After reading this story, I think the time has come to write the following message to Hillary Clinton.
Hillary: As you probably know, your new office will be 18 1/2 feet high, so choose your drapes accordingly. Some presidents have gone for the oversized look, where the drape bottoms drag along the ground. Don't go that way.
As for color -- well, let's see what your predecessors have done with the place:
Obama started out with gold drapes but switched to this sedate rusty reddish number, which works pretty well with the light beige carpet. He also went with square bunting. Please lose the stripes on the wall. (Walls?) (Seriously, do we use the plural or not?)
Here's the Nixon Oval: Bright gold against a deep blue. Bold. I think it works, but everyone after Nixon seems to have preferred something more sedate.
In your case, Hillary, you should avoid too much gold. Too Trumpy.
JFK went fifty shades of grey. Actually, he retained the Eisenhower decor. I like this look (I also like Ike's ideas about men's jackets), but grey wouldn't fly in your case. People want to see something a little more assertive from the first female president.
Dubya's rumpus room -- a recreation of his dad's version. Hm. I have mixed feelings. A colorful carpet doesn't really work with the subdued grey-and-cream drapery. But I like the fancy bunting.
Reagan went for two-tone drapes with fancier bunting, coupled with a yellowish-beige carpet. Solid. I think Obama was inspired by this color scheme. Believe it or not, this look originated with Gerry Ford, who just couldn't deal with Nixon's gold-and-navy-blue approach. Carter kept the same general scheme.
As it happens, I like dark blue. Which brings us to...
Recognize it, Hillary? This was your husband's oval office. First: Those sofas were the worst abomination in the history of furniture fabric. If I heard that you were planning to bring back those sofas, I'd vote for Trump. But the creamy light gold drapery (with soft blue trim) works very well with that blue carpet. (The West Wing TV series used this scheme with different sofas.)
My recommendation? Either bring back your husband's scheme (with better sofas!) or go for the one choice that no-one has tried before. I think you can pull it off.
Dark blue drapes against a mostly-off-white Everything Else. Simple. Elegant. And it has never been done by any previous president.
A soft blue would work in a normal home, but it would be a little too girly for your purposes. You want a blue that says power. Severe but elegant. A color scheme that says: Don't mess with me, boys -- this ain't my first rodeo.
This should give you an idea of what I have in mind:
(Severed head of Trump is purely optional.)
Let's talk paintings. Personally, if I were president, I'd choose the work of a great American illustrator -- Rockwell, Leyendecker, Parrish, N.C. Wyeth, someone of that caliber. These were the giants who inspired my own artistic ambitions. Hillary, I hope that you will consider a salute to popular American artists, because their best work ranks with the world's finest, and they deserve more respect.
But you should also be bold in advertising your femininity. That's why I would also suggest a Mary Cassatt -- one of her famous mother-and-child portraits.
A final word: Hillary, you simply must win. Can you imagine what Trump would do to the place?
I may not agree with everything (sometimes anything) you say, but there's no argument on your interior design skills and vision of a Trump oval office.
I cannot imagine how tacky that would end up being.
posted by Anonymous : 10:23 AM
Ugh - dark brown furniture! I'd deal with that first, before choosing curtains.
But fifteen days is a long time. There are battles for Kirkuk, Mosul and Aleppo. That's a lot of battles. A Russian fleet is on its way to the East Mediterranean. (Got to wonder whether the Orthodox crusaders will say hello to the knights in Malta.) The lady is 68 and she recently had pneumonia. And the country probably hasn't completely run out of Chechen boxers or Israeli removal men; nor is it immune from Stoner or ~KGB black ops.
The betting markets have been suspiciously calm for a fortnight, giving an implied probability of about 17% for a Trump win. No wind, no noise, nothing. More money is getting staked, but the prices are staying level. Trump is doing well not to be in free fall.
posted by b : 11:19 AM
Joseph, it's important that you not feed the meme that Hillary will obsess herself with trivia. Let's stick to substantive issues--such as giving a Braniff-like exterior treatment to Air Force One.
