Saturday, October 31, 2020

Last Call For Lowering The Barr, Con't

Attorney General Bill Barr says he would of course like to stick around in a Trump second term and finish the transition from representative oligarchical democracy to authoritarian dictatorship over the next four years.

Attorney General William P. Barr — who has recently faced criticism from President Trump for not prosecuting his political rivals — has told friends and advisers in recent weeks that he hopes to stay on for some time in the next term, if Trump wins the election.

The assertion from the president’s top law enforcement official might otherwise be unsurprising, if not for the public pressure Trump has put on Barr in recent months to deliver results from an investigation Barr specially commissioned to review the FBI’s 2016 probe of possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Trump also has openly discussed with advisers firing FBI Director Christopher A. Wray after Election Day, even though Wray is only a little more than three years into what is normally a 10-year appointment. Barr has generally sought to shield Wray from Trump’s wrath, though his friends believe he would not resign in protest were the FBI director ousted, people familiar with the matter said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the politically sensitive topic.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

Even amid the president’s attacks, the attorney general has conveyed to friends he would like to stay on the job.

“Barr told me recently he supports the president and would be inclined to stay if the president wanted him to,” said Richard Cullen, a lawyer and longtime friend of Barr who represented Vice President Pence.

It is less clear what Trump wants to do.

In August, Trump told Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo that Barr “can go down as the greatest attorney general in the history of our country, or he can go down as an average guy,” depending on the results of the investigation, led by U.S. Attorney John Durham in Connecticut, into the FBI’s 2016 probe of Trump’s campaign. Trump has agitated for criminal charges or investigations for those he considers political rivals — including former FBI director James B. Comey, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and even former vice president Joe Biden, his opponent in the 2020 race.

More recently, after news reports that results from Durham’s investigation would not be made public before the election, Trump told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh: “I think it’s a terrible thing. And I’ll say it to [Barr’s] face.”

Trump has called publicly for his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, and declined to say whether he would want Barr around in a second term.

A person familiar with the matter said previously that while Barr understands Trump’s frustration about the Durham probe, his pressure was “not going to change anything.” Barr has said previously that Biden was not under investigation in that case. The person said that Barr wants to stay on to see the end of Durham’s work, though it is unclear how long he envisioned his tenure lasting.
If Trump wins, it's going to be because of Barr's work organizing and shepherding the legal arguments that allow SCOTUS  to give the election to Trump. And Barr will point to that and say "Now here's what else we can do with the Supreme Court in our pocket."

It's possible that Barr will even be smart enough to continue to not actually arrest Democrats and make martyrs out of them to rally the resistance around, but instead to use the constant investigations into Trump's political enemies in order to grind the opposition down slowly.

Either way, I expect Barr to definitely stick around in a second Trump term, should that scenario come to pass.

Barr will make himself architect of that win, and he'll get to stay and do far worse to us in the future.
And keep in mind, Nate Silver's 10% chance for Trump to win or not, this election will ultimately be decided by how Trump's 6-3 conservative Roberts Court decides to respond (or not to respond) to the election results.

The Kids Are Alright, The Kentucky State Police Are Not

So, hell of a tale to tell here in Kentucky right now, and it comes to us from duPont Manual High School in Louisville, where the students running the local paper, the Manual Redeye, broke a major news story on Friday involving the Kentucky State Police.

A training slideshow used by the Kentucky State Police (KSP) — the second largest police force in the state — urges cadets to be “ruthless killer[s]” and quotes Adolf Hitler advocating violence.

The slideshow was included in KSP documents obtained via an open records request by local attorney David Ward of Adams Landenwich Walton during the discovery phase of a lawsuit. Ward requested KSP materials used to train a detective who shot and killed a man in Harlan County, and Ward shared the presentation with Manual RedEye.

One slide, titled “Violence of Action,” in addition to imploring officers to be “ruthless killer[s],” instructs troopers to have “a mindset void of emotion” and to “meet violence with greater violence.”

A line from Adolf Hitler’s fascist and anti-Semitic manifesto, Mein Kampf, is featured in the slide: “the very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.”

The presentation also links to a Hitler page on Goodreads, a database of quotes and books.

Two other slides quoting Hitler bring his total to three, making him the most quoted person in the presentation.

In a statement emailed to RedEye reporters, KSP spokesperson Lieutenant Joshua Lawson wrote, “The quotes are used for their content and relevance to the topic addressed in the presentation. The presentation touches on several aspects of service, selflessness, and moral guidance. All of these topics go to the fundamentals of law enforcement such as treating everyone equally, service to the public, and being guided by the law.”

