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Sunday, October 15, 2017

A subpoena for Trump -- and it's NOT what we expected

Even as a zillion right-wing propagandists ramp up the campaign to link Hillary Clinton to Harvey Weinstein ("It's all her fault!"), we learn that a woman named Summer Zervos -- formerly a contestant on The Apprentice -- filed suit against Trump a few months ago, accusing him of groping her and of defaming her by calling her a liar. Moreover, she "has subpoenaed all documents from his campaign pertaining to “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”"

Here is her subpoena. Here is her original Complaint.

Trump's lawyers are fighting that subpoena. This reaction tells us that not only are there other women making such claims, but that there may well be a substantial documentary record which could prove embarrassing to the president. If no responsive documents existed, there would be no need to contest the subpoena.
Trump's lawyers have sought to have the suit dismissed or at least delayed until he is out of office. His lawyers argued that he is protected from civil lawsuits in state court while in office.
Sorry. Won't wash. The Paula Jones suit established clear precedent. The Republicans who gleefully seized upon that suit as an excuse to rummage through Bill Clinton's entire sexual history cannot now complain. Anyone old enough to remember who Lucianne Goldberg or Linda Tripp were will cackle at the following:
As for the subpoena, they argued that it is "far reaching" and "seeks wholly irrelevant information intended solely to harass the president."
What gropes around, comes around. We cannot tolerate one legal standard for Clinton and a different standard for Trump.

Right now, it seems to me as though Zervos has a better case than Jones did -- and better reason to seek information about other women who may have been harassed or victimized by Donald Trump. Did he offer other women money to keep quiet? Did he hand them NDAs? Did he threaten?

(Incidentally, an NDA is void when a crime is involved. Contracts cover only legal activity, which is why you can't sue a hit man who doesn't kill the mark.)

Remember: Trump has admitted in public that he is, in fact, a sexual predator. Also remember: Somewhere in Los Angeles, there are hours of unaired video footage from Trump's Apprentice days -- and according to credible report, much of that footage is damning. (Larry Flynt recently offered ten million to anyone who offers information leading to Trump's impeachment. I hope that whoever has that footage understands that you can do an awful lot of redecorating for ten million bucks.)

In Double Indemnity, Edward G. Robinson speaks of the "little man" living in his gut who tells him "Pay attention. This is important." Back in 2016, my own little man immediately sensed that the "Katie Johnson" rape accusation against Trump would never amount to anything. By contrast, the moment I learned of the Summer Zervos accusation, my little man began to fidget and shake and emit electric sparks -- and when I saw that subpoena, the voice in my gut tried to out-shriek the Wilhelm scream.

Pay attention. This is important.

That's what my little man is telling me. What is your little man telling you?
Where can I get one of these little men? Love the what gropes around comes around. I will tell you my macro sense is saying the time has come. That Hollywood creep is getting no slack and his honors are being stripped from him. The times are changing and women are tired of being hated and abused. If enough men are on board and it is an issue whose time has come, Puny Paws will not survive this.
Mark Burnett, who was one of the producers on the Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, needs to be subpoenaed as well since he might have knowledge of Trump's behavior on the set and might be the one who is destroyed or hidden video evidence.
In my opinion this all goes back to Sixty Minutes and either the late 80's or early 90's when they aired a story about Hollywood and some of the lurid details involved in getting a part. At the end of the 60 Minutes segment, Joel Thurm, a casting director who is still active to this day, literally stated the following, "One Actress was forced to masturbate in front of (not sure what position of authority he stated) before she got the part".
Now, how could that salacious bit of data be BROADCAST to 20 million people, then nothing was done to find the perp, and that perp might have been Harvey Weinstein 25 years ago!
So because 60 Minutes did not do their due diligence back then, we now potentially have additional enablers like Mark Burnett either hiding or destroying video evidence.
Until 60 Minutes comes clean of their own role in all of this, rock bottom will not be hit. Why did 60 Minutes allow Joel Thurm to make such a provocative statement, yet no one followed up from 60 Minutes or from the local police?
Very interesting, Alessandro, but you are assuming people care about women, rather than just consider that a salacious tidbit.
How many in Hollywood are in a position to expose the sordid without ending their careers?
Same as those in the business world knowing that exposing Trump means being ostracized by the community since you might go on to air some other dirty laundry
How far can one living a good life go on 6 million the amount after taxes.
There are all sorts of sites out there have been predicting The Great White Dope's demise since the inauguration but like the song lyric from Annie, "Tomorrow. Tomorrow, Trump will be indicted tomorrow. And tomorrow is just a day away."
I'm not gonna help or my breath that Trump is going away any time soon.
Don't expect anything from the voters because for most it's like a Vietnamese farmer, no different if the oppression came from Hanoi or Saigon.
I think I'll trust your little man, Joseph. Mine is cursing a blue streak right now.

The question is, will the media get off their "Weinstein joined at the hip with Hillary" horseshit and concentrate on this? We'll see....
This comment has been removed by the author.
"How many in Hollywood are in a position to expose the sordid without ending their careers?"

Y'know, things do change. Years ago, I lived in L.A. and was kinda sorta on the outskirts (the FAR outskirts) of the Industry. I recall speaking to a friend about an idea I had for a "roman a clef" script based on the life of L. Ron Hubbard. (This was a few years after Hubbard died.) The friend said NO WAY, that there were too many Scientologists in Hollywood. I'm not just talking about Tom Cruise and John Travolta. For a time, Scientology (which used to have a large building on Bollywood Blvd and, I think, still has a beautiful old building not far from that location) was weirdly attractive to a lot of people who worked behind the scenes.

So I shelved that idea. Then Oliver Stone produced a miniseries -- I forget the name -- which featured a Hubbard-like cult leader. A few comics started to make jokes about Scientology, especially after the "Battlefield Earth" debacle. Paul Thomas Anderson made "The Master," which was similar in some ways to the film I had in mind. Right now, few have anything good to say about Hubbardism.

So things change. I have to admit, though, that sometimes the pace of change is glacial.

I'll also say this: I honestly believe that Weinstein was more of an aberration than many people believe. L.A. is filled with beautiful girls ready and willing to throw themselves at any man in a position of power. There's no need to steal that which is given freely.

Besides, the industry is not nearly so depraved as people outside of L.A. want to believe. The real center of "Hollyood" is Burbank -- that's where Disney, Universal and the Warner Brothers lot are located, and it's where many of the behind-the-scenes workers live. You should visit the place. Burbank is a quiet, family-oriented suburb with surprisingly few bars, no strip clubs (at least none that I recall), nice parks, lots of nice houses, lots of pride-of-ownership, and a fair number of churches. It's a lot closer to the "Leave It to Beaver" ideal than are many communities in the red states.
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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nukes! And a couple of fake Renoirs

A recent episode of Rachel Maddow's show included an interesting segment on Trump's statements about nuclear war. Long story short: In a couple of speeches, the president has indicated that America now possesses a nearly-foolproof missile defense system.

True, the precise meaning of his statement was a bit hard to discern, because -- as always -- he spoke with marbles in his mouth. But one got the gist. He really seems persuaded that nuclear war would be survivable for the United States.

Maddow spoke to an expert who offered a very contrary opinion. Our "shield," said this expert, is extremely porous.

Is it?

Here's the thing: If we did have the technology to protect us from incoming missiles, that tech would be the most highly-guarded of America's secrets. As long as that secret remains a secret, as long as other nations could not replicate the trick, we would have a first strike capability.

No-one "in the know" would be willing to reveal such a truth in public. There's only one exception to that rule: Donald Trump himself. As everyone knows, President Blabby has a phobic reaction to the unexpressed thought: Any idea that pops into his cranium must come shooting out of his mouth.

Let us speculate further. As I always say: Speculation is fine as long as it comes clearly marked as such.

Are you among those who couldn't shake the feeling that there was something awfully odd about the rapidity of the Soviet Union's decline? That's certainly how I felt at the time: There's a hidden story here. They're keeping something important from us.

In all the years since, the conventional explanations for the Great Red Fall never made complete sense to me. I've never discussed my unease in public before, because all I had were half-formed thoughts which never congealed into a theory. Although I didn't feel comfortable with the mainstream view of what happened, I couldn't come up with a reasonable alternative.

Instinct told me that the grand finale of the USSR had some relationship to Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, a.k.a. "Star Wars." SDI was directed against space-based weapons systems. Given the enormous amount of money that went into the program, it is fair to presume that the blackest part of that budget could have been spent on...well, anything.

Did the Soviet Union break apart with such brutal rapidity because we had come up with a national missile defense system -- one that actually worked well enough to give us a first strike capability? Is it possible that such a thing could have been kept secret -- by both sides -- for all of these years?

Here's an odd alternative idea: What if an intricate deception operation convinced the USSR that we possessed such a system, even though we did not?

For now, let us posit that a workable missile defense system was, or is, real, and that this ultimate secret was kept hidden from the public until the Orange Oaf started flapping his lips. That scenario goes a long ways toward explaining why Trump seems to desire a nuclear exchange with North Korea.

Also: It's fair to presume that this ultra-secret tech has been transported to Putin's Russia. Learning that secret would be one of the main purposes of putting Donald Trump in office.

One thing's for certain: Even if America survives a nuclear war with North Korea with all of our cities intact, our standing in the world would decrease substantially. We'd be hated by all.

And now, let us shift from weighty speculation to silly pretension.

Renoir. This Vanity Fair piece reveals that Donald Trump used to keep a copy of Renoir's Two Sisters in a private jet. (For all I know, the work is still there.) Astoundingly, Trump insisted to biographer Tim O'Brien that the painting in his possession was the genuine original by Renoir, even though the actual work hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Trump's belief that he owns the original may, in fact, be sincere.
Curious, O’Brien asked Trump about the painting: was it an original Renoir? Trump replied in the affirmative. It was, he said. “No, it’s not Donald,” O’Brien responded. But, once again, Trump protested that it was.

“Donald, it’s not,” O’Brien said adamantly. “I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters on the Terrace, and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago.” He concluded emphatically: “That’s not an original.”

Trump, of course, did not agree, but O’Brien dropped the conversation topic and moved on with his interview. He thought that he had heard the last of the Renoir conversation. But the next day, when they boarded the plane to head back to New York City, Trump again pointed to the painting, and as if the conversation had never happened, he pointed to the fake and proclaimed, “You know, that’s an original Renoir.” O’Brien, chose not to engage, and dropped the conversation.
In a previous post, we discussed another ersatz Renoir hanging in Trump's pad in Trump Tower, as revealed by the photo to your right. It's called both At the Opera and La Loge. The actual painting is still hanging in the Courtauld Gallery in London.

In my post, I said that a man of Trump's wealth should invest in original art. Buying or commissioning a copy of a Renoir (or of anything else) is beneath a man of Trump's station -- both his actual station and his pretended station. There are many living artists of high quality whose works can be purchased for reasonable prices; for example, one can pick up a fine example of Odd Nerdrum's work for around $50,000. Trump should be able to afford that, even if he is worth far less than he claims.

Of course, investing in art requires the acquisition of taste. In Trumpworld, that commodity is elusive.

The Vanity Fair piece increases the probability that Donald Trump tells visitors that he owns the real version of At the Opera. Anyone who knows about art would immediately be onto him: That painting is one of Renoir's most famous works.

