The Take-Down Of Michael Wolff… More Or Less Or A Lot Less

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As some of you may have heard, there’s a little book that just came out detailing the inner workings of the Trump administration in the White House. It’s creating quite a stir in the news cycle. And as expected, the right-wing press is going after Michael Wolff, the author of the book, in a big way. One such site is the Washington Times. They are working to discredit the book by discrediting the author. Before I go on, I must say right up front I’ve had many issues with the accuracy of the Washington Times on several occasions. But I’m putting that aside because accuracy must win the day, no matter which side it sits on.

“Michael Wolff’s spotty record raises questions about Trump tell-all” reads the headline.

The article introduces Wolff:

“A caustic gossip columnist more accustomed to taking down New York media moguls than Washington politicians [Mr. Trump is now a politician, good to know], Mr. Wolff trained his fire on President Trump and his inner circle in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” an incendiary tell-all that has the president and his supporters fuming…

Mr. Wolff’s witty, provocative style has earned him accolades over the years — as well as criticism and controversy.

But his critics contend that he has a tendency to play fast and loose with the truth.”

Let’s look at the evidence, according to the WT that Wolff has a spotty record. First:

“When current and former members of the Trump administration came forward to dispute the version of events presented in the book — or even quotes attributed to them — Mr. Wolff said he has dozens of hours of audio recordings to back up his assertions.

The now-defunct website Brill’s Content reported in 1998 that more than a dozen people said Mr. Wolff embellished or outright invented quotes attributed to them in his 1998 book about Silicon Valley, “Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet.””

To prove a case, one needs to present the evidence to support the claim. Does the WT do this? No. They only provide a link that links back to their own website without providing the necessary evidence supporting the claim.

Lucky for us, there is this magical thing called the “internetz” where you can find all sorts of information about stuff, including the topic at hand. Here is the issue in a nut shell. Michael Wolff started a dot-com in the mid 90’s called Wolff News Media. It failed after a few years, and Wolff wrote a book about it. I happened to find, thanks to the internetz, the actual article from Brill’s Content. Brill does lay out a convincing case that Mr. Wolff seemed to have taken liberties in his book. Wolff apparently took liberties in combining negative traits of three AOL execs into one person. The character was apparently a “composite.” Others say Wolff got quotes wrong or made them up. The Brill’s Content article further notes:

“Wolff, who founded and ran Wolff New Media, and is now a columnist for New York magazine and The Industry Standard, says, “In addition to being a book about my life, it is a very well-reported book.”

But seven of the main characters and six others portrayed in-or familiar with-events in the book, disagree. They say Wolff invented or changed quotes. And none of those quoted recalls Wolff taking notes or recording the discussions, some of which took place three years ago.

Six of the thirteen refused to speak for attribution. Three main characters-Thatcher; David Hayden, who appears as the CEO of the McKinley Group, a software firm (and who has since left), and Tom Feegel, former technical director of Wolff New Media-spoke to Brill’s Content on the record. A venture capitalist, who appears anonymously throughout the book, spoke to us but would not allow us to use his name. The minor characters who spoke on the record are Goff and journalist Gary Brickman. Another person, who says he is the unnamed Wolff New Media executive vice-president in the book, spoke to us but would not allow his name to be used. Jonathan Bellack, a former Wolff New Media employee, who also spoke to us, does not appear in the book but says he witnessed events the book describes.

Wolff says he has notes and e-mail that back him up, but refuses to release them. “I’m sure people are very surprised to see these meetings come back to life,” he says. “But that’s good writing. That may be great writing.”

In the Brill’s Content article, Wolff says “I’m sure people are very surprised to see these meetings come back to life … But that’s good writing. That may be great writing.” Though Wolff claims to have had notes of conversations in question, he indeed seems seems to have never released them. Wolf’s response to Brill’s accusations??? Why, attack Brill of course! Wolff evades the topic at hand.

Though remembering what specifically what one has said in specific meetings over the course of years my be impossible, and those who are misquoted may also be in error, the onus is for Wolff to provide the records to show how accurate his quotes were. He failed.

