Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Last Call For Meanwhile In Bevinstan...

After a hard-fought race marked by angry rhetoric about teachers and the intervention of national politics, Kentucky voters finally got the chance to make their decision at the ballot box.

In the end, Attorney General Andy Beshear was able to emerge victorious in a gubernatorial race being watched as much for what it says next year's national elections as it does about the direction of the commonwealth.

Both men were with supporters in Louisville on Tuesday night watching as the results came in.

The Democrats -- Beshear and his running mate, Jacqueline Coleman -- placed much of their focus on Kentucky's educators and their anger over moves by the Bevin administration to make changes to their pensions.

"I believe the more Kentuckians that come out, the better our chances are, because people are hungry for a governor that listens more than he talks and solves more problems than he creates," Beshear said earlier Tuesday.

Bevin, a Republican who has polled consistently as among the least popular governors in the nation, highlighted his anti-abortion rights agenda and close ties with President Donald Trump. He switched his lieutenant governor running mate this time out to Ralph Alvardo.

John Hicks and Ann Cormican ran a long-shot race on the Libertarian Party ticket.

On Tuesday after casting his ballot, Bevin said he was feeling good and confident.

“I thought we’d win by 6 to 10 [percentage points]. I still feel very confident in that," he said. "I’d like it to be more like 10 to 12. We’ll see.”
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made high-profile visits in the final week before the election, including an election eve rally by Trump in downtown Lexington at Rupp Arena.

While Bevin basked in the attention and personal visits from Trump and Pence, Beshear worked to shore up votes and keep voters looking at local issues, including his support for expanded gambling in the state.

The story: turnout.  2015 saw about 970k voters.  Tonight, Kentucky had 1.425 million, a nearly 50% increase.  Beshear's final margin is less than 5,000 votes and Bevin didn't concede citing 'voting irregularities".  But Beshear declared victory tonight anyway.

In the other statewide races, the Democrats didn't do nearly as well.  Beshear will be the last bastion of blue in the Bluegrass for a while now.

But Bevin's still governor for a while, and he can still do some damage.  A recount is coming, maybe more than one.  I don't know.

It's not over yet.

The Drums Of War (On Drugs)

The brutal massacre of an American Mormon missionary family in Mexico by drug cartel soldiers has Donald Trump howling for military action.

At least 10 members of a prominent Mormon family – three mothers and their young children – were killed in a shooting attack relatives suspect might have been a case of mistaken identity by drug cartel gunmen. About a dozen family members remain missing.

The victims were U.S. citizens and members of La Mora, a decades-old settlement in Sonora state founded as part of an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's located about 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona. 
The mothers were driving from Bavispe to a wedding in LaBaron, another Mormon community in the state of Chihuahua, when their three vehicles loaded with children were attacked by gunfire, causing one of the vehicles to explode in flames. 
Leah Staddon, a relative who grew up in the same Mormon community before moving to Arizona, said her nephew's wife and her four children died in the blaze.

She said her brother discovered the bullet-ridden vehicle still smoldering.
"It's devastating," Staddon said. "It's incomprehensible, the evil. I don’t understand how someone could do that."

The attack happened near Rancho La Mora on the border between Sonora and Chihuahua, the Mexican newspaper El Diario reported.

The vehicle exploded when bullets hit the gas tank, the newspaper said.

Trump hates Mexicans, who he thinks are all drug criminals and child-killers anyway, so actual Mexican criminals killing kids has sent him into paroxysms of rage on Twitter this morning.

President Trump said Tuesday the U.S. is ready to "wage war" on the drug cartels and "wipe them off the face of the earth" after at least 10 members of a prominent Mormon family were killed in an ambush attack near U.S.-Mexico border.

In a series of tweets, Trump said the U.S. was willing to aid Mexico in "cleaning out these monsters" and that "sometimes you need an army to defeat an army.
"We merely await a call from your great new president!" he said.

Sending in thousands, maybe tens of thousands of US troops into Mexico to kill cartel soldiers would be quite the escalation of the War on Drugs, now in its sixth decade, and would certainly serve to get impeachment off the front page.  Trump is at best unstable but controllable by his inner circle, but this is a rage boner that may not be able to be contained right now.

We'll see if Republicans talk him down or enable him with legislation.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

Indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas is flipping on Trump and wants to cooperate with House Democrats, according to his lawyer.

Lev Parnas, an indicted Ukrainian-American businessman who has ties to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is now prepared to comply with requests for records and testimony from congressional impeachment investigators, his lawyer told Reuters on Monday.

Parnas, who helped Giuliani look for dirt on Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, is a key figure in the impeachment inquiry that is examining whether Trump abused his office for personal political gain.

His apparent decision to work with the congressional committees represents a change of heart. Parnas rebuffed a request from three House of Representatives committees last month to provide documents and testimony.

“We will honor and not avoid the committee’s requests to the extent they are legally proper, while scrupulously protecting Mr. Parnas’ privileges including that of the Fifth Amendment,” said the lawyer, Joseph Bondy, referring to his client’s constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination.

Giuliani did not immediately respond to requests for comment. On Capitol Hill, the House leadership and a spokesperson for the House Intelligence Committee declined comment.

His previous lawyer, John Dowd, wrote to the committees in early October complaining that their requests for documents were “overly broad and unduly burdensome.”

Parnas pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court last month to being part of a scheme that used a shell company to donate money to a pro-Trump election committee and illegally raise money for a former congressman as part of an effort to have the president remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

The indictment does not address the issues involved in the impeachment inquiry.

Parnas would be a crucial witness if he were to cooperate. He has said he played a key role in connecting Giuliani to Ukrainian officials during Giuliani’s investigation into Biden and his son Hunter.

It gets worse.  House Democrats have released the transcripts of the testimony of former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovich, and the full details of her testimony are outright shocking.

Yovanovitch said she first learned in late 2018 that Giuliani had been involved in Ukraine policy when Ukrainian officials alerted her to the former New York mayor’s communications with a former Ukrainian prosecutor general.

She described how Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had urged her to use Twitter to express support for Trump in order to save her job. “He said, you know, you need to go big or go home. You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the president,” she said.

Several witnesses have said Sondland, a major Trump donor, played a major role in Ukraine policy, despite the country not being part of the European Union. Sondland also testified in the House probe, and his transcript is expected on Tuesday.

Michael McKinley, a former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, told House investigators that he quit his post after the State Department opted not to defend Yovanovitch from criticism by Trump and his political allies.

She was made a target by Trump himself.

Yovanovitch testified on Oct. 11 that she felt threatened by Trump telling Zelenskiy on the call that she was going to “go through some things.”

“I didn’t know what it meant. I was very concerned,” she said. “I still am.

She said she was astonished to be featured in a presidential phone call and that Trump would speak about her “or any ambassador in that way to a foreign counterpart.”

When she contacted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to get his support, Pompeo said he would take care of it by contacting FOX News host Sean Hannity.   And that actually worked for a while.

Because our country is corrupt as hell.

StupidiNews, Election Day Edition!

Time to vote for statewide elections here in Kentucky, as well as Louisiana and Mississippi, along with Virginia's state legislature and New Jersey's General Assembly.

Time to kick Matt Bevin to the curb, Kentucky.

Let's go.
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