Thursday, August 24, 2017

Last Call For Control The Systems Through Fear

The closer Trump gets to a major constitutional crisis, the more fear his followers are spreading.

Roger Stone, a former Trump campaign advisor and personal friend of the President says if Congress impeaches Donald Trump, there will be all-out Civil War in the U.S. 
"The people who are calling for impeachment are the people who didn't vote for him. They need to get over it," Stone said to TMZ in an airport baggage claim.

"They lost. Theire candidate had every advantage: They spent two billion dollars, we spent $275 million. Sorry, we whipped their ass. It is over. You lost." 
He added, warning: "Try to impeach him. Just try it. You will have a spasm of violence --an insurrection-- in this country like you have never seen before... Both sides are heavily armed, my friend."

"This is not 1974," Stone, who worked in the White House during Nixon's resignation, added. "People will not stand for [impeachment of President Trump]. Any politician who votes for it would be endangering their own life." 
He explained: "There will be violence on both sides. Let me make this clear: "I'm not advocating violence, I am predicting [violence]."

Asked if he is saying that Trump's removal from office would lead to a Civil War, Stone said: "Yes, that is what I think will happen."

 And Roger Stone will do whatever he can to create the atmosphere that leads to that (and already has for the most part).  The unsaid promise is that any attempt to remove Trump from office, or to even censure him, would lead to bloodshed on a massive scale, open warfare in the streets of American cities and towns, and lawmakers being targets.

Also, Stone is quick with the "both sides" rhetoric that Trump has used.  That's no accident either. This is a warning to Republicans who may be wavering as it is to Democrats investigating.

Whither The Bernsters?

John Sides at the Monkey Cage asks the data-driven question about whether enough Bernie Sanders voters flipped to Trump in order to cost Clinton the election.  It's a valid one, but the answer is complicated.

Two surveys estimate that 12 percent of Sanders voters voted for Trump. A third survey suggests it was 6 percent. 
First, the political scientist Brian Schaffner analyzed the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which was conducted by YouGov and interviewed 64,600 Americans in October-November 2016. In that survey, Schaffner found that 12 percent of people who voted in the primary and reported voting for Sanders also voted in November and reported voting for Trump. 
Schaffner examined only voters whose turnout in the primary and general election could be validated using voter file data. This excludes people who said they voted but actually did not — although it also excludes people who voted in caucuses or party-run primaries, for which validated turnout data are not as readily available. 
Second, the same 12 percent figure emerges in the 2016 VOTER Survey, which was also conducted by YouGov and overseen by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group (of which I am research director). In 2016, this survey interviewed 8,000 respondents in July, when they were asked their primary vote preference, and then in December, when they were asked their general election preference. This has the advantage of measuring primary preference closer to the primaries themselves and then tracking people over time. But their turnout in both elections has not been validated as of yet. 
The third survey is the RAND Presidential Election Panel Survey, which interviewed the same group of about 3,000 Americans six times during the campaign. Again, this survey has the advantage of tracking voters over time, but nobody’s turnout has been validated. Among voters who reported supporting Sanders as of March 2016, 6 percent then reported voting for Trump in November.

There is no way to know whether 12 percent or 6 percent or some other estimate is The Truth, and there are enough differences among these surveys that we cannot easily pinpoint why the numbers differ. So we should take these estimates with some caution.

6-12% isn't unusual compared to other election cycles too. The real issue turns out is the type of Sanders voter that voted for Trump.

Perhaps the most important feature of Sanders-Trump voters is this: They weren’t really Democrats to begin with
Of course, we know that many Sanders voters did not readily identify with the Democratic Party as of 2016, and Schaffner found that Sanders-Trump voters were even less likely to identify as Democrats. Sanders-Trump voters didn’t much approve of Obama either. 
In fact, this was true well before 2016. In the VOTER Survey, we know how Sanders-Trump voters voted in 2012, based on an earlier interview in November 2012. Only 35 percent of them reported voting for Obama, compared with 95 percent of Sanders-Clinton voters. In other words, Sanders-Trump voters were predisposed to support Republicans in presidential general elections well before Trump’s candidacy. 
Schaffner found that what distinguished Sanders-Trump voters from Sanders-Clinton voters wasn’t their attitudes about trade, but their attitudes about race. When asked whether whites are advantaged, Sanders-Trump voters were much more likely to disagree than were Sanders-Clinton voters. 
The same thing is true in the VOTER survey — and, again, this was evident well before 2016. When originally interviewed in December 2011, Sanders-Trump voters were actually more likely to favor increasing trade (59 percent said so) than Sanders-Clinton voters (48 percent said so). 
And, again, the bigger cleavage involved race. For example, in December 2011, 75 percent of Sanders-Trump voters agreed with this statement: “If blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.” Only 16 percent of Sanders-Clinton voters agreed. 
Similarly, when how they felt about whites and blacks on a 0-100 scale, Sanders-Trump voters rated blacks 9 points lower than Sanders-Clinton voters. But Sanders-Trump voters rated whites 8 points higher. 
The same thing was true for other minority groups. Compared with Sanders-Clinton voters, Sanders-Trump voters rated Latinos 21 points less favorably, Muslims 21 points less favorably, and gays and lesbians 22 points less favorably. 
In short, it may be hard to know exactly how many Sanders-Trump voters there were, or whether they really cost Clinton the election. But it doesn’t appear that many of them were predisposed to support Clinton in the first place.

