Emma Gonzalez’s Curious Connections

THE MOTHER LODE OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES?

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EVERYONE KNOWS Parkland student David Hogg is the son of a former FBI agent. One can figure Dad has advised young David each step of the way during the remarkable movement which has sprung from the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

But what about the other face of the student movement, Emma Gonzalez? Does her father have ties, past or present, to the U.S. intelligence community?

He does.

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Emma’s father, Jose E. Gonzalez, is the CEO of Trapezoid Inc., a Miami-based digital security firm. One of Trapezoid’s chief partners is DigitalEra Inc. Mr. Gonzalez was recently named to DigitalEra’s board of directors, along with James Cason. See this:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/digitalera-group-appoints-james-cason-jose-gonzalez-to-its-board-300494494.html

James Cason has an interesting biography:

“Cason spent 38 years as a Foreign Service Officer for the US State Department, serving in 12 countries. He’s been the Ambassador to Paraguay and Chief of Mission in Havana, Cuba.  Cason has received numerous awards from State, Defense, the White House and the intelligence community.”

Before founding Trapezoid, Jose E. Gonzalez worked for DigitalEra, helping them expand into “managed information security services.”

Among its other tasks, DigitalEra tracks “key security events,” including hacker conventions like DEF CON in Las Vegas– an event, according to DigitalEra, regularly attended by Federal law enforcement agents.

Another major investor in Trapezoid is CoVant Management Inc., based in McLean, Virginia. CoVant invests in the federal government technology services industry. Meaning, in firms which do business with the federal government.

TERREMARK

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Jose E. Gonzalez’s most interesting employment was from 2000 to 2007 with the now-defunct Terremark Inc., where he worked as its Chief Legal Officer, then as Senior Vice-President.

Founder, and CEO when Gonzalez worked there, was Manuel D. Medina. Born in Cuba, Medina left that country with his parents in 1965, at age 13, “because of the extensive political changes in the country” per wikipedia.

JAMIE DOS SANTOS

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In 2001, Medina hired Jamie Dos Santos to oversee the transition of Terremark from a real estate firm to a security firm. She became CEO and President of subsidiary Terremark Federal Group, which was based not in Miami but in Herndon, Virginia. Its objective was to secure government security contracts– which were in abundance following 9-11.

Ms. Dos Santos has been involved in a number of similar corporations, during her time at Terremark and afterward. One example is the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, incorporated in 2003 with Dos Santos as Director. It’s currently inactive.

A noteworthy incorporation which took place after her Terremark time was the curiously-named Isis Defense Corporation in McLean, Virginia (less than a mile away from the Department of Homeland Security), created in 2013 with Jamie Dos Santos as President and CEO, and still active.

In 2014 Jamie Dos Santos was appointed as a Member of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board. Currently Dos Santos is the CEO of Cybraics Inc., which uses Artificial Intelligence to enhance security– presumably for business and government.

It’s not known how close a business or personal relationship Jose E. Gonzalez has with Jamie Dos Santos– other than they’re both prominent in the government-business security field and both worked in important positions at the same time for the same company.

MORE TERREMARK

Exactly how big and powerful Terremark was in the government-security field is evidenced by this analysis of why Verizon purchased Terremark Worldwide Inc. in 2011.

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Verizon-Terremark was given the enormous government contract to run the healthcare.gov website, which infamously crashed late 2013. This fiasco led to the end of Terremark, whose data centers were sold to Equinix Inc. for $3.6 billion.

ARTHUR L. MONEY

Another past Terremark employee of note is Arthur L. Money, on its board and a strategic advisor to Terremark on homeland security affairs from 2003 to 2011. Money has played huge roles in the government-business security relationship, including as the Assistant Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton, and later as first chairman of the FBI‘s Science and Technology Advisory Board under George W. Bush.

Arthur L. Money has been on the board of too many security firms to count. One example is the Paladin Capital Group, set up three months after 9-11 specifically to capitalize on federal investments in security after the terrorist attacks.

CONCLUSIONS

Jose E. Gonzalez, father of Parkland survivor student activist Emma Gonzalez, is an expert on security, and has direct connections to several of the most important players in the government security field. It’s highly ironic that the two most important Parkland activists have fathers who were or are in that field. When the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took place, all their expertise went for naught– despite numerous warnings about the shooter given to police agencies and the FBI.

