Friday, December 15, 2017

Lawyer offered six figures to Donald Trump harassment accusers.

President Donald Trump and California Lawyer Lisa Bloom. The Hill.

California Lawyer Lisa Bloom offered two Trump sexual harassment accusers six figures in donations. The Hill. New York City makeup artist Jill Harth, who had sued Trump in 1997 before dropping her case, said that Bloom had arranged a payment of $30,000 from an unknown donor and had also received $2300 from a Gofundme page. A 2nd accuser, who ultimately did not decide to come forward, was offered up to $750,000 dollars by Bloom, which was refused by the accuser. The 2nd accuser also said that Bloom was more interested in damaging the candidacy of Trump, who she still supported over Hillary Clinton, than getting the truth out. The 2nd accuser said that Trump made an advance on her but backed down when she declined and she only wanted to tell her story to help her friend, Jill Harth. Both accusers also said that Bloom had demanded a 33% cut of any payments received from media appearances.

My Comment:
Very good long form article from The Hill. My summary doesn't do it justice so read the whole thing. They detail one of the main reasons why I do not trust the attacks against Donald Trump and Roy Moore. It's because of the involvement of lawyers like Lisa Bloom and her mother Gloria Allred. Both of them are glory seekers who want more attention and fame instead of justice. They are also both far leftists. Sure, they occasionally represent people that have actual valid complaints, but they are more often than not motivated by fame, money and politics than actually seeking justice. Indeed, a pretty good rule of thumb when evaluating a sex scandal is the involvement of those two lawyers. If they are present you can safely assume that it's a phony scandal. 

I also have to say that I am not surprised that this kind of thing was going on. Everyone suspected that these women were being paid off. Indeed, I am guessing a lot of Trump haters think it is just fine to do so since it obviously isn't fun to become part of a media circus. They think that people should be rewarded for "telling the truth" even if people disagree with what that truth is. 

The problem is that now all of the accusations against Trump are tainted. He can point to this article and others like it and say "hey, these people are being paid to accuse me" and be 100% right. Though the accusers said that they hadn't been influenced by the money and that they were telling the truth anyways, it's hard to deny that it looks horrible. What is the difference between someone who tells the truth for money and someone who lies for money? Not much. The involvement of money taints the whole thing and makes the accusations very hard to believe. 

 And when we are talking six figures of income that is huge reason for someone to lie or bend the truth. That is a life changing amount of money and could motivate an otherwise honest person to lie. Even something smaller, like paying off a mortgage, would be a huge deal. I recently paid off my car and it is a huge deal for me to have that car payment gone each month. Getting rid of a mortgage would be even more meaningful. Not only are you getting rid of the debt, you are also getting rid of a major expense. That means it is a good financial descion if all you have to do is lie or bend the truth...  

It also shows how desperate people like Lisa Bloom were to get these stories out there. She was able to secure $750,000 for the 2nd accuser who didn't ultimately come forward. The 2nd accuser didn't say that Trump raped her. She said that all Trump did was ask her out back in the 1990's. She said no and Trump backed down. That's evidence of Trump being an adulterer, depending on when it happened since he was married for most of the 1990's but not all, but everyone already knew that about him anyways. Bloom and her donors were willing to pay six figures just to get another story out there about Trump attempting to cheat. If that doesn't show how politically motivated they were, nothing will. 

I also think that even though Trump made a pass at the 2nd accuser and even though she was offered six figures to hurt his campaign and almost accepted, she STILL thought that Trump was a better choice for president than Hillary Clinton. I've said myself that Trump could have attacked me and I would have done the same thing. Just goes to show how unpopular Clinton was/is and how popular Trump's policies are, even if the man himself isn't. 

Things certainly are changing about what the left considers acceptable behavior. The 2nd accusation seems about as harmless as one can be. Sure, he may have attempted to cheat, but that's not a crime and nobody has any right to complain about that besides his wife and wife's friends and family. Trump certainly isn't the first powerful man to attempt to cheat and won't be the last. 

But what disturbed me is the fact that the attempted adultery wasn't what people were upset about. Instead it seems like they were angry that he even asked her out at all. The idea that an "unwanted advance" should be in the same conversation as "sexual harassment, assault and rape" is utterly disgusting. Sure Trump might have been in a position of power but that's always going to be true with a man of his stature. He was and is a massively powerful man. 

Indeed, it seems like the far left wants it so that any man who ever makes a pass at a woman and is rejected should be treated with the same amount of contempt and disgust as you would if the person was a rapist or child molester. Not only is that wildly disproportionate to the actual harm caused, ie a tiny bit of discomfort, it will have repercussions throughout society. Even now I hear stories of men and boys that are too scared of being labeled a creep to ask out a woman, even if they think the answer will be yes. That is unsustainable and could have horrific consequences for both men and women. 

