Feeling Some Post-Mid-Term Blues

November 7, 2018

By Karen

The mid-term election yesterday was supposed to reject Trump’s first two years of mocking and dismantling every constructive thing this country has ever achieved. I expected decent, disgusted people of all political stripes, women, millennials, new voters, LGBTQ and minorities to turn out in droves and tell the GOP loud and clear that “treason” is not the new word for “policy.”

WTF happened? Yes, the numbers were up, but what’s with the tepid results? Democrats won only 28 seats in the House and actually lost ground in the Senate.

Today, Dems should be able to tell Trump and his spineless enablers in Congress to “STFU. We’re back in charge. We’ve had enough of your bullshit. Don’t even try pushing through any more. Ain’t gonna happen.” But they can’t. And Republicans are gloating.

One bright spot happened in my neck of Virginia. Senator Tim Kaine (Hillary’s running mate) beat Corey Stewart by 16 points. Stewart’s a Minnesota-born Trump Mini-me who brands himself a Confederate neo-Nazi and promised to run a “vicious” campaign. In this victory speech, Kaine said voters had sent a message of “good over evil, light over darkness, understanding over ignorance.”

Amen.

In my congressional district, VA-7, Democrat Abigail Spanberger beat Dave Brat, a Trump-loving, misogynistic tea party darling, in a satisfying upset. True to his name, Brat refused to concede, probably hoping for divine intervention from Putin.

And in New York, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. But the district she won is already heavily Democratic. Whereas on nearby Long Island, racist misogynist Republican Pete King won his 14th term.

It was also gratifying to see Wisconsin voters finally kick their scheming, lying scumbag of a governor, Scott Walker, to the curb.

But in Montana, Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte who body-slammed a Guardian reporter, and who Trump proclaimed “his guy,” kept his seat.

In Florida, sharp, classy, articulate Democrat Andrew Gillum lost the governor’s race to Ron DeSantis, a bigot who urged voters not to “monkey up” the election by voting for a black man.

In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams should have easily buried Brian Kemp to become the country’s first black female governor. Kemp refused to stop overseeing the election he was a candidate in because he was too busy rigging it to disenfranchise minority voters every which way he could — and now the results are too close to call.

And probably the most stomach-turning result came in Texas, when that sleazy hypocrite everyone loves to hate, Ted Cruz, managed to beat Beto O’Rourke by 3 points and keep his Senate seat.

Whenever California manages to drag in its results, Democrats will probably pick up a few more seats, but not enough to assuage my disappointment with the bottom line.

I really, REALLY believed this country had enough good people to slam the lid on the Pandora’s box Trump has opened with his celebration of greed, ignorance, hatred and oppression, but it simply didn’t happen.

Either too many reasonable people stayed home in the mid-terms, or we really are eyeballs-deep in stupid, backward-looking racists who think their best interests are served by a con man who preys on rubes while he runs the country into a ditch to enrich himself.

The Senate is still poised to rubber-stamp whatever acts of treason Trump proposes. I hope that when the House committees investigating Trump’s myriad crimes switch to Democratic control (buh-bye, Devin Nunes!) they will crank up the heat to full-blast, get the subpoenas flying, and stoke Trump’s fears about spending the rest of his life jail until resigning seems a safer alternative to running for re-election.

And then there’s always Robert Mueller. Our last hope.

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Saudi Solution is Simple: Show Us Khashoggi’s Body

October 22, 2018

By Karen

Trump and Kushner are still playing coy over whether they believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the killing of Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2.

One story is that Khashoggi synced his Apple watch to the iPhone he left with his fiancée outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, which saved a file to the cloud of what the watch recorded happening inside the building. However, the BBC dissected the gadgets’ capabilities and debunked the likelihood of this.

Turkish authorities claim to have audio and video of Khashoggi’s murder. They’re reluctant to share this information and reveal the true extent of their surveillance practices. Understandable. But they’ve released plenty of gruesome details.

Meanwhile, the Saudis have been using Trump as their stooge to float a series of denials and fanciful lies, including that 60-year-old Khashoggi got into a fistfight and was accidentally strangled when somebody put him in a chokehold.

Based on Turkey’s revelations, it appears Khashoggi was ambushed by 15 Saudi men equipped with a bone saw, flown in specifically for the occasion. Once Khashoggi entered the consulate, he was tortured, apparently had fingers cut off, then drugged and dismembered while still alive by a man who told the others it was good to listen to music whenever butchering a person.

If none of this happened, the Saudis should be able to produce Khashoggi’s completely intact corpse.

