If you thought that the #RussiaGate hysteria was overwrought, then you aren't caught up on the feverishly manufactured outrage over #StormyGate. Democratic Party hacks are shocked that right-wing political evangelicals are not sufficiently shocked that Trump cheated on Melania when his little son was angelically asleep in his crib. Bring up Bill Clinton and other famous Lotharios at your peril, though, because before you know it, the dreaded "Whataboutism" label will be affixed to your bosom by the bespoke legions of progressive moralizers.
One important sub-theme of the corporate media class's witch hunt involves perhaps the hippest word out there: intersectionality. It's such a cool word that it was even used in an Oscars acceptance speech. So the pressing question is whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller can pull off a legal miracle and connect Trump's collusion with Putin to his collusion with Stormy Daniels. Could there be some sort of transatlantic Golden Showers conspiracy afoot?
I know, I know, it's all a distraction. But you have to admit that it's a more entertaining distraction than usual. There was that exciting episode over the weekend when Trump called the odious Chuck Todd of NBC a "sleepy-eyed son of a bitch" at his Nuremburg, Pennsylvania rally. And Todd, to plug his Meet the Press show, then tweeted that even though Trump is a horrible role model for children, he never allows his own children to speak ill of the president. Because journalistic access to the powerful, and the dignity of the Oval Office, are the two basic tenets of Todd's faith. Or something like that.
I've gotten sucked into the drama myself, because it is so much damned fun to get sucked into it. It's like binge-watching House of Cards on Netflix, when House of Cards was still really all about the Machiavellian Clintons more or less successfully hiding their sleazy machinations from the public, and when the election of the more openly sleazy and not-so-bright Donald Trump was still unthinkable.
So, getting right into the giddy spirit of things, I couldn't resist commenting the other day on Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times column, clickbaitingly entitled The First Porn President. It contained many salacious details about Trump's tryst with Stormy, including the juicy reveal that they'd watched "Shark Week" before, after or maybe it was even during their "textbook-generic" romp.
My published response:
Trump confided to Stormy, "I hope all the sharks die."
I knew Trump was reckless, but I didn't realize he was also borderline suicidal. Naturally, as a malignant narcissist, he probably didn't get the Freudian meaning of his pillow-talk. But if this wasn't a cry for help, I don't know what is. Perhaps DOTUS (Ivanka, Daughter of the US) and SLOTUS (Jared, Son-in-Law of the US) can stop their maniacal grifting long enough to get Pops committed to a home for addicts (to money, to porn, to lying, to cheating, etc.) before he eats himself, and all of us, alive.
If FLOTUS (Melania, First Lady of the US) hasn't divorced him yet, she never will. There is very likely a pre-nup that makes Stormy's non-disclosure agreement look like a love letter. The third Mrs. Trump at least has his age and his fat-engorged arteries going for her as she bides her time.
Forget the porn. The worst XXXX stuff I've had the displeasure of viewing lately was that gust of wind doing a strip-tease of the back of Trump's geriatric head as he boarded his plane. Not a Perfect 10 by any stretch. Not only is the rear of his pate bald, it was also curiously flat-looking.
|Let Me Do a Few Tricks, Some Old and Then Some New Tricks|
As for Stormy Daniels, Trump stiffed her in more ways than one, given that she refused cash payment for sex solely on his promise of a gig on his Apprentice show. It never happened.
So may she live long and prosper. As for the rest of us, may we live long enough to see the backs of all the Trumps as they leave public life permanently.(Note: in retrospect, I think I got Stormy mixed up with the Playmate of the Year, who turned down Trump's cash in exchange for a future slot on The Apprentice. So I sure hope nobody sues me for libel.)
Speaking of character assassination, Times scold Charles Blow certainly knows how to take all the fun out of scandal. He's all over the moralistic place in his own column today, called Melania Knew.
He skates just at the edge of calling FLOTUS a high-priced hooker, probably mindful of her successful libel suit against the Daily Mail for falsely calling her a high-priced hooker. So he goes the slick innuendo route instead:
Off with her head!
