Dem’s Red Scare vs Trump’s Agitprop: Who Ya Gonna Believe? Trump or Your Lyin’ Eyes? | Blog#42

Dems’ Red Scare vs Trump’s Agitprop: Who Ya Gonna Believe? Trump or Your Lyin’ Eyes? | Blog#42

President Trump said things that will either alarm liberals or make them laugh.

“They’re doing a number. Just stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.”

“What you are seeing and reading in the news is not happening.”

According to a new Gallup survey, the vast majority of Republicans wholly support Donald Trump. This applies to rank and file voters as much as it does to members of Congress, even when they appear to be criticizing him in their TV appearances.

Politico reports Lindsey Graham‘s Face The Nation appearance:

“Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday called government surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page “not at all” justified, backing up President Donald Trump in his criticism of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court-approved wiretaps.

Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” the South Carolina Republican said, “The whole FISA warrant process needs to be looked at.” He called the Christopher Steele dossier that the FBI cited in its FISA warrant applications “a bunch of garbage” and criticized the government for not being clear that the dossier’s research had been partially funded by Democrats.

Page, who worked for Trump’s presidential campaign on foreign policy, was under government suspicion for his ties to Russia. Documents released Saturday showed that the FBI had been worried that Russia wanted to recruit him.”

Well, the Steele Dossier was first commissioned by Republicans and when Trump won the Republican nomination, it was abandoned and picked up by Democrats. Eventually, the Steele dossier was handed over to the FBI by Senator John McCain. So, if there is a question regarding the partisan nature of the investigation, one can honestly deem the Steele dossier triggers as bipartisan.

The surveillance of Carter Page was approved four times by different judges. All four times, the government successfully made a case to a FISA judge that a wiretap was warranted. While the entire FISA issue needs to be reevaluated as a consequence of Edward Snowden’s revelations, what Graham is really proposing here is partisan tinkering on behalf of the current occupant of the White House. That is neither appropriate, nor is it advisable, given the issues that are being investigated.

“You didn’t collude with the Russians, or at least I haven’t seen any evidence, but Mr. President, they meddled in the elections,” Graham said to the camera. “They stole [John] Podesta’s emails. They hacked into the DNC. It could be us next. It could be some other power, not just Russia. Harden our electoral infrastructure for 2018. Mr. President, Dan Coats is right. The red lights are blinking.”

“He’s been tougher than [Barack] Obama, but he hasn’t been tough enough,” Graham added.

Tougher than Obama? Noooo.

Rex Tillerson continued to apply sanctions on Russia throughout his abbreviated tenure as Secretary of State, even as Trump was making overly-friendly noises, to Trump’s great displeasure. Congress continued to apply sanctions pressure during Trump’s first year. Obama acted immediately and didn’t make any unnecessary overtures to Putin. If one is to fault President Obama, it should be for misjudging the level of treachery and dishonesty among Republicans and not sounding the alarm in the early summer of 2016.

As for hardening the electoral infrastructure, Graham is a fine one to talk! Congress voted not to increase the budget for the states to upgrade their voting machines systems, even as they knew about successful attempts by Russia to infiltrate, and irregularities with a vendor not removing remote software from the voting systems they’d sold. Congress, through its oversight committees, has long known about glaring security issues with our voting systems.

It really grates to see such grandstanding from people who most definitely know better because they are privy to far more information than the average news reader:

Mueller reveals depth of states’ election vulnerabilities


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s latest indictment offers new details of just how deeply Russian operatives have infiltrated state and local election agencies across the U.S. — adding to years of warnings about the technologies that underpin American democracy.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday that hackers within Russia’s GRU military intelligence service targeted state and local election boards, infiltrated a Florida-based company that supplies software for voting machines across the country, and broke into a state election website to steal sensitive information on about 500,000 American voters.

While the FBI had issued warnings in 2016 about hackers breaching state election websites in Illinois and Arizona, the latest indictments in Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe surfaced the most granular account yet on foreign operatives’ efforts to tamper with U.S. election systems.

Depending on where we get our news, we may or may not learn about


SHORTLY BEFORE THE 2016 presidential election, Russian military hackers tried to trick employees of VR Systems, a Florida-based e-voting vendor, into downloading computer-hijacking malware, according to a top-secret NSA report published by The Intercept last year. As recently as last month, the company denied any breach had occurred. But, in fact, the hacking attempt worked, judging from an indictment of 12 Russian military officers prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and handed down by a grand jury today.

Although the indictment doesn’t mention VR by name, referring to the polling and registration software maker as “U.S. Vendor” or “Vendor 1,” the facts laid out in the indictment line up with what was previously know about the 2016 spear-phishing campaign against the company. The indictment alleges that “in or around August 2016, [Russian military officer] KOVALEV and his co-conspirators hacked into the computers of a U.S. vendor (“Vendor 1″) that supplied software used to verify voter registration information for the 2016 U.S. elections.”

Compare that to a section describing VR Systems from the NSA report:

Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.

The indictment continues:

In or around November 2016 and prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators used an email account designed to look like a Vendor 1 email address to send over 100 spearphishing emails to organizations and personnel involved in administering elections in numerous Florida counties.

