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Friday, November 24, 2017

Democracy and its manipulations. Plus: Reagan the rapist

Saudi Arabia's "Arab Spring"? Thomas Friedman interviews Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and seems mightily impressed.
Unlike the other Arab Springs — all of which emerged bottom up and failed miserably, except in Tunisia — this one is led from the top down by the country’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and, if it succeeds, it will not only change the character of Saudi Arabia but the tone and tenor of Islam across the globe. Only a fool would predict its success — but only a fool would not root for it.
In other words, democracy is a gift to be bestowed from on high; it is not the birthright of the common people. Or so we're supposed to believe.

If Thomas "The World is Flat" Friedman applauds what's going on in Saudi Arabia, that's a sure sign: We're in trouble.

The problem with the "Arab Spring" outside of Tunisia was not street-level democracy. The problem was that the rebellions were manipulated by outside forces hoping to remake the Middle East. Even so, the world is better off without Mubarak, and would be better off without Sisi. Only a "bottom up" rebellion managed to do away with the former; only a "bottom up" rebellion can get rid of the latter.

Republicans may do what Dems may not.
I do not doubt Billy Baldwin's assertion that Trump crudely hit on his wife, but the claim will not make much of an impact. As I've said before, the "Believe Women" movement can hurt only Democrats, because Republicans protect their own at all costs, while Dems love to prove their virtue by attacking other Dems. The Republican electorate does not care about women's issues except to the extent that they can be used as a cudgel against liberalism. Hence, a national debate about the harassment of women -- however laudable -- can harm only Democrats, not Republicans.

I'm not saying that such a debate is unnecessary. I'm saying that, at this moment in history, you should have no illusions about what this debate is doing to the Democrats' chances of taking control of either the Senate or the House. You should also understand that the Republicans have unlimited funds to pay for smears.
It’s disturbing to see Americans still falling for the same dirty tricks we fell for the entire 2016 election season. We have the benefit of hindsight now and a cavalry of expert citizens educating us about propaganda and how to counteract it. Yet time and again, we are let down. Our media fails us. In their desperation for clicks they hop on any bandwagon that appears lucrative. And our people fail each other. They suspend critical thinking skills to line up on “sides” that don’t even truly exist.
Historical double standard: Did you know that an actress named Selene Walters claimed that Ronald Reagan raped her in the early 1950s? At the time, Reagan was the corrupt head of the Screen Actor's Guild, and thus held power over Walters. (Why do I say "corrupt"? The answer is in a book called Dark Victory by Dan Moldea.)

According to Kitty Kelley's biography of Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan had spent an evening pestering Walters while she was on a date with someone else. Later, he barged into her apartment...
"I opened the door," Walters told the magazine. "Then it was the battle of the couch. I was fighting him. I didn't want him to make love to me. He's a very big man, and he just had his way. Date rape? No, God, no, that's [Kelley's] phrase. I didn't have a chance to have a date with him."

Walters--like Broaddrick--did not file charges. And Kelley maintains that Walters shared contemporaneous accounts of the encounter with friends.
When Kelley's book was first published in 1991, neither Ronnie nor Nancy denied the allegation. People magazine tracked down Walters, who confirmed the story. (Walters died earlier this year.)

In the early 1990s, Walters had absolutely nothing to gain from besmirching the former president. She had retired from public life. No-one offered her any financial inducement to speak against Reagan. I have not been able to confirm that she told the rape story to anyone else (as Kelley claims), but I did find that Walters quit acting in the 1950s because she was tired of powerful men in Hollywood expecting her to be "easy." (It should be noted that she did have a "party girl" reputation in the early 1950s.)

Of course, there were some extremely salacious rumors about Nancy's time in the film business. Are the stories true? I'm not sure, but I tend to think so, if only because Nancy got steady work despite being a demonstrably untalented actress.

By any rational standard, the Selene Walters accusation is far more credible than is Jaunita Broaddrick's claim against Clinton. Broaddrick has changed her story; Walters did not. Broaddrick decided that she was raped only when it became clear that Republicans would funnel big bucks to anyone who dirtied Bill Clinton's name. At the same time, any woman who defied the Republican smear-mongers would get the Julie Hiatt Steele treatment (also known as the Susan McDougal treatment).

Consider the following two questions:

How many articles have you read recently demanding a reassessment of Bill Clinton?

How many articles have you read demanding a reassessment of Ronald Reagan?

The preceding two questions should tell you the hidden truth about the Believe Women movement: Even the liberal press keeps harping on Clinton while allowing Reagan's sins to vanish down the memory hole. When was the last time a writer recommended that you read Dark Victory? Why doesn't Kathleen Sibelius try to cobble together a ramshackle pseudo-argument blaming Nancy Reagan for Ronnie's rape of Selene Walters? Why have Democrats allowed the Republicans to get away with creating an entire library of books portraying Reagan was a man of unimpeachable character?

The current national-conversation-turned-witch-hunt was never about fairness or equal treatment. It should have been that, but it wasn't. The Believe Women movement is an astroturf campaign, an artificially-induced explosion of rage-gasm. Psy-war specialists have weaponized feminism against liberals -- and ONLY liberals.

Why did Franken apologize? As far as I am concerned, he should never have offered his latest statement. Leeann Tweeden is a right-wing monster whose story has come apart at the seams. I would not believe that woman if she said "Hi, my name is Leeann Tweeden." This investigation proves that Tweeden was working hand-in-glove with Roger Stone, Alex Jones and the Breitbarters.

(By the way, why is it considered acceptable for her to grab ass without permission, as photographs prove she did?)

The Menz claim was always ridiculous on its face: No man is going to grab a married woman's rear while her husband snaps the photo.

The Arianna Huffington story was pure smear, backed by an anonymous writer (no doubt well-recompensed) who claims to have been present on the occasion. Mr. Anonymous also claims to know what Arianna was really thinking. He also tells us that Arianna herself is to be disbelieved: She committed the sin of defending a Democrat.

The most recent accusations were anonymous claims that Franken inappropriately touched two female rear ends during photos (as might easily occur by accident). I was not surprised to see these hazy accusations "washed" through Zachary Roth, who once wrote a book I admire. The psy-warriors love to use people like Roth -- who, I am sure, wrote in good faith -- to bestow credibility on an otherwise weak claim. (The term "legitimacy smuggling" is entering our political argot.)

Franken responded to all of this with a weak, mushy apology which does not actually admit that he did any of the claimed behaviors. I think he took that course of action for two reasons:

1. He thinks that this is the best way to put the matter to rest, and

2. He knows that liberals stupidly bought into the Big Lie that "Women are never untruthful."

As I said in an earlier post:
If Franken was smeared, why did he apologize? He had to. Leeann Tweeden could have said "Al Franken turned me into a newt" and Franken would have had no choice but to say: "I'm extremely sorry for turning Leeann into a newt. In recent times, we've all learned a great lesson about male privilege and non-consensual animal transformation."
(Why didn't that last line go over better? I thought it was pretty funny.)

I would have counseled Franken to respond in a different fashion. Bill Clinton's lawyer's offered a brief, factual rebuttal to the latest round of "Bill the rapist" accusations. A lawyer can offer a whisper-subtle reminder that a false accusation may result in legal action. That, I think, is the best approach -- if you have the money to pay a lawyer.

Speaking of the Clinton claims: You may be interested in this tweet from Richard W. Painter.
20 years ago Paula Jones got help with her Supreme Court briefs from some of the best lawyers in America. Some worked without pay and without their law partners even knowing about it. Who were these early champions of "women's rights"?
And one of her lawyers was Kellyanne Conway's husband.
He is married to Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump. They were introduced by Ann Coulter.[6]
They were more interested in bringing down President Clinton. Spare me “They we’re in it for the woman”
The real victim was Susan McDougal. Ken Star, actually put her in jail. Her ticket out, was to follow their narrative and say she slept with Bill Clinton. She refused to lie. She was the GOP's political prisoner. I visited her in Little Rock jail. Outrage GOP still at it today.
Believe the right women. Believe Susan McDougal. Believe Julie Hiatt Steele.
um, DailyPUMA has recently brought up Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton you jack ass.
The Progressive wing of the Democrat party is partially run by man hating lesbians (versus the lesbians who don't hate men), and tricky gay men who sneakily merge their own personal agenda issues into the greater good such as Immigration over the older generation.

The sad part of the Progressive gay agenda is it tends to downplay the importance of the older generation because those are the parents who rejected many middle aged gays. The purpose of the present Democrat hazing is to cleanse the MODERATES from the Democrat party who do value their parents moreso than Progressives do..

The assault on the Moderate Wing of the Democrat base by the Progressives is the story here.

After being asked around two weeks ago if the Republican party was in turmoil, Trump proudly replied that the Democrat party was in shambles caused by a rift between the Moderates and the Progressives, and he was right. gasp.
Allessandro and Joseph are correct as usual. For some reason I think the Sanders cult is more dangerous than the reich wing. Either I have good intuition or I'm blinded by my extreme hatred of Bernie and his minions.
PUMA still around after exposure of their republican rat fucker origins?
From the Department of Breathless News Media reporting, Flynn attorneys going their separate ways, no longer cooperating with Trump legal team. Expect more "He touched me!" allegations.
Franken can't say anything because any denial would inure to the benefit of Moore. That's why he asked for a senate investigation. My prediction will no doubt refuse to cooperate with that investigation because, she will say, he has already apologized. The senate may, however try to determine who else was present and who took the picture. The other claims are ridiculous on their face. Everything that Franken is accused of occurs before literally hundreds of people yet nobody notices anything untoward.
Must read tweets on Friedman
Speaking to the choir, but man do these latest allegations against Franken sound like complete BS. Despite no behavior like this earlier in his life, when Franken becomes a senator he all of a sudden starts grabbing women's butts during public photos? This makes no sense. If he really exhibited a pattern like this, women would come forward from earlier in his life before he knew he was going to be in politics and when he was in show business. But his female SNL cast members all wrote a letter saying he never did any of this during the show, which leads me to believe he does not have a pattern of doing this since I've gotta believe there's no other point in this life when he would be more likely to do this. Who starts doing this when they become a Senator? It makes no sense. And despite the allegations saying he did this during photo shoots, there aren't any pictures? That doesn't sound like a coincidence. Maybe he isn't handling this perfect, but I say good for him in not resigning.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Weaponized feminism

Tweet from Keith Olbermann:
My God my phone case just melted from the volume of texts about three separate rumors of big name sexual harassment/misconduct around media. Pro tip: Nobody take Thanksgiving off.
I told you and I told you and I TOLD YOU. The "Believe Women" witch hunt would soon turn into all-out war on Dems. This was a pro-Trump operation all along. They started the campaign by exposing someone genuinely detestable, which was a fucking brilliant move. Now, anyone can say anything against anyone Trump doesn't like, and the accusation will be believed automatically.

This country now operates according to Putin Rules. Kompromat is king.

So who will be targeted by these "three separate rumors"? I don't know, but here's my prediction: The accused will work for CNN, MSNBC, the NYT, the WP. Many liberals are hoping that Hannity will be on the hot seat, but I don't think that this is going to happen.

I'm betting that the target will be a prominent figure on MSNBC. Olbermann had a tiff with MSNBC, so it seems likely that he would be on the receiving end of any anti-MSNBC tips.

Whether the kompromat is fraudulent or factual, the message will be the same: If you work for a media organization that dares to tell the truth about Trump, your life will be ruined. Henceforward, Fox personnel will be privileged, except for those who dare to break programming. (Shep Smith may be a target, since he told the truth about the Uranium One deal.)

The fascists, who despise feminism, have found a way to weaponize feminism against the Democrats.

You have to admire the Roger Stonian manipulators who orchestrated the current witch hunt. They understand that the average American does not really want to argue about health care or tax reform. The Republican tax plan will raise deficits $1.5 trillion while raising taxes on half of all Americans, yet we aren't talking about these problems. Why? Because average Americans (even the liberals) simply don't want to do the kind of homework necessary to have an intelligent discussion of such matters.

A purely political debate is boring. Sex is interesting. Our eyes light up with either interest or anger when the topic turns to sex.

Republicans know that they can raise taxes, screw the poor, increase the debt, destroy Obamacare, destroy Net Neutrality, destroy our standing in the world and do any number of other unpopular things -- while keeping control of Congress and re-electing Trump. All they need to do is keep everyone diverted by 1) race issues or 2) below-the-waist issues.

Watch it happen. Liberals will destroy liberalism by continually applying purity tests to other liberals, and by going along with ClintonHate, the nation's one true religion and single area of bipartisan agreement. As liberals destroy each other, fascism will take over. Watch it happen.

On a related note: I haven't seen the nude picture of Representative Joe Barton, although I'm told that it is a powerful emetic. Nevertheless, I don't see that he has done anything that is any of the public's business. He won't resign. He should not. However, the person who leaked a private photograph should face the consequences.

Added note: Barton supported the DREAM act. This explains why he was exposed. The woman in question was probably a set-up all along. I am certain that honeytraps have been set for all senators and congressmen. The wording of his alleged "blackmail" threat is nothing more than a statement that he would have to tell the truth to investigators if forced to do so.

Perhaps Biden will be one of the three mentioned by Olbermann...? Although I hope the media attack dogs leave him alone, a part of me is dying to reveal how I learned what I learned in 2008. It was pure accident -- nothing to do with this blog.

The next Franken accuser will allow her name to be revealed, once her payoff is generous enough. 
Democrats need a refresher course on fighting:
The late Bartcop called them Pink Tutu Democrats, the graphic was on his site. There is one Democrat I'm hoping kept his appendages to himself, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenny.
Possible candidate for 2020?
Lets not forget that Fox News took the first Believe Women hit.

On another note, The TV show "How I Met your Mom" did an episode that encouraged one way for a man to get "Lucky" was to take their clothes off in the bathroom and then come out naked to try and win over their date. I think they implied it was a 50-50 proposition, either ya get lucky or ya get scrammed out of the apartment or hotel, even if it's man's abode. The episode was deemed a comedy at that time (around 2008?) but now would probably be frowned upon.

I believe these inappropriate behavior outings should continue to bubble to the top, why should the men's boorish behavior continue to rule, they had a great run, now they need to be outed, except for Louis C.K. who regularly creates such great acting opportunities for the women in his shows, and probably Al Franken should get a pass as well as he seems like a good guy to me..

But at some point, later on down the road, when do we all out private gossip? If we do out private gossip, there might not be a woman left standing.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Moore ahead

Moore has regained the lead in Alabama. I told you that a thoughtless, non-nuanced embrace of the "Believe women" movement would result in Franken leaving the Senate and Roy Moore being elected. Happy?
Trump has been accused of yanking chunks of hair from his ex-wife's head and forceably stabbing her with his penis while he was doing it. Did Al Franken or the media bring this up when Trump called Franken a serial groper? Nope. Why? BECAUSE: WUSSES.
Of course we're not happy! I for one never doubted your prediction. Interesting how the right will cry about the "liberal media", yet once again we are presented with ample proof that that is a false accusation.
There's a term for what Alabama republican voters are doing so voting Moore is palatable. I think it's rationalizing but better known as assholery.
Will Democrats use Moore as a baseball bat to the heads of republican candidates come 2018 or will they Kumbaya policy nobody cares about again.
Did you see Stephen Colbert's math last night regarding Moore's wife? Apparently Moore first saw his wife when she was 15 years old in a dance recital and remembered her name when he met up with her 8 years later at the age of 23.
Moore doesn't explain why he was at the dance recital, just that she was very pretty.
I don't know why can't we walk and chew gum at the same time. Supporting women and defending men who are targeted for political reasons are not mutually exclusive.
Not to throw shade on your central argument, but this poll has Moore's lead cut by 9 points since before the revelations. That is not the trajectory of a winning candidate. He will probably still win, but the fact that the seat is even a contest shows Moore and the Republicans aren't getting away with this without consequences.

I still say Franken will survive. Doing an ethics probe instead of resigning will give Democrats a face saving way to expose the agenda of his accusations. Of course, the media won't care, but it at least it gives the Democrats a way out.
Moore will win by a comfortable margin, though not so comfortable as it would have been without the accusations. In the end, a win is a win.

A national dialogue about sexual harassment and sexual abuse was always going to devolve into a witch hunt. In this country, EVERYTHING quickly degenerates into "Goody Proctor is a witch" -- and no, I'm not just talking about sex. I'm talking about everything. It's just who we are. We are a nation of smug assholes who participate in witch hunts in order to convince ourselves of our own virtue.

A sex-based witch hunt is always going to help the Republicans, and not because Democrats are more likely to be abusers. Democrats are simply more likely to turn against their politicians. Democrats are more likely to assume that ALL male politicians are inherently evil. I honestly think that some feminists would prefer a situation in which only females are allowed to run for office. Feminism is not as popular in red states, which means that voters in those states will be more likely to rationalize away a vote for Roy Moore.

