This is too much déjà vu…how many times have we seen the phrase “justice for…” used to represent the murder of a black man or woman or child?
The protest are growing…last night my daughter sent me this message as she was driving back from Florida:
I feel this:
And also this:
This is an open thread.
The photos in today’s post are by Chinese photographer Wu Hongli, who has photographed street cats across China and several other countries. Read more about him and his project at National Geographic.
This week the U.S. added 1968-style violent protests to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the growing madness of the monster in the White House who is doing his very best to make both of these crises so much worse.
Michelle Goldberg: America Is a Tinderbox. Scenes from a country in free fall.
The last two and a half months in America have felt like the opening montage in a dystopian film about a nation come undone. First the pandemic hit and hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed. The national economy froze and unemployment soared; one in four American workers has applied for unemployment benefits since March. Lines of cars stretched for miles at food banks. Heavily armed lockdown protesters demonstrated across the country; in Michigan, they forced the Capitol to close and legislators to cancel their session. Nationwide, at least 100,000 people died of a disease almost no one had heard of last year.
Then, this week, a Minneapolis police officer was filmed kneeling on the neck of a black man named George Floyd. As the life went out of him, Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, echoing the last words of Eric Garner, whose 2014 death at the hands of New York policemen helped catalyze the Black Lives Matter movement. Floyd’s death came only days after three Georgia men were arrested on charges of pursuing and killing a young black man, Ahmaud Arbery, whom they saw out running. A prosecutor had initially declined to charge the men on the grounds that their actions were legal under the state’s self-defense laws.
In Minneapolis protesters poured into the streets, where they met a far harsher police response than anything faced by the country’s gun-toting anti-lockdown activists. On Wednesday night, peaceful demonstrations turned into riots, and on Thursday Minnesota’s governor called in the National Guard.
For a moment, it seemed as if the blithe brutality of Floyd’s death might check the worst impulses of the president and his Blue Lives Matter supporters. The authorities were forced to act: All four of the policemen involved were fired, police chiefs across the country condemned them and William Barr’s Justice Department promised a federal investigation that would be a “top priority.” Even Donald Trump, who has encouraged police brutality in the past, described what happened to Floyd as a “very, very bad thing.”
But on Thursday night, after a county prosecutor said his office was still determining if the four policemen had committed a crime, the uprising in Minneapolis was reignited, and furious people burned a police precinct. (One of the officers was arrested and charged with third-degree murder on Friday.) On Twitter, an addled Trump threatened military violence against those he called “THUGS,” writing, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Whether Trump knew it or not, he was quoting a racist phrase from the 1960s used by George Wallace, among others. The president later tried to tamp down outrage by saying he was just warning of danger — the Trump campaign has hoped, after all, to peel off some black voters from the Democrats — but his meaning was obvious enough. This is the same president who on Thursday tweeted out a video of a supporter saying, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”
The Trump presidency has been marked by shocking spasms of right-wing violence: the white nationalist riot in Charlottesville, Va., the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the mass shooting targeting Latinos in El Paso. But even as the country has simmered and seethed, there hasn’t been widespread disorder. Now, though, we might be at the start of a long, hot summer of civil unrest.
It certainly looks that way.
Julie Pace at the Associated Press: Analysis: Trump fuels new tensions in moment of crisis.
Over 48 hours in America, the official death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 100,000, the number of people who filed for unemployment during the crisis soared past 40 million, and the streets of a major city erupted in flames after a handcuffed black man was killed by a white police officer.
It’s the kind of frenetic, fractured moment when national leaders are looked to for solutions and solace. President Donald Trump instead threw a rhetorical match into the tinderbox. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he declared ominously in a late-night tweet.
Trump’s words were so jarring that Twitter attached a warning to his post — as well as to an identical message from an official White House account — saying that the president of the United States was “glorifying violence.” It’s the first time the social media giant has taken such a step with any world leader, prompting new claims of bias from Trump and some of his conservative allies.
The episode encapsulated Trump’s approach to the presidency and to this time of national crisis, which has upended nearly every aspect of American life and put his November reelection prospects at risk. He’s latched on to personal grievances and cast himself as a victim, while making only occasional references to the staggering loss of life across the country. He’s willingly stoked partisan divisions over public health, and now racial divisions in the face of a death, rather than seeking opportunities to pull the nation together.