But they haven’t. They can’t even say where it is.

Instead, there’s video of a body double wearing a fake beard and Khashoggi’s clothes (but not his shoes) leaving by the consulate’s back door with another man. Cameras also caught the double entering a public restroom and emerging in his original clothes, sans beard, then dumping a shopping bag (containing Khaghoggi’s clothes, presumably) in a dumpster.

A small handful of Republican senators (Paul, Sasse, Corker and Graham) have professed outrage, but we know they’ll be dancing in a chorus line behind Trump when he soon kisses MBS on the lips and declares his everlasting devotion to Saudi Arabia.

The truth is that Trump is personally terrified that sanctioning the Saudis will cut off the sweet, sweet flow of cash into his own pocket; instead, he feigns concern over losing a $110 billion arms sale that was tentative at best.

The world sees an impotent United States making excuses for unimaginable barbarity on a man Trump keeps reminding us only lived here on a green card, as if his life mattered less than any blond-haired, blue-eyed native redneck.

The Saudis may have done the killing, but this blood is all over Trump. Without his daily rants about the press being “the enemy of the people” and rally ravings about how he loves to see journalists body-slammed, encouraging his moronic supporters to hate the legitimate news media, he sends a deadly signal.

Bottom line: The House of Trump loves terrorizing journalists. The Saudis gave him the gift of showing what can happen to anyone who dares to question or criticize the powers that be. In Trump’s eyes, that’s a plus, not a problem.


Don’t Let the Babble Bury Kavanaugh’s Many Flaws

October 1, 2018

By Karen

I watched all of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s and Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee last week. Republicans seem thrilled to limit their vetting to a possibly unprovable he-said-she-said scenario of attempted rape.

Matt Damon dropped by SNL for a parody of the Kavanaugh hearing. It’s hilarious but terrifying because it’s only a mild exaggeration of what happened that day.

Brett Kavanaugh has displayed so much more about his unfitness for the Supreme Court that his underage drinking and rape aspirations in high school are the least of it. While writing this, I discovered another Yale classmate, Chad Ludington, has just joined the growing list speaking out about Kavanaugh because they know firsthand that he’s lying about his behavior. Here are some other red flags we must not forget…

Sense of Entitlement – Kavanaugh talks about the Supreme Court job as if it’s owed to him. (Tough shit, Merrick Garland.) Trump’s so desperate for a justice who believes the president is above the law, you have to wonder how much smoke he’s been blowing up Kavanaugh’s ass.

Belligerence – Demanding Senator Amy Klobuchar tell him her drinking habits was so obnoxious, someone must have persuaded him during a break to apologize, even though he was only using Trump’s deflection technique. Kavanaugh also behaved like a peevish brat in refusing to answer Senator Dick Durbin’s question about whether he’d want an FBI investigation to clear his name. I could write all day about Kavanaugh’s displays of arrogance and disrespect to the Democratic side of the committee.

Partisanship – He actually managed to drag the Clintons into his opening statement, as if they have anything to do with anything. Kavanaugh’s impatient, almost sneering contempt for Democratic questioning conveyed that he will be anything but impartial if he manages to get through this. He all but said to them, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Alcoholism? – From his flushed face and constant water-gulping, it appeared Kavanaugh may have been drinking earlier that day. And what other SCOTUS nominee has spent so much time talking about beer? Heavy drinking seemed to be his part-time job for many years, so how do we know he’s doing doing it now?

Lying – Following another Trump example, he lied about easily verified things, such as the meaning of boofing and a Devil’s Triangle, and that he could drink legally in high school (he was only 17). Other examples are too numerous to list here.

Gambling? – Since the latest hearing was about attempted rape, there was no mention of the $200,000 credit card debt Kavanaugh racked up mainly on baseball tickets but managed to quickly pay off before his federal judgeship although he didn’t have that much money in the bank. Was he betting on games?

Financially Compromised?Kavanaugh’s funding sources are almost as murky as Trump’s. His ($220,600) and his wife’s ($66,000) salaries seem a tight fit for their lifestyle. They bought a $1.2 million house Kavanaugh described as a “fixer-upper” that’s expensive to maintain. They joined a country club with a $92,000 entry fee and $9,000 annual dues. They have two daughters attending a $10,580-a-year-per-child private school. He seems to be getting extra cash somewhere, but it’s not revealed in his financial disclosures.

Contempt for Women – Four women have shared stories of Kavanaugh being an aggressor or of doing nothing while his friends gang-raped girls. He’s anti-abortion and considered most likely to overturn Roe v. Wade. He seems to see himself as a privileged white master of the universe, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.

