Wednesday, October 18, 2017

But What About Polanski?

So Emma, after that blast against Weinstein, why DID you once sign a petition to help child rapist Polanski?
Among the many actresses who have in recent days revealed their unwanted sexual mauling at the hands of the film producer Harvey Weinstein is the Casino Royale star, Eva Green.

She revealed how ‘shocked and disgusted’ she had been at the time.

In reporting this yesterday, Sky News showed stock footage of Green posing at a film awards ceremony alongside... Roman Polanski.

I’m sure the broadcaster was not trying to make a point. But I will: how credible is Hollywood’s decision to strip Weinstein of his membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which awards the Oscars), when it continues to treat the film director Polanski as a deity?
Emma Thompson
Well, it is a little different when it's you.
Unlike Weinstein, who has yet to be charged with a crime, let alone convicted, Polanski pleaded guilty to ‘unlawful sex’ in an American court in 1977 — a plea bargain after he had drugged, raped and sodomised 13-year-old Samantha Galley, a would-be model. He then fled the country before sentence could be passed.

Ever since, as a fugitive from the Feds, he has not been able to work in the U.S.

But the Academy awarded him an Oscar in 2003 — and the first person captured by the cameras leaping to her feet to applaud was Meryl Streep. The very woman who last week said the revelations of Weinstein’s decades-long abuse of her fellow actresses came as an appalling surprise — which makes Streep about the only person in the business who didn’t know about his predatory practices.
The article goes on to call out Emma Thompson, a popular older British actress, for signing a petition to keep Polanski free from extradition. But Eva Green is a lot more photogenic.
And that’s the other Hollywood deal: the artist is above the law. Weinstein made this clear himself when, in 2009, he led the industry’s protests and petitions after Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police following a request by the U.S. Justice Department (still trying to get the director to do his time).

The Independent newspaper published an article by Weinstein telling readers how ‘Roman Polanski is a man who cares deeply about his art and its place in the world’. And the rape and sodomising of a 13-year-old? Weinstein dismissed it as ‘a so-called crime’.

A host of directors and actors followed Weinstein, signing the petition for Polanski, including Natalie Portman, Tilda Swinton and Emma Thompson.
You do sort of wonder how all the ones who knew about Weinstein (essentially all of them) managed to wrap their minds around that.
Yes, Emma Thompson, who last week appeared on the BBC to add her voice to those denouncing Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse. When Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis raised the Polanski petition with Thompson, she said she had signed ‘without really thinking about it . . . I had been absolutely bamboozled by my respect for his art’.
. . .
Thompson said that she had later asked for her name to be removed from the petition, after it had been pointed out to her by ‘young feminists at my son’s university’ that Polanski was ‘a rapist’.
Yes, the tolerance of Polanski drugging, seducing and sodomizing young actresses, while publicly denouncing Weinstein's more extensive, but probably less horrifying acts is bit of a puzzle.

In part, this may have to do with the difference between the director and the producer of movies. Directors are "artists" whose vision is directly transmitted to the actors and actresses. The producer, while he has many roles, is primarily the business man behind the movie. In Hollywood's eyes, the businessman is generally evil, and so once things started to go bad for Harvey, the anti-businessman bias began to kick in. The spell was broken, and they were free to express it. But as noted above, they still have sympathy for the "artist."

Polanski is a figure romanticized by the film industry; sympathetic for losing his wife, Sharon Tate to the Manson family attack, European (bonus points for being foreign from the reflexively anti-American members of the Academy), and a small and physically unimposing  man. Any sexual act had to be consensual, right?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Chill Hits the Beach

It was in the low 50's and breezy when Skye dragged us off to the beach.
 Even the GBH on the posing post . . .
 looked a bit wind blown.
There's always something new new. See that dark line of little black dots washed up along the edge of the surf? Literally millions of little bugs. They look like a leaf hopper of some sort, and given the wind direction, I would guess they blew across the bay from the salt marshes.
A few other things mixed in. We have been in the midst of the Monarch butterfly migration. This one didn't make it.
 Joined by a Clouded Sulpur.
"What's taking you so long?"

