Monday Reads: Change is ImperativePosted: August 31, 2020 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Climate change, Mueller Report and probe, White Christianist Nationalism Patriarchy 23 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There are so many things right now that you think we should’ve figured out by now that seem to be worsening because there is no leadership in Washington. We’ve known about global climate change making weather patterns worse for decades now. We’ve known at least that long about the insidious institutional racism and misogyny that makes it nearly impossible for large swarths of our country to live up to their potential and be protected under the law. We have a global pandemic that is mostly out of control in places like Brazil and then the United States because we simply do not have the people in office willing to make tough decisions based on evidence to do what’s best for the country. They are either overlords of chaos and greed themselves or serving said said overlords as underlords. Also, lessons of history should have warned us that another Nixon would try to grab power and yet, so many have ignored what’s going on and actively thwarted oversight designed in our U.S Constitution.
We should know better and the rest of the world watches us struggle with disbelief and horror as we repeat all our mistakes of history and science over and over.
This important segment on Climate Change on the 15th anniversary of Katrina is worth watching. Our government did not learn anything from our experience from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and another set of people are reliving much of the same horror.
Folks in the know continue to warn us about the impact of Global Climate Change. This is from US News and World Report: “Climate Change Bigger Economic Risk Than Pandemic, ECB’s Schnabel Says.” How can an institution like the European Central Bank help prioritize a risk that obviously will cost lives and fortunes?
The coronavirus pandemic demonstrates in the clearest terms why central banks must take a bigger role in fighting climate change even if the issue at first appears unrelated to monetary policy, European Central Bank board member Isabel Schnabel said.
Initially just a health crisis, the pandemic has set off economic shockwaves around the globe, affecting every nation and forcing central banks to provide unprecedented support to underpin economic activity.
With climate change posing an even bigger risk, the ECB must keep this issue high on its agenda as it reviews its policy framework, Schnabel told Reuters in an interview.
“Climate change is probably the biggest challenge we are facing, much bigger than the pandemic,” Schnabel said.
“Even though this health shock was entirely unrelated to monetary policy, it nevertheless has huge implications for monetary policy,” she said. “The same is true for climate change and this is why central banks cannot ignore it.”
Through its supervisory arm the ECB could require banks to provide a climate risk assessment, which could then affect their access to central bank funding if this assessment has a direct implication on collateral valuations, Schnabel said.
The central bank should also push the European Union to add a green element to its long-delayed project to set up a capital markets union as a focus on green finance could give the bloc a competitive advantage, she argued.
This new poll from STAT shows how politicized basic non-partisan policies should be in this country. “Poll: Most Americans believe the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is driven by politics, not science.”
Seventy-eight percent of Americans worry the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science, according to a new survey from STAT and the Harris Poll, a reflection of concern that the Trump administration may give the green light to a vaccine prematurely.
The response was largely bipartisan, with 72% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats expressing such worries, according to the poll, which was conducted last week and surveyed 2,067 American adults.
The sentiment underscores rising speculation that President Trump may pressure the Food and Drug Administration to approve or authorize emergency use of at least one Covid-19 vaccine prior to the Nov. 3 election, but before testing has been fully completed.
How have we come to this place where the most important decisions in policy are being driven by the most base aspects of governance? Why is everything a culture issue now? Why is everything played like some team that you root for even though what they is completely wrong?
Why are so many invested in a White Nationalist Christianist future where truly there is no hope for the planet or democracy for that matter? Did we not settle this last century?
This is a story from Minnesota that should be told around the world.
Since last fall, Minnesota State Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, has taken a keen interest in a book called Bronze Age Mindset. The self-published tome has captivated many on the American right while trafficking in neo-fascism, racism and misogyny. The writer is an anonymous internet figure who goes by the pen name “Bronze Age Pervert” and has 45,000 Twitter followers.
The book argues that equality and human rights are unnatural; that most people form a vast, inferior class who will only find “solace and meaning” through “submission” — and that the proper rulers of the world are white men.
A passage claims, “Life appears at its peak not in the grass hut village ruled by nutso mammies” — using a racial slur to refer to Black women — “but in the military state.”
Chamberlain, the influential chairman of the upper chamber’s Taxes Committee, tweeted at the author, Bronze Age Pervert, on April 30, thanking him for an introduction to Bach’s “Fugue in G-minor;” likely a reference to Pervert’s podcast, which uses classical compositions as bumper music. (The podcast is even more overtly white supremacist.)
“The most obvious form of hatred in this book is misogyny,” said Curtis Dozier, a Vassar College professor of classics who documents appropriations of Greco-Roman antiquity by hate groups. “His ideal of masculinity is racialized.”
Dozier has analyzed the book’s appropriations — and misappropriations — of ancient literature.
