Thursday, September 20, 2018

Last Call For Russian To Judgment, Con't

Democrats are worried about another GOP surprise document dump that could hurt their chances in November, and it looks like that grand plan has already started.

Democratic operatives are growing anxious that Republicans working to undermine the FBI’s Russia probe are teeing up a series of document dumps meant to gin up GOP voters ahead of the midterm elections.

After weeks of hand-wringing, President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the declassification of a slew of documents related to the FBI’s long-running investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential connections to Russia. The move came on the heels of top House Republicans revealing that they may also release documents related to their probes into Trump-Russia ties, as well as anti-Trump bias at the FBI and Justice Department.

The White House and GOP leaders have cited “transparency” as their motive, and Trump has suggested the documents will show anti-Trump bias in the FBI led the bureau to supercharge its 2016 Russia probe based on flimsy evidence.

But Democrats see a more sinister plan: to taint special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe, while simultaneously motivating Trump’s political base on the precipice of an election in which Democrats are favored to make gains. To Democrats, the situation has eerie similarities to 2016, when WikiLeaks’ slow-drip daily release of internal Clinton campaign emails hobbled Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and offered regular fodder for Republicans.

Oh, God,” said Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Clinton’s campaign. “Trump could be setting the stage for the same kind of manufactured October surprise designed to help boost his standing and undermine Mueller.

Sure, that's possible.  But the Trumpies exactly don't have a good post-election track record on competence, as Steve M points out.

It's been reported that Trump hasn't read the material he just ordered released, and we know that Devin Nunes didn't read the FISA application for surveillance of Carter Page before seeking its release. But I'm not sure it matters -- even if they read the documents, they're incapable of imagining how a person who doesn't live in the right-wing bubble will react to them. They just know that the FBI and the Mueller investigation are evil, and everyone they know is equally certain of this, so the only possible reason everyone doesn't know this is that some people just don't have all the facts. All information leads to one conclusion because no other conclusion is possible! So release more information and everyone will agree!

They've tried this before.  It hasn't exactly worked.  Yastreblansky also calls BS.

When that Red Wave doesn't arrive in November, they'll go back to talking about millions of illegal voters, or dead ones, and insist that they "really" won. When Mueller's report comes out, their belief in the conspiracy against our emperor won't be shaken at all—it'll be reinforced ("It's even worse than I thought!"). I'm really hopeful, though, that these paranoids will become more and more marginal as time goes on and retreat into the cells, like the John Birch Society, where they used to hide before the Reagan election brought them into polite society.

It's one thing to fake out Trump voters, who believe all sorts of factually incorrect garbage because it's a cult.  But Dems really shouldn't fall for it.

Not to say there isn't legitimate espionage going on here by Trump's Russian friends.

But I doubt Trump is going to be able to keep the news cycle on what he wants.  The October document dump he should be worried about are the ones coming from his former employees talking to Robert Mueller.

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

It's been less than a month since the primaries, and Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is caught up again in another example of his campaign's endless racism against Democrat Andrew Gillum, this time one of DeSantis's major donors was more than happy to go on a massive racist tirade on Twitter.

A Republican activist who donated more than $20,000 to Ron DeSantis and lined up a speech for him at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club called President Obama a “F---- MUSLIM N----” on Twitter recently, in addition to other inflammatory remarks.

Steven M. Alembik told POLITICO Wednesday he wrote the Obama tweet in anger, that he’s “absolutely not” a racist and that he understood that DeSantis’s campaign for governor would need to distance himself from the comments — which the campaign promptly did.

“We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: we adamantly denounce this sort of disgusting rhetoric,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson said in a written statement.

The controversy comes after DeSantis sent his campaign into a tailspin the day after the Aug. 28 primary by using the awkward phrase “monkey this up” in describing how the economy could falter under the plans of his opponent, Andrew Gillum, the Florida Democratic Party’s first African-American nominee for governor.

That comment drew harsh criticism for its racist dog whistle connotations — Gillum called it a bullhorn — with the state Democratic Party chairwoman calling the remark "disgusting."

DeSantis denied he had any racial intent in using the phrase. But the pattern of racial controversies, including the Alembik remarks, highlights a problem that is getting harder to overlook in this racially diverse swing state: Despite DeSantis’ denunciations of bigotry, this is the fifth race-related issue concerning the candidate, the campaign or one of its supporters to erupt since the start of the general election campaign.

