Tag Archive: Russia

2018 brings calls for Democrats to focus on winning Congressional elections

U.S. Senate under Republican control

2018 has begun, and it is an election year. While so-called “off-year” (Congressional, state and local, but not presidential) elections often garner disappointingly low voter turnout on the Democratic side, calls have already emerged for Democrats to focus, and work hard, on winning back one or the other houses of Congress, or both. For example, yesterday, progressive website Crooks and Liars published a piece entitled: Take Back The House In 2018, But Don’t Forget The Senate! At the same time, former Nixon White House counsel John Dean tweeted:

Both of these suggestions, focusing primarily on the House or the Senate, have merit.

Is Donald Trump preparing us for the release of a very naughty tape?

Suspected Trump/Russia connections

Donald Trump has spent much of this year attacking mainstream (non-Murdoch) news media outlets, calling them “fake news.” The term apparently means real news that isn’t flattering to Trump. This can be seen as a strategy to influence us not to believe what we see, hear and read, unless it comes from a pro-Trump media outlet like Fox News. But now Trump seems to have taken his propaganda strategy one step further: he is saying that the Access Hollywood” tape released in October 16, in which Trump tells host Billy Bush that he likes to “just start kissing women” and “grab them by the pu*sy. You can do anything” is not authentic. What’s going on?

Instead of getting distracted, drive the narrative

 

Puerto Rico devastation from Hurricane Maria

Back in February 2011, we published Messaging Maxim #1: Go On Offense. Perhaps some folks need a refresher course. In that post, we wrote, “If you’re fighting a political battle on the other side’s rhetorical turf, you’ve already lost.” At the time, such advice was referring to phony cultural issues like “Ground Zero Mosque” and “is President Obama a Muslim?” that Republicans had ginned up and repeated everywhere they could (see Messaging Maxim #2: Rinse and Repeat). With their herd mentality, the mainstream media then picked up these issues and focused their broadcasts, cablecasts and column space on them.

Fast forward to today. Donald Trump and the Republicans are doing the same thing again, and it’s working. Currently, the phony cultural issues are: “Kneeling NFL Players” and “Harvey Weinstein.” To those, you can add, “NBC and CNN Licenses.” By next week, expect different cultural issues.

Right wing Twitter bots posing as attractive women

Orange-helping fembots

If you search Twitter for “John Kelly” (White House Chief of Staff) to find out the latest on rumors of his possible resignation, you may stumble upon tweet after tweet indicating “John Kelly Reveals Why He Didn’t Wear a US Flag Pin During Confirmation.” Here’s an example:

Checking out some of these tweets, you will find that nearly every one was posted by an attractive-looking white woman, according to their profiles. Moreover, many such profiles were nearly identical, often indicating “Wife,” “Mom,” “Animal Lover,” “Patriot,” “Middle Class Trump Supporter,” etc. And even more creepy is that, besides the tweet about Kelly and the flag pin, many of these accounts have identical tweets down the line, in the same order, including “Lying Liberal Media is 92% Negative Against President Trump,” “RNC Chairwoman RIPS Michelle Obama’s Claim GOP is ‘ALL WHITE MEN,’” “BREAKING: Senate Intel Committee BLASTS Media for FAKE Russia News,” and the like. Furthermore, many of the posted stories come from “reportsecret.com.” When you search for that outlet, you get a 404 Error. Other links go to truthfeednews.com, which does exist, and it is some conservative publication. Their Kelly post didn’t criticize Kelly directly, but it did say this:

Ever since Barack Obama’s disastrous presidency, the American flag has been under an all-out assault.

NFL athletes routinely disrespect our flag, as do Hollywood celebrities, far-left denizens, and Democrat politicians.

In fact, many Democrat politicians make a point of choosing to not wear an American flag pin on their jackets, a subtle snub to our country and to those who are patriotic.

