Sunday, August 28, 2016

ALERT: Trump gaining.

Time to panic.

After running a disastrous campaign...after infuriating many Republicans...after hitching his wagon to a white supremacist website...after revealing himself to be a true American grotesque...Trump is catching up to Hillary Clinton.

See here and here.

Trump didn't do this: The anti-Clinton press did. The right-wing conspiracy theorists are winning the day. Never underestimate the power of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

It is hard to beleive that pseudo-scandals like "Emailgate" and the Clinton Foundation are going to hand this election to a bombastic, lying, low-IQ oaf who -- as anyone with any brains can see -- acts as Putin's agent, witting or unwitting. (I think the former.) But within just a couple of weeks, Trump has more than halved the once-considerable distance between his number and Hillary's.

I still think that Trump will win this one.

So far, nothing has been able to defeat Donald Trump except Donald Trump: He has hurt himself by blurting out a series of utterly unnecessary idiocies. He can commit political suicide, yes. But no outside force can touch him.

Nothing said by Hillary Clinton has had any impact. Nothing said by any Democrat has had any impact. Nothing said by the major newspapers has had any impact. Nothing said by Trump's biographers has had any impact. Nothing said by our great authors, intellectuals and cultural leaders has had any impact. Nothing said by major economists and foreign policy experts has had any impact. Nothing said by our popular comics -- Colbert, Maher, Bee, Oliver, Noah, Myers and all the others -- has had or will have any impact. Nothing said by your favorite bloggers has had or will have any impact.

Anything said against Trump -- by anyone -- is considered part of the Great Illuminati Conspiracy.

Anything said in favor of Clinton -- by anyone -- is considered part of the Great Illuminati Conspiracy.

The October Surprise will seal the deal. I've been traipsing around the internet -- and guess what? Turns out that others are starting to whistle a theme first sounded here: Wikileaks will release documents faked up by the Russians. Americans have been so thoroughly brainwashed by anti-Clinton propaganda that they will accept without question the bonafides of documents that have been laundered through Russia's intelligence services. 

It's coming. Mark my words.

Incidentally, the last time I made this prediction, I received an interesting bit of feedback from someone who more or less admitted to being a paid Russian troll. You may want to check out the back and forth. He indicated that, when the made-in-Russia October Surprise hits, the Troll Army will mount a defense based on the proposition that Wikileaks never distributed fake documents before, and thus cannot possibly be distributing fake documents now. If it comes by way of Julian Assange, you know it must be authentic. You're going to see that argument made all over the damned internet: Watch for it.

Perhaps the only way to stop a Donald Trump presidency is to stop talking quite so much about him and start talking about her. Defend Hillary Clinton against the smears, each and every time you hear someone spew nonsense. To do so, you must educate yourself. And you must be brave.
A Kremlin asset close to taking over the White House? Sounds great for big investors in

- Raytheon (Tomahawk cruise missiles)
- Baxter International (smallpox vaccine)
- Huntington Ingalls (naval ships),

up 13%, 20% and 24% in the past six months.

I haven't found great stats yet, but it's looking as though US warfare stocks rose in the fortnight after Trump won the Republican nomination, whereas the DJIA itself fell.
The Cubs lost today. My buddy called me say that the season is over, the Cubs are doomed, the are three games under .500 in one run games. In the meantime, they have the best record in baseball by more than five games. I told him to call me later in October and maybe then we can panic. Same thing for you.
And as if at the instant of need:
Julian Assange is already laying the groundwork. In both of his recent U.S. interviews (first with Maher and then w/Megyn Kelly), he has talked about Wikileaks' "perfect recored" so far. Just consider the cast of characters that want a Trump presidency: Putin, Assange, Stone, the hard right, the white supremacists, and ISIS. Imagine the possibilities for an October surprise with such a cast working on Trump's behalf.
....not to mention the "2nd amendment people" who have been encouraged to stop Clinton presumably via gun violence.
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Sick of reading about Trump? I have something for you...


Tina S. She's 17.

Being a classical fan, I spend most of my life trying to avoid the sound of electric guitars. But THIS...
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Steve Bannon is one weird dude

Over the past day or so we've seen several revealing news articles with one bottom line: Steve Bannon, head honcho of the Trump campaign, is a really weird dude.

Steve Bannon and voter fraud. Bannon does not live in Florida, yet he is registered to live there. For a long time, his listed residence was an abandoned home. When he was caught, he changed his official voting address to that of fellow Breitbarter Andy Badolato.

Funny innit? The right-wingers keep wailing that voter fraud is a real and growing concern. But the only people who actually practice this kind of fraudulence seem to be prominent right-wingers!
In June 2012, Breitbart published an article under the screaming headline “ELECTION FRAUD: CALIFORNIA UNION OFFICIAL VOTED IN WI RECALL” that seems relevant to Bannon’s residency issues:
Wisconsin state law requires that before a person cast their ballot in a Wisconsin election they be a resident of the state. Specifically, residence is defined as the place “where the person’s habitation is fixed, without any present intent to move, and to which, when absent, the person intends to return.” [Wis. Stat. 6.10(1)]

Shansky’s move to California in March, nearly two months before the election, and acceptance of a job out there would almost certainly mean that he does not qualify as a Wisconsin elector and should not have cast a ballot. He no longer lives in the state and he does not appear regard his move as a mere temporary absence from Wisconsin.
Hmm. This seems like it’s a pretty serious problem for Bannon, given the “ELECTION FRAUD” headline, but let’s dig a little deeper. A few months later, as the presidential election loomed, Breitbart ran another piece on Wisconsin residency requirements that made the case that non-resident voters in a battleground state were a direct threat to democracy...
Look out, Steve Bannon. Breitbart News has a moral obligation to dig into the story and, if necessary, alert local law enforcement regarding their findings. This could get ugly for the Trump campaign CEO.
How ugly? This ugly...
“Wilfully submitting false information on a Florida voter registration – or helping someone to do so – is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.”
If Bannon never lived in that abandoned residence, is he not guilty of submitting false information? If he's arrested, will Trump bail him out? Does Trump even have that kind of money?

Maybe it's all about taxes. Bannon has homes in both California and NYC; he also stays in the Breitbart "Brown House" in DC. (The term "Brown House" is mine, and I hope it will catch on. Some of you may understand the historical reference.) However...
California and New York are both high income tax states, actually some of the very highest in the country. DC is a high income tax jurisdiction. (When I say 'high', I'm of course speaking of relative terms vis a vis other states.) New York City has its own additional income levy. So from a tax perspective, if you're rich, New York City is a particularly pricey place to live.
Steve Bannon ran Bioshpere II. What's more, some of the people who actually lived "under the dome" seemed to hate his guts
He called a female science researcher who wrote a report about safety concerns a “deluded” “bimbo,” and threatened to “ram it down her (expletive) throat.” He also threatened to “kick her ass.”
“In the two years Bannon ran Biosphere 2, he also produced and promoted a nuanced documentary on illegal immigration near the Sonora border about 100 miles south,” according to the Star-Telegram report.
He also gave interviews which embraced the theory of global warming. Now, of course, he works for a candidate who denies the reality of man-made climate change.

(To be honest, I always thought that the whole "Biosphere II" thing was really kind of stupid.)

Hey, Steve Bannon: When did you stop choking your wife? Yeah, I know: The question is just a tad unfair. The only justification for asking such a question is that we all know damned well how the Breitbarters would react if a prominent liberal had something like this in his background. Them what dishes it out had best be ready to take it.

Nevertheless, my first reaction was to let this matter slide. Not that I'm in favor of non-consensual spousal strangulation, but we're talking about an incident that happened twenty years ago. People do change, time passes, and forgiveness is a virtue. Malcolm X, Tim Allen, Kweisi Mfume and the Black Widow were all guilty of serious wrongs during the earlier stages of their lives. Besides, marital spats always have more than one side.

But one aspect of this story is, I think, legitimately relevant to Bannon's current occupation:
Mary Louise Piccard said in a 2007 court declaration that Bannon didn't want their twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled at the elite institution.

"The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend," Piccard said in her statement signed on June 27, 2007.

"He said that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiny brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews," Piccard wrote.

Stephen Bannon, Trump campaign CEO, allegedly attacked ex-wife

"I told him that there are children who are Jewish at (a competing school), and he asked me what the percentage was. I told him that I didn't know because it wasn't an issue for me as I am not raising the girls to be either anti-Semitic or prejudiced against anyone," she wrote.

Frankly, most parents in Los Angeles want their kids to go to schools -- at least the public schools -- which happen to have many Jewish students. Those schools just tend to be better.

(Except when it comes to basketball. I could tell you some stories.)

I certainly am glad I got the chance to attend a school "south of the Boulvard," as we used to say in the San Fernando Valley. For one thing, there were more days off. Nobody showed up on Jewish holidays.

The right-wing anti-Semitism spectrum.
Bannon's 2007 outburst has me wondering: Just what is the current right-wing "take" on Jewishness?

Many decades ago, before WWII, things were simple. The far right hated Jews. Old-school "eastern establishment" types -- Yale and Harvard Brahmins -- did not hate Jews, at least not in the way that Julius Streicher or Gerald L.K. Smith hated Jews. The Brahmins simply felt that Jews weren't the kind of people one invited into one's club. Much of America considered Jews to be the Other.

More recently, thanks to the fundamentalist takeover of the GOP, the right has been suffused with a near-worshipful attitude toward Israel. Of course, many of the southern Baptists who support Israel no matter what never met a Jew in their lives, and would probably feel strange attending a seder or a bar-mitzvah. Neverheless, as recently as a few years ago, I could comfortably say that the mainstream American right had transcended anti-Semitism.

However, the non-mainstream right -- neo-Nazis, Klansmen, extreme conspiracy buffs -- still defined itself by a crude hatred of Jews. Sometimes they disguised their feelings. Their writings would replace the word "Jew" with euphemisms like "cosmopolitans," "dark forces," "serpent people" and the ever-popular "international bankers." My favorite euphemism was "alien," a clever bit of verbal trickery which allowed anti-Semites to seed the UFO literature with Nazified conspiracy theories. There are aliens living among us! They look like us! They have gained control over our media and our banking system! Cute, huh?

The situation became very bizarre in the wake of the Anders Brevik massacre in Norway. Brevik is a neo-Nazi murderer of the lowest order -- yet he admires Israel and frequented Pam Geller's site.

And now we have the Breitbarters, who seem about evenly split between the ones who say "My Israel, right or wrong" and the ones who say "You know, this was all predicted in The Protocols."

We also have the phenomenon of Donald Trump, praised by both David Duke and Sheldon Adelson. Trump's campaign head doesn't want his kid going to school with Jews, yet a recent CNN headline reads: "Donald Trump finds corner of support among Israel's Americans."
At a mall in Modi'in, in central Israel, American-Israeli Republicans press the flesh. Red, white and blue balloons flank a sign in Hebrew that appears similar to Trump's "Make America Great Again" logo, but it doesn't promise to restore America's greatness.
Step back and consider the spectacle: The political candidate who "mainstreamed" anti-Semitism is a son of New York City -- and he is beloved in Israel. (Added note: As a reader reminds me, Ivanka converted to Judaism.)

What the hell is going on? I'm stumped. I admit it: I'm flummoxed.

The world I knew and more-or-less understood is no more. Our entire "anti-Semitism spectrum" needs revision. Maybe all of our other presumptions need revision as well. One day, perhaps, scholars studying American political history will employ the labels B.D. and A.D. -- Before Donald and After Donald.

I just want the world to make sense again. Maybe it's too much to ask for a world I like. But what the hell happened to the world I could comprehend?
Trump's daughter, son-in-law and two of his grandchildren are Jewish, which makes this all even stranger.
Well, you understand once Israel is destroyed, either by war, violence, or demographic reality, there will be no "Christian" Zionist cult to speak of. Oh, maybe a tinier than Amish curiosity piece, but none of political import. Hal Lindsay's specter will have failed, Christ will not have come in the clouds to convert a third of the Jews and Armageddon will not have destroyed the earth. The American Christians can rever to being actual conservative Christians again with all the usual doctrines--like Jews have to accept Christ to be saved, which even Billy Graham abandoned in his dispensational cultism.

Just as importantly, the US will be relived of a political albatross. That is if Israel has acquired us so many enemies in the meantime, the US still exists in its present form.
The Muslims and the Jews probably have the most intense religions of all and each probably has their ways of balancing it out for the younger kids so the younger kids don't rebel. The Jews it could be by spoiling, the Muslims by Sharia.
Another Hoop comment got through. Should we blame the dog again? ;)
There are really two questions here, why the antipathy to Obama and why to the progressive left. As to the progressive left, there seems to be a meme that Israel is bad and the Palestinians good. Many, though certainly not all ( and for example), liberal blogs demonize Israel to the point of indefensibility against charges of anit-semitism. Certainly, Israel could do better by its poorer citizens, so could everybody. But to want all flirt with Hamas, an organization that demands the death of all Jews, not just Israeli Jews but all Jews, to hold Israel to higher standards than any other country in the world, to suggest that Israel has engaged in genocide, is simply beyond the pale. When the only Jewish refugee county in the world is chosen for destruction, what are Israelis to think? As to Obama, he views conflict resolution as the ultimate good. The problem is that to get to that resolution he, like many mediators, simply leans on the party he perceives to be weaker. When that happens, the parties rapidly grasp that the best strategy is to be the most intransigent. The Palestinians adopted that strategy long ago and Israel has come to the same realization. While the animus between Obama and Netanyahu is palpable, the roots of Israeli unease with Obama is the perception that he continues to lean on them, not the Palestinians.

