Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Last Call For the Great Google Goofball Grifting Game

The enemies list that the Trump regime will take action against now includes Google, for the crime of not having enough good articles about Trump in its news searches.

The Trump administration is “taking a look” at whether Google and its search engine should be regulated by the government, Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s economic adviser, said Tuesday outside the White House.

“We’ll let you know,” Kudlow said. “We’re taking a look at it.”

The announcement puts the search giant squarely in the White House’s crosshairs amid wider allegations against the tech industry that it systematically discriminates against conservatives on social media and other platforms.

Kudlow’s remark to reporters came hours after Trump fired off a series of predawn tweets complaining about Google search results for “Trump News.”

Trump understands that all publicity is good publicity, but he needs enemies to rally his hate-filled base and to play along with the political kayfabe.

Google, in a statement, said its searches aren’t politically biased: “When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds. Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.

“Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries,” Google said. “We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

The White House has not responded to requests for further comment.

Trump’s tweets came the morning after Fox Business host Lou Dobbs aired an interview Monday night with the pro-Trump commentators Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, popularly known as Diamond and Silk, who have long claimedthat their online videos are being suppressed by tech companies.

“I am not for big government, but I really do believe that the government should step in and really check this out,” Hardaway told Dobbs in the interview.

Google search results are affected not only by region but also by personal search history. It was unclear whether the president had Googled himself, or whether he was referring to a recent piece in PJ Media, a conservative blog, alleging that 96 percent of Google search results for news about Trump were from “left-leaning news outlets.” His accusations appeared to mirror those in the Aug. 25 piece.

Right-wing noise machine websites like Breitbart and PJ Media, and grifters like Diamond and Silk helped put Trump in office by playing this bad faith game, and everyone profits from it.  Everyone involved knows the truth, but they go along anyway. 

That's how this works, guys.  Trump names an enemy, and his base attacks it to distract the press from whichever self-caused disaster has the upper hand on his merry band of rotten eggs. There's always an enemy to bully, whether it's Google, the memory of John McCain, Robert Mueller, or reality itself.

And if that fails, there's always Hillary Clinton to attack, right?

The Party Of Law And Order

California Republican voters are most likely going to re-elect a man indicted for massive campaign fraud, and they will give him more campaign funds to misuse because they only thing that matters is putting those people in their place.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) holds an 8-point lead over his Democratic opponent despite being indicted on charges of misusing campaign funds, according to a new poll.

A Survey USA poll published Monday found that among likely voters in California’s 50th District who were surveyed, 47 percent plan to vote for Hunter, compared to 39 percent who favor Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar, if they are the only two candidates on the ballot. President Trump won the district by 15 points in 2016.

Among Republicans, 77 percent of likely voters said that despite his indictment, they would vote for Hunter if the election was held today, the poll found.

Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted last week after being charged with misusing at least $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

Hunter is accused of using the funds to pay for trips to Italy and Hawaii, his family’s dental work, his children’s tuition and travel for relatives, among other personal expenses.

Hunter has dismissed the charges as politically motivated, calling them the product of a “witch hunt” carried out by the Department of Justice.

The excuse that the Obama/Clinton Deep State manufactured these charges, despite the Trump regime controlling the Justice Department, is good enough for more than three-quarters of Republicans.

Besides, his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is Muslim and related to one of the 1972 Munich terrorists who died 16 years before he was born, so that's apparently infinitely much worse than being a white Republican indicted on federal charges, who will almost certainly be convicted and tossed from the House before November 2020.

To be fair, Hunter was going to win by a comfortable double-digit margin before the indictment.  Now he'll end up winning by a comfortable single-digit margin instead, because that's how politics works in America.

Better to be a white felon than a person of color with no criminal record in America after all.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

According to Aruna Viswanatha at the WSJ, Paul Manafort really was indeed trying to work a deal with Robert Mueller for the federal trial that starts next month, but apparently he overplayed his hand and he ended up losing it all.