In addition to whatever the FBI finds, I think we’ve seen and heard enough about Brett Kavanaugh to know he’s the last person this country needs on the Supreme Court. May the FBI interview enough people this week and corroborate descriptions of this despicable man to not only keep him off SCOTUS, but to kick him off the bench altogether.


Argento Tries Patching Her Crumbling World with Lies

September 5, 2018

By Karen

From a page out of Donald Tump’s playbook, Asia Argento’s latest strategy is, “If at first you don’t succeed, lie, lie again — and hire a new lawyer.”

Page Six has reported that Argento is reneging on her deal with Jimmy Bennett to send him $180,000 in monthly $10,000 installments until she pays off the $380,000 settlement to which Anthony Bourdain contributed $200,000 back in April.

The story states that Bennett has so far received, $250,000, so the math implies he got checks for May, June, July, August and September.

Page Six isn’t a paragon of journalistic integrity, but I would guess that, without access to Bourdain’s wallet, Argento is strapped for cash.

(BTW, media reports are now jumbling all these numbers. I’m sticking to figures provided by The New York Times in August; they received and authenticated the legal documents.)

Argento has been dropped from X Factor Italy, her only steady employment I’m aware of. She will appear only in initial episodes already filmed.

Also, CNN has pulled from streaming all episodes of Parts Unknown Argento was involved in: Rome, Southern Italy and Hong Kong. She was shooting in Florence with Bourdain two weeks before his death, but that one’s apparently toast because it’s not in the seven-episode “Final Season” CNN will air this fall.

Returning to Page Six, one bit they nailed is that Argento has replaced her lawyer Carrie Golding with Mark Jay Heller, a celebrity ambulance-chaser who has represented Lindsey Lohan (whatever happened to her?) and many others.

Heller wrote a statement about his newest client that’s featured on his homepage. (Don’t miss the video at the top showcasing what a sleaze he is.) The title: “Asia Argento Launches Phase Two of the #MeToo Movement.”

It’s hilarious because Argento has been persona non grata with #MeToo since her romp with 17-year-old Jimmy Bennett came out in the NYT.

But what exactly is “Phase Two”? Heller explains…

“Phase Two of the #metoo movement dictates that the voice of a victim, even one with a history that may be in question, should be heard and she is hopeful that in the Court of Public Opinion it will ultimately be determined that Asia never initiated an inappropriate sexual contact with a minor, but rather she was attached by Bennett and might even be suffering the fallback of a smear campaign by those already accused who may have a vested interest in their accusers being denied credibility.”

Heller includes a little “smear campaign” of his own on Jimmy Bennett by mentioning that in 2014 (after Argento assaulted Bennett) he was allegedly charged by the LAPD with “unlawful sex with a minor,” “stalking,” “child pornography” and “child exploitation.” Heller also gratuitously mentions Bennett’s lawsuit against his parents for allegedly stealing his earnings.

Argento’s schtick now is that she was unequivocally raped by Bennett. Forget that spider-poised-to-strike selfie of breathless anticipation she posted on Instagram before he arrived for their rendezvous.

To make matters even more confusing, Rain Dove, the significant other of Rose McGowan (Happy 45th Birthday, Rose! Your suddenly gray stubble-do looks fab on you!), has been feuding with Argento on Twitter today.

The Daily Mail has published texts of Rain and Argento discussing Bourdain’s death not being suicide, and Argento drops the bomb, “there was a witness.” But it’s unclear if she’s talking about Bourdain’s death or about Rain not sharing with Argento related documents s/he supposedly has (how?).

If you’re drinking anything right now, please swallow before reading this last paragraph of Heller’s statement about Argento…

“When the true facts are clarified, we know Asia will return to her International prominence as an award winning and acclaimed Actress, musician and Director.”

The “true fact” we know about Asia Argento is that she will say or do anything to get what she wants, and then betray whoever it takes to cover her misdeeds.

Again, straight from Trump’s playbook.


Asia Argento’s Claim of Talent: Deceitful Above All Things

August 27, 2018

By Karen

Still trying to wrap my head around Asia Argento’s alleged statutory rape of Jimmy Bennett in 2013, and Anthony Bourdain’s alleged participation in the cover-up earlier this year, I just watched the movie that spawned the whole mess. In 2004, Argento cast Bennett in The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things when he was 7 years old. It’s available for free on Amazon Prime.

Bennett plays young Jeremiah, and Argento plays Sarah, his drug-addicted prostitute mother. Argento also received script credit and directed the film, set in West Virginia.

