Saturday, July 1, 2017

This TrumpWorld Grab-Bag May Contain Deliverables

Just to start with the amusing thing that happened this week, you know that story about how President Trump was trash-Tweeting Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and aimed low, calling both of them crazy and insulting Mika because she had a little work done (but no, she was not bleeding all over, that's just nasty)? Well, the fun thing is, this prompted the MSNBC morning show hosts to recall that there was this campaign of intimidation and harassment where some thin-skinned politician and his aides wanted them to apologize or bad dirt would come out about them in the obviously well-respected supermarket tabloid, The National Enquirer. Which basically just gives us all the impression that Trump can use his relationship with the publisher of that outlet to blackmail journalists using...fake news. Because let's be brutally frank: The National Enquirer does not hold to the same journalistic standards about sourcing and whatnot as the mainstream media. Fact is, they are a ripe field for planting deza. People who think The National Enquirer is the straight shit are fooling themselves--maybe 10% of the stories have a kernel of truth--but no, that ain't journalism.

This is just such a beautiful side-track from all the work Trump was trying to do regarding CNN. Something, something, picking fights, something, something, buys ink by the barrelful. If only Trump had an attention span!

You know who I don't think has an attention span? Carter Page. Recent word is he sat and was interviewed by the FBI for ten hours without a lawyer. I've seen this guy on tv. He's one of the lawyer-needingest people I've ever seen. His eventual public hearing will be delightful, I have no doubt.

But you probably know what I think the big story is--a person connected to Michael Flynn was trolling the DarkWeb for Hillary Clinton's emails--that's right, the guy who already wasn't admitting he was paid by Russia and Turkey and contacting foreign agents here and there, was also trying to interface with haxxors. Now, I guess on one hand you could just look at Mike Flynn as your obvious burnable scapegoat--a bad-idea engine that the rest of the campaign should really distance themselves from, right? But keep in mind that the President-elect had this guy onboard through the transition even when what he was about was supposedly coming to light via warnings from Deputy AG Sally Yates. (But you know what? I think they knew before that. I just do.)

But it gets weirder--Matt Tait shares a little more info at Lawfare, and drops other Trump campaign and transition names into the mix. Trump and them can shill O'Keefe taping CNN personalities saying that the Russia investigation is a "nothingburger". (I point to Van Jones' very capable defense of himself and indictment of O'Keefe's methods.) But this is on a par with Comey's presumable assurances that Trump wasn't under investigation--the missing word is "yet". The collusion isn't a "slam-dunk"--yet. Trump wasn't under investigation--until he clearly had to be because of apparent obstruction: which begs the question--why is he so loathe to being transparent about the Russia question at all, if transparency would put it to bed? Answer--I don't know, but I know what it looks like.

But on the subject of "deliverables", which is the theme of this Grab-bag post, Trump has been beating around for some "deliverables" to court Putin with.  I'm not sure why President Trump of the United States of America thinks he needs to provide Putin with treats when Putin seems to have interfered in our elections and is not a good global citizen (as is borne out by the whole trying to annex Crimea thing, and don't get me started on how former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort is all up in that.) We (the US) should just have the presence of reputation and character to lean on them, instead of having to "deal". But...Trump. Could someone this compromised be said to be a free actor on the behalf of his country?

But there is this one interesting thing--we know Russia was looking for state voter registration data. Trump's bogus-ass voter commission thingie, which is following up on his entirely unsubstantiated claim that there were several illegal voters in the 2016 elections, recently asked for tons of personal voter data, which has prompted several states to tell the Administration where to stick it.

For which I can't blames them--who are they to tell states how to run their elections--whatever happened to states' rights, right? Why shouldn't states protect their sensitive voter data from big government? (This is clearly on-the-books law for many states.) I think the request for data itself is ominous--how it is going to be used--to purge voters--legitimate voters? To target groups for exclusion from voting? This looks like a civil rights complaint in the making, right?)

But maybe this data is just another "deliverable" to Putin. After all, Trump hasn't given us any reason to trust him, and his Homeland Security has no plan to secure our elections.

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