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  • Sudden Civility: The Final Presidential Debate October 23, 2020
    At the start of Thursday night’s debate its moderator, Kristen Welker of NBC News, delivered a polite but firm instruction: The matchup should not be a repeat of the chaos of last month’s debate. It was a calmer affair and, for the first few segments, a more structured and linear exchange of views. President Trump, whose interruptions came to define the firs […]
  • A Peculiar Way to Pick a President October 22, 2020
    The winner-take-all system used by the Electoral College in the United States appears nowhere in the Constitution. It awards all of a state’s electors to the candidate with the most votes, no matter how small the margin of victory. Critics say that means millions of votes are effectively ignored.The fairness of the Electoral College was seriously questioned […]
  • A Misinformation Test for Social Media October 21, 2020
    Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have invested a significant amount of time and money trying to avoid the mistakes made during the 2016 election.A test of those new policies came last week, when The New York Post published a story that contained supposedly incriminating documents and pictures taken from the laptop of Hunter Biden. The provenance and authenticit […]
  • A Pivotal Senate Race in North Carolina October 20, 2020
    In the struggle to control the U.S. Senate, one race in North Carolina — where the Republican incumbent, Thom Tillis, is trying to hold off his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham — could be crucial.North Carolina is a classic purple state with a split political mind: progressive in some quarters, while firmly steeped in Southern conservative tradition in […]
  • The Field: A Divided Latino Vote in Arizona October 19, 2020
    This episode contains strong language. In the last decade, elections have tightened in Arizona, a traditionally Republican stronghold, as Democrats gain ground.According to polls, Joe Biden is leading in the state — partly because of white suburban women moving away from President Trump, but also because of efforts to activate the Latino vote.Will that turn […]
  • The Sunday Read: 'Jim Dwyer, About New York' October 18, 2020
    Jim Dwyer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New York Times, died earlier this month. He was 63.Throughout his nearly 40-year career, Jim was drawn to stories about discrimination, wrongly convicted prisoners and society’s mistreated outcasts. From 2007, he wrote The Times’s “About New York” column — when asked whether he had the best job in journa […]
  • The Candidates: Joe Biden’s Plans October 16, 2020
    In the second of a two-part examination of the presidential candidates’ policies, we turn to Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s agenda and how he plans to govern a nation wracked by a public health and economic crisis.The themes of Mr. Biden’s Democratic primary campaign were broad as he eschewed the policy-intensive approach of opponents like Senator Elizabeth Warren. B […]
  • The Candidates: Donald Trump’s Promises October 15, 2020
    In a two-part examination of the policies of the president and of the man seeking to replace him, Joe Biden, we first take a look at what Donald Trump said he would do four years ago — and what he’s actually accomplished.On some of the big issues, Mr. Trump has been the president he told us he was going to be, keeping commitments on deregulation, taxes, mili […]
  • The Confirmation Hearing of Amy Coney Barrett October 14, 2020
    It was a 12-hour session. Twenty-two senators took turns questioning Judge Amy Coney Barrett on her record and beliefs.Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, evoked personal experience of life before Roe v. Wade and asked Judge Barrett whether she would vote to overturn abortion rights.On that question, Judge Barrett demurred — an approach she wou […]
  • The Politics of Pandemic Relief October 13, 2020
    In March, Congress pushed through a relief package that preserved the U.S. economy during the pandemic. It felt like government functioning at its best.But now, that money is running out and bipartisanship has given way to an ideological stalemate.While Republicans balk at plans for further significant government spending — even those coming from the White H […]
  • Why the Left Is Losing on Abortion October 12, 2020
    Most Americans say that abortion should be legal with some restrictions, but President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, signed a statement in a 2006 newspaper advertisement opposing “abortion on demand.” Her accession would bolster a conservative majority among the justices.How did that happen? According to Ilyse Hogue, president of […]
  • The Sunday Read: 'David's Ankles' October 11, 2020
    “We are conditioned to believe that art is safe,” Sam Anderson, a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, explained in this week’s The Sunday Read. “Destruction happens in a number of ways, for any number of reasons, at any number of speeds — and it will happen, and no amount of reverence will stop it.”Today, Sam explores his personal relationship with […]
  • The Field: The Battle for Pennsylvania’s White Working Class October 9, 2020
    This episode contains strong language.Over the summer, Dave Mitchko started a makeshift pro-Trump sign operation from his garage. By his estimate he has handed out around 26,000 signs, put together with the help of his family.Mr. Mitchko might seem like the kind of voter Joseph R. Biden Jr. wants to peel away from the Republicans in November. He had always b […]
  • Plexiglass and Civility: The Vice-Presidential Debate October 8, 2020
    During most campaigns, the job of the vice-presidential candidates focuses on boosting the person heading the ticket. Proving their suitability for the top job is secondary.But this year is different. The president is 74 and spent much of the past week in the hospital, and his Democratic rival is 77. So it was vital for their running mates, Vice President Mi […]
  • Where Is This Pandemic Headed? October 7, 2020
    The pandemic has killed more than one million people around the world, at least 210,000 in the United States alone. The illness has infiltrated the White House and infected the president.Today, we offer an update on measures to fight the coronavirus and try to predict the outbreak’s course.Guest: Donald G. McNeil Jr., a science and health reporter for The Ne […]
  • How a Small Bar Battled to Survive the Coronavirus October 6, 2020
    This episode contains strong language. Jack Nicas, a technology reporter for The New York Times, moved to Oakland, Calif., five years ago. When he arrived, he set out to find a bar of choice. It quickly became the Hatch.Unpretentious, cheap and relaxed, the Hatch was a successful small business until the coronavirus hit.After the announcement in March that C […]
  • The Latest on the President’s Health October 5, 2020
    On Saturday morning, the doctors treating President Trump for the coronavirus held a news conference outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center — a show of strength, aimed at reassuring the American public that he was in capable hands.But instead of allaying concern, it raised questions, casting doubt on the timeline of the president’s illness and […]
  • One Million Lives October 4, 2020
    They came from Tel Aviv, Aleppo and a “small house by the river.” They were artists, whiskey drinkers and mbira players. They were also fathers, sisters and best friends.Today, we hear people from around the world reflect on those they’ve lost. For more information on today's episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
  • Special Edition: The Pandemic Reaches the President October 2, 2020
    He assured the country the coronavirus would “disappear” soon. Then he tested positive. We explore how President Trump testing positive for the coronavirus could affect the last days of the 2020 race — and consider what might happen next.Guests: Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, White House correspondents for The Times.For more information about today's […]
  • The Field: The Fight For Voting Rights in Florida October 2, 2020
    This episode contains strong language. During much of this election cycle, Julius Irving of Gainesville, Fla., spent his days trying to get former felons registered to vote.He would tell them about Florida’s Amendment Four, a ballot initiative that extended the franchise to those who had, in the past, been convicted on felony charges — it added an estimated […]