THIS commentator doesn’t believe there was any advance conspiracy to stage the shooting, or even to allow it to take place. It’d be absurd to think parents would purposely allow their children in the vicinity of that kind of danger. However, it’s logical to believe the parents would do everything they could after the tragedy to transfer focus away from the failure of police agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation to act on the many advance warnings.

What some see as conspiracy, NPL News sees (despite the many observed connections) as simple government incompetence.

-K.W.

(Be sure to read the other interesting posts on this blog– and check out our main site, New Pop Lit.)

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Alpha Male Wannabes

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THE LATEST NEWS among the established intellectual community is they’re all in a frenzy over renegade professor Jordan Peterson, who’s begun to follow his own thoughts and ideas– independently!– and has left the politically-correct intellectual reservation.

AND SO, every intellectual pretender has penned his-or-her own takedown of the guy, the latest coming from Current Affairs head editor Nathan J. Robinson, whose own project we profiled recently. As in, last week. (See my last two posts.)

LIKE his colleague Briahna Joy Gray’s essay on rock n roll history and cultural appropriation, Robinson’s is skewed and from a narrow viewpoint. Also like her essay (see this) it misses the real story.

It’s by his essay’s one-sidedness that Robinson gives his own game away.

Noteworthy about Nathan J. Robinson is his lack of self-knowledge. He seems to live in a bubble-world constructed of his own role-playing. In his complaints about white males and the patriarchy, he doesn’t notice that he’s a white male, and Current Affairs is a patriarchy.

What bothers Robinson most about fellow academic, fellow Anglo-Saxon Jordan Peterson? That Peterson has the #1 book on virtually all best-seller lists! Robinson mentions this pointedly. Jordan B. Peterson (not he, Nathan J. Robinson) is at the top of the intellectual hierarchy. The alpha male of that scene. And so, Robinson attacks him vociferously.

Jordan Peterson, a Jungian psychologist, must be amused by the attack– as well as what wannabe Robinson misses in Peterson’s ideas. Jordan Peterson is essentially right– that behind our masks we’re brutal animals. Much of our communication and most of our behavior can be explained by subconscious forces which, often against our will, drive us. Nathan Robinson acts this out in his posturing with his magazine.

And yes, Jordan Peterson is right that without the strictures and controls of civilization, relations would return to a more primal reality. Notice what occurs at stray times when civilization leaves. One recent example is the end of World War II in Europe, when Patton’s army moved east and a horde of German women moved west, giving themselves to American G.I.’s to avoid the more brutal celebrations of the New Soviet Man coming from the east. Little acknowledged but able to be found in dusty military histories, or in anecdotes from American vets, is that the end of the war was a rape fest. A reversion to type?

A Jungian would notice monsters of the Id. Those we try to wipe away, like Dr. Morbius confronting his Id near the end of the 50’s sci-fi classic “Forbidden Planet.”

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The Jungian would notice hidden forces in Brooklyn hipsters, wearing long beards and lumberjack shirts, markers of masculinization, as their subconscious minds rebel against their own socially-compelled feminization.

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What then of Nathan J. Robinson, who usually appears clean-shaven? Deliberately nerdy and harmless. How does he fit this analysis?

One could surmise the harmlessness is merely a mask, obscuring the ruthless being– the alpha male wannabe– lurking beneath.

-K.W.

Who’s Appropriating Whom?

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AS DISCUSSED in our previous News blog post, Current Affairs magazine and other “hard left” periodicals are staffed by well-educated cultural aristocrats appropriating the voice and stance of leftist radicals.

Yet we find to our surprise that Current Affairs published an article by Briahna Joy Gray about the very subject of cultural appropriation! It’s here.

NOT surprising is that the essay presents the Harvard tops-down viewpoint, and is filled with distortions.

