Why people in MAGAland still talk to Klepper

I mentioned recently my puzzlement that Trump’s MAGA followers still talk to Jordan Klepper even though his clips make them look ridiculous. In an interview, he answers that question, saying it it is not hard at all to find people willing to talk, even if they know of him and his work.

But at a Donald Trump rally in June, he looked genuinely flabbergasted when a couple of young women seemingly had no knowledge of what happened on January 6, 2021 (see clip below).

“There’s definitely a surprise to be found at every Trump event,” Klepper tells Deadline. “I wish I could say that we went to these places, and we were fishing for people, but that’s not the case, we only talk to anybody who would like to talk to us. More often than not, people want to come in and talk to us. But the fact that they had never heard of January 6, even the terminology around insurrection was new to them was frankly shocking to me. I knew there was a rock a lot of people lived underneath, I just had no idea it was so encompassing.”

One of the more curious elements of Klepper’s segments is why so many right-wing folk are willing to talk with him, given that he is essentially making fun of them. But he likens it to being a heel in wrestling, that Trump supporters see this as entertainment.

“I probably took 50 or 60 selfies with people who were excited to just see somebody involved in the narrative surrounding this Trump World,” he says. “There are even politicians at CPAC who would come up and ask if they could set up a time [to talk]. You become like a villain in the Trump universe. It’s always that the rallies are like a sporting event. There’s ideology, there’s pomp and circumstance, it is fun, it’s entertainment and that also speaks to why people talk to me.”

Still seems a bit strange to me. Maybe it is because I at least try not to look like an idiot, even if I do not always succeed.

A tale of two families

Last week, the first trial began in a case that, back in 2016 when I was living in Ohio, exploded into the news headlines, involving a set of horrific murders. In a rural part of the state, eight members of a single family known as the Rhodens that lived in different homes in the region were found murdered, killed while they slept.

The murders were discovered on the morning of 22 April 2016, when Bobby Jo Manley stopped by the Rhodens’ cluster of trailer homes to see her ex-brother-in-law, Chris Rhoden Sr. Entering his trailer, she found the bloody bodies of Chris and his cousin, Gary. Chris’s ex-wife, Dana, was dead nearby, as were their children – Hanna, Chris Jr and Clarence, known as “Frankie” – and Frankie’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley.

The same day, Chris Sr’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, who lived about 15 minutes away, was also found murdered.

The killer or killers had spared Frankie’s three-year-old son; Frankie and Hannah Gilley’s baby, who was found covered in blood, trying to nurse at his mother; and Hanna Rhoden’s newborn. (Hanna and Jake’s two-year-old daughter, the subject of the custody dispute, was staying elsewhere.)

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On free will (again)

In 1929, Albert Einstein, at that time living in Berlin, gave a wide-ranging interview to George Sylvester Viereck that was published in the Saturday Evening Post. The interviewer seemed like a star-struck teenager and was unduly fawning but nevertheless obtained some interesting quotes from Einstein. One of them (“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”) was been widely circulated.

Einstein’s views on free will are also interesting.

I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will.

I believe with Schopenhauer: We can do what we wish, but we can only wish what we must. Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community, I must act as if man is a responsible being.

I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime; nevertheless I must protect myself from unpleasant contacts. I may consider him guiltless, but I prefer not to take tea with him.

My own career was undoubtedly determined, not by my own will but my various factors over which I have no control – primarily those mysterious glands in which Nature secretes the very essence of life, our internal secretions.

I claim credit for nothing. Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.

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Things are looking increasingly bad for Trump

Thanks to the revelations about the material found at Mar-a-Lago, I have learned more about the arcane bureaucratic processes involving the various levels of classification and the processes by which they can be declassified than I ever wanted to know. This is because since classified documents were found on the premises, the initial defenses by Trump’s supporters, that the search was done as a form of harassment of a totally innocent person who had done nothing wrong, have collapsed and have kept shifting to more technical arguments.

This article explains what is going on, starting with the three kinds of classified documents found by the FBI.

FBI agents seized 11 sets of documents from Trump’s Palm Beach club on Monday, including documents  identified as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” according to the inventory unsealed Friday. The list of items taken also notes that agents carted away four sets of documents marked “top-secret,” three sets of documents marked “secret” and three sets documents marked “confidential.”

These sets of documents range in classification levels, depending on the degree of their significance to U.S. national security. According to the federal regulations governing classification, “confidential” denotes the lowest rung. Information at this level could, if wrongly disclosed, cause “identifiable damage” to national security.  “The next level, “secret” information, could cause serious damage to national security if wrongly disclosed. The “top secret” designation is reserved for material whose unauthorized disclosure could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security.

The “SCI” designation is an abbreviation for “Sensitive Compartmented Information” and refers to classified information involving sensitive intelligence sources, methods or analytical processes, and which can only be discussed within a “SCIF” — a “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility” — a secure room or building limited to government officials with a corresponding security clearance. 

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Is Trump even stupider than I thought?

Some details of the search of Trump’s Florida residence have been released. It appears that FBI agents did find documents marked ‘Top Secret’ after all at Mar-A-Lago.

