Sunday, September 13, 2020

Last Call For Climate Of Destruction, Con't

The worst wildfire season in West Coast history is torching millions of acres across multiple states and Californians are facing the prospect that the Golden State's golden days are permanently over.

This is the latest iteration of the California Dream, a Gold Rush-era slogan meant to capture the hopeful migration of an old nation to a new, rich West. For generations, the tacit agreement for California residents resembled a kind of too-good-to-be-true deal. Live in the lovely if often drought-plagued Sierra, or beneath the beachfront Pacific Coast cliffs, and work in an economy constantly reinventing itself, from Hollywood to the farms of the San Joaquin to Silicon Valley.

But for many of the state’s 40 million residents, the California Dream has become the California Compromise, one increasingly challenging to justify, with a rapidly changing climate, a thumb-on-the-scales economy, high taxes and a pandemic that has led to more cases of the novel coronavirus than any other state.

During the course of his term, President Trump has singled out California, a state he lost by 30 percentage points, as an example of Democrat-caused urban unrest, irresponsible immigration policy and poor forest management, even though nearly 60 percent of the state’s forests are managed by the federal government. Several are burning today, with millions of acres already scorched.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has responded specifically in some cases, but in others, he has invoked the California Dream, an aspirational noun attached to no other state. In his January 2019 inaugural address, Newsom warned that “there is nothing inevitable about” that dream.

“And now more than ever, it is up to us to defend it,” he said.

As the state’s climate has shifted to one of extremes, soaking wet seasons followed suddenly by sharp, dry heat and wind, no region has been safe from fire. This year — even before peak fire season has gotten underway — widespread fires have forced evacuations, from San Jose in Silicon Valley to the distant hamlet of Big Creek along the western slopes of the Sierra.

More than two dozen major fires are burning around the state and have consumed a record 3.1 million acres of land, more than 3,000 homes and at least 22 lives. Los Angeles has reported the worst air quality in three decades as a result of fires surrounding that city, already notorious for orange air and seasonal dry cough.

Wine Country has burned four straight years, with a number of vineyards lost. Homes have been destroyed far to the south in San Diego County, and more than 200 campers had to be airlifted to safety amid the Creek Fire, still burning hot and fast between Fresno and Mammoth Lakes.

The mountains behind Santa Barbara County, which gave way after being burned bare by the Thomas Fire three years ago, have turned a worrisome gray-brown tinder in recent weeks.

Those slopes, prepared by one of the state’s largest fires in history at the time, slid during rain-saturated mudslides in January 2018. Twenty people were killed in the wealthy enclave of Montecito, sweeping some from inside their foothill homes all the way to the sea.

The mandatory evacuation orders issued then included the home recently bought by Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, newcomers to Santa Barbara’s shifting climate.

“Hopefully, this is a wake-up call,” said Anne-Marie Bonneau, who two decades ago left her home in Ontario, Canada, for the Bay Area but misses the clean air and less-fractious political environment beyond the northern border. “What is it going to take for this country to do something about the climate crisis? Millions of people are affected by this.”

She sees what is happening in California as just the beginning of what is to come across the continent.

The Trump regime's response?  Climate change doesn't exist, and California can go extinguish itself.

David Legates, a University of Delaware professor of climatology who has spent much of his career questioning basic tenets of climate science, has been hired for a top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Legates confirmed to NPR that he was recently hired as NOAA's deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction. The position suggests that he reports directly to Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the agency that is in charge of the federal government's sprawling weather and climate prediction work.

Neither Legates nor NOAA representatives responded to questions about Legates' specific responsibilities or why he was hired. The White House also declined to comment.

Legates has a long history of using his position as an academic scientist to publicly cast doubt on climate science. His appointment to NOAA comes as Americans face profound threats stoked by climate change, from the vast, deadly wildfires in the West to an unusually active hurricane season in the South and East

A second Trump term will continue to make the effects of climate change worse as the regime will actively pollute more, burn more carbon, and spend less money on mitigation and prevention. Ironically, it's rural Trump voters who operate farms and ranches who will be the hardest hit, but they've already shown they will vote for him even as he continues to destroy their livelihoods.

It's a death cult, and we're all going to be put to the torch.

