Sunday, May 01, 2016

Trump, Epstein, rape: A strange lawsuit

Here's a weird story that few (except for the Breitbart crowd) are discussing. A woman named Katie Johnson, allegedly of Tentynine Palms, California, is suing Donald Trump. She claims that he and Jeffrey Epstein raped her when she was 13.

There's a big problem with this claim: Proving that Katie Johnson exists. In the following, "Garten" refers to Trump's lawyer, Alan Garten.
Garten said that after checking, the person listed in the lawsuit is not the same person who filed it. But that's not the only irregularity.

“The plaintiff’s address is a false address," he said. "The plaintiff’s phone number is a false number. It’s outrageous.”

Moreover, Garten said, there's no evidence the person in the lawsuit even exists. Other reports indicate the alleged victim, a woman reportedly identified as Katie Johnson, provided an address in Twentynine Palms, California, that turns out to be an empty, foreclosed property. Garten said that while the address exists, "there is no indication or record that that person" named in the lawsuit "ever resided there." So, he added, "we believe it is a false address."

Worse yet, the phone number listed on the lawsuit rings to voicemail and public records indicate it belongs to another person. Garten said there is "no record" the number listed is connected to the person who made the allegations.
According to Garten, the lawsuit, which seeks $100 million in damages, appears to have been filed by someone with some legal expertise. The paperwork, he said, "was written on legal paper with margins and line numbers. It’s properly captioned. It has no typos. It has footers. It cites statutes."

"This has all the hallmarks of being drafted by someone with some level of legal background," he added, "This was filed to not leave fingerprints."
If this suit is pure deception, what would be the purpose? Such a hoax would only create sympathy for Trump -- and it would also harm the credibility of anyone else who might come forward with an accusation involving Epstein and Trump.

It is of interest that this accusation has received big play almost entirely on Breitbart and other highly-conservative venues, not on any liberal sites -- with the arguable exception of the anarchist site Antimedia.

Roger Stone, naturally, is doing his best to draw attention to this matter. You just knew that he would show up, didn't you?

Antimedia has helpfully published the entire filing. The details are salacious and, frankly, not very convincing. According to this account, Trump supposedly demanded a blowjob from Johnson and another minor, then berated both for doing a poor job.
During the course of this savage sexual attack, Plaintiff Johnson loudly pleaded with Defendant Trump to "please wear a condom". Defendant Trump responded by violently striking Plaintiff Johnson in the face with his open hand and screaming that "he would do whatever he wanted" as he refused to wear protection. After achieving sexual orgasm, the Defendant, Donald J. Trump put his suit back on and when the Plaintiff, Katie Johnson, in tears asked Defendant Trump what would happen if had impregnated her, Defendant Trump grabbed his wallet and threw out some money at her and screamed that she should use the money "to get a fucking abortion."
Does this seem real to you? Or does it seem like a story one might write about Cartoon Donald Trump, as seen on Stephen Colbert's show?

This story lacks the kind of detail one would expect -- details of place and people. I found nothing here that one could not gather from reading stories about the Epstein case. There are no non-essential names in this story. There is no explanation as to how Katie got to New York, who brought her to and from the airport, where her parents were, or why she was chosen.

The suit also promises that "material witness Tiffany Doe" -- an Epstein employee -- will provide testimony in this civil case.

Katie Johnson -- if she really does exist -- would be 34-36 years old. So far, I've found several Katie Johnsons within that age range in California, none of them living in the desert community of Twentynine Palms. I haven't checked the Kathryn, Katherine, Catherine or Kathleen Johnsons: There must be quite a few. Unfortunately, we're dealing with a very common name.

The suit is "in pro per," yet the format seems quite proper. In fact, this legal document is so well written, it's worthy of Alan Dershowitz himself. (I'm not saying that he wrote it; I'm saying that the quality is quite good.)

I don't know if this rape allegation is real. Right now, I suspect that someone is trying to ROGER the media...

Added note: In previous posts, I've mentioned Margaret Thatcher's great friend, Lord Alistair McAlpine, a Machiavelli scholar. McAlpine once offered some interesting advice for companies facing a potential scandal...
First, create a situation where you are wrongly accused. Then, at a convenient moment, arrange for the false accusation to be shown to be false beyond all doubt. Those who have made accusations against both the company and its management become discredited. Further accusations will then be treated with great suspicion.
This is so similar to the GW Bush, Texas Air National Guard documents scandal that took down Dan Rather and inoculated GW. Weren't Roger Stone and his wife supposed to have been the players behind that scam?
Bill Clinton was supposed to be a rapist. Someone sued Bush 2 for rape, before dying. The only surprise is that no-one has so far sued Obama for rape.
There may be half a million homeowners who unnecessarily lost their homes to parallel foreclosures who might consider themselves raped by the present administration.
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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wanna know Salon's dark secrets? The site is funded by the DoD and investment banking.

To paraphrase the guy who does the CinemaSins videos: This shit is shit.

A lot of people think that Salon is in the tank for Bernie. No. They're in the tank for Trump -- officially.

Sanders supporters, you've been conned. Salon has used you. Lied to you. Salon is doing what it can to elect Trump because Salon is heavily funded by the Department of Defense and by investment banking.

Don't believe me? Before the end of this post, I'll prove it.

First, though, let me state that I've never seen a more infuriating collection of half-truths and outright lies than the nonsense you'll find at the other end of the above link. The writer of that piece of garbage wants us to believe that Trump is some sort of peacenik anti-neocon, even though he is enthusiastically supported by John Freakin' Bolton -- one of authors of the Iraq war -- and even though his foreign policy advisers are Walid Phares (the Lebanese mass murderer) and the ultra-reactionary Joseph Schmitz. Trump has pretty much admitted his intention to declare war on Iran. Yet we're supposed to consider Hillary a war-monger.

Outrageous. I don't see John Bolton, Phares or Schmitz offering any pro-Clinton commentary. And I would note that Salon, in publishing this piece, is doing precisely what Donald Trump wants.

Of course, the consummately loathsome Salon hack H.A. Goodman (not an actual progressive, but a highly deceptive supporter of libertarian Rand Paul) chimes in with a post urging the FBI to uncover (nonexistent) dirt about Hillary Clinton. 
Please, FBI — you’re our last hope: The Democratic Party’s future rests upon your probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails
Can you believe this? Goodman is such a freak that he wants an FBI investigation to be guided not by the evidence, but by Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

Salon is irredeemable. Do not subscribe to it, do not write for it, do not read it. Expose it. In its current incarnation, Salon is no longer anything like the fine site that David Talbot originated.

We know that Salon has struggled financially for years. It's a money pit. The question which few bother to research is this: How does Salon stay alive?

Although Salon routinely scores Hillary for taking speaking fees from bankers, this stance is pure hypocrisy. The site still exists because it receives massive financial injections from an investment banker named Bill Hambrecht, whose other interests indicate that he is motivated by profit.

His shadowy donations to Democratic congressfolk appear to exemplify the very problem that the supporters of Bernie Sanders claim to abhor.

Why does Hambrecht keep tossing millions of dollars down a financial sinkhole? Nobody knows. But I know this: Salon cannot pretend that it receives no money from the world of investment banking.

Hambrecht & Quist was acquired by J.P. Morgan. Bill Hambrecht left the company he started, so we cannot fairly blame him for the sins of the parent firm. But if Morgan had not received TARP funds after the crash, Hambrecht & Quist (hit hard by the crash) probably would have just gone out of business. And if that had happened, would Bill Hambrecht now be in a position to toss money at Salon?

If the answer to that last question is "no," then is it unfair to posit that TARP indirectly funded Salon?

Hambrecht's daughter Betsy was Salon's CFO and is now the CEO. She used to work for Goldman Sachs. Yet Salon has the gall to berate Hillary's alleged Wall Street ties!

I should also make clear that Hambrecht's "OpenIPO" model is considered a less-corrupt alternative to the traditional form of IPOs. However:
A rule called Regulation A, dating to 1933, permits firms to sell up to $5 million in securities without filing a full registration statement with the SEC. If Congress and the SEC were to lift that ceiling to $30 million, says Mr. Hambrecht, more small companies could go public more easily. Of course, small stocks have always been a favorite sandbox for fraudsters, touts and pump-and-dump promoters, so investors always need to be on guard when investing in these companies.
A President Trump would be able to give Hambrecht what he wants -- and when that happens, boy-o-boy-o-boy: All hell will break loose. Pump-and-dump schemers like Jonathan Lebed will go freakin' nuts.

The other main funder of Salon -- in fact, he's the Chairman of the Board of Salon -- is Adobe Systems co-founder John Edward Warnock. Now that Salon has become a pro-Trump propaganda site, we should rethink our attitude toward Adobe products.

Adobe keeps Salon alive. But why? Salon loses buckets of money every year. Salon makes no sense as a business venture.

Bernie supporters may not know that Adobe has spent millions of dollars -- using former government employees -- to lobby Congress, primarily in support of Defense authorization bills.

Are you curious to learn why Adobe has spent big money to make sure that congressfolk vote yea on things like the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (2015), the Carl Levin National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2015, and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015?

