Monday Reads: MLK Holiday, Super Blood Wolf Moon, and waiting for this too to pass …

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

The beginning of our celebration of the American Civil Rights Movement and the birth of Martin Luther King began with the syzygy of a Super Blood Wolf Moon in lunar eclipse.  I hope you had as good a view of it as we did down here in New Orleans.  It was amazing.  

We began the day with another Democratic Party contender for President in 2020. Kamala Harris threw her hat in the ring.  We have an amazing number of women with serious potential and ability eager to take on the Russian Potted Plant. This is the legacy of many and most importantly Hillary Clinton.  Today, made me think of my childhood shero Shirley Chisolm.  Kamala gave her a shout out!   Chisolm would be ecstatic to see so many serious women candidates.  Politico’s Christopher Caledego assesses Harris’ plan to run as a former, high profile prosecutor which worries many.

According to interviews with a half-dozen of her confidants and strategists, Harris will court voters wary of law enforcement by presenting herself as a kinder and gentler prosecutor — a “progressive” attorney who advocated for the vulnerable and served the public interest. At the same time, they believe leaning into her background will allow her to project toughness against Donald Trump, and contrast what they call her evidence-based approach to law and politics with the president’s carelessness with facts and legal troubles with the special prosecutor.

“In the face of a lawless president and a lawless administration, Americans are going to be looking for somebody who represents and stands for the rule of law,” one Harris adviser said.

But it will be a tough balancing act, and it’s an open question whether Harris has the political dexterity to pull it off. A scathing New York Times op-ed by a California law professor last week gave a taste of what the Californian is in for: It argued that Harris was overzealous against defendants in a slew of cases she or her office handled. Her critics and opponents quickly circulated the article.


A view of the lunar eclipse pictured in Jubilee Park, in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo: OLIVIER HOSLET, EPA-EFE)

We need immense criminal justice reforms as well as the reform of our immigration process. We have incredible problems nationally with local police forces and their treatment of minority communities.  Does Kamala have the chops for these issues? Astead W Herndon of the NYT writes about her candidacy and her chances today.

In California, Ms. Harris sought to fashion a third-way approach to criminal justice as a city and state prosecutor, what she dubbed being “smart on crime.” But like many Democrats, she has sought to align herself with the party’s leftward drift in recent years, proclaiming her support for “Medicare for All” and, after an initial hesitation, disavowing most corporate donations and embracing the legalization of recreational marijuana, which Ms. Harris once rebuffed.

But it remains unclear how exactly Ms. Harris will position herself on the ideological spectrum in this race. She does not hurl rhetorical thunderbolts at Wall Street in the same fashion of colleagues and rivals like Senator Warren. Still, she is no centrist and would likely embrace an agenda that is more unreservedly progressive than some of her moderate opponents.

Ms. Harris focused her initial campaign themes on broad themes of unity and revitalization, which emphasize her unique status as one of — if not the — most viable black women to ever run for president. Her announcement video borrows language from “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the song and poem written in 1900 and long referred to as America’s “black national anthem.”

At a recent appearance to promote her latest book “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” Ms. Harris, when asked why she would run for president, cited the need for leaders who have a “vision of our country in which everyone can see themselves.”

Democrats flocked to see her at a handful of public events tied to the book and many were enthusiastic about her potential.

“Her message of unity is key — people need that hope again,” said Valoree Celona, a 50-year-old insurance executive, who attended one of Ms. Harris’ book events earlier this month in New York. Ms. Celona, who said Ms. Harris caught her attention during Senate hearings, described the senator as “tough, but she’s fair.”

“I didn’t think someone from California could speak to all parts of the country, but I was impressed,” said Ava Leegant, a surgeon from San Francisco who also came to the New York event.

The super blood wolf moon is seen during a total lunar eclipse near Salgotarjan, northeast of Budapest, Hungary. (Photo: PETER KOMKA, EPA-EFE)

VP Pence–whose sole mission in life seems to be taking rights from others–has been co-opting the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  CNN’ Julian Zelizar calls his behavior and words “shocking”.

In the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Vice President Mike Pence shockingly invoked a line from the civil rights leader’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech to build support for President Donald Trump’s proposed deal on the border wall. Asking legislators to agree to Trump’s proposal of spending $5.7 billion on a border wall along with a temporary extension of the DACA program(that Trump dismantled), Pence said, quoting King, on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” “Now is the time to make real the promises for democracy.” He compared King’s belief in using the legislative process to solve social problems to what the President is trying to do.

