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King Leer

Confidential Magazine

Any reading of the recent drama caused by AMI CEO David (Johnson) Pecker should be called ‘business as usual,’ but I highlight Time Magazine’s March 11, 1957 article Gutterdammerung about the so-called “King of Leer,” Robert Harrison, the publisher of the National Enquirer of the 1950’s, Confidential Magazine, the grandpappy of ‘catch and kill,’ yellow journalism and what passes today as the ‘gossip’ business. Jeff Bezos’ recent dick pics aside, the entry of the Russians, UAE and Saudi Arabia into what we might call ‘American culture’ is a trend that is currently being reversed with vigor — and when you mess with the bull, you get the horns (Gavin de Becker on line one). This I know because I tried to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription. Don’t even try it, folks. It’s just too good of a deal. Just don’t make me ‘subscribe and save’ for razor blades, Uncle Jeff, please? Anyhow, Donald Trump has been ‘in the room’ for ALL of this recent shit (believe you me) and speaking of being in the room, as Trump leered over his desk as Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal were paid off with six-figure sums, in this equation, one of two suppositions is true: either Donald Trump is being extorted, or Donald Trump is extorting. That is a fucking fact. Let’s start with Michael Cohen.

Michael Cohen was instructed on the law at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan and Cooley may be the worst law school in America, however another awful law school, The Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California is probably worse. Whittier had the lowest bar exam passing rate of any California law school in the July, 2016 exam. It’s also the school that conscience-free attorney Keith Davidson studied the law before continuing his legal education by shaking down celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Hulk Hogan and possibly our president Donald J. Trump. These glossaters were, for the most part, doing the dirty work for clients who used these men’s extensive ‘knowledge’ of the law to circumscribe the very essence of it. As in the world of finance, where tax attorneys and constitutional law scholars work diligently to weasel out of the requirements of all those niggling laws that lawmakers are creating all the time, the seemly world inhabited by most lawyers is, of course, a punch line.

As the history books reveal, the last president who dealt with such sordid details was a Democrat (!) by the name of Grover Cleveland, president number(s) 22 & 24 and the only president in American history to serve two non-consecutive terms in office. Salacious stories of wealthy, drunken, basically ‘gang-rape’ parties held up in upstate New York trickled down to the big city when Cleveland was running for president, where the famous refrain, “Ma, ma, where’s my Pa?” was sung at the top of the lungs of fresh-faced Republicans, catapulted into the White House after saving our nation during the Civil War. And here we thought that it was Roger Stone and Paul Manafort that brought us all this crap? Back in the old days, however, the ugly appearance that Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate child was low on the voter scale in those particularly corruptible times (imagine) and after all, Cleveland was a bachelor when the deed was done. Democrats howled “Off to the White House, ha, ha, ha” to finish the taunting refrain as Cleveland quickly married a well-born shill of a first lady and begrudgingly accepted his illegit kid into the fold, while committing the real mother to a mental institution. I looked for it, but I have no evidence that Cleveland used a pseudonym, so I say with some confidence that Donald John Trump is one of the few American Presidents to employ a pseudonym, for purposes other than writing books. And even then.

Trump’s first (known) pseudonym, ‘John Barron’ was used by Trump when he used to call up the Daily News or the Post with a tip, like when he dropped the red-hot item that The Donald wouldn’t be purchasing the Cleveland Indians back in the 1980’s. You don’t say? In the 1990’s, simply trying to get a word in edgewise against Ivana Trump in his contentious (first) divorce battle, Trump employed the pseudonym ‘John Miller’ for that ‘NYPD touch’ when he dropped dimes on her money-grubbing ways. The last known pseudonym that Donald Trump used is (was?) ‘David Dennison,’ yet the most effective pseudonym used by Donald Trump is probably Rudolph Giuliani, currently in Trump’s doghouse because he did exactly what he was told. In dishing idiotic tidbits that Trump hopes will help shape the impeachment debate (beyond Trump’s TOTALLY inappropriate and illegal Tweets), Rudy was Trump’s ‘limited hangout’ purveyor for all things Mueller Investigation. It was Rudy, after all, who dropped the item that Trump actually reimbursed Michael Cohen (more than double) for the Stormy Daniels’ payoff. And Trump (via Rudy) dropped another tidbit to the gossip mongers at Fox News that Trump was in the room when AMI’s David (Johnson) Pecker cut the deal with the Trump Organization to ‘catch and kill’ stories that didn’t put the orange one in the most favorable light.

