CANNONFIRE





Saturday, August 08, 2020

How to survive election night



These days, only one person may speak an unwelcome truth to progressives: Bill Maher. On his most recent show, Maher actually said the unspeakable: Trump is closing the gap with Biden. (See yesterday's post for a truly horrifying chart.) Maher also voiced the forbidden truth that neo-Stalinist efforts to muzzle free speech make ordinary people hate Dems. He even mentioned the allegations that Bill Clinton went to Epstein's island. I predict that this is the smear which will insure Trump's re-election.

(Maher does not know -- yet -- that the Epstein/Clinton smear is, in fact, a smear, and that Biden himself is vulnerable to the same false accusation. Can someone please show him this? It proves that Clinton is innocent.)

The virus is finally starting to lose strength -- and when it vanishes, so do Biden's chances. Trump has cleverly created the appearance that generous unemployment benefits will come from his personal beneficence. The Dems will get none of the credit. The Tangerine Terror has outmaneuvered Pelosi.

Biden will lose in November. Afterwards, of course, the Dems will blame Biden. They won't blame the voters who chose Biden, because black people made that decision and it is an article of faith among progressives that black people never, ever make tactical errors. (Ever.) Instead, we'll hear vague talk of nameless, invisible "elites" who foisted Biden upon black voters who didn't really want him.

It'll happen just like that. You know damned well that it will. I dare you to argue otherwise.

Let us now address an important question: How to get through election night? I've already made my plans.

First step: Vodka! Get some really big bottles (plastic, not glass) of cheap vodka. Mix it with, I dunno, some kind of icky-sweet fake fruit juice or imitation Dr. Pepper or whatever. (You can afford actual orange juice? Swankpot!) Forget quality: You're looking for quantity. You'll need it. Go ahead: Destroy your liver. It's Trump's re-election night and nothing matters anymore.

Second step: Movies. Seek out films that you enjoyed when you were a kid, because this is a night to wallow in happy memories. You definitely don't want works of art. You want dumb movies -- what my ladyfriend calls "non-hurty-brainy" movies.

If you have a certain amount of grey atop your scalp or in your beard -- if you were a nine-year-old in the 1960s or the 1970s -- I have just what you're looking for. Go to this glorious page. Behold! The Internet Archive has gifted you with decent-quality copies of all the classic Universal monster movies. Free. Get them on your hard drive now.

On election night, skip the original installments of each series -- the first Dracula, the first Frankenstein, the first Mummy, the first Invisible Man. They're far too slow and serious, and you've seen them too many times. What you want are the the later installments. They're totally insane B movies -- fast-moving, cheap and silly. The best of them feature amazing dialogue by half-smashed writers out to grab a paycheck while subverting the genre.

Take The Invisible Woman (1940), in which the perpetually-inebriated John Barrymore clearly has trouble reading his cue cards. (He looks like Trump doing battle with his teleprompter.) The script -- which features many surprisingly bold references to the title character's nudity -- includes this brilliant exchange:

"Call the airport. We're leaving."

"Oh, airport!"

"No, on the phone."

(After three fingers of 80 Proof Anything, that'll seem hilarious.)

You'll also want to see Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, in which Lon Chaney Jr. -- the screen's greatest self-loathing sad sack -- delivers this sublime line: "Now I want to die too. Won't you show me the way?" On Trump's re-election night, you'll drink to that.

And if the vodka hasn't yet knocked you flat, fire up House of Frankenstein, in which Dracula (John Carradine) seeks a cure for vampirism. This is the film in which the Wolfman says of the Frankenstein monster: "He wanted life and strength. I wanted only death. Yet, here we are." Those words will sum up your life on November 3. This is also the movie in which a flirtatious young woman tells Lon Chaney Jr. "Now, don't start barking at me."

Although the Universal monster movies will suit me just fine, my ladyfriend has expressed a preference for the Hammer versions. I can see her point: Cushing and Lee were superb, color adds much, and one does want the occasional dab of gore. (And Veronica Carlson is a goddess.) But too often, the Hammer scripts lacked wit. Nobody wants to admit it, but those all-important undertones of subversive fun are just not there.

If Universal's monsters won't suit your viewing needs, consider another welcome blast from the past: Ray Harryhausen movies scored by Bernard Herrmann. Those classics will chase away the election night blues.

Sure, I love Herrmann's work for Hitchcock -- but does anything say "high adventure" like the opening chords of Mysterious Island? (Well, maybe Jerry Goldsmith's title music for The Wind and the Lion.) You can hear those chords in the trailer embedded above. When I was very young, this score made me understand what music adds to a movie.

If you can forgive some iffy matte work -- inescapable, given the film's vintage -- Mysterious Island is a terrific, fast-moving fantasy that can still capture a young person's imagination. The screenplay also offers a well-written exchange in which a Union soldier questions the morality of Captain Nemo's terror campaign:

"Considering the ships and crews you've sunk without mercy, you can't disturb my conscience."

"Can't I? What I did was in the name of peace. Your war, like all wars, glories in devastation and death."

"Well, my war will set men free. That's a struggle that belongs to all men, don't you think?"

At that point, I'd like to see actor Michael Craig turn to the camera and add: "So fuck you, Jamelle Bouie."

So there's my "how to survive election night" plan. Your film picks will differ from mine, depending on which movies you loved before or during puberty. Vodka may not be necessary; I won't blame you for choosing some other substance to abuse. Chacun à son goût.

Here's what you must not do: Do not hop into Democratic Underground or any other left-leaning forum where you may be tempted to spar with BernieBros, Clinton-haters, Krystal Ballers and Cenk-wankers. Don't bother talking to the dolts who insist that, next time, the party must pay even more attention to feminists, gays, the transgendered and left-of-Biden black activists. Don't converse with progs who assure you that the party must show even more disdain for the white working class. Ignore ninnies who insist that the magic letters "GOTV" can counteract the disastrous impact of applying the label "privileged" to millions of struggling white people terrified of eviction.

The postmodernist pigs will never back down: "Yeah, that pale-faced schlub working the midnight shift at 7-Eleven really does deserve to be called privileged." Some of the pigs who emit that kind of oink actually live in St. Petersburg, although they pretend to be Americans. The Dems won't win until we stop engaging with those swine.
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I've also come to think that the worst-case scenario--not Trump stealing the election, as most progressives seem to fear, but Trump handily winning re-election--is the most likely outcome in November. No other president could ever win re-election in an economy this bad, but no other president has ever been like Trump. The old rules don't work anymore.

One advantage Trump has over any other candidate is that he simply dominates the media in a way that no other president, even Reagan, ever has. Part of that is the media's fault; from the moment he started running, they gave him far more coverage than he deserved. Part of it, unfortunately, is human nature. Trump is so weird and unpredictable that people simply love talking about him. People who hate politics, people who couldn't tell you the difference between Congress and the Supreme Court--the same people will happily spend hours talking about Trump, whether they love him or hate him.

According to The Atlantic, Trump dominates the media far, far more than Obama did: "When Barack Obama was president, his name appeared in roughly one in 10 news stories published by major U.S. news sources. During his first term, Trump has appeared in roughly one in four stories. ... Joe Biden has appeared in only 5 percent of news stories since he became the presumptive nominee in March."

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/08/why-news-sounds-same/615070/

We must consider a harrowing fact: Many people will vote for the candidate they've heard of. There's a reason that, in local elections, candidates will simply put signs with *their name* on it, and nothing else, all over town. People are more likely to vote for a person if the name is familiar. Most Americans know who Joe Biden is, but everyone in the entire world knows who Donald Trump is.

Also, thank you for the link. And yes, Harryhausen movies are a godsend in these dark times. I recently rewatched The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and found myself getting unexpectedly choked up at the fate of the hapless creature. It really does make a difference to see something real and solid--even a tiny model--instead of the CGI phantasms we have to put up with these days.
 
Why do you think COVID-19 has run its course?

Especially now that Benedict Donald and the Treason Party (fka GOP) are forcing people to go back to work and school, thus ensuring even more transmission of the virus?

It's going to skyrocket, and the swing voters will know whom to blame, and Donnie Two Scoops can't "win" (always with quotation marks because of Russopublican cheating) with his base alone; he did not do that last time.

If he does "win" in spite of running with the huge, stinking, rotting albatross carcasses of his failure to handle COVID-19, and the economic disaster it caused, hanging around his neck, that will only show that Putin and his gremlins can actually hack the computers and change vote totals.

The failure of Donnie Two Scoops and his Rethugs to handle the COVID-19 pandemic properly will be Issue 1, and the economic crisis caused by their failure to handle the pandemic properly will be Issue 2.

Americans will have something more important to worry about than the bullshit Culture Wars, as they did in 1992 and 2008.

Only Putin can save Donnie now--and, underneath the eternally efficient Russian censorship, Corona-chan is probably pegging the Bear with a strap-on cactus. That just might preoccupy Vlad a bit.

Plus, I read earlier today that China does not want Donnie Two Scoops back. If so, then Putin might face a counterweight this time.
 
COVID-19 has nowhere near "run its course." Hell, here in Oregon, students are NOT allowed to return to school in September if the districts are in an area that is above the threshhold of infections for safely having in-person instruction. This means the vast majority of Oregon school districts will not have in-person instruction at any grade level, which is a disaster, I can tell you that, and Oregon still has among the fewest cases of confirmed COVID-19 in the country. In my school district, I have to return to work later this month along with staff and teachers, but students will not be allowed on campus until at least October. This "hoax" now has over 5 million confirmed cases serious enough to receive medical attention, with 165,000 deaths. There is no end in sight.
 
Kids, it's hard enough being responsible for my own words. I refuse to take responsibility for the words you put into my mouth. I did not say that the coronavirus had run its course. I said "starting to lose strength" -- and my source is the CDC. Go here...

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

...and scroll down to "new cases by day." At this rate of decline, the disease should be within the realm of the manageable by September or October. An economic comeback may well be evident by the end of October, although I've heard varying predictions about that.

I suppose the CDC is now a "bad guy" organization, when it tells you something you DON'T want to hear.
 
Okay, I looked at the chart.

Uh-huh.

And how is the number of new cases NOT going to spike back up with Benedict Donald and the Treason Party forcing people back to work and school?

