Late-Night Mobius Nest of Vipers: Jeffrey Epstein, Keyser Söze

Since life is not as neatly plotted as a movie, we can be (reasonably) sure that Jeffrey Epstein actually existed, even if almost every detail of his adult life seems to be open to (mis)interpretation. Whether any of those details will be believable to future historians — assuming there are such — may depend on the survival of the term ‘Rashomon effect’

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{Facepalm} Open Thread: Still Racist, After All These Years

There’s an old British joke about advertising understatement: Does what it says on the packet:

President Trump cracked jokes about the Equinox scandal, the old days of rent-controlled New York and his dealings with North and South Korea among deep-pocketed pals in the Hamptons on Friday.

Trump was feted at two big-money fundraisers — first a lunch for 60 hosted by real estate guru Stephen Ross, whose company owns Equinox and Soul Cycle. Then Trump talked for an hour to a crowd of 500 at the sprawling Bridgehampton home of developer Joe Farrell. The two events raised a total of $12 million.

After Equinox members revolted over Ross’ fundraising for the president, with many threatening to cancel memberships, Trump said he had joked with Ross about how divided the nation is.

Noting the relentless attacks on himself by the media, Trump quipped, “Steve Ross got into a little bit of trouble this week, I said, ‘Steve welcome to the world of politics!’ ”

Of his fundraising visit, Trump went on to say, “I love coming to the Hamptons, I know the Hamptons well, everyone here votes for me but they won’t admit it.”

And of his tough stance on trade tariffs and US military aid, Trump told a story of going as a boy to collect rent checks with his father, adding, “It was easier to get a billion dollars from South Korea than to get $114.13 from a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and believe me, those 13 cents were very important.”…

Even while the Squatter-in-Chief’s minions are frantically trying to repair the damage to his ‘brand’Look, his old man actually marched with the KKK, give our guy some credit here! — Pus-olini* can’t resist a little dominance posturing. Steve Ross is actually losing business since it leaked that he was sponsoring this fundraiser (as Josh Barro points out in NYMag, it’s dangerous to *his* brand), but Trump has to proclaim himself Top Ape among the financial silverbacks, for the first and probably last time in his long history of failures and bankruptcies…

If only they’d written a “very beautiful letter” to His Toxicity:

*thank you, Betty Cracker!

Open Thread: Another Would-Be White Supremacist Foiled

Yes, this is a direly serious topic; apparently the would-be Avenger of Whiteness murdered his stepsister before failing to damage anything at the mosque beyond his own dignity (and the national sense of civic comity).

On the other hand, my first-gen Norwegian-American Spousal Unit has always insisted that modern Norwegians are a notoriously polite & non-violent people because the most violently-inclined members of the gene pool self-exported to other lands during the Viking period…

(I will defend the argument that mocking these would-be ‘race heroes’ is a better disincentive to potential followers than inflating their importance.)

Gradually, Then Suddenly: Losing Control of the Narrative

As we have often lamented, one of the factors behind Trump’s “victory” was the complicity of so much of the major media. No matter how badly the Oval Office Occupant disgraced himself and our suffering nation, the Media Village Idiots made excuse ranging from ‘he’s playing a multi-dimensional chess game whose final move is hidden from his critics’ to ‘he relies an expansive sense of what will please his base, regardless of outsiders’ opinions’. But the horrors of last week, and the complete inability of the Squatter-in-Chief to demonstrate even the most basic human emotions in the face of its victims, seem to be piercing the bubble…

From Trump’s staunchest “nonpartisan” defender, the NYTimes, “Trump Uses a Day of Healing to Deepen the Nation’s Divisions”:

Mr. Trump’s schedule was meant to follow the traditional model of apolitical presidential visits with victims, law enforcement officials and hospital workers after calamities like the mass shootings that resulted in 31 deaths in Dayton and El Paso and that created a new sense of national crisis over assault weapons and the rise of white supremacist ideology.

That plan went awry even before Mr. Trump, who has acknowledged his discomfort with showing empathy in public, departed Washington…

The result was the latest example of Mr. Trump’s penchant for inflaming divisions at moments when other presidents have tried to soothe them, and further proof of his staff’s inability to persuade him to follow the norms of presidential behavior

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Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: FERAL HOGS! – The Meme Explained

Some of you are Jason Isbell fans, so you’re probably in on the joke already, but for the rest of us… It started with an “anti-gun” tweet:

McNabb’s response is not exactly coherent, but he didn’t think he needed it to be, because he’s using his in-group’s Conjure Words: I need to be able to protect my [most valuable possession] at [extremely short period of time] notice, from [obviously terrifying violent threat group]. (Actual statements may or may not be calibrated to exactly 14 words.)

Now, feral hogs are a genuine threat, in their habitat. But most people on twitter — even the ones in feral-hog territory — find the idea of mowing down entire herds in one’s yard with an automatic rifle… less than serious. And, unlike most of such ‘threat groups’ (black teenage gangs, Mexican drug-mule rapists, Islamic terrorists), there’s no ethical barrier to mocking the however-imaginary anti-porcine terrors of ones’ online neighbors…

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