Apparently, Trump surrounds himself with people who refuse to burst his illusions -- or who know nothing about culture.
It was common knowledge in the late 1980s in the bits of "proper" academia that were concerned with the USSR and with US-Soviet relations that the US attitude towards the anti-ballistic missile thread of the "game" was as follows:

"we'll each guard one site with ABM - yours is Moscow, and ours is the whole of the contiguous 49 states, right?"

(Dear readers, you will probably be wasting your time if you ask Wikipedia or Google for verification.)

There was no way the USSR was going to survive the info revolution. A few years after its demise, the main successor state couldn't even protect its nuclear facilities against the Chechens.

(But it says a lot that they had the good sense to do a deal, a deal in the true sense of the word and not the Trumpian sense of pushing the other party's face into a cowpat while telling yourself you're the greatest.)

The KGB is a completely different kettle of fish from the USSR-CPSU. The ~KGB is winning in the "fifth domain" of warfare. Morale is much higher in Russia than the US too.

In military PR - an interesting and up-and-coming field - Russia is also superior. Consider the countries' respective actions in Syria. I've also seen some competent play by Sweden. The US? Tell me about it. The mutilated bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons? The "truth doctor" shining a torch into their father's mouth? That's single-studio stuff. It's not like the 200 white Russian trucks going into the Ukraine. And in the terrifying display of brutality the US is far behind Daesh as we all know.
I remember the controversy surrounding SDI aka Star Wars. Articles were written about the cost/benefit ratio for the money Regan was pumping into the Department of Defense.
I was under the impression the USSR went broke trying to keep up while at the same time corruption was eating away the pillars of government.
An unintended consequence of the money spent was the revival of the U.S. economy. Reagan could have put the money into infrastructure rebuilding with the same results. Something President Carter should have done instead of going the "Lower your thermostat" route.
He could be taunted in his own terms as displaying Fake Art! As for the missile shield, it was big news in the Boston area that a tenured professor at MIT tried to spill the beans on how the missile shield was a joke and fraudulent expense. Maybe Cambridge Knitter has a better memory on this than I have.
I don't think it's possible America has a working missile shield against Russia, but against North Korea is a different matter. Korea has only a few warheads, doesn't have real ICBMs, doesn't have MIRVS or jammers or decoys on their missiles, doesn't have bomber submarines to launch them from, and so forth. Easy to take them out, comparatively speaking.

As for Renoirs, how do you know which ones are the real ones? Perhaps captain Blabby is spilling the beans again. There have certainly been rumours over the years of things in the possession of the state going missing, possibly to fund intelligence operations. The gold in Fort Knox being replaced with Tungsten. The Smithsonian dumping OOPArts in the sea. Tamashita's gold. Various Nazi loot, such as the Gold Train. And one occasionally hears tell of rival claimants to the title of real works of art. During the war they buried all the art and replaced it with duplicates. No-one noticed then. Claims are regularly made, mainly by Sheikhs and other nouveau riche types to owning things supposedly elsewhere. So perhaps Trump really does own the real thing, or perhaps some fraudster convinced him that he owns the real thing.
When I was forced to sell my house a while back,* I ended up with a small windfall. At the time I very nearly purchased an original by -- well, I won't mention who, because you'll surely hate the artist -- which at the time would have cost around $60,000. (I'd looked into buying a canvas by, well, another artist you'd hate, but at the time he was presold for 3 years at $120,000 a pop.)

Ultimately, I decided against making such a huge purchase -- but, looking back, I wish I had, because all I did instead was let the money dribble away while I wrestled myself to a standstill.
* In the opening years of this century, I lost my girlfriend/best friend/business partner of 5 years; over the following 12 months, as collateral damage from the break-up, I went on to lose my job, business, career, home, car, life savings, position in the community, and about 1/3 of my social group. Oh, my self-confidence, as well. And, about a month before, in an unrelated loss, my father, who was also one of my closest friends.
"As for Renoirs, how do you know which ones are the real ones?"

Um...turn 'em over?

Okay, you and I can't do that, but the owners of the legit works can do so. There's usually some clue to authentication on the backside. Haven't you ever watched "Fake or Fortune?" (Fiona Bruce has joined my list of crush-worthy women.)

An analysis of the paint would tell us which painting is the real deal, since Renoir used a couple of fugitive colors (Carmine/Cochineal Red and Chrome Yellow) which no artist of the past half-century would use -- in fact, they aren't even sold anymore, although Kremer will sell you the bugs necessary to mull your own Cochineal Red.

(Don't get me started on this stuff. On the Wetcanvas site, I've been known to fob myself off as some sort of expert regarding the technical side of oil painting.)

Actually, I own a very old tube of Cochineal. It's one of my prized possessions. And a few decades ago, I had some Chrome Yellow.

Omigod -- maybe I'M the Renoir forger!

Maz: "well, I won't mention who, because you'll surely hate the artist."

I try not to complain about artists because I know how hard it is to make a living in that game. On the other hand, I HAVE bitched about a couple of contemporary artists in previous posts. Maybe I shouldn't have done that.
By the way, maz, I know what it's like to lose...everything. I've been through it a couple of times. You were lucky to lose only 1/3 of your friends. But losing your dad is a blow that you never forget.
Come sit by me, Maz, and we'll compare the art of losing! I can't post the link to my favorite Elizabeth Bishop poem, One Art, because my computer was recently stolen and it took me forever to even learn how to post from my phone. I am meeting an awesome artist tonight, Peter Max. I don't apologize for liking pop! I can't afford any of the work, but maybe he will sign my Peter Max poster book from back in the day.
Totally signed my 1971 poster book I got as a child! My cuz and I were like well behaved excited children watching all the swells get 10s of thousands worth of framed originals signed and it was over an hour before there was enough of a lull (and no gallery guards) for him to hold his hand out for my book. I know exactly the piece I'd buy if I had 6 k to spare! And yes, preznut puny paws fake art did come up in crowd conversation.
I think they are called MIRV's, one nuclear missile goes up, and then five or 10 nuclear weapons are jettisoned from the main missile, creating 10 targets instead of one.
Now what if MIRV could handle 20 or 30 missiles, but only 10 were real, now one missile could cause those trying to stop the missile to have to destroy thirty targets.
No way to hit everything in the sky.
What if a plane were to launch 300 drones carrying GPS signals, What then? Do we ignore it, or try and hit each one?
Unless the U.S. has already been knocking nukes out of the sky for years but not telling anyone, i don't think its possible to ensure that anything coming towards the U.S. can be disabled in time.
Joseph, the entity you brought to our attention, which bore the description "is art company" is on my mind, now. Wonder what they (he?) sold to whom? This is the sort of comic relief I'm grateful for.

Prowlerzee, very cool getting that book signed. I'm all admiration for your having kept a childhood favorite for all this time.
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Friday, October 13, 2017


I don't know who wrote this -- probably this fellow -- but I agree with every word...
I do know who drew this cartoon, and I agree with every line...

School days. Trump's hilariously obvious insecurity about his intelligence has many people wondering how he really managed to survive the Wharton school. Fortunately, we now have this report from one of his professors, William T. Kelley, who died at the age of 94 six years ago. Kelley's opinion has been relayed to us via a good friend.

Professor Kelley told me 100 times over three decades that “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.” I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this: “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity, but long before he was considered a political figure. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told the story that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.
Kelley’s view seems to be shared by other University of Pennsylvanians. See, from the Daily Pennsylvanian, stating:
Another biographer, Gwenda Blair, wrote in 2001 that Trump was admitted to Wharton on a special favor from a “friendly” admissions officer. The officer had known Trump’s older brother, Freddy.

Trump’s classmates doubt that the real estate mogul was an academic powerhouse.

“He was not in any kind of leadership. I certainly doubt he was the smartest guy in the class,” said Steve Perelman, a 1968 Wharton classmate and a former Daily Pennsylvanian news editor.

Some classmates speculated that Trump skipped class, others that he commuted to New York on weekends. . . .

* * *

1968 Wharton graduate Louis Calomaris recalled that “Don ... was loath to really study much.”

Calomaris said Trump would come to study groups unprepared and did not “seem to care about being prepared.”
Now all we need is a confession from the fellow student who wrote Trump's papers.
A conservative acquaintance of mine emailed me the following. How much of it is true?

No wonder the state wants to be a Sanctuary state and the real reason is, It’s all about economics. Cheap labor! Reminds me of why the south didn’t want to give up slavery……

California - Largest Insane Asylum In The World
Interesting that the LA Times did this. Lou Dobbs reported this on CNN and it cost him his job. The only network we would see this on would be FOX. All the others are staying away from it. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, This should be of great interest to you!
This is only one State... If this doesn't open your eyes, nothing will.
From the L.A. Times.
1. 40% of all workers in LA County (10.2 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working without a green card. (Donald Trump was right)
2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.
3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.
4. Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal, whose births were paid for by taxpayers.
5. Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals; they are here illegally.
6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.
7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.
8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.
9. 21 radio stations in LA are Spanish- speaking.
10. In LA County, 5.1 million people speak English; 3.9 million, speak Spanish. (There are 10.2 million people, in LA County.)
All 10 of the above facts were published in the Los Angeles Times.
Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops but 29% are on welfare. Over 70% of the United States ' annual population growth, (and over 90% of California, Florida, and New York), results from immigration. Also, 29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens. We are fools for letting this continue.
Send copies of this letter, to at least two other people. 100 would be even better.
This is only one State...If this doesn't open your eyes nothing will and you wonder why Nancy Pelosi wants them to become voters!
If you don't agree, just delete -- if you do pass it on! Where do we get these morons?
Windfall Tax on Retirement Income... Adding a tax to your retirement is simply another way of saying to the American people "you're so darn stupid that we're going to keep doing this until we drain every cent from you". Nancy Pelosi wants a Windfall Tax on Retirement Income. In other words, tax what you have made by investing toward your retirement. This woman is a nut case! You aren't going to believe this
Nancy Pelosi wants to put a Windfall Tax on all stock market profits
(including Retirement fund, 401K and Mutual Funds)!
Alas, it is true - all to help the 12 Million Illegal Immigrants and other unemployed Minorities!
This woman is frightening. She quotes... 'We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income, (didn't Marx say something like this?) in our country; and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest. (I'm not rich, are you?)
When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied: “We need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a long way to guarantee these people the standard of living they would like to have as Americans.“
(Read that quote again and again and let it sink in.) 'Lower your retirement; give it to others who have not worked, as you have' for your money. Send this on to your friends. I just did! This lady is out of her mind!

I live in CA and this stuff is not true.
War is being prepared. Iran is a better bet for the badly led rabble of the US armed forces, or at least it will be during the five minutes when the action would mainly consist of cruise missiles fired from the sea (surface vessels or subs), when perhaps some might even get through without the Russians shooting them down.

Iran, unlike North Korea, couldn't strike back militarily.

There may be a lesson for the Iranian leadership here: doing a deal with the US is like thinking that by clenching your arse you'll only get raped halfway.

The idea of Puerto Rico as a new Dubai? Well, it's interesting that the idea of a new Dubai has been mentioned by the British Foreign Secretary (until recently a US citizen) in connection with Sirte in Libya.

Dubai itself is the new Beirut.

There's unlikely to be a new Dubai anywhere, but certainly not while there's still an old Dubai. And it only takes an afternoon of missile attacks or aerial bombing for Dubai to be FINISHED.
@Alessandro Machi

Google is your friend.