This is very serious stuff. So much so, that the state of Illinois is asking questions:

Illinois’ elections board requests confirmation Mueller identified hackers in data breach

The Illinois state election board said Friday that it is likely the state referred to in special counsel Robert Mueller’s latest indictment as having been hacked into by Russian intelligence officers, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Illinois officials said Friday that they had requested confirmation from the Justice Department that it was the state mentioned in the indictment.

The hack has been public knowledge for nearly two years, with the FBI issuing an alert about the cyber attack in August 2016, one month after it took place.

“We are grateful that DOJ has identified who the perpetrators are,” state election board spokesman Matt Dietrich said, according to the Tribune. “We never had anything on paper until today, and even then we don’t have a firm statement saying ‘Yes, it’s you,’ although we think it’s more than likely ‘yes.’ ”

While we received warning from the FBI about this cyberattack, we should remember that we were talking about election security back in 2012! Back then, we learned that one of Mitt Romney’s sons operates a voting machine business that has contracts with several states. That turned out to be fake news. debunks it here. There was another conspiracy theory, about Diebold and and an accusation that it was going to deliver votes to the Bush campaign. That too was fake news. There would be no possibility of rumors like these even forming or even doubts in people’s minds, were ownership always the state’s. There hasn’t yet been a national conversation about why voting machines aren’t owned, operated, and serviced by each state and/or the federal government.

Maryland AG probing Russian oligarch’s purchase of state election system software

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) has launched an investigation after it was revealed that a Russian investor had purchased a software company that runs part of the state’s voter registration system.

CBS Baltimore reported that Maryland state Senate President Thomas Mike Miller (D) and House Speaker Michael Busch (D) said that the FBI had briefed them and Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Thursday about the 2015 sale. The state was previously unaware of the sale.

The software vendor, ByteGrid LLC, is financed by AltPoint Capital Partners. That company’s largest investor is Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, and its fund manager is also Russian, according to the outlet.

Foreign entities should not be able to purchase companies that have anything to do with state election software. State election computers, whether connected to the internet or not, should be routinely checked for software code that may be used and reused in software that isn’t related. Voting software should be custom-coded for the state and counties it is used in and it probably would be smartest for it to be written by government-employed programmers.

One wonders how many of Lindsey Graham’s voters even know about these stories about voting machines and hacking, or that House GOP refused to boost funding for election security? I failed to find similar coverage to what I included above from this past week.

The thing, though, is that Lindsey Graham’s voters accept the things he says on their face. If those voters happen to be of the “evangelical” variety, then they will accept stuff like this:

It boggles the mind how the justification for amorality just rolls off Jeffress’ forked tongue… But roll, it does, and his audience accepts it. The 88% of Republican voters who support Trump accept the logic of a Jeffress.

“In each week between April 20 and July 19, Trump’s approval came in at at least 40 percent, according to Gallup, and his approval rating peaked at 45 percent during the week of his June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Following the historic summit, the president’s approval fell back to around 41 percent.””

What about polling after Helsinki?

“Trump stirred controversy during a joint press conference with Putin when he challenged the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Despite bipartisan criticism of his remarks, his approval rating did not appear to take a hit, according to Gallup, coming in at 42 percent for the week of July 16-22.”

What about the economically depressed angry white voter from 2016? What have they gotten from Trump in 18 months? How do they feel?

With all of the issues that are up in the air at the moment, anyone looking at how to recapture the swing vote might be feeling daunted. It all comes down to voters’ sensibilities.

How do people feel about trade and how trade wars are affecting the sector in which they work?

The Los Angeles Times published this story just before news broke that Trump is going to give away money to farmers.

We’re gonna need a bigger freezer. Trump’s trade war is creating a pileup of unsold meat – Los Angeles Times

How do people feel about giving a $12 billion handout to farmers to compensate for a trade war Trump started? The New York Times reported:

““The best relief for the president’s trade war would be ending the trade war,” said Brian Kuehl, the executive director of trade group Farmers for Free Trade, adding, “This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs.

Farm groups say their members have already suffered under lower global commodity prices and natural disasters. The prospect of retaliation has further upended global markets for soybeans, meat and other American farm exports, and farmers are warning that tariffs are costing them valuable foreign contracts that took years to win.”

How do people feel about Russia reaping the economic benefits of the trade war with China by way of increased trade. Who knew that Trump would be the one to bring these two old foes together? Do these voters even know where the trade is going? Do they understand the long-term loss of business for these farmers? China isn’t going to wait for Trump to regain senses he never had. They’ll do business with other, more eager, partners.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) is quoted as having said:

“This is becoming more and more like a Soviet type of economy here: Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). “I’m very exasperated. This is serious.”

Will he be educating his voters on the dangers of Trumpism? How about his Democratic Counterpart, Senator Tammy Baldwin? You can bet she and Senator Bernie Sanders will be criss-crossing her district, but it will be without help from national Democrats. Schumer’s DSCC have decided she’s doing fine and doesn’t need support.

