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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#15941 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-23, 12:18

From Michael Cohen Ordered Released From Prison Again by Rebecca Davis O'Brien at WSJ:

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A federal judge ordered Michael Cohen released from prison again, saying the Justice Department had retaliated against President Trump’s former lawyer by revoking his home confinement earlier this month after Mr. Cohen declined to give up his rights to publish a book and speak with the media.

Mr. Cohen will be released from federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., Friday midday, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled, after he chided federal prosecutors and the Bureau of Prisons for their handling of the matter.

This will be Mr. Cohen’s second return home from Otisville: In May, about a year into a three-year sentence, he was released to home confinement due to concerns about the coronavirus. But on July 9, Mr. Cohen, 53 years old, was taken back into custody, after a dispute over an agreement the government had asked him to sign that would have restricted him from working on a book he plans to publish about his work for Mr. Trump.

Earlier this week, Mr. Cohen filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, accusing Attorney General William Barr and federal prisons officials of sending him back to prison in retaliation for his book plans.

In a declaration filed as part of that lawsuit, Mr. Cohen said he hadn’t refused to sign the agreement, but rather had his lawyers ask questions about it. The clause in question also would have prohibited Mr. Cohen from engaging with the media.

In Thursday’s hearing, Judge Hellerstein said he had “never seen such a clause” in his 21 years as a judge, saying it was clearly an effort by the Bureau of Prisons “to stop the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

Judge Hellerstein added that, despite his injunction, Mr. Cohen “remains a prisoner” and there would be limits on his freedoms: Social media is OK, but no news conferences from his home or communications with felons. He said the government and Mr. Cohen’s lawyers should negotiate the parameters of Mr. Cohen’s book work.

Mr. Cohen was convicted in 2018 on charges including campaign-finance violations related to his involvement in making hush-money payments to women who alleged they had affairs with Mr. Trump. He also pleaded guilty to tax crimes and making false statements.

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#15942 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-23, 20:31

Timothy Snyder at Foreign Policy said:

Fascism was never about actual people and their predicaments but about a glorious imaginary collective that had died but would be reborn. In the 1920s and 1930s, the idea was everywhere the same: At some point in the past, the nation or the race had been greater, purer, more beautiful. That ancient perfection could be seen in ruins, poems, monuments. Then, so the story went, another group, some inferior race, some cabal had come along and inexplicably ruined the people’s destiny. If only that group could be removed, then the race could be restored, made great again.

In U.S. President Donald Trump’s adoration of Confederate statues and in his mobilization of state power to protect monuments, it is easy to see a similar style. The specifics of the present, the plights of individual Americans, are irrelevant, beside the point. The death of George Floyd matters only insofar as it can trigger a desire to dominate. It is a prompt to a certain narrative in which, in the end, white Americans are the true victims and the U.S. president is the greatest victim of all. The deaths of tens of thousands of Americans from the coronavirus is neither here nor there. Here too the president is victim-in-chief, with a mandate to lead the people into myth. What matters is Americans’ ability, through the medium of metal and concrete, to see their way back to a past when they were great.

Consider what would have happened had the president expressed as much concern for people in February and March as for statues in June and July. There was no call earlier this year for haste, for sudden action, for interagency cooperation, for an expansion of the role of the federal government to defeat a pandemic. On the contrary: The states were told to deal with the coronavirus themselves, and individuals were left to sort through the confusion and contradictions of statements from the White House. But when statues are threatened, then, it seems, exceptional action is called for. What if all the men (and, yes, they are nearly always men) swinging batons now had been passing out masks a few months ago?

Who are the miniature stormtroopers now appearing in Portland and soon in other cities? That the men in mismatched shoes and ill-fitting uniforms lack identification and insignia recalls virtually every authoritarian regime. It is a basic feature of a state under the rule of law that a citizen can recognize legal authority and tell the police from the thugs. It is the nightmare moment of repression to be seized by unknown men. When the government itself elides the distinction between those who protect the law and those who break it, when it makes itself into a paramilitary wearing the wrong kind of camouflage, it invites others to do the same. It is not so hard, after all, to rent a van, play dress up, and start hurting people. When citizens do not know whether they are being intimidated by governmental or nongovernmental forces, the situation is rife for the kind of escalation that fascists liked.

