Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
I’m feeling old! I was doing my lecture on Options Trading and Strategies when I learned my young, most promising, bright student had never heard of a ticker tape machine. This young man trades continually so that kind’ve blew me away. He’d never heard of tickertape parades either. So, I had to show him the old ticker tape machines invented by Edison for Western Union that I thought were at the heart of every discussion of Black Friday, 1929 and then through a few ticker tape parades for a side discussion. We used digital and internet Bloomberg Displays during my first work years. You know, those green and black multipixel screens plugged into a phone line.
I had to say, yes, that when my Uncle charted a stock back in the day he had to go through all the tape and find each tick or open and close. He did it all by hand on these huge sheets of paper on either a ping pong table or a pool table. They were all over the walls of his basement rec room too. I actually could search for that with a command on the Bloomberg terminal. Now, you just go to Yahoo Finance and can pull whatever off with a few selected search parameters and enter. Plus, you don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for access and the equipment. My Uncle Jock actually had a seat on the NYSE by his lonesome to get that access. My mother’s sister obviously married well.
I also am old enough to remember when no US candidate for President colluded with the Russians. Candidates generally tried to look as tough on the USSR or Russia as possible. But then, we got the previous guy and it was so obvious it was with Russian help. Now we got the receipts.
The Biden administration revealed on Thursday that a business associate of Trump campaign officials in 2016 provided campaign polling data to Russian intelligence services, the strongest evidence to date that Russian spies had penetrated the inner workings of the Trump campaign.
The revelation, made public in a Treasury Department document announcing new sanctions against Russia, established for the first time that private meetings and communications between the campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and their business associate were a direct pipeline from the campaign to Russian spies at a time when the Kremlin was engaged in a covert effort to sabotage the 2016 presidential election.
Previous government investigations have identified the Trump aides’ associate, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, as a Russian intelligence operative, and Mr. Manafort’s decision to provide him with internal polling data was one of the mysteries that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, sought to unravel during his two-year investigation into Russia’s election meddling.
“During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy,” the Treasury Department said in a news release. “Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
You can watch Rachel Maddow explain it all here:
Can we just agree that an entire section of the American populace appears to be captured by a huge right wing propaganda machine that includes all kinds of malcontents and evil-doers? Now, can we find some strategy to undo this please? We hear nothing about this at the propaganda site “The Federalist” but there’s a huge screaming headline about the same study that showed that there was not enough hard evidence to show Russians pais bounties to the Taliban even though there was ample evidence they were helping them in their fight against the US in Afghanistan.
What do these people hate so much about our democracy that they want to tank it? And no, I’m not talking about the Russians. We know why on that account. My only guess is that a lot of wipopo are afraid of POC that they will do anything to stop from the potential of being treated like we treat minorities and women in this country historically.
Biden did drop a lot of sanctions on Russia yesterday but Axios explains why: “Biden’s Russian sanctions likely to achieve little.”
Despite bold talk from top administration officials, there’s little reason to think the Russia sanctions package President Biden announced Thursday will do anything to alter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behavior or calculus.
Why it matters: While it’s true some elements of the package — namely, the targeting of Russia’s sovereign debt — represent significant punitive measures against Moscow, it leaves plenty of wiggle room for the Russian president.
- White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the action, telling reporters: “We can’t predict what the impact will be, but we still believe that when there’s unacceptable behavior, we should put consequences in place.”
Between the lines: Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had known and dealt with Putin for years while running Exxon Mobil, used to tell colleagues sanctions did little if anything to deter the Russian leader.
- It’s hard to argue against Tillerson’s case.
- The U.S. and its international allies have imposed some form of sanctions against Russia every year since 2014, when Putin’s “little green men” first appeared in Ukraine.
- Since then, Russia has continued to occupy Crimea and eastern Ukraine; propped up the brutal Assad regime in Syria; hacked U.S. and other Western elections; crushed protests at home; and attempted to assassinate dissidents on foreign soil, among other things.
Yes, but: Where Thursday’s sanctions do break new ground is in the cyber realm.
- The U.S. government formally accused Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service of the SolarWinds hack and identified its collaborators in painstaking detail, as German security expert Thomas Rid notes in an illuminating Twitter thread.
- And a ban on U.S. banks directly buying Russian government bonds could create a “broader chilling effect” that will weaken the ruble and have negative implications for inflation and economic growth, a senior administration official told reporters.
- But the ability for investors to continue buying Russian bonds on the secondary market diminishes the overall effect of the restrictions — reflecting Biden’s desire to send a clear message to the Russians without taking it too far.
Frank Thorp V–NBC News–has an incredible piece up about “After the Riot. It’s been 100 days since the attack on the Capitol, and those who were inside still struggle with their memories.” I can only imagine. I was traumatized enough watching it on TV from my bedroom. These are some stories from people who lived it.
When a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the world watched as the rioters entered the building, breaking windows and pushing through barriers. But it was more than just physical space that was violated. The seat of government was occupied by hundreds of lawmakers and their aides, building staff members, and journalists.
Some inside tried to flee. Some tried to barricade themselves in offices. Others inside swung into action. Journalists mobilized to document the attack in real time. The Capitol Police tried to protect the people inside.
The mob tried to stop the certification of the election of Joe Biden because they believed the false claims of then-President Donald Trump that rampant fraud had stolen victory from him. Many who experienced that fury say they continue to process the trauma of the day. And all want the events to be remembered as a lesson for Americans, and the world.
“I hope people will remember, with some solemnity, the fragility of democracy,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. “It’s a hard-won gift we’ve been given and it can slip away real quickly. So I hope people remember the precariousness of it all.”
