. I like it, there is no more for me. The terrain slowly rises again, the last meters on the ridge are again somewhat steeper, about 60. I traverse on the ridge to the left. It's flat up here. The ridge rises, I go on and reach a guard. I turn on the headlamp. Far ahead of me is another guard. I already traded one. I can not see a higher point. It is night, the sky full of stars as before me the ridge goes down again.
Is this the highest point? A comical summit, a flat ridge with 3 elevations, I stand on the 2nd elevation.
I do not spend 2 minutes up there before I start to descend. I want to get away from here as fast as I can. Now my situation in my head has changed, I want to go down again, immediately! I long for the Bergschrund. I do not think it's good to be up here, how do I get down? It is not easy to see the tracks. The Firn is hard. The exit channel I climb backwards. I turned off the lamp, it is dark. Now I can go forward again. The small rocky line, which separates the large snow surface, I have to climb backwards. Now I have to go down pretty straight. It feels controlled, I've done a lot. Descending in challenging terrain, but I would be glad if I was already down. I need to concentrate. As much as it goes abklettern.8 times I ropes off hourglasses. The rest I climb off. I pull the reep cord straight through the holes so I do not need snares. The best thing is to make the hourglasses vertical, so you can pull the rope relatively easily.
Still in the dark, I am at my tent at 6'850 meters. I creep back into the glacier and without taking my crampons into my tent, I do not care if I make holes in the ground. I cooked water and drank. From here I should be relatively fast down. From here I certainly no longer abseilen. I still fill my bottle and start climbing a bit later. My calves are as hard as stone and pain. But I am still focused, consciously every step can be my last. I am still in the middle of the Annapurna south wall. In the east, the new day is slowly drawing off. At last, it will be bright again. Hopefully the wind will still be a little bit behind. I am in this steady state, focused on every step. Every sound - everything - is registered. The Bergschrund is a relief. I searched the glacier to see if my friends were ascending. You must have seen that I descend. But I saw no one. I already traversed the glacier when I met Tenji, Don and Dan. My first words were: We can go home!
The tension drops slightly. Tenji gives me Coca Cola, bread and an apple. Eat something. I can hardly put it into words - I do not know exactly what to say! I was alone for 28 hours. Exposed, exposed, every action had to be perfect, completely placed on my own, I concentrated only on myself and climbing. Now everything is over. What can I say? I feel like I'm from another planet. I can not explain it, I will probably never be able to. They are personal impressions, something you have to experience yourself to understand. I was just lucky with the conditions. Such a snowstorm is very rare. Perfectly glued, a sunny day more and the edition would perhaps already be gone again and the wall in a completely different condition.
At 9:40 am on October 9, 2013 we are all together again in the advanced base camp.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Journalists aren't paid to do this, and editors would probably get into real trouble if they did and then ran the story under a branded masthead. But the rest of us can and should speculate. So without further ado, let's jump right in.
The clip provided below is only useful for the first 15 seconds. It shows Jared Kushner easing out of the White House to present his press conference. It's a huge moment, which he seems to handle with aplomb. I'm sure his wife Ivanka, and his father in law the president, and his supporters, couldn't have been happier with the performance. I'm not sure Don junior was as thrilled.
Opinion: Jared Kushner just threw Donald Trump Jr. under the bus. Bigly. https://t.co/9oniYOX8Og— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 24, 2017
The 15 seconds showing Kushner ambulating, as though walking on air, is noteworthy simply to make a cheeky observation. Kushner's appearance is perfect in a sense. Shiny dark hair combed over, neat, handsome, he seems too good to be true. He has a baby-faced "nice boy" vibe about him. It stands in stark contrast to Trump's mean, tough guy stance. That Kushner is Trump's senior adviser in the White House says a lot about both Trump and Kushner. Kushner seems like a well-mannered and reserved fellow, whereas Trump can be rude, loud and brash. One can understand Kushner quietly providing service to Trump, and Trump lavishing in the quality of his intelligence, preparation and strategy.
