Progressive liberal values: Tony Podesta’s creepy taste in art, the creepy people he hangs out with, and Pizzagate
The Podesta brothers – John and Tony – are creepy.
Most recently, John was the Clinton campaign’s chairman, but he has worked with Bill and Obama too. Tony is considered one of Washington’s most powerful lobbyists. (For more on their political background, see Abby Martin’s recent Empire Files on teleSUR.)
Not knowing much about them – aside from the fact that Podesta is interested in UFOs – the first ping on my radar was the “spirit cooking” revelation from the leaked Podesta emails.The relevant email suggests that not only are Tony and John close enough to Crowleyite “magickian” and “artist” Marina Abramovic to be on a first-name basis with her, but also that they are familiar enough with her “spirit cooking” to know what that involves and presumably be fine with attending a session. The casual tone sounds as if the planned “dinner” was probably not their first. (See: Sickos: Wikileaks reveals Podesta bros participate in disturbing, occult-themed “spirit cooking” involving copious bodily fluids?)
Since the release of Podesta’s emails, users on sites like 4chan, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube, among other blogs and forums, have been uncovering a ton of strange connections, creepy implications, and perhaps outlandish speculations about the brothers and their circle of friends. For example, see this compilation of info by “ausbitbank” on steemit. There’s a ton of other stuff out there, so knock yourself out searching and combing through it all. There’s a ton of speculations and unsourced assertions on the topic, but there are also some genuinely creepy people and connections involved. Here I’ll present just the facts. Let’s start with Tony.
On July 16, 2015, Politico published a photo essay “inside Hillary’s campaign headquarters” that featured an image of John’s office. On the wall is a painting, on loan from his brother Tony, that features a suited man lying on a table, with two men standing over him. The visual suggestion – given the plates and cutlery held by the two – are that they are preparing to eat him.
On April 28, 2016, Time published a feature on John, in which the painting was described:
“On the wall in his office at Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, campaign chairman John Podesta has an oil painting on loan from his lobbyist brother, who is an avid art collector. The image shows two men hunched over a dining room table, bearing knives and forks. On the table lays a man in a suit, who looks vaguely like Podesta. “It’s better to be the guy with the fork,” Podesta quips to his colleagues, if they ask about the image, “than the guy on the table.”
I’ll refrain from commenting on that last quip except to say it’s no wonder this guy worked for Hillary… The Free Syrian Army would love his taste in art. But pull a bit further on that description of Tony as “an avid art collector” and you might regret it.
A Washington Post article on Tony’s “art” collection is revealing. (It’s no longer available on their site, but it is archived here.) According to its author, Jessica Dawson, Tony is considered as one of the USA’s “most important contemporary art collectors”. His wife Heather describes their first date like this, when she first encountered Tony’s “hobby”:
“Passing some of the quirkier selections, Heather recalls Tony remarking, “I don’t know why it is, but I have artworks where the women have no heads.” The next day, she sent him a note signed, “Woman with a head.”
So sweet! Dawson writes that Tony and Heather “don’t shy away from discomfort — especially when they can inflict it, ever so gently, on others”. As examples, she cites a suite of works in their collection that serve “as a cautionary tale of genetic engineering”, including a boy “seemingly born from a sewing machine” and “a naked women immersed in blood-red liquid”:
“Some people think it’s a little weird,” Tony says of his choices. “But that’s their problem.”
Steeped in liberal politics, Tony favors art with in-your-face nudity and social critique. [His brother John] admires his choices in art but recognizes that not everyone gets it. Says John, “I don’t think Tony focus-groups his art.”
Though pictures rotate on and off the walls of the couple’s homes, a piece in the Woodley Park living room stays. Called “Soliloquy VII,” … an update of a late-15th-century painting of the dead Jesus. Taylor-Wood faithfully replicates the original’s composition, here photographing, in vivid color and minute detail, a young man laid out on his back. Just one thing: Taylor-Wood omits the shroud, displaying his subject in all his nakedness.