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Friday, August 26, 2016


Oh, fer Chrissakes. The Republicans are claiming that Hillary Clinton used a "sophisticated" file shredder to get rid of emails. It turns out that this shredder is BleachBit, an opensource cleaner similar to CCleaner. I've not used BleachBit (which seems to be more of a Linux thing), but I use CCleaner all the time. It's great for removing old cache entries and temp files. Every so often, it's a good idea to clear out those folders within which malware likes to hide.

Neither CCleaner nor BleachBit is the kind of app one would use to destroy an incriminating file on a system facing a serious forensic examination.

On the rare occasions when I've needed to eradicate a truly sensitive file (such as a list of passwords), I use a serious eraser. No, I won't tell you which one. No one would use freeware for sensitive government work.

Looking at the BleachBit interface, it seems rather clunky when it comes to shredding individual files. The idea of going through thousands of individual emails in this fashion is mind-boggling.

The only person who says that Hillary used BleachBit to delete emails is Trey Gowdy, a die-hard Hillary-hater who is still screaming "BenGHAAAAZI!" I doubt that he knows much about computers. He doesn't cite his source of information or offer any specifics. BleachBit may well have been on her system, for the same reason that CCleaner is on my own system: Every well-dressed computer should (at the very least) have a freeware app of that sort. But so far, I've seen no evidence to prove the contention that she used BleachBit to delete even a single email.
Is Donald Trump's medic Harold Bornstein as crazy as Trump is?

"His health is excellent, especially his mental health. He thinks he's the best, which works out just fine."

"I think he would be fit because, I think his brain is turned on 24 hours a day." (You whattt?)

"As for the letter's purple, Trump-like prose, 'I think I picked up his kind of language and then just interpreted it to my own,' (Bornstein) said." (Uh? Can this guy actually think straight?)

"In the rush, I think some of those words didn't come out exactly the way they were meant." (Well don't fucking rush then, when you write medical reports!)
You would, in fact, only use open source (or "freeware") for this sort of purpose. And you don't need to delete each file, just delete them all and then use bleachbit on the empty space. Personally, I'd use dd to randomise and then zero the empty space, but bleachbit can do it too. I'm not sure her server, which wasn't Linux, would have dd, though.

I don't know what CCleaner is, but you probably wouldn't use bleachbit for malware. It seems to be very popular for wiping old hard drives before getting rid of them. So she could be using it for legitimate purposes, or sinister purposes, or not using it at all.
Oh good Lord. Bornstein and BleachBit Truthers in one post. The walls of reality are crumbling.
But she DIDN'T "delete them all" Stephen. In fact, I don't think she deleted any. When my Yahoo account was hacked, I did not delete anything...nevertheless, I awoke one day and discovered that a lot of stuff was missing. It apparently was downloaded to another computer.

And I don't know about using Bleachbit for just the "empty spaces." I'm not sure where the setting for that is. There is no such setting for that in CCleaner.

CCleaner is a hoary old file cleaning utility and registry cleaner for Windows. Freeware. Been around forever. From what I've read, Bleachbit was modeled on it, but is mainly used by the linux community. (I don't recommend CCleaner as a registry cleaner -- too aggressive.)

I wouldn't use either to shred a file that I truly wanted GONE. There are stronger apps out there, even if you want to stay within the realm of freeware.

I forget the details, but a long time ago, I read how government hard drives are wiped and then offered for sale to the public. They don't use Bleachbit.
To be honest, I haven't been following the who-deleted-what nonsense, because I find the whole thing annoying. So I googled it and Politifact says this:

"Clinton’s email record remains incomplete. FBI investigators found thousands of work-related emails that were not among the 30,000 Clinton turned over to the State Department, and many more might still be out in the ether. Comey said there is no evidence these emails were deleted in an attempt to conceal information."

So I'm going to assume that she deleted something, at least.

As for empty spaces, there are no empty spaces. Deleting a file just unlinks it from the file system so it can be overwritten by new files. Hence deleted files can generally be restored, often even after the entire partition has been reformatted, using something like testdisk. I have been told that bleachbit can overwrite this, but I've never used it. As a linux user I would just overwrite files with the command-line utility dd to overwrite with random data, then overwrite it again with zeros. You could also use dd on a non-existent file, and thereby randomise/blank the entire disk, other than that already occupied by files. Or the entire disk, if you prefer.

I particularly like to use dd to make an external disk look blank by zeroing the partition table, after copying it. Thereafter the disk data is invisible until you use dd again to replace the first 512 bytes. But that's off topic.

The truly paranoid use a Gauss-bomb on their drives. I just keep the porn in my head, along with my financial information.
The truly powerful paranoid uses an angle-grinder to reduce their drives to a fine powder. Then melts the remains. Then eats them. And has a facebook page so as not to arouse suspicion.
@Bob - You keep the porn in your head? That's not secure! The safest place to keep it is in your pants! :)
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The dark mirror

The Trump campaign routinely engages in "mirror imaging" -- accusing Hillary Clinton of the very sins found on Donald Trump's ledger.

For example, Trump has excoriated Hillary for being in league with Goldman Sachs, based on a few paid speeches she gave to their executives -- speeches which, by all accounts, were boilerplate. Trump's own ties to Goldman are far more profound: Goldman has invested money in Trump properties, Steve Mnuchin (Trump's financial chair) was a partner at Goldman Sachs, and Steve Bannon (now running the Trump campaign is a Goldman veteran.

I believe that Luke 6:42 has something to say about this situation.

In a recent anti-Clinton speech, Trump called Hillary a liar repeatedly -- even as he claimed that she sent classified materials. That assertion is absolutely false: No emails were marked "classified" in the header, and only a very few that were sent to her contained inner paragraphs containing data mislabeled "confidential" -- the lowest classification marking. Trump claimed that Hillary's server exposed secrets to the Russians. That's rich coming from him: His own financial ties to Russia are well-known. Moreover, Paul Manafort -- Trump's friend and former campaign chairman -- worked for Putin's stooge in Ukraine and established a close working relationship with one Konstantin Kilimnik, widely considered to have a background with Russian intelligence.

For more on Trump's Russian connections, see Michael McFaul's "Why Putin wants a Trump victory."

The latest, and perhaps most insidious, use of the "dark mirror" tactic involves Saudi Arabia.

Trump has repeatedly bashed Hillary for her supposed Saudi ties -- for example, he says that the Clinton Foundation should give back the hefty donations which the Saudi royal family has made. (The Clinton Foundation is an extremely effective charity, not a slush fund. Better, I say, for Saudi money to find a home there than elsewhere.) Trump's surrogates have also spread inane conspiracy theories portraying the Khan family as Saudi agents. Of course, we all recall Trump's claim that Hillary Clinton is the mother of ISIS.

But what of Trump's own ties to that part of the world?

Once again, the dark mirror works its magic. Only the most brazen liar would dare to lay his own sins at the feet of his enemy. Donald Trump may, in fact, be the most outrageous hypocrite in the history of American politics.

To prove the point, go here.
Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal said he twice saved US presidential candidate Donald Trump from bankruptcy, describing him as a “bad and ungrateful person”.

In an interview with Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, the prince said he bought Trump’s hotels after they were acquired by the banks which demanded he repay his debts.

The yacht he used to come to Antalya, southwest of Turkey, is one he bought from Trump when he was threatened with bankruptcy.
That yacht, by the way, is the one made famous by previous owner Adnan Khashoggi, and by the movie Never Say Never Again.

Now let's visit this New Yorker piece for more on the Trump/bin Talal relationship:
This latest tweet battle with Trump refers to the Prince’s investments in troubled Trump properties. The first of these transactions took place in 1991, when, according to Businessweek, bin Talal bought Trump’s huge yacht the Trump Princess from creditors, for eighteen million dollars. At the time, Trump’s Atlantic City casinos were heavily indebted; he also put his airline, the Trump Shuttle, up for sale.

The second deal came in 1995, when bin Talal and a partner, a Singapore hotels company, paid hundreds of millions of dollars to take control of The Plaza, on Fifth Avenue, from Trump. A Times story at the time said that the buyers had agreed to “pay part, or all, of Mr. Trump’s $300 million mortgage on the hotel, guarantee interest payments on Mr. Trump’s Plaza debt and spend $28 million to renovate part of the hotel.” Trump, the article said, was “under heavy pressure because of more than $115 million of guarantees he has given on the Trump Organization’s debt, and because of his recently announced attempt to raise $250 million to expand his casino investments.”
The prince is not just any Saudi oligarch: He was the finance minister of that nation and is rumored to represent other Saudi business interests. He is the second biggest investor in Fox News. After 9/11, he tried to donate $10 million to relief efforts, only to be rebuffed by Rudolph Guiliani.

Bin Talal makes every effort to denounce ISIS in public -- for example, he does so here and here and here. Last month, however, this surprising revelation made headlines (though not in this country, and certainly not on Fox News).
Yesterday, a picture was surfaced on Arab social websites, showing the Saudi Prince and multi-millionaire media tycoon al-Waleed bin Talal visiting the notorious ISIS military commander Abu Omar al-Maghribi in a luxurious hospital in Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Renowned for his entrepreneurial acumen and immense political influence within Saudi foreign ministry, al-Waleed bin Talal is spearheading the Saudi media campaign seeking to give an innocuous and friendly picture of ISIS and other terrorist organizations to Arab viewers.

Dr. Richard Macmillan, a retired CIA counterterrorism expert in Illinois believes that Mr. Bin Talal's blatant visit to an ISIS warlord is tantamount to an overt peace accord between the oil-rich Saudi Arabia and so-called Islamic State; and therefore the international community must sincerely intervene to stop Riyadh making its proxies, namely ISIS and al-Nusra Front, a reality that cannot be easily eradicated from Middle-East's political scene, Qatari News Agency (QNA) reported.
Now let's go back in time. Let's see what Bin Talal was up to at the same time he was helping Donald Trump get out of his self-inflicted financial hole.

The following comes from a report by Daniel Lazare on the testimony of Zacarias Moussaoui.
Now serving a life sentence in a federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, Moussaoui, the so-called “twentieth hijacker,” told lawyers about top-level Saudi support for Osama bin Laden right up to the eve of 9/11 and even a plot by a Saudi embassy employee to sneak a Stinger missile into the U.S. under diplomatic cover and use it to bring down Air Force One.

Moussaoui’s list of ultra-rich al-Qaeda contributors couldn’t be more stunning. It includes the late King Abdulllah and his hard-line successor, Salman bin Abdulaziz; Turki Al Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence and subsequently ambassador to the U.S. and U.K.; Bandar bin Sultan, a longtime presence in Washington who was so close to the Bushes that Dubya nicknamed him Bandar Bush; and Al-Waleed bin Talal, a mega-investor in Citigroup, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the Hotel George V in Paris, and the Plaza in New York.
Further on:
Moussaoui, who says he was put to work compiling a financial database upon joining al Qaeda in late 1998, describes flying by private plane to Riyadh as a special courier.

“We went in to a private airport,” he recalled. “[T]here was a car, we get into a car, a limousine, and I was taken to a place, it was like a Hilton Hotel, OK, and the next morning Turki came and we went to a big room, and there was Abdullah and there was Sultan, Bandar, and there was Waleed bin Talal and Salman” i.e., the Saudi crème de la crème. When asked if the princes knew why he was there, he said yes: “I was introduced as the messenger for Sheik Osama bin Laden.”

Moussaoui says that prominent Saudis visited bin Laden’s camp in Afghanistan in return: “There was a lot of bragging about I been to Sheik Osama bin Laden, I been to Afghanistan, I’m the real deal, I’m a real mujahid, I’m a real fighter for Allah.”
Is this testimony credible? No-one is completely sure, but see here.
Mr. Moussaoui’s behavior at his trial in 2006 was sometimes erratic. He tried to fire his own lawyers, who presented evidence that he suffered from serious mental illness. But Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, who presided, declared that she was “fully satisfied that Mr. Moussaoui is completely competent” and called him “an extremely intelligent man.”

“He has actually a better understanding of the legal system than some lawyers I’ve seen in court,” she said.

Also filed on Monday in the survivors’ lawsuit were affidavits from former Senators Bob Graham of Florida and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and the former Navy secretary John Lehman, arguing that more investigation was needed into Saudi ties to the 9/11 plot.
If Moussaoui is credible, one must wonder why the Saudis would invest in Trump at the same time they invested in Bin Laden.

