I am not sure what to say about the Michael Avenatti domestic violence arrest. It is the kind of surreal schadenfreude normally reserved for happy dreams that you long for when you wake up; yet, it is all real (in the press anyway). However, I am fairly certain that regardless of whether it ends up being an increasingly common right wing political hoax — which would seem strategically intended to disprove Avenatti’s ‘believe all survivors‘ narrative — or if in fact he did commit felony domestic violence as the LAPD alleges — it is guaranteed to be ironic for Michael’s brand (and totally in line with the many ‘plagues’ which have befallen him of late for his apparent hubris). In the end, the Michael Avenatti case will prove either 1.) that all accusers cannot be believed and/or 2.) that Michael Avenatti is a dangerous advocate for women and a hypocrite.
Update: We can confirm that Michael Avenatti (DOB: 02-16-71) was booked this afternoon on a felony domestic violence charge (273.5 PC). His bail is set at $50,000.
This is a piece based on personal experience. In August, Newsweek ran a story about LinkedIn users being terrorized offline by Russian assets. I’ve seen this article bandied around a lot, and I have interacted with a lot of the characters involved. However, here I will present an argument that the Newsweek story should not be taken at face value, despite the very real threat of non-linear Russian information warfare and disinformation online.
One of the 1990s conspiracy theories which I recall hearing about in popular media and internet lore is that of the ‘Beast Computer’. The 1998 track ‘Information‘ off the (Wu-Tang-Clan affiliate) Killah Priest album ‘Heavy Mental‘ might be the best popular cultural example which I can to point to that may reflect this kind of thinking. (Much like the RATM canon artistically it’s not a bad album IMHO and I like the sound, although it is chock full of anti-Americanism. Just be sure to enjoy the lyrics critically from a strategic perspective as they probably relate to a legacy of disinformation.)
Much like the fabricated Nostradamus emails, usegroup posts, and text messages which flooded the internet following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and are seemingly attributable to Russia, I recalled a similarly viral chain of disinformation from earlier in the 1990s. Lets call these fairly transparent conspiracies: ‘Bill Gates 666 disinformation’ (a good debunking can be found here).
It can be hard to make sense of the world today, but once again, I think ‘Team America World Police’ offers great wisdom for our democracy.
Seriously though, it seems that our politics are now unarguably an extension of the 19th and 20th century Russian revolutionary disinformation which springs from Russian Tsarists (who spread fascism, Aryanism, and Anti-Semitism); and their conflicts with Russian Bolsheviks (who spread communism, Marxism, and anti-capitalism). Russia seemed to control ‘both sides’ of extremist political discourse in the run up to World War II and it seems they may do so again.
Michael Avenatti is now having to deflect considerable criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that his actions around his representation of Julie Swetnick indirectly aided Brett Kavanaugh’s eventual ascendancy to the Supreme Court. While Avenatti has stood steadfastly by Swetnick, she has generally been eviscerated under public scrutiny. It is suggested that Avenatti’s actions in recklessly representing the flawed Swetnick and trying to grab the political spotlight for himself resulted in taking focus off of the more credible claims of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, allowing Republicans to focus on the ‘straw man’ of Swetnick’s weak character as a public figure. It seems in this case, that his tactics of social shaming rhetoric have backfired, perhaps permanently damaging his political standing.
In February 2018, YouTube started listing that ‘RT is funded in whole or in part by the Russian government’ on videos posted to RT’s YouTube channel. This change seems to be the consequence of attempts at enforcement of FARA-style regulation on social media in an attempt to curb the effects of state sponsored propaganda narratives. It also seems to be related to the near-unanimous assessment of the intelligence community as released in January 2017 that RT had been used as a malign influence vehicle for the Russian government campaign to subvert the 2016 US Presidential election.
Apparently, these findings were no ethical deterrent for the “Nostradamus of the legal scene”, Michael Avenatti – attorney for Stormy Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford) – to appear on Larry King’s RT show on April 12, 2018 to make the case why he felt that it was common sense that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen would “roll over”; and that Cohen’s actions related to Stormy Daniels could lead to impeachment, or otherwise “end very, very badly” for the President.
In a back-to-back segment on the same program, Larry King also hosted former Congressman David Jolly (R-FL Pinellas). Jolly spoke on the matter of Paul Ryan’s announcement that he would not be seeking reelection (he had no on-air time with Avenatti, and the topics – although not necessarily the impeachment-orientated subject matter – of the discussions were different).