Dozier said the title’s “Bronze Age” refers to an imagined era when a glorious warrior culture overthrew female tribal rulers and spread the Indo-European language — and male domination — from Iceland to southern India. Pervert identifies these conquerors as the Aryans, borrowing the ideas of Nazis, eugenicists and contemporary white supremacists, Dozier said.
Unlike most peddlers of hate online, however, Pervert does not disavow violence to soften the historic image of white supremacism and fascism — he glorifies it.
But, it’s not only Minnesota. Try Kansas City on for size.
It started as soon as her family, along with all of their belongings and their dog Kingston, arrived in Kansas City from Southern California not quite two months ago, Maureen Roland says: The smiles that froze and then disappeared when her new Northland neighbors, near Parkville, caught a glimpse of her Black husband and biracial children. The woman down the street who put her hand up and said, “No, thank you,” when Maureen introduced herself. The slurs shouted from across the way, the pointing, the pretending to retch.
“Kansas City nice” is real, but so is Kansas City not-so-nice. There are people in our town who yell, “You’re disgusting!” at the Rolands’ house as they walk by, and who have gotten out of line at the Best Buy to avoid them.
The Rolands have lived all over the world, so it’s not a revelation that there’s racism in it. But “I have not experienced it to this degree,” she says. “I have not experienced it this much. I have not experienced it this vocally.”
Or, try Lafayette Louisiana …
We have welcomed thousands of evacuees here in New Orleans to hotels and the Mayor of Lafayette says no to any shelters at all. His reason is something that should warn us all that Republicans are emboldened to be openly and nakedly racist. Black Lives Matters is not a terrorist operation. Any local “militia” group is definitely on the FBI watch list for domestic terrorism.
Officials with the Josh Guillory administration have asked local churches to stop trying to set up shelters for evacuees from Laura because of the “serious threat” of recent protests
I wanted to advise you that I have officially asked local churches to take a pause on any action to establish a shelter at this time. As you probably know, we have had some serious, concerning activities pop up today with armed protestors in the streets. Many from out of town.
This is a serious threat and we must handle this issue before we can care for our neighbors. It goes against what we believe and how we usually respond after a disaster but it would be irresponsible to potentially put others in harms way.
We are not in a position to safeguard people displaced by Laura with this serious, local security threat. We know that bad actors will take our hospitality and use it against us.
And, that really is disgusting.
Here’s the latest on how the national campaign is turning us against one another via Politico. “Biden forced to play on Trump’s turf as campaign turns to racial strife. The Democratic nominee wanted to talk about Trump’s performance on the coronavirus. Instead, he’s having to straddle a line on civic unrest. ” Of course, they don’t want to talk about the policies we need to actually do something for the big issues. Let’s focus on pitting the first and second amendments against each other in strictly racist terms. After Trump’s horrid visit to Louisiana and Texas, he wants to head to Kenosha today.
The chaotic scenes in Kenosha, Wis. and Portland, Ore., are redefining the contours of the presidential race — shifting the immediate debate over how to quell the clashes, who should own the unrest and which candidate is better suited to lead the nation through strife.
Donald Trump, who’s planning to visit Kenosha on Tuesday, is claiming the mantle of law and order even as he stokes conflict between protesters and his supporters. Trump is trying to take credit for restoring order by loudly calling for an influx of National Guard troops and painting Democrats as too fearful of alienating their base to denounce violence.
Joe Biden last week called for a halt to the violence, though it took him longer than many Democrats wanted. The Democratic nominee decided over the weekend that he would not travel to the pivotal battleground state on Monday ahead of Trump’s visit. Instead, the Biden campaign plans to ramp up messaging that Trump’s rhetoric has only inflamed hostilities on the streets, beginning with a speech in Pennsylvania Monday.
“It’s a very difficult argument to make when he is president of the United States that the unrest and chaos that’s happening on the ground is somehow not his responsibility,” Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield told POLITICO. “He owns it. He’s the president of the United States and he owns it. People are seeing a president who is failing to lead and that will be a big focus for us as we move forward.”
“We will continue to put this at his feet and hold him accountable for it because it’s hard to make a law and order argument when you’re an incumbent.”
The balancing act over the riots and police misconduct marks a new, intensifying phase of the election. Both campaigns are preparing for a burst of activity: Biden plans to break his month slong hold on travel to swing states in the coming weeks, with stops expected initially in Wisconsin and Michigan in addition to Pennsylvania. He’s also looking to appear in Minnesota and Arizona soon.
And the on going battle should really be against the Rule of Law as seen within the Justice Department. Here’s some headlines to read on that.
So, this all should keep you busy today. I’m sorry it’s all so alarming but seriously, thing’s have to change. We owe it to all of us that have lived and will live in this country. These policy challenges should be faced head on with regard to our laws, science, and getting the best results we can from the political process. We cannot take an administration whose goal is to tear us all apart, tear our country down, and ruin the gifts of nature around us.
