is there a global leader who’s not a closet felon?

From Trump to Clinton to British royalty to [insert any elite person here] it seems there wasn’t anybody in power or money who didn’t deliberately fall into the spider web woven by Jeffery Epstein and his no doubt very large army of enablers and flunkies. Remember folks, these are the people who make decisions for you, and generally speaking, are supposed to be improving your lives. Or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work, but no longer does.

What makes all this even more comical is that Epstein got the chance to off himself in a federal prison. Forget the conspiracy theories where a gaggle of coked out drunk alien assassins were hired by the illuminati to do him in. Dude literally hung himself with a bedsheet while a government contractor making minimum wage was in the loo browsing a dating app on his smartphone and wondering when the fuck his watch was supposed to end.

In an era where all our elite leaders are too deeply in the flesh trade to actually govern, it’s no wonder why the most junior of all government employees is so bad at their job they can’t prevent a grown man from hanging himself in a high security federal prison. It’s a true metaphor for failure from top to bottom.

And the best part is, none of this was a secret. Just like how apparently all of Hollywood knew what that Harvey guy was doing, so everybody seems to have known what Epstein was doing. It was just the way things were.  It went on for decades in both cases.

If any of these guys made $12 as a Walmart packer, they’d all be in prison for decades. Instead, they’ll get to move on in life because nothing says the game isn’t rigged like being able to rub palms with a known sex offender without consequences.  There are rules for the weak, and impunity for the powerful.

The federal justice system convicts at a stasi like rate of 99%.  They’ll put a 19 year old who gets caught on the streets of Baltimore with a baggy of crack behind bars for two decades.  But damned if they’ll get around to cleaning house with a powerful senator, or banker, or celebrity who enabled a 15 year old to be raped.

This is how societies and cultures fail. Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, all these consequential leaders who carved the world we live in today, gee these dudes sure did have their own flaws. But I’m pretty sure closet felon wasn’t among them.

PS.   By the way, there’s no picture to this post. Why? Because almost every photo on this issue seems to already be doctored (faked) in some way, by one side or the other, to emphasize that Epstein was associated with [insert political rival here]. As if, one should be forced to forget, that everybody was in on this game.  It’s cultural suicide.

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DNC’s master plan to reelect Trump makes headway, say sources

“We couldn’t be happier with the progress we’ve made, particularly in the last two nights,” said a smiling Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez. “We’ve had a well-oiled, styled plan to get the job done and we’re doing just that.” Perez referred to the latest incarnation of the Democrat’s master scheme where the 47 viable presidential candidates spent the better part of a lauded CNN debate insulting each other over things they said when they were twelve. “The way we figure it, we want to leave a final candidate to face Trump who’s so battle scared, so discredited that they stand no change in the general election. It’s the way to get the job done,” Perez commented as he donned a MAGA hat, cackling, “lots of people talk about a circular firing squad, well, we’ve got that, only each candidate has a flamethrower!” Local Democrat activists seemed most pleased with the prospect of a second Trump term. “It just warms my heart to hear our front running candidates propose policies that are both simultaneously unaffordable, making the Trump tax cuts look tame, AND also sound like lunatic fringe ideas concocted in a Moscow salon that are toxic to 84% of American voters,” said Michelle Anderson of Soho, “my friends and I couldn’t be happier with how this has played out.” Perez ended his interview early as he was offhand informed by an aide (that this reporter overheard) that the planned candidate-on-candidate sexual assault (with racists remarks included) scheme was going according to plan. Perez seemed pleased, stroking his MAGA hat as if it were a white fluffy kitty.

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Monty Python character to be devoured by Brexit monster

I suppose one is meant to congratulate Boris Johnson on becoming prime minister, which seems like a big deal and quite the life goal achievement. After all, every aspiring mommy and daddy would love for their kid to become president or prime minister. Unfortunately for Boris his tenure involves getting mauled by Brexit as if he were a sick, deranged zebra getting hauled down by a pack of rabid lions. Brexit has already devoured two prime ministers, Johnson will surely be the third.

I can’t figure why anybody would actually want this job? I mean other than just to say you had it. Theresa May was a control freak whose strategic planning instincts consisted of a dart board and a bottle of magic elixir, but, she can still tell folks at the pub that for at least a few years she was top dog.

Whatever one thinks of Brexit one way or the other, it’s just about the most impossible task an executive arm of government could be asked to execute. And the British parliamentary system makes it even worse.