How Argento got the rights to this “JT Leroy” story by sleeping with the woman who masqueraded as Leroy, and then cheated on Leroy to “his” face by sleeping with a man is a story in itself. Basically, it’s another example of Argento’s now well-recognized schtick of using people for her own ends before shitting all over them.

Back to the movie. Here’s the trailer (Bennett is the youngest boy)…

In badly fitting blonde wigs, Argento’s hit-or-miss Southern accent is the extent of her acting. The rest is pretty much her typical behavior as she’s posted it on Instagram for years.

In a nutshell, the story celebrates child abuse in myriad forms. Sarah makes Jeremiah her captive audience to watch her smoke, drink, do drugs, and have sex with strangers whenever he isn’t being tortured.

The photography includes lots of shots of Argento on all fours poking her barely-clad ass at the camera as if she considers it her best feature.

Jimmy Bennett looks scared, sad and finally numb throughout his portion of the film. Fortunately, his gig is done and he’s replaced by two older twins before a man rapes the Jeremiah character.

The rape scene may be the film’s most tasteful bit, with Argento stepping in to play Jeremiah’s fantasy that he’s Sarah. What, you didn’t think for a moment Argento would have a sex scene in her movie without her, did you?

Afterward, the only indication of “how it went” is Jeremiah trying to wash blood from stained frilly panties.

In one climactic scene, Sarah makes this speech to Jeremiah. It’s easy to imagine Asia spitting these words at Tony during one of their arguments…

“You think I need you? You’ve done nothing but ruin everything. Always. I sacrificed so much for you, you shitty bastard. I could have been something. I had to give it all up for you. By myself I’ve always landed on my feet. Never forget that.”

Making the film gave Argento an opportunity, in the name of art, to experiment with destroying a child. Four years later, in 2008, she gave birth to her son, Nicola. In 2013, before Nicola was 5, Argento allegedly had sex with Jimmy, the boy she knew best when he was only 7.

We’re left with 97 minutes of film showing how coarse, cruel and slutty Argento can be. It boggles the mind to think Anthony Bourdain ever watched it and found it impressive work.

Jimmy Bennett’s upbringing must have been nightmarish for his parents to allow his participation in this travesty, and then to allow him to keep in touch with the woman responsible.

BONUSES: Here’s a 2006 review still available online by Jeremy C. Fox at Pajiba that discusses the Leroy book and gives the movie and Argento much more credit than I do, but he’s ultimately disappointed.

Snippets of dozens of professional reviews are at Rotten Tomatoes, but I found most full versions no longer accessible.

Oops! Just found another one from 2006 by Ty Burr at The Boston Globe. Enjoy — or puke!


How Jimmy Bennett Makes Asia Argento Look Small

August 24, 2018

By Karen

If anyone ever wanted to build a monster that personified in one being all the worst proclivities of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, the result would be Asia Argento.

Lying, equivocating, denying, bashing, distracting, defying, deflecting, projecting, cheating, using people, engaging in sexual deviance and predation. Argento has it all. The whole package.

And for some ungodly reason, Anthony Bourdain thought himself lucky to have her.

Since Bourdain’s death, Argento’s role in the #MeToo movement has morphed into #EtTu after we learned that in 2013 she allegedly raped a 17-year-old she’d known since his early childhood. Then she promised him $380,000 if he’d turn over compromising photos they’d taken together and get permanently lost.

Argento has issued and leaked nothing but contradictions, all to make her the victim and cast Bennett and Bourdain in the worst possible light — claiming Bennett was the attacker and then extorted her and that Bourdain insisted on paying hush money.

This forced Bennett to issue his own statement, explaining he felt “ashamed and afraid” in the immediate aftermath. He said, in so many words, he didn’t think he’d be believed, writing to The New York Times

“I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public. At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society. I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.”

I give him credit for having the maturity to realize that. Also, he hasn’t blamed the family member who agreed to leave him alone with Argento. He hasn’t even blamed Argento. He just found her hypocrisy over Weinstein impossible to swallow.

He ended his statement with…

“I would like to move past this event in my life, and today I choose to move forward, no longer in silence.”

I applaud Bennett and hope he realizes he’s not the one being judged.

The Blast reported that Bennett didn’t realize until shortly before the NYT story broke that Bourdain made the initial lump sum payment. Now Bennett has to live wondering if he played any role in Bourdain’s suicide.

While Bennett was soul-searching, Argento was scheming with a friend via leaked texts to TMZ, who offered these helpful coping suggestions…

  • Discredit Bennett by finding proof you rebuffed any past advances he ever made.
  • Get your therapist to leak that you talked about suffering some trauma that would have affected your judgment.
  • Get documentation proving Bourdain made the payment to exonerate you of trying to buy Bennett’s silence.

