Both the far right and far left have formed circular firing squads…. (More)

“I’m gonna create McMaster Facts and I’m gonna start getting every leak I can about him”

The Atlantic’s Rosie Gray reports that Mike Cernovich – a guy who said Trayvon Martin would’ve become a rapist if he hadn’t been killed first – is part of the far right smear campaign against National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster:

The provocative right-wing blogger and activist Mike Cernovich has launched a sustained attack on McMaster, including setting up a website called McMasterLeaks.com. When it launched, the main page displayed a large cartoon of the Rothschilds controlling a George Soros puppet, which in turn controlled puppets representing McMaster and former CIA director David Petraeus. (The hand labeled “Rothschilds” has since been relabeled “Saudis.” Cernovich told me he changed it because complaints about the cartoon’s anti-Semitism are “not a hill to die on,” and “if everybody wants to complain, then fine – I’ll just put the Saudis at the top.”)

Cernovich’s criticism isn’t new: He has been going after McMaster for months, as well as other top NSC aides like Dina Powell and more junior staffers. Others in the right-wing media “are finally catching up to where I was three or four months ago,” he told me. But the recent staffing changes spurred him to intensify his effort.

“I read that Rich Higgins article that you wrote and I got triggered, because I thought that memo was brilliant. And I thought, ‘I’m gonna create McMaster Facts and I’m gonna start getting every leak I can about him,’” Cernovich said, referring to my story about Higgins’s memo, which outlined an alleged plot by Islamists, globalists, and leftists to sabotage Trump.
The leaking threat isn’t necessarily exaggerated. Cernovich appears to have sources within the White House and has broken stories that could only have come from people with direct knowledge of internal proceedings, though he has told me he uses burner phones and encrypted apps, and doesn’t always know his sources’ identities.

Cernovich says he’s not coordinating with other wingnuts who are attacking McMaster – “Bannon’s got Breitbart to be his attack dog, so I’m not gonna do anything for Bannon.” – and there are a whole lot of them:

Some right-wing media outlets this week began a sustained attack on McMaster after he removed a top intelligence adviser, seen as a continuation of his effort to purge acolytes of his predecessor, Gen. Michael Flynn, from the National Security Council.

Some conservatives also raised objections to his decision earlier this year to extend a security clearance for Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s final national security adviser who has been accused by some conservatives of mishandling classified information involving Trump campaign associates.

But that’s less a reason than an excuse. Their real gripe is that McMaster won’t push for into their apocalyptic, clash-of-civilizations crusade against Islam:

Frank Gaffney, a conspiracy theorist and former Pentagon official under President Ronald Reagan who heads the Center for Security Policy, a right-wing think tank, criticized McMaster for extending Rice’s security clearance and the dismissal of Cohen-Watnick and accused the general of insubordination.

“At every turn, the Army general has been insubordinate to his Commander-in-Chief,” Gaffney said in commentary for radio on Friday, according to a news release from the think tank. “For example, he has openly opposed Mr. Trump on ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ Syria, Qatar, Iran, Russia and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

There’s more:

Michael Warren, a writer for The Weekly Standard, told CNN on Friday that Bannon and his allies saw McMaster’s sudden purge of Flynn appointees as an overt attempt to sabotage Trump’s agenda.

Laura Ingraham, a conservative political commentator and Trump ally, on Thursday tweeted, “Obama holdovers at NSC or State Dept who are leaking [should] do real time for these leaks,” and questioned why McMaster had “fired actual Trump supporters.”

Since the firings, administration officials speaking anonymously to conservative-leaning news outlets have accused McMaster of being “anti-Israel” and opposing “everything the president wants to do.”

One former NSC official told The Daily Caller that McMaster was a “sycophant” of retired Gen. David Petraeus. The official seemed to try to appeal directly to the president’s ego, adding that he didn’t understand why Trump was “allowing a guy who is subverting his foreign policy at every turn to remain in place.”

By their reckoning, anyone military or intelligence officer who rejects “Nuke ’em til they glow, then shoot ’em in the dark” is part of a “deep state” conspiracy to “sabotage” the God-King.

“With the Democratic Party moving right….”

Fortunately, there’s no such extremist nonsense on the left. Oh wait, there is:

With the Democratic Party moving right, becoming increasingly like the Republican Party of circa 2002, while current Republicans have become even further detached from reality, they have also increasingly been attacking the left. We already have gone through the last election watching Hillary Clinton campaign against Medicare for All, promoting restrictions on civil liberties, and defending her failed history of neocon interventionism, while her supporters attributed criticism from the left to sexism, and have moved closer towards embracing neoconservativism. This may have just foreshadowed what to expect in the future.

Well sure, because “the Republican Party of circa 2002” pushed for raising the minimum wage, making college affordable, expanding voting rights, protecting women’s health choices, expanding Social Security, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, ending discrimination against LGBTs, ending mass incarceration, holding police accountable….

Hint: “the Republican Party of circa 2002,” like the Republican Party today, opposed all of that.

