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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Why the optimism?

Why is everyone in the liberal media signalling optimism on the Mueller front?

Trump sure is acting as though he has gotten a Mueller status report -- one that he (Trump) liked. Yesterday, Trump said that Mueller will be wrapping up soon. How would Trump know?

The President received his take-home quiz in October but held off on answering until after the elections, when he replaced Sessions with his toady Whitaker. I don't know what Whitaker has found out, or how he found it out, but it is fair to presume that Mueller has fewer secrets now than he did before.

And now Trump has answered the questions. I'm betting that Manafort has kept certain beans from spillage.

I'm worried about Trump's lack of worry. To me, his recent tweets and statements about Mueller have not seemed unhinged. They've seemed cocky. 

Here's what Marcy Wheeler had to say about that two days ago:
There’s good reason not to reveal publicly whether Manafort is cooperating fully until you’ve gotten whatever answers you’re going to get or given up waiting. If you reveal in a status report that Mueller’s team thinks Manafort hasn’t been cooperating, then Trump would feel more free to lie. If you reveal Manafort has been cooperating fully, including about Trump’s actions (in contradiction to some reports that he hasn’t been), then Trump will be more likely to avoid answering.
Yesterday, Trump announced that he has answered his questions, although he had not yet transmitted those answers to Mueller.

I'll believe that Mueller has the upper hand when I see a change in the public attitude displayed by Michael Flynn, Jr. So far, he has been defiantly MAGA. The son spent yesterday tweeting about what a communist Eric Swalwell supposedly is. (I'm all for changing the libel laws to allow public figures like Swalwell greater leeway to sue the people who tell such lies.)

Yesterday, we learned a new aspect of the Flynn saga:
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the GOP activist, Peter W. Smith, who died in 2017, secretly raised $100,000 to secure emails deleted from Mrs. Clinton’s private computer server, and that he struck up a professional relationship with Mike Flynn, then a Trump aide, who later pleaded guilty in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Smith was in contact with powerful Republicans in Mr. Trump’s orbit into the final months of his life, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Mr. Flynn and others, according to interviews and the emails reviewed by the Journal.

The emails show Mr. Smith brainstormed about business ventures involving Mr. Flynn and later went so far as to copy Mr. Flynn’s government-provided email account on a message to Mr. Trump’s incoming defense secretary, Mr. Mattis. In February 2016, Mr. Smith wrote to a friend to discuss “a possible way into cybersecurity to involve Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn.”

An attorney for Mr. Flynn declined to comment. The Pentagon also declined to comment.

Other emails that Mr. Flynn is copied on show Mr. Smith either communicating directly with high-level Trump administration officials and allies or discussing such connections.
"A possible way into cybersecurity"? What does that mean?

At any rate, Smith was in contact with "several groups" of hackers -- Russian hackers -- while remaining in communication with these high-level Trumpers. "No collusion" my ass.

I find Smith's "suicide" suspicious, since it came just a short while after he started talking to reporters at the WSJ. The "bag over head" method can be applied to an unconscious or woozy person, and there are ways to induce unconsciousness that won't show up in an autopsy. (Based on this, I think ruhypnol and GHB might do the trick.) Yes, there was a suicide note, but such things can be faked. From Wikipedia:
Police discovered a suicide note by Smith that stated no foul play was involved in his committing suicide, and that he was in poor health and his life insurance policy was expiring. However, it has been reported that that insurance policy was good for 8 more years.
If the note was genuine, why didn't Smith know the details of his own policy?

Alas, the only people questioning the suicide verdict are right-wing whackadoodles who automatically presume that Evil Hillary murdered Smith, no doubt with the help of Evil Soros. Seems awfully self-defeating for Evil Hillary to whack the guy shortly after he started blabbing about his ties to Flynn and Team Trump.
A hypothetical, say your predictions come true and Robert Mueller is fired and the results of his investigation classified secret. How will that change the 2020 electoral map?
Will Independent voters shift back to republicans?
We know the 38% who support Trump will believe Robert Mueller framed him if the investigation into Russian rat fucking the election is allowed to come to fruition.
Trump is between a rock and a hard place his only way out is Mueller reporting there isn't enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction or collusion.
You know what makes me unsuspicious of a suicide? When the suicide note goes out of its way to say this is definitely a suicide and there was absolutely no foul play involved.
Have to disagree with your pessimism. Trump et al bluff about everything so I put no stock into the fact that he answered his questions or feels "optimistic". He basically went into a shell for a week after the midterms in part, I believe, because of the strong rumors that Stone and Jr. will be indicted. Sure, Manafort, Flynn, and Papadopoulous may not be ideal cooperating witnesses, but I bet each has provided significant evidence.

Also don't forget that every other scheme he has tried to block Mueller has failed whether it's Devin Nunes, smearing Comey and the FBI, failing to fire Mueller, etc. He's not a long term thinker and is just lashing out day to day with whatever he thinks will work that day.
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Friday, November 16, 2018

Surefire and Avenatti

Yeah, I know: The Young Turks. I've been pissed off about these guys for a while. But this is a good segment, particularly in regards to the Surefire connection.

How many Surefires are out there? And -- the most important question -- where is the money coming from?

The importance of that last question goes way, way beyond Michael Avenatti.
So Avenatti was recently quoted as saying it is going to take a tough man to stand up to Trump. Apparently someone on Trump's team agrees and are trying to ruin him. Meanwhile a blue wave of Minorities and Women were just elected into the House of Representatives.
This type of patriarchal obtuseness could boomerang into two relatively young women representing each political party for the presidency in 2020.
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Thursday, November 15, 2018


When I first read about the Avenatti arrest for domestic violence, my reaction was "Good." While I initially approved of the guy's punchy style, his proposed presidential bid annoyed me, just as it annoyed many other Dems. In 2015, many Republicans were similarly annoyed by Donald Trump, and that precedent is haunting. We don't need any more hyper-macho blowhard populists who lack political experience.

I can't blame anyone for feeling antipathy toward Avenatti. Yet this antipathy may blind us to the strong indicators of political skullduggery. The smell of fish pervades the air.

The story broke on TMZ, a very Trumpy gossip site -- a National Enquirer for the under-60 set. The original story said that Avenatti had hit and bruised his estranged wife. She denied the claim and said that Avenatti had never hit a woman in his life (to her knowledge). His first wife also came to his defense.

So who is the alleged victim? At this writing, no-one knows. We were promised photographic evidence, but so far, it is not online. Nor are we told the nature of the injury.

Avenatti was arrested on suspicion but not charged -- a fact which strongly hints that the accusation is iffy. He has denied striking anyone. Say what you will about the guy: He's not stupid. He knows he can't get away with denying an act that provably happened.

Recent Avenatti tweets:
First Mueller and now me. When we are fully exonerated I am coming for you Jacob Wohl aka Surefire.
There is a lot of inaccurate reporting out there. For example, (1) I have NOT been charged with anything, let alone a felony; (2) Lisa wasn't even with me Tues; etc. Numerous other "facts" being reported are completely bogus. Why is TMZ's news "standard" the new standard?
Is this whole thing an op? The fact that this controversy erupted so rapidly after the abortive Mueller "hit" is more than a little suspicious. Just as suspicious is the fact that the right went into immediate combat mode -- trolls, bots, cartoons, memes, the works. When a genuine surprise occurs, the right-wing siege machine usually needs a day or so to wheel into place.

There are women in this country -- and puh-lease do not insult my intelligence by pretending otherwise -- who will happily sport a shiner for a cool million. Maybe $100k. Maybe less than that. (It's like that old joke sometimes ascribed to Bernard Shaw: "We've already established what kind of woman you are, madam. Now we are discussing price.") We know from the Mueller "hit" that the smear merchants thought that $20k should suffice. The Mueller op went south only because the dirty tricksters played it cheap.

We don't know how convincing the photo evidence truly is. Remember when Roger Stone claimed to be a victim of "polonium poisoning"? He also had photos. Do not underestimate the shamelessness of this crowd.

I have seen no evidence, yet, that Wohl has any connection to the Avenatti imbroglio. However, this background briefing on Wohl will prove very enlightening.

Let's leave the Avenatti case to one side for the moment. Speaking generally, it is clear that right-wing activists love the idea of weaponizing feminist neo-puritanism against Democrats. For the right, it's like shooting tin cans on a fence: Plink plink plink, down they go, one by one. Gales of laughter with every plink. The first plink hits a genuine bad guy (Weinstein), and that plink is used to justify the rest: Garrison Keillor, Al Franken, Robert DeNiro, Ryan Lizza, Keith Ellison, Eric Schneiderman, etc. (Keith Olbermann? There are rumors.)