And hwo is the economy going to recover with more people getting sick, even dying, and other people refusing to make any unnecessary journeys or purchases?

1992. 2008. My fellow Non-Elite White Folks had more important things to worry about than the Stupid Bullshit Culture Wars. 2020 is looking like that kind of year.

Also, the last time a Republican presidential candidate won a clear, indisputable victory was in 1988. Their cleverness at cheating is admirable in an amoral fashion, from a standpoint of pure appreciation of strategy and tactics, but demographics are catching up with them. Plus, Benny Don and the Traitors' approval ratings were dropping even before Corona-chan hit.

Nope, again, only Putin can save them.
 
Let me correct myself. The Treason Party's only hope is foreign and/or domestic cheating.

From No More Mr. Nice Blog

He's almost as gloomy as you. ;)

But yes, we need to be ready for every dirty trick they can pull.
 
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Friday, August 07, 2020

The winds are shifting. Plus: Nazis posing as antifa

Hi! It's Mr. Pessimism. I'm here to tell you what's going on outside of the prog bubble.

A few days ago, we got our first "Don't freak out about that poll" post on Democratic Underground. A Harris poll suggested that the winds had shifted, that Biden's number was starting to drop. "Outlier!" cried the DUmmies. "Bad polling methodology!"

If 2016 taught us anything, it taught us this lesson: When a DUmmy or a Kossack tells you "Don't freak out" -- freak the fuck out.

The enforced optimism on those sites is a form of brainwashing. Selective information makes progs think that they are more numerous and more popular than they actually are. That's why 2016 came as a surprise to so many (though not to me).

The truth: Biden's lead is slipping. Although the headline of this article -- "Biden Is Polling Better Than Clinton At Her Peak" -- seems reassuring, the featured chart is anything but. Study it:



Here's the part Nate Silver won't tell you:

1. Biden's lead right now is nearly equal to where Hillary was a mere twenty days away from election day. This, before the smears hit Biden. (In mid-October 2016, Hillary was the most smeared human being in American history.)

2. On election day, Hillary had a nearly four point lead in the national polls. Thanks to the magic of the electoral college -- combined with subtle vote-rigging in key precincts in key states -- that four point lead turned into a Trump victory. Thus, Biden must stay well above four points nationally.

Not long ago, he was at nearly ten; now, he's below eight. Wrong direction.

Why is Biden losing steam? Because the George Floyd moment is over. The backlash has begun.

Let's face it: BLM blew it. During a moment of widespread national sympathy for the cause of black people, the movement focused on sure-loser ideas such as defunding the police -- a proposal opposed by the vast majority of black people (and never mind what whites think about it). The protestors assailed Mount Rushmore, Abraham Lincoln, Columbus and even the American revolution itself. Not the path to popularity.

Black Lives Matter could have used this moment to demand fair and clean elections. They could have decried caging and other scurrilous tactics designed to suppress the black vote. (If elections in Georgia were fair, Stacey Abrams probably would be governor right now, and might even be on Biden's VP short list.) A "fair vote" movement would have been indisputably righteous and probably would have garnered widespread white support, since many whites also mistrust the mechanics of democracy.

Did you hear any leaders of Black Lives Matter refer to our unfair elections? I didn't.

Instead, BLM leaders (or rather, alleged BLM leaders: See below) pressured the government of Portland to cancel a screening of Kindergarten Cop, on the grounds that Arnold Schwarzenegger's utterly inoffensive movie is -- get this -- racist. Seriously. They compared it to Birth of a Nation.

That idiocy alone probably caused the Dems to lose a point.

I am sure that there are African American intellectuals who will argue at great length that Kindergarten Cop is indeed an insufferably hate-filled piece of cinema. Since casuistry is my favorite form of humor, I look forward to hearing their argument. Perhaps they will amuse me further by defending the "brilliant" strategic move of attacking a silly movie while ignoring the longstanding and continuing assaults on black voting rights.

When it comes to offering abstruse rationalizations for utter bullshit, the African American intellectual class has become nearly as absurd as the German intellectual class. But they haven't topped Hegel. (Yet.)

In the end, Portland and Seattle became wins for Trump. Even the NYT has finally admitted it: All of the assurances we've heard about the peacefulness of the protests were nothing but propaganda. 
That has left small-business owners as lonely voices in progressive areas, arguing that police officers are necessary and that cities cannot function without a robust public safety presence. In Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, Ore., many of those business owners consider themselves progressive, and in interviews they express support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But they also worry that their businesses, already debilitated by the coronavirus pandemic, will struggle to survive if police departments and city governments cannot protect them.
You want to see what happens when small business owners are afraid to open up shop? Walk -- as I have walked -- through the most challenged sections of East Baltimore. Note the hand-painted signs proclaiming "THIS IS A NO-SHOOTING ZONE." How the hell do African Americans benefit from that environment?

Nazis posing as antifa. The above-cited NYT article contains strong hints that the BLM protests in Seattle were manipulated by white supremacists (as occurred in Richmond, Virginia). From the NYT:
Young white men wielding guns would harangue customers as well as Mr. Khan, a gay man of Middle Eastern descent who moved here from Texas so he could more comfortably be out. To get into his coffee shop, he sometimes had to seek the permission of self-appointed armed guards to cross a border they had erected.

“They barricaded us all in here,” Mr. Khan said. “And they were sitting in lawn chairs with guns.”
Mr. Hearns has had bad experiences with the police in his own life. He says he wants police reform, but he was appalled by the violent tactics and rhetoric he witnessed during the occupation.

He blamed the destruction and looting on “opportunists,” but also said that much of the damage on Capitol Hill came from a distinct contingent of violent, armed white activists. “It’s antifa,” he said. “They don’t want to see the progress we’ve made. They want chaos.”
Was it antifa? The girly-voiced antifa spokes-wussies I've seen on newscasts looked like ineffectual twits who couldn't intimidate a kitten.

I suspect that we are dealing with another "wolf in sheep's clothing" situation, just like the one we saw in Richmond. One thing is certain: These "white sympathizers" have a strange tendency to make life miserable for black people, Muslims and similar groups.

In fact, there's a documented history of white supremacists posing as antifa online. In early June, we saw a flurry of new stories to that effect, such as this one.
Twitter has disabled an account that appeared to represent a violent antifa group after it was determined to be a bogus front for a white nationalist group.
The account, with the handle @ANTIFA_US, was traced back to be a false facade for the white nationalist group Identity Evropa. It was specifically called out by U.S. law enforcement as an example of a left-wing radical group attempting to incite violence amid the unrest and nationwide protests.
Also see here.
Yet the leaked materials show that on May 29, two days before Trump tweeted that antifa would be labeled a terrorist organization and Barr issued his DOJ statement, the president’s own DHS analysts issued an open source intelligence report detailing how a white supremacist channel on Telegram, an encrypted messaging service, was encouraging followers to capitalize on the unrest by targeting the police with Molotov cocktails and firearms.
A couple of months ago, Boogaloo Bois infiltrated a protest by posing as medics.

Here's a headline from last June which should not be forgotten: A man charged with killing a federal officer during George Floyd protests is tied to the far-right 'Boogaloo' movement, authorities say.
Law enforcement officials said Carrillo and Justus went to Oakland to kill police officers and believed that nationwide protests against police brutality following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd would facilitate their motives.
The charges in Carrillo's and Justus' cases come amid multiple instances of individuals associated with the far-right being accused of trying to stoke violence connected to the demonstrations against police brutality.
Earlier this month, three men who were self-proclaimed members of the "Boogaloo" movement were arrested on domestic terrorism charges and accused of carrying unregistered firearms and trying to spark riots during the demonstrations.

According to the charging document, which was reviewed by Business Insider, the three defendants previously served in the US Navy, US Army, and US Air Force.
Politico also reported this month that a Department of Homeland Security intelligence note warned law-enforcement officials that a white supremacist channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram encouraged its followers to incite violence to start a race war during the protests.

Citing the FBI, it said that two days after Floyd's death, the channel "incited followers to engage in violence and start the 'boogaloo.'"
The Boogaloo Bois -- who want a new civil war -- genuinely seem to hate the police even more than BLM leaders do.
The “Boogaloo Bois” expect, even hope, that the warmer weather will bring armed confrontations with law enforcement, and will build momentum towards a new civil war in the United States.
Open source materials suggest that, for now, the apocalyptic, anti-government politics of the “Boogaloo Bois” are not monolithically racist/neo-Nazi. As we have observed, some members rail against police shootings of African Americans, and praise black nationalist self defense groups.

But the materials also demonstrate that however irony-drenched it may appear to be, this is a movement actively preparing for armed confrontation with law enforcement...
BLM leaders should understand: Despite the very real problem of racism, law enforcement officers also prevent neo-Nazis from carrying out an armed takeover. That's why the fascists would love to see BLM defund and demoralize the police.

(In the 1920s, the Nazis were similarly anti-cop. They viewed themselves as outsiders because they were outsiders, dismissed as unimportant fringe-dwellers by short-sighted mainstream writers. The fascists also supported oppressed peoples when doing so served their purposes. That's why Nazi rallies in the United States often featured American Indians on stage.)

How to spot the new Nazis. For a while, I've wondered why the Boogalooers have fixated on Hawaiian shirts. It turns out that members have used "Big Luau" as a jokey euphemism for "Boogaloo," which is itself a code word for a new Civil War.

Here's another euphemism to look out for: "Icehouse." That phrase derives from "Big Igloo," which also sounds like "Boogaloo." These word games make America's fascists feel ever so clever.

Another identifying mark is a patch with "/k/" written on it. This sigil refers to the gun-owners' discussion board where the Boogaloo movement began.

Still another identifying mark is clown imagery.
Yet like most outlets, ABC News missed the significance of other men wearing Hawaiian shirts, and, in at least this case, a skull mask balaclava complete with a clown nose.

While the Hawaiian shirt referenced “the boog”, and the skull mask referenced siege culture, the nose was very likely a nod to the “clown world” meme.

The “clown world” meme signals the idea that pluralistic, multicultural liberal democracies are both inherently ridiculous and doomed to failure. It is common currency among racist movements, and is a more pessimistic, or “blackpilled” variation on the “pepe” memes which were exchanged so freely during the heyday of the alt right.