So the Democratic Party is not “moving right,” unless “moving right” means nothing more than “turning leadership over to His Puritude, Saint Bernie of Burlington.”

And that’s why the smear campaigns have already begun against Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), as well as Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) and former Gov. Deval Patrick (MA) and … well … anyone whose name is not “Bernie.”

Of course that can’t be about racism:

Freshman Sen. Kamala Harris of California is mistrusted, Ryan says, because she is a prosecutor. As for specifics, she took a campaign contribution from now-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and failed to bring him up on charges without an adequate explanation. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is a favorite of Barack Obama, but he works for Bain Capital, the same vulture capitalist organization that Obama tied like a millstone around Mitt Romney’s neck. And Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, like all New Jersey senators since the days of Alexander Hamilton, is too close to Wall Street. He has not yet been forgiven for defending Bain Capital and other vulture capitalists during the 2012 campaign.

In other words, there are real and somewhat obvious reasons for “the left” to see each of these candidates as captured or compromised by some of the nastier elements of the financial sector. Thus, it’s disingenuous and unfair to attack their critics as racists.

Well sure, every Democrat is tainted and Bernie is pure … if we ignore the Burlington College Elephant in Sanders’ room:

Bernie Sanders was in the midst of an interview with a local TV reporter early last month when the senator fielded an unexpected question about an uncomfortable matter.

“There’s an implication, and from at least one individual, an explicit argument that when they called for an investigation into Burlington College that you used your influence to secure a loan from People’s United—”

The senator cut him off.

Sanders is used to fielding softball questions from an adoring local press, but his inquisitor, Kyle Midura of Burlington TV station WCAX, had a rare opportunity to put him on the spot. Investigative reporters had been breaking stories about a federal investigation into allegations that the senator’s wife, Jane Sanders, had committed fraud in obtaining bank loans for the now defunct Burlington College, and that Sanders’s Senate office had weighed in.
[…]
Now, Senator Sanders and his wife are taking the case more seriously. Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ longtime top political adviser who heads Sanders’ political organization, Our Revolution, confirms to Politico Magazine that Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up. The couple has retained Rich Cassidy, a well-connected Burlington attorney and Sanders devotee, and Larry Robbins, the renowned Washington-based defense attorney who has represented I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and disgraced former Rep. Bill Jefferson, to represent Jane Sanders in the matter.

Sanders insists this is just a political witch hunt by Trump supporters. Which sounds awfully familiar….

As for shunting aside women and people of color to win back those “Obama-Trump voters” – read: “white male swing voters” – there just aren’t enough to bother:

Do you believe in mermaids, unicorns and fairies?

If so, you may have taken interest in a new mythical creature that appeared during the 2016 election: the Trump Democrat.

It has become an article of faith that an unusually large number of people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012 switched sides and voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. It follows that Democrats, to win in the future, need to get these lost partisans to come home.

But new data, and an analysis by AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer that he shared with me, puts all this into question. The number of Obama-to-Trump voters turns out to be smaller than thought. And those Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with. The aberration wasn’t their votes for Trump but their votes for Obama.

It turns out those post-election polls that showed up to 20% of Trump voters had swung over from Obama were … mistaken:

But such polls have a flaw: People tend to forget how they voted in previous elections, with more recalling they voted for the winner than actually did. A poll released in June by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a nonpartisan collaboration of analysts and scholars, avoided this problem because it re-interviewed the same respondents queried in 2012; they were asked who they voted for in real time.

Democracy Fund found a fairly ordinary crossover vote in 2016: 9.2 percent of Obama voters supported Trump and 5.4 percent of Mitt Romney voters supported Clinton. That was a “typical” and unsurprising degree of partisan loyalty. “The 2016 election did not create more instability, in the aggregate, than others,” it reported.

And those Obama voters who did cross to Trump look a lot like Republicans. The AFL-CIO’s Podhorzer analyzed raw data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study , out in the spring, and found that Obama-Trump voters voted for Republican congressional candidates by a 31-point margin, Republican Senate candidates by a 15-point margin and Republican gubernatorial candidates by a 27-point margin. Their views on immigration and Obamacare also put them solidly in the GOP camp.

A substantial number of Bush voters switched to Obama in 2008, embarrassed by the GOP’s many catastrophes. But not all of those voters stayed with Obama in 2012, and by 2016 most were again voting Republican … as they had all along in congressional, senate, and gubernatorial races.

I’ll go out on a limb – squirrels do that – and predict that the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2020 will be … a member of the Democratic Party … rather than someone who insisted, yet again, just four months ago, that he’s not a Democrat.

And if the Bernie-or-Busters decide we Democrats need to be taught a lesson – again – then we’ll see four more years of the God-King … and they’ll blame us for not ceding our party to someone who doesn’t want to be a Democrat unless the party crowns him The One And Only True Democrat.

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Image Credit: Nick Anderson (Hearst Papers)

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Good day and good nuts