Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Last Call For King Of Bores

The mask slips, and Republicans no longer need to resort to dog whistle symbolism to couch their racism and misogyny in, they get to announce it straight up as policy planks in the Trump era.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is calling for using federal funding for Planned Parenthood and food stamps to help pay for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico, The Washington Examiner reported Wednesday. 
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee introduced a spending bill that would allocate $1.6 billion towards building the wall separating the U.S. from Mexico. The funding is part of the total $13.8 billion for customs and border protection. 
King said he supports the spending measure, but he would prefer an additional $5 billion for the wall — and suggested taking the extra funding from Planned Parenthood and federal welfare programs.

I would find half of a billion dollars of that right out of Planned Parenthood's budget," he told the Examiner. "And the rest of it could come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are being spread out for people that haven't worked in three generations." 
"We've got to put America back to work, this administration will do it," King said.

Screw women, screw Mexicans and screw poor people.  We'll take their money and build a goddamn wall with it.  Vote GOP in 2018!

And tens of millions of us will be perfectly okay with that and cast their vote for King and Republicans just like him across the country.  If you thought for a second that the Trump regime's current meltdown would have one iota of a moderating (or humanizing) effect on Republicans in Congress, you're fatally incorrect.

Meanwhile the larger issue besides massive GOP hatred of more than half of America is the fact that there's a very good chance funding Trump's wall may end up being the hill that Republicans choose to die on when it comes to another government shutdown.

House Republicans are ready to provide a down payment on President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico, reigniting a fight that could lead to a government shutdown this fall. 
In a nod to Trump’s signature campaign promise, the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday unveiled a bill to fund Homeland Security that matches the administration’s request for $1.6 billion for the next fiscal year.

But the money might never get out the door. Senate Democrats are sure to object to any government funding bill with money for the wall, and they successfully pressured Republicans to keep out wall money from a funding bill earlier this year. With many Republicans skittish about being blamed for a shutdown, GOP insiders expect a replay.
Still, Trump and his budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, have said they won’t cave so readily this time — even if it means shutting down the government. And already conservatives in the House are urging the administration to embrace the hardball strategy. 
“I am willing to do whatever it takes in the Senate to ensure President Trump’s promise to the American people is kept,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), a Freedom Caucus member who’s running for Senate — in part on a platform to build the wall. “I’ll aggressively oppose every single spending bill that doesn’t fund the border wall and expose every Republican establishment senator who sides with the Democrats against our president.” 
The thirst for a showdown to check off a campaign promise will only be even greater if Republicans fail to pass an Obamacare repeal bill. Trump was furious earlier this year when Beltway coverage of a spending deal portrayed him as a loser in the wall standoff with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

If Republicans like Steve King and Mo Brooks are ready to shut down the government over funding Trump's wall with cuts to SNAP and women's health care, the only thing that's going to get built in 2018 is a Democratic majority.

Method To The Meddling Madness

If you're still wondering what the deal is with the Trump regime refusing to actually do anything to protect the integrity of voting, and indeed all but offering to hand over voting security to Putin and the GRU, it's because Republicans want as few people to vote as possible since low turnout always favors the GOP. The destruction of America's trust in our government and societal institutions is being done on purpose, and that now includes a quarter of Americans who will no longer vote because they no longer trust our government to protect their identities.

One in four United States voters say they will not consider voting in upcoming elections due to concerns over cybersecurity, according to a new poll conducted by a cybersecurity firm. 
The 27 percent of voters who agreed with that statement mark a seven percent rise over a similar poll conducted in September. 
The poll, conducted by the firm Carbon Black, surveyed 5,000 respondents and has a margin of error of just under two percent.

“There is no question, none, that the U.S. voting process is vulnerable,” Carbon Black Chief Executive Patrick Morley told The Hill. 
Concerns over election cybersecurity could include hackers stealing personal information from voter rolls — something federal authorities believe Russia attempted and even accomplished during the 2016 elections. 
“We have evidence of election-related systems in 21 states that were targeted," Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications at Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate, revealed last month at a Senate Intelligence Hearing. 
Before the election, it had been disclosed that hackers attributed to the Russian government had successfully breached election rolls in two states.

 Even if these numbers are off (and yes, I understand that a cybersecurity firm would definitely push a poll designed to scare up business like this) the fact remains that there was a concerted effort by the Russians to access voter registration information last year in multiple states, and that the Trump regime and the GOP running Congress right now doesn't seem to think it's a big deal at all.