The founding member of The Oath Keepers is about to plea guilty for his role (via WAPO)
We still feel like we’re in a becoming state and that we’re back on the right path. However, these last 5 or so years are likely to scar many of us for life. The unfolding numbers of young black men shot by police officers is a daily lesson. A 13 Chicago boy follows orders and is still shot dead. We just woke up to another mess shooting. This time it was in Indianapolis at a Fed Ex facility. There are 8 fatalities . Unlike the previous guy, our President is going to make a statement shortly and has already reached out to Fed Ex.
Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday there’s “no question” that gun violence must be stopped.
“Yet again we have families in our country who are grieving because of the loss of their family members” to gun violence, Harris said. “There is no question that this violence must end and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.”
“Yet again” sums ups so much of this. Yet again, the Republicans want to downsize spending that would actually help the US economy, US businesses, and US families. Again, Republican Senators attack terrifically qualified women of color in their hearings on their way to high government posts. Yet again, the Republicans are looking to another demagogue for help with white hegemony. This time it is failed Florida Governor and mass Covid-19 Murderer Ron DeSantis. Politico‘s article sent shivers down my spine. “‘A nicer version of Trump’: GOP donors flock to DeSantis. The Florida governor has cultivated relationships with many of the party’s biggest givers, who admire his opposition to strict Covid mitigation policies. One more sociopath spreading hatred and lies across the country. A nicer version of a sociopath is still a sociopath.
Donor interest in the governor extends far beyond Florida. Andy Sabin, a New York-based precious metal company executive, said he expects to host a pair of fundraisers later this year bolstering the governor’s reelection effort. Dallas businessperson Doug Deason anticipates holding a pre-summer event. Don Tapia, who served as ambassador to Jamaica during the Trump administration, is planning on hosting a fundraiser at his Arizona home.
Like others, Tapia praised DeSantis for his handling of the pandemic and what he described as the governor’s independent style.
DeSantis “has a major political future in the Republican Party,” said Tapia, a retired electrical company executive who’s given extensively to GOP causes for several decades. Tapia wouldn’t say DeSantis was his first choice among potential 2024 candidates but called him a “strong candidate I would truly look at.”
The enthusiasm was on full display during DeSantis’ appearance at last weekend’s Republican National Committee donor gala in Palm Beach, Fla., where he drew wild applause for declaring the party needed figures who withstood public pressure and weren’t afraid to confront what he called the “elite, New York corporate media.”
The governor was mobbed over the course of the weekend. Joanne Zervos, a New York City donor who spoke with DeSantis during the conference, said many contributors saw him as “a nicer version of Trump,” someone who had embraced the former president’s policies but lacked his rough edges. Zervos said she was drawn to the governor because of his approach to dealing with the coronavirus.
Again, what on earth reality are they dealing with? DeSantis has basically created a state of plague rats ready to travel around the country making every one sick? My two favorite Republican idiots these week are the dummies who questioned Kristen Clarke about a satirical piece she wrote at Harvard when she was 19 literally taking it literally.
Republicans also criticized Clarke over an editorial she wrote as a student at Harvard University in 1994 that sought to rebut claims made in “The Bell Curve” that tied intelligence to race. In the piece, Clarke recited research by some Black scholars that suggested Blacks are intellectually superior, a point she reiterated Wednesday was intended to be “satirical.”
Kristen Clarke is President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and if confirmed, she would be the first Black woman or woman of color to lead the division since its creation more than 50 years ago. So naturally, some Republicans have big problems with her.
During Wednesday’s confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Texas’ John Cornyn wanted to talk with Clarke about an article she wrote when she was a student at Harvard. Cornyn was very concerned because in this piece, Clarke listed a number of ways in which Black people are genetically superior to whites. Concerning, no??
No, it’s not. Because the piece, as Clarke explained patiently to him, was satire.
Yet again, Auntie Maxine had to draw the gavel down on ranting Gym Jordan during a hearing with Dr. Fauci. Even Dr. Fauci– unleashed–told him to stop ranting in a Congressional hearing. CNN reports: “Maxine Waters tells Jim Jordan to ‘shut your mouth’ after GOP congressman feuds with Fauci.”
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan and the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated exchange Thursday over the country’s Covid-19 mitigation measures, which ended with Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.”
During a House subcommittee hearing about federal government’s response to the pandemic, Jordan, an Ohio conservative, asked Fauci when the nation can begin relaxing physical distancing measures and mask-wearing — posing it as a question as to when Americans will regain their freedom and liberties
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, started to respond that the time will be when the United States has more Americans vaccinated and has a level of coronavirus infection that is low enough that it’s “no longer a threat.”
“We had 15 days of ‘slow the spread’ turn into one year of lost liberty,” Jordan said. “What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get more freedoms back?”
“You’re indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital,” Fauci countered. “This will end, for sure, when we get the level of infection very low. It is now at such a high level, there is a threat again of major surges.”
You can watch the calm Dr Fauci take on crazy ass Gym who is more concerned about getting people to fill up churches than having people fill up morgues and IC wards.
So that’s enough for me! For sure!!
Yet again, What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I hope you have the same kind of sunny spring weather there that we have here in New Orleans! I actually made a trip to Walmart yesterday! I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been there and it use to be at least a 2 or 3 trip a month destination for me being the poor old semiretired prof that I am.
I could tell that every one has spring fever around here by the number of obvious hipster transplants parading all over the neutral ground yesterday. I was rather hoping the herons would bomb them away but I just went to my room and took a nap hoping it would be over by the time I had to work on line. The demographics of my neighborhood these days disturbs me. Where did all this young white people come from and why do they keep bringing this burbie breeder vibe to my hood?