It signifies a rejection of the “movementarian” approach of pre-Charlottesville white nationalists, and the belief that there is no political solution to what many accelerationist groups see as the interminable decline of western democracies.
You should read the rest of that article. It spells out how Boogaloo -- an inherently racist ideology -- cleverly uses inclusive, pro-BLM language and imagery in order to spur black people toward committing acts of violence.
As protests over the death of George Floyd heated up in Minneapolis on May 26th, members of Boogaloo groups across Facebook considered it a call to arms. Memes were churned up that day, adding George to the movement’s list of martyrs
Boogaloo and BLM: Are they aligned by ideology? By a common enemy? Or is this a case of infiltration and manipulation?

In the past, I've likened this hellish alliance to George Lincoln Rockwell's endorsement of the Nation of Islam. I think that the Boogalooers want black people to upend law and order -- to create the chaos which will allow the fascists to take power. And when the fascists do take power, they will treat America's blacks the same way Hitler treated the Jews.
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Off topic.

(North American Central Time) Friday.

The Magical Mystery Tour 8 PM - 9 PM. Host Tom Wood picks a theme for an hour of Beatles music.

Beaker Street 9 PM - 12 AM. Legendary host Clyde Clifford is having to take a few weeks off (myeloma; he's 74). However, he expects the treatments to work, and he expects to return eventually. Meanwhile, Tom Wood will host Beaker Street as well.

https://arkansasrocks.com/

If you can't make Beaker Street live, the previous shows are available at

https://beakerstreetsetlists.com/

Tonight's show will probably be there tomorrow.
 
On topic:

Assuming accuracy of reporting, this is indeed disturbing.

However, I noticed the absence of any mention of the elephant in the room.
 
There really are no BLM leaders, the left has rejected the concept of leadership in general....which as you know opens the door for dirty tricks and a bunch of random false starts
 
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Monday, August 03, 2020

PROOF: Virginia is a liar and Clinton is innocent

This post presents a great deal of research on an important topic. I beg readers to spread the word. If you're on Twitter or Facebook, please link to this piece. And know this: Ad hominem arguments directed at yours truly won't change the evidence.

I hate "journalism" like this. That link goes to a Newsweek story about Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the alleged "victim" of Jeffrey Epstein. The writer pretends that we've never met Virginia before, even though she has been famous for nearly a decade. And although she makes no claims not already discussed ad infinitum, Newsweek pretends that everything she says -- especially the bit about Bill Clinton -- is both new and credible.

Actually, her claims are very familiar and very non-credible. Why doesn't Newsweek publish the proof that Virginia is a liar?

Lie #1: Chronology. Originally, in court documents and in news interviews, Virginia insisted that she fell into Epstein's orbit in 1998, when she was 15, and that she had underaged sex with VIPs associated with Epstein. In an unpublished memoir, she described a "sweet sixteen" party on Epstein's island -- "I was given a birthday cake and a new collection of designer make-up from London" -- capped off with a birthday rape.

Her original lawyer, Bradley Edwards, took this "sweet sixteen" rape story very seriously. Edwards asked Jeffrey Epstein about this episode in a deposition (as you can see in part 4 of the documentary Filthy Rich).

Remember that "sweet sixteen" story. It's important.

This interview transcript establishes that she told Bradley Edwards she was 15 when she met Epstein. In 2011, she also told journalist Sharon Churcher that she (Virginia) entered Epstein's entourage at the age of 15, but did not have sex with Epstein's friends until two years later:
After about two years, he started to ask me to “entertain” his friends.’
(Emphasis added.) In other words, a "grooming period" lasted a full two years. In 2011, Virginia told much the same story to the FBI.

In this 2015 version of her tale, she repeated the claim that she began to work for Epstein shortly after her 15th birthday, and that she worked for him for three years. She also claimed that she "escaped" Epstein's "sex slavery" around the time of her 19th birthday, four years later. Even within the confines of that one interview, she contradicted herself. A bad sign.

Here's the truth: Virginia did not enter Epstein's world until after her 17th birthday.

That "sweet sixteen rape" story was completely untrue, as Virginia herself now admits. You may come to your own conclusions as to why attorney Edwards no longer represents her.

Her real age became clear thanks to the records helpfully supplied by Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort, which employed first Virginia's father and then Virginia herself. From Alan Dershowitz' Guilt By Association (chapter 6, note 39):
The records show that he began to work there on April 11, 2000. We have been advised that the spa where Giuffre worked closes between Mother’s Day and late summer. If that is the case, then the earliest Giuffre could have begun working there is October 2000, when she was over 17.
Yes, I still despise Dershowitz. I will not ask my readers to trust his unverified word because I do not trust him myself. But the man is clearly willing to produce his evidence in court, and most of his source documents appear in the book's appendices. In a 2017 legal document, Maxwell's attorneys demonstrated that Virginia could not have worked for Mar-A-Lago before November 1, 2000. In a 2016 deposition, Virginia's father Sky confirmed that the spa was closed until Fall.

Virginia has recently told the BBC -- on camera -- that she "was 17 when she first met Jeffrey Epstein."

She also states that she was 17 in part 3 of the Netflix documentary Filthy Rich. Most viewers did not notice the glaring age discrepancy, even though it should have been obvious to any critical thinker watching the end of part 3 and the beginning of part 4. Fire up YouTube and see for yourself: She obviously lied to her own lawyer.  

She lied to her lawyer about her age in a case centered on underaged sex.

(Before going further, let's review some basic background information. The age of consent is 18 in Florida, 17 in New York, and 16 in the Virgin Islands and the U.K. It's also important to note that Virginia was not part of the original case against Epstein.)

Virginia's former boyfriend, Anthony Figueroa, lived with her from late 2000 to September of 2002, the length of her employment by Epstein. (In an affidavit, Figueroa reveals that the apartment was in her name, and implies that she had complete freedom of movement. Some "slave"!) In another affidavit, Juan Alessi -- Epstein's maintenance man from January 1991 to December 2002 -- asserted that Virginia was with Epstein only during his (Alessi's) final year of employment.

In a lawsuit against Dershowitz, Virginia's current lawyers stipulated in an official court filing that her original story -- also made in an official court filing -- was false.

Virginia was born August 9, 1983. Despite her earlier claims to the contrary -- claims made under oath -- her "Epstein period" began in late 2000, when she was 17, and ended in August or September of 2002, when she was 19. She has claimed that she did not have sex with any Epstein acquaintance until "after about two years" with Epstein. But two years was the length of her employment! So just when did she have those alleged trysts with powerful men not named Jeffrey Epstein? And how could she possibly claim that she had underaged sex with those men? 

Lie #2: Al and Tipper Gore. During her initial interview with lawyer Bradley Edwards, Virginia mentioned Al Gore in passing. In her famed 2011 interview with the Daily Mail, Virginia offered a detailed description of Al and Tipper Gore's supposed visit to Epstein's island in the year 2000, the year Al Gore ran for president.
‘I had no clue that anything was up,’ Virginia says. ‘The Gores seemed like a beautiful couple when I met them. All I knew was that Mr Gore was a friend of Jeffrey’s and Ghislaine’s. Jeffrey didn’t ask me to give him a massage.

‘There might have been a couple of other girls there on that trip but I could never have imagined this guy would do anything wrong. I was planning to vote for him when I turned 18. I thought he was awesome.’
The Daily Mail implies, but does not directly state, that Gore was up to no good on that occasion. However, in an unpublished manuscript, Virginia wrote:
I met Al Gore and his lovely wife during one of those many weekends away in the Caribbean. I was blown away by the amount of attention Al doted on his wife, it was so sweet to watch. They sat next to each other at the dinner table gazing into one another’s eyes having an intimate conversation between them. Among the many guests visiting that night and many of them young beautiful women, not once did Al’s eye’s stray elsewhere, to them they were the only ones there. He was up for a presidential election that year and he definitely had my vote. Anyone that could show that much devotion and passion towards his loved ones could have the same devotion towards running a country, or at least I thought so. He only left his wife’s side to have a walk down to the beach with the host of the weekend, Jeffrey.
Even this claim appears to be another falsehood. There is no evidence that Epstein ever met the Gores. Investigators working for Dershowitz filed an FOIA with the Secret Service for any record of a trip by the Gores to the Virgin Islands; no such records exist.

Remember, we're talking about the year 2000 -- the final months of the election. Every day of Al Gore's life during that time can be accounted for. 

Maxwell's attorneys insist that Virginia could not have met Epstein until November 1, 2000. The election was held on November 7. Virginia said that she met Gore while he was a presidential candidate. Are we to believe that Al and Tipper partied on Epstein's island during that week?

Come on.

Nevertheless, in her most recent fantasia, Virginia claims that she saw Al Gore aboard one of Jeffrey Epstein's two jets (neither of which was called "the Lolita Express" at the time, despite the claims later made by sensationalists and propagandists). The flight logs became available a long time ago; you can probably still find them on Scribd. Those records never mention Al Gore.

If Virginia had met the Democratic candidate in 2000, she surely would have mentioned the event to her best friend, Rebecca Boylan, and to her live-in boyfriend, Anthony Figueroa. Neither party has indicated that Virginia ever said anything about Al Gore.

Al and Tipper Gore separated in 2010. Tipper would surely have verified Virginia's tale long ago, if there were any truth to it.

In his affidavit, Epstein employee Juan Alessi lists a number of  Epstein's famous associates, including Dershowitz, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew and (interestingly enough) Sarah Ferguson. Gore is not on that list.

Virginia's attorney David Boies eventually filed a defamation suit against Alan Dershowitz. In that Complaint, we see no rebuttal of Dershowitz' frequently-heard assertion that the Gore story was a fantasy, even though that document was definitely the right place to offer such a rebuttal. Even Julie Brown, a journalist sympathetic to Virginia, has hesitated to support Virginia on this point.

The Gore story is simply ridiculous on its face.

Lie #3: Les Wexner. In his book Guilt By Association, Alan Dershowitz outlines a theory of Virginia's motivation: She publicly slandered Dershowitz in order to demonstrate to "Victoria's Secret" billionaire Les Wexner what could happen to him if he did not reach a settlement with her. Presumably, we're talking about the kind of settlement that could allow her to live well for the rest of her life.

