Daily Recap — May 9

Happy Hump Day!

Let’s get it going, news nerds.


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A GREAT NIGHT TO BE A TRUMPER

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Only the most fervent political nerds know anything about primary season. Most people only begin to pay attention to political candidates a few weeks before actual, to the extent they pay attention at all. Nevertheless, they’re the most accurate wind vane  we have by which to judge the political landscape, and thus worthy of serious attention.

So which way is the wind blowing? At Trump’s back, if last night is to be any guide.

The old saying goes that midterms are won and lost by activists. That being as it is, the Trump base has reason to be optimistic. 

Let’s go down a few bullet points to get a full picture of what last night’s contests mean for the near future and what the GOP will look like going forward (Hint: It’s wearing a MAGA hat).


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1. FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU. FOOL ME TWICE, YOU MUST BE ONE OF THE CHINA PEOPLE:

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Many Republicans across the nation prayed and crossed their fingers yesterday hoping that the lessons of Alabama would be learned; that the new “no baggage allowed” policy for Republican candidates would survive its first big test since Roy Moore. Their concerns were put to rest last night when West Virginians relegated Don Blankenship to a distant third in vote tally, effectively squashing his would-be political career in the near term.

Blankenship served a year in prison after 29 people were killed when one of his mines exploded. He was convicted of conspiring to undermine mine-safety regulations. Many believed that he would have an extremely difficult time defeating incumbent Dim Joe Manchin, myself among them. Manchin will be a top GOP target in a state Trump won by one of the widest margins of any state in the country in 2016. It’s a vulnerable seat we must capitalize on. Dims already have math working against them in terms of how many seats they have up for grabs compared to Republicans and thus a flipped blue to red seat would put a huge dent in their blue wave. 

We came away with the best of both worlds in West Virginia. We get reliably Trump-supportive candidate without the fatal flaws that have cost us important seats in the past.

We’re getting better at this stuff.

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2. Don’t get too happy, Turtle. 

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Turtle McConnell is undoubtedly enjoying the Blankenship beatdown, but a quick look at the climate reveals him to be a toxic figure overall. In fact, many Republican candidates are better off getting caught in a windowless van with Roy Moore than in a photo-op with McConnell.

He remains the most unpopular Senate turtle in the country. And just 30% of people in his own friggin state approve of the job he is doing.

To be fair, Turtle isn’t the only target of right-wing rage. A solid majority of the GOP base remains dissatisfied with D.C. (who wouldn’t be?) and it showed in results last night. For example:

  • In North Carolina, the first sitting congressional representative this year lost a primary challenge — Rep. Robert Pittenger in NC’s 9th Congressional District. Mark Harris, who lost to Pittenger in 2016 by 2 points, won in a rematch this time around. Unfortunately tough, this seat, which leans Republican — Trump and Romney won it by 12 points — could now be competitive. The Dim in the race, Dan McCready, had raised more money than Pittenger and has far more cash on hand than Harris, $1.2 million versus $71,000. McCready is one of nine Democratic challengers with a six-figure fundraising advantage over a GOP incumbent. Only one Democratic challenger in the country had more cash on hand at the end of the 1st quarter. The good news is the RNC has much more cash than their commie counterparts and will almost inject some capital to offset things.

 

  • In West Virginia, Rep. Evan Jenkins, who was the early favorite in the race and looks the Washington congressman part, got whooped. Instead, the winner was the state attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, who ran as an outsider and gained attention for an ad that uprooted a West Virginia mountain and dropped it on the U.S. Capitol. Welcome imagery to the Trump base.
  • In Indiana, Mike Braun, who runs a warehousing and shipping company, won the GOP Senate primary. He will take on another top GOP Senate target in a state Trump won — Joe Donnelly. Braun did it with a conservative outsider businessman message (heard that one before?), defeating two GOP congressmen. He ran a brutal ad that painted Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer as cardboard cutouts indistinguishable from each other. It was effective. His approach seems to take the Trump formula and tweak it with a little more polished, button-down approach. Thus far it’s been effective. Braun’s win might mean more for how Republicans try to win in primaries the rest of this year than Blankenship’s loss. Businessmen are the hot thing on the block right now.