Remember when Rudy said that $130,000 – $150,000 is what you pay for stories that aren’t true and that the big bucks don’t come unless you’ve really got the goods? The crumbling Giuliani (bringing shame upon Italians worldwide) had been slowly unveiling this strategy he knew well from his time as prosecutor in New York City against some of the most powerful, mobbed-up characters in American history. Opposite lawyers such as Bruce Cutler, looking and sounding like the clients they were defending, Giuliani knows well that Trump is duly fucked and he took the (unpaid) role of an ‘unregistered lobbyist’ for our wannabe dictator of a president. Giuliani is an endless fountain of suppositions and what-ifs, such as “over my dead body” followed quickly by “but, I might be dead!” The crew around Trump (Giuliani, Miller, The Devos Duo, Mulvaney, etc. ) looks like something out of the aliens in Men in Black and it wouldn’t surprise me if Robert Mueller was actually Agent Z in some secret, government agency charged with rounding up and deporting these mutant aliens back to where they came from. In his latest check-cashing scheme, Giuliani gives us that ‘smoke-filled room’ logic:

But at that point, these were the only two that were asking for money. And the amount of money is consistent with harassment, not truth. I have been involved in cases like this. When it’s true and you have the kind of money the president had, it’s a $1 million settlement. When it’s not true, when it’s a harassment settlement and it’s not true, you give them $130,000, $150,000. They went away for so little money that it indicates their case was very, very weak.

Rudy adds with a shiv, “And look, Stormy Daniels now has to pay the president legal fees. I mean, it’s — this is ridiculous.” Putting aside the fact that you supposedly can get 150 large for simply lying about an affair with a rich celebrity, make sure to catch my exclusive, personal story of torrid sex and a ‘love child’ with the celebrity model Giselle Bundschen. I risk being sued for libel to bring to you these sordid details, so Tom (Brady), to prevent further embarrassment to you and your family, please make the check payable to: John Underhill (my pseudonym). Rudy would see right through my obvious ruse because I’ll only pull down a measly 150 grand, but if I really had a love child with Giselle, I’d be getting more like $1.6 million dollars in quarterly payments of $200,000 over eight years. That’s exactly what Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard agreed to, so if Rudy’s right, she’s really got the goods on… Republican ‘venture capitalist’ and lobbyist Elliott Broidy. But wait, Mr. Broidy isn’t a celebrity! Yes, he’s rich (and fat) — but no celebrity — and when details of the confidential settlement were leaked by Stormy Daniels’ attorney/Horatio Alger-impersonator Michael Avenatti, another man was revealed as a middle-man in the back room deals, Keith Davidson, currently ‘cooperating’ with the Mueller Investigation.

Rudy says there were only two payments, but no, there were three payments Michael Cohen had made during the election cycle (this we found out after his office was raided) and as we remember, the first payment made was to our national hero Stormy Daniels. The second payment went to the cute Karen McDougal. The third payment, for a measly $30,000, was made to some slimy doorman at Trump Tower (who passed a lie detector test) who claimed that Trump had fathered a child and was paying off the mother. Ronan Farrow unearthed this little item in his reports and recently on CNN appearing with Anderson Cooper (looking fabulous), as he winked into the camera and gently reminded us all that the doorman, while still an uncorroborated source, is still out there. This is before Ronan revealed that AMI tried to extort him as well. Giuliani would tell us that because the doorman only got $30,000 that only proves that he’s a stupid liar who only got a mere thirty thousand dollars because his boast is laughable, and in this equation, I actually agree with Rudy as this guy is a clearly a sleazeball, but it reminds me of what an old family friend (and homicide detective) once told me, just because a woman is a prostitute doesn’t mean she doesn’t have 20/20 vision. The other name on contracts written by Trump’s (personal) attorney Michael Cohen, the third such contract signed by Dennison, a pseudonym for exactly who here? Turns out that Playboy Playmate, Shera Bechard, who has the legal contract with David Dennison to pay her more annually than I make, over the next six years, and the money for that payment is being paid for by one Elliott Broidy. When CNN caught up with Davidson (not Dennison!) for a sit down interview, he said that he was contacted by Michael Cohen who encouraged him to reveal what he knew about his clients and their agreements before the big reveal. He said that Cohen argued that the women had waived attorney-client privilege by going public with their stories, saying that “He [Cohen] suggested that it would be appropriate for me to go out into the media and spill my guts.” How (in)convenient.