The Walmart in Chalmette is amazingly diverse because of the number of immigrant diasporas that have landed there. It’s still rather rural even though it feels more like an exurb in many ways . However, it’s more working to middle class that bougie rich. There are Somalians and folks from South America. There is still a Vietnamese presence although a good deal of that community lives in the east and on the Westbank. And, of course there are many Black Americans there that are descendants of the slaves of the now way gone Plantations as well as transplants from around the Caribbean.
So, it was great just watching the elderly, young families, and others pour into to do their weekly shopping like there was no pandemic. However, there were still adjustments. The benches by the front door are gone. The Walmart greeters are busy sanitizing the carts and pointing you to the hand sanitizers before you grab a cart. Then, you get a pretty good view of what a wide assortment of masks there are available these days. If you forget to bring one, Walmart gives you a disposable one.
So, I went with a friend and she was stuck in the checkout line. I got to stand for quite awhile where the benches used to be and watch the comings and goings. It was a pretty smooth operation until 3 white guys loaded themselves out of a big red pick up truck with this poor black dog on what could barely be called a leash. The two with the dog had masks on. The one with the weird razor cut and hitler moustache didn’t. I was like okay, here it comes.
At that point, white male boundary pushing and dominance achievement techniques began. The dog was just an emotional support dog so of course he should be allowed in to wander the grocery aisles. Said dog had no usual orange vest of either of a service or emotional support dog let alone the credential card. Guys started screaming at the poor woman saying no to the dog. Then the guy without the mask just started moving pass her to the station with the masks and a few more women who all eventually called for security back up. Fortunately, these women were not playing and were obviously experienced. Dog got sent to some one’s girlfriend for a walk in the parking lot and the mask guy eventually complied. I guess the beer run was more important than facing down all these middle aged women of various sizes, deportment, and race.
Meanwhile, every one else just tried to go about their day. All I could think was welcome to America where most of us are a community of folks just trying to live. Then, there are those guys come in and do their performance art of white male rage/fragility.
So, today’s artwork actually has something to say along these lines. This is the work of “Elaine de Kooning, Portraiture, and the Politics of Sexuality.” It comes from the University of Colorado, Boulder. It’s part of the gender archive and the portraits are of highly sexualized men.
De Kooning’s portraits of men are fascinating because she reverses the standard male artist/female model dynamic and in many of her portraits she captures the sexual power of her subjects, challenging the male privilege of looking and female role of object to be looked at. She was not, however, attempting to reverse the power dynamic by placing men in the western tradition of the passive reclining female pose, nor was she dismantling the anonymous male body by employing an Abstract Expressionist style. Rather she records her clothed male friends and lovers in an upright position with their legs spread apart, acknowledging and relishing her active role in depicting this socially accepted pose that asserts male sexual power, a pose that would not have been deemed appropriate for a “feminine” woman in the 1950s to highlight.
There’s a lot of ‘those guys’ in the news today. So, here I go …
Adam Jentleson –Author of “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate”–wrote this at The Atlantic today: “How to Stop the Minority-Rule Doom Loop. The next two years might be the country’s last chance to protect the basic democratic principle of majority rule.” I think we can safely say that the Republican Party is the epicenter of White Male Dominance.
The doom loop consists of four interlocking components. Candidates who represent white conservatives—Republicans, in our ideologically sorted era—begin every election cycle buoyed by a sluice of voter suppression and gerrymandering (what I call electoral welfare), which makes it easier for them to win. Then antidemocratic features of the American system that have always existed but never benefited one party over the other in any systematic way help those same candidates take control of institutions such as the White House and the Senate, despite winning fewer votes and representing fewer people than their opponents. Once in control of these institutions, these newly elected officials use them to entrench their power beyond the reach of voters. If they are eventually voted out of power, they retain a veto over the agenda of the majority, which they use to block change and feed the conservative case that the government is “broken.” This hastens their return to power—along the very path they greased with voter suppression.
The loop starts at the ballot box, where Republicans are making it harder than at any time in recent history for those who are unlikely to vote for them to vote at all. According to Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida and one of the nation’s foremost experts on voting laws, “We are witnessing the greatest rollback of voting rights in this country since the Jim Crow era.” The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder unleashed a new wave of voter suppression targeted at reliably Democratic constituencies such as nonwhite voters and young people. The pace of suppression has only increased since the November election. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, which tracks voter-suppression efforts across the country, 47 states have seen 361 bills aimed at restricting voting rights since the beginning of the year.
Republicans don’t just have an easier time winning elections; they have an easier time piecing together individual election wins to gain control of the institutions that govern American life. Here, too, the doom loop gives a big boost to candidates who represent predominantly white conservatives. Over the past half century, demographic shifts have rendered the antidemocratic features of American government newly vulnerable to exploitation, but especially by candidates who represent white conservatives.
They’ve been on this path a very long time. At the very least, it started with the policies of Ronald Reagan with its racist signaling campaign opener of “welfare queens”. Here’s a 2013 NPR article “The Truth Behind The Lies Of The Original ‘Welfare Queen'” exploring Reagan’s earliest attempts at dog whistling following the Nixon era “Southern Strategy” to pull Dixiecrats into to the Republican fold. I watched it spread through the state parties in the midwest like wildfire mostly by the ground work of those weirdish white evangelical christian churches with no real affiliation, southern baptists churches, and some catholic parishes. They started showing up with marching orders to take over the party structure and just basically kept at it until coming full circle in the Trumpist regime.
This all goes hand in hand with the gun fetishists and the groups of armed militias sprinkled around the country. This is from today’s Washington Post: “The rise of domestic extremism in America Data shows a surge in homegrown attacks not seen in a quarter-century.
Domestic terrorism incidents have soared to new highs in the United States, driven chiefly by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right, according to a Washington Post analysis of data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The surge reflects a growing threat from homegrown terrorism not seen in a quarter-century, with right-wing extremist attacks and plots greatly eclipsing those from the far left and causing more deaths, the analysis shows.