I don't know if porn star Jessica Drake is telling the truth when she says that she declined Trump's offer of $10,000 for a single night's entertainment. (See also here.) Given Trump's recent lawsuit threats, and given the lack of any obvious benefit to Drake for concocting a story, I tend to suspect that she's telling the truth.
But I don't know. It's quite possible that her accusation is some sort of publicity stunt.
I'm certain of this much: If her story is an exercise in fiction, it's a very witty one. Think of it: A professional sex worker (and yes, I think it is fair to use those words to describe Drake) who finds Donald Trump so repulsive that she turns down $10,000 to spend the night with him. We're talking about a woman who has worked with Ron Jeremy.
Yes to Ron but no to Don. That's gotta be the ultimate indignity.
Normally, I would say that Drake is out of line to reveal such things. She's a pro, and a pro should be discreet. But fair is fair: After Trump tried to sleaze his way into office by publicizing even the least believable of the Bill Clinton accusers, he invited retaliation in kind.
Marv has a great line in Sin City: "I love hit men. No matter what you do to them, you don't feel bad."
It's hard to feel bad about Donald Trump's current humiliations. This is the guy who called Hillary a drug user, a crook and a racist, not to mention those nonsensical stories about her health.
Karma's a bitch. If Trump had run a more normal campaign, he'd probably be winning.
Wow. I woke up and did not feel compelled to discover the latest about the Trump menace. For the first time in months, I'm not fretting about the possibility that the nuclear launch codes will end up with someone whose brain cells stopped talking to each other twenty years ago.
We've entered a strange, Dali-esque world. Or maybe Max Ernst-ian. I'm thinking of his painting "Europe After the Rain," the artist's 1942 pre-vision of the ravaged landscape left in the wake of fascism's defeat. You can see it at the top of this post. Doesn't it sum up the way things feel right now? Life hangs in eerie suspension as we survey the ruins around us.
After November 8, the world will be normal once more. We can finally relax and return to bitching about Hillary. Normal bitching -- about policy. Nothing about emails and Benghazi and all of that other nonsense that Alex Jones keeps blathering about.
Alas, that date is still more than two weeks away; Trump is not yet finished. So we wait. And as we wait, let us take one more look at Trump's eminence greasy, Roger Stone.
I've long argued that Stone was and is the secret architect of the Trump campaign. The two men have been friends for decades. Stone must resent the fact that his previous attempt to run a presidential campaign -- 1996 -- ended in scandal after his outlandish sex life made the headlines. The Trump campaign is his last chance to prove that his methods work. This time around, he has kept himself plausibly deniable, free to spew outrageous smears (such as his accusations against the Khan family) without officially speaking on behalf of The Donald. Despite Stone's pretensions of being an outsider, I believe that he has always been -- to borrow a term from occultism -- le supérieur inconnu, the Unknown Superior. Behind the doors of Donnie's Dick Club, Stone is an even bigger dick than Steve Bannon.
Do you recall that odd tweet in which Stone proclaimed his non-disclosure agreement with Trump null and void? Everyone has missed the obvious point: If Stone really were, as claimed, separate from the campaign, what need of an NDA? Corey Lewandowski had a $1.2 million book deal all lined up, but his own NDA quashed all of that.
(We should always keep in mind that no NDA -- no contract of any kind -- covers criminal activity. Thus, Stone's tweet cannot have been in reaction to his contacts with the FBI.)
More broadly: Everything about the Trump campaign has always screamed ROGER WAS HERE. Stone has always loved smears and mud and dirty tricks, and that's what Team Trump gave us: Sleazy accusations and stolen emails -- a new Watergate every few days. Overseeing it all was one of the original Watergaters.
