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Monday, May 21, 2018

Mueller is doomed

The anti-Mueller propaganda machine is in overdrive. Example. Example. Example. Example. Many of the claims made in these propaganda pieces are false; unfortunately, mere falsity does not render propaganda ineffective.

Repetition is key. Why does the public believe that the Mueller investigation arises from the Steele document, even though it does not? Because the Trumpers keep repeating that claim. Worse, the public believes that the Steele dossier has been disproven, even though nothing in it is demonstrably wrong and much has been verified.

Trump has won the war on the dossier simply by shouting "FAKE FAKE FAKE" ad infinitum. He has never cited examples to prove his point. He doesn't need to.

Unfortunately, Democrats don't do the "tape loop" thing. Democrats annoy other Democrats if a phrase or idea becomes too familiar, so they keep trying to surprise each other.

On the other side of the aisle, conservatives love familiar messages. They're comforting. They're like tunes you recall from childhood. Conservatives remind me of Lenny in Of Mice and Men:

"Tell me about the rabbits again, George."

"C'mon, Lenny. I already told you a million times."

"But I like the way you say it, George. Tell me about the rabbits again, George."

As ever, liberals stay in their own world, talking only to themselves, a generation of Georges who refuse to engage with the Lennys. Anti-Trumpers do not realize that, across America, they are losing the fight. It's 2016 all over again: Trump ominously rises in the polls while Clinton supporters bicker over the color of the new drapes for the Oval Office.

As a corrective, I suggest this CNN analysis, which reminds us of how brazenly Trump and his supporters have lied.
When Russian officials claimed their "experts" and "specialists on the US" had been in contact with people from both the Trump and Clinton camps, former Trump spokeswoman and erstwhile White House communications director Hope Hicks rejected the reports outright.

"It never happened," she told the Associated Press. "There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign."
Even after it was revealed that his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had misled the White House about his post-election contacts with the Russian ambassador, Trump at a press conference told reporters, "I have nothing to do with Russia," adding: "To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does."
One could cite a zillion other examples of outright lying. So why aren't the Dems mounting a LIAR LIAR campaign? Why aren't the Dems using Trumpian tactics to fight Trump?

Simplify the message to two, three, four words. Then repeat and repeat and repeat. Repeat until even Philip Glass screams "ENOUGH ALREADY!" Then keep repeating it. On a routine basis, buttress the message with longer articles which mount intellectually respectable arguments -- but keep returning to those simple phrases.

Repetition is key. I've already said that, haven't I? And that's the point.

Unless the anti-Trump forces learn how to wage an information war, Mueller is doomed.
Repetition IS key and the democrats have done a great job with Russia, Russia, Russia, but its just not getting enough traction. Russia fatigue?
Unfortunately, Democrats don't do the "tape loop" thing. Democrats annoy other Democrats if a phrase or idea becomes too familiar, so they keep trying to surprise each other.

On the other side of the aisle, conservatives love familiar messages. They're comforting. They're like tunes you recall from childhood. Conservatives remind me of Lenny in Of Mice and Men:

This is all to do with the personality difference between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives have a strong "us vs them" mentality, so they like having clear, simple directives repeated. OTOH, liberals like to challenge authority and constantly seek out other viewpoints so they bristle at a simple, repeated message. It's the old Bill Clinton (I think) line about how liberals have to fall in love but conservatives just fall in line.
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How to counter Trump's latest scheme? I give you the "Dr. Strange" option... (Updated)

Roger Stone says that he is "prepared" for a Mueller indictment.

Oddly enough, so am I. I, too, feel a zen-like calm whenever I contemplate a Mueller indictment of Roger Stone.

Not that I expect Stone to do time. Trump controls the pardon power. The Republicans also control a formidable media empire which can spin any event to Trump's advantage.

Will Rosenstein and Sessions resign? The current GOP propaganda line is that Obama ordered the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign. Trump has declared that he will order an investigation which, he believes, will prove this conspiracy theory.
The president tweeted, “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”
Trump's theory is absurd for a number of reasons.

Reason 1: The FBI hierarchy heavily skews Republican, and I doubt that those Republicans would have kept quiet about political interference from Obama. If this conspiracy were real, we'd have heard something about it already.

Reason 2: FBI Director Comey publicized the investigation into Clinton but hid the investigation into Trump. If this was an anti-Trump conspiracy, Comey chose one hell of a strange way to implement it.

Reason 3: The Obama administration, presuming that Hillary was a lock, bent over backwards to hide any appearance of bias. Not only did they not order a political hit, the Obama-ites actively hid the abundant evidence that the Trump campaign received help from Russia.

Reason 4: There is no evidence that Obama exerted undue control over the Justice Department on any matter.

Reason 5: A FISA court had to approve certain important actions, such as eavesdropping on Carter Page's communications with Russians. That approval required the presentation of evidence.

I could go on, but the point is made. If this GOP conspiracy theory had any validity, why is Trump president? Why didn't we learn of the FBI investigation into Trump before the election?

Benjamin Wittes believes that if Trump forces the Justice Department to conduct this investigation, Sessions and Rosenstein will resign.
There is also no doubt in my mind that neither the attorney general (who is recused anyway) nor the deputy attorney general nor the FBI director can in good conscience comply with such an order. And I don’t believe they will.
Yet if they don't, Trump will have the outcome he desires. Begone, Sessions; begone; Rosenstein; begone, Mueller.

If you don't like that outcome, I have a better proposal: Christopher Wray personally spearheads an investigation, which he keeps under very tight wraps for security reasons. (For God's sake, make sure that the team doesn't include any Nunes-esque mischief-makers.) Wray's people call up some former Obama officials and ask: "Did you order the FBI to investigate Trump for political reasons?" They say no. The investigators search for an incriminating document, which does not exist. End result: A report appears and another GOP conspiracy theory falls apart. Sessions stays; Rosenstein stays; Mueller stays.

Later in his Twitter thread, Wittes writes:
As Quinta and I wrote yesterday, “Don’t underestimate this episode. It will have a long tail and big consequences—all of them terrible.” Those consequences, if you believe the President, may start tomorrow.
We can avoid those dire consequences if everyone just follows my plan. It's like the Dr. Strange plan in the latest Avengers movie: Yeah, it sucks -- but it's still better than the other 14 million scenarios.

Russian Roulette. Let's return to the absurd conspiracy theory that Trump has promoted in his recent tweets. The following excerpt from the Corn/Isikoff book Russian Roulette offers a counter-narrative which I consider far more persuasive:
At the first principals meeting, Brennan had serious news for his colleagues: The most recent intelligence indicated that Putin had ordered or was overseeing the Russian cyber operations targeting the U.S. election. And the IC was now certain that the Russian operation entailed more than spy services gathering information. It now viewed the Russian action as a full-scale active measure.

This intelligence was so sensitive it had not been put in the President’s Daily Brief. Brennan had informed Obama personally about this, but he did not want this information circulating throughout the national security system.

The other principals were surprised to hear that Putin had a direct hand in the operation and that he would be so bold. It was one thing for Russian intelligence to see what it could get away with; it was quite another for these attacks to be part of a concerted effort from the top of the Kremlin hierarchy.

But the secret source in the Kremlin, who two years earlier had regularly provided information to an American official in the U.S. embassy, had warned that a massive operation targeting Western democracies was being planned. The development of the Gerasimov doctrine was another indication that full-scale information warfare against the United States was a possibility. And there had been the intelligence report in May noting that a GRU officer had bragged of a payback operation that would be Putin’s revenge on Clinton. But these few clues had not led to a consensus at senior government levels that a major Putin-led attack was on the way.

At this point, Obama’s top national security officials were uncertain how to respond. As they would later explain it, any steps they might take—calling out the Russians, imposing sanctions, raising alarms about the penetrations of state systems—could draw greater attention to the issue and maybe even help cause the disorder the Kremlin sought. A high-profile U.S. government reaction, they worried, could amplify the psychological effects of the Russian attack and help Moscow achieve its end. “There was a concern if we did too much to spin this up into an Obama-Putin face-off, it would help the Russians achieve their objectives,” a participant in the principals meeting later noted. “It would create chaos, help Trump, and hurt Clinton. We had to figure out how to do this in a way so we wouldn’t create an own-goal. We had a strong sense of the Hippocratic Oath: Do no harm.”

A parallel concern for them was how the Obama administration could respond to the Russian attack without appearing too partisan. Obama was actively campaigning for Clinton. Would a tough and vocal reaction be seen as a White House attempt to assist Clinton and stick it to Trump? They worried that if a White House effort to counter Russian meddling came across as a political maneuver, that could compromise the ability of DHS to work with state and local election officials to make sure the voting system was sound. (Was Obama too worried about being perceived as prejudicial or conniving? “Perhaps there was some overcompensation,” a top Obama aide said later.)
Gee. Ya think?

Trump's proposed investigation could well uncover that "secret source" in the Kremlin. Maybe that's the point.

Update. From the invaluable Asha Ragnappa:
I keep getting bombarded with emails/comments/FB posts that if the FBI wasn't out to "get Trump" they would have warned him about the Russian threat when they discovered it. THEY DID. In July 2016
She links to this article from last December, titled "FBI warned Trump in 2016 Russians would try to infiltrate his campaign."

A later tweet from Rangappa:
Given that POTUS was made aware -- DURING HIS CAMPAIGN -- that the FBI was watching out for Russians who may be making contact or trying to infiltrate his campaign, why is he accusing the FBI of being "politically motivated"? He knew they were investigating this the whole time!
You think the IC guys would have had a friend of a friend put a bee in Mark Zuckerberg's that his social media platform was being used for rat fuckery.
Or did they and he decided he didn't like Hillary as much as the ad money?
"I could go on, but the point is made. If this GOP conspiracy theory had any validity, why is Trump president? Why didn't we learn of the FBI investigation into Trump before the election?" -end quote.