I'll tell you why: Adobe spends money to bolster the Defense/Industrial complex because Adobe itself is heavily tied into the Department of Defense and the world of classified intelligence.

Hit the above link, and then go here.

And here.

Adobe Systems Federal is an Adobe subsidiary, set up entirely to work with the Department of Defense. It works closely with Carahsoft Technology (of Reston, VA) which bills itself as "The Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider." Almost needless to say, they've received funding from In-Q-Tel, the CIA's investment organization. Check out the "Company" that Carahsoft keeps.

Adobe Systems Federal is located in Maclean, VA. How much do you want to bet that they'll start winning lots of contracts when Trump becomes president?

"I do the best deals." -- D. Trump, 2015.

Bottom line: Salon would not be alive today without cash infusions from an investment banker (one who wants to make life easier for pump-and-dumpers) and a Defense contractor. Everything that Salon has published about Bernie Sanders is pure hypocrisy.

You've been hoodwinked, progressives. Played for suckers.

A few words about H.A. Goodman: Here's his resume -- what we know of it. Anything about it seem "spooky" to you? The Foreign Services Institute is not the CIA, but it may fairly be considered part of the intelligence community. If you do a little Googling, you'll find a pattern: Example. Another example. Another example. Another example.

It may be telling that Goodman studied International Relations at USC, which has a longstanding relationship with CIA -- in fact, the Agency openly recruits there (also see here). Two former directors of the Agency ended up at USC: David Petraeus and John McCone. (I need not remind my readers that the intelligence community has a long history of seeding their own into the field of journalism.)

Even fellow Sanders supporters think H.A.G. is full of shit. In his hilariously misleading pro-Rand Paul piece, Goodman tried to convince readers that Paul does not want to dismantle Social Security; the opposite is true.

Walker Bragman wrote the pro-Trump piece which triggered my research into Salon's funding. Bragman, who apparently considers himself the True Voice of Progress and a Defender of the Downtrodden, is a smirky, arrogant, and very pale hipster from East Hampton, "one of most desirable zip codes among the monied set."
Trump could win this. The shenanigans in New York's voting might have helped Clinton, but they won't in the full election. And Trump would make it plausible that a Republican could win New York, because it's his state. Obviously Hopsicker just published some sinister information regarding the voting company involved.
Interesting post on Salon, which I hope reaches a wide audience. People are being taken for a ride by the ICIJ's Panama story too.

I hadn't heard of Joseph Schmitz, but I looked him up because I like to police usage of the term "reactionary", which sometimes obscures how capitalism's overall clock runs forwards, not backwards, even if there are cultural aspects of society in which it may run backwards. I can't fault the usage in respect of Schmitz. The guy describes himself as a "former foetus" and says that on that basis his feelings about abortion are similar to the feelings that "most women" (his words) have about rape. What a kook. He's Opus Dei, right?

Is it looking like a Trump win, then?

It's hard to imagine that all this effort will lead merely to a Tea Party 2 under a Clinton presidency. If I'm not mistaken, the McCain and Romney campaigns didn't run such ops on such a scale?
CNN is a far bigger threat than Salon. It has been in the tank for Trump since he announced his candidacy. It has been virtually the Trump News Network.

Still highly doubt it be will win.
Holy crap, you've discovered a mainstream news site with ties to the oligarchy and the deep state? It's like you went to the beach and discovered water.
Meanwhile, the Salon article is a thought exercise--how might Trump be worse than Clinton or vice versa, and it seems fairly evenhanded to me. I know enough about both to know they're both unacceptable, as do most progressives. Nevertheless, "Bernie Bros!!!!!", amirite?
I look forward to your deep-diving screed about "Hillary Bros":

1. Trump can't win in ny.

2. Salon may well be hypocritical about their complaints regarding links to GS. But one can't argue that HRC isn't absurdly close to GS. You may not consider that a problem. I think that 2008 was caused by politicians being too close to wall street, and that the problem is ongoing.

3. Sanders has lost. Some of us are sad about that. At this point HRC can either move left to heal the rift or move to the centre to try and win moderate Republicans. I bet she goes for the latter and she delivers a couple of hippie punches while she is at it. What can i say? Mazeltov.

4. My reason for supporting Bernie is that I think people are underestimating quite how bad the economic situation is in the US. This is the recovery. The next recession is not so far away. The proxy variables I focus on are the life expectancy for whites (deaton-case), and the decline in self identified middle class from 61% to 51%. These are cataclysmic numbers - soviet union collapse type numbers. Im wrong a lot, and I may well be wrong about this but I think the US is on course for a spectacular economic collapse. If that collapse happens with the prevailing conventional thinking still in place, a lot of ordinary people will suffer terribly.

I think the popularity of Sanders and Trump is the populations way of trying to warn the elite they are already in extremis. Ignoring that message is probably a mistake.

But hey, what do I know?

I've talked about the Facebook hack. Clearly the work of either the BernieBots themselves -- remember how Karl Rove bugged his own office to frame an opponent? -- or Roger Stone. I favor the Stone theory.

Obviouisly Hillary's camp did not do that. Why on earth would she? The Clintons have always run clean elections, and on that night she pulled far ahead. You don't cheat when you're winning handily.

Whether Hillary goes for reconciliation is her business. I will not reconcile. I used to admire Sanders a great deal, and gave him positive coverage when he entered the race. Now, he makes me retch. He has run a FILTHY campaign.
Harry says Hillary was "absurdly close to GS." No she wasn't. Jeez, I can still recall 2008 when Josh Marshall was decrying the Goldman Sachs money bestowed on Hillary, while ignoring the even greater amounts that were lavished on Obama.

The point is, Salon is RUN by a Goldman alum. And funded by a Wall Street investment banker.

The hypocrisy is both dizzying and emetic.
Harry's question was whether Hillary will move to the left ideologically or to the right. That's a very good question.
b: Of course I'm predicting a Trump win. I always predict the worst.

Everyone who makes predictions is wrong sometimes. Therefore, it is safest to predict the worst outcome on all occasions. That way, when you have to admit that you got it wrong, you do so only at those times when something NICE has happened -- which certainly takes the sting out of making a humiliating admission.
Anon: Candidates traditionally veer to the left or right (depending on the party) in the primaries and then head for the center in the general. I don't know why it would freak you out if Hillary did that.

Oh wait...I know: Clinton Derangement Syndrome. When Hillary does something that every other winner of the nomination has done, we're all supposed to be HORRIFIED.
A good many liberal ports in the blogosea have been shitting on that eminently shitable Salon sausage. I've despised Salon for years because I could smell rotting garbage in nearly everything they wrote. I vaguely recall some incredibly hysterical pieces back when the Duke Lacrosse scandal had all the liberal knickers in a knot. (Believe it not, I had some highly inflammatory comments and emails back then because I sent up flares that the true story, i.e. the facts. was not what was being passed around like an STD. Anyway...) Another great bit of research, Mr. Cannon. Kudos. I will make sure your post is starred in my meager space.
No wonder Joan Walsh left Salon.
So I can see that I may have offended. If so I apologize. I have no issue with your point about Salon being a by-product of GS. Ìt makes perfect sense. In the past I worked in finance and for consultancies which held an affiliation with the Dems. I have my own impressions about HRC relationships with the financial sector. Others will have different impressions and I think it's a personal judgement. I think there is a serious FP issue with HRC and you of all people will be aware of it. There is no need to elaborate. You have employed your judgement to decide how important it is, and what the facts are. Who am I to tell you different?

But it does occur to me that a lot of the friction within factions of the Dems is an intergenerational issue. We are transitioning from the incumbent leadership of the Dems to its next generation. The irony is a 74year old is leading that generation, but it's not so weird. He is the last hippie standing. It doesn't look as if that transition is going to be without rancor. Neither is it going to go away, but I don't think it's a bad thing. Science progresses one death at a time. Why shouldn't politics be the same?

I don't get why you and others are so angry with Sanders supporters, but then I haven't seen their offensive emails and comments. The fact that there are other bloggers who are equally angry confirms your point. I suspect the ultimate problem is that kids today are not so polite.

We disagree about the electability of Sanders, but I can see that your case is much stronger than mine. I need to employ a leap of faith. Never a good sign.

Best wishes and apologies

A British exit from the EU, a Trump entry into the White House, the election of dozens of AfD deputies to the German Bundestag next year - could easily be. Maybe Marine le Pen in the Elyseé too. Am I keeping with the optimistic spirit? :)
Joseph, like Harry, I have serious problems with Hillary on Foreign Policy. And yes, Joseph, almost all candidates move to the center to consolidate a majority. I think Hillary is needs to be very careful with that strategy. She has spent the last several years trying to move to the right (if she wasn't already comfortable there), to be 'strong on defense', etc. to try and bring around the mythical moderate right to her once they realized that this cycle's clown posse on the right is even more ridiculous than in '12.

