Sunday, July 5, 2020

Last Call For Indepen-Dunce Week

Taking the week off to recharge, as it's been necessary to do so.  I'll post at least one thing daily, but right now it's time to decompress a bit.

The fireworks in DC got hot last night.

As the official fireworks show began over the National Mall, some people gathered at Black Lives Matter Plaza offered up a counter narrative in the form of Lift Every Voice and Sing, the Black national anthem. Others opted instead to chant “fuck your fireworks.”

The plaza played host to protesters throughout the day, a largely tension-free scene as demonstrators continued to demand racial justice. But as Independence Day shifted to night, a series of small confrontations played out, a microcosm of ongoing debate about the right tactics to confront white supremacy.

Around 10:40, a group of Trump supporters walked through, only for protesters to escort them out. Another person walked through, and a protester through his red hat over a fence.

Some protesters wanted to get more physical with the president’s supporters, while others just wanted to help facilitate their exit. Police eventually formed a line to prevent the Trump supporters from reentering the plaza on Vermont Ave.

Earlier in the night—just before the official Fourth of July military flyovers began—a small group of protesters gathered for a “Flag-Burning Challenge,” where they set small U.S. flags alight before eventually torching a larger flag that was laying on the ground. The event sparked a brief scuffle, as other protesters tried to stop the flag-burning from happening.

“This is what they want, don’t give it to them,” said one person, alluding to how the act could generate negative coverage of the movement. (Stories about the flag-burning quickly started circulating in right-wing media.)

But for Jamel Mims of the New York City Revolution Club, burning the U.S. flag was justifiable.

“[Trump has] fucking called us terrorists, and called those people, that lynch mob that he’s enabled, ‘fine people.’ And so those fireworks represent a fucking disgrace, and that flag represents the ugly history of that country and its ugly present,” he said. “And there’s only one way to properly display it: fucking on fire.”

The country is burning in more ways than one.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

Another Black Lives Matter protester was killed in Seattle by a car, run over by an angry driver who deliberately drove onto a closed highway and hit two protesters.

A 24-year-old woman died Saturday of her injuries after she and another woman were hit by a car on a closed highway in Seattle while protesting against police brutality, authorities said.
Summer Taylor of Seattle died in the evening at Harborview Medical Center, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.

Taylor and Diaz Love, 32, of Portland, Oregon, were hit by the car that barreled through a panicked crowd of protesters on Interstate 5 early Saturday morning, officials said.

Dawit Kelete of Seattle drove the car around vehicles that were blocking I-5 and sped into the crowd about 1:40 a.m., according to a police report released by the Washington State Patrol. Video taken at the scene by protesters showed people shouting “Car! Car!” before fleeing the roadway.

Love is in serious condition in the intensive care unit, Harborview, Gregg said.

Love was filming the protest in a nearly two-hour-long Facebook livestream captioned “Black Femme March takes I-5” when the video ended abruptly; with about 15 seconds left, shouts of “Car!” can be heard as the camera starts to shake before screeching tires and the sound of impact are heard.

A graphic video posted on social media showed the white Jaguar racing toward a group of protesters who are standing behind several parked cars, set up for protection. The car swerves around the other vehicles and slams into the two women, sending them flying into the air.

The driver, who was alone, fled the scene after hitting the protesters, Trooper Chase Van Cleave told The Associated Press. One of the protesters got in a car and chased the driver for about a mile. He was able to stop him by pulling his car in front of the Jaguar, Van Cleave said.

Troopers arrived, and the driver was put in custody, Washington State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead said.

Kelete was described by offices as reserved and sullen when he was arrested, according to court documents. He also asked if the pedestrians were OK, the documents say.

Kelete was booked into the King County Correctional Facility on Saturday morning on two counts of vehicular assault. Bail was denied.

A judge found probable cause to hold Kelete on an investigation of vehicular assault. He faces a second court hearing on Monday at which the judge will determine if he can be released on bail, according to court documents.

