Monday, June 17, 2019

Last Call For Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox was at the federal courthouse in Dallas to cover a trial when he snapped a picture of a man in combat fatigues and mask approaching the building.  The story happened from there.

A man in a mask and combat gear was fatally shot Monday morning in downtown Dallas after he opened fire with an assault weapon outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building. No one else was injured.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno identified the gunman as Brian Isaack Clyde, 22, at a news conference on a street corner near the federal building. Clyde died at the scene and was taken to Baylor University Medical Center, officials said.

Neither DeSarno nor Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, gave any indication why Clyde targeted the federal building. They also did not say who shot Clyde after police responded to an active-shooter call.

"We're looking into motive," DeSarno said at an afternoon news conference. DeSarno said the FBI had not investigated Clyde before the shooting and he was not on any watch list. Investigator were "aggressively pursing" his social media presence, the agent said.

Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox saw Clyde fire outside the building on Jackson Street and took photos as the shooting occurred.

Fox said Clyde fired from the parking lot across the street toward him, another man, a security guard and a woman who was walking a golden retriever.

The windows in a revolving door and two side doors at one entrance were broken. It was unclear whether Clyde or law-enforcement personnel had shot the door.

Fox's photos show authorities surrounding Clyde as he lay in a parking lot where he'd run and fallen after the shooting.

In one photo, a Homeland Security agent with blue latex gloves is hovering over Clyde. In others, Clyde is shirtless and law enforcement officers, including the agent, kneel around him. On Clyde's left arm, he had a red heart tattoo with the silhouette of a cat inside it.

And of course, the gunman was a white ex-military type.

Attacking a guarded federal courthouse went as it should, the gunman was shot and killed and nobody else injured.  But as always, this will be dismissed as a "crazy lone wolf" and not be flagged as part of a deadly pattern that has only grown worse over the last 25 years.

America has a serious problem with its military and police being infested with white supremacists and outright Nazi fascists.  The fact this isn't Moday's top story tells you just how bad the problem of Trumpian stochastic terrorism is.

A Supreme Victory In Virginia

In a 5-4 decision Monday, the US Supreme Court blocked Virginia Republicans from redrawing the already redrawn district maps in the state in place to prevent racial gerrymandering favoring the GOP.

In the 5-4 ruling, the justices found that the House didn't have the standing to appeal a lower court ruling that found that the new district maps must be used ahead of the 2020 elections. Those new maps are already in use.

Democrats claimed that the districts were unlawful because they featured too many black voters, diminishing their power across the state and in other districts.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch.

Justices Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh dissented.

Virginia Democrats had challenged the 11 districts for the state’s House of Delegates, which were drawn after the 2010 census, and each have a population with at least 55 percent black residents of voting age.

The Supreme Court has previously held that race can’t be the leading factor in the creation of state districts. The justices first took on the case in 2015, but sent it back down to a lower court for reconsideration.

But lawyers for the GOP-held House of Delegates claimed that by making sure that each legislative district had 55 percent black voters, the state was ensuring that their voting power wasn’t diminished.

Virginia House Democrats celebrated the ruling in a statement Monday, calling it "a major win for voting rights and civil rights in our Commonwealth.”

"House Republicans have spent millions of taxpayer dollars defending racial gerrymandering in a protracted legal battle - a battle in which they lacked legal standing," House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn and Caucus Chairwoman Charniele Herring said in a joint statement.

In other words, Gorsuch pulled a Scalia and sided with the Court's four liberals, finding them to be correct on a technicality.

This should have been a 9-0 ruling for the same reason, but of course there's almost always 4 votes for the "whatever we can justify helping the GOP" position, which Scalia was often guilty of (see Hobby Lobby) and Gorsuch is no different.  He just decided the battle was a moot point, as new maps will be created in 2022 anyway.

Still, a win is a win.

The Sleeper Awakens

My big complaint about the Democratic primary season so far is that Democrats are basically making zero national effort to go after Donald Trump in the meantime, while he gets the bully pulpit and free TV coverage every time he goes after a Democrat in the race.  As the first Democratic debates draw near, national Democrats are finally mobilizing against the real threat, and in a huge way.

Democrats are preparing to kick off a campaign totaling hundreds of millions of dollars to blunt Donald Trump’s head start in the 2020 campaign as their party's candidates slug it out for the right to take him on.

Democratic super PACs are set to soon launch a yearlong $150 million advertising onslaught countering the millions the president’s campaign has already spent targeting voters. On top of that, billionaire Tom Steyer is funding other groups testing a range of strategies to register and turn out people to vote. And the Democratic National Committee this week began training hundreds of college students to work as field staff in battleground states, an effort that will continue throughout the election.

The efforts, described to POLITICO by operatives involved in the plans, come as some Democrats worry that Trump is going largely untouched during the Democratic primary, amassing huge sums money and lobbing bombs at his would-be rivals as they wage war among themselves. Those concerns were given voice last week by former Obama adviser Ben LaBolt, who wrote in an op-ed in The Atlantic that Trump is “running unopposed” in the 2020 race as his would-be rivals scrap for position in the Democratic primary.

But Democrats interviewed by POLITICO insist that while LaBolt put his finger on a critical imperative, the party apparatus is not sitting on its hands. Instead, they are taking early steps to build a massive anti-Trump effort, preparing to shoulder the load until well into next year, before the eventual nominee’s campaign can build back up its bank account after a depleting primary.

The work to counter Trump, who formed his reelection campaign within weeks of being sworn in as president, needs to start early and build to a massive effort, Democrats say — especially because the party’s primary is expected to last well into 2020 and deplete the eventual nominee’s bank account.
“It’s nuts for us to spend money on Democrats fighting Democrats,” said Andrew Tobias, a former DNC treasurer who plans to mostly forgo activity in the primary and focus instead of raising money to power the DNC’s youth field program. “I’ve given 2 percent to one primary candidate, but 98 percent of my budget [is for] the early organizing and registration we need to build a massive blue wave. And I’ve done it now — not next year when it will be flooding in — because giving it now is so much more powerful.”

The effort is ramping up months after the president’s campaign began the nuts-and-bolts work to secure his reelection, hosting rallies and unleashing close to $6 million in advertising on Facebook alone, according to the company’s political ad disclosures.

Some of the Democratic operatives most focused on Trump worry that by the time Democrats winnow their 23-person primary field to one, the president may have secured himself a hard-to-beat advantage if Democrats don’t successfully mount a sustained push against Trump in a swath of 2020 battleground states. There are already significant obstacles: The DNC has raised $27 million this year, less than half than the $62 million the Trump-fueled Republican National Committee has pulled in.

“I take very seriously the fact that Republicans and Trump are already communicating under the radar to sets of voters they are already in threat of losing,” said David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, who has been working to raise funds and counter the Trump campaign’s advertising online in his state. “If Trump has an entire year to be hitting these voters with all sorts of garbage, the mindset will be cemented in with a lot of voters by the time we find them.”

I'm glad Democrats are finally realizing that being this deep in the hole against Trump is a bad thing, and that they are going to be hitting back hard.  We'll see how the effort goes over the early debates this summer.

But there's a lot of work to be done still, especially if Dems want any headway.  And should Trump start that war with Iran, all those Democratic campaign ads against him go into the trash with Trump wrapping himself in the flag.

It's a race to see who can get their machine going first.

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