Fascists thrived in crises and indeed sought them out. The unforgettable example is the Reichstag fire, which Adolf Hitler recognized right away as his great opportunity. As the German parliament burned, the Nazis mischaracterized the event, speaking of a vast left-wing conspiracy to destroy the country, the race, and so on. Something not so dissimilar is taking place now, as Attorney General William Barr and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf rationalize the use of force against Americans on the basis of a dark fairy tale about what the protests mean. The Nazis claimed that their main rival, the Social Democrats, were ultimately to be blamed for a terrorist act; Trump’s fundraising messages say the same about his own political rivals. By deliberately provoking protesters, Trump and his allies are working to create their own Reichstag moment. The difference this time, of course, is that everyone knows that this is what is going on.

After the Reichstag fire, the Nazis began to establish concentration camps. Like the U.S. detention centers for migrants, they were based on the premise that a territorial space could be excluded from the rule of law. The very first assignment of the SS was to serve as guards in the new concentration camps. This was the formative experience that made what followed possible. When Americans consider their own detention centers, which hold more people than the Nazi concentration camp system in the 1930s, they should pay special attention to the people these centers employ. It appears that some of the men taking part in the “special response teams” in Portland come from U.S. Border Patrol. It would be interesting to know how many of them already served inside detention centers.

When we use German terms for Nazi history, events and people seem dark and distant. Einsatzgruppen summons a notion of pure evil or perhaps an image of a death pit. But the term just means “deployment groups”; indeed the structure of these units in certain ways recalls that of the special response teams. The Einsatzgruppen were drawn from various units, deployed far from home, and asked to perform special tasks. Like the special response teams, the Einsatzgruppen had an unclear legal status. Their chain of command led through an ideological and party leadership that melded loosely, and only at the top, with the state. It is an awkward similarity that the Department of Homeland Security is directed by a myth-besotted ideologue who was never confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The people beating Americans are unaccountable to them.
Americans have been wrong to think themselves exceptional, and have much to learn about democracy, including from others who have fought harder and longer.

All of this is a dry run for November. Republics do not usually collapse because one day one man declares a revolution. They collapse because men inside the regime look for loopholes in the law—as can be seen very clearly in the formation of these deployment groups—and then seek to expand the loopholes until the law itself has no meaning. A crisis is found and expanded until the leader (which is all the word Führer means) can claim that a state of emergency is necessary. Friendly lawyers and judges find some provision of some law that seems to justify this, making the idea of law itself all the less credible. The men who have already learned by running the camps that exception is now the rule thrive as agents of chaos. Elections are of course held, as they were in Nazi Germany, but with the violent men in the mismatched uniforms standing by. The outcome is known in advance.

It can happen in the United States, and some of it has already happened, but the rest of it need not. Major elements of the state, such as the armed forces, cannot be expected to follow Trump, Barr, and Wolf into their half-grown fascism. Hitler had the armed forces tamed within four years; Trump cannot say the same. Even if some police officers do seem primed for the kind of racial war that the Nazis saw as their task, most find such an idea abhorrent, and the institution is highly decentralized and not under Trump’s control. Unlike Hitler, Trump is personally lazy and careless with institutions. He is at Hitler’s level in the imaginative use of language to create enemies. Yet he has no grand violent project for America; the state is weaker than it was four years ago, both at home and abroad. Everyone around the world knows that the United States is weaker, and some Americans have grasped this as well. This is a profound difference with fascism: Italy and Germany radiated strength and indeed seemed stronger than they were.