I'm amazed that more Democrats didn't see this outcome. It was clear to me way before the first Franken accusation, and even before Moore was accused. Even when the first Weinstein revelations hit, I could see what was going to follow. It was as clear to me as if it had already happened.
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Misleading headlines are a form of rape

Is the headline of this very post misleading? Interesting question, that. Very meta. Read what I have to say and come to your own conclusions.

Page Six (a Murdoch publication) yesterday gave us the following:

A very damning headline -- until you read the entire text. It turns out that Al Franken (then a comedian) and Arianna Huffington were doing a bit, that the whole thing was staged, that both were aware of what was going on, and that Arianna considers any allegation of impropriety absurd.

The Page Six story nevertheless quotes an unnamed source, allegedly present on that day, who offers some dubious anti-Franken commentary, and who pretends to know what Arianna was really thinking. Frankly, this quotation sounds like the sort of "kayfabe" we might expect from Steve Bannon or Roger Stone. It seems that anonymous sourcing is perfectly fine when right-wing writers do it. I suspect that this Page Six writer placed a fictional quote into her text in order to make Franken look bad, because there is absolutely no logical reason for this putative source not to divulge his or her name.

Today, Arianna tweeted:
I think I’m a better judge of how I felt in that satirical photo shoot with Al Franken than the recollections of an anonymous bystander. I thought the point of this moment was to believe women’s accounts of their own experiences.
I don't normally praise Arianna Huffington, but I'm glad she wrote these words. Perhaps she will now explain why she didn't adopt the same respectful attitude toward the accounts offered by Susan McDougal and (especially) Julie Hiatt Steele, during the era of the Great Bill Clinton Smear Campaign. Arianna, a rightwinger at that time, was one of the more prolific smearers. 

Today, as in the 1990s, women are to be believed ONLY WHEN THEY SAY SOMETHING INJURIOUS TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

That's the rule. That's the law. That's the way this "moment" is being handled.

This latest smear attempt reminded me of an earlier example of "headline rape," discussed in this previous post.

In my earlier piece, I asked: "Does this shit happen to any candidate NOT named Clinton?" We now know that it also happens to senators named Franken.

You had to read the entire Daily Mail article to understand that Hillary did not keep the jewelry. The law prohibits all government employees from keeping gifts worth more than $300. (You already knew this fact if you're a West Wing fan.) When foreign leaders insist on making such gifts -- and they do -- diplomacy prohibits a refusal. The General Services Administration takes charge of these items and either sells them or donates them to a good cause.

In both Franken and Clinton cases, the intention behind these "rapey" headlines is to mislead the lazy. Many people don't bother to read the entire story. Only the headline registers in their minds.

In the interest of fairness, let's look at an instance in which a Republican became a victim of "headline rape." The following comes from a pro-atheism website:

The headline gives the impression that the guy was bringing in busloads of nine-year-olds to service decadent elitists at hideous orgies. The facts of the matter are quite different. Basically, Shortey met a 17 year-old male online and wanted to pay to have sex with him, so they arranged to meet at a motel. That's it.

That's not a pretty story. Nobody can deny Shortey's hypocrisy.

That said, I would note that Ohio law is maddeningly vague. The age of consent in Ohio is 16, but only for heterosexual contact. Technically, there are still laws on the books in that state making all gay sex illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled such laws unconstitutional if two adults are involved, but the Supreme Court does not stipulate the age at which adulthood begins. That decision is left up to the states -- and Ohio has yet to pass a law setting the age of consent for homosexual activity, because all gay sex remains technically illegal, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that...

...and round and round we go.

If you agree with my position that the age of consent should be the same for both heterosexual sex and homosexual sex, then all this talk of "child trafficking" is worse than misleading. It's ridiculous.

(That said, I think 16 is too low. Sixteen also happens to be the age of consent here in Maryland, and I wish I could change that.)

Shortey -- the alleged "child trafficker" -- is really only guilty of violating the prostitution statutes. I'm not saying that it is admirable or acceptable for a "family values" state senator to pay for sex. I'm saying that the headline gives the impression that he was running some sort of pedophile sex ring, which is simply not the case.

So let's return to my headline: "Misleading headlines are a form of rape." Is my own headline misleading? Did I just "rape" you? If your answer is no, then the question becomes: What can we do about "rapists" in the media?
Maryland also has a teen sex clause that suggests its current legislators spent too much time as teenagers thinking about sex. In paraphrase, "In Maryland, persons aged between 14 and 16 may consent to sex as long as the other partner is not more than 4 years older."
There's a reason supermarket check out line tabloids are going under. They can't compete with the likes of a New York Times or a 60 Minutes. How much of a lurid headline is a bit job and how much is marketing to a public willing to believe the worst about Democrats thanks to Bill Clinton behaving like an '80s rockstar inviting groupies on the tour bus?
When I was 23, I dated a 17 year old. I was nervous about it at the time, thinking I could potentially get charged with statutory rape. Years later, I discovered that, at the time (1992), the age of consent in PA was 14! 14! It has since been changed (I believe to 18, but I didn't look it up before posting this), but wow. I guess it shouldn't surprise me, since so much of PA is back country redneck territory....(and I mean no disrespect to rednecks.....most of them around here are quite proud of the moniker). Common law marriage here was only removed from the books in the early 2000's even.
Gus, I grew up in CA, where the age of consent has long been 18. I always liked the simplicity of the situation. No muss, no fuss: We all knew the rules. Yet it's a rather strange situation, since many Californians -- probably a majority -- lose their virginity before the age of 18.

My understanding is that in much of Europe, the laws are written to allow a certain leeway for age-appropriate dating. A 17 year old dating a 23 year old does not greatly bother most people (except, perhaps, the girl's father!). A 17 year-old dating a 40 year-old is just...awful.
You should do read a bit further.. Shortey was involved in child pornography and in possession of child pornography for years. He had several aliases that he used to place ads, as well as sending illicit photos of children. On face value-he was not involved in trafficking children, but he was involved with trafficking child porn. He is going to plead guilty with the deal to knock off some of the child porn charges.
Anon, the "child porn" of which you speak is probably just a matter of nude shots of his 17 year old would-be paramour. In his Craigslist ad (which I saw via your first link), Shortey did specify that he wanted someone who was "legal." He probably was under the impression that a 17 year-old WAS legal.

All of this is, I admit, icky. Really icky. No question there.

But the idea that he was peddling pictures of children under the age of 17 is not backed by any evidence. If he had been involved with that sort of thing, I'm sure that the authorities would not have let him get away with it. Most prosecutors believe that child porn is worse than a clandestine hook-up with a 17 year-old.
You are very generous...this has been going on for years with this guy. R

Do you think the State would drop the charges, so the FBI could step in to work across state lines, for no good reason? Do you think they aren't doing a plea deal for a reason beyond the fact that he knows others and can lead them to those involved in child pornography (he was looking at life in prison)?
Here's a bit more...
Investigators highlighted at least two instances, according to search warrant affidavits, when an email address was used to send videos of children engaged in sex acts, or used to swap pornography for children engaged in sex acts, dating as far back as 2012.

If you want to dig deeper, you will find out more. The child porn was seen on his computer during the campaign, and someone reported it to a higher up, but nothing was done. ...
"campaign worker or staff member inadvertently observed child pornography contained in a folder on Shortey's computer in the capitol building."

I don't know what photos were seen by the campaign worker,but if they were perceived as child porn,by a campaign worker- it had to be something a bit younger than 17. Many of these politicians are all in the business of blackmailing each other and then talking about "family values" to maintain power (one was convicted and then won an appeal on these same threats in that state not long ago).
It's fascinating that a Trump supporter and politician is convicted of child pornography and we are talking about silly photos of Franken with Arianna...puhlease!
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There's a growing realization that the current round of "sexual abuse" allegations are a "wag the dog" scenario. It's all a plot to distract us from the Trump/Russia scandal (which is exploding) and from a tax proposal which will inflate the deficit.

Some people scoffed when I suggested, early on, that the "Believe Women" movement would be used to benefit the Trumpers. Now we have allegations against Al Fanken, John Conyers, George Takei, Charlie Rose, Glen Thrush, Kevin Spacey (the guy who flew with Clinton aboard Epstein's aircraft) and a host of pro-Dem celebrities (the latest being Oliver Stone). Plus: We've had to endure a hearty new round of Clinton-hate. Our society just loves to shout hate hate hate at anyone named Clinton.

It all started with Weinstein, who truly deserved to be pilloried. Then came Moore, who also seems to be a genuine scoundrel. But beyond those two...? Cah-MON. You'd have to be an idiot not to see the partisan pattern.

(I still think that Biden is next. And maybe they'll find a way to go after Rachel Maddow. Won't that be novel?)

Tellingly, the initial allegation against Franken was "predicted" by Roger Stone, who can't resist calling the shot, even when he should keep his trap shut.

The documents in the Conyers case were "washed" through Mike Cernovich, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and genuine sexist.
Cernovich initially was not much interested in politics, except where it involved feminism (Danger & Play: “The two pillars of feminism are narcissism and entitlement”). He generally occupied his time writing blog posts such as “Misogyny Gets You Laid,” “When Should You Compliment a Woman?” [A: “During or after sex”], and “How to Cheat on Your Girlfriend.” But in Donald Trump, Cernovich found a man he takes to be a kindred spirit — or, at the very least, an opportunity.
That's the guy who's now talking smack about John Conyers.

A national conversation about sexual harassment, even if valid and overdue, was always going to benefit the Republicans and to hurt the Dems, for the simple reason that the Democratic electorate is much more likely to turn on its own. That's why Roy Moore is going to be elected to the Senate and Al Franken is going to be forced to leave.

Now let's discuss the second big "grope" claim against Franken.

As you know, I have a two-step formula for making political predictions: 1. Presume the worst. 2. Watch it happen. That approach doesn't always work, but it succeeds often enough. One drawback of this formula is that it sometimes leaves me rooting for "the worst" to happen, in order to see the fulfillment of one of my little prophecies.

On the 14th, I predicted that Al Franken would be targeted; on the 16th, the first smear hit him. (And we now know that he really was smeared.) I then predicted that new accusations against Franken would make headlines within a week.

After a few days, worry set in: What if there isn't another charge against Franken? If no second accuser came forward, I'd have egg on my face.

So in a weird way, and for a weird reason, I was actually a bit relieved when the second charge came out. Bad news for Al, but at least my rep as a prophet would stay intact.

The new charge looks like new bullshit. This writer seems to have it right. The idea of Al Franken grabbing the butt of a woman while her husband snaps a photo seems more than a little difficult to swallow. The fact that this accuser is another Republican seems more than a little...familiar. (Note the double standard: The primary Moore accuser would have been automatically dismissed if she had been a Democrat.)

Now let's zoom out for a wider view. This latest allegation against Al Franken reminds me of one of my pet peeves.

There have been a few times in my life when photographers asked me to stand close to a woman I did not know well, and even to put my arm around her waist. I've not been in this situation for a while, because over the course of the past twenty years, I've become something of a recluse and have avoided being photographed.

From a male perspective, it is not always easy to put your arm on a woman's waist without accidentally brushing her rear end. Please note that, in the preceding sentence, I did not put quotation marks around the word accidentally. Yes, touching a woman's rear end can (and does) happen as a bona fide accident.

The surest way is to make sure your hand goes to the proper place on the woman's body is to keep your eye on the lady's backside. But doing that may be considered a bit pervy in its own right. Besides, one naturally wants to look at the camera. Perhaps the best approach is to swing your arm behind her head and work down -- but even then, it's largely a matter of luck if the hand makes contact at exactly the right latitude.

(Don't believe me, female readers? Stand next to one of your female friends and make the experiment. The experiment will be fairer if you choose a friend who is much shorter.)

Frankly, the whole business is way too much trouble, especially in these sensitive times. All of which leads me to say in public something that I've been saying in private for quite a few years:


Photographers often demand that their subjects stand close enough to touch. Well, what if I don't want to?

Individuals and cultures have differing conceptions of personal space. Ever since childhood, I have never enjoyed standing close to anyone else, and I've never liked being touched by others -- not even a pat on the shoulder or a friendly hug. I loathe shaking hands. Each and every time, it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

There's usually a fair amount of space between myself and the person speaking to me. This distance sometimes causes comprehension problems, since my voice doesn't carry.

The one great exception, of course, is when I'm with a woman with whom I've established some kind of romantic or emotional attachment. She is allowed into my personal space. Everyone else should stay at least two feet away, preferably farther.

Scientists call this field of study proxemics. Is mine an extreme case? Dunno. I am the way I am. You are the way you are. We all are the way we all are.

From a proxemic point of view, I must ask again: Why do photographers ask us to stand close to each other? Why do they ask us to hold hands or to link arms? To touch each other in a "friendly" fashion? Don't they understand that these requests make some people feel uncomfortable?

To me, it's all...just...yuck.

Come to think of it: The last time anyone ever photographed me standing next to someone else was in the mid-1990s. The person next to me had once been a Playboy centerfold model. (How did that "beauty and the beast" situation come about, you ask? Long story. Let's just say that, back in the day, I used to get out and meet all sorts of interesting people.)

The photographer practically shouted at me to get closer to this woman and to put my hand around her waist. Yes, I managed to accomplish that task without touching her rear.

Even so, the whole business kinda pissed me off. I just don't feel comfortable standing so close to someone I don't know well, not even if that "someone" looks gorgeous. Thanks to this photographer, an interesting afternoon was marred by an annoyance.

Bottom line: If I didn't want to stand next to a woman famed for her beauty, then I'm obviously one of those people who has a problem standing close to anyone.

Photographers: Stop it. Just let people stand where they want to stand. Compose your shots based on what you're given.
You all are beating around the proverbial bush.. Can I say Bush in 2017? Have I offended anyone by saying Bush? Let me repeat... The problem with Al Franken is he is being a wuss. All of these Democrats are being wusses. Fucking stand up like a man and defend yourselves for Christ's sake. Can I say stand up like a man in 2017 or is that also offensive?

The Republican lady, at the fair if Al didn't grope her on the butt then stop apologizing and acting like a puss(or Dick, choose your offence) and stand your ground. Instead Al Franken said something to the effect he didn't remember or apologizes for making her uncomfortable. If he did grope her butt then admit it, ask forgiveness and either move on or move out. If you didn't do it then stop fucking apologizing dipshit.

WWTD? What would Trump do? Although alleged to have committed rape himself, he calls Al Franken a serial groper to his face and gets away with it. What does Trump have that Franken and other Democrats do not? APPARENTLY A PAIR OF BIG FUCKING ORANGE BALLS!!! And Trump wins while Pussycrats lose. (Would Al Franken as a comedian ever use a word like Pussycrats or would that be too offensive to his audience?)

What do you think the percentage of guys is that have touched a woman inappropriately at some point in life? My guess is many.... 80% or more, and most did it when they were very young and stopped as they grew into adulthood, and learned appropriate behaviour. So roughly 80 to 90 % of boys/men therefore have committed a sexual assault against someone at some point in life since ass groping , touches on the legs, knees, shoulders is all now full on sexual assault. How many women have grabbed a guy inappropriately... Probably around 60%... How many asses did Leean Tweeden grope on her USO tours? Did Al Franken defend himself with this bit of knowledge? Of course he didn't. Why? WUSS.

WWTD? He would kick some wuss's ass in and win. And then sue them for bleeding all over the boot he kicked their ass with.

Unlike Bible Thumpers, apparently the left wing in its zeal to protect women from harassment and prove itself morally superior have absolutely zero concept of forgiveness or the idea men can change over time(although some don't)... But at least Christians have a fucking concept of FORGIVENESS and ATONING FOR SIN, while the left which does not have a spiritual concept at its core really regarding FORGIVENESS/ATONEMENT just self-mutilates itselfs as it tries to purge all sinners. Take a lesson from Christians: THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DO MORONS SO KEEP CUTTING UNTIL NOTHING IS LEFT AND SEE HOW THAT WORKS OUT FOR YOU.


Imagine if Hillary's response during her campaign was going after dumb for calling her crooked. Imagine her any time some mentioned email she had an army of responders forcefully refuting every point. Policies and issues are for pussies. That's not what America wants in a president. They want fire and balls. Democrats pleeeese change.
Ah, but then Hillary is "taking the bait". Remember that argument? Supposedly, the best way to counter Trump is to ignore him and talk about jobs. Which is what Hillary mostly did and got zero press coverage from it. Thankfully, she knew ignoring Trump was idiotic and did respond to him, but sadly, didn't do it well enough.
1993, President Bill Clinton decides to make nice with republicans despite the smear campaign against him. Instead of reopening Iran-Contra he holds out an olive branch, Newt Gingrich thanks Bill with Whitewater.