Biden, His Time, Con't

"I can't stand it, I know you planned it
I'mma set it straight, this Watergate
I can't stand rockin' when I'm in here
'Cause your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear
So while you sit back and wonder why
I got this fuckin' thorn in my side
Oh my god, it's a mirage
I'm tellin' y'all, it's sabotage"

--Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"

If somehow we get to the point where Joe Biden is declared the winner of the election, I'm glad that his planned transition team understands that the Trump regime will do everything in its power to sabotage the country and hold America hostage in order to force the Biden administration and their allies to spare the Trumps from justice.

Joe Biden’s transition team has expanded its fundraising goal far beyond what Hillary Clinton raised in 2016, anticipating that, should they prevail in November, the Trump administration could actively work against their efforts and that the coronavirus pandemic will make a presidential changeover more difficult than ever.

The Biden transition team is aiming to raise at least $7 million by Election Day and build a staff of at least 350 people by Inauguration Day, according to a person familiar with the transition’s planning, while another person said the total fundraising goal is $7 million to $10 million.

The budget far exceeds the $2.1 million that Clinton raised for her transition planning by Election Day 2016, or the $6.5 million Trump’s transition raised before he assumed the presidency. Mitt Romney in 2012 raised $8.9 million for what is considered the most robust prior effort to plan a transition hand-off between two different parties.

Several people involved in raising money for Biden’s transition said the pitch to potential donors leans on fears that President Donald Trump will not ease the handover process if he loses. That possible complication, along with the dueling health and economic crises hitting the country, will require more staffing and resources for a Biden administration-in-waiting.
“They’re quietly organizing people to say, this is going to be a very, very difficult transition,” said a California-based strategist who advises Democratic donors and requested anonymity to detail the fundraising pitch and other sensitive conversations about the Biden transition. “Trump is going to make this extremely difficult, so we need to be prepared.”

The Biden transition team has to not just "hit the ground running".  They can't afford to move at ground speeds at all, they have to be moving at rocket speed to have a chance to even begin to correct things come January.  Trump will ruthlessly try to wreck everything in order to save his own ass. If Biden's people aren't ready to stop him and to make it clear that this may not be a peaceful transition of power in any way, we're facing a disaster.

I don't know what Trump will try, but we need every contingency plan in the book, and more importantly the resources to execute all those plans.

We'll need everything we can get to survive the next six months.

That starts with your vote for Joe Biden.

Sunday Long Read: Breonna Taylor's Life Mattered

New York Times investigative reporter Rukmini Callimachi takes a critical look at the Louisville Metro Police Department's numerous failures, the failures of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and City Council, the failures of state Attorney General David Cameron, that still have failed to give anyone justice for the murder of Breonna Taylor here in Kentucky in March.

Breonna Taylor had just done four overnight shifts at the hospital where she worked as an emergency room technician. To let off some steam, she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, planned a date night: dinner at a steakhouse, followed by a movie in bed.

Usually, they headed to his apartment, where he lived alone and she had left a toothbrush and a flat iron. But that night, they went to the small unit she shared with her younger sister, who was away on a trip. It was dark when the couple pulled into the parking lot, then closed the door to Apartment 4 behind them.

This was the year of big plans for the 26-year-old: Her home was brimming with the Post-it notes and envelopes on which she wrote her goals. She had just bought a new car. Next on the list: buying her own home. And trying to have a baby with Mr. Walker. They had already chosen a name.

She fell asleep next to him just after midnight on March 13, the movie still playing. “The last thing she said was, ‘Turn off the TV,’” he said in an interview.

From the parking lot, undercover officers surveilling Ms. Taylor’s apartment before a drug raid saw only the blue glow of the television.

When they punched in the door with a battering ram, Mr. Walker, fearing an intruder, reached for his gun and let off one shot, wounding an officer. He and another officer returned fire, while a third began blindly shooting through Ms. Taylor’s window and patio door. Bullets ripped through nearly every room in her apartment, then into two adjoining ones. They sliced through a soap dish, a chair and a table and shattered a sliding-glass door.

Ms. Taylor, struck five times, bled out on the floor.

Breonna Taylor has since become an icon, her silhouette a symbol of police violence and racial injustice. Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris spoke her name during their speeches at the Democratic convention. Oprah Winfrey ceded the cover of her magazine for the first time to feature the young Black woman, and paid for billboards with her image across Louisville. Beyoncé called for the three white officers who opened fire to be criminally charged. N.B.A. stars including LeBron James devoted postgame interviews to keeping her name in the news.