Trump cannot take fascism all the way, not because he has any virtues but because he has too many vices. He is highly skilled at creating division, as the fascists were, but less good at supplying an ideal for which risks are to be taken and sacrifices made. His ultimate idea is not racial struggle but personal fulfilment. His administration needs enough fascism to get by, enough to weaken the state and society so that the people Trump admires, be they in the Kremlin or in his circle, can stay out of prison and do well for themselves. Oligarchs are good at destroying democracies but not at imagining or building anything new. There is easily enough malice and neglect in the Trump administration to pervert a republic but not enough energy and purpose to build a fascist empire.

Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University and the author of On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15943 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-24, 08:59

Dr. Sharon Meieran, Multnomah County commissioner said:

(July 19) Last night I was tear gassed by a federal occupying force I saw throw canisters of poison, without warning, into a nonviolent crowd, including elders, the vulnerable. We can't wait for November to drive secret police from Portland! Democracy is slipping away in front of our tear-gassed eyes.

Posted Image
Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran sets up shelter beds inside the Oregon Convention Center to increase space for safely sheltering homeless people during the pandemic. Credit: Motoya Nakamura
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#15944 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-July-24, 19:00

AOC Gave The Most Important Feminist Speech In A Generation

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took to the floor of Congress on Thursday and gave one of the most bracing, empowering and feminist political speeches in a generation.

Her words came in response to the rage-filled mutterings of Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). But it would be a mistake to view what happened as simply the next stage in some typical political squabble or beef. Or, as some have attempted to argue, political opportunism.

The Democratic congresswoman from New York did so much more than deliver the proverbial “clapback.” This wasn’t simply a viral moment. Ocasio-Cortez offered an eloquent and expert dismantling of the playbook that men have used to keep women in their place for centuries.

Manchurian President Stooge Ted yahoo gets exposed and dismantled by AOC. Her speech on the House floor is a bright light in the dark and murky right fringe government world of COVID-19 deniers, Russian co-conspirators, bigots and racists, and facist actions by pseudo government security forces.
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#15945 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-24, 20:17

Matt Yglesias said:

What were senate republicans doing all throughout May and June?

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Contemplating the ifs?
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#15946 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-25, 09:11

Donald Trump really doesn't care about you.



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The school attended by President Donald Trump's youngest son, Barron, will not fully open for in-person instruction when classes resume, officials announced in a letter to parents.

St. Andrew's Episcopal School, a private kindergarten-through-12th-grade school in Potomac, Maryland, a Washington suburb, will provide either online-only "distance learning" or a hybrid model of students "learning both on and off campus," according to the letter Thursday from Head of School Robert Kosasky. A final decision will be announced the week of Aug. 10.

Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that don't reopen for full-time, on-campus instruction, despite surging cases of COVID-19 across the nation. Earlier this month, Trump blasted school reopening guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as "expensive" and "very tough." The CDC issued revised guidelines Friday and touted the "importance of reopening schools this fall."

Many school officials, teachers and parents fear that filling classrooms with returning children will put not only the students at risk of contracting the coronavirus, but also will endanger teachers, staff, community members and children's families.

Bold
my emphasis


This is the same old story from the new Republican party - take care of the elite/wealthy, and everyone else can go to hell.


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15947 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-25, 11:12

When a right-winger is martyred for the cause, we should salute here in the WC, don'tcha think? Posted Image



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According to KFOR News 4, William Welch, a man in Ponca City, Oklahoma, has been arrested after an altercation in Casey's General Store, a local convenience store, which started when an employee told him he couldn't use a refill cup due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I looked at my cashier because I saw the cup sitting there. I said remember we can't have refill mugs because of COVID-19," said the employee, Stacy Orange. "By then, he's already telling me to F off."

On a 911 call to the Ponca City Police, Orange said, "There's a guy in here calling me n***** and stuff. He's calling me c***, n*****, b****, and flipping me off. His last comment was 'you should hang just like the rest of the n******.'"

Orange added that she is scared to go back to work after the incident.

According to Ponca City Police Detective Kevin Jeffries, "We charged him with outraging public decency because it was in the public and we had witnesses."

