Thursday, October 1, 2020

Last Call For The Great Cincy Bag Job

Last month, Cincinnati City Council passed an ordnance banning the use of plastic bags by businesses in the city set for January 1 .Ohio state Republicans are responding with a bill that will prevent local governments from doing that, and GOP Gov. Mike DeWine says he'll sign it, because he's a Republican (and somehow people keep forgetting this.)

The Ohio Legislature has passed a controversial bill that bans communities from passing bans on containers like plastic bags or Styrofoam. Gov. DeWine, who once opposed the idea, is signaling he’ll sign this bill into law.

The bill preventing cities from passing bans on plastic bags and single use containers has been revised from its original form. It will only be in place for a year and that’s why DeWine has changed his position on it.

“And I will sign the bill because it is temporary and I think you can make an argument for it because of the COVID period," DeWine says.

DeWine has said he opposed the original idea because he thinks communities should have that control. But he says with so many places offering carry out, now is not the time for such bans.

Business groups, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the Ohio Grocers Association, support the changes. They are opposed by local-government groups and environmental advocates.

Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester and primary sponsor of the legislation, said many businesses have moved to single-use bags and containers as part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

And he said the bill's changes would ensure more uniformity in business regulations.

“Currently, Ohio has more different taxing jurisdictions than any state in America,” Lang said. “Let that sink in: We have more than New York, more than New Jersey, more than California, more than Illinois.”

Citing about a half-dozen Ohio communities that have worked with businesses to help develop bans on plastic bags, the Ohio Municipal League urged DeWine to veto the legislation.

"This just continues to add to the stack of preemptions the legislature has imposed on local control and home rule," said Kent Scarrett, executive director of the league. "We think it is very disconcerting."

"So this legislation will wipe out years of partnerships that have been developed. It's an overstep by the legislature to interfere in the values of local communities."

Scarrett said that plastic manufacturers have successfully mounted a nationwide campaign to lobby lawmakers in many states to forbid environmentally friendly local regulation of single-use plastics.

The former Ohio Speaker of the House is under a bribery and racketeering scandal and people really think Ohio Republicans aren't going to just turn around and make this ban permanent because P&G and other corporate business lobbyists are going to play fair?

Yeah, right. I'll take that oceanfront property in Dayton too.

The Blue Tsunami Rises, Con't

Democrats believe South Carolina is in play, and the Lindsey Graham is vulnerable, and they're going all out to help Jaime Harrison pull off the upset of the year...and maybe win the state for Biden.
If you think you are already being inundated with political ads for South Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, just wait until you see the bombardment that’s in store for the final month.

The high-profile contest between Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison has already shattered Palmetto State records, with at least $72 million spent so far on advertising by both the candidates and outside groups, according to media monitoring firm Advertising Analytics.

That spending is spearheaded by Harrison, who has drastically outpaced Graham, shelling out almost $50 million since the June primaries compared to less than $20 million by Graham. Harrison also has considerably more spending planned for October than Graham, about $13 million to $3 million.

With more cash continuing to flow into both Harrison and Graham’s campaign coffers and additional outside groups jumping into the fray, enticed by public polls that show a neck-and-neck race between the candidates, the total cost is likely to climb even higher in the lead-up to the Nov. 3 election.

In the latest poll of likely South Carolina voters out Wednesday from Quinnipiac University, Graham and Harrison were tied at 48 percentage points each, which was unchanged from the same pollster’s last survey two weeks ago.

Results like that, along with Graham’s role leading the upcoming confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee as Senate Judiciary chairman, will only draw more resources to the state, prompting Republican media consultant Kurt Pickhardt to predict South Carolina’s first ever nine-figure race.

“South Carolina politics has seen a lot of things, but a $100 million Senate race isn’t one of them,” said Pickhardt, the vice president of Smart Media Group, a GOP media-buying firm based in D.C. “That’s a very real possibility this cycle.”
Harrison has both the cash and the momentum.  Quinnipiac University's poll over the weekend had him tied, 48% a piece.  The thing that might save Graham is Independent candidate Bill Bledsoe, who is bleeding off just enough anti-Graham vote at 2% or so to most likely give him the win.

Still, Harrison has come closer than anyone so far. He could win. Still a month to go.

A Conspiracy Of Dunces, Con't

Republicans unleashed their dangerous QAnon conspiracy nutjobs on House Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski, and now the New Jersey congressman and his family are fending off daily death threats serious enough to warrant law enforcement investigations. He's far from the only Democratic politician facing these lunatics, either.
Last month, the House Republican campaign committee falsely accused Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski of lobbying to “protect sexual predators.” 
On Tuesday, followers of QAnon — a collective delusion that alleges President Donald Trump is fighting a Satanist cabal of elites who abuse children — targeted him, leading to death threats. 
Malinowski had coauthored a bipartisan resolution last month that would have the House formally condemn QAnon and on Tuesday he was the subject of a “Q drop” — conspiracy-filled, false messages posted to message boards from the self-proclaimed US government insider to their followers. The post included a screenshot of Malinowski’s resolution, but it also capitalized on a press release from the National Republican Campaign Committee that falsely alleged that Malinowski “lobbied to protect sexual predators,” along with the message, “Those who scream the loudest…” 
Malinowski received multiple death threats on Tuesday after the Q post went up, he and his office told BuzzFeed News. The NRCC’s press release — as well as a TV ad the group is running against the New Jersey Democrat falsely accusing him of “helping sexual predators hide in the shadows” — echo a baseless conspiracy theory frequently used by QAnon followers that powerful Democrats and global elites are engaged in child trafficking. The ad, which has been repeatedly debunked, includes a narrator saying, “Tom Malinowski chose sex offenders over your family.” 
In an interview with BuzzFeed News Tuesday night, Malinowski said the NRCC bears responsibility for playing into QAnon’s hands and inspiring the violent threats against him. “I think they knew exactly what they were doing. They knew they were playing with fire,” he said in a phone interview.