 


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3. The most underreported story of the year: Democrat division.

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The legacy media love to talk about the GOP civil war underway, the rebellion Trump base vs. the GOP Establishment. It’s a worthy story, to be sure, but not the only one in town. Just as with the 2016 election, the talking heads are ignoring the far left-wing of the Dim party and the headaches they could cause the more moderate heads. 

Just as the anti-Establishment wing of the party won the night on the Republican side, Dims turned out for the centrists in a rebuke of the #CrazyBernie faction. At cursory glance, this is smart politics. Commies may be great at protests but they still can’t carry a majority at the polls.

But a deeper look reveals something Dims may not want to overlook. As I said up top, midterms are won by activists. It takes involvement and energy to get people out to vote in elections that only a small minority of the country actually care about. 

On the GOP side, activists won the day. Our primary winners are far more likely to trash the GOP leadership than offer praise. Conversely, the Dims have opted for the #LowEnergy “safe” picks, which could present issues for those hardcore coochie cappers who won’t settle for anything less than a candidate who sends death threats to Trump on Twitter. 

Put simply, up to now, Dims have enjoyed an enthusiasm gap. That looks to be closing, and the Pelosi Dims alienating their most ardent moonbats won’t reverse that trend.

In March, Dims had a 15% advantage over Republicans when asked if they were enthusiastic about the Congressional midterm election – 51% of Dims were enthusiastic, while only 36% of Republicans reported the same.

But just a few months later, the margin has shrunk to just 6 points, with 50% of Dims enthusiastic, and 44% of Republicans rarin’ to go. Things have been trending sharply in the GOP’s direction ever since tax cuts took hold and DJT started fixing Barry’s messes all over the world. 

Other recent polls have indicated that Republicans have other reasons to be more optimistic about the midterms. In one poll, more Americans said that the country is doing well than the percentage of Americans saying the same in every year of Barry’s two terms. In another poll, a solid majority of voters say that King Bob’s probe is politically driven.

We have more work to do, but we’re headed in the right direction. And with DJT being so damn good at being POTUS, I’ve no doubt that the work will get done.

Poor Dims. Pitiful bastards can’t win for losing.


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BOTTOM LINE:

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Last night proved pretty definitively that the GOP is becoming the party of Trump, and recent data shows the GOP increasingly becoming the party of America.

Good news all around; let’s keep it going.  

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WELCOME HOME FELLAS

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Rocket Man bent the knee once more. 

In the latest goodwill gesture meant to set the stage for the upcoming landmark US/NK summit, Lil Kim released three American prisoners — Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song — into the custody of Secretary of State Pompeo during his visit there this morning.

Trump made the announcement in a morning tweet as Pompeo flew the three men out of Pyongyang on his government plane, saying they were in good health and that he planned to meet them upon their arrival late tonight/early tomorrow at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

The secretary is “in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting,” Trump wrote. “Very exciting!” he called it in a follow-up tweet.

Yes, DJT is going to get every bit of political mileage he can out of this. Dims can hate it all they like but they’re just angry that he’s better at their own game. Also, he friggin deserves it. Get your photo-op, DJT.

The prisoners themselves have already released a gracious statement that I hope every liberal dumbass in America reads immediately. In it, they show an appreciation for America and gratitude for blessings in general that we could all probably learn from:

“We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home,” the three freed Americans said in a statement. “We thank God, and all of our families and friends who prayed for us and our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world.”

Indeed it is.


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The release capped a 13-hour visit by Pompeo to Pyongyang during which he met with several top officials, including Rocket Man himself for 90 minutes, and finalized a time and location for the big summit, which is expected in late June.

Though the White House is being tight-lipped with details, Trump told the #FakeNewsCrew the summit would not be held in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea — where Kim and South Korean President Moonlight Inn held a historic meeting two weeks ago. That leaves Singapore, which Trump said last week was also under consideration. If I had to bet, I’d say it’s the most likely site.