Welch was released on $5,000 bond pending trial. He refused to provide comment to KFOR, and reportedly slammed a door in a correspondent's face.





Good thing they had witnesses for an outraging public decency charge - but what about a hate crime?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15948 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-July-25, 14:18

‘Shameful’ And ‘A Sign Of Weakness’ – Why Right-Wingers Are ‘Least Likely To Wear Face Masks’

I have previously posted that right wingers were causing COVID-19 spread by refusing to wear masks.

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“Our data show that right-wing leaning people intend to wear a face mask less than left-wing leaning people. Interestingly, this difference is particularly strong in US counties where wearing a face mask is not mandatory. In counties where wearing a face mask is mandatory, left-leaning people are still more likely than right-leaning people to wear a face mask, but the difference across the political divide is much smaller, and almost non-existent.

“In sum, making it mandatory to wear a face mask has a greater effect on right-leaning people, compared to left-leaning people, who wear a face mask relatively independently of whether it is mandatory or not.”

The researchers also found that men are less likely wear face masks than women, and more inclined to see wearing one as “shameful” and a “sign of weakness”. People are much more likely to wear face masks if they rely on reasoning instead of emotion, they also say.


The refusal to even partially try to stop the COVID-19 pandemic in the US by the Typhoid Donald in Chief by actively sabotaging public health measures by his own administration and the stooge behavior of most of his Republican sycophant governors in refusing to order statewide mask wearing measures and shutdown orders has allowed the Trump epidemic to run out of control in the US.

Many epidemiologists and epidemic specialists predicted exactly the disaster scenario the US is facing today because of the complete lack of a national policy. Predictably, several regions were hit hard the earliest, and other regions were initially spared but went on with business as usual. Then the first hit regions are starting to recover, and other regions are now getting hit hard. And if the current regions that are inundated with COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths manage to get things under control, you can expect different regions to get hard, some for a 2nd time.
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#15949 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-25, 21:27

A ‘Wall of Vets’ Joins the Front Lines of Portland Protests by Mike Baker at NYT

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PORTLAND, Ore. — A week after federal officers in Portland, Ore., brutally struck a Navy veteran who said he had approached them simply to ask a question, a group of military veterans on Friday joined the front lines of the city’s growing protests.

Duston Obermeyer, a Marine Corps veteran, said he and other veterans were there to make sure federal officers did not infringe on the free speech of protesters, who numbered in the thousands.

“Our veterans are here specifically to support the rights of the protesters to protest,” said Mr. Obermeyer, who said he had deployed three times during a decade in the Marines.

The group of vets lined up in front of a fence erected outside the federal courthouse. They stayed together until a cloud of tear gas scattered much of the crowd.

While President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security have repeatedly labeled the protesters in Portland as “violent anarchists,” demonstrators have banded together in groups. A “Wall of Moms” has grown to include hundreds of women in yellow shirts linking arms. A “Wall of Dads” in orange shirts has included some with leaf blowers used to push tear gas away from the crowds. Many nurses on Saturday showed up in blue scrubs.

Local officials have demanded that federal agents leave the city, saying their presence has inflamed tensions and their tactics have been outrageous. One of those concerning cases was that of Christopher J. David, a Navy veteran who said he went to the protests for the first time last weekend to ask officers whether they felt their actions violated the Constitution.

As he stood still in front of the officers, one began hitting him with a baton. Mr. David said the attack broke his fingers.

Mr. Obermeyer cited that case as one of the motivations of the “Wall of Vets.”

Another veteran, Clint Hall, said he came out to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Carrying a “Disabled Veterans 4 BLM” sign, the Army veteran said the federal presence in the city had simply increased the tension.

“Things were getting better, and then they came here and made it worse,” Mr. Hall said. “Enough is enough.”

After suffering through the tear gas that was shot into the crowd, Mr. Hall said that the tear gas was so strong that it was leaving burns on his skin. He said it felt worse than the tear gas he recalled from his time in the Army.

