Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Last Call For Kobach Chameleon

I've talked about Kansas GOP Secretary of State Kris Kobach a number of times on this blog, and at every juncture he's been on a crusade to disenfranchise as many Democratic party voters as possible in the name of "eliminating voter fraud".  He's the man behind Crosscheck, a compact of red states to compare voter registrations and to toss millions off the voter rolls in 2016. He's been involved in helping to neuter the Federal Election Assistance Commission to keep the federal government from helping to register voters. And in Kansas, he's been behind efforts to misinform Hispanic voters in the state by giving them false information.  Most of all, he's the man behind Arizona's awful SB 1070  "Papers, please!" law that Kobach later tried in Kansas and was struck down by the Supreme Court.

In other words, if the GOP effort to disenfranchise black and Hispanic voters has a face and name, it's Kris Kobach.

So guess whose name just surfaced as Attorney General of the United States in the Trump administration?

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, best known for his very hardline immigration stances, could be President-elect Donald Trump's choice for attorney general. Kobach helped formulate Trump's controversial plan to build a wall along the United States' southern border and crafted an Arizona law that made it a crimeto be in the country illegally and allowed Hispanic people to be asked to "show their papers." 
Phil Kerpen, president of the conservative group American Commitment, tweeted Tuesday that credible sources told him Kobach was the likely choice. But Bryan Lowry, a reporter at Kansas.com, tweeted that a Kobach representative said it was "just chatter" at the moment, signaling nothing was definite just yet.
Kobach is a controversial figure, in large part for his very tough stances on immigration. Kobach has indicated that Trump's immigration stances will immediately shift away from President Barack Obama's efforts to extend rights to undocumented immigrants. Trump has said he would deport between 2 and 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions. Kobach suggested this week that Trump would also deport undocumented immigrants who are arrested but not convicted.

Understand that if Kris Kobach becomes Attorney General, the DoJ's Civil Rights and Voting Rights divisions will be used against people of color at every opportunity, and that I fully expect a national, federal effort to institute GOP voter ID laws nationwide, along with, oh yes, the nation's top cop almost certainly instituting national racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and "stop and frisk" policing.

Oh, yeah, and mass deportations.

Kobach cannot be allowed to be Attorney General, guys.


Burning Bernie Big Time

Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald argues that Bernie Sanders would have been buried by the GOP's opposition research if he had been nominated, and that believing Sanders had any chance was part of the reason why Clinton lost.

So what would have happened when Sanders hit a real opponent, someone who did not care about alienating the young college voters in his base? I have seen the opposition book assembled by Republicans for Sanders, and it was brutal. The Republicans would have torn him apart. And while Sanders supporters might delude themselves into believing that they could have defended him against all of this, there is a name for politicians who play defense all the time: losers.

Here are a few tastes of what was in store for Sanders, straight out of the Republican playbook: He thinks rape is A-OK. In 1972, when he was 31, Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in which he described a woman enjoying being raped by three men. Yes, there is an explanation for it—a long, complicated one, just like the one that would make clear why the Clinton emails story was nonsense. And we all know how well that worked out.

Then there’s the fact that Sanders was on unemployment until his mid-30s, and that he stole electricity from a neighbor after failing to pay his bills, and that he co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont’s nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, where it could be dumped. You can just see the words “environmental racist” on Republican billboards. And if you can’t, I already did. They were in the Republican opposition research book as a proposal on how to frame the nuclear waste issue.

Also on the list: Sanders violated campaign finance laws, criticized Clinton for supporting the 1994 crime bill that he voted for, and he voted against the Amber Alert system. His pitch for universal health care would have been used against him too, since it was tried in his home state of Vermont and collapsed due to excessive costs. Worst of all, the Republicans also had video of Sanders at a 1985 rally thrown by the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua where half a million people chanted, “Here, there, everywhere/the Yankee will die,’’ while President Daniel Ortega condemned “state terrorism” by America. Sanders said, on camera, supporting the Sandinistas was “patriotic.”

The Republicans had at least four other damning Sanders videos (I don’t know what they showed), and the opposition research folder was almost 2-feet thick. (The section calling him a communist with connections to Castro alone would have cost him Florida.) In other words, the belief that Sanders would have walked into the White House based on polls taken before anyone really attacked him is a delusion built on a scaffolding of political ignorance.

My long-time blogging friend Steve M disagrees with Eichenwald, however.

Some of this might have stuck -- the environmental racism attack might have hurt Sanders with Hispanic voters (although, after all, he would have been running against Donald Trump). The vote for the crime bill might have hurt Sanders with African-American voters. Eichenwald says that the section of the GOP's oppo file "calling [Sanders] a communist with connections to Castro alone would have cost him Florida" -- but Hillary Clinton lost Florida, too, and she wasn't supposed to need it to win.

Eichenwald says that "the opposition research folder was almost 2-feet thick" -- but we were also told that the Clinton campaign's anti-Trump oppo was pretty awesome, and that didn't work out.