This time, the more left, or liberal, or progressive or whatever the Bernie crowd calls itself (and I am one of most of the terms) aren't going to just fall in line. I believe she really has to to some work to convince them to come along. going further right will not do that, and she needs that group more than the center right to win, IMHO. And yes, I know all the arguments of cutting off noses to spite oneself and it will be a disaster if Trump wins. The court, trade, war (though Hillary will be hard to rein in from our neo-con mess). She will have to sell the program hard, because the liberal left is finally getting tea-party pissed about being ignored and lied to for years, including by her husband and O. It puts her on a tightrope in high winds. I hope she pulls it off. I am not under the illusions of youth - that was the 60s for me. So I will support her once the convention is done. Until then, I want Bernie moving her further left. For all of us.

Hope that isn't just a rambling mess... ;)
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Trump stuff (mostly)

What on earth were these ninnies thinking?
Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where Donald Trump held a rally Thursday night, stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate.

Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car.

About five police cars were damaged in total, police said, adding that some will require thousands of dollars' worth of repairs.
First: It's pretty difficult for those of my generation to get our heads around the idea of such a spectacle breaking out in Orange County. That place used to be so ultra-reactionary that it earned a chapter in William Turner's Power on the Right.

Second: What on earth do those protestors hope to accomplish? When the anti-Trumpsters act like maniacs, they empower Trump. Right now, the winning strategy for Democrats is to present themselves as the party of reason while simultaneously painting the Republicans as brutes and fanatics. The Great Orange County freak-out reverses that storyline.

Look at the coverage of this event on conservative blogs like HotAir. Hate to admit it, but this is one occasion when the right-wingers occupy the high ground. Trump must never become president, but on this day, at this moment, I'm not angry at him. I'm angry at the anti-Trumpsters who foolishly handed their foes a propaganda coup.

Actually, I'm still angry at Trump. How can I feel otherwise, in light of his most recent statements on torture?
The LA Times reports on what it calls his "raw" performance.
Donald Trump put his roughest edges on display Thursday night in Costa Mesa as he opened his California primary campaign with a raw performance highlighting his hard-line views on illegal immigration and torture while trashing an array of rivals.
He criticized Ted Cruz for not supporting torture: [More...]
“He’s actually a very weak person, so he didn’t like it,” Trump said. “I’d go many steps further than waterboarding — many, many steps further.”
The crowd rewarded him with "another huge burst of cheers."
Good God. I don't know what depresses me more -- Trump's words or the reaction of his fans.

What the hell has happened to this country? The Trump fans applaud torture, while the anti-Trumpsters devolve into violence and madness.

On an earlier occasion, I said that American politics has turned into an an Eijanaika riot. Actually, we have two competing Eijanaika riots -- two mindless mobs torching everything in sight as they slowly march toward each other, and God only knows what will happen when they meet. What's destroying this nation is not a competition of ideologies but our addiction to rage.

Trump's foreign policy speech.  Former CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar offers the best analysis I've seen of Trump's great attempt to sound thoughtful and presidential.

Some might think that Trump's olive branch to the Russians coalesces with my own pro-Putin views. Superficially, this is true. The problem is that Trump is, has been, and always will be utterly self-absorbed and utterly bereft of impulse control. His pro-Russia advisers have his ear -- for now -- because they sense business opportunities. But if Putin does something to annoy President Trump in a major way, who knows what might occur?

The man is unpredictable. In fact, he takes pride in being so.
And there was also the pattern of making promises about obtaining results without giving the slightest idea of how those results would be attained. Probably the clearest example of this in Trump’s speech was his declaration that ISIS “will be gone quickly” if he were to become president. He didn’t say “where” or “when” he would so something — or even what he would do — to bring about this happy result, or how anything he would do would be any different from what is being done now.

“We have to be unpredictable,” Trump said. Evidently a U.S. president has to be unpredictable to the American people and not just to ISIS.
Personally, I don't think that defeating ISIS is a difficult task. Russia did a lot of good very rapidly. As I've said in many previous posts, it's a simple matter of switching our mind-set: The administration must give up on the New Cold War and give up on the idea of regime change in Syria.

Although I think that Trump is sincere in wanting a new relationship with Russia, I doubt that he can -- or will -- snub the neocons. He is terrifyingly belligerent on Iran, having accused that country (falsely) of sponsoring terror attacks in 25 countries. He has also accused Iran (falsely) of starting the war in Yemen. He has the support of Sheldon Adelson. He receives daily hosannas from the Israeli press, at least from that segment which Adelson controls. He seems to despise the Palestinians. He receives foreign police advice from despicable people like Joseph Schmitz and Walid Phares. He has a son-in-law who runs the pro-Likud New York Observer.

And let us not forget: He advocates torture without limit.

Trump's gesture toward Russia does not suffice. He's still the most dangerous candidate in the race. History offers us no clearer lesson than this: When egomaniacs attain power, war follows.

On a related note:
Robin Ramsey's latest has nothing to do with Trump, but it is relevant to our discussion of neoconservatism., the site which monitors the Guardian, has a splendid piece on the Guardian’s initial handling of the Panama offshore accounts story,1 pointing out its absurd anti-Putin bias. I’ve said before in these columns and it is worth restating: given what we know of the way the American state worked in the post-WW2 world, the Guardian is the British newspaper it would have wanted to get control of in the early post-war years.

Let’s say the American state does not have its hands on it – there is no evidence that it does – how else do we explain the way it almost always ends up supporting American interests at critical points?
I'll say it again: In order to control how the public perceives the rest of the world, neocons and other imperialists must find ways to influence mainstream and left-wing publications. The right-wing media infrastructure reaches only so far.

The Stoner is at it again. Roger Stone is making himself the most despised man in politics. It's infuriating to think that this man has links to the JFK assassination research community. This man certainly does not represent me!
I think that we're devolving into a culture where "The Purge" is not so fantastical a thought.
There are people on the left who want chaos in order to bring about the revolution. They believe that the current system is irreparable.
Donald is doing the lords work albeit inadvertently. You see the official line is the US does not torture. If they do torture, then a whole bunch of people have broken the law and should be arrested. Indeed they could be arrested overseas. So Donald is putting a lot of American torturers in a difficult place.

I agree the protests were asinine, and the methods backfire. But PLEASE let's not draw an equivalence between Trump and the rioters whom his neo-fascism draws out of the woodwork. Trump is a modern-day Mussolini, and he's close to becoming president of these "united" states. We're in an unprecedented political crisis in this country. As a liberal, please keep your focus on the real threat.
Trump has pledged neutrality between Pals and Israelis and I see no sign that the neocons are ignoring his pro-Russian (hence pro-Iranian/Syrian/Hezb) stands. But when I see that they prefer him to Hillary, you'll be the first to hear it from me, promise.
He has NOT pledged neutrality on the I/P issue. He mentioned the n-word once but has backtracked. As for Hillary: No matter how much she brays about how much she loves Israel, the Likudniks fear her association with the Bluemnthals and with Huma. And if you haven't seen THAT as of yet, you simply have not done your homework.
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

It always comes back to Charlie...

(The latter part of this post contains an important new revelation. Please pass it along to any interested parties.)

The LAT has published a fascinating piece on the lesser-known  victims of the Manson Family. The focus is on Reet Jurvetson, only recently identified as "Jane Doe 59," a body found off of Mulholland Drive in late 1969. The multiple stab wounds (as many as 150!) led many to believe that the murder was a Manson Family hit. She was just 19.

Unnervingly, the body was found in almost the exact same spot where Marina Habe (another proposed Manson victim) had turned up.

November of 1969 seems rather late. Manson was arrested in October of that year.

One wonders about the motive. The Manson family were not spree killers: Each "hit" had a reason, usually linked to drugs. It is said that Jurvetson had witnessed another Manson-related killing, that of John Michael Haught, a.k.a. Christopher Zero. The Haught death has never been definitively tied to Manson. However, I'd like to quote a bit from Ed Sanders' long-awaited (and quite excellent) bio of Sharon Tate, which you can now find in bookstores:
Dianne Lake, in the fall of 1967, was an emancipated child of fourteen who lived with her parents at the commune called the Hog Farm outside Los Angeles. She met the Manson Family in Topanga Canyon at the Spiral Staircase and joined up. She was with them all the way to the mass arrests in the fall of 1969—although she was still just seventeen years old.
She became a star witness at the Tate-LaBianca trial, and during the trial was a ward, because she was underage, of Inyo County district attorney investigator Jack Gardiner and his wife. She had memories of the English satanic group which she imparted to Mr. Gardiner. The Family, she told Gardiner, received money from the cult, and the cult wanted the Family to join. Unusual sex acts came from the English cult, according to Dianne, and use of drugs as part of the “program,” according to her, came from the cult.

Jack Gardiner also told Larry Larsen that other Family members, including Leslie Van Houten and a young man named Christopher Zero, talked about the English cult while in jail in Inyo County in late 1969. Zero, whose true name was John Philip Haught, was shot to death, or shot himself, under very strange circumstances, in a house in Venice a few weeks after being released from the Inyo County Jail.
When Ed Sanders refers to "an English cult," he means the Process Church of the Final Judgment, which grew out of Scientology (formerly based in England). Manson is known to be linked to The Process -- even Bugliosi admits this. The precise nature of the connection remains disputed.

This is as good a place as any to bring up a question that has long troubled me. Was The Process involved in the drug trade?

