Thursday, June 28, 2018

Last Call For Another Day In Gunmerica

A gunman is in custody in Annapolis, Maryland after five people were shot at the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper.

At least five people were killed and several others were “gravely injured” in a shooting Thursday afternoon at the Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, authorities said.

A shooter is in custody, police said. Police would not name the suspect, but said he was a Maryland resident in his late 30s and had specifically targeted the Capital.

“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people.”

Police said a shotgun was used in the incident. They said officers did not exchange gunfire with the suspect, who was now being interrogated. They said officers had recovered “smoke grenades” used by the suspect in the building, located at 888 Bestgate Road. About 170 people were inside at the time of the shooting, police said.

The Capital Gazette is owned by The Baltimore Sun.

Phil Davis, a Capital Gazette crime reporter who was in the building at the time of the shooting, said multiple people were shot, as others — himself included — hid under their desks. He said there was a lone male gunman.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis wrote on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

In a subsequent interview, Davis said it “was like a war zone” inside the newspaper’s offices — a situation that would be “hard to describe for a while.”

The suspect is a white male from nearby Laurel, Maryland in his 30s who filed a defamation claim against the paper in 2012, but the case was dismissed.  Police are calling this a "targeted attack" as the paper received numerous threats over social media.

Let's not forget that three days ago, Donald Trump once again called the media "enemies of the people" at his rally in South Carolina on Monday, and called them "very dishonest" last week in a rally in Duluth.

Let's not forget that just yesterday, white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos literally said "I can't wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight" and somebody sure as hell took him up on that offer, huh?

This is where we are in 2018, journalists are being gunned down by maniacs and the goddamn leader of the country and his white supremacist buddies are cheering them on while they kill reporters.

I'm livid.  This is horrific.

We are at war already, as several of you have pointed out.

A Poll Arising America, Con't

Two new polls this week capture the zeitgeist of 2018 pretty succinctly, first an Axios/Survey Monkey poll finds nearly three-quarters of Americans now believe major news outlets intentionally broadcast "fake news".

Seventy-two percent of Americans believe "traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false, or purposely misleading," according to a new poll from Axios and SurveyMonkey released on Thursday.

The poll of nearly 4,000 adults shows that 92 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents "say that traditional news outlets knowingly report false or misleading stories at least sometimes," a finding in line with other recent polls conducted by Pew Research and Gallup.

It found the sentiment extends to those who identify as independents and Democrats, with 79 percent of independents also saying traditional outlets knowingly report false or misleading stories at least sometimes. Democrats agree by a slight majority of 53 percent.

The poll also found that almost two-thirds of those polled say fake news "is usually reported because people have an agenda." About one-third of those polled say false information is reported because of "poor fact-checking" or laziness.

A very small percentage, or three percent, say fake news "makes headlines by accident."

Fifty-seven percent of Democrats say they use Google searches to verify facts. Less than half of Republicans, or 48 percent, do the same.

In terms of using fact-checking websites such as or, 43 percent of Democrats say they utilize such resources, while only 30 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of independents do the same.

Trust in media was once at 74 percent in 1976 in the post-Watergate reporting era, according to Gallup.

That number dropped to 32 percent in 2016, the last time Gallup polled on the question. Just 14 percent of Republicans said they trusted the media in that poll.

Even half of Democrats admit that they believe major news outlets intentionally report false stories.   Same goes for nearly 80% of independents. And Republicans?  Over 90%.  We're way past the era where hard-hitting journalism is going to stop Trump's abuses of power, Republicans don't believe a single word of news stories anymore that are critical of the regime.

The right-wing noise machine has won a resounding victory.  The free press is irrelevant if nobody believes it.

Oh, but it gets worse.  Paranoia is becoming far more rampant.

Most voters fear that political violence is coming from opponents of the president’s policies, just as they did in the second year of Barack Obama’s presidency, and nearly one-in-three think a civil war is next.

Thirty-one percent (31%) of Likely U.S. Voters say it’s likely that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years, with 11% who say it’s Very Likely
. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 59% consider a second civil war unlikely, but that includes only 29% who say it’s Not At All Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Democrats (37%) are more fearful than Republicans (32%) and voters not affiliated with either major party (26%) that a second civil war is at hand.