“This response from the feds is over the top,” he said.

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#15950 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-27, 08:40

This is the president. Sad.

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Many years ago, Harvard psychologist David McClelland showed that individuals who actually are high-achieving are quick to call on expertise—they don’t go down in flames trying to prove their prowess in areas in which they lack skill. Rather, they are quick to call on expertise to move their projects forward.

Dr. Mary Trump’s book details how “I alone can fix it” is a statement 70 years in the making, not an odd choice of words in a single speech. Donald Trump’s bravado requires the diminishment of all others, including experts. Marginalizing Drs. Fauci, Birx, and Redfield, he creates space for his own position as in the new CDC guidelines that prioritize opening schools over the safety of the students, teachers, and staff within them.






"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15951 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-27, 08:55

Jonathan Bernstein said:

Sunday marked 100 days until the election, so I’ll break my general rule of thumb — which is to ignore the horse-race polls until after the conventions — for a day. And what those polls say is pretty simple: Former Vice President Joe Biden has opened up a solid lead over President Donald Trump.

How solid? Checking the averages: FiveThirtyEight estimates an 8 percentage point lead, RealClearPolitics says 9.1 percentage points and the Economist puts it at 8.4 percentage points. How big is that lead? Big enough. Even if the polls are a bit off and Trump is actually doing better, and even if he still has an Electoral College advantage and everything breaks in his favor, there’s no way he wins if the polls look this way in November.

But of course it’s July, not November. The good news for Trump is that despite everything that’s gone wrong, even a modest rally would put him close enough that a normal polling error and an Electoral College edge could be enough to win a second term.

The bad news for him is that it seems unlikely he can do that. Trump has trailed Biden in head-to-head polling throughout the campaign, long before the pandemic and ensuing recession. It’s anybody’s guess what will happen with the virus by November, but it’s hard to believe that it will no longer be a dominant issue — and Trump’s polling on the pandemic is bad and getting worse.

The economy is a bit more complicated, but public opinion has trended against Trump there, too. I still think that a president could have sold high unemployment as an unavoidable consequence of the successful fight against the virus, but that would’ve required showing a lot more success, and a president who had built trust with the electorate and knew how to show empathy. At this point, it seems more likely that Trump will be punished for his handling of the economy.

In fact, the polls so far may even be understating Biden’s lead. Biden gets about 50% of the vote in head-to-head polls, but Trump’s disapproval rating has been at or above 55% for a while, and has almost always been higher than 52%. It’s true that some people voted for Trump in 2016 despite not liking him, but it’s a lot tougher to win votes from people who think you’re currently doing a bad job as president. And don’t forget: Polling errors could go in either direction, and there’s no guarantee that Trump will wind up having an Electoral College advantage.

There are enough unusual things going on this year that it’s worth being skeptical of anyone making confident predictions. Still, everything in the polling right now looks grim for Trump. And he’s running out of time to do anything about it.

Grimmer.
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#15952 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-July-27, 09:22

View Posty66, on 2020-July-23, 20:31, said:

Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University and the author of On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom.

The scary part for me is this. There's been plenty of discussion about Trump not accepting an electoral loss in November. I think that fear is overblown - Trump has just not enough support (e.g. among military leaders) to pull this off.

But now he has established a precedent that DHS "law enforcement" will do unlawful things for him and just detain lawful protesters without grounds, or shoot at the head of another (google Donavan LaBella if you haven't heard about this - but be prepared for some disturbing videos) - and no actual law enforcement or judges are able to stop him. So what will stop him from using his stormtroopers to scare people from voting? Or just detain voters waiting in line? That's the path of least resistance towards and authoritarian regime - identity politics for an entrenched minority, combined with making others hesitate to vote. You don't have to start off with winning 99.9% of the vote right away.
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#15953 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-27, 13:49

View Postcherdano, on 2020-July-27, 09:22, said:

The scary part for me is this. There's been plenty of discussion about Trump not accepting an electoral loss in November. I think that fear is overblown - Trump has just not enough support (e.g. among military leaders) to pull this off.