A search for "California - Largest Insane Asylum In The World" returns (a) numerous instances of idiots blindly posting this decades-old P.O.S. but also (b) numerous examples of posts debunking it. (I recall spending a couple of hours years ago tracking down the truth about each bullet point, but I have no idea if or where I saved or posted it.)

In addition, while the post first appeared in 2005 or 2006, it was based largely on Congressional testimony from renown cop-stroker and reality-phobe Heather Mac Donald, who cherry-picked random factoids from the previous two decades in support of her widely derided claims. Accordingly, what started out life questionable and largely outdated is completely irrelevant today. (As an example, total illegal immigration peaked around 2006/2007 and has been declining ever since. Looking at Mexico alone, from 2008 through 2014 [at least; can't quickly scare up more-recent data] we saw negative net illegal immigration; that is, more illegal immigrants returned to Mexico each year than came here.)

Finally, the claims that aren't out-of-date are, more often than not, just racist BS. The Snopes debunk is characteristically reserved and to-the-point, but by being fair and balanced misses a chance to address the mentality and assumptions behind the post. A good example would be the handful of claims that feed off the belief that illegal immigrants are notoriously criminal-minded (aside, of course, from having entered the country illegally). The reality is that both legal and illegal immigrants are much less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans.

National Academy of Sciences, 2015:
Immigrants are in fact much less likely to commit crime than natives, and the presence of large numbers of immigrants seems to lower crime rates. [...] This disparity also holds for young men most likely to be undocumented immigrants: Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan men.
Today, the belief that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes is perpetuated by ‘issue entrepreneurs’ who promote the immigrant-crime connection in order to drive restrictionist immigration policy.

Cato Institute, March 2017:
Illegal immigrants are 44 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives. Legal immigrants are 69 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives. Legal and illegal immigrants are underrepresented in the incarcerated population while natives are overrepresented.

Specifically California-related, a 2008 study from the Public Policy Institute of California found "U.S.-born men are incarcerated in the state at a rate of more than two-and-a-half times greater than that of foreign-born men." (That quote and earlier references all courtesy Politifact.)

So feel free to tell your friend he's at risk of looking like an idiot for being so gullible. Not that it will work, of course; the American right had developed flesh-eating-bacteria levels of resistance to facts and truth...
Maz, thanks for that term "issue entrepreneurs." And a shorter, simple way to debunk crap is if it contains randomly capitalized nouns like State, it's rightwing propaganda.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Does Trump really want a nearly "tenfold" nuke increase?

Four NBC News reporters aroused Trump's ire with a report bearing this headline: "Trump Wanted Tenfold Increase in Nuclear Arsenal, Surprising Military." Trump and Mattis denied the claim; moreover, Trump has threatened NBC's license -- a threat which should be neither dismissed nor minimized -- while his followers have targeted the network with the usual Orwellian hate-campaign.

According to NBC, Trump's request for more nukes prompted Tillerson to make that infamous "moron" remark -- which Trump also says is fake news.

The gist of the NBC piece is substantiated by one of Trump's own tweets.

That was in December; NBC spoke of a Pentagon meeting which occurred in July. I don't think that Trump became a peacenik during the intervening months. So the only real question is whether Trump wistfully longed for a tenfold increase. Is the number in the headline justified by the text?
Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.
The president’s comments during the Pentagon meeting in July came in response to a chart shown on the history of the U.S. and Russia’s nuclear capabilities that showed America’s stockpile at its peak in the late 1960s, the officials said. Some officials present said they did not take Trump’s desire for more nuclear weapons to be literally instructing the military to increase the actual numbers.
According to Wikipedia, the number of nuclear warheads in the American arsenal reached a high of 31,139 in 1965 and had been reduced to 7260 as of 2014. But: They are projected to go down to 3620 by 2022.

A 3620 to 31,139 increase would justify the "nearly tenfold" remark.

Is it believable that Trump would look at a chart similar to this one and muse about returning to the 1965 level? In my opinion, yes. He always wants to be at the top of any given mountain.

The article makes clear that Trump did not give an order to that effect, a point reiterated by journalist Courtney Kube (one of the four NBC authors) in this tweet. Apparently, the president made an impulsive, pie-in-the-sky remark which no-one around him took very seriously.

During the campaign, Trump indicated that he could not define the term "nuclear triad." Therefore, I have no difficulty believing that Trump is also unaware of the history of nuclear arms reductions.

Incidentally, the chart reminds us that the USSR's nuclear stockpile reached its highest point not long before the fall of the Soviet Union. Standing at the top of the mountain isn't everything.
Don't know how this will sound but it was immediately crystal clear to me after the train wreck we called an election that trump's occupation of the White House was going to be a nightmare. I've got to admit I actually underestimated just how bad the situation could become.

I agree with something you mentioned a couple of days ago, trump is probably goading North Korea into a first strike, or at least attacking South Korea, so he extend his control over the country.

I read the article, the headline is in the tradition of supermarket tabloid journalism. The print and broadcast news media puts Ad Revenue over journalism. One only has to look back to 2000 and how the news media skunked Al Gore because they knew Bush the Lesser would generate more headlines with the lunacy.
The New York Times, Washington Post, and the TV networks were willing foot soldiers in the war against Hillary Clinton as with Al Gore in the name of increased audience.
Ironic that now Trump wants to pull affiliates' broadcast licenses, pass the popcorn.
Mike, my original reaction was that NBC used an over-the-top headline. In fact, I originally wrote a very different post, or half-post. But then I looked up the history of America's nuclear stockpile and I realized that the headline actually made sense.

Although I think Trump really did say something that roughly approximated what we read about in the NBC report, I don't think that he was speaking seriously or after deep consideration. Trump is impulsive. We all know that. He's one of those guys who can't appreciate the virtue of an unexpressed thought. An idea pops into his noggin, and it shoots out of his mouth before he even realizes that his lips are moving.

I met a lot of guys like that back in the days when I hung out with conspiracy buffs. They just can't help themselves.
I wish Hillary wrote her book before the election, and everyone in America was forced to read it. It's a wishing for a unicorn thing.
Speaking of nuts and nukes, Joseph...H.A. Goodman showing yet again why he's really a fan of Trump:

Good thing I wasn't eating when I read this, because I would have thrown up.
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GOP to Trump: The best defense is a good silence

Rex Tillerson allegedly referred to Trump as a "moron." Senator Bob Corker spoke of Trump as an unruly child who might ignite World War III in a fit of pique.

You know what really impresses me? The response of all the other GOP congressfolk. The way they have rushed to defend their president will be remembered for generations to come.

Pillory Hillary. Trump still has loyalists, and they have decided to defend their God Emperor by beating up a woman. Specifically: They blame Hillary Clinton for the sexual sins of a movie producer named Harvey Weinstein. She made him do it.

During the primary battle, a BernieBot on Democratic Underground posted an instantly-notorious post blaming Hillary Clinton for not ending apartheid while she was the wife of the governor of Arkansas. You won't be able to find that post now because the avalanche of hilarious responses shamed the original poster into removing his inane claim. (A clever Googler can retrieve a cached version of the thread.) The non-Berniebots really got into the spirit of the occasion, blaming Hillary for the JFK assassination and failing to prevent 9/11 and not coming over to do the dishes.

Somewhere along the way, one Hillary defender pointed out that Nelson Mandela greatly admired the Clintons. In response to this news, another BernieBro sneered that Mandela was a sellout corporatist phony who played no role in ending apartheid; true credit for that victory should apparently go to the Messiah from Vermont. All hail Glorious Leader Bernie Sanders, savior of South Africa!

Who writes this nonsense? Are these "bros" actually Russian trolls? I can't say for certain, but I wouldn't hesitate to ask them where to find the best Shaslik in St. Petersburg.

(I presume you've already read this important story.)

Is your antivirus spying on you? Fascinating piece in the NYT: "How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets."
What gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago, such global reach was its improvised search tool — antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, that is used by 400 million people worldwide, including by officials at some two dozen American government agencies.

The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers.

The Russian operation, described by multiple people who have been briefed on the matter, is known to have stolen classified documents from a National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer, on which Kaspersky’s antivirus software was installed. What additional American secrets the Russian hackers may have gleaned from multiple agencies, by turning the Kaspersky software into a sort of Google search for sensitive information, is not yet publicly known.
The NYT won't ask the obvious question: What about the other vendors of anti-malware apps? Take, for example, ZoneAlarm, the popular free firewall: ZoneAlarm is made by Checkpoint, which is basically an offshoot of Israel's Unit 8200 (their version of the NSA).

One should also note that most pirated versions of expensive apps come from Russian and Chinese sources.

A few years ago, I indulged in some mildly paranoid speculation:
In the 1980s (according to an oft-told story), a gang lord stood accused of being involved with the cocaine trade. The government proved that cash in his possession tested positive for trace evidence of the drug. The defense countered by proving that all folding money contains trace evidence of cocaine.

Similarly, perhaps your computer has kiddie porn imagery nestled somewhere on it. Perhaps most computers do.

We all download freeware programs -- including the firewall ZoneAlarm, which is provided to you gratis by people who are at least rumored to be connected to Israeli intelligence. There are numerous other free apps out there: Video converters, music players, anti-spyware, registry utilities, so on and so-forth.

How do you know -- how can you be 100% certain -- that these apps do not place a tiny illegal image in some deeply hidden folder on your system? Perhaps the program automatically erases the illegal image seconds after placing it on your computer. The image would still be visible to a cop or federal agent doing a forensic analysis of your system.

From the standpoint of a totalitarian ruler, it would be very useful to engineer a society in which nearly everyone can (potentially) be proven in court to be a lawbreaker. Let's posit that the "Occupy Wall Street" movement whelps up an actual leader. To discredit him, the government need merely gin up an accusation of pedophilia -- and lo, the evidence will appear on his system. The forensic computer detective who examines the drive will believe that he has made a legitimate find.
I am considering switching anti-virus software since n certain the company has decided to partner with a credit fraud protection outfit with a less than stellar reputation. Every year at this time I start looking at internet security suite reviews. Now you got me paranoid, can the reviewers be trusted?
The Tax Code seems to serve the same purpose in permitting a prima facie case to be mounted against any citizen for tax violations. Reportedly if you call up the IRS for tax preparation advice, if you ask four people the same question you will get three different answers.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Trump's rules for patriots:

Taking a knee? Bad.

Taking the Fifth? Good.

Seems to me that if the Russia probe were a tissue of lies, as the Trumpers claim, then they would cooperate with the Senate intel committee's probe. After all, the committee is in the hands of the Republicans.

Oh, I forgot: Globalists.

According to the Breitbarters, anyone -- of either party -- who inconveniences Trump must be part of the Dreadful Globalist Conspiracy. I recently heard Steve Bannon describe Bob Corker (a Republican Trump critic) as a tool of the "Globalist clique."

You know who the Globalists are, don't you? They own all the banks and they run Hollywood and they wear their little Globalist hats and they eat at Globalist delis (except on Christmas when they go for Chinese food) and they tell jokes about their Globalist mothers. But they're not not NOT Jews -- never say that they are Jews. They're Globalists. You must never accuse Bannon and the Breitbarters of being anti-Semitic, because doing so would be very, very wrong.