Corruption Update on

Clinton Corruption Update for October 17, 2017
Remember the Russian uranium sale scandal? It’s back!
Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefitting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.
The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.
When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”
In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.
“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.
The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.
That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.
But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.
So the Obama Administration knew Russia was illegally bribing American officials in relation to the uranium deal, including the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, and did nothing. (Read the whole thing for more details on Russia’s kickbacks and bribery schemes.)
In general, when the Democrats accuse the Republicans of anything at all, it's a safe bet that they are neck deep in it, and they're hoping to transfer attention to the alleged Republican crimes, while delaying investigation into, denying, and covering up their own. That's the "Russian collaboration" issue in a nutshell.
Surprise, surprise, surprise! Judicial Watch managed to unearth yet another treasure trove of emails Hillary Clinton sent from her illegal homebrew serve:
Judicial Watch today released 1,617 new pages of documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through the unsecure, account of Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, as well as many instances of Hillary Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.
The documents included 97 email exchanges with Clinton not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 627 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to department.
Speaking of Judicial Watch, they also forced the discovery of “30 pages of documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton.” You know, notes the FBI swore didn’t exist. Judicial Watch said they want copies of the docs no later than late November.
After a few days of poll testing different responses, Hillary finally denounced her old friend, and partner in crime, Harvey Weinstein.
So how much of Harvey Weinstein’s money will the Clinton Foundation be returning? Let me do a quick little calculation here…add it all up…carry the one…and the answer is…zero. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
She probably can't even count it.

Gov. Hogan Named "Champion of the Chesapeake"

Last night, Chesapeake Conservancy celebrated the 2017 Champions of the Chesapeake at an awards ceremony honoring Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and Microsoft Corporation. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association hosted the cocktail reception and awards ceremony for the Chesapeake Conservancy at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
How dare they celebrate at a slave owner's plantation! /sarcoff
“Each year, Chesapeake Conservancy recognizes extraordinary leaders from across the Chesapeake for their significant and exemplary accomplishments that protect and restore our natural systems and cultural resources,” Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn said. “The honorees and their work highlights how the Chesapeake is a bipartisan, multi-generational, multi-cultural priority – for its beauty, for our economy, for our health and for our history – and that everybody has a role to play in its conservation.”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was honored for his commitment and leadership in fighting to protect federal bay funding; fully funding the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund; and supporting and signing legislation that will lead to the full funding of Program Open Space next fiscal year. In almost three years, Governor Hogan has invested $3 billion in Chesapeake Bay pollution reduction and related programs.
Considering that Maryland has approximately 6 million inhabitants, that's about $500 for each man woman and child in Maryland. That's not trivial. I hope our share is being spent wisely. I have my doubts.
“Our entire administration has been about bipartisanship and trying to figure out common sense bipartisan solutions—working across the aisle. In this case, we have worked across state lines as well. We have a great relationship with Governor McAuliffe. Although we’re from different parties I think we both understand the importance of the Chesapeake Bay,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said. “One of the things I admire about the Chesapeake Conservancy is that they are a small organization that accomplishes really big things. It’s a very effective organization that does tremendous things for the Chesapeake Bay.”
When you are a Republican governor in a heavily democratic state, you really need work with the other side.

Reason #5747 That Trump Was Elected

'We tried nice guys': And they still called Mitt Romney a Nazi
Trump may be an unlikely favorite of the religious right but last November exit polls said he won 81% of white evangelicals – more than George W Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney. Michele Bachmann, a former congresswoman from Minnesota and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, called Trump’s victory “proof positive of what the Lord did”.

“He knows he is the president of United States today because evangelical Christians came out and supported him,” she said in her address.

In hallways after Trump’s speech, attendees buzzed with excitement.

“It’s like a cloud has lifted,” said Pat Flynn, who came with a group of women from Catholics for Freedom of Religion. “When Obama was in, everything was sad. Nothing was good. Now look – look at the smiling faces. Look at people getting jobs again.”

She said she had a conversation with a nun earlier who wished Trump would speak – and tweet – less. But Flynn believed that his“gift of gab” and “wiseguy” bravado was exactly why he was elected.

“We tried nice guys,” she said. “We had John McCain. Mitt Romney. They were nice, smiling at everybody, but they couldn’t beat out Hillary. Romney, I mean come on. The only thing people remember about him is that he tied a dog to his roof.”
A lot of the heroes of the bible were less than perfect. But they fought. Trump fights.

Midnite Music - "When I Get Low, I Get High"

The Speakeasy Three