Whenever one points out the problems besetting any of these claims, some idiot will inevitably say: "What about Weinstein?" Weinstein was real; therefore, all such allegations are real. So runs the logic.

A similar problem occurs whenever one tries to discuss Bill Clinton. How many times have you run into people who argue that the Monica Lewenski affair proves that Juanita Broaddrick must be telling the truth? And never mind the fact that Broaddrick's story was so full of holes that neither Ken Starr nor the National Enquirer would touch it.

(Broaddrick supported Kavanaugh. Apparently, only Democrats rape -- or such was the impression I got from her Twitter feed.)

Weaponized feminism will continue to destroy male Democrats until liberals wake up and realize that not all women are truth-tellers and not all men are Penismonsters. Most guys are, in fact, pretty decent. So are most women -- but not all. Corruption comes in all colors and genders. So does rationalization.

If you still think that females never lie, consider: James O'Keefe could not have smeared ACORN without the aide of an actress pretending to be a whore. Then again, was it really a pretense? What word should I use to describe the Franken accusers?

("Cannon, are you ever going to get over the Franken thing?" No.)

Mueller. Trump claims that he knows everything going on the Mueller investigation. We know that the Trumpers have spent much of the previous years searching for inside information. The appointment of Whitaker means that Mueller now has fewer secrets. Perhaps no secrets.

My personal belief is that Mueller has less on Trump than we would like. The cronies have only pretended to cooperate; Trump will pardon his way out of his troubles. The Manafort delay suggests that Mueller is waiting to see if information from Cohen and Gates will finally force Paulie to turn stoolie, as promised.
FWIW, Stormy Daniels has said she needs to see more evidence before making any judgements. In a more general sense, it seems like Democrats are waiting for evidence before passing judgement even from those who don't like him. Maybe we are learning?
A Trump-appointed judge ruled that Acosta gets his press pass back. what?
Joseph, did you see this story about Gary Hart from a few weeks ago? I think Hart may have been the original Clinton/Franken/Avenatti figure, the first major Democratic figure taken down by right-wing operatives (although, in those innocent times, all you needed to end a politician's career was to frame him for a consensual affair, not abuse). And, of course, the proof didn't come out for decades. Hopefully we won't have to wait long to get to the bottom of this Avenatti business.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Place your bets: When will Adam Schiff be "Frankened"?

I've said it before: The Me Too moral panic is a weapon designed to hurt only Democrats, not Republicans. Republican politicians can't be hurt because Republican voters don't care. That's why Al Franken is out and Bret Kavanaugh is in.

The attempt to use this weapon against Robert Mueller failed due to sloppy tradecraft. But that fiasco taught us some important details about how such things are done -- and how much a ploy like this really costs. I had presumed that the women offering false accusations would ask for enough dough to pay off a mortgage; instead, we learned that paying off a credit card suffices.

As Jerry Brown once said to Gore Vidal: "How little we sell out for."

So when are they going to Me Too Adam Schiff? It's only a matter of time. You know it and I know it. Tell me your predictions as to how and when this will go down.

1. When will the accusations hit?

A) Before the new Congress starts on January 3, 2019
B) Before June, 2019
C) After June, 2019

2. What will be the nature of the accusation?

A) Inappropriate touching
B) Sexual harassment
C) Attempted rape
D) Rape
E) Statutory rape
F) Sex with a male
G) Sex with animal
H) Sex with goat on Satanic altar while drenched in the blood of an unchristened infant.
I) Other (please specify)

3. How many accusers?

A) One
B) 2-4
C) More

4. How will Schiff respond?

A) Fierce denials
B) Wishy-washy semi-apology. (Apology will be insincere, since Schiff will know that the accusation is false. However, he will bow to liberal voices pressuring him to apologize regardless of actual facts. Afterward, he'll be hit by further accusations.)
C) Threats: "I'll see you in court."
D) Resignation
E) Other (please specify)

5. What evidence will the accusers provide?

A) None.
B) Emails and/or text messages
C) Testimony of friends/relatives/co-workers
D) Audio recording
E) Video
F) Dick pic
G) Other (please specify)

7. Who will be actual mastermind of this op?

A) Roger Stone
B) James O'Keefe
C) Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl
D) Q-anon
E) Someone working for Breitbart
F) Someone working for Cambridge Analytica or whatever they're calling themselves
G) Someone working for Blackwater or whatever they're calling themselves
H) Someone working for Black Cube or any one of a dozen other private firms that have no connection whatsoever to Mossad
I) Someone working for Putin
J) Someone working for American intelligence
K) Other (please specify)

6. How will liberal web sites (such as Kos and D.U.) respond?

A) "This is obvious bullshit!"
B) "He's guilty."
C) A 50-50 mix of A and B.
D) "Schiff should apologize anyways, regardless of what actually happened. Let's just get this behind us. It'll all be forgotten a week later." (Inevitably followed by more accusations, a la Franken.)
E) Other (please specify)

7. How will hardcore feminists respond?

A) "Believe all women, no matter what! Evidence doesn't matter! Schiff must resign NOW! In all of human history, no woman has ever lied! All men are horrible lying penismonsters who do nothing but RAPE RAPE RAPE!"
B) There is no B.

Any True Believer who gets all seven questions right will win the no-prize. Excelsior!
Joseph, you wrote; "The Me Too moral panic is a weapon designed to hurt only Republicans, not Democrats." I believe you got that praeposterus.
HOLY SH#T again!!!
Yeah, I know. Honestly, I thought that Schiff would get hit by this -- and soon. That's why I put my little poll up at this time: To get my prediction on the record before it happened.

Didn't think Avenatti would go first.

When I first saw the headline, I thought "Good." I don't care for Avenatti's style, and I don't want him to run for president. But as more info came in, it started to look like another hit job.

I guess that, after a few hours, maybe days, we'll have more evidence. We'll know soon.
By the way: When I said "Good" I meant: Good thing that he's out of politics.
I belatedly realized -- the original version of the opening sentence mistakenly said the opposite of what I intended. I have fixed it. My apologies!
What about Roy Moore?
Michael Avenatti's 15 minutes started to end with the flame out of his Koathanger Kavanaugh accuser.
Was TMZ in on it or an unwilling dupe reporting it was his estranged wife the victim?
Good question.

Democrats are the new Puritans and political correctness is the standard by which sinners are judged.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Generation Nazi! (Important UPDATE: I give the phone number for a Nazi named PETE GUST)

For years, we've let the young pretend to have a claim to moral superiority. Throughout the 2016 election, we were told that young people represented capital-H Hope. We were told that young people were all woke, anti-racist, pro-feminist, vegan socialist Bernie-lovers who had every right to sneer at anyone over 50.  

"That Cannon guy is over 50? I bet he's burned dozens of crosses."
I'll say it again: I didn't notice any greybeards among the tiki-torchers in Charlottesville.

Generation Hippie, for all of their problems, did a lot of good. In previous posts, I've lambasted that generation as hard as I could, but even though the flower-powerites were self-important and smug and not nearly as bright as they presumed, they look like angels compared to Generation Nazi.

Generation Nazi. That's the new term everyone should use to describe the current crop of whelplings. Below, you will find an official group photo of 50 Hitlerjugend from Baraboo High School in Wisconsin.

In case you didn't notice, most of 'em are giving the Sieg Heil salute. A few of them -- like that guy in the black suit and red tie near front row center -- are not-so-secretly giving the White Power sign.

You're going to see a lot of that kind of pseudo-sneaky smirkiness in the future. The smirkers are always going to pretend that they are simply indulging in innocent fun and that the easily-triggered snowflakes are blowing everything out of proportion. These smirking Nazi bastard are going to keep up the "just kidding" pretense right up until the moment when they open up the new concentration camps.

Here is a close up of the White Power Kid. Just look at that smile! As I ponder those teeth, two words come to my mind: Pipe wrench.

I know what your first-through-fifth reactions will be: You will cycle through all sorts of rationalizations to convince yourself that this situation isn't as bad as it looks.

Rationalization 1: "C'mon, that can't really be the Nazi salute. Can it? Sorry, but it is. Baraboo High School has admitted as much in an apologetic note.

Also, the kid in grey, in the upper right-hand corner -- the one not saluting -- has confessed that he felt uncomfortable when asked to display his White Pride.