The “I Have a Dream” speech continues to resonate to this day as one of the most important symbols of a civil rights movement that was committed to ending social injustice and dismantling policies that enabled the inhumane treatment of people living in the United States and all around the globe.

The comments made by Pence — who works at the top of an administration that promotes policies that directly contradict King’s message — fly directly in the face of Martin Luther King’s legacy.

It does so because this is an administration that right now is holding the government hostage — leaving civil servants without paychecks and citizens without full benefits — in exchange for a monument made of brick and mortar or steel that most experts agree won’t do much to enhance border security. Not to mention that, under this administration, thousands of parents have been separated from their children at the border.

In a stark contrast to what King stood for, the Trump administration has repeatedly sent encouraging signals to the forces of white nationalism, starting with the President saying that there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, the keepers of the flame for the white Americans who did everything in their power to stop civil rights back in the 1960s.

And as a way to promote the passage of new voting restrictions — which would fall hardest on marginalized groups of voters — the administration has promoted false claims of election fraud.


Blood Moon. A super blood wolf moon over the peace statue on Brighton seafront during a lunar eclipse. Picture date: Monday January 21, 2019. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire URN:40746499 (Press Association via AP Images)

I wake each day with one thought on my mind. Is today the day we can make him go away?  Max Boot writes on the two year anniversary of this travesty of everything right and democratic at WAPO.  “A look back on two dismal years of the Trump administration”.  I’ve chose to share the section on incompetence with you.

Incompetence: If Trump has a saving grace, it is that he is so incompetent: A more cunning populist would be far more dangerous. His tweets are riddled with spelling, grammar and factual mistakes. (Remember the “smocking gun”?) More significantly, he couldn’t get a Republican-controlled Congress to approve a border wall or repeal Obamacare. His attempt to implement his Muslim ban led to chaos in airports and a lengthy court battle. He has record-setting turnover and numerous vacancies among his staff. (There is still no nominee for 37 percent of key administration jobs.) He impetuously announced a ban on transgender soldiers, the suspension of military exercises with South Korea and the withdrawal from Syria, catching the Pentagon by surprise. His administration leaked so badly that one anonymous official boasted in a New York Times op-ed of obstructing Trump’s agenda. He launched a trade war with China and a government shutdown with no exit strategy. His midterm campaign backfired, leading the Democrats to pick up 40 House seats. He can’t consistently break 40 percent approval despite a booming economy. And he’s not learning from his mistakes. From the vantage point of 2019, in the midst of a record-setting government shutdown, the chaos of 2017 looks like the good ole days.

Full moon rises behind snow-covered mountains in Hakkari province of Turkey
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

We’re learning more about the cadre of young men from Kentucky whose parents sent them on a jaunt to the District to assert their white male privilege over the bodies of women.  While it appears that the story began as a rush to judgement, the initial judgement was not that off.  This situation still reeks of the white washing of Brett Kavanaugh and the fact they have the same smug little looks on their faces as they pronounce their sanctimonious BS still lets me know one thing.  The struggle is real and the MAGA hats are today’s white hoods.  This is via the NYT which has a history of white washing.  Look out for the mayo!

In a lengthy video posted to YouTube, the Hebrew Israelite activists shouted insults at Native Americans and the high school students. One of the activists, Shar Yaqataz Banyamyan, denied in a Facebook video that his group had been instigators.

On Sunday night, Mr. Banyamyan said that their words had been misconstrued as hateful and that they, in fact, were being mocked by the students.

“I know we seem aggressive reading the Bible, but the Bible states for us to cry aloud and don’t spare anybody’s feelings,” he said. “We’re not violent or ignorant.”

A parent of a Covington Catholic sophomore, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of safety concerns for his family, said his son, who attended the event, said the students were shouting school chants to drown out harassment from the black men. When it worked, the students were “hyped up and high-fiving each other,” he said.

The parent and Mr. Sandmann’s statement denied that the students chanted about building a wall at the border with Mexico, as Mr. Phillips had said. But in an interview on Sunday, Chase Iron Eyes, a spokesman for the Indigenous Peoples Movement, which organized the march, said he had also heard chants of “build that wall,” a rallying cry of supporters of Mr. Trump.

Marcus Frejo, an Indigenous hip-hop artist who is also known as Quese Imc, said he was standing with a friend near the black men when tensions flickered. He said he was worried “something ugly” was going to happen.