The most sensitive set of documents removed from Trump’s post-presidency home in Florida were listed generically as “Various Classified/TS/SCI” – the abbreviation for top secret/sensitive compartmented information – the warrant shows.

FBI agents retrieved a total of 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were marked top secret, the Wall Street Journal first reported. Federal agents also took away four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents, the receipt showed.

The search warrant receipt did not provide any further detail about the substance of the classified documents. Other materials removed from Mar-a-Lago included binders of photos, information on the “President of France”, and a grant of clemency for the Trump political operative Roger Stone.

Caught at the center of a rapidly escalating controversy, Trump lashed out at the justice department on Friday, saying in a statement that he had declassified all of the records in question. “It was all declassified,” Trump asserted.

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Jordan Klepper visits MAGAland again

This time he goes to Waukesha, Wisconsin that held its primary elections on Tuesday. He seems to never run out of total nutters who are willing to go on TV and say the most outlandish things. Of course, they themselves clearly think they are being perfectly logical and factual.

By now, any reasonably politically conscious person would be aware of Klepper and that they would look foolish when the clip is broadcast. My guess is that they only read and watch right-wing media and hence still have no idea who he is or what he does. But you would think that word would have at least spread through the MAGA grapevine to avoid talking to the very tall comedian who is not Conan O’Brien and who is followed by a camera crew

This time he spoke at some length to a woman who seemed enamored of something called Gematria in order to interpret political events. I had not heard of this before and so looked it up. It seems to be a species of numerology.

Gematria is the practice of assigning a numerical value to a name, word or phrase according to an alphanumerical cipher. A single word can yield several values depending on the cipher which is used.

Hebrew alphanumeric ciphers were probably used in biblical times, and were later adopted by other cultures. Gematria is still widely used in Jewish culture. Similar systems have been used in other languages and cultures: the Greeks isopsephy, and later, derived from or inspired by Hebrew gematria, Arabic abjad numerals, and English gematria.

Here is Klepper.

Attorney General tries to counter Mar-a-Lago search paranoia

We are living at a time when conspiracy theories abound and where over-the-top reactions to the most routine of events have become the norm. A perfect example of this has been the reaction among Trump supporters to the execution by the FBI of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, the current home of Donald Trump. While searching of the home of a former president is undoubtedly unprecedented, everything else about the process was perfectly ordinary. In fact, the department of justice seemed to have gone out of its way to do this by the book because of the its unprecedented nature.

The FBI first went all the way to the top and got approval from the Attorney General to ask for the warrant and then went, as required, to a federal judge claiming that they had probable cause for the search. You ca be sure that since a former president was involved, there was a high bar that had to be cleared in order to get the warrant. They then carried out the search with little fuss and with the cooperation of the Secret Service agents guarding the premises and with the president’s representatives apparently also present. There was no raid, no pre-dawn breaking down of the doors by armed agents, and the other kinds of things that ordinary people might be subjected to at the hands of law enforcement. In fact, no one knew about the search until Trump blasted out the news in his usual hyperbolic fashion that he was being persecuted. And as usual in their knee-jerk reaction, his loyal cult members in Congress and the nation at large responded hysterically, comparing this action to Nazi Germany and the Gestapo. They have even gone to the extent of suggesting that the FBI planted evidence at the site, a charge that they will repeat if any damning evidence is revealed. Planting of evidence by law enforcement undoubtedly happens but it seems unlikely in this case.
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Car sounds

When I get into my car and shut the door, its closing makes a solid kind of sound. I had never given much thought to it, thinking that the sound of closing was an incidental byproduct of the door’s design and manufacture. It appears that I was mistaken. In an article on the sounds that cars make, John Seabrook writes that much thought goes into creating that particular sound.

The engine’s sound isn’t the only thing that the engineers work on. Many prospective buyers’ first experience of a car or a truck is the CLICK ker-CHUNK that the driver’s-side door makes when they close it, followed by a faint harmonic shiver given off by the vehicle’s metal skin. The door’s weight, latches, and seals are carefully calibrated to create a psychoacoustic experience that conveys comfort, safety, and manufacturing expertise.

Who knew?
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Horrific crash in Los Angeles

A driver ran right through a red light at a busy city intersection at a speed estimated at possibly 60 mph or even higher, resulting in a fiery crash that killed six people. The video of the crash is disturbing. The driver is going so fast that you barely see the car before it enters the intersection and the crash occurs.

What astonishes me is how anyone could be driving so fast in a city. This did not look like mere distracted driving because of texting or speaking on the phone or other reasons. The car did not do anything to avoid a collision, such as swerve or brake, right up to the impact. It looked like the car was set on cruise control at that high speed which is implausible. To get up to such a high speed in city traffic, you have to be conscious of what you are doing. Even if she was on drugs, I cannot see why she would be going so fast. The only possibility I can think of is that she lost consciousness while her foot was on the accelerator. But surely you cannot press your foot down if you are unconscious? We will have to await an analysis of the blood that was taken from her in hospital.

Another astonishing thing is that her own injuries are described as ‘moderate’. How she even survived the. crash is astonishing. Her car was a Mercedes Benz and maybe they have very good protection for occupants.