Another example of hypocrisy. From Josh Marshall...
Surreal to see Weinstein rightly & universally condemned & abandoned while Prez just as plausibly/publicly accused of all the same bad acts.
Remember when Trump said that he was going to sue the many, many women who have accused Trump of sexual assault? Remember? Was there a single lawsuit against anyone?

THAT meeting: The truth is seeping out...

Via Bill Browder, we learn that the meeting between DJT Jr. and that Russian lawyer (plus Manafort and a few spooky worthies) was all about repealing Magnitsky. Not "adoptions." Here's the actual print-out: I believe that the key phrase concerns the Foreign Relations Committee.

Note the reference to an NDA. We've been told that the NDAs issued by Havey Weinstein are just awful -- and yet, for some reason, NDAs are perfectly fine when used by Trump or his Russian pals. Why is that, I wonder?

Think Green.  A tweet from reporter Alec MacGillis:
Your occasional reminder that Green Party got nearly 2X more votes in deciding states of MI, WI and PA than Trump's cumulative margin there.
His reminder was occasioned by this AP headline...
BREAKING: EPA Administrator Pruitt says administration will withdraw from Obama-era clean power plan to slow global warming.
MacGillis' reminder evinced an infuriating exchange with a Green named Ben Speilberg.
Maybe, if Democrats pursued a real strategy of environmentalism, voters would feel more compelled to vote for them.
Hmm, supporting the Paris accords and implementing the Clean Power Plan seem like a "strategy of environmentalism," but then what do I know.
Mr. Green-genes:
Maybe those things & other Obama-era actions fall woefully short if you are concerned about climate change & other environmental issues.
I've always hated "progressive purists" of this sort. Just before the election, Spielberg wrote a piece for HuffPo calling Clinton supporters "privileged" and intimating that they were mostly conservative white males. He also said that he personally had little to lose from a Trump presidency.

Secretly, or not so secretly, assholes like Spielberg want Trump to win. They will never admit it -- they will deny the truth to their last breath -- but deep down, they want the planet to die. They long to flash an ultra-smug smirk at the Apocalypse: "At least we managed to stop those awful, awful Clintons. We prevented the vile Democrats from actually doing anything. We, the FIRST TRULY MORAL GENERATION IN ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY, have done our sacred duty."  

If Petra Kelly were alive, what would she say about this Spielberg fellow? In case you don't know, Kelly -- founder of the German Green party (the original Green party) -- was a huge fan of Adlai Stevenson, who probably stood somewhere to Hillary's right. As devoted as Petra Kelly was to non-violence, she was also human. I suspect that -- for a few seconds at least -- she'd try to imagine what Mr. Speilberg's smile would look like if someone did a little dental work on him with a tire iron.

Many of the founders of the German Green party were former Nazis or SS or they were Steinerites. This is documented.

That's one reason that the country where "Green" partyism took off first was Germany.

If someone closely studies the ideological thrust of the party's strategic material, I wouldn't be at all surprised if terms such as "threefold" this that and the other come to light. All politicians speak with forked tongues, and what the owners and shapers of "Green" have as their real views and motivations is very very dirty indeed. I'd advise people not to be deterred by Larouchie interest in this area.

The other reason that "green" bullshit got ramped up in that particular country in the 1970s (capitalising on the fact that the best elements of the left-radical opposition there, while brave and committed, were generally speaking little clued up about the concerns and struggles of the working class) - and then especially during "Cold War 2" in the 1980s (the "mustn't take an Apple Mac to Russia" period), was because Germany was the country with the barbed wire across its middle and which in any scenario of a NATO-WTO war would have been unable to stay unaffected. So best fill the minds of the "radical youth" with some distraction or other. This was a very far cry from anti-nuclear feeling in Germany in the late 1960s, where the idea of pressing a button to destroy a city was rightly execrated as an updated version of the "industrial" slaughter in Auschwitz.

The Greens were only in the West German government for about five minutes before West German warplanes took part in an attack on Yugoslavia.

Nowadays many or most "Greens" support nuclear power too. Coal, i.e. the working class, is too "dirty" for them, apparently. What a bunch of shits.

"Moving on" from "left versus right" always means right. There are no fucking exceptions.

Fuck the Greens. I am very open to the idea that Jill Stein and her party were playing for Trump (although I believe Bernie Sanders's support for Hillary Clinton was genuine). I watched Stein answer a question during the presidential election campaign about how best to fight Trump and all she could talk about was the Clintons. What a giveaway. The obvious conclusion is surely correct.
The Progressive Purists, I like it. It goes well with Neo Cons as to the groups to not be a part of.
B, I will always love Petra, who didn't really get along with the other Greens. But I admit that her taste in boyfriends was poor.
OK, thanks, I guess, for the affirmation I was correct to despise Spielberg and his LAME ass movies all along. I just can't take that I don't get to spit in his face.
Different Spielberg! And he's a great director.

"Secretly, or not so secretly, assholes like Spielberg want Trump to win. They will never admit it -- they will deny the truth to their last breath -- but deep down, they want the planet to die."

Nailed it, Joseph.

And yes, I remember thinking this back in 2000 in regards to the Naderites who were still gloating about how Gore was going to be WORSE than Bush (see the crap that Alexander Cockburn kept squeezing out from 2000 to 2004).
Oops! Need a new desktop pronto. But I still am not a fan of Spielberg films. Too treacly, however acclaimed they are.
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Sunday, October 08, 2017

Today I stole, raped, murdered, and took the Lord's name in vain. I blame Hillary.

Added note: I just remembered -- Trump used to be a generous donor to the Clintons. So the latest GOP talking point has a basis in reality: The Clintons should never have taken money from a (self-admitted) sexual predator.

A movie producer named Harvey Weinstein is said to have committed sexual sin, and who does the world blame? Hillary. You need no better yardstick to measure this nation's misogyny.

Also: You need no further proof that Julian Assange is working for the Republicans (or the Russians, or both) than to note that he tweeted the same "Blame Hill for Harv" message that Donald Trump Jr. tweeted. We're talking about damn near the same wording. We're all used to seeing disparate Republicans "spontaneously" blare the same message in the same way at the same time, but did you ever think you'd see Assange join the chorus?

(By the way, just why is Julie-baby still in that embassy? Surely he has nothing to fear from the American security services, now that his God Emperor Trump is running the show. Could it be that the charges facing Julie-baby in Sweden have merit?)

You need no further proof of Republican hypocrisy than to note the shameless way they have blasted Weinstein while defending Trump the elder, who is guilty of either the same sins or worse. As noted in a previous post, DJT Jr. scored Weinstein for having underlings sign NDAs, even though everyone in Trumpworld must sign NDAs.

Finally: You need no further proof that Infowars and the Intercept are part of the same operation than to run your eyeballs over the following two headlines (brought to you by this guy)...

Coordination can be a good thing. I usually try to wear a brown belt with brown shoes, although today I dressed too hastily. But when it comes to propaganda, a display of really, really obvious coordination always strengthens my determination to take the opposite position.

I can't believe I used to admire Greenwald. Right now, I'm trying to think of a way to glue a photo of his face to the bottom of my toilet.
Oh no worries on the Infowars/Intercept cross promotion. Ryan Grim assured us The Intercept had nothing to do with it and that Infowars merely ripped it. Though even if that's true, it makes one wonder why Infowars thinks The Intercept content is appropriate for their site.

This seems like a good time to remind everyone that Greenwald has praised Breitbart in the past. I would link directly to the Breitbart article, but merely linking to them causes me to want to take a shower. The most laughable praise he gives them is his admiration of their "editorial independence".

Seriously, when will this nightmare end.
The Intercept headline is only half of a headline. Just because Weinstein urged Hillary Clinton to do something, which he probably didn't, but even if he had, so the fu_k what? Did Hillary Clinton follow the advice, or, is she her own person that probably took Weinstein's donation while thinking he was an imbecile, good for her if she did.

The most blatant form of misogyny that Hillary Clinton continues to face is the narrative that if she interacts with a presumed asshole or idiot, that she somehow doesn't have a brain to disavow the stupidity even if she accepts a donation from the dunderheads.
Sandro, all I can say is this: As you know, I've held infrequent fundraisers. If ever I find out that one of my donors is a first-class creep, I won't give back the money. Pecunia non olet, as the Romans used to say.

There's definitely a misogynistic double standard here. Trump money is dirty money; that's been established beyond reasonable debate. But nobody on the right wants Trump to come to accounts.

After staring at for a while, I started reading Hillary's book. I am glad that she did ok following the election, in fact I think she did better than me. But I already know she is a better person. So far I have two problems: apologizing for her speeches and Obama. That woman has a huge Obama problem. Although I saw from the beginning of the campaign, I didn't realized till now that most of the key people in her campaign came from Obama's campaign, 2008 no less???!!!????!!!
Anon 5:38 AM--

Your point is lost on me. Maybe I'm too tired.

But winning teams often go to work for the party's next candidate. Why hire new, inexperienced people?

Seems to be a long DC tradition, one the Dems have fallen away from. The GOP hacks have been around for decades. Roger Stone, to name only one of many, started with Nixon.

I'm missing something. How is this obvious coordination? That Infowars reprinted a year old article from the Intercept?
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Sounds about right

A tweet from VoteVets:
We need to take seriously the possibility that Donald Trump is trying to goad Kim Jong-un into a first strike, so he can respond.
From Trump's point of view, this idea has another plus: The cities most likely to be hit are west coast "blue" population centers.

(See preceding post for my discussion of the under-recognized "Russia factor.")


Saturday, October 07, 2017

War between the US and North Korea: Who benefits?

Previously, I opined that Trump's "calm before the storm" remark referred to some unspecified action against Iran. Looks like I was wrong.
"Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid ... hasn't worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!," Trump wrote on Twitter.
A British tabloid says that Kim Jong-Un has threatened to use anthrax and other toxins against the United States. I haven't seen that claim verified by more reputable sources.

A tweet from congressman Ted Lieu...
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Estimates of war casualties with N Korea could be 2.1 million dead and 7.7 million injured. Get the problem yet?
Indeed I do. But it is also important to comprehend how the problem started. Remember the Connery Bond movies? Blofeld's big plan was to goad the US and the USSR into a war, after which a third force -- led by Blofeld, of course -- could rule whatever was left. Something similar may be afoot right now: The U.S. is being goaded into a war with North Korea in order to benefit a third nation.

North Korea's rapid advance in nuclear development owes much to Russian aid. See here:
Elleman has analyzed North Korean medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles of the Hwasong 12 and 14 types, whose extended range holds the potential to hit the United States. He concluded that the surprisingly fast development in the last two years has only been possible with the help of foreign suppliers, meaning countries from the former Soviet Union. Even the German missile expert Robert Schmucker from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) agreed with Elleman's analysis, although he avoided any explicit accusations.

Experts believe that the one-chamber engine used in the latest Hwasong missiles is reminiscent of the Soviet RD-250 rocket engine, which had two chambers and was developed in the 1960s.

It is difficult to prove whether the RD-250 was also manufactured by Yuzhmash. Vitaly Zushtchevski said that they received these engines from Russia, where they were "produced in low quantities." Elleman suggested that they were also made in Ukraine. In his IISS study, he wrote that "hundreds, if not more" RD-250 engines have remained in Russia, as well as in Ukraine, adding it is also possible that Moscow is Pyongyang's supplier.
Also here:
After intensive study, Elleman, a former consultant at the Pentagon, and other specialists would report that they had detected multiple design features in the new North Korean missile engine that echo those of a 1960s-era Soviet workhorse called the RD-250.