I agree that some of what Eichenwald describes would have cut into Sanders's popularity. But none of it seems devastating enough to have knocked him out.

I continue to believe that Republicans would have just fallen back on the tried-and-true: Sanders believes in big government and will raise your taxes to stratospheric levels. I think that would have hurt him more than any of this oppo. So I still think it's unclear how Sanders would have done in a general election. I'm just surprised at how little the GOP had on him.

I tend to side with Steve on this.  "Socialist Sanders" would have been this year's "Crooked Hillary" in the VFW halls, the high school sports games, the Facebook posts from your relatives. He still hasn't learned to connect with the black community any better than he did 18 months ago, nor did he seem even remotely interested in trying to do so.  Eichenwald's oppo research would have been ignored, it would have been Sanders himself that ran into issues.

Besides, hard to run as an outsider when you've spent 25 years in Congress.

But the Socialist tag would have finished him with older voters, and "massive tax increases on the middle class!" with the heavily implied "To help those people at your expense!" would have done it with just about everyone else.

No, Bernie didn't have a chance either, but not for the reasons Eichewald brought up.  This was the "fact's don't matter LOL" campaign anyway, and Bernie was running on reality.

The Villains Are Ecstatic

The white nationalist movement hasn't had it this good since the days of Jim Crow, and they are more than happy to gloat right now over their man set to be in the White House in January.

"I think that's excellent," former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke told CNN's KFile. "I think that anyone that helps complete the program and the policies that President-elect Trump has developed during the campaign is a very good thing, obviously. So it's good to see that he's sticking to the issues and the ideas that he proposed as a candidate. Now he's president-elect and he's sticking to it and he's reaffirming those issues." 
Duke, who last week lost his longshot bid for the US Senate seat from Louisiana, said he plans on expanding his radio show and is hoping to launch a 24 hour online news show with a similar approach to Comedy Central's Daily Show. He argued Bannon's position was among the most important in the White House. 
"You have an individual, Mr. Bannon, who's basically creating the ideological aspects of where we're going," added Duke. "And ideology ultimately is the most important aspect of any government."

Issues don't matter, facts don't matter, we're all ideologues now.

Peter Brimelow, who runs the white nationalist site VDARE, praised Bannon's hiring, saying it gives Trump a connection to the alt-right movement online. 
"I think it's amazing," Brimelow said of Trump's decision to tap Bannon. "Can you imagine Mitt Romney doing this? It's almost like Trump cares about ideas! Especially amazing because I would bet Trump doesn't read online. Few plutocrats do, they have efficient secretaries." 
Brimelow added his site would continue to focus solely on their hardline position on immigration, saying he expects American whites to vote their interests similar to other minority groups. 
"To the extent that the 'alt-right' articulates that interest, it will continue to grow," Brimelow said. 
Brad Griffin, a blogger who runs the white nationalist website Occidental Dissent using the pseudonym "Hunter Wallace," said he thought Bannon's hiring showed Trump would be held to his campaign promises. 
"It makes sense to me," he said. "Reince [Priebus] can certainly get more done on Capitol Hill. He will be an instrument of Trump's will, not the other way around. Bannon is better suited as chief strategist and looking at the big picture. I think he will hold Trump to the promises he has already made during the campaign. We endorse many of those promises like building the wall, deportations, ending refugee resettlement, preserving the Second Amendment, etc. There's a lot of stuff in there on which almost everyone on the right agrees." 
Griffin added, "We're most excited though about the foreign policy implications of Bannon in the White House. We want to see our counterparts in Europe — starting in Austria and France — win their upcoming elections. We're hearing reports that Breitbart is expanding its operations in continental Europe and that is where our focus will be in 2017."

This was always the plan with the Trump/Bannon axis: a government based on being the new international beacon white supremacy.  They can't wait to get started dismantling the civil rights era.

As I've said before, it was always about punishing the Obama coalition and the people who voted for him, and leaving them politically powerless.  It's revenge, plain and simple, to make sure that America never dares to nominate someone like him again, or like Hillary Clinton.

You know, not a white guy.

But don't take my word for it,

Bannon has goals. One of those goals is maximization of personal power, which is why he spent the last decade and a half glomming onto powerful right-wing personalities (Bachmann, Morris, Palin), kissing their asses, and then moving on up the chain. With Breitbart and Trump, he picked two winners in a row – and that means he’s now at the pinnacle of American power. 
So, what will he do with that power? He’ll target enemies. Bannon is one of the most vicious people in politics, which is why I’ve been joking for months that should Trump win, I’d be expecting my IRS audit any moment. That wasn’t completely a joke. He likes to destroy people.

Granted, Ben Shapiro is a complete asshole who still doesn't think Bannon is a racist anti-Semite, but he does recognize a vindictive bastard when he sees one.  He's coming for his enemies, and he'll have the full power of the White House behind him.

And everyone who didn't openly support Donald Trump is an enemy to Steve Bannon.  Never forget that.

But please tell me again how Clinton was going to be worse because emails.


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