Thursday, June 15, 2023

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

Right-wing "Christian" churches are increasingly delivering radical calls to terrorist action, and next time you see Republican lawmakers scream about how the FBI is "targeting" churches, understand that the FBI has every reason to do so.

Kent Christmas, the radically right-wing pastor of Regeneration Nashville, used his sermon last Sunday to urge those in his congregation to show the same sort of “passion” that drives radical Islamic terrorists to be willing to “die for their beliefs.”

Christmas, a Trumploving MAGA pastor and conspiracy theorist who has repeatedly declared that God will soon start killing “wicked” elected officials, got himself worked up during his sermon by falsely asserting that the state of Vermont recently passed legislation declaring that “it is legal, up to 21 days after full-term birth, that you can kill a baby.”

“I am at war with evil!” Christmas ranted. “This is one preacher that is not backing down. I can tell you this: I will give my life for the Gospel.”

“You want to know why the Muslim faith has had its advancements?” he continued. “It’s because the Muslims were willing to die for their beliefs. They were willing to strap bombs to their chest. They believed in the afterlife.”

“God, give us some men and women that will get a hold of some passion in their spirit and say, ‘I will lay down my life for the Gospel!'” Christmas thundered. “This thing was born in blood.”


Understand these are Christmas's actual words.

And let's remember that downtown Nashville was hit by a terrorist suicide bombing not more than a few years ago.

So yeah, if I were the FBI, I'd absolutely be keeping an eye on this asshole and everyone attending sermons of suicidal, terrorist hatred like this.

Retribution Execution, Con't

Should Donald Trump (or any Republican who can pass the MAGA primaries for that matter) win the White House in 2024, the notion of an independent Justice Department, rather than one used for arrest and prosecution of Democrats as a matter of course, is gone.
When Donald J. Trump responded to his latest indictment by promising to appoint a special prosecutor if he’s re-elected to “go after” President Biden and his family, he signaled that a second Trump term would fully jettison the post-Watergate norm of Justice Department independence.

“I will appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family,” Mr. Trump said at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Tuesday night after his arraignment earlier that day in Miami. “I will totally obliterate the Deep State.”

Mr. Trump’s message was that the Justice Department charged him only because he is Mr. Biden’s political opponent, so he would invert that supposed politicization. In reality, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, two Trump-appointed prosecutors are already investigating Mr. Biden’s handling of classified documents and the financial dealings of his son, Hunter.

But by suggesting the current prosecutors investigating the Bidens were not “real,” Mr. Trump appeared to be promising his supporters that he would appoint an ally who would bring charges against his political enemies regardless of the facts.

The naked politics infusing Mr. Trump’s headline-generating threat underscored something significant. In his first term, Mr. Trump gradually ramped up pressure on the Justice Department, eroding its traditional independence from White House political control. He is now unabashedly saying he will throw that effort into overdrive if he returns to power.

Mr. Trump’s promise fits into a larger movement on the right to gut the F.B.I., overhaul a Justice Department conservatives claim has been “weaponized” against them and abandon the norm — which many Republicans view as a facade — that the department should operate independently from the president.

Two of the most important figures in this effort work at the same Washington-based organization, the Center for Renewing America: Jeffrey B. Clark and Russell T. Vought. During the Trump presidency, Mr. Vought served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Clark, who oversaw the Justice Department’s civil and environmental divisions, was the only senior official at the department who tried to help Mr. Trump overturn the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump wanted to make Mr. Clark attorney general during his final days in office but stopped after the senior leadership of the Justice Department threatened to resign en masse. Mr. Clark is now a figure in one of the Justice Department’s investigations into Mr. Trump’s attempts to stay in power.

Mr. Clark and Mr. Vought are promoting a legal rationale that would fundamentally change the way presidents interact with the Justice Department. They argue that U.S. presidents should not keep federal law enforcement at arm’s length but instead should treat the Justice Department no differently than any other cabinet agency. They are condemning Mr. Biden and Democrats for what they claim is the politicization of the justice system, but at the same time pushing an intellectual framework that a future Republican president might use to justify directing individual law enforcement investigations.

