January 24, 2018

Chelsea Manning — the Kinky Friedman of Maryland? The Oprah of anarcho-celebrity?

FIRST AND FOREMOST: Before deconstructing Chelsea Manning's Senate run, I MUST TELL YOU that FOUR people — as in three not named Chelsea Manning – are primarying Ben Cardin.

Now, on to how Chelsea Manning seems to have screwed the pooch last Saturday, what's behind that, and how she's appearing to tell post-event lies.

Just days after announcing she was going to challenge incumbent Ben Cardin in Maryland's Senate Democratic primary, Chelsea Manning attends an alt-right party set up by Mike Cernovich, though he was not in attendance. Others of that ilk, though, were, like allegedly alcoholic nutbar Charles McInnis and Cassandra Fairbanks, allegedly a long-time pal of Manning's.

First, on her appearance? Her own Tweet:
Second, on her being inside? Besides invited attendees, liberal to left-liberal journos not at Buzzfeed, specifically Jared Holt, say she was there, also giving an after-event analysis Tweet.

Buzzfeed's story does have some problems. The biggie seems to be using unnamed second-hand people as sources, and Fairbanks is claiming she was misquoted. But, beyond that, and beyond Holt, one of the organizers, Mike Cernovich himself, twice talks about Manning being there. Here's the Twitter account of Charlie Warzel, one of the two Buzzfeed reporters.

So, let's go from there.

Left-liberal journos like Ken Silverstein and Tina Desiree-Berg, or Twitter friends like Socialist Taco, what if she WAS there, and not (primarily) to protest, but to be at the event? (Which seems to have been a mix of semi-loon rightists, full-on loon rightists, and unclassifiable anarchist types, who, in turn, would be most likely to be closest to Manning.)

And, not recognizing that not everybody at that event may have been there for fascist reasons is part of the problem. I again reference Idries Shah, that there are always more than two sides to an issue, at least a complex issue like this. And, if your choice is based on two-sided compartmentalization, you'll tribalize. At the same time, I also reject Slate's narrative. Although I've found some elements of the far left that will overlap with the far right, including in my Twitter feed, the majority of people I know online who vote further left than Democrat do no such thing.

Now back to Manning's bridges to nowhere.

Well, other than true leftists and true rightists both disliking the national security state, I, as a true leftist of sorts, don't see other gaps that I want to bridge.

As in this homophobic video by McInnis:
Going inside, even if she wasn't there when McInnis spoke, and doing a weak "thumbs down" afterward, does NOT strike me as "protesting." Yet other non-Buzzfeed news reports she was "mingling" during a couple of hours inside.

This becomes even more true with the note that she hung out with some of the same folks in DC not too long before this.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice???

So, was Manning there in some degree of sincerity, but even higher degree of naivete about what she could accomplish, not only with the extra burdens of this event, but just in bridging these gaps at any time? Or was she there for yucks and semi-trolling?

I didn't post this blog as a Monday hot take because I told Desiree-Berg, Silverstein and others that I wanted to give Manning time to make, oh, at least a partial disavowal.

As of Monday afternoon, she failed. Instead, she offered a new excuse for Saturday night:
"Gather intel"? As if you don't know who these people are already? And, you didn't do enough of that in the pre-Christmas DC event? Besides, some of the people who do attend these events are friends with people at least as thrown off as McInnis — people who reject your sexual identity and more.

As for some of her friends claiming lefty friends? (That's you, Cassandra.) Well, it's possible, if they're strictly non-political friends. As for CF's claim that she hides that so they don't face lefty persecution? I do a #smh, not an attack, at left-of-center people I know on Twitter who befriend someone writing for one of the dumbest of fucks in the wingnut blogosphere, Jim Hoft.

OK, back to the rhetorical question, and back to Manning instead of Fairbanks — is this more naivete, or more yucks and celebrity campaigning?

The two aren't mutually exclusive, and I'll go 60-40, maybe 65-35, in favor of celebrity campaigning.

In that, per the header, as Texans will know, she reminds me of Kinky Friedman and his 2006 gubernatorial run.

Kinky, a laugh a minute when on a roll, broke the ice on a deadly stale campaign that featured Rick Perry running for re-election, "grandma" Carole Keeton Rylander / Strayhorn running as an independent from the comptroller's office perch, and Dems struggling to even get anybody to run, before ConservaDem milquetoast Chris Bell stepped to the plate.

Kinky modeled his idea of running on Jesse "the Body" Ventura, who'd run for, and been elected as, governor of Minnesota on the Reform Party platform.

Kinky had a few problems, though.

One was not having an actual party as a base, unlike Ventura.

The second was that, unlike Ventura, he never would (and maybe never could) move from cracking wise about government problems to offering non-yucks government solutions.

The third was thinking he had a "base" that could be based on people who both wanted to restore organized prayer to public schools and make pot legal.

Manning's running on the left half of the duopoly's party line, so that's one difference.

The second and third issues? So far, she seems a lot like Kinky Friedman.

Anyway, she has articulated some issues in her first post-announcement interview, with The Guardian.

Making all health care free? That's more a left than right issue, though some at the semi-fascist end support it.

Open borders? That's a gap she ain't gapping with the wingnuts. Period.

Closing all prisons, period? No, that's not flying with a lot of people who aren't centrists. I favor ending much of the war on drugs, lessening incarceration, and closing all PRIVATE prisons. But, closing all prisons? That's nutbar.

She goes on to call her politics "radical anti-authoritarianism." That ties in with the anarchist element at Night of Freedom, to square this circle. (And, her announcement video, per Newsweek, comes off as Trumpian in its dystopian framing.)

Some of the other stuff in the Guardian piece sounds yet more clueless.

Claiming that Twitter freed her? Nope. Obama did. If Twitter were that powerful, Mumia abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier would also be free.

Claiming that she can do better than the 2 percent Deray McKesson got in a Baltimore mayoral run because Deray wasn't plugged in enough, even though he's a Baltimore native? I'm not sure whether that one is more naive or more egotistical. Manning herself lived in greater DC with an aunt for little over a year before joining the Army. That was her only pre-prison release connection with Maryland.

If she wants to seem different, and serious, ball's in her court. This is NOT the first time she's been naive to the point of clueless. In her old website, she says that she didn't enter a plea deal with the Army because:
I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong.
You were wrong indeed. Welcome to the real world. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Oh, and something else the normalizers aren't mentioning? She's coming off as a celebrity candidate in a race where FOUR Dems are primarying Ben Cardin. One of them, Debbie Wilson, ran against Steny Hoyer two years ago, and thus has a political leg up on Manning.

Speaking of old website, she doesn't even have a campaign website yet, it seems. AFAIK, Facebook doesn't allow Paypal links on groups or causes pages. Right now, she's apparently just collecting money through Act Blue, which is pretty conventional. And, other than interviews, not doing much to promote a platform. (The primary isn't until June 26.)

Beyond this, the Maryland Green Party still has time to field one or more candidates, too.

And, "normalizing" and tribalism? Happens among indy media just like the MSM.

Sorry, Ken Silverstein and others. You need a rethink, from what I see. Start with the Idries Shah "more than two sides."

You may just realize then that Manning isn't who you wish she was.

For those who aren't from Texas and don't know Kinky, I offer up my second rhetorical question to end this piece. Or if you are in Texas, think Lupe Valdez.

Like other celebrity candidates, so far, Manning seems longer on celebrity than she does on stances on issues. "We Got This" is a nice slogan but no more than that.

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