Saturday, April 27, 2019

Last Call For One Day In Gunmerica

As President Trump spoke to the NRA's national convention on Friday, today has turned into what is almost certainly the beginning of the end of the organization as the leadership has spiraled out of control and New York state is opening a fraud investigation.

National Rifle Association leader Oliver North announced Saturday that he will not seek a second term as president of the gun rights group, as is customary.

The decision plunged the organization into chaos ahead of a board meeting on Monday and sparked debate among NRA members over a resolution on whether to oust Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre.

North's decision to step aside from his leadership role comes amid infighting within the group and follows a number of articles from The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times detailing allegations of financial mismanagement by senior NRA officials.

"The current situation," North wrote in a letter to the NRA's membership, means that the organization's "non-profit status is threatened."

Even as the NRA struggled to handle its internal divisions, an external threat emerged this weekend in the form of a new investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

"The Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation related to the National Rifle Association (NRA)," a spokesperson for the attorney general told NPR. "As part of this investigation, the Attorney General has issued subpoenas. We will not have further comment at this time."

The NRA has received a document preservation notice in connection with the investigation being undertaken by the New York attorney general, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The NRA responded to the announcement of the investigation by pledging its cooperation.

"The NRA will fully cooperate with any inquiry into its finances," said William A. Brewer III, an outside lawyer for the NRA. "The NRA is prepared for this, and has full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance."

North's announcement on Saturday shocked the hundreds of NRA members and donors gathered at the NRA annual meeting in Indianapolis — the news was met with absolute silence.

Following the announcement, rank-and-file NRA members proposed a resolution holding LaPierre accountable for the allegations of financial mismanagement within the organization and calling for him to step down.

The resolution was ultimately defeated, but not before a passionate debate broke out among members — with escalating rhetoric. Some members demanded information on the allegations of financial impropriety. Others suggested that because of ongoing litigation, the matter should not be debated in public. At one point, one NRA member compared the resolution to an attempted hanging of LaPierre.

North — who is perhaps best known for his role in the Reagan-era Iran-Contra affair — was expected to join Saturday's meeting himself, but his chair onstage was empty.

"Please know I hoped to be with you today as NRA president, endorsed for reelection," North wrote in a letter, read aloud to the NRA membership by NRA First Vice President Richard Childress. "I am now informed that that will not happen

The NRA is falling apart and I couldn't be happier.

It'll be replaced by another organization, or it will rebrand itself. and move on, but it will be permanently damaged and frankly I'm hoping Wayne LaPierre and his friends go to prison.  These guys funneled millions illegally to Trump, and more than a bit of it came from Russia.

These guys are crooked as hell and need to burn for it.

Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

White supremacist groups are openly protesting and recruiting in cities with large black populations like Chicago, targeting prominent African-American politicians and leaders, and drafting support from more members all while under protection of a compromised police force and a white nationalist president.

When several members of groups with ties to white nationalists showed up at a rally criticizing Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, it represented the latest attempt by the groups to raise their profile in Chicago.

What happened at the rally outside the Daley Center earlier this month, experts say, is part of an intensifying movement by the groups to recruit new members in recent years. While the organizations still do not have a large following in the Chicago area, their actions — which include flyering city streets and college campuses — are part of a disturbing trend that can’t be ignored, Foxx and other public officials say.

Members of three groups — the Proud Boys, the American Guard and the American Identity Movement — attended the rally organized by the Chicago police union, according to witnesses and photos the men posed for that were posted on social media.

The Proud Boys has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — a designation the right-wing group denies. The Anti-Defamation League calls the group “overtly Islamophobic and misogynistic,” noting that some members are “anti-Semitic and racist.”

The American Identity Movement (AIM) is considered by some experts to be a rebranded version of Identity Evropa, which the SPLC dubs a white nationalist group and the ADL considers white supremacist. Current leaders of AIM deny that and have distanced themselves from Identity Evropa.

The SPLC has also designated the American Guard as a hate group, while the ADL calls the group “hard-core white supremacists.”

While the police union denied any knowledge the groups would be at the rally, Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, said the event offered group members a chance to be seen at a more “mainstream” event.

The rally came after Foxx’s office’s controversial decision to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett for allegedly faking a hate crime.

“It represents a significant recruiting opportunity,” said Levin, who two decades ago helped write the hate crime manual used by Cook County prosecutors. “They can ensconce themselves into rallies that are already highly-charged and actually get coverage as opposed to doing it themselves.”

