Frenetic Friday Fun: Big Pauly Sings, Flo Blows, Kavanaugh’s an accused rapist, and Russian Bots are all in for Ted Cruz

Huile sur toile (1925) de Vassily Kandinsky. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France. Donation Nina Kandinsky 1976. AM 1976-856

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I do not even know where to start. All I know is that I miss No Drama Obama more and more every day.  Oh, and Hillary Clinton was right about everything.  I could never be a morning drinker of anything but coffee or tea, but sheesh, a day like this could do it to me if I ever had any inclination at all.

Oh, and a Louisiana congressman just made the Hate Watch headlines for the SPLC because he’s a fucking racist who hangs out with known Hate Groups.  Two of these headlines come via The Bayou Brief and Lamar White Jr.  He’s on a roll again. Gotta love Lamar on a Roll!

And I’m all in for Kandinsky and Abstract Art today because it makes about as much sense as ANY of this.

Rep. Clay Higgins Recently Attended Two Conferences, One Hosted By A Hate Group And The Other By Climate Science Deniers. The freshman Republican from Louisiana’s Third District had already aligned himself with two anti-government militia groups.

Last week in the nation’s Capitol, Rep. Higgins attended a conference hosted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, better known as FAIR, a recognized hate group of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

According to the advocacy group America’s Voices (emphasis added):

FAIR is an anti-immigrant hate group that was founded by white nationalist John Tanton, who helped create a network of anti-immigrant organizations — many of which are also hate groups. For this year’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire”, an annual event, FAIR brought in anti-immigrant activists and far-right talk radio hosts from across the country to amplify their anti-immigrant messages. The conference also attracted a number of elected and appointed officials.

One of them was Ronald Vitiello, the acting director of ICE, who came to speake with far-right talk radio host Tom RotenOn the show, Vitiello defended the policy of separating families at the border and racistly characterized immigrants as the bearers of crime and disease.

Higgins was one of only ten elected official in attendance.

For our other report on Rep. Higgins’ associations with militia groups, click here. 

Yup. You read that right.  “TEN other elected officials in attendance.”

Wassily Kandinsky
In Grey (Im Grau) 1919
Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d’art moderne / centre de création industrielle. Bequest of Nina Kandinsky 1981

Beto O’Rourke is rocking and rolling Texas so much that the Red TrollBot Army has rushed to Ted Cruz’s side.  Either that or you believe Michelle Malkin’s view that millions of Texans got up to tweet at 2 am because they’re feeling the Ted so much.  BTW. there are three phone banks operating out of New Orleans around in support of Beto because New Orleans would like at least an adopted Senator that acts in their interests instead of the clueless twoless we’ve got.

This year, the entire country is watching the race between Beto O’Rourke, the dynamic young Congressman from El Paso who shares a name- Robert Frances- and more than a passing resemblance to another U.S. Senator, a man largely known by his initials, RFK.

In the early hours of Thursday, while searching for news about the Texas Senate race on Twitter, I noticed a troubling pattern, and I mentioned it:

As of this writing, my tweet has received 3.6 million impressions and more than 500,000 engagements from people all across the country and the world, making it- easily- the most viral tweet I’ve ever published. (For the first and likely the only time in my life, one of my tweets received more engagement than any of Donald Trump’s tweets that day).

The implication is clear: It defies logic and commonsense that hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of Texas voters decided to share the same exact tweet in the middle of the night.

Many, understandably, came to the same conclusion: 2AM CST is 10AM in Moscow, and considering the outsized role that Russian social media interference played in the 2016 election, it’s worth wondering whether this was a legitimate effort by the Cruz campaign or if they had been compromised.

Watercolor and ink on paper. 26.7 x 36.3 cm
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Following that is the Malkin mouthpiece site trying to explain it away.  Then, the Cruz campaign trying to explain it away. But, what follows that is highly interesting.

Unfortunately for the Perry and the Cruz campaign, it didn’t take much to discover that, in fact, this was not an organic response.

Christopher Bouzy, the creator of Bot Sentinel, a software system designed to “correctly identify propaganda bot/troll accounts with an accuracy of 98%,” conducted an independent forensic analysis of the tweets at issue.

“At first I thought it was a bunch of people just clicking the button like you suggested, until I realized many of the accounts are being tracked (by Bot Sentinel),” he explained to a skeptic.

“Unlike other machine learning tools designed to detect bots, we are not sacrificing accuracy for speed,” Bouzy explains. “We analyze hundreds of Tweets per each Twitter account to determine if an account exhibit irregular tweet activity or engaging in harassment.