To the American eye, there’s something really antidemocratic in changing prime ministers this way. The Australians have had a similar problem for the last decade or so. To my brain, if a prime minister resigns, that should automatically trigger a general election. That way the public can choose their leader instead of back alley party hacks. This is especially a vivid problem right now.

The issue with Brexit as it currently stands is this:

1) Europe holds all the cards and promises they won’t renegotiate

2) Boris does not possess the ability to fold space, time, or the Irish border

3) Parliament has an overwhelming majority who will oppose any effort to conduct a no deal Brexit

This was what derailed May, and it will derail Johnson too. All the Tories have done is shift human beings, they haven’t shifted the problem. An election would have offered the chance for a course correction of some form. Without an election, nothing has changed, the situation remains the same and thus Britain will remain bogged down in political chaos and deadlock.

Nothing about Boris Johnson indicates he’s the kind of visionary leader who can overcome such a huge challenge. If the original Monty Python had made a character of Johnson way back when, it would have been rejected as too farfetched. The guy is a meld of insanity, humor, charisma, liar, opportunistic, lucky, and with the looks of a c-grade stuffed animal made in Bulgaria. His supporters really think this guy has what it takes to get the job done? Trust me, he doesn’t. Maybe nobody does.

The problem with modern democracy is essentially two things: it’s a rigged game, and it’s currently deadlocked. America’s Congress would be challenged to pass a bipartisan bill saying that Abe Lincoln was awesome. Britain is no different. Asking this parliamentary system to solve any problem at the moment is a chore, asking it to solve Brexit is near impossible.

To me, the only way out of this is for the EU to simply lay down the line. Regardless of what parliament says or does, if 01 November comes around and Britain hasn’t taken their deal, they should just kick Britain out. Otherwise they’ll just keep extending the deadline until the end of time, because that’s all that British politics has left. However, will they actually do this when it gives Boris exactly what he says he wants? Who knows?

In the meantime, I would say enjoy the ride, but you won’t. And neither will Boris.

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Mr Prime Minister, eight seconds before a nine year old girl throws a chunk of cinder block into his front wheel spoke

nature reminds West Coast of approaching nightmare

Lost amidst yesterday’s revelry, fireworks, beer, my dog’s inability to detail with percussive sounds, political mayhem, massive blatant disregard for local laws dealing with the employment of explosives by the citizenry, and so on, was the news that California endured it’s largest earthquake in 20 years.

A relatively mild 6.4 on the American scale yielded minor damage but the usual television mayhem as C grade news organizations tried to hitch viewers by showing helicopters following police cars around open desert communities like they were after the ghost of some 1849 horse thief.

In case most folks forgot, because I know I did, the entire West Coast has nature’s handgun held to its temple.  20 years!?  That’s how long it’s been since California has seen anything approaching a reasonable earthquake.  In geologic times this is less than a fraction of a heartbeat, but it’s quite a long time for us.

But these are not things to be ignored.  A good chunk of the West Coast is built on glass.  The supposed ‘big one’ might never happen, but if it does, oh man that’d be quite the mess.  A full scale cascadia subduction zone quake with the accompanying tsunami would make the 2011 Japanese tsunami look like a wave in a kiddy pool.

I wonder how much planning has been done in California, Oregon, and Washington lately to deal with these eventualities?  Or has all that institutional knowledge been lost after 20 years of not caring at all about it.  Not sure.  I hope folks are still thinking about it and planning.  Yesterday’s earthquake had only one minute’s warning.

When the nightmare of nature calls, there are only seconds to answer.  So after 20 years, maybe a thought or two needs to occur in case the nightmare actually comes.  It’s way more important than some tweet, or celebrity outfit, or whatever.  Here’s hoping the West Coast takes yesterday as a needed wakeup call.

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75 years into what?

One of the most striking things I find from D Day commemorations is the implicit understanding among most who attend that victory was not inevitable. I think it’s what makes the drama of D Day still so compelling after all these years. The letter of failure prewritten by Eisenhower, how Hitler slept late while panzers sat idle, the blinding courage that seized Omaha Beach before the day ended with elite Nazi infantry separating the Allied beachheads. It all could have gone very differently.

This (and the Eurocentric mindset that permeates a war that essentially began in 1914) makes D Day something more than say, the invasion of Okinawa. Depending on how you count troop or ship numbers, the Allied invasion of Okinawa can be considered the larger and certainly far bloodier affair. But victory in Okinawa was essentially inevitable. It was simply a matter of how many Allied and Japanese would die in battle (alongside a near tragic 50% fatality rate of Okinawan civilians).

