Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Last Call For Seven Nutjob Army

Our old friend Mike Flynn is recruiting military veterans to serve as the GOP's heavily armed poll worker "task force" to "secure" polling locations on Election Day.
Military planes dropping bombs, battleships at the ready, scores of soldiers marching in the streets -- and across the screen flashes the words, "Your country needs you once again."

"Beat the cheat," the video urges viewers.

The footage is from a new recruitment video released by The America Project, an organization led by prominent election deniers Patrick Byrne, the former Overstock.com CEO, and retired general Michael Flynn, a former Trump national security adviser, who have joined forces in the final weeks leading up to the midterm elections to recruit ex-military and first responders to staff polling locations around the country.

The operation, fueled by false election claims and using recruitment material featuring images of war, has been dubbed "One Last Mission" by Byrne and Flynn, who emerged as leading figures in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.

"The America Project has spun up the coup de grâce on the enemy," Byrne said in a separate video announcing the campaign, telling viewers he believes the "bad guys are going to come at us with another rig"-- despite there being no evidence that the 2020 election was rigged or stolen.

Poll workers, who set up voting equipment, sign-in and process voters, and report results, are typically apolitical positions for which applicants must affirm that they won't act for the benefit of any candidate or party.

"AMERICA NEEDS YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER," read an October post on the group's Instagram account. "You took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. And defending it means ensuring election integrity."
Thousands of these armed and dangerous assholes are going to show up and "patrol" polling places in key battleground states, in what amounts to a conspiracy to coordinate mass voter intimidation.
"This is the most important thing I think going on in America right now," Byrne said in a recent interview promoting the effort on a conservative internet show. "We're asking you to save the country again."

He said in another interview that the recruiting campaign has been "going like gangbusters" after launching in September.

The "One Last Mission" campaign is the latest effort launched by The America Project, which has announced a slate of programs aimed at impacting future elections, many fueled by baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

The group has also conducted poll worker "training" around the county, called "Operation Eagle's Wings," which is targeting key battleground states including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The America Project has so far trained almost 6,000 poll workers in just Pennsylvania alone, according to Flynn's brother Michael Flynn, who is the group's president. The training is separate and additional to training from election officials.

"They won't be able to steal this election the same way they stole 2020!" he tweeted. 
If you're not white, these guys are going to challenge your right to vote at gunpoint. I'm telling you, this is going to be an absolute disaster. Voter intimidation all over the TV on Election Day? Maybe you decide to stay home. 

We're nowhere near ready for this.

It will be far worse in 2024.


Ukraine In The Membrane, Brainless Edition

Yesterday thirty members of the House Progressive Caucus signed a letter urging President Biden to pursue direct negotiations with Russia and a diplomatic settlement to the Russo-Ukraine war. Given the fairly united support for Ukraine in the US political class and fairly broad support among the public in general, the letter was bound to spur some controversy. But the letter itself was an incoherent mass of contradictions. It pressed for immediate negotiations and a ceasefire while also insisting on defending Ukraine and not taking any steps without Ukraine’s support. For the moment at least these are irreconcilable positions. Ukraine’s war aim is to drive Russia from most and likely all of its territory. Russia’s position is to annex large parts of Ukraine and force it into a permanently subordinate position to Russia. One side or another has to substantially shift its demands or there’s little to talk about. The letter could have said, ‘The threat of escalation and the danger to the global economy is so great that US needs to make Ukraine shift its goals.’ But it didn’t. It stated two irreconcilable positions at once.

Then things got weird.

Soon the leader of the Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal put out a statement “reaffirming support for Ukraine and clarifying the position of a letter to President Biden. Her clarification amounted to a recantation of the initial letter: “We are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to supporting Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and freedom in the face of the illegal and outrageous Russian invasion, and nothing in the letter advocates for a change in that support.” Another signer, Rep. Mark Takano, put out a statement again basically recanting or disavowing the letter.

Next Rep. Mark Pocan went on Twitter and said that the letter was being misinterpreted and wasn’t sure why it was dated 10/24 “as it was July.” What? Responding to criticism he said told one person on Twitter, Pocan said “I agree the timing makes little sense. It was from July.” In other comment he appeared to suggest that he wasn’t even aware in advance that the letter was being released.

Clearly the whole episode had become something of a debacle as at least three of the signers, including the head of the Progressive Caucus, were distancing themselves from it or recanting its contents within hours of its appearance. But Pocan’s comments raised real questions about whether the signatories had actually read the letter or even knew in advance that it was going to be released. Again, Pocan suggested it was something he and his colleagues had done in July – in other words, three or four months ago.

Rep. Ro Khanna defended the letter and suggested that the reaction to the letter was an effort to “silence or shout down debate.”

