Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Last Call for Republican Conventional Warfare

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is not going to allow the GOP to hold their convention in Charlotte in August without COVID-19 precautions, including limited capacity and social distancing.

North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, on Tuesday rejected the GOP’s plans for a full-fledged convention in Charlotte, telling Republican officials the only way the event would move forward is with proper health protocols in place.

“The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity," Cooper wrote in a letter to the Republican National Committee.

The letter is a rebuke of the fully-attended convention that the RNC and President Trump have been pushing for despite concerns about spread of the coronavirus. In previous meetings with the Democratic-led state administration, GOP officials made clear the president’s desire for a 50,000-person convention without social distancing or mask-wearing measures and full-capacity hotels, restaurants and bars.

In a tit-for-tat that has dragged on for weeks, each side has pressed the other for answers on how the convention would be carried out safely — to no avail.

North Carolina Health and Human Services secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter to RNC officials on May 27 in response to a series of tweets from President Donald Trump that threatened to pull the convention out of North Carolina. She requested a contingency plan from Republicans for how they would carry out a safe convention in line with CDC guidelines, saying the Coca-Cola 600 race held in Charlotte in late May was required to provide the same guidance.

In a written response, GOP officials outlined their convention safety protocol that included a list of measures they planned to take, including extensive sanitation measures and daily temperature checks for all who enter the Spectrum Arena.

On Friday, RNC Chair McDaniel told former Republican North Carolina governor Pat McCrory that they would wait until Wednesday for Cooper to further outline health and safety measures complete enough to “guarantee” the convention’s path forward.

Cooper's latest letter is sure to disappoint national Republicans again. “As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely,” Cooper wrote. “Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.”

The Republican response is to continue to threaten to move the convention to friendlier confines of a state with a Republican governor who will bend the knee to King Donald the Orange.

Republican National Committee officials are considering Nashville and other locations as potential sites for the GOP convention amid a standoff with North Carolina over whether it will allow the party to hold it in Charlotte as planned.

Party officials are expected to make a trip to Nashville later this week, likely Thursday or Friday, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.

Nashville is one of several locations in which Republicans are expressing interest. Others include Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Georgia. All of the prospective sites have directly expressed interest in hosting the convention, and party officials say it’s likely they will visit several of them in the coming days.

“The President and Chairwoman have been clear on our intent to hold our convention in Charlotte. We are awaiting confirmation from the governor that the originally contracted convention can still be held at the Spectrum Center,” said RNC spokesperson Mike Reed, referring to committee leader Ronna McDaniel.

I fully expect the convention to be moved before the end of the month.  Trump will demand it. He will not tolerate anyone standing up to his bullying and performative chaos, and Trump figures it will cost Cooper a second term in November against Cooper's Republican Lt. Governor, Dan Forest (Governor and Lieutenant Governor have always been separate elections in NC, which makes for some weird stuff like this.)

Of course, Cooper has a huge lead in the polls so far, ranging from anywhere from 14 to 27 points, mainly because Dan Forest is an unlikable idiot.

Good luck with that, Donny.

Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Please keep in mind as you read and watch information about "rioters" that the FBI has clearly identified that white supremacist domestic terrorist groups have long been awaiting a moment exactly like this in order to magnify violence against black and brown folk.

A Twitter account claiming to belong to a national “antifa” organization and pushing violent rhetoric related to ongoing protests has been linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, according to a Twitter spokesperson.
The spokesperson said the account violated the company's platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts. Twitter suspended the account after a tweet that incited violence.

As protests were taking place in multiple states across the U.S. Sunday night, the newly created account, @ANTIFA_US, tweeted, “Tonight’s the night, Comrades,” with a brown raised fist emoji and “Tonight we say 'F--- The City' and we move into the residential areas... the white hoods.... and we take what's ours …”

This isn’t the first time Twitter has taken action against fake accounts engaged in hateful conduct linked to Identity Evropa, according to the spokesperson.