Back in the 1970s, Daniel Cohen, a very skeptical writer, wrote a book about cults. One chapter of this work discusses The Process, which had recently changed its name to The Foundation, and which had moved into an incredibly expensive penthouse suite in Manhattan. After visiting these posh new digs, Cohen wondered where the hell the group got that kind of money. Even the dullest readers of that book should be able to sense the word "drugs" lurking between the lines.

I wonder how The Process paid for the large parcel of land in Utah which now houses the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Those guys did not get massive donations via panhandling. Satanic panhandlers rarely fare well. So where did the money come from? 

Getting back to Reet Jurvetson: I see no hard evidence that Reet knew Zero/Haught. I'm not at all convinced that the Family murdered Reet, but I do think that she was killed by the same person (or people) who killed Habe. That suspicion is purely based on the fact that both bodies were found in almost exactly the same spot.

Sanders says in his earlier book, The Family, that Jane Doe 59 (now known to be Reet) was wearing a leather belt created by someone connected with that self-same "English Satanic organization."

Again: He means The Process. Everyone who knows the case understands what Sanders means.

Even if Charlie did know something about Reet's fate, I doubt that he would ever talk. Manson appears to be terrified of The Process -- even now!

X identified. I should take this opportunity to update a key segment of my longest post on the Manson case, from 2014. In the following segment, "Schreck" refers to the rather intimidating Manson investigator Nikolas Schreck, who has done truly groundbreaking work:
Schreck tracked down someone who was with Roman Polanski at the moment the filmmaker first received news of his wife's death. The name of this important source will be kept secret as long as the source lives. For now, Schreck refers to this man only as X, although we are also told that anyone with "half a brain" should be able to guess who X is.

Challenge accepted!
I then go on to point out that Polanski was with his producer Andrew Braunsberg at that moment.

However, I now know that Braunsberg was not X.

Why is X so important? Here's why:
Schreck reports that, according to X, Polanski said something very revealing and astounding right after he got the worst telephone call of his life. We are told that the director uttered these words: "I told Jay not to do business with those fuckers in Chatsworth."

("Jay" refers to Polanski's slain friend, hairstylist Jay Sebring. The Manson family lived in Chatsworth and dealt drugs.)

That one statement cuts Bugliosi's Helter Skelter narrative into shreds.
Later on in that earlier piece, I identify another X candidate: Gene Gutowski, another close associate of Roman Polanski who was working with the filmmaker in London.

I can now confirm that my original "gut" instinct was correct. Gutowski is X.

Ponder the implications of that.

Gene Gutowski, still alive, was present when Roman Polanski said "I told Jay not to do business with those fuckers in Chatsworth" immediately after Polanski learned about Sharon Tate's murder. Gutowski knew -- or at least had good reason to suspect -- "who done it" from the very first.

Yet in all the intervening years, neither Polanski nor Gutowski have admitted that Polanski suspected from the start that the Manson Family were probably involved.

In my earlier piece, I point to a 1969 newsclip (published after the killings but before the arrests) in which Gutowski states that the cops know who did the crime. I interpret this statement as an oblique reference to The Family.

Gutowski has a Facebook page. If you're on FB, you may want to ask him a few questions. 
Gutowski is not really on Facebook. A page has been automatically generated because other Facebookers have mentioned his name a lot.
Regarding the dog-botherers of Compulsions Analysis/The Process/The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary: there is one mystery I have never been able to resolve. Is there a comma? Is it the "Process Church", or "The Process, Church of the Final Judgement"? Inquiring minds wish to know.
I remember when the Processians first showed up in my little, Southern college town (I was in high school). It's not often that people make the hairs stand up on my neck when I first meet them - but over the years I've learned to accept that it's 4 billion years of natural selection telling me they're trouble. I always wondered what happened to them. Thanks for sending me off on a Google-spree to find out. God only knows what they're doing to those poor dogs.
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Things change, and not for the better

Pursuant to a research project unrelated to this blog, I looked into the history of a small park in Detroit called Perrien Park. Here is what it looked like in 1961:

Here is what the surrounding neighborhood looks like now:

That kind of sums up the story of America since the Kennedy administration, does it not?

Now let's head out to California, home state of that infamous ecological disaster known as the Salton Sea. There are -- or were -- two islands in the southern part of this sea: Red Island (previously known for its swinging nightlife) and Mullet Island. Here's an image from 2002:

And here's a shot from late 2015:

The islands are no longer islands. The lake is drying -- which is worse news than you might think.
The lake has become so toxic, experts fear that if it completely dries out it would send a highly toxic cloud of dust towards southern California.
Wishful thinking?

Also see the study here (pdf):
...if the Salton Sea continues its course of increased salinity and concentration of nutrients and chemicals, while simultaneously decreasing elevation, it will lead to a major health threat to a large California populace. This health threat can literally loom in the air that we breathe if the Salton Sea is allowed to dry up. The “toxic cloud” is not a fable.
Google Earth can be scarier than any creepypasta. By the way, there are a few brave members of the Salton Sea demimonde who still live in trailers located on what used to be Red Island.
It looks like Detroit is so bad that the trees got up and walked away.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The attack on Sanders' Facebook pages: The Stone theory

Someone hacked into several Bernie Sanders Facebook pages and filled them with porn, forcing their (temporary) removal. Whoever did it deserves to be whipped. The question is: Who?
At least one Facebook user linked to the pro-Hillary Clinton group Bros 4 Hillary was reported to have participated in the attacks.

The Bros 4 Hillary team disavowed the user in a statement posted Tuesday morning, which condemned any "harmful or offensive rhetoric or harassing behavior targeting supporters of any other candidate in the race.”

Several websites and online forums and website attempted to draw a connection between the attacks and Clinton ally David Brock’s social media initiative, Barrier Breakers 2016, after noting that the former Bros 4 Hillary member had recently “liked” the initiative on Facebook.

In a statement to The Hill, Correct the Record denied any involvement in the attacks.

"Correct the Record's Barrier Breakers 2016 had nothing to do with this," said Elizabeth Shappell, the group's communications director. "Currently, Barrier Breakers is exclusively engaged in positive messaging supporting Hillary Clinton."
"Was reported..."? The kind of weasel-wording won't do. Who reported what to whom, exactly? We need actual evidence.

Of course, when it comes to the Clintons, many Americans disdain the need for evidence. Thanks to Clinton Derangement Syndrome, many ninnies consider themselves to be the epitome of hip when they make evidence-free presumptions: "Oh, everyone knows they're guilty." Just as everyone knew that Hillary killed Vince Foster...

Obviously, the Hillary Clinton campaign had no link to this attack. Hillary's people have behaved well heretofore. Hillary was a class act throughout 2008 (despite the many smears against her), and her husband did not resort to dirty politics throughout 1992 and 1996. And there was clearly no need for an extreme maneuver, since she was already poised to capture the nomination.

Even if you despise the Clintons and are willing to believe the worst of them, you have to look at the matter from an objective, practical standpoint. On that night, Hillary stood to gain nothing -- absolutely nothing -- from such a childish, repellent strategy. Hacking into those Facebook pages and uploading the worst kind of porn never stood a chance of attaining a single extra vote for Hillary Clinton. Quite the opposite. Neither Hillary Clinton nor anyone who supports her would do something so self-destructive.

The BernieBros, by contrast, have been fighting dirty for months. They've become increasingly desperate -- and downright maniacal. That's why my first theory was that the BernieBots attacked their own Facebook pages. (You don't need to do any hacking if you already own the password.) The goal was to smear Hillary.

Remember when Karl Rove "found" a bug in his office that he planted himself? The goal was to smear an enemy.

So that was my initial theory: A crazed BernieBro decided to pull a Rove. But then a more persuasive theory popped into my mind. I would like to propose an even likelier suspect.

As most of you know by now, Donald Trump wants to see Bernie Sanders mount an independent run. That won't happen. But it is certainly to Trump's advantage if Sanders supporters become so enraged with Hillary that they stay home in November.

The sexual nature of the attack forces us to consider Trump's filthy-minded henchman Roger Stone. Stone and his buddy Robert Morrow are absolutely obsessed with sex. This stunt fits in with their modus operandi.

As a general rule, every time a new scandal arises, you should ask these questions:

1. Does the scandal ultimately help Trump?

2. Does the scandal involve the salacious?

If the answer to both questions is yes, Stone should be your first suspect. In fact, you should suspect Stone even if the only question you can answer in the affirmative is the first one.

What happened to Salon? In the 1990s, Salon made its mark as a refuge of sanity at a time when everyone in the media had caught the rabies of anti-Clintonism. Now Salon is frothing at the mouth.

Salon -- indulging in its usual casuistry -- actually wants to you to believe that Bill Clinton said something vile and indefensible when he uttered these words:
“The reason that there’s so much anxiety, intensity, anger, blame in this election is that 80 percent of the American people have not gotten a pay raise since the crash eight years ago, after inflation,” said Clinton, at a rally in Pennsylvania. A valid observation, but Bill just couldn’t help taking a swipe at all of those young voters who overwhelmingly support his wife’s opponent: “If all the young people who claim to be disillusioned now had voted in 2010, we wouldn’t have lost the Congress, and we’d probably have our incomes back.”
Oh my stars and garters. How dare Bill Clinton say such a thing?

