Monday, November 25, 2019

Why Trump will win: Another example

Stop kidding yourself. There is no hope.

The hearings were a disaster for Trump, yet support for impeachment has dropped. How does he do it? In large part, he succeeds because the right-wing alternative media infrastructure has become so powerful and so shameless, and because the citizenry (on both left and right) has lost faith in reason, in the very concept of objective reality. Truth is no longer truth. Truth is what Trump declares it to be. Il Duce ha sempre ragione.

Here's an example. It's a piece of propaganda by right-wing writer Scott Johnson, who seeks to skewer the Steele Dossier. In right-wing mythology, it all comes down to the Dossier. Trumpers believe that their man will be cleared if they can simply say enough nasty things about Steele's work. That's their approach: Simplify, personalize, demonize.

Never mind that, before Steele began work, the FBI was investigating Trump. The reasons were plentiful: Trump's main foreign policy adviser was Michael Flynn, suspected of falling into a classic Russian "honeytrap." George Papadopoulos, another adviser, was told by an intermediary that Russia had Hillary's emails and met with a woman he thought was Putin's niece. (I simplify grossly an involved series of events.) Trump's campaign manager was Paul Manafort, who had done Russia's bidding in Ukraine. Trump's sons told interviewers that Trump's company was financially dependent on Russians. Trump continually praised or shielded Putin throughout the campaign. In early June, Paul Ryan was telling fellow congressmen that Trump takes money from the Russians -- and no, he wasn't joking.

That's just for starters. If Christopher Steele had never been born, the probe of Trump's links to Russia would still have been inevitable -- and evidence of collusion still would be incontrovertible.

In Rightwingerland, Fusion GPS (which hired Orbis, Steele's firm) is a Democrats-only operation. In the real world, of course, it was a Republican who originally hired Fusion to do oppo research on Trump. The RNC still employs that firm.

To his credit, Johnson does note that Fusion also sought info helpful to Russia's efforts to undo the Magnitsky Act. But Johnson does not draw the obvious conclusion: Fusion is not a partisan operation. It is a capitalist enterprise. It is an investigation service which works for anyone willing to cut a check. It does the job it is paid to do.

Johnson also notes the existence of the Trump Tower meeting without addressing the obvious question: Why is oppo research considered acceptable when Trump does it but utterly horrifying when a Dem does it?
In April 2016 the Clinton presidential campaign and Democratic National Commmittee hired Fusion GPS “to build a Trump-Russia echo chamber,” as Lee Smith puts it in The Plot Against the President. Simpson promptly circulated allegations of corrupt Russian ties to the Trump campaign to the mainstream media.
What a lie! The Dossier was not circulated until after the election.

How could Fusion build an "echo chamber" while keeping the Dossier secret? Before the election there was only one brief, infuriatingly vague public reference to this investigation, published by David Corn, who did not actually reveal the Dossier's existence or discuss any details. How does that count as an "echo chamber"?

And yet many Trumpers have convinced themselves the Dossier came out before the election. The True Believers will always reconfigure their memories to accord with the version of events presented in the right-wing media.

Right-wing propagandists have become absolutely shameless in their efforts to revise history. It's "Saddam planned 9/11" all over again.
If the Steele Dossier is what it purports to be, Steele picked up the phone in June 2016 and called his old sources high up in the Putin administration.
Is Johnson out of his freakin' mind? Steele never claimed that!

No such claim is made in the Dossier itself. The document does not name sources but does describe them. (This is standard with raw intelligence compilations; the names are kept in a separate list.)

If, in his testimony or in any interview, Steele had offered any quotation which would back up Johnson's inane assertion, that quote would be famous, or infamous.

Steele did not call up people in the Putin administration and ask "What can you tell me about Trump?" For crying out loud! That’s not how you gather intel. Steele's associates did the job the way spooks have always done such tasks: They operated under cover to ingratiate themselves -- subtly -- with various informants.
Eager to lend a hand, they helpfully provided the allegations of treasonous collusion that we now know to be a lie.
We know no such thing.

First, as noted above, none of the information came from people close to Putin. None of the informants were witting. (However, there is a possibility -- some would say likelihood -- that the Russians caught on.)

