insert stormy metaphor here

I am beginning to like Stormy Daniels. Not as a person, because I’ve never met her and I don’t know anything about her as a person. She might be witty and charming and a great Scrabble player, she might be stupid and greedy and spider-hearted. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.

I’m beginning to like Stormy Daniels because she’s refusing to shut up. It doesn’t matter to me why she’s refusing to shut up. Maybe because she’s looking for a bigger payday, maybe because she’s interested in Truth and Justice, maybe because she’s polarizing and won’t shut up because people keep telling her she should shut up. I’m beginning to like her because she’s basically telling the President of These United States “You’re not the boss of me.”

By now, everybody knows most of this basic set of facts about Stormy (I’m going to call her Stormy because it’s so much fun to write):

  1. Comrade Donald J. Trump cheated on his third wife (with whom he’d cheated on his second wife, with whom he’d cheated on his first wife) with a porn actress shortly after his wife gave birth to their unfortunately-named son. This was in 2006.
  2. Stormy claims to have continued to get horizontal with Trump for at least a year.
  3. In 2011, Stormy talked about the…should we call it an affair? I don’t know. That term came into practice for an ongoing sexual relationship back in the early 18th century, when English-speaking philanderers described what they were doing as affaires de coeur to distinguish it from just fucking around. But what the hell, let’s say it was an affair. Maybe these two crazy kids actually cared for each other in a deep, spiritual, meaningful…okay, no, not an affair. Anyway, our Stormy talked to In Touch magazine about fucking Trump in a variety of geographic locations. The article wasn’t published. Nobody seems to know why.
  4. In the fall of 2016, shortly before the election, Stormy began to speak to some news venues about having boinked candidate Comrade Trump.
  5. In October of that year, she signed a non-disclosure agreement in which she pledged NOT to discuss having boinked Trump. She was paid US$130,000 for signing the document.
  6. A couple of months ago that NDA became public knowledge thanks to the Wall Street Journal. After which In Touch published a transcript of their interview with Stormy, after which she began to make the talk show circuit but was very coy about her affair boinking Trump but hinted she was limited by the NDA, after which she did a strip club tour, after which Trump’s lawyer admitted he’d paid Stormy the US$130 thou while insisting Trump knew absolutely nothing whatsoever about anything at all, after which the entire world started laughing uproariously, after which the lawyer for Trump’s lawyer got a restraining order forbidding our poor Stormy from talking about boinking Comrade Trump because of the NDA, after which Stormy asked a court to declare the NDA was void because Comrade Trump didn’t sign it so she ought to be able to talk about boinking Trump, after which Stormy’s lawyer went on a morning talk show and basically said “Look, Stormy totally fucked the guy, okay?” and hinted there might be physical evidence of that. Like a dress with DNA maybe. Or photos. Which really doesn’t bear thinking about.

In other words, this is a cheap, sordid, thoroughly despicable series of events — pretty much like everything that’s happened in the Trump administration. Or, for that matter, in Trump’s entire cheap, sordid, thoroughly despicable life.

Donny and Stormy, sitting in a tree…

Should we care about this? Is this any of our business? Does it really matter whether or not Trump is a serial philanderer (he totally is)? Isn’t this really a personal matter between Trump and his wife? Or his wives? Or his wives and various mistresses and casual sex partners? Did we care that Bill Clinton got a blowjob (is it ‘blowjob’ or ‘blow job’?) from an intern?

Well, yeah, actually we did care. We (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘me and a whole lot of other liberals’) surely did care. Not so much about Clinton’s sex life, but about the abuse of power. A lot of us acknowledged that Clinton was a pretty effective president, but a fairly loathsome reprobate.

I don’t think a lot of folks are surprised or very upset by the fact that Comrade Trump used his wealth and fame to get laid (nor is anybody all that shocked by the astonishing hypocrisy of the evangelical community’s response to it). But paying hush money? And being really incompetent at paying hush money? And after incompetently paying hush money, he didn’t even get the hush? I mean, c’mon. How are we supposed to trust and respect a president who can’t even get a porn actress to hush up about their affair intercontinental boinking? Keeping porn stars from talking, that’s basic Billionaire 101, right?

Look, nobody expects anything remotely like dignity from a guy who referred to the size of his dick in a presidential debate. And nobody really expects honesty from a guy who lies about…well, everything. But I should point out — you know, in the interest of fairness and all that — that Comrade Trump has denied having sex with Stormy.

So, this is what Comrade Trump wants you to believe: 1) Trump’s personal lawyer created a limited liability corporation 2) whose only purpose was to pay Stormy US$130,000 3) out of the lawyer’s own pocket, 4) without any discussion at all with Trump, 5) to prevent her from saying she’d been boinking Trump, 6) which isn’t true.

It’s okay. I’m laughing too.

glory days

A gun-nut friend (yes, I remain friends with folks who are gun nuts) sent me a couple of links to opinion pieces he felt I should read. So hey, I read them. Why not? One was in The Federalist (which likes to present itself as being thoughtfully conservative) and the other was in USA Today (which is to newspapers what white bread is to bread).

I read the Federalist opinion piece. I actually agreed with some of the author’s thoughts (like ‘the loudest voices are often the most ignorant’), but disagreed with the author’s conclusions (liberals who don’t understand weaponry should shut the fuck up). Then I read the USA Today editorial, which was a lot less interesting. It was basically just another bland re-hashing of the usual tired arguments in favor of arming teachers. It was entirely wrong-headed, but fairly innocuous. In other words, about what you’d expect from USA Today.