What’s on your blogging and reading list today?
Sunday Reads ThreatsPosted: August 30, 2020 Filed under: just because 10 Comments
And this is your greeting this Sunday morning…
Along with Portland, as this thread illustrates…
Please read that one in full, it will give some context to the following:
I think that is enough to depress y’all this morning.
This is an open thread.
Crazy Caturday Reads: Trump Is Not Well.Posted: August 29, 2020 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump, malignant narcissism, PSP form of Frontotemporal Dementia, psychopathy, super-spreader events 11 Comments
NOTE: The paintings of cats in this post are by Walter Inglis Anderson.
Trump held another super-spreader event yesterday in New Hampshire. His speech was just as hate-filled and incoherent as usual. Here’s what it looked like–no masks, no social distancing.
On the way up the three steps to the podium, he lost his balance and came close to falling down.
Why don’t we know why he was rushed to Walter Reed last year? Did he have a stroke?
“Trump is not well” is trending on Twitter this morning. A highlight from the speech was Trump talking about his “ass.”
There was more weirdness this morning.
It’s still difficult to believe that this clown is POTUS.
From Politicus USA: Not Well Trump Nearly Falls Down Trying To Walk Up Steps.
These events are happening more and more frequently. Trump has struggled to drink a glass of water in public. He infamously could not walk down a ramp after delivering a commencement address, and he delivered a Republican convention acceptance speech, where he illegally didn’t leave the White House, with apathy and a lack of energy.
Trump has made secret unscheduled visits to Walter Reed, and the White House has never given a complete explanation for why he was there. Trump has never released his medical records, so the American people have no verifiable medical history on the current president.
One does not need to be a doctor to look at each of these incidents and see that something is not right. None of these episodes individually are proof, but taken together they build a perception that Trump is not well, and a White House that regularly hides information from the American people could be keeping a secret about Donald Trump’s health and wellness.
There’s a new documentary coming out about Trump’s lack of fitness for the job he holds. Here’s a review at The Wrap: ‘#Unfit’ Film Review: Documentary Offers a Scary Diagnosis of Donald Trump, But Will Voters Listen?
“#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” is a frightening documentary that can leave you scared to death about the prospect of Donald Trump remaining in the Oval Office a day longer than is absolutely necessary. It’s a cautionary tale that can offer some degree of insight into the mind of our commander in chief. But it’s also a political documentary that can make you wonder whether film is even the right medium with which to take on Trump, and whether a movie like this can connect with anybody who doesn’t already believe everything it has to say.
The film by director Dan Partland is timely, of course, hitting select theaters and virtual cinemas on August 28, at the end of the week of the Republican Convention, and heading to streaming and VOD on Sept. 1. And it is tied into current news: Its focus on psychoanalyzing the president fits with the approach in Mary Trump’s recent book about her uncle, “Too Much and Never Enough,” while its use of George Conway as a prominent talking head coincides with Conway’s weekend announcement that he is stepping away from his work with the anti-Trump Lincoln Project while his wife, Kellyanne Conway, departs from her White House job so the couple can devote more time to family matters….
But that timeliness could in some ways be problematic for “#Unfit” — because today’s politics, particularly in the era of a Twitter-driven presidency and an around-the-clock barrage of revelation, accusation and condemnation, simply move too fast for any film to not seem a step or two behind the times.
(In a clear sign of how difficult it is to keep up with the news in a feature film, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t even mentioned until 1 hour and 15 minutes into the movie, which also happens to be less than 10 minutes before it ends.)
“#Unfit” tries to make up for this by being deep and comprehensive, though it mostly does a stylish job of trotting out experts we’ve seen over the last three years on MSNBC and CNN and occasionally Fox News. And as the title suggests, it hitches its wagon to the idea of explaining Trump by using psychologists and psychiatrists to diagnose what they see as a clear case of malignant narcissism.
Here’s another take on what is wrong with Trump. The Daily Edge: Diagnosis: Psychopath. A clinical psychologist explains the one disorder that trumps all others.
He’s a liar. He’s a conman. He’s a cheat. He’s a narcissist. Or a “malignant narcissist.” He’s broken. He has no shame. He has Antisocial Personality Disorder.
Everyone has an opinion about what’s wrong with Donald J. Trump.
But as Vince Greenwood, Ph.D., argues in a recent Medium article, too many opinions have become the problem….
Dr. Greenwood believes that clinically diagnosing Trump as a Psychopath, based on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist — Revised (PCL-R), renders all other diagnoses obsolete—and allows us to focus on the real problem.
