Fall is in the air, and with it a whiff of panic emanating from the power elite. Reality is settling in, and that is the reality of an unbeatable Donald Trump. Now comes the obvious next step -- destroying that reality. As Nicholas Confessore and Alan Rappeport line out in "Donald Trump Is Target of Conservative Ad Campaign," Club for Growth has declared war on Trump:
A deep-pocketed conservative organization with a long list of Republican scalps said on Tuesday that it would launch a major ad campaign aimed at Donald J. Trump in an effort to weaken him among the voters who have made him an unlikely but powerful force in the Republican presidential race.
The group, Club for Growth, is focusing its considerable firepower first on Iowa, where Mr. Trump has leapt to a significant lead over more conventionally credentialed Republican candidates, panicking Republican leaders. The group will spend $1 million on advertising in the state starting on Thursday, with plans for further spending in the weeks ahead, the club’s president, David M. McIntosh, announced at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday.
“The Club for Growth is committed to seeing this all the way through,” Mr. McIntosh said, explaining that the group would also use mail and online outlets to carry its message and was considering joining with other conservative or Republican groups. “We’ll continue doing it until people realize that Donald Trump is not an economic conservative.”
The club is employing a two-pronged approach to try to discredit the candidate. It is utilizing Mr. Trump’s previous liberal policy views to argue that his campaign promises are disingenuous. And it is highlighting his use of eminent domain as a developer to suggest that Mr. Trump has a record of hurting middle class Americans to bolster his own business interests.Of the two-pronged attack, the first prong has already proven a dud. No one cares that Trump has espoused progressives ideas, like a wealth tax, in the past because he advocates somewhat progressive ideas now, like scrapping free-trade agreements that hollow out the manufacturing base of the country. Part of Trump's mass appeal is that he is able to color outside the lines of the established conservative credo.
Prong two of the attack might be different. Going after Trump's sleazy business record is obviously the route to take to bring the Donald down; therein lies a gold mine of chicanery and ruthlessness that will blanche late-arriving true believers to the Trump band wagon.
The problem with the Club for Growth campaign is that there is no one to take up Trump's mantle once he has been driven down in the polls. Both parties are so tainted voters want nothing to do with the establishment candidates:
Representative Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, has been targeted by the Club for Growth over the years but seemed to welcome their involvement in the presidential race. “They want the Republican nominee that has a philosophy that mirrors their philosophy,” Mr. Cole said in an interview. “When they see someone who is gaining stream who doesn’t share those views, they are going to get involved. “
Mr. Cole observed that Mr. Trump’s rivals for the nomination have been stepping up their attacks against him, but suggested that the traditional Republican establishment might face a struggle trying to stifle Mr. Trump with such a prevailing anti-establishment mood in the air. He said he doubted that a television ad campaign could do much to sway opinions about a marketing master such as Mr. Trump, but that it could help with the group’s own fund-raising.
“The Club for Growth has thousands of people that contribute and believe in it,” he said. “This is like an alarm signal to them.”
Reed Galen, a Republican consultant who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said it could take weeks to see any effect out of the ads, and noted that Mr. Trump had a knack for using free media — such as television appearances — to counterattack.
“The club has to spend $1 million,” Mr. Galen said. “Donald goes on ‘Today.’ ”
The club is also raising money for five other candidates in the nominating contest, each of whom has been eclipsed to some extent by Mr. Trump’s rise: Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.The picture of an establishment hopelessly corrupt is again on display (top of the fold, upper left-hand side) as Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo report in "Analysts Detail Claims That Reports on ISIS Were Distorted":
WASHINGTON — A group of intelligence analysts have provided investigators with documents they say show that senior military officers manipulated the conclusions of reports on the war against the Islamic State, according to several government officials, as lawmakers from both parties voiced growing anger that they may have received a distorted picture about the military campaign’s progress.
The Pentagon’s inspector general, who is examining the claims, is focusing on senior intelligence officials who supervise dozens of military and civilian analysts at United States Central Command, or Centcom, which oversees American military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Bridget Serchak, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s inspector general, confirmed that the investigation is focused on Centcom’s intelligence command. “The investigation will address whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression or improper modification of intelligence information,” she said in an email on Tuesday.
She added that the inquiry would examine any “personal accountability for any misconduct or failure to follow established processes.”
The New York Times reported last month that the investigation had begun, but the scope of the inquiry and the focus of the allegations were unclear. The officials now say that the analysts at the center of the investigation allege that their superiors within Centcom’s intelligence operation changed conclusions about a number of topics, including the readiness of Iraqi security forces and the success of the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.
The revisions presented a more positive picture to the White House, Congress and other intelligence agencies, the officials said.
“The senior intelligence officers are flipping everything on its head,” said one government intelligence analyst, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The analyst said that the complaints involve the highest-ranking officials in Centcom’s intelligence unit, run by Army Maj. Gen. Steven R. Grove.The question is why? Why make it seem like the war against ISIS is going better than it actually is? My answer is that it is in order to provide cover for the caliphate and allow it to continue to attack Iraq and Syria, two countries aligned with Iran.
The U.S., allied with Turkey and the GCC -- countries that are the prinicipal supporters of the Salafist jihadis who have overrun Iraq and Syria and have created the present refugee crisis in Europe -- has from the outset been committed to the kabuki of a fierce resistance to Islamic State. Unchanged though is the chief goal in the region, particularly now that the nuclear deal with Iran has been finalized and approved, and that is the elimination of Assad from Syria.
This kabuki, meant to obscure the underlying, unchanged goal of regime change, has been a spectacular failure as Europe scraps a main tenet of its union, the Schengen Agreement, by erecting border controls in an attempt to block the mass influx of refugees.
The exposure of Centcom's intelligence falsification will make it a wee bit more difficult to rebuff Putin's planned call for a unified response to terrorism in Syria. A possible meeting between the estranged Putin and Obama at the United Nations has been leaked to the press.
My sense is that Obama has no juice left. His last volley was the Iranian nuclear deal. There might be a cosmetic handshake and a brief powwow at the UN with Vlad. Obama is not going to change course. In fact, part of the price for getting a buy-off on the Iranian nuclear deal from the GCC was a doubling down by the U.S. on regime change in Syria.