The person who made that request was the photographer. Hired by the school. This, obviously, is an official photo. (High school boys don't wear suits unless they have to.) The school's administration offered apologies only when the bad publicity started. Next time, there will be no apologies.

UPDATE: The Nazi photographer's name is Pete Gust. Nazi Pete Gust operates an enterprise called Wheel Memories, which seems to have something to do with motorcycles. On the relevant page of Nazi Pete Gust's website, the fascist photog writes:
Updated page: due to malevolent behavior on the part of some in society; this page has been modified. It is too bad that there are those in society who can and do take the time to be jerks; knowingly and willingly to be jerks! The internet can be a wonderful tool but for some there is an overwhelming urge to destroy. The destruction may not be physical but instead, it can be bullying that is intellectual or emotional. To anyone that was hurt I sincerely apologize.

To those who have harmed them, we as society often ignore them I have chosen not to do that. YOU ARE JERKS! Grow up!

Be kind,

Be gentle,

Be civil!
Fuck you, Nazi. You made a bunch of high school students give the "Sieg Heil" salute and now you ask for kindness and civility? DOUBLE FUCK YOU. Nazis always suffer from the hallucination that they are the victims, when in fact they are history's greatest victimizers.

Did you honestly think there would be no consequences, Peteykins? We really don't want to hear your fucking apologies. We just want you to end up the way Hitler, Goebbels, Goerring and the rest of them ended up -- on the scrap heap of history.

The photo to your right depicts the fate of Nazi Josef Goebbels. See it, Nazi Pete Gust? Do you understand what it means, you disgusting Nazi pig? Do you understand why I published this picture while talking about YOU, Nazi Pete Gust?

The phone number for Nazi Pete Gust is 608-429-4092. If my readers call, I urge them to be kind, gentle and civil.

(Do you dislike my calling you a Nazi, Pete? You're the one who asked high school students to give the Nazi salute. I strongly doubt that any lawyer will agree that you have grounds for a libel suit.)

(Back to the original post.)

Your next rationalization, dear deluded reader, will probably have something to do with the concept of youthful non-conformity. They're just rebelling, you may tell yourself.

Now, I'm sure that these Hitlerjugend tell themselves that they are mavericks and dissidents, but let us not share in their self-satisfied hallucination. When that many boys are doing the exact same thing, you can't speak of non-conformity or originality of thought. Those aren't rebels or outsiders: They're well-programmed Nazi robots. 

Your next rationalization, dear deluded reader, will probably have something to do with region. Maybe such things happen in Baraboo, but not elsewhere.

Stop kidding yourself. Ghost elephant sightings are a Baraboo "thing." The new fascist youth movement is an international thing, and it is much further along than you would probably prefer to admit.

This brings us to one of my major problems with Democratic strategy in the 2016 and 2018 elections: Liberals keep saying that "All politics is local." (Asshole lefties took this sentiment even further. Remember how they used to say "Think globally; act locally"? Translation: Power corrupts, so make sure you never wield any.)

I have news for you: In the internet age, politics is no longer local.

Nowadays, all politics is digital.

These kids are getting their fascism from the internet, not from their parents or from any other source. The internet supplies these kids with endless red pills.
In August, as neo-Nazis rioted in Chemnitz, Germany, YouTube users were recommended videos from extremist sources blaming the riots on refugees. YouTube was also castigated by researchers at the Counter Extremism Project and by MSNBC host Chris Hayes for broadcasting terrorist propaganda and conspiracy videos. Hayes recently posted a Twitter thread of horrific results YouTube returned for a search on the Federal Reserve. Elsewhere, journalists and researchers have documented women YouTubers promoting white supremacy and YouTube stunts promoting extremist politics in a media environment similar to right-wing talk radio.
YouTube is a principal online news source for young people. According to Pew Research Center, 73 percent of U.S. adults use YouTube, and 94 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds do. Another Pew study found that the platform was second only to Facebook as the most popular social network for viewing news stories. At the same time, YouTube — a subsidiary of Google — has a business model that helps amplify and propagate extremism through social networks.
Like other YouTubers, members of this alternative influence network strive to make their content lighthearted and fun, with what they present as a sensible message of rebellion. And this sometimes leads new viewers gently toward the viciously racist, sexist and homophobic content that maximizes viewership and donations.
In the new Orwellian lexicon, "red-pilled" means drugged by Nazis and "woke" means brainwashed by Nazis. From a piece published last January:
Among young white men and women, 36 percent say so-called reverse discrimination is as serious a problem in America today as discrimination against minority groups. But when broken down by gender, white men are significantly more likely to believe in reverse discrimination — 43 percent of men as opposed to only 29 percent of women.
According to PRRI’s study, 48 percent of young white men believe that increased diversity will disadvantage them. This is not a new idea, but given all of the strides African-Americans and other minorities have made over the last 50 years with no empirically significant repercussions for whites, it’s safe to say it’s unfounded.
This next bit neatly explains why the easily-triggered campus snowflakes -- the BernieBros, the fans of TYT -- are actually part of the problem:
Harvard professor Steven Pinker believes that part of the answer is political correctness on campuses. When admittedly controversial topics are considered undiscussable, nuance is jettisoned and people gravitate towards provocative and politically incorrect conclusions (which are also regularly incorrect), as students feel they are being called to task for crimes they didn’t commit.
Precisely. The BernieBro and the Trumper are twins. One creates the other.

The "moral" generation. Young people love to bask in delusions of moral superiority, yet they turn out to be the supreme rationalizers of evil:
Civil society’s disappearance has been accompanied, understandably, by rising anti-social attitudes amongst younger citizens — people under 30 are more likely than their elders to believe things like taking a bribe or claiming state benefits they aren’t entitled to is justifiable.
Hollywood deserves some blame for this. Although I am not among those who reflexively blame the entertainment industry for America's ills, it is nevertheless a fact that modern films and television shows are insanely cynical and value-free. The bad guys in an old-fashioned Western often maintain a code which makes them morally superior to the allegedly good guys in a modern film. Any young person watching 1949's Yellow Sky would probably wonder: "Jeez, why don't they just torture the old man and gang-rape his daughter?" Our corrupt current generation can't visualize a time when such options were unimaginable, even among desperadoes.

Not long ago, I saw an episode of Mr. Robot in which the protagonist and his pals bribe their way into an animal shelter. Never mind why. The important point is that the audience was not asked to pass judgment on either the people offering the bribe or the person who took the money.

These lessons in cynicism have a cumulative effect. Without intending to do so, Hollywood screenwriters helped to give us Generation Nazi.

Lulz. You know what else has contributed to the creation of Generation Nazi? Irony. This is the great gift of the left to the far right.

In the 1980s, irony became a kind of god. Postmodernist academics and artsy-fartsy taste-makers made the smirk mandatory. All art must smirk. All entertainment must smirk. Smirkety-smirkers took over the entire goddamned culture. For decades, it was considered uncool to say what you mean and mean what you say.

In more recent years, postmodernist philosophers finally revealed themselves as either neofascists or their close kin.

The postmodernists despise the Enlightenment -- which means that the PoMos now share the same page with barbarians like Julius Evola and Alexander Dugin. One of the defining features of fascism is the denial of an objective reality, and that denial is at the heart of Postmodernism.  (Every time Trump speaks, he identifies himself as PoMo, although he doesn't know it.)

Irony always veils the swastika. The article at the other end of the link discusses how Stormfront appeals to youth. The following images are taken from the Stormfront style guide:

H.H.  Ha Ha. Hee Hee. Heil Hitler.

Again: Look at the smirk on the face of that young Nazi bastard. You know damned well that, if confronted, he'll tell you that he didn't mean it, his hand signal was all a big joke, and that he did it for the lulz. Hee hee. Ha ha.

No. This is not a joke. This is deadly serious business. And if things get much worse, we are going to have to solve it the way our forefathers solved it.

You might be a tad rash, rather we should wait thirty years when one of the nazi boys is at his SCOTUS hearing and explains he was flicking a booger, "Haven't you ever flicked a booger, Senator?"
Pipe wrench, yup.
Booger, yup. Hatch, “Let me lick it off your finger, son.”

While those sick fucks over in Baraboo think they’re the rising tide, and have the support to back them for a while, the real struggle for high ground awaits. Pretty sure the big money (which will leave those Baraboo chumps sunk in the Dells) is already in, though I haven’t checked real estate prices in the Alpine regions lately.

Hope my supply of decent booze and good jazz records is sufficient to get me through.