New Pop Lit‘s editor (me) is writing a series of posts at his personal blog addressing the Current Affairs essay’s viewpoint. The pieces are being written in reverse order. The second one is “All About Chuck Berry.” The third and concluding part of the series is “All About ‘Hound Dog.'” The opening salvo is upcoming.
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ABOUT APPROPRIATION

The charge of so-called cultural appropriation, applied to rock n roll history– coming from of all places Harvard University; home of the Elite of the Elite– seems to this commentator designed to shut down (and wipe history books clean) of small-scale business run by street hustlers. IF the culture of the 1950’s had worried about matters of appropriation, that would’ve been the result– and rock and roll would never have happened. Including England’s Beatles, who did their share of appropriation, of artists black and white, and of every possible style, including Broadway show tunes and 1920’s English music hall ditties.

(My series is showing that during the rise of rock music, everybody was freely appropriating everybody– with one of Ms. Gray’s chief victims, Chuck Berry, as one of the appropriators.)

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THE PROBLEM with the tops-down Harvard Viewpoint is that it eliminates artistic diversity, integration, mutation, choice, and change under the guise of doing the opposite. Without such appropriations by low-rent wannabe-capitalist scramblers trying to make a buck, the music industry would’ve remained as static and uninteresting as the literary scene is today; dominated by unknowing conglomerate machines and Ivy League-dominated foundations understanding only one way of viewing the art; one safe way of thinking, writing, promoting and publishing.

-Karl Wenclas

 

Contradictions of the Left

OR, ABSENCE OF THE AUTHENTIC

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WE’VE ALREADY examined some of those contradictions, in our analysis of n+1 magazine and of The Baffler. Today we look at another “hard left” publication, Current Affairs, founded and edited by Nathan J. Robinson.

WHAT readers of his magazine and Robinson himself don’t seem to realize is that any revolution which springs from Harvard University– where Robinson is a Phd candidate– is co-opted from birth. Sold out at the start. It wouldn’t matter what label they put on themselves or their system: “Marxist.” “Communist.” “Democratic Socialist.” It’d be packaging. Labels like the kind slapped on soup cans. At the core of things nothing will have changed. The same people will be in charge. The same careerist technocrat mindset would dominate.

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Why else does someone attend Harvard or Yale (Nathan Robinson has been enrolled in both places) other than to be at the top of the pyramid? After the revolution it’d be the same hierarchy, with a twist in messaging. (Robinson is said to be good at messaging.) Nathan J. Robinson and his Ivy League editorial colleagues carry that stratified hierarchy within them. It’s embedded in them.

Doubt this? Who runs the civilization now? Two of the richest men on the planet, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, both attended Harvard. The founders of Google went to Stanford University, which is almost as elite. Jeff Bezos of Amazon went to Princeton.

Politics? Every President of the United States from 1988 on before the present one was a graduate of Harvard or Yale. Or in George W. Bush’s case, both. Donald Trump went to the Wharton School, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university.

Do we see a pattern?

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Oh, but Nathan J. Robinson, like his peers at other leftist magazines, is different. His ideas are different. He’s a socialist. Probably, a Marxist. He cares. He really does.

I suspect that in their New Socialist World they’d be part of Shigalov’s Ten Percent– still at the top of the pyramid, controlling the people– for their own good of course.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Just as in every person there’s a conscious and subconscious, so also there’s the role the person plays– the face shown to the world– and the authentic individual sitting behind the John Keegan “Mask.” They’re not always the same. If ever the same.

Who’s the real Nathan J. Robinson?

Is it leftist radical at the forefront of a neo-Marxist intellectual movement? Or the son of a man who worked in international corporate training? (And no doubt taught young Nathan J. many corporate world tricks.) Scion of money and achievement– is that Nathan’s core reality? At crunch time, would Robinson throw his advantages away? Really?

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THE FLIP SIDE is the person from hardship and poverty passing as an exemplar of class and refinement. This was not only a plotline of many plays (see Pygmalion) and Hollywood movies– it was much of Hollywood reality. Witness the careers of Cary Grant and Clark Gable, who transformed their very beings– their voices, gestures, dress, speech, teeth– to fit the role they wanted to play.

Elvis_Presley_in_King_Creole_1958

A BETTER EXAMPLE is the career of Elvis Presley. Dirt poor. Born in a shack. The embodiment of “white trash.” When he became massively successful he suddenly found himself playing doctors or suave playboys in Hollywood movies. In “Blue Hawaii,” the slumming son of big money.