And Bouzy was not the only data expert to verify that a significant number of the accounts that had blasted out Team Cruz’s message were, in fact, not real people.

Circles in a Circle (1923) by Wassily Kandinsky

LaMar is getting national attention again for this and I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris Hayes or Lawrence or some one picks up on this story.  But, like I said, today is a helluva a news day.

So, I’m torn between the absolute jaw dropping accusations that Kavanaugh attempted to rape a girl in high school and the Manaford–not a very brave man–cooperation/plea deal.

Let’s go with the Kavanaugh charges since BB is much better than me at explaining the Russia intrigue.  It appears that Kavanaugh could possibly be Trump’s soul mate which is why he really really wants him on SCOTUS.  Ronan Farrow appears to be the go to for all things Me Too related.  This isn’t just sexual misconduct.  This is attempted rape.  I seriously doubt this anonymous woman is the only victim.  This makes Clarence Thomas look like an underachiever!  It’s much more Trumpish!

The woman, who has asked not to be identified, first approached Democratic lawmakers in July, shortly after Trump nominated Kavanaugh. The allegation dates back to the early nineteen-eighties, when Kavanaugh was a high-school student at Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the woman attended a nearby high school. In the letter, the woman alleged that, during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her. She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. She was able to free herself. Although the alleged incident took place decades ago and the three individuals involved were minors, the woman said that the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her, and that she had sought psychological treatment as a result.

In a statement, Kavanaugh said, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

Kavanaugh’s classmate said of the woman’s allegation, “I have no recollection of that.”

The woman declined a request for an interview.

In recent months, the woman had told friends that Kavanaugh’s nomination had revived the pain of the memory, and that she was grappling with whether to go public with her story. She contacted her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, a Democrat, sending her a letter describing her allegation. (When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Eshoo’s office cited a confidentiality policy regarding constituent services and declined to comment further on the matter.)

The letter was also sent to the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein. As the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein was preparing to lead Democratic questioning of Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing weeks later. The woman contacted Feinstein’s office directly, according to multiple sources.

Composition II (1910)

High school boys can be completely awkward. They can be cads.  They can misread some signals.  This, however, shows signs of something completely off in what might sit  on SCOTUS pronouncing life and death sentences on laws that impact women’s lives significantly.

I cannot believe this was something he did once.  It’s way too twisted and pathological. It definitely explains his obsession with the Lewinsky details. Guy is a full on criminal perv.  Put his fat ass on the Sex Offender list.

Okay now to Big Pauly and his jailbird rock.  Manaford has a plea deal and is cooperating. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Pence and Trump will throw themselves off the top of the Rotunda rather than make the country suffer needlessly any more.  And wisdom beings, let them do it directly after Nancy becomes Speaker again. From Politico:

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller under a plea agreement revealed Friday.

Manafort appeared in a Washington, D.C., courtroom Friday morning, looking relaxed in a suit and red tie, to formally announce the deal.

The deal dismisses deadlocked charges against Manafort from an earlier bank- and tax-fraud trial in Virginia, but only after “successful cooperation” with Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow on its efforts. Later, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Manafort is agreeing to “cooperate fully and truthfully” with the investigation.

However, a source close to the defense told POLITICO, “the cooperation agreement does not involve the Trump campaign. … There was no collusion with Russia.”

Separately, the agreement calls for a 10-year cap on how long Manafort will be sent to prison, and for Manafort to serve time concurrently from his earlier Virginia trial and the D.C. case involving foreign-lobbying and money-laundering charges. But it will not release Manafort from jail, where he has been held since Mueller’s team added witness tampering charges during the run-up to the longtime lobbyist’s trial.

Manafort addressed Jackson in a soft voice, saying, “I do,” and, “I understand,” as she asked him whether he understood what rights he’s giving up.

“Has anybody forced you, coerced you or threatened you in any way?” she asked later.

“No,” Manafort replied in a barely audible voice. A deputy marshal stood directly behind Manafort, a reminder that he remains in custody.

Wassily Kandinsky, “Kleine Welten VIII” (1922) print

My guess is Trump will be out of control for days. Vox has more details.  Will some one please point Trump towards the staircase to the rotunda?

What does Manafort know?

So now that Manafort has flipped — what does he know about collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 campaign?

Previously, Manafort has said the answer is: nothing. That no collusion happened, so he would naturally have no information on this to provide.

But it’s seemed likely that Mueller has long believed otherwise, given his intense focus on Manafort. And there are two curious happenings during the campaign in particular that Manafort was involved in (that we know about).

