Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Last Call For The Mask Slips Again...

...And Republicans accidentally tell the truth about what they plan for America.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage, famous for his controversial statements, said Tuesday morning "we need a Donald Trump to show some authoritarian power in our country" — while also criticizing President Obama for being what he described as an "autocrat." 
"Sometimes I wonder that our Constitution is not only broken," LePage told radio station WVOM, "but we need a Donald Trump to show some authoritarian power in our country and bring back the rule of law because we've had eight years of a president — he's an autocrat, he just does it on his own, he ignores Congress and every single day, we're slipping into anarchy." 
LePage has been a staunch support of Trump's bid for months. He has said he and the GOP nominee are "cut from the same cloth."
Autocracy is fine as long as you're working towards your interests, right Paul?

Also, bonus points for bringing back "rule of law" after eight years of the country's first black president, right?  Very telling considering Paul's recent authoritarian, white supremacist leanings.

White Nights, Orange Days

Josh Marshall notes that Putin's agitprop machine is getting sloppy in trying to help The Donald win, and that the cracks are showing in the facade that may indicate that Moscow's caution in operational security laundering leaked emails from the Democrats and Hillary Clinton through WikiLeaks has been completely thrown to the wind, but it turns out that it's probably more like neo-Nazis are terrible at being subtle.

We might speculate that there's some kind of mole in the Trump operation. Less conspiratorially, we might speculate that one of Trump's advisors with extensive ties to Russia is feeding Trump this stuff. The second option at least seems plausible. But there's actually a simpler explanation and it's one not based on speculation at all but things we know to be facts. 
News from Russian propaganda sources are pervasive in the alt-right/neo-Nazi web. As a secondary matter we know from Adrian Chen's work that there are a decent number of faux 'pro-Trump' accounts on Twitter that are actually run from troll farms operated by Russian intelligence services. By whichever path, Russian propaganda is ubiquitous on the alt-right/racist web - particularly on Twitter, Reddit, 4chan and similar sites. 
It happens that we know the Trump world is awash in the alt-right/neo-Nazi web. After all, that's where all the retweeting of #WhiteGenocide accounts and the like comes from. So anything is possible. Perhaps there's a more complex explanation. But the simplest one is that it's organic. Russian propaganda stories from outlets like RT, Sputniknews and other similar sites spread freely on the alt-right/white supremacist web. And that's where the Trump camp lives. So it's entirely plausible that that's why material that appears only on these Russian propaganda sites shows up so frequently in Trump's speeches. 
In other words, don't worry. The Trump campaign isn't infiltrated by Russian intelligence (probably). They're just awash in neo-Nazi and white supremacist propaganda. See my piece from August for more details.

And what's finally happened is that Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald, who has hammered Trump on his recent stories on The Donald breaking Cuba's embargo in the 90's and selling out US steel workers in favor of China now has discovered just how sloppy Putin is.

The Russians were quoting two sentences from a 10,000-word piece I wrote for Newsweek, which Blumenthal had emailed to Podesta. There was no mistaking that Blumenthal was citing Newsweek—the magazine’s name and citations for photographs appeared throughout the attached article. The Russians had carefully selected the “of course” paragraph, which mentions there were legitimate points of criticism regarding Clinton and Benghazi, all of which had been acknowledged in nine reports about the attack and by the former secretary of state herself. But that was hardly the point of the story, “Benghazi Biopsy: A Comprehensive Guide to One of America’s Worst Political Outrages.” The piece is about the obscene politicization of the assault that killed four Americans, and the article slammed the Republican Benghazi committee, which was engaged in a political show trial disguised as a congressional investigation—the 10th inquiry into the tragedy. 
Here is the real summation of my article, which the Russians failed to quote:

The historical significance of this moment can hardly be overstated, and it seems many Republicans, Democrats and members of the media don’t fully understand the magnitude of what is taking place. The awesome power of government—one that allows officials to pore through almost anything they demand and compel anyone to talk or suffer the shame of taking the Fifth Amendment—has been unleashed for purely political purposes.  
It is impossible to review what the Benghazi committee has done as anything other than taxpayer-funded political research of the opposing party’s leading candidate for president. Comparisons from America’s past are rare. Richard Nixon’s attempts to use the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies come to mind. So does Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting during the 1950s, with reckless accusations of treason leveled at members of the State Department, military generals and even the secretary of the Army.... 
The consequences, however, are worse than the manipulation of the electoral process. By using Benghazi for political advantage, the Republicans have communicated to global militants that, through even limited attacks involving relatively few casualties, they can potentially influence the direction of American elections. 
Of course, this might be seen as just an opportunity to laugh at the incompetence of the Russian hackers and government press—once they realized their error, Sputnik took the article down. But then things got even more bizarre. 
This false story was reported only by the Russian-controlled agency (a reference appeared in a Turkish publication, but it was nothing but a link to the Sputnik article). So how did Donald Trump end up advancing the same falsehood put out by Putin’s mouthpiece?