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TRUMP IS ONE HELL OF AN ATTITUDE-ADJUSTER:
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It seemed not so long ago when Kim was shooting off his mouth as he’d done so many times before with no response from the Barry administration. Then, Trump decided to fix his little red wagon by giving it back 10x harder. And now — it’s a miracle! Rocket Man has found his softer side. 

North Korea’s state news agency (their version of CNN but less communist) characterized the meeting with Pompeo in unusually warm terms, saying that Kim had congratulated the new secretary of state on his appointment and said he was “highly appreciating that the U.S. president has shown deep interest in settling the issue through dialogue.”

Turns out Kim is a big fan of not being blown up. Whoodathunkit. 

Rocket Man said that summit “would be a historic meeting for the excellent first step toward promotion of the positive situation development in the Korean Peninsula and building of a good future.” He echoed Pompeo’s line that they had reached a “satisfactory consensus” on the summit.

The one glaring omission in the KimSNBC broadcast was the mention of anything dealing with denuclearization. The good news is, Pompeo brought it up today early and often, and if there wasn’t a proper response, things wouldn’t be going as smoothly as they are, #ThatICanTellYou. 

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BIG PICTURE:

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It’s a wonderful gesture and one that DJT should be proud to have made happen. And from my always-cynical political perspective, it’s one more great photo-op to keep Trump’s approval numbers on their upward climb. 

What does it mean for the larger US/NK picture? Next to nothing. The #MaximumPressure campaign will continue apace until Rocket Man has fully disarmed and cut out his threatening nonsense. 

While Rocket Man denies the part sanctions have played in his recent 180, it’s obvious to any objective observer that the santions from China have kicked him square in the won-tons. 

Trump only needs to keep scaring the hell out of him on top of choking off his banking and we may just finish this job.

Keep it going, DJT!

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IT’S GETTING REAL IN GOLAN HEIGHTS

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Iranian forces in Syria fired about 20 rockets into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights just moments ago, targeting forward positions of the Israeli military.

The Israeli military has confirmed it has responded but details are scant. If confirmed, this would be the first rocket attack carried out against Israel directly by Iran, rather than by one of its proxies such as Hamas or Hezbollah.

It’s a big deal.

Several of the rockets had reportedly been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system (thanks America). No Israeli casualties have been reported and damage to Israeli facilities seem to be minimal.

The Israeli military said in a statement that it “views this event with great severity and remains prepared for a wide variety of scenarios.” The Syrian state news agency reported that the country’s air defenses responded to at least two waves of Israeli missile attacks after the strike against the Israeli positions.

Israel and Iran have been conducting a shadow war in Syria under the cover of that country’s civil war. Just another layer of complexity on a battlefield that’s been a complete cluster for years. As Iran has tried to build up its military capabilities inside Syria, Israel has carried out scores of strikes to try to stop it, knowing that they’ll be the main target should those forces and capabilities become more formidable.


This attack is only a surprise to those who haven’t been paying attention. 

Israel had been bracing for a retaliatory attack from Syrian territory after a number of deadly strikes against Iranian targets there, specifically in Syrian Golan Heights. But Iranians had been restrained from striking back while awaiting Trump’s decision on whether to withdraw from the Iran Deal. They didn’t want to shake the apple cart while their cushy deal was hanging in the balance. Now, they have nothing to lose.

Immediately after DJT pulled out of the deal yesterday, Israel put its troops on “high alert,” called up reservists, set up Iron Dome antimissile batteries and warned the authorities in the Golan Heights to prepare bomb shelters after detecting what it said was “irregular activity” by Iranian forces.


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Hours before tonight’s attack against Israeli positions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Moscow with Hackin’ Vlad Putin to let him know his Iranian buddies were going to keep getting slapped around.

“I presented Israel’s obligation and right to defend itself against Iranian aggression, from Syrian territory,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The Iranians declare their intention to attack us. They are trying to transfer forces and deadly weapons there with the explicit goal of attacking the state of Israel as part of their strategy to destroy the state of Israel.”