It was not immediately clear if Kelete had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Officials were trying to determine the motive as well as where he got onto the interstate, which had been closed by the state patrol for more than an hour before the women were hit. Mead said they suspect Kelete drove the wrong way on a ramp. Trooper Rick Johnson said the driver went through a barrier that closed the freeway before striking the women.

Troopers did not know whether it was a targeted attack, but impairment was not considered a factor, Mead said.

The cops are shrugging and saying that protesters shouldn't be on the road, and that state police in Washington can't -- and won't -- guarantee safety.

Black Lives Still Matter.

Sunday Long Read: Why It Was Never Mueller Time

Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin goes over the autopsy report of the Mueller Report's death on arrival in this week's Sunday Long Read , and how the Justice Department was able to defuse it from his first day on the job. In hindsight it was clear how Mueller's careful, by-the-book actions were doomed from the start, and all of them, save Michael Cohen's conviction, will be undone by the time Trump leaves office.

Robert Mueller submitted his final report as the special counsel more than a year ago. But even now—in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the Administration’s tragically bungled response to it, and the mass demonstrations following the killings by police of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others—President Trump remains obsessed with what he recently called, on Twitter, the “Greatest Political Crime in the History of the U.S., the Russian Witch-Hunt.” In the past several months, the President has mobilized his Administration and its supporters to prove that, from its inception, the F.B.I.’s investigation into possible ties between his 2016 campaign and the Russian government was flawed, or worse. Attorney General William Barr has directed John Durham, the United States Attorney in Connecticut, to conduct a criminal investigation into whether F.B.I. officials, or anyone else, engaged in misconduct at the outset. Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has also convened hearings on the investigation’s origins.

The President has tweeted about Mueller more than three hundred times, and has repeatedly referred to the special counsel’s investigation as a “scam” and a “hoax.” Barr and Graham agree that the Mueller investigation was illegitimate in conception and excessive in execution—in Barr’s words, “a grave injustice” that was “unprecedented in American history.” According to the Administration, Mueller and his team displayed an unseemly eagerness to uncover crimes that never existed. In fact, the opposite is true. Mueller had an abundance of legitimate targets to investigate, and his failures emerged from an excess of caution, not of zeal. Especially when it came to Trump, Mueller avoided confrontations that he should have welcomed. He never issued a grand-jury subpoena for the President’s testimony, and even though his office built a compelling case for Trump’s having committed obstruction of justice, Mueller came up with reasons not to say so in his report. In light of this, Trump shouldn’t be denouncing Mueller—he should be thanking him.

The events that led to Mueller’s appointment began shortly after Trump took office, when he met several times with James Comey, the director of the F.B.I. Over dinner at the White House, on January 27, 2017, Trump said that he expected “loyalty” from Comey—specifically, as he would later make clear, he wanted an announcement from the F.B.I. that he was not under suspicion for misconduct with Russia during the campaign. At the time, Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national-security adviser, was being investigated for lying to the F.B.I. As Comey later testified, on February 14th, at a meeting in the Oval Office, the President told everyone else to leave, then asked Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said. “He is a good guy.”

Comey declined either to publicly clear Trump of wrongdoing or to close the investigation of Flynn, and the President resolved to fire him. On May 8, 2017, Trump told Rod Rosenstein, who had recently been confirmed as the Deputy Attorney General, to write a memo describing Comey’s performance as the F.B.I. director, in particular his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail. The following day, Rosenstein submitted the memo and Trump fired Comey. Sean Spicer, the President’s press secretary, told reporters that the President had done so for the reasons stated in Rosenstein’s memo, but, as Trump soon confirmed in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt and in a conversation with visiting Russian officials, the real reason was related to the Russia investigation.