2007, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gives Bush the Lesser and dick Cheney get out of jail cards with "Impeachment is off the table". The republicans know a fool when they see one and take advantage of the Democrats in subsequent elections.

30% of America is lost to reason and critical thinking but they show up at the polls to vote republican. Meanwhile Democrats either stay home or vote third party because Caesar's wife wasn't above reproach.

The DNC did this to themselves when they abandoned Blue Collar Union voters, the only reliable support they had, in favor of the Big Tent. Too bad John Murtha didn't survive his perforated colon, we could have had him instead of fool Pelosi.
Sadly, as Joseph points out, the Dems have dug their own hole here. They've fully embraced the believe women meme, which on it's face isn't a bad thing. However, it leaves them in a position, like Franken, that if they are accused they can't just deny it (even if they really didn't do anything). They have to grovel and apologize and beg forgiveness from their female constituents. Now, if Fraken DID do what is being suggested (which, considering the right wing nature of his accusers and the fact that the first one has already been proven a liar), then his reaction was the right thing to do, morally. Unfortunately, the right has no such moral compulsions, and since the Dems have chosen to try to occupy the high ground (a huge mistake at this stage of the political game, if you ask me), they are hanging them on their own petards, just as Joseph predicted. It was all so predictable in the first place. It's not like Roger Stone hasn't done this before, yet the left just can't seem to wrap it's collective head around this and come up with a reasonable defense against it. Calling out liars, even if they are women, would probably be a good start, but right now they are too afraid of offending a large chunk of their supporters, who obviously greatly prefer purity to actually having a chance of putting their ideals into practice in America via legislation. They'd rather be pure than have any say in how America is run. So, they get what they deserve, sadly. This is not what I want, and I know it's not what the left wants but they have painted themselves into this corner and they need to get out of it, even if it means playing dirty or pissing off feminists. The feminists won't have ANY say if things continue the way they are going, and that is a BAD thing. Time to wake up.
When people do things that are nefarious, or even socially unacceptable, they do them in private. And that is the big difference between Moore and Franken. Asking girls out, even those generationally different may not even be unacceptable in certain cultures, but attacking a girl is. It is what Moore did in private that was both illegal and immoral. What Franken allegedly did was done in public. It is hardly surprising that the allegations against Franken are questionable, while those against Moore are not. I may not always agree with Cannon, but he is quite right that the right wing is trying to confuse and obfuscate. The goal is to paint a picture of ambiguity and/or an everybody does it mentality so it's ok for Moore.
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Added note:

Sometimes I'm needlessly cryptic. The former Playboy centerfold referenced above was Janet Lupo, who, I'm sorry to say, died earlier this month. A very nice lady. She told me that after her appearance in the magazine, Tom Laughlin flew her out to Hollywood because he wanted her to appear in (of all things) "Billy Jack Goes to Washington." Lupo had no desire to act, but went on the trip anyways because she wanted to visit Disneyland. I believe that the part offered to her eventually went to Suzanne Somers, who had a larger role in the script than she does in the final film.

Janet managed the rare trick of staying sensible when Hollywood comes a-beckoning.
Joseph, you wrote about how just preceding the attack on Franken, there was a giveaway by "Roger Stone, who can't resist calling the shot, even when he should keep his trap shut."

I think that such "accidents" or smarty-pants blurtings are actually intentional. They are sort of like hand prints left to indicate intentional vandalism, and have a psychological warfare purpose. They say, "We got you and there's nothing you can do about it. Enjoy the feelings of helplessness.

Interested readers might review the concept of "learned helplessness" (from which we can conclude that the right wing has developed a long campaign of Taught Helplessness. And it is asked why Dems are so weak) One such very good review, though applying to the development of the torture program under Bush 2, was written by philosopher Tamsin Shaw in the NY Review of Books, very worth reading, along with the responses and is available without paywall here:
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

German Nazis

We've been so fixated on Russia that we've lost sight of events in Germany. The AfD -- Alternative for Germany -- is the new Nazi party, and they've gained 92 seats in the German parliament (Bundestag), which has a total of 709 seats. By way of comparison: In 1928, the Nazi party had 12 out of 491 seats. A mere five years later, Adolf Hitler was elected. The AfD has adopted the color blue, which hardly makes them more pleasant than their brownshirted forefathers.
Despite the misleading blue, AfD populism remains deeply fascistic rejecting much of what modernity has to offer. It is profoundly xenophobic, racist, glorifying heroic manliness and it is misogynistic.

Unsurprisingly, among the new AfD parliamentarians barely ten are women. This mirrors the “3Ks” of Nazi ideology. Women should be confined to kitchen, kinder, and Kirche (i.e. church). Still, like the old Nazis’ “League of German Girls”, the AfD has some use for women. The very recent defection of long-time AfD front-woman Frauke Petry demanded a quick replacement with another female face: Alice Weidel. A Goldman Sachs banker, now mutated into a “Nazi Slut”, Weidel represents the traditional “Nazism-Capitalism” link with a pretty Lesbian face. She is part of today’s, Germany’s right-wing populism that now has 92 parliamentarian voices. Unlike in the USA and the rest of Europe, Germany’s right-wing populism has one crucial difference: Auschwitz. True to its ideological forefathers, the AfD still wants to “build a new underground railway directly to Auschwitz” (14th September 2017).
Much of AfD populism centers on racism often expressed as a xenophobic hate of everything foreign. Accordingly, it draws a “sharp line” between the Germanic race and multiculturalism and Islam. Xenophobic populism is often underscored by a hatred of modernity. Consequently, the AfD comes with rampant Anti-Americanism. Individual freedom, democracy, a free press and liberalism are values AfD populism rejects. Rejecting the USA (AfD slogan: “Go to hell, USA”) is pared with the glorification of what the AfD calls the “good twelve years”, i.e. the time when their ideological ancestors –the Nazis– ran Germany while destroying Europe and killing millions. True to Nazi populism that still lingers in Germany, the AfD believes in Germanic greatness, a racially cleansed Aryan Volk, and a strong nation.
For a while now, I've been wondering: Are the comments on some pro-Trump sites actually coming from Germany, as opposed to Russia?

I lost the link, so I can't prove what I'm about to say. If you choose to disbelieve me, fine. But a month or so ago, I visited a pro-Trump, Alt Right site and was shocked by the quasi-psychotic hatred of the United States on display in the comments section. It was clear that the writers were foreigners pretending to be American Trump supporters -- except on this occasion, something about the original post triggered a reaction that was even more insane than usual. They dropped the "American" disguise, at least in part.

The writers made grammatical errors, but not the kind of errors commonly made by people born in this country. For example, nobody used "would of" instead of "would have." I didn't notice the usual cliches and trite conversational gambits. The English was fluent, but the writing style seemed foreign. These writers thought in another tongue.

Were these spouters of anti-Americanism Russian? They didn't seem so, although only a linguist fluent in both English and Russian could say with any certainty. Like most of you, I've read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in translation, and I've seen a lot of subtitled Soviet-era movies. My opinion may not be worth much, but I just didn't get the feeling of a Russian mind behind these texts.

Besides, I don't think that the trolls of St. Petersburg are motivated by that kind of visceral, bone-deep hatred of all things American. Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the impression that those trolls are in it for the money.

Were they German? Possibly.

I used to date a German-into-English translator who specialized in technical work but sometimes handled literary projects. Although I don't know German, we devised a method of working together when she faced an impossible deadline: She would quickly punch out a very literal translation ("Schweinhund" became "pig-dog") which I transformed into something a little more natural ("pig-dog" became "asshole"). In this tag-team fashion, we translated a ridiculously overlong film script in less than two days. (I can't tell you which one.)

That experience gave me some appreciation for German sentence structure and thought patterns. I suspect, but cannot prove, that the comments on some of these English language Alt Right sites are actually written by Germans. No, I didn't see obvious tells: None of the writers said "My name is rabbit" or "comparing apples and pears." With verbs their sentences did not end. And yet...and yet. Subtle clues were there. I got a German vibe.

If I see any further examples, I'll bookmark the link (as I damned well ought to have done before) and write a further post on this topic. If you see any examples of possible "German-ness" in the allegedly American Alt Right, do let me know.

Remember when the Trumpers started to toss around the phrase Lügenpresse? Apparently, that term had seen some circulation on Breitbart and cognate sites. Where did they get that? How did that word enter the vocabulary of Cleetus and Billy-Bob?

Added note: Remember the "three fingers" scene in Inglourious Basterds? My former girlfriend told me about that little cultural difference back in the '80s. Yet I still didn't notice the giveaway the first time I saw that scene!
Don't forget after 1928 was the Great Depression which vastly accelerated the rise of the Nazi party.
We're due for a downturn, nemdam. Can't outlaw the business cycle.

People forget that what we would now call Libertarianism was the ruling ideology in Germany in the last years of Weimar. When the Depression hit, the conservative leaders refused to consider non-Libertarian approaches to the problem -- which, of course, only worsened. The Nazis prospered precisely because they were NOT Libertarians.

I think this history is the reason why modern day Nazis now push Libertarianism as the only permissible way to think about economics. The Nazis know that Libertarianism doesn't work. They WANT the train to derail.
That German theory is a waste of time, Joseph. The AfD spends all its social media resources on (American!) PR firms for streamlining its domestic campaigns. Outside Germany their acolytes do troll the German-language media in Austria and Switzerland, but they don’t have the financial or linguistic capacities, nor any strategic or cultural interest, especially in the current German situation, to work American sites.
Watch the German defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen. Note her family connections. She's going to be chancellor some day. I've had my eye on her ever since in a vilely threatening tone she warned that if the Ukraine doesn't behave itself it may well find it has the German armed forces to deal with.

The AfD's programme in English is here:

1.1: referenda based on the "Swiss model"
1.5: direct election of the federal president.
10.11.2: durable products instead of planned obsolescence.

They are rightwing but still a bit mealymouthed-sounding on two of the issues that are always so big in the US: abortion (6.7) and gun ownership (3.5).

Meanwhile in Britain the star of Jacob Rees-Mogg, fan of the Tridentine rite, is in the ascendant. He is the bettors' favourite as the next Tory leader, and since Theresa May surely won't lead the Tories into the next general election it's extremely probable that the next Tory leader will also be the next prime minister.

JRM's father was editor of the Times and vice-chairman of the BBC, and his image has been masterfully managed. Laugh at him at your peril.

Yes, fan of the Tridentine rite.

He has never held national office, and he has never belonged to the shadow cabinet or even shadowed a junior government minister. That was also the case for Boris Johnson when he became foreign secretary, but at least Johnson had held an important local public position as mayor of London for eight years. JRM has never held any public executive office whatsoever. On leaving Oxford he did get a post at Rothschild Bank though.
Well, now that Charles Manson has died, I expect Lord HA-HA Goodman, Ron Chusid, Ian Welsh, Caitlin Johnstone, and half the roster of Counterpunch to run essays hailing Manson as a Glorious People's Revolutionary Hero and claiming the Clintons were a godzillion times worse than Manson in 10...9...8...

FYI: A "godzillion" is a number as big as Godzilla.
Events in Germany need explanation.

All it needs now is a couple of things that have happened before - a murderous attack on a Christmas market, say, and a mass assault of women by Arabic-speaking men on New Year's Eve at a railway station - perhaps on a larger scale, and the AfD will get an awful lot of wind in their sails if there's another general election.

Pamela and Pepe will be preparing.

Who's pulling the FPD's strings? "It’s better not to govern than to govern badly" is an extraordinary thing for a politician to say.
Thomas Klikauer's remarks are quite cheap: "The very recent defection of long-time AfD front-woman Frauke Petry demanded a quick replacement with another female face: Alice Weidel. A Goldman Sachs banker, now mutated into a 'Nazi Slut', Weidel represents the traditional 'Nazism-Capitalism' link with a pretty Lesbian face."

I'm not persuaded that the AfD leadership felt obliged to replace a woman with a woman, or in other words that the party is committed in practice to a quota policy. But that she is female, let alone that she is a lesbian, indicates a difference between the AfD and the NSDAP.

The most interesting info is that Weidel comes from Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile Emmanuel Macron in France worked for Rothschild Bank, and so did Jacob Rees-Mogg in Britain.

As for Ursula von der Leyen, William Cook wrote in the Spectator last October calling her "The woman who could win when Angela Merkel can't". Cook mentions, but was too lazy to find a link to (fucking indolent journalist!), this interview with von der Leyen.

Watch it! It was what she said about the Ukraine (which I heard on the radio) that brought her to my attention. I say it again: look at this person's family links.
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Why did Al apologize?

Evidence is emerging that the charges against Franken were a set-up from the beginning.

See here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

If Franken was smeared, why did he apologize? He had to. Leeann Tweeden could have said "Al Franken turned me into a newt" and Franken would have had no choice but to say: "I'm extremely sorry for turning Leeann into a newt. In recent times, we've all learned a great lesson about male privilege and non-consensual animal transformation."

Liberals fell into a trap: They stupidly locked themselves into the position that women are always right. The blind acceptance of the Believe Women movement prevented all but the bravest from arguing (as I did) that some women -- for example, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones -- are as untrustworthy as any man. As a moment's thought will tell you, this situation invites all sorts of Roger Stonian mischief.

That's why I've been wary of the Believe Women movement from the beginning, even though I felt certain that Weinstein was a genuine creep. These cultural fads and manias always start and end the same way: At first, a genuine problem takes hold of the public imagination -- and within a few weeks, the whole thing turns into Goody Proctor is a witch. From Salem to Satanic panic, it's a very American tradition.

Added note: You can't accuse me of having double standards for liberals. I also wrote an unpopular piece arguing against the veracity of Roy Moore accuser Beverly Young Nelson. (Again: It's physically impossible to lock someone in a car that uses manual locks.)

Added note 2: Why did the Trumpers embrace a crusade against sexual abuse when Trump himself is guilty of sexual abuse? For the same reason the swiftboaters attacked John Kerry's war record. Republicans never shrink from accusing opponents of a sin of which they themselves are guilty.

Of course Leann's credibility suffers from the fact that she is a Trump supporter and a Hannity associate. It's perfectly fair to make that statement, and a hearty fuck you to anyone who argues otherwise. Get this into your head: We are facing a vast, right-wing conspiracy. Yes, I dare call it that. The conspirators are a ruthless bunch, willing to tell any lie. They are not human. Do not believe them even when they tell you that the sky is blue and the grass is green.

As I've said before: James O'Keefe could not have smeared Acorn without a female co-conspirator. Bring that up the next time someone tries to sell you on the idea that all women are incapable of lying.

Added note 3: Many Americans can't name a single Supreme Court Justice. This amusing piece by Ohio State Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill reveals that he has slept with some 50 women over the years -- to which I say: Good on you, Bill. In one stroke, he has become more memorable than most of the US Supreme Court Justices.

Naturally, some feminists are castigating O'Neill as an awful, awful Penismonster. To the more extreme feminists, any heterosexual male who likes sex is a rapist. On the other hand, any woman who has slept with more than 50 men is simply expressing her personhood, and she should feel free to name in public any of the men she has been with, whenever and wherever she chooses (but she may still need counseling because she does not yet understand that gay is the way).

Looking back and doing the math, my score is eight and done. And I count myself pretty damned lucky, considering my ugliness and poverty and unconventional attitudes toward hygiene and sartorial elegance. All of those women were (and are) brilliant and fascinating and just plain wonderful. I'm very grateful they came into my life, even the ones who somehow managed to be even weirder than me.

You may now accuse me of being just another awful, awful Penismonster: "He's an abuser! A rapist! Just like Bill Clinton! Him fuck! Him bad! BAD MAN! BAD MAN!"
O'Neill is on the Ohio Supreme Court.
I caught it before you posted. Thanks though.

If Al Franken resigns, feminist author argues, women would be worse off — not better

If the sloppy kiss never happened, then it would also take having the picture of Tweeden being groped having been photoshopped with her eyes closed when maybe they were open, or are some saying that Franken was photoshopped into the picture?

AS for lovers, women are supposedly not as good at math and some may be surprised to realize they have slept with a few dozen men in their lifetime even if every relationship where they slept with someone lasted at least 3 to 6 months.

Once one hits 40, those who never married or had a long term affair could suddenly have a couple dozen lovers. So shaming anyone for having 50 lovers is silly if that person never married and is now in their 50's or older.

I personally think Franken did the grope as a joke gone wrong and probably did stick his tongue down her throat hoping he would get lucky. Nobody has asked if either was married at the time, isn't that biggest issue of all?

Women grope men's privates at parties on occasion to cut through the small talk, but was Tweeden or Franken married at the time of their encounters?

