Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

This morning’s big news is that Iran shot down a U.S. drone. From The Guardian:

A full-scale model of The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned plane

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday that they had used a surface to air missile to shoot down what they called a US “spy” drone they claimed was flying in the country’s airspace.

US Central Command confirmed that one of its unmanned aircraft had been taken down, but said it was in international airspace. A CentCom spokesman, Capt Bill Urban said it was a US navy Global Hawk surveillance drone, which had been downed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile over the Strait of Hormuz at 11.35pm GMT.

“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false. This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace,” Urban said.

The US military accused Iran last week of firing a missile at another drone that responded to the oil tanker attacks near the Gulf of Oman.

Tensions in the Gulf have been heightened since 13 June, when the US accused Iran of attacking two tankers in the the Gulf of Oman with mines. The US military released footage it said showed the Iranian military removing an unexploded mine from the side of one of the tankers. There have also allegedly been Iranian-inspired attacks on US oil and military assets in Iraq, and increasingly sophisticated weaponry being fired into Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels.

The Iranian state news agency said the downed drone was an RQ-4 Global Hawk. “It was shot down when it entered Iran’s airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the south,” the Revolutionary Guards’ website added.

Now here’s a delicious story about how karma caught up with fake christian Jerry Falwell Jr.

Miami Herald: How cut-rate SoBe hostel launched Jerry Falwell Jr. ‘pool boy’ saga, naked picture hunt.

Giancarlo Granda and Jerry Falwell Jr. at Cheeca Lodge

The photograph shows Giancarlo Granda, a handsome, 20-something pool attendant whom Jerry and his wife, Rebecca, 52, befriended at the Fontainebleau hotel in 2012, and within months, would set up as part-owner and manager of a $4.7 million South Beach hostel.

It was an unusual partnership: The president of the largest Christian university in the world, a school that prohibits gay sex, agreeing to operate a Miami Beach hostel, regarded as gay friendly, in conjunction with a “pool boy” with virtually no hotel management experience after they met at the storied Fontainebleau, a favored South Florida vacation ground for the Falwells. Yet there they were, not only business partners but mingling socially at Cheeca, an idyllic, exclusive resort in the Keys.

The relationship between the Falwells and Granda forms the backdrop of an improbable Miami story that is causing political ripples beyond South Florida. It involves a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, the “pool boy” as he is described in the lawsuit, the comedian Tom Arnold, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s now imprisoned political fixer, naked photographs — and a Miami father and son who say they were defrauded in a real estate deal then forced to change their names due to “threats.”

The gist of the story is that photos of Falwell’s wife in “various stages of undress” have turned up in the court case. The Herald has seen three of them. These are the photos that Michael Cohen supposedly helped Falwell cover up.

Jerry Fallwell Jr. and his wife Becki

The timing of Cohen’s alleged photo-recovery mission roughly preceded Falwell’s pivotal evangelical endorsement of Trump in the 2016 Republican primary, which Cohen says he helped engineer. Ted Cruz, who became the last candidate standing in the fight to deprive Trump of the Republican nomination, wanted to land that endorsement for himself. That he didn’t get it remains a sore point with some of his backers and a source of curiosity, including speculation that the “pool boy” saga and the presidential endorsement could be somehow related.

“You have the chancellor of the largest Christian university in the world in South Beach, which is not exactly a hot spot for evangelicals to take a vacation, [who buys] a piece of property for someone with no business experience. There is something odd there,’’ said Rick Tyler, former spokesman for Cruz.

Tyler said that Falwell assured him that he had no intention of endorsing anyone in the primary in part because his board at Liberty University wouldn’t permit it. So Tyler and others on the Cruz campaign were caught off guard when Falwell suddenly endorsed Trump in January 2016 — a week before the crucial Iowa caucuses and at a time when Cruz and Trump were mounting a fight for key endorsements from powerful leaders on the religious right.

“Clearly, something changed that led him to endorse Trump, and I would like to know what that was,’’ said Tyler, who is now an MSNBC commentator.

Read the rest at the link above.

Joe Biden continues to get shoot himself in the foot with his 1970’s attitudes.

The Washington Post: Biden faces backlash over comments about the ‘civility’ of his past work with racist senators.

Racist Senator James Eastland

Joe Biden faced a growing backlash Wednesday from prominent Democrats — and a bit of second-guessing within his own campaign — over comments in which he proudly described his history of working hand-in-hand in the Senate with avowed racists.

Biden’s remarks, which came at a fundraiser Tuesday night in which he said one segregationist senator “never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son,’ ” seemed intended to highlight a central argument of his presidential candidacy: that he knows how to bring unity to a polarized nation.

