Monday, August 28, 2017

Last Call For Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

The Trump regime has now reversed Obama-era prohibitions on police using surplus military equipment on US citizens, because really, fascism isn't moving quickly enough for his taste and it goes a lot faster when the cops have tracked vehicles, .50 caliber rounds, and grenade launchers.

Reversing an Obama-era policy, President Donald Trump Monday removed restrictions on the kinds of surplus military gear the Defense Department can turn over to local police departments. 
The issue has been a sensitive one since the Justice Department concluded that tactics used by police during 2014's violent street protest in Ferguson, Missouri inflamed tensions and created fear among demonstrators. 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the change, first reported by USA Today, in a speech to the Fraternal Order of Police in Nashville on Monday. 
The executive order "will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal," he said. 
The Obama limitations hurt law enforcement, Sessions added. 
"One sheriff told me earlier this year about how, due to the prior administration's restrictions, the federal government made his department return an armored vehicle that can change the dynamics of an active shooter situation," he said. 
Jim Pasco, the police organization's executive director, said the change "is President Trump making good on a campaign promise." Pasco said he and other police officials discussed the issue with the president and attorney general two times during meetings at the White House. 
Since 1990, the Defense Department has been allowed to transfer surplus military equipment and supplies to federal, state, and local law enforcement. Though the program was originally intended for counter-drug operations, it was later expanded to include all police missions. 
But after the Justice Department concluded that the use of military-style equipment made matters worse in Ferguson, President Obama put some equipment off limits — including tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, and grenade launchers — and required a showing of need for tactical vehicles with wheels.

All those restrictions just went poof as of today, so there's basically no stopping police departments from ordering up all the anti-materiel sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and M2 Bradleys they want for use in your neighborhood.

But of course it will be used to stop "Black Lives Matter terrorists" first.  That day was always coming, but with this executive order as of today that day just got a lot closer.

And a lot of people are going to die when that happens.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

A week ago I expressed the hope that President Donald Trump's lamentable performance after the Charlottesville protests would hurt his standing in the polls. This didn't happen. If there was a blip, it was in the other direction. I'd be pleased if Trump's regrettable decision to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio dented his popularity, too, but I'm not holding my breath. 
Trump's supporters are loyal. What is one to make of this? 
There are two main theories of Trump's support. One is that a large minority of Americans -- 40 percent, give or take -- are racist idiots. This theory is at least tacitly endorsed by the Democratic Party and the mainstream liberal media. The other is that a large majority of this large minority are good citizens with intelligible and legitimate opinions, who so resent being regarded as racist idiots that they'll back Trump almost regardless. They may not admire the man, but he's on their side, he vents their frustration, he afflicts the people who think so little of them -- and that's good enough.

The answer to "Why do people support Trump still?" is "There's no meaningful difference between the two groups that Crook theorizes are supporting him and we should stop pretending there is one."

The sooner Dems figure this out, the sooner we can move on without either group.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

The Trump/Russia story continues to be a tale of greed and lust for power and as the trap closes around Trump and his organization, we keep learning of more and more ties to Russia and dirty money in Moscow.  The Washington Post has another piece in that puzzle up this morning as we learn that Trump wanted a Moscow Trump Tower in 2015 and early 2016 as his presidential primary campaign got underway.

While Donald Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow, according to several people familiar with the proposal and new records reviewed by Trump Organization lawyers.

As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.

The developer, Felix Sater, predicted in a November 2015 email that he and Trump Organization leaders would soon be celebrating — both one of the biggest residential projects in real estate history and Donald Trump’s election as president, according to two of the people with knowledge of the exchange.

Sater wrote to Trump Organization Executive Vice President Michael Cohen “something to the effect of, ‘Can you believe two guys from Brooklyn are going to elect a president?’ ” said one person briefed on the email exchange. Sater emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union when he was 6 and grew up in Brooklyn.

Trump never went to Moscow as Sater proposed. And although investors and Trump’s company signed a letter of intent, they lacked the land and permits to proceed and the project was abandoned at the end of January 2016, just before the presidential primaries began, several people familiar with the proposal said.

Nevertheless, the details of the deal, which have not previously been disclosed, provide evidence that Trump’s business was actively pursuing significant commercial interests in Russia at the same time he was campaigning to be president — and in a position to determine U.S.-Russia relations. The new details from the emails, which are scheduled to be turned over to congressional investigators soon, also point to the likelihood of additional contacts between Russia-connected individuals and Trump associates during his presidential bid.

White House officials declined to comment for this report. Cohen, a longtime Trump legal adviser, declined to comment, but his attorney, Stephen Ryan, said his client “has been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with both the House and Senate intelligence committees, including providing them with documents and information and answering any questions they may have about the Moscow building proposal.”

Remember, Trump swore up and down during the campaign that he had no financial ties to Russia or Putin, and yet here we have evidence he wanted one of the largest commercial real estate deals in history in the heart of Moscow.

Also we need to have a talk about Felix Sater, long-time point man for Trump's Moscow business interests.  If there's anybody who knows where the money is laundered and the bodies are buried, it's Sater, a guy who predicted Trump's win a year beforehand.

In recent months, contacts between high-ranking and lower- level Trump aides and Russians have emerged. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then a U.S. senator and campaign adviser, twice met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Donald Trump Jr. organized a June 2016 meeting with campaign aide Jared Kushner, campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer after the president’s eldest son was promised that the lawyer would bring damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help the campaign.

Internal emails also show campaign adviser George Papadopoulos repeatedly sought to organize meetings with campaign officials, including Trump, and Putin or other Russians. His efforts were rebuffed.

The negotiations for the Moscow project ended before Trump’s business ties to Russia had become a major issue in the campaign. Trump denied having any business connections to Russia in July 2016, tweeting, “for the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia” and then insisting at a news conference the following day, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”

But of course that was a lie.  And both Mueller and Congress are closing in on him and following the money trail.  There are so many links in that trail that somebody will turn evidence on Trump and bring the whole rotten house of cards down.

The right's reaction to this story?  How dare you cover something other than Trump's presidential triumph responding to Hurricane Harvey!

They know it's just a matter of time now.  This isn't a smoking gun, but it's a still-warm pistol and a fresh bullet hole in the guy slumped over the couch.  The question now is "will the GOP do anything as a result" and the answer of course is "no way in hell".

And so it goes.


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