In the same way that David Pecker and AMI extort celebrities today, Robert Harrison and a man named Fred Otash (more later) refined the process way back in the 1950’s and the petty extortion rackets, trading in career-ending smear complete with grainy pictures and video, paid off big time. Those who started the business could only dream of the legitimacy of an entire ‘gossip’ industry that we have today, now catering to all types of vice that we all ‘want to know’ about. We want to know, for example, that our president slept with a porn star while the first lady was pregnant with the third in line to the throne. We also ‘want to know’ that another president got a blowjob in the Oval Office from an intern wearing her new blue dress. Another president banged Marilyn Monroe. Other presidents got along far too well with their ‘secretaries.’ We all ‘want to know’ that the Governor of Virginia wore a KKK mask and blackface in his yearbook and that Jeff Bezos cheated on his wife and took pictures of his Johnson. So what else will AMI or TMZ reveal? Inquiring minds want to know!

With this here blog, I open myself up to libel, blackmail and extortion and for that reason I retain the esteemed law firm of Dewey, Cheetham & Howe, the off-white shoe, boutique firm perched high above Harvard Square, representing The Newes and the Car Talk guy that’s still alive. Actually, Car Talk is still offering their puzzlers and any manner of ridiculous car questions answered hilariously, but it just isn’t quite the same without the great Tom Magliozzi (may Tom idle his 8-cylinder engine in peace, drifting into the high-speed lane of heaven in 2014). Ray’s still alive and as funny as ever, so is it so hard to call and say hello every once in a while? Click & Clack are still plugging away and you can catch their latest show at  www.CarTalk.com (a production of the Tappet Brothers LLC, d/b/a Dewey, Cheetham and Howe.) I’ve been sued once in my life and I won the case, so just sayin’ you better bring the heavy hitters if you get into the face of the mighty Newes From America. Once I hired a plumber to fix my radiator and when he showed up, he looked at the puffing relic for thirty seconds and said he couldn’t fix it and left. A week later I get a bill for $160 for the ‘consultation’ and I called him up and consulted him to speak with my attorney if he ever expects a penny from me, ‘cause “I wasn’t paying him a dime.” He sued me in small claims court and I showed up for the case wearing a nasty Joseph Abboud suit with my Jerry Garcia power tie and it was like an episode from Boston Legal and I was Denny Crane. Case dismissed. Whiskey drunk.

So here we have two Boston boys: one a lawyer and the other a cop, one found fame in the ugly and unseemly underbelly of LA’s ‘Chinatown,’ the 1974 film, directed by Roman Polanski stands as one of the greatest Film Noir masterpieces ever made and in Jack Nicholson’s character ‘Jake,’ he gumshoes the evil from John Huston’s towering CEO Noah Cross, practically dripping with evil as he seethes that “under the right circumstances, people are capable of anything. ” Jake’s moral and professional failure to protect his real client, shot between the eyes by the willfully-ignorant cops in the pocket of the billionaire water baron, it all came down to the nihilism of, “Forget about it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Polanski’s inspiration for the character was Fred Otash, this legendary private eye and ex-LA police officer with a knack for being at the most salacious and disturbing cases of the 1940’s and 50’s emanating from the ‘City of Angels.’ From the ‘Black Dahlia case,’ (real name Elizabeth Short, another Boston-gone-to-LA wannabe, only to be cut in half and dumped in the gutter); to the drug overdose death of Marilyn Monroe herself, Otash was on the other end of the receiver, the man at the scene with his notebook in hand and a dime to drop at the nearest phone booth in the other. After graduating from Methuen High School, just North of Boston, Otash left his working-class family and headed to the land of opportunity in the 40’s, for Los Angeles (then as now) was chock full of stars and fame, as well as rampant corruption and crime. Otash was an inspiration for novelist Elmore Leonard in LA Confidential, securing Otash’s place as the model for almost every hard-boiled PI since Raymond Chandler’s ubiquitous Philip Marlowe and Dalshiell Hammett’s Sam Spade.