Another piece, “The Arch of Hysteria” by Louise Bourgeois — an eight-foot sculpture of a headless man’s contorted body — hangs from the ceiling of their stairwell and serves as what Heather calls “an ice-breaker” that “puts people at ease”. I find that hard to believe. But I guess stuff like that is relative, considering another portion of Tony’s collection: one bedroom in their house contains “multiple color pictures by Katy Grannan, a photographer known for documentary-style pictures of naked teenagers“. Below is a picture of Tony and “The Arch”, followed by a picture of the sculpture from a different angle.
Whether intentional or not, the sculpture bears a resemblance to one of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims. You can view the image here (warning – it is not gory, but still disturbing). The caption to the image reads: “Dahmer photographed his victims’ bodies in various positions that he found sexually significant.” I could find no indication that Bourgeois intentionally modelled the sculpture on the Dahmer photograph, and while the poses are not identical, the similarities are striking, including the arched position, the slender frame, the prominent ribs, and the lack of a head.
Laura Wainman wrote a piece on Tony’s home, published for Washington Life on June 5, 2015. In it, Tony lists Louise Bourgeois and Marina Abramovic (of “spirit cooking” fame, see first paragraph above) as among his top five favorite “artists”. But the first “artist” in Tony’s collection mentioned in the article is Serbian painter Biljana Djurdjevic. Here’s a selection of her work (more photos available here and on her website):
And this is where things get weird. (Understatement?) Wainman writes:
“John regularly opens his house to casual pizza parties co-hosted by his friend James Alefantis, the owner of Comet Ping Pong. Over 200 pies emerge from the outdoor pizza oven as guests wander through the house and garden while studying his art collection.
After the net sleuths caught hold of this name in connection to Podesta and trawled through his social media, he deleted many of his posts and set his accounts to private. Not before a lot of it was archived, though. Who is James Alefantis? Aside from being the owner of the pizza and music place in DC named above, he is something of a mover and shaker on the DC scene. GQ magazine listed him as one of the 50 most powerful people in Washington – number 49 to be precise. (Heather and Tony are #23.) GQ writes:
“Liberal twentysomethings in khakis drink beer and eat pizza at Alefantis-owned Comet Ping Pong. More established progressives wine and dine next door at Alefantis-owned Buck’s Fishing Camping. Alefantis is also the board president of Transformer, the contemporary art gallery that shamed the Smithsonian for removing an installation offensive to right-wingers. When it comes to D.C. radical chic, Alefantis is unsurpassed. If you don’t know him, you aren’t wearing your scarf right.”
Alefantis used to be the boyfriend of David Brock, the Republican turned Democrat who used to be the director of Correct the Record, Hillary Clinton’s “media watchdog”. (In 2012, Brock was involved in a lawsuit involving an ex boyfriend, William Grey, who reportedly blackmailed Brock for $850,000 over some “damaging information involving [Media Matters for America’s] donors and the IRS”. The legal battle began shortly after Grey and Brock started dating.)
On his Instagram, he had a photograph of Marina Abramovic holding a bundle of sticks, i.e. a fagot, with the hashtag “#faggot Marina and Faggot”. Like his ex David Brock, he supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign and posted the letter of thanks she wrote him on his Instagram. Barack Obama held phone banks at his pizza place in 2012 (James also posted a photo of Obama playing ping pong on his Instagram), and James visited the White House several times. George Soros was the biggest donor for David Brock’s American Bridge 21st Century PAC in 2012 and 2014, which in turn made payments to Comet Ping Pong ($11,500 on March 21, 2014, for “Catering & Facility Rental”).
It appears that Alefantis’s mother, Susan, wrote a letter in support of Christopher Kloman, who was sentenced to 43 years in 2013 for multiple counts of child molestation.