Read the rest at AP.
Matt Zapotosky and Isaac Stanley-Becker at The Washington Post: Gripped by disease, unemployment and outrage at the police, America plunges into crisis.
America’s persistent political dysfunction and racial inequality were laid bare this week, as the coronavirus death toll hit a tragic new milestone and as the country was served yet another reminder of how black people are killed by law enforcement in disproportionately high numbers. Together, the events present a grim tableau of a nation in crisis — one seared by violence against its citizens, plagued by a deadly disease that remains uncontained and rattled by a devastating blow to its economy.
Barbara Ransby, a historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a longtime political activist, said the toll of the coronavirus outbreak made long-standing racial inequities newly stark. Then, images of police violence made those same disparities visceral.
“People are seething about all kinds of things,” said Ransby, the author of “Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century.” “There are major turning points and ruptures in history. . . . This is one of these moments, but we’ve not seen how it will fully play out.”
Read more at the WaPo.
This seems really ominous from James LaPorta at the Associated Press: Pentagon puts military police on alert to go to Minneapolis.
As unrest spread across dozens of American cities on Friday, the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests.
Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders. Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours. The people did not want their names used because they were not authorized to discuss the preparations.
The get-ready orders were sent verbally on Friday, after President Donald Trump asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper for military options to help quell the unrest in Minneapolis after protests descended into looting and arson in some parts of the city.
Trump made the request on a phone call from the Oval Office on Thursday night that included Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’ Brien and several others. The president asked Esper for rapid deployment options if the Minneapolis protests continued to spiral out of control, according to one of the people, a senior Pentagon official who was on the call.
I’m not a lawyer, but I thought it was illegal for the U.S. military to police American citizens. More from the AP story:
The person said the military units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807, which was last used in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the Rodney King trial.
“If this is where the president is headed response-wise, it would represent a significant escalation and a determination that the various state and local authorities are not up to the task of responding to the growing unrest,” said Brad Moss, a Washington D.C.-based attorney, who specializes in national security.
Members of the police units were on a 30-minute recall alert early Saturday, meaning they would have to return to their bases inside that time limit in preparation for deployment to Minneapolis inside of four hours. Units at Fort Drum are slated to head to Minneapolis first, according to the three people, including two Defense Department officials. Roughly 800 U.S. soldiers would deploy to the city if called.
One more and I’ll end this catalog of horrors. I read this post at bellingcat a couple of days ago, and Michelle Goldberg discusses it in her NYT op-ed quoted up top: The Boogaloo Movement Is Not What You Think.
As Minneapolis exploded over the death of a another black man at the hands of police, members of a weird political subculture weighed a response.
On the internet, meanwhile, a largely white, and far right movement publicly contended over what risks its members should take to support a black man killed by police.
On the Facebook page, Big Igloo Bois, which at the time of writing had 30,637 followers, an administrator wrote of the protests, “If there was ever a time for bois to stand in solidarity with ALL free men and women in this country, it is now”.
They added, “This is not a race issue. For far too long we have allowed them to murder us in our homes, and in the streets. We need to stand with the people of Minneapolis. We need to support them in this protest against a system that allows police brutality to go unchecked.”
One commenter added, “I’m looking for fellow Minneapolis residents to join me in forming a private, Constitutionally-authorized militia to protect people from the MPD, which has killed too many people within the last two years.”
These exchanges offer a window into an extremely online update of the militia movement, which is gearing up for the northern summer. The “Boogaloo Bois” expect, even hope, that the warmer weather will bring armed confrontations with law enforcement, and will build momentum towards a new civil war in the United States.
Mostly, they’re not even hiding it. And for the last several months, their platform of choice has been Facebook.
Like many other novel extremist movements, the loose network of pro-gun shitposters trace their origins to 4chan. What coherence the movement has comes from their reverence for their newly-minted martyrs and a constellation of in-jokes and memes
The article describes how this subculture has used Facebook to advance its agenda. Facebook is aiding numerous violent right wing movements and actively enabling the campaign of Donald Trump. Read more at these links:
Zeynep Tufekci at The Atlantic: Trump Is Doing All of This for Zuckerberg.
John Stanton at The Daily Beast: Mark Zuckerberg Profits from Rage as Much as Donald Trump Does.