The endgame for the 2016 race came down to, Hillary Clinton was investigated, Trump was clean by comparison because he was not investigated, and some DNC emails were deemed an embarrassment, but there were no RNC emails to compare them to.

Those are two pretty big hurdles to overcome.

However, Hillary Clinton was is such a strong person I think her own people were afraid to encourage her to be more physically fit. I happened to end reading American Thinker recently and they continuously bash Hillary Clinton over her ongoing health issues. Apparently Hillary Clinton is now wearing a back brace. However, so did John F Kennedy.

I think our generation really set women back by creating a social norm of wearing heels. It's a form of psychological warfare that strips women of the freedom of being able to run (Physically run) when necessary and when they want to, eventually the idea of physically running when one is always seen in public in heels or less comfortable shoes eventually de prioritizes the entire concept of physical fitness.

The biggest FU Hillary Clinton could muster these days is to how a physical fitness revival, it would inspire all women and it might give Hillary Clinton additional perspectives she doesn't presently have. There are famous, inspirational, successful women both younger and older than Hillary Clinton who are also known for their physical fitness, meanwhile I get no such sense from anything Hillary Clinton has done other than her walks in the woods, which we found out about after the election, not before.
Mr Mike;
I think he hates America not Hillary, though the two are not mutually exclusive.
He isn't alone, it seems like a lot of that going around,but 2016 finally gave them voice.
Guiseppe Conte, a law professor "close" to the Five Star cult, looks set to become the new Italian prime minister. He works at LUISS, the Guido Carli Free International University of Social Studies, a private university.

According to its marketing material, "what distinguishes LUISS is its privileged relationship with the business world."

"This orientation and educational service facilitate the placement of degree candidates and new graduates in the business world with internships and training at companies and at public and private institutions. It also sets up recurring meetings and presentations with major multinationals, investment banks, and public and private organizations and institutions.

Guido Carli after whom the university is named was a banker and Christian Democrat, the son of Filippo Carli, the fascist sociologist and theorist of the "corporate state". One cannot rightly blame a son for what a father does, but it might be argued that LUISS continues Filippo's work.
So you are saying that people voted for a very physically unfit man over a marginally unfit woman?
I suppose fitness or lack of could be used as a sexist tool, but if it was a factor, no one I ever read or heard or talked to mentioned it except for you.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Trumpism, conspiracism, fascism and capitalism

This revelation is simultaneously weird, upsetting and hilarious...
President Donald Trump shouldn’t agree to talk with special counsel Robert Mueller without knowing more about a man said to have approached Trump campaign aides in 2016 as part of the U.S. investigation into Russian election interference, his lawyer said Saturday.

Rudy Giuliani said Mr. Trump could be “walking into a trap” unless federal prosecutors make clear the role played by the suspected informant and whether the person compiled any “incriminating information” about Mr. Trump’s associates.
Where to begin?

This statement -- from Trump's own lawyer -- rests on the foundation that the Trump campaign really is guilty of something. Just as there would have been no surveillance without cause, there would be no possibility of a "trap" without an actual crime.

Whatever that "something" is, it must be big. Everyone knows that you can't trap the President of the United States (or his associates) on an inconsequential or highly technical matter -- not if you hope to make the charge stick. Any such exercise would be pointless.

Republican propagandists want us to think that Mueller is somehow responsible for actions taken by the FBI long before the Mueller probe got underway. Unfortunately, the kind of people who vote for Trump tend to have difficulties with chronology. We're talking about the  same people who once were convinced that the Branch Davidian siege in Waco began under Bill Clinton. (I've seen guys become purple-faced furious when I told that the Bush administration ordered the raid -- and this was back when memories of the event were quite fresh.)

Hell, there are people out there who can't recall the date when 9/11 happened. I doubt that the poor dears could tell you whether BC or AD came first.

Conspiracy. The propagandists have been absolutely masterful in portraying the FBI's probe as itself criminal. If the Bureau was out to get Trump for political reasons, why didn't they mention before the election that they were investigating the guy? Trump's victory owes a lot to James Comey's selective revelations.

The "deep state" conspiracy theory -- once considered a paranoid fantasia -- has become Trump's sole defense. Trump has forced the rest of the Republican party to embrace that theory, even though many of them seem embarrassed by it. Someone once said that the myth of the Illuminati was a "scarecrow to frighten the gullible." That scarecrow -- or at least his brother -- now guards the White House.

How can we convince the populace that the scarecrow is just a scarecrow? I'm not sure that we can.

Scarecrows can be surprisingly formidable.

Adolf Hitler's power, like Trump's, was founded on conspiracy theory. The Reich Chancellery was also guarded by a scarecrow. All of fascism requires conspiracism, for the defining characteristic of the fascist is the desire to subordinate reality to the all-conquering Will, and conspiracy theory is the only weapon which can accomplish that goal.

Any "fact" which contradicts what I want to believe is a deception created by a band of malign schemers, and any person who stands in my way is part of the plot.

That statement is the quintessence of fascism. Everything else is a mere detail.

Fascism and religious fundamentalism are linked by their mutual reliance on conspiracy theory. Here in America, we've tolerated a massive network of "madrassas" -- fundamentalist Christian schools -- which taught millions of children that evolution is a hoax perpetrated by a worldwide conspiracy of Jesus-hating scientists. Although many of those children later fell away from religion, I doubt that they fell away from belief in baseless conspiracy theories. The worms of paranoia burrowed tunnels in their brains, and anything can now fill those voids; if you grew up believing in a Darwinian conspiracy, you'll probably get suckered into accepting a global warming conspiracy.

You're also more likely to believe in an Evil Clinton Conspiracy (or perhaps an Evil Soros Conspiracy) capable of controlling the FBI. Never mind the clear evidence to the contrary: As I've argued in previous posts, elements of the FBI and the intelligence community actually helped Trump rise to power.

The "Clinton controlled the FBI" conspiracy theory -- which few took seriously a mere year ago -- has spread like the flu after WWI. The people who buy into this nonsensical scenario never seem to notice that the very same propaganda organs spreading this story once assured them that Saddam Hussein perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. Did the New York Times or the Washington Post create that false impression? No. Fox News did. Right-wing media did.

As I've said on many previous occasions: Some conspiracies are real -- and the conspiracy theorists are the conspirators.

Fascism and capitalism. In saner times, Trump's attempt to use his office to destroy Jeff Bezos would would lead to impeachment. Trump maintains a firm hold on power even though he has alienated the world's richest man (Bezos) as well as the world's second richest, Bill Gates.

Those who consider capital to be the all-powerful factor must now ask themselves: Why is Trump still in office if the world's wealthiest men disdain him?

Zoom out for a wider angle. Let us consider the larger topic of the relationship between fascism and capitalism.

Back in the day, the USSR party line on fascism was simple: Fascism is the final stage of capitalism. Hitler, said the Marxists, was a puppet of the large capitalists. Nazism was created for the purpose of attacking the Soviet Union.

A generation of lefties, including a great many non-communists, took this claim as gospel. I recall hearing this same analysis in a speech given in the early 1990s. For a while, I was among the seduced.

Unfortunately, this claim never had much historical merit. Most of the big capitalists in Germany supported center-right parties until very late in the game. They never really trusted Hitler; he was too uncontrollable, too ideological.

In recent times, a myth has arisen that Hitler was funded by the Bush family. Not true: The Bushes invested in the Weimar system which Hitler overthrew. In fact, the early Nazi party received much funding from American anti-Semite Henry Ford, publisher of the Protocols and later the darling of the John Birchers. (Never forget that Alex Jones arose out of the Birch milieu.) This American money was laundered by figures within the German military who were sympathetic to Nazi idelogy.

So, yes, some elements of Big Money supported the Nazi takeover. You can't accomplish anything without money. But for a good long time, the largest donations came from foreign sources.

As the saying goes, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Today, some lefties consider Trump to be just another puppet of Big Capital. If so, why is he willing to annoy both Bezos and Gates? Are there any bigger capitalists than those two?

As in the 1920s, so too today. The Big Money funding American fascism seems to be foreign. And fascism is once again proving that it can conquer capitalism, with a little covert help from the so-called "deep state" that Trump pretends to despise.

History does rhyme.
Joseph, Masterful. "Some conspiracies are real -- and the conspiracy theorists are the conspirators." “Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?” Lady MacBeth, Act V, Scene 1

Online post allege 2 payments made by DOD’s Off of Net Assessment (ONA) to a subcontracting agent (SCA) on 9/27/16 and 7/26/16 conveniently fit the timeline for a GOP narrative alleging the SCA was an FBI ‘mole’ who infiltrated the Trump campaign (not an informant) to aid Democrats.

A Jones and R Stone, notorious consp. theorist & loosy-goosy oppo researcher, have blabbed about an FBI "mole" in the Trump campaign. The hardly credible Sam Nunberg downplayed Stone's 2nd betrayal of the U.S. covert agent in 2 yrs. DOD/DCS/DIA/ONA own any legal issues: the SCA contract isn't w/DOJ/FBI. Is the GOP narrative a Plame-out: who is motivated to discredit in one fell swoop the SCA, DOJ/FBI, & DOD/DCS/DIA/ONA?

The GOP’s narrative, w/Dems & FBI conspiring to run ops that spied on the Trump campaign (“worse than Watergate”), it ignores key facts. Why was the ONA contract w/a CIA operative? Why didn't DOJ own the contract and payment? Why would Comey reopen a damaging Clinton investigation 2 weeks before the election? Why are early Dutch intel tips not factors? DOD/DIA typically share foreign intel w/ CIA & State Dept, but ONA routinely lacks intel contract details. Which sr leaders authorized or knew about a DOD op to explore links between members of Trump’s campaign and foreign agents from July to Aug '16?

Historically, DOD HUMINT has no great love for CIA. Sharing info across agencies creates risk if well-positioned political actors use other agencies’ intel to stack the deck: suppressing investigations, discrediting the free press, and reducing gov. transparency.