The number of all domestic terrorism incidents in the data peaked in 2020.
“What is most concerning is that the number of domestic terror plots and attacks are at the highest they have been in decades,” said Seth Jones, director of the database project at CSIS, a nonpartisan Washington-based nonprofit that specializes in national security issues. “It’s so important for Americans to understand the gravity of the threat before it gets worse.”
More than a quarter of right-wing incidents and just under half of the deaths in those incidents were caused by people who showed support for white supremacy or claimed to belong to groups espousing that ideology, the analysis shows.
Victims of all incidents in recent years represent a broad cross-section of American society, including Blacks, Jews, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, Asians and other people of color who have been attacked by right-wing extremists wielding vehicles, guns, knives and fists.
Let’s also not forget the victims of domestic violence for they also are part of this increase in violence and search for control over others.
An absolutely horrifying police shooting of a young black man in Minneapolis happened showing just how out of hand the use of power and suppression is in the nation’s police force also. There was also an incident of pepper spraying a young black Army Lt. and his dog in Virginia. Both were responses to simple traffic stops. Both officers have been fired but this only brings into more focus the unequal treatment of the largely white male police force around the country and its inability to police without responding differently to people of color.
Another blow was dealt to the likes of the “Hillbilly Elegy” narrative as we see in this Washington Post article written by Eugene Scott on “Data about the Capitol rioters serves another blow to the White, working-class Trump-supporter narrative” for The Fix.
After a Donald Trump campaign event in Mobile, Ala., in 2015 attracted about 20,000 attendees, a narrative emerged that his popularity centered on White working-class voters in small towns in red states. Books such as “Hillbilly Elegy” rose to the top of bestseller lists as a way to help more Americans understand this group of voters that got behind the wealthy reality star from Manhattan. And cable news networks regularly featured panels of journalists asking these voters why they continued to back such a widely unpopular leader.
But new data supports something that some critics of the former president were confident of from the earliest days of Trump’s presidential campaign: The Ivy League graduate from New York City got to the White House with the support of more college-educated professionals than is often acknowledged.
Robert A. Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, worked with court records to analyze the demographics and home county characteristics of the 377 Americans arrested or charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington aimed at overturning the 2020 election.
“What we know 90 days later is that the insurrection was the result of a large, diffuse and new kind of protest movement congealing in the United States,” the political science professor wrote in The Washington Post. “Those involved are, by and large, older and more professional than right-wing protesters we have surveyed in the past. They typically have no ties to existing right-wing groups. But like earlier protesters, they are 95 percent White and 85 percent male, and many live near and among Biden supporters in blue and purple counties.”
While Trump often spoke about jobs and factories being shipped overseas to manufacture American products — it wasn’t solely economic anxiety that drew many of his supporters to the wealthy real estate developer who allegedly avoided paying taxes that could benefit low-income Americans. It was cultural anxiety — regardless of their economic status — that was a consistent factor in support for Trump. While concerns about changing views on faith, gender and sexuality were often expressed by many of the former president’s most die-hard supporters, fear about America becoming less White — and less “great” — was at the root of at least some of the loyalty to him.
I don’t want to spend too much time on these two but both Tucker Carlson and Matt Gaetz are in the news again basically still trying to play their white male privilege cards as entitled little trustfund babies.
From CNN: Embattled Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is denied a meeting with Trump. Ah, poor little boy denied daddy time! I guess Trumperz thinks he’s damaged goods now and not an asset to the Family Crime Syndicate.
From Tom Porter at Insider: “Tucker Carlson is repeatedly using his platform to downplay white supremacy and violence, critics say“
In comments on his show last week Carlson appeared to endorse the white nationalist Great Replacement conspiracy theory, prompting outraged responses including a call from the Anti-Defamation League for him to be fired.
Before this Carlson had for weeks argued that the Capitol riot had been overblown by liberals as part of a plot to persecute conservatives, and he has said there is “no evidence that white supremacists were responsible for what happened on January 6.”
The facts say otherwise, with law-enforcement agencies having charged close to 60 members of far-right organizations, including the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and Proud Boys, with involvement. Rioters were pictured in the Capitol bearing Confederate banners, wearing far-right insignia, and chanting far-right slogans.
At the heart of Carlson’s persona is a challenge to those he portrays as smug liberal elites, who he claims have sought to disenfranchise ordinary Americans for decades. It’s a stance that made him one of the defining conservative voices during the Trump years.
But when applied to downplaying the threat of white nationalist violence, it’s a view that has imperiled lucrative advertisement deals on his show.
And as BB wrote yesterday, this is all from the Heir of Swanson Foods. That should be a boycott-worthy situation. We’re learning Georgia is sure getting it over voting rights as 100s of CEOs figure out what Voter Suppression Laws will do to their bottom line and the attitudes of their customers and workforce this week.
The Biden/Harris administration continues to churn out appointments and policies that seem quite normal while still facing total Republican opposition. Some of the usual sources are asking the same damn questions that shouldn’t be asked during this first 100 days. For example: “Can Biden Be Our F.D.R.? The president wants to change the trajectory of the country. He’s off to a good start b
Anyway, I have to work today and grade today and do stuff around the house and I still can’t adjust to fake time so I’m running late again. Y’all take care!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
I’m off to a late start today. Doctor Daughter called and we talked forever! She delivered over 50 babies in March so there’s evidently a Pandemic Baby Boomlet happening! It’s kinda like the pattern that happens 9 months after blizzards or having to stay at home all summer because everything is basically shut down!
