Monthly Archives: October 2017

Race To The Scoop

This country been on a steady diet of terrible news in the last year. It was like castor oil and thin gruel and we hated every miserable minute of it, like in most diets.

But yesterday, the sane wing of this country broke their fast and supped mightily and greedily.

It was Motherfucking Mueller Time.

The venerated counselor made his first moves as special counsel after a five-month investigation. Paul Manafort and an associate are facing life in prison, on charges stemming from false statements to conspiring to defraud the United States. A parallel and equally damaging (some would argue more damaging) story ran today that another Trump advisor, George Papadopolous had pled guilty to lying about trying to get at the “dirt” the Russians were offering on the DNC and Hillary Clinton. A separate and lesser known case is being assembled against him for having entirely too many vowels in his last name.

Truly delicious. But as people starved of hope for so long, we want Mueller to feed us yet more. We want a shock and awe campaign that will make dumb Donald’s head spin every damn day, revelations that he can’t possibly tweet his way out of.

We don’t know what cards Mueller has, and that’s sort of a good thing. I think letting the ramifications of these two cases sink in is sensible. There’s plenty of places for Mueller to go with Manafort and Papadop…whatever. Flipping Manafort is a strong possibility, because his life is effectively over if he is convicted unless Chump pardons him, which is probably a bad move that would indicate his own guilt while the investigations intensify. There’s really no good move here for President Fumblefingers-he’s acting like the proverbial frog in the simmering pot of water at the moment, tweeting denials and lies like usual and my hope is that things stay that way until he is cooked through.

So. Now that Black Monday is over, where do we go from here? It’s 7AM here in the East and Robert Mueller is still brushing his teeth, so anything could happen that negates what I’m about to proffer.

Yesterday afternoon, something interesting was noted by a McPaper reporter in the DC court docket. I tried like hell to reproduce this graphic by searching the court’s website but got nowhere so I couldn’t really tell you where this is from. His name was Steve Reilly, and he tweeted this image.

indict

Papadoodledoo was the case prior to the ones above. And I can confirm that 17-201 was Manafort. I got at least that far on the site. So this raises some questions as to the nature of the sealed indictments between Felix Pappalardi and Manafort’s. Are they more bullets in Mueller’s bandoleer?

Well, truthfully, we can only speculate for now. But that hasn’t stopped a couple of news outlets from letting it fly and claiming these mysterious “in between” cases are aimed at Trump.

I became aware of this graphic because a friend, who is smarter and more perspicacious than I am, posted that to Facebook.

No sources were given by the person who she got the graphic from. So I decided that it would be best if I did due diligence and seek out more information on these sealed indictments.

I googled.

I googled some more.

I continued to refresh my searches for hours after her post.

Nothing…until later in the evening. Boom. The Palmer Report and Patribotics were claiming that more indictments were forthcoming.

Now, this is not the first time these websites have been seen together in a search. In fact, it often looks like Louise and Bill are trying to outdo each other. If Palmer claims five, Louise claims infinity kazillion.

The two sites were alone in reporting more Trump indictments. No one in the above ground media wanted a bite, which is important because if you have proof of those indictments you don’t wait for another paper to scoop you. It’s also worth mentioning that McPaper, who Steve Reilly works for, did not publish a story based on the graphic.

So: either these two sites are dodgy as fuck, or they are somehow Chosen by a Deep Throat-type insider to get the news out.

A little history of Mensch and Palmer is in order.

Louise was a right-wing ex-MP before she became an internet sleuth. She moved to America with her husband, and began work in online journalism which was aimed at conservative women. She has always been something of a rogue wherever she goes, getting embroiled in controversy.

She hates Vladimir Putin. So much so that the subtitle of Patribotics is “Exposing Vladimir Putin’s War On America”. By extension, she hates Donald Trump for going balls deep on Vlad. So, even though she’s a conservative, she’s yet another strange bedfellow in the quest to remove Trump from office.

Can she be trusted, though?