Fred Otash’s side hustle was working for Robert Harrison, the publisher of Confidential Magazine where the stories contained within the pages came with a wink and a nod, revealing liaisons with white and black celebrities, gay celebrities, drug-addicted celebrities, you-name-it celebrities in compromising positions, yet the vice was all never overtly said, just hinted strongly at. And almost every single piece of innuendo that ended up in the pages of Confidential Magazine turned out to be true. Publisher Harrison had hit upon a winning strategy when his early porno mags, saddled by obscenity restrictions (pre-free love 60’s), shifted his business model to the petty extortion racket that folks such as The Dirty, TMZ and The National Enquirer jack to this day. Harrison was a genius for providing what people actually wanted to read about and in a little over a year, his scandal rag would reveal the truth behind the lies of the glittering, fake Hollywood put forward by the studios. Outselling Time Magazine and all of the rest of the top mags of the day, Confidential’s circulation in the mid-1950’s hit 4.6 million and you can read all about the man behind the magazine in critic Neal Gabler’s excellent piece in Vanity Fair and it’s a must read in today’s news cycle:

Confidential had changed the tenor and the purview of celebrity journalism and inspired dozens of imitators: Dynamite, Exposed, Fame, Hush-Hush, Inside Story, The Lowdown, On the Q.T., Private Lives, Tip Off, Top Secret, Uncensored, and its own sister publication, Whisper. In 1955 these scandal magazines accounted for 15 million copies per month, making Confidential arguably the most influential publication in the country.

Robert Harrison relied on PI’s like Otash and his Hollywood Research Investigation company to dig up dirt (matched with a trio of white-shoe law firms to vet each and every article printed in Confidential for libel liability) and Harrison never overruled his attorneys as far as anyone can tell, and there wasn’t a single story that ever appeared in Confidential Magazine that wasn’t 100% true, before they were put out of business in 1957 in one of the biggest and most sensational trials in Hollywood history. The industry that Harrison spawned, however, has had no such dedication to the facts, yet this early gossip, the original ‘King of Leer’ according to Time, when compared to today’s cast of scandal-mongers, looks practically presidential by comparison.

Brockton, Massachusetts, just South of Boston, is another ‘working class’ town, (very much like Methuen) and in that way it’s similar to many Northeast industrial towns — their heydays in the bygone era of timber and manufacturing. Most Bostonians take pride that the great boxer Rocky Marciano, with John L. Sullivan, Muhammad Ali and Jack Johnson as the only fighters in the ring to be rightfully called ‘The Greatest,’ hailed from the gritty streets of Brockton, along with another champion, Middleweight ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler. Keith Davidson grew up in a large, Irish Catholic family back in Brockton and he remembered chasing after hometown hero, Marvin Hagler, while the champ was training on the streets, just like the Philly kids in the movie Rocky. Before he became an attorney (and business associate of Michael Cohen), Keith went to Boston College, as any smart Irish boy from the Boston area must. There’s a time-honored, well worn path to power among the Irish elite in Boston: the so-called ‘triple eagle.’ Not a ‘double albatross’ like in golf or anything, as any BC alum will tell you a ‘double eagle’ is anyone who graduated from Boston College High School and Boston College, (aka the Hibernian Harvard on Chestnut Hill). Those with a little wit, a lot of luck and around $350,000 may enter the club with the ‘triples,’ after they complete BC High, Boston College and BC Law. I think a triple eagle can come from any of the graduate schools at BC, however the only triple eagles that I’ve ever met were lawyers. Keith Davidson, having attended public school, never had a shot a triple and after his sub-par turn at college, BC Law was out of the question. So without a double eagle’s plumage to preen in Beantown, Keith Davidson cut bait and relocated to LA, where he went on to get his law degree from the previously mentioned, terrible Whittier Law School of Costa Mesa, California.

