Monday, January 23, 2023

Last Call For Welcome To Gunmerica, Con't

Another weekend, another deadly mass shooting in America, as police officials say an elderly suspect shot up a Lunar New Year's celebration in California before taking his own life.

Authorities have identified the man responsible for a deadly shooting inside a Monterey Park dance studio as 72-year-old Hemet resident Huu Can Tran.

Tran died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a strip mall parking lot, law enforcement sources said.

“We still are not clear on the motive,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said. “The investigation continues … we want to know how something this awful can happen.”

The manhunt began after the shooter opened fire inside Star Dance Studio on West Garvey Avenue around 10:20 p.m. Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring 10 others. It was Lunar New Year’s Eve.

About 20 minutes after the shooting in Monterey Park, Tran walked into Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in nearby Alhambra, officials said. “The suspect walked in there, probably with the intent to kill two more people,” Luna said. “But two community members disarmed him, took possession of his weapon, and the suspect ran away.”

At 10:20 a.m. Sunday, police located the white cargo van that was seen leaving the scene of the shooting near Sepulveda and Hawthorne boulevards in Torrance, Luna said. When officers left their patrol vehicle to make contact with the van occupant, they heard one gunshot come from the van.

At 1 p.m., a SWAT team determined that the suspect had sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities determined the man inside the van was Tran, the mass shooting suspect.

During the search, several pieces of evidence were found inside the van linking the suspect to both locations.

“I can confirm that there are no outstanding suspects,” Luna said.

The weapon taken by community members in Alhambra was a magazine-fed semiautomatic assault pistol, with an extended magazine attached, according to authorities. This particular firearm with an extended magazine is illegal to possess in California.

An advisory from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department identified the suspect as an adult Asian man, about 5 feet 10 inches and weighing 150 pounds. An image showed the man in a black leather jacket, beanie and glasses.

“I still have questions in my mind, which is, what was the motive for this shooter? Did he have a mental illness? Was he a domestic violence abuser? How did he get these guns, and was it through legal means? Well, those questions will have to be answered in the future,” said U.S. Rep. Judy Chu during a Sunday night news conference.
We don't know if it was a hate crime, a targeted killing, a random massacre, or what at this point, but what we do know is that the weapon used made it easy for the gunman to shoot 20 people and kill 10 of them, and that absolutely nothing will be done to prevent the next massacre.
No other country on earth would tolerate this level of wanton destruction, and make literally hundreds of millions of firearms available to the public to be used for harming others.

Welcome to Gunmerica. Flights to hell with a bullet leaving daily.

Those Florida Blues

DEMS IN DISARRAY from the Washington Post, but in this case as the subject is Florida's completely moribund Democratic party, the joke is that the Post is kinda correct for once.
More than two months after enduring humbling midterm losses, Democrats in Florida are in a state of disorder, with no clear leader, infrastructure, or consensus for rebuilding, according to interviews with more than a dozen organizers, former lawmakers, donors and other leaders.

These factors have compounded their worries about Democrats outside Florida all but writing off the nation’s third most populous state, which was once seen as a marquee battleground. Democrats have struggled there in recent elections, hitting a new low last fall when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won a second term by nearly 20 points and carried majority-Hispanic Miami-Dade County, which a GOP gubernatorial nominee hadn’t done in 20 years. Republicans also secured a supermajority in the state legislature.

Now, as Democrats look to 2024, there are few early signs that Florida will be a top priority for President Biden, who has said he intends to run for reelection. A Biden adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe strategy, said decisions about whether a reelection campaign would invest in Florida would be based in part on the Republican nominee. Some Democrats see little hope of contesting Florida’s 30 electoral votes — only Texas and California are allotted more — in 2024 if DeSantis is the nominee, while there’s a greater opportunity if former president Donald Trump wins the GOP nod.

“The thing about Florida Democrats is we keep learning with every passing year that just when you thought you had hit bottom, you discover that there are new abysses to fall deeper and deeper into,” said Fernand Amandi, a veteran Democratic operative in the state. “There is no plan. There’s nothing. It’s just a state of suspended animation and chaos — and, more than anything, it’s the mournful regret and acceptance that Florida has been cast aside for the long, foreseeable future.”

It is unclear to many Florida Democrats whether they will be able to field a competitive U.S. Senate nominee next year for the seat currently held by Sen. Rick Scott (R); the last time they won a Senate race in the state was 2012. There are currently no Democratic statewide officeholders — a first since Reconstruction.

More immediately, they face the question of who will helm the state party after the recent resignation of Manny Diaz, the embattled chairman who faced mounting calls for him to step down. There is no immediate front-runner for the position, Democrats said, and the Democratic National Committee has no preference for next chair yet, according to a person familiar with the deliberations, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private considerations.
To recap, the nation's third most populous state has virtually no Democratic party leadership at this point. The state completely belongs to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and his anti-trans, anti-Black, white supremacist assholes and there are basically zero plans to confront him from within the state. DeSantis is completely unfettered and can pass whatever laws and decrees that he wants to. It's a one-party state, and that party is utterly corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, and plain evil.

Florida Democrats certainly aren't going to try to stop him anytime soon because they can't. Like Ohio, Florida is lost to MAGA idiocy and millions will suffer as a result for years to come. The problem is the Florida GOP. The Democrats in the state just don't have the resources to fight this level of bone-numbing, soul-eating stupid.