My own initial read of the letter was that one group of signatories had worked with the outside group Quincy Institute on a letter calling for a push for a ceasefire. Others among the signatories weren’t really prepared to do that and insisted on adding various commitments to Ukraine’s independence and no actions not supported by Ukraine. Unable to agree on these points they piled both conflicting positions into one letter and signed it. More generally, I think there are people in the Progressive Caucus who simply weren’t comfortable with a position indistinguishable from the rest of their party and indeed from many more mainstream Republicans. But the fallout from the release of the letter shows a clumsiness and obtuseness I would not have expected from members like Rep. Jayapal or Jamie Raskin or Ro Khanna. And here I want to distinguish between positions I might disagree with versus position statements that are simply logical contradictions or ones that need to be recanted or explained or abandoned within hours.

The truth is that Biden administration has and continues to pursue diplomacy. There are no public negotiations because the two sides are simply two far apart for them to make any sense. Taken on its face the letter calls on the administration to do what it’s actually already doing (using diplomacy to find a settlement) while not doing what the letter says it shouldn’t do (act without Ukraine’s support) and has actually not done.
There are serious questions about whether or not the Progressive Caucus members even read the letter, as incoherent and contradictory as it is, as Marshall points out.
Personally, this smells like deliberate application of the coital functions of the common rattus rattus to me. Somebody in the Caucus sure seems like they are trying to cause trouble two weeks before the damn midterms and doing so on purpose.

The about-face comes as some Democratic lawmakers vent their fury that the letter backing talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin — originally drafted and signed in June — wasn’t recirculated before its public release on Monday. That release made it appear that the 30 House Democrats who signed on, all lawmakers in the roughly 100-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, were urging the Biden administration to push for diplomacy immediately despite Russia’s engagement in war crimes and indications of a military escalation against Ukraine.

Making the timing of the letter even more politically perilous: Ukraine is not ready for negotiations at this point, especially because its months-long counteroffensive has been successful to date, and there’s no indication Putin is ready to deal either.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine,” the caucus’ chair, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), said in a statement after POLITICO first reported that the retraction was imminent. “The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting.”

Jayapal said she accepts “responsibility” for the embarrassing flub, adding that the timing of the letter caused a “distraction” and was “conflated” with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s recent suggestion that Republicans might pull back on Ukraine funding if they win control of the House.

“The proximity of these statements created the unfortunate appearance that Democrats, who have strongly and unanimously supported and voted for every package of military, strategic, and economic assistance to the Ukrainian people, are somehow aligned with Republicans who seek to pull the plug on American support for President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian forces,” Jayapal added.

I'm disappointed the most in Pramila Jayapal, who handled both the Democrats' infrastructure bill and budget negotiations with Sen. Joe Manchin so well earlier this year only to walk directly into the jet intake and look like a fool. If she can't handle it then maybe somebody else should be running this circus.

I mean we've already got the clowns, kids.

Sunak Sunak Fun

The UK Tories have elected a new leader, Rishi Sunak, who will be Britain's third PM in less than 60 days and the first non-white PM in British history.

Rishi Sunak’s campaign had a simple slogan when he ran for prime minister of Britain earlier this year: “Ready for Rishi.”

The answer was: No, sorry.

He competed against Liz Truss to lead Britain’s Conservative Party after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his scandal-induced resignation in July.

With Truss out, it appears Britain’s Conservatives are indeed ready for Sunak — or at least any chance of a reprieve from the chaos at 10 Downing Street.

Sunak won the Conservative Party’s leadership contest Monday, making him the country’s third leader in less than two months and Britain’s first prime minister of South Asian descent.

The 42-year-old former finance minister is one of Britain’s wealthiest politicians. He was born in Southampton, England, to parents of Indian origin who had emigrated from East Africa.

Educated at one of Britain’s most prestigious private schools, as was his former boss Boris Johnson, he has a glittering résumé, with degrees from the University of Oxford and Stanford University and a stint at the Goldman Sachs investment bank. Sunak is married to the Indian tech heiress Akshata Murty, whose tax affairs caused the former finance minister some political discomfort during his leadership campaign in the summer.

A video clip from a 2007 BBC documentary, in which Sunak suggests he doesn’t have any “working-class friends,” is recirculating online as some Britons frown upon the array of upper-class Conservative contenders.

Nonetheless, he remains popular among politicians of his own party, although he fares less well among the Conservative Party’s national membership, who favored Truss in September by 57.4 percent to 42.6 percent.
This is the guy that lost to Liz Truss., and by 15 points, because he was literally a Goldman Sachs economist married to a tech millionaire in an era of unprecedented austerity in post-Brexit Britain.

It'll be a miracle if he makes it to the end of the year as PM still.
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