In other words, the people that voted for Sanders in the primaries and Trump in the general weren't Obama fans, weren't Clinton fans, weren't Democrats, and were always going to vote for Trump, so Clinton couldn't "lose" what she never had. Can't blame Bernie for that any more than I can blame Jay-Z for keeping me from Beyonce' (the cad.)

But it is interesting to see how may Trump voters like Bernie, isn't it?

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Yet another attempted meeting between the Trump campaign and Russia, but this is something a lot bigger: there's a new name in the mix, current Trump Deputy White House Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn, and his role in trying to arrange a meeting between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin himself.

Congressional investigators have unearthed an email from a top Trump aide that referenced a previously unreported effort to arrange a meeting last year between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. 
The aide, Rick Dearborn, who is now President Donald Trump's deputy chief of staff, sent a brief email to campaign officials last year relaying information about an individual who was seeking to connect top Trump officials with Putin, the sources said. 
The person was only identified in the email as being from "WV," which one source said was a reference to West Virginia. It's unclear who the individual is, what he or she was seeking, or whether Dearborn even acted on the request. One source said that the individual was believed to have had political connections in West Virginia, but details about the request and who initiated it remain vague. 
The same source said Dearborn in the email appeared skeptical of the requested meeting.
Sources said the email occurred in June 2016 around the time of the recently revealed Trump Tower meeting where Russians with Kremlin ties met with the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner as well as then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. 
While many details around the Dearborn email are unclear, its existence suggests the Russians may have been looking for another entry point into the Trump campaign to see if there were any willing partners as part of their effort to discredit -- and ultimately defeat -- Hillary Clinton
Dearborn's name has not been mentioned much as part of the Russia probe. But he served as then-Sen. Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, as well as a top policy aide on the campaign. And investigators have questions about whether he played a role in potentially arranging two meetings that occurred between the then-Russia ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, and Sessions, who has downplayed the significance of those encounters. 
Dearborn was involved in helping to arrange an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel where Trump delivered a major foreign policy address, sources said. Kislyak attended the event and a reception beforehand, but it's unclear whether he interacted with Sessions there.

Yet another piece of the puzzle falls into place and remember, this is coming from the congressional investigation into Trump's Russia connections, not Mueller's investigation.  This all points the finger back to Jeff Sessions who led Trump's foreign policy campaign team in 2016.  We haven't talked too much about Sessions and his role in Trump's Russia mess, but this is likely to raise some uncomfortable new questions about that.

So who's "WV"?  The most obvious candidate is coal billionaire and recent party-switching GOP Gov. Jim Justice, who did business with Russian coal interests in West Virginia in 2015.  Justice buys the governor's seat and then stabs the Dems in the back at a Trump rally, well that's the kind of polticial opportunist with a crapload of money the Russians would love to recruit.  Whether or not Justice had access to Russian friends, well maybe somebody should be asking those questions too.

And some of those questions may be answered by the Steele Dossier.  Last week Fusion GPS president Glenn Simpson spent 10 hours testifying before Chuck Grassley and the Senate Judiciary committee, and Grassley said this week he didn't see why that testimony couldn't be released.  The Steele Dossier is the research into Trump's Russia connections, which turned up stuff so disturbing that the FBI got involved.  BuzzFeed published the dossier back in January but the caveat is that the documents weren't confirmed.

But now, seven months later, it's looking more and more like the dossier is correct: that the Russians had compromising blackmail on Trump and used it to secure his loyalty.  If Simpson's Senate testimony goes public and it backs up the validity of the Steele Dossier, that's going to be something Trump won't be able to recover from.

We'll see where this goes, but if Dearborn is being investigated, then so is Sessions.  That's pretty big.  The Steele Dossier could be even bigger.

We'll see.


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