Joseph, I thought I wrote a rather convincing article on how Bill Clinton actually treated Monica Lewinsky better than the FBI, Kenneth Starr, and the Republican 12 and therefore maybe it's time to no longer use the Lewinsky affair to somehow prove he took advantage of her. Lewinsky actually initiated the affair so I am not sure why you would even mention Clinton, assuming you saw my article.
Joseph, I read your blog every day and love your thoughts and information always. However, I must take issue with you as you state someone can open manual locks on an older car. Having survived being that sixteen year old girl in a car with a trusted person who was a "grown-ass man", I can emphatically say that if this monster has his left arm around a smallish girl's right shoulder and his hands on her throat, then no, she cannot open that manually-locked door. This I say from memories from over 50 years ago and yes, I remember this like it was yesterday! I watched Beverly Young Nelson's story and thought at the time "This is me too." Watch the entire interview as the clips on the news did not tell the entire story.
Susan, first, I'm sorry if that happened to you. Second, I still have a hard time visualizing it. I know that sounds cruel and pigheaded, but honestly, from a purely practical standpoint, I don't see what stops a 16 year-old child (not a small child) from moving her right hand to the lock knob, which is only INCHES away. Even if there were two assailants (one in the front seat, one in back) trying to hold her in place, she can still move her right hand a few inches.

I will of course grant that it can be very difficult to think clearly.

Look, I don't know how to prove the point other than to conduct an experiment. And I'm not about to do that, personally. Perhaps some reader will...? Just make sure that everyone involved in the experiment does so with a full understand of what's going on!

I saw Beverly speak a couple of times. Her tears reminded me of the women I interviewed in the 1990s who bawled their eyes out as they described the Satanic ceremonies to which they had been taken. If that sounds cynical -- well, my experience talking to such people taught me to be cynical.
Al Franken apologized because he's a wuss. He didn't do anything wrong. He's a comedian. He made a funny. She's wearing body armour. He didn't grab her boobs. He apologized because like the Democratic Party as a whole he is pussy-whipped... Can I say that in 2017 even if it is true? The typical knee jerk reaction of Democrats is to go haywire and mob maul their own guy destroying him leaving the Republican opponent unscathed and still standing. Like the stereotypical "histrionic" response of women in all those movies of the 40s and 50s when they get into trouble and forego all logic and just go batshit while the stereotypical male steps in to save the day and sets her straight...... Thought that was all in the past... Maybe not..... No logical thought about what Al Franken actually did or didn't do, just a spasmic histrionic response from a large swathe of Democrats demanding he go fuck himself and die. Maybe it's the Russians stirring shit up? I don't know, I think it's just Democrats acting stupid. Is Roy Moore in the news anymore? I don't think so. Airwaves full of Democrats self-flagellating.

As Yoda once said "This is why you fail Muthafuckas!"

Also depends on where the car was parked. If the car door ended up next to a bush then the door could not be opened, if the car was parked on an uneven road where gravity would push the door shut, that too would be enough to prevent the door from being opened. I haven't followed which car was used but in the 70's electric locks were being used and I could see a pretentious assistant DA wanting the electric lock version, the deluxe version of a car that might have been offered as an add on, no?
Looks the line being taken by the NY Times is that Franken should resign.

Pipsqueak guy, Peter Cook?, on MSNBC yesterday explaining how the questions posed by the (in fact long disproved) accusations by women against Bill Clinton could be right or not. And Michelle Goldberg op-ed Saturday morning.

If they weren't the last paper in the country "worth reading" I'd cancel.

in re: car doors.
I still remember Chevy doors not opening if the lock was held down.
Since it’s Rush Limbaugh that makes the same argument that automatic door locks weren’t on 1977 cars, I’m inclined to agree with Susan.

Al Franken has been married to wife Franni Bryson for 42 years. Both are 66 years old. They have two children.

I am 62 years old, female, and never married, and I can say that having 50 lovers during the course of a lifetime is an outlier. It boggles the mind anybody would have that many. Most never-marrieds don't have near that many lovers in the course of a lifetime. Real life intervenes. Relationships take up a lot of time and energy, even casual ones.
Statists Rus, I don't follow Rush, so I was unaware that anyone else had made that point about the locks. Having THAT guy for company in this controversy makes me feel queasy. But logic is logic. I'm sorry, but we all must judge according to our own experience. In my experience, it's just not very difficult to reach for the lock knob on the passenger side and to pull it up. The lock knob was only inches away from Beverly's right hand, whereas Moore would have had to reach pretty far to put his hand on it. If he kept his hand on it throughout the encounter, he could not have done the other things described.

I suppose it is possible that a panicked girl might not have been thinking straight. It is also possible but unlikely that something blocked the door as Alessandro suggests. I say "unlikely" because one would think that Beverly might mention that detail.

Frankly, I think the most damaging accusations against Moore were 1. The original WP piece involving a woman who was then fourteen, and 2. The very credible reporting that shopping mall security was told to watch out for the guy. Beverly may be a ringer, intended to decredibilize the others.

I'm concerned about the involvement of Allred. She fell also for the "Katie Johnson" story -- another ringer, in my opinion. Something weird may be going on with Allred, but I don't have any theories as to what that "something" might be.

Anon -- first, I wish you would take on a nick of some sort. Second:

"He apologized because like the Democratic Party as a whole he is pussy-whipped... Can I say that in 2017 even if it is true?"

I don't use that language, and I'm fairly profane and blunt-spoken.

I think that the truth is that Franken was trapped by the Believe Women movement, which has taught all liberals that only an awful person would ever question anything said by any female. This movement began well, addressing genuine issues, and then it devolved into yet another replay of the Salem Witch hysteria.

Actually, I woke up this morning thinking about Salem, particularly about the "visionary girls" whose accusations created the furor. Their behavior calls to mind other alleged paranormal cases. When you read about those girls, you'll be reminded of "possession" stories, and of the adolescents at the heart of poltergeist stories. Naturally, I'd like to find a single scientific explanation for the behavior displayed in all such occurrences.

In the case of the visionary girls of Salem, the standard science-y explanation is that the whole thing stemmed from a case of ergot poisoning. Bread gone bad. Ergot causes hallucinations, and has caused problems elsewhere.

Here's the problem: EVERYBODY eats bread. So why were these girls the only ones affected?

That's the poser I was thinking about when I woke up this morning.

Honestly, it always seemed to me that the visionary girls were almost "getting off" -- in a sexual sense -- from their delusions of persecution. And the men in authority who enabled them also seemed to have a sublimated sexual subtext to their actions.

I read my first book about Salem ("The Devil in Massachusetts;" can't recall the author) when I was a young. That work had quite an impact on me. It taught me to be skeptical whenever these waves of panic and moral outrage hit a society.
Power locks were available as an extra starting in 1956. It is entirely possible Moore had power locks. And I do not think she is lying about what happened. I do think the accusations against Franken are bull and being hampered by a spineless Democratic party who have decided that ALL rape cases are true regardless of facts. Clinton was investigated TO DEATH back in the 90's. His alleged rape cases are NOT credible for multiple reasons. We are dangerously close to another Salem Witch Trial which as a New Englander, I know a lot about. Every sexual assault case should be looked at, but not believed with no facts behind it. People like Jeffrey Tambor, Ryan Seacrest, Sly Stallone and George Takei have all been accused lately with little to no evidence to support any of the allegations. Russia bots are helping to further these fake stories. Trust nothing you read anymore. Most of it is lies, thus the reason as reality can no longer be known, our fates are sealed and we are doomed.
iwar, as I've said before, Beverly has already established that no power locks were involved. "He reached around and locked the door..." Her exact words, if I recall correctly. Power locks are locked from driver's side; no reaching necessary.

Come on. The people who want to believe I'm wrong keep bringing up the same objections which I keep knocking down. The game is getting tiresome. Look, I know that you were affected by Beverly's tears: That's a natural human reaction. We all get upset when we see a woman weeping. As person (a female person) once told me, a woman's tears are more powerful than the H-bomb.

But I've had some very hard experience in this area. As you may know, I once tried to research a book about SRA claims, which I initially took very seriously. That imbroglio hardened my attitude. When a woman turns on the waterworks, I turn skeptic. I've encountered women who looked and sounded exactly like Beverly when they described how their parents forced them to take part in evil rituals.

The visionary girls at Salem were pretty weepy as well.
Joseph, It is pretty easy to doubt a woman who says she was physically blocked from exiting a car, when she is being groped and restrained, the guy locks the door on passenger side- but you have to be in that physical & emotional situation to know the truth.

The fact is it was a very long time ago -she may not remember or be revealing it all in exact detail, for that reason alone. BUT-- she was not the first to speak about his sexual abuse.
She came out after 3 others were approached by the Washington Post, when they were in their town and heard rumors about these incidents. I don't know if you are familiar with small town talk, but if a national reporter is digging around as they probably were- it is not uncommon for whispers about past sins to make their way to reporters. They interviewed 30 people to verify these stories, though.
One of these incidents is supported by other people the young girl confided in at the time. Mooew sexually pursued a 14 year old girl, knowing full well she was only 14. This incident shaped the woman she became, and that is the saddest part in all of this. To me -that is far worse than what he did with Nelson, because it wasn't a one time offense. He did this over a course of time, which impacted her life far worse. Moore knowingly committed a crime -punishable by up to 10 years in jail. He was the DA and so he knew the law, undoubtedly. He screwed with a young girl psychologically and this changed the path of her life.

Here's the original article (note-Breitbart is trying to poke holes in her story, because the Washington Post said she spoke to him on her phone in her bedroom. The phone could reach into her bedroom, but it was not "her phone" it was the house phone. Easy mistake to make, but if you want to doubt it, there you are).
Jesus Christ, Jospeh and Mary... In the 70s and 80s you do know that some cars had push down locks at the passengers right shoulder? If the lock was at her shoulder and he was power grabbing for a kiss it is tough to crane your hand around to your right shoulder to open a lock.

Oh Snap! #TrumpSexPredator hashtag starting to trend on Twitter. Someone lock up the nuke codes so Humper Dump doesn't start a nuclear distraction!
It appears the #TrumpSexPredator hashtag seems to have picked up steam right about the same time Trump attacked Al Franken over the boob grab photos? LOL. Karma at work folks. Or maybe Darwin's law.
Al Franken's accuser looking to be a Roger Stone fraud... Videos of those USO tours now coming out showing Ms. Tweeden slapping Robin Williams and other dudes on ass and joyfully dry humping guys. She's not as offended as she pretends to be. Did Al set her up like he did Jeffy boy by calling for an investigation? Silly Rightwingers, Tricks are for Kidz. LOL

You may now accuse me of being just another awful, awful Penismonster: "He's an abuser! A rapist! Just like Bill Clinton! Him fuck! Him bad! BAD MAN! BAD MAN!"

Nope, not doing that, Joseph. I may disagree with you on some things, but I am glad that a) you have this site and b) that you are raising questions. The fact that Roger Stone's got a few fingerprints on this has set off my warning bells. You did warn us that the "#MeToo" movement could be weaponized and also screwed up by the GOP and the Right. I will admit here and now that you were right to give us that warning.

And yes, there is a vast Right-wing conspiracy. Hillary spoke out about it in the 1990s and she was hammered by the media and some on the Left. She was right then, and she was right about Trump.

Well, I STILL think you are wrong about the car door lock issue. I think, considering the difference in size and the fact he was grabbing and holding her, she would have had great difficulty opening that door lock. Also, it's just possible she is not remembering ever detail perfectly.

That said, I agree with everything else you write here.
And so it begins. Here we go...

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Roger Stone and Matt Murdoch (ADDED NOTE)

From here:
Roger Stone says Senator Al Franken's time in the barrel is about to come #sexscandal
1:12 AM - Nov 16, 2017
The last panel of Daredevil #227 is one of the most famous panels in comics history:

As many of you will recall, I myself predicted that Franken would be framed on November 14. I chose Franken to illustrate my larger point: The "Believe Women" movement will be used to destroy Democrats. This is just the beginning.

I believe that Franken apologized not because he was actually guilty of doing anything wrong but because he was told that doing so would put the matter behind him quickly. Stupid, naive fool. Of course, there will be several more accusers before the week is out. He'll soon be out of the Senate and the seat will go to a Republican.

UPDATE: It's already started!

There will also be an avalanche of articles in "liberal" publications attesting to the credibility of Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey, with no mention of Julie Hiatt Steele or any of the counter-evidence. (The Steele story is key to understanding current events.) "Feminists" like Rebecca Traister will, of course, find some excuse to demonize Hillary, as occurred in 2008.

Watch it happen. I called the shot with Franken, didn't I? I was right when I said that Trump would win the election, a position I maintained even when Hillary seemed to be lightyears ahead of him. I was also the first blogger to state that Putin was aiding the Trump campaign, in a post that name-checked Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Dmitri Firtash.

The "Believe Women" movement is predicated on the presupposition that women are too holy and pure ever to lie or to behave in a corrupt fashion. To which I say: Bullshit. James O'Keefe couldn't have ruined Acorn without the aide of a corrupt female accomplice. The only incorruptible person is St. Bernadette, and even she's not looking as good as she used to.

I knew something was amiss when people first started to use the term "movement." As I've been saying for years: All movements are bowel movements. These "movements" only seem to arise spontaneously. If you want to understand current events, you must comprehend that there is a group of James O'Keefian social manipulators operating with an unlimited budget.

And you can't accuse me of having different standards for Democrats. I also said that I did not believe Beverly Young Nelson's claim against Roy Moore (who is a sure bet to win in Alabama, no matter what you hear). Again: It's simply not physically possible to lock a passenger in a car that doesn't have electronic locks.

Moore will be in the Senate and Franken will be out. Watch it happen. Trump/Russia will go by the wayside and Hillary will go to jail after being framed for something she did not do. Watch it happen.

And "liberals" will help it happen.

I'll have to re-post my Salvator Mundi video on a later date. (See below.)

ADDED NOTE: The next "sin" to be exposed may well be Joe Biden's. I've known about this matter since 2008. Biden himself (whom I like) has recently hinted at the skeleton in his closet. The other person involved in this story has familial ties to a certain clan, and these ties will insure plenty of jokes from late-night comics. One of the most, er, noteworthy members of that clan is a big Trump fan -- so you can be sure that the Trumpers know all about this business already.
Voz co founder Matt Iglesias has already started his assault on the Clintons. He mentions Monica Lewinsky without mentioning that besides being a consensual affair, it was Lewinsky that initiated the affair.
The Believe Women Movement is a two edged sword unless we are to believe republicans are pure as driven snow. Franken has apologized for his sophomoric prank and says he welcomes an ethics investigation. Given the circumstances there wasn't much else he could do and his actions draw a clear line between Trump, Moore and Democrats. Given time this will go the way of the Hula Hoop as the fickle public latches on the next scandal du jore. The boy could cry wolf only a few times.
It won't go away. This is an operation.
Honestly, first thing I thought when I read the story was your prediction. You have powers more prophetic than Roger Stone!

Still don't know how this is going to shake out, but I think Franken is going to keep his seat. Between his apology, the submission to an ethics review, and, most importantly, the victim saying she accepts his apology and doesn't want him to resign, I think he will be safe. But I must say, that I could easily see another woman "come forward", and if that happens, Franken will be toast. I put "come forward" in quotes because with Bill Clinton being in the news, we should all remember how zealous the GOP will be in finding any women to throw an accusation toward Franken even if the accusation is false. I fear there will be a false accusation, but the left will jump the gun before the facts come out, Franken will resign, and then the truth will come out that the accusation isn't credible.

Democrats must tread very carefully on this matter. The GOP has no problem weaponizing sexual harassment/assault charges to destroy Democrats.
(Double post. Sorry I keep doing this.)

Also not sure if your take on feminists are correct. I've been reading a bunch of them, including Rebecca Traister, and very few want Franken to resign even though they are all disgusted by his behavior. It seems like it's mostly the preening left that wants him to resign. You know, the ones who think the Democrats haven't "had a reckoning" with Bill Clinton.
Did you see the photo? Pretty clear evidence that Franken DID do
something wrong. That's why he apologized - he is admitting, rightfully,
that his behavior was egregious. We all know that the worst predator
is in the White House. His self-admitted behavior on video did not stop him from
getting there. Don't worry -- it won't be liberal or conservative male politicians who will pay the '
price here. It will be women who will suffer from a huge backlash for our truth-telling. The Patriarchy
is alive and well and not going away anytime soon. Ask me - a 72 year old woman - or my daughters,
or my mother, or my grandmother. Ask Hillary.
Well, the second accuser on Franken has already come forward, a woman by the name of Melanie Morgan. Morgan claims she and Franken had a heated argument on one of Bill Maher's shows, and then Franken followed the angry dispute off-stage, subsequently stalking her for several days with angry telephone calls.

This feels too much like a hit job, particularly with Roger Stone in the mix. I'm hoping Franken holds fast. Let the ethics inquiry go forward and have everyone testify, under oath and in public. If we're going to have a witch trial, let everyone watch the shameful spectacle.

As for Dems preemptively calling for Franken to resign? They need to grow a spine and shut the hell up.

