It’s Only A Matter Of Time

This, from a press release by the Department of Justice, U.S. District Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California, yesterday, July 16th

According to court documents, Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa, and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo, began planning to attack targets they associated with Democrats after the 2020 Presidential election and sought support from an anti-government militia group. According to the indictment, the defendants planned to use incendiary devices to attack their targets and hoped their attacks would prompt a movement.

The indictment describes how Copeland and Rogers used multiple messaging applications and discussed the attacks on numerous occasions. For example, in late December 2020, Copeland told Rogers he contacted an anti-government militia group to gather support for the movement and in January 2021, Rogers told Copeland “I want to blow up a democrat building bad.” Copeland agreed, saying, “I agree” “Plan attack”.  The agreed to start with the Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento and to “see what happens.”  In one exchange, Rogers wrote to Copeland, “after the 20th we go to war,” meaning that they would initiate acts of violence after the inauguration on January 20, 2021.

According to court documents, on January 15, just four days after that exchange and five days before the trigger that Rogers and Copeland identified as the start of their campaign of violence, law enforcement officers searched Rogers’s home and business and seized a cache of weapons from Rogers’s home, including 45 to 50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and five pipe bombs. Copeland allegedly also attempted to destroy evidence of the plan; after Rogers’s arrest, Copeland communicated with a leader of a militia group who advised Copeland to switch to a new communications platform and delete everything he had. Copeland agreed and when law enforcement obtained Copeland’s devices on January 17, Copeland’s communications with Rogers were missing.

Additional documents filed by the government argue that the defendants understood they would be viewed as domestic terrorists and hoped that their violent acts might start a movement to overthrow the government. In November of 2020, Rogers allegedly used encrypted messaging applications to tell Copeland that he would “hit the enemy in the mouth” by using Molotov cocktails and gasoline to attack targets associated with democrats, including the Governor’s Mansion and the Democratic Headquarters Building in Sacramento.

Rogers and Copeland are both charged with conspiracy to destroy by fire or explosive a building used or in affecting interstate commerce.

Rogers & Copeland

Prosecutors, national security officials and politicians have warned that after Trump and his allies ramped up his lies of a stolen election in November and after a mob of hundreds of Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, their inflammatory rhetoric could lead to violence.  Gee, you really think???

I have questions …

  • How in the hell did Ian Benjamin Rogers acquire “40-50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and five pipe bombs”??? Would you not expect that background checks would have red-flagged this somewhere along the line?  Oh wait … I forgot … you can buy a gun without a background check … apparently you can buy LOTS of guns without a background check.
  • How many more similar plots are out there that the federal authorities aren’t aware of? You know and I know that this was not the sole plan among Trump-supporting lunatics.  You’ll remember that Trump appealed to his supporters and told them to “… fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”  These two got caught … how long until one doesn’t get caught in time?  It’s only a matter of time …
  • WHY isn’t the former guy in jail for inciting to riot with his words? Trust me, if I said the things that the former guy has said, my ass (and the rest of me) would be sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial for inciting violence at the very least.  Is he somehow … more special than you or I?

I sincerely hope that Rogers and Copeland spend the next 20 years, the maximum possible sentence for their crimes, in prison, but the odds are against it.  And one last question … if they had succeeded in their plot, would they be getting a fist bump from the likes of Josh Hawley, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz and Margie Greene, and would they get an “Atta Boy” from the former guy and his cronies?  Think on that one when you go to bed tonight.

This ‘N That, With Only A Hint Of Snarky

I’m not really being too terribly snarky tonight … just a little bit, ‘k?  After all, if I didn’t snark a little, you’d worry that I was sick!


Finally!  A real Department of Justice with a real Attorney General at the helm!

It sure is good to have a Department of Justice that is no longer the lapdog of a corrupt president, a Justice Department led by a man of integrity.  The Justice Department has opened a number of investigations into police departments to determine if there is a “a pattern of discrimination or excessive force within its ranks”, announced Attorney General Merrick Garland.  One such city, of course, is Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd by kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly ten minutes.  Another is Portland, Oregon, where police were failing to comply with a previous reform agreement after its officers used excessive force against demonstrators – including firing impact munitions against people suspected of having “furtive” conversations – following the death of George Floyd.

And, at long last, the Department of Justice will also be assessing the police department in Louisville, Kentucky, where police fatally shot Breonna Taylor as she slept in her own bed in her apartment.  It’s about time … these are steps that the former Attorney General should have taken long ago, but he was on a short leash and refused to stand for justice, but rather stood in fear of the former president.  Said AG Garland …

“The investigation will assess whether LMPD [Louisville Metro Police Department] engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force, including with respect to people involved in peaceful, expressive activities.  It will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes.”