But 59% of all voters are concerned that those opposed to President Trump’s policies will resort to violence, with 33% who are Very Concerned. This compares to 53% and 28% respectively in the spring of Obama’s second year in office. Thirty-seven percent (37%) don’t share that concern, including 16% who are Not At All Concerned.

Fifty-three percent (53%) are concerned that those critical of the media’s coverage of Trump will resort to violence, with 24% who are Very Concerned. Forty-two percent (42%) are not concerned about violence from media opponents, including 17% who are Not At All Concerned.

It's easy to say the ignorance on display in the first poll leads to the paranoia in the second, but there's also the very real calls by Donald Trump for violence against his critics and the media, on a number of occasions.

I don;t believe things are getting that violent yet, but I certainly think it can happen, and quickly.

A Supreme Labor Of Ignorance

As widely expected, the final day of the 2018 SCOTUS term brought a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Samuel Alito that invalidated union dues sharing rules in 22 states, and all but signed the death blow of organized labor in the US.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that non-union workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions. 
"Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned," wrote Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the court's opinion in the case, Janus v. AFSCME. 
The case, one of the most hotly anticipated of the term, is the second in two days to hand a major victory to conservatives, following Tuesday's holding by the court that President Donald Trump's travel ban is constitutional.

Some experts have said that a holding in favor of Janus would be the most significant court decision affecting collective bargaining in decades. 
Trump hailed the ruling immediately after it was handed down. In a post on Twitter, the president wrote that the decision was a "loss for the coffers of the Democrats."

And that of course is the real reason this case was decided as it was.  Alito's opinion overturned the 1977 Abood vs Detroit Board of Education ruling that allowed public sector unions to exist in the first place.  Now they are effectively subject to right-to-work laws and will be dismantled.

Organized-labor groups strongly disagree with Janus’s interpretation and opposed efforts to reconsider the 1977 precedent. Unions use the term “fair-share payments” because, they argue, the fees prevent non-members from free-riding on the collective-bargaining services from which they benefit. “At its core, Abood acknowledged that certain labor-relations interests justify the small intrusion on employees’ First Amendment interests that fair-share payments represent,” AFSCME Council 31 told the Court earlier this year. 
If Janus prevails and Abood is overturned, the Court’s ruling could effectively act as a nationwide right-to-work law for the country’s public-sector workers, with potentially crushing implications for the funding and resources of the unions that represent them. AFSCME officials told Bloomberg that they estimated in 2015 that only about a third of the workers they represent would pay fees “no matter what,” and that about half were “on the fence” about it. In other words, if given the option to leave the union and avoid paying dues, many could take it and still be supported by collective-bargaining efforts. 
“The Janus case is a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people,” Lee Saunders, the president of AFSCME, said in a statement. “The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions.” 
The Court’s conservative members, led by Justice Samuel Alito, have also fired off signal flares on Abood in recent years. Writing for the majority in the 2012 case Knox v. Service Employees, Alito called the 1977 precedent “something of an anomaly” for its First Amendment implications. Two years later, in Harris v. Quinn, he criticized the Abood decision’s reasoning at length before concluding it was “questionable on several grounds.” The five-justice majority in Harris effectively telegraphed that they would be willing to overturn Abood in the future.

Today, that's exactly what happened.  Public unions will be a thing of the past within a few short years now.  State unions have been able to stay afloat because of dues collected in strongly unionized states to keep coffers full for national unions, but now that's done for.  Alito's ruling ends that practice, and national unions and labor groups are going to be broke within a couple of years.

And of course, this means unions won't have money to donate to pro-union Democrats, either.

Which is the point.  There's no way Democrats will be able to stay on the same playing field as Republicans in donations thanks to this ruling, and both sides know it.

Democrats are in mortal trouble heading into 2020 and beyond.

Again, this is the point.  Don't expect the courts to save us from the party of Trump.  We have to choose to save ourselves, and we're almost out of time.


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