A media bias website calls her work “questionable”. To wit:

A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news.

While Patribotics does produce factual content, they also promote numerous unproven conspiracies…Overall, this source does produce some quality investigative journalism, but there are also many unproven and un-sourced claims that render this blog questionable.

Oh, and she’s rather hostile when challenged.

I don’t know about you, but when my media isn’t consistent, it’s useless to me. I don’t have the time to separate fact from fiction just so I can get a jump on certain stories, because there is too much fiction out there to wade through as it is.

Let’s begin to discuss Bill Palmer by talking about one of his writers, Claude Taylor. Claude, an old Clinton hand, has a Twitter feed called TrueFactsStated. He has a habit of tweeting outrageous unsourced bullshit that cynically uses peoples’ confirmation bias as bait to his feed. I got taken in by Claude a while back, posting on Facebook a tweet of his in August that said that high level Trump indictments were forthcoming soon (Louise Mensch, incidentally, also promulgated this story as well). My perspicacious friend waved me off of the story. In my defense, I gave people fair warning that it might not pan out to be truth. But anyway, Claude Taylor is dead to me. I don’t give a shit what he says even if it is right-he’s not to be trusted. We need to fight left-wing fake news just as hard as we fight right-wing fake news. In fact, we should fight lefty horseshit harder, because we need to be as correct as possible. It only takes one fuckup and the wingnuts will present it as evidence that the entire left movement is untrustworthy. They do it all the time inside their alternate media universe. We good liberals have to work harder because the opposition has traded truth for propaganda, and propaganda is much simpler than the facts and therefore easier to spread to the uncurious that need their news spoon-fed.

This is my way of saying that Bill Palmer has one strike on him for associating with a liar. Yet, my perspicacious friend loves the guy. I’m torn, because a) my friend is whip-smart, b) I have been burned by his staff and c) there’s enough skepticism of his work that suggests I probably ought to pass on his bombshells.

Not much is really known about Bill. He’s been behind the creation of several online publications, most notably the DailyNewsBin, an anti-Trump site which kind of morphed into Palmer Report. To me, he came out of nowhere. Snopes is a bit wary of Palmer, who notes that several blasts of his have no foundation in provable veracity (Palmer is derisive of the site’s usefulness).  And the same media bias/fact check website I used to observe Louise Mensch’s record finds Palmer’s record mixed and questionable as well. Palmer is embroiled in a fight with that site too, and has angrily lashed out at other critics much like Louise Mensch has. To me, this type of combativeness indicates an inability to let the facts speak for themselves, if indeed they are facts.

Anyway, Palmer published a story on the USA Today graphic. He’s hedging, as you can see by the title, filing the story in his “Opinion” section. It’s a fairly thin piece, with strange leaps of logic like “That doesn’t prove that the four cases are all Trump-Russia cases, but it means that they most likely are.”

Huh? How does that follow?

Am I too dense to understand that? That is entirely possible. Is the Palmer Report like a soap, where I need to have been with the story from the start to know what is going on?

After a bit of time had elapsed last night, someone/something recognizable went with the story.

Fucking Hot Air. Michelle Malkin’s old folk’s home for conservative bloggers. Many of you old bloggers will know some of the names. There’s Ed Morrissey, who ran the fever swamp “Captain’s Quarters”, and Jazz Shaw, who was honest enough back in the day so I was surprised he was consorting with a crazy bitch like Malkin. There’s also Allahpundit, who I never read but I know the name.

Allahpundit wrote up the piece on the potential Trump indictments. Much as it pains me to say this, it’s a good read, better than Palmer’s for sure-even with the conservative bias. He raises the point that sealed indictments are common and typical, and with a little math and a tip from a lawyer, finds that four sealed indictments over 22 days is in line with their frequency as a whole.

That’s the kind of skepticism I can use, especially when we are just guessing at the contents of those sealed indictments. I have enough trouble with my own confirmation bias as it is without somebody dangling a juicy “exclusive” scoop at me.