This looks like a bloodless internal coup crafted to discredit DOJ, tar the DOD, and eviscerate the FBI, the agency that is the biggest threat to investigations of corrupt actors, breaches of Nat Sec, violations of democratic processes (e.g. voting), money laundering, tax fraud, human trafficking, etc. GOP leaders have already gone to extraordinary lengths to concoct stories based on incomplete facts in hopes of fatally wounding the Mueller investigation and shutting down info on foreign interference w/ the election. The GOP's conspiracy-covert op narrative begs a question: are there precedents for these ops in other elections, such as Ukraine,…?

Extending most favored nation status to investors in leaders’ political and personal business interests violates a primary duty to serve the people and the law. The rise of a "professional" political class, whose collective ignorance, cupidity, and fund-raising ability are pre-requisites for campaign viability, have inexorably diminished our democracy.

Stink emanates from places eager to bury the Mueller investigation. After DOJ shakeups, was Pompeo’s sudden Xfer from Dir CIA to SoS needed to suppress facts that would expose a fake GOP "narrative", sinking “proof” of a “deep state” conspiracy, the pretext for fascist exorcisms of “corrupt” partisan “enemies” in State, DOD, DOJ, and FBI. Rosenstein is unlikely to identify the informant, increasing pressure on him to resign even if the CSA’s name is all over the internet.
dataflo ; ; ; 5/19/18

FBI probably had informants (spies) within the Clinton campaign as well. No matter who gets elected you always want to make sure your budget gets approved. The FBI hasn't changed much from the days of Hoover. The lure of being the power behind the throne is just too intoxicating.
OK, on fascism...

When and by whom were the Nazis (NSDAP) first called "fascists"?

And why? I suspect that those who ordered the application of this label were seeking to convey the message that the Nazis were basically upstarts, too big for their boots, exponents of an ideology that originated in relatively weak and backward Italy, mere copiers, and (therefore) doomed to fail.

(Of course that does not explain every use of the label. When Hitler was still in power there were some anti-Nazis, such as Otto Rühle, who argued that the world was heading towards "world fascism". Clearly when they referred to "fascists" they did not mean to invoke connotations of "losers". There were also many who were less pessimistic than Rühle who wished to point up what they saw as a world danger. After all, once the Francoists had won the war in Spain only a few months passed before Germany - and the USSR - invaded Poland.

And although the Nazis themselves did not call themselves "fascists", there were also some far-right nationalists outside of Italy who were happy to call themselves by that term, such as Oswald Mosley in Britain. Which was a mistake on their part. Mosley was adulated by his supporters but many saw his movement as foreign-inspired, which in its iconology it certainly was - the black shirts, the salutes. The style of his favoured upper-body podium garb was actually based on a fencing jacket, but I doubt that many whom he might otherwise have won over were aware of that. Had he styled his brand in a more British and English way, and perhaps called his party the "National Labour Party", he might have gone a lot further. Of course Hitler too used coloured shirts, but he didn't call himself a "fascist" and nobody seems to have got very far pinning a "foreign" label on his movement. In Russia meanwhile the military hats used by the "red" side in the civil war were chosen to invoke the spirit of the legendary bogatyrs of Russian folklore. That explains the pointy hats. Have a look at Dziga Vertov's 1924 film "Soviet Toys".

In Italy, birthplace of fascism, nobody called the German Nazis by that term, although Italian fascism did in its later years contain a Nazi tendency, which termed itself "Nazi-fascist" and was home to a number of Steinerite maniacs. That's a tendency with which I suspect many influential figures in today's world are far more familiar than they like to let on.)
The relationship between fascism and capitalism has been addressed by many on the left in a way that has been crude, if often well-intentioned (although hardly well-intentioned by Leninist arseholes). But when it comes down to it, fascism is all about money. It's just that the critical use of the concept of "money" needs to grasp its ontology and also its historical dynamic...which is about the objectification of the vast majority of individuals and essentially the advance of a kind of slavery.

Trump - in his brand message the great maker of "deals" - officiates at the cult of money with a fervour that I cannot recall in any previous US president.

The idea of "cultural capital" could have some mileage if it weren't covered with so much bullshit by academics who spout their "cultural Marxist" rubbish with little clue about Marx's critique of political economy, about what "capitalism" is, and who are essentially comfortable scribes with no passion or profundity in their scribblings. The sad thing is that the neat conceptual division between "political", "economic", "social" and "cultural" is and always has been total crap, purveyed by the likes of clueless superficialists wholly at one with US capitalist power, such as Talcott Parsons, and further spouted by French and French-influenced academics who like most academics challenge nothing or very little. But if "cultural capital" is properly understood as literally and not figuratively a flavour of capital, critique can get somewhere - and it can shed light on questions such as the differences and similarities in where Bezos and Trump draw their social power from.
b, there's a lot to chew on here. For now, I will say this: I think you mistakenly conflate "love of money" and "love of capitalism." King Midas loved money, but was hardly a capitalist in the modern sense. Yeah, Midas was a mythical figure, but you get my point: There were plenty of people who loved wealth in the days before Adam Smith and the Industrial Revolution and all that.

My post was overlong, which is why it did not include a section Putin and the Russian oligarchical system. It's not capitalism and it's not socialism. It's in a category of its own -- neo-feudalism, perhaps. This system harkens back to pre-capitalist forms of avarice, in which the ultra-successful man of business is not a creation of the market but a person selected on the basis of his fealty to an authoritarian leader.

You say fascism is all about money. I say fascism is all about neo-feudalism. And this is the system which Trump (operating more by instinct and personality than by any kind of coherent ideology) would like to install here.

As you know, Marx's critique of capitalism was founded on admiration for capitalism's achievements. Thus, I think Marx would be as repulsed as anyone by neo-feudalism.

Ultimately, I think we're headed toward a new society which may look a bit like the Ralph Richardson section of the film "Things to Come."
b, the Vertov film was brilliant. Crude propaganda made semi-sublime by sheer weirdness.
@Joseph - Glad you liked the Vertov film. Unpleasant, but brilliant.

Trump thinks his own "greatness" has raised the Dow and thereby created a lot of value, so I agree it's money he is worshipping rather than capitalism. But even if he doesn't appreciate it, money nowadays is essentially a form of capital and all money is capitalist money. One cannot usefully take money, wage-labour, male domination, debt or other such features of society that have existed since ancient times and trace their development down in isolation, from thousands of years ago to the present day.

(Something such as the dream should be excluded from the list, but there are reports - from various angles - that people in Russia are dreaming a lot about Putin. Those who manage the culture in that country know very well what's going on. Perhaps Trump is featuring in dreams in the US?? But Russia is a much older country...)

Even the money that is used in small-scale circulation to mediate the reproduction of the proletarian is mediating the reproduction of the capitalistically exploited wage-labourer, or the maintenance of those who are kept alive pending possibly being put to work (or breed) in the future - or the maintenance of those who simply can't be rounded up and killed YET for reasons of expedience relating to the balance of class power. An "unnecessary" expenditure that our rulers' advisers are working on reducing.

I embarrassingly misused the word "literally" after deciding not to call cultural capital a "kind" of capital and to switch to the vaguer word "flavour". But cultural capital is literally capital. It is invested in production, reaped, amassed in greater quantities than the investment, and sometimes lost. It is totally within the cycle of money capital -> commodity capital -> more money capital. Sometimes, as happened in the USSR a lot of the time, money capital doesn't get logged in terms of currency units. Most people in that country engaged in wage-labour in return for money in their wage packets with which they bought food etc., even if more vacations were organised through the workplace than in the US, etc. etc., and the exploiters had a very different accounting system from the one in the west.

We could go kabbalistic and say all capital is cultural capital but that would be too easily misunderstood.

True that Marx praised some of the achievements of capitalism, even if he said there was no crime it wouldn't commit given a high enough profit rate. Also you gotta hand it to the guy who first called the modern school a sausage machine. What I like about his work is how he shows that capitalism unlike previous societies is fundamentally economic, about the imposition of scarcity. It's a shame he didn't show more rage in his writings. André Breton could have taught him a thing or two :-) As for the "dialectics of nature" - argh! I don't know why he didn't distance himself from "science" but he never managed to. There it was: Comte (who was insane), Malthus, Spencer, Galton, Morgan. He could have sussed how it all stuck together and denounced the lot of it, head-on. How I'd love to believe that no radical critic since 1990 has sung the praises of capitalism's latest achievement, the internet.

As for neo-feudalism, in Britain the culture is increasingly that everyone outside of the upper orders is receiving whatever they get as some kind of permitted allowance in return for their faithful obedience...whether that's minutes on their phone tariff or treatment in hospital...

Also into the analysis: money in the form of numbers of "likes" and "followers" shown on people's "accounts" run in their name by advertising companies is becoming an ever more "common" currency without being "freely" convertible. Perhaps it's similar to "clout" ("blat") in the USSR?
Regarding Neo-feudalism, Wiki says that "The term originated as a criticism of the left". Neo-feudalism is described as
"unequal rights and legal protections for common people and for nobility" and
"widening of the wealth gap, as poor and marginalized people are excluded from the state's provision of security" and
"individuals' public lives are increasingly governed by business corporations" and
"the commodification of policing, and signifies the end of shared citizenship".

If all of this (and much more) sounds familiar, it's because it is happening in real-time. Right now, as you live and breathe. Billionaire Nick Hanauer, a very proud Capitalist (he literally calls himself such), correctly opines that "our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society". I would take it further and say "our world is rapidly becoming less a classically capitalist society and more a neo-feudal society."