Two thumbs up to Attorney General Merrick Garland for restoring the ‘Justice’ to the Department of Justice.  Stay tuned …


A nasty voice from the past …

Do you remember Rick Santorum, former Republican senator from Pennsylvania from 1995-2007?  He launched an unsuccessful bid to become the Republican nominee for president in 2012, but was beaten by Mitt Romney, who was then beaten in the general election by the incumbent, Barack Obama.  Santorum has always been a nasty piece of work, but that didn’t stop when he left the Senate.  Since 2017, Santorum has been a political commentator for CNN, go figure.

Last week, speaking to a group of conservative youth, the Young America’s Foundation, Santorum attempted to show off his ‘knowledge’ of history.  Only trouble is, he’s just as ignorant as he acts …

“If you think about this country, I don’t know of any other country in the world that was settled predominantly by people who were coming to practice their faith. They came here because they were not allowed to practice their particular faith in their own country and so they came here mostly from Europe and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles — I say Judeo-Christian — the Mosaic laws, Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ, the morals and teachings of Jesus Christ. That’s what our founding documents are based upon. It’s in our DNA.

We came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith. To live as they ought to live.”

In our DNA???  Needless to say, that line of bullshit stirred some ire and many are now calling for CNN to oust him.  First of all, this nation was not founded on any particular religion, but rather on a call for freedom of religion.  Half of the country do not identify as ‘Christians’ … and we are people, too!  But his comments on Native Americans were beyond the pale, any way you cut it.

A number of groups and individuals, including politicians, have chimed in regarding Santorum’s racist remarks, but I think my favourite is Mark Pocan, Democratic congressman for Wisconsin, who wrote …

“Native & Indigenous nations lived, governed, and thrived here before their land was stolen and they were murdered in a mass genocide, you ignorant white supremacist.”

Sums it up nicely … need I say more?


Security measures are good, but I’ll still be holding my breath

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress.  Typically, newly-elected presidents address the joint session in late February of their first term, but a couple of factors delayed Biden’s address.  One, of course, was the coronavirus pandemic, but the other has the potential to be equally deadly:  the threat of violence.

After the fateful January 6th domestic terrorist attacks on the U.S. Capitol and on Congress itself, certain of the groups such as Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and more, immediately began planning their next attack:  President Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress.  Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman warned in February …

“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6th have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union1, which we know that date has not been identified.  So based on that information, we think that it’s prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward.”

That said, security will be tight for this event.  National Guard troops and fencing around the Capitol will remain in place.  There will be limits on the number of politicians who will be allowed on the floor of the House, and some will even be seated in the visitors’ gallery. Senators and Representatives won’t be allowed to invite any guests and masks will be mandatory.

I believe that every possible security measure will be in place on that day.  However, nobody can anticipate everything, and it was proven after the January 6th attack that some members of law enforcement and the military participated in the attack.  Let us hope that the day goes off without a hitch, and that if any insurrectionists attempt anything, they are thrown into a cell and treated like the criminals they are.  Still … I will breathe much easier when the event has passed.

1 Note that the address to the joint session of Congress is not actually a State of the Union address, for it is understood that a president who has been in office only a month or two will not be able to present a full state of the union, but rather will address Congress on the issues at hand.  Many people fail to understand this distinction.

Chilling

Michael A. Bolton is the Inspector General for the Capitol Police.  On Tuesday, Mr. Bolton released a 104-page report about the horrific attack by domestic terrorists on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, and this report is … jaw-dropping.  We were told, shortly after the attack, that there had been forewarning of what was to come, that calls for help were largely ignored, but the details are far worse than even I imagined. 

Three key takeaways from this report are:

  • There was evidence of what was to come, but the Capitol Police leadership ignored or disregarded the intelligence warnings.
  • Department leaders ordered a special crowd-control unit not to use its most powerful nonlethal weapons to stop the protestors.
  • The protective equipment Capitol officers were given that day was defective, and additional equipment such as shields were under lock and key, could not be accessed.

All three of these points are, in my book, criminal.  If I were Nancy Pelosi or Mike Pence, who damn near lost their lives to the deranged mob that day, I would be mad as hell.  If I were any one of the 140 Capitol Police officers who were injured that day, I’d be fighting mad.  If I were the family of Officer Brian Sicknick who was murdered that day, I’d be out for blood.  Here are a few tidbits from the report that I think you’ll find interesting …

  • The Department of Homeland Security warned the Capitol Police on December 21st, more than two weeks before that fateful day, of comments on a pro-Trump website promoting attacks on members of Congress with a map of the tunnel system. “Several comments promote confronting members of Congress and carrying firearms during the protest,” wrote a Capitol Police analyst.  Among the comments reported to the Capitol Police: “Bring guns. It’s now or never,” and, “We can’t give them a choice. Overwhelming armed numbers is our only chance.”
  • On January 5th, the FBI’s Norfolk field office, in Virginia, relayed another threat from an anonymous social media thread that warned of a looming war at the Capitol. “Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent … stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”
  • The January 5th threat assessment said, “Unlike previous postelection protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th. Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.”

