Friday, August 28, 2020

Last Call For The Rand Grandstand

Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul, a man I am utterly disgusted by to have representing me in the US Senate, was out last night confronting protesters with a phalanx of armed police, trying to provoke a violent event. Since it didn't happen, he's calling for all the protesters to be arrested by the FBI anyway.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul is calling for the FBI to arrest the few dozens protestors who hassled him after he left President Donald Trump’s RNC speech Thursday night. The Kentucky Libertarian Republican’s claims don’t appear to match the reality of what happened, based on multiple videos.

Sen. Paul says he and his wife left the White House and at some point instead of taking a shuttle they decided to walk several blocks to their hotel.

At 1:39 AM he posted this tweet:

Later, he went on “Fox & Friends,” which told viewers based on the videos it was more like about 30 people, not 100.

Paul, who all by himself for months has been holding up Senate passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act – which already passed the House almost unanimously, 410-4 on February 26 – claims he and his wife could have been killed.

“They were inciting a riot and they would have killed us had the police not been there,” Paul told Fox News.
“I truly believe this with every fiber of my being, had they gotten at us they would have gotten us to the ground, we might not have been killed, might just have been injured by being kicked in the head, or kicked in the stomach until we were senseless,” he added.

And he’s pushing a literal conspiracy theory.

“I believe there are going to be people who are involved with the attack on us that actually were paid to come here, are not from Washington, D.C., and are sort of paid to be anarchists,” Paul says. “This is disturbing because really, if you’re inciting a riot that’s a crime, but if you’re paying someone to incite a riot that person needs to go to jail as well.”
Fox News adds, “the senator is still calling on the FBI to make arrests and conduct an investigation into the ‘interstate criminal traffic being paid for across state lines’ because people have already been killed in other cities.”

It does not appear Paul offered any evidence of “interstate criminal traffic being paid for across state lines.”

Let's frame this correctly from the word go here: Paul did this on purpose.  Like every US Senator, he has a car service.  He could have gone to his hotel in minutes.  But he chose to confront a crowd, with a phalanx of Capitol police protection mind you, and provoked them. This was planned.

They yelled back at him like I would have if I had been there.  And Paul is trying to turn this literally into a federal case against the people who hurt his feelings.


Rand Paul was in more danger from his Neo-Praetorian Guard than he was from the protesters. But the greater issue is that not only is he trying to impress Dear Leader, he's trying to get people arrested like the fascist he is.

It's what he is, and what he does. The Libertarian, small government act is just that, an act, an affectation. What he really wants is government power used ruthlessly against his enemies and against them alone.

That's fascism, folks.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Fighting police brutality, police militarization, and police terrorism is being made all the more difficult when you realize that white supremacist groups and America's police departments are inextricably linked and have been for years now. A new report finds America's police are effectively compromised by right-wing white supremacist terrorists, and they're more than happy to use their positions to end Black lives.

White supremacist groups have infiltrated US law enforcement agencies in every region of the country over the last two decades, according to a new report about the ties between police and far-right vigilante groups.

In a timely new analysis, Michael German, a former FBI special agent who has written extensively on the ways that US law enforcement have failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats, concludes that US law enforcement officials have been tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000, and hundreds of police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content.

The report notes that over the years, police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Police in Sacramento, California, in 2018 worked with neo-Nazis to pursue charges against anti-racist activists, including some who had been stabbed, according to records.

And just this summer, German writes, an Orange county sheriff’s deputy and a Chicago policeman were caught wearing far-right militia logos; an Olympia, Washington, officer was photographed posing with a militia group; and Philadelphia police officers were filmed standing by while armed mobs attacked protesters and journalists.

The exact scale of ties between law enforcement and militias is hard to determine, German told the Guardian. “Nobody is collecting the data and nobody is actively looking for these law enforcement officers,” he said.

Officers’ racist activities are often known within their departments and generally result in punishment or termination following public scandals, the report notes. Few police agencies have explicit policies against affiliating with white supremacist groups. If police officers are disciplined, the measures often lead to protracted litigation.

Concerns about alleged relations between far-right groups and law enforcement in the US have intensified since the start of the protest movement sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. Police in states including California, Oregon, Illinois and Washington are now facing investigations for their alleged affinity to far-right groups opposing Black Lives Matter, according to the report.

This week, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, faced intense scrutiny over their response to armed white men and militia groups gathered in the city amid demonstrations by Black Lives Matter activists and others over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black father of three who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back. On Wednesday, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who appeared to consider himself a militia member and had posted “blue lives matter” content, was arrested on suspicion of murder after the fatal shooting of two protesters.

