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Six fun (sad/awful/false/infuriating) stories emerged from the swamp in the last couple of days. Peter Taylor noted elsewhere on the site some vows made by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on the issue of "leaks." Some of the usual suspects have pretended that this is a "Threat" against the noble profession of prostitution journalism. The strongest or least-false coverage of this issue from that point of view may be from font of evul Politico ... in a story called Jeff Sessions' Attack on the Media Is Worse Than You Think. Of course, Objectivist analysis might find that the threat is more than necessary, and that it will encourage a proper "chilling effect." Less clear is the notion of "Lie Detectors" (in the White House). Polygraphs are a useful investigative tool, but not accepted by US courts on the whole. Less intrusive than a lie detector is the power to subpoena ... but see the story for all the convolutions. (one stand-out point was that it is relatively rare for journalist-itutes to be prosecuted or held in contempt for refusing to reveal sources [think Judith Miller]; the Politico story points out that the four arrested cited-but-not-cited by Sessions were not recipients but those who had purloined secret and often highly-classified 'spy' entrails from the DC borg.) ********************************* The second story circulating is that Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC. This may or may not be true -- even though everyone and the dog has been biting on the "news." I do not know if this would become public in the normal course of justice. The third story is that President Trump is a lazy do-nothing, who spends far too much time at his golf clubs ... instantiated in a nasty Newsweek cover. The fourth story is related to the Mueller grand jury suggestion ... this excerpt is from the brief Slate article "U.S. Reportedly Intercepted Suspected Russian Agents' Chatter That Manafort Asked for Their Help With Clinton: There are obviously multiple investigative balls in the air, and the public focus has shifted of late to Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, who certainly have had longer and more lasting influence on Donald Trump, but keep an eye on Paul Manafort, his Russia connections are deep and dodgy. Update, Aug. 4, 2017: Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, issued this statement on the latest round of accusations: “Paul Manafort did not collude with the Russian government to undermine the 2016 election or to hack the DNC. Other than that comment, we aren't going to respond to anonymous officials illegally peddling second hand conspiracy theories. But the Justice Department, and the courts if necessary, should hold someone to account for the flood of unlawful government leaks targeting Mr. Manafort." Manafort was the first somewhat hinky part of the Trump campaign and influence apparat to appear in posts here on OL, back a year and more ago. It's not surprising that Mueller would request documents and testimony from the Manafort axis. It isn't that he was a tool of Russia or an obvious go-between, but that he could have been a major conduit for the wink-wink quid pro quo that the crazy Russia conspiracists are certain is going to be found. Did Mr Manafort wink-nudge the Trump attitude that 'we take help from where it comes, given that politics is a dirty dirty game'? I mean, isn't the essential question reduced to who promised what in return? I take the tentative position that Trump's stated positions on Russia during the campaign and since being in office are obvious. So it will be exceedingly hard to show him 'promising' things on the down low, since he did it on the stump. Then, if he was inclined to reduce sanctions bite on Russia and to warm things up between the superpower and the also-ran, it was open and public. Which requires that underlings and satellites were going to be the ones dealing with the details of wink-wink, nudge-nudge. If you are a Menshist, or not. (the more hysterical of the Russia hoopla employees and hobbyists are those who think every rumour is true, every leak informs the big picture. So the Flynn Effect [very pro-Russia relax] and other fizz from the week means Russian "information warfare" was coordinated. Which is alarmist nonsense, right?) ************************************* The fifth story is about vacation-time, but in this instance taken by the manly President of Russia. Here's a sample: The sixth story is as usual performed by two casts, in two theatres. In the permutations, a Cernovich wing in the White House leaks out a broad range of accusations against Trump's National Security Adviser Lt. General HR McMaster -- that he is a tool of Soros/Rothschilds/Saudis, an enemy of Israel, and ever-so Swamp-Like that his hideous influence must be extirpated from Cabinet. Two guys come shambling up the alley. First guy looks like Steve Bannon, the second guy looks like McMaster, and the guy with McMaster is brown and in a turban**. Which one would you ask out on a date/for help? Which one is leaking to the Washington Post, or -- as this week -- to Cernovich-Breitbart-Gateway Pundit? I think there is a mini-war of ideas in the White House, which slops over into a war of words and Grand Hoopla Theatre in the mediatic multiplex. But what do I know. I am that guy who wrote "Why Donald Trump lost the election." Incidentally, as a bonus seventh story -- did you know that obsessive humans do such things as rigorously analyze Twitter accounts that peddle the Kremlin lines of attack? Yes you did, but did you know that PR and political attack campaigns have a particular 'footprint' or pattern? Of course you did, so it won't be a surprise that there is a website that tracks real-time information-warfare memes and their flows in Kremlin-friendly orbit. If you squint and pretend to be Louise Mensch, yesterday's peak trends like the Cernovich Leaks from the angry West Wingers about McMaster were coordinated with a robust 'managed news' campaign directed by the drunk guy in the alley. See if you can find your favourites bot link or alt-news site here. I add a screenshot of the crazy site, but first an intro from the feverish topic ends of Twitter. __________________________ * I am picturing Harjit Sajjan, who rarely togs out in his Commander outfit, but still. Who doesn't feel safer when a turbaned Sikh gets on the bus? I would think Bannon was a drunk, and McMaster probably a loud talker. Which makes me think how many more generals should join the Trump cabinet and administrative apparatus.
