Thursday, October 20, 2016

Third time's the charm: My thoughts on what we saw tonight

Let's make one thing clear right away: Since we've all seen the third one by now, I feel that I may speak freely without fear of giving away any of the major surprises.

My basic reaction? Now this is more like it.

For the first time, I feel truly comfortable with the new actors playing these iconic roles. Although I'll never accept the Spock/Uhura romance -- and I question the scenes in which Spock lets his human side show -- the series has finally returned to form. This is a wine of the old vintage. And yet, paradoxically, this story seems new, with fresh characters, unusual situations and alien technology that seems truly alien. This story doesn't just rehash ideas lifted from older films in the franchise; for the first time in the rebooted Trek universe, we go where no previous film in the series has gone before.

Well -- perhaps not entirely. Early on, a Federation bigwig tells Kirk that there's only one ship in the fleet more sophisticated than the Enterprise. If you've ever seen a Star Trek movie before, you know what that means -- especially if you can recall how the fourth film ended.

(I was reminded of a moment from the first act of 1971's Waterloo, when Veronica De Laurentiis -- Giada's mom -- tells the Duke of Wellington to bring her fiance home safe and sound. The poor guy might as well have had a skull and crossbones superimposed over his head.)

Although most of us take CGI wizardry for granted these days, the visualization of Starbase Yorktown wowed even this jaded sensibility. For the first time, Trek explores the true possibilities of artificial gravity, introducing us to a planetary environment in which sideways is topways is bottomways, depending on where you happen to be standing and what you happen to be looking at. I loved it. If the film had spent two hours giving us cool shots of Yorktown, I'd have come away with a smile.

The new character, Jaylah (played by Sofia Boutella), is a magnificently realized female warrior: Formidable, but still recognizably human -- or at least humane. She reminded me of Wonder Woman. Actually, Jahlah seemed more Wonder Woman-ish than did the Wonder Woman who showed up in the recent Superman/Batman film. One of the most charming things about both Diana Prince and Jaylah is their unfamiliarity with "normal" society: These godlike women have studied us, and they want to help us -- but they are not really one of us. They often stumble when they try to fit in, and when they do, it's kind of adorable.

I was also charmed by the decision to pair off the lead characters in separate-but-related storylines; structurally, the middle section of the film reminded me of The Two Towers. Scotty (who may be sweet on Jaylah) has more to do than ever before. No surprise there: Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty, co-wrote the script.

For once, Kirk doesn't get all the action, although the most important character arc is his. This is a film about a team, not about the captain.

The film's greatest fault is one it shares with all modern action films: Fear of words, fear that too much talk will alienate an audience of Attention Deficit Disorder sufferers. Too often, the film-makers rely on presumption to do the work of explanation. For example, I was never clear on which "bee" ships were drones and which were piloted by the aliens. The film never bothers to explain how an earth man could become one of the aliens, or how he ascended to a leadership role, or why the Big Scary Alien Guy reverts to a more-or-less human look at the end.

The bee armada is defeated by a plot device borrowed -- I kid you not -- from Mars Attacks. This time, they play things seriously. But how, exactly, is this trick supposed to work? Why can't the bad guys simply shut off the radio or change the frequency?

The final battle is visually stunning but not as thrilling as it could be, because we often lack a clear notion of what is going on.

In short: The film's phobic reaction toward expository dialogue often does injury to basic comprehension. What this movie needs is an extra ten minutes -- ten minutes of talk. Sure, modern audiences might get the fidgets during those dialogue scenes, but what of it? Modern audiences should switch to decaf.

All in all, Beyond is the best Trek film since Wrath of Khan -- and perhaps the best ever. A welcome surprise.

By the way: As you might have guessed, my ladyfriend and I did not go out for a drive this evening. She caught a bug that's been going around. We decided to stay home and fire up a movie.

So tell me: What did YOU watch? Anything interesting? Did it feature a big, scary alien bad guy?
What heresy have you committed? Liking a JJ Trek movie is akin to being a Deplorable. I hated the first one for its science mistakes and its general plot stupidity, and the reimagined characters were too far out of the loop of Star Trek to work for me. I have not watched another one since then and have no plans to see any of them-- unless there's a scene where JJ's balls are eaten by a Tellarite.

Oh and Clinton kicked ass.

You evidently saw a different film of the same name as the "Star Trek Beyond [Redemption]" I saw. Actually, I can only assume so, as I remember almost nothing about it other than how godawful and inconsequential it was. I turned it off halfway through the first time I tried to watch it. A couple of nights later, it was being screened for a friend's birthday; I made it to the point where they turned off the cameras, but found I loved it none the more.

But thank goodness for Disqus. Here's my comment on the Atlantic's review from July:

[Reviewer David] Sims clearly saw a different film than the godawful piece of horseshit, to use a metaphor with which the writers and director are familiar, I switched off about halfway through. [Director Justin] Lin managed to elicit the antithesis of performance from his cast -- who, frankly, gave the material every drop of sincerity and professionalism it deserved. (It's not so much a screenplay as it is a two-hour flashcard review of ill-advised action film tropes -- much like the [Fast and Furious] franchise, now that I think of it. To describe it as 'pandering' makes it sound far more competent than it actually is.)

About the only positive comment I can dredge up is that after watching it I feel much friendlier towards 'Into Darkness.'

[added a few minutes later]

And, oh God -- that fucking score! It might as well have been just a random collection of orchestral hits clipped from [composer Michael] Giacchino's earlier works. There's no way anyone could possibly believe this was the composer's 120-somethingth score rather than a B+ senior project at an arts magnet high school.

All-in-all, the film is clearly the most soul-less, least engaging, and fundamentally unnecessary effort I've had the misfortune to witness in years.

(Oooh... It's starting to come back to me, now.) Last summer, I couldn't understand the positive response this calamity was receiving. 'STB,' Donald J. Trump, and 'Luke Cage,' all beyond comprehension.
Alex Jones says Hillary Clinton is literally a demon.
This might be the most controversial thing you've ever posted.

I don't mind the Spock/Uhura romance, it's not entirely contradictory to the original. I don't like the portrayal of Spock, but I don't like the portrayal of almost any Vulcan. Too often they come across as petulant and passive-agressive, when they should come across and confident and aloof, maybe somewhat sardonic. Mark Lenard and Leonard Nimoy being the exceptions. Tim Russ had his moments, I suppose.

Of course in this version, none of the characters have any real connection to their originals, and the dialogue seems to have come from someone who has never seen any of the Original Series or the films. I cringed at almost every line.

The fourth film, like this one, ends with them getting a new ship. Not sure what that has to do with there being one more sophisticated ship, though. They didn't get destroyed by the Excelsior, or whatever its equivalent in this timeline would be (too early for Excelsior, probably something based ont he Vengeance).

I didn't like Starbase Snowglobe. CGI and artificial gravity shenanigans were interesting enough when Babylon 5 did them, but it's 2016 now. This one just seemed to be an excuse for stupidity. Saying Fed member worlds would get upset if the Enterprise landed on one of the others, Uhurock romance drama, gayifying Sulu, all this nonsense that shouldn't have been there in the first place. And the Nebula was silly too.

I didn't mind Jaylah. The middle of the film was the best part. the start was boring. The end was stupid.

The villain became an alien by using the alien life-extension technology, he reverted to looking human so the audience could find out he was the captain of the Franklin, and I think the drones all had pilots, who captain Alien-Face had captured and enslaved. I didn't actually get any of that from the movie, it's from other people talking about it and my own guess work. But plot, right, who cares? Look, Kirk's riding a motorbike!

About standard quality for the reboot films. Not as good as most of the previous films, but not as bad as The Final Frontier or maybe Nemesis.

Nowhere near as good as First Contact, let alone Wrath of Khan.

Listened on my way home from work and caught the end on TV. Hillary looked radiant. Donald reminded me of Pee Wee Herman in character when he spouted "you're the puppet!" He might have well as whined, "I know you are but what am I?!" I think his worst mistake was interrupting Hillary while she was simply stating a fact about him: "You're a nasty woman." I think that will become netlore.

The most amusing was how Donald would repeat "bad" whenever he said the word, as if doubling down on preschool lingo is the equivalent of coming up with more damning language. "They're bad, bad people. Really bad hombres."

Compare to Riverdaughter's eloquent put down, written when she was dog-tired: "It’s almost as if Donald and his antebellum retinue simply can’t wrap their heads around a self-actualized woman who is beating their asses and threatening to bring extinction on their party. Can a woman with that much experience, confidence and momentum really ignore the feckless attempts at yumiliation Donald and his boys are planning? Um, yeah."

I wish to make "antebellum retinue" a go-to.

Yep, see Skydancing and this :
When will the Star Trek writers acknowledge that in a starship there would be no "night" and "day." People would work in shifts without reference to Earth's rotation.
I love star trek

I have always thought of Trump/Pence as Kirk/Spock

Hillary/Kaine is really Spock/Scotty
When will Star Trek notice that shifts on a star ship will not be related to Earth's rotation period. People will not go to bed at "night;" there will be no "end" of the "day."
Well, I haven't seen the latest "Star Trek" movie yet, but if it's anything like the previous two, I don't see any pressing need to get to it any time soon. The previous two were pretty much like every hollywood film these days......tons of unconvincing CGI, paper thin dialog that make soap operas read like Shakespeare, and plenty of big explosions (also CGI) to distract you from the fact that there is hardly any story and that the actors are all second rate hacks.

No, I don't care for these new Star Trek films that have no relation to the previous incarnations. I'd say Star Trek VI and Nemesis were far superior movies in most ways, and I didn't really think those were very good at all.

As to the debate, my significant other had it on but I couldn't stand to hear either of their voices or their complete avoidance of anything of substance, yet again. God help us if either of these two becomes President ;-)
Humans are evolved for 24-hourish cycles and will therefore still need sleep and shifts.

I'm watching Adam Curtis' new documentary, HyperNormalisation.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A poem for Ivanka

I've never seen a "mulatto" dick.
I have no desire to see one.
But if I were to have my pick,
I'd rather see a dick than BE one
like your dick of a father, Ivanka.

Someone says they've clocked Stone in the front row; I haven't IDed him yet. Clinton is in white; Trump in black. Trump pumping the 2nd amendment.

Trump: Putin has no respect for Clinton.
Clinton: That's because he'd rather have a puppet.
Trump: You're the puppet.

The first time they're getting heated is on Russia.
Clinton says 17 US intelligence agencies say the hacking is by Russia.
Trump says it might not be.
He says Putin has outsmarted Clinton.
Trump: "Look at the Middle East; they've taken over".
Trump says the nine women who claims he assaulted them were either seeking 10 minutes of fame, or, more likely in his view, put up to it by the Clinton campaign.

Mostly low energy so far.
Summary: mostly boring :)
The biggest event was probably that Trump said he'll wait and see what happens before he decides whether or not to accept the election result: "I'll keep you in suspence."
His nuke was made in North Korea.
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Storm warning

MSNBC is spreading the word -- Trump plans to go nuclear. His Chief Campaign Asshole, alt-rightist Steve Bannon, has said that the appearance of Obama's idiot half-brother is "just an appetizer." Plus, the moderator is Chris Wallace of Fox News. Bannon and Trump cannot ask for better conditions for the raising of hell.

Why on earth did Hillary agree to this debate? She has nothing to gain and everything to learn. Trump is a wounded animal -- a madman willing to use any tactic, however low. I honestly would not be surprised if he resorted to physical violence.

Me? I'm gonna get outta here -- well away from teevees and radios and any communications device which might tempt me to tune in the debate. Write me a note, dear readers, telling me of the disasters of the night: I'd rather get the bad news from you than from any other source.

By the way, I didn't tell you folks about my search for Maryland's legendary Goatman on Fletchertown Road on the night of the second debate. Interesting story there...

Elsewhere: Thomas Friedman has endorsed Hillary for president -- the Hillary he scries in the released Wikileaks material. If Friedman likes her, I'm tempted to consider another option.

And then I remember who she's running against...

Does Hillary contradict herself? Very well, then: She contradicts herself. She is large; she contains multitudes.
Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a
minute longer.)
And as she talks, I hope to hear the Hillary who thinks Friedman is kind of a nitwit.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
And talking of nuclear, Russia is sending a large naval force to the eastern Mediterranean, with the intention of hitting Aleppo very hard in two weeks time. The force includes their only aircraft carrier.

That will be a week before the US election.

I've got my metaphorical popcorn ready for tonight's debate, and will leave some notes here.
I read the Friedscreed. When Clinton was speaking of paragraphs of expansive ideas, and a Star-Trekian future, litte Fried was checking the punctuation and extracting meaning from commas and hyphens.
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Here comes the Enquirer -- again

I suspect that Trump will raise this matter during the third debate.