Five in under a month, guys.  And Steve Alembik here?  He's a real piece of work.

Alembik, a self-employed data and email services provider in Boca Raton who has had some Republican campaign clients, said it was unfair to call DeSantis a racist. Alembik, who has contributed a total of $22,920 over the years to DeSantis, said there was a double standard for white people when it came to using the N-word.

So somebody like Chris Rock can get up onstage and use the word and there’s no problem? But some white guy says it and he’s a racist? Really?” the 67-year-old Alembik said, noting that what’s considered racially charged language now wasn’t racist when he was a kid. “I grew up in New York in the ‘50s. We were the k----. They were the n------. They were the goyim. And those were the s----.”

I mean I know the joke is that Trump and his party want to take America back to the 1950's before the civil rights era, but this is literally what Alembik is complaining about, that socially it's not the 1950's anymore.

And guess what?  He wants that era back so badly that he's willing to give Ron DeSantis tens of thousands of dollars in order to make it happen in Florida.

Oh, but that's not even the only bigoted DeSantis-related mess his campaign is dealing with THIS WEEK.

As was reported on Monday, just a few months before DeSantis formally announced his candidacy for governor, the then member of Congress attended and spoke at an event organized by the nation’s most vile anti Muslim group: ACT For America. To Muslim Americans like myself, this organization is akin to neo-Nazis who seek to demonize and marginalize blacks and Jews. But in the case of ACT, they target Muslims. 
So what is ACT about? Its leader, Brigitte Gabriel, has made it clear that every Muslim in America is a threat with her infamous remark that Muslims “cannot be loyal citizens of the United States.” The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has stated point blank that ACT “is the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States.” 
Gabriel, who has no known expertise in the field of counterterrorism but personally profits from demonizing Muslims, has claimed that 25 percent of all Muslims support violence. And, as the ADL notes, ACT recently “circulated a document in Minnesota featuring Muslim elected officials and a warning about an imminent Muslim takeover.” 
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which also designates ACT as an anti-Muslim hate group, has documented the recent comments of ACT local chapter activists such as one who stated last year, “Islam is a supremacist, totalitarian political ideology masquerading as a religion. It's as dangerous as Nazism or communism and must be eradicated.”

DeSantis is more than happy to get support from people like this, and take their money to further his campaign. But gods above and below, don't actually call the racists "racist" or you'll just motivate them to do more racist things!

The racism was always there.  Trump just made it socially acceptable again.

Supreme Misgivings, Con't

America is still pretty meh on the whole "Brett Kavanaugh for SCOTUS" thing at best, but already weak support has gone notably down since Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward last week with allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 35 years ago.

A growing number of Americans said they opposed President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, as the candidate’s confirmation hearings took place and as he fended off a sexual assault claim, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.

The Sept. 11-17 poll found that 36 percent of adults surveyed did not want Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court, up 6 points from a similar poll conducted a month earlier.

Only 31 percent of U.S. adults polled said they were in favor of Kavanaugh’s appointment.

If support for his nomination remains this weak, Trump’s pick would rank among the lowest-supported Supreme Court nominees to later be confirmed, according to historical data from Gallup.

“Not after the sexual charges,” said Jeffrey Schmidt, 56, from Colorado, who opposes President Trump and his policies. “Before the allegations, I was not sure.”

Kavanaugh has denied the claim that he assaulted a woman while in high school in 1982, calling it “completely false.”

Support for Kavanaugh was higher among Republicans, but fewer than two out of three, or 64 percent, said they were in favor of his nomination.

Thirty-five-year-old Karis Reeves, a Republican-leaning professional from Arizona, said he supported Kavanaugh’s nomination, but added he wasn’t “informed enough” and that the timing of the sexual misconduct allegation was “conspicuous.”

More women — 33 percent — opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, up seven percentage points from a month earlier.

“It was already a ‘no’ but now it’s a stronger ‘no,’” said Bonnie Mann, 29, when asked about whether her view of Kavanaugh’s nomination had changed since the allegation.

Still, that means a third of Americans are for him, a third against, and a third don't know or don't care, which at this point is less shocking and more utterly depressing.  Kavanaugh will be setting precedent for thirty years, nominated by a man under investigation, and for anyone, that should be reason enough to give pause.


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