I was talking to BB yesterday about the the expert medical testimony from the pulmonary doctor yesterday and thinking Derick Chauvin might as well get used to the idea of prison. I brought up the other two officers who were as seemingly helpless as the bystanders at stopping Chauvin. I keep wondering what’s in store for them. There’s an Op Ed by Rosa Brooks at Politico today that addresses just that question. “What About the Cops Who Watched George Floyd Die?” The author says the two officers were a perfect example of “Bystander Effect.”
They were paralyzed by the powerful social forces that too often operate to prevent even decent people from taking action to halt abuses.
I really didn’t know much about their individual backgrounds until I read this piece. Officer Thao was the one who ‘controlled’ the bystanders. BB has written about the Kitty Genovese case which is one of the most famous crimes where the bystander effect could be documented.
Although Officer Thao was a nine-year police department veteran with several prior misconduct complaints of his own, Lane and Kueng were unjaded rookies, each less than a week out of field training, and they were perceived by their peers as caring, idealistic young officers. Kueng, one of just 80 Black officers in a department of 900, had joined the Minneapolis police because he hoped an increasingly diverse force would reduce police racism and aggression toward people of color. Lane, who tutored Somali children in his spare time, was known for his calmness and his ability to defuse tense situations. Both had received instruction at the police academy about the dangers of using bodyweight to keep a suspect in a prone position for an extended period.
So why did neither man intervene when it became clear that Floyd was struggling to breathe? For that matter, why didn’t any of the half-dozen New York City police who watched Officer Daniel Pantaleo place Eric Garner in a chokehold in 2014 step in to aide Garner? Why did none of the six Baltimore officers involved in Freddie Gray’s 2015 arrest point out the need to secure Gray’s seat belt after loading him into a police van? In far too many police abuse cases, other officers could have intervened to prevent harm, but instead remained passive.
The bystander effect, which social psychologists have puzzled over for decades, is hardly limited to police officers. Think of the millions of ordinary Germans who watched Nazi abuses with dismay but didn’t speak out as their Jewish neighbors were rounded up. Or Kitty Genovese’s neighbors, who neither intervened nor called 911 as she was stabbed to death on a Queens street in 1964. On a more mundane level, think of all the people who look away and pretend not to notice when a school or workplace bully taunts some unlucky victim.
Scores of studies have documented the bystander effect, and we now have a fairly clear understanding of the factors that can lead ordinary people to do nothing even when morality seems to demand intervention. People are less likely to intervene when faced with ambiguous rather than clear situations, for instance. They’re less likely to intervene when surrounded by peers who are also doing nothing, or when intervention would require challenging those they perceive as having authority. They’re also less likely to intervene when they believe someone else will, or should, take action, or to help those whom they view as culturally different from themselves.
All of these factors appear to have been at play in the moments leading to Floyd’s death. Chauvin was the most experienced officer on the scene, and the less experienced officers deferred to his judgment; Chauvin was insistent about keeping Floyd on the ground and indicated that he was taking steps to keep Floyd alive, creating, for the other officers, a degree of ambiguity about whether Chauvin’s actions were inappropriate. Each of the three officers could see that none of his colleagues was intervening to stop Chauvin, thus diffusing responsibility for any bad outcomes. Finally, differences of class, race and culture might have allowed the officers to view Floyd as “other,” rather than as someone they felt obligated to help
Brooks goes on to explain that police training needs to address a police culture of “bystandership”. The article is quite an interesting read and I highly recommend it. There’s a link here to CNN about all four officers and the charges the three could face eventually after the Chauvin Trial. Basically, the three are ” now charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.” This is from June 2020 and was posted the day before Floyd’s memorial.
President Biden announced the creation of a commission to study the idea of expanding the Supreme Court today. This is from the New York Times: “Biden Creating Commission to Study Expanding the Supreme Court. The commission will also examine other potential changes such as term limits for justices. Progressives are pushing President Biden to add seats to balance the court’s conservative majority.”
President Biden on Friday will order a 180-day study of adding seats to the Supreme Court, making good on a campaign-year promise to establish a bipartisan commission to examine the potentially explosive subjects of expanding the court or setting term limits for justices, White House officials said.
The president acted under pressure from activists pushing for more seats to alter the ideological balance of the court after President Donald J. Trump appointed three justices, including one to a seat that Republicans had blocked his predecessor, Barack Obama, from filling for almost a year.
The result is a court with a stronger conservative tilt, now 6 to 3, after the addition of Mr. Trump’s choices, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just days before last year’s presidential election.
But while Mr. Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asserted that the system of judicial nominations is “getting out of whack,” he has declined to say whether he supports altering the size of the court or making other changes — like imposing term limits — to the current system of lifetime appointments.
It is not clear that the commission established by Mr. Biden will by itself clarify his position. Under the White House order establishing it, the commission is not set to issue specific recommendations at the end of its study — an outcome that is likely to disappoint activists.
Biden’s budget priorities were also in the headlines today. This is from The Washington Post: “Biden seeks huge funding increases for education, health care and environmental protection in first budget request to Congress. Defense spending would remain mostly flat under the president’s proposal.”
President Biden on Friday asked Congress to authorize a massive $1.5 trillion federal spending plan in 2022, seeking to invest heavily in a number of government agencies to boost education, expand public housing, combat the coronavirus and confront climate change.
The request marks Biden’s first discretionary spending proposal, a precursor to the full annual budget he aims to release later in the spring that will address programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The president’s early blueprint calls for a nearly 16 percent increase in funding across nondefense domestic agencies, reflecting the White House’s guiding belief that a bigger, better resourced government in Washington can help close the country’s persistent economic gaps.
Many of the programs Biden seeks to fund at higher levels starting in 2022 are initiatives that President Donald Trump had unsuccessfully sought to slash while in the White House. In a further break with Trump, who sought to spend sizable sums on defense during his term, Biden’s new plan calls for a less-than 2 percent increase for the military in the upcoming fiscal year.