In a separate email, Lawson also stated that the presentation seems to be seven years old and appears to have been made by an instructor at the academy. It is not clear how long the presentation was used, or if it is still used. (Editor’s note: According to a statement received after publication from Morgan Hall, the Communications Director for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the presentation was not used after 2013.)

Although the presentation also features quotes from a variety of other sources including Sun Tzu and Albert Einstein, Dr. Jack Glaser —a professor at the University of California Berkeley who studies police practices — found the Hitler quotes inexcusable.

“Hitler is, justifiably, the archetype of a bad person with the worst, inhumane morals. It’s controversial enough to quote him when trying to illustrate a point about genocidal despots. Quoting him in the manner that these trainings do —prescriptively —is unfathomable,” Glaser wrote in an email to RedEye reporters.

The training materials are coming to light during a national discussion about systemic racism and the role of police in communities, a debate centered on Kentucky after Louisville Metro Police Department officers shot Breonna Taylor in March.

Since 2018, KSP troopers have committed at least 16 fatal shootings according to a Washington Post database of police shootings, the most of any police force in the state. Troopers were not wearing body cameras during any of the shootings.

During the same timeframe, the Louisville Metro Police Department, the largest police force in the state, killed 15 people, including Taylor.
Both Governor Beshear and Lousiville Congressman John Yarmuth have issues very critical statements vowing to look into the matter, which again, the Kentucky State Police isn't denying.
But yeah, as recently as 2013, KY State Police were happily referencing Hitler on training cops how to be "warriors" and how to kill in order to "be the one to survive and walk away" in a conflict with the people they are supposed to be protecting and serving.

And hey, students at Manual High? Excellent job.You made a real difference.

The Country Goes Viral, Con't

As we cross the Rubicon into 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day while Trump lies to us and says "we're turning the corner" at every rally, a reminder that this Halloween, America is trapped in an absolutely real nightmare.

The outlook for the pandemic continues to worsen, and many areas of the United States are experiencing their worst weeks yet. The country reported a record of more than 500,000 new coronavirus cases in the past week.

It’s not just a few areas driving the surge, as was the case early on. Half of U.S. counties saw new cases peak during the past month. Almost a third saw a record in the past week.

In the Upper Midwest and Mountain West, records are being smashed almost daily, and in some counties as much as 5 percent of the population has tested positive for the virus to date.

Some records come with an asterisk. With less widespread testing capacity in the spring, cases went undercounted then compared with now.

And in some less populous places, a record number is not necessarily a very high one. Orleans County, Vt., for example, saw eight cases in the past week — a record for the rural county of about 27,000 people on the Canadian border, but hardly a severe outbreak.

Taylor County, Fla., a Gulf Coast county of similar size, had 32 cases in the past week, four times as many as Orleans but far fewer than the record 600 new cases it had during the first week of August.

Yet many parts of the Sun Belt that were hot spots over the summer continue to record substantial numbers of new cases each day, even if they are falling short of their summer peaks.

And other critical metrics underscore the severity and acceleration of the current outbreak. Hospitalization data, which the Covid Tracking Project collects at the state level, shows that the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus reached record highs in almost half of states in recent weeks.

The recent surge in cases has not yet brought a similar surge in reported deaths, which can lag cases by up to several weeks. But already deaths are increasing in about half of states.

In the past month, about a third of U.S. counties hit a daily record of more deaths than any other time during the pandemic.
We're now at the point where Trump and Republicans refusing to allow lockdowns at the state level will kill a lot of Americans in the weeks and months ahead. I'm hoping that after Election Day, we'll see governors in both parties start restricting travel, restaurants, bars, and theaters, and telling people to stay home.

Because if we don't?
Regardless of the election results, Trump will do nothing until January.  There will be no national effort to coordinate states on COVID-19 at all. Everyone is on their own.
We're still months away from a working, widely available vaccine. Maybe a year. Maybe more.

The death toll will be into seven figures.

Count on it.

Deportation Nation, Con't

A scary thought this Halloween.
Trump regime Minister of Purity Stephen Miller is licking his chops at the prospect of putting the Trump deportation machine into overdrive should Trump win, and by his own words, we learn that there's still a lot of damage these fiends can do to people if given the chance.

Immigration has been overshadowed by surging coronavirus case numbers and an economy shattered by a nearly yearlong pandemic, but it was central to Trump's rise to power in the Republican Party, and Miller has been a driving force for the administration's often controversial policies to crack down on illegal migration and erect hurdles for aspiring legal immigrants.