Around that time, he said, Mr. Phillips approached, asking to borrow a drum. Together, they headed into the center of the students, creating a sort of prayer circle. They sang what he said was a well-known spiritual song associated with the American Indian Movement of the 1960s and used for prayer and resistance.

Any one wearing a MAGA hat is not going to be taken as a person of good intent. I do not care how self righteous the kid and his friends say they’ve been in this situation. And, all women and all POC  know that “look” of white patriarchy asserting its superiority.  Little white boys at expensive prep schools learn that look well.

The struggle continues.

Here’s a link to The Guardian’s pictures of last night’s moon. They’re worth a look.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


70 Comments on “Monday Reads: MLK Holiday, Super Blood Wolf Moon, and waiting for this too to pass …”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. quixote says:

    “Oh, we were just aggressively chanting bible verses” Is that the new excuse?


    I’ve done clinic defense and been ten feet away from lines of shall we say vociferously bible verse chanting fundies, and they were nowhere near as mobbed up as those boys.

    • dakinikat says:

      Well, the pr/lawyer was pretty imaginative with the interpretation. I watched the video. I don’t see how you consider those boys well behaved or anything and the adults in charge are beyond negligent. The initial agitation was from the “black hebrews” but who goes into a protest area not knowing there’s going to be a counter group shouting things at you. Your group should train you to ignore them. The last thing you do is whoop them up with jumping and chanting fight ditties.

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        What little I know about he Hebrew Israelites is that they are a fringe religious cult. Kind like the Nation of Islam gone worse.

        They are not good people IMO and the organization has no credibility even among other Imaginary friend organizations.

        But as noted, the blatant disrespect shown by the MAGAt spawn is indefensible.

        I don’t know the real identity or politics of anyone who posts here and I do not have the expertise or inclination to try to peer through the veil of anonymity offer by the internet. I try to accept all at face value.

        But I smell a troll. I think someone is faking the funk…does any else smell it?

        • teele says:

          Thank you, I thought it was just me. It has been disturbing, because this is really my one completely cozy safe spot, for many years now, the one place I can settle in for a good read and interesting comments, undisturbed by “teh kwazy!!!1!”, even when it is dressed up with proper spelling and decent grammer. Also, I lack an appreciation for contrarianism for its own sake.

        • jackyt says:

          Oh God YES!

  5. OG says:

    What I hear you saying us that’s even though the facts are against you, you are not changing your position. Very nice.

    • dakinikat says:

      what facts? on what story?

    • NW Luna says:

      While it appears that the story began as a rush to judgement, the initial judgement was not that off.

      So there are two aggressive groups, the Hebrew Israelites and the Catholic HS boys. “Shouting school chants” — anyone who’s heard these at a HS ball game knows these are all about how great and powerful the school is, and how they’ll pummel their opponents. Apparently these 2 groups were also insulting the Indigenous Peoples marchers. The kids’s adult chaperones should have stopped the kids earlier and hauled them away but they did nothing. Looks like there’s plenty of blame justified for both groups. Then for Mr. Philips to move into the 2 aggressive groups and try to help calm them, singing and beating a drum, though well intentioned, was not likely to work given the hating-others aspect so well demonstrated by each group.

      • dakinikat says:

        whoever told the kids to do their fight songs should be tar and feathered … plus the MAGA hats … who lets kids wear political gear on school field trips? School should have be subject to taxes as a for profit.

      • NW Luna says:

        Just to be clear I’m not blaming Mr. Philips though I think he may have been naive about expecting the other groups to be reasonable people. They were not going to let themselves be calmed down at all.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Both the Black Israelites and those in MAGA hats (Trump Supporters) are what I consider hate groups. They are all disgusting fucking people spreading the same fucking message. Hate. Racism. Bigotry. Misogyny. Anti-women…all of it. The facts did not change they just expanded outward. One hate group, attacking another hate group, which then attacks the Native Americans with hate…

    • dakinikat says:

      It’s two hours long but worth a watch. I’m not buying any media apologies for these hooligans. You don’t go to a protest without being trained to just ignore taunts. The Black Hebrews were definitely preaching some nastiness. Some adult should have walked the kids elsewhere at that point. You don’t rev them up with fight songs.