Remember when Trump made that bizarre accusation about Hillary being on drugs? That apparently came from here. The link goes to a lengthy conversation between Roger Stone and Alex Jones, a presentation sponsored by Jone's personal brand of "brain pills." Just pop these pills and you'llthink real good, just like ol' Alex. Small wonder AJ is backing the candidate who wants to get rid of the FDA.
Here's an interesting question: Does Trump really believe in AJ's nonsensical conspiracy theories?
We've all seen those tweets from yesteryear in which Trump speaks well of the Clintons. (He also insulted, in his usual Trumpian way, Paula Jones.) If you compare what Trump said then to what he says now, it's hard not to conclude that Candidate Trump has been putting on a big act. He's a teevee entertainer playing a part, a huckster going for the big con.
But I don't think that the "It's all an act" theory suffices. I think that Donald Trump really has become enchanted by the Alex Jones view of reality. Right-wing conspiracism often attracts those with intellectual pretensions who lack the patience to read hard books.
Let's get back to Roger Stone.
Stone calls himself a libertine and a libertarian. Being a libertarian, he presumably views self-interest as his sole motivation. So why does he continue to dodder around the JFK assassination community, where he is a mostly-unwelcome presence? From an Ayn Randian me-me-me perspective, what's in it for him?
Roger Stone is listed as a speaker in this so-called "Oswald Conference," which was held about a week ago. The fact that George Noory (!!!) hosted the event should tell you everything you need to know. With the exception of Russ Baker, none of the listed speakers commands much respect within the JFK assassination research community -- and to be honest, I'm not really a big fan of Baker.
This is not the A-team, folks.
The main attraction at the conference was Judyth Vary Baker, an attention-loving fantasist who claims that she was once Oswald's lover, and whose followers strike me as unnervingly cultish. The real researchers have a low opinion of her. She now inhabits an alternate JFK universe: There are serious JFK conferences and there are "Judy" conferences -- and if you show up at the latter, you may not be welcome at the former.
I've written about Judy before, offering links to experts who have exposed her silly fibs. Unsurprisingly, she has "confirmed" to Roger Stone that Ted Cruz' dad really was the guy seen working with Oswald. Judy's memory is one of the true wonders of nature.
Again I ask: Why is Stone in this world? What's in it for him? Despite what some people believe, JFK assassination books rarely sell well; the money involved is (by Trumpian standards) trifling. The dimes and nickles may have meaning to someone like The Great Judy, but Roger Stone is the kind of guy who likes to wear bespoke suits while scooting around town in his favorite Mercedes.
Where's the payoff? Is he getting a cut from sales of those Alex Jones Brain Pills?
Pat Buchanan offers these words about Donald Trump's possible refusal to accept any election results if (when?) he loses:
But what do these chattering classes and establishment bulletin boards think the Donald is going to do if he falls short of 270 electoral votes?
Lead a Coxey’s Army on Washington and burn it down as British Gen. Robert Ross did in August 1814, while “Little Jemmy” Madison fled on horseback out the Brookville Road?
What explains the hysteria of the establishment?
In a word, fear.
The establishment is horrified at the Donald’s defiance because, deep within its soul, it fears that the people for whom Trump speaks no longer accept its political legitimacy or moral authority.
Speaking as an adopted son of Baltimore, I like this metaphor.
After burning the White House, General Ross -- then considered Britain's most impressive military leader, greater than Wellington -- moved on to the battle of Baltimore. At the battle of North Point, not far from where I live, Ross was shot down by a couple of young local yokels named Daniel Wells and Henry McComas.
Nothing went right for the Brits after that. The Royal Navy was defeated by the cannons of Fort McHenry (a feat celebrated in a certain song you may know). And what was left of the British army was routed at the Battle of Hampstead Hill -- now Patterson Park, where I like to walk my dog.
Moral of the story: Do not fuck with the people of Baltimore. They don't brag about their prowess, as southerners continually do, but they stopped the British Empire cold. Later in history, they built the ships that won WWII for what Buchanan probably considers the wrong side.