Trump's ties to that part of the world are ongoing. From a 2015 CBS report:
As late as this May, Ivanka Trump told the trade publication Hotelier Middle East that in addition to Dubai, the Trump Organization was actively looking "at multiple business opportunities" in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Trump launched his formal presidential bid in June.
Now let's turn to a little-noticed piece titled "Wealthy Muslims helped Donald Trump build his empire":
Saudi princes: Prince Mutaib bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former minister in the Saudi government, and member of the Saudi royal family, reportedly lives in a floor-through Trump Tower apartment. Other former Trump property tenants include Prince Nawaf bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, a Saudi royal family member who owned a 10,500 sq. foot (975 sq. meter) condo at the Heritage at Trump Place that went on sale this year for $48.5 million.
I'd like to know more about Trump's recent hotel project in Saudi Arabia.
Yet Trump wasn’t just politicking: On that same day, he incorporated four companies that seem related to a possible hotel project in Jeddah, the second biggest city in Saudi Arabia. He was president and owner of THC Jeddah Hotel Advisor and DT Jeddah Technical Services Advisor.

The Jeddah companies came to light in Trump’s latest financial disclosure filings, released Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission. The documents do not detail the purpose of the Jeddah companies, and Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Just a few months ago, Donald Trump announced that the world would be better off if Saudi Arabia had nuclear weapons.

Despite his Saudi interests, Trump and Bin Talal are now fighting a "War of Tweets" with each other. It's hard to tell if the acrimony is genuine -- after all, Trump staged a "break-up" with his long-time friend Roger Stone, who remains a close adviser and campaign surrogate. (The putative split was meant to protect Trump from the odor of Stone's rather reeky reputation: In 1996, a sleazy sex scandal ended Stone tenure as Bob Dole's campaign chief.)

How do we explain Bin Talal's strangely schizoid stance on ISIS and terror? In interviews, he takes a strongly anti-ISIS stance, yet he apparently visited an ISIS commander in the hospital, and Moussaoui's testimony casts him as a participant in an Al Qaeda conspiracy.

This new NYT article looks into the role of the Saudi royal family as both "Arsonists and the Firefighters":
Saudi leaders seek good relations with the West and see jihadist violence as a menace that could endanger their rule, especially now that the Islamic State is staging attacks in the kingdom — 25 in the last eight months, by the government’s count. But they are also driven by their rivalry with Iran, and they depend for legitimacy on a clerical establishment dedicated to a reactionary set of beliefs. Those conflicting goals can play out in a bafflingly inconsistent manner.
In a huge embarrassment to the Saudi authorities, the Islamic State adopted official Saudi textbooks for its schools until the extremist group could publish its own books in 2015. Out of 12 works by Muslim scholars republished by the Islamic State, seven are by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century founder of the Saudi school of Islam, said Jacob Olidort, a scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. A former imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani declared with regret in a television interview in January that the Islamic State leaders “draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles.”
The United States’ reliance on Saudi counterterrorism cooperation in recent years — for instance, the Saudi tip that foiled a 2010 Qaeda plot to blow up two American cargo planes — has often taken precedence over concerns about radical influence. And generous Saudi funding for professorships and research centers at American universities, including the most elite institutions, has deterred criticism and discouraged research on the effects of Wahhabi proselytizing, according to Mr. McCants — who is working on a book about the Saudi impact on global Islam — and other scholars.
That's just a taste of it.

Obviously, I do not believe that the NYT is going to give us the full story of Saudi Arabia and jihad; for example, this report does not touch on Moussaoui's bombshell claims. Still, the NYT has given us a much more compelling and detailed article than I would have expected. It's definitely worth a read.

And as you read, consider this: Trump is clearly not worth what he claims, as evidenced by the fact that he keeps scraping after the kind of chump change that a real billionaire would disdain. He has been through four bankruptcies. Banks hesitate to lend him money without a co-signer.

So who is helping him acquire capital for that Saudi hotel project?

Will that investment affect Trump's decisions, if he wins the presidency? He absolutely refuses to place his interests in a blind trust.

Yes, Saudis have donated to the Clinton Foundation -- but the Foundation is a charity, from which the Clintons derive no profit. Trump's hotels in Jeddah are serious business. Talk about a conflict of interest! Most Americans are not even aware that Trump has substantial investments in Saudi Arabia. You know damned well that if the Clintons had made such investments, our news media would remind you of that fact every single day.

Steve Mnuchin is a deeply unpleasant man with a deeply unpleasant business. If you look into him you will understand that many people are homeless because this man stole their house.

I asked a spooky aquaintaince whether Donald was really a russian agent of influence. He told me he was probably not. He was a "useful idiot". The irony is that while everyone thinks he is an idiot, only Langley thinks he is useful.

HRC'S speach talk there was described to me as "odd cos she spoke as if she worked there".

Donald is not a very rich man by billionaire standards. He needs to use others money and he is happy to lend them his name.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

The big Russian fake-out: Told ya so

Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but I was probably the first blogger to suggest that Putin was the secret power behind Trump. That theory has become almost mainstream by this point.

And now it seems that another one of my absurd, ridiculous, off-the-wall suggestions was not so off-the-wall as all that. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the following...
Put those three reasons together, and you will understand why I am forecasting that Team Trump (or rather, Team Putin) will use Wikileaks to foist a "damning" email on the world which will seem to prove that Hillary had someone whacked.

I think that this will hit us somewhere in the October 20th - October 30th time period. The Democrats have to be ready now.

You can be sure that the fake message will be "backstopped" (as the spooks like to say). That is: The sole piece of evidence will not be a few faked emails. There will be more -- an additional "something" designed to provide the illusion of verification. Perhaps a witness or two (either paid or blackmailed) will come forward.
Perhaps I should explain that reference to someone getting "whacked." At the time, one of Roger Stone's little propaganda flurries had every right-wing conspiratard convinced that Hillary had gone kill-crazy again.

Maybe the Great Fake-Out which I am predicting won't have anything to do with bogus assassination plots. Maybe the false charge will be about something else. Here's the bottom line: Two weeks ago, I predicted a scenario in which the Russians release "hacked" Clinton emails which will, in fact, be clever concoctions.

And now looky here...
Whoopsie: Russian hackers post same document twice, but with glaring differences
Often, in war, mistakes are made. Sometimes, in Russia’s information war against the West, mistakes are made and then published for all the world to see.

That seems to be what happened when two supposedly independent hacking groups, believed by security experts to have ties to the Kremlin, posted the same documents stolen from a philanthropy run by George Soros. But the hack included a twist: Some of the documents taken by one group were altered in a bid to try and link Soros to Russian anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, revealing how hackers likely working for Moscow are editing documents to smear their victims.
Soros is an important target in his own right, but the big score is taking down Hillary Clinton.

Maybe we will see a hoax document which will tie her to an assassination plot. Maybe the fabrication will tie her to terrorism. Maybe the goal is to make Clinton out to be a puppet of the Iranian. Maybe it will concern racism or anti-Semitism.

There are any number of possibilities. But when the brown-n-smelly hits those infamous whirling blades -- and a late-October date still strikes me as likely -- don't believe what you read. Keep in mind those altered Soros documents. If they did it to Soros, they will do it to Hillary.

Remember, we've already seen fake documents about Hillary's health. And we all recall those bogus "real" Obama birth certificates which the birthers have waved around over the past seven-plus years.

Coming up with a counterfeit document is the easy part. To make the false charge stick, it will have to be backstopped. In other words, the disinformers will need something more than a mere document.

Right now, I cannot guess what that "something" might be. Perhaps false testimony from a mole within the Clinton camp...? A really well-done piece of video trickery? Both?
Again, I reckon that, with a trivial number of exceptions, the only people who will believe the hypothetical hoax are people who would never have voted for Clinton, anyway.

Orrrrr--maybe Tsar Vlad has realized that putting an unstable orange grifter in charge of one of the world's two biggest nuclear arsenals would NOT be the best thing for Mother Russia, and so nothing will happen?
The National Enquirer and The Weekly Globe are taking turns headline potshotting the Clintons. Maybe while eveyone is running around looking for stuff, the ongoing assault on the Clintons at the supermarket check out aisles will be enough to sway a few million votes away from Clinton and onto Trump.
I think over 10 million shoppers see the Tabloid headlines every week. In 10 weeks time 100 million eyes will have seen ongoing anti Clinton headlines in their local supermarket, could be a difference maker.
I also suspect that, with a trivial handful of exceptions, the people who believe what they read in checkout-counter tabloids are the people who would never vote for Clinton, anyway--if they vote at all.

If such people indeed don't vote, I would not recommend they be encouraged to do so.

(Addressing a couple of our Founders here) Sorry, Tom. I think I've gone over to Alex's side.
"Whoopsie: Russian hackers post same document twice, but with glaring differences"

Uh-oh; I think someone(s) will be holidaying in Siberia...

"You have failed me for the last time."
Ivory Bill, that's the beauty of the National Enquirer / Weekly Globe scam, sure, lets say 90% don't take the headline assaults against the Clinton's seriously, that still leaves a few million who do and they weren't all necessarily already in line for Trump.
The Tabloid assault against the Clintons is corrosive, it just works its acidity little by little.
Plus, when the Tabloid's run a topical headline that happens to match what the regular media is discussing, it could sway people who were on the fence.
Put another way, if those Tabloid headlines were glowingly talking about the Clinton's past accomplishments instead of claiming Bill Clinton will die before election day from Parkinson's and that Hillary Clinton has gained 103 pounds, Hillary Clinton would probably be up by 15 points right now instead of 9 or 10.
I'm confused. Are you suggesting that something published by wikileaks has been faked? I have never seen a suggestion that anything published by wikileaks was fake before. Can you point me to the fake wikileak?

Or are you suggesting that something that will be published by wikileaks WILL be fake, even though nothing published by them has been faked so far?
I'm confused. Are you suggesting that something published by wikileaks has been faked? I have never seen a suggestion that anything published by wikileaks was fake before. Can you point me to the fake wikileak?

Or are you suggesting that something that will be published by wikileaks WILL be fake, even though nothing published by them has been faked so far?
I'm saying YOU are the fake, Anonymous. My statements of fact are perfectly clear and easy to check. You are not confused; you are trying to confuse others.

Next time you see your boss Vladimir, say hi for me. I'm quite aware that he runs a massive trolling operation.
I get that a lot. Let's assume I am a russian troll. Because you are a thoughtful man you will be immune to my propaganda. So let me reply.

I double checked and I see that you didn't suggest anything published by wikileaks was fake so far. My mistake. But it's useful to bear that in mind in the search for truth. Right now for example, many people speculate a link between Putin and Trump. However the evidence they present is weak. One piece I saw noted that some business associates of Trump are Russian for example. I don't say there is no link. How would I know? Just that the evidence is weak. But no one says that what wikileaks publishes is fake.

However there is certainly a link between the ukraine and the current administration. A link between Vicky Nuland, Yats, and HRC. How about another kind of October surprise? One which involves conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Who would that benefit? It's not so hard to get russian uniforms.

For example, Russians allege Ukrainians were caught trying to enter Crimea for sabotage. They have suspects in custody. And yet despite the provocative nature of the claimed event, Putin did nothing other than complain. Maybe they think that a different kind of response is what this administration wants?

Biden recently went to ukraine. What do you think he told Poroshenko?

There are reports of a buildup of arms from NATO in Ukraine.

When I put this together I think you might find there are two October surprises coming. One in the form of emails dumped by wikileaks, the other in the form of heating up of the conflict in Ukraine. Possibly another coup if Poroshenko doesn't play ball.

I have one question for you. How am I fake? Because I might be russian? I get that a lot.

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This comment has been removed by the author.
"I get that a lot." If you wish to be taken for real, have the courage to use your real name, as I do. Give us some way to double-check your internet history.

(By the way, I have a clearly-posted rule about anonymous comments, which I've now allowed you to break twice. No third time. You have been warned.)

"Let's assume I am a russian troll." I do. Your hypersensitivity on this score is what we call a "tell."

Besides, you are capable of writing grammatically correct English, even as you attempt to help Trump attain the presidency. Clearly, you are being paid. If you wish to be taken for an actual American who supports Trump, your commentary should be more along these lines: "Hillary is a fuckin CUNT you globalist cuck! WHITE POWER! Fuck Angela Merkel!"

Let me help you do your job better.

If you wish to be taken for an American Trump supporter, you should first visualize a brain-damaged, English-speaking Siberian Alma wearing a swastika armband -- an Alma so fat and hideous that he couldn't get laid even if he visited an Alma whorehouse with 10,000 rubles in his big hairy hand. Now imagine that same Alma filling himself up with cheap vodka and somehow gaining access to the internet. Now imagine a drunken, rage-filled fascist Alma who, even when speaking in mixed company, always relies on Alt-Right/white nationalist/Breitbartian/8chan jargon, because he has lost the ability to express himself in any other way.

THAT, comrade, is the way you should write if you wish to pass as an American Trumper.

By the way: There's a cool-looking restaurant across the street from your workplace at 55 Savushkina Street. The one with the bronze hand coming out of the door. Ever try it?

"I double checked and I see that you didn't suggest anything published by wikileaks was fake so far."

Don't put words into my mouth, and do not ignore the words that I DID say.

What I SAID was that the Russians have been caught red-handed creating faked documents pertaining to George Soros. If they did it to Soros, they will likely do it to Hillary.