    • NW Luna says:

      • bostonboomer says:

        That (white) guy posted an apologetic tweet today.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I’m just about fed up with white male media types today. Really fed up. You’d think they’d be able to understand that a bunch of punks in MAGA hats demonstrating against women’s bodily autonomy are questionable to begin with.

    • dakinikat says:

      Here’s a great article that recaps this film …

  6. NW Luna says:

    Wonderful full moon pictures; thank you.

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. NW Luna says:

    I just finished reading today’s WaPo coverage on Kamala and my impression was that they were doing a Hillary Clinton media treatment on her.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      This is the best and clearest video I’ve seen yet. It shows what happened before the smirking teen confrontation. Click the Vimeo link.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I guess I’m about the only one left here who doesn’t see a “rush to judgment.” What I see is a wealthy, spoiled kid a la Brett Kavanaugh whose parents hired a pr firm to gaslight people into disbelieving their own eyes and ears. If those kids had been black, the police would have been called and they would have been hauled off to jail.

        • quixote says:

          Well, you and me and Luna and lots of others, bb.

          When a garbage truck empties sout at the landfill and you can see it, it’s not a “rush to judgment” to say it dumped garbage. Things which are obvious and hold up under scrutiny don’t take hours to figure out.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Good to know. I’m feeling very angry today about the shitty media men who are feeling sorry for Nick Sandmann.

          • joanelle says:

            No, my dear, BB, you are not the only one here who didn’t see a ‘rush to judgement’, This nonsense sickens me and the fact that someone put these kids up to an unforgivable way to use out nation’s monuments as a background for their a lack of respect and to teach these kids that this is ‘the way to participate in democracy.’

        • NW Luna says:

          I see a rush to absolve these racist sexist privileged boys because another group was behaving aggressively. Nope. It makes the situation more complex but does not excuse those kids at all.

          Not sure where I wasn’t clear about this in my comments.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Sorry I misunderstood. I was reacting to what you said about Philips making things worse. According to people who were there, he interrupted what could have been a violent scene.

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh yeah, the “liberal media.”

      • bostonboomer says:

        So that’s who he is. I’ve seen him on CNN, and he’s incredibly annoying. He always has that same entitled smirk like the maga brat. He maintains the smirk no matter who else is speaking and no matter what they are saying.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Dak, from the articles you posted, I’d say Kamala is getting the Hillary treatment even more so than Elizabeth Warren. Some (white) people are even questioning whether she qualifies as African American!

  11. bostonboomer says:

  12. Minkoff Minx says:

    So I wrote about the MAGA fuckers yesterday…here is what I think.

    There has been a lot of apologetic shit along the lines of, boys will be boys, from certain parts of the media, i.e.:

    I Got It Wrong About The Covington Catholic Boys – The Daily Banter

    Contrary to the short clip shared by most people on social media, it becomes clear that the boys from Covington did not start the conflict, but were in fact targeted by the Black Hebrew Israelites. They did nothing wrong and are owed an apology.

    And this:

    Making Sense of the Phillips-Sandman Viral Video – Talking Points Memo

    The original video especially is so loaded – smiling white boy in a MAGA cap standing on the verge of laughing in the face of an impassive Native American beating a ceremonial drum – that it’s probably impossible for anyone to look at it and not project all sorts of beliefs, fears, grievances about the society we live in. But again, I don’t think Sandman’s explanation is credible. I think he decided to stand his ground, get in the guy’s face, and smile a kind of satisfied smile to show he wasn’t backing down. Meanwhile, his friends are surrounding both of them, goofing, taunting, jeering. Again, the chopping hand motion tells the story.

    One side note that probably deserves more attention. There were apparently chaperones with the boys. Again, these are high school students on a school trip. Whatever you think of the rest of it, all the videos show numerous points at which adults should have intervened but apparently didn’t.

    blah blah blah adults…blah blah…

    And then you have this take:

    MAGA KIDS INNOCENT! Or Hadn't You Heard They're White? – Wonkette

    The “whole” video of last Friday’s incident came out Sunday, and the New York Times claims it paints a “fuller and more complicated picture” of the encounter. It looks like these students won’t get their trip to Be Nice to Minorities Fantasy Camp after all. It’s completely unnecessary as they are probably the true victims.

