Sunday, April 18, 2021

Election 2020: Some Sunday Miscellany

As Sunday's often are, the links in this post are mostly delayed reactions to events that happened earlier in the week.

For example Green Glenwalt reacts to the news that the CIA has conveniently stepped back from its (leaked) assertion that Russians had paid for bounties on American soldiers lives in Afghanistan, a charge wielded by both media and Democrats (but I redund) against President Trump during the campaign, Journalists, Learning They Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace a New One

That Russia placed "bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.

The saga began on June 26, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA's claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump's refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump's “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”

What was missing from this media orgy of indignation and militaristic demands for retaliation was an iota of questioning of whether the story was, in fact, true. All they had was an anonymous leak from “intelligence officials” — which The New York Times on Thursday admitted came from the CIA — but that was all they needed. That is because the vast majority of the corporate sector of the press lives under one overarching rule . . .

Byron York on Twitter:

Retweeting: After collapse of 'Russian bounties' story, White House spokeswoman is asked if Biden regrets attacking Trump on basis of flimsy allegation. Answer: No.

American Power,  New Capitol 'Attack' Investigative Report Released: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Indeed Called for Capitol Police to 'Stand Down', and the Feds 'Botched' Everything With Clueless Mixed-Messages and Incompetence (VIDEO). Well, "Feds Botched Everything" can be applied to nearly everything. Sometimes they get it right later, but frequently not. Too many cooks. . . .  Which might also be applied to this story, SOFREP, Is the Army Going to Extremes Over Extremism? Well, yes, it's pretty much their instinctive reaction.

Recently, the United States Army Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) created the first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position and ordered the Army Extremism Safety Stand-Down. These two measures meant to address what frankly very few within the ranks saw as an issue amongst their peers.

With no clearly defined mission and with absolute abruptness, these D&I officers were shoe-horned into the command structures of units Army-wide, specifically into USSOCOM subordinate units.

The first to hold the failed USSOCOM Diversity and Inclusion Officer position was Mr. Richard Torres-Estrada. He was supposed to be USSOCOM’s slam dunk to appease the ever-growing appetite for the woke social media criteria in today’s military.

Torres-Estrada’s tenure was short-lived. His diversity and inclusion beliefs made their way onto his social media accounts. They revealed him to be a Left Wing ideologue rather than a political moderate — which you would think would be a good idea for anyone you hire to promote things like diversity and inclusion.Mr. Richard Torres-Estrada (USSOCOM)

Within hours of his appointment, his beliefs were discovered and made public. Within days, USSOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw made the statement, “USSOCOM is aware of the situation, and the command has initiated an investigation.”

McGraw then followed up with a less than meaningful, yet very common, statement to cover for higher-ranked leaders. Torres-Estrada has been reassigned to other duties pending the results of the investigation.

When News of Torres-Estrada’s Newly Created Position Hit Desktops Across USSOCOM, It Was Met With Instant Resistance

The soldiers wanted to know why this position was created in the first place.

The introduction of these Diversity Commissars seemed to the soldiers in these units as a form of punishment for things they didn’t even know they were doing. And there is a certain resentment for the brass which seems too willing to go along with every social engineering scheme the current administration can come up with.

This is keenly felt in the very tight community of Special Operations as several of these units seem to face a significant reduction in force restructuring.
Daniel Payne at JTN, Arizona Senate on the verge of beginning major audit of Maricopa County ballots "Results likely to be ready mid-May, according to GOP Senate president." Democrats continue to resist the audit. I wonder why?
The state Senate faced a battle in court in order to proceed with the audit, Fann noted, one that ultimately went in favor of Arizona Republicans.

"It's taken the Senate two and a half months to win in court to uphold our right to issue subpoenas for election materials," she said, "and another 6 weeks of researching to select the audit team to perform the full forensic audit."

Fann claimed that state Republicans have faced "sabotage" from Maricopa County's Board of Supervisors.

"The Maricopa BOS has refused to allow us to perform the audit at their facilities," she said, "and has gone so far as to refusing to even answer simple questions such as 'how are the ballots sequestered?'"

The Senate recently "secured a 20,000 + square foot facility known as the Coliseum at our state fair grounds to perform the audit," Fann said. Officials have "arranged for 24 hour physical and live streaming security," she added, and "the audit teams are assembling and transporting the equipment and personnel to Arizona with an expected start date of April 22nd."

Asked what the Senate hopes to find, Fann denied any presumptions on the part of legislators as to how the audit will go.

"The Arizona Senate and the auditors have no 'expectations' of findings," she said. "We are performing the full forensic audit to either dispel our voters concerns or, if a problem is uncovered, we must fix the problems before the next election."

"We have never accused anyone of fraud or misconduct, whether it be the hardware, software or actions of personnel," she added. "We hope there is no intentional illegal tampering but, if found, we will turn the information over to the state and federal attorney generals for their further legal action and we will proceed to make the appropriate corrections."

Aaffidavits signed by Arizona residents since the November election suggest "some problems with a large amount of mail in ballots that should not have been sent to residents who have moved from the known address or have passed away," Fann said. "We hope this audit will help us understand how to correct those errors."

Reached for comment via email, Maricopa County spokesman Fields Moseley said Fann's claims regarding the county's pushback were "not a surprise."

And speaking of cheating, 'Bonchie' at Red State claims  A New Poll Shows the Pollsters Aren't Even Trying Anymore. Not even trying to hide the fact that they are mostly polls putsching the Democrat narratives:

You’ve probably noticed a barrage of approval rating polls being released in the past month or so, and nearly all of them show Joe Biden as a president for the ages. We’ve seen such high numbers as 60% approval in some surveys. Perhaps Biden is just that much of a unifier, despite pushing the most radical, divisive agenda in modern history? Or perhaps there’s something else going on with these polls.

Yeah, it’s the latter.

Random thought, but if your sample is coming out to a raw D+31 sample, perhaps there’s something wrong with your pool that you are originally drawing from? Are they just calling people in blue states? Further, if you look at the internals, they only weight the poll to D+9, while the 2020 election was Biden +4. The margin was even smaller in the vote totals for the House, for example. In other words, the country much more evenly divided than shown here, but according to these pollsters, we are in a new era of peace and unity.

The purpose of this is clear: to push a narrative of inevitability going into 2022 for Democrats. Approval polls can hide behind the idea that they apply to all Americans and not just voters, yet their only real use is in serving as a data point for upcoming elections. We see this every cycle. Polls with ridiculous samples showing Democrats wrecking shop. Then as the elections get closer, the samples start to get whittled down more.

This isn’t “un-skewing” polls, a process some have been prone to criticize where you try to guess at voter turnout and make Democrat and Republican samples even. Rather, it’s nothing that the electorate has been fairly stable the last two cycles (Trump lost by around the same slim margin he won by in 2016), and if a recall on a poll sample is coming back over double Biden’s 2020 margin, it’s not representative or predictive. And if it’s not those things, then it’s useless as a data point.

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