There is no record of Pyongyang's obtaining blueprints for the Russian missile engine, and experts disagree on whether it ever did so. But the discovery of similarities has focused new attention on a question that has dogged US analysts for at least the past two years: how has North Korea managed to make surprisingly rapid gains in its missile programme, despite economic sanctions and a near-universal ban on exports of military technology to the impoverished communist state?

Many weapons experts say North Korea's startling display of missile prowess is a reflection of the country's growing mastery of weapons technology, as well its leader's fierce determination to take the country into the nuclear club.

But others see continuing evidence of an outsize role by foreigners, including Russian scientists who provided designs and know-how years ago, and the Chinese vendors who supply the electronics needed for modern missile-guidance systems.
Why would Russia do that? The answer is obvious: A nuclear exchange between North Korea and the United States would advance Putin's goal of destroying American power. I'm not sure that China wouldn't mind living in a "post-American century."

There is no question that the US would "win" a war with North Korea -- but as the old saying has it, even one nuclear missile can ruin your whole day. Los Angeles and Seattle are at risk. One can only imagine what the destruction of a major west coast city would do to this country, both spiritually (if that word is permissible) and economically.

Can we trust our anti-missile defense systems? I'm not sure. We don't know how many of our secrets now belong to Moscow, and we don't know the extent to which the Russians can compromise the military's computers.

Suppose we "win" an exchange. Suppose we act preemptively. What then?

If Trump's recklessness reduces much of the Korean peninsula to a smoldering ruin, the world will despise us for decades to come. Our standing in the world will be greatly lessened, perhaps eradicated. Within this nation, fury over Trump's exercise in mass murder could lead to -- well, God only knows. A military coup? Civil war? Impeachment would be the kindest outcome.
Good post. While most Americans snooz, Trump is clearly getting ready to attack North Korea. His dinner with the military brass, including the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in this light looks like loyalty oath time. Trump probably intends to attack North Korea, and he's feeling out the military for its willingness to carry out the order. I'm terrified. It's difficult to overstate the consequences of war with the North. It would be a thousand 9/11s.
America and its lazy FBI has everything they need to remove Trump from power other than the courage and the will.
Anon @ 5:38: troll much? Sowing seeds of doubt.
Rockets are easy to build and design, certainly compared to nuclear warheads. ICBMs aren't even very big rockets, just hoist a smallish weight on a sub-orbital trajectory.

Also, single and double chambered rockets are different and that pretty much precludes the idea of those "reminiscent" designs having any connection to each other.

I see that the father of the Vegas shooter ran a bingo parlour. Gambling must run in the family. At that time he was on the run, having escaped prison after some armed robberies and attempting to murder an FBI agent. He spent nearly a decade on the 10 most wanted list. So how is it that the shooter's brother is rambling on about the whole family having loads of money? And the shooter was born in a place called Clinton. Just a coincidence, that, but weird.
"A British tabloid says that Kim Jong-Un has threatened to use anthrax and other toxins against the United States."

The Daily Express doesn't deserve to be called a newspaper.

Every time I hear about North Korea "threatening" the US, I think "there's that irregular verb again":

I maintain a deterrent
You welcome the nuclear umbrella
He issues a threat
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Seccession, symbolism, smears and sex

Hypocrisy, thy name is Trump.  The NYT asked accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein to release all potential accusers from their non-disclosure agreements. To which Donald Trump Jr. replied:
Phenomenal idea, let's hear about real Hollywood... New York Times wants Weinstein to release accusers from NDAs -
The Trump family has everyone sign NDAs. I'm sure that if Donald Trump released Ivana from her NDA, we'd hear all sorts of juicy stories.

(Yet the mainstream media routinely accuses Hillary of being too secretive. Do the Clintons make everyone around them sign NDAs? Apparently not, judging from the example of Dick Morris)

I agree: Weinstein should toss all NDAs aside and let the truth be heard. Along the same lines, I presume that Donald Trump Jr. has no objection to the release of those Apprentice outtakes in which his father is said to make horribly racist comments. You know why we haven't seen those tapes? NDAs.
According to multiple sources, people who worked on “The Apprentice” were forced to sign a thorough nondisclosure agreement that prevented them from discussing or releasing information about the show. Several former staff members declined to speak to HuffPost, with at least one citing a NDA.

A copy of the agreement that HuffPost saw confirms that there is a $5 million penalty for disclosing such information. A GoFundMe campaign launched Sunday seeks to raise about the same amount of money to reward a whistleblower.
DJT Jr., why won't your father release all relevant parties from those NDAs? Let's see the actual tapes. Let's find out once and for all if the rumors are true.

Speaking of predation: After the release of the Access Hollywood tape, many women accused Donald Trump of obnoxious and even illegal behavior. The accusations against Trump were (arguably) worse than the accusations against Weinstein.

Remember when Donald Trump insisted that he would sue the women making those accusations? Whatever happened to those suits? In which court were they filed?

Should we take Trump's refusal to file any lawsuits as an admission that the women were correct?

An "Anglo-Celtic" elitist. Roy Moore's patron and friend, Michael Anthony Peroutka, is the worst sort of seccessionist.
Peroutka, a 2004 Constitution Party presidential nominee who in 2014 won a seat as a Republican on the county commission in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, spent years on the board of the Alabama-based League of the South, a southern secessionist group which for years has called for a southern nation run by an “Anglo-Celtic” elite. The Southern Poverty Law Center designates the League of the South as a hate group (a designation Peroutka regularly jokes about). That organization, after Peroutka left, was one of the organizers of the Charlottesville protests last summer that ended in bloodshed.
How dare these people criticize the NFL players who chose to "take a knee" during the playing of the national anthem? These Trumpists don't give a damn about patriotism. Given the chance, they will honor other flags -- the stars and the bars, the swastika, the Russian tricolor.

The problem with symbols.
Rightwingers seem fascinated by symbols. Example: God help any Democratic politician who fails to adorn his lapel with a sufficiently hefty flag pin.

Many ill-educated people fundamentally misunderstand what symbols are.

A symbol is not the thing-in-itself.

All symbols -- religious, national, hermetic, artistic, scientific, philosophical, whatever -- are intrinsically meaningless. The cross around a Christian's neck is not the cross; the "male" and "female" symbols are simply circles and lines, not actual men and women; the symbol for Saturn is not the actual ringed planet.

Similarly, the flag of a nation is not the nation itself.

A symbol is something that stands for something else. That "something else" is the important thing. The symbol is just an exercise in design. At best, a symbol helps us to organize our thoughts: Think of how difficult math would be without math symbols.  

The film The Deerhunter is about the uneducated person's propensity to mistake a symbol for the thing-in-itself. That's why the wedding scene goes on so long. That's the true reason why DeNiro holds up a bullet and says: "This is this. This ain't somethin' else. This is this." In that scene, DeNiro is starting to understand the difference between symbol and reality, although he doesn't know how to articulate his thoughts. The wedding is a ritual, laden with symbolism; the reality is fucking and reproduction. The hunt is also a kind of ritual; the reality is man's inherent death wish -- the urge to kill and the urge to die. People often rely on symbolism and ritual because the thing-in-itself is primal, brutal, and terrifying.

Think my interpretation of the film is off the mark? Watch the movie again.

Facebook. Remember when Trump apologists were laughing at the proposition that the manipulation of Facebook helped win the election? Now we have this.
"Twitter is how [Trump] talked to the people, Facebook was going to be how he won," Parscale tells Stahl. Parscale says he used the majority of his digital ad budget on Facebook ads and explained how efficient they could be, particularly in reaching the rural vote. "So now Facebook lets you get to…15 people in the Florida Panhandle that I would never buy a TV commercial for," says Parscale. And people anywhere could be targeted with the messages they cared about. "Infrastructure…so I started making ads that showed the bridge crumbling…that's micro targeting…I can find the 1,500 people in one town that care about infrastructure. Now, that might be a voter that normally votes Democrat," he says. Parscale says the campaign would average 50-60,000 different ad versions every day, some days peaking at 100,000 separate iterations – changing design, colors, backgrounds and words – all in an effort to refine ads and engage users.

Parscale received help utilizing Facebook's technology from Facebook employees provided by the company who showed up for work to his office multiple days a week. He says they had to be partisan and he questioned them to make sure. "I wanted people who supported Donald Trump." Parscale calls these Facebook employees "embeds" who could teach him every aspect of the technology. "I want to know everything you would tell Hillary's campaign plus some," he says he told them.

Both campaigns used Facebook's advertising technology extensively to reach voters, but Parscale says the Clinton campaign didn't go as far as using "embeds." "I had heard that they did not accept any of [Facebook's] offers."
"Embeds." That's a term straight out of a dystopian novel.
Riddle me this Batman... How is the entire USA being held hostage by an ass potato said to be an Accused Child Raping Alleged Russian Mole Moron(ACRARMM)? Why does anyone allow this ass potato to tell them jack and shit and boss them around?

Has Trump got nefarius underage sex trafficking ties? Some connections:
Jeffrey "Likes them on the younger side" Epstein : pimping underage girls for video taping and blackmailing businessmen
Tevik "Underage Girls on a Yacht" Aref : pimping underage girls for blackmailing businessmen
Roy "He Ran the Little Boys" Cohn : said by Hougan(sp?) to pimp young boys to blackmail politicians and businessmen
John "Trump sent me, a known child rapist, his 13 yo daughter Invanka to Model" Cassablancas
Trump's "Cocaine and 14 yo Teen Girls" New York Plaza Hotel : allegedly more underage young girls and businessmen
Trump's "Get me some 15 yo teen girls so I can walk in on them naked" Modeling Agency
Trump's "He and Epstein tied me to a bed at 13 yo and raped me" Accuser : allegedly more young girls and businessmen
Epsteins Underage Sex Slave who Came from Trump's Mar-Lago who Realed Epstein Videotaping to blackmail businessmen

Has Trump had sex with underage girls? DUH.

The American people have everything they need to know to remove these assholes from power and restore democracy...they simply don't have the courage or the will. Trump when all is said and done, will move on and build his Trump tower in Moscow where he will be sure to find his hearts desire of underage Russians prostitutes. Americans will build him a nice Presidential library.
Anon, as much as I despise Trump, there is no evidence that he has ever had sex with the underaged. Longtime readers know that I was suspicious of the "Katie Johnson" story from the start.
No evidence other than a string of connections to other businessmen accused of underage sex trafficking and Trump's own interest in teen modeling agencies(Casablancas) and the accusation Trumps modeling agency trafficked in young eastern euro models (as did Jeffrey Epstein) and uses them like indentured servants. Did I mention Steve Bannon and Marc Collins-Rector ties and Collins-Rector's underage boy scandal? Trumps interest in Russia makes more sense to me in this light. Guy is a Russian poon hound. Grabs his own daughter by her ass. Sends her off at age 13 to his buddy John Casablancas to become a model. Casablancas had his affairs with underage 13-17 year olds in the early 80s. Trump sent Invanka to Casablancas to model in mid 90s. What type of dumbass father sends his daughter to a guy well know for statutory rape of 13 year olds? Unless.... Where there's smoke there is fire so they say.