Keith Davidson, in addition to shaking down president Trump, was also probably shaking down Elliott Broidy, who has himself accused Qatari hackers of leaking his emails to the scandal-thirsty media, leading to the publication of damaging stories that increased scrutiny of his access to Trump. He accused a Qatari national, working at the U.N. of being behind the leak, “designed to punish his new clients, the United Arab Emirates (at the expense of Qatar) and a federal judge in California this past August granted Qatar’s request to have the case dismissed,” however Broidy isn’t giving up (and Qatar has denied any involvement in the hacks) where a particular U.N. employee for the Embassy of Qatar has the protection of diplomatic immunity, so yeah, they probably did it. Should make for some interesting reading this summer and THIS inquiring mind WANTS TO KNOW!

I also really want to know a lot more about Shera Bechard as well, don’t you? I mean look at her. She’s got a French-Canadian/Ukrainian thing going on that obviously caught the eye of Hugh Hefner (after his public humiliation as a jilted groom back in 2012) and Shera provided the perfect rebound for ‘Ol Hef, the original Playboy himself. Like Hefner, (once a gifted cartoonist) you can call me a big fan of Shera Bechard. Born and raised in a little mining town called Kapuskasing, Ontario, she moved over to Toronto at the age of 18 to pursue a modeling career and before her brief affair with THE Playboy, Miss Bechard’s previous claim to fame was her role as a mute Russian stripper in the 2009 ‘thriller’ Sweet Karma. Now just because this (bad) film is all about Russians and strippers and revenge — and just because the word ‘karma’ is right up there in the title — doesn’t mean that Shera Bechard (even though she looks STRIKINGLY like Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka) is Donald Trump’s ‘Peggy Peterson’ to his ‘David Dennison.’ Look it up. Yet this brilliant and as of yet unproven theory comes from Philadelphia Inquirer (not Enquirer!) journalist Will Bunch as well as another good take on the mystery by law professor Paul Campos, basically surmising that Donald Trump, not Elliott Broidy, was the real David Dennison of this particular hush payment agreement written up by Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen.

After Hef dumped Bechard (and after a November, 2012 Playmate of the Month spread), Shera (named for the cartoon character She-Ra, I shit you not), cast about for her next role, apparently ending up with the big, fat Elliott Broidy, who apparently impregnated her. Ugh… Anyway, I put that (way) out of my mind as I continue being a fan of her oeuvre and I want to know everything possible about her, however her Twitter account is private. That’s no way to treat us fans, even though she gave us a little of her mind there on her profile — telling us that she’s boycotting China. Her favorite TV shows were Curb Your Enthusiasm and all the BBC Nature series, so it’s easy to see why I’m a big fan, isn’t it? She has good taste for a 10, yet she is really an enigma, with favorite movies as extreme as Blue Velvet to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bad Lieutenant (the original with Harvey Keitel, of course) Gangs of New York to Elf. Her favorite musicians back then were Death Cab for Cutie, Shania Twain, Travis Tritt and Roy Orbison. She studied ‘perfumery’ in Paris and by 2020, she had hoped to be running her own perfume line and after that she wanted to run a bed and breakfast in Costa Rica. No vegan, she liked a “nice, thick organic steak,” according to her website.

While on Hef’s arm it became an item in the gossips that Bechard, a French-Canadian by all measures (36-24-36 comes to mind) had been working in America for years, wait for it… illegally. Her immigration status, though not being from a ‘shitty’ country, was murky at best yet she miraculously obtained a sought-after O-1 visa (an O-1 visa allows individuals of ‘extraordinary ability’ to enter to the United States for up to three years, which may be extended). In the ongoing border wall/immigration debate, I say that even though there’s no cap on the number of O-1s that the U.S. government awards each year (about 12,280 were approved back in 2011 when Shera entered U.S. politics), I wonder how many French-Canadian 10’s have been approved for the coveted O-1 visa since then? Not enough for me, I’ll tell you, and not enough for our President, Donald J. Trump I’ll have you know.

