Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fear & Loathing in Tinseltown-on-Potomac

"I've got two words for you, Harvey. Predator drones. You'll never see it coming."

That's what I imagine Barack Obama schmoozing to Harvey Weinstein as the two alpha males bonded one night over bundles of Hollywood campaign cash at a $34,000-a-plate dinner.  Burnishing each other's brands with money and influence was all well and good. But just imagine the dividends from an actual blending of the two powerhouse firms via a subsidized internship at Weinstein's company for Obama's elder daughter. Just imagine a lucrative niche for Weinstein at Obama's planned $500 million post-presidential shrine and luxury entertainment complex.

They were ruling members of the same extended clan anyway. And despite the "open secret" of Weinstein's decades-long history of sexual predation of women, he probably wasn't about to touch a young woman who arrived for work every day with her own armed Secret Service detail. It would have been akin to incest, and as far as we know, Harvey isn't into that.

Harvey most likely remembered the Kill List president's grotesque remarks to the Jonas Brothers at one of those annual Washington press dinners where media stars and political stars and Hollywood stars become more indistinguishable from one another than usual.

  Yours truly called Weinstein out as a predator on this blog more than two years ago. At around the same time that Wikileaks was dumping a stash of Sony emails to and from Hollywood insiders and Obama insiders, the New York tabloids (but not the New York Times) were salaciously splashing Weinstein's groping of an Italian model all over their front pages.

Those leaked emails revealed just how closely intertwined the Democratic Party and Hollywood truly are.

One of the sleazier reveals was how, in exchange for the millions of dollars the movie mogul gave to the party and to the Obama war chest, First Friend Valerie Jarrett arranged with Harvard's Henry Louis Gates for Weinstein to receive a Harvard medal named after civil rights leader W.E.B. DuBois. At the same time, the 2014 emails show, Jarrett also finagled a spot for herself on Gates's fawning PBS series which explores the genetic roots of Hollywood stars. The only problem they encountered in the deal-making was getting somebody important in Hollywood to fly all the way out to Boston to personally bestow the fake award upon Harvey Weinstein.

Sony CEO Michael Lynton refused outright, voicing disgust that Weinstein was actually being honored for anything even remotely resembling human rights. Gates, the master of ceremonies for the event, allowed that he, too, had his "issues" with Weinstein.

Where Harvey was concerned, there was a battle royal between fear and loathing even among the most loyal Democrats. As far as the awards show was concerned, loathing won that particular round, because Jarrett and Gates couldn't get one single A-Lister to stoop so low as to actually call Harvey Weinstein a civil rights icon in exchange for future wads of his cash to the Democrats. They ended up using a mere Harvard student to pay Weinstein off with the medal.

Besides that contrived award, and Michelle Obama selling access to herself for $34,000 to Hollywood high rollers, the Sony emails revealed that Obama's relentless championship of the now-moribund Transpacific Partnership was fueled largely by Hollywood moguls anxious to keep their profits high through strict intellectual property rules to be applicable all over the world. The pact would have given them the right to sue foreign countries where their movies and TV shows and hit songs were being pirated. These suits would be prosecuted in secret courts, and any judgments would be as secret and as final as Weinstein's alleged confidentiality agreements with his victims. Had the TPP passed, it would have been the citizens of largely poor countries, like Indonesia and Vietnam, who would have been paying extortion to the likes of Harvey Weinstein - even if they themselves had never illegally downloaded a copy of one of his films.

As a matter of fact, emails in the Sony cache revealed that Hollywood insiders were so upset about previous Wikileaks documents revealing their own roles in secretly crafting the TPP that they flocked to the Oval Office to plot further public relations strategy with Obama himself.

And then Obama went on national TV to tell the public that an alleged North Korea revenge hack on Sony had been a virtual assault on US national security itself.  Obama's "intelligence community" absolutely did collude with Hollywood in order to "assassinate" Kim Jung Un in a spy spoof, and thus make audiences more amenable to an eventual regime change. And they say that Donald Trump is a reckless provocateur for calling the North Korea dictator "Rocket Man"? I wouldn't be surprised if Trump got his own inspiration for wackily whacking the foreign dictator from watching The Interview.

It took the Obamas five days, with a newly-fired Weinstein safely esconced in a luxury sex addiction therapy resort, to respond to the Hollywood scandal. They carefully crafted their words, saying they were disgusted by the reports about Weinstein. They didn't go so far as to claim disgust at the man himself. They didn't go so far as to return all his campaign donations, or pledge them to charity, as other Democratic politicians have done. They left it at a typically smarmy and meaningless "And we all need to build a culture -- including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect -- so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future."

Maybe they can raise more funds from Hollywood to build a virtue-signaling decency and empowerment wing at their new Chicago inspiration-industrial complex.

Tellingly, it was only the Hillary half of the Clinton duo which tweeted out some belated boilerplate shock and awe, also glaringly minus any cash donation to charity.(Update: on second thought, Hillary says, she will after all give the money to charity, because as she so humbly reminds us, she already gives away 10 percent of her annual income anyway.)