But the administration’s approach quickly divided lawmakers from both parties. Senior Senate Republicans accused the president of trying to shortchange the Pentagon, which they alleged would put the country at a disadvantage against China. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressives demanded cuts to the Pentagon’s budget, though they endorsed the domestic investments Biden put forward in his plan.
And it’s getting Trumpier in GOP La La Land. This is from Vanity Fair‘s Bess Levin: “Nothing says unhinged cult like labeling people “defectors” and threatening to rat them out. “
Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that over the course of the 2020 election, the Trump campaign ripped off unwitting supporters for tens of millions of dollars. It did so through an extremely simple yet wildly deceitful scheme in which the default option for donations authorized the campaign to transfer the pledged amount from people’s bank accounts not once but every single week. Later, the campaign introduced a second prechecked box that doubled a person’s contribution and was known internally as a “money bomb.” In order for people to have picked up on this before it was too late, they would have had to wade through “lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.” Few people did, hence why the two and half months leading up the the election, the Trump campaign, the RNC, and their shared accounts were forced to issue a whopping 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million to online donors, compared to the 37,000 online refunds of $5.6 million that Joe Biden‘s campaign and his equivalent Democratic committees refunded. “Bandits!” Victor Amelino, a 78-year-old Californian whose $990 donation turned into nearly $8,000, told the Times of the scheme, and you can probably understand why!
Yet apparently, Republicans associated with Donald Trump have not changed their tactics in light of the very bad press; they’ve upped the ante. By which we mean that in addition to continuing to use prechecked boxes to bilk supporters, they’re threatening to rat out anyone who doesn’t agree to recurring donations to the ex-president.
Isn’t that sweet of them?
Anyway, I need to grade–still–so that’s enough from me.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Danceers!
So, my Senator Foghorn Leghorn is on TV embarrassing my state again. I can’t even start with a decent opening paragraph I’m so livid right now.
Oliver Willis writes “GOP senator compares Kamala Harris to notorious drug kingpin”. Of course this comes via Fox & Friends a notorious propaganda show rooted in conspiracy theories and lies.
Kennedy falsely claimed that Harris favors “open borders” — a frequent Republican accusation against Democrats. Like other Democrats, Harris supported a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants, as well as the decriminalization of border crossings, during her own presidential run.
Nevertheless, Kennedy continued in his lies about Harris.
“Making her the illegal immigration czar, as I said the other day, is like making El Chapo the drug czar,” Kennedy said. Biden has not created an “illegal immigration czar” position for Harris or anyone else in his administration.
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is a Mexican drug lord who formerly led the Sinaloa Cartel, an international drug and crime syndicate. Guzmán’s cartel produced, smuggled, and sold cocaine, meth, marijuana, and heroin in America and Europe.
Worth an estimated $1 billion, Guzmán has been accused of murder, assault, kidnapping, and torture. He is currently serving a life sentence in a federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
Harris, when she was California attorney general, prosecuted drug traffickers reportedly affiliated with El Chapo’s cartel.
The crazy thing is that there will be Republicans that will believe this and anything despite the facts on the ground. I’m still not getting over my shock at this from Colby Hall at MediaITEe: “Shock Poll: Half of Republicans Believe False Accounts of January 6th Capitol Riots.” You can feed these people anything and they’ll believe it!
A new poll by Reuters and Ipsos reveals that half of all Republicans believe false accounts of the deadly insurrection on the Capitol building led by Trump supporters on Jan. 6.
For those with a blissfully short memory, following the “Save America” rally at the White House Ellipse where former President Donald Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, the vast majority marched on the Capitol while Congress was in the process of certifying the Electoral College results amid baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud.
Protestors turned to rioters as they breached the US Capitol, attacked Capitol Police, and eventually took over the Senate chamber amid calls to “Hang Mike Pence” and shouts of “Where the f*ck is Nancy?”
But despite numerous videos that have emerged, many of which were shown during Trump’s second impeachment trial, half of Republicans polled believed that the insurrection was either a peaceful protest or led by leftists groups as some calculated way to make Trump supporters look bad. For real.
Analysts at Reuters/Ipso Facto argue that the inability of Republican elected officials to speak the truth coupled with Trump’s continuing push of The BIg Lie have contributed to the belief in the false narrative.
Since the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have pushed false and misleading accounts to downplay the event that left five dead and scores of others wounded. His supporters appear to have listened.
Three months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to try to overturn his November election loss, about half of Republicans believe the siege was largely a non-violent protest or was the handiwork of left-wing activists “trying to make Trump look bad,” a new Reuters/Ipsos poll has found.
Six in 10 Republicans also believe the false claim put out by Trump that November’s presidential election “was stolen” from him due to widespread voter fraud, and the same proportion of Republicans think he should run again in 2024, the March 30-31 poll showed.
Since the Capitol attack, Trump, many of his allies within the Republican Party and right-wing media personalities have publicly painted a picture of the day’s events jarringly at odds with reality.
Trump’s Easter Greetings were unhinged and that’s putting it mildly.
The problem is that this craziness is translating into a portion of society so detached from reality that they are not only living in a vacuum, they are killing people.
I have argued that hyperreligousity that’s related to any fundamentalist brand of religion is a combination of mental illness and brainwashing. However, I’m the economist on the blog and I should stay out of BB’s lane. But seriously, THIS IS CRAZY.
Stephanie Nana, an evangelical Christian in Edmond, Okla., refused to get a Covid-19 vaccine because she believed it contained “aborted cell tissue.”
Nathan French, who leads a nondenominational ministry in Tacoma, Wash., said he received a divine message that God was the ultimate healer and deliverer: “The vaccine is not the savior.”