The antifa movement — a network of loosely organized radical groups who use direct action to fight the far-right and fascism — has been targeted by President Donald Trump as the force behind some of the violence and property destruction seen at some protests, though little evidence has been provided for such claims.

Other misinformation and misleading claims spread across Twitter on Sunday night and into Monday related to the protests.

Two hashtags that trended worldwide on Twitter falsely claimed that there was a "cover-up" or a "blackout" of protests in Washington, D.C., overnight. Both appeared to insinuate that protesters have been silenced in some way, perhaps by a secret internet blackout.

Twitter says it has removed the trend from its "trending topics" section because of "coordinated attempts to disrupt the public conversation" around the protests.

Twitter said it suspended several hundred accounts and is investigating the viral spread of the hashtag, which it said was boosted by "hundreds of spammy accounts."

"We're taking action proactively on any coordinated attempts to disrupt the public conversation around this issue," a Twitter spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the company sometimes pulls down hashtags that violate the company's rules, like platform manipulation.

The entire point is that white supremacist domestic terrorists are trying to ignite a "race war" where they will be justified in rampant violence against black and brown people and have the backing of the Trump regime's police state while doing it.

They want looting and burning.

In some cases they are doing it themselves.

In all cases, the goal is to light the fuse on massive violence.

Trump Lives Matter (More Than Ours)

Donald Trump had quite the evening yesterday, holding a Rose Garden presser where he vowed to unleash the force of the US military on protesters, had Lafayette Park next to the White House tear gassed and cleared by a platoon of DC cops and the National Guard, and then strolled through the park to have a photo op at St. John's Episcopal Church a couple blocks away with his cabinet and White House staff.

The bishop of the church, Rev. Mariann Budde, was pissed.

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, was seething.

President Trump had just visited St. John’s Episcopal Church, which sits across from the White House. It was a day after a fire was set in the basement of the historic building amid protests over the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Before heading to the church, where presidents have worshiped since the days of James Madison, Trump gave a speech at the White House emphasizing the importance of law and order. Federal officers then used force to clear a large crowd of peaceful demonstrators from the street between the White House and the church, apparently so Trump could make the visit.

“I am outraged,” Budde said in a telephone interview a short time later, pausing between words to emphasize her anger as her voice slightly trembled.

She said she had not been given any notice that Trump would be visiting the church and did not approve of the manner in which the area was secured for his appearance.

“I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop,” Budde said.

She excoriated the president for standing in front of the church — its windows boarded up with plywood — holding up a Bible, which Budde said “declares that God is love.”

“Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence,” Budde of the president. “We need moral leadership, and he’s done everything to divide us.”

In a written statement, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, head of the Episcopal denomination, accused Trump of using “a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes.”
“This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us,” Curry wrote.

“The prophet Micah taught that the Lord requires us to ‘do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God,’ ” he continued, calling on Trump and others in power to be moral. “For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’ ”

Trump wanted his photo op because he was mad that the press made fun of him for hiding in a bunker Sunday night.  Oh, and he threatened Americans with military force. The Pentagon is openly saying this is a bad idea.

Defense officials tell CNN there was deep and growing discomfort among some in the Pentagon even before President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is ready to deploy the military to enforce order inside the United States. 
As tear gas wafted through the air in Lafayette Park across from the White House, Trump announced from the Rose Garden that if state or city leaders refuse "to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents," he will invoke the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that allows a president to deploy the US military to suppress civil disorder. 
But some Pentagon officials are deeply wary, several defense officials tell CNN. They have tried to respond by making a strong case that the situation does not yet call for deploying active duty troops unless state governors make a clear argument such forces are needed. 
"There is an intense desire for local law enforcement to be in charge," a defense official said, alluding to the laws that forbid the military from performing law enforcement roles inside the United States. 
There is also discomfort with the civil order mission among some National Guard troops -- more of whom are now mobilized inside the US than at any previous time in history.

The Pentagon clearly doesn't want this, but what happens when Trump orders it anyway?

It may be the single most important answer in decades.  And yes, COVID-19 didn't just go away, folks. We still have that to deal with too.


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