The issue of the National Enquirer on sale today will devote a long story to the tale of an unnamed "fixer" who allegedly provided Hillary Clinton with male and female lovers.
What crooked reporters were on the take from the Clinton camp!

How he covered up Bill’s seedy romp with hookers!

Which A-list celebrity had a secret affair with Bill during his presidency!
I do not think I need to go on; you get the idea.

Amusingly, the Enquirer "proves" these allegations with links to stories that are utterly unconnected. For example, the tabloid says that this nameless "fixer" has provided documents which prove his claims. Anyone who wants to see thee documents can follow the link -- which takes one to this story in Radar, which has nothing to do with anything.

Another link supposedly gives us a clue as to the identity of this "fixer." Actually, the link goes to this story which relates the tired (and disproven) smear that Bill Clinton fathered a half-black child.

Hey, Enquirer: Just providing random links doesn't accomplish anything (other than proving that you know how to use HTML). Your links are meaningless if they lack any connection with your main text.

By the way: Did you know that the National Enquirer is owned by a Satan worshiper?

And did you know that writers who have criticized Donald Trump have found dead cats stuffed into their mailboxes?

And did you know that, as a child, Mike Pence was raped by Randolph Scott?

It's true! Just hit the links which I have helpfully provided and you will find ironclad PROOF for everything I've ever said! Gee, this is FUN!

On a more serious note: In the past, we've seen that, during the primary, individuals linked with the Trump campaign appeared to have used the National Enquirer to spread a story about Ted Cruz having five mistresses. A month ago, the same esteemed publication published a completely bogus story claiming that Hillary's weight had ballooned to 289 pounds even though she's only 5'6", and even though she is allegedly so sick as to be at death's door. Also, her "real" medical report supposedly reveals that her heavy drinking has caused extensive liver damage.
These smear artists can't make up their mind whether Hillary is bisexual, lesbian, a woman who cheated on her husband with Vincent Foster, or that she is frigid.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is closing the gap on red states like Texas on her way to an EC blowout.
Trump may be bringing Malik Obama, but he is probably planning something spectacular that he's unlikely to telegraph beforehand so that it can be stopped. That's what happened with his plan to have Bill Clinton's alleged sexual abuse victims confront him in the studio. He can win this yet.
I still have not officially rescinded my prediction of a Trump win.
You do know, don't you, that Bill and Hillary murdered 114 people? ...just in case you missed it.
Look, fred, they HAD to. His Infernal Majesty bestows power and fame, but in return, he demands Garmonbozia.
I read the online article. I think they want people to buy the magazine to see all of the info. I was trying to find NE weekly circulation. I am guessing it is around 500,000? But, 10 million or more people may actually read the headlines while they wait at the checkout counter and that can sway people, not right away, but after the fifth or sixth sensationalist headline, it could sway a certain percentage of that 10 million.
Donald Trump, descendant of Christ (Philipp Christ), will call his new hotel brand "Scion".
I have no idea if Hillary is bisexual or not. has she messed up some of Bill's accusers live's -yes is it relevent probably not. This is strictly a eye for an eye thing for the tape.
Nor have I Joseph. The small spread between them could easily be surpassed by the voters ashamed to admit to Pollsters they will vote Trump.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

The weirdness continues

This Keith Olbermann entry is a real eye-opener -- not so much for what it says about Trump, but for what it reveals about Olbermann, and the conspiracy to take down the first Clinton presidency. Olbermann describes how he was recruited by Laura Ingraham to be the TV voice of that effort -- this, at a time before Olbermann had outed himself as a liberal.

Unstated here, but obvious to anyone who recalls 2008, is the fact that Keith Olbermann used to be a rabid Clintonphobe, which is no doubt the reason why Ingraham chose him for recruitment. These days, Olbermann doesn't like to admit that he was once among those who had a furious knee-jerk reaction to any and all mentions of the name "Clinton."

Remember 2008? Remember how every inane anti-Hillary smear that popped up online would bring forth the cry "Get this to Keith!"? Remember the way Keith transformed his show into a mud catapult? Remember how Keith's derangement became so severe that he eventually issued an on-air desire to see Hillary Clinton murdered?

I do. Sorry Keith, but I will never forget. (Years later, after the shooting of Gabby Giffords, Olbermann eventually apologized for his lapse into anti-Clinton madness.)

The early role of Donald Trump's current campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is also detailed in this video. I still admire her -- that is, I admire her talent, not her political choices. (Think of the way Patton admired Rommel, or the way that many Union officers admired Lee.)

I'm still worried about this election. Paradoxically, even as Hillary seems to be expanding the list of battleground states, the gap between her and Trump has narrowed. Worse, the email controversy has been revived (see here and here). Although that brouhaha may not matter much to you, do not forget that many of your fellow citizens live in a different media ecosystem.

The latest accusations are all nonsense, of course. Funny thing: Nobody ever talks about the topics of those emails that were supposedly so highly-classified. So far, the most sensitive "classified" message seems to have been piffle concerning the newly-installed leader of Malawi. Every piece of information in that email was available to anyone willing to fire up Google -- which means that the State Department was quite right to question whether it should truly be considered "classified."

Besides, no-one who has followed the controversy is saying that any message was marked as classified in the header, and no-one has claimed that anything was sent by Hillary Clinton.

And that, my friends, is the sole basis for the cries of "Lock her up!" Freakin' Malawi.

How can right-wingers claim that Hillary was the one who endangered national security? It has become painfully obvious that the Trump campaign, working with Wikileaks, has functioned as an arm of the Russian government!

(See the video embedded below. Before you say it: No, I do not agree with the remarks about Crimea; Trump was uncharacteristically correct on that point. Everything else in this presentation seems to be on the mark.)

Moreover, a surprising number of Republicans have suddenly become pro-Putin. Yet they simultaneously decry Hillary Clinton for allegedly revealing incredibly important information (such as that thing about the president of Malawi) to the Russians. Once again, the right-wingers are displaying an uncanny ability to maintain two contradictory positions at the same time.

Assange. A "state actor" -- incorrectly identified as the UK although the actual "actor" seems to have been Ecuador -- cut off Julian Assange's internet access. At the same time, the UK has apparently severed his access to his own bank account.

I am amazed that this step has not been taken heretofore. Assange is not merely exercising his right to free speech. He is using private mail illegally acquired from United States citizens -- not the government: From citizens -- to interfere with our democracy and to hand the White House over to a disastrous, mentally unhinged candidate chosen by Vladimir Putin, who clearly hopes that Donald Trump will ruin our economy and our standing in the world. Sorry, but what Assange has done goes way beyond any reasonable definition of free speech. This is more like espionage -- but even that term does not go far enough. Assange has committed an act of war.

Repeat: Julian Assange has made war against the United States of America, just as Osama Bin Laden did. And he deserves the same end.

Me too it doesn't matter what's he is saying I can't stand his voice. The bitterness from 2008. how can we get rid of it. I don't think even Hillary's presidency can make me forget
Julian Assange over the years has enabled people like me to learn the truth about war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and the contents of the nefarious Trans Pacific Partnership, as well as a lot of less (to me) important stuff like the rigged Kenyan elections and the truth behind the Icelandic banking crisis.

More recently he has brought to light stuff about how Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta are working hand in glove with the plutocracy.

What difference does it make what his sources of information were? If the CIA leaked accurate information about Putin's misdeeds (as may have been the case with the Panama Papers), would you refuse to learn about it?

Assange an enemy of the plutocracy and Big Brother government. That means he has lost his freedom and may well lose his life. He's a hero.

Phil...? Are you serious?

"What difference does it make what his sources of information were?"

In a previous post, I brought up the example of Watergate. We still don't know what the burglars were looking for, weirdly enough. Let's presume that they found something truly bad. How would you have felt if Nixon used that rationale on the public? "It doesn't matter how we got the information. It doesn't matter that it was a burglary. Look what we found out about McGovern!"

I don't think that argument would have flown. Yet that's the argument you (and Trump) want to proffer right now.

What Wikileaks did in the past is immaterial. At this point, Assange is working at the behest of a foreign power seeking to impose a "leader" on America who is temperamentally unsuited to democracy, and who would end our freedoms the moment he could find a pretext to impose emergency rule. Putin and Assange are doing this precisely because they know that Trump could weaken the US to such an extent that Russia could power forward to "sole superpower" status. If you can't see that this is the goal, look harder.

Assange deserves death. He IS a friend to Big Brother government. He IS a friend to plutocracy. His Big Brother is named Vladimir, and his plutocracy is the Russian oligarchy. Why can't you see that? What's wrong with your eyes?

In previous posts, I've written about "revelations" from the stolen communications that were obviously faked, such as that nonsense about the Clinton Foundation which was so transparently phoney that even Assange and Trump won't touch it. (It was "washed" through Guccifer 2). The fact that some of it was clearly fake calls the whole lot of it into question. If I were Clinton, I would leave a question mark over the whole caboodle for as long as possible.

And nothing I've seen from the Podesta trove has bothered me at all. "Open borders"? She was talking to bankers; she was talking about capital flow. "I'm your representative"? EVERY New York senator is, in a literal sense, the representative of Wall Street.

Beyond that: As I've said many times, words are just words. If Lloyd Blankfein paid me enough money, I'd tell him whatever he wanted to hear. I'd tell him that his penis was so long that I could spy the head peeking out of the hem of his left trouser leg. And after the speech was over, I'd smile and get back to the real world.

YOU would tell Lloyd whatever bedtime story he wanted if he paid you enough to quit your day job. Don't pretend otherwise. Doesn't mean you'd be bound to do this or that if you were later handed the presidency.
By the way, Phil -- are you seriously arguing that Donald Trump is the ANTI plutocracy vote? Are you mad? Donald Fucking TRUMP? What more can one man do to establish himself as the living essence of materialism? He has made clear that his goal is to lower taxes on the rich and to get rid of regulations that would aid and protect working people. How could he possibly be friendlier to the concept of plutocracy?
Russia.. .Putin... National Security... Now YOU are calling for the assassination of Assange?
May be it's the geek in me, but when I read her(I dream of open borders) thing what came to my mind instantly was a futuristic star trekki kind of image. She didn't say she will strongly advocate for or implement it she dreams. My dream is for a world like that without war or disease. Commerce and knowledge flow freely between the people of the planet. Any thing WRONG with that
Wow, maybe I will brave listening to Olbermann, given what you hint he confesses. It boiled my blood to see the hypocrite speak on Donald given he called for Hillary's death in 2008. Not today, but I will give it a try one day.
From Donald Trump's five-point plan for ethics reform:

"Fourth: I am going to issue a lifetime ban against senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government."

"Fifth: I am going to ask Congress to pass a campaign finance reform that prevents registered foreign lobbyists from raising money in American elections."

Does he mean Israel?
Espionage against a country committed outside its borders by a non-citizen does not fall under that country's jurisdiction. Theft of electricity inside the country does.

But anyway...

...what do people think about Assange's rambling speech in Berlin? He goes on about three "pillars" of history: everyday technical knowledge, the historical intellectual record, and what powerful interests seek to keep out of the record.

Where's he coming from? That intellectual framework is obviously very important to him. He says it here too.

Could there be a Steinerite influence? (If anyone wants to pooh-pooh this suggestion, please get acquainted with the role of Triodos Bank, why it's called that, and "social threefolding" first.)
Latest link I've seen on Assange's Internet access:

Ecuador has admitted it pulled his internet access because he was interfering with the election in the US.

Apologies if I'm duplicating someone else's information or link.
Joseph, I've been following you for ten years, and since your hospitalization I feel that I don't know you any more. Calling for Assange's disappearance is over the top. I will be glad when the election is over. Surely we can expect you to become your usual muckraking self if Trump is elected--and I hope you will rake muck similarly if we get Clinton. I like you much better as a critic of the powers that be than as an advocate.

There's a difference between the burglars at Watergate, who were servants of the powers that be, and Assange, the quintessential outsider.

"There's a difference between the burglars at Watergate, who were servants of the powers that be, and Assange, the quintessential outsider."

True. As far as I know, none of the Watergate burglars were accused of rape. :P
Maybe too far Joseph. Assange and Wikileaks may be the channel of choice of Russian propaganda today but during the Crimean situation the Russians liked to use youtube to transmit intercepted cell phone calls. As your blog (my favorite) is still hosted by google/youtube maybe a call for death of the sun deprived grey-one is a leap too far towards Trump-level hypocrisy.

Ivory Bill: Assange may be a coward, but American rapist is not really credible either. Unless you mean politically...then I concede the point. BTW, I really like your posts here, even when I disagree.
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Is Assange dead? Will Roger Stone rat out Trump? Did Republicans torch their own office? And what about THE EVIL PLOT TO TURN FROGS GAY?

Even if you're sick of election-related ads, check out the one embedded above. Looks like our old friend Alex Jones has finally made the big time. Poor AJ! Perhaps those devious MKULTRA scientists forced him to rant about ambisexual amphibians.