Prison Reform, Finally President Trump is doing a great job of getting prison reform through. And, boy am I glad. Many people who agree with me on many issues don't on prison reform. But there is no excuse for current prison statistics. I'm not giving any in this post but they are readily available all over the Internet (and some in the video below). First, some backstory. Marc, the Canadian who sometimes posts here on OL, is a close friend of mine. He's Jewish and supports Faith Goldy. Like me, he named two of his kids after Ayn Rand characters. Also, like me, he loves black people and the black culture. He loves rap more than I do, though. Anyway, he sent me the link to the following video about prison reform (and involving a rapper, of course ). Somehow that email disappeared. But the video didn't and neither did my response. The video is by a Canadian progressive named David Doel. He presents parts of an interview between rapper Meek Mill and CNN host Michael Smerconish on prison reform. All throughout the video, Doel makes his analysis. The title Doel gave his video is: "Meek Mill Schools CNN Host With Black American Reality." In terms of agreeing with the gist of this, it almost looks like a slam dunk, right? I mean, who could disagree But I know this situation in more ways than just the press, including personal involvement in some of the issues, so I wrote back the following. Enjoy: Just to be clear, the crony corporatist private prison scam is not the only cash cow these establishment elitist assholes milk in black ghettos. It's merely the one among many I talked about. And it's true. I really do get riled up about this. Michael
The Hill reports the 'breaking' news that the White House has approved the public release of the MEMO. The MEMO was crafted by staff of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). From an earlier report ...
This is no longer a placeholder. Some 'on the record' wild guesses are already out -- notably our Bob Kolker -- so I too am going to publish a prediction/analysis, knowing full well I might be picking through bird bones on November 9. I think Donald Trump will lose the election on November 8th. I have some definite reasons why. I thought to post the reasons here, even if I am shown to be gawdawfully wrong later on. How 'off' will my analytic take be? Only time will tell. Reason? Reasons? Donald Trump lost because of the Republican Lady Vote, ultimately. He could have rallied a few more Latinos and African-Americans and other visible minorities to his base within his party's grasp, but that wouldn't have mattered as much as a seizing and a hold on Educated Lady votes. That is the main reason he lost, looking back at me from the crystal ball. Ladies. By state, he didn't capture the ladies of the Philadelphia suburbs, which cost him. He failed to capture the urban-suburban college-educated lady vote in Ohio and lost more crucial electoral votes. He failed to capture the conservative educated ladies in Florida in enough numbers to beat Romney's showing in 2012 He failed with the ladies of Utah. He failed with the ladies of North Carolina. He didn't get the crucial lady vote in states he needed. There may be nuance, and other subsidiary reasons rooted in Mr Trump's behaviour and the challenges every Republican faces in terms of hostile and adversarial media. There may be ground-game reasons, money reasons, biases galore, party mutiny and backstabbiness, ghost-voting, sinister plots and precinct rigginess beyond the pale, but when the totals were officially-certified in places Trump had to dominate to be the Winner, he fell short with the ladies ... -- with my Red Hat on, my reasons all turn on treason, or behaviour just-shy-of treasonous, by a panoply of bought and paid for agents against democracy. Not with a centre anywhere in particular, no grand plot, just a functional-structural bias on every dimension against Mr Trump. In the whole landscape of media small and large and fringe and newsworthy in themselves, it was ultimately Bannon and Trump against the world's sleaziest big-audience manipulators. That built-in structural disadvantage was key. Allied structural impediments were important but secondary and amplified by his own party's elite class, whether in the party itself or in positions of prominence and power in Wall Street and Washington. That covers treasonous, bought, biased and elite party elders and candidates. Where were they when he needed them? Those factors 'conspired' in a sense to depress turnout among previously likely voters. The ticket-splitters and the stay-homers of the GOP great coalition of voters gave Hillary Clinton an extra advantage that was totally undeserved, a side-effect of elite 'treason' against the candidate. Finally, with Red Hat still firmly on, Trump lost because of loathing, not rational fear, not reason. The supine media and the fractured, corrupt party, and the 'got' functionaries of Clinton Inc put a false mark upon him and triggered an hysterical emotional reaction. They stoked phobia, hatred and division, and blamed Trump.They stoked loathing of the man and excused their complicity in feeding the hate.