Actually, I suspect that Trump underpaid.
Lev and let Lev. Have you ever wondered whether the conversion of Lev Parnas is real? You're not the only one. Indeed, Lev did work for Firtash, a Russian gangster. Ever since his "conversion," Lev has been promising the imminent release of Something Big on Trump. So far...nothin'.
Lev's tweet notes that Trump's current attempt to force Barr to announce an investigation of Biden recapitulates Trump's attempt to force Ukrainian president Zelensky to announce an investigation of Biden. Here's the thing: Trump, being a transactional guy, had something that Zelensky wanted. Zelensky did not go along with the plan -- thank God -- but there was a comprehensible quid pro quo.
So what's going on now?
Right now, we are in the distinctly depressing position of hoping that Bill Barr does the right thing. So far, he has. That is to say: He has not arrested or indicted or announced an investigation of Joe Biden.
And as a result, Trump seems genuinely pissed off at Bill Barr.
Again I ask: What's going on right now? So far, I've not heard any sensible theories. No-one can explain what the hell is going on between Trump and Barr.
Perhaps Barr's silence will end before this day is out.
I have a terrible feeling that something is on that damned computer -- something bad. It'll be a fabrication, of course. I have never for one second supposed that Rudy's Magic Computer was anything other than a smear.
But smears worked in 2000 and 2004. (Remember the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?) I've seen no indication that the American people have wised up during the past 20 years. If anything, they seem more gullible than ever before.
I've long predicted that The Big Smear will have something to do with underaged sex. The "Chekhov's Gun" principle requires that the twist ending will involve pedophilia, because the far right has been sounding that theme so heavily for so long.
Half of Trump's supporters really do believe that "elite" Dems are pederasts. Through sheer repetition, that absurd idea has taken hold. According to YouGov, thirteen percent of Biden supporters are "not sure" whether the claim is true or false -- and five percent think that the charge is valid. In other words, nearly one out of five Democrats considers this evidence-free assertion to be within the realm of the possible. That's how deep the brainwashing has run.
All of which brings me to someone whom most liberals would prefer to ignore: Wayne Allen Root.
He's a particularly nutty right-winger -- a promoter of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, along with any number of similarly deranged ideas. Still, Root seems to be fairly well plugged into Trumpworld's Q Division.
So when he says that he has "sources," do not discount the idea.
I've been saying for months that this could be the election of the DeepFake.
A pedo video, by its nature, cannot be released to the public. Thus, the internet's "group mind" -- which would include both armchair sleuths and genuine experts -- would not be able to examine the video for signs of fakery. We are entirely reliant on the FBI, which ultimately works for Trump.
If the FBI admits that photos exist, we're hosed. If the FBI says "The photos are fake" after the election, we're hosed.
Let me repeat: I am fully aware that Wayne Allyn Root is what he is. You need not tell me that his credibility level is as subterranean as Alex Jones'.
Naturally, radical right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones
basically dedicated his entire Infowars network to covering the story
over the weekend, posting several videos claiming to have confirmation that the laptop contains multiple videos showing Hunter Biden engaging in “serious torture porn” of pre-pubescent girls.
“This is not just an adult man having sex with what looks like 10-year-old girls,” Jones said. “He’s beating and torturing them and beating the living hell out of them.”
Obviously, it is absurd to posit that Hunter Biden would leave a computer with that kind of incriminating evidence in a shop 3000 miles away from his home -- a shop run by someone he doesn't know -- and that Hunter would then forget all about that machine's existence.
That said: So many mysterious aspects of the "magic laptop" story make sense only if we posit that the smear-mongers slipped fake evidence onto that hard drive.
Here is Politifact on the Root/Jones claim. It's worth noting that the assertion was first brought to the public's attention by an imposter pretending to be Chanel Rion, the chief White House correspondent for One America News Network. She has denied saying the words attributed to her.
I believe that Trump has long been aware of this smear's existence. I think he considers it the Ace up his sleeve. Perhaps he'll try to play that Ace during the debate.
So why has Bill Barr been silent? Perhaps even he has limits. For all his many sins, deep down, Barr is a Catholic boy who retains some residual belief that he'll have to explain his actions to the Blessed Virgin.
If Barr does what Trump is pressuring him to do, insanity will rule.