Seeing as much of the controversy surrounding new book about the Trump administration seems to concern quotes, accuracy here is important. Wolff claims he has dozens of hours of recordings. If he doesn’t produce them,he will have a problem.

The WT continues:

Several details in Mr. Wolff’s account already have been revealed to be highly unlikely, as Washington insiders have been quick to point out.

One “Washington insider” appears to be New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. She notes in a CNN interview:

“I believe parts of it. And then there are other parts that are factually wrong. I mean the thing about Michael Wolff and his style, which apparently nobody in the White House appears to have done a cursory Google search on him and sort of what his M.O. is, but he believes in larger truths and narratives. So he creates a narrative that is notionally true, that’s conceptually true. The details are often wrong. And I can — I can see several places in the book that are wrong.”

When asked for details, she says:

“…he in accurately describes a report in “The New York Times.” He inaccurately characterizes a couple of incidents that took place early on in the administration. He gets basic details wrong.”

Those inaccuracies are listed as CNN reporting the substance of the Trump Dossier, which they didn’t, and misquotes Robert Murdoch.

So far, if you look at these inconsistencies, do you dismiss the whole of the book?

There are parts of the WT critique that don’t hold up. For instance:

“Writing in the pages of The New Republic in 2004, Michelle Cottle took Mr. Wolff to task for exploiting artistic license in his writing…

Mr. Wolff himself admitted to as much in the introduction to “Fire and Fury.”

“Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue,” he wrote. “Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.”

The WT is playing with words here. Wolff is not saying that he’s taken “artistic license”, he’s saying that different people within the administration themselves have differing accounts of events. One only needs to track many of the instances where the administration has produced three or four official statements before settling on the one that best suits the narrative. The firing of James Comey is a perfect example. That story has changed so much, I’m still not sure which version of events leading up to that is the “official” one.

“The author [Wolff] claims that Mr. Trump did not know who former House speaker John Boehner was when former Fox News honcho Roger Ailes suggested him as a potential chief of staff.”

But Trump himself has indeed said things like this many times. Remember he had no idea who David Duke was or anything about his views, even though there was an interview with Larry King from a couple of years prior that has Trump talking about Duke and his “theories.” And then there is the infamous “pussy-grabbing” video clip. First Trump embraces his words in the video as “locker room talk”, but the, a year later, he says the video is “fake”. Trump even claims not to have ever met Wolff. But Wolff interviewed Trump for the Hollywood Reporter during the campaign. And note that they seemed to get along well enough.

And don’t forget the speech Trump gave while visiting Florida and says that “Melania really wanted to be with us. It’s really touched her heart what’s gone on.”… And she’s standing right beside him.

So maybe it’s not out of the question that Trump forgot who Boehner is. Which is the problem with trying to criticize Wolff and his book, or the critique of it for that matter. When it comes to the Trump administration, there are so many oddities that it truly is difficult to find out what is true or not.

I will point out though that Wolff’s description of Trumps demeanor and complete disinterest in researching and reading, the incredibly short attention span, and the accusation that no one expected Trump would win are not new to the world. During the campaign in 2016, “Art Of The Deal” Tony Schwartz and former Trump strategist Stephanie Cegielski, in separate articles, are already on record saying the same things.

Meanwhile, news is breaking that the former counsel to the President Steve Bannon, who is featured throughout the new book, was about to issue a statement attacking Wolff’s book as a “left wing hatchet job.” But since the President attacked him, he’s letting this all play out.

My New Car!!!

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As most of my friends know, I am a loyal Subaru guy. But have loved my Hondas and Toyotas, and once had the rare Datsun 810 coupe. Fun car, but it was getting eaten by rust.

I’m here now because I just acquired a cream dream machine!!!… A 1991 300ZX 2×2. I will never forget the first time I saw one of these out in the wild. I was driving north on the I-5 from San Diego to Pasadena, and this magnificent car passed me. I normally kept up with the goings-on in the industry, but somehow, I missed the relaunch of the Z at the time. I saw the car, a black one, and wondered “what the hell is THAT!!!!”. And now I have one!