Are you chilled yet?  Are you angry yet?  But wait … there’s more.

On January 5th, after receiving the aforementioned assessments, the agency wrote in a plan for the protest that there were “no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress.” And the former chief of the Capitol Police has testified that the force had determined that the likelihood of violence was “improbable.”  SAY WHAT???  Any fool reading the FBI threat assessment would consider the likelihood of violence to be an almost absolute certainty! 

Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU), which specializes in handling large groups of protesters, was not allowed to use some of its most powerful tools and techniques against the crowd, on the orders of supervisors.  “Heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership,” Mr. Bolton wrote. Officials on duty on Jan. 6 told him that such equipment could have helped the police to “push back the rioters.”

Some of the shields that officers were equipped with during the riot “shattered upon impact” because they had been improperly stored in a trailer that was not climate-controlled, Mr. Bolton found. Others could not be used by officers in desperate need of protection because the shields were locked on a bus.

“When the crowd became unruly, the C.D.U. platoon attempted to access the bus to distribute the shields but were unable because the door was locked.  The platoon ‘was consequently required to respond to the crowd without the protection of their riot shields.’”

In light of this and more, it is a thousand wonders that more people did not die on that day.  It is nothing short of a miracle that no member of Congress was even injured.  Apparently, we have to be thankful that the attackers weren’t all that bright or well-organized, else we might be living in an entirely different country today. 

Two thoughts are at the forefront of my mind after reading about this:

  • I wonder when evidence will be found that inextricably links the former ‘president’ to the orders to lock up equipment, to downplay the threat, and to order the police not to use crowd control equipment. You’ll note I said I wonder “when”, not I wonder “if”, for there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that the former guy had a heavy hand in trying to make it easier for the attackers to do maximum damage. 
  • There have been reports that certain groups are planning another attack on the Capitol on the day that President Biden addresses a joint session of Congress for the first time. He is scheduled to do so in less than two weeks, on April 28th.  I damn sure hope the Capitol Police and every federal law enforcement agency are on hand to protect Congress and our President. The joint session will be designated a National Special Security Event and there will be a limit on the number of lawmakers in the chamber. Lawmakers will also be seated in the upstairs gallery in addition to the House floor and guests will not be permitted.

This afternoon, Inspector General Bolton will present his report to Congress at a hearing on Capitol Hill.  His full report is classified and not available to the public, but if you’re interested, you can access his prepared remarks for the hearing. 

GUILTY As Charged!

I just finished watching a clip of the scenes that were presented at the impeachment trial of the January 6th attack on the Capitol and on Congress. They were very emotional, frightening, and all too real, especially for those who were in the Capitol on that fateful day.  I do not think, after seeing just a small portion of the madness that transpired on that day, that anybody can not want to see the guilty punished to the fullest extent of the law.  And the guilty are many, but the person who inspired these terrorists, for they can be called nothing but terrorists, bears the lion’s share of the guilt, has the most blood on his hands, and he must be held accountable.

That person is Donald Trump.  This was his plan, funded in part with money from his campaign fund.  He watched police being overwhelmed and brutalized, watched our center of government being damaged, and watched members of Congress fearing for their lives, and he watched with a smile on his face, as his son’s girlfriend danced … yes danced … in the background!  When it comes time to vote on the impeachment charge of inciting violence, every single senator sitting in judgment damn well better vote to hold Trump accountable, else they must share in his guilt and for that, they will pay a heavy price.

What follows is Dana Milbank’s column in yesterday’s Washington Post, and I fully agree with everything he says …


You can’t hear that officer’s scream and acquit the man who caused it

Dana MilbankOpinion by

Dana Milbank

Columnist

Feb. 10, 2021 at 8:33 p.m. EST

For a full minute, the officer’s screams of agony pierced the Senate chamber — and then, silence.

On their screens, senators sitting in judgment of former president Donald Trump saw the raw savagery that Trump incited on Jan. 6 in his last-ditch attempt to overturn his defeat. They saw it in the pain-contorted face of Officer Daniel Hodges of Washington’s Metropolitan Police, who had been called to the Capitol’s West Front that day to defend the people’s representatives from the terrorists Trump had dispatched to ransack the building.