I need to go to a doctor’s appointment. It’s 10AM, and I will close this piece by doing one last google search for something that corroborates the speculation that there are sealed indictments related to Trump all ready to drop.

12:30PM

Nothing. Same returns as last night. So here is what I’m gonna do: I’m going to watch this story and only this story from Palmer as a test because I believe my friend would not steer me wrong. But if he can’t produce the goods, I wash my hands of him. If he is correct about the nature of the indictments, I’ll become a fan and issue a mea culpa here and say sorry to my perspicacious friend for doing a hit job on their favorite newsbreaker. I’m no stranger to being wrong, so do your own research about sources and come to your own, hopefully better conclusions.

 

 

 

Driven To Distraction

I’ve spent a good deal of time maintaining that the things that Donald Trump and Co. do on a daily basis are NOT the products of any particular rational, intellectual or logical machinations. It was fact to me that they simply didn’t know what the fuck they were doing because the president is a miserable, pathetic, deranged mental midget. People cried “distraction” from this or that ad infinitum. Like Martin Sheen said to Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now”, I didn’t see any method at all.

But around about Thursday, my spidey senses tingled as I watched Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy inexplicably open investigations into Hillary Clinton, on spurious charges that a Google search could have debunked. Duh Fuhrer eagerly seized on the news, making the outrageous claim that she was the target of the Russia investigation and that it was already “common knowledge” that he was innocent.

I said to myself, “Now THAT’S some damn distracting”.

Ham handed as it was like anything involving Trump, it all smacked of desperation that had a different vibe to it. There were so many people muddying the waters in the last few days to conceal headlines that put the lie to the new allegations against Clinton-like the one that found that a conservative newspaper asked for what became the Steele dossier. Fox News began a concerted misinformation campaign (even more hysterical and obsessive than the usual bullshit they peddle)to hastily report all the truffles that the Trump cabal dug up.

Something was up. All hands were on deck to try to get people to focus on hackneyed headlines about Hillary Clinton, hoping that enough people were blissfully unaware of the fact that she wasn’t the president.

Now we know what the sound and fury was all about.

Mark yesterday on your calendar so you can tell people where you were and what you were doing when the worst scandal in the history of this country broke wide open.

The next two days are going to be full of follies trying to pretend that some Trumpist is not  gonna be wearing cuffs soon. When the charges were publicized, Hannity barely blinked and asked when Hillary would be indicted. Ben Stein tried to downplay the scandal by downplaying Watergate. So pop your popcorn, because this weekend and beyond is gonna be hilarious if your gallows humor is still intact.

 

Paging Judith Miller

When my wife would ask me if it was in the realm of possibility that we would drop a fat man or ten on North Korea, I’d always confidently say that even Donald Trump has enough brain cells not to irradiate the peninsula. She still doesn’t believe shit that I say, because I blew the election call like everybody did(with the notable exception of Michael Moore). Anyway, she’s now an adherent to Murphy’s Law when it comes to politics. I can’t really blame her, given the fuckery we have witnessed over these last ten dreadful months.

I’m still saying that the odds are against us nuking the hermit kingdom, but there have been some subtle indications that potentially point to an attack in the future.

Twitler and Kim-Jong-Un have been very busy trading threats and japes since the inception of fucking moron’s tenure. It’s like listening to two lobotomy patients doing The Dozens. I blew it off because it didn’t take me long to figure out that Donald Trump was all hat and no cattle, a man unable to get the simplest things done because of his big fat made-for-KFC facehole.

In August, everyone had a laugh over President Humperdoo’s claim that he ordered the nuclear arsenal to be modernized. That modernization was begun under Barack Obama, but like a typical white supremacist Trump stole the black guy’s accomplishment. He tweeted that it was “far stronger and more powerful than ever”, an idiotic brag aimed at Un that was met with eyerolls from our arsenal’s keepers. So I shrugged, once again. Trump found a shiny, and like a child he would drop it when he found another thing that he could put in his mouth to explore the world with.