Note to my attorneys at DC&H: the check is in the mail.

 

 

John Underhill
February 10, 2019

A Metaphor America

George Washington

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!

It’s probably not gonna be a fantastic year for me, I fear. The above Tweet© is our President’s New Year’s statement to the nation, where he advises us all to just relax, bend over and enjoy the reaming he intends to administer to us all. The year started out well enough, although with Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Fox News conspiring to lock the American people out of 25% of their government (apparently, all run by the dedicated hard work of Democrats, according to The Donald), in Trump’s bizarro-world, our slow motion dismantling of democracy should be something to enjoy, not fear. Donny also tells a seven-year old back on Christmas Day that Santa is a fiction, so here Trump chooses to reveal the first kernel of truth as president in two years — in one of the few places that we actually want our president to lie — when talking to a seven-year old on Christmas Day about the legend of Santa Claus.

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The Spy Who Came

The Daily BeastPhoto Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Donald Trump has the power to make me a liar. I said in a post a few months ago, Cheaters Never Prosper that Trump will become our third president to suffer a Senate trial, but I gave a hint of how I think Trump might actually sum up his presidency by noting that Richard Nixon wasn’t ‘impeached’ because he avoided all the unpleasantness at showtime by resigning. I’m sure Donald Trump would’ve thought it insulting to suggest that he resign after his first hundred days, as I did in my post 100 Crazy Nights, but I’d bet he’d take that bargain in a heartbeat now, because that was before we knew about the smokin’ hot Russian spy with an assault rifle: Maria Butina, y’all.

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Consent of the Governed

Fox’s Steve Hilton will tell you that Trump is valiantly fighting elitism from within his own White House, finally getting rid of the swamp creatures (no, not Ryan Zinke, or 81-year old Wilbur Ross, currently missing from the G20, they’re not elites!) folks like Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster and Rex Tillerson and the other elitists that have finally been rooted out (as RINOs). Unlike Steve Hilton, he’s a real, average Republican. His story is the American dream, so get the fuck out of the way. More the British dream, actually, but who’s keeping score, observing that Steve grew up just outside of London. His family fled Hungary after the 1956 Revolt and they landed comfortably just outside Heathrow airport, the very place they would find employment. Steve didn’t have a father in the house after the age of five, however, but his dad was a professional hockey player, so he wasn’t exactly living hand to mouth. Educated in London, Hilton went to Stanford University and then went to work for David Cameron of the Conservative Party of Britain, one of the most singularly elite men on the planet Earth. No elitist himself, Hilton worked very hard and has amassed over $4 million for his considerable effort, according to wikinetworth.com. A dedicated public servant in government for most of his illustrious career, he proves that anybody can be successful and rich, as long as they’re not some snooty elitist (while being the godparent of a Prime Minister’s eldest child). I believe I’ve worked just as hard as Steve, perhaps not as intelligently or ‘non-elitely,’ and yet I have significantly less than $4 million in my bank account, so this ‘elite’ thing hasn’t paid off as well for me, so maybe Steve actually has a point. Make sure to visit the Millenial’s coolest place to fund their favorite candidates (and Steve’s BIG money maker) Crowdpac!

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Watch Out Now

Loose Lips
On November 6th, America returned the Democrats to House leadership, yet the Senate remains in the grip of the Republican Party after Donald Trump called Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum a ‘Thief’ and also sent the military into The South to save fearful Texans, à la The Alamo, from 1,500 or so itinerant migrants now chilling somewhere near Cancún. Before all the votes are counted and Jerry Nadler has a chance to choose his (oversize) House Judiciary chair, Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a guy named Matt Whitaker. This guy, the new Attorney General or ‘Top Cop,’  was last seen as a CNN analyst posting an op-ed, Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far. Whitaker, who Trump apparently never met (or did, or didn’t?) once prosecuted an eagle-scout Democratic State Senator in Des Moines, Iowa named Matt McCoy (now a County Commissioner) because McCoy ‘extorted’ $2,000, over two long years, from some poor victim. It turns out that the two grand was a legitimate bill for services rendered, which the client had disputed. For this, McCoy was read The Hobbs Act, but really, he was railroaded into an unjust prosecution — which has taken McCoy over ten years to repay legal fees — and oh yeah,  Mr. McCoy, without a hint of scandal in over twenty years of public service, is also gay. In fact he was the first openly gay member of the Iowa Legislature. After going after the gay Democrat, Whitaker left the Justice Department and began working as a consultant for a phony company that bilked dozens of suckers out of $26 million of their hard-earned money. This is the man who Donald Trump picked to run the Justice Department — a hatchet man.