Well the answer is that WikiLeaks is a Russian front, or at least more than happy to launder leaks damaging Clinton that are doctored and fed to them by Russian sources.  That these networks cross both the neo-Nazi white supremacist right and the electronic privacy civil libertarian left is not exactly an accident, folks.  The Donald, the alt-right, and Team Snowden all have one common point, and it's our good friend Vladimir.

Not exactly rocket science to see the forest for these trees.

The Conserva-Schism Comes

I'm not RNC chair Reince Priebus but I'm thinking this is not the story he wanted to wake up to this morning four weeks before a presidential election, and that he probably should consider going back to bed.

The Republican Party tumbled toward anarchy Monday over its presidential nominee, as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) cut Donald Trump loose in an emergency maneuver to preserve the party’s endangered congressional majorities.

Ryan’s announcement that he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump prompted biting condemnations from within his caucus and from Trump himself, who publicly lashed out at the speaker.

It was an extraordinary display of personal animus just four weeks before the election, destroying any semblance of party unity behind a nominee who many GOP leaders said they could no longer stomach because of his character traits and tawdry campaign tactics.

New national and battleground-state polls showed Trump sliding since Friday’s publication of a 2005 video of him bragging about sexual assault, putting Clinton in position for a possible electoral landslide. Clinton surged to an 11 percentage point lead nationally in an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll conducted over the weekend.

It’s every person for himself or herself right now,” former senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said. “The nominee for president is so destructive to everyday Republicans.”

The situation that I've long predicted has finally arrived.  The dangerously bigoted, ignorant, and vengeful GOP rump that lurked during the Bush years (and destroyed the party's immigration reform plan) has only grown in malignancy during the Obama years, until it metastasized into the Trump Train.  Now the rest of the GOP is bodily hurling themselves from it as the tracks lead off the cliff.

Paul Ryan giving leave to House Republicans to bail on Trump is the climax of our little tragic play, the point where everything collapses and the only question is whose career survives the disaster.

Hillary Clinton is smartly moving to bring mattresses for a softer landing for those jumping off the bandwagon as the rest of the GOP is now in full panic mode.

With Republicans at war amongst themselves, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton moved swiftly Monday to pry away moderate Republican-leaning voters who are turned off by Trump. Her campaign launched an advertising blitz featuring testimonials from ordinary Republicans explaining why they were voting for Clinton.

“She is reaching out to voters that may well have supported Mitt Romney in 2012 and in a normal year might also be inclined to support the Republican nominee but are so troubled by Donald Trump they are open to supporting Hillary Clinton,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said. He added that nasty personal attacks by Trump at Sunday’s second presidential debate in St. Louis “only helped us close the sale.”

Ryan’s move, announced on a contentious conference call with House GOP members, was seen as a concession that Trump could no longer win the presidency and that the party must devote itself to retaining its majorities in the House and Senate.

Unlike Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was rendered mute on the subject Monday. He told a business group in Kentucky that if they wanted to hear his thoughts on Trump, they “might as well go ahead and leave,” according to the Associated Press.

Still, there was no wave of defections Monday from Trump, who in an aggressive performance in Sunday night’s debate reassured the conservative base that he would be a relentless aggressor against the party’s shared enemies: Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Trump leveled a stream of harsh charges at Hillary Clinton during the event, claiming she attacked women who accused her husband of sexual abuse and promising to send the former secretary of state to jail if he is president.

I'm pretty sure that wave of defections will come pretty soon after we start seeing the polls come in later this week.  Count on every Republican up for re-election in Congress to be looking at their internal polling from after this weekend and at the national numbers, already showing Clinton widening her lead.

As Donald Trump's campaign reels over tapes of the presidential candidate's sexually aggressive comments about women in 2005, the Republican nominee now trails Hillary Clinton by double digits among likely voters, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The poll, conducted on Saturday and Sunday but before the second presidential debate, shows Clinton with 46 percent support among likely voters in a four-way matchup, compared to 35 percent for Trump.

The dam is broken, the boil has burst, the volcano has erupted, and everyone is scrambling to get out of the path of devastation.  If a double-digit lead holds for Clinton, this really will be the Av-Hill-Lanche I've been saying was possible all along.  It's not going to be a Goldwater, McGovern or Mondale level beatdown, but it could look a lot like 1980, where Reagan won 51-41 over Carter and John Anderson got 7% of the vote.  That turned into 489 electoral votes for St. Ronaldo.  I don't see Clinton getting that many EVs, but 450 is certainly possible if the state polls follow suit in places like Georgia, Arizona, and South Carolina.  Hell, with a lead like that Clinton could challenge Kansas, Alaska, Montana, and the spine-breaker for the GOP, Texas.

Texas, guys.  An 11-point Clinton lead puts Texas in play.

Four weeks to go.


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