This video functions within a larger Democratic narrative which frames the GOP as the Party of Kooks and the Dems as the Party of Normals. This storyline works well for Hillary -- yet it has one major drawback:

Some conspiracies are real.

To prove the point, simply look at the career of Roger "Mr. Conspiracy" Stone, king of the dirty tricksters, longtime friend to Donald Trump, and frequent guest of Alex Jones. Stone's whole career has been one conspiracy after another.

And didn't Hillary herself once offer a warning -- a very accurate warning, as it turned out -- of a vast right-wing conspiracy?

By scoffing at the very notion of conspiracy, the Clinton forces may undermine their own credibility. After all, the day may soon come when they will want to decry an actual, non-imaginary dirty trick played on them.

A reader of this blog called joseph (with a small j) recently offered this comment vis-a-vis Trump's frequent charge that the election is rigged:
My biggest fear about this rigging charge is that it is Trump's projectionism. That is, he expects the Russians to rig the voting machines and now the Democrats can't say anything, having said that the results should be respected.
While the frequently-heard Republican charges of voter impersonation are ridiculous, I cannot discount the possibility that hackers could manipulate the computers which tabulate the votes as they come in from the precincts. (John Kerry's wife once called those devices "the mother machines.") As most of you know, the Brad Blog has published many serious, high-quality posts about the need for electoral integrity. This humble site looked into this issue at great length throughout the 2004-2005 period -- although, perhaps to my discredit, I've since decided to "let Brad do it."

I'm not saying that voting machine fraud in 2016 is likely or probable. But is such a thing theoretically possible? I believe so, and I'm not alone. That's why Brad Friedman and others have argued for a hard-copy "paper trail" which would allow for a by-hand recount. Trust but verify, as a notable Republican was wont to say.

And before you say it: No, my recognition of the need for ballot-box integrity does not mean that this blog will echo Alex Jones' warning about the menace of gay frogs. Some conspiratorial scenarios are more-or-less plausible, and some are really, really stupid. AJ is fond of the stupid ones.

Firebomb. Now let's turn our attention to the frightening attack on a Republican campaign office in North Carolina. Donald Trump immediately issued the kind of hyperbolic tweet one might have expected from a drunken Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?:
Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning @NCGOP
Of course, all of the polls indicate that the GOP is not winning.

Hillary's tone was rather more presidential:
The attack on the Orange County HQ @NCGOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.
North Carolina Democrats immediately launched a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild the office. In very short order, they raised substantially more than their goal.

My question: Who launched the attack? Obviously, the Democrats had nothing to gain; they are well ahead in the state and they certainly could not hope to profit from any bad publicity. Conversely, embattled Republicans stood to gain from a false-flag attack on their own headquarters.

Many of you will recall that a young Karl Rove almost certainly bugged his own office in order to frame the Democrats.

I'm not the only one to consider the possibility of a false flag attack. The same idea occurred to Josh Marhsall, whom no-one would mistake for an Alex Jonesian plot-spotter:
I think it is wise not to make too many assumptions about the intentions or identity of the arsonist. On its face, the attack looks like it is anti-Republican in nature. But recent elections have also witnessed a number of incidents, either attempted or otherwise in which supporters of one party carried out attacks either on themselves or their own partisans in an effort to tarnish the other party. In other words, false flag attacks, usually of an extremely clumsy and quickly discovered nature. Lots of places have surveillance cameras these days. I don't say this is likely, only that it is a real possibility based on recent history.
Some of you may also recall the instructive tale of Phil Parlock. (Hit the link and scroll down to #4.)

Speaking of Roger Stone: Mr. Conspiracy just offered the most bizarre -- and fascinating -- tweet of this whole damned election...
It turns out the entity with which I signed a non-disclosure agreement for the #Trump campaign was never legally constituted #invalid

Sounds to me as though someone wants to write the book that we're all dying to read. Admit it: Don't you want to see an insider's expose of the Donald Trump campaign? If Stone can't fulfill his dream of becoming the president's consigliere, a hefty publisher's advance would be one hell of a consolation prize.

In response to Stone's tweet, Harry Shearer said: "So, tell all!"

More intriguingly, the superb investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald wrote:
then id like to ask you a question about an email of yours i have. nothing bad about you.
Later, Eichenwald added:
...that wasn't a joke by the way. if u unblock me, ill follow and u can dm.
Fascinating! And yet...and yet...

After Stone dropped that mini-bombshell, he continued to publish Bill-the-Rapist nonsense, and he indicated that John Kerry had evil designs on Julian Assange. Is Stone still on Team Trump, or is he now a turncoat? Remember: Roger Stone has been a political dirty trickster since 1972; we should always presume that he has something up his sleeve other than his elbow.

Speaking of Julian Assange: Not many minutes ago (at this writing), cryptic tweets gave rise to the rumor that Assange is dead.
Rumors that Julian Assange is dead have been spreading online after a strange set of tweets from WikiLeaks that some believe to be a “dead man’s switch” — an insurance policy to ensure that closely guarded information is released in the event of his death.

The viral rumors started on Sunday afternoon after the official WikiLeaks Twitter account posted a series of messages that appeared to be coded. Many users believed that the release of the tweets meant that something had happened to Assange, who has been at the forefront of American politics in recent months by releasing sensitive mails connected to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Gizmodo pooh-poohs the idea.
Much as these tweets provide great fodder for conspiracy speculation, the secret to their meaning is hidden in plain sight. “Pre-commitment” in this case is a references to a cryptographic scheme to prevent unreleased information from being tampered with. Essentially those unique codes are proof to anyone reading the documents in the future that their contents remain unchanged: alteration to the leaks will likewise alter those 64-character codes.
Oh, Gizmodo! I bet you'd also scoff at Alex Jones' theory of an evil plot to turn frogs gay.
Pepe the frog - gay? So that's why Milo Yiannopoulos likes him?

Wikileaks are probably just trying to get attention again, with little of any interest that's about to be revealed. They can't walk the walk and are full of shit.

Expect more political violence in the US.

Rudy Giuliani is backing Trump on the election "rigging"; Mike Pence isn't.

Remember the Duke lacrosse scandal? 90% of liberal blogs went on racist tear about that one and were ready to castrate every rich white boy within a hundred miles of Durham. I warned everyone constantly that they were not getting all the facts, based simply on two notions: look before you leap (to conclusions) and applying simple forensics to the idea, i.e. means, motive, opportunity. In the Duke case, the "victim" and the prosecutor were the ones with the most likely motive. In the firebombing, it is apparent that the Democrats (not given to such things since at least the early 70s)had nothing to gain and a point or two in polling to lose. The GOP, on the other hand, has fuel for the rage-machine, the only thing driving their numbers today.

I rather like the idea of Stone as a traitor. Perhaps, tRump should be informed of this theory, then maybe he will start believing his own bullshit. (Evil Hillary can use mind rays on people; she was also behind the Roswell coverup. [will someone at a tRump rally please ask him what he thinks about UFOs-- that would be entertainment]) WikiKGB really just needs to stfu. They sound dumber every day. Anonymous where are you?
Wait a minute! Somebody is reading my comments???? And here I thought I was a direct descendant of Cassandra.
How many undecideds will reason that the only way to avoid civil war is to vote for Trump, because at least if Trump wins everyone will accept the result? Then maybe they'll vote for Democrats down-ticket to tie the president's hands.

It may still, even now, be dangerous to underestimate the cleverness of the Trump strategy.
Oh, civil war my @$$.

If Trump loses (as appears increasingly likely), 99+% of the Trump Chumps will simply grumble into their beer (or other preferred beverage) and rant on Da Intertoobz.

The handful who are genuinely dangerous can be crushed.

The whole lot of them are so many deodorant cakes in the urinal of Evolution.
I read that embassy cut Assange's internet access. Strange story about him being investigated by UN for "child grooming". Very weird.
Kathleen, can you provide a link? I googled "Assange" and "child grooming" but found only older links which don't seem connected to anything that Assange has done recently.

I found this in a Comments section at Balloon Juice:

The folks there are suspicious of the story. I meant to google what role UN might play in monitoring Internet sex trafficking but didn't get a chance to yet. It's very weird story. I thought you might find it intriguing nonetheless.
Here's another commenter provided:
Might 'gay frogs' turn out to be the grit which tears the right-wing CT engine apart?
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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Trump's tweet: WRONG

Saturday Night Live opened with a hilarious parody of the second debate. Donald Trump tweeted a response which encapsulated everything wrong with his approach:
Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me.Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!
No no no no.

Even if that's how Trump actually feels (and I'm sure it is), it was the wrong thing to say in public. Trump already has a reputation as a thin-skinned blowhard who can neither take nor tell a joke. He is also known as someone who, if given power, would deal with his enemies in a fashion reminiscent of Benito, Adolf, and Uncle Joe. So why does this idiot keep firing off tweets which feed into those perceptions?

He should have tweeted something witty, something which conveys the message "I can be a good sport." My suggestion...
Thinking of hiring Alec Baldwin. If Hillary can use a double, why can't I?
If you give the matter five minute's thought, you may be able to come up with a better offering. Unfortunately, Donnie is not a good sport, and he simply doesn't do wit. When it comes to humor, he's probably one of those guys who gets Curly but feels that Shemp is too abstract.

Added note: Everyone loves Alec Baldwin as Trump, and rightly so. But this is the episode in which Kate McKinnon nails it: "Naw. I'm cool."

Added added note: In this scene from The Caine Mutiny, does Bogie remind you of anyone running for president right now?

My biggest fear about this rigging charge is that it is Trump's projectionism. That is, he expects the Russians to rig the voting machines and now the Democrats can't say anything, having said that the results should be respected.
Very funny comeback you came up with, that would have nailed it for Trump in terms of showing another side, but, since that side does not exist….
DailyPUMA has 104 hits from Russia over the past week, but 101 of those 104 hits are in the past day, something is up or about to be up, no?
hahaha, whining about a comedy show, awesome! Nothing says loser better. I laughed so freaking hard!!! That Saturday Night was hilarious. My guiding principle in life is EB White's quote that despots don't fear fiery diatribes, they fear a drunken quip from a poet that may take hold. I always aspired to be that drunken poet, but would be happy to leave that role to SNL stars. They were tremendous.
I second joseph on the "Trump's projecting" fear. I'm sure the Russians have discussed whether rigging the election is possible. They might try, but I doubt they can pull it off. At the very least, though, I think they'll cyber-attack voting systems to, if nothing else, discredit the election and destabilize the country.

I also completely reject the premature call that Trump's lost this thing.
Well worth reading: what Tony Schwarz, the real author of The Art of the Deal, says about Trump's personality, women, drugs, and Armageddon, here and here.

This election isn't over yet.

And even if Trump loses, the Trumpmare won't be over.

Regarding Russia, people should remember the Manchurian Candidate and beware of underestimating the ~KGB. Imagine if between now and the election there are terrorist attacks in the US, or if there is a flare-up between US and Russian military forces in Syria. There are other ways that Russian interests - and certain US interests - can be helped than by a candidate declaring his admiration for Putin.
Anon 10.00pm - Yes indeed, the country is very susceptible to further destablisation.
OK can someone get hold of Tony Schwarz's "A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story" fast (New Yorker, 11 Feb 1985). It doesn't seem to be online and sounds as though it needs to be, fast.
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Is our long national Trumpmare finally over?

Seriously, is it over?

No-one ever mistook me for an optimist. In each election, my custom is to predict a victory for the candidate I loathe most. Yet here we are, three weeks away from the election, and Trump has decided that he can do without any help from the Ohio GOP. Doesn't that translate to "over"?

Maybe. But if so, then why do I keep watching the latest Trump news obsessively?

You're probably doing the same. What if the monster reanimates? For God's sake, keep a stake and some garlic close at hand: If there's thing I learned from a boyhood spent watching Hammer films, it's that Dracula tends to rise from the grave.

While maintaining your vigil, read this piece on the Trump/Putin ties. Yes, it is written by a spokesperson for Hillary For America -- hardly an unbiased source. But the facts are plain.
Intelligence officials say that Donald Trump was reportedly briefed in mid-August about Russia’s efforts to meddle in our election.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the first time anyone has quoted "intelligence officials" to that effect? It seems as though that "400 pound hacker" bit was a fib. Trump knew better.

The piece goes into Roger Stone's connections with Wikileaks, and the fact that Stone had advance knowledge of the John Podesta hack. You probably already knew about this.
It’s not just Stone. Yahoo! News reported that Trump’s former foreign policy adviser Carter Page traveled to Russia and allegedly met with the top Putin aide believed by U.S. officials to be in charge of Russia’s intelligence efforts regarding our election. Page had already raised concerns among foreign policy experts by delivering a July speech highly critical of U.S. policy — in Moscow.