Donnie O’Sullivan at CNN Business: Mark Zuckerberg silent as Trump uses Facebook and Instagram to threaten ‘looting’ will lead to ‘shooting.’
That’s it for me. What do you think? What stories are you following today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Last night I watched Ali Velshi reporting from South Minneapolis where a fire was just beginning to take out a car and spread to a pawn shop. It eventually turned in to this: “Minneapolis police station torched amid George Floyd protest. I lived in Minneapolis awhile and I know the area well. It’s been shocking but not surprising which is the biggest theme of the Trumpist Regime to date.
I was 12 in 1968 when the family station wagon drove around The Paseo Avenue neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri, to get to my Grandfather’s rest home during the Holy Week Uprising. It was a bit of unique response because it didn’t happen the day that Chicago and LA lit up. It was a few days later. We had to skirt and skate that part of town.
The first signs of disorder in the streets of Kansas City was a stable student march, in response to the government failing to close schools across the city on April 9, the day of King’s funeral. This was seen as a lack of respect for King by the students. The riot was sparked when Kansas City Police Department deployed tear gas to the student protesters when they staged their performance outside City Hall.
The deployment of tear gas dispersed the protesters from the area, but other citizens of the city began to riot as a result of the Police action on the student protesters during a meeting with Mayor Ilus W. Davis. The resulting effects of the riot resulted in the arrest of over one hundred adults, and left five dead and at least twenty admitted to hospitals.
I remember watching protest against the treatment of Black Americans on TV since the Early 1960s. I keep seeing that we continually take to the streets over the same damn thing including the clueless people that don’t understand how after decades of seeing nothing much happen, the protests eventually turn angry.
The protests in Ferguson seemed relatively tame in comparison but they were just another sign that we treat Black Americans horribly different in this country still. The Orange Snot Blob made a campaign theme of any one protesting taking the knee in a quiet silent protest. Well, now Derrick Chauvin took his knee to murder a Black Man in plain sight of cameras and citizens and Trumperz has the audacity to threaten the city and the state like that’s his role in this.
BB was in Harvard Square for protests against the war that later turned into riots at the same time. I also remember the riots in LA for the police beatings of Rodney King in 1992 but like most of us, I watched that from the safety of a couch in front of a TV . So, when BB described the morning news as a mix of 1968 and 1918 it seemed quite apropos.
I don’t know about you but I’ve just had enough of this …
“… some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses”
So, here’s some of the headlines today that seem a lot like history repeating itself …
A CNN crew has been arrested while covering Minneapolis protests, and the governor has apologized — Minnesota police arrest CNN team on live television — (CNN)A CNN crew was arrested by Minnesota state police Friday morning while giving a live television report in Minneapolis
The reporters were released this morning.
Jimenez could be seen holding his CNN badge while reporting, identifying himself as a reporter, and telling the officers the crew would move wherever officers needed them to.An officer gripped his arm as Jimenez talked, then put him in handcuffs.“We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. … Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way — wherever you want us (we’ll) get out of your way,” Jimenez said to police before he was led away.
“We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection,” Jimenez continued.
Fortunately, the Governor of Minnesota took umbrage with this and they were released. (Any one remember Dan Rather and Mike Wallace been roughed up on air during the 1968 Convention by Security Guards?)
So, the (via AP) “Governor acknowledges ‘abject failure’ in protest response” from Minnesota State Police backed up by Minnesota National Guard. (Hmmm, what memory does that drudge up sister and brother Old people?)
With smoke drifting over Minneapolis, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday acknowledged the “abject failure” of the response to this week’s violent protests and called for swift justice for police involved in the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white officer knelt on his neck.
Walz said the state would take over the response and that it’s time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering.
“Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard,” Walz said, adding. “Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world — and the world is watching.”
Meanwhile, over in Louisville, Kentucky “7 shot in downtown Louisville at Breonna Taylor protest. Here’s what we know” from the Louisville Courier/Journal.
At least seven people were shot as hundreds of protesters in downtown Louisville gathered Thursday night to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old ER tech who was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police in March.
Some shots were heard on scene just before 11:30 p.m., and a police spokeswoman confirmed the injuries at 1 a.m. in a statement. Two victims required surgery.
“There have been some arrests, but at this time we are not able to tell you how many as the situation is ongoing,” spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said in a statement.
Police officers did not fire their guns, Smiley said.