Then I saw the name of the author of the editorial. Jerome R. Corsi. The author attribution described him in this way:

Investigative journalist Jerome R. Corsi is author of Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump. He heads the Washington bureau of Alex Jones’ InfoWars.

Calling Jerome Corsi an investigative journalist is like calling your drunk uncle an alcohol researcher. Corsi’s not any sort of journalist, let alone an investigative one. Jerome Corsi is an extreme right-wing nut job. And InfoWars? That’s absolutely one of the worst of the lunatic right-wing conspiracy theory websites.

Jerome R. Corsi

Why would any news organization willingly turn over even a few inches of publishing space to a right-wing nut job who works for a conspiracy theory website? I mean, even if what’s written is just a bland re-hashing of the usual tired arguments, why in the hell would USA Today want to offer any legitimacy to somebody like Corsi?

I first learned about Corsi during the 2004 presidential election campaign. He wrote a book about the Democratic candidate called Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, It was essentially a right-wing attack on Kerry’s combat service in Vietnam. It disparaged Kerry’s wounds (he received three Purple Hearts) and criticized his awards for valor (Kerry was awarded both a Bronze Star and a Silver Star). For the most part, the book relied on interviews with veterans who didn’t serve on Kerry’s boat. Corsi’s book is the origin of the term ‘swiftboating’ which is defined as an unfair or untrue political attack.

That was the first of Corsi’s many right-wing conspiracy theories. He also wrote a book about then candidate Barack Obama, claiming Obama was a secret Muslim, born in Africa. Here are a few other things Corsi has claimed. 1) there’s a secret plot to replace the US dollar with some sort of international currency, 2) an Islamic terrorist group supported Sen. John McCain, 3) the US (well, President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry) sold or gave nuclear weaponry to Iran, 4) there’s a plot to create a North American Union comprised of the US, Canada, and Mexico — and that a new currency and new driver licenses have already been created, 5) the 9/11 attacks included bombs placed inside various World Trade Center buildings, and my personal favorite, 6) Adolf Hitler escaped Germany in the final days of WWII by taking a helicopter to Austria, where he boarded a plane which took him to Spain, where he was smuggled aboard a Nazi submarine (U-530) which took him to Argentina, where he (and possibly Eva Braun) were secretly landed ashore.

Corsi, (allegedly one pastrami sandwich away from a heart attack).

Possibly the only person less trustworthy and more paranoid that Jerome Corsi is Alex Jones, the demented fuckwit who created InfoWars — the lunatic right’s preferred source for the latest conspiracies on chemtrails, weather control, false flag attacks on school kids, and subterranean Satanic pedophile sex rings run out of DC area pizza parlors by Hillary Clinton and her Muslim lesbian lovers.

And this is the guy USA Today chose to write an editorial supporting arming teachers in schools in order to protect school kids from “psychologically disturbed adolescents who may be contemplating copy-cat school shootings.” Who’s going to protect USA Today’s readers from psychologically disturbed editorial writers? USA Today defended their decision to turn this loopy bastard loose on their editorial page by releasing the following statement:

USA Today’s Opposing View shows readers more than one point of view on an issue. Our signature debate format reinforces our reputation for fairness, which is one of our core values.

The problem, of course, is NOT that USA Today ran an editorial supporting the arming of teachers. The problem is giving a known conspiracy theorist a mainstream voice. The problem isn’t one of fairness, as USA Today suggests; it’s one of judgment. Not Corsi’s judgment, which is demonstrably lacking, but the judgment of the editorial staff of USA Today.

USA Today used to be news and entertainment pablum. Turns out, those were their glory days.

…and took the photo

I took a walk yesterday. I take a walk most days if the weather isn’t completely hostile. Walking on Thursday is usually a bit special, though, because (as I’ve written before, and before that) I belong to Utata — an international group of photographers and other reprobates — and Utata walks on Thursdays.

The group has been doing this for 619 consecutive weeks. That’s very nearly 12 years. We walk and we take a few photos of whatever we see. Not everybody in Utata does this, of course, but there are always a few people out walking with their cameras. This week, for example, we had people walking in Vancouver, in Switzerland, in the U.K., in Indiana, in Austria, in Ontario.

Normally during a walk I’ll shoot maybe half a dozen photos. Well, probably a few more than that now that I’m consciously shooting a Knuckles Dobrovic project. Yesterday I only shot a single photograph. This one:

I’ve been noodling around with cameras for a few decades now, and I’m familiar enough with whatever equipment I have with me to compose and shoot without a lot of conscious thought. I usually know the geometry of the composition I want before I bring the camera (or cellphone) up to shoot the photo. But with this particular photo, a process that normally would take moments ended up taking a few minutes.

I’d actually walked a few feet past that structure before my brain registered that its shape echoed the shape of the shed in the background. So I stopped, walked back, started to take the photo…but there was a distracting bit of playground in the back yard of the house. Couldn’t have that, could I. So I shifted my position a couple of steps to the right…only now the trees were out of balance. So I shifted again…only now a tree partially blocked the shed. So I shifted closer…but the top of the structure no longer aligned with the roof of the house. So I squatted…only now it cut off a corner of the damned house window. So I unsquatted a bit…only now there didn’t seem to be quite enough of the fucking sidewalk. So I shifted back a couple of steps and re-squatted, then re-unsquatted a bit…but some cruel, heartless son-of-a-bitch pulled a goddamned car into the drive of the neighboring house and left its ass-end hanging out just enough to intrude into the fucking frame.

So I said ‘fuck it’ and took the photo.