Lauri Armstrong, a Bible-believing nutritionist outside of Dallas, said she did not need the vaccine because God designed the body to heal itself, if given the right nutrients. More than that, she said, “It would be God’s will if I am here or if I am not here.”
The deeply held spiritual convictions or counterfactual arguments may vary. But across white evangelical America, reasons not to get vaccinated have spread as quickly as the virus that public health officials are hoping to overcome through herd immunity.
The opposition is rooted in a mix of religious faith and a longstanding wariness of mainstream science, and it is fueled by broader cultural distrust of institutions and gravitation to online conspiracy theories. The sheer size of the community poses a major problem for the country’s ability to recover from a pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of half a million Americans. And evangelical ideas and instincts have a way of spreading, even internationally.
There are about 41 million white evangelical adults in the U.S. About 45 percent said in late February that they would not get vaccinated against Covid-19, making them among the least likely demographic groups to do so, according to the Pew Research Center.
“If we can’t get a significant number of white evangelicals to come around on this, the pandemic is going to last much longer than it needs to,” said Jamie Aten, founder and executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, an evangelical institution in Illinois.
These people are a problem. Like, a serious national problem. How can a democracy function with people that are actually counterfactual?
Meanwhile, Trump got dealt another blow when SCOTUS told him the Twitter block of his account was moot and threw it out. All this is happening while Trump is trying to brand himself as the 45 which seems really flaky.
Now-former President Donald Trump had about 89 million followers on Twitter before the platform suspended his account earlier this year, but the Supreme Court signaled Monday it isn’t interested in how he got along –or didn’t–with some of them.
The justices dismissed as moot a high-profile case about whether Trump was on solid legal ground when he blocked several of his critics on his once-favorite social media website, wiping away a federal appeals court ruling that found Trump’s actions violated the First Amendment.
Both sides in the suit had agreed the case is moot since Trump is no longer president and no longer has access to Twitter. The company permanently suspended his account in January following the riot at the U.S. Capitol that took place following a rally the then-president held near the White House.
So WTF with the 45 branding thing? This is via the UK Guardian: “Donald Trump re-branding himself as ‘45th president’ to get away from ‘damaged’ name, say experts. Donald Trump has re-branded himself ‘The 45th President’ to get away from his old, ‘damaged’ brand, say experts.” I doubt that works on the majority of us who wish he’d just go away.
In the past Mr Trump spoke often of the pulling-power he credited to his family name, from high-rises and hotels to TV shows, to stimulus cheques.
But his official, new website, 45Office, and collection of old tweets, @WhiteHouse45, diverges from both past presidents and decades of his own branding tradition, by not featuring his name in the title at all.
In his biography on the site it claims: “Donald J. Trump launched the most extraordinary political movement in history, dethroning political dynasties, defeating the Washington Establishment, and becoming the first true outsider elected as President of the United States.”
I’ve passed from livid to nauseous so I will end here.
Enjoy some Lil Nas X-Montero. It’s a gorgeous video and world! Why the entire video is Surreal !! It will also piss a Trumper off and especially the crazy evangelical wipipo off .. They are trying hard to cancel culture!
Have a good week!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I feel like one of those cartoons with the spinning heads as news leaps from continued lies, conspiracy theories and freakshows from the previous guy and his cronies to the headlines coming out of the first 100 days of Status Quo Joe’ sudden leap into the headlines as the next FDR or LBJ and then to the absolute horrific tales coming out the Derik Chauvin Trial. It’s like the psyche of America is on full monte, naked display.
So, yesterday I saw this Washington Post article on the Artist Alice Neel and a notice of a retrospective of her work at the Metropolitan Art Museum in NYC. Some of her delightful portraits fill the white space today. I found a lot of them a this link at the NYT under a the headline “Alice Neel’s Love of Harlem and the Neighbors She Painted There” You may also find more of her work here “The Life & Works of Alice Neel. Delve deep into the mind of the American artist, whose body of work demonstrates the intertwining of art and life, capturing what the eyes see and what the heart feels.”
While the Trump whack-a-dos are obsessing on Vaccine Passports and mumbling about the mark of some beast or another we’ll just take a look at Susan B. Glasser’s thoughts on Biden as the next LBJ or FDR at The New Yorker. The headline is clickbait worthy but the lede is what is real. “Is Biden Really the Second Coming of F.D.R. and L.B.J.? Proposing historic legislation is not transformative; passing it is.” Well, the article was posted yesterday so maybe it was a little bit of April Foolery? Read it and realize the first hundred days do not a presidential legacy make. But, of course we knew that.
As for Biden, what I’m struck by is not so much the quite possibly overheated F.D.R. and L.B.J. comparisons as the radically different political circumstances that Biden faces in getting Congress to enact his sweeping big-government proposals. Yes, Trump was the first Republican incumbent seeking reëlection to see his party lose the White House, Senate, and House since Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover, in 1932. But almost everything else about the politics of today appears to be radically different for the new Biden Administration than it was for Roosevelt, from the nature and scale of the economic problems that he faces—the Great Depression was not just worse than our current predicament but much worse—to the realities of governing. The biggest difference is in Washington, where Biden will be trying to push through his agenda with the votes of only fifty senators and a House margin of only three votes. In 1933, by contrast, F.D.R. was working with a Congress in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the House three to one; in the Senate, they had a fifty-nine-vote majority. L.B.J.’s hand was even stronger; after his landslide election victory, in 1964, Democrats controlled sixty-eight seats in the Senate and picked up an additional thirty-six seats in the House, giving them two hundred and ninety-five seats and a sizable majority.