The Trump campaign attempted to claim that Page had “no role” in the campaign. But that’s a demonstrable lie because Trump himself identified Page as a member of his foreign policy team, and spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed it.
So, to recap: our intelligence community has confirmed that Russia is trying to influence our election. Despite reportedly being briefed on this, Trump has continued to defend Putin and deflect blame from Russia — in effect coddling a foreign adversary. Meanwhile, Russian hackers and WikiLeaks are clearly trying to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

We also know that documents previously released by the Russian hackers behind Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks have been manipulated, and that we should only expect more of these dirty tricks moving forward.
Looks to me as though Donald Trump and Roger Stone are the ones who should fear being locked up -- for treason.

How they did it: BuzzFeed says that the hackers got into the DNC with a faked message from Gmail.
The emails, which were sent to DNC and Clinton staff from March 10, appeared almost identical to the standard warnings Gmail users get asking them to reset their passwords, the report found. Once clicked, the links took users to a page that imitated a Google login page, but which was stealing their password information — and downloading malware — designed by a group of Russian hackers known as Fancy Bear.
Researchers found the emails by tracing the malicious URLs set up by Fancy Bear using Bitly, a link shortening service. Fancy Bear had set the URL they sent out to read, rather than the official Google URL,, the report said.

“We were monitoring and saw the accounts being created in real time,” said Phil Burdette, a senior security researcher at SecureWorks, explaining how they stumbled upon the the URLs set up by Fancy Bear.
Wait. They were monitoring Bitly at the time? Awfully coincidental, that.

It is possible that we may one day learn that American intelligence services (and their contractors) have always known everything that Putin -- and Team Trump -- were getting up to.

This humble blog was -- I think -- the very first site to offer information and speculation about the Trump/Putin connection, in this post from June 16. I argued that Russian trolls manipulated the Bernie Sanders phenomenon...
No, I am not arguing that Bernie Sanders was cognizant of this operation. The 2016 astroturf campaign was designed not to make Sanders president but to create fractures within the Democratic party. You may have noticed that the pro-Bernie astroturfers rarely discussed the candidate's ideas in any detail, and rarely quoted him. This is the key distinction between Obama's online operation in 2008 and the Sanders online operation in 2016. In 2008, astroturfed demonization of Clinton was matched by wild overpraise of every thought and observation made by Barack Obama; the online effort was both negative and positive. This year, it was all about Hillary-Hate; Bernie was just the excuse.
In that June post, I maintained Hillary could not win against a cyber-war waged by a foreign power. Turns out I was wrong. Both the Russians and the Trump-eters suffered from the same failing: Whenever the situation called for subtlety, they were as obvious as Cyrano's nose.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The International Bankers

Finally, Donald Trump has identified the true foe, the evil force behind those Satanic Clintons: The International Bankers, who are forever plotting against American sovereignty. 

We must clear up an important misconception: Despite the baseless accusations you may have heard, Donald Trump is not talking about Jews. No no no no.


He's talking about bankers. International bankers.

You know the kind of bankers I'm talking about. I'm talking about the international bankers who live in New York City and watch a lot of Woody Allen movies. Some international bankers go around wearing funny little international banker beanies. Stereotypically, they visit their international banker psychiatrists to complain about their international banker mothers.

In terms of cuisine, you can depend on the international bankers to make the world's best Reuben sandwiches. For some reason, too many international banker mothers prepare flavorless boiled lamb for their international banker holidays. (I happen to love lamb, but international bankers usually make it all wrong.) When all else fails, international bankers always know the best places for Chinese food.

International banker friends have told me that International Banker Princesses (IBPs) are both high-maintenance and terrible in bed.

Will international bankers take offense at this post? I doubt it. Many of the funniest comics in America are international bankers, and they are the first to appreciate a good international banker joke.

At any rate, I hope I've set you straight about Donald Trump. Some say that he has gone too far, and that he may have to apologize to the international bankers. Don't be surprised if he tweets a picture of himself eating a bagel, accompanied by the words "I love international bankers!"
Glad to see you in good spirits!
I have to agree with the Donald on this one. No debt can be restructured without first declaring the debtor in default, which sets in motion all kinds of economic punishments related to credit scoring and interest rate hikes caused by the poor credit score.
We're so used to quoting goofy Donald Trump antics that when he actually says something of note its hard for some to differentiate it from his usual cackle.
Something of interest: if there's no majority in the EC, for example after McMullin wins Utah, then the presidency will probably go to Pence or Kaine.

This is because in the absence of a majority in the EC, the HoR gets to pick the president out of Clinton, Trump and McMullin. Each state's delegation gets one vote, and the quorum is 34. So if enough Republican congressmen abstain, the HoR will be inquorate and whoever the Senate chooses as vice-president, out of Kaine and Pence, then gets to be president. This is all in the 12th amendment.

If the Republicans hold the Senate, then by this method they get a "proper" Republican president, Mike Pence.

If they don't, then at least they get a Democratic president who isn't Clinton, whom they hate so much; they get Tim Kaine instead.

My understanding is that if the Senate is locked, Joe Biden gets a casting vote, but I am not 100% sure of that.
Roger Stone has a new piece out on the Russian mafia, John Podesta and the Clinton Foundation.
The vice president doesn't become president in case the house fails to elect a president; rather he/she acts as president until the house elects a president (which it can do, and is obliged to keep trying to do, right up until the presidential term expires).

For the senate's election of a vice president, a majority of all the senators (i.e. 51) is required, so the vice president's tie-breaking vote cannot come into play.

Quorum-busting will not be a smart idea. If anything, the different quorum rule in the house makes it more difficult to bust the quorum; one only needs at least one representative from at least 34 states to establish a quorum, so to bust the quorum one would need all of the representatives from 17 states to abstain. Furthermore, the present members can compel by force the quorum-busters' presence (i.e. issue arrest warrants), so if quorum-busting was the chosen tactic, they would have to go into hiding or leave the country.

A Scandinavian
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Never thought I'd see the day...

From here. (The map may change at any time.) Arizona in blue. Texas and Mississippi in light pink. And 538 tells a similar story -- with Iowa in blue.


I suspect that the final map will have less ultramarine and more vermillion. Still, for now, on this day, let us acknowledge and savor the grand accomplishment of Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, the pipe dream of flipping the House seems to be evaporating.

Worse, the Senate is evenly split. The sole tie (according to is in Wisconsin, where Russ Feingold faces Ron Johnson. One poll has Johnson up; another has Feingold ahead -- by an onionskin-thin margin. At the start of this election season, the Washington Post had labeled Johnson the most vulnerable senator, but he has proven to be pretty damned resilient.

If you have any spare cash to donate in these final weeks, please consider Feingold. He's a great man who deserves not just a return to his old senate seat but a shot at the presidency.

Johnson is a Tea Partier, a denier of man-made climate change, and a staunch opponent of Obamacare. He's against both abortion rights and stem cell research. He's also an alleged deficit hawk who won't rescind his support for Trump, even though Trump would expand the deficit -- and even though the last president to get us out of the red was Bill Clinton.
I don't get them continually painting Kentucky for Trump and for Sanders in the primary. For some reason no polling has been done in Kentucky either primary or for general in 2016. But every single time a Clinton has run they've won Kentucky. 1992, 1996, 2008 primary, 2016 primary. So there's a state that's a likely Clinton win that is being painted as a Trump win.
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Melania: Molk je znak priznanja

Melania Trump's lawyers have demanded that People magazine retract three tiny, insignificant details from the now-infamous story of Donald Trump's behavior toward Natasha Stoynoff. The bits which Melania considers objectionable have nothing to do with the gist of Stoynoff's claims.

People magazine has refused to make any changes or to retract any portion of Stoynoff's story. I don't see how Melania can sue for damages, since the tiny passages in question do not defame her in any way.

Here's what's really odd: Melania has had no other response to the charges against her husband, even though most of the incidents occurred after her marriage to The Donald. Throughout the current scandal, she has remained a Slovenian sphinx.

What's going on? You'd think that Team Trump would have asked her to issue a boilerplate "stand by your man" declaration. Nothing. She stands aloof, silent and mysterious.

There's a Slovenian saying: Molk je znak priznanja. Silence means consent.

Added note.
After giving the matter further thought, I can understand Team Trump's strategy. They were hoping to force People to offer up a tiny and inconsequential change in the story, just to make Melania go away. If People had done so, Trump could then argue that the entire piece had an iffy factual basis.
Perhaps the irony of condemning Hillary Clinton for standing by her man has come full circle. Trump can't accuse Hillary Clinton of intimidating other women if his own wife begins doing exactly what Hillary Clinton did even though what Hillary Clinton did was basically standing by your man.
Perhaps standing by your man means Donald can't admire his wife's ass or tower over her from behind so it's not allowed.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trump's insane conspiracy theory

The video embedded above offers exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the current state of the Trump campaign.

On a more serious note: I just saw Trump's HUUUUGE speech in Florida, in which he denied all of the claims made against him by various women over the past couple of days. Trump offered no facts -- just conspiracy theory.

What a spectacle! The Republican nominee offered a bizarre rant about how the New York Times and People Magazine were locked into a grand conspiracy with Hillary Clinton, the big banks and the (Republican!) head of the FBI. Evidence? He offered none.


For a moment, I was tempted to call his tirade "Alex Jonesian," but in truth, Trump sunk below the Jones level. This exercise in conspiranoia went spelunking through those dark caverns of our collective psyche previously explored only by David Icke or Milton William Cooper -- and perhaps Julius Streicher. Honestly, I half-expected Trump to start raving about the underground UFO base near Dulce, New Mexico.

Worst of all, Trump lapsed into outright sexism while denying charges of sexism! Of People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff (who says that Trump assaulted her in 2005), Trump said: "Look at her." His obvious meaning: He would never have an interest in so ugly a woman.

This, from a man trying to establish himself as someone who respects women.

Donnie, Donnie, Donnie. The truth would stick in your throat if ever you tried to tell it. (Needless to say, Stoynoff is roughly 30 zillion times more attractive than Fat Old Trumpy is.)

Meanwhile, the NYT seems to savor the idea of doing combat with Donald Trump in court. If they paper were party to a grand conspiracy, they'd be acting very differently, methinks.

Let me offer a few observations concerning Trump's threat to jail Hillary. First: Over what?

Trump keeps saying that Hillary deleted 30,000 emails (although his numbers tend to morph). Comey's report is clear: She did not delete anything, and there is no evidence that she asked for any deletions. Trump also still seems to be under the impression that a chemical "bleaching" agent was used. This idiot has no idea how computers work!

Second: Trump clearly is not a professional. Pros don't threaten. Pros simply do.

I've had to deal with several death threats over the past few decades. Only crazy people and blowhards make such threats. Since crazy people can be dangerous, one should never ignore a threat. But one should also understand that professionals never say such things.

Nobody threatened Frank Rosenthal, the man who inspired Martin Scorcese's brilliant film Casino. Rosenthal just turned the key in his ignition switch and discovered that he had engine trouble.

Pros don't threaten. Pros simply do. Only blowhards and crazy people issue threats.

No, I'm not saying that Trump's enemies should take any kind of illegal action against him. God forbid. Seriously: God forbid. We don't need anything else to swell the ranks of this nation's conspiracy buffs.

It would be much sweeter to see Trump land in long-overdue legal hot water -- perhaps for his apparent bribe of Pam Bondi, perhaps for the overall crookedness of his Foundation, perhaps for soliciting foreign donations for his campaign, perhaps for offering Ben Carson a deal for his endorsement, perhaps for keeping all of those foreign-born models in conditions resembling slavery, perhaps for using campaign contributions to fund his businesses, perhaps for the massive scam operation called Trump University, perhaps for his serial bilking of any contractors unfortunate enough to do business with him, perhaps for his illegal dealings with Cuba. Or perhaps -- and this is the big one -- for his treasonous collusion with Vladimir Putin.

Wouldn't you like to see Trump gain an orange jumpsuit to match his pigmentation?

Another Trump business failure. The increasingly toxic Trump brand indicates a quick death for the hotel he created out of what used to be the Old Post Office Building.
The 263-room five-star hotel in the historic Old Post Office building opened last month. But even with a prime location near the White House, swanky interiors, and aggressive promotion by the candidate himself, empty rooms have forced the hotel to reduce rates during a peak season.
Some of the issues even predate Trump’s presidential campaign: When the government inked a 60-year, $200 million lease with Trump in 2012, rival hoteliers took the unusual step of warning Uncle Sam that the deal could turn into yet another Trump business failure.

Those warnings look increasingly prophetic. While the break-even rate on the hotel rooms is more than $750 a night, by some estimates last weekend rooms could be had for under $500 per night — at a time when rival hotels were sold out weeks ahead of time. In his bid to win the lease, Trump promised to offer luxurious suites to lure business execs and diplomats, but many of the international elite appear to be avoiding it.

