Saturday, December 9, 2017

Tales Of A Lesser Moore, Con't

VICE News and HBO sent Republican pollster Frank Luntz to Alabama this week to talk to Moore voters, and to a person they believe the women that came forward to accuse Roy Moore of decades of sexual misconduct are all paid liars.

Twelve conservative voters gathered inside a Birmingham coffee house Thursday for a candid discussion about the Alabama senate race.

During the frank discussion, some said they were voting for him primarily because he is not Doug Jones. But other participants dismissed the allegations against Moore and excusing others by reasoning that behavior now seen as unacceptable wasn’t a problem in Alabama decades ago.

The panel was compiled and moderated by Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster well known for arranging focus groups with GOP voters.

“Forty years ago in Alabama, there’s a lotta mamas and daddies that would be thrilled that their 14-year-old was getting hit on by a district attorney,” one voter said. “The women’s reputations were questionable at the time,” another voter said.

“There was still clothes on,” she added, dismissing allegations made by a woman who said Moore molested her when she was 14 years old. “As soon as the girl said she wasn’t comfortable, he took her home.”

If you want to know why I think Roy Moore will win easily on Tuesday, it's because white Republican "Christian" assholes like this are 100% motivated to show up at the polls to elect him, and by doing so "prove" they are right and that the "the liberals" are the liars and criminals here. 2016 proved hate voting beats logic in America now.

Being Doug Jones, a Democrat, was worse than being Roy Moore, accused child molester. Period.  Full stop. 

How can you possibly reach people like that?

The one thing I hope Democrats learn from Tuesday, whether Doug Jones win by some miracle of turnout or not, is that there are tens of millions of American voters that will never, under any circumstances, vote for the Democrats.

They are lost to you.  Stop pursuing them.  Get the people who you can still reach and get them to the polls.

The Prince Of Loot

I've talked several times on the blog about Erik Prince, the closest we've got to a James Bond villain/video game bad guy around, founder of Blackwater security and the kind of guy who has his own private army for hire.  He's neck deep in Russia too, having pitched his services to some of our friends in the Gulf and using his contacts there to arrange off-the-record meetings with Moscow. His sister, Betsy DeVos, married into the Amway fortune and is now Secretary of Education, and Erik wanted to hustle his way into replacing the US military in Afghanistan. 

It's that last part that the crew at BuzzFeed News have a story on this week, having obtained the presentation that Prince made to the US military and as you can probably expect from a mercenary warlord literally named Prince, it's all about looting the country.

Controversial private security tycoon Erik Prince has famously pitched an audacious plan to the Trump administration: Hire him to privatize the war in Afghanistan using squads of "security contractors." Now, for the first time, Buzzfeed News is publishing that pitch, a presentation that lays out how Prince wanted to take over the war from the US military — and how he envisioned mining some of the most war-torn provinces in Afghanistan to help fund security operations and obtain strategic mineral resources for the US. 
Prince, who founded the Blackwater security firm and testified last week to the House Intelligence Committee for its Russia investigation, has deep connections into the current White House: He’s friends with former presidential adviser Stephen Bannon, and he’s the brother of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary. 
Prince briefed top Trump administration officials directly, talked up his plan publicly on the DC circuit, and published op-eds about it. He patterned the strategy he's pitching on the historical model of the old British East India Company, which had its own army and colonized much of Britain's empire in India. "An East India Company approach," he wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "would use cheaper private solutions to fill the gaps that plague the Afghan security forces, including reliable logistics and aviation support." 
But the details have never been made public. Here is the never-before-published slide presentation for his pitch, which a source familiar with the matter said was prepared for the Trump administration.

One surprising element is the commercial promise Prince envisions: that the US will get access to Afghanistan’s rich deposits of minerals such as lithium, used in batteries; uranium; magnesite; and "rare earth elements," critical metals used in high technology from defense to electronics. One slide estimates the value of mineral deposits in Helmand province alone at $1 trillion. 
The presentation makes it plain that Prince intends to fund the effort through these rich deposits. His plan, one slide says, is "a strategic mineral resource extraction funded effort that breaks the negative security economic cycle." The slides also say that mining could provide jobs to Afghans.