Finally, it seems that the "Russia Russia Russia" hysteria has died down yet again. That investigation was going nowhere and the mainstream media is desperate to not talk about the FBI scandals involving the Russia story and the bias of Muller's investigation. That leaves sexual harassment as their only recourse and since that strategy has been successful in taking down Roy Moore, along with many other figures in politics and entertainment, they are emboldened. 

Will it work? I doubt it. I have a feeling that big things are coming that will completely overshadow this current media blitz. Like I said, the FBI/Muller probe scandal has legs and once the OIG report comes out there is a good chance that people won't be talking about anything else. Time will tell, but given that this story has come out and Bill O'Reilly claims to have similar allegations that he will be releasing soon, I am guessing that this media circus will die down yet again. Plus, it didn't work last time either... 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Picture of North Korea's first a-bomb?

An enhanced screencap shows what could be North Korea's first atomic bomb. BBC/Korea Central TV. 

The BBC has an article up about something they noticed from a munitions conference in North Korea. The 30 minute video shows delegates walking past a serious of photographs but one stood out. It appears to show former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il with what could have been the countries first atomic bomb. 

It's not completely sure that is what is in the picture. It is fairly blurry and without much detail but it seems to show Kim Jong Il with a round object which matches designs for atomic bombs. The photo is also similar to pictures taken of Kim Jong Un with the North Korea's first hydrogen bomb. 

Kim Jong Un with a supposed Hydrogen bomb. KCNA.

I am kind of surprised that this is the first time this photo has shown up. The above photo with Kim Jong Un was all over the news but this one with Kim Jong Il did not. It's possible that they wanted to keep it secret but you would have thought that they would have released it for propaganda purposes. 

I have little doubt that the image is real though, even if they bomb might not be authentic. I always thought that the 2nd photo with Kim Jong Un was a mockup since I doubt he would take the risk of even being in the same room as a nuke, but that's just my thought. It's very possible that both photos are authentic. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Editor's Note: Winter Vacation

For the next 11 days I will be off work. I'm not traveling anywhere but I will be out and about and posting may slack off a bit. I will still try to cover anything major but I will likely be posting less and at different times. As always you can see updates on my twitter page.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Roy Moore loses against Doug Jones in the Alabama special election.

Doug Jones.

The Alabama Senate race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones has been called with Doug Jones winning. To say this is shocking is an understatement. The polls had Moore up by almost double digits, other than a few outliers, in the past week. Right now it looks like Jones is going to win by less than 1%. 

It was a very close election and that alone is surprising. Alabama is an incredibly safe red state where Trump won in a landslide. Yet Roy Moore was not able to win. From exit polling it seems as though GOP turnout was down while Democratic turnout was way up, especially among black voters. 

So why did this happen? Obviously the accusations against Roy Moore hurt him and hurt him badly. It didn't matter that they were largely innocuous. It also didn't matter that one of the worst accusations, that he had molested a 16 year old, was debunked when the accuser admitted to faking the evidence against him, a yearbook signature. I think a major problem is that debunking happened very late in the election and wasn't covered in the national media at all. Still, enough people believed the accusations that it probably kept Moore out of the senate. 

I think it was also a major factor that the Harvey Weinstein scandal exploded near the same time. Right now sexual assault and harassment is a major issue and the coverage is almost hysterical. This likely motivated the Democrats and depressed turnout for Republicans, especially when ads were released saying that anyone who voted for Roy Moore might be publicly exposed. This voter intimidation likely worked as people probably had a legitimate fear of getting Brendon Eich'ed. To say that voter intimidation was disgusting is an understatement but in such a close election it might have worked. 

Money probably had a role in this election as well. Doug Jones had a lot of money pouring into the state from the Democrats and various celebrities. Roy Moore had to deal with the fact that the national Republican Party cut off his money. Moore was outspent and the Democrats very wisely spent their money on get out the vote measures. I am loath to give Democrats credit for anything, but I will say that they played to win. 

Moore also made a major mistake in not campaigning as hard as he could have been. Moore did not spend much time on the road and he was never able to make the race about his policies instead of his personal life. There was a reason why Moore won the primaries and it was because his policies were front in center. Had he been able to focus on that he would have won. 

The GOP deserves a lot of the blame for this as well. Had they backed Moore from the start he probably could have won. Right now the margin is about 10,000 votes and I am guessing that could have been made up if the GOP had put any effort into getting Moore elected at all. At the last minute there was a push but it obviously wasn't enough. I am hoping that there are repercussions for people like Mitch McConnell who refused to back Moore. Indeed, for much of the race it looked like the GOP leadership wanted Doug Jones to win.