Last weekend bankers and dignitaries from around the world descended on Washington for the annual World Bank–IMF meetings. But just a few days before the conference, rooms were not only still available at Trump International, they were heavily discounted. On October 2, a deluxe room, with a rack rate of $805, could be had for as low $445 a night on All other five-star D.C. downtown hotels were sold out.
For a five-star hotel in downtown Washington to have vacancies during major IMF meetings is a little like having empty rooms when the Super Bowl is in town.
In their April 16, 2012, letter to the GSA protesting the acceptance of Trump’s bid, Hilton’s lawyers warned that the government was setting itself up for a “devastating failure for the historical landmark with a business partner whose history of repeated failure demonstrates that it cannot be counted on to deliver what it promises.” Eighteen pages of the letter detailed Trump’s business failures and lawsuits against him.
(Emphasis added.)

When -- not if -- Trump loses the property, I hope President Clinton finds some way to resurrect the plan of transforming the building into a Women's Museum. I can't imagine a more wonderful outcome. You know the phrase "poetic justice"? If Dante, Shakespeare, Rossetti, Browning, Hopkins, Yeats, Dickinson and Angelou collaborated for a year, they could not come up with finer poetry.
it is unfortunate that not many have discovered the irony of the Trump building in Washington that he crowed about during the second debate, was supposed to be a woman's museum instead.
Joseph! You uttered the words, "President Clinton"!

I'm telling you, it's going to happen.

I'm gonna go full contrarian right now and say this. I don't think Trump's done at all. Yeah, the early voting might hurt him, but then again it might not. There are some early figures showing GOP and Dem mail-ins in Michigan about even.

Everything's being thrown at him now. And if this doesn't bring him down, nothing will -- there won't be time left for anything to bring him down. And we know his base is gonna turn out like no one else; and their turnout only goes up with these attacks. Are there enough of them?

I think the race is gonna even up toward the last two weeks. And I think the rage that's building in him guarantees he's gonna be totalitarian right out of the gates.

I also think you /might/ be belittling the danger of his conspiracy theory. He's now saying everything is controlled by international banks. He's saying the country won't exist if Hillary's elected. He's setting the stage for an insurgency if he loses, and a purge if he wins.

Yes, his chances of winning have gone way down, but in the process his totalitarian nature has been revealed. This is the worst time for complacency or gloating. You could call this election the most momentous since the start of the Civil War, but I think that'd be an understatement. The whole Free World is at stake.

P, you may be right -- especially when it comes to the evening of the race toward the end. At this point, I really don't want that kind of suspense, but I fear that we will have to endure.

As for the larger issue of the insurgency that Trump represents: History tells us that sometimes the revolutionaries simply lack the heart to go through with it. On the left, you have the example of the Decembrists and their abortive revolution against the Czar. On the right, you have the example of General Boulanger, whom I consider Europe's first fascist -- and, in some ways, a prototype for Trump, although the two men had very different personalities.

Boulanger could have ended the Third Republic in 1889, just as the Decembrists could have toppled Nicholas I in 1825. But civil war is a bloody, wretched business. After the snow bears its first red stains, the rebels must face that horrible moment when they ask themselves: "Do I REALLY want to go through with this?"

If more Americans knew what really happened in Spain in the 1930s, nobody in this country would romanticize revolution.
"If more Americans knew what really happened in Spain in the 1930s, nobody in this country would romanticize revolution."

That warning would work better if the adjective "right-wing" or "fascist" were inserted before the word "revolution". The left-wing revolution in Spain was a response to a fascist uprising which took place in reaction to a social-democratic election win.

Stalinist power in territory held by the Republic became largely "red fascist", but the Stalinists and Franco's forces weren't the only players. You've got to hand it to the agricultural collectives, the urban collectives, the anarchist CNT, and to some extent the POUM. People did change life for a short while, in the right direction. Romanticism about their revolutionary efforts is a good thing.

Once the fascists had had their uprising, they would probably have slaughtered just as many people if they hadn't met such resistance as if they had.

A fascist uprising in the US in response to a Clinton victory might well be victorious, at least in some areas, because the rise of social revolutionary feeling with the capacity to stop itself getting spooked is very unlikely in this world in which we live, a world full of impressionable young Facebook users who have no idea about who does what to whom. Millions of innocents would be likely to get killed. But if a fascist takeover is attempted, there needs to be resistance - and there needs to be support from abroad - because nobody ever stopped fascism by lying down and getting walked over.

It's unlikely that the US armed forces will loyally fight to retake fascist-held areas.

In the meantime, vote for Clinton! :)
Anon, Franco was indeed one of the worst human beings ever to live. But the fascist terror in Spain was made possible by the stupidity and overreach of the left. They betrayed the original goal of defending the Republic; they saw the war as their chance to spread some truly insane ideas.

For me, the key image is that infamous film footage of the Spanish communists (or were they anarchists?) who raided a convent, dug up the graves of several nuns and desecrated the corpses. ON CAMERA. The lefties were PROUD of what they had done. They thought that they had staged a propaganda coup. Those goddamned idiots actually thought that this hideous imagery would win the hearts and minds of average Spaniards.

I keep flashing on that footage whenever I see dunderheaded young American lefties (such as the BernieBros) operate under the delusion that their views are shared by the majority of their fellow citizens.
Oops, that was me - I forgot to type in 'b'. After the fascist CEDA party under Gil Robles had had ministers in the government but then been ousted by the Popular Front in the 1936 election, I think the far right would have tried to "finish it" with mass terror regardless.

Unlike in the civil war in Greece, there weren't many "worker priests" or "socialist priests". Spain was Opus Dei territory, and the church hierarchy mostly backed the fascists and big landowners. That doesn't excuse for one moment the actions of stupid arseholes who dug up and desecrated nuns' corpses. Certainly that kind of disgusting action provided grist to the mill of the fascists. Spain wasn't and isn't a centralised country culturally, and as a rule the fascists didn't view themselves as fighting for "Fascism" or "the Spanish nation". (The term "Nationalist" was adopted mainly to please the German Nazis, and is said to have been bestowed by Joseph Goebbels.) They saw themselves as fighting for Christianity against the godless communists. This species of fascism didn't just win in Spain; it comes down to Algeria, South America, and Belgium too, practically sacralising the widespread use of torture against "subversives", sometimes while intoning the phrase "Christ the King". What's emblematic for me in the left-wing revolution in Spain is the camaraderie and sharing that were evident both in the production collectives (some of which abolished money) and in the working class militias (mainly formed by branches of the anarchist CNT).

I dunno; maybe you'd put some blame on anticlericalism for riling up the fash, going back to the beginning of the Second Republic in 1931? But getting the priesthood out of the schools seems a lot better than letting them stay in. In Ireland they're still in, whatever the position is on paper.

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What a night for my internet to go out! It's back on now, thank God...

Not many hours ago, I had planned to spend this night writing a long-ish post about the women who made accusations against Bill Clinton in the 1990s. And then...

Then we saw a flurry of news stories about Donald Trump popping into a dressing room filled with unclothed teenaged girls competing in the Miss Teen USA pageant. Some of the girls were as young as 15.

That was only the beginning. The NYT published a story about two women who claimed that Donald Trump groped them.

The first, Jessica Leeds (now 74), says that Trump "moved" on her when they shared a first-class flight in the early 1980s. Leeds' account struck me as problematical on first read, but the video interview embedded above seems very persuasive. Her words indicate that she initially responded to Trump's kisses, which may have emboldened him to go further. In other words, this story contains a grey area. Arguably, that grey area increases Leeds' believability, since a concocted story probably would have been grey-free.

The second incident occurred in 2005. A woman named Rachel Crooks, then 22 years old, worked as a receptionist with the Bayrock firm in Trump Tower. (Interestingly, Bayrock figures in various news stories about Trump's Russian links.) Crooks says that immediately after she met Trump near an elevator, he started to kiss her on the mouth -- just as Trump himself described in the infamous Access Hollywood video.

Trump has made lawsuit noises against the New York Times. According to a report I've seen on CNN, his campaign has also said that the women making the accusations should "lawyer up."

A lawsuit would subject Trump to Discovery. That should be droll. 

It seems obvious that the NYT's lawyers must have vetted this story as thoroughly as possible. For a libel suit to succeed, Trump's lawyers would have to prove that the NYT knowingly published false information for malicious reasons. I just don't see how that standard can be met.

The fact that the two women may now face legal action only adds to their credibility. What would they have to gain from making up a yarn out of whole cloth?

One cannot easily argue that both the accusers and the newspaper are telling lies in order to prevent Trump from winning the White House. Before the NYT published, Trump was not exactly on the cusp of victory: Even many Republican leaders had given up on this election. Hillary Clinton was not in a desperate situation and needed no dramatic October Surprise.

As the night wore on, we received word of further "Donnie the Groper" stories.

One came from People Magazine. Journalist Natasha Stoynoff, who often reported on Trump during the early 2000s, says that in 2005 -- at a time when Melania was pregnant -- Donald Trump gave her a tour of his Florida mansion.
We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.

Now, I’m a tall, strapping girl who grew up wrestling two giant brothers. I even once sparred with Mike Tyson. It takes a lot to push me. But Trump is much bigger — a looming figure — and he was fast, taking me by surprise and throwing me off balance. I was stunned. And I was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself.

The butler informed us that Melania would be down momentarily, and it was time to resume the interview.

I was still in shock and remained speechless as we both followed him to an outdoor patio overlooking the grounds. In those few minutes alone with Trump, my self-esteem crashed to zero. How could the actions of one man make me feel so utterly violated? I’d been interviewing A-list celebrities for over 20 years, but what he’d done was a first. Did he think I’d be flattered?

I tried to act normal. I had a job to do, and I was determined to do it. I sat in a chair that faced Trump, who waited for his wife on a loveseat. The butler left us, and I fumbled with my tape recorder. Trump smiled and leaned forward.

“You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?” he declared, in the same confident tone he uses when he says he’s going to make America great again. “Have you ever been to Peter Luger’s for steaks? I’ll take you. We’re going to have an affair, I’m telling you.” He also referenced the infamous cover of the New York Post during his affair with Marla Maples.

“You remember,” he said. “‘Best Sex I Ever Had.’ ”
Actually, Marla did not say those words. The quote was provided to the NYP by Donald himself, who (according to David Cay Johnston) planted the story in that newspaper. Trump did so to humiliate his wife Ivana, to whom he was still married at the time (and who once testified that her rage-fueled husband had tried tried to yank out her hair). Trump's three young children also saw that Post cover.

The Palm Beach Post published still another "groper" story. This one concerns a woman named Mindy McGillivray who says that Trump groped her at the Mar-A-Lago in 2003. A photographer named Ken Davidoff confirms that McGillivray told him at the time that "Donald Trump just grabbed my ass."

A fifth story comes to us from Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013. Like McGillivray, Searles claims that Trump grabbed her hindquarters.
Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013, recalls that when she was a contestant, the businessman demanded the women redo their introductions when they failed to look Trump in the eye. In a Facebook post this year, Searles called Trump a "misogynist" who "treated us like cattle" and "lined up so he could get a closer look at his property." Other contestants from the same year, like Paromita Mitra of Mississippi, bolstered Searles recollection. Mitra commented, "I literally have nightmares about that process.

Searles added in a comment on her initial post's thread, "He probably doesn't want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room."
Trump was, of course, married at this time. He was also (according to Wayne Barrett) considering a run for the presidency.

All in all, newswatchers witnessed one hell of a barrage last night.

My first reaction: What if one of these women is a ringer? Some are comparing Trump to Bill Cosby, but that accusation works two ways, since many observers believe that at least one of the women making claims against Cosby is a liar. In the current round of accusations against Donald Trump, one provably false claim will taint the rest.

Never forget: Trump's pal Roger Stone is the consummate dirty trickster. He's capable of anything.

Maybe all five of these women are telling the truth. Maybe one or more of them is bearing false witness. I don't know. On first read, Stoynoff's account strikes me as the most convincing of the lot. That said, none of the claims present insurmountable difficulties at this point, although tomorrow may bring new evidence and a new perspective.

One thing is certain: Given Trump's notoriously litigious nature, no sane editor in the mainstream media would want to publish such an accusation without first making sure that each and every duckling was aligned in a very neat row.

Hilariously, the Trump campaign issued a statement decrying the NYT for publicizing a case that is "decades old." What hypocrisy! The entire Trump campaign now revolves around rehashing ancient claims against Bill Clinton.

Steve Bannon says that he is going to transform Bill Clinton into Bill Cosby. I doubt it: Right now, the Cosbification of Donald Trump overshadows all. I don't see how Team Trump can get their "Bad Bill" message out to a mainstream audience; the Trumpers have been reduced to talking to themselves. Besides, Bannon has nothing new and credible to offer on the Clinton front. All of the older accusations were thrashed out at great length in the 1990s -- and during that time, Bill Clinton's approval ratings increased. So did Hillary's.