How exactly does a guy accused of being a child raping, tax dodging Russian mole get away with telling Al Franken off for sexual harassment? Is it because Democrats are a bunch of pussies? Yeah. Sorry to those offended by the word "pussies".... just exchange with the more acceptable word "dicks" if offended.

only in Amurikkka. Home of the PussyGrabber and Land of the GrabbedPussy.

If a Russian agent handed Democrats a 10 pound bag full of videos of Trump having sex with 13 year olds, you know what Democrats would do with it?

Take the bag and beat themselves over the head with it.
Two guys get into a boxing ring...

Dude A repeatedly punches the living shit out of Dude B.

Dude B apologizes profusely for bleeding all over the fucking boxing ring.

Guess who inevitably wins the match?

Biden will definitely be next. The Huffington Post is already attacking him for "getting too close to women":

We're on the verge of descending into a moment of mass hysteria. A year ago, Joe Biden was one of the most popular politicians in the country. People were sharing memes of him and Obama to cheer themselves up after the election. Now we're getting articles comparing him to Harvey Weinstein -- a serial rapist -- because he puts his arm around people. Note that not a single person is quoted as saying that Biden made them feel uncomfortable or unsafe -- it's all innuendo. If Biden does end up running, this stuff will certainly be used to undermine and sabotage his campaign. I can imagine that similar strategies will be used against pretty much anyone else who runs as a Democrat.
I think it's good for Franklin to get this thing out of the way if he is running. I myself hope he isn't, and it has nothing to do with the recent news. Some people are spreading the net wide enough to make sure the Clintons in it. They don't care about who or what suffers. As for Biden although I don't believe he has a chance, I welcome any effort to make sure it never happens.
Joseph I agree with everything you said. I'm so fed up with people on "the left" who refuse to understand the dynamics of these psyops. I maintain that 2016 election wad culmination if coup that gained momentum during Obama's presidency when Republicans declared goal was total obstruction and media complied by normalizing the hatred and vitriol displayed. The Snowald op was another piece of that. Liberals do not connect dots out of denial.
And while we're talking about inappropriate behavior by Franken, again St. Bernard's rape fantasy fan fic is never put under a microscope. The fact that media continue to sanctify him tells me that he is enabler of this coup. Most of broadcast media, NPR and NYT have been coopted.
This is so obvious to me.

Leeann Tweeden's use of loaded terms shows that this is a hit job. At this point in his life, Al Franken was earning a living as a comedian. Franken didn't "grope" Tweeden through her flack jacket. He posed in a staged photograph that was a parody of him groping her. Really bad taste on his part hovering his hands over her breasts, but in no way was this an actual sexual assault. This attempt at a joke took place in the cargo bay of an aircraft full of people and was cooperatively documented by an official photographer. There was no assault.

Tweeden is known to hang with Sean Hannity. Roger Stone showed that he had foreknowledge of this affair. Tweeden let it be known to the right people that she had this photograph. They helped her formulate her story. Now her leading part is over and she can sit back and play coy while others pile on... especially Democrats.

Al Franken did not grope anybody. This is a hit.
With all that is going on right now, I wish people would start to be more mature and realistic about others. First, humans in general sucks. Second, if a person is great at something that doesn't mean he is a great guy all around. People tend to idealize people for things that have nothing to do with morals, ideals or principals. That's why we keep getting disappointed in others. We demand that an athlete, artist, politician or any other talented person to have qualities of a saint. which totally unfair both to them and us. Of course, they should be held accountable like the rest of us, not more not less.
Franken has supporting witnesses. Very interesting article by Rob Kall of Op Ed News;

Three paragraph's from a comment on a Washington Post article;

Olgo Novar
8:20 AM PST
In 2006, an SNL comedy writer posed for a prank photo with his hands hovering above the armor plated Kevlar flak jacket, (designed to protect the chest from anti-aircraft artillery, grenades, shotguns and land mines; strong enough to stop a 9 mm bullet), of a sleeping 2011 Playboy nude model / 1994 Hooters calendar girl (one of “The Top Hooters Girls of all time”) / Frederick’s of Hollywood model.

In 2017, the dutiful, click-bait oriented press dutifully uses the word “grope” to describe this photo, without any evidence that the comedian was even touching, let alone groping, the ceramic inserts in the “Multithreat Body Armor System” jacket; and his far-right wing accuser, being asleep at the time, cannot know.

And the Sean Hannity Show commentator, with her smart glasses on, is further claiming that at one point the comic put his tongue in her mouth, during a rehearsal of their stage kiss, for one of their comedy sketches on the USO Tour.
This believe woman meme reminds me of the 1980s believe the children nonsense about sexual abuse in day care centers. It was nonsense then and it is nonsense now. What is worse now is that it is not that women are simply being manipulated, like the children back then, but some are not even aware what real sexual assault is. Maybe most of us aren't, the rules being so vague and the line of sexual assault being a continuum from asking a girl if she wants a drink while putting a hand on her shoulder to jumping out of an alley with a knife. Somebody has to tell me where the line is. And one critical thing about the Franken incident, if it happened, is that it certainly was not done for the purpose of sexual gratification.
The believe women meme reminds me of the believe children meme of the 1980s. It was nonsense then and it is nonsense now. It may be worse now because women are not being manipulated the way children were in the 80s. It is the blurring of the line of sexual assault, which is a continuum from asking a girl if she wants a drink while putting a hand on her shoulder to jumping out of an alley with a knife and raping a girl. I don't know where the line is, and nobody else seems to be addressing the issue. The critical thing about Franken is that, if it did happen the way the playboy bunny says it did, it was not for the sexual gratification of Franken or anybody else.
Wow really? Someone has to tell you where the line is?
I had a guy grab my breast last month. Do you think that is ok? Do you think it is ok that none of our mutual friends said anything (it was in a social situation) and no man told him to back off my chest?
Do you think we as a society should continue to accept this behavior, because hey-all men are just "playing"?
It is not acceptable to disrespect a woman this way - and then to say nothing. If you aren't going to take this opportunity to really learn what we have to deal with and what we are uncomfortable with or feel is threatening, while creating a whole conspiracy that simply mutes us (because most of you have done something inappropriate at one time or another), then please... learn to police yourselves. When you see a friend grab a woman-tell him NO!

I don't think Franken should resign-it's only the Republicans saying that.It was a staged joke photo in terribly bad taste, like a lot of his comedy really (sorry -he didn't always make me laugh). If she was really grabbed-her eyes would be open (in theory -if he could feel anything-she could feel something)-it was just a tacky terribly insulting staged photograph. She was probably real easy to have issues with-she has been a tool for quite some time. He admitted to the photo, but not the kiss. He may also be a dick, when it comes to arguments, but I don't really see that as sexual harassment. Stop feeding these trolls (in the media) and focus on the real crimes.

I am more concerned about the real pedophiles that have gotten away with it, and trust-there are many. I had that sad experience too-and I am silenced on that (still). You guys don't appear to want to believe #metoo and that is the saddest part of all. Nothing will change- you will tuck us back into our patriarchal little corner-bound and gagged, just as soon as you can find a way to make us all look like liars.

Instead of working to change this in our society, you are going to cast a huge shadow of doubt over all women. I really hope you never have to comfort a woman who was raped or molested, and doesn't have the strength to deal with the legal system. It will break your heart-promise.
anon 6:09 p.m.

This is a smear campaign to inoculate Republicans who actually do what they accuse Dems of doing. Lots and lots of women will lie if they are paid to do it. This is what happened with the Clinton nonsense.

You are extremely unsophisticated when it comes to politics. The "me-too" women were and are totally unsophisticated and haven't learned from the 1960s how movements can be co-opted and destroyed. People like Roger Stone and his ilk are totally ruthless, totally sociopathic. All they care about is power.
You think so, huh? So why do you think I haven't named the person who molested me as a child? You may know him. Just maybe, I am supporting reporting the incident without pointing fingers, because the fact is we all have had many sexual assaults on us. We have all had to deal with it for most of our lives. To me, it is not about the criminals, but the overall state of our society. Women have had far too many years of this to keep silent any longer.

Most of the people I know using the #metoo hashtag are reporting incidents and not actual names and most of the people being reported, was a not so well kept secret. I knew about Weinstein over 10 years ago; I knew about Spacey 5 years ago; I knew about Simmons -more or less about the time he dated Kimora at 17; I knew about Ratner vaguely a few years ago; I assumed that about Trump back in the 80s-he has all the marking of a sexual predator and always has; Franken- I don't know that there is anything to know, so no can't claim anything on that. BUT Clinton -oh please....I never believed anything Paula Jones said, but come on- Clinton admitted Lewinsky. W
AND this is where you all seem to be quite so naive about politics, to actually believe that after what they did to tear Bill's presidency down, that Hillary would have it any less difficult. I tried to explain this to a top donor once- said the hatred for her was irrational and dates back to the Clinton presidency and would make for a disaster-even if elected. She didn't want to believe me, but she does now. The hatred for the Clintons has been there long before this campaign-or the last.

Deep down, the Repubs have real issues with the Clinton southern strategy working, as do I. It changed the face of the party from then on, and pushed people like me to the side like useless eaters. Don't get me wrong, Hillary has a good side to her, but somehow it just never wins out. I was watching an interview with her talking about how she almost did something that would have changed this whole country's economic state, but just couldn't quite figure out how to dumb it down enough to beat the Republicans on it. Such a tragedy; they just can't ever quite figure out how to deal with the electorate on a level that outsmarts the Repubs, because they assume it has to be dumbed down to win-- and then we all get sacrificed in the end.
So yeah- they just aren't ruthless enough... oh and they kind of thought it would be a good idea to allow corporate monopolies of news media, shrinking down free press (Thanks to Bill Clinton for alot of that)

Anyway-- There is a reason I do not have children, nor am married. It's a sad fact of the history I have had living with the sexual predators in our midst.
I support women and men- coming forward, because I have been a victim many times, whether it be violent or social or just plain paedophilia. It happens to most women. You want us all to quiver in a corner and act like well behaved silent victims, so we can protect what little is left of the party?
Times are going to change sooner or later, just as they have been for decades upon decades...sometimes quicker than others. There are new amazing people like Danica Roem coming into politics, and they will be the ones that do the hard work, fixing this country. The old will have to start making room for the new.
As for who did what... here's a clue....the person who did it sings a song that will crush everyone's heart, if they knew what it means to me to hear it. I will never ruin the song for the world.
How's that for social justice?

Anon, just something that your post made me think of (you really should pick a fake name, as the anon's get confusing to address since there is no way to know if it's the same person posting or not). My significant other (we are not married, but think of ourselves as married) was abused for years as a child. She told me before we ever got together to never trust women. She felt the same about most, but not all, men. I already didn't trust men, even though I'm a man myself, but for many years I really didn't realize the extent of lies women would resort to to get what they wanted as well. Perhaps if you had ever been on the receiving end of a woman's lies (as I and my significant other both have) you might understand where some of us are coming from.

Having said all that, I don't automatically assume women are lying about sexual assault or abuse. I tend to assume they are not. Unlike my significant other, who when I talked to her about the Roy Moore allegations and the allegations about Hollywood folks, she assumed they must be doing it for the money (she has come around on that though, because of her own experience when she was young).

The problem is, as Joseph is pointing out, that Liberals in particular are not thinking clearly on this issue. Yes, the accusers should be taken seriously and their claims investigated. In Roy Moore's case there are a few of them, and there is other evidence to back up their claims. In Franken's case, as you point out, there is almost no evidence and other witnesses disagree with the accuser. These cases really need to be taken one at a time and dealt with on their merits. Again, not assuming either guilt or innocence.

It IS a good thing that women are now feeling more safe in coming out with these allegations, and I applaud that. Let's just not get carried away assuming all men are bad and all women are good. It's just not that simple and never has been.
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Did Leonardo da Vinci REALLY paint the "Salvator Mundi"?

Since 2010, my ladyfriend (who has a degree in Art History) and I have collaborated on a project to determine the truth about Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi. At that time, many thought that the "red" version -- often called the de Ganay version -- was the likeliest to have come from the master's hand. In 2012, a "blue" Salvator Mundi, which used to be known as the Cook version, was identified as the genuine work by Leonardo.

The Cook version was purchased a few years ago by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, whose name has cropped up in certain discussions of the ongoing Trump/Russia scandal. Yesterday, that same painting was sold in a Christie's auction to an unknown buyer for a record price: $450 million. Our understanding is that the version previously owned by the de Ganay family was sold (for a much lower price) to a museum in Brazil.

We believe that both versions -- the red and the blue -- originated in Leonardo's studio, that both derive from the same cartoons (note that plural), that neither one was entirely painted by Leonardo, and that the de Ganay version has the best claim to be the prime version -- the original.

In 2013, we prepared a documentary to explain our findings. The film is unfinished. The final version -- if ever we do complete it -- will be some ten or fifteen minutes longer. Of the missing final act, I can say this: In 2010, my ladyfriend presented her findings to professors and colleagues at the University of California at Riverside, and the Renaissance specialist at UCR declared her work to be "inarguable." (Let us be clear: He said those words about the material which is not yet included in our film.)

Many of you will feel that this film ends "just when it was getting good." Apologies! Perhaps a complete version will appear soon.

The press has given the public a great deal of misinformation about these two works. I believe that this video will give audiences a much fuller understanding of the history and provenance of these two paintings. If you watch this video in a calm and objective frame of mind, you too may come to the conclusion that both paintings came from Leonardo's studio, and that the de Ganay should be considered the "prime" version. We invite viewers to double-check our sources and we welcome any and all serious counter-arguments.

Nota bene: It is my custom to edit video to a temp track. This technique allows greater freedom to rewrite and to rework sections of the film. The final version of this film will be narrated by my ladyfriend.

You may be wondering why we did not finish the film in 2013. To be honest, we are both a bit puzzled ourselves! We took a break from the project at a time when we could not determine the ownership of both paintings. (We knew that the de Ganay had been sold, but we did not know to whom.) After a while, we became diverted by...well, by life. My ladyfriend took a job at a local museum, and her duties have proven rather demanding.

This video was placed on YouTube quite a while ago, but was marked "private" until yesterday. We have decided to place it before the public because the record-smashing sale put the Salvator Mundi in the news.

The machine-generated subtitles are funny - sprinkled with naughty words like cock and cunt. Are the subtitles created added by YouTube?
Until I saw your comment, Michael, I wasn't aware that YouTube could auto-generate subtitles. I tested it just now. That's a pretty impressive capability!

In this case, I wrote the narration as a word file which was turned into audio via a text-to-speech app. That audio file was used when I edited the film. So that's a robot voice. The final version of the film (if one ever exists) will have a human narrator, of course. Apparently, YouTube can automatically take that voice and turn it back into written speech.

It does so with pretty good accuracy, but there are mistakes. The Cook version of the Salvator Mundi was indeed owned for a while by an American calling himself Kuntz, which was almost certainly a fake name. I tried to find out who this guy really was, but ran into a wall. Youtube apparently heard "Kuntz" as you-know-what.
Thanks for posting that very interesting video. Look for ward to you the completed project.
Fascinating vid, Joe. Thanks for putting it up. Only a few short months ago I read about the on-going arguments over these two works and was astonished when I heard that the one painting was up for auction, touted as the authenticated original. And the final price! Three times plus what was predicted.

Would love to see/hear your final conclusion in the video.

Thanks for sharing the video ... the quality and detail of the eyes and the leatherwork is astonishing, and I admire the depth of the analysis of the two works. Thanks again for sharing!
You guys really should finish this, it's fantastic. Well written and edited, and the timelines, reference imagery, and material explainers (nice use of the clip from 'agony and the ecstasy,' btw) all make for compelling viewing. It ends on a real cliffhanger, too.

Had you finished this sooner, who knows--you could've saved someone $400 mil.

Yeah, right...
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A few things

That was on FOX? Shep Smith offers a surprisingly good exposure of the right's many lies about the Uranium One deal. But he left out one important fact:

If Trump were really concerned about Rosatom's ownership of an American uranium mine, he could force a divestiture.

One Executive Order. That's all it would take. This fact alone proves that the whole charge is bogus.

Scandal, nothingburger, or trap? I'm suspicious of Jason Leopold's latest.
On Aug. 3 of last year, just as the US presidential election was entering its final, heated phase, the Russian foreign ministry sent nearly $30,000 to its embassy in Washington. The wire transfer, which came from a Kremlin-backed Russian bank, landed in one of the embassy’s Citibank accounts and contained a remarkable memo line: “to finance election campaign of 2016.”

That wire transfer is one of more than 60 now being scrutinized by the FBI and other federal agencies investigating Russian involvement in the US election. The transactions, which moved through Citibank accounts and totaled more than $380,000, each came from the Russian foreign ministry and most contained a memo line referencing the financing of the 2016 election.