But more simply, Kushner gliding out of the White House resembles the best student in class about to present a book report. The report itself is bland, and probably doesn't represent Kushner's own thoughts, just what the teacher wants to hear. He is bright enough to know that this is enough, and confident in his stylish execution to pull it off convincingly. And he does. Sort of.
The second clip is better, because it provides a close up view of Kushner's face, and his microexpression.
The first clue as to what is really going on occurs, as it usually does, with the opening communication. Instead of greeting the press, a fairly large crowd huddled around, Kushner opens up with:
"My name is Jared Kushner..."
In other words, he is so caught up in the urgency of what he is doing, he's leaked the fact that he doesn't see the press as friendly, or fair, or worth acknowledging in any way. As such, we can anticipate a less than 100% authentic statement. This is hardly surprising, given what must be spoken behind closed doors, and even to the media by other White House staff. But it provides an early indication of Kushner's subtle contempt. "I am..." whereas those he is addressing do not exist, and do not matter.
In a classroom situation, the best kid reading a book report isn't doing it for his classmates, even though that's how it appears to them. He's doing it for his boss, the teacher, who will grade him. That's all that matters.
Kushner opens his statement on a sentimental note. He served his father in law because he "believed in him" and believed in his ability to "improve the lives of all Americans." This may sound marvellous on paper, and perhaps to his uneducated white male supporters, but what's clear is you'd have to be an imbecile to either believe Trump, or "believe in him." That was true during the presidential debates in 2016, and it's doubly true now, given the almost constant gaffes, provable lies, contradictions, inappropriate comments, hirings, firings and general malaise of Trump's presidency. Kushner's glowing endorsement of Trump is also at odds with dad's approval ratings.
That's like a student praising the teacher who praises him while the school and community think the teacher is doing a terrible job.
Kushner's apparently altruistic support of Trump because he believes Trump will improve the lives of all Americans is laughable. The tax clauses in the Trumpcare bill are clear evidence that equity isn't the goal. Trump is a divisive leader, he's more for exclusion than inclusion. He's an autocrat rather than a democrat. For his entire life it has been about me first, making bullshit deals that advance his interests and no one else's. The uneducated white idiots who voted for him somehow believe just because Trump says he'll look after them, he will, even though he has a record of suing those he's neglected, who dare to challenge him.
When Kushner refers to his service of Trump and the American people as the "honor and privilege of a lifetime" he looks down. It's interesting that he looks down while saying the word honor, and up when saying the word privilege. It's difficult to a look a crowd in the eye when you don't mean something. It's easy, and it's what you want to do, when you mean something and mean to emphasise it. Try emphasising anything to a group of people while looking down - it doesn't work. No one does that.
Kushner refers to working on "important matters" such as [and here he stumbles] "Middle East peace" and [he stumbles again] "reinvigorating America's innovative spirit." We know the actual game in geopolitics right now is to destabilise the Middle East, which is why it's in those vested interests to keep the Syrians conflict - or any sort of conflict - going in the Middle East for as long as possible.
As to the former, Trump has spoken often of opposing the Iran deal, and things in the Middle East, with the blockade against Qatar, and the Muslim ban [effected against several Middle Eastern/Muslim countries] are arguably worse than ever. During Trump's visit to the area recently, there were a number of terrorist attacks including in Manchester, seemingly in protest to Trump and to exclusivism and isolationism, though few have drawn these inferences, even in the mainstream media.
All of that is not much of a muchness however. It's at the 1:30 mark that Kushner begins to address the Russian elephant sitting on the White House lawn. He does this by invoking this idea of a bright, enthusiastic, dedicated worker bee coming to work to do his best. It's the book report thing, all over again. Kushner emphasises the fact that he hasn't sought the public eye, but that he's been eager to share any information he has.
Well, except he hasn't. He has made his disclosures under pressure, and he has been less than forthcoming in his business disclosures. There are reports indicating Kushner has amended or updated his disclosures around 100 times, that is a helluva lot of editing the narrative behind closed doors, and presumably a lot of "cooking the books", as time might put it.