If Americans are seriously considering not voting because they fear their personal info will be compromised, and they refuse to vote or worse, ask their current voter registration be removed (or allow it to lapse) then the GOP benefits directly from the chaos.  Russia definitely wants us to be in a position where Americans no longer trust even the most basic functions of a working government. But the Russians can't get very far without using the party in power to demonstrate exactly why Americans should no longer expect free and fair elections with voting registration information being protected.

This is the kind of long-term, generational damage the Russians wanted to inflict on us.  I say this shows that Putin's gambit may be one of the most successful operations of all time.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Mother Jones's David Corn reviews the last few days of Donald Trump Jr. shenanigans and points out that the evidence Junior has provided very neatly describes a good old fashioned conspiracy, which makes a lot of sense considering who was involved: Trump's eldest son, Putin oligarch and billionaire real estate developer Aras Agalarov, Agalarov's son Emin, a self-styled pop singer, and Emin's manager Rob Goldstone, all who knew and dealt with the Trump family.

According to emails released Tuesday by Trump Jr., on June 3, 2016—shortly after Trump had secured the Republican presidential nomination—Aras was in a meeting with Yury Chaika, the prosecutor general of Russia, who had been in the post since 2006. A few weeks earlier, Putin had recommended that Chaika serve another five-year term. Certainly, only a Putin-fancied official would be in this job. But this was a sign that Chaika remained in Putin’s good graces. (The previous year, a prominent Russian opposition activist had accused Chaika’s family of being involved in corruption and criminal activity.)

The Trump Jr. emails do not note how the meeting between Chaika and Aras Agalarov came about. But according to an email sent from Goldstone to Trump Jr., Chaika told Agalarov he could provide the Trump campaign “with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” and that would be “very useful” for Donald Trump. This contact makes plenty of sense. If the Russian government wanted to help Trump win the presidency by passing his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, the natural go-between would be Aras Agalarov, who had been Trump’s business colleague. Agalarov could go straight to the source.

And apparently he did. According to the Trump Jr. emails, Aras Agalarov made the obvious play. He had Emin ask Goldstone to contact Trump Jr. Emin’s manager then emailed Donald Trump Jr. and told him about the Agalarov-Chaika meeting and added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but it is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

Nothing complex here. A Putin official seems to be collaborating with Trump’s business partners to get Trump negative material on Clinton.

Whether or not the Agalarovs and Goldstone delivered Chaika's intelligence on Clinton or not, the conspiracy to violate US campaign law is pretty obvious, and on the Trump regime side, multiple people were involved.

Next, Trump Jr. seems to have a phone call with Emin, and a meeting is scheduled for a few days later in Trump tower where Trump Jr. will meet with what one email describes as a “Russian government attorney.”

Trump Jr. then widens the cabal by informing Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort about this operation, and they are added to the meeting. An email forwarded to them about the get-together has the subject heading: “Russia – Clinton – private and confidential.” On June 9, the meeting occurs.

It only took three days for this plot to zip from the discussion between Chaika and Aras Agalarov to the inner circle of Trump’s campaign. Trump Jr. says nothing came out of the conversation between the Trump advisers and the Russian lawyer, claiming she spoke only in vague and meaningless terms. But given that the president’s son has repeatedly dissembled about this episode, there is no telling if this description can be trusted. (The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, has denied working on behalf of the Russian government or conveying negative information about Clinton.)

This is what ought to register: The scheme appears to have been put into play by a Putin regime official and a Putin-friendly oligarch who was Trump’s business partner in Russia—and Trump’s son, son-in-law, and campaign manager all joined in. (A pop singer, a Russian lawyer, and a talent manager all had supporting roles.) Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort were looking to collude with a foreign power to gain an advantage in the election—an allegation the Trump team has repeatedly and passionately denied.

This is not Alex Jones stuff. This was straightforward conniving. Moreover, this is reality within the part of the universe where Trumpland overlaps with Putin’s world. It was a conspiracy, pure and simple. The obvious question now is: Are there any others to uncover?

That's the bottom line here.  Trump Jr, Manafort, and Kushner were all more than happy to meet with foreign nationals in order to try to obtain Russian intelligence on Clinton.  Junior's idiotic defense is that the Russians didn't deliver the goods, but of course just minutes after that June 9 meeting comes Trump Senior's Twitter attacks on Hillary Clinton over her emails and less than a week after that meeting comes the first of the Russian DNC email leaks.

At this point as I said last night on Twitter, we've seen the depths to which this regime would go to in order to gain power.  Now we will see the depths they will go to in order to maintain that power, and it's going to get far worse for America before it gets better.


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