I'm not convinced that Dershowitz' theory is correct. Defaming a notoriously combative lawyer is not something that any sane person would do. On the other hand, I have met a few fantasists with extremely poor impulse control. So...maybe.

Although I'm somewhat perplexed by her motives, I must conclude that Virginia's claims against Wexner -- a close Epstein associate -- indicate, once again, her willingness to test the truth's elasticity. The mystery comes down to these two questions:

1. Did she originally claim to have had sex with Wexner?

2. If so, why did she stop making that claim?

The answer to the first question appears to be "yes." She told Stanley Pottinger, one of her previous attorneys, that Epstein forced her to have sex with Wexner, who was Epstein's partner/client/victim/gay lover/whatever. Pottinger's affidavit appears in Dershowitz' book.

This passage from Guilt by Accusation deserves close attention:
Recall that Giuffre had testified under oath that she had sex with Wexner on numerous occasions, under circumstances nearly identical to the false claims she made about having had sex with me. She has also accused Wexner of making her wear Victoria’s Secret-type lingerie while he had sex with her. Giuffre also told another of her lawyers, Pottinger, that Wexner had sex with her and may have had sex with other women associated with Epstein.
"Testified under oath"? Dershowitz is strangely coy about quoting or citing this testimony.

In a very recent court proceeding, there was odd talk of a "hidden" deposition which appears to reference Wexner. In a June 23 tweet, journalist Julie Brown -- Virginia's ever-loyal defender -- referred to this very same sealed deposition.
NEW: Alan Dershowitz's attorney confirms that his client has access to Virginia Giuffre's sealed depositions. Those depositions reveal that she was directed by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with former Israeli PM Ehud Barak & Victoria's Secret's Les Wexner.
Brown is so blinded by her faith in Virginia that she completely misses the point: This sealed deposition actually helps Dershowitz (and perhaps Barak).

How can this be? I'll spell it out: Virginia's own lawyer later denied that Wexner had sex with his client.

In 2019, lawyer Bradley Edwards declared that he knew of no credible evidence that Les Wexner participated in -- or even was aware of -- any aspect of Epstein's bizarre sex life. If Bradley Edwards spoke honestly on that occasion, he clearly does not believe Virginia's earlier deposition under oath.

In short: Virginia's own former lawyer did not find Virginia credible.

It seems that Virginia's story changed when one of Virginia's lawyers met with Wexner's lawyer. I cannot claim to know what passed between the two parties; Dershowitz strongly hints that money may have exchanged hands, although I've seen no hard evidence for that theory. But this much is certain: Wexner suddenly disappeared from Virginia's narrative. We no longer hear any "Wexner used me" stories from Virginia Giuffre. That faucet ran dry.

From Dershowitz' book:
Among the mysteries that should be explored are whether Giuffre committed perjury when she accused Wexner and other prominent men of having sex with her, or whether Boies engaged in a “shakedown” and/or received hush money for Giuffre to cover up Wexner’s alleged crimes.
I don't know if Les Wexner ever had sex with an "Epstein girl." Maybe he did; maybe he didn't. The point of this post is not to determine what Wexner did, but to determine whether the stories told by Virginia Roberts Giuffre have a tendency to morph. I'm also trying to determine if she is out for money.

(Another Epstein accuser, Maria Warner, has also claimed that she was "lent" to Wexner for sexual purposes. That claim should be examined separately. This post is about Virginia's credibility, not Maria Warner's.)

(Possible) Lie #4: Prince Andrew. Virginia now claims that she had sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17. (She even specifies a date: March 10, 2001.) But wait a minute: Didn't she also state that she never had sex with Epstein's associates until "about two years" after she started working for Epstein? She now says that she met Epstein shortly after her 17th birthday. Two years later, she would have been 19.

The allegation against Andrew has become so thoroughly lodged in the public mind that many will be shocked to learn that, in the first published version of the story, no sex occurred: See Sharon Churcher's infamous March 2, 2011 interview with Virginia Roberts in the Daily Mail. Virginia offers a lengthy description of a night spent with Ghislaine, Jeffrey and Andrew -- in London.
There is no suggestion that there was any sexual contact between Virginia and Andrew, or that Andrew knew that Epstein paid her to have sex with his friends.
The story goes on to describe a second meeting in New York with Andrew; on that occasion, Virginia and another girl sat on his lap. There was a third meeting on the island. Again: No "suggestion" of sex.

Granted, "there is no suggestion" is the sort of language commonly employed by the press in Britain, where libel laws are more onerous than in the US. (The tactic is called "Denying an accusation to get it on the record.") That said, I can't find any news story published anywhere before 2014 in which Virginia directly claims to have had sex with Andrew, although she does make that claim in her unpublished memoir. (She refers to the encounter as "the worst ten minutes of her life." This, from a woman who was dating a drug user with a felony record.)

The Figueroa affidavit contains no reference to Prince Andrew. Although Andrew's name is redacted from the transcript of Virginia's 2011 FBI interview, page 9 clearly refers to him; unfortunately, censorship makes it impossible to determine if she described having sex with him.

In 2015, the Daily Mail's Sharon Churcher published an account in which sex is asserted.
Last week it was sensationally claimed that Prince Andrew had taken part in what, it was implied, was sex with a girl who was under the age of consent according to the law in Florida.
Churcher here implies that the act occurred in Florida. But Virginia insisted that she met Andrew only three times -- first in London, then in New York City, then on Epstein's island. Why does Churcher's wording suggest that the sex occurred in Florida? Probably because she wanted to create the impression that Andrew had illegal sex.

That false impression has taken root in the minds of millions. This isn't journalism; it's hucksterism.

I don't know whether Virginia did or did not have sex with Prince Andrew on any occasion, although I would not be terribly surprised to learn that she did. The only evidence that sex occurred is the word of a woman who has provably lied under oath. Under any circumstances, Churcher still deserves condemnation for conveying the impression that the Prince did something illegal.

Lie #5: Foreign presidents. Early on, Virginia was known in legal papers as Jane Doe #3. That nomenclature was used as late as January 2, 2015, when her attorney filed a joinder to allow her to participate in the Crime Victims Rights Act lawsuit filed by Epstein's real victims in Florida. In this document, Jane Doe #3 (Virginia) declares:
Epstein also trafficked Jane Doe #3 for sexual purposes to many other powerful men, including numerous American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders. Epstein required Jane Doe #3 to describe the events that she had with these men so that he could potentially blackmail them.
Yet in a deposition under oath, Virginia was asked six times whether she had been trafficked to -- or had even met -- any "foreign presidents." All six times, she categorically answered no. No reasonable person reading the transcript would come away with the impression that she was confused. (The transcript appears in a Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed by Maxwell's lawyers on January 6, 2017.)

"Potentially blackmail them..." Those three words summarize a claim that has launched a thousand conspiracy theories and ignited the imaginations of millions. It certainly had me going for a while. But James Patterson's Filthy Rich demonstrates -- in great detail -- that the real victims were never trafficked to others: They served only Epstein.

I have to ask a question which many will find discomforting: If a blackmail operation existed, why would Epstein choose Virginia as the bait for the honeytrap? I doubt that many men would consider her the most attractive girl in Epstein's entourage. (Granted, such judgments are subjective.) Moreover, Virginia abused drugs -- while VIPs who pay thousands of dollars for the company of upscale escorts generally want exquisite beauties with no addiction issues.

Lie #6: Alan Dershowitz. I'm not going to spend much time discussing his situation, other than to say -- through gritted teeth -- that I now consider him innocent, after years of presuming his guilt. At least, he is innocent as far as Virginia is concerned. (Any other claims should be assessed separately.)

Dershowitz does a fine job of defending himself in his book, which -- if you have any sense of fairness -- you should read before leaping atop your high horse. Although I can't recapitulate most of his arguments, I'll tell you this much: In the unpublished original version of her story, Virginia did not have sex with Dershowitz -- yet the same manuscript offers a long, detailed description of her dalliance with a much more obscure Harvard professor. Her friend Rebecca Boylan says that other people pressured Virginia to concoct a "sex with Dersh" story.

I've read the defamation Complaint lodged against Dershowitz on Virginia's behalf. In my opinion, it doesn't even begin to address the salient points found in Guilt By Accusation.

Believe me, I hate writing these words. I absolutely cannot stand Alan Dershowitz. I obtained his book because I expected to find reason to hate him even more. But the truth is determined by evidence, not by likability or ideology. An innocent man is still innocent even if he's despicable.

Frankly, what turned me around was the Figueroa affidavit, published in Dershowitz' book. The moment I read that document, which tends to exonerate Dershowitz, I had to shed the pro-Virginia attitude that I've held onto for years.

(No, the post you are reading right now is not a summary of Guilt By Association. Follow my links and you'll see that I've done a good amount of original research.)

Lie #7: Bill Clinton. Here it is -- the really BIG lie. The lie that has duped millions, perhaps hundreds of millions. When you type "Bill Clinton" into Google, the first autocompletion adds "Jeffrey Epstein island."

This is one story that hasn't shifted much over the years. Here is what Virginia told to Sharon Churcher in 2011:
‘I’d have been about 17 at the time,’ she says. ‘I flew to the Caribbean with Jeffrey and then Ghislaine Maxwell went to pick up Bill in a huge black helicopter that Jeffrey had bought her.

‘She’d always wanted to fly and Jeffrey paid for her to take lessons, and I remember she was very excited because she got her licence around the first year we met.

'I used to get frightened flying with her but Bill had the Secret Service with him and I remember him talking about what a good job she did.
Note the presence of the Secret Service. That will prove to be important.
‘We all dined together that night. Jeffrey was at the head of the table. Bill was at his left. I sat across from him. Emmy Tayler, Ghislaine’s blonde British assistant, sat at my right.

‘Ghislaine was at Bill’s left and at the left of Ghislaine there were two olive-skinned brunettes who’d flown in with us from New York.

'I’d never met them before. I’d say they were no older than 17, very innocent-looking.

‘They weren’t there for me. They weren’t there for Jeffrey or Ghislaine because I was there to have sex with Jeffrey on the trip.