Seriously. We saw what four years of a cancer on conservatism did to the GOP. The cancer has metastasized. Stochastic terrorism is the new norm—we’ve seen the party shrug at the MAGA bomber, the El Paso shooter and now the Kenosha killer. We’ve seen the President exchange love letters with dictators, defend wife beaters, endorse pedophiles, and hail the success of QAnon candidates. Imagine what four more years led by a psychopath who no longer has to worry about getting himself re-elected would do to the country and the world.
With less than 10 weeks to the election, America is facing a choice: Divorce Trump. Or renew its vows. If America was your friend, and you knew it had married a psychopath, wouldn’t you urge it to get the divorce?
Read the interview with Greenwood at the link.
More reporting on Trump’s unhinged speech last night in New Hampshire:
The Washington Post: Trump escalates rhetoric on unrest in cities, looking for a campaign advantage.
“Look at what happened in New York, look what happened in Chicago. All Democrats. All radical left Democrats,” Trump said. He added: “You know what I say about protesters? Protesters, your ass. I don’t talk about my ass. They’re not protesters, those are anarchists, they’re agitators, they’re rioters, they’re looters.”
Campaign aides said the lengthy remarks about unrest in cities are part of a broader strategy, driven by Trump, in an attempt to win suburban voters and convince Americans that violence in cities is the fault of his Democratic rival, former vice president Joe Biden — and not his. The goal: to convince voters that Trump would like to fix it, and is tougher on criminals but is being blocked by Democratic mayors, and that demonstrators are Biden supporters dangerous to their neighborhoods.
Biden recently condemned violence at protests and has urged calm while expressing support for those taking to the streets in response to the recent police shootings of Black men.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
Yahoo News: Trump resumes campaign rallies and utters the unthinkable: ‘If Biden wins…’
LONDONDERRY, N.H. — One night after accepting the Republican nomination, Donald Trump resumed campaigning for reelection as though the coronavirus pandemic was a thing of the past, rallying hundreds of supporters at an airport hangar. But with the virus looming over the race, the president for the first time acknowledged even the theoretical possibility of defeat.
“If Biden wins, which I honestly can’t believe would happen, I will have lost to a low IQ individual,” Trump told a boisterous crowd in the low hundreds gathered at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
His standing position has been that “the only way we’re going to lose this election is if this election is rigged.”
The president’s supporters stood shoulder to shoulder, most not wearing face masks that health experts say can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 181,000 Americans. On Friday, more than 45,000 new cases were reported in the U.S.
Yet Trump seemed eager to pack more people into his rally, boasting that on his approach to the airport he had seen “thousands and thousands” more supporters lined up who were denied entry out of health concerns, a twist on his usual rally mantra, that “fire marshals” had limited the size of his audience.
“Sir, we couldn’t let them in,” Trump said, recounting what he said an aide had told him, to which he said he responded, “Why not? Let ’em in.”
Brenda Guvin, a retiree from Londonderry, was one of those who did make it inside. She wore a red Trump face mask that had been distributed by the campaign — wrapped around her wrist — and said she wasn’t worried about standing in the packed crowd without a mask.
“I’m not. I’m really not. I’m 74, I’ve had all the tests. I’m fine,” Guvin told Yahoo News. “I don’t know anybody that’s had it. So, we’ll see, but I don’t think there’s going to be any problems.”
Famous last words.
More stories to check out:
The New York Times: Rival Themes Emerge as Race Enters Final Weeks: Covid vs. Law and Order.
Slate Magazine: What Is Ivanka Smiling About? America is crumbling. But the president’s daughter is just thrilled to be here.
The Washington Post: Amid fears that Trump might not leave office, two lawmakers press for Pentagon assurances on the election.
The Washington Post: Secret Service copes with coronavirus cases in aftermath of Trump appearances.
The Daily Beast: Trump Advisers: He Was ‘Triggered’ by Talk of White Supremacy.
Michael Gerson at The Washington Post: Trump’s speech was nasty, brutish and interminable.
Vanity Fair: “Melania Did. Not. Care”: In A Blistering New Book By Stephie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump Sounds A Lot Like Her Husband.
HuffPost UK: Melania Trump Wore A ‘Green Screen Dress’ And It Played Out Just As You’d Expect.
Friday Reads: We’re on a Long Muck-filled Road to NovemberPosted: August 28, 2020 Filed under: 2020 Elections, just because, white nationalists 17 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There are two tropical waves coming off of Africa heading straight to the Gulf again even while parts of Louisiana and Texas are still in a state of cataloguing the damage from the last two. Severe weather also popped up over Northeast section of the country with tornadoes and thunderstorms. We continue to see wildfires north of San Francisco.
You have to be in denial to not see the strengthening of storms and the more expansive areas ruined by wildfires. It’s like we’ve angered the old “gods” that harness the earth, water, and weather against us.
