Friday, November 01, 2019

Fireside chat, and more...

Thanks to those who offered kind words in response to yesterday's post. I decided not to go to the hospital, in part because the symptoms lessened, but mostly because I had elaborately decorated the place and looked forward to seeing the trick-or-treaters. I've always loved Halloween, and I can't presume that there are a great many Halloweens ahead of me. Unfortunately, Charlie -- my insane Australian mini-shepherd -- had to be kept on a leash the entire evening. It's hard to smile and interact with an adorable four-year-old while a snarling beast scream-barks the canine equivalent of "DIE DIE DIE!"

Today is All Saints Day. Unfortunately, we must deal with certain individuals who are anything but saintly.

We have video!
Apparently, there is video of Lev Parnas -- the crook who works for the Putin-friendly master gangster Dmitry Firtash -- standing with Trump at a 2018 rally.
It is unclear how Parnas, who is not a Nevada native, got into the prized seating area directly behind the President. A photo from Parnas' Instagram featured in a video by the Wall Street Journal shows he appeared to have a VIP badge for the event.
Wasn't this around the time he had dinner with Trump at the White House?

Trump doesn't pay Rudy. Rudy's money comes from Parnas -- who seems to be acting as a Firtash cut-out. Rudy can deny and deny working for Firtash, but you may recall that great line from Lawrence of Arabia: "The servant is the one who takes the money."

Even though the money reaches the servant in an indirect fashion, the servant still serves.

The Trump strategy on impeachment resembles his approach to Russiagate. He intends to focus on just one piece of evidence, as opposed to rebutting all of the evidence.

Many Trumpers still incorrectly believe that the Russia scandal entirely stemmed from the Steele Dossier, even though the controversy began before Steele was hired, and even though there is a mountain range of evidence which has nothing to do with the dossier. The ultra-narrow approach meant that the Trumpers needed to undermine the credibility of just one person. In practice, they needed to attack just one or two claims within the dossier.

(Gun nuts use a similar tactic: "You mistook an M16 for an AR15! That means EVERYTHING YOU SAY ABOUT GUNS CAN BE IGNORED FOREVER!")

In the present case, Team Trump wants everyone to focus on the "transcript" (which isn't a transcript) of the Zelensky conversation. "Read the transcript!" has become the new Republican chant. In this case, Trump's task is to convince the populace that the not-a-transcript is innocuous -- even though it contains clear evidence of criminality. Part of the strategy is to repeat the word "perfect" as often as possible, as though sheer repetition can transmute a lie into the truth.

Trump now hopes to read the not-a-transcript during a "fireside chat," an idea which has a certain devious genius to it. Many Americans will presume that the not-a-transcript must be exonerative (even though it isn't) -- because if it weren't, Trump wouldn't dare to read it in public, would he?

I don't want to call this tactic "gaslighting," because the word has become too damned trendy. But basically, that's what's going on.

All non-Trumpers are going to have to keep repeating the facts ad nauseum: It is against the law to ask a foreign government to benefit a domestic campaign. It is also against the law to classify a document in order to hide embarrassing (as opposed to sensitive) information.

Every time the Trumpers shout "Read the transcript," we must respond "RELEASE the transcript!" If the chat was so damned "perfect," why was it placed on that Ultra-Mega-Top-Seekrit computer? Why can't we see the real thing? Many people believe that something vital was excised from the version we've seen.

I suspect that the uncensored version contains a direct or indirect reference to Firtash. Just a hunch.

Bottom line: If Trump could insist on Obama's "long form" birth certificate, we have a right to see the actual transcript.

They're going after Vindman. Seriously, it looks as though the guy may be court-martialed for telling the truth to Congress.
He is likely protected from legal ramifications from showing up to testify, a former Army judge advocate told Military Times on Thursday. But it remains to be seen whether what he told legislators could get him charged with a crime ― and, of course, how his choice to rebel against his White House chain-of-command will affect his career.

“It’s not far-fetched,” Sean Timmons, a managing partner at Tully Rinckey, said. “It’s a murky issue.”

It comes down to whether Trump’s order was lawful, he said. If Trump was trying to prevent Vindman from sharing sensitive information, it could be. If he was trying to prevent testimony, period, it’s not.
This brings us back to our familiar problem. If the chat was so innocent, how could it be Top Seekrit?

The Russian handbook of information warfare. Here is a little light reading from the NATO Defense College. I'll be perusing this over lunch.

Destroying a myth about Page and Strzok. I wish I had the time to discuss all of the intricate, complex work that Marcy Wheeler has done on the Flynn case. But this particular tweet is short and sweet:
If you aren't taking them, a low dose aspirin once a day as blood thinner is a good therapy. Provided you can tolerate aspirin.
The print and broadcast news media has no motive for setting the Russia ratfuckery investigation origins straight bc outraged Red State hooligans drive ad revenue.

Maybe Rudy isn't the only one who's been taking money from Lev Parnas. Now that the money spigot has gone dry with Parnas under the microscope, Trump may have trouble staying afloat. He's suddenly taking actions that can be explained by his looming bankruptcy; selling his D.C.hotel and moving to Florida where he can hang on to Mara Lago by claiming it as his residence.
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