As of this morning, my new favorite news website both for trustworthiness and transparent (aka “great”) writing, is www.sofrep.com, billed as “…trusted news and intelligence from special ops veterans.” Some of their ads are for big fat guns that scare me, but I am going to tell you why I like them.
I downloaded the EU’s brand new “European Defense Action Plan” [PDF] and started to read it. It made me uncomfortable. I sought interpretations in the media that told me straight up what it was all about, as I have become intolerant of all things occluded in the age of Political Correctness, where everybody uses that unctuous elitist tone that now has morphed into a virtual smoke machine. You never hear a human voice, and you never escape the narcissistic imposition of moral superiority.
The EU was beefing up its military, dramatically, and it seemed to have something to do with Donald Trump, and I needed to know how exactly NATO is considered evil now.
I found this site, and the writings of one Alex Hollings, a U.S. Marine.
Here is one graph from his report on the European Defense Action Plan:
“The European Defense Action Plan calls for a dramatic increase in funding for joint military assets among member nations. The proposal includes increasing immediate expenditures from twenty-five million euros per year to ninety million by 2020, when it will be replaced by a new defense spending program that allocates five hundred million euros annually. An additional fund created in this plan could potentially be worth five billion euros per year, and could be used to help member states acquire expensive military assets like drones in joint purchases with other nations to reduce costs.
The plan is intended to help bolster defense spending throughout the European Union, while also creating a “single market for defense” within the organization. This financial strategy would be modeled after existing “single markets” in Europe designed to aid international trade within the Union like telecoms and energy.
Some believe this influx in military spending within the EU is due to concerns over President Elect Donald Trump’s stance on NATO, who made headlines during his presidential campaign when he suggested that the United States may not come to the aid of its NATO allies in their time of need. Trump’s stance is based on his concerns over many of the organization’s member nations failing to meet their required defense expenditures, opting to rely instead on the military might of the United States.
John Bolton, rumored to be a contender for Secretary of State under President Trump, said he believed any effort to establish a joint European military body must be considered a sign of withering confidence in NATO in the face of Trump’s hard line stance on the organization.
“If they actually got to the point of achieving [a true EU military capability] – that would be a dagger pointed at the heart of NATO,” Bolton said during an appearance on Breitbart News Daily radio on Wednesday. “If the EU says, ‘Actually, we can defend ourselves,’ I tell you, there are a lot of Americans who would say, ‘Fine, and by the way, the next time an authoritarian militaristic society threatens you, let us know how it turns out.’”
Very clear, and I did not feel bullied.
My curiosity piqued, I stayed on the site, and found this piece, where Hollings is trying to make heads or tails of Cairo, and manages to crystalize a whole world for me in one paragraph:
“As I strolled down the street in Cairo wearing the most foolishly American-looking polo shirt I could have possibly chosen, I realized quickly that the area I was in wasn’t commonly traversed by tourists. Unfinished but occupied apartment buildings towered above me on all sides, with extension cords spanning across them from windowless openings in the upper floors. The moist mud clumped on either side of the street, I quickly realized, was a mix of gasoline, oil, and human waste. I bought some bottled water from a man on the street, who explained that the owners of these apartment buildings didn’t need to pay taxes until they were complete, so they had opted to never actually complete them. The downside to their scheme was that utilities like running water and electricity would only be activated when the owners started paying taxes. As a result, some people simply throw their waste out the window to avoid the long hike required to dispose of it responsibly.”
It’s a marvel of a passage. Every words dances into every other, showing– not concealing– meaning, context, subtext, history, corruption, and humanity.
Were Jann Wenner not fighting off multi-million dollar lawsuits for fake PC journalism he tragically fell for–in a dream world– he’d hire Alex Hollings, who faintly echoes Hunter S. Thompson, my favorite American writer.
Speaking of which, the late Michael Hastings was an outstanding journalist and writer, and until his bizarre death, Rolling Stone was still publishing sizzling stuff. I do suspect Hastings was killed, by remote controlled car crash. I interviewed car mechanics back when it happened, just for my own internal records, and they all confirmed the crash and subsequent dismemberment of the vehicle was impossible. Hastings should have perhaps backed down. But really good journalists don’t do that, when they get onto the scent of a very big story and are young enough not to have gotten the Big Memo.
Is a story worth dying for?
I would put it this way: At the root of real investigative journalism lies a death wish. It’s unconscious. For this reason, you’ll find that the best journalists are ruined souls who had horrendous childhoods. Case in point: Julian Assange. Julian Assange told Michael Hastings in a Rolling Stone interview I read several times, that what he is revealing is more important than his own life, and furthermore, that all core Wikileaks staff accepted this.
I almost cried when I read that.
I used to have that deranged big story lust, and should be thankful to be here, still. I like writing here, in total freedom.
I wrote for Rolling Stone once, (in 2000) about O.J. Simpson, and will always be grateful because when Wenner heard I was to be paid $2 a word, he randomly raised it to $3 a word, because I had such good access to O.J. and his inner circle. This I needed, to report the story “O.J. Inc,” about the underground market of O.J.’s signature, which also funded his criminal defense.
I should add that I feel immensely sorry for the journalist who produced the story about campus rape that turned out to be based on a false witness. This is the waking and sleeping nightmare of every journalist on earth. And it happened after decades of Wenner publishing almost only men. Awful.
Self-servingly, I point to it as exhibit A of what happens when a journalist is “discredited,” for real. It happens from the text, not from special interest, funded to the gills, interest groups, or “activists.” And the outlet–in this case Rolling Stone— has to capitulate when the falsity is brought to light.