I have spent the last 4 days with the weather channel, working, and just trying to maintain some semblance of normal as if that were some how possible. I have not once gone to see any one of the hundreds–if not thousands–of violations of the Hatch Act that was the Trump Family Crime Syndicate Revival last night.
My one take away is the ugly green dress and ugly look Melania shot Ivanka headed to Daddy and the microphone. Abusive Daddy will probably be unhinged some time today over this.
Why would any one want four more years of what was on display and what has happened?
So, here’s Susan B. Glasser’s take writing at The New Yorker: “The Malign Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Convention. Using the White House as his prop, the President makes war on Joe Biden, and pretends the pandemic is all but defeated.”
For four years, Donald Trump has been asking us to believe the unbelievable, to accept the unthinkable, to replace harsh realities with simple fantasies. On Thursday night, using the White House as a gaudy backdrop, the President made his case to the American people for four more years. His speech capping the Republican National Convention was long, acerbic, untruthful, and surprisingly muted in comparison to the grandeur of the setting, which no chief executive before him has dared to appropriate in such a partisan way. “We will make America greater than ever before,” he promised.
Even for a salesman like Trump, it was never going to be an easy deal to close, what with a deadly pandemic, mass unemployment, nationwide protests over racial injustice, and even a killer hurricane smashing into the Gulf Coast hours before his speech. Some seventy per cent of Americans currently believe that the country is on the wrong track, according to recent polls. Who can blame them?
This should be devastating context for a President, any President, seeking reëlection, a true picture of American carnage to replace the false one that Trump conjured four years ago. Yet the strategy of Trump and his team is now clear: to talk about how bad things would be in Joe Biden’s America, a violent socialist ruin in which freedom itself will no longer exist and rampaging protesters, like those now committing “rioting, looting, arson, and violence” in “Democrat-run cities,” will be coming soon to a suburb near you. “The hard truth is, you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” Vice-President Mike Pence said on Wednesday night. “No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” Trump said on Thursday night. To say this sounded a bit off in actual America, Trump’s America, does not do justice to the bizarre dissonance of this year’s Republican Convention.
Americans know Trump pretty well by now, and so it was more than a little discordant to hear him extolled throughout the Convention this week as a family man, promoter of women, friend to African-Americans, champion of religious liberty, and lover of immigrants, who interrupted his own Convention to preside over a White House naturalization ceremony for five lucky new citizens. A courageous patriot who works “from dawn to midnight,” as his daughter Ivanka told us, this Convention Trump personally charmed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, made peace in the Middle East, and single-handedly saved U.S. industries and unborn babies. And then there was his response to the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps the Administration’s shining hour, in which the President bravely disregarded the so-called experts to ban flights from China, thus saving millions of lives, while working closely with America’s governors, providing medical workers with all the resources they needed, reopening schools and businesses, and putting the greatest economy in history on the path to a fast recovery. The trolling was as epic as the setting was legally questionable: sitting and listening to Trump were more than a thousand supporters, packed together tightly in white chairs on the White House lawn, and almost none of them were wearing masks. While thus publicly and flagrantly flouting public-health standards, Trump touted his response to the pandemic as one that is focussed exclusively “on the science, the facts, and the data.”
Did they expect anyone to believe it?
Mike Barnicle at The Daily Beast was even more descriptive: “A Sick President Scrambles to Spread His Contagion of Fear”
Before last night’s neon obscenity—a Trump rally on the South Lawn of the American White House—the 2020 Republican National Convention was close to cartoonish in its attempt to scare the country into voting for Donald J. Trump. It began as dark comedy with a cast of family members, supplicants, incompetents, political ne’er do wells and loud worshippers of a guy who never really believed he’d win on that long-gone night in November 2016 but now thinks he belongs on Mount Rushmore.
As each day melted into the next, though, there were no laugh-lines. Only the specter of a dark hand with a gun and a knock on your door, the mob empowered by Democrat radicals come to take your life, your dreams. By the time that Donald emerged from the White House—think about it, the White House—to deliver his convention speech on Thursday night, you could feel the nuts and bolts holding together this nearly 245-year-old republic loosening with each assault on a form of government that has stood through civil war, depressions, injustice and the stain of racism.
The best read of the day for me so far has been this description of the crazies that do still think Donald Trump will save them and what they fear most. This is by Joseph Marguiles for The Washington Post: “Vigilantes claim to preserve law and order. Their true goal is to save Whiteness. They draw strength from guns, God and Donald Trump.”
The spasm of vigilante violence takes place at the intersection of several powerful currents in American life, and draws its strength from guns, God and Donald Trump, all joined in the service of an imperiled Whiteness.