And such classic movies as “Beat the Devil,” (1953) which, since it had lapsed into the public domain, is available free. I’ve read Claud Cockburn’s novel, upon which the film is based. The film is better. Sharper, more focused satire involving desperate criminals.

For those not aware, Cockburn (father of Alexander, et al) was a Communist with a good, critical sense of humor. The film was written by Truman Capote. Don’t bother with the lengthy Wikipedia page. Just see the movie.

“I say time is a crook.”


Well, geez, Joseph.

While I was going on about an early 50s send-up of ex-Nazi Capitalism you were posting a phone number most worthy of calling. I’ll be taking care of that tomorrow morning and evening, should he leave his phone on. Nazi fucker.
Nice cartoon of those worthless trap house fucks, though their moldy couch covered with skid marks was left out.
Somebody out there is putting names to those faces in that photo. Those idiots just relegated themselves to a future in retail hamburger sales or worse. I'm optimistic enough to think Koathanger Kavanaugh and Matthew Whitaker types rising to positions of power is coming to an end. For now. After all it only took eight years of President Obama for America to forget what Bush the Lesser did to the country.
The one big obstacle going forward is letting the print and broadcast news media define the protagonists. Al Gore serial liar and Hillary Clinton unindicted witch were creations of the New York Times and Washington Post.
How do adults still fall for the "It's just a joke" defense? Did everyone not learn that this is the excuse grade school bullies use to excuse their actions? Saying "It's a joke" is the cheapest way to give yourself immunity from any bad actions you take.
I try to attribute to ignorance that which can also be attributed to malice. I think the real problem is not that these kids are racists, I think the real problem is their ignorance. There was a time that I thought the problem was that non-Jews didn't understand Judaism, now I realize that is wrong. Nazis viewed Jews as a different race. That is the essence of racism, the view that others are a different race and therefore inferior. The racism of white nationalists is that they view others as of a different race. The result is that see their membership in white America as giving them an innate superiority to people who are not white Americans, that is, Blacks, Browns, immigrants, and really Jews, Muslims, Irish, Italians and many others. Of course, this is biologically insane. Pope Pius XI said that there was only one race, the human race and if these students could be taught that, I think they would quickly understand it. But they haven't been taught the horrors of racism, it is their ignorance that is the real problem.
When I was in my early teens, my friends and I used to do the Sieg Hiel salute when a particular friends father would leave the room. This man was particularly severe in his demeanor and how he handled young people, so we felt justified (though I'm sure we snickered about it afterwords). As it turns out, in more recent times, I've been told that that same father physically abused both my friend and his younger sister, so I suppose we were more correct in our mocking salute than we knew.

Anyway, my point is, young people do stupid shit without thinking about it. It's called being young. Now, in the case of this photographer who encouraged them to do the salute, that is an adult being a sick bastard who obviously didn't do it to be funny. I agree with your overall post though Joseph, and I'm not trying to make excuses for the kids and certainly not the photographer.

When I was in college, I used to think that the world would be a so much better place if young people had more say, more power. Of course, now that I'm facing down age 50, I realize how naive that thought was (actually, I realized it before age 30). Young people should have a say, and shouldn't be ignored, but adults should also make sure to put them in their place when called for.
Please take the phone number down. I'm horrified by what you've done. Can we agree that doxxing should never be done by anyone to anyone? This is not a public figure of consequence, and even if the offense if true as you stated it is less offensive and harmful than what the Trump administration and Republican Congress have been doing for two years.

The photographer's story is that he asked them to raise their arms to wave to their parents; he took the picture when their arms were raised and he didn't make an association with Nazism. You could have offered his side, whether it turns out to be true or not, but it is plausiblethat the kids on their own thought it would be more fun to do what they did than follow his instructions to wave bye-bye.

The student interviewed who did not raise his arms did not say that the photographer told them to do a Nazi salute, he said they were asked to raise their arms.

I thought by the tone of the article that you were going to reveal actual additional evidence of the photographer's Nazism! but if the only evidence is he took the photograph and put in online and possibly never noticed or cared or understood what it looked like, it's not enough for the accusation, let alone going ballistic.

It was not an official school picture; it was a picture taken by a photographer parent while parents were leaving kids at their prom. They are dressed up for the prom.
You seem like the violent one.
When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the
-Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is
added I get four emails with the same comment.
Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service?
Thanks a lot!
So Anonymous you are going with the theory that those idiots are waving and not doing the Nazi salute? Just how stupid do you think we are? There is no way those kids were waving to their parents using the sieg heil salute. They all knew full well what they were doing. They know full well what it means. In defiance to one of the other statements in this discussion these kids aren't ignorant. They have chosen to be this way. They choose to be racist. They choose to view others as insignificant or inferior. It isn't about intelligence, lack of understanding or anything other than choices. One chooses to be a racist. It is acquired. It isn't innate.
To the Anon's, what the kid who didn't raise his arm said, was that he remembers things differently than what the photographer claims. The quote I see from the kid in various articles is this: “I felt upset, unsafe, disappointed and scared," Blue said. "I felt unsafe because I go to school with them, I don’t believe in what they represented and the symbol they shared … they knew it was wrong, but they still did it.” Why would he feel unsafe because a photographer told them to wave goodbye? Or even telling them to raise one arm (which is what the kid claims)? It doesn't make much sense. I also read that Gust was hired to do prom photos for the school, and these were pre-prom photos (haven't been able to find confirmation that he was actually hired to do the prom photos though).

Anyway, I tend to agree that it's not a good idea to post his phone number, though it's probably easy to find for anyone so inclined to look for it.
Anon327 How is he supposed to remove you from some list if you're anonymous? How do you think that works?
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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Again: No Mueller, no taxes

From a recent Trump tweet:
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
That "gross mismanagement of forests" claim is highly debatable. I doubt that "pro-bidness" Republicans would ever countenance the regulation of logging and grazing, which is what "management" would entail. (Loggers remove the fire-resistant older trees and leave the more flammable smaller trees in high densities.)

Besides, Malibu is not a forest. Plenty of trees, yes -- but there's a whole lotta people in them thar hills. I've lived there; I know. It's not a place where you'll find loggers or grazing animals (aside from a couple of small ranches). It's a place where you're much more likely find Starbucks, schools, and celebrities. Trying to solve Malibu's problem with "forest management" is like trying to fix your SUV with a tuba.

Poor forest management is not the devil that whipped up that hell-storm. Climate change is the likelier culprit.
Universally, California officials' response has been that the real culprit behind intensifying wildfires is climate change.

As The Washington Post’s Angela Fritz wrote in July, a hotter-than average summer and dry winter have “led to tinder-dry vegetation,” in areas scorched by the Carr fire during Redding, California’s hottest July on record. “The energy release component, or how much fuel is available for the fire, is at the highest it has been around Redding since at least 1979,” Fritz wrote.
Trump threatens to rob California. Why bother to make such points? Getting involved in a science debate with Donald Trump is a game for losers. Trump believes in only those facts that suit his biases. He likes doing combat more than he likes doing reality.

For present purposes, the most important thing to point out is that Trump would never threaten to withhold federal funds from a red or purple state such as (say) Arizona. He targets California in this fashion because California is blue.

He also needs to smear Jerry Brown. Brown is too old to be a candidate in 2020, but he embodies the way Dems clean up Republican messes. He's a symbol. He inherited a seemingly-insurmountable $26 billion deficit and will leave the state with a more-than-tidy $11 billion surplus. That money will come in handy when Trump's tax plan wallops CA.

Those federal funds that Trump threatens to withhold are California funds. It's their money.

(I almost wrote "It's our money." You can take the boy out of the Golden State but...)

Why should Californians -- and New Yorkers, and other blue state wealth-producers -- tolerate this infuriating situation? The blue states produce wealth. The red staters (usually) take more from the federal coffers than they contribute. Red states are leeches.

The case for withholding taxes. Why should we blue staters accept as a president a man who is clearly a crook, a man who has been mobbed up for many years, a man who is clearly guilty of campaign finance violations in the payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, a man who lies incessantly, a man who flagrantly violates the emoluments clause each and ever day, a man who obviously colluded with a foreign adversary (and probably with more than one)?

We do not ask for an extra-Constitutional overthrow. All we ask for is a thorough, unimpeded investigation, followed by the indictment of the provably guilty. Everything done by the book.

We can no longer tolerate a criminal leader who uses his power to shut down a duly constituted investigation. Why should blue voters continue to fund an increasingly non-democratic, authoritarian government?

