Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Last Call For Dinesh D'Felon

GOP operative, anti-Obama propaganda filmmaker, and convicted campaign finance violator Dinesh D'Souza faced sentencing today for his crimes and got a slap on the wrist.

Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza avoided prison on Tuesday when a U.S. judge sentenced him to serve eight months in a community confinement center after he pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law.

D'Souza, 53, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan to live in a center, which would allow him to leave during non-residential hours for employment, for the first eight months of a five-year probationary period.

Berman also ordered D'Souza to perform one day of community service a week during probation, undergo weekly therapy and pay a $30,000 fine.

D'Souza, a frequent critic of U.S. President Barack Obama, admitted in May to illegally reimbursing two "straw donors" who donated $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in New York of Wendy Long, a Republican he had known since attending Dartmouth College in the early 1980s.

"It was a crazy idea, it was a bad idea," D'Souza told Berman before being sentenced. "I regret breaking the law."

Sure you do.  It was especially funny when the judge played clips of D'Souza whining on the Sunday talk shows and on FOX how he was the real victim here.  Contrite my ass.

And yet the guy won't spend a day in prison.

Justice, huh?

Burning It Down In Kansas

Republicans are running scared in the Sunflower State, as both Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Pat Roberts are in serious danger of losing in November.  The vaunted "GOP wave" has not materialized, and instead it's what should be blood-red safe seats for Republicans that are no longer anywhere near safe.  The GOP is turning to all out war against Roberts's opponent, Independent Greg Orman.

With a two-man race now looking all but certain, national Republicans are planning a scorched-earth offensive to frame Sen. Pat Roberts’s (R-Kan.) independent opponent, Greg Orman, as a shady businessman.

Their first volley this weekend: reports that Orman represented Rajat Gupta — the former Goldman Sachs board member who incurred criminal and civil fines of more than $18 million and was jailed earlier this year for securities fraud — on a two-person board of a Cayman Islands private equity partnership. 
Kansas Republicans say to expect more information on his business dealings to come out in the coming weeks — likely as a systematic drip-drip of information, to keep the issue alive throughout the race. An Orman aide dismissed any potential damage, saying “the fundamentals of the race are still there, and that is, people are tired of the Washington dysfunction, and they’re tired of Pat Roberts.” 
The GOP will also begin propping up the vulnerable incumbent senator with support from revered national Republican figures to help him keep the seat. 
Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) are both stumping for Roberts in the state this week, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is heading there for campaign event next week. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are both scheduled for appearances in October. 
The need to boost Roberts’s image is imperative with six weeks to go until Election Day. Democrats pushed to get their struggling nominee, Chad Taylor, out of the race in the expectation that Orman would caucus with them. With Taylor appearing now to be off the ballot for good, recent polling has shown Orman leading Roberts in a head-to-head fight by 6 to 10 points.

McCain! Jebby! Rand!  Boy, Republicans aren't just running scared, they're flat-out terrified.  They know losing Roberts's seat will almost certainly cost them the Senate, and Roberts is in real trouble of losing it.

If Democrats can hold on in North Carolina, Iowa, and Colorado, and Roberts goes down in Kansas, it's going to be a long, long night for the GOP on November 4.

When The Rats Are Away...

Greg Sargent argues that President Obama has made a pretty massive violation of the law by not getting congressional authorization for attacking ISIS targets in Syria, but that Congress has thrown away its duties by skipping town without debating or voting on that authorization.

The Obama administration has not made an even remotely credible case for undertaking this escalation without Congressional authorization, and Congress’ refusal to hold a vote on it remains an outrageous abdication of responsibility. One also hopes the administration’s claims about terror threats are subjected to intense scrutiny. But we aren’t going to get any serious Congressional debate about any of this until after the election. 
However, one place all of this will be debated is in the context of the Senate races. Republicans have cheerfully suggested to the press that the politics of national security will again shower them with political riches, and they are running multiple ads replete with the grainy terror footage they used to such great effect back in 2002 and 2004, which is to say, at least a decade ago.

So, will our attacks on ISIS help the Democrats as President Obama displays leadership, help the GOP as they reclaim their national security credentials, help both as we rally around both the President and congressional incumbents, or help neither as a war weary nation say "to hell with all of you"?

If Scott Brown is any indication, the GOP is not going to gain much, if at all, with WARREN TERRAH ONLY GOP CAN KEEP YOU SAFE ads.

In the ad, Brown, who is trailing, accuses Shaheen and Obama of being “confused about the nature of the threat” posed by “radical Islamic terrorists” who are “threatening to cause the collapse of our country.” He then says we must “secure the border.” 
It’s true that the President’s approval on terrorism has plummeted and the GOP now holds a huge advantage on foreign policy. Republican strategists have been pretty explicit in explaining that they see this as a way to exploit a general public sense that things have gone off the rails, and polls do show high wrong-track numbers and rising worry about terrorism. If things go wrong, which is certainly possible, this could well redound to the benefit of Republican candidates. 
But for now, it’s hard to imagine that arguments such as Brown’s above are going to cut it. After all, if GOP candidates are really going to paint the U.S. response to ISIS as insufficiently realistic about the nature of the threat, then that should theoretically open them up to the question of whether they support sending in ground troops. You’d think that if the criticism continues now that operations are underway, it would be harder for them to duck that basic follow-up.

We'll see, but I'm guessing that this is going to be a wash at best for the GOP, and they know it.


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