The first of those currents is the belief that government, and especially law enforcement, has been so hobbled and emasculated by the radical left that it cannot protect the good people from the bad. The Movement for Black Lives, a coalition that includes Black Lives Matter, has come in for particular attack, which reveals the unspoken assumption of the narrative: The good people are White; the bad are either Black or Brown or besotted with their cause.
For those inclined to believe this narrative, evidence of the emasculation is everywhere. After the shootings in Kenosha, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who can always be counted on to give this narrative its voice, asked rhetorically, “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” As he spoke, the chyron at the bottom of the Fox screen read, “Kenosha in chaos as leaders abandon another city.” The Facebook page for the Kenosha Guard had implored the police to give the militia free rein, since it was “evident that no matter how many Officers, deputies, and other law enforcement officers that are here, you will still be outnumbered.”
Yet the narrative loses its plot when it becomes clear that the uprisings themselves are not the issue. After all, we didn’t see this sort of vigilantism in response to the uprisings in the 1960s, which were far more destructive. Instead, the protests are important because they illuminate and reveal the perceived impotence of Whiteness — an impotence that was not so keenly felt a half-century ago.
Today’s uprisings are taking place during a moment of profound unease. The term most often used for this unease — White grievance — does not remotely do it justice; to say that one has a grievance conjures the banal image of a complaint card sliding into a box and being forgotten. What we saw in Kenosha, and what we have seen across the country in response to the protests against police violence, is an insensate terror at the advancing prospect of White irrelevance. It is no less than a fear of White erasure.
Whiteness itself is imagined as under siege — culturally, demographically and, most of all, politically. President Trump plays on this fear when he warns ominously that the Democrats want to destroy the serenity of American suburbs, and vows to wall them off from the race-mingling scourge of low-income housing. It is no matter that the fear is irrational; there is no threat to Whiteness in this country, and there never has been. Irrational fears are always the most terrifying, and it is this terror that fuels the vigilantism.
The second current is the celebration of gun culture. Here, the vigilantes have the law to thank. Since the Supreme Court decision in Heller v. District of Columbia in 2008, which upheld the right of private gun ownership under the Second Amendment, it has become dramatically easier for people to travel the streets of this country armed. According to the Giffords Law Center, which tracks gun laws nationwide, in most states, including Wisconsin, it is perfectly legal for a person to openly carry a loaded firearm in public, without a permit.
I’ve read a lot of this on facebook from besotted white men who really believe all this and the underlying theme is evident to every one but them. They don’t like him but gee, those policies!
Meanwhile, Vice Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party–Senator Kamala Harris–continues to punch and remind us of the real issues. Here’s her call for justice for Jacob Blake as reported in USA Today “Kamala Harris: Officer in Jacob Blake shooting should be charged”. See the interview at this link.
In her first one-on-one network interview since becoming the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris talks to TODAY’s Craig Melvin about the shooting of Jacob Blake, saying “I don’t see how anybody could reason that that could be justifiable” and calling for “a thorough investigation.” Saying that “the fish rots from the head,” she draws a distinction between the leadership styles of Donald Trump and her running mate, Joe Biden.
We have a long road before Hurricane Season and the political season end because both end the first week of November. CNN Politics has already called out 20 false or misleading statements in Trump’s Dark Speech from last night.
Trump is a serial liar and he serially lied during his speech accepting the Republican nomination.
CNN counted more than 20 false, exaggerated or misleading claims from Trump on Thursday night. That’s in addition to a number of falsehoods from other speakers.
Trump’s dishonesty touched on a range of topics, from the economy to his administration’s performance during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of Trump’s most egregious false claims were directed at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
In his scripted remarks, Trump suggested Biden wants to take down the border wall, but Biden has specifically rejected that idea, saying only that he’ll stop further construction. Trump baselessly said that Biden’s plan would eliminate borders, which it wouldn’t.
Trump claimed he passed Veterans Choice, a law that Obama signed in 2014. Trump also touted a “record” 9 million jobs gained over the past three months, without mentioning the record 22 million job losses that preceded that.
Trump also boasted about the Covid testing system and his general response to the pandemic, even though experts near-universally say the US was fatally slow in its response, especially slow in setting up adequate testing.
You can read more or watch the video interview with CNN Fact Checker by Anderson Cooper at the link.
So, I’m going for a quiet weekend and hoping that everything around me cooperates! You take care! Let us know you’re okay!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Thursday ReadsPosted: August 27, 2020 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Antony Fauci, Biogen Conference, CDC, coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19 testing guidelines, Donald Trump, FEMA, hurricane laura, Jacob Blake, Kenosha WI, Kyle Rittenhouse, Mike Pence, police brutality, Racism, Republican National Convention, Sturgis motorcycle rally, superspreader events 15 Comments
Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Louisiana overnight. I haven’t been able to find a lot of information on the damage so far. Right now Russel Honore is on MSNBC attacking the lack of action by FEMA. He explained that the areas that have been hit hardest are the poorest in the state; many live in mobile homes.