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Newes From America on Twitter

  • RT @Acosta: Very few masks and zero social distancing at Trump rally in Pensacola. (So far today as of this tweet Johns Hopkins has reporte… 1 day ago
  • I’ve been putting off writing this post because it’ll be the last one that I’ll throw up before the 2020 Presidenti… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 day ago
  • RT @JRubinBlogger: Michelle Obama had it right: The presidency does not change who you are; it reveals who you are. Trump’s Achilles’ heel… 1 day ago
  • RT @StephenAtHome: Uh-oh...now people might start thinking Giuliani is a creepy old man. 3 days ago
  • RT @DavidCornDC: Today would be a good day for @realDonaldTrump to release his Chinese tax returns. 3 days ago
  • RT @TheJusticeDept: Elliott Broidy Pleads Guilty for Back-Channel Lobbying Campaign to Drop 1MDB Investigation and Remove a Chinese Foreign… 4 days ago
  • RT @RBReich: When this nightmare is over, who will be held accountable? And who will hold them accountable? 4 days ago
  • RT @NatashaBertrand: Must-read from GQ @juliaioffe that also confirms what we reported last month: that Haspel completely dismissed analyst… 4 days ago
  • RT @MSNBC: "I've been a doctor for 34 years and I have never seen the amount of suffering I've seen in a short period of time," Dr. Paul Ca… 5 days ago
  • RT @tribelaw: No NAKED BALLOTS, please!!!!! 5 days ago
  • RT @ZekeJMiller: WASHINGTON (AP) — US charges 6 Russian military officers in hacks aimed at American businesses, French elections, Winter O… 5 days ago
  • RT @TVietor08: Trump closing message: Dr. Fauci and other infectious disease experts are idiots 5 days ago
  • RT @vermontgmg: This piece should be mandatory reading for every voter before the election. Billions in testing money unspent mid-pandemic.… 5 days ago
  • RT @MilesTaylorUSA: Let’s not forget that @realDonaldTrump is the first impeached president to appear on the general-election ballot in U.S… 5 days ago
  • RT @svdate: Is Dr Atlas finally understanding the truth about this president and this White House? 6 days ago
  • RT @JonLemire: Trump also attended a fundraiser at the Newport Beach home of top GOP donor and tech mogul Palmer Luckey, which raised $12 m… 6 days ago
  • RT @Kasparov63: One of those many things I’m sad to have been right about. Plus, I needed to lose a few pounds! twitter.com/biannagolodryg… 6 days ago
  • RT @nytimes: The political bent of Timpone’s sites has been previously reported, but the extent of the deception has been concealed with co… 6 days ago
  • RT @RepSwalwell: Just a reminder that wRONg Johnson spent a recent Fourth of July in Moscow and has — despite public intelligence warnings… 6 days ago
  • RT @DrTomFrieden: We can't ignore the virus and reopen our economy – the virus will strike back. 6 days ago

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.

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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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