At this point, Bill C could mutter something utterly innocuous, and the folks at Salon would faux-faint in faux-horror. Suppose Clinton were to say "I like to eat food." How would Salon respond? Like this:

"That...that unspeakable FIEND! How dare he say 'I like to eat food' when so many people in this world don't have any food to eat?"

Here's my Theory of Salon:

1. Salon has perpetually been in need of money.

2. Donald Trump happens to have some money. Maybe not as much as he pretends, but still: He has money.

3. Therefore...

UPDATE: There's a report (see the comments here) that thousands of FB pages were hit by this porn attack. Apparently, this has not stopped the BernieBots from going to the Alex Jones sites and screaming "Conspiracy!"

Bernie and AJ. How predictable. They make a very predictable couple.

And it turns out that I was not the only person to suspect Stone. New York Magazine independently came to the same conclusion.
Roger Stone is a longtime Trump ally, who most recently made headlines by threatening violence against any GOP delegates who defy the Donald’s will. Stone got his start in politics working for Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign. One of the many nefarious tactics that campaign employed was to divide Democrats against each other, by impersonating one of the party’s campaigns while attacking others.
UPDATE II: Congrats to Chris Von Hollen, who knew how to win while keeping it classy. Donna Edwards has excellent qualities and may yet have much to offer the political world -- but on this occasion, she was unable to resist going the low road.

As did Bernie.
The Bros page was reported to Facebook for threatening violence and was taken down by Facebook for that reason, according to a new post on Uppity Woman. You, of course, are correct in that Clinton had nothing to gain and had never used dirty tactics politically, though, God knows, that have had reason to retaliate in kind.
I thought they had pinned it to a lone wolf HRC sympathizer? It would make no sense for HRC to do this.

You say these pages were attacked with the worst kind of porn. What kind is that?

Clinton didn't go far enough. If you take inflation into account the bottom fifth of Americans haven't had a pay raise since the 70s. Maybe if his wife mentioned that a bit more she could get some of Bernie's voters.

Hillary hasn't actually been as pure as the driven snow in this campaign. She's certainly got her own hasbara brigade. Of course she wasn't behind this. I doubt even Trump would be behind something like this. Stone acting without oversight, maybe.
According to the Bernie "Believers" (they call themselves that!), Hillary is BUYING the election and only oddities such as fewer polling places is accounting for her wins. This, despite the fact that Bernie won New England's Rhode Island even tho, they too, had fewer polling places for the primary.

Oh, but Rhode Island is an "open" state, so really it is the fault of all the states which do not allow independents to vote in a Dem primary that is the reason that Hillary won by securing all those "undemocratic" Dem votes while locking out!!! other parties from an internal party vote.

Also, the millennials are in a froth about even more than that. HOW can they explain to all those African American voters that it is WRONG to vote for this "criminal" who is....Under. Investigation. The horror! It reminds me of all the millennials trying to explain to Bowie's young lover in the 70's that she was raped and is a VICTIM!!! She can't possibly own her own experiences, even at an advanced age. Likewise, these African American voters just need to have it explained to them how wrong they are, by the mental-mighty millennials!

All in all, a good night for Baltimore. We got some good local results in terms of fresh blood, and that FELON did not win as mayor. My number one (or two) choice did not win, but neither did the symbol of corruption who stole from the CHILDREN not once, but twice. Onward for Baltimore. I'm sorry about the MD Senate seat, but as I do not watch tv I missed all the commercials . I would've hoped for a better race to fill Mikulski's seat, but we had a lot going on this time around.

I'm more concerned that Bernie just okayed Obama's kill list and troops in Syria.
Aren't you?

Meanwhile Jeff Goldberg's more concerned that Israel somehow someway won't be protected by anti-anti-semitism resulting in more war for the bandit state.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Are we seeing the creation of a left-wing Tea Party?

The country as a whole may not be paying attention to the senatorial dust-up between Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards, but this race does have implications that reach beyond Maryland.

Basically, Edwards is trying to mount a Sanders-esque insurgency against Van Hollen, who has a solid liberal record. Her argument seems to be that Van Hollen's pale skin and possession of a penis makes him indistinguishable from Rush Limbaugh. Her framing of the contest led to a particularly stark and ugly NYT headline: "White Man or Black Woman?"

As if no other factors matter. As if identity politics should trump all other concerns.

I suspect that there are a lot of black people who would not vote for Ben Carson based purely on skin color, and I suspect that many women would not vote for Michele Bachmann based purely on sex.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Edwards was up by four points. However, a more recent poll puts Van Hollen ahead by 14. She's slipping.

Part of the problem is simply her personality.
Sources close to the CBC and lawmakers familiar with the conversations said some of Edwards’ CBC colleagues responded to her in frank terms. Members of the CBC have long considered her abrasive and said she’s not an easy colleague to work with.

“She has not developed good relationships with the members of the CBC, quite frankly,” said a source familiar with the CBC. “A lot of people find her difficult.”
Another part of the problem has to do with the kind of campaign she has mounted.

I think that more than a few people have soured on her after a deceptive Edwards attack linking Van Hollen to the NRA, even though everyone knows that the gun organization has no love for him. (They gave him an "F" rating.)

You see, Van Hollen championed the DISCLOSE Act, which sheds light on corporate donors to candidates. The NRA and the AFL-CIO opposed some aspects of this act. Like it or not, there are quite a few pro-NRA Democrats. In order to pass the DISCLOSE Act, it had to be rewritten somewhat to mollify the NRA and the AFL-CIO. The only alternative would have been a "progressive purist" version of the Act which would never have become law.

So Van Hollen went for a compromise -- a justifiable compromise, in my view. The result was a law that does a lot of good. We're better off with the DISCLOSE Act than without it, even if it isn't ideal in its present form.

Compromise should not be considered a bad word, at least not in all situations. We had a lot more compromise back in the days before partisan gridlock poured concrete over the wheels of legislation.

At any rate, it is inane and deceptive to try to pretend that Chris Van Hollen is somehow in the pocket of the NRA.

I used to have a high opinion of Edwards, but those "NRA" ads -- which are running all over Baltimore teevee at this very moment -- have turned me against her. She represents everything I can't stand about the new politics of progressive purity. I've noticed that the "pure" ones tend to gravitate toward the tactics of Karl Rove.

In the case of Donna Edwards, those tactics may be backfiring.

There was a time not long ago when I thought that this country could use a left-wing analogue to the Tea Party. Now I see the disadvantages.

Of course, the "purity problem" is less apparent in a solidly blue state like Maryland than in a purple state, where a candidate has to veer toward the center in the general election. That's why Harry Reid (from the purple state of Nevada) remains in the Senate, even though he was very vulnerable: His Tea Party opponent, Sharron Angle, was a creature of the far right, addicted to immoderation.

Here's the supreme irony. From Donna Edwards' website:
In 1994, as co-founder and executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, she led the effort to pass the Violence Against Women Act that was signed into law by President Clinton.
Ah...but the Violence Against Women Act was a key part of that Omnibus Crime Bill which all good lefties are now supposed to despise (even though the CBC once supported it wholeheartedly, and even though Saint Bernie voted for it). Edwards doesn't advertise that little fact, does she?
Thanks for the review. I've been trying to figure out that race from afar and the sense of it eluded me until I read this post. Now I get it. Again, thanks.
I support her because her opponent is a devout Zionist who is totally funded by Haim Saban, etc.
She is not a Zionist, so I support her.
Certain folks are trying to make this campaign a race issue, but it's not. Only one view matters to them: blind support for Israel.
I hope she wins, because she will not be one of their lackeys. This article has a lot of info. Please read it...
Ah...but the Violence Against Women Act was a key part of that Omnibus Crime Bill which all good lefties are now supposed to despise.

Yep--and wasn't the Assault Weapons Ban part of that too? How quickly we forget.

Compromise should not be considered a bad word, at least not in all situations. We had a lot more compromise back in the days before partisan gridlock poured concrete over the wheels of legislation.

You're right, Joseph--but remember that purists will never bend, will never yield, will never compromise. They'd rather watch the whole thing come crashing down without any concern for those who would be hurt.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Kasich misses comeback opportunity

Donald Trump on John Kasich: "Did you see him? He has a news conference, all the time when he's eating. I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion..."

What Kasich should said in response: "I have never seen a human being decorate in such a disgusting fashion."
Headline typo alert. Joseph Cannon abducted by aliens perhaps?
Or perhaps a man who rarely drinks has discovered what happens when you mix vodka with 89-cent Tiki punch.

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Why I hate the purists (Or: The night I mooched a meal from Gore Vidal)

It's obvious that Bern-v-Hill is THE THE THE ONLY thing that my readers want to talk about right now. I thought that my last post -- about a secret base in the California desert -- was ground-breaking and interesting. But nobody cares about that stuff.

For some reason, this blog has attracted many Bernie-or-bust sickos (of the sort profiled in this excellent LAT piece) -- even though I've tried to chase 'em off, and even though I've made it quite clear that their obnoxious zealotry is what transformed this tentative Sanders fan into a die-hard Despiser of Da Bern.

(By the way: That anti-Clinton comment you're dying to write right now? I still won't publish it.)

