Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Last Call For Welcome Back To Gunmerica

Spring has sprung, and along with it, AR-15 killings in mass shootings with Republicans screaming about thoughts and prayers and the rest of the world rightfully believing us to be insane people who need to be quarantined.

The suspect charged in the murders of 10 people at a Boulder, Colo., grocery store — the second mass shooting to shake the country in less than a week — is a 21-year-old man from a nearby Denver suburb who used an AR-15 type of assault rifle, law enforcement officials said.

The police in Arvada, Colo., said they had two encounters in 2018 with the suspect, identified on Tuesday as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa of Arvada — one on a report of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and one of criminal mischief. It is not clear if he was convicted of a crime.

A police affidavit made public on Tuesday said that last week he bought a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic pistol, though it is not clear if that weapon was involved in the shooting on Monday. The affidavit said he had both a rifle and a pistol at the store.

The suspect’s identity was known to the F.B.I. because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, according to law enforcement officials.

Among the victims of the massacre on Monday was Officer Eric Talley, 51, with the Boulder Police Department, who had responded to a “barrage” of 911 calls about the shooting, Chief Maris Herold said.

The authorities identified the nine additional victims as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

Chief Herold said at a news conference that police officers had run into the King Soopers grocery store within minutes of the shooting and had shot at the suspect. No other officers were injured during the response, she said. She said Mr. Alissa was taken to a hospital for treatment of a leg injury

On Tuesday he was taken to a jail in Boulder and was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder. Officials gave no indication of a motive.

Court records show he was born in Syria in 1999, as did a Facebook page that appeared to belong to the suspect, giving his name as Ahmad Al Issa; the page was taken down within an hour of his name being released by the authorities. Michael Dougherty, the Boulder County district attorney, said the suspect had “lived most of his life in the United States.”

The Facebook page said he went to Arvada West High School, where he was a wrestler, and listed wrestling and kickboxing as being among his interests. Many of the posts were about martial arts, and one, in 2019, said simply, “#NeedAGirlfriend.”

The shooting came just six days after another gunman’s deadly shooting spree at massage parlors in the Atlanta area.
This will keep happening as long as we tolerate it, and enough of us tolerate it that it will keep happening. 

Post-Messed-Up In General

While President Biden is appointing new members to the board that oversees the US Postal Service, Trump's agent of the agency's destruction is hard at work trying to lock a decade-long plan into place that will effectively end the era of mail in America for 90% of the country.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will unveil the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation as part of his 10-year plan for the U.S. Postal Service, according to two people briefed on the proposal, including longer first-class delivery windows, reduced post office hours and higher postage prices.

The announcement set for Tuesday is part of DeJoy’s strategic vision for the agency, one that has left postal advocates wary of any changes that could further diminish operations. Mailing industry experts have warned that substantial service cuts could drive away business and worsen the Postal Service’s already battered balance sheet.

DeJoy is expected to emphasize the need for austerity to ensure more consistent delivery and rein in billions of dollars in financial losses, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations. The agency is weighed down by $188.4 billion in liabilities, and DeJoy told a House panel last month that he expects the USPS to lose $160 billion over the next 10 years.

The plan, which he told the panel was eight months in the making, is meant to reset expectations for the Postal Service and its place in the express-shipping market. It’s couched in the notion that the historically high package volumes of the pandemic era will persist, and reorients the agency around consumers who don’t use the mail service for letters, advertisements or business transactions as much as they once did.

“Does it make a difference if it’s an extra day to get a letter?” DeJoy told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in February. “Because something has to change. We cannot keep doing the same thing we’re doing.”

DeJoy will roll out his plan as Democrats have renewed calls for his ouster and the removal of the agency’s governing board, which backs him and the proposals. More than 50 House Democrats last week asked President Biden to fire the board’s six sitting members for cause — citing “gross mismanagement,” “self-inflicted” nationwide mail delays and “rampant conflicts of interest” — and to allow a new slate of Biden nominees to consider DeJoy’s fitness for office.

