Hey remember that time in September of 2001 when a bunch of Saudi terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Remember how the 9/11 Commission produced an exhaustive 585-page report detailing what happened and who was responsible? Sure you do. But you might not remember the fight in 2016 over a 28-page redacted portion pertaining to the Saudi government and their relationship to the hijackers. But guess who did remember?

Paul Manafort. Three guesses who got the RNC platform changed to remove a demand that the 28 pages be released?

Let's rewind the tape a few decades to the '80s, when billionaire investor Tom Barrack sold Donald Trump the Plaza Hotel and a stake in department store chain Alexander's. Trump is bad at business, so he overpaid and wound up losing both investments to creditors. Womp womp!

But flattery gets you everywhere with Trump. At the Republican National Convention in 2016, Barrack actually said that in those negotiations, "[Trump] played me like a Steinway piano." Well, someone's gettin' played ...

Barrack, a Lebanese-American Christian whose father was a grocer in California, is everything that Trump is not -- educated, cultured, worldly, self-made, and well respected. Trump is a tacky dumpster fire. Naturally the two became fast friends.

In 2010, Barrack saved Jared Kushner's ass by not foreclosing on $70 million of debt he holds on Kushner's albatross devil building at 666 Fifth Avenue. So nice of Vanky's dad to intercede with Barrack!

Fast-forward to 2016, when Donald Trump was casting about for a new campaign manager. Luckily, his old pal Tom Barrack knew just the guy -- and he even lived in Trump's building. HELLLOOOOO, Paul Manafort!

Barrack knew Manafort personally from the 1970s when they both worked for Saudi companies in Beirut. Manafort went on to an illustrious career of ratfucking in Eastern Europe, but Barrack was still doing big business in the Middle East, where his pals in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar were getting a little jumpy about Trump's calls for a Muslim ban:

Does Trump really mean what he says? No, of course not! Barrack assured his buddy Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE's Ambassador to the US, that it wiould all be fine, since President Donald Trump would never conduct American foreign policy so as to harm his own business interests in the Arab world. The NYT reports from leaked emails it obtained,

"Confusion about your friend Donald Trump is VERY high," Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba of the United Arab Emirates emailed back when Mr. Barrack tried to introduce the candidate, in a message not previously reported. Mr. Trump's image, the ambassador warned, "has many people extremely worried."

Not deterred, Mr. Barrack, a longtime friend who had done business with the ambassador, assured him that Mr. Trump understood the Persian Gulf perspective. "He also has joint ventures in the U.A.E.!" Mr. Barrack wrote in an email on April 26.

Reassured that they were dealing with someone willing to sell out America's interests to make a buck, the Saudis and the Emiratis set out to cultivate good relations with Trump and his idiot son-in-law Jared Kushner. Middle East Eye quoted another batch of leaked emails between Barrack and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman:

"Paul called me and will do so if introduced through us ! I would like to align in Donald's mind the connection between the UAE and Saudi Arabia which we've already started with Jared [Kushner]. I think it is important that you are the center pin!"

This email exchange reveals that Trump himself was keen that contact between him and bin Salman should only be arranged through Barrack himself, his most trusted advisor.

Barrack's business depended on maintaining good relations with the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. And the Saudi royal family was adamantly opposed to releasing those 28 pages of the 9/11 report showing connections between the hijackers and the Saudi government. But in a lucky coincidence, Barrack's old buddy Paul Manafort was running the Trump campaign! Middle East Eye reports:

In July 2016, one month after he became Trump's campaign manager, Manafort sent Barrack an email he had received from a Republican Party source about the removal of the reference to the alleged Saudi funding of the 9/11 bombers. The email was then forwarded on to Otaiba, along with Barrack's comment that it was "really confidential but important. Please don't distribute".

"Paul. Something you can pass along to your friend Tom Barrack. I made certain that language that was anti the Saudi Royal Family was removed from the platform. It was inserted by AIPAC lobbyists and would have been a part of the 2016 Platform. When I saw the amendment that was passed in the subcommittee, I gave instructions to our political team to remove the language in the full committee."

OH, NOTHING. Just Paul Manafort receiving confirmation that the RNC was acceding to Barrack's request to remove a call to release the redacted 28 pages. Wouldn't the Saudi royal family be relieved! Just like the Russians were relieved when the Trump campaign got the RNC to drop calls to arm Ukraine in its fight against Russia! That Pauly is one friendly guy.

And, hey isn't MIGHTY FUCKING COINCIDENTAL that Emirati emissary George Nader made a beeline for Trump Tower right after the RNC platform got changed and Barrack reassured his Middle Eastern buddies that Trump and Kushner were totally for sale? (Those Saudis don't call J-Kush the "clown prince" for nothin'!) Cartoon villain Erik Prince set up the meeting with Don Jr. to let the Saudis personally offer to do anything they could to help Trump's campaign. So nice that Trump was able to return the favor after the election by backing Saudia Arabia and the UAE in their blockade of tiny Qatar against the express advice of the State Department! And so good that Trump has the entire apparatus of the United States government at his disposal to pay back his friends.

Jesus, when Paul Manafort finally flips, it's going to take MONTHS to depose him! Also, too, Hi, George Nader cooperating witness!


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[NYT / Middle East Eye]

Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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