I've decided to take on the Bernie cultists in a roundabout fashion, by republishing a Cannonfire classic from 2007. Below the asterisks, you'll find what I consider one of my more amusing pieces -- and it's more germane now than it was then.

This anecdote from the 1980s provides insight into the current Democratic race. More than that: It offers insight into other occasions when "progressive purists" hurt the cause of liberalism -- as occurred, for instance, in the year 2000.

Remember? That's when Nader voters foisted Dubya on us, because they considered Al Gore to be soooooo freakin' intolerable. And what, exactly, made Gore intolerable? Because....reasons. Reasons that nobody now remembers.

2000 wasn't the first time. Believe it or not, back in 1982, all good progs once thought of Jerry Brown (yes, Jerry freakin' Brown) the same way progs thought about Gore in 2000 -- the same way they now think about Hillary. California "progressives" -- not the Republicans: Progressives -- crippled the career of Jerry Brown, a man who should have been president. Thanks to the muthafuckin' progs, he had to rebuild his political career from the ground up.

I'll prove it to you. Let's turn back the clock...

* * *

I have two Gore Vidal stories. The second one involves the JFK assassination. The first may interest readers curious to learn why I get so pluperfectly pissed off at the "progressive purists."

If you want to see what my mug looks like -- or looked like, back in the days of the 30 inch waistline and the full head of hair -- rent a film called Gore Vidal: The Man Who Said No, which details Vidal's 1982 primary campaign against then-Governor Jerry Brown to become the Democratic nominee for Senator, a position won in the general by Pete Wilson.

The film's funniest moment comes during the one public confrontation between Gore Vidal and Jerry Brown. Noting that both men are confirmed bachelors, Vidal announces: "As far as the public is concerned, we are both virgins. May the most immaculate one win!" That "exploding cigar" look on Jerry's face is priceless.

Toward the end of the movie, I can be seen wearing a white sweater, staring hard at the candidate as the returns show him trailing third behind an unknown from Orange County. (Our Boy eventually made a triumphant surge into second place.) Most viewers probably take me to be Vidal's catamite. Actually, I was studying his face for any trace of emotion. He had spent a lot of money to achieve this failure, and I wondered if he would react to loss the way everyone in my Eye-talian family always reacted to loss: Tossing plates of spaghetti, threatening murder, threatening suicide, that sort of thing.

But...nothing. Not an eye-muscle twitched. Gore Vidal came from a very different sort of family.

How did I end up in Vidal's campaign headquarters that evening? A friend named Bob (now a movie critic) worked on the campaign, and I had spent an evening helping him do what he was pleased to call "opposition research." We visited the microfilm room at UCLA and looked through old newspaper accounts of Governor Brown's speeches. "This is GOLD!" Bob would shout every few seconds. (He was very excitable.) "This will DESTROY Jerry Brown!"

"No it won't," I would snarl. "Nobody cares about that shit."

Nobody did. But Bob didn't want to hear it, so after about half an hour of increasingly surly banter I decided that my time would be more profitably spent studying editions of the London Times from the 18th century. The criticism of George III was surprisingly candid.

CUT TO: Election night.

I was coming home by bus after my second day on a new job. I had not eaten in a while, had no food in the house, and would have no cash to purchase food until the first paycheck arrived. What to do? As the bus passed the palatial Vidal campaign headquarters on Ventura Boulevard, I realized that good old Gore had probably provided some "farewell party" grub for the folks who had toiled on his behalf.

Well. Hadn't I given the man a half-hour of my time?

Sport that he was, Vidal had purchased plain-wrap beer and cookies, which all of the Gore-ites disdained. That stuff was ambrosia.

Everyone took me to be a campaign worker and a Vidal insider, and they all listened with respect to my views on The Issues of the Day. Then the cameras showed up. Never miss an opportunity to appear on television, as the man himself once said.

After that came a Cannon tradition: Inadvertently insulting the host of a party. One must perform certain rituals. I will not tell you what I said, mostly because the words are blocked from memory, but lemme tell ya -- that "exploding cigar" look on Gore's face was priceless.

After Vidal trudged home, presumably to take solace in the arms of his real catamite, his loyal workers went out to Denny's. I tagged along and was even staked to a patty melt -- that week's only meal fit for a carnivore.

The fellow who ran Vidal's campaign was very bright and witty, but he was addicted to automatic gainsaying: If anyone said "A," he felt compelled to say "Not A," just to show who's boss. If ever you run into a guy with that sort of addiction, do not miss the opportunity to fuck with his mind. By evening's end, I had manipulated Mr. Automatic Gainsayer into announcing to the assembled company that Hitler had a perfect right to invade Czechoslovakia, that a pound of butter was less fattening than a carrot, and that the Montana state legislature had been taken over by flying saucer people. (Okay, this account is an exaggeration, but not by much.)

Thus ended an evening with the progressive purists. I went home feeling dirty. Full, thank you very much, but dirty.

I felt bad not just because I had tweaked the noses of good people who had put food in my belly. Sure, there was guilt in that, but when you grow up Eye-talian, you expect a certain background level of guilt. The most depressing part of the day occurred earlier, when I voted for Gore Vidal.

That vote should have gone to Jerry Brown.

Throughout that evening, everyone around me had shouted that Jerry Brown was a corporate shill, a sellout, a reactionary, a hack who made Ronald Reagan look like Emma Goldman. That night, the walls of Denny's had resounded with a hundred variations on the Standard Issue Both Parties Are the Same lecture (also known as the SIBPATS lecture).

Bullshit. All of it.

Sure, Brown often had to compromise, as he now freely admits. He had inspired an excellent film from 1972 called The Candidate, which chronicles a crusading idealist's segue into mere politician-hood. But by modern standards, Jerry Brown remained far closer to the crusader ideal than most today would think possible. California was then a rather conservative state, and Brown was the most liberal governor we have ever had. He opposed the death penalty when the citizenry clamored for it. He opposed Proposition 13 even after everyone understood that the thing would pass handily. He called corporate America an "out of control Frankenstein." He nominated incredibly liberal judges.

He also made the state work. California was prosperous. Economic downturns that hit the rest of the country hard barely touched us.

Could Gore Vidal, who endlessly sniped at Brown's fine record, have done a better job in the Governor's chair? Tosh. Would Brown have made a good Senator? You bet.

I still don't know why Vidal ran in that primary. He reacted with disdain whenever anyone suggested that he might try for a seat in the House of Representatives, even though he stood a better chance of winning such a race. Winning doesn't seem to have been his goal. He preferred to travel up and down the state insulting the man certain to be the Democratic Party's nominee -- thereby strengthening the Republican.

Not that Vidal gave a crap about the Democratic Party. People who worked on the campaign assured me that he planned to vote for the Socialist candidate in the general election -- a fact he kept carefully hidden from the Democratic citizens he addressed. No double-dealing there, eh wot?

My friend Bob had recounted many amusing tales from inside the campaign. Most of them had to do with Gore Vidal's reactions to the common folk he encountered. Picture Stewie Griffen or Addison DeWitt coming home after a long day of pretending to be a man of the people. According to Bob, Vidal once entered a campaign strategy meeting with this anouncement: "I've just come back from....Whittier!" He pronounced the name of Nixon's quiet and pleasant home town as though it were a pathogen.

All very humorous. But if Vidal had felt a little less disdain for the people who live in places like Whittier, more of them might have voted for him.

Did Gore Vidal really deserve to be the Democratic nominee? He despised the party, he didn't like the people he wanted to represent, and he found everyone else on the ticket intolerable.

Compare Vidal to Al Franken, another fellow known for offering amusing political commentary on the radio. Franken probably does not speak with private disgust about the people he meets in Lake Wobegon. In fact, I would bet that Franken genuinely enjoys talking to, and listening to, the citizens of his state.

Gore Vidal is a brilliant novelist and essayist. He will be read long after you and I are gone. But that fact doesn't obligate anyone to share his views -- especially these views:
[t]here is only one party in the United States, the Property Party...and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties."
Many of the progressive purists I met that evening in 1982 probably still agree with this assessment. We must confront a hard question: Have they (we?) accomplished anything worthwhile in the past quarter century? Or have the purists indulged themselves in a 25-year bitch fest?

During that same period, people working within the Republican party structure have accomplished many things in the real world. Many very, very bad things. And we cannot undo those things unless we work within the Democratic party structure -- because in this country, power does not exist outside the major parties.

Vidal's statement seems particularly absurd when one compares the prosperous Clinton years to the war-addled, debt-ridden Bush years. Nevertheless, I am sure that Mr. Automatic Gainsayer could make that very comparison and still deliver his latest variant of the SIBPATS lecture.

If you want to fill my ears with that crap, you had better pick up the check for my patty melt.

(The JFK tale will have to wait for later.)
We could all get what we want if Bernie were to start a #PeoplesPAC. -
Caro -- this is being proposed by Budowsky, not Sanders. It would be great if Sanders were to do something like this, but if he did, he wouldn't be Sanders, and that is his tragedy, and perhaps ours.
Did the JFK story ever get posted?