As discussed in previous posts, the Russians hacked into the DNC and elsewhere to look for anything they can use on Hillary. Everyone in his right mind knows that the Russians are the ones supplying documents to Assange.

What Wikileaks has done in the past doesn't count. Assange wants to get out of that damned embassy. Thus, he wants to make Trump president.

How would he even KNOW which emails have been "fixed" by the Russians and which are not?

Wikileaks is simply a conduit. A pipe can transmit toxic liquid at any time, even if it has channeled only clean water heretofore. If Wikileaks did not exist, the Russians would simply have to find some other way to get the fakes out.

The topic of my post -- as anyone can plainly see -- was not Wikileaks but Russia. The fact that you attempted, with commendable slyness, to switch the topic only buttresses the theory that you are a paid troll.

Your comments about Ukraine are a similar exercise in casuistry. I have talked about Ukraine ad infinitum in previous posts; if you wish to address that topic in the future, look up one of those older posts.

Please note the rule in which I ask commenters to stay reasonably close to the topic at hand. In the present case, the topic you have avoided is Russia's demonstrated willingness to create faked documents.

Nevertheless, I do thank you for the hearty laugh. You seem to think that peace has a better chance with the candidate supported by warmongering monsters like Michael Ledeen and Joseph Schmitz, as opposed to the candidate who befriended Tyler Drumheller and the Blumenthal family. Hilarious.

I must admit that you were a cut above some of my other trolls. What is you people say? От во́лка бежа́л, да на медве́дя попа́л...
Re: Remarkable Troll English abilities. Your syntax is awkward. I suggest you study the Romantic poets in order to gain some fluidity in your writing. Your grammar is mostly accurate but that point is besides one I wish the to make.
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Tough on crime

As you will recall, Trump recently bleated that a "top cop" in Chicago told him that the police could end the crime spree which -- in the Trumper imagination -- is now besetting our cities. The cure is simple, says Trump: We just need to let our cops get tough. Really, really tough. No more Mr. Nice Cop. Unleash the Kraken

Maybe Trump wants our constabulary to shoot black people on sight.

Trump has also said that 95% of African Americans will vote for him in 2020 -- even though they hate him right now, and even though, as a landlord, Trump routinely refused to rent to black people. Is Trump implying that black people will vote at gunpoint...?

Turns out that the claim about Trump meeting a "top cop" in Chicago simply is not true.
“We’ve discredited this claim months ago,” CPD spokesperson Frank Giancamilli said in a statement. “No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign.”
In his statement, Giancamilli also disputed that “tough” tactics were the most effective way for police to reduce crime.

“The best way to address crime is through a commitment to community policing and a commitment to stronger laws to keep illegal guns and repeat violent offenders off the street,” he said.
Here's the thing: You can still find many places on the internet where Trump supporters decry Bill Clinton's supposed racism. Why do they call him a racist? Because Clinton signed the Omnibus Crime Bill -- and never mind the inconvenient fact that said bill was supported by the Congressional Black Caucus at the time. The Trumpers want you to believe that Bill Clinton is personally responsible for the increased incarceration of so many black males.

In the real world, of course, the increased incarceration rate resulted from changes in state law, not the federal law signed by Bill Clinton.

Never mind all of that for the moment. Right now, let's contemplate the great hypocrisy of the Trumpers. They slam Bill Clinton for signing an overly-harsh crime bill -- yet at the same time, they call for "tough cops" in our urban centers who will kick butt and get-er-done, untethered by any petty restrictive nonsense about constitutional rights or fairness or human decency. How can the Trumpers slam the Omnibus Crime Bill while defending (for example) what Baltimore's cops did to Freddie Gray?

As you ponder that question, here's another poser for you to chew on. How could Trump -- or any other president -- "unleash the Kraken" which supposedly lurks within the nation's many police departments? Policing is a local matter and and a state matter. The Constitution limits what a President can do.

Either Trump has never read the Constitution, or he has a plan to escape its constraints.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Let's look at that OTHER Foundation...

Many stories (such as this one) about the Clinton Foundation mislead readers into presuming that it is a family slush fund. In fact, it is a charity -- one of the world's most efficient, effective and transparent. No-one in the family profits from donations. This Foundation has received a clean bill of health from Charity Watch and other watchdog organizations.

(Incidentally, this piece offers an excellent response to the current flurry of propaganda.)

Some of you may not know that Donald Trump has his own foundation. What does Charity Watch say about the Trump Foundation? Very little; they do not rate it because it is private. In other words, this organization is as transparent as concrete.

On his website, Trump claims that he is raising money for veterans. Presumably, this goal is why Marvel Comics CEO Ike Perlmutter made a million-dollar donation. The money raised by online appeals goes directly to the Trump Foundation, not to any non-private group known for helping vets.

But do veterans or other good causes get the money? From the Federalist:
Trump’s personal non-profit foundation, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, does not have a history of donating much money to veterans or to veterans’ causes. According to a recent analysis of the organization’s spending history by the Weekly Standard, Trump’s non-profit donated more money to the Clinton Foundation than it did to veterans causes.

Between 2009 and 2013, Trump’s non-profit donated between $100,001 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Over the same period of time, Trump’s group gave only $57,000 to veterans groups. A 2015 analysis by Forbes noted that barely 1 percent of the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s $5.5 million worth of donations betwen 2009 and 2013 went to organizations that support military veterans
From Business Insider:
Trump's foundation began in 1987 and exists to donate money to other charities.

It has no staff, and its annual IRS filings have regularly listed Trump's average time spent on it as "minimal" or zero hours a week. The foundation has given out $3.6 million between 2011 and 2013, the most recent year in which its finances are available.

The overwhelming majority of its recent gifts have been made with other people's money.

NBC Universal, World Wrestling Entertainment and high-end, sporting and entertainment event ticket-reseller Richard Ebers are among the largest donors; Trump made his last significant donation, of $30,000, in 2008.
From the Daily Beast, April 22 of this year:
Three months ago Donald Trump held a fundraiser for wounded veterans and apparently raised $6 million. But most of that money has yet to be distributed and Trump’s chairman for veterans issues couldn’t care less.
Donald Trump has claimed that he has given $102 million in charity in the past five years, but -- according to the Washington Post -- none of that money was actually his.
In addition, many of the gifts on the list came from the charity that bears his name, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which didn’t receive a personal check from Trump from 2009 through 2014, according to the most recent public tax filings. Its work is largely funded by others, although Trump decides where the gifts go.
I'll bet!

On The Apprentice -- especially after 2012 -- Donald Trump frequently burnished his image with charitable donations. He would say that the money came from his own wallet -- but it didn't. The money came from the Trump Foundation, to which has not donated since 2009. The money came from NBC, either directly or laundered through the Trump Foundation. Also see here:
On-air, Trump seemed to be explicit that this wasn’t TV fakery: The money he was giving was his own. “Out of my wallet,” Trump said in one case. “Out of my own account,” he said in another.

But, when the cameras were off, the payments came from other people’s money.

In some cases, as with Kardashian, Trump’s “personal” promise was paid off by a production company. Other times, it was paid off by a nonprofit that Trump controls, whose coffers are largely filled with other donors’ money.
The Washington Post tracked all the “personal” gifts that Trump promised on the show — during 83 episodes and seven seasons — but could not confirm a single case in which Trump actually sent a gift from his own pocket.
Although the Foundation is not supposed to be involved in political work, it gave $100,000 to Citizens United, the group behind that case that led to the proliferation of Super PACs. Nevertheless, Trump has oftne denounced PACs on the campaign trail.

That mingling of politics and charity seems to be a pattern. Also see the Daily Beast, here.
The Daily Beast reported in June that the foundation has been operating essentially as a political slush fund, and that it has been coordinating with the campaign in a way that likely violates both IRS and Federal Election Commission regulations.

Monday’s legal action was prompted in part by the presentation of checks to veterans charities that were paid by the foundation, which had Trump’s campaign logo and its signature slogan—“Make America Great Again”—imprinted on them.
In 2013, the foundation failed to report an illegal $25,000 donation to a political group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, chalking it up to a simple clerical error. At the time, Bondi was reviewing legal complaints regarding the defunct Trump University.
"Clerical error." Riiiiiight. Are we to presume that Trump is so hard up that he couldn't even pay a goddamned bribe with his own money?

From a Vanity Fair investigation:
Promising money and then not following through isn’t new for Trump. Between 1987 and 1991, the Post found that the Trump Foundation only ever gave $137,000 of the $1.9 million that was pledged to causes such as AIDS research, veterans, and homeless organizations—about 7 percent of what was promised. The remaining 93 percent went to groups that the Post characterized as “society galas, his high school, his college, a foundation for indigent real estate brokers.” A ballet school Ivanka Trump attended received $16,750, while Eric Trump's private high school received $40,000—“more than the homeless, AIDS and multiple sclerosis contributions combined.”
It’s unclear where all the money Trump has said he would donate actually goes. Earlier this month, Buzzfeed reported that the fees Trump received for consulting and public events did not appear to have been dispersed. In one instance in 1988, he charged boxer Mike Tyson $2 million to be an adviser for Tyson’s business ventures. “Anything I make from this position will go to charities fighting AIDS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and helping the homeless,” he said at the time, promising to donate it to his foundation. That money never appeared in the Trump Foundation’s records.
Perhaps the best article on the Foundation appeared in the Huffington Post:
Donors give money to the foundation; the billionaire scratches their backs and uses their money to burnish his ego and, more recently, his political reputation.

Initially, the charitable foundation gave mostly to nonpolitical causes. But since 2010, when Trump began considering a run for president as a Republican, his foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to conservative political groups, including the Citizens United Foundation, the Iowa-based Family Leader Foundation and Liberty Central, the advocacy group led by Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The Trump Foundation, which was founded in 1987, received more than $12 million in contributions from 2001 to 2014, the years for which federal tax records are publicly available. Trump provided less than a quarter of that -- and since 2008, he hasn't given the Trump Foundation a dime.

Instead, the foundation's money has come from people and companies that do business with Trump or want something from him. In 2006, People magazine gave the foundation $150,000. Trump gave the magazine exclusive photos of his newborn son, Barron, in April of that year. NBC Universal gave the foundation $10,000 in 2007 and another $500,000 in 2012. Trump's popular reality shows "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice" aired on NBC from 2004 to 2015. And in 2011, Comedy Central gave the foundation $400,000 as an appearance fee for the billionaire's participation in The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump.
One large donor is a "high-end scalper" named Richard Ebers. It's rather amusing to contemplate the quid-pro-quos that may underlie these displays of generosity.

So where does the money go? This headline may offer a clue...
Trump Bought $120,000 Luxury Trip With Trump Foundation Money At 2008 Charity Auction
Trump himself didn’t go on the trip, an aide told BuzzFeed News, but said that she did not know what became of the auction prize. Asked if it had been given to someone else, she reiterated that she didn’t know.

Tax experts contacted by BuzzFeed News said that even if Trump gave the trip to a family member or friend, Trump would have had to report the trip on his foundation’s IRS tax forms. Those forms, however do not report any such transactions. IRS rules require nonprofits to report any “self-dealing” — using their money to furnish their executives with money or other benefits. The Trump Foundation tax forms, called 990s, do not report any such transactions for that year.
In 2012, Trump used $12,000 worth of Foundation money to buy a football helmet signed by Tim Tebow, a purchase made at a charity gala.

If Donald Trump had wanted to, he could have created a real charity -- something like the Clinton Foundation. But he didn't. The Trump Foundation is opaque -- a covert operation, if you will. We have little reason to believe that funds donated to this organization actually go to people in need.

And what will happen to the Foundation if Trump becomes president?

Trump has said that his campaign has been self-funding. Have any of those funds come from the Foundation? How would we even know?
I think the Clintons are doing a poor job highlighting the great job the foundation doing. Along time ago there were pictures of Chelsea with her father in Africa doing some work why don't we see those things to counter the nasty things thrown at them.
Daniel Hopsicker has a great piece out on Hillary's VP Tim Kaine. Seems he's not the cleanskin the media would have us believe.
That was a very interesting piece Fred. I do notice that Hopsicker is on a anti-Hillary vendetta of sorts, though he has touched on Trump a couple of times. His Facebook has a very interested assessment of the Clinton foundations 2014 tax return. He links right to the actual forms on the foundation web site, and maybe I'm dense, but I just can't seem to get the numbers to add up the way he does in his graphic. I respect the man's work greatly, but in this case I feel he's maybe loosing his objectivity.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Profiles in cowardice

Trump won't speak in black communities because he is too filled with fear.

Compare to the above. Compare to perhaps the bravest speech ever given by a presidential candidate.

Elsewhere: Julian Assange has "doxxed" a large number of gay men in Saudi Arabia, thereby placing their lives in extreme danger. He also published private details about rape victims and other struggling, endangered people within Saudi society.

Why on earth...? What kind of monster would do such a thing?
Embattled WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who has spent years hiding in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, said previously: “The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself.”
What an inane attempt to switch the subject! Outing gay people and exposing rape victims can hardly be defended by pointing to the evils of the Saudi royal family.

Also see here.
In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial or identity records posted to the web. In two particularly egregious cases, WikiLeaks named teenage rape victims. In a third case, the site published the name of a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay, an extraordinary move given that homosexuality is punishable by death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom.

