June 10, 2020

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How the Far-Right Boogaloo Movement Is Trying to Hijack Anti-Racist Protests for a Race War (Mehdi Hasan, June 10 2020, The Intercept)

Remember: These are heavily armed men, many of them with military training, looking for new and greater opportunities for violent protest. Miller-Idris told me that the boogaloo bois have mobilized "over the past six months in three separate waves of protests" -- against attempts by state legislatures to reform gun laws; against the coronavirus lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders; and now as part of the demonstrations and marches against police brutality and racism, in the wake of the George Floyd killing.

Worryingly, their movement is growing online at breakneck speed. As Reuters reported last week, citing a study from the Tech Transparency Project, "tens of thousands of people joined boogaloo-related Facebook groups over a 30-day period in March and April as stay-at-home orders took effect across the United States. ... Project researchers found discussions about tactical strategies, weapons and creating explosives in some boogaloo Facebook groups."

In March, Timothy Wilson, a 36-year-old Missouri man with neo-Nazi ties, was shot and killed by the FBI after plotting to bomb a hospital in the Kansas City area on the first day of the lockdown. Wilson had told an undercover FBI agent that he had wanted "to create enough chaos to kick start a revolution" and referred to his planned attack as "operation boogaloo."

In April, Aaron Swenson, a 36-year-old Arkansas man, was arrested after he threatened to kill a police officer on a Facebook Live video. "I feel like hunting the hunters," he wrote on Facebook, where he also made "boogaloo" references, according to the police.

THE BOOGALOO BOIS don't operate in a vacuum. Their goals, methods, and personnel overlap with a number of far-right, anti-government groups that also pose a significant threat to law, order, and race relations, from the Proud Boys, to the Oath Keepers, to the Three Percenters, to the Sovereign Citizens. Don't forget the Ku Klux Klan either: The Virginia man arrested for driving his truck into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters over the weekend is head of a local KKK chapter.

Posted by orrinj at 4:36 PM


What George P. Bush's endorsement of Donald Trump tells us about Republican politics (Chris Cillizza, 6/10/20, CNN)

The answer? Politics, pure and simple.

George P. Bush is in statewide office now. (Yes, Land Commissioner is an elected statewide office in Texas!) He has his eye on running for governor one day. While Texas does not term limit its governors, Gov. Greg Abbott will have spent eight years in office come 2022 and may have his eye on running for the open Republican presidential nomination in 2024. There's already a lineup of ambitious Republicans ready and waiting to run if that happens -- or if Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick either retires or decides to run for an open governor's seat. And Bush very much wants to be in the mix for either of those offices.

And the simple fact -- that George P. knows -- is that there is NO conceivable path to the Republican nomination for governor or lieutenant governor in Texas as anything less than a vocal Trump supporter and voter. For all his troubles with the broader electorate -- in Texas and nationally -- Trump remains an absolutely revered figure among Texas Republicans, and it's very hard to imagine that changing between now and 2022, even if the President comes up short in his bid for a second term this November.

Donald stands to take all those statewide officers down with him.

Posted by orrinj at 4:19 PM


Trump says he will "not even consider" renaming bases named for Confederate leaders (Fadel Allassan, 6/10/20, Axios)

"[M]y Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations."

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Trump Won These States in 2016--Here's Where the Polls Show Him Now (BRYAN KIRK,  6/10/20, Newsweek)

Trump's election in 2016, in which he won 306 electoral votes and defeated Hilary Clinton, not only hinged on victories in red states but in swing states such as New Hampshire, Maine and Florida where he won slim victories. According to RealClearPolitics, Biden has slim leads on Trump in those states: in Maine, between 8 and 10 percent in New Hampshire about 4.5 percent. In 2016, Trump edged Clinton taking 49 percent of the ballots in Florida. The 2020 election could be just as close there with numerous polls showing voters in Florida favoring Biden over Trump, according to RealClearPolitics.

If the election were held today, Trump would lose Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona--all swing states that Trump won in 2016--Biden is leading in most polls by more than 3 percentage points in each of these states.

In Wisconsin, which in 2016 Trump won by 47.22 percent to 46.45 percent over Clinton , Biden holds a 49 to 40 percent advantage of Trump.

In 2016, Trump garnered 52 percent of the votes in Ohio, but if the election were held today Trump would narrowly lose with Biden leading 45 percent to Trump's 43 percent, according to a Fox News Poll.

Posted by orrinj at 1:52 PM


DOJ committed 'gross abuse' of power in asking to drop case against ex-Trump advisor Michael Flynn, says former judge tapped to review request (Dan Mangan & Kevin Breuninger, 6/10/20, CNBC)

A former federal judge on Wednesday blasted the U.S. Justice Department for what he called "a gross abuse of prosecutorial power" in seeking to drop its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's first national security advisor.

"The Government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President," the ex-judge, John Gleeson, wrote in a scathing legal filing opposing the proposed dismissal of Flynn's case.