Trump's elevation of a truly disgusting and utterly corrupt crony -- a man clearly guilty of participation in a criminal enterprise -- should be beyond our ability to stomach. Whitaker is a fiend. A fiend. We cannot allow this crook to be in charge of the Justice Department. The guy even looks like the Kingpin in Daredevil. Trump has appointed him in contradiction of the Constitution (because the senate is not in recess).

We cannot allow Trump's criminal crony to be in charge of the investigation into Trump himself.

Congress can't do what needs to be done. Even if the new Congress were bluer than it actually will be, it still could not do the job. The muscle isn't there.

Never hope that any Republican will see reason. Never believe that Republicans are capable of compromise or honesty. They budge only when forced to budge. The Republicans are unbelievably corrupt, ruthless, dishonest, theocratic, brutal and power-drunk.

The Republican party has become a fascist party. You cannot debate a fascist.

The solution exists at the state level.

The blue staters need to demand a return to the Ethics in Government Act, which expired in 1999. This is the Act that gave us Ken Starr. Robert Mueller needs to be protected and given broader powers -- the exact same scope and leeway that Ken Starr exercised.

The only way to accomplish this goal is to shut off the money spigot.

It's our money. They fund their corruption and their wars with blue money.

No Mueller? No taxes.

That is power. And power is the only thing that those endlessly corrupt and conspiratorial Republican fascists understand.

To forestall further outrages, we need to demand a Constitutional amendment which will solve many of the structural problems besetting our democracy. In particular, we must demand an end to the electoral college and an end to the use of computers in the tabulation of the official vote. (Much else needs to be done, of course.)

We also need a law or amendment which would limit presidential pardon powers, thereby insuring that a president cannot pardon his way out of an investigation.

As things stand, we can no longer rely on the justice system. Disabuse yourselves of that delusion right now. The foxes guard the henhouse.

Why Mueller can't win. Even if Mueller were allowed to proceed unhindered, I do not place great hope in his efforts. Mueller exemplifies a familiar axiom: Generals lose because they know only how to fight the previous war. Mueller's big trick, learned from his days of fighting mobsters, is to put the squeeze on lower-level guys in order to get at the chieftains. But that trick won't work here. Flynn has not truly turned. Papadopoulos never turned.

Manafort, we now know, has not cooperated; he obviously is pinning his hopes on a pardon. There is controversy as to whether state charges can be brought against that crook. If that controversy reaches the Supreme Court, we know how Trump's court will rule.

Mueller cannot establish justice under these unfair rules.

Blinkered fools like Bill Palmer do the nation an enormous disservice by constantly dishing out over-optimistic codswallop like this.
But we do know this: Mueller has the full cooperation of Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen.

Those four names are the ace up Robert Mueller’s sleeve. He knows everything they know.
Jesus Christ, Bill! Haven't you read the news? Manafort is Johnny Tightlips. His cooperation is a damned joke.

The twitter feed offered by the Flynns, father and son, indicates that they are just as Alt Righty as ever. Michael Flynn Sr. is never going to admit that, as head of the DIA, he fell for a classic Russian honeypot.

So far, Gates' cooperation seems genuine, but his information hurt Manafort, not Trump. And Manafort is angling for a pardon, which brings us back to square one.

Only Cohen seems to be in a position to do genuine harm to Donald Trump; only Cohen seems to bear a genuine animus toward his former boss. So the question becomes: Does Cohen truly know where the bodies are buried?

Mueller can't do the job he needs to do under these rules.

The solution. We need to change the rules. And the only way to do that is to withhold Democratic funds.

And why not? Whitaker himself said in 2014 that the states have the right to overturn the ruling of the federal government, vis-a-vis Obamacare. To my red friends: You want to play the "states rights" game? Fine. Let's see you play it against the only states that produce money. Let's see what happens then.

To my blue friends: Withhold funds. Withhold sanction of this endlessly criminal antipresident and his assaults on our norms, our traditions, and our justice.

I do not believe in secession and I do not believe in war. And I know full well that those who dwell in leech states like Alabama and West Virginia think that they can get along without us. These resentment-filled rednecks are big on arrogance and low on the ability to produce wealth. You can't expect logic and realism from ill-educated people who watch wrestling on TV and who spend their spare time hunting for bigfoot and praying for the Rapture. These easily-gulled rubes will listen to any con artist who tells them whatever pleases their egos. They'll understand the depths of their nescience only when they find themselves living in a libertarian "utopia" without Social Security or Medicare.

But the red state leaders, the representatives in DC -- they know where the money comes from.

As ruthless and dishonest as they are, they understand that we ask only for justice and democracy. All we want is an unimpeded investigation. If the investigation clears Trump, so be it.

We know the impeachment threshold in the Senate. Nothing can happen to Trump if the evidence against him is not clear and indisputable. If there is no conclusive proof against him, he's safe. Thus, impeding the investigation is an admission of guilt.

Red state representatives may talk big, but they know in their hearts that a new Confederacy will have all the power and prosperity of Tajikistan or Belarus. (Remember, DC is locked between a blindingly pure Cobalt Blue state and an increasingly blue-ish purple state.) The red staters may hate us, but they cannot survive without us. They may speak defiantly, but I doubt that they truly want the entire American experiment to end. Turn off the blue state money spigot, and they will cave.

Trump isn't worth it. Defending corruption is not worth it.

My fellow "bluenecks": Do not fall into the trap of demanding some inane and unrealizable vision of progressive utopia. Personally, I will always want two parties. I will always want an ongoing dialogue between conservative and liberal values. Progs (especially purist progs) tend to piss me off as much as Republicans do. Longtime readers of this column will know that I've felt that way for years, and that I have devoted many a previous post to critiques of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. (And I cannot stand Bernie Sanders.)

Blue voters must demand two things only: 1. An independent justice system in which a president cannot impede an investigation into his own deeds, and 2. A democracy that can't be rigged. The rest will take care of itself.

Taxation without representation is tyranny. Until democracy returns, pay no taxes.
California's budget surplus is a myth. Ironically its 'existence" comes from the stock market investments made by California's Pension Investors. Trump's deregulation has no doubt had a positive effect on the Stock Market. So Democrat Politicians are insulting Trump out of one side of their mouth while using the Stock Markets success to try and prove they they are the better party out of the other side.

You can't separate Trump from his heartland supporters. The more the Democrat Party tries, the harder the Heartland holds on to Trump. Here's why. There is no such as equivalency between Trump's behavior and a Politician's behavior while being a Politician in the eyes of his supporters. During the 2016 Debates Trump said that whatever he did regarding his income taxes, others were doing as well. The implication was if it was ok then when he was a private citizen, then it should also be ok going forward as a politician.

And the attempted shaming of Trump via his affairs does not work either. Having affairs as a private person is way less of an issue than having those same affairs after becoming president. Whether you agree or not, that is how the Heartland believes.

And finally, even Trump supporters who don't like Trump still support him so he can keep adding judges to the Supreme Court. Conservative supporters are drooling over Ruth Bader Ginsberg's recent fall that fractured a few ribs.
On protecting Robert Mueller. Why would Moscow Mitch introduce legislation to protect the investigator that's going to send him to prison?
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Friday, November 09, 2018

No Mueller, no taxes

The Whitaker challenge reminds me of Mark Twain's famous saying about the weather: Everyone who cares about the Mueller investigation says "This must not stand," but absolutely nobody has a practical idea as to how to stop Trump's toady from toadying. A legal argument like this one is pointless, because nothing can force Trump or Whitaker or the Senate or the Supreme Court to do the right thing. One might as well debate the desirability of belling the cat.

Ruthless, conscience-free people are exercising power. Do not expect anything but brutality and self-interest from these creatures.

But we in the blue states also have power -- a power greater than Trump's, a power that cannot be negated by the Supreme Court. We control the money. We produce the money. Without us, the cupboard is bare.

My idea: Blue state tax rebellion. No Mueller, no taxes. Just don't pay.

They can't jail tens of millions of people. Remember, the red states are leech states -- they take more from the federal government than they pay. The blue states are the productive states; Democrats in New York and California fund shitholes like Alabama, Kansas, Arizona, West Virginia and Tennessee.

It's finally starting to dawn on everybody that we don't have democracy in this country. The Senate is an inherently undemocratic institution, as is the electoral college. Gerrymandering has rendered the House far less democratic than it should be. Most people understand that computerized vote fraud is real.

No taxation without representation. That's the slogan which kicked off the first revolution. Let it be the slogan of the next.

Money is power, and blue states control the money. And if we are going to exercise that power, let's not stop at protecting the Mueller probe.