The Trump Tower meeting: For one, there’s that infamous meeting at Trump Tower that Donald Trump Jr. set up in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer and other Russia-tied figures. The three attendees of that meeting on the Trump side were Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Manafort. No attendee has become a cooperator for Mueller. Perhaps the special counsel does think more remains to be learned about this meeting and hopes Manafort will tell him about it.

Oleg Deripaska and Konstantin Kilimnik: Perhaps even more suspicious are Manafort’s surreptitious contacts with two Russian nationals during the campaign. There’s his former client, the oligarch Oleg Deripaska, to whom Manafort was heavily indebted. And there’s Manafort’s longtime business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who Mueller’s team has said is tied to Russian intelligence.

Just weeks after joining the Trump campaign, Manafort seemed to see an opportunity. He emailed Kilimnik in early April about his newly high media profile, writing, “How do we use to get whole,” and “Has OVD operation seen?” (Those are Deripaska’s initials.)

Then in July 2016, Manafort and Kilimnik exchanged emails about Deripaska again, as the Washington Post and the Atlantic reported last year. “I am carefully optimistic on the issue of our biggest interest,” Kilimnik said. “He will be most likely looking for ways to reach out to you pretty soon.” Manafort wrote that if Deripaska “needs private briefings we can accommodate.”

The pair’s emails on the topic grew vaguer and more cryptic as the summer continued. In late July, Kilimnik wrote to Manafort, “I met today with the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar several years ago. We spent about 5 hours talking about his story, and I have several important messages from him to you.” This, again, is believed to be about Deripaska, with “caviar” thought to be code for money.

Kilimnik and Manafort arranged a meeting in New York City to discuss the matter on August 2 — Kilimnik wrote that he had a “long caviar story” to tell and “several important messages.”

Days after the meeting, Deripaska took a yacht trip with Sergei Prikhodko, Russia’s deputy prime minister, who is focused on foreign policy. Again, all of this occurred while Manafort was chairing the Trump campaign, before his mid-August 2016 firing.

Now, this year, Kilimnik seemed keenly interested in keeping Manafort out of jail — he was indicted alongside Manafort for obstruction of justice in June, for allegedly trying to get witnesses to give a false story. Yet Kilimnik is unlikely to ever face those charges since he’s currently based in Moscow.

We still don’t know what happened between Manafort, Kilimnik, and Deripaska during the campaign. Maybe this where the action on Trump campaign/Russia collusion happened. Or maybe Manafort was just freelancing and trying to get himself paid, and it doesn’t involve Trump personally. But it’s one of the biggest loose ends about what happened in 2016.

Wassily Kandinsky
Unstable Balance 1930

Ah yes, Karma is such a beautiful bitch!

Marcie at emptywheel reminds us this is pardon proof!

And at this point, the deal is pardon proof. That was part of keeping the detail secret: to prevent a last minute pardon from Trump undercutting it.

Here’s why this deal is pardon proof:

  1. Mueller spent the hour and a half delay in arraignment doing … something. It’s possible Manafort even presented the key parts of testimony Mueller needs from him to the grand jury this morning.
  2. The forfeiture in this plea is both criminal and civil, meaning DOJ will be able to get Manafort’s $46 million even with a pardon.
  3. Some of the dismissed charges are financial ones that can be charged in various states.

Remember, back in January, Trump told friends and aides that Manafort could incriminate him (the implication was that only Manafort could). I believe Mueller needed Manafort to describe what happened in a June 7, 2016 meeting between the men, in advance of the June 9 meeting. I have long suspected there was another meeting at which Manafort may be the only other Trump aide attendee.

And Manafort has probably already provided evidence on whatever Mueller needed.

So here’s what Robert Mueller just did: He sewed up the key witness to implicate the President, and he paid for the entire investigation. And it’s only now lunch time.

As I disclosed July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 


Okay, so AccuWeather reports that:  “Florence crawls over land as life-threatening flooding persists; Over 600,000 without power”.

Hundreds of thousands have lost power across North and South Carolina since Florence first began impacting the Carolinas on Thursday.

“Significant wind damage will lead to utility outages that may last several weeks, especially along the immediate coastline,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde warned.

Storm surge exceeded 10 feet in New Bern, North Carolina, on Thursday night, sending first responders out into the storm as many people were forced to their top floors and roofs. Similar flood conditions threaten coastal communities up and down the North Carolina coast.

Rainfall totals have already exceeded a foot at several locations, and the rain is not expected to let up any time soon.

“Florence has slowed to a crawl as expected, and this will only exacerbate the flooding situation for the Carolinas from now through Sunday,” Rinde said.