‘Maybe Jeffrey thought they would entertain Bill, but I saw no evidence that he was interested in them. He and Jeffrey and Ghislaine seemed to have a very good relationship. Bill was very funny.

'He made me laugh a few times. And he and Jeffrey and Ghislaine told blokey jokes and the brunettes listened politely and giggled.

‘After dinner I gave Jeffrey an erotic massage. I don’t remember seeing Bill again on the trip but I assume Ghislaine flew him back.’
An abbreviated version of this same account appeared in Newsweek a few days ago -- and naturally, the readers acted as though the revelation were shockingly new. This hysterical reaction is characteristic:
They are not “underage women.” They’re children for chrissake.
Actually, they were all adults, according to laws of the Virgin Islands -- if we accept Virginia's tale.

But we can't. It's provably untrue.

Virginia gives us a time frame: The Clinton meeting happened after he left office (January, 2001) but before she left Epstein (August, 2002). She also says that the Secret Service was with the former president, as one would expect.

The Secret Services keeps records. They have no record of a Clinton journey which tallies with Virginia's story. The document embedded to your right tells the story (click to enlarge). Here is the key paragraph:
On January 16, 2016, the official in charge of the USSS's FOIA/PA Office replied by letter that the "USSS has conducted a reasonable search for responsive records" and "from a review of USSS main indices, that there are no records pertaining to your request that are referenced in these indices." Thus, the conclusion can be drawn that, contrary to Ms. Roberts' allegation, former President Clinton did not in fact travel to, nor was he present on, Little St. James Island between Jauary 1, 2001 and January 1, 2003.
What about Clinton's travels aboard Epstein's jet (which -- I must repeat -- no-one called "The Lolita Express" at the time)? I've checked the flight records (available on Scribd): At no point did he go to Epstein's island. All of the dates and listed airports tally with news accounts of speeches that Clinton gave during that period. Virginia was not on any of those flights, and (if memory serves) neither were other women.

From Whitewater to the "Hillary in blackface" allegation, the Clintons have been subjected to endless smears. This one may be the most odious.

Lie #8: Virginia as "sex slave." It is true that Epstein had sex with her when she was 17 in Florida -- one year away from legality in that state, though she was of legal age in New York and on the island. In my opinion, the age difference made the situation quite disgusting everywhere. Unfortunately, American law does not take age difference into account, as I believe it ought.

Since state law is state law, the word "victim" properly applies to her throughout that year. But in my view, Epstein became truly monstrous in his relations with other girls, many of them substantially younger than Virginia. I refer to them as the real victims; their story is told in James Patterson's book.

That said: The claim that Virginia was some sort of brainwashed "sex slave" is simply not reasonable. Her father and boyfriend knew all about her relationship with Epstein. She had her own apartment, she came and went freely, she attended school, she traveled on her own wherever she pleased, she had her own friends -- and Epstein had paid her plenty of money, though probably not enough to support her habits. At any time, she could have chosen a different life.

Actually, in 2002, she did work as waitress and as a veterinarian's assistant. Apparently, Epstein's absence caused financial stress: Maxwell's lawyers have stated (with accompanying exhibits) that "From August 2001 until September 2002, Epstein and Maxwell were almost entirely absent from Florida on documented travel unaccompanied by Plaintiff." If that's true, then Virginia's claims about sex with well-known individuals become even more problematic, because many of those alleged trysts took place between August 2001 and September 2002.

If she did have sex with Epstein -- or Maxwell, or the Prince, or any of the others -- after the age of 18, one cannot easily call Virginia Roberts a victim. She was, by her own account, a hooker. Nobody wants to use that word, but that's the term for a woman who takes money for sex.

She also used copious amounts of Xanax, amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana -- again, by her own account. If you've ever known a substance abuser, you'll know that they tend to blame their problems on everyone but themselves.

In a 2011 interview with one of her lawyers, she admitted that she recruited younger women for Jeffrey Epstein. This conforms with what we learn from Patterson's book, in which "Epstein girls" were customarily asked to recruit more girls, in a perverted MLM scheme.
Jeffrey and Ghislaine both taught me to, depending on the circumstances, depending on the girl, you could offer them a job as a massage therapist or you could tell them you have a really rich friend with, you know, great contacts in the acting world or modeling world and he loves pretty giris, you should come back and meet him, make some money, you know, we had a whole bunch of ways to be state to procure girls.
From the Figueroa affidavit:
Toward the end of our relationship, I understood that she was providing massages less frequently or not at all, and instead Jeffrey Epstein had her focused more on recruiting other girls to provide massages.
She was an adult at this time. Nobody held a gun to Virginia's head; nobody forced her to supply Jeffrey Epstein with victims. To use a chic word, she had agency. Virginia Roberts could have continued to earn a living as a waitress or by working at an animal hospital; instead, she decided to support her drug habit by procuring (her word) underaged girls for a notorious pervert.

I fail to see how anyone can argue that Virginia's actions are in any way less reprehensible than those attributed to Ghislaine Maxwell. Virginia may have begun as a victim, but I would argue that she became a victimizer.

Incidentally, in a 2016 deposition, Virginia admitted that she burned some of her original notes of her time with Jeffrey Epstein. She has said that she did so because she and her husband were "pretty spiritual" people, and that the bonfire was a symbolic act. A cynic might suspect that she was worried about evidence which might disprove the revised versions of her tales.

The eternal victim. Throughout her life, a series of men have abused Virginia Roberts -- or so claims Virginia Roberts.

In her unpublished memoir titled "The Billionaire's Playboy Club," she refers to unbearable childhood abuse, followed by a quasi-kidnapping at the age of 13 by a man named Ron Eppinger, who really did run a prostitution ring, and who apparently knew Epstein. Although we have only Virginia's word for what passed between the two of them, I suspect that this part of her story is true.

At the age of 14, she claimed that she was raped by two boys
But prosecutors eventually decided not to pursue the case “due to the victim’s lack of credibility and no substantial likelihood of success at trial”, the Daily News reported.
Then Epstein abused her. And Ghislaine. And Dershowitz. And Prince Andrew. And maybe Wexner. And a host of others.

In her manuscript, she accused her live-in boyfriend of hitting her.

Virginia even told her friend Rebecca Boylan that she (Virginia) had been "beaten up" by her husband -- or so we read in Guilt By Accusation, chapter 5.

It seems that, throughout her life, nearly everyone Virginia has ever met has victimized her. Is that situation credible? Feminists of a certain stripe will shout "YES!" -- but others will hesitate. Is it truly Thoughtcrime Most Foul to ponder the possibility that a woman with substance abuse issues has discovered a way to garner sympathy and to manipulate emotions? And perhaps make some money?

Virginia's great journalistic defender, Julie K. Brown, has written: "She was a sex trafficking victim before she even met Epstein and it is NORMAL for trauma victims to get dates wrong."

No sale, Ms. Brown. When I tried to write a book about Satanic Ritual Abuse claims in the 1990s, I kept running into women who told ludicrous and self-contradictory tales -- and I also heard from their apologists, who assured me that trauma prevents victims from recalling events clearly. That all-purpose rationalization (a classic example of the logical fallacy known as petitio principii) soon lost all power to persuade. I became cynical.

And I'm still cynical.

Any young woman should have a fairly accurate recollection of her "sweet sixteen" birthday party. She certainly ought to have accurate recall of a meeting with a presidential candidate during an election year, especially since the incident was not "traumatic." Any young woman reporting a statutory rape ought to be able to recall her correct age; that's the least we can demand. There's no excuse for speaking of a two-year "grooming" period which never existed. And Virginia sure as hell shouldn't have brought the Secret Service into her lie about Clinton.

(I will deal separately with Sarah Ransome, who has "confirmed" part of Virginia's story. Sarah's yarn is even more absurd.)
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I started thinking some months ago the whole Epstein thing was a bunch of nonsense when it came to public figures. The tragedy here is all the people whose reputations are being destroyed because of "guilt by association." Epstein came into contact with numerous public figures, but it doesn't follow they had anything to do with his aberrant personal life.

As for Dersh, I kind of came to the conclusion long ago he was actually telling the truth. He has been so vociferous in his own defense that he must have been telling the truth. However, as an attorney he should know when to keep his mouth shut.

The Epstein scandal has been out here for YEARS, and almost nobody of any note has ever been charged with anything, let alone been found guilty of anything.

It is virtually all smear.
 
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It's gotta be Demings

GOP media has shown its hand: They're going to hammer the "we need law and order" theme. See here and here and here. No word on who was responsible for the shooting spree at that Portland apartment complex. Boogaloo? I expect white supremacists to commit many provocateur actions between now and election day, in order the create the impression that it's all going to hell.

Biden can blunt this line of attack by choosing Val Demings, a former police chief who was spectacularly successful at her job. Announce that she will oversee police reform. Task her with bringing both justice and peace. Who else can meet this crisis?

(Kamala Harris would make a fine Attorney General. It may be to Biden's benefit to announce that she is his pick for that job.)

The Russian trolls, the Bernie Bros, the Krystal Ball watchers and the proponents of Identity politics will all denigrate Demings, using whatever rhetorical tools they find handy. But let's face it -- those creeps would do their dirty numbers on anyone else Biden chooses. I love Tammy Duckworth, but in this election, we need a cop.
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Watch out for the black helicopters, buudy.
 
Yep, this isn't surprising. Interestingly, it's very similar to how Putin seized power in the late 90's, by ordering bombings of apartment buildings and blaming it on Chechen terrorists. So Trump and followers following Vladamir's playbook seems appropriate.
 
Hey "buudy" -- were you referring to my contention that white supremacists might stage violence attributed to BLM protestors? Is THAT the idea you considered redolent of "black helicopters"?

Check it out:

https://www.wsls.com/news/virginia/2020/07/27/police-richmond-riots-instigated-by-white-supremacists-disguised-as-black-lives-matter/

The sourcing goes to the cops in Richmond. If you think the story is wrong, take it up with THEM.
 
Not sure that naming a Cabinet before the election is legal https://www.salon.com/2020/05/08/for-biden-naming-cabinet-before-election-would-be-a-big-risk_partner/
 
Well, j, a man can always hint.
 
Just watched Val on YouTube. Great choice.
 