Lately, however, dribs and drabs  in the press are giving me pause. Trump ordered bombers to 24-hour ready status, a move denied by the Air Force but officials left the barn door open on the possibility of it happening in the future. Then, as quick as you please, Chump signed an EO allowing the recall of retired pilots. Once again, the air force ambiguously claimed that it was not going to do that…right now.

But the strangest indication of all to me came out yesterday. I am a regular reader of The Raw Story. It’s a reliable liberal news catcher. And yesterday, they splashed a report that North Korea has biological weapons and has the knowhow to weaponize them.

I don’t need to tell you how this story goes if you were conscious for 9/11/2001. Or 3/20/2003.

But I said to myself that Raw Story wouldn’t peddle naked agitprop for war. But that’s exactly what they did.

They lifted the story directly from the International Business Times, a popular and powerful online news outlet that swallowed up Newsweek. Their story touted a Harvard study that concluded in a 46-page report that Un had bio-WMD.

Here’s where it gets weird. The IBT is affiliated with a kooky South Korean Christian group known as “The Community”. There are familial and scholarly ties to a David Jang, who like many Christians, would like to immanentize the eschaton. Nuking North Korea is considered by many to be an act that would bring about a third world war, which checks all the boxes as an end of the world scenario.

So what I guess I’m getting at is that this seems to be a plant to get people softened up to the idea that the problem of North Korea must be solved with a hammer, and quickly. It is quite surprising that Raw Story would publish the piece verbatim without critical discussion. But I guess it’s still the age-old problem concerning the mix of press and money; if it gets clicks and eyeballs, let it fly-even if it means doing the bidding of the gods of war.

Looking at you, Gray Lady.

 

 

I Can See Russia From My White House

Notably absent from this notably absent blog is talk of Russia. That’s largely because I ain’t Mother Jones and I can’t keep up with this 80-armed Octopus that is their interference in our politics. So many people are going to get SO busted for their complicity in the plot to tear a Gazprom-sized hole in our democracy, so long as Robert Mueller doesn’t expire in the midst of his thoroughness. I think we’ll all be fascinated by the number of people who go to the pokey for conspiracy and obstruction. Or maybe it’ll fizzle like Iran-Contra and all the culpable bastards will be pardoned or secure commutation. Depends on how big this thing gets.

I’m not exactly slow to learn, but I am sometimes late for the game. For example, this whole “bot” story is blowing me away. Y’all hear about this?

As I understand it, these little automated pieces of software can be very useful in handling simple tasks that could potentially speed up the response time of a customer service center, for example. I’m sure all of us by now have chatted in real time with a bot at some point while trying to contact someone over the internet about a problem you are having with a product or service.

But they can be used for evil. They can crash a site by swarming it, steal your information, wreck your online gaming experience, and defraud your company. But their most nefarious use was (and still is) shitposting accolades and defenses of Donald Trump all over the internet, all in the service of one Vladimir Putin. How do we know this? Because we can trace these bots’ origins straight to Russkieland.

Does everybody remember this?

 

Yeah. That was Hillary literally warning us that Donald Trump was going to tongue-polish Putin’s little purple-hatted fireman if elected. And did we heed her? In fairness, more of us did than didn’t. But the bots, the geographical peculiarities of our electoral system, vote suppression, the Comey Bomb, and good ol’ fashioned sexism caused the sane candidate, however imperfect, to lose the tally.

Anyway, the internet is full of garbage information coming from Russia, and if you are a Trumper, you probably have retweeted a bot, shared a bot-generated story, or upvoted a bot comment unkowingly. Or maybe you know and don’t care because it says what you want to hear. Fuck you.