Regarding the relationship between fascism and capitalism. The leading definition of fascism is that it is "palingenetic ultranationalism". Which means that it is hypernationalism rooted in racial identity. I disagree with this definition because that is not the kind of fascism that first occurred with Italy. In fact, Benito Mussolini was very much against the NSDAP and Hitler's racial policies and ideology (partly because they excluded the Italian people) and refused to go along with the anti-Jewish campaigns (which would culminate in the Shoah/Holocaust). Mussolini specifically called the Nazi racism "stupid" and "unscientific" and considered Nazi policy to be thoroughly discredited by science. My point is, the fascism in Italy lacked the racism we equate with fascism today. The weird hybrdid fascism that occurred in Germany had racism (especially racism against Jews and Slavs) as its basis. Thus the notorious comment where Hitler says (and I'm paraphrasing) that he didn't care if a thousand pregnant Slavic women died while preforming slave labor (Slavs tended to be more used for penal slavery, whereas Jews tended to be outright executed) if it improved the life of even one German/Aryan woman. My point is, I don't think racism originally belonged to fascism. I think it was imported by disgusting and wretched figures like Rosenberg, Goebbels, Himmler, and their cohorts.

And how did fascism actually come to power in Italy? It came to power because King Victor Emmanuel III (who still held absolute power even during Mussolini's dictatorship) thought he could use the fascists to preserver capitalism. Capitalism, as King Emmanuel III saw it, was under threat and the King feared a communist/Bolshevik coup that would see him ousted if not executed. The communists had already tried to preform a coup and failed. After the communist failure to oust the Italian monarch and his security forces, Mussolini and his fascists tried to do a coup. The fascists also failed. But this time, instead of simply imprisoning or putting the fascists to death for crimes against the state, King Emmanuel got an idea. He decided to appoint Mussolini as head of government, thinking that the fascists would violently exterminate the communist problem in Italy.

So the first fascist government came about through the power of monarchy with the intention of preserving two things: crown and capitalism. So, yes, Fascism is what Capitalism does when it's mortally threatened. And the racism (specifically the anti-Jewish stuff) we equate with fascism was not part of Italian fascism. So what is fascism if not a type of racism? I would say that fascism is a type of capitalist hypernationalism. A fusion between capitalism and hypernationalism. Blend the two ideologies together, you get fascism.
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Bill Maher gets it

If you're as annoyed as I am by the enforced optimism of the big Dem sites, take a big, depressing swig from a bottle of truth.
Zuckerberg in concert with the new incarnation of Cambridge Analytica will engage in blatant rat fuckery. They'll play the Bernie Bros n Hos, drive a wedge between the Democratic Party and the Black community, and GOTV Klan Tiki-Nazis. The end result will be Dems might get majorities but not big enough to do much.
If the Great White Dope doesn't make it to 2020 it will be due to nature cause, not justice.
Next Friday, 25 May, Ireland will hold a referendum on a proposal to remove the clause in its constitution that "acknowledges the right to life of the unborn" as equal to the "right to life of the mother".

"Save the 8th", the official campaign against repeal, has hired Kanto, the London-based company founded by Thomas Borwick. Borwick was technology director of Vote Leave and previously worked for Cambridge Analytica.

An Ipsos poll conducted last week showed support for Yes (to the repeal proposal) as having fallen from 63% to 58% since late April. (I'm disregarding Don't Knows, Won't Votes and Won't Says.)

In 2015, polls prior to a referendum in Ireland on gay marriage showed Yes (to a proposal enabling such marriage) running at 70%. In the actual vote, Yes got 62%. Since a similarly sized poll-to-vote drop next week will yield a 50-50 result, it is quite possible that the proposed repeal of abortion law will be unsuccessful.

Google, the filthy outfit which as we know has a "$pecial" relationship with the hoods who run the Republic of Ireland, seems to be backing Yes, insofar as it won't circulate online adverts for either campaign, a policy which commentators seem to think is more bothersome for No than for Yes. Facebook, meanwhile, has said it will no longer accept adverts for either side in the referendum from interests based outside of the Republic. And the third major member of the fascist communications trio, Twitter, has banned all advertising for this referendum.

Whether these policies are because the controllers of these dirty companies don't want to be in danger of being tarred with the same brush, especially after a No win, as Bannon and Cambridge Analytica, I don't know.

In other news, the British authorities recently sought to kill a young disabled boy by assistance withdrawal, refusing to allow his parents, who had obtained Italian citizenship for him and also the support of Pope Francis, to take him to a Vatican-owned hospital in Rome.

And the British media were getting ready to whoop it up when the parliament of Guernsey voted in favour of "assisted dying", drooling with glee as they reported that that small island would become the "first part of the British Isles" to introduce such a law - but the parliament failed to oblige them and voted against.
b, why should the state have a say about what a woman does with a bit of gristle growing in her uterus?
Along the same line why should anybody have a say when an ailing person says "Enough" and decides to check out?
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Saturday, May 19, 2018


Now my internet has cut out, just a day after I coaxed my computer into operating well! I'll return to annoying readers on a daily basis soon -- but right now, I'm able to write only on an intermittent basis.

The most recent school shooting sent me into the same funk that seems to have hit everyone else. Quite a few simpletons have fixated on the shooter's Greek name, as though family heritage could provide an explanation for the inexplicable. Get real: There are no answers to be found if we head in that direction.

The truly frightening thing about these episodes is that they seem to result from a kind of nihilism, from an embrace of the void. Violence for the sake of violence; death for the sake of death. The act of mass murder has no meaning beyond itself.

Even the Jack the Ripper killings are easier to comprehend, if we accept the common theory that the Ripper attained a kind of sexual release from stabbing women. Sexual perversion does not explain what happened in that Texas school, just as it does not explain the earlier atrocity in Florida and does not explain a parade of cognate atrocities leading back to Columbine.

What, in this society, has caused this descent into nihilism?

I don't know, but my strong sense is that this same phenomenon lies at the root of Trumpism. How many Trumpists justified their support of that ludicrous man with the words "I just want someone to shake things up"? The desire was not for improvement but for sheer difference -- violent difference. Let's toss the game board and pieces across the room. Later, perhaps, we'll get around to replacing the game with something new -- and if the new game turns out to be a worse game, so be it. The only thing that matters is the catharsis of radical action.

Although Trump supporters will never make the admission, on some deep level they know that they have enabled a monster. They want the monster to ravage and to destroy. Violence for the sake of violence.

What brought our society to this point? How did we get here?

History teaches that an inchoate nihilism often arises as a precursor to fascism. Think of pre-Nazi Germany, of Peter Kurten and "Mack the Knife" and the film M. Something was happening. Nobody had a word for it then, and nobody has a word for it now.

Religious simpletons have offered the usual explanation for the most recent horror. In their eyes, it all comes down to Gawd, and society's perceived lack thereof. Their prescription: Go to Church, read your Bible, vote Republican. That's the only way to avoid school shootings and similar tragedies.

Of course, if that diagnosis were accurate, we would expect daily massacres in nations where atheism runs high -- nations such as France, China, Russia and the Scandinavian countries. Instead, the latest school shooting took place in Texas, one of the most fundamentalist-friendly states in our fraying union.

About that FBI informant. There is a difference between an informant and a spy. Example: If you tell the cops that a co-worker privately confessed to a crime, you are an informant but not a spy, certainly not in the sense of being a planted mole.

Greenwald, as is his Greenwaldian wont, has written a story designed to make the Trump attack line attractive to alleged "progressives." He identifies the informant as Stefan Halper, who played a shady role in the 1980 election (and other things). Halper is the son-in-law of the infamous CIA operative Ray Cline, and he infiltrated the Carter camp on behalf of former CIA director George Bush.

None of this is particularly helpful to the current writers of the GOP party line, since they view Reagan as a saint and Carter as a villain.

Here's the part -- well, one part -- that Greenwald won't tell you. Back in the 1980s, Halper's name came up in various stories about the notorious theft of Carter's briefing papers. That episode, I have argued, may have been engineered by Trump's pal Roger Stone.

It seems obvious now that the FBI and the entire national security apparat should have planted moles aplenty in Team Trump. Given the established fact that Carter Page was the target of FSB recruitment, given Trump's known ties to Russian (and non-Russian) mobsters, and given Manafort's ties to Putin's toady in Ukraine, it seems obvious that the FBI and the intelligence community should have eavesdropped on every communication the Trumpers had with...hell, with any foreigners.

Instead, the FBI, the IC and the Justice Department covered up for Trump on every occasion.

The Trumpers want us to forget that the Obama Justice Department was perfectly happy to discuss the Clinton email pseudoscandal in public, ad infinitum, while hiding the fact that an investigation of Team Trump was also underway. The so-called "deep state" was the Trump campaign's best friend. Without aid from that friend, Trump would not be in the White House.

We'll have much more to say about these matters soon. I hope.

PS: Would I have countenanced FBI information-gathering on a Democratic candidate? God yes. If Clinton or any other Dem had even half of Trump's ties to Russia, vigorous investigation would have been mandatory.
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With school shootings, it's pretty obvious that there is a big copycat factor. Every school shooting covered in excruciating detail in our national media will lead to more school shootings. Potential shooters study the methods used in past incidents. One of the recent shooters admitted to wanting to top the national mortality record in his attempt.

If you don't give a kid the positive attention he craves, he'll settle for negative attention. If it was a national policy that the identities of shooters was blacklisted, things might be different. If it was accepted that the shooter's identity would forever be "the name which shall not be mentioned", and that mentally disturbed individual's life wasn't examined in excruciating detail on national news, then maybe there would be a decrease in copycat killings, because there would be no potential for infamy. But we'll never do that.
Anon makes a good point. I think our nation just produces (and creates) more psychopaths now, i.e. people incapable of experiencing empathy for others. These people are obviously more emboldened now, thanks to the psychopath in White House.
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

A motive...?

Steve Paddock, the Vegas mass killer, is said to have offered several pre-massacre rants about the evils of gun control. Feeling that the long-predicted Great Gubmint Gun Round-Up was imminent, he apparently decided to do something about it...
One of the Las Vegas witnesses recalled Paddock telling him that “somebody has to wake up the American public and get them to arm themselves,” during a conversation less than a month before the shooting. “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”
Although this new information more-or-less conforms with what we've previously learned about Paddock's psychology, the logic of this act still escapes me. Why would anyone -- even a seriously deranged individual -- think that an episode of this sort would decrease the likelihood of gun control?