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Strange tales

Would Biden win a non-election? This Politico story offers a mind-blowing analysis of what would happen if Trump actually found a way to postpone the election. I'll summarize:

The Constitution insures that neither Trump nor Pence would be able to remain in office past January 20, 2021. The next in the line of succession would be the Speaker of the House. But: Representatives run every two years, so no election means no House of Representatives -- and no Speaker.

The next in line, sayeth the Constitution, is the President pro tempore of the Senate. You're thinking Mitch, right? Nope. He's the Senate majority leader. The pro tempore gig goes to the senior senator in the majority party. Right now, that's Republican Chuck Grassley.

So...President Grassley? Nope.

Thirty-five Senate seats are up for election this year -- and if no election exists, those seats go vacant. Sixty-five senators would remain -- and for all intents and purposes, they would be the U.S. government, at least for a very brief time.

The majority of those 65 senators are Democrats. By tradition, the pro-tempore job would fall to Vermont Senator Pat Leahy. He would become President of the United States.

Politico author Richard Primus argues that the Democratic majority could chuck tradition and choose...well, anyone. Even a non-senator. (Nothing in the Constitution says that the President pro tempore has to be a senator.) In other words: The Democratic majority could make Joe Biden president pro tempore, and thus President of the U.S.

I thought of a way to give the gig to Biden without bucking tradition: Leahy becomes President of the United States briefly -- just long enough to name Biden as his Vice President. Then Leahy resigns. Potential problem: The 25th Amendment says that an appointed VP must be approved by both Houses of Congress.

A Politico reader brought up the Electoral College, which could theoretically pick a president without any votes being cast by actual voters. And at this point, even my "very, very large ah-brain" starts to ache.

Mail call. Here's a much more likely scenario. It has become clear to everyone that this administration will use the pandemic to insure that all mail runs hideously late. Result: Absentee ballots will not arrive on time. (Absentee ballots, while problematic, are more trustworthy than voting machines, because mailed-in ballots provide a paper trail.)

Now that the scheme has become clear, some states are trying to insure that we get something resembling a fair election. Example:
State lawmakers passed a bill Sunday that would add Nevada to a growing list of states that will mail all active voters ballots ahead of the November election amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill now heads to Gov. Steve Sisolak. If he signs it as expected, Nevada will join seven states that plan on automatically sending voters mail ballots, including California and Vermont, which moved earlier this summer to adopt automatic mail ballot policies.
Not good enough. What about completed ballots sent from the voters? A "vote early" movement has been taking shape, but if foul fiends are running the postal system, there can be no such thing as early enough.

Here's a good idea: Voters can drop off their ballots physically, insuring that the USPS is bypassed.
It’s called DROP-OFF BALLOTING.

It’s faster than mailing your ballot. It’s safer than in-person voting. It’s convenient. It’s easy. It’s free.

And, depending on the rules in your state, your vote may possibly be tabulated ahead of Election Day, so there won’t be a days- or weeks-long wait to determine a winner in each race.
Not every state allows this, but most do.

I'm not the only cynic. Emerson polling is highly rated by 538. They give Joe Biden an unnervingly close four point lead.  Moreover:
A majority of voters, 53%, still think Trump will be re-elected in November.
So there are a whole lotta Biden supporters out there who think, as I think, that Trump will find a way to screw us. The polls also indicate that Trump voters plan to vote in person while Dems plan to vote by mail -- hence, the administration's rather obvious mail-tampering scheme.

A Twitter mystery. I don't really do Twitter, although I follow about a dozen people. Since that world is not my world, I'm a tad confused by a few of the things Seth Abramson says in this thread. But I understand enough to realize that something nasty is a-brewin'.  I'll try to summarize.

A while back, there was an anti-Trump Twitter feed written by an anonymous personage who claimed to be a lawyer. He called himself "Uncle Blazer," and he had a decent following. He even did a segment on the "Mueller, She Wrote" podcast.

For whatever reason, Uncle Blazer went away. But the Blazer persona was taken up by a complex, interconnected series of Twitter feeds all run by anonymous parties claiming to be part of the anti-Trump resistance. Let's call it the Blazerverse.

The nature of the messages changed. Goodbye, legal analysis: The tweets were now almost entirely devoted to critiques and smears directed at all the better-known anti-Trump writers -- Abramson, Sarah Kendzior, the "Mueller She Wrote" crew, the whole lot.

The Blazerverse also claims to be very spooked up.   
More creepily, the account began to—like QAnon—claim that it had inside knowledge of the U.S. intelligence community. Suddenly it seemed to be intimating it *knew* what the FBI, CIA and other intelligence assets were up to with respect to various Trump-related investigations.

Whereas the original "Uncle Blazer" entity had played the role of a "lawyer" offering "analysis," *this* version of the entity *knew* who was a traitor to the United States from *knowing* what the U.S. intelligence community was up to. And all the traitors were Trump critics.
The Blazerverse claims to be the real resistance: Everyone else is no good.

The Blazerverse wants us to focus all of our attention on Volume 5 of the Senate intel committee's report on the Trump-Russia affair. Volume 5, sayeth Blazer, is going to change everything. It will lead to Trump being frog-marched out of the White House.

Nobody else expects Volume 5 to have much impact. Republican Senator Richard Burr -- whom I have never trusted -- was trying hard to get the thing declassified. Then he stepped aside...
One day before the committee made its classification announcement of the final volume, Burr announced that he was temporarily stepping aside as chairman of the Senate panel amid a federal investigation into stock trades that he made at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Burr said in a statement that the panel's work is “too important to risk hindering it in any way.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is serving as acting chairman of the panel.
Obviously, I don't trust Rubio either.

Marvelous Marcy addressed Volume 5 here:
During the 2018 election, Burr had — at a time when the committee assuredly did not have the ability to rule it out — twice said there was no evidence of “collusion.” Burr has made no such claims recently.

Even just the Roger Stone disclosures from his trial make it clear “collusion” happened, and that’s ignoring the ongoing Foreign Agent investigation involving Stone. And the Intelligence Committees have been briefed on the existence of — and possibly some details about — either that or other ongoing investigations.

If Richard Burr is prepping to reverse his prior public comments about “collusion,” it might explain why the Bill Barr DOJ, which has stopped hiding that it is an instrument used to enforce political loyalty to Trump, would more aggressively investigate Burr than others.
In other words, Marcy seems to think that we might learn something from this soon-to-hit release. My take: If a massive disinfo operation (and that's what the Blazerverse is, obviously) tells us to pin all our hopes on Volume 5, then I expect nothing good from that document.

Don't trust an anonymous voice on Twitter who tells you "Kendzior bad; Rubio good." That ain't the resistance. The Blazer is Q for liberals.

And now for an important message from Congressman James Clyburn:
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Clyburn’s concerns are well placed.

Trump’s intentions, and probably terms of his employment by Putin, are to do as much damage as possible to our society and government. It has been interesting to see former supporters of the right wing plan diverge from Trump as those aims have become more clearly visible.

Trump is the perfect wrecking bar (Barr, heh) to throw into the vast machinery. He’s stupid, uneducated, mean. And he understands and feels in his gut the new fascist religion, which is that the Billionaires are always right.

And right now, the Billionaires have demonstrated that they care nothing about anything other than maximizing income gains. And the younger ones want to fund a space program, pretty obviously to get themselves off the planet before the full scale destruction engulfs them too.

Call me a cynic.
 
The Transition Integrity Project has done a detailed analysis of the many ways in which Trump can defeat the election outcome. See also here.

There is also the possibility of sending federal troops to polling stations to intimidate voters.
 
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Saturday, August 01, 2020

A Trump health mystery

This tweet has me wondering...

That's what it looks like to me. But that kind of IV is put into place long-term. In other words, he must have been in a hospital for at two or three days, at least. How could such an episode be hidden from the public?

A normal presidential physical would not require an IV.

One reply to this tweet suggests that a stroke has forced Trump to take blood thinners. Heart failure seems even more likely. He's obese and he eats crappy fast food: Would anyone be surprised to learn that a cardiac episode was the reason why Trump had to make that mysterious trip to the hospital last year?

When a commenter asked why the bruise appeared on the left hand, the same ICU nurse responded thus:
Good question. Here’s my take after 30 years in ICU - anatomy dictates where venopunctures are performed. We “stick” the non-dominate hand/arm of the patient, but ultimately “stick” where the best vein access exists. Almost never use the hand for simple blood tests. Hands = IV’s.
And they spread rumors about Hillary's health...!

Update: Actually, that's his right hand. It seems odd to use the dominant hand for an IV. So maybe it IS a bruise?

PS. Why is he carrying newspapers? Nobody reads physical newspapers anymore. And Trump doesn't read anything.
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Comments:
"Left hand"? Looks like the right to me.
 
I'm just reporting the conversation as it appears on that thread. The fact that the bruise is on the right hand makes this episode more mysterious. Maybe it's NOT an IV entrance.

In truth, the possibility of Photoshop occurred to me early on. Has anyone traced this image to its source?
 
Medical interpretation can be difficult. It’s always best to follow the life of the individual patient in working toward an explanation. He is very likely taking blood thinners, so bruising could occur.

Since it is Trump, maybe he banged his hand on the edge of the Resolute Desk grabbing for a falling cheeseburger.
 
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Demings or Duckworth (UPDATED)

Update: The other co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza, says 
that Joe Biden should select a Black woman as his running mate because “Black voters are who essentially made Joe Biden the presumptive nominee
What she doesn't tell you is that she was and is a die-hard Bernie supporter. So what gives her the right to speak on behalf of all African Americans? They didn't go for her candidate; they chose Biden. Why should Biden take advice from an enemy?

Garza and her partner, Patrisse Cullors, also rather notoriously described themselves as "trained Marxists." Of course, this self-description is probably bullshit. Who did the training? Where is this training school?

Most of the claimed "Marxists" I've met over the past half-century never read much Marx. Marx focused on economics, not race -- and he was a philosopher proudly within the Enlightenment tradition. It's the postmodernists who oppose the Enlightenment, and who see all human phenomena in race-vision. I don't know for sure that Cullors and Garza are of the postmodernist persuasion, but these days, that's the way to bet.

That's an essay for another time. Come to think of it, I wrote a version of that essay not too many days ago. Let us now return to the small post I wrote earlier today...