What a contrast with today. The truth, which the savvy hands in the Biden White House know all too well, is that the enemy gets a vote, as the military saying goes. In this case, it will get a lot of votes, because there is just no getting around the reality of near-parity between the parties in Congress. As the bills are hashed out on the Hill over the coming months, every faction of even one or two or three members will get a say, knowing that an entire bill could go down with just their votes. The lobbying that has already begun suggests a tough road ahead.
Meanwhile, the prosecution and search for the Trumpist Insurrectionists continues. This is one more reminder of why the previous guy is still a clear and present danger. I was glad to read that more people threatened by the Insurrection Riots–now to include Capitol Police as well as Congress Critters–are suing the living daylights out of him.
This is from BuzzFeed News‘ Zoe Tillman: ‘The Lawsuits Against Donald Trump Are Stacking Up Over “Stop The Steal”‘
Lawsuits seeking to hold former president Donald Trump personally — and financially — responsible for the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 are stacking up.
This week, two US Capitol Police officers who said they were on the front lines at the Capitol on Jan. 6 sued Trump, arguing that he was liable for inciting the violence and for the physical and emotional injuries they sustained during clashes with rioters.
There are already two lawsuits filed by Democratic members of Congress — Reps. Bennie Thompson and Eric Swalwell — that accuse Trump and his allies of conspiring to interfere with their official duties by pushing the false claims of voter fraud that underpinned the Capitol insurrection. A fourth case, filed a few weeks before the January riot, accuses Trump and Republicans of violating federal civil rights law by focusing postelection challenges and fraud falsehoods on areas with large Black populations.
Trump has denied that he was responsible for inciting the violence of Jan. 6, and his defense against these cases is likely to feature an argument that his promotion of the “Stop the Steal” campaign — the lie that President Joe Biden’s win was illegitimate and that there was widespread fraud — was political speech protected by the First Amendment. His lawyers haven’t filed responses yet to the post–Jan. 6 cases, but they’ve already raised a First Amendment defense in the postelection civil rights case filed on behalf of Black voters.
There’s more potential legal fallout from “Stop the Steal” looming over Trump. Earlier this week, a lawyer for Dominion Voting Systems told Axios that the election tech company hadn’t ruled out suing Trump or anyone else who promoted false claims that Dominion and its products were involved in an election fraud scheme. Dominion and another voting systems company, Smartmatic, have already filed billion-dollar lawsuits against Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, and Fox News.
Let’s hope all the injured parties can drain them all dry! The Spawn of Trump are fairing no better. Ivanka Trump’s project to globally aid women entreprenuers shows incredible signs of mismanagement. This is reported by Glenn Thrush writing for the NYT. “A global aid program championed by Ivanka Trump has serious problems, a report finds.” Pretty bad when a bored and dim socialite can’t even make a decent run at a charity but then, they all can’t seem to get the idea that a charity isn’t there to benefit them somehow. That’s sort’ve a killer misperception.
One of Ivanka Trump’s top initiatives — a legislative overhaul of programs assisting small businesses run by women around the world — was so haphazardly managed by a federal agency that an independent watchdog was unable to determine whether it actually worked.
In a report released on Thursday, the Government Accountability Office found that programs funded through the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, which Ms. Trump, the eldest daughter of former President Donald J. Trump, helped usher through Congress in late 2018, were deeply flawed and hampered by poor oversight.
Officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which oversaw $265 million per year in spending on the initiative and an associated antipoverty program, never worked out “an explicit definition” of who was eligible to receive millions in aid, the report found.
The aid agency was also unable to determine the percentage of funding going to “the very poor and enterprises owned, managed and controlled by women,” the authors concluded after a 14-month audit, which covered actions taken during both the Obama and Trump administrations.
The G.A.O. recommended the U.S. Agency for International Development make six major changes to overhaul the programs. The agency’s leaders, who were appointed by the Biden administration, said they planned to implement them.
Ah, let me put a theme song to the paintings and what I want to sing every time I turn on TV and read about another Hate Crime. I’m trying to work myself up to looking at the attempt to get Justice for George Floyd and to stop thinking about all those women who died in the spa shooting so maybe Sly will cheer me up and I can sing ‘
‘We all the same no matter what we do’ .
‘and scooby dooby dooby …’
So, today the prosecution put more expert witnesses which are a hell of a lot easier to watch than the seriously emotionally damaged witnesses to Chauvin’s knew on George Floyd. Joy Reid twitted this interesting fact about him:
The first officer who testified today in the Chauvin trial was interesting — the fact that he went through the community policing system under Obama’s 21st century policing program means he just has a different perspective from other officers. We need more of that.
This was the conclusion at WAPO just minutes ago: “Senior officer rejects Chauvin’s ‘totally unnecessary’ use of force against George Floyd”. That pretty much backs up everything the witnesses up to date have said including the 9 year old.
An emotional week of testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin concluded Friday with Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, rejecting the former officer’s use of force against George Floyd, calling it “uncalled for” and “totally unnecessary.” Zimmerman testified that once someone is handcuffed, “they are not a threat to you at that point” and the amount of force should be immediately reduced. “If your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill him,” he testified.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, argued Friday that police can use “improvisation” for “whatever force is reasonable and necessary.”
The Trial is on recess until Monday Morning so you have plenty of time to watch/hear the gut wrenching testimony of the witnesses as well as First Responders who arrived at the scene too late to be of use.
I have to pace myself even when it’s just post coverage by the media. It’s so supremely shocking that even repeats of the film or watching witnesses cry on the stand as they try to recount it just makes me put my head in my pillow to scream.
‘Ooh sha sha
We got to live together
I am no better and neither are you
We’re all the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me
You know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in
I am everyday people’
And just so you know we’re still not out of the woods yet …
and the suspect is in custody.
and then there’s this:
And with that I bid you to please have a happy and sunny weekend. Please be safe! We want to hear from you for a very long time!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?