Finally Friday Reads: Be More Like Baseball!Posted: July 24, 2020
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Let’s start with a little in your face Trumperz from the Yankees and the Nationals! Not only did Dr. Fauci–with a wild pitch–get the honor of throwing out the first pitch of the shortened MLB season, we also got this! All the players took the knee during the National Anthem. Now, let’s just continue with giving him a good old fashioned Bronx Cheer.
Black Lives Matter is a part of the culture now even if the Hair Furor’s white nationalist christianist racists want it all to go away. Every day more people turn on the Trumpist Regime but every day he responds with something crazier and crazier. This is from baseball stats and numbers wonk Nate Cohn writing at the NYT.
Recent national polls show that Joe Biden’s commanding lead has eroded longstanding demographic divisions that have favored Republicans, endangering their hold on a tier of states where the Democratic Party usually has little chance to prevail in federal elections, even Republican strongholds like Kansas or Alaska.
President Trump still has plenty of time to close the gap with Mr. Biden. But with Mr. Biden’s lead enduring well into a second month amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic, it’s worth considering the potential consequences of a decisive Biden victory.
Remarkably, Mr. Trump’s lead among white voters has all but vanished. On average, he holds just a three-point lead among them, 48 percent to 45 percent, across an average of high-quality telephone surveys since June 1. His lead among white voters has steadily diminished since April.
Let’s hope the country can outlast him. I’m not a ‘surburban housewife’ but I feel less safe with under the Trumpist Regime than I did as a kid ducking and covering under my desk from the nukes in Cuba. I just want us all to be safe at home.
So, the Dark Side is coming to Seattle and Dr. Daughter’s neighborhood as of yesterday. Why is he going to places with either women mayors or governors? Trying to work out mommy issues now? Also from the NYT: “Feds Sending Tactical Team to Seattle, Expanding Presence Beyond Portland. After outrage over the presence of federal agents in Portland, Ore., the Trump administration is sending a team to Seattle. Officials say they will be on standby.”
The deployment to Seattle came on the same day that the inspector general of the Justice Department announced an investigation into tactics used by the federal agents in Portland and in front of Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., in early June.
The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Joseph V. Cuffari, is also conducting an inquiry into the tactics of the agents in Portland. Mr. Cuffari said in a letter to Democrats that he expected to examine the authority used to deploy agents to the city after President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to increase security at monuments, statues and federal property.
The order prompted the Homeland Security Department to form teams that were briefly deployed to multiple cities to guard federal property, including Seattle, for the July 4 weekend. The tactical teams in Portland have remained at a federal courthouse as tension with protesters there has heightened.
A Federal Judge in Oregon has restricted the actions of Federal Troops terrorizing Portland Protestors. This is from OPB: “Judge restricts force federal officers can use in Portland”.
U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon has temporarily curbed the use of force by federal officers deployed to Portland, restricting their interactions with legal observers and journalists observing nightly protests against police violence.
On Thursday afternoon, Simon issued a temporary restraining order on officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service sent to Portland to guard federal buildings. The restrictions will last for two weeks. The judge is still considering a longer-lasting injunction against federal law enforcement.
The order comes as part of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon, alleging law enforcement has been targeting and attacking journalists at the protests.
The city of Portland was originally the main defendant in the suit. In early July, Simon issued a temporary restraining order against the city, placing new restrictions on how local police can interact with observers. Last week, the Oregon chapter of the ACLU successfully added the federal government to its lawsuit and immediately began pushing for similar restraints.
The new restrictions for federal officers are nearly identical to the limits already placed on Portland police. Federal officers are barred from arresting, threatening to arrest or using physical force against someone who they should “reasonably know” is a journalist or a legal observer unless they have probable cause to believe that person has committed a crime. Journalists and observers are also not required to follow orders to disperse nor can a federal officer tell them to stop documenting the protest.
One difference between the two orders: If a federal officer intentionally violates the order, it states they would not be protected under the doctrine of qualified immunity, a legal principle that often protects officers in police brutality lawsuits.
Like the last order, the judge said federal officers should identify legal observers by the green hats, worn by observers from the National Lawyers Guild or blue vests, worn by observers from the ACLU. Journalists should be identified by either a press pass or clothing that identifies them as press.
More on this from the ACLU: “FEDERAL COURT ISSUES RESTRAINING ORDER ON FEDERAL AGENTS IN PORTLAND”.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon today blocked federal agents in Portland from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or targeting force against journalists or legal observers at protests. The court’s order, which comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, adds the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service to an existing injunction barring Portland police from arresting or attacking journalists and legal observers at Portland protests.
Under the court order, federal agents also cannot unlawfully seize any photographic equipment, audio- or video-recording equipment, or press passes from journalists and legal observers, or order journalists or legal observers to stop photographing, recording, or observing a protest.
“This order is a victory for the rule of law,” said Jann Carson, interim executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “Federal agents from Trump’s Departments of Homeland Security and Justice are terrorizing the community, threatening lives, and relentlessly attacking journalists and legal observers documenting protests. These are the actions of a tyrant, and they have no place anywhere in America.”
From John Feffer at Foreign Policy in Focus: “Feds Attack! Trump’s use of federal paramilitaries is a classic tactic of autocrats to test how far they can push their authority in opposition-controlled regions.”