Second, we do not know that "allegations of treasonous collusion" are a lie. The right repeats that claim endlessly, but mindless repetition does not make this claim plausible.

If Johnson truly believes this, he should cite evidence. For example, he should cite a specific passage in the Muller Report which exonerates Trump.

Johnson cannot offer such a citation for one simple reason: The report is not exonerative. Yes, Barr pretended otherwise -- and in so doing, Barr will go down in history as a vile liar. Barr's false summary does not reflect the actual report, which right-wingers refuse to read.

Fact: Mueller found ample evidence of obstruction of justice. One does not obstruct justice unless one is guilty.

Fact: Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, fed voter data to a Russian intelligence officer. There is no innocent explanation for this.

It is also true that Mueller constricted his efforts -- unwisely and unfairly -- by concentrating on the official Trump campaign team. The real dirty work was done through cut-outs. (It's worth noting that, in the Zelensky call, Trump called Mueller incompetent, not corrupt or wrong.)

If Trump were a Democrat, a propagandist like Johnson would consider the evidence against Trump conclusive. We would, of course, know much more if Trump had not hidden evidence. But, based on what we do know, the list presented here is damning:
1. Trump was receptive to a Campaign national security adviser’s (George Papadopoulos) pursuit of a back channel to Putin.

2. Kremlin operatives provided the Campaign a preview of the Russian plan to distribute stolen emails.

3. The Trump Campaign chairman and deputy chairman (Paul Manafort and Rick Gates) knowingly shared internal polling data and information on battleground states with a Russian spy; and the Campaign chairman worked with the Russian spy on a pro-Russia “peace” plan for Ukraine.

4. The Trump Campaign chairman periodically shared internal polling data with the Russian spy with the expectation it would be shared with Putin-linked oligarch, Oleg Deripaska.

5. Trump Campaign chairman Manafort expected Trump’s winning the presidency would mean Deripaska would want to use Manafort to advance Deripaska’s interests in the United States and elsewhere.

6. Trump Tower meeting: (1) On receiving an email offering derogatory information on Clinton coming from a Russian government official, Donald Trump Jr. “appears to have accepted that offer;” (2) members of the Campaign discussed the Trump Tower meeting beforehand; (3) Donald Trump Jr. told the Russians during the meeting that Trump could revisit the issue of the Magnitsky Act if elected.

7. A Trump Campaign official told the Special Counsel he “felt obliged to object” to a GOP Platform change on Ukraine because it contradicted Trump’s wishes; however, the investigation did not establish that Gordon was directed by Trump.

8. Russian military hackers may have followed Trump’s July 27, 2016 public statement “Russia if you’re listening …” within hours by targeting Clinton’s personal office for the first time.

9. Trump requested campaign affiliates to get Clinton’s emails, which resulted in an individual apparently acting in coordination with the Campaign claiming to have successfully contacted Russian hackers.

10. The Trump Campaign—and Trump personally—appeared to have advanced knowledge of future WikiLeaks releases.

11. The Trump Campaign coordinated campaign-related public communications based on future WikiLeaks releases.

12. Michael Cohen, on behalf of the Trump Organization, brokered a secret deal for a Trump Tower Moscow project directly involving Putin’s inner circle, at least until June 2016.

13. During the presidential transition, Jared Kushner and Eric Prince engaged in secret back channel communications with Russian agents. (1) Kushner suggested to the Russian Ambassador that they use a secure communication line from within the Russian Embassy to speak with Russian Generals; and (2) Prince and Kushner’s friend Rick Gerson conducted secret back channel meetings with a Putin agent to develop a plan for U.S.-Russian relations.

14. During the presidential transition, in coordination with other members of the Transition Team, Michael Flynn spoke with the Russian Ambassador to prevent a tit for tat Russian response to the Obama administration’s imposition of sanctions for election interference; the Russians agreed not to retaliate saying they wanted a good relationship with the incoming administration.

During the course of 2016, Trump Campaign associates failed to report any of the Russian/WikiLeaks overtures to federal law enforcement, publicly denied any contacts with Russians/WikiLeaks, and actively encouraged the public to doubt that Russia was behind the hacking and distribution of stolen emails.
Note that the Dossier plays no role in any of this.