* * *

I went into this post thinking that it could be my final word on the veepstakes, but now we learn that Biden has put off his decision for a week. Ah well. Too much vetting is better than too little.

I've given Val Demings little consideration heretofore, due to the experience factor. She's in the House, not the Senate. She has served only four years. And frankly, she hasn't done much.

That said, she has signaled a willingness to regulate or break up Big Tech. This position has been gaining ground in recent times (and not just on the left).

I've been watching her on YouTube -- and y'know what? She's good. She carries herself well.

Plus, I like the fact that she was a police chief. That'll go a long ways toward blunting one of Trump's main modes of attack. You know damned well that the Trumpist ratfuckers and trolls are going to promote violence and outrageous rhetoric in order to make Trump's "law and order" message seem all-important.

Demings was able to reduce crime in Orlando by a staggering 43 percent. And she's black. Thus, she's well-positioned to outdo Trump on the "law and order" messaging while simultaneously speaking to -- and for -- the majority of black voters (most of whom are more centrist than the "woke" would have you believe).

Karen Bass? She's good, but this bit of oppo research is devastating. In 2010, any politician should have been wise enough to treat Scientology as toxic.

Here's the National Review's oppo dump on Susan Rice. Most of this stuff will not matter to most Americans, but a few items are worrisome.

(Frankly, it's a little strange to see the pro-GOP media reveal their oppo before the pick. Are they genuinely trying to help Biden?)

Look, the election won't be won by increasing the woke vote. Most progs live in solid blue states. Although we're constantly being told that a youth vote tsunami will soon overwhelm us, that tsunami never seems to arrive. I first heard the "tsunami" myth back in 1972 -- and I actually believed it, because I was just a kid. The hard truth is that young people don't vote. They party and palaver and play video games, and sometimes they protest. But they don't vote. They turn into voters when they acquire careers and infants and mortgages, by which point their thinking has shifted.

Biden can win by appealing to swing voters in swing states. Too many Obama 2012 voters became Trump 2016 voters; Biden needs to fetch 'em back, and then fetch a few more. He seems to be doing spectacularly well right now, but the poll numbers will change once the smears hit.

Duckworth or Demings. Those are the choices: The war hero or the police chief. They will appeal to the voters Biden needs.
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Comments:

Joe,

If you do a little digging you will find Cullors was trained by 60s radical Eric Mann.

When Cullors was 16-17 years old her drug addicted father died. Cullors blamed her father's death on racism. Cullors was very angry and emotionally distraught over her father's death when she found Eric Mann who "organized her into his organization".
 
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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Big SmearS. Plus: Can Trump win by losing?

By now, you no doubt have heard about Trump's signal that he would like to delay the election, an idea which the Republicans in Congress oppose -- for now. Not many months ago, rightwingers sneered when various Dems, including Biden himself, predicted that Trump would try something like this. I doubt that any apologies will be forthcoming.

Do not presume that Congressional opposition will stop Trump. I direct your attention to this thread by Seth Abramson.
(ALERT) Mike Pompeo just testified under oath that Barr will decide if Trump -- despite having no constitutional authority to do so --can announce he's moving the election.

Read that sentence multiple times and then retweet this. We're witnessing a historic threat to rule of law.

PS: America needs to understand that the issue now isn't whether Trump has the authority to move the election -- he doesn't -- but whether he can initiate a constitutional crisis and national emergency by announcing the election is being moved with the backing and support of DOJ.
Abramson expanded upon this in a long thread which I've taken the liberty of publishing below. He offers a fascinating theory: What if Trump's intent is to discourage Republicans from voting?

It's a wild idea -- and it runs counter to much of what I'm about to say. I can only beg you to consider my thoughts, and then consider Abramson. 

Mail-in voting obviously represents an obstacle to Trump's plans -- otherwise, he would not oppose the idea.

If you've followed the work of Brad Friedman -- perhaps this nation's finest advocate of clean elections -- you should know that his thinking appears to have evolved. In 2008, he definitely hated vote-by-mail schemes...
For the voters, they believe such systems offer a "paper trail" not available to voters using touch-screen systems at the polling place. Many are unaware that their mailed-in ballots will be scanned by the same error-prone, easily manipulated optical-scan machines which handle paper ballots for precinct-based voting. But even worse, ballots mailed in, if they arrive safely, and are counted at all, are usually counted "in the dark," versus ballots scanned either at the polls on Election Day, or at county headquarters after the close of polls when citizens are often there to watch.
He reiterated his opposition in 2015.
As with any voting system that is not fully transparent, proving mail-in fraud can be difficult or impossible. Once we drop our ballot in the mail, we can't verify what becomes of it, and elections become a matter of faith. Additionally, should our ballots arrive in the central aggregating location untampered, they are likely to be counted by the same private, secretly programmed electronic systems that have been proven vulnerable to rigging, hacking, and undetectable error. Central counting makes fraud on a large scale easier to accomplish and harder to detect.
The pandemic seems to have forced Brad to rethink. (Example.) He now seems to think that mail-in voting may be the least bad of the available options.

My take? If Trump is against, I'm for.

The real problem, as noted above, is not with the method of casting votes but with the method of tabulation -- the "mother machines," as John Kerry's wife Teresa put it, way back in 2004. Those tabulators are just as likely to miscount mailed-in votes as in-person votes.

The difference: A mailed vote offers a paper trail. Thus, a recount becomes much more threatening to the mischief-makers.

In 2016, there were "red" counties in Wisconsin where the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters. For some reason, the national media refused to pay much attention to this story -- even though it pretty much proved that Trump stole the election.

Things will be different in 2020. If there is a recount (and don't bet against the idea), the attention of the world will be on it. Fortunately, the physical existence of mailed ballots will give the recounters something tangible to count.

As you know, I've predicted that Trump will eke out a victory through a combination of truly brazen smears coupled with subtle vote-rigging. Remember, Trump need only get within three points of the 50 percent mark in key states; voter-rigging can carry him the rest of the way.

There's a limit as to how much the riggers can rig: Most specialists in computerized election fraud feel that the Republicans would not dare to nudge the numbers too far. Trump needs to get his number up to 47 percent or thereabouts -- but only in key states, or rather, key precincts. Thanks to the magic of the electoral college, he doesn't have to get anywhere near the 50 yard line nationally.

Prediction: Between now and November, Trumpists will ramp up racial tensions. Race riots help Republicans.

Expect Trump supporters to infiltrate "left" forums using assumed identities. Expect them to propagate hatred of white people incessantly. Expect to see more "All whites are born evil" opinion pieces in the New York Times, which has already published some inflammatory horrors that Roger Stone himself might have paid for. Expect to see undue attention given to the small percentage of African Americans who supported Bernie Sanders: The media will quote them as if they speak for all black people, even though they don't. (This has already happened.)

If you understand basic human psychology, you'll know that the constantly-repeated message "Hate yourself, white man" can have only one outcome: Racism will explode like a volcano.

Not long ago, I saw this comment: "The way to turn a white person into a racist is to call him a racist continually." Just so. If I place you in a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation, you will probably choose do.

Robin DiAngelo is not a person; she is a machine -- a machine that makes racism.

Those who insist on the white = evil formulation are working for Trump, consciously or unconsciously. Probably the former. (Note to self: Has Robin DiAngelo ever taken Russian money? Must research.) 

Trump wants race riots. If race war breaks out in key cities, Trump will have his excuse for delaying or sidestepping the election. And lefties, being their usual idiot selves, are gonna fall right into his trap. Watch it happen.

Multiple smears. In the past, I've argued that the most powerful anti-Biden smear will arise out of the Epstein/Maxwell case.

The far right has prepared the way with a propaganda campaign that started well before the rise of Q, and even before the rise of Trump. Tens of millions of your fellow Americans now believe that every rich person is desperate to rape a child. Well, not every rich person: Affluent Trump supporters are exempt. Soros wants to fuck your kid, but Peter Thiel doesn't. That's the message, and it's spreading around the world.

The "elite pedophilia" myth is the new version of the Protocols hoax.

I remain convinced that the forthcoming Big Smear against Biden will arise out of the Epstein case. When I found out that Biden used to vacation in the Virgin Islands, I thought: "That's it. That's how they'll get him."

But that won't be the only smear campaign. Looky here: Ukraine-gate is coming back. As I warned in previous posts, Ukraine swarms with shady characters who are willing to lie for money. Several big names have glommed onto Rudy Giuliani -- Andriy Telizhenko, former diplomat, being one of them.
Telizhenko’s Ukrainian collaborators, whose names surfaced during the Trump impeachment saga, include a fugitive, a tainted former prosecutor, and the son of a KGB officer who also was trained in Russian spy techniques.

Andriy Derkach was schooled at a KGB academy in Moscow. He became a Ukrainian lawmaker and is remembered for voting for a Kremlin-like set of anti-protest laws that passed during the country’s pro-democracy revolution in 2014.

Kostyantyn Kulyk is a former military prosecutor charged with but never convicted of corruption. He has been accused of pursuing politically motivated criminal cases against his opponents and has admitted having ties to a warlord in eastern Ukraine accused of working for Russian intelligence services.

Oleksandr Onyshchenko is a gas industry tycoon and former lawmaker in the now-defunct pro-Russia Party of Regions. Accused of embezzlement in his home country, he is now on the run.

Collectively, Onyshchenko said, they comprise “Team Giuliani.”
Their names are obscure to Americans now, but that situation will probably change soon. They are already circulating faked recordings of Hunter and Joe Biden allegedly saying incriminating things.

(I warned you that Deep Fake technology would place a role in this election.)
To date, three collections of recordings have been released to the public by Derkach at sparsely attended press conferences inside Interfax-Ukraine news agency. They purport to capture phone conversations between Biden and former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko while the two were in office.

Poroshenko’s office has called the recordings fake, and Biden’s campaign has denounced what it calls a coordinated effort to smear the Democratic candidate.
More recordings are coming. Have no doubt of that.
Undaunted, the Ukrainians hope to take American media by storm before November and be taken seriously by Republicans in the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which has launched an inquiry into Biden’s Ukraine interactions even as Democrats have denounced the move as political.
More from Seth Abramson. I'm not sure what to think about Seth's most recent thread, but it's definitely a mind-expander. Do I buy this theory? No. But it's still fascinating.