CBS News is posting live updates. The latest:
“Extremely dangerous” Hurricane Laura made landfall overnight near Cameron, Louisiana, bringing “catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding” to portions of the state, the National Hurricane Center said early Thursday. The storm had intensified rapidly into a Category 4 hurricane before slamming into the Gulf Coast near the Louisiana-Texas border.
Several hours after it came ashore, the storm was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, although the storm was still extremely dangerous. The hurricane center said life-threatening storm surge was continuing early Thursday along much of Louisiana’s coastline.
As of 7 a.m. local time, the storm was located about 20 miles north of Fort Polk, Louisiana, moving north at 15 mph. It was forecast to move across western and northern Louisiana through this afternoon and over Arkansas tonight, and become a tropical storm later on Thursday.
Trump recently took funds from FEMA to pay for his stupid executive orders.
Rolling Stone: Trump Looted $44 Billion From FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund in the Middle of a Record-Setting Hurricane Season.
…less than three weeks ago, instead of working with Congress to craft comprehensive legislation to address the ongoing crisis and deliver desperately-needed aid, President Trump looted FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to the tune of $44 billion — authorizing the agency to pay for a $300 per week supplement to regular unemployment benefits.
The $300 a week benefit supplement is similar to the $600 one that was included in the CARES Act passed at the start of the pandemic. An extension of that $600 benefit was included in second relief package that the House has already approved, but that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t hold a vote on. And because the Senate won’t sign off on the House bill and Trump didn’t work with lawmakers to reach a compromise, the unemployment supplement isn’t coming from money appropriated by Congress. It’s coming from the government account meant to cover natural disasters like the one presently bearing down on Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
“I am extremely concerned about the health and safety of Americans when Hurricane Laura comes ashore,” Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), head of the subcommittee on emergency preparedness, response, and recovery, said in a statement. “The fact that President Trump would take up to $44 billion from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund right before a possibly record-setting hurricane season shows his inability to protect our country during a crisis. If he had convinced his Senate allies to pass our Heroes Act, we would have extended unemployment benefits and still had plenty of money for FEMA and states to use to help Americans recover from a natural disaster, like Hurricane Laura.”
Meanwhile, Trump has been busy trying to reduce Covid-19 testing so that fewer cases will be discovered.
CNN: CDC was pressured ‘from the top down’ to change coronavirus testing guidance, official says.
A sudden change in federal guidelines on coronavirus testing came this week as a result of pressure from the upper ranks of the Trump administration, a federal health official close to the process tells CNN, and a key White House coronavirus task force member was not part of the meeting when the new guidelines were discussed.
“It’s coming from the top down,” the official said of the new directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was in surgery and not part of the discussion during the August 20 task force meeting when updated guidelines were discussed….
“I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact it is,” he said.
The new guidelines raise the bar on who should get tested, advising that some people without symptoms probably don’t need it — even if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person.
Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday that changes to the testing guidelines were made after “updated recommendations” from the White House coronavirus task force.
This will lead to more cases and deaths, because people can transmit the virus when they are not yet having symptoms. Trump couldn’t care less how many Americans sicken and die as long as he has a chance of being reelected.
If this guidance is followed there will be more super-spreader events like this:
PharmaLive.com: Biogen Conference Led to 20,000 Covid-19 Cases, Study Suggests.
A Biogen corporate meeting held in Boston in March that was initially connected to about 100 cases of COVID-19 could have led to a significantly higher number of infections. A new study suggests the meeting could have contributed to about 20,000 cases across four Massachusetts counties.
A new, 64-page study that has not been peer-reviewed, extrapolates the number of infections that stemmed from the company’s corporate meeting held at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel in February, the early days of the pandemic in the United States. According to The Boston Globe, researchers studied the genetic makeup of confirmed COVID-19 cases from 772 patients in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Suffolk counties in the Bay State and concluded the meeting was a super-spreader event that infected “tens of thousands.” Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the researchers involved in the study told the Globe he is confident in the method used to reason out the high number of infections associated with the meeting.
The research team analyzed the genetic sequence of the 772 patients and identified more than 80 distinct SARS-CoV-2 genomes that plagued the Boston area through the month of May. The origin of most of the genomes in those patients could be identified as having come from Europe or other parts of the United States. But, as the Globe reports, one virus had a unique genetic signature found in 289 of those patients. That particular signature was traceable to the Biogen meeting in February, the researchers said.
“By multiplying the proportion of conference-related viral genomes in each of the four counties by the total number of coronavirus infections in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk, the scientists estimate that 20,000 infections could be linked to the Marriott event,” the Globe reported.
According to WBUR, this event “Seeded 40% Of Boston Coronavirus Cases.”