In the 1990s, the public understood that the amounts of money lavished on Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers could explain why both of those women changed their stories. Juanita Broaddrick is a proven liar. (Scroll down for my earlier post about her). As for Kathleen Willey -- well, her claims were always difficult to accept. Read what Joe Conason has to say about her, then compare the outlandish Willey story (which even Ken Starr refused to touch) to the one offered by Natasha Stoynoff. Which one has the ring of truth?

Always keep in mind that the Republicans -- not the Dems -- are the ones who employ dirty tricksters like Roger Stone. If you scoffed at the preceding sentence, if you have wedded yourself to the idea that "both sides are equally guilty," then I challenge you: Name the liberal analogue to Stone. G'wan. I dare you.

Bannon, like most other members of the Donald Trump Dick Club, is hyper-aggressive and hyper-macho and just plain hyper. He says that his personal motto is "Honey badger don't care." Silly badger: What if the rest of the world stops caring about you?
Roger Stone and then there was Roger Ailes, no? Roger that.
The woman on the plane seemed somewhat implausible to me, but, what I think happened was she stumbled when stating she didn't mind making out with him as in kissing, but nothing below the belt.
But she never told anybody? Why?
"For a libel suit to succeed, Trump's lawyers would have to prove that the NYT knowingly published false information for malicious reasons. I just don't see how that standard can be met."

He could sue in a jurisdiction outside the US. In England, he need only prove that the statement was defamatory; he wouldn't have to prove falsehood or malice.

But he wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

In the US, wouldn't a power such as the NYT swat him like a fly?
When he was 46, Trump said about a 10-year-old girl, and in her presence, that he would be "dating her in 10 years". For fuck's sake! How is this guy still polling at 42%?
I think you answered your own question, Alessandro. It's embarrassing to admit that what you initially thought to be a romantic moment turned into a rapey moment.
What effect does this have on the Katie Johnston business?

Why wouldn't they have come forward earlier, including earlier during the current Trump campaign? Ted Cruz must be kicking himself.

What of Eileen Wellstone? I see Stone is tweeting about her. You didn't mention that one.

Is the liberal Stone Manafort? Is he a liberal?

Most important question: is it nearly over yet?

How about Dick Tuck? (as a nominee for your requested example of a D dirty trickster)

I guess he could be seen as more a prankster, and of course, he was a Nixon-era figure back in the day, not a contemporary example.


Unless I missed something: where in the NYTimes piece, or in the taped interview, does Ms. Leeds day anything about having kissed Mr. Trump? She talks about his groping, but doesn't mention making out at all.
With respect to Jessica Leeds' airplane story, when I initially heard it last night, I wondered about the seat comment. I've flown first class a fair amount. Generally speaking, the division between you and the person next to you is usually an immovable area for drinks, snacks, etc. I am not remembering a situation in first class where the arm rest moves up and down.

Besides that, I found her recollection moving and disturbing, such that I had a nightmare that taints my waking and this day. Can we all go to sleep, wake up on November 8, vote, and be done with it?
Interesting to see The Young Turks completely miss the point ... Cenk says despairingly, "why is it the sex that brings down Trump?"

Because it's not about the sex. It's about a powerful man, born to wealth, protected by an army of lawyers, abusing women any time he feels like it, and acting without any consequence for all his life. People, particularly women, are just rag dolls to him, things to used and thrown away. Men may not understand that story, but every women I've met has a similar story to tell.

He's not just a sexual predator; he's a psychopath and predator, protected by lawyers and a media culture that hides and conceals deception, abuse, and coercion. It's finally taken a few women to come along and unmask this thug, and his pals in the media, who have known all along and laughed with him ... on the air, and in private.
Remember tRump assaulted one his teachers when he was ten years old--- and got away clean. He was trained from birth to be a bully and later learned to be a predator.
I can't think of anyone equivalent to Stone on the left either, though I guess some of the hippy left from the Weather Underground might loosely qualify.
On a tangential note, are more folks from Left Blogistan claiming to the be the sole all seeing eye for the past three decades? (I'm not talking about you, Joe, or anyone else who frequents this blog) I spend at least six hours every day (I don't have a regular job) wandering through a long list of blogs and seeing who is saying what, and lately, there seems to be quite of bit "I'm the only person who has ever talked about how the liberals were always right" kind of stuff.("I alone howled in the wilderness!") Cannonfire regularly posts material no one else has so again, not this blog, but it's seems there is a contest on-going about who is going to claim the throne of Gandalf the White in Left Blogistan. Or it could just be me stumbling around the dimming edges of dementia. What the Hell. Vote Clinton! (That must be ADD again.) As dozens of "millennials" have told me, "Go away old man. You're too old to understand how the world works today." Sorry for ranting but this election is making me fng crazy!
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Donald Trump and Alex Jones

Wish I could embed this Trumpcast interview (which I somehow managed to miss until just a few hours ago), but I can't. So please hit the link. It's a must-hear interview with the always-delightful Jon Ronson, who gives hitherto-undisclosed details of the Alex Jones/Donald Trump relationship. Ronson also offers a chilling mini-portrayal of Roger Stone, who comes across as a kind of Bond villain.

The foundational question here is: Do these men actually believe in the conspiracy theories they push? Trump, I think, is at least a half-believer. I know from experience that conspiranoia is the only type of political discourse sensational enough to capture the attention of someone who suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder.

As for AJ: I think that sincerity and hucksterism do a complex dance in his case. Like most of the lower conspiracy researchers, he rarely does actual research. That is to say: I can't imagine Alex Jones calling up John Newman for help understanding the routing information on a newly-released CIA document from 1959 concerning Oswald's stay in the USSR. AJ isn't exactly the kind of guy who gets into abstruse arguments over the context of footnote 198 on page 457. His idea of scholarship is to call Julian Assange a "Hillary Clinton butt plug" because Assange didn't say what Jones wanted him to say.

Stone, in my opinion, is a stone-cold opportunist. Pilate's question holds no interest for him. He cares only about that which furthers his concept of politics:
I practice the politics of polarization -- a politics that is brutal, psychological and effective. It is the politics of division, galvanizing those who bear a grudge against the establishment, rallying the resentful, the jealous, and the angry against the elites.
That is pretty much Donald Trump's whole act, isn't it?

Understand that Stone is no true populist. Throughout his career, he has mustered anti-elite sentiment in order to further the cause of any member of the elite willing meet his fee.
Trump's response to the latest sexual abuse allegations made in the New York Times, issued by his communications adviser Jason Miller, is pure squirm:

"This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr Trump on a topic like this is dangerous."

What a weak second clause!

"To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr Trump trvializes sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election."

Whatever it does, it doesn't trivialise sexual assault! If Trump had any sense, and didn't himself want to characterise sexual assault as trivial, he should accept that a man who is guilty of such actions is not fit to be president.

He should say something like

"These very serious allegations are wholly false. I have never sexually assaulted anyone. There are many understandable reasons why victims of sexual assault may prefer not to bring allegations at the time, and there are many good reasons why they may decide to pursue the matter several years after the event. Any woman who is in this position should contact one of the many excellent support organisations, the police, or both. That applies regardless of the standing of the alleged abuser. I myself have nothing to fear, because I know that I have not committed these or any similar offences."

But no. He hasn't got the sense to say that. Instead, he says

"It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all."

It is not absurd at all to believe that a highly recognisable businessman who employs women in senior positions may also have a long record of groping women. It is idiotic to say so. Trump loves himself and he is a rich bastard who runs a business. That doesn't mean he keeps his hands to himself.

"Further, The Times story buries the pro-Clinton financial and social media activity on behalf of Hillary Clinton's candidacy, reinforcing that this is truly nothing more than a political attack. This is a sad day for the Times."

That seems to have got garbled. Why would they want to bury pro-Clinton activity? Doesn't Trump pay someone to read through his press releases before they get sent out?

I'm waiting for the how the Times reports the next stage in the story about the Trump Foundation's activities in the state of New York.

Trump may soon withdraw.
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The mic guy, the "dying" GOP, Trump's sniffles, and a way to escape the nightmare of a third debate

Never piss off the Mic Guy. A sound engineer who worked on The Apprentice spills a few Trumpian beans:
“Micing him was honestly the most abusive, humiliating experience of my 15 years as a sound engineer,” the engineer told BuzzFeed News. “He treated me like I wasn’t a human being.”

The engineer said the first time he was assigned to put a mic on Trump, the television personality refused to shake his hand, instead turning to one of his many assistants and saying, “’Whoa, whoa, whoa, who’s this fucking monkey?’” the engineer said, adding that the comment was not racially charged.

He said that throughout their interactions, Trump refused to address him directly, instead aiming all of his comments about the engineer to his assistants.

“’I’m not gonna let this fucking monkey touch me unless he washes his hands,” Trump said, according to the engineer. Trump then made one of his assistants escort the engineer to the bathroom and watch him wash his hands, before walking him back and telling Trump he washed up.

“Trump just kept calling me a ‘fucking monkey’ over and over,” the engineer said. “I’ve mic’d everyone from Ben Affleck to Renée Zellweger, and never, ever in my career have I run into something like that.”
A few words of explanation may be in order. We've all seen those small clip-on lapel mics affixed to on-screen "talent," yet we rarely think about how those mics got there. A wire connects the microphone to either a transmitter (a pocket-sized black box) or a small recording device. The wire runs under the suit jacket, and often under a shirt or blouse.

Thus, a large part of the sound engineer's job is psychological. He or she must keep the talent relaxed and comfortable during the intimate process of wiring. This task becomes particularly tricky when the engineer is male and the person being wired is a female interview subject who is not a professional entertainer.

Obviously, sound engineers must develop a friendly, non-threatening demeanor and a standard line of patter. They take pride in their ability to set the talent at ease. And, of course, they always keep themselves decently groomed.

I'm sure that the guy who had to wire up Trump is a pro. But here's the thing: Trump himself was a professional television personality. He should have understood from the start that his lucrative gig required him to overcome his well-known paranoia concerning germs and contamination. Besides, the sound guy would not have made contact with Donnie's precious tangerine-hued skin: Since Trump always wears a suit, there was no need to run the wire beneath his shirt.

Is the GOP dying? No, it isn't -- and reports of its coming demise have become downright annoying.

Get real: If Trump loses the election, the Republican party will probably still control the House of Representatives and -- in all likelihood -- the Senate. On the state level, most governors and legislators will be Republican. Fox News will remain the most powerful "news" source in the country. Trump and Breitbart are likely to form their own propaganda operation, which will veer even further to the right. Conservatism/libertarianism controls the "conspiracy" counterculture, which continually demonizes Democrats and liberals.

Compare today's political landscape to the Nixon era. Throughout Richard Nixon's presidency, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress; if memory serves, they also held most governorships. We were all Keynesians then, as Nixon himself admitted. Nothing like Fox News existed. The religious right had not yet found its muscles. Right-wing conspiracism did exist in the form of the John Birch Society and allied groups, but the weirdo reactionary paranoia which enthralls so many people nowadays was then relegated to the fringe of the fringe.

That was the situation before Watergate hit. When Nixon resigned, life become even more dismal for the Republicans. For a while.

If Hillary wins the presidency, all strains of conservatism will unite against her. Arguably, her election could be the best possible outcome for the GOP, since she will bring Republicans together in a way that Donald Trump never could.

If a new economic downturn hits, the Republicans will experience one of history's greatest rebounds. Such a downturn seems very likely regardless of who wins the election, and for one simple reason: No politician has found a way to outlaw the business cycle.

Donald the druggie? Trump biographer David Cay Johnston insists that there is no evidence that Donald has ever used any illegal drug. Of course, Johnston knows that he must never give Trump grounds for a legal suit.

But Princess Leia has no such fears. When a Twitter follower asked Carrie Fisher if Trump's sniffling indicated that he was a "coke head," Fisher responded: "I'm an expert & ABSOLUTELY!"

I'm no expert, and I honestly don't know if Fisher's claim is plausible or foolish. Still, there are a few other indicators, such as Trump's hyperactive behavior, his inability to concentrate and his nonsensical "word salad" speech patterns. One should recall that Trump used to spend a lot of time in clubs like Studio 54.

This site lists the symptoms of cocaine usage:
If a person is abusing powdered cocaine and they don’t want you to know, they may disappear to use the drug and then return in a very different mood. They may seem excited and act more confident and exhibit a greater sense of well-being. They may be more excited sexually and talkative. Their energy will be pumped up and they probably will not have very much appetite for food and will not have a normal sleep pattern.
Does any of that bring to mind a certain 3 a.m. Twitter user?
Mental state:

Unusual excitement
Poor judgment
Check, check, check, check, check, check, check. Does Trump have hallucinations? I don't think so -- not unless we count his insistence that famous women like Madonna and Kim Bassinger were hot for his body.