When it comes to who will listen, one assumes that voters hear both sides, equally. But as we all can see, the dominant voice in the media is that of Donald Trump, whether in straight news reporting or analyses. The news timelines are saturated with the things Trump is doing, without prioritization or regard for the things that aren’t sexy but matter at least as much, if not more, than what’s in the breaking news headlines.

So, what about the Democrats? Where is the counter-messaging? Who are the Democratic experts on trade? What are they saying? Where are they saying it? The same applies to farming, auto manufacturing, food production, and on down a very long line of industries that are affected by Trump’s actions. Who is the top Democrat whose job it is to carry the unified message of the party and its policy counter-proposals?

I mean, John Thune (R-South Dakota) has this to say about Trump’s trade policy:

“Taxpayers are going to be asked to initial checks to farmers in lieu of having a trade policy that actually opens and expands more markets. There isn’t anything about this that anybody should like,”

Which Democrat is capitalizing on Republican discontent? Is there anyone who can pick up the trade mantle and grab a megaphone? No? Talk about being handed victory on a silver plate and pushing it away!

Then… There is this big thing that is only a week old. I know, I know… It feels like this happened last year. It didn’t.

Putin’s mastery of irony and sarcasm leapt right off the TV screen.  Putin so obviously relished the notion of taking a pee-pee tape question that he allowed himself to laugh, only to go on to give a non-answer.

What we were all witnesses to via our television screens is what can only be interpreted as confirmation that the president of the United States is a Russian mole.

So, who is the lucky Democrat who gets to spearhead the mass-movement to impeach? Protect Robert Mueller? Something? Anything? I mean Senate floor speeches are nice and all, but they pale in comparison to millions of Americans flooding the streets, demanding justice. The Democratic leadership, apparently, isn’t into any of that, if you read The Hill.

“President Trump‘s performance this past week aside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki sparked outrage among congressional Democrats in all ways but one: There’s been no surge in support for impeachment.

Instead, Democratic leaders have tamped down the impeachment push in the name of political pragmatism, fending off — for now — an effort by animated caucus liberals to escalate their oust-Trump campaign following his broadly maligned joint press conference with Putin in the Finnish capital on Monday.

Not only is impeachment highly unlikely under a GOP-controlled Congress, the leaders argue, but it could undermine the chances of Democrats winning back the House in November, when they’ll need to flip seats in conservative-leaning districts where voters may be put off by an aggressive offensive to topple the president.

“At this point in time it would be a distraction. There will be time for that,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, who had moments before told reporters on Tuesday that Trump’s actions were “treasonous.””

Funny… If you asked me what of the things I post get the most reaction from readers, I would tell you it is anything that even vaguely looks like someone, anyone, is calling for Trump’s removal. People hunger to hear someone, anyone, describing what Trump is doing as disloyal to this nation. But, no. Democrats will not go on the offensive and point to the naked emperor.

Mind you, a part of what Trump seems to be inclined to agree to is handing this man over to the Russians for questioning. He called Putin’s suggestion “interesting.”

Meanwhile, the unseen hand is steering voters toward discussions about going too far to the left. James Comey even admonished people not to choose socialism, as if that’s what is really going on. But that is what the establishment wants us all to see. In a comment to a column by Michelle Goldberg on this topic, I wrote:

“Though Comey’s judgment about things that affect political campaigns is not good…”

This isn’t Comey’s judgment coming through in that tweet, but the conservative indoctrination in him and hundreds of millions of Americans my age and older. We are the children of those who grew up during the actual witchunts of the 1950’s and decades of indoctrination that socialism is taboo. Thanks to a certain Jewish elder statesman from Brooklyn, we have finally come to a point where Americans are shedding the knee-jerk reaction that has been drilled into them from birth and, whenever they hear the S-word, they no longer panic. They don’t even bat an eyelash anymore.

Someone smart, maybe even you, Ms. Goldberg, might take the initiative and interview this new Democrat and ask him, issue by issue, what he supports. Does Mr. Comey support healthcare for all? How about free college at state schools? How about food stamps for anyone who is hungry? How about affordable housing for those in states where there is a housing crisis? Universal Basic Income for those for whom the recession hasn’t ended and the gig economy isn’t cutting it? How about an end to the school to prison pipeline? Mass-incarceration?

If he’s in favor of even half of those things, Ms. Goldberg, kindly inform him that he, too, is a Democratic Socialist.

Thank you.

Democrats know that when voters are asked on the issues, they always choose the progressive policies. When asked about labels, the knee-jerk reaction is to choose the center, not out of a conscious choice, but the mistaken belief that good governance is bipartisan. In olden times, sure. Today? Who are we “bipartisanning” with?

It has been clear for quite some time that not only are Democrats still on the hunt for that elusive Republican unicorn who votes Democrat, but they are still unafraid to offend the voters they have managed to retain because, somehow, they know that those voters will fall in line, exactly the way they did in 2016. Oh, and in case you’ve forgotten the breakdown, here it is:

So, here we are in August, practically on the eve of one of the most important midterm elections ever, and the horses are still sleeping in the barn. Agitprop abounds, with Trump engaging in his trademark flamethrower style of polemics, the media trumpeting every word ad nauseam, and Democrats nowhere to be seen. It’s deja-vu all over again.

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