Miller has spearheaded an immigration policy that critics describe as cruel, racist and antithetical to American values as a nation of immigrants. He scoffs at those claims, insisting that his only priority is to protect the safety and wages of Americans.

And he said he intends to stay on to see the agenda through in a second term if Trump is re-elected.

In the near term, Miller wouldn't commit to lifting the freeze on new green cards and visas that's set to expire at the end of the year, saying it would be "entirely contingent" on governmental analysis that factors in the state of the job market.

Asked whether he would support reinstating the controversial "zero tolerance" policy that led to families' being separated, Miller said the Trump administration is "100 percent committed to a policy of family unity," but he described the policy as one that would keep families together in immigration detention by changing what is known as the Flores settlement agreement.

Over the past year, the administration has sought to amend the Flores agreement, which says children can't be held over 20 days in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention. If it succeeds, immigrant families could be detained indefinitely as they await their day in immigration court.

On Trump's watch, asylum grants have plummeted. Miller wants to keep it that way. He said a second-term Trump administration would seek to expand "burden-sharing" deals with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that cut off pathways to the U.S. for asylum-seekers.

"The president would like to expand that to include the rest of the world," Miller said. "And so if you create safe third partners in other continents and other countries and regions, then you have the ability to share the burden of asylum-seekers on a global basis."

"Another major priority with a big contrast is going to be really cracking down aggressively on sanctuary cities," Miller said.

He noted that the administration has withheld some grants to sanctuary cities. In a second term, he said, it would continue the battle with two new initiatives.

First, Miller said, Trump would push for legislation filed by Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., which would punish jurisdictions that refuse to turn over arrested people who are in the U.S. illegally to ICE for deportation. Second, Trump would go a step further with a law to "outlaw the practice," thereby making it mandatory for authorities to turn those migrants over to the feds.

Miller said another priority would be "building on and expanding the framework that we've created with the travel ban, in terms of raising the standard for screening and vetting for admission to the United States."

That includes enhanced screening methods and more information-sharing among agencies to vet applicants seeking admission into the country. The U.S. already looks for ties to terrorism and extremist groups. Miller wants to go further by vetting the "ideological sympathies or leanings" of visa applicants to gauge their potential for recruitment by radicals.

That may include changing the interview process, adding interviews or talking to people close to applicants about their beliefs.

"That's going to be a major priority," he said. "It's going to require a whole government effort. It's going to require building a very elaborate and very complex screening mechanism."

Miller said a second-term Trump administration would finalize efforts to curtail use of guest-worker programs like H-1B visas, including by eliminating the lottery system used in the process when applications exceed the annual quota and by giving priority to those being offered the highest wages.

He said Trump would pursue a "points-based entry system" for American visa grants aimed at admitting only those who "can contribute the most to job creation and economic opportunity" while preventing "displacement of U.S. workers."
Miller would effectively end legal immigration, criminalize illegal immigration with massive expansion of armed and violent enforcement, end refugee resettlement in the US, and expel millions, possibly tens of millions, from the country.

But the jackpot for Miller is the new Roberts Court, and with the 6-3 conservative bent he just may get his wish. What he really wants is an end to birthright citizenship.

The architect of Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy, senior adviser Stephen Miller, is said to have a drawer full of executive orders ready to be signed in “shock and awe” style if Trump is re-elected.

The former homeland security department chief of staff Miles Taylor said this wishlist was reserved for the second term because it included policies that were too unpopular for a president seeking re-election.

This comes as no surprise to those who have watched and worried as legal pathways to US immigration shut under Trump, and who wonder not just about four more years of him as president, but also about four more years with Miller at his side.

The 35-year-old has managed to keep his position as a senior adviser to the president after being exposed for having an affinity for white nationalism and becoming synonymous with unpopular Trump administration policies such as family separation – when thousands of children were taken away from their parents at the southern border to deter would-be migrants. Three years later, more than 500 kids are still yet to be reunited with their parents.

Jean Guerrero, the author of the Miller biography Hatemonger, told the Guardian: “There’s a number of things they have been cautious about because of the legal and political risks in the first term and I think that in a second term you would see Stephen Miller get much freer rein when it comes to his wishlist of items.”

Those items are expected to include attempting to eliminate birthright citizenship, making the US citizenship test more difficult to pass, ending the program which protects people from deportation when there is a crisis is their country (Temporary Protected Status) and slashing refugee admissions even further, to zero.

As bad as Miller's stated deportation and collective punishment goals are, the unstated goals of pushing America into a fascist, white supremacist ethno-state are much, much worse.
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