And what gave Paddock the idea that mass murder would increase the number of average citizens arming themselves? Paddock shot at a crowd of country music enthusiasts from the upper floor of a nearby hotel. Even if those music lovers were all armed, it's not as though they could have shot back effectively. Can you imagine the outcome of a thousand people firing madly into a large Vegas hotel? Paddock chose the one form of attack certain to illustrate the futility of going about armed!

Maybe it is useless to seek logic in the thinking of a man like Paddock. I suspect that his motive had nothing to do with logic and everything to do with rage -- a rage that grew out of his addiction to conspiracism.

As long-time readers know, I've long believed that one should employ the addiction model when discussing right-wing conspiracy theories. In a sense, I speak as a former addict, although I was never on the right. I did, however, spend much of the 1990s immersed in what has been called the "paranoid chic" milieu -- and I ruined at least one Thanksgiving dinner because I couldn't spend five consecutive hours not talking about the JFK assassination.

What an idiot I was. This addiction cost me a woman's love and the loss of a once-promising career.

Like many a former addict, I often slip back into bad old habits. Perhaps the comparison should go not to Alcoholics Anonymous but to Overeaters Anonymous: One can eschew alcohol entirely, but one cannot swear off food entirely. Just as one must learn not to eat more than necessary, one should not fear more than necessary. Many people enjoy the way fear feels, just as nearly everyone enjoys the way food tastes.

Similarly, we've all met people who fly into rages because rage can provide a satisfying emotional release. The coinage "rageaholic" does not sit well within the ear, but it will have to do until someone comes up with a better word.

Fear is addictive, as is rage. These addictions are toxic, as anyone can attest who has had to spend a Thanksgiving dinner with a Fox-feuled fear-junkie who can't spend five consecutive hours not talking about the menace of Soros.

A critic might counter that left-wing conspiracism can be as toxic as the right-wing variety. This observation was true in times past, and may be true again in times future. One thinks of Robespierre, a classic paranoid who presided over the Reign of Terror. His close ally Saint-Just said: "That which produces the general good is always terrible." If the above-cited article is accurate, those words apply equally well to Paddock's irrational rationale.

The Terror killed some 27,000 people over the course of eleven months -- roughly 82 killings a day. Of course, M. Robespierre was able to achieve that impressive number because he commanded the resources of an entire government. By contrast, Steve Paddock murdered 59 people in a single night -- and he did so on his own. This comparison proves the relative inefficiency of libertarianism: Individual initiative can accomplish much, but it will never match what the state can do.

I keep waiting for Alex Jones to provide evidence for his claim that "Antifa" literature and pamphlets were found all over Paddock's lair. If we look outside the wacky world of Infowars, can we find a single anecdote indicating that Paddock had any inclination toward Antifa? Also: Has anyone ever discovered a single example of "literature" published by Antifa? I'm not just talking about Paddock's room; I'm talking about any Antifa "literature" anywhere. Nowadays, political movements don't do paper.
Trump has today threatened North Korea. (Click to watch him speak.)

"We decimated (Libya)(...) That model would take place (in North Korea) if we don't make a deal, most likely."

That is a clear threat.

But Reuters edited it out. (Click to watch their version.)

I usually don't buy "two factions" theories of US foreign policy. But could that be what we've got? Is there a junta that is pushing for war in the Korean peninsula (and is likely to get it), whereas some figures in government circles outside of the junta's loop genuinely believe there's a peace effort?

That would be very much in the Steve Bannon playbook, regardless of what he has said on the record about North Korea. "Smash the state", meaning the junta takes over and fuck any lines of state organisation that get in its way.

NK Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan has replied to Trump's words by saying (that link is to a BBC report; his statement does not appear to be at basically that the US side has misled the NK side, and that as far as he is concerned he doesn't want any US investment but basically wants a military détente.

In his words:

"The US is trumpeting as if it would offer economic compensation and benefit in case we abandon nukes. But we have never had any expectation of US support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, too."

So don't expect the word "T R U M P" to get written on the 105 building.

The "deal" offered by Trump-Bolton-Pompeo seems to be as follows: 1) NK gives up its nukes under US supervision; 2) lots of US capital then gets invested in NK in partnership with the NK government. Not going to happen.

One US figure - I can't remember who; perhaps even Trump - recently said the US was offereing to relate to NK the same way it relates to SK. No way will that happen.

The smart kids are asking what course of events in Korea will play best for the Israelis, in particular in relation to the "Iran danger" narrative.
Joseph, were you the inspiration for the Woody Allen line (I think, from Manhattan)?

He was discussing the seating arrangement, and said not to sit one male guest to a certain woman. He said he'll talk her ear off about the Kennedy assassination all night.
When I heard it, I laughed and laughed, fancying I had been the inspiration.

I spent my prime years learning some of the same things as you, apparently. I still believe most of them, even as I have learned that some of them aren't factual and so, dropped my belief in those. But I achieved an ironic or stoic detachment, lest that dark paranoia interfere with my functioning in life. I rarely shared any of it, after the stoned college days bull sessions ended naturally.

I am amused by newbies mishandling the manufactured cess now, and take an Olympian view of their naiveté. Isn't it ironic? (h/t to Alanis Morissette)


I forgot to say: there WAS an "economic deal" between the US and Libya. Basically Muammar Gadaffi and his crew AGREED to hand the economy over to US big business. One of his senior ministers was even publicly adviing the US on how best to increase its "soft power" in the country. (What a creep!) As its part of the "deal", the US agreed to employ most of the local Libyan elite as its helpers, which is the model in much of Africa and the world. Then the US elite, abetted by British and French interests, deliberately caused war. Gadaffi got tortured on film and murdered.

That was part of the larger strategy of whacking the non-Gulf Arabs, sold in western public opinion markets as "springtime". Anybody who uses the term "Arab Spring" uncritically is a fucking moron. As well as the horrendous results in Libya and other countries, cue too the mass refugee influx to Europe and the building up of the "Eurostan" meme.

Trump is saying that what he wants with North Korea is for that country to disarm, and for the US to move in to its economy, hiring the local elite as its assistants (sorry, working with them as its "partners").

The Libyan elite said "yes" to precisely that. Look what happened.

The differences are that NK

1) has already got nuclear weapons,
2) is far more economically autarkic than Libya,
3) is in China's backyard (and Russia too is not going to kowtow to the US in the region)

NK will NOT say "yes".

It's going to be an "interesting" spring and summer.
The theory that I found interesting about Paddock was that he was an arms dealer, and in the case of Vegas, either the deal went wrong or someone wanted him scapegoated to get rid of him. I never dug into any of the details though. Like you, I was once heavily into conspiracy thinking and culture, during the Bush years. In my defense, the Bush administration really did kick of the "age of conspiracy theory" for the wider public. I suspect it was deliberate, spread disinformation around to muddy the waters (getting people like Alex Jones to help....he claimed on one of his shows that his whole family was military intelligence connected). Maybe I'm just paranoid though, lol.
Gus, I hate to ask, but do have a link to that Alex Jones/military intelligence bit...? If it's hard to dig up, don't sweat it.

The spread of conspiracy theory during the Bush years is easy to comprehend. It happened for these reasons:

1. 9/11 was a major trauma.

2. Bush's dad was the head of the CIA.

3. The Iraq war was engineered via lies and propaganda.

4. Bush really WAS an asshole.
Off topic:

Dylann Roof, Timothy McVeigh, Chas. Manson (and others I've probably forgotten) committed mass murders because they believed a race war would break out as the result. Same sort of deluded thinking as Paddock.
The most complete look at the Jones spook family ties thing:


Joseph, didn't see your reply until today sorry. Anon at 2:07 AM posted the link I would have posted, so there you go.
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Computer problems solved. Time to get back to business. Have barely looked at the news for days and days, so there's a lot of catching up to do.

Trump's still president, right?
You missed everything. Sad!
When Attny Michael Avenatti released Essential Services LLC financial transactions I asked if his getting that information might land him in trouble. Now it seems he benefited from an anonymous leaker posting SARs from the treasury department database.
I'm guessing Avenatti is smart enough to avoid anything illegal but he leaves himself open to Gulianni smearing his character.
Something amiss, your blog published my comment as anonymous w/o going into moderation.
You've missed a lot. Trump is so broke now he had to sell one of Melania's kidneys.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Computer issues have given me an excuse not to pay attention to the world of politics -- for a while. In the meantime, I have decided to share with you the one pop cultural artifact that has cheered me up in recent days: The 1935 version of She, starring Randolph Scott, Nigel Bruce, Helen Mack and Helen Gahagan in the title role.

This is THE GREATEST FILM EVER MADE. Or so it seems at the moment. (The spell should wear off in a few hours.)

At one time, the film was considered lost, until a print was found in a garage belonging to (of all people) Buster Keaton.

This was Gahagan's only film: She went into politics, taking up the cause of migrant workers. Richard Nixon defeated her in an infamous race for the Senate. He smeared her as a commie, calling her "the Pink Lady." She responded by dubbing him Tricky Dick, a nickname that stuck. It was all very 2016.

Nigel Bruce, a couple of years away from Watson-hood, isn't bad, even though he displays his usual tendency to end some of his lines. Prematurely. He actually gets to throw a few punches and even kills a dude during the "teetering rock" scene, accomplished in a single, unbroken long shot. In the same lingering take, Scott dispatches more than a dozen attackers. Nowadays, a bravura shot of this sort is called a "oner;" I can think of only one earlier example.

Scott's a little amorphous and ill-at-ease as a romantic adventurer. Eventually, he would find his truest self as a squinty-eyed, leather-faced Western star. The standout of the film is Helen Mack, a tiny waif so incredibly thin that one can't help wondering if she's getting enough to eat. (This movie was filmed during the Depression.) In her early scenes, her line readings are gloriously awful, but as the film progresses, she becomes another actress. The bitchy confrontations between Mack and Gahagan left my gob well and truly smacked.

