Open Thread: GOP Attempting to Buff Away the KGB Fingerprints

The Washington Post has a new subhed: Democracy Dies in Darkness. The GOP would dearly love to make it so:

House Republicans next week plan to derail a Democratic resolution that would have forced disclosure of President Donald Trump’s potential ties with Russia and any possible business conflicts of interest, according to multiple House sources.

Seeking to avoid a full House vote on the so-called “resolution of inquiry” — a roll call that would be particularly embarrassing and divisive for the right — Republicans will send proposal by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to the House Judiciary Committee for a panel vote on Tuesday, two Democratic sources said. The GOP-controlled committee is expected to kill the resolution…

The markup has yet to be noticed by the panel. But the Tuesday vote will come just a few hours before Trump will give his first address to Congress. Indeed, Democrats are fuming that Republicans are trying to bury the panel vote by scheduling it on a busy news day.

Resolutions of inquiry are rare in Congress and privileged, meaning lawmakers can circumvent leadership and force action on the floor if they’re ignored for 14 legislative days.

The resolutions can force presidents and agencies to give Congress private records. Nadler’s, for example, demands that Attorney General Jeff Sessions hand over to the Hill “any document, record, memo, correspondence or other communication” pertaining to “criminal or counterintelligence investigations” related to Trump, White House staff or his business…

The mark-up will likely prove awkward for Judiciary Committee Republicans who will have to block the resolution. Judiciary member and Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) just last week, for instance, faced sharp questions from constituents who accused him of steering the Oversight panel’s agenda to protect Trump…

Well, since #JasonintheHouse already whined that town hall protests in his district were meant to “bully and intimidate” him, here’s hoping he’s ready for a whole new onslaught…



Yesterday in Domestic Terrorism and Stochastic Violence: Exceedingly Pale Edition Part II

Last night Adam Purinton of Olathe, KS decided he needed to take his 1st and 2nd Amendment rights out for some exercise at the local sports bar. Purinton killed one patron of the bar and wounded two.

A man opened fire at a crowded Olathe bar, killing one man and wounding two others before he was arrested across state lines hours later, police said Thursday about an attack that some witnesses suggested had racial overtones.

Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe, was arrested in Henry County, MO after the shooting Wednesday evening at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe. He waived extradition from Henry County Thursday and was expected to be returned to Kansas, said Maj. Rob Hills of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

He has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

The Kansas City Star reports that Purinton provided his own explanation for his actions at the time of the attack:

At least one witness reportedly heard the suspect yell “get out of my country” shortly before shooting men he thought were Middle Eastern. Both men, engineers at Garmin, appear to be originally from India.

Like the fine, brave, upstanding citizen that he is, he fled across state lines to a near by Applebees where he asked the bartender “he needed a place to hide out” and that “he had killed two Middle Eastern men”.

The victims are Srinivas Kuchibhotla, Alok Madasani, and Ian Grillot. Kuchibotla died of a result of his injuries, while Madasani and Grillot were wounded. Grillot is reported to have stood up to the shooter in defense of Kuchibhotla and Madasani.

This is Purinton.

Which reminds us to post this obligatory page from the Preacher comic book:

 

 

 



Open Thread: Liberals, Never Satisfied!


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The GOP motto: If you can’t eat it, fight it, or market it, what good could it possible be?
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Today In Be Careful What You Wish For: Not So Strange Bedfellows Edition II

Shortly after the election the American Jewish Congress and the Islamic Society of North America formally entered into a civil rights protection and promotion and civil society defense agreement. Today, in response to yesterday’s violence and vandalism at St. Louis’s Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, Linda Sarsour and Tarik El-Messidi have started a fundraising campaign to help repair the damage done.

You may remember Linda Sarsour, the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York, as one of the co-chairs for the Women’s March. Tarik El-Messidi is the founder of Celebrate Mercy, an educational outreach program intended to inform both Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam and the life of Prophet Muhammed.

So well done currently unknown dickheads and domestic terrorists – your stupidity has just drawn Muslim and Jewish Americans closer together. Give yourselves a round of applause for achieving exactly the opposite of what you intended to achieve: to scare Americans of different faiths and ethnicities in order to drive them apart and make them easier to prey upon in the future. Morons!

 



For-the-Record Open Thread: No Bottom to Trump’s Presser Nadir

That’s weird in and of itself (traditionally, one recited the Pater Noster when in immanent peril, as the best emergency method of preparing one’s soul against Hell or Purgatory) but some eagle-eyed observer noticed the signs so prominent behind Melania…


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Resources

Last night in the comments to Doug!’s post about the breaking news regarding the Trump Organization’s lawyer, an opposition Ukrainian member of Parliament, and a Russian-American with significant ties to organized crime, as well as US law enforcement, a number of people asked where they could find information on all of the financial connections.

