Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Last Call For The Blue Wave Rises, Con't

The "Kavanaugh Crush" that Republicans have been crowing about for the last week isn't materializing and if anything, Republicans have lost serious ground in the last several weeks with women according to the latest CNN poll.

Four weeks out from Election Day, Democrats remain well ahead of Republicans in a generic ballot matchup, with 54% of likely voters saying they support the Democrat in their district and 41% backing a Republican, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS
This is the widest margin of support for Democrats in a midterm cycle since 2006, when at this point, the party held a whopping 21-point lead over Republicans among likely voters. That's also when Democrats seized control of the House from Republicans, making Nancy Pelosi speaker until 2011. 
This year, Democrats' enthusiasm about their congressional vote has increased and 62% now say they're extremely or very enthusiastic to vote, up seven points since September among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, enthusiasm has remained relatively steady, going from 50% in September to 52% in the most recent poll. 
Democratic enthusiasm this year is more intense than it has been in previous midterm cycles, which typically engage voters less than presidential years. The 40% who call themselves "extremely enthusiastic" is the highest share to say so in a midterm election cycle since CNN first asked the question in 2009. 
In fact, Democrats' enthusiasm today more closely resembles the 2008 presidential election. Just before President Barack Obama was elected, 45% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners said they were extremely enthusiastic about voting that November. In 2008, Democrats won eight seats in the Senate and 21 in the House, as well as a victory in the presidency. 

The real issue though is now the gender gap is a gender chasm.

Women's support for Democratic candidates remains extremely strong; 63% of women say they'll vote for the Democrat and only a third say they'll vote for the Republican. Men are more closely divided, but tilt in the opposite direction, with half backing the Republican and 45% behind the Democrat.

Republicans up five points with men.  Democrats up thirty points with women.

Tell me again how Kavanaugh helped?

A Haley Bail-y Tale-y

The latest departure from the Trump regime is UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who apparently blindsided everyone in the White House when she submitted her resignation last week, effective at the end of the year.

Haley discussed her resignation with Trump last week when she visited him at the White House, these sources said. Her news shocked a number of senior foreign policy officials in the Trump administration.

Background: Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was easily confirmed four days after President Trump's inauguration in 2017.

She has overseen Trump's shift in dealing with the UN, including the U.S. exit from the UN Human Rights Council, which Haley called the organization's "greatest failure."

Worth noting: Haley wrote a public op-ed in September challenging the N.Y. Times' anonymous op-ed:

  • "I don’t agree with the president on everything. When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person."
  • "Like my colleagues in the Cabinet and on the National Security Council, I have very open access to the president. He does not shut out his advisers, and he does not demand that everyone agree with him. I can talk to him most any time, and I frequently do."
  • "If I disagree with something and believe it is important enough to raise with the president, I do it. And he listens."

Not anymore, he does.   And why would Haley up and leave?  Like most Trump regime officials, if you're not actually Trump, being openly corrupt still gets you busted.

Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley should be investigated to determine if she complied with ethics regulations when she accepted seven free flights for herself and her husband on luxury private aircraft from three South Carolina businessmen, according to a request filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the State Department’s Inspector General.

Ambassador Haley’s 2017 public financial disclosure report listed her acceptance of gifts of seven free flights on private aircraft from three South Carolina businessmen for herself and her husband. Those flights were between New York, Washington, DC, and three cities in her home state of South Carolina, and appear to have been worth tens of thousands of dollars to her. In her financial disclosure report, Ambassador Haley asserted that each gifted flight qualified for an exception based on a personal relationship with the giver. The report, however, does not provide enough information to demonstrate that this exception was applicable to the flights. Whether the exception applies depends partly on whether the three businessmen were the only sources of the gifts; if business entities were sources of the gifts, the exception was inapplicable.

Federal ethics regulations prohibit employees from soliciting or accepting gifts given because of the employee’s official position
. They also direct employees to consider declining otherwise permissible gifts if they believe a reasonable person would question their integrity or impartiality as a result of accepting the gifts. At a minimum, Ambassador Haley should have been conscious of the appearance concerns surrounding her acceptance of gifts of private luxury air travel at a time when her colleagues in the administration were making news with their own lavish air travel.

“By accepting gifts of luxury private flights, Ambassador Haley seems to be falling in line with other Trump administration officials who are reaping personal benefits from their public positions,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “Our ethics laws are clearly written to prevent even the appearance of corruption and improper influence. We’re calling on the State Department’s inspector general to further investigate the nature of these gifts, determine whether they are in line with ethics rules, and ensure that employees like Ambassador Haley are fully trained on the application and importance of ethical standards.”