Comet Ping Pong is billed as a “kid-friendly” restaurant. I wouldn’t go that far, considering the promotional “artwork” associated with the restaurant, not to mention Alefantis’s Instagram, where he has posted hardcore pornography in an art gallery (image is censored). Here’s a photo taken at Comet Ping Pong of a painting of a man (with a penis graffitied on) playing ping pong with an alien, next to which are the words, “Shut up n’ f*** Amen♂” (screenshot). This pic seems innocent enough – a young man holding an infant child, with a yellow beaded necklace around both their necks. But Alefantis’s hashtag is “#chickenlovers”. Apparently “chicken lover” is gay slang for “Paedophile one with a sexual attraction, and need for young boys, under the age of consent” (“chicken” is “any boy under the age of consent”).
Alefantis also has posts of sexualized images featuring pizza in some way. Here are the least offensive ones:
Most of the worst images are posted by a very disturbed-looking individual called “joshuaryanv” (FB), including:
- a painting of a nude couple giving each other oral sex on a giant piece of pizza
- a pornographic image of two men giving oral sex to another man, who has a slice of pizza photoshopped over his penis and the caption “mmmmmm…. penisizza”
- a female model wearing just a small t-shirt and holding a piece of pizza in front of her crotch
- an image of a nude male lying down with honey drizzled on his stomach and a piece of pizza covering his genitals
Sasha Lord is the event promoter at CPP (she also teaches yoga and has worked for the Girl Scouts). Heavy Breathing is one of the bands that has played at CPP, and its vocalist is Amanda Kleinman (aka Majestic Ape). Kleinman’s voice suggests she is transvestite or transgender.
In a video taken at CPP on Sasha’s birthday in 2012, Kleinman “jokes” about euthanizing a baby (“After it was born, I had to put that s*** down”) that Sasha Lord carried to term for her (go to 5:20 for relevant remarks).
During a pre-gig talk with the audience, Kleinman refers to Jared Fogle, former American spokesman for Subway restaurants (one of which sits above CPP), saying that he used to like to come down here. When several audience members add that he also likes young boys and children, Kleinman laughs and says: “Well, we all have preferences.” Fogle was sentenced to 15 years in prison without parole for paying for sex with minors and receiving child pornography.
Heavy Breathing’s hypersexualized music video for “I No Luv” also has a reference to pedophilia (warning, the video and the song are equally bad).
According to the FBI, pedophiles use “various types of identification logos or symbols to recognize one another and distinguish their sexual preferences”. They include some examples of these symbols in a 2007 document released by WikiLeaks (see image at right). Oddly, variations of the two symbols on the left of the image show up in the logos of two businesses on the same block as CPP. The first, Besta Pizza, is just two doors down from CPP. Besta’s corporate name is “Uptown Pizza, Inc.”, and Uptown’s registered agent in its 2006 corporate information is listed as Andrew Kline.
This looks to be Andrew Kline of Veritas Law in Washington, DC, who practice business and property law. Kline used to be a Bill Clinton appointee, one of four attorneys in the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the DOJ. The infographic below shows a map of the street with all these businesses. Notice the logo for Besta Pizza, and the second business across the street, Terasol:
After this stuff went viral on 4chan, Reddit, Twitter, etc., Besta changed their logo:
The people digging all this stuff up speculate that it suggests a massive pedophile ring involving many of the parties listed above. They also cite the numerous Podesta emails that make strange references to pizza or other foods, alleging these are codewords for pedophiliac activities (149 out of 58,660 emails contain the word pizza). Some examples:
“As John said, it doesn’t get any better than this” (from Doug Band to John Podesta, Huma Abedin and others – includes “pizza.jpg” as an attachment, a photo of two Asian women and a young girl eating pizza)
“I think you should give notice when changing strategies which have been long in place. I immediately realized something was different by the shape of the box and I contemplated who would be sending me something in the square shaped box. Lo and behold, instead of pasta and wonderful sauces, it was a lovely, tempting assortment of cheeses, Yummy. I am awaiting the return of my children and grandchildren from their holiday travels so that we can demolish them. … Ps. Do you think I’ll do better playing dominos on cheese than on pasta?” (from Herbert Sandler to Mary and John Podesta)
From Kathryn Tate to “Susan & Herb”:
“I just came from checking the Field house and I have a square cloth handkerchief (white w/ black) that was left on the kitchen island. Happy to send it via the mail if you let me know where I should send it.”