D Day is different, a great gambit, one of the most consequential risks in the history of war. Without it, it’s conceivable to consider the ideas of a separate peace with Germany, something less than total victory. A Europe and a world that would look very different. A massive failure of democracy against the worst of totalitarianism.

But to me, the seeds of victory lie in the differing systems at war, the different visions of humanity. Put in the bluntest of military of terms, the Allies win because democracy allows the battlefield flexibility of thought, leadership, and initiative required. Conversely, Rommel has to wait for a dictator to give him the most basic and common sense of tactical orders. One system was doomed to fail, to fall apart under its own contradictions. Something similar happens in the political realm with the Soviets Circa 1989.

So it’s a victory rightly celebrated, honored, and remembered. But I’m always given pause when considering these sorts of events. That was then, a generation guided by a singular purpose to keep their societies free. My own family was among them. How does that stack up with today?

Today speech laws in Britain can get you jailed if you publicly quote the “wrong” words of Churchill. Since that day the vaunted Allied coalition has lost more wars than it’s won, it will soon be in Afghanistan five times longer than it took to win World War II. 75 years after a war to preserve freedom across the globe, very few bat an eye when the Sudanese military guns down over 100 unarmed protestors; because they can, because they know nobody cares.

So D Day into what? I think a much narrower purpose than one would wish for. Perhaps less about freedom or democracy for the globe, but rather the very narrow goal for the planet’s Western powers to defeat the Imperial Japanese and Nazi threat that sought to supplant them. And then immediately after, to confront a Soviet threat that sought to do the same. If you don’t have nuclear weapons, eventually the very opposite Soviet and Western visions would have had to resolve their conflict in battle. But, the threat of mutual destruction left the Soviets to fall politically in 1989, albeit with a miserly amount of proxy wars that broke dozens of the planet’s other nations.

One out of every nine Americans wore a military uniform during this war. The equivalent number is if 30 million Americans were in the military today. Instead, there are more Americans in jail or prison at this very moment than are on active duty service. More Americans are likely to know their smartphone in greater detail than the most basic considerations of D Day. Whole sections of the modern culture think history has nothing to offer us at all, that it needs revision, or even destruction to rebuild society into something new.

It gives one pause, and a wonder about what D Day bought the world 75 years ago. A journey, into what? Toward victory, yes. But then what? That still, even today, is for us to decide. They bought us the chance we all have today. Today, as then, it’s up to us what we do with it.

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how not to conduct a coup

One cannot deny Juan Guaidó’s guts, even bravery, at taking the stand he has. I still don’t know how this man is still alive. Any number of deliberate accidents could have occurred by this point, to him or his family. Maduro’s drug trafficking gang regime is not exactly known for its restraint, having already used live rounds against unarmed demonstrators and raping the family members of defector soldiers.

Nevertheless when Guaidó appeared on television yesterday calling for a coup, I had a bad feeling about it all. I felt he was overplaying his hand, reckless, and doomed to fail. Which is exactly what happened. Guaidó seemed to not understand the basic law of coups or war, you need guns and lots of guns. Guaidó had only a few dozen soldiers, who are now hiding in the Brazilian embassy. Leopoldo Lopez, another key opposition figure who broke house arrest to appear in yesterday’s video, went to the Spanish embassy. Guaidó’s whereabouts are unknown.

What did he expect to happen? Well, here’s the insanity of it folks. This was the “plan”:

1) The chief justice of Venezuela’s supreme court Maikel Moreno was supposed to declare “legally” that the Guaidó led legislature was the legitimate arm of the Venezuelan government. This is the point that Guaidó has made all along, that Maduro’s election is fraudulent and thus by the constitution Guaidó is the legitimate acting president.

2) Using this legal decision as his basis the Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez was then supposed to throw his weight behind the opposition and order the armed forces to shift their support to Guaidó. There are unconfirmed claims that other key regime figures such as the head of the domestic intelligence agency were also in on the plot.

3) It seems the key details of this plan were brokered between Guaidó, the coup plotters, and the US National Security Council. As in, John Bolton himself. We know this because Bolton laid out the plot itself in the last 24 hours, essentially explaining how the coup he engineered had failed. Bolton apparently still seems to think he’s a Fox News contributor and not a functioning government leader who should know when to keep his mouth shut.