Business Insider: The Sturgis motorcycle rally that experts warned would be a coronavirus superspreader event has been linked to 100 new cases in 8 states.
Cases stemming from the 460,000-person event, which kicked off on August 7, have now been spotted in eight states: Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Washington. That’s in addition to the cases spotted in South Dakota, where new cases spiked to 251 on August 22 and the seven-day average of new cases continues to climb. Altogether, the cases total more than 100, according to an Associated Press analysis.
Attendees have traveled to more than half of all the counties in the US since the festival wrapped up on August 16, according to anonymous cellphone data from Camber Systems, which was tracking their departures. CNN first reported the location data.
Ahead of the rally, as city officials said there was no way to stop people from coming even if the rally had been canceled in an official capacity, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem welcomed the event with open arms. She’s also voiced doubt about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines detailing the effectiveness of masks.
Once the revelers arrived, photos showed few masks and crowded bars, despite warning signs throughout the area. On stage at a packed concert, Smash Mouth’s lead singer mocked the pandemic: “We’re being human once again. F— that COVID s—,” he says in a video.
The crisis continues in Kenosha, Wisconsin after the police shooting of another innocent black man, Jacob Blake. Police in Illinois apprehended Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old boy who shot three protesters in Kenosha. Kenosha police failed to arrest Rittenhouse after the shooting even though he was approaching them with his hands up. He was white, so he was allowed to leave the state.
Rittenhouse was a Trump fan.
The Washington Post: An inescapable echo between Trump’s campaign rhetoric and the deaths of protesters in Kenosha.
If he was there at all, something prompted 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse to grab his rifle and make the short trip from his home in Antioch, Ill., to Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday. If photos shared on social media are accurate, something spurred him to walk around the town with that rifle in his hands as protests over a police shooting continued into the night. If police are correct that Rittenhouse fired that rifle, if he did shoot three protesters, killing two of them, there was something that caused him to be there to pull the trigger.
This alleged chain of events came from somewhere. Most 17-year-olds don’t see it as their duty to protect the streets of their hometowns, much less of nearby towns where they don’t even live. If Rittenhouse shot those two people dead, there was some spur for him to do so that simply doesn’t exist for most other people.
It’s facile to assume that we can identify that spur as the rhetoric offered by President Trump and his reelection campaign. But it’s impossible not to notice how that rhetoric echoes in what appears to have happened in Kenosha.
The night before those protesters were shot, five different speakers at the Republican National Convention, including the president’s son, decried uncontrolled violent mobs that they claim have taken over the nation’s streets.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
The New York Times traced Rittenhouse’s movements on the day of the shootings:
Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old Illinois resident, appeared on multiple videos taken throughout the night by protesters and bystanders who chronicled the events as peaceful protests gave way to chaos, with demonstrators, armed civilians and others facing off against one another and the police in the darkened streets.
The New York Times’s Visual Investigations unit analyzed hours of footage to track Mr. Rittenhouse’s movements in the moments leading up to, and during, the shootings….
About two hours before the first shooting, the producer of a video livestream interviews Mr. Rittenhouse at a Kenosha vehicle dealership.
Mr. Rittenhouse is there at the same time as several other armed men. Some of them are positioned on the building’s roof overlooking the parking lot where vehicles were burned the day before.
In a brief exchange on the livestream, he identifies himself as “Kyle.”
Read the rest at the NYT link.
There is so much more news. I haven’t even touched on the DNC hate-fest, which concludes today. Last night’s episode focused on Mike Pence pretending that Trump has defeated the coronavirus and saved America.
CNN: Pence reinvents Trump’s presidency on a disorienting night of crises.
Only voters can decide the political fate of Donald Trump. But the evidence of a dark, dispiriting election year suggests unequivocally that the President has failed to find answers equal to the magnitude and complexity of America’s two great crises — over health and race.
So at the shape-shifting Republican National Convention on Wednesday, Trump’s most loyal subordinate Vice President Mike Pence had little option but to do what he does best. He twisted the facts, spun a more pleasing alternative national reality and showered his boss with praise.
Even by the standards of 2020, it was a disorienting night. Adding to the awfulness of another police shooting of a Black man and the shooting of two protesters (by an apparent Trump supporter) and the pandemic about to claim its 180,000th American victim, a monstrous hurricane tore towards the Gulf Coast.
Already, there are doubts whether the President’s big acceptance speech and a fireworks display Thursday at the White House in front of a pandemic-defying crowd of more than 1,000 people will be appropriate given what forecasters say are “unsurvivable” conditions facing those in the path of Hurricane Laura.
My guess is Trump won’t want his final night of glory postponed. Whether his advisers can convict him to do it is questionable.
I’ll post a few more stories in the comment thread. I hope anyone in the path of Laura will stay safe. Take care everyone!