From Susan to John:
“The realtor found a handkerchief (I think it has a map that seems pizza-related. Is it yours? They can send it if you want. I know you’re busy, so feel free not to respond if it’s not yours or you don’t want it.”
John to Tony, in response to Tony’s offer to “bring a pizza home”: “I’m going to pass. I have too much to do before heading to Michigan tomorrow. No need for pizza.”
From a WSJ article sent to John, Huma and others: “During her 2008 bid, she teared up at a campaign event in New Hampshire when describing the rigors of campaign life: lack of sleep, an overreliance on pizza and limited ability to exercise.”
According to the Reddit people, there’s a whole coded system going on in these emails (e.g., hotdog = boy, pizza = girl, pasta = little boy, cheese = little girl). But as far as I can tell, these are not standard code words – I couldn’t find any reference online to them prior to the stuff dealing with these emails. And even if they were code words, there’s no way to tell whether they mean one thing or the other – that’s the whole point of a code. Most of the references seem to be simply what they seem to be: talk about pizza parties such as Alefantis is known to have thrown at the Podesta house. There is a “handkerchief code” though, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Except when it’s not, of course, but I don’t think these emails provide the smoking gun a lot of people are saying they do.
Admittedly, some of the references are odd. What is a “pizza-related map handkerchief”? (I’ve found images of map handkerchiefs online, so it’s at least possible that someone produced handkerchiefs with a map to one of the popular pizza places – but I haven’t found any of those online.) Either these guys really like pizza, or they are speaking in code some of the time. Alefantis asserts the former, telling the Washington City Paper, “pizza’s always a big thing in politics”, and writing off the rampant speculation as election fever: “The whole election has really just been insane. It has everyone on edge and just doing bizarre things.” Mr. Vogelsong (the guy who posted most of the sexually explicit pizza images mentioned above) also denied the allegations on his Facebook page, writing: “No, Comet is not a front for a child prostitution ring.”
Given the lack of hard proof here, they may be telling the truth. Most of the references in the emails are totally benign references to pizza (e.g., for volunteers and canvassers). At the very least, all that the evidence seems to demonstrate conclusively is that the people in this particular DC scene are rather disturbed. Or, I guess you could call them exemplars of “progressive values”.
The art is weird and disturbing and definitely speaks to the Podestas having deviant minds. The presence of Marina Abramovic says a lot about these people; “spirit cooking” is their idea of a good time. And the business logos are almost too coincidental. The type of ‘events’ hosted at Comet Ping Pong and the fact that convicted pedophile Jared Fogle frequented the venue, which is owned by James Alefantis, a Washington insider and close friend of Hillary Campaign manager John Podesta and his brother, is rather unnerving. Add in the Clintons’ ties to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and their connection to Anthony Weiner, who allegedly sexted with an underage girl, and we’re left with an impression of something very unsavory going on in the heart of American politics.
For sure, it’s all very suggestive when viewed through the prism of pedophile rings, but a lot of it seems to just be pattern recognition run amok.
And that’s not to say that I don’t think that this stuff doesn’t go on. It’s possible. I’d even say probable. Just look into the Franklin scandal (see my article: Men Who Hate Women: The Franklin Scandal and the Truth About Our Leaders, and the follow-up to the Nick Bryant book reviewed there: Confessions of a D.C. Madam: The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail) and the DC Hastert and Foley pedophile scandal.
To finish up for now and give you more food for thought, here’s George Soros’s son at a spirit cooking event (check the background):
And a final speculative point. Note Soros’ red shoes above. Here’s a picture of attendees at one of Tony Podesta’s birthday parties.
What’s in a shoe color? Some say a sign, a marker, of something very dark.