Category Archives: International

Negotiating with yourself does not constitute a ‘compromise’ (updated)

The White House alerted the media that Trump plans to make ‘major announcement’ on shutdown, and the border on Saturday afternoon.

Trump is given to hyperbole and superlatives, and this speech was no exception. This was an over-hyped PR stunt.

The speech began with Stephen Miller’s highlights of the xenophobic, racist, anti-immigrant talking points of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, et. al., heard almost daily on conservative hate talk radio to gin up white anxiety and white grievances among Trump’s white nationalist base.

It then veered into a rehash of previous proposals (which were rejected by the prior Republican Congress) on DACA and TPS beneficiaries: a temporary stay of Trump’s policies for 3 years in exchange for $5.7 billion for Trump’s “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border.

This was something Trump negotiated with his white nationalist racist adviser Stephen Miller, and his son-in-law Secretary of Everything, Jared Kushner. There was no effort to negotiate with the Democratic leadership in good faith. Trump’s attempt to call this a “compromise” rings hollow. Negotiating with yourself does not constitute a “compromise.”

This was another lame attempt to reframe the issue solely as a PR stunt. It was an epic failure.

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A Better Future for Phoenix Drives Daniel Valenzuela in Run for Mayor

Phoenix Councilmember and Mayoral Candidate Daniel Valenzuela

In the runoff race to become the next Mayor of Phoenix, former Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has brought on former McCain campaign advisors in an attempt to draw Republican support to make up the 19 point deficit in his second-place finish to former Councilwoman Kate Gallego last November.

Goals and vision for Phoenix

As a council member and potential mayor, Valenzuela sees Phoenix as a great city that he wants to help make greater and more safe, inclusive, and prosperous for the children and next generations to follow. His immediate goals if elected mayor would be expanding educational opportunities, promoting equality and economic progress, and ensuring safe communities and neighborhoods. To accomplish these goals, Councilman Valenzuela would address the public policy arenas described later in the piece.

With popular Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton resigning his office and now serving Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District, a special non-partisan election was held in November to elect his successor. In a four-way race, Gallego received 45 percent of the vote and had a 19-point lead over her closest contender, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela.

The Blog For Arizona profiled both candidates in June and interviewed both on their positions on the issues and their vision for moving Phoenix forward. This piece describes Councilmember Valenzuela’s goals and vision for the fifth largest city in the country.

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Obstruction of justice in plain sight: unindicted co-conspirator ‘Individual 1’ instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress (updated)

Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and personal “fixer” is going to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7, 2019. A source close to Cohen told the Wall Street Journal that in his testimony:

“He’s going to tell the story of what it’s like to work for a madman, and why he did it for so long,” said the person close to Mr. Cohen. “He’s going to say things that will give you chills.”

In a preview of coming attractions, Michael Cohen Acknowledges Payments for Poll Rigging:

Michael D. Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer for President Trump, acknowledged on Thursday that he had paid the owner of a technology services company to help doctor results of an online poll to help Mr. Trump as he considered a run for president.

In a post on Twitter about his actions, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Cohen said that he had done so at the direction of Mr. Trump, and regretted it.

The Journal reported that in early 2015, before Mr. Trump declared himself a candidate for president, Mr. Cohen gave $12,000 to $13,000 in cash stuffed in a Walmart bag to John Gauger, the owner of RedFinch Solutions, who also works for Liberty University [run by Jerry Falwell, Jr.]. The money was in exchange for help boosting Mr. Trump’s name in two online polls.

Mr. Cohen was supposed to pay Mr. Gauger $50,000 for the work, the man told The Journal, but the full amount was never paid out. However, Mr. Cohen billed the Trump Organization $50,000 for technology services, according to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who referenced the amount in a charging document.

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‘Collusion’ in plain sight: a compromised president is a national security threat

This past week we learned from Paul Manafort’s attorneys that their client shared closely guarded campaign polling data with Russian (and Ukrainian) oligarchs who have close ties to Vladimir Putin. Paul Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Russian associate, according to court filing.

David Measer explains The real value of Paul Manafort’s polling data:

[I]t’s a mistake to treat polling data as mere briefing material; it’s actionable information. Those of us in advertising use it to decide who to target; to position the brands we represent as distinctive from other brands; to develop messaging and ads; and to knock competitors out of their positions in consumers’ minds. We’ve known since 2017 that the Russian disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election did the same thing — aiming different posts at people who indicated that they “liked” patriotism or lived in Ferguson, Mo.

Passing on this kind of information gives a partner the ability to reach audiences in a very personalized way. And if that partner is a foreign country intent on influencing voters, exploiting divisions and disrupting elections, the data is priceless. It gives them the tools to get pretty close to the holy grail of marketing: to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right message.

This would be the Russian troll farm run by Russian intelligence agencies whom the Special Counsel has indicted for interference in the 2016 election.

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Fact checking Trump’s prime time address

Media critic Erik Wemple of the Washington Post accurately notes The networks interrupted their programming for the lamest rerun on television, Donald Trump’s racist white nationalist anti-immigrant fear mongering. Trump used the Oval Office to try to create a border crisis.

Trump’s frustrated sales pitch on the border wall reverted to his oldest political tactic: Fear. Trump’s real fear is the loss of his white nationalist political base who feed off the epistemic closure of the “conservative misinformation feedback loop” media bubble. Trump’s public case for his wall has collapsed entirely, and in Trump Nation, that’s the “national emergency.” The real national emergency is the threat of Trump’s collapse.

Media critics had urged networks to take precautions ahead of his speech. ‘This president lies daily’: Critics demand networks fact-check Trump’s live immigration speech.

Afterwards, TV hosts say Trump speech lacked news. Dems say ‘told you so.’

Real-time analysis from on-air journalists followed Trump’s white nationalist propaganda. Anchors Scramble to Fact-Check Trump After Prime-Time Address:

NBC anchor Chuck Todd came on air with a blunt assessment. “He made a lot of dubious claims,” Mr. Todd informed millions of viewers after the network’s scheduled program had been pre-empted for a rare prime-time presidential appearance.

Shepard Smith on the Fox News network told viewers that contrary to Mr. Trump’s assertions, “statistics show there is less violent crime by the undocumented immigrant population than by the general population.”

And on ABC, the White House correspondent Cecilia Vega took issue with Mr. Trump’s depiction of a southern border in crisis. “Just because you say it’s a crisis,” Ms. Vega said, “doesn’t necessarily make it one.”

The post-speech fact checking has been brutal. Continue reading