In the video, Trump’s mob crushes Hodges and other officers against a door, pinning and immobilizing him with a stolen riot shield. They spray bear repellent at the police, they beat Hodges’s head against the door, they violently rip off his gas mask, revealing his bloodied mouth, they taunt him and they take his weapon as a trophy. And through it all, Hodges, unable to move, wails in pain — an excruciating sound interrupted only by the “heave ho” of Trump’s mob stampeding the officers.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the impeachment manager who forced senators to watch the video, first read from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Said Swalwell: “You will see how blessed we were that, on that hellish day, we had a peacemaker like Officer Hodges protecting our lives, our staff’s lives, this Capitol and the certification process. May we do all we can in this chamber to make sure that never happens again.”

Trump’s apologists seem willing to excuse just about anything, even though the impeachment managers are laying out in minute detail the damning evidence showing how the former president conceived, organized, fomented and refused to call off the murderous invasion of the Capitol by his supporters. Republican senators seem not to care how close the insurrectionists came to assassinating Vice President Mike Pence (who we now know was hiding in the Capitol the entire time of the attack) and killing or taking hostage senators and members of the House.

But they do not have hearts if they are not moved by the heroism of the Capitol and D.C. police departments, badly outnumbered by Trump’s armed supporters. They do not have souls if they can’t see the evil Trump inflicted on the officers protecting the seat of American government.

As the impeachment managers retold, and showed with newly released security footage, Trump’s terrorists beat police officers with Trump flagpoles, sticks and bullhorns. They dragged them down stairs. They blinded them with bear spray. They gouged their eyes. They tased one officer, triggering a heart attack. The security footage, and the insurrectionists’ own videos, show the savagery. But you can also hear it in the terrified voices on the police radios that day, replayed for senators Wednesday.

“Multiple Capitol injuries! Multiple Capitol injuries!”

“Throwing metal poles at us.”

“Multiple law enforcement injuries. DSO get up here!”

“We need some reinforcements up here.”

“They’re starting to pull the gates down.”

“They’re starting to throw explosives.”

“We’re still taking rocks, bottles.”

“The crowd is using munitions against us.”

“Bear spray in the crowd!”

“All MPD pull back!

“10-33, I repeat, 10-33! We have been flanked and we’ve lost the line!”

10-33 is the police emergency code: Need immediate assistance.

American democracy is sending a 10-33 right now. The impeachment managers, though far from done with their prosecution, have thoroughly documented Trump’s history of instigating violence, his premeditated attempts to overthrow the election, and his mob’s absolute (and accurate) belief that they were doing what he wanted.

The videos, from inside and outside the Capitol, are sickening: MAGA-festooned domestic terrorists, in riot gear, smashing windows and doors, carrying zip ties into the Senate chamber. “Imagine what they could have done with those cuffs,” Swalwell told the senators, whose wrists they were meant for.

The managers showed Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) being saved from the mob by the heroic Officer Eugene Goodman, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) retreating from the mob, Pence and his family scurrying away, lawmakers running from the advancing terrorists.

The managers replayed the terrified whisper on the phone of an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), barricaded with colleagues in a room, with pounding on the door in the background. They replayed the fatal shooting of a woman who had rallied a mob to pursue fleeing lawmakers, then jumped through a smashed door after them. They played the warnings broadcast in the House chamber: “Be prepared to don your masks. . . . Get down under your chairs.”

One-hundred forty police officers were hurt in Trump’s failed coup. Three have died. Yet even after his brutal injuries, Hodges said, “If it wasn’t my job, I would have done that for free. It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white-nationalist insurrection, and we’ll do it as many times as it takes.”

If cowardly Senate Republicans can’t bring themselves to punish Trump for what he did to them, maybe they can at least punish him for what he did to Hodges, Goodman, Brian Sicknick and all the other brave officers who saved democracy that day.

Foot-Stomping Mini Rants

Filosofa is on a tear tonight, so fasten your seatbelts, and if you’re offended by a bit of cussing, go visit another, tamer blog, perhaps one that only features happy things like critters, flowers, or recipes.


We’re paying for this terrorist to eat what we cannot even afford!

Does the name Jacob Chansley ring a bell?  He is one of the two most photographed and most horrible of the domestic terrorists who attacked Congress and the Capitol on January 6th.  This half-naked creature …

jacob-chansley

… does not either look or act human.  He was arrested on January 9th on federal charges of “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds”.  Pretty damn mild charges if you ask me.  At the very least he should have been charged with domestic terrorism, and I would have added intent to commit murder.  However, I was not consulted.

Now, Mr. Chansley is 33 years of age, an adult, right?  But his mommy, Martha Chansley, worried that he might get sick if he didn’t get his organic food while in jail.

martha-chansley

Martha Chansley, Jacob’s mummy

And so, at a hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for Chansley said he had not eaten in more than a week because of a lack of organic food. The attorneys argued that Chansley needed the food for medical reasons and because it is a tenet of his religious beliefs in shamanism.  BULLSHIT!