My larger point is this: Without intending to do so, Buchanan has offered up a metaphor which correctly identifies the nature of our true enemy. We are under attack from an outside force. We face not just revolution but subversion.
Vladimir Putin -- funder of far-right nationalist movements throughout the world -- wants the 21st Century to be the Russian century. In order to accomplish that goal, he wants to see his enemies hopelessly disunited.
I didn't see this truth until Trump happened. For that, he deserves our thanks.
Buchanan warns that "the populist-nationalist right that is moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy." Buchanan's honesty is admirable. There it is, in black and white: An admission from a Trump supporter that the Trump movement is an attack on democracy itself.
Just to prove the point, we learn today that much of the internet came under a (temporarily) crippling DNS attack. See here, here and here. Obviously, this is the work of a state actor. Obviously, that actor is Russia.
And yet the Republican party is led by a man who refuses to acknowledge what Russia has done and is doing, even though he knows the assessment of our intelligence community. Trump has business interests with Russia. There are those who say that the Trump dynasty's financial future is with Russia: The Donald has burned too many investors in the west, banks no longer want to do business with him, and his brand name is increasingly toxic. (Would you want your company to hold a conference in a Trump hotel? Would you buy one of his made-in-China ties?)
Just this morning, Russia -- almost certainly Russia -- attacked your internet on your home soil, probably just to prove that it could be done. And yet Donald Trump, leader of the GOPOT (Grand Old Party Of Treason), makes excuses for Putin and pretends that something else is going on.
You say you want a revolution? Bring it on, Donald. Bring it on, Pat. Bring it on, Vladimir. The sons and daughters of Maryland -- a proud, true-blue state -- have always been able to stop your kind before. We'll do it again.
So glad for today's post. As I was driving home last night, I was remembering the Weatherman and SDS'ers from high school & college days. Especially the Weatherman and their Russkie pals at protests. Their goal was anarchy. As I remembered, I was able to take a step back and view all the ways Trump has crisscrossed the political landscape and the resulting discordant notes felt throughout the land. More than ever, I'm seeing him as a puppet of chaos. I became disenchanted with the far left in the late sixties/early seventies. We marchers were their means to an end, and it wasn't a better government.
Donald Trump compares himself to Jesus and shows the most disgusting manners, delivering an after-dinner speech in which he attacks another guest at length.
posted by b : 2:25 PM
Citizen K, the weathermen were indeed assholes, but I never saw evidence of Russian involvement. If I recall correctly, some members of the new left of that time had all sorts of rosy ideas about Maoism.
"They don't brag about their prowess, as southerners continually do"
I think you need to familiarize yourself with the location of the Mason-Dixon line.
posted by Propertius : 2:36 PM
"The weathermen were indeed assholes"
And I'm pretty sure at least a few of them (like little Billy Ayers) were really FBI agents prococateurs tasked with discrediting the antiwar movement.
posted by Propertius : 2:41 PM
Chants of "Mao-Mao-Mao Tse-tung" AND "I'd rather be red than dead" mingled and abounded back in the day. Often the Russian connection was by way of Cuba. Once the cyber attack is thwarted (I think that's why it's a dead link), take a look at this: http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/weather.htm
I think you may have missed the real point of what Buchannan's saying, and he's right (may god forgive me for agreeing with him on this).
The establishment claims that they're worried for American democracy's sake. To some extent maybe they should be. But that's not what they're really afraid of. The establshment are scared shitless for their own sakes. Trump now controls that precious "base" they've used and abused for so many years to keep their cushy jobs and power and grift, and they can't control Trump.
The jig is up.
The same thing has also happened on the Democratic side, though not as spectacularly and colorfully. The progressive "base" can't stand Hillary because she's so much a part of the establishment that has used and abused them and lied to them for years in order to keep their jobs and power and grift. That's why an avowed socialist named Bernie was so amazingly sucessful. Who could have predicted?