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Pretenders to the Throne

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that the vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court will take place tomorrow, I have to remark to myself how far we’ve come as a nation. It seems like just yesterday in American history that anti-Catholic bias and ‘Irish Need Not Apply’ was the norm. When Donald Trump’s daddy Fred Trump was arrested at a Klu Klux Klan Rally on Memorial Day, 1927, the organizing leaflet that was passed around in Jamaica, Queens beforehand warned that “Native-born Protestant Americans” were being “assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City.” “Liberty and Democracy have been trampled upon,” it continued, “when native-born Protestant Americans dare to organize to protect one flag, the American flag; one school, the public school; and one language, the English language.” We’ve come a long way. Today, even being an angry, drunk Irish-Catholic isn’t disqualifying for a seat on the highest court in the land.

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The Fifth Columnist

Guernica

There’s an old saying in politics that when your opponent is burying themselves, stay the hell out of the way – if anything, hand them a shovel. As our president has been writing his political epitaph this summer, I’ve been reading a lot of books and working on my tan, yet I’ve been roused from my torpor by another stupid outrage by our So-Called President* – the half-staff / full-staff / half-staff bullshit that took place after the death of John McCain – yet another example of how Trump is utterly unsuited for leadership. Senator John McCain died facing down cancer like all adversity in life, with honor, dignity and courage. John McCain was, by any calculation, an American hero and Donald Trump’s pettiness is only heightened in contrast to this great man’s service to Country. McCain quoted his hero in his autobiography written with Mark Salter, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations (2018) where the only man who could live up to this hero’s life was a fictional character:

‘The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in [Ernest Hemingway’s] ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.‘ And I do, too. I hate to leave it. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one. It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I’ve lived very well and I’ve been deprived of all comforts. I’ve been as lonely as a person can be and I’ve enjoyed the company of heroes.

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Cincinnatus Shrugged

Cincinato_abandona_el_arado_para_dictar_leyes_a_Roma,_c.1806_de_Juan_Antonio_Ribera (2)

Artist: Juan Antonio Ribera, 1806

The absolute batshit-crazy lurch to the right in this country with the election of Donald Trump in 2016 set my hair on fire (scroll blog for reference) and since that time I just can’t seem to stop complaining about THE DONALD. My fear is that his dumb, red hat wearing minions will go down the slippery slope of stupidity with him (see the creepy Mark Meadows, Tom Cotton or Devin Nunes for reference) toward outright anarchy – in what we might best describe as ‘mobocracy.’ With the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper’s assessment that the Russians swung the election in 2016 to Trump, I have to remind myself that these intelligence folks usually have their hair on fire more than I do – and Clapper is totally bald. I have a full, luxurious head of hair so I’m trying not to panic and begin building a bomb shelter, but Trump’s latest fumble on the international stage, with Kim Jong-untrustworthy in charge, has got me drawing up escape routes, just for fun!

Looking back on the last election, it struck me as strange that the Democrats were holding off an aging, grumpy Socialist from Vermont from upstaging standard-bearer and front-runner, Hillary Clinton. To this day, I can’t figure out how Bernie got so many damned votes. Isn’t it entirely plausible to believe that the coordinated Russian, Saudi and Emirates attack on our election had some effect on the Democratic nomination outcome? Isn’t it also strange that certifiable idiot Donald Trump beat out the best the Republicans had to offer after eight, long years of ‘Obamacare’ during the nomination process? If Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina and the dozen or so other serious Republican contenders in the 2016 election don’t realize that they were compromised in the same way the entire country was compromised just a few short months later, then maybe they’re just a big bunch of idiots as well, but we all knew that – except for John Kasich of Ohio (maybe)?