Freedom of religion dos NOT translate into a terrorist being able to demand the much more expensive organic foods!  And as for the health reasons … BULLSHIT!  No specific conditions were cited, and I probably have as many health issues as anyone, but I cannot afford organic food and wouldn’t eat it if I could!  I am not paying taxes to feed this asshole the food his so-called “religion” requires!  For all I care, he can effing starve to death! He tried to undermine and overthrow our election, our votes, to silence our voices!  He damaged OUR property and endangered the lives of OUR elected officials!  We owe him NOTHING!

Chansley has spent the last several years of his life participating in riots and protests, harassing Black Lives Matter peaceful protestors, following QAnon and its conspiracy theories … he does not deserve an ounce of kindness!

However, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that Chansley was entitled to the organic food on religious grounds.  Not only that, but the judge also ruled that since the D.C. jail where Chansley was being held did not have the ability to cater to Chansley’s dietary whims, he is to be moved to the Alexandria Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, where they will be happy to spend OUR money to accommodate this terrorist’s dietary desires!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


I’m sick and tired of hearing about this woman …

Since the Republican leadership, ie., Kevin McCarthy, chose not to take any disciplinary action against Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene for her many inappropriate and criminal transgressions, the House Democrats called for a full House vote yesterday afternoon.  As a result, Ms. Greene has been removed from the committees she served on.

The vote was 230-199, with 11 Republicans voting with Democrats to strip Greene of her committees.  It’s at least something, but far too little.  If I endorsed a plan to kill a member of Congress, as Ms. Greene did, I would be arrested and put in jail to await my trial.  If I spouted some of the conspiracy theories she has done, I would be in a padded room right now, wearing one of those jackets with really long sleeves!  Ms. Greene does it and doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist.  Perhaps House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was too afraid of that gun she carries to censure her.  Or perhaps now that he and Mr. Trump have kissed and made up, he is dancing to the beat of a different drummer.  He damn sure is NOT representing the people of this nation!

Greene gave an 8-minute speech attempting to justify her past behaviour and criticizing one thing after another, including the national debt, at which I nearly choked, for it is the damned Republican tax cuts for the wealthy that have increased our national debt to it’s current level!  It is because the rich assholes aren’t paying anywhere near their fair share, while the rest of us struggle to pay our 13% – 25% each week.  Bah humbug, Ms. Greene!  At the end of her speech, she received a standing ovation from her fellow Republicans.  A standing ovation!  They stood and clapped, as if she deserved even an ounce of respect!  These people are fools and they make me sick!

Either way, Ms. Greene now serves no purpose in the House of Representatives, but she will not be sent packing, expelled from Congress, as would be right and proper, because the Republicans in Congress are cowards, plain and simple.


Heartbreaking and Unforgivable

Elba Pope of Rochester, New York, is the mother of a 9-year-old daughter with mental health issues.  On January 29th, Pope’s daughter was having a meltdown and threatening to kill herself, so Ms. Pope attempted to get mental health services to come to her home to help.  Instead, she got “Rochester’s Finest” [sarcasm fully intended].

When police arrived, they immediately began attempting to physically restrain the child, while Ms. Pope kept pleading with them to call a specialist.  One officer flat out said, “No.”  Officers chased the child through the snow outside, wrestled her to the ground and handcuffed her.  Please remember … this little girl is nine years old and has serious mental health problems.  As the officers attempted to put her into the police cruiser, she sobbed repeatedly, “I want my dad … I want my dad,” but officers ignored her please.  At one point, an officer said to the girl, “You’re acting like a child,” to which she sensibly replied, “I am a child!”  And then, when she couldn’t be calmed down and continued crying for her dad, one officer said …

“Just spray her”

Spray her, meaning pepper spray.  And that is what was done, and this poor little girl was crying, “Somebody please wipe my eyes!”

The following video made me cry, so either watch it or don’t, if you can’t.

Can we say “police brutality?”  Did I mention that the Pope family is Black?  If this had been a white girl, do you think the police would have abused this poor child in this manner?  NO, they would NOT have.  Think systemic racism in police departments isn’t real?   THINK AGAIN!

Prove Me Wrong — PLEASE!

Joe Biden has promised to do everything in his power to heal the wounds that divide the people of this nation, to bring unity where there is only separation and hate.  I fully believe he will try, but we all have to do our part … he cannot do it alone.  And today, it seems to me that nearly half the nation does not want unity, though they claim they do.  Perhaps they are defining ‘unity’ as everyone bending to their own views.

In an early morning text from a friend, there was this …

“… the “new” President call 74 MILLION Americans…. white suprematists. He’s off to a great start. Unity? I think not a chance in hell now.”