"They published everything: my phone, address, name, details," said a Saudi man who told AP he was bewildered that WikiLeaks had revealed the details of a paternity dispute with a former partner. "If the family of my wife saw this ... Publishing personal stuff like that could destroy people."
Assange is a monster who deserves to die in pain.
"Assange is a monster who deserves to die in pain." typical attitude of an exceptional american, where killing, murdering or maiming others over their perceived wrongs takes precedence over any court of law, lol.. it's the great amerikkkan way..
Thanks for highlighting RFK's speech. I'll be glad when November is behind us, and you can go back to your muckraking ways.

April 4, 2017 will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's very radical Riverside speech, where he called the USA "the greatest purveyor of violence today," and assailed the triple evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. When he was shot down on April 4. 1968, he was running for president with Dr. Benjamin Spock and was planning to bring 500,000 poor people to occupy the Washington Mall (and Congress) to press their demands for economic justice. RFK was going to be a part of the Poor People's Campaign.

There are a lot of questions about RFK's assassination, and MLK's as well.
Donald Trump won't speak in black areas because he is scared - and he is scared because he is a racist lump of shit. He can say black people should vote for him, but he hasn't got the guts to say it to their faces.
@Anon 2.12 - Benjamin Spock? I didn't know that. A Steinerite connection!
I would have thought that Court proceedings in KSA are public. So with respect to the "gay" Saudi man, I doubt he was "outed". One might argue that he is now on a searchable database which means a whole new bunch of crazies can find him. But I think the Saudi state is about as crazy as it gets in KSA so it's tough to really take your point.

I do think "Assange is a monster who deserves to die in pain" seems a little strong. Doesn't he just facilitate transparency? What does he do that Judy Miller didn't do? Apart from check the documents are true.

An Iranian scientist was recently executed for shooting by iran. An nyt staffer had published a report back in 2010 confirming he worked for the CIA. Does that journo deserve the same fate?
Mr. 9:19 Anon: Judith Miller is scum. Assange has become self-aggrandizing scum. If he destroyed your life with his "revelations," would you be as forgiving? Perhaps our host is empathizing with Assange's victims. Personally, I have an entire list of people I'd like to boil in oil. That doesn't make an evil amerikkan or any other pejorative. It makes me a human being.

Bob, in part my fury derives from the fact that I used to emphasize with Assange. I believed in him. I thought that he was set up by our CIA.

What the hell is wrong with this world? It's getting so you can't admire ANYONE. If you do, the person you admire will eventually use his clay feet to kick your ass.
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Answering the Clinton smears

I don't know what you think of James Carville, and I don't care: In this case, petty ad hominem attacks simply will not do. In the video embedded above, Carville quickly sets the record straight on The Clinton Foundation.

The Foundation is a charity -- a fact which many ideologues and CDS sufferers want you to forget. This charity has has done a lot of good work, and has saved many lives.

The Foundation is not a Clinton family slush fund, even though so many people (on the right and the left) have pretended otherwise.

The attacks on this charity resemble the 2004 attacks on John Kerry's war record: In both cases, the strategy involves an assault on a candidate's greatest strength. In both cases, small people with no morals have tossed mud at their betters.

I'd like those smear merchants to explain just how it is that they know more about the Foundation than Charity Watch does.

The emails. Here's another instance where some of you may be chomping at the bit to launch a petty ad hominem attacks on a famous writer. If you try to do so, you are simply dodging the issue. At the other end of that link, John Dean mounts a superb, detailed, scholarly response to the nonsense we've all heard about Hillary Clinton's emails.

None of those emails were marked in the header as classified, although a very few contained paragraphs that contained a (c) for "confidential" -- the very lowest classification rating. (Confidential documents can be sent through the mail.) Hillary Clinton did not send those emails, and she could have no way of knowing what was in those emails when they showed up in her inbox.

I've read elsewhere that the few emails bearing these markings were later determined to be marked (c) in error; for example, one had to do with the inauguration of the President of Malawi, a public fact -- hardly a state secret. None of these passages were of any significance. Most of the emails which went through that server were piffle -- links to internet news stories, things of that sort.

Dean masterfully destroys all of the other arguments that Clinton somehow committed perjury.

He also demolishes the myth that FBI Director James Comey was part of some imaginary pro-Clinton conspiracy. In fact, Comey (a Republican) seems to have deliberately tried to create a murkier picture than the evidence warranted.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was working very closely in Ukraine with someone who, in all likelihood, was a Russian intelligence officer.
At the time, the connection was deemed unimportant — Mr Kilimnik was valued for his “excellent English”, these people say.

Today, with Mr Kilimnik still close to Mr Manafort, according to people who know both men, the links have taken on new significance. As Russian president Vladimir Putin likes to joke, there is no such thing as a former intelligence officer.
Manafort is still linked to the campaign. Moreover, he has long been the business partner of Roger Stone, one of Trump's oldest and closest associates. Let that scenario sink in: A man closely tied to a likely KGB officer was running the campaign of the Republican presidential candidate.

And we're supposed to think that Hillary is the one who poses a threat to American security?

Powell. You may have read (or seen on teevee) that Colin Powell now denies giving Hillary Clinton advice about setting up her own email server. In fact, he did just that -- and admitted so himself, just a couple of months ago.

Joe Conason will tell the story in his forthcoming book. The conversation in question occurred during a meeting between Hillary Clinton, newly appointed as Secretary of State, and all living previous holders of that title, both Republican and Democrat. Only the most inane conspiracy buff could claim that Conason concocted this story: The witnesses are many, and they are of differing political persuasions.
I totally agree with James Carville on this one - people will die.

Also, the headlines I'm seeing are all along the lines of donors *sought* access - very clever, sounds murky - with no evidence in the articles that these "seekers" ever received anything from the Clintons.

Good post. Whatever horrors they put you through in that hoswpital have worn off and you are back to your usual good writing -- pointed, accurate and relevant.

And I don't even like Hillary.
The press (MSNBC no less) regularly covers the email and Clinton Foundation "scandals" letting pundits question and make very clear accusations of wrongdoing without ever challenging them to name one example.

I can hardly watch - and it's on 7 days a week/52 weeks a year. Every.Single.Night.
I think you mean John Dean. It is a good piece.
Yeesh! I wrote that one WAY too fast. Thanks. I've made the correction.
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Trump's moneymaking campaign

Donald Trump wants his campaign to make money, not to make himself president: That is the clear lesson from this TPM analysis. He's spending more on arenas than on staff, and the rallies are "rock concert" venues designed to sell merch.
All and all, the Washington Post estimated that Trump and his family have made $7.7 million so far in the campaign by spending on Trump-owned services from event space to air travel.

Campaigns are required to pay market value on items it purchases, and there is nothing per se illegal about using Trump-owned vendors.
But he's not paying market value: That's the lesson we learn from this eye-opening post, which reveals yet another scandal that would end the chances of any Democratic politician.

In short and in sum: The Trump campaign rents office space in Trump Tower. Not illegal. However, Trump (despite his claims) is not the sole funder of this campaign: Donations have come in from the website. Once that source of funding kicked in, Trump Tower immediately started to charge FIVE TIMES THE RENT.

During this same time period, the number of staffers went down. Obviously, if he has fewer staffers, he probably is not using more space -- certainly not five times as much space.

Adding insult to injury: To judge from this photo, the office space is unfinished, unprofessional and just...awful. I doubt that Trump Tower could have rented this space to anyone else.

The fact that Donald Trump is scraping after this kind of spare change tells me that he cannot possibly be worth what he claims. If he were truly a billionaire, why isn't the guy in the picture to the right sitting in an office with a marble entranceway, with original paintings by Frederick Remington and Albert Bierstadt hanging on the walls? 

The campaign is clearly just another scuzzy, Trumpy money-making scheme. Trump is using other people's donations to profit from the sales of his own swag.

But that doesn't mean that I think Trump has given up on victory. I heard on a recent political radio show (was it Sam Seder? Thom Hartmann?) that lower-level campaign staffers report, off-the-record, that the higher-ups all seem to be hiding some great and important secret.

I think that a very dirty covert political op is in the works. Very dirty. Perhaps even something on the scale of 9/11.

When that particular piece of shit hits the fan, Alex Jones will insure that every paranoid on the internet interprets the event as an operation directed against Trump, rather than an operation perpetrated to help Trump.

Trump is pinning his hopes on something big, an unprecedented exercise in political spectacle. A game changer. He doesn't care about traditional campaigning except insofar as he can use the campaign to fatten his wallet.
TPM don't get it. They even call Trump's "digital" campaign "comically bad".

"All and all, the Washington Post estimated that Trump and his family have made $7.7 million so far in the campaign by spending on Trump-owned services from event space to air travel."

Big deal!

As for that office space...Trump is a landlord.

"If he were truly a billionaire, why isn't the guy in the picture to the right sitting in an office with a marble entranceway, with original paintings by Frederick Remington and Albert Bierstadt hanging on the walls?"

Because nobody makes it by giving it away?
*rolls eyes*

Once again:

(1) With a trivial handful of exceptions, the only people who will believe any "October Surprise" are the people who would never have voted for Clinton, anyway.

(2) Except for a few renegades such as Flynn, the vast majority of the members of the national security establishment have lined up behind Clinton. They. Do. Not. Want. Trump. They have means of making sure they do not get Trump, although I doubt they will actually need to use them.

Let me add a new one:

(3) 2016 is not 2000. The demographics of the electorate have shifted significantly. Specifically, DAWPs (Dumb Ass White People) are a smaller portion of the electorate. Who does Trump have, besides DAWPs and a handful of actually rich people (unlike Trump the fake tycoon) who wish to continue dominating the country by manipulating the DAWPs (the basic GOP strategy since 1968, if not earlier)?
"ensure", not "insure".

The fatal flaw of spell-checking: the right spelling of the wrong word.
Ivory Bill, I hope you are right, except it very much looks like 2000, from the news media. Don't forget also that Roger Stone actually accused Hillary of being able to steal the election (and then used Republicans stealing Wisconsin as an example!) which, as we know, is broadcasting what the Republican can and would do!

Meanwhile, the media, just like 2000, will give cover to the theft. So long as the national NARRATIVE matches the theft, the nation will go along with it.

Last night, while waiting on a food order, I had the misfortune to have several tv screens blaring at me. CNN's headline, which remained in place for 20 solid minutes, blared "Breaking News: Donald Trump delays speech." A delayed speech is breaking news??!!

Only if, just like in 2000, the entire election is covered from one candidate's POV.

They finally took down that Important Headline, only to replace it with this Breaking News: some wonder if Hillary Clinton is ill.

So baseless speculation is breaking news?

Meanwhile, on Fox News, they took a break from speculating on Hillary's emails to rolling all the accusations Hillary has faced over the years. Just one big scrolling list.

We need to do more than vote. We need to disrupt the media drumbeats. Good luck with that. I organized two busloads of protesters down to DC for Dumbya's inauguration. It would not be difficult, especially in NYC, to disrupt news stations but people don't get it. Even activists, even protesters. The closest anyone's come is Code Pink. You would think Anonymous could do it, but most people just don't think conceptually. They can't view something like "The News" or "TV" as a villain, or even as a war front. Or even as ground we need to capture. Twitter is not going to save the world, and in fact is itself a medium that encourages bullying and poor information.

Barney Frank, who has done his share of good work already this political season, once told me you can't fight (I forget how he put it) the general perception, the media drumbeat. The most you get is one sound byte.

I'm with you prowlerzee; that's why I fight every dumbass Facebook meme that comes my way. It may be a losing effort but I'm not trying to move the hardcore tRumpians to my side-- the goal is to prevent the media from moving anyone from undecided to the GOP. We can do it. I have hope that Clinton will have the guts in her first two years to attack the causes of this regression in what was once a great nation-- the media. Since the Fairness Doctrine repeal, lying became not only legal but without consequence of any kind. At least, before the repeal, station licenses could be challenged more often and without entire squadrons of lawyers. I know, I know. Cable. It doesn't matter anymore whether the "news" comes over the air, through a fiber, or from a diarac from inner space, if it is labelled "news" in any way, shape, or form, it must be subject to truth. And if the truth is not told, either through distortion or omission, punishment must ensue.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

"The World's grown honest? Then is doomsday near."

Roger Stone -- Roger Fucking Stone -- says that Donald Trump should release his taxes right away.

Go ahead and spend the rent money on strippers or booze. The apocalypse is right around the corner anyways, so nothing really matters.

If you clicked on the link above, lemme ask ya: Does that tie go with that suit? I don't think so. To my eye, only a solid color would work. But at least Stone didn't include a patterned shirt, which is something that Tim Gunn might have done.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has finally turned the tables on Donald Trump. Despite the nonsense you've been reading and hearing from the usual right-wing noisemakers, the Clinton Foundation is completely clean, having been examined carefully by Charity Watch and other groups. No charity watchdog group has investigated the Trump Foundation.