Let's address the real issue. It would behoove Dems to prepare a Constitutional amendment which fixes our elections.

Do NOT fall for the delusion that a Constitutional Convention is the remedy. Such a convention will be dominated by libertarians or worse. We don't need Paul Ryan or anyone like him in that room -- and neither do we need Bernie Sanders or anyone like him. No auntie Ayn; no uncle Karl. No economic idealists battling for their competing visions of utopia.

The only thing we need to do is to fix the process of voting. Once the process is repaired, once true democracy is in place, most other problems will find their solutions. Ten years down the line, perhaps we will veer toward libertarianism -- or maybe we'll head in a more socialist direction. Fine by me either way. I don't care. The only thing I care about right now is democracy.

My suggestions:

1. Get rid of the electoral college. Let us directly vote for president.

2. Forbid the use computers in the official recording and tabulation of votes.

3. Insure that votes are counted openly, in an utterly transparent fashion.

4. Make recounts easy.

5. Institute a federal "template" for how all elections are to be carried out on the national, state, and local levels. 

6. Address the concerns of the Republican who think that in-person voter fraud is a real problem. It's not a real problem, but let's set their minds at ease anyways, while simultaneously making it easier to vote. We should institute a system of Voter ID which will insure "one person, one vote." I'm thinking of a card with a magnetic stripe and perhaps a photo -- even a fingerprint. (But no hidden tracking devices!) This system will invalidate state laws requiring photo ID, street addresses and so forth. Registration could be automatic. When you move to a new City, simply swipe your card at a machine downtown, and you are ready to participate in local elections. If you go overseas, if you're homeless, if you are in the process of moving, this system will still allow you to vote for President.

7. Institute strict penalties for anyone who would interfere with the process. Perhaps the death penalty.

Seth Meyers. I just saw a comedy bit in which Meyers dissed the alleged inaccuracy of exit polls. In other countries, if exit polls differ markedly from "official" tallies, international election observers presume that the official tallies have been tampered with. Only in this country do we operate in the slap-happy delusion that the system is impossible to rig.

Shame on Seth. Normally, I'm a fan of his work -- but he got this one very wrong.

A European Army. Macron now considers the United States of American a potential enemy power. He is right to do so.

Will this measure injure NATO, perhaps mortally? Yes. One of the appalling aspects of Trumpism is that even his enemies are now forced to take steps which serve Putin's aims. 
The Cannon manifesto. Count me as your first follower.
Just think what is going to happen if the racist militia yahoos or our own army actually fires upon and murders the refugees when they get here in a couple of months. Our country will become an instant pariah with virtually no country wanting anything to do with us. We'll lose trading partners, military bases, really the whole 9 yards. Most people in the USA are so apathetic right now but now is the time to be vocal, strong and resilient. Of course, it has always been the time to be those things and to demand that our government officials act with integrity and compassion. This whole Republican movement is just insane and totally corrupt. How on Earth could any real Christian vote for brothel owners, people indicted of crimes, and people who are so corrupt that they are traitors to our country? It makes no sense.

The Silicon Valley business model explained in 15 seconds:

1. Eliminate as many jobs as possible by developing & marketing automation.
2. Export any jobs that can't be easily automated to low-wage nations.
3. Import workers from low-wage nations to suppress wages for all of the jobs that can't be easily exported.

Pretend it is all about inclusion and diversity. If anyone challenges the model, call them a "raciss" or a NIMBY.

Joseph, these are excellent proposals for reforming the election system, except for one thing.

Abolition of the Electoral College will require a Constitutional Amendment, which requires a two-thirds vote of both the Senate and House to be proposed, and a vote by legislatures or conventions of three-quarters of the states to pass. Never going to happen.
Joseph, your plan for election reform is excellent except that, like so many, you think it is possible to abolish the Electoral College.

This would require a Constitutional Amendment to be proposed by two-thirds of both the House and Senate and ratifications by legislatures or constitutional conventions in three-quarters of the states. Never going to happen.
What does NYC produce? Probably as little as London.
Joe, xI'd like to hear more about what you got into when you were shunning politics. Books you were working on that haven't come to fruition? Whats the idea for a movie?

- Hoarseface
The saving grace for the Electoral College is the ability of the Senate to refuse to accept the electoral votes when there has been election fraud in a particular state.

The Senate quite conspicuously did not exercise this power in the case of the disputed 2000 Florida election. In 2004 while they did hold a three-hour hearing so some Senators could give some pretty speeches about election fraud in Ohio, they wound up accepting the Ohio votes.

Personally, a tax boycott won't work for me. Most of my life I have deliberately limited my income so I wouldn't have to pay taxes to the war machine. I am compensated for my work in non-taxable terms, and I live very frugally and very well. I have provided for my future security with long-term capital gains that only become taxable when I cash them out.
There's an alternative to a constitutional amendment and that's the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. It has already pasted in 11 states and DC.

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Thursday, November 08, 2018

If Acosta, then Hillary

A quick observation: If this White House is going to use fake evidence against Jim Acosta, then you know damned well that Whitaker is going to use fake evidence against Hillary Clinton.

The left had better get over its anti-Clinton insanity quickly -- and the Clintons themselves are going to have to stop responding to smears with "Thank you sir, may I please have another?" When Whitaker trots out his supposedly "new" evidence of Clintonian perfidy, we're going to have to come to the defense of both the woman who should have been president and the man who was our best post-WWII president. We are about to see a new variation of the Reichstag Fire tactic -- and it's going to be used against all Dems.

(Haven't look at what the rightists on Twitter are saying, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are claiming that Acosta raped a White House intern.)
Let the Clintons defend themselves.
Care to expand on calling Bill Clinton the best post-WWII President. I don't reflexively laugh at this, but though I am a fan, I don't see how he's better than Obama. I have read credible arguments that Obama is the best post-WWII President, and so if a case can be made that Clinton > Obama, then I could see it.

You're crazy only if you think Trump won't try to prosecute the Clintons. Otto Wels, the leader of the only party in German to vote against making Hitler a dictator, fled the country within 4 months of the vote because he knew what was coming. His party, the Social Democrats, were banned within a month of Hitler becoming dictator.
Can't Jim Acosta sue somebody? He's been falsely accused of assault by officials who have made and widely distributed a fake video. Millions believe that. It damages his reputation. The real video is available and proves he didn't assault anyone. Sue. Subpoena.

I encountered a Trumper today who thought Acosta had been so rude. He probably thought Trump's inauguration was well-attended too. Goodness knows what images the fascist forces will successfully incite him to put on his retina next. The strange thing is that such a moron doesn't see himself as a bottom-sniffer to The Man.

Can someone please invent a ray weapon that terminates everybody who watches the wrestling for more than 20 minutes in a stretch or more than 60 minutes in a week? Kill them before they kill us.
How about we crowdfund to cover Acosta's legal bill?

I'm not joking, and I realise he's got a contract with his employer. But it's about time the opponents of the insane fascist Donald Trump united to attack one of his administration's weak points with other than talk. FFS thinking outside the box is needed, and "taking a knee" isn't enough. A two-thirds majority in the Senate at an impeachment trial wouldn't have been forthcoming if the Democrats had gained 10 seats and Trump had been caught on camera realising his admitted fantasy of taking out a gun and murdering someone on Fifth Avenue. If the left doesn't get its shit together, this is going to end calamitously badly.
Jim Acosta delivered a vicious karate chop to Morticia when she tried to snatch the microphone.
b, Jim Acosta can sue but it would take a while to get there. In a normal defamation proceedings Sanders could defend herself by saying that she believed Jim Acosta had behaved improperly. Acosta would have to prove that this was an unreasonable assumption on her part. But with a doctored video his lawyer would have no trouble demonstrating legal malice on her part. Legal malice occurs when you know the defamatory remark you have made is untrue or you don't care whether it is true or not. Sanders' use of the doctored video demonstrates legal malice on her part. At that point the legal processes turn everything upside down. Acosta has to prove nothing, Sanders herself has to fully prove the truthfulness of the accusation she has made. Unless she can actually prove that he conducted an assault and that the video shows it then she loses. That's why the doctored video is such a key legal point.
Coincidentally the current issue of The New Yorker magazine reports on the latest advances and worries about doctored video. The skinny precis: It can be done and no one can tell the difference (but a specific computer program can tell, maybe). It's still online at the mag's website.

"Dept. of Technology
November 12, 2018 Issue
In the Age of A.I., Is Seeing Still Believing?
Advances in digital imagery could deepen the fake-news crisis—or help us get out of it.