That city is also burning.
Courier Journal reporter Cameron Teague Robinson was on the scene at Jefferson and Sixth streets Thursday night when shots were fired at the protest over the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor in her home.
He said he was looking over to the police barricade before turning to find one of his fellow reporters when the shots started. He said he ran behind Metro Hall where some cops were stationed with guns.
“They weren’t trying to shoot anybody,” Teague Robinson said. “I think they knew people were running away, but they just (had) guns aimed, aimed up, yelling at people to leave and get out of there. So once I kind of ran into a cop with a gun, I kind of just kept running.”
His path took him beyond Fifth Street.
Here’s the latest on officer Derek Chauvin who is officer who suffocated George Floyd by keeping his knee on his throate even Floyd was subdued and clearly telling the office he was in distress. Chauvin has been taken into custody.
There is more information coming out on Chauvin and his victim daily. This is from The Grio: “George Floyd and officer Derek Chauvin worked together at nightclub in 2019.”
Maya Santamaria, the former owner of the El Nuevo Rodeo Club, says that she knows both men at the center of Minneapolis’ recent protests. How? She hired them both at her club in 2019, but she cannot recall if the two actually knew each other, according to KSTP-TB, an ABC local affiliate.
“Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,” says Santamaria. “They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.”
Chauvin’s earlier excessive abuse charges were handled by Amy Klobucher. This is also from The Grio.
George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis by the hands of a cop has created a furor and protests over police brutality. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is now under scrutiny for failing to pursue charges against the officer involved when she was chief prosecutor.
Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derick Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes as he struggled to breathe on Monday. He and three other officers have since been fired but the incident with Floyd was not the first controversial one in his police jacket. Chauvin has at least 10 complaints of misconduct against him according to the database that registers complaints against police.
Klobuchar, Minnesota’s Democratic senator—and a possible vice presidential running mate to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has demanded a “complete and thorough” investigation into Floyd’s death.
Well, I’d say that’s all over.
Meanwhile, the Russian Potted Plant in the Oval office and Racist-in-Chief did exactly what you’d think he’d do. He race baited and stood with the Ku Klux Blue.
President Trump called the Minneapolis protesters “thugs” and implied looting demonstrators could be shot in two tweets posted early Friday morning, which Twitter later said violated its rules against promoting violence.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City,” the president wrote, adding that Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, must “get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.”
It was unclear if the president intended to send additional troops after Gov. Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard to help restore order in the Twin Cities. But the president said he was prepared to have the federal government “assume control.”
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” Mr. Trump wrote of the demonstrators, “and I won’t let that happen.” He added, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The tweet containing that quote was placed behind what Twitter called a “public interest notice,” which warned users that it “violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence” and required readers to take an extra step to read the president’s full comment.
Well… this is good by seeing that he’s actually tweeted 52.1 K tweets over time make me wonder if twitter troll is his full time job because he certainly is not presidenting.
So, I’m with Andrea Brown of the Houston Chronicle: “ Opinion: After George Floyd, I will not watch another video and witness another atrocity”.
The amount of death that I’ve seen is unnatural for a person my age. It would be easy to pass this statement off as a hazard of my job. I’m an educator in an area of town that’s been plagued by violence for years. I’ve wept at the loss of life of at least one student for six years straight. It’s much worse for the students I serve in the Third Ward. Death has turned many of them cold because they haven’t had the privilege of being shielded from the pain of violence in its many forms.
This is the same community that was home to George Floyd, a black man who was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police. He was beloved by his community. Now, images of his lifeless body have traveled the world, sparking protests, tears, outrage and empty apologies. This is a cycle that continues to repeat itself. Each time it happens, it feels like a bandage being ripped off of a gaping wound. It never heals.
Enough! I’ve watched this play out since the early 1960s on the news … it’s way too much and we’ve done way too little to stop it.
The institutions of the United States of America should protect and serve all Americans equally and treat them all with respect and with the view of equality under the law. Police need to stop KILLING our Black Brothers and Sisters! NOW!!!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I want to start this post with something warm and cute, be sure to play the video…
Because the rest of the thread is fucking disturbing and disgusting as hell.
I take it you all are aware of the murder that took place in Minnesota?
The image is graphic, but you need to click on the tweet above to see the powerful statement in full.
In other news:
That is it…it’s all got me so pissed off.
What about you?