We do know, however, that Donald Trump's "charitable" gifts on The Apprentice actually came from the Trump Foundation, which Trump himself may or may not run. (Accounts differ. That's a conundrum I've been trying to resolve.) We do know that NBC donated more than enough to the Foundation to cover all of Trump's displays of ersatz magnanimity.

I'll have more to say about the Trump Foundation in the future.

A big Trump lie that you probably don't know about. I don't know why people aren't talking about this one -- if any Dem has something so shady on his resume, his political career would be over.

It all has to do with the massive Trump Tower (formally called the Trump International Hotel and Tower) in Chicago, built right beside the river -- the fourth-tallest building in the United States, and the tallest residential building in the world. I happen to think that the building is quite magnificent, from an architectural standpoint.

Trump had YUUUUGE plans for a shopping paradise at the base of the Tower.
Some dozen stories below the Trump sign is a testament to Trump’s Chicago flop.

About 70,000 square feet of space on the terrace and riverwalk levels has never been rented since the building opened in 2008. That means Trump’s organization each year leaves potentially millions of rent dollars on the table, as the vacant space generates no revenue.

Trump’s real estate experience did not guarantee the success of the commercial/retail aspect of the Chicago skyscraper, which also contains a hotel, condominiums and parking.

Trump complains about media bias. So I want to underscore that the admissions about why the Trump Tower retail space is not rented come from a legal brief filed with the Cook County Assessor by the law firm Trump’s own organization hired to seek a property tax break.

Trump’s own brief states the devastating shortcomings of the tower’s commercial and retail space.

In May, the Sun-Times’ Chris Fusco and Tim Novak reported on how Trump and his investors were able to cut millions of dollars from their Cook County property tax bills, hiring Klafter & Burke, the law firm run by clout king Ald. Ed Burke (14th), for a series of successful appeals.

In a legal brief dug up by Novak and Fusco, the commercial/retail space is described as “empty and un-leasable” with details on all its shortcomings.

“There are no direct or easy ways to reach the space from Michigan Avenue. The space has remained vacant since the hotel opened in 2008, even though the hotel has used real estate brokers from several different firms from both Chicago and New York,” the brief said.

In 2014, the real estate firm RKF was hired to market the property, but the space is “so detrimental” that no one wants it — even for offices, the brief states.
In short, Trump told the County Assessor that the offices were "unleasable," and thus deserving of a tax reduction.

At this point, you are probably asking: "But where is this 'big lie' that Cannon promised us?" It comes to this: Trump tells a very different story about these offices to any potential renters. For example, see here.
Situated at the base of the Trump International Hotel & Tower overlooking the Chicago River, this breathtaking retail space is ideal for restaurants and retailers looking for a high-profile location and direct access to Trump Tower's hotel guests, condominium residents and locals alike. Spaces range in size from 1,478 sf to 66,929 sf and can be demised or combined to fit a variety of uses.
Either Trump is lying to the assessor or he is lying to potential retailers.
You're still making bullshit posts on your bullshit blog. Joseph, you're gonna give yourself another heart attack if you don't accept the inevitable.

Trump will be Emperor of the World.

You should watch this hilarious video of Killary, erm, I mean Hillary:

And get that chocolate milkshake you've been craving, stop posting, and take the rest of the day off. No, take the rest of your life off. You won't ever need to work or live another day when Trump is in charge. Take care, bon voyage!

If Stone is suggesting it, there's gotta be a catch... Doctored tax returns, showing massive wealth and great charity? Perhaps the IRS won't be able to comment on their veracity due to the audit or somesuch. An inverse Rathergate?
Does the epithet "The Donald" connote wrestling? Please can someone tell me.

Or does it only connote Trump's iconic macho superstar status, similar to how one might call Liz Hurley "La Hurley" to emphasise her status as a feminine icon?

I am beginning to think Trump's presentation relates to wrestling a lot.

His presentation doesn't only hook up with his own profile in that area of entertainment. It also depicts both him and his rivals in cartoon terms, including by means of epithets.

I don't watch wrestling. Am I in the right ballpark here?

Many of Trump's supporters also display stupidity on an astounding scale, as if at any one time they can only concentrate on a single idea expressed in about two or three words - and as if all they can do is shout it out, unwilling to hear what anyone else is saying. Because that would spoil their enjoyment of the show.

This is highly relevant to how the TV debates will go. (I note that the release of Clinton emails seems to be planned to fit in with those debates.)

Whether the answer to my opening question is "yes" or "no", I have always thought "The Donald" is far too friendly a term for Trump's critics to use. So was "Maggie" for Margaret Thatcher. It's like calling Stalin "Uncle Joe" or Hitler "Hittie".

This guy Trump is literally an insane fascist who has mass support, and who could soon become the executive president of the country with the world's second largest nuclear arsenal.
"The Donald" was a pet name used by his first wife, Ivana, of Czech origin. Her English was good -- arguably better than his, since she knows how to finish one sentence before blustering on to the next thought. At times, though, she expressed herself in ways that were endearingly...foreign.

I also use "Uncle Joe" and "Adolf" from time to time. Doesn't mean I'm a fan.
But is "The Donald" used in wrestling? Origin may not explain current use.

It doesn't mean you're a fan, but such terms can express unconscious respect even when used by critics with ironic or belittling intent. The image of the charismatic fascist leader has an aspect which is very much of ordinary human size.

That Trump knows exactly what he is doing was clear from his entrance on the stage at the RNC. His style was compared by some to that of a wrestler called the "Undertaker". I also noticed that when he first came on he appeared a bit bumbling, as an ordinary person might be. His performance was quite brilliant.

Homeric scholar Bruce Louden has noticed Trump's use of epithets, but I suspect he may be unaware of the wrestling connotations.

As for "(going) ahead and spend(ing) the rent money on strippers or booze (because) the apocalypse is right around the corner", the German government seems to have noticed too. They're currently telling everyone to stockpile food, water, matches, etc.
Amy Argetsinger sources the popular usage of "The Donald" to Jonathan Van Meter's 1989 Spy piece on Ivana and subsequent adoption by the Washington Post. Van Meter wrote that Ivana called her husband "The Don", but the article's sub-editors preferred the term "The Donald". It's not clear from Argetsinger's piece whether Van Meter himself reported Ivana saying "The Donald" at all. Given that Trump owes his career to Roy Cohn, one can imagine him not liking being called "The Don". From a marketing point of view, "The Donald" helped Ivana's image as well as her husband's.

Ivana later tried to trademark "The Donald"; then they fought over it.

If there's one thing that all social climbers from Eastern Europe love, it's the mafia.

I doubt that the reason Ivana called her husband "The Don" had anything to do with her not having learnt when to use and when not to use the English definite article.

Any public call by Stone for Trump to do anything is part of the campaign. Putting out bad news earlier than the other side would want, so as to muddle it and get the discussion over and done with, is a classic PR move. Or maybe there's little or nothing there.

On "The Donald", I've now read Jonathan Van Meter's piece in Spy and he says Ivana called Trump "The Don". He does quote someone as saying she always puts the definite article before people's names, but "The Donald" is his own usage.
I think Ivana used The Donald as a snide comment on his high and mightiness.
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Alan Dershowitz wants to help Hillary prep for the debates. NO.

Despite all, I respect the man's intelligence and rhetorical skills. But Hillary must avoid him like cancer, for three reasons.

1. Dershowitz is a friend of Jeff Epstein, and Epstein is a friend to Trump. We don't want a repeat of the 1980 theft of Carter's debate materials. The campaign should be run like an intelligence operation; paranoia is our friend.

2. Dershowitz is despised by the left. While I understand that Clinton must veer right to win the general election, she must also be wary of alienating progressives. An alliance with Dershowitz -- however temporary or limited -- will outrage many, yet would do nothing to help Hillary Clinton win over moderates in (say) Georgia.

3. When it comes to the rationalization of Israel's turn to fascism, Dershowitz is cancer.
Everything you said about Dershowitz is true, he's cancer to democracy in Israel. He's just as much a fascist in Israel as Trump wants to be here. Out of 324 million in the US there has to be someone else.

And welcome back, we missed you.
In the winter of 2001--2001 I was reading in a nice warm bookstore in NYC when Alan Dershowitz came in to give a talk about terrorism. This was just a few months after 9/11 and he was already asserting the "ticking time bomb" scenario advocating that torture was justified to prevent a bomb going off and to save hundreds of lives.
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Why Trump may win

You may chortle at Michael Rosenblum's prediction. But even if he's wrong about the next president, he is -- in a deeper sense -- absolutely goddamned 100 percent right. Take the words below, stir in the name "Roger Stone," top it off with the concept "spectacular dirty trick," and you will understand why I still predict a Trump victory.

(As longtime readers know: I always predict the worst. Presume the worst and all of your surprises will be happy ones.)

Donald Trump is going to be elected president.

The American people voted for him a long time ago.

They voted for him when The History Channel went from showing documentaries about the Second World War to Pawn Stars and Swamp People.

They voted for him when The Discovery Channel went from showing Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley to Naked and Afraid.

They voted for him when The Learning Channel moved from something you could learn from to My 600 Pound Life.

They voted for him when CBS went from airing Harvest of Shame to airing Big Brother.

These networks didn't make these programming changes by accident. They were responding to what the American people actually wanted. And what they wanted was Naked and Afraid and Duck Dynasty.

The polls may show that Donald Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton, but don't you believe those polls. When the AC Nielsen Company selects a new Nielsen family, they disregard the new family's results for the first three months. The reason: when they feel they are being monitored, people lie about what they are watching. In the first three months, knowing they are being watched, they will tune into PBS. But over time they get tired of pretending. Then it is back to The Kardashians.

The same goes for people who are being asked by pollsters for whom they are voting. They will not say Donald Trump. It is too embarrassing. But the truth is, they like Trump. He is just like their favorite shows on TV.

Mindless entertainment.
There is one possible flaw in this argument. Rosenblum is right about that "three month rule" involving Nielsen families, but the very fact that people feel obligated to lie about their viewing habits indicates that they still have some vestiges of a social conscience. A voice within whispers: "You really should be a better person than this." It's the classic battle of Id vs. Superego.

The gravity of a presidential choice may force people to act like a Nielsen family within those first three months.

I like chocolate milk shakes more than I like healthy salads. When impulse takes over, when the Cannon Id overpowers the Cannon Superego, I go for the shake every time. But I know which is better.

On the other hand: Knowing which is better may not suffice.

I don't think that my fellow citizens have stopped caring about what's good for them, but I do think that they've become very skilled at playing the Rationalization Game.

Let's go back to my milk shake metaphor. After about five minutes of research, most of you could come up with a pseudo-scientific argument as to why a chocolate milk shake is actually healthier than a salad. (I'll start you out: "Chocolate is said to ward off heart disease; dairy products provide calcium...") The argument need not be grounded in scientific research, and it need not have the endorsement of the majority of nutritionists. The argument needs only to be just persuasive enough. As long as the argument has a superficial sprinkling of scientific patter, casuistry will win the day: You'll order the shake.

(Hell. I want one now.)

L. Ron Hubbard believed that tobacco use cures lung cancer. Being a master of casuistry, he was able to mount a fairly involved argument to that effect. As long as you can convince yourself that the establishers of Established Opinion are engaged in a conspiracy to deprive you of what you crave, anything becomes possible.

And that's why a garish, impulsive, unstable con artist like Donald Trump may win.

Rationalization defeats rationality.
Mr. Cannon seems to assume that the USA is actually a democracy.

Execpt for a handful of renegades such as Flynn, our national security establishment (NSE hereafter) has made it clear that they prefer President Clinton to President Trump.

Hence, Trump can win only if Putin's hackers and other operatives are better than the NSE's hackers and other operatives--otherwise, the unaccountable vote-counting computers will say "CLINTON WINS", whether or not she actually wins.

Putin's gremlins might be better, but who won the Cold War?
Ivory Bill, you and I are on the same page on this. I suspected two years ago that Clinton was the selection of the NSE this time around. I'm more sure each passing day. Trump loosing will most likely create some civil unrest and some extremists will probably try to take some sort of action. Which will only play further into the hands of the NSE. I think Joseph might not realize that our scenario is actually the worst case scenario, in that, it would probably prove once and for all that votes are not really counted and that voting really is a fruitless exercise (at least at the national level). Though I suppose not necessarily, since it is possible that the majority of Americans are sane and thoughtful. I'm not optimistic though.
For many, the election is like the wrestling. This is how well Trump performs. And here. After watching those videos, I became even more of the opinion that Trump is likely to whup Clinton's arse in the TV debates.
Come on, guys. I'm not buying it. Enemy of the State was a movie. (I have skin in the NSA, btw so you can view me as disinformation if that helps.)
Bob, I do NOT view you that way. But maybe you can answer a question that has been on my mind for a while: If anyone on Team Trump has been in communication with folks overseas, do you think that the NSA would have a record of it? I understand that minimization would require the censorship of the American side of that dialogue, but not if a crime were involved.

Let us suppose (for the sake of argument) that the crime was the engineering of a 9/11-scale act of domestic terrorism. On one side of the conversation is someone with a foreign accent talking about "another big wedding." And on the other side, you have someone who says: "Not just a BIG wedding. The BIGGEST. Just so you know, it's gonna be YUUUUUGE. No one puts on a big wedding like me, believe me."