And oh my god...THE SETS! And Gahagan's entrance! And the sacrificial dance sequence...! And Max Steiner's score!!!

(Seriously, it's probably Steiner's best score. Did you know that Mahler was one of his teachers?)

Expect to laugh. It's impossible to watch this one without supplying your own MST3K commentary. And yet She (like a few other fantasy films of the 1930s) creates a trance effect, if it catches you in the right mood. When high camp becomes this delirious, it attains a kind of profundity.

The ideal way to see this movie would be to find a time machine and transport yourself to Hollywood in the 1970s, where you can look for a revival theater screening. The audience should be 40% gay guys, 40% college-age hipsters, and 40% people doing shrooms. (Why don't the numbers add up? Because the three categories would overlap.)

If the current state of our country makes you despair, watch this movie. It explains everything.

Question: Scott always pronounced first as "foist" and worst as "woist." I was under the impression that people who speak this way usually hail from New York. Scott, however, was born in Virginia and raised in North Carolina.
Answer: Look up 'rhotic'. It ain't "foist" and "woist", it's saying 'first' or 'worst' and not pronouncing the 'r'. Picture Mia Farrow in Radio Days trying to say 'Hark! I hear the cannons roar' but saying "Hawk! I heah da cannons raw". In North Carolina, and in all American Southern English, native speakers say 'north' to rhyme with 'moth'.
The Trump Kim Jong-Un summit looks as though it will be cancelled.

The two Korean regimes are a feast for people interested in symbolism and magic. Many very memorable and important cases of this are mentioned nowhere on the internet, at least nowhere that I could find. Korea is a very old country. It is of comparable age to China. I advise any fans of wacky stuff who have sufficient curiosity to take a look. You think Poussin depicted mountains close to Rennes-le-Chateau? Well take a look at Korea! Your efforts will be repaid.

For a taster (quite boring compared to much of the stuff I've found, but not mentioned elsewhere as far as I am aware, and it will serve as a taster), see if you can find the yin-yang symbol the two leaders are making in front of the mountain picture in this image.

Seriously, how fucking likely was it that Trump would "bring peace" to Korea?

Mushroom clouds soon?
Have anything to offer about this guy?
The movie... wow. Just wow.
That movie was incredible. Wow. Just wow.
McNaughton's work has really gone downhill lately. I mean technically. Speaking as an artist myself.
One of the all-time worst movies. No wonder Helen Gahagan never made another film.
You didn't understand it. The symbolism...the symbolism...
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Saturday, May 12, 2018

New Trump mystery: Who or what is Demeter? Who or what is "Sirens Entertainment"?

Not many hours ago, Michael Avenatti tweeted an interesting message:
In 2017-18 - Why was Mr. Cohen paying Demeter Direct Inc. in Los Angeles large sums of money from his Essential Consultants LLC account? Keep attacking me Mr. Giuliani and @foxnews. Please. #Basta
In recent days, we've heard a lot about the money going in to EC. Until now, we've heard nothing about money going out -- aside from those payments to Trump's women.

This researcher insists that Demeter is connected to the Koch empire:
"According to a Center for Media and Democracy report, Demeter Analytic Services looks to be the funding arm of the Koch's data analysis operation."
Hm. Is that the same Demeter? I have my doubts.

CNN tells a different story...
Mark Ko, the head of a company called Demeter Direct, told CNN on Friday that he served as a middle person between Trump aide Michael Cohen and Korea Aerospace Industries.

"With regards to your inquiry on my involvement with Michael Cohen, I was brought in as business consultant and translator between Michael Cohen and Korea Aerospace Industries," Ko told CNN in an email. "The relationship officially ended on November 2017."

It was reported this week that Korea Aerospace Industries paid Cohen $150,000 in consulting fees.

Public filings for Demeter Direct in California list Ko as the company's CEO and say the company deals with Korean food.
Wait. They were translators? This doesn't make sense. Look, I know something about the translation business: If you want translation and/or interpretation (two related but separate specialties), you hire the services of a professional who works for an agency. You don't hire a purveyor of food.

So what's going on here? Are we dealing with a bunch of kimchi sellers? Or does Demeter sell something else entirely?

According to this source, the Demeter website was wiped clean -- very suddenly. But a cached version tells the story of a company with more on its plate than kalbi.
“Demeter Direct Inc. is a privately held, U.S.-based corporation headquartered in Los Angeles, California and a network of consulting partners in over 15 countries across the globe. Demeter will be your gateway and bridge to doing business in international markets.”
They also promote themselves as an “international team of professionals [with] over 55 years of collective knowledge and expertise that gives us a unique advantage in providing professional services to companies across a broad range of industries.”
Demeter Direct Inc. is a privately held, U.S.-based corporation headquartered in Los Angeles, California and a network of consulting partners in over 15 countries across the globe. Demeter will be your gateway and bridge to doing business in international markets.

At Demeter Direct

At Demeter Direct, we employ hands-on strategic business development and innovative marketing solutions to help our clients meet their business objectives both domestically and abroad.

Our Team

Our international team of professionals has over 55 years of collective knowledge and expertise that gives us a unique advantage in providing professional services to companies across a broad range of industries.
So this company deals in either Korean food or high-end international financial services. Or maybe both. Or maybe it started as one thing and then turned into another thing. Shit happens, right?

Actually, the cached version of the Demeter webpage looks pretty damned bogus to me. I see no named individuals, no resumes, no list of genuine accomplishments. In short and in sum: We have what appears to be a fake webpage for a fake business. (I've run into this sort of thing before.)

Provisionally, I would theorize that Cohen set up EC as a mechanism to facilitate payments that must not be connected directly to Trump himself. Those seeking favor from Trump make contributions to the fund; those monies are then used to make pay-offs to various companies or individuals who need to be kept at a certain remove. It's all about plausible deniability.

The pay-off to Stormy was kept under wraps for obvious reasons. But why was the pay-off to Demeter kept so hush-hush? Compensating a translator (or a caterer) is not the same as bribing an adult film star to keep her mouth shut.

As we shall see, there is good reason to suspect that Demeter was in a very different sort of business -- a business not so very different from Stormy's.

This tweet shows what I presume to be the incorporation papers for Demeter, which has a listed address of 3500 W. 6th Street, Suite 223, in Los Angeles. That's the the address of a modern office building in Koreatown. Eight years ago, Demeter operated out of suite 412 at 3810 Wilshire in Los Angeles.

According to writer Sarah Smith, the previous head of Demeter was someone called Jung Lee, who may be the same person as Jung Soo Lee, manager of Nexon America. They are a South Korean software firm specializing in multiplayer online games, although they've established a major presence in the world of Bitcoin.

This archived page reveals that Demeter Direct was once a drop shipment firm located in Queensland, Australia. The same company? I don't know.

This investigator claims that Mark Ko (head of the L.A. Demeter) is connected with another firm with a very suggestive name: Sirens Entertainment. Please note the address: It's the same address as Demeter -- 3810 Wilshire.

"Sirens Entertainment" is -- to say the least -- a very suggestive name. Is Demeter a front for a sex-related business? Why would the president's bagman be paying money to such a concern? Why would the head of a company called "Sirens Entertainment" be brought in to provide translation services for meetings between Michael Cohen and Korean Aerospace?

Ko also runs a company called Flockrz, Inc. Same address. No website -- at least, none that I can find.

I might as well reprint in full a series of fascinating tweets from this writer...
22. Another company with same exact address (3810 Wilshire LVD STE 412) is PK2 Entertainment, LLC. No doubt it's same suite, so same people. This, though, was filed by Legalinc Corporate Services, Inc.
23. The CEO of Legalinc Corporate Services Is Erik Treutlein. From FRISCO, TX. But wait, THIS INC in turn was registered by URS agents INC, in DULUTH GA that was registered by Sundoc Filings. in Sacramento, CA. URS and Sundoc both have a man named Stanley Huser on the board.
24. This is where the chain ends, at this Stanley Huser guy in Sacramento. And Sundoc Filings is registered as a LEGAL services company.
25. For those who have missed the point, the same exact address and suite number applies to Demeter Direct Inc. and PK2 Entertainment LLC.
26. PK2 entertainment is the one that leads down the various other INCs to end at Stanley Huser in Sacramento. This all looks strange and shady, but the main point remains that of the KOREAN FOOD co. serving as "front" for Sirens Entertainment LLC.
27. Again at best Cohen was paying the Korean Food LLC to HIDE which Mark Ko company he was actually paying. Otherwise, this smells like money laundering. Done with the rabbit hole, for now. Will await news from Mr. Avenatti /END.
Just how big is suite 412 at 3810 Wilshire? A lot of companies have crammed themselves into the same digs...

Another contributor to this thread made yet another catch...
Same address (3810 Wilshire #412) is the address of record for ANATICA INC, C4143229. Registered 4/18/18.
All we have on Anatica is this.

PK2 Entertainment, which has an impressive website, claims to be associated with Michael Jackson (who is still working, apparently), Lady Gaga, Beyonce and other huge names. It's hard to believe that this is the same company being run out of suite 412 at 3810 Wilshire. On the other hand, if PK2 really does work with the biggest names in show business, why doesn't the internet contain any other references to this company?

Please understand: This particular mystery is, at this writing, less than half a day old. I'm quite sure that some of these investigative trails will lead nowhere, and that we will hear reasonable explanations for at least a few of the conundrums we've mentioned. Nevertheless, this much seems clear: The president's lawyer, friend and bagman used a bogus company to make payments to a firm called Demeter, which appears to be a front for something called Sirens Entertainment.

That, my friends, is intriguing.

I suspect that we'll have many more clues to the Demeter/Sirens mystery before another day has passed. In the meantime, if you happen to need some good Korean barbecue and Korean translation services and international financial consultation and a really good online roleplaying game and an entertaining siren, you know who to call.
Trust me. The incorporation companies are a dead end. I've chased enough spammers to ground to know that to a certainty. I've wasted TONS of time looking at such companies, all for naught. They aren't the real criminals.