Apparently, Nate Silver has had similar thoughts.

(In the interest of fairness, I should remind readers that Abramson asked for the electoral college to postpone its vote in 2016.)

The words below the asterisks are his, though I've recast them into more conventional prose style.

*  *  *

Today Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo unveiled the real nightmare scenario for the 2020 election—and the question of what Trump has legal authority to do has nothing to do with it. I hope you'll read on and retweet—as what I'm describing here is what America is heading for.

Autocracies aren't born in rule of law. They're not even primarily born in violence. Rather they arise despite rule of law—often on the strength of a benighted populism, in fact just the sort of populist movement Trump is building now over false fears of a "rigged" election.

The question isn't whether Trump has legal authority to move Election Day and thereby extend his presidency—he doesn't—but a different question: what happens if he just declares that he does have this power? And what if he can do so with a false veneer of legal legitimacy?

By October 31, Trump's decision not to combat COVID-19 (indeed to worsen the pandemic with every one of his words, actions, and decisions not to act), coupled with an incipient flu season, is likely to send America's COVID-19 data—infections, deaths—into its horrifying nadir.

Meanwhile, Trump has put a crony who's likely a witness in an ongoing federal criminal probe—a man who's a peer of perjurers (and worse) Michael Cohen, Elliott Broidy and Gordon Sondland—in charge of the United States Postal Service. Already, this crony is destroying the USPS.

If, on October 30, COVID-19 is cresting—as it likely will be—and the USPS is less able to deliver mail properly than at any point in recent history, as seems likely (and on Trump's end intentional), Trump's self-manufactured "case" for a national emergency will be at its apex.

Today, Mike Pompeo told us Trump lackey Barr—who has never refused the president anything, who appears to be a Trump co-conspirator in the Ukraine scandal, and who has already shown a penchant for violating the law—gets to decide if Trump can announce a change in Election Day.

Note that each time I use the anodyne euphemism "change in Election Day," what I'm describing is in fact apocalyptic—an artificial extension of the Trump presidency corresponding with the end of American democracy and the beginning of Trump's reign as America's first autocrat.

Barr has already instructed OLC (the Office of Legal Counsel) to produce opinions that violate all existing law (for that matter, we saw that during the prior GOP administration, Bush's, as to torture). Barr can get the OLC to crush a CIA whistleblower—or change Election Day.

I ask anyone reading this to simply play out the following hypothetical—the one I offer in the next tweet—which is "hypothetical" only inasmuch as it takes everything we know about Trump, Pompeo, Barr, COVID-19, and the USPS right now and projects it 90 days into the future:

On October 30, Trump announces, with an OLC opinion "granting" him this power in hand, that he is moving the 2020 presidential election 120 days, after which time he will review the nation's ability to safely and securely conduct an election. He announces it via tweet and TV.

Understand that this would be illegal—and wouldn't change election day. But that wouldn't be the point. The point would be to convince Trump voters not to vote.

You may have to read the preceding sentence multiple times—it's counterintuitive unless you're a metamodernist.

This thread isn't on metamodernism. All you need to know is that on the day in June 2015 Trump announced his candidacy, I published a HuffPost essay declaring that what made Trump dangerous was his ability to manipulate reality (in a way theorists connect to "metamodernism").

The way to win an unwinnable election, using the sort of powerful reframing of events a certain way of thinking Trump instinctively (not intelligently or responsibly) employs, is not to turn out your voters... but declare the election invalid once your voters don't show up.

The purpose of the pre-election Trump announcement I am hypothesizing here would not be to help Trump win the 2020 election, but to convince so many Trump voters not to vote that the results of the election favor Biden by so much the election looks wholly illegitimate.

Imagine a scenario in which, with 3 branches of government—executive, judicial, legislative—you have the executive branch declaring the election was moved, the judicial branch (as yet) silent, and the legislative branch in chaos because no one in the GOP knows what to say/do.

By convincing his voters to stay home—because he's "moved the election"—Trump will have caused every GOP member of Congress to lose their reelection, forcing them to back his play and say that the election was delayed and therefore Biden didn't actually win on November 3.

The result: an executive branch that says the election was invalid; half the legislative branch (the GOP half) saying the election was invalid; election results that look invalid (as Biden has won by 50+ points); and a judicial branch that hasn't—and can't—say anything yet.

In that circumstance, what does "rule of law" even mean? You have a separation of powers issue—a conflict between branches of government—that the Supreme Court must hear, and because it's the most complex case ever heard by SCOTUS in US history, it's impossible to expedite.

The mere fact that Trump would have enacted this constitutional crisis just 96 hours pre-election means SCOTUS can't speak on it pre-election, and the complexity of the case would throw into chaos all state election deadlines. Which is basically the point of Trump's plot.

All Trump needs in this scenario is

(a) SCOTUS to move at its usual glacial pace, and

(b) GOP-run states (states with GOP secretaries of state running their elections) to refuse to certify election results or choose electors until the Supreme Court has acted on the issue.

I'm not even sure Trump would be the plaintiff in this case—as he and his GOP allies in Congress (and GOP secretaries of state) would so adamantly declare the election results invalid they might wait to make the Democrats sue in federal court, making them look desperate.

And how magnanimous Trump will be! He and his GOP allies will offer to negotiate with Democrats in lieu of them filing a federal suit. Trump will say, "We have to wait until this invisible plague is under control. That's all anyone is asking here." It'll sound persuasive!

Know what'll make it more persuasive? Election results so insane-looking—Biden 82%, Trump 15%—they'll make Egypt's el-Sisi blush. Biden will be half-inclined to agree with Trump on a do-over—knowing his term as an "illegitimate monarch" may be marked by historic violence.

Right now I need everyone in media; everyone on "legal Twitter"; everyone who's a professional political analyst to comment on this thread—or on your own feeds, it doesn't matter—explaining why this Trump plan wouldn't work. Why it isn't exactly what he's setting us up for.

Understand that I didn't develop this thread out of some fever dream. All I did was take statements and actions by Trump, Barr, and Pompeo; the current status of COVID-19 and the USPS (and who controls each); and the way of thinking Trump has exhibited since June 2015.

[Abramson added the following series of postscripts in response to his readers.]

I understand—and empathize with, as a lawyer—those who reply, "Nah, he ceases to be POTUS on January 20th at noon."

Again, that's the view that law determines if a coup is successful, not the brute force of populism and logistics—the logic undergirding Trump's actions now.

In the scenario I've described, yes, the law would suggest Biden—having won the election 82% to 15%; with less than 270 electoral votes; and with all GOP politicians and all GOP secretaries of state and most GOP voters saying he won a fake election—is the president. So what?

What would in mean—in that scenario—for someone to be "president"? And that's the question the five ultra-conservative justices of the Supreme Court would have to decide, probably on a timeline so glacial it couldn't be concluded effectively until early January 2021 at best.

More importantly, that's the question Democrats would have to decide—and would probably be deciding in the midst of historic Republican protests and threats of violence all across the country. Would Democrats consider it their best move to accept that election "victory"?

We learned in January '20 that impeachments are about politics, not law—though they're supposed to adhere to rule of law. In January '21 we may learn elections are also about politics, not law. What happens if Dems must allow a do-over to preserve the peace of our Union?

This scenario works for Trump even if early voting depresses Biden's win to (say) 62% to 36%. It may even work without Barr aboard. It may work if the "don't vote" effort is homegrown, inspired and supported by Trump but not demanded by him. The premise itself is the thing.

The solution here is for America to publicly discuss this scenario now—and invalidate it. GOP politicians must agree to abide by the election results even if Trump convinces his voters not to show up. Barr must state clearly that Trump cannot legally "move" election day.

Constitutional law experts must play out how SCOTUS would act. Election law experts must do scenario-planning on how misconduct by GOP secretaries of state could be thwarted. Dems must educate Republicans on who's POTUS on January 20 if SCOTUS is still working on a ruling.

Democrats must announce now that there'll be no "do-over" election—and anyone who opts not to vote is making a decision they must live by. Emergency assistance must be provided to USPS. Social media should deem Trump tweets on moving election day "election interference."

It's amazing to see responses saying "the military wouldn't allow it" or "Pelosi would be POTUS." Again, this sort of coup happens through politics, rhetoric, and the reframing of reality with GOP pol/voter support—it has nothing to do with law, violence or the military.
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Comments:
This bit it wrong: "having won the election 82% to 15%; with less than 270 electoral votes; and with all GOP politicians and all GOP secretaries of state and most GOP voters saying he won a fake election—is the president"

You don't need a plurality in the electoral college, you need a majority. Less than 270 electoral votes means the election is decided by the House on a one-state-one-vote basis, meaning the Republicans win.
 
Clearly "less" is a slip of hand. With an 82-15 split, winning a majority of the electors is all but certain.

Also, of course, if the presidential election turned out 82-15, it would be extremely unlikely that the Democrats wouldn't also gain control of a majority of the state delegations in the house.

A Scandinavian
 
The existing House delegations would vote, rather than the incoming group.
 
That was true before the adoption of the 20th amendment. Then, presidential and congressional terms both started on March 4; it fell on the outgoing congress to count the electoral votes and perform a contingent election if needed.

The 20th amendment however moved the start of the terms to January 3 for congress and January 20 for president, and ever since, it's been the new congress which has counted the electoral votes and which would have to perform a contingent election.

A Scandinavian
 
Nothing would surprise me now, based on everything that is happening. But, I think I have a more simple scenario that is worth considering. Let's say we hold elections as scheduled and Biden wins both a majority of the popular vote and enough states to get a majority of electoral college votes. But here is where it gets interesting: What if some of the electors refuse to vote for Biden and switch to Trump on the theory that Biden has become senile. The electors will argue that this is precisely the reason why the electoral college exists--to deal with contingencies that the voters are unable to react to.
 
I think by law term in office will expire for all (president, house and Senate) who are up for re-election if there is no election or contested elections. That leaves only Senators that are not facing re-election still in office. They would then pick a president pro trump and resolve the dispute or set new elections. I believe that under this scenario the Democrats would have the majority in the Senate and can pick Biden as president anyway.
Margie
 
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