Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Last Call For The White Supremacist Employment Act

If you were to imagine the worst possible GOP politician reaction to the horrible event last week in Portland, Oregon where two people were killed on a transit train by a white supremacist for trying to defend two women of color, I don't think even I could possibly come up with "We need to hire white supremacist militia groups and deputize them in order to protect Republican lawmakers" if I was high as a kite and spiking a 104-degree fever at the same time.

But here we are in America.

Two days after a hate crime left two people dead on a Portland, Ore., train, the chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party is considering using right-wing militias to protect members of the GOP when they are in “the public square.”

James Buchal told The Guardian that he was “sort of evolving to the point where I think that it is appropriate for Republicans to continue to go out there. And if they need to have a security force protecting them, that’s an appropriate thing too.” 
Although Buchal cited the cancellation of Avenue of the Roses Parade, which occurred after someone anonymous threatened “Trump supporters and 3 percent militia” who attended, it is impossible to consider Buchal’s rhetoric without the context of the recent violence in the city. Jeremy Christian, 35, who held white supremacist opinions, is accused of committing racially motivated murder in that city. The victims include Rick Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23. A third person Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was injured in the altercation, which started when the trio tried to help women who were being targeted by hate speech. 
As Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said, “These were folks just riding the train and unfortunately got caught up in this. He was talking about a lot of different things, not just specifically anti-Muslim. We don’t know if he’s got mental health issues. We don’t know if he’s under the influence of drugs or alcohol or all of the above.”

When asked if he was thinking of having Republicans arrange for private security instead of relying on municipal or state police, Buchal confirmed this before adding that “there are these people arising, like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.” Buchal said it could be necessary to use them for protection “because there are now belligerent, unstable people who are convinced that Republicans are like Nazis.”

Long-time readers know I have talked about militia groups like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters before, both groups are bad, bad news and have gained exponentially in membership since Obama was elected president.  I know they are nominally "Second Amendment advocacy groups" but they've been involved in some truly dangerous rhetoric and actions.

But to hire these guys as muscle to intimidate liberals?  This is literally Brownshirt stuff here, guys. This is no-holds-barred, actual fascist police state garbage, period.

And again, here we are in the Trump era.

Meanwhile Here In Bevinstan

It's okay to attack journalists now in the era where Trump and his cultists freely consider an adversarial press vermin to be extinguished, and we're now seeing the results of this coming from the highest levels of our government as terror is being unleashed against reporters right here in Kentucky.

Several windows were shattered at the main office of the Lexington Herald-Leader in downtown Lexington, amid suspected signs of small-caliber bullet damage to the building.

The Herald-Leader filed a report on the damage with Lexington Police, who were at the building investigating early Monday morning.

Exterior windows were damaged on the first-, second- and third-level banks of windows of the press room on the Midland Avenue side of the building. Three exterior windows were shattered, leaving broken glass on the sidewalk outside. Two windows on the upper level of the press room were damaged, but did not shatter. Those windows show small holes and cracks that appear consistent with small-caliber bullet damage.

Lexington Police on Monday confirmed that they are investigating the incident as criminal mischief, and that investigators believe the damage is consistent with small-caliber gunfire.

Based on a review of security camera footage, the windows were shattered Sunday morning between 9:45 a.m and 11 a.m. There would have been a small number of employees in the building at that time, but the press room is no longer in use. No employees were injured or near the area where the damage occurred.

There are two layers of windows in the press area along Midland Avenue. The windows that shattered were on the exterior layer. After an initial inspection, there were no signs of penetration of the interior layer of windows.

Publisher Rufus M. Friday said the Herald-Leader is taking immediate steps to shore up the damaged windows and to increase security along Midland Avenue, where there already are security cameras. “The safety and security of our employees is paramount,” he said.

“It’s concerning,” Friday said, especially given the level of rhetoric directed at journalists recently in the United States and in Kentucky.

Reporters in Kentucky have had a really hard time dealing with Republicans, from Rand Paul to Matt Bevin to Mitch McConnell, and things have gotten so ugly now that newspaper offices are getting shot up.

What happens when reporters start getting shot up too?  That's not far off here in Kentucky here in the Trump era. 

The End Of The Civil RIghts Era

The Trump regime is dedicating to ending the civil rights era in America and replacing it with institutionalized white supremacy wherever possible, and the latest efforts to do so may be the most successful and the most devious: the dismantling of anti-discrimination enforcement divisions of basically all executive branch agencies.

The Trump administration is planning to disband the Labor Department division that has policed discrimination among federal contractors for four decades, according to the White House’s newly proposed budget, part of wider efforts to rein in government programs that promote civil rights.

As outlined in Labor’s fiscal 2018 plan, the move would fold the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, now home to 600 employees, into another government agency in the name of cost-cutting.

The proposal to dismantle the compliance office comes at a time when the Trump administration is reducing the role of the federal government in fighting discrimination and protecting minorities by cutting budgets, dissolving programs and appointing officials unsympathetic to previous practices.

The new leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, has proposed eliminating its environmental justice program, which addresses pollution that poses health threats specifically concentrated in minority communities. The program, in part, offers money and technical help to residents who are confronted with local hazards such as leaking oil tanks or emissions from chemical plants.

Under President Trump’s proposed budget, the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights — which has investigated thousands of complaints of discrimination in school districts across the country and set new standards for how colleges should respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment — would also see significant staffing cuts. Administration officials acknowledge in budget documents that the civil rights office will have to scale back the number of investigations it conducts and limit travel to school districts to carry out its work.

And the administration has reversed several steps taken under President Barack Obama to address LGBT concerns
. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, has revoked a rule ensuring that transgender people can stay at sex-segregated shelters of their choice, and the Department of Health and Human Services has removed a question about sexual orientation from two surveys of elderly Americans about services offered or funded by the government.

The efforts to reduce the federal profile on civil rights reflects the consensus view within the Trump administration that Obama officials exceeded their authority in policing discrimination on the state and local level, sometimes pressuring targets of government scrutiny to adopt policies that were not warranted.

Administration officials made clear in the initial weeks of Trump’s presidency that they would break with the civil rights policies of his predecessor. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of agreements to reform police departments, signaling his skepticism of efforts to curb civil rights abuses by law enforcement officers. His Justice Department, meantime, stopped challenging a controversial Texas voter identification law and joined with the Education Department in withdrawing federal guidance allowing transgender students to use school bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

While these decisions have been roundly criticized by liberal activists, administration officials said that civil rights remain a priority for the Trump White House.

“The Trump administration has an unwavering commitment to the civil rights of all Americans,” White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said in an emailed statement.

This is something Attorney General Jeff Sessions has wanted all his career, a federal government neutered on civil rights, without any personnel to deal with more than a handful of issues, while states decide what civil rights enforcement means because of course the feds don't have the resources to actually enforce anything.

It's the tried and true Republican formula: destroy the federal government's ability to do its job, then declare it a failure and zero out the budget for it.  The damage from this will be generational, but of course that's the point.

But hey, tax cuts for the "job creators".


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