You think the lads and lasses at Fort Meade would have a recording of that conversation?
Bob, we're not talking about NSA, if that helps. NSA is a tool of the national security establishment. No one believes that all people in such agencies are part of a huge conspiracy to turn the USA into a fascist state (well, okay, maybe not "no one", but probably no one here). NSE was just Ivory Bill's shortening of national security establishment. I have no doubt that the vast majority of NSA employees are just doing their jobs and probably think they are making the US safer (and probably are, in many ways). I just think that the people that appear to run our country don't really run our country. I think fascism is a by product of what the people who actually run our country want (basically a new feudalism). I think presidential elections have been fixed for a long time, but I don't think NSA or any other government agency is responsible for the least not more than peripherally. I could easily be wrong......though if that means Trump would have a shot at being President, I hope I'm not.
Conspiracy theorists are special.

In every one of your scenarios, you forget one thing...majority America elected a black man to the Oval Office. Twice.

Yes, Robin Leach and soap operas primed the nation for reality TV, the racist conmen who now run the Republican Party and presidential candidate Trump. But only the less intelligent denizens of White America are following that piper.

After Clinton, it took the combined efforts of the Supreme Court, 9/11 and the Iraq war to get and keep a Republican in the Oval Office. Obama voters are the nation's majority now and they will not be voting for the candidate who thinks broadcasting his reality program from the White House is a great idea.
No, I didn't forget that. I did notice how he continued the policies of the Bush administration almost as if there was no difference (well, actually he doubled down on some of those polices). He was just as much the national security establishment candidate as Clinton is. Now, on domestic issues he was miles better than the alternatives, so I can certainly grant him that. Clinton is no doubt miles ahead of Trump in just about every way. I will vote, most likely for Clinton, just to keep that psychopath Trump from getting anywhere near the nuclear launch codes, even though I think the voting system is rigged......and even if it isn't, do genuine men or women of the people get to run for President? I don't think so. But go ahead and use "conspiracy theorist" as a derogatory term if you like. I don't claim absolute certainty about my claims. Most of the time I hope I'm wrong, but paying close attention to how our government operates makes me concerned that I'm right.
May the Ascended Madoka grant that Missy will be correct.
Joe-- I always operate on the assumption that everything I have used that involved electronic communication was recorded, if not monitored. The monitoring is actually the key element. Until Skynet comes on-line, it's going to be at least one order of magnitude impossible to analyze every conversation in real-time (that's why the recording of the Boston bomber brothers surfaced two days after the fact and why they were not stopped). I think it is possible for plotters to get away with code talking but they will have to hop it through quite a few servers since I'd bet the main routes are very closely monitored. Back in the 60s I went to school with electronic intercept operators (they were called ditty-boppers back then); they had an extremely high suicide rate because the stress level was so high. From I was told, air traffic controller high, so the point I'm making is that good analysts are very hard to find and train and keep. Of course, I only know the edges, but the edges always look burned and frayed. One of tRump's enablers might be up to something but he'd have to have at least six degrees of separation to avoid being detected.
I hear what you're saying folks about the Military-Industrial-Complex and I believe they have tried and will continue to try to influence the outcome of elections (Diebold? Ohio? hmmmm) but I don't believe they can reverse the trends on this particular election since the GOPers nominated animate diarrhea as their candidate. Prople might notice if Clinton was up 10 in the exit polls then lost by 10.
" genuine men or women of the people get to run for President?"

No, they don't because the system is rigged so that only the wealthy and/or connected can get the financing to run a billion dollar campaign for president.

Inequality made rampant by Reagan's "trickle-down" policies is the foundation of what's wrong with America.
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

In search of Donald Trump's doctor

Let's do a little further research into the mysterious Dr. Harold Bornstein, the doctor who (allegedly) wrote that hilariously unprofessional "To Whom My Concern" missive. Remember? That's the one that proclaimed Donald Trump to be the fittest living entity since Hercules. That's also the letter in which Donald Trump tested positive for...everything.

Since everyone except me seems to be on Twitter these days, I thought I'd look up the man's Twitter history.

The search engine I consulted listed two possible feeds. The first one bears the image of Dr. Nick Riviera from The Simpsons. Several subtle clues have caused me to suspect that this account may not be legit.

The second account appears to be quite real. Bornstein emitted only three tweets in late 2013 and in November of 2014; all three messages appear to be unimportant piffle. Oddly enough, he seems to prefer expressing himself in Italian. Here's a screen shot:

I'm not saying that Bornstein is in any way an unethical medical practitioner; I'm sure that everything he does is honest and above-board. All I'm saying is that he looks like the kind of doctor whose patients have a tendency to say things like "Look, man -- I just need some stuff. Just to tide me over. You gotta help me, man." I will also tentatively suggest that if we were to explore this line of investigation, we might understand why Donald Trump sometimes sounds like Sarah Palin on meth. (Actually, the theory that she is on meth would explain a lot.)

But our focus today is on Dr. Bornstein, not on his most famous patient. Perhaps we will learn more about this doctor if we study the Twitter feeds that he has chosen to follow.

(As always, the reader must understand that I myself avoid Twitter and cannot claim to understand its ways.)

There are three listed accounts. First up: Darth MaKaVeLious. He appears to have something to do with the hip-hop subculture, even though he's a Trump fan. Not interesting.

Much more intriguing is the account of a Lebanese singer named Amar. Although I've never heard her perform, Amar instantly became my favorite pop music star.

Why? Here's why:

"Did my heart love till now? Foreswear it, sight!/For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."

My feminist readers, if I still have any, will probably hate me for noting that Lebanese women are famous for their beauty. So are Ukrainian women, by the way.

(Christ, I'm starting to sound as skeezy as The Donald.)

It may interest some of you to know that, last December, Amar was attacked by a madman who claimed to have a connection to ISIS.

What really intrigues me is the third listed account which Dr. Bornstein has chosen to follow. It's in Arabic.

YOW. Take a look.

I hate to jump to conclusions, but doesn't that page look kind know...jihad-y?

I don't know Arabic. However, I do know how to run a web page through Google Translate:

Okay. Now this account is looking more like the work of someone who is anti-terror -- and also anti-Israel. But I can't really be sure of that conclusion, given the language barrier and the uncertainties of a Google translation. Let me repeat once again: I do not often visit the world of Twitter and cannot claim to comprehend how it works.

We can fairly say that the mysterious Dr. Bornstein keeps unfolding like a flower. If my readers can offer any help in understanding his various interests, I am all attention.

Again, nothing in this post is meant to defame Dr. Bornstein. I have no doubt that HE IS THE MOST AWESOMELY EXCELLENT DOCTOR IN ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY!

Believe me, folks. He'll make you so healthy you'll get sick of not being sick.
Looks to me like he follows over thirty people and is followed by 20 more. I can't see what they are because I haven't got an account.

I'm also anti-Zionist. This Bornstein seems like a real hep cat.
As I write this, Harold Bornstein, the most astonishingly excellent medic and report-writer in the galaxy, is following 36 people at Twitter and he's got 23 followers.

The only person in both categories is Marina Carminati (@marucarmi), an Italian producer and communications consultant living in New York who says she has worked with NBC News and the Today Show. Her website is at, and she checks out as the owner of that domain. Ms Carminati publishes some information about herself here. In Italy she worked in TV and newspapers, and since coming to the US she has worked in those media and also in radio.

"After arriving in New York City, she created the radio show 'Medicine and Wellbeing' for radio ICN."

I wonder whether any medics we know of may have appeared on that show?
Lest we forget, Trump tweeted on 3 Dec 2015 that

"As a presidential candidate, I have instructed my long-time doctor to issue, withn two weeks, a full medical report-it will show perfection"

Then 11 days later he published the report, with the words

"I am proud to share this health report, written by the highly respected Dr. Jacob Bornstein of Lenox Hill Hospital."

...but Jacob Bornstein died several years ago, and Trump meant to refer to his son Harold Bornstein, who has supposedly been his medic since 1980.

In the report, Jacob Bornstein uses the letters MD and FAGC after his name. "FAGC" stands for "Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterologists", which he is NOT. He was once a fellow at said college, but his membership "lapsed" in 1995.

"When asked by MSNBC about using the title in his signature without maintaining membership, Bornstein said that the title 'has no value' but that he will continue to use it."

His knowledge of the rules of professional associations seems to be less than perfect. Good work by Rachel Maddow at MSNBC. Unfortunately she doesn't ask the questions

1) Why did his membership lapse in 1995? Was it just that he decided to stop paying his dues?

2) In claiming on Donald Trump's medical report that he is something that he isn't (namely a Fellow of the ACG), has he broken any professional rules?
Sorry to break it to you, but this @hbornst1 is a bot account. It's not anyone's personal Twitter account. It's of no interest or importance.

You might want to delete the post.
Bots are multilingual? Bots know how to appreciate Lebanese goddesses? A bot would know how to become a follower of Marina Carminati, who is also a follower of this bot, and who is ALSO linked to Bornstein via Google+?
Thai women are also beautiful.

I'm a feminist, but I figure that if I can enjoy pictures of men's bodies (, you can enjoy pictures of women's bodies.
I don't think it's Trump's doctor's actual Twitter account. Mediaite described it thusly: "Some kind of weird parody Twitter account using Bornstein’s name has existed since 2013. There’s not much to it… except for an even more amazing picture." Scroll down towards the bottom of the following article:

Also, doesn't look like the same guy to me (though admittedly very similar).

And this sounds like a mockery of Trump's use of superlatives: The most beautiful foto from the best journalist nel mondo
What are the reasons for thinking it's a fake account? The pictures seem to me to show the same man, who has used a photo from a few years ago for his Twitter account, which isn't an unusual thing to do. Andrew Husband makes no argument for his assertion at that the account is a parody.
Andrew Husband, author of the Mediaite piece calling the @hbornst1 Twitter account a "parody", has a photo of Jill Stein as his own Twitter profile pic (@AndrewHusband). I have had a very low opinion of Stein ever since she was asked how Trump could be stopped and she answered about how to stop Clinton.
Good points b. After "researching" a little further, I found out that that photo actually a photo of Trump's Doc:

Maybe it is his Twitter account, too. Who knows? It doesn't seem too important a topic really.
Joseph, @hbornst1 still looks more like a bot to me than anything else. There are whole bot **networks** on Twitter and some are fairly sophisticated. It wouldn't surprise me at all if a bot had corresponding account on another social media network.

However, I don't yet know what to make of @marucarmi. You might find this tweet of interest.

jotman, I would say that your link proves the case: hbornst1 is our man.

Also, hbonrst1 of NY offered a review on TripAdvisor. He mentions his wife's 50th birthday, an age which matches up with the age range of The Most Amazing Doctor Ever. So that's that: So far, all of our tests have shown only positive results.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Why are they lying about Hillary's health? Here's the obvious answer...

Why are the Trumpers and the Republican media spreading the smear-story that Hillary Clinton suffers from some form of brain damage? In all likelihood, Trump is the one with health issues: Were he healthy, he would not have had to concoct that fake doctor's report. (I suspect that Dr. Feelgood gives The Donald drugs to keep his energy level high.)

The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus thinks that the purpose of this smear is to emphasize the perception that women are inherently weak. But I think that the dirty tricksters have another goal.

First: We know that Roger Stone always plants a confederate in the opposition camp. That's how the GOP obtained Jimmy Carter's debate briefing book in 1980.

Second: We know that one of the reasons why the CIA researched LSD and other drugs was to discredit perceived enemies. They had hoped to spike Fidel Castro just before he gave one of his long-long speeches. (One wit has suggested that the drug might have improved his performance.)

Third: We know that this kind of attack has seen field use. For example, the late Carl Oglesby (who had a nodding acquaintance with Hillary many years ago) testified at the Chicago 8 Trial. Oglesby told me that he was spiked with LSD shortly before his court appearance. I looked up the transcript of his testimony; he spoke with surprising lucidity and eloquence, given the circumstances.

Fourth: Surreptitious drugging is hardly the only means of making someone appear to be unhinged or impaired. If you want to ponder some truly horrifying possibilities, go here and then go here.

The current Hillary health smear is not the thing-in-itself. Dirty tricksters (and Roger Stone is the king of the dirty tricksters) are laying the groundwork for a forthcoming attack. You read it here first.
Come on Joe you are scaring the shit out of me.
Such is my intent. That's why I am still predicting a Trump victory.
I'm guessing your (Joe's) idea is that if the rest of us aren't scared witless of Orange Julius, not enough of us will turn out to vote against him, while the Trump Chumps will turn out--so you need to try to scare us witless?
Once again--with a trivial handful of exceptions, the only people who will believe a hypothetical October Surprise from VladiLeaks are the people who will have already decided never to vote for Clinton.

Orange Julius is losing among non-whites, among women of all colors, and now even among college-educated white men. Despite this, with his hiring of the Blightfart boss, he's doubling down on the "appeal to my base of vacuum-skulled pithecanthropoids" strategy.