The money wound up at Russian embassies in almost 60 countries from Afghanistan to Nigeria between Aug. 3 and Sept. 20, 2016. It is not clear how the funds were used. At least one transaction that came into the US originated with VTB Bank, a financial institution that is majority-owned by the Kremlin.
That's not a lot of money. Why on earth would Russia label the transfers "to finance election campaign of 2016"? That's akin to a gang of bank robbers spray-painting the words "GETAWAY CAR" on their getaway car.

Anyone wishing to pump that kind of money into the Trump campaign -- or any other campaign -- need merely donate 50 bucks at a time. Absolutely no-one keeps track of the small donors. Ding ding ding, over and over again. A computer program could do it. It's a nearly fool-proof method.

So what's the deal with those transfers? I have a theory.

By August 3, the media was already talking about the Trump/Russia connection. It would have made sense for Russia to make a modest donation to the Clinton campaign in order to besmirch her. This is, in fact, a classic Roger Stone tactic -- arranging for an enemy candidate to receive "donations" rom a group disliked by the general public. In 1972, George McGovern got money from an organization called "Gays for McGovern."

Speaking of dirty tricks...

"Believe Women" is already being used against Bill Clinton. Check out Caitlin Flanagan's scurrilous piece in The Atlantic...
Yet let us not forget the sex crimes of which the younger, stronger Bill Clinton was very credibly accused in the 1990s. Juanita Broaddrick reported that when she was a volunteer on one of his gubernatorial campaigns, she had arranged to meet him in a hotel coffee shop. At the last minute, he had changed the location to her room in the hotel, where she says he very violently raped her. She said that she fought against Clinton throughout a rape that left her bloodied. At a different Arkansas hotel, he caught sight of a minor state employee named Paula Jones, and, Jones said, he sent a couple of state troopers to invite her to his suite, where he exposed his penis to her and told her to kiss it. Kathleen Willey said that she met him in the Oval Office for personal and professional advice and that he groped her, rubbed his erect penis on her, and pushed her hand to his crotch.

It was a pattern of behavior; it included an alleged violent assault; the women involved had far more credible evidence than many of the most notorious accusations that have come to light in the past five weeks. But Clinton was not left to the swift and pitiless justice that today’s accused men have experienced. Rather, he was rescued by a surprising force: machine feminism. The movement had by then ossified into a partisan operation, and it was willing—eager—to let this friend of the sisterhood enjoy a little droit de seigneur.
This is crap.

Bill Clinton was not given any kind of a free pass. He was subjected to a tireless, ruthless inquisition by enemies who were utterly ruthless and extremely well-funded.

Flanagan refuses to let her readers see the evidence that these women lied, and that their stories transmogrified over time. Flanagan's deceptive account of the Broaddrick story is particularly infuriating: There's a damned good reason why even the National Fucking Enquirer wouldn't touch her story. (And that reason is not because the National Enquirer is part of the Evil Penismonster Conspiracy Against Women.)

I too say that we must believe the women. Not all women: Women are just as likely as men to be corruptible, bribe-able, and blackmailable. But some women are superbly resistant to corruption.

In fact, some women are downright heroic.

You know who I believe? Susan McDougal. She was imprisoned on bullshit charges and assured that she would walk -- and no doubt prosper, financially -- if she recited the script that the Republicans wanted her to recite.

I also believe Julie Hiatt Steele, the brave woman who proved Kathleen Willey a liar. Please note that propagandists like Caitlin Flanagan refuse to mention Steele. (So where do you get the best borscht in St. Petersburg, Caitlin?) The younger generation doesn't know her story, and the older folks have largely forgotten. The following was published in March of 2001:
Julie Hiatt Steele, hounded and prosecuted by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr during the Clinton impeachment campaign of 1998-99, is facing severe financial and personal difficulties arising from Starr's vendetta against her.

Steele hasn't worked since February 1998, when she submitted an affidavit in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case undermining the credibility of Kathleen Willey, a one-time Clinton supporter who achieved notoriety by going on the Sixty Minutes television program in March 1998 and accusing Clinton of making unwanted sexual advances.

Steele lost her employment when the affidavit and her refusal to go along with Willey's version of events became public knowledge. Subsequently she became the target of an extraordinary campaign of prosecutorial terror and intimidation by Starr's office.

Steele was dragged before two grand juries. Her daughter and brother, as well as a former lawyer and accountant, were also interrogated. She was forced to turn over tax and bank records, credit reports and telephone records to Starr's investigators. Most despicably, the Office of the Independent Counsel threatened to move against Steele's parental rights, making public the fact that it was looking into the procedures—which were, in fact, entirely legal—by which she had adopted her son in Romania.

Ultimately, in January 1999, Starr indicted Steele on three counts of obstructing justice and one charge of making false statements. She faced the possibility of 35 years in jail and a one million dollar fine. Starr's office pursued its legally baseless and vindictive case against Steele to trial in May 1999. The case ended in a hung jury and mistrial, a humiliating defeat for Starr. His office decided not to pursue a retrial.

Starr's conduct toward Steele was of a piece with his legal attack on other would-be witnesses against the Clintons, including Susan McDougal, whom he kept in prison for 18 months on contempt charges. In both cases, Starr used his legal powers to prosecute and harass people who refused to give testimony that supported his vendetta against Clinton. Both McDougal and Steele assert that Starr and his band of legal toughs persecuted them because they refused to give false testimony as demanded by the Independent Counsel.

Having run through her savings and unable to work for emotional and physical reasons since her trial ended, Steele, a divorced mother of two grown daughters and a 10-year-old son, now faces the loss of her house in Virginia.
Here's a recent tweet from Julie Hiatt Steele:
Starr wanted us locked up for refusing to lie. Starr, via the OIC, informed me that they needed a Kathleen Willey grope. They said I could pick my own date, it could be consensual or not. Refusal would result in indictment. I refused & indicted
In a later tweet, she says that she was acquitted "but lost everything but our dignity."

"Believe Women"? No. Believe the RIGHT women. Believe the women who don't take the pay-off. Believe the women who act selflessly and with courage. Believe women who would rather lose everything than kowtow to the right-wing manipulators. Believe the women who, when society hands them lined paper, have the courage to write the other way.

Believe Susan McDougal. Believe Julie Hiatt Steele.

Don't believe Paula Jones or Kathleen Willey or Juanita Broaddrick. And in the future, do NOT believe Caitlin Flanagan.

You've heard the phrase "A wolf in sheep's clothing"? People forget that half of all wolves are female.

The Future. Lest you think that this blog exists purely to defend the Clintons -- with whom I've often disagreed on policy -- let's consider the next election. We don't know yet whom the Dems will choose. If they choose Biden -- well, I know something about Biden that you do not. Let's leave it at that.

As a thought experiment, let's posit that Al Franken jumps into the race (even though he says he won't). Everyone loves Al, right? I'd vote for him. Hell, I'd work for him. But if he got any traction, if he got the nomination -- well, you know damn well what would happen.

He'll be accused of committing acts of sexual abuse during his SNL days.

That's not just a prediction. It's a mortal lock. It's an absolute certainty.

And on cue, right-wing plants in the "liberal" media (why are you squirming, Caitlin?) will tell Dems that we must always Believe Women, even when Women make unbelievable claims about lovable Al Franken.

Never forget: The Alt Right has LIMITLESS funds. They can pay millions to make any smear -- however baseless, however inane -- seem credible.

Can you be 100 percent certain that (oh, say) Laraine Newman would refuse an offer of $20 million to tell lies about Franken? Maybe she would refuse that offer. In fact, I'm pretty darn sure that she would. But can you be 100 percent certain that every woman who worked on SNL (both behind the scenes and on camera) during Franken's time on the show would refuse an offer of $20 million? Can you be absolutely certain that all of those women are incorruptible?

Even (oh, say) Victoria Jackson?

Mark my words: The propagandists possess the power to convince half the country that Al Franken had Gilda Radner killed to shut her up. The same people who gave us birtherism and Pizzagate will not shrink from the Gilda Radner Murder Conspiracy.

Shit like that WILL happen. It's a lock. If Franken doesn't run, then any other male Dem will face these accusations. This is the future that the Believe Women movement makes inevitable.
Caitlin Flannagan is a lousy writer, a right wing hack and a low quality human being. Her presence in The Atlantic along with the likes of Haidt led me to drop the mag. My theory is that they publish Coates to lure decent folks in.

Joseph, you may be right about the cynical use to which Beleve Women may be put. The strategy now is to normalize Trump. That would be why Bill Clinton is stll an issue, besides Clinton Derangement Syndrome, the purpose of which now is to normalize Trump -- and to supply pink slime (google it if you're unaware) labeled "red meat" to the rubes.

Now things have changed, times are stranger, standards no longer exist at all. But even in the fairly recent past, some possibly marginal figure would run one of the new memes out on a blog and a month or year later if it was received well (I gusee) it's all over the place. Others failed and became unfindable. The most memorable of these was a google search for "death cult" that retuned, high in the results, something like "the Dems are a death cult because they used the lates mass shooting to advance their gun control agenda. It vanished in a week.

Anyway, it had always seemed to me that Obama would have been a great candidate for such a campaign of well orchestrated fake news. The closer we got to November 2008, the more I expected it to happen. Why didn't the, to my thinking, very likely half dozen young blonde women, nicely paid by Roger Stone, appear with stories of escapades? Why didn't Roger & co, who this time had a real smear campaign operating, drag out ye olde "Hillary's a lesbian" thing? (Typing that just now, something I've never typed before, autocomplete supplied "lesbian" as a choice. Jesus.)

The right wingers have nearly infinite funding, zero conscience or regard for truth and have a long history of dirty tricks. So why not some that might have been expected of them?

Two reasons come to mind:
Oppo research showing no opportunity for such events.
Polling suggesting that the fake news isn't believable.

But each of those reasons can be sseen to be somewhat weak.

I'll be looking for some trial run stuff about Franken.

Unless people grow a brain and start asking the right questions nothing will change. Why the establishment both in the left(?) And the right hate the Clintons so much? Why are they so afraid of another Clinton in WH?
The dossier said the Russians funded the interference campaign with wire transfers to Russian government facilities overseas. Couldn't the wire transfers reported by BuzzFeed be those?
THANK YOU for this post. I've lost my patience with anyone suggesting the left somehow didn't atone for Bill Clinton. It's complete horsepucky. Unless the standard is a woman making an accusation of sexual harrassment/assault is always believed regardless of the evidence, then Jones/Broaddrick/Wiley are simply not credible. And as you so brilliantly point out, believing the three women above means disbelieving women who contradict their stories. So in the Bill Clinton cases, there are some women you have to disbelieve no matter what side you're on. It sure discredits the idea that women must always be believed.

I am too young to have lived through this whole ordeal, but does anyone know why Starr and the OIC themselves were never investigated for abusing their power? Or was it like so many American scandals where it was decided that we should just move on?
Shoot. I also forget to add for all these people chastising the left for not reckoning with Bill Clinton, if they really think this is true, then you have to advocate for Trump resigning immediately. His sexual misdeeds are an order of magnitude greater than the worst accusations against Bill. The fact that I haven't seen the same rash of articles calling for Trump's resignation shows this is all about Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

Goddamn I hate our media.
Caitlin Flannagan, has something in common with a majority of the Al Gore bashers basher brigade back in 2000. Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, and Maureen Dowd all belong to an ethnic group that has a higher than average incidence of assault by pedophile priests.
Good points, Joseph.

And yes, as great as Sen. Franken is...yep, I can see this being directed against him (even though the man is a clean slate). Plus never forget that the Berners will still be sending withering fire his way because to them, it's all about getting Sanders elected and who cares if the GOP screw things up even further?

I'd say one reason for the pivot back to Bill Clinton is because it appears that very few in DC and in the media have read Conason and Lyon's THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT or have seen the great documentary based on the book. That book--along with David Brock's BLINDED BY THE RIGHT--exposed the sordid mess that was the GOP's relentless assault on the Clintons during the 1990s. But it also appears that some of the loudest voices on the Left haven't read those books either--see H.A. Goodman, Walker Bragman.
I just half-heard a more believable explanation for the Russian money on the Stephanie Miller Show. I promise to go double check this and report back if I'm just totally wrong when I'm not late for work. What I heard was that there was a Russian election going on and the money could well have been for the purpose of enabling Russian citizens who were outside the country to vote.
Matt Yglasias is engaging in revisionist history concerning the Lewinsky affair as well.
I voted against WJC in the '92 primary, not because of morality, but politics. I figured if the rw machine could trash the bland Mike Dukakis the way they did, his past would be easy fodder for them.

When the word of this scandal broke, I felt gut-punched, and sick at heart. I thought it was worthy of his resignation. But not of impeachment. I thought he was right to resist that. Later, when I found out of the many abuses of the Starr operation, it informed me why he shouldn't have resigned.

I still believe he disgraced his office, and that was a shame. But his boss, ultimately, the American people, didn't favor his ouster.

Thank you for saying what needed to be said about Caitlin Flanagan. I was so angry at some of the women over at Reddit's Gendercritical subreddit because they believed whole the bullshit Flanagan was peddling.

Flanagan knows better, but she is counting on the younger generation, and people who didn't follow the bogus Clinton scandals, to peddle her lies and rewrite history.

Most of the "scandals" were financed by Richard Mellon Scaife via the Arkansas Project and outfits like the Federalist Society, and all were designed for the sole purpose of destabilizing and hamstringing the Clinton administration from doing anything. The GOP and right-wing were motivated by one thing and one thing only: Clinton and Gore posed a threat to the GOP's Southern Strategy, and the GOP couldn't tolerate it.
Monica Lewinsky was a willing participant in her clumsy attempts at bagging the president, as any of us who were around then and followed the story knows. She was the one who went to D.C. for specifically that purpose, bragging to friends about getting her "presidential knee pads." Some are trying to claim that BC was engaging in sexual harassment, but of course he wasn't. In fact, he broke it off for family reasons and had her sent to the Pentagon, whereupon she shot her big mouth to Linda Tripp, and the rest of it is history.

I get sick and tired of having to correct people on this.
OTE, thanks. I can't recall where, but somewhere on the internets there is a quote for Roger Stone in which he gleefully admits that the younger generation doesn't know the details of what happened to Bill Clinton, and thus the right can now re-sell all of the stories that were exposed as bullshit in the 1990s.

XI, I'm with you. I supported Kerrey in '92 precisely because a war hero seemed more impervious to attack than someone like Clinton. I'm STILL pissed at Bill Clinton for sucking up all of the media's attention.

Ysee, I'm not necessarily asking people to be pro-Clinton. I'm saying that if you are going to offer an anti-Clinton argument, do so for non-bullshit reasons.
Caitlin Flanagan update:

In the least surprising development in human history, she is now circling in on her real target: Hillary Clinton.

"The next stage of the Bill Clinton reckoning will be an honest acceptance of Hillary Clinton's complicity."
A final note, OTE: You demonstrate my point perfectly. Monica Lewenski now does not say "I was sexually harassed." She says "I fell in love with my boss." That's precisely what she says in her TED talk. Falling in love with your boss -- and having your affections reciprocated -- is NOT a scenario in which a male sexually harasses a female.

For that reason, it should have been utterly out of bounds to ask Clinton about Monica in the Paula Jones case.

When feminists try to argue that Monica was "harassed," they lose me. That kind of argument is not just strained, it's totally insane. It's also very useful to Roger Stonian manipulators.

Look, sex is sex and love is love, and both love and sex will always be messy. People will always do stupid things. People will always get hurt. Hearts will always be broken. But stupidity, hurt and heartbreak do NOT equal sexual harassment -- and those who pretend otherwise are, in their own way, monsters.

here's poor little Caitlin getting her clock cleaned by Colbert in 2006 & 2014:

& Joan Walsh on Caitlin:
Anybody who tries to peddle the fiction that Lewinsky was at all a victim of BC is going to be corrected. I am not hesitant to call people liars if they peddle it.

The ONLY reason BC ever let down his guard with her was because of the extreme stress he was going under when the GOP shut down the government over Medicare. I seriously doubt he would have done it otherwise.

The ONLY man who ever victimized her was Kenneth Starr. Period. He ruined a lot of people with his witch hunt of the Clintons.

I loathe Lewinsky because she has not moved on with her life by doing the right thing and being nondescript. She has literally capitalized on her dubious fame, which I think was her motive from the get-go. Remember, she had a good teacher in that regard, and that was her mother, who was also a celebrity groupie.

Boy were you prophetic about Al Franken.
I know it’s just coincidence (do I?), but it’s still a bit puzzling that Al Franken is exposed just hours after you surmised the possibility! Please tell us who’s next…
I guess you called it Joseph:
Folks, the fulfillment of the Franken "prophecy" freaked even ME out. I chose Franken to illustrate my point because he seemed so unlikely to be caught up in such a scandal.

