Thursday, February 18, 2016

(Step Aside, Citizen Kane! John Oliver? Bad Boy!)  Popular Fool Trump? (Adelson Who Buys the U.S. Presidency on the Cheap Laughs)  No Scalia Conspiracies!

John Oliver, back this week after his long absence . . . .

An American favorite?


And "summing up everything great in New Zealand," watch Peter Jackson wave the new flag (and later, the "Hallelujah Chorus!"). (Dildo Baggins?)

Believe it or not the NZ Economic Development Minister, Steven Joyce, begged someone to send the footage to John so he could run the film against the TPP.

"Get it over with," he begged.

And so John did.

Political observers on both sides of the aisle have been baffled for months now, as Donald Trump has refused to fade. A man with few qualifications for the presidency, who has insulted whole swaths of the country – women, immigrants, Muslims – still seems to be not only politically alive, but on his way to his party’s nomination. He was supposed to be a joke, a one-liner, but he’s riding high.

I saw him the other night being made fun of by Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert.

Who both lost to Trump's sense of his own ridiculousness.

Which, believe it or not, is more popular.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

And who is now buying the next presidential election?

Just one?

We can, perhaps, pray for his passing.

Leaving the unbiased observer with the final thought "Does anyone play the game better than Israel?"

It's a long way from a burglary in northeastern Florida to the battle for the White House, but there may be a connection: Jacobs' tale and the documents his lawsuit has brought to light — some of which were on the hard drive in the coffee maker — provide a rare window into the business dealings of Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and political megadonor who could have a bigger role in selecting the 2016 GOP nominee than millions of Republican voters.

Over the past five years, I've sought to gain a fuller view of this complicated figure in American politics. I've written several major investigative pieces about Adelson, interviewing scores of casino executives and law enforcement officials and amassing thousands of pages of documents, including troves of Adelson's legal transcripts and videotaped interviews. It has been a challenging process.

Adelson has a track record of threatening to sue journalists. He sued one for describing him as "foul-mouthed." He sued a columnist from the "Las Vegas Review-Journal," driving him into bankruptcy over a few ill-chosen words. He once went after my reporting with a retraction demand but dropped it after my editors refused to make any changes to the story.

Adelson has used his fortune to reshape right-wing politics in both America and Israel, establishing himself as a GOP kingmaker in the post -"Citizens United" era. In December, he backed a secretive $140 million purchase of the "Review-Journal," putting Nevada's largest paper in the hands of its richest resident and a fixture of its biggest industry, and increasing his influence on Nevada's early presidential caucuses. And now, as the 2016 campaign swings into high gear, Adelson faces a long-standing Justice Department probe that could generate embarrassing headlines for the mogul and the candidates he backs.

All this is why Jacobs' case, due to go to trial in June, is so significant:  The protracted litigation has illuminated just how Adelson built one of the world's largest fortunes through his casinos in Macau — a Chinese territory rife with corruption where, Jacobs' lawsuit alleges, Adelson not only tolerated, but sometimes even encouraged, illegal and unethical acts. In turn, Adelson has denied these accusations, describing Jacobs as a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired for insubordination and failure to properly address some of the issues raised in his own lawsuit.

During the last presidential election, Adelson spent nearly $100 million directly (and reportedly another $50 million in undisclosed dark money) trying to thwart Barack Obama's reelection. That included $20 million that he and his wife spent backing Newt Gingrich's primary run and, after Gingrich dropped out of the race, another $30 million on a super-PAC supporting Mitt Romney. He gave another $23 million to American Crossroads, the super-PAC once led by Karl Rove. His dark- money contributions reportedly buoyed conservative organizations such as the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity.

And Adelson has an arguably greater political influence in Israel, where he founded the free daily "Israel Hayom", reportedly spending tens of millions of dollars to bankroll it. Now the country's most widely read publication, "Hayom" serves as the house organ for Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, who rode to reelection last year after stoking fears that "Arab voters are heading to the polls in droves." This year's Republican candidates, many of whom have made the pilgrimage to Las Vegas in what has become known as the "Adelson primary," know that the mogul's patronage depends on their positions and tone toward Israel.

