Friday, February 02, 2024

Democracy by Swift - Trump’s sex saga Putin’s assets

 If we have been pleased with life, we should not be displeased with death, since it comes from the hand of the same master.


New Course: The Philosophy of Taylor Swift — Ryan Davis is teaching “Miss Americana: Taylor Swift, Ethics, and Political Society” at BYU

Trump lawyers to use ‘conflict of interest’ between judge, Carroll’s attorney in appeal of $83.3M jury verdict: ‘Insane’ NY Post


E. Jean Carroll’s legal fight against Trump: 10 key moments The Hill. Not a fan of Hansen — whatever the Democrats are, they’re not “left wing” –but he highlights the key role that New York State’s “The Adult Survivors Act” played; it looks suspiciously like a bill of attainder

Donald Trump in furor stormed out of a New York courtroom for a while, in the defamation suit brought by author and dating/boyfriend/sex-advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. It was just settled against Trump for $83.3 million! The Carroll suit was largely subsidized by Reid Hoffman the billionaire capitalist, and mega-donor to the Democratic Party and leftwing causes. The subtext of Trump’s rage, aside from the outrageous monetary size of the defamation ruling, is that he was facing—and angered—a leftwing claimant, a quite hostile leftwing judge, and a leftwing New York jury. The civil suit serves as a mere preview of four additional leftwing criminal prosecutions, leftwing judges, and leftwing juries to come—all on charges that would never had been filed if Trump either had not run for president or been a liberal progressive. Yet here we are. The E. Jean Carroll case is the most baffling of all five. She, the alleged victim, did not remember even the year in which the purported sexual assault took place, nearly three decades ago. Observers have pointed out dozens of inconsistencies in her story. It was never clear what were the preliminaries that supposedly (Trump denies meeting her) led both, allegedly, willingly to retreat together to a department store dressing room, where during normal business hours the alleged violence took place. Moreover, the sexual assault complaint came forward decades post facto—and only after Trump was running for and then president. Carroll eventually sued him for battery, but well after the statute of limitations had expired and thus the case seemed defunct. Her claims of defamation injuries arise from being fired from her advice column job at ELLE magazine. She claimed that Trump’s sharp denials and ad hominem retorts led to her career ruin. But the loss for anyone of a column at 76 does not seem such a rare occurrence, and the absence of a salaried job in one’s late seventies for four years does not seem to equate to a $83 million hit. And note the allegation that her dispute with Trump led to her firing was strongly denied by the very magazine that cut her loose. But then another strange thing happened. In 2022, a new law (“The Adult Survivors Act”) was passed in the New York legislature. It also post facto established a twelve-month window (beginning six months from the signing of bill) that permitted survivors of long ago alleged sexual assaults suddenly to sue the accused long-ago perpetrator—regardless of the previous statute of limitations. That unexpected opening suddenly gave Carroll’s prior unsuccessful efforts a rebirth. And she quickly refiled with the help of arch-Trump hating billionaire Hoffman. Yet the bill may have been introduced with Trump particularly in mind—given the legislator who introduced it, Brad Hoylman-Siga, was known as another Trump antagonist. More interestingly, he had earlier introduced and had passed another Trump-targeted bill. That “TRUST” act had empowered particular federal Congressional committees to have access to the New York State once sealed tax returns of high-ranking government officials—such as Trump. That bill’s generally agreed subtext was a green light for anti-Trump members of Congress to obtain legal access to Donald J. Trump's tax returns. So there is an eerie feeling that the New York legislature may have abruptly passed legislation that was aimed at the past conduct of Donald Trump but only after he entered the political arena. While these are not quite bills of attainder, there is something unsettling if they are post facto laws aimed at targeting the most famous and controversial man in America and the leading candidate for the presidency. In essence they were targeted statutes designed to make Trump’s prior legally unactionable behavior suddenly quite legally actionable. Trump will be subject to such special treatment all summer and fall. Prosecutors Bragg, James, Smith, and Willis will synchronize their court business for maximum effect. Trump again will face leftwing prosecutors, judges, and juries on charges that are politically driven, involving alleged behavior that is either usually not criminalized or not to the same degree as Trump’s case. (Do we remember the nearly $375,000 federal fine belatedly leveled at an exempt Obama but only five years after his 2008 illegal garnering of, and not reporting, foreign campaign contributions?) The stakes are higher each day as Trump closes in on the nomination and thus becomes the hope of half the country to end the Biden madness. Somehow Trump will have to stay calm, give no opening to his legion of hostile prosecutors, while conducting a nonstop campaign against Biden (and for a while Hayley), and while fighting to keep his name on various state ballots. So what we are witnessing is not even the extralegal efforts of Steele/Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie/DNC/Hillary Clinton in 2016, or the 2020 “Russian disinformation” ruse/change the voting laws/infuse half a billion dollars to absorb the work of the registrar machinations against Trump. We are way beyond all that. The legal system itself, hand-in-glove with leftwing politicos (compare campaign boasts of James and Willis, or prosecutorial visits to the January 6 committee and the White House) is turning the process of balloting and elections into an embarrassing farce. Still, Trump will have to soldier on. He must stay controlled amid the tsunamis, not play into the hands of his accusers, and remember that he may soon be the only eleventh-hour hope to stop this mockery of American law, customs and traditions.