There are two very good resources on this.

The first is James S. Henry’s (very) long form article at The American Interest. Henry goes into a great deal of detail regarding all the various financial connections of the alleged ties between the President and Russian business and other interests. David Cay Johnston, who has written a biography of the President, wrote the foreword.

The second is the twitter feed of Adam Khan. Khan has painstakingly combed through news reports, financial disclosures, and a whole host of other documents and documented all of the alleged connections with explanatory annotations. His research includes not just the alleged ties between the President’s businesses, campaign, transition, and/or Administration and various Russian interests, but that of folks within his orbit such as Carter Page. He’s also branched out into focusing on Vladimir Putin and the people within his orbit.

I want to state clearly that these are allegations. However, there is a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence that simply cannot be hand waved away. As I’ve repeatedly stated when doing the maskirovka posts, as a national security professional, if there is indeed a straightforward explanation, then the President and his Administration should provide it for the good of the Nation.



Today in Domestic Terrorism and Stochastic Violence

This week the weekly phone in bomb threat to multiple Jewish Community Centers and synagogues came a day early. Instead of Tuesday, the preferred day for the last several week’s worth of calls, the caller moved it to Monday. Perhaps to capture the festive spirit of Presidents’ Day.

WHITEFISH BAY — Officials with the Village of Whitefish Bay say a bomb threat was called into the Jewish Community Center at 10:08 a.m. on Monday, February 20th.

The Jewish Community Center posted on its Facebook page, Twitter account and its website that the facility was “safely evacuated.”

A limited number of students were at the center because of the holiday. Other guests who were on site using the gym and pool facilities were also evacuated.

Police say the center was cleared by bomb sniffing dogs. The “all clear” was issued around 12:30 p.m. — after the sweep of the building.

This appears to be one of several threats made to Jewish community centers around the country on Monday.

There was also a threat called into the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, AL.

The Levite Jewish Community Center was briefly evacuated Monday morning after receiving a bomb threat. Many parents picked their children up from the child care facility.

Authorities have given the all-clear now, and staff and students are now back in the building.

A Birmingham police officer said there have been several of these threats across the U.S. today.

The JCC has received bomb threats before, including one in mid-January.

The FBI has been investigating threats to Jewish centers in Alabama and several other states.

Both the Whitefish Bay and Birmingham JCCs received similar phoned in threats in January.

Here’s what I think the security issues are going forward:

1) We’ve got some knucklehead who gets his gratification calling these in and seeing the news coverage. He may or may not be a hard core anti-Semite, but he’s basically in it for ego gratification. And based on decades of criminological research into deviance, delinquency, and offending, it is highly likely it is a he. So step up your game ladies! He may or may not even be in the US, given VOIP technology. And he may never intend to do anything but make these calls.

2) Or he intends to eventually escalate. Specifically after he feels that he has made enough of these, or other copycats have, to create a sense of complacency for the folks at the JCCs and synagogues. Basically emergency alert fatigue. At that point he actually plants a bomb at one of these locations because he figures he’s got a reasonable expectation of casualties because the threats have become commonplace and are no longer being taken seriously.

3) Or, even worse, he never originally intended to escalate, but because the threats have become commonplace the coverage drops way off. He doesn’t get his gratification and as a result escalates in order to get his rush. Basic addictive behavior pattern. Also, serial criminal pattern.

4) Or, also even worse, he never intends to escalate beyond calling in the threats, but someone else who does want to do real, physical damage to property and harm to people does. This individual or individuals waits until the coverage begins to drop off because the calls are every week or every other week like clockwork and the local news decides it needs to cover something more important. And then this person that wants to cause real harm and actually hurt people decides its time to strike because complacency has set in and some synagogue or JCC isn’t going to take the threat as seriously.

And I fully expect that this pattern will at some point be fully extended to mosques and Hispanic and Asian churches, as well as Sikh temples. I know that the Hispanic and Asian churches in my area have seen an increase in both vandalism and threats, just as the synagogues and mosques have, because they are viewed as immigrant places (of worship) and therefore acceptable targets despite being churches.

Updated at 6:15 PM EST

Thanks to commenter Timurid, this also happened today:

I cannot emphasize enough just how bad this is. Not the property damage, in and of itself that’s bad, but because ground that has been the site of violence cannot be sanctified/re-sanctified. Provided that this is just cosmetic damage to the headstones – defacing, being knocked over, etc – there should be no problem. But if the graves themselves have been desecrated, then it will require reburials and the spaces will never be able to be reused as Judaism prohibits reusing a grave. This means that if someone has to be reburied in another plot, then the final resting place and marker/memorial will either be aware from the remainder of their relations graves or everyone will have to be relocated. This is not only traumatic for the living, but becomes prohibitively expensive to deal with.