A diminutive 82-year-old with a lumpy face and a puff of thinning red hair, Adelson is the 13th-richest man in the United States, worth more than $20 billion, according to "Forbes." Though he made his initial fortune in Vegas, he joined the ranks of the superrich following his 2001 investment in Macau, a once run-down seaport an hour's ferry ride from Hong Kong that in the last decade has overshadowed Vegas to become the world's gambling capital.

Adelson's casinos in Macau, a special administrative region of China, provide the majority of the revenue for his company, Las Vegas Sands. But beneath Macau's glitz lurk organized crime, corruption, and a shadow banking system that has allegedly laundered billions of dollars for China's ruling elite. In 2013, the chair of Nevada's powerful Gaming Control Board told a federal commission that it was "common knowledge" that the lucrative VIP rooms in Macau casinos have "long been dominated by Asian organized crime." That same year, a federal commission cited a study finding that more than $200 billion in "ill-gotten funds are channeled through Macau each year."

Which raises the question:  Is dirty money spent by corrupt Chinese officials at Macau casinos flowing into our elections, at least indirectly? "With "Citizens United," there's an awful lot of money sloshing around in our political process," said Carolyn Bartholomew, vice chairman of the bipartisan US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional advisory body that produced a scathing report detailing Macau's vulnerability to money laundering by such officials. "People have a right to know whose money that is, and that the proceeds being spent in the political process are not from illegal and illicit activities."

A moment of levity?

Probably not.

What Are We Smelling?

By Dmitry Orlov 
February 16, 2016
So far I have mostly tried to ignore the US presidential race. It's a distraction from doing things that are either pleasant or useful — of which it is neither.
I haven't always tried to completely ignore these torrents of nonsense that erupt every four years like a gushing sewer, but, in general, I was never interested in the outcome, because in all but one case I genuinely disliked all of the candidates. Jimmy Carter is the only one whose hand I would shake. I wouldn't want to breathe the same air with any of the others — all lizard-brained miscreants who have left a slimy trail through the White House.
As I understand it, the way this system is supposed to work is as follows. There is just one good, solid reason to vote for the Democratic candidate:  to keep out the Republicans, who are so much worse than the Democrats. And there is just one good, solid reason to vote for the Republican candidate: to keep out the Democrats, who are so much worse than the Republicans. Now, you may ask yourself, How is it possible for both sides to be worse at the same time? Well, you are right, that's not possible. Obviously, they have to take turns at becoming the worst. Whoever happens to be in office adds another turn to the downward spiral.

This seems like a good, solid arrangement — if the goal is to produce the most bloated, corrupt, criminal, warmongering, terrorist-coddling, bankrupt government the Earth has ever known  — it is, indeed, all of these things. But it has just one tiny flaw: getting people to vote for you by teaching them to hate the other side is effective, but it's purely negative.

To introduce a positive, aspirational element, it is necessary to somehow make people feel that it is possible to bring about political change by voting for someone within the Democratic or the Republican party.

Of course, this is sheer nonsense, because the only people pulling the strings are the ones who write the checks, and you don't get to vote for any of them. But people don't want to believe that they are completely powerless, and the same people who fell for it in thinking that they could bring about change by voting for Obama are now falling for it again, thinking that they can bring about change by voting for Bernie. No, you can't possibly ever change things by voting for the Democratic/Republican duopoly. Oh, and you can't possibly ever change things by voting against it either. Sorry, Jill Stein.

So that's how it goes, generally, getting worse and worse each time. But things can't just continue to going from bad to worse forever; eventually, something has to give. At some point there must come a phase transition, or an inflection point, or some sort of political collapse scenario. And this year seems somewhat atypical because the quality of the candidates is so poor.

On the Democratic side, we have Hillary the Giant Flying Lizard, but she seems rather impaired by just about everything she has ever done, some of which was so illegal that it will be hard to keep her from being indicted prior to the election. She seems only popular in the sense that, if she were stuffed and mounted and put on display, lots of folks would pay good money to take turns throwing things at her. And then we have Bernie, the pied piper for the “I can't believe I can't change things by voting” crowd. He seems to be doing a good job of it — as if that mattered.