And that was only the beginning.  Senator Rand Paul said in a morning interview with Fox News …

“If you read his speech and listen to it carefully, much of it is thinly veiled innuendo. Calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book. Calling us people who don’t tell the truth.  ‘And going forward we’re not going to have manufactured or manipulated truth.’ That’s another way of saying ‘All of my opponents manufacture or manipulate the truth and are liars.’”

And speaking of Fox, ol’ Tucker Carlson just had to throw a bucket of fuel on the fire, saying …

“Now that we’re waging war on white supremacists. Can somebody tell us in very clear language what a white supremacist is? Biden has now declared war. So, we should know specifically and precisely who exactly he has declared war on. We have a right to know that innocent people could be hurt in this war. They usually are.”

Joe Biden offered an olive branch, and some republicans are determined to destroy it rather than accept it.  It’s almost as if they take great pleasure from the current atmosphere of hate and divisiveness.  Biden wasn’t looping Republicans generally in with white supremacists and extremists. Carlson is doing that. Paul is doing that.

I’m sure there is a large contingent of republicans who are hopeful that Biden can, in fact, lessen the tensions, find common ground on the issues that divide us, and helps us find the path to mutual respect, but they aren’t speaking loudly enough, if at all.  The only republican voices I’m hearing are those who aren’t even willing to give peace a chance.

From an OpEd by Philip Bump writing for The Washington Post …

It’s important to note that this is clearly not what Biden was talking about. He was talking about the rise of white nationalist extremism and violence of the sort that has been manifested occasionally in recent years and which the Department of Homeland Security (under Trump) identified as the most significant terrorism threat in the country. He was talking about the sort of extremism that contributed to what happened at the Capitol.

There is some undercurrent of sympathy among Republicans generally for what happened there. Most Americans reject the mob’s actions in storming the Capitol, though, as a Washington Post-ABC News poll found, 15 percent of Republicans at least somewhat support the storming of the Capitol itself. A HuffPost-YouGov poll taken shortly after the attack found that most Republicans viewed the mob’s actions as being mostly right or simply having gone too far in pursuit of a valid point.

I remember a time when being a republican or a democrat was not a divisive feature.  Sure, there have always been ideological differences – hence the reason for two distinct political parties.  But it wasn’t the thing that defined us, as it appears to be today.  This nation is split in half, though not by any physical boundaries, but rather by prejudice and intolerance.  President Joe Biden wants to start to put us back together, but it can only work if people on both sides of the issues are willing to make it work.  Taking his words, twisting them to mean something entirely different, then spewing hateful remarks is not the answer, people!

I call on every person, whether democrat, republican, or independent, to give Joe a chance, for Pete’s sake!  Within twelve hours of him taking his Oath of Office, people were already denigrating and swearing that they would not even listen to his actual words, would not be open to trying to help make his attempts at healing the Great Divide work.  Do these people actually crave violence, want a damn civil war?  I’ve said many times in the last four years that this is no longer a country I recognize.  I was hoping that would change under a President Biden, but it can only change if we all want it to.  Do we still have any shared values in this country?  Today, I have my doubts.  PLEASE prove me wrong!

Dr. Fiona Hill cautions all on civil unrest fomented by the outgoing president

Fiona Hill … a woman of great courage and one who remembered her oath to the Constitution and to the people of this nation when she testified before Congress in October/November 2019. Today, she cautions us, and we would do well to listen to her words of wisdom. Thank you, Keith, for sharing this!

musingsofanoldfart

Dr. Fiona Hill is one of the most credible public servants who risked a great deal by testifying of her concerns regarding the coercion of Ukraine to benefit the president.* In article called “Former Trump official Fiona Hill: ‘President’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war'” by Justine Coleman of The Hill, she cautions of more civil unrest. Here are a few paragraphs along with a link below.

Former Trump National Security Council member Fiona Hill on Monday said that President Trump’s ‘actions have put us on the brink of civil war’ after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol last week.

Hill, who served as the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, called the Capitol raid a “coup” in aPolitico op-ed, saying that a coup does not need to be a ‘sudden, violent seizure of power involving clandestine plots…

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CHAOS!!! TERRORISM!!! INSURRECTION!!!

By now, you all know of the chaos that has reigned all afternoon in the Capitol, halting the electoral certification process and causing turmoil throughout the nation.  Our friend Keith often reminds me that name-calling gets us nowhere, wins no arguments.  While I both respect and agree with him, today my fury, my rage, have taken over and I shamelessly call Donald Trump and every single person who voted for him in November stupid jackasses.

chaos-6The hordes, incited by none other than the Idiot-in-Chief, have vandalized the Capitol building, broken windows, shot at least one person, injured multiple police officers, and say they are planning to “occupy the Capitol through the night”.  Were it my decision, I’d instruct police to arrest every last one of them, and then go find Trump and arrest him, too.  Yes, my friends, I am angry … I am furious.