Malinowski’s campaign, as well as six current and former Republican officials in his district, have called on the NRCC to take the ad down. The group has refused. The New Jersey Star-Ledger has twice called the ad a lie. 
Malinowski told BuzzFeed News that he has also personally confronted Rep. Tom Emmer, who chairs the NRCC, about the attacks, pointing out their connections to QAnon theories. 
“He said, ‘I don’t know what Q is’ and walked away. … He said, 'I can’t be responsible for, you know, how people use our stuff and I don’t know what that is,'” Malinowski said.
Emmer’s office did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment for this story.
Both the ad and the press release were still live at the time of publication. After this story was published, the NRCC retweeted it, doubling down on the false claims about Malinowski, without addressing the death threats against him. Later, the NRCC sent BuzzFeed News a statement again repeating the false claims and adding that Malinowski "must live with the consequences of his actions." 
Malinowski told BuzzFeed News he hadn’t expected to be the target of a Q post, but “it makes sense now.” The post linked his anti-QAnon resolution with the NRCC attacks, he said, “in ways that from a QAnon-conspiracy-minded point of view are obvious and sent his millions of people who follow this crazy, anti-Semitic cult to come after me.” 
QAnon followers have followed through on threats of violence, including a man who blocked off the Hoover Dam with an armored vehicle and was arrested after an armed standoff. The FBI has labeled the group a domestic terror threat. President Donald Trump has praised it. 
It really isn't going to be much longer before one of these jackasses shoots a Democrat in the head.

Except now, the terrorists are openly working for the Republicans, like Stewart Rhodes and the Oath Keepers.

Even while he courted publicity, Rhodes maintained secrecy around his rank and file. Monitoring groups couldn’t say for sure how many members the Oath Keepers had or what kind of people were joining.

But the leaked database laid everything out. It had been compiled by Rhodes’s deputies as new members signed up at recruiting events or on the Oath Keepers website. They hailed from every state. About two-thirds had a background in the military or law enforcement. About 10 percent of these members were active-duty. There was a sheriff in Colorado, a SWAT-team member in Indiana, a police patrolman in Miami, the chief of a small police department in Illinois. There were members of the Special Forces, private military contractors, an Army psyops sergeant major, a cavalry scout instructor in Texas, a grunt in Afghanistan. There were Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, a 20-year special agent in the Secret Service, and two people who said they were in the FBI.

“I will not go quietly into this dark night that is facing MY beloved America,” a Marine veteran from Wisconsin wrote; an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department said he’d enlist his colleagues “to fight the tyranny our country is facing.” Similar pledges came from a police captain in Texas, an Army recruiter in Oregon, and a Border Patrol agent in Arizona, among many others. “Funny story,” wrote a police sergeant in a St. Louis suburb. “I stopped a speeding truck driver, who had your decal on the side of his truck, I asked about it, he went on and on, I said, ‘Damn I’m all about this.’ ” He listed skills as a firearms and tactical instructor and said he would forward the membership application to his fellow officers. A special agent in the New York City Police Department’s intelligence bureau recalled that he’d been heading to work one day when he saw a window decal with the Oath Keepers logo and jotted down the name on his hand. He vowed to be ready “if the balloon ever goes up.”

Many answers to the question of how new members could help the Oath Keepers were innocuous: “I make videos!” and “Not much but my big mouth! Too old for much else!” People offered to show up at protests, hand out flyers, and post on Facebook. Others provided résumés with skills suited for conflict. A soldier with a U.S. Army email address detailed a background in battlefield intelligence, writing, “I am willing to use any skills you identify as helpful,” and an Iraq War veteran pledged “any talents available to a former infantry team leader.” Still others listed skills in marksmanship, SWAT tactics, interrogation. A Texas businessman offered his ranch “for training or defensive purposes,” and a Michigan cop, retired from the Special Forces, volunteered as a “tactical/political leader when occasion arrives in near future.”

As I pored through the entries, I began to see them as a window into something much larger than the Oath Keepers. Membership in the group was often fleeting—some people had signed up on a whim and forgotten about it. The Oath Keepers did not have 25,000 soldiers at the ready. But the files showed that Rhodes had tapped into a deep current of anxiety, one that could cause a surprisingly large contingent of people with real police and military experience to consider armed political violence. He was like a fisherman who sinks a beacon into the sea at night, drawing his catch toward the light.

The entries dated from 2009 until 2015, not long before the start of Trump’s presidential campaign. I used them as a starting point for conversations with dozens of current and former members. The dominant mood was foreboding. I found people far along in deliberations about the prospect of civil conflict, bracing for it and afflicted by the sense that they were being pushed toward it by forces outside their control. Many said they didn’t want to fight but feared they’d have no choice.

The first person I contacted, in January, was David Solomita, an Iraq War veteran in Florida whose entry said that a police officer had recruited him to the Oath Keepers while he was out to dinner with his wife. I didn’t mention civil war when I emailed, yet he replied, “I want to make this clear, I am a libertarian and was in Iraq when it became a civil war, I want no part of one.”

Later, Solomita said that he’d been an Oath Keeper for a year before leaving because Rhodes “wanted to be at the center of the circus when [civil war] kicked off.” America’s political breakdown, he added, reminded him too much of what he’d seen overseas.
Trump just put out the call to arms this week. QAnon, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, Molon Labe, Proud Boys, they're all out there.

All bets are off.


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