The evidence speaks for itself, make of it what you will. Like I said, Democrats and the American people had plenty of chances to stop a Trump presidency before it got started but they choked because that is what lefties always do. Democrats always choose to play softball with Republicans and end up losing. Go figure.
Anything we know about him now we knew about it before the election. He did or say nothing different from what he promised to do. Yet people wanted it. Left and Right. Indeed for different reason but the end result is the same.e. So we are going to be here for a while. That's is why I don't hate dump now more than I hated him two decades ago, which is a lot. But I can't say the same about alt_left and some of the liberals.
Anon, you're right about the smoke. I've talked about the Casablancas business myself, during the election. But I've also denounced Alex Jones for making up shit, or at least broadcasting made-up shit without verifying it. How can I do that unless I maintain at least some respect for evidence?
Ivana may be about to let loose, NDA or no. -
Anonymoustoolazytoadoptapropernym, asked and answered. Complicit media lulls the public
And your protracted obsession with child sex reeks of troll, especially when cherry-topped with slurs on the Dems and the left. What's eating you? The short life of pizzagate?
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Friday, October 06, 2017

Storm predictions

There is much to concern us right now. But nothing can be more concerning than Trump's ominous declaration that today is the "calm before the storm" -- words he uttered just before meeting with his top military advisers.
Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, flanked by military spouses for a photo op at the White House, said, "You guys know what this represents? Maybe it's the calm before the storm," the president said.

Pressed on what he meant, Mr. Trump said "we have the world's great military people" in the room.

Asked yet again for an answer, Mr. Trump said "you'll find out."
Also, this:
Trump to Mil Brass: “Moving forward I also expect you to provide me w a broad range of military options, when needed, at a much faster pace”
Remember when the Berniebots were telling us that a vote for Hillary was a vote for war?

Many believe that Trump's "calm before the storm" remark statement was pure theater -- an exercise in media manipulation, designed to distract us from the latest twists and turns in the Russia investigation (and there have been many). I believe that something more is afoot.

The Soviet Union was destroyed when Mika Brzezinski's father lured the USSR into a foolish, unwinnable war. I'm sure that Putin considers turnabout fair play: Having installed an oaf in the White House, Putin will be overjoyed if his puppet involves this country in a ruinous exercise in military folly.

I do not believe that the "storm" will involve North Korea. As noted in an earlier post, I predict that Trump will find a pretext for a military confrontation with Iran. An interruption of the flow of oil through the straits of Hormuz will benefit Russia. The confrontation will be something short of all-out war -- although these things do tend to get out of hand.

Paddock: In an earlier post, I suggested that Paddock's high financial status is hard to reconcile with his professed love for video poker, which is rigged in favor of the House. I suggested that perhaps he had shifted his affections to "real" poker, which is a game of skill. One can earn a living from that kind of poker.

Looks like I was wrong. According to the most recent information, Steve Paddock really was obsessed with video poker and had no interest in the mano-y-mano variety. Apparently, there are high-end video poker machines which most of us have never played. With these machines, the House advantage is very slight (presuming one plays perfectly), and may in fact be equalized by the comps.

Acquaintances of Paddock have said that he bragged of gambling a million a year on video poker. A 97 percent "win" rate means that he paid $30,000 annually for his habit. Apparently, he was in a financial position which allowed him to do so comfortably. How likely is it that a former-accountant-turned-landlord was able to attain such a position?

There's another possibility.

This article from 2014 describes the adventures of two men who profited from a video poker programming bug which reliably turned the advantage toward the player. Their plan fell awry for two reasons: The two friends fell out, and they played for too long at one location, thereby arousing suspicion.

Was that bug the only bug? It's possible that Paddock found another, and that he wisely did not share his discovery with anyone. None of this, of course, gets us closer to discovering his motive for mass murder.

I'm gonna retract, for now, my theory that Paddock was a CIA asset and drug smuggler run amok.

I'm not sure you were wrong about that. At this point, I'm not sure of ANYTHING.

(Well, I'm pretty damned sure that this was not an Antifa conspiracy.)
The thing is, we've gotten a pretty good picture of how he made money gambling. I thought he was probably getting money from drug trafficking, and laundering it through casinos. But now the simpler explanation is that he made a fortune as a high-powered accountant, and kept the fortune going with smart gambling.

Still, there's the question of why he moved around so much. And I've read reports that he hadn't been employed for nearly three decades. That still doesn't add up for me, but I need affirmative evidence of drug, let alone CIA, ties to go further with this, and none has been forthcoming, so far.

Another thing that's still puzzling me, though, is the report, carried by lots of outlets, that Paddock owned two planes. Only one has been identified. Maybe the report was a mistake -- aviation records are complicated, and you have to be versed in them to avoid basic errors. But if the report was accurate, then where is the second plane?

And yeah, the antifa stuff is bullshit, and it's alarming how an Infowars report that's patent hooey spread to Drudge Report and suffused the entire right-wing mediasphere. The right-wing propaganda machine is exerting a reality-bending force characteristic of totalitarianian systems.
I might have to reinstate my CIA/drug theory, 'cause this is very interesting.

"Las Vegas madman Stephen Paddock not only targeted innocent concertgoers — but also seemingly the hanger for the U.S. government’s super secret JANET airlines."
A CIA asset might have access to a repository of "bugs" to exploit. Or the video poker thing could just be money laundering. Pretend you won the money you earned illegally, to explain where it came from.

He was a landlord? Just when I thought he couldn't be any worse. That could also be how he had the money, he was a rentier whose victims paid for his lifestyle.
Was thinking yesterday about this aviation fuel tank story, and wondering why Paddock didn't bring a couple hundred rounds of tracers. Now we know why. His dealer at the Phoenix gun show was sold out. Close call. This could have been a lot worse.
Yeah, I think it's too soon to rule out anything with Paddock, though I agree that if there was any link to Antifa, it would be all over the media by now and Trump would be bringing it up at every opportunity. There's a lot of fishyness about this latest event, that's for sure.
So what's going to be Iran or NK?
Or firing Muller?
Joseph, thanks for sticking to the Russia story in all its variants and history. Z-Big has not been forgotten there as you point out. There are so many decades of ill will that the US has engaged in.

in re: Paddock, I'm going to stick with brain tumor and money laundering, though we may never know.
Remember when the Berniebots were telling us that a vote for Hillary was a vote for war?

I remember. And I also remember Jill Stein spewing this nonsense as well.

Of course, some of these folks have gone silent, but others--like H.A. Goodman and Ron Chusid of the site "Liberal Values" have instead twisted themselves into human pretzels still claiming that Hillary would have started WW III one hour after she was inaugurated.
War with a foreign country MIGHT be what he means (Republicans always love a war, the longer and more expensive, the better), but he could also be indicating that he intends to institute martial law. Crazy? Couldn't happen? Who the hell is going to stop him? The Koch/Mercer Marionettes? Too busy spewing mealy-mouthed BS during the day and banging their mistresses at night. The Supremes? They have decide they don't want to be the the third leg of this teetering government; the Cheney-Trump appointments effectively neutralized them. The military generals? Like in, Flynn/Kelly/Mattis, those kind of generals? Yeah, could be a foreign war, with Trump taking a commission from Betsy's Bro, but, as he says, we'll see.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The conquest of Puerto Rico...?

A reader named Bill, who has contributed to this site before, offers the following theory. I'm not persuaded by it -- and to be fair, Bill himself does not seem entirely convinced by his own argument. But the idea is worth consideration. The words beneath the asterisks are his.

*  *  *

I have come up with a disturbing theory. I can’t prove a shred of it. Nevertheless, my gut keeps telling me I’m on the right track.

But before I go into the details, I need to issue a quick disclaimer. I know next to nothing about how intricately convoluted, big-time, real-estate rip-offs are engineered. Actually, I know next to nothing about a whole lotta things. For instance, what I know about baking ginger snaps, you could put in your eye. But even so, I have no problem telling whether or not the cookies are burnt.

Alright, now on to the heart of darkness. Joe, once again I’ve sought you out, in order to share with you a most depressing idea. You’re one of the few people I know who is truly capable of appreciating a really good depressing idea. What I’ve dredged up is something so grim, so bleak, so emotionally devastating, that I hate myself for even thinking of it. It’s a real bringdown. Truthfully, I’d like nothing better than to discover that I’m drastically mistaken. But should this theory prove true, and sadly it’s looking more and more with each day, as though such is the case. If the truth comes out, the effect on the American public will be as soul-wrenching and mind-blowingly creepy as the murders of President Kennedy and Dr. King, combined.

Like many people, I have a built in Creep-O-Meter (CoM). No, it’s not one of those flakey gadgets made by Ronco. It’s something you’re born with. It’s a nerve ganglion, centered in the gut, a little north of the navel and works kinda like a Geiger counter. Only, instead of detecting nuclear-radiation, it detects the presence of creepiness. After more than sixty-five rough and tumble years, as an active member of the human race, I consider my creep-o-meter to be pretty finely tuned.

And let me tell ya, in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria, my CoM has been ringing like a broker’s phone on Black Tuesday. It keeps sending me warnings, that the Trump administration’s egregious failure to marshal emergency assistance to Puerto Rico, is not in any way due to incompetence. Whoa, hold it. Did I hear that right? NOT due to incompetence you say?

Precisely. According to my creep-o-meter, the humanitarian aid crisis in Puerto Rico, is actually a direct expression of Donald Trump’s expert competency, albeit a ruthless, monstrously cunning form of competence.

To wit, I fear President Trump is deliberately stalling, doing everything he can get away with, to make sure that Puerto Rico doesn’t recover. At least, not until conditions on the island have deteriorated to his liking. Despite his crocodile tears and melodramatic protestations of his affection for the island and its people, my suspicion is that Trump’s true intention is to employ every ploy and dirt trick he knows in order to sabotage Puerto Rico’s economy so thoroughly, that property values crash, utilities rust and rot to the point of being unsalvageable, farming and local industries fall into paralysis, wages plummet to third-world levels and the island’s beleaguered populace, who are struggling to survive under unspeakably wretched conditions, will be traumatized into passivity and indifference.

Confirmation of such a possibility, would be deeply troubling news for all but that sub-group of one-percenters, who cling to Trump and attempt to suckle from him, like baby rhesus-monkeys in a Harlow experiment. The notion that this president, or any president might do something so flagrantly diabolical, so cold-bloodely inhuman and floridly heinous is at once heartbreaking and enraging.

For some people however, what I’m proffering will be way too shocking to digest, at least not all at once. They’ll need time to come around. Let’s face it, if proven true, then it amounts to a national kick in the family jewels.

As always, it is inevitable there will be foot draggers, nervous folks who just want to blot out reality and escape having to experience pain and anguish, by sheltering in a dreamland of Panglossian denial. Among this group are the hair splitters, the fastidious sticklers who assume the role of amateur logicians. Weighers of pros and cons, brocade thinkers, who can sit at a lunch counter or a bar, stuck in a mental feedback loop, obsessively, trying to understand how in hell a slick New York City real-estate tycoon, with a lengthy history of slimy dealings, sleazy associations and a flock of humongous financial fiascos, how it could be that such a sharp guy like that, when handed the presidency on a golden platter, could turn around and totally violate the public trust.