I agree about politics though. Secret bases infinitely better than Bernary.I'm too much of a purist to care for Bernie anyway, but he's lost. It's done. No more of it.
A very interesting recollection, Joseph! I admit that I did not pay attention to Senatorial race back then--I was ten years old and living on the East Coast--but it's interesting to see how some things have changed and others have not, sadly.

You are right about Vidal--a brilliant writer and essayist, but yes, he clung onto and always repeated the "both parties are the same!" nonsense. Of course, we heard that repeated yet again by St. Ralph in 2000, and even though I could see right through it (and I admit to not being smarter than anyone else--I've just read a couple more books), some friends who were smarter believed it. One even kept referring to the loathsome Alexander Cockburn's book "Al Gore: A User's Guide" to justify his vote for Nader.

(Funny thing about Cockburn's book though--how come he didn't pen a "User's Guide" for Bush?)

"Vidal's statement seems particularly absurd when one compares the prosperous Clinton years to the war-addled, debt-ridden Bush years." ABSOLUTELY! That shambling zombie should have been double-tapped to the head and laid to rest within the first week of Bush's first term, but I still heard purists claiming that Gore was just as bad as or would have been worse than Bush right up to--and after, the Iraq invasion of 2003. And it's risen again with the Bernie-or-Bust crowd, being used as a weapon against Hillary Clinton.

Something to consider (but I have a feeling that you are already aware of this):

The call to a people’s revolution by Bernie Sanders echoes these historic shifts. However when the revolution ignores the oligarchical Republican Party, represented by a candidate that mimics Hitler, another that spouts zealous hatred and a Congress that ignores its Constitutional duty, and instead chooses to target the Democratic Party, then it loses any semblance of legitimacy. (taken from an article on the GO BLINDLY website)

...Some years ago you did mention something along these lines--that the purists will always go after the Democrats first and leave the GOP unmolested. I admit to not believing it at first, but I learned.
Jerry Brown.
The one who said in circa 2011 that Obama should NOT be primaried from the left
from all his broken promises?
Oh, yeah THAT Jerry Brown.
Stephen, here is the piece on Gore Vidal, Clay Shaw, and JFK:

It may be quite relevant to the story told above.
As a reader since 2007 or so, I can honestly say that I don't care to read anything more about Bernie or Hillary. I've had enough. I'll just be glad when it's all over and we can start getting bombarded by propaganda for the NEXT election (there's not really any off time between Presidential election anymore, is there?).

Besides, I knew who the next President would be more than a year ago. We'll see if I was right or not........I don't much care either way, at this point. Maybe I'm just hopelessly cynical, but I suspect nothing much will change no matter who gets elected. That said, I don't believe both parties are the same. I do think the Dems screwed their best chance to strengthen the party by choosing Obama in 2008 though (even if he didn't turn out quite as bad as suspected......close, but not quite).
Gus, I used to think that way until Bush took office and 9/11 happened and he invaded Iraq and dismantled Fema ahead of Katrina and defunded basic research in the universities and so on. Then I realized it does matter who gets elected.

I was living in Chicago when Jerry Brown ran for president, having been a lifelong California resident before that. Brown was seen by IL Democrats as a nutcase from a state that had little in common with the rest of the US. I don't think Californians appreciated how much distrust was aimed at our state and Brown himself. We were viewed much like Portlandia residents and Brown didn't have a chance of winning Democrats nationwide. I think that's sad, but that's how I remember it, and I was a Chicago precinct worker and community activist working inside the machine at the time. Brown's people had no idea how they were being viewed outside their own ranks, much like Bernie's, I suspect.
When can we expect your denouncing and vilifying of the 200,000 registered Florida Democrats that voted for Bush in Florida in 2000?

How did that last comment pass? what is Anon talking about?

1. Some of us did enjoy your last piece, but had no clue how to respond. I especially liked the growing ranch....

2. Gore Vidal has never struck me as "brilliant." Please. He relied on Harper Lee for the only thing I know that he's known for. SHE was brilliant.

3. This is hilarious. Love it, down to the patty melt. I went to some famous joint in Fells Point for a patty melt on my birthday this year. They did not HAVE any, as their GRILL was "broken." Are you fucking kidding me?! I do not give second chances to shoddy joints such as this. And I passed up a $3 dish of corned beef at a political shindig for this nonexistence patty melt as a b-day treat. Which means war.

4. OK, I know I had more points as I read but they all evaporated because ... patty melts!!

Thanks for the history.

Corby - The idea is Brent's, but he's working with people who could make it happen. Brent has been an idea guy for Democrats since he worked for Lloyd Bentsen as a young man.

It could happen.
Having moved to California from the Deep South in 1973, I was excited that I could cast my vote for a liberal democrat. Jerry Brown was an excellent governor then and now. I have never understood why members of his own party railed against him. But I figured it must have been because they probably had not been brought up in an ultraconservative region and so didn't fully understand the difference between progressive and regressive. Politics aside, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures in Chatsworth park and the high desert. Exploring the desert and surrounding mountains was something our little family thoroughly enjoyed. I won't go into the many unusual adventures we experienced but your write-up on the hidden airfield brought a smile about one of our spookier outings. Since we never followed a planned route, we would end up on some really remote tertiary roads. On one occasion, we rounded a bend in the road that dead-ended at an abandoned airfield. In front of us was one lone rather short airstrip and a wooden building at the far end. No one was in sight and there were no other signs of civilization nearby. Just hills and dirt. The screen door of the abandoned building was swinging and banging shut with the wind. It was eerie to say the least. Although there were no signs of life, I had a chilling feeling that we were being watched. But true to our naive and dumb selves, we drove the length of the runway to the building and went inside. It looked as though it might have been a cafe at one time. I desperately wanted to leave, which we soon did, as I kept expecting a small plane to suddenly descend from the sky and land and then for not very friendly people to emerge from behind the rocks to unload illegal cargo---with us as witnesses. Still gives me the shivers. Thanks for the remembrances. I hope you keep them coming. JL
Wow. JL, that was pretty daring of you guys! Where was that airstrip?

There were a lot of small airstrips constructed out in the desert during and before WWII. Spotting them on Google Earth is kind of fun.

I spent many hours out there at night, basically looking for the fabled white trucks, which I wanted to follow to their hidden destinations. Probably not the best idea...
I think we were in the vicinity of Littlerock, Joseph, which if I'm not mistaken is in the Antelope Valley. I tried to do a Google search for abandoned airfields near there and the closest one appears to Big Rock(!). But after reading a description of Big Rock, it doesn't really sound like the airfield that I remember. But then that was way back when in 1975-76. The most distinguishing features that I recall were the field's small size and its remoteness. There was only one short strip, which I'm pretty sure was paved, if my memory serves me. As I mentioned I would really enjoy reading about more of your SoCal adventures. Did you ever trek up to Panamint? JL

You misunderstand me. I'm not saying it doesn't matter who gets elected, I'm saying that "we the people" are not the ones who decide who gets to be President. It starts with the fact that huge amounts of money are needed to run at all. Then, the media decides who to give free publicity to (probably not totally free, and the media themselves likely are not the deciders but are being directed). Then we have the quite shady caucus process. Then, the even more shady elections, where we all "vote" on electronic voting machines that were easily hack-able and almost totally opaque in their operation back in 2004 and nothing has changed in that regard. It's just gone down the memory hole, but none of the problems were fixed (a paper copy of how you think you voted is useless if they aren't being counted and compared to the digital version). Of course, Florida in 2000 showed us you didn't really need electronic voting to "fix" an election anyway.

So I don't think the American people really play any part in who gets to be President anymore. Probably true for ANY federally "elected" official. As I said, I might be overly cynical. I certainly hope so.
"It's obvious that Bern-v-Hill is THE THE THE ONLY thing that my readers want to talk about right now."

I came here tonight eager most of all to find out whether you'd met Larry "Wild Man" Fischer on Hollywood Boulevard! :)
"...he was addicted to automatic gainsaying: If anyone said 'A,' he felt compelled to say 'Not A,' just to show who's boss."

This is one of the most brilliant lines I've ever read. It describes someone I know to a T. Thanks for putting it into a nutshell. So clarifying.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Is there a new Area 51 UNDER the California desert? (UPDATED)

I'm still not ready for more election-year aggro. So we're keepin' it light this weekend. This one's just for fun.

I've been feeling nostalgic for the old country -- i.e., my home state of California. So I spent several hours touring the Mojave via Google Earth. Much has changed.

A few of you may recall an earlier piece in which I discussed an intersection outside of Lancaster, on the edge of nowhere -- Rosamund and 170th Street West, thirty miles west of Edwards Air Force Base. Back in the day, I went "legend tripping" out here on many a night. Imagine your humble narrator parked on that very stretch of dirt in the wee small hours.

Why come here? Back then, local "fringe" researchers were lured to this place by rumors of strange things a-happening within line of sight of that corner. Somewhere "out there" the wilds could see.....certain........things.

Many of the rumors focused on Fairmont Butte, which lies just west of that intersection. The wildest stories spoke of a secret military base built within the Butte, connected by tunnel to Edwards.

Yes. A thirty-mile tunnel.

That claim was too over-the-top even for me.