It's the best of "the oil will pay for the war!" days of Dubya.  Only it's rare earth metals.

And man, this slide show is something.

"What is laid out in the slides is a model of an affordable way for the US to stabilize a failed state where we are presently wasting American youth and tens of billions of dollars annually," a Prince spokesperson emailed BuzzFeed News Thursday.

Defense Secretary James Mattis “did meet with Mr. Prince earlier this year,” a Defense Department spokesperson said. “He meets with people all the time to listen and hear new ideas.” The CIA declined to comment. It’s been widely reported that the Pentagon pushed back against Prince’s concept, and that national security adviser H.R. McMaster was opposed to it as well. 
Prince currently runs a Chinese security and logistics company, as BuzzFeed News has previously reported. Still, in his pitch to America's policymakers, he plays the US against China. One slide, devoted to "market manipulation in rare earth elements," presents China as dominating the market for the valuable minerals. 
Ironically, the statement from Prince's spokesman that said Prince's Chinese company, Frontier Services Group, would participate in the Afghanistan plan, and "would provide logistics support to the extractive firms with secure transportation and camp support."

Not only will Prince help you get the loot, he'll help you move it as well.  I mean mercenary armies already have to be pretty good at large-scale logistics, right?  For a percentage of the take, that is.

A pretty good scam if you ask me.  Guess Trump didn't get enough of the pie to pursue it.  He's all about real estate, not commodities.  Can't build a luxury hotel on a strip mine, ya know.  Bad neighborhood.

The Shine Comes Off The Orange

The latest comprehensive polling from Pew Research shows Donald Trump is in far worse position than he was in February.  In other words, Trump being in the mid-40s was, as many of us predicted, the high point of the regime's popularity.

Trump’s job rating of 32% is lower than those of recent presidents dating back to Ronald Reagan near the end of their first year in office. In follow-up questions, those who approve of Trump were asked if he has done things that have disappointed them, while those who disapprove (63% of the public) were asked if he has done things they have been happy with. 
Overall, 37% of Trump approvers cite something Trump has done to disappoint them (62% say they can’t think of anything). In December 2009, by comparison, somewhat fewer (30%) of those who approved of Barack Obama’s job performance said there was something Obama had done that had made them unhappy; at the time, Obama’s job approval was 49%. 
The criticisms raised by Trump supporters are quite different from those cited by Obama’s backers eight years ago. About a quarter (26%) say they have been disappointed by aspects of Trump’s personal style, with 14% specifically mentioning his use of Twitter or social media. An identical share (14%) points to his behavior or speech. Only 13% of those who approve of Trump cite a disappointment related to policy. 
In December 2009, disappointments among those who gave Obama a positive job rating were mostly about policies, not Obama’s personal style. Just 5% of those who approved of Obama cited an aspect of Obama’s personality or style, while 29% said they had been disappointed by policies such as Afghanistan or health care. 
Among the majority of Americans who disapprove of Trump’s job performance, 14% say there is something he has done that they have been happy with (84% say they are unable to think of anything). The most frequent responses focus on Trump’s domestic policies (8%), while just 3% mention his personal style. Eight years ago, a higher share of those who disapproved of Obama (24%) said there was something they had been happy with; as with Trump, most who disapproved of Obama’s job performance in 2009 cited policies, rather than his style, as what they had been happy with.

But the most interesting part is that Trump is starting to lose his core supporters.  After all, he doesn't have much of anyone else to lose as his numbers keep dropping.

Since February, Trump’s job approval has ticked down among Republicans, Republican leaners

You catch that?  Trump has a big drop with moderate Republicans,  losing 16 points with them down to 55% approval.    He's also lost a huge chunk, 17 points, with white evangelical Christians, down from 78% approval to 61%.

But he's now underwater with non-college white voters, down from 56% to 46%.  That's the big one.

And that overall 32% approval rating?  Trump is the least-liked president in generations.  Here's the thing though, there's room for it to fall even further should Mueller drop the hammer.

Of course, there's also plenty of room for a Dubya-style boost into the 70-80% range should we end up in a Great Patriotic War or something.  If there's anyone left after the bombs drop to praise him, that is.
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