Still others, excessively afraid of being duped by fake news, become so wary, so dubious of everything, they lose partial touch with empirical reality. They say,

“OK, maybe the guy is a racist fourteen-carat jerk, as well as a compulsive liar. I know of worse things. But even so, you tell me, why in the name of unwed-motherhood and frozen apple pie would such a nice dressed, patriotic gentleman, who cared enough about right and wrong, that he went to the trouble of taking time out of his busy schedule, to protect our National Anthem from those lousy kneelers. Trump used his own body to shield our National Anthem from a violent mob of kneelers, who were also spitting on the flag. What more proof than that do you needed of his intrinsic goodness? So, just explain to me why such a nicely dressed, patriotic guy, who wants to make America great again, racist jerk or not, would knowingly perpetrate such a brutally grotesque, anti-American crime. Why? Just gimme one decent reason why?”

My answer of necessity must be swift and blunt.

Greed! Virulent, rapacious, merciless and grandiose.

Keep in mind, that in Trump’s case we’re not dealing with normal, everyday, rig the roulette wheel, knock over an armored truck, swindle widows and orphans out of their lifesavings, type greed. That’s the ordinary kind of greed, we’re all familiar with. The kind of greed we encounter day in day out, all across the nation. We’re so accustomed to that type, we tend to take it for granted as just an unavoidable part of normal human venality.

Unfortunately, we’re not talking about that kind of greed, in the case of Donald Trump. He exhibits a less common, more sinister form, much darker and far more atavistic than its materialistic everyday cousin. The Donald’s greed is a creepy, kind of brooding, predatory, ego-maniacal greed, that hungers not so much for extreme wealth, as much as for the unbridled power extreme wealth bestows. His is a truly insatiable form of greed, seething with lust for tyrannical omnipotence, a fearsome craving for incontestable power, power like that of the Pharaohs, the power to command the construction of gigantic monuments to yourself. But also, it is the magisterial power to destroy people at whim, to pick out and crush a single, lone individual, or to buy and sell human-beings by the train-load. And spread over all of this like hot sauce on eggs-ranchero, is a ravenous aching need to be revered and showered with adulation by those over whom he would rule, by those he will use and then discard.

Getting the gist? After his sabotage job is completed, once the Puerto Rican economy is thoroughly wrecked and the island’s populace is exhausted and demoralize, it shouldn’t take a Wharton business school whiz-kid to figure out what comes next.

When he senses the crisis has ripened sufficiently, the Tweeter in Chief will then take to his bully pulpit, to whip up a furor of national outrage over Puerto Rico’s staggering and genuinely disgraceful debt load. In fact, he’s already begun doing just that.

This public disgust over Puerto Rico’s long and upsetting profligate financial history, will provide Trump with the economic justification, as well as the moral excuse he needs to obsessively focus on the debt-load, and use it as pry bar to leverage, bludgeon, wear-out and extort Puerto Rico’s leaders into agreeing to incredibly sweeping concessions. Once Trump has what he wants and is finished smacking these guys around, the capital of Puerto Rico will then in effect shift to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where Trump and his closest confederates will be in control of milking Puerto Rico’s recovery for every god damn thing they possibly can.

I predict that you’ll know the main feeding frenzy is about to commence, when it is announced very quietly, possibly as a faint whisper in the dead of night, that as a noble demonstration of Trump’s Orwellian compassion for the people of Puerto Rico, President Trump has magnanimously ordered that competitive bidding be suspended, out of a heartfelt, desire to expedite humanitarian aid to Puerto Rico’s population.

At that point, the Trump crime family and their cronies will hold an exclusive and commanding position from which they will conduct a land-office business dispensing largesse of all manner and doling out permits, sweetheart contracts, and who knows what else, like they were operating the hotdog concession at Yankee Stadium. Vladimir Putin will gnash his teeth with envy.

Just think of how many luxury hotels, high-rise apartment complexes, casinos and office-towers that require a steady dependable flow of tourist money and/or monthly rental payments. All those owners are hopelessly screwed. The number and extent of loan and mortgage defaults will be many orders of magnitude worse than the crash of ’08. All those “distressed” properties are going to be liquidated by creditors for mere pennies on the dollar. Piratical tycoons and corporate carpet-baggers, once they’ve agreed to give a little, to get a little, will be unclipped from their leashes and granted special preferential license to commence devouring distressed and devastated prime Puerto Rican real estate, at fire-sale prices.

The whole gluttonous, cannibalistic free-for-all, will be ballyhooed as a gleaming example of Donald Trump’s conscientious stewardship and hailed as an inspiring demonstration of a vigorous free-market economy, untrammeled by dumbass regulations, bettering life for all sectors of society.

In a very real sense, the Trumps and their compañeros, in the manner of latter-day conquistadors, will have triumphantly subjugated Puerto Rico all over again.

I pray all my predictions prove false. .
I believe your theory is absolutely correct.

And why should it be a surprise? Look at Obamacare. Unable to repeal it, the psychopath is willing to do whatever it takes to destroy the program even if it leaves tens of millions without health insurance if not dead. So why not a genocide in Puerto Rico? They're not real Americans anyway.
Not so far-fetched. I immediately thought of post Katrina, Tremé, New Orleans, where nothing was done so that carpetbaggers could and did profit. Many poor people, mostly African Americans, were unable to collect insurance, if they had any, their homes were condemned, the neighborhoods ripped up, and they were left homeless.
I absolutely believe Dear Leader has already instructed his children to look into purchasing property in Puerto Rico. Don't forget, he's already screwed them over to the tune of 33 million dollars, and if Vlad Daddy and his ollies smell profit, they will let Doltard dip into the piggy (Deutsche) bank again. Native Puerto Ricans will be encouraged to leave, or left to die. Since they are a territory and not a state, they basically are at the mercy of the federal government, which has a history of screwing them over. No representation = no rights.
Jesus Christ.. OF COURSE TRUMP'S failure in Puerto Rico is intentional. If Trump is a Russian stooge like every thinks, and Russia seems intent on causing division and chaos in the USA what else would a Russian stooge do other than anger Puerto Ricans and split them off from mainland America? Duh. Of course Trump is going to slip another wedge between black people, NFL and white America... Followed quickly by someone.. Cough cough.. Spilling NFL personal details....OF COURSE. Of course Trump is going to wedge off the gay population with a military ban,women, minorities, handicapped, veterans,transgender... the Muslim population, Native American waterkeepers, Bernie voters from Hillary voters... North Korea , South Koreans, Australians, Iran, European Union... And of course a bunch of fucking Republicans taking money from Russia are going to allow President Fuckface to do it. Trump has done nothing since taking office other than creating divisions among westerners and their allies... Who provided Trump the funding and support to carry on his operation to bust up the USA with all of this divisiveness? Where has he been getting his money? Well that would be from Russians, and people that take Russian money and fucking racists who carry rebel flags representing a war that had the express aim of busting up the USA. Duh. And if you showed half the American public how Trump and the Russians are fucking them in the ass. 50% of Americans would bend over and split their ass cheeks freely, while the other 50% would sit in the corner passively watching it on Rachel Maddow show.

How exactly did Hillary Clinton lose to a guy accused of being a child raping Russian mole who is friends to other child rapists and mobsters and Russian moles? How did that happen? INVERTEBRATITUS. Evidence Trump and Russians rigged the elections? Sure. Democrat response? ZERO. In fact Rachel Maddow over and over told us on her show elections cannot be rigged. SIGH. If you can't find a way to bring down an accused child raping, thieving, vote rigging, mobbed up Russian mole... What can I say?

America's "Greatest Generation" is gone... Replaced by "Generation Pussy Grabber and Pussy Grabbed"

P.s. If America had gotten to the bottom of 9/11, JFK, I believe USA would have been on a totally different trajectory... But the left failed again and here we are... Again.
One more thing.. Serious question here... Tell me what I am missing... How is the entire USA being held hostage by an Accused Child Raping Alleged Russian Mole Clown? Someone help me understand what keeps this clown car in motion? In my mind the answer must be the Republican Party... But is there something else... Like Russia that has a hold on the Republicans? Why is no one in the good ole USA shutting down this obvious damaging Russian stooge presidency? Trump is a very damaging shit stain on the American brand? Why is this allowed to continue? What benefit does it serve the USA? This is what confuses me the most unless the true answer is that it is not serving the benefit of the USA yet is being allowed to happen anyways ... which is a truly scary thought.
On DailyPUMA Trump is called the Puerto Rico of the Russian Oligarchs. So everything Trump said about Puerto Rico's debt is probably what he has himself heard about his own debt from the Russian Oligarchs. Trump is probably regurgitating the very smack talk he himself has received.
Trump has already mentioned Puerto Rico's prior debt load because his buddies on Wall Street probably reminded him to watch out for their Puerto Rican interests. Puerto Rico recently rejected a hedge fund offer of assistance because they calculated that a couple of years from now they will end up having only serviced the interest the new hedge fund and end up in a perpetual state of debt.
The final issue is this, if Puerto Rico had a very poor and outdated and not up to par electrical grid, then OF COURSE they are going to have more debt because it takes instant and flowing energy to make an economy thrive.
What Citizen K said. It's already happened. Katrina. Americans aren't going to be ashamed of this, because they won't even know. The complicit made a tells them what to think. The most disturbing thing about Puerto Rico is the stripped greenery. No clouds, no rain, due to the stripped foliage. The island may become a desert....
The theory is basically correct. This is a manifestation of "Shock and awe." While the Puerto Ricans are shell-shocked by the devastation, the profiteers will move in and quickly exploit the situation, just as happened in New Orleans.
Complicit media. Hate smart phones with a passion.
I wish I could discard this theory as wild conspiracy nonsense. But I can't. Marcy Wheeler has posited a similar 'gut' feeling that the Trumpster's incompetence in Puerto Rico is deliberate and cunning. Josh Marshall has also written that there may be reason to the madness, the driver being flat-out greed. Disaster capitalism at its finest. Demoralize the populace, crush them and they'll be willing to agree to almost anything. The mayor of San Juan has Trump's number. She knows it and he knows it. Explains his vile reaction.

Trump is not simply dumb and dumber. He's a vile, greedy jerk, the snake that was invited into the house.

Nothing changes the fact Puerto Rico is in the sights of increasingly violent hurricanes. Unless they can move the island elsewhere., which I don't think anyone has figured out how to do...
I foresee a lucrative "public-private partnership" to rebuild Puerto Rico's infrastructure coupled with a flood of mainland "investors" taking advantage of plummeting real estate prices on the island.
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Paddock's motives. In the preceding post, I speculated that Steve Paddock might have been motivated by a personal animosity toward Brian O'Connell ("BOC"), the impresario who heads up the Route 91 Harvest Festival as well as a number of similar ventures. That theory may or may not have to go into rewrite: The Daily Beast published a piece which argues -- not altogether convincingly -- that Paddock may have originally targeted an outdoor concert featuring Chance the Rapper.
Stephen Paddock rented multiple condos overlooking the annual Life Is Beautiful Festival, which this year was headlined by Lorde and Chance the Rapper, said the source, who is not directly involved in the investigation but has been briefed on its progress.

In an effort to confirm the report, The Daily Beast visited the Ogden, a 21-story luxury condominium tower with a line of sight to the concert-grounds.