Now, I won't detail the precise nature of the other rumors I heard. They were silly. I felt silly when I tried to investigate them. This blog is not a place for such nonsense. Suffice it to say that I saw nothing to budge me away from my native skepticism.

And yet I kept coming back. There's something about the California desert -- terrifying in its solitude, magical in its immensity. I loved it there. (Also, if you take adventuresome girls to a place like that, they get all goose-pimply and scared. A good kind of scared.)

As noted, much has changed: A new wind farm has transformed the landscape. Studying the wilds just north of those towers -- about seven miles north of "my" intersection, in a place where the desert slams into the Tehachapi mountains -- I noticed something odd.


"Landing Field"? WHAT "Landing Field"?

That's no landing field, even though it is so labeled. If you zoom in very close, you'll see a very, very narrow dirt trail in that area. It's barely fit for a Jeep. There are no buildings of any kind nearby, and no roads to take you to civilization.

Fire up Google, type in "White Oak Lodge Landing Field," and you'll find no useful information to be found anywhere on the internets. A few desultory pages list it as an "airport."

An airport. Riiiiiight.

(And no, it's not one of the disused WWII-era airfields which one can find in other parts of the Mojave. Those places are all well-known; there's a website devoted to keeping track of them. Those old fields are usually triangular, and they show up very clearly on satellite imagery.)

Using Google Earth's historical imagery, I was able to gauge how the area has changed over the years. In the 2013 images, in a gulley just north of the Landing Field, I found this:

Those look like a couple of the infamous white trucks, on a dirt road that was recently much improved.

You're probably thinking: So? Who cares about a couple of white trucks? Let me explain.

Back in the naughty 90s, such vehicles became well-known to those of us who  enjoyed scouting out "secret" defense installations in the Mojave. I'm talking about the places discussed by the marvelous Tom Mahood, an engineer who functioned as a God of Reason in a very paranoid time and place. He ferreted out an awesome amount of hard-to-get info concerning things which the Gummint did not want normal folk to learn.

We all saw brand-new full-sized white trucks zooming in and out of locales where high-tech "stuff" was being tested. (They also go in and out of Area 51.) One morning, while hanging out at "my" intersection, I saw one such truck zoom past me and speed down the dirt trail leading to the quasi-infamous Fairmont Butte.

Now, you may think that I'm making mountains out of molehills, and perhaps I am. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to do further research into this "Landing Field." I came across an account titled "Secret Runway outside Edwards AFB," written by someone named Kevin, although he favors the screen name KAKUSA.

If you're wearing a hat, hold onto it:
5 years ago myself, my brother and his family were living in Rosamond Ca. located just outside Edwads AFB. One day my brother a 2 friends went ATV riding in the mountains at the end of 136th St in a remote area of the Tehachapi mountains. As they were riding along a strange looking almost silent plane flew over head made a banking turn and disappeared below a mountain ridge. They rode to the top of the ridge thinking the plane was crashing only to see it taxing to a opening in the side of the mountain at the end of a runway in the valley. He said the runway and doors to the opening were completely camoflouged to look like the desert terrain and was almost indistinguisable from the surrounding desert. At that time about 3 white trucks seemed to pop up out of the desert floor from nowhere and head thier way, needless to say they hauled ass and left the area. My brother drew a picture of the plane which he discribed as a "BAT PLANE", it was about the size of the B1 bomber, with NO visable engines and almost silent.

I have included a Google Earth sceen shot of the approx: area if any members would like to help search and find this runway...
Yes, there are a lot of typos in this passage; I've decided not to correct them. The reference to "136th St" puzzles me; I could find no road with that name. And this area is not really "just outside" of Edwards AFB.

Nevertheless, Kevin's Google Earth image leads me to believe that this "secret opening" is real, and that it exists somewhere in the vicinity of the so-called White Lodge Landing Field. Kevin also provides a crude outline drawing of the ultra-silent "Bat Plane" seen by his brother. This shape really does resemble the vehicle flown by Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's first Batman movie.

If you click on the above link and read the comments, you'll find that many readers were initially skeptical of the claim made by KAKUSA. His responses seem reasonable. Frankly, I'm inclined to stipulate his credibility.

Which leads me to my big question: Do you think that there is anything to this? Can there really be a large underground facility, expertly hidden at the foot of the Tehachapis?

Or have I let a romantic imagination temporarily get the better of me?

The Northrup RCS facility. If you look up the Airport-That-Isn't on Google Earth, you'll notice a very elaborate installation roughly two-and-a-half miles to the southwest. Although Google won't give you a name, this place is not really a secret anymore: It's the Northrup RCS Facility. RCS stands Radar Cross Section.

This is one of several hidden facilities in the desert (technically owned by private companies) where the military tests the stealthiness of various vehicles and components. I believe that these facilities were built in the Reagan years, when a massive military build-up opened the funding spigot, and stealth technology was The Next Big Thing.

The Northrup site has had a difficult time of it lately. The company furiously opposed the installation of that nearby wind farm: It seems that the windmills can interfere with the radar tests. I don't claim to understand how the science works; if interested, go here and scroll down for the observations of one Shadowhawk.

UPDATE: On a return visit (via Google Earth) I found a small "ranch" -- note the quotation marks -- not too far from the southern end of the Landing Strip. This is the only allegedly civilian structure for miles and miles around.

Through the magic of Google Earth's historical imagery, I discovered that this particular ranch has grown quite rapidly in recent years. When I first discovered this region, there was nothing there.

Ya think maybe this ranch is something other than a ranch?  By the way: The Landing field is nearly 7000 feet long. That's long enough for most airplanes, though not a jumbo jet.

An underground facility wouldn't surprise me, Cheyenne mountain is a good example. I think the Skunkworks also has some underground hangers.

As for the big white trucks, they are using them in Washington state in electronic warfare testing. The public is pretty upset. The Navy is putting these trucks, equipped with powerful radar units, up in the National Forest as targets for Navy jets. The jets are equipped to knock the radar out with a intense blast of electromagnetic energy. This is a new program for this area, usually restricted to desert areas in eastern Washington.

Maybe the "Bat-plane" is one of the large "flying triangles" that have been sighted.
Whatever DARPA and other black budget military/intel projects are up to is entirely opaque, although likely scores of billions of taxpayer money is spent on them annually.

They are so secret that simply referring to them by name is a felony violation, if members of Congress even know their names. Hardly any do, if there are perhaps a few in the armed services and intel oversight committees.

It is my understanding that under the secret compartmentalized need to know organization that is imposed, in many cases the Pentagon itself has no real knowledge or viable oversight on what private contractors are doing with very large amounts of funding.

So we are left with rumors and what alleged insiders may reveal. Deep underground military bases (DUMBs) have been the topics of such rumors and alleged insider whistle-blowing for a long time now. Remembering that the stealth technologies were kept secret until they were fully operational, this current suggestion would not be that surprising. The large volumes of earth moved (110 million cubic yards, sufficient to cover 32 city blocks a quarter of a mile high) during the newer Denver airport's construction suggest to some that there is a large underground installation under its surface footprint, for example.

I'm not sure of the problem here is with the Amerikan govt. They're only trying to help us helpless citizens from the people that hate us because of our freedoms. It doesn't matter if those that hate because we keep trying to destroy their nation or then again maybe those afar from the Little Blue Sphere Hurling through Space are confused about just how evil we are. Then again how evil are they?

Thanks J
I met an airman in England who claimed to have been at Edwards when this happened, though he did not personally witness it, being drunk in the barracks:
I think its about time the US developed this capability given it seems like the Russians have had it for a while.

Look up what happened to the Donald Cook in the Black Sea (naturally reading assuming large pinch of salt etc).

But it would be weird if they didnt have some kind of way to cook radar units.

This will become more interesting if a neocon gets into the WH and decides to try and shut the sky over Syria with the Russian anti-air missiles on the ground. We will get to see how far along the US technology has gotten.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince: Uncharming

I'm a fan of the classics, so the music of the late Prince is outside my competence to judge. I mention the man's passing in order to direct your attention to the above video, in which the delightful Kevin Smith tells a hilarious -- and appalling -- behind-the-scenes story. If Smith is right, The Artist Formerly Known As Among the Living was so weird and so narcissistic as to make Michael Jackson seem normal. (This article barely scratches the surface.)

Eccentricity is accepted, even expected, in an artist. But when an artist seems preternaturally convinced of his spiritual superiority even as he treats other people like shit -- well. To describe such a person, we need a far stronger word than "eccentric." 
Partway through the story, I was reminded of Honey from Doonesbury talking about her time as interpreter for Chairman Mao. He would ask for outlandish things like tearing down the Great Wall, so she would just tell him that it had been done. Then when he asked for it to be replaced, she would once again tell him that the people had mobilized and done it. Of course, she had just spent the time goofing off.
I remember that arc in Doonesbury. ^_^

Meanwhile, since our host mentioned classical music...
YOW! Thanks. Fixed.
"The Artist Formerly Known As Among the Living"

That's cold, dude. Very funny, but cold.
I as a minnesotan, have been amazed by how much he is loved here, and around the world. He seems to have been private, and people respected his privacy. He was also passionate about many things which were recently revealed in here.

He was odd, but it may have been a way to protect his privacy.

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