This CREW legal request came today, the same day Haley's resignation was announced, so there's about a 99% chance that we actually found the one person in the regime who still is capable of shame when it comes to ethics violations.

And if you believe that, well...

Haley joins a long list of corrupt Trump regime officials who overstayed their welcome by grifting on the public dime, of course the biggest violator is Trump himself, and he could not care less about that.

Here's my gut feeling:  Jeff Sessions is done as AG as soon as the midterms are over.  Trump will need a new AG.  My money is on Lindsey Graham.  Which means Graham's Senate seat will be open.  Both Haley and Graham are from SC.

It's not hard to be this cynical, but that's what is coming.  Graham becomes Trump's hatchet man, the Saturday Night Massacre happens, and Haley gets appointed to fill out Graham's term.

I hope I'm wrong, but to me, Haley's sudden resignation screams that this is in the works.

We'll know soon enough.

It's Mueller TIme, Con't

The Trump regime has installed its Potemkin court and believes they have won, and will coast to an easy victory in November followed by the end of the Mueller probe and with it, American democracy.  Unfortunately for them, reality is a harsh mistress.

A top Trump campaign official requested proposals in 2016 from an Israeli company to create fake online identities, to use social media manipulation and to gather intelligence to help defeat Republican primary race opponents and Hillary Clinton, according to interviews and copies of the proposals

The Trump campaign’s interest in the work began as Russians were escalating their effort to aid Donald J. Trump. Though the Israeli company’s pitches were narrower than Moscow’s interference campaign and appear unconnected, the documents show that a senior Trump aide saw the promise of a disruption effort to swing voters in Mr. Trump’s favor.

The campaign official, Rick Gates, sought one proposal to use bogus personas to target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s main opponent at the time. Another proposal describes opposition research and “complementary intelligence activities” about Mrs. Clinton and people close to her, according to copies of the proposals obtained by The New York Times and interviews with four people involved in creating the documents.

A third proposal by the company, Psy-Group, which is staffed by former Israeli intelligence operatives, sketched out a monthslong plan to help Mr. Trump by using social media to help expose or amplify division among rival campaigns and factions. The proposals, part of what Psy-Group called “Project Rome,” used code names to identify the players — Mr. Trump was “Lion” and Mrs. Clinton was “Forest.” Mr. Cruz, who Trump campaign officials feared might lead a revolt over the Republican presidential nomination, was “Bear.”

There is no evidence that the Trump campaign acted on the proposals, and Mr. Gates ultimately was uninterested in Psy-Group’s work, a person with knowledge of the discussions said, in part because other campaign aides were developing a social media strategy. Psy-Group’s owner, Joel Zamel, did meet in August 2016 with Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Trump’s eldest son.

Investigators working for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s campaign to disrupt the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired, have obtained copies of the proposals and questioned Psy-Group employees, according to people familiar with those interviews.

The scope of the social media campaigns, essentially a broad effort to sow disinformation among Republican delegates and general election voters, was more extensive than the work typically done by campaign operatives to spread the candidate’s message on digital platforms. The proposal to gather information about Mrs. Clinton and her aides has elements of traditional opposition research, but it also contains cryptic language that suggests using clandestine means to build “intelligence dossiers.

We know now that ultimately instead of going with Psy-Group that Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Steve Bannon went with Cambridge Analytica for their social media manipulation tactics to be used on American voters in 2016.  But the real story here is that this ties Rick Gates to Zamel, and Zamel to Donald Trump Jr. as linked in the article above, and we know Zamel's Psy-Group and Bannon's Cambridge Analytica announced a partnership just after Election Day 2016.

This was the May 2018 NYT article that found Zamel met with Trump, Jr. and Erik Prince in the Seychelles, along with Saudi, Emirati, and Russian nationals to discuss a larger plan involving the 2016 election.  As I said in May:

So this brings up an excellent point.  It wasn't just Putin who wanted to see Trump win.  The Trump campaign was open for business, and Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, and possibly more foreign influences knew that Trump was open to the highest bidder.  And they took them up on the offer.

So now we have the timeline more clearly:  Kushner turned Zamel down officially, but then Trump's son met with Zamel after, off the books, with Erik Prince facilitating.  Kushner couldn't be caught with this meeting on record, so Junior did the dirty work.

Zamel gets a fat partnership contract with CA.  Erik Prince's sister Betsy DeVos becomes Education Secretary, while Erik Prince himself gets to pitch privatizing Trump's war in Afghanistan (and still is.)  The Saudis, Emiratis, and Russians get the access they want to the White House.

And Mueller knows it all.

Clock's ticking...


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