“We're not in a position to confirm or deny anything about Mr. Paddock's dealings. I suggest you contact Metro [police]. As you know this is an on going investigation,” said Melissa Warren, public affairs officer for Fais Foley Warren, owner of the Ogden.
BOC had no involvement (that I can discern) with that event. If Paddock did intend to do harm there, then obviously he was motivated by a more generalized desire to commit mayhem, as opposed to a desire to injure Mr. O'Connell's livelihood. On the other hand, Paddock may have had other reasons for wanting to rent at the Ogden.

Nevertheless, there is a growing understanding that Paddock's life and livelihood simply do not make sense. In my previous piece, I argued that (despite what we've read in various reports) neither Paddock nor anyone else has ever played video poker professionally, since the odds always favor the House. The only sure way to make money from video poker is to write a book titled "How to Win at Video Poker."

But real poker -- against human opponents -- is a game of skill. Yesterday, Josh Marshall said much the same thing:
The Washington Post says “He liked to bet big, wagering tens of thousands of dollars in a sitting. He owned homes in four states but preferred staying in casino hotels, sometimes for weeks at a time, as he worked the gambling machines.” Card counters and professional card players can win over time at casinos. But most people don’t. And it doesn’t sound like Paddock did the kind of gambling where you can win, over time.

There’s also this new AP story which seems to suggest he hadn’t been employed in almost thirty years. According to this timeline, he worked for the post office from 1976 to 1978. He graduated college in 1977. He worked as an IRS agent from 1978 to 1984. He then worked for a defense auditing job for a year and a half. The AP also says he “worked for a defense contractor in the late 1980s.”

I haven’t seen any specific statement that he was not employed for the last 25 to 30 years. That Post article I mentioned above says that family members say he was worth more than $2 million, that “he made a small fortune from real estate deals and a business that he and Eric Paddock sold off.”

Here’s the thing though, the Post describes a gambling habit that seems hard to reconcile with being worth just two million dollars.
There are certain games with an element of skill where you can win. But on machines? That doesn’t sound right to me. Casinos roll out the red carpet for very rich people who like to gamble for high stakes. It sounds like Paddock was one of those people. But again, I think you need to be worth a lot more than $2 million to gamble like that for a long time.

Read through that Post article it sounds like Paddock gambled for high stakes a lot. He also had multiple residential properties around the country. There is apparently a huge amount of travel. As I said, this probably doesn’t have an immediate connection to the crime. And regardless of what Paddock did or how he got his money, it won’t bring anyone back to life. But something pretty substantial seems missing from this story.
Sorry to quote at such length, but these words speak to my own concerns. We're not being told the full truth about Stephen Paddock.

But that doesn't mean I have any tolerance for the nonsense spewed by professional liars like Alex Jones. We now have video of what the room looked like. Hey, Alex -- where's the "Antifa literature" which your unnamed source said was all over the place? Does Antifa actually produce any literature? Does any political group do that sort of thing in the digital age?

Trump speaks!
This presidency has normalized idiocy. If any previous president had said such ridiculous things while touring a disaster zone, the country would be discussing his marble-mouthed statements throughout the next week -- perhaps the next month. But with Trump, stupid remarks = situation normal. He will always react with boorishness, thoughtlessness, egomania and incomprehensibility. For Donald Trump, yesterday's exercise in absurdity was simply another Tuesday.

I honestly don't think he meant to imply that Hurricane Maria was not the "real" disaster that Katrina was. But that's Trump for you: Whenever he tries to talk, all the words come out misspelled. Trump is the new Palin. His intended meaning becomes hopelessly lost as garbled half-sentences collide and explode.

Why didn't he realize that this was not the occasion for endless self-praise? Trump, not Mayor Cruz, is the one who politicized disaster. Trump makes everything about him.
It's the opposite of empathy. Instead of mourning with and for those who lost their lives, Trump is using those who lost their lives as a way to make a broader argument that the media's criticism of him is unfair and biased.

See, I told you I was doing a great job, Trump was saying. Everyone here thinks so! Me, me, me, me.
Trump would shout "Me me me me" in the face of the Apocalypse itself. Think of the most self-absorbed person you've ever met: That guy's narcissism compares to Trump's narcissism the way orange juice compares to orange juice concentrate.

Trump must know that people consider him an egomaniac. He must understand that a display of humility, even fake humility, would help his cause. We're not asking for much: Just the occasional "I'm sorry." The occasional "Perhaps I'm wrong." The occasional self-deprecatory joke. Other presidents have offered as much. Trump must know that these small stylistic touches would make him less despised -- would, in fact, go a long ways toward repairing his image.

But he can't do it. His brain is wired the way it is wired, and nothing can change it.
The Sarah Palin comparison is classic.

A theory on how Paddock could have won at the slot machines. Paddock sets up a couple of covert cameras to cover the slot machine gambling area, then goes back to his hotel room and watches to learn the winning patterns. The machines probably have some type of winning pattern. I'm not talking the poker machines, i'm talking the slot machines. He studies how often the slot machines on average push out a "win", then when a machine is within the 10% range of a win, he plays the machine until he wins on it. What was a perhaps 55% to the house and 45% to the player suddenly becomes an unknown but significant advantage to the player if they know a particular slot machine has been "cold" for a while. What I am not sure about is how much a slot machine pure probability and how much is the machine knows it needs to make someone a winner. Perhaps as the machine amasses a certain amount of coin it releases a win, with the appropriate house portion going down some other hatch rather into the arms of the person playing the slot. So the casinos need to have the slots pay out every so often so their portion of the winnings can be allocated at the same time.
Paddock did have cameras set up in the hallway outside of his door. Maybe he figured out how to place cameras on the floor of the gambling casinos and then wait until a slot machine was ripe for the taking.
I stand by a theory I (pulled out of my ass and) posted earlier. Paddock was a drug trafficker and CIA asset who went completely nuts.

If my theory -- well, hypothesis -- is correct, substantiation might come from his hazy aviation background. See here for discussion of one of his planes. (He reportedly had a second one, but I haven't found a tail number yet.)
A Reddit user puts it well:

"Used to work at Lock-Heed Martin (their predecessor). He's also being called an 'retired accountant.'

This man had his past scrubbed and has extensive training in special ops. That is my belief."
Alessandro, in order to prove what I said about video poker being unwinnable in the long run (because the odds favor the house) I went to this site...

Understand, I had not gambled in about fifteen years, not even for pretend money. After about an hour of play -- guided only by a hazy and imperfect recollection of Oscar's Grind -- I had doubled my stake.

Damned computer. It just had to prove me wrong.

In principle, though, the house always wins.
It's been awhile since I've gambled as well, but if I recall, my understanding is that you actually can win at some video poker machines. The problem is that winning all comes down to maximizing your chance to get a royal flush since on most machines a royal flush pays disproportionate to the odds of getting it. But to do this requires tremendous discipline to play every hand correctly and to take repeated losses until you finally get the once-in-a-blue-moon hand. And even if you can, the rate you can win at is very small.

In short, even if you "win" at video poker, you can't win much and it takes a level of discipline that is borderline inhuman. The reason they allow this game to be won is because it attracts people who think they can beat it and then inevitably lose big.
Donald Trump is as humorless as a human being comes. He will never fake what he doesn't feel because he doesn't think he should have to. It's that very "authenticity" his supporters like about him - however repugnant he is to normal people.
People who are able to make money in Vegas have special connections to the owners of the Casino that give them access I have heard to special rooms where they get better odds. Money laundering of course is one reason they would do this for these favoured customers. 9/11 hijackers allegedly did something similar on Sun Cruz Casino boats in Florida.
Love all the legit intrigue here, wow. I have to differ on the Donald musings,however. Puny Paws would not benefit even slightly by consideration for others. In fact, it would be a departure from his brand, which is what matters most to him.

And, sorry, guys, the Palin comparison lacks. Dubya would be a closer match for verbal gaffes.

The only thing I have to add to the gambling wins scenario is a while back someone figured a way to hack certain scratch tickets and that had to be amended. Someone with better memory and/or ability to research will have to look up the details. Alas, I'm again bereft of my computer.
Your sources are the Washington Post and AP two news media outlets that along with the New York Times have a less than sterling record for accurate reporting.
So many myths of gambling, "hot machines," "winning patterns," luck that can be exploited.

There are no patterns that could be made to produce consistent winnings on machine play. If there were a flaw in the programming that did allow too many wins, it would be detected and fixed, fast. When playing cards against humans, winning too much will be tolerated to a point (extravagant winners are great advertising), but a card counter will be invited to leave.

But that is all beside the point of this story.

The "gambling" could have been a money laundering scheme. Buy chips, play, cash out. Buy more chips, play, cash out. Repeat. Claim to be a winner, see all this money I'm walking away with.

He doesn't mind losing some money in such a scheme. Losing to the house is the commission paid for walking out with fresh, clean money, even reported to the IRS. Plus he gets treated like a bigshot VIP.
There's a million reasons/excuses for Trump's bizarre and despicable behavior but in the end the simplest explanation might be the truest: he's simply a miserable, greedy jerk who has spent a lifetime lying to himself and everyone else. What really nice person needs to say "I'm a really nice person." Or what fabulously wealthly guy needs to repeatedly claim "I'm really, really rich." Do we hear that coming out of William Buffett's mouth? Or Gates or Bezos or any of the gazillionaires out there?

Nope. Only Trump, Primo Liar-in-Chief.

Trump's obnoxious behavior in Puerto Rico made me wince--Let them eat paper towels (per Krugman). The man is totally clueless and shameless. This morning before taking off for Las Vegas, he had to tell everyone 'how upset he really was." Because it's always about Trump and his mega-ego.

As for Paddock? We'll probably find out that he was another white guy with a grievance. One of the few things the Trumpster might understand.

Oscar's Grind is a suicidal system and so are all other kinds of martingale, and the fact that a person won once even after staking a large number of bets is no counterargument. Eventually you get wiped out. The house doesn't give a shit whether a punter bets according to a martingale or any other system because they are all crap. There's always a vig, overround, bookie's or house take, and in the long run you lose, whatever "system" you use. It's not like playing poker against human players, or like betting on outcomes of events you have studied to the point of knowing where there is "value" - which comes down to knowing where a lot of mug money is going - where if you are skilled enough to establish an edge then in the long run both you and the house or bookie will clean up: in other words, you take money from the mugs and the house or bookie still gets their take.

Paddock a professional gambler, gambling "professionally" against machines? My arse!

"(Using hidden cameras) (h)e studies how often the slot machines on average push out a 'win', then when a machine is within the 10% range of a win, he plays the machine until he wins on it."

Alessandro, this is a fantasy.
"Oscar's Grind is a suicidal system..."

Nah. It's a system that helps you lose money slow. As long as you force yourself to give up on a sequence once you've tripled your usual bet, you'll find that you lose money slower with this system than with any other. You have to think of it as a per-hour payment for entertainment, sorta like going to the movies.

But in the end, web-surfing is much more entertaining than gambling, and it's a lot cheaper. So that's why I don't gamble.

Weirdly, I kept winning and winning at that free online video poker game! I presume that the Vegas versions are programmed differently.
The fact that you were winning at a free game with no stakes reminded me of Tom Lehrer's "The Old Dope Peddler": "He gives the kids free samples/Because he knows full well/That today's young innocent faces/Will be tomorrow's clientele." Or did I misunderstand? I've been sick for several days, which has taken quite a toll on my cognitive abilities.
Gun running, money laundering. I found a report that he had room service for two guests delivered. (bottom of article)

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