Mr. Clark, who is a favorite of Mr. Trump’s and is likely to be in contention for a senior Justice Department position if Mr. Trump wins re-election in 2024, wrote a constitutional analysis, titled “The U.S. Justice Department is not independent,” that will most likely serve as a blueprint for a second Trump administration.

Like other conservatives, Mr. Clark adheres to the so-called unitary executive theory, which holds that the president of the United States has the power to directly control the entire federal bureaucracy and Congress cannot fracture that control by giving some officials independent decision-making authority.

There are debates among conservatives about how far to push that doctrine — and whether some agencies should be allowed to operate independently — but Mr. Clark takes a maximalist view. Mr. Trump does, too, though he’s never been caught reading the Federalist Papers.

In statements to The New York Times, both Mr. Clark and Mr. Vought leaned into their battle against the Justice Department, with Mr. Clark framing it as a fight over the survival of America itself.

“Biden and D.O.J. are baying for Trump’s blood so they can put fear into America,” Mr. Clark wrote in his statement. “The Constitution and our Article IV ‘Republican Form of Government’ cannot survive like this.”

Mr. Vought wrote in his statement that the Justice Department was “ground zero for the weaponization of the government against the American people.” He added, “Conservatives are waking up to the fact that federal law enforcement is weaponized against them and as a result are embracing paradigm-shifting policies to reverse that trend.”
You can draw a direct line from the Dubya administration and Dick Cheney and John Woo to this particular theory, where the entire Justice Department would become an extension of the MAGA White House, and Democrats in previous administrations and very possibly current state executives would be rounded up and charged with "crimes" and disposed of.

The DOJ would not only cease to be independent, but by definition would be controlled by the person in the Oval Office, and arrests and prosecutions would be directed by the White House.

You know, secret police, only not exactly secret. To solution to a "politicized" Justice Department is to actually politicize the Justice Department.

Insuring The Worst, Ensuring The Worst, Con't

Just as State Farm stopped writing new homeowners' insurance policies in California, Farmers Insurance will no longer write new policies in Florida.

We are almost two weeks into hurricane season. That means now is the time to make sure your property insurance is taken care of.

But we're learning there is just one less option in the Florida market.

"Over the past 18 months in Florida, we've had 15 companies decide to stop writing new business," Mark Friedlander, the Insurance Information Institute's spokesperson, said.

The Insurance Information Institute's Mark Friedlander says Florida homeowners in search of new coverage have fewer and fewer options, as companies put a pause on new property policies.

That now includes Farmers Insurance Group, who said in a statement:

"With catastrophe costs at historically high levels and reconstruction costs continuing to climb, we implemented a pause on writing new homeowners policies to more effectively manage our risk exposure," Friedlander said.

Even when your insurance bill may be more expensive than ever, Friedlander says insurance companies are now worried they won't profit if they have to pay out on claims.

nd their chances of doing so in Florida are much higher than in many other states.

"The cost of claims for catastrophes is higher than ever before. And we saw this here in Florida play out last year, with Hurricane Ian, we estimate it to be a $60 billion insured loss event," Friedlander said.

The Insurance Information Institute says the replacement cost for homes has increased 55% over three years, outpacing inflation.

But the skyrocketing costs for consumers are real too.

"Floridians are paying more on average for home insurance today, versus the US average homeowner which is paying about $1,700. So $6,000 in Florida, versus $1,700 in U.S., on average, almost four times as much," Friedlander said.
To be fair, Florida's insurance market has all but collapsed, with double-digit rate hikes across the state. You can blame Ron DeSantis and the Florida GOP for that, but you also have to blame climate change and the fact that living in Florida will be unsustainable for most people within my lifetime, and certainly within the lifetimes of those born after 2000.

Again, America has no real plan to deal with the fact that most coastal areas, flood plains, and wildfire regions will be devastated within the next few decades, with as much as half the US population having to relocate. Not everyone will be able to, and we're not even beginning to have this conversation or the fact the cost will be in the trillions.

As it is, these some of these areas will be totally uninsurable by the end of the decade. The US government will have to step in, and the cost will be astronomical.

It does not get better from here.
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