Biden already has nominated two Democrats and a voting rights advocate to fill three of four vacancies (board Chairman Ron Bloom, a Democrat, is serving in a one-year holdover term) on the board of governors. If confirmed by the Senate, Democrats and Biden appointees would hold a 5-to-4 majority with the votes to remove DeJoy, if desired.

Biden cannot fire DeJoy; postal operations are purposefully insulated from the presidency and Congress to prevent politicians from tinkering with the mail system for political gain. The postmaster general answers only to the board of governors. Bloom told the House panel in February that the board “believes the postmaster general in very difficult circumstances is doing a good job.”

Most of DeJoy’s changes will not face regulatory road blocks. The postmaster general unilaterally controls operating hours at post offices, and the board of governors appears to back DeJoy’s changes to delivery times. Bloom will join DeJoy on a webinar Tuesday to announce the policies.


Remember two things: 

One, President Biden may not be able to get America out of this. He can only appoint governors and he'll need Senate confirmation to do it.

Two, you can personally thank Bernie Sanders for getting us into this mess. By making the perfect the enemy of the good, he blocked President Obama's appointments to the Postal Board of Governors in 2016, allowing Donald Trump to later appoint all the governors himself with Mitch McConnell's help.

We could have saved the Post Office. There's a coin-flip chance that it doesn't make it through the decade without the mail being permanently privatized.

The Big Gun Or The Good Package(s)?

President Biden and the White House are preparing to release their budget plans for two massive Marshall Plan/Public Works Authority-style infrastructure and family care bills that will of course get zero GOP support, and be the impetus for abolishing the filibuster.

White House officials are preparing to present President Biden with a roughly $3 trillion infrastructure and jobs package that includes numerous sweeping domestic policy priorities, according to three people familiar with internal discussions.

After completing the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package earlier this month, Biden administration officials are piecing together their next major legislative priority. While no final announcement has been made, the White House is expected to push a multitrillion jobs and infrastructure plan as the centerpiece of the president’s “Build Back Better” agenda.

That effort is expected to be broken into two parts — one focused on infrastructure, and the other focused on other domestic priorities, such as universal prekindergarten, national child care, and free community college tuition. Many details of the plan were first reported by the New York Times. The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, stressed planning was preliminary and subject to change. Some aides stressed that the final price-tag of the package remained unclear.

The sprawling package, although still in the works, follows weeks of uncertainty about Biden’s second big legislative effort following the relief package. Crucial decisions will still have to be made about how the administration seeks to advance the measure. Congressional Republicans are unlikely to support trillions more in additional spending or the tax hikes that the White House is eyeing to fund these initiatives.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the administration had not decided on its next step. “President Biden and his team are considering a range of potential options for how to invest in working families and reform our tax code so it rewards work, not wealth," Psaki said. "Those conversations are ongoing, so any speculation about future economic proposals is premature and not a reflection of the White House’s thinking.”

The infrastructure part of the plan includes hundreds of billions of dollars for repairing the nation’s roads, bridges, waterways, and rails. It also includes funding for retrofitting buildings, safety improvements, schools infrastructure, and low-income and tribal groups, as well as $100 billion for schools and education infrastructure.

The infrastructure component of the proposal includes $400 billion in spending to combat climate change, including $60 billion for infrastructure related to green transit and $46 billion for climate-related research and development. The plan also would aim to make electric vehicle charging stations available across the country. The measure would also include $200 billion for housing infrastructure, including $100 billion to expand the supply of housing for low-income Americans.

The second component of the effort would include many of Biden’s other domestic priorities. Those include universal prekindergarten and free community college tuition. The package would also dramatically expand spending on child care. The measure would also extend for several years the expansion of the Child Tax Credit recently signed into law for just one year as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

The legislation would also include extending subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, as well as free and reduced tuition at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
This is basically everything we've been badly needing for the last two decades, folks. This bill has zero, I repeat, zero chance of any GOP support, and I suspect that should the bill miraculously pass because the filibuster is gone, that the GOP red state attorneys general will sue the pants off the Biden administration to stop anything from happening, and then blame the Democrats. They may even win in the Supreme Court outright on much of the plan.

But then the GOP owns all of that failure. And with no filibuster, Biden can add to the courts.

This is where the real battle of my lifetime begins.


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