Here are a few more examples of the profiles found and some of the tweets in question:

Republicans’ empty statements of concern towards Trump

Trump/Putin relationship, subject of Republican criticism

The last six months or more have been marked by a procession of statements of concern and criticism from many leading Republicans towards Donald Trump. For example, U.S. Senator John McCain has said that scandals within the Trump White House are reaching “Watergate size and scale.” Likewise, McCain’s cohort U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said of Trump this past weekend:

When it comes to Russia, he’s got a blind spot, and to forgive and forget when it comes to Putin regarding cyber attacks is to empower Putin, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a rising Republican Party star, also trashed Trump’s idea of forming “an impenetrable Cyber Security unit” with Vladimir Putin:

James Comey’s description of Trump akin to a Mafia Don

James Comey’s attitude before Congress today

Today, former FBI Director James Comey gave his anxiously-awaited testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since Donald Trump fired him in May. Comey’s testimony, including his written statement that was released yesterday, was stunning in several respects, from the circumstances of his firing, to the Mafia-like treatment Comey says  Trump gave him regarding the ongoing investigation of former Trump National Security Advisor (and Trump presidential campaign official) Michael Flynn over Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials. Even people who were hyping Comey’s upcoming testimony in advance were perhaps surprised at some of what Comey said about Trump, including that Trump is lying about several Trump/Russia matters.

Donald Trump’s war with the press

White House protest the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired

White House protest the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired

After a disastrous week for Donald Trump and his White House, with ever-changing stories about Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Trump tweeted on Friday that he may discontinue White House daily press briefings. This follows a series of disturbing incidents exhibiting shabby Trump administration treatment of the national news media, including:

  • Banning The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Politico, BuzzFeed, the BBC and the Guardian from press briefings.
  • Ejecting Andrea Mitchell of NBC News from State Department events where she tried to ask questions.
  • Repeatedly referring to the mainstream news media as “fake news” whenever they report on real stories that are unflattering to the Trump administration, especially the investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.
  • Having a reporter arrested after he asked questions at Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price at the West Virginia state Capitol.
  • Cutting off veteran reporter April Ryan, who is a black woman, and telling her, “stop shaking your head” while she was asking a question in the White House Press Room.

Republicans shockingly partisan at Sally Yates Russia hearing

Sally Yates, then Deputy Attorney General, in 2016

Sally Yates, then Deputy Attorney General, in 2016

Republicans in Congress perhaps exceeded even their own partisan reputation at yesterday’s hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism entitled “Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election.” The hearing featured Sally Yates, who was Acting Attorney General in the Trump administration until she was fired on January 30 of this year. Also appearing at the hearing was former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Each of these witnesses has decades of experience serving in the government under presidents of both parties, and both have knowledge about Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections. For example, both witnesses know about Michael Flynn, a campaign advisor and then National Security Advisor under Donald Trump for just a few weeks, until February 13. Flynn, a principal subject of the hearing, was fired after the Washington Post reported that he lied about his telephone calls with Russian officials, including Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, where the two discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia for interfering in the U.S. election that had just taken place. Yates testified at yesterday’s hearing that, in January of this year, she had urgent meetings and calls with Trump White House attorneys about Flynn, and that she recommended that action be taken regarding Flynn, because he was causing Vice President Mike Pence to lie to the American people about Flynn’s discussions with the Russians, and because Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail from Russia over his lies.

However, many of the Republican Senators on the panel did not seem to want to know about Russian involvement in our election. Instead, they criticized the “leaks” that led to the disclosure of Flynn’s activities, as well as the “unmasking” of Flynn. Part of what is shocking about the Republicans’ behavior at the hearing is that, had Flynn not been identified, he might still be National Security Advisor and would still be, as Yates explained, compromised by Russia.

Democrats bust Trump on first 100 days of failure

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer flanked by fellow Democratic Senators

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer flanked by fellow Democratic Senators

Congressional Democrats, led by U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, held a press conference Friday morning to highlight Donald Trump‘s first 100 days of failure and broken promises. The Democrats, who have held similar events during the past week on different subjects, focused on Friday on Trump’s preliminary federal budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018, which his White House released in March, and for which negotiations are now heating up. Of particular note by the Democrats is Trump’s failure to deliver on his biggest campaign promises, including the border wall and repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Intelligence Committee hearing: Russia waging cyber war against United States

Trump/Russia Inauguration Day protest

Trump/Russia Inauguration Day protest

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee held an open hearing designed to lay out Russia‘s intentions and techniques (“active measures)” to influence the U.S. 2016 elections, and to propose actions and solutions to address them going forward. According to Independent Senator Angus King, from what he heard during the hearing, “we’re engaged in a new form of aggression, if not war,” from Russia. King’s statement echoed former Vice President Dick Cheney, who said a few days earlier that, “in some quarters,” Russia’s interference in the U.S. election “could be considered an act of war.” Witnesses at the hearing agreed that Russia is engaged in cyber “warfare” against the U.S. This is a crucial first step in investigating whether Donald Trump‘s campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.