But now he has established a precedent that DHS "law enforcement" will do unlawful things for him and just detain lawful protesters without grounds, or shoot at the head of another (google Donavan LaBella if you haven't heard about this - but be prepared for some disturbing videos) - and no actual law enforcement or judges are able to stop him. So what will stop him from using his stormtroopers to scare people from voting? Or just detain voters waiting in line? That's the path of least resistance towards and authoritarian regime - identity politics for an entrenched minority, combined with making others hesitate to vote. You don't have to start off with winning 99.9% of the vote right away.


There is an entire universe of frightening scenarios that could occur - and maybe are even likely to occur given the people who are in place in critical roles. State has theocrat Pompeo at the helm. DOJ has theocrat president-as-king enthusiast Barr in charge. DHS - whose present is felt in Portland and Chicago with Trump's stasi are led by Wolf and Cuccinelli, total Trump sycophants.

Here is what I know about the law: a law means nothing unless two requisites are met: 1) the ability to enforce, and 2) the willingness to enforce. Who is willing and able to stop Trump from doing whatever he wants? There will more than likely be bloodshed on the streets of America if Trump loses, and it is highly unlikely there will be a peaceful transition of power in that case.

Without stopping this force to control power, the U.S. may as well break into segments and each go their own way.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15954 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-27, 14:28

Tom Jackman and Carol D. Leonnig at WaPo: National Guard officer says police suddenly moved on Lafayette Square protesters, used ‘excessive force’ before Trump visit (July 27 10:03 a.m. EDT)

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An Army National Guard officer who witnessed protesters forcibly removed from Lafayette Square last month is contradicting claims by the attorney general and the Trump administration that they did not speed up the clearing to make way for the president’s photo opportunity minutes later.

A new statement by Adam DeMarco, an Iraq veteran who now serves as a major in the D.C. National Guard, also casts doubt on the claims by acting Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan that violence by protesters spurred Park Police to clear the area at that time with unusually aggressive tactics. DeMarco said that “demonstrators were behaving peacefully” and that tear gas was deployed in an “excessive use of force.”

DeMarco backs up law enforcement officials who told The Washington Post they believed the clearing operation would happen after the 7 p.m. curfew that night — but it was dramatically accelerated after Attorney General William P. Barr and others appeared in the park around 6 p.m. Monahan has said the operation was conducted so that a fence might be erected around the park. DeMarco said the fencing materials did not arrive until 9 p.m. — hours after Barr told the Park Police to expand the perimeter -- and the fence wasn’t built until later that night.

DeMarco’s account of events also reveals for the first time the details of the visit that Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made to Lafayette Square just before the move on protesters — and the warning he gave his troops.

Officials challenge Trump administration claim of what drove aggressive expulsion of Lafayette Square protesters

Milley, who had arrived in the park with Barr about 30 minutes before the clearing, warned DeMarco to keep officers from going overboard. “General Milley told me to ensure that National Guard personnel remained calm, adding that we were there to respect the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights,” DeMarco said.

Milley has since apologized for his presence in Lafayette Square, saying, “I should not have been there. My presence in that moment, and in that environment, created the perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”

DeMarco is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Natural Resources Committee, which is investigating the government’s actions in clearing protesters away from Lafayette Square with projectiles, gas, smoke and mounted police, including an apparent assault on Australian journalists by two Park Police officers. His statement was posted Monday on the committee’s website. Monahan also is scheduled to testify.

Congress begins probe into federal officers' use of force to clear protesters near Lafayette Square

“The hearing comes at an interesting time, during the protests in Portland and Seattle,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the natural resources committee, “and the presence of both police and ICE in those areas. What happened at Lafayette Square was kind of a precursor to the escalations this administration is using, the using of federal law enforcement, the contemplation of use of the military in these communities.”