Paul Manafort’s defense team held talks with prosecutors to resolve a second set of charges against the former Trump campaign chairman before he was convicted last week, but they didn’t reach a deal, and the two sides are now moving closer to a second trial next month, according to people familiar with the matter.

The plea discussions occurred as a Virginia jury was spending four days deliberating tax and bank fraud charges against Mr. Manafort, the people said. That jury convicted him on eight counts and deadlocked on 10 others. Prosecutors accused Mr. Manafort of avoiding taxes on more than $16 million he earned in the early 2010s through political consulting work in Ukraine.

The plea talks on the second set of charges stalled over issues raised by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, one of the people said. It isn’t clear what those issues were, and the proposed terms of the plea deal couldn’t immediately be determined.

Representatives for Messrs. Manafort and Mueller declined to comment.

The talks were aimed at forestalling a second, related trial for Mr. Manafort, which is scheduled to begin on Sept. 17 in Washington.

Manafort apparently thought he was going to skate on the charges earlier this month and shopped a deal to Mueller, but as we now know, Manafort was convicted on 8 charges and was one holdout juror away from being convicted on all 18.

Marcy Wheeler tries to figure out what the hell Manafort was thinking from the get-go by betting everything on the Virginia trial and it wasn't a totally awful plan considering, but the chances of it working were low at best.

Still, getting one trial in EDVA almost worked, with a holdout juror that hung the jury on 10 of 18 charges (though that won’t have that big an effect on sentencing) and lots of good press stemming from Ellis beating up the prosecution, both during Manafort’s challenge to Mueller’s authority and during the trial in general.
Add in the fact that Manafort (again, with his seemingly endless supply of funds to pay defense attorneys) got two bites at key challenges to Mueller’s case in chief — his authority generally, and the search of Manafort’s condo for things including evidence about the June 9 meeting — and the dual trial strategy probably wasn’t a total flop (unless, of course, it means Manafort is running out of money). Along the way, he also got full discovery on what Rick Gates has provided Mueller, presumably including the real goods Gates gave Mueller on the conspiracy with Russia.

But Manafort’s still facing another trial in a less friendly venue before a no-nonsense judge, a trial he seems to have done nothing to prepare for. (WSJ reports the two sides did consider a plea on the DC charges while waiting for the EDVA verdict, to no avail.) And all of Rudy’s squealing about how indictments or even further investigation during the campaign season might be a distraction, Manafort’s trial (one that’s sexier than the EDVA one) will remain a constant focus in the last six weeks before the election.

To be fair, it’s hard to measure how Manafort’s strategy is playing, as it’s not clear what — besides a full pardon — his goals are. Plus, he’s got a shitty hand, no matter how you look at it (except for the seemingly endless supply of defense fund dollars).

But Manafort’s bid for a second trial seems like an even worse strategic decision than Michael Cohen’s bid for a Special Master (which I now admit at least gave Trump and his company an opportunity to undercut any Cohen bid for a plea deal) not least because he’ll be a felon in his DC trial which will in turn make sentencing worse if he is found guilty there.

At least the defense bar is making money.

Maybe Manafort is trying to lose so spectacularly that Trump will have no choice but to pardon him.  Manafort, now a convicted felon, with a federal trial starting six weeks before the election, is going to be a nightmare for the GOP, one bad enough that Trump may go rogue as Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman suggests and pardon him.

We'll see.  Here’s what I do know: Manafort shopped a deal and Trump has been openly floating the idea of pardoning him. Maybe Mueller already knows whatever Manafort knows about Trump, but whatever it is, Donald Trump is terrified of it becoming public in Manafort’s trial next month. There’s no other explanation for trying to pardon Manafort at this point.

Look for how Trump reacts to the news that Manafort was trying to cut a deal.  If Trump still hints at a pardon, then Manafort is sitting on a keg of TNT at a nitroglycerin factory. If this causes Trump to turn on him like he did to Cohen however, all bets are off.

The only person who knows for sure is Mueller, and he’s not going to say a word.


Related Posts with Thumbnails