Can’t say he didn’t warn ya, Vlad. 


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WHY THIS IS SO DANGEROUS:

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Any new conflict between Israel and Iran could mobilize Iran’s network of proxies from Syria and Lebanon, where the Hezbollah militant movement is based, for a multiple-front attack on northern Israel. Iran is building what Israeli and American officials refer to as a corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.

Iran refers to this alignment as “the axis of resistance.” They claim its needed to deter the threat from Israel, when in reality it’s the Iranian-backed Hamas and Hezbollah who kill Israeli citizens, including women and children, as their self-perceived divine right. They’re exactly like their religion’s prophet. It turns out that when you view an imperial barbarian as the perfect vessel of God’s word, it has dire real world implications.

Whoodathunkit.

Iran doesn’t only kill Jews in the region but around the world. The most notorious incident was probably the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed at least 85 people and wounded hundreds. It’s still regarded as the worst terrorist attack in Argentina. There have also been multiple Iranian bus bombs over the last couple years, killing dozens of Jews. 

Iran, which considers Israel an illegitimate country, has called Israel’s accusations specious and has blamed Israeli operatives for attacks inside Iran, notably the assassinations of five nuclear scientists, mostly by car bombs.

Hint: They’re both correct. Iran kills a lot of Israelis and The Mossad is no joke. 

 

We have to be careful not to over-analyze this situation. The bottom line is Iran doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, and Israel is taking a proactive approach against a country who swears its destruction.

Iran has not only their elite Revolutionary Guard in Syria and elsewhere surrounding Israel, but several terror groups who may as well be wearing Iranian uniforms. As tensions escalate, those loose elements will be pressed into duty, meaning more rocket/bomb attacks and thus more retaliation. Before you know it, you’ve got a full-blown war.

 

Iran says their destiny is to wipe Israel off the map. Israel takes them seriously.

Our best hope is for Israel to slap them around hard enough right now to back the mullahs down. It’s very possible, but remains to be seen. 

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SWAMP THING

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It didn’t take Michael Cohen long to learn how to become a D.C. pimp.

Following Roger Stone and Paul Manafort’s Reagan-era blueprint, Cohen made some very wealthy friends whom he was able to convince he had real sway over DJT. In other words, he became just another D.C. lobbyist.

But whereas Stone, Manafort and Black specialized in providing access to foreign dictators, Cohen is more of a corporate guy. Pharmaceutical giant Novartis and telecom behemoth AT&T put faith in Cohen to inform them of DJT’s mindset, though the relationship has been decidedly disappointing. 

Cohen set up a shell company called Essential Consultants to receive payment from his desperate suitors. Both Novartis and AT&T have been contacted by the King Bob crew regarding payments they made to the company in exchange for “advising,” and it appears that both consider the drama to be over.

“Novartis cooperated fully with the Special Counsel’s office and provided all the information requested,” Novartis spokeswoman Sofina Mirza-Reid said in a statement. “Novartis considers this matter closed as to itself and is not aware of any outstanding questions regarding the agreement.”

AT&T had similar sentiments:

“When we were contacted by the Special Counsel’s office regarding Michael Cohen, we cooperated fully, providing all information requested in November and December of 2017,” Balmoris said in a written statement. “A few weeks later, our consulting contract with Cohen expired at the end of the year. Since then, we have received no additional questions from the Special Counsel’s office and consider the matter closed.”


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As always, there’s a Russia angle. Well, if you look hard enough, which the legacy media certainly has.

 Novartis and AT&T revealed their contact with Mueller’s office after the companies were named in a document distributed by Michael Avenatti, a rabid coochie cap lawyer representing Stormy Daniels. 

The doc dump showed that Cohen made the Stormy Daniels payment through Essential Consultants, the same firm that later was hired by Novartis, AT&T, Korea Aerospace Industries and Columbus Nova, a firm linked to -OMG RUSSIAN- oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who was sanctioned last month as punishment for the Kremlin’s alleged election meddling. 