For more -- much more -- see Scott Abramson's Proof of Collusion
It doesn't make any difference. We all know that Trump did no colution nor interference with the investigation. Also he was right to ask for Ukraine to investigate Biden and Crowdstrike.And how do we know this? Because Trump, Fox News, and our trusted Republican elected officials say so.
My response as published in the Power Line piece:

And Dimytro Firtash is up to his eyeballs with the Trump crowd, initially Paulie Manafort who advised on Rudy's Ukraine criminal activities. Wapo says: "Manafort operated a real estate investment business in Manhattan which was funded by Firtash, but you can see from a complaint filed by a former employee with the New York Department of Labor’s fraud unit that their the business was actually a money laundering sham."

According to Law & Crime, it is also clear from reporting in the New York Times that Giuliani approached Firtash and convinced him to fire Lanny Davis as his lawyer and to hire Joseph diGenova and wife, Victoria Toensing to represent him in his fight against extradition."

Firtash, who has known ties to Russian organized crime, told the Times he met with Parnas and Fruman in June where they offered to assist him with the bribery and racketeering charges in the Northern District of Illinois if he hired e diGenova and Toensing as his legal representation.

DiGenova and Toensing, both of whom are staunch supporters of President Donald Trump and who make frequent "rah-rah" appearances on the Trump News Channel, had already been helping Giuliani in his attempts to dig up dirt on the Bidens - but Firtash maintains that he knows of no information that would damage the former vice president.

Not coincidentally, this lawyer team also represents John Solomon, whose articles at The Hill made the Biden conspiracy into a mainstream and enduring talking point.

Somehow Scott has failed again to see the real crime in process.

The Trump Chumps are not the people we need to reach, anyway.

The people we need to reach and wake up are the "Vote Slackers"--NOT the people who were prevented from voting by Rethuglican or Russian (but I repeat myself) dirty tricks, or other factors beyond their control--but the lazy dimwits who were perfectly free to vote, but just couldn't be bothered because though the Rethugs are monsters, the Dems aren't perfect, so, in the tiny little minds of the Vote Slackers, "Both Sides".

Damn, Joe, I thought I was a pessimist, but you make me look like Dr. Pangloss, or like Pollyanna-With-A-Pecker (who probably actually exists on some hentai anime site).
"The Trump Chumps are not the people we need to reach, anyway."

How do you propose to enact legislation to reverse climate change if half the country hates the other half? Dems have to get over their distaste for working class white males. FDR would have sized up the problem immediately.

"Damn, Joe, I thought I was a pessimist, but you make me look like Dr. Pangloss..."

Thanks! I try.

A few days ago, I foolishly allowed a hopeful tone to seep into one of my posts. I sincerely apologize to my readers.
FYI, Nate Silver has been aggregating all the impeachment support polls and he's said support hasn't gone up or down since mid October. So the hearings didn't move the needle one way or the other. Not refuting any of your analysis, but just wanted to post it.
I typed my post under the impression that the anti-Trumpers, plus the Vote Slackers, would be considerably more than half the population. Am I mistaken?

BTW, the "working class" (class my ass; it's not class, it's educational level) white males deserted the Democrats BEFORE the Democrats started looking to the affluent classes to get money to try to finance PR campaigns to make up for their lost dimwitted white voters, because the white dimwits didn't like uppity wimmin, uppity n****rs, uppity hippies, uppity eggheads, uppity non-believers, uppity faggots, etc.

And don't forget, I'm as white, male, straight, and cis as you are. It's just that I've lost any loyalty I might have once felt to those categories. I now feel rather like a Marvel Comics mutant who happens to be WMS&C feels toward normal WMS&Cs, once the mutant has decided that Magneto is right about the normals after all. I wonder if we more enlightened folk are not reaching the population tipping point where we no longer need the white male dimwits. If true, that would be a glorious day.
A breakdown of Trump/GOP support of working Americans:
1. No affordable health insurance.
2. No affordable higher education.
3. No infrastructure jobs.
4. No clean energy jobs.
5. No farm product trade.
6. No help for Social Security.
7. No help for Medicare.
8. No drug pricing competition.
9. No help for teachers.
10. Trillions gifted to the already-rich.
11. Hurting brown people and the LGBTQ community.
12-infinity: everything else he and they have done.

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