In Louisville, demonstrators have led nightly protests downtown, where most government buildings and many businesses are now boarded up. As outrage mounted, the city fired one of the officers, pushed out the police chief and passed “Breonna’s Law,” banning “no-knock” warrants, which allow the police to burst into people’s homes without warning. Protesters say that is not enough.

Nearly six months after Ms. Taylor’s killing, the story of what happened that night — and what came before and after — remains largely untold. Unlike the death of George Floyd, which was captured on video as a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck, Ms. Taylor’s final moments remain in shadow because no such footage exists.

But a clearer picture of Ms. Taylor’s death and life, of the person behind the cause, emerged from dozens of interviews with public officials and people who knew her, as well as a review of over 1,500 pages of police records, including evidence logs, transcripts of jailhouse recordings and surveillance photos. The Louisville Metro Police Department, citing a pending investigation, declined to answer simple questions about the case or make anyone available for interviews.

The daughter of a teenage mother and a man who has been incarcerated since she was a child, Ms. Taylor attended college, trained as an E.M.T. and hoped to become a nurse. But along the way, she developed a yearslong relationship with a twice-convicted drug dealer whose trail led the police to her door that fateful night.

Sloppy surveillance outside her apartment in the hours before the raid failed to detect that Mr. Walker was there, so the officers expected to find an unarmed woman alone. A failure to follow their own rules of engagement and a lack of routine safeguards, like stationing an ambulance outside, compounded the risks that night.

While the department had gotten court approval for a “no-knock” entry to search for evidence of drugs or cash from drug trafficking, the orders were changed before the raid to “knock and announce,” meaning that the police had to identify themselves.

The officers have said that they did; Mr. Walker says he did not hear anything. In interviews with nearly a dozen neighbors, only one person said he heard the officers shout “Police!” a single time.

Sam Aguiar, a lawyer representing Ms. Taylor’s family, blames “catastrophic failures” by the police department for the young woman’s death. “Breonna Taylor,” he said, “gets shot in her own home, with her boyfriend doing what’s as American as apple pie, in defending himself and his woman.”

The biggest clue here is that the investigation has already taken six months and no arrests or charges have been filed. It's pretty clear that Louisville Metro PD and Mayor Fischer want this to go away, and that State AG Daniel Cameron will do nothing.

I guarantee that the grand jurt won't return an indictment, and after that is anyone's guess.

Lowering The Barr, Con't

Another career prosecutor is quitting their role with the Barr "Justice" Department, as St. Paul prosecutor John Choi is ending his role on a DoJ advisory group over the group being pressured to attack local government prosecutors and district attorneys for using discretion to combat the systemic racism of federal minimum sentencing guidelines.

An elected prosecutor who took a role in Donald Trump’s presidential commission on law enforcement has resigned, telling Attorney General William Barr that he is concerned the commission was “intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past” and will issue a final report that “will only widen the divisions in our nation.”

Trump formed the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice late last October, announcing its formation at the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual meeting. Trump’s order mandated that the commission issue a report within one year ― a deadline that falls just days ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The commission is stacked with members of law enforcement, and the American Civil Liberties Union has questioned whether it is a “sham commission formed only for the purposes of advancing a ‘Thin Blue Line’ law and order agenda.”

John Choi, the elected prosecutor in Ramsey County, Minnesota, served as a member of the commission’s criminal justice system personnel intersection working group. But Choi, whose county includes the city of St. Paul, wrote in a letter to Barr that he was quitting his role on one of the commission’s 17 working groups because he worries the final report “will vilify local prosecutors who exercise their well settled prosecutorial discretion consistent with their community’s values and the interests of justice.”

The Justice Department struck back at Choi, with one official telling HuffPost that Choi didn’t really resign because the working groups had already completed their work. The two chairs of the working group ― former U.S. Attorney Jay Town and Cook County Judge William O’Brien ― also criticized Choi’s work in interviews with HuffPost. Town said Choi offered “very little in substance,” while O’Brien said his opinions “didn’t have a lot of depth.” 
Choi wrote in his letter to Barr that he previously tried to communicate to the commission that it “needed to listen to those who have been negatively impacted by policing and the criminal justice system.” But he said it is now clear that engaging communities to help bridge the divide between communities and law enforcement “was never the intended goal.”
“Rather than examine how decades of over-policing in communities of color have created that deficit of trust, the Commission was instead encouraged to study ‘underenforcement’ of criminal laws and ‘refusals by State and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes’,” Choi wrote.