Did he fool anybody?

That Elvis was out of place was part of the appeal. It was fantasy. He was living the dream. His audiences knew it and loved it.

Elite intellectuals of the Harvard/Stanford variety (except for a few rock n roll fanboy writers) never accepted Elvis as legitimate and to this day haven’t accepted him. Rock music itself was not taken seriously as an art form until middle-class pseudo-intellectual troubadour Bob Dylan began playing it. That’s reality.

-K.W.

The High School Nightmare

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OF ALL THOSE entities being blamed for recent school shooting tragedies, no one looks at the American high school itself. Those not-so-wonderful places of cliques, strivings, desires and divides. At New Pop Lit  we’ve run a few stories in recent months about the pressure cookers that are high schools.

The most recent was the intense “Eighty Pounds” by Jon Berger.

Before that, we had Clint Margrave‘s powerful story about high school bullying, “The Fetus.”

We also recently ran a short story written by a current high school student, under the pseudonym A.K. Riddle. The story is called “The Professor.”

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ALL THREE of these tales are must reads for those seriously wishing to understand high schools from the inside. Truth from fiction.

 

 

Publishing Industry Feeding Frenzy

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THE LATEST big news in publishing are the charges of sexual harassment taking place at writers conferences put on by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This must-read post at School Library Journal is revealing on several levels– particularly if you read the comments, of which there are many. It reminds me of a fish tank in which the fish have begun feeding on themselves.

There are as many dramatic moments within the comments, in fact, as in a novel. One is when author and diversity advocate Tristina Wright is herself accused of harassment. Another is when the son of SCBWI‘s founder Lin Oliver jumps in to defend his mother against charges of inaction.

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(Tristina Wright.)
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Before making any kind of judgement about this matter, one should understand what writers conferences are about. Aside from making money off wannabe authors, they’re about networking, schmoozing, and socializing– often accompanied afterward by ample amounts of booze. Introvert writers away from home, brushing up against– and no doubt lavishly complimenting– well-known writers. Stuff will happen.

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(Well-known author Sherman Alexie, one of the accused, at a Weinstein Books party.)
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The situation with SCBWI is especially pronounced. According to photos, women outnumber men at their conferences ten-to-one. Put a wandering male in that situation– especially one with a too-healthy ego– and he’s going to feel like a kid in a candy store. An environment designed for a stray predator.

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(Photo from recent SCBWI conference.)
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Might the problem be with the conferences themselves? Beyond this, with the way the entire industry is set up, putting writers– the talent– in a position of marked inferiority?Making them face from Day One a series of barriers to leap over and hoops to jump through: instructors, agents, editors, publishers; each one holding the carrot, the desired book contract, at arm’s length. Does anyone believe that with this situation, a ton of machinations, ass-kissing, and real abuse would not take place, human nature being what it is?

There has to be a better way. At New Pop Lit, we’re devoted to finding and constructing that better way.

Is The Baffler a Leftist Magazine?

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THINK ABOUT IT. The “hard left” publication The Baffler aka “The Baffled” lobbies for the abolition of capitalism and presents itself as having democratic populist solutions for the ills of this flawed-and-ridiculously-complex civilization. They advocate for wrenching changes to do away with the plutocrats once and forever. Yet they, the know-everything prescriptionists, haven’t been able to abolish plutocracy even from their own little enterprise.

In 2015 billionaire Winthrop McCormack donated $3 million to the struggling magazine and installed his son, Noah, as its publisher. The Baffler is a tax shelter, so for the McCormacks it was a win-win situation all around. Nepotism, cronyism, inherited wealth– everything the Baffler editors pretend to oppose.

At least when I ran an activist writers group from 2000 to 2008, we were the genuine article. We lived our ideals– no plutocrats to be found– and still cranked out a shipload of DIY zines, made a hurricane of noise and pissed-off a great many elite people– especially in the island plutocracy of New York City– as a cooperative venture. We were proles for the most part and we slept on floors and endured short rations to keep our rebellion going.

Why do I suspect most of the Manhattanites who staff The Baffler are silk scarf revolutionaries from the Ivy League or similar prosperous spots?