By Joshua Rothman"

@Fred - Yes indeed about the doctored video. A legal action would in principle stop the White House from destroying evidence, including about who altered the video, when, where, how, who gave it to Sanders, and whether Trump gave any instructions. They'll either have to explain why the video was altered (malice) or insist it wasn't altered (perjury). They'd be in a tough position, to put it mildly. It's legally sound for Acosta to seek to establish the provenance of material circulated about him that accuses him of a crime and has demonstrably damaged his reputation. It needs to be turned into evidence: a legal attack is needed.
b, the doctored video is now in the public domain so i don't think there's any problem with accessing it in any legal proceedings. Sanders had access to a perfectly good White House recording of the incident so she would have to explain in any court proceeding why she chose to promote a questionable video from a source with a conspiracy track record. She can't just say "I didn't know it was doctored. I was acting in good faith." That's the essence of the legal malice provision -- when a person is indifferent to the truthfulness or otherwise of defamatory material that they promote. As I see it, Jim Acosta has a lay down misere. Sanders has to prove everything. Court proceedings can take years but it mightn't harm politically if Acosta started an action now. Perhaps he and CNN don't need the distraction right now.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Can Mueller be saved?

We dodged a bullet in the House yesterday, but the rest of it was as depressing as predicted. The Trumper faction in the Senate has increased dramatically, making impeachment effectively impossible. Blocking any cabinet nominee or Supreme Court nominee is now unthinkable.

Compare yesterday to the 1994 Republican tidal wave, in which the Rs won control of both the House and the Senate -- 54 seats in the House, 8 in the Senate, followed by a couple of high-level defections. What was the revolution based upon? Paranoia. Propaganda. Nonsensical anti-Clinton conspiracy theories. One bullshit pseudoscandal after the other.

Clinton actually did a fine job in his first two years: He inherited a terrible economy and set the course for both a robust recovery and the eradication of the national debt -- a miracle that neither Donald Trump nor any other Republican could ever pull off. Clinton was, of course, hampered by the fact that he was a Democratic president at a time when the mood of the country was essentially conservative. (He was also hamstrung by progs who insisted that he sacrifice every single speck his political capital on behalf of gays in the military -- a hopelessly unpopular cause at the time, whether you care to admit it or not.)

By contrast, Donald Trump really is a crook. The accusations against him are not bullshit. We know that he's been mobbed up for decades. The Russian connection has been proven beyond rational argument, for anyone who bothers to look at the evidence. His violations of the emoluments clause have been obvious. On top of all that, the man is vulgar, foul, racist, vile, intemperate, inarticulate, impulsive. A fascist.

Yet the progs still won't rethink their "hate white males" strategy. They still think that they can write off millions and millions of white males who feel insecure about their job prospects -- a constituency which ought to be solidly Blue, which would have been Blue if someone like FDR were directing the Dems.

Despite yesterday's dismal results, progs still think that they can alienate white males and make up for the loss with incessant GOTV efforts. Motherfuckers! I've come to hate Prog Purists almost as much as I hate Republicans. We should have had a blowout yesterday. If there had been a blowout, Trump would be on his way out.

Progs would rather see fascism triumph than foreswear their hatred of white males. 

Y'know how Hitler won? He won because the far-left political party (the KDP) hated the centrists much much much more than they hated the Nazis. I'm glad Ernst Thalmann, leader of the KPD, ended up in Buchenwald. Bastard got what he deserved.

The secret name of every modern Prog Purist is Ernst Thalmann.

They say that Trump is depressed now. Why?  He can handle the House. There will be some setbacks and humiliations, but Russia has kompromat on everybody.

Mueller. A day after losing the House, Trump got rid of Session. In doing so, Trump unashamedly admitted that Sessions was insufficiently protective of the president -- a de facto admission of guilt. The fact that Sessions was forced out immediately tells us that things are going to happen lightning fast. Prepare for a shock, for multiple shocks.

Trump replaced him with a shameless buttkisser named Matthew "Bork" Whitaker. Of course Whitaker should recuse himself. And of course he will not. He will, in fact, be our worst nightmare. He will never, ever do the right thing. Bet on it.
“Whitaker is on record as being more interested in propping up Trump than in upholding the rule of law,” one DOJ trial attorney told The Daily Beast. “It’s hard to have confidence that he’ll do anything other than what the president had said in his tweets.”
I've already seen talking heads on teevee speak as though Whitaker were reachable and reasonable, as though Rosenstein can walk into the guy's office and talk sense into him. Bullshit. Bork II is not reachable; if he were, Trump would not have given him the gig. Rosenstein will be out of a job soon, perhaps before the week is out.

I received a notice from MoveOn to attend a "Save Mueller" protest rally in Baltimore tomorrow. I may go, if I can find enough change in the sofa cushions for transpo fare. The towering geniuses at MoveOn sent out a "GO GO GO" message that gave a place but not a time.

For Chrissakes. We've got to be more professional than that. This is serious business.

Asha Rangappa offered an important thread on the upcoming Whitaker disaster...
STEP DOWN FROM THE LEDGE (FOR NOW) THREAD. (Warning: This might be a SPOOL). OK, here are my thoughts on Whitaker taking over the Mueller investigation and why I think we need to see how things unfold before losing it. To be clear, I do NOT think this is an ideal situation. BUT:

First, Whitaker has spoken and written publicly on the Mueller investigation. This clearly creates an appearance of a conflict of interest. He must consult with the ethics people as his former boss did and, if it is warranted, recuse. Period. But assuming he does not:

First, as a commentator/pundit, you're expected to have an opinion on a given issue. But as discussed in the context of Strzok, et al., keep in mind that there is a very strong culture in DOJ to not let these views infect decisions. As a former USA, Whitaker knows this culture

He is going to be operating in this culture. And he is going to have to articulate his decisions from other people -- career DOJ folks like Christopher Wray and Robert Mueller -- who understand this culture and will see through any attempt to inject politics into the inv.

Further, he has to document these decisions. The standard in the Special Counsel regulations for denying a request or recommendation of the Special Counsel is that it is "so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued."

Whitaker would have to document and justify his decisions under this standard, knowing (especially with Dems in control of the House) that he would have to testify to them under oath. Flimsy or corrupt justifications would open him up to obstruction of justice.

Evenf he wanted to "starve the investigation," the SC regs state that the budget for the coming year must be approved within 90 days of the fiscal year. The fiscal year already started on October 1, and so the budget is in place until Sept '19. The next approval is in June '19

Another objection he made publicly is that going into Trump's finances would be crossing a red line. Remember that Mueller farmed out the Cohen case to SDNY. That is likely the thread that leads to the Trump Org, and it is not under Mueller. So that should not be an issue.

Important to keep in mind that his comments were made when he, like the rest of us, only knew what was public -- which, in summer '17, wasn't much. Since then, we've had indictments and guilty pleas on Manafort, Gates, Flynn, Papadopolous, Cohen, and a bunch of Russians.

The amount of evidence that has been accumulated in an investigation of this scale cannot be overstated. Which brings it back to how hard it will be for him to justify blocking further steps under the standard outlined in #4, above. Not happening.

Also, at a personal level, until now his loyalty as Chief of Staff has been to Sessions -- someone he saw get berated, insulted, pressured, and humiliated by POTUS. He may have seen more cray behind the scenes. I wouldn't count on his loyalty suddenly switching to POTUS.

Which brings me to: What would be the payoff? He's not going to be AG, this is temporary. If he has political ambitions he is much better off with Sessions as an ally and being respected in DOJ than hitching his wagon to Trump's (falling) star.

In short, the rules, culture, and incentives all point to just keeping what's happening on track, not going off a cliff, which would be professional suicide. I may be proven wrong, I hope I'm not. END
One last point about Whitaker: He has made clear that his primary goal will be to indict Hillary Clinton on...something. Anything.

This will, of course, work to Trump's benefit, and help him win re-election. In a real sense, he is still running against the Clintons. If he can gin up a case against Hillary, he'll be the most popular man in America.

And the fucking progs will help him do it. The progs hate the Clintons as much as the Republicans do.

Seriously. Ernst Thalmann. His spirit lives on. 
You say this is about white males. As a white male I say it's about voter suppression, gerrymandering, and all that. You understand that we won a bigger popular vote margin than any of those midterms you reference? Gerrymandering man. And look at florida. Democrats got wiped out at the state level there. A report dropped today (of course today) that Rick Scott has been restoring voting rights for whites but not blacks. And this:

Its still the ratfucking, stupid
Good to have you back, not withstanding what I wrote yesterday. Also would it kill you to drop a post every week or so, just to know you are ok with all your occasional health concerns? No need for it to address politics if you are not feeling it.