The Sensuous Art of the Political Ma$$age

As Wikileaks founder Julian Assange wrote concurrently with the release of the Sony emails, there is not only a co-equal partnership between Hollywood and the Democratic Party, Hollywood is an integral part of the military-industrial complex itself. Hollywood makes the surveillance state look sexy, and it makes war crimes seem glamorous. It can even try to make the CIA killing a North Korean dictator look zany and fun.
 Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton is on the board of trustees of RAND Corporation, an organisation specialising in research and development for the United States military and intelligence sector. The Sony Archives show the flow of contacts and information between these two major US industries, whether it is RAND wanting to invite George Clooney and Kevin Spacey to events, or Lynton offering contact to Valerie Jarrett (a close advisor to Obama) or RAND desiring a partnership with IMAX for digital archiving. With this close tie to the military-industrial complex it is no surprise that Sony reached out to RAND for advice regarding its North Korea film The Interview. RAND provided an analyst specialised in North Korea and suggested Sony reach out to the State Department and the NSA regarding North Korea's complaints about the upcoming film. The Sony documents also show Sony being in possession of a brochure for an NSA-evaluated online cloud security set-up called INTEGRITY.
As regards the New York Times and other establishment media suddenly all ganging up on their pal Weinstein after so many decades of giving him a free pass, who knows what their agenda really is? It could simply be the realization that maximum sleaze attracts maximum eyeballs, and they desperatey need maximum clicks to stay in business.  Or maybe Weinstein overstepped his bounds and groped not only the top actresses now fighting their way for a top spot in the accusation publicity sweepstakes, but someone so important that she shall not be named. I don't know, and I don't care. Because this would not be a scandal if it were a $40,000 McDonald's franchise owner groping his whole crew of $9-an-hour wage slaves between hamburger flips and milkshake runs. These scandals happen every hour and every day to the working class women the Obamas wouldn't empower if their new luxe lives depended on it.

I haven't been clicking on all of the sleaze myself, although I couldn't resist Times pundit Ross Douthat's hysterical piece last week about Weinstein and "liberalism's" creation of a whole stinky sty of man-pigs. Apparently, Republican pigs are not as disgusting as Democratic pigs, because Republicans grope women conservatively and Democrats grope them liberally. Everything must boil down to tribal affinity and tribal loyalty. Avoid nuance and depth as if your very careers depended on it.

My published comment:
Predatory behavior has more to do with power than it does with ideology. Creeps can be alt-right, libertarian, liberal, progressive, white, black, brown, or in one case, orange.

The one common denominator in the decades-long, consequence-free careers of serial predators is extreme wealth. It helps if the offender is also a media star or mogul, like Trump and Weinstein. Lack of clout is probably the main reason that Anthony Weiner, their brother in predation, is going to jail, and they're not. Perhaps if he'd been elected mayor of NYC, things would have turned out very differently for him. He would have been owed, big-time.

Weinstein did end up in the tabloids in 2015 when an Italian model accused him of groping her. Naturally, the media cast her as a bimbo with an accent. Provocative pics of her modeling sexy underwear duly accompanied all the articles, which were filed under "gossip" and "entertainment."

The NYPD pretended to care by setting up a "sting" phone call, in which a previously warned Weinstein readily admitted the groping. No charges were filed, because he came clean about the whole "misunderstanding." And then he gave Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.'s campaign a nice $10,000 donation to show how nice he really is.

This is the same DA who, it was just revealed, dropped pending fraud charges against Ivanka and Don Jr.

It's a small world after all - especially when money begetting power begetting more money begetting more power is the oily engine that makes it spin.


Anne said...

Check out this photo in the WaPo of Hillary Clinton with both hands planted on Harvey Weinstein's chest. It suggests a close, even intimate relationship. Geesh, nothing like conveying to a fat, ugly pig that he's desirable just to get into his wallet. What a fake feminist.

Clinton said Wednesday that she would give away Weinstein’s contributions. “I give 10 percent of my income to charity every year. This will be part of that,” Clinton said. “There’s no — there’s no doubt about it.”

Karen, can you plug that photo into your post?

Karen Garcia said...


The WaPo piece and photo were behind a paywall, but the info and pic are all over the Internet. I got the same photo and story from the LA Times, plus I added a link to a piece about Hillary's private slush fund, er, I mean charity.

I feel like I need a shower to wash away all the grift.

Jay–Ottawa said...

What a brilliant idea is Hillary's mode of adding up charitable deductions on her IRS-1040. Throughout the year she puts the touch (cough) on the corrupt in the Big Donor Bubble to give her fat checks ("Harveeeey, you have no idea how much I've missed youooooo."). She keeps the money from respectable crooks. But, for those among her corrupt donors whose bubble gets pricked, she 'returns' the dirty money by an indirect route, as part of her annual –– ! goodly religious term alert ! –– tithe.

Bottom line: sleaze money gets magically converted into taxes forgiven (and subtracted from that 1040) with absolution rendered by IRS itself. Hillary thereby wins back her integrity and makes it clearly known that she only accepts the fungible stuff from respectable corrupt moguls. What a great soul she is. Off to the side, lawmen like Vance Jr back away from the whole business now that good deeds are being wrung from the bad.