We must also consider Trump's strange interaction with his doctor: Those two men certainly seem to be hiding something.

The third debate: Should it be?
We know that Trump is pursuing a Ragnarok campaign. He's Adolf in the bunker, demanding the destruction of Germany -- and there is no Albert Speer on hand to subvert his most insane orders. Caught up in a world of slap-happy delusion, an unfettered Trump will continue to throw red meat to the Hill-haters and the Brietbarters. He really seems to believe that the best way to win over moderates is to pile on the crazy talk and the sleaze.

Hillary has nothing to gain from a third debate. Moreover, I honestly don't believe that that country yearns for another horror show like Debate #2. A third debate would be all schaden and no freude.

As Bill Moyers wrote yesterday:
Cancel the third debate.

No kidding. The dark and gloomy showdown in St. Louis last night was so depressing, so full of incivility, I hereby nominate it for the last of this awful election campaign.
Thanks mainly to Trump, but also to his enablers, politics for this year is wrecked. Yes, I want Hillary Clinton to trounce him. Yes, I think she’ll be a good president. But spare me, please, any further need for her to “hit a home run” to provide us insights into his smarmy soul. As a savvy political observer, I know how to avoid his slimy speeches; as a devoted New Yorker I can easily cross the street to evade his shiny buildings. But sit through another one-on-one with the same old garbage? No thanks. Really, there just isn’t enough hand sanitizer in the world.
Hillary needs an excuse to escape this unpleasant duty. What to do?

To me, the solution is simple -- though probably expensive. Just pay whatever it takes to get hold of the videos. Do it NOW.

We all know that there are further embarrassing Trump videos and audio recordings. Unfortunately, the producer of The Apprentice, Mark Burnett, remains a die-hard Trump fan.
“Mark knows about this behavior. He’s seen all the B-roll. There’s evidence on film. I guarantee you that. We all know somebody has a smoking gun,” says the source.

The source believes awareness extends beyond Burnett and that “everybody is tongue-tied, because they would never work for Burnett again.”
It has been said that anyone breaking the non-disclosure contract would incur a penalty of $5 million. It has also been reported that the worst of the recordings has Trump using "the N-word."

My advice to Team Hillary is the same advice that any sane person would give Marvel Entertainment during contract negotiations with Chris Hemsworth or ScarJo: Just pay the money.

In this case, we're talking about the amount of money necessary to pay the $5 million fine, plus enough long green to negate any need to work again in Hollywood -- or anywhere else. $10 million would seem a reasonable figure.

Of course, someone needs to come up with a way to make the payment quietly and within the boundaries of the law. That part may be difficult. But I think it can be done.

Just pay the money. Pay whatever it takes. Put the N-word tape, or something that has similar shock value, all over cable news and the internet the day before the third debate. Nobody outside of the Brietbart bubble would blame Hillary for cancelling.

The other possibility: Release NSA recordings of someone from Team Trump talking to someone on Team Vladimir.
Excellent point about pay the money. It's really not that much in the grander scheme of things.

Why was Trump upset about being mic'd? Two theories, on the Apprentice, maybe they used a boom mike? I would find that shocking since wireless mic's are basically a sure thing whereas a boom mike can miss at times. I would suspect the Video of Trump on the bus may have been mic'd via a wireless mic and maybe Trump didn't want to be reminded of the released video so soon after it happened?
I think your last possibility might come to pass. I just heard a guy on NPR say just that.
War is about to happen.
Trump many not be hallucinating but he sure as hell is delusional.
If they cancel the third debate they should give the time to Johnson and Stein.
There are non-trivial differences between this event and Watergate. While Nixon was ethically-challenged, he was an establishment Republican, and the party was unified in it's base. Plus, with the "Southern Strategy" just coming online, there was plenty of upside for a non-ethically challenged Republican to lead the party into a majority. That is just what Reagan did. There was no third-party option for Nixon or Nixonians, because their conservative views were still part of the Party.
The current situation is different. By rejecting Trump, the GOP leaders are rejecting a sizable portion of their base who have zero problem with the way Trump talks. In fact, they love it, it reflects who they actually are. What is more, Trump now seems to be running as much against the GOP as he is against Clinton, and his base admires him for that too. They aren't worried about the Republican party's prospects because they want to throw a bomb in the entire political works. Trump is only too happy to keep his base fired up against both the legacy parties after election day, and without that 15-25% of their base working for them, the GOP is in serious trouble.
There's no John Sinclair yet to claim Trump uses coke, and there would be, no? The sniffing sounds like a performance technique, inhaling before speaking, but he's got chronic sinusitis like every life-long New Yorker, and he's learned to inhale through the nose, which is less unhealthy than mouth-breathing.

Being semi-illiterate and more dull-witted, he missed an opportunity to channel Amy Schumer and Bill Clinton: "Yes, I grabbed once, but I didn't inhale".

Politics is a sporting contest but with only words instead of balls or physical talent. Let the geezers fight until a winner emerges, even if all the rules are loosed, like in "Rollerball".
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

From the bunker, Trump cries: APOCALYPSE NOW!

I go away for one lousy day, and look what happens...

Trump now considers himself unshackled from the GOP, freedom being just another word for nothing left to lose. (Will Kellyanne continue to put up with Donnie's Dick Club? Please return to decent society, Ms. Conway. We've all learned to admire your talent, even though we hate the guy you work for.)

Trump's numbers are in free-fall. A Politico poll says that Hillary handily won the second debate. There's a ten-point spread in the TPM tracking poll. One respectable poll gives Hillary an 11-point lead. By some polls, even Arizona has gone blue. Trump's campaign is pulling swing state ads -- and yet, bizarrely, I've recently seen Trump ads running here in true-blue Maryland.

I think Donnie plans to pocket the campaign money. He needs it to keep Melania in Manolos. New data buttresses the theory that Trump has a lot (meaning a LOT) less money than even his critics have suggested.

(How much longer do you think he can retain ownership of that hotel he built in the Old Post Office Building? Few one-percenters now seek any association with the soiled Trump name, and only a limited universe of people can afford the sky-high room rates.)

All semblance of party unity has evaporated: Mere anarchy is loosed upon the Republican Party. There is talk that the GOP may lose both the House and the Senate. Is that talk just psy-war? Maybe. But it's certainly welcome psy-war.

Gateway Pundit is blaming a Paul Ryan aide for the "p-word" tape leak -- an accusation I do not believe, although it confirms that Ryan is now an official Bad Guy in Trumpland.

Meanwhile, Gloria Allred is collecting the stories of women who claim that Donald Trump made "inappropriate contact" with them.

The Putin/Trump link has become flabbergastingly obvious, and is blowing up in Trump's face. First, there's this piece by Kurt Eichenwald -- a complex story in which Eichenwald's words were falsely attributed to Sydney Blumenthal by Putin's dunderheaded cyber-goons, who thought that they could get away with it. Also see here:
News from Russian propaganda sources are pervasive in the alt-right/neo-Nazi web. As a secondary matter we know from Adrian Chen's work that there are a decent number of faux 'pro-Trump' accounts on Twitter that are actually run from troll farms operated by Russian intelligence services. By whichever path, Russian propaganda is ubiquitous on the alt-right/racist web - particularly on Twitter, Reddit, 4chan and similar sites.

It happens that we know the Trump world is awash in the alt-right/neo-Nazi web. After all, that's where all the retweeting of #WhiteGenocide accounts and the like comes from. So anything is possible. Perhaps there's a more complex explanation. But the simplest one is that it's organic. Russian propaganda stories from outlets like RT, Sputniknews and other similar sites spread freely on the alt-right/white supremacist web. And that's where the Trump camp lives. So it's entirely plausible that that's why material that appears only on these Russian propaganda sites shows up so frequently in Trump's speeches.
The WP is even stronger:
ON FRIDAY, while much of the country was preoccupied with the latest revelations about Donald Trump, the U.S. intelligence community made an alarming and unprecedented announcement: Russia was seeking “to interfere with the U.S. election process” through the hacking of political organizations and individuals, including the Democratic National Committee. The statement rightly alarmed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who said in Sunday night’s debate that “we have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election.”

And Mr. Trump? Once again, the GOP nominee played the part of Vladi­mir Putin’s lawyer. “She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” he said of Ms. Clinton. “Maybe there is no hacking.” Mr. Trump is receiving classified intelligence briefings, so he is certainly aware of the evidence that hackers backed by Moscow have stolen email and other records from the DNC and tried to penetrate state electoral systems. So why does he deny it?
Savor the hypocrisy. Trump is a guy whose normal standard for evidence is "People are saying" and "It's on the internet." Yet reports from the CIA and the NSA aren't good enough for him.

Also see here:
Trump also has made clear his disdain for the United States’ alliances around the world. Demonstrating his misunderstanding of how NATO works, Trump has demanded that other NATO members essentially pay us for protection, making many of our allies, especially in the eastern part of Europe, nervous about his commitment to defend them. Trump has also disparaged our allies in Asia, creating new opportunities for Russian influence. On trade, Trump’s promises to disrupt our agreements also play right into Putin’s agenda. From Putin’s perspective, what could be a better way to start the New Year than a trade war between the United States and China or Mexico? Trump’s threats to stop paying our debts also would radically undermine our credibility as a lender, another desirable outcome for Putin.

On the whole, Trump advocates isolationist policies and an abdication of U.S. leadership in the world. He cares little about promoting democracy and human rights. A U.S. retreat from global affairs fits precisely with Putin’s international interests. And if Mr. Trump becomes president, experts on U.S. politics predict a tumultuous period domestically. If a President Trump tried to implement his radical ideas regarding immigration or walling off our southern border, a serious push-back effort would ensue, both in Congress and in the country as a whole. A United States convulsed by infighting over Trump’s deeply divisive policy proposals gives Putin more freedom to act around the world.
It was all supposed to be very different. Trump was sure that Juanita and her "comrades-in-accusation" were going to turn the election around. When those women gave their press conference with Trump, where was Roger Stone? I like to think that he was lurking somewhere backstage, repeating the immortal words of Roger Ebert: "It's my happening and it freaks me out!"

In Stone's view, all elections should be like this: Rape and smears and filth and mud and dirty tricks and rape.

(Remember Blazing Saddles? "You said rape twice." "I like rape.")

Stone's plan was to make this the Rape election. Right now, he's probably thinking: "And I might have gotten away with it, if not for that meddling GOP Establishment!"

Maybe he would have.

Or maybe his time has come and gone.

Maybe the Trumpers didn't understand that it was a bad idea for the "Clinton Rape Ladies" to extoll the glories of Donald Trump in such an obvious way. Those ladies might as well have been wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the message "WE TOOK THE PAY-OFF!" The problem with Team Trump is that they never learned the virtues of subtlety.

Maybe the men in Trump's inner circle have lost touch with reality. Maybe if you live a debauched life in constant pursuit of orgasm and coke-fueled highs, you begin to misunderstand the ordinary citizen's appetite for sleaze. Maybe -- just maybe -- the American people are a little more civilized than Team Trump presumed.

Speaking of Stonian weirdness: Yes, I've been keeping an eye on the "Katie Johnson" rape allegation against Trump. Floating around out there on the internets is a pixelated video of Katie in a blonde wig. (I think it's a guy in drag.) Certain journalists have received ultra-weird emails from her in which she breaks character and starts to refer to herself in the third person. Her story is being pushed by someone using the name "Bianca Manix" and by a conspiracy-crazed oddball calling himself Al Taylor. "Bianca Manix" = "White man." Get it? The whole thing was always a bizarre red herring. I'd bet a dozen donuts that the personage behind it all is Roger Stone's good buddy Robert Morrow -- a.k.a. "Bianca," a.k.a. "Al," a.k.a. "Katie."

You all know Bob, right? He's the guy who likes to cover his weird hairdo with a jester's hat.

Wow. What a day.

I wish I had more time to write. For now, these videos should suffice...

If Trump considers himself to be "unshackled" from the Republicans, doesn't that support the sedevacantist view that the position of Republican presidential nominee is now vacant? If so, the party should apply its Rule 9 and choose a replacement.

One or more tapes will come out soon, I think.
b: I tend to believe that the rumored N-word tape is real. It's just a matter of paying the money, right? Figure five million to pay the fine, plus another five million to keep the leaker in wine-and-cheese for the rest of his life. $10,000,000. That amount should be easy enough to raise.

("BUT IT WOULD BE WRONG," as Nixon said when he suddenly remembered that the mics were hot.)

At this point both Team Hillary and the Republican Party have excellent motivation to pay the money.
It's wrong for MGM or whoever to sit on it.