Argento also kvetched that it shouldn’t be such a big deal because 15 is the age of consent in France and Italy, failing to realize that it’s irrelevant to any adult who has appropriate relationships.

And here’s a note TMZ published that Bennett supposedly left Argento that day. Does this look like a man a mature woman would find desirable, or a kid?

Argento also claimed Bennett sent her unwanted nude selfies until two weeks before his intent to sue arrived.

Coincidentally, the Daily Mail just reported that on June 2, the same weekend Argento romped around Rome with 28-year-old Hugo Clement, a comedian named Jeff Leach, 34, did a podcast claiming Argento had sent Leach nude selfies at some point and “freaked out” when he told her to stop.

Here are some things we still don’t know…

Did Bourdain believe Argento had sex with Jimmy Bennett or not? She told him she would never pay Bennett for something “she didn’t do,” but then said she “froze” when they did it. One of his unauthenticated texts said he’d back her either way.

Did Bourdain view the encounter through the eyes of a horny teenager and think Bennett was an idiot not to appreciate being humped by a hot woman (in Bourdain’s estimation) old enough to be his mother ?

Did Bourdain realize Argento may have committed statutory rape in California? Did he knowingly cover up her crime, possibly ignoring his own attorney’s advice?

Presumably, Bennett is now receiving $10,000 a month from Argento until about October 2020 to pay out the $380,000 settlement.

This is a mess of true Trumpian proportions and, like with Trump, more dirt keeps spilling out.


Asia Argento Holds Nothing but Victim Cards

August 21, 2018

By Karen

Like Donald Trump, Asia Argento is a fixture on social media. Then when her photos and posts become proof of her depravity, she also says our eyes are lying to us.

Two days ago, The New York Times broke the news that Argento may be the ultimate hypocrite in the #MeToo movement. She quietly paid off a young man named Jimmy Bennett, who accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was only 17, just as she was crusading to bring down Harvey Weinstein for allegedly doing the same thing to her in 1997.

Today, TMZ reported on Asia’s bizarre statement refuting the NYT, quoting, “I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.”

TMZ included excerpts from text messages Argento supposedly exchanged with her then-boyfriend Anthony Bourdain about the matter. Since Bourdain’s sudden, little-explained death, these are his only texts to come to light. TMZ didn’t mention a source nor authenticating them, but I assume Argento provided them.

In the exchanges Argento shared, she told Tony that Bennett was the aggressor and she “froze” while he was on top of her.

She also didn’t fight off Weinstein, telling Ronan Farrow in his New Yorker article that she suffered years of guilt over it. “Because, if I were a strong woman, I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn’t.”

So this women who hangs around boxing rings and keeps her fist perpetually in the air couldn’t fend off a teenager, either?

And which is it? Did she have sex with Bennett, or do we believe her assertion, “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett”?

The texts also imply that Bourdain, whose actual knowledge of this legal matter consisted only of his girlfriend’s word, took control of the negotiations although Argento had her own attorney. Tony also decided to pay Bennett handsomely just to help out the “poor twisted goof” and make him go away.

There’s so much about this story that makes no sense, my head is spinning.

When Bourdain died, his estate was only $1.2 million because the bulk of his assets belonged to his wife Ottavia and daughter Ariane. Why on earth would he fork over nearly one-third of his total worth to some kid he didn’t know from Adam if, as Asia claimed, she’d done nothing wrong? Let Bennett sue her and prove it in court.

The photos of Asia and Bennett that day are damning. To prove it, I’ll break my rule not to show her here. Decide for yourself. Does she look and write like a woman anticipating a nice maternal chat with a teenager who looks up to her as a mom figure?

Argento’s statement claimed, “Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us. We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and give it to him. Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life.”

The incident happened three years before Tony even met Argento. He routinely locked horns with countless celebrities and hostile foreign governments, and got a visit from the Secret Service over things he said about Trump. What could he have possibly feared from Bennett if he believed the kid was lying?

Based on the media coverage, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office is looking into the matter. Bennett was 17 and the age of consent in California is 18. He says she gave him alcohol before assaulting him, and then published a semi-nude photo of them in bed together. Might Argento face other charges beyond statutory rape?

She can spin this any way she wants and even fabricate texts about how Bourdain handled it. He’s no longer here to set the record straight. But we can keep questioning until we uncover the truth for him or tangle her so completely in her own lies, there’s no escape.


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