“At the very beginning of this process, President Trump said the Commission would ‘have [the recommendations] soon because most of them know many of the answers before they begin.’ It is now patently obvious that he was correct ― that this process had no intention of engaging in a thoughtful and open analysis, but was intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past, furthering failed tough-on-crime policies that led to our current mass incarceration crisis and fueling divisions between our communities and our police officers,” Choi wrote.

Choi called the commission “a missed opportunity to seriously deliberate in regard to areas for improvement in law enforcement and develop thoughtful solutions to address longstanding problems in the criminal legal system.”

In hindsight it's obvious now that Choi is correct, and was correct from the moment Bill Barr became Attorney General.  Barr exists to preserve Trump's power by any means necessary.

Trump wants this to hit essentially within the next 30-40 days.  Can you imagine the headlines?

"Former Obama Officials Indicted For 'Spying' On 2016 Trump Campaign"

"Mueller Probe 'Based On Lies', Evidence 'Falsified', Durham Says"

"Durham Confirms Biden Under Investigation Days Before Election"

"Trump Demands Biden To Drop Out Of Race, 'Pay' For

Underestimate what he will do in the next five months at your own peril.

Roger Stone is making baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and is urging Donald Trump to consider several draconian measures to stay in power, including having federal authorities seize ballots in Nevada, having FBI agents and Republican state officials “physically” block voting under the pretext of preventing voter fraud, using martial law or the Insurrection Act to carry out widespread arrests, and nationalizing state police forces.

Stone, a longtime confidant of the president, made the comments during a September 10 appearance on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars network. On July 10, Trump commuted a 40-month prison sentence that was handed down to Stone after he was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into 2016 election interference. Namely, Stone lied to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails with the aim of boosting Trump’s prospects. In the weeks leading up to the commutation, Stone made a number of media appearances where he asked Trump to grant him clemency and said that in exchange, he could be a more effective campaigner for the president’s 2020 reelection efforts.

Stone’s efforts are now underway, and his aim appears to be to spread conspiracy theories about voter fraud and call for actions that would likely intimidate potential Joe Biden voters.

During his September 10 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Stone declared that the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election would be a Trump victory. He made this assertion on the basis of his entirely unfounded claim that early voting has been marred by widespread voter fraud.

 You want to bet Trump will play fair when he loses?

Many Trump allies say the president’s concerns about mail-in voting are valid — primarily his claim that unsolicited ballots and ballot applications will be sent to millions of people ineligible to vote. But they argue that in a pandemic when many people are expected to avoid the polls, it’s more important to get Republicans to vote however they can.

Four additional Republicans familiar with the situation said this point was made early on to Trump, with advisers urging him to state that he does trust some forms of remote voting. And in August, the message appeared to be sinking in — sort of.

Trump started drawing a distinction between requesting an absentee ballot and universal remote voting. And he suddenly started imploring supporters in Florida to request mail-in ballots, insisting back-to-back Republican governors had cleaned up the process in the crucial battleground state.

But Trump simultaneously continued his almost daily rants about massive election fraud and rigged elections in tweets, interviews and speeches. And then last week, while on another tirade about remote voting, Trump appeared to encourage North Carolina residents to illegally cast two ballots — by mail and in person — prompting a fresh spate of worries by his allies. Despite pointed condemnations from even some Republican election officials, Trump is still urging his supporters to go to polling stations on Election Day to see if their mail-in ballot was received, exacerbating confusion.

Already this year, about 1,000 people attempted to vote twice in Georgia’s primary and runoff elections. Another 40 did the same in Pennsylvania’s primary.

"But Trump won't possibly be allowed to do that."

Oh really?

Who's going to stand up to him and say "No"?

Violence is guaranteed at this point.  Real, ugly, mass casualty violence.

You willing to be your country, your neighborhood, your family and your life on that bet?

Because frankly, by not demanding Trump's immediate ouster years ago, we already have made that bet.

And Trump controls the casino.

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