Thursday, August 27, 2020

Last Call For Enemies Of The People, Con't

Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has been on the Trump corruption beat for four years now, and the White House is making it clear that he's on the list of Enemies of the People to be dealt with in a second Trump regime term as the Post has uncovered even more corruption at Mar-a-Lago.

The Secret Service had asked for a room close to the president. But Mar-a-Lago said it was too late. The room was booked. Would agents like a room across the street from the president, instead?

“I do have a Beach Cabana available,” a staff member at President Trump’s club in Palm Beach, Fla., wrote in March 2017 to a Secret Service agent seeking rooms for the upcoming weekend. “Across the street at the Beach Club, North end of the pool.”

The next time, the Secret Service didn’t take the same risk. It paid Mar-a-Lago to book rooms for two weeks at a time — locking them up before the club could rent them to others, according to newly released records and emails.

For Trump’s club, it appeared, saying no to the Secret Service had made it a better customer. The agency was paying for rooms on nights when Trump wasn’t even visiting — to be ready just in case Trump decided to go, one former Trump administration official said.

Trump has now visited his own properties 270 times as president, according to a Washington Post tally — with another visit planned for Thursday, when he is scheduled to meet GOP donors at his Washington hotel.

Through these trips, Trump has brought the Trump Organization a stream of private revenue from federal agencies and GOP campaign groups. Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel, according to a Post analysis.
Now, new federal spending documents obtained by The Post via a public-records lawsuit give more detail about how the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service — a kind of captive customer, required to follow Trump everywhere. In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily “resort fees” to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 “furniture removal charge” during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland.

In addition, campaign finance records have provided new details about the payments the Trump Organization received from GOP groups, as a result of the 37 instances in which Trump headlined a political event at one of his properties. Those visits have brought the company at least $3.8 million in fees, according to a Post analysis of campaign spending records.

The regime's response? An enemies' list.

In response to questions for this report, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that Trump has “turned over the day-to-day responsibilities of running the company though he was not required to, [and] has sacrificed billions of dollars” because of discarded deals.

Deere did not directly address questions related to the second set of promises Trump made before taking office — the promises that he would not use his presidency to help the Trump Organization.

“The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop,” Deere wrote in his statement. “Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people.”

They're saying the quiet part out loud now. Journalists "must stop interfering" with the Trump Organization.

Or else.

I'd hope that the Village press realizes that in a second Trump term, they will be among the first disposed of.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

Downtown buildings set ablaze by arsonists were still smoldering from the night before when Kirk Ingram started to paint an angel on his boarded-up store front.

Ingram, a Democrat who runs a massage therapy business, said the war-zone images of his city on TV — armed people running through the streets, burned cars and broken windows — were bolstering President Donald Trump's get-tough message. Maybe a few uplifting murals could start to tell a different story about Kenosha, Ingram said Wednesday.

Trump has attempted to frame the violent unrest in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting as fallout from inept leadership and the inability of Democrats to take control of their cities. On Wednesday, he announced he would send in the National Guard, while criticizing Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers for not doing so, even though the Democrat had deployed guard troops on Monday and increased them on subsequent days.

As this battleground state grapples with social unrest, some Democrats fear that the looting and rioting and clashes are feeding Trump’s argument that this is what life would be like under the so-called radical left. The worry is that especially among suburban swing voters, the more upheaval and violence they witness, the more their sympathy for peaceful Black Lives Matters protesters will wane.

“There’s no doubt it’s playing into Trump’s hands,” said Paul Soglin, who served as mayor of Madison, on and off, for more than two decades. “There’s a significant number of undecided voters who are not ideological, and they can move very easily from Republican to the Democratic column and back again. They are, in effect, the people who decide elections. And they are very distraught about both the horrendous carnage created by police officers in murdering African Americans, and ... for the safety of their communities.”

Trump, of course, is positioning himself as the antidote to urban unrest. "So let me be clear: The violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha," Vice President Mike Pence declared in his Republican convention speech Wednesday night, with Trump looking on. "We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color."

Republicans had chided Joe Biden and other Democrats for not calling out the violence in the aftermath of the Blake shooting. Biden immediately addressed the shooting, but didn’t condemn the ensuing violence until Wednesday in a video posted on social media.

Outrage in Wisconsin over the Blake shooting reverberated beyond the streets of Kenosha into the world of sports, when players for Milwaukee Bucks NBA team took the extraordinary step of boycotting a playoff game. The move set off a wave of other sports game cancellations, ensuring the Blake shooting and its aftermath would touch many more Americans.