Activists in Kenosha say police there have responded aggressively and violently to Black Lives Matter demonstrators, while doing little to stop armed white vigilantes. Supporting their claims is at least one video taken before the shooting that showed police tossing bottled water to what appeared to be armed civilians, including one who appeared to be the shooter, the AP noted: “We appreciate you being here,” an officer said on loudspeaker.

Police also reportedly let the gunman walk past them with a rifle as the crowd yelled for him to be arrested because he had shot people, according to witnesses and video reviewed by the news agency.

This is why the right is so quick to dismiss structural racism, and racism doesn't get much more structural than "law enforcement dedicated to the collective punishment of Black America on a daily basis." Without the police, they lose their power to cause fear. An America where we're allowed to make it by becoming the exception that prove the rule isn't a free and fair America.

Exit question:

Spoilers: the number's going to be the same.

Lowering The Barr, Con't

Bill Barr's "Justice Department" is now openly targeting Democratic governors heading into the election, accusing them of killing seniors in veterans homes with COVID-19.

President Donald Trump’s top civil rights official at the Department of Justice announced this week that he was considering launching investigations into how state-owned nursing homes responded to the coronavirus. The four states he targeted all have Democratic governors. This highly unusual public announcement of potential investigations raised alarm bells among Civil Rights Division alumni and Democrats that DOJ’s move was motivated by partisan politics.

Eric Dreiband, the assistant attorney general running the Civil Rights Division, sent letters to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, requesting documents and information under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) about how public nursing homes in their states responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuomo and Whitmer said in a joint statement that the inquiries were “nothing more than a transparent politicization of the Department of Justice in the middle of the Republican National Convention.” They called DOJ’s move a “nakedly partisan deflection” and questioned why Republican-run states that, based on federal guidelines, had similar rules about nursing home admissions were not being targeted.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Justice Department claimed, without pointing to evidence, that state orders “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.” The department said it was “evaluating whether to initiate investigations,” meaning that it had not actually launched a probe. It is unusual for DOJ to highly publicize such a preliminary inquiry.

The press release went on to compare the COVID-19 death rate in the blue state of New York to the death rate in the red state of Texas, despite the vast array of factors and variables ― including population density and the geographical progression of COVID-19 ― that made the Empire State more vulnerable to the pandemic than the Lone Star State.

The bigger problem is that CRIPA cases cover prisons and jails, which have had massive outbreaks of COVID-19 in states like Alabama, Texas, Florida, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, but the Justice Department has yet to open a single investigation involving inmate deaths.

CRIPA is a 40-year-old federal statute meant to protect Americans held in government-run institutions like jails, prisons, mental health facilities and state-owned nursing homes. The vast majority of nursing homes in the United States are privately run and therefore not covered by CRIPA, even if those entities receive most of their funding through Medicare. Pennsylvania, for example, has just seven such state-owned facilities, which house roughly 1,300 residents ― a small fraction of the state’s nursing home population of more than 80,000.

With more than 180,000 Americans dead in a pandemic that has devastated the U.S. economy, Trump’s reelection campaign benefits from drawing heat away from the administration’s handling of the crisis and onto Democratic governors’ decisions. The best-known state-run nursing facilities tend to be veterans homes, allowing the administration to suggest that Democratic governors failed to protect our nation’s elderly war heroes.

Moreover, the most common CRIPA cases involve jail and prison conditions. But DOJ hasn’t announced any inquiries into how such facilities have handled COVID-19 despite the fact that jails and prisons have seen some of the biggest coronavirus clusters in the U.S. Nearly 160,000 incarcerated individuals and staffers have tested positive for the virus, and at least 1,000 have died ― including 116 people held in facilities run by the Justice Department’s own Bureau of Prisons.

While CRIPA gives DOJ limited jurisdiction over state-owned nursing homes, a department official suggested that the inquiry could drive at a much larger question that goes far beyond the scope of the preliminary probe.

“Those 50,000 COVID dead in NY/NJ deserve to have an investigation to determine if their Governors are responsible for their deaths,” the DOJ official wrote.

The Trump Regime is scrambling to remove blame for the federal government's failed COVID-19 response by any means possible, even if that means prosecuting Democratic governors. This is 100% a political witch hunt, announced on the final day of the Trump Dear Leader Show, and in a second term, Bill Barr will be completely free to prosecute as many Democrats as he can find.

And he will.  The thing with enemies' lists is that there's always more enemies to fill them with.


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