Meanwhile, Trump remains, as of this writing, largely silent, for this was his plan all along.  One of his aides, noting the frustration of his staff at his negligence, said …

“If we could throw him [Trump] to the angry mob, we’d throw him to the angry mob now.”

Trump has been urged by many to publicly order the mob to disperse … instead, he told them “We love you”WHAT THE SAM HELL????

chaos-2Every one of the people protesting in Washington today should be in jail.  Don’t ever again ask me not to say that people who voted for Trump are stupid, because they ARE.  They are stupid, they are evil, they are terrorists every bit as much as was Osama bin Laden!

I have a few questions about today, starting with WHERE THE HELL were the police?  The masses that descended on DC today were no surprise … we’ve heard Trump ‘inviting’ them, egging them on, for weeks now!  Even I was smart enough to know these terrorist bozos would show up with their guns, so where were the cops???  Second question is … what would have happened if this had been a Black Lives Matter protest rather than a pro-Trump protest?  Think long and hard about that one, my friends, and then try to convince me that this isn’t a racist, bigoted nation.

chaos-4President-elect Joe Biden, who WILL be inaugurated as President in two weeks, was more controlled than I am in his statement a bit ago …

“At this hour, our democracy’s under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assault on the people’s representatives and the Capitol Hill police, sworn to protect them. And the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic… Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are. What we’re seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end now.

Threatening the safety of elected officials, it’s no protest. It’s insurrection. The world’s watching. Like so many other Americans, I am shocked and saddened that our nation, so long the beacon of light and hope for democracy, has come to such a dark moment.”

This is how a president speaks, my friends.  This is the president I am looking forward to having in just under two weeks.  But meanwhile … the FBI, Homeland Security and every law enforcement agency must work day and night to ensure that the chaos, the tragedy of today is not repeated on January 20th as Joe Biden takes office!  If needs be, if possible, we need to invite NATO security forces to protect not only Biden, but every member of Congress and the Supreme Court, for Trump and his band of idiots have proven there is no low to which they won’t sink.

Grumpy

Don’t you just love it when you wake up grumpy?  Good thing I wrote Saturday Surprise last night, else it wouldn’t have been written.  So, how about I share my ill humour so you guys can be grumpy, too?


Personae non grata …

European Union (EU) officials have compiled a list of countries whose residents can visit the EU when it reopens its borders next week and guess what?  The U.S. is not on that list.  Nothing political about the decision, simply common sense.  The United States has failed to get a handle on the coronavirus, new cases are surging, and the EU doesn’t welcome us because of the high risk involved.  Russia and Brazil are also excluded.

Despite Mike Pence’s assurances that everything is under control, the daily new case tally keeps breaking records.  Yesterday’s new case total was 47,341 … nearly 50,000!  Until the past week or so, the death toll in the U.S. was over 1,000 people daily.  It has dropped slightly to around 600 per day, but it is only a matter of days before it is back in the thousand range.

Foolishly, Trump demanded that businesses re-open, even against the advice of the experts, and equally foolishly, the people of this nation felt their right to go out and have fun superseded safety.  This is the result … we are now banned from traveling to the EU, and if Boris Johnson & Co in the UK have any sense, we will also be banned from travel to the UK.  We have already been banned from traveling to Canada.  We are, essentially, stuck in this virus-infested, fool-driven nation with a clown running the show, a ship of fools controlling our well-being … or lack thereof.


And the real terrorists are …

A new study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) last week titled “Escalating Terrorism Problem in the United States”, determined that the problem of domestic terrorism in the U.S. is primarily from the far right.  The report says “the majority of all terrorist incidents in the United States since 1994, and the total number of rightwing attacks and plots has grown significantly during the past six years”, with the far right launching two-thirds of attacks and plots in 2019, and 90% of those in 2020.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  All that talk about ‘antifa’ is just that … talk.  Or perhaps an effort to distract from the real threat of white supremacy.

The report also shows the far left has been an increasingly negligible source of attacks since the mid-2000s.  Those of us on the left fight our battles with our voices, not our guns.

In February, a report by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism reported that cases of circulated propaganda by white supremacist groups in 2019 had more than doubled from the previous year, and the 2018 figures were 180% higher than 2017.  About two-thirds of the total propaganda incidents in the new report were traced back to a single white supremacist group, Patriot Front, which the ADL describes as “formed by disaffected members” of the white supremacist organization Vanguard America after the Charlottesville rally in 2017.

Is it purely coincidence that these groups have expanded only since Donald Trump took office?  I think not.