Gleeson, who was assigned by the judge in Flynn's case to advise him on several questions, also wrote that Flynn "has indeed committed perjury" in his statements to the case judge during proceedings in the case, "for which he deserves punishment."

But Gleeson added that while federal Judge Emmet Sullivan has the power to hold Flynn in criminal contempt for perjuring himself during a plea hearing and another hearing, Sullivan should "not exercise that authority."

"Rather, [Sullivan] should take Flynn's perjury into account in sentencing him on the offense to which he has already admitted guilt," Gleeson wrote in a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

There's a reason no professionals would sign on.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


'What I saw was just absolutely wrong': National Guardsmen struggle with their role in controlling protests (DANIEL LIPPMAN, 06/09/2020, Politico)

"As a military officer, what I saw was more or less really f---ed up," said one D.C. Guardsman who was deployed to Lafayette Square last Monday and who, like some others, spoke on condition of anonymity to speak freely. The official line from the White House that the protesters had turned violent, he said, is false.

"The crowd was loud but peaceful, and at no point did I feel in danger, and I was standing right there in the front of the line," he said. "A lot of us are still struggling to process this, but in a lot of ways, I believe I saw civil rights being violated in order for a photo op.

"I'm here to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and what I just saw goes against my oath and to see everyone try to cover up what really happened," the Guardsman continued. "What I saw was just absolutely wrong." [...]

While the Park Police cleared out the protesters, some Guardsmen said they felt they were there to actually prevent the police from beating up protesters, instead of the other way around.

"I felt that we were more protecting the people from the police," said D.C. Guardsman Spec. Isaiah Lynch, who's unrelated to Si'Kenya Lynch.

The event has taken a toll on some Guardsmen.

"We have a lot of National Guardsmen who are struggling with this, because unlike in combat when you have an enemy, these are our neighbors, our friends, our family," the first Guard officer said.

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Only 1 in 4 Americans see Donald Trump as a man of faith (GABBY ORR, 06/10/2020, Politico)

As President Donald Trump leans on religion to reconnect with his political base ahead of the November election, most Americans dismiss the notion that he himself is a man of faith.

Only 27 percent of registered voters in a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll said they somewhat or strongly agree that Trump himself is religious, while 55 percent somewhat or strongly disagree.

You always get down to that anti-Dreamer core.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


White House goes quiet on coronavirus as outbreak spikes again across the U.S. (DAN DIAMOND, 06/10/2020, Politico)

[T]he White House's apparent eagerness to change the subject comes as new coronavirus clusters -- centered around meatpacking plants, prisons and other facilities -- drive spikes in disparate states like Utah and Arkansas. Meanwhile, states and major cities are lifting lockdowns and reopening their economies, prompting public health experts to fret that additional outbreaks are imminent. And several Democratic governors also have defied their own states' social distancing restrictions to join mass protests over police brutality, where hundreds of thousands of Americans have spilled into the streets, further raising public health risks.

The fear is that all the mixed signals will only confuse people, stoke public skepticism over the health threat and promote the belief the worst is over just as the outbreak enters a dangerous new phase.

"Cases are rising, including from cases in congregate settings," said Luciana Borio, who led pandemic preparedness for the National Security Council from 2017 to 2019. "We still have a pandemic."

Nine current and former administration officials, as well as outside experts, further detailed how the White House is steadily ramping down the urgency to fight a threat that continues to sicken more than 100,000 Americans per week and is spiking in more than 20 states.

For instance, the administration in recent days told state health officials that it planned to reorganize its pandemic response, with the Department of Health and Human Services and its agencies taking over the bulk of the day-to-day responsibilities from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"The acuity of the response is not what it was, so they're trying to go back to a little more of a normal ongoing presence," said Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

The coronavirus task force, which used to send daily updates to state officials, has done so with less regularity over the last several weeks, Plescia said. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has restructured its daily conference calls with states, moving away from the practice of giving top-down briefings to encouraging state officials to offer updates on what they're seeing in their parts of the country.

One current and one former FEMA official also said they're keen to have HHS resume its leadership role in containing the coronavirus so FEMA can make contingencies for a summer of hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.

"Given the likelihood that we will soon see both hurricanes and coronavirus, HHS should manage the ongoing pandemic response so FEMA can prepare for coming 'coronacanes,'" Daniel Kaniewski, who served as the top deputy at FEMA through January, wrote last week. "But they need to act soon. Coronacanes are in the forecast."

Meanwhile, officials in at least 19 states have recorded two-week trends of increasing coronavirus cases, including spikes of more than 200 percent in Arizona and more than 180 percent in Kentucky. Two months after the White House issued so-called gating criteria that it recommended states hit before resuming business and social activities, many states have moved forward despite not meeting all the benchmarks. Only a handful of states -- like Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and South Dakota -- are currently trending in the right direction on measures like declining case count and robust testing platforms, according to CovidExitStrategy.org.

Bad time to have no president.