President Trump is doubling down, not backing down. He says that the paramilitaries are there to restore order. The Feds are preparing to descend on Chicago, and Trump is also warning Philadelphia and New York that they’re next. “Look at what’s going on — all run by Democrats, all run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by [the] radical left,” Trump said. “If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell. And we’re not going to let it go to hell.”
Halfway around the world, meanwhile, the Russian authorities arrested Sergei Furgal, the governor of the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, on charges that he orchestrated the murder of two men 15 years ago. Over the last week, tens of thousands of people have demonstrated on the streets of Khabarovsk demanding the release of this leader of the opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Furgal and his supporters argue that the arrest is politically motivated.
In Hong Kong, authorities are using a new national security law criminalizing many forms of protest to arrest several pro-democracy advocates, including the politician Tam Tak-chi, who was expected to run for the legislature in the September election. The action put an immediate damper on opposition efforts to select candidates for the vote. From Beijing, the Chinese Communist Party is cracking down on any challenges to its authority from the periphery, whether in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, or Tibet.
Analysts of the new authoritarian wave that has swept across the world in the last few years have largely focused on power grabs in capitals. Leaders like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Xi Jinping have attempted to reduce the influence of legislative and judicial bodies in favor of their own executive power. They have targeted civil society and media. They have used the coronavirus crisis to consolidate their control.
An equally important feature of this new authoritarianism is its intolerance for regional or local power bases that lie beyond executive reach. For countries that have federal structures, this means a conscious effort to strengthen the federal center at the expense of the regions. It’s part of the remaking of the nation-state in the 21st century, a reversal of the two-edged trend to devolve power to local authorities and delegate authority to international institutions.
These nationalists don’t just hate globalists. They hate anybody who stands in their way, including just about any potential counterforce taking shape on the periphery.
Feffer suggests Trump has started a “new civil war”.
Now Trump is claiming that areas of the country under Democratic Party control are in fact swamps of anti-Americanism. He is deploying the classic vocabulary associated with dehumanizing America’s putative enemies prior to attack. This is no longer a conflict between red and blue. Trump is transforming America’s political divide into an existential battle between grey and blue, where the Feds are supporting a Confederate-friendly president and the rebellious states long for the return of a more perfect Union.
Trump’s use of federal paramilitaries is a classic tactic of autocrats to test how far they can push their authority and what forces they can count on in an emergency. The Black Lives Matter protests inadvertently provided Trump with that opportunity. Come election time, he’ll know which guns are on his side if he chooses to question the election results and stay in office.
There are two more stories today that show that getting more than just white men in office = change for the better.
It was not immediately clear where the statues were taken. Reports from television stations showed the statue in Arrigo Park, 801 S. Loomis St., in Chicago’s historic Little Italy neighborhood, was removed a few hours after the downtown statue.
The Grant Park removal capped off an at-times surreal evening. Late Thursday, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara made his way to the downtown statue wearing an “Italia” T-shirt. He lounged around, talking with cops, criticizing Lightfoot, and promising there would be a pro-police protest there on Saturday even if the statue stayed in place..
He also got into debates with anti-Columbus protesters, some of which grew heated.
Good bye Columbus! Good Bye all you pantheons to White Male Colonizers! And a big fuck off to jerks like Representative YoYo. From The New Yorker and David Remnick: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Delivers a Lesson in Decency on the House Floor”.
The video of Ocasio-Cortez’s speech is available online, of course; it should be studied for its measured cadence, its artful construction, and its refusal of ugliness.
She began with narrative, setting the scene: “I was minding my own business, walking up the steps, and Representative Yoho put his finger in my face. He called me ‘disgusting.’ He called me ‘crazy.’ He called me ‘out of my mind.’ And he called me ‘dangerous.’ ” Then she broadened her scope: “This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women and an entire structure of power that supports that.” Ocasio-Cortez made it clear that she was not going to fall down and faint. She had heard it all before, on the subway and as a bartender. But she wasn’t going to let this pass, not from a fellow-member of Congress: “I could not allow my nieces, I could not allow the little girls that I go home to, I could not allow victims of verbal abuse, and worse, to see that. To see that excuse, and see our Congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology and to accept silence as a form of acceptance. I could not allow that to stand.” What’s more, she was not going to allow Yoho, in his clumsy way, to use his family as a “shield” for his barrage.
“Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. And when a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize,” she said. “I am someone’s daughter, too.”
The politics of our moment are dominated by a bully of miserable character, a President who has failed to contain a pandemic through sheer indifference, who has fabricated a reëlection campaign based on bigotry and the deliberate inflammation of division. His language is abusive, his attitude toward women disdainful. Trump is all about himself: his needs, his ego, his self-preservation. Along the way he has created a Republican Party in his own image. Imitators like Ted Yoho slavishly follow his lead. On the House floor Thursday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exemplified a different sort of character. She defended not only herself; she defended principle and countless women. And all in just a few short minutes on the floor of the House of Representatives.
So, there are some things uniquely American that change and adapt while still remaining uniquely American in a very good way. Baseball is used as a metaphor for many things. I’ll just go with that. It used to be all white male. Then it was not. It used to have no women players. Then it did not. It missed the usual season opening stuff in 2020 but reinvented itself to play in an atmosphere compatible with the Covid-19 Pandemic and Dr. Fauci–not the Orange Snot Blob–threw out the first pitch. The MLB is fully on board with the social justice goals of Black Lives Matter.
America! Be more like Baseball!
What’s on your blogging and reading list today?