Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Last Call For Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

The Washington Post is reporting that former Trump Assistant Secretary of State Robert Destro met with two election theft "activists" on January 6th itself, with the purpose of the meeting to coordinate spreading disinformation about the 2020 election and justifying the January 6th terrorist attack with that disinformation.
On Jan. 6, 2021, around the time that thousands of Donald Trump’s supporters swarmed the U.S. Capitol, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. State Department met with two activists who had been key to spreading the false narrative that the presidential election had been stolen.

The meeting came as Trump’s allies were pressing theories that election machines had been hacked by foreign powers and were angling for Trump to employ the vast powers of the national security establishment to seize voting machines or even rerun the election.

Robert A. Destro, a law professor at Catholic University of America then serving as an assistant secretary of state, confirmed to The Washington Post he met with the two men — Colorado podcaster Joe Oltmann and Michigan lawyer Matthew DePerno — in the midst of the tumultuous day.

The two men have previously claimed to have huddled on Jan. 6 with State Department leaders, who Oltmann has said were sympathetic to the claims that a “coup” was underway to steal the presidency from Trump. They have not identified with whom they met. Destro’s acknowledgment is the first independent confirmation that they successfully gained the high-level audience. It is unclear whether the meeting led to any action.

Oltmann and DePerno played important behind-the-scenes roles in crafting the baseless allegations that the election was stolen from Trump, a review of emails and public statements from Trump allies shows. The State Department meeting provides new evidence of the success that activists spreading false claims about the election had in gaining access to top administration officials. Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows was in close contact with activists pushing false fraud narratives, as were high-level officials at the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

Little is known about the origins of the session at the State Department. The department is responsible for international diplomacy, and former officials said meetings that revolve around domestic elections would be highly unusual.

In response to questions from The Post, Destro confirmed in an email that he met with Oltmann and DePerno, now the Republican nominee for attorney general in Michigan. But Destro declined to answer other questions, including what was discussed that day, whether other officials took part and whether anyone took action as a result.

“I met with hundreds of American citizens and foreign nationals during my time at State, all of whom had foreign-focused issues to discuss,” wrote Destro, who served as the assistant secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from September 2019 to the end of Trump’s term. “I won’t talk about any of the details of those meetings, either.”

Before joining the State Department, Destro was a law professor who specialized in religious liberty and had served as an adviser to religious organizations. He has appeared on a podcast hosted by Tony Perkins, president of the socially conservative Family Research Council.

Oltmann and DePerno did not respond to questions about the meeting.
Everywhere you look, you find more January 6th co-conspirators.

Years beforelaw enforcement seized the contents of Ian Rogers’s safe, he earned a reputation as a talented mechanic and successful Napa Valley business owner. Rogers catered to an elite clientele of Jaguar, Land Rover and Rolls-Royce owners inside a garage off Napa’s main drag, a street spotted with boutiques and high-end bed and breakfasts.

The 47-year-old from Sonoma County, who appeared to have a passion for guns, according to Facebook posts where he dissed prominent Democrats, was also a loving husband and father who paid his bills on time, according to his family and friends.

In the fall of 2020, in the weeks after Joe Biden was declared the next president of the United States, Rogers sent an ominous text to someone he trusted, according to court records.

“Ok bro we need to hit the enemy in the mouth,” he messaged.

“Yeah so we punch Soros,” Rogers’s former employee and gym buddy, Jarrod Copeland, texted back, referring to billionaire investor George Soros.

Copeland, a Kentucky native, had been a mechanic at Rogers’s shop nearly a decade earlier.

“I think right now we attack democrats. They’re offices etc. Molotov cocktails and gasoline,” Rogers continued.

Copeland replied, “We need more people bro. Gonna be hard.”

The day after Thanksgiving, the chatter kindled a plan. Text messages contained in court records show the two men agreed to burn down the headquarters of the California Democratic Party in Sacramento, a building diagonal to the California Highway Patrol office tasked with protecting state lawmakers and daily visitors to the Capitol. Also nearby: a youth center, a gym and a popular bookstore.

Rogers: sent link to the address of the California Democratic Party office…
Copeland: Right next to CHP
Copeland: gotta be cautious
Rogers: Only takes 3 minutes
Rogers: Take a brick break a window pour gas in and light

The two men texted that they hoped hitting that particular target would send a message and ignite a movement. They viewed themselves as action-film heroes, referencing “The Expendables,” a popular movie franchise.

Rogers: Scare the whole country
Rogers: Can you imagine cnn covering this haha !
Rogers: I’ll leave a envelope with our demands and intentions
Rogers: Basically saying we declare war on the Democratic Party and all traitors to the republic.
Copeland: That’s some expendables stuff.
Rogers: We need to send a message
Copeland: Yep I agree
Rogers: Start a movement

On Jan. 8, 2021, the two acknowledged they might die carrying out their plan. Rogers asked Copeland if he was ready to leave his wife.