The Trump administration has said the clearing operation was planned in advance, and Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec previously said, “No one voiced disagreement with that plan.” The White House has not commented on the timing of the operation, which started about 30 minutes before a 7 p.m. curfew.

As police were clearing the area around Lafayette Square, Trump began a short speech at the White House, and some of the small explosions from the park could be heard in the background. Trump then walked with an entourage to the park, which is adjacent to the White House, and stood in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. He was photographed holding a Bible, did not make any remarks, and then walked back to the White House.

Barr said in a news conference on June 4 that he made the decision to expand the perimeter north of Lafayette Square, from H Street to I Street.

“There was no correlation between our tactical plan of moving the perimeter out by one block and the president’s going over to the church,” Barr said.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Laws and court rulings require police to provide demonstrators with repeated, clear warnings of officers’ intentions and then adequate time and avenues for protesters to disperse peacefully, but DeMarco said the warnings given on June 1 almost certainly couldn’t be heard by the crowd. If the street was cleared to accommodate Trump, rules of engagement for the Secret Service also may have been broken.

After the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, demonstrations began at Lafayette Square and elsewhere in the nation’s capital. On the night of May 31, projectiles and fireworks were launched toward Park Police officers and National Guard soldiers stationed in the park, and fires were set both at the park and in adjacent St. John’s Church. The Park Police have said 51 officers were injured in the days immediately after the protests began.

The next day, a number of agencies gathered to defend the park, including the Park Police, Secret Service, the D.C. National Guard and Arlington County police. A 2 p.m. meeting was held at an FBI command center with the heads of the agencies, and Barr told CBS News that a decision to expand the perimeter around the park “was communicated to all the police agencies.”

But no specific time or plan of action was discussed, both D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham and National Guard chief Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel told The Post last month. DeMarco’s testimony corroborates that version. A curfew was set for 7 p.m., “so I was not expecting any clearing operation to commence before then,” DeMarco said.

But at 6:05 p.m., DeMarco said, Barr and Milley entered the park. DeMarco said he briefed the Army general, who told him to respect the demonstrators’ rights. Grijalva said it seemed that Milley knew something was planned, “there’s a tinderbox here and he wants his people to respect the rights of the protesters.”

Milley has testified he had no prior knowledge of the forcible clearing of Lafayette Square. A Defense Department official said Monday that Milley was simply surveying the situation in the park because of the president’s wish to use military troops to quell protests, and Milley was satisfied law enforcement could handle the protest.

“We had seen a lot of violence in protests over the previous days," the official said. "He was just reminding forces on the ground that we were there to support law enforcement and to stay calm in the face of uncertainty.”

At 6:20 p.m., DeMarco said, the Park Police issued three warning announcements to the protesters. But he said the warnings were made using a hand-held megaphone at the base of the Andrew Jackson statue, 50 yards from the protesters. DeMarco said he stood 20 yards from the protesters, “the announcements were barely audible and I saw no indication that the demonstrators were cognizant of the warnings to disperse.”

The operation to clear the protesters began at 6:30 p.m., DeMarco said. The National Guard did not participate in the direct push, but was used to follow the officers who dispersed the protesters and establish the new perimeter, DeMarco said. The Guard members were not armed.

As the federal and local police waded into the protesters, DeMarco said he saw smoke being used and that he was told by a Park Police officer it was “stage smoke,” not tear gas. But DeMarco said, “I could feel irritation in my eyes and nose, and based on my previous exposure to tear gas in my training at West Point and later in my Army training, I recognized that irritation as effects consistent with CS or ‘tear gas.’" He said he found spent tear gas canisters on the street later.

The Park Police have adamantly denied using tear gas, instead saying they shot balls with pepper spray irritant in them. The Secret Service have not commented on whether it fired tear gas.

Park Police did not record their radio transmissions during Lafayette Square operation

DeMarco said that as he followed the Park Police down H Street, he saw “unidentified law enforcement personnel behind our National Guardsmen using ‘paintball-like’ weapons to discharge what I later learned to be ‘pepper balls’ into the crowd, as demonstrators continued to retreat.