So anyway, let’s fast forward in the Russian intrusion/collusion story to round about now. Emperor Zerohito is in a fight with another Gold Star family, and he’s been trying to get sports figures who take the Kaepernick knee fired. It’s pretty fucking pathetic and the press and people in general are letting him have it. And guess who came to Trump’s defense:

“Mr. Trump was elected by the American people. And at least for this reason it is necessary to show respect for him, even if you do not agree with some of his positions,” Putin said at the Valdai International Discussion Club when asked what advice he could give his U.S. counterpart, according to state-run Tass Russian News Agency.

Putin said that “disrespect is shown for [Trump]” in the U.S., which he called “regrettable.”

“One can argue but one can’t show disrespect, even not for him personally but for those people who voted for him,” he said. “I believe that the president of the United States does not need any advice because one has to possess certain talent and go through this trial to be elected, even without having the experience of such big administrative work. He [Trump] has done this.”

Putin said that Mr. Trump “won honestly” in the 2016 presidential election.

Hey, Vlad?

Suck my dick. Don’t you dare come from your giant permafrost fiefdom to lie and tell me how I should behave towards my American president. I will call the president a fuckball wherever I want. Were the president a respectable man, we might agree. But not this guy. No goddamned way. You don’t get to tell me how to respond to one of the stupidest, most worthless heads of state this country has ever produced. And you obviously don’t comprehend what makes Americans free. As a matter of fact, neither does your assboy Trump. You are each tinpot despots, demanding respect when none is given and you can both take a flying fuck at a rolling donut for that.

Ahhh. That felt good.

As sinister as the Trump/Putin axis is already, the intrigue has deepened rather quickly. As has been well documented, Putin likes to kill dissent by, well, killing. Today, a journalist critical of Putin was stabbed in the neck in Moscow. Also, a man named Bill Browder, who uncovered evidence of colossal Russian fraud is now on the run from INTERPOL for the killing of his countepart, lawyer Sergei Magnitsky-and it looks like a frame job because Putin is probably the one who tortured and executed him in prison. And at the same frigging time, the State Department revoked Browder’s visa so nowhere is safe.

Some people may think that Putin isn’t getting his money’s worth for helping fix our election. But perhaps he is, in ways that aren’t screamingly obvious, ways lost in all the other noise generated by this administration.

UPDATE: Browder’s visa has been reinstated. Evidently this move went over like a lead zeppelin and Tillerson backed off.

You’re In Suspension

It’s Thursday!

That means that there are only three more full days left in the week for Donald Trump to do or say something stupid. This is of no condolence to anyone, because he typically doesn’t rest between fuckups. Even on his golf vacations he never misses an opportunity to not make the papers with his latest embarrassing utterance. You can bet he’ll be there at 6:45am Sunday, still stoned on Halcion, fuming about his latest feud with black football players, dreamers, transgendered people, the entire island of Puerto Rico, the media, Democrats, Republicans, Congress, Gold Star families, his cabinet, the intelligence community, “activist” judges, John McCain and this list is nearly interminable so I will stop here.

Some of you out there like to think he’s a disruptor on purpose, judging from the volume of internet punditry that keeps writing the “here’s what Trump did today while you were talking about (see feud list above for examples)” story even though I am aware of no rule that says we internet sleuths can only focus on one outrage at a time.  But anyway, I still don’t know. Maybe there’s something to it, maybe he thinks he’s an effective one, but you cannot ignore the fact that he even does that really badly. In most of the fights he picks, he punches himself in the face first real hard. The rest of his obsessions, well, he kind of just leaves them in the air, arbitrarily picking the nearest hornet’s nest to hit and then he moves on suddenly, which is somehow less scary than him actually focusing on something. His lack of curiosity and distaste for detail and nuance are probably the only things stopping us from a hot war with the rest of the Axis Of Evil.

Whatever you’d like to say Trump is up to-is he any good at it?