Interestingly, segregationists Biden talked about working with–James O. Eastland and Herman Talmage– were Democrats, so he wasn’t even working “across the aisle.” Even Biden’s advisers were disturbed by his remarks.

As seemingly random as it was for Biden to reference Sen. James O. Eastland, a long-ago deceased segregationist senator from his own party, some in Biden’s campaign had heard him discuss this relationship before — and warned him against mentioning it in public. Eastland, who represented Mississippi in the Senate from the early 1940s to 1978, often said that African Americans were “an inferior race.”

Aides said they had urged Biden to find a less toxic example.

Apparently, another way that Biden resembles Trump (besides being an old white man who excuses racism) is that he doesn’t listen to his advisers.

From The New York Times:

Senator Kamala Harris of California said the former vice president “doesn’t understand the history of our country and the dark history of our country,” and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said Mr. Biden should immediately apologize for using segregationists to make a point about civility in the Senate.

Senator Kamala Harris of California said the former vice president “doesn’t understand the history of our country and the dark history of our country,” and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said Mr. Biden should immediately apologize for using segregationists to make a point about civility in the Senate….

Yet for much of the day, Mr. Biden and his campaign appeared publicly unbowed and intent on defending, or at least explaining, his worldview of politics, which is rooted in his early days in the Senate when, he said, legislators who disagreed still worked together….

“Apologize for what?” he said Wednesday evening before appearing at a fund-raiser in Maryland, adding that he “could not have disagreed with Jim Eastland more.”

Asked by reporters about Mr. Booker’s demand that he apologize for his remarks, Mr. Biden said: “Cory should apologize. He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career, period, period, period.”

Calling an African American Senator and presidential candidate “Cory” is not a good look either.  If Biden keeps this up, he’s going to crash and burn just like he did in 2008 and 1988.

More karma: another white male candidate faces a reckoning on race.

Wesley Lowery at The Washington Post: Back home in South Bend, Buttigieg faces ‘his nightmare.’

Lowery writes that Pete Buttigieg was “the surprise success of the 2020 presidential campaign” until he got bad news from South Bend, IN, where he is mayor.

A white police officer had shot and killed a black man early Sunday. Buttigieg canceled several days of campaign events — including an LGBTQ gala in New York — and rushed back to Indiana to “be with the South Bend community,” in the words of a campaign spokesman.

Pete Buddigieg faces his worst nightmare

Instead of showcasing But­tigieg’s ability to lead through a crisis, however, the shooting is exposing what has long been considered an Achilles’ heel of his candidacy: his frosty relationship with South Bend’s black residents. Since arriving on Sunday, Buttigieg has alienated the family of the dead man, Eric Logan, 54, skipped a vigil at the scene of the shooting, and sought advice from outsiders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York.

On Wednesday, Buttigieg finally made his first extended public remarks about the shooting, appearing at South Bend police headquarters to lecture the city’s new cadet class about the importance of turning on their body cameras when they interact with members of the public. During Sunday’s shooting, the officer’s camera had been turned off.

“This is his nightmare,” said Jorden Gieger, a community organizer who is close to Logan’s family. “You have to imagine the first thing he said to the police chief was, ‘You all had one job: Don’t shoot a black guy while I’m running for president.’ ”

Head over to the WaPo to read the rest.

A story from Courthouse News that adds evidence for the meme that in the Trump administration, the cruelty is the point: Feds Tell 9th Circuit: Detained Kids ‘Safe and Sanitary’ Without Soap.

The Trump administration argued in front of a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can have them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells, despite a settlement agreement that requires detainees be kept in “safe and sanitary” facilities.

Trump concentration camp for immigrant children

All three judges appeared incredulous during the hearing in San Francisco, in which the Trump administration challenged previous legal findings that it is violating a landmark class action settlement by mistreating undocumented immigrant children at U.S. detention facilities.

“You’re really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn’t a question of safe and sanitary conditions?’” U.S. Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon asked the Justice Department’s Sarah Fabian Tuesday.

U.S. Circuit Judge William Fletcher also questioned the government’s interpretation of the settlement agreement.

“Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you to do anything other than what I just described: cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you’ve got an aluminum foil blanket?” Fletcher asked Fabian. “I find that inconceivable that the government would say that that is safe and sanitary.”

The settlement at issue came out of Jenny Lisette Flores v. Edwin Meese, filed in 1985 on behalf of a class of unaccompanied minors fleeing torture and abuse in Central America.

Read more at the link.

I’ll add more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?


34 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. RonStill4Hills says:

    Comments from below about Good Ol’ Uncle Joe

    Here is my beef with Biden – he doesn’t get it that he has ever done anything wron, it is never him, it is always us.

