Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Last Call For The Booker Of History

Kentucky state Sen. Charles Booker is the Democratic candidate running against GOP Sen. Rand Paul here in Kentucky this November, and Booker's new campaign ad is a hard strike against Paul.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Charles Booker stands with a noose around his neck in a new campaign ad criticizing his opponent, Republican incumbent Rand Paul, for holding up legislation in 2020 that would have made lynching a federal hate crime in America.

The certain-to-be-controversial ad, which Booker's campaign released Wednesday morning, includes a content warning for "strong imagery."

It does not mention that Paul went on to co-sponsor a new (and bipartisan) version of that legislation. The Senate unanimously voted this March to pass the updated Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which is now law.

"The pain of our past persists to this day," Booker says in a voiceover as his ad begins, showing a historic lynching photo and a noose hanging from the limb of a tree. "In Kentucky, like many states throughout the South, lynching was a tool of terror. It was used to kill hopes for freedom.

"It was used to kill my ancestors," Booker says as he appears onscreen, standing next to a tree with a noose looped around his neck.

"Now, in a historic victory for our commonwealth, I have become the first Black Kentuckian to receive the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate."

"My opponent?" he says as an image of Paul appears. "The very person who compared expanded health care to slavery. The person who said he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act. The person who singlehandedly blocked an antilynching act from being federal law."

"The choice couldn't be clearer," Booker continues over the resounding creak of a rope, shown in close-up, before he appears onscreen with his hands gripping the noose. "Do we move forward together? Or do we let politicians like Rand Paul forever hold us back and drive us apart?
Now, having lived in this state for 16 years, I can tell you two things: One, that Booker is right about Rand Paul's history as Senator, and two, that doesn't change the fact that Kentucky is 88% white. The backlash on this ad is going to be incredible and nationalized. FOX is going to have a field day with this here for weeks, if not months.

This is going to be framed as the Worst Thing Black Democrats Have Ever Done™. Expect Black Republicans like Sen. Tim Scott and Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears dragged out to denounce Booker and demand he drop out of the race.

Oh, and part of me feels like Booker just put a target on the backs of every Black person here in the Commonwealth.  He's still right about the state's history of lynching. He just threw it in the face of Rand Paul and white Kentucky. Booker needed to get national attention to change the trajectory of an assured double-digit loss.

But I don't know if this is going to help here. I really don't.

We'll see.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

President Biden takes to the NY Times in an op-ed to explain his endgame for Ukraine.

The invasion Vladimir Putin thought would last days is now in its fourth month. The Ukrainian people surprised Russia and inspired the world with their sacrifice, grit and battlefield success. The free world and many other nations, led by the United States, rallied to Ukraine’s side with unprecedented military, humanitarian and financial support.

As the war goes on, I want to be clear about the aims of the United States in these efforts.

America’s goal is straightforward: We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression.

As President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has said, ultimately this war “will only definitively end through diplomacy.” Every negotiation reflects the facts on the ground. We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.

That’s why I’ve decided that we will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.

We will continue cooperating with our allies and partners on Russian sanctions, the toughest ever imposed on a major economy. We will continue providing Ukraine with advanced weaponry, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger antiaircraft missiles, powerful artillery and precision rocket systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters and ammunition. We will also send billions more in financial assistance, as authorized by Congress. We will work with our allies and partners to address the global food crisis that Russia’s aggression is worsening. And we will help our European allies and others reduce their dependence on Russian fossil fuels, and speed our transition to a clean energy future.

We will also continue reinforcing NATO’s eastern flank with forces and capabilities from the United States and other allies. And just recently, I welcomed Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join NATO, a move that will strengthen overall U.S. and trans-Atlantic security by adding two democratic and highly capable military partners.

We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia. As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow. So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces. We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia.

My principle throughout this crisis has been “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.” I will not pressure the Ukrainian government — in private or public — to make any territorial concessions. It would be wrong and contrary to well-settled principles to do so.

Ukraine’s talks with Russia are not stalled because Ukraine has turned its back on diplomacy. They are stalled because Russia continues to wage a war to take control of as much of Ukraine as it can. The United States will continue to work to strengthen Ukraine and support its efforts to achieve a negotiated end to the conflict
The goal at least is to get Moscow to the table to negotiate an armistice. How many people in Ukraine have to die before that happens, well, that's up to Putin.

Another Day In Gunmerica, Con't

Republicans are the party of mass firearms deaths, and they proudly run on it, because the people who vote for them are bloodthirsty lunatics who want to water the Tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants, and "tyrants" is anyone who votes Democrat.
Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick first shoots the hunting rifle he says he used as a teenager. Pow. Next, he cocks the rifle he says he used at the U.S. Military Academy and fires. Pow. Then he points a semiautomatic assault rifle like one he says he used in Iraq at a faraway target. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow.

Former television personality and surgeon Mehmet Oz loads a shotgun and shoots. “When people say I don’t support guns? They’re dead wrong,” Oz says. The camera then zooms in on Oz locking a magazine onto an AR-15 style rifle.

McCormick and Oz, the finalists in a high-stakes Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania that has gone to a recount, have spent months trying to showcase their conservative bona fides to GOP base voters and head off skepticism of their elite backgrounds on Wall Street and in Hollywood, respectively. Part of that strategy involved commercials showing them shooting guns.

Although candidates in both parties have long used guns as a campaign prop, the images have in recent years become more prevalent, and intentionally provocative, in Republican advertising, holidays greetings and other forms of communication with the public. Such placements convey a cultural and political solidarity with conservatives more powerfully than most anything else, according to Republican strategists and aides.

“It is a very visual example. It’s an illustration of where both sides are in that the more the right feels they are going to lose their Second Amendment rights, the further they’re going to go to defend them,” said Terry Sullivan, a veteran Republican strategist.

But as the nation reckons with a pair of deadly mass shootings at a Buffalo grocery store and a Texas elementary school, some are warning that these photos and videos are harmful and glorify the use and ownership of firearms designed to kill.

“These ads create a dangerous impression that firearms, and assault-style firearms specifically, are casual tools rather than dangerous weapons,” said Kris Brown, the president of Brady, a gun violence prevention organization. “To use them to grandstand and to provocate is dangerous.”

Some Republicans rejected that position, arguing they are promoting safe and legal gun use.

Last Christmas season, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) posted a holiday photo on social media showing him and his family posed in front of a Christmas tree, all clutching military-style firearms.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who has built her political brand in large measure around her devotion to guns, responded to Massie’s tweet with a photo of her and her sons holding similar assault rifles with a message to her colleague: “The Boeberts have your six” — military jargon for having someone’s back.

While most representatives of the elected officials and candidates cited in this report did not immediately respond to a request for comment, John Kennedy, communications director for Massie, defended his boss’s decision to promote his photograph and said it did not send a dangerous message.

“Rep. Massie’s photo was so popular with his Kentucky constituents that the most commonly heard complaint we received was that this photo was not released as the actual Christmas card,” Kennedy said.
I have to assume from his actions that Massie would love nothing more than to be given carte blanche to shoot constituents like me, and if that's true, you'll no longer wonder why I don't go out much around here in Gunmerica.
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