Rosenstein was distraught over how the White House had used his memo. Concerned about Trump’s firing of Comey, he named an independent prosecutor, now known as a special counsel, to look into a possible connection between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, had recused himself from matters relating to Russia.) Rosenstein didn’t consider anyone except Mueller for the post. Mueller had both the skills and the bipartisan credibility that the job required. Having worked in the Justice Department during the Cold War, he hardly needed lessons on the malign intentions of the government in Moscow. Mueller had been a federal prosecutor in the nineteen-eighties, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division during the George H. W. Bush Administration, and then, starting in 2001, the F.B.I. director for twelve years. Until May 17th, when Rosenstein named him as the special counsel, Mueller knew very little about the state of the Russia investigation. Andrew McCabe, who, as Comey’s former deputy, was the acting director of the F.B.I., invited Mueller to the J. Edgar Hoover Building for a briefing.

At the first Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Russia investigation, on June 3, 2020, Graham opened the proceedings by saying, “It’s important to find out what the hell happened.” He wanted to know whether, when Mueller was appointed, there was any evidence that Trump’s campaign had been colluding with the Russians. McCabe’s briefing of Mueller, along with a subsequent meeting between Mueller and Rosenstein—neither of which has been previously reported—begin to address Graham’s question. These meetings demonstrate that, from the beginning, Mueller was instructed to conduct a narrow, fact-based criminal investigation.

The new information here is the mettings between Mueller and Andrew McCabe, and Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, with the express intent of limiting the scope of Mueller's investigation in order to make sure there was no indication of impropriety.  Mueller of course had no defense against being constantly accused of it, and the investigation found nothing on Trump himself that he could reveal. Toobin goes on to reveal that as most of us suspected, the Mueller team was handcuffed from day one because they didn't know how to deal with cheaters like Trump and especially Barr.

In other words, Mueller was told not to exceed his mandate.  He didn't.  And it cost the country everything, as the regime has been able to hide all the evidence since then, including the grand jury testimony, from House Democrats.  It's entirely possible that we'll never know the full story of what Trump did with Russia for years, if ever.

In all honestly think Joe Biden's first act as President should be to declassify the entire Mueller report and make it public. It won't happen, but it needs to.

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

The political, social, economic and electoral story of the last decade in America is the vast demographics change in the country's non-Hispanic white population, or rather, the non-change. The number of white Americans has essentially remained unchanged since 2010 according to preliminary census data analysis by the Brookings Institution.

U.S. racial and ethnic minorities accounted for all of the nation’s population growth during the last decade, according to new Census Bureau estimates.

The data underscore the nation’s growing diversity and suggest that the trend will continue as the White population ages and low birth rates translate to a declining share. Non-Hispanic Whites declined to 60.1% of the populace in 2019 and their number shrank by about 9,000 from the 2010 Census to slightly more than 197 million.
Over the same period, the U.S. added 10.1 million people identified as Hispanic. The median age for White non-Hispanics rose to 43.7 years — more than a decade older than the median Hispanic of any race — with Black and Asian American residents in between.

“The declining White population share is pervasive across the nation,” according to a report by William Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The decline was “accentuated in the past few years by a reduction of births among young adult White women and an uptick in deaths, perhaps associated with drug-related ‘deaths of despair.’”

If the data are confirmed by the 2020 census that’s underway, the decade after 2010 would be the first one since the first population count was taken in 1790 that the White population didn’t grow, according to Frey.
White people’s share of the population declined in all 50 states, increasing only in the District of Columbia, according to the Brookings analysis. It fell in 358 of the 364 U.S. metropolitan areas and in 3,012 of its 3,141 counties.

Everything the GOP is doing, the Trump regime is doing, the white supremacists are doing, is driven by this.  All the racism, all the voter suppression, all the redlining, all the immigration stuff, all the deportations and kids in cages and school funding devastation and abortion TRAP laws and and all of it, all of it in service of raising that percentage of white Americans that has fallen now to sixty percent, trying to save the dying system of white supremacy in America.

I repeat.


Everything they have done has been in service to white supremacy, yes.  But now for the first time it is in real danger because white people are simply being outpopulated by the rest of us.

That's it.  That's the entire deal, folks.

Thanks for coming out.
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