Secret Putin Residence Discovered Near Finland – Dossier Center

President Vladimir Putin is believed to own a highly guarded residence near Russia's border with Finland, the investigative outlet Dossier Center reported Monday.

Located 30 kilometers from Finland in northwestern Russia’s republic of Karelia, the residence allegedly belonging to Putin features “three modern-style houses on the shore of Marjalahti Bay, two helipads, several yacht piers, a trout farm and a farm with cows for marbled beef production.” 

Drone footage of the property, with an area of about one square kilometer, also reveals a waterfall that the Dossier Center says was “stolen” from the Ladoga Skerries National Park.

Journalists did not say how they were able to capture the aerial images, noting only that they had managed to bypass 24-hour security, intelligence officers and drone signal jamming to produce its video report, which bears resemblance to anti-corruption investigations by jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. 

Public polling has shown that Russians havelittle trust in the tax returns submitted by civil servants, with a majority saying only a “negligible” share of their assets and income are made public.

BBC Vladimir Putin: Many Russians see no alternative candidate as election looms

How Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly became the world’s richest person


You probably have noticed all the recent hubbub about Taylor Swift, because we all notice all the hubbub about Taylor Swift. But this spate of hate, though ludicrous, casts a light on an essential feature of right-wing America: It is deeply tied to the world of conspiracy theory.

This latest fever dream of the right is another blast of cuckoo-ness. Yet with Swift as the target, this nutjobbery may well have a positive impact—showing a wide audience how extreme and lunatic the conservative movement can be. 

Taylor Swift, a useful idiot for a secret Biden operation—that was the thrust here. Of course, conservatives have had their panties in a twist since Swift in September deployed her powerful Instagram account (279 million followers!) to call on her fans to register to vote, and tens of thousands did so that day. Given that the mega-popular chanteuse opposed the reelection of Tennessee MAGA-Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn in 2018 (which aggravated white nationalists) and endorsed Biden in 2020—citing Biden’s support for reproductive rights, gay rights, and civil rights—Republicans who have been peeved at her (including Trump) are certainly right to fear another Swift shout-out to Biden. But it’s nuts to call this the result of a secret plot. Doing so says more about the conservative mindset than Swift, Biden, or the Deep State. 

What triggered this latest burst of irrational paranoia on the right is Swift’s headline-grabbing romance with Travis Kelce, the star tight-end of the Kansas City Chiefs, whose exceptional playing has helped lead the team to the coming Super Bowl. Conservatives on social media have howled that the attention she draws at Chiefs’ games—with the networks cutting to her in a luxury box celebrating when Kelce makes a smashing play—has ruined the matches for them. (What snowflakes.) But in recent days, this harrumphing has exploded into far more than grousing. The rightists have latched on to the Swift-Deep State conspiracy theory and expanded it with a new storyline: The NFL has rigged it for the Chiefs to reach the Big Game…to raise Swift and Kelce’s profiles even higher….to give even more oomph to her presumed 2024 endorsement of Biden. 

Why the Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory About Taylor Swift Is Good for American Democracy

Capitol police said there was no evidence a crime had been committed.
In an email to HuffPost on Thursday, the Capitol Police said that while the video was a “likely violation of Congressional policy,” there is no evidence that a crime was committed.

Inside the collapsing U.S. political-media-industrial-complex Semafor.

Poland and the Demon in Democracy N.S. Lyons (ma). Important. 

Tractors block major roads in Europe as farmers begin ‘siege of Paris’ BBC. You can see why the officialdom wants kill switches in new vehicles. 

iPhone Apps Secretly Harvest Data When They Send You Notifications, Researchers FindGizmodo . Yours truly has long been suspicious of apps along with devices engaging in non-user-initiated activity. I really really hate how my iPhone constantly asking me to log in to my iPhone account. Why the hell should I do that unless I plan to make a transaction? The high frequency of this demand suggests that this is yet another Apple spying scheme. 

Americans hit with 78 BILLION robocall scams each year, new report reveals after AI-cloned voice of Joe Biden urged New Hampshire Democrats not to vote in primary Daily Mail.