Early next week, Florence will bring a threat of heavy rainfall and flooding farther north up the spine of the Appalachians and perhaps into the eastern Ohio Valley.”

Wassily Kandinsky Clear connection (1925)

All of you in the zone please be careful!

I have a lot more but we’re going to have to keep it in the thread so any crazy news or whatever please post!  I’d like to talk about Cynthia Nixon and Susan Sarandon and their total exercise of white female privilege but that will have to wait for another day.  I just hope black women realize that there are many of us that having been trying to be allies in the struggle for civil rights and we are continually discovering our shortcomings in the struggle for equality for all.  At this point, I just listen and pass it forward and stand up and speak out when I see it. No woman or child in this country should experience any kind of persecution because of their sex, their color, their choice of life partner, or anything else. The first step is to shut up and listen.  Sarandon, Stein, and Nixon don’t seem to realize that.  All I can say is none of them speak for me.

Love you all!  Try to just embrace the chaos!

What’s on your reading and blogging today?

41 Comments on “Frenetic Friday Fun: Big Pauly Sings, Flo Blows, Kavanaugh’s an accused rapist, and Russian Bots are all in for Ted Cruz”

  1. joaenlle says:

    I love the pictures. This is a VERY full post. Thanks!!!

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Details on the attempted rape from CNN:

    Kavanaugh physically pushed her into a bedroom, the accuser said. Along with another male, Kavanaugh locked the door from the inside and played loud music that the accuser said precluded successful attempts to yell for help.

    Both men were drunk, she said, and Kavanaugh attempted to remove her clothes.
    At one point, Kavanaugh was on top of her laughing as the other male in the room periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh.

    Kavanaugh held his hand over her mouth at one point, and she said she felt her life was inadvertently in danger.

    • Pilgrim says:

      Boomer, do you think there is a chance that the emerging of this story could motivate Kavanaugh to, himself, withdraw his nomination?

      • bostonboomer says:

        No, but it might motivate the Democrats to fight back harder. This is not acceptable.

        • Fannie says:

          They better fight back, she has gone through hell all these years, and has been torn apart trying to live her life. I can’t begin to think what he would do to victims rights if he was sitting on the court, his rulings would help those accused of rape, and assault.

    • dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      “held his hand over her mouth … her life was inadvertently in danger”

      No inadvertently about that.

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    From the politico link up top…

    “Friday’s move scuttles a high-profile second trial Manafort was expected to face in Washington on foreign-lobbying and money-laundering charges brought by Mueller — a spectacle that could have been an embarrassing distraction for Trump and the White House in the lead-up to the November midterm elections.”

    It mentions this a couple of times…

    • bostonboomer says:

      • bostonboomer says:

        Also according to emptywheel, Manafort had a private meeting with Trump before the Don Jr. meeting. And there may have been a second private meeting.

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. Riverbird says:

    Thank you so much for this newsy post.

  9. bostonboomer says:

  10. dakinikat says:

    Texas board votes to eliminate Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller from history curriculum

    They can’t even give Hillary her rightful place in herstory.

    History curriculum in Texas remembers the Alamo, but could soon forget Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller.

    As part of an effort to “streamline” the social studies curriculum in Texas, the State Board of Education voted on Friday to change what students in every grade are required to learn in the classroom. They voted to remove several historical figures, including Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller.

    • joanelle says:

      I told a friend the other day, that we should have let Texas ceceed when they wanted to a few years back. They have been a contancerous bunch on occasion; and just seem to love stirring the pot to get people’s hackles up now and then.

    • NW Luna says:

      Blatant erasure of women from history. That Board of Education must have a bunch of frightened insecure men (and brainwashed women) on it.

    • NW Luna says:

    • jackyt says:

      The problem: as goes Texas, so goes the nation. Since Texas is such a high population state, when they dictate textbook content, the run for the entire country changes. They’ve done it before with (I think) creationism.

      • dakinikat says:

        Yeah. They’ve done it a lot. They’ve rewritten slavery and the native genocide. They’ve always had the largest textbook orders so they usually get what they want.

  11. dakinikat says:

    I thought I’d put this up … sorry the link didn’t work at first.

    I don’t think I can actually evacuate New Orleans if anything happens here. It’s scary.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    There’s another story going around about Kavanaugh. Guys like this never do it just once.

  13. dakinikat says:

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. NW Luna says:

  16. NW Luna says:

  17. Sweet Sue says:

    Thanks for a great post, Dak. Kandinsky is one of my favorite artists. I love Klimt, too and do I remember that you do, too?