The other corporate names are interesting, Sirens, PK2 Entertainment, in particular.

The text at the top of the web site for the latter is especially funny. How many remember the classic line from "The Usual Suspects"... "There was a lawyer... Kobayashi..."
Yeah, Kobayashi is a nice touch.

Their client list is very entertaining. It includes Ben Stiller, George Lopez and Quincy Jones among others including Ray Charles.

A journalist could make a few calls.

They shed companies like dead skin.
Rudy loves this:"@realDonaldTrump: Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone - next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner, 7:10AM Sep 11, 2013"
Set-up. Atty Peter Gleason asked Judge Wood to restrict discovery of comms. w/Cohen on Schneiderman matter. Judge asked for “legal backing for...explosive claim that Michael Cohen — and possibly President Donald Trump — were aware of accusations against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman since 2013.”;
@WakeForestIndy replied to Mayer @ NYer: "2 of the women had an attorney that went to Trump & Cohen instead of the DA. They then sat on the allegations for years..."
If 2 women engaged Gleason over Schneiderman issues and he took no timely action in court for ~5 yrs, it smells like an organized strategy orchestrated w/Cohen. What was Gleason’s incentive for sharing info w/ Cohen & how'd it benefit the women? Why action now, not then? What other lawyers disclosed client matters to Cohen without advancing their client’s timely interests?
A not always believable Louise Mensch reports a staffer didn't disclose being “...a friend of @Credico2016, Roger Stone’s “backchannel” to Wikileaks...”. @WakeForestIndy snidely chides: "So you ran a story without talking to two victims in the court filings?"

Avenatti did oppo research for Rahm Emanuel. He can't be embarrassed by a sex scandal: He’s not a public servant, not accountable to shareholders, not representing a large white shoe law firm. His firm doesn't care if a client acts in adult films. She authorized hiring private investigators. They turned up the unusual transactions reported by banks. A corporate intel firm does this kind of due diligence routinely. It’s not shocking to find tools from corporate bags of tricks work to lay bare a Michael Cohen.

Avenatti “...accused President Trump of the same federal crime that imprisoned former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who was convicted of illegally structuring hush money."

If Briody took a fall for Trump--over payments to keep a pregnancy & abortion for one of Hef's playmate ’girlfriends’ on the QT (why did Hef & Trump fall out?)-- Briody becomes a "made man". “…Broidy…He has something on Trump and much, so much to gain from international deals under Trump. You absolutely know he could bury Trump without saying a word in an interview by just pausing. (See Trump disavowing David Duke to view the proper technique.)

Why’d the other playmate & porn star get so much less than Bechard? Bogart/Sam Spade: "Well, we didn't believe your story, we believed your $200. You paid more than if you told us the truth and enough more to make it all right.""

"In January, Tom Arnold…(told)… the Chicago Tribune that in 2016 he spoke with Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel — the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — about alleged “embarrassing, unseen footage of Trump at the Miss Universe pageant…” Emanuel denied ever having the conversation with Arnold, said “there is no embarrassing unseen footage — we looked.” So, all seen footage is embarrassing?

Even if Mueller has evidence Cohen met in Prague to pay hackers/foreign agents for interfering in a US election -- Trump can pardon Fed charges, even treason? The state of Trumplandish, rotting from the head. Looks like well-capitalized organized crime ops. Dataflo
This simple truth: that Trump is basically just a money launderer for the Russian mafia, lets fall the vast bulk of scattered public evidence into place.

Anyone who still has only vague ideas about the “Red Mafiya” should read Robert I. Friedman’s book. It is almost eerie how this brilliant research written 20 years ago illuminates the background of Michael Cohen, long before the fact. Actually, I don’t take anybody’s conjectures seriously who hasn’t read it.

I happen to believe that Mueller is already deep into an upcoming mob trial, and the targeted bosses will not include Trump, who is only their useful idiot. To even begin to think Trump has the stuff to be a mob boss is an insult to the intelligence of all mob bosses.
Anon 234 thanks! That Russialago subreddit is just what I was looking for! Finally a reddit sub more valuable than or /r/TheSpaceInBetween
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Friday, May 11, 2018


Prediction: Within a month, the ratfuckers are going to "Me Too" Michael Avenatti.

I don't know how they will do it. I don't know much about the guy. But the Smearmasters always find a way.

Maybe they'll find (or invent) the log of some sexy chat he had on AOL in 1997 -- a chat in which he played online BDSM games with some random female he never physcially met. Maybe said female now needs to have her home mortgage paid off. Maybe she will claim that Avenatti just started to say the most horrible things to her without her consent. She was shocked beyond words. She has been traumatized ever since. Years of therapy. Avenatti should pay for her therapy bill.

After this news comes out, events will follow a predictable course. With a telling immediacy, Kos and DU will be flooded with posts claiming "He's gotta go!" That's the catch-phrase commonly employed whenever Me Too fixates on a new target. Avenatti is, of course, not a public servant -- but that won't stop the "liberals" from repeating the phrase "He's gotta go!"

Behind the scenes, dozens of voices will quietly advise Avenatti: "Even if you didn't do it, just admit to it anyways. It'll soon go away." Like Al Franken, Avenatti will issue a statement which tries to split the difference, simultaneously conveying the messages "I'm very sorry" and (sotto voce) "Actually, these charges are bullshit." For a few days, the scandal will seem to disappear.

But it won't, because Woman 2 and Woman 3 (and perhaps Women 4 through 17) are waiting in the wings. The ratfuckers will pay off as many mortgages as it takes.

George Washington University Law School will rename its "Michael Avenatti award" (which it has bestowed since 2003). Then Stormy will get another lawyer. She will tell TV interviewers that Avenatti "manipulated" her, and that he was no better than any of the awful, manipulative men-monsters who dominate in the adult film industry. And after she recites her lines, she'll be handed the keys to her new mortgage-free home.

Watch it happen.

Watch Trump win.

As long as Democrats care more about demonizing straight white males than about defeating Trumpism, these tricks will prove infernally effective.
"Watch Trump win."

Come 2020, that's precisely what I'll be doing. I look forward to the destruction of the Democratic Party. As long as Democrats are utterly useless to labor, ya know, the people who work their asses off everyday to eke out a precarious living as the so-called 'precariats', the Dems will continue to lose.

It's not because the Republicans are awesome. It's because people love voting against their own interests, American people have little or no solidarity and absolutely love laissez-fair "free-market" ideology. Basically, they love capitalism to death. Literally their own deaths.

Did you see Hillary Clinton's recent excuse about why she lost? She blamed it on Capitalism. Not as an attack on capitalism, but rather her excuse was "I lost because I'm proudly capitalist". Trump and Clinton differ in style, not substance. That's the problem.
Wow, what a quick reflex! I predict that the ratfuckers will target Avenatti (and remember, I predicted the Franken hit days before) -- and immediately YOU go after Hillary, who has nothing to do with my post.

Apply hammer. Watch knee jerk.

There's a certain beauty to inevitability.
Michael Avenatti isn't Al Franken. If the Trumptards attempt a #metoo he won't lie down. If he's vulnerable it's what he did to get Cohen's banking information. Think Steele dossier poisoning the well.
Goddamn you're right. You're usually more pessimistic than me, but this prediction seems frighteningly obvious. You know the Trumpers are working 24/7 to find anything they can to discredit Avenatti. And if they find nothing, as you say, they'll just make something up.

The good news is when this happens, because Avenatti isn't a politician, he has no obligation to step down. If Stormy back him, he's fine. But if they get to Stormy...
You should read Al Franken’s book Giant of the Senate. It describes the woman problems he had during his senate race. There is a lot more dogging him than these recent accusations. You desire to whitewash him is understandable but there is some substance to the complaints.
You should read Al Franken's book, Giant of the Senate. He describes the problems with women that arose during his senate race. There is a lot more besides the recent allegations, which suggests there may be substance to the recent complaints. He is flawed. Either you care about women's issues or you don't, setting them aside when inconvenient.
Two different anonymous comments within ten minutes relaying the same smear? Yeah. Right.
i think Hedgefund had an Avenatti doomed article.
Regarding Al Franken. I happened to come across a cover photo of Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson from USA weekend, December 24-26, 2010. We are attributing blame to people for taking the wrong kind of pictures and poses but this was a cover photo and would probably be universally condemned today.
The so called smear comes from his own book.
OR: somebody posted a comment, didn’t see it appear, and so, reposted because they thought the first was lost, when it was actually waiting in cue. Also, you are just so deeply, utterly wrong about “me too.” Of course people who are smearing or trying to take someone down will use any means at their disposal, but your overall unwillingness to comprehend social change is unfathomable to me.
OR: somebody didn't read the book, but got the keen insight from a fellow traveler at Breitbart or another bastion of serious conservative thought, and is passing along this bit of brilliance. My husband recently finished the book, and is mystified as to what Anonymous and Anonymous are talking about. Guess I'll have to jump "Giant of the Senate" to the head of my reading line...

I thought the exact same thing.
See Chapter 18 where he talks about the trouble caused by his semi-pornographic article and the rape joke. If you put that together with his USO photo and the groping it adds up to a pattern that is harder to defend. He describes this stuff himself, not Breitbart.
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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Relax. Trump's not going anywhere.

Yes, I know that everyone in the country has fixated on the burgeoning Michael Cohen scandal, in which we learn that companies or individuals hoping to curry favor with this administration felt obliged to toss a little baksheesh into the "bribe-the-bimbo" fund. These outrageous acts of corruption won't hurt the GOP in the 2018 election and it won't hurt Trump in 2020.

Allow me to quote from three current stories. First:
The Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report this evening which confirmed that Russian hackers did indeed penetrate the voter databases in several states before the election, and were in position to alter or delete voter registration data. So this explains it. The question all along has been how Russia could have hacked in on election day and changed the voting totals. Now we know they didn’t have to.