Justice?  We’ll see …

Well finally ol’ Roger Stone is going to prison … or is he?  Stone, convicted on charges of repeatedly lying to Congress and intimidating a witness to impede the House’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, was sentenced to 40 months back in February.  Stone had already received one delay on reporting to prison when he was first sentenced, and last week he requested yet another delay … until September 3rd.  He cites the coronavirus as his reason.  However, Judge Amy Berman Jackson has had enough of the Stone/Trump show and ruled that Stone must report to the federal correction institution in Jesup, Georgia, on July 14th.

But, unfortunately for the cause of justice, Donald Trump appears to have his pardon pen fully inked and ready to go.  Just this morning, he tweeted …

“IT’s TIME TO #PardonRogerStone”

So, if I had to lay odds, I’d say that Stone will, just like another corrupt Trump crony Michael Flynn, be a free man by the middle of July.  Stone has been a nasty piece of work since he was a very young man and has only gotten more insidious as he grew older.

Sadly, ‘justice’ is no longer defined in the United States as it once was.  Today it does not matter if you are guilty or innocent, corrupt or not … it only matters what Trump thinks of you.  I never thought I’d live to see the day when the United States became a banana republic, but that day is here.


Y’know … it’s really hard to stay grumpy when there is an adorable little squirrel just outside your window eating the bird seed and every now and then looking right at you.  It’s funny, but the birds don’t seem bothered by him in the least … they just go right on eating, perfectly willing to share their food, even though he doesn’t quite look the same as them.  Is there a lesson for us in that?squirrel

A Terrorist By Any Other Name …

On February 15th, just over two months ago, Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and white supremacist was arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home.  His plan was, in his words …

“I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”

Christopher-Hasson

Christopher Hasson

Hasson had a ‘hit list’ that included almost every journalist who has been critical of Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and most of the democratic candidates for president in 2020, among others.  He had been searching the internet for the home addresses of two Supreme Court justices.

Now, if Mr. Hasson had been an immigrant from anywhere in the Middle East, he would have been labeled a terrorist and treated accordingly, right?  But … Hasson is Caucasian, and thus rather than calling a spade a bloody shovel and charging him with domestic terrorism, what did the Department of Justice do?  They charged him with weapons and drugs violations … not plotting to murder, not terrorism, just weapons and drugs.  But wait … now for the really great news …

Judge Charles Day

Judge Charles Day

On Thursday, United States magistrate Judge Charles Bernard Day of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland decided to grant bail to Mr. Hasson and release him from jail pending trial.  If he had been charged with domestic terrorism, as would have been right and proper, he would not be eligible for bail or release, but since he wasn’t, his public defender argues that her client hadn’t made any direct or specific threats to harm anyone. She said prosecutors are seeking to punish Hasson for “private thoughts” that he never shared.

“They have not come forward with evidence that Mr. Hasson is a domestic terrorist because he is not.”

But listen carefully now to a part of her reasoning … she compared Hasson’s racial slurs and targeting of Democrats and the media to similar views that Trump has taken and said his hit list “looks like the sort of list that our commander in chief might have compiled while watching Fox News in the morning.”

Does anybody care to give me that argument again that Donald Trump’s horrendous attacks on those he perceives as his ‘enemies’ are not causing harm?  NEVER in the history of this nation have we had a president who bullied as he does, who referred to our free press as “the enemy of the people”, and who threatened any and all who cross him.  NEVER! 

When Trump was asked his opinion of the Hasson case, he replied that he thought it was ‘sad’.  When asked if he believed some of his harsh language might have played a part in Hasson’s plot, he replied that his “language is very nice”.

Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe is one of the names on the list.  His wife and fellow anchor, Mika Brzezinski, is understandably upset, saying …

“I think Trump’s doing this. How can I not do that math in my mind that the attorney general is making a clear decision here to make sure the lives of people who are being targeted continue to be in danger because they will not put together the pieces of this case? A stockpile of weapons, a list of people that he wants to kill. Are you serious? There’s no way not to let this guy walk? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Oyer also said Hasson has had a lifelong interest in firearms and likes to hunt and target practice. She said the number of guns he owned isn’t unusual in North Carolina, where he lived for years before moving to Maryland.  Oh for Pete’s sake … give us credit for not being totally stupid, Ms. Oyer!

Hasson-stash

Part of the stash found in Hasson’s home

And thus, because Hasson was not properly charged, he will likely walk out of jail one morning next week, a free man, at least until his trial.

Hasson pleaded not guilty last month to charges of illegal possession of firearm silencers, possession of firearms by a drug addict and unlawful user, and possession of a controlled substance. He faces a maximum of 31 years in prison if convicted of all four counts in his indictment.  Thirty-one years.  And a conviction on all counts seems unlikely at this point, even though the evidence is plentiful.  But think about something else.  Even if Hasson is sentenced the full 31 years … wait for it … Donald Trump could pardon him.

I shall leave you to ponder on that one.