Pooty-Poot's got his work cut out for him.
Still, there's a stark contrast between Trump's indefatigable campaigning and availability to the press, and Hillary's. Voters notice such things. If her absences from the public eye are not because of health, then the inevitable speculation will be that she no longer has the "fire in the belly" to be president.
So maybe there was something in Hillary's drink at that StarBucks that got attention a month ago.
What absences?she is out campaigning every freaking day.
She is not in a tennis tournament. All we need is her brain, and from what I see its the best in the political landscape now.
Am I right that it's unlawful in the US to bet on political elections?

Perhaps the biggest market on the 2016 US presidential election is this one at Betfair. The third favourite after Hillary Clinton (1.295) and Donald Trump (5.05) is Bernie Sanders (95). Next come Paul Ryan and Joe Biden (both 190), Gary Johnson (285), Mike Pence (810) and John Kasich (835). No other candidates can be betted both on and against.

So the betting market is saying that Clinton is more likely to be removed from the contest than Trump is.
We can always count on right wingers to accuse others of doing whatever nefarious thing they themselves are doing, and to have as a weakness whatever they're attacking their opponents for.

For example, Trump's attacks on the Clinton Foundation as being corrupt is a direct reflection of his corrupt business deals and owing money to China and Russia.

Every time they attack, look for what it is in their camp that mirrors what they're attacking.
Joseph even though your speculations can sometimes misfire you're my blog of record. Great insights, beautiful and hilarious writing. Thank you for coming back.
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Why won't Clinton punch harder?

I have many half-formulated posts germinating in my thoughts, and may not have a chance to write them out. But as I ponder those essays, one key problem keeps nagging at me: Why is Trump down only three-to-eight points in national polls?

He has run no ads, many leading Republicans have turned against him, and his campaign has been a massive collection of gaffes. In spite of all of that, he keeps inching upward.

No other candidate in American history has received such disastrous press. No other candidate has displayed such immaturity, such deceit, such underhandedness, such impulsiveness. No other candidate has been so lacking in talent, erudition, education, experience, patience, tolerance, taste or intellectual curiosity.

The man has ties to both the Mafia and Putin's Russia. He has lied about his taxes, his wealth, and his alleged charity. (If you want real dirt, look at the Trump Foundation, not the Clinton Foundation). His health report is clearly bogus. He changes his stances at whim. He lies incessantly. He treats women as sex objects. He speaks to minorities condescendingly. He espouses torture. His instincts are thoroughly authoritarian. His claims to respect the Bible, a book he obviously knows nothing about. He has wedded himself to absurd conspiracy theories. His skin is thinner than onionskin. He has absolutely no concept of what's in the Constitution and seems uninterested in reading that text -- probably because he plans to use any plausible excuse to bypass its constraints.

Why isn't Hillary Clinton twenty or thirty points ahead of this disgusting, vile, oafish ambulatory tumor? Why isn't she crushing him?

I know that you've been keeping an eye on those electoral maps that seem to show many safely blue states -- the same maps that I check several times a day. Ostriches, it's time for you to yank your heads out of that cerulean sand: If Trump inches up just two or three points more in the national polls, many of those pale blue states will start to go pink again. Two or three points beyond that, and he wins.

Hillary Clinton's ads and her rhetoric have been weak tea. She has mounted the kind of campaign one would expect if she were running against a normal political opponent such as John McCain or Mitt Romney. Her advertising should reflect the unique danger of the current situation.

For example: Trump, as a major landlord, has a documented and easily-provable history of discriminating against people of color. His campaign is run by Steve Bannon, the man who transformed the Breitbart website into a cesspool of white supremacism. Eight years ago, any Republican with a strong link to a human bacillus like Bannon would have had no chance for national office.

Why would she hesitate to say "Trump is a racist"? She should use those exact words. No adverbial qualifiers.

Trump is the candidate of Breitbart, of the Alt Right movement. Breitbart is a fascist site. The Alt Right movement is a fascist movement. It's time for us to use that term without apology or shame, because no other description fits -- and any academic who disagrees can go to that circle of hell where the devil stows pseudo-scholarly hair-splitters.

Why won't Hillary launch a hard-hitting series of ads attacking Trump's racism and fascism -- using that term again and again and again, doubling down, quadrupling down, billioning down?

Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing the copious evidence that Trump is working hand-in-hand with Vladimir Putin?

Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing Trump's ties to the Mafia?

Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing the victims of this man's refusal to pay laborers for their labor?

Why not a series titled "TRUMP LIES"?

A couple of posts down, I listed just some of the many, many outrageous falsehoods this man has promulgated. The Clinton campaign should produce dozens of ads devoted to these many lies. The ads should not look slick or expensively-produced, but they should move fast. Lots of fast, hard cuts. The images should land like a punch in the face. The ads should devastate. The series should seem endless. The public should feel as though they cannot turn on their teevees without seeing a brand new set of Trump lies: Wham wham wham WHAM.

Why hold back? Why don't Democrats call him "LYING DONALD TRUMP" repeatedly?

Why isn't Donald Trump being portrayed as world-historical disaster comparable to Hitler or Stalin?

Why is Hillary Clinton taking the high road? Why is she treating Donald Trump as though he were just another Republican with whom she has policy disagreements? Trump has no policies; he's not intelligent enough to formulate a coherent set of policies. All he has is egomania and the will to dominate.

Why doesn't Hillary Clinton make crystal clear that Donald Trump is subhuman fascist filth?
Perhaps she knows she doesn't need to, because the national security establishment prefers her to the orange dude. One way or another, the NSE will prevent the orange dude from winning--and in this age of hackable voting computers, I do not speak of anything so crude as an assassination or a military coup.

Also, we do not have direct popular elections of the President in this country; we have the Electoral College, and she is crushing him in the EC. If he loses a large number of states by only 1 or 2%, he still loses them. As I noted in an earlier thread, if Nate Silver starts agreeing with you, I will probably start worrying. (Oh, I worry a little now, but that's probably mainly because I read your blog. -_^)

Also, you are convinced of Trump's ties to Putin. To the average above-it-all "professionally trained", lap-up-what-the-official-spokespeople-tell-you "journalist", that, and all those other criminal and quasi-criminal things you listed, sound like conspiracy crap from the fever swamps. Clinton may, therefore, think it would backfire on her.

By the way--yes, Putin is formidable, but he's not a Bond villain (he'd be smart enough to just shoot Bond, instead of putting him into a deathtrap from the ACME Corporation)--and yes, Russia is formidable, but who won the Cold War?
Besides, maybe Clinton is planning to do at least some of what you suggested in September and October. Maybe she's saving the hard stuff for if she needs it. Plus, she already has released that ad with national security officials and pundits saying Trump is not fit for the Presidency.
Feel the Johnson stand the Stein. They are taking that alt-vote hand over fist.
Four way vote is 43 - 37 - 9 - 3 - 8 (undecided)

That Trump is at 37% is pretty unprecedented in a GE at this moment. And both Johnson and Stein are the only ones showing movement, if minimal But it wouldn't surprise me to see it 41 - 35 - 13 - 7 - 3 in a month either.
Look at this latest one. Both candidates below 40. If Clinton hits him harder, the votes are not going to her but to someone else. It's turning into a 3rd candidate alternative potential:

LV's Ipso:
Hillary Clinton (Democrat) 39%
Donald Drumpf (Republican) 35%
Gary Johnson (Libertarian) 7%
Jill Stein (Green) 2%
Other 4%
Wouldn’t Vote 4%
Don’t know / Refused 10%

RV's MC:
Democrat Hillary Clinton 39%
Republican Donald Drumpf 33%
Libertarian Gary Johnson 9%
Green Party’s Jill Stein 4%
Don’t Know / No Opinion 15%

That's 27% going another way, and growing.

The ascent and effects of FOX News plus Rush Limbaugh have provided sufficient evidence that anybody will say anything and get away with it. Not so oddly, FOX News started at the same time we got a saturation ad campaign featuring the wonderful Joe Isuzu.

Did it matter in 1972 that George McGovern compared Nixon's administration to Nazi Germany and Nixon to Hitler? Or that Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News on the Monday before Election Day also compared Nixon to Hitler?

Does it matter that in October 2007 on Real News, Bill Maher offered the argument that a foreign-born naturalized citizen -- Arnold Schwarzenegger -- should be eligible for the presidency? Does it matter that when Maher was challenged on the obvious Constitutional grounds, he replied, "It's only an amendment [that could be repealed]"? Or that his guest, former presidential candidate, extraordinarily decorated, retired five-star General Wesley Clark, said, "Amendments are part of the Constitution"? Or that the citizenship eligibility is not expressed in any amendment, but in Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution? Does it matter that nobody knows anything? It probably doesn't matter that the Clinton campaign was accused of playing the race card in 2008 unless everyone will be reminded. Does it matter that the two candidates (plus Sanders) are just too old to be doing what they're doing? They're perpetually at risk of age-related trauma or death. Their hearing is all but shot, they have cataracts or had them removed, Trump has lost at least 40% of his body's muscle mass. They wake every day knowing that their personal futures are brutal, nasty, and short.

Will it matter in late October and early November that Trump will make a perfect fit and match to the 24/7 football seasonal coverage, while Clinton might become an annoying distraction?

Did Gore 'lose' because his would-be VP is a Jew?

And why oh why is David Cay Johnson not a prime guest on EVERY major TV news show in the country? In the weeks after the release of his recent Trump expose, he has been all over foreign news networks, but might as well not exist in the good ol' USA.
Then there's Evan McMullin. But unless a lot of money is deliberately spent, support for candidates outside the two main parties will drop off after the first TV debate on 26 September. This is assuming Johnson doesn't make it to 15%, but I doubt that he will/

Got to admit, McMullin is hitting Trump harder than Clinton is. He's focusing on Trump's mental problems. Who knows, maybe he could win the six electoral votes in Utah.

@B - You say "Donald Drumpf". That makes him Donald JOHANN Drumpf, the first 666-er since Ronald Wilson Reagan :)

Seriously, I wish someone would target the evangelical demographic with the 666 stuff. If the Clinton campaign wants to pass me a million or two, I'd be happy to take charge :) He calls the first floor of his triplex apartment the 66th even though it isn't; he's got "666" on the coat of arms he loves so much (click here), and the founder of his Organisation was his grandmother, born Elizabeth Christ, who died on 6/6/66.

@J Story - Good point. Clinton needs to get into the fight more. Otherwise when the TV debates come round, part of the smartphone-clutching audience is going to think "Trump we know, but who's that woman he's debating with?"

Clinton has got her work cut out for her. Ideally she should have a strong case if she says "I've spent decades in public service, while this guy has no public service experience whatsoever, because he's spent his whole life advancing his own personal interests". That's a simple message, and it's true. But as we know, it's not so easy for her to say, given a) her weak points (which are obviously going to get attacked), and b) the respect that too many people in the US have for swaggering macho bosses who rub the other guys' faces in the dirt. I mean c'mon, it says something about the country's culture that Trump's books have sold so well. Why hasn't the US got a proper state health service? Why is there so much homelessness in the country, when there's none in Cuba?

Nor should it be a surprise that the first time a woman runs for the US presidency for one of the major parties, her opponent is a super-macho arsehole of arseholes. As Germaine Greer says, we underestimate the force of the macho movement at our peril.

And it's not just US culture; it's the US political system too. What major country with an executive presidency (France, Russia, the US) rather than a figurehead presidency (Germany, Ireland) has ever had a woman near the top job?

Trump needs to be attacked more on that bullshit "medical report". Does it (prima facie) breach AMA rules somehow? BTW Trump announced in a tweet before he released it that his medical report would show perfection.

@Joe - I don't know the answer to your big question in this post, but the fact that billionaires from a single company (Renaissance Technologies) are helping both sides may be relevant.
re: "Why is Trump down only three-to-eight points in national polls?"

No mystery here. That's what I predicted long ago, if Trump were the GOP nominee.

1. We live in an era of increasing partisan polarization. Voters are increasingly hardening along party lines, with decreasing crossover voting.

As Brendan Nyhan noted:"At the mass level, #NeverTrump will be more rare than people think. Partisanship + motivated reasoning are powerful"

A couple articles on the increasing partisan solidification, here and here.

2. The best (most accurate) models based purely on fundamentals (e.g. economic factors, etc.), such as the Abramowitz Time for Change model, tend to favor a GOP Presidential victory this year. So Clinton is running against fundamental headwinds.

Incidentally, as an aside - the analyst with the best predictive track record right now is Sam Wang. He had the lowest error for the 2012 national elections (predicted state outcomes for Presidential race and Senate races). In late December 2015, he not only correctly predicted that Clinton and Trump would be the Dem and GOP nominees, but he also correctly predicted that Tim Kaine would be the Dem VP nominee.
A a woman it pains me to say that even in 2016 there is still a double standard in how woman and men will be judged for their behavior. Hillary Clinton cannot appear to sink to Trump's level, not that she would want to. It goes to what the First Lady said at the DNC convention: "When they go low, we go high." If Hillary hits too hard she will be criticized and lose more support than she will gain. See the 2008 primary results where she did hit hard, was criticized and it cost her. While I appreciate that it frustrates some supporters, I think she is hitting back with facts and humor. She lets her surrogates do the dirty work. That being said, I think she and her surrogates will hit harder as the election draws closer.
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