Trump's descion to back Luther Strange in the primaries makes a lot more sense now. I am guessing a GOP candidate with less baggage than Moore would have won and won easily. Strange, or even Mo Brooks, likely wouldn't have had the media circus that sunk Moore. It makes me wonder if Trump didn't know this attack was coming before hand. 

So does this race have an impact outside of Alabama? I don't know. The media would like to think so but I think it is far too soon to tell. Moore was a special case and had been accused of horrible behavior, whatever the veracity of those claims. The vast majority of Republican candidates won't have that much baggage and will have support from the GOP.

Still, it is very disturbing to me that the false accusations against Moore worked. Democrats will likely try this again and there is a chance that any Republican will be accused of things that happened 20 to 40 years ago. They have no shame at all and have no problem with lying to people. Anyone without a completely unimpeachable record will be attacked. Anyone not following the "Mike Pence" rule will be vulnerable...

EDIT: I have corrected the age of the Roy Moore accuser, Beverly Young Nelson. She was 16 when the alleged assault occurred, not 14. I regret the error. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Failed suicide bomber in New York City attack was inspired by ISIS.

Police and workers near the scene of the bombing. LA Times.

The failed suicide bombing in New York City was committed by a man inspired by ISIS's calls for Christmas attacks. L.A. Times. The suspect was a 27 year old immigrant from Bangladesh named Akayed Ullah who arrived in 2011. He was a "chain migrant" who used the status of his family to get into the country. He is accused of setting off a bomb attached to himself that injured four people including himself. No one was killed in the attack. ISIS has released threats targeting New York City via messaging apps. It appears that the suspect was only inspired by ISIS and was not part of a larger cell. 

My Comment:
Scary situation in New York. This attack could have been much worse. Had his bomb actually worked people could have died for sure. We have all seen the damage suicide bombings can do and this could have been much worse than it was. It's a minor miracle that nobody was killed in this attack and only four people were wounded, including the would be suicide bomber.  

So why did the attack fail? My guess is that Ullah just didn't have the experience in bomb making needed to create a bomb that would actually work. Bomb making isn't an easy thing to do so it's not surprising that one guy working alone failed. As always, I'm very happy that there are so many stupid terrorists out there. 

Indeed, it seems that lone wolf attackers that attempt a bombing tend to fail much more often than when they choose a different method of attack. Even when the bombs work they often don't do much damage because the attackers choose poor targets. Last years bombings in New York and New Jersey is a good example. Despite the threat, it is generally a better thing for everyone when lone wolf terrorists then when they go for a mass shooting or vehicle attack. This is not true for more organized cells that have a dedicated and experienced bomb maker. 

It's not surprising that ISIS was what inspired this attack. Even though ISIS has been defeated on the battlefield they still command respect and have called for further attacks. It is also not surprising that this suspect acted alone. With ISIS's infrastructure destroyed and their coffers empty they do not have the ability to support many terrorist attacks. ISIS can still inspire attack even though they can't seem to launch too many of their own. 

I do have to note that this is one of the only suspected suicide bombings in the United States. There have been other plots yes, and you could probably count the attacks targeting airliners as well, but there hasn't been a real suicide bombing in the United States. We have thankfully avoided a successful bombing this time around but sooner or later someone will pull it off.  

We should continue to remain vigilant. ISIS has always liked to strike during the holidays and they are calling on their supporters to commit more attacks. Though the threat is much higher in Europe than it is in the United States, I would not be surprised if we have a major lone wolf attack before the end of the year. It could be a mass shooting, a bombing or even a vehicle attack, but I am thinking something will happen, either here or in Europe. Indeed, I would be surprised if there wasn't at least another attempted attack before January 1st. 

Much has been made about the fact that Ullah used "chain migration" to enter the country. I think it is fairly obviously true that he wouldn't be here without that problem. There is no reason to allow one person in and then allowing everyone else related in as well. Had we evaluated people on their merit instead of their relationships with people already here it's likely that Ullah would not have made it into the country. 

It's unclear if Ullah was radicalized here or in Bangladesh. Bangladesh isn't the first country you think of when you think of terrorism. They are majority Muslim and they have had some horrifying terror attacks but in general they aren't as big of a threat as other countries. Still it's very possible that Ullah was radicalized there. However, it's not like we don't have radical mosques and recruiters in America as well. And with ISIS's propaganda machine it's very easy to self radicalize. We will just have to wait and see when more information comes out.