Election 2020 Open Thread: Brad Parscale Would Like to Be A Dangerous Person

He is dangerous, but only because — like his purported employer — he’s the idiot catspaw for at least one foreign power. If he were even halfway competent, he’d keep his head down and his mouth shut. But then, who would know what a Big Swingin’ D*ck he is?

In their chilling new documentary, The Great Hack, Academy-Award-nominated filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim follow the personal stories on both sides of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal that exposed the private data of 87 million Facebook users. Through the eyes of Professor David Carroll who sues Cambridge Analytica to release his personal data, Brittany Kaiser, a top Cambridge Analytica executive-turned-whistleblower, and investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr, the film reveals how Cambridge Analytica used the same military-grade tactics of information warfare they employed against populations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eastern Europe to manipulate national political elections around the world, including the UK Brexit vote and the 2016 US presidential race. As one former Cambridge Analytica employee expressed, “It’s a grossly unethical experiment, playing with the psychology of an entire country without their consent or awareness.”…

Way to panic the rubes, dude. You’ll be lucky Zuckerberg doesn’t… er, that mysterious entities with tons of money and a strong interest in keeping Facebook profitable don’t find it in their interest to make your career go bye-bye, putz.








Ringfenced for Sanitation Debate Recap: The Dark Psychic Forces Promoter

Ooo, shiny! Our Modern Media celebrities have the attention span of an ADD three-year-old on a Red Bull binge. If (when) the American Experiment crashes into Armageddon, its epitaph will be But Think of the Ratings!

(They actually call themselves the #orbgang. No, srsly.)

Anybody remember Lily Tomlin’s Tasteful Lady character from SNL? Mrs. Earbore was from Grosse Pointe, as Ms. Williamson claimed to be, and the Earbore decendents are Marianne’s natural… voters. The packaging has changed, but the absolute removal from normal human experience remains the same.


Read more








Spy vs. Spy Open Thread: Miles Kwok, Once Again

First time I ran across Guo Wengui’s saga, I compared it to “a Trollope novel, as written by John le Carre”. The Trickster God is a lazy scripter in general, but the crossovers by every A-list GOP grifter seems particularly rich here:

Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, who also goes by Miles Kwok, fled to the United States four years ago after learning an associate had been arrested on corruption charges. He is now one of China’s most-wanted, accused of myriad crimes by the Chinese government, including paying bribes and sexual assault. He maintains his innocence, saying the charges are politically motivated.

Guo, who made his money in real estate, has long promoted himself as a dissident being hunted by the Chinese government for his opposition to the ruling Chinese Communist Party. He is currently seeking political asylum in the United States, where he reportedly avoided deportation by the Trump administration after the president learned Guo was a member of Mar-a-Lago.

Now, filings in a civil case, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, suggest Guo may not be the dissident he claims. “Instead, Guo Wengui was, and is, a dissident-hunter, propagandist, and agent in the service of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party,” according to federal court papers filed on Friday.

The Chinese spy allegations against Guo surfaced last week in a contract dispute — rife with international and political intrigue — between a Hong Kong-based company, Eastern Profit Corporation Limited, and an Arlington, Va., research firm, Strategic Vision US, LLC.

Guo denied the allegations through his attorney, saying the claim “utterly lacks credibility.”

“This lawsuit is about a contract between Eastern Profit and Strategic. Strategic is now abusing the litigation privilege to slander Mr. Guo,” wrote Guo’s attorney, Daniel Podhaskie, in a response to the Miami Herald. He claimed the slander was retaliation after Strategic’s counterclaim was dismissed. Podhaskie pointed to Guo’s frozen assets in China as proof that he is not working with the Communist Party…

Strategic Vision, headed by CEO French Wallop, the widow of the late Wyoming GOP Sen. Malcolm Wallop, was fired by Eastern Profit in February 2018 after the research firm provided information that was mostly publicly available on the probe’s targets, the suit says. Eastern Profit demanded the return of its $1 million deposit for the research work, accusing Strategic Vision of breaching their contract.

Strategic filed a counterclaim not only against Eastern Profit but also against Guo, alleging he is actually a Chinese government spy whose “origin story is untrue.”
Read more








Let’s Look at Justice Democrats

As requested in the comments, I took a look at how Justice Democrats spends their money. It ain’t pretty.

In the last cycle, they raised $2.7 million and spent $2.5 mil. Here’s where it went.

That teeny tiny purple slice ($33K) is direct contributions to candidates. The bulk of the money is spent on overhead. I was thinking that “Strategy & Research” might be a category of indirect spending on the part of candidates, but it doesn’t look like it. Almost all of it ($605K) was sent to a PAC called Brand New Congress, which was founded by former Sanders campaign staff. Brand New Congress has a similar financial profile as Justice Democrats — very little of their money goes directly to candidates.

So, if you want to spend money to pay salaries and push money to another PAC, Justice Democrats should get your cash. If not, you might want to contribute directly to candidates via ActBlue. There’s nothing wrong with starting an organization that evaluates and endorses candidates without funding them, and Justice Democrats is clear that the contribution to them benefits them, but it doesn’t take a couple million bucks to do that.








Open Thread: Oh, Look, Another GOP (Alleged) Felon!

Can’t throw an ore-bearing rock around the Peepot Dome Gang without hitting one. From the NYTimes, “Investigation Intensifies Into Top Trump Fund-raiser”:

Federal prosecutors have intensified their wide-ranging federal investigation into Elliott Broidy, a top fund-raiser for President Trump, signaling the Justice Department’s continued interest in questions about foreign influence on the administration.

In recent months, federal authorities have searched Mr. Broidy’s Southern California office and subpoenaed records related to him from a onetime business partner and from Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. They have reportedly asked the authorities in Romania for assistance investigating associates with whom Mr. Broidy worked to win military intelligence contracts potentially worth as much as $64 million.

They have also charged four people who worked with Mr. Broidy on plans to influence the administration, including on behalf of interests in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. While the charges against three of his associates were unrelated to their work with Mr. Broidy, most have been asked about their relationships with him, according to several people familiar with the investigation.

Taken together, the steps suggest mounting pressure on Mr. Broidy. And they underscore the legal questions raised by his efforts to parlay his access into business advantage in the frenetic weeks after Mr. Trump’s election, and then to influence the new administration’s policies toward the Middle East, where he was pursuing contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The scrutiny comes as the Justice Department has stepped up its enforcement of foreign lobbying laws and continues to investigate whether foreign money was illegally funneled into Mr. Trump’s super PAC or inaugural committee.

Mr. Broidy’s lawyers have contended that he did not do anything that would require him to lobby. One of the lawyers, Chris Clark, said in an email on Monday that he dismissed as “utterly false” the idea that his client used his connections to Mr. Trump to drum up business…

We never had to *ask*, Your Honor. Once we’d inserted our guy into office, we could count on him doing what was best for The (GOP) Family…

The AP story is more painstaking with the details:

Broidy, a 61-year-old Los Angeles businessman, made a fortune in investments before moving into defense contracting and has played prominent roles in GOP fundraising, including as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2006 to 2008 and vice chair of the Trump Victory Committee in 2016.
Read more