Novartis entered into a $100,000-a-month agreement with Essential Consultants in February 2017, shortly after Trump’s inauguration. The relationship ultimately proved a #NothingBurger for the company.

“Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain US healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act,” they said in a statement. “In March 2017, Novartis had its first meeting with Michael Cohen under this agreement. Following this initial meeting, Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further.”

Translation: Cohen promised inside baseball and couldn’t deliver. 

The oligarch Vekselberg has his hands in many businesses. That’s what makes him an oligarch. Thus far, there has been no evidence to demonstrate any link between the Trump administration and the oligarch. The case is mostly guilt by association at this point.

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AND THEN THERE’S THIS:

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Avenetti must’ve put his coochie cap on a little too tight, because he got THE WRONG MICHAEL COHEN.

This genitalia-clad idiot released a seven-page dossier yesterday containing a list of payments purportedly made to Cohen for supposedly shady reasons (shadier than typical sleazy lobbying, anyway).

Unfortunately for Mr. Stormy, two of the allegedly “fraudulent” payments were made to men named Michael Cohen who have absolutely no affiliation with Trump.

Avenatti’s report includes a section listing “possible fraudulent and illegal financial transactions” involving Cohen. One of the payments is a $4,250 wire transfer from a Malaysian company, Actuarial Partners, to a bank in Toronto. The other is a $980 transfer from a Kenyan bank to Bank Hapoalim — the largest bank in Israel.

Taken from the Daily Caller report:

Zainal Kassim, a representative for Actuarial Partners, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Avenatti’s report is a case of mistaken identity. He forwarded an email the falsely accused Michael Cohen sent to Avenatti requesting the lawyer “correct this error forthwith and make it known publicly” there is no connection to Trump’s Michael Cohen.

“You are surely aware of the fact that this is an extremely common name and would request that you take care before involving innocent parries in this sordid affair,” wrote Cohen, who told Avenatti he is an international consultant who was paid by Actuarial Partners for work on a project in Tanzania.

“Actuarial Partners have already received inquiries from the press in this regard, and we would like to see this scurrilous rumour spiked as soon as possible.”

Haaretz, the Israeli news outlet, found another case of mistaken identity in Avenatti’s report.

“Mr. Cohen received one wire transfer in the amount of $980.00 from a Kenyan bank from account holders Netanel Cohen and Stav Hayun to an account in Israel at Bank Hapoalim,” Avenatti wrote.

Haaretz caught up with Netanel Cohen, who acknowledged having a bank account in Kenya and transferring money to a Michael Cohen. But the Michael Cohen in questions is his brother, Netanel told the news outlet. And his brother is not Trump’s lawyer.

“I’ve never heard of Michael Cohen, and I have no connection to this affair,” Netanel told Haaretz.

It is unclear how Avenatti obtained the financial records cited in his report. But various news outlets, including The New York Times, also appear to have viewed the documents. The Treasury Department’s office of the inspector general opened an investigation into whether someone leaked Cohen’s financial documents to Avenatti and the press, it was reported on Wednesday.”

It’s clear that Avenatti was in too big of a hurry to please the #Resistance to actually fact-check his documents, but that’s not the most pressing concern.

As Daily Caller notes, how did he get ahold of the financial documents that were legit? That’s a felony. Is the Department of Treasury serious about getting to the bottom of this? 


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BOTTOM LINE:

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Cohen is the typical lawyer, riding his powerful client’s coattails to reel in some big lobbying bucks. That money was sure to dry up, as he doesn’t wield any real influence in the Trump White House, as Novartis and AT&T found out the hard way. It’s not illegal, however, and absent some damning evidence of connections between him, the oligarch and the Trump White House (don’t hold your breath), it’s just another fart in the wind of the news cycle.

But some of the companies who padded his pockets are OMG CONNECTED TO A RUSSIAN OLIGARCH and thus the rabid coochie crowd will milk this story for all it’s worth. 

Anything to distract them from all the winning as of late.

Poor bastards. 

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There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.


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