Trump says he'll fight the release of more tape of him talking "inappropriately" by further throwing dirt at the Clintons. He doesn't get it. Women are a far more subjugated group than black people: sexism and misogyny are widely considered more acceptable than racism and white supremacism. He can imply that it's normal when men get together in "locker rooms" for them to boast about grabbing women's vaginas without their consent. It isn't, and it's good that male US athletes reject the slur against them, but far from having to drop out of the race for having uttered such misogynistic crap, he manages to stay in. But he won't get away with it if he implies that whenever white people get together they sound off about "n*****s". What might he say instead of "locker rooms"? That that kind of talk is common when white people get together at robe and hood parties? "It was only a bit of banter at a robe and hood party before the burning crosses came out? Anyone who's offended is a self-righteous hypocrite."

He has now tweeted a disgusting video that concentrates on showing Hillary Clinton stumbling up steps and near-collapsing when she had pneumonia.
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Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Juanita election

Did I not tell you? Did I not predict this?

The rest of this campaign will be about Juanita Broaddrick and her comrades-in-deception. Trump has no other choice. He has no other effective weaponry in his arsenal, unless his pal Vladimir can concoct something a little more persuasive. (The previous offering sucked.)

I suspect that tonight's debate will be Juanita, Juanita, Juanita.

Younger folks won't know that her story is not new and that the public rejected Broaddrick's credibility when her claims were first aired. Yes, there is video of her weeping as she describes the horrors allegedly inflicted upon her. Tawana Brawley emitted enough moisture out of her eyes to end the California drought. If you know where to look, you can find video of women weeping as they recount being abducted by the UFO people.

We're all going to have to get over the collective delusion that women never lie and that tears are truth.

For background, you should first turn to the all-important Conason/Lyons book The Hunting of a President; the relevant excerpt should be available to you here. But before you go there, you may want to see this review for background...
Into the great swag belly of Arkansas we go, where (as Mr. Conason and Mr. Lyons illustrate) two mentalities dominate the impressive roster of Clinton-haters. The first is a cloak-and-dagger puerility that lingers on after the demise of the Cold War, a deep attraction to intrigue, which a certain sort of Republican–in the tradition of the old Nixon “ratfucking”–can’t seem to outgrow. Thus a decent share of the Arkansas portion of the book reads like Don DeLillo’s Libra –socially isolated men seek a purpose in conspiracies that are largely projections of their own prurient imaginations, fomenting wild stories about the Governor’s sexual and narcotic appetites.
Although the name "Roger Stone" does not appear in these words, his stench perfumes the air.

By the way, Stone's writing partner, Robert Morrow, offers a review of the Conason/Lyons book on Amazon. Morrow claims that Clinton not only raped Broaddrick but others. Morrow's source of information is a scandal sheet called Capitol Hill Blue -- a little-regarded publication which has offered fake "scoops" about both the Clintons and Bushes, both clans being hated by Roger Stone (who happens to be Trump's best pal). Stone loves to schmooze with friendly reporters, and there is good reason to suspect that Capitol Hill Blue writers have used Stone himself as a source of information. That's one way for a dirty trickster to get a smear on the record.

(For what it is worth, Robert Morrow now calls Donald Trump a child rapist.)

The Broaddrick tale is long and involved, as these stories invariably are, but the bottom line comes to this: She has no credibility. No objective party who has examined her tale believes that Bill Clinton flew into rape mode the moment he met her. David Brock (when he was a right-wing hit man) couldn't take her seriously. Even the National freakin' Enquirer couldn't take her seriously.

Juanita Broaddrick attended a pro-Clinton fundraiser for Clinton after the alleged incident. She told the lawyers for Paula Jones: "I do not have any information to offer regarding a nonconsensual or unwelcome sexual advance by Mr. Clinton."

(For more context, see here.)

After the spirit of art took hold of Juanita, she not only spoke of rape, she added the detail that Bill Clinton savagely bit her face, leaving a lasting wound. Oddly, there are no photos of this bite mark. (Yes, children: Cheap cameras were widely available back then, and nearly everyone had at least one.) There are no medical or police records. Neither was there any corroborative testimony as to the existence of this mark -- although for all I know, Trump money may have purchased such testimony in more recent days.

Puh-LEEZE let's not have the usual pseudofeminist guff about how all women who cry rape are truth-tellers, even when they change their stories or act in a friendly fashion toward the "rapist." There are lots and lots and lots of fake "rape" claims out there -- far more than you may think. Before the end of this post, I'll offer hard data.

Money and fame can play a huge role. History buffs will want to check out my previous post on the attempt to smear theater impresario Alexander Pantages.

(There are also religious/cultural factors. Some women, especially in the Bible Belt, have found it easier to tell their families "He raped me!" rather than "Okay, so I got horny." Back in the bad old days, this kind of thing would happen a lot after a white woman gave birth to a non-white baby.)

Broaddrick offered her rape story only after it became apparent that the Republicans could enrich any woman willing to make sexual accusations against Clinton. The payments to other claimants were not direct; there were book deals, a softcore photo shoot for Penthouse, things like that.

In Broaddrick's case, she offered allegedly corroborative testimony from two women. Alas, those witnesses had a pre-existing grudge against Clinton: He had commuted the sentence of the man who killed their father. (This whole tale has a sub-theme of Governor Clinton going to great lengths to establish himself as a victims-rights advocate after a couple of early commutations created a backlash.)

There are those who have theorized that there was consensual sex, which Juanita Broaddrick transformed into a rape scenario upon confessing all to her boyfriend. For what it is worth, the only southern woman I ever dated had once employed a similar strategy. (And no, that situation had nothing to do with me. She had pulled that stunt years earlier.)

For more, you may want to check into this USA Today interview with Sydney Blumenthal:
Flemington, NJ: How did you handle the Juanita Broaddrick accusations, which even people I know who hated Bill Clinton thought were lies? Her story is that in pursuit of campaign bumper stickers, she wanted a meeting with the candidate (Clinton); she called him at his home and arranged a meeting at HER hotel; her roommate was absent to "go shopping;" the meeting was changed from the coffee shop to HER room; in the time Bill Clinton walked from the coffee shop to her room, Juanita set up a "coffee service" in the room (which she could still see in her mind as she talked to Lisa Myers); that Clinton assaulted her almost immediately upon entering the room and then he did it again. He bit her face savagely but Juanita can produce none of the doctors, nurses, patients, patients families, etc. she had to encounter at her nursing home who would have had to see a severe facial injury. How did you handle this terrible story that was so obviously false and yet was run on broadcast primetime TV?

Sidney Blumenthal: That story was manipulated. It was a terrible story done by someone who had filed conflicting affidavits, and whom the Republican party in 1992 hired an investigator to look into, who determined the story was false. Tom DeLay used that story to threated Republican members of Congress to force the impeachment vote. He put that terrible uncorroborated story in front of them and told it would be released to their constituents. I have from congressmen on the record that they were threatened opposition if they didn't vote his way. The Brodderick story was an instrument of his coercion for impeachment. Remember he said Clinton was impeached because he had "the wrong world view".
But the Broaddrick tale does not stand alone. If you are looking for a one-stop-shopping research source regarding all of the tales that Trump will try to tell tonight (in his usual marble-mouthed fashion), go here.

Many of the newer stories are being washed through Alex Jones, that paragon of credibility. As is always the case with Jones, we are forever being warned that the witnesses are in danger of being killed by that infamous Clinton Hit Squad. Right-wingers have been caterwauling about this imaginary Hit Squad for decades, even though enemies of the Clintons tend to live long, comfortable lives. For example, the assassins never seem to find their way to AJ's house.

More to the point, those hallucinatory hit men have never found their way to Juanita Broaddrick's house, even though it has been clear for decades that Hillary Clinton has long had her eye on the presidency. If Juanita Broaddrick is telling the truth, and if Evil Hillary really does possess both the power and the willingness to have people whacked, then why wasn't Broaddrick targeted years ago? If her car had developed catastrophic brake failure in say, 2005 or 2013, how many people would have noticed the story?

The obvious conclusion: There is no Clinton Hit Squad. And there is no truth in Broaddrick's claims.

Bellow the asterisks, you will find some relevant words I wrote on a previous occasion:

*  *  *

Is it really the case that anyone who views an accuser suspiciously is a "rape apologist" produced by a "rape culture"?

Consider the Tawana Brawley case. I never condemned Al Sharpton for championing her cause. When women turn on the tears, they wield a weapon more powerful than C4.

Consider Crystal Gail Mangum.

Consider Danmell Ndonye, who withdrew a false accusation of rape after video evidence surfaced demonstrating that the sex had been consensual.

Consider television weather forecaster Heidi Jones.

Consider Paula Jones, who at first told friends that Clinton was "sweet, very sweet" -- and then changed her story, making herself out to be the victim of sexual harassment. Remember?
In late 1997, Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled Jones was "entitled to information regarding any individuals with whom President Clinton had sexual relations or proposed to or sought to have sexual relations and who were, during the relevant time frame, state or federal employees."
Fishing expeditions are permissible when males are targeted.

Ann Coulter considered Paula a "good Christian girl who had suffered sexual harassment." Then she -- Paula -- posed nude for a very hefty sum of money. Labor deserves payment.

Consider Gennifer Flowers, whose story kept growing like topsy. She also got the Penthouse pay-off. Bob Somerby:
Do famous accusers say things which aren’t true? Yes, they sometimes do—although the mainstream press, and the liberal world, worked quite hard to bury that fact during the Clinton jihad. One example: It seems abundantly clear that Gennifer Flowers made up a whole lot of crap about Clinton. (She raked in a whole lot of dough for her trouble.) But so what? By 1998, a jihad was on, with all the fools chasing Clinton around, determined to prove he was vile. As a result, the fools all stood in line to vouch for Flowers’ moral grandeur.

...So don't you fucking DARE try to tell me that women can't lie.

Here's the truth:
In a study that span nine years, sociologist Eugene J. Kanin’s findings were that in the United States, 41% of rape allegations are false. Kanin discovered that most of the false accusers were motivated by a need for an alibi or seeking revenge. Kanin was once popular and highly praised by the feminist movement for his groundbreaking research on male sexual aggression. His studies on false rape accusations have received very little interest.
Some people have criticized Kanin's methodology. But when Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project studied the FBI's testing of semen samples, they found that DNA had exonerated the accused "rapists" in a quarter of all cases. Keep in mind that semen samples are not obtained from many rape accusers. Keep in mind, too, that a false accuser would have to be pretty damned bold to maintain the charge even after physical evidence has been placed on a microscope slide.

Should accusers be investigated and cross-examined? Damned right.

They should be grilled about everything relevant, including, in certain instances, their sexual history. If men have to go through that kind of humiliation, then women should not be exempt. All arguments in favor of double standards are casuistry.

Hearing from producers/crew N word is the "much worse".

If trump used the N-word can you imagine the consequences?

Thanks for putting this up, Joseph. It is unsettling to see so much of the stuff from the 1990s--which was debunked--come back again. It's almost as if some of these alleged "progressives" never read Conason and Lyons' THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT.

I feel that Hillary will win, but I understand your "hope for the best, expect the worst" stand. We cannot get complacent.

On another note, H.A. Goodman is currently having one hell of a meltdown on his Twitter feed and his YouTube videos. Despite all the horrid stuff coming out about Trump and the GOP, he's still...well, he's still screaming about how corrupt Hillary is, pointing to the bulls**t Wikileak dumps and trying to claim that those and Trump's nastiness are alike, while howling for us to get behind Jill Stein. It all boils down to him still being a whiny baby over Bernie not getting the nomination. Talk about a spoiled brat.
Thanks Marc. Even Salon won't publish Lord HA HA anymore, so I think that he has been largely neutered.

By the way: The main reason I have not written a post today is simple. I can't comment on the debate until I watch it. I've tried to do so a number of times -- but THAT MAN'S VOICE...!

I'm not crazy about Hillary's voice either, but the sight and sound of Donald Trump just makes my skin crawl. Even the Alec Baldwin version gives me the heebie jeebies.

But I've spent hours listening to (and reading) commentary ABOUT the debate...
Because he is so stupid to learn from history,he is now losing big time. The lesson I am talking about going after Bill's affairs. People didn't like it in real time still don't like it.
Most people never knew that Paula Jones named Arkansas state trooper Danny Ferguson in her lawsuit along with WJC. The reason was that in the original American Spectator trooper-gate stories, the troopers were quoted saying she (only mentioned by first name in the story) was happy after the encounter and wanted to know when she could see the governor again.

To be fair, Ann Coulter savaged Paula Jones after the Penthouse appearance as having shown herself to be the 'trailer trash' her critics had called her all along.

Juanita Broaddrick's husband at the time (not Mr. Broaddrick, with whom she was at the time having an affair with prior to her divorce and subsequent remarriage to him) said he never saw any grievous or even noticeable wound to her lip.

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