In the same way Kushner is less than honest, I believe, in saying he "believes in Trump", and that it's for the greater good, he's less than honest about his eagerness to be transparent. One would expect the son in law of a billionaire to be eager to see how dad's rise to power might benefit him and his wife in some way. We can understand that sort of eagerness. We can also understand an eagerness to be protective of information that could get him or dad into any trouble.
There's another stumble at 1:39 where Kushner corrects himself over "records and documents provided...voluntarily provided..." We'll look at those in a moment.
Kushner himself says it best when he characterises all of his actions as "proper." Once again, he certainly looks like a well brought up gentleman. The only thing vaguely improper about Kushner, on the surface at least, is his coziness with Trump, his marriage to the president's daughter, and of course the Russian elephant sitting on the lawn behind the media kids. It's the equivalent of the book report kid taking the teacher's daughter to the prom, and running personal errands for the teacher, for reward. Nothing wrong with that unless you're any other kid in the school, and none of those kids would say what you're doing is in anyone's best interest except your own.
At 01:49 Kushner provides the soundbite ultimately chosen by the networks:
"Let me be very clear, I did not collude with Russia, nor did I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so." And then he looks down.
"I had no improper contacts." And then he looks down.
"I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses." And then he looks down, and blinks.
All of these statements are clear and convincing, the only problem with them is perhaps their clarity. The clarity is a mismatch with each pregnant pause to regain his composure.
If the blink is a flicker, it gets worse from here on out.
"And I have been [looks down for the first time while speaking] fully transparent, in providing all requested [looks down just before he ends the sentence] information."
On this crucial question of honesty, which is essentially - have you been honest? I have been completely honest - Kushner can't maintain the urgent emphasis, and he can't wait for the sentence to end so he can break contact.
Now, truly flustered, Kushner tries to end with a bang.
"Donald Trump had a better message [blinks, glances down] and ran a smarter campaign, and that...is why...he won." This is perhaps Kushner's best moment, the last part of this sentence, which he emphasises in tone, and pacing, and by nodding slightly in a kind of aggressive head point to the kids listening to his book report. Of course Trump's message wasn't better, and he didn't win because it was better, he won because Americans were gabbing about Hillary Clinton's emails, and Pizzagate and whatnot. It wasn't a question of better message, it was a question of undermining and maligning someone else's. If the Trump campaign got anything right, it was to figure out the College vote, and on what lines it could be won.
They found that a majority might be found in the uneducated masses who found their prospects diminishing. Make America Great Again was high school code for Make My Life Great Again.
If a billionaire saviour bully could be on their side, make deals for them, convince them he was their jobs and money saviour, and could deliver them from their lot as a social class, they might have a chance. But they'd need the opponent - Crooked Hillary - to look bad at the same time. That's how they won, and while brilliant, it was also cynical and criminal. The motive was never to help or attend to these havenots, it was to prey on them for one's own benefit, at their expense and then invalidate the media and the educated masses with maelstroms of nonsense and nonsensical news conferences. Like this one.
"Suggesting otherwise, ridicules those who voted for him." An ironic lever this, but a brilliant way once again to politicise and weaponise the allegation to Trump's, his own and their supporters benefit. Turn the allegation into a rallying point, and contaminate the commentary of Trump's ridiculing and ridiculous presidency.
"It is an honor to work with president Trump, and his administration..." During this entire sentence, which is perhaps the biggest whopper of all, Kushner glances down throughout. It's the longest verbal exchange where he doesn't make eye contact, and that's significant. How hard is it to look up and say it's an honor to work for teacher dad, and be married to his daughter, and have them both be elevated to the school's governing body, with me as the national representative for book report reading...
How hard is that to do to one's classmates, with the Russian elephant chomping grass on the White House lawn? If he looked up then he'd be looking right into the faces of those sitting in on those silly Sean Spicer sessions. Yes, difficult to keep a straight face.
After vomiting a few more empty aphorisms, Kushner - Mr Transparency, Mr Eager to share - promises to answer questions, just not from his classmates, who, obviously, aren't his classmates at all.
Only then, having given them the finger, does he thank them, wheel around and walk back into the air conditioned huff he came from.
In part 2 I'll analyse his written statement.