The reaction on Kos right now seems very troll-ish. There's a "2008" feel about it.

And that's all I'll say about the matter for a day or so. I put a lot of work into that video about the Salvator Mundi, so I'd prefer to keep that post at the top of my blog for a while.
You must have your finger on some kind of universal pulse, Joe. Could not believe that the first thing I read this morning was the Al Franken story. My son called from Philly and said: "Well, they didn't get Menendez (who frankly I have no sympathy for), so now they're after Franken."

Of course, he didn't know the half of it. But it pretty much creeped me out.

You're on a roll. And I did read/view the Salvator Mundi post. Fascinating post.

HA! Maybe you inspired them to go after him... they probably knew about this for a long time really. Anyone else you want to inspire them to bring down...they are all probably worthy prospects. Most men at one point or another, do some thing insanely violating or demeaning to women at some point. Hell - a friend grabbed my tit just the other day, because we are friends???!!! I had to tell him never to do that again. Why should I have to tell a man that, let alone a friend? It's time for men to start growing up- women deserve respect.

I just love how these willfully ignorant so called 3rd Wave Feminists are attacking 2nd Wave Feminists for not attacking Bill Clinton back in the 90's. Guess what, just maybe 2nd Wave Feminists knew Jones, Wiley and Broaddrick weren't credible because they changed their stories from the consensual contact stories they testified to, to harassment, etc... when they became Fox News regulars.

Third Wavers like Traister, etc.. hate 2nd Wave Feminists like Hillary- who actually has accomplished a hell of a lot of things to help millions of girls and women around the world. And inspired millions more- Around 80-90% of the women who turned up for the Women's March were Hillary voters. All the women that ran and won in the Virginia election said Hillary inspired them to run. The majority of the Indivisible chapters around the US are staffed mostly by women who backed Hillary in 2016. This is what the fauxgressive left (Berners and Steiners) and the right wing want to shut down. They don't want a revival of 2nd wave style feminism, a multiracial feminism that can actually change our culture for the better.

What have these 3rd Wave Feminists that hate Hillary so much ever done to help women and girls- nothing. I'm in my early 50's and am a late 2nd wave feminist. In the 2nd wave we knew some women would actively try to undermine liberalism and even feminism, most infamously Phyllis Shafley. (But sometimes by even claiming, at times, they were feminists, like Pagalia, Dowd, Roife, etc...)

I am curious if you think that the 2nd wave supported Hillary so much, how come she didn't receive the majority of the white women vote. I would assume that babyboomers are in the 2nd wave and vote the most.
From a recent article:
Clinton received 43 percent of the white women’s vote in 2016, while Trump took 53 percent, according to exit polls. But Clinton did win a majority of white female college graduates, while Trump won non-college-educated white women.

You want to pit groups of women against each other here, but the fact is that your own generation did not support her. According to Clinton, it was because they were basically subservient to their male counterpart on this election. To dismiss the loss to such an issue, while not addressing her own failings, brings us to the place we are now. FYI-I voted for her, but not because of any ideal... it was because I knew the alternative. I live in a state where my vote really was a throwaway, but I voted for her regardless. I have been a very liberal democrat for years- 50+ so I think I have a right to say, she did not address my issues the way in which it resonated. The party of compromises has always compromised on my issues, but I blindly punch the hole in the D box and hope for the best, because it could be so much worse. Is that a future to look forward to?
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Monday, November 13, 2017

I'm not the only one who thinks that the "Believe Women" movement will soon benefit the Trumpers. UPDATE: Why Beverly's tale is not a "lock"

Attorney Gloria Allred represents a woman named Beverly Young Nelson, who says that Roy Moore attempted to rape her (Nelson) when she was 16:
Nelson said she was waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up from work one night when Moore offered to give her a ride home.

"I trusted Mr. Moore because he was a district attorney," Nelson said.

When Nelson got in Moore's car, she said he drove behind the restaurant and parked near a dumpster instead of taking her home. Nelson said Moore groped her and tried to force her head onto his crotch. Nelson says she yelled and tried to leave the car, but Moore locked the door.

"I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him," Nelson said. "I was terrified. I thought he was going to rape me. At some point, he gave up."

Nelson said before Moore opened the door and either she fell out or he pushed her out, he said. '"You're just a child and I am the District Attorney of Etowah County, and if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you."'

Nelson says she had bruises on her neck after the assault but covered them with makeup.

Nelson says she told her sister about the incident two weeks later. Nelson told her mother about four years ago, and she told her husband before they got married 13 years ago, she said.
Is this claim credible? On initial glance, it seems so. But I also have some problems:

1. Gloria Allred also represented (probably pro-bono) the Trump accuser known initially as "Katie Johnson," whose story I consider unlikely. Allred no doubt acted in good faith, but I'm not sure that she was wise. "Katie" was also promoted by the ultra-dubious Robert Morrow, partner to Roger Stone. His involvement suggests that she might have been a set-up designed to injure the credibility of women offering real abuse accusations against Trump.

2. We don't have an organization like the Washington Post behind the Nelson story. Whatever you may think of the WP, it is undeniably a "sue-able" entity with deep pockets. For legal reasons which should be obvious to all -- even though they are not obvious to many Trumpers -- the WP is going to research the hell out a spectacular claim before publishing anything that opens them up to a court action. That's not what's going on here: Beverly Young Nelson -- so far -- seems to be on her own.

Has anyone actually talked with the mother, the husband, and the sister? What will happen if they give us reason to doubt Beverly's credibility? We're told that Moore left a message in her high school yearbook: Is the handwriting genuine, and is the ink correct for the claimed time period?

(Incidentally, Gateway Pundit calls the WP "far left." Good lord. Do people actually believe that crap?)

3. We must understand that we are facing an extremely well-funded conspiracy that is capable of anything. I am not referring to a conspiracy to promote Roy Moore: I am talking about a conspiracy to put and keep Donald Trump in office. More than that: It's a conspiracy to convert this country to Trumpism, to make the current nightmare permanent. It is easy to see how the conspirators might promote a false claimant against Moore in order to injure the credibility of the real claimants.

4. Even if Beverly Neson is telling the absolute truth, the revelation of her testimony right now -- with Allred by her side -- will probably push Moore's poll numbers up a couple of points. That's Alabama for you.

In order to navigate these treacherous waters, you have to think at all times like Roger Stone, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and Machiavelli. You have to think like the dirtiest dirty trickster ever employed by the CIA. You have to think like a professional grifter, like a ruthless carny. Trust no-one. Do not even trust a tearful woman telling you a story that accords with what you already believe about a man you know to be a creep.

UPDATE. Listening to Beverly Nelson's press conference again, one detail really bothered me: She said that she tried to get out of the car but Moore "reached over" and locked the door, preventing her escape. That's not how car door locks worked. The phrase "reached over" indicates that we are not talking about an electronic locking system. With manual locks, it is impossible to keep someone locked IN a car.

On CNN just now, I heard a proponent of the "Believe Women" mentality insist that we must accept all of Moore's accusers or none of them -- and that any man who questions even one of these women must be doing so for psychological reasons. Apparently, evidence and logic no longer count.

I now think that Beverly is a ringer.

I'm not the only one saying it. I pissed off some readers when I suggested that our new 11th Commandment -- "Thou shalt never doubt anyone making an accusation of sexual abuse" -- will soon be used to help the Trumpers. But look at what happened to George Takei: His travails have the Alt Rightists cackling with glee -- and his tale is but prologue to what is to come.

Brian Beutler gets it. You simply must read his new piece "Breitbart's coming exploitation of the Believe Women movement."
Unfolding against the backdrop of the post-Weinstein revolution, the Moore scandal exposes the conservative propaganda machine in the ugliest and most discrediting possible fashion. But these cultural changes are all but destined to collide with one another in the opposite direction, in a way that exploits both the beneficence of the “believe women” campaign, and the even-handedness of the mainstream media. It is a collision we as a political culture are not equipped to handle, the consequences of which are almost too awful to contemplate.

Imagine it’s September or October 2020, and out of nowhere multiple women accuse the Democratic presidential nominee of sexual abuse, but instead of surfacing in a meticulously sourced story in a news outlet with a healthy tradition of careful reporting, it runs in a blind item on Or imagine such a story about a current Democratic candidate or leader landed in such an outlet tomorrow.
We saw what form this might take a year ago, when Steve Bannon, the Breitbart impresario who chaired Donald Trump’s campaign, responded to the unearthed videotape of Trump boasting about committing sexual assault by parading Bill Clinton’s accusers around the second presidential debate.

There is more than a kernel of truth at the bottom of the idea that Bill Clinton was a sexual deviant, or that he deserved more social and legal censure than he endured, but it is also farcical to imagine that Bannon and Breitbart were first and foremost interested in seeking justice. They ran factually questionable counter-ops in bad faith, to neutralize Trump’s liability, suggesting Hillary Clinton was, through her loyalty to Bill, similarly tainted. The psychological sabotage at the debate was an ancillary benefit.
It is taken for granted at this point that the next Democratic presidential nominee will become the focal point of bad faith conspiracy theories, amplified by the right wing noise machine. But it is only in the realm of sex abuse that liberals will have committed in advance to lending credence to accusations of wrongdoing. “Believe women” is an important movement, but it also obligates its adherents not to dismiss thinly-sourced allegations out of hand, even when they appear in outlets that have torched their credibility—and that impulse will be magnified by the mainstream media ethic of manufacturing symmetry between partisan teams.

I can’t imagine a more straightforward way to force liberals into a toxic cycle of recriminations. Obviously, as in the cases of Weiner and Weinstein, liberals don’t reflexively circle wagons around accused abusers, but propagandists thrive on the proliferation of doubt, and in this case the doubt would stem from the far right’s inherent lack of credibility. We underrate—as in haven’t considered at all—how low the rot of bad faith in conservative media could drag the rest of us, the whole country, all on its own. But the test of it is almost certainly coming.
I agree with most of this, although I have a few quibbles. I do not believe that Clinton is a "deviant," unless we define deviancy to mean "heterosexual male who had sex outside of marriage." I also believe that Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick have all told stories which expanded over time, and that Broaddrick in particular demonstrates that not all cries of "rape" are equally credible. Allow me to repeat an earlier post:
The Broaddrick tale is long and involved, as these stories invariably are, but the bottom line comes to this: She has no credibility. No objective party who has examined her tale believes that Bill Clinton flew into rape mode the moment he met her. David Brock (when he was a right-wing hit man) couldn't take her seriously. Even the National freakin' Enquirer couldn't take her seriously.

Juanita Broaddrick attended a pro-Clinton fundraiser after the alleged incident. She told the lawyers for Paula Jones: "I do not have any information to offer regarding a nonconsensual or unwelcome sexual advance by Mr. Clinton."

(For more context, see here.)

After the spirit of art took hold of Juanita, she not only spoke of rape, she added the detail that Bill Clinton savagely bit her face, leaving a lasting wound. Oddly, there are no photos of this bite mark. (Yes, children: Cheap cameras were widely available back then, and nearly everyone had at least one.) There are no medical or police records.
I believe that the current "Believe Women" movement is being manipulated. It's all a massive Roger Stonian ploy to prepare the way for a newer, better version of Juanita Brodderick -- Juanita 2.0.

This brings me to my other issue with Beutler. He avers that the Alt Rightists are going to use false sexual accusations against the next Democratic candidate. Why wait? It's perfectly obvious that the neofascists are running against the Clintons, and will continue to do so for decades after Bill and Hillary are dead. Trump may seek to destroy democracy itself under the guise of protecting the nation from the Clinton/Soros menace.

I predict that a new "Bill raped me" accusation will come from a former "Epstein girl" from Russia who will claim that Bill Clinton raped her when she was underaged. Millions of dollars will be spent on backstopping this story. ("Backstopping" is a spy term which refers to the concoction of detail to make a false identity seem real. You can't sell a fake Monet without first creating a fake provenance.) When that story hits, the world will forget about Trump/Russia.

You've no doubt heard about Roger Stone's rules. Cannon's rule: Think like Stone. Whatever happens, anywhere in the world, ask yourself: How would Roger manipulate this? When predicting the future, ask yourself: What would Roger do with unlimited resources?

My other rule: All "movements" are bowel movements. I cringed the first time I saw the words "Believe Women movement." Even a movement which seems beneficial and necessary can be perverted to Alt Rightist ends.

I know what you're thinking: "That's a very paranoid attitude, Mr. Cannon." Well, you know what old Chuck Manson used to say: "Paranoia is just another form of awareness, and awareness is just another form of love."
To add to the dubious credibility of Broaddrick, Joe Conason, who as I'm sure you know wrote the definitive book about the Bill Clinton scandals titled The Hunting of the President, says he thinks Broaddrick was forced to tell the lie about her rape or face going to jail like Susan McDougal. His Twitter timeline has been outstanding in response to Bill Clinton whataboutism.

And I should add, no, you are not too cynical. I am now coming to believe that the biggest thing holding liberals back is they are not cynical enough about the right. Once you understand they virtually never act in good faith, fighting them is much easier. I know I get about 10% as worked up about their nonsense since I started adopting this attitude.
Alas, it's started already. Just look at this ridiculous tweet from MSNBC's Chris Hayes:

Apparently "believing women" now means we should believe a person who swore under oath that something didn't happen, and now claims that it did. So, when should we "believe" her? Which of her two contradictory accounts is the one we should endorse? I file the Broaddrick story right down there with the story of the woman -- equally passionate and tearful about it -- who insists that Hillary Clinton murdered her cat.

What people don't realize is that automatically giving every single accuser the benefit of the doubt backfires when you're talking about people with powerful enemies -- enemies who can easily afford to bribe people to make false accusations.

Believe it or not, the firestrom around Hayes's tweet is what eventually prompted Joe Conason to issue his rebukes.
FYI About manual door locks. Depending on the make pushing down the plunger disabled the inside door handle as well as the outside. You had to reach around and pull up the plunger to open the door. A teen girl trying to do that while pinned by a grown man would be near impossible.
Nonsense. The lock knob was mere inches away from her right shoulder. Why not just pull it up?
About the lock knob. To pull it up she'd need to use her left hand. Quite possibly it was otherwise occupied.

My clear recollection of Chevy products is that holding the lock down kept the door locked. Guys working those traps knew how their car doors worked, and how to keep them locked.

I saw her announcement. She seemed credible, with people she'd told over the years. One telling facet of the story is that she consistently referred to him as "Mr. Moore," revealing the sordid hierarchy of privilege.

Then, consider that new piece of information, that Moore had been kicked olut of the local mall for leching after teenagers.
Tom, I've owned cars by Chevy, Ford, AMC, Datsun, Toyota, Honda and VW -- boy-oh-BOY do I miss my '75 beetle! But I've never owned a car in which it was possible to keep someone trapped in the passenger seat.

(I was tempted to add the words "And lord knows I've tried!" But folks might take that seriously.)

That said, the shopping mall stories DO have the "ring of real," as does the original WP report.
About the door lock....a 16 year old girl suddenly fighting off an older, more experienced, heavier man would not necessarily have the presence of mind to be able to twist around and pull up the lock. Both her hands might have been engaged in pushing him off, and he might have had his arm around her in such a way that he was blocking access to the door lock (I can actually imagine this scenario quite easily).

None of these women came forward for money or fame; they have clearly struggled with their survivor-ship for years, and each of them thought she was the only one. I am proud of them for coming forward, for speaking truth to power, and for their willingness to have their truths attacked by small-minded people looking for any perceived inconsistency. How about showing a little manly support, Joseph?
Consider the possibility that Moore "reached over" Ms. Nelson's shoulder and pushed down a mechanical lock control from which the plastic golf tee handle had been removed. The skinny threaded shaft would be easy to push down -- not so easy to pull up without the handle.
"...I've never owned a car in which it was possible to keep someone trapped in the passenger seat."

Maybe. But I seriously doubt that you ever felt motivated to fiddle with the lock system to see if you could.

There are vehicle registration records. What was Roy Moore driving at this time?
I don't know, I can see the door lock thing going either way. My friends and I would sometimes try to "trap" each other in the passenger seat of my parents old '76 Chevy station wagon. It never worked for long, but then we weren't trying to molest each other and had roughly equal strength (and, of course, weren't REALLY trying to trap each other). It did work for a minute or two though, and I could see a young girl like that with a full grown man she's trying to fight off have a hard time getting out if he's intent on keeping her in. Still, your point is taken and it does seem like she would have been able to get out if she kept trying.

I also agree with you completely about where this could, and probably will, lead. The right loves to hoist the left with their own petard so to speak, since the right has done it to themselves so many times over the years and gotten tired of the left pointing it out and laughing at them.
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

The two oldest professions

Politico tells a spy story that illuminates the current Russia scandal. In 1986, the CIA and the FBI learned that an American, identity unknown, was passing secrets to the Soviets. In 2001, they determined that the traitor was FBI employee Robert Hanssen. The FBI used a crude tactic to uncover Hanssen: They paid a Russian intelligence operative a million dollars to spill the beans.

