Last Week in Weird

Them coincidences keep on comin’

A month ago, a Democratic National Committee staffer called Seth Rich was shot to death in Washington D.C. The police advanced the notion that his killing was part of a robbery, which deranged conspiracy theorist his father refused to believe for no better reason than because absolutely nothing was stolen from the young man, despite the fact that he was carrying cash, credit cards, a cell phone, and a watch, all generally things that robbers display a tendency to rob. The internet picked up the story and ran with it, eventually linking Seth Rich to the DNC e-mail leak that led to the resignation of chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a fairly hefty amount of embarrassment for the Clinton campaign. As snotty media outlets with large onhand supplies of scare quotes explained, though, this was a "crazy conspiracy" and a "fantasy," and as much Donald Trump’s fault as anything he was completely unconnected to could possibly be.

Then last week that crazy Julian Assange stopped just shy of confirming that, yes, Seth Rich was a Wikileaks source:

Our whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material, and often very significant risks. There’s a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, shot in the back — murdered — just a few weeks ago, for unknown reasons, as he was walking down the street in Washington…

I’m suggesting that our sources take risks, and they become concerned to see things occurring like that.

An awfully strange thing for Assange to bring up, no? He comes completely out of nowhere with it, casually dismisses his interviewer’s assertion that the killing was "just a robbery," and, while he does decline to state conclusively that Rich was the e-mail leaker, he implies it so clearly that your humble narrator is at a loss to see what other conclusion could be drawn.

This, of course, helps us to understand FBI director James Comey’s bizarre statement in which he listed quite a few major violations of federal law that the FBI has absolutely determined that Hillary Clinton is guilty of, and then concluded that she shouldn’t face charges for them. Clearly he was afraid of triggering the ancient Egyptian mummy curse that coincidentally kills people who get in her way.

Heil Kitler

This may come as a shock to the delicate sensibilities of my readership, but some people have strange hobbies. Whether it’s collecting stamps, debating the technical minutiae of the science on Star Trek: The Next Generation, or murdering people for interfering with one’s political ambitions, there’s no hobby that’s so strange that nobody does it. Some people, in fact, like to photograph — or badly Photoshop — cats that look like Hitler. Weird and harmless, one might think. Not, however, if one lives in Flachgau, Salzburg, Austria, where a man was just sentenced to eighteen months in prison (much of it suspended) for the egregious crime of taking pictures of Nazi cats.

The defendant, who pleaded guilty and apologised in court, was found guilty under the Nazi Prohibition Act of posting around 20 Nazi-inspired photos over a two year period, including many that alluding to gassing people.

One photo was of a cat that had been positioned as if it was making the Heil Hitler salute used by the Nazi party as a greeting.

"It is not about a single photo but rather an impression of the overall context," said state prosecutor Markus Neher.

At this point, I’d like to provide one giant, non-specific [sic] covering all the writing in that entire quotation. Do you see what I put myself through for you people? I hope you appreciate this. I would like to offer my thanks to state prosecutor Markus Neher, however, for his rather charming inability to help himself; even though Austrian law explicitly grants the government the power to suppress speech in cases involving the deadly terror of Nazi cats, he still falls back on the tired old progressive shibboleth of claiming that his actions are not about any specific bit of speech per se, but are focused on some "overall context," much like how Twitter banned Milo Yiannopoulos not due to anything he said but just because of his "behavior." Thought police are the same anywhere in the world, I guess.

There’s also this:

A house search carried out by police also found items of clothing belonging to the man that had Nazi symbols on them, including the numbers ’88’ which are symbolic for HH, indicating ‘Heil Hitler’. (more giant all-purpose [sic])

Am I reading this correctly? I’ll concede that’s a bit of a challenge. Is this saying that the number 88 is illegal in Austria? By the time you’ve abstracted your paranoid thought control two layers away from the allegedly illegal speech, I think you’ve probably gone a bit over the cliff, myself.

You have the right to catch ’em all

Proving for all time that Pokémon are less evil and dangerous than the number 88, the Pentagon last week announced that it will not ban Pokémon Go from being played on its premises. This puts in sharp relief the contrast between private businesses, which are generally thrilled to be singled out as gyms or Pokéstops due to the upswing in traffic they’ll get from trainers, and the government, which considers the very thought of fun to be disrespectful and antithetical to its purpose. Hence the belief that the Pentagon would ban the game, and the need for the subsequent denial. Subsequent charming denial, I should say, for it reads in part:

"We have asked, as we do periodically, asked Defense Department personnel to avoid putting the game and similar games on their government-issued mobile devices," Deputy Defense press secretary Gordon Trowbridge told reporters at an off-camera Pentagon briefing Friday.

"But there is no ban on Pokemon Go. And last I heard, there was still a gym in center courtyard. I’m not a player myself so I defer to others," he added.

"I can confirm it," said Director of the Defense Press Office Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, who briefed reporters alongside Trowbridge.

Director of the Defense Press Office Navy Capt. Jeff Davis is never going to live this one down.

"You can imagine there’s a number of reasons that wouldn’t be a prudent thing to do, aside from many security concerns, just simply I think taxpayers would appreciate government phones being used for government purposes," Trowbridge said.

Speaking as an indentured tax slave, I would much, much, muchmuchmuch prefer that the demons that haunt the Pentagon use the phones I bought for them to play Pokémon Go rather than using them to help murder people halfway around the world.

It’s Pat

Pat Buchanan published an article last week entitled "Yes, the System is Rigged." Nobody tell Stephen — he’ll blow up poor Pat’s inbox.

One thought on “Last Week in Weird

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