Their editor, Chris Lehmann, product in his own words of downwardly-mobile social workers, has a pronounced fear of poverty, and so is unlikely to buck the system when the shit comes down and he’s required to make a choice. He is, in fact, like the rest of the staff, a Professional Leftist. Like Barbara Ehrenreich, one of their idols, they dip their toe in the real world on occasion and rake in the resulting big-system attention, financial grants, and awards.

In a twitter exchange, Lehmann assured me that “–nonprofit left magazines have always relied on financial angels, and I’m grateful that ours are genuinely principled.”

HOW principled is principal investor Win McCormack?

Win McCormack apparently overlooked the sexual harassment shenanigans of three of his buddies.

Two of them, Neil Goldschmidt and David Wu, are spotlighted here and in other news outlets. The third, fellow blue blood/rich guy Hamilton Fish V, has a long history of sexually harassing women, but friend/crony McCormack, who hired him as publisher of The New Republic when he bought the publication in 2016, just didn’t know! (If you believe that I have some toxic land in Detroit I’d like to sell you.)

This cozy world is the left in America now. Excuse me, “hard left.”

-K.W.

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Barnes and Noble: More Layoffs

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NEWS ITEM: “Barnes & Noble Is Laying Off Workers Amid Declining Sales”– headlines at news outlets like Forbes proclaim. What’s really happening?

The big box model for books was always flawed, in our estimation. Gigantic structures. Enormous space with attendant high rent and heating costs. Too many titles (yes: oversupply reducing the value of writers). Plus, half the customers read books or magazines at the cafe without buying them. I always suspected the cafe was the most (only?) profitable part of the enterprise.

Can we do better? We do happen to have on our drawing board our own model for a profitable-and-fun bookstore. One piece in our foundation for a new literature which we’re putting in place.

Just saying.

-K.W.

Revolutionary Wannabe #2

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(Chris Lehmann getting serious.)

Chris “I’m Not an Aristocrat” Lehmann is by all accounts a very serious person. He wants the world to know he’s serious, serious. SERIOUS.

Lehmann blew up at me on twitter earlier this week when I referred to him as an aristocrat. It was a throwaway line– after all, he IS a New York media Insider. I didn’t realize I was messing with his self-image. Lehmann quickly jumped into the discussion to set me straight:

(This is called Too Much Information.)

Chris Lehmann wants to be radical. NO more swanky parties with Ana Marie Cox!

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One half of him might be attracted to Manhattan glitz and flash– where The Baffler office sits– the other half is as aghast as a New England Puritan minister at the devilish debauched allure of the capitalist world. No! Temptation! Save me! Save yourself! Save everybody! We must march in the Revolution because that upper-crust world I have one foot out of and one foot in is EVIL!!

“I wanna, wanna wanna, wanna wanna wanna, wannabe, wannabe, wannabe, wannabe a Revolutionary! Yes, indeed.”

Lehmann wants to go marching down the street holding signs like Sunsara Taylor, but instead he’s in his office typing away– keys clicking, clicking– conflicted as always.

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(Madcap Sunsara Taylor.)
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Chris Lehmann is a collection of contradictions. In a recent Baffler essay Lehmann, who has worked at or written for New York Observer, Newsday, New York, Congressional QuarterlyWashington Post, Bookforum, NPR, Washington Monthly, Yahoo News, In These Times, Mother Jones, Tikkun, Reason, The Nation— criticizes the new class of “knowledge professionals”; as if he’s not among such class himself. (Remember, not an aristocrat.) He criticizes the existence of a “permanent political class.” But given the media’s power, isn’t it as bad to have a permanent media class? A clubby world where everyone knows everyone else and once you’re through the door, you’re in— as long as your ideas remain properly p.c. and predictable, that is.

That Chris Lehmann, of all people, is editor of The Baffler shows how far the publication has fallen from its days of Do-It-Yourself zinehood, when the upstart journal was part of a scene which believed that, in a democratic society, everyone should be a writer and publisher– the field not restricted to resume’d professional media elites (“aristocrats”) working for magazines whose reason for existence is to serve as glorified tax shelters for billionaires, or for scions of billionaires as a matter of “class inheritance.”

-K.W.

To Be Continued. . . .

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(Painting by Thomas Gainsborough.)