It's the same revolution. The main difference is that the liberals are reality-based and actually care about the policy details, but the conservatives just don't give a shit any more - they just want the bastards thrown out on their asses.
Another thing: I'm still not believing this Russian involvement. I read that the emails were obtained through social engineering - a fake Google page warning the user of problems with their account. I got one myself the other day, and the Russians don't know me from Adam. Anyway, it doesn't take the recources of a "state actor" to pull this hack off. I suspect the DNI Clapper is just blowing smoke.
Most of my SDS friends were pretty devout Trotskyites and therefore had very little love for the Kremlin.
posted by Propertius : 7:22 PM
I don't know if it's gonna be Trump who leads the charge. He destroys everything he touches.
Maybe he'll unleash his chaos on Russia.
posted by OldCoastie : 8:31 PM
I've heard of anarcho-Maoism (Rudi Dutschke) and Mao Dada (Italy, Brazil), but Trotsky-Maoism would be a new one.
posted by b : 8:33 PM
It doesn't surprise me that no one attributes Trump's unwillingness to say he'll support the electoral outcome to his political ignorance and to his own pathetic sense of his business skills and talent. That is to say, he didn't comprehend the political nature of the question but instead he imagined it to be a negotiable issue, like it's a business deal, so he wouldn't show his hole cards. He imagines himself to be a character, a Great Dealmaker, and he wouldn't break character. You know, like Vito dressing down Sonny: Never tell anyone outside the family what you think.
Unlike 2007-2008, this time it was certain that Clinton would be the candidate. It appears that the Republican VIP's didn't want to waste an electable candidate in a campaign they could lose, while also assuming that Clinton would be a one-term president. Their treasure chest will finance the 2018 and 2020 campaigns beginning the morning after this election. It won't surprise me if Clinton suggests in her inaugural address that she won't seek another term. It would be most helpful if a few Republican senators quit the party, like Jim Jeffords and Arlen Spector had done.
posted by Amelie D'bunquerre : 2:07 PM
Nostalgia for the halcyon days of my misspent youth aside, I think you're missing the point. I think Trump is going to lose because, no matter how dissatisfied one might be with the status quo pretty much nobody really wants to hand over the country to a petulant five year-old (which is what Trump is, deep underneath it all). His schtick has gotten really old, and his chronic inability to either control his temper or keep his story straight has done him in. He's a spoiled rich bully-boy who has gotten his way all his life and collapses like a house of cards when somebody calls his bluff.
But what does it mean in the long run when a large minority (maybe a majority if you count the ones who just don't vote) of the electorate has so little invested in the system that they don't really care if it goes down in flames? Large parts of this country are starting to look like post-Yeltsin Russia: falling life expectancies, unemployment, rising suicide and drug addiction, and despair blanket most of it (aside from parts of the coastal corridors. How legitimate is a "democracy" that produces conditions like this, and how long can we expect it to last?
Look around you at Baltimore for God's sake. Parts of that town look like Aleppo, only with a raging drug problem. And both political parties are too busy catering to billionaires to be bothered with it. Maybe Clinton will do something to help - but it's hard to tell because she won't talk policy to anyone who hasn't shelled out $50k/plate or forked over six figures worth of speaking fees.
We know where stories like this end if we're not careful, and it's not with a buffoon like Donald Trump.
posted by Propertius : 2:07 PM
Well, b I didn't know any Maoists. Most of the SDS people I knew were affiliated with the YSA, the youth arm of the Socialist Workers Party, which was pure Trotskyite. Your experience may have been different.
posted by Propertius : 2:11 PM
Can anyone here point me to one, solid, on the record source that has said anything less obscure than 'possible', probably', 'consistent with', or other weasel worded statement claiming actual proof that Russian government is the hacker? Because I haven't seen one. But it is the official policy of the US and every main stream media source in it to bash Russia and Putin. DC should look across town at the black out windowed No Such Agency, or to Tel Aviv. Much more likely IMHO.