When Donald first meets Melania, they are at a New York Fashion Week party to which Donald has been invited by the wealthy Italian businessman who brought Melania to America on a modeling contract and work visa. According to GQ, sometimes, to promote his models, the businessman “would send a few girls to an event and invite photographers, producers, and rich playboys.”Trump is on a date with another woman that night. He is also in the process of divorcing Marla Maples, his second wife, with whom he had had an affair while still married to his first wife, Ivana Trump.According to GQ, “He sent his companion to the bathroom so he could have a few minutes to chat up the model he’d noticed. But Melania knew of Trump’s reputation — which was immediately confirmed by the fact that he had come to the party with a date and was now asking for her number.”
That’s right, Melania knew.
Blow goes on to complain that the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements which "have given voice to women" (who knew we had previously been so mute and muzzled?) have been rendered practically mute by Donald Trump. My two-part published response:
I always get a queasy feeling whenever a pundit, especially a male pundit, presumes to gallantly defend generic womanhood by impugning the character of one particular woman. What did Melania know, and when did she know it? Mr. Blow counts the ways and adds up the clues before shrugging and admitting that the whole thing is beyond his comprehension. (wink, wink, nod, and press the outrage button.)
Blow then gratuitously praises the #MeToo movement before pivoting to the wild assertion that Trump has "single-handedly aided in the numbing of America's sympathies for women."
Huh? Are women successfully bringing some long overdue attention to sexual harassment and assault and gaining the support of millions of "woke" and angry Americans, or is the moronic Trump such a Svengali that he is making Americans completely apathetic and stupid? It can't be both.
If Blow cares about the plight of womanhood, perhaps he'll devote a future column to Trump's collusion with convicted billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. A woman has filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump allowed Epstein to use Mar-A-Lago to procure girls for his underage sex ring.
Maybe the reason this case isn't getting the same attention as the Stormy Daniels saga is that Bill Clinton has also been linked to Epstein. And this inconvenient factoid simply doesn't fit the current media Narrative.
(Part 2) Anyway, the above-mentioned case has not gone to trial, possibly because there was one of those secret settlements the Trump Empire and the larger Empire of oligarchs are so famous for.( Curiously, the second part of my comment got three times the number of reader recommendations as the first part did. Could it possibly be because the stand-alone second part did not mention Bill Clinton?)
From last year's Politico article:
"Trump has also indicated publicly he knew of Epstein’s interest in 'younger' women, although he never suggested the financier crossed any legal lines.
'I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,' Trump told New York Magazine back in 2002. 'He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.'
These are children Trump is talking about. That's the real scandal. Or at least it should be.
Paul Krugman is still stuck on Trump's "trade war" scandal, as though it were an economic policy and not a distracting political ploy tied directly to the special election in Pennsylvania, the heart and soul of steel country. He even put his "experts only" warning on his latest piece - Trump's Negative Protection Racket (Wonkish) - I suppose to discourage non-wonks like me from going above my station to read it and weigh in. But since he preceded his wonky charts and math with the complaint that Trump's economic adviser, Peter Navarro, is nothing but a (shock!) propagandist, I therefore wrote about what I know a little bit about:
Navarro is using the same tactic that George Tenet and the Neocons employed when justifying George W. Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq. The "intel" was made to fit Bush's gut feelings just as Navarro's advice is designed to gel with Trump's "intuition."
Generally speaking, economists have been used as propagandists at least since the founding of the Mont Pelerin Society, ushering in the birth of the neoliberal thought collective and the whittling away of social programs for the greater public good. Why else would economics be the highest paid of all the social science professions?
Even liberal economists have been known to fall into this propaganda trap from time to time. For example, there was that whole unfortunate bashing of the sexist "Bernie Bro" straw men in 2016, to use as a weapon against pie-in-the-sky Medicare for All. It seems that necessary "details" were lacking then, as well.
Meanwhile, a strike by one of the lowest-paid but most honorable professions (teaching) was wildly successful, despite economists' warnings that there simply wasn't enough money to pay them and other public workers a living wage. This - the resurgence of a nationwide labor movement - is another story that our experts and leaders don't seem to want to hear.