Saturday, June 27, 2020

Last Call For Lowering The Barr, Con't

Attorney General Bill Barr figures that he can destroy Black Lives Matter by equating them to "anti-government extremists" like the white supremacist Boogaloo movement, justifying overwhelming force to stop protests and arrest dozens, maybe hundreds as "terrorists".

Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday directed the formation of a task force that will be dedicated to countering “anti-government extremists,” escalating federal law enforcement’s response to the violence that has sometimes marked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, according to a memo obtained by The Washington Post.

In the memo, Barr wrote that amid peaceful demonstrations, anti-government extremists had “engaged in indefensible acts of violence designed to undermine public order.”

“Among other lawless conduct, these extremists have violently attacked police officers and other government officials, destroyed public and private property, and threatened innocent people,” Barr wrote in a directive to all the Justice Department’s law enforcement components and U.S. attorneys. “Although these extremists profess a variety of ideologies, they are united in their opposition to the core constitutional values of a democratic society governed by law. . . . Some pretend to profess a message of freedom and progress, but they are in fact forces of anarchy, destruction, and coercion.”

Barr’s memo said that, in the past month, the Justice Department had disrupted extremists “of all persuasions,” and he singled out two: “those who support the ‘Boogaloo,’ ” a radical right-wing group whose adherents openly anticipate civil war, and “those who self identify as Antifa,” a far-left-leaning ideology that encompasses communists, socialists and anarchists.
“Some of these violent extremists, moreover, may be fortified by foreign entities seeking to sow chaos and disorder in our country,” Barr wrote, though he offered no specifics.

Barr has previously warned of a “witch’s brew” of extremist groups taking advantage of the protests to incite mayhem, and he has singled out in particular antifa, which President Trump also has sought to blame for violence at demonstrations. That has drawn some criticism, because of more than 120 people the department has charged federally with protest related crimes, none has been alleged to have ties to an organized antifa group, according to public summaries of the cases.
The vast majority of those charged seem to be individual actors intent on sowing chaos. And they represent a minuscule fraction of the thousands who have peacefully protested police violence and racism throughout the country.

According to Barr’s memo, the task force will be led by Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, and Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and it will include representatives from the FBI and federal prosecutor shops across the country. Barr wrote that it would develop information about “extremist individuals, networks, and movements” and share that data with local law enforcement. The group will also provide training and resources to local authorities to help prosecute anti-government extremists, Barr wrote.

“The ultimate goal of the task force will be not only to enable prosecutions of extremists who engage in violence, but to understand these groups well enough that we can stop such violence before it occurs and ultimately eliminate it as a threat to public safety and the rule of law,” Barr wrote.

It's that last paragraph that gives away the game.  If Barr truly meant this in regard to the Boogaloo movement, then I'd actually be impressed. But by creating the false equivalency to Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters being just as "extremist" he is opening the door for treating protesters as terrorists at the federal level.

What the Trump regime wants to do is to turn America against the protests.  It's worked every time before, but so far this time it hasn't. Barr is hoping that mass arrests covering the news will make America forget about mass deaths from COVID-19.

It won't work, but he can cause a lot of grief in the meantime.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

The Black Lives Matter movement has convinced several major corporations to pull advertising from social media networks in response to Facebook and Twitter both refusing to deal with white supremacist hate speech and foreign disinformation and voter suppression propaganda online, and it's costing these media platforms tens of billions of dollars as a result.

Facebook watched as $56 billion was wiped off its market value on Friday after a slew of major advertisers said they would be boycotting the social network.

The platform's stock price plunged by more than 8 percent, with shares expected to cost $212.50 a piece when markets open on Monday, down from $235 when markets closed on Thursday.

Bloomberg reported that Facebook's value had fallen by $56 billion, adding that the downturn had also taken $7.2 billion off of Mark Zuckerberg's net worth.

The share fall was the largest the company had witnessed in several months, and appeared to be triggered in part by Unilever and Coca-Cola's moves to join an advertising boycott of the social media platform.

In a statement published yesterday, Unilever said: "We have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S.

"Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society."

Coca-Cola's CEO James Quincey said the soda giant would be pausing all of its social media advertising for at least 30 days, adding that his firm "expected greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners."

Unilever and Coca-Cola were the latest to join an advertising boycott of Facebook led by several civil rights groups—including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and Sleeping Giants. The campaign dubbed "Stop Hate for Profit" urges businesses to cease advertising on Facebook services in July, and is critical of Facebook's record on policing its platform.

When you cost a company $56 billion, you get their attention, and they finally listen to you.

Reacting to the raft of advertisers boycotting Facebook, Zuckerberg unveiled new measures for countering voter suppression, misinformation and other content deemed harmful.

"We already restrict certain types of content in ads that we allow in regular posts, but we want to do more to prohibit the kind of divisive and inflammatory language that has been used to sow discord," Zuckberg said in a post yesterday. "So today we're prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads."

He added that the company was specifically prohibiting claims that people of specific races, nationalities and minority groups pose a threat to others under its advertising policy.

The Facebook founder also said newsworthy content that would otherwise violate the platform's rules, including statements from politicians, would now be labeled and kept up, unless it incited voter suppression or violence.

"There is no newsworthiness exemption to content that incites violence or suppresses voting," Zuckerberg said. "Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down."

We'll see if Zuckerberg follows through, but it's important to note that years of asking Facebook nicely, waiting for the Trump regime to "do something" about it, waiting for Congress to actually do something about it, those executive and legislative actions turning into threats, boycotting Facebook, exposing that they didn't do anything, all of it, accomplished precisely nothing.

One week of getting sponsors to pull ads on Facebook, made possible only through nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality, a move that dented Facebook's market cap by tens of billions and enough to cost Zuckerberg's net worth billions personally?

That worked.  Or at least, it got a further response than any so far, because white America is seeing how Trump is the perfect example of systemic racism in the country and they are finally opening their eyes.

Black Lives Still Matter.

Your Local Restaurant Goes Viral

An analysis of 30 million Chase bank credit transactions cross-referenced with John Hopkins University's COVID-19 case tracker finds in-person restaurant spending is the single biggest financial indicator of future COVID-19 infections, period.

Higher restaurant spending appears to be linked to a faster spread of the coronavirus, according to a JPMorgan study.

Analyst Jesse Edgerton analyzed data from 30 million Chase credit and debit cardholders and from Johns Hopkins University’s case tracker. He found that increased restaurant spending in a state predicted a rise in new infections there three weeks later.

He also said restaurant spending was the strongest predictor across all categories of card spending.
The United States set a record for the single highest day of new infections on Wednesday. States in the South and West, including California, Texas and Florida, are seeing a surge of new cases and hospitalizations related to the virus.

According to the research note, Louisiana, West Virginia and Arizona showed the smallest relative declines in restaurant spending by Chase cardholders compared with the year-earlier period, while the District of Columbia and Massachusetts saw the sharpest drops.

Edgerton said in-person restaurant spending was “particularly predictive.”

The NPD Group found that transactions for the week ended June 14 were still improving at full-service chain restaurants in Arizona, California and Florida, even as those states reported spikes in new cases. The full-service segment was hardest hit by dining room closures and has taken the longest to recover.

In other words, the more people go out to eat or to party at bars as states reopen their economies, the more people are getting sick.

Restaurants and bars should have never reopened for in-person seating, period. Not as early as they did in nearly all states.  Now we're in the middle of record numbers of new COVID-19 infections and they are skyrocketing, with more than 40,000 new cases on Friday, the first time we've crossed that number.

It will only get worse over the next couple of weeks.
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