I owned a pool business. One of my long-time customers has had this car mothballed for the last 9 years or so. It had some sort of transmission problem, and they decided to get another car. I think they intended to fix this one, but never got around to it. It has been in the garage, covered, ever since. At least three or four times a year I’d ask “Hey Cindy, when are you gonna get me that car?”. Well she finally decided to let it go, and I got it for a song!

Because they had originally bought the car out of state, the car has a “non-transferable” tag on the title. Also, they have no idea where the keys are, or where the pink slip is. They can’t find the keys, the battery is dead, the T-Top keys are also missing, I’m betting I’ll have a stuck injector or two….

These are all solvable problems. Still, I won’t be doing any serious wrenching until the pink slip is in my name. But, the car is now sitting pretty in my driveway! Possession is 9/10ths and all that! 🙂

I’m ecstatic to have this car, and look forward to a good drive to the coast when I get it up and running.

PS. Yes, that IS a Subaru BRAT back there… And, no, it doesn’t have the rear seats in the bed. (will be for sale soon)


Rebuilding Credit, The Sonicfrog Way – Or – Why Can’t Things Ever Be Easy For Me???? UPDATE

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This is something I posted on facebook a couple of weeks ago and meant to post here.

Consider it posted.

I have worked hard to rebuild my credit in the aftermath of the Great Recession. But, being me, I have weird problems; nothing goes normal.Somehow, Experian had my credit at a 0 rating, and that cost me due to the high interest rate I ended up with when I bought my car a couple of years ago. I didn’t think that much about it and thought it was a blip, a failure on the part of the dealership I purchased the car from. I registered on Credit Karma, and there was no hint of a 0 credit score there, so I forgot about it. Meanwhile, I’ve been on a credit repair program with my bank,including a secured credit card, for a couple of years. By this summer, my credit score had gone a hundred points, and all looked good... Until...

In July, I went to the bank to upgrade my credit. I applied and found out the 0 score was not a blip, but a real score that kept me from getting the credit card upgrade. I contacted Experian and eventually got that problem resolved. They had no idea why my score was 0, but it got fixed. So, in late September, I went back to the bank, and this time everything looked good.My unsecured credit card was approved. They would close the secured account, and I would get the regular card in a couple of weeks.

A couple of weeks passed. No card in the mail. Another week, and then another week went by. I finally called the bank, and they don’t know what happened, but they don’t have record of the card getting issued. So now I have to reapply. 

But, SURPRISE!!!!!!!!! Now there is a problem. 

Because of all the inquiries to fix my 0 credit score, two inquiries to get the new card, and the closing of my secured card account, that caused my credit score to dip 20 points. And gee, that cause my score to go down 20points, which puts me below the threshold to get the new card.

Again... I never can do things like normal people do.

UPDATE: Since I originally wrote this two weeks ago, things have happened. I got a call from the bank yesterday letting me know that yes, the card has been approved and is on it’s way. Then I get home, and in the mail is a notice saying my application has been denied.

I can’t win.

On Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

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This morning, while talking on Facebook about a woman being deported after living here for thirty years and raising a family, a friend ask a question I hear often: why didn’t the illegal immigrant go and do things the right way?
In order to do so, she would have to go back to Mexico and start the legal immigration process from there. She would have to put on paper why she wants to become a citizen of this country. She would then have to explain how and why she has a family in the US, which means she would have to admit she originally came here illegally. If you think she would have been able to return, consider this turn of the events that happened to a good friend of mine only a few weeks ago as she tried to come back to this country on a guest visa.
I’ve never done any crime or violation against the law in my life. Ironically, the reason I left U.S. last time was because I wanted to do it everything right LEGALLY so I won’t violate. And it turned out that I am Visa Waiver Pilot Program violator.
Quote from document : 
“You presented a valid passport and a facially nonimmigrant visa in order to be admitted to the United States, but you admitted a sworn statement before an officer of this Service that you sought unauthorized employment as a music teacher and performer in your last trip to the United States and you overstayed your period of admission by two days”
That was the reason of my deportation and penalty for 5 years.
I mean, seriously ? How many people in u.s overstayng there for like 10-20 years?
And I was never looking for a “job” ,all i did was playing my violin and sharing my love to the world through my gift. Sometimes ,I had some tips from the people, who wanted to show their appreciation for what they’ve heard . I was invited to consult a few kids about violin, because they say, I am quiet good educated internationally ( I have two master degrees from the best university’s of music in the world ) and im passionate about what i do.
Am i a criminal,dear friends ?
Have a lovely day,people of Earth!

Amina is a sweetheart, and a ferociously talented musician. She loves to share her gifts with the world. When she landed in Los Angeles, complete with all the proper paperwork to be here, they turned her away and banned her from entering the United States for FIVE YEARS!!!!! For what? Giving a few violin lessons, and overstaying her last visa for two days.

Why don’t illegal immigrants go back to that country to start the process of becoming a legal citizen? They know they would never be let back in. Amina and another wonderful musician friend Angelo were planning on getting married and settle here in town. They were trying to do everything the right way. And look where that got them.

I’m stopping right here because this is pissing me off again.

Screwed up immigration policy is another reason why I left the Conservative movement years ago. Their stance / solutions concerning this issue is heartless. It always has been. I was blind to it back then, and thought the same as most other Conservatives, that illegal immigrants should go back and start over; get in line like everyone else trying to do things the right way. Sounds great, except, for them, the line disappears. If they leave, they will NOT be allowed to come back. Which means they would be separated from their families.

Don’t believe me???

This has always been happening of course, but, not so often that people took much notice, except Ruben Navarrette? and a few others. Now, under current leadership, the insanity has accelerated, turned up to eleven.


The Chicago Corrollary.

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Ahhhh… The clarion call of gun worshiping Conservatives everywhere, which tries to tie gun violence to gun restrictions, not only saying that restrictions don’t work, but they may also CAUSE more gun violence because law abiding citizens aren’t able to defend themselves with their own guns. I’ll call this the “Chicago Corollary”. But does the meme stand up?

Nope. Of course not.

The shootings in Chicago for the month of September are not analogous to the Las Vegas massacre for a few reasons. First, the shootings committed in Chicago were the result of 51 different crimes incidences spread across the month, whereas the 58 who died in Vegas were all killed by one single individual. Las Vegas recorded 70 gun homicides for the first half of 2017, which is about 12 per month. If that trend held through September, then the gun related deaths for Vegas are now higher than Chicago.


Several sources point out that Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco have tougher laws. Chicago USED to be number one on the list, but several court challenges led to rulings that negated the toughest restrictions. Note, I’m not judging the merit of those rulings, but simply pointing out that how the city laws have been scaled back. Interesting to note, Chicago’s toughest gun laws were struck down in 2010 and 2013. Not too long after, gun violence began a sharp upswing.

Next: If the Chicago Corollary holds up, then those three cities must also be the top three in gun-related homicides.

The top three are St. Louis, Baltimore, and Detroit. As of last year, Chicago was in eight place.

Cities with much higher murder rates such as Memphis, New Orleans, and Newark never get mentioned…. Newark???

Oh… And New Orleans is an open-carry city. How’s that working out, and why doesn’t that city ever get mentioned in the debate about gun violence???

Long story short, Chicago isn’t the worst city in regard to gun violence. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not an issue of cities… It’s us, The US. Our societal infatuation with guns and violence has led this country to have the highest gun related homicide rates among the wealthy Western countries.

We in the United States have an expectation that, through American enginuity, we can do anything better than anyone, we can be better than any other country.

I don’t know… Can we?

A Brief History Of Conservatives And The NFL.