Spying has been called the world's second oldest profession. Paying for information may be the oldest strategy employed within that profession.

Keep all of this in mind as you think about the Steele dossier. We are told that Steele paid for some of the information in that dossier. The Republicans have tried to convince the country that payment of Russian sources is the same thing as colluding with the Russians.

That's crazy.

When the Bush II administration paid a million bucks to discover Hanssen's identity, the administration did not collude. What happened at that time may not have been pretty, but it wasn't collusion.

If you pay to learn Antoine's secret recipe for Oysters Rockefeller, nobody at Antoine's will consider you a colluder.

John Schindler is weird. Unlike Louise Mensch, he manages to get published in respectable places -- yet he still gives me the heebie jeebies. If he wants us to trust him, why does he call his operation "The 20 Committee"? The name comes from a WWII deception operation: "20" = XX = Double Cross.

A couple of days ago, he published a piece which warned that the Kremlin has plans to push fake Trump sex tapes. Such a strategy has historical precedent: An eastern bloc service used lookalikes to create a fake video of "Ronald Reagan" being serviced in a rather humiliating way by "Vicky Morgan." Putin has used sex tapes -- both genuine and phony -- to destroy political opponents.

One tactic would be to publicize a Trump sex tape and then offer proof that it is not authentic. There was a similar plan in the works back in the days of Watergate. The Nixon forces hoped to distribute a bogus audio recording of Nixon saying incriminating things to E. Howard Hunt; revealing the tape as a fake would have given all of Nixon's opponents a black eye.

Schindler's scenario makes sense to me conceptually. But I still can't trust the guy. Here's one reason why:
A half-century ago, when our Intelligence Community was assessing if there were Kremlin moles inside our spy agencies (spoiler: there were), a nasty bureaucratic fight ensued that dragged on for years. The protagonist was James Angleton, the CIA’s top counterspy for two decades, who coined the term “wilderness of mirrors” to describe the impenetrable mystery of certain espionage operations.
Schindler leaves out a key fact: Angleton was a nut. That isn't just my assessment; that was the opinion of John Gittinger, the CIA's top psychiatrist. Angleton was ultra-paranoid, ruthless, manipulative, resentful -- and incredibly powerful. It is said that he even had his own private assassination squad, run by a man named Boris Pash. (Added note: A reader has corrected me; see discussion of Gittinger and Angleton in comments.)

(Incidentally, many of the latest JFK assassination documents have Angleton's fingerprints all over them. I would argue -- at another time, alas -- that you cannot properly understand these files unless you comprehend Angelton's role in the assassination. As longtime readers know, I think that Angleton masterminded the whole thing.)

Let's get back to the dossier:
As I’ve written about the Steele dossier, although a great deal of its raw intelligence has turned out to be true, large portions reek of disinformation— including the most salacious bits. As I explained:
The dossier’s “pee-pee tape” claim is viewed with derision by most Western spies who know the Russians. It’s very likely that the Kremlin possesses kompromat on the president—senior intelligence sources from several countries have confirmed to me that unpleasant videos of Trump exist—yet there’s no reason to believe Steele’s particular claim here, without corroborating evidence.
Schindler's use of the term "disinformation" implies that the pee-pee claim came from Russian sources. As noted before, Steele lists three sources (D, E and F), two of whom were part of Team Trump; the third was a Ritz hotel employee.

Epstein. Schindler then switches the topic to Jeffrey Epstein, aficionado of underaged females.
There appear to be connections between Epstein’s debased antics and Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort, now termed “the winter White House.” Hard facts remain elusive, however, and perhaps the media’s lack of ardor for getting to the bottom of this sordid case may have something to do with the fact that Epstein’s pals are a powerful bunch—and Bill Clinton is mixed up in this too.
The link goes to a Politico piece about Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, the Epstein victim who made claims against Alan Dershowitz. For conservative propagandists, the trick has always been to portray Virginia as credible if her testimony can be used against Bill Clinton while simultaneously attacking the credibility of her claims against Dershowitz. The propagandists have managed to perform that trick with amazing dexterity, even though Virginia's complaint paints Clinton as innocent and Dershowitz as anything but.

Most people don't know that Epstein recruited Virginia Roberts when she was all of 15 years old and working for Trump at the Mar-A-Lago. If I may be permitted a bit of self-quotation:
Question: Is it common for a country club to employ girls of that age? Perhaps one of my readers can help me out here. I know many things, but I'm ill-educated on the subject of country clubs.

Incidentally, Trump may have another reason to regret ever purchasing the Mar-a-Lago: It turns out that Trump -- the candidate who insists that American jobs should go only to American citizens -- employed many guest workers from eastern Europe.

(Would you consider me a sensationalist if I mentioned, in this context, the fact that Jeffrey Epstein routinely surrounded himself with young girls imported from eastern Europe?...)
Fifteen year-old Virginia Roberts was asked to give Epstein a massage when he was at the Mar-A-Lago. That's how they met. We don't know if Trump arranged that first encounter, but we can state that Trump was Virginia's employer.

Let us here pause to note one of the great Epstein mysteries: How did he make his billions?
"My belief is that Jeff maintains some sort of money-management firm, though you won't get a straight answer from him," says one well-known investor. "He once told me he had 300 people working for him, and I've also heard that he manages Rockefeller money. But one never knows. It's like looking at the Wizard of Oz -- there may be less there than meets the eye."
Perhaps he "manages" money for billionaires not named Rockefeller. A close reading of this post may give you an idea or two as to who those non-Rockefeller billionaires might be.

Another Epstein mystery: How did he "acquire" a number of young (very young) women from eastern Europe?

Dirty business. In previous posts, we've noted that Semyon Mogilevich is considered the most powerful and dangerous of the Russian mobsters. His associates have included Felix Sater and his father. The younger Sater later joined forces with Trump (although Trump doesn't like to admit it).

Tevfik Arif, another associate of both Sater and Trump, has been linked to a scandal involving underaged prostitutes...
As for Arif, his most recent visible brush with the law came in 2010, when he and other members of Bayrock’s Eurasian Trio were arrested together in Turkey during a police raid on a suspected prostitution ring, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

At the time, Turkish investigators reportedly asserted that Arif might be the head of a criminal organization that was trafficking in Russian and Ukrainian escorts, allegedly including some as young as 13.16 According to these assertions, big-ticket clients were making their selections by way of a modeling agency website, with Arif allegedly handling the logistics. Especially galling to Turkish authorities, the preferred venue was reportedly a yacht that had once belonged to the widely-revered Turkish leader Atatürk. It was also alleged that Arif may have also provided lodging for young women at Rixos Group hotels.17

According to Russian media, two senior Kazakh officials were also arrested during this incident, although the Turkish Foreign Ministry quickly dismissed this allegation as “groundless.” In the end, all the charges against Arif resulting from this incident were dismissed in 2012 by Turkish courts, and his spokespeople have subsequently denied all involvement.
While it is fairly easy to find online stories linking Sater to Mogilevich, there isn't much evidence online directly connecting Arif to Mogilevich. But the Sater/Arif partnership allows us to say that there isn't all that much daylight between the three men.

Arif is said to have used his "girls" to entrap and blackmail the powerful. Virginia Roberts has made a similar claim about Jeffrey Esptein.

On a completely unrelated note:
There is a certain personage in one of the Houses of Congress -- let us call him Durwood Ninny -- who has gained notoriety for his robustly pro-Trump attitude. Ninny isn't rich, but he does have some money, most of which he invested in a small-ish enterprise in his home state. Nothing wrong there. For a brief period, some observers worried that this enterprise did business in Russia, but those concerns were overblown and silly.

However: A former employee of that business claimed in a little-noticed lawsuit that the business once held a party for unnamed "bigwigs" on a boat, and that this party included prostitutes, and that at least one of these prostitutes appeared to be underaged. I have no information indicating that Durwood Ninny attended this party or had any knowledge of it.

Just thought I'd mention it.

On another completely unrelated note: I am sure you recall the harassment allegation levelled against George Takei, whose witty tweets have often skewered Trump. This Kos writer offers a persuasive argument against the veracity of this particular harassment claim. Nota bene:
Because some readers are having trouble believing that there could be Russian involvement in this allegation, here is an illustration. It is from the Russian intelligence Twitter monitoring site Hamilton 68. Visit and read their “about” page to learn how they work.

Here is the graph on bot activity in the past 48 hours at 4:35 pm Eastern time today.

I've caught some flack for warning readers that some "harassment" claimants -- not all, not most, but some -- may have hidden motivations.

I continue to predict that we will soon see a spectacular new claim against Bill Clinton, and that this claim will probably will have some connection to the Epstein matter. I further predict that this claim will probably involve a Russian woman, who will say that she had sex with Clinton when she was underaged. The story may be backstopped with seemingly-convincing evidence. The resultant bipartisan orgy of Clinton-hate will make the Trump/Russia scandal disappear from the national consciousness.

That's my forecast. I hope I'm wrong.
An obvious reaction to any new sexual revelations about dumb is to treat it like meh. The real scandals which are affecting everyone everywhere are happening all the time in front of our eyes. That's what should be in the news and every citizen's mind all the time. His sexual activities, weight,hair or anything else not so much. That's how we take the weapons from the enemies who want to distract us.
I notice the graph of tweets posted by alleged Russian bots almost always follows the graph of tweet trends in general. Everyone wants to follow the trends, you know.

Paying for intelligence is an old tactic, but then so is lying to manipulate your own government and populace. And, for that matter, 20 Committee type antics.
This is the winery lawsuit. Very unsavory business, IMHO.
Employing teens is common practice in the food service industry, before Trump latched on to using H2B visa help, Mar a lago management could have hired locally. Usually the requirements are a high school issued minor work permit and a driver's license to get to there. They would usually bus tables or work with the grounds keeper.
As to the promoting of evidence about lurid Trump activities only to expose it as false to discredit all of his accusers I thought that about one of your favorite groups, the Truthers. What better way to dissuade the public form realizing that Bush the Lesser was less than diligent in any efforts to thwart the planned 911 attacks?
After the revelation that Trump was offered the services of hookers during his visit, why haven't any of the news media outlets polled US corporate representatives that went to Moscow if it's a common practice?
Are Russians smart enough to only make the offer to those that might avail themselves of hookers?
Many interesting tidbits here, Joseph. Thanks.

The Republican efforts to boost HRC as the best, most responsible candidate in 2008 was very striking to me. At the time,I suspected that the GOP had some sort of huge and toxic "revelation" regarding Bill Clinton. I had expected that shoe to drop during 2016.
Like you, I am also quite skeptical of Schindler. However, I don't think he is "deza" or a Republican troll. I just think he is a strong conservative who is genuinely upset that Trump is a Russian agent but has an extremely arrogant personality. So he always thinks he's smarter than everyone else, grossly oversells whatever inside access or expertise he has, and somehow finds a way to blame Democrats (especially women) for everything. I think this also describes Louise Mensch, though to be fair, Schindler is more credible than Mensch. So I do believe that there is a legit Trump tape and probably a fake to discredit the real one. But I doubt there are multiple legit tapes more salacious than something like the Steele dossier describes or fakes so good that intel agencies can't determine which ones are authentic. Just seem like Schindler, as people of his personality type do (we've all met them), is just inflating his self importance.

Case in point, if you ever read his takes on Hillary's email scandal as it happened, his wingnut bias and Clinton Derangement Syndrome shine bright. But what's best about it is in one of his final columns about it after Comey's press conference in which he lays out ONCE AND FOR ALL that Hillary committed one of the grossest acts of negligence in the history of US intelligence, he offhandedly admits that the State Department systems were just vulnerable as the private email server. Kinda sums up every Clinton scandal.
Small point of correction- John Gittinger was not a psychiatrist, nor even a psychologist though he was head administrator of a mental hospital before his work with the CIA. He was commonly referred to as "Dr.", but it was a honorary doctorate from a small college in Oklahoma. It was something of the wild west in psychology back in those days.
Lenny, you're right. I'll probably have to rephrase that paragraph. Mangold's bio of Angleton refers to Gittinger as the CIA's chief psychologist. Since Gittinger also administered drugs, I presumed that he must have been a full-fledged psychiatrist.

Wow. It really WAS the wild west then!

Also, on re-reading Mangold, I see that Gittinger did not actually call Angleton nuts, although he strongly implied that Philby's betrayal sent Angelton around the bend. Gittinger DID call Golitsyn a "megalomaniac." It really does seem that Angleton and Golitsyn got caught up in their own weird, paranoid little world in which everyone they didn't like became a Soviet agent. I believe that "folie a deux" is the term often used.

At any rate, Gittinger offered the closest thing we have to a professional assessment of JJA's basic sanity, and the report is troubling.
Also, sorry if too off-topic but it's about our favorite, St. Bernie. This Twitter thread hypothesizes that Brazile's book tour and Bernie's messaging around last week's election were a coordinated effort to exploit the anticipation that the Dems were gonna lose. Putting all the facts together, it's incredibly obvious.

Bernie Sanders. Not only is he harming the Democratic Party, he is actively trying to profit off of its decline. It's like a scummy hedge fund manager shorting a company and then actively trying to sabotage it. What more is there to say about him? I no longer take anyone seriously if they still think Bernie isn't anything more than an obstacle (though IMO, a rapidly deteriorating one) to Democrats.

"Employing teens is common practice in the food service industry, before Trump latched on to using H2B visa help, Mar a lago management could have hired locally. Usually the requirements are a high school issued minor work permit and a driver's license to get to there. They would usually bus tables or work with the grounds keepe"

Hey, I used to be a busboy myself in high school. But asking a 15 year-old girl to give a MASSAGE? Ew.

We have a president who employed a 15 year-old girl who was asked to massage a customer. Think about that. If any Dem had such an item on his resume...

Joe, have you already forgotten all about Curveball?

Yes, spies pay for information. The people they pay are usually disreputable and willing to provide fact or fiction for the same price. In fact, fiction is easier to come by than fact and spies are quite willing to pay for fiction when it bolsters the propaganda narrative they are pushing.

The Clinton Campaign paid Perkin Coie, who paid Fusion GPS, who paid ex-spy Christopher Steele, who paid someone in Russia to manufacture the dirt. Without the faux Russian provenance the whole Steele dossier would be incredible fiction.

Anon, creeps like you think you're going to win the argument by repeating lies until you tire us out. There is nothing "faux" about the Russia connection. So far, nothing in the dossier has been disproven and a surprising amount has checked out. Even Carter Page inadvertently conformed a section.

And why the hell would Steele pay someone to manufacture dirt? You've never done opp research. I have, in my own small way. Oppo research has no value unless it is TRUE. Opposition research is not a smear.

So your argument is that Hillary Clinton paid Russians for lies? If she was interested in lies, why pay? Why talk to Russians? Why not sit around the office and just make up lies? And if she was willing to pay for lies, why would she decide never to use them during the campaign?

And why would Steele be so fucking terrified by what he discovered that he took everything he had and went directly to the FBI, telling them "check this out"? He didn't put it on the internet. He didn't go public. He did the responsible thing and privately took his concerns to the Bureau, which is precisely the right thing to do. That's the way you act when you've uncovered something you genuinely consider worrisome.

A former MI6 agent isn't going to hand a collection of baseless smears to the FBI. Especially not if he wants to preserve your reputation. For a man in Steele's profession, rep is all.

What's truly appalling to me is that your nutball scenario apparently makes sense to you. You rightwing assholes are SICK. Your diseased minds keep coming up with insane scenarios -- and you fucking BELIEVE them.
Joseph, maybe "our friend" anon, sick fuck that he is, has provided the road map of how the right wing will procede from now on. All they have is primitive thought processes, dishonesty, and thugism.

They sure don't bother with oppo research. They knew they couldn't find any real "dirt on Hillary", so they recycle some stuff thst even Ken Starr couldn't find any factual use for, and cooked some innuendo to sell to the rubes by mis-labeling it as "red meat." Clearly, they have moved into a nihilism that is very destructive. They repeat the mantra "dirt on Hillary," and they're still doing it a year after the election.

The other side of the system demonstrates that this is not any ordinary equation. Because no amount of dirt is enough to damage a Republican. I almost contend that if Harvey Weinstein were not a liberal Democrat, that he would still be carrying on his bloated coke snorting sex-abuse-addicted ways. Look at friggin J. Epstein.

As we note our slide into fake democracy, we can recall signal events along the way.

Steele was a chump to send that dossier only to the Bureau. He should have openly cc'ed every reputable news organization in the country. But not many people knew how deep down the fascist hole the FBI is. Admittedly, I don't know, but have long had suspicions. Comey sat on it and kneecapped HRC's campaign with Wiener.
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