Saturday, February 15, 2020

Last Call For Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Con't

The cost for "moderate" Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski's vote to acquit Trump?  A cool $20 million from Mitch McConnell's wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Gosh, you mean Murkowski's "principled stand" was all a front to extort millions from taxpayers and she's a crooked Republican just like the rest?

Shocked, I tell you!

Drive Fast, Turn...Right

Everything in America is about Trump, because Trump wants everything to revolve around him, and that now apparently includes literal victory laps in his armored limo at the Daytona 500.

President Donald Trump is out to rev up his appeal with a key voting demographic — NASCAR fans — as he takes in the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

NASCAR drivers may veer to the left during their trip around the oval racetrack, but their fans lean right, which helps explain the regularity with which GOP presidents have made their way to the track.

Trump will be the second sitting president to attend the Daytona 500, after George W. Bush in 2004. Like Trump, he also attended the race during a presidential election year. Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush also visited the track at Daytona but during races other than the 500.

This year, Trump will serve as grand marshal and give the command for drivers to start their engines.

Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman under George W. Bush, said the visit should appeal to Trump on two fronts.

“There’s a real sense of positive, overwhelming affirmation to hear the roar of the crowd. What politician doesn’t want that?” Fleischer said. “Secondly, there’s what I call the reverberation effect. People watching at home, who hear the roar of the crowd for a president, that can drive them toward some sense of approval or fondness or liking for the president.”

Just in case anyone misses the point, Trump’s reelection campaign will run a TV ad during the Fox broadcast of the race and fly an aerial banner near the speedway.

Your tax dollars are paying for this, as they are for everything Trump does, including the $133 million for his nearly 30 trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.  We serve him as subjects.  He is a king. A country that formed from opposition to a king now chokes beneath the reins of a virtual monarch.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Munich on Friday, and if the Russians hadn't said anything, we never would have known it happened.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday in an encounter the American side apparently wanted to keep under wraps.

The State Department made no announcement of the meeting, which took place in Lavrov's own dedicated meeting room at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, where the major annual conference of politicians, policymakers and security experts is held. Pompeo's aides also did not provide any readout after the meeting ended.

Russian journalists traveling with Lavrov were aware of the meeting in advance, and wrote about it afterward.
Lavrov's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, confirmed the meeting in a Facebook post, which included a photo of Pompeo in a hallway of the hotel, and Lavrov standing in a doorway a few steps behind him.

In the post, Zakharova wrote that Pompeo had said "good luck" to those gathered in the hallway, and cheekily added that those who heard it "gasped."

"There are few to whom Americans now wish something good," she wrote.
Asked about the meeting by POLITICO, a State Department official confirmed that there had been a “pull aside” with Lavrov but gave no further details. The official denied that the State Department asked Russia not to publicize the meeting and said it did not normally issue readouts of "pull asides."

There was no mention of the meeting in a briefing by a senior administration official about U.S. efforts at the security conference. The official said Pompeo met with Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and that U.S. officials met with Israeli counterparts as well as with a senior EU foreign affairs official, Helga Schmid.
It was not immediately clear why the State Department did not disclose the meeting between Pompeo and his Russian counterpart in advance.

It's been immediately clear why the Trump regime doesn't want to disclose any Russian contacts for four years now, and that immediately clear reason is that the Trump regime is hopelessly compromised by Vladimir Putin.  Literally any other country, the Trump regime trumpets their interactions as "presidential" and "running the ship of state" and "the leader of the free world meets with X"

But Putin?  Lavrov?  Any Russian dignitary?  No readout, no press, the meeting never happened, and always we learn about it later from the Russians.  Every damn time.

When we learn the full truth of how much leverage Putin has over Trump, it'll be a day of national reckoning, one of many we'll face in the coming months.

Deportation Nation, Con't

The Trump regime is now upping the stakes considerably in the fight over mass deportations, sending in ICE heavy SWAT units to "help" law enforcement in major sanctuary cities.

The Trump administration is deploying law enforcement tactical units from the southern border as part of a supercharged arrest operation in sanctuary cities across the country, an escalation in the president’s battle against localities that refuse to participate in immigration enforcement.

The specially trained officers are being sent to cities including Chicago and New York to boost the enforcement power of local Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, according to two officials who are familiar with the secret operation. Additional agents are expected to be sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.

The move reflects President Trump’s persistence in cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities, localities that have refused to cooperate in handing over immigrants targeted for deportation to federal authorities. It comes soon after the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security announced a series of measures that will affect both American citizens and immigrants living in those places.

Lawrence Payne, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, confirmed that the agency was deploying 100 officers to work with ICE, which conducts arrests in the interior of the country, “in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security.”

The deployment of the teams will run from February through May, according to an email sent to C.B.P. personnel, which was read to The New York Times by one official familiar with the planning.

Among the agents being deployed to sanctuary cities are members of the elite tactical unit known as BORTAC, which acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol. With additional gear such as stun grenades and enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification, the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.
The unit’s work often takes place in the most rugged and swelteringly hot areas of the border. It can involve breaking into stash houses maintained by smuggling operations that are known to be filled with drugs and weapons.

In sanctuary cities, the BORTAC agents will be asked to support interior officers in run-of-the-mill immigration arrests, the officials said. Their presence could spark new fear in immigrant communities that have been on high alert under the stepped-up deportation and detention policies adopted after Mr. Trump took office.

In a statement, ICE’s acting director, Matthew T. Albence, said the deployment comes in response to policies adopted by sanctuary cities, which have made it harder for immigration agents to do their jobs.

“As we have noted for years, in jurisdictions where we are not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, our officers are forced to make at-large arrests of criminal aliens who have been released into communities,” he said. “When sanctuary cities release these criminals back to the street, it increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims.”
But Gil Kerlikowske, the former commissioner of C.B.P., which oversees tactical units along the border, said sending the officers to conduct immigration enforcement within cities, where they are not trained to work, could escalate situations that are already volatile. He called the move a “significant mistake.”

“If you were a police chief and you were going to make an apprehension for a relatively minor offense, you don’t send the SWAT team. And BORTAC is the SWAT team,” said Mr. Kerlikowske, who is a former chief of police in Seattle. “They’re trained for much more hazardous missions than this.”

Understand that this is straight-up terrorism on the part of the Trump regime.

This is sending SWAT units, complete with snipers and military training, to handle local law enforcement duties.  There's a reason why this is against the Constitution if Trump used the military for this, but he doesn't have to.  He has ICE.

The whole point is to terrorize both undocumented and their families and residents of these cities. This is use of deadly force in order to affect political policy change, which last time I checked is the post-9/11 definition of terrorism.

Most of all, if there's a little police brutality, if there's a little collateral damage that happens to make national headlines, of these BORTAC teams maybe causing mass bloodshed?  Well, Trump will sadly blame the local governments of these sanctuary cities.  We wouldn't have needed to put in these heavily armed units if you would just turn over your undocumented for mass processing, right? Such a shame something like this happened.

And hey, remember those mass ICE raids that got called off at the last minute back in July?

Guess what's coming later this spring?

It's fear backed up by lethal force.  Something authoritarians do.

It's happening now.  Here.

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