The protesters were pushed a block away from Lafayette Square. At 7:05 p.m.,DeMarco said he watched Trump walking onto H Street, where he would have his picture taken holding up a Bible. “The president’s arrival was a complete surprise,” DeMarco said, “as we had not been briefed that he would enter our sector.”

“As for the new security barrier,” DeMarco continued, “whose installation was the stated purpose of the clearing operation, the materials to erect it did not arrive on the scene until around 9 p.m., and it was not completed until later that night.” This required the local and federal police to maintain a human barricade for hours until the fence was built.

DeMarco, 34, is a U.S. Military Academy graduate and a veteran of three overseas deployments, including a combat tour in Iraq. In 2018, he ran in the Democratic primary for Congress against incumbent Rep. John Sarbanes, and was strongly critical of Trump. He now works as an associate for Booz Allen Hamilton at the Defense Intelligence Agency, according to his LinkedIn profile.

DeMarco said he was coming forward “to help ensure that there is a fair factual record of what happened at Lafayette Square, based on what I saw and experienced first-hand.” He said that, having served in a combat zone and having experience in assessing threats, “at no time did I feel threatened by the protesters or assess them to be violent … From my observation, these demonstrators — our fellow American citizens — were engaged in the peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights. Yet they were subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force.”

Grijalva said DeMarco’s testimony showed “the discomfort the military has with policing against the American citizen. This was a political stunt at the expense of the protesters and at the expense of the reputations of the National Guard and the police.”

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15955 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-July-27, 22:40

Curve Ball: Trump Reportedly Never Got The Yankees Pitch Invitation He Canceled

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New York Yankees officials and White House staff were stumped when President Donald Trump announced — then canceled — a date to throw out the first pitch at a Yankee Stadium game next month — because he hadn’t been invited, The New York Times reported Monday.

Trump said Sunday he just couldn’t make it to the Yankees game with the Red Sox in New York because he’s too focused on “the China virus” — meaning COVID-19.

In other news, the Grifter in Chief announced that he had declined 5 different Nobel Prizes in widely different fields this year because he was too busy watching Fox Propaganda and tweeting to attend the ceremonies. :rolleyes:
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#15956 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-July-27, 22:45

:lol:
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#15957 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 01:51

View Postjohnu, on 2020-July-27, 22:40, said:



He's such a narcissist! I wonder what will happen if the media started repeatedly saying that "there are better narcissists than Trump" or "He's not very good at narcissism" --- it will be fun to hear his reaction.
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#15958 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 03:04

I've also been invited to throw the first pitch for the Yankees but I asked them whether they could avoid the clash with the BBF challenge tourney, and when they said no I had to decline.
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#15959 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 11:28

Lisa Lerer at NYT suggests republicans are pressing the panic button. How low will they go?
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15960 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 13:25

Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter Account Partially Suspended Over COVID-19 Misinformation

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The partial suspension of Trump’s account was in response to a tweet he sent Monday evening that shared a video of doctors alleging that hydroxychloroquine can cure or prevent COVID-19.

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President Donald Trump also shared the video on Twitter on Monday as part of a series of retweets he did promoting hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment.

Asked why the president’s account was not partially suspended, Twitter said: “The President did not Tweet the video in question, he Retweeted it. Therefore, the account owner of the Tweet he Retweeted will face enforcement action.”

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One speaker, Dr. Stella Immanuel, said face masks weren’t necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and alleged she had successfully treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.

She has also claimed that people who have sexual dreams about demons and witches may develop gynecological problems, and that extraterrestrial DNA is being used in medical treatments, The Daily Beast reported Tuesday.

Dr Immanuel actually stands out for me as one of the most credible Right Fringe Republicans that you can find. Take me to your Leader :rolleyes:

Report: Texas doctor who went viral with unproven COVID-19 cure believes in 'demon sperm'
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