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Japanese Whispers: The Swift Boating of Hillary

In 2004, after losing the post-9/11 2002 mid-terms, the Democrats fielded a decorated Vietnam veteran against an incumbent president who was revealed to have gone AWOL on his National Guard service, a service in itself that was a bypass of the regular draft.

Instead of accepting the stacked deck, conservative Republicans immediately went to work reframing - parading a group of veterans to call into doubt Kerry's service, while finding a magic unicorn forged document to derail the otherwise overwhelmingly compelling evidence that Bush had failed to complete.

Flagging Relief

I've never quite gotten the flag, and growing up, I thought that was part of the point. Didn't everyone else sit through history class and learn how country after country had followed jingoistic rhetoric, crass manipulative symbolism and other tricks of the trade to go get slaughtered? I once read the final chapter to "Johnny Got His Gun" on air - at one point, that was required reading, no?

Hillary takes a shit

Faced with condemnation from David Axelrot for not being more forthcoming about her pneumonia, Hillary Clinton's team has put the traveling press corps on notice that they will be receiving regular updates on bowel movements, including floaters vs sinkers, as well as any gassy bloated moments, painful urination, drowsiness, irritability, and other possible flaws of human nature and physiology.

Blackmailing Big Brother?

It's hard to see why Assange's current approach to Hillary's records isn't illegal - the emails were obtained illegally, the material isn't presented as news but as a threat, a form of harassment and libel. He'll be putting out "teases" and it could have a "significant impact" on November. He's trading in stolen information to harass a candidate for our highest office - behind his walled protective space in a London embassy with no repercussions. It's a kind of pain free extortion or blackmail or simply a peculiar gaming site on the hill with ability to target characters and sling fireballs and explosives at them one by one. Julian at 13, forever and ever.

Pay Equality

So Gretchen wassername has now earned about 50% more than Hillary's speeches over 5 years through a harassment suit, and Ailes has earned twice that amount for quitting. Shame they're not demanding his transcripts. But thebiggest scandal remains the Clinton Foundation, where unlike Fox they trade non-access for non pocketed money. Why do they do it?

Wild and Wilder

Since everything must be about Trump these days, and I've previously compared Trump to some kind of Willie Wonka (though more the bizarre psychically-damaged Johnny Depp version), the passing of Gene Wilder is a sad moment. I remember my joy at being able to turn my kids on to the original Willie Wonka, and his role in Mel Brooks' absurdly popular farting, Cole Porter tap-dancing, German kvetching deconstructionist comedy about the Wild Wild West, after too many billion movies applauding the destruction of a civilization with hardly a moment of second thought or self-doubt. It was arguably part of our national turn in the 70's - Jimmy Carter's "malaise" tied to Taxi Driver and Nixon's resignation and other signs that something wasn't quite right even in Tinseltown, that our 60's celebration was off the rails.

OpenThread: hacktivism, Soros...

Ironic that the new hacktivism is taking on Open Society, the one that did so much to promote transparent organizations after the wall. But the target seems to be Soros' promotion of arguments for the Ukrainian protesters in Maidan - a rather contentious issue that pitted the US left against US government actions as rather colonialistic (unlike Russia's continued influence over Ukraine, which is simply

Likeability

Okay, as this keeps coming up, I thought I'd put together a list to help us track the seemingly all-important metric of "likeability" as it concerns our public servants and cultural heroes.

More likeable than Hillary: Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Pope Francis, Al Franken?, Elizabeth Warren, Eric Snowden, Christiane Amanpour, Stephen Colbert-Jon Stewart-Samantha Bee, Joe Biden (or so they say), Elon Musk, Angelina Jolie, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Richard Holbrooke?, Tom Tomorrow, Barbara Jordan?, Kofe Annan

Moderation vs. Violent Mood Swings

It's been the perceived wisdom this season that Americans are outraged, and that solutions need to be drastic. But perceived wisdom, especially among self-interested media types, isn't always accurate, and doesn't always reflect what the populace expects. And change often comes when a dam bursts, not with steady trends - watching the water rise often does little to predict the outcome. (Plus my experience with earthquakes tells me that an aftershock can be worse than the original quake - effects do ripple).

Hack Attacks - Quo Vadis?

My biggest objection during the time we helped remove Qaddafi was not a condemnation of regime change, but "what's the precedent?" Unless you're the Supreme Court in 2000 writing a "one-time-use-only" clause into your work, or even if, there's the constant concern in both foreign and domestic policy that a new clever "remedy" will be copied and extended in ways we find unreasonable but ways the bastardizers think wholly fair. Thus part of the history of how Republicans have mimicked and abused Democratic strategy in the Senate or amazingly refused to take any action on a Supreme Court nominee based on a fairly meaningless comment by Biden lots of years ago.

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