Rogers: What I’m talking about we probably will die unfortunately
Copeland: She was crying yesterday and said to me “please don’t leave me I don’t know what to do without you” she was rubbing my back while I was watching...
Copeland: She knows how i run and she knows I will put myself in harms way for what I believe in
It never came to that.

Rogers and Copeland were arrested in January and July of 2021, respectively, according to court records.
Reminder that the good guys have to get lucky 100% of the time, or people die.

It's A Gas, Gas, Gas Con't

Republicans want you to blame Biden and the Democrats for high gas prices at the pump, and specifically they want you to blame Biden and the Democrats for "not doing anything to help" when Republicans are the ones blocking legislation to do so.

Take a walk through U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' tweets and you'll find complaint after complaint about the price of gas. Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington, is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee but opposes legislation to stop oil and gas companies from price gouging consumers.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers on Monday claimed that making it illegal for oil companies to price gouge is "socialism," something that's done in places like "Soviet Russia," not in America.

“The promise of America is free enterprise, not socialism, not government price controls,” she claimed, as she complained about the price of gas, which just hit a new record high.

The bill would not set price caps as some Republicans suggest, rather, it would empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate if oil and gas companies are price gouging consumers.

Republicans on the powerful House Rules Committee on Monday blocked the bill, H.R. 7688, the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act. from advancing. The GOP, thanks to McMorris Rodgers, is now calling the legislation the "Socialist Energy Price Fixing Act."

CNN's Manu Raju reports House Republican leadership Monday evening was urging its members to vote against the legislation if and when it comes to a vote on the full floor, which is still possible, although questionable.

But even if the bill passes the House, Senate Republicans will filibuster it, then all of them will run ads blaming the Democrats.

They'll get away with it too.

They always do.

Nobody's Business But The Turks, Con't

With Sweden and Finland (and even the Swiss) wanting to join NATO, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan knows that unanimous consent among all NATO members is needed to approve the move, and that means Erdogan can now extract all kinds of political concessions from his fellow NATO allies.

Ankara has repeatedly taken issue with Western governments like Sweden over their support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The dominant fighting force in the SDF, which has been the West's main partner in the fight against ISIS, is the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist organization, associating it with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) — a militant, separatist group that has waged a violent campaign against the Turkish government since the mid-1980s as part of an effort to establish an independent Kurdish state.

The YPG has denied having any explicit organizational links with the PKK, but Turkey effectively views them as one in the same. The US also views the PKK as a terror group, but it hasn't taken the same stance toward the YPG and has worked closely with the SDF in the campaign against ISIS. Turkey has also rebuked the US over its support for the SDF.

This complex backdrop helps explain why Erdogan on Friday said he did not view Finland and Sweden's NATO aspirations positively and accused them of harboring terrorist organizations.

Over the weekend, Turkey's top diplomat appeared to signal that there was room for negotiation on the issue, laying out Ankara's demands in this regard.

"There absolutely needs to be security guarantees here. They need to stop supporting terrorist organizations," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Berlin, per Reuters. The Turkish government has demanded that Finland and Sweden extradite suspected members of Kurdish militant groups like the PKK, while also calling for the two countries to lift restrictions on arms exports to Turkey that were imposed over military actions in Syria in 2019.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for Erdogan, on Saturday told Reuters that Turkey was "not closing the door" on Finland and Sweden's NATO bids. "But we are basically raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey," Kalin added.

Erdogan is running for re-election next year, and could be trying to score political points domestically by tying this issue to Turkey's issues with Kurdish militant groups.

"Erdogan decided to make this very public and announce Turkey's position, with a view also to obtain support domestically," Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat, told the Wall Street Journal, adding, "This is how he operates. He always has an eye to domestic politics."

Stoltenberg, the NATO chief, on Sunday said he did not believe it was Turkey's intention to prevent Sweden and Finland from joining the alliance. "Turkey has made it clear: Their intention is not to block membership," Stoltenberg told reporters Sunday, the Washington Post reported. "Therefore, I am confident we'll be able to address the concerns that Turkey has expressed in a way that doesn't delay the accession process."

But Erdogan's comments on Monday threw more uncertainty into the process. Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, offered remarks on the latest moves that stood in stark contrast with Moscow's generally hardline stance and threats against NATO expansion.

"Russia has no problem with these states — none," Putin said to the leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led military alliance. "And so in this sense there is no immediate threat to Russia from an expansion of NATO to include these countries," he added, according to Reuters.
Expect the price tag to be pretty substantial, but Erdogan will get his realpolitik kickback here from Biden and company. Nobody wants to be the next Ukraine.
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