    This latest gaff about the Good Ol’ days with the Good Ol’ segregationists is just the latest.

    The media is rushing to do their usual “It’s Gool Ol’ Uncle Joe, he is no racist…”

    Just like they did when they said, “It’s Good Ol’ Uncle Joe, he’s is not sexual predator…”

    Basically, “Everybody likes him so we’ll hold him accountable next time.”

    How is “Good Ol’ Uncle Joe Who Can Totally Beat Trump” any different than “Good Ol’ Johnny Date Raping Quarter Back Who Is Totally Gonna Help Us Win State Unless You Angry Lesbos Ruin It For Everyone”?

    Does no one else remember that one of Biden’s signature “reaches across the aisle “was the solicit help from segregationists when he was opposed to school desegregation policy.

    The media made excuses for him then too.

    Second, third, fourth chances should hinge on getting it that you need to behave differently, whether that is keeping your hands to yourself or refraining from pandering to white working class voters.

    You shouldn’t get a pass to persist in the same old sh!t because you grin at the camera and say, “C’mon guys, it’s me! Everybody loves Good Ol’ Uncle Joe.”

    We have plenty of better choices, we don’t need another Good Ol’ Boy.

    I would add: IMO Biden’s latching on to Obama’s coat tails says more about Biden’s opportunism than it does about his racial bonafides.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I just want him to go away.

    • dakinikat says:

      Joey worked with segregationist on dismantling busing and active segregation measures.

      Here’s How Deep Biden’s Busing Problem Runs
      And why the Democrats can’t use it against him.

      By BRETT GADSDEN May 05, 2019

      Buckling to political pressure from his white constituents who wanted to keep things the way they were, Biden established himself as a leading Democratic opponent of busing in the Senate. Concluding that busing was a “bankrupt concept,” he found himself principally aligned with consummate civil rights opponent and GOP Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who was unabashed in his commitment “to put an end to the current blight on American education that is generally referred to as ‘forced bussing.’” Biden joined conservatives and increasing numbers of liberals who were determined to limit the scope of Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its prohibition on school segregation and to hamstring the federal government’s power to compel localities—under the threat of withholding federal funds—to desegregate their schools.

      Biden supported a measure sponsored by Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), a former Klansman who had held the floor for more than 14 hours in a filibuster against the 1964 civil rights bill, that prohibited the use of federal funds to transport students beyond the school closest to their homes and that passed into law in 1976. And in 1977, Biden co-sponsored a measure that further restricted the federal government from desegregating city and suburban schools with redistricting measures like school clustering and pairing. This measure won the approval of a majority of his Senate colleagues, and President Jimmy Carter later signed the provision into law, significantly narrowing legislative avenues for reform. Meanwhile, the Warren Burger-led Supreme Court, with its four recently appointed conservative members, proved less and less sympathetic to civil rights activists’ claims about constitutional violations and was unwilling to demand busing remedies.

      It runs deeper than the discussion that’s occurring.

      • Enheduanna says:

        And yet he seems to have a lot of support from African-Americans. I don’t get it unless they’re unaware of his past. I guess a lot of people are too young to remember or know about it.

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          I think that a lot of the electorate, and I started to say the black electorate but I actually think this applies to everyone, don’t remember much further back than Barack Obama.

          A lot of younger black activists were giving Hillary hell over the the crime bill because they were being told to do so on the internet, not because the remember much about it. Biden is clearly more culpable that Hills ever was but at the moment, that is not the narrative. The BOTS will eventually come after Biden and his RECORD, but not till after we are stuck with him.

          Biden has started out with a lot of liberal street cred because he is thought of as Barack Obama’s “sidekick”, he MUST be Barack’s white soul mate right? Just like him only pale? He couldn’t possibly be a shape-shifting DINO, could he?

          His record of being shaky on desegregation, shaky on choice, shaky on race and criminal justice, shaky on misogyny and sexual harassment (Anita Hil)l, that is ALL pre-Obama ancient history.

          I don’t want to lose to Trump due to Democrat on Democrat “friendly fire” but I do not want to pretend like ALL this disqualifying baggage doesn’t exist. Why has Biden never prospered in previous presidential runs?

          Because he kind of sucks up close.

          • quixote says:

            “Biden’s latching on to Obama’s coat tails says more about Biden’s opportunism than it does about his racial bonafides.”

            This.

            And him pretending he’s not a racist, misogynist, general all-around bigoted Good Old Boy, is just barfworthy. The attitude seems to be everywhere now: hey, if you haven’t killed millions in death camps, raped anyone down a dark alley, hunted blacks with a shotgun, then you couldn’t possibly be an antisemite / misogynist / racist.