Many voters of a liberal persuasion tend to scoff at claims that Hillary and Bill Clinton are demons. In the interest of fairness and open-minded inquiry, I have decided to let the most erudite exponents of this theory make their case. Please take this evidence into consideration when you cast your vote.
I think you will be particularly convinced by this calm and objective analysis conducted by Alex Jones during the most recent Trump/Clinton debate...
For more on Alex Jones and his research, please view the following:
ALEX JONES (HOST): I'm never a lesser of two evils person, but with Hillary, there's not even the same universe. She is an abject, psychopathic, demon from Hell that as soon as she gets into power is going to try to destroy the planet. I'm sure of that, and people around her say she's so dark now, and so evil, and so possessed that they are having nightmares, they're freaking out. Folks let me just tell you something, and if media wants to go with this, that's fine. There are dozens of videos and photos of Obama having flies land on him, indoors, at all times of year, and he'll be next to a hundred people and no one has flies on them. Hillary, reportedly, I mean, I was told by people around her that they think she's demon-possessed, okay? I'm just going to go ahead and say it, okay?
They said that they're scared. That's why when I see her when kids are by her, I actually get scared myself, with a child -- with that big rubber face and that -- I mean this woman is dangerous, ladies and gentleman. I'm telling you, she is a demon. This is Biblical. She's going to launch a nuclear war. The Russians are scared of her.
Imagine how bad she smells, man? I'm told her and Obama, just stink, stink, stink, stink. You can't wash that evil off, man. Told there's a rotten smell around Hillary. I'm not kidding, people say, they say -- folks, I've been told this by high up folks. They say listen, Obama and Hillary both smell like sulfur. I never said this because the media will go crazy with it, but I've talked to people that are in protective details, they're scared of her. And they say listen, she's a frickin' demon and she stinks and so does Obama. I go, like what? Sulfur. They smell like Hell.
Larry Nichols: “Hillary has an odor. There is an odor around that woman that is hard to describe. Rotting meat or more.”
Scroll down for the important research of top demon investigator Ange Krumins:
She is the ANTI CHRIST. 666. throw some holy water at her. Watch how she will scream and wither on the ground. Stick a cross on her forehead? And she will start speaking in a language unknown to man. And spewing green vomit out of her mouth ! I bet she can make her own head spin. Seriously! She is a satanic demon. From the first DIMMENSION ! So is BILL. They hold human sacrifice ceremonies. Unlike anything you could ever know. They drink human blood too. She is also known as the whore of ISIS. BECAUSE SHE CREATED ISIS. SHE SMELLS PUTRID !
Lately, some people have suggested demonic possession. Franklin Graham, an influential Evangelical leader, and the son of Billy Graham, spoke about this in June:
“It is evident that Hillary has a demonic spirit inside her,” said Graham in an interview on WEHW. “She likes to wear red, which is a demonic color. She is also not a subservient woman, because she has pursued a career outside the home and sees herself as equal to a man. That is a rebellious, Jezebel spirit.”
The existence of demons is an article of faith in the Russian Church, and demonic possession a common topic of discussion. Exorcisms are a normal occurrence. Russia Insider spoke to a leading exorcist in the Russian Orthodox Church, asking him to evaluate several Hillary videos. He agreed to do so on the condition of annonymity, because giving his name would require getting permission from church authorities, an unlikely prospect.
The exorcist is a well-known Russian monk at a major Russian monastery who has performed hundreds of exorcisms. According to him, Hillary's manic energy had "clear signs" of demonic possession.
The alternative theory is that Hillary is, in fact, a robot. The following presentation offers "conclusive proof" for this thesis.
However, most thoughtful scholars favor the idea that Hillary is, in fact, the Antichrist. I offer the following irrefutable arguments:
Given the extraordinarily conclusive nature of the evidence, I find it hard to believe that Trump is losing.
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.
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.
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."