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Cheaters Never Prosper

Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.

– Sir John Harington, 1618

 

I almost reactivated my Facebook account this week, after Mark Zuckerberg finally admitted that his company was actually in the business of eavesdropping. After the beautiful London Observer piece highlighting Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix caught on video selling his company’s wares (blackmail, ratfucking, extortion, racketeering and money laundering), the same employer of ‘Sloppy’ Steve Bannon (then running the American branch) I really wanted to write that I’d actually reactivated my account after Zuck went on CNN and finally admitted that his company took blood money. This week’s announcement that Facebook was cutting ties with data mining companies is a sign that I might just come back. Zuckerberg said that he wants to be proud of his company going forward because he has two daughters now, as opposed to before when he was an asshole Harvard hacker who cared about nothing except making lots of money.

When I first became aware of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, one fact stood out for me above all others: Zuckerberg was a hacker. Hacker culture is what the internet was all about back in the early days, and tech titans Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were no exception. In screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network (2010), Zuckerberg, Saverin and the Winklevoss brothers were portrayed as savvy hackers without much going on in the way of morals. I suspect the dark score and lighting in the film lends a hint that it was much worse than that. Born as ‘Facesmash’ as a prank by the merry Zuck against his fellow students at Harvard – stealing their identities (or head shots) from the easily hackable Harvard Yearbook Publications computer, a student-run server hosting the earliest editions of the ubiquitous Freshman Register, known by everyone in the first year as ‘The Facebook.’ I’ve always cast a jaundiced eye at those who would just as soon steal your data as look at you. These hacker dweebs, many with tape firmly affixed on glasses, proudly displaying gleaming breast pocket organizers and bad skin are now worth millions. Many of those weenies from the old high school computer club could buy and sell their high schools many times over and some even contribute millions to alumni organizations and philanthropic endeavors, yet most are still just like Martin Shkreli, only nerdier.

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Satchel Sinatra Sings the Blues

The Grand Tour

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Last year’s bombshell New York Times article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey may have initiated the #MeToo movement, but the momentum really gained steam after Ronan Farrow’s excellent back-to-back, in-depth reports in the New Yorker detailing Harvey Weinstein’s use of private detectives to harass and discredit his accusers. Farrow’s investigations add valuable accounts of the Miramax mogul’s scumbag ways, where it seems every day of his professional life, Mr. Weinstein committed some form of sexual harassment. Looking at the cut of Mr. Weinstein, we can guess that this ugly, fat asshole used his power as a Hollywood producer to get laid. In Casablanca, Claude Rains is ‘Shocked, shocked!’ Perhaps the original push behind the #MeToo movement was Donald Trump’s (well recorded) conversation about bush – with Bush – which sparked the up-and-running Pink Parades, either way, sexually abused and harassed victims have finally been given voice. Farrow’s latest article in the New Yorker, Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity reveals the next woman in the can-can line of Trump mistresses. Here, Farrow outlines how Trump’s friend David J. Pecker, CEO of American Media and publisher of parody newspapers the National Enquirer and the hilarious Weekly World News among others, protected him from damaging allegations during the election. Trump said during his campaign that the supermarket tabloid ‘Does have credibility and should be very respected’ after the Enquirer linked Ted Cruz’ father to the Kennedy Assassination. Inquiring minds want to know! Pecker (middle name Johnson) ‘captured and killed’ this particular Playboy model’s story about her affair with The Donald for $150,000 (about the same time that Stormy Daniels was spanking him with Malcolm Forbes’ masthead), with Pecker explaining recently that it ‘wasn’t believable enough’ – choosing not to publish the accusation back in October, 2016. I guess the Playboy model story should have included a bit about her bat-child, then Pecker may have thought it believable enough to bury somewhere in his mindless rags. This is the same National Enquirer which once ran full-color, front-page headlines complete with images of an innocent young woman named Vera Baker titled ‘Obama Caught in Hotel With This Beauty’ – which Pecker had to pay dearly for in an all-cash settlement. My favorite Weekly World News headline of all time is ‘Famed Psychic’s Head Explodes.’

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