An old friend said something approximating the truth-Trump is good at getting himself noticed. He can’t seem to stand not being the center of attention, which bespeaks of an unfortunate upbringing. Positive or negative, all press is the same, echoing that old dictum about publicity. He takes all comers no matter whether or not he has a leg to stand on- and he usually doesn’t. Truth to Trump is totally relative to whether or not it serves his interests at any particular moment-one only need observe the hilarious phenomenon of being able to zing Trump using tweets he lobbed at Barack Obama during his presidency. I don’t even know if the word hypocrite really begins to describe it-perhaps some of these synonyms are fresher and more accurate. Trump may be dimly aware of Adolf Hitler’s counsel about lying big or going home, which is a charge I am reticent to make but the man lies about everything. Today, I fully expect him to keep lashing out about what he did or didn’t say to a grieving mother who lost her son serving, even though someone’s already leaked that he’s sort of contrite about the whole thing.

Now, if we were living in normal times, this guy would have been pinched for abusing and shitting up the office long ago. But we don’t live in a normal political climate. For example, during my lifetime, I have watched or listened to the right wing make an enemy out of the free press. You see, Donald hasn’t been the only one to use big lies. The right wing movement in America been slowly but surely undermining the trust in professional storytellers for at least 30 years, first by taking over the AM dial and then by forming its own TV station. I often hear that Democrats like to divide people, but if you step out of the bubble you find out who the real dividers are. So I’m not going to give Trump too much undue credit for the mind-humping poll that says that 46% of Americans don’t believe what the media reports about Trump. This number is unnervingly aligned with the outcome of the popular vote in 2016. Clearly, our people isn’t learning.

President Poopypants has successfully sold himself as a victim, not realizing that he is dying by his own hand. But the putzes and outliers that voted for him don’t seem to notice. Trump and his henchmen will carpet bomb the truth with nonsense and disinformation at every turn, whether intentionally or not. They may still be the gang who can’t shoot straight, but I’m afraid hitting the soft-headed fish they’re aiming at doesn’t really take all that much talent anymore.

Western Town, A Dead End World

I seem to be hitting a little speedbump in titling screeds about Tucker Carlson and how much of an asshole he is. So I twisted a Pet Shop Boys lyric a little, in part because that’s what I thought they were saying all these years after MTV brought them to me.

So. Bill O’ Reilly is gone, leaving a huge vacuum in the Fox universe, one waiting to be filled by some other conservative apologist and railer against any kind of change in the world. Enter Tucker Carlson. Now, I expect Bill O’ Reilly to pine for the days of white yore. He was old. Tucker, on the other hand, is only a few years older than I am. The “things aren’t how they used to be” bitching doesn’t work coming from him, there’s just an inescapable inauthenticity in his shtick.

Basically, he’s full of shit. I am unsure that he is aware of this. Either Fox told him to imitate O’ Reilly or he’s a cranky geezer in a 48 year old body that thinks anything old must be good. Here’s Tucker, defending fucking Christopher Columbus, with the disingenuousness turned up to 11 as usual:

You can parse all that bullshit for yourself, if you like. I haven’t the time nor the inclination to stop and start this half-assed Gish Gallop of nonsense. Sorry.

So-it’s a war on “the West”, eh, Tucker? Fuck you. You and I know that’s just doublespeak for white European culture, which Carlson thinks is the only thing that has helped all of the mud people in the world walk on two legs and read a Bible.

This is all very amusing coming from the right wing, who hates an actual victim but being a pretend one is A-OK.

“Reason, tolerance, free inquiry – those are Western civilization’s central gifts to the world”, he says, after taking a dump on any type of inquiry that doesn’t genuflect to traditional thinking.

I know he thinks he’s cute and clever. I’m guessing his smarmy, smug, face-punchable act is going over well with the AARP demographic who is happy to see that some young people were brought up right. Fortunately, the trend of education and knowledge in today’s young folks is heading the opposite way, learning real tolerance and out-of-the-box thinking, and we know that because of the proliferation of simpletons like Tucker coming to the rescue the indefensible in our history. Conservatives are scared and confused because they live a lie. They have their own universe in which nothing needs to change, buttressed by an information stream replete with assholes who keep the comfortable lies fresh, fresh as if they were something new.

 

%d bloggers like this: