Monday, September 15, 2014

Last Call For Alison's Firing Line

Alison Lundergan Grimes's newest ad doesn't pull any punches as the sheet-shooting candidate takes potshots at Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell.  Joe Arnold:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes fires a shotgun six times in a new television ad, each shot aiming to poke a hole in the campaign of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. 
Most significantly, Grimes leaves no room for interpretation that she disagrees with McConnell's assertion that a vote for her is a vote to further the agenda of the Obama administration. 
"Mitch McConnell wants you to think I'm Barack Obama," Grimes' voice is heard as she fires a shotgun to begin the ad. 
"I'm not Barack Obama," Grimes says later. "I disagree with him on guns, coal and the EPA," Grimes says, turning toward the camera after firing the shotgun, her safety glasses and ear plugs intact. 

It's not like Mitch has left her much of a choice.  This is Kentucky, as I keep saying, and the only way Grimes is going to win is to run against Obama as much as she is running against Mitch.  His latest ad ends with the tagline "Obama needs Grimes, Kentucky needs Mitch."  But Grimes takes her shots at ol' Turtle Face too.

Grimes also uses the shotgun blasts to target a mix of McConnell campaign flubs and arguments against her. 
"This is the same guy who thought Duke basketball players were U-K," Grimes says, referring to a flub by McConnell's ad maker in a March web video which showed Duke University players celebrating the 2010 NCAA basketball championship rather than an intended University of Kentucky highlight. The clip lasts less than one second, but has become frequent fodder for Grimes. 
"... or who's attacking me on coal," Grimes continues, " after doing nothing while we've lost thousands of coal jobs." 
"He even said it's not his job to bring jobs to Kentucky," Grimes intones, repeating a quote McConnell insists was taken out of context but a Beattyville newspaper editor says was reported accurately.

The end of the ad seeks to undermine what the McConnell campaign has used as imagery in its favor, McConnell holding a shotgun over his head at the Conservative Political Action Conference before presenting it to Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn (R).
"And, Mitch," Grimes laughs, "That's not how you hold a gun."

Chuckle all you want.  That works in the Bluegrass State.  It's a good ad, for a bad situation, to get rid of an awful incumbent.  If this gets Mitch out of the Senate, Grimes can disagree with President Obama on some issues.  Better than trying to actively block him on all issues.

Hillary: And It Begins

If there somehow was a remaining shred of doubt that Hillary Clinton was somehow not going to run for President in 2016, that doubt was flambeed, chopped, crushed, mangled, and the ashes ground into a fine powder and sprinkled all over the state of Iowa this weekend.

Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin said Sunday Hillary Clinton’s “fingerprints are all over” Obamacare. The Iowa senator was introducing Clinton to speak at his 37th annual Steak Fry.

“One of the things she always worked on was advancing this concept, this idea that health care should be a right and not a privilege in this country,” Harkin said. “So, Hillary was not there when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, she was of course secretary of state, but I want you all to know that her fingerprints are all over that legislation. It would not have happened without her strenuous advocacy in that committee all those years.”

Speaking at high-profile event, headlined this year by former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is often seen as a sign of laying the foundation for a presidential run.

Sen. Tom Harkin is giving Hillary Clinton credit for Obamacare.  This is a really, really important clue, you think?

Look for more of this.  A lot more of this, in fact, in the months to come.  I'm glad that Hillary is playing up Obamacare, but she has to be careful not to make it look like she's trying to take credit for passing Hillarycare in 2010, otherwise she's going to alienate a lot of Democratic primary voters.

We'll see.

Snowden, Germany, And Putin's Retaliation

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed retaliation against Friday's US/EU sanctions against Moscow, targeting Russia's big oil players like Gazprom.  Shifty ol' Vlad, the former GRU intelligence chief, has followed up on this threat and played the card he's gone back to time and time again on Monday: Edward Snowden's hoard of NSA documents.

Deutsche Telekom said it had found no indication that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain's GCHQ had obtained access to its computer network, but said it was investigating the matter following a report in Sunday's Der Spiegel magazine.

"We are looking into every indication of possible manipulations but have not yet found any hint of that in our investigations so far," a Telekom spokesman said in a statement on Sunday. "We're working closely with IT specialists and have also contacted German security authorities.

"It would be completely unacceptable if a foreign intelligence agency were to gain access to our network," the spokesman added.

Der Spiegel said it had seen information suggesting the NSA and GCHQ had gained access to the networks of Deutsche Telekom and smaller German provider Netcologne.

That Der Speigel report credits Snowden's latest "revelation" that the NSA is working with its counterparts in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to "map all devices on the internet".

When it comes to choosing code names for their secret operations, American and British agents demonstrate a flare for creativity. Sometimes they borrow from Mother Nature, with monikers such as "Evil Olive" and "Egoistic Giraffe." Other times, they would seem to take their guidance from Hollywood. A program called Treasure Map even has its own logo, a skull superimposed onto a compass, the eye holes glowing in demonic red, reminiscent of a movie poster for the popular "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, starring Johnny Depp. Treasure Map is anything but harmless entertainment. Rather, it is the mandate for a massive raid on the digital world. It aims to map the Internet, and not just the large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables. It also seeks to identify the devices across which our data flows, so-called routers.

Furthermore, every single end device that is connected to the Internet somewhere in the world -- every smartphone, tablet and computer -- is to be made visible. Such a map doesn't just reveal one treasure. There are millions of them.

The breathtaking mission is described in a Treasure Map presentation from the documents of the former intelligence service employee Edward Snowden which SPIEGEL has seen. It instructs analysts to "map the entire Internet -- Any device, anywhere, all the time."

Treasure Map allows for the creation of an "interactive map of the global Internet" in "near real-time," the document notes. Employees of the so-called "FiveEyes" intelligence agencies from Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which cooperate closely with the American agency NSA, can install and use the program on their own computers. One can imagine it as a kind of Google Earth for global data traffic, a bird's eye view of the planet's digital arteries.

If you wanted to drive a huge wedge between the US and the EU, this is exactly how to do it: a breathless report that states that Germany's biggest telecom has been hacked by the US and UK to MAP EVERY SINGLE DEVICE ON THE INTERNET EVER.  The Germans, I'm sure, are pissed.  What better way to break up sanctions than by getting the countries leveling them against you to turn on each other?  There doesn't have to be proof of course, but anyone who thinks this report dropping now is a coincidence doesn't know how this game is played at all.

I have to hand it to Putin, when the man promises retaliation, he follows through...and just a few days before the Scottish independence vote in the UK, too.

Well played in return, Mr. Putin.


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