On the Republican side we have Donald and the Seven Dwarfs. I previously wrote that I consider Donald to be a mannequin worthy of being installed as a figurehead at the to-be-rebranded Trump White House and Casino (it is beneath my dignity to mention any of the Dwarfs by name) but Donald has a problem: he sometime tells the truth. In the most recent debate with the Dwarfs he said that Bush lied in order to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Candidates must lie — lie like, you know, like they are running for office. And the problem with telling the truth is that it becomes hard to stop.

What bit of truthiness is he going to deliver next? That 9/11 was an inside job? That Osama bin Laden worked for the CIA, and that his death was faked? That the Boston Marathon bombing was staged, and the two Chechen lads were patsies? That the US military is a complete waste of money and cannot win? That the financial and economic collapse of the US is now unavoidable? Even if he can stop himself from letting any more truthiness leak out, the trust has been broken: now that he's dropped the T-bomb, how can he be relied upon to lie like he's supposed to?

And so we may be treated to quite a spectacle: the Flying Lizard, slouching toward a federal penitentiary, squaring off against the Donald the T-bomber. That would be fun to watch. Or maybe the Lizard will implode on impact with the voting booth and then we'll have Bernie vs. the T-bomber. Being a batty old bugger, and not wanting to be outdone, he might drop some T-bombs of his own. That would be fun to watch too.

Not that any of this matters, of course, because the country's trajectory is all set. And no matter who gets elected — Bernie or Donald — on their first day at the White House they will be shown a short video which will explain to them what exactly they need to do to avoid being assassinated. But I won't be around to see any of that. I've seen enough. This summer I am sailing off:  out Port Royal Sound, then across the Gulf Stream and over to the Abacos, then a series of pleasant day-sails down the Bahamas chain with breaks for fishing, snorkeling and partying with other sailors (I know, life is so hard!), then through the Windward Passage, a stop at Port Antonio in Jamaica, and then onward across the Caribbean to an undisclosed location. Please let me know if you want to crew. I guarantee that there will be absolutely no election coverage aboard the boat.

(Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse, Hold Your Applause! and Absolutely Positive, and publishes weekly at the phenomenally popular blog

And what type of controversial comments did yesterday's highlighted essay on Scalia's death elicit?

And, no, still not a conspiracyist.

But who is?

Victor G., on February 15, 2016 said:  An autopsy should be obligatory for an official of Scalia’s stature. There should be absolute certainty on the cause of death. Just think of all the valid testimony the people received from JFK’s autopsy … (hint, hint)

willyloman, on February 15, 2016 said:  Check out the update. I wonder if they didn’t bring him out there to pressure him on the inevitable TPP challenge that is sure to surface once Obama signs the trade deal into law.
dinophile, on February 15, 2016 said:  Yes, and an inquest is required by law because of the unusual circumstances. See:

And because an inquest is required, the justice of the peace should order an autopsy. Although he or she has discretion whether to do so, the family has no say in the matter.

Thus, we must consider whether all this was just another massive hoax, with Scalia paid a big chunk of money to disappear to the Riviera or somewhere. Would he do that? Yes, especially if he got a li’l phone call from. the Pope. Scalia was always rumored to be Opus Dei. That means he would do something like this:  his loyalty is not to the Constitution and statutes of the U.S. It is to the Vatican. .
speculator247, on February 15, 2016 said:  So the death is certainly odd and begs lots of questions. But extremely concerning is that this crook was meeting with substantial business people who had stakes in upcoming cases before the supreme court? This is completely unethical and should get judges at least kicked off the bench, if not disbarred.

Considering Obama’s choice for a replacement, I’m thinking it might be better to wait for a new president before appointing another judge to the court as some of the republicans have suggested.

willyloman, on February 15, 2016 said:  The only two candidates that I could imagine not putting a neoliberal corporatist shill in that seat would be Kasich and Sanders. Of course, we both know it will be Bush V. Clinton when it all shakes out, don’t we? So, what’s the point in waiting?

Besides, they want the TPP right now. No waiting.