But they'd better get those resources, because the Florida game plan, starting with Hispanic voters, is coming to as many other states as possible in 2024. The failure by Democrats to counter the Spanish language media version of the Right Wing Noise Machine directly led to major losses in Florida, Texas, and California in 2022, and heading into 2024 the GOP desinformaciĆ³n project is going nationwide in a mutli-million dollar way.
Republicans have made notable inroads among Hispanic voters in recent election cycles. Now, a conservative media network is looking to cement and further those gains by trying to become the Fox News of Spanish-speaking America.

Americano Media, which launched in March, is embarking on an aggressive expansion plan to shape center-right Hispanic opinion during the upcoming election cycle. The network has hired more than 80 Latino journalists and producers, are expanding their radio presence to television, and by the end of the year will have studios in Miami, Las Vegas and D.C. with reporters covering the White House, Congress and embedding in 2024 presidential campaigns. This month, Americano is launching a $20 million marketing campaign to draw in new viewers.

It’s the latest development in an arms race to reach and win over the nation’s second-largest demographic group, one playing an increasingly critical role in election outcomes.

“We don’t have a Fox News in Spanish, and that’s what Americano intends to be,” said the network’s CEO and founder Ivan Garcia-Hidalgo. He said he has listened to Hispanic Republican leaders lament for 25 years about the need for something like it, but no one ever took serious action.

Garcia-Hidalgo, who worked as a Hispanic surrogate for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign after a career in telecommunications with Tyco, AT&T and Sprint, said he wants to “blow up” the traditional ways in which conservative Hispanics interact with the media, which he said consisted of going on liberal-leaning networks to “apologize for being Republican, bow your head and take a beating for an hour.”

Americano started with a suite of radio shows out of Miami, where it remains headquartered, but plans to have a presence on television and radio in battleground states across America in the next year, in addition to driving Spanish-speaking audiences to its online and streaming platforms.

To date, Americano Media has raised $18 million from its first three investors, and is set to complete its first and only round of equity investment this spring to generate another $30 to $50 million, Garcia-Hidalgo said. Thomas Woolston, a northern Virginia patent attorney, and Doug Hayden, a San Jose, Calif.-based investor, were the first to provide capital; Americano declined to disclose the third investor. 
If you want a good place for Florida Democrats to start fighting back, combating Americano Media is an excellent place to start, eh?

It's easy to say that "Look, if your state's Democratic party is in worse shape than Kentucky, Indiana, or Ohio, which Florida most definitely qualifies as, you're in real trouble, and so increasingly is America."

But never forget the villains here are the GOP. And they're winning.

Presenting, Not Lamenting, The Zients King

The Biden White House is moving extremely quickly on replacing outgoing Chief of Staff Ron Klain, and former WH COVID response czar/Midterm shuffle transition aide Jeff Zients is the person for the job.

President Biden will name Jeff Zients to serve as his next chief of staff, turning to a management consultant who oversaw the administration’s coronavirus response to replace Ron Klain, who is expected to leave in the coming weeks, according to four people familiar with the decision.

Zients left the White House in April after steering the administration’s pandemic response and leading the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. He returned to the White House in the fall to help Klain prepare for staff turnover after the midterms — a project that was ultimately limited in scope, as few senior staff members have left across the administration. But, in recent weeks, Klain has assigned him different projects, which some viewed as preparing Zients for the top role, people familiar with the arrangement said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment.

Zients takes over the top job as Biden is entering a new and challenging stretch of his presidency: Republicans have already launched a barrage of investigations into the administration and the business dealings of the president’s son. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to investigate the handling of classified documents found at Biden’s personal office and Wilmington, Del., home. And Biden is preparing to launch his reelection bid.

Zients comes into the job with a vastly different profile than Klain: His first government job was during the Obama administration, and he has spent most of his career in the private sector. He has only ever worked in the executive branch. His personal Twitter account has no posts.

But colleagues have praised Zients as a master implementer who engenders deep loyalty from the people he oversees.

As Biden ramps up his political activity, some Democrats said they expect the structure of the chief of staff role to change, with Biden’s political advisers, including Anita Dunn, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mike Donilon, Steve Ricchetti and Bruce Reed, taking on even more prominence in the building.

They compared the arrangement to that of the Obama White House, when Jack Lew served as chief of staff in 2012 and focused on keeping the federal government running, while David Plouffe, a political strategist, came into the White House from 2011 to 2013 as a senior adviser to oversee the reelection campaign. Democrats say Dunn, a senior adviser, will serve in a Plouffe-like role.
So the message being sent here is that Zients is a fighter and will be free to take on the House GOP Circus of the Damned, while Anita Dunn will run Biden's 2024 campaign.

Having said that, Zients will certainly find himself a giant target of House Republicans, both for his new role and for his runningCOVID-19 response last year. Let's hope he's as much of a combatant as he is a manager, because Kevin McCarthy's clown crew is definitely going to try to drag him into hearing after hearing.

We'll see how he fares, but it looks like this has been in the works for a while now, and he's had time to prepare for the sheer magnitude of the job ahead, and the stakes that are in play, starting with the GOP trying to default on America's debt and pitch us headfirst into a depression with millions of job losses and untold misery.

No pressure, Jeff...
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