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1999: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2000: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2001: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2002: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2003: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2004: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2005: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2006: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2007: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2008: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2009: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2010: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2011: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2012: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2013: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2014: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2015: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2016: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2017: “I’m getting real sick of these athletes that make millions of dollars whining like little babies and being so disrespectful. Go get a real job and then you can have a reason to cry because these guys don’t get any sympathy from me making as much money as they do for playing a game!!!”

The FrankenBass!!!

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In case you don’t know, I love’z Peavey basses!!!! Mid 90’s and earlier are some terrific instruments. Here is the FrankenBass I built earlier this year. It’s a Foundation body, Patriot neck, flat wounds, T-15 pup’s, and my own “rail” system to hold the pup’s in place. The T-15 is a regular six string electric guitar, not a bass. I saw them on eBay one day as I was surfing for parts, and wondered what it would sound like to have those in there, so I figured what the heck. Those guitar pup’s??? They’re very HOT, really gives the thing an interesting sound. I swapped the normal volume pot with a push-pull pot. I can now instantly cut the line to my instrument without messing with the volume. I plan on adding a dual pot so I can control the tone of each pickup.

Ladies And Gent’s… The FrankenBass!!!

Oh.. And there WILL be more stickers.

Fun With Binoculars And Solar Eclipses, 2017 Edition.

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I did this during the partial eclipse in 2012.

And this:

So, of course I couldn’t let this eclipse in 2017 go by with out a little bit of fun.

Fed Up

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I’ve been a very patient man, but I’ve reached my limits. Yesterday, certain Conservatives, without waiting for any confirmation, posted the name of a guy, accusing him of being the driver in the Charlottesville attack. A facebook “friend” was one of those who gleefully posted the name of this person. The innocent guy was accused for only one reason, because of the person’s political affiliation, which is liberal.
That is blatant slander. The police had not issued the identity of the driver.There was no reason to post except to try and show a “Libtard” did it. When called on it, he didn’t care that the person was innocent.
Another “friend” posted a completely false story about Malia Obama getting busted with other Chicago “thugs”, complete with supposed mugshots, who, as you might guess, were all black, over a supposed bust involving several pounds of cocaine. The “friend” didn’t give a damned when pointed out this story was completely fake. It really ticked me off, because, no matter what your opinion of the political figure in question might be, I have long held that, unless the person actually has done something that directly involves policy, such as Hillary being in charge of the healthcare issue when her husband was President, partisan attacks on wives / family members of politicians are out of bounds. The “friend” tried accusing me of doing the same thing here all the time on my page with Ivanka, Malania, or Trump’s young son Barron.

I have probably mentioned Ivanka on business issues / practices a time or two. I’ve maybe mentioned Melania once, when she was caught plagiarizing a Michelle Obama speech. But I’ve NEVER in any way said anything slanderous about Barron. NEVER. I have a long policy of showing distain for that practice. Here is a post I wrote concerning attacks on Anne Romney:

I have no problem criticizing any politician when he or she is pandering, which Mitt was doing with his original comment. And it was clumsy, as usual. But what Rosen did, in order to score some political points, was akin to throwing fellow woman Ann Romney under the bus. And here it’s worse, because Mrs Romney wasn’t even in the road, but was a pedestrian on the sidewalk, and Rosen had to swerve to nail her!

I’ve felt this way since the Reagan years. I defended Laura Bush. I defended Michelle Obama, and I have defended Melania Trump. And I have defended their families. I have written about Donald Trump Jr. But he’s actively involved with the campaign, and he has been shown to have lied about things directly tied to his fathers campaign.

The same people who have no problem slandering others, are also the same people who cheer when protesters get run over. Even though I don’t share the same opinion, I can understand the opinion that blocking traffic during a protest is wrong. I get it. But to celebrate and revel when a person uses a car as a weapon…. Nope. That is a love and lust for violence I just can’t tolerate.

Those “friends” are gone from my facebook page.

So I’m fed up. If you

Brat Tail Light.

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Because the forum I’m on doesn’t allow links to Google photo, I’ll put this here and link to it instead.

They thought they could defeat me…