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 ;-)
posted by Gus : 11:53 AM
Humans are evolved for 24-hourish cycles and will therefore still need sleep and shifts.
I'm watching Adam Curtis' new documentary, HyperNormalisation.
@Stephen Morgan - Does 24-hourish cover the lunar day of 24 hours and 50 minutes? I heard someone opine that we are attuned to that period and that's why some people have to make a big effort to get up in the morning. Wasn't convinced, though.
As for the US election, one big question is whether the Trump team, especially Roger Stone, will conduct fire attacks or even bombings to assist their candidate. It is possible. This is way beyond the Tea Party.
There may be a question mark as to what level of violence Trump will want to make use of, or spark off, if he loses. But although I think Russian intelligence own a big share of the man and that they would welcome doing an "Arab Spring" - or a "Balkanisation"? probably a new word or phrase is needed - on the US after a Clinton victory, I still think Trump would rather win than lose, if for no other reason than the prospect that losing the contest will probably smash his brand. He needs a stunt.
posted by b : 4:10 PM
b, Trump has a 'movement' happening and he won't be getting off it. Should he lose the election he'll just morph it into something else, a kind of ostensible 'government in exile'. He can call for street protests and other civil disorder and if the authorities clamp down then that's just grist for the mill -- 'proof' that the authorities are in the pocket of the evil Clinton. It's a very difficult thing for most ordinary people to get their heads around the operating mechanisms of a narcissistic personality. So much of their rude behavior appears as an otherwise disarming excess of self-confidence (witness media heads falling prey to this one, bending over themselves to explain away his boorish behavior). His fans and excusers fail to register on the critical psychopathology -- that the narcissist lives by an internal ego script that insists that others are worthless and must be subjugated. Only when it is too late will his followers and excusers discover that this guy is just plain dangerous.
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.
posted by b : 9:11 PM
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".
posted by b : 9:35 PM
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.
posted by b : 9:57 PM
Summary: mostly boring :)
posted by b : 10:38 PM
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
posted by b : 1:18 AM
I still have not officially rescinded my prediction of a Trump win.
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.
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."
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
posted by Anonymous : 5:51 AM
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.
"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?
posted by Anonymous : 12:54 PM
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
posted by Anonymous : 1:50 PM
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.
"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?
posted by b : 2:10 PM
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.
...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.)
posted by b : 5:17 PM
Latest link I've seen on Assange's Internet access: https://twitter.com/ericgeller/status/788506808918810624
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.
posted by Anonymous : 8:02 PM
"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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
posted by b : 4:34 AM
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?
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.
posted by b : 4:45 PM
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 found this in a Comments section at Balloon Juice: https://twitter.com/SandraEckersley/status/787918450547044354
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.
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.
posted by prowlerzee : 8:57 PM
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.
posted by Anonymous : 10:00 PM
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.
posted by b : 12:22 AM
Anon 10.00pm - Yes indeed, the country is very susceptible to further destablisation.
posted by b : 12:24 AM
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.
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.
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 accounts-google.com, rather than the official Google URL, accounts.google.com, the report said.
“We were monitoring bit.ly 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.
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!"
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.
posted by b : 4:38 AM
Roger Stone has a new piece out on the Russian mafia, John Podesta and the Clinton Foundation.
posted by fred : 9:33 PM
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.
Worse, the Senate is evenly split. The sole tie (according to ElectoralVote.com) 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.
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. But...no. 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.
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.
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?
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 Hotels.com. 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.
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.
Joseph! You uttered the words, "President Clinton"!
I'm telling you, it's going to happen.
posted by OldCoastie : 5:30 PM
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.
posted by Anonymous : 11:50 PM
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! :)
posted by Anonymous : 2:54 PM
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.
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.
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?Permalink
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?
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.
posted by Anonymous : 1:07 PM
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.
posted by Anonymous : 1:40 PM
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.
posted by ColoradoGuy : 4:10 PM
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!