And if you believe the police union "didn't know" white supremacists were coming to these anti-Foxx rallies, then understand that America's police and military are both full of white supremacists like Identity Evropa.

Four more members of the United States armed forces are now under investigation for their ties to a white nationalist group, military officials have confirmed to HuffPost.

A lance corporal in the Marines, a master sergeant in the Air Force, a specialist in the Army, and a private in the Minnesota National Guard have been identified as belonging to Identity Evropa, an organization listed by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist group.

There are now a total of 11 Identity Evropa members known to be under investigation by the U.S. military. Last month, HuffPost found seven other U.S. servicemen were being investigated over their connections to the group.
The investigations, which could last for months, are looking into whether the 11 servicemen violated military rules regarding discrimination and extremist activity. All 11 could face expulsion from the armed services, or even be court martialed and potentially sentenced to time in prison.

Members of Identity Evropa, like many other white nationalist groups, have long used the messaging platform Discord to chat with one another. Last month the independent media collective Unicorn Riot obtained Identity Evropa’s Discord messages and published them online.

Since then a network of anonymous anti-fascist activists have mined those messages for clues as to the offline identities of the Identity Evropa members, most of whom posted on Discord under fake names. Among those exposed by anti-fascist activists are cops, teachers, a lawyer and members of the U.S. military.

And let's not forget that the reason the SPLC and other anti-fascist orgs are doing the detective work here is because President Orange Creamsicle disbanded the DHS task force looking into this.

The Landed Gentry Landed On Us

Let's call 21st century gentrification of "African-American neighborhoods near revived urban centers" what it is: the latest in the cycle of black families losing wealth in America.

In the African-American neighborhoods near downtown Raleigh, the playfully painted doors signal what’s coming. Colored in crimson, in coral, in seafoam, the doors accent newly renovated craftsman cottages and boxy modern homes that have replaced vacant lots.

To longtime residents, the doors mean higher home prices ahead, more investors knocking, more white neighbors.

Here, and in the center of cities across the United States, a kind of demographic change most often associated with gentrifying parts of New York and Washington has been accelerating. White residents are increasingly moving into nonwhite neighborhoods, largely African-American ones.

In America, racial diversity has much more often come to white neighborhoods. Between 1980 and 2000, more than 98 percent of census tracts that grew more diverse did so in that way, as Hispanic, Asian-American and African-American families settled in neighborhoods that were once predominantly white.

But since 2000, according to an analysis of demographic and housing data, the arrival of white residents is now changing nonwhite communities in cities of all sizes, affecting about one in six predominantly African-American census tracts. The pattern, though still modest in scope, is playing out with remarkable consistency across the country — in ways that jolt the mortgage market, the architecture, the value of land itself.

In city after city, a map of racial change shows predominantly minority neighborhoods near downtown growing whiter, while suburban neighborhoods that were once largely white are experiencing an increased share of black, Hispanic and Asian-American residents.

In a country still learning to forge neighborhoods that are racially diverse and durably so, those yellow tracts appear to be on a path that is particularly unstable.

At the start of the 21st century, these neighborhoods were relatively poor, and 80 percent of them were majority African-American. But as revived downtowns attract wealthier residents closer to the center city, recent white home buyers are arriving in these neighborhoods with incomes that are on average twice as high as that of their existing neighbors, and two-thirds higher than existing homeowners. And they are getting a majority of the mortgages.

White families are moving into urban cores because they want "walkable" lifestyles, light rail commutes to work that don't involve cars, and they're displacing black families in order to get that.  Meanwhile, black and Hispanic families who have to walk to work because they had no choice are being pushed out to hour-plus long commutes and two-hour bus rides.

It's the suburbs that are becoming more diverse, and white families are moving back into cities in order to get away from that.

Cincinnati is no different.  Gentrification in Over-the-Rhine and West End has been going on for over a decade now.  OTR is now hip and cool with lofts, a Kroger flagship super supermarket, craft breweries everywhere (enough for a regular neighborhood tour of them), pop-up dining experiences and it's all a stone's throw from Fountain Square and the downtown core (and the relatively new Jack Casino) with the streetcar running through it all.  When I first moved here 12 years ago I was told not to go there because of the danger factor and I'm a six foot black guy.

Now?  OTR is great.  If you come to Cincy, you should really visit.

But it came at a cost.

It cost some way more than others.

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