    Interviews and additional video footage suggest that an explosive convergence of race, religion and ideological beliefs — against a national backdrop of political tension — set the stage for the viral moment. Early video excerpts from the encounter obscured the larger context, inflaming
    We also heard from the student whose smirking face induced a thousand flashbacks to our bullied childhoods. He chose to go public, so we’ll use his name here: He’s Nick Sandmann, a junior at the all-male Catholic school with opinions on reproductive freedom. According to Sandmann’s account, he and his classmates were waiting politely for the buses that would take them back to Kentucky.

    When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.
    It could just be phrasing, but this implies Sandmann is still unsure of who the black men were and what they were protesting. They were the Black Hebrew Israelites, an American-based evangelistic group of people who believe they are the descendants of the original Israelites. If you’ve spent much time in either New York, Philadelphia, or DC, you are familiar with the aggressive way they engage passersby. This is all protected, although incredibly annoying, speech. You are usually not a captive audience, unlike the women who are screamed at when they try to enter an abortion clinic. You can always go elsewhere.

    Please read the point made in the Wonkette piece about the use of protester and demonstrator…

    I feel the MAGA hats themselves are a form of Hate Speech. Period.

    So I run along the lines of this sentiment from the Wonkette link:

    …maybe what we perceive as smug sadism on Sandmann’s face in the viral video is just an insecure teenager trying to mask his own fear. But I remember when we were in DC last summer for my father’s 70th birthday. He was most excited to see the paintings of the Obamas at the National Portrait Gallery. It frustrated him to see the throngs of young men, all probably high school aged, wearing red MAGA hats and posing in wildly disrespectful ways with the former president’s painting. They flashed their version of gang signs. They stuck out their tongues. And they had a look on their face not so different from Sandmann’s. They weren’t afraid, either.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s a Twitter thread by a woman who was at the event and witnessed the entire episode. It is well worth reading. I’ve watched every video and spent all day yesterday reading about this and I still learned quite a bit of new information.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    A Covington Catholic chaperone defended the boys and said there was nothing he could do.

    Cincinnati Enquirer: Covington Catholic chaperone: ‘Nothing the chaperones could have done differently.’

    Many have asked: Where were the chaperones during the confrontation between Covington Catholic High School students, Native American marchers and Black Hebrew Israelites in Washington, D.C. on Friday?

    It turns out there were at least five on the scene, one of the chaperones told The Enquirer on Monday.

    That chaperone, Val Andreev, stands by how they handled the situation.

    “There was nothing the chaperones could have done differently,” said Andreev, a Hebron-resident. “I’m very proud the way the boys handled the situation.”

    Andreev and his 14-year-old son joined about 20 other chaperones and 240 students from Covington Catholic last week for the March for Life rally.

    They made it back home Saturday without realizing they were involved in a national controversy, Andreev said.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    A pro-life site claims it was all “fake news.” So anyone who expects these punks to be disciplined is fucking dreaming.

    Anti-Trump media touts fake news to whip up mob against pro-life kids. They should be ashamed

    The author has the nerve to call it a “lynch mob” by media and social media commenters!

    • NW Luna says:

      Gaslighting as always. That angry shouting threatening group of bullies was a mob and a chilling demonstration of mob mentality.

      As for “lynching” how fucking perverted white-privileged can they get to use that term this way.

  16. bostonboomer says:

  17. bostonboomer says:

    Can you believe it’s 3 degrees here and tonight it’s going below zero! Very unusual for the Boston area. The highest it got today was 7 degrees.

  18. bostonboomer says:

    This is interesting.

  19. bostonboomer says:

  20. NW Luna says:

    Good for France! Wish the US had some decent privacy protection. Note that the European privacy protections are referred to as a ‘privacy regime.’

    France fines Google nearly $57 million for first major violation of new European privacy regime

    Google has been fined nearly $57 million by French regulators for violating Europe’s tough new data-privacy rules, marking the first major penalty brought against a U.S. technology giant since the regionwide regulations took effect last year.

    France’s top data-privacy agency, known as the CNIL, said Monday that Google failed to fully disclose to users how their personal information is collected and what happens to it. Google also did not properly obtain users’ consent for the purpose of showing them personalized ads, the watchdog agency said.

    To French regulators, Google’s business practices ran afoul of Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation. Implemented in 2018, the sweeping privacy rules, commonly referred to as GDPR, have set a global standard that has forced Google and its tech peers in Silicon Valley to rethink their data-collection practices or risk sky-high fines. The United States lacks a similar, overarching federal consumer privacy law, a deficiency in the eyes of privacy rights advocates that has elevated Europe as the world’s de facto privacy cop.