An interesting point:  Obama is meeting with leaders from across the Asian Pacific today here in the states. More countries to sign onto the TPP is the plan. If this Justice was removed in order to make way for a clear transition of power here in the states, it sends a strong signal to these other repressive nations, doesn’t it?
Stock, on February 15, 2016 said:  Judge Scalia's death is Energy News

5 days after Obama’s Energy Control Grab was Shot Down by the Supreme Court, 5 to 4, Justice Scalia Unexpectedly Dies

Has no one else in the world put together this obvious connection? This is part of the NWO Globalist Energy Grab, i.e. the Paris-site climate conference, which even NOAA fudged all the temperature data last fall in order to make the data fit the meme.

This ruling by the supreme court came 5 days ago.

– See more at:

willyloman, on February 15, 2016 said:  Do you know how Scalia voted on that? Ah. He voted against Obama’s energy grab rollout. It would certainly be interesting to know who those business leaders were in that meeting. Were they from the energy sector? Good find. thanks.

stlonginus, on February 15, 2016 said:  Who is to say Scalia ‘agreed’ to go this meeting? Seems to me, he may have been forced, coerced, threatened. We’ll never know. If his regular security detail was missing in action, that’s all we really need to know, IMHO.
DavidHazan(@Lilaleo), on February 15, 2016 at said: Really good break down of Scalia’s “passing.” Thank you, Scott.

Considering the timing of the death, and the angle MSM started harping on the “who’s gonna appoint the new one?” angle while the body was still warm indicate to me that the meeting he might have had with the select group of people and what they may or may not have discussed might have had nothing to do with the death and I would find it more likey that he was brought there for the express purposes of vacating his seat and adding the selection of a new justice into the election soup..

All of the accounts of the circumstances surrounding the death are nonsensical. But the public is, as usual, tuned out. He was 79 after all, right?

I am wondering one thing. A very old man like Scalia, who holds arguably one of the highest posts in the nation… Are we to believe that he travels alone? His people would just deliver him to this remote location and leave him there? Yes, maybe possible, but a little hard to believe.

WAMTAF, on February 15, 2016 at said:  Given his lack of security, it’s quite possible he received a friendly “suggestion” he go down there unaccompanied.

His repose in death also suggests a man faced with a number of unpleasant options choosing what he believed the best way out. I say this because there is no way Scalia was clean; he was just as dirty in his own myriad ways, not the least suggestive being his ties to right-wing “catholic” organizations. One group got to another and neither is our friend.
Frank Wiederman, on February 15, 2016 said:  The family of Justice Scalia have a responsibility to the people of the United States to request an autopsy or even even a partial autopsy (toxicology, etc.). Only misguided naivety would allow otherwise. It’s a no brainer, it’s an obligation, this is too big. They have my heartfelt condolences.

PendanticSkirt, on February 15, 2016 said:  Keep hearing the strange report that his pajamas were not even wrinkled, does that mean they will were still neatly folded? Also there was a pillow over his face!

The anti-epa ruling is a first, the court ruled a stay in the implementation of the horrendous rules before they or the lower dc district court heard the case. The energy providers pleaded implementation would ruin the coal industry before the courts heard the case. Now it will be under the new President when the case is decided and hopefully our new President will cancel all of these illegal executive orders. Mr. Trump appears to be our only hope of ending this madness, he too will probably be assassinated before they let him take office.

adriaen22, on February 18, 2016 said: I believe the statement was that his bedclothes were not wrinkled. Bedclothes are not pajamas. Bedclothes mean sheets and blankets. The fact that those were not wrinkled indicates that he was placed on the bed after he was dead.

willyloman, on February 18, 2016 said:  I think he was certainly posed to make it look like he died peacefully in his sleep. that rarely really happens. When people die at night in bed, they usually wake up in time to struggle a bit. so yeah, it’s odd.
Stan Stonebraker, on February 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm said:  Quite a resume
and Texas again! Lots of spook shit has/does go down in the Lone Star state. I’ve also heard a prominent American Crime Family resides there,…the name escapes me.

Antonin Scalia:  A Despicable Architect of the American Police State

The Glorification of Antonin Scalia

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