After following the story through the pig pool on this post, I went back to look at Karen's link to her previous report about Weinstein. Lots more muck. Now I too feel as though I need a shower, plus a sheep dip, therapeutic hose down and maybe a brief minute in the autoclave.

It is necessary that we pick through the swill left behind by the elites. The exercise keeps us from defaulting into the Pollyanna dream world of most of the people thumbing their iPhones down the sidewalks. But, someday, this constant exposure to corruption in so many important sectors of the nation just might cause a chemical reaction in the brain. After that we'll trust no one, ever, and always be on the lookout for the dirt that's gotta be there somewhere, whether in our own family, workplace, institutions or politics.

There are some awesomely fine people in the world. Annually, the Ralph Nader crowd celebrate people who work hard in just causes. This link is about the Phyllis McCarthy award for 2017.

Maybe we should get our act together some day to nominate Karen Garcia. Think of what the Times commentary over the years would have been without her. How about the state of your own political and cultural awareness without Sardonicky? But wait, that idea is not what I want to advance at this moment.

Forget the nomination appeal for this year made by Nader at the top of his appeal. Instead, scroll down his appeal to read the brief sketches of the people who won the McCarthy award in past years. You won't need a shower after reading about them and realizing once again that such people are really out there in great number, most of them unknown, trying to hold the world together. And sometimes succeeding.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Nader had an oops moment. A correction followed his first nominating deadline. The deadline is October 13.

voice-in-wilderness said...

In re-reading this essay today (16th), I noticed the reference to Obama's presidential library complex. I did some Googling to refresh my memory on that -- the plan, how it will be funded, etc.

Information is scarce since the announcement last May. The official library Web site says almost nothing. Illinois Gov. Rauner is quoted this month as questioning the state's contribution. Given the GOP effort to erase all things Obama, I would expect them to look at every effort to obstruct, something they are practiced at. Which would lead to the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) budget, since the Obama library is supposed to be a first in handling presidential library records. Instead of placing paper copies at the library, NARA will digitize government records, paid by the library to do so. This fits with the long-term direction of NARA to have more government records in digital form.

The devil is in the details and with limited time searching I did not find the current state of NARA's thinking. Unlike paper, which we understand, digital records are a mix of changing technologies. There is the question of storing them in a format that can be accessed/retrieved not just decades, but centuries later. There is the question of security against alterations, meaning what sort of checksum/hashing function do they need to be signed with? And so on. Much room for GOP malfeasance or sheer incompetence posing as malfeasance.

Anne said...

As is so typical for the NYT, in a recent article they omitted a key point that Karen and other sites have mentioned, and that is that Harvey Weinstein gave Cy Vance a $10,000 'donation'. This was after Vance declined to prosecute Weinstein by absurdly buying into his defense that grabbing the model's breasts was only to satisfy his 'professional need' to ascertain whether her breasts 'were real or not' in consideration of a lingerie gig. As if he couldn't just ask her if they were real. As if he couldn't ask for her permission to 'inspect' them before lunging with both hands.

The NYT is, however, careful to allow Vance to claim that the responsibility to bring charges or not was given to his female sex crime assistant, as if he had no authority or influence over her. The whole thing doesn't pass the smell test, and considering the NYT failure to even mention the $10,000 'donation', the article is little more than a whitewash of Vance.

The NYT actually thinks we're so dependent on their rag that we don't read other news sites and blogs, so the game they're playing can't possibly be obvious.

Anne said...

OT, but I can't resist. Hillary fell again. She says she was running in heels down some stairs while carrying a cup of 'coffee', and as she turned to talk to someone, her heel caught and she fell, breaking a toe. Funny that Trump is older than she is and has never fallen, but that's probably because he doesn't drink 'coffee'.

I don't know why Hillary doesn't just let Huma carry her drinks since she's always at her side and, unlike Hillary, she always manages to stay vertical in her stilettos.

Personally, I think Hillary should go shopping for one of those rolling walkers, the kind with the cupholder attached. She also needs to start wearing geriatric shoes. In the meantime, Huma should start taking her arm to help hold her upright, like Gerald Ford did for Betty and Nixon for Pat. Hey, where's Bill anyway?


Anne said...

I knew I liked Carrie Fisher for a reason. This is what happened after a friend told her of her encounter with another Hollywood bigwig pig, not HW:

A few weeks later, Fisher told her friend she had seen the producer.

“She said, ‘I just saw blank at Sony Studios. I knew he would probably be there, so I went to his office and personally delivered a Tiffany box wrapped with a white bow,’” Ross recounted to the show.

When Ross asked what was inside, Fisher said: “It was a cow tongue from Jerry’s Famous Deli with a note that said, ‘If you ever touch my darling Heather or any other woman again, the next delivery will be something of yours in a much smaller box.”

Anne said...

Here's the same story, I don't subscribe to WaPoo, but apparently when you link to them, it goes behind a paywall.

'Carrie Fisher gave predatory producer a cow's tongue in a box'

Kat said...

What exactly is left to "reform"? What an ass.