FDR didn’t have to deal with Limbaugh and all his hate radio copies, as well as Fox News. Until we deal with those toxic illiberal bulwarks, voter suppression, and gerrymandering, we will be like Sisyphus with an occasional good result, but too many elections where we only win by 3-4 points which might not be enough to retain control of the branches of government. One Magical Democrat, be it Beto or Barrack will not save us long term.

For all the FDR love, he was the last Dem that was able to enjoy the Southern Wall in all its electoral college glory from Texas to Virginia, because he was ok with not rocking the boat in terms of segregation and voter suppression. He didn’t do anything to prepare Truman for the office which was criminal due to Roosevelt’s health at the time of the 1944 election. It is the racism in respects to too many white males that was the reason for much of that decline since. Truman, unlike FDR actually did something to break down segregation and racism by integrating the US military. White males have been abandoning the party since Truman. It started with Thurman’s Dixiecrats in ‘48, many of whom supported Nixon in ‘68 or ‘72. By ‘80 Reagan had solidified Nixon’s Southern Strategy and white males as a percentage have voted Republican by a 1-2 more points every Presidential cycle.

When I canvass, I notice a few signs that I use as a shortcut to help me be more efficient and not waste my time with lost causes. These are the top four signs I notice that tell me this person is a hard core right wing Republican. If I notice a hockey fanatic with multiple bumber stickers on a car and flags of a specific NHL team on their cars or property, I know I am very likely meeting a bigot and or misogynist. I have lived around hockey fans all my life and most are not like this, but the more hardcore in their fanaticism of their local team the more RW and rigid in their thinking. Another clue is when unprompted they say the phrase, “that woman.” I heard it quite often when I canvassed for Clinton and this year. Females can use the term as well, but it is much more likely to be used by men. It is used to make the subject “the other” someone to be demonized and dehumanized. NRA stickers or guns displayed that are easily seen from the porch. Lastly, if their number one priority or issue is abortion, which is code for virulently anti-choice and anti-women. It is amazing how many of these types are over 55 and divorced.

You ever canvassed Joseph? There are tons of these types and this subset is like anywhere from 25-35% of the population that votes. Have any great ideas that could get them without alienating and losing our current coalition? Currently, we are basically breaking even with those white males outside of these rigid dead enders.
Whitaker has a connection to Sam Clovis, a witness in Mueller Probe (

Also read
I think anon 11:48 PM is correct, but I think it's ALSO about white males. That's certainly Trumps target demographic (as well as white women, who supported him in greater numbers than they did Hillary in 2016).
You aren't even telling the truth, Joseph. You can't even admit when you are wrong. The Trump faction didn't increase in the Senate, which doesn't fucking matter as long as they don't have 60-plus votes for judicial confirmations. It was NEVER expected the Democrats would increase their margin in the Senate, for God's sake, because few GOP seats were up for grabs, so stop blaming feminists for everything in the world because your beloved white males are so abused. It is hardly insurmountable a couple of seats difference. Furthermore, it is a lie, and two Senate races are still being decided. Democrats won huge in statehouses across the United States, at least seven governorships plus Guam. Scott Walker was thrown out on his ass in Wisconsin, Democrats took hold control of Michigan, thus it was a HUGE victory against the Kochs. In Nevada, it was a blue wave, with Dean Heller being kicked out and a woman, Jacky Rosen, being elected and rather handily.

I have come to the conclusion you have some issues with women if you are not an outright misogynist. You don't understand feminism, you don't understand much of anything relating to it. The universe has to revolve around you and other white males who feel entitled. White male entitlement is the ruination of the country. You are not owed anything, including "family wage" jobs. I suggest you don't even talk about feminism anymore because it is clearly out of your depth. Would you talk this way about racial minorities? Hell, no, you wouldn't. Nobody would read your blog. Trump is throwing a hissy fit because of the election results. Frankly, I don't really care about the Russian investigation anymore because there isn't much Democrats can do about it not having the votes in Congress. 2020 will be key, but you are naive if you think the GOP is going to have unfettered rule forever.
Florida is not the United States, 11:48 PM. Democrats do not need Florida or Ohio in general elections. Frankly, I am sick of nonsense spewed here by somebody who doesn't even look at the whole picture. Democrats won HUGE nationally. Why the fuck LIE about it?
The problem with Asha's line of reasoning is that it assumes that Whitaker will act in a rational manner through self preservation of his future career outlook. That only holds up if he has a future career outlook beyond Trump. It is highly suspected that most of Trump's inner circle are there because they have no where else to go at this point. Whitaker was most likely placed in his position because he has been compromised already. Given his background that is not out of the realm of possibility. He will do what Trump wants him to do because he has no alternative and no future.
There is only one way Fattie McOrangeface can save his bacon at this time, there are workarounds for every scenario put forward, the president has the power to classify documents. The White House can gather up the evidence and reports then declare them secret.

Robert Mueller is no dummy he'll be ready for any other trick Trump might pull including turning evidence over to state prosecutors.
Is OTE admin a Russian bot? The idea that "Democrats do not need Florida or Ohio in general elections" is absurd, and anyone who says "I don't really care about the Russian investigation anymore" is effectively a tool of Putin, witting or otherwise.
Ernst Thalmann didn't attack the center. He directed all of his energy on orders from Moscow on the center left Social Democrats. He called them "social fascists" despite them delivering all the progress on the issues they care about during the Weimar republic. What was one of the justifications for doing this? He was trying to appeal to left wing Nazis. (Spoiler alert: It didn't work.) It's both spooky and comical how closely aligned the strategies of the 1930s German Communists and today's Bernie Bros are. The only solace I take is that Bernie has become an almost entirely irrelevant figure, and I think the damage he has done is in the past.
Following Watergate Congress put in place laws to forestall a President sabotaging any DOJ investigation or subverting the process of Senate appointments. Trump's appointment of Matt Whitaker is illegal under those laws. For Whitaker to be Acting AG he has to be (1) currently holding the Deputy AG position; or (2) holding a position within the DOJ where he has already obtained Senate confirmation; or (3) appointed when Congress is in recess. None of these conditions have been met.

Trump pulled the same illegal stunt in 2017, appointing loyalist Michael Mulvaney to be Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over Deputy Director Leandra English. Mulvaney then went on to gut key consumer safeguard provisions. An appeal against that appointment is still before the courts. This is a familiar Trump tactic.
@nemdam 5.38

"Ernst Thalmann didn't attack the center. He directed all of his energy on orders from Moscow on the center left Social Democrats. He called them "social fascists" despite them delivering all the progress on the issues they care about during the Weimar republic. What was one of the justifications for doing this? He was trying to appeal to left wing Nazis. (Spoiler alert: It didn't work.)"

You can joke with your spoiler but trying to win back members and voters who had only recently gone to the NSDAP from the KPD wasn't a bad aim. And anyway part of the idea was to win votes from the SPD.

Few when making the German analogy seem to remember what happened in 1918-21 in Germany, when the SPD leadership crushed the workers' revolution with little or no resistance from the Moscow-subservient leadership of the KPD. And in fact they did it with help from the far right, the very far right (Freikorps) that workers had risen up to defend the SPD government against! Noske and Scheidemann were no better than Thalmann.

I am not trying to defend Thalmann, just to comment on why many in the KPD backed the line. The united front or popular front would have been the right policy in 1932-33, but it was a totally murderous policy in 1922-23.

I don't know why, but many seem to assume that the SPD formed the German government during all or most of the Weimar period. They didn't. They were only it for a small proportion of that time.

The SPD leadership all had the blood of the working class on their hands, and the KPD leadership were mostly assets of the Bolshevik government whose hands were similarly coloured. Unfortunately no movement was around in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s that could put forward a seriously socialist message in a big way. The KAPD was tiny by then.

The reference to "orders from Moscow" is accurate, and it's no coincidence that the USSR joined the League of Nations as Germany was leaving. Soviet-US trade also expanded rapidly from 1934. The Bolshevik government switched horses, from chumming up with Germany (sealed train, Brest-Litovsk, weapons industry cooperation) to smiling their way in to the League of Nations and making "great deals" with men such as Henry Ford in the US. With that on their CV, it wasn't even slightly difficult for the Bolsheviks to switch again in 1939 and cooperate with Hitler.
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