All these Russian hackers had to do was screw with the voter registration data for just enough registered Democrats, so that those people would be turned away on election day. In such circumstances, some people insist on casting a provisional vote, while others get frustrated or confused and simply leave without voting. By preventing these people from being able to cast a vote, Russia directly rigged the voting totals before the voting even began.
That's from Palmer, and I'm with him on this one. Here's a follow-up:
Look at Florida, and you can see the proof. With very heavy early voting, the only way Trump could win was cheating since he needed to win a massive 65% of Election Day votes. That was mathematically impossible. Trump had never polled over 40, not once ever, so how could he get a massive 25% bump over his BEST polling ever? He couldn’t. So, we know now it was rigged.
Now go here:
President Donald Trump’s national security team is weighing the elimination of the top White House cybersecurity job, multiple sources told POLITICO — a move that would come as the nation faces growing digital threats from adversaries such as Russia and Iran.

John Bolton, Trump’s hawkish new national security adviser, is leading the push to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator, currently held by the departing Rob Joyce, according to one current and two former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the discussions.
The Fox guards the henhouse.

There is no hope.
Wanna know why it's the Great White Dope for 6 more years?
"We shouldn't talk impeachment because it will galvanize Trumptards to GOTV"
Never occurs to the DNC luminaries they got nothing to motivate Democratic Party voters.
That the rooskies could have messed with registrations doesn't prove that they did in fact change the results of the election. They might have. But proving it would take forensics. We don't do forensics. Why not? Because somebody (ies?) has already been hacking the actual tabulating of the vote counts, and elected officials don't want that exposed. Since at least 2004 we have not known who won the vote, only who won the hack.

Paper ballots, hand marked and hand-counted in public is the only way we'll actually ever know who wins the vote.

Old Hippie nails it. Joseph, my significant other (or "lady friend" if you prefer) hates my pessimism and I can understand this in our day to day life, so I do try to minimize it there. However, when it comes to politics and world affairs, I'm really starting to think your view is the only one that makes sense. Sadly.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Did Trump pay for an abortion? New York Magazine follows Cannonfire down the path of "irresponsible" speculation

On the day we learned of RNC bigwig Elliott Broidy's $1.6 million payout to a Playboy model -- a payout brokered by Michael Cohen -- I offered the outrageous scenario that the man who impregnated said model was not Broidy but Donald Trump. A couple of week later I expanded upon this theory, noting that the model in question -- Shera Bechard -- bears a resemblance to Ivanka Trump. We know that Trump compared both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to Ivanka.

Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, had hinted (during an appearance on the Morning Joe program) that Broidy may not be the man who impregnated Bechard. I don't know if Avenatti spoke from "insider" knowledge or from a desire to sow doubt.

Now, Paul Campos of New York magazine has found the courage to walk down a path previously trod only by -- well, me. Although I'm hardly the only irresponsible fringe-dweller on the internet, I was the first one one brave or foolish enough to investigate this particular piece of terrain.

Campos argues that the "Trump got her pregnant" theory is actually far more plausible than the official tale, which may be an elaborate fiction designed to protect the president. Trump would lose much of his Christian base if it were known that he had paid off a woman who had an abortion.

Here are a few choice bits-n-pieces from the Paul Campos story in New York:
Trump has a well-documented history of having unprotected sex with women in the adult-entertainment industry, and then subsequently buying their silence via proxies. Trump also has a history of being obsessed specifically with Playboy playmates. Trump had a long-standing close friendship with Hugh Hefner, and often visited the Playboy mansion, to which he brought contestants from his television show The Apprentice. One such contestant noted:
Toward the end of the evening, I found myself in a small circle, conversing with Trump, Hefner, and another contestant. With a wry smile, Trump looked at Hefner and said, ‘It’s hard for me to tell which of these girls are yours and which ones are mine.’
Bechard was actually at one time Hefner’s girlfriend, while Trump and Hefner’s friendship mysteriously came to an end in 2016.
Did the friendship with Hef endure even when Trump embraced birtherism? Like him or hate him, Hefner always espoused liberal-ish politics; he never would have tolerated that "birther" nonsense.

Everyone knows that Donald Trump has had liaisons with numerous women, and that he never uses any sort of protection. Under the circumstances, I'd be surprised to learn that he has not been forced to confront -- in a very personal way -- the issue of abortion. No one escapes the laws of chance.

The Campos article gives us much new information (new to me, at any rate) about Broidy:
Broidy has a history of bribing public officials to enhance the economic prospects of his business ventures. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to bribing New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. As part of a plea deal which led to the convictions of seven of his co-conspirators, Broidy admitted he made more than $1 million in illegal payouts and gifts to New York pension authorities.
In March 2018, the previously obscure Broidy was the subject of a slew of national stories regarding his remarkably aggressive influence-peddling in the wake of Trump’s election. For example, the Journal reported that Broidy was slated to make tens of millions of dollars by getting the Justice Department to drop a probe into a multibillion-dollar bribery scandal involving 1MDB, the Malaysian state investment fund. One email revealed a plan to pay Broidy and his wife $75 million if they could successfully lobby the DOJ to drop the probe into 1MBD.

A few days later, the New York Times published an extensive account detailing how Broidy was “marketing his Trump connections to politicians and governments around the world,” by, for example, “suggesting to clients and prospective customers of his Virginia-based defense contracting company, Circinus, that he could broker meetings with Mr. Trump, his administration and congressional allies.”
My first post on this scandal discussed the Broidy's links to Middle Eastern "facilitator" George Nader. We learn more:
According to these accounts, Nader dangled the prospect of more than $1 billion in contracts for Circinus before Broidy, as he assiduously cultivated Broidy’s influence with “the Chairman,” a.k.a. Donald Trump.
Why would Broidy "take a bullet" for Donald Trump? (The "bullet," in his case, would be a shot of public humiliation.) The more we learn about Broidy, the clearer it becomes that he stood to make a lot of money from his association with the president. Much wheeling. Much dealing. And in the midst of all that wheeling and dealing, an opportunity -- perhaps -- to pay back $1.6 million. With interest.

Sometimes writers place their most compelling arguments within parentheses. Note the following example...
The size of the payment to Bechard — $1.6 million — is also a little weird. Broidy was a largely anonymous person in late 2017, when the NDA was signed. His biggest claim to fame at the time was a felony conviction for corruption. Why would a man in his position need to pay $1.6 million to keep Bechard quiet about an affair to which the public at large would be completely indifferent? (And if the explanation for the massive payment is that Broidy was desperate to keep this secret from his family and the RNC, why, as detailed below, did he admit to the affair the very first time a journalist asked him about it?) Furthermore, according to the Journal, Bechard provided no proof to Broidy that she was pregnant by him, or indeed pregnant at all. Under these circumstances, a seven-figure hush-money payment seems hard to explain.
Just so. Supposedly, Broidy was a wealthy man desperate to keep a secret from his wife -- yet he blabbed all at the first opportunity.

In my second post on this topic, I focused on this anomalous behavior. Broidy issued a statement which decried the "national discussion" over his affair -- but there was no "national discussion" until he issued that very statement! The man seemingly went out of his way to publicize something that should have been embarrassing.

And then there's the improbability of the tale we've been told about the relationship between Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen. Cohen represented Trump; Davidson was the original attorney for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and Shera Bechard. In all three instances, Cohen and Davidson worked for clients on opposing sides -- yet many believe that these two lawyers had established what we might call an "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster" relationship. McDougal wriggled free of her NDA deal when she finally decided that "her" attorney wasn't really her attorney. I still don't understand why the Bar Association has not weighed in on this arrangement.

Why, asks Campos, would a man in Broidy's situation hire Michael Freakin' Cohen, "a man who is barely even a lawyer," and a graduate of what has been called the worst law school in the country?

Let me point out one last anomaly: We've not heard one word from Shera Bechard.

McDougal and Stormy have gone very blabby, despite the NDAs they have signed. Supposedly, Broidy has admitted all, rendering pointless the NDA that the law firm of Dickens and Fenster placed before Shera Bechard. What, then, can explain the Silence of Shera? She remains quiet -- too quiet, as in those old jungle movie scenes when the birds stop chattering and all is ominously still.

Let's switch metaphors. Now that the cat is well and truly out of the bag, why not talk about the cat?

Perhaps that feline was a fake -- a decoy. Perhaps the real cat remains inside the bag.
Wayback machine has some @sherabechard twitter pages, though her account is now protected. She tweeted about #metoo stuff a few times in October. #metoo is mostly about famous people pressuring women into sex, not just random political operatives having a "consensual" affair. People need to comb her twitter more for clues.
What does the Great White Dope and his minions see on the horizon that they don't want to risk losing Evangelicals?
Given that Evangelical Christianity is a mental aberration learning Trump demanded a lover abort would be excused as they did with the affairs. Trump's handlers know this but keep working to suppress the scandal, something is coming that has them scared spotless scrambling to gather support from the base. Robert Mueller finding the buried bodies?
"Perhaps the real cat remains inside the bag."

Perhaps....and it may be one big cat.
An orange tabby, Marc? They're pretty big. And they can be real stinkers.
An Orange tabby, a hairless and his friends, and perhaps a few billion of their little green friends laundered into the US?

Don Vlad & Co. Money Laundering could stand a lot of sudden risky exposure?

Yeah, well it has been obvious to me from the beginning that it was Trump who got the woman pregnant. But something else that nobody has been talking about is that it is odd that Trump would pay 130 large to a woman to keep quiet about a one night stand. My guess is that she had more to talk about than that, specifically that it was either a long term affair or she got pregnant as a result. It seems that Trump does not believe in personal protection.
Melania may have a pre-nup making infidelity more expensive than usual for Donald.

Nice piece, small clarification. Campos is a law professor who posts occasionally on the New York magazine site (not the New Yorker) and he's not really a writer for that magazine, more of a guest commentator.

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