On the ground in Kenosha, meanwhile, frustrations were palpable.

“The National Guard ought to be on the corners right now,” fumed resident Ron Dooley, who said he was on his way to check whether his favorite diner had been burned down. “Look at this.” he said pointing to blocks of boarded-up storefronts. “It looks like I’m in the slums of L.A.”

 The New York Times is going with blaming Kenosha's Democratic Mayor, and Gov. Tony Evers.

While many demonstrators have been peaceful, others have set fire to buildings. At least four businesses downtown have been looted. Men armed with guns have shown up to confront protesters, leading to the shooting of three people, two of them fatally. On Wednesday, a white teenager from across the state line in Illinois was arrested in connection to the shooting, and Mr. Trump vowed to send in federal law enforcement and additional National Guard troops.

In Kenosha County, where the president won by fewer than 250 votes in 2016, those who already supported Mr. Trump said in interviews that the events of the past few days have simply reinforced their conviction that he is the man for the job. But some voters who were less sure of their choice said the chaos in their city and the inability of elected leaders to stop it were currently nudging them toward the Republicans.

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And some Democrats, nervous about condemning the looting because they said they understood the rage behind it, worried that what was happening in their town might backfire and aid the president’s re-election prospects.

Yet the situation in Kenosha remains extremely fluid. Many people in the city are enraged about the police shooting of the Black man, Jacob Blake; the Democratic nominee for president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., spoke with his family and said that “justice must and will be done.” On Wednesday night, in response to the shooting, athletes from the N.B.A., W.N.B.A., Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer refused to participate in games. And following the arrest of the teenager in connection with the two fatal shootings, it emerged that he had displayed support for Mr. Trump on social media.

Ellen Ferwerda, who owns an antique furniture store downtown just blocks from the worst of the destruction that is now closed, said that she was desperate for Mr. Trump to lose in November but that she had “huge concern” the unrest in her town could help him win. She added that local Democratic leaders seemed hesitant to condemn the mayhem.

“I think they just don’t know what to say,” she said. “People are afraid to take a stance either way, but I do think it’s strange they’re all being so quiet. Our mayor has disappeared. It’s like, ‘Where is he?’”

I guess I have to pull out Dr. King's Letter From A Birmingham Jail once again, because nothing has changed in 67 years.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

"But it's violence, you say".  Some violence does happen. It's awful, I condemn it, and it needs to stop. But collective punishment of Black America through police brutality and military National Guard force is not the solution.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

I guess I'm going to vote for Donald Trump's racism because you people won't behave" is a hell of a thing to admit, and yet here we are.  I was hoping that after George Floyd, this time would be different. After Jacob Blake, after Breonna Taylor, and after the murders of two by a 17-year-old boy in Kenosha itself, called to action by Trump's violent rhetoric.

If you tell me your support of my humanity rests solel, and conditionally, on what you choose to allow me to have by behavior you determine, then I will fight you every goddamn step of the way.

Because you? You're my number one problem.

Black Lives Still Matter.

Trump Goes Viral, Con't

The theme of the Republican Convention so far has been "We will act with total impunity" and while the Dear Leader Comedy Show is going on, it's distracting you from the 180,000-plus dead and the thousands upon thousands more casualties on the way.

A sudden change in federal guidelines on coronavirus testing came this week as a result of pressure from the upper ranks of the Trump administration, a federal health official close to the process tells CNN. 
"It's coming from the top down," the official said of the new directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
The new guidelines raise the bar on who should get tested, advising that some people without symptoms probably don't need it -- even if they've been in close contact with an infected person. 
Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic. 
CDC would not comment on questions about its own policy change. A CDC spokesperson referred all questions to the Department of Health and Human Services.
In a statement to CNN, HHS Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir said: "This Guidance has been updated to reflect current evidence and best public health practices, and to further emphasize using CDC-approved prevention strategies to protect yourself, your family, and the most vulnerable of all ages." 
HHS has not specified what change in "current evidence" may have driven the change. Giroir is expected to address these issues at a briefing Wednesday afternoon. 
But the new directive also lines up with a trend in policy and rhetoric from the White House. President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested the US should do less testing.

Dear Leader wants less testing.  Less testing means fewer cases, and fewer deaths attributed to the pandemic, and less damage to his campaign.

That's all that matters, right?

The entire federal government now exists in service to Donald Trump and to keep him in power.

This is a regime. I have been calling it that for almost four years now. We live in a regime, ruled by a supreme leader. Whether or not your family suffers or dies from a raging pandemic is irrelevant to Donald Trump.

It has been from the beginning.


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