4) What this means is the plan was never about soldiers fighting for Guaidó, or street demonstrators overthrowing the regime, but instead focused around what amounts to a palace coup where the main effort, the chances for any success, rested entirely on the personal decisions of hardcore Maduro regime loyalists.

That’s just about the dumbest plan I’ve heard all year. If that’s how this actually played out, then Bolton is an idiot. And Guaidó is either naïve, desperate, or stupid.

a) What would possess them to think that two of the most hardcore of Maduro loyalists in Moreno and Lopez were suddenly going to change hats, when their fortunes, their freedom, and perhaps their very lives depend on Maduro remaining on power?

b) Russia and Cuba have actual armed forces on the ground in Venezuela to support the regime. Their mission is to ensure the regime’s survival. For better or worse, the number of guns Bolton had on the ground is zero.

c) The Venezuelan armed forces and their paramilitary gangs have used live fire against unarmed civilians before. When this was always going to remain the case, and since Guaidó and Bolton essentially had zero guns of their own? So, … ???

Here is singular example of why one should not put their trust in the USA. Regardless of what political party happens to be in power, it’s not a wise bet. America’s enemies are serious. America is not. Bet on evil folks, it’s going to keep winning for a while.

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Keeps winning

human scum still alive

I prefer my evildoers to be comical or true believers. These are the bad guys one can get behind.

On the comical end of the spectrum are Bond villains, Indiana Jones Nazis, or say Maduro (a bumbling idiot of a former bus driver who hangs onto power because his vice president and generals are addicted to drug trafficking money). There was actually a Venezuelan propaganda video where Maduro was driving the slums talking up his record and in the background is a building with graffiti calling for his downfall. Not only does Maduro fail to notice this, but they were actually stupid enough to leave this in after editing. Now that’s a level of comical dumb I can get behind in my bad guys.

On the true believer end of the spectrum I like my villains to mean what they say. This provides the clearest indication for the rest of us as to how one can conduct their lives. For example, Hitler shot his own wife and himself rather than be taken. Dude was pure evil, probably mostly insane, but at least meant what he said. Or take the currently popular Thanos (I don’t watch these movies but it’s hard not to know what happens) who follows through on his evil plans all the way to the end, and on multiple occasions, dies to the bitter end for them.

Contrast this to bad guys who are total losers, they neither provide comic relief nor the pleasure of a true bad guy. For example, take Stalin, for all his crimes (more bodies than Hitler) what he essentially boils down to is a coward. Granted, we must take the story with a grain of salt as the tale is from his daughter (who had a mixed relationship with him at best) but at the very end Stalin apparently dies in bed but as a broken man full of fear in his eyes at the prospect of death. Hey man, I get it, nobody wants to die, I’d be scared too. But when you clock a body count in the tens-of-millions, you’d better have more of a gut when your time comes.

Or take another example with our current human scum of the day in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is apparently still alive after five years of war. For those who aren’t aware, ISIS is finished as a landholding organization. What remains is a true stateless terror cell. al-Baghdadi made his name calling for an apocalyptic vision of his false view of Islam where the end was near and the apocalypse would rebuild humanity in a new era, his world. I’m paraphrasing but that’s what this guy sold to the planet. It was this vision that brought tens-of-thousands of foreign fighters from across the globe to fight for ISIS.

But oh dear, oh so sorry folks, because I guess al-Baghdadi didn’t really mean it after all. Shocker. If al-Baghdadi really believed any of that, he’d be a corpse in Baghuz either dead by his own hand or any number of lethal means from the Syrian Defense Forces or their Western allies. Instead he’s slumming it up in some false tent / film set like a total loser. I mean, just look at this guy, he looks like a roadside panhandler. All he needs is a cardboard sign with third grade handwritten scrawling: “unemployed false prophet/jihadist – need money – homeless veteran – please help – God bless!”.

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It’s like bin Laden. For all that dude was and claimed to be, he died in a purpose built cult compound mansion surrounded by his PlayStation and his (ultra large) porn stash. What a total loser.

al-Baghdadi’s time is coming, it’s just a matter of when. But like bin Laden he’ll go out as a complete fraud. An evil man for sure, but one who was never comical, serious, or even competent. It’s a testament to the flaws of humanity that such pathetic creatures manage to mayhem as much as they do.

What’s the real lesson from al-Baghdadi’s brief, violent reign? That he was good at it? Or rather, as I believe, that his foes (the criminally incompetent Syrian and Iraqi governments) were just even more incompetent / fraudulent.