            Hello? If you benefit from bigotry and do not actively work against it, you’re already all those things.

            If, on top of that, you install Clarence Thomases or Brett Kavanaughs to the Supremes, do your best to slow down desegregation, etc etc etc, you’re a big part of the problem. And the fact that you don’t see it just makes you a bigger part, not smaller.

          • NW Luna says:

            “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” Oh Joe, did you really have to say that? When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

            I’m old enough to remember Biden’s earlier political career. That’s why I’m still #NoOnJoe.

    • dakinikat says:

      • quixote says:

        Plus, the problem isn’t actually him being called “boy,” is it now?

        Jerk.

      • Enheduanna says:

        I like what Melissa McEwan said:

        It’s really no different than Dump’s “good people on both sides” is it…

  2. RonStill4Hills says:

    I am not Jewish so it is possible that I am not sensitive enough to what might REALLY offend someone with a personal connection to the holocaust.

    Concentration camps did not begin or end with the holocaust.

    Is what AOC said genuinely hurtful to some people?

    And is there a better term than “Concentration Camp” for what Trump is creating at the border?

    This sounds like opportunistic faux-outrage to me.

    If I am missing a key piece? The last thing I ever want to do is rub salt in somebody’s wounds.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I am not Jewish either, but I do not think her characterization of the camps is hyperbole. There is an argument to be made that she played into the “faux-outrage” machine on the right, but Fort Sill was an internment camp for Japanese citizens during WWII. People are dying and the CBP and ICE are out of control. They are deliberately endangering people’s lives with malice and contempt. They are not trying to help these people – quite the opposite. They are trying to make examples out of them to deter any more coming in.

      Having said that I would not want to offend anyone either. I don’t know what you would call them.

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        I have to agree with Nancy Pelosi, we absolutely have to be careful not to give them any low hanging buzz words that they can seize upon and turn into phony scandals.

        That said, we should never shy away form telling the truth and calling things what they are.

        It is not like using kid gloves is going to make them like us any better.

        And I am sick to death of hearing about the tight-rope we on the left need to walk, so we don’t alienate this group, or appear condescending to that group, when blatant offensiveness is the GOP’s trump card (pun totally intended).

        • quixote says:

          Historians and rabbis have come out all over the place pointing out that it’s an entirely appropriate use of the term.

          We have to stop worrying about what Repubs are going to use against us. They’re going to use *everything* against us. Instead of being pushed into tiptoeing around every new thing they beat us up with, we should just be yelling the truth back at them. AOC is good at it. Alan Grayson was. Katie Porter. Maxine Waters. Ted Lieu. Maizie Hirono. Samantha Bee. John Oliver Lots of examples to follow.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I agree. She didn’t say that they were extermination camps; she said they were concentration camps and they are.
        Did everybody read that Trump’s minions are arguing in court that we don’t have to provide toothbrushes, clean toilet facilities or soap to the human beings we’re imprisoning in Texas? That doesn’t mean the conditions are unsanitary!!! Everyday, every fucking day, we sink to a new low.

        • dakinikat says:

          yeah ,,, thankfully, the court shut them down … but that seems like a gulag to me

        • dakinikat says:

          • dakinikat says:

            Feds Tell 9th Circuit: Detained Kids ‘Safe and Sanitary’ Without Soap

            https://www.courthousenews.com/feds-tell-9th-circuit-detained-kids-safe-and-sanitary-without-soap/

            I’m ready to call them Gulags. They are political prisoners

          • dakinikat says:

            The Trump administration argued in front of a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can have them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells, despite a settlement agreement that requires detainees be kept in “safe and sanitary” facilities.

            All three judges appeared incredulous during the hearing in San Francisco, in which the Trump administration challenged previous legal findings that it is violating a landmark class action settlement by mistreating undocumented immigrant children at U.S. detention facilities.

            “You’re really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn’t a question of safe and sanitary conditions?’” U.S. Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon asked the Justice Department’s Sarah Fabian Tuesday.

            U.S. Circuit Judge William Fletcher also questioned the government’s interpretation of the settlement agreement.

            “Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you to do anything other than what I just described: cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you’ve got an aluminum foil blanket?” Fletcher asked Fabian. “I find that inconceivable that the government would say that that is safe and sanitary.”

            The settlement at issue came out of Jenny Lisette Flores v. Edwin Meese, filed in 1985 on behalf of a class of unaccompanied minors fleeing torture and abuse in Central America.

          • bostonboomer says:

            The Courthouse News article is featured in my post. No offense meant.

          • dakinikat says:

